In the epilogue of Lioness Rampant, it’s time to say goodbye. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Song of the Lioness.
Wow. It’s really over. Wow.
The epilogue to Lioness Rampant does tie up some loose ends, but it’s more of an emotional experience than anything else. I’ve always been a bigger fan of wanting that kind of closure than plot satisfaction. Thankfully, Song of the Lioness was always a series that cared more about characterization than plot. (THOUGH LET’S BE REAL HERE: Lioness Rampant HAD AN INCREDIBLE PLOT.) Basically? I am so incredibly happy I read this.
We get bits and pieces to provide us closure on the characters who survived Coronation Day. Alanna was right to say that Jon would be a good king. He really is a natural at this sort of thing, and that’s evident when he refuses to execute anyone convicted of being a rebel, even Delia, who tried to kill Jon. He also recognizes that he and Alanna simply aren’t meant for one another, and he’s simply happy to have her as his Champion. He’s finally sure of the role he wants her to play in his life, and I love that he doesn’t hesitate to give her space after one of the busiest years of her life.
But that also means that Alanna spends a lot of time alone. Yes, she’s with the Bloody Hawk, and there are people in her life. But the book makes it clear that she doesn’t have the companionship that Coram, Jon, George, or Faithful once brought her.
Shortly after her arrival, Alanna saw a new constellation at the foot of the cluster called “The Goddess.” She never found out who named it, but everywhere she traveled in later years she always heard it called “The Cat.”
Why does this punch me directly in my heart? I will miss Faithful forever, I swear.
There are little changes to Tortall that we learn of, too. Well, in the grand scheme of things, they’re pretty huge. I love that there are girls who come to visit Alanna, “most of them… fighters.” I love that she changed this kingdom just be asserting her right to be herself. So much of this quartet is about the complicated journey to understanding one’s identity, and while Alanna has certainly stumbled along the way, she believed in herself. She believed that she deserved to be a knight, to be a woman, and to live in a world where those two things were not mutually exclusive.
I was happy that Thayet and Buri paid a final visit to Alanna as well, and I knew that Thayet was there about Jonathan. When I started this series, it was so obvious to me that Jon and Alanna would end up together, and yet he were are: I was wrong. Really wrong. I like the idea that Thayet will keep Jon in line, that she’ll get to live out the royal life she wanted but was stolen from her because of her warlord father. Jonathan will get a chance to be happy with someone far more compatible with him as well.
Alanna also gets some closure regarding Liam as well, and I’m glad that Pierce recognizes how important that character is to Alanna’s growth as a warrior and a person. Yeah, I do think this epilogue largely deals with Lioness Rampant, but I do get moments that make it truly feel like the end of an epic saga. I think Liam’s letter to her is one of them. Earlier in this book, Alanna had insisted that there was no purpose to death in terms of battle, that you could only do great things while alive. She was the only one who misunderstood what Liam meant, and now, reading his letter, she gets it. Liam’s death was one of meaning because of how he died. He chose to save the life of Jon, and for that, Tortall is irrevocably changed. All these people are changed. I suppose I should have seen Liam’s death coming once I read that, but I was distracted by everything else going on at the time.
That left just one person I was curious about: George Cooper. He arrives in Alanna’s camp, and we finally see Alanna make a choice. But this series never felt like Alanna was locked in some melodramatic love triangle, and I’m glad my concerns were allayed. Truth is, George has always been well-suited for Alanna, and I was ecstatic to see that confirmed here. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man asks the Rogue to be hers, and they agree. And honestly, I don’t know that I need much more information than this. I’m happy that Tamora Pierce doesn’t jump ten years in the future to give us a complete picture of what Alanna’s life is. Instead, we’re just meant to imagine the adventures these two went on, the children they had, and what their life would be like in Pirate’s Swoop.
This quartet is my first introduction to Tamora Pierce, and I’m just so impressed with what this fantasy series managed to address. It’s been fun to see how much this has meant to so many of you. (And oh my god, there are so many of you.) I don’t think I could ever begin to understand what it must be like to grow up with this series as a young woman in a world surrounded with male-dominated fantasy ruling everything, but I can tell you that as a queer brown dude living in the 21st century, it means a lot to me, too. It means a lot to me to see an author so openly play with gender roles, to tie in very modern ideas of sexuality and friendship, and to write one damn fine story. I’m eager to see how Pierce improves in the coming Tortall books. I’ll start the Immortals quartet next. (The entire thing is already plugged into my Master Schedule), and then follow that up with Protector of the Small. Let’s keep this going, y’all! And thank you, sincerely, for being the nicest fandom that’s ever shown up to my site. I appreciate it.
Mark Links Stuff
– You can follow me on Twitter for any updates and live commentary on upcoming reviews I’m writing.
– You should read this very important post about supporting Mark Does Stuff!
– Video commissions are just $25! You can commission me to read, watch, or play anything for current, past, or upcoming projects right here!
– I have just released Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for $4.99!
– I’ve started reading The Shoebox Project for Mark Reads, the first fanfic “series” I’ve ever covered!
– Both Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince are now available in paperback form!