Chapter 17:

In the last chapter, Romilly was being an arrogant prick to everyone in the world and getting away with it, because she’s just that special. And she just fucked a hot guy. So she’s back with the horses, facing her super-speshul stallion, and she feels no uneasiness about what happened last night. Guess why?

bq Maura told me, about something else; horses have neither memory nor imagination. That is why I can pick up where I left off. (Pg 713)

Oh-kay. Horses have no memory? Are you sure? Then what’s the point of training? How would her super-speshul stallion remember and love her?

Is this woman just talking crap out of her ass to whitewash away any sense of unease Romilly might have? That she might be afraid to go back ot her super-speshul stallion, and we can’t have that, so we cook up a bowl of shit to excuse her. All right. So she goes and joins the Sisters, and they’re awash with gossip about how the REEL KEENG is in love with Maura. Of course, Romilly is all too aware of the fact that she’s fucked Ranald for no other reason than animalistic lust (or at least, I can only hope), and tries to whitewash her guilt and hypocrisy away AGAIN by excusing it away as love:

No, she would not speak of Ranald. They would not understand at all.

She knew that she had not disgraced her earring, nor brought the Sisterhood into contempt. Her oath bound her to nothing more; and at least she had not sold herself to that elderly lecher Dom Garris in return for riches and the prospering of her father’s horse-trade with Scathfell! (Pg. 715)

So you’re allowed to fuck around because it’s love, but other people aren’t. What part of reputation does she not understand? It shouldn’t be the case, but unfortunately most of the time it’s not what really happens that matters, it’s what people think that happens. Why not just not spread your legs in the first place and avoid all this justifying away? I mean, what’s good for the gander is good for the goose—if men can be told to keep it in their pants, I don’t see why it’s not acceptable the other way around.

So it’s time to fly the birds again to spy on the EVIL KEENG’s armies. Fair enough. All goes well at first, but Romilly fucks up and steers her birds too close. They’re spotted, and the EVIL KEENG’s men promptly shoot them down:

Diligence! She had flown her bird deliberately into the danger of those arrows, over-riding the bird’s own sense of caution, its instinct to fly high and away from danger. Guilt and grief fought within her for dominance. (Pg. 717)

So, is it her fault? Does she blame herself for fucking up? Does she do some soul-searching?

NO! It’s the REEL KEENG’s fault for sending the animals to war! It’s HIS fault for making her do all these horrible things that got the birdies killed! It’s never her fault! That’s the number one rule of the universe!

He drew a long breath. “They are away from the soldiers’ [sic] I sent them high up, out of range….I am sorry, Romy; you loved her—”

“And she loved life!” she flung at him wildly, “and died because of you and Carolin—ah, I hate you all, all you men and kings and your damned wars, none of them are worth a feather in her wing-tip—” and she dropped her head in her hands and broke into passionate crying. (Pg. 717)

And that is supposed to be the excuse for all! Romilly felt fury surging within her. They play with the lives of the wild things and hold themselves harmless, saying it is war…I question not their right to kill themselves and one another, but what does an innocent bird know or care of one king over another? (Pg. 718)

I doubt it not. Folk who would kill an innocent bird for some king’s claim, why should they stop at killing people too? (Pg. 718)

She thought, resentfully, that if what they taught in the Towers would teach her to be complacent about the deaths of innocent beasts who had no part in men and their wars, she was glad she had not had it! (Pg. 719)

Romilly’s first emotional reaction, was, the birds at least have done Rakhal no harm, who cannot men fight their battles without endangering the innocent? (Pg. 720)

Repeat after me:

WAAH WAAH WAAH.

She’s the one who drove the birds to their deaths because she was a fucking idiot, and suddenly it’s the REEL KEENG and the magicians who are to blame for this happening. So the EVIL KEENG’s armies are approaching with their evil totally-not-napalm with a cavalry charge, although why someone would drop napalm into an area they intend to charge into, especially since this is a plain and if a wildfire catches, will probably burn up everyone? Don’t know. Don’t care. Don’t ask me. Oh wait, probably to show how evil EVIL KEENG is. So there’re men burning all around, and the REEL KEENG goes to counter-charge against the EVIL KEENG’s armies. So there’s a big stock fantasy battle, and it pretty much seems to be a draw between the sides for now.

So it’s after the battle, and the living are asked to go out and bury the dead. Romilly, too, is assigned to help, but whines and moans for pages about how horrible war is and how horrible and evil we humans are for making animals go to war for us, and how we are evil beings for subjugating animals…

…Oh, like she did with a certain bird?

So the other Sisters come and berate her for not helping bury the dead, but Romilly whines and wails some more and Jandria comes over and scols the Sisters for badgering someone in obvious mental anguish…like anyone who just comes out of a battlefield will be quite right in their mind.

Oh, and Clea dies, but the relationship was never built, nor was she fleshed out as a character, so I can only surmise that her purpose in dying was to give Romilly more angst-fodder. Hell, the chapter even ends with her weeping and wailing:

“Clea’s dead. And my horses, all my horses…and the birds…” she wept.

Jandria held and rocked her. “I know, dead. I know,” she whispered, “it’s all right, cry for them in you must, cry, we are all here with you.” And Romilly thought, in dull amazement, she is crying too.

And she did not know what that should seem strange to her. (Pg. 724)

Well, you know what makes sense? Because I don’t! Instead of making her sympathetic and vulnerable, this crying makes her look even more a whiny prick, thanks to all the whining and self-centeredness she’s shown throughout the whole bloody book. Because there’s no setup, the whole weeping and wailing falls flat on its face.

Thank goodness this was a short chapter.

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Comment

  1. Danielle on 11 April 2010, 17:08 said:

    ….And then a giant tour bus came crashing through the battlefield. Everyone but Romilly and Jandria, who were too busy weeping, jumped out of the way. In an instant Romilly and Jandria were ironed flatter than a shirt on washing day.

    The end.

  2. dragonarya on 11 April 2010, 21:12 said:

    @ Danielle: Perfect. Just perfect. It should end like that.

  3. LucyWannabe on 12 April 2010, 18:42 said:

    ….

    …ugh. I almost want to fixfic this, but I have a feeling all my brains would be mush before I got very far.

  4. Nate Winchester on 13 April 2010, 15:21 said:

    So she goes and joins the Sisters, and they’re awash with gossip about how the REEL KEENG is in love with Maura.

    Wait… I’ve lost track. Is Maura one of those Sisters? If so, this shouldn’t really be a scandal because this would be a very good thing: sealing the king’s support for your sisterhood via marriage is an excellent idea.

    So you’re allowed to fuck around because it’s love, but other people aren’t.

    I remember so many jokes people started making after Star Wars episode 2 came out. Summed up it is:
    “Hey baby, wanna go fuck in the coat room?”
    “A jedi is not to know love.”
    “Who said anything about love?”

    NO! It’s the REEL KEENG’s fault for sending the animals to war! It’s HIS fault for making her do all these horrible things that got the birdies killed! It’s never her fault! That’s the number one rule of the universe!

    Even though the passage you quoted pointed out that it was very much her fault and if she’d just let the bird “drive” (and be a casual passenger in its mind), it would have been ok. Forget Sueness, I hate books that can’t keep continuity between pages!

    So there’re men burning all around, and the REEL KEENG goes to counter-charge against the EVIL KEENG’s armies.

    Why can’t people at least utilize basic common sense when writing battles? If a load of napalm/burning material was dropped on you and the enemy is charging, the smartest thing for you to do would be to back up and let the enemy charge into the fire.
    Seriously, go read Naomi Novik who usually does quite well with her battles. (the one at the end of Victory of Eagles kicks so much ass!)

    So it’s after the battle, and the living are asked to go out and bury the dead.

    Why would you bury the dead in a tense standoff situation? Is there any mention of rituals, or anything that would restrain the other side from attacking while your hands are full with shovels? If anything they should be piling up the bodies for a makeshift barrier/biological warfare (which was done in the past) or just creating a huge funeral pyre which would function double as a heat source, cooking fire, etc for the army.

    Because there’s no setup, the whole weeping and wailing falls flat on its face.

    Or why is Romilly the only one breaking down? There should be other people around that just experienced their first battle and are throwing up, crying, etc. I hate how she’s the only actual “person” and we don’t get at least some sense that there are other human reactions around.

    …ugh. I almost want to fixfic this, but I have a feeling all my brains would be mush before I got very far.

    More like there’s so much to fix, you’d be better off just starting from scratch.

  5. LucyWannabe on 13 April 2010, 22:54 said:

    Lol…that’s very, very true.

  6. Zombie on 28 December 2010, 20:07 said:

    Why is it that she’s only crying for the damn bird and horses (plus girl that was only mentioned once) when apparently there are people that are dead, and she has to bury them. Really? This character isn’t realistic at all. Last year I saw a rabbit lose it’s skin and I couldn’t stop crying, but then again, I’m just a sensitive person. I cry when I go to a funeral or see a funeral in procession, even when I don’t know the person.

  7. swenson on 28 December 2010, 21:47 said:

    I have heard real stories about people who get very numb to mass deaths, but for whatever reason will see something small (an animal’s death, or maybe a child), and it hits them all at once and just devastates them. But this is pretty obviously not what’s going on here—she just plain doesn’t care about people because they aren’t her oh-so-super-special animals.