In the fifth chapter of Page, I AM SO SATISFIED BY THE THING AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE THING? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Page.
Chapter Five: Midwinter Service
I CAN’T DEAL WITH THIS. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS PARTICULAR SCENE FOR PRETTY MUCH MY ENTIRE LIFE. IT’S AS IF Y’ALL KNEW THIS AND TOLD ME TO READ THE TORTALL BOOKS JUST TO GET HERE SO THAT MY LIFE COULD CRUMBLE BEFORE YOUR EYES.
Oh my god, I am so happy right now. Let’s talk about THINGS.
Everything is Adorable
Before things get super frustrating, I was struck by how wonderful it was that Kel has made a circle of friends who treat her so well. As the boys assembled in her room to get help from her, I couldn’t help but think about the first few chapters of First Test. Kel faced a wall of hatred and fear. No one aside from Neal and Prince Roald would be caught dead with Kel. So I think it speaks volumes about her character and her exuberance that she was able to create this group around her, even if that wasn’t her intention. I mean, she didn’t set out to make friends, you know? And yet, here are all these boys in her room (GET IT, KEL), looking to her for support and advice, and they don’t give a shit if they’re not “supposed” to be friends with her. They could give zero fucks if it’s not socially acceptable for Kel to be there. That, y’all, is one of the best things about this book so far. But it’s not the best thing. Oh god, the thing.
They’re still not letting Alanna be around Kel? Look, wouldn’t you want the best knight possible? If Alanna helps Kel reach that, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Of course, I’m assuming that the people who are responsible for such a decision are responsible for their own prejudices. This logic ignores the fact that plenty of men in court are giving the young boys advantages and unfair attention, but apparently it’s only Alanna who would be unfair. You know, I hope Kel gets a chance to tell Wyldon and King Jonathan how she feels about how she was treated. I don’t expect that until the end of the series, for what it’s worth. Kel still has to become a squire, and I don’t think she’s going to risk criticizing Wyldon and the people who advise him.
The Midwinter Service is a Disaster
But not at all in the way I expected. I assumed that some people would mess up along the way. There were quite a few first-year pages, so mistakes were bound to be made. Plus, Kel was extremely nervous, given that her family were watching her while she served members of the minor guilds. So I didn’t anticipate a perfect performance on Kel’s part. That might have felt an a tad unrealistic, though I did think she’d do well! Her Yamani upbringing would totally help her out.
So you will certainly see my frustration and anger at Joren and his crowd once I realized what they were doing to Kel and her friends. Honestly, now I’m starting to see the depths they’ll sink just to torment the people who stood up to them. They are willing to get extra work from Master Oakbridge just to make Kel’s life miserable. (The same goes for the people who help Kel, obviously, though she’s the main reason they’re doing this.) God, there’s even a moment during this where I basically said, “WILL SOMEONE TELL OAKBRIDGE WHAT’S GOING ON?” Of course, Kel had no proof that Garvey tripped Neal. No one heard the page tell Kel’s table that she was The Girl. No one saw who caused the knight to fall on Esmond. No one witnessed the page pouring hot soup down Owen’s back. That’s because these fuckers planned this. They meticulously set out to embarrass these people in front of court and Oakbridge, and I hate them for it.
Actually, It’s Not a Total Disaster
BECAUSE WE GET TO MEET ULINE OF HANNALOF AND KEL’S SISTERS. While Kel’s sisters are initially a bit harsh, I got the sense that they were more irritated by her presence because of Old Lady Florzile. Later, it felt like they were kind of proud of what Kel was doing. But then there’s Uline, who vocalizes her support of Kel and defends her after Doanna of Fenrigh is a total bigot to Kel’s face. IN FRONT OF HER SISTERS. Oh my god, can we see more of her? Please? Please.
I just had a thought right now, by the way. What if Uline is the one sending Kel those unmarked gifts? SECRET ADMIRER.
Kel Has Feelings
NO, BE CAREFUL. DON’T YOU KNOW THAT FEELINGS ARE DANGEROUS. Okay, I jest. I think it’s kind of adorable that Kel is starting to realize that she can have feelings towards boys, though she’s smart enough to recognize that it’s not love. (That distinction is so important, and it pleases me to see it appear in the book. I wish someone had taught me this.) Her attraction could be physical or emotional, but whatever it is, it confuses her because it’s new. I’m excited to see how this will be explored further in the book.
I am justâ€¦. oh my god. Y’all. So, I have a thing for storylines that deal with bullying, and a lot of them in YA fiction play out the same way. There might be some empowering or cathartic revenge storylines. Occasionally, people in power address the issue, but that’s pretty rare.Â But what I rarely (if ever) see is people calling out bullying for what it is, plainly stating that what people are doing is wrong and that it needs to stop. So when Owen suddenly tells Kel that he wants to call Joren out, my heart EXPLODED. Initially, I was worried that Kel’s refusal to let him do this meant that nothing would happen. Granted, I understand her practical approach here, and I found it quite mature. She knows that vengeance isn’t going to do much anymore, especially if they’re all going out of their way to pick a fight with Joren and his buddies. But Esmond also makes a great point: How will Joren and company ever stop if they don’t find some way to stand up for themselves?
So the group finds a common ground to unite everyone together: They are all sick of the extra work they’re being assigned because of this small group of total fools. I found it fitting and glorious that Prince Roald and the older pages essentially designated Kel as the leader. Again, I can’t ignore the fact that Kel represents something so powerful to these boys, younger and older. It’s not that I feel as if the boys are ~special~ just for liking a girl; it’s that Kel has clearly proven to be the moral component in their group, always willing to do what’s right in pursuit of protecting the small and the defenseless.
Which is why it’s so incredible that someone completely not associated with Kel’s group speaks up to demand that Joren and his pals knock off their petty feud. Bless you, Balduin. Bless you. It’s in that moment that nearly every page finds the courage within him to stand up to Joren ALL AT ONCE. It is absolutely one of the most satisfying things in all of the Tortall books, and I’m so happy that I got to experience it unspoiled.
GIFTS. FRIENDSHIP. GIFTS.
I’m glad that someone is showing Kel their appreciation, and I really hope I’m not wrong about it being Alanna because IT FITS SO WELL. Ugh, this book is already so fantastic. I LOVE IT.
Mark Links Stuff
-Â The Mark Does Stuff online store has been redesigned!!!!
-Â 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,Â I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
-Â Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsÂ is now published and available for purchase!Â Itâ€™s available in ebook ANDÂ physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buyingÂ the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $24.99 for 7 BOOKS!!!
-Â Video commissions are open, andÂ you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!