In the tenth and final chapter of The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, it’s clear that we’ve got some shit to deal with in the next book. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.
Chapter Ten: The Doomed Sorceress
Well, that was unexpected. Despite that I assumed that this chapter would answer the questions raised in George’s chapter, I’m actually quite satisfied with how The Woman Who Rides Like a Man ends. Clearly, this is leading into Lioness Rampant, and that’s okay. Now that I know this was originally supposed to be one book that was split into a series, it doesn’t bother me that this book ends rather abruptly. Still, there’s a lot here that is addressed in terms of the issues, themes, and plots that arose throughout this book.
- I really love that Pierce shows us that there is a point where the Bazhir no longer need Alanna. Sure, it’s sad that Alanna feels listless and useless, but it paints a picture of independence. While Alanna undoubtedly changed the Bloody Hawk forever, they are their own people. By raising Kourrem and Kara to become co-shamans, they’re now self-sufficient. And it’s important for me that this is acknowledged outright.
- One of the many things Alanna learns in this book is that she cannot punish herself for what she cannot control or what wasn’t her fault. Ishak’s actions were not her fault. Duke Roger’s evilness isn’t Alanna’s fault, either. I’m happy that Alanna takes death seriously; she doesn’t needlessly take a life if she can avoid it. But at the same time, she cannot take the world so personally.
- While this entire series has openly explored the confines of traditional gender roles, I think I’m more excited about the fact that Alanna comes to accept her own feminine nature more than ever before simply by spending time with more women. It’s great that Alanna found the freedom to break from the expectations thrust upon her for being a young woman, but it’s also rad that this isn’t done in a way to criticize being a woman at the same time.
- The sorceress of Alois provides the answer to the visions Alanna received of a post in the sky and a man pointing upwards. She saves the sorceress from the woman’s own people, but I’m still not sure why it is that the Great Mother sent Alanna these visions. Obviously, Alanna learns how to repair Lightning, and she gets correspondence she is to deliver to Halef Seif. It’s possible that either one of these things will prove to be vital in Lioness Rampant. But I also like the idea that the Mother wanted to show Alanna how dedicated this sorceress was to doing what was right, even if all her people had turned on her in the end.
- Hey! Alanna avoids killing people again! She rules. And honestly, how often do characters in fantasy think about the death they cause quite like Alanna does? Not many that I know of. It’s awesome.
- “Here lies the sorceress of Alois, who loved the people who killed her.” Thanks for punching me right in the feelings, Tamora Pierce.
- As important as all of these moments are, none of them are as mind-melting as Alanna’s prophetic dream. And I’m calling it prophetic because I just put two-and-two together, and there’s no way this isn’t foreshadowing for Lioness Rampant. Anyway, Alanna has a dream that her brother introduces someone to the king and queen, Jonathan, and Duke Gareth, and it’s fucking Duke Roger, AND HE TELLS ALANNA SHE SHOULD THANK HER BROTHER FOR THIS AND TO BRING BACK HIS SWORD.
- I can’t. I CANNOT POSSIBLY DEAL WITH THAT. Thom is trying to bring back Duke Roger???? WHY? WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU DO THAT, THOM? YOU DIDN’T EVEN LIKE HIM WHEN HE WAS ALIVE?
- No, I just realized that in a past review, I made some goddamn comment about Duke Roger not being able to come back, damn it WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF.
- Oh fuck, she put Lightning back together. There is no way her dream isn’t foreshadowing.
- “Have you ever noticed that when you try to deny some part of yourself, things fall out so you need that part more than any other?” And this is such a crucial part of this novel! Alanna has been resisting and denying her Gift for years, and her time spent with the Bazhir helped her accept a part of who she is. That’s beautiful.
So Coram and her are heading south, and I imagine that’s how Lioness Rampant will open. I’ll save my predictions for Monday’s post, but I’m pleased with where this book has gone. AND THERE IS SO MUCH MORE. Onwards I go into the last of the Song of the Lioness books!
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