In the second chapter of High Wizardry, DAIRINE!!! Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
My gods, WHAT A TREAT, Y’ALL. I made a prediction, and it came true ALREADY and in a way I wasn’t ready for. I’m just going to jump right into this because this chapter does wonders to explain Dairine as a character.
Nita’s crying had upset Dairine more than anything else in her short life. It had instantly become plain to Diarine’s three-year-old mind that the world was a dangerous place if you didn’t know things, a place that would make you unhappy if it could. Right there she decided that she was not going to be one of the unhappy ones.
If Duane had only stuck with this for the remainder of the chapter, rather than spend all of “Passwords” addressing Dairine’s history with knowledge and wizardry, I would have understood her. It’s a brief passage, but goddamn, it’s so powerful. It’s clear that Dairine adores her sister, and it’s her love for her that fuels her quest to learn everything about the world. IT’S LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, Y’ALL. (No one is surprised that I love this.)
I relate to it in a peripheral sense. I didn’t have any single experience that made me seek out knowledge and reading. I did it because it was the only way for me to get out in the world. I’ve met a lot of people who had strict and repressive upbringings, and many of them could relate to the notion that school had a different meaning for us. The library was a portal to infinite worlds. Science class could be an adventure. And in my case, school provided me with a sense of independence that I lacked at home. The classroom provided me with a chance to speak my mind, to make decision without someone hovering over me, to be respect as an autonomous person.
So I love that Duane phrases Dairine’s experience like this:
But there was also that obscure certainty, buried under the months and years since the decision, that the sure way to make the world work for you was to know everything. Dairine sat home and busied herself with conquering the world.
I might not have described my behavior as a kid as “conquering” the world, but I understand this so deeply. If the world is designed to hurt you unless you perform the right way, then Dairine set out to conquer it years before by learning how it worked. What it contained. What it meant. I don’t think I had the same goal in mind, but I most definitely behaved in a similar manner. I, too, devoured all the books in the library. I was urged to skip a grade, but I turned it down so that – I swear I’m not kidding – I could be eighteen my entire senior year. I was in honors classes as soon as was possible, and prior to that, I did G.A.T.E. (WHEW, WHAT A NIGHTMARE THAT WAS.) I wasn’t lucky enough to have parents who allowed me to peruse the adult section of the public library, but I found ways to read those books regardless. (One of my favorite tricks: show my mother all the books I wanted while hiding one or two of the ones I knew she’d disapprove of on a shelf near the checkout desk. Then I’d go look for a last minute book and lie and say I couldn’t find it, while I’d slipped the books into the middle of the stack. I NEVER GOT CAUGHT)
I read non-fiction, the classics, lots of young adult works, a ton of sci-fi, and bits and pieces in the fantasy genre. But like Dairine, nothing captured me quite as much as Star Wars and The X-Files did. I understand many of the emotional reasons why those series affected me as much, but it was those two TV shows that got me truly obsessed. That’s how I discovered fandom: not through books, but media. I UNDERSTAND DAIRINE SO DEEPLY, Y’ALL. I mean, I’ve got a giant Star Wars sleeve! How else do I have to prove this? Star Wars is massively important to me?
Wait, I just thought about something. Inevitably, Dairine is going to see The Force Awakens and she’s gonna meet Rey and Finn and Poe and she’s gonna realize that power isn’t available to just “young sons of slaves or untrained farmboys.” IT IS AVAILABLE TO HER, AS WELL.
Anyway, while y’all explode over the possibilities (I EXPECT META AND FICLETS ASAP), let’s talk about Dairine realizing she didn’t know something. It makes her behavior in the past two books so LOGICAL. She knew since So You Want to Be a Wizard that her sister was up to something strange. And given what we learn of Dairine in this chapter, we can see why she’d dedicate herself to discovering Nita’s secret. One of the most relatable things about this is that Dairine gained access to wizardry through sheer willpower. She wanted it, and she got it. Don’t you wish we could all do that? BECAUSE I’VE WANTED MAGICAL POWERS FOR DECADES NOW.
So here’s my prediction: Dairine read the Oath aloud, which means she’ll have to go through her Ordeal. What if High Wizardry is her Ordeal? What if it’s about to reveal itself to Dairine while they’re out on this trip, and the novel tracks Nita and Kit’s challenges while they help Dairine become a wizard? They could also reject helping her because they had to do their Ordeal alone. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS, Y’ALL. Oh, I’m so excited for this book!
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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