In the first half of the third chapter of Games Wizards Play, Dairine is frustrated. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
OH, DAIRINE. Look, before I get into this and talk about the hilarious way that Dairine’s plan backfired on her, I feel like I need to address something—or at least ask a question—because I am trying to be prepared. If this book is following a pattern, then that means this third chapter is gonna do A THING. We’ve met each of the main young wizards while they were busy doing something important in their off-time from errantries, and then, each wizard got an invitation through their manual. So, if that’s the case, it stands to reason that I’m about to read Dairine getting the exact same invitation… right? OR MAYBE NOT??? I don’t know! Dairine’s chapter is so tonally different than the others, though I credit that with Duane’s ability to still give third-person narration a distinct style for her various POV characters.
It’s also because Dairine’s frustration bleeds off the page. I LOVE IT, FOR THE RECORD. It feels so distinctly like being a teenager??? I’m not one of those people who doesn’t want teens portrayed as complicated, difficult, angry, or upset because I believe that angst is such a vital part of growing up. And it’s not like Dairine is coming out of nowhere here. She’s in a difficult place, first of all, and that brief reminder of Roshaun was all I needed to put myself in her shoes. Granted, she’s returned to Wellakh countless times since his disappearance. Does that make this easier for her? Maybe over time, sure, but it’s not a solution or closure. She still misses him, and she’s still doing the work on his planet to train to be like him. She can’t escape Roshaun’s influence on her life unless she actively does so, you knw?
So, I get why she feels so bewildered by the instant and growing friendship between Roshaun’s father and her own. REMEMBER WHEN NELAID WAS TERRIFYING AND DISTANT??? Look at him now! He’s trading jokes with Harold! THEY REGULARLY GO SHOPPING. Shopping! Together! Oh my god, this is the last thing I expected, so I imagine it’s a million times worse for Dairine. She’s also younger than Nita, so I don’t expect her to be at the same level of emotional understanding as her sister is when it comes to the limitations of wizardry. Sometimes, I think she sees wizardry as something that works for her rather than the other way around. Even with the problems she’s being trained in with Nelaid, she wants wizardry to be a means to an end. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! But look at the way her irritation flares when she is faced with having to do wizardry in a way that is inconvenient or uncomfortable for her. She doesn’t accept it; she fights against it.
It’s not always a bad thing, and I do adore her spirit. It’s what makes her such a compelling character. So how will she learn to compromise? To accept certain duties and responsibilities? To accept Nelaid’s training without fighting against it and trying to design wizardries around it? And how is this going to work if she is indeed asked to be a mentor? Will she learn how hard it is to teach another person something?
One other thing I wanted to comment on: I also view shopping (or window shopping, really) as a fantastic means of learning things about another culture. I can’t count how many times I asked folks in Europe on my last big tour to take me into grocery stores and markets and let me ask them questions. I LEARNED SO MANY THINGS. Like, you can stick all the chocolate you got in the Lindt factory into the frozen section while wandering the store so that it stops melting into a pool of sugar. GREAT PLAN, Y’ALL. But in all seriousness, this is one of my favorite little details in this book so far. Oh god, a mall alone would provide so many opportunities to explain human culture to an outsider. RIGHT??? I would love to read a scene of Harold trying to explain a mall to Nelaid.
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