Monday, December 16, 2013

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 6, Part Two

All right, we're making progress into the new week already. Another giveaway is underway, and if you need info on how to get your name entered to win an autographed copy of Veiled Rose, check out the November 30 post.

And do keep sending in questions as you have them, about the book, its themes, my writing, etc. I'll answer them as soon as I can.

Now forward . . .

Chapter 6

Daylily again: I really wonder while reading about Daylily if she even fully understands her feelings here at the end of this odd summer. Obviously she has enjoyed her freedom from Middlecrescent society, even while chaffing at the bit a little. And she is undoubtedly determined to fulfill her father’s Plan.

But does this determination spring from a desire to please and obey her father . . . or something else entirely?

Daylily made it a point to shun him: Poor Foxbrush probably spent a most miserable summer, pining after this lovely young woman who has absolutely no use for him whatsoever. And he can’t help but be aware how uninteresting he must be when compared to his cousin. Leo, for all his faults, is at least a memorable personality and possessed of a roguish charm. “Roguish charm” is possibly the last description anyone would use for Foxbrush.

Blue Room: I don’t have anything special to say about it . . . but the “blue room” makes me laugh. “People seldom sat in it of course, for it was difficult to think anything but blue thoughts within its walls.” Heheheh.

He simply didn’t care: In this scene between Leo and Daylily in the Blue Room, we learn that Leo has definitely noticed how pretty Daylily is, and he even admires her prettiness. But he doesn’t care. It doesn’t particularly move him. Which I think says a lot for our foolish young Leo. He has his issues, but he’s not one to just go and fall in love with any pretty girl who shows him a bit of attention.

And his mind is caught up with concern for someone he truly does care about very much . . .

A Misery: Once more, Leo reminds us how little he likes Poet Eanrin’s works. Eanrin doesn’t make more than tiny appearance in this story, but there is plenty of setup for future drama between these two characters: the one the most famous poet in all history, the other decidedly not a fan.

But really, have you read some of Eanrin’s lyrics? It’s hard to blame Leo.

I’m pretty certain I mentioned this back in the Heartless read-along, but for you new readers, I’ll mention it again. I think it’s a important for an invented world to have a sense of artistry and culture in order to create a sense of authenticity. I think it’s important for an invented world to have songs and poems that are all part of its societal structure.

But I myself am not much of a poet. Never have been. Never will be.

So I decided to take the character of Bard Eanrin—whom I’d been playing with for many years in short stories set in this world—and make him the worlds’ most famous bard of all time. And I also decided to make him pretty bad at his job.

The thing is, most people are completely unaware of it. He’s Eanrin, so his work must be good, no matter how bad it is. (Sound like much of our modern culture? Mmmm hmmm.) And I’m pretty certain that Eanrin knows how bad his work is too. But he does it anyway because it’s popular. It’s like authors who pound out the pulp fiction, even if they have more talent than that. Pulp fiction sells. It’s a way to make a name and a living. So why not? If you can, and people like it, why not?

I also suspect that Eanrin’s probably got more talent than he ever bothers to show or develop. Which makes him that much more interesting to a certain scribe who writes dawn all his various verses . . .

It was fun to use Leo—my crazy, jesterly, song-writing Leo—as the means to indicate that I am not fooled by Eanrin’s poor rhymes either. Via Leo’s disparaging perspective, which runs completely contrary to everyone else’s (except for maybe Imraldera’s), I am able to wink at my readers and let them know that no, I don’t take Eanrin all that seriously. And I don’t expect you to either.

Though once in a while he does manage to write something a little bit better. So while I may not be a great poet, I suspect that Eanrin has it in him, if he would only try.

Coming on a bit strong! I am a little surprised to see Daylily actually making physical contact with Leo in this scene! Doesn’t strike me as something she would naturally do. Just how desperate is she to fulfill her father’s Plan? Pretty desperate, I think. The baron has a lot of control over Daylily, and she is a determined young woman in her own right. Determined to win over this young fool if she possibly can.

A woman fit to be queen: Another hint!

And another indication that Leo might not be so entirely impervious to Daylily’s charms as all that.

Though, actually, I really don’t think he likes her all that much, per se. I mean, he doesn’t dislike her, but he doesn’t have any particularly warm feelings toward her. What he feels is the push and the obligation. And he sees her as a woman who would be, as he says, “fit to be queen.” Considering his (as yet unrevealed) position, is that something he can ignore?

And she is quite lovely. And obviously interested!

Your servant: Much to Leo’s delight, Rose Red appears in the garden, declaring that she would like to be his servant. We have rarely seen Leo so pleased. It’s hard to imagine him this excited over Daylily, even if Daylily did accept his invitation to visit his father’s house that winter (and she never gave an answer to that, did she?).

“By the Sleeper’s waking snort.” An unusual bit of slang we haven’t often encountered. Refers to a story I have not yet told, but which, given some of the hinted at conversations, some of you might be able to guess at.

Bewitched: Once more the accusation is made the Leo has fallen under an enchantment and therefore is blind to the reality of Rose Red and what she is. Our Leo is not the most insightful bloke on the planet, but you have to give him this credit: Despite all accusations, he does have a much clearer idea of Rose Red and the truth of her character than anyone else. But the accusations keep coming . . . and they’ll keep coming for a while yet . . .

“We’ve survived by not letting the likes of her poison our lives.” Something about Leanbear’s statement reminds me of Granna in Dragonwitch. Didn’t she flee to the mountains to escape the Dragonwitch’s poisons? This might almost count as a foreshadowing or nod to that story, though I’m certain it wasn’t intentional at the time that I wrote it. All of these stories have a way of looping back and pointing to each other thematically speaking.

Why are you veiled? Daylily is, I think, the first person to outright ask this question of Rose Red. I suppose Leo did ask, “Why are you wearing that fool thing?” back when they were little children. But he was so easily deflected, and obviously didn’t care all that much. But Daylily is asking with the definite intention of receiving an answer.

For Rose Red’s answer could mean many things for Daylily herself. Daylily, who supposed to capture the heart of young Leo. Daylily, who cannot seem to hold his interest as fast as does this gawky, faceless goat girl.

But Rose Red is not willing to answer.

Does he know your secret? Rose Red shakes her head in answer to this question. But she hesitates. Did she lie? Or is she simply not certain and so she answers no? After all, none of us knows exactly what Leo saw in the pool that night all those years ago. No one but Leo himself. And he hasn’t really said.

A revelation: And now, all the hints and foreshadowings are revealed. We learn at last the true identity of young Leo, who has, up until this moment, been as veiled to us as Rose Red herself. He is in fact Prince Lionheart of Southlands.

Yes, those of you who have read Heartless. He is that Prince Lionheart.

And this is the point in the book where many readers have gone, “What!!!?!?” And others have ceased to like him altogether, simply because they know the Heartless side of his story.

But there is much more yet to learn of Lionheart. And I hope you will all stick with him a little longer . . .

Questions on the text:

1. This scene once more leaves Daylily’s feelings for Leo pretty ambiguous. Does she really like him? Is she simply determined to catch him? The moments exchanged in the Blue Room would indicate the latter . . . but what about her reactions to Rose Red? What do you think Daylily’s feelings for Leo are?

2. So, those of you who have read more of the series, can you guess who the Sleeper is from Leanbear’s exclamation, “By the Sleeper’s waking snort!”? From what hints do you draw your conclusion?

3. Readers of  Heartless, were you taken by surprise when you learned Leo’s true identity? Or did you guess it all along?

4. Any favorite lines?


Sarah wants to know: "Do you ever catch yourself talking like your characters, or discovered that your actions are influenced by what your characters might do in such a situation? "

Heheh, that's a cute question! I can't honestly say I remember a time when this has happened . . . but the fact is, these characters are so much a part of me, they might be influencing my attitudes and decisions without me ever consciously knowing it! Does this happen to you with your characters?

Anonymous wants to know: "Why does Rose Red have such an interesting accent when all the other uneducated people spoke normally? I mean I know she was raised in the mountains, but even the servants spoke normally while she did not. Why was that?"

I'm pretty sure I've covered this in some of the earlier read-along articles . . . but just in case I didn't: The people of the mountain have very rough dialects. The postmaster's boy speaks SO roughly, he makes Rose Red sound downright posh! The folks working at Hill House speak a little better, partly because they are working for nobility and would be expected to polish up their speech. Very likely when they're at home, they speak as roughly as Rose Red (though possibly not as roughly as the postmaster's boy!). Mousehand has a decently rough dialect, but it's not so rough as the postmaster's boy because he worked down in the lowlands for quite a long while (he was an gardener at the Eldest's House when he found Rose Red). He is probably from the mountains, though, since he returned to them when it became clear that he needed to be able to hide Rose Red. Not much is known about Mousehand's past, but I think this is worthy conjecture.

Other than that, Rose Red has grown up very isolated with few people to talk to. I think her mode of speech is a pretty good match with Mousehand's (though, again, Mousehand might speak a little more carefully when he is on duty at Hill House). We also see glimpses of Rose Red trying to adjust her speech later on in the book when she is working down in the lowlands (though old habits die hard).

Jemma wants to know: "Is Beana the Lady of Aiven that freed the Dragon?"

Heheh, now there's an important question! But not one I can answer just now . . . (Spoiler: The identity of that Lady of Aiven is an important part of that story, which should be told in Book 9. So you'll learn the answer to your question then!)

Christa wants to know: "Since Rose Red seems to have some sort of country accent, I was wondering what a "country" accent would sound like in your world. Is it sort of like a southern accent in the U.S.? Or like something totally different? For some reason, I imagine Rose Red speaking with a bit of a rough, Irish accent, and people like Leo and Daylily speaking with more of a polished, English accent."

I like the idea of an Irish accent. I always pictured more of a Cockney accent, though really, who is to say what a countrified Southlander accent sounds like? Southlands probably doesn't speak English (I simply write English, but we can assume that they have their own language). So a countrified version of their language could sound like anything! But I like hearing Rose Red's accent as Cockney, and I think the Irish idea is cute (though, if I hear anyone's voice with an Irish lilt, it would be Eanrin's). :)


Sarah Pennington said...

1. I think that, for the most part, she's determined to catch him because it's what her father expects of her, but secretly, she does like him a bit. He's different from most of her suitors, and that attracts her.
2. I assume that by the Sleeper, they're referring to the Dragon, who I think is referred to as having slept on the Gold Stone for a long time. I could be remembering wrong, though.
3. I don't think I was taken by surprise. I don't remember for sure, but I'm pretty sure I guessed at who he was from the beginning because I didn't really think you'd jump to an entirely new set of characters when it was only the second book.
4. "It sole purpose was to be decorated, painted, and otherwise fitted out in shades of blue, many shades of which did not blend happily together. A lord or lady knew they had truly arrived when they could afford to have a Blue Room in their household, and Dame Willowfair was proud of hers. People seldom sat in it, of course, for it was difficult to think anything but blue thoughts within its walls. But it provided a solitary spot in the house, and Leo liked it for that reason."

"We know more of the goings-on in these parts than you, with all your pretty city ways. We've lived in these forests, breathed this air, dug our hands deep into the roots and dirt and rock. Call us superstitious if you must, but don't insult our ways."

I don't think I've ever caught myself talking like my characters or acting like them, but like you said, I just might not be noticing it. I do know that my speech and actions tend to be influenced by some of my favorite characters from other peoples' work (including yours).

On character accents- I always imagine Eanrin as having kind of an upper-class English accent. The kind that young, rich nobles are often portrayed as having.

Anonymous said...

1. Daylily, I believe, likes Leo at least a tad. Her reaction to Rose Red was because she was a little jealous.

2. I never thought about it. Now I have to look for that.

3. I read Veiled Rose first, so I already knew.

4. "It sole purpose was to be decorated, painted, and otherwise fitted out in shades of blue, many shades of which did not blend happily together. A lord or lady knew they had truly arrived when they could afford to have a Blue Room in their household, and Dame Willowfair was proud of hers. People seldom sat in it, of course, for it was difficult to think anything but blue thoughts within its walls."

This question has nothing to do with Veiled Rose but..

Will there be another book with Eanrin and Imraldera as the main characters? Could we Eanrin and Imraldera fans have book about them?

I always imagined Eanrin with a dignified English accent and Rose Red with a Southern accent.

- Heather

Ceci said...

I've never been on a blog before and am uncertain how to do this, but I love these books so much that I felt like I should tell the author. I am not computer savvy and am probably the worst internet searcher there is, but I hope this get to Ms. Stengl that I love all your work and cannot wait for all the others. I lose myself in your work and love all of your characters. I just finished Goddess Tithe. I think I've cried in all of the books but Tu Pich and Munny's mother broke my heart. Please tell me there will be more about Munny and Captain Sunan! (I'm so curious about him!)
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful uplifting world with me!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Hi, Ceci! Thank you for dropping in and leaving such a lovely, encouraging note. It means a lot to me when my fans take the time to write and tell me they enjoy my work. I'm so delighted to hear that you read and enjoyed GODDESS TITHE . . . even that it made you cry. As an author, I take an evil satisfaction in that . . . ;)

We will definitely be hearing much more about Captain Sunan in the upcoming stories. He is one of the major characters in Book 7(GOLDEN DAUGHTER, due to release late 2014) and is also one of the primary protagonists in Book 8 (which I am just about to start drafting, intended for early-mid 2015 release). I do have ideas for a book featuring Munny, but that one will have to wait a little while yet.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write to me! It means so much and is such an encouragement. :) Feel free to comment on the blog whenever you like and join the VEILED ROSE read-along.


Anonymous said...

1. I think that she still looks on Rosie as a hinderance to her fathers plan but although she doesn't realise it she is starting to fall in love with Leo.

2. I think the sleeper is the dragon bound to the Goldstone and when he woke up her snorted.

3. Darn I can't answer this question because I read Veiled Rose 1st:(.


Anonymous said...

I don't get two certain ledgends, one is that the Queen of Corrilond made the red desert and the other is that the Dragonwitch did it, I know they can't be the same, so which legend is true??


Anonymous said...

1. I think she is deteremined to catch him and fulfill her father's plans. I think she likes him more than the other men with social backgrounds of Middlecrescent.

2. I don't know.

3. No. I think I guessed it all along.

4. Moonlight and graveyards and beings that disappeared in a waft of rags...definitely not the stuff of waking hours. pg. 153


Anonymous said...

3. I misread question 3. Yes, I was surprised to find he was the prince. I read Heartless first, then Veiled Rose.


Meredith said...

2. Like everyone else, I think the Sleeper might be the Dragon, although I cannot picture him snorting! LOL! I base this answer on the fact that he slept for centuries upon the gold stone.

3. I guessed all along it was Prince Lionheart since the story was set in Southlands and the Dragon was searching for the Beloved of his Enemy. So, I thought the stories would be interconnected. I love that they are but that they can also stand on their own.

4. The lines regarding the Blue Room and how it is suitable only for thinking blue thoughts. Hilarious!

Unknown said...

1.I think by this point she really likes him but perhaps doesn't want to admit it to herself and rationalizes it with her determination to go through with her father's plan.

3. I guessed pretty early on who Leo really was, having read Heartless.

4. I liked this part: “Um,” he tried, and it was not a propitious beginning. “I think . . . well, I think—”
He heard the sound as though he’d been listening for it all along. It was faint through the closed window, but unmistakable.
Leo was on his feet in an instant, sliding past Daylily, who remained blinking where she stood for a moment before following him to the window.

Kira Thomas said...

1. I think that Daylily is a woman who is used to getting attention. She's like a spoiled child in some ways, I suppose. If people don't notice her, she is unhappy, and determined to get them to notice her. I also think that she might have a certain fondness for Leo at this point (of course, I have read the other books and the rest of this, so there are some things that might influence this thought), if only because they've spent an entire summer with each other, and when that happens, you have to be either actively antagonizing one another, or getting along and becoming more or less friends.

2. As other people mentioned, it could be the Dragon, because of his long sleep.

3. Yes. I was surprised and maybe a little bit angry at first. I wasn't surprised about his station, if I remember correctly, but I didn't realize who it was. I had suspicions, but didn't want it to be him. Particularly because I liked him in Heartless, until I was ready to bash his head in.

4. goat. He reached out to stroke her ears, but Beana gave him a look like death, and he retrieved his hand.

If someone had asked, she would have curtsied and said, “M’lady is herself, and her thoughts are her own. Pardon me, I have work to which I must attend.” (I find myself liking her, even though we see very little of her.)

Therru Ghibli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Therru Ghibli said...

2. Probably in reference to the Dragon's waking.

3. I had known but was constantly forgetting that no one else knew!

Anna said...

1. I think she's determined to catch him, but I think she "likes" him too. Maybe not actual love, but more of a crush sort of thing.

2. I guessed the Dragon, since he was asleep on the Goldstone for a long time.

3. No. I knew from reading the backs of many different books in the series who he was. :)