In the second chapter ofÂ Cold Fire, Daja tests the Bancanor children for magic. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to readÂ The Circle Opens.Â
Wow, I missed Frostpine so much.
He and Daja have such a playful rapport with one another, perhaps more so than any of the other characters. (I feel like Briar would fight me on that, but whatever.) Theyâ€™re at ease with one another so often, and I think thatâ€™s because they simply get along so perfectly. Thereâ€™s a part of me that wants to believe that a significant aspect of this is that both characters are black and invested in having each otherâ€™s back. But race isnâ€™t quite the same in Emelan as it is in our world, though there are certainly a ton of similarities.
I think we could spend all day analyzing the friendship between Daja and Frostpine, and honestly? I expect to do this a lot on tour this year because I LOVE THESE TWO SO DEARLY. This chapter is a wonderful reminder of what an ideal mentor Frostpine is for Daja. Heâ€™s patient and kind, eager to crack a joke to set the mood, and heavily interested in shaping Daja to be the best person she can be. Even when Frostpine informs Daja that she may have to be responsible for Nia and Jory, he does so in a way that exhibits all these characteristics. He appreciates the humorous nature of Dajaâ€™s shock, but he also makes it clear that the task sheâ€™s got set before isnâ€™t going to be as hellish or chaotic as she imagines it:
â€œDonâ€™t panic,â€ Frostpine said firmly. â€œCook-mages, at least, are as common as salt. Magic-sniffers who can see and identify ambient magic arenâ€™t common, but the Magesâ€™ society keeps a list of those who can do it. Chances are, once you know what kind of magic Nia has, youâ€™ll be able to find a teacher with her magic as easily as youâ€™ll be able to find a cook-mage for Jory. In the meantime, start teaching them to meditate. If Joryâ€™s magic is popping out without her knowledge, Niaâ€™s canâ€™t be far behind. They need to learn to control it sooner rather than later.â€
Itâ€™s a start, and thatâ€™s what is important here. Like Sandry and Briar, DajaÂ canÂ begin some sort of training by teaching meditation. While Iâ€™m not so sure sheâ€™ll have train both girls at once, I can tell that this is going to be a challenge for her for an entirely different reason then the other Discipline children. I was pleased that Pierce, through the text, acknowledged that Daja had a complicated view of her own magic. It makes the book feel honest. Itâ€™s not exactly the most comfortable thing in the world to read about Daja feeling conflicted about being a mage, but itâ€™sÂ necessary. This is not Dajaâ€™s world, and despite the events ofÂ Dajaâ€™s Book, she is still going to feel like an outsider. You can see that in the section where sheâ€™s alone in her room, trying to build some sort of mirror to detect magic. Trader culture will forever be a part of her sense of self, but she still talks about it or thinks of it in a detached way, almost as if it is happening to someone else.
So when Daja does make it to the Bancanor house, itâ€™s easy for me to see how she doesnâ€™t belong in this space, either. I donâ€™t think Daja thinks she does, though. The Bancanor family is exceedingly rich, and it shows. From the maids and servants, to the quality of the food, to the pomp and procession, itâ€™s clear that these people live a life that most donâ€™t. I was pleased that they were all so nice, though I suspect that might partially be because Kol, Frostpine, and Matazi are all such good friends. However, that wouldnâ€™t account for their supportive reaction to finding out that Nia is a carpentry-mage or that Jory is a cook-mage. They respond perfectly, point blank. Theyâ€™re supportive, excited, and happy, and itâ€™s nothing like what Pascoâ€™s family was like. Granted, there is that uncomfortable conversation about the Namornese tradition of arranged marriage that feels strange to read, but at the very least, I appreciated that the twinsâ€™s parents were so willing to change their lives to accommodate their children.
There was one more thing I wanted to talk about. It seems pretty obvious to be that Pierce is setting up Bennat Ladradun to be a mentor to Daja in a way that Frostpine canâ€™t. Thatâ€™s fascinating to me because itâ€™s something that the other main characters have not had. Everyone speaks highly of Bennat and for good reason! The man has changed how fires â€“ a frequent thing in Namorn â€“ are dealt with, so much so that theyâ€™ve become â€œcasualâ€ affairs to the Namornese. Well, notÂ allÂ of them; part of what Bennat is trying to accomplish involves convertingÂ allÂ the islands to this method of firefighting. He cares, obviously so, and I think thatâ€™s a good thing for Daja to look up to. I donâ€™t want her to develop a crush on him and do things for him out of some expectation of reciprocation, but I donâ€™t think weâ€™re even close to anything like this right now. Sheâ€™s enamored with him because heâ€™s so brave and selfless, and those are admirable qualities to have.
Mark Links Stuff
– Please help book/finalize the Mark Does Stuff European Tour!
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– 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.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder ofÂ The Legend of Korra, series 8 ofÂ Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!