In the second part of the second chapter of “On Ordeal: Ronan,” Ronan learns something very important about himself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
So, I’m going to do my best to talk about this part of chapter two as if it happened, but I cannot ignore one really weird element: the scene jump between the last one and this scene is jarring. And bizarre. AND UNEXPLAINED. Because how the fuck did Ronan end up next to Pidge on that wall? Are we just supposed to assume he met up with Pidge, but we never saw the journey on the page? Or is there something more sinister at work here? I DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW. I wouldn’t put it above Duane to trick us, but everything that follows feels so justified and interesting that I am also okay believing that this is how Ronan was offered wizardry and his Ordeal.
Oh, I’m about to be super wrong publicly, aren’t I?
Well. Moving on. This whole chapter was a delight to read, and that’s part of the reason I suspect it’s not a trick and I’m meant to read it as a straightforward thing. Ronan’s reaction to Pidge revealing the secret of wizardry is just so pure. And I mean that both in how excited he is and how much he still reacts like the suspicious person he is. He goes from venting to Pidge about how terrible he feels about his own life to giving Pidge a chance to explain what he means about there being a way to actually change the world. So there are equal parts exuberance and reticence within this sequence. Every time Ronan feels like he’s on the edge of something exciting and transformative, he pulls himself back a little so he can interrogate what he’s being told.
For example: look where he starts. He speaks very personally about his existential crisis and his sadness, then opens up about how he believes the world can do good without it necessarily being tied to religion. Pidge continues to get him to think larger and larger, right until he’s able to stop speaking hypothetically. But Ronan starts to recognize that this isn’t just a story or a thought experiment:
A strange feeling started creeping along Ronan’s nerves. It was like the shiver that sometimes went with your hair standing on end… except that it brought with it a strange feeling of anticipation, of being about to hear something that could change the world.
So, even knowing that this is important, he still questions it all. How many people would have this power the Pidge speaks of? How secretive would he have to be? Was Pidge misspeaking when he referred to other worlds? ARE ALIENS REAL? Y’all, I love Ronan’s response to all of this:
“You up for some of that?” he said.
“Up for it?” Ronan said, amazed by how rough his voice came out. “I was born up for it.”
WHICH IS… A SLIGHTLY IRONIC STATEMENT, BUT ALSO BEAUTIFUL. Oh god, Pidge walks Ronan through the basic idea of the Speech! He introduces the concept of an Ordeal! Ronan is shockingly cool with the idea that he might die on his Ordeal, except once you think about it, of course he wouldn’t be afraid of this. That’s not shocking at all. What genuinely did surprise me and still does was Pidge’s insistence that Ronan would have to consent to basically being a part of a secret. I assumed that this was in reference to the One’s Champion, especially because of this line:
“I’d be kind of a secret weapon, then.”
Pidge paused, then nodded. “Yes.”
IT TOTALLY IS THE ONE’S CHAMPION, RIGHT? But what if I’m wrong? What if that’s not what this is referring to? This story could be heading in an unexpected direction. I suspect I’ve figured out the truth, and that once Ronan fully recites the Oath (which, as you’ll note, he also interrogates heavily, too, proving his is a FANTASTIC fit for a wizard), this special Ordeal case is going to kick in. After that, though? There probably were clues as to what’s happening in this section, but I didn’t catch them. I feel like I have no idea what his Ordeal is gonna be.
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