In the thirteenth part of Terrier, EVERYTHING IS SCARY AND SAD, and it inspires Goodwin and Tunstall to take some risks. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Terrier.
Oh, y’all purposely stuck this at the beginning of this section, didn’t you? EVIL. BECAUSE HOLY SHIT, THIS IS WAY TOO INTENSE. I mean, I suspected that what we were witnessing – Rolond’s ghost freaking the fuck out – was something very new to Beka, but then TANSY HEARD HER OWN SON AND THIS BOOK JUST GOT SO UNFAIRLY REAL. Like, this is RUDE. It’s rude to my DELICATE SENSIBILITIES. Do I need to remind you that not only does Rolond’s spirit’s confusion keep him in the weird state of limbo that he’s in, but then Tansy has to tell her own son that he died and he needs to move on.
Of course, there’s another context to this all that’s shocking: it’s happening in the open. It’s not hidden. Mistress Noll, Tunstall, and Goodwin are watching this happen, and so are plenty of other people in the Nightmarket. That’s one of the (MANY MANY MANY) reasons this scene is so suspenseful. But come on:
“But I don’t want to go, Mama,” Rolond complained. “I want to come home with you.”
“Oh, Rolond, you can’t.” Tansy reached out her free hand. It shook as she stroked the pigeon I held. “Rolond, you died. The man – the man killed you. That’s why you’re lost.”
I AM DONE. DONE WITH THIS. OH MY GOD.
“I’ll come to you,” Tansy whispered. “One day, in the Peaceful Realms, I’ll come to you there.”
His voice was fading. He believed her. “Promise, Mama?”
“Promise, my baby. I love you.”
But he was gone.
As am I. I’m gone. I’m not writing this. Jesus, how? How am I reading this? What did I ever do to you? I suppose I feel somewhat silly about saying that Tansy was a “portrait of grief and loss” in the previous section because I HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS COMING NEXT. Just… wow. This hurts. A lot.
Also, why is a mage pretending to be Tansy’s maid? That feels like a significant plot point, y’all.
Tunstall and Goodwin
I’m glad that both of Beka’s mentors are finally getting Beka to admit to them what the full extent of her magic is. Of course, it’s not like they can ignore anymore, especially not after what just happened. It’s also fascinating to me because it’s inherently a way for them to accept Beka as she is, to use her talents to the benefit of the group. They save the bulk of their conversation for dinner time, though, and I noticed that people were trying to listen to what they were talking about! I mean, gossip gets around, but this is something that probably won’t fare well for Beka. However, aren’t people going to talk about what they witnessed anyway? I’m actually pondering this! WHICH MEANS I NEED TO KEEP READING TO FIND OUT WHETHER OR NOT THIS HAPPENS.
Also, side thought that I can’t jam into a proper paragraph: People are executed for counterfeiting money???? That seems like a bit much! I imagine it’s a royal thing, though? Like, you’re creating a false version of His Majesty, and that’s punishable by death, you know? MAYBE?
Anyway, to the Mantel and Pullet! (Which has too much good food. I can’t handle these food descriptions, I swear.) I loved that Goodwin had been holding all her feelings on the matter in until then, and then she’s like, “OKAY, I’VE WAITED LONG ENOUGH. WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED.” I dug that line about them living in a world of magics, so suspicion of Beka wouldn’t exactly have made sense. But STILL. What they all just experienced was A BIT MUCH, right??? So why is this so different from what Beka has experienced in the past? What’s changed?
It’s desperation, on the one hand. Rolond’s spirit was so lost that it couldn’t move on. And I think it’s indicative of the urgency with which these people need to act on the information that they have. The Shadow Snake has been killing CHILDREN for years and getting away with it, right under everyone’s noses. And the cruelty of this all hits Beka particularly hard at this point, but I also noticed that neither Goodwin or Tunstall ever told Beka not to be emotional. I LOVE THAT. I think it might also be that they’re in the Mantel and Pullet, which is essentially their safe space away from the streets and the world around them, but I’d also like to think that they appreciate Beka’s emotional concern over these victims. Plus, perhaps they think she understands the victims more than they do since she has to listen to them, you know? It’s a layered situation, and I’m happy that Pierce leaves it up to the reader to read between the lines here.
There’s no such subtlety from Goodwin, however, when she’s able to realize that Crookshank (or one of his cronies) will most likely hire more diggers in the recent future. I felt that the moment where she stood on the bench and told the other people in the Mantel and Pullet about the nine dead diggers was a direct parallel to Beka sharing the same information with her own friends. RIGHT??? It’s about knowing that you have the support of the people around you, that they’ll have your back and look out for you. This actually was the first time in a while where I felt like the Dogs truly supported one another. The Growl that they share is a sign of unity, one where they place the utmost importance in their fellow Dogs, but it also works as a declaration of intent. They are going to find the terror responsible for this, and they’re going to bring them to justice.
And because everything I just experienced wasn’t nearly enough, Goodwin gets the brilliant (read: HORRIBLY RISKY AND HILARIOUS) idea to go taunt Dawull with the idea that maybe he’s been bought by Crookshank. This whole sequence, while serious in theory, ends up being one of my favorite things in the universe. IT’S SO FUNNY TO ME. It’s egos clashing over and over again while Lady Sabine sits in the background with her head resting on her hands, thinking sassy thoughts. YOU KNOW SHE WAS, RIGHT? But I love how Goodwin is breathlessly brave in confronting Dawull and taunting him; I love how the nobles are almost comedic stereotypes; I love the wacky feel to this all. And I know that may seem strange to describe this as wacky, since Dawull could have easily ordered his cronies to attack Goodwin. (He wouldn’t have, though, because it’s silly. Attacking Dogs? That’s asking for annihilation.) But the image of Goodwin kicking Tunstall as a sign of laughter is too funny for me! So is Lady Sabine. WHO NEEDED A PARDON TO COME HOME TO TORTALL, FOR THE RECORD. WHAT THE FUCK. I NEED MORE ABOUT THIS, PLEASE.
So, what will come of this? I don’t know that they’re right about Dawull. Either he’s bluffing fairly well, or he’s not been bought by Crookshank. He could be telling the truth, since his ego is certainly big enough to believe he can’t be bought, that he’s better than those around him. But it could also be a con. Damn it, I feel like I’m still no closer to figuring this out, y’all! However, I’m hoping that Beka and Goodwin’s efforts to get others to listen for possible clues will pay off and soon. They certainly need it.
The original text contains use of the words “mad,” “crazy,” and “cracked.” (Referring to someone’s mental state, that is.)
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