In the eighth chapter of Sandry’s Book, Briar gets the promise of his own lessons, though much differently than his fellow housemates. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Circle of Magic.
I’M JUST SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK, EVERYONE. SO EXCITED.
And I’m glad that Briar gets his own chapter, one that still manages to include growth for another character aside from him. Chapter eight initially begins from Tris’s point of view as she realizes that the voices she’s been hearing for years actually belongs to real people; it’s just that she can hear them carried upon the wind. And for the first time in her life, she can deal with it in some significant way. (And for the record, while the book doesn’t address this at all, I think it’s important that we acknowledge that there is a binary at work here in terms of sanity. I’d like to see a more nuanced treatment of mental illness that doesn’t make “hearing voices” something to be feared or villainized.)
I honestly expected Tris to find that the same kids who had tormented Briar early in the book were doing so again. But nope, NOT EVEN CLOSE. Briar comes running into the gates of Discipline carrying the exact tree he knew was sick from Crane’s greenhouse. Oh, Briar. OH, BRIAR. While the text makes it clear that Crane’s behavior isn’t fair – he crudely judges Briar for something he clearly did not do – it also acknowledges that Briar has put Rosethorn into a complicated place. (Let me take a moment to give a shout out to Sandry, who instantly decides to stand up to the novices and dedicates trying to get past the gate. There’s no hesitation on her part. I ADORE HER EVERYTHING.) Crane has some unspoken past with Rosethorn that goes beyond simple competition, and Briar’s theft of the shakkan plant brings it back to the surface.
Allow me to continue being a broken record: oh my god, I need to know more about Rosethorn and Lark and Crane immediately. There’s so much backstory hinted at through this! Did Crane really steal things from Rosethorn? Where did their competitiveness come from? Are public disagreements uncommon at Winding Circle because of the need for harmony? Why does Lark say that Briar is at Winding Circle “for a reason”? WILL I EVER GET ANSWERS?
It’s clear to me, though, that there is not a better pairing of mentor and student than Rosethorn and Briar, who have such identical temperaments that it’s eerie. Neither one is eager to trust another person, they’re not quick to kindness or niceness for the sake of it, and I imagine this series will comprise of these two doing whatever they can to irritate or anger the other one. In Briar’s case, though, he needs someone as firm and as no-nonsense as Rosethorn in his life. I can already tell he respects her, and I think he’s close to even admiring her:
“But listen well, Briar Moss. If you had tried to take a planet from me, I would have known – and I don’t need alarm spells.”
He looked at her, dismayed. “I never would!” he protested. “Never, ever!“
This is a boy who rarely, if ever, considered the moral implications of theft. He stole to survive, and now he’s defiantly telling Rosethorn he’d never steal from her. I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING, BRIAR MOSS.
He’s definitely the most resistant to any sort of magic. I mean, seriously! He doesn’t even believe it exists in him in any shape or form, despite that he’s received numerous confirmations of it. So he’s going to need Rosethorn in his life, and I can’t wait to see his lessons begin.
The video contains use of the word “insanity,” “crazy,” and “idiot.”
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