In the fourth chapter of Trickster’s Queen, Aly learns more than she expected to when she spends an afternoon with the luarin nobility. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Trickster’s Queen.
Chapter Four: The Pavilion of Delightful Pleasures
Okay, so it was definitely unfounded to believe that the Pavilion was some… I don’t know, terrifying freak show? I EXPECTED SO MUCH WORSE. That doesn’t mean that this chapter isn’t disturbing in specific ways. However, Tamora Pierce focuses on creating a very believable reality here, and it serves to complicate this story in a way that I love. LET’S DO THIS.
I know I said this last week, but Aly wastes no time criticizing Topabaw and his techniques here. And that excites me so much! But it’s intentional on Pierce’s part because Aly is doing her best to find weaknesses. The bulk of this chapter is precisely about that, and the laziness in the listening spells present in the Pavilion is one of many things that Aly knows she’ll be able to exploit. But it’s also emblematic of the problems with the regents and the luarin rules in general. They’re simply not good leaders, and they don’t hire good, qualified people to work for them. Mostly.
CAN WE JUST ACKNOWLEDGE HOW AMAZING THIS PASSAGE IS?
Raka magic was shaped by subtlety, crafted by mages who spent their lives hiding things from other mages. To those who wielded their Gift as the mages of the Eastern and Southern lands had been taught, raka magic seemed weak, good only for simple tasks. Its symbols were different, its spells far quieter, shaped for that effect over three hundred years of practice and development, with death for the raka mage who drew a laurin mage’s attention.
Not only is this dedication to historical context incredible to read, but I love that Pierce puts for the idea that you cannot compare cultural specificities to deem one better than the other. Raka magic is not the same as magic in Tortall or Tusaine or Galla. It’s just not!
SO MANY NEW CHARACTERS
Seriously, Tamora Pierce is very liberally granting us all these new characters in Trickster’s Queen AND THEY’RE SO FASCINATING. We’ve got Vereyu, Sibigat, Barold Engan, Nomru, Sevmire, and Zaimid, all introduced in just one chapter. There was already a ton to keep track of, but Pierce really is going all in here. And, unsurprisingly, Aly seems to have no trouble remembering names, faces, occupations, or details this whole time.
Good lord, Aly. I am continually impressed with you.
ALL CAPS BECAUSE YOU ARE THE MOST INTRIGUING CHARACTER YET. Over the course of a long conversation, Sibigat casually reveals that he knows without a doubt that Aly is a brilliant trained spy from the Southeastern coast of Tortall, that he knows she’s spotted all his men, and that he doesn’t care if she spies as long as she leaves Dunevon alone. This is the first time that anyone has been able to match Aly’s talent, and Sibigat’s boldness is both frightening and completely entertaining. And for the moment, the big shocker is that he isn’t a threat. As Aly figures, he either has no idea of the inevitable raka uprising, or he just doesn’t think the upheaval in the Isles is a big deal.
No, he just spends a good ten minutes teasing Aly, piquing her curiosity. Hell, even Aly’s reaction was of both admiration and weariness. I admit that I don’t trust Sibigat much, but I kind of can’t resist liking him? I love that he ignores all of Aly’s attempts to be coy; I love that he fiercely believes in Dunevon, treating him almost as if he is his own son. He fascinates me!
But he’s also a man that Aly can exploit, and I admire her for putting her mission first. (She’s so good at that, I swear.) She recognizes that there’s some weird rivalry or resentment that Sibigat has for Topabaw. Understandably so! Sibigat appears to be much, much better at being a spymaster than Topabaw, and yet, the regents have snubbed him.
DO IT, ALY. TURN THEM AGAINST ONE ANOTHER. I LOVE IT.
It bothers me so much that he’s expected to run this country at four years old and IT’S ALL SO MESSED UP, ISN’T IT? Of course, nothing is worse than this:
Aly pursed her lips. That the king’s closest guardian was fond of him was a complication she could not like. Her mind knew that the odds were very good that Dunevon might be killed in the rebellion, Dunevon and maybe even Elsren. She did not want the painful cost of those two young lives on her conscience and heart.
I know I predicted as much, but still! YOU TAKE THAT BACK, TAMORA PIERCE. TAKE IT BACK.
HE IS THERE AND OH MY GOD, I JUST DEVOLVED INTO A PILE OF LAUGHTER ONCE I REALIZED THAT ALY AND TKAA KNEW EACH OTHER SUPER WELL AND THIS BOOK IS TORMENTING ME INTO LAUGHTER. GODS.
I just pictured him as a dark Zayn Malik and I refuse to let go of this ridiculous headcanon. Don’t judge.
“That’s how you know he isn’t from here,” Vereyu said, bitterness in her voice. “He’ll flirt with raka.”
WOW, TAMORA PIERCE, RUDE. MUST YOU CONTINUALLY HURT ME WITH YOUR WORDS.
Is it perfectly fine if I either ship them or ask for an ongoing set of books where Aly and Vereyu team up to be super spies? I am enamored with how quickly Pierce establishes this fascinating dynamic between these two women, especially since Vereyu started off distrusting Aly. Then all they had to do was parry quietly for a few seconds, Vereyu let her guard down, and then the perfect union was made. Vereyu can play the straight woman to Aly’s wacky trickster shenanigans, and there you go. Enjoy it. Enjoy that forever.
Winnamine and the nobles
Who knew that people standing behind Winnamine would be so riveting??? The final piece of the puzzle that Pierce gives us in this chapter is the fractured luarin nobility. When Winnamine turns down Imajane’s offer to keep Sarai and Elsren in the court, Imajane is faced with the surprising resistance from about a quarter of the luarin nobility present, who all quietly offer their support to Winnamine. Okay, Aly, there you go. There’s a way you can silently turn some luarin against their own culture and bring them to the side of the rebellion: THROUGH WINNAMINE. I’m curious, though: Did Winnamine know that she’d get support from these people? Or was she just taking a risk? Also, queen of my heart??? Winnamine, I just adore you. And as sad as it is that Mequen died, it’s also thrilling that this series has turned into these four women – Winna, Sarai, Dove, and Aly – trying to get shit done in a world that is absurd and violent. I love it. I LOVE IT.
This is just so good already, y’all, and the tension continues to build slowly over the course of this book. And hey, at least it’s good that I was wrong about the Pavilion being hell on earth!
Please note that the original text and the videos contains uses of the words “crazy,” “mad,” and “stupid.”
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