Mark Reads ‘Street Magic’: Chapter 7

In the seventh chapter of Street Magic, Briar meets with Jebilu Stoneslicer and a Viper. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Circle Opens.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of fatphobia, classism/poverty.

Good lord, y’all. GOOD LORD.

Jebilu Stoneslicer

I don’t have any qualms about hating Jebilu because he’s clearly written as one of the most despicable characters in Emelan. There are plenty of qualities he has – namely his unrelenting classism and hatred of the poor – that make it easy for me to hate him. What I don’t want to hate him for, though, is the fact that he’s fat. I know this is a touchy subject, one that’s come up during my Tortall read and for the Discworld books, too. (I think I discussed it in while reading Harry Potter, too.) There’s nothing inherently wrong with a fat character being a villain. Though there is a high tendency of fat characters being villains, supporting characters, or de-sexualized within the narrative, so it’s important to note that there will always be stigma attached to these characters.

I don’t know how to feel about Jebilu’s fatness. I feel like we’re meant to note it, since it’s described so frequently, and that it is also meant to be a sign of his wealth and laziness. I don’t think you can divorce the two of them, and I think we should analyze that. It feels like the intent here is to show the lavish life that Jebilu lives, so much so that we come to understand that he’s never had to care about anything other than his own greed before. He doesn’t care about his health, he doesn’t care about other people, and he certainly doesn’t give a flying fuck about Evvy or any other stone mage, for that matter. I think we can still have all of those elements of his personality without attaching them to his fatness. His fatness is not inconsequential to his character, you know? His physical appearance is intricately tied to the story.

Which kind of sucks because Jebilu doesn’t need it. My worry here is that anyone who is as big as him, who does have health problems, or who waddles when they walks will not see this as something positive or unimportant. Again, he doesn’t necessarily need it to be so obvious because CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE THINGS HE SAYS AND DOES HERE????

Jebilu clasped his hands before him, regarding Briar silently for a moment. At last he said, “Moss is not a proper mage name, and you are but a boy.”

I already wanted to crush him. ALREADY. That is the THIRD SENTENCE out of this monster’s mouth.

Whatever the message of the medallion was, it did not impress Jebilu. He wrinkled his nose, as if he’d smelled something bad. “The standards for credentials are lower than they were when I was a student,” he remarked.

I will lower my fist on your face, you jerk.

“Send her to Winding Circle,” Jebilu replied. “They seem prepared to indulge the young.” He smiled at Briar.

I can’t wait till Rosethorn indulges in DESTROYING YOU.

“Winding Circle and Lightsbridge are far from here. If you think they will bestir themselves for a girl of no family, you are as deluded as the stone mages who fought my lord’s command for them to leave Chammur.”

Are you… oh god, of course you’re serious. Not only are you invoking the fact that the amir took out your competition, but you’re devaluing Evvy’s life. I HATE YOU.

“If she had family and a proper place in the world she would not fear the palace. Neither would she rely on an eknub mage to present her case. Stone mages are a dav a bushel,” he continued. “She will find one sooner or later. After she leaves town, of course. She mustn’t stay and endanger my work.”

What a self-centered, arrogant asshole. Unfortunately, Jebilu’s celebration of family, money, and status is nothing new to our understanding of the world; there are plenty of people who believe exactly as he does. I grew up surrounded by people who hated those who were poor, who said shit like this:

“I am not heartless. This will pay for her to go to Winding Circle and to cover her fees for a year or two. If she spends it carefully she may even get a wardrobe out of it – No,” he interrupted himself, “people like that simply have no notion of economy.”

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS??? Poverty is expensive because it strips you of your ability to plan and think of the distant future. You can’t think about those things because your only concern is the immediate: How will I eat? Where will I sleep? How will I pay these bills? Even worse, Jebilu thinks he’s being CHARITABLE here! He thinks he’s got a GOOD NATURE.

I hate Jebilu, and I want an entire chapter devoted to Rosethorn ripping him to verbal shreds.

The Viper

I know I’m repeating what was said in the video for this chapter, but never in the world have I read a scene where someone torments another person with ALLERGIES. It is such an absurd notion, and yet, I’m so into it. I wonder what the implications of this act are going to be, though. Certainly, Orlana will have to report to Zenadia, Zenadia will insult (and then probably murder) Orlana, and she’ll know that Briar is an obstacle to getting Evvy. Right? At this point, Briar still doesn’t know Zenadia or what she’s really capable of. Their paths will have to cross at some point, but when? I’M NERVOUS ABOUT THIS. Zenadia is terrifying, and I don’t want Briar, Rosethorn, or Evvy to get hurt. I’m still gonna be scared about it.

The original text contains use of the word “crazy.”

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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