In the third chapter of Emperor Mage, Daine learns of the emperor’s massive collection of animals, both alive and dead, while struggling with a bizarre occurrence in her room. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Emperor Mage.
Chapter Three: Hall of Bones
I can see how Pierce is setting up Ozorne’s multi-faceted characterization through this chapter. I dreaded Daine’s journey through the emperor’s menagerie and the titular Hall of Bones, but found that nothing went as I expected. Well, first of all, I thought the Hall of Bones was the zoo that Ozorne has, but NOPE. It doesn’t even show up until the end of the chapter! And before then, two very important things happen.
First of all, even Daine herself is somewhat impressed with how the emperor’s menagerie is constructed. It’s clear she expected a bunch of tiny cages and enclosures:
She should have realized that the man who showed such devotion to his birds might pay similar attention to other creatures.
Which I should have realized as well. But it’s also important to notice the clear contradiction that Pierce creates in this characterization. Later, we’ll see how the immortals are given horrific living conditions, the hyenas are ignored, and throughout these chapters I’ve read, we also see how slaves are treated. Varice vocalizes a justification for the treatment of the immortals:
“Would you rather let them raid villages and destroy crops?”
And in that, she (and the other nobles and rulers of Carthak) rationalize what they’re doing here. Even Daine, who hasn’t had the greatest past with the immortals she’s come across, can’t accept this. These cages still feel wrong. She almost offends Kaddar when she openly questions why they’re treated this way, and I expect this is going to happen again. She knows the hyenas are treated poorly, and she’s openly horrified by how the slaves are handled, too. How much longer can she avoid vocalizing her criticism? I am going to predict that she’ll speak up to the emperor at some point, perhaps even outright asking him why he has slaves. And I imagine it’ll backfire against her because, despite Ozorne’s fondness for Daine, he doesn’t seem like the kind of man who is open to criticism.
But this is just one of many worries I have for Daine’s time in Carthak. (They only have six more days left??? THAT’S GOING TO BE EXTENDED BY A DISASTER, I SWEAR.) I think I’m far more concerned about the REALLY UNFORTUNATE AND DISTRACTING POWER THAT THE BADGER GOD HAS GIVEN HER. In any other context, this would probably be great, but OH MY GOD, DEAD ANIMALS THAT DAINE TOUCHES COME BACK TO LIFE. Even weirder, the second time that the tiger rug comes alive in Daine’s room, the strangest woman is there, one who disappears right as the tiger rug begins to move. My only guess is that the woman is a mage or someone connected to the badger? I mean, someone sent her there, right? How could she know so many things about what the badger had said??? Damn it, I’m reaching that point in another one of Tamora Pierce’s books where I’m reduced to asking a billion questions which I’ll have to wait to get answers to. Here’s another one: Why did the woman tell Daine to go look in the temples and shrines? What are in them? Why can she control or influence Kitten? WHAT IS GOING ON?
The third section of this chapter focuses on Daine’s boredom at the opening of peace negotiations with Ozorne. And before I talk about Daine and FUCKING DINOSAURS, I wanted to elaborate more on what I brought up in my second video concerning Ozorne. His initial speech that opens the peace negotiations is very specific and intentional, and I think it’s yet another sign that this man is clever and immoral at the same time. Pay attention to it again and see how he does everything he can to shift any and all blame off of Carthak and himself and on to other people and nations. He immediately disavows his participation in loosing immortals from the Divine Realms, and then pretty much blames the whole battle in Wild Magic on the Tortallans. All the Carthakis did was have a “lack of awareness,” while the Tortallans were the ones who so wrongly blamed Carthak! But Carthak was just trying to love freedom and commerce, y’all! Those are good things, right? And you want good things! Who doesn’t love freedom and commerce???
Again, this is intentional. I see what you’re doing, Ozorne, and I don’t believe you. I still think he’s lying, y’all.
As interested as I would have been in hearing what everyone had to say at the negotiations, I was thankful that Duke Gareth excused Daine because then we get Daine and FUCKING DINOSAURS! Oh my god, this section is so fantastic. It was fun trying to guess what each species was, it was a pleasure to spend more time with Lindhall (who looks like he’ll be a good ally if needed), and Daine got to see yet another side of Ozorne. The man clearly cares a lot about history, but it’s also when this comes to animals. Why does he enjoy animals more than humans?
Of course, the most important occurrence here is the fact that one of the goddamn skeletons comes alive. So, it’s not just the skin of animal that can be affected by this new power of Daine’s. Bones count, too! In this case, though, the dinosaur fossil doesn’t begin to grow back the other parts of its body. Does Daine need to touch it for a longer period of time to have a greater affect on it? I DON’T GET IT YET.
I am also going to predict a very immediate confrontation between Rikash and Daine. I DID NOT EXPECT THIS SO SOON. Lord, it’s going to be so awkward, isn’t it? What the hell do they have to talk about? “Hey, Rikash, I almost killed you a couple times.” “Hi, Daine, I don’t really like you.”
So unprepared still.
Mark Links Stuff
- I am now on tour!!! I have 26 events spread out across the eastern HALF of the U.S. and Canada. They are all free and all-ages. Come see speak about the Mark Does Stuff Universe and read terrible fanfiction live!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
- Commissions are still open while I am on tour! There may be a day or two delay to get them done, but I am accepting them graciously to help fund my tour!
- Nominate me for a Hugo award in fan writer or Dramatic Presentation – Short Form!