In the thirteenth chapter of Lady Knight, FRIENDSHIP. FRIENDSHIP. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Lady Knight.
Chapter Thirteen: Friends
You know, I’m really glad that this chapter addresses some of the logistics and ramifications of what Kel has done, included Kel’s opening thought that what she has done is ridiculous and foolish. (IT’S SO GRYFFINDOR, ISN’T IT???) Initially, it isn’t a well-thought out plan, and I like that Pierce has Kel examine this. Maybe it was the most moral thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s practical, you know? It takes her coming upon the remains of the killing machines and their victims to realize this. How is she, a lone knight, supposed to save so many people? But even before the King’s Own volunteers and Neal’s group arrive to provide assistance, Kel does come to terms with the fact that technically, she’s not quite alone. She’s got her animals to assist her, and she knows that the refugees and convicts have a lot of training to defend themselves. Actually, that’s one of my favorite bits in chapter thirteen:
Knowledge struck her like a sudden ray of sunlight. What am I thinking? she asked. My people are trained with weapons. They’ll fight if they think they have a chance. And I didn’t see any of Gil’s squad among the dead, which means they have a squad of convict soldiers among them. Mithros, even the children can fight. All I need to worry about is finding them and getting weapons into their hands. We’ll manage just fine. Once they’re on their way home, I’ll find Blayce and finish him.
I actually didn’t find this to be a naïve outlook, either. I think it’s reasonable to assume that the convicts and refugees are putting up a fight of their own simply by annoying the Scanrans at ever turn. And I think it’ll be a powerful thing for them to see Kel when she eventually catches up to them, you know?
Wait, I skipped a super sad thing:
Gently Kel brushed the mud away. Through the dirt, bloat, and darkening of dead flesh, Kel recognized Hildurra, Zamiel’s assistant clerk and one of Fanche’s best friends.
From the caked places on the dead woman’s clothes, Kel guessed that she had taken a number of wounds during the attack and had bled dry as the raiders fled. There were healers among the refugees, but Kel guessed the enemy hadn’t allowed them to care for the wounded. So Hildurra had died. The Scanrans had thrown her aside like so much rubbish and ridden on.
So, I know I said that I appreciated that Tamora Pierce and Kel were somewhat sympathetic towards the Scanran soldiers, but this doesn’t exactly make me feel that bad about them. Because NO NOPE NO.
Anyway, as Kel settled into her journey, I honestly expected that she’d remain on her own (aside from the company of her animals) for much, much longer than she actually did. I thought we’d get more scenes of her doing her best to survive and track the Scanrans. It was fascinating to me to see how she’d built such a supportive relationship with the dogs, cats, and birds from Haven, especially since it had proven to be a lot of help to her out in the wild. Y’all, there’s character development for ANIMALS in this book. I love it.
As I said, I was surprised at how short Kel’s time alone was, but then I was eager to see how she’d react to Dom’s presence at Giantkiller. I admit to not being surprised by it because it’s so quintessentially Kel: She is furious that these people came to her aid. Kel is fiercely independent, even when circumstances don’t require it. So it makes sense that she wouldn’t want others to help her, especially if that meant they’d be risking the crime of treason, too. Of course, her reaction is far more harsh towards Owen when he and Tobe arrive. She understood the risk she was taking, but it was hard for her to see why Owen should take that risk, too. Her concern is for Owen’s future. What if her actions influenced him to throw away his chance at being a knight? She knows Owen is stubborn and can make his own choices, but she also knows that she influences the kid strongly, you know?
There’s also that moment where Kel gets to briefly see Quinden, who is patrolling for the new fort. However, she can’t talk to him (or warn him about his lack of scouts) because he’d have to arrest her for abandoning her post. THIS IS SO COMPLICATED! Of course, it gets even worse when Neal’s group arrives. I loved this part:
“This is treason, you sapskulls! You can’t just decide when you’re in service to the realm and when you’re not!”
“Like you have?” Neal asked sweetly. The young knights halted in front of Kel.
“This is different,” Kel snapped.
“Of course it is,” Faleron said, leaning on his saddle horn. “That’s why we’re here.”
I love that they call out Kel for her hypocrisy while being a giant bundle of feelings and friendship. At the same time, I get that Kel never wanted to drag anyone else into this, and she certainly didn’t ask anyone for help. Initially, she’s furious about this. It isn’t going to look good for her! Still, chapter thirteen ends with a reluctant admission: Maybe this isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s good to have your friends backing you up. At the very least, Kel now has a better chance of saving her friends.
Please note that the words “mad,” “insane,” and the phrase “out of your minds” all appear in the text and videos multiple times.
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