Mark Reads ‘Games Wizards Play’: Chapter 16, Part I

In the first half of the sixteenth chapter of Games Wizards Play, Nita realizes the importance of her visions, and Dairine makes a life-changing decision. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Games Wizards Play. 



So, most of the pieces are finally in place, and my initial reaction is: See Above. This was a long time coming, and I think I understand what it is that just happened in this book. Nita’s visions certainly make sense. (Except maybe the whole thing with Kit not being himself and Carmela’s panic/terror. How do those fit in to all of this?

As I’m going back over the first half of this chapter, though, I can understand something that didn’t make sense to me the first time around. Initially, Nita was speaking to the living thing that was hiding with Penn. This being was the source of the Phoenix myth, was a living creature within the Sun itself, and somehow, after leaving the Sun, it got trapped inside Penn’s family line. The logistics of that is… well, I don’t know that yet, either? But what’s important here—especially as it relates to the other big development here—is that this being got stuck. It was not where it belonged, and Penn was the key. Well, Penn’s spell was the key it needed for freedom, and as far as I can tell, this being affected Penn’s construction of his wizardry. His mood. His fears.

And that’s got me wondering: How much of the Penn that we’ve seen in Games Wizards Play is the actual Penn? Is his personality reliant on this being, or did it develop independent of him? How much is his agency still in place? What little I can glean from the text makes it sound like this being was more like a quiet passenger that nudged Penn from time to time. It’s kind of creepy, but I feel like it is supposed to be. This being was not where it was meant to be, and more than ever before, it was trying to break free. AND WHAT A SPECTACLE IT WAS WATCHING THIS CREATURE BE FREE!!! It’s such a beautiful and evocative image that Duane conjures.


And then the other shoe drops. More pieces fall into place. Mehrnaz’s insistence on leaving room for “elemental presences” makes sense now. So does the lacuna. SO DOES PENN’S UNCONSCIOUS SPELL CONSTRUCTION. But of course I’m dancing around the biggest reveal in the series: Roshaun couldn’t be found because he was holding the elemental presence’s space in the sun until it could return. DOES YOUR HEART BURST WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, TOO? It’s such a pure decision to make, one that’s concerned with duty and responsibility, and ARE ANY OF US SURPRISED THAT ROSHAUN WOULD MAKE A DECISION LIKE THIS.

Actually, we can ask the same question of Dairine: Are any of us surprised that she would risk her life to pull Roshaun out of THE ACTUAL GODDAMN SUN? Even saying “risking her life” feels like an understatement because Dairine transports herself to a spot just above the Sun, all so she can save Roshaun before the elemental presence returns home and—I’m guessing here—destroys Roshaun by taking its rightful place. In hindsight, I’m amazed that this doesn’t involve a dark force or a struggle with the Lone Power, at least not directly. I imagine that entropy would have increased if Nita had not freed the elemental or if Roshaun had died when the elemental came back home. But there’s nothing that feels truly “evil,” so to speak, in this conflict. Instead, it’s about freeing two living things that were trapped, either by circumstance or by duty. There’s a catharsis in this act, though I admit a lot of that comes from the sheer joy of discovering that my suspicions were right, that Dairine had finally found Roshaun.

It’s glorious, y’all. With just the slightest whisper, Roshaun is able to reach out to Dairine, and she finds him, and she yanks him out just in time and THEN EVERYTHING IS SO EMOTIONAL THAT I CAN BARELY STAND IT. Y’all, it was a lot to deal with, and I felt waves of relief and joy washing over me at this line:

Nelaid was holding her in one arm and his son in another, gasping with shock as awful as Dairine’s.

Because after everything, who expected Roshaun to return to this world so suddenly? I admit that I thought that this book was veering towards acceptance, not resolution, that Dairine would come to accept that she had to live her life without devoting every waking moment to finding Roshaun. SO HERE I AM, VERY OVERWHELMED AND HAPPY THAT HE’S BACK. I have so many questions, and I’m hoping that the final half of this chapter answers some of them, but for now:

Roshaun is back. Roshaun is back!

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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