Mark Reads ‘Squire’: Chapter 2

In the second chapter of Squire, Kel moves to her new quarters and discovers just how soon she’ll have to use her training. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Squire.

Chapter Two: The King’s Own


I repeat myself a bit here and in the videos for this chapter, but I think it’s a good point to make: This is all so new. We’ve just spent two books with Kel studying under Lord Wyldon and Master Oakbridge, of her dealing with the culture of bullying and hazing in the palace, of learning to be friends with people like Merric, Neal, and Owen, of gaining enemies like Vinson, Garvey, and Joren. And they’re all gone. After reading the first chapter, it’s not like I didn’t expect this, you know? Eventually, Kel would have to leave Corus to attend to Raoul. However, Tamora Pierce surprises all of us by dropping that plot twist IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SECOND CHAPTER. While I think it’s possible that Kel will return to the palace to do more training, I’m getting the sense that the bulk of Squire will happen out in Tortall. THAT IS SO EXCITING!

Even the familiar aspects of this quarter are still new to me. As Kel explores her new quarters, she manages to overhear Raoul’s second-in-command, Flyndan, express his concern about Raoul choosing Kel as his squire. His opinions are all based on the culture he was raised in, and even if he’s not as brash as Lord Wyldon was in First Test, he’s still the product of a patriarchal, sexist society. And this is important to point out because Pierce beautifully builds this world that shows the reader how misogyny is institutional. Yes, individual people can be sexist jerks, but the system itself is prejudiced against women. That’s why Raoul is referred to as a progressive; he purposely does things to upset the majority. He asks Kel to be his squire; he combats xenophobia/racism by recruiting the Bazhir into the King’s Own; he takes in people who would have otherwise been ignored or discarded, such as Lerant. Honestly, this is all a fantastic example of how oppression works. It’s pervasive and, by its very definition, it only happens in one direction.

Pierce provides the reader with multiple instances in which Kel’s gender is brought up as a negative aspect. I used the word “pervasive” on purpose. This is not an example of a singular anecdote about someone being mean to Kel once. She faces this sort of treatment every day from nearly every aspect of her life. Flyndan doubts her abilities. He questions Raoul’s choice not because Kel is untalented, but because other people will gossip about her. Notice how he doesn’t criticize the gossipers themselves for spreading lies. He blames their actions on KEL’S VERY EXISTENCE. Now, this doesn’t mean Kel is helpless or powerless all the time, and I also think Pierce has written Kel as a resilient force who is willing to realistically combat the injustices she comes across, including her own. I don’t see the name of this quartet as an insult; it’s a commentary on those who are viewed as small by the Tortallan society, you know?

Anyway, I want to see Kel use her glaive in battle. Really badly. I feel no regret for saying this.

This chapter starts off feeling like the first day of high school. As I said, everything is new and exciting, and Kel is beginning to earn the respect of people around her. That’s drastically different from the reaction she got in the beginning of First Test. People like Dom, Qasim, and Raoul all treat her “on her own terms,” which is an important step for Kel. That’s part of the equality she seeks, you know? It’s progress, and Kel is happy to see that people are finally accepting her as a squire. AND SHE JUST STARTED!

So I expected a lot of wonderful introductions to Kel’s daily tasks and what she’d be asked to do. So Pierce just drops a plot twist into all of this, and sweet Goddess, it’s brilliant:

“We are called away tonight,” he said.

JUST LIKE THAT. There’s no easing into being a squire. Within twenty-four hours of moving to her new digs, she’s already leaving. This is done so well! Plus, it allows Pierce to finally give us a meaningful and detailed look into the King’s Own. We learn of the new practices that Raoul has instituted since taking over. We see how they prepare for an outing. We experience their reactions to Kel, most of which weren’t surprising to me at all. It’s interesting that the few of the King’s Own who do speak up sound exactly like Joren, Vinson, and Garvey. WHO IS SURPRISED? No one. No one is. However, I was just as surprised as Kel by the display of affectionate joking from some of the King’s Own. In that one instant, we’re reminded that these are young men who have their own lives and their own sense of humor. They don’t want a difficult, unhappy journey, either. The idea that Kel can have fun while learning to be a knight fills me with such joy.


We then get to meet Kel’s first new friend, Dom, who is related to Neal. This is followed up with Kel’s first real “enemy,” though I don’t think we should categorize him as such just yet. Dom is friendly with Kel because he’s heard so much about her through Neal. Lerant, however, is rude and uncomfortable during his first conversation with Kel. Again, I expected someone to act this way, but Pierce is quick to make him much more complicated than he initially seems. Not only did Kel take his position, since he was Raoul’s “servant” of sorts, but his aunt is DELIA OF ELDORNE. (I was right about who Qasim referred to. I WAS RIGHT FOR ONCE.) Oh, god. Well, that is awkward. And yet, Raoul still took him in. What’s so great about this is that Kel understands why Lerant would be so furious and jealous of her. As this series has progressed, Kel’s developed an incredible sense of empathy, even for the most complicated of people, and it’s one of my favorite things about her. I mean, think about how she perceived Lalasa early in Page and how she perceives her in the last chapter. Character growth gives me life, y’all.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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!
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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