Meet Cute Cabin: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 17 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for a meet cute in The Ruins of Ambrai.

We are back on the topic of fantasy pregnancy! Diet management, impossible offers from the fathers, magic de-buffs, and even weird parent-child relationships. Sarra and Col are in forced proximity, to our great delight. Aradia and Ali betray their ignorance of Star Wars and hunting culture.

Nonfiction book recommendations
The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
The Underworld by Susan Casey

== Buy the Ebook ==
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Once you’re caught up, come hang with us on our Discord server and tell us all of your thoughts!

Transcripts by Anna
Art by Bree
Produced by Aradia | Fox And Raven Media


The Ruins of Ambrai, Rising parts 11-16: Meet Cute Cabin

0:00:10 Introduction and welcome

Ali: Welcome to the 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 their mission to bring nuance back. I’m Ali, and I’m a screenwriter, most recently for the Rugrats reboot on Paramount Plus. My first episode will likely be coming out in the spring of next year. And I’m also the co-host of the podcast Wheel Takes, a podcast in which I am a first time reader of the Wheel of Time and my husband is not. And then we also flip the script for the Hunger Games series. And he is the first time reader and I am not.

Bree: Though you are both first time reading the prequel right now, which is highjinks.

Ali: We are. As an experiment we are both first time readers of Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It’s chaos in the best way.

Aradia: I love it so much. I’m first time reading along with the podcast, and I got to the end of the episode today and immediately picked up the book so I could read what comes next. Like immediately, like, no break. It’s been very chaotically fun.

Ali: Lucky! Gus stole the book and has been hogging it. I haven’t gotten to read new pages yet.

Aradia: Ugh, terrible.

Ali: And then he’s been like putting spoiler bars over all the things he’s saying in the chat. And I can’t read any of them because I haven’t read the book yet. So rude.

Bree: This feels like antagonistic behavior, Gus. Gustopher.

Ali: Once again.

Bree: That’s what Donna calls him now. She’s just always like ,Gustopher!.

Ali: Gustopher! Yeah, but it’s been a lot of fun, doing something new for the first time in four years of podcasting.

Bree: Keeping it fresh.

Ali: Keeping it fresh.

Aradia: I am Aradia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, currently rewatching season two of the show on Prime, as well as a podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media.

Bree: And I am Bree, one half of the bestselling sci fi fantasy romance author Kit Rocha, and it is 27 days until Horny Dragon drops. So I’m just watching the calendar now. That’s what I’m doing.

Ali: Wooo!

Bree: Watching the calendar. It’s time.

Ali: 27 days.

Bree: Yep. Yep, yep, yep.

Ali: Currently –

Bree: That is my fun adventure.

Ali: Currently, we’re nuanc –

Bree: Ali was ready to go this time!

Ali: I was like, I’m on the ball today. I am ready to go.

Aradia: So eager.

Ali: I was like, Don’t drop the script. I was like, Don’t drop the script. Because the minute that you do, it ceases to exist. Do you understand that you have no object permanence. You have to keep it right in front of you and wait for your moment. So I was waiting for my moment. Not to brag, but I was being a professional. Currently we are 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.

0:03:05 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: It is time to jump into Bree’s Time travel machine. It’s fairly reliable today, we’re going back to 1994 (swoosh noise). But, as a special treat, we’re going to zoom into 93 basically, because after some discussion on the Wheel Takes server, I was inspired to go and pull up the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego TV show, which apparently started in 1993, which is when she would have been writing this book. And I’m going to have to share the video in the episode notes and on the Discord, because I feel like there is nothing more mid-nineties than Rockapella, with their mullets and their weird colored suits, singing the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego theme song, which is an amazing earworm, to be honest.

Ali: I bet it is.

Aradia: It’s still stuck in my head. It is still stuck in my head. It has never not been stuck in my head since 95, or whenever it first got in there.

Bree: Yeah, yeah, 1993. I mean, you cannot even describe these men. Their suits, the full mullet. Some of them have the curly hair mullet front, and then they have a ton of micro braids in the back, just swinging free and like – just this, this whole thing, it is so early nineties. And then it’s, you know, Carmen Sandiego.

Ali: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it.

Bree: I dropped it in the general chat of the Wheel Takes. We’re going to have to – we’ll put the video on the discord. It is so nineties, it was just – and also this is one of my favorite video games in the nineties. I played Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego, Where in Europe, Where in the USA; there was a Where in time is Carmen Sandiego.

Aradia: That’s the one I remember, is Where in time. I learned so many historical facts from Where in time is Carmen Sandiego.

Bree: Yes, I remember being greatly resentful when the euro took over, and I was like, All of those currencies I learned from Carmen Sandiego are now useless. So that is – I learned so many currencies.

Ali: I remember the game, but I think I was pretty young when I was playing the game, so I did not do very well at the game. I remember that. I remember it being ridiculously hard and I feel like probably now it would be the easiest game in the world. But as a little kid I was like, I don’t understand what these questions with these answers are. And so, yeah, I was just too little, I think, for the game.

Aradia: Well now you know how to get some easy dopamine as an adult, is go replay the game, and just own it.

Bree: Half the countries don’t even exist anymore. It’s a good time capsule for the nineties.

Ali: That’s so funny. That’s a franchise that should make a resurgence. Bring Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego back!

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: They have like a Netflix show, don’t they?

Ali: Do they?

Aradia: I think you’re right, something’s getting made. Somewhere, someone’s making a something.

Bree: They’re either just released it or something. I’m not even sure she was the bad guy in it. Maybe they’ve like, I don’t know, but I love it.

Aradia: So I think it’s her back story. I want to say I watched a trailer and it was like a back story to Carmen Sandiego, but you know, I might just be making that up because I want it to be real.

Ali: I’m googling it right now, literally as we speak I’m looking at it.

Bree: There’s no Google in 1994. This is a time conundrum.

Aradia: We’re causing a paradox. The space time continuum is weakening.

Bree: The time machine has a special connection to Google.

Ali: Woah! Sorry, the ad just played, and there was like, the Netflix ‘badong!’. Literally, and I went, Huh!, it scared me in my headphones. Didn’t expect that. There is a TV show! It’s an animated TV show with nine episodes in season one – is there multiple seasons? Why won’t it let me click, let me click it. There are four seasons!

Aradia: Whaaat?

Bree: Wow.

Ali: There’s four seasons on Netflix.

Bree: That’s amazing.

Ali: Oh, wait – Oh, it’s animation! I can talk about it. Get out. I could talk about it because it’s animation.

Aradia: Yay, no need for the harp noise.

Ali: Or my interpretation of the harp noise. Bloom, bloop, bloop, bloom – it didn’t happen.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Perfect. Okay, bye. I now want to play the game.

Bree: Yes. Speaking of video games, here’s some other video games.

Ali: Please don’t give me new hyper fixations when I literally have a deadline coming up.

Aradia: Nostalgia rabbit hole. Goodbye.

Bree: I know, it’s the worst – and video games are one of my worst deadline hyper focused things too. I’ll just go, Oh, I’ll just get a new video game, that won’t cause a problem at all.

Ali: Oh.

Bree: So here’s some other 1994 video games that came out. The first Elder Scrolls game, Doom 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Final Fantasy 4, and Donkey Kong Country, because I couldn’t find a five. So, beautiful list of like, frozen in 1994 there.

Aradia: One, two, three, four, five. Nice.

Bree: Wonderful collection of games.

Ali: Not to derail the conversation in favor of Carmen Sandiego once again, but it appears that you can buy the game on Steam for 9,99.

Aradia: Oh, I might have to do that.

Bree: Okay, we’re all doing that.

Aradia: Podcast is over.

Ali: Oh no, but you have to play on a Windows, it looks like.

Aradia: Oh good, I’m safe.

Ali: I’ll have to steal Gus’s computer.

Aradia: This is what Not being in the cult of Apple gets you.

Ali: You know what? You’re right. You’re not wrong. I’ve been considering my Apple stance recently because –

Aradia: I grew up in Apple. I know, I know.

Ali: It was so great in the beginning because it was so user friendly, and now I can’t find shit on my computer. I don’t know what they changed, but I don’t like it and I can’t find anything.

Bree: Does not work with my brain. So. Okay. Well, also in 1994, Melanie Rawn said, Let’s make a magical house full of mysteries and italics that Ali will not want to read. So let’s go, you guys.

Ali: There were so many songs and poems.

Bree: This book is just full italics.

Ali: I’m probably getting, like, 50% of the story. When I see italics and I’m like, Ah, I’m skipping that shit. And that’s where they’ll tell me the important information.

0:10:12 Music break, Rising, chapter 11: Shut up, You’re Not living in this metabolism

Bree: Let’s start with part 11, which honestly, I have been waiting for this to come up since you, Ali, have been slogging your way through the late Wheel of Time, which has a lot of opinions on pregnant women and what they should be eating.

Ali: Okay. I was going to say, the takes from books written during the nineties/ early 2000s about women who are pregnant? I could never.

Aradia: Oof.

Ali: I was aghast. I’m a woman who loves a snack. I love a snack, and I just – the opening was like, You can’t have chocolate, pregnant lady, because you’ve gained too much weight as a pregnant person. And I was like, first of all, that is variable from woman to woman. And second of all, don’t take candy from a woman who is literally growing a baby. You were literally taking candy from a baby. You’re the bad guy. I was like, I don’t know. I got emotional about it.

Bree: Though, to be fair, everything that they are saying here, I mean, I’m just saying, like the start is: “… green salad lightly dressed, braised beefsteak in mild pepper sauce, carrots in a brown-sugar glaze”. I mean, at least they’re not giving her goat milk and oatmeal here. They’re giving her real food.

Ali: Thank god.

Bree: But she wants chocolate.

Aradia: Does sound like good food. Yes.

Ali: I guess as someone who is neurodivergent I understand the hold that food cravings can have on a person. Like, even if you are eating good, when someone is depriving you of the hyper fixation food that you have.

Bree: Yep.

Ali: And they’re like, eat this instead. The thing to eat instead, it doesn’t matter how good it is. Literally tastes like chalk and I want to cry.

Aradia: Yeah. No. And it’s like, food cravings are more than just psychological. Oftentimes your body has specific needs and it’s looking for specific nutrients and like, how much more so a pregnant person is going to need to be guided by their specific nutritional needs and not whatever the fuck you think is going on, person on the outside, not living in this metabolism.

Ali: Though it’s so true. And I realized recently, I was, you know, working with a nutritionist with all my health stuff, and we were learning about intuitive eating and stuff. And she was like, Yeah, when you deprive yourself of your cravings a lot of the time that makes you just crave it harder. So that when you actually get it, you’ll just binge it, because your body has been so frustrated and pent up with whatever it is, that you go way overboard on what would have actually been just one fun sized Kit Kat, you’re now like, eating the entire bag of candy. You know what I mean? So it’s like, yeah, those things kind of cycle into themselves in the spirit. So anyway, I was really like, First of all, a woman’s weight during pregnancy varies from woman to woman. Leave her alone. And second of all, give the pregnant lady candy.

Bree: Well, Glenin is not putting up with this shit.

Ali: Yeah, She didn’t ask for soft cheeses or sushi. I think it’s just that I’ve been reading that in the Wheel of Time and this, and I was just like, What is the deal?

Aradia: A double trigger for sure. It’s the nineties. Everything is the mother’s fault. Everything.

Ali: And they had to bear it wearing these horrific Peter Pan collar dresses.

Bree: She specifically doesn’t let this person finish an entire sentence just because she’s so annoyed with them. So like, not once in the last 10 minutes has the cook been allowed to finish a sentence. And she’s just like, I’m going to eat chocolate and I eat as much of it as I want, and you’re going to go change your menus, because Glenin is our girlboss fascist queen, I guess. And she’s not, you know – I don’t want to support girlboss fascism, but also, let the girl eat chocolate, so.

Ali: I keep going, This book needs to make me stop siding with Glenin!

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Well, fortunately not long after this, you know, she sort of does – you know, we’re like, Yay, you’re sticking up for yourself! It’s a little less sympathetic when she reminds us that her husband is, like, under deep compulsion.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: So he’s, you know – Oh, he’s also worried. And he would have this baby for himself if she couldn’t. He could take all the pain. And she’s like, Well, I better take that seriously because he’s the only person who has ever actually meant it since I wiped his brain out and replaced it with pudding.

Ali: I loved the shade of Melanie Rawn on men, past, present, and future, telling women that they’d do it for them if they could. And being like, Well, you’re never going to be in a position where you have to prove it. So I guess that’s a really safe thing to say.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, I did enjoy that little fourth wall breaking shade.

Ali: At the same time I was like, if any husband ever in the universe would mean it, it would be Gus. Am I right?

Aradia: I’m sure there’s a vanishing but significant percentage out there that actually mean it. It’s not literally all of them are faking it. Hashtag, no tall men.

Ali: I’m on this deadline right now. So obviously I am having a panic attack a day. And before, when I realized I was going to have this very tight turnaround deadline, I turned to Gus and I was like, I’m going to be a mess for the next two and a half weeks. I just want you to know that the person that I am going to be in these two and a half weeks is not the person I wish to be, but it is who we’re going to get. Like, we know On a deadline Ali, and who she is. And we’re just going to pad her with pillows and hope for the best. And he, like, clapped his little hands and he goes, oh, boy, I get to be a househusband for the next two weeks.

Bree: This was the cutest thing in the world. He did text me and he’s like, I’m going to househusband so hard. I’m going to cook so many good things. And I was like, Gus, you are adorable. Gus and Mr. Bree are winning the deadline husband –

Ali: Yes, they should also get an award of some kind. Yeah, because obviously Gus and I typically will do about 50/50, like cooking, cleaning, all that stuff. So whoever cooked, the other person cleans, all that. And I was just like, I’m going to tell you, I will not have the spoons for much for the next two and a half weeks. I’m really sorry for being that person. But every now and then you have to be that person in your relationship. But he was just like, You know, I’m really excited. I’ll make a bunch of recipes I like. He had all these recipes he wanted to make, and so he made us ratatouille last night.

Aradia: Adorable.

Ali: Because he was like, I figured you needed vegetables, you know, to help with fuel. And he made me mulled wine. It was a really good day.

Aradia: Wow.

Ali: Because he felt bad that we were kind of missing out on Halloween. Yeah. Good husbands. There are some, Glenin, that you don’t have to compel into being good husbands, you know?

Aradia: Yeah, they very much do exist.

Ali: They very much do.

Bree: So Glenin has decided she’s going to get her husband a hobby. You know, not an annoying one like, you know, sleeping with her friends and spending your money and drinking, but, like, a fun one that she can be proud of him for excelling at, like sailboating.

Ali: Sailboating. Fun.

Aradia: And take up polo, why don’t you.

Ali: Okay. But like, if you had to pick a hobby for your husband, what would you pick?

Aradia: Well, clearly, the one that involves potentially drowning, obviously. She’s like, Oh, yeah, he’ll be so proud. I’m like, And it gives you a very convenient chance to get widowed.

Ali: Oh, my God. It’s true, though.

Aradia: Sailing is so dangerous. Like, mountaineering and sailing are two things I have hyper focused on how dangerous they are. And I just –

Ali: Yeah, that’s true.

Bree: Sailing is pretty dangerous.

Aradia: Don’t go up mountains and don’t go on the ocean, like that’s what I’ve learned. Don’t do it.

Ali: Mountaineering is wild. And spelunking? Human beings just look for ways to die.

Bree: I grew up in a fishing village.

Ali: You did?

Bree: I did. I grew up in a fishing village. And so I’ve definitely got this, like, deep fishing – there’s a puppy who is very upset with me right now – deep fishing village paranoia and superstition. You must respect the ocean because, man, like, you know, I was up there in Maine, you know, so like the high North Atlantic. And it can be very temperamental.

Aradia: Yes. I read a perfect storm over and over and over again.

Ali: My God. Even the lakes. Like, my mom went sailing with some guy in college and her brothers, because they all went to the same college, all three of them. And they were all there at the same time because they’re all close together in age. And they all went sailing together, and the guy was like an expert sailor. But the winds took a turn and she was like, I swear to God, I thought we were toast. Like the boat kept kind of rocking really far both ways. And she was like, I was so certain that I was going in the water. But yeah, so be careful with bodies of water.

Bree: Speaking of reading about boats, have you read Linda Greenlaw’s books, Aradia?

Aradia: No. That name doesn’t ring a bell.

Bree: She was the woman, the female captain in the Perfect Storm, is Linda Greenlaw.

Aradia: Oh, yeah?

Bree: And like, they had somebody in the movie representing her, too.

Aradia: Yeah, Yeah, I remember that.

Bree: And she’s from Maine. And so she wrote a story about, like, the sword fishing. I think it’s called the Hungry Ocean, or that might have been the one that the Perfect Storm is based on. I don’t know. But Linda Greenlaw wrote a book about sword fishing, which I was obsessed with, and then she wrote one about lobster fishing when she went home. And – Okay, I’m clearly gonna have to let the dogs out. Please pause momentarily.

Ali: Speaking of risk takers, if we’re bringing it back: poor Garon. Yeah. So, yeah, I think you’re right, Aradia, this is a very convenient thing. If she ever tires of him, she can easily find a way that he just doesn’t make it back from a sailing trip. And I wouldn’t put it past her. Oh, can we talk about – in this chapter as well, and I’m sure we’re getting here – Glenin’s weird boy mom energy?

Aradia: Yeeeeeah.

Bree: It is the next line I have: There’s some alarming boy mom stuff starting here.

Ali: The boy mum stuff.

(all make pained noises)

Aradia: Uncomfortable.

Bree: I mean, we’ve been talking about the kind of weirdness between her and her dad, and she’s just like, This is the energy I want for me and my son. This weird, creepy thing where no woman will ever take my place in his life. The way I’ve just taken his mother’s place in his house. Mwahaha.

Ali: So here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. My mom, one of her best pieces of advice to me, I think, was about marriage. She was like, Find a guy who’s great. But also, it helps a lot if you like his family, because you could be spending a lot of fricking time with those people. And Gus is an only child. And so when he told me that I was going to meet them, I was like, it’s going to matter a lot whether or not I like them, because we’re going to be spending a lot of very focused time with them. And they’re obviously lovely. But it was a very make it or break it moment, because there are a lot of moms – one of my favorite subreddits is Just No Mother In Law, where people will tell their stories, tell wild stories about things their mothers mother in laws have done. And there is a lot of stuff where you’re like, this has some weird, Freud is chuckling in his grave, stuff. And this felt very that, it’s like, I’m going to be the most important woman in his life forever.

Aradia: Yeah, she’s already getting clingy and attached and like –

Ali: Right? There’s a lot to unpack.

Bree: It’s like, there’s two tiers of it. The first because, like, Anniyas is absolutely competing with her, for Garon right now. Like, they mentioned that she’s bought him a new spring wardrobe and keeps taking him out for fancy dinners, because she is trying to fight this pudding brain thing that Glenin has done to him, that made him no longer mommy’s favorite boy. And so, like, there’s a lot of awkward mother son stuff here. And then Glenin is just like, Well, yes, I’m not going to lose you the way she lost him. And all of these like, dreams she has about him, where they’re going to like, she’s going to be with him every day and they’re going to do magic and he’s going to be perfect and well disciplined and – just, there’s a lot going on here.

Ali: Here’s my thing about parenting, is I’m like, You really do not know what kind of child you’re going to get. You really don’t. And it’s not about you at all. When you bring a kid into the world, they didn’t ask to be here, but now that they’re here, they’re going to find their path and explore and you gently guide them, right, on their path. But at the end of the day, they’re hopefully going to do what’s best for them and their lives. Right? And so the idea –

Bree: I’m going to be a whole person1

Ali: Yeah, you control some of what happens, you know, but not everything. And I feel like, I don’t know, she’s just decided what he’s going to be and what he’s going to be like, which I always go, if that’s your thing, then you just want a clone or some kind of like best friend. You don’t actually want a child. You want a dog.

Aradia: Right?

Ali: That you can train into being what you want. And I think a lot of people don’t understand that. What they might want actually is a dog or a clone, and not a baby. And I feel like, yeah, and man, there’s some really wild stuff about like mother in laws being jealous of their daughter in laws. Where I’m like, the space that a wife takes in someone’s heart is a different place than the space a mother, hopefully, takes in their heart. So that younger woman is not a threat to you, provided you’re chill and respect their boundaries?

Bree: You should not be competing.

Ali: You should not be competing, because at a certain point it just feels like incestuous? Emotionally incestuous.

Aradia: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So yeah, there’s like you said Bree, there’s two tiers to this. There’s the weird, creepy parental stuff and then there’s the weird, creepy clone-y stuff, right? There’s two different layers of pressure she’s putting on. You know, we’ve moved beyond lentil stage. We’re probably up to, like, what, plum? We’re probably on the once and future plum at this point?

Ali: (delighted) The once and future plum!

Bree: (satisfied) The once and future plum.

Aradia: And I honestly have bad feelings about this whole pregnancy. I feel like she’s putting so much pressure on it. She’s saying to herself, I’m not going to lose you like I lost my first daughter. I’m just like, Aaah! I worry that she’s going to lose this pregnancy during some cataclysmic part of her arc. You know, like, I just feel like this pregnancy might be more than a political threat. It might be like the thing that turns her against her father and Anniyas, is like, losing this. Or something. I don’t know. I just don’t feel good for her.

Bree: Well, it’s now something that she wants, for sure.

Aradia: Yeah, I just. I don’t think this kid is going to come into the world, you know?

Ali: Yeah, well, because I feel like it’s this weird thing where the Malerrisi seem to think they can control all the variables of life? But we’ve already seen they can’t, with her first pregnancy. So, this attempt to take control of this stuff is creepy inherently, because it’s so impossible. And she’s so certain that, you know, this baby’s going to be born and will be a certain kind of way, partially because that’s what she’s been told will happen. But I’m like, Well, we’ve already seen that they can be wrong. And pregnancies in this book have not historically gone very well.

Aradia: Mmmh hmmm!

Bree: This has not been a great time for the pregnant ladies.

Ali: We’re bullying the pregnant in this book.

Bree: Also, there’s like a good two page passage here where she just thinks about how this baby better be hot, and not like, you know –

Ali: Yeah?

Bree: Better look wonderful and not like, ugly, like grandma. And I’m like, okay.

Aradia: So, so gross, did not appreciate it. Like, Oh, I don’t want you to be plain and dumpy. I want you to be tall and handsome, and I’m just like –

Bree: Broad shouldered and compelling. I’m like –

Ali: Broad shouldered and compelling. What a weird thing to think about your child.

Aradia: Again, Freud is having a feeling about that.

Ali: He’s just howling. He’s like, I fucking told you all. You all are freaks.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: And I sit here and I’m like, You know, we definitely know some women who are like this with their sons. It’s like, you know, it’s a weird thing.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: “But beauty meant there would eventually be women. And one day she would be in the same position Anniyas was in now.” and then she thinks, “No. Not my son. He’d never do that to me.”

Aradia: Pfff. He is not even born!

Bree: “We’ll have more than Blood and a mother-son bond. We’ll have our magic.” So.

Ali: It’s giving boy mom.

Aradia: Yeah. Don’t like it. Uncomfortable.

Bree: Just scary boy mom. Scary. Scary. So she’s sort of like, petting her belly.

Aradia: And then it seems like she’s getting the little extra buff that pregnancy always gives to people with supernatural abilities. They always get better at smelling or flying or turning invisible or whatever their magic thing is, or just their normal skills. Women always get more better at it because they’re pregnant, and in this case, that enhances her magical sensitivity. And she can sense Cailet’s call. That’s how I interpreted it. Maybe there’s some other reason, but that’s what I thought it was.

Ali: I feel like pregnant women in sci fi or fantasy usually, yeah, either get really augmented, or so addled they can’t function. And there’s no in between. Because I’m remembering, I think in Charmed – Woah. Deedeedee. Some show about sisters who are witches. There is some character that, like, it gets way worse when she’s pregnant, she can’t figure any of it out.

Bree: Well her powers got wild, but then also her fetus gave her basically invincibility. Her kid was like healing her in the womb and like, giving her like a bubble of invincibility. So it was a mixed bag there, on the show that we’re not talking about. Which I happen to be rewatching at night, so I’ve had that -That’s like my bedtime.

Ali: It’s so much fun.

Bree: It is a fun show.

Ali: Comforting.

Bree: So this is something I was actually talking about on our Discord, because we are talking about periods in fantasy again.

Ali: You?

Bree: I know, this is a very small ACOTAR thing.

Ali: Me, you? I’ve never seen you have this conversation before.

Bree: But it was interesting because there were two – like you said, even periods and reproduction seem to have like two ways they go. As in, this is the magical goddess connecting you to the earth magic power thing. Or this is a turtle curse that debuffs you. And Anne Bishop, who has greatly inspired ACOTAR, goes with the, your period and pregnancy both debuff your magic and are terrible. And I loved that, because it was the first time I read a book where someone was like, God, these periods suck, they hurt and they’re terrible and they’re miserable. And I was like, Thank you. I’ve been saying this to my doctor. He doesn’t believe me. So like, I love that, but other people, I can see why it’s very annoying, the debuff thing. So I think it’s one of those things where different people definitely take different stuff from it. And in this case, I don’t know what to take from Glenin’s magical – But I do agree that it’s pretty explicit here, that the pregnancy has given her some sort of magical hypersensitivity, or like, you know, I don’t know if it’s the baby’s magic or what.

Ali: But I mean, I do think a fetus should probably have some impact, right, on a magical ability. Just, it has an impact on pretty much everything else in a woman’s body.

Aradia: Fair, fair.

Ali:Yeah, it makes sense to me that it would have some kind of impact. But I feel like the range of the impacts are pretty extreme. And I would think it was funny if they were like, Yeah, you know, it just kind of makes my magic a little itchy. Or something, you know, or something like that.

Aradia: Yeah, well, maybe that’s the closest we’re going to get with this, she’s just a little more sensitive to a magic that’s a little bit out of her normal range.

Ali: Right? It’s like, yeah, she’s got a little extra.

Bree: And so she senses Cailet calling, which is the end of part 11.

0:32:20 Music break, Rising, chapter 12: Shake it off, Cailet

Bree: And we jump to part 12, we hear other people sensed Cailet calling. It turns out that Cailet summons – she casted from that starfish shaped temple, as we discussed in the last episode, inside the town. But apparently whatever she did was so strong, it’s basically sticking to her. And they have now traveled to the tavern that Collan recommended to them, and people are still following her like she is – I think they call it magnetic south in here?

Aradia: Yeah. They literally describe her as drawing them like a lodestone.

Bree: Yeah. So basically everybody can just turn and point to her and just walk to her. So this is both good for the Mages. Probably not great if Glenin is sensing it.

Ali: Yeah. Oops.

Bree: So, I mean, that’s the thing. I think that this whole part is mostly a lot of like, explaining what happened, which is that, you know, some of the Mages made it out of the city, some of them didn’t, you know, and they got executed pretty quickly. But everybody else followed this pull to a tavern where they were welcomed quite warmly by – once they used Collan’s name – by a tavern mistress and many daughters who Cailet thinks that perhaps –

Aradia: He’s sleeping with the mom and the daughters, and everyone’s fine with this and no one is having a problem? I am bothered. I feel, I feel, I feel like lovers should not be shared between generations. I just, I have a feeling about that.

Bree: I feel like he did that explicitly in a different tavern already. Like, isn’t that what he did in Roseguard? Like an aunt and a niece?

Aradia: I think so, yeah.

Bree: I’m pretty sure.

Ali: You know, I’m not someone to usually yuck a yum. You know, I’m not usually someone – I’m pretty open minded. But I, I think that this shouldn’t happen, and I’m going to just, just die on that hill. There is a limit to my understanding. I just feel like it’s weird. It’s weird.

Aradia: Like sleeping with all four sisters, more or less at the same time, is weird enough.

Bree: I mean, as long as you’re not doing it all at once.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. They’re not having orgies, so that’s good.

Bree: So I mean, I guess this is sequential.

Ali: Okay.

Aradia: Even sleeping with all four sisters sequentially and all that, that’s weird enough. But you bring the mom into it? No!

Ali: Not the mom. We draw the line at the mom. We always do. We always draw the line at mom.

Aradia: Just the mom or just the daughters, not both.

Bree: Yeah, I think Collan would say, Hey, did you see how those guards reacted to what I’m packing? I can’t help it. They like it. I like it. Let’s go.

Aradia: And like, I’m not shaming him. I’m shaming them. To be fair, Collan is doing one person at a time. I’m like, whatever. That’s a weird choice. But the fact that all five women are like, This is fine, is what I am having an issue with.

Ali: Yes, all of us are like, No.

Aradia: That doesn’t feel realistic.

Bree: To be fair, we don’t know that this is true. We don’t know this is true. This is just Cailet going, They all seem very fond of him. So, you know, maybe they’re all just very fond of him.

Aradia: Maybe he’s good at hiding? I don’t like any of what I’ve thought about now.

Bree: That is fair.

Ali: All of the words that I wanted to say vanished with that thought. So, I’m vamping now. Someone save me, because I –

Aradia: I’m okay. So let’s talk about the linguistic drift. Because I love linguistic drift in fantasy, sci fi. It is one of my happy things. So I couldn’t quite figure all of them out.

Bree: The shabby wine.

Aradia: But yeah, shabby I’m assuming was Sherry.

Bree: I think it’s Chablis.

Aradia: Oh!

Bree: Chablis wine, Chablis, isn’t that how it’s called? I went and looked up the pronunciation, let me see.

Aradia: I have no idea. I’m not a wine person.

Ali: Yeah, it is Chablis, if I recall correctly.

Aradia: Oh, that makes more sense. Shabby, chablis, shabby. That makes so much more sense.

Ali: I didn’t even try to think of what it would be. So I’m impressed with both of your answers. I was like, Huh?

Bree: The name was another one, right?

Aradia: Yeah. Which I think is just a name that’s diverging, Mikleine and Maklyn. I don’t think that that was – or maybe it’s like an old Scottish name, like McLeod, McIntosh.

Bree: Or Irish.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: There’s a lot of Irish catholics.

Ali: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bree: Mac Mac Mac something.

Aradia: I bet that’s what that is. The Irish Catholic coming through. Yeah.

Bree: Yeah. So yeah I think I love, I do love when Cailet just sort of offhandedly – it says, responded absently. So this is just sort of her with some of her knowledge. And this is what a lot of this chapter is about. It’s about her recognizing that she knows all of this stuff. It’s like a library got dumped into her head, and it’s sort of cross referenced, but she doesn’t know what she knows.

Ali: Mmh.

Bree: And so that has to be like a very strange thing. Like there’s, there’s information there, but until someone has a reason to pull it up, you know, she doesn’t know to go looking for it almost.

Aradia: That would be so surreal. And she’s worried about Coll and Sarra not hearing her summoning. That’s another thing she’s worried about, is that they won’t know how to follow her if she moves locations. Everyone else will follow her like the Pied Piper, but not the two people she actually really needs to retrieve.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Plus, won’t Glenin smell it?

Bree: Well, she doesn’t, she – I think that’s in this section, she feels like – She says that nobody who’s not a Mage Guardian will know what it is.

Ali: Yeah, Yeah, About that.

Bree: So. So Glenin doesn’t necessarily know what that is. She just knows she felt something.

Ali: Okay.

Bree: But everybody else who’s feeling it kind of knows what it is. But Collan and Sarra won’t feel it at all. And so she doesn’t want to leave this tavern, because it’s where Collan told them to meet. But she’s also aware that they can’t all just stay there, like a big illegal criminal wanted party hanging out in this tavern. But also she can’t send the Mages away because they just won’t go.

Ali: Ugh.

Bree: Alin makes it pretty clear the Mages are not going to leave the Captal behind again. They’re not going to, like, just abandon her.

Ali: That’s annoying.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: She can’t go anywhere by herself?

Bree: No, because she’s going to be protected now, she’s got the magic box in her head.

Ali: That would annoy me so much. To never be alone?

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: I crave solitude.

Aradia: Yeah, I know, right?

Ali: Like, I think part of the reason I’m so tired this year is because Gus and I have only gone on vacation to events.

Aradia: Ugh, yeah.

Ali: You know, And so, I don’t know, I just. I’m empathizing a lot with Cailet here, just thinking about the realities of what that would feel like. Because you would never go anywhere by yourself. Like, that’s such a luxury. I was thinking about this, too. Just like, the price of celebrity, because someone was talking about it in the wake of Matthew Perry’s death. About how, you know, they were stuck on something for an episode they were writing for a project they worked on together, and he was like, Oh, Matthew, you know something that I do when I’m really having a hard time that I find helpful is, I go for a long walk. Like we could go for a long walk. And Matthew Perry was like, I can’t go for a long walk outside.

Aradia: Oh, yeah.

Ali: Because he would get mobbed. It’s like, those little things, where you’re like, Oh, I get to be alone. I get to like, you know, work through my thoughts by myself, you know, on a walk where you’re kind of like out in nature alone. He doesn’t get to do that, or he didn’t get to do that.

Bree: Yeah, that’s intense.

Ali: I found that to be, because all these people are like, Well, they’re famous. They ask for it. And I was like, I don’t think that a lot of them do.

Aradia: Not like that!

Ali: Not necessarily that level of fame, you know what I mean? Or don’t really think about what that means.

Aradia: Right. The implications are not necessarily something they thought through when they were scrambling to get their career to go, like.

Ali: Right. Yeah.

Bree: I tend to be pretty anti all of that. Like, let celebrities live. Let’s not paparazzi them. Let’s not do this shit. Like just let them live. Let people have privacy.

Aradia: My dad, when I was a kid, worked in a grocery store, and Sam Elliott lives nearby and would come in.

Ali: Ooh.

Aradia: And he would come in really early to the store to do his shopping. And all of the staff knew not to fucking bother him, and everyone just left him the fuck alone and allowed him to just get his groceries and go home. But he came early in the day, because no amount of the store being supportive of his right to privacy was going to help the fact that, like, he’s Sam Elliott, like he’s got a very distinctive face.

Ali: Yeah, I can’t help but think about the Sophie Turner Joe Jonas divorce, and I was just like, I can’t imagine at such a vulnerable time, having – where, you know, your emotions are all over the place. Your whole life is now something completely different. You’re, you know, you have kids in the middle of it, so it’s even more sensitive. And having that be national, international news. So everyone just knows you’re most vulnerable. Wow. Think about this, reading The Hunger Games too.

Aradia: Oh, yeah.

Ali: Suzanne Collins had something to say about Hollywood culture.

Aradia: Indeed.

Ali: Yeah, they were just dragged, both of them, everywhere. And no one knows what the true story is. And frankly, it’s none of our business. But everyone’s decided they needed to have an opinion on the Sophie Turner Joe Jonas divorce.

Aradia: I mean, that’s a huge part of the thesis behind, like, the Crown, right? Huge part of the overarching thesis behind the Crown is living your life in that kind of public and not being able to get away from it. Like, we can critique the Royals for existing all day, but the paparazzi cage that they exist in is still a thing worth having strong opinions about in and of itself.

Ali: Yeah, it’s still a discussion worth having that, you know, I mean, the fact that they are children born into fame, they certainly didn’t ask for that.

Aradia: No, God, no.

Ali: They certainly did not. No matter what your opinion is about their parents’ choices, they certainly didn’t ask for that. And like, there was that trial. There’s some case that I think Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner did, where they successfully made it, I think, illegal to take photos of celebrities’ children in California or Los Angeles or something like that.

Aradia: Oh, wow.

Ali: Because their kids’ preschools would have like camera people outside taking pictures of them at their preschool.

Aradia: So messed up.

Ali: They had – people were stalking their children. And I was just like, that is fucked. Like, I don’t care how you look at it, that’s completely screwed up. So anyway, you know, bringing it back to Cailet, like, just thinking about the realities of what it would be to be 17 years old, which is never anyone’s most emotionally secure time. And I don’t care how mature you are. Like, your brain is not fully developed yet, you know? And even if life has come at you hard, like that’s hard to take when you’re 17. And then you go into this at 17 years old, and then you’re never alone after that. Really. To just process everything that happened to you, all of your friends suddenly are distant from you. And this is very much like becoming famous.

Bree: Yeah, Yeah.

Aradia: Except there’s not just fame. It’s like, there’s an actual security risk because you literally have the nuclear codes in your head or whatever.

Ali: So. President. Out of nowhere.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. For life.

Bree: But also the objectification. Like she’s not a person to any of them anymore.

Ali: Well, I mean, like, does she get to fall in love, does she get to have a family?

Aradia: Well that one Captal had the booty call tower. So that would suggest that there are some serious proscriptions on relationships and home life.

Bree: Well, at least with the enemy.

Aradia: Well, yeah.

Ali: Well, and just the idea of, like, all of a sudden your friends are at a distance from you because you’re in a completely different stratosphere than them now. And when you have that much power, like the people that tends to attract tend to be always the best, you know.

Aradia: No. Yeah. People want you for your shit, not for you. And that’s the higher up the privilege, fame, power Ladder you are, the worse it is, the less you can ever trust anyone trying to get close to you.

Ali: Well, like people – back on Taylor Swift. Okay, Cailet’s basically Taylor Swift, right? Like, successful at a super young age, right. Becomes an international superstar pretty quickly, and now is like 35 or so, give or take.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: And everyone’s scrutinizing every person she dates. I’m like, How do you even date?

Aradia: Right. Yeah.

Ali: When you’re that successful, how do you date? Like, you can’t go anywhere without people taking your picture. You don’t know if the people that you’re with are with you for the right reasons. And some of the people are attracted to that power, usually not really worth being around, versus the people who are repelled by that power tend to be like some of the nicer people. They just can’t handle that level of scrutiny. So like, how do you have a life? I don’t know. So I feel for Cailet because it feels like every part of her future was taken from her, that she could theoretically choose. She didn’t choose being the Captal. So like, I don’t know, I just feel really bad for her.

Bree: There’s a lot of shit that got thrust on her.

Ali: Yeah, but honestly, my big straw would be – the reason I quit acting and became a writer is in part because I was like, I mean, even the most famous writers, you don’t usually know what they look like. I mean, J.K. Rowling and friggin, Oh, my God, name one other writer that you would recognize on sight.

Aradia: Stephen King.

Ali: Stephen King. That was the person –

Bree: I was going to say.

Ali: I was looking for Stephen King.

Bree: Bangor is so protective of Stephen King. They’re so protective of him. Like, you try to go find Stephen King, Bangor will just send you on a scavenger hunt, even though we all know exactly where he lives. I mean, I know where Stephen King lives, because it was like, down the road from my grandmother. Like, yeah, it’s very protective. That’s a town that, – like you were talking about with Sam Elliott going in, like shopping in the morning. Bangor, Maine is protective of Stephen King because he gives so much to that, you know, to that community, to the library, to the hospital, pays like oil bills in the winter so that people can keep their heat on, you know, So he’s a hometown guy.

Ali: That’s beautiful. I love that.

Aradia: They reward him by ignoring him studiously.

Bree: His college roommate performed to my parents’ doomed marriage. So that’s probably why that marriage went so wrong.

Aradia: Oof.

Bree: Keep the Stephen King out of it. Don’t let, can’t open the Stephen King story.

Ali: My favorite thing is that Pete Davidson and Colin – Oh shoot, I can’t remember the other SNL guy’s name, but they’re both from Long Island, and they had this whole weekend update thing where apparently Long Island loves Colin, but hates Pete Davidson because Pete Davidson has made fun of Long Island in his stand up. And so like, in their local newspaper, it’ll be like, Look at Colin’s swing, way better than Pete Davidson, and like –

Bree: Colin Jost, right.

Ali: Colin Jost Yes, exactly. They’re both from Long Island, and Long Island has embraced Colin Jost and roasts Pete Davidson regularly. And it’s so fun to just like, side by side comparisons of the articles about them is so hysterical. There’s like, there’s some weekend update that you can find online where they talk about it.

Bree: I’ll have to go look afterwards.

Ali: It’s so funny.

0:49:25 Music break, Rising, chapters 13 and 15: What’s with this house?

Bree: Let us move to part 13, which is where the magical house appears. What did you guys think about the magical house?

Ali: I would not go in that.

Aradia: Well, I have been that cold and rained out before, and I would go in there.

Ali: I’m such a coward because I’d be like, What if there’s ghosts?

Aradia: Fuck the ghosts, I’m cold.

Bree: Yeah. They have been running a couple of miles ahead of the guards this whole time.

Ali: That’s true.

Bree: Sarra’s ankle hurts. They haven’t eaten. They’re walking from dusk to dawn. Collan’s feet are, like, covered over with blisters. They are now wet because it’s been raining. So they get to this little house and they’re like, Yeah, we’ve had enough. We go in.

Aradia: Yeah. So like I at first was like, did they randomly stumble across Col’s – like Col and Falundir’s cabin? Did Col’s need, like somehow did they stumble across his home that he grew up in with Falundir?

Ali: It was like the Room of Requirement?

Aradia: Exactly exactly.

Ali: Hashtag, trans lives matter.

Aradia: But like, it clearly isn’t, it’s not described as the same kind of setup at all. And like, clearly someone’s living there or the house is providing for them. Like it’s clearly not the same house. So yeah, I’m extremely perplexed because I don’t feel like we’ve been introduced to a character that could manifest a house like this yet.

Ali: But Bree, my romance writer, thoughts – I mean, I’m not a romance writer, but I was like, Oh, you can only leave by finding the truth in your hearts. If these two fucks don’t fall in love here, I don’t know what Melanie is doing.

Aradia: There is a giant, but singular bed.

Bree: There is a giant, singular bed. This is what we call forced proximity.

Ali: Yes, I was seeing forced proximity.

Bree: This is the trope. So this is the moment where the action slacks off. They’re in a place that they cannot escape. They are trapped together, just the two of them. Their immediate physical needs are taken care of. So this is the set up for falling in love. Your instincts are dead on. This is the wet – I mean, it’s the next thing to an igloo, right? They’re like wet and cold and they have to go inside together.

Aradia: Yeah, they didn’t have to share body heat. They’re still allowed to be separate, but.

Ali: Which is a pity, because shared body heat is one of my favorite tropes.

Bree: Listen, we’re getting it going for this next book we’re writing. I’m just like, I want a whole shared body heat scene. We’re doing it.

Ali: You are doing the Lord’s work. Truth. I will read the shit out of that book.

Bree: I’m here to please.

Ali: Literally.

Bree: Yeah, they go inside. And it’s interesting because it’s described as sort of a big house. I mean, like a two storey cottage. But when they get inside it, like, it seems pretty big, but everything on the bottom floor is dusty and abandoned. And so they go upstairs and there’s one room that’s just like, perfect, sort of. It’s got a fire ready to go in the fireplace and it’s got the giant bed. And so yeah, they go in there. We keep getting lots of mentions of Grand Duchess of Domburron-shir, and she’s the person, in case you don’t remember, who tried to basically take over the continents, like do a little, I’m an empress, I’m going to conquer different places. And that Anniyas eventually murdered.

Aradia: With Auvry Feiran’s help, right?

Bree: With Auvry Feiran’s help. Auvry Feiran took her through a Ladder to murder her. And she was basically doing it in the name – somebody did it a couple hundred years ago, and then someone else tried to repeat it, one of her – not ancestors. What’s the opposite? descendants. And that was the one that Anniyas defeated to get political power. So it’s definitely a fancy, over the top, if you’re describing something as something that she would be wearing, it’s ridiculously opulent. Yeah, what do we think that this is? I mean we find out in part 15. So I mean it’s not like a huge – or at least we find out that it is, we can do these two parts together if you want.

Ali: I mean Spirited Away – which is an animated film that I can talk about – Spirited Away, it taught me to be very suspicious of anything that looks too good to be true. Right. Anything, any kind of like, mysterious needed thing that comes out of nowhere and gives you everything that you need will probably turn you into a pig. So I am concerned, but I’m feeling like the point is to bring them together. But I’m like, but what kind of goodhearted thing traps you somewhere? So I don’t know. I guess maybe it was a meant to kind of –

Bree: That is true.

Ali: Be a prison? Like, okay, so here’s my thought. Okay, now I have a thought that’s actually formed. So I feel like if I were to make a safe house for the Mage Wardens, right, I would put some spells on it where, if someone was up to bad deeds in my house and they were not a good guy, it would trap them there. Or because they had secrets in their heart, right, or whatever. It would trap them there so that they’d be imprisoned until I came back and then I could deal with them then. So maybe that’s the point of that, but it’s trapping them there because they are in love with each other and can’t admit it?

Bree: I mean, that is really the question. Like if you have a safe house that you can’t get out of, that’s a complicated – like that’s not, generally speaking, the definition of safe.

Ali: Right. And I go, and where does it – if that’s the case and it just traps people who have secrets, right, assuming that they’re not good. But I guess it’s a secret from yours – But that’s what I was saying. I was like, well, I mean, I don’t have a lot of secrets because I can’t keep a secret about myself, but I do have secrets about other people that I won’t share because I’m like, that’s their business and it’s not my thing to share. Just because I don’t have secrets, really, because I apparently am an open book. Other people do, and I will respect those secrets, and oftentimes forget what they are. So, you know, yeah, I don’t know. So then does it just trap everyone with a secret, or is it specifically a secret that you’re keeping from yourself? Because in that case, then what I said before is moot, because that doesn’t necessarily apply to bad guys. Because if they know they’re bad, that’s not a secret they’re keeping from themselves. So that would defeat the point of being that specific, then it’s just a meet cute cabin. It’s just there in the hopes that it can get two people to fall in love. So I don’t know.

Bree: Well, here’s an opposite, I guess, we could come at it another way. What if truth is not what lets you out, sort of just a side effect. And the real point is the truth is the payment, the idea that truth is – like these truths have magical power that make this work or something. Because that’s, you know, if we think about, well, since we’re just going to do part 15 and part 13 together, I think it makes sense, because they’re just in the house.

Ali: Question.

Bree: So Collan tries to go down the stairs the first time. Okay, Go question.

Ali: Okay. So is the technicality that – okay, but if the House wants truth, does the spell caster get to know what those truths were, and/or do those truths get shared publicly, and how much of the truth equals exit? Does, You’re right, I did sneak that yogurt that was clearly labeled Jeff out of the staff refrigerator, and I did eat it, even though I knew it was Jeff’s – Is that enough of a truth or does it have to be like a sobering, dramatic truth? Because, I mean, does everybody have those? There are some simple people in this world. I’m just curious.

Bree: Well, like, let’s look at what we see. Collan tries to go down the stairs. So I think we say that there’s 15 stairs. So the first time he goes down three of them, and no matter how many steps he goes down, he’s only ever three from the top. And then he tries to give a truth. And his truth is that he was born a slave. And he says, this is Sarra. There’s something that is clearly deeply emotional and deeply humiliating to him. But she – and I wondered what you guys thought of this – She says he wasn’t. She looks at this tattoo on his arm and she’s basically like, you know, no, you weren’t born a slave, because that tattoo would have been larger because he puts his tattoos on the slaves the day they’re born. And it would have grown with you and it did not. And she thinks that he’s 11 or 12 when it was done. How does that fit into the timeline that we have seen for Collan? Because that’s not – do we think she’s wrong? Do we think –

Ali: Yeah. I got very confused by this, because at first I thought that she was saying, No, you weren’t ever a slave. Like just basically being like, No, you weren’t. And I was like, Umm, who are you to say what his enslaved experience was? So at first I was mad because I thought Sarra was being mean. And then she started talking about, Well, you couldn’t have gotten that tattoo till you were 12. And I was like, Either Collan was a freakishly large four year old, or – because I think he was like four, right, when they grabbed him?

Aradi: Yeah.

Bree: It was 4 or 5.

Ali: So either he was freakishly large for four or five, which I think is probably not true, since it seems like he was stuffed in a cage they had a cat in before, right? Or, I thought, Well, maybe when he was with the like, you know, cutting the weird llamas open to keep their hands warm or whatever people, maybe they later sold him to Scraller and that’s when he got the tattoo? Like he was with a different group for a little bit. Or Gorynel Desse is fucking around.

Bree: I mean, I feel like the question here is, Is this her – like, is this a Melanie Rawn error, where she forgot how old he was supposed to be? Is this a Sarra error, in that she is not a forensic tattoo artist? Forensic tattoo consultant.

Ali: Well, do tattoos grow with you? I suppose we don’t have many babies with tattoos.

Bree: I think they do, but I’m not sure. I’m not sure that you could judge age to that extent, precise extent. So she could this be a little off. Or the memories we think we read of Col in that first section, they could be questionable. We don’t know what Gorynel Desse has been fucking with his head. I mean –

Ali: Right. That’s why I was kind of like, what did Gorynel Desse do?

Bree: Who’s wrong here? Who’s wrong? Melanie Rawn, Sarra or our memories?

Aradia: I think Sarra’s the most likely bet, because she doesn’t really know what she’s talking about. It’s a reasonable supposition that the smaller you are when you get tattooed, the more distorted the tattoo will be, the farther along you grow. But the growth spurt at age birth versus at age five are different. You do grow different amounts at that point. So she could just be wrong, slash, Melanie Rawn kind of forgot a little bit. So those two error bars could explain it. I hate the thought that what we’ve been told already is wrong in the book and that Gorsha is fucking with our memories too. I hate that. And I reject it until given irrefutable proof otherwise I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all.

Bree: Okay.

Ali: I reject Melanie Rawn being wrong.

Aradia: So Sarra being wrong, yeah.

Ali: I reject Melanie being wrong. My memories have never been good, so I would allow that. But all three of us being wrong?

Bree: Here’s what the house tells us. The house tells us, but after he says this, he goes down six steps and he gets sick. So he gets three farther than he did the last time, but he still only gets halfway down the stairs. So whatever truth they’re looking for, this was a little bit of truth maybe, but it wasn’t enough truth.

Ali: Okay. So this seems unfair that they’re expecting him to, like, unlock all these memories here. But I guess that’s what is being expected of him.

Bree: But do you notice when he goes back upstairs, Sarra has fallen asleep and the fire is burning more brightly, and it’s just like the magic in the house has been renewed and is stronger, because he did say something profound, but it maybe wasn’t what the house was looking for.

Ali: I mean, he shared with her that he was a slave, which is pretty big.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: That’s a big truth. That’s a big trauma.

Bree: And he says this. He says: “Not even his truths were real anymore. He wasn’t slave-born. But if not, who had sold him? Why? Not the woman who sang by the fire; not his own mother… Was that who she had been?” And this, like this whole – I know that there are italics, Ali – but this whole end of this chapter really did sort of wrench my heart.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Because he thinks about how a fireplace has always made him feel safe, because it’s just like one memory he has, the woman who sang by the fire. And so, if he has music and a fire, he has always felt safe. And this song at the end, basically is like, When you sleep, St. Jenavira will open a book of memories and you’ll read what’s written there. But on waking, you won’t remember, because memories are kin to dreams. And so this is like, Oh, that hurt me. Like, not in a bad way, but in a, Oh.

Ali: I don’t want to bring the mood down. But I do know people who have lost parents, like super young, you know, so they don’t have any memories of them. And I feel like there is such a big, profound sadness to that, when you are so young, when you lose a parent that you don’t really have any memories of them. Like, it’s sad at any time, but like, you know, at this point in my life, right – I am knocking on wood – But I have a lot of memories of my parents that it can be a source of comfort, I think. But when you don’t have anything really that you, you know, you just have the stories other people tell you, I feel like that’s so sad. You know, there’s something so sad to me about that. So, you know, I just feel for him in this moment, too. Made me really sad. And I did read the it- I joke about not reading the italics. I did read them for the integrity of the podcast.

Bree: No, I don’t always read them, I don’t always read them either.

Ali: Hahaha! A confession!

Aradia: I was gonna say, I think maybe part of the thing is that they both have secrets and this house is clearly a magical meet cute, which means they both have to uncover secrets. She has to reveal she’s Ambrai. They have to, like, really level with each other, I think, to get out of the house. I think the house doesn’t just want them to admit things randomly. I think the house wants them to clear the decks with each other. And so Collan is not going to be able to unlock the house. She’s going to have to help.

Ali: The house lives for the drama. The house is me, I got to find out. You know, I’m like, Tell me, tell me everything. Tell me all the good details, versus Gus, who comes home and he’s like, This couple of six years broke up, and I’m like, what happened? And he goes, I don’t know. He didn’t say.

Ali: And I go, Ask questions! And he goes, Well, I figure if he wanted to talk about it, he would.

Bree: I want both of your predictions, how they’re going to get out, what confessions are they going to have to do?

Ali: Well, okay, first of all, they have to admit they have feelings for each other. That has to happen.

Aradia: Obviously.

Ali: They’re screwing in the meet cute cabin. I’m putting that out there right now. I’m putting it out there. I think they don’t leave this house without having an intimate moment. That’s what the people want. That’s what the cabin wants. So that’s got to happen. That’s like maybe the last thing they do. They fuck in the house and they get out. But before that, they’ve got to reveal deep wounds that they’ve been keeping from everyone but each other, and apparently the house that is listening to them. And I would ask the question, is the spell caster able to listen in on this too? In which case this becomes like an Airbnb with a weird camera inside. But I want to know, I think Collan admitting that he was a slave felt like it was going to be the big thing, like one of the big things. But I feel like he has to also theoretically uncover truths about that past? So like, maybe he has to realize everything that happened. Like what the wind from the wind times. And then Sarra, yeah, she has to reveal that she’s Ambrai, and – has she revealed to him that she’s magic yet? I think so.

Aradia: Yeah. She said that she has magic but can’t access it. She’s revealed that.

Ali: Well that’s got to change. We’ve got to change that in the meet cute cabin. We got to access our powers. We got to access our past. And then we get fuck in the cabin as kind of like an end –

Aradia: Access our passions, to keep the alliteration alive.

Ali: Access, our pass – yes. We got to keep, yes, the powers, the pasts and the passions. Yes. And then just like that, the stairs roll out like a red carpet and are like, All right, get out, get the fuck out.

Aradia: Then wait for the next couple to come along.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: Aradia, what about you? Are you on board with this, or any caveats?

Aradia: Yeah, basically that. I think the house needs a reason to exist, and it can’t be just for Collan and Sarra. Right? So some kind of truth has to come out saying, but I think it has to be collaborative. I do agree that at least like a good long kiss before they’re allowed, I think the house is going to require some amount of activity that requires a fade to black.

Ali: Boo! No fade to black.

Aradia: I mean, I would prefer that all the clothes come off and they just do their thing. But like, I don’t know, it’s the nineties.

Ali: Do the happy dance.

Aradia: I feel like. What is the house’s motivation in this, right? Does the house just live for the drama, or does the house have a secret of its own to give up? And it’s looking for a worthy person to, like, take this particular grimoire or magic artifact out of the pocket universe and into the real world to effect, you know, the coming Wraith War or whatever. The house can’t just be in this for the drama, as much as I like that. So, like, I want to think that they need to discover something about the house itself as the final step. Like, once they’ve unlocked everything about themselves and cleared the decks and had their kiss – or whatever they do – then the house is going to be like, Can you solve the final riddle and take this Holy Grail object, and go back to the plot with everyone else? Maybe it’ll be the rest of the Bequest or something, for the Captal.

Bree: Okay, so I asked you how they’re going to get out of the house now. I’m going to ask you to refer to our fanfiction origins here. Is there anything from Star Wars that this House makes you think might be what inspired it, or like what might have inspired this in Star Wars?

Ali: Oh God.

Bree: Where our Han and Leia might have gotten separated from the group in a place of some suspect comfort?

Ali: It is Jabba the Hutt’s place, is that where?

Bree: Does that seem comfortable?

Ali: I regret talking.

Aradia: That’s the only thing I can think of, is when he gets freeze dried. And that’s clearly not the thing.

Ali: That’s not it.

Bree: But where does he get freeze dried?

Aradia: Well, that –

Ali: Does he not get freeze dried at Jabba the Hutt’s?

Aradia: Yeah, it’s a Jabba the Hutt thing. He fucking –

Bree: No, he gets delivered to Jabba the Hutt after he gets freeze dried.

Aradia: Oh, right. It’s been forever since I’ve watched these movies. I am not up on my plot.

Bree: It’s okay. I’m just going to leave that out for the discord and see if anyone – there is not necessarily right answer. I have my sneaking suspicions.

Aradia: All of you can shame us for not knowing Star Wars properly.

Ali: The stuff before the Jabba the Hutt. And it’s – Oh, and there’s the, I love you – I know!

Aradia: Yes, that is that scene. Yeah. I love you – I know. Yes.

Ali: Oh, and then he descends! He descends the stairs of the descent, into something.

Bree: Okay. I’ll just tell you guys. That takes place in Cloud City. That’s when they go to, like, take refuge with Lando, and she gets dressed up all pretty and, you know, it seems like everything’s safe, so.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: So. Yeah, in Star Wars confessions love do seem to be perilous. And then they descend stairs. Well, I don’t know. I mean, this house is sus.

Ali: I’m concerned now though, because they descend, the stairs are going down.

Bree: But I mean hey.

Ali: Specifically down!

Bree: Well, this could be down to get out the door, to be fair.

Ali: Into Glenin’s waiting clutches!

Aradia: That’s what I’m starting to wonder, is like, who set the house?

Bree: Glenin sensed Cailet.

Ali: What?

Bree: Remember, so Glenin sensed Ceilet. Glenin has no idea what’s going on with Magic House.

Aradia: But like, what if some other Malerrisi knows what’s up with the house? Who’s got their eye on the other end of the camera, that’s set up in this creepy big brother house?

Ali: We have Auvry, Auvry does stuff. He was made a Mage for a second. # And he was friends with Gorynel Desse, and like, high level people. What if Auvry does something?

Aradia: Yeah, yeah. I’m very concerned. The house is Lando. The house is going to betray them.

Ali: Who’s the Jabba the Hutt of the – Oh, I have an answer. Anniyas is the Jabba the Hutt of the series.

Aradia: Clearly, yes, yes, definitely.

Bree: She’s the – I always think of her as the emperor. Right? Like, First Councillor.

Ali: Oh, that’s probably better.

Aradia: Oh, so is Glenin Jabba then?

Ali: Isn’t Glenin Anakin?

Bree: No, Auvry is Anakin. Glenin’s like, the addition. She’s the character that was added.

Ali: She’s Jabba the Hutt.

Bree: I will love that. I mean, if anyone is going to become a fascinating crime lord, you know, in this thing, I feel like Glenin’s got the crime lord.

Aradia: Yeah, she’s the crime lord.

Ali: Or she’s Boba Fett.

Aradia: Oooh.

Ali: Who’s Boba Fett?

Bree: That’s a good point. I don’t know if I know who’s Boba Fett, I don’t know if we have a Boba Fett.

Ali: Is she going into the maw of the sand beast?

Aradia: I mean, that would work for me. Into the maw with you!

Ali: Into the maw of the sand beast, the Sarlacc pit. Wait, who goes in the Sarlacc pit, is that Luke? One of our characters goes in the Sarlacc pit.

Bree: Luke and Han sort of like, kind of do. And Boba Fett goes all the way in. And then he comes back out and gets his own limited edition series we’re not talking about.

Ali and Aradia: Bloo, bloop, bloom, bloop.

Bree: I can’t harp.

Ali: I like all our harp noises.

Bree: So, yeah, well, I mean, this is the house situation. The house is definitely mysterious, but, I’m going to be real: I’d stay in it.

Aradia: It seems very dope.

Bree: I don’t know what truth I’d have to tell to get out, but, like, I mean, maybe I just stay.

Aradia: I mean, why leave? Why?

Bree: They’re going to keep making me good food, giving me clean clothes, good books, apparently.

Ali: I would really enjoy that. Actually, I vote, all of us get to the replenish house and just go hang out there.

Aradia: The replenishing house of truth. This sounds fine. Just eat snacks and journal your deepest heart out. Literally.

Bree: That’s therapy, right? It’s like therapy that comes with good sleep and nummy food and fancy, fancy slippers and gowns. Like, you know, who doesn’t want a –

Aradia: Self-cleaning laundry! Who doesn’t want that?

Ali: This must be what a celebrity cleanse is like.

Bree: One thing I will say. In part 15, we do find out that the magic house seems to be dropping clues, because Sarra’s robe – this is in Collan’s point of view, so we don’t get the import of it – But the robe it makes for her is turquoise, which is the Ambrai color.

Aradia: Uh huh.

Ali: Oh.

Bree: So it might be good to read all the house passages closely and see what colors it picks for Collan, if it decides to give him anything special or fancy, because it seems to be trying to out Sarra there, with the turquoise.

Aradia: Green and gold, it’s a green and gold robe, that’s what he’s wearing.

Bree: Green and gold. That’s interesting.

Aradia: Hmm.

Bree: I’m not sure I know all of the colors. Green and gray, I think, is the Feirans. Or green and silver. So we’ll have to go and look and see what all the different colors are. I think I do have a list somewhere. I can put it in the chat. Anything else about the house? Before we circle back to Cailet’s point of view.

Ali: I’m excited to find out what’s going on with this house. I just go back and forth, because there are Spirited Away vibes to me where I go, are they going to get turned into pigs? And there are, you know, I mean, how many times have we heard bad things happening in a house that appears suddenly out of nowhere at a time of need? Hansel and Gretel much?

Aradia: Right? Right. The house seems benign, which is suspicious.

Bree: I mean, it’s got some like, fairy vibes to me.

Ali: Baba Yaga vibes.

Aradia: Taking food from the fae is dangerous. So, like, they’re eating food in the altered space. What’s happening? It’s magic food.

Ali: Exactly. It’s giving Persephone, it’s giving all of it. I’m concerned. I’m concerned, but hopeful that everything will be fine and that they’ll express their love for each other.

1:17:35 Music break, Rising, chapter 14:

Bree: Part 14, which is Cailet. She has not been able to shake the Mages. Everything we talked about before, they will not go anywhere that she is not going. I kind of love that the guy who led this little revolution was a 74 year old former Captal’s Warder, and the Warders are basically like the bodyguards for the Captals. You know, this is the first sword who is like the second in command. And then the Warders are the inner circle who guard the Captal. And so the 74 year old who used to be a Warder was just basically like, nope, nope, I’ve got arthritis. And, you know.

Aradia: Yeah, he’s awesome.

Bree: I love the older Mages in this, there’s so many of these older Mages who are basically like – you know, we talk about generational trauma a lot when you guys, Wheel Takes, is reading Hunger Games – I feel like this is sort of almost the opposite. This is the generation before the trauma and they’re old now, but they’re like, We remember before. And we are going to rise to the occasion to bring it back for you kids, because we remember what it should be.

Ali: What is totally what they should do. I mean, I don’t know. I feel like – my father in law is retired and he’s been putting all of his energy into different political things. And I just think that’s great. You know, I just think it’s great. Why not, when you have theoretically time to do that? I feel like all the people who are – the young people also help out a lot, I think, in these kinds of things. Like I mean, people are kind of older – They’re just trying to stay alive. They’re trying to keep their kids alive. They’re trying to kind of, you know. So if you’re retired, consider –

Aradia: Participating.

Ali: Participating in some sort of stuff, I love that for him.

Bree: Political activism.

Ali: Yeah. And political activists can be any age, you know. There are a lot of them on the picket lines. There are a lot of old timer writers who were out there walking just as much as we were. And had the best stories. So, yeah, you can only talk to a 20 something so often about their first screenplay. You know, it was also cool to be talking to real veterans of the industry, you know, and they had a lot of great insight. So yeah I, I know. I feel like people discount how cold older people can be.

Bree: Yeah, though Cailet is shocked that he is – she is shocked that he is old because, you know, she’s got Gorynel Desse’s eternal, youthful image of himself in her head. So all of his contemporaries must also be young in her head. So they end up on fishing boats in the infamous Blighted Bay, which always sounds terrifying to me. You guys have any thoughts or comments about how they ended up on these boats? Did you recognize the family name?

Aradia: Yes. Yes. The Doyannis, or however you say that.

Ali: I did not. Where are they from?

Aradia: It’s one of the antagonists’ names. I remember that.

Ali: Oh, no.

Aradia: Like these are like that branch of the family that doesn’t like the bitch, or whatever.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: I think Elsvet or Elsevet or whatever?

Ali: Okay. They’re the good branch?

Bree: Glenin’s catty best friend.

Aradia: Yes!

Bree: Yeah. Glenin’s catty best friend is a Doyannis.

Ali: But this is the good branch?

Bree: So. Yeah, this is – She’s the one with the crazy mother, who sits on the council and hated Sarra. And apparently this mother, while on the council, like, basically put up a tax on fishing nets, specifically to bankrupt this branch of the family, so that they would have to, like, basically fall in with her, and so she could take over their finances. And so they fucking hate her.

Ali: Yeah, that doesn’t accomplish what you hoped it will.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Money issues drive families apart more than anything.

Bree: So basically they’re all Rising sympathizers, and they let all the Mages on the boat. If the Mages, the young Mages agreed to help haul in the catch. They also use magic to attract the fish, which is something that Cailet didn’t know was possible.

Ali: I mean, it makes sense.

Aradia: Yeah. Come and eat! Seems like a simple enough charm to play on simple creatures like fish.

Ali: Yeah, they’re not the most complex thinkers.

Aradia: We love fish, but they’re not very smart.

Bree: I love that it’s come and eat, with an exclamation point. I just, I do love the names of things in this.

Aradia: Yes, the enthusiasm.

Bree: Come and eat!

Ali: Though, you know what’s interesting, is that for a long time, until like really recently, the commonly held belief is that fish don’t feel pain.

Bree: Oh, really?

Aradia: That’s just dumb. Anyone who believed that is silly.

Ali: They had to prove it because there was such a deeply held belief, in science, that fish don’t feel pain. Because of some study that was flawed for some reason. I was just reading it in Ed Yong’s book An Immense World, which I have not shut up about the past few months, as I’ve been slowly reading it. But yeah, until very recently, apparently people thought that fish didn’t feel pain and that was a widely accepted scientific thought until very recently.

Aradia: It’s just so silly. It’s just so silly. They are animals. Why would you think that?

Ali: Yeah, well, you know, because there are some animals that theoretically don’t, that we can see.

Aradia: I just don’t buy that. I’m an animal.

Ali: Yeah, I know. I’m like, maybe the structures are different, but it’s tough with the sensory sciences because, you know, making assumptions like that does anthropomorphize them in a way that impedes study?

Aradia: Sure.

Ali: So there are definitely things that are painful to human beings, that are not painful to animals. Like naked mole rats, like a lot of acids don’t affect them like they would a person, which is kind of cool because they’re not actually really sure why, from what I read, from what I remember reading, that they aren’t sure why that’s true. But it is so, it’s like there are theoretically animals that might not feel pain like we do.

Aradia: Sure.

Ali: Or whatever. But yeah, so it’s kind of interesting. But I was like, yeah, I mean, I think fish, they’re complex enough organisms that they must have some like – I mean pain exists so that we don’t do it again.

Aradia: Right? There are lessons fish have to learn. I’m sure they feel pain.

Ali: Your body is like, Don’t do that again because it will kill us. And then you don’t do it again. And you’re like, Noted. That is not a good thing to do. Next time I will try to avoid doing that. It’s like they thought fish didn’t have that. But I’m like, But fish, fish do need to learn things like, you know, the salmon swimming upriver thing, to the same place every time! They’ve got to do tasks.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah. The thing I did like about this fishing magic thing was that the one dude who is a fisherman was like, I don’t want to learn that charm, because that would take all the sport out of my sport fishing in the future. All the people who don’t know how to fish are like, Yes, please, we’re so hungry. We don’t know how things work. We just want this to be easy. And the one guy who’s like, No, I’m a consummate fisherman, I’m going to leave it on hard mode. Thank you.

Ali: Yeah, it’d be like hunting with an AR 15. It’s like, what is the point? I mean, I don’t like hunting for myself, but I’m like, what would be the point of that, at that point it’s not even fair.

Aradia: I mean, I think that about actual hunting rifles, like AR 15s aren’t actually good hunting weapons. But yeah, I think that about like the scopes and the guns that allow you to like, pinpoint shit at a mile distance. I’m like, get your ass a sinew and a stick, and you try to hit that thing from within breathing distance, that is hunting.

Ali: Yeah, I go, What is the point? Do you just want to kill stuff?

Aradia: Yeah. It’s supposed to be a skill.

Ali: But what’s impressive about it, at that point, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Like, how is that fun? It’s just pathetic.

Aradia: Literally! I mean, that’s what she did. She had fish in a barrel charm here, and the one dude was like, What is the fun in that? That is shooting fish in a barrel.

Ali: Now I do get if it’s like, Well, we’re trying to feed people for real. It’s not something we’re doing for funsies? I get at that point being like, You know, we’re going to use what we need to use. But I don’t know, for me it’s like, yeah, I kind of side with that guy on some stuff, on the sport of it.

Bree: Which, to be fair, is what we do down here.

Ali: What?

Bree: My freezer has always got lots of deer meat in it, because all of the teachers down here, like, know that’s part of what you eat. We have – I mean, teachers aren’t getting paid Hunt for sport money, teachers are getting paid Hunt for food money.

Ali: That’s true.

Aradia: Yeah. A lot of people out here hunt to put a deer or two away.

Bree: So Mr. Bree is a very well off teacher, comparatively.

Ali: Yeah, pay teachers more. That’s my feeling. Pay teachers

Bree: Yes. Pay teachers.

Aradia: Nodding.

Ali: I love, Aradia, that you went, Nodding.

Aradia: It’s reflexive.

Ali: Because you, unlike me, realize they can’t see you.

Aradia: It’s just. Yes.

Ali: I forget all the time that I’m doing stuff. And Gus says, Ali, they can’t see that.

Aradia: It’s the first tagline Wheel of Time Spoilers ever came up with, was I’m nodding. It was like, year one they came up with that, it’s deep in my podcasting DNA.

Ali: I’m nodding. I love that.

Bree: Anything else about this chapter that you guys jumped out? This is actually the one where Cailet’s thinking about thinking the most.

Aradia: Yeah, the whole – Cailet needs to have Sarra and Col because her emotional connections to them are untainted by her people living rent free in her head, literally – I thought that was really interesting. Because we’ve gotten like – there’s a lot of different relationships and like, why do they matter? Why do they not matter? And we’ve been playing with a lot of that. And I feel like this is the clearest explanation. Sarra and Col and Taig are people for whom the people inside her have no feelings. And so those relationships are purely her. And I appreciated seeing that laid out, just the whole her thinking about thinking and thinking about navigating her feelings was very interesting. I’m a metacognitive person, too. I can’t ever stop thinking about how I’m thinking and trying to diagram out where my fucking feelings come from. And if I have a feeling but I can’t explain it, then it must not be real. And I very much felt for her, with her, through this passage of thinking about thinking.

Ali: No, it’s so true. I also thought it was interesting that Gorynel Desse, that she was talking about kind of having him in her head. And that he felt love, but annoyance for Sarra, but nothing for Col?

Aradia: Yeah. What?

Bree: Oh, no, I wrote that down. I was like, That’s a burn.

Ali: What was that about? I was like, Then why did you fuck with him so much? Forever?

Aradia: For years? Yeah. That was a weird, weird omission.

Bree: Makes me wonder if Gorynel Desse is not letting her see everything.

Ali: Can you do that with the Captal? I thought the point was, she has all the information.

Bree: Well, he seems more – he, to me, seems more alive in her head. And I think she even feels that way, that he is more alive in her head than the other ones. So I don’t know.

Aradia: Yeah. No, because when she got the Bequest, the one dude had the memory bubble that he kept for himself. So we know that during the Bequest they were able to keep things back. But yeah, I kind of thought that it was open note tests, now that they were all just in her head. And it does imply that there’s some agency and secrecy still going on with him. And again, I return to my refrain, I wish he would just die already. Like, he’s still messing with things. Like, dude, stop.

Ali: I know. Imagine being such a busy body, you’re fucking people up even in the afterlife.

Aradia: Right?

Ali: My God, let it be. Well, because here’s my thing. Here’s my thing. We need to know what’s going on with Col. He’s been the big question mark this entire frickin time. And maybe he is just the useless love interest. I would maybe accept that. Except for the mysteriousness, the mystery that is constantly surrounding him all the time. Even in the house. They can’t get the day right that he got taken into slavery. I just – And it feels like there’s a big reveal coming there in this House of Truth and Meet Cute.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: And I just I – so she gets to feel confused about whether or not she’s feeling your attraction to women or hers? But meanwhile, sir, at the same time, you are going to keep that from her, so she gets to like feel your horny feelings, but she doesn’t get to know what your feelings for Collan are?

Aradia: You are weird.

Ali: You are absolutely goddamn shitting me, old man.

Aradia: Yeah, very strange.

Bree: What is going on with Collan? That is strange. It’s extremely strange.

Ali: That bugged me a lot. I was like, There is no way this man feels nothing for Collan. I will not accept that. I will not accept that at face value. That is not right. He has fucked with this boy so much, there has got to be feelings behind it. I felt the same way about Snow and Katniss. I was like, Who dumped you? Who dumped you and hurt your feelings, and now you hate women, like there is just – sometimes you’re like, something happened to you that was traumatic that you never worked through and you blame the wrong people for it.

Aradia: Yeah. And that this section is then followed by the house with the secret. Because like, we did it out of order. But like, given the order of this. Yeah, it very much says, Oh, we’re not done uncovering what’s up with Collan, We are not done explaining him away as just the love interest. Like, there is still more layers to the Collan onion.

Ali: Even in a book about women in power, Melanie Rawn is giving the useless love interest a back story and intrigue. How generous of her. I wish that others would follow suit. Wants, a back story, drama – that is a fleshed out character for just a love interest. And you know what? If that is what all it is, then good on Melanie for doing what many people won’t do for female love interests.

Aradia: Amen.

Bree: I mean, I kind of feel like that is sort of the the thesis, the manifesto, underneath this novel, is that, just because he’s the love interest doesn’t mean he has to be nothing.

Ali: Right.

Bree: Vacant, agency less.

Ali: Which is good.

Bree: And I feel like, yeah, you’re exactly right. So many books written in the nineties by men failed to climb over this very reasonably low bar.

Ali: I’m like, Is she interesting at all? Does she have an internal world? No? Okay. Great. She’s just there to kiss.

Aradia: Collan is one of the most interesting, intriguing plot driving characters. More of that please.

Ali: Exactly. More of that. That is so generous of her, considering. And yeah, there’s just no way this boy elicits no feelings to Gorynal Desse. I just don’t believe it. You have zapped his memory so many times at this point. There is no way that you don’t care.

Aradia: Maybe he’s protecting Col somehow. He’s like, the secret can’t come out yet, so I can’t have feelings yet.

Ali: Oh, so it’s got to be a big secret, then?

Aradia: Maybe.

Bree: There was one point where Gorynel’s son, Telomir Renne – Cailet had mentioned taking the Wards off of Collan, and Telo acted weird about it. Like, almost panicked. Like, You’re not to do that, are you? So it feels like there’s something, there’s something underneath there, that nobody’s supposed to know.

Ali: Well Telo, why don’t you tell-o us what that is?

Aradia: (giggles) Tell-o!

Ali: Tello, it’s Ali. I would like to know what’s going on.

Bree: One thing I was going to say, though, is that I appreciate that Collan gets to drive a lot of story and plot, while remaining – in a very real way he is almost agency-less. He is the bitch of this storyline. He is batted around from place to place, literally knocked unconscious and carried to the next plot point.

Aradia: Drugged, kicking and screaming. Yeah.

Bree: He gets to do all this while still having, you know, being dragged around, sometimes unconscious, from plot point to plot point. But he still gets to impact the stuff, because he is a really strong character who, you know, impacts the people who do have agency. So yeah. Any other thoughts about this section?

Aradia: That’ll do it for me.

Ali: No, I think that covered my thoughts. But I am concerned about this house, and I’m concerned about this back story.

Aradia: I’m concerned about the once and future plum.

1:35:48 Wrap-up

Bree: Well, it seems like truth is going to come out in our reading, which we are reading part 16 through 22 for next week, and it seems like we might have a chance to see what this house thinks is truth and what Collan thinks is truth and all sorts of things.

Aradia: I’m very excited.

Ali: I’m excited. 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.

1:36:04 The Aftershow: Stuff that will not make you want to leave the house

Ali: I just got a job alert from LinkedIn for a creative, executive chef. I don’t think that that’s for me.

Aradia: So you said, You starting a business?

Ali: Oh, yeah, I’m starting a business in which I do copywriting for people

Aradia: Oh! Cool, cool, cool.

Ali: Specifically a lot of the time, creatives. So like, Christy Caldwell is using me, Bree is using me, and Courtney Milan is also using me. I basically like writing blurbs for books, like writing writer’s websites, query letters, bios. Like my slogan is. I write the stuff you don’t want to.

Ali: Very cool. So that’s what I’m trying to do, because I think that would be something I would really love doing full time, that might bring me some money while my industry is on fire.

Aradia: That seems reasonable. Yeah. There’s a new iron in the fire. Why the hell not?

Ali: You know what, I’m not busy enough. Do you know what I mean? Like, I’ve always said this about me. I’m just.

Bree: Well, here’s the thing. I caught you saying, How does Bree write novels? The reason you’re going to be so good at this is, because we’re all thinking, How the fuck did she write scripts? You have to be so precise with your words. So, like, I can write a blurb, but I can not write a tagline.

Ali: Yeah, I get that. Right now my script is ten pages over, my first one that I need to edit down. And I’m just like, And so it begins. Like, you know, in Lord of the Rings, where it’s like raining?

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ali: That’s how I feel, looking at the next two and a half weeks. I’m just like, Radical acceptance, radical acceptance, radical acceptance. But yeah.

Bree: Yeah, that’s why you’re going to be so good at this.

Aradia: All right, Bree. Where are we?

Bree: I do not remember where we were before I had to go take my dogs out.

Aradia: We were talking about sailing.

Bree: We were talking about the dangers of fishing, and Linda Greenlaw. It’s Linda Greenlaw. Anyway, I do highly recommend her books, if you like nonfiction.

Ali: All right. I want to just say one quick thing about mountaineering as it got brought up. If you’ve not read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

Aradia: Oof. God, that book.

Ali: I was hyperventilating, hyperventilating, reading that book. My sister walked by me and was like, What is wrong with you?

Aradia: I’m on top of Everest!

Ali: I’m like, am reading I’m on top of Everest and everyone around me is dying. I guess when you first start the book, you’re like, This is awesome. I want to do this. And then you read past page 100 and you go, Nevermind, I’m never leaving my house again. Actually, the world wants us dead.

Aradia: Yeah. Now, Jon Krakauer is an amazing writer, but Into Thin Air, just, ugh, genre defining for me.

Bree: Have you read The Climb?

Ali: The Climb? No, No. Who is that by?

Bree: It is – one of the guys who was on the trip with Jon Krakauer wrote a response to his book, to Into Thin Air. So they’re like dueling books.

Ali: Oh, yeah, I did know that.

Aradia: I think I feel like I did know about that, but I’ve never read it.

Bree: So you should, because it’s like it’s pretty interesting. It is like, there’s getting the multiple point of views on, like, everything that went wrong on that trip.

Ali: Yeah, yeah.

Bree: It is pretty amazing.

Ali: And I think the guy who wrote the response was, who was there, and he was also one of the climber guys, one of the guide people, that was bringing people up.

Bree: He was one of the guides who was not using oxygen, I think. And this was his defense of that, because I think that Krakauer blames him a lot for not being prepared or whatever, because he wasn’t using oxygen.

Ali: Right.

Bree: If I’m recalling this correctly, it’s been a few years since I read the two books.

Aradia: Interesting.

Ali: And so he was like, Actually, Jon Krakauer didn’t do shit. And I was trying to save people’s lives, and ladededada. So yeah, but I’ve been meaning to read that one. I was just like, I can’t emotionally handle these two books too close together. And then, oh, the other one I wanted to bring up is Shadow Divers. I forget who it’s by, but this one’s really good too. It’s about people that do the deep sea diving, and go down into like, into boats. But they go into, like, boats that have sunk, and try and find, like, stuff to bring back up. That’s like, you know, historical artifacts and stuff. And, oh, my God, people die a lot. And I go, and this is their hobby. Like, this isn’t something that they’re being paid to do. Like they could make money off of it, obviously, if they find something super valuable. But for the most part it’s just for fun. They go explore, and I just go, Oh my God, They discovered a U-boat that wasn’t supposed to be there.

Aradia: Ooh.

Ali: And so they have to basically prove that this was a at the time that it should have been. And all this stuff, while it’s super dangerous because it’s super deep and now it’s really good.

Aradia: Editing Aradia is definitely taking notes on that.

Ali: Yeah, you should read that one. And if you’re looking for a documentary about people doing more stuff that will not make you want to leave the house – have you ever heard of free diving?

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Where you just dive as long as you can without oxygen? So you’re as deep as you can like. And it’s up to, like, several statues of liberty.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s much too far.

Ali: And they go, yeah, they go so deep, right?

Aradia: Much too far.

Ali: There’s a new documentary on Netflix that I watched over the summer that was about free diving and all that goes into free diving. And it’s, ugh, it’s wild. And I did not know that was a thing. And then I found out that someone I went to high school with is a free diver. And I went, What? Because she was not somebody that you would go, Oh yeah, that’s a risk taking kind of person.

Bree: No, it definitely scares the crap out of me. Except for, I also love Susan Casey.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Like when I was trying to finish this book, I just listened to Susan Casey, her two books. Her newest one is about deep trench diving. Which is crazy, that she had this coming out right before the sub explosion happened, because she was hanging out with some of the people, like one of the – with the Titanic guy who was on that sub. And like all these other people in the lead up to this. While she was writing this book. And it’s called The Underworld by Susan Casey.

Aradia: Wow. I love her writing.

Bree: So it’s like about – she went down to her, right, not into the Titanic or anything, but she went into the Tonga Trench, I think.

Aradia: Wow.

Bree: So it is crazy.

Ali: It’s a crazy thing.

Bree: And also Devil’s Teeth by her, is about sharks, it is so good.

Ali: I love sharks.

Bree: So we have given you a nonfiction reading list now.

Aradia: We can keep going for hours. We could focus for hours on this fuck.

Ali: Let’s start our new podcast, which is People that don’t like exploring or risk taking, reading about people who seem to love both of those things.

Bree: Yes, Yes.

Ali: Because I just constantly say to myself, I would never find myself in this situation. Okay. Speaking of risk takers.

Bree: Steer back towards poor Garon.

1:44:10 Music break, Aftershow part 2: Quick, pitch your business while Bree is chasing dogs

Aradia: And while she’s doing that, I will confess that I am a dumb ass and thought I should stop reading when I hit the number 15 rather than finishing the chapter that comes after the number 15. So while you were talking, I was reading the chapter, going back and forth, out of order. So I don’t actually properly know what happened in that chapter, because I forgot to read it. But didn’t forget to read it. I forgot how numbers work and chose to not read it.

Ali: I have done it on an episode before, early on, and I quickly read it while we were talking and it was fine.

Aradia: That’s my truth.

Ali: Because I realized like, and I don’t know if what if it was like a numbers thing or what, but you all started talking about things that happened. And I was like, I don’t know any of this. I realized while you were talking I was like, I don’t know any of this. So then I went in and I was like, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah. That was me this time.

Ali: Very okay. In a way, it made me feel sane, because I beat myself up about it a lot.

Aradia: No, don’t do that!

Ali: Secretly. I just hid the fact that I did it.

Aradia: Yes. More truth, as this house would demand.

Ali: Yes. The house would not let me out, because I get so embarrassed by myself. And then I’m like, Surely I’m the first person to ever fuck up this way. Surely. And I’m following this TikTok account right now called Dadchats. And it’s this guy, and he’s adorable. He’s like a little nerdy lawyer guy. And his wife also makes an appearance and they talk about their, like, failures as parents. And they’re just really funny and sweet and clearly in love with each other. And it’s nice to see people with three small kids still seem like they like each other, you know, and be playful and silly with each other. So I watch them as kind of like a comfort thing lately, I’ve been like binging their videos because I’m just like, Oh, they just seem so lovely and in love, but they also make me feel seen, because they fuck up all the time in these hilarious ways. Where I’m like, Okay, so it’s not just me. It’s not just me going like, Everyone else is living seamlessly and I am a mess.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ali: It was actually great because I was talking to my friend Andy yesterday. I called her because I was like, I don’t know which outline to pick to work on for my thing. And I was like, I feel like my career is just blown out at this point. Like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I was starting all these new things from scratch. I’m like, really freaking out. And she goes, I’ve known you for four years now and I’ve seen you through a lot of career shit at this point. And she’s like, And I know you, you have this feeling every two weeks, just like, at least once a month I hear from you that your career is a disaster and that you’re going to die. And she’s like, And I’m not saying that you’re like a burden or any – probably these feel like she was like, I just know you. And I know that usually when you are at your rock bottom the next week you text me that something amazing happened to you. So, like, I don’t know if that’s helpful, but she was like, But this is kind of your pattern. You, like, fall into a pit of despair, and then literally the next week something opens up. So she’s like, I wouldn’t – and she said, And if she makes you feel any better, literally every writer in Hollywood feels this way right now. So, you know, it’s fine. You just have to tread water for a while. But yeah, so I started this new business because I was like, all writers hate marketing their own shit, and hate writing their own, like taglines and blurbs and stuff. They hate bragging about themselves because they’re all like that introverted extrovert at best. They’re at best extroverted introverts because that’s the only people that would want to write, is people who love spending time by themselves.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ali: And so they just hate it and I hate it. Everyone hates it, but I love hyping up other people and their work. And I was like, So I can do it for you. I’ll be your professional hype woman. I will like, tweet your tweets, I’ll write your blurbs, I’ll do your bios. You know, anything that you just like as a creative hate doing, I will do.

Aradia: Oh, that’s totally how I feel about the editing thing. It’s exactly the thing is, it’s like everyone wants to podcast. No one wants to edit. I fucking love editing. Editing is great and I much prefer editing other people. Editing other people is a thousand times easier than editing myself.

Ali: Exactly. And so, yeah, that’s my thing, I’m like, now I’m just starting to kind of figure out where to go from here. But yeah, it’s nice when you read or see things that – this is all me saying that you made me feel very seen, much like dadchats does.

Aradia: Oh that’s good, I’m glad.

Ali: And also I weirdly segued it into talking about my business.

Bree: (out of breath) Sorry guys. I got out there, and they ran from the door.

Aradia: Ugh! Doggos.

Ali: Well, you know, I have never experienced a dog embarrassing me in front of others ever in my life. It’s constant. Yeah. Last night he decided to be an absolute terror, because it was his first Halloween.

Bree: Oh, no.