Mark Reads ‘High Wizardry’: Chapter 12, Part II

In the second half of the twelfth chapter of High Wizardry, Nita and Kit find Dairine, and the three of them set fate in motion. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

This truly does feel like a huge deal for the series as a whole. I think I’m fairly safe in saying that the Young Wizards books are a serialized narrative and that this is going to probably follow Kit and Nita through numerous adventures. If that’s the case (LET’S HOPE IT IS OR THIS WHOLE THEORY IS GARGABE, OH WELL), then the Lone Power’s defeat in this book feels special. Important. Significant. But that’s not the only reason it matters; this is a satisfying end to Dairine’s story, one that shows us how’s she grown since the beginning of High Wizardry.

I’ll get there, though. At the start of this, Nita and Kit face off with their old enemy, only now they are MORE PREPARED THAN EVER. Y’all, how great was it that the Lone One smugly threw a bolt of power at them and Nita was ready with THE BEST SHIELD EVER?

“Hate won’t be enough this time,” Nita said. “Care to try a nuke?”

I ADORE YOU, NITA. YOU’RE GREAT. It’s such a basic but fulfilling conflict, you know? Hate isn’t enough for the three characters who all believe in the power of… well, things like friendship. Community. Camaraderie. Empathy. Of course, that doesn’t mean that this battle is all sparkly and comforting. It’s still rough around the edges, and nothing represents that better than Nita revealing to Kit that she traded over years of her life – upwards of six of them – in order to defend herself against the Lone Power and then literally send him back to his universe. I don’t think Nita chooses to do this out of ignorance; she knows what she’s doing. But it’s such an abstract concept and number, isn’t it? What does it actually mean? How will the Powers take those years away from Nita?

I don’t know, but I don’t need to think about the distant future to discover the ramifications of Nita’s actions. The Lone One returns less than a minute later, which… well, now that I think about it, how did Nita not think of this eventuality? Did she think It would stay in It’s universe and just sulk around? That’s not how the Lone Power works. Still, I wasn’t ready for tragedy:

Nita blinked and looked around her – then saw. An explosion of scarlet and blue feathers lying among the broken rubble; red wetness already frozen solid, frosted over.

NO. THIS IS JUST CRUEL. PICCHU DIDN’T EVEN GET THEIR OWN STORY. THE LONE POWER IS THE WORST, OKAY. (For the record, I almost typed, “The Lone Star State.” Whoops.)

The POV change at this point is perfect, though. Right as tragedy hits Nita and Kit and the two are resigning themselves to seeing one another in Timeheart, Dairine comes to their rescue. The manual is now inside Dairine, y’all. Since she became a mobile, it’s part of her. All that knowledge stored in one person. IT’S SO INCREDIBLE. So when the Lone One begins to use every power at their disposal, Dairine is there to counter each one of them, with spells that are possibly more complicated and challenging than anything Nita or Kit have done. SHE FLINGS A BLACK HOLE INTO A SUN, OKAY??? GOOD GOD.

And there’s even room here for Duane to comment on a super frustrating trope I see everywhere, not just in genre works:

“Keep on defying me, and watch me kill and kill as the price of your defiance. The blood of all these billions of entities will be on your souls forever. Or give yourselves up to me.”

“No way,” Nita said. “You’re the one doing the killing. We’d do worse by the Universe if we gave up, rather than if we kept on fighting you.”

YES. YES. Villains do this all the time! They threaten to kill people and then say, “You’re making me do this. This is your fault.” Nah, that’s called manipulation. The Lone One is the being responsible for those murders, no one else. So Dairine decides to take responsibility for the Lone One:

This was what the spell had brought her here to do. She would pen all of the Lone Power up inside herself, not just the treacherous little splinter of it that was her own; pen It up inside a vast machine mind that was large enough to hold It all. And then she would die, and take It out of the universe with her.

She’s what? Eleven? At that age, Dairine was already planning to die to guarantee a better world and universe for everyone else living in it. That is an astounding demonstration of her understanding of being a wizard, and I’d say she passed her Ordeal with that decision alone. She devises a method to shine light – the purest light of existence – on the Lone One, and in a panic, he escapes “into the mortal souls of Kit and Nita and Dairine.”

What does that mean exactly? I can’t tell you. I don’t know if this means the Lone One is defeated or just in hiding. If the Lone One was always inside of everyone, does that mean these three have more of It? Did she really invoke the light that spawned from the actual Big Bang? That’s what the text implies, and… holy shit, y’all. HOLY SHIT.

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! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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