Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 8, Part II

In the second half of the eighth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, THIS IS REALLY DARK. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

Trigger Warning: For talk of genocide.

WELL, I GOT THAT WRONG. See, I misunderstood where these visions of history were coming from. I mean, I get why. Why wouldn’t this history be of Mars itself? However, there was a clue in the first half of this chapter: those orbital maps with “extra” planets. It’s clear to me now that the unknown planet between Mars and Jupiter was where the First People originated. This whole flashback wasn’t of Mars at all… which makes me want to know why it was written about at all.

I think it’s easy to assume that the original Martians weren’t from Mars at all. It would, at the very least, explain why there never was any evidence of the massive wars described by Carmela here. (I did start to wonder how all that was hidden from non-wizards.) Because seriously, the story we get here is beyond tragic. It’s immensely disturbing, perhaps one of the most upsetting things in the whole Young Wizards series. Of course, it was unnerving to me because there was an echo of humanity in what Diane Duane has written here. Is it really that hard to imagine that she’s talking about us in these pages? It’s not like it’s out of the question to assume that humans can be violent, cruel, and genocidal.

The people of Eilith and Shamaska, despite having chance after to realize how destructive they were as a whole, fought for tens of thousands of years. THEIR FIRST WAR WAS BETWEEN TWELVE AND THIRTEEN THOUSAND YEARS LONG. Yet even when the Sun began to cool off, they didnt’ stop. EVEN WHEN A ROGUE PLANET BASICALLY FLOATED INTO THEIR ORBITAL PATH, THEY STILL FOUGHT. Still!!!! Scientists from both communities knew they had to do something to save people from the destruction of their planet, but y’all:

“Each side figured that if it didn’t tell the other one, their enemies might not have enough time to evacuate their populations. Then the ones who escaped successfully would have the whole new world to themselves.”

THIS IS SO FUCKED UP. Duane doesn’t sugarcoat any of this, and the same goes for her descriptions of the exodus – a very tiny one at that – and the inevitable destruction of the planet. There was something existentially terrifying about all of this. Maybe it was the horror of knowing that these people still bitterly fought one another so long, or maybe it was that this felt like their destiny, as if the Powers That Be let it happen as a punishment for an entire species that allowed the Lone One to thrive for so very long.

This glimpse of the history of the First People left me and the main characters with a lot of questions. Did any of those city domes make it to Mars? If not, why was this history recorded on Mars? What if Nita’s theory is correct? There’s a possibility that the “Martians” were inhabitants of the original world and they killed one another on Mars. OR WHAT IF THEY WERE PURPOSELY HIDDEN/WIPED OUT SO THAT THEY COULD NEVER REPEAT THIS CYCLE AGAIN? Oh god, what if it’s not a good thing that these wizards may have woken them up again or found them??? I never considered that option, but now I have to because of what I know. Granted, I’m aware I don’t even remotely have the full picture, but STILL.

This is so messed up. I’M NOT READY.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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