In the first half of the third chapter of A Wizard Abroad, Nita learns about Irish history and then makes some new friends. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I am now desperately re-examining my UK travel plans because I REALLY, REALLY WANT TO EXPLORE IRELAND. It’s more obvious than ever that Irish mythology – of which I know very little of – is going to play a huge part in this novel. I’m okay being 100% ignorant because it means that alongside Nita, I get to learn more, too! So it’s quite fitting to me that Nita finally explores outside the farm in this chapter; it was about time that she went out to see more of where she was going to spend the next six weeks. I remember my first journey in a double decker bus last year, and you better believe that I also bolted to the second level to get that coveted spot right above the driver. It’s such a cool experience, and I know it must be common or plain for many of you, but IT WAS SUPER AWESOME FOR ME.
You know what else is? Being able to finally read in a moving vehicle. I’m one of those people who would get violently ill from motion sickness if I did so much as read five road signs. It was the curse of most of my life on this planet because I desperately wanted to read while on long car rides. Yet I couldn’t. And don’t get me started on windy roads. THEY ARE MY ACHILLES HEEL. Yet something happened a few years ago, and I have no idea what it was. But I can now read and write on trains and in cars. What is this devilry??? I can’t explain it, but it’s real, y’all. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s what my brain regurgitated while I was reading the section where Nita consulted her manual on the bus. I CAN NOW BE JUST LIKE NITA.
I can also learn like Nita. I got some of the details from Tualha’s story right, but I was glad to have it put in a fuller context. By that, I’m definitely referring to the fact that Duane also includes a wizardly perspective on Irish history. She manages to walk a fine line here, since she’s playing with a real mythology, a real history, and some very real science. But she combines these things in a way that doesn’t denigrate or insult this culture or religious doctrine either, and that’s not an easy thing to do. When she references saints and gods and deities, there’s a respect here that honors the fact that people all over the world have fierce systems of belief that shape their lives and the lives of others. Just because there’s more to the world than most people know doesn’t mean that they’re fools for believing what they believe. They’re just part of the whole fabric of existence, just as wizards are.
In Ireland specifically, there’s a massive history that Duane invokes (and invents) in order to inform the story that’s to come. The sense I got is that multiple hands had formed the island that became Ireland, and that many of these hands were not quite done with it yet. This could provide an explanation for the bizarre sideways flash phenomenon that Nita experienced, but that’s a pretty terrible theory since I have no other reason to make this hypothesis. It seems like they might be connected??? Or maybe Lugh will return again? YES, MORE OF THE ONE’S CHAMPION, THANK YOU. This one line, however, excited the most out of everything:
If that kind of thing started happening to regular people, though – people in the street who were standing waiting for a bus, and suddenly found themselves in the middle of a Viking invasion, or something worse… Nita shuddered at the thought.
I mean… this chapter does feature Nita making some new friends, so what if this happens to one of them? What does it look like if Nita is pulled sideways while she is with other people???
Let’s talk about food because IT IS A MUST. Again, I’m not gonna sit here and say that American cuisine is the pinnacle of culinary taste, and my country is full of examples of people fucking up the cuisine of other countries. It is kind of Our Thing. But after spending a month in Europe and the UK last year, I can safely report back that other nations are Fucking Up Perfectly Good Food. I had “Mexican” food in Stockholm that was so offensive that I hope the whole chain fails miserably. (NO. WHY WAS THERE MORE CORN THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THAT TACO. STOP IT.) I also experienced a “burger” in Germany that was… I don’t know what it was. I don’t know why it tasted like cardboard. WHY. I had so many bizarre interpretations of “pizza” across mainland Europe. (The UK was pretty damn good at it. Shout out to that amazing pizza shop I ate at in Dublin with Diane Duane!) All of this perplexes me because in general, food pretty much anywhere in Europe is better than it is here. Chocolate and pastries and sandwiches at shops in train stations and MCDONALDS, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. All of it was a million times better. How is it that a shitty chain like McDonalds is better in Europe and the UK?
Chocolate, y’all. Our chocolate is trash, and I will never defend it. NEVER.
So! Nita may have some new friends, all who have a much better style than I ever hope to, and I am excited if I get to make more punk rock references. I want to see how influential these characters – namely Eamonn, Ronan, and Majella – will be on Nita and the story as a whole. They’re interesting and very different from characters we’ve seen before. And I want to learn more about Ireland from them, too!
Basically? I’ve barely started this book, and I’m excited.
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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– 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 have been announced here.
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