In the second half of the tenth chapter of Wizard’s Holiday, Dairine plans to save Earth alongside her new friends. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Well, this was very humbling for Dairine, wasn’t it? It’s been relatively easy to focus on what a jerk Roshaun is because it’s so obvious. It’s a huge part of his characterization! Yet there’s a value in looking at Dairine’s characterization, too, specifically to recognize how she’s behaved since her power leveled off. To say she’s been resentful of it is an understatement. Granted, she’s had a lot on her plate in the last year! Not only did she assist Nita and Kit in Ireland, but she watched her mother deal with cancer and then lose her life over it. Now, she’s facing the imminent destruction of Earth while realizing that she hasn’t treated Roshaun fairly or respectfully.
That’s a mutual thing, though, and I don’t want to ignore that either. There’s a neat moment here that I’m hoping will lead to an honest conversation between Roshaun and Dairine at a later point:
He looked at her with an expression she’d never seen on his face before: just the faintest glimmer of respect.
So why now? What changed? Well, as these four wizards work together, they’re challenged by how much time they have left to complete their task. They’re aware of how bad they’ve got it, which means that they do everything they can to expedite matters, which includes not arguing over little things. In this specific instance, I imagine that Roshaun admires that Diarine is willing to get her hands dirty, so to speak. She wants to work and contribute as best she can, even if this isn’t her area of specialty.
There’s another moment like this after Roshaun vocalizes the sneaking suspicion she’d had that they simply did not have enough power to pull off the spell they were constructing. There’s an upsetting grimness to everything in the moment immediately after that, but Duane doesn’t focus on that. She gives Dairine a chance to wallow, but it’s short. Rather, Dairine thinks outside the box, and I’d argue that this gains her some respect from Roshaun as well. Actually, he’s a bit embarrassed about how she exposes his experiments on the custom worldgates, but he gets over it real quick.
But Roshaun looked up at Dairine first, and the expression was hard to read. Forgiving? she thought. Possibly apologetic? Maybe even a little more mellow than usual?
Hey, it’s a start, but Duane saves any possible reconciliation for later. The second is devoted to problem-solving as the group determines a method of – more or less – leaking part of the sun out of itself and using a custom worldgate to deposit it somewhere safe. There’s some gorgeous prose here, particularly the long section in which Duane describes how each of the wizards assembles their part of the wizardry. (I liked Filif’s part the most.) Yet there’s a moment where Dairine takes a break and Diane Duane utterly eviscerates me because she can.
There’s that moment in the first half of this chapter where Filif panics after learning about wildfires on Earth. It’s a heartbreaking moment, BUT IT’S NOT THE COMPLETE SCENE. Because the rest of it takes place in the Callahan backyard, where Harry comforts Filif over his fears. They’re rooted not just in a very understandable fear of fire, but in the Choice that Filif’s people made, which is to remain susceptible to fire forever as a rejection of the Lone One’s offer. (Which was to experience a very minimal burning all the time rather than risk dying.) Through this, Duane reminds us all that Betty Callahan’s death is still a raw spot in these characters, but it’s one that can provide insight and empathy. That’s how Filif and Harry connect as well as they do here. They understand that their world’s respective Choices may cause them pain, but they are still allowed a kind of joy that the Lone One can’t take from them.
I am thrilled to confirm that I will be a Guest at CrossingsCon 2017! Badges are now available, so COME HANG OUT WITH ME THIS SUMMER.
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!