In the second half of the ninth chapter of Wizard’s Holiday, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
What is HAPPENING in this book???
A Cold Heart
I don’t like how nervous this is making me (except just kidding, I do, because this is so fun) because something horrible is about to happen. The tension comes from Duane giving us all the indications that this pleasant, dreamy, and wacky story is going to become INCREDIBLY SERIOUS, but she doesn’t tell us how.
So let’s start with the first of those things: Nita’s dream. Nita’s dreams have long been an important part of the Young Wizards series, since that seems to be a major way in which the Powers communicate to Nita. But what they communicate here is foreboding for two reasons: it could be about Alaalu, or it could be about Earth. My gut was that there was a reason the imagery in Nita’s dream invoked specific things from Alaalu, so it must be about that place. Right? That makes sense. There’s something horrifying about the pristine paradise of Alaalu being swallowed up in ice.
Duane then follows that up with a bit of existential dread from Quelt, who worries that she hasn’t been doing enough as the wizard of her own world. In her words:
“Do you ever have times,” Quelt said eventually, “when you think there’s something important you should know that you don’t know?”
There’s a paradox there, of course. How can you know what you don’t know? Ignorance doesn’t necessarily work that way, though. I know I’m ignorant of a whole host of things, in the sense that I want to be a better, more knowledgable person, and there’s things I am not aware of nor do I know how to do them. I’d like to speak more languages; I’d like to know how to be a better activist. Quelt is doing her best, but she’s haunted by this sensation that her best is not enough. I wouldn’t say that it’s a self-esteem issue, though. Instead, what bothers her is this quiet fear that there truly is something bigger and more important she should be working towards.
And it makes me think that whatever it is, it might lead to the icy world that Nita saw in her dreams. It’s not a stretch, is it?
This pet theory of mine was then promptly destroyed once Duane switched over to Dairine’s point of view. There’s a lot that happens before that moment, though, most of it involving further character building. Look, I desperately want to know what popular Rirhait music sounds like. I WANT TO HEAR IT. Is there an equivalent to punk rock on Rirhait? What would be considered rebellious or avant garde? THESE ARE THE THINGS I WANT. I loved this little moment, however, because it is exactly what I do with friends. I dearly miss the days of mix tapes and mix CDs because there is an art to assembling a killer playlist, especially if it’s themed. I still make them through my Apple Music, and I tend to do them based on mood. I have a Workout playlist, a Sad Days list, an angry song playlist… you get the idea.
But when I wanted to introduce a friend to a bunch of new music… whew, that was the best challenge. You only had a certain amount of time, usually no more than an hour. (Half an hour each side.) I remember they made longer cassettes that stretched to 90 minutes or even two hours, but they tended to sound terribly and wear out super fast. Plus, it was fun to work with constraints. You had to get it just right. If you were lucky enough to have a CD/tape deck combo, you could sit and painstakingly assemble your mix with proper starts and stops. I GOT VERY GOOD AT THIS. Things are different nowadays, but I still appreciate a killer playlist. It’s a lot of work!
Dairine also has a really cool moment in this chapter where she encourages Sker’ret to pursue his dreams despite the pressure he’s under to give up his wizardry. I can’t imagine that sort of pressure; we’ve been lucky in that the characters who have turned out to be wizards in this series have had their parents’ support. Sker’ret, unfortunately, does not. Their parents want him to forsake wizardry and follow the family line. Granted, getting to be Stationmaster of the Crossings is A PRETTY BIG DEAL, but I agree with Dairine: Why can’t Sker’ret be both? Wouldn’t it be advantageous to have a wizard in that position? And yet, Dairine recognizes that saying that Sker’ret should follow their heart is easier than doing it. SO SHE OFFERS HER BASEMENT IN CASE HIS PARENTS DISOWN HIM, OH MY GOD, I WASN’T READY. Dairine! Queen of my heart! Look, I have a soft spot for anyone who is kind like this because it’s precisely that kind of kindness that kept me alive as a teenager and in my 20s.
And then two things happen in rapid succession: Filif sees a brushfire on TV, which reminds him of the horrors of “The Ravager, the Kindler of Wildfires” back in his world. As he’s dealing with that, there’s a heartbreaking moment in which Dairine and her father talk about worlds where death doesn’t exist, which I’d like to official deem “Moments That Are Not Okay Here Or There Or Anywhere.” WHY MUST YOU TORMENT ME SO, DIANE DUANE. (And as I noted during my video reading of this, all the Callahans have uncomfortable thoughts about death in this chapter. GREAT.)
But it’s the chapter’s final reveal that upstages everything. Roshaun insists that the recent bout of sun spots is a bad, bad thing, so much show that this line happens:
“Your star’s about to start having a crisis! And if you want to have a star for much longer, or you want your planet to be in any state to notice that it has a star, you’ll shut up and listen!”
Which I did, because even though Roshaun is a rude little shit, I understood that his anger was not him being rude for the sake of it. In fact, this appeared to be the only time he had actually shown some genuine, personal emotion that wasn’t spite or disgust. His response? HE WANTS TO FIX THE SUN. The sun!!! Apparently, it’s about to go into a “catastrophic flare cycle” that will undoubtedly destroy Earth, and he’s just gonna go pop out for a bit and fix the sun.
Now, on the one hand, I was intensely amused by the notion that Roshaun insisted he could just go fix the sun like it was no big deal. IT’S A HUGE DEAL, and that’s exacerbated by the fact that seemingly every Senior Wizard on THE ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET is on assignment and cannot be reached. But the Powers do not make mistakes or dabble in true coincidences. Roshaun is here for a reason, and him recognizing the sun’s imminent failure has got to mean something, right? Why else would this jerkbag be sent to Dairine? (To punish her, actually. That’s… that’s like a very believable reason for his presence.)
On top of it all, though, I realized that Nita’s dream might be referring to Earth if Roshaun cannot FIX THE SUN. (I feel like that should always be capitalized as such.) What if she got a glimpse of the harsh winters that would fall in the wake of a flare cycle? OH GOD, WHAT’S HAPPENING?
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
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