In the nineteenth part of Terrier, I CAN’T BREATHE, THIS IS TOO MUCH. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Terrier.
Trigger Warning: For talk of rape and rape threats.
Whew. Mithros, that was one of the most intense things I’ve read in any of Tamora Pierce’s books. Like, I figured that Beka going to Tansy’s house would be nerve-wracking since Kayu was there, and that would have been nerve-wracking.
I DIDN’T EXPECT THIS IN A MILLION YEARS.
I’m still a mess. My emotions are all over the place, and my heart is still racing after reading this. Look, I’ll repeat what I said in the first video, that I understand why it was impractical for Beka to speak so openly to Crookshank, but I derive a very specific joy from seeing someone so plainly spell out to that disgusting man why he is a waste of space. I love it. The narrative needed it. And Crookshank needed someone to pull the rug from out of him, to refuse to bow to his power, and to demonstrate that as much as he likes to think of himself as the one in control, Beka actually doesn’t give a shit about him.
Before this, though, Beka and Tansy have a sweet moment together, and I liked that Beka didn’t presume that Tansy would be up for an extended hang-out session or anything, given that her husband was now in the hands of the Shadow Snake. No, Beka just wanted to make sure Tansy was okay, and she wanted to show her friend that she cared about her. It was more like Beka was demonstrating that the door was open in case Tansy did need her, and I appreciated that.
It’s only a few pages into this section that everything devolves into PURE TERROR. I figured that once Beka spotted Kayu, she’d just go along on her way, but then Crookshank quickly confronts Beka about his missing grandson and Kayfer. In the process, he spews every misguided and hypocritical thought he’s ever had, insults Beka, and then devalues her to her face. In literally sixty seconds, he’s THE ACTUAL WORST. It’s so horrible to read because the man is so convinced of his own importance that he doesn’t realize he’s accusing the person who is actually the closest to finding his grandson.
And so, Beka gets angry. That’s an understatement, obviously, because the outburst she levels in his direction is a biting indictment of his own hypocrisy:
“I wouldn’t take every fire opal you’ve ripped from the earth of this city, you bloody handed scut,” I told him. He flinched when I said “fire opal.” He thought nothing like me would never know his precious secret. “Any gift from your hand is bought with death. I will see you tried for your crimes.”
Obviously, saying anything of the sort to someone like Crookshank is a big deal, but SHE’S ACTUALLY REVEALING THAT SHE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING TO HIS FACE AND OH MY GOD IT’S SO SCARY. And she only gets more and more detailed, particularly after he threatens to kill her. The whole thing is a spellbinding display of courage on Beka’s part because she knows that he is in the wrong and nobody has ever told him this. It’s bold, yes, but it’s also a total surprise in terms of the story. I didn’t think that Crookshank would learn of the suspicions of him until the Dogs found evidence of it! And then Tansy is there and EVERYTHING IS SO FRIGHTENING and I was sure that Beka was going to tell Tansy what her grandfather had done, but hey. Give BekaÂ some credit. She knew that this would be going way too far, even if she had gone pretty far already.
Oh god NOPE STILL NOT PREPARED.
What happens after this is upsetting, I won’t deny that. I also can’t ignore what a huge bit of character development it is for Beka. She puts the safety of Herun over her own in order to insist to Crookshank that he give the Shadow Snake money to get his grandson back. And because Crookshank is a vile misogynist, because he’s a capitalist who believes his wealth puts him above others, he can’t fathom someone like Beka has more or better knowledge of him. He resents everything about her, and so he threatens to have her raped and killed.
There’s a lot to be said that this is his go-to threat, a threat that is on the tip of the tongue of many a misogynist, and I’ll say none of it. It’s not my place, and my only experience with rape threats is for a different reason. (Homophobes have often threatened me with this, but this isn’t the same context.) I’ll leave this conversation for others. Instead, I wanted to discuss this line:
I’ll never forget his words, never, but I could not let him stop me from speaking. I had to remember Tanks, Tansy and her unborn child.
Again, repeating myself, but this is so important. She puts aside her own shyness, channels her angry, and refuses to let Crookshank’s threats stop her. That doesn’t mean they aren’t upsetting or they magically have no affect on her. This is her overcoming a quality of her own that has plagued her before, and she does it because she wants to save someone’s life. Will it actually work? I admit that I don’t have that much faith in Crookshank to be… I don’t know, a decent person? He’s horrific, and I think his own needs, even the misguided ones, will always be more important to him than anyone else. Sadly, I don’t think Herun is going to make it out of this alive.
HEY, WERE YOU A NERVOUS WRECK, TOO? Then this is followed by Goodwin revealing that the Dog who killed Gunnar was also killed, meaning:
“So not only did we lose our Rat, we lost the cur Dog that killed him. And nobody knows who paid him to do it.”
GREAT. GREAT. Oh, but it only gets worse. After some of the Dogs believe they’ve found the Jens that Beka heard in Hasfush, CHAOS. Because it would have been so perfect if they could have simply gathered a team to track Jens, his boss Inman Poundridge, and Kayu, but nope. Crookshank, in all his wisdom, has ignited a goddamn war in the city since Kayfer has already responded. Three men have already been killed by Kayfer’s people, and it’s just the start. This is important to the story because lord Gershom orders that the Dogs get out on the streets to stop Kayfer’s followers from killing all forty of Crookshank’s hired hands. Because of this, AhudaÂ can’t let all of the interested Dogs go after both the Shadow Snake and Crookshank’s possible guard.
Like I said, it’s chaos. There’s so much going on, all of these plots are hopelessly entangled in one another, and somehow, Ahuda knows that Beka can hear ghosts??? That reveal made me laugh. BECAUSE SERIOUSLY, WHO ELSE KNOWS? At least the Dogs who do know respect Beka enough to accept her word as real evidence, you know? It’s a step in the right direction.
But I don’t know where the break in the case is. Despite that Tunstall, Goodwin, and Beka spend all night waiting to see if Poundridge ever meets up with Jens, nothing comes of it. Does that mean Jens is already on the next job? Are they late again? Beka finally opens up about what happened at Crookshank’s home and about her suspicion of Yates Noll, but it’s not the answer. Everything is a suspicion or a theory. There’s nothing concrete, which is even more infuriating than usual because I can tell that Beka and her Dogs are so goddamn close to the truth.
This is all collapsing in on itself, and I’m worried about what they’re going to find in the rubble.
The original text contains the words “mad,” “crazy,” “cracked,” and “idiot.”
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