Mark Reads ‘Page’: Chapter 2

In the second chapter of Page, Kel deals with the dog she’s inherited, Daine makes a glorious appearance, and Joren is totally predictable in the most hateful way possible. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Page.

Chapter Two: Adjustments

Oh, this is going to be so good, I can already tell.

For the first part of this chapter, Kel knows she has to do something with the dog living in her room. And that is how Tamora Pierce gives me everything that I want while teasing me with everything that I want. I’m glad that Daine and Alanna are not the main focus of these books because I really am enjoying the experience of seeing this through Kel’s eyes. The same can be said of the last quartet, too, since Alanna wasn’t a main character in Daine’s story either, and that’s a really smart choice on Pierce’s part. Yes, I want all three of these characters to just join up and become a trio of girly badassery, but I know it makes way more sense to separate them as she does.

That being said, I cannot hide my joy at Kel going to see Daine because friendship. I love that everything that happened in The Immortals completely matters here. What Daine did in those books has ramifications for Kel, which includes Crown and the sparrows and Jump, who I hope to see LOTS MORE OF. Oh god, I have had plenty of ugly dogs in my time. And ugly cats. And ugly fish. I have an affinity for weird and unsightly pets? THEY ARE SO PRECIOUS TO ME. My mom has a small dog that looks like an Ewok sandwich, I swear to you all, and I adore that dog. (Seriously, it looks like a bunch of Ewoks were all smashed together.) So, fair warning, I will probably get incredibly emotional about Jump, and I SWEAR I WARNED YOU.

Without Neal (since he has an adorable boy crush on Daine and cannot stand to be in the presence of his ~true love~), Kel heads upstairs to see if Daine can help her out with her dog. Well, first, she has a very interesting interaction with Lord Wyldon. My god, what if my theories are wrong? What if this is like what I did during my read of The Two Towers where I said all those things about Gollum, and I was so certain I was 100% right, and then I was horribly fucking wrong, and it was embarrassing and everyone laughed at me because of my eternal unpreparedness? I am fully aware that this is possible, but I sense that there is something different about the way that Lord Wyldon treats Kel, yet I can’t place it specifically. It’s more like a gut feeling, a hunch if you will, but there’s not much that Pierce provides in the text to support this. For instance, when Wyldon lectures Kel on having a maid and the responsibilities that are entailed therein, he isn’t the normal asshole he was in First Test. He doesn’t call Kel “probationer.” He does not condescend down to her. He is very plain and straightforward, without the ire he had the year prior. That means something, right? Am I grasping at straws here??? Oh god, don’t tell me, obviously, but I just wanted to vocalize this, despite that I might be so utterly wrong that y’all will have an uproarious laugh at my expense once this is posted.

ANYWAY. Let’s talk about things I do know! Like how Kitten is awesome, opens doors, and wears her tail over her arm “like the train on a gown.” Stop it. Stop teasing me with something I can never have. And then Daine is here, everything is beautiful, and Tamora Pierce drops this in my lap:

“You came almost every day this summer to ride Peachblossom and groom him,” the Wildmage said quietly. “You bring him treats, and go easy on the rein, when last year at this time he could look forward to another brutal master or death. And Crown and her flock say that you always stopped by, though you knew Salma was looking after them. It is I who thank you, Keladry, for them. You treat animals as well as you treat human beings.”

You can’t do this to me! What of my fragile emotions? Don’t you respect them at all? Seriously, it’s such a fantastic moment because we all know how meaningful it is for Daine to say this. She wouldn’t just hand out compliments like this to just anyone. KEL EARNED DAINE’S APPROVAL, SO LET THE TRUMPETS SOUND BECAUSE THIS IS A HOLY MOMENT.

This is then followed by Joren. Joren, I despise you simply because you manage to follow the best scene in the book so far. And it really got me thinking about how horrible Joren is and why I’m thankful that Pierce isn’t giving him this in-depth, layered characterization. I usually do like that in my villains and antagonists, but in Joren’s case, it’s fascinating to see him presented as a straight-up bully who believes he can do whatever he wants. Part of me enjoys this as a pure revenge fantasy. As I mentioned before, I never truly got to stand up to my bullies, so now it’s got me wondering what it would have been like had I done so. Would I have had any success or closure? Would others have felt empowered by my behavior and joined with me, like the boys who decide to support Kel in combatting the hazing of the first years? I know that this reaches a point of diminishing returns, obviously, since looking at things in retrospect can eventually end up in a bad place for me. But what if? What if I had done things differently?

At the same time, being visibly queer and brown isn’t the same as being a young girl in a school of boys who have been raised in a patriarchal society like the one here, so I know the context isn’t the same. If you watch the video commission for this chapter, you’ll see that I get to a point right at the split between videos where I realize the full social ramifications of the fight scene. This is a group of three boys beating up a girl. Obviously, Kel can handle her own, and she is choosing to engage in these fights out of a sense of duty. But that doesn’t erase the fact that Joren, Vinson, and Garvey still chose to beat up on an eleven-year-old girl!!! YOU FUCKERS!

This time around, though, newcomer Owen surprises everyone when he is inspired by Kel’s aggression and FIGHTS ALONGSIDE HER. I couldn’t help but laugh! It’s kind of endearing, isn’t it? Granted, I think that Pierce doesn’t really glorify this behavior, but she instead shows how someone who was bullied can feel empowered when another person stands up to a bully. This all makes me curious, though: How much does Lord Wyldon actually know? This ongoing “play” (as Kel describes it) of punishment continues uninterrupted every time these pages get in trouble, and I want to know how much he’s aware of the reality of what’s happening. He’s clearly irritated by the end of his talk with Owen and Kel, so much so that he points out that there’s never been as much fighting before she arrived. Kel (rightly so) thinks about the fact that perhaps it was just never brought to his attention, so does that mean he is finally aware of the fact that those who study under him have been hazing first-years? I JUST WANT TO KNOW.

At least this chapter ends on a high note for a couple of reasons. Like Kel, I’m impressed and pleased by the growth of Neal and Kel’s study group. WHO KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN? I’m honestly surprised, since I expected that most of the boys would choose to stay far away from Kel to protect their ~manly reputations~, but that’s not the case. The most bullied ones have found friendship and solace in Neal and Kel, AND THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE.

I also want to float another theory of mine that could prove wrong, but I’m gonna say it anyway. There’s a scene where Lalasa shrinks away from Neal when he comes into Kel’s room, and it confuses Neal and Kel. Why would she act so afraid with one of Kel’s friends? Given what we know about Lalasa’s treatment at the hands of nobles, I’m guessing that this is an issue of protective trust, something that I am also familiar with. Having been abused before, I know that I’ve developed intuitive triggers that serve to tell me when I should be wary and protect myself. I think that’s what at work here. It’s not that Lalasa thinks Neal did anything to her. I’m guessing that she recognizes Neal is part of the nobility in Corus, and she’s trying to protect herself, even if that’s in a subconscious way. Plus, look at how she acts towards Kel! Lalasa is an incredible maid. She’s thoughtful, caring, detailed, and thorough, and she’s already behaving appreciatively towards Kel after Kel took her in. So we know that Lalasa can trust people.


One last theory: Alanna has to be sending these gifts to Kel. It fits so perfectly, you know? If Alanna is not allowed to be around the palace because Wyldon is an asshole who thinks she’ll unfairly affect Kel’s studying, then this is her way to circumvent the rules. It’s a silent way of showing support, and I LOVE IT. Also… I can’t think of who else would do this! Oh god, what if I’m wrong? THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS I COULD BE WRONG ABOUT. Oh, well!

Part 1

Part 2

Mark Links Stuff

The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
- 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!!!
- Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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