Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 9, Part II

In the second half of the ninth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, the wizards pass a test and Kit discovers what the final one is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

THIS BOOK IS SUCH A WILD RIDE, Y’ALL. I’m glad that this half of the chapter helped put this into context because I had one huge question this entire time: Why was Nita’s confrontation with the scorpions so much easier? Why did she just have to kneel while these wizards had to deploy TIME SPEEDING UP and A MAGICAL GRENADE in order to pass this test?

Seriously, it’s a massive contrast, and I didn’t think Diane Duane did this by accident. Prior to this, we’d known that the wizardry hidden within the surface of Mars was manifesting the imagery within the minds of the human wizards who were interacting with it. I actually make the distinction to say “human wizards” because I don’t believe S’reee or Carmela actually have any affect on Mars, at least not one that I can see. So, Nita gets one test, which she passes by submitting herself in respect to the scorpions. Both of the tests prior to this, manifested by thoughts from Darryl and Ronan, were passed through much more violent means.

Why is that? I do wonder if that’s a subtle commentary on gender, first of all. But I think there’s another possible explanation for that: these tests must be passed by doing something to break through the fantasies. What is the one thing that specific wizard would have the hardest time doing? For Nita, it’s actually not fighting back. For these three other wizards, it ended up being the sheer technical force of defeating these forces. Of course, Kit makes an excellent point about how this process may have gone horribly awry:

“But I think the trouble was that we overloaded the scenarios that the old buried spells were producing. Each of them was based on one wizard’s imagery. But when three wizards responded – or more than three there, for a moment” – and he gave Darryl an amused look – “something went wrong and everything got all hostile. The spells read it as an attack, maybe, instead of a test.”

And that makes a whole lot of sense to me. Thus, it wasn’t irrational for Kit to suggest that maybe he should approach the final site all by himself, given that there hadn’t been a wizardly manifestation of his own image of Mars. AND WHAT AN IMAGE, Y’ALL. Who knew that the doodle/drawing that Kit had made at the start of the last book was THE KEY TO UNLOCKING THE SUPEREGG HERE ON MARS??? (You all knew. Shush. Shush.) That is such a cool detail to bring back and make SUPER IMPORTANT, y’all.

But if these tests are passed by breaking through them, then what is Kit supposed to do? Reject this fantasy? Accept it and play it out? I DON’T KNOW. Oh god, we still haven’t even addressed Nita, who was supposed to be meeting up with Kit. (Which suggests that the events of chapters 8 and 9 were happening concurrently.) I NEED SO MUCH MORE.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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