Diamond Balls Rosvenir: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 18 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for truth The Ruins of Ambrai.

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

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The Ruins of Ambrai, Rising parts 16-22: Diamond Balls Rosvenir

0:00:10 Introduction, welcome, and Patron thanks

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 Rugrats. I’m under a tight deadline, so if I say anything that doesn’t make any sense, you know why: because I was up until 3 a.m. writing last night. And I’m also the co-host of Wheel Takes podcast.

Aradia: I am Aradia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, and the podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media.

Bree: And I’m Bree, generally part of the bestselling sci fi fantasy romance author Kit Rocha, currently on vacation. Pretending that I’m not working. It’s not going great, but you know.

Ali: That’ll be me on the 16th, baby.

Bree: Can’t wait. So waiting for – I think it’s 20 days, 20 days until Horny Dragon touchdown.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: It’s so, so good. It’s so good. It’s like I’m mad I’m on a deadline right now because I keep only getting to read it in little chunks, like little tiny chunks before I fall asleep. But I literally read something the other day that made me do the little kick feet giggles.

Bree: Aww.

Aradia: I can’t wait. I cannot wait.

Ali: So many kicky feet giggles.

Bree: So, yeah, I’m so close.

Ali: I am so sleep deprived. Currently, we’re nuancing our way through the Ruins of Ambrai. So if you haven’t read that yet, go do that and come back when you have. For the rest of you, let’s break it down now, Bree, is this feeling so relatable?

Bree: Yes. Your little deadline eyes. I’m having PTSD flashbacks right now. Oh, poor Ali.

Ali: It’s just like, my brain is mulch. It’s great.

Bree: You got this. You got this. Okay, before we jump into the time machine this week, we have a patron to thank! All of our episodes, of course, remain free. But if you’d like to access an ad free version of this podcast, you can support us at Patreon.com/theHotNuanceBookClub, the link is in the episode notes.

Aradia: There are also more levels where you can get such fun rewards as secret discord channels, stickers, an invite to an end of book live in zoom book club with us, which is coming soon at the pace we’re going.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: And of course patron shoutouts.

Ali: This week we have a new patron to thank. Thank you to our new, Hotter Nuance Patron, Kelly! Yay, Kelly!

Aradia: Thank you, Kelly!

Ali: Love you, Kelly!

Bree: Big love! So, and just so all of you know since we’re coming towards the end of this book, as mentioned, those who pledge at the – oh my gosh, did you just? Ali just made heart hands and hearts exploded on her zoom.

Aradia: Her zoom is fancy and emotes when she does things.

Ali: I don’t know why. I didn’t click any buttons and all of a sudden it started doing that. And also when I put up a peace sign, we found out it does balloons.

Aradia: That’s so weird.

Ali: I love it.

Bree: It’s amazing. I don’t know what’s going on, but –

Ali: It thrills me.

Aradia: How many other gestures will make emojis happen?

Bree: We’re going to find out. So as I was saying, if you pledge at the Hottest Nuance level before the end of this book, even if you just bump it up for one week or whatever, we will grant you an official Hot Nuance book club title, that is themed based on whatever book we happen to be reading. So right now you will become a patron saint of something. I am keeping a straight face even as Ali is over there, fricking doing interpretive dancing, trying to set off the.

Ali: I’m trying to see if there’s any other –

Bree: Ali is the patron saint of interpretive zoom dances? If you would like to be the patron saint of something, you have a few more weeks left to go.

Aradia: Yeah. Then we’ll be moving on to a different patron saint thing.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: We’ll figure something out.

Aradia: Not even patron saint –

Bree: I feel we have to do knights.

Aradia: Yeah. I’ve been trying to figure out what we’re gonna –

Bree: We’re at the knight people. Knights of the Realm.

Aradia: I’ve been trying to figure out how we’re going to make Tortall relevant to this. But we’ll do it. We’re going to be workshopping it.

Ali: I like knights. We could do like –

Bree: Knights.

Ali: Knight of the, like, round table. But we’ll come up with a different thing.

Aradia: Yeah, that could work.

Bree: Well, some of the Tortall names are pretty fun, so I’ll definitely think about that. So. So yeah, I think we’re, we’re, we’re kind of aiming for wrapping this book up around the end of the year. So there’s your time table, folks.

0:04:52 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: And speaking of time, it’s time to get in the time machine! (swoosh sound) Oh, you may have noticed that these are getting goofier and goofier, because I have definitely hit a lot of the big events from 1994. But I am determined to keep finding wacky things to talk about.

Aradia: Love it.

Ali: It’s wild to me how few events there were in 1994, considering the fact that it feels like I live a world event every day.

Bree: Oh my God. Yeah, we were really blessed. There was like, you know, a lot fewer historical, unprecedented things going down that year.

Ali: Truly a blessed year.

Bree: But I am talking about my favorite weird TV show that nobody has ever watched, which apparently came out in 1994, which was called Earth 2. And I am going to try to describe the plot to you guys, and it’s probably not even right.

Ali: Please.

Bree: And it was something about – like there were a bunch of kids who are sick from the atmosphere on Earth and like, a rich science lady was like, We will go to New Earth! And they all like, got on a colony ship and went to this new Earth. But when they got there, it was full of psychic dirt aliens, who were trying to take their kids. And I don’t know, I really do not remember this clearly, except for Clancy Brown was in it, and Antonio Sabàto Jr.

Aradia: (gasps) Clancy Brown!

Bree: And it was just the most bizarre show. Like I can’t even describe how weird it was, but I was obsessed with it because it came on after seaQuest, which is my other 1994 favorite show. And I would just like to point out that this wonderful world where we had colonized the ocean was set in 2018.

Aradia: Aww.

Bree: And they have fabulous subs and these talking dolphins. And like, I feel like, just generally speaking, the present has let me down.

Aradia: That is a beautiful vision for the future.

Bree: I have no talking dolphin friends.

Ali: Yeah, the talking dolphin friends.

Aradia: I want a talking dolphin. That’s amazing.

Bree: There was all this funny stuff on seaQuest, Like there was no meat left, like, people didn’t eat meat anymore. It was like an environmental utopia future. And so it was just like people patrolling on the sub.

Aradia: Wow. So aspirational.

Bree: I once on Reddit found somebody who was obsessed with this one scene from the show that I am also obsessed with, which was a guy who was carving down a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, like one of the last relics in the world, so that he could cook a illegal cheeseburger on the sub. It was like a black market, illegal cheeseburger. And he gets caught and Roy Scheider, of Jaws fame, is the captain of this thing. So he takes a guy’s cheeseburger and confiscates it because “cheeseburgers are illegal”. And then, like the last scene of the show is him just taking this huge bite of the cheeseburger, like, Mmh, black market cheeseburgers. Anyway, I really want cheeseburgers now.

Aradia: That’s amazing.

Bree: 1994 was weird.

Ali: I feel like everything about this feels so nineties to me. Like, first of all, calling anything blank 2? Peak nineties.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Putting a z at the end of something that should have an s? Peak nineties.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Bizarre and unnecessary future technology? Peak nineties.

Aradia: Mm hmm.

Ali: I remember we used to do these things where we were trying to sell wrapping paper door to door to raise money for our school. And I remember that in the magazine there were all these things that you could get if you sold enough wrapping paper. And of course I never did because I’d go three houses down and then get bored. But I coveted this one thing that I really wanted. It was a dog collar that supposedly translated what your dog was saying.

Aradia: Mm hmm.

Ali: I wanted it so badly.

Bree: Oh. So nineties.

Ali: And then I will never forget, this boy named Connor got one, because he sold enough wrapping paper, and claimed that his dog just swore a lot. So then they had to take the collar off.

Bree: I feel like that’s probably what would be happening.

Ali: And I know this is all apropos of nothing, but this just feels like what the nineties were, you know?

Aradia: Mhm. Yeah. Well apropos of nothing, the nineties.

Bree: The nineties were definitely weird gadget time, like just the weirdest toys for kids like, you know, like the Teddy Ruxpin, and all the weird talking toys that looked like nightmare, horror movie –

Ali: Or the robot dogs? That were so annoying.

Bree: Yes! Oh my gosh.

Ali: Furbys? Wasn’t Furbys nineties? Did they come out in the nineties?

Bree: I’m not sure, but it seems about right.

Aradia: I had an animatronic hippo in the nineties.

Ali: Horrifying.

Aradia: Amazing. It was fuzzy and blue, like furry, because hippos are super furry, you know, like in nature..

Ali: Are there still, like, Chucky cheeses in this world? Are they, do they exist?

Bree: Oh, God, yes. Because, you know what, I literally – like I was looking, four or five months ago, for the best pizza in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and somebody legitimately said Chucky Cheese. And I was like, The Chucky Cheese has the best pizza in town? Are you telling me the Chucky Cheese is still open? Multiple people agreed with this. So I was like, Okay.

Ali: Interesting.

Bree: Learned many things, many things about Tuscaloosa. I do not believe for one second this is true. I’m sorry.

Ali: My mom refused to go to Chucky Cheese because apparently when I was really little my sister and I were playing in the like tube structure – which I remember being unnecessarily complicated, to a point where you felt like you would never find a way out, which I think explains some of my anxiety because I definitely had multiple breakdowns in the tubes.

But my parents never knew that because by the time I found my way out of said tubes, I had stopped melting down, because it had been so long since I had been in the tubes – But my mom refused to go there after a certain point, because apparently one time we were in the tubes and right next to her, some woman for no reason took her cane and hit another woman over the head with it.

Bree: That also feel very nineties, honestly.

Ali: Which also feels like such a nineties thing to happen. Someone gets assaulted in a Chucky Cheese. Which to me, also humiliating, if I am that person. But then the police came and my mom got us out of there real fast because she didn’t want to have to stay and be a witness. Even though she was right next to it. My mom was like, I’m minding my business.

Bree: Listen, you don’t know who is assaulting someone at the Chucky Cheese.

Ali: You never know. She was just like, whatever this mess was, I don’t want to get it. Do you know what I read? I’m going to be here for hours, trapped in this Chucky Cheese, being interrogated otherwise.

Bree: Listen to places you don’t want to be a witness. Chucky Cheese and the Waffle House. Okay? Just get out.

Ali: Honestly though, I’ve watched this TikTok of this woman. She was working at the Waffle House. Someone threw a chair at her, and she just pushed it midair out of the way. Like it was nothing. Like it was nothing!

Bree: Oh, no. She caught that thing. She just whipped it around, she caught it. She could have flipped that thing around and thrown it back if she wanted.. She was just like, Oh yeah.

Ali: That woman has seen some fucking shit. There was no hesitation. There was no shock.

Bree: Do you guys live in Waffle House areas? Because like, the Waffle Houses is a – I don’t know if y’all have them up there.

Ali: I feel like Yes.

Aradia: I think Denny’s is the chain up here that I would associate that vibe with. We do have IHOP, but Denny’s is definitely the one I associate with weird shit in the parking lot, and inside for that matter.

Bree: It’s just, don’t fuck with someone who’s worked at the Waffle House. You guys don’t fuck with them, okay? They have seen shit you can’t imagine. They are not going to flinch. If you have seen that whole Waffle House fight, someone else like comes up over the counter with a fucking pan. Like she just grabs the frickin pan and – they’re not playing around.

Ali: They’re not fucking around. And I just love it. The Jonas Brothers have that cute little boppy song over it, like (sings) Duh du duh, at the Waffle House! And it makes me giggle every time because I’m just like, Tell me you’ve never been in a Waffle House without telling me you never been in a Waffle House.

Bree: No. Okay. So also in 1994, Melanie Rawn made Collan Rosvenir wish he’d gotten frozen in carbonite.

Ali: Truly

Bree: Here we go, y’all.

Ali: I knew it.

Bree: Welcome to The Ruins of Ambrai.

Ali: I knew it. I knew that something was going to go wrong at the Truth house. I was just like, I remember the Star Wars, I remember the Jabba the Hutt. This is not good.

Aradia: I love, though, that we have him continuing to be the love interest, in that he is now the damsel in distress, locked in a tower that needs to be rescued. I love that he’s staying within his trope. Yes, love that for him.

Ali: Love that for all of us.

Aradia: Yeah. Mostly I love it for us. Actually, it sucks for him.

Bree: He got kidnaped, but he managed to do it in a swaggering sort of way.

Ali: It sucks for him, actually, but.

Aradia: I liked how he got captured though, he got captured with swagger.

Ali: He did.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: He had a good little chat with his father in law.

0:14:58 Rising, chapter 16: Backstory of the Antifa-ther

Bree: Speaking of, we start part 16, is it just me or is Auvry Feiran kind of like gaslighting Glenin a little bit? Like, Don’t worry your pregnant little head, you’re just feeling things.

Ali: I mean –

Aradia: I was getting that impression, yes.

Ali: Now, here’s the thing: On the list of Auvry’s crimes, gaslighting is pretty low, you know.

Aradia: Sure.

Bree: But, you know, manipulating his daughter like – he’s not dad of the year at this point, considering what he’s turned Glenin into.

Ali: I feel like he’s whatever the antithesis of dad of the year is. He’s like parental figure –

Bree: Is there an anti father?

Ali: Anti dad.

Bree: Father and anti father?

Ali: Yeah. Anti dad.

Aradia: We’ll just call him antifa.

Bree: He wishes.

Aradia: I know, he’s like the opposite of antifa.

Ali: Aradia, watching you grow into what a first time reader is, has been just such a delight.

Aradia: I couldn’t have asked to do it with better people.

Ali: Because I’m sitting here going, Anti dad, and you’re like, you come up with something way better than that. Oh, hey. Oh, I had a weird thought about the pregnant thing, and I can’t remember what it is, but I had a whole feeling about it. Keep talking.

Aradia: It was weird to me, though, that he – first he kind of makes it seem like, Oh, you’re just pregnant and imagining things. And then he turns around and says, No, you’re pregnant and that does actually give you a bump up. Like he starts out doubting her and then switches to not doubting her results. Like, why? Why do you have to suck first? Why can’t we just go right into actually interrogating, the magic part? Because it apparently matters a big deal, once we take the pregnant woman seriously.

Ali: Oh, this is what it was.

Aradia: Yeah, I knew. I hoped that would trigger you.

Ali: Glenin is Dwight Schrute from the Office because she has the power of a full grown woman and an unborn baby.

Bree: I don’t remember that one. No, I think I do now.

Ali: Oh, He talks about how he absorbed his twin in the womb, and then, with a straight face is like, I have the power of a fully grown man and an unborn baby.

Bree: There you go.

Ali: And Glenin, too, has the power of a fully grown woman and an unborn baby.

Bree: Love it. We should point out, by the way, that when he came back in here to like lightly gaslight her, he has been – culling Mages is the euphemism we use. He’s been on a murder spree. He’s just been out doing some murders.

Aradia: Ugh. Yeah, just some light, you know, –

Bree: Filthy work.

Ali: Some dads love cars, some dads love carpentry, some dads love meats, some dads love murder.

Aradia: Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Ali: We’ve all had a mid-life crisis. He’s just going through man-opause.

Bree: Oh.

Aradia: Yeah. But then we do get like, really cool back story, which is kind of late in the book for a big old back story dump. It has to be all like, secret revealy, magic.

Bree: We finally get the Auvry Feiran back story dump. So what do you guys think about that?

Aradia: I mean, I feel like if we’d gotten this sooner, we’d feel a lot more sympathetic to him. But at this point, it feels a little late. I’m like, Tough titties, old man.

Ali: I felt a little bit like it mirrored somewhat Collan’s whole thing, where it’s like his whole family kind of gets, like, wiped out mysteriously. Except for him.

Aradia: And then, the Collan thing, right? Like a mysterious man with mysterious powers. Like, maybe he’s not their sibling, Maybe he’s like a third removed cousin or something, because, like, what the hell is going on with the Feiran line? Like, first they’re getting wiped out, then they’re having Wild Magic erupt through. Like, maybe Collan is part of the family tree, just not in a creepy way.

Ali: Finally, Aradia, you’re on my team.

Aradia: At long last.

Bree: Team incest. Took you a while to get there.

Aradia: You know what? Doing this does strange things to a person. Now you’re pro kidnapping, you’re shipping incest, like – we’re 626 pages in. Shit’s wild

Ali: Shit’s wild. We’re wilding int the 600 pages in. So, other thing. So he says, I killed my brother and she goes, It’s not your fault. And I go, Uh? I mean.

Bree: So what happened is basically, he feels the summoning from when the previous Captal died, and they sent out like the summoning to tell all the Mages, which is basically what Cailet used, was the summoning. And so he feels – it sort of like pops off his magic and makes him crazy. He just wants to go kill the source of this thing that is like tormenting his magic. And so he sort of rows himself and his brother through some white water rapids. His brother gets washed overboard and dies, and that’s the end of that. So it is a little bit his fault. But the way that Glenin just pivots that blame completely to the Mage Guardians for recklessly sending out summons, is pretty deft. She is a blame shifter, like, blame shifting ninja.

Aradia: Yeah but then he also ties that to the loss of the rest of his family. But there’s no actual explanation for the rest of his family getting lost, his mother and other brother. So like, that makes me assume that – you know, again, maybe that’s how Collan is brought into this thing. Like who was their fathers? Like, why did they leave? Was there something about his magic that did drive them off? Did he kill them? Did he put them in a pocket dimension? Like, they have to come, back? Right. That’s a big loose end?

Ali: Oh, that’s true. His brother was, like, super fair, right? Almost like Collan.

Aradia: Yeah. The three brothers looked different.

Bree: They are. He implied pretty strongly that he had three brothers and all three of them had different fathers. But he thinks his father is the one, whoever his father was, who gave him the magic. And he is taller and darker than the rest of his family.

Ali: Right.

Bree: So, I mean, who was his father? It is a question I feel like is out there on the table, too, which we.

Ali: Who is Anakin’s daddy?

Aradia: The Spice.

Bree: The Force.

Ali: Who is Anakin’s daddy. Yeah I also was kind of like – I mean maybe they ditched you because you kind of killed your brother. That could also be a thing. They were just like, let’s just leave before he gets us too. Which, considering the fact that he does have a history of family annihilation, might have been a great self-preservation move.

Aradia: Good instincts on their part.

Ali: Maybe great instincts, maybe they saw it coming, you know, And then he also says to Glenin, I saved you from that whole magical puberty thing by suppressing your powers or whatever? And I go, I don’t know.

Bree: Well no, by making sure that she was trained early. Glenin was never repressed. That’s what he meant, he got her a tutor, way early.

Ali: Oh! Oh, that was just Sarra. And Collan. Okay.

Bree: Yeah. Yeah. Glenin’s the only one who has never had anything locked up. She’s just, you know.

Ali: Okay, but we didn’t run any background checks on that tutor.

Aradia: No.

Ali: So I don’t know if that makes you a better parent.

Bree: Well, no, I mean, I did. We ran one background check, which is the, Are you an evil fascist? And he passed. So that was apparently the qualification.

Aradia: That’s true.

Ali: And then we’re shocked that the evil fascist is also kind of a groomer. You know, it kind of turns out that when you’re shitty in one way, you’re shitty in more than one, a lot of the time.

Aradia: Yeah. Speaking of mentors though, this is also how Gorynel Desse comes into the picture as far as our, like, family goes. Gorynel Desse finds half starved, super traumatized Auvry and nurses him back to health and teaches him how to deal with magic and gives him his second chance at life, like that’s where Gorynel Desse comes into the picture. That’s the debt that Auvry owes him.

Bree: That’s why this relationship is so messy between them.

Ali: Okay, But here’s the thing. Gorynel Desse, once again, showing up at the perfect time to take in a wayward orphan. It’s now happened, what, five times?

Aradia: Yeah, over two generations.

Ali: Which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened five times.

Bree: It is weird that it keeps happening. But he was sent by the Captal. The Captal was having nightmares. The new Captal, who is the one who caused all the drama later on that ended up getting everything burned down. But this was when she was just invested, and she was having nightmares. She was like, Gorynel Desse, go this way. Tell me why your – there’s some dangerous thing happening up there. So he went and was scrying, and eventually found Auvry. So it wasn’t like he just wandered accidentally – at least there was a reason for this.

Aradia: Yeah. Outside of him. Yeah.

Bree: But the danger was the Wild Magic, which we have not talked about a lot here. But I think that the implication has been that the Wild Magic is kind of like, when you lose complete control of it, that’s like what’s responsible for the Waste and all of that. The magic, like going wild. So it’s like something that they fear completely.

Ali: He was like a ticking time bomb that she sensed with her time bomb ticking tracking skills.

Bree: Yeah. And that’s why she wouldn’t let him come into the actual school, the Academy. They had like shove him out into a little cabin somewhere, where Gorynel Desse could go teach him because he was too dangerous to be around the kids who, like, couldn’t protect themselves. And by the time he was old enough, he didn’t want to be around the kids, because he was like 18.

Aradia: Right? And then, like, that’s why they didn’t give him, like his proper, like, diploma or whatever, either. He has to stay forever as journeyman on their hierarchy, because he’s not good enough.

Ali: Well, that kind of blows.

Aradia: It does.

Bree: It was not – it was kind of unfair. Like he didn’t do anything wrong at this point. Even if he is responsible for his brother’s death. Like none of this was anything, up until this point, that was his fault.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: Like he made a conscious choice. The magic exploded inside him. That wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t control what he was doing with the boat, you know, And he couldn’t control that he was dangerous. So.

Ali: Yeah, it feels a little unfair.

Bree: But it also explains his bond, and maybe why even after this, you know, all this time he’s still calling him Gorsha. This is the one person who sort of stuck up for him during all of those years.

Ali: Aww.

Aradia: I mean, Auvry and Collan have very parallel stories in some ways being written off in a cabin and protected by him like, you know. I’ve been seeing parallels between Collan and Auvry this whole time, and this is really reinforcing that.

Ali: But weirdly, brain deleter Gorynel Desse did not delete this boy’s brain.

Aradia: Yeah, odd choice. Odd choice. Maybe that was his regret. And he’s like, never again.

Ali: Never again.

Bree: Yeah, it definitely seems like the brain deletion became a post-revolution hobby. Not an early one. So yeah, this is the back story, and it’s sad.

Aradia: And then we learn how old he was when he met Maichen.

Ali: Oh, oh, um –

Aradia: I mean, it’s not that many years, really. Nearly 30 and just past 20 is within the same decade.

Ali: It’s not great.

Aradia: But it’s like, eight years that are really formative. 22 and 29 are, like, really far apart.

Ali: Yeah, Yeah. Because here’s the thing. It’s like, I know that there are lots of really wonderful healthy couples that are eight years apart or what have you. But I feel like your twenties is a very specific developmental period where your brain is not fully developed for half of it, and there are definitely older men in the world that kind of prey on the women in their very early twenties, and in their late teens. And that’s just kind of like a – where they’re like, how young is allowed?

Aradia: Right. And again, in this world, women are supposed to go for younger men, generally.

Ali: And again, Melanie, we love you. You’re not sticking to the rules.

Bree: And I would like to point out, this is pretty much the exact same ages that Sarra and Collan are right now.

Ali: See, I’ve been ignoring that.

Bree: In fact, Collan might actually be over 30.

Aradia: Oh he is 30. Yeah. He is 30 and – is she 22? Is she that young?

Bree: She’s in her early early twenties, maybe 24, but she’s not much older than that.

Aradia: Oh shit. All right. So I guess she’s following exactly in her parents’ footsteps and we are conflictedly stanning-ish.

Ali: I’ve been ignoring that age difference.

Bree: It wouldn’t bug me if this wasn’t like the 917th older man, younger woman pairing in a world explicitly where that’s like, supposed to be taboo.

Aradia: Yeah. If it was just our main love interest, that would be fine. Yeah, but everyone else also?

Bree: It feels like one of those things where she set it up and then it just sort of drifted, which – it’s so easy for that stuff to come back in. Like, you know.

Ali: Not to mention the Gorynel Desse, Cailet of it all, which I’m still not over. Well it’s like, that is not happening.

Bree: Oh, look out. Tamora Pierce. Ali is coming for you.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: I don’t remember what this is in reference to.

Bree: The inappropriate age gaps are not going anywhere as we continue to read our nineties –

Aradia: It was the nineties. Or the eighties, in Tamora’s case.

Ali: Not to mention several book series that I very much love, right now, where I just go, You know what, I have to pretend in my brain that it’s not true.

Bree: Please preorder the Horny Dragon book, where the age differences are 3025. Very normal.

Aradia: It’s different when there’s a comma in one person’s age.

Ali: I’m like, Are they dragons? Are they the Fae? Doesn’t count. For some reason I’m like, I don’t see it.

Aradia: It doesn’t count when they’re not human. But honestly though, in the book I can get why Maichen went for him, because she was obviously the princess who’s expected to do one thing and wants to do something else. So like, why not pick an age inappropriate man who’s not properly credentialed? Like, it’s fine within this story. It’s just, I still wonder if he had ulterior motives.

Ali: Here’s how I head canon away – Yes, and I agree with you. And here’s how I head canon away the whole Fae, dragon of it all, and that the atrocious age differences that often come from that – they mature slower, so they’re still the same developmentally.

Aradia: Okay.

Bree: That works. Okay.

Ali: And that’s how I have to do it.

Bree: I’m fine with it.

Ali I have to do it. I’m like, you know what? It’s the same developmentally across the two age groups.

Bree: Honestly, Anne Bishop went with that, canonically. And if we ever get there, we’re going to wait until you do ACOTAR on Wheel Takes, and then we’ll go visit the goth mother herself, the inspiration of so many of these series.

Ali: Incredible.

Bree: Yes. So, yeah, we have basically gone through Auvry’s backstory here. And so he says that, you know, this is a summons and that’s what you felt. So I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have doubted you, which, thank you. And then Glenin realizes that she can still feel it, but it’s moving and it is going towards Ambrai.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Which is good, because we’re at 76% of this book. So I think a lot of things are going to have to head towards Ambrai at this point, right?

Ali: We’re all going to be descending on Ambrai. That’s got to be a final confrontation area, right? Yeah, that’s a last stand.

Bree:It feels like it. Right?

Aradia: Title of the book. Ending of the book. Yeah.

Bree: It’s on the cover.

Ali: It’s got to be a bookend.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah.

0:31:47 Music break, Rising, chapter 17: I will only kill for my dog

Bree: That brings us into part 17, which is back in the meet vute cabin.

Ali: I’m glad we’re calling it the meet cute cabin.

Bree: Yes, we are. I’m going to tell you, this is one of my favorite chapters in this book.

Aradia: It’s good.

Bree: I love that the truth – because I absolutely, and this is why I asked you guys last week, I absolutely thought that Collans truth was going to have to be something about loving Sarra too, or like something? Collan’s truth being him joining The Rising because he has, like, figured out what his life is worth and like, you know – I love it. He’s having a philosophical argument with himself and like, reckoning on his own idea of, like, the value of his life and what his strengths are. And that is what the cabin wanted.

Aradia: I loved that.

Bree: So, self-actualization!

Aradia: I loved that so much, that the truth didn’t have to be spoken. It didn’t have to be interpersonal. It was just working through something, and thinking through it, and having a, like, once your consciousness has been raised, it cannot be lowered again, revelation. Like I just – Yeah, I loved it. It was masterful. Amazing. Made me so happy.

Ali: Collan’s got his own little ego death going.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Well, also finding himself.

Bree: Hey, this whole time he’s been resisting, resisting the Rising, resisting going along with these people, asking himself why he’s doing it. And like, this was the moment where he said, Okay, this is why I’m doing it, because I do believe that they’re right. And like, only I get to decide what the value of my life is. Nobody else gets to decide that for me, which is a beautiful thought.

Ali: It’s true.

Bree: Though we start with dinner in the scene, and I love a fantasy dinner, man. Nothing I love more than a fantasy dinner. Three kinds of cheese!

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: They know how to live.

Ali: Meanwhile I’m sitting there with my girl dinner of, like, you know, leftover parmesan gratings and whatever else I can find in the fridge.

Aradia: Cheese.

Ali: Frozen mangoes and –

Aradia: Cheese is life and existence.

Bree: We should all be in the house that provides us with this sort of, like, green apple tarts and three kinds of cheese and butter and herb noodles. That all sounds very good to me right now.

Ali: This is the future we wanted in 1994. We wanted a smart house that would just feed us.

Bree: Yes. We don’t want AI actors –

Aradia: Precisely. Feed us what we want, clean up, stay warm. Do my laundry.

Ali: Yes. Provide for me in every way. And I, you know, get to do fun things like make art.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: And I’m like, what we did not say –

Bree: We’re getting it backwards.

Ali: Yeah, yeah. I was like, what we did not want was for me to do laundry while I watch a hologram of – I’m going with Alex Trebek. I don’t want to see Alex Trebek, a dead hologram of Alex Trebek, do Jeopardy! That’s so creepy. It’s ghastly.

Bree: Urgh. Yeah, No.

Ali: And I’m like – and also, I just, I’m sorry. One quick rant. I’m just like, even if they do succeed in getting that, who in this world is going to not think that’s the creepiest, grossest thing ever?

Bree: Dude, I would not normally talk about a movie on this thing, during the strike, but I’m going to say the only thing I know about the Flash movie is that everybody hated that they, like, resurrected Christopher Reeve in it.

Ali: Because it’s fucking gross!

Bree: Apparently they like frickin sock puppeted dead Christopher Reeve, and everybody hated it, because it was disgusting and horrible and creepy and like, exploitative.

Ali: It’s so creepy. It’s so creepy.

Bree: Nobody wants it. Nobody wants it.

Ali: Let the man rest. So, it’s so – and they want to do it without the consent of their estate and their families. Could you imagine? Yeah, they could do anything.

Aradia: Like there aren’t new people that you could actually pay to actually exist and do new things.

Bree: Also, like why would you want to sign a contract with a company when you become worth more to them dead than alive?

Aradia: Ew!

Ali: I didn’t even think about that!

Bree: I’m just saying I don’t like it.

Ali: Because then they really don’t have to pay you, because they’re basically like, we don’t have to compensate the estate, the families. We don’t need their consent. So you are actually worth more to them dead than alive.

Bree: Don’t do any stunts.

Aradia: Uncool. Deeply uncool.

Ali: I didn’t even think about that.

Bree: I’m a writer, so my brain immediately went there. I was like, This is a horror movie.

Ali: Well, and I’m like, Here’s the thing. Yeah. I’m just like, it’s so far removed from reality, right? It’s just like, if you talk to a single person that you knew pitched this as an idea, everyone will look at you in shock and horror.

Aradia: I mean, it’s literally like the artistic equivalent of the Wraithenbeasts, right? Just cutting things up and sticking them back together like some sort of horrific Picasso Trolloc or something.

Bree: Look at you, swerving right back in.

Aradia: I’m trying. I like the descriptions in the book. I liked the descriptions in the book, but it’s literally the same thing.

Ali: What is your life worth?

Bree: Collan is looking at it. They eat and they like to sit by the fire, and Collan is looking at this crazy book of illustrated Wraithenbeasts. I like the part where he points out that the book doesn’t mention the myth that seeing one automatically kills you, because then nobody could have these lovely illustrations.

Aradia: Right?

Bree: So, maybe some conflicting mythology there.

Ali: Maybe they looked at it in a mirror.

Aradia: Oh, Medusa style. Yeah yeah.

Ali: That’s what I was thinking.

Bree: Yeah. So that’s what – they’re just having fun, they eat, they talk. They, you know, go back to sleep and then the fire starts burning down and he wakes up because it’s cold and Sarra is having a nightmare. And he kind of gets mad and starts fighting the house, because she’s the one that believes in the house and it’s magic.

Aradia: So cute.

Bree: It’s like, he’s kind of protective. He’s like, you know, you want to fuck with someone, come fuck with me.

Ali: Which, okay, I – Oh, I realize I accidentally talked about the Office, So, bloom bloop bloo, bloom, no I didn’t!

Bree: (makes untranscribable harp noises) Anna? That’s for you. (…. Gee, thanks.)

Ali: But I also kind of like when I screw up, because it showcases how important actors and writers are to our culture. Because, like, it’s all of our references. So I’m like, we kind of leave it in when we screw up on Wheel Takes too, because we’re like, See how important they are? See that they’re like a huge fundamental part of our culture, and we should pay them fairly for their work, and also not steal their image. Anyway. So I think, I watched the Prince of Egypt when I was a really little kid and I imprinted on this moment for some reason, I was like the most romantic thing a person could ever do for someone. Moses’ wife, her name I forget, is like sleeping, and he kisses her on the forehead and says, I love you. But she’s still asleep and doesn’t notice that he did that. And to me as a child, I was like the most romantic thing he could ever do is like, be cute to you while you’re sleeping because they never benefit from it. What is this?

Aradia: Apparently it’s a thumbs up. Yeah.

Ali: Okay. Yeah. Okay. Apparently a thumbs up happened. But that moment was like, that is the best. That is the most romantic thing, because you’ll never know that they did that for you. It’s just something they did out of the love of their heart for you. And so this moment where Collan is standing up for Sarra while she’s sleeping, so she’ll never know that he did that for her. It’s so romantic. It’s so romantic. That always gets me, is like someone being cute about somebody where they’re not around to benefit from it. And there’s clearly no ulterior motive. It’s just pure love. I love that stuff. Anyway. I’m a sucker.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: I’m a sucker for that.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: And he, like, smooths her hair and let’s her get back to sleep. And then when he realizes that it’s not doing anything, he gets back up and just sits on the edge of her bed to, like, watch. He says, “taking up a protective watch over her slumber.”

Ali: Now, this is the only kind of watching you sleep that is acceptable.

Aradia: Correct. Correct. This is very adorable.

Bree: When you’re chasing nightmares away.

Ali: Yeah. When you’re already there. And they are having a problem and you watch to make sure nothing happens to them. That is the only time that is acceptable.

Aradia: And is in fact, desirable.

Ali: Yes. But not when they’re not aware that you are around.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: No. No. He thinks about how he has tried to disillusion her, you know, and is sort of hard on himself for it, because he’s just shoved her face in this over and over again. And, you know, then he says this really sweet thing was, “You know where you want to go, but you don’t have a clue about how to get there or what’s in your way. I don’t want to see you break your heart…”

Ali: Aww.

Bree: And that’s when he sort of starts thinking, you know, this stuff about how she has these small, delicate hands, but one of them just, like, casually murdered a Malerrisi. And apparently there is a popular ballad that asserts that you never know the value of your life until you killed someone. So that puts him down this rabbit hole. Like what is the value of your life. Is it who you will kill for? Is it who you will kill to survive? Is it, you know? How do you really quantify the value of your life, especially when it comes to judging it worth more or less than someone else’s. Because Collan has done some murders here, in this –

Aradia: Several.

Bree: You know, he’s pretty quick with the sword. And he also, as he notes, “He’d killed Scraller in what was commonly and erroneously termed “cold blood.”” So he really did just jump on Scraller and stab the shit out of him, and doesn’t remember why, still to this point. He remembers why later in this podcast, but at this point he still doesn’t remember why. So did you guys have any other thoughts on this, on his thoughts?

Aradia: I always love being walked through this sort of thing by characters, because I tend to believe things at face value, so I need shit spelled out really, really explicitly. You know, I’m not challenging him as he’s working his way through this, I’m right there with him the whole time. So I liked how long she’s spent on this. Like, going through this rabbit hole and not just leaping right to the end. And I thought that it was a really interesting way to approach the question of, like, the morals of killing people. Because, I mean, you know, in Wheel if Time we’ve got the, like, absolute pacifist to the point of nonsense in the Tu’atha’an – and I mean, pacifism exists and in the real world – and there’s a lot of good reasons to think that pacifism isn’t the only way to think. Right. So then you have to think through like, why would I kill a person and when is it okay for that to happen? And I like this rationale of like, it’s about who you’re killing for. And it may or may not be for yourself, but like, it’s not about who you’re killing, it’s about who you’re killing for. I think that’s like an important reframe. And the way she walked us through it really made that feel multidimensional and fleshed out. And I can agree with that. It felt – I was comfortable with it. I liked it.

Ali: Yeah, I, I guess it’s it’s one of those things where I’m like, this is one of those big life questions, right? And I feel like there is no clear answer. You know, as much as we always want to like, firmly think that there are clear answers, we have all this hot nuance, right? Where, yeah, there are people who are like purely pacifism to the point where it’s like, well, at that point you’re kind of leaving yourself super vulnerable to other people. It’s kind of like that question of like, how nice do you be to someone? You know, I think about this a lot because I am somebody who wants to be an empathetic person and wants to give to people and wants to be a soft hearted person. But the world sometimes makes that a really hard thing to be. And sometimes people see those people and take full advantage of those people. Right. And are drawn to that kind of personality in a nefarious way, because they think that they can get something out of that person. Right? So it’s like there’s this line, right, that you kind of have to draw, where you go, okay, this is what I will accept in terms of treatment, but that forces you to become a harder hearted person, right? Because obviously, I’ve never been presented with the like, Will I kill someone, question? But I did see this video that went around where someone was asking a bunch of mothers like, would you kill for your child? And all of them were saying no, and all these people were stitching it and they were showing their cat or their dog, and being like, I would burn cities for you. I would, I would just – like all this stuff where I just kind of went, Same. Yeah. I feel like it’s this thing is, as you get increasingly older and you get exposed to more and more kinds of people and you have more and more life experiences, you kind of have to come to Jesus with yourself about like, how kind can I be and how firm should I be? Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: Yeah, It’s the dichotomy of do no harm, take no shit.

Ali: Exactly. It’s like, I’m not going to start the fight, but I will finish it.

Bree: Right? Right. Yeah.

Ali: Yeah. I feel like that’s a good question.

Bree: Yeah. Well, and I think that the end of it, like what his decision sort of is, is that no one else has the right to make that decision for where that line is going to be for you. Which is sort of like him saying that the truth is that there needs to be nuance, because there isn’t one line. You all get to have your own line and nobody else can tell you what that line needs to be. And I can get behind that and so can this house, apparently.

Ali: Well, I was joking about ego death earlier, but I truly do think it’s Collan kind of figuring out his relationship with the world, and where he fits and what line he falls on, and like how he’s connected with everything. Because it’s become not about himself anymore. It’s become about the greater whole. And not in the Malerrisi, conformity way, but in the like, How can I be a contributing member of this whole and, you know, defend the people I care about and, you know, contribute to the greater good and, you know, find the value of my life and what it could lead to, without like, you know, becoming a drone for a big thing that I don’t really think about? Which is where I feel the Malerrisi falling, right? There is a problem with completely putting the whole before yourself and the people you care about in your immediate vicinity.

Bree: Yeah. Yeah. They definitely, the Malerrisi have like, almost all drones, and it’s a few people fighting who get to be at the top there, deciding and – yeah, it’s a different system there. So.

Aradia: So this house is very pro diversity and individualism.

Bree: Yes. So Collan goes right down the stairs, opens the door, looks out into the misty night, then he goes upstairs and goes to bed. So he’s not telling anyone that he can make a jailbreak.

Aradia: And he’s not leaving. He’s not just taking it, just running away. He stays to help Sarra work through getting through her truth and then, you know, gets kidnaped. But that wasn’t his fault.

0:48:55 Music break, Rising, chapter 18: I’m inventing the patriarchy for my precious boy

Bree: Yeah. Let’s jump over to part 18 here, where Glenin is writing invitations. And, you know, this is not a very long section, and a lot of it is about these invitations. And then like the very end, we just get the absolute bomb drop, one of the bomb drops of the series.

Aradia: Oof, yeah.

Bree: What do you guys think?

Ali: Whew. Okay, well, so Anniyas is Jabba the Hutt, right? If we’re doing our one to ones, is she Jabba the Hutt?

Bree: Anniyas is the emperor and Darth Sidious. Anniyas is Palpatine.

Ali: Then who’s Jabba the Hutt?

Bree: I don’t know if we’ve got one.

Ali: Shame.

Bree: Oh, no, duh, why am I even – Scraller!

Aradia: Of course. Yeah, stupid gross mob boss.

Ali: Duh!

Bree: I don’t know how I missed that.

Aradia: Stupid, gross, perverted mob boss.

Bree: Desert crime lord, mob boss who has a fraught relationship with Han Solo, a.k.a. Collan.

Ali: This makes sense.

Bree: Just, in this book, Collan got to murder – well, that kind of makes sense. The love interest gets to murder Jabba the Hutt.

Aradia: Yeah. I mean, the person who was sexually assaulted by Jabba the Hutt gets to murder Jabba the Hutt. That all tracks.

Ali: I’m cool with that. Yeah. I’m always cool with that.

Bree: Good, good, good, good deal.

Ali: I was shocked that Anniyas was the First Lord, that was shocking to me. That was very surprising.

Bree: I have been dropping tiny things, like sort of like asking you guys, what do you think the future for her is? This one took me by surprise too.

Ali: Yeah. I feel like my thing is, I think part of it was – one, we were in Glenin’s head, and Glenin’s assessment of her was anything but kind. And so you know, Glen seemed to think of her as incompetent, you know, obnoxious person. And I wasn’t inclined to disagree with her. And then also, it seemed like Anniyas was a victim of the system, because she did have to abort her wanted daughter. And so I kind of was like, oh, well, you are a victim of this system just as much as anybody else. But now that I know that she’s First Lord, I was like, if I had read that in the pattern, I simply would have been like, I can’t read this. I’m illiterate of this part of the –

Aradia: I figure she was more hungry for power – either she wasn’t the First Lord at the time, or she was more hungry for power than for having her First Daughter and chose to do that to herself.

Bree: I feel like it’s possible that her First Lordness came at the same time as her First Councillorness, which is basically when Garon was seven or something. The big coup she pulled when Auvry took her to murder that dude, murder that chick, the Grand Duchess, whatever. I don’t remember. Yeah.

Aradia: So it’s like she has a kid and she has a military conquest and she becomes First Lord. That makes sense.

Ali: Listen, while we’re on that subject, obviously we’re all in favor of a woman’s right to choose. But I’m like, I am not in favor of some entity telling a woman that she has to have an abortion. That’s where we get to a icky, sticky place of no, no land.

Aradia: Yeah, but Anniyas is so interesting.

Bree: That’s assuming the whole thing about the First Daughter is true. She could have been lying. We don’t know.

Ali: That felt like the only real moment of Anniyas though to me, like that felt like a real story, you know, for nefarious purposes, you know. But I felt like her emotions about it were genuine.

Aradia: Much like the emotions she displays here seem to be like the most genuine we’ve gotten. Her rural upbringing is starting to break through, with like her swearing and just all of this, like, her poise is less present, right, in this. And again, like, this is the first time I feel like we’ve gotten real Anniyas since the, I Aborted My Child story. Because I agree, Ali, that felt like she was weaponizing the truth in that case. And I definitely was very surprised. I’m so surprised that Anniyas has gotten so far, right? She is rural and Mageborn, and her entire power base is based on being the most powerful, non-Mageborn person. Right. She is living like the most extreme double life, and she’s banking everything on first her son and now her son’s son to like, cement that and hold that. And I’m just like, you’re playing such a long game on such false pretenses. How has this house of cards not fallen apart before? You know? Like, how does she think this is going to work?

Ali: Which is kind of where I go, Glenin, you need to not be underestimating her like you have Because, I mean, there’s obviously classism, sexism, and agesism that is going into Glenin’s assessment of Anniyas, I think to Glenin’s peril. Because for me, I think that Glenin’s biases are are making her not aware of just how hard Anniyas had – like Aradia said – had to work to get here and hold it. Whereas I go, Glenin, as much as I know that you have savvy and skill and have worked hard as well, your dad did very much prop you up.

Aradia: Right.

Ali: You did not have to claw your way nearly as much. I mean, yes, you were, you know, you didn’t have a mother while you’re in school and the girls made fun of you and le de da de la de da. But you did get to go to the First Daughter, First Daughter school. You got to hobnob with all the wealthy people. You got every privilege growing up. And your father was like second in command.

Bree: The first part of this entire chapter is, look at how elegant my parties are. Look at how well I was trained by the best lady, the most, you know, sophisticated person at the most sophisticated court of all times. And I think that’s very purposeful to contrast that with, So use the fucking nails.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: As she’s just losing her shit.

Ali: And I go, you know, that’s not to take away from people who are wealthy, who go on to accomplish great things. It’s just like, you know that you started the race farther ahead than the person who sprinted their ass down the track from way farther back. They might be a better runner than you, just because they’ve had to run faster to catch up, you know? So that’s kind of my thing is I’m just like, Glenin, why have we never stopped to evaluate that at all? You know?

Bree: Well, here’s a question for you. We haven’t had this knowledge for very long. But speaking of babies and aborting them, so Anniyas is the one who got rid of that First Daughter. She didn’t want Glenin to have a girl. She wanted Glenin to have a boy.

Aradia: Oh, right!

Ali: Oh, my God.

Aradia: Oh, I forgot. I forgot that. Yeah. It was directly on orders of the First – Oh shit. Oh. Okay. So those scissors that she’s getting commissioned, she’s going to stab every one of those, like 500 pairs of decorative scissors into Anniyas, like that’s obviously going to happen now. Right?

Bree: Well, so think about it. What could be the reason behind that? Why does Anniyas want a grand- You know, she wants a grandson. I mean, she wants Garon, but with magic.

Aradia: Because the Malerrisi are reinven- are inventing the patriarchy. Right? We agreed on this so many episodes ago. The Malerrisi appear to be trying to create the fucking patriarchy. She is the architect of wanting this. She’s like, I want my son’s son to be in charge, none of this First Daughter of First Daughter bullshit – that’s oppressive.

Ali: Yeah, she’s the Serena Joy of it all.

Aradia: Aaah! Really.

Ali: Kind of is. But also, here’s a thought, too. If Glenin has a daughter, that cements Glenin’s power, right? Because she’s produced an heir, right? I mean, we see that time and time again in history when you look at the Habsburgs and stuff, their place is cemented when they have a baby boy. Like, all of it hinges on – the woman’s power, all of it hinges on her ability to produce a baby boy. So, Glenin, and by extension, her power kind of slightly hinges on her ability to produce a baby girl. But if it’s a boy, that doesn’t necessarily cement Glenin’s power in the same way, but it does give Anniyas and the Malerrisi an opportunity.

Aradia: Right. She can off Glenin and still have the power gained through having her son marry Glenin.

Ali: Yeah. Glenin what have the, you know, cemented power base and security that comes with having an heir.

Bree: Eeek!

Ali: Oh, and also, wait really quickly. I’m sorry, I keep interrupting you, Bree, but also I just had this thought. The thing that Auvry did that was so egregious was he took Glenin, who is the First Daughter, right. So by extension – cause she was kind of like, this is her plan. She wants like, take my son, raise my son, turn my son into what she wants him to be, to cement her power. Right. Playing this long, you know, 13 plus year game with my son. But like, Anniyas in her position of power, both as First Lord and as – I forget what her actual title is. But she’s in charge – could theoretically do that with a son, but not with Glenin’s First Daughter. Right? That would be an egregious –

Bree: It might be more complicated.

Ali: Yeah. But she could get away with being like, this is just a son. So I’m going to like, take him and put him under my wing. Yeah, Yeah. And play doting and play grandparents right?

Aradia: Oh, yeah. Basically.

Bree: Okay. I mean, she might just want a second do over at getting Garon, but with magic. You know, I think that that was his – he disappointed her in that way, her beloved little son. Because, remember, she’s a boy mom.

Aradia: Ugh, right? Right.

0:59:48 Rising, chapter 19: This isn’t the intimacy we were looking for

Bree: So part 19, and the cabin is so happy with Collan that it is providing baths now, we’ve upgraded to full bathing service.

Ali: Nice.

Bree: With violets, it has her favorite violet perfume and anything. And Sarra is worried of what truth of Collan’s bought this and how much it cost him. But he seems pretty chipper. And what do we think about Collan’s choice here?

Aradia: Which choice?

Bree: He’s just like, not going to tell her anything. He’s just like, let’s just chill, let’s just eat some more food and hang out for today.

Aradia: Oh. I mean, they need the rest. And his truth came in a moment of just contemplation. So maybe he figures that her truth will have to come from a moment of contemplation as well.

Ali: I am never a fan of men keeping things from women, but I feel like in this case, what he’s keeping from her is so personal that I’m not mad about it.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah.

Ali: You know, my least favorite trope is, I have to keep it from her because I love her. I have to keep from her this, like thing –

Bree: For her own good!

Ali: Because I want her to stay happy or whatever. Like, no, tell her that her life is in danger. You weirdo.

Aradia: Gross.

Ali: But with this particular thing, I’m like, okay, this is a personal thing. So he can keep that to himself a little bit.

Bree: And he’s being polite and gentlemanly.

Ali: Yeah, but especially because he doesn’t know information that would make him want to tell her this thing. Like he doesn’t know that she’s an Ambrai and all that. So, yeah, like, I feel like if he knew that information, he would maybe tell her.

Bree: He serves her. He’s all polite, like, you know, serves her food. They talk about, like, places they’ve been and plays and operas and books. They basically just, like, have a chill date.

Aradia: Yeah, I liked it.

Bree: Until they fall asleep.

Aradia: It’s just cozy and nice, and it’s nice to see them getting along and getting closer. And, you know, it’s nice.

Ali: Right before he’s cruelly ripped away from her, of course.

Aradia: Ugh. And they didn’t have an intimate moment. They just had a nice day together. They didn’t kiss, they didn’t fuck. They just hung out pleasantly.

Bree: Yeah. They didn’t bang. They just – I mean, they played Parcheesi pretty much, you know. Yeah. Not as a euphemism.

Aradia: Which I mean is a kind of intimacy, but like, you know, it’s not the intimacy that we were anticipating.

Ali: I, for one, was shocked that they did not fuck in the cabin.

Bree: I’m going to tell you, the evidence for like ace spec, demi sexual Sarra, I’m on board. She wants to like, chill out. And it’s clearly romantic, but it’s like, you know, a sweet sort of Let’s get to know you romance. So I’m down.

Ali: I’m down for that.

Bree: I’m sold on this. So yeah.Then Collan gets a bath, and basically Sarra is about to tell him the truth. Like, he lies to her and says that he could only get halfway down.

Aradia: No, and then he shows her that he can’t go all the way down. It’s so funny. He lies to her and then like, a minute later, he’s like, Actually, watch me. And he just walks to the bottom, which is why he gets kidnapped and she doesn’t. I’s because he’s showing off.

Bree: Yeah. Basically, he you know, tries to go down the stairs. He doesn’t want to force the truth out of her. I feel like that’s what he, what finally gets him is he’s like, you know, I lied about the stairs. You don’t have to do this. And so he she tries to run down the stairs and she just gets stuck. But he goes all the way down because he’s told the truth and she hasn’t. And that is why he’s at the bottom of the stairs when the door gets kicked in. And who has arrived?

Ali: Auvry Feiran!

Aradia: Daddy Genocide.

Ali: Daddy Genocide.

Bree: Daddy Genocide. Oh, yeah. Really? I mean, that is his name.

Ali: Oh, Pappy family annihilator himself.

Bree: It’s not great.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. The butcher of Ambrai, to give him his in world title.

Bree: Collan invites him in. So what do you guys think of this? They traded wits a bit. Little verbal sparring.

Aradia: The truth will always set you free. Oh, that’s just an old stupid saying, loved that. I liked the verbal sparring between Auvry and Collan. Just it proves further that Collan is the correct love interest for Sarra because he gets along with her dad so well. You know, I enjoyed their repartee.

Bree: Excellent.

Aradia: It also worked really well for him to be able to communicate to Sarra what was happening and to take all the heat and protect her, because she was at the bottom of the stairs and sort of just talking casually with this guy. And then, you know, so she knew not to come down. Yeah, Collan was very Han Solo about it.

Bree: Yeah. And once the door opens, he does not look up at her once. He gives no indication that there’s anyone else in there. And he says he’s not going to come out. And then Auvry Feiran is like, Okay, we’ll set the house on fire. And he’s like, When are we leaving? Let’s go. I’ll get my boots. And so he’s going to save her because he’s not going to let them start the house on fire because then Auvry Feiran will have both of them. And Sarra is a much bigger and more vulnerable prize.

Ali: That is, if Sarra can get out in the first place, because she hasn’t told any truths yet, so would she be trapped in that house?

Bree: Oh, God.

Aradia: Possibly another reason to not let it burn down.

Ali: Quick thinking, Collan.

Bree: Yeah, He says he’s not dressed for travel and he looks up the stairs as if he was going to go change clothes. And that’s when he, like, gives Sarra his one little, like, sweet, tender goodbye. And then that’s it. Daddy is taking Collan away. Not fun.

Aradia: And then she releases the truth that we’ve been waiting for her to release for, like, 400 pages at least. And the house is like, Yes, finally. Thank you. You can go now.

Ali: It only took 600 pages.

Aradia: And it’s funny because, like, she admits that she’s Ambrai, unlike with Collan, like she knew it the whole time. So for her, for the house, it is actually speaking it out loud and saying it that unlocks the spell. Very particular house, really gets into the subconscious and parses out what you really want, much like the sword, much like the sword won’t kill people unless you really want them dead. The magic in this world is incredibly personalized. At least the Mageborn magic, as opposed to the Malerrisi magic.

Bree: It’s very perceptive.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah.

Bree: Well, it’s very into your true actualization feelings, too. Whereas I’m sure the Malerrisi magic does not give a fuck.

Aradia: Yeah, definitely not.

Bree: You’re not here to have feelings. You’re here to do your role.

Ali: It’s true.

Bree: She does also scream that she’s in love with Collan Rosvenir. And so that truth may have been the one that she was even less likely to admit.

Aradia: That was the last step on the stairs, the Ambrai thing got her most of the way down. But then the Collan thing was the very last step.

Bree: So you guys were right about that at least, that love declarations were at least part of the key out of the house for Sarra. And she flings herself out into the mist at night and she wants to go home, not to Roseguard, to Ambrai.

Ali: Me, in any social situation.

Bree: And then she drops the mic on this chapter with, “Truly told, she had nowhere else to go.” Oh, poor baby.

Aradia: Poor Sarra. She’s all by herself. She’s got no one to lean on, and she just wants to go home, like, poor girl.

Ali: Yeah, I felt sad.

Bree: And home to a place that was destroyed by the man who just took the guy she admitted she loved. So that’s not great. None of that.

Ali: I mean, daddy issues for days.

Aradia: Angst.

1:07:55 Rising, chapter 20: Fight your inner swamp of sadness

Bree: So we jump to part 20, which feels sort of like an interlude. It’s pretty short here. It’s just reminding us that Cailet is still on the move with the Mages and they are headed to Ambrai. We kind of get a geography lesson about how, you know, the coast – I love the Blighted Bay. I’m a little obsessed with that. It’s just such an evocative name. It sounds terrifying.

Ali: Well named, well named, Melanie.

Bree: So they basically have to go up these mountains because there’s a flat – saltmarshes – that would just basically swallow anyone. I’m going to call it quicksand because I feel like we need to, it’s the nineties, so there needs to be a lot of quicksand. Because one thing the nineties prepared me for was a life full of traveling to escape quicksand.

Ali: The hold that quicksand had on people in the nineties as a concept.

Aradia: Ridiculous.

Ali: I really thought it would be so much more of a problem.

Aradia: Like everywhere, all the time, any time.

Bree: Quicksand.

Ali: What was going on?

Bree: The NeverEnding Story broke us.

Ali: Okay, but that was a bog.

Bree: The NeverEnding Story. I don’t care. It’s the same place in the psyche.

Ali: Same general premise.

Bree: There was the swamps of sadness.

Ali: But I want to know, what was going on in our collective consciousness that like – because I haven’t since then seen much quicksand in children’s media. It’s just that very specific stretch of time.

Aradia: Everyone got over it real quick. We’re like, Oh, that was a bad, that was a bad creative call. We have a decade of regret, we’re just not going to talk about it. We’re not going to do that anymore. We’re not going to address it. It’s so weird.

Bree: Yeah, I guess somebody out there was terrified of the idea of quicksand, and they just made it everybody’s problem for like a decade and a half. And now the rest of us are just like, there must be quicksand.

Ali: That, and the Bermuda Triangle.

Bree: Yes, I expected the Bermuda Triangle to have a lot more impact on my life, other than the Eels thing. Which I –

Ali: The Sargasso see thing?

Bree: You know, everybody is – Yes, yes. Everybody wants to know about the eels.

Aradia: Where do they come from?

Bree: Where did the eels come from?

Ali: Where do they come from? How do they reproduce? It doesn’t make sense. They all come from the same place. It doesn’t make sense. I think about it all the time.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Nobody knows. What was it, Darwin was like, I am going to go insane. And it’s all because of eels.

Aradia: I mean, legit, though.

Ali: Legit though.

Bree: Oh, honestly. So, this section, was there anything that you guys had highlighted or flagged? It’s a lot about Cailet thinking about magic again, like how it works and how, when she thinks how it works, it takes more energy than just doing it on autopilot.

Aradia: Feeling very autistically represented in that, when you get all caught up in like seeing how your thoughts work and how seeing how your thoughts work influences how your thoughts work, and then your whole brain is just like a collapsing quantum state and there’s a million different voices inside it, like telling you different takes on like why things are the way they are and you to tell them all to shut the fuck up so you can, like think.

Ali: So relatable.

Aradia: I felt very seen by this entire passage. I love magic explanations and I love –

Bree: That’s amazing.

Aradia: I liked this whole section, because it’s a magic explanation and I really like Cailet and I really see a lot of neurodivergent representation with her and so her in her own head. Really fun.

Ali: Yeah, I get the, it’s never quiet in this brain, feelings. I saw somebody, they played a Love Island clip, where it was these two people, and they were having – I don’t like to generalize and call people dumb, because obviously we all are on different spectrums and intelligences. There are different kinds of intelligences and things. It wasn’t the brightest bulb conversation you’ve ever heard in your life – Somebody stitched it and goes, I’m jealous of them, to be honest, because I bet when they lie down to go to sleep, it’s quiet, right? That must be so nice for them. And I was like, You’re not wrong.

Bree: You can’t imagine it.

Ali: Can you imagine just walking around and there’s just silence in there?

Aradia: I can, but it’s because I consume a copious quantity of marijuana. Copious. I say.

Ali: Okay. Occasionally I call having an edible, Taking a vacation from me. Yes, because it just quiets Everything just gets so quiet. And I’m like, It’s gone. The voices in my head, I’ve learned, in my therapy recently I’ve been implementing this thing to deal with my anxiety because you just truly get taken over sometimes by these thoughts that are just so mean. They’re the meanest things. You never think about anybody else, but you think about yourself. And now I’ve been trained to go – and this actually is working for me, so maybe it’ll work for somebody else – If you’re trained to go, who is this? And then just see, like what version of myself internalized this, right? Like some child version of myself, because I’m like, I can’t keep saying these things to the child version of myself. So I visualize what version of myself it is. And then just kind of like sit with that version of me for a little while, and it makes the thoughts kind of dissipate, because you’re like, you never talk like that to a child. Anyway, it’s been kind of cool. But like, yeah, Cailet, I relate. It’s never quiet in here either, and I just had to figure out how to deal with it and, of course, magic systems.

Bree: I like the constant, you know, every time she has an idea, some voice in her head like bats it out of her hands. And I’m like, you know, that definitely, like, feels like me on a hard day. Like every time I start to get an idea, it’s like –

Ali: Jab.

Bree: Just slapping it out of my hands.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: Boo to that. But hopefully someday she gets time to think enough.

Ali: Or she can just kind of figure out a way to work with the voices.

Aradia: Yeah, at least her voices are actually people who are trying to help and not just endless iterations of her own self-doubt.

Ali: Well, I mean, theoretically, Aradia, not to get too deep, but theoretically, those versions of yourself are trying to help, and it’s just not helpful. Like I’m trying to protect you and you’re like, you are not doing a good job. Yeah, it’s an overexpression of an attempt to protect.

Aradia: Fair enough.

1:14:31 Music break. Rising, chapter 21: I Can Burn Down Your Flowers

Bree: Let’s zoom to part 21. Where I start to wish that they had frozen Collan in carbonite.

Ali: Nightmares.

Bree: Because, welcome to the White Room, guys.

Ali: Oh, the fact that it’s even called the White Room. Nightmare.

Bree: It’s not good.

Ali: Not good. Not good at all. I feel like this is a nightmare scenario for me. Just the idea – yellow wallpaper and Collan.

Bree: Yes.

Aradia: It’s you know, in the spirit of bloom, bloo, bloom, I’ll keep this short. But one of the episodes of Black Mirror that lives in my head rent free is the one where this was a plot device, being stuck in a white room for infinity.

Bree: Oh, was there one?

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, There was a similarly an episode of Doctor Who, where that was a large part of the arc, and like, more than any other episode, it will pop up into my head. Because it’s just like, How would I survive? How would I manage to go insane to escape the horribleness of being sane in that environment? Very much nightmare fuel, this sort of thing.

Ali: This is why solitary confinement is super, super bad. We shouldn’t do it to people.

Aradia: So inhumane. Do not do that to people. Do not do that to people. God.

Bree: It’s also cold in there and he’s naked.

Aradia: Yeah, also don’t do that.

Ali: They’re always naked. And, you know, I – if you’re going to torture someone, so why humiliate them on top of it? Why are you also like, And I’m naked on top of everything else? That would just.

Bree: Melanie Rawn said, It’s the nineties. The love interest has to be randomly naked.

Aradia: Which I appreciate given that the love interest is a boy.

Ali: That is a 1 to 1.

Aradia: And it does allegorically make sense because of the fact that his Wards get stripped off, too, when he’s able to like remember things. Like it is very allegorically correct for him to have literally nothing, not even his clothes.

Ali: That’s true. Okay. That’s true. It’s allegorical.

Aradia: Naked and afraid.

Bree: Naked, completely naked. And the Wards start to dissolve. And so things are coming back now, and what do you guys think about that?

Aradia: Finally. That’s what I think about it. Finally.

Ali: But he can still remember stuff.

Bree: Yeah, well, it was the end of part one, where Gorynel Desse took Falundir away, and we are like 650 pages into this book. When he finally, like, remembers the wind and like being a kid, sold to Scraller, and why he killed Scraller, and Falundir.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: And he starts crying when he remembers Falundir.

Ali: All it took was a sensory deprivation chamber.

Aradia: Basically. Basically. And it’s so heartbreaking for him to be realizing that he forgot Falundir, you know. But like, it’s good because now he’s connecting all the plot pieces that we, the reader, have been seeing. Aou know, knowing Lady Lillen, knowing Verald. Like, all of that, he’s finally getting to put it together and it’s very satisfying. And then also it triggers the people who have him in the box to be like, Aha! His brainwaves are starting to go in the direction we want, and then they, like, interrupt him and he’s like, No, I’m trying to remember my life! But they, you know, get in the way of that process. And it made me sad because I was really enjoying him getting his life back.

Ali: Anniyas was super gloaty about him being in there. She was all excited about having broken him.

Aradia: Mm hmm. It’s like, Bitch, you’re going to have to try so much harder.

Bree: Yeah. They waited until he started laughing.

Ali: Yeah, because they thought that then he lost it.

Bree: Yeah. And he’s like, Oh, God, they think this silly little white room’s made me crazy. So he starts acting crazy. Anniyas thinks he’s crazy, Auvry Feiran’s a little doubtful. And then the Fifth Lord shows up and is like, Oh, come on, He is not remotely crazy yet.

Ali: And I would know because I’m the torturer.

Aradia: Right? Right. He’s like, I know crazy. I make crazy for breakfast. So this is not crazy.

Ali: But then Auvry’s like, I get to question him, and then they kind of have this back and forth about who gets to be the one to torture Collan. And Collan’s like, Why are you so obsessed with me?

Bree: Yeah, So there’s definitely a – Collan kind of climbs up. He’s not into the word torture, so he, like, jumps up the wall and, like, grabs the edge, and he thinks that the Fifth Lord is going to smash his fingers. And he’s like, Not my fucking Bard fingers, bitch. And grabs his boot and yanks him and manages to, like, I think, pretty much kill him?

Aradia: I think so.

Bree: Like cracks his head.

Ali: Damn.

Aradia: I mean, whacking your head on a marble floor can be lethal when you do it from being a tall person perspective.

Ali: Those fingers are strong. Good for you, Sarra.

Aradia: Those minstrels fingers. So Collan gets shoved back into his box there, albadon, and then looks up at Anniyas and starts singing the song.

Bree: The song.

Aradia: She flips the fuck out, declares that he should be tortured to absolute death, she tells Auvry, Break him.

Ali: Break him.

Aradia: With no restraint. And Collan defiantly finishes the song even after the lid is put back on the box and then, like sits down to figure out how he’s going to Han Solo the fuck out of this upcoming torture session.

Ali: And it was all so badass.

Bree: It was pretty good.

Aradia: Oh yeah. Like, I mean, absolutely naked in a pit, staring up at people with the power to torture him. And he starts singing The Song without breaking eye contact, just like, balls of titanium on this guy.

Ali: Good for him. Diamond balls, Collan.

Aradia: Yes, Diamond Balls Rosvenir.

Bree: I love how much the song like is woven through the series here too, because this song has like, you know, participated in a lot of pivotal moments.

Ali: Truly.

Bree: Just from when he sang it first. Originally we got to see that and then, you know, Collan originally sparking all the trouble that had him meet Sarra, was because he sang it on a boat one time. Collan likes to sing the song and I and I hope that he soon remembers why he likes to sing this song.

Ali: It’s such a good song.

Aradia: It’s a bop.

Bree: It’s a bop.

Ali: It’s one of the best disc tracks of all time.

Aradia: (sings) I can Burn down your Flowers.

1:21:45 Rising, chapter 22:

Bree: We leave him planning not to break and we skate into our last part, which is 22, which is Sarra’s Going Home montage. Any thoughts about this?

Ali: Our girl is resourceful. I mean, she has no money, barely any clothes, because she doesn’t go back in to grab stuff, right?

Aradia: Yeah, she does.

Ali: Oh, she does. Still, she’s got, like, no money because she’s been on the road for so long. She’s got, you know, basically one change of clothes. She like, pulls around fish barrels for a while at a boat. She does all kinds of stuff, kind of working her way to Ambrai. And then all of a sudden she’s about to go into a bog.

Bree: She heads straight for the quicksand.

Ali: I forget whatever that horse’s name is in the bog. But some God is looking out for her because – Or Saint, sorry, because what’s her face rides up and is like, I’ve been chasing you for six days! And I go, You’re on a horse. Why are you so behind?

Aradia: Yeah. What I liked about this is that I think even though the montage is very like, Eye of the Tiger montage.

Ali: (sings) Dun, dun dun dun.

Aradia: Yeah, I feel like this is going to be the experience that actually gives Sarra her perspective on what it means to be working class in a way that Collan’s lectures didn’t. You know she’s going to come out of this having actually done a hard day’s labor where no one knows who she is and they just care that she moves the barrels faster. She’s going to come out of that with a deeper understanding of how out of touch she is, that any lecture Collan could ever have given her. His lectures primed her. But I feel like when Sarra and Collan get to get together next and compare notes, she’s going to be way more grounded in the realities of what it means to survive with nothing but the clothes on your back and whatever crust of bread you can spend 12 hours of hard labor earning, you know? So I’m really happy for her that she got that, like solo internship with no one in the party who knows who she is because she’s a solo party, right? Like, she truly had to go incognito. So I think that was a huge growth moment for her. And then I loved that the Saint that she was thinking about is also the namesake of the woman who rides up to save her. That was cute.

Bree: Yeah. Imi shows up, just as she was about to wander into the quicksand, or the bog, or the swamp or whatever, the salt marshes. So they once again were doing some scrying. And they found they couldn’t find her at first because she was in a Warded house, and then finally they could find her. And so she takes off after her. And then she asks what happened to Collan? And Sarra starts crying and, oh poor Sarra.

Ali: Poor Sarra.

Aradia: Imi’s first reaction is, Collan did this to you? Collan left you there like an asshole? And she’s very defensive at first.

Ali: Very rude to Collan.

Aradia: I know, right? I’m like, No, no, no, no, no. He was fine this time. It wasn’t his fault.

Ali: Yeah, he was doing the right thing.

Aradia: But then she says, All right, tell me from the top. And then she gets the whole story and directs her curses at the appropriate villains.

Ali: So then she tells her, Oh, they’re going to tie him up to a pain stake or whatever it is.

Bree: Yes, we are introduced with a new thing. The pain stake.

Ali: Sarra goes, What the fuck’s a pain stake? And she goes, You don’t want to know. And I go, False. I would absolutely want to know.

Aradia: Agreed.

Ali: I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t.

Aradia: Right, right? You don’t want to know, just puts my imagination into overdrive and I guarantee I’m imagining something worse.

Ali: Oh, probably, you know, it’s like, Oh, it’s that, she’s just going to be like, It’s a stake of pain, and I’m going to be like, okay. I thought something way worse was going to have it, you know?

Aradia: Right, right, right. Yeah.

Bree: “A perversion unique to the Malerrisi. He’ll survive it, but not as the man we knew.”

Aradia: Ominous.

Bree: Ominous. And that is how we are going to take a shot. And then the section ends with: “Sarra, sweet, you don’t want to know.”

Ali: Ugh, good chapter ending. But I’m also like, I do actually want to know. That’s why we asked.

Aradia: And that’s why this is the cliffhanger for this week.

1:26:20 Wrap up: Pun and done

Bree: And that is indeed why we are stopping here, 79% into this book.

Ali: Woo!

Bree: And poor Collan. I mean, Carbonite seems like it might be less scary than whatever the painstaking is going to prove to be.

Ali: Well, it will be painstaking to wait.

Aradia: Oh, God. No!

Ali: No, You love that. Laugh!

Aradia: I love how much I hate it.

Bree: Punishing, Ali, punishing.

Aradia: Oh, no. Get out, both of you, get out.

Bree: Ah, I did it, too. I did it on purpose. Sorry. I never pun, but I had to do it just once.

Ali: Oh, I didn’t even get the pun until just now. I love it. I love a good pun.

Bree: That was my one pun for my lifetime, probably.

Ali: Your one pun, you’re pun and done?

Aradia: And we’re done. Okay. Thanks, everyone. We’ll see you next week.

Ali: That’s my life. Thank you so much for listening.

Bree: Wait, I didn’t tell them what they’re reading next week.

Ali: I’m sorry. My bad. We’re not reading. You’ll never find out what the pain stake is.

Bree: I’m going to tell them that they’re reading the Rising, parts 23 through 28.

Ali: Okay. 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.