Welcome back, my friends, to the show that just won’t end. As you’ll no doubt remember from last time, Clary and Jace (after encountering a less-than-hospitable welcome at Clary’s apartment) ran into the amazing and wonderful Madame Dorothea. Why is she so amazing and wonderful? Well, read on and find out.
The chapter begins with a description of Mme. Dorothea’s apartment in excruciating detail – in short, it’s a hodge-podge mix of stereotypical occult-ish stuff, from palm reading to astrology to some Chinese stuff that doesn’t get explained. Clary gets drawn in by a poster for the aforementioned palm reading. Dorothea pokes her head through a bead curtain (really) and asks if Clary’s actually interested or is just being nosy. Clary lies and says she’s neither, and asks if Mme. D can actually read fortunes.
Dorothea talks a bit about how her mom was really good at that sort of thing, from palm reading to tea leaves, and she learned quite a bit from her. Then, being surprisingly gracious, Mme. Dorothea offers Clary and Jace tea. Clary accepts on the grounds that, “She felt as if she’d been running on pure adrenaline since she woke up.”
Clary, apart from the last five minutes, you’re day hasn’t exactly been pulse-pounding. Yeah, it’s been rough, but not nearly as bad as that. Plus, you’re the one who hasn’t had anything to eat yet.
Anyway, Jace also accepts the offer, so long as it isn’t Earl Grey, because he doesn’t like bergamot.
I’m momentarily impressed by this, until Clary decides to comment on it, because it’s just soo amazing that Jace knows that bergamot is in Earl Grey tea, because she’s never met a guy who knows that. I’d assuming it’s because either she doesn’t know many tea-drinkers, or doesn’t know many guys.
What makes it worse is Jace’s response – “I’m not like other guys.”
Yeah, most guys don’t have a kill count, either. That not necessarily a good thing.
He then goes on to say that they’re required to learn basic medical properties of various plants. How this applies to bergamot, I don’t know. Anyone know the answer?
Clary then tries to make a funny comment about what kind of classes Jace might take, and fails miserably at it. Jace responds condescendingly, and refers to her as “Fray.”
This sets her off, because it reminds her of Simon. You remember Simon, right? Clary’s alleged best friend, who she left sitting in that coffee house back in chapter 3? And who she has not thought of, let alone attempted to contact since?
She feels bad for about two seconds, but doesn’t do anything about it, much like a certain other female YA protagonist. Yeah, some friend you are, Clary.
Meanwhile, Jace goes back to being a general asshole. He’s been looking through Dorothea’s books, and declares them all worthless. Clary tries to counter with the idea that Mme. D might use magic different from what he uses, which sets him off on yet another poorly thought out argument:
He scowled furiously, silencing her. “I do not do magic,” he said. “Get it through your head: Human beings are not magic users. It’s part of what makes them human. Witches and warlocks can only use magic because they have demon blood.”
Clary took a moment to process this. “But I’ve seen you use magic. You use enchanted weapons-”
“I use tools that are magical. And just to be able to do that, I have to undergo rigorous training.”
Plot Hole: 3
1) Further world building issues. So Shadowhunters can use magical instruments to make magical things, but they can’t do magic themselves. But where do they get the magical tools from? And again, if runes aren’t magic, then what are they?
2) Are Shadowhunters human or not? They were human once, but not anymore, and yet they treat regular humans like crap.
3) I thought demons were just beings from other dimensions. So, how does having demonic ancestry allow one to do magic? And I thought demons were just beings from another dimension – what does that have to do with using magic in the first place?
In short – world building is important. Don’t just throw a bunch of ‘cool’ ideas into a blender and hit puree.
Moving on, Clary brings up the possibility of her becoming a Shadowhunter, Jace makes some big talk about how hard it is (yeah, right), and CC tries to be funny by making an eBay joke. The key word there is “tries”.
“Most myths are true, at least in part.”
“I’m starting to get that.”
Yeah, right. I’ll let Pryotra elaborate on that issue.
Mme. D come back and asks why they’re standing around in her front room, and invites them into the parlor. Clary is puzzled that such a place might exist, Jace makes a lame joke,
Rapier Twit: 1
And Dorothea makes one of the best comments in the entire book, if not the series:
“If you were half as funny as you thought you were, my boy, you’d be twice as funny as you are.”
Dear God, it’s beautiful. I wish Dorothea were around more. The fact that Jace is utterly baffled by this just makes it even better.
The parlor is decked out in the most stereotypical Gypsy Fortuneteller look this side of a Universal monster movie. They all sit down to have tea, served with cucumber sandwiches, and we get to learn even more about Jace – he doesn’t like cucumber.
Wasn’t there supposed to be a plot in here somewhere?
But instead of plot, we get more info dumping. Just what this book needed.
Mme. Dorothea says that, though she’s not a witch, her mother was. Jace says this is impossible, because witches/warlocks are human-demon hybrids, and thus sterile. Clary, for once, contributes something to the conversation, namely that mules are also sterile crossbreeds. For once, Jace and I agree on something – Clary’s comment was really stupid.
But there’s a problem with this – hybrids aren’t automatically sterile. They might be sterile with each other, but they can produce offspring with non-hybrids. To go with Clary’s example, female mules can be bred with donkeys or horses For another example, a female liger (make a Napoleon Dynamite joke and I will throat-punch you) “has been successfully bred with a lion.”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liger#Fertility
On top of that, there’s a long history of human crossbreeds not being sterile in fantasy fiction – see the proliferation of half-elves, half-orcs, and aasimars, tieflings, and gensi in pre-4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. So, why are warlocks entirely sterile?
The answer is: none.
Plot Hole: 4
Also, in this series vampirism and lycanthropy come from demonic diseases. Because why not.
There’s a bit of a dispute about faeries. Dorothea says that they’re fallen angels, while Jace favors the idea that they’re allegedly a crossing of demons and angels. Because that makes so much more sense. And, for some reason, despite faeries allegedly being crossbreeds, they aren’t sterile. Go figure.
Clary tries to ask whether or not angels actually exist (which would only further complicate this cosmology), but Mme. D jumps in to either A) cut the info-dumping short, or B) leave that ambiguous. I’d like to believe it’s A, but more likely it’s B.
So, yeah, turns out she was adopted, and he whole job it to “watch and guard.” She’s all mysterious about exactly what she’s guarding, though, because doing otherwise would be convenient. Dorothea then compliments Clary’s appetite, as the girl’s unintentionally eaten all the sandwiches, and disparages the fact that most girls are so damn skinny nowadays. Clary’s reaction is to remember how skinny Isabelle is, and feels fat.
This is a bit awkward and fanfic-y, because as we’ve already seen, CC isn’t exactly a skinny little stick-woman. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing (I’m not exactly tiny myself), but it doesn’t help the idea that Clary is CC’s self-insert. It’s not as bad as Stephenie Meyer’s treatment of blondes, but it’s still really out-of-place here.
Dorothea gets a bit weird when Clary finishes her tea, grabbing the girl’s cup without so much as asking for it. Not cool, lady. Clary is, once again, baffled by this, and Jace has to explain that Mme. D is reading her tea leaves. For some reason, Dorothea has some trouble reading Clary’s cup, and in a minor moment of awesomeness, grabs Jace’s cup to check his, ignoring his protests the whole time.
I’m okay with this, because Jace is a dick. Is that petty? Maybe.
Dorothea gives a vague prediction, because that’s the perfect way to differentiate this from the Harry Potter books. She sees violence (duh), lots of blood shead (again, duh), that Jace will fall in love with the wrong person (SUBTLE FORESHADOWING!!1!1!!), and that he has an enemy. Jace, like me, is surprised that it’s just the one. Then again, he probably kills any potential enemies before they have a chance to become a threat.
Satisfied that her third eye isn’t going blind, Mme. D returns to Clary’s cup, but still can’t make anything out. She then asks if Clary has a block in her mind – a spell that affects her memory and ability to see the supernatural.
No Shit Sherlock: 1
Clary immediately denies this.
Okay, Clary, I need you to think for a minute – you’re starting to see and remember things that you’ve never seen before, and that you’re constantly denying. Like, say, your mom’s scars. You’ve had outside observers mention them (namely, Simon), and you’ve just learned that there might be something affecting your ability to perceive these kinds of things.
And you deny it.
Our heroine everyone.
Also, quick question – how would a spell affecting someone’s mind have any influence over telling their fortune? You’re looking at what might/will happen, not doing a personality test.
Plot Hole: 5
Jace more or less says what I just did, and Clary gets defensive about it. Also, there’s a stupid sex/puberty joke.
Not one to give up, Dorothea decides to switch tactics – she has Clary blindly pull a card from her tarot deck. She pulls the Ace of Cups, which Dorothea says is, “The love card.”
Except that, like most tarot cards, there’s more to it than that – it’s really more about relationships in general. You’d think that an actual fortune teller would know that.
Or, more likely, CC didn’t do enough research.
Plot Hole: 6
Clary examines the card, noticing that it’s very detailed and hand-painted, and asks if it’s a good card. Dorothea says no, but it is important. She then asks what the card means to Clary, and apropos of nothing, Clary says that her mother painted the card. There’s no explanation of this, like that she recognizes the brushwork or something. No, she just knows.
Plot Hole: 7
Dorothea explains that Jocelyn painted the whole deck as a gift, and Jace goes all bad-cop on her, asking how well she knew Clary’s mom. Mme. D doesn’t cave, though, and says that they both knew each other’s big secrets, and that they helped each other out on occasion – Jocelyn made Dorothea a nice tarot deck, and Dorothea kept her ear to the ground for Jocelyn, listening for any news about Valentine.
And at the mere mention of Valentine’s name, Clary freaks, and Jace continues to push Dorothea for more info. Mme. D reveals what the audience has already figured out – Jocelyn was a Shadowhunter. And again, Clary denies this.
Jace, however, leaps on this, saying that Clary’s mom lived in this particular house because it’s a Sanctuary – a place where Downworlders can hide from the Clave. And he pretty much accuses Dorothea of hiding criminals. Dorothea doesn’t budge, though, and has Jace recite the Covenant’s motto.
“Sed lex, dura lex,” said Jace automatically. “The Law is hard, but it is the Law.”
Weird Word Choice: 2
Yes, I gave that a double shot. Here’s why:
*First, the correct phrase is “Dura lex sed lex.” I know Latin is one of those languages where word order isn’t as important (the upside of having a robust case system), but you still need to get it right.
*Second, because there’s that annoying capitalization of ‘law’. Don’t treat it like some sacred thing in-text if no one’s going to act like it’s that important.
Dorothea more or less gives the same argument that Roy Greenhilt gave to Miko Miyazaki, namely that following the law is kinda pointless if innocent people are going to be hurt because of it. Jace, much like Miko, doesn’t buy it, and threatens to tell the Clave about Dorothea.
This finally snaps Clary out of observation mode and tries to reason with Jace, but to no avail. He points to a random door that apparently doesn’t lead anywhere as proof. Dorothea explains that it’s the eponymous five-dimensional door. Why five dimensions? No idea. But it can take you anywhere, so that’s pretty handy if you need to make a quick getaway.
Clary wonders why her mom didn’t use the thing when she got attacked, and concludes that she was waiting for Clary to come home. Except that Jocelyn specifically told Clary not to come home, thus negating the whole reason for why she didn’t make a run for it in the first place.
Plot Hole: 8
Regardless, Clary decides that she wants to know where he mom would have run, and opens the door, completely disregarding warnings from both Jace and Mme. Dorothea.
And with that, the chapter ends.
A few quick thoughts before I go.
Clary continues to be of little use in the overall story, sitting back and observing while other characters do most of the work at best, or actively bumbling her way through this new world at worst.
Thinking about it, the comparison between Jace and Miko is more appropriate than I initially believed – they’re both zealous to an annoying degree, far too quick to resort to violence (or the threat thereof), and qualify as Tautological Templars – they are ‘good’, so any action they take is ‘good’. The only difference is that we’re not supposed to like Miko.
The chapter’s title is totally inappropriate, as the five-dimensional door doesn’t appear until the last page or so of the chapter.
The only real saving grace here is Madame Dorothea, who if nothing else was entertaining. Stereotypical bordering on offensive at times, but still entertaining. She offers a look into the other side of this world, showing that the Shadowhunters might not be as squeaky clean as they like to think they are.
And unfortunately, we won’t be seeing her for quite some time. Hope you enjoyed her while you had the chance.
So, what awaits our heroes on the other side of the five-dimensional door? You’ll find out next time, in Chapter 8 – Weapon of Choice.
Whenever I get around to sporking it. Remember when I put these things out almost once a week? Good times.
Weird Word Choice: 2 (Total 45)
Rapier Twit: 1 (Total 10)
No Shit Sherlock: 1 (Total 9)
Plot Hole: 8 (Total 38)