In “The Dragon’s Tale,” THIS IS IT. PROBABLY. THIS IS THE BEST TORTALL SHORT STORY, I SWEAR. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read “The Dragon’s Tale.”
HOLY SHIT, THIS IS INCREDIBLE. INCREDIBLE!
- Like, okay, a story from the point of view of Kitten, Daine and Numair’s dragon? That is, in and of itself, the best idea in the universe. After chocolate. And puppies. And maybe some other things, but this is not the time to make a list. It’s time to talk about why this story is so rewarding, thrilling, and satisfying.
- In a sense, it reminded me of what “Nawat” did as well: show us what it was like to be a character who was not exactly human. Granted, Kitten is entirely a dragon, and she doesn’t exist in both worlds like Nawat does, but I loved this chance to learn what Kitten’s experience was like in the human world. That largely revolved around communication. Based on what we knew from The Immortals, Kitten was unable to mind-speak with humans and other animals because she was too young. Here, we see how absolutely frustrating that is, and Tamora Pierce brilliantly uses that for dramatic effect. The more that Kitten needs to communicate complicated ideas for the sake of others’ safety, the more enraging it is that she can’t do it.
- But Kitten, being a dragon, is always smarter than she appears to others. We get a chance to discover the system of trills, coos, and shrieks she uses to convey her moods or to affirm or deny things, as well as the hand singles and drawings she uses to communicate with Daine, Spots, and Numair.
- SPOTS SPOTS SPOTS SPOTS.
- OH GOSH. I mean, I knew that Numair was like the worst rider ever and that Spots was perfect for him, but LOOK HOW PATIENT AND LOVING AND THOUGHTFUL SPOTS IS. Oh my god, I loved so much that he became a huge part of this story and of Kitten’s shenanigans.
- There’s character growth here! SO MUCH OF IT. Kitten’s story is about finding a way to contribute, and even if that starts from a place of boredom, it’s so genuine. She wanted to solve the mystery of the spells and help out Afra and Uday herself. And this really touches on how Kitten is, largely speaking, the first being to help Afra out at all.
- THE PARALLELS TO DAINE ARE UNCANNY AND UNFAIR AND I LOVE IT. Because of course Kitten would be more in-tune to the possible needs of someone who was an outcast in her own society. Oh lord, it’s too much.
- And then, on top of it all, IT’S A STUNNING MYSTERY. Where did the protective spells come from? How come they seem to be eroding? How did Afra get inside, and how much does she know about the barrier that keeps her safe? What the hell is all of that orange rock??? WHY ARE THERE EARTHQUAKES?
- Even if Afra is technically wrong about wanting to stay in that cave, I loved that this story wasn’t about de-valuing her fear. She had every reason not to trust the people outside of that place, and the end of the story totally justifies that. That mob was ready to annihilate her over something they didn’t understand.
- OPAL DRAGON
- OH MY GOD KITTEN HAS A FRIEND.
- A FRIEND WHO CAN TRAVEL WITH HER AND KEEP HER COMPANY
- THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT THIS STORY THAT I DON’T LIKE. Y’all, it’s seriously one of my very favorite things Tamora Pierce has ever written, I swear.
Please note that the original text contains the words “mad,” “crazy,” and “dumb.”
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