Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 15

In the fifteenth chapter of A Wizard of Mars, Nita is joined by some familiar faces to resolve the disaster on Mars. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

AHHHHH, THIS WAS SO SATISFYING! I love a good verbal throwdown with Nita, but this is one of the most intense confrontations she’s ever had in this series. Understandably so! After everything these wizards and non-wizards did, Nita is pissed. Here, she details exactly what these people did wrong: they manipulated one another. They convinced each other of half truths or lies. They exploited vulnerabilities.

And above all, they refused to accept or even acknowledge that their hatred of the Eilitt was a problem. Until Mamvish and Irina arrive, that’s probably Nita’s most pointed condemnation, and I’m just gonna quote her because it’s so amazing:

“I’m sick of your excuses and your fighting!” Nita said. “And I’m sick of wizards who’re so blinded by how much they’ve hated each other for umpty million years that they’re willing to forget that they took an Oath never to do crap like this! So you’re about to get a taste of your own medicine.”

It’s striking, isn’t it? Yes, Nita is an outside party to all this, but it still astounds me that she’s able to cut so deeply like this. It’s the core of their issues: these wizards forgot to be wizards. They lost sight of the very Oath they swore, and this was the result of it. The Lone One doesn’t even need to make an appearance because we can already see It everywhere in this! Aurilelde was going to destroy Mars completely if Nita hadn’t intervened.

I’m glad that Irina and Mamvish finally broke through the block on Mars, though. I didn’t see it as an act of convenience. Nita didn’t actually have an endgame beyond threatening the Shamaska with that transoceanic passthrough wizardy, and I got the sense that Nita wasn’t prepared to actually kill everyone. It was a display of power and a bluff, and she’d hoped the act would be enough to frighten them into compliance.

Thankfully, she doesn’t have to, and the arrival of the Planetary and Archival wizards, as well as the return of Kit to his human form, is the beginning of the end. Yet even after Kit is saved, there’s just SO MUCH that needed to be resolved. Namely: how the hell were they supposed to get around the Shamaska-Eilitt people being alive? I didn’t think they’d just kill them off, so… what possible options were there? Before we got there, though, I appreciated that Irina’s thorough criticism of the First World people acted as a summary of what had happened on Mars. Any loose ends were wrapped up in this, and I understood exactly what Rorsik and Iskard and the others constructed all those years ago.

BUT THEN SANCTIONS. Of the two options presented to the Shamaska people, I thought the first sounded pretty good: relocation to a new planet! You get to live! It’s just in a new place! But I discounted how much pride these people had, and pride is a huge reason why the Shamaska and Eilitt were so consistently at war. Thus, they wouldn’t dream of budging from Mars!

However, the most surprising aspect of all of this isn’t the decision they ultimately make, but the means by which the senior wizards come there. In the midst of this argument, Kit chooses to speak up, and when he does, he offers only one thing: understanding. I’m still touched by it because Kit didn’t have to do this, but I’d argue that this is a big reason why the Shamaska-Eilitt get the fate that they do. He explains how much the stasis completely messed up their minds, how it made their hatred worse, how THEY EXPERIENCED ALL THE TIME THAT PASSED WHILE THEY WERE IN STASIS.

So, that’s horrifying, but Kit’s solution is both an act of empathy and one of creativity. After getting Ponch’s leash and giving it up to be used by Mamvish and Irina (I NEARLY BAWLED, THIS WAS TOO MUCH), these Martian people are sent back in the past – to opposite ends of the planet and five hundred thousand years apart. I don’t know if that means that there will be some sort of evidence left behind that they existed. Will the Shamaska live long enough to see the Eilitt arrive? Will the separation of these people eliminate the hatred within them?

I don’t know yet, but perhaps that logistical element will be addressed in the last chapter. There were two other little things I wanted to make note of, though, because I CAN’T GO WITHOUT THEM. First: Helena’s mutant conversation was amazing, especially since she’s so close to the truth and yet? SO VERY FAR. It’s certainly an improvement in their relationship, and I’m guessing she’s gonna stick to the mutant explanation for a long, long time.


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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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