I apologize because I’m really late in posting this. I had hoped to push the momentum of the sporking forward but then things started rolling forward in life, and the sporking took a backseat. I thought I’d get it done before Christmas 2022, and obviously that did not happen (I also thought to combine this chapter with the next one, but this one grew pretty long).

But I have not given up on you guys! I plan to keep sporking! And after we finished Hexed, who knows. I would like to try to do at least Hammered, but at the rate we’re going I definitely don’t want to make any promises, or try to tell you that we’re going to do more than that.

So let’s get to Chapter 15.

Small note before we begin: I get the impression that many of you feel that I have been too lenient in adding to the counts as I spork. I don’t know if that’s true, but this chapter, for Reasons, got me in A Mood, so I decided. What the heck. Let’s add to them.

Atticus checks his phone for all of the missed calls. He calls back his werewolf lawyer (Hal) first, who is understandably kind of concerned about a massacre that happened at a nearby nightclub.

“Atticus! Tell me you weren’t involved in this Satyrn Massacre business,” he said without preamble.

Atticus doesn’t admit to it, but he asks Hal to come over, and because Hal isn’t as stupid as Atticus is (a low bar), he instantly knows that he was involved. He promises to come over and hangs up. Atticus then calls Granny to assure her that he’s doing okay. She tells him that the priest and rabbi (remember Chapter 10? ) have been back at the shop and wanted something from the rare book case. When Granny told them that she can’t unlock it, they asked religious questions and she was obstructive or whatever–pointing out that he’d be better at answering those questions than she would.

He instructs Granny to go back to studying Latin and get her old job back as a bartender at the Irish pub and, uh, what? Why did she quit in the last book if she’s just going to go back to it? I suppose the author can’t be expected to plan ahead for every single minor detail of the Plot, but this strikes me as a very strange turnaround to make?

Atticus tells her he also wants to put some magical protection on her, because he’s “getting one of those hunches.” Granny asks if it’s “The paranoid kind” because again, we’re meant to think of this man as paranoid despite his complacency. He gives an affirmative answer, and then says “can I tell you one of the many reasons I love you?”

You see, it turns out that sentence is a code phrase that Atticus and Granny worked out early on, and so the narrative stops to explain to us for several paragraphs through flashback dialogue how they came to this phrase. In short, despite constantly telling us how paranoid and prepared he is, it’s actually GRANNY who suggested that they use code phrases and such to convey information.

So we should plan ahead and Be Prepared, you know, like the Boy Scouts.”

“Fuck the Boy Scouts,” I’d said. “Be Prepared was my motto before there were any streets to help little old ladies across.”

“Oh. Right.” Granuaile had paused, and when I failed to fill the silence, she asked, “Does that mean you already have a plan, sensei?”

“No, I’m just establishing my primacy over the Boy Scouts.”

Granuaile’s lips quirked upward. “Duly noted.

Te-he! Isn’t he so FUNNY! Making jokes about the Boy Scouts! It’s FUNNY because he’s older than the Boy Scouts of America! Are you laughing yet?

LAUGH, DAMNIT!: 22

And yes, after informing us that he’s oh so paranoid, and then through flashback telling us that he’s always prepared, he admits to his student that he doesn’t have a plan at all. Figures.

You Keep Using That Word: 16

She tells him that he should probably assume that all of his phone calls are being listened to and he might be put on a no-fly list, and Atticus asks who would be listening in and putting him on a no-fly list. Granny says the government, cops, Men in Black, and “Maybe even the Boy Scouts” which is funny dumb because, again, for a really “paranoid” guy, you would think this would have occurred to him. Especially since, yes, the US government is definitely listening to your phone calls, this is not a joke.)

Granny’s suggestion that they start talking like an annoying lovey-dovey couple when they want to make a cover for their conversation or create an alibi, not just to talk in code but because it would be really annoying to try to listen to that. Atticus agrees, and I want to reiterate that the idea of coming up with a pre-established alibi before the inconvenient questions from the authorities come up had not occurred to the “paranoid” immortal Druid.

You Keep Using That Word: 17

I suppose it’s worth noting can apparently come up with cover stories when he needs to, as he did in Chapter 25 of the last book, but as I explained in that sporking, it wasn’t a very good alibi there either, and it didn’t even match the timeline of the story.

So he uses that cover to tell her that he has the broken baseball bats from the fight with the Bacchants, and that he needs her to dispose of them. Also! In his annoying lovey-dovey talk, he calls her “my snookie-wookie” and she asks if he called her a Wookie, because I guess Hearne still thinks that pop culture references are clever/funny.

LAUGH, DAMNIT!: 23

Atticus hangs up on her and calls Malina. He tells us that he saved this call for last because he knew she wouldn’t be happy with how he handled the Bacchant sidequest–which is fair, because he did a terrible job of it, and it made the headlines (even if his name was not attached). He tries to downplay his failure by saying “Those kinds of opponents aren’t my specialty,” which is a pretty dumb excuse for a two-thousand-year-old Druid who prides himself on how “paranoid” he is to say. He also tells her that he got most of them, and explains that one of them escaped, which is not great news!

However, Malina says that her coven has managed to eliminate two of the evil German witches1, who apparently were younger and less experienced than other members of the evil coven. Her description makes Atticus realize that she doesn’t need hair or blood to cast lethal spells on people.

She asks for more supplies, he promises to send it. Malina also points out that they didn’t make the news with the two witches they killed, managing to make it look like accidents. But since the enemy coven has been here a while, and know that our “heroes” are onto them, it’s a good chance they’ll attack again soon–so Atticus better watch his back, as they aren’t likely to attack the same way twice.

Hal, Atticus’s werewolf lawyer, arrives so he ends the phone call to talk to the lawyer. Hal sees Atticus with the snot beaten out of him and asks what happened, but notices that his ear has grown back. Hal says this is a good thing, as the police are looking for someone of Atticus’s description, but with a missing right ear–meaning that he’s already going to throw off anyone looking for him.

Atticus wonders how the police would know what he looked like, as the cops on the scene got murderized, but Hal points out that there were plenty of witnesses who saw him handcuffed to the ground as they ran out of the nightclub. THOSE witnesses told the cops about him. Because they didn’t see the tattoos, those aren’t in the description police have, which Atticus thinks is going to be a plus: they’re looking for a guy missing an ear and without tattoos, so his appearance will throw them off.

[Realistically: probably not.]

Hal smells something burnt, and Atticus points out that his house was on fire, so that might have been it. They sit on the front porch, there’s a conversation with Oberon about Hal’s smell that I don’t care about, and he reads the newspaper. The article describes that there are twenty-five dead what the fudge that’s a lot of people.

Atticus quickly explains how he and Granny came up with a cover for why he has baseball bats and there’s security footage/receipts of him buying them, that Oberon will have to chew some baseballs to make it look like he just played ball with his dog that night. Hal points out that if any witnesses bring up the sword, then he’s in trouble, as he’s “been riding around with that thing on your back the past few weeks, everyone up and down Mill Avenue has seen you wearing it”.

“So what? The sword never left its scabbard. Nobody died from sword wounds.”

“They’ll use the sword to palace you at the scene, Atticus. Look, do you still have it around here?”

“Of course. I have two fancy-schmancy swords now”…

“I suggest you hide both of them right now, and hide them well. Don’t lose a minute.”

“What? Why?”

Atticus doesn’t realize why he, a business owner with an active social life, walking around with a sword in public (on his BACK, where swords are not generally worn and creating a distinctive look), and then carrying the same sword when he goes on a secret mission in the next town over that caused an active police investigation, might get him in trouble with the law.

Truly, this man is sooooo paranoid, amirite?

You Keep Using That Word: 18

Hal points out that the police departments of Tempe and Scottsdale are going to work together and they could quite easily get a warrant to search his house. And if they find the swords, he’ll be in a heap of trouble. Atticus then asks if all the other blades and weapons in his garage would be a problem, which of course it is, Hal points out–yeah, it’s legal, but it’s really fishy to find in a situation like this.

To be clear again: ATTICUS HAS TO BE TOLD THAT IT’S FISHY IF THE COPS FIND YOUR GARAGE FULL OF SHARP OBJECTS

You Keep Using That Word:19

Atticus is as paranoid as a dead fish. And considerably less useful.

Hal asks what started the fire in the house anyway, and he’s disbelieving at first that it was a goddess.

“Are you being serious or pulling my hair?”

“Completely serious.” I didn’t tell him the correct expression was “pulling my leg,” because he was doing so well otherwise. Hal was quite a bit younger than Leif and more willing to make an effort to use American vernacular correctly.

We’re going nuts on these counts now, aren’t we?

The Kids These Days: 8

Hal asks if he should be worried, and Atticus tells him, “Nah, it’s all Irish politics.” This doesn’t reassure Hal at all, because he has some functioning brain cells, so he tells Atticus to be careful. Atticus “gaped” at him, because he’s always so careful guys! Because he’s so paranoid! “Fetishitically so” according to Oberon (who wants a treat for using the word “fetishistically” in a sentence and goes on about it for a while). Look, Hearne, no matter how many times you tell me that Atticus is careful and paranoid, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s an idiot who doesn’t realize that maybe, just maybe the cops wouldn’t be cool with him having a garage full of weapons.

Atticus throws a bit of a hissy fit because Hal’s pack leader Gunnar didn’t want to help with the Bacchants the previous day; he claims that what they’re seeing here is the aftermath of what happens when he goes it alone, so really, it’s THEIR fault that he’s in this mess, and how dare Hal tell him to be careful! Hal, being a supporting character and thus spineless in the face of Atticus, only says that it’s not the werewolf pack’s job to police the supernatural community, and Atticus says it’s not his either.

Isn’t it great when our hero is constantly saying “It’s not my problem to stop bad things from happening to the people around me”? Isn’t he such a great guy? Isn’t–

It’s really hard to pronounce. If you’re not careful, you could wind up saying, “feta shit stick-ally,” and then you’d feel like a puppy who forgot to lift his leg, you know?

LAUGH, DAMNIT!: 24

SHUT UP! SHUT UP YOU STUPID, SHORT-SIGHTED MUTT! SHUT UP WITH YOUR STUPID “JOKES” AND POINTLESS DIALOGUE THAT DRAGS OUT THIS STUPID SCENE!

[Walks off for a few minutes and returns with a cup of apple juice.]

That doesn’t even make any sense! Oberon is talking telepathically! How do you mispronounce something when you’re speaking telepathically?!

Hal asks why he is involved if it’s really not his problem. Atticus tells us that the long explanation is that he needs a place to live and work while trying to restore the land that Aenghus Og blighted, but that’s a dumb explanation because it’s been weeks since the ending of the last book and he STILL hasn’t lifted a finger to fix this problem (which is apparently his sacred duty). Stop trying to make me think that he cares, Hearne. We both know he doesn’t care about anything that isn’t himself.

In any case, he doesn’t tell Hal all of this, he just repeats “Irish politics.”

There’s some more dialogue I don’t care about, and then Atticus gets off his butt (a shock, I know) to clean up his swords and hide them with magic. Hal also asks him if he is growing anything that could be mistaken for marijuana, and he tells him no. They decide to hide the magically-cloaked weapons on his neighbor’s tree (a different unnamed neighbor than the senior citizen he’s been harassing) using his “binding” powers.

Hal at one point says something like “With those binding powers you’d be really good at wrapping Christmas presents, too bad you don’t celebrate Christmas!” And sure, yeah, of course he doesn’t, he’s an ancient Irish pagan, but at the same time, with how often he tells random people they need to blend into the modern day by talking in (what Hearne thinks is) modern slang, making pop culture references, you would THINK that Atticus would at least pretend to celebrate Christmas for the sake of blending in. Okay, sure, plenty of people today don’t celebrate Christmas, but if Atticus was really doing his best to blend in, he would have gone to a Christmas party or two in his day.

Just saying.

Then the cops arrive shortly after they hide the swords. To cleverly throw the cops off in their suspicions, Atticus decides to put on an anime shirt ( “Put it on, and instant nerd!” he says) and begins talking like an idiot. Because nerds exist to be mocked, right? Honestly, I think Hearne’s been watching too many movies, especially considering how many nerds are part of his intended audience. The dialogue of this upcoming section felt less like well-intentioned ribbing and more like one giant

Better Than You: 9

“Dude! What the hell? Who are you guys?” I said, automatically lowering the IQ to everyone assembled.

Isn’t he so clever.

The cops say they’re looking for a sword, and Atticus decides to claim that he hopes they find it. See, his cover is that he’s a LARP nerd, and he lost his sword. You might be saying something like, “Hey, wait, isn’t this the exact same cover story he had in the first book, but with his dog instead? That his dog was missing so he couldn’t be responsible for the crime they’re investigating?”

Yes. Yes, it is. I think this is supposed to be the Scottsdale Police Department rather than the Tempe one, but you would think that since, as Hal says, the two departments are working together, they’d have some kind of record of this available. However! That conclusion does not consider the fact that everyone in this book is really freaking stupid.

I need it for LARPing. I’m a barbarian warrior who gets plus three damage when I’m berserk.” The detective blinked and looked over at Hal to see if I was pulling his leg. Hal was completely stone-faced

You see what I have to put up with?

Here’s the thing though: if the cops decided to talk to ANYONE ELSE AT ALL about Atticus–say, his employees, his neighbors, the staff at his favorite Irish pub, they would get a completely different picture of his personality, and that would probably get suspicious, no?

And! His cover here is that he’s an unsociable, stereotypical loser nerd, right? There’s a bit where he makes a dumb joke–the police say they’re looking for a guy with a sword and one ear, and Atticus replies that the guy should be more careful with the sword–but then when he needs an alibi for the previous night it was that he was with his girlfriend and dog hitting baseballs in the park. Granny is posing as his girlfriend (though she’s not in the room right now). If he really was supposed to be an antisocial loser, does it add up that he’s dating the incredibly attractive bartender from his favorite bar?

His story is also nonsense, which even the detective realizes and calls out. Because he says that he thinks his sword was stolen while playing in the park, when earlier he said it was stolen. Atticus covers it up with that he sometimes remembers things wrong when he’s “in berserker mode” (playing with his dog??) or that it’s because did drugs when he was younger and sometimes he blacks out. As if THAT is a safe cover story to tell the police.

You Keep Using That Word: 20

Hey, wait, they wouldn’t be using real metal swords for LARPing, would they? I’m not a LARPer, but from what I understand, and what I’ve seen, the weapons they use are obviously foam? Hearne’s running with the idea that the cops don’t know what his main character is talking about, but as far as I can tell, HE doesn’t either.

Did Not Do Homework: 13

The detective asks what he does for a living, and Atticus explains his bookshop and tea business. During this conversation, he pretends to zone out for… Reasons, I guess. The detective then asks why he needs expensive lawyers, and Atticus’s reply is a bit angry–

“Because Tempe cops keep shooting me for no reason and searching my house for shit I don’t have, and then they act all surprised when I actually have both my ears.”

He’s calling attention to his role in a previous investigation, talking smack to cops, and generally not acting like the stereotypical “Loser Nerd” persona he’s supposed to be building. Isn’t he so paranoid?

You Keep Using That Word: 21

EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS OBVIOUSLY SUSPICIOUS

The cop then asks about the dog, because as per last book, Atticus’s cover is that he lost his dog, and that Oberon is a new dog, bringing up the cover story that is the exact same as what’s going on with his sword right now. They ask to see the dog, and they do, and Oberon has stupid dialogue about The Man.

Also a female detective knocks over his DVD collection, and Atticus decides to pretend that there’s porn in there. Said detective is quite obviously disgusted with him, and Hal passes him a comment so they can quip about how “clever” he is.

“Hey, the care and feeding of an alter ego is an art form,” I replied

I hate this man so much.

And given the porn joke I’m just going to add a

LAUGH, DAMNIT!: 25

What is the feeling Atticus is going for here, exactly? Because like his conversation with Brigid in the first book, he goes across the emotional spectrum. Is he a timid nerd who is nervous around people he doesn’t know? Is he the type of guy to mouth off to cops because they keep bothering him? Is he a stoner who isn’t all that clued in to what’s going on around him? Because he goes through ALL of these impressions and more. I’m not saying characters (and people!) can’t be complex, but he’s trying to sell a fake version of himself to the police, and instead he goes through several different kinds of people in the span of a few minutes. It’s all meant to generate laughs and make us think Atticus is smart, but taken altogether it’s an incoherent image of a person.

Detective (he HAS a name I just don’t care because he’s only filling a function here) then asks about the burns in the kitchen, which Atticus explains with a creme brulee torch because he wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing, rocking out to music. Which the detective again obviously finds as BS, but just asks for Granny’s name and address to confirm his story. The cops DO find the garage full of weapons but because there is “no signs of recent use” they just awkwardly leave.

Make It Easy!: 13

Also Atticus heals himself the second the cops leave. Then he and Hal drink to pat themselves on the back for lying to the cops again.

…and when I inspected my DVD collection, I discovered that the female detective had actually alphabetized it for me.

Why would she do that. She got the impression from Atticus that there was porn in there. Why would a female detective who accidentally knocked over a DVD collection, and then get told there was porn in there, go through the trouble of alphabetizing it. This makes no sense, Hearne. Why is this book so stupid.

The only conceivable reason is to make Atticus’s life slightly easier on something that isn’t even part of the Plot. What the heck, we’ll give it a

Make It Easy!: 14

Tell me, Kevin Hearne. I demand you tell me why the female detective would go through the effort of alphabetizing the DVDs she knocked over, thinking that there was porn in there. I need you to give me an explanation other than the one that naturally occurs, which is “There are no consistent or believable characters in this book.”

The chapter ends when Granny calls. The priest and rabbi (remember them from Chapter 10?) are back in his store, and refuse to leave until they talk to Atticus.

1 The actual Plot of this book, remember? If not, that’s okay. I forget sometimes, too.

Better Than You: 9
Did Not Do Homework: 13
The Kids These Days: 8
You Keep Using That Word: 21
Make It Easy!: 14
LAUGH, DAMNIT!: 25

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Comment

  1. Faranae on 13 January 2023, 23:16 said:

    Yay you’re back!!!!

    You have a hilarious typo early in the spork where the rabbi is now a “rabbit” and I honestly didn’t remember it should be rabbi until the end because it seemed just as likely in this book.

    “Irish Politics” as a dismissive handwave that no one should be worried or bothered is spectacularly oblivious. Well done Hearne, you’ve missed the entire 20th century.

    I’ve done LARP. I’ve also done foam weapons fighting independent of LARP. It’s actually a very social activity? Like to outsiders it’s loser nerds, but really, no, and you have to be fairly athletic. And even the SCA doesn’t allow live steel and discourages members from parading around their hometowns with their weapons. But also, while I did it exclusively on a college campus, campus security and the town police were familiar with our groups. That’s partly because the FBI classes the SCA as a paramilitary organization and does light surveillance on its members. The cops thought we were weird, but they also knew who the members were!

    I’m unconvinced Hearne remembered the main plot of the book any better than we did.

  2. Juracan on 14 January 2023, 11:40 said:

    Yay you’re back!!!!

    Yup! Let’s hope I get the next one out in reasonable time.

    You have a hilarious typo early in the spork where the rabbi is now a “rabbit” and I honestly didn’t remember it should be rabbi until the end because it seemed just as likely in this book.

    Dang it! There’s always something. Typo’s been fixed.

    It being a rabbit would certainly make the book more fun, though.

    “Irish Politics” as a dismissive handwave that no one should be worried or bothered is spectacularly oblivious. Well done, Hearne, you’ve missed the entire 20th century.

    It’s also pretty stupid, because last time “Irish politics” were a large part of Atticus’s life, members of Hal’s werewolf pack DIED. He’s essentially handwaving it as no big deal when everyone knows that lives are on the line.

    I’ve done LARP. I’ve also done foam weapons fighting independent of LARP. It’s actually a very social activity? Like to outsiders it’s loser nerds, but really, no, and you have to be fairly athletic. And even the SCA doesn’t allow live steel and discourages members from parading around their hometowns with their weapons. But also, while I did it exclusively on a college campus, campus security and the town police were familiar with our groups. That’s partly because the FBI classes the SCA as a paramilitary organization and does light surveillance on its members. The cops thought we were weird, but they also knew who the members were!

    Yeah, the idea that he’s a LARPer doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny, especially to the people searching his house? Wouldn’t there be a bunch of costumes and such in his house if he was? And as you said, people don’t do it by themselves, so the cops would ask for other members of the LARP group as contacts to confirm the story.

    But no, Hearne’s sticking with the “Loser Nerd” stereotype that dominated movies for decades. The only ones who understand LARPing are Loser Nerds we can all make fun of.

    I’m unconvinced Hearne remembered the main plot of the book any better than we did.

    We’ve all agreed that Hearne is just having stuff kind of happen to Atticus, yeah? There’s not much actual Plot here. We’re almost halfway through the book and the protagonist has yet to actually meet the antagonistic witches (although later we’ll find out that they encountered each other somewhere in the backstory). I don’t think Hearne cares about the Plot, as much as trying to show off how cool he thinks Atticus is to the reader.

  3. Aikaterini on 19 January 2023, 17:41 said:

    It’s FUNNY because he’s older than the Boy Scouts of America!

    And yet he certainly doesn’t act like it.

    he admits to his student that he doesn’t have a plan at all

    Because it’s more important to insult the Boy Scouts and brag about how much better he is than them than to actually do something useful. Yep, his priorities are definitely in order.

    Malina also points out that they didn’t make the news with the two witches they killed, managing to make it look like accidents.

    So, why do they need Atticus again? They seem to be doing a better job than he is.

    Atticus doesn’t realize why he, a business owner with an active social life, walking around with a sword in public (on his BACK, where swords are not generally worn and creating a distinctive look), and then carrying the same sword when he goes on a secret mission in the next town over that caused an active police investigation, might get him in trouble with the law.

    But remember, Atticus is supposed to be the one who’s all hip and up to date with modern life while those other silly immortals aren’t.

    Hal was quite a bit younger than Leif and more willing to make an effort to use American vernacular correctly.

    Dude, Hal was the one who had to tell you that carrying a sword around in public makes you stand out. He’s far more in tune with modern life than you are, so shut up.

    he tells Atticus to be careful.

    I’m sorry, is Atticus supposed to be the paranoid and careful man around here or is Hal? Hal is being cautious and sensible, while Atticus is acting like an idiotic stoner (ironically like the customers that he’d previously sneered at).

    Hal’s pack leader Gunnar didn’t want to help with the Bacchants the previous day; he claims that what they’re seeing here is the aftermath of what happens when he goes it alone, so really, it’s THEIR fault that he’s in this mess

    I thought that Atticus was supposed to be a cool and amazing warrior who rode around with Genghis Khan’s hordes and who keeps being asked by people to kill others. Why is he now whining like a little kid because he didn’t have back-up?

    Isn’t it great when our hero is constantly saying “It’s not my problem to stop bad things from happening to the people around me”?

    I mean, maybe this could be part of Atticus’s arc, where he learns to care and becomes more responsible…but he’s immortal. And a Druid. He’s had loads of time to realize what his job entails. Why are we supposed to like him?

    Why would a female detective who accidentally knocked over a DVD collection, and then get told there was porn in there, go through the trouble of alphabetizing it.

    Unless she’s supposed to have OCD? Or is this a joke about how her disgust was a sham and she’s actually into porn herself? I don’t know.

  4. Juracan on 21 January 2023, 19:55 said:

    And yet he certainly doesn’t act like it.

    He’s also more useless than your average Boy Scout!

    Because it’s more important to insult the Boy Scouts and brag about how much better he is than them than to actually do something useful. Yep, his priorities are definitely in order.

    What bothers me so much about this exchange is he insisting that he’s been taking “Be Prepared” as his motto long before the Boy Scouts, only to turn around and admit that he has no preparations in place for a completely predictable situation. It shows no self-awareness whatsoever.

    “I’m ALWAYS prepared, screw the Boy Scouts!”
    “So are you prepared for this thing I brought up?”
    “Nah, I just wanted to brag, tell me what to do.”

    So, why do they need Atticus again? They seem to be doing a better job than he is.

    In the instance of Bacchants (which is being discussed right now), it’s that they’re too busy to handle it—they’re tackling the evil witches. Mostly, it seems as if they’re pointing him at problems they don’t have time/firepower to handle, hoping that his Plot armor will fix their problems for them.

    But remember, Atticus is supposed to be the one who’s all hip and up to date with modern life while those other silly immortals aren’t.

    I should have made a count for ‘Atticus is an Idiot.’

    I thought that Atticus was supposed to be a cool and amazing warrior who rode around with Genghis Khan’s hordes and who keeps being asked by people to kill others. Why is he now whining like a little kid because he didn’t have back-up?

    It’s less that he needs backup as much as “I’m upset that a secondary character didn’t bow to my demands when I asked for it.” He’s an entitled douchebag like that.

    I mean, maybe this could be part of Atticus’s arc, where he learns to care and becomes more responsible…but he’s immortal. And a Druid. He’s had loads of time to realize what his job entails. Why are we supposed to like him?

    Honestly? I think it’s because we’re told over and over again that he’s so powerful, handsome, and smart. The first is Mary Sueism, the second is YMMV, and the third is a downright lie.

    Unless she’s supposed to have OCD? Or is this a joke about how her disgust was a sham and she’s actually into porn herself? I don’t know.

    I honestly think the answer is, “This book is stupid.” I cannot think of any other reason.

  5. Faranae on 22 January 2023, 12:46 said:

    It being a rabbit would certainly make the book more fun, though.

    A huge improvement, really!

    We’ve all agreed that Hearne is just having stuff kind of happen to Atticus, yeah? […] I don’t think Hearne cares about the Plot, as much as trying to show off how cool he thinks Atticus is to the reader.

    Well, it felt like n the first book Hearne at least vaguely remembered there was sort of a plot to follow. This one is much more of the “showing off my cool character because he’s cool and you should think he’s cool”.

    In the instance of Bacchants (which is being discussed right now), it’s that they’re too busy to handle it—they’re tackling the evil witches. Mostly, it seems as if they’re pointing him at problems they don’t have time/firepower to handle, hoping that his Plot armor will fix their problems for them.

    They’re certainly not wrong

    I should have made a count for ‘Atticus is an Idiot.’

    There aren’t enough natural numbers in existence for that.

    (P.S. Yay, I remembered how to do quotes again!)

  6. Michael on 23 January 2023, 10:54 said:

    Greetings. I’ve just caught up with the sporking and I’d like to thank you for your effort. I don’t doubt that the reading experience is hell, but the results are darn entertaining to read. Know that your suffering wasn’t in vain.

    Now, I didn’t comment on older posts as I went, so I hope you don’t mind me bringing up a handful of points. At least all of it relates to something that’s technically in the chapter. Let’s start with the actual main plot of this book that gets a passing mention. More specifically them being called “die Tochter des dritten Hauses,” or “The Daughters of the Third House.”

    Unless there was a mistake with copying the umlaut, “die Tochter” is singular and “the daughters” would be “die Töchter.” It’s hardly the stupidest thing in the world, but we can add it to the list. That being said, I’m amused by the idea of the entire coven actually just being the same witch that split herself into several different bodies.

    As for the more miscalaneous thoughts, there’s the werewolves’ inexplicable immunity to magic, because when you compared this series to Twilight it occured to me that technically the Twilight werewolves have magic immunity as well, don’t they? It’s specifically only vampire powers, but those pretty much are magic, so it is oddly similar. Then again, vampires vs werewolves at least has some history in pop culture, so I might be doing Twilight a disservice with the comparison.

    And to end us out with another YA similarity. You remember how Atticus has a sword that can force people to tell the truth? Of course you do, reading thise has probably scarred you for life. That is an odd power for a sword, but I have in fact seen one other sword with the same power. It’s the magic sword from the Mortal Instrument series. You know, the one of incest fake out fame by Cassandra Claire.

    At least in relation to Atticus I can kind of see why a legendary weapon would have such an effect. With how addicted the creep is to lying, compulsive honestly is likely more frightening to him than the blade. That one he can simply heal off with no ill-effect.

    As for this chapter… what’s there even to say? This isn’t even the kind of situation where the author just can’t manage a smarter character, so he dumbs everybody else down for the protagonist to stand over. Like yeah, they’re still idiots, but that’s just because that’s this story’s baseline. They’re still capable of calling this twit’s nonesense.

  7. Juracan on 24 January 2023, 22:39 said:

    Greetings. I’ve just caught up with the sporking and I’d like to thank you for your effort. I don’t doubt that the reading experience is hell, but the results are darn entertaining to read. Know that your suffering wasn’t in vain.

    I appreciate seeing that the spork’s being read! In all seriousness, I am generally not in that much pain while reading the book. But I think it’s a lot more fun to spork with an angry persona so that’s what you get. Don’t worry, I’m not really suffering that much.

    Now, I didn’t comment on older posts as I went, so I hope you don’t mind me bringing up a handful of points. At least all of it relates to something that’s technically in the chapter. Let’s start with the actual main plot of this book that gets a passing mention. More specifically them being called “die Tochter des dritten Hauses,” or “The Daughters of the Third House.”

    Unless there was a mistake with copying the umlaut, “die Tochter” is singular and “the daughters” would be “die Töchter.” It’s hardly the stupidest thing in the world, but we can add it to the list. That being said, I’m amused by the idea of the entire coven actually just being the same witch that split herself into several different bodies.

    It doesn’t surprise me to see that he didn’t get the German right, considering what he’s done to Irish in some instances. But it’s a good thing to note. I’ll try to bring this up (with credit, of course) when it gets brought up again in the book. Assuming I remember—there are sometimes massive gaps between when I get to sporking chapters.

    I will also say that “one witch in multiple bodies” is so much cooler and more original than pretty much every other bit of worldbuilding in the novel.

    As for the more miscalaneous thoughts, there’s the werewolves’ inexplicable immunity to magic, because when you compared this series to Twilight it occured to me that technically the Twilight werewolves have magic immunity as well, don’t they? It’s specifically only vampire powers, but those pretty much are magic, so it is oddly similar. Then again, vampires vs werewolves at least has some history in pop culture, so I might be doing Twilight a disservice with the comparison.

    I did not remember this about Twilight but it makes me wonder, because that definitely would have been a massive Thing in pop culture when Hearne was writing these books (honestly I’m surprised he hasn’t brought it up just to bash it). Although it also wouldn’t have surprised me if Hearne had Google’d “werewolves” and just grabbed something from the Twilight wiki because it was the first thing he’d read.

    And to end us out with another YA similarity. You remember how Atticus has a sword that can force people to tell the truth? Of course you do, reading thise has probably scarred you for life. That is an odd power for a sword, but I have in fact seen one other sword with the same power. It’s the magic sword from the Mortal Instrument series. You know, the one of incest fake out fame by Cassandra Claire.

    I DID pick up on this in the sporking for the first book somewhere. I assumed that Cassandra Clare took the sword from Celtic mythology, as did Hearne, but while I know that “Fragarach” is from Irish myth, I’m having some trouble finding sources on it having the truth-telling power from before “Iron Druid Chronicles.” Hm…

    [Also wondering if the titular “Sword of Truth” from Goodkind might be related to this weapon as well.]

    As for this chapter… what’s there even to say? This isn’t even the kind of situation where the author just can’t manage a smarter character, so he dumbs everybody else down for the protagonist to stand over. Like yeah, they’re still idiots, but that’s just because that’s this story’s baseline. They’re still capable of calling this twit’s nonesense.

    Exactly. Every single time Hearne acts like Atticus is oh-so-clever by “outsmarting” the other characters antagonizing him, but to do that he has to dumb them down. And even then they STILL see through him, and both Atticus and Hearne act like he’s the smartest man alive. It’s incredibly irritating. At one point in this book he breaks his ‘dumb loser nerd’ persona to prove how smart he is, and then plays it off as if it was really cool and not, you know, immediately shattering the story he gave to the police.

    Ugh.

    I’m glad to have you on board though!

  8. Stranger on 26 January 2023, 05:57 said:

    I say this a lot but I’m glad you’re still posting. Just realised that this year marks a whole decade since I joined the site.

  9. Faranae on 28 January 2023, 22:33 said:

    I DID pick up on this in the sporking for the first book somewhere. I assumed that Cassandra Clare took the sword from Celtic mythology, as did Hearne, but while I know that “Fragarach” is from Irish myth, I’m having some trouble finding sources on it having the truth-telling power from before “Iron Druid Chronicles.” Hm… [Also wondering if the titular “Sword of Truth” from Goodkind might be related to this weapon as well.]

    There’s also Wonder Woman’s lasso, which I forget where her creator got that idea (besides his own kinks, no that’s not libel, it’s simply true and he wasn’t ashamed of it). So I think the idea of a “weapon that makes people speak truth” kind of resonates, whether or not there’s a mythical source. Note that Clare’s sword forces the wielder to speak truth, not their victim.

    And yes, I also can’t confirm a source for the “truth telling” trait prior to Iron Druid, so I suspect that’s a bit of the usual “this is why you don’t trust Wikipedia”. To give good faith to Hearne, Fragarach in the myths is the weapon of a hero/god associated with oaths and truth, so since he’s not making Atticus into Lugh, he might have at least gotten an idea for a unique trait for the sword from that, since ironically the “cuts anything sword” is rather common, being from… rather widely circulated and pillaged Irish mythology…

  10. Juracan on 1 February 2023, 22:49 said:

    I say this a lot but I’m glad you’re still posting. Just realised that this year marks a whole decade since I joined the site.

    Happy Impish anniversary!

    There’s also Wonder Woman’s lasso, which I forget where her creator got that idea (besides his own kinks, no that’s not libel, it’s simply true and he wasn’t ashamed of it). So I think the idea of a “weapon that makes people speak truth” kind of resonates, whether or not there’s a mythical source. Note that Clare’s sword forces the wielder to speak truth, not their victim.

    Oh yeah, I guess Wonder Woman’s lasso fits that role too. I did know that about the author, though.

    I had also forgotten the deal with the Mortal Sword in Clare’s books—it’s been quite a while since I read Apep’s sporking. Still, given Clare is a fan of Celtic myth (I think? I could be wrong) I thought it was a possibility there was some connection. I’m just speculating, though.

    And yes, I also can’t confirm a source for the “truth telling” trait prior to Iron Druid, so I suspect that’s a bit of the usual “this is why you don’t trust Wikipedia”. To give good faith to Hearne, Fragarach in the myths is the weapon of a hero/god associated with oaths and truth, so since he’s not making Atticus into Lugh, he might have at least gotten an idea for a unique trait for the sword from that, since ironically the “cuts anything sword” is rather common, being from… rather widely circulated and pillaged Irish mythology…

    Right, yeah. Most of the citations on Wikipedia take me to either later sources (one is a book that has an entry on the sword, and then mentions Iron Druid among the pop cultural uses), and others don’t mention the truth-telling power at all. I haven’t done a deep dive, but I did find one of the texts on Irish myths and it has the sword but mentions of this superpower either.

    I’m not saying that Hearne made it up—more than likely he picked it up from some New Age-y source, as he did for a lot of his Irish mythology, but in a quick search I can’t find any indication that this is a part of the myths.

  11. Jasper on 6 February 2023, 12:28 said:

    Hi Juracan, pretty good spork as always.

    I believe that Fragarach’s ability to prevent people from lying is more of an ability where if Fragarach is at their throat, the person couldn’t move or tell a lie, giving rise to one of its titles, “The Answerer”.

    Of course that being said, magical or not, no one with a lick of sense would dare move with a sword to their throat and maybe answer to the best of their ability with their life being threatened. But I digress.

    Really, how it is written comes down to its context, which we all know Hearne isn’t great at doing to put it lightly. Given this is an “all myths are true” setting, not doing the full research is a reason for readers who are aware of the associated myths to head-desk. If I were more lenient, I’d say he had tried to write that Atticus had to have something akin to Fragarach. Like an imitation that is much less effective than the real deal or that it works only once before a new imitation has to be made.

    But given this is Atticus we’re talking about, Hearne probably said he had it and will never use it or bring it up again.

  12. Klimax on 23 October 2023, 05:55 said:

    Hello.

    Finally got to read sporking.One thing: HEMA would be far better fit for Atticus. Real blunted cold weaponry would provide nice cover for his weapons. There are all sorts of weird participants (Living History or Vikings just for little example) It would even nicely cover his walking in public with sword. (Hell, he could have nice training once in a while) It would nicely cover even occasional remnant of blood…

  13. Juracan on 24 October 2023, 06:46 said:

    Finally got to read sporking. One thing: HEMA would be far better fit for Atticus. Real blunted cold weaponry would provide nice cover for his weapons. There are all sorts of weird participants (Living History or Vikings just for little example) It would even nicely cover his walking in public with sword. (Hell, he could have nice training once in a while) It would nicely cover even occasional remnant of blood…

    I did not know this! I’m willing to be Hearne doesn’t either. Which I guess I can’t fault him for, not knowing something, but at the same time I don’t think he even tried to do any research on the topic, and regardless, the point here is for Atticus to give the impression he’s a loser nerd and prove to the audience how “clever” he is to the police.

    But anyway! I’m glad to have you join us on the sporking!