Mark Reads ‘Wild Magic’: Chapter 8

In the eighth chapter of Wild Magic, Daine adjusts to life at Pirate’s Swoop, only to discover that her abilities have a surprising purpose. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Wild Magic.

Chapter Eight: Pirate’s Swoop

I really love what this book is doing and the feel that Tamora Pierce has given it. Gone are the days when I worried about the pacing and how the books seemed to rush to their conclusion in the last couple chapters. This is its own book, and its developed to one hell of a climax. SERIOUSLY. THAT ENDING HELP ME.

But before we get there, Pierce deals with Daine’s place within this new world she’s become a part of. I’m honestly not expecting that Daine will solve this issue by the end of this novel. She’s got so many insecurities about her role in the world, let alone her role in places like Corus or Pirate’s Keep. Does she have a place in the Riders? Is she just a burden? How is she ever going to fit in when bats cling to her clothing and poop on her? Seriously! While I think there are some thematic similarities to Song of the Lioness in this book, this really is a dramatically different experience. Daine has significant differences from the people around her. Even the few folks she has met who have wild magic within them are nothing like her. How is she supposed to feel okay with this when she’s so drastically unique?

Suddenly shrieks filled the air. It took Daine a moment to realize the sound was not birds but children screaming, “Mama, Mama!” A pack of them dashed through the inner court’s gate and separated: three to Alanna, two to the queen.

NOOOOO OH MY GOD, THEY HAVE CHILDREN. Oh my god, WHAT A GREAT REVEAL. Ugh, I am so happy for these characters. (Which is also why the ending of this chapter is so gut-wrenching. Nooo, my babies.) And this chapter also features the very first appearance of the lovely George Cooper, who has adjusted to life in Pirate’s Swoop rather well. I like that Daine is just overwhelmed by everyone she meets. They’re all these larger-than-life figures who don’t conform to the expectations and stereotypes she’s used to, and it leaves her feeling bewildered. She has literally never met noble folk who do their own chores! This is also satisfying for the reader because we get a chance to see how Alanna and George have changed the social structure of this part of Tortall. I like to think of Pirate’s Swoop as a land of misfits, of people who survived and found a place of comfort and acceptance. It’s my hope that Daine, a misfit herself, will discover the same comfort there, too.

I think that if this is going to happen, then it’s going to be because of the incredible value of Daine’s talent. I’m glad that Daine is in a place to build her control of the wild magic within her in a positive environment. Onua and Numair are already encouraging her, and George appears to outright accept her authority and talent. This is how she’s going to move past the shame and stigma that her magic brings. That goddamn Selda, don’t listen to her, Daine. She’s pretty smarmy for a quitter, first of all. Plus, Onua clearly trusts and respects you. You’ll be fine!

Okay, let’s talk about this:

“If they had to be locked in the Divine Realms, maybe they were never supposed to be there. Maybe they’re our predators.”

Our predators?”

“Surely.” She tugged one of her curls. “You speak of locking them up again as if it can be done. What if the gods don’t allow it, because the Stormwings are supposed to be here, not there?”

WHY WOULD YOU SAY THIS OUT LOUD? This is going to haunt me, y’all. Like, it’s such a disturbing idea that I can’t not think about it. What if the people in Carthak didn’t open up some sort of portal or door to the Divine Realms because the gods there sent the Immortals on their own? It’s not an entirely ludicrous idea! What if the gods hated that the mages locked the Immortals in that realm? UGH. THIS IS AWFUL. Hell, it’s an interesting take on the gods, one that’s very different from their treatment and portrayal in Song of the Lioness. Look, I don’t think Tamora Pierce would include this for nothing. There has to be a reason it exists! I DON’T LIKE FEELING AS IF I AM RIGHT ON THE PRECIPICE OF BEING PREPARED. That means there will be oodles of rot13 in the comments, and I’ll feel like I’m ~on display~. Whatever, this is what I make a living from: being a fool in public all of the time. I’m truly okay with this, I swear.

She ran outside as Numair climbed off his sweat stained gelding. “Come with me,” he ordered. “We have to find the Stormwings.”

She shaded her eyes to look up at him. “What d’you mean? Aren’t they behind their little clouds, being sneaky?”

He shook his head. “They’re gone. Vanished.”

GODDAMN IT. Things are even more complicated now. I’m worrying about the Divine Realms, and then Pierce drops this in my lap. How come they all vanished? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

“And wait – what about the Golden Net?”

Numair’s face lit. “You know, with a few adjustments –”

WHY ARE YOU STOPPING RIGHT NOW? I need to know what this is immediately. Oh, you’re just toying with me at this point.

“Then maybe we’re lucky the Stormwings are giving us so much time to think about them before they do something really nasty,” Daine said.

You stop it. You stop it right now. I don’t like be teased with the future! Never have I come across foreshadowing that’s both blatant and totally unhelpful. I still don’t know what’s going on! UNFAIR. THIS IS AN INJUSTICE.

So is Daine sleeping on a bed of cats and dogs. Can someone report this book to the United Nations? I am going to need a taskforce of global proportions to cope with the unending cuteness of Wild Magic. That also goes for the entire “duckling” sequence. God, it is just so adorable that Thayet’s and Alanna’s children flock to Daine. They practically worship the ground she walks on! Honestly, that’s got to feel good for her self-esteem, especially since she’s so inexperienced with children. Her first time hanging out with them is remarkably positive! This is a good thing!

Of course, all good things must come to an end. I was both saddened and frightened by Alanna leaving Pirate’s Swoop for the Fief Mandash. I think it’s commendable that Pierce showed us the toll Alanna’s life has taken on her children. They try to be strong every time she leaves, but it still tears them up. It’s a fascinating role reversal, too, since George is, by and large, the stay-at-home parent while Alanna is the one who leaves for “business.” Still, I wonder if Alanna is aware of what her oath is doing to her children. I dearly hope that she’s still around to find out. I say that because I got a bad feeling about her leaving. She told Daine to look after her family. I don’t like the finality in her tone. This is made even worse when the bats visit Daine, revealing the horrifying events that transpired after Alanna left Pirate’s Swoop.

I’m not the biggest fan of omens and portents in fantasy, despite that they’re sort of par for the course. But I think there’s a logistical reason that Daine dreams of certain things so often. I don’t think it’s possible for her to turn off her magic while she’s asleep, so she’s susceptible to the animal activity around her. The badger is a physical badger, and the bats in her dream are clearly the bats that gather in the loft. This isn’t a case of her receiving a mystical “vision.” It’s the animals communicating with her.

I’m constantly impressed with how Pierce chooses to narrate animal communication with different species. In this case, the whole bat counting thing is seriously INCREDIBLE. Like I say in the video below, I don’t even know if this is based on science, and I almost don’t care at all. It’s such an ingenuous way to tell the story!

So yeah. The end. HELP.

She looked at the picture she’d made, and blanched. The stones formed a half circle a mile away from the castle and village of Pirate’s Swoop. They had been surrounded in the dark.

Odd’s bobs, this is messed up.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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