In the sixth chapter of Deep Wizardry, I am destroyed. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I HAVE FEELINGS, Y’ALL.
I’m going to project all over this and be sad so JUST BE WARNED. Firstly, let me state how cool it is that this talk is presented plainly and positively within the book. Duane creates a believable scenario for Nita’s mom to ask her about her relationship with Kit. Despite that the whole thing is complicated by Nita’s refusal to lie while maintaining the secrecy of her wizardry, it still feels real. It makes sense that Nita’s mom would question her after coming home so late the night before! Plus, it’s written to show how awkward the conversation is without denying how important it is. I got the sense from Nita that she really would talk to her mother about sex if she wanted to have it! It’s such an important thing to talk about it.
And it reminded me that I never once had a talk about sex with my parents. Not once. Oh, my mom certainly yelled about sex in my general direction, but I know that this – coupled with a truly abysmal sex education in high school – is why I didn’t know what I was doing when it came to sex. I also made LOTS OF BAD DECISIONS, too. So there’s a part of me that’ll always resent people who had parents who supported and cared for them like this. I’m not writing this for pity or sympathy. I just wanted to make the point that this is a vital conversation that parents need to have with their children and that it needs to happen in a way that doesn’t invoke hellfire or damnation or presents sex as an act that ends only in disaster.
In short: you’re not helping your kids if you do this. Bless you, Diane Duane, for giving others a framework they might be able to use to actually approach a conversation about sex, either with their parents or with their child.
The Pale One
Well, Diane Duane found a way to make a shark terrifying in a new way. THANKS FOR THAT, OH MY GOD. Seriously, The Pale One is unnerving beyond just being a shark, which I’m thankful for. I think we’ve all seen enough of the trope where sharks are evil just because we think they have to be. Instead, the Pale One is scary because Duane writes him with a detachment. The approach to the Pale One is eerie; his size is impressive, as is his massive jaw. But this isn’t what made me so frightened of him. No, it’s the way he talks:
“My people,” the Pale One said to S’reee, “tell me that they met with you two nights since. And fed well.”
AHAHAHA OKAY, SO HE’S BOLD. Okay, okay.
“My lady wizard,” the Pale One said in that cool, dry voice, “you’re also terrified out of your wits.”
OKAY, ALL RIGHT, JUST PUTTING ALL YOUR CARDS ON THE TABLE.
“Look to yourself first till you know your new shape better. It has its own fierce ways, I hear; but a sperm whale is still no match for me.” The shark said this with the utter calm of someone telling someone else what time it was. “I would not make three bites of you, as I would with Nita. I would seize your face from below and crush your lower jaw to make myself safe from your teeth. Then I would take hold of that great tongue of yours and not let go until I had ripped it loose to devour. Smaller sharks than I am done that to sperm whales before. The tongue is, shall we say, a delicacy.”
GOOD FUCKING GOD.
I noticed that the Pale One counters Kit immediately by saying that Kit has no reason to fear him because fear is an internal thing. OKAY, DUDE, HAVE YOU HEARD YOURSELF TALK? IT IS TERRIFYING.
“Oh, don’t sing surprise at me, Kit: I know the human names well enough. After all, you are who you eat.”
YOU ARE JUST TROLLING THESE KIDS, GOOD SIR. Right??? He knows what he’s doing. At the same time, there is a neat little teaching moment here for Kit and Nita. The Pale One is intimidating, but both of them openly challenge or question him at one point during their conversation with him. They’re already learning to control their fear, and that shows. Fear is an internal response, and I think both characters have shown a willingness to face their fears head-on. It’s pretty damn cool, y’all.
Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in the Young Wizards series just to this community, so please take advantage of this deal while you still can:
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