GGK Book Club: The Wandering Fire, ch 13-16
(Chapters 1-4 of THE DARKEST ROAD for next week!)
“The crying books” indeed. I don’t remember crying my way through THE WANDERING FIRE before, but I spent the final quarter of the book totally in bits. I’m somewhat concerned about reading THE DARKEST ROAD, particularly the part that *always* reduced me to wracking sobs. I’m going to need a pint of Haagen Daaz, a box of tissues and six hours alone in a soundproof room, apparently.
I’m already late posting this, so I’m gonna make a couple quick comments and then try to be more coherent in the comments.
Oh. Heh. First thing in chapter 13 is the reference to Rachel’s Song, so I probably got the symbolism there after all. Heh. :)
Paul and Jaelle. It’s all there on the page, I just never had the eyes to see it when I was younger.
Diarmuid’s proposal to Sharra is magnificent. Also, just in general, I really do love that formal proposal: the sun rises in your eyes. That’s honestly just beautiful. ♥
I had completely. freaking. forgotten. how Gereint, the shaman, links Paul to the land so he can call the god so he can command the sea god who slays the serpent. I was reading along, Gereint’s got the stuff about his mistake in never having seen the sea, then he’s going deep, and there I am, totally oblivious right up until wham he’s there for Paul and, well, there I am, sobbing again. God almighty.
I swear, in some aspects it’s like I hadn’t read this at all. I’d forgotten Matt’s death, and read the scene leading up to it with my knuckles against my mouth as if I could somehow stave it off. And then I had no idea that Lancelot brought him back, although this time–as I think never before–I had the awareness of the legends to tell me what it meant when it’s commented that Lancelot has ‘done this before’.
And I completely fell apart when Loren pledges *himself* to Matt, after a lifetime of Matt serving Loren. That was pretty well perfect.
The reason, I think, that I love the Arthurian story in these books so much is because I find the triangle to be convincingly presented as equally deep and emotional on all three sides, without hatred. Maybe it’s because that at this point in their story, as GGK is writing it, they all know how it goes, and they’ve all gone past the anger and are resigned to the tragedy, but it’s just–I love it. I love *them*, and how kind they are to each other in their story. Saddest story of all the long tales told.
So I don’t think I really considered it all that much when I first read the series, but the major theme is definitely “sacrifice.” It shows up some in The Summer Tree, but boy, does it pick up in the last part of The Wandering Fire.
But first, this extremely mature observation: ha, ha, Paul wants to punch Leila too.
Paul’s rejection of Jaelle’s apology makes me wince, but it’s legitimate. He’s extremely raw with grief right now, and even if she’s sincere and sympathetic, people whose close (best?) friend has just died are entitled to not be calm and rational at all. And then there’s Kim trying to remember the last thing Kevin said to her, which was probably something light and silly, but she doesn’t know. ;_;
I am of two minds on the Jennifer/Guinevere plotline. On the one hand, I really like the Guinevere/Arthur (and later, Lancelot) scenes. I agree that I love the way he does the triangle without one of the parties being in the wrong, without blame or hatred or guilt. I love the way they interact. But I’m still sad that Jennifer basically recovers from what was done to her by becoming someone else. It can be argued that it’s really her true self, her essence and who she’s meant to be, but I feel like we don’t get to know Jennifer quite as much as we should before we encounter Guinevere. By contrast, while Kim becomes the Seer of Brennan, she’s still Kim, with her sense of humor and everything. Kevin’s Liadon, but he’s still Kevin first and foremost. The others get their roles but they’re still themselves.
You know, I completely forget what’s going to happen to Brock and Kim here. Something to watch for in the next book, I guess!
Alas, Tabor. ;_; Ivor tries so hard to protect him and keep him, but the circumstances of the world aren’t going to let that happen. Then there’s the battle, and Dave’s desperate (but I think necessary) move, and the true horror of the Wild Hunt. Maybe Finn should have stayed with Owein. Not even the gods are immune from sacrifice: Ceinwein makes that clear after she intervenes.
Speaking of forgetting, the entire last chapter of the book apparently disappeared from my mind, so rereading it was like discovering something new. First off, the Soulmonger. Wow. That’s just… a thousand years, and no one made it. No one. ;_; Rakoth Maugrim may have been sealed away, but he was by no means done inflicting pain on the world. Then the parts with Gereint are amazing. I didn’t really see what he was preparing for, either.
Finally, I have to give props to Metran for being clever and keeping all the svart alfar under the shield. I don’t know if he was expecting to be attacked at some point or if he was just taking precautions, but he isn’t stupid. Evil, yes; stupid, no.
Paul supporting Matt is just lovely. The whole last part is just heart-wrenchingly good: Matt’s sacrifice, Arthur finding Lancelot, Loren revealing he’s no longer a mage and swearing to serve Matt… all of it.
Onward to the end.