In the second half of the fifth chapter of The Wizard’s Dilemma, UNFAIR. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of death.
Goddamn it, I wasn’t ready.
Actually, if I was ready for anything, it was for Tom to admit that he had no idea what the hell Ponch had found. Surprise! It’s new! Which it’s pretty exciting from a wizard/scientific point of view. Y’all, Kit’s dog found something outside the known universe, a place where whatever is willed (so far) becomes a reality. I was pleased by the consistency here, though. The manual does not provide answers; it merely gives information. So while Kit’s exploratory trip that morning helped to establish a base understanding of the place, even that seems like an overstatement. Wizardry in this series is so much closer to science than pretty much every magic system I’ve ever read, which means that Kit has got to explore this thing and learn about it on his own. Well, not quite alone, of course. Tom and Carl are interested, and there’s mention of other wizards who may join the case. (Again: so glad that when Kit faces something difficult and confusing, he talks to adults. YES.)
So what’s Kit gonna manifest in that place? I WANT TO KNOW.
It seems so strange to even address anything else in this chapter because the ending is such a punch in the gut, but there’s important stuff here! I’m folding this part into Nita’s section, though, because it fits so well into the discussion about communication. Before departing Tom and Carl, Kit asks them if they fight, to which they respond with laughter. Nearly all couples and friends and partners fight! It’s just a part of human interaction. You can’t agree with everything that everyone does at all times. But like Nita, Kit doesn’t have the experience with fighting that others might, so he doesn’t know what to do with it. It’s so fascinating to me to see how Kit and Nita are on these parallel journeys unknowingly. IT AMUSES ME FOREVER.
But that’s a sign of how much they really do belong together as friends. Both of them are restless without the other one around. Kit admits here that he’s used to Nita taking the lead, and Nita finds that without Kit around, she’s bored. (There’s another meaning to this, which I’ll get to a second.) This separation has had an unintended affect: they both know that they cannot let a fight tear them apart.
And before The Thing happens, there’s also a great scene between Dairine and Nita. I figured it was inevitable, but I didn’t expect Dairine’s powers to level off so soon. I guess it has been a while since she got them, but still! It kind of snuck up on us. I’m glad, then, that Diane Duane made both of these sisters wizards. Providing Dairine with the kind of support she gets from Nita is a fantastic idea because I don’t know that Dairine would really trust anyone else with the despair that she’s going through. How could their mom relate? Or their dad? Even Kit would have distance from her. Though I feel like now is a great time to acknowledge that Nita did not gloat over her sister’s power fluctuations like I thought she would. Restraint! It’s a good thing!
Truthfully, though, this is all very odd to talk about. There’s an unbearable elephant in the room, and it has this surreal power to make everything before it seem mundane. In hindsight, much of this chapter is the calm before the storm. Part of me thinks that this was intentional because, like all good authors, Diane Duane subsists on our agony and tears. But there’s a normalcy to the lives of Nita and Dairine that stands in contrast to their lives once they learn their mother is very sick and may die. It may seem strange to think of it that way, but that’s how I’ve experienced this phenomenon. There’s a time before you learn the news, and then there’s a new life after. You segment it, even if you don’t want to.
I have lots I want to know about what’s actually happening here, but for now: ouch. This hurts a lot, and I feel so bad for the Callahans. I’ve been there, and it’s an awful experience.
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