Mark Reads ‘A Wizard Abroad’: Chapter 8, Part I

In the first half of the eighth chapter of A Wizard Abroad, Nita and Kit ask for help. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

AHHHHHH I WAS RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING. LIKE, COMPLETELY RIGHT. Granted, it wasn’t exactly the biggest mystery, and I didn’t feel as if Duane intended this to be a big shocker. BUT ALLOW ME A MOMENTARY CELEBRATION.

Okay, moment over. Let’s talk.

Parity

It’s not like this is the sole time I’ve noticed this thing, but it was very obvious here: the adult wizards treat the younger ones as if they’re just as worthy of the same attention and respect as those that are the same age as them. That kind of parity is extremely rare in fiction period, and then once get further into genres – fantasy and then YA and so forth – the less you’ll see it. It struck me that the opening scene in this chapter takes place between wizards who are two and three times the age as Nita, Kit, and Ronan, and it deals with issues that are huge and scary and require a ton of maturity and self-discipline.

Yet not one adult – not Annie, Doris, or Johnny – ever condescends down at one of these characters. Hell, at different points across the first half of this chapter, the adults defer to the kids, asking them about their time in Sugarhill and their meeting with the Queen. The kids are a source of information! They’re consulted! And that’s just so goddamn cool, y’all. Duane’s built a world where this makes sense, too, and I appreciate that. I don’t question why it’s arranged like this. Plus, it’s Nita and Kit who take initiative and seek out the Power nearby.

More on that in a bit.

Ronan

What memory was he struggling with? I suppose I’m assuming that Nita’s reading of the situation was correct, but perhaps it’s related to his Ordeal again. He acted a bit strange when Nita asked him about it, though I understand that is probably common among wizards anyway. But why does the Cup cause this moment to happen? What’s special about it?

The Moon

Ask me when I’ll get sick of Nita and Kit going to the moon. TRICK QUESTION BECAUSE I NEVER WILL. It is just so terribly amusing to me that these characters are so flippant and casual about the moon. THE ACTUAL MOON.

Anyway, I’m very interested to see where Kit and Nita’s relationship will end up after this book. Ronan is a clear sign of friction between them, enough that they’re bickering more than usual. I bet Nita wasn’t even concerned about Kit hearing her think about Ronan, but once Kit opens that door, it can’t be closed. She knows that is one of her fears, and she still doesn’t know how to deal with all the confusing things that she’s feeling. Once again, the two of them get close to discussing what’s going on, but circumstances pull them apart. It’s a lot easier for them to focus on their main problem, too, so I’m sure they leapt at the opportunity to go confront Biddy.

The Hidden Power

I enjoyed the execution of this entire scene because it’s so real. There’s no moment where Biddy acts like a fantastical god or demigod or anything. She’s just a person who happens to be the physical manifestation of one of the Powers that Be. Her humanity isn’t an illusion, and she doesn’t like… convert into something else before Nita and Kit. Or show off her powers. Or speak in terms they can’t understand. She is Biddy Ó Dálaigh! She might have access to things and knowledge that normal humans don’t, but it doesn’t really change who she is as a character.

Thus, I found her conversation with Nita and Kit to be illuminating and surprising. Like the other adults, she respects them for being wizards; she doesn’t treat them cruelly, even when she’s being honest about her limitations as a humanoid being. That bit shocked me, but it made a lot of sense once I thought about it. How could that much raw power live on in a human body? Yet this doesn’t discourage Kit or Nita, and I adore that they’re the ones to remind this Power of the ramifications of inaction:

“Then make yourself useful,” Kit said, sounding grim. “Otherwise ‘this place you love’ is going to be nothing but a big pile of cinders, after Balor gets through with it.”

Biddy is too close to all of this in the end; she loves Ireland so much that she can’t see the forest for the trees. Without trying, she may lose the thing that’s kept her in this body for the entire history of this island. And now, it’s up to Kit and Nita to help show that to her.

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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