In the thirteenth and final chapter of High Wizardry, Dairine helps reconfigure the entire universe. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Y’all, Dairine’s Ordeal changed EVERYTHING. LITERALLY. I mean, I had a sense that the “defeat” of the Lone Power would be a big deal, but this is so much bigger than I could have ever conceived of. Ultimately, it’s about a choice: What does the Lone Power want to do? Where does It want to go? What does the world look like when we accept that darkness can be Light?
Let me start with the obvious, though. This chapter opens with the light FROM THE GODDAMN BIG BANG slowly growing to consume the Lone Power, at least in part. It’s not a complete process, since it was never intended for Dairine to destroy the Lone One. She wanted to show It another option. And in this case, the Lone One still tries to fight the inevitable:
More than anything, she wanted to get out of this light. She knew in her bones that it was happening everywhere in existence.
There’s no actual confirmation that humanity actually saw this light in the book, so I wonder if that was one last deception from the Lone Power, a last-ditch effort to get Nita and Kit to leave so that It could escape. Regardless, they both resist this urge, which is a pretty neat way for Duane to fold Nita and Kit into this conflict without taking away from the fact that it’s truly about Dairine. And that’s a hard balance to achieve, honestly. I went into this expecting a third book from Nita’s perspective and was pleasantly surprised that Dairine was the actual focus of the adventure. This is pulled off without ignoring that Nita and Kit get their own story, and I LOVE MULTI-POV STORIES A WHOLE LOT, OKAY.
It’s in Dairine’s narration that Duane reveals her real endgame for High Wizardry: the transformation of the Lone Power back into one of the Powers That Be. Dairine’s defeat of the Lone One hinged entirely on the fact that for the first time in history, a new species rejected the Lone Power. That rejection holds literal power in this situation. Why is it so significant? Because the Lone Power’s predicament was self-made. The pain It experiences is because:
But it only hurts because you do want it back. Don’t you?
The humiliation of being gloated over by this mere chit of a moral, a thing with a life brief as a mayfly’s–
Look, the voice said, full of pity and anger and a strange grieving love, how could anyone not want that, you idiot? Just admit it and get it over with!
Through this, Duane expands the internal mythology of this book to act as a real-world explanation for many religions, beliefs, and cultural myths, AND THIS IS ALSO ONE OF MY FAVORITE TROPES. But what I find most admirable about this is that she doesn’t do that thing where she creates an explanation for things like Heaven, the war between God and the Morningstar, Prometheus by invalidating human belief. There’s no condescension here; instead, these stories are given a validation that holds a greater meaning, since they’re all part of the fabric of the struggle between the Powers and the Lone One.
ALSO PICCHU WAS ONE OF THE POWERS AND WAS ALSO THOR AND ATHENE AND PROMETHEUS AND MICHAEL AND H E L P.
Let’s talk about that Prometheus metaphor, because it wasn’t until the end of this book that I realized Dairine had been Promtheus for the mobiles. She had descended on that planet like a god, and she gave them life. Wizardry. Power. Agency. The Lone One arrived to punish her, but her creations helped her to fight back. And that matters! You know what else matters? Every struggle that came before this. Duane also avoids the whole Chosen One narrative by saying that there’ve been countless struggles with the Lone One spread across all existence, and they each built towards this very moment. Dairine was important, but her work stands on the shoulder of others, too!
I suppose that above all else, it’s surreal to think that the Lone Power isn’t alone anymore. It may be different, but It is a beautiful kind of difference:
And Kit and Nita and Dairine all gazed, and speech left them. Nita’s eyes filled with tears as she wondered how darkness could be so bright. Lightbringer He was, and star of the morning; and like the morning star, He needed the darkness, and shone brighter for it.
Y’all, I love so much that the Lone Power does not forsake or give up their darkness here. Instead, darkness is a necessity and a guide, a part of the Light that you must have, and it’s such a better ending than something would have sanitized the darkness away.
So where does that leave our three main characters? Well, Dairine is… very Dairine in these final moments. Her relationship to the mobiles is gorgeous, though I admit to feeling sad that she had to leave them all behind, uncertain when she’d be able to return. But once the trio gets home to New York, you can tell that their lives are never going to be the same. I’ll do some predictions about that in the next post, but for now? Dairine’s Ordeal was an absolute joy to experience, and I’m thrilled that all three of these characters got to grow in the process. ALSO: THE COMPUTER CAN WALK. WHAT THE HELL.
Bring it on, A Wizard Abroad. I can’t wait.
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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