In the eighth chapter of Emperor Mage, I am overloaded with plot twists. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Emperor Mage.
Chapter Eight: The Badger Returns
I DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS LEGAL TO PUT THIS MANY PLOT TWISTS INTO A SINGLE CHAPTER. Oh god, can we talk about each one of these?
Nope, those weren’t noblemen breaking into the hall of the immortals. It’s the Banjiku and some slaves, who offer up an absolutely mind-melting (and entirely sensible) reason for doing so:
“Worship,” he said firmly. “Someday they will no longer be caged, young master. When they are free, will not their anger be terrible? Better to make offerings now, so the great ones will remember not all men are jailers.”
Not only does this demonstrate that these people are a billion times smarter and more considerate than any of the nobles in Carthak, but it’s yet another sign that SHIT. IS. GOING. TO. GO. DOWN.
I’m scared. Scared.
Daine Is Not Human
Um wait. Wait. What?
“Mortal? No, no!” The protest came from Tano, the Banjiku who had done most of the talking when Daine first met him and his people. “She is a god, or the daughter of a god whose name she does not know. She is no mortal.”
I had already thrown my hands up in the air at this point in concession to this brilliant story. This was it. I was bested by a book. I am in awe of Emperor Mage. Y’all, I CAN’T. So Weiryn is her father, which is later confirmed when the badger does show up. (My god, there is so much to talk about in this chapter.) Now we know why Daine has wild magic and why it’s so strong.
The Graveyard Hag, Death, and Wild Magic
There are a couple things that happen that lead us to the revelation of the Graveyard Hag’s purpose with Daine. First, there’s yet another sequence where Daine dreams/hallucinates because of the Hag, and it actually causes her to end up in a different physical location. THAT IS SO FUCKED UP. But what’s surprising about this is the fact that Tamora Pierce actually has her character fiercely reject this! She tells the Hag that it’s supremely messed up of her to use her like this, and I love that. Because it is! This goddess is freely using Daine’s body for her own end. Fuck that!
We also find out that the badger didn’t actually give Daine the power to raise the dead; it was the Graveyard Hag, too. After she accidentally trips and activates a set of dinosaurs (some of them from eggs HOLY CRAP), Daine travels to a bizarre world where – wait, I initially thought she was dreaming of the badger, Weiryn, and her own mother (!!!!) when she first appeared there, but that’s not the case:
That is why it killed you, – said the badger, peering at his nest. – You woke them all. What were you thinking of? The energy to spark this waking magic had to come from wild magic. Waking the whole nest drained you. You’d better find a way to draw a spark from other sources. I can’t bring you back from the Divine Realms whenever you make a mistake and die. –
DAINE JUST DIED. OH MY GOD, TAMORA PIERCE KILLED OFF HER MAIN CHARACTER IN THE THIRD BOOK, AND BROUGHT HER BACK TO LIFE A PAGE LATER. I am so goddamn done with everything forever, I swear. PS: Daine gets to choose whether or not she wants to go to the Black God’s realm or the Divine Realms when she dies. PPS: There is a house and roads and plants in the Divine Realms. PPPS: I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE DIVINE REALMS CAN WE PLEASE DO THAT.
Anyway, all of this leads the badger to finally explain why the Graveyard Hag is interfering so much. Because the Carthaki empire is her realm, she has power over everything except the Black God. Who is her father, by the way. She forced the badger god to give Daine the waking magic, and it’s all for… reasons? That part isn’t exactly clear. The Graveyard Hag has some sort of plan that she needs Daine for, and this involves raising bones. I am guessing this is related to that waking dream Daine had, where the Hag beckoned her to come to the graveyard. But I can’t quite figure out why she’s doing this. Does she want to save Carthak or damn it? I DON’T KNOW.
PS: Gods can make mistakes AND THIS IS HOW THE DINOSAURS DIED OUT i am forever done i don’t care
Healing the Birds
Daine, the great Bird Detective, is able to find out what’s poisoning the birds: enamel inside the aviary that has lead in it. I actually like how this is revealed, especially when the birds are super excited to show Daine the enamel because… well, they’re birds. They just ate it because it tasted good! SILLY BIRDS
Ozorne Makes Me Want To Cry
See, there are so many things in this chapter that help me understand what’s going on that I was distracted. Especially since Daine just healed all of Ozorne’s birds and explained why they were poisoned in the first place, I felt pretty good as I read about Daine’s meeting with the emperor. Now I know that this was done on purpose to destroy my soul forever. I mean, I was certainly just as disturbed as Daine by the frank display of slavery in front of Ozorne. His casual commentary on why he keeps mute slaves is HORRIFYING. To him, he’s just rattling off a neat factoid! Nothing more! But that’s what is so deeply unnerving about everything that happens here. As if they are doing nothing more than chatting about the weather, Ozorne begins to asked extremely uncomfortable questions. Initially, I thought Pierce was describing the supreme awkwardness of the situation by using physical reactions from Daine; now I know she was poisoned.
What bothers me about Ozorne is how deluded he is while being goddamn evil. I can’t quite figure out how much Ozorne believes what he says. Does he really think Zernou pointed at Numair, or is he crafting this reality right before Daine’s eyes? I have a hard time believing that his plan to make Daine run away and then act as bait for Numair is not manipulation on his part. It’s too cunning, too intentional. But I know that Ozorne refuses to take responsibility for what he’s done, and that’s where the delusion comes in: Does he truly think he can outsmart the gods this last time?
Sleep was wrapping around her like a cloud-filled blanket. “Numair…”
Ozorne stood. “He dies, my dear. The gods demand a blood sacrifice, and so do I.”
I can’t. I can’t deal with this, I can’t believe this book has come to this, and I just can’t. HELP ME, WHAT IS GOING ON???
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!
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- 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!