In the second half of the sixth chapter of The Book of Night With Moon, Rhiow takes Arhu to the Met to get an important message. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feline Wizards.
Y’all, the Met is such a cool place, and I’ve been meaning to go use my NYC ID card to get a year membership for free. It’s one of the first places I went to when I visited New York long, long ago, and it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been; it has a special magic to it that never seems to fade away. (And seriously, I am certain I have not seen every room, despite having been there between 15 and 20 times. The last time I was there, I found this massive room that was sort of near the Great Hall that I’d never seen before. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND IT SINCE.) (Oh my god, it’s a TARDIS.)
Duane takes this place, and she transforms it very subtly by revealing a layer of information that isn’t there normally. Museums by themselves already are overflowing with information, and the way humans contextualize that information for our own understanding adds meaning, too. But once the feline wizards walk in the Met, there’s something extra everywhere: their own history. It’s confirmed here that long ago, the People and humans spoke a language that shared enough similarities that it allowed them to communicate. (Duane’s theory posits that cats accidentally inspired mummification and Egyptian death rituals. WHOOPS.) Which is FASCINATING to me, and it also means that the Egyptian wing has a context for the feline wizards that is otherwise invisible to non-wizards. Thus, Rhiow’s important message is in one of the pieces here, and I loved that we got this miniature tour while Rhiow searched for it. In doing so, Duane gets to worldbuild by giving us tidbits of history while also ramping up the tension. When would Rhiow discover the message/clue that was left for her? What would it say???
So, I think that:
1) The conversation that the cats have with Arhu about Living Ones is foreshadowing for Arhu actually meeting one/seeing one later. I BET IT’S GONNA HAPPEN.
2) There are gonna be at least a hundred more jokes made about how humans think they’re the only intelligent species on earth. I will enjoy every single one of them.
3) Aaurh the Mighty is the same as the One’s Champion! At least they’re the People’s version, that is.
4) I made this point on video, but I’m curious if there’s a correlation between the Underworld reference in the palimpsest for Aapep and the Old Downsides? Maybe? Is this where I vocalize an incredibly obvious thing and all of you laugh at me? Probably. I know this must be important because why is there part of a spell in Aapep’s palimpsest? What is the spell for? Is that what Saash actually needed?
5) The biggest single clue here that I picked up on was the palimpsest/story that belonged to sa’Rrahh. Which is not saying it was subtle at ALL, because Arhu does that weird thing where they become a conduit for the Whisperer AGAIN. I feel like sa’Rrahh is the being we saw in the opening scene of this book. Right? The “Huntress, who kills unmindfully, in rage, and without warning, and as unreasonably raises up again”? THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE THING WE SAW. And Arhu once warned (with that weird Whisperer voice) that this thing had come once before and once to devour and all that. So, is this also another manifestation of the Lone Power, if I understand what Arhu says? Or just a companion of Aapep? The last line is really what made me feel (so far, that is) that this is what Rhiow was meant to hear:
“In every empty place and in all darknesses she may be found, seeking, and angry, for still she knows not what she seeks.”
That gate opened onto an empty void, right??? So that’s where it came from??? I AM TRYING, OKAY.
6) We are absolutely gonna get another reference to Urruah’s name being a pun. BLESS.
7) See, but then I’m given a new name: Urrua. Is that another name for the Lone One or a separate being, too?
I DON’T KNOW YET. But I assume all of this information is important to the story, and I’m gonna try my best to remember it as we go forward. Well, go forward into a nightmare, one that Arhu is surprisingly excited for. Honestly, I expected terror from him, not elation. But it made sense once I thought about it. He’s been learning so much theory, so many rules, and to him, this sounds like his first chance to get a piece of the action rather than just listen to the adults talk.
Unfortunately, I have a very bad feeling that this is not going to be an adventure at all. Oh, Arhu, I AM WORRIED FOR YOU.
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