Mark Reads ‘Terrier’: Part 9

In the ninth part of Terrier, Beka worries about being able to straddle the two worlds she lives in. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Terrier.

Gods, I love that Pierce is expanding upon this idea, that Beka Cooper must now contend with her life in the Lower City and her desire to work for a force that sometimes must be antagonistic to the very people she grew up with. There are a few moments in this chapter where I felt like Tamora Pierce was hinting at possible realities. Was Beka going to have to deal with her new friends breaking the law? Would another Dog be cast out for turning on their fellow Dogs? How can Beka protect the Lower City while keeping her friends?

This is all explored amidst the most violent set of scenes so far. After busting an illegal slave auction, the trio head to dinner and stumble upon a brutal bar fight, one that nearly costs Beka her life. The three of them are overwhelmed by an increasing number of “river dodgers” who keep coming to defend their friends being destroyed by Goodwin and Tunstall. Seriously, the whole thing is actually quite scary, particularly when Beka is attacked and cut, and it’s also one of the many unfortunate realities of the job that Beka has to do. People are going to hate her on sight! They’re going to try to harm her like they do here, and part of her training involves knowing when to jump in and assist her fellow dogs and when to protect herself.

It’s at the height of this fight that Pierce introduces us to absolute perfection. Can we just acknowledge that lady knight Sabine’s first words are this?

“All I want is to get peacefully drunk after eating hill dirt in my ale for months. Goddess, was it too much to ask?”

She then immediately gets up, steals the barkeep’s club, and then annihilates everyone around her. IT’S TOO MUCH. I ADORE HER ALREADY.

The woman in brown wielded the club like a blade. Behind her lay a trail of collapsed river dodgers. Some even decided they’d had enough fun. They were sneaking out the side doors. More crawled through the doors in front.

The way that Sabine is described makes her sound like a goddamn force of nature. Get out of her way or she’ll leaving you crawling. Oh my god, is there a lady knight Sabine book that no one’s told me about??? Y’all, she dodged an entire bench thrown at her.

Anyway, I did enjoy that Goodwin was so openly apologetic about not doing what she should have done to protect Beka. What’s great about this is that it shows us that Dogs really do have an intense loyalty for one another, a desire to protect their counterparts at any cost. Of course, in this context, you can’t ignore that Goodwin has grown to respect Beka more and more because Beka has been such a good Puppy, you know? She admits here that most other Puppies would have died in the attack that Beka survived, and it’s a big deal that she says this.

And there’s also one of the first major depictions of the Dogs as being purely negative in this book. We’ve heard criticism of them before, but the laziness of the Night Watch is portrayed as horrible. And for a good reason! No one came to Beka, Tunstall, and Goodwin’s aid because of the shift change and the distinct lack of motivation from the Night Watch. I think this will be yet another conflict that Beka and her Dogs will have to deal with in the future, especially given that their shift ends late at night.

Sunday, April 5, 246

And then FRIENDSHIP. I was so happy that we got more time with Kora, Aniki, and Rosto. Seriously, they bring her a warm breakfast and that is already so beautiful. (I have intense emotions about breakfast, y’all. It is very important to me.) But it’s in their subtle validation in her that Beka finds comfort:

I confess it, I was flattered. Aniki and Kora have plainly lived a hard life. To have them speak of my bruises and my Dogs as if I belong to that world – it seems as I am accepted into it. As if I wear a Puppy’s trim but have a Dog’s standing. And I have paid a hard price for those bruises. Even with healing, they will linger on my face for days. It’s good to get respect for them in the wake of the pain.

OH MY GOD, as someone who has spent most of is life concerned about validation from others, I understand Beka completely. I grew up being torn between worlds. I wanted validation from the cool kids, and I wanted to be good in school. I wanted the guys around me to accept me as one of them, but I knew I never would fit in. Having to be torn between two worlds can be a complicated, confusing thing, and I think that’s going to be my favorite part of this book. You can see this same struggle in Beka’s attraction to Rosto. She desires him, but she also acknowledges that he’s the legal opposite to her. The relationship could never work! (Which reminded me of Alanna and George OH GOD THE PARALLEL.) However, that’s not why I was so pleased with this section:

Besides, he’s got Anikia and Kora. I’d druther be their friend than their rival.

YES. FRIENDS. YES. I love that not much actually happens after this point. Beka simply hangs out with her friends – rushers and Puppies alike – and it just feels nice. I know I commented on this in the video, but I was also pleased that Beka didn’t account for every detail for the remainder of April 5th. Sometimes, I forget that I’m actually reading a journal, and it was a clever way for Pierce to remind us of the context of the narration. Beka has a lot going on in her life, and she’s about to share with us her first experience in Magistrate’s Court. I’M VERY EXCITED FOR THIS.

Part 1

Part 2

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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