In the tenth chapter of Wild Magic, BE STILL MY HEART. No, seriously, be still. You are beating too fast. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Wild Magic.
Chapter Ten: Listening Far Enough
There are so many amazing choices that Tamora Pierce makes here, and a lot of them are totally risky. Unsurprisingly, I love that sort of stuff, but it’s the way Pierce brings about all the emotional messages of this whole book together to give one hell of a finale that makes me adore Wild Magic. Holy shit, I have no complaints about this book at all. It’s one of the most satisfying and enjoyable books I’ve ever read for Mark Reads.
Okay, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should save those sort of thoughts for my Epilogue post next week. The battle I experienced in chapter nine is nothing compared to what happens in chapter ten. Pierce is able to convey the dread and impossibility of victory brilliantly here, and I genuinely had a moment where I thought we’d end Wild Magic on some terrible cliffhanger. Numair and Daine are both so exhausted that their stores of magic are almost depleted, and both of their bodies are near failure. Onua, concerned about the wellbeing of her friend and companion, finally convinces Daine that she has to let the animals go. She cannot waste all of her energy preventing them from doing something they want to do. Her logic is rather stunning, too:
“The Swoop’s animals are in the same trap we are. Men broke into their homes, killed their families, threatened you – and you won’t let them do anything for fear you’ll be hurt. That’s selfish. How would like it if I took your bow and said I cared too much about you to let you fight?”
I’m kind of ashamed that I didn’t think of this. It’s only fair that the animals get to defend their land, too. And thus begins one of my favorite sections of Wild Magic! I am so pleased with how Pierce narrates Daine’s communication with the animals here. It really is the culmination of many things in this book. It’s been established that Daine has had to adapt her thinking to different species, that she must convey thoughts, ideas, and people with vague images that a certain animal might understand. Thankfully, this has never felt hokey or weird. It’s refreshing that things aren’t automatically translated and that Daine has to do all the work. It makes what she does all the more impressive. Y’all, I’m just so proud of her. SHE’S GROWN SO MUCH. And now she’s using wild magic in the open, and her friends are perfectly fine with it. Ouch, my heart is hurting right now. She has come so far from her days in Snowsdale, and I love it.
It’s with this knowledge that Daine sneaks down to the ocean (with George and Evin’s help) to see if she can reach out far enough to contact whales to help in the siege at Pirate’s Swoop. It’s a long shot, sure, but I was hopeful when Daine was preparing herself for her most difficult taste yet. If anything, she’d learned how to concentrate, how to let herself go, and how to respect any creature she came across. Except the Stormwings, fuck them. So you can imagine my extreme sadness and desperation when nothing went well. Really, this is something I did not expect from Pierce. It was such a shock to read about the whales downright refusing to help, but honestly? It makes sense. Why should Daine have assumed that all creatures would naturally come to her benefit? Why should she expect help from the whales? I mean, yeah, it’s heartbreaking, especially this bit:
It would happen again, just like at home. The queen would die before she’d let Carthakis take her or her children. Numair would burn out. The raiders would win. If she’d learned her lessons better, if she’d explained things at the palace instead of waiting till the badger came to her at the beach… She put her face in her hands and sobbed.
One million percent done. Because at this point, Daine believes she is repeating history, that she is unable of escaping the violence that sent her on this path to begin with, and that it is all her fault. Even though the Pierce mixes in moments from the dragon’s point of view, where she ponders how Daine helped her, I didn’t have a whole lot of hope anymore. So Daine does the only thing that the badger told her to do:
And my god, y’all, I CAN’T.
She dropped into ice water that was black as ink in her mind. In the west, past the islands, he lay – ship killer, man-eater, old as time. The mages had missed him when they sealed the Divine Realms, centuries ago. He had lain on the bottom, the ultimate predator, dining on whales and humans ships. His immense tentacles, each a mile long, stirred with interest.
The kraken had never seen a little fish like her.
The little fish in the sea just called up an ancient one. It’s like a benevolent H.P. Lovecraft, y’all. This is absolutely one of the coolest plot twists in Mark Reads history. Should Daine make a deal with a demon at the bottom of the ocean? Holy shit, WHAT CHOICE DOES SHE HAVE? Even though she doesn’t believe the kraken can make it to Pirate’s Swoop in time, she agrees to let the kraken destroy the raiders. Daine, oh god, I also hoped that you hadn’t made a bad choice.
Ready for the heart punching?
Curved silver bars closed around her middle, gently. She looked up into the dragon’s catlike eyes.
– I will take you to your friends, little mage. –
THE DRAGON HELPS DAINE. OH MY GOD. Not only that, but the dragon asks Daine to help send her home. Also, the dragon is a snob. I am so intrigued by the idea that dragons are mages! Or were? I’m not too sure on the logistics, but I’m guessing that I’ll find out more about this in the future. Actually, I hope that’s the case because GODDAMN IT, WHY. WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO THE DRAGON. Oh my god, can we talk about the fact that Tamora Pierce gave character development to a dragon who appeared in only two chapters??? The dragon decides to sacrifice its life while trying to save the people of Pirate’s Swoop. Daine’s generosity and kindness convinced her to change her mind. HELP ME, I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR FEELINGS ABOUT A DRAGON.
God, how great is it when the kraken shows up? I really want a movie/miniseries version of this more than anything. I just want to see everyone at Pirate’s Swoop watching in horror as a kraken eats their opponents, the group unsure if it’ll turn on them next. My god, how is Daine going to get rid of it? Is it just going to eat the raiders and then go back to the Copper Isles? THIS ISN’T ANSWERED YET.
Overall, I’m glad that this chapter ends on a more happy note. Alanna returns home with a company of the King’s Own, Daine majestically kills Zhaneh Bitterclaws after Cloud TRANSFERS POWER TO DAINE (oh my god so many plot twists oh my god), and then she and Numair get a chance to rest. I think there’s a lot that needs to be wrapped up, but this is just so satisfying. Daine didn’t repeat the cycle. If anything else, she broke it, proving to herself and her friends that she is an incredible person because of who she is and what she possesses.
Bless this book.
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