Mark Reads ‘Deep Wizardry’: Chapter 8

In the eighth chapter of Deep Wizardry, Nita deals with the ramifications of her choices. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

WELL, THIS TOOK A TURN.

Dairine

I just… THIS BOOK HAS TAKEN ME PLACES. On the one hand, the confirmation that Dairine has the aptitude for wizardry is IMMENSELY EXCITING TO ME. Another wizard! Someone else to be on their side! THREE IS A PARTY, EVERYONE. But Duane makes this development a personal conflict for Nita, and I appreciate that complexity. It might be exciting for me to know that Dairine will eventually have to have her own Ordeal. But in Nita’s eyes, the one thing she had over her younger sister has now been taken away from her. I have a lot of experience with feeling like I needed to be competitive with my siblings, or with feeling like I paled in comparison to them, or in sensing that I was not valued like they were. That inadequacy is a difficult thing to deal with! I never could talk to my parents about it, since they were frequently the reason I felt the way I did.

So Nita suffers in silence. She has no one to talk to about the fear that she’s destroyed her trust with her parents (and will do so again the next two days). She has no one to talk over her issues with Dairine. And she’s got no one to talk about how Kit has changed in the past few weeks. Is the wizardry really affecting him that way? Is it part of his development and growth as a teenager? Is there something else at work? I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT KIT.

The Song

I can’t believe I spoke so openly about the Song and the sacrifice required by it and STILL DID NOT PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. I made the exact same mistake as Nita: I assumed it all was ceremonial. I thought the ritual was poetic just for the power of it all. You know, your belief of it gives the Song power. I think the wording is what tripped me up most:

“The whale singing the Silent One then enacts the Sacrifice in a manner as close to the original enactment as possible, depending on the site where the Song is being celebrated…”

I assumed that this was the loophole: as long as the Silent One got as close to death as possible, then it was fine. Everyone would be fine! Right? I admit to also being distracted by Nita and Kit’s escape and thinking about the ramifications of that as well. Plus, it was easy for me to settle into Ed’s explanation of his nature and ignore everything else. In Ed, Duane’s created a character that I thought was an antagonist, but who ends up turning into… what? Ed exists in such a fascinating grey area because it’s not like he’s evil. As this chapter details for us, the Pale One is just a part of the diverse slice of life in the ocean. “The ocean is full of weaponry as effective as my teeth,” he tells Nita. Thus, it’s unfair to assume he is more evil than any other predator in the sea. Life is different in the ocean! There’s a different moral system there.

At the same time, part of what makes Ed’s scenes so dynamic and exciting is how Nita interacts with him. Here, he comes off more like a mentor than a terrifying predator, especially since he is so open to explaining how his role in the cycle of life is vital and necessary. And why shouldn’t he have a good time being true to his nature? It might scare Nita and Kit, but it’s who he is.

That’s why it’s so chilling once Nita puts all the pieces together. Up to this point, Ed had been direct and honest. He’s not one for using euphemisms or dodging the truth. Thus, his joke about eating Nita rings oddly to her, AND THEN EVERYTHING UNRAVELS.

“Ed,” she said, slowly and carefully,” are you trying to say that you’re actually planning to eat me sometime soon?”

“The day after tomorrow,” said the Master-Shark in perfect calm, “if we keep to schedule.”

I fell for it because I couldn’t conceive of this being literal. Yet isn’t all wizardry literal in nature? HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS??? Y’all, it was just horrifying to watch Nita put all of this together, which included her realizing that she’d technically known all along. She then lashes out at S’reee, as if it’s her fault, despite that technically, S’reee is a much younger wizard than she is! It truly felt like an  impossible situation, and I don’t see how Nita can get out of a binding Oath like this. How is she going to find a qualifying wizard who is also willing to take her place in a MAGICAL SACRIFICE?

It’s especially tragic because for all these characters but the Pale One, their lives have just started. They’re all young, and that makes the sacrifice feel even bigger. WHAT DID THIS BOOK TURN INTO, 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:

http://bit.ly/markreadsYW

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!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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