Chapter Three’s pretty short so we’re covering it and Chapter Four at the same time.

So last time the Morrigan, the goddess of violent death, appeared in Atticus’s bookshop to warn him that his old enemy Aenghus Og was coming to town to murder him, was sending Fir Bolgs, and that he was in danger. She also makes him even more immortal in exchange for the recipe for his Super Special Awesome iron amulet recipe, and makes out with him before leaving. Atticus, all the while, is not concerned about the Plot because he doesn’t think Aenghus Og will really get off his butt.

We open chapter three with Atticus mentioning that since the good ol’ days of ancient Ireland, he’s believed in the superstition that bad things come in threes. He’s had the faeries attack him, the Morrigan deliver bad news (not that he took it seriously), so he’s expecting something else bad to pop up and ruin his day. So he closes up the shop early and decides to bike home and—

Usually I took my time and enjoyed the ride: I would say hello to the dogs who barked a greeting at me or stop to chat with the widow MacDonagh, who liked to sit on her front porch, sipping sweaty glasses of Tullamore Dew as the sun set. She spoke the Irish with me and—

She “speaks the Irish”? Is that a thing anyone says? I’m genuinely asking here.

Sorry, carry on.

told me I was a nice young lad with an old soul, and I enjoyed the conversation and the irony of being the young one. I usually did her yard work for her once a week and she liked to watch me do it, declaring loudly each time that “If I were fifty years younger, laddie, I’d jump yer wee bones and tell no one but the Lord, ye can be sure.” But today I hurried, tossing a quick wave at the widow’s porch and churning my legs as fast as they would go.

We can’t go very far without the book reminding us that Atticus is extremely sexually attractive, can we? If it was one or two characters, that’s one thing, but so far we’re three chapters in, and we’ve already had the Morrigan kiss him naked, and now his old Irish neighbor tells him that she wishes she was young enough to have sex with him.

Here’s the thing: the widow MacDonagh isn’t in this scene. She’s not in this chapter. Not really. Atticus is describing his way home and his neighborhood, and he just decides to describe his old lady Irish neighbor and he goes on a tangent about how they like to talk and how she totally wants to have sex with him. It doesn’t have to do with what’s going on. Hearne easily could have left this description of the neighbor until she, you know, actually shows up, but Atticus can’t help but tell us everything in excruciating and boring detail, so here we are. Oh, and she wants to have sex with him.

Alright here’s a pro-tip, authors: if you’re writing a story, don’t constantly remind us how hot your lead is and how much people of the opposite sex want to have sex with him or her. I’m sure there are exceptions to that rule that you could make because writing is a varied and complex art, but in general I think it’s a good rule. Because it all it does is make me think that you’re writing a self-insert wish fulfillment character.

Do you remember that list of superpowers that Atticus has from last chapter’s sporking? Maybe add ‘Every woman so far wants to bone him,’ to that list, yeah? I imagine this instance is a joke, considering that the woman in question is an elderly widow, but given how Sue-ish Atticus already is, it’s still pretty egregious. If MacDonagh was written to say something like, “He’s a handsome young man,” I’d have let it go, but nope, she explicitly says if she was young she’d be having sex with him.

Atticus describes his house a bit [yawn], checks his magical defenses and realizes that there’s someone there in the house. He knows it can’t be a faerie or a human because they can’t break through his defenses for… Reasons. It’s magic. So he decides it must be a member of the Tuatha de Danann, and he’s a bit worried. Which he should be. His defenses don’t protect him from a god marching into his house? Or at least tell him when it happens? That’s a pretty shoddy defense system, my dude.

Atticus thinks that it could be Aenghus Og, but again Atticus refuses to believe that the bad guy would actually leave Tir na nOg to kill him so he dismisses that idea. So he asks his dog.

Meet Oberon. He’s an Irish wolfhound. He’s Atticus’s dog, with whom he communicates telepathically, and also the character Hearne identifies the most with, using him to put as many of his own quips into the story.

No really. The dog is the self-insert.

Anyhow he asks Oberon “How goes it, my friend?” and Oberon, who is pretty cheerfully chilling out in the backyard, reveals that a female someone is in the house, and he likes her because she’s friendly and compliments him, comparing him to the older Irish wolfhounds in the Middle Ages. This leads to Atticus talking about wolfhounds and how he adopted Oberon but it’s all boring so I’m skipping it.

What is important is that not a lot of people can talk to Oberon like Atticus does, and this intruder was able to.

When Atticus tells Oberon that the visitor was not invited, Oberon gets a bit worried asking “”, which, hey, full points to Hearne, this actually sounds like something a dog would get worried about and be ashamed of. Atticus assures Oberon that he’s fine, but that if their visitor turns hostile that he should kill her.

< I thought you said never to attack humans. >

She hasn’t been human for a very long time.

That’s… actually really good dialogue.

And then there’s a bit where Oberon calls her nice for an “inhuman,” and Atticus corrects him because that’s an adjective and the correct term is “nonhuman” and Oberon points out that English isn’t his first language and dear Lord this conversation should have ended with “She hasn’t been human for a very long time.”

In general, I don’t have too many issues with Oberon, but he tends to have make unnecessary dialogue so that Hearne can put his quips into the story. They’re not even bad quips! But they kill the tension. There’s someone in Atticus’s house right now! We don’t know who! We don’t know if she’s friend or foe! This should be super tense! They should only be saying what’s absolutely necessary.

But sure, let’s have some dialogue about Atticus correcting Oberon’s grammar I guess.

Oberon circles up front to join Atticus so they can enter the house together. They find nothing wrecked or stolen, but there’s a woman angrily failing to make a strawberry smoothie in his blender. See, because she’s an ancient goddess, she doesn’t realize that you have to plug things in. Once Atticus tells her to plug in the blender, she is much happier, and Atticus relaxes because this is one of the Irish gods that he’s on good terms with: Flidais, goddess of the hunt1.

Chapter three ends with Atticus lamenting that he didn’t know it yet, but Flidais brought the third problem and he had no idea until it was too late. Because who needs foreshadowing when you can have the characters tell us things are going to happen!

Chapter Four begins with Flidais explaining how she learned about smoothies (because they don’t have those in Tir na nOg), and so she takes roughly two pages to say this: she was hunting with Herne, found a poacher, followed him to a smoothie joint, killed him and took his smoothie. That’s it.

Also Atticus asks if she was invisible while she was chasing the dude, and Flidais gets very offended because it implies she isn’t the Best Huntress Evah and Atticus apologizes. And then describes her outfit for Reasons.

It’s leather. I don’t care enough to type out the entire description Hearne gives.

Also Flidais has to be told what a parking lot is? Or at least what the word for it is is. And again, I’m kind of bothered. I really hate this idea in modern urban fantasy that the gods are all stupid old people who don’t understand modern society. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of fiction like American Gods or even Percy Jackson and the Olympians wherein the gods have adapted to the modern world. In PJO they’re explicitly timeless archetypes who fit ideas rather than specific cultures and historical periods, so of course they don’t stumble around the modern world oblivious to the fact that they’re not in the Bronze Age, confounded by basic aspects of the modern world.

Here, and in too many other works of fiction, the gods are just stupid. They know nothing about modern technology. Flidais isn’t even familiar enough with the modern words to remember the name for parking lots. It just reeks of lazy writing to me. Have the gods really not spent a significant amount of time in the mortal world for the past hundred years or so? I know Atticus tells us that the Tuatha de Danann don’t get out much because they can be killed, but you know what? I can be killed and I don’t spend all my time in my own house.

“Well the gods are cowards!” Well if that’s the case then you’re not writing characters as much as making the deities into strawmen so you can bash. Because this characterization isn’t taken from the myths.

It’s dumb writing.

Anyhow, Flidais tells Atticus that she killed the poacher and hid the body she took the guy’s smoothie which leads us to this:

See, sentences like that are why I nurture a healthy fear of the Tuatha De Danann. Now, I will be the first to admit that human life was not worth much to my generation in the Iron Age, but Flidais and her kind are forever rooted in Bronze Age morality, which goes something like this: If it pleases me, then it is good and I want more; If it displeases me, then it must be destroyed as soon as possible, but preferably in a way that enhances my reputation so that I can achieve immortality in the songs of bards. They simply to not think like modern people, and it is because of them that the Fae have such twisted senses of right and wrong.

Hey

Hey

Hey

You’re a Druid. You don’t get to complain about how the social system that the gods are used to was weird and immoral and disconnect yourself from it. You were a part of that system. You upheld that system. Stories about the gods were passed down by the Druids. This preoccupation with reputation wouldn’t happen if the Druids didn’t keep the system running. So while yeah, the gods are problematic in their attitudes, don’t act like you have no part in it because you’re Iron Age and she’s Bronze Age.

Furthermore it isn’t as if there weren’t rules in the Bronze Age. The idea of murder being a way to break that law shouldn’t be new.

And Atticus doesn’t care much about human life either! The Morrigan told you she was going to murder those guys and after a weak protest you did nothing but shrug and say “Oh well.” Yeah the Irish gods might have screwed up rules about morality, but you’re complicit if you do nothing to stop them. Especially because you can! You would think that the Druids, the priests of the Celtic gods, would make it their responsibility to nourish a healthy relationship between the gods and humanity. But nope! It’s not his business. The gods are just dicks and there’s nothing he’s going to do about it.

[And yes, I KNOW that in this series Hearne characterizes Druids not as being priests of the Celtic gods, but as protectors and servants of the Earth. This isn’t actually explained outright until much later in the book. It’s weird and New Age-y but it still doesn’t free Atticus from being complicit in the deaths of the gods’ victims.]

Flidais asks what name he’s using now, and Atticus tells him that he goes by ‘Atticus’ these days. She points out that it’s Greek, and asks if anyone thinks he’s Greek, and Atticus answers with “Nobody pays attention to names here.”

Uh, yeah, they do. If you mean ‘here’ as in ‘this time period,’ I suspect you’re an idiot. When I went to the UK people told me they were surprised because my (Hispanic) name “wasn’t American,” because a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic assume that Americans all have English names. If you mean ‘here’ as in ‘the US’ I also suspect that people would care. Atticus is a somewhat unusual name, and people will comment on it, though it’s not too out there so it’s probably not a huge deal.

Furthermore, Greek names are pretty common? And from someone who was used to the ancient world, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Greek became the de facto language of the educated for a while before Latin was, and so anyone who wanted their kids to sound educated gave them Greek names. You’ll still meet people today with Greek names. Alexander? Sophia? Anastasia? Nicholas? Georgia? Jason? Iris? They’ve been Anglicized, yeah, but they’re Greek names.

Atticus explains that people today only care about crude displays of personal wealth, and I’m compelled to point out that it’s not a new thing. Anglo-Saxon kings gave out gold bling to their thanes. Yeah, the currency is different, but it’s not a new concept.

Atticus decides that he wants some smoothie, and instead of saying so, or getting it because it’s his house, he stares at the blender and hopes Flidais gets the hint. She does, and offers him some smoothie, and he calls her considerate in reply.

I thought of the stoners who came into my shop earlier, probably already dead at the hands of the Morrigan, and how they would have been equally dead had they found Flidais in their kitchen. They would have seen her and said something like “Yo, bitch, the fuck you doin’ with my strawberries?” and those would have been their last words. Bronze Age manners are tough to fathom for modern men, by and large, but it’s fairly simple: The guest is to be treated like a god, because he may, in fact, be a god in disguise. I had no doubts on that score when it came to Flidais.

Alright let’s take this step-by-step:

ONE: Oh hey, remember the stoners from chapter two? Atticus tells us they’re probably dead by now. Just so you know. Those guys had their hearts ripped out and eaten. Not that Atticus cares.

TWO: And yes, Atticus thinks they would assume they’d say “the fuck you doin’ with my strawberries?” instead of, y’know, probably telling her to leave or calling the cops. Because that’s what normal people would do.

THREE: Yes, it’s commonly presented that in the ancient world rules of Guest and Host are sacred, but Atticus (and Hearne) are missing an important detail about this situation: that the guest is also supposed to act incredibly politely and not offend his or her host.

Flidais isn’t a guest. She wasn’t invited; she broke into Atticus’s house while he wasn’t there. It’s possible she didn’t see it that way, and Oberon let her walk around and talked to her, so it’s possible that she didn’t consider it a break-in. Alright, fine. Let’s say she is a guest by ancient standards. But then she took some of his food without asking and tried operating one of his devices that she didn’t really know how to use to begin with.

FOUR: Atticus, as host, shouldn’t have to ask for some of the smoothie. It’s his fruit, his kitchen, and his blender. Flidais should have asked permission to use it and drink the smoothie in the first place.

If someone barges into your house, eats your food and starts messing with your stuff, then you don’t owe them jack squat. Someone can’t demand you be a good host if she’s being an awful guest. Yes she’s a goddess so Atticus is smart to not offend her, but let’s not act like this is a guest-host thing.

The two of them go to the front porch to talk, and Atticus asks where she parked her chariot, and she explains that her chariot and the stags that pull it are invisible in a park nearby. She continues that she’s here to tell Atticus that Aenghus Og knows he’s here.

Except he already knew that, and he tells her that the Morrigan told him after lunch.

But then she adds that Fir Bolgs are coming.

Except he already knew that too. He doesn’t care.

But then she says that, gasp, Bres is also coming!

And finally, this gets a reaction and Atticus spits out his strawberry smoothie.

Also this is terrible writing. I mean, it’s not Angelopolis terrible because that’s a special kind of terrible. But it’s not great. This is a repeat of the whole “The Morrigan is proving that she knows bad things are going to happen!” bit from Chapter 2. It went like this, only longer.

The Morrigan says Aenghus is coming because he hinted so in conversation, Atticus doesn’t care. She says she saw omens, Atticus doesn’t care. She says she cast the wands, and then he seems to pay attention, but in the end he doesn’t care.

Same thing here. Flidais says Aenghus knows he’s here, Atticus doesn’t care. She says Fir Bolgs are on the way, Atticus doesn’t care. Then she says Bres is coming, and again, he seems to pay attention, but by the end of the chapter he doesn’t seem to care. He doesn’t decide to pack up his bags and ditch town or try to hide or anything. Two goddesses have dropped into Atticus’s life to tell him that his life is about to go pear-shaped because the Bad Guys know where he lives, and Atticus doesn’t care.

Adding to that, it’s a terrible way to ratchet up tension. Nothing has actually happened since the first chapter, but people keep coming in to tell Atticus that things will happen. Instead of the Plot organically piling up and tons of independent problems getting stacked on top of the protagonist as the narrative goes on, like in Dresden Files or Skulduggery Pleasant, characters drop in to give Atticus a checklist of the bad guys he has to fight in this book.

[sigh]

So who the fudge is Bres, anyhow?

Bres was one of the meanest of the Tuatha De Danann alive, though he was not particularly bright. He had been their leader for a few decades, but eventually he was replaced for being more sympathetic to the monstrous race of the Fomorians than to his own people. He was a god of agriculture and had escaped death at Lugh’s hands long ago by promising to share all he knew. The only reason he had not been killed since then was because he was husband to Brighid, and no one wished to risk her wrath. Her magical powers were unmatched, save perhaps by the Morrigan.

So this more or less matches up with the majority of his Wikipedia article. That doesn’t mean it’s all accurate though. Someone feel free to correct it if they know better. The real problem is that Atticus’s description feels like a short article. Unlike with the Morrigan or Aenghus Og, I get no sense of history, no sense of the idea that he and Atticus personally know each other. It’s summing up his mythology without adding much to it.

And really, it’s another example of Hearne telling instead of showing us stuff. I’m four chapters in, and so often the action has stopped so that Atticus can turn to the audience and explain in-detail who characters are, how things work, or snippets of his own backstory. If he didn’t do this every time it wouldn’t be as egregious, but he does, and it halts the flow of every scene. There are really easy ways to avoid this, like having him explain these things to another character, or giving only the small bits that are necessary and letting the audience fill in the gaps. Hearne does none of this.

Anyhoo Flidais explains that Aenghus probably bribed Bres with something to make him come to kill Atticus2. Flidais straight-up tells Atticus that she wouldn’t care if he killed Bres, because Bres “does not respect the forest as he should.” Which, uh, yeah I get the goddess of the forests (or not, look at the first footnote again) wouldn’t get along with the god of agriculture responsible for cutting down those forests to make fields, but if the gods are so terrified of getting killed that they hardly leave Tir na nOg, you’d think they wouldn’t encourage someone to go and kill one of their own?

Atticus does not have any good response to his guest essentially egging him on to kill one of her family members (which I imagine is also not a great thing to do as a guest, but no one asked me), so after an awkward silence she starts talking to Oberon. Oberon talks about how he and Atticus hunted bighorn sheep in Papago Park.

[You need a permit to hunt bighorn sheep, and less than two dozen people held those permits in the year that this book was published; not that anyone cares because Atticus shapeshifts into a hound to do it.]

Flidais is amazed at the idea of hunting sheep, because, well, they’re sheep, how can that be any fun? Sheep are slow and dumb. Atticus and Oberon explain that bighorn sheep aren’t like domesticated sheep, they’re bigger and harder to bring down. Flidais, astounded that she hasn’t heard of these before, decides she would very much like to hunt them because she’s apparently not hunted anything new in centuries (again, that’s dumb but let’s roll with it).

Atticus agrees, but he tells her that if they’re going to go hunting, they need to wait until after dark when the park closes so they can hunt without interference. Flidais agrees, but it’s a few hours until dark, so what are they going to do until then?

She decides to have sex with him.

No really.

Her eyes appraised me and I pretended not to notice, keeping my gaze locked on my bicycle still lying in the street. “You appear to be in the summertime of youth,” she said.

“My thanks. You look well as always.”

I am curious to discover if you still have the endurance of the Fianna or if you are hiding a decrepitude and softness most unbecoming of a Celt.”

I stood up and offered her my right hand. “My left arm was injured earlier this afternoon and is still not fully healed. However, if you will follow me and assist in mending it, I will do my best to satisfy your curiosity.”

The corner of her mouth quirked up at the edge, and her eyes smoldered as she placed her hand in mine and rose. I locked eyes on hers and didn’t let go of her hand as we returned inside and went to the bedroom.

I figured, to hell with the bike. I’d probably feel like jogging to work in the morning anyway.

That’s how Chapter Four ends.

So that happened.

Atticus has been told by not one, but two goddesses of his own pantheon that the bad guys are coming to punch his face in, and what is he doing now? Is he packing his bags? Is he rallying his allies and preparing his defenses? Is he digging a deep dark hole to hide in? Nope. None of those things. He’s planning a late night hunting trip and having sex. You can’t tell me this is about being a good host; nowhere in this scene does that excuse fly, and it certainly doesn’t here. The fact is that Atticus repeatedly refuses to take the Plot seriously.

How am I supposed to read this story as anything other than wish fulfillment? We’re in the fourth chapter of the first book in the series, and Atticus has already made out with a naked goddess and is getting into bed with another. Atticus is immortal, nigh-unkillable, heals quickly, can talk to his dog telepathically, breathes underwater, shapeshifts, kills his most recurrent enemies by touching them, is insanely attractive and has sex with goddesses.

I remember when I read this book for the first time at this point I was beginning to wonder what kind of book I’d picked up. It’s not just that there’s nudity and sex, it’s that they don’t serve much purpose in the story or make much sense. It’s not that the protagonist had sex, it’s that a literal goddess decides to have sex with him after sharing smoothies with him. It’s not that the Plot is vague, it’s that the protagonist doesn’t pay any attention to it until bad guys start popping up in his face. He’s overpowered and oversexed, and he doesn’t care about what happens to the people around him.

No, it’s definitely not in the same league as Angelopolis but it’s not very good. And yet whenever urban fantasy comes up this series is often mentioned in the same breath as Dresden Files. It’s baffling. Maybe the later books in the series get much better, but judging from the first few I’m kind of doubtful.

Join us next time, when Atticus explains why it is exactly that Aenghus Og hates him so much!

1 Fun fact! She’s probably not really a goddess of hunting. That’s more of a New Age thing. But if gods are shaped by what people believe about them I guess she could have in-universe been retconned into being a hunting goddess? IDK, the whole ‘gods are shaped by belief’ thing raises so many questions once you stare at it for more than two minutes.

2 Okay well actually they’re not sure that Bres is coming to kill Atticus, but c’mon, what else would he be there to do?

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Comment

  1. blob on 21 August 2018, 18:51 said:

    ““If I were fifty years younger, laddie, I’d jump yer wee bones and tell no one but the Lord, ye can be sure.””

    I lived in Ireland for six months. No one talks like this. Absolutely no one. Including thickly-accented elderly people. This just does not happen.

    Hey did you know? Ireland is a real place! You can listen to people from there talking, and then put dialog in your story that actually sounds like how Irish people talk! Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can write about somebody else!

    “Bronze Age manners are tough to fathom for modern men, by and large, but it’s fairly simple: The guest is to be treated like a god, because he may, in fact, be a god in disguise. I had no doubts on that score when it came to Flidais.”

    In addition to the other points that you excellently summed up: This part feels so weirdly self-aggrandizing to me. ‘Those other people are bad hosts and stupid! I’m a good host!’ Okay Atticus you’re the best thing ever I get it.

  2. The Smith of Lie on 22 August 2018, 04:45 said:

    Atticus, all the while, is not concerned about the Plot because he doesn’t think Aenghus Og will really get off his butt.

    In a just universe this would come back to bite the aforementioned butt with a force of a bear trap snapping shut.

    We open chapter three with Atticus mentioning that since the good ol’ days of ancient Ireland, he’s believed in the superstition that bad things come in threes.

    If it is how the world actually works than it isn’t superstition…

    Here’s the thing: the widow MacDonagh isn’t in this scene. She’s not in this chapter. Not really. Atticus is describing his way home and his neighborhood, and he just decides to describe his old lady Irish neighbor and he goes on a tangent about how they like to talk and how she totally wants to have sex with him. It doesn’t have to do with what’s going on. Hearne easily could have left this description of the neighbor until she, you know, actually shows up, but Atticus can’t help but tell us everything in excruciating and boring detail, so here we are. Oh, and she wants to have sex with him.

    Who’d want to have a plot and action, while we can listen to Atticus bragging about his manly charm instead! Actually the main character of series I’m currently readin, Flashman Papers, likes to give similar statements. But in his case it is because he is a lecher and incorrigible womanizer. And he has more than enough character flaws to compensate for this. And, acknowledging the next paragraph of the spork, the reminders of Flashy’s talent with seduction mostly happen when it is relevant to the narrative (which it mostly is by the way of landing him in trouble).

    That’s a pretty shoddy defense system, my dude.

    Eh, there’s always someone better than you. I’m willing to cut Atticus some slack if a physical god can break his wards. I deduct points for not hauling ass the moment he discovered that someone powerful enough to do that broke in. That is just plain lack of survival instinct. Though given all the layers of plot armor he wears it is no surprise that Atticus lacks in that department.

    Oberon, who is pretty cheerfully chilling out in the backyard, reveals that a female someone is in the house,

    Oh goodie. I bet that Hearne will show us all the restraint and class he has by not implying or even outright stating that this female visitors would like to ravish Atticus… Haha, who am I kidding.

    he hasn’t been human for a very long time.

    Great, now,in a weird tangent, I’d like to read a book that explores the questions of trans-humanism vis magic.

    Chapter three ends with Atticus lamenting that he didn’t know it yet, but Flidais brought the third problem and he had no idea until it was too late. Because who needs foreshadowing when you can have the characters tell us things are going to happen!

    This is actually pretty prevalent theme in first person narrated books. “If only I had known…” is a cliché for a reason. Personally I’m willing to let it go, as long as it’s not overused.

    Chapter Four begins with Flidais explaining how she learned about smoothies (because they don’t have those in Tir na nOg), and so she takes roughly two pages to say this: she was hunting with Herne, found a poacher, followed him to a smoothie joint, killed him and took his smoothie. That’s it.

    Cool. But how is that relevant to her presence in Atticus’s place?

    It’s leather. I don’t care enough to type out the entire description Hearne gives.

    I think it’d be more funny and interesting if she wore a modern Ghillie suit or something similar. But I always found the idea of old gods adapting to the modern world more interesting than Hearne’s “they don’t keep up with the times” thing. It just makes so much more space for creative use of the classic characters if one allows for, I don’t know Odin as a CEO of PMC corporation.

    Also Flidais has to be told what a parking lot is? Or at least what the word for it is is. And again, I’m kind of bothered. I really hate this idea in modern urban fantasy that the gods are all stupid old people who don’t understand modern society. Maybe it’s because I’m thinking of fiction like American Gods or even Percy Jackson and the Olympians wherein the gods have adapted to the modern world. In PJO they’re explicitly timeless archetypes who fit ideas rather than specific cultures and historical periods, so of course they don’t stumble around the modern world oblivious to the fact that they’re not in the Bronze Age, confounded by basic aspects of the modern world.

    Exactly! And it is more interesting to see how the archetypes are brought into modernity, how they fit with the new world, rather than re-threading what the mythology and folk-lore already did, just with “fish out of water” twist.

    You’re a Druid. You don’t get to complain about how the social system that the gods are used to was weird and immoral and disconnect yourself from it. You were a part of that system. You upheld that system. Stories about the gods were passed down by the Druids. This preoccupation with reputation wouldn’t happen if the Druids didn’t keep the system running. So while yeah, the gods are problematic in their attitudes, don’t act like you have no part in it because you’re Iron Age and she’s Bronze Age.

    Not to mention that just two chapters ago, when Morrigan decided to kill the two stoners Atticus wasn’t particularly bothered by this, except for the mess it’d make in his shop.

    I think it’d actually be pretty interesting to read a book with protagonist who is sort of stack in the old ways and values human life very little, not because he’s evil but because he is a product of a different times. It would be a difficult thing to write and avoid making such character unsympathetic, but done well it’d be pretty fresh.

    The two of them go to the front porch to talk, and Atticus asks where she parked her chariot, and she explains that her chariot and the stags that pull it are invisible in a park nearby. She continues that she’s here to tell Atticus that Aenghus Og knows he’s here.

    At this point one has to wonder, what has Atticus done, that both Morrigan and Flidais pretty much trip over themselves to personally deliver warnings to him… Except being the protagonist, has it been even suggested that he in any way curried favor from Tuatha or something?

    Okay well actually they’re not sure that Bres is coming to kill Atticus, but c’mon, what else would he be there to do?

    Maybe he wants to drop in for a smoothie?

    She decides to have sex with him.

    Somebody better pick up that phone, because I called it!

    Atticus has been told by not one, but two goddesses of his own pantheon that the bad guys are coming to punch his face in, and what is he doing now? Is he packing his bags? Is he rallying his allies and preparing his defenses? Is he digging a deep dark hole to hide in? Nope. None of those things. He’s planning a late night hunting trip and having sex. You can’t tell me this is about being a good host; nowhere in this scene does that excuse fly, and it certainly doesn’t here. The fact is that Atticus repeatedly refuses to take the Plot seriously.

    You know, I could forgive him for not taking the plot seriously. It could be read as a character flaw and his overconfidence should load him into trouble, that’d be ok with me. But for the last four chapters that plot that he isn’t taking seriously has refused to materialize in any way other than goddesses throwing themselves at Atticus with amorous intentions. And that, outside more porn-y, titles is unforgivable.

    Join us next time, when Atticus explains why it is exactly that Aenghus Og hates him so much!

    Is it because he is jealous of the fact that Atticus is so perfect?

  3. Aikaterini on 22 August 2018, 09:41 said:

    She “speaks the Irish”? Is that a thing anyone says?

    I don’t know, but it sounds odd. Irish (or Irish Gaelic) is an actual language. It’s like someone saying, ‘She speaks the Spanish with me.’ If it was a person who wasn’t a native or fluent English speaker, I could see them saying this, but since it’s coming from Atticus, I’m just confused.

    now his old Irish neighbor tells him that she wishes she was young enough to have sex with him.

    Because of course she does. But remember, this is totally different from Mrs. Cope wanting to jump Edward’s bones in “Twilight.” And this is not potentially creepy in any way. Experiment: try rewriting this scene, but instead of an old woman telling Atticus this, it’s an old man. Or try rewriting this scene and keep the old man, but instead of Atticus, it’s Artemis. “Ohoho, if I were fifty years younger, lass, I’d jump yer wee bones and tell no one but the Lord, ye can be sure.”

    No really. The dog is the self-insert.

    Really? Not the handsome young man whom every woman wants to sleep with?

    I really hate this idea in modern urban fantasy that the gods are all stupid old people who don’t understand modern society.

    And Atticus is the only exception, right? Just so we know how much smarter and more ‘hip’ he is than the other gods?

    Atticus is a somewhat unusual name, and people will comment on it

    He’s like the opposite of Bella Swan: she commented that ‘Edward’ and ‘Alice’ sounded like old-fashioned and unpopular names, even though they really aren’t, at least not when compared to names like ‘Jasper’ and ‘Rosalie.’ But the fact that she did comment on them shows that, yes, people do notice names. If Atticus went around calling himself “Jermajesty,” people would notice.

    Not that Atticus cares.

    But it’s the Irish gods who have screwed-up rules about morality. Not Atticus, who’s trying to have his cake and eat it too by commenting on their morality, but not doing anything to contest it.

    If someone barges into your house, eats your food and starts messing with your stuff, then you don’t owe them jack squat.

    Which is exactly the rationale for the Beast’s behavior in Beaumont’s version of “Beauty and the Beast,” which also operated by traditional rules of hospitality. The Beast fulfilled his responsibility of host by offering Beauty’s father food and a place to stay for the night. The merchant broke his end of the bargain by taking the rose, an object that did not belong to him and that the Beast did not give him permission to take.

    Atticus doesn’t care.

    What does he care about, then? He doesn’t care about human lives, he doesn’t care about his life possibly being in danger.

    she would very much like to hunt them because she’s apparently not hunted anything new in centuries

    So, she doesn’t know how modern technology works and she hasn’t learned about new species to hunt. What has she been doing all these years? Like The Smith of Lie said, it’s interesting when gods, monsters, and fairies learn to adapt to the modern world. They can still keep to their traditions and appearances, but it would be interesting to see how they blend in or, if they don’t blend in, how they adapt.

    Atticus repeatedly refuses to take the Plot seriously.

    Just like the Shadowhunters from “City of Bones.” If they don’t care, then why should the reader?

    Atticus has already made out with a naked goddess and is getting into bed with another.

    Did Hearne just really want to write Irish mythology fanfiction? This is the exact same thing that happened with the Morrigan, only instead of just making out with the messenger, he’s going to sleep with her. He’s repeating the same scene and for what? Just so that we know how hot Atticus is supposed to be? Because Morrigan randomly making out with him and the old woman randomly saying that she’d like to bone him weren’t enough to convince the reader, apparently.

    when Atticus explains why it is exactly that Aenghus Og hates him so much!

    Let me guess, it’s because he’s jealous that Atticus has more goddesses inexplicably swooning over him than he does, even though he’s the god of love.

  4. Juracan on 24 August 2018, 17:01 said:

    Alright! Time I looked at comments.

    I lived in Ireland for six months. No one talks like this. Absolutely no one. Including thickly-accented elderly people. This just does not happen.

    Hey did you know? Ireland is a real place! You can listen to people from there talking, and then put dialog in your story that actually sounds like how Irish people talk! Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can write about somebody else!

    Yeah it’s kind of… terrible. I basically avoid writing accents into the words at all when I write, because I know it’ll end up terrible. I tend to just add that the character speaks with an accent. I remember in middle school we read a nonfiction short titled something like, “My Wild Irish Mother” (I was going to link to it but I can’t find it online for the life of me), and even it wasn’t anywhere near this stereotypical.

    Okay Atticus you’re the best thing ever I get it.

    I guess I can go home because you recapped the rest of the book right here.

    Who’d want to have a plot and action, while we can listen to Atticus bragging about his manly charm instead!

    Ah, but is it bragging if in the narrative he actually is that accomplished at bedding women and killing monsters?

    …yes. Yes it is.

    Eh, there’s always someone better than you. I’m willing to cut Atticus some slack if a physical god can break his wards. I deduct points for not hauling ass the moment he discovered that someone powerful enough to do that broke in. That is just plain lack of survival instinct. Though given all the layers of plot armor he wears it is no surprise that Atticus lacks in that department.

    I would give him credit if he had some sort of alarm that at least let him know when someone broke in that was too powerful to be kept out. Like you said though, for a guy who claims he tries to avoid trouble, he tends to have very few survival instincts.

    I think it’d actually be pretty interesting to read a book with protagonist who is sort of stack in the old ways and values human life very little, not because he’s evil but because he is a product of a different times. It would be a difficult thing to write and avoid making such character unsympathetic, but done well it’d be pretty fresh.

    Oh I agree. But instead of that Atticus keeps assuring us that he’s adapted by correcting other people all the time and bragging about how hip he is. If he honestly had trouble adapting in some obvious way, he’d be a much more interesting character.

    You know, I could forgive him for not taking the plot seriously. It could be read as a character flaw and his overconfidence should load him into trouble, that’d be ok with me. But for the last four chapters that plot that he isn’t taking seriously has refused to materialize in any way other than goddesses throwing themselves at Atticus with amorous intentions. And that, outside more porn-y, titles is unforgivable.

    What makes this worse it that he can afford to? When push comes to shove, Atticus is always able to repel any attackers with almost no effort, or do something ridiculous like summoning an iron elemental from nowhere to eat his enemies.

    I don’t know, but it sounds odd. Irish (or Irish Gaelic) is an actual language. It’s like someone saying, ‘She speaks the Spanish with me.’ If it was a person who wasn’t a native or fluent English speaker, I could see them saying this, but since it’s coming from Atticus, I’m just confused.

    I was also confused. It didn’t sound right to me, and I was wondering if it was an Irish thing, or a little joke or something.

    And this is not potentially creepy in any way. Experiment: try rewriting this scene, but instead of an old woman telling Atticus this, it’s an old man. Or try rewriting this scene and keep the old man, but instead of Atticus, it’s Artemis. “Ohoho, if I were fifty years younger, lass, I’d jump yer wee bones and tell no one but the Lord, ye can be sure.”

    I didn’t even consider that, but yeah, it’s pretty darn creepy. We’re not meant to see this woman as creepy though; she’s just the cute weird old neighbor character. Which she… isn’t. At all. But that’s what we’re supposed to get from it.

    Really? Not the handsome young man whom every woman wants to sleep with?

    Alright let me amend: Oberon is the self-insert that Hearne admitted to.

    What does he care about, then? He doesn’t care about human lives, he doesn’t care about his life possibly being in danger.

    He cares about his own skin, don’t worry. He’s just so overpowered and full of himself that it doesn’t come across very well.

    And to be fair, he cares about his dog, I guess.

    So, she doesn’t know how modern technology works and she hasn’t learned about new species to hunt. What has she been doing all these years?

    Unclear. Her account has her hunting in Europe somewhere with Herne, which seems to imply she only goes hunting in Europe? Which is weird. After the Americas were discovered by Europeans did she just not go? Does she not go hunting with hunting gods from other parts of the world than the British Isles?

    [shrug] I dunno.

    Is it because he is jealous of the fact that Atticus is so perfect?

    Let me guess, it’s because he’s jealous that Atticus has more goddesses inexplicably swooning over him than he does, even though he’s the god of love.

    Good guesses considering how the story’s been going, but weirdly enough, no.

  5. Epke on 26 August 2018, 05:33 said:

    She spoke the Irish with me and

    Never heard of this expression.

    “If I were fifty years younger, laddie, I’d jump yer wee bones and tell no one but the Lord, ye can be sure.”

    Is… isn’t this how older Irish people are stereotypically depicted as talking? Throwing in “wee” and “laddie/lassie” as often as possible? I looked it up, but I couldn’t find anything about Hearne actually having been to Ireland or talked extensively with Irish people to get the feeling or mindset of the Irish, so I assume this comes from… a Lucky Charms ad?

    Atticus thinks that it could be Aenghus Og, but again Atticus refuses to believe that the bad guy would actually leave Tir na nOg to kill him so he dismisses that idea.

    But the Morrigan and Flidais and Herne (although the latter isn’t actually a god: he’s a British folkfigure) all go out into the world, so why can’t Aenghus?

    No really. The dog is the self-insert.

    I’d be more inclined to say that the dog is the mouthpiece of Hearne, while Atticus is the wish-fulfillment.

    Flidais, goddess of the hunt

    Cattle, if I remember correctly. It’s only lately, and incorrectly, that she’s been compared to Artemis and Diana etc.

    Here, and in too many other works of fiction, the gods are just stupid.

    Which is interesting, actually. No, hear me out: in this series, the Tuatha are just humans who were so good at magic, they basically became demi-gods. At their core, they are still humans. But either because too much magic leaves them incapable of empathy with others/not aging also roots their mindset, or perhaps Tir na nOg, land of eternal youth, keeps them stuck in a certain mindset… anyway, they’re just magical humans.
    And so is Atticus. He’s basically on their power level (and as we see later, easily strong enough to kill gods), so he must be pretty damn good at magic, too. But Atticus is just as unempathetic as the Tuatha de Danann, but can handle modern technology. So is this inconsistency on Hearne’s part, or are the gods not really incapable of learning, they just don’t want to?

    You were a part of that system. You upheld that system.

    applauds

    It’s weird and New Age-y but it still doesn’t free Atticus from being complicit in the deaths of the gods’ victims.

    It’s SMeyer’s “vampires” all over again. Hearne needed a cool name for what his character was/is, and nicked one.

    The guest is to be treated like a god, because he may, in fact, be a god in disguise.

    Hm. That’s the Greeco-Roman interpretation of it though. Divine right of protection, divine right of hospitality and so on: in Zeus’ name, all strangers have guest right: a favour to be returned, should the former host be travelling as well. But like Juracan says, Flidais isn’t a guest. She’s a burglar.

    And really, it’s another example of Hearne telling instead of showing us stuff.

    The threat of Bres would have been much more impactful if Atticus actually showed some… I don’t know, panic at the thought. Small snatches of thought where he thinks of Bres’s past, perhaps.

    am curious to discover if you still have the endurance of the Fianna or if you are hiding a decrepitude and softness most unbecoming of a Celt.

    Hmmm? Was Atticus ever part of a fiann though?

  6. TMary on 26 August 2018, 06:30 said:

    flings hand in the air

    I’m gonna come back and comment on the last two sporkings properly, but for now I’m gonna step in and say that yes, “the Irish” is a thing. As is “the Gaelic” in Scotland. I’ve usually heard it in the phrase “I have/don’t have the Irish/Gaelic”; to “have” a language is another interesting phrase in Ireland and Scotland, coming from Irish and Gaelic, where you don’t say you “speak” a language or “know” a language, you “have” a language. Actually, “the language is at you”, because that’s how you say you have something, but we’re getting off the subject. Anyhow, I think you can say “she spoke the Irish with me”. I think. At the very least, it’s not absolutely wrong; people who speak perfect English – and pretty much everyone who speaks Irish does by this point – still talk that way.

    The rest of that accent is flippin’ awful, of course, but “the Irish” wasn’t wrong.

  7. Juracan on 26 August 2018, 16:11 said:

    I’d be more inclined to say that the dog is the mouthpiece of Hearne, while Atticus is the wish-fulfillment.

    That’s probably a more accurate statement than what I put.

    Which is interesting, actually. No, hear me out: in this series, the Tuatha are just humans who were so good at magic, they basically became demi-gods. At their core, they are still humans. But either because too much magic leaves them incapable of empathy with others/not aging also roots their mindset, or perhaps Tir na nOg, land of eternal youth, keeps them stuck in a certain mindset… anyway, they’re just magical humans.
    And so is Atticus. He’s basically on their power level (and as we see later, easily strong enough to kill gods), so he must be pretty damn good at magic, too. But Atticus is just as unempathetic as the Tuatha de Danann, but can handle modern technology. So is this inconsistency on Hearne’s part, or are the gods not really incapable of learning, they just don’t want to?

    That’s an interesting hypothesis, and my knowledge mostly extends to the first three books so I can’t say for sure. I want to say “No,” mostly because the next book has the Morrigan learning the process of making the iron amulet (though she has some trouble because it requires befriending an iron elemental and she doesn’t know how to genuinely be nice to anyone), so I think they can learn. But that’s magic, not modern technology, so I don’t know if it would even really count.

    And having only familiarity with the first three books, I couldn’t tell you if this turns out to be a thing later on. So your hippothesis might in fact be correct.

    Hmmm? Was Atticus ever part of a fiann though?

    I’m going to say “Yes,” to this one. I don’t know details of how that works, exactly, but as we find out in the next chapter he did fight in battles even in his native Ireland, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he was part of a fiann.

    The rest of that accent is flippin’ awful, of course, but “the Irish” wasn’t wrong.

    Oh good. Like I said, I didn’t know if it was wrong or not, because I could imagine it being a thing, but I’d never heard it before so it sounded off. Thanks for the clarification!

  8. CmdrNemo on 26 August 2018, 23:19 said:

    I want to hold to an position I’ve held for a long time now. I don’t care how powerful the character is. What I care about is how they use that power. Most importantly, how do they react to people with substantially less power. How do they treat the waiter?

    I’ve seen One Punch Man, Superman, Popeye, and Rick Sanchez operate with abilities far beyond anyone around them. Some of them have been handled poorly as often as well. But, the base power level just doesn’t tell me anything about the character. I don’t care if he’s overpowered, or underpowered, or perfectly balanced. All I care about is how he reacts to the world.

    Atticus there is a crap person. He clearly regards having power over those stoners as evidence of himself as a superior being. Which is completely hate worthy. He sees them in mortal danger and his reaction is. Well, if they knew what they were doing they wouldn’t have done that, sucks to be them. Which is just… douchebaggery. Everything he does is self serving and petty. I see ancient beings as either living in a world full of children or a world full of squirrels. He clearly lives in a world full of squirrels. He’d happily run them over. The only worry would be getting teeth in his tires. How am I, a squirrel in this analogy, supposed to sympathize with this?

  9. The Smith of Lie on 27 August 2018, 03:07 said:

    I’ve seen One Punch Man, Superman, Popeye, and Rick Sanchez operate with abilities far beyond anyone around them. Some of them have been handled poorly as often as well. But, the base power level just doesn’t tell me anything about the character. I don’t care if he’s overpowered, or underpowered, or perfectly balanced. All I care about is how he reacts to the world.

    Yes and no. Note one thing about your examples (I don’t count Superman, since he operates in the world where his abilities can be matched or negated). They don’t operate around dramatic tension stemming from conflict based around those powers. You never doubt that Saitama, Rick and Popeye will prevail in direct confrontation, their stories mostly base themselves around the comedy and showiness where this is concerned, while getting potential for drama from other sources – whether fights of other, less powerful characters or interactions that don’t require confrontation.

    It is also possible to have an overpowered character who is just so showy and fun, that their power level doesn’t detract from the story, even if there is no tensions. Hellsing and Ovelord come to mind here. And even here, with showy invincibility the stories often depend of having cast of less powerful characters, who can be put in real danger to build tension.

    But you can’t have all powerful character functioning within a traditional narrative, where the dramatic stakes are based on uncertainty if they can overcome their obstacles. If nothing can challange the character and you don’t compensate with comedy or showmanship, what is there for audience to enjoy?

    Therefore the problem with Atticus isn’t just that he is powerful. The problem is the context of that power within the narrative structure that doesn’t fit the Invincible Hero archetype.

    I’d even go so far as to say, that invincible heroes are better suited to visual mediums than books (though Ovelord light novels manage to pull it off) because it takes a great writing to make a description flashy and vivid enough, to compensate for the lack of tension regarding the outcome.

  10. Juracan on 27 August 2018, 16:07 said:

    I think both of you have very good points here so I’m going to try to talk a bit about both of them.

    Atticus there is a crap person. He clearly regards having power over those stoners as evidence of himself as a superior being. Which is completely hate worthy. He sees them in mortal danger and his reaction is. Well, if they knew what they were doing they wouldn’t have done that, sucks to be them. Which is just… douchebaggery. Everything he does is self serving and petty. I see ancient beings as either living in a world full of children or a world full of squirrels. He clearly lives in a world full of squirrels. He’d happily run them over. The only worry would be getting teeth in his tires. How am I, a squirrel in this analogy, supposed to sympathize with this?

    I don’t know if I’d say that Atticus would happily run us over, but he certainly doesn’t mind if we are. There’s a situation later in the book in which a regular guy gets killed right in front of him, and it distresses him, but the way that carries for the rest of the book isn’t so much that he feels bad to have been responsible or connected to the man’s death, but that he’s worried about being blamed for it and he doesn’t want to be held responsible. It’s not his fault, but he’s not exactly concerned about the fact that an innocent life has been taken.

    He’s a dick.

    And again I’m going on the first three books, so maybe it’s addressed later on. But Atticus’s friends are A) his dog, B) his apprentice, or C) other supernatural creatures. He doesn’t care at all about the ordinary humans, and considering the reader is an ordinary human (probably), that’s a problem, because we see a protagonist who doesn’t care about us at all.

    It is also possible to have an overpowered character who is just so showy and fun, that their power level doesn’t detract from the story, even if there is no tensions. Hellsing and Ovelord come to mind here. And even here, with showy invincibility the stories often depend of having cast of less powerful characters, who can be put in real danger to build tension.

    But you can’t have all powerful character functioning within a traditional narrative, where the dramatic stakes are based on uncertainty if they can overcome their obstacles. If nothing can challange the character and you don’t compensate with comedy or showmanship, what is there for audience to enjoy?

    Therefore the problem with Atticus isn’t just that he is powerful. The problem is the context of that power within the narrative structure that doesn’t fit the Invincible Hero archetype.

    I’d even go so far as to say, that invincible heroes are better suited to visual mediums than books (though Ovelord light novels manage to pull it off) because it takes a great writing to make a description flashy and vivid enough, to compensate for the lack of tension regarding the outcome.

    That’s… actually a really good point. There are a lot of characters in visual and interactive mediums that work very well in their original contexts that would be really boring to read about. And that’s fine. Different mediums should be different and play with how to express those differences in how they tell narratives and develop characters.

    Which leads to the other idea, that an invincible hero would work in a comedy. And this… isn’t really a comedy. There are bits of humor written in (which I don’t think are very funny but it’s subjective), but Hounded is not a comedy. If this was a parody of the urban fantasy genre I’d be a lot more forgiving, but there’s not a lot of subversion of tropes or expectations. Stuff just kind of happens and Atticus deals with it.

    And because we’re not being entertained with spectacle (like in a visual medium) or comedy (as in a parody), it highlights how much of a douche the main character is and how weird it is that he’s able to not care about villains coming to kill him or have goddesses jump into bed with him.

  11. CmdrNemo on 28 August 2018, 20:25 said:

    You’ve both made some really good points. I completely agree with where you are going. Especially that an overpowered hero can’t work in a traditional narrative.

    I just felt like talking about invincible and/or overpowered characters. They certainly work better in a visual medium. But, I don’t feel they need to be limited to those. For spectacle, yes absolutely. Novels just don’t have the spectacle visual stuff does and isn’t even in the same ball park as animated stuff. Where animated here just means: moving picture.

    In a novel with an overpowered hero you really need one of three things that I can think of. There might be more. You either go with a Paddington Bear approach. Where the conflict has nothing to do with the hero. The story is about how he effects the lives of those around him. They have conflicts, he helps resolve those conflicts, we see them change. Or the One Punch Man approach. Where the hero lives a life with no conflict, no challenge. Who then has no life. Everything is always boring. And again, the story is driven by how people around him react to him and where he fits into the world. If, as it is said in the Princess Bride “life is pain.” What would it be like to live without pain? Finally the philosophical limits. You have a character who can do practically whatever they want. But, they hold themselves back because of strongly held beliefs. Rick Sanchez should work in a novel. I don’t know how fun it would be. Everything he does is about finding the value of an individual within an infinity.

    I guess my point is. For characters who are not power limited the questions that drive them can’t be answered with power.

  12. The Smith of Lie on 25 September 2018, 07:43 said:

    Hey guys. The exchange with TMary in previous chapter inspired me write a little spite fic. It is sort of silly and ridiculous, but given all the talk about OP protagonists I think it fits here.

    At its most basic warfare boils down to one, simple rule. “Engage the enemy where he is weak and you’re strong.” It’s sort of a truism and easier said and done, but it sums up pretty much every winning strategy ever conceived. Even if the weakness and strength in any given case vary from simple numerical advantage to more abstract circumstances. And it’s the same in my job.

    But how does one exploit a weakness of a target such as one Siodhachan O Suileabhain? Magic doesn’t seem to work on him. And I’m not much of a mage anyway. Hand to hand combat? He was trained by some of the toughest customers in the business. Besides I despise a fair fight. Why not just shoot him? Sounds promising, but apparently he has some sort of healing factor. And a deal with a reaper, if I were to believe the conversation recorded by the tap I put in his shop. So, how does one kill someone like Siodhachan O Suileabhain?

    With engineering. A solid German engineering, coupled with false permits, copious bribes and the most bold faced lies ever told. To be honest I am surprised how easily everyone believed that an 88 millimetre steel tube pointing towards the sky from the roof of local 7-11 (a one located right in the sight from O Suileabhain’s shop) was a telescope. I suppose few people would recognize Flak 88 on sight. That and the idea that anyone in their right mind would assemble a giant, World War II era, anti-aircraft canon on the roof of a shop in the middle of sleepy, little town in Arizona is patently ridiculous. Which is exactly what I have done.

    The rest of a day I spent meticulously calibrating the aiming equipment right at the doors of O Suileabhain shop. The plan was to sent him a nice surprise the next day, when he’ll come to open it. Moving at about 820 m/s a 9 kg slug does terrible, terrible things with a human body. I don’t care if all the gods of underworld conspire to never let your souls leave your flesh, if you ever get a direct hit from an 88 you will wish you were able to die. Or at least whatever pieces of you remain will wish that.

    O Suileabhain arrived just on schedule. And just as he was inserting keys into the lock I fired upon him. Thankfully the smoke, dust and cloud of debris spared me the grisly sight of whatever was to pass as his earthly remains.

    The only problem I was facing at this point was that the jig was up regarding my “telescope”. I didn’t wait to discover if a ruin of nearby shop, smoking barrel and the ridiculously loud bang made by the 88 were enough to clue the authorities to the fact that it was actually a canon. Maybe not. Given what I’ve seen of their gun culture I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Americans considered ability to fire high calibre projectiles a typical for a telescope.

  13. TMary on 28 September 2018, 19:28 said:

    I’m back again! :D Who missed me?

    He’s had the faeries attack him, the Morrigan deliver bad news (not that he took it seriously), so he’s expecting something else bad to pop up and ruin his day.

    Annnd it doesn’t occur to him that maybe, just maybe, the next bad thing might be, I dunno, Aengus Óg or some of his servants? Maybe?

    I gotta let a few of these slide or I’ll never make it.

    Also, according to Wikipedia, Hearne’s spelling Aengus’s name wrong. It’s like he blended Aengus (modern Irish) and Aonghus (Scottish Gaelic) together.

    She “speaks the Irish”? Is that a thing anyone says? I’m genuinely asking here.

    Well, we went over this already, but yeah, it’s a thing. And it is nice to see that Hearne is at last giving us confirmation that Atticus speaks Irish and seems to enjoy being able to speak it with other people, though I think it would be cool if “the widow MacDonagh” noticed that Atticus’s Irish is…a little different from hers.

    Also, if she’s an old Irish lady who speaks Irish, her name should technically be “Mhic Donnchadha”, but Hearne’s a leetle inconsistent with how closely he sticks to Irish names.

    I usually did her yard work for her once a week and she liked to watch me do it, declaring loudly each time that “If I were fifty years younger, laddie, I’d jump yer wee bones and tell no one but the Lord, ye can be sure.”

    OK, few things here.

    First and least important off, now she’s speaking accented English instead of Irish. Goody.

    Second, something I’ve learned from studying Scots and Gaelic is that it doesn’t matter if you know the words of a language if you don’t understand the culture behind it. Same thing goes for dialects and accents. Just because you know how to speak in it doesn’t mean you can do a convincing imitation of someone whose native language/dialect/accent it is, if you don’t understand how a person from that culture would see a situation. And yes, I know, people are individuals and different people see the world differently, culture or no, but your upbringing does have a strong effect on the way you see the world.

    Like here, for example. I don’t claim to be an expert on modern Irish culture myself, but from what I’ve gathered, “I want to have sex with you” is not something a woman from this generation would be inclined to even think without shame, let alone shout so the whole street can hear it. Older Irish people are, generally speaking, prudes!

    Not to mention he’s not even using the words of the dialect right. “Wee” means “little”, Hearne. Now, unless Atticus is actually a leprechaun, this woman should not be saying “I’d jump your little bones”, because that sounds ridiculous and nobody talks like that, no matter where they’re from!

    Fourth, Aikaterini went over this already, which I was glad to see, but this woman comes across less as an amusingly-besotted old lady and more like a sexual harasser to me. Guys, back me up on this: If you regularly did yard work for an older woman, or any woman, and every time you were working she sat there and stared at you while you did it, then loudly announced for the entire street to hear how much she wanted to have sex with you…would you be flattered or skeeved out?

    Fifth, please, Hearne, if you’re going to be this stereotypical, just go all out. Have her mention leprechauns and whisky and shamrocks, come on!

    Alright here’s a pro-tip, authors: if you’re writing a story, don’t constantly remind us how hot your lead is and how much people of the opposite sex want to have sex with him or her. I’m sure there are exceptions to that rule that you could make because writing is a varied and complex art, but in general I think it’s a good rule. Because it all it does is make me think that you’re writing a self-insert wish fulfillment character.

    Yeah, like…it’s one thing if it’s one time you tell us “Oh, this character is good-looking” and then it doesn’t come up again except maybe every once in a while, when it would be natural for it to come up. Or if it’s one character thinking it about, say, their crush, because that’s natural, people’s internal monologue about their crush tends to run along the lines of “He/she’s really, really hot”. That can still get annoying extremely fast (yeah, I’ve waxed lyrical about the exact shape of my crush’s eyes before, too, but that doesn’t mean I want to listen to someone else doing it for two paragraphs a page), but at least it’s understandable and it’s not every character doing it. And it’s much better if the character being constantly talked about as hot is not your wish-fulfillment character, but that kind of requires there to not be a wish-fulfillment character at all, so.

    And please, everybody, stop having your characters notice that another character is extremely good-looking when they should really be thinking about something else!

    Do you remember that list of superpowers that Atticus has from last chapter’s sporking? Maybe add ‘Every woman so far wants to bone him,’ to that list, yeah?

    And it’s getting frankly absurd. I don’t care how good-looking and charismatic you are, there’s no way you’re that attractive to every member of the opposite sex! You just aren’t! The only way you are is if you have some kind of literal mind-whammy that makes people fall in love with you, like Aengus Óg, and—

    Say.

    I’ve got an idea. But I’m saving it.

    His defenses don’t protect him from a god marching into his house? Or at least tell him when it happens? That’s a pretty shoddy defense system, my dude.

    I mean, on the one hand, I’m kind of glad about this because it’s actually something Atticus can’t defend against, for once. But on the other, you’re right, that is a shoddy defense system.

    Atticus thinks that it could be Aenghus Og, but again Atticus refuses to believe that the bad guy would actually leave Tir na nOg to kill him so he dismisses that idea.

    I hate being fair to this dreck…but to be fair, it has taken Aengus like a thousand years to kill Atticus before now, and aside from one or two little incidents we’re told about, it doesn’t sound like he’s been trying very hard.

    And honestly, I don’t know which one’s lamer: That Atticus can’t be bothered to run from the villain, or that the villain is so underwhelming that there’s no reason to run from him.

    He’s Atticus’s dog, with whom he communicates telepathically,

    I’m not saying this is a stupid idea, not at all, I’m just curious: Is Oberon magic and immortal, too, or is he just a pet Atticus picked up because he was lonely and Atticus can communicate with him telepathically because that’s a druid thing?

    Although it does bother me that the dog is named “Oberon” rather than, I don’t know, something Irish.

    This leads to Atticus talking about wolfhounds and how he adopted Oberon but it’s all boring so I’m skipping it.

    Aw, that’s the first time I’ve been interested all book! I, um…I like dogs. XD

    Oberon gets a bit worried asking “”,

    Er, what does Oberon ask? You didn’t include the quote.

    They’re not even bad quips! But they kill the tension. There’s someone in Atticus’s house right now! We don’t know who! We don’t know if she’s friend or foe! This should be super tense! They should only be saying what’s absolutely necessary.

    This is something that’s really hard to get right. It is possible to keep up tension while two people are quipping back and forth, but it’s really hard. It’s hard even when the quippers are the hero and villain and they’re in the middle of a fight. When the quippers are a guy and his dog and they’re chilling in the backyard instead of going in and seeing who the intruder is, it’s…next to impossible.

    she was hunting with Herne, found a poacher, followed him to a smoothie joint, killed him and took his smoothie.

    OK, maybe I’m a terrible person, but that was such a bizarre way to get one’s hands on a smoothie that I found it funny.

    And then describes her outfit for Reasons.

    It’s leather.

    And now I’m no longer amused. When you’ve finished salivating over the hawt chick in leather, Atticus.

    I know Atticus tells us that the Tuatha de Danann don’t get out much because they can be killed, but you know what? I can be killed and I don’t spend all my time in my own house.

    That was both funny and an excellent point. Well done. :D

    You’re a Druid. You don’t get to complain about how the social system that the gods are used to was weird and immoral and disconnect yourself from it. […] So while yeah, the gods are problematic in their attitudes, don’t act like you have no part in it because you’re Iron Age and she’s Bronze Age.

    standing ovation

    Exactly! Thank you! Just standing back and doing nothing isn’t enough. Just because you personally aren’t committing the immorality, that doesn’t mean you’re not complicit. Especially if you’re actively helping the other person commit the immorality! We have a phrase for that nowadays, Atticus: It’s called aiding and abetting.

    Furthermore it isn’t as if there weren’t rules in the Bronze Age. The idea of murder being a way to break that law shouldn’t be new.

    Exactly this too! Thank you again! I’ll admit that people in both the Iron Age and the Bronze Age were probably more likely to let a killing slide, if the other person had done something to offend you – heck, in the 1800s they were still fighting duels of honor in some places. But that doesn’t mean they just let people go around killing other people because “they displeased me”. That’s sociopath morality, not any particular age’s.

    And Atticus doesn’t care much about human life either! […] It’s not his business. The gods are just dicks and there’s nothing he’s going to do about it.

    EXACTLY THIS TOO!

    Yeah, frack off, Atticus. Don’t you dare try to claim some kind of moral high ground. I mean, maybe if it turned out he stopped being a druid because he got sick of the way the Irish gods acted, then I would give him a pass, but not now.

    And what’s all this nonsense of “the gods are permanently stuck in Bronze Age morality”? At least you’d think they’d have adapted enough to understand that people don’t think like that any more oh wait this is Hounded never mind forget I said anything.

    Atticus is a somewhat unusual name, and people will comment on it, though it’s not too out there so it’s probably not a huge deal.

    If anything, they’ll probably think of Atticus Finch, to be honest. XD But yeah, people notice if you have an unusual name. Even if they aren’t etymology nerds like me and don’t know it’s Greek, they’ll notice it.

    Although, in fairness, it’s possible what Hearne meant is that “just because you have a Greek name in America doesn’t mean you’re Greek, so nobody guesses what your ethnicity/nationality is based on what you’re called” which is…partly true, but also, as you said, partly not.

    Atticus explains that people today only care about crude displays of personal wealth, and I’m compelled to point out that it’s not a new thing.

    And I’m compelled to point out that A: not everybody is like that, and B: Atticus seems to only care about crude displays of personal power, so he still doesn’t have the moral high ground. It’s just two different kinds of showing off.

    Atticus decides that he wants some smoothie, and instead of saying so, or getting it because it’s his house, he stares at the blender and hopes Flidais gets the hint.

    Polite. eyeroll

    THREE: Yes, it’s commonly presented that in the ancient world rules of Guest and Host are sacred, but Atticus (and Hearne) are missing an important detail about this situation: that the guest is also supposed to act incredibly politely and not offend his or her host.

    YES AGAIN!

    I don’t know how this was in Ireland, but in the Scottish Highlands, at least, the concept of sacred hospitality was very strong. And it went both ways. The host offered shelter and hospitality to the person who needed it, and in return, the guest was polite and did nothing to offend or harm their host.

    And in the myths I’ve read of “the gods disguising themselves as poor humans in order to test people they visit”, the gods upheld their end of the bargain and acted like considerate guests, because, after all, how can you test a person’s manners and generosity if you act like a big fat jerk to them?

    Flidais is not doing that, nor would the Morrigan have been doing that in Atticus’s hypothetical scenario. They’re both being incredibly rude and impolite, and anybody would be within their rights to tell them to go. Including in the Bronze Age. Thank you.

    And finally, this gets a reaction and Atticus spits out his strawberry smoothie.

    OK, I’m kinda done with spit-takes as indicators of surprise, to be honest. It’s fine if you’re deliberately doing it for comedic effect, but as a genuine sign that someone’s shocked…no. You don’t breathe out when you’re shocked, you breathe in. In the ensuing confusion, you might then spray whatever you’re eating or drinking all over everything, but your first action shouldn’t be to spit, it should be to choke on what you’re eating. Spit-takes are laughter, goshdarnit, that’s how human anatomy works!

    Sorry, what were we talking about?

    Same thing here. […] Two goddesses have dropped into Atticus’s life to tell him that his life is about to go pear-shaped because the Bad Guys know where he lives, and Atticus doesn’t care.

    Oh, right, stupid.

    Which, uh, yeah I get the goddess of the forests (or not, look at the first footnote again) wouldn’t get along with the god of agriculture responsible for cutting down those forests to make fields, but if the gods are so terrified of getting killed that they hardly leave Tir na nOg, you’d think they wouldn’t encourage someone to go and kill one of their own?

    Not to mention…so Flidais doesn’t want to be killed by Brighid herself…but she’s got no problem if Atticus becomes the target of Brighid’s anger? Chalk that up to “the gods are jerks” again, I guess…

    I mean, in fairness, I’ve got no problems with Atticus having another angry god after him, but Flidais is supposed to like the dude at least a little, right?

    Oberon talks about how he and Atticus hunted bighorn sheep in Papago Park.

    One of these days, I will figure out why authors like Kevin Hearne and Stephenie Meyer think it makes a character sympathetic to have them go out and slaughter endangered animals for fun. But today is not that day.

    Flidais is amazed at the idea of hunting sheep, because, well, they’re sheep, how can that be any fun? Sheep are slow and dumb. Atticus and Oberon explain that bighorn sheep aren’t like domesticated sheep, they’re bigger and harder to bring down. Flidais, astounded that she hasn’t heard of these before

    So, she’s never heard of the mouflon, then? It’s not native to Ireland – at least not as far as I can see – but it is a European animal. Surely she’s heard of it, or something similar.

    She decides to have sex with him.

    No really.

    ARRRRRRRRRRGH!

    begins eating pens Sorry, go on.

    The corner of her mouth quirked up at the edge,

    Hold on. Either the corner of her mouth quirked up, or her mouth quirked up at the edge. You can’t have it both ways, Hearne.

    I locked eyes on hers and didn’t let go of her hand as we returned inside and

    Fell over something because we were too busy looking at each other’s eyes instead of where we were going.

    I figured, to hell with the bike.

    Oh sure, just leave your bike lying in the street for everybody else to swerve around while you run off to bed with a goddess, you jerk stuffs another pen in her mouth I’m fine. Except my mouth tastes like ink now. And I have no more pens.

    I’ve got nothing to add to the rest of your excellent analysis except that this seems a little wild and free about sex, even for prehistoric Ireland, where people were a little more – OK, a lot more – casual about it. Like, never mind Atticus having less survival instinct than…literally anything else on this planet, what the heck does Flidais see in this guy? Could she really not think of anything she’d rather do?

    Also,

    Maybe the later books in the series get much better, but judging from the first few I’m kind of doubtful.

    Yeah, I’ve never yet heard of a series that started out bad and then got good. I mean, Order of the Stick started out silly and got serious, but that’s not quite the same thing.

    blob: Hey did you know? Ireland is a real place! You can listen to people from there talking, and then put dialog in your story that actually sounds like how Irish people talk! Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can write about somebody else!

    That’s one point I left out of my rant, the point of “you have to listen to people actually talking the way you want to imitate”, but you said it far more succinctly than I would have, so I didn’t have to. :)

    The Smith of Lie: In a just universe this would come back to bite the aforementioned butt with a force of a bear trap snapping shut.

    Now I’ve got a lovely mental image of a bear biting Atticus in the butt. (I know you said a bear trap, but a bear is more fun.) Thanks XD

    If it is how the world actually works than it isn’t superstition…

    Good point.

    This is actually pretty prevalent theme in first person narrated books. “If only I had known…” is a cliché for a reason. Personally I’m willing to let it go, as long as it’s not overused.

    I like it, used well, but it does have the unfortunate side effect of letting you know that the main character survives the book. I mean, that’s usually a given with fiction, but you take away all the tension if you have the main character saying, “This is the story of how I thought I was going to die a bunch of times but I actually didn’t.”

    I think it’d be more funny and interesting if she wore a modern Ghillie suit or something similar. But I always found the idea of old gods adapting to the modern world more interesting than Hearne’s “they don’t keep up with the times” thing. It just makes so much more space for creative use of the classic characters if one allows for, I don’t know Odin as a CEO of PMC corporation.

    I just imagined a goddess showing up in Atticus’s kitchen and making a smoothie she stole from a poacher she killed while wearing a ghillie suit and it’s kinda awesome, actually XD

    At this point one has to wonder, what has Atticus done, that both Morrigan and Flidais pretty much trip over themselves to personally deliver warnings to him…

    Uhhh…

    I mean, maybe something happened, but all I’ve got right now is that he is TEH HAWTNEZZ.

    Maybe he wants to drop in for a smoothie?

    That was pretty funny.

    It could be read as a character flaw and his overconfidence should load him into trouble, that’d be ok with me. But for the last four chapters that plot that he isn’t taking seriously has refused to materialize in any way other than goddesses throwing themselves at Atticus with amorous intentions. And that, outside more porn-y, titles is unforgivable.

    YES! Like, if the fact that he’s survived for a thousand years and is so loaded down with plot armor that if it was real armor he’d need to be lifted onto a horse with a crank was causing him to think he was invulnerable, and then he got his butt kicked, I’d be fine with it. BUT IT ISN’T.

    Would you like a pen? They’re not bad, once you get used to the taste of the ink.

    Aikaterini: Experiment: try rewriting this scene, but instead of an old woman telling Atticus this, it’s an old man. Or try rewriting this scene and keep the old man, but instead of Atticus, it’s Artemis. “Ohoho, if I were fifty years younger, lass, I’d jump yer wee bones and tell no one but the Lord, ye can be sure.”

    And see, I just shuddered involuntarily. That’s creepy, Hearne.

    What does he care about, then? He doesn’t care about human lives, he doesn’t care about his life possibly being in danger.

    Making out/having sex with hot goddesses? shrug

    Yeah, it’s really odd to have a protagonist who just…doesn’t care. At all. About anything, as far as I can make out. He could even want to take over the world and it’d at least be more satisfying than “He wants to be left alone, except by the hot chicks, they’re cool”.

    Juracan: Yeah it’s kind of… terrible. I basically avoid writing accents into the words at all when I write, because I know it’ll end up terrible. I tend to just add that the character speaks with an accent.

    And that’s probably for the best. It can work, but only if you genuinely know what you’re doing and how to write it. Like Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain wrote that entire book in Huck’s dialect, but that’s because he knew how it sounded and how people who spoke like that used their words.

    I remember in middle school we read a nonfiction short titled something like, “My Wild Irish Mother” (I was going to link to it but I can’t find it online for the life of me), and even it wasn’t anywhere near this stereotypical.

    …My brain just scuttled away into the corner to hide. (Well, what’s left of it after I started eating pens.)

    Epke: Is… isn’t this how older Irish people are stereotypically depicted as talking? Throwing in “wee” and “laddie/lassie” as often as possible? I looked it up, but I couldn’t find anything about Hearne actually having been to Ireland or talked extensively with Irish people to get the feeling or mindset of the Irish, so I assume this comes from… a Lucky Charms ad?

    Yes, Epke. Yes, yes it is. rubs temples

    And of course he hasn’t actually been to Ireland or talked extensively with Irish people. That would require, y’know, work. And thought. And research.

    Sorry, I’m a bit bitter.

    CmdrNemo: I want to hold to an position I’ve held for a long time now. I don’t care how powerful the character is. What I care about is how they use that power. Most importantly, how do they react to people with substantially less power. How do they treat the waiter?

    […]

    Atticus there is a crap person. He clearly regards having power over those stoners as evidence of himself as a superior being. Which is completely hate worthy. He sees them in mortal danger and his reaction is. Well, if they knew what they were doing they wouldn’t have done that, sucks to be them. Which is just… douchebaggery. Everything he does is self serving and petty. I see ancient beings as either living in a world full of children or a world full of squirrels. He clearly lives in a world full of squirrels. He’d happily run them over. The only worry would be getting teeth in his tires. How am I, a squirrel in this analogy, supposed to sympathize with this?

    I agree with everything you’ve just said, sir or madam. It’s like the author thinks flinging “LOOK AT MY CHARACTER’S KEWL POWERZ” at us makes them likable, but it doesn’t. I don’t care what Atticus can do, I care about what he does do.

    Have you read the springhole essay about creating likable powerful characters? I think you might like it.

    The Smith of Lie: Hey guys. The exchange with TMary in previous chapter inspired me write a little spite fic. It is sort of silly and ridiculous, but given all the talk about OP protagonists I think it fits here.

    Oh goody. grabs popcorn, which is much better than pens

    To be honest I am surprised how easily everyone believed that an 88 millimetre steel tube pointing towards the sky from the roof of local 7-11 (a one located right in the sight from O Suileabhain’s shop) was a telescope.

    It was around here that I started giggling hysterically and couldn’t stop. You have a gift, sir.

    O Suileabhain arrived just on schedule. And just as he was inserting keys into the lock I fired upon him. Thankfully the smoke, dust and cloud of debris spared me the grisly sight of whatever was to pass as his earthly remains.

    Thank you so much, Smith. Never change.

  14. TMary on 29 September 2018, 01:25 said:

    Annnd since my last comment just wasn’t long enough, I thought I’d maybe make a small contribution to the spitefic genre myself and follow up on that idea I had earlier. Because at the point when I came up with this I had no idea what beef Aengus had with Atticus and this seemed like as likely a reason as any (I’ve since read the Chapter 5 sporking, so I added a bit of the canon reason in as well, but I didn’t see why the two couldn’t stand together).

    Ahem.

    ***

    I shut the door behind me, turned the key in the lock, and went for my bike. I was headed for home – not to pack or flee, as the Morrigan had suggested, but just to go home. She thought I’d regret it, but what did she know, really? She’d been wrong before, and Aengus had had millenia in which to try and kill me. It hadn’t happened yet. Once upon a time (I was old enough to use that expression in regards to my age and mean it), I’d been running scared from the so-called god of love, but that was a long time ago. Things were different now, and he’d holed himself up in Tir na nÓg with no apparent intentions of coming out again.

    “A Shiodhachain O Suileabhain!”

    The voice thundered so impressively and unexpectedly from behind me that I dropped my bike and spun around, my heart hammering. It couldn’t be…

    But it was. Aengus Óg himself – not one of his minions, not one of his allies, but the actual god. He was tall, handsome, and, though slender, gave an impression of immense strength. That might have had something to do with the cape draped around his shoulders that made them look three inches broader than they were, or maybe with the fact that he was floating half a foot off the ground, or maybe just with the searing hatred in his eyes and face. Usually Aengus had at least one or two songbirds hovering around his head or perched on his arm, but not when he was in a rage like this. Now it was just him.

    I took a couple of deep breaths and forced myself to calm down a little. After all, I still had my amulet, not to mention my various other powers, and that ought to be enough to protect me against anything Aengus could throw at me.

    “Aenguis,” I said, nodding tightly and deciding to speak in Old Irish to offend him less. “How goes it?”

    And then I…moved. I won’t say I was pushed, or dragged, or anything so crude. It was more that one second I was next to my bike and then next I was standing in front of Aengus Óg, well within arm’s reach. Which was disconcerting, to say the least – I’d thought my amulet would protect me from this kind of magical manhandling.

    “How goes it?” he asked, through clenched teeth, and I had a vague sensation, not of being shaken, but as if I had just been shaken. “How goes it? You filthy thief, you rob the Tuatha and you have the gall to stand before me and ask how goes it? You miserable—”

    I thought he might strike me and thought it better to get out of arm’s reach before he could (it wouldn’t hurt me as much as it would hurt him, but it would hurt). I had to wrench myself backwards as if he had been holding me, though, and it winded me a little. “Is this still about Freagarthach?” I asked, trying not to pant. “You always did think it belonged to you.”

    “It does belong to me!” Aengus thundered again, and the air around us seemed to vibrate. “Conn Cétchathach is long dead, as is my father. All those who could have a claim to the sword have passed on; it is mine now, and you have kept it unjustly for far too long. But you know well there are other reasons for our enmity.”

    Gods. Too obsessed with ancient successions for my taste.

    I fell to the ground, slapping my bare palms against the earth, willing the iron elemental to me again. It wouldn’t kill Aengus, probably, but it would distract him long enough for me to get away. But before I could get more than a faint sense of its presence, I was pulled into the air to hang there ten feet above the ground, my arms and legs dangling down towards it in a most undignified position.

    “I don’t recall saying that our conversation was over, a Shiodhachain,” said Aengus, now floating next to me and speaking in a softer and infinitely more dangerous voice. “And I do not appreciate you attempting to end it with the use of iron.”

    “What’s there to talk about?” I asked, struggling fiercely to get back to the ground. I managed to get about a foot closer to it, but that was it.

    “You know as well as I do that your theft of Freagarach was not what made me your enemy. It was merely an added insult to the great one you had already dealt us.”

    I looked up at him anxiously. He no longer looked angry, just…contemptuous. As if I was something completely beneath his notice. And Aengus Óg had been known to take notice of spiders.

    “Well? Will you admit yet to your crimes, a Shiodhachain?”

    I couldn’t decide if that would be the smarter option or not. I said nothing.

    “Shall I list them for you?” Without waiting for me to respond, he went on. “You have used magic to make yourself the essence of that which is poison to magic, you have slaughtered my sons, and my brothers’ sons, without remorse or pity, by use of that same poison, you have bound your soul to this life well beyond its time – why, I know not, unless you fear Manannan when you cross over – but before all that, before all that, a Shiodhachain” —and I had the odd sensation as if I’d just been shaken again— “you stole a power that did not belong to you.”

    I made an immense struggle here and slithered through his magic grip to the ground, landing heavily but not enough to hurt myself; the magic had slowed the descent. I wasn’t stupid enough to try for the iron elemental again, but I started backing away as quickly as I could, intending to get out of range of his spells so I could work a little magic of my own. “That’s it?” I sneered, trying to get him worked up again so he’d be distracted. “You’re mad because the girls don’t think you’re as pretty as they did?”

    The air thrummed again, powerfully enough this time that I bent over, feeling nauseated. But when Aengus spoke, he was still calm, and I realized I’d made a grave error in judgment.

    “You insolent fool,” he murmured. “How a man so lacking in wisdom or understanding ever became a draoí, I do not know. I had no desire to be desired as you are. I had the power to seduce any woman I pleased, mortal or sí or goddess, a power so strong that no mortal woman could withstand it but must fall in love with me, and do you know what I did with that power, a Shiodhachain?”

    I was still backing up, but I shook my head.

    Nothing!” he roared, and this time the ground trembled with the air at his power. “I did nothing. I avoided human women, I travelled only at dusk or under the cover of glamour so that they would not see me and would not fall into adoration of me, the adoration that could never be satisfied. You – you – what do you do? You use it on the defenseless, knowing full well what you do, and you do it without guilt or thought or—” He stared at me for a moment in disgust.

    I wanted to say something in my defense, but nothing came to mind.

    “How many women have died – pined away or killed themselves – for the mad craving love that is not love of you, a Shiodhachain?” he asked, softly. “How many, because you must satisfy your lust and never mind if their desire could be satisfied? How many?”

    “I don’t know,” I said, flatly. It was the truth. Not that I deliberately drove them to it, exactly, but I’d never really bothered to check.

    “I thought not.” Aengus shook his head. “And all because you wanted power, eh, boy? All because of that?”

    I backed up against my bike, which was custom-made with an iron body, and seized it. As long as I was holding it, he would have a harder time casting spells on me, which was good, because he’d seemed to have almost no difficulty with it up to now. I began to mutter a shape-shifting spell under my breath – something small and fast, preferably, a weasel, maybe. That’d do.

    “What are you doing, a Shiodhachain?” Aengus asked.

    I didn’t answer, of course, just kept muttering. I could feel the change beginning to happen, my senses were sharpening, I was starting to shrink—

    And then Aengus Óg was in front of me again, and his eyes were like tunnels with no end, tunnels where there was always a light just ahead of me which I could never reach, and everything around me was dark, nearly pitch-black…and there was sweet flute music coming from somewhere, coming from the other end of the tunnel, maybe, sweet, achingly familiar flute music, and it was pulling me down, down into those tunnels, that tunnel, down towards the light that never came…

    “I don’t think you want to do that, a Shiodhachain,” said Aengus’s voice, quietly, stealing around the music, feeling like a hand laid on my shoulder by a reasonable friend. “I think you’re very tired. You’ve lived two thousand years, now, man, and always running, all that time. Wouldn’t you like a proper rest, a Shiodhachain? Wouldn’t it be better to have a proper rest?”

    I felt myself nod and then jerked awake in horror. No – no – he was the god of music and dreams.

    I came back to myself enough to be able to see, clearly, though the flute music was still there and I felt drowsy and my hand had gone slack on the iron bike, but I could see the world around me and Aengus Óg watching me impassively. “You—” I managed. “How are you – how are you doing that?”

    He looked at me almost pityingly. “You’re fighting a god, boy,” he said. “And not to mention, you’ve taken more onto yourself than a human frame was ever meant to take. You have lived too long, a Shiodhachain, far too long, and in all those long years, instead of using power sparingly, you’ve taken power after power upon yourself and used them all and often. It’s no wonder it’s taken its toll now, and you should be unable to resist the power of a god.”

    I stumbled away from the bike, wishing I could get the music out of my ears, but it was still there, winding its way insidiously into my mind, and I was so sleepy.

    “You can’t kill me,” I told Aengus, with my last ounce of consciousness.

    “Whoever said I came here to do that?” he asked.

    I stared at him for a moment, and then I was falling down the tunnels again and this time I seemed to hit the bottom – or maybe it didn’t matter any more.

    ——

    Aengus looked down at his sleeping adversary, sprawled on the ground with his amulet dangling free of his collar. He bent over, took hold of it with a corner of his cape, and tugged.

    The chain it hung on broke and the amulet came away in his hand. He held it a moment, pondering. This amulet held the power Siodhachan had taken from him with the spells he’d learned, and all the other powers he’d used to make himself more than mortal. The gods had no use for such a thing, and it was too dangerous to risk it falling into mortal hands again. After he took his own power back, he would have the amulet destroyed, and the other magics would be set free to return to where they had come from.

    Now to seek the sword. He quickly bound the amulet within his cape with a spell and made ready to change to a bird – not a swan, his preferred form. Something that fit in this dry land a little better. A crow, perhaps.

    He smiled grimly at the thought of the crow and looked back at Siodhachan. “No, boy, I won’t kill you,” he said. “That would deprive the Morrígan of the pleasure of punishing you for seducing her with my power, and turning her against her kinfolk. And her wrath is not to be risked, as you will soon know.”

    He shook his head, and in the movement became a crow, and soon he was soaring away over the desert, to search for Siodhachan’s other stolen goods.

    ***

    So, apologies for two mega-long comments on the same post, but the plot bunny jumped on me and wouldn’t get off till I wrote about it. I did take some inspiration from the discussion in Chapter 2, of Atticus perhaps being seen as some kind of perversion against the nature of magic, due to how he uses magic to bind himself to iron. Aengus’s power is inspired by a bit from Scottish folklore. Not Irish, I admit, and yes, I feel hypocritical. I just thought it fit in bizarrely well, seeing as Atticus is almost preternaturally attractive to women.

    OK. I’m going now.

  15. The Smith of Lie on 29 September 2018, 03:10 said:

    I’m back again! :D Who missed me?

    Annnd it doesn’t occur to him that maybe, just maybe, the next bad thing might be, I dunno, Aengus Óg or some of his servants? Maybe?

    For a self-proclaimed paranoiac Atticus really lacks survival instinct. Given the genre and his power set I don’t exactly expect him to be a coward, but there is a solid line between being poltroon and blundering blindely into potential danger…

    Well, we went over this already, but yeah, it’s a thing.

    It might be just me, but I think the problem with the “She spoke the Irish with me” is less the existance of Irish and more the way it was prharesd. I suppose it is grammatically correct (though it looks to me like it shouldn’t be), but it sounds stiff and unnatural. Maybe “When we talked we spoke Irish” or “We always talked in Irish with each other.” would have sounded better.

    Guys, back me up on this: If you regularly did yard work for an older woman, or any woman, and every time you were working she sat there and stared at you while you did it, then loudly announced for the entire street to hear how much she wanted to have sex with you…would you be flattered or skeeved out?

    Well that is an unlikely scenario. But I guess that even if I weren’t creeped by it I’d certainly be weirded out.

    Fifth, please, Hearne, if you’re going to be this stereotypical, just go all out. Have her mention leprechauns and whisky and shamrocks, come on!

    Oi lassie, we don’t talk shop with sweet wee pieces of eye candy.

    Sorry. That was a bad impression and I should feel bad.

    And please, everybody, stop having your characters notice that another character is extremely good-looking when they should really be thinking about something else!

    You just gave me Mortal Instruments flashback and I haven’t even read that book… (It’s like ‘Nam flashbacks, you are never too young to have those.)

    And it’s getting frankly absurd. I don’t care how good-looking and charismatic you are, there’s no way you’re that attractive to every member of the opposite sex!

    You know what, I could almost give this one a pass. Because the character I sort of like in the series I am currently reading is kinda like this and in a perfectly mundane setting. But he at least has to apply himself to the seduction and he sometimes, even if rarely, fails.

    That and the fact his womanizing gets him in trouble as often as not are a bit of an excuse. [It’s Flashman Papers if anyone is curious.]

    But the rate at which women throw themselves at Atticus without any effort shown on his part is patently ridiculous.

    I mean, on the one hand, I’m kind of glad about this because it’s actually something Atticus can’t defend against, for once. But on the other, you’re right, that is a shoddy defense system.

    And it now occured to me, due to all the talk about paranoia in the next chapter, that if I were pranoid (which I of course am not) I would have mined my home with a large amount of stable explosives and never left anywhere without detonator. Then in just such emergencies as the one Atticus is facing I could blow the burglar to Kingdom Come without ever risking my own skin.

    I hate being fair to this dreck…but to be fair, it has taken Aengus like a thousand years to kill Atticus before now, and aside from one or two little incidents we’re told about, it doesn’t sound like he’s been trying very hard.

    Aenghus looked at his schedule with disgust. He hoped he’d finally have a free day to go and kill that upstart Siodhachan. But no, at 9 he had meeting with investors, at 11 lunch with Mannanan, then the flight to Valhalla for the summit with Aesir and Vanir (and he hated those flying horses their airlines used – no inflight movie and it shook terribly all the time). That’d take at least a week. He sighed and regretted being such a busy god. But soon he’d finally get that weekend off and go murder the hell out of Siodhachan, he promised it to himself for a millionth time…

    OK, maybe I’m a terrible person, but that was such a bizarre way to get one’s hands on a smoothie that I found it funny.

    So here’s how I now see Flidais planning her hunting trip and getting smoothies. And it’s your fault.

    If anything, they’ll probably think of Atticus Finch, to be honest. XD But yeah, people notice if you have an unusual name. Even if they aren’t etymology nerds like me and don’t know it’s Greek, they’ll notice it.

    To be honest US is such a melting pot of cultures and it has seens such weird trends when it comes to names I don’t think many people would go beyond “Oh, that sounds little exotic.” before continuing on with their day.

    Not to mention…so Flidais doesn’t want to be killed by Brighid herself…but she’s got no problem if Atticus becomes the target of Brighid’s anger?
    I mean, in fairness, I’ve got no problems with Atticus having another angry god after him, but Flidais is supposed to like the dude at least a little, right?

    This only supports my completly non-paranoid theory that she has ulterior motives and is no true friend of Atticus.

    begins eating pens Sorry, go on.

    Hey, at least we are spared the graphic details here. Think about poor Juracan who probably had to sit through some descriptions of self-proclaimed prowess from Atticus.

    And now that I put that delightful image in your head… Would you care for a nice, tasty pen perhaps? [Holds out a pen to TMary.]

    I’ve got nothing to add to the rest of your excellent analysis except that this seems a little wild and free about sex, even for prehistoric Ireland, where people were a little more – OK, a lot more – casual about it. Like, never mind Atticus having less survival instinct than…literally anything else on this planet, what the heck does Flidais see in this guy? Could she really not think of anything she’d rather do?

    And they presumably still have strawberries and smoothie machine right on hand!

    Now I’ve got a lovely mental image of a bear biting Atticus in the butt. (I know you said a bear trap, but a bear is more fun.) Thanks XD

    Sigh. Where’s Elisha when you really, really need two she-bears to deliver some butt biting justice…

    I like it, used well, but it does have the unfortunate side effect of letting you know that the main character survives the book.

    This is pretty much a given with a first person narration. After all if character died, how would he tell you his story? But a well written book can get away with this. I have bad habit of constantly mentioning the currently read series, so pardon me another mention of Flashman Papers. In Flashman’s case the framing device is that the books are his secret memoirs written at the ripe old age of 80. So his survival is assured. But in the thick of action I catch myself forgetting about that at times.

    It was around here that I started giggling hysterically and couldn’t stop. You have a gift, sir.
    Thank you so much, Smith. Never change.


    I’m glad you liked it.

    Annnd since my last comment just wasn’t long enough, I thought I’d maybe make a small contribution to the spitefic genre myself and follow up on that idea I had earlier.

    Goodie.

    I’m not gonna quote the excerpts, but let me say I’m impressed. You took it into much more serious direction than I ever could. It pretty much borders on a very dark fix-fic.

    I’ll be looking forward towards more contributions from you.

  16. TMary on 29 September 2018, 15:59 said:

    [Simpsons Me GIF which I cannot find for the life of me]

    Given the genre and his power set I don’t exactly expect him to be a coward, but there is a solid line between being poltroon and blundering blindely into potential danger…

    Yeah! It’s like the old saying: “Courage isn’t absence of fear. Courage is not giving into fear.” With the caveat “Absence of fear isn’t courage, it’s stupidity.”

    It might be just me, but I think the problem with the “She spoke the Irish with me” is less the existance of Irish and more the way it was prharesd. I suppose it is grammatically correct (though it looks to me like it shouldn’t be), but it sounds stiff and unnatural.

    I get what you’re saying, but it is a phrase used in Ireland, at least sometimes. Hiberno-English (the Irish dialect of English) takes a lot of phrasings and grammar from the Irish language. So while it doesn’t sound like English, and it’s off if you’re thinking about it by English standards, it doesn’t sound off to me for an Irish person to say.

    Well that is an unlikely scenario. But I guess that even if I weren’t creeped by it I’d certainly be weirded out.

    Exactly. At the very least, it’s weird. It certainly doesn’t make me think “Atticus is soooo hooooot.” It makes me think more, “That lady either needs a cell or a psychiatric intervention.”

    Oi lassie, we don’t talk shop with sweet wee pieces of eye candy.

    Sorry. That was a bad impression and I should feel bad.

    Well, it made me laugh, anyway. XD

    You just gave me Mortal Instruments flashback and I haven’t even read that book…

    I was having Twilight flashbacks and I haven’t read that one, either.

    You know what, I could almost give this one a pass. Because the character I sort of like in the series I am currently reading is kinda like this and in a perfectly mundane setting. But he at least has to apply himself to the seduction and he sometimes, even if rarely, fails.

    That and the fact his womanizing gets him in trouble as often as not are a bit of an excuse. [It’s Flashman Papers if anyone is curious.]

    Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of Flashman Papers! But yes, the impression I got was that that was kind of the point? He was supposed to be a little over-the-top? Not to mention that it’s more part of his character, and a character flaw, at that, rather than wish-fulfillment for the author.

    And it now occured to me, due to all the talk about paranoia in the next chapter, that if I were pranoid (which I of course am not) I would have mined my home with a large amount of stable explosives and never left anywhere without detonator. Then in just such emergencies as the one Atticus is facing I could blow the burglar to Kingdom Come without ever risking my own skin.

    For not being paranoid, you do have a lot of excellent paranoiac plans XD But if you were in Atticus’s situation, you’d be perfectly justified and that would be a smart move.

    Aenghus looked at his schedule with disgust. He hoped he’d finally have a free day to go and kill that upstart Siodhachan. But no, at 9 he had meeting with investors, at 11 lunch with Mannanan, then the flight to Valhalla for the summit with Aesir and Vanir (and he hated those flying horses their airlines used – no inflight movie and it shook terribly all the time). That’d take at least a week. He sighed and regretted being such a busy god. But soon he’d finally get that weekend off and go murder the hell out of Siodhachan, he promised it to himself for a millionth time…

    Ba-ha-ha-ha-ha XD That makes as much sense as anything. It’s my headcanon.

    So here’s how I now see Flidais planning her hunting trip and getting smoothies. And it’s your fault.

    I REGRET NOTHING.

    To be honest US is such a melting pot of cultures and it has seens such weird trends when it comes to names I don’t think many people would go beyond “Oh, that sounds little exotic.” before continuing on with their day.

    That’s true. But they would notice. And it does depend on the name.

    Although, the name “Atticus” seems to be a little more popular in the southeastern US, so honestly I’m not sure how many people here would even blink.

    This only supports my completly non-paranoid theory that she has ulterior motives and is no true friend of Atticus.

    I mean…what reason has he got to trust her?

    Hey, at least we are spared the graphic details here. Think about poor Juracan who probably had to sit through some descriptions of self-proclaimed prowess from Atticus.

    And now that I put that delightful image in your head… Would you care for a nice, tasty pen perhaps? [Holds out a pen to TMary.]

    Oh, thank you. I ate all mine and had to start on the pencils, and they’re a little dry for my taste. eats pen

    This is pretty much a given with a first person narration. After all if character died, how would he tell you his story? But a well written book can get away with this.

    That is true, although not always (I’ve read at least two first-person narrated books where the narrator died).

    I’m currently having fun experimenting with keeping the tension of whether the narrator will die or not even in first-person; one of my books is told in diary form (by three different characters), and so, while they survived whatever just happened that they’re telling you about, they don’t know any more than you do what will happen next or whether they’ll survive that. Which is deadly difficult to pull off fun to play with.

    I have bad habit of constantly mentioning the currently read series, so pardon me another mention of Flashman Papers.

    It’s cool, we all have our obsessions. :)

    In Flashman’s case the framing device is that the books are his secret memoirs written at the ripe old age of 80. So his survival is assured. But in the thick of action I catch myself forgetting about that at times.

    That’s true, and a good story-teller can pull that sort of thing off. Still, though, it takes a master to do that, and Hearne is…not?

    I’m glad you liked it.

    I did, very much :)

    Goodie.

    I’m not gonna quote the excerpts, but let me say I’m impressed. You took it into much more serious direction than I ever could. It pretty much borders on a very dark fix-fic.

    I’ll be looking forward towards more contributions from you.

    Oh my gosh thank you so much!! Yeah, I had anger…and a desire for consequences…and a little bit of folkloric knowledge…and this was the result. I’m awfully glad you liked it! :D

    As for more spitefics, we’ll have to see if I get inspired. I have an idea for one…but it features a character of mine who hasn’t been published yet…and being far more paranoid than Atticus, I’m afraid that someone (not one of you guys on II, but some random Joe searching the Internet, maybe) might see her and steal her. That’s silly, I know, but it worries me.

  17. The Smith of Lie on 29 September 2018, 16:19 said:

    [Simpsons Me GIF which I cannot find for the life of me]

    Here’s a quick and dirty trick if you ever want to re-use gif posted here in II. Right-click on the image and use “Copy the image URL” or “Copy the image location” (or similar, depending on the browser) command.

    I get what you’re saying, but it is a phrase used in Ireland, at least sometimes. Hiberno-English (the Irish dialect of English) takes a lot of phrasings and grammar from the Irish language. So while it doesn’t sound like English, and it’s off if you’re thinking about it by English standards, it doesn’t sound off to me for an Irish person to say.

    Ok, that explains a lot. In that case I guess that what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. Since most of narration is in rather standard English, the way the phrasing sounds clashes with it, unless one knows about its use in Ireland.

    Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of Flashman Papers! But yes, the impression I got was that that was kind of the point? He was supposed to be a little over-the-top? Not to mention that it’s more part of his character, and a character flaw, at that, rather than wish-fulfillment for the author.

    At times I find Flashman’s exploits with ladies little exasperating. Especially because he is a lecher extraordinaire. But at least in 8 out 10 examples he is the one to actively pursue carnal relationship instead of having them besottedly throw at him.

    Well that and the rest of his misadventures make up for time spent dwelling on his conquests.

    Oh my gosh thank you so much!! Yeah, I had anger…and a desire for consequences…and a little bit of folkloric knowledge…and this was the result. I’m awfully glad you liked it! :D

    Yeah, the anger sort of came through it.

  18. Juracan on 29 September 2018, 20:40 said:

    Also, if she’s an old Irish lady who speaks Irish, her name should technically be “Mhic Donnchadha”, but Hearne’s a leetle inconsistent with how closely he sticks to Irish names.

    This didn’t bother me as much, as I figured the old Irish lady in question didn’t speak that much Irish, it was just an occasional thing that she spoke from time to time, and Atticus liked that there was somebody else nearby who could speak his language.

    And honestly, I don’t know which one’s lamer: That Atticus can’t be bothered to run from the villain, or that the villain is so underwhelming that there’s no reason to run from him.

    They’re both pretty lame, really.

    I’m not saying this is a stupid idea, not at all, I’m just curious: Is Oberon magic and immortal, too, or is he just a pet Atticus picked up because he was lonely and Atticus can communicate with him telepathically because that’s a druid thing?

    Oberon was born ordinary, and he’s neither magic nor immortal. At least I didn’t think so. A quick check on the series’s wiki tells me that he’s being fed some of the same stuff that Atticus is using on himself to keep himself young, so at the very least he’s long-lived. His intelligence is never really explained, though the wiki hypothesizes the magic youthening stuff he’s being fed might have something to do with it.

    And I think Atticus talks to him because he’s a Druid. Flidais can talk to him to, though in series she’s presented as being goddess of animals so that has to do with. Some of the other gods (Irish and otherwise) can talk to him, so I don’t know if it’s a god thing or a Druid thing or what.

    Although it does bother me that the dog is named “Oberon” rather than, I don’t know, something Irish.

    It struck me as a bit odd too. With everything else in the book though, I eventually let it slide.

    Er, what does Oberon ask? You didn’t include the quote.

    Oh fudge.

    Okay, see, Oberon’s dialogue, being telepathic, is including in these arrow things? <> Except on Textile basically it renders things invisible or something? Point is, I fiddled with it to get it to work, and either I failed, or I deleted the text and never put it back. I might try something else to convey it next time.

    But what Oberon asked was “Did I fail to protect you?” Which, like I said, sounds like something a dog might actually be concerned about.

    And now I’m no longer amused. When you’ve finished salivating over the hawt chick in leather, Atticus.

    Truth be told I don’t think the way it’s described is even that fanservice-y. But she’s still basically a hot chick in leather and I didn’t feel like giving more of a description than that.

    If anything, they’ll probably think of Atticus Finch, to be honest.

    My thoughts exactly? I don’t think it comes up though.

    I mean, in fairness, I’ve got no problems with Atticus having another angry god after him, but Flidais is supposed to like the dude at least a little, right?

    Ish? We’re supposed to not know where Flidais’s true intentions lie, I think, but we don’t get much reason as to why she should dislike him, especially given how this chapter ends.

    So, she’s never heard of the mouflon, then? It’s not native to Ireland – at least not as far as I can see – but it is a European animal. Surely she’s heard of it, or something similar.

    Probably not. Look, if Hearne did any research at all for this book, it’s mostly surface-level stuff you get when you skim Wikipedia, if even that. He has Flidais as the goddess of hunting, for starters.

    Good job on the spitefics, TM and Smith!

  19. TMary on 5 October 2018, 05:07 said:

    Here’s a quick and dirty trick if you ever want to re-use gif posted here in II. Right-click on the image and use “Copy the image URL” or “Copy the image location” (or similar, depending on the browser) command.

    Thank you! This will make my life so much easier. :D

    Ok, that explains a lot. In that case I guess that what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. Since most of narration is in rather standard English, the way the phrasing sounds clashes with it, unless one knows about its use in Ireland.

    Yeah, Atticus does sound like a typical modern American, and the old lady’s dialogue was terribly stereotypical, so it does clash, like you said. It is funny to me that Hearne somehow found this one phrase while doing the bare minimum research in basically everything else.

    At times I find Flashman’s exploits with ladies little exasperating. Especially because he is a lecher extraordinaire.

    Yeah, that was also the impression I got. XD

    But at least in 8 out 10 examples he is the one to actively pursue carnal relationship instead of having them besottedly throw at him.

    Well that and the rest of his misadventures make up for time spent dwelling on his conquests.

    Which was also the impression I got (I got a few impressions). And really, that’s all I ask. A character who does stuff.

    Yeah, the anger sort of came through it.

    Blame the ink. XD

    This didn’t bother me as much, as I figured the old Irish lady in question didn’t speak that much Irish, it was just an occasional thing that she spoke from time to time, and Atticus liked that there was somebody else nearby who could speak his language.

    That’s fair, and it’s really not that big a deal. I’m just veeery nitpicky XD

    They’re both pretty lame, really.

    True.

    Oberon was born ordinary, and he’s neither magic nor immortal. At least I didn’t think so. A quick check on the series’s wiki tells me that he’s being fed some of the same stuff that Atticus is using on himself to keep himself young, so at the very least he’s long-lived. His intelligence is never really explained, though the wiki hypothesizes the magic youthening stuff he’s being fed might have something to do with it.

    Never a good sign when the series wiki has to hypothesize about a major point in the book instead of having some explanation from the author…

    But that aside, I’m glad to understand now. :)

    And I think Atticus talks to him because he’s a Druid. Flidais can talk to him to, though in series she’s presented as being goddess of animals so that has to do with. Some of the other gods (Irish and otherwise) can talk to him, so I don’t know if it’s a god thing or a Druid thing or what.

    This, to me, seems like a reasonable supernatural thing to expect of gods and druids, and honestly, in a book with better world-building and story-telling and so on, I would really just let the fact that Atticus can talk telepathically to his dog slide. I was just wondering if there was an explanation.

    It struck me as a bit odd too. With everything else in the book though, I eventually let it slide.

    Yeah, like I said above, with a better book I might just let it slide myself, but I’m nitpicky and the more nits there are, the more I pick at ‘em.

    Oh fudge.

    Okay, see, Oberon’s dialogue, being telepathic, is including in these arrow things? <> Except on Textile basically it renders things invisible or something? Point is, I fiddled with it to get it to work, and either I failed, or I deleted the text and never put it back. I might try something else to convey it next time.

    Ah, OK. No worries then. :)

    But what Oberon asked was “Did I fail to protect you?” Which, like I said, sounds like something a dog might actually be concerned about.

    It does, and I figured it was probably something like that. Fair play to Hearne for that one.

    Truth be told I don’t think the way it’s described is even that fanservice-y.

    Well, considering the direction the story’s been taking so far, can you blame me for thinking the worst? ;)

    But she’s still basically a hot chick in leather and I didn’t feel like giving more of a description than that.

    Doesn’t deserve much more, tbh.

    Ish? We’re supposed to not know where Flidais’s true intentions lie, I think, but we don’t get much reason as to why she should dislike him, especially given how this chapter ends.

    So…question…does anyone in this book genuinely and unselfishly care about the well-being of anyone else? Oberon seems to care about Atticus, but he’s a dog, I expect nothing less.

    Probably not. Look, if Hearne did any research at all for this book, it’s mostly surface-level stuff you get when you skim Wikipedia, if even that. He has Flidais as the goddess of hunting, for starters.

    It makes me so mad that stuff like this can get published and nobody cares. And then I get all apathetic if I think about it for too long. Why bother doing this research and world-building and historical accuracy stuff? Just jot down whatever comes in your head, do a cursory proof-read, and ship it off to find out if it’s commercially viable or not. Much easier.

    Sorry, I…I’m a little bitter, maybe. It’s late and I should go to bed before I make you all miserable.

    Good job on the spitefics, TM and Smith!

    Well, that cheered me up. Thank you :)