I'm loving all the comments you readers have been leaving these last few days! These chapters near the end of Heartless are full of meaty bits, and it's great to see how many of you are reading so deeply and able to analyze the text. Makes for a more rewarding reading experience ultimately!
Still please give me time on all your fabulous questions. I'm battling ANOTHER cold today (blah!), so I don't have the brain-power to do them justice. But I'll hopefully catch up on them all tomorrow. In the meanwhile . . .
A moment of
opening section of Chapter 33 gives us another moment of reprieve and
reflection after the intensity of the last few scene. It's a bit of a strange
scene, I think, reading it now several years later. Strange, but I like it.
remember typing out the idea for this scene in my original outline for the
first draft of this novel. And I remember writing the original scene by hand in
my notebook. I can't remember exactly why
I decided this moment between Una and the sea spirit should be included.
Part of it might have been because the sea spirit is one of the few truly otherworldly characters we encounter in Heartless, giving us an idea of the
possibilities of otherworldliness to come.
The Song. I really like
that little moment when the invisible sea spirit sings the song to Una. When
Una (still not going by her name, but simply "the girl") wakes, she
says, "You sang my song." And the sea spirit tells her that she read
it on her face and in her hand. I think that is so lovely, reading it now! This
intuitive creature can see the longing which Una herself is only just beginning to recognize.
Another name. Another little moment
including the importance of names. Una asks for the sea spirit's name, and the
sea spirit actually gives it to her . . . but it's not a name Una could ever
pronounce! Still, I think it was kind of the spirit to bestow its (her?) name
on a dragon. I think this must be a very loving creature, whatever else it
Una, in exchange, gives the sea spirit her former name.
Even the one who
loves me. Una
makes the sad declaration that it's "just as well" she has become a
dragon, since a dragon is what has lurked inside all along. But she also makes
an interesting confession. She shows us, for the first time, how much she truly
values Aethelbald's opinion of her, his love for her. And she is devastated now
that he has seen her as a dragon. She does not believe he can love her now.
is a very different reaction to what she went through with Lionheart. With
Lionheart, he ceased to love her, and that destroyed a piece of Una's heart so
that she gave in to this fire inside. She fights with the dichotomy of feeling
she didn't deserve this to feeling that she must be worthless for him to have
forgotten her so. Either way, her reaction is anger and hatred and flame.
Aethelbald, however, she knows she
does not deserve his love. And there is a much more quiet, mournful acceptance
in this knowledge. She fights no dichotomy. She does not pretend that she ever
did or ever could deserve the love Aethelbald offered. Her reaction to this
knowledge is not fury and fire, but heavy realization.
It was for
Aethelbald I waited. Una
recognizes, very late, that it was
Aethelbald's voice she heard all along, ministering to her through the
poison and smoke of the Dragon's torments. She also recognizes that it was for
Aethelbald she waited, not Leonard. She thought
it was Leonard, but her spirit new and longed for the truth.
The dragon must
Una learns how she can be free. The dragon must die if she is to be Una again.
Una believes the sea spirit means the Dragon King . . . .
Don't cross the
Old Bridge. One
last time in this novel, we have it repeated that crossing the Old Bridge is dangerous. Sadly, we never learn why.
But Felix is very careful to follow Dame Imraldera's instructions when he
returns through the familiar Wood, out of the Between and into the Near World
of his own home.
Monster's back! After many
chapters not seeing our favorite blind cat, we finally get Monster back in this
scene. Felix is just wondering how he's going to break into his own home when
Monster turns up, all meowy and purry and happy to see his prince.
of course, curses at the sight of the cat--which, I suspect, means he was very happy to see him alive and whole!
He simply would never admit it. (Such a boy!)
shows Felix a way inside, through a kitchen window. Very soon, Felix is
crouching in the shadows of his own home, which is now overrun with his enemy.
The Dragon. Sadly, as slinky
and sneaky as Monster is, the Dragon saw them enter. And the Dragon was very
pleased at the sight . . .
He's here! He's
for all the Dragon smiles, he does not know that Aethelbald has come to the
Haven at last. Come to retrieve his sword.
1. "Have you a
I know it?"
not be able to pronounce it with your tongue."
I hear it anyway?"
voice sang a quick succession of notes, soft and fast as a thrush's song, but
more wild and wet and deep. Unlike a human voice, this voice sang in multiple
notes at once, sweet chords and harmonies as well as melodies.
pale girl closed her eyes and sighed. "That is a beautiful name." (p.
Questions on the
1. What do you
think of Una's confessions to the sea spirit? Do you think she loved Aethelbald
all along, or that she's only just now come to love him, realizing what his
love means to her? Or does she even love him at this point . . . after all, he
is referred to in this scene as "the man who loves her," not,
"the man she loves."
2. Favorite lines?