In the second half of the eleventh chapter of Deep Wizardry, Nita arrives for rehearsal for the Song. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
How could I ever explain this book to someone unfamiliar with Young Wizards? It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read, and I barely have anything to compare it to. I guess it’s kind of like the Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce??? But that’s not really comparable just because it has magic and animals in it. I’m sure there’s a lot of fantasy out there concerning the act of becoming an animal, but the detail here makes this feel like science fiction at times. Right???
I’m all for genre-bending. BLEND ALL THE GENRES. DO IT.
I’m at a point writing about Deep Wizardry where I feel as if I’ve run out ways to say essentially the same shit: the characterization is amazing. The prose is inspiring. This story is extremely complex without it being off-putting. I HAVE NO FEELINGS LEFT. I’ve been given the gift of this world, and I didn’t even know that I needed it. How are these books not bigger? I HAVEN’T EVEN FINISHED THE SECOND ONE AND I AM ALREADY OBSESSED.
So let’s talk about the Foregathering, because WHALES. DOLPHINS. ALL OF THEM THANKING NITA:
One note, held in every range from the dolphins’ dog-whistle trilling to the water-shaking thunder of the blues. One thought, one concept in the Speech, trumpeting through the water with such force that Nita began to shake at the sound of it. Praise. They knew she was the Silent One. They knew what she was going to do for them. They were thanking her.
Stunned, Nita forgot to swim – just drifted there in painful joy.
There’s a repeated emotion present in the second half of this chapter: Nita’s sense of growing joy. It seems like such a strange thing at first. Why would Nita feel that way if she was constantly reminded that she was about to die within the next 24 hours? I understood her feeling gratitude for how the creatures all thanked her with their song, but that moment passes. Soon, S’reee is introducing her to the other Celebrants, and throughout the remainder of the chapter, the same sensation pops up. Why?
At first, I wondered if it was because there was such an atmosphere of wonder in the pages. This whole experience is unreal, y’all. There are so many different species here! So many creatures, most of whom are polite and kind and grateful for what Nita is going to do for them. (Personally, Roots is my favorite. Eating prior to the possible end of the world: MY KIND OF HERO.) Iniihwit and Fang and T!h!ki are well-defined characters, which I feel is an accomplishment because THEY’RE WHALES. WHALES. So maybe this was all so cool that Nita was subconsciously enjoying the experience?
But I think the key to this is in the Invocation and the Song itself. I’ll postulate that Nita is beginning to appreciate the depth and scope of what she is doing, and, as I said before, she is capable of the kind of willing sacrifice that Carl spoke of, and this whole process is bringing her closer to that. That’s not to say that her sadness and fear and anger isn’t real. People are complex beings, and it’s not impossible by any means for someone to feel multiple things all at the same time.
Look at her conversation with Ed. Duane gives Nita a chance to be honest with the Master-Shark, and I LOVED IT. The perspective she offers to Ed not only helps him understand her feelings, but it allows the reader to better empathize with her, too. To Ed, the promise of Timeheart is enough. The promise that the Sea will be safe for decades is enough. Why on Earth would this child not want to be a part of that? The tragedy for Nita, though, is the lost potential. She never got to fall in love, graduate high school or college, get married, have children, or do none of those things and take a different life path. These options will all be gone, and Nita wants to live life, not imagine one after she’s dead.
Potential matters to Ed, too. And it’s the potential existence that Nita will get that intrigues him as well:
“I am no wizard, Nita,” Ed said. “The Sea doesn’t speak to me as it does to you. I will never experience those high wild joys the Blue sings of – the Sea That Burns, the Voices. The only voices I hear cry out from water that burns with blood. But might I not sometimes wonder what other joys there are? – and wish I might feel them too?”
Thus, both characters are illuminated to us through this scene. When Ed tells Nita he is sorry for what has happened, we believe it and we understand it. I felt it was fitting, then, that Kit’s (necessary) scene with Nita followed shortly after this. Plus, Duane has both kids drop their shapechange magic; that was such a beautiful image to me. There is no mask worn in this sequence; Kit just speaks openly and brutally to his best friend about what seems like an impossible situation to him. His stubbornness matters because he won’t budge when it comes to saving Nita’s life, even though he knows there’s really nothing that he can do to stop what’s happening. He can’t take her place, and there’s no one who can swoop in and save her either.
It’s a beautiful friendship, and that’s why this all feels so tragic. HOW IS THIS GOING TO END, Y’ALL. I’m frightened.
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:
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
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– 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.
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