In the first chapter of Page, Kel begins her first year as a page at court. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to start Page.
Chapter One: Page Keladry
This chapter mostly serves to introduce us to this world again and to hint at what’s going to happen in Kel’s life, and I am just so terribly excited about it. What Tamora Pierce does here is present us with all of the factors that Kel will have to cope with in her immediate future. After having been allowed to come back to Corus to continue her training as a page, Kel realizes that this hasn’t made the task before her any easier. Hell, I’d say things are more difficult than they were before. Chapter one opens with Kel’s painful and aching journey back to the palace while wearing a weighted harness, so things are physically more challenging just from the get-go. I like that Pierce doesn’t ignore the physicality needed to be a knight.
Kel herself doesn’t maintain a naive sense about her position, either. Just because she was invited back to be a page doesn’t mean that she’s magically solved the issues she faced the year before. Lord Wyldon didn’t suddenly respect and appreciate Kel, either. She knows that a great deal of the people around her will continue to expect her to quit, Wyldon included. At the same time, she knows all these people are bullshit, because she is not quitting anytime soon. BLESS YOU, LADY PAGE. I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU.
On top of this, Pierce reminds us of this quartet’s title when Kel rescues a dog from an angry butcher at her own expense. It’s a neat callback to the first chapter of First Test, especially when you realize that this time, Kel saved the animal who needed help. She’s making progress. She’s doing what she can to make the world better, even if it is in tiny, minuscule ways. I noticed that the butcher lobbed a fairly common criticism at her, too, and she brushed it off with ease:
“You’re the girl. Being softhearted will do no good, mistress,” he informed her.
Oh, shut up. Why do men do this? Are there men who truly believe that they don’t experience any emotion? No, don’t answer that, because the answer is too depressing. I’m so bored by this idea that being emotional material means you are ~totally a woman~ because there is nothing wrong with being softhearted. Also, IT’S A CUTE DOGGY. Seriously, I’m going to start an online petition to get this dog named Cookies, because I really want a dog named Cookies. There is nothing wrong with this.
Pierce also introduces us to something new Kel will have to deal with this year: her friendship with Lalasa. Lalasa represents how men in power take advantage of their own immunity, social or legal. She is clearly suffering from PTSD, possibly even Stockholm Syndrome due to her trauma at the hands of the nobles who harmed her. Pierce conveys how serious this situation is through Gower, who is a character that we didn’t get much of in First Test. His silence in the previous book is what helps us to realize how badly he needs Kel’s help for his niece. And when it comes down to it, Kel does what she can to accommodate the girl. She’s willing to sacrifice her own spending money and deal with her parents just so that Lalasa can be safe.
Protector of the small, y’all. I can’t deal with this.
The final scene of this chapter is a great way to bring back all the characters because NEAL and MERRIC and CLEON and FALERON and ESMOND. Oh god, they’re back, and they’re all friends, and I love people being friends so much. It’s also obvious that Joren is going to continue being a butthead because ugh. I’m not surprised that he hasn’t changed, so I guess my prediction regarding him will prove to be correct. I did want to focus on a couple real important points here at the end of chapter one:
Did he regret that he had allowed her to stay? Kel wondered for the thousandth time. Over the summer she had learned that last year the betting among the servants had been twenty to one against Lord Wyldon’s allowing her to enter her second year.
It’s interesting to me that Kel is thinking about whether or not Wyldon is experiencing regret. That’s a pretty specific emotion. In a sense, it seems she doesn’t want to disappoint him, even if she doesn’t really like him, you know? It’s not that she feels any significant affection for him, but she knows that he allowed her to stay against the odds, almost literally.
It was the standard punishment, no more and no less than he gave any other page for tardiness.
CAN I INTERPRET THIS AS A SIGN THAT HE’S GOING TO START TREATING KEL MORE FAIRLY THIS YEAR? BECAUSE NORMALLY HE WOULD GO ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT WAS EXPECTED. Oh my god, I seriously hope I’m not wrong about how I’m reading Lord Wyldon. I WILL BE SO EMBARRASSED IF THAT’S THE CASE.
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