Mark Reads ‘The Wizard’s Dilemma’: Chapter 13

In the thirteenth chapter of The Wizard’s Dilemma, Kit goes exploring with Ponch. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

Trigger Warning: For discussion of cancer, death, phobia of darkness.

Note: The video for this chapter was misattributed solely because I was looking at the wrong section of my commission document. The lovely the_ladylark is the person who deserves credit for commissioning this reading from me!



Look, I just want to put this in a review because… reasons. But I am totally into having way too many socks. I pack more socks than any human should ever need for every trip I go on. I LIKE CLEAN SOCKS A LOT, so I just want you all to know that Mrs. Rodriguez is probably my best friend or something.


In general, I’m super into narratives from multiple points of view, and this book is providing me with reasons to explain that. We’ve been so deeply in Nita’s head in terms of her mother’s cancer and possible death from it that it’s downright fascinating to see how this is affecting Kit, too. Part of that is because he’s been on a completely different path for the bulk of this book, only having just converged with Nita’s story in recent chapters. Now that he knows what she’s been dealing with, Duane shows us how he’s also haunted by what’s happening. Even if he doesn’t want to think about it, he can’t help the disturbing thoughts that trickle into his mind. What if Nita’s wizardry doesn’t work? What if her mother actually dies? These are questions he’s going to have to think of anyway, but Duane’s use of them in this chapter gives us a sense for Kit’s mental logic.

That’s why I wonder if his thoughts about Nita and her mother is what made his journey into the practice universes so creepy. Did he subconsciously conjure up the nightmares of his childhood because of this? Admittedly, that’s just a guess, since there’s no real confirmation of that. But what I do know is that Kit didn’t consciously choose to think of the shadow monsters that terrified him when he was younger. They just appeared… but why???

I used to have a fear of the dark when I was a kid, yet I’ve wondered if that was a manifestation of something else. Still, I remember doing the exact same thing Kit described in this chapter: hating how the shadows twisted and moved in the light of a car passing by. Or convincing myself that a shadow was far more than I thought it was. Or believing that creatures lived in my room! It’s a common thing for kids to believe that, sure. I’ve heard it from other people. But why does Duane invoke it here? There has to be a reason for it!


The reason I say that is because this chapter felt like such a huge twist to me. I don’t know that I expected anything specific from Kit’s journey, so I was just plain surprised by how creepy it was. I mean that in reference to the shadow monsters, the millipedes, and that weird spark that seems to be alive. This whole thing was surreal as hell, AND I DON’T GET WHY. (I’m totally into it, FYI.)

Why didn’t the millipedes speak in the Speech? Did Ponch unknowingly conjure them up, much like Kit did with the shadow nightmares? It would explain this part:

Ponch padded along beside him, his tongue hanging out. Those were like the things I see sometimes when I’m asleep and it doesn’t go right.

So… nightmares, right? Why would both Ponch and Kit think of this when they entered the practice universes??? I don’t have the answers, y’all, I’m just confused. I wondered if that weird smell that Ponch came across when they started had to do with the spark, too, but I have zero textual evidence to support that. I just know that I feel very unnerved by that spark. Why was it by itself? What world was that? Did Kit or Ponch create it, or was it somehow there before? Did another wizard make it? That seems possible given that everything in the practice universe had to have been created by someone else, right?

Oh, I just don’t feel good about Kit taking that thing home. WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I’m scared.

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. I POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year.  Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– 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.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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