In the thirteenth chapter of Squire, Kel learns a powerful lesson after someone has a horrifying experience in the Chamber of the Ordeal. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Squire.
Chapter Thirteen: The Iron Door
SWEET BABY JESUS, THIS BOOK.
Trigger Warning: We have to mention/discuss rape/sexual assault due to Vinson’s storyline.
Kel’s New Vision
There’s a common theme in all of Kel’s visions spawned by the Chamber: She is rendered completely helpless as the people she loves suffer. Before, they suffered at the hands of the law that Kel could not control. This time, however, it was a jousting accident that left her physically unable to defend herself or the innocent people of Tortall. She’s left to die in the streets, alone. Seriously, all of her visions are so terrifying! I think there’s an unfortunate implication here that was clearly not intentional, since this seems to suggest that someone who is disabled is helpless, but I also understand the context of why Kel has this specific fear. Her job requires her to be able-bodied, yet she risks becoming disabled every time she jousts.
Given what happens with Vinson later, I don’t think I’ve ever been so interested in finding out what the hell sort of magic is behind the Chamber of the Ordeal. Because what the fuck!!!!
Cleon Becomes a Knight!
I forgot that he was a year ahead of Kel. Oh gosh, he is just ceaselessly adorable throughout this chapter. I don’t necessarily find myself terribly into Kel being attracted to anyone so far, but I can’t deny that for a first romance, Kel has chosen extremely well. Cleon is a sweetheart, and I really appreciate that he respects her so much. The two spend a morning in town together before Cleon goes off to the Chamber, and then Kel spends time with Raoul and a surprise group of friends in an impromptu party. I really adore how tight-knit these characters have gotten over the course of this series, you know? Like, RANDOM PARTIES. THAT’S SO AWESOME.
And then, Kel wakes up the next morning and wait. God, that has to be unbearable. Thankfully, Cleon perseveres, and he’s a knight!!! Oh god, EVERYTHING RULES! Then there’s another party, and Cleon and Kel are all flirty, and can I just say how awesome it is for Pierce to portray their relationship this way? Kel takes the prospect of sex with Cleon very seriously while also acknowledging that she’s attracted to him. It’s so much more realistic than I expect, though not from Pierce, of course.
SO YEAH. THIS IS A THING. THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENED, AND IT LEAVES ME WITH A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY THE ORDEAL IS SUPPOSED TO DO, AND NOW I KIND OF WANT TO GO BACK AND RE-READ ALANNA’S ORDEAL EXPERIENCE BECAUSE I DON’T RECALL ANYTHING BEING REVEALED ABOUT IT THAT COULD HAVE PREPARED ME FOR WHAT I WITNESSED HERE.
OKAY, SO, NO ONE SHOULD BE SURPRISED HOW MUCH THIS DISTURBED ME BECAUSE I’M PRETTY SURE IT RUINED ALL OF YOU BECAUSE HOW COULD IT NOT. I MEAN, LOOK, WE ALL KNEW VINSON WAS A HORRIBLE PERSON. HE WAS A BULLY, HE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE RAPED LALASA IF KEL HAD NOT INTERVENED, AND HE ALWAYS GOT AWAY WITH ANYTHING. EXCEPT NOW. THE CHAMBER OF THE ORDEAL MADE HIM SUFFER EVERY KICK AND PUNCH THAT HE DIRECTED TOWARD HIS VICTIMS AND SO THERE IS, OF COURSE, A PART OF ME THAT WANTS TO HIGH FIVE THE CHAMBER AND BUY IT A BEER AND THEN I REMEMBER THAT IT HAS SOME SORT OF MAGICAL POWER THAT NO ONE CAN CONTROL AND I’M BACK TO BEING TERRIFIED. BECAUSE OH MY GOD. WHY!!!! WHY WOULD YOU SUBMIT TEENAGERS TO THAT THING?
AND THEN JOREN’S RESPONSE TO THIS WHOLE THING MADE ME WANT TO REACH THROUGH THE PAGES AND CAST HIM INTO THE DRAGONLANDS. RIGHT, IT WAS THE “PROGRESSIVES'” FAULT THAT VINSON CONFESSED TO SERIAL RAPE AND ASSAULT. THAT WAS TOTALLY THE FAULT OF PROGRESSIVE THOUGHT. I THINK THIS SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT WHAT A DESPICABLE MISOGYNIST AND ALL-AROUND VILE HUMAN BEING JOREN IS. HE LITERALLY BELIEVES IT IS AN INJUSTICE THAT A RAPIST IS GOING TO JAIL.
I AM SO DONE WITH YOU JOREN. MAY THE CHAMBER OF THE ORDEAL CAST YOU INTO THE DRAGONLANDS SINCE I CAN’T DO IT.
At first, I was surprised by Kel’s immediately reaction until I took like half a second to think about what we know of her character. Kel is an idealist, but she’s also the kind of person to assign a sort of intimate blame to herself for anything wrong with the world. If she can’t fix it, she feels guilty. Upon hearing Vinson’s confession, she’s mortified that she didn’t report Vinson and possibly stop him from doing the same thing to other women. So she blames herself, despairing over a past that never happened, and it really messes her up.
I’m so thankful for no-nonsense Buri showing up to give Kel the advice she needs. Seriously, can we just take a moment to applaud Kel’s support system? She has some of the best and most genuine friends one could ever ask for. Anyway, Buri explains to Kel that there are uncomfortable realities in her world, ones she cannot control and cannot feel personally responsible for. At first, Kel thinks Buri is trying to tell her to just accept the world and not change it, but that’s not the case:
“Three nights a week your Lalasa closes her shop early,” Buri told her after a sip from her cup. “She teaches city girls – commoners – holds, blows, and kicks that will help them to escape an attacker. She learned all that somewhere. And it does girls more good than your courting frostbite to shoot a bow you don’t even like.”
Okay, first of all, I was ready to cry because Lalasa you are the best. But this is such a valuable lesson. Guilt does not change the world. I often have to coddle a lot of white people through my Tumblr once they realize the horrifying weight and severity of racism and white supremacy in their world, and I always tell them the same thing: Guilt gets us nowhere. Nothing improves because you’re wallowing in sadness. Accept this world, but then do something about it instead.
Bless you, Buri. I’m so happy that you were here for Kel.
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