In the thirteenth chapter of Page, Kel finally makes it to the day of her final examinations as a page, and then EVERYTHING IS AWFUL FOREVER. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Page.
Chapter Thirteen: The Test
- OH MY GOD, I JUST REALIZED THAT THE TITLE OF THIS CHAPTER HAS A DOUBLE MEANING. RUINED BY WORDS, I SWEAR.
- I JUST REALLY LOVE LALASA SO MUCH, AND I APPRECIATE ALL THE FASCINATING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT THAT TAMORA PIERCE HAS GIVEN HER IN PAGE, AND THAT’S WHY I AM GOING TO BE ENDLESSLY UPSET.
- BECAUSE OF REASONS.
- Those reasons are WHO WOULD DO SUCH A THING?????
- My gods, it was obvious the two strangers who just appeared in the courtyard weren’t right, but it doesn’t matter. It didn’t make this easier to handle. Hell, Jump clearly acted like something was wrong, and even that didn’t prepare me for what ultimately happened.
- I am convinced that Tamora Pierce has a time machine, used it to travel to the future to find out that the mere appearance of Dane, Lindhall, Numair, Bonedancer, and the pigmy marmosets would ruin me, and then made sure to drop this into the beginning of this chapter. Stop it. Stop playing with my poor heart.
- It’s just after this that Pierce ramps up the tension and suspense in a way that’s more than just frightening. We’re unsettled because we know how truly horrible this situation is and how it was planned for months. It’s not easy to convey such things in a story, but Pierce has built up the importance of this training over the course of the series. (And, for that matter, through Song of the Lioness, too.) The end result are the examinations. Those examinations are what Kel needs to pass to become a squire. We know that it’s also possible that she could be held on an extra year or be forced to do all four years over again. Even worse, if she’s a no-show or terribly late, it’s also possible that she’ll be asked to quit. She’s already on thin ice just because she’s a young girl. That’s what is so goddamn upsetting about this: the people who kidnapped Jump and Lalasa knew what they were doing to her. Goddamn it, I hate them SO MUCH.
- What’s striking about this is how Kel copes with this horrible predicament. Initially, she uses her Yamani upbringing to keep herself from panicking. But when it’s clear that something is deeply wrong, she goes through a very realistic set of reactions. First, she goes to Salma and Gower, whichâ€¦ bless you, Kel, for thinking of going to some sort of authority figure first instead of keeping it to yourself. THAT WAS SUCH A GOOD DECISION.
- Then, when Salma worries that Kel’s actions might get Lalasa in trouble, Kel is sure to point out that Lalasa is her responsibility since she is her servant. KEL. YOU ARE SUCH A MATURE YOUNG WOMAN, AND I LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU.
- Even as this situation gets worse and worse, Kel still makes sure to be diplomatic and practical about what’s going on. She gives Tian something to do; she keeps Gower busy; she gives her sparrows the task of locating Jump or Lalasa.
- And then she gets the note. It hurts to read it, y’all. It’s so calculated, y’all. From the way it’s worded to the nature of the kidnapping, the people behind it clearly know Kel well enough to assume she’ll refuse to let her servant suffer. They know that ultimately, Kel will choose to save someone she cares about instead of showing up to her examinations. And even if that’s not the case (since that is possible, too), then there’s a simpler evil behind this: These assholes just want to make sure that Kel is so distraught and distracted that she fails her examinations. This really does feel like the worst thing anyone has ever done to her, and it upsets me greatly. The level of douchebaggery at work here is astounding, and now I’m terrified that someone is going to get away with it.
- HOWEVER, SHE STILL HAS TO PRETEND LIKE EVERYTHING IS OKAY SO THAT PEOPLE DON’T FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON. NO. NO. I mean, granted, Neal figures out very quickly that something is terribly wrong, but Kel refuses to drag him into this mess, too. It’s bad enough that she’s decided to miss examinations, so why should he miss them as well? Gods, she even has a sense of humor about it! KEL, YOU ARE MY HERO.
- It really touches on the importance of the title of this quartet. Given Kel’s history and her own concept of injustice, she was of course going to choose to protect the small. I find that wonderful. I find it invigorating. Plus, it’s not like she makes this decision without appreciating the gravity of what she’s going to have to deal with by not showing up to examinations. That is constantly addressed.
- But she presses on. She risks going to the squires’ rooms. She searches the palace and the grounds while thinking about the fact that she’s basically throwing away four years of her life, and despite that this upsets her, it doesn’t ever discourage her from doing what she thinks is right.
- I’d suggest watching the videos for this chapter. I actually predicted something correctly a few minutes before it happens, and that never happens. Still, despite figuring out that Lalasa and Jump must be hidden in Balor’s Needle, I’m kind of worried that this isn’t going to help me feel prepared for what is to come.
- Because h e l p.
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