So, do you think Leo and Daylily are going to hit it off and have a truly magical summer? Let us find out . . .
Seal of a seated panther: There are a number of little hints and foreshadowings as to Leo’s true identity. Daylily’s reaction to the seal is one such hint. Obviously, she knows in a glance who that seal belongs to.
I don’t remember, did I mention the seal of the panther or the seated panther in Heartless? I don’t have my copy handy to reference it, and I’ll probably forget in another fifteen minutes, because my swamped life has been fraught with forgetfulness lately. LOL. But maybe one of you could check that for me! If I did, then this is much stronger foreshadowing in the context of the series. If I didn’t . . . eh. Oh well.
Daylily: Again, we have emphasized that the real Daylily does not reveal herself from behind the mask of her lovely face. She and Rose Red are interesting parallels of each other, both in their similarities and their differences.
In the original version of this novel, Daylily was much less interesting. She also started out with the name Rosebud, and it was Rose Red who was named Daylily! Funny how things change. I talked about that more on the Veiled Rose book page, so you can check it out if you’re interested.
Changing this character’s name to Daylily made a difference right away. I truly like then name Daylily (as opposed to Rosebud!), so that makes me more inclined to like the character. But still, in the original version, she was simply beautiful, spoiled, petty, and very typically the Other Woman. The Mean Girl.
But when I started writing this draft, I began to see whole new sides to Daylily. She is just as veiled as Rose Red. In many ways, she is just as unloved, more so even. For Rose Red has Beana and Mousehand. She has her Imaginary Friend.
But who truly loves Daylily? Who truly knows Daylily?
These questions and the altered situation of sending Daylily up to Hill House—where she does not want to be—allowed me to open up the character far beyond the stereotyped Other Woman, turning her into, I think, one of the more complex and interesting characters in this book. Perhaps even in the series.
After all, it wasn’t long after writing Veiled Rose that the ideas for Shadow Hand began to take shape in my heart . . .
We’ll go into much more about Daylily later. But in the meanwhile, I do want you Daylily-haters to read her with a little bit more of a sympathetic eye. What little things does she reveal about herself along the way that might make her more likable than we first realize?
The wolf cry: Daylily’s response to the howl of the wolf is, I think, one of the more telling moments about her character. Here is a young woman who has grown up in the city, living a privileged life of balls, assemblies, operas, and such elegance. But see how she reacts when, for the first time in her life, she hears the call of something wild.
Again, there is a lot of Daylily that is being suppressed. By her father, by society and its expectations . . . and by Daylily herself. But the truth is there down underneath.
Leo’s reaction: So, when Leo meets Daylily (or re-meets her, since they did know each other as children), we aren’t told a whole lot of his reaction. All we know is that he sees before him the prettiest girl he’s ever seen.
But the narrative doesn’t tell us what that means.
Is Leo one to bowled over by great beauty? He can’t be completely unsusceptible! Does he warm to Daylily right away? His greeting is certainly awkward and unprepossessing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s disinterested . . . simply that he’s a teenager and not used to girls!
I think it’s an interesting little exchange, and I wonder now, as I read it, what Leo thought just in that moment. But I think it was a good idea not to say exactly. Because you know what? He probably didn’t know what he thought either! Though I’d be willing to bet he no longer thinks a summer with Daylily is going to be so dreadful after all.
Summer studies: Have to give Leo some credit . . . at least he’s trying to pursue some of his summer studies this year. A sign of maturity perhaps? Perhaps not, but we’ll give him the credit anyway.
Foxbrush: We don’t get hardly any perspective from Foxbrush in this scene or subsequent scenes in which he features. But it’s pretty clear pretty early on that he’s quite smitten with Lady Daylily. Lady Daylily, he doesn’t even know he’s alive. Or if she does know, really doesn’t care.
Foxbrush is obnoxious, squint-eyed, and know-it-all. But still, you’ve got to feel at least a little sorry for him.
Shall we then? I do love Daylily in this scene where she’s suggesting they all go monster-hunting. You have to feel at least a little bad for her! While she’s the same age as Leo and Foxbrush, sixteen for a young lady in that day is very different from sixteen for a boy. She’s old enough to begin receiving attentions from elegant older men, to be viewed as marriageable and mature. But Leo an Foxbrush are definitely still boys.
I kind of enjoy watching Daylily manage the two of them so handily as she does. Her world and social circles have pushed her into maturity, and she’s accepted this much more gracefully than Leo or Foxbrush can. She is also a much stronger, more dominant personality than either of these boys, so she is quite able to arrange things to her satisfaction. Daylily might not be the nicest or friendliest person in the world, but she’s fun to watch in action.
And her line: “I am not some dainty flower. I can suffer a little dirt” is, I think, another revelatory moment for this character.
I’m sorry: I had completely forgotten about the moment when Leo, sitting alone beside the creek and thinking back upon a bygone summer, whispers, “I’m sorry for what I saw in the cave.” (p. 116)
Again, this is some interesting foreshadowing for later revelations! I don’t want to spoil it for any new readers, but those of you who have read it before should know what I mean. Because I don’t think Leo is apologizing for forcing Rose Red to take him there. He’s apologizing for what he saw. But how could he have had any control over what he saw?
After all, when you gaze in a pool, what do you expect to see besides your own reflection?
An awful silence: Another interesting moment I’d forgotten about, when that strange silence falls, and the cold creek water becomes suddenly hot. It doesn’t say exactly what happened there . . . but I wonder if something became aware of his presence in the mountains when he spoke his apology to Rose Red.
Something not very nice . . .
Birdsong: That strange silence vanishes into birdsong, however. And here we get a repeat of the lines we heard earlier when Rose Red also listened to a bird sing. “Beyond the Final Water Falling, The Songs of Spheres recalling . . .”
The Sphere Songs are an important element of this world and series, though they aren’t emphasized particularly in this novel. But nothing mentioned is unimportant, so it’s worthwhile to tuck such lines as these away in your memory for future consideration.
Oh, and by the way, if you’d like to here a pretty, instrumental version of this song, Goldstone Wood Imp Clara Darling has written a lovely piece. You can click here to listen to it.
Daylily’s observation: I think Daylily’s observation of Leo in this scene is particularly acute. She believes that he is, “one who would need to succeed at something.” Before Leo is going to become a man, he is going to have to find and fulfill some purpose. He’s not one who will simply grow into manliness and maturity. For Leo, manhood will mean a rite of passage (very like in the old days of Starflower, if you think about it).
But if Leo never achieves this success, this goal, he will never become the man he could be. These are huge stakes for one young boy.
I remember writing this story and basing this character off of young men I knew at the time (though I won’t mention names!). Sweet boys who, I thought, had the potential to truly become something more. But who, if they did not set their sights on a goal and strive until they accomplished it, would really never be anything but sweet boys. Which is a shame and a waste. For a boy never proves to himself that he is a man, how can he ever truly be a man?
Womanly wiles: I think Daylily is trying to put some womanly wiles over on our Leo in this scene. She’s not terribly overt, but notice that she does put a hand on his. And she’s much friendlier here than we’ve seen her before.
But are these just womanly wiles? Might she not be attempting something like real friendship? After all, as soon as she learns the name of Leo’s friend—and realizes that it’s a girl he’s looking for—her attitude changes rather abruptly. She might even be (dare I say it?) a bit jealous . . .
But it’s very hard to read Daylily. She doesn’t share of herself, not even to herself. And she’s certainly not about to make things easy on her readers.
Question on the Text:
1. What do you think Daylily’s reaction to the wolf’s howl signifies? What might it reveal about her character? And why does her good woman shudder?
2. Why do you think that sudden silence fell and the creek water became hot when Leo whispered his apology? And why did it vanish suddenly when the bird sang?
3. So, do you think Daylily was flirting with Leo according to her father’s Plan . . . or was she really trying to be friendly? And what does her abrupt reaction to Rose Red’s name mean? Jealousy? Or something else?
4. Any favorite lines?