In the second half of the fourth chapter of A Wizard Alone, LOTS OF THINGS HAPPEN. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Trigger Warning: For talk of grief and death.
Whew, this chapter is so dense with feelings. FEELINGS EVERYONE.
I made note of this in the video, but this chapter reminded just how long it’s been since Kit and Nita were “together.” There’s been a distance between them since the opening of The Wizard’s Dilemma, and events have kept them apart (mostly) since then. That means that their conversation at the opening of this part felt so relieving to me. Truthfully, I miss them being a part of each other’s lives more significantly, but I understand why that’s not the case.
And for what it’s worth, so does Kit. After he catches up with Nita in this chapter, he deliberately doesn’t push her too hard to return to “normal.” They talk about Nita’s strange robot dreams, their alleged connection to Dairine, and the Darryl issue. For a moment, Duane gives us a glimpse of the past here. Nita and Kit are back together, working alongside each other, and it just felt right. This moment is temporarily interrupted, but there’s a slimmer of hope here, too. Maybe this is the start. Maybe Nita’s work on this new errantry will help her begin to move on.
By having honesty an integral part of wizardry, Duane has found a way to make practically every conversation between wizards exciting. How? They can’t deceive one another. Thus, there’s an urgency every time they talk. The truth just pours out, and none of these conversations feel static.
Nita’s long conversation about grief with Dairine is an incredible example of that. From a plot standpoint, we learn a lot from them, but in terms of character building and development, I find this honesty refreshing. Dairine is immediate in revealing how her meeting at school went, but she’s just as honest about how horribly numb she feels towards the world. In this, Duane sheds light on a phenomenon that, at the time I experienced, I had never heard about. The numbness that Dairine describes is best summarized by this line:
“And you have to sit there, in the middle of all this meaningless junk, and put up with it, and act like it matters. Like anything matters.”
I read this as a subtle existential crisis. On a daily basis, we all ignore the pointlessness of certain actions, either because they’re part of routines or because we know they’ll get us to somewhere we want to be. I have sharp memories of how often I tried to drown my grief in being busy. I know I’ve talked about how I just threw myself into work, hoping it would keep the sadness at bay. And yet, I’d have these moments where I realized how silly certain things were. Why was I answering this email? Why did I take this specific bus to work? Wouldn’t the world go on if I didn’t show up to work or ever talk to another person again? These thoughts invaded my mind, and it was so frustrating to be hurting so much, and yet so consumed with activities or assignments that ultimately didn’t matter.
So I get Dairine’s impulse to want to run away, to leave it all behind. It didn’t strike me as out-of-character. There’s a burden that comes from grieving, and it’s exhausting. You get to a point where you’re just tired of being sad and you don’t want to do it anymore.
A Wizard Alone
Well, after I’d been struck by yet ANOTHER round of feelings from Diane Duane, she leaves me with one last surprise: the title of this book refers to another wizard who is “alone.” Do I understand the whole knight sequence? NOT AT ALL. I have some guesses, but that’s the best that I can do. I don’t know why Nita couldn’t understand the wizard before; it’s not an inorganic lifeform. And where was the wizard?
The only hypothesis I have is that this knight is giving Darryl a break of sorts, holding the Lone One in that weird room to fight over and over again. Maybe as a distraction??? Either way, there’s another solitary wizard in this story, and I’m impressed the Duane has given her book’s title so many different meanings.
WHO IS THE KNIGHT???
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