In the seventh chapter of The Realms of the Gods, Daine learns of Numair’s true feelings after her terrifying mishap, and some immortal allies give the pair a ride. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Realms of the Gods.
Chapter Seven: Falling
LET’S DO THIS OH MY GOD.
I’m not always obsessed with logistics or realism, though I do appreciate it when it exists in fiction. My favorite television show is The X-Files, and y’all should know it’s categorically unrealistic at least once an episode. But I was drawn to it because there was one element of realism to it that was consistent: I absolutely believed that the United States government would conspire to sell out its own people. (Interestingly enough, one of my other favorite shows, The Wire, is so realistic at times that it’s frightening.)
I think I am not too nit-picky on details, either, and I’ve definitely been more of an emotional reader than a clinical one. And yet, I love how much the opening of chapter seven is about the physical ramifications of Daine’s fall from the cliff. From nearly dislocating her shoulder, to Daine’s panic preventing her from thinking of changing into animal form, to the scratches, cuts, and bruises she suffers, to the frustration of the spidren’s net, Tamora Pierce acknowledges that Daine’s fall from that cliff sucked. A lot! And even if you can point out the fact that it’s convenient she falls into the water, at least it’s part of the landscape, a detail that was always there.
It wasn’t until after I finished reading this chapter that I realized you could make a case for the theory that the chapter’s title is referencing something else: Daine and Numair falling for one another. I haven’t gone back to look, but I actually did forget that Numair was many years older than Daine. Navigating this isn’t going to be an easy thing, and it’s something that Pierce openly addresses in the text. Which is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD. Like, I was genuinely shocked that Numair was spelling out the existence of men who, whether they intend to or not, use their age and status to seduce younger women. This obviously speaks to a larger issue of consent, misogyny, and patriarchal dominance with Tortall, and it’s something that can easily be addressed in modern terms. What I’m thankful for is the very existence of this conversation. It’s refreshing that these characters attempt to talk about sex, attraction, and their own relationship. Granted, it’s not the most effective conversation; Daine easily convinces Numair that they should figure all this out after they’ve returned to their own realm. But this is such a wonderful and healthy place to start, you know? And the fact that it’s in a series aimed at a younger audience is fantastic.
I have a lot of feelings about these two, y’all. Oh god. And I’m currently in a relationship with someone who is a decade older than me, so I partially understood the difficulty they face. I JUST LOVE THAT THIS IS A THING IN THIS SERIES.
Y’all, HOW FASCINATING IS THEIR DEVELOPMENT? They’re talking. A lot. They can FUCKING COOK NOW! Oh my god, the darkings made soup. I WANT MY OWN PERSONAL ARMY OF DARKINGS TO HELP OUT WITH ERRANDS. Okay, wait, that would mean enchanting my own blood. Perhaps that’s a bad idea. Regardless, it’s just endlessly wonderful to me that Pierce takes the time to develop all these subcultures in thoughtful ways. I mean, they defend Numair and Daine from a spidren attack by suffocating the giant spider. They’ve learned to be protective of the people who care about them. That is incredible to me, y’all.
The same goes for the continued development of the Stormwings and their culture. This chapter has my favorite bit of Stormwing world-building yet. It’s certainly impressive to me that I started this series despising the creatures. I was repulsed by them! Now, I’m excited by the mere appearance of Rikash, Barzha, and Hebakh. That sort of reaction on my part is so pleasing as a reader. It’s been a theme of Pierce’s throughout The Immortals that all creatures exist for some reason, that they can’t help what they’ve been made into, that sometimes, you can’t fight your nature.
Here, she finally gives the context we need for why the Stormwings exist:
“Ages ago, a traveler in the mortal realms went from place to place and found only the leavings of war – the starving, the abandoned, the dead. It was the work of armies, fighting over ground they soon lost again. That traveler sickened of waste – of death. She wished for a creature that was so repulsive, living on war’s aftermath, that even humans would think twice before battle. That creature would defile what mortal killers left so that humans couldn’t lie about how glorious a soldier’s death is. She dreamed the first Stormwing.”
In that sense, the very existence of a Stormwing is to serve a noble purpose: to dissuade humanity from war. And even though Rikash admits that humans have engaged in warfare regardless, he feels as though if he can stop just one person from doing so, he is justified in existing. It’s interesting, then, that humans purposely locked the Stormwings away in the Divine Realms. How different would the world be if they’d never left?
Oh my god, DRAGONS. THEY MADE IT. THEY CROSSED THE SEA OF SAND, AND DAINE LITERALLY WALKED THROUGH FIRE like she was Buffy or some shit, and the dragons are sending a guide and HOW IS THIS GOING TO UNFOLD? I am so terribly excited for the future, y’all. I AM SO EXCITED!
Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am doing a live reading/Mark Does Stuff event at Borderlands Books on April 21st at 5pm. Come on out! I’ll have copies of my latest book to purchase and sign.
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!