In the third chapter of Squire, Kel assists Raoul as the King’s Own investigate an attack on a village. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Squire.
Chapter Three: Centaurs
So, I’ll start this off with me repeating what I said in one of the videos below: This all feels so different from First Test and Page. With this book, Tamora Pierce has taken Kel (and the readers, too) out of the confines of Corus, and thrust her into the realities of what it means to be a knight. Granted, she’s got four years with Raoul until she is a knight. But very quickly, she comes face to face with what she may be asked to do, and it’s incredibly grim. This is one of the more grisly and bleak sequences in a Tortall book, one where it’s impossible to ignore the death and destruction that the centaurs and their human counterparts caused. It’s reminiscent of Alanna’s own experience with the violent world around her, except here, we’re in a world where Alanna’s actions have changed things. Would Thayet, Buri, or Onua be where they are without Alanna? Would Daine have done what she did without the Lioness in her life?
Obviously, the Lioness has been an important part of Kel’s life, too, despite that the two haven’t ever met. Here, though, Kel has to demonstrate her own talents and skills on her own, and she’s faced with a difficult situation in which to prove herself. Gods, this is her first trip with Raoul, and it’s nothing but death and destruction. Kel has to observe the existence of some vile acts. Burning people alive. Burning their pets. Suffocation. Stealing from people before setting their houses on fire. It’s not pleasant at all, obviously, and it’s even more ironic that in the last chapter, Kel remarked that she was excited to have fun while being a squire under Raoul.
WOMP WOMP WOMP.
I don’t think Kel was being naÃ¯ve, though. She handles herself incredibly well here, and it’s a testament to her Yamani upbringing. I don’t know that I could have kept myself composed while seeing such incredible horrors, you know? Not only that, but Flyndan and Raoul use the scene as a teaching method. I WOULDN’T EVEN BE ABLE TO PAY ATTENTION. True story: I wanted to be a forensic pathologist so badly because of my love for Dana Scully until I realized I can’t deal with realistic gore. WHOOPS. Anyway, as Kel follows Raoul about the village, listening to what he says and observing the scene, I was impressed with how well she was able to use her education in the palace to discern what has happened in Haresfield. Again, it speaks to her ability to grow as a person and a potential knight. She wasn’t knowledgable about centaur hooves until she learned it from Lindhall. (Lindhall <3<3<3<3.) This is so neat because it tell us that you don’t need to start off as some sort of genius who knows everything. You can study, learn, and practice to get better.
SO. CENTAURS. We didn’t spend much time at all with them during The Immortals, and we learn more about their bizarre culture from Greystreak. They’re frankly sexual creatures, and Greystreak in particular is frighteningly forward with Kel. And they see horses as their slaves. Oh, and female centaurs need gifts or they FIGHT. Greystreak himself pretends to be aloof at times and coy at others when he’s clearly a manipulative jerk. WHO THEN GETS HIS BUTT HANDED TO HIM BY ALL THE HORSES IN THE BEST SCENE BECAUSE PACKS OF SASSY HORSES. I swear, only in this fictional world can this sort of thing happen, and I love it.
Hey, Flyndan. Reminder that you said this:
“You don’t think history gets rewritten, sometimes?”
Now please apply the same logic towards Kel. Thanks.
Anyway, there’s a lot more we learn about Raoul and how he runs the King’s Own. Kel was right to perceive Raoul as more laid back than she expected, though Dom points out that this is why Flyndan is necessary as second-in-command. He provides the “stiffness” that keeps things in order. It reminds me of Jonathan’s same decision to defer to Lord Wyldon. Though, now I wonder how those two feel about Kel. Where is Lord Wyldon? Regardless, Raoul is interested in keeping Kel busy with things that will actually help her learn to be a knight instead of waiting on him. That got me wondering. What role did Lerant play before Kel? If Raoul doesn’t like folks waiting on him, what did Lerant do?
Kel does help out around the village as needed, and I wanted to point that out so I could make sure y’all see the same thing I do. Kel is helping a family organize their damaged house when Lerant decides to play a prank on her. First of all, Lerant is an adult playing a joke on a fourteen-year-old who just started as a squire. I don’t need him to treat Kel differently because she’s a young woman, but I wanted to put this in context. He’s a grown ass adult. Not only that, but he plays a joke that involves UPSETTING SOMEONE WHO IS SOBER AND DOESN’T DRINK. Oh my god, what the hell is wrong with you? Of course, Kel has no interest in ratting anyone out, not because she feels a sense of loyalty to these people, but because this battle is meaningless to her. It won’t benefit her at all.
AND THEN SHE GETS TO SERVE BURI. I MISSED YOU, BURI.
Lerant isn’t done with Kel, though. He visits her late at night, eager to know why she didn’t tell on him. Dude, what. Seriously, that couldn’t wait until the morning? I love that Kel just shuts him down and goes back to bed. As one should. Clearly, he was testing her, but couldn’t have been less of a jerk about it? Perhaps he will come around to accept her, but I’d like him more if he wasn’t so immature about something Kel couldn’t control.
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