And be sure to pepper me with questions. I do my best to keep up with them, and even if it takes me a few days, I will get to them all eventually.
New readers--don't be shy! Feel free to join in with the discussion, even if you aren't a regular Goldstone Wood Imp. We want to hear what you have to say.
Moving right along into Part Three today . . .
Back to the Baron: At the opening of Part Three, we are reintroduced to the Baron of Middlecrescent. We learn here that he not only controls his own barony, but also the baronies of a few of the other barons. What sort of hold he has over them is not overtly stated. Perhaps blackmail. Perhaps bribes. Perhaps subtle threats all conducted behind closed doors. Perhaps simply through sheer strength of will and character. However he manages it, the baron is here revealed to be one of the most powerful men in all of Southlands.
Though, the narrative insists, he does all for the sake of King Hawkeye, the Eldest. He is “unbendingly loyal.” Even if this loyalty sometimes leads him to go behind the Eldest’s back . . .
I know Leo is a young man prone to self-justification . . . but he’s certainly not the only one in this book!
Daylily chose to return: We here learn that Daylily did not accept Leo’s offer to stay with his family over the winter, but returned to her father’s house. And her father’s wrath.
When questioned by the baron, she offers the reasoning that Leo is still a boy, taken up with “childish games.” By which I believe she means, “taken up with Rose Red.” But she’s not about to say it out loud. She might not even be willing to admit it to herself.
But our Daylily is jealous of the little, faceless goat girl. And jealousy, as we all know, is one of the meanest, keenest motivations in all the world.
The baron is no fool: He knows his daughter all too well. He reads her quiet face and discerns the secrets behind her words. And to the surprise of all—particularly Daylily—he declares, “You’ve gone and fallen in love with the boy.”
But Daylily is contemptuous. How could she possibly have fallen in love with such a childish youth? Such a clown?
“You think you know me, Father. But you don’t.” This is possibly both very true and very false at the same time. I think the Baron knows Daylily quite well. But I also think there are deeply hidden secrets in her heart that the baron does not yet begin to guess.
That he won’t guess until too late.
Possibly not until Book 6 . . . J
“What sort of beauty is she hiding?” Daylily, in a startling and short moment of revelation, shows us a glimpse of her insecurity. We see her studying her face in the glass, noting her own beauty and wondering why Leo (because we must presume that’s whom she means by “he”) doesn’t see. And her guess is that he must be blinded by a beauty much greater.
A beauty so great, in fact, that it must be disguised at all times. An unnatural, Faerie beauty, perhaps.
He was seventeen now: So it’s been nearly a year now since Part Two and the events of the last summer. And Lady Daylily is coming to stay at the Eldest’s House, bringing with her all the kingdom’s enormous expectations.
Poor Leo—or Lionheart as we are now referring to him—is not pleased. Again, he longs for the freedom to make up his own mind about things.
But he’s also not one to remain wholly unmoved by public opinion. And he doesn’t dislike Daylily . . .
We see our Lionheart now as we have seen him through much of the book: caught between two contrary desires, completely uncertain of himself and his own wishes. Should fulfill family expectations? Should he cling to his own right of choice and individuality? Does he want to be free? Does he want to be prince? He doesn’t know.
“Good afternoon, Leo.” Daylily is very careful and calculating in all of her maneuvers now. Her father was disappointed in the results of the previous summer, and she is determined not to disappoint him again. So everything is carefully planned, even down to how she addresses him, choosing to call him “Leo” and present a certain familiar front. Not a natural fit for our cold and withdrawn Daylily.
Discomfited: Lionheart is obviously somewhat discomfited by this reintroduction to Daylily. He finds himself suddenly more uncertain than ever. She is so lovely, and she is everything his mother, his father, the nation itself, wants for him as a bride. And it’s not as though he has any better ideas! And he does have to marry someone.
But he turns to his juggling once more for comfort. You can tell, while reading this scene, how much he is still straining at the reigns!
A chambermaid: We now see Rose Red in her new role as the prince’s chambermaid. As he warned her when back on the mountain, they cannot be friends anymore. He is the master, she is the servant.
But he still calls her Rosie. I don’t think he’s forgotten what she means to him. And I know she hasn’t forgotten, not for one moment.
“Was—Were.” Since coming to the Eldest’s House, Rose Red has been working a little on her diction. She already stands out like sore thumb . . . no reason for her to give one more reason for anyone to laugh at or disrespect her! But old habits die hard.
As I said previously, my publishers and really struggled over the question of Rose Red’s speech. They wanted any and all diction issues to be entirely cleared up by this point in the book. But when I tried to write her that way, she didn’t feel natural to me at all! Why would she suddenly speak perfectly well after not even a year? It's not as though she has Henry Higgins coaching her. It didn’t make sense. So I chose instead to show her struggling a little over her speech, trying to sound more polished but still falling back into old habits.
Save under his protection: Lionheart considers that he likes “knowing Rose Red was about somewhere, safe under his protection.” I wonder if this is the entirety of his feelings, though. Is he simply glad that she is safe? Or does he somehow feel safer having her near? After all, she is one the only people with whom he has been free to be himself. One of the only people who really knows him.
So who protects whom, ultimately?
Another reference to roses: We see, through Lionheart’s eyes, the roses abounding in the Eldest’s grounds. Rose bushes, rather, that never bloom. Another hint of things to come, but one that is not explained until the next book. So do hold out for that explanation, dear readers!
An opinion: Lionheart really seems to want to know if Rose Red believes he will be a good king. Her opinion matters to him deeply. Much more so than most other opinions, I think. Again, she is the only person who really seems to know and love him for who he is, and not for who he should be or could be.
But she is also only his chambermaid. He cannot depend on her for any real support. His best friend who is no longer even his friend . . .
Poor Lionheart must learn to make his own way. And I think the idea terrifies him.
Foxbrush is present at the dinner that night, watching Daylily as she does all she can in the most subtle of ways to interest Lionheart. And he glares daggers Lionheart’s way! Poor Foxbrush.
A song of Eanrin: Lionheart is asked to perform that night, and he begins by singing a song of Eanrin, Chief Poet of Iubdan Rudiobus. It’s a romantic song, and at first, Daylily believes Lionheart is playing it as a particular compliment to her. And she is pleased.
But Lionheart—thoughtless, foolish, playful Lionheart—has something else entirely in mind. He’s much more interested in shocking the company and irking his mother than in paying any compliment to Daylily. And he turns the song into a farce, thus enraging the queen . . . and deeply embarrassing Daylily.
For everyone else in the room would also have thought he was playing in her honor. And everyone else saw that honor disintegrate into a joke.
Angry thoughts: Daylily’s opinion of Lionheart does not seem especially high in this scene. She considers him a “rattlebrained scamp without a mature idea in his head!” Not exactly the thoughts of a girl pining away with love.
Or are they? Is Daylily simply trying to convince herself that Lionheart is nothing but an idiot, beneath her notice? Is her anger at this scene much more about disappointment than irritation?
I think she was hoping for something more from Lionheart after their year apart. She was hoping to see some real spark of interest. And instead, while he is evidently impressed by her beauty, his heart and affections remain as untouched as ever.
Is Daylily’s pride wounded . . . or is her heart broken? The text doesn’t give all away, and it’s up to the reader to decide.
Twice over! Two times in one day, Rose Red finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, first with the juggling Lionheart, now with the furious Daylily. Poor Rose Red. This is just not her day.
“Does Leo know your secret?” Once more, Daylily wants to know if Leo knows the secret behind Rose Red’s veils. Once more, Rose Red insists that he does not. Perhaps she believes this to be true. Or perhaps she is simply afraid to admit that he does, to admit that anyone knows what she hides.
And she does not want to show Lady Daylily. But Daylily is not in a good frame of mind this evening, and she is not willing to be gainsaid.
The veil removed: Thus Daylily reaches out and, without preamble, removes the veil herself.
It is a shocking moment in the story, a shocking violation. And we, the reader, are left in blindness, for the narrative does not tell us what Daylily saw. We can only read on in horror, realizing that Rose Red’s carefully guarded secret is really so fragile a thing. In one, cruel act, all her careful shielding is stripped away.
And now, whether or not Leo knows, Daylily is privy to the secret. And she does not reveal to us what she sees. We, the reader, must read on in ignorance.
Swear to me: Daylily demands that Rose Red pledge her service to her, claiming “I know your secret as well as he.” Obviously, Daylily does not believe Rose Red when Rose Red claims that Lionheart has not seen behind the veil.
And now, she too possesses the secret and a certain power of Rose Red.
Questions on the text:
1. So do you think the Baron of Middlecrescent is right? Has Daylily fallen in love with Leo? Or does he not know his daughter so well as he thinks?
2. Why would either Daylily or the baron see Daylily falling in love with the prince as a possible impediment to a marriage?
3. Do you think Lionheart intentionally meant to embarrass Daylily? Or was it just a joke that went wrong?
4. What were your favorite lines of this chapter?
Judy (Hi, Judy! I think you're new, since I don't recognize your name. Welcome to the read-along!) wants to know: "My question is: does Foxbrush like Daylily?"
While it never overtly says in the text, it's my very strong opinion that Foxbrush is completely crazy for Daylily, though she won't give him the time of day.
Judy also wants to know: "My other question is, does Rose Red like Leo?"
Obviously she cares about him very deeply, for she's willing to do so much for his sake. But if you mean, does she like him like a crush or possibly deeper than that . . . well, you'll have to keep reading to find out!
Allison wants to know: "Off topic, where does the name Rooglewood come from?"
Um . . . it's a bit hard to explain. LOL. When my husband Rohan was first starting to take me out on dates back in 2010, he had just bought his first house. We weren't officially a couple yet, just friends going out together, but I was pretty certain he liked me on one certain evening when, over coffee after taking me swing dancing (he's a great dancer), he asked me if I would help him come up with a name for his new house. Now a guy with that kind of old-fashion sense of drama is totally my type of guy! He was a bit afraid that I would think it an odd request, but I'm a novelist, and I totally jumped at the idea. And I figured if he wanted me to help name his house, he might actually be serious about me too (I was right. We were married just a few months later!).
Anyway, a Roogle is a mythological animal that is part kangaroo and part eagle--basically, a splice of Australia and America. Rohan had a bottle of wine from an Australian/American wine company, and the label was decorated with a Roogle. Rohan collects fine wines, and this was the first bottle he had ever purchased for himself (to "put down" as they say, for later) several years before. He opened it to celebrate the buying of his new home. I quite liked the word "Roogle" and suggested it as part of the name for the house.
There is a forest of bamboo behind our house, quite a lush and verdant tangle in which dozens of wild kitties and foxes live . . . It's particularly beautiful and unusual because we live smack in the middle of downtown Raleigh, and most of the streets around us are quite build up. But our house is up on a hill, isolated, and screened in by this bamboo forest. So I suggested "Rooglewood" in honor of the Roogle and the bamboo forest.
It just stuck. We toyed around with a bunch of other names, but none were as much fun to say as Rooglewood, which is quite distinctive, you must admit.
This is also why the Rooglewood Press banner and website includes the bamboo and green theme, in honor of our little bamboo grove. :)
Hannah wants to know: "You say you did not come up the Hound until after Veiled Rose. But when I reread Heartless, I discovered a very interesting quote from Diarmid concerning when he ran from the Prince of Farthestshore. "Hounded down, exhausted..." Was this entirely coincidental? It's such an incredible foreshadowing."
Actually, that was entirely coincidental! I'm delighted to hear that line was in there though . . . since we'll be learning more about Diarmid in not too many more books.
Allison wants to know: "Also: how do you pronounce 'Eanrin'?"
It's a Gaelic name, and I'm pretty certain (after a certain amount of research) that the proper pronunciation is: Yann-rinn. But really, who knows for certain with Gaelic? :P
And another piece by Jemma, this one to go with the previous chapter! It depicts the Dragon flying into the presence of his Sister, roaring, You gave her to him like a gift!