Mark Reads ‘Lady Knight’: Chapter 8

In the eighth chapter of Lady Knight, Kel rallies Haven against the Scanrans. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Lady Knight.

Chapter Eight: First Defense

What a dizzying, exciting, and suspenseful chapter, y’all. War is here, and it is fucked up.

  • Okay, so I know I brought it up in the first video, but THERE ARE COLDS IN TORTALL. Actually, my memory is a bit shaky about previous canon, so this might have been addressed before and I simply forgot. However, I don’t think we’ve seen how colds are dealt with in this world. I AM ENDLESSLY FASCINATED BY THIS. There’s a spell! And a “noxious” tea that you have to drink! You can have instant relief of your symptoms. This is so unfair that I feel oppressed by this book. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE THIS?
  • Tobe. Tobe. Let this chapter alone stand as evidence that Tobe is flawless and wonderful and loyal and he knows Kel so well that he is always a step ahead of her. Actually, it’s not that he knows Kel well, though that’s part of it. He understand process. He gets what his fellow knights need. He can accurately read a situation and know what he needs to do. I just have a ton of feelings about Tobe, y’all. HE GATHERS MORE REFUGEE CHILDREN FOR TRAINING. I can’t. I can’t.
  • I think it speaks to Tamora Pierce’s talent that she’s created such a believable vibrant community in Haven, she made me forget that Kel had to go to Fort Mastiff or find Blayce.
  • It’s no surprise that I have a soft spot for Daine, as she’s the Tortall character I most personally identify with, so it was already too much that she appeared in this book. And now she’s sitting with Kel and talking to her about what she’s done to the local animals to help her. Now, I know this is an important scene because Daine’s approval of and respect for Kel is a big deal for Kel. But I think this also sets the scene for Kel’s struggle with how many soldiers she is commanding. Daine reveals that Vanget could give more soldiers to Kel, but he won’t consider it. I know that this is going to come up once Kel goes to Fort Mastiff, but I also think it’s part of Kel’s character growth. She’s been given an assignment that is deceptively difficult. On the surface, she thought it was an easy job that lacked risk, but the reality of it is that it’s the exact opposite. The battle she and her companions fight against the Scanrans is proof that this is a challenge, on that’s only going to get worse as the Scanrans realize that there’s a giant fort full of refugees.
  • And if the Scanrans aren’t interested in that, Blayce will be. I suppose it’s possible that he could show up at Haven, but I don’t know how he’d get inside without drawing attention to himself.
  • My sympathy for Idrius is gone. The man did not learn his lesson at all, and his outbursts in this chapter are a sign that he has a nasty temperament in general, especially since his spat with Saefas isn’t rooted in misogyny. He’s just a jerk who believes he is owed more than everyone else. Well, he is also a misogynist, too. We don’t want to ignore that.
  • AND THEN THE ALARM IS SOUNDING, AND EVERYTHING IS SCARY. Given that the last time Haven was attacked, two killing devices nearly got over the wall, I spent this entire chapter terrified of what could happen. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust Kel or her leadership. I knew she’d rise to the occasion. I was worried about GIANT MURDER ROBOTS WHO ARE INCREDIBLY HARD TO KILL.
  • I love all the little callbacks in this book to moments in the past or things Kel learned from Raoul, such as when she tells Sergeant Oluf to move. It’s rewarding to see how Raoul’s influence and teaching shows up again.
  • And then there is Neal, who is always so quick to argue! You know, this is going to get him in trouble one day. It’s in his nature to disagree, and I don’t even think he’s purposely trying to do it. It’s just what he knows. But he’s got to learn that his superiors don’t have the luxury of time to argue endlessly with him!
  • How tense is it when Kel has to just sit and wait for a sign from Merric before she can do anything? It is SO TENSE.
  • so goddamn tense i swear
  • But it’s not as bad as her in actual battle. I don’t know why I’m so shocked by all the violence because this is war! People die! I think it’s how often people die in this book that gets to me, especially since I’m worried that it’s creepy closer and closer to the characters I’m familiar with. One of the things that Kel’s worried about here is if Merric is going to return from his skirmish. What if he doesn’t one day? What if Kel doesn’t get more troops? How are they going to deal with being overwhelmed?
  • Another way that Pierce builds suspense in chapter eight is by having us doubt whether Numair actually gave the order to retreat. Once Kel does repeat, I got so freaked out that she’d made the wrong decision. How could she know? Did the Scanrans have a shaman with them?
  • “The enemy huddled together in fear as the ground shook. When the earth opened in a massive yawn under their feet, they pitched into it. The ground snapped shut. Only a bare, narrow strip marked the ground where the crack had been.”
  • did
  • did it
  • did it just happen
  • did the thing i have asked for for years happen.
  • or supper I don’t know, I forgot what time it was.
  • I won’t ever get over this.
  • HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE BEEN CACKLING/SHRIEKING IN ROT13 SINCE I ANNOUNCED I WOULD READ ALL OF THE TORTALL BOOKS? Y’all knew this was a thing. You know it was coming. No one spoiled it for me.
  • What if I devoted 2,000 words to just this one plot development? I feel like that’s something I would do. And I kind of want to?
  • Because I’m struggling not to see this as something horrible. Part of me gets that Numair is trying to defend Haven and save his friends, but the callous nature of killing so many people at once is just… it’s disturbing! I don’t know a better word to describe it. I mean, I don’t think Tamora Pierce portrays this as a forgettable thing. No, the narrative gives it a very terrifying weight, and I’m curious to see if it’ll be brought up in the next chapter because holy shit.
  • Gil. Gil. Okay, so I am a fan of narratives that acknowledge that criminals are criminals, but don’t demonize them to the point that they become caricatures? I’d be interested to find out why many of the convicts are convicts. We know that Gil’s journey into banditry is linked to poverty and desperation, but I’d love to know more about the others. Anyway, Gil is such an important part of the battle here, and I foresee him taking a larger role in the future.
  • I worried about two things while reading this chapter. 1) I was worried that Kel would have to blow the bridge before everyone made it. 2) I was worried that Numair was far too drained to return back to Haven.
  • Ugh, Daine is gone. Come back. 🙁
  • I wouldn’t say that this is a bleak book, but the end of the chapter is so realistic. Kel has to deal with the dead bodies strewn about the valley, and she doesn’t have time to deal with coping with what just happened. She just slips right into her role as commander, determined to get shit done.
  • Keladry of Mindelan, y’all. What a champ.

Please note that the word “maddening” appears in the original text and the first video.

Part 1

Part 2

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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