In the first half of the fifteenth and final chapter of Wizards at War, the wizards start to return home. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
I’m glad Duane pointed out how surreal the act of going home was for these characters because it put into words something that lingered throughout the first half of this chapter. Duane has peeled back the scope of this universe in each successive book, first threatening Manhattan all the way back in So You Want to Be a Wizard, and then threatening ALL EXISTENCE with Wizards at War. This book in particular had stakes that were higher, heavier, and larger than anything we’d come across before, and thus, the sight of Nita’s and Dairine’s backyard after all that is just… weird. Normal. But even “normal” doesn’t describe because that’s such a relative word for these characters. Long ago, Nita hiding her wizardry from her family was “normal,” and now, the Callahan household is a base of weirdness.
So the idea that they have to go to school is weird. The idea that they have to resume their lives as “normal” teenage humans is even weirder. Like, can they get an extended nap and a few therapy sessions first? WHERE ARE THE MANDATED REST PERIODS FOR WIZARDS. I can’t forget that Kit and Nita came from Alaalu literally days prior to this nightmare starting, so yeah, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Regardless, this chapter (so far) feels like these characters trying to adjust to a world that nearly ended. Even if Mr. Callahan wasn’t directly involved with this, he still was on Earth as it slipped closer and closer to nuclear war. That’s a huge deal, you know? I can’t imagine being that on edge for as long as he was and then suddenly having the world “change” for the better. THROUGH DOG’S HOWLING, FOR THE RECORD.
The point I’m leading up to is that this victory wasn’t just catastrophic, it was bittersweet. Yes, they “won,” but that doesn’t erase the cultural memory of coming to the brink of war. It doesn’t erase the loss of Roshaun and Ponch or harm the hurt of Tuyet and Nguyet. The world was saved, and the Pullulus is gone forever, but Kit still longingly looks upon Carl and Tom’s dogs, wishing his was still around. Dairine is, I’m guessing, distraught over the loss of her friend, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this affected her characterization in the future. Tom and Carl will always remember denying and disbelieving wizardry, and they’ll forever be embarrassed by their lives being so heavily affected by an external force they had no control over.
I’m saving some of my bigger thoughts for the final half of this chapter, but I admire what’s here already. This was a difficult journey, and the aftermath is challenging thus far.
As it should be.
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.
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