In the first part of the fifteenth chapter of Games Wizards Play, Kit and Penn face Irina; Matt debuts the greatest t-shirt of all time. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Seriously, few things are more upsetting than having someone you respect express how disappointed they are in you. SO WELCOME TO THE OPENING SEQUENCE IN CHAPTER FIFTEEN, WHICH IS ONE LONG EXAMPLE OF THIS VERY THING. Oh, y’all, it’s so uncomfortable, and much credit to Duane for introducing us to a new side of Irina: utterly pissed. It’s an overwhelming scene, in part because Irina absolutely dunks on these two, and it’s so fucking funny. And I get that this is a very serious thing, but holy shit, she destroys them.
Rightfully so, though! I hadn’t even considered this angle:
“You could have done serious damage to the convention center.”
As I said in the video, I was more wrapped up in the fact that Kit seemed to have truly hurt Penn. But yes!!! What if that force field had not held? What if the convention center had gotten damaged, and how the hell were these wizards supposed to cover that up to prevent the exposure of wizardry to the greater populace? Ugh, y’all, there are just so many angles to this that make Kit’s and Penn’s fight even worse than I thought it was. But look, I’m a big fan of YA books addressing how messy and emotional and immature teens are. I think we, as writers of stories for kids and teens, have a responsibility to be honest about this sort of stuff! So while I can yell at Kit and Penn for COMPLETELY MISREADING THIS SITUATION and GROSSLY EXAGGERATING THEIR RESPONSE, I am glad it’s here. I’m glad that Duane can show these kids making terrible mistakes and then show that the world has not ended. Oh, things are messed up, uncomfortable, and awkward. But things aren’t over.
Which is not something I understood as a teenager. Like many teens, everything that happened to me was the worst thing that had happened in the history of humanity. That’s not to suggest that some of what I went through wasn’t intensely serious; I don’t want to minimize my own experience, you know? But without an understanding granted to me by age or time, I couldn’t put things into any sort of context. If I messed up something, or if I didn’t get the best grade on a test or a paper, I assumed my whole life had been ruined.
That’s… ridiculous. Yes. Which is the point! Teens come to ridiculous conclusions because it’s a volatile, messy time in our lives. So what I’m interested in at this point is what path is ahead of both Penn and Kit. How do they right what has been wronged? How does Kit repair his relationship with Nita, and how will this affect his wizardry in the future? The circumstances have granted them an easier and less intense punishment than they otherwise would have gotten. So, will they take advantage of this and grow, or will they continue to make the same mistakes?
I’m gonna work through the confusion I brought up at the end of the video for this part of the chapter. Look, it is entirely possible that I forgot how this is to work, and once I get to the final games themselves, I’ll remember it. But what exactly are these people watching? I’m guessing each of the five finalists will have their wizardry tested live, but how exactly does that work? I imagine that it’ll be contained, so as not to harm the spectators. Oh god, I just had a thought: Is Penn going to have to work on a sun LIVE IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE? Holy shit, won’t he freak out? WAIT, NOW I AM HAVING OTHER REALIZATIONS. Will Mehrnaz be able to see her family from the competition space? Could she, like…. not????? That would be great!!!
So, I’m nervous going into this. It’s a complicated framework in place, both in terms of the logistics of the competition and the emotional journey these characters have been on.
Thus, I am eternally grateful for Matt and his truly perfect shirt, and I REALLY WANT ONE MYSELF, IT PERFECTLY DESCRIBES ME AND MY AESTHETIC.
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