In the second half of the second chapter of So You Want to Be a Wizard, Kit and Nita finally meet other wizards. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Trigger Warning: For bullying.
AHHHH TOM AND CARL ARE GREAT, ANNIE IS GREAT, PICCHU IS GREAT, MAGIC IS GREAT, THIS IS SO GREAT.
I think most of us had that house in our neighborhoods. Granted, the horrible house in my neighborhood, the one we all avoided and spread monstrous rumors about, ended up being a million times creepier than any of us could have ever imagined. It’s a scary thing when an imagination can’t come up with the shit that humans are capable of. But I most certainly avoided a specific house that bordered the park in my neighborhood. If you threw a frisbee or a football into that yard, it was gone. Gone. There was no hope of ever getting it back. You didn’t knock on that front door to ask anything. You never knew when the owner might rush out into his yard, screaming obscenities, waving a clearly damaged baseball about. That bat had seen some better days, and I always wondered why it looked so used.
I DON’T ACTUALLY WANT TO KNOW.
There was another house closer to my high school that had tons of playground equipment in the front yard, but the owner – a single white dude – never had anyone play on it. Ever. All sorts of weird rumors got spread about him, and they were so prevalent that it just became fact. He was trying to lure people into his house. There was a rumor that the house was haunted. For a while, someone tried spreading the myth that he was deliberately trying to bring down property values in the neighborhood. (IT WAS SUCH A WEIRDLY SPECIFIC RUMOR, Y’ALL. Who thinks of that in high school?)
The point is that these kind of legends develop in fascinating and frightening ways, and many times, people never, ever question them. They’re just the truth, and thus, Kit and Nita are terrified to think they’ll have to go up to the Swale house. It’s the same phenomenon. Even armed with the knowledge that Advisories live in the home, Kit doesn’t feel less terrified by the place.
AND INSTEAD, SHE GETS A SUPER SMART DOG, A PROPHETIC MACAW, TWO ADORABLE MEN (WHO I AM ALREADY HEADCANON-ING AS A COUPLE), AND FIZZY DRINKS. It was everything I could have ever asked for.
AHHHHH ADULT WIZARDS. ADULT WIZARDS WHO ARE MEETING CHILD WIZARDS AND GUIDING THEM INTO THIS WORLD AND BEING NICE AND ANNIE.
There’s so much information here. LET ME TALK ABOUT IT.
“Though in our position we don’t freelance: that’s best left to the younger practitioners, like you two.”
THERE ARE WIZARD FREELANCERS? SIGN ME UP. SIGN. ME. UP.
“Carl does. Maintenance and repair; among other things, he helps keep the wordlgates at Grand Central Station and Rockefeller Center running. So you’ve come to the right place.”
Look, I am already obsessed with the idea that there’s a worldgate at Grand Central Station. It’s such a poetic idea, and I adore Duane for it.
“If someone needs details on a rare spell, or wants to know how power balances are running in a particular place, I can usually find out for them. But also, like most Advisories, we’re a local clearinghouse for news and gossip in the Business.”
!!!! I WOULD ALSO LIKE THIS JOB AS WELL. So, Tom is like the Giles of this universe? HE TOTALLY IS. Oh, but wait, it only gets better.
“Oh, sure, we have jobs. I write for a living – after all, some of the things I see in the Business make good stories. And Carl sells commercial time for WNXT in the city. As well as regular time, on the side.”
If I were a wizard, I would absolutely do this. I would tell all kinds of stories from the Business, and I would not care. IT’S BRILLIANT. And then Duane has to go an introduce the concept of literally buying time. I was glad to finally understand what temporospatial claudications were, and I think it’s brilliant of Duane to introduce these two characters here. It’s the right mix of exposition and emotions, especially since Kit and Nita finally get answers themselves.
Let’s talk more about this world, too!
The Naming of Lights
Ah, I can see the start of something larger here. Earlier, I had theorized that the spell had sent Fred to Kit and Nita because Fred was the best chance for Nita to get her pen back. However, I didn’t have the complete picture. While I still don’t, the issue of balance in this world is incredibly important. Fred may have been sent to these young wizards because of a possible upset. What if no one can find the Book of Night with Moon? What if this Book Which Is Not Named starts enabling some weird replacement of the world? Like, y’all, this is so creepy. Someone could change the fundamental nature of everything in the universe. I can’t even picture it, and that’s part of why it upsets me so much to think about it. Could they make a person someone else? Wipe them out of existence? Change the atmosphere? Oh my god, the possibilities are ENDLESS.
I’m creeped out.
Grand Central Time
So we’ve also got the start of another adventure! Nita and Kit, using bought time, will go to Grand Central Station to utilize the worldgate there to get back her pen and maybe send Fred back home to where he belongs. It’s pretty obvious that aside from the hiccups, Fred’s been enjoying their time in this world, so I’ll predict that Fred won’t go home, at least not willingly. The scene allows us to get a better idea of how wizard books work, how “payments” function, and what buying time actually looks like. Yet it’s in the midst of this that Picchu drops an unnerving prediction:
“Don’t be afraid to make corrections,” Picchu said. “Don’t be afraid to lend a hand.” She fell silent, seeming to think for a moment. “And don’t look down.”
NO PRESSURE AT ALL, THOUGH. NONE. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THESE UTTERLY TERRIFYING WORDS. Ah, what is this book? What is it doing to me?
I truly believe this is one of the most nuanced stories about bullying that I’ve ever read, mostly because Duane is so willing to examine it from different angles. Here, Nita utilizes a spell that Kit pointed out to her which makes her bullies’ fists and kicks “slide off” of her. Joanne’s and her group believe that they’re actually hurting Nita, but she doesn’t feel a single punch or kick. It’s an incredible moment, made even more empowering when Nita chases the group off the street, screaming the whole time.
It’s also an incredibly sobering scene:
She was thinking of all the glorious plans she’d had to use her newfound wizardry on Joannne and her bunch, to shame them, confuse them, hurt them. And look what so small and inoffensive thing as a body shield had done to them. They were scared out of their minds. And they’d probably hate her worse than ever now.
I’ve got to be careful with this, she thought. I thought it was going to be all fun.
I never got any closure from my bullies, and not one person who tormented me in junior high or high school ever apologized to me. (At least, I can’t remember that happening!) Bullying is often a nonsensical, absurd thing. No matter how much a person might stand up for themselves or fight back, a bully can still hate a person. They can still hold the power to ruin someone’s day. Some people are just mean and cruel, and there’s no way to stop them. They’ll just keep doing it. So I appreciate that Duane didn’t go the comfortable route here. It’s intensely awkward, but it feels so much more real to me.
The original text contains use of the word “crazy.”
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 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!