Saturday, December 21, 2013

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 3, Part Three

Unless you're new, you know the ropes. But in case you are new and you're wondering how to get your name entered in the weekly giveaways for this read-along, do take a moment to read the November 30 post, which explains the rules. They're pretty straight-forward. And we're getting to the end of our third week, and a third winner of Veiled Rose is about to be picked. Might it be you?

Anyway, the Dragon has arrived, and we have a chapter to read . . .


Chapter 3

The destroyed fountain: There’s something symbolic about the Dragon destroying the Starflower Fountain upon his first arrival. It was such a symbol of strength against evil, of virtue triumphing of a terrible foe. And it’s burned, demolished, melted and broken beyond recall beneath the Dragon’s wrath.

A sign of terrible things to come.

She believed she looked upon her death: Queen Starflower, seeing the Dragon through her window, is immediately overcome with despair. Brave and strong though she has always been, all hope flees from her heart, and she knows that her end has come. She may go on living for a little while, but to what purpose?

It is most surprising and horrifying to see the queen’s reaction to the Dragon, I think. Of all people in the Eldest’s House, you expect her to try to be courageous, to organize and to influence. Every time we have met her in the book up until now, she has been in a position of strength, impressing us with her poise and power.

So seeing her immediately crumble fills us with more dread than if we first saw the Dragon from any other perspective. If Queen Starflower has given up within moments, what hope can there be?

Foxbrush: By contrast, Foxbrush joins with the other young men of the court. He’s crushed to the back of the crowd, the text tells us, but he still is part of their number as they hasten toward the great front door. His first impulse, however futile, is to fight. Again, not what you’d expect from this character.

The king: Hawkeye seems to have a better idea about the nature of dragons than others in the room. Or at least the nature of this Dragon. He tries to warn the young men against the fumes, the poison of the Dragon’s breath. Not soon enough, however.

Poison breath has been classic hallmark of dragons for much of literary history. Fafnir (the Old Norse and Icelandic dragon whose story influenced both Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in their own dragon creations) was possessed of poisonous breath as deadly as his fire. It’s not a feature you see among the friendlier dragons popular in modern fantasies . . . but I enjoyed bringing it back into play with my very-not-friendly dragons in this series. Or this Dragon, at least (since I don’t believe any of his “children” demonstrate such poisonous breath).

“Made myself incarnate.” According to the Dragon’s speech, taking incarnate form is not a normal choice for him. He does not like the mortal world, and he does not care to take shape that fits into its confines. But, determined to claim the “princess,” he has taken on a solid body and stepped into the Near World of mortals, however grudgingly.

This helps to explain why, later on, he is so angry at the time spent searching for the Beloved of his Enemy. He is a timeless creature that does not worry about the flow of years, hours, or minutes. And yet he is so furious to have spent so much time searching for the correct princess! It’s the incarnate body that is the problem, I believe. He hates being trapped inside of time, which is so confining to a being such as he.

Readers of Heartless may find this scene particularly interesting, since we have learned bits of it in the previous book via Lionheart’s account. But he did not tell all, for he did not know or understand all. He told then only of his charge against the Dragon, a futile charge that left him broken and gasping beneath the Dragon’s might. And he spoke of the Dragon choosing to spare him for some purpose he did not then know.

And he said in that version that a friend pulled him to safety. But he implied in that telling that the friend was Lady Daylily. Perhaps he was not aware of the truth. Perhaps he was not aware of courageous Rose Red throwing herself between him and that monster of her own Dreams.

How dare he be real? I love Rose Red’s reaction to the Dragon in this scene. She has told herself for years that, vicious though he is, he is still nothing but a nightmarish fancy invented of her own lonely mind. And now, to find out that he is real? And here, and present, and full of destruction! It should not be allowed. How dare he?

And yet, somehow, I don’t think Rose Red is as scared of the Dragon now as she was when she thought he was in her own mind. I think she realizes (even if only unconsciously) that she is now free from the fear that she is mad. And in that knowledge, she can be more courageous than ever.

Really, have there  been many heroines more courageous than our Rose Red is in this moment?

“I won’t let you hurt him,” she said.
“And how will you stop me?” the Dragon demanded with a laugh.
“I don’t know,” she said. “But I will.” (p. 194)
Does she truly have the strength to battle such an enormous foe? Well, we have the rest of this book to find out . . .
Questions on the text:
1. When the Dragon says, “I must give you up. Perhaps I should eat you instead?” it appears to be a contradiction. How can he both give Lionheart up and eat him? What do you think the answer to this question is?
2.  Can you remember any other famous poisonous dragons?

3. Any favorite lines?

Q&A  . . . Check back later today! I'm going to try to answer all of yesterday's questions sometime this morning. If not, I'll get them up tomorrow, I promise! :)

Fan Art: Jemma offers her depiction of the Dragon's arrival in Southlands!



Meredith said...

1. Eating Lionheart would be quick compared to the slow torture of destruction the Dragon would exact upon him. Also, the Dragon's sister's plans are even more agonizing, so being devoured would be preferrable. Yikes!

2. I think the dragon in the St. George story is poisonous. I can't remember, but I think Vollys, the dragon from Gail Carson Levine's The Two Princesses of Bamarre might be poisonous as well.

3. Lines: The Dragon raised his wings above his head, lifted his face to the sky, and sent up a fountain of flame, a ghastly parody of the pure water that had so recently flowed in the same spot. It shot to the heavens, raining sparks upon the surrounding gardens.

Lionheart's mouth was wide in soundless pain, not physical, but a pain that tore down into his very spirit, ripping and shredding as the scorching steam entered his lungs.

Then suddenly silver birdsong drowned out all else, though small as a whisper.

How dare he? How dare he be real?

She shook her fist at the monster, even as he blew at her veil. "Don't you hurt him!" she cried. "Don't you even try!" ... "I won't let you hurt him," she said.
"And how will you stop me?" the Dragon demanded with a laugh.
"I don't know," she said. "But I will."
He snarled, spitting flames, and she threw her body across the prince's to protect him.

Question: How does Rose Red's veil not catch fire? Is the Dragon perhaps playing with her, or could it be that he sees Someone guarding Rosie and the prince? What was your original thought about this?

I'm so impressed, Ms. Jemma, with all the artwork you are sending in. That's very impressive to think of so many pictures.

Ruth said...

3."Ah,the little kingling,"the Dragonsaid.As he drew nearer,the people scattered in screamless terror,creating an open path to the Eldest.But the aging king,despite the bitter smoke,drew himself up tall and faced the dragon.
"Tell me,wretched man,"the said,speaking the word like an insult,"where is the princess?"
"Terrible one,"the Eldest spoke,his voice small and cold after the mountainous reverberations of the one before
him ,"I do not know of whom you speak."

Hannah said...

This is a fantastic chapter. Indeed, Rosie is so brave.

3. How dare he? How DARE he be real?

Anonymous said...

1. He knows his Sister won Lionheart so he can't.

2. Maybe The Spiderwick Chronicles and Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles (Diterlizzi/Black).

3. King Hawkeye opened his mouth to speak, knowing he invited his own doom. -pg. 192


Anonymous said...

1. He can't try to get him execpt his kiss.

3. " How can you stop me?"
" I don't know but I will."

Thanks Meredith


Unknown said...

1. I think perhaps the "eat you up" could refer to giving up immediately taking him in favor of a more prolonged torture (like slowly poisoning Leo's homeland...)

2. There was the Hydra of greek mythology (at least in some iterations) that had poisonous breath that could kill.

3."As he smiled, his eyes scanned the crowd like a scythe cutting through a field. Those on whom his gaze fell even for an instant felt themselves collapsing inside as though the marrow of their spirits had suddenly corroded. But those awful eyes did not linger on any one person; instead they continued searching the crowd until at last the Dragon spoke again."

Therru Ghibli said...

I believe you said that the dragon who pretend to be Captain Janas and attacked Felix in Heartless had poisonous breath. I don't have my copy on me to check, but I believe you said something about the poisons from the breath entering his wounds.

1. I think he was taunting Lionheart, rather actually debating whether or not to eat him as he knew Leo belonged to his sister.