An “A” In Torture: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 19 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for more pain in The Ruins of Ambrai.

Glenin hates women but we admire her confidence anyway. Cailet asks us to distinguish between fascism and an HOA. What genre is YOUR life, and would you rather be tortured or do baking live on TV?

Podcast reference Part One: G. Gordon Liddy: The Fascist Behind Watergate – Behind the Bastards | iHeart
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Transcripts by Anna
Art by Bree
Produced by Aradia | Fox And Raven Media

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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 on Paramount Plus, coming out at some point. And I am a first time reader of the Ruins of Ambrai, and I’m also a co-host of the podcast Wheel Takes, which is about the Wheel of Time series and sometimes other things as well. Most recently, The Hunger Games.

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

Bree: And I am Bree, also known as one half of the bestselling romance sci fi fantasy author Kit Rocha, and I just celebrated the Horny Dragon, Consort of Fire coming out last week, I think. Last week? Yes. Yeah. I don’t know. It’s been a wild time. Very fun. I’m very happy. Thank you to everybody who bought it, and, you know, lots of people have been super supportive and I’m very glad. So I’m going to now start writing another book because that’s how this author thing works.

Ali: 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.

0:01:36 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: It is time to jump into the time machine. I’m going to take you back to 1994 (swoosh sound effect) – except for no, I’m going to cheat today and take you back to 1995, because I have just gotten hooked on the What Went Wrong podcast about – and we can now talk about Hollywood again since the strikes are over. Yay! And I was listening to the podcast about Waterworld, which was having things going wrong in 1994. So I feel like it counts.

Ali: Oh, Waterworld.

Aradia: (gasps) Waterworld. Oh.

Bree: So 1994 is the time when they were trying to make the movie Waterworld, which had the highest budget to date at $175 million, apparently because they insisted that they film it all legitimately on water, like real outdoors water, which apparently is a terrible idea.

Ali: For every Titanic you get a Waterworld. You know what I mean?

Bree: I controversially love this movie. I do, I love apocalyptic stuff. I mean, I write apocalyptic books. And so I watched every apocalyptic Kevin Costner movie in the nineties, and he kept doing them, which was kind of weird. He did The Postman a couple of years later, too.

Ali: Every now and then, there’s just something in the Hollywood water, where it’s like everyone has decided we’re going to do a particular kind of movie, and you just kind of go with it. Everybody’s doing apocalypse movies in 1995, apparently.

Bree: The Postman was also freakin insane, by the way, Just an unhinged movie. Like, if you’ve never rewatched it, it was crazy, bonkers. But Waterworld, one of my favorite things about it – for anyone who ever liked Veronica Mars, Mac the little hacker girl, she’s the little girl in Waterworld, and she has a map on her back to dry land. And that’s like the whole movie, is they’re trying to get to dry land because of the map on Mac’s back. And anyway, I feel like this movie captures how in the mid-nineties, you know, in the late nineties, we were all just looking forward to the Y2K apocalypse. So I feel like it’s a very good thing to consider for today’s time travel adventure.

Ali: That’s what was happening culturally. That was what was in the water. I see.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bree: Y2K was in the water.

Ali: I don’t know why I regularly forget about Y2K as a thing that happened. I think I was just not old enough to be really aware that that was a problem that people were perceiving. I remember 2012 with the Mayan calendar, that was the other world ending event, that I feel like people did not take as seriously as Y2K.

Bree: No, Y2K was legit. We just, we fixed it. So go team.

Aradia: My relationship to Waterworld is so funny. I was a really little kid the first time I saw it, so my parents must have gotten it on VHS to bring home and watch as soon as it was available. I was so young. It was one of the first movies I ever watched. Like, that was an adult movie, like not a kids movie. And I remember, like, being fascinated by the little girl with a map on her back. And then when I came home from daycare, I was like, I want to watch it again. And my parents were like, Yeah, we decided that that was too mature for you and you don’t get to watch it again. And so it was just like stuck in my head as like these few random, disjointed frames of this movie for years and years and years and years and years. And then I recently, like in the last year, rewatched it because I wanted to know. Like as an adult, I want to watch this movie and, oh my God, I kind of loved it! There’s so many, like, weird, kooky things about it, and odd details that made a lot of sense and like, just the most wacky choices. And I just loved it. But I can also see why my parents were like, Yeah, no, that was a weird call on our part, because we’re new parents and we’re not doing that again.

Bree: It was a bananas, bananas movie, but I cannot say that I didn’t also unapologetically love it, so.

Ali: I’ve never seen it. I’ve only heard about it.

Bree: We’re going to have to have a Hot Nuance movie night.

Ali: Are we having a Hot Nuance movie night? I love that.

Aradia: Yes. Oh, my God.

Ali: Let’s do it.

Bree: Crazy movies from the nineties.

Aradia: So let us know in the comments if you would join us on a live stream of watching Waterworld.

Bree: Yeah, seriously, I would do it. So. Okay. And also in 1994, Melanie the Grim Reaper Rawn strikes again. She has come for our dreams, guys. She’s not going to stop killing. She’s just not. So let us get into this book.

Aradia: Murder boss Melanie Rawn.

Ali: Murder boss.

Bree: Yes, but first, before we jump in, I do want to do a little shout out. We’ve had a few people join the Discord recently who are from the OG Melanie Rawn bulletin board. And I am so glad that you guys have found this podcast. Like, I cannot tell you how tickled I am. I used to lurk on that bulletin board. I read all of your theories. One person in particular has Ali’s favorite subject: Who is Collan? They had all these theories. It was an entire page of theories that I used to read endlessly, you know? So I’m so glad to have you guys here. I am glad that we are reaching back into the past. The time machine has brought you to us.

So welcome! And please enjoy Ali and Aradia’s torment as we get into the real murdering. So.

0:07:25 Music break. Rising, chapter 23: Lentil does the Macarena

Bree: Part 23, guys. We start it with a Glenin chapter. Yeah. So what did you all think?

Aradia: This is where she’s all into, I’m going to train up my fetus to have magic and stuff.

Bree: Glenin’s basically being, she’s like, I’m going to be the boss of me. If you give me rules, I’m going to break them all, but I’m going to break the biggest ones I can find because you’re not the boss of me.

Ali: She’s starring in the lesser known film How to Train Your Fetus. Yeah, it feels like she’s kind of decided, Well, I mean, maybe a little wine is okay, as a treat.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Which is true. Which is true, that apparently, I guess a little wine while you’re pregnant, you know, in moderation, small, small amounts is not a disaster.

Aradia: Oh, science.

Bree: She’s kind of got the wine in a bag in a box, though, and she’s sort of drinking from the nozzle.

Ali: Yeah, she’s like, A little wine is fine! And then she’s, like, mainlining franzia.

Aradia: It’s one glass – that holds the entire bottle.

Ali: It’s like a well.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah. She seems to be very, very reactive and doing everything to the max and just for the sake of being ornery. Like, this is a very rebellious version of Glenin. And we’ve seen her be such a rule follower. And now she’s like, I’m going to like, go from lawful good to lawful evil, on her own alignment chart. Like, obviously she’s also evil by our alignment chart, but like, she’s like deliberately deciding to become the worst rule follower.

Bree: Which I think is interesting, because she does this directly after she figures out that Anniyas is the one making all the rules. She was following the First Lord fine, but now that Anniyas is the rule maker, she’s like, Well, fuck you.

Aradia: Glenin hates women.

Ali: Glenin hates women. We’ve heard it here first. She hates them. Yeah, I feel like, I mean, I like my mother in law, a lot. Like, we’re very good friends, so, you know. But I understand how some people do not like their mother in law, and that that might be a very real petty thing that they would start to feel, if they found out their mother in law ran the world, you know, and decided the fates of everybody. I feel like there are some people in my life where if I found that out about them, I’d be like, Well, then fuck you, I’m going to do what I want, because who are you to say what is right or what is wrong.

Bree: There’s this great line: “ Why flout tedious rules and exert her independence if the rule she broke was of no importance and the demonstration of her freedom gained her nothing? If defiance of prohibitions was her goal, she might as well defy the most serious one”. So she’s like, I’m not going to just break some petty rules. I’m going to do the one thing all of you told me 85 times not to do, and then I’m going to like, do something amazing once I’m there.

Ali: Now, listen, as somebody who sometimes does not like rules, I get this, I do. But your fetus is a hell of a thing to gamble in your defiance, I think. I feel like there’s, like, some stuff that is worth it. And sometimes I go, Okay, but if you’re wrong, you’re microwaving your baby. I don’t know.

Bree: Yeah. The once and future apricot, or whatever one we got now.

Ali: The future apricot!

Aradia: Acorn, squash, at this point?

Ali: The figgin reborn?

Bree: Yeah. We’re putting it at risk. And she’s like, she’s quoting some texts that say that exposing the fetus to strong magic makes it have an easier time. But basically, you know, she seems to be just sort of gambling with what this is going to do to the baby.

Aradia: She’s just assuming she’s Main Character. She’s like, I’ve got main character plot armor. It’ll be fine.

Ali: Right? I mean.

Aradia: That’s her argument.

Ali: Is that like saying, you know, If I give my kid deli meat, they’ll have a stronger stomach. Like, I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s advisable.

Bree: It feels like, it’s kind of giving me chicken pox party vibes. I think you guys were too young for chicken pox parties, or were you? Because you guys are vaccination age.

Ali: I am. I’m too young. I was vaccinated, so I’ve never had it. Gus had chicken pox and they still did them, they still did the chicken pox parties for Gus.

Bree: Oh, really?

Ali: I mean, I don’t know if Gus went to a chicken pox party, but I know he had chicken pox and that there were definitely chicken pox parties in, like, his life.

Aradia: Oh, what was I saying? I had chicken pox. I don’t know where the fuck I got it from. Oh, yeah, I have a scar on my forehead from it. It’s like, right in the spot of my third eye, I have this, like, perfect little third eye scar from Chicken pox, it’s pretty cool.

Bree: Oh, yeah, I have a couple. I had it real bad.

Ali: Really?

Bree: In, like, the early eighties, mid eighties.

Aradia: But I didn’t get it from a party. I just got it from daycare. I guess, because kids are germ factories, but.

Ali: I’ve never had it.

Aradia: No, I did not get vaccinated. Don’t know why the fuck I said that. I got vaccinated by getting it, like a real person. A real man.

Bree: I was like nine or ten, and I got it really badly I remember. I was pretty miserable and my brother was like four, and it just didn’t faze him at all.

Aradia: Yeah, I don’t remember it fazing me in the slightest, like I was itchy for a while –

Bree: I think the younger you are –

Aradia: Exactly. Exactly. I got it nice and young.

Ali: Yeah. When I was growing up, people getting chickenpox felt like a big deal because you didn’t know very many people who actually had it.

Aradia: Huh! Wow.

Ali: You know, in school, you’re like, Oh, they have chickenpox. Like, that was a big deal. It was like when somebody would sometimes be out of school because they got measles. It was weird and rare.

Aradia: Wow. I’ve never felt so much older than you.

Ali: But I don’t think we’re even that far apart in age, right?

Aradia: No, like two years!

Ali: Yeah. How is that possible that it made such a difference?

Aradia: Everyone I knew just had chickenpox at some point. Like early on and like, we’d all just gone through that gauntlet and it’s fine. Like.

Bree: Once that vaccine – they must have, like, you know, must have gone fast.

Ali: That’s so interesting because to me it’s like, Wow, It’s like saying, I got measles.

Aradia: That’s hilarious.

Bree: Okay, discord!

Aradia: Everyone chime in!

Bree: We need like a gradient of chicken pox stories. So I know I’m like, I’m like ten years older than y’all, I think.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: So I definitely was in the prime of the, you know, everybody bring your kids over and infect them. I told that to Donna once, who is four years older than me, but she was horrified.

She’s like, That is a frickin serious illness. Why would you purposefully give it to your kids? And I’m like, Don’t ask me. That was a thing that they were just doing.

Ali: Well, because apparently if you got it as an adult, it would be a big deal. Like, yeah.

Bree: That was the idea.

Ali: The theory is –

Bree: Just get it over with.

Ali: To avoid, I think, shingles?

Aradia: Yeah, shingles. Shingles is adult chickenpox, as near as I can make myself remember.

Ali: Right. So if you get it as a kid, you’re less likely to develop shingles. Though I think chickenpox is in you forever, right? Like Mono is? Technically kind of forever a part of you?

Bree: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Though I’m not a medical person, I am pro-vaccine. Please vaccinate and do not go to parties.

Aradia: And don’t take medical advice from podcasts.

Ali: Yeah yeah.

Bree: Especially not not us, but nobody else either.

Aradia: No podcasts. Really, Honestly. But yeah, in terms of magic vaccination during pregnancy, like, I don’t know, she seems to be playing fast and loose with her confidence. And I suspect it will work out because it will make a better plot if it works out. So it’s fine.

Ali: Yeah. I mean, Glenin, I admire her confidence in her instincts because I am not confident about anything, like she is confident about everything. I find it fascinating because to me, I feel like if I were a first time mom with my first pregnancy, I would doubt every move I made. So kudos, I suppose, on the self-confidence that you have, to be like, You know what? All of the pre wisdom that has come before me? Fuck it, I know better. I just can’t imagine having that level of confidence in myself.

Bree: You know, I think it’s kind of cool, though. Maybe you would, in a world where women weren’t just, like, belittled and, like, told that they were wrong for literally every choice they make about parenthood and motherhood. Because we are so hard on moms in this culture because we are a sexist, misogynist society. So maybe, maybe in a world where women were allowed to actually, like, believe that they know things about their bodies, you would be this confident. Like, imagine!

Aradia: Louder for the people in the back!

Ali: I know this guy – I went to a cookie party like two weekends ago, or last weekend. Time doesn’t exist right now for me – But he had his baby in, like, one of those – I don’t know what they’re called. Like a Bjorn, I think? Where you’re holding them in the front.

Bree: Where you like, wear the baby.

Ali: And we were talking, he and I and his wife were all talking, and she mentioned how much he gets praised whenever he wears the baby, and how women will come up to him and basically assume that he’s a single father and all of this stuff. And basically, you know, throw themselves at him and/or, you know, older women will overly praise him, whereas when she’s wearing the baby, no one says anything. And even, like, looks at her askance if he starts screaming, all of this stuff. So it was funny because I looked at him and I went, Well, if it makes you feel any better, I didn’t think you were extraordinary as a father at all. In fact, you gave me entirely ordinary dad vibes. Average at best.

Bree: A-plus.

Ali: So we had a good laugh over that. But that was fun. Yeah. I don’t know. People are so nice to dads and so mean to moms. And they’re so nice to men who are neurodivergent and so mean to women who are neurodivergent. Like, I posted a video a while back that I deleted because it mentioned that I was a neurodivergent woman. And all of these people were like, Are you really though? And I was not sure what that was about. Like, none of them believed me and I was like, I’ve been diagnosed since I was five. So, you know you have it bad when you’re a woman and you get diagnosed at five.

Bree: The Internet is –

Aradia: Oof. Yeah.

Ali: They’re like, she’s fucked up.

Aradia: (singsongs) I mean, in the nineties? As a girl?

Ali: Right? In the nineties as a girl, yeah. I’m like, I am THE neurodivergent. All my friends getting diagnosed as an adult and I’m like, Welcome. I’ve been here by myself. You know, everyone talks about how hard it is to get diagnosed and everything, and I go, I feel like I’ve been an army of one, I’ve been the only ADHD woman I knew until my twenties, and then all of a sudden everyone’s coming out of the woodwork and I’m like, welcome, I’ve been so lonely. Thank you so much for being here.

Bree: We have joined you. I was 24, 25. I mean, I was diagnosed with everything before they got to ADHD. Bipolar! They were like this, I don’t know, she’s she’s real energetic and sad at the same time. Maybe that’s it. And I’m like, No, I have ADHD!

Ali: That is the only neurodivergence doctors like to slap on women and not men, is bipolar. They just, right away.

Bree: So I mean, which is like nothing is wrong with being bipolar. Obviously it’s not.

Ali: No!

Bree: You should not take the medication for it if you’re not bipolar. I’m just going to say that it didn’t go great. So.

Aradia: Right. It’s a rough way to figure out that a diagnosis is wrong is to take medication and have it not work. But it happens to a lot of people.

Ali: The brain’s weird.

Bree: Didn’t go great. It’s great when you finally get the diagnosis. The Crazy Ex-girlfriend song Diagnosis is very emotional for me because I’m like, yes, I understand. When they finally tell you your thing and they give you your people you belong to, and you’re like, Yes, yes, I’m finally here.

Ali: Where have you been? And that’s the thing for me as I was like, I was diagnosed and given no people. I was basically a guinea pig. They were like, Oh, it’s a girl this time! What do we do with it? You know? And so then it’s really been great. As more people have gotten diagnosed and more women have gotten diagnosed, to just kind of be like, There they are. I found them finally at last. Where were you in my teens. I needed you.

Aradia: Well, right. And now there’s a critical mass that allows for an extremely real self-diagnosis trend, that is super valid and super potent, and really, I don’t think can happen without that community, like critical mass being there, creating all of this outside of the DSM interpretations of what the DSM is saying. And like putting together dots and conclusions that do not serve the medical industrial complex being run by a bunch of fucking money grubbing men. That community is so critical. It’s so critical, because I have not even gotten diagnosed with anything because I was raised by a bunch of hippies that were like, We’re all just a little weird, it’s fine. And now it’s like there’s nothing that I would get out of getting diagnosed, but there’s a whole lot that comes out of self diagnosis. And yeah, that would not be happening in a vacuum. It takes the community.

Bree: Okay, let’s get back into – here’s the thing, Glenin’s making all these risky moves because she wants to kill the Captal. She thinks if she manages to do this thing that Anniyas wants to do, that instead of like getting rid of her, the Malerrisi will be like, Well, you know, who cares about this old lady?

Ali: I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Bree: You don’t think that’s going to happen?

Ali: No. I think – well, here’s the thing. I think Anniyas seems to dig herself in real nicely.

Bree: She does seem to have solid control over everything.

Ali: I think based on the information that we find out later and the fact that she was making some project with all of the crests of the family or whatever and didn’t include Glenin’s father’s was interesting to me. And then also the way that they – and we’re going to obviously talk about this later – but the way that they spoke about Glenin, the two men who were there, they were like, Lady Glenin. And he goes, don’t call her a lady. Don’t give her the honor of that title.

Bree: Yes, that was the Fifth Lord. He clearly is not a fan.

Ali: That feels suspicious. You know, I, I feel like –

Bree: Well, remember, she hasn’t had the baby yet. And you’re not supposed to be a lady until you have a baby.

Ali: Yeah, but he didn’t say, Don’t call her that because she hasn’t had a baby. He said, Don’t honor her with that title. And I say, okay, so you don’t like her. And also, Anniyas is being real shady about the family she comes from. And also in addition to that, Auvry and Glenin have figured out that Anniyas is going to start taking out the people who helped her soon, because now they’re a loose end she has to tie up.

Bree: Yeah, that is our final chapter. It is all not looking great.

Ali: That’s not looking great, too, for Glenin when she has the baby.

Bree: Exactly. Which is – she does go to Ambrai and is there – actually, let’s talk about the cushion, because I’m not sure, the cushion. There’s something, she gets up to like a balcony where they all used to sit. And the cushion isn’t something that has to do with Anniyas –

Ali: Oh!

Bree: It has to do with her grandmother who has a similar name, remember? Meemaw Ambrai. Those two names are very similar. She was messing with you.

Ali: Oh, okay.

Bree: But I actually highlighted this because I kind of did love this little bit where they – you know, this is another little thing with the men doing all of the intricate embroidery.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: And I was like, yeah.

Ali: Yeah, yeah. I just missed that It was the grandmother and not Anniyas. I thought it was Anniyas.

Bree: Yeah it has Allynis, which is, Anniyas and Allynis, I mean she just –

Ali: I’ve been set up to fail.

Aradia: Melanie!

Ali: Melanie, make the names different.

Bree: But yes, that’s Glenin’s grandmother. And Glenin’s grandmother was very scornful of the idea that they would include Auvry Feiran’s history in this wonderful, beautiful cushion. Because, you know, just one more way that the lofty Ambrais spit on him.

Aradia: Well, and he’s a man. I mean, why would you include male stuff?

Bree: Well, there are male things in here.

Aradia: Oh, yeah, that’s true.

Bree: Because, like, the Ostin Oak tree was like, for her grandfather. And so it does have her dad’s leaf crown, but, like, it doesn’t have his parents – like, it has her mother’s parents and grandparents, because they sort of just pretend that he has no family and no – And also remember, he doesn’t know who his father is, which I think is something that they judge him for. He’s like literally just this unknown Nobody who has come out of nowhere to marry into their, We can name everybody who was part of our family for the last 35 generations or whatever.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah. This whole balcony scene was really cool, because there’s obviously a lot of symbolism like what’s in the flashback with the cushions and all that. But there’s also the parallels of, Multiple parties of the sisters are going up to this balcony. And it just felt like really symbolic to me. There’s like a balcony, they’re looking out, they’ve got this overview. They’re trying to repossess the city, and we’re at this high point in the plot. And it just felt very like the fact that we’re on this balcony, it just felt very visually and allegorically appropriate, that both sisters who are vying for this control, this final thing, are in the same spot, thinking about the same things, looking out on the same view, just, you know, 12 hours apart.

Bree: Yeah. And I do love how much of this section here – we really get visions of like how Ambrai worked, and definitely more of that in the next section, part 24. When Sarra and Cailet are walking through the abandoned city, we get so much worldbuilding and like, flashes into like, what this – And this was, we’ve seen so much of this world as being, you know, kind of renaissance-y, medieval-y. But like, there was some serious business high civilization going on here in Ambrai, and it’s definitely – Auvry Feiran destroyed all of it. He burned their ancient Rome to the ground or whatever, you know.

Aradia: Yeah, it felt very near like New York, or something like that. Walking down Wall Street. Like, here’s the Houses of Commerce or something. Yeah. And then, and then, yeah. He didn’t just burn down a couple of buildings, he leveled the island.

Ali: Yeah. He went salted earth on this place. And that blows.

Bree: Yeah! So Glenin’s imagining when she rebuilds all of this – she thinks she’s going to come back and claim it – and she’s going to build a beautiful Malerris castle that her son can learn magic in and everything.

Ali: Okay, But that is the biggest eff-you to all the people who died there possible. Am I right?

Bree: Right, right?

Aradia: Seriously. Okay, Colonizer.

Bree: Just an absolute middle finger.

Ali: Exactly.

Aradia: But it’s her own city.

Bree: Can you colonize your own –

Aradia: It’s so confusing.

Ali: Have you ever colonized your own city? Only white people can accomplish that.

Bree: She’s literally colonizing her own inheritance somehow.

Aradia: Oh, my God. This is so white people of her.

Ali: That is white people of her. This is very white coded.

Bree: So while she’s standing up here planning how she’s going to just stick it to grandma, the Mages and Cailet appear, and they just sort of pull up to the dock, like, Woohoo, we’re here!

Ali: Hope nothing bad happens!

Aradia: Oh my god.

Ali: Here’s the thing. I get why the plan is the plan, I do. But it feels like going to Ambrai is the most expected move possible. And I get that they’re like, Well, it’s so expected, she’ll never know. And I go, Well, there’s also just so obvious it’s dumb. Like, we might be meta gaming too hard here.

Aradia: Right? Right, right, right. Yeah.

Bree: Yeah. So Glenin – this is where the magic lentil cooking thing becomes an issue. Because she’s used some basic magic up until now, but she tries to send out a probe to figure out who this blond girl with the Captal summons coming from her is. And apparently this music – this music? This magic is so strong and so intense that her baby does a little Macarena or something.

Aradia: Summersalt.

Ali: Yeah. (in the tune of Macarena) Heeey, what you doing?

Bree: Baby’s not on board. We are a sad little apricot, acorn, squash.

Ali: And then she’s like, Oh, my God, are you okay? And I go, We were not very concerned before we started about what might potentially happen, and now we’re going to give a shit? Like, Glenin. This is what we call a natural consequence. Like, you know, I mean, at a certain point I go, And now you’re worried?

Aradia: Yeah. I was very rolling my eyes at her, like one little thing goes wrong and suddenly she doubts everything about her confidence before, and I’m just like.

Ali: I mean, granted, that would be me as well. One little thing would go wrong and I would be shaken to my core, but I probably –

Aradia: You wouldn’t have been confident first.

Ali: I wouldn’t have! I’m never confident, I’ve never been confident in my life. Like, I don’t understand what that word means. And so I go, Well, yeah, of course something went wrong. You had no questions about this beforehand, and now something goes wrong and you’re like, Oh, no, who did this? Who could have done this to – like, she’s gaslighting the fetus. She’s like, Oh, no, who could have done this to you. Are you okay? And I go, You just sent radiation through your womb, but whatever.

Aradia: It’s fine. And then she does the only logical thing, which is to go home and get boned. That’s the one thing Garon is still good for, is giving her a comfort bone.

Bree: Well, this is funny because first she, like, sits on the stairs for an hour and she, like, decides – whatever plots and ploys she’s been dreaming, let’s just throw them all away and we don’t have to care about the future. And then she gets home and she’s like, Wait, but if I don’t care about the future, Anniyas is going to, like, get rid of me and take my kid. Okay, I have to care about the future. And that’s when she is like, so stressed out, she doesn’t know what to do. So she goes and bones her husband.

Ali: I just, again, can’t relate to Glenin in this moment. Not being worried about the future and suddenly it occurring to her that she should be. I was watching this interview with Margot Robbie the other day where she was talking about Barbie and the process of trying to find the character of Barbie and how stressful it was.Because she’s like, None of my usual methods were working because, like, I didn’t want to play her like this. And she talks about how Greta Gerwig found her this podcast interview of this woman who has no, like, internal narrator, like, no kind of like –

Bree: No introspection.

Ali: No introspection. Yeah, she has no introspection. She has something where she has no introspection, and so she has no kind of like, fears about the future. She just is very present all the time. And it occurred to her, I think, like recently, that her parents were going to die, she had not thought about it her whole life.

Aradia: Whoah!

Ali: And then suddenly start fearing the day. And her boyfriend or husband or partner was like, Why are you crying?

Ali: And she goes, My parents are going to die someday. And he goes, Have you never thought about that before? So I know Glenin kind of feels that way to me. Where it’s like, for the first time she goes, I need to worry about the future.

Bree: Yeah, I mean, she does sort of have a – It’s not a lack of introspection because we have seen she is so introspect-y, but she also has what I think is a numbing level of privilege.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Yeah. That, I think it is privilege, but I also think it’s because of that privilege, a such absolute certainty that things are going to work out for her. And I think that is the double edged sword of privilege, is that when something does happen to you, you are broken to your core.

Bree: Ill equipped.

Ali: Nothing is ever happened to you. Yeah, you’re ill equipped to handle –

Aradia: Unprepared.

Ali: You are completely unprepared to handle something actually big happening.

Bree: Main character energy. Like you said, she has lived as the main character. She may have to consider that the Captal is the main character. That’s not good.

Ali: At least to the Malerrisi. Which is why I go – She goes, Oh, well, if I kill the Captal, then I will be the person that everyone looks at and looks to – And I go, I just don’t agree with that premise. I just think that at this point, yes, that would be a really big move. But would kind of further emphasize your threat level to Anniyas. And she has done enough to secure her power at this point far before you were born. She thinks like one action is going to undo a lifetime of work to get here. And that could happen theoretically. But I think that that is a very youthful attitude.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: I think that she’s comparing her killing the Captal to Anniyas killing the Captal, and Anniyas killing the Captal, the message is, Oh, no, y’all, I’m still that bitch. Because she’s made her move. Lots of them.

Ali: Yeah. Anniyas also went out and killed almost a thousand Mages. Right? She had a quota.

Bree: Yeah. And like, you know, she has done her other – she has lots of big achievements. And so for her it’s just the, you know, I’m still that bitch. So don’t fuck with me.

Aradia: I’m still punching my murder cards.

Bree: Glenin maybe – And I think it’s like you said from our later scene, we know that she has not necessarily done the work to cultivate respect and loyalty amongst the power structure there.

Ali: Yeah, at least not with the Fifth Lord. And I think part of it definitely has to do with the fact that as much as they pretend to accept Auvry and his heritage, they definitely don’t.

Bree: No. Nobody trusts him.

Aradia: Absolutely not.

Ali: They definitely don’t. And I think that’s that’s the story behind the lady thing. He goes, Don’t call her that, because her house is lesser.

Bree: I mean, they also like – even in that scene, I’m pretty sure they talk shit about why he didn’t feel the summons and if he’s actually that powerful or that loyal, you know.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: They’re constantly questioning both his power and his loyalty. Nobody trusts them on either side.

Ali: Also, for all the Malerrisi say that they want to dismantle all the Tiers and everything, the fact that he’s like, Don’t call her a lady, feels like maybe that’s not actually the goal. And the goal is fascism and reinventing the patriarchy.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah.

Bree: They want a hierarchy and they may say it’s based on magic, but she’s got some badass magic and that’s not earning her the respect. So I guess the question is, what does.

Ali: I think she’s got to jump ship.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Bree: Yeah. I think she’s in trouble. Something’s got to change.

Ali: She’s gotta dip.

Bree: We end this section, and I’m just going to apologize to everybody if my voice gets a little huskier as we go. I think I told most of you on Discord I was pretty sick. That is why we’ve had a little bit of a delay. I feel fine, if I sound a little rough, I apologize. I drank hot jello last night. Okay. I’ve been trying. I don’t know if the voice actors of Bluesky were trolling me with this tip or not, but they got me to drink hot jello and it wasn’t bad.

Aradia: We appreciate your sacrifice.

Bree: I’m here for it. We end this section with Glenin asking her dad about the dream he had at Ambrai, and what that girl looked like. Because he thinks that he is – She has figured out that this girl that her dad was dreaming about is the Captal. So she has knowledge at least. She may not have much else, but she has knowledge that other people need. So that’s some sort of power.

0:37:46 Music break. Rising, chapter 24: The fascism of HOAs

Bree: And we slide into part 24, and we get some scary numbers on Mages.

Aradia: Oof. What in the ethnic cleansing.

Bree: Tell us about that, Aradia.

Aradia: It’s bad. So they went from having 1109 Mages to having 144.

Bree: And that was like in basically the course of this active part of this book.

Aradia: That is in insane amount of being hunted down and killed out. And like given that magic is apparently genetically passed around, this has very, this is a choke point in the evolutionary progress of having magic on this entire planet. Like this is a huge freakin deal to go down to 10% of your former numbers.

Bree: Well, 10% – How many were there in the year Cailet was born?

Ali: 10,000.

Aradia: There have been over 10,000. Jesus. So we’re down to 1% of what it was in the course of Cailet’s – Oh, my God. Yeah.

Ali: I’m just really proud that I remember that. That it was over 10,000. I was like –

Bree: Good job!

Ali: Memory. It’s happening. Yeah, this is bad. The lack of magic people being born is also going to affect the Malerrisi, so I’m not sure why they’re so excited about this?

Bree: I think that they literally think that they’d rather have few Mages that are loyal to them, than any Mages that aren’t, you know, I mean, that may be their whole thing.

Ali: We’re putting the Mages on the endangered species list.

Bree: Because normal people can’t oppose them. Only Mages can in their minds.

Aradia: Yeah. And I feel like if they ever want more, they’ll have enough of a fascistic control over the entirety of society that they can just implement a breeding program and get magic weapons as they want. If that becomes necessary in the future, I’m sure that that’s their ultimate contingency as well. We’ll just breed more if we need them, because that seems like how they are.

Bree: Do you they think we’re going to go full breeding program in this book?

Aradia: I mean, maybe like in a generation or two. I don’t think that would be like right off the bat. But I could see the Malerrisi going like, Oh, the Wraithenbeasts. Hmm.

Bree: You think we’re going to get anyone expressing it?

Ali: I mean, aren’t we already kind of doing a breeding program?

Aradia: Kind of?

Bree: I mean, I guess they won’t let her have the title until she pops some kids out. With exactly who they tell her to.

Ali: Exactly who they tell her to and exactly what gender they want. They’re already doing it. The breeding program.

Bree: That’s a good point. Yeah.

Aradia: So yeah, I would not be surprised if we see some people being like, Here’s the long term plan, is breeding programs. I would not be shocked if that came up.

Ali: I just again, when people can’t recognize that they’re the bad guy. A breeding program usually indicates yes, just going to put that out there. Selectively breeding is a yes. It’s bad, bad what we’ve done to dogs, it’s bad when we do it to people.

Aradia: Yeah. I mean, I am a fan of agriculture, so it’s not like it’s always wrong. Well, there need to be some fucking guard rails.

Ali: I’m like, There’s a difference between a pea pod and a woman. You know what I mean?

Aradia: Yes, very much so.

Bree: Small difference. I, generally speaking, can pick one out from the other. I am not usually confused.

Ali: I don’t think Mendel, when he was observing the peas or whatever, was like, how could we – Well maybe he was. I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be so confident about this.

Aradia: He was a man and a monk, so…

Ali: Because we did go from zero to eugenics really quickly. As a society.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: I love that slippery slope. It’s such a cliff.

Bree: We’ve fallen off it. Okay, so the Mages have been on the move. They have since Cailet cast that summons. Apparently everybody felt it. Everybody. So what do you guys think about this basic thing? With everybody arriving? We get some interesting introductions and also meditations on obedience and how horrifying it can be.

Ali: Yeah, I mean, I think we’ve gotten this continued emphasis on obedience. It just alarms me from the Malerrisi side.

Bree: Yeah, but this is the Mages. Apparently the one thing they do is obey a summons. So like, you remember?

Ali: Well, I guess everyone does need to meet the pope.

Bree: Yeah, that is, that’s kind of what happened.

Ali: Get on the same page about who the pope is.

Bree: There was a pope alert.

Ali: A pope-pourri, if you will.

Bree: And so the start of the section is just people arriving, Mages arriving from all over the country staring at Cailet and going, This is the pope? Errr, WTF, mate.

Aradia: But then also, there’s a level of obedience that’s – there’s the WTF and the obedience which makes the obedience even creepier. Because it’d be one thing if it was like, I don’t know, one thing if they weren’t questioning her at all, but the fact that they’re going to obey her while questioning her just makes it feel extra like compulsion-y? And the meditations on what is obedience have some very sinister overtones with this. Which sucks, because Cailet is obviously a sweet angel baby who doesn’t want to hurt anything and is rapidly turning into a fascist for convenience’s sake. And it’s very concerning.

Bree: Yeah, there’s a line here: “When a contemporary of Gavirin Bekke—his cousin Lilias, also a retired Warder—was assisted into the Captal’s presence by two Prentices even younger than Cailet, she decided that obey was a truly terrible word.” Because these 70 year olds felt compelled to, like, travel across the country while being hunted to their deaths to come and find her, even if they literally couldn’t walk because that was like – That’s a thing.

Ali: It’s not great.

Bree: And then like, but the scariest thing is that then the next line is, But she had to admit it had its uses.

Aradia: That’s the part that’s scary.

Bree: Yeah. Because she thinks that because – as we found out last episode, Imy felt compelled to leave and follow the summons. And while she was writing for Ambrai, she found Sarra. So it worked out well for Sarra, who had been wandering toward the quicksand as we recall, the obligatory 1990s quicksand.

Ali: They made me think that was going to be such a problem.

Bree: Well, we all know how to get out of it at least, so we got that going for us.

Ali: I do. I know how to survive quicksand. I know how to – I read some book as a kid that was like the What to do if – I don’t remember what they’re called. But it was like, what to do if you’re in an earthquake, what to do if you’re dealing with a shark attack? And I’m like, Tell me why I know what to do in these occurrences that I will never be a part of. Hopefully.

Bree: Early anxiety training.

Aradia: Yeah. Be prepared for everything. And we do mean everything.

Ali: Yeah. If you stay prepared, you don’t have to get prepared.

Aradia: Exactly.

Ali: Well, I was watching thisTikTok the other day where someone is like, Sere’s how you deal with a plane crash, right? And that would just trigger anybody.

Bree: Oh, God, I saw that too!

Ali: Because they’re actually pretty shockingly survivable if you do certain steps.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: And the first thing she talks about, you’re going to feel this denial period at first, where you’re like, This can’t be happening to me, everything has worked out so fart. This has got to be an overreaction, ladedadada. And I immediately said, That would not happen to me. No! That would not happen to me, I would be like, Of course!

Bree: Yes, I was about to say this, of course I picked the plane that’s going down, but it’s going to go down in a weird, funny way. That makes it -.

Ali: It’s going to be because a goose flew into the windshield or whatever, and it’s just going to be like, Oh, well, that’s kind of ridiculous. Yeah, that’s why it would happen.

Bree: Is this a writer thing that we imagine that our lives are being narrated by a particularly sadistic person who just, like, wants everything to be hilarious and tragic at the same time.

Ali: I call myself God’s Stooge. But I had this thing for a while where, pne of my Get To Know You Questions was like, What genre is your life? Because I felt that –

Aradia: I love that.

Ali: Yeah, I had a friend that was like, Intense workplace drama. ItYou know, he was like, Aaron Sorkin-y workplace drama. Oh, God.

Ali: And I was like, That tracks for who you are. And I was like, For me, farce. Constant farce. Yeah.

Bree: Yes. Tragefarce.

Ali: Tragicomedy. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like I am constantly – I refer to myself as God’s Stooge, like he’s bored up there and needs some entertainment. So let’s mess with Ali.

Bree: Yes! Like this is the whole thing. And you guys – the podcast didn’t hear about it cause we weren’t podcasting – but like, I went through a lot in November, like my bed broke and I tried to order a new one and then I got sick so that I really needed a bed. But I couldn’t sleep because my bed got lost. FedEx lost my bed in Indiana, just like, lost it, just a frickin 170 pound adjustable bed lost in Indiana. It was the weirdest thing, and I can’t even be upset because it’s so bizarre. But of course, you know, it happens.

Ali: So it happens.

Bree: Of course.

Ali: Yeah. And I feel like some people go, of course in a negative way where they’re like, I have bad luck. Everything goes poorly for me. And I go, okay, well, some good things happened to you, I promise. But yeah, for me it’s more, it’s less of like, an “Argh”, it’s more of just like, Yup.

Bree: It’s a resigned, Oh, you got me this time!

Ali: Yup.

Bree: Because it’s always just weird enough to be kind of funny.

Ali: Oh, the last thing we taught my dog, we were teaching my dog before he passed away, was play dead.

Bree: Oh, Ali. That is the most tragic example. But also –

Ali: And so now whenever we pass Schooner’s ashes, we praise him for doing a really job at it.

Aradia: Oh!

Ali: It’s shit like that. Where I’m just like, Yup!

Bree: Yes, that was the perfect example.

Ali: He really said, This is the funniest time to go out. He really did. Yeah.

Bree: Oh, my God.

Ali: Oh, he really did that for us. For the comedy, for the memes.

Bree: Forever.

Aradia: For the Lolz.

Ali: What a king.

Bree: What an improv partner.

Ali: He Yes, And it so hard.

Bree: What a good boy. Also memorialized in my book that just came out.

Ali: I know he is.

Bree: There is a wolf named after him because we love a hero king puppy dog.

Aradia: Aww.

Ali: You know, it’s amazing. The writer Christy Caldwell is also putting him in her book that’s coming out too. He’s gonna be memorialized in so many texts! What could ever –

Aradia: Only the best.

Ali: He was so iconic. What an icon, he’s in multiple books. I love it.

Bree: What a good dog.

Ali: But yeah I mean it’s things like that. I mean, that’s the genre my life takes. It’s just like this constant, regardless of how bad it is, it’s like there’s this stream of irony that’s just everything. Where you’re like, okay, but also this is kind of funny, even though it’s sick.

Bree: Dramatic irony.

Aradia: Whereas Sarra is, in Cailet’s opinion, the genre of romcom, as the section closes out. Because she’s like, In order – What is it like? In order for Sarra’s mood to improve, these two impossible things have to happen, which is that Sarra has to admit she’s in love and Collan has to agree to get married. And it’s just like, so Cailet’s just like, And you two? You two are the romcom.

Ali: Kiss.

Aradia: Go be the romcom.

Bree: I’ll read this quote because I do love it. “Whatever else happened, whatever else she must do, it simply had to end with two broken vows: Sarra’s never to marry one of those loud, pesky, impossible creatures called a man, and Collan’s never to become that gelded, contemptible beast, a husband.”

Aradia: It’s so good!

Ali: This is very Shakespeare of them. Very Taming of the Shrew. It’s very Much Ado –

Bree: Much Ado About Nothing!

Ali: Literally! I was like, This is so Beatrice and Benedick of you. Please. We all know how that ends.

Aradia: Absolutely.

Bree: So what we do next, before we get to the end of this, Cailet and Sarra decide that their new genre is going to be – it’s 80% of the book. What could go wrong if we split the party and go off on our own?

Ali: Never split the party. Never, really, if you find yourself in a book, and you’re suddenly aware that you’re in a book, never split the party.

Aradia: Ever.

Bree: That’s not at 80%. Okay? At 80% you stick right by everybody else.

Aradia: Yeah, 20%, you can split the party and go get a magic artifact or level up on your own. 80%? It’s time to get together for the Boss battle. Rejoin the party.

Ali: Yeah, Yeah. Stay together. Only bad things happen when you split up.

Bree: So they go. And this is where we get what we talked about before, all of this discussion of, like, the Ambrai that was, you know, they’re walking down the bureaucracy, and I sort of love this image. “They lived on the fourth and fifth floors, had private offices on the third, did public business on the second, and spent hot afternoons in cool marble reception chambers and petition halls on the first.” So like, all of these buildings that just house this massive bureaucracy, finance, forest, fisheries, agriculture, trade, harbors, you know, the guilds, the webs. Just yeah, I love imagining the city, honestly, it must have been so beautiful.

Aradia: And now it’s all like a burnt out apocalyptic ruin. But you can see the beauty under the soot.

Ali: That’s how you know it’s really beautiful.

Aradia: Right, right, right.

Ali: Yeah. It’s just like. I don’t know, It just makes me sad when pretty buildings get burned down. I know that that’s silly because, like, the people obviously matter more, but, you know, I don’t know.

Aradia: The buildings last longer.

Ali: That’s the thing. It’s the endurance of the building, especially when the place is very old. Like, I was thinking about this the other day – because of something sad that I don’t necessarily want to bring up – but like, just just how tragic it can be when something so old and so beautiful is gone. Yeah, because there’s something about the fact that it withstands so much of human history only for us to go, okay, but now you’re done. No longer shall the generations get to enjoy this, because mankind needed to go kaboom.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah.

Ali: It’s sad in a different way. Like, I think that multiple things can be sad at one time. I get annoyed when people are like, okay, but what about the people? And I go, Okay, yeah. Obviously we’re also sad about the people. Maybe, but we can’t be sad about two things at once, Karen.

Aradia: Hot nuance.

Ali: Karen!

Bree: We’re most sad about the people. But we’re also sad –

Ali: We’re obviously more sad about the people!

Bree: About the other things. And I do think it’s a loss of culture and art and gathering places. And you know, your history. It erases so much.

Ali: It’s what the building represents, which is history, art, culture, all of that is being dismantled. In addition to the loss of human life. It’s like an insult on top of injury.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Yeah. And like, we live in a world with a lot of ruins in it, so seeing something go from functional into ruins is like, that’s an intense moment in a building’s trajectory, because we have a lot of buildings and we have a lot of ruins.

Ali: I didn’t think about it that way.

Aradia: I mean, you look at some stuff and you’re like, We don’t know who built that or how they felt or what they did or why they did it. And then you see modern stuff, like I’m thinking specifically of like, old castles that are abandoned and then like, Notre Dame having its roof burned off. It was this moments of, I’ve been in that building and I’ve seen ruins like in England, like these things both exist. And just like, this is how it happens. This is the beginning of becoming a ruin.

Ali: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s what it is, it’s like, yeah, you’re watching this – that weird introspection of like, we are watching history happen right now. Well, yeah, you know what I mean?

Bree: When you take its people away, you take its context away. You take away everyone who could tell you who built it and why and how. And you know, the people who knew anything about Ambrai, I mean, they’re diminishing. They’re disappearing. So now it is really sad.

Ali: What, there’s only three of them.

Aradia: Right? Yeah. Because like, at this point, they’re a generation removed, right? Like, there’s Cailet who represents the future and she literally only has stories to go on. She doesn’t even –

Bree: This is 17 years ago. So it is literally, you know.

Aradia: And she doesn’t remember it, but she’s also the person in charge of rebuilding it in so many ways. So like, yeah, some losses you can’t ever put back. There’s like some repair that’s just impossible and that’s a lot to introspect on.

Bree: Well that leads Cailet directly into, How could we have stopped this? And this is where she says: “It’s our greatest weakness, you know. We don’t easily give up control of our magic to someone else. We’re independent.” And she’s thinking about this as a, We don’t work together. But Sarra immediately is like, You mean you’re not Malerrisi, I’d call that a strength. Because it is definitely – that’s the thing, and Sarra points out, it’s easy for Cailet to say, Sometimes when things are really important, we should all have to subsume ourselves into the greater whole. When Cailet said it’s always going to be the one who decides what’s important and what the greater whole should be doing. You know, it’s easy to demand everybody else’s help with something when you’re never going to have that demand put upon you. So where where do you guys find the line between what the Malerrisi are doing and what is just like good old fashioned community organizing? Because the Mages could, you know, there is being too independent.

Ali: I mean, where do we draw the line at HOA and fascism, do you know what I mean?

Bree: No, like community organizing and HOA, that right there. Because I’m sorry. HOAs are a lot closer to fascism than we want to get. I don’t know if you guys watched Last Week Tonight’s breakdown on the HOAs?

Aradia: Oh yeah.

Bree: They’re not great.

Ali: HOAs are so fucked.

Bree: HOAs are a problem.

Ali: They are proof that sometimes when you give someone a modicum of power, they just get so corrupted. I don’t think our neighborhood has one. I haven’t had the pleasure or displeasure of encountering them, but oh my God.

Aradia: Yeah. But like. And then the other side that, that I like to go back to, is fucking Captain Janeway. There’s a very distinct point where she’s like, This is not a democracy. I’m in charge, I make the calls and I’m going to do my best, but I cannot take everyone’s opinion into account, that will get us all killed. I have to be in control of your lives. And, you know, obviously she’s great and perfect and does absolutely nothing wrong ever. So it’s like clearly possible to not end up as the villain of the story, while also having a level of control over people that won’t ever be reversed. Right? She’s the captain, she’s never going to be, you know, down in the lower decks or whatever. In terms of the rank. Obviously, she crawls around the entire ship because that’s what she does. But like, yeah, I definitely was also about descriptions I’ve read or heard on podcasts about anarchy, and what anarchy actually is as a political concept. And it’s not chaos and a lack of rules. It’s the most horizontal distribution of authority the situation can possibly call for, which means sometimes there will be people in charge, because you’re like doing electrical work and you need an electrician to make sure you don’t die. And like, respecting people’s wisdom and knowledge is not the same thing as blindly following their authority. And I feel like Sarra is more in the wrong here because she’s making it into a binary system of, We have to be entirely independent or we are all mindless fascists. And Cailet is not correct in her ultimate synthesis, but she’s closer to correct in saying that, like there is hot nuance, and there is gray zones, and there are ways for people to consensually become part of a greater whole.

Ali: Well, it’s that it’s that constant push and pull question of like, what is more important, individuality or the collective?

Aradia: Right, Right. And like, the answer is both. And every situation is going to call for a different balance of the two.

Ali: That’s the hot nuance of it all, right? It’s like, okay, there is such a thing as prioritizing the individual over the collective too much, right? Where we’re like, Okay, these rules exist, except, you know, then this stuff happens and.

Bree: No, you guys, let’s just solve this right now. I think the podcast can do it. Let’s solve the tension.

Ali: We’re going to solve it right now. Okay, this is how the world should be run. But yeah, that is that constant push and pull, right? Like, what is more important, if you go into the collective too much as being the most important thing, then you, you know, miss honoring the fact that humans aren’t a monolith and that sometimes in order to serve the whole the best, we do have to individualize things.

1:01:23 Music break. Rising, chapter 25: Hot Nuance for torture

Bree: Part 25, and this is where we find out what the Pain Stake is. Hello, Pain Stake. How do we feel about Collan? Who is going through some shit.

Aradia: I do not like torture scenes. Be they written, or in TV, movies. I do not like them generally. I really liked this one.

Ali: Is there no hot nuance for torture?

Aradia: It’s just very visceral. And it’s just a lot. But I really like Collan’s POV. I have really enjoyed being in Collan’s POV and this is a very inventive and not body fluid intensive way of causing pain. So I was able to just see the headspace thing. And I thought it was really fascinating how he takes agency of his mind and like breaks along fault lines of his choice and he’s taking control in a way that no one apparently has ever been able to do. And I’m like, That’s right. That is our Diamond Balls Rosvenir. Collan is like – I don’t know why Collan is in this book, but I’m fucking glad, because he is owning this scene in which he has no agency over his body, he has no agency over anything, and yet he is the one who is – not in control, but he’s pissing off his his captors, right? He’s the one who won’t break. They are the ones trying to break him and he fucking won’t. And I found that just really a thrilling read.

Ali: Well, I feel like it’s one of those things where, you know, I would – Collan is one of that classic rogue, lovable rogue archetype. But we occasionally need to demonstrate that the lovable rogue is still a badass, which is why we should still like him. And this is the, He’s a lovable rogue, and sometimes he can also be a dickhead, but he is a likable dickhead.

Aradia: Yeah, but he’s our dickhead. He’s on our team.

Ali: Yeah, exactly.

Bree: He seems to be having problems with his memories. I think it’s interesting what he remembers, though. I do love this part. He remembers the wind and the woman singing to him by the fire. And he remembers Falundir and the cottage. Also being taught by the fire. And he remembers Sarra sitting by the fire in the meet cute cabin, you know, reading her book. And so, like, one of the things that he is sort of doing is almost half drunkenly composing some sort of song that, you know, ties these themes together. So basically a mother’s love and a mentor’s gift and whatever he’s decided Sarra is going to be to him.

Ali: His situationship.

Bree: Yes. But then he says: “That strange song was pleasure though. And to stay silent and sane, he required pain”. Which is just a line. Ouch. So he has the comfort of this pleasure. But this imaginary pain is all mental. It doesn’t seem to be doing anything to his hands but terrorizing him because, like, what if his hands don’t work after this?

Aradia: Oh, my God. That.

Ali: As somebody that has a, you know, condition that causes them to experience pain, but it’s just mental. Mental pain sucks just as much, actually in some ways it sucks more because you’re like, There is no cause to this. It’s just my brain has decided to make me feel pain at this particular moment in time. And no one can explain why. There’s no like, Let’s put a cast on it and wait a few months. It’s like, okay, we’ll just hope that it goes away.

Bree: Oh, well, if you have pain, that is not something doctors understand. The gaslighting, the being told basically that it’s not real. Like, Oh my God, it is a whole mental thing. Like just traumatic.

Aradia: Yeah. And also with Collan there’s that existential dread of what happened to Falundir, was being crippled through his hands. And what Collan is experiencing is pain in his hands. So he has to keep reminding himself, you’re not losing your ability to play music. You’re not losing your ability to play music. You’re not. But like it feels like you are. And there’s just this extra level of like, your musicianship feels like it’s being threatened, but it’s not, we hope.

Ali: And you can mentally lose your ability to do things.

Aradia: Oh yeah, and he’s losing a lot at this point. I’m like, is he going to come out of this incapable of playing mentally and like, are we going to break over that? Because his role is shrinking, his neurology is crunching down.

Ali: I was just listening to John Green’s really interesting essay on the yips and what happens to athletes.

Bree: Oh gosh.

Ali: And I think also performers because I’ve definitely experienced the yips as a singer. But what happens to people in these high stress situations when they first experience the yips and what that does to them? Yeah, I mean, we know so little about the brain and how the brain works, and there’s nothing to say that just because Collan is not enduring trauma to his hands, right – And this is what I would be thinking about, because my brain likes to really make things helpful, is that I would be like, Okay, yeah, you’re not getting physically hurt, but that doesn’t mean that mentally you’ll be the same or able to do the things that you were once able to do. But that’s not particularly helpful in this situation. So I’m glad his brain isn’t going there.

Aradia: That we know of.

Ali: That we know, right? He’s in this box. The reason why showers are so difficult, I think for ADHD people sometimes, is that you are just stuck in the box of your thoughts.

Aradia: I mean, I do have a shower speaker. So that way I won’t be.

Ali: I do too.

Bree: Oh, God, I need to charge mine. Remind me.

Ali: Charge your shower speaker.

Bree: Mine ran out of batteries during my shower yesterday –

Aradia: Noo!

Bree: And I was stuck in the shower for like 5 minutes without my podcast.

Ali: Nooo!

Bree: So this is the worst thing that is ever happened to a human.

Ali: She’s never quiet. She never shuts up. But in the shower, she’s the worst she’s ever been. Ah, yeah, Showering is the worst because that’s when the bad thoughts come.

Bree: Water, the water makes the thoughts so excited. So yes.

Ali: Yeah. It nourishes the thoughts.

Bree: So. Yeah. Poor Collan.

Ali: Yeah. So I feel like being stuck in a box with my thoughts would be worst case scenario. Worst case scenario.

Bree: Terrible. He’s starting to crave color also, because he’s in this white box.

Aradia: That I thought was an interesting detail.

Bree: Yeah. Like he’s looking forward to seeing Feiran’s, just like his eyes, his eyelashes, tanned skin, his lips, and like, he recognizes that is sick and dangerous. So he tries to, like, go back into his memories. But the memories aren’t real.

Ali: Collan would be triggered by millennial beige and gray.

Aradia: I mean, yeah. Which is the correct response.

Ali: Who isn’t?

Aradia: It’s a bad call.

Bree: And so they stop asking him where the Captal is. They’re asking him what is the name of the girl with the short blond hair? And he knows that that’s the Captal, but he can’t remember her name, or his, or much of anything.

Ali: This is the thing about torturing people, is you don’t actually, I think, get accurate information. Like, there’s still no way to ensure the information that you get is accurate, because after a certain point, they’re going to tell you whatever or they’re going to be in such a state of mental and physical anguish that they’re not going to tell you anything useful because it might not even be true.

Aradia: No, no. Torture is useless and dumb and should stop.

Ali: At this point, is he useful to them? He’s not even useful to them..

Aradia: No. But villains for some reason seem to like torturing heroes. It seems to help them work through some shit. So like they always do it. But yeah, it never helps.

Ali: Yeah. I mean, at a certain point I think it’s not even about getting information. It’s about power over people. They’re just certain things that people do where I go, It’s not about the thing itself, it’s about the power over somebody else, right? So yeah, I feel like to a certain extent torture is just a display of what you can do, because, I mean, at a certain point it’s like, I mean, we know at this point now it’s not necessarily an inherently useful tactic. So yeah, I just feel like at this point they’re just doing it to be assholes.

Aradia: Because now he hasn’t answered their questions. How dare he? Right? There’s now that vindictive, like, it’s not about the information, it’s about the fact that you wouldn’t give us information, you asshole.

Bree: They have to break him.

Ali: Well, we have this idea in this society that, like, if you can withstand torture, you’re morally, like, better than everyone?

Aradia: Which is like, okay, Spanish Inquisition, calm your tits.

Ali: Exactly. Like, all right, let’s relax. It’s like, can you withstand torture? Then you are morally good. And I go, Well, I don’t know.

Aradia: I refer you all to the story of G. Gordon Liddy as told on Behind the Bastards. That guy was part of Watergate and made it his whole schtick to be, quote unquote, immune to pain. And he was the architect of Watergate. So, like, do with that what you will.

Ali: Yeah. Sometimes there’s these things where people are like, You know what a real man can do? A real man can withstand pain. I’m like, Well, is that always the best man you can find, though?

Aradia: Bit of a false equivalency.

Ali: Oh, I mean, I like that he’s protecting his friends. Obviously, that’s a morally good thing. But, you know, protecting your friends can look like a lot of things. It could look like baking them cookies for their birthday when they’re sad.

Bree: I would love some cookies, honestly.

Aradia: Well, I’m sure if Collan was given the choice between the Pain Stake and the baking section of their kitchen, he would probably go for the cookie route if they offered it.

Ali: I don’t know how complicated these cookies are. Looks really fucking stressful.

Aradia: This is true. This is true.

Ali: Are they having to fail on camera in front of millions of people?

Aradia: Questions.

Bree: Ali is like, please, please direct me to the torture.

Aradia: About that Pain Stick.

Ali: But I can’t help but recall the time when I put too much of something in cookies, that it was just a sheet of cookie instead of individualized cookies. I don’t know what I did, I think it was too much baking soda. And so the whole thing –

Bree: That’s possible.

Ali: Revolting. And we had to throw them away. So I don’t know. I don’t know if I would rather endure torture, than fail repeatedly on camera in front of millions of people. I don’t know.

Aradia: Those seem like equivalents. Yeah.

Bree: We’re cracking open the psychology here today. You know, it’s unfair to ask an anxious person with chronic illness that, because it’s like, Listen, I’m used to pain and I hate failure and embarrassment.

Ali: Pain is an old friend at this point. I’ve got my pain management tools down, too. Like the breathing. I can breathe like a motherfucker through pain. You would never know. You would never know. I sometimes breathe through it. But then I do want someone to know that I’m in pain so they can see how tough I am. Because at this point I’m so good at compartmentalizing it that I’m like, Well, they should know still that I am sick, because sometimes I do need to tell them that I am sick.

Bree: It’s like the period pain TikTok people, you know, when they – have you ever seen them?

Ali: No, what do they do?

Bree: Oh, my God. They have a machine that simulates really bad cramps.

Ali: Yes.

Bree: And sometimes they’ll hook up couples to them. Like a woman who has PCOS or Endo, so has like, the really bad, like, ten cramps. And she’ll just be standing there like, yeah, this is about how it is. And like by six, you know, her boyfriend’s twitching and by nine he’s crumpled over, like rocking back and forth. And she is just like, No, no, I have to go to work like this all the time.

Ali: You get used to it after a while. It’s like, yeah, you’re just like, This is how my body works. So I better get comfy here in this, in this world where my body hurts all the time, there’s nothing anyone can really do about it. So yeah, I don’t know. I feel like, yeah, that’s a bad question to ask an anxious person with chronic illness, like you said.

Aradia: Yeah, that seems fair.

Ali: But I get so messed up sometimes when, like, things hurt because sometimes they go, okay, but what if this is actually a real thing this time? And I’m so used to everything hurting all the time that I just don’t take it seriously because everything hurts all the time. And then I get into this anxious spiral there where I’m like, Well. But then it goes away. So then I go, Okay, that’s my clue, is it goes away.

Aradia: This time.

Ali: This time!

Bree: Dude, I was so – I had to have surgery for like PCOS and Endo, and apparently my appendix was like fuzed with endometriosis scarring, and they took it out and I was like, Yes! Because now I never have to worry that my appendix is bursting ever again. I can just ignore the cramps.

Ali: That is a plus. Honestly, that is a plus.

Bree: Right? They took my appendix out and I was like, so relieved. Like, do you know how much time of my life I spent going, What if my appendix is actually bursting and I’m ignoring it right now?

Ali: Because it’s just because that happens? So this is the thing.

Bree: I’m telling you right there. Like, I 100% get it. Because I was like, yes, this was a relief for me to lose that body part, so I didn’t have to worry anymore.

Ali: Tragedy, but comedy. Like we said.

Bree: You guys are learning all sorts of crazy stuff about us today, in my lack of appendix and Ali’s fear of cookies.

Ali: No, it’s a fear of failure on a public space. But at this point, it’s so inevitable that I just I go out there, like when I do a panel or whatever, I go out there and I’m like, I’m going to fuck up something. So just get comfy with it right now.

Aradia: Yeah, I mean.

Bree: Be hilarious.

Ali: I just go, radical acceptance, radical acceptance.

Aradia: As amateur podcasters, we are constantly failing in public by definition.

Bree: And it’s fun.

Aradia: And it’s fun!

Ali: Speaking of failing in public, Collan does not fail to withstand torture.

Bree: No. Excellent job.

Ali: He’s good at it. He’s good at torture. He gets an A in torture. If that is possible.

Aradia: A in withstanding torture.

Ali: Something normal to want, and something possible to achieve.

Bree: Excellent, excellent. Captain America, I understood that reference.

Ali: Here is the thing. Here’s the thing. If I were being tortured, this is how I am. If I were being tortured, I would ask them. I’d be like, Am I being tortured the best? Like, am I.

Bree: A-plus in being tortured.

Ali: I would need them to tell me how tough I was.

Aradia: Can I have, like, a Yelp review?

Bree: Honestly, no, y’all. He’s getting, like a D, He’s getting a D. They’re not happy. He is not breaking. He’s getting an A-plus in resisting torture. But in being a torture victim, he is not pleasing them. Their Yelp review is going to be very unsatisfactory.

Ali: I seriously would be like, they would be like, clamping the electrodes to my nipples.

Bree: Didn’t you already kill one of them?

Ali: But they really would be clamping those electrodes to my nipples, and I’d be like, Okay, but am I the best one? Like your favorite? Am I your favorite in being tortured?

Bree: It’s like the millennial kidnap videos on TikTok.

Aradia: Yes, very much so.

Ali: I thought the exact same thing. I identify with that so hard. I’m just like that. I’d be like, Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, like, get a little mud on your seat.

Bree: Just so sorry.

Ali: What is wrong with us as a generation? We’re so fucked up.

Bree: Okay. Any final torture things before we jump to part 26?

Ali: Hmmm. Torture’s bad.

Aradia: Torture’s bad.

Bree: Yeah. No nuance there. Torture’s bad.

Ali: Don’t torture people. This podcast is against torture.

Bree: And we’re not afraid to admit it.

Ali: And we’re not afraid to admit it.

Aradia: Not in the slightest. That’s a take that will age well.

Bree: Probably.

Ali: Maybe.

Bree: One of the few.

Ali: Who knows what the world will be in a few years.

Aradia: Oh, Lord.

1:18:44 Music break. Rising, chapter 26: Machine gun hands all the way down

Bree: Okay. Part 26 is when Taig and Elomar and some other people catch up with them. And Cailet’s like, I left a note. And everyone’s like, She left a note, you hear that? They wandered off at 80% of the book, they split the party, but they left a note. And they agree with us that this is not the behavior that you should be doing, at now 81% of the book.

Ali: Granted, they wouldn’t – like that kid said later, they wouldn’t have let her go. So, what is she supposed to do?

Aradia: Now maybe there’s a good reason for that, child.

Ali: Well, maybe at 14 or whatever, we know better than the adults in the room.

Aradia: It’s true. 14 year olds do know best. I was 14 once. I did know everything at that point, and it’s been downhill from there.

Ali: They are the paramount of knowledge. They get it. They get how the world works.

Bree: Very true. Sarra slaps Taig, kind of backhands him, saying, You walk a fine line here, don’t step over it again. And then he goes storming off, and they go up the balcony, the symbolic balcony, to, quote unquote, wait for Taig to stop sulking.

Ali: I don’t know if we as the powered gender should be slapping the gender with less power. I just, I feel like that’s always a bad.

Bree: Okay, well, she doesn’t physically slap him, but she does verbally slap him.

Ali: Oh. That is much more socially acceptable to do. I thought I had missed something.

Bree: She was basically like, Boy, you’re getting uppity.

Aradia: And then they belittle his hurt by calling it sulking. So I definitely was seeing that power dynamic of like, being the lesser.

Bree: Yeah, yeah, it isn’t actually great. I mean, it’s complicated, because I think that in this world of all worlds, you know, women should be allowed to like, go on their own without man supervision.

Ali: Right?

Bree: But when you’re the pope, don’t get mad that people don’t want the pope to wander off without bodyguards. Okay?

Aradia: Right.

Bree: This is the new world. You know, the pope doesn’t just get to, like, jet off and go on a picnic.

Ali: That’s so sad.

Bree: It is.

Ali: What if the pope really wants to go on a picnic?

Aradia: Then he should build a private estate where he can have a picnic.

Ali: Oh, but that’s so lame. That’s so lame in comparison to, like, a real picnic.

Aradia: But what if he built ten in different city states that only he could go to?

Bree: I feel like this has probably happened.

Ali: I feel like there’s something to be said for the novelty, and the being invisible in a public space. There is something for that where you’re like, I’m the main character, but no one knows that I’m the main character. No news of me that I am, you know, having my little coffee and baguette. I’m having my Carrie Bradshaw moment. Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like that’s really sad, but. Okay.

Bree: Well, while Taig’s quote unquote sulking, whether it is fair or not, we do some genealogy. Any thoughts about the – you know, this is just some of her spicy flavoring of how convoluted this world is, again.

Ali: This is a complicated family tree.

Aradia: Yeah, I liked it as fleshing out the world, but I was also like, Those are some nice details.

Ali: I thought those were really nice words.

Aradia: They were put in a good order. You know?

Ali: They were put in a good order.

Bree: Lots of fifth cousins.

Ali: I will not be remembering any of it. Bbut I am happy for you though. Or sorry it happened.

Aradia: Yeah. And then thinking about genealogy spins us into Cailet thinking about the trauma of her own birth and her like angst with her mom and the whole, like, She didn’t even look at me before she died of the sads! And, like, that part was sad.

Ali: Heartbreaking. Yeah. Here’s my thing. Intellectually, we understand that it’s because she was dying and didn’t necessarily want to look at the child that she wasn’t going to be around to raise. All of that I understand, but it’s rough to have to watch that. You know what I mean? That’s a rough thing.

Bree: And I mean, generally speaking, you don’t remember that.

Ali: Yeah. And I’m a little like, Gorynel Desse, what the fuck? Why are we – I feel like he’s –

Bree: Firewall that shit.

Ali: Can we keep that one to yourself?

Bree: Password protect it.

Ali: We don’t need to unload this trauma on that already very traumatized child like, I don’t know.

Bree: Gorynel Desse is against people having memories unless they’re traumatic.

Ali: He’s like, Okay, but this one, you get to see, this one you get to have? I don’t know about that. I don’t know about that guy. I still don’t know about him.

Bree: I am going to drop the t-shirt. I made our first t shirt, the most niche t-shirt that has ever existed, and I will be dropping it in the Discord. You can get it. “I attended the roasting of Gorynel Desse and all I got was – Wait, did I get anything? Also, what is my name? I can’t remember” – T shirt.

Aradia: (squeals in delight)

Bree: So the most niche t-shirt that has ever existed.

Ali: I am happy.

Bree: We have them in black and white. So I will put those in there. Speaking of Gorynel Desse and his refusal to let people remember.

Aradia: I love that.

Bree: So yes, he gives us this traumatic memory. Before we go into that, though, we go back to the ethics again. And Cailet sort of gets a little bit bossy. She’s like, You’re going to kill who I tell you to kill. And Elomar is like, No, we’re not.

Ali: Who are you? Malerrisi? Relax.

Bree: Yeah, they do draw a line between killing with weapons and killing with magic. Which – What do you guys think about that? Do you think that’s a real legit thing?

Ali: No!

Aradia: Is…

Bree: I kind of do, because anyone can get a knife.

Ali: Okay, here’s the thing. I guess it’s like, okay, when people say they’re hunting and they’re hunting with a bow and arrow, versus a machine gun. That’s very different types of hunting. It’s like, one is fair and one is not, right?

Bree: Well, but what if also on top of that, you’re either born with a machine gun or not and you can’t choose?

Ali: You got machine guns for hands!

Bree: I mean, basically. So like, that’s the situation. I think to me that’s the difference. Anyone can learn to use a knife, but not everyone can learn to use magic.

Ali: Okay. I mean, I guess that’s fair. But isn’t she talking about attacking –

Bree: Other people using magic? I mean. Yes. And for me, I do feel like that’s where I start to go, Okay, so we’re not going to kill the Malerrisi with magic, either? They’re on the same playing field, y’all.

Aradia: Yeah, exactly.

Ali: Yeah. I go, Listen, I’m all for machine guns for hands, not using the machine guns against people with knives for hands, because that’s more fair. But I am not in favor of people going, We can’t use the machine guns for hands against the machine guns for hands. That’s silliness.

Aradia: Yeah. They’re laying themselves down for complete annihilation over a principle, when the only reason that they’re getting annihilated is the Deus ex machina that makes that principle even relevant.

Ali: You heard it here first: principles are stupid.

Aradia: Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

Ali: That’s what I’d say.

Aradia: But yeah, I mean, it’s the thing when you introduce magic into a system, or any technology sufficiently separated from the current technology such that it looks like magic, right? You got to – apples with apples, fire with fire. Right. Like there has to be some scale.

Bree: And I don’t think they have a complete rule against it, because some of them do use magic against magic. They’ve done this before. But there’s definitely an ethical thing about not using it to kill, or like, a lot of them, I think, you know, maybe other than the Warriors, really feel strongly against it. And so, yeah, I feel like this is one of those nuance-y places where I start to feel like, if you’re going to let these people do damage because you’re not willing to stop them, even though you’re one of the rare people born with the power to do so, at what point is the damage they do your responsibilit? Because you’ve let them continue to rampage when you have the power to stop them.

Aradia: Right. But the other side of this is something that Collan illustrated for us, which is that nobody has the right to tell you who to kill, except for you. And what Cailet’s saying is, You will kill who I say. And like, Collan deciding that that is a decision that needs to be his is how he joined the Rising. So that’s one of the bumpers on where this nuance zone exists.

Bree: I agree with that. I think no one should get to tell you.

Ali: I feel like – yeah, here’s the thing. I think that there is definitely a world in which we should be told who we can’t kill. That’s fine.

Aradia: Sure, sure.

Ali: But once we start saying you have to take this person’s life, which is going to give you tremendous trauma for the rest of your life, like now we’re at a point where this is a problem.

Bree: Yeah, I think that that is a, you know – and I do love that Collan’s choice was the value. You know, Who I’m willing to kill for. And that no one has the right to tell him that. But I also think the, Who I’m willing to kill for thing ties back into what I said, which is at some point, it’s not about the fact that you’re killing. It’s about, you know, who you’re protecting by doing it.

Aradia: Right. Right. And if you’re protecting non magic users from magic users, that is incredibly righteous, because they don’t have the machine gun hands to defend themselves.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Yeah. And the Malerrisi are not going to be shy about using the machine gun hands. That’s the thing.

Bree: No.

Ali: So it’s like, we can’t be shy about using the machine gun hands to protect the knives for hands against the machine gun hands who aren’t going to be shy about using the machine gun hands. It’s machine guns all the way down.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: This is – I know that this is one of those classic nuance things where you always have to say, at what point when I’m using their weapons, do I become them? And I think that’s like, there has to be room for the reason you’re doing it and who you’re doing it against to matter.

Ali: Right.

Aradia: There isn’t a one size fits all answer. And anyone who says so is lying to you. And probably wants your money.

Ali: It’s almost as if nuance exists.

Bree: And is spicy hot.

Ali: I will be sitting here on this nuance-y throne for my entire existence, just going, Team Nuance! Just waving a tiny little flag.

Aradia: Yeah. And speaking of hot and cold, then Cailet’s like, I’m cold. And she has a really nice hug from Taig, and it’s really sweet, before everything goes to fucking hell.

Ali: The minute he hugged her, I was like, He’s fucked.

Aradia: I know, right? I’m like, Don’t do it, no!

Ali: No!

Bree: Yeah. Yeah.

Ali: He got Taigged out.

Aradia: Oooow!

Bree: She runs off to the room that, like, her parents lived in. Before we do that, I want to call out one thing, which is that Gorsha is like – Cailet thinks that she was conceived in lust but not love. And Gorsha says, On the last day of the year, I knew when it happened. And she’s like, Oh, how, did the magic shake inside you?

Aradia: Okay. T.M.I!

Ali: (incoherent screeching in the background)

Bree: “Did the stars tremble in the skies?” He’s like, “Nothing so trite. Very simply, my dear, their door was locked and Warded all day.” And so basically this is – Ali is dying over there. I like the line: “They made love with the last of their love. And they made you.” I like that line.

Aradia: It is a romantic line. But from Gorsha to Cailet, I’m just like, Sir, contain yourself.

Bree: Well, he did kiss her. That makes it all much more awkward.

Aradia: Oh.

Ali: (screams)

Bree: Oh, God. I think we’ve lost Ali. Do we need to call 911? Ali?

Ali: (incoherent, out of breath mumbles) Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I was just about to say, you know what makes this all fucking worse? Because here’s the thing. I don’t ever. I don’t care who you are. Not one fucking person wants to hear any details about how they were made. Not one fucking person. There is not a person, I just don’t believe.

Bree: Didn’t I say that I did this to my nibling here a couple weeks ago?

Aradia: You did. Yeah.

Bree: I’m a bad aunt. It wasn’t even this sweet!

Ali: I just. I’m like, I don’t. I don’t really. As someone with divorced parents, whether they loved each other or no, I’m here. Great. Awesome. What a great time we’re hopefully having. But like, all he had to say was no, I think they I think they loved each other. They know all he has to say is that one line about like, just trust me, I know this, just trust me. They loved each other at the time. That’s all you have to say, right? I’m not going to go into specifics. I’m not going to go into details, because no one needs that. But at the time that you were created, there was love involved, right? That’s all you have to say, you just say that beautiful sentiment. You do not need to say any fucking thing else. And then what makes it worse is like – just imagine. Just imagine. Okay? Like you go with your friends to a cabin for New Year’s Eve, and you’re, like, and they get a little too toasty, and stuff’s going down. And for some reason you have the knowledge of how someone was made. First of all, he doesn’t really explain how he knows this. And I’m just like, Creepy! What, were you watching? Like, how is this going on?

Aradia: They had the Do Not Disturb sign up, that is the only thing the sign means.

Bree: Well, this is the last time he sees her.

Ali: He was their third. Like what?

Bree: No. Okay, Ali. This is the only time the two of them have been around each other in the period where conception would have been possible.

Ali: Sure.

Bree: So I do think it’s fair. I don’t think he had to have been watching.

Ali: Listen, once he clarified, it made it a little better. But at first I was like, Aaah! How do you know that? And then because he just goes, No, trust me. And then I go, Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, you know. But then also imagine this. Imagine, just imagine just, just imagine for a moment, that you’re like telling this gal you macked on, about how she was conceived. Just imagine!

Bree: Okay, see, that’s the part where I’ve always loved this line, but I’ve never connected it to the, Yeah, okay, everybody go gently with me. I’m new to remembering that Gorsha –

Ali: (muffled wails)

Bree: I mean, ghostly tongue? Oh, no, no, no. RIP Bree’s childhood.

Ali: Sorry. This is my line. I guess I. You know, love knows no age, right? I guess I get it. Like, things happen, and it’s not always going to be creepy, But if you can tell a woman the circumstances by which she was conceived, I just feel like there’s the line. There it is. We found it.

Bree: Yeah, yeah. Keep your tongue out of that mouth.

Ali: Keep your tongue out of her mouth. Yeah. I just. Mhm. Mhm.

Aradia: Yep.

Bree: Anyway, the Roasting of Gorynel Desse shirt is on sale on our zazzle!

Ali: I’m sorry. I know you love him, but.

Bree: I do, you know, no, I just love that line. I love the line. They made love with the last of their love and they made you. I think that’s a nice line.

Aradia: That’s tragically beautiful.

Bree: But I understand that the context that has destroyed it somewhat.

Ali: Don’t know if we need the details of how her mom got cream pied by her dad. I just don’t feel like.

Bree: Ali is going to give me a coughing fit.

Ali: Sorry. Maybe it’s just me. But as little as I know about the circumstances of me being created, the more I can go, I popped out of the ground. The more I can do that, the happier I am.

Bree: You know, let’s just, like, pull back from the weirdness of all. Do you still think that he was long conning her, or do you think he loved her?

Ali: Auvry?

Bree: Gorynel Desse thinks Auvry loved her. Do you still think he was long conning her or do you think he loved her? I’m doing a check in.

Ali: Can it be both?

Bree: It can be both. I mean, people are complicated and messy.

Ali: People are complicated and messy.

Aradia: Yeah, I do feel like we’ve gotten a lot more justification for him being a lone piece of flotsam out in the world, trying to attach to whatever he can and, like, legitimately falling in love, rather than being like, always part of a grand conspiracy. Because I don’t think – what we know now about the circumstances of his origins, I don’t feel like he was really the Malerrisi’s first choice of weapon either. So that does make me think that his entire life trajectory was more short term planning, and the Ambrai thing just kind of happened. And he is like, yeah, sure, this is what I’m doing. But like, I feel like it’s kind of maybe a little, you know, Aladdin marrying Jasmine, of like, I need something to do with my life because I’m just adrift and have no roots. And so marrying this powerful woman and becoming a powerful person, like, sure, why not? Which maybe makes his love of her a little long connie, but not The Long Con that I was imagining earlier. So, yeah, my opinions have evolved, but there’s still a bit of why not both.

Ali: See, but I feel like the Malerrisi are very like, do this very specific thing. That’s kind of their thing is the long con, the like, you know, creating specific generations of people. And I feel like he was Malerrisi before he met her.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s a question.

Ali: Which is what’s kind of sticking for me because why else would he leave the Mage? Didn’t they say that he left because –

Aradia: They would never let him advance past journeymen.

Bree: They wouldn’t let him until he was like 19, and then it was – So I think that, I’ve always imagined it to be sort of like, Okay, you’re 19, you finally have enough control. Go sit with the 12 year olds and we’ll let you do school now. And he was like, Ah, pass. How about I just go do an on the road apprenticeship or something?

Ali: Yeah. So I feel like that must have been the moment where he became Malerrisi, sometime in that area.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: So I’m like, so if that’s true then he’s already Malerrisi by the time he met her. Which, their whole thing is the long con?

Aradia: Yeah?

Ali: But here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. Just because something is part of the long con doesn’t mean real feelings don’t develop it? So it’s like, I don’t doubt that he loved her. I think he loved himself and his cause more.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s maybe where I’m coming down is, He didn’t not love her for sure.

Bree: There’s a line here. ”He wanted her to come with him; she wanted him to stay.” I mean, it’s possible he thought he was going to have his cake and eat it, too. Like, take her with him and then just destroy Ambrai behind her. You know.

Ali: That is so silly. Respectfully. Listen, that is some grade A silliness that’s just occurred. Because I’m married. Right? I love my husband more than anything, but never – and I do not doubt that he loves me the same – but never in my loving him would I ever in my brain think, He loves me so much that if I set his house on fire with this family inside, he’d be cool with it and just come with me and we’d vibe.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Most marriages have that line. It’s just implicit.

Ali: Yeah. You go like, Listen, I would. I would fight a bear for my husband and he would do the same for me. Like we joke all the time about how, like, if there was something, someone had pointed something at us or whatever, that we’d like, confuse them by continuously jumping in front of each other. Right?

Aradia: Right.

Ali: Yeah. Yeah. But no, never in my wildest dreams would I feel that that would still be something he’d be cool with. And so to me, Auvry is a silly, silly man, that he would think that that would be a thing that she would be just fine with. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s. That’s so silly. So bizarre.

Bree: Well, let’s put a pin in that until further evidence comes to claim us, and get to the sad hug. He comes to apologize, Taig. There’s a sad hug, you know, “warmth but borrowed, not really her own to claim.”

Ali: Aww.

Bree: We find out they’re going to be sleeping downstairs because they found lots of, like, fancy rugs they’re going to sleep on, which sounds really nice.

Aradia: Yeah. Fancy rugs are plush.

Bree: Yeah. So he heads down the stairs first. So they have these, like, spiral stairs which are inspired by real ones. I can’t remember where they are for some reason, I think Italy. But I may be making that up. I’m going to go look later. But this double spiral stairs that is designed so that if you’re walking down one, you can’t see anyone on the other side. And I feel like I’ve been in these stairs that these are – that’s why I think Italy. I have this very strong memory that I know this, but I could be hallucinating it right now. It’s been a long week, but so, that’s what happens. She goes down into the spiral stairs and they hear the Fifth Lord on the other staircase.

Ali: I can’t help but notice how much the Fifth Lord sounds like Sith Lord.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: It does sound like Sith Lord. So he’s down there and they can hear him talking. He’s got his son, which is, by the way, Red Flag Tutor’s nephew.

Aradia: Yep, yep, yep.

Ali: Oh. Ew!

Bree: So, you know. Yes, this is Red Flag Tutor’s brother, the Fifth Lord.

Ali: Well, okay, this makes a lot of sense. Red flag family.

Bree: The red flag family.

Ali: He has a lot of distain for Glenin, considering that his brother was kind of like, interested in her in a horrible, creepy way.

Aradia: I don’t think he ever told his brother he wanted to bang his student. I think that was a secret.

Bree: Yeah, I never got the idea that, like, seducing Glenin was, like, on purpose or a thing that was supposed to happen. I always sort of got the idea that she fell in love with him and he was maybe not resisting as hard as he should. And that’s legitimately why he was murdered, because Anniyas was going to be like, No one gave you permission. She’s supposed to bang my son.

Ali: And maybe that’s why he hates her so much.

Bree: It could be.

Ali: Interesting.

Bree: Oh, I never connected that. But you’re right. He could be, his brother could have been murdered because he was getting too friendly with Glenin.

Ali: Getting too friendly.

Aradia: Mmh hmm!

Bree: Standing in the way of darling Garon.

Ali: Mm. This is making sense. This is making sense. Okay, so then we have his son, Chava. I’m calling him Chava (pronounced with a silent c) because it’s spelled the exact same way as Chava in Fiddler on the Roof.

Bree: Okay.

Ali: So I couldn’t not call him Chava, because I was just like –

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: So is this kid going to run away with a Russian soldier? Wait, is it a Russian soldier?

Aradia: I don’t remember, honestly.

Ali: I know that the boy was not Jewish. And that’s where Tevye drew the line.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Because he kept being okay with, like the increasingly objectionable people that his daughters were ending up with. Right? First, it was a poor tailor, and then it was a revolutionary who got arrested, and then, like the last one was Chava. And I forget.

Bree: I do not know the plot at all.

Ali: I was in it once. And so that’s all that’s why it but like so that he wasn’t Jewish though, and that’s where he was like, no. And then at the very end of the play, they tell her to write to him anyway. And then it’s like a moment of acceptance and everyone’s happy. So yeah, so I couldn’t separate this boy from –

Bree: That works fine.

Ali: So that’s my head canon of what happens to him after this, he falls in love with a non Tiered girl and you know, there’s a lot of hullabaloo about it.

Aradia: I like that. We’ll go with that.

Bree: So, yeah. What do you guys think about this whole, like, showdown? We basically – I’m going to let you guys lead so I don’t lose my voice before the end of the podcast.

Aradia: So basically, Taig and Cailet listen to Chava and his dad discussing what’s happening and that they’re looking for everyone else and they figure out, okay, no one else has been found yet. They think the castle is deserted, but they’re also hunting for us. And everyone, they figure out who they are because basically they’re doing the calculus. It’s like we’re in a shrinking pocket and we’re going to get discovered. So Taig throws himself in front of the train and declares himself Captal and steps out.

Ali: And at that moment, post hug, I went, Oh, he’s so absolutely fucked.

Aradia: They had the hug and then he declares himself as her in an effort to save her. It’s like blinking neon signs. Prepare yourself for this man’s demise.

Ali: Mmhm. This guy is not for this world. We keep losing Ostin’s. The Ostin’s are just going down. No wonder there were so many of them, because –

Bree: They need them! Because they just keep losing them.

Ali: They just keep dying. That’s what the Ostin’s are good at. They’re good at dying

1:46:19 Music break. Rising, chapter 27: Snippety Snip gave me the ick

Bree: Part 27. Sarra is creeping through the darkness. Because she knows this whole place, right? This is her childhood home. So she’s creeping through the darkness, trying to get to where she can hear what’s going on. And she hears Taig do his crazy thing. Describe for me your feelings as this all plays out.

Ali: It was kind of like watching a train crash.

Aradia: Yeah. Slow motion, inevitable destruction.

Ali: Yeah. Where I just – Yeah, the slowest train crash. I mean, like, just creeping, and you’re just like, Oh, but there’s really nothing you can do. You just have to watch it go. Yeah, I mean, the Fifth Lord was silly evil. He just goes, I’m going to throw a knife at this girl. But then it’s not just a knife, it’s a corrupted knife. And this is again why I’m like, Do we see why we can’t just continue to bring knives to a gunfight?

Bree: It’s a magic corrupted knife that would go through any protective magic.

Ali: Right. Because Cailet’s like, You didn’t need to do that. I would have been fine. And then we find out, no, she wouldn’t have been. So he didn’t save her life for no reason.

Bree: Yeah, he saved her life, like, for serious. Because if it had hit her, you know, she would be dead. It’s a cursed knife that corrupts you. And you can’t like even – the only person who could pull it out or stop it is –

Ali: The person who did it.

Bree: The Fifth Lord.

Ali: Could we not have taken his hand and just kind of like –

Bree: I’m guessing it had to be using magic.

Aradia: Oh, yeah.

Ali: Because I was thinking, do we want to try just like, maneuvering his hand and –

Aradia: Yeah I don’t think it’s like a thumbprint lock on a gun.

Ali: Okay. Yeah, I just was kind of trying to – noone had gotten the solution. So I just was like. Maybe this is a dumb idea, but maybe we just –

Aradia: I think it’s because it’s a book written in the nineties before biometric weapons were all the rage as a gimmick.

Bree: Yeah, that wasn’t super common.

Aradia: So yeah, the Fifth Lord was such a comic book villain, he accelerated his own death just to spite them all. I was just like, You are the most two dimensional piece of shit villain. Mustache twirling on the way out.

Bree: Literally whipping his guts like butter while laughing at them.

Ali: Wait, whipping?

Aradia: That was a turn of phrase that just got uttered.

Bree: Oh, he was! Twirling them like spaghetti. I mean, like he was just twisting that knife.

Ali: He was doing a little jazz routine with his colon out there, like, oh, my God.

Bree: Trying to murder himself while laughing. So, I mean, if you’re going to go out, I guess, honestly, it’s pretty legendary.

Ali: I mean, I was going to say, I was going to say, I mean, what a legend at the same time, but –

Aradia: It is an iconic way to go out. I mean, I got to say.

Bree: It is dramatic.

Ali: If you think you’re the main character, you think you’re pretty special here.

Bree: Yeah. Before he dies he does send his son back through the Ladder.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: To wait for him, which will be important in the next part. But then, yeah, basically throws the knife, murders himself, like literally lying against the wall, turning the knife in his guts, saying “Killed him dead, snippety snip!”

Aradia: Few fries short of a happy meal, that one.

Ali: Ew.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Snippety snip. I know, I was – Here’s the thing. Here’s the indignity of him, because him killing himself faster to make it so Taig dies. Kind of a badass move, right? Objectively. I mean, not great, but it is objectively kind of badass. But then he had to make it cringe.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: And I’m like, that’s insult on injury. And once again, well, it’s insult on injury. I’m like, at least be cool. Snippety snip is objectively not a cool thing. That is like a midwestern dad thing to say. That is a not cool way to go out.

Bree: Very unchill.

Ali: If his son had still been there, he would have turned to him and said like, Dad, don’t be so embarrassing. Oh, my God.

Aradia: Right. Totally. He’s like, Son, go upstairs. I need to tell the worst joke. I can’t have you here.

Ali: Yeah, it’s going to be really, it’s going to embarrass you. You’re going to be embarrassed by me right now. Oh, yeah. It gave me the ick, snippety snip gave me the ick.

Bree: So after he dies, we go through the options. Can you cut the blade out? No. Can you cut his leg off? No. Can you do anything? No. So it basically becomes, can you kill me faster because this hurts. And that’s the first thing Elomar says yes to. Poor Cailet, that Sarra won’t let her go without telling him. And this, like, must be, this is like maybe the most heartbreaking part yet. Because, you know, Sarra learned too late that she didn’t say it to Collan. So and, you know, Cailet doesn’t actually say that she loves –

Ali: Yeah she cries about it later, she goes, I didn’t end up telling him.

Aradia: Yeah she doesn’t say it! She doesn’t say it.

Bree: But he knows. Yeah.

Aradia: Yeah, of course he does.

Bree: And he says to her: “Somebody else will have to do it from now on,” being, look after her. And then he says: “Find him, Caisha. Love him even more than you loved me.”

Aradia: (desperate noises)

Ali: Or her! I’m just saying. Or them.

Bree: And love them. Yes. So that breaks her. Breaks everybody.

Ali: Can I ask a question, really quickly?

Bree: Yes.

Ali: So is this implying that they were in love or that it was just a sibling?

Bree: I think this is implying that he knew. He knew that she loved him.

Ali: Like in a romantic way.

Bree: I always got the impression that he knew that she had a crush, but like, he was a responsible big brother and wasn’t like – I mean he wasn’t weird.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: He was never weird to her in any way that I saw.

Ali: Which, I mean, I know the bar for the men in this book is in hell, but that is decent.

Aradia: Yeah. No, I definitely got that impression too, that, like, he acknowledged it without returning it. He cared for her in a different way.

Bree: Yeah, he loved her and he didn’t want to hurt her in a rejection way. And I think that this is the sort of thing where he knows he’s going out. There’s nothing else to do. And I mean, this is what he says. He doesn’t say, Find someone who will love you as much as I love you.

Aradia: Exactly.

Ali: Or like I love you.

Bree: Yeah, he says, love him even more than you loved me, which I think – And it almost has this subtext of, this is a childhood crush. Find your true love.

Aradia: Yeah. You think that this is real love, but like, go find someone that escalates this sensation for you, because that’s where you need to go.

Bree: That is what I always thought. I always thought that he dealt with her really well for someone, because it’s a weird situation. They’re not siblings, but to him, you know, he’s basically helped raise her in a way, so like it would be weird. I like how he handles this even though I’m very sad and she is broken hearted and that’s it. He orders her to go away so she won’t be there. She realizes she didn’t tell him. Cailet breaks and Sarra just hopes that Collan’s still alive.

Aradia: So that she can tell him because there’s still a chance for her.

Ali: Aaaaargh!

Bree: She feels selfish because she still hopes that he’s still alive.

Ali: I mean, I don’t know if that’s selfish to hope someone is still alive, but I get the sentiment.

Bree: Yeah. I mean, I get it, right now Cailet’s broken. And she is thinking about something other than that. So I get this thing, but, RIP Taig.

Ali: You were a good one.

Bree: We liked you. You didn’t do weird shit for the most part. So, A-plus. Melanie Rawn’s murder spree continues. She has got so many smoothies.

Aradia: Her murder punch cards are stacked up.

1:55:20 Music break. Rising, chapter 28: My clump of cells is a sadist, don’t you know

Bree: I know. Okay, final section. I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t, like, leave it on that Sarra cliffhanger? I must have had a reason. So I guess we’ll see. Our final section is just Glenin finding out about poor Fifth Lord’s son, and they’re trying to get him to talk and tell what happened. And Anniyas doesn’t have much faith that Taig was Mageborn, or the Captal. So anything about this part should jump out to you guys?

Aradia: Umm, it’s hours later, that was something that stuck out to me, was that the kid hid for hours. So Glenin and Co are getting this news update hours after the fact. Everyone’s already like, the bodies are cool. People have gone to ground like, so they’ve lost a jump on this.

Ali: The poor kid.

Aradia: Yeah, because this poor kid is the one trying to bring all the info through.

Ali: Yeah, the poor kid. I was really worried that they were going to hurt this kid. For some reason.

Aradia: Kill the messenger kind of thing?

Ali: I was nervous.

Bree: I mean, Anniyas was kind of acting. Feiran’s like, We’re pleased that you’re safe. And she’s like, Nah ah, no one’s free!

Ali: Yeah. That’s why I kept being like, Oh God, you know, because I was worried. I was just kind of worried that, yeah, him being a witness to all of this could be considered a loose end in some way. And so I was worried about that, even though I was like, okay, I don’t think they’re going to kill him, because I don’t know what reason they would have. But I was also kind of like, But I don’t really trust either of them. And then the same thing with Glenin when she had him and she’s like, Go to sleep. I was like, Oh, no.

Aradia: Huh, uh huh.

Bree: Yeah. It was weird. He doesn’t have much to say that they find useful. Anniyas is like, What did any of this accomplish except for warn the new Captal? So thanks a lot, you dumb asses. Which, fair enough. I mean, they made the new Captal very sad, but otherwise. And so Glenin does get one thing out of him that he kind of forgot, which is that he caught sight of Sarra.

Aradia: Two blond girls.

Bree: And this is where the funny line is, where he didn’t tell his mother because she wouldn’t have let him go. Legendary teenage logic.

Aradia: And she has a good night’s sleep and goes to confront Collan, which, I enjoyed this encounter. This was entertaining to me. She is so on top of everything. She’s pretending this kid is her kid. She thinks she’s going to get rid of Anniyas. And Collan just is Collan at her. And I love it.

Ali: Yeah, he does not care.

Bree: She’s kind of like, not even lowkey, just straight out sexually harassing him a little bit.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: Scraping him with her nails.

Ali: That was uncomfy.

Bree: Calling him hot.

Ali: That was uncomfy.

Bree: She’s like, thinking how handsome he is, touching him in real weird ways.

Ali: Not a fan, not a fan, Glenin.

Bree: Not liking, do not like.

Aradia: Gross, gross, gross, gross, gross. Also, we get the line that, “His silence was unheard of in the lore of the Pain Stake.” The fact that he only makes noises of pain and never gives up any words, period, is like, unheard of. I’m like, that’s our Collan. That’s our fucking Collan.

Ali: An A in torture. Something that is normal to want and possible to achieve.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: Absolutely. So she keeps talking to him until she finally says that she’s going to take him to the Octagon Court, and then she says, “I’m sure Sarra will be glad to see you again.” And that’s where she gets – he spits in her face.

Aradia: Yeah. Don’t mention my girlfriend, whose name I forgot!

Ali: That is so America coded.

Aradia: Yes!

Ali: America’s whole thing is, Can you withstand torture when your country needs you? Spit in the face of your torturer! That is so America.

Bree: Yeah. And she cannot handle it. She loses her shit, for the first time in her life, apparently. Meaning Collan has now done two unique in the lore of this world’s thing.

Ali: An eagle screams.

Bree: Resisted the Pain Stake and made Glenin lose her shit. So she does like a super torture –

Ali: Rude!

Bree: And he passes out. Which just means that there’s no use for him and she just wants to wake him up and super torture him again, because she’s so upset that he made her lose control, until she remembers the once and future acorn squash? Whatever we’ve got now.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah. That’s what I’ve scaled him up to at this point.

Ali: She keeps forgetting about that thing.

Bree: She’s like, Are you worried about the super torture I just did? And she’s like, No, I think he’s smiling. I think he’s into super torture.

Aradia: No, I’ve got a sadistic baby. This is fine.

Ali: We’re really going to anthropomorphize that baby. We’re gonna anthropomorphize that clump of cells real hard right now.

Bree: “She had the oddest impression that he was smiling in his sleep.” I’m like, He loves super torture, just like you, girl.

Aradia: Is he big enough to have a mouth?

Ali: He’s trying to mitosis or meiosis, whichever one it is, as best he can. And this woman won’t stop blast radiation straight into her uterus. I just.

Aradia: He’s going to come out with two heads or something.

Ali: True. Like truly, this baby, she’s like, I’m training my baby to be a sadist in the womb.

Bree: Very clearly. So. So she leaves, kills all the spells and protection and replaces them with their own. And her dad meets her on the way out. He’s like, What the fuck are you doing? And she’s like, You know, I’m taking over here.

Ali: Me and Mommy’s little sadist are staging a coup.

Bree: Yes. And I feel like this is definitely a scene where it really seems like – he explains this whole point, his whole point of this big betrayal was, he made a bargain. He and Glenin were going to be safe and powerful. Glenin was going to get a great position, and he still believes everybody is going to like, follow through on this. Nobody would ever betray him. He made a bargain and he, like, murdered everybody.

Aradia: The leopards won’t eat my face! Like that’s literally his thing, is he’s having the moment of like, But I, I voted for the leopards eating people’s faces party, so they won’t eat my face. And she’s like, bitch, I have learned how to eat people’s faces from the biggest leopard. Like, get with the program.

Ali: She’s gonna eat your face, bro. You’re the next face on the list. Literally.

Aradia: Literally.

Bree: Straight out she says, She sees my son as hers and not mine. Why do you think she had my daughter killed? She just wants to replace Garon with a magical version. Glenin’s like, Yeah, she’s going to take my kid and she’s going to get rid of me. You think you’re going to stop her, you know?

Ali: She’s not wrong.

Bree: And then Glenin drops the bomb that she’s the First Lord which apparently Feiran did not know.

Aradia: Whomp whomp!

Bree: Like this whole time he thought he was at the heart of power and he didn’t know that his big sponsor was secretly the fucking First Lord.

Ali: Which is kind of wild to me, because she’s the most obvious First Lord ever. So if I was going to pick one person that we have met these entire books, I would have picked her.

Bree: Who would be the secret force? Yeah.

Aradia: Yeah, I was kind of amazed at the depth of his naivete in this, that Glenin had to spell it out for him. I’m like, He’s not that dumb. And then like, No, he is actually that ignorant of what’s going on. Like, really Auvry?

Ali: I was like, This man has razed a city, and yet.

Bree: But I think that’s it. That’s like the sunk cost. I think he’s in a sunk cost place. Look at all the shit he did. He can not believe it was for nothing at this point. He cannot believe he literally went and killed all of his in-laws and his wife’s family and everything. Lost his wife and his daughter, other daughter. And it was just for literally nothing. I think that he’s delusional at this point. And like you pointed out, probably was delusional to start, thinking this was ever going to go the way he wanted.

Ali: Silliness, this man is silliness.

Aradia: But to his credit, he is now deferring to the younger generation who has a clearer idea of where to lead. We have a very like, they’re standing on the stairs, passing each other as they have this conversation. Again, very allegorical. She goes from being below him to being above him and taking control and telling him what to do. And he bows his head and says, What do you want me to do? Like, she’s in charge now.

Ali: I guess we can give credit to the Family Annihilator Fascist. I guess we could give him a little courtesy.

Bree: Yeah. So this is where we end with him saying, What do you want me to do, Glenin? And what can I do?

Ali: Can we change sides?

Aradia: That’s the question.

Ali: That’s what I want.

Bree: She says we’ll do it together. Okay, okay. Okay. It does get a kind of creepy. She strokes his cheeks, and frames his face with both handsin the typical romantic gesture, that I’m like, Uh. And then says, We’ll do it together, as we’ve always done. And I’m like, Okay, you guys, the vibe here is not working for me still.

Aradia: Yeah, this is not it. It’s not it. She’s infantilizing her own father. Like, ergh!

Bree: Yeah, there’s something weird going on.

Aradia: And she thinks that Anniyas wants her son to replace his son’s father. It’s very -this family does not know which generation belongs with who.

Ali: That happens, though. That happens, though. I mean, like, there are definitely stories about in-laws basically being like, It’s my second chance to raise a kid. Essentially they’re my baby.

Aradia: Yeah. Disapprove. Strong disapprove.

Ali: Strong disapproval. Strong disapproval.

2:06:06 Wrap up. Next reading: 29 – 39

Bree: Anything else from that section? Because this was a lot. We have been on a ride today.

Aradia: That was a roller coaster. There was a lot that happened. Highs, lows, good turns of phrase, terrible scenarios, interesting personal insights. That was a good section.

Ali: Details about conceptions.

Bree: So I remember now why I picked this stopping point.

Ali: Oh that’s promising!

Aradia: Ominous.

Ali: Bree, that’s the scariest thing you’ve ever said in your life.

Bree: We’re doing parts 29 through 39, and that’s 11 parts. But they go pretty fast because we are finishing off the Rising.

Aradia: Oh, wow.

Ali: So brace yourselves, my dears. Shit is going to pop off.

Ali: This is stressing me out. What is Glenin going to do now?

Aradia: The once and future pumpkin is going to have things to say.

Ali: This baby, the once and future aubergine.

Aradia: Yes, yes, yes.

Bree: I don’t think I have anything else. I gotta get out of here before I completely lose my voice. Hopefully it wasn’t too rough for y’all. But remember, we’re reading the rest of The Rising for next week.

Ali: 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.

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