Mark Reads ‘Games Wizards Play’: Chapter 5, Part II

In the second half of the fifth chapter of Games Wizards Play, Nita and Kit talk about the strangeness of their meeting with Penn. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

Trigger Warning: For general talk of misogyny, racism.

Oh, y’all, I’m just so happy about Kit and Nita. The second half of this chapter made me feel real good about their relationship, and—surprise!!!—it’s because they actually got to talk about some aspects of it. For example, this is early into the split section:

“Okay,” he said, “but I had to, right? What kind of person would I be if I’d stood there and let him trash-talk you?”

“You shouldn’t feel like you have to protect me,” Nita said. “This is like being out in the playground again, except this playground’s full of wizards. Believe me, if I needed to tear Penn a new one, I would.”

Here, we’ve got Kit communicating why he felt compelled to behave they way he did, and it’s an admirable reason. He thought it was shitty to let someone badmouth his friend, even though she wasn’t in the room. But Nita also gets to tell Kit that she finds the whole situation to be terrible. It’s not that she’s negating what he did; it’s that her greater problem is that Penn should have never behaved this way in the first place. I felt quite vindicated when both Kit and Nita admitted the same thing I had earlier: that there were so few asshole wizards that the existence of them was mystifying. They’re literally not prepared to deal with them! (WE ARE ONE AND THE SAME)

And it’s neat to see them on the same page. They both recognize that Penn’s attitude/behavior issues, no matter how perplexing, are definitely going to hinder him down the line. He’s clearly brilliant and can think outside the box. But his arrogance gets in the way of him moving on to something greater. You can easily see that in his awful request for Nita to help him do the work, or when he insists his work is “perfect.” FAR FROM IT. So how do you help a person get past such a huge roadblock, y’all? Penn can’t even recognize that his approach is flawed!

What’s interesting, though, is Duane’s inclusion of this bit:

Nita laughed, but she also rolled her eyes. “If I find out that the Powers That Be have sent me along on this thing to cure somebody of their sexism, they and I may have words afterward. Because this is going to get on my nerves.”

Obviously, I’m not gonna talk about this in regards to misogyny, but it is a topic I just recently discussed while at Arisia: people who are marginalized in some way being forced to provide the education for people who are bigoted towards them. First of all: IT’S EXHAUSTING. It is exhausting to have to “prove” your humanity to someone else. It’s not remotely worth it if it’s harmful to you in the process, right? It’s character improvement at the expense of someone else! And in this case, it’s not hard to see how much this would suck for her. Should she have to deal with Penn’s misogyny so that he can grow???

So, the Powers That Be are intentional about what they do. Like Nita, I’m hoping that they’re sticking Penn with Nita/Kit for another reason. It is interesting that someone dealing with the sun ISN’T working with Dairine, BUT HEY: NITA SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DO THE WORK THAT PENN NEEDS TO DO ON HIS OWN.

Anyway: THE DREAM. WHAT THE FUCK. What the fuck does this mean? I love that Nita recognizes her prophetic/vision dreams for what they are because there’s a fun dynamic in that. She’s like, “Fuck it, this is weird, LET’S GO.” And holy shit, Duane is back to going real weird. I do not get this dream/vision at all. What’s the circle? Who does the voice belong to? WHY DOES NITA HEAR CARMELA’S VOICE??? Or Penn’s? Why the hell is the Lone Power teasing her? I FOUND ALL OF THIS CREEPY. And it’s supposed to be! Duane cranks up the tension with the sheer darkness of the sequence, then makes it worse by having the Lone Power taunt Nita directly. Yet despite the straightforward technique, we don’t actually know what the Lone Power is talking about. Why does It say that Nita will be the reason that everything fails? SAVE WHO FROM WHAT? How the fuck can the Lone Power be on her side?

Of course, I don’t trust or believe the Lone Power. It’s gotta be some sort of trick or manipulation. Look, I love that trope where an antagonist must work with their enemy in order to deal with a common conflict. I simply don’t think the Lone Power is ready or prepared to ever do something like this. I AM TRYING TO PREPARE MYSELF.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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