And now, back to our story . . .
Chapter 8The cave: Once more, Rose Red leads Leo by strange Paths up to the wolf’s head cave. There’s a strong implication that she leads him outside of his own world, though it’s never overtly stated. He cannot even find rocks to support himself against, but must cling to Bloodbiter’s Wrath and allow Rose Red to guide him. Again, an interesting moment of dependence in our bold Leo . . .
What a tale this would be: Leo is all about being part of the legends and stories of his own nation. He wants the heroes of old to be real, and he wants to take his place among them. This desire is a good one, a strong motivation in a young heart.
But Leo has other motivations and desires equally strong. Such as the desire to impress Foxbrush. The desire to be perceived as a hero is just as strong as the desire to actually be a hero. Possibly stronger.
A reflected glimpse: So Leo has his first glimpse of the monster. And what he sees makes him furiously angry . . . but the text doesn’t tell us what he saw exactly. It says he saw the monster . . . and he tells us he saw a reflection of his own “fool face.” But what is not being revealed here?
Here is another instance where, by not giving away all information, I hoped to encourage the reader to engage with the text. Many readers get frustrated these days if everything is not neatly spoon-fed them. But there are still readers out there who like a challenge. Who like to be given little puzzle-pieces which they have to try to fit together. And even then, the puzzles pieces don’t necessarily form the same picture for everyone.
I try not to be obscure when I write, because obscurity implies lack of control. But I do like to withhold my hand now and then. To make readers work for it. This scene is one such instance.
Though, of course, if you stick with the book, I believe that later on Leo does tell us more specifically what he saw that night.
As though the Black Dogs themselves pursued him: I believe this is the first mention of the Black Dogs in the whole Goldstone Wood series, though they are an important pair. Foreshadowing!
Returning Home: And so, though the summer is not yet quite over, Leo is to be sent home early for staying out late. He seems strangely uncaring in the passages telling of arrangements, etc. What about that close friendship? Does he truly value it so little?
Or did what he see in the pool have an altering affect on him? I don’t think he will ever fully recover from that vision, whatever it was. At least, not for a long time . . .
Foxbrush, at last: After a summer of curiosity over Leo’s doings, I think Foxbrush couldn’t stand it anymore. My speculation is, knowing that his cousin was about to leave and probably never return, Foxbrush figured that this was his last chance to find out what Leo has been up to. So, when Leo stepped out to seek Rose Red, Foxbrush, in a surprisingly intrepid moment (for him), decided to follow.
And so he glimpses Rose Red.
I half wonder, while reading this scene, if Rose Red might not have been wearing her veil. (Again, I really don’t remember what I originally intended. Have I mentioned the entire drafting of this novel is a complete blur in my memory?) It doesn’t say that she was veiled. And Foxbrush’s reaction to her might imply that she wasn’t. That Leo was talking to her face to face. It’s possible that what Leo saw in the pool was Rose Red’s reflection . . . so she didn’t bother to hide her face from him in this scene.
But, the reader doesn’t know for sure! And neither do we know for certain what Foxbrush and Leo saw that day either. Perhaps Foxbrush simply saw the veiled girl and thought that frightening enough.
I simply doubt it . . .
You’re bewitched: And here we see the beginning of a rumor that will go on to haunt Leo for many, many years to come . . . all the way into the next novel, with disastrous consequences.
Questions on the Text:
1. The text says that Leo saw the monster when he looked into the pool. He says he saw only a reflection. What do you think this means? What did he truly see?
2. On a similar note, what do you think Foxbrush saw?
3. Any favorite lines?
Q&A is going to have to wait until tomorrow . . . I'm taking a bit of a break for Sunday evening! But I'll catch up on all of your awesome questions on Tuesday.