Perfectionist Therapy Meeting: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 12 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for Flight (parts 9-16) in The Ruins of Ambrai. Ali identifies with Glenin, Aradia is not sold on being a writer, and Bree has finished writing a book! Can you relate to our fears about how saying one wrong thing will get you living in a box with a racoon under a bridge?

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0:00:10 Introduction and welcome

Ali: Welcome to Hot Nuance Book Club, a podcast in which a novelist, a screenwriter and a podcaster walk into a book, diving into its craft and impact in our mission to bring nuance back. I’m Ali, and I’m a screenwriter, most recently working on the TV show Rugrats on Paramount Plus. I am also the co-host of the podcast Wheel Takes, which is a first time reader walk through of both the Wheel of Time and right now The Hunger Games.

And I also am the creator of the Grinwell Cup on Twitter, where we do a March Madness bracket every year of who is the hottest character in the Wheel of Time.

Bree: Good luck getting the show goggles off after season two, man. Y’all are doomed.

Ali: Oh my God. It’s going to be so bad. Because we say, we’re always like, Excuse you, we’re not doing actors. Because my nightmare is somebody going, I don’t know, So-and-so’s got a weird nose, though. And I’m like, Tthese are real people. We’re not going to be breaking down real people’s looks and being creepy toward real people. But –

Bree: Unfortunately every single person cast on the Wheel of Time is the hottest person that ever existed.

Ali: It’s true.

Bree: Every single one of them.

Aradia: Yes.

Ali: And I can’t help but notice how certain characters did after the show came out, than they did when the show was not out? And I am excited to see how that continues to evolve as we continue to cast the hottest people. Well, Dain Bornhold I think, holds ties for the record of lowest amount of votes.

Bree: That is going to be fun next year.

Ali: I am so excited how he does this year. I really can’t wait to see. I feel like that may change.

Bree: On your discord my name is right now, like, Masema Stan. So, like, who saw that coming? Not me.

Ali: No one could have seen. No one could have seen it.

Bree: Okay. Aradia, who are you?

Aradia: I am Aradia. I am the co-host of The Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, a full spoilers, four dimensional read through of the Wheel of Time, currently wrapping up Crossroads of Twilight, as well as the podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media.

Bree: And I am Bree, one half of the bestselling romance sci fi fantasy author Kit Rocha, and I finished writing a book!

Ali: Oh, and I’m so proud of you!

Aradia: Wohoo!

Bree: I’m no longer on deadline. I mean, I have to do edits and revisions now, but. I finished a book! I’m a whole new person.

Ali: I love how you and I just go back and forth between me being stressed, you being stressed, me being stressed.

Bree: Yup. I’m floating on clouds this week. This is my official week of joy.

Ali: Love that for you. Proud of you. Always cheering for you.

Bree: Thank you.

Ali: Currently we’re nuancing our way through the Ruins of Ambrai. So if you haven’t read that yet, go do that and come back when you have. For the rest of you. Let’s break it down now.

0:03:03 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: Welcome to Bree’s mostly reliable time travel adventures. Please keep your hands and feet inside the car, because we are going back to 1994. (swooshing sound)

I have a couple of funny ones this week. On February 12 – did you guys know that The Scream, that famous painting that represents our entire vibe for basically the last six years. It was stolen. Norway’s most famous painting. It was stolen from a museum in Oslo.

Ali: I did not know this.

Aradia: No.

Bree: And they didn’t get it back until the next May, which, like.

Ali: Wow.

Bree: That would be really stressful. I mean, what would we do? Like, I follow the bot that’s just The Scream on Twitter. And I’m always like, Wow, you’re making great points. You’re just, you’re just screaming. But like, that’s how I feel like!

Aradia: It’s a very evocative painting.

Bree: Yeah, it is. It is our souls. So I’m glad they got it back.

Ali: It might be the formation of about a third of my personality.

Bree: Also, in 1994, the first use of genetically engineered tomatoes was approved in the U.S.

Ali: Oh!

Bree: So that is when our food became genetically engineered. And I guess we’re all on some sort of pick your dystopian conspiracy theory path from there. But that’s where it all started.

Aradia: So we’re 29 years into being an experiment. That’s cool. That’s cool. Everyone compare notes. How are we doing?

Bree: And also, I loved this one. Apparently 1994 was the first time in history that chain bookstores outsold independent stores, which is what prompted such, you know, movies as You’ve Got Mail. Did you guys ever watch that?

Ali: I did, but a long time ago.

Aradia: I don’t think I have.

Bree: It’s a weird rom com, where Tom Hanks is the heir to basically a Barnes and Noble or Borders type bookstore. And he is having his first AOL online relationship with this mystery woman he has met, who runs a tiny little children’s bookstore that they are putting out of business. And they have a enemies – but it’s weird. It’s like really questionable consent because he figures out who she is pretty quick and then just proceeds to catfish the shit out of her.

Ali: Wow.

Bree: Continuing to have this, like, online relationship with her, even knowing that in person she fucking hates him. Because his like family’s company is putting her out of business.

Ali: I love the nineties.

Bree: Yeah, definitely an interesting movie. Also, it’s like reminiscing.

Ali: I feel like there’s a great formula that corporate conglomerations created, which was just: Big chain thing, small town indie thing. A man and a woman divided. Will they ever be able to come together and save the tiny coffee shop? Will he be able to, like, gain a soul?

Bree: They don’t. Spoiler alert. He just puts their family shop out of business and then they end up together.

Ali: That’s very nineties.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s not very 2000s of them.

Ali: And it’s good, because rich people we still think of as good people!

Bree: Yeah, it’s all fine. It’s fine. It’s all – There are often fights on Twitter about if this is like a real good romance or not, because like, he put her store out of business. What?

Ali: Oh, my God. I love when we reevaluate stuff that we used to love and we’re like, wait a minute.

Bree: Man.

Ali: Why did we love this?

Bree: We may have to like hot nuance a couple of nineties rom coms in between the books.

Aradia: Oof.

Bree: Well, in a post strike era.

Ali: I’ll be honest though, I think the most interesting thing is, one of the most interesting things to me is, that for a while we were like, Oh, we can’t shop at chain bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders because they’re going to like put these small independent bookstores out of business. Ladidadada, which, you know, valid. But then Amazon came in and was like, Hold my beer, for who is –

Bree: 2012 was when Barnes and Noble was going to save us all.

Ali: Yeah, I know. We were like, We have to save Barnes and Noble!

Aradia: Yeah, that was a very weird thing to watch happen.

Bree: You know, indie bookstores, from what I can tell, seem to be on the rise again. And it’s because at this point, bookstores, I mean, what you can get from them that you can’t get from Amazon is curation by skilled workers who know things about books and can give you great recommendations and like, you know. Barnes and Noble – while I was a Barnes and Noble employee for a very long time, and there are definitely people who work there who know lots about books – it’s not always the place to go to get your curated artisanal book recommendations.

Ali: Who would I be if I didn’t go to like – I need like one tchotchke shop, one like Charming Tchotchke shop, and several indie bookstores to make me happy. Like I, that’s what I want. It’s what I need. Plus, they give you a place to work. You know, that is not your house. If you’re a work from home type, it’s nice to be able to go somewhere and like, type away. And I yeah, I, I love – we’re on a book buying ban right now in my house because we have too many books and we haven’t had enough of them. But one day I’ll go back to buying from my beloved indie bookstores in my area.

0:09:10 Flight chapter 9

Bree: Yay! So, also in 1994, Melanie Rawn said, Okay, it’s time to confuse Aradia. Let’s go. Aradia, you told me you’re a little confused by this section. What’s up?

Aradia: I had a really hard time keeping track of all the names and which identities went with which names, so I kind of did what I usually do in fantasy, which is just sort of roll through it and gather the major emotional highlights of what happened without being too worried who those emotions were happening to.

Bree: There’s a lot of people in play right now for sure, and this is one where we start to like gather lots of various – our various DnD parties are colliding and then merging and separating in new ways. So it’s confusing.

Aradia: Yeah, a lot of travel.

Bree: What about you, Ali? Do you have any particular thoughts you want to just –

Ali: This is so funny, because I feel like this is the first time I wasn’t confused and I was feeling really good about that for a sec. And so I don’t know what happened, but maybe Aradia got my confusion this week that was meant to go to me. Because I feel like every time Aradia is like, I know what happened!, and I’m like, I need it explained to me like I’m five.

Aradia: Well, it’s a good change of pace, then.

Ali: We’re mixing it up this week.

Bree: Well, let’s start with part nine, which is, we get Glenin’s point of view again, our favorite girl power light fascist. And she’s eavesdropping. She is doing magic eavesdropping on Anniyas and her dad, mostly Anniyas screaming at her dad, because of all of their various failures. They have failed to – basically, mostly he let Gorynel Desse escape.

Ali: Murder Punch Card Lady is peeved that more murders were not done.

Bree: Yes.

Aradia: Yeah. Yes.

Bree: Yes, it is a little – Gorynel Desse snuck right into their capital and then escaped again right under their noses, which we all said was a terrible plan. And it was a terrible plan. So it must sting that much more that It like half worked.

Ali: Yeah, She’s like, And it was a terrible plan.

Aradia: Yeah. It should have been easy to decapitate the opposition with how bad their plan was, and instead they just danced around them in circles. Like, I can kind of understand Anniyas’ frustration here.

Bree: They’re definitely questioning his loyalties a little bit in theis section.

Ali: It is so hard to find good murderers these days.

Bree: Murder assistance?

Aradia: In this economy?

Ali: Yeah. The eighties really killed it. No pun intended.

Bree: Listen, he filled his punch card. He got his upgrade. There’s no more rewards. What is left for a murderer if there’s not, like, a next level on the punch card?

Aradia: Platinum level murder punch card.

Ali: He’s like, I assassinated an entire city. I feel like at this point, I’ve done all the murdering I need to do. Where’s the loyalty from her, really? He killed a whole city!

Aradia: Honestly.

Bree: Seriously. Which we, like, crawl over the bones of, later in this section.

Ali: In quite the graphic way.

Bree: Yeah. Literal bones. So. Yep. She’s yelling. You guys have any thoughts about Glenin’s eavesdropping or just the general tenor of this argument?

Ali: I mean, I grew up being an eavesdropper. Like, I don’t know if any of you played this game. Anyone who had, like, a second spike story or a like, or in their house, but I would tie my, like, stuffed animals to a jump rope and, like, lower them down as if they were spying for me.

Aradia: (laughs) I did something similar. Yeah, with my Barbies. I would hang them. It was more like an execution thing.

Ali: But that also happened. There’s also a TikTok about how people think little girls play, and it was like a tea party, and it’s actually like, You are being sentenced to death!

Bree: Yeah, yeah. Oh, gosh.

Aradia: So accurate.

Bree: Little morbid games.

Ali: Those were the writers, those were the creatives I would guess, which is like, how do I project as much drama into the play as I can. But yeah, so I would like they were like Carmen Diaz, like lower them down, you know, James Bond style and yeah. So I was peak spy and so I felt very connected to Glenin in this momen,t in a way where I was like, Don’t identify with the fascist, but I am so nosy. I am a listen at the door type.

Bree: Would you like to have this magic power?

Ali: Yes! I just – I never tell anybody. I just like to know what the gossip is. So that like, when I’m in a room – because I am a put my foot in my mouth type. So if I don’t know someone’s fighting or breaking up or whatever, I will ask about them innocently. And that’s why I’m not allowed to ask people about their relationships anymore. And that’s my and Gus’ policy because every time I ask, they have broken up and it’s like the worst story you’ve ever heard. So, you’re just not allowed to ask until they tell you anymore. Which is fair. Sp that’s why I need to know in advance, because I need to be able to avoid gaffes. And that’s how I justify being a little bit of a snoop. Just a little. I just like, if I happen to overhear an argument at a restaurant, I will slow down my walking pace to catch the end of that argument.

Bree: You just got to know.

Ali: Yeah. And if it were my dad and someone was handing him his ass, I would kind of want to know because that’s going to affect me.

Bree: Well, if she does here at the end that Glenin herself is supposed to stay, as he goes to capture Gorynel Desse, as “a warrant for his success”, a.k.a a hostage basically.

Ali: Yeah. The insurance policy is Glenin, so that’s good to know because like, she could get executed. So I’m on Glenin’s side here, for like the first time.

Aradia: Yeah I definitely was questioning Anniyas’ wisdom in screaming at one of her top generals who has like the secret weapon daughter, was like, that seems a little hubris-y and maybe, like, it’s going to accelerate your imminent assassination.

Ali: Yeah. They’ve been thinking about killing her for a while. Yeah.

Bree: Do you think that she is girlbossing too close to the sun now? Is this what Anniyas is doing?

Aradia: Yeah. This felt like arrogance. Like where she thinks that she’s in control of everything and her power is unlimited, and she can just scream at this guy forever, and he’s not going to ultimately stand up and punch her in the face. It feels like that hubris moment to me.

Ali: As if this guy hasn’t killed off most of his wife’s family. Like he has no – Your card’s going to get punched!

Aradia: Right! Very much so.

Bree: She does seem to be real confident that he’s not going to act against her.

Ali: Yeah, I just don’t trust that there won’t be some looming, like, looming prophecy loom, you know, where they’re like, Oh, actually, you’re supposed to die now.

Bree: The loom looms as the loom looms?

Ali: Exactly! The Fates are going to snip your little thread right now.

Bree: Over there in the big castle, the First Weaver’s like, Wait, I’m hearing something! I hear that the Loom wants you dead.

Ali: Hmm. Too bad that the Loom feels that way. Mm. Yeah.

Bree: Trouble, trouble.

Ali: I think this is a bad play on her part, for sure.

Bree: Bad play? Well, we find out later that the First Weaver overrules her and lets Glenin go anyway. So this does not seem to have entirely gone her way. But when her dad gets back to the rooms, she’s kind of shitty with him, too. She’s like, Well, I can tell your magic is injured, but I’m not going to heal you until you reassure me that you didn’t let your old teacher go out of affection or something.

Ali: Oh, that’s true.

Bree: Did you guys notice that?

Ali: Yeah.

Aradia: Yeah, I did. She’s worried for him and mad at him at the same time.

Bree: It says, “But she didn’t help her father because she didn’t know why Gorynel Desse had escaped.”

Aradia: And then she’s also keeping her own secret from him. So I feel like there’s a father daughter rift that’s going to get wider at this point.

Ali: Which is perfect in my mind, because my hope is that the three sisters come back together. I want them all to be simpatico, because I feel like there is a potential Glenin redemption arc.

Aradia: I really want there to be.

Ali: I don’t like Glenin’s views, but I do think there’s room for growth with her in a way that I don’t think there is for her dad. And so I’m kind of hoping that she has a moment. But I feel like the reason – I mean, I feel like she’s on to something and being like, did you let him go? Because I definitely think that happened.

Bree: Well, look at the next paragraph. He calls him Gorsha again, which is still –

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Just like me! I call him Gorsha, too. And you cannot trust either of us.

Ali: He’s got to be careful about that.

Bree: Yeah, Yeah. I mean, calling him Gorsha in front of anyone else seems like it would be a big, you know.

Ali: A big, Why are you using his, like, endearing nickname as opposed to calling him his name? Yeah, I feel like it’s just a reminder of his connection to him, which, yeah, I do kind of feel like – I mean, was it kind of like a tit for tat type deal? Like, you saved my family, so I will let you go this one time? Yeah.

Aradia: Yeah, something like that.

Bree: We’ve seen some complex interactions between them in the past because, like, the one time Gorynel Desse showed up, remember, right after Falundir was injured, and he sort of played that, you know, I tutored you and did everything for you, you owe me this. And let him rescue Falundir. So like, they’ve done this sort of thing in the past. They’ve got a complicated relationship and I think that later in this chapter, they basically say that he was with Gorynel Desse, like as a student or like, you know, friend, mentee, from like 16 to 40 maybe?

Aradia: Yeah. It was a long, long relationship.

Bree: Yeah. So they had a long relationship. Maybe it’s not as easy to murder your father stand in figure.

Aradia: Also there’s going to be a little bit of fear maybe.

Bree: Which, by the way, since we’re now discussing the Star Wars of it all, this is an Anakin, Obi-Wan relationship right here.

Ali: Totally.

Bree: You know, Gorsha is Obi-Wan. This old cranky dude, who has made a lot of mistakes.

Ali: A few. Just a few little oopsies.

Bree: Little mistakes. So, yeah. And I appreciate the complexity of this relationship and also how well it really does map onto the prequels, considering, again, she wrote this book before there were any prequels, and somehow it’s still like –

Aradia: That’s so funny.

Ali: You can still map it so well.

Bree: This is how you know that fanfic writers have characterization for days, man.

Ali: Right? There’s only so many possibilities. It’s like, well, of course they’re going to explore that relationship, obviously, or they will drop the ball completely.

Bree: So yeah, we find out Gorynel Desse spelled it so that – he thought that their swords could hurt him through his magical Wards, which they could not, only Gorynel Desse has a sword that could have cut through his Wards. But he was confused by the fight because Gorynel Desse was like, doing crazy Mage globes, and making him think that their swords could hurt him, and like all sorts of stuff. So he got confused and basically let them get away. And he keeps calling him Gorsha over and over in this conversation.

Aradia: Very unsubtle.

Ali: Yeah. I don’t know if that’s the smartest.

Bree: And then Glenin tells him, “You did everything you could.” It was what he’d said of her to Anniyas. They were the mostgalling words either Feiran could ever hear.”

0:21:30 Tangent: perfectionist therapy meeting

Ali: Ooh, yeah, You did what you could.

Aradia: Yeah. That’s not great.

Ali: That would bug me.

Bree: That’s a perfectionist –

Aradia: Yeah. No, it’s. It’s like. Well, what I could is bullshit, apparently.

Ali: Like, I’m working through my constant need to get a gold star for everything. Like, I cannot just do the dishes. I have to have done the dishes the best that has ever been done.

Bree: Oh, my God.

Ali: And if somebody was like, You did your best. I’d be like, that would –

Bree: You know, when people used to – when I was first, like, being invited to do conferences and stuff, I was always like, Well, I don’t know what I would give a talk on? Like, is there anything that I’m just like, better at than everyone else in the world? And some of them were like, Bree, maybe you don’t have to be the best in the world? Maybe you just have to have some informative information to pass on. I feel that. And I was like, No, no, I think I need to be the best in the world if I’m going to, like, tell people that I’m an authority.

Ali: I feel that so hard.

Aradia: Super strong.

Ali: Like doing any panels about like TV and film and stuff. I just go, I don’t know, do I know anything? And Gus is like, You’ve been in this industry for a decade. I’m like, Oh yeah, but have I learned anything? Actually, at all.

Bree: Do I really know anything at all?

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. It’s like, I refuse to open my mouth on a topic until I am a world class expert. Because what if I say something wrong? Then no one will like me and they’ll discount every other thing I had to say.

Bree: Also, probably lose your house and your car and have to live in a cardboard box under a bridge with a raccoon.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: The anxiety that you say one wrong thing.

Ali: No, I mean, I felt that so hard, this was like, that’s actually the most comforting conversation I’ve ever had. I’m like, I don’t even care that we’re getting away from the books for a second, because this is an important life moment for me.

Bree: The perfectionist therapy meeting is now in session.

Ali: It’s the fact that you’re like, okay, one tiny mistake that I make in front of people, all of a sudden in my mind I’m like, Well, there I am living next to the interstate with the raccoon as a friend. Like, that’s –

Aradia: Yup, zero to raccoon in no steps.

Bree: You guys. In 1998, I took this test they have for people who, like, speak German. It’s a national test they do for German students in high school. And I got one wrong.

Ali: Oh no.

Bree: I was first in Minnesota and, like, tied for second in the country, because there were just, like, like four people who didn’t get any wrong. And then I got one wrong and I’m still mad. I’m like, What did I get wrong? What did I get wrong on that test? I understand that I was the top in Minnesota, but like, I wasn’t the top in the country. So what did I get wrong on that test?

Ali: Oh, when I took the test to see if I had ehlers-danlos syndrome. It’s this flexibility test. You needed like a 5 to get diagnosed, or something like that. You did like a 5, and they’re like, Yeah, you have some kind of hypermobility issue. And I got a 9 out of 12 and I was like, And I was like, Oh, I didn’t get a perfect score, my mom’s going to kill me.

Aradia laughs.

Ali: Doctor? So I was like, partially serious, but also like, Am I funny? I need you to think I’m funny. I need my doctors to think I’m a delight and I – really, all I need for my doctors, for them to look at me and go, You’re you do such a good job at health. Like, you’re the best health I’ve ever seen.

Bree: It’s like the Bar – the movie we’re not talking about. Your job is now health. You do very good.

Ali: Very good. Very good. Yeah, I’m very good at it. I’m their most favorite patient, I need a gold star. Thank you very much. Yeah, This is very healing. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who’s like, If I make one small error in judgment, I am this close to losing everything I’ve ever built. Thank you very much.

Bree: Yes. Yeah. I’m giving everybody a gold star this week. All of our listeners. All of us. Gold stars.

Ali: Thank God, Bree, because I really needed this.

Bree: Gold stars in being, in people-ing.

Ali: You get a gold star in being.

Bree: My job is people-ing.

Ali: I job is people, and you’re very good at people.

Bree: Thank you.

Ali: Anyway.

Bree: So yeah, yeah.

Ali: That would really bother me as well.

Bree: I don’t like it!

0:26:04 Tangent over, everyone got a gold star, back to the chapter

Bree: And so then he asks, you know, okay, you were right. This was the place that we looked, because she was the one who told them that they were going to go to Ryka. But she had also figured out that the next place that they were going to go was to Ambrai. And he’s like, Where? Where do we go? Let me go find their heads. So, you know, she doesn’t take ours.

Ali: Apparently my years of loyal service actually do fall apart in the face of one mistake.

Bree: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Aradia: See, we’re justified! Sometimes there’s a murder punch card lady in your life.

Ali: People really are that fickle!

Bree: Anniyas is already getting the raccoon ready.

Ali: What should we name him?

Bree: I have got this raccoon and I’m going to give your head to the raccoon. To play with, in a box, down by the interstate.

Ali: Oh, my God. Yeah, that’s how I feel. Yeah. So apparently we are completely justified in that fear. Thank you Melanie Rawn for –

Aradia: And we’re on Glenin’s side now. We’re voting for Glenin. Yes. So that’s good.

Bree: Charlie, it’s your lucky week.

Ali: And she’s right about the Ambrai thing. To which I go, Are you the gut jumper in this situation? I mean truly, Glenin’s gut is impeccable.

Aradia: She’s a good strategist and sometimes the gut does strategy.

Bree: Yes, she is a good strategist. And also I like the idea that Sarra and Glenin both internalized a lot of this, sort of political stuff. And on some level, even though Glenin doesn’t know that this is her sister, she knows that they get each other, there’s something there. And so they’re just like, what would I do? She’d do what I do.

Ali: They’ve got a connection. They definitely have some kind of, like, unspoken connection. Like it feels very Twitches, if you recognize that movie with Tia and Tamera Mowry.

Bree: The twin witches, right?

Ali: Yes. Yeah. Twitches. They got separated at birth, and then they like, complete each other’s sentences and. Yeah, they’re like, yeah, feels that, they’re twitches.

Bree: It’s got a vibe.

Ali: Very much vibe. Yeah. I think, despite being on opposite sides, they have a lot in common and so they’re able to kind of anticipate each other’s moves very well. Which, again, is why I’m like, so a connection that strong, You have to come together. Please. There’s no way that they Yeah.

Aradia: The power of sisterhood is being –

Ali: Yeah I think I just want like a happily ever after for them. Like I feel like their lives have been so screwed over time and time again. Both of them – all three of them really.

Bree: You want to break the cycle of trauma?

Aradia: It would be nice.

Ali: Excuse me for wanting us to break the cycles of trauma.

Bree: I’m not judging you at all. I do think that sounds nice.

Ali: But for anyone who might be, Excuse me for wanting hope in the world at this point in time. Yeah, I think I root for them as sisters. I want them to like all because they’ve been so screwed over by everybody to, like, come back together. This bond that they seem to share, even though they’re on opposing sides, to me feels like, yeah, they’ve got to figure out that both sides suck and let’s find a better way, right?

Bree: Yeah. I mean, both sides do kind of suck.

Ali: I mean, Gorynel Desse! Note that I do know call him Gorsha.

Bree: Oh, well, he’s, he’s going to continue to suck in this section, so let’s, let’s move along to –

Ali: Bree’s like, I liked him so much. Yeah. So we’re going to Ambrai.

Bree: Let’s get back to Ambrai where my, my, my favorite man is about to cause more trouble. I think we could have, like, subtitled this podcast, The Slow Death of Bree’s favorite character.

Ali: I’m sorry.

Aradia: Well, pick a less treasured book next time.

Bree: No, no, no. We’re going to do it again.

Ali: You have only yourself to blame.

Bree: I do have only myself to blame. And I’m loving it. I’m loving it. I still love it. I’ll never stop loving that wacky, wacky, wacky, wacky wizard.

Ali: We support your weird tastes.

0:30:26 Music break, chapter 10 and 11

Bree: It’s okay. So, yeah, we go back to Ambrai, where Alin has woken up. And everybody has sort of recovered from getting punched in the face by Cailet’s magic in Longriding. And so – and Sarra is once again being extremely relatable, suffering terrible anxiety because she, you know, snapped at Bard Falundir when she first met him. So she’s just sort of like quietly reliving the humiliation of that.

Aradia: Well, he definitely hates her forever now. I mean, that’s obvious.

Ali: And he thinks about it all the time.

Aradia: Rent free in his head. That’s where she is.

Bree: Yes, of course.

Ali: Yeah. And the minute she gains any notoriety, he’s going to come out of the woodwork and be like, She was mean to me one time though.

Aradia: Yeah. Yep. Yeah.

Bree: Yes. That is clearly going through her head, even though he apparently is being perfectly nice to her, though he is looking at her like the sort of, I know who you are!, sort of way. Because Bard Falundir does seem to know all the secrets. But who’s he going to tell? Nobody. So. (getting flustered) I mean, I’m just saying! He’s not gonna tell anybody! Ali’s giving me this horrified look!

Aradia laughs

Ali: And suddenly, we’re all on the interstate playing with the raccoon.

Bree: The raccoon can take my head next. But I’m just saying, he knows lots of secrets.

Ali: But you are wrong for that! You know what I’m saying?

Bree: I was a little wrong. Also, I’m, like, practically wrong too, because he has occasional he, like, talked in people’s heads. So maybe I should not get so cocky. He could tell anybody he wants, maybe. I don’t know.

Ali: That’s true.

Aradia: Yeah. He can go psychic.

Ali: And I just want to say that Sarra has finally echoed what I have been saying this entire time. And as has Aradia. Which is, Are we really going to have these girls go up against their all magical sister, the like most exceptional, exceptional girl? Which, congratulations. What is that like? And they’re going to be completely without training, without preparation, without –

Bree: Magic?

Ali: Magic. I mean, that seems like a really –

Bree: Yeah, that’s in my notes.

Ali: Dumb, stupid, dumb thing to do.

Aradia: Yeah. It was very, very gratifying to have Sarra laying out the argument we’ve been making this whole time, just like on the page. It was very gratifying.

Ali: I kept thinking, Thank you, Sarra. Thank you.

Aradia: Yes. The standing ovation for Sarra.

Ali: For giving a voice to the people.

Bree: Yeah. She literally was like, Did you guys see how well that went for me? Not having magic? So thanks a lot.

Ali: Have we learned nothing? Nothing, from that.

Bree: So, yeah.

Ali: Truly.

Bree: I mean, mostly this is them fighting a little bit and I, you know, what do you guys think Taig’s resistance to this is?

Ali: He cares about Cailet, maybe?

Bree: Yeah. I mean, it’s probably scary.

Aradia: Right? Because she’s like a little sister to him in a more, like, daily – Like they grew up that way, whereas Sarra’s assigning herself the sistership because of the blood relationship.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Taig actually is her older sibling in all the emotional ways. So like his concern, though, pointed in a different direction, you know, what he wants for her is different. Like it’s the same concern of a sibling.

Ali: But could there also be a slightly selfish motivation behind it to where it’s like –

Bree: Like what?

Ali: Well, once she finds out that we – that like we were keeping this from her her whole life, she’s probably going to resent us, just a smidgen. Just a smidge.

Aradia: Yeah, that could be part of it. But also it has to happen at some point.

Ali: Cat’s got to get out of that bag. But yeah, I, I so I was a little bit like this feels a little also selfishly motivated really. But I want to be her special sibling and I don’t want her to be mad at me. And also. Yeah, but also I guess they were like, she can’t handle it at this point. And I’m like, she is 17 years old. I mean, yeah, that’s very young. But at what age do you think that she will be actually mature enough to handle the fact that everything she knows is a lie and she’s the most powerful being of all time? Like, there is no age where that’s good.

Aradia: Yeeeah. There’s no good age for that.

Ali: Maybe we do it, at least at a point where this well, you know, I don’t know, where we can actually prepare her for the future that is imminently coming.

Bree: Yeah. If you wanted to get to an age that she can like –

Ali: Yeah, there you go.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: Could cope with it.

Ali: The therapy, you know, like maybe we need to, you know, get to stepping and do the hard thing.

Bree: Yeah. And Sarra has gotten very focused on this. She’s like, None of them matter. Not the rest of the world, or Alin or Val, or even herself. You know, she knows that Cailet needs to have this magic. This is like her conviction.

Ali: And, I mean, she’d be one to know, right? Because she’s been screwed over in a very similar way. And she did not have a very good time with it. Am I wrong? And she’s the one with the gut. Why are we never listening to the girl with the gut?

Aradia: Seriously.

Bree: Who has been very good at guessing what’s Glenin that’s going to do thus far.

Ali: That’s like her whole thing is like, I’m good at guessing, I’m the best guesser and the best guesser of all time. Maybe we trust the best guesser.

Bree: Well, they keep, their fighting is interrupted by a bunch of Mages showing up. Mages are fleeing to Ambrai from wherever they can. Anyone who can survive. My favorite is the little old lady, the ancient lady with all the knives.

Aradia: She’s pretty cool.

Ali: Say less. I mean, truly, I’m on her side immediately. Whoever she is. I love old ladies. I love women with knives. These are my two favorite things together in the same character. Excellent. Ten out of ten character building.

Aradia: And then she gives one of the knives to Sarra. So now Sarra’s, like, leveled up just by sheer proximity to badass-ness.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: It’s like in a video game where it’s like, You gained one knife. doot doot doot duh doot!

Bree: Yes. And this knife has 22 hatch marks on it. So, likem marks of Malerrisi deaths, which is how old Sarra is. Sarra thinks about how this knife has killed as many Malerrisi as she is old. So that’s a badass old lady right there.

Aradia: Yeah. With a badass knife.

Ali: I’m obsessed with her, And she’s like, This is one of my knives. That’s the other amazing thing. Yeah, She’s, like, probably gave her her least favorite knife, right?

Bree: And she like, threw it into the frickin rock. Sarra had to pry it out. She was like, Yeah, she’s –

Ali: And I’m imagining that was not her favorite knife. So I’m just saying, she is amazing. I love her.

Aradia: And has this iconic line. Like, I doubt everything and everyone. That’s why I’m still alive. Like, iconic. Gorgeous.

Ali: Okay, But again, Melanie Rawn is justifying my anxiety in a way that my therapist would be like, Please stop.

Aradia: That’s true. That’s true. Trust nothing. Trust no one. It’s the only way you’ll survive. Otherwise you’ll have a raccoon playing with your head by the interstate.

Bree: Yeah. Raccoon will be playing with your head in a cardboard box down by the interstate.

Ali: I really appreciate, Bree, that your spiral and my spiral are the same spiral, where we’re both just like, And it will take one mistake, and all of that I’ve ever worked for will be undone. And it’s true, according to Melanie Rawn.

Bree: Yes, thank you, Melanie Rawn. We feel much better.

Ali: Never feel safe. Never feel secure. The Melanie Rawn way.

Bree: But this old lady, by the way, she tells Sarra that her Wards are set in stone.

Ali: Oh, damn.

Bree: But that something’s been chipping at them lately. And yeah, she says she recognizes Gorsha Desse’s crafting. So yes, Sarra’s got bad ass Wards and everybody can see how crazy good they are. Then she throws the knife. I love the knife. So yeah, this basically this part ends with Gorynel Desse finally showing up. And Melanie Rawn did her “Suze take a shot” ending: Sarra says, “But she knew—and damned her instincts for the knowing—that Gorynel Desse must come soon. When he did, it was from the Mage Academy—slung like a bean sack between Telomir Renne and that damned Minstrel.”

Ali: That damned Minstrel.

Aradia: That damned Minstrel. Love it. I love Collan always being introduced in her mind like that.

Bree: Yeah, that damned Minstrel.

Ali: How is he involved? I still am like, I need to know how the fuck, why did we pick Collan? To participate as a POV character in this family thing? I still am like, What is the deal with this redhead?

Aradia: Yeah. Why the boy?

Bree: I’m going to wait a few more parts, more episodes, before I give you my theory. But we do know that this redhead is a magical sparkle boy.

Ali: We know this.

Bree: Oh, no, I’m trying to see what I want to say and what I don’t. No, I’m not going to say anything else.

Aradia: Ugh!

Ali: Okay. Can we just really quickly – and like I know we’re going to get there, but I just love one thing about it. I just love that they went from, We’re not going to make Cailet aware of her abilities for her own good. And Sarra’s like, We need to, this is bullshit, to, We’re going to make her Captal, actually. Strike that.

Aradia: What an escalation.

Ali: She’s too young to handle it. It’s going to break her apart. But actually, you know what we could do instead of all of that and protect her, because, like, actually, that was all nonsense. We’re instead going to go way too far afield.

Aradia: I mean, it’s kind of like the thing where it’s like, you’re too young to like, you know, drink alcohol until you’re 21. But at a much younger age, you can get married and have babies. It’s kind of like that. But like with extreme magical power.

Ali: It is that, it is 100% that. It’s like, you can go serve in our military, you can get married, but God forbid you have a Heineken.That’s too much, that’s too far.

Bree: Okay, we’ll get there.

Ali: I’m just saying, with the Cailet stuff, what’s going on? Either she’s too young to have magic or not. Because when they first said that and all that – I’m sorry. I know that we’re going to talk about this later – but when I first said that, I was like, like she’s going to be Captal. Who’s going to be Captal? Sarra? And then they’re like, Cailet. And I went, Wait, wait wait. The girl can’t even vote!

Bree: Well, we will get there, and go deep. First we’re going to do something that we know everybody’s going to be excited about, which is where Gorsha, the child memory eraser, tells everybody else about their stupid mistakes.

Ali: Oh, my eyes rolled so far back into my head, they almost popped out.

Bree: So yeah. How do you guys feel about Gorynel Desse’s lecture?

Aradia: Oh, he’s not wrong.

Bree: He wasn’t wrong. They did do very stupid things.

Ali: But I’m like, Glass houses and stones, sir. Glass houses and stones.

Aradia: Yeah, Yeah, it’s. But it is again, it’s gratifying to see someone on the page yelling at the characters with more or less the same arguments as we’ve had. That is still gratifying to be like. Yeah, you should have questioned the whole waterfall on the wrong side situation. That should have been a red flag. Not a thing you just brushed past.

Bree: Yeah, they just kind of rolled with it, like, Oh well, we don’t know why everything just flipped to like a different dimension. So yeah, they definitely were a little casual about that.

Aradia: And then, and then they learn about the fact that velvet Ladders exist too. So like, it feels like the whole Ladder thing we’ve been building up to until now just suddenly got completely reset like a boss battle. Like, Oh no, actually.

Ali: And then they talk about Velvet the cat. And I’m like, Was this cat purposefully named? Should the cat be Captal?

Aradia: Honestly, the Captal. The cat Cat-ptal.

Ali: Cat-pal.

Aradia: Catpal. Yes.

Ali: The Catpal.

Bree: Catpal.

Ali: I say Velvet the cat; I’m going to put my vote behind Velvet the cat.

Aradia: For Captal.

Bree: I mean, is this like a pope situation? Are we all going in there until there’s like black smoke?

Ali: Black, white, whatever smoke it is. Yeah, honestly, that’s how I feel right now sitting here while the WGA and the AMPTP are on their second day of negotiations.

Aradia: Watching for the smoke?

Ali: I’m like, They should be something for this shit. Something, so we know whether or not it’s going well or not.

Aradia: They’ve done another break and nothing’s been determined. All right, We got the white smoke.

Ali: I mean, the past few months, it’s been like, they’ll meet for like 20 minutes and be like, This is the deal you should take. And the WGA is like, No, I believe we actually have all the power in this situation, last I checked. And they’re like, Yeah, the WGA won’t negotiate. And it’s like, it’s like, No, and this is how – So now it’s like – so previously it’s only taking like 20 minutes and then we all know what’s going on, because they’re like, yeah, they said no. And then immediately went to the press and said we were not helpful, when they were not helpful. And now it’s like the second day. So clearly something’s up. But yeah, there’s no smoke. So again, it’s like, yeah, I feel like in this situation –

Bree: We should send Gorynel Desse in there to tell Carol about herself.

Ali: Perhaps for every issue we should be sending in the cats.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Buying like Glenin.

Bree: That would be a power right now.

Ali: There we go.

Bree: So, yeah, he’s like, Why didn’t you worry about the waterfall? Did you even think that there might be Wards around this Ladder? You know? And Alin, How dare you jump through it? I’m going to have to explain your death to your mother. Have you even considered the trauma of that? Everybody’s scared of Alin’s mom, Lady Lilen. Nobody wants to go to Lady Lilen and say, I got another one of your kids killed.

Ali: Well, okay, that’s fair. But at the same time, perhaps we should train those kids so that they understand that they should be looking for stuff going into weird dimensions rather than just wiping their memories and going, They’ll figure it out.

Bree: Well, Alin knew how dangerous it was to go through that Ladder. He just did it anyway.

Ali: We’re just tossing kittens in the air and telling them to fly, you fuck.

Aradia: That is literally his strategy.

Ali: Mm hmm.

Bree: Yes. Now, remember, now Alin’s the one that – he’s mad because somebody gave Alin a bunch of memories instead of taking them away.

Ali: Oh, well. Okay, so he’s mad?

Aradia: Right. Cardinal Sin.

Bree: He’s traumatized in the opposite direction.

Ali: Who’s pissed that a child has a memory. He’s walking around this whole time with memories intact? Fuck!

Bree: Extra memories.

Ali: Extra memories. He’s pissed.

Bree: But yes, we find out about the velvet Ladder and that Glenin is a lot more mobile than anybody thinks she is. So that’s scary because that means she could be popping up anywhere. Definitely not good for them.

Ali: Not awesome. I hate it, but I’m really still praying for that redemption arc. Come on, Glenin, you can do it.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: The rest of this part is a lot. I mean, do you guys have any thoughts about this? Sarra is basically kind of having to live this whole being in charge life that she was so ready for, and she’s not loving it as much as she thought she would. Because everybody wants stuff from her, constantly wants her to fix things that she can’t fix.

Ali: And not to mention that she’s grieving the loss of her adopted parents.

Bree: Yes. Or trying not to think about it.

Ali: Well, wouldn’t we all who have ever suffered with grief know that that is a winning strategy for grief, is to just push it out of your mind entirely and pretend it’s not real.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Yes, I would. I would point out the Star Wars analogies again, this is our Princess Leia lost Alderaan. They, you know, her house has been put to the torch. Her home burned. They burned down Roseguard, they found out.

Ali: That’s just a little bit traumatic.

Bree: Yeah. So, like, her entire home is gone, her parents and one of her adopted brothers is gone. Her sister is in there, half dying.

Ali: And Gorynel Desse is like, Don’t worry, I can fix this. Give me your brain for 5 seconds and it will all actually be gone.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Gorynel Desse is, you know, being Gorynel Desse. So basically, this is just like a lot of trauma. She has Alin, and Val with her, so people won’t keep bugging her and demanding to know things that she can’t know and that she can’t – There’s a paragraph updating us on the rest of our traveling companions, like Imi and Senison, who went off with the books. Nobody knows where they are. Nobody knows where, like all of these other Mages that they had taken back through the sewers are. Nobody has heard from Lusira, the very, very pretty one, who is Elomar’s girlfriend. Nobody’s heard from Lilen Ostin or of Mai Alvassy’s, um, Alin, the younger sister, or her brother Pier. So nobody has heard of them. Anybody. Or even the Captal. So she’s just sort of like, Everybody’s missing,. I don’t know what to do. But the only thing she does know is that there’s a bounty on Mai Alvassy. So, like, Sarra Liwellan is technically dead. She has managed to fake her death now.

Ali: Yeah, but Glenin doesn’t buy that.

Bree: Glenin doesn’t buy that, but everybody else does. And Glenin has been forced to sort of accept it officially.

Aradia: Right. She can’t act on the knowledge that she has yet. Yeah, it’s a rundown of trauma.

Ali: They’re having a hard time.

Aradia: And then we switch to looking at Cailet, who’s having a very, very hard time. Just kind of getting like, eaten up by her own magic, or something?

Bree: Kind of. Yeah. I’ve always thought of it as like, it’s under pressure. They keep putting these Wards around her and it’s building up and it’s sort of like crushing her, because there’s so much magic and it’s just like being penned in, you know?

Ali hums Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. Bree pauses, and Aradia laughs.

Aradia (chiming in): Pressure!

Ali: That’s the song Collan sings.

Bree: Yeah. That is exactly what Collan sings. Which is the next thing that happens. Collan comes in and sings to her, brings the kitten to cuddle.

Ali: Okay, that would, that would fix me.

Aradia: But purring is scientifically proven to help with healing.

Ali: It is. Yes, it is.

Aradia: It’s very real in my life for sure. Cat purring throughout my childhood.

Ali: That’s valid, yeah. I’ve got two cats and they always know when I’m not feeling well or when I’m sad. They always know and they always come sit next to me and purr, and it’s – I will tell you firsthand – very healing. And a little kitten, like snuggled up on your neck? Forget about it.

Aradia: You’d think there’d be less healing because it’s smaller, but actually it somehow is more healing because it’s such a tiny little kitten.

Ali: Yes. You’re like, I have won the affection of this tiny little, little, little sprite.

Bree: Little soft puff with the big rumble. Those are, like, the cutest.

Ali: Yeah. So perfect. Purrfect.

Aradia: So purrfect.

Bree: And Collan plays lots of wonderful music. Basically, we find out that Sarra thinks that he’s got the “voice in a Generation”.

Ali: Don’t tell him that.

Aradia: Definitely not.

Bree: So she is annoyed to be soothed by his music and she tells him it’s beautiful. And he says, I’m better at singing big girls to sleep, because he’s decided it’s time to flirt.

Aradia: Ugh, so tiresome.

Bree: Or maybe he’s just messing with her. I don’t really know.

Ali: That would ruin it for me. You could have the prettiest voice in the world. In the world. And if someone turned to me and gave me that line, I’d be like, No, you fucked it up. No.

Aradia: Yeah, I’m not sure if it’s flirting or teasing. Either way. It breaks the spell.

Bree: It feels very teasy, because he doesn’t seem to be quite like, you know, feeling affectionate yet or like, it’s just sort of like, you know, poking at her a little bit.

Ali: Yeah, I’m just saying, if somebody said the word big girls to me, I’d be like, I ‘m out. We’re out. Shut it down. You have the best, you have the voice of a generation, but it’s not the written voice.

Bree: He does think later in another chapter about how he’s never going to be good with words like a bard.

Ali: That is apparent.

Bree: That is the difference between a minstrel and a bard. A minstrel could perform a bard’s works, but he will never be a composer and a writer like a bard.

Aradia: Sure sure.

Ali: Bob Dylan, he is not.

Bree: So then he’s like, You’re disturbing the kittens. And he, you know, plays some more music. But the music does not work on Sarra anymore because, like Ali said.

Ali: That tragic line?

Aradia: Yeah, no, the spell has been broken.

Bree: She’s back to thinking about when he said it was true, what they say about a minstrels hands. And she’s just running down every thing that he’s ever said that annoys her and deciding that she will break his fingers at some point when they’re not helping Cailet.

Aradia: Rude.

Bree: We are still firmly in antagonistic enemy’s territory with these two.

Ali: And if she’s anything like me, she goes home after this, looks in the mirror and is like, All right, what should I have said to him that I didn’t in that moment? And like, come up with a bunch of lines until you find the right one.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: I mean, laying there, staring at the ceiling all night, trying to think of something. I was just trying to think of something. What I would have said to him, no, I don’t know.

Aradia: Something clever.

Bree: No, you!

Ali: Okay, here’s one, that’s just off the top of my head. Your songs could put anyone to sleep! Boom! Done.

Aradia: Boom. Yes.

Bree: People have a hard time staying awake in your bed? So there you go, guys. You got to give us your best retort to Collan. Come over in discard.

Ali: What’s your best retort?

Bree: We mean we need Collan smackdown lines. Yes, basically. Yeah. So he sings a little. Sarra does think that Imi would find Collan hot, because he’s all tall and big and muscular, and so would Agata Nalle, the sailor. But that just makes her sad because one of them is dead and one of them is missing. And she, like, turns around so Collan won’t see her cry. And then she just breaks down, and it’s very sad.

Aradia: Yeah, She cries into Elo’s chest and it’s just like. And then it ends with, like, the saddest, most like: “Sarra must think of others as well. As a leader. Letting them be important to her personally was why she’d cried. Just before she slept, she promised herself it wouldn’t happen again.” Like, this feels very like mid series Rand to me. And I’m like, No, haven’t you read Wheel of Time? It’s coming out at the same time as these books! Don’t be like Rand!

Bree: Yeah, she thinks, I let these people get close to me, I cared about them, and now, you know, it’s breaking me and I won’t be any good. So I need to be stronger. Yeah.

Aradia: Don’t cry. Don’t have emotions, crying is weakness. It’s just like, Oh, no. Toxic masculinity equals girl power. That’s not what we like.

Ali: We’ve gone the wrong way.

Bree: No, we do not like this, Sarra. I will say I don’t think she’s going to go too deep into it because she clearly cares a lot about people all the time.

Ali: She does.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. But she’s flirting with the nihilism.

Bree: She sure does. She does promise herself to stop caring. She doesn’t even manage to make this through, like, through the next chapter.

0:55:48 Music break, Flight chapter 12

Bree: In part 12, you know, they’re trying to get the Mages and everybody out of there. Because Goynel Desse is going to start working with Cailet and everybody needs to leave or have their heads exploded. Those are their choices.

Aradia: It’s like he’s defuzing a bomb and they want to clear the building.

Bree: Yeah, basically. I mean, she is like, nuclear, nuclear containment situation here.

Ali: You know, and I think that’s the perfect person to lead us.

Bree: The nuclear weapon? I mean, it always is.

Ali: I just always wanted to be led by a nuke.

Bree: In fantasy series, isn’t it always the unstable nuclear weapon, young person with the unstable nuclear weapon powers? Who is the chosen one?

Ali: And the not fully developed brain? Yeah, exactly.

Aradia: And the relationship that’s less than six weeks old, so they’re super in the throes of hormones? Yeah, that’s exactly who should be saving the world. Every fucking time.

Bree: And that’s why we do it. So. Yeah.

Ali: Just once I want one that’s like, This fantasy accountant has to save the world. Being absolutely ordinary.

Bree: She is 43. She is tired. She would like to just go home and take off her bra. But instead –

Aradia: I mean, can I recommend Broken Earth? Because that’s kind of Broken Earth a little bit.

Ali: This 42 year old divorced accountant with no magical powers must save the world!

Bree: Well, guys, give us the accountant books next.

Ali: Bree’s like, Yes, yes. Keep going.

Bree: So, yeah, they have cleared out the Bard Hall to everybody. But like, basically people without powers or people who are rewarded by Gorynel Desse, so they will probably be safe. Then we go through another – we just basically repeat the fight, this time with Gorynel Desse. He’s like, No, we’re not going to give her magic. You know, that’s –

Ali: We’re going to make her Captal instead!

Bree: Well, he doesn’t do that yet, that’s what’s so funny. Because he’s the one who’s like, No, I’m not going to give her magic, to Sarra.

Ali: He just cracks me up and we go from here to there so fast.

Aradia: But first, in order to get brought along, he has to get – Like, Sarra pulls the ultimate gender dynamic rank on him. And it works because that’s what the patriarchy, I mean matriarchy will do to you. And it’s wild seeing her be like, I’m a child, but because I don’t have dropped gonads, I get to tell you what to do.And he’s like, You know what? Because my gonads dropped, so is my authority, and it’s real messed up.

Bree: Yeah. So here’s the exchange. He says, “I amFirst Sword of the Mage Guardians, answerable only to the Mage Captal.” And she says, “And I am Lady of both Ambrai and Sheve! Moreover, all women of your own line being dead, by virtue of your sister’s marriage to my grandmother’s brother—” And then someone’s like, “Sarra, don’t”, and she’s like, “You are answerable to me!”

Aradia: Ugh!

Ali: Okay. Aradia, this is me being toxic, because I was like, Fuck, yeah.

Aradia: I mean, because it’s Gorsha, I get it. Because it’s for Gorynel Desse, but, like, it’s so … mmh.This is what oppression gets you.

Ali: No, I know, once I started seeing your reaction. I was like, No, that should be my reaction. My reaction should be, That’s really privileged. But in the moment. In the moment, because of the toxic side of myself, I was like, Fuck yeah, you tell that, you tell that boy to sit down.

Bree: My favorite part is like, it’s not even like because you’re my uncle. It’s like, because your sister married my grandfather’s brother. I was like, my god, Sarra, this is a very tenuous matriarchal connection. But you pull that card, baby girl.

Ali: Yeah, like, could you imagine your seventh cousin rolls up and is like, All right, here’s how it’s going to be. I’m 14. Who gives a shit? I’m in charge here.

Bree: Your uncle’s mother’s sister married my father’s brother’s friend from college.

Aradia: And their dog.

Ali: Just the fact that for like, hundreds of years, everyone was like, Yeah, that seems reasonable.

Bree: Yeah. I mean, this is like the plot of Jane Austen. Hello? Hello. I do not know you.

Ali: What were we doing?

Bree: But I inherited all of your stuff because you are but ladies.

Ali: What were we doing? Clown behaviors, clown behaviors is what we were up to, for hundreds of years.

Bree: This is like Downton Abbey shit here.

Aradia: Very. I was totally thinking of Downton Abbey. Like, yeah, we have to get some random cousin, because this one’s a girl.

Ali: Oh, God forbid.

Bree: So Collan walks in in the middle of this and is like, Wow, we’re doing impersonations of Blooded First Daughters. And he’s like, you know, more talking shit about her outfit because she doesn’t look like one, and Collan just sort of like, you know, basically trying – I think he was coming in to sing again. No, no. He tells them that the Captal is here, and Tamos Wolvar. So they just rolled up, the Captal. And that is not great. The Captal has not woken up and neither has Wolvar. And this has been like, what, three or four days, I think.

Aradia: Right. Because they just spent hours sitting with Cailet, just before this conversation. It was like hours of Gorsha working his magic. And this isn’t like a breathing synchronization, but it’s part of this whole like, getting in there, and Warding her, and calming her down. And it’s not working super well, right? Because they haven’t told her that she’s going to get her magic back, I assume, is why she’s fighting it. But like, they’ve spent hours doing this. So, yeah, it’s kind of been days for all of this to transpire.

Bree: Yeah. So he’s done this. He’s done a lot of this thing, trying to, like, reinforce the Wards, keep her from getting out. And they’re having the whole conversation about it. Gorsha – Like, okay, well, let’s go see if we can save these two. Basically. Yeah. So they go off to check on the Captal and Tamos Wolwar, and Collan plays again, but she can’t, she’s not into this music, because Collan has pissed off so much to the point that she doesn’t even like his music. But she also just like, can’t focus on him. I think she can’t conceptualize of anything but Cailet. She feels like she’s breathing for Cailet at this point. Oh, I think that they also say that somebody saw wood fire.

Aradia: Oh, yeah.

Bree: They saw smoke. And Sarra is sure that that smoke was not just random squatters. That is like Glenin coming for them.

Aradia: Which is extremely true.

Ali: Once again in her mind, or should I say her gut, is a ten out of ten.

Bree: So yeah, she’s breathing for Cailet and promising her that she’s going to get her magic.

1:03:16 Flight chapter 13

Bree: Part 13, we jump to the fire that is causing the smoke, and we get a short scene here from Glenin. Any thoughts?

Ali: Some kid started that fire. I don’t remember his name.

Bree: Do you know who the kid is?

Ali: I don’t remember.

Bree: He is Red Flag Tutor’s nephew.

Ali: Ooh!

Aradia: Oh, the one that Glenin wishes was her son?

Bree: Yes.

Aradia: That kid.

Bree: She feels sort of affectionate towards him because he looks sort of like Red Flag Tutor. Glenin is holding on to this. She is not letting go of her first love.

Ali: I want to sit this woman down so badly and just be like, Girl. My woman. My dear. What the fuck? Like, the fascism we would have to address first, but this would be a close second to the shit that we would have to talk about. And maybe like, Darling, this is a problem. Why did we allow? Hm. I – Hm.

Bree: Ali. Are you saying that the fascists might not have a fully ethical education system?

Ali: Fully ethical? It’s basically trafficking! I mean, it’s like, What is going? This is a problem. The fascists did not come up with a great education system, shocking me entirely.

Bree: No, no, they did not.

Ali: Because there’s just a point where I’m like, What are they good at? It’s just not much. Anyway.

Bree: Getting people killed.

Ali: Yeah, they’re the best at that.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s true.

Bree: We also get a little Malerrisi politics in here. The reason that this kid who is starting fires, stupidly starting fires, is with them, is because the First Lord sent him. Glenin thinks that the First Lord sent him to, like, honor his mother, because he wants this woman to have a kid with him.

Ali: Right.

Bree: He wants Saris to let him into her bed and knock her up, because this kid has potential. So he’s like, Okay, I’m going to give some honors to your kid, and then you will bang me and have a baby.

Aradia: 14 years after you had your first kid, which is a great interval between children.

Bree: So, yeah, so this is some weird stuff. The fascists definitely have very normal dating politics.

Ali: Fascists put their whole Maler-ussy into being problematic.

Aradia: Oh my god! A-ccu-rate!

Bree: Ouch! Yes. First Lord also overruled Anniyas.

Ali: Oh!

Bree: And said that Glenin got to come. She didn’t have to stay home and be the hostage. She got to come with her dad to Ambrai. But she thinks this is a test. And basically this scene is Glenin like, you know, sort of knowing that if her dad doesn’t take out Gorynel Desse, she is expected to take out her dad. That’s what she has read into this.

Aradia: Yeah, that was a bit of a jaw dropping revelation. Like, wow, so much loyalty in this family.

Ali: Why do I continue to be so shaken that the fascists keep sucking so hard. Like, every time I’m like, Wow.

Aradia: Throw your own dad under the bus, assassinate your closest ally, why not? It’s fascism 101, baby.

Bree: Glenin is weirdly willing to be very critical of her dad in a way that surprises me, since she was such a dad’s girl in earlier chapters. We saw her growing up.

Aradia: Right.

Ali: But then, okay, in a scene that could only be exciting to Freud, she sits down with him and she’s like, Papa – like, being tucked in, this whole ass adult woman – She’s like, Papa, when you kill Gornynel Desse and the other one, I want the Liwellan girls. Gift me this papa, and a golden goose on top of that!

Bree: Give me her head! Yes. Nothing’s, nothing –

Ali: Yeah. Daddy, I want the Liwellan girl’s head on a silver platter, and I want to do it myself, Papa. And he was like, Whatever you want, Snuckums. And then she’s like, And then we went to sleep. And I was like, What a charming father daughter moment.

Aradia: Yeah. When you cuddle and talk about murder, like, it’s great, you know, that this is a very healthy relationship and you’re going to do great things in the world.

Ali: It just – did she also kind of baby talk through this whole thing, or was that just something I added, to make it weirder?

Bree: I think you just added it. But it works weirdly.

Aradia: It worked really well. I think you might have been adding that flavor, though.

Ali: She felt weirdly infantilized in this moment. And maybe I just added that as an additional layer. But.

Aradia: Well, but it makes sense, right? If she’s thinking about how she’s going to have to kill him, potentially, the best way to do that is to make sure he does not see her as a threat. And she’s still just a little girl, who needs his protection, and needs his guidance, and it makes sense to shore up that relationship in that way. If you might have to stab him in the back.

Ali: Mm. But Freud is also like, Excellent!

Aradia: Yes. Yes. Very much.

Ali: Well it just felt very like, Daddy-kins! Like I have these wants and desire. I felt a little Veruca Salty to me.

Aradia: Yeah. I like the line that Auvry had, when they were talking about the Ladders and stuff. And he says, “When I light a fire, it stays lit.” I feel like that has been relevant and will continue to be relevant?

Ali: Ooh, good point.

Aradia: Because fire has – it kills Ladders. It’s why Collan got ousted from his home in the first place. Like fire is a thing.

Ali: Oh my God. Have we posited at all that Collan’s house is a Ladder? Had a Ladder in it?

Aradia: Yes. I think we did posit that.

Ali: Okay. Just wanted to make sure we had covered those bits.

Bree: I think there was a theory about that. Yeah.

Aradia: Yeah. And I see no evidence since to dispute that. Like, that seems like a valid hypothesis still.

Bree: I mean, that is what they seem to be burning the most.

Ali: Well, they love burning stuff. Are they just arsonists?

Bree: But do they love burning stuff because of the Ladders? Maybe.

Ali: What came first, The burning or the Ladders?

Aradia: Auvry Fire-an. And am I right?

Ali makes appreciative noises. Bree goes, Woo!

Bree: There’s one other line in here that I had highlighted, which is, Glenin, in thinking about a saying in the code of Malerris: “When you know what to do when there is something to be done—that is tactics. When you know what to do when there is nothing to be done—that is strategy.”

Aradia: Now, that feels like a brain puzzle, I’m going to be stuck on for like a year or five.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Read it again.

Bree: “When you know what to do when there is something to be done—that is tactics. When you know what to do when there is nothing to be done—that is strategy.” So, I feel like what that is saying is, if there’s a bunch of options and there is clearly one that is the superior one and you have the training to recognize how to take your various tools and utilize them in the best, most efficient way. That is good tactics. If you’re in a situation where nobody could tell you what to do and you have the ability to look at a hopeless situation and wrench something out of it, like figure out the move to make, to give yourself opportunities or resources or whatever you need, then that is strategy. I think that’s what that’s saying.

Aradia: Agreed, Agreed. There’s the craft versus the art of warfare or whatever.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Okay.

Aradia: So like, so it’s like, like doing a really good cover versus coming up with an original.

Ali: Okay. Yeah. All right. I think I’m getting it. This could be sick brain.

Bree: So we can all think about that. That’s another one. I would like the discord to discuss this one. Let’s really break that one down. Let’s go deep.

Ali: Now, what if you don’t think of anything when there’s nothing to be done, you just fucked?

Aradia: Well, you’re bad at strategy.

Bree: You’re bad at strategy, and tactics.

Ali: You’re ending up playing with raccoons is what’s happening.

Aradia: Yeah. You are on a short path to raccoons by the interstate.

Ali: Raccoon town.

Bree: Yeah, Yeah. The raccoons will have your head soon.

1:11:50 Flight chapter 14

Bree: Okay. Part 14. This is the part you guys have been waiting for. And we get it from Collan’s perspective. He’s playing, trying to calm everybody down, but mostly, you know, Cailet. And we find out that he saw Sarra crying and he’s, like, super annoyed to have done that because now he, like, can’t hate her as an emotionless robot anymore, basically.

Aradia: Oh, the humanity.

Ali: I mean, that’s valid. When you see someone break down, after that, you’re kind of like, All right, I don’t feel like I can – I don’t know, unless you’re like a mean person or something. I’m like, I don’t know. If I saw somebocy crying, I’d be like, Oh, God, I’m sorry.

Aradia: Like, as someone who just started Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, like, this feels relevant.

Bree: Basically the line is, “He watched Sarra, wondering why this walkingicicle had wept uncontrollably over the pitiable girl lying in the bed. He hadn’t meant to spy,he’d merely come back for a dropped pick. But there she’d been, sobbing in Adennos’s arms.He’d been forced to reconsider his judgment of her and this irritated him.” She clearly has emotions, deep emotions. But she has been hiding them.

Ali: Now I’m like, Could a lot of the world’s ills be solved by us coming together and having a good cry?

Aradia: Maybe!

Ali: Maybe like, you cry like I cry! Oh, my God! I don’t know. Maybe that’s what I’m like. I don’t know. Let’s all just, like, give it a try. Have we tried group cry before? Have we tried it? We should all get together.

Bree: I mean, listen, we’ve got registering for a societal change on your wedding registry, and now group cry at the wedding. Weddings could be the key to cracking this.

Ali: Okay, let’s just get together. We cry it out. We all have our little menty bs, that we all, I’m sure, need.

Bree: Oh yeah. I had one this week. It was great.

Ali: It’s always after you finish a big thing, isn’t it? It’s always like, right after that.

Bree: Okay, so like, it’s actually really hilarious. And I told you part of this, Ali. Our editors, they sent our book back on Monday and they’re like, Okay, you know, we’re looking forward to – because we had a couple of scenes that were just not completely finished, but like blocked out. And sometimes we do turn books in like that, and they do an edit and they’ll send it back. And so they sent it back to us with just some notes, but not a ton. And like no big, huge story level revisions. And we had a mental breakdown because we thought they were saying, We’re not going to do edits on this until you finish it. And we were like, We need a week off! We can’t go back and do this right now. We’re so tired! And so like our agent got in, and she talked to them and they’re like, Okay, we understand, we’ll just give you any more thoughts we have. And so they sent it back and they sent us another email with like just a couple more thoughts. And I wrote back and I was like, Go, can you guys just please just give us the full edit letter and then we’ll do all of our revisions at once, and it will be great. And finally, they took me by the face and they were like, Bree, there’s no revision letter. You wrote a good book. You don’t have to change a bunch of it.

Aradia: Awww.

Bree: And I was like, Oh, because I was like, so sure, the book was just going to have so much messy stuff that they wanted us to fix, and so I broke down and I was like, Oh.

Ali: Writers are such kicked puppies. We just constantly get so punched in the face.

Bree: We’re over here screaming, Give us the critiques, tell us all the bad news. And you’re like, We don’t have bad news. And it’s not like there’s not – we’re going to write like 30,000 more words in this book, and the stuff that they want us to expand. So it’s not like we’re not doing edits, but we wrote a solid arc. We just have to like, finish fleshing it out, like we always do it. I was so traumatized, waiting for terrible news. I just like, cried.

Ali: I get that. And like, yeah, I mean, because it’s one of those things where writing is such a trip, because you’re like, Here’s this thing that I poured my life’s blood into. Now please tear it apart right in front of me, you know? And you’re like –

Bree: Yes, yes, tell me every wrong part about it.

Ali: And I’ll just do that over and over again until I die. Such a stupid career.

Aradia: You’re not selling me on it. You’re not making me want to do a career change.

Bree: Are we not making it sound fun?

Aradia: No, no, I’m good with my little editorial, like, niche I’m carving out over here.

Bree: Hey, we need the editorial. Because we’re neurotic. Because of this career,

Ali: And we’re too close to it. We need someone who’s like a third party, but it is also the most brutal, like the most brutal thing. Because you’re like, in order for something to be any good, you do have to pour your life into it. You’re like, Everything you have goes into this thing and you’re like, This is all that I have at this moment. Here it is! And that’s for it to be any good. And then they’re just like, And here’s all the things that are wrong with you. You’re like –

Aradia: Oh, yeah, no, that’s way too much vulnerability.

Ali: I saw someone on twitter go, all these people who are like, I’d love to have written a book – No, you wouldn’t.

Bree: Maybe if Gorynel Desse came through and took out the memory part.

Ali: Yeah, exactly. It’s like. Yeah, I mean, and it’s also the best thing in the world, right? Then that’s what keeps you coming back, is, it’s like also the – it’s simultaneously the most horrible and best thing in the world to create something. But it’s, yeah, it’s very vulnerable and you by extension have to be vulnerable while you do it. And it’s like, oh! But you get it, Aradia, to a certain extent, because you podcast, and it’s a similar thing. It’s like, you put yourself and all that you are – If you didn’t, you wouldn’t make a good podcast episode because it would be dull as paint, right? People come in part to listen to you. And then by extension you’re like, Also, for funsies, judge it!

Aradia: Yeah, I mean, but it’s a lot to balance and think about. And I’m, you know, this is why I’m trying to retreat into editing.

Bree: Here are my thoughts. Fight me.

Ali: Yeah. It’s so – that’s yeah, that’s kind of the creative process. But I don’t know how I got here, but I. But I feel you, Bree. Oh, yeah, The menty bs.

Bree: Mental breakdown.

Ali: Yes, I learned with writing an episode of TV where I was like, Oh my God, people are actually going to see it. I learned from that – and just potentially getting other jobs I can’t talk about right now – that my process apparently is just having a mental breakdown every stage. There’s just nothing I’m going to do to get away from that.

Bree: As long as you just have one and, you know, get it out, it’s fine. Seems normal to me.

Aradia: That sounds like college.

Ali: And I was talking to another screenwriter about this because I was like, You’re farther along. You’ve had way more episodes than I have. How do you not do that? And he goes, Oh, you know – we were at dinner. Stop me if I have told this story – But he goes, Oh, you know what? I just one day just stopped having them. I just stopped having them during the creative process. I just realized, you know what, I’m good enough. I really can do this. And then he goes, I also started Prozac, though, and that might also have something to do –

Aradia: Suuuure.

Bree: I think you did tell this story. And I was like, Yeah. Yeah, that’s about right.

Ali: That makes more sense.

Bree: It doesn’t just go away. It doesn’t ever just go away. But, you know.

Aradia: Much like the knowledge in these people’s heads will never go away, because it’s going to be just shoved into Cailet’s head instead, be immortal information.

Ali: Oh,the transition, Aradia!

Bree: A fabulous transition. So, yes, this is what they’re fighting about now. We’ve gone from fighting about – because what Gorsha found out is that Tamos and the Captal are dying and nothing is going to save them.

Ali: Fs in chat.

Bree: R.I.P. to a legend, at least Tamos Wolvar, the Mage Globe legend who basically contained Glenin, so yay for him. But yeah, the Captal is dying, and we find out that the Captal cannot die because the Captal has all of the Captal knowledge, all of the Mage Guardian knowledge in his head and it has to be downloaded into the next Captal basically.

Aradia: Too few of eggs in baskets. Like why are there not back up Captals?

Bree: We had this discussion about, why are there not back up Captals. It is a great question, but for now all we know is there are not, there is a ticking time clock. And Gorynel Desse is like, let’s put it in the 17 year old.

Ali: You guys, I’ve got an idea, actually. You know, I was against having her have memories? Now I’m for her having extra memories.

Aradia: Like, lifetimes more memories than she could have ever had otherwise.

Bree: Yeah. Like she can have this old guy’s memory. She can have that old guy’s memory. She can have all the memories.

Ali: And he goes, Because you know what I love more than anything, is just general experimental things done to minors. That’s what I want.

Aradia: As long as it messes with the memory centers of the brain, it’s in my purview.

Ali: As long as we’re fucking up their brains, I’m on board. That’s it.

Aradia: And it’s not even like the argument is like, to save Cailet. She like, needs the knowledge to master her magic quickly. Like, this has nothing to do with her and everything to do with their institutional knowledge. And it’s like, she’s a minor. She can’t consent to becoming your library.

Ali: And not to mention, she’s – and I believe – she’s unconscious!

Aradia: Also she’s unconscious, yes. She’s in a coma.

Ali: Yup, in a coma. So she can’t consent to what you want to do. And the adults in the room, who could theoretically consent for her, is like, Don’t! That’s dumb.

Aradia: Right?

Ali: And they’re like, Forget you. We’re going to do it anyway.

Bree: Yes. The next of kin – in yet another, take a shot, part ends. Sarra says, “You moron!” Sarra Liwellan rounded on him with a fierceness that made him wish she’d stayed a statue. “They mean to make her Captal!” So yeah, they’re going to like –

Ali: You morons is correct. And we could have gotten stronger, to be honest.

Bree: Yes. So, Sarra has just figured out that they are going to try to make her the Captal and she’s like, not really feeling it.

Ali: No! I think that’s dumb.

1:23:07 Flight chapter 15

Bree: But we have to jump back over to Glenin again. Glenin is literally climbing over the bones of her people, former people, that she could have very well known. And she’s not even thinking about, you know, whether or not these are their bones. She’s just mad at her grandmother and the Captal.

Ali: And she’s like, I wish they could be alive right now to clean up their own bones, just to really show em.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s very victim blaming. She’s like, these people made my dad kill them.

Ali: I’m sorry I made you kill me.

Bree: Yeah, it’s a big, look what you made me do. Taylor Swift playing in the background as she climbs over theirs bones.

Aradia: Very.

Ali: Okay. But I also identify with the – I so would apologize to someone as they were killing me, like, I’m so sorry for whatever I did to make this happen.

Aradia: How very Tuatha’an of you.

Bree: I like those, um, millennials getting kidnapped Tiktoks, where they’re like, Oh my God, am I bleeding on your seat? Is that your car? I am so sorry. Can I help in any way? Do you need this wrench? I’m like, Yeah, yeah.

Aradia: That does sound accurate.

Bree: We’re a mess.

Ali: Just so, so traumatized. So traumatized. But it’s fine, you know what? We’re doing good. We’re doing great, we’re killing it. We’re proud of you. Hey, Gold star in being.

Bree: I’m a grandma. I am, you know, elderly millennial here, geriatric millennial. And I love us all. I mean, technically, I could be Gen X, but I choose to be millennial, because I feel very millennial.

Ali: I’m the one who’s like, Am I the your favorite person that you’ve kidnapped? Be honest!

Bree: The Gold Star. Can I have a gold star for getting kidnapped?

Ali: Getting kidnapped? I am the best at it.

Aradia: So can you rate my performance as a kidnapping victim? Like on my like, you know, Yelp?

Ali: Yeah, exactly. Can you tell my mom that I was a really good kidnapping victim?

Aradia: Yeah. Here’s my LinkedIn.

Bree: We’re suddenly pro kidnapping again in this episode. We’re dodgy on kidnapping as a podcast.

Ali: Have I not always been firmly against? I really have been firmly against.

Bree: Yeah, but you’re wibbling real hard this week.

Ali: I’m pro, me getting kidnapped. Which is really something to be putting out for the world to listen to.

Aradia: Yes, that’s great. Would you like to dox yourself as well, just for an easy package?

Ali: My address is –

Bree: She lives in Alaska, guys, go find her.

Ali: And my social security number is –

Bree: Not a part of this podcast.

Ali: So yeah, well, Glenin is mad at the bones for making her father turn them into bones, which seems logical and reasonable.

Bree: Basically. She’s not showing a lot of empathy here. She’s just very victim blamey, very mad that they ruined this city that was supposed to be hers. You know, she’s realizing for the first time how hard it’s going to be to clean up if she wants to claim it.

Aradia: Oh, that’s going to be so difficult to get these blood stains out.

Ali: Have you ever had to dispose of multiple bodies?

Bree: She’s fairly, basically this is just – Charlie, if you’re out there, I’m going to really need you to go deep, if you want to tell me that this is a sympathetic Glenin chap here. I’m not feeling her so much, this one.

Aradia: But like, also, this is the kind of thing where we can revisit this scene in a montage later when Sarra is, like, shaming her and calling on the power of sisterhood and be like, That time you crawled over all those bodies, revisit that with the true horror of not compartmentalizing! And like, you know, maybe?

Bree: Yeah, I mean, feel it. You knew these people, Glenin. You knew them.

Ali: Now I feel like, okay, here’s how I envision it. Here’s how I envision it. This is my cinematic brain right now. Okay. Okay. So the winds of powers are just, like, blowing around. Everything’s fucking chaos. Everyone’s blowing away, and Glenin and Sarra are doing these, like, battles. And then Sarra is like, Love! It was love, all along! Somehow, somehow we find that the answer is love. And she’s like, I love you, Glenin. I love you. And Glenin’s like, What? No, noone loves me! Blaagh, shh. And she’s like, No, I love you, Glenin. And Cailet’s like, I love you, too, Glenin. I love both of you! And then they all, like, have like the weird sister hug and all, everything’s still. And like, they’ve solved everything. I don’t know. That’s dumb, but.

Bree: I’m here for it.

Ali: Something like that.

Aradia: That’s definitely how it’s going to go down.

Bree: I’m down for it.

Aradia: Beat for beat.

Aradia: Exactly.

Bree: Absolutely. I’m not saying anything about whether or not this is even close.

Ali: I will be insufferable.

Bree: I know you will. Where’s the smug goat? We’re going to add the smug goat to the server. Yeah.

Ali: Yeah. It’s not. I’m sure she wrote. I’m sure whatever version of this that she wrote is much better than my version, but it’ll be the funniest thing if that’s exactly like it went.

Bree: Listen, I love a, true love is the moments that, you know, everything falls apart. That’s literally what I keep writing. That’s my thing.

Ali: Found family kills me every time. A parent apologizing to their child kills me every time. I put all of that – like there was that series of tweets for a while, where it was like, Oh, I hate tropes. Then it was like, It was her the whole time. And it’s like me sobbing. It was her the whole time! Yeah, that’s me. I’m like, It’s got to be done well. But I’m very into the tropes, love.

Bree: Yeah, yeah. When somebody tells me I hate tropes, I’m always like, Oh, okay. So you don’t know what tropes are, or you just don’t know how to have a conversation, right?

Ali: It’s okay. That’s for a reason. It’s formula not formulaic. That’s what we’re going for.

Bree: So, yes, thank you.

Ali: We’re not going to reinvent the whole fucking wheel. We could create something completely unrecognizable and no one would like it, you know?

Bree: So basically this is just lots of Glenin climbing over things. Okay, here we go. This is the line I was thinking of earlier: “A Lord of Malerris Auvry Feiran would never be,

but Commandant of the Council Guard he had been for seventeen years: his handiwork was all around them. Further, friend and student of Gorynel Desse he had been from the age of sixteen to the age of forty; no one knew the old Warrior Mage better.”

So 16 to 40. Well, if they were friends that whole time, I got to say, I’m feeling like this was an inappropriate age relationship with little baby Maichen Ambrai there. Because she was fairly young when they got together. I’m guessing.

Ali: An inappropriate relationship in my Ambrai?

Aradia: In my Ruins of Ambrai?

Bree: In my 1994 fantasy novel?

Ali: I have not seen one yet!

Bree: I’m guessing he was early thirties and she was probably mid twenties so that may not be as bad as – but still, it’s not the flip that we keep being told is normal.

Aradia: Yeah. Not the flip.

Ali: Well, where is my flip? Melanie, I love you, but where’s my flip?

Bree: So, yeah, you’re right. We get to this end here and she snuggled close, tucking her head under his chin, as she had when she was a little girl. Okay, maybe Ali. There was a little bit of it there.

Ali: There was something weird and Freudian about this interaction that I was like, I don’t know if I tucked my head into my dad’s shoulder in a while.

Aradia: Right? And she calls him handsome and like –

Bree: ”She shut her eyes feeling safe and protected, if not quite warm.”

Ali: And I’m like, You’re an adult woman. Like, I mean, yeah, I still hug my dad, we still hug and stuff, but, like, I don’t know, snuggling up real nice?

Bree: Yeah, She snuggles in and is like, Can I have? Yes, yes. It’s the handsome thing. “She vowed to have the Captal’s and Desse’s heads, or mine.” And she’s like: “Yours is far too handsome—and useful!—where it is.” And he’s like: “My thanks for the compliment, Lady, Most women would’ve stopped at ‘handsome’!”

(various retching noises)

Ali: See, yeah, that’s – I was just like, Freud is tap dancing right now.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bree: It’s weird. It’s weird. I don’t like any of it. And then she’s like, Ask for the Liwellan girl’s head, and he says: “A very pretty head, And clever. But not useful?” And Glenin’s like, “She has no magic, and I find her annoying.”

Aradia: That’s my little sister. She’s so annoying.

Ali: Yeah. It felt a little juvenile.

Bree: Yeah, it is.

Ali: How old is she supposed to be at this point? Like 25?

Bree: She’s, 25, 27?

Aradia: Maybe a little old to be that petty, don’t you think?

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: And Auvry’s like, you can kill her or keep her for a pet, whatever you like. Which is a very normal thing to say to your daughter.

Ali: About your other daughter.

Bree: About your other secret daughter.

Ali: Yeah. Again, Freud is just smirking, like he is just pleased as punch.

Bree: I’m making Chrissy Teigen with the grimace, gif face.

Ali: No one likes that.

Bree: Let’s get out of this part. I don’t like this part. This part makes me feel sad.

Ali: A bit uncomfy.

Aradia: Skedaddle to part 16.

1:33:00 Flight chapter 16

Bree: Let’s get to the less dramatic part, where they’re fighting about giving a 17 year old two old men’s memories.

Aradia: It’s like the reverse of a lobotomy.

Ali: When that is the last problematic behavior that’s going on?

Bree: Oof. We are in a stretch of morally, ethically questionable decision making here.

Aradia: We know who the good guys are, right?

Ali: It’s so obvious. It’s so clear.

Bree: So basically, this is just a chapter of Gorynel Desse wearing everybody down. At first, Elomar is like, I refuse to countenance this, she’s only a child. He’s like, I won’t do it. You can’t do it without me. And basically he just keeps making these arguments, you know, that they’re going to lose all of this power.

Ali: Well, then put it in Sarra or you, or what’s it? Why not Gorynel Desse?

Bree: Well, see, here’s the thing, Gorynel Desse has to do the making, and Elomar has to be the healer as part of it. And so there really is nobody else. They could try to put it in Sarra, but she’s Warded. And his argument is, Cailet was always meant for this. It’s just, he probably hoped to do it later in her life.

Aradia: Which I’m like, give a girl a career choice. Jeez.

Bree: But now Sarra is starting to see the symbol. She’s seeing that Glenin is clearly on a path of trajectory to be the top Malerrisi lady, you know. And, like, the only way that Cailet will have a chance against her is to be her equal in opposing, you know, have access to all the power, all the experience, all the knowledge.

Ali: Have you ever third wheeled your own sisters?

Bree: She’s like, what was her role in all of this? She’s like, am I supposed to be the political person? Am I supposed to be First Councillor, are we supposed to, like the three of us, rule the world, basically? And then she’s like, Well, she and Glenin have gotten to choose, but Cailet hasn’t. And I don’t know you guys, ethically, where would you vote on this if you’re in the room?

Ali: I go, um, No.

Aradia: Yeah, I don’t think it’s Cailet’s fault you don’t have a backup Captal.

Ali: Why can’t we undo Sarra’s Wards? What is the problem here? What?

Aradia: Also that.

Bree: That is a good question. I think that they’re just fixated on this.

Ali: Yeah, my first thing would be like, have we thought about a different option? I will fall on the sword if it means that my 17 year old sister doesn’t have to be magic, doesn’t have to be THE magic person, THE target. That is just abominably stupid.

Bree: It is a lot to put on a child.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: I would be like, You can’t undo the weaves or whatever, real quick? The Wards, you can’t do a quick – I did not get a satisfactory explanation.

Bree: I wonder if that is why the old lady with the knives told us earlier that hers were set in stone. I mean, it could be that we’re supposed to believe that they literally can’t be undone.

Aradia: But it just seems like a terrible choice.

Ali: I guess in that case, they have back – Is there no other Mage? Didn’t a bunch of Mages just come?

Aradia: Well, they all got sent away again.

Bree: They sent them all away because she was going to get them all killed, basically.

Ali: Hoisted by her own petard. Okay.

Aradia: Yeah. I just I am, I’m super with Collan on this. Like, this is very Malerrisi, and like, you fucked up and, like –

Ali: Could we not do Collan?

Aradia: Well, he doesn’t have magic.

Ali: He doesn’t?

Bree: They don’t seem to think he has magic. He has Wards, but we don’t know.

Ali: Then why again, is Collan a focus character?

Aradia: I mean…

Ali: Why is the musician important? I don’t understand.

Bree: I will answer you, later.

Aradia: But yeah, I just. The whole like, argument of like, we have to keep these guys around in order to fight off the Malerrisi is like – you’re doing Malerrisi shit to fight them off. So, like, ends justify means to what limit? You know, like, I just – I’m sure it’s going to go great for the plot because we need our, like, superpowered magic child. But like, ethically, I’m super, this is not Cailet’s fault. Why would you sacrifice her to your cause?

Ali: Wait, okay, hold on. Also, it is very stupid that they have no backup Captal, because I’m realizing you could die at any time, right?

Aradia: Gravity exists.

Ali: You could have a fucking aneurysm out of nowhere, or a blood clot or whatever.

Bree: I wonder if they literally don’t have a way to, like, take the magic out of someone and put it in someone else, all the memories, without killing them. Because it could be something where like they don’t have a clone brain spell, they have a scoop and deposit. But like –

Aradia: So like you have to die in order to give it up?

Bree: Maybe they only have control X and control V – they don’t have a, you know, or control X and control P.

Aradia: That’s fair. I don’t know the rules of magic. I mean, I get taking a main character and giving them more power. Like ethically, I do think you should give the main character more power than they wanted. That is the ethical choice. But like –

Bree: Well, okay, I mean, Sarra is moving like she and her sisters are the only main characters.

Ali: And Collan! Let’s not forget Collan, for some reason.

Bree: No, no, Sarra does not think Collan is a main character. Come on. She is not treating him like a main character.

Ali: That’s true. But so much for her gut, so much for her gut.

Bree: Making all these choices for her sisters. Because she’s like, My sisters are going to Thunderdome and I need Cailet to have as much power as Glenin.

Ali: Okay, I guess I would vote yes in all of these circumstances, but I would go, but I would like it on record that I was extremely upset about the situation.

Aradia: Sure. Yes

Ali: I would like it on record that I wasn’t like, Oh boy, let’s do it.

Bree: Well, I think the fun thing is they’re all going to have to answer to her as their supreme leader boss after this is over. So they better hope she’s understanding.

Ali: And she’s already so pissed at all of them that it nearly killed her, right?

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, it’s messy.

Ali: It’s messy. This family, I swear, it’s them and the Trakands, they’re like the messiest families.

Aradia: Seriously.

Bree: Very, very messy.

Aradia: Serious. The head trauma and just drama.

Ali: Trauma and drama. Am I right? The traums and the drams.

Aradia: Traum dram!

1:39:59 Wrap up

Bree: Well, this is where we’re ending this week, with Sarra saying, Okay, you’re a murderer. So am I. Let’s do this and give Cailet her power.

Aradia: Yeah, they decide to just stain their souls and do the thing. And I am conflicted. But I’m proud of Sarra for cosigning, as she fought so hard against it. I’m proud of her for following through on letting it happen and calling herself a murderer and being in the room.

Bree: Yeah, she’s not going to let them do the things she thinks has to be done and not like guilty herself with it. She’s like, okay, if we’re going to do it, I’m going to be. Take the consequences with you.

Aradia: Yeah, and I do approve of that much, but good choice of a cliffhanger also, because like, I want to know how pissed off Cailet’s going to be when she wakes up with two old men yammering away in her head or whatever.

Ali: Yeah, I’m hoping very pissed.

Aradia: I hope she, like, throws everyone out a window, like defenestrations for everyone.

Ali: Defenestration for you, defenestration for you… Yeah. I am concerned as to what this will do to her relationship with Sarra, because even though Sarra’s like, I have strong reservations about this and I don’t want it to happen, Cailet wasn’t aware of any of it, right. And no one asked Cailet, and she’s already like, she’s like, no, not mad at Sarra, but she is a little mad at Sarra, they said. She’s really mad at everybody else. She loves you, but she’s also mad at you because she can’t help but be mad at everybody.

Bree: Yeah. Because Sarra’s presence hurts her. Cause it’s like, what caused all this, so.

Ali: Well, I don’t think that’s going to alleviate the situation at all. I don’t feel like the fact that Sarra cosigned her becoming Captal at the ripe old age of 17 is going to make – is she Padmé?

Bree: Cailet? Cailet is Luke.

Ali: Oh, okay. That also works.

Bree: Growing up in a desert, being looked over by a crazy old man who lives in the hills, fostered out with family.

Ali: That makes sense.

Bree: And has all the super power and is going to be trained with it.

Ali: This all makes sense.

Bree: So yeah. And Sarra is Leia.

Ali: Right, right, right.

Bree: Who was fostered out with political people and trained to be a little princess and any magic she may have is locked away from her.

Aradia: Which I still don’t understand the utility of having her Wards set in stone and her untrained. I don’t understand why she can’t have magic and use it and do things with it. Seems like a really bad choice.

Bree: I mean, I feel like probably if we’re going to be real meta about it, it is probably the AU fanfic roots of the whole thing.

Ali: Sure.

Bree: How do we explain why Sarra doesn’t use powers? Well, we’ve taken it away from her.

Aradia: Sure, But I really feel like Sarra should be insisting on, like, Unfold my Wards! Let me into the fight, you know?

Ali: Yeah. Just from a practicality perspective. I feel.

Bree: Though, I will say as an adult, she wants to be in politics and they don’t let Mages in politics. So I think that’s probably why she has not fought for it.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s true. So she’s just going to be warded forever and never get to explore that part of herself?

Bree: Well, I guess we’re going to have to see what she feels about it later.

Ali: I could not relate to that at all. If I found out that I could be magical, I’d be like, sign me the fuck up for that.

Aradia: So hard.

Ali: I want to be magic.

Bree: Aradia, you too? You would want to be magic?

Aradia: Oh yeah. I’d give up so many, like, mundane opportunities If I could just have magic powers.

Ali: Yeah, I would much rather be Magic Girl, than girl in politics. Politics suck.

Aradia: Yeah. Do you want to be a public servant or do you want to be able to fly? Like, that’s not a choice.

Ali: Yeah, nobody should be in politics, who wants to be a politician. That’s my theory.

Aradia: Yes. Yes, very much.

Ali: Yes, It would be the worst.

Bree: We have had questions about Sarra, if she is really appropriate for the political scene, because she wants to be in politics and she has some of those opinions that people who want to be in politics have. About how she’s so rational.

Aradia: Yeah, she wants to be in politics. It’s bad. That’s bad. You should go have magic. Go be a magic girl.

Ali: Well, she’s only 25. I mean.

Bree: She is young.

Ali: The difference between me at 25 and me at 30 is stark.

Aradia: Do not remind me of me at 25.

Ali: Like I love her. But also, what a mess. Yeah. So I’m like, she’s only 25. Like, she’s just. She doesn’t even have her own health care yet, so, like, she doesn’t actually have a plan yet. To me, we can’t necessarily – I mean, we can, but like, we can have some grace for the opinions that we had in our early twenties, like, rather than necessarily being like, you’re shitty because once when you were 21 you believed, and it’s like, well, you’re still pretty much a kid at that point. So, you know.

Bree: That is true. However, I am going to say that once you start doing murders like Glenin did, you probably are losing your credit.

Ali: I mean, I know it’s like, listen, there’s a hot load of nuance on that, right? Yeah, a load of nuance on that.

Bree: Our girls have committed to different bad opinions, to very different degrees. Sarra’s flirting with being a little bit of a logic boy ,and Glenin’s like, (screech) Murder!

Ali: Yeah, I’m like, okay. I’m like, fascism is one thing. I’m like, being a little bit of a pick me is another.

Aradia: Not the same league. Not at all.

Bree: I just wanted to bring in the fact that we clearly feel this way about Sarra, but like, maybe Glenin has gone in her own direction, where once you start murdering, you do get judged a little –

Ali: I mean, there is certainly a line. There’s certainly a line of like, once you pass a certain point, you absolutely should judge yourself for what you thought and did at that stage in your life, regardless of how old you were.

Bree: And, Daddy, can I have her head?

Ali: Listen, I’m calling Glenin in, right now. I’m calling her in. At this time.

Bree: Glenin, we are here as fellow white girls, and we would like you to know, you’re white girling way too hard.

Ali: You are white girling so close to the sun.

Aradia: So hard.

Ali: Yeah, yeah. You’re embarrassing all of us. Is kind of what’s happening. Simply cease and desist on behalf of all white women. I feel like. Yeah, she’s. She’s a – We can hold her accountable for her actions and hope that she does better in the future.

Aradia: And hope that her sisters can, like, not just be different, but equally bad at their counter fascism. Because I feel like we’re setting up sisters of Equal Amplitude, and I’m like, That might be an overcorrection. Maybe, possibly.

Ali: Yeah. I kind of feel like we got to meet in the middle.

Bree: I will tell you that one of the things I love about this book is that it goes on a little bit after what you might consider might be the climactic ending, to give you a little bit of the well, what are these people going to do with their political power? And it’s hilarious.

Aradia: Oh good. Goody, goody.

Bree: We had a long take off. We’re going to have a nice, long landing, too, to decide what the nuances of all of these nuancy nuances are.

Aradia: Awesome.

Ali: There’s a lot of nuance to be had, I’m sure.

Bree:The nuance nuances as the nuance nuances. And that’s going to be my new t shirt.

Aradia: Hell, yes. And on that note –

Bree: I think that is about it. We have pretty much hit the end here. Questions for the group? I don’t remember all of them. I know we want to hear Collan’s slap back there.

Aradia: Yeah. How do you take down Collan when he hits on you in a bar? And how do you define tactics and strategy?

Bree: Yeah, tactics and strategy.

Ali: I think they’re the same thing. But you know.

Bree: Also, if you were in the room, tell us how you would vote in the Cailet thing. Like, let’s hear it.

Aradia: Let’s get into a fight on discord.

Ali: And as a fun question – can I do a fun question?

Bree: Yes, yes.

Ali: What would be the funniest song that Collan could have possibly played while he was playing to Cailet and Sarra?

Aradia: Yes. Give us your joke song suggestions for Collan.

Bree: I don’t know why Wonderwall just popped into my head.

Ali: I don’t know. I was going Low, apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur, but put it in the style of like the 1950s, like (starts singing swing-y)

Bree: Yes. That would be amazing. I love it.

Aradia: I love it.

Bree: Okay, excellent. And for next week, we are reading Flight part 17 through 22. So get ready. The nuance is just going to get hotter from here on out, you guys. We are going in to Cailet’s head.

Ali: Oh, boy. Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh boy.

Bree: I’m sure it’s going to be fun in there.

Aradia: I’m sure she’s very calm and balanced already.

Ali: I’m ready. Sure it’s going to be just a trip. I’ll take us out. So, thank you so much for listening. If you want to keep gabbing with us, our social media and contact details are in the episode description. Until next time, have a very nuanced day.