Chapter 7:

Well, yeah, technically it’s book two, chapter two, but I’m going to refer to it as chapter seven because I can’t be half-assed to do so and don’t have the respect required to actually bother. Anyways, in the last chapter, Romilly nearly got made into a domestic slave by an evil man and his equally evil and stupid grandmother, and she’s escaped on her horse. It’s bitterly cold and the road and plants are iced over, and she’s been pushing the horse. She stops to rest a bit and take stock, and this is what she’s got:

-Some bits and pieces of raw meat.
-The clothes on her back.
-A dagger.
-A few coins.
-And a few coarse grain cakes in the horse’s saddlebags.

There’s the problem of the horse. There’s no readily available water, no feed at all and she’s been working the horse at a gallop ever since she escaped from Rory? What does she do: why, she feeds the horse a coarse grain cake, and that’s enough to provide enough energy for the horse for the whole day:

In her saddle-pack she had still a few pieces of the dog-bread on which she could feed her horse; she got out one of them, and gave it to the horse… (Pg 513)

She rode all that day without setting eyes on a single person or a single dwelling. (Pg 513)

Amazing. Are those grain cakes the horse equivalent of Elven Lembas Bread? Because that’s what the fuck they seem to be doing. And the horse doesn’t seem to need water, either. Where’s your amazing telepathic bond with horses now? Why aren’t you dying of thirst like your horse? Oh wait, it only appears when convenient, and disappears when the author doesn’t want to be bogged down with little details like actually having to think about how the horses are going to have to, y’know, SURVIVE.

Mistreatment of horses makes Ellis sad:

But wait! That’s not all! Romilly takes out the raw meat and starts nomming on it. Her reasoning?

She shaved off a few thin slices of frozen rabbithorn and chewed on them; the meat was tough and unsavory, but she had been taught that anything a bird could eat, a human chould digest, and since the hawks were fed on such fare it would certainly not harm her, even if she really preferred cooked food. (Pg 513)

All I have to say to this is:

Really. This is so stupid, so…idiotic that I cannot wrap my head around it. If it’s safe for a bird, it’s safe for a human? Where did this shit come from? So all the doctors who’ve been telling us to store raw meat below cooked food in our fridges were wrong? I hope Romilly gets intestinal parasites or some vile disease from eating this shit. Maybe she should eat a rotting eyeball or two, since that’s no problem for a vulture.

A more simple and common example of a plant that does this is the Capsicum family; I.E. chillies, peppers, whatever you want to call them. Capsicum oil, the component that causes spiciness in foods, irritates mammal mucus membranes and tissues, yet has absolutely no effect on avians whatsoever. This is because of the plant’s intentions as to spreading its seeds—seeds which pass through a mammal’s digestive tract do not sprout, whereas those which pass through an avian’s do. But it’s a very simple and common example as to a compound which might be considered harmful to humans but not birds.

In short, the great and almighty MZB is talking shit. Anyways, Romilly travels for another three days, although I’m not sure how she actually comes across water when everything’s frozen and snow soaks up water like a sponge (which is why you don’t melt snow in a pan for water, since the pan will burn). She finds a few small, sour winter apples, but that’s about it. You know, by now both she and the horse should be starving, dehydrated and exhausted, and by rights the horse should have bolted from under her and run away, but no, we get a diatribe on how Tears Are Bad™, never mind if it’s the correct place for such a soapbox:

Women think tears will help them. I think men have the right idea when they say tears are womanish; yes, women cry and so they are helpless, but men act on their anger and so they are never without power, notwasting time or anger in tears…(Pg. 515)

Or they can cry and manipulate men into doing what they want. Look, the idea is to be proactive. But as I’ve said before, the problem with a lot of the so-called philosophy in here isn’t just one-sided and one-dimensional, it attacks the bloody effect instead of the cause, and does so by repeatedly hitting me on the head with a hammer and mashing the logical progression of events, which all stop so we can have a packaged lesson on the MZB brand of feminism.

Excuse me if I go off to one side and hurl.

In any case, it’s now day five and all Romilly’s got are some nuts and mushrooms. Nevermind WHERE the nuts and mushrooms came from, considering it was described as being so cold EVERYTHING FROZE OVER (by the way, how’s a horse going to suffer that without even a blanket?)…you know what? Why do I care? Really, why do I care about all this shit that’s torn out the bottom of the versimilitude barrel? What do I care any more?

Oh, I remember. Because it’s fun to make fun of bad writing.

In any case, Romilly’s hungry and despairing, but still she manages to come up with stupidity:

She went back to her horse and painstakingly saddled him again. At least the animal was fed. She said aloud, “I almost wish I could eat grass as you do, old fellow,” and was startled at the sound of her own voice. (Pg. 517)

Wait. So all those centuries people spent making hay in the summer for feed in the winter were pointless? That their livestock could have eaten frozen grass in the middle of winter instead? Golly gee, I never knew that! Seriously, you don’t have to be a crazy horse lady to know something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.

In any case, she’s weak and despairing when she hears a hawk call out in the sky. Oh no. It couldn’t be, could it? It couldn’t be! Of all the bullshit—

—IT IS.

The horse startled nervously away, and she pulled on the reains, speaking softly—and then dark pinions swooped across her vision. Without thought she thrust out her arm, felt the curel grip of talons, and fell blindly into the familiar rapport.

“Preciosa!” She was sobbing as she spoke the name. How, why the hawk had followed her through her wanderings, she would never know. The shrill cry of (what, exactly?) and the flapping wings roused her from her tears and she was aware that there was a good-sized bird, still warm, gripped in the bird’s claws. (Pg. 517)

Yeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhh riiiiiiiggggghhhhttt. Ask not what Romilly can do for you, but what you can do for Romilly. And in this case it means catering to her every whim. This would never happen in a realistic falconry situation, a bird just giving up its kill like that, but Romilly is the center of the universe.

To that, I say:

So Romilly plucks and roasts the bird, not even bothering to gut it. At this time, I’m really hoping that was a carrion bird that stupid shit caught, so that she’ll die horribly from the heat-resistant toxins found in their guts. Most survival guides claim that even carrion birds are okay to eat, but they must be thoroughly gutted, washed and then boiled, the longer the better, in order to remove parasites. Against all evidence, we get this particularly obnoxious piece of shit:

She met the hawk’s eyes, and suddenly awareness leaped between hawk and girl, a strange, fierce emotion flooding her—not love as she knew it, but pure emotion, almost jealousy. She is not my hawk. I am her girl, Romilly thought, she has adopted me, not the other way round! (Pg. 518)

Sorry. You can state this until your face is blue, and I won’t give a shit until I see actual evidence of it in the prose instead of the stupid bird working its ass off to serve Romilly. It really reminds me of a certain author trying to cover his ass by claiming he intended for something else to happen—it doesn’t matter unless there’s evidence in the prose. What, I should believe this just because the author says so?

No siree Bob. Not buying your snake oil, go and peddle it somewhere else. Steven Brust and Vlad/Loiosh OTP still goes unchallenged at the best true depiction of an interspecies co-dependent and above all, equal relationship.

In any case, she’s nommed on the roast bird when she hears voices from over the hill. Apparently someone’s spotted her fire, and they’re moving in towards her small camp. Romilly hurriedly hides the horse (what, you thought it’d complain like a REAL horse might? At this point, you might as well have them say “vroom vroom!” as the riders approach, and they do.

There’re two men in the lead, and we get a block of description about them that I won’t bother to bring up unless it turns out to be important in the future, save the second dude has a bird riding with him. Following behind them are five or six riders on totally-not-horses-by-another name (the technical term is chervines, whatever the hell that is). In any case, the front two guys on horses approach Romilly’s camp and call out to her, saying they mean her no harm. Being a Sue in every sense of the word, Romilly senses this is true and her perceptions are identical to reality:

“You have saved us the trouble of making fire,” he said in his quiet, educated voice, “come and share it with us, no one will hurt you.”

And indeed Romilly felt no sense of menace from any of them. She led the horse from he concealed thicket and stood with her hand on the bridle.

“Well, lad, who are ye and whereaway bound?” asked the gaunt man, and his voice was kind. (Pg. 520)

I would like to introduce Romilly to a certain Mr. Reacher Gilt. Or even Moist Von Lipwig. Let’s see how her Sue-powers match up against such people. In any case, Romilly takes out the horse and tells a cock-and-bull story about being a falconer’s apprentice seeking her fortune. One of the two men expresses doubt, but the other corrects him:

“Did you steal the hawk? Or what is an apprentice doing with a bird—and where is she?”

Romilly raised her arm; Preciosa swooped down and caught her lifted forearm. She said fiercely, “she is mine; no other can claim her, for I trained her with my own hand.”

“I doubt you not,” said the aristocrat, “for in this wild, without even jesses, she could fly away if she would, and in that sense at least, you own her as much as anything human can own a wild thing.” (Pg. 521)

Convince me. Convince me now that these two have a so-called equal relationship. Convince me that the hawk adotped the girl. I’m waiting. I’m waiiiiiiitttiiiinnnggg.

No?

Anyways, these guys are Carlo and Orain, and Romilly claims she’s a guy called Rumal. And of course, they’ye COMPLETELY taken in by her disguise. They’ve lost their land because they refused to support the EVVVVVVVIIILLLL king, and thus are going to Nevarsin to raise an army against the EVVVVVIL usurper. Which we haven’t seen, or even have had any wind on how horrrrrbile he is and instead are expected to take the author’s word that he’s a horrible bastard:

“He assured he would have supporters enough by poison, rope or knife for all those who would not support him, and had enough lands to reward his followers, by murdering, or sending into exile, anyone who looked at him cross-eyed, and did not bend the knee fast enough.” (Pg. 521)

Oh, all those memories of Brom relating how EVUL Galbatorix is and how great and wonderful the dragon riders were are starting to worm their way out. Bad! Bad!

In any case, they’ve a bunch of birds. Which are sick, and no one knows how to treat them. How did they come across the birds in the first place?

Romilly said, “I have never seen birds of this kind.” Though she thought they looked more like kyorebni, the savage scavanger-birds of the high hills, than any proper hunting-bird of prey.

“Still, a bird is a bird,” said Carlo, “we got these from a well-wisher and we would take them as a gift to Carolin’s armies, in Nevarsin, but they are failing fast and may not live till we get there—we cannot make out what ails them, though some of us have trained and flown hawks—but none of us know how to treat them when they ail. Have you knowledge of their ills, Master Rumal?” (Pg. 522)

Romilly’s never seen the birds before. She doesn’t even know what fucking SPECIES they are, for goodness’ sake. By her own admission, she doesn’t know much about curing sick animals. What does she do?

Nevertheless she went up to the strange, fierce-looking birds, and held out her hand to the one Orain held, looking it into the eye and reaching out with that instinctive rapport. A dullness spread through her, a sickness and pain that made her want to retch. She pulled out of the rapport, feeling nauseated, and said, “what have you been feeding them?”

That was a good guess; she remembered Preciosa, sickened by insufficiently fresh food. (Pg. 523)

Think about all the reasons humans might feel like hurling, and then think about the way this diagnosis is made. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

To Quote “Why You Are Wrong” by Scott Adams:

Inability to Understand That Some Things Have Multiple Causes

Example: The Beatles were popular for one reason only: They were good singers.”

Well, what’s wrong with the birds? According to MZB, Buetos can’t eat fresh meat:

“Only the best and freshest food,” said one of the men behind Orain, defensively, “I lived in a Great House where there were hawks kept, and knew them meat-eaters; when our hunting was poor, all of us went short to give the damned birds fresh meat, for all the good it did us,” he added, looking distressedly at the drooping bird on his saddleblock.

“Only fresh meat?” said Romilly, “there is your trouble, sir. Look at their beak and claws, and then look at my hawk’s. That’s a scavanger-bird, sir; she should be freed to hunt food for herself. She can’t tear apart fresh meat, her beak’s not strong enough, and if you’ve been carrying her on your saddle and not let her free, she’s not been able to peck gravel and stones for her crop. She feeds on half-rotted meat, and she must have fur or feathers too—the muscle meat alone, and skinned as well—wasn’t it?”

“We thought that was the way to do it,” said Orain, and Romilly shook her head. “If you must feed them on killed meat, leave feather and fur on it, and make sure she gets a chance to peck up stones and twigs and even a bit of green stuff now and then. These birds, though I am sure you’ve tried to feed them on the best, are starving because they can’t digest what you’ve given them.” (Pg. 523)

Lenka’s response, as she flies a Bueto (or more specifically, Bueto Bueto, or Common Buzzard). Warning, long:

“…

I am going to break something
HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?!
HOW CAN YOU BE SO DENSE?!
GEEEZ!!!!
it would be better if you didnt
I am angry already and I dont want to get even more upset because then I would not be able to focus on my studies
although I think Danny would have more than a little to say on the matter
after he would rip MZBs face to shreds first, of course
Capsrage unleashed in 3…
..2…
…1…
THATS
JUST
RETARDED
THERE IS SO MUCH WRONG WITH THAT I CANNOT BEGIN TO EXPLAIN
GOOOOOOOD!!!!!!
HOW DENSE ARE YOU?!
FUCK
okay, calming down
a bit
1. why would a medieval – time falconer have a scavenger?
at the time, falconry was an incredible privilege and if you were a falconer, you would only get the best birds there were
i am not too sure about apprentices, my falconry history is not too good – I can research later if you want, I have the books
anyways
there was prestige and reputation with the station
how would a scavenger reflect that? 2. travelling falconers that is so fucking stupid you know why falconers were so respected and so well – off?
because the only place they really worked were courts of kings and nobles they always worked for SOMEBODY it was illegal to hunt on the land of the nobles, which, at the time, was all the fucking land, and if they caught you they would kill your bird AND you
falconers rarely actually owned the birds the birds belonged to whoever employed them they were just trainers and maintainers so that when a noble son decided to go hawking, the birds would be ready the nobles paid in VILLAGES for some of them, for fucks sakes would you just GIVE a bird like that to somebody? I mean, when it is not intended as a diplomatic move
but I guess thats why they only got to keep the scavengers
they sometimes actually do swallow rocks and many falconers encourage that helps their digestion but only small ones twigs – not on your life
and being a scavenger, like Danny, does not mean you can ONLY eat rotten meat. It means you have a high tolerance of toxins released during decomposition – the whole faster/slower digestion thing it does not mean you cannot eat anything else
it means you can handle more and that you are not that demanding when it comes to the freshness of your food
MZB YOU MORON!!!”

I think that about sums it up for Lenka’s part. So what are they going to do? Oh, look, just as conveniently as people who need a falconer to care for their birds turn up, there’s a rotting carcass conveniently nearby too:

“Zandru’s hells, it makes good sense, Orain,” said Dom Carlo, blinking. “I should have seen it…well, now we know. What can we do?”

Romilly thought about it, quickly. Preciosa had wheeled up into the sky, and hovered there; Romilly went quickly into rapport with the bird, seeing for a moment through her eyes; then said, “There is something dead in the thicket over there. I’m not familiar with your—what do you call them—sentry-birds; are they territorial, or will they feed together?” (Pg. 523)

So they go over, and lo and behold, there’s a carcass there. Romilly goes and with the help of some of the men, hacks it apart, and guess what? She’s right:

But the bird, under her light hands, seemed gentle and submissive. Poor hungry thing, Romilly thought, and lifted the heavy weight—it took all her strength—to set it on the ground beside the hacked carcass. With a scream, the bird plunged its beak into the carcass and tore hard, gulping down fur, pebbles, the smelly half-decomposed meat.

“You see?” said Romilly simply, and went to lift down the other bird. Orain came to help her, but the strange bird thrust angry beak (no, not a missing word on my part) at him, and he drew back, letting Romilly handle it. (Pg. 525)

Limyaael quote here:

“Let your characters make a fucking mistake. Related to point 1, but not the same, since that’s about characters, and this is (mostly) about plot.

The heroine makes a wild guess. She guesses that the hero loves her, or that she can defeat the Dark Lord with X device, or that she should follow the watchman when he slips away from camp. And, gasp, she’s right! The hero returns her feelings, the Dark Lord dies, she gets to overhear the watchman having a secret conversation and not just listen to him piss. This gets excused under the name of “intuition.”

Y’know what? Take your intuition and shove it back up your ass where it belongs. It doesn’t count if the heroine doesn’t ever make a wrong wild guess.

Yes, people make wild guesses in our world and have them turn out to be right. But you know why they seem so numerous and so wondrous? Because we remember them better than the guesses we get wrong, of course. Those are so common and, usually, so non-catastrophic that they pass out of our memories much more easily.

No perfect knowledge without the price of imperfect knowledge. That’s the first one, and probably the most common.

And no, by the way, I don’t buy it that the heroine will just “forget” about her wrong guesses and so the author doesn’t need to report on them. A novel is a constructed narrative of reality, and the author is making constant POV choices, and if lying to the reader about a plan that the heroine makes is considered Wrong, I do not see why in fuck’s name just “happening” to drop all her imperfect guesses from the narrative is Right.

Then there are the mistakes of perception—most often, who’s good and who’s evil. Most of the time, with teenage heroes, the ones they think are entirely trustworthy are, indeed, entirely trustworthy. Somehow, despite coming from an isolated backwater village and only now traveling in a wide variety of different political and social landscapes, they know all the wildernesses of the human heart.

Hi, Canon Mary Sue. When your character’s perceptions are identical to reality, there is no choice but to hack her apart and bury her at the crossroads.

Then there are factual mistakes, wherein the hero senses some “deeper truth” that no one has ever bothered to look for. Oh, yes, bloody ha-ha. A thousand years of historians and scholars and interested mages that authors represent in the background just never happened to be as intelligent and curious as this one teenager with a trowel and the ability to read dead languages. I don’t fucking think so. At the very least, make him follow a logical road to his conclusions, or get lucky. Representing him as more intelligent and superior than all the rest is just not on.

And, of course, you get all the possible mistakes of action, such as making a bad decision that causes one person, or even quite a lot of people, to die, or really putting themselves in harm’s way. That doesn’t happen, no matter how often it should. Fantasy heroes often appear to have a damned suicide wish, the way they’re always running off without protection and without any reason to think they’ll survive if they don’t take it along—or, really, they’re behaving like people who know they’ll survive until the end of the book.

Get your bloody deus ex machina out of the bloody story, author.”

Of course, she’s horrified to discover the birds don’t have names:

“What are the birds’ names?” she asked Orain. He grinned at her. “does anyone name uglies like these, as if they were a child’s cagebird or the old wife’s pet cow?”

“I do,” Romilly said, “you must give any animal with which you wish to work closely a name, so that he will read it in your mind and know it is of him—or her—that you speak, and to her you are directing your attention.”

“Is it so?” Orain asked, chuckling, “I suppose you could call them Ugly-mug One, Ugly-mug Two, and Ugly-mug Three!”

“By no means,” said Romilly with indignation. The bird on her fist fluttered restlessly, and she added, “birds are very sensitive! If you are ever to work with them, you must love them—” before the open derision in the men’s eyes she knew she was blushing, but went on nevertheless, “you must respect them, and care for them, and fell a real kindness for them. Do you think they do not know that you dislike them and are afraid of them?”

“And you don’t?” Dom Carlo asked. He sounded genuinely interested, and she turned to him with relief. (Pg. 526-527)

Dohohoho that slaps me on the knee. You? Kindness? Compared to how Lenka slaves over her birds? You? Respect? After all I’ve seen? You make me laugh. And of course, all unenlightened men are stupid and unfeeling. Yea, verily, they need women to teach them respect for animals and nature. Now where have I seen that before? Actually, a hundred billion places over.

Blaaargh.

So what does Romilly name the birds? Prudence, Temperance and Diligence. Oh, and did I mention that they all happen to be girls? Because god forbid that any of her birds be male. Because, well, it wouldn’t suit the “feminist” theme of the book, and we can’t have those nasty, ugly crude and above all masculine thoughts from the birds invading Romilly’s head, can we?

You’re really scraping the bottom of the suspension of disbelief barrel, MZB. But no, we get another Evil Misogynistic Bastard straight out of the box, because it’s impossible that Romilly actually have problems that are not related to what’s between her legs and on her chest:

She rode in the line of men, keeping rather nervously close to Orain and Dom Carlo—she did not like the way the man Alaric stared at her, and no doubt, like the villainous Rory, he coveted her horse. At least he did not know she was a female and so he did not covet her body; and she could protect her horse, at least while she had Dom Carlo’s protection.

Come to think of it, she hadn’t done such a bad job of protecting her body, at that. (Pg. 528)

“Preciosa,” jeered the man Alaric, coming to saddle Dom Carlo’s horse. “Like a weak girl naming her doll!”

“Don’t mock the lad,” Dom Carlo said gently, “till you can better his way with the birds, we need his skills. And you should take better care of your own beast—a chervine can be well-kept, even if he is not a horse. You should thank Rumal for finding the stone in Greywalker’s hoof!”

“Oh, an’ indeed I do,” said Alaric with a surly scowl, and turned away. Romilly watched with a faint frown of distaste. It seemed she already had an enemy among these men, which she had done nothing to deserve. (Pg. 531)

Why bother? I mean, seriously. Why am I bothering to sink so much time and effort into properly characterising Valise and Eshentobon when I can just set up a target dummy with a few tags, maybe “evil”, “beats children”, “misogynist”, “greedy” and have that suffice as an antagonist and gain wide acclaim for how innovative and wonderful my books are? Why do I even slave and agonise over how to reconcile them with the plot without being contrived when it seems it doesn’t matter at all in the long run?

Oh wait, I just remembered. I shouldn’t sink to their level.

In any case, the great MZB manages to contradict herself for the umpteenth time:

“A little,” Romilly said, trying desperately to muster her small knowledge of curing sick animals. (Pg. 522)

Versus:

After the meal they rested for a time, but Romilly busied herself with her knife, trimming and balancing proper perhes—the sentry-birds were, she could see, in cosiderable distress from the poorly-balanced saddle-blocks. She checked the knots in the jesses, too, and found that one of the birds had a festered place in its leg from too-tight knots, which she treated with cold water and a poultice of healing leaves. The other men were lying around in the clearing, enjoying the sun, but when Romilly came back from checking the birds, she saw that Dom Carlo was awake and watching her. Nevertheless she went on with her work. One of the men’s stag-ponies was poorly dehorned and the horn-bud trickling blood at the base; she trimmed it and scraped it clean, drying it with a bit of rag and packing it with absorbent moss, then went from stag-pony to stag-pony, checking one which had been limping, and picking, with her knife-point, a little stone from between the hoof-segments. (Pg. 528-529)

“Small knowledge” indeed.

To me, it really seems the only reason the men have been neglecting their animals is so that Romilly can come along and show how much more loving and caring for animals she is than these stupid brutes. And that, my friends, is frankly retarded. It’s a modern view that has nothing to do with the society that’s been set up. To quote Nate winchester:

“Now that’s just STUPID. Horses aren’t things that grow on trees but animals that take years to not only grow to be useful but also to train and we’re talking about a society where these animals are their livelihoods. Losing a horse would be economically devastating for them (not just because a well trained horse would be highly valuable if not irreplaceable). Seriously, go spend time around a farming family or community. They may not pamper an animal but you better believe they are very concerned about their health because if something happens to say… their ox, then they can’t plow the fields, leading to the family starving next year. Ancient people had a symbiotic relationship with domesticated beasts. They couldn’t just let something befall their livestock without suffering horribly.

A horse also needs to be “maintained” as well. (I never will forget the winter our horses got into the feed and dad had to get the vet out there immediately less they come down with colic.) Just as most people nowadays know at least some basics of their cars (even if they are not mechanics), you can bet those who used horses as a part of their livelihood knew them very well as well, it would have just been a part of their culture that they learned through osmosis at the very least. (I would even say that back then, even some noblewoman would have laughed heartily at these posts.)”

Were people in agarian societies occasionally cruel to their animals? Well, it’d be stupid to say all of them weren’t. But to have this kind of contrived neglect on this scale in a world where mistreating your animals would have serious consequences, so that Romilly can come in and show how amazing and wonderful she is—well, that’s just dumb.

Thankfully, the chapter ends about there, but not after Romilly overs Dom Carlo and Orain having a chat which makes so obvious that Carlo is the REAL KING. It’s nice to be mistaken, and I really hope I’m mistaken too on less inconsequential matters. Well, at least now I can have a nap.

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  1. Nate Winchester on 23 February 2010, 15:53 said:

    Thankfully, the chapter ends about there, but not after Romilly overs Dom Carlo and Orain having a chat which makes so obvious that Carlo is the REAL KING. It’s nice to be mistaken, and I really hope I’m mistaken too on less inconsequential matters. Well, at least now I can have a nap.

    Hmmm…. I’ve lost track of this insane monarchy. What does that put Carlo’s estimated age at?

    Why aren’t you dying of thirst like your horse? Oh wait, it only appears when convenient, and disappears when the author doesn’t want to be bogged down with little details like actually having to think about how the horses are going to have to, y’know, SURVIVE.

    Actually, this isn’t entirely incorrect. If it’s winter, than Romilly shouldn’t be sweating or losing water as much as if it was summer. HOWEVER, horses are one of the few other animals that sweat. Which means that if she has been riding it as much as claimed, the beast has to be soaked through. The thing has to be near dehydrated now.

    Really. This is so stupid, so…idiotic that I cannot wrap my head around it. If it’s safe for a bird, it’s safe for a human? Where did this shit come from? So all the doctors who’ve been telling us to store raw meat below cooked food in our fridges were wrong? I hope Romilly gets intestinal parasites or some vile disease from eating this shit. Maybe she should eat a rotting eyeball or two, since that’s no problem for a vulture.

    I would file this under Lenka’s point about “ideal” vs “possible”. Especially in older societies people would be exposed to a bunch more pathogens than we have nowadays. As such, any person that survived to adulthood should have a pretty sturdy immune system so they could survive on some bad meat if needed. Ideally you wouldn’t want to eat it, but that’s better than dying. (MZB’s reasoning is completely wrong though)

    Apparently someone’s spotted her fire, and they’re moving in towards her small camp.

    Wow! She really is a Sue! She can start a fire in the middle of winter! I’m curious where she got some burnable wood if there’s so much snow and moisture around.

    She led the horse from he concealed thicket and stood with her hand on the bridle.

    She seriously tried to hide her horse? Anyone notice how big horses are? Also: they are not concerned about hiding their presence like other animals. Assuming Romilly could even hide the horse somehow, there would be a bit ass, obvious trail to where she was.

    “He assured he would have supporters enough by poison, rope or knife for all those who would not support him, and had enough lands to reward his followers, by murdering, or sending into exile, anyone who looked at him cross-eyed, and did not bend the knee fast enough.”

    I’ve been curious about this, someone help me out. Why would you ever exile an enemy? That’s just asking for trouble.

    But the bird, under her light hands, seemed gentle and submissive. Poor hungry thing, Romilly thought, and lifted the heavy weight—it took all her strength—to set it on the ground beside the hacked carcass. With a scream, the bird plunged its beak into the carcass and tore hard, gulping down fur, pebbles, the smelly half-decomposed meat.

    Hi everyone! You know that big, cold box you keep in your kitchen called a fridge?

    Ok, remember how it was earlier established that everything was frozen over.

    Now, put those two thoughts together and reread the above.

    Yep! Cold is a preservative. So how did the meat rot if the temperature is below freezing? (much less how is it even edible and not popsicles)

    Then there are factual mistakes, wherein the hero senses some “deeper truth” that no one has ever bothered to look for. Oh, yes, bloody ha-ha. A thousand years of historians and scholars and interested mages that authors represent in the background just never happened to be as intelligent and curious as this one teenager with a trowel and the ability to read dead languages. I don’t fucking think so. At the very least, make him follow a logical road to his conclusions, or get lucky. Representing him as more intelligent and superior than all the rest is just not on.

    Thank you! This is why in my main work I have the historians & scholars as the “secret powers” in conflict and the hero is being steered & fought over by these powers.

    I can’t find it right now but Jonah Goldberg once wrote a piece that made me laugh. (paraphrasing) He pointed out that teens especially seem to have this idea that because they have this idea for the first time in their lives, it is the first time ANYONE has had that idea EVER. Which is wrong 99% of the time.

    She rode in the line of men, keeping rather nervously close to Orain and Dom Carlo—she did not like the way the man Alaric stared at her, and no doubt, like the villainous Rory, he coveted her horse. At least he did not know she was a female and so he did not covet her body; and she could protect her horse, at least while she had Dom Carlo’s protection.

    Considering that she seems to have an invincible mechano-horse, no wonder everybody is coveting it!

  2. Danielle on 23 February 2010, 16:01 said:

    Oh, look, just as conveniently as people who need a falconer to care for their birds turn up, there’s a rotting carcass conveniently nearby too.

    I would’ve laughed so hard if the carcass turned out to be Romilly’s horse—you know, the one that’s been grazing on frozen grass and drinking….what has it been drinking, anyway? Vodka, at the tavern that gave Romilly free drinks because she’s a SUPER SPESHUL MARY SUE?

  3. Nate Winchester on 23 February 2010, 16:08 said:

    I would’ve laughed so hard if the carcass turned out to be Romilly’s horse—you know, the one that’s been grazing on frozen grass and drinking….what has it been drinking, anyway?

    That would have made this book so much more awesome!

    “Man, we need some rotted meat.”
    “My horse died a few days ago. Here, let me lead you to it.”

  4. Danielle on 23 February 2010, 16:14 said:

    “Man, we need some rotted meat.”
    bq. “My horse died a few days ago. Here, let me lead you to it.”

    I was thinking something more akin to the last scene on Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Romilly leads the men into the forest, sees her horse’s rotting carcass and her face melts off from the sheer misery of seeing one of her mindless slaves beloved pets lying dead in the forest.

  5. fffan on 27 February 2010, 09:16 said:

    Wow. This is your second post in about two weeks. Keep up the good work.

  6. Penny on 1 March 2010, 16:38 said:

    Wow, the horse stuff is so unrealistic that it’s almost insulting. But maybe it just seems that way to me since I’ve been feeding my horses all winter, and even when they’re just walking around in the field and not doing anything strenuous, they need at least four flakes of hay (that’s about half a bale) a day. They also have to drink I don’t know how many gallons of water a day, and wouldn’t get enough from freaking frost.

  7. Tim on 10 May 2012, 08:33 said:

    It’s kind of funny that with all the faux-feminism we still have things like this:

    you must give any animal with which you wish to work closely a name, so that he will read it in your mind and know it is of him—or her

    You’d think she wouldn’t regard the default individual as male given her other beliefs, wouldn’t you?