In the second half of the third chapter of The Wizard’s Dilemma, Kit’s dog finds an interesting “place” and Nita tries talking to Dairine. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Oh, this is just too adorable. WHY DO I FIND THIS SO ADORABLE. Honestly, it’s kind of validating to see these two teenagers stumble through the awkwardness of human interaction, you know? Knowing that Nita resents Dairine still helped me to understand her behavior, too. Hell, who wouldn’t feel a little bitterness about a younger sibling getting the kind of attention and gifts that Dairine is? As someone who had a younger sibling who was favored by one of my parents, I DEEPLY UNDERSTAND THIS. Perhaps that’s just me, but I do appreciate the lengths that Duane goes to give us a full look at Nita’s emotional state. That kind of depth makes for better characterization, and in this case, that’s needed. We can empathize with these characters while also seeing their flaws.
So, let’s talk about how hilarious it is that Dairine reads Nita like a book in mere seconds. Y’all, I had not even considered that Nita might be feeling weird about Kit because of the whole Ronan thing. (And as far as I can tell from Kit’s narration, Kit isn’t bothered by it at all; he hasn’t brought it up once.) Could that be playing a part in it all? If so, I’m not sure how fair that is. Granted, I’d need more information. Up until Dairine mentions it, even Nita herself hadn’t thought of the possibility.
I wonder, then, if Nita is being defensive and taking that a step further because she didn’t want to be wrong. Again, that’s not a fun thing to experience, but I’m not sure I feel like Kit is being cruel about it. Tactless? Perhaps. But I need to see how she’ll interact with Kit once she gets a chance to talk with him. I’m reserving judgment until them. IT’S ONLY FAIR.
WHAT THE HELL, DIANE DUANE. WHAT DID I JUST EXPERIENCE.
First, let’s acknowledge that Duane has taken a fairly innocuous occurrence – the ability of dogs to just find weird shit and bring it home – and turned it into THE WEIRDEST THING. I figured that once Ponch said he found a where – not a thing – that it was just a gate to some other place. I guess that’s still technically correct, but y’all. WHAT SORT OF PLACE IS NOTHING? How can it exist? How can Ponch experience it and be wet? That makes no sense to me! But the whole thing is a fantastic introduction to some sort of mystery for Kit. The weird Nothing place (I’m giving it an official name FIGHT ME) is unlike anything we’ve seen in the Young Wizards series, so I found it fitting (and clever) that Tom more or less admits as much. Tom and Carl often fit the role of the “elder” or the wise guides in a fantasy novel… sort of. I wouldn’t say that Duane sticks to the character archetype all that much, but here? Oh, she totally upends it. See, in most traditional fantasy stories, if the hero stumbled upon some dark or strange magic, the guide would most likely respond with some sort of dire warning. Or maybe some sort of expository revelation. Anything of the sort!
Instead, Tom says: I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THIS IS. Also WE DON’T UNDERSTAND DOGS. Also WIZARD PETS ARE WEIRD AS FUCK. It’s such a cool twist on an expectation, both because it’s not as common and it instantly creates dramatic tension. If Tom has no idea what Kit just experienced, then what has Kit gotten into? On top of that, Duane adds another layer of tension: Tom instructs Kit not to involve Nita in this specific adventure, at least not until Kit knows whether it’s safe or not for her to accompany him. I have no idea what mission the Powers have assigned to her, but perhaps her emotional state is because of that. At this point, she doesn’t even know she’s on errantry, does she? She is probably not going to react well to being excluded from something, even if it’s the safe thing to do.
Oh god, I ALREADY NEED MORE. THIS BOOK IS OFF TO SUCH A GREAT START.
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