Anyway, let's pick up with this chapter and move along. Not a whole lot left to this book now! Events are speeding fast to their crisis points.
Lionheart’s dream: There are a couple of things that may or may not have happened during Lionheart’s dream . . . the dream which he seems to share, however briefly, with Rose Red. Obviously, Rose Red is down in the depths of the Netherworld, which is quite a separate realm from the Near World, a spiritual realm unlimited to mortal restrictions. So it is possible that Lionheart’s spirit traveled into those depths and took on a sort of solidity. It wouldn’t be beyond the Dragon’s powers to call him down to the Netherworld temporarily. I don’t think the Dragon could call him there for very long without more specific willingness on Lionheart’s part (or Lionheart’s death), but for such a short dream, it should be possible . . .
The other possibility is that Lionheart and the Dragon formed a sort of psychic bond. That while the Dragon assumed Lionheart’s form in the Netherworld while dancing with Rose Red, Lionheart himself experienced the dream in his own mind. This would also make sense, since to create such a believable impression of Lionheart, the Dragon would probably need some sort of connection to Lionheart himself. And Lionheart did breathe quite a lot of dragon-poison all those years ago, and much of it likely still lurks in his lungs.
Anyway, those are two different possibilities of what may have happened. Either are reasonable conclusions to draw, based on the rules of this world (and further rules revealed in later books). But, as is the practice with Veiled Rose, much is left open to readerly speculation.
Dreamlike voices: Following the dream or vision that Lionheart experienced, he wakes up to hear the Dragon and Life-in-Death arguing in the depths of his mind. Just faint echoes of their argument . . . but their wrath is so great, and his connection to both of them so intense, that he can hear it even when waking, on the very edge of consciousness.
Years had passed since he’d spared a thought. Here we learn that Lionheart has forgotten the promise he made to Rose Red; the promise to think of her now and then. He has all but forgotten her while away on this quest.
If you think of Rose Red as representing all that is good, all that is best in Lionheart, it’s no wonder that the Lady should drive him far away and oust all thoughts of her from his mind. But it’s very, very sad.
Eanrin! Other than in Goddess Tithe, our fan favorite poet-cat of Rudiobus has made at least a brief appearance in every Goldstone Wood novel thus far. We spied him momentarily during Lionheart’s performance a few scenes ago, but this is his one “big moment” in Veiled Rose. As a Faerie and a knight, Eanrin (currently disguised as Princess Una’s pet cat, “Monster”) is probably at least partially aware of the strange things plaguing Lionheart in his dreams.
And he definitely knows that Lionheart needs help. Powerful help. In fact, that there is only one person who can truly help Lionheart now . . .
Lionheart, the consummate cat hater. Lionheart is one of my favorite characters in the series . . . but in this respect, he and I will never see eye-to-eye! However, it does make for some interesting drama in the next book . . . when you’ll never guess who Lionheart’s primary travel companion turns out to be!
Snatching the jester’s hat. At the time I wrote this scene, I didn’t have a cat in my life who would really snatch anything that large. In fact, I doubted it was particularly realistic, but justified it by the fact that Eanrin isn’t just a cat. So it worked.
Since then, we have adopted Makoose. Makoose who will swipe and run with anything. If he can possibly budge it, he will try to steal it. Recently, I purchased a 2lb bag of oranges (you know the kind, the red netting?) and set it on my counter. Minutes later, Makoose had grabbed it and was trying to haul the whole lot off the counter and away down the hall!
So, yeah. If a “normal” housecat is willing to do that, then I have absolutely no problem with Eanrin swiping the jester’s hat.
An Overheard Conversation: Here in this scene, we catch a little bit of a conversation between Aethelbald and Una from Heartless. Who would have thought that Leonard the Jester had overheard their parting?
Hate him! Loathe him! For all the Lady of Dreams referred to Prince Aethelbald as the Dragon’s enemy, she obviously has some intense feelings regarding him herself! Hatred and loathing, which she communicates with all her most potent poison into Lionheart’s brain. Her icy calm is broken as she, through Lionheart’s eyes, faces the Prince of Farthestshore. She becomes as fiery and wrathful as her own brother.
Perhaps she and the Dragon are more alike than first meets the eye . . . Perhaps there is yet more to be learned of the Lady Life-in-Death.
One of mine is threatened: In Heartless, Prince Aethelbald made this same statement to Princess Una when telling her that he must go. At the time, however, we did not know to whom he referred.
Now, we can pretty safely infer that it is Rose Red of whom he speaks. And the Prince of Farthestshore, clad in a mortal body (a far more unusual, even phenomenal situation that we realize in these first two books), must go to her aid, down to Southlands, and down much, much deeper still.
But as he tells Lionheart, she is one of his own as well. And Lionheart should return with him. He should give up his current, hopeless errand and turn to one who can truly aid him in this dangerous mission.
And what might have happened had Lionheart gone? Might they, together, have defeated the Dragon before he even got to Parumvir? Might Princess Una have been spared her coming suffering and Prince Lionheart his coming shame?
Ultimately, it was not meant to be. And while the Prince of Farthestshore gave Lionheart the option, the Prince’s ultimate purpose and will were not thwarted by Lionheart’s refusal. Somehow, I think the Prince knew all along that Lionheart would refuse. That Lionheart had a much darker, harder, longer journey to pursue. But in his kindness, the Prince gave him the chance anyway. And continues to give him chances over and over again . . .
Questions on the text:
1. What do you think happened to Lionheart during his dream of Rose Red, based on the two suggestions given above? Or do you have a third idea?
2. Any cat-lovers out there? Have your cats ever tried to swipe anything surprising? (Or are you more on Lionheart’s side in the issue of cat-love?)
3. What do you think might have happened had Lionheart followed the Prince of Farthestshore now rather than insisting on his dream?
4. Any favorite lines?
Allison wants to know: "My question is... did The Divine Comedy at all influence your Netherworld? It reminded me of it, what with the lost souls Rose Red meets, the despair, and the journey through it to some higher place."
Yes, but probably in more of a subconscious manner. I more consciously modeled Rose Red's journey through the Netherworld after the Orpheus and Eurydice theme. But, as a former English Lit. student, I'm sure passages of The Divine Comedy are firmly lodged in various nooks and crannies of my subconscious, offering subtle inspiration along the way!
1. My impression was more or less that the second theory was true, that the dragon had somehow connected with Lionheart’s mind and sort of embodied him momentarily in order to deceive Rose Red.
2. I’m totally a cat lover! It always floors me when I meet someone who claims to hate cats. I mean, why???
3. I was actually wondering that very thing as I read that section… It’s kind of mind bending to consider! So much of the story hinges on Lionheart’s choice in this situation. If he'd chosen to follow Aethelbald, he would've probably spared himself a lot of guilt and shame later on, but Aethelbald would still have to win Una’s heart in the end, so… I really don’t know!
4. “The creature was a devil with a fluffy tail.” Ha!
1. I lean more toward the second idea, that the Dragon and Lionheart form some sort of bond in an unconscious way.
2. Oh, I adore cats! Simba, our tabby, loved hair rollers, so we always found them strewn about the house. Your account of your cat trying to steal the 2 pound bag of oranges is hilarious!
3. Such an interesting question! If Lionheart had chosen to accompany Prince Aethelbald, he would have been reunited with Rose Red much earlier. Perhaps he, Rose Red and Lady Daylily could have reentered Southlands together, and Lionheart would have been regarded as a hero. It's amazing how these stories are so wonderfully linked, and so much hinges on the character's choices, (just like in real life).
Have fun reading fairy tale retellings. What a wonderful job! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend.
1. I believe that, in the strange way dreams realize (hehe, Dreams Realized) our desires when we can't admit them to ourselves, Leo brought himself to the dream, perhaps taking the Dragon by surprise. I believe that Leo already loves Rose Red, even if he won't admit it. Perhaps the dream even helps him to consciously realize it.
Also, in asking Rose Red to kiss him, the Dragon asks her to give up her way of life and sense of morality. I think to a degree Leo asking her to kiss him would have the same result. She would have to abandon her principles regarding Daylily to ever be with him in their current situations.
2. I am as crazy as a cat lady can be with only one cat. I have a sandy tabby named Peaches, and one day I thought it would be just adorable to have my Facebook profile picture be of us together. As it transpired, though, Peaches did not wish me to pick her up, so instead of a cute picture of us cuddling, I immortalized her sinking her claws into my face. : P
3. I do not believe that, even if the Lady had not urged him, Leo would have followed the Prince. Although the Lady guides him to an extent, she does not make him the person he is.
4. I had two. : ) 'The Prince gently pushed [the cat] away with one foot, though it came right back, still purring.' And '"I am no prince. (Very true, Leo.) I am a humble jester."'
Will any future books take place within the same time frame or context of other books, as Veiled Rose does of Heartless?
Also, almost completely off topic, would Leonard be pronounced phonetically or like Lin-erd?
Final question: The role of Lady Life in Death very much reminded me of the witches in Macbeth. To echo the frequent argument about Macbeth, to what extent do you believe the Lady influenced Leo's actions?
1. I read it as the second option. I think it was the Dragon there with her the whole time, but deceiving her by changing his appearance. I think Leo just saw it in his dream, maybe due to his emotional connection to Rose and his being poisoned by the Dragon.
2. I love cats! My kitty usually just swipes little things...water bottle lids, packing peanuts, etc. But I did catch her trying to run off with my bra once! (Now that would have been embarrassing if anyone else saw it!)
3. I think it would have changed everything. Unfortunately, like Leonard, we usually choose to do things the hard way!
4. "Rrrrrrrrrowl! said the cat, and began pointedly grooming a paw."
"A raging desire to drop that wretched jester's hat and kick it to the moon filled Lionheart. To kick it all to the moon and follow this Prince back to his homeland. To finally, after all these long years, face the monster and reclaim his kingdom."
1. More or less the second theory.
2. My brother and his wife own this cat whom I very much think doesn't like anyone except my nephew. Then again there are these two cat who hang out in my parent's backyard and they are the sweetest cats I've ever seen. As for any love for cats ... not really. More neutral than anything else.
3. Everything would've gone so much better and smoother.
I think that the dragon called his image down to the netherworld and that affected Leo in some way.
Me and cats don't really go well together
I think(SPOILER)that he would of done what he does in the end of Moonblood.
Did you realise that you had some influence on my favourite name?
Leo is my favourite name so that is awesome.
3. Everything would have taken a shorter time and have been so much better and safer if he'd decided to follow the Prince. Like Sara said, we do usually tend to do the hard things, or take the hard way.
4. What a hard question. I love all the lines. I can pick out a few though, or maybe just put down one.
“The creature was a devil with a fluffy tail.”
1. I think that it was the second one.
2. I love cats. My cats don't tend to steal things as much, though there have been times when they've made off with things I dropped.
3. There would have been a lot less pain and shame and the like, but Lionheart would still have had to give his all, and I think that, maybe, Una would not have had the life-shattering experiences that shocked her out of being a child.
4. The cat’s purring stopped. It put its nose right up to Lionheart’s and hissed in no uncertain terms.
1. The first one?? I don't know!
2. I LOVE cats, but we only have one, and she's an outside kitty. :) But even outside she's managed to knock over jars of canned food someone gave us as well as fall off a cabinet. She's fallen on top of my head two times--and I'm not kidding! She's a very graceful kitty. :P
3. He would have escaped a TON of pain!!!
1. I don't think the Dragon and Lionheart had a bond because Lionheart belonged to the Dragon's Sister.
2. I like both dogs and cats.
3. Events might have turned out differently. Lionheart might have found out who he truly was if he had followed the Prince of Farthestshore. (Our identity is with Jesus Christ.)
4. Preeeowl? Lionheart startled at the unexpected sound, but the next moment, something large and fluffy hopped up onto the bed beside himand set up a thunderous purr. A big tomcat rubbed its head against his shoulder and flicked a tail in his nose. "Dragons eat you," Lionheart growled. "How did you get in here?" -pg. 326
How did you come up with the name Monster for the cat?
I really enjoyed this chapter (having read Heartless first), and its peeks at what else was going on while still seeing parts of the story I already knew.
1. I think I lean toward the second.
3. Very interesting question. Thinking about it, a LOT would have changed in this story and thus in Heartless as well...
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