In the fifteenth chapter of Squire, Kel deals with her affection for Cleon and her itching desire to tilt again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Squire.
Chapter Fifteen: Tilt-Silly
I’m actually really happy that this chapter gave me an emotional break after the last one because sweet Mithros, I really needed it. Plus, it’s also about friends! And friendship! And the power of choice! And Kel’s influence on young girls! And endless cuteness.
Pierce opens this chapter to show us that life must go on for Kel and Raoul, despite the shocking and saddening events in the last chapter. They’re back on the road, this time eventually ending up in Bay Cove. They assist the town after they were struck by an earthquake that nearly sent the whole city into the sea, and it’s another instance where Kel must accept that being a knight is never going to be a non-stop adventure. Wherever the king wants her, that’s where she’ll go. At the very least, though, Kel is satisfied to help other people, even if she isn’t technically proficient at doing things like… building houses. Or hammering without hurting herself. I won’t judge you, Kel. I am clumsier than Bella Swan, honest to gods’ truth. Hey, I’m glad that Kel and Raoul can have a sense of humor about it, though!
Then Kel gets the news that she’ll be able to see Cleon soon, and everything is joy. Well, only temporarily, and I think that this was a clever way for Pierce to have Kel examine her own feelings of lust, attraction, and self-worth. Obviously, she misses Cleon, and it’s clear she adores him, both physically and immensely. (Kel, let me tell you, hugging a man who is “wonderfully solid” is the best thing.) And so, she starts thinking about sex and the responsibility that comes with it. See, I think it’s very easy to note that Kel might not have thought about sex in the way she does here if multiple people, especially her mother, had not opened up to her about the realities of a sexual relationship. Because the women in her life educated her, she now has the knowledge and confidence to make the decision to get a charm against pregnancy, despite that she doesn’t actually have sex in this chapter. It’s about responsibility and freedom. Kel exercises both, and they aren’t mutually exclusive!
On top of that, Cleon makes a familiar comment upon seeing that Kel is going to tilt with Lord Wyldon again. He asks her if she wants to die a virgin again. While she understands that it was a joke, it inspires her to ask him if he is serious, or if he’s just one of those dudes who shies away from a promise he’s made once he’s called on it. Unfortunately, reality is a little more complicated for Cleon, what with his family’s lack of money and the fact that any prospect of marriage must be arranged. They’d avoided the topic until then, but at some point, they’re going to have to have to address this completely. I don’t get the sense that Kel wants marriage, at least not until after she is a knight. But what if Cleon does? Is he patient enough to wait?
I don’t know that this will be addressed in this book. There’s still an entire book left to cover those years, so I’ll have to wait and see.
Tilting with Lord Wyldon goes better than Kel suspected it would! While it’s still painful, she isn’t unseated like she was the first time. Ugh, Lord Wyldon is so nice now. I would have laughed y’all off the crust of the earth if you’d told me that one day, I would like him, but here I am.
But my favorite part of this chapter is at the very end. There’s been a lot of talk from Kel’s friends and peers that what she’s doing is important to the realm, but we haven’t seen many of those changes in actions. How is she affecting other people? Granted, it’s a slow process, and I always expected that. You can’t change hearts and minds overnight. However, the end of this chapter gives us the first chance to see how Kel’s years as a page and a squire inspired young girls to believe that they, too, could become pages, squires, or knights. We’re introduced to Yvenne, Fianola, and an unnamed third girl, all of whom are mystified and awed by Kel’s presence. And I really think that this speaks to the experience of why we need diversification in general! It’s a specific example, but it works. These girls needed to see someone who looks like them in order to believe this future was possible. There’s no way you could tell me that they’d be fawning over a male knight like they do with Kel here, you know? Kel’s very existence, her entire struggle, is a form of activism in and of itself, even if she doesn’t think of it that way. And it’s a beautiful thing to see. I would love for Kel to come across one of these young girls someday. I imagine it would be a very emotional moment for Kel.
Gods bless her, I swear.
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