In the tenth chapter of Melting Stones, Evvy faces the difficult task of convincing the town council that they’re all gonna die. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Melting Stones.
God, I adore this chapter. A lot. I love that Evvy gets the chance to prove herself, winning Myrrhtide over (somewhat!) in the process, and in the end? We never get the sense that she needed this. She didn’t need validation because she’s awesome without these fussy people. Rosethorn knows that, so all she does here is provide the support that Evvy needs to get through the council meeting.
And lord, it’s rough. I suspected from Tahar’s introduction that this wasn’t going to be easy, and I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED. Tahar comes outta the gate swinging, insulting Evvy and disbelieving every word she says, at least until Rosethorn takes over for a moment. I figured that since Evvy eventually got to tell her side of the story and did so in great detail, that’s all these people would need. I should have known better, though. Oswin had every reason to believe Evvy, but what about these strangers?
The smith got up. “Azaze, you and these learned dedicates are paying heed to this nonsense? She makes up this faradiddle and expects us to swallow it? The wench is trying to duck a beating at her master’s hands.”
Now, we all know the council is wrong, but I did get a sense of why they’d react so strongly to this advice. First of all, Myrrhtide, Rosethorn, Luvo, and Evvy are all outsiders, point blank. Not only that, but the smith refers to the older mages as “learned,” which sets up a dichotomy between the villagers and these “academic” mages. At least, that’s the perception they have of them. These people don’t belong, and their view of the island is inherently flawed because of this. Both the smith and the herder can’t seem to accept that the truth is staring them right in the face. But it wasn’t ever about the “truth,” was it? I understand their reluctance to believe outsiders, but at the same time, this is part of a very familiar pattern of stubbornness.
One so familiar, I should add, that Luvo drops verbal destruction on these people for refusing to listen. It actually feels very meta, though, because it comes off as an acknowledgement of the repetitive story beats you often see with these characters. Which isn’t something that’s ever bothered me, mind you! I loved that the Circle Opens books gave me a chance to see different lands and different cultures. But the behavior that Luvo describes is common, and he’s just tired of it:
“Perhaps I am a bad mountain. Perhaps I should resign myself and wait for the earth’s cycle to take me. But I have grown attached to Evumeimei, and to you. I would like to see more of your world. I would like to see Lark and Briar again.”
Hahaha, I’m not emotional at all. NOT AT ALL.
I didn’t really think that this was an option, though. Could these people just abandon the island and leave these people to their own fate, presumably their deaths? While I don’t doubt their sense of self-preservation, I thought that something would still keep them there. At the very least, Evvy’s outbreak in response to the miner claiming that Mount Grace was never a volcano demonstrated that she still cared about the issue. And if she’d not used these villagers’ own magic to show them that their entire island was formed from volcanoes, what might have happened? It’s a brilliant move because it’s inherently shielded against the very claims these people flung at Evvy: that she made them up, that she was trying to dodge responsibility, and that this is all hogwash. No, their own magic and the stones can’t lie to them.
But I still have the same question I had at the end of the last chapter: Now what? Short of evacuating the island as quickly as possible, what can these people do? I don’t know where they can go! I still don’t see any solution aside from evacuation. WHAT IS THIS BOOK DOING TO ME?
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! 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. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be season 1 of Agent Carter, seasons 1 & 2 of The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!