Mark Predicts ‘Squire’ / Mark Reads “Plain Magic”

Okay, it’s time for me to see how prophetic or embarrassing I was when I tried to predict Page. THEN there are more predictions and THEN a short story and EVERYONE WINS.

First things first: Let’s see whether I’m laughing or crying this time around.

  • This book will cover multiple years. I say this because what I remember for Song of the Lioness is that you’re a page for a while before you’re a squire. HELL YEAH 1/1
  • While Kel and her friends will be more than willing to try and stop bullying, I don’t think that means that it has stopped. OH MY GOD THEY ARE SUCH PRECIOUS PEOPLE. 2/2
  • Kel will make friends with at least one first-year. Hello, Owen!!! 3/3
  • Kel will become closer friends with Myles of Olau because f r i e n d s. Oh, I’m actually surprised this didn’t happen! Well, I’m still doing pretty well. 3/4
  • Kel will fight Joren at least once in the book. Hmmm. Technically, she doesn’t, right? Boo. That “boo” is for Joren, not me. 3/5
  • Someone will try to hurt Crown or the other sparrows. SO CLOSE, AND YET SO FAR. 3/6
  • I think Lord Wyldon will be even harsher than he was on Kel her first year. He will also begin to begrudgingly accept the fact that she isn’t going anywhere. I AM CONSIDERING THIS SPOT-ON. BECAUSE HE TOTALLY DID THIS. 4/8
  • Kel will hang out with Daine and Numair at least once! SORT OF! Wait, actually, Daine was alone when Kel spoke with her. Drat. 4/9
  • Prince Raoul will ask Kel to some princely function. what. 4/10
  • Kel will experience her first period in this book! Tamora Pierce addressed this in Song of the Lioness, and Kel is coming of age, so that’s my reasoning. I DID THE THING! 5/11
  • Kel will find out that Alanna was the one who gave her the gifts in her first year. I will predict this until the end, I swear. 5/12
  • And finally, Kel will become a squire at the end of the book! Finally!!! 6/13.

Okay, I did real well at first! And then slipped right back into being perpetually unprepared. Oh well! Let’s predict Squire!

Mark’s Predictions for Squire, Which Are Totally Awesome

  • I assume Kel becomes a knight at the end of the book.
  • So does Neal!
  • Kel will have her first kiss.
  • We’ll find out who kidnapped organized the kidnapping of Lalasa and Jump.
  • I think it was Joren.
  • Kel will have difficulty finding a knight to be a squire under.
  • But she will gain one by the halfway point of the book.
  • Someone will get kicked out of the squire program for breaking the rules.
  • Another person will simply not make it to the end and won’t become a knight.
  • (Please let it be Vinson or Garvey. For both of those.)
  • More Sir Myles?
  • More Daine?
  • More Jump?
  • I don’t know what I’m doing?

So, since I’ve been told this is not a spoiler for Tortall the Circle of Magic books, it’s time to bring back another short story! Leah commissioned this from me, and I AM EXCITED.

Part 1

Part 2


  • Seriously, the set up of this narrative alone is worth reading it, just for that moment where the title of the short story levels you with feelings.
  • But it’s not the only thing great about it!
  • It’s been a pleasure to see Tamora Pierce take women who are stuck in a patriarchal society that eerily resembles our own and help them find their own agency and their place in things. With “Plain Magic,” Tonya fits into that story, but then we’ve got Lindri, who gives no fucks at all. What I found so fascinating about her is that she knows that historically, she’s at a disadvantage for being both a woman and possessing so much power. And she doesn’t care. She’s already given up on trying to navigate this society by being polite and obedient. Instead, she uses her strength and knowledge to save an entire village, spite the head mage, befriend a dragon, and give Tonya a future. IN LIKE SIXTEEN PAGES. Bless her.
  • And I imagine that this is something immensely powerful to a lot of you, too! Tonya has grown into a life of limited possibilities, and she longs for a world of freedom. Now, I can understand this in one sense, but I’m not going to pretend I know what that’s like for women, you know? But I think you can see a similar narrative in my own life, especially as a queer dude stuck in a conservative town.
  • When Lindri first speaks in the story, she makes reference to the “plain kind of magic in needlework,” and I assumed that this was what the story would be about. HA. HA.
  • As a bright kid who grew up in a community that didn’t necessarily value us, I can indeed confirm that there are few things as frustrating as teachers who won’t educate out of fear that their students are smarter than them. Which isn’t to suggest that the opposite is any less terrible, because I also hated teachers who believed that they were so much smarter than their students that they taught in an almost abusive manner. (I’m thinking of a particular biology teacher at my school whose name escapes me; he flunked a friend of mine on an exam because she pointed out that the wording of a problem was incorrect and fallacious. I wish I was kidding.)
  • This all speaks to Tonya’s irritation and fear. Everywhere she turns, she’s given less and less options. Her entire life is laid before her from other people. Her parents will choose her husband, her teacher refuses to teach her anything more advanced, and she is trapped.
  • That’s why I love what Lindri represents for Tonya. She’s caring, as evidenced by her treatment of Krista. She does this without an expectation for anything in return. The same can be said for her “gift” to Riv and Aura. She didn’t have to give up that lovely piece of lace, but she did it out of kindness and charity.
  • Of course, the best part of this story is the battle of intellect that Lindri has with Wizard Halen, a total asshole of a dude who is miseducated about dragons and nearly gives up Tonya as a human sacrifice.
  • “Do you seriously think a dragon can taste the difference between a virgin and an old man?”
  • But it’s what Lindri does after Tonya is shackled up for the slaughter that blew me away. I absolutely adore the way she conducts herself with this no-nonsense air of authority. She essentially raises her middle finger to the people responsibel for Tonya’s treatment by freeing her and then taking the dragon captive in a manner of minutes. Which makes me wonder if Lindri has some wild magic in her as well. But that’s not even necessary. The point of all of this is that Lindri bothered to understand a dragon’s needs and their own culture. It’s why she can subdue the dragon so easily and then lead him home.
  • I mean, she just uses a rope leash. THAT’S IT. THAT’S IT.
  • I also appreciate that Pierce creates a complicated emotional situation for Tonya in regard to how she feels for her father. I think any person might feel just as betrayed as Tonya if their father gave them up so willingly for a sacrifice. Yet it’s not that simple for her, you know? She still feels something for him, even if it’s not love.
  • “I want to learn what you can teach me.” “This? It’s just plain magic, Tonya. Nothing spectacular.” OH GOD, WHAT A GREAT LINE, THIS LINE IS GREAT. I LOVE THIS.

We start Squire on Monday morning! Huzzah!

Mark Links Stuff

– I have redesigned! Check out this post explaining the new changes, which includes the start of a permanent archive of all Mark Watches videos!
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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1 Response to Mark Predicts ‘Squire’ / Mark Reads “Plain Magic”

  1. Sarabi says:

    I love how mark said that he will predict about the secret benefactor thing until the end, then forgot to predict it a paragraph later….

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