Literally Visceral: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 20 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for more death in The Ruins of Ambrai.

The time for the climax is now, tonight. And since nobody wants a tensionless climax, we get tons of tension in the form of even more characters dying! We also consider the correct number of glasses in a table setting, if we’re too awkward to successfully strangle someone, and if Ambrai has finally been Ruined.

A new t-shirt is available!

== Buy the Ebook ==
Barnes & Noble:

== Buy our merch ==

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

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

== Follow Us ==


0:00:10 Introduction and welcome

Ali: Welcome to the Hot Nuance Book Club, a podcast in which a novelist, a screenwriter and a podcaster walk into a book, diving into its craft and impact in their mission to bring nuance back. I’m Ali, and I’m a screenwriter, most recently for 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’m Aradia. I’m one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, which is currently on break for the year, as well as a podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media, which I’m definitely not on break from while I’m on the holidays, because this is a great time for doing business stuff.

Bree: Woohoo! And I am Bree, half of the bestselling romance sci fi fantasy author Kit Rocha. I am also currently on break, a little bit, just chilling out,thinking thinky thoughts after the release of Consort of Fire. Getting ready to start my new mysterious project in the new year.

Ali and Aradia: Ooooh!

Bree: So, very exciting and fun.

Ali: A new mysterious horny project.

Bree: New, mysterious, very horny project.

Ali: I mean, I just assume it is a horny project.

Bree: Yeah, it is for sure.

Ali: It’s mostly because that’s what I want. Currently, we’re nuancing our way through the Ruins of Ambrai. So if you haven’t read that yet, go do that and come back when you have. For the rest of you, let’s break it down now. As an aside, I may or may not have been pronouncing that a different way every episode.

Bree: I think it’s amazing.

Aradia: It’s perfection.

Bree: Commit to the bit. Maybe at the end we can get a supercut of all of us saying Ambrai like in 7000 different ways.

Ali: Aradia! Make a supercut!

Aradia: I have the transcripts, so I could actually – Mm hmm. You know, you know.

Bree: A surprise for us. Before we humiliate ourselves with our inconsistent pronunciation, Let’s jump in the time machine!

0:02:29 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

And we are zooming back to 1994. You know what happened this year? I’m going to continue sort of cheating. I’m just really excited about the movies. I have not been talking about the movies as much because of the strike. Jurassic Park came out on VHS. And Jurassic Park was like, this was like a huge – I remember this movie so strongly from this time period. Like, it was such a big deal. I was 13, 14 when it came out. I remember we all went to see it in theaters so many times.Great big groups of the neighborhood kids, because we were just like, it was amazing. They were dinosaurs and they were terrifying.

Ali: I don’t know if I shared this part of the Ali lore on this podcast yet, but my mom read the Jurassic Park book while she was pregnant with me and couldn’t sleep.

Bree: Oh, really?

Ali: Yeah. She, like, finished the whole thing overnight because she could not sleep because she said it was so genuinely terrifying. And I think some of that, I absorbed it in the womb.

Aradia: Dinosaur anxiety.

Bree: Percolated.

Ali: Just general anxiety, really.

Aradia: Much like Glenin’s babies energy absorbed some vibes in the section.

Ali: Valid.

Bree: Yes. Also, in my ever expanding quest for cool 1994 trivia, we talked about the Northridge earthquake, but I found this one for you Aradia, specifically. Did you know that five miles from the epicenter of the earthquake is the place where the United States’ largest egg farm? And apparently they had produced their usual 1 million eggs before the earthquake happened. And for some reason, some miracle, even though this earthquake devastated the surrounding area, only one egg broke.

Aradia: What?

Bree: And apparently the manager said, We had a 6.6 earthquake that broke fewer eggs than you guys do when working.

Aradia: Wow.

Ali: Is that actually – That is wild.

Bree: This is the legend, that there’s whole millions of eggs at this egg factory, and like one broke.

Aradia: But like, I can see it though, because like, weird shit happens in earthquakes because of the resident frequencies, that buildings vibrate out, some will pancake instantly, others will withstand minutes of shaking – eggs also tend to do impossible, improbable things. So on the one hand, Wow. But on the other hand, that figures.

Bree: Eggs are so weird.

Ali: I’ve definitely broken more than that coming home from the grocery store. You know what I mean?

Bree: But eggs are definitely weird. There’s so much weird egg trivia out there, like weird things that eggs will do.

Aradia: Facts.

Ali: Weird egg trivia. That’ll be our next podcast.

Bree: Hey, I’m ready. Discord, I am sure –

Ali: Egg-Cast!

Bree: With so many geeky, nerdy neurodivergent people as we have following this podcast. You must have egg facts. Please bring us your egg facts.

Aradia: Give us your egg facts.

Bree: Surely we have egg facts out there.

Aradia: We’ll have a whole channel dedicated to it.

Bree: Tell us.

Ali: Now I’m racking my brain, like what egg facts do I possibly know? I think what the largest egg is, the bird that lays the largest egg –

Aradia: Ostrich?

Bree: What is it? Is it the ostrich?

Ali: It’s not a trick, yeah, it’s the ostrich.

Aradia: I know that because I remember that from fucking Survivor. I fucking remember the fucking ostrich egg omelett from Survivor! There’s such a vivid fucking postcard snapshot memory of when my dad was into watching Survivor, and I actually tolerated it and was watching it with him. That’s when I learned about ostrich eggs.

Ali: You know Gus and I are super Survivor fans?

Aradia: Yeah, exactly!

Ali: So of course that’s why I know it too!

Aradia: Excellent.

0:06:38 The end of Rising: Literally visceral

Bree: Amazing. Okay. Also, in 1994, Melanie Rawn said, Time to end this. And we’re going to end it with blood splattering the walls.

Ali: Time to end this!

Bree: How else would we end this?

Aradia: So much death, and dismemberment, and… ungh.

Bree: Welcome to the end of the Rising, y’all. What do you think?

Ali: I’m never going to forget the phrase, And parts of him came with me, or whatever it was. Well, I guess I forgot the exact phrase.

Aradia: The disembodied heart?

Bree: I’m not looking, but I believe, Most of him came with them to Ambrai. Parts of him did not.

Ali: Yeah, that one, that line. I was like –

Aradia: Uuungh!

Bree: Oh, that’s a shot. That’s like a triple shot right there.

Ali: I was on my walking pad reading this, and I had to step off for a second.

Aradia: Yeah, just my whole impression of this whole section was just, big bada boom, you know? But yeah, the violence of him being partially brought along, organ by organ, was just – wha? That is so much blood.

Bree: It’s a visceral image right there.

Ali: Literally visceral.

Aradia: Yeah, literally in every sense. Yeah. Yeah it was – I mean overall I enjoyed the section, definitely. The end of the Rising is the climax we’re looking for. You know, you see the setting of the hook for the upcoming books probably starting to form, you know it’s, we’re getting to the end – we got the kiss we needed.

Ali: Have you been listening to Wheel Takes by any chance? Just, all your words! I love – You sound like you’re such a professional just now!

Aradia: I haven’t been, because I’ve fallen onto a History of Rome relisten, and all other podcasts are trash to me and I’ve never heard of them.

Ali: I just loving your use of all of the classic – climax, hooks. Like you sound so writerly right now.

Aradia: Oh, yeah. Well, that is all you. That is 100% you.

Ali: That’s what I meant by that. I was like, Oh my god.

Bree: My little baby’s all grown up.

Ali: She’s a writer..

Aradia: I absorb the information of the people around me.

Ali: Based!

Aradia: Because I like it when people info dump. So yes, I have been listening to Wheel Takes. Very, very infotainment tastic. Yeah. This was a very, very fun action sequence. And I really enjoy Collan and Sarra’s reunification, and Collan getting his memory back and his body back. I was very relieved by what happened to Collan, broadly.

Ali: 100%.

0:09:12 Rising, chapter 29: Noone wants a tensionless climax

Bree: Oh, so much loss of agency here. So, let’s start up at the top with part 29, which was pretty short. This is just the, Cailet sort of literally just waking up and thinking, you know, This is the, Now. Tonight. This is where the “Now. Tonight” starts, this phrase that becomes repeated over and over again. Did you guys have any thoughts about this? This is where she summons her, I believe. I believe this is where she summons Anniyas to her.

Aradia: And she talks about like, moonlight and bells and wings, and they’re associated with the gods. And she’s having a very, like, transcendent, one with the universe, kind of moment.

Ali: The “Now. Tonight” refrain felt very musical theater coded to me, and it felt very West Side Story, very Tonight, very, We’re getting to a climactic point emotionally. I just appreciated the literary devices of that repetition.

Bree: Mm hmm.

Ali: Yeah. To build suspense. Build tension.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, I enjoyed it very much. It kept coming in and out.

Ali: If there’s one thing I want in my climaxes, it is tension.

Aradia: Don’t we all.

Ali: Like, a tensionless climax? Hard. In every way.

Aradia: Oxymoron, really.

Ali: Truely. Could you imagine? Like, And nothing really actually happened, have a nice rest of your day. As one of my writing teachers once said, no one wants to see hot people doing well.

Aradia: Yeah, though I have heard of a podcast called Nothing Much Happens that is meant to be like a bedtime story you can fall asleep to, where nothing much happens, so you’re able to like not really wonder what happens next. But that’s, like niche as fuck.

Ali: That’s fair. That’s fair, if I’m trying to fall asleep, in which case that would have accomplished its goal because I would be asleep before the climax even happened. But if I’m trying to stay awake for this story, which is usually my goal with a story, then hopefully something happens and it’s filled with tension. Yeah, this climax slapped, a lot. It had everything. Death, more death. Continued death.

Aradia: Even more death.

Bree: Yeah. Melanie Rawn – This is why I constantly say when everyone’s like, Ooh, George R.R. Martin kills so many people! I was like, Melanie Rawn was doing it before he ever lifted a pen and she was doing it fiercer and scarier. I’m like, Stand back.

Ali: Once again, you’re like the Kool-Aid man, bursting through the wall. Plaster everywhere.

Bree: You want a grim reaper? Can I introduce you to Melanie Rawn? You guys, her dragon books, which is what she wrote before these, legendarily – There’s two trilogies. The second one just starts with, Perhaps a list of all the people I killed in the last two books and how will refresh your memory about what happened. And then there’s just three pages of characters.

Aradia: Damn!

Bree:And not only minor, like major and secondary and tertiary characters that she murdered and how, in the previous two books, just like a legend.

Ali: Wow.

Aradia: Amazing.

Bree: Those books rip your heart out.

Ali: When people are like, Oh, writers, they’re killing all their characters. I’m like, So did I in fifth grade, because that’s what I thought good writing was? And it’s why my mom sent me to therapy. I was like, Mom, you don’t understand my art!

Bree: Sometimes you gotta do it. Sometimes you just got to do some gentle murder, you know?

Ali: Oh, people were dying in childbirth, people were dying from dysentery, people were dying from everything I could think of when I was in fifth grade. And my mom found my story. So it was like, You need therapy. And I was like, It’s art, Ma, you don’t understand. So you know what? Melanie Rawn and I, we’re like, this. And now I write comedy for children! Anyway.

Bree: Okay, so this, this section mostly just ends. I feel like this is a very, Cailet claiming her magic. Because it kind of ends with her fire, her magic. So this is sort of like her embracing this magic, and she has sent the summons to Anniyas. And she is sort of happy. She’s got a plan. She’s ready.

0:13:39 Music break, Rising chapter 30: How many glasses are too many glasses?

And then we jump to part 30, which – I sort of love this, even though it’s like we’ve just gone from like the big showdown to a birthday party. But this birthday party has all the slight, quiet little worldbuilding in it about, like all of their nit picky cultural stuff. And these two frenemies, I mean. (delighted) They hate each other so much!

Ali: This birthday has everything, frenemies, plots to kill, death.

Aradia: And amazing table settings.

Ali: Somebody coming out the same day they came in. Incredible. No notes. What a bookend.

Bree: Elsvet shows up to basically nag Glenin over her tired old table settings and basically everything, as Glenin is throwing the party of the season, which is supposed to be Garon’s birthday party. But she really is planning it to announce her son, because she got the creepy boy mom thing. And she is escalating.

Ali: She is so the creepy boy mom to every degree. And I don’t know about you, but when I go to a birthday party, the first thing I look at is the table settings. Obviously, that’s the only thing that matters.

Aradia: I mean, why do you even go to someone’s house if not to judge their table settings? I thought everyone thought like that.

Ali: Have you not ever just been to a birthday party and gone, These table settings are ass! And then you just leave.

Aradia: Every single time I’ve ever been to a birthday party, that’s been my reaction.

Ali: Yeah. I always go to birthday parties with table settings.

Aradia: Yeah, right, Exactly.

Bree: Melanie Rawn likes a good table setting. This is like Melanie Rawn’s – like the Robert Jordan, you know, dress with the buttons.

Aradia: Valid comparison!

Bree: Melanie Rawn loves a good table setting. There are multiple books I can think of, where we just get a very detailed set up of everything on the table, the plates, and the number of silverware, and the decorating, and how the napkins are colored, and like –

Ali: In another life, Melanie would have been an amazing event, right?

Bree: Excellent hostess. So she has – Glenin has her flowers that are sending a secret message of, Ugh, boy mom: “Bells to celebrate him, ivy to pledge fidelity, white rosebuds for purest love coming into flower.”

Aradia: (retching noises)

Ali: (different retching noises)

Bree: A little much?

Ali: We all hated that.

Aradia: Nobody liked that.

Bree: None of us were happy with any of that.

Ali: All of our faces! At the same – I just could not imagine thinking that deeply about a table setting. You know what I mean? I didn’t even think that deeply about the table settings at my own wedding.

Bree: There are four glasses in each place.

Aradia: See, that’s just over the damn top.

Bree: Four different glasses for each setting.

Ali: Four glasses?

Aradia: That’s so many glasses.

Ali: That’s too many glasses.

Bree: You need glasses, you can’t have the different wines – you can’t have the reds and whites mixing. Someone might have to have water. I mean, God knows there are some crazy something –

Ali: This is coming from neurodivergent people, who – obviously, see how many beverages do we all have on our desks right now, collectively. But we’re all saying that’s too many glasses.

Bree: Like you guys have seen the TikTok, the Beverage Goblin? The beverage goblin needs at least three drinks at a time.

Ali: Yeah. Yes. One that is warm, one that is cold. And one that is hydrating.

Bree: I think that there’s more for hydration and for energy and one just for fun.

Ali: These are valid as well.

Bree: So that’s usually what I’ve got. Oh, no, I’m out of soda, and my – I have a mini fridge within reach of me right now and it is out of soda. And I’m like, Oh, no. Is the funnest thing I ever did.

Ali: And that’s the coolest thing of you ever. But I can’t have any caffeinated beverages with my ADHD medication, because what kept happening when I did that is actually really funny. What kept happening is I kept feeling like my soul was ascending from my body into the heavens, and so I kept turning to Gus with panic in my eyes, and going, Just in case this is legit, I love you. And he eventually was like, Maybe you should stop mixing up the –

Aradia: He might have a point.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: It was horrible. The best person you know had a really good point. But when it’s your spouse, you’re like, Damn it.

Aradia: Yeah, I think I have to turn in my neurodivergent card because I am a serial monogamous drink person. Like I have one drink and then I move on to the next one and it’s mainly just water in my water bottle.

Ali: It’s this the tism versus ADHD?

Aradia: I don’t know?

Bree: Okay, guys, I’m going to show you something right now, and this is great podcast material.

Aradia: It’s also great for keeping us on track to get through this in time.

Bree: Here are the covers of drinks that are on my desk right now.

Ali: So just all the covers? (noise of several covers hitting a microphone) Oh my God, I love you so much.

Bree: I let them fall over the microphone. Maybe it will be entertaining ASMR.

Ali: ASMR for the folks at home.

Bree: Or nightmare fuel.

Ali: It was like when you do little – what do they call these, prayer hands, right? Like if you’re getting a drink of water.

Bree: Both of my cupped hands full of caps.

Ali: It’s full of those, like, little plastic hands.

Bree: Yeah, I was really sick, as you guys know, and I was having trouble eating, so I also have like a fridge full of protein shakes now. So like, that’s causing more of these things to pile up than usual. So yeah, it’s just my water and my protein shakes, and my Diet Coke, so. Yeah. Okay. So, Glenin puts her frenemy at a table with our Lady of the Manure Pit, which is apparently what they call the Minister of Agriculture, because they’re all five years old.

Ali: Rude. Rude!

Bree: But she does it because apparently Elsvet is banging this chick’s great nephew. So, I mean, I guess even if you hate her, you’re gonna hook her up.

Ali: That’s iconic. Now this has suddenly become a birthday party I would like to attend.

Aradia: A lot of drama.

Bree: Yeah. So she sets Elsvet and her husband next to Elsvet’s, you know, boy toy. I’m not sure if that’s a favor or punishment –

Aradia: Why not both?

Bree: Elsvet seems happy –

Ali: Um, knowing Glenin –

Bree: So, yes, Glenin’s greeting everybody. She has invited 300 people who all get to bring a guest. And everybody is showing up here.

Ali: Everyone gets a plus one, for a birthday party?

Bree: Everyone gets a plus one.

Ali: Oh my god.

Aradia: State event.

Bree: She is throwing a 600 person party.

Ali: My wedding was 127.

Bree: Yeah, this is not fucking around.

Ali: Jesus Christ.

Bree: So yeah. So finally everybody’s in here and Anniyas’ job is to, like, bring Garon. And Glenin is fantasizing about how mad Anniyas is that Garon loves his wife now. Because she loves how pissed off Anniyas is because this weird battle they have over her is also – there’s just a lot of boy mom energy in this chapter. coming and going.

Ali: So there’s this trend on TikTok right now, that is – this is related. I promise – The lyrics to this Taylor Swift song Now That We Don’t Talk. and it’s like, “Now that we don’t talk, I don’t have to pretend I like classic rock”, but it’s all these people doing what they now don’t have to pretend they like or don’t see about somebody, now that they don’t talk. The amount of women that’s like, I don’t have to pretend like you and your mom aren’t in love with each other.

Aradia: Whoa.

Bree: Oh!

Ali: Is actually – it’s more than two! And that feels like too many. I saw at least two, and I wasn’t scrolling for that long. So it was wild, like the things that people are admitting to ignoring about their partner on that trend? I’m like, We need to have higher standards in 2024. Like, that’s just where we need to go as a group. We need to all hold hands and agree that in 2024 we will have higher standards for ourselves. Thank you.

Bree: Yeah. Yeah. Yes. Let us definitely.

Ali: I don’t have to pretend that you and your mom aren’t in love with each other, and I feel like that’s very Anniyas and Garon coded.

Bree: Yes. So they are showing up, and – You guys remember the song, what do you think about the birthday song she has invented?

Aradia: Not a banger.

Ali: I feel like it combines the uncomfortableness of having Happy Birthday sung to you with the uncomfortableness of a man playing their guitar at you at the same time.

Bree: Yes, and it’s a little sexism for fun as a treat.

Ali: Yeah, that was also.

Bree: Because there’s two variations of it.

Aradia: Yeah, that, that was, ungh.

Bree: If a boy has been born – you’re singing Happy Birthday to a boy, you sing, “ Happy your mother in birthing a boy And thankful your Lady for bringing her joy.” And if you have a girl, you sing: “Blessed was your mother/In birthing a girl/And grateful your husband/For being his world.” So… eh! It’s a little weird. Your faces!

Ali: That gives me the ick. This whole birthday is giving me the ick.

Aradia: It’s just cringe upon cringe upon cringe, like no, thank you.

Ali: And normally I’m like, To be cringe is to be free, but not here.

Aradia: Yeah no this is not the good cringe, this is the ick cringe.

Ali: It’s yeah, there’s a good cringe where it’s like, you know what? Dance in the rain. Dance like no one’s watching, whatever. And then there’s this, where it’s like, yeah I just, I don’t.

Aradia: Exactly!

Bree: You know what vibes this gives me? The traditional wedding vows vibes. Where there’s a variation, where the woman has to, what, like obey and serve or something?

Aradia: Yeah. And he protects or whatever.

Bree: Vows to love, honor and obey. Yeah. Yeah. And then, like, the man’s like, I vow to love, honor and protect.

Ali: Ugh, ugh! Why does it have to be a difference?

Bree: I was very clear that I would not be saying anything like that at my wedding, that would be too weird.

Aradia: Yeah, likewise.

Ali: You know what I really loved is that by the time I got married, and based on who I am as a person, no one even brought that up. Noone even dared. My stepdad – who once said to me straight faced when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, I think it’s disrespectful when a woman doesn’t take her husband’s last name! – like months before my wedding turns to me and goes, So you’re not taking his last name, are you? And I went, No, and he goes, Thought not. And like, wasn’t mad, just accepted, because at that point my brand was so Not That that he was just like, I’ve just got – I’m just going to shoot the conservative right out of my body.

Bree: Honestly I think people were a little weirded out that I took Mr Bree’s name. I did take his name –

Ali: Oh!

Bree: And part of the reason I did it is because I was 24 and I was mad because my parents were currently in the middle of a dramatic divorce because my father had been banging his secretary a lot, who was like not much older than me.

Aradia: Oof.

Bree: And I was like, Do I really have to? I’m getting a free chance to change my name. Do I have to keep his? Can I just, like, cash it in for a fresh identity with no Google history and then just use whatever I want on the Internet? And so that’s what I did.

Ali: But changing your name as a fuck you is one of the coolest reasons to change your name.

Aradia: That’s also what I did. Just just putting it out. That’s exactly what I did. Minus the family drama.

Ali: Yeah. I have a sibling that also did that. That was like, I’m going to do it as a fuck you. And I was like, Yeah, valid. Absolutely on board with that. Butmy last name is cool and so I did not want to change it at all.

Bree: No, I understand.

Aradia: What’s funny too, is my mom did it as well. My mom and I both changed our names as a fuck you.

Bree: Oh, wow.

Ali: Like specifically.

Bree: That’s amazing.

Ali: At that point, it’s a family thing, you know what I mean?

Aradia: Right? It’s tradition now.

Ali: We’re keeping it in the family. Yeah, exactly.

Bree: I honestly think everybody should get a chance to change their name with, like, nobody can, like, disagree with them or whatever, like, legal name, like when you’re, you know, in your early twenties or something, just everybody gets one freebie, because it is sort of unfair that like, I got to do that and like there’s lots of people who want to have legal name changes for various reasons, because the names they were born with or grew up with don’t fit. And it’s sort of hard to do.

Ali: Well, yeah, I mean, what if your parents name you something stupid? You know what I mean?

Aradia: It’s been known to happen.

Ali: It’s happened more than once that someone’s name has been stupid or just doesn’t fit. I mean, because you’re naming a baby, you know, it’s basically a hunk of clay. You know what I mean? Like, a baby’s basically just like a nothing person yet. A newborn, Right? You don’t know what its personality is. You have to name it basically, the first week you know it. I think you get like five days or something like that, because one of my nephews, they could not agree on a name, they had a name and then they found out that somebody that the dad hated’s middle name was that name.

Aradia: Oh, no.

Ali: And so then he comes home and he’s like, Bad news. We’ve got to figure out a different name. And then she went into labor that day and, you know, and so they were like, Shit, we got to we got to figure something else out. And they couldn’t agree for like a week, that baby had no name. They have a deadline until they charge you money to come up with the baby’s name. So yeah, you have, I think it’s like five days or a week or something like that. And if you haven’t come up with a name by then, they like you have to pay money. And I don’t know what happens if you can’t agree then, cause eventually someone’s going to have to have a name for that kid.

Aradia: You just get a colloquialism and sort it out later.

Ali: But I just think it’s wild that you name a kid and you’re like, This is your identity for the rest of your life. And it’s a pain in the ass to change. But we have no idea what your personality is like, right? You know, you could have a Kelton Energy and be named Wisteria, right? And those are very different vibes! Or what if you’re a really whimsical person named Greg. I mean, it just doesn’t match. Apologies to all the whimsical Gregs in the world.

Aradia: You know, there’s one out there.

Ali: There’s got to be. I mean.

Bree: I mean, I say is someone who, like, uses Bree Bridges, even though that is neither my real first name – and I operate under a bunch of author pen names, too. So, like, I just, like, keep putting on identities.

Ali: Yeah. You just see ,you keep changing.

Bree: If anyone’s ever wondered why my name is Mostly Bree on Twitter, it’s because my bio used to say, I write as Kit Rocha and Moira Rogers and sometimes Mia Thorne, but I’m mostly just Bree.

Aradia: That makes sense.

Bree: And so, yeah, that’s because I had too many names.

Aradia: Mostly Bree.

Ali: I love that.

Bree: Okay, so Garon arrives in the giant hall with 600 people and 300 candles and immaculate place settings. Think about that, 600 people times four glasses each. It’s just so much going on in here.

Aradia: Too much.

Ali: I just try to think of, like, what the biggest birthday party amount of people I’ve ever done was. I mean, it can’t be more than 20 kids. Like, when we were little. Yeah, right.

Bree: Six hundred’s a big –

Ali: 600 people for your birthday. I don’t even think I know that many people, that’s wild.

Aradia: Well, I mean, she defacto knows the government, so she just invited the government.

Ali: You’re doing a mega wedding every year you were born. That sounds exhausting. Truly. I don’t know. That doesn’t sound like a birthday for me. You know what I mean?

Bree: We have council members bringing him carved horses, leather gloves, brandy.

Aradia: A book about sailing.

Bree: Anniyas gets annoyed because his favorite one is a picture of Glenin. Yes. Her frenemy gives him a book about sailing.

Ali: Which I go, Wasn’t she planning on having him have a sailing accident?

Aradia: Yes. She was literally like, she’s like, Oh, goody, here’s the sea that I’m going to need if I ever need to do the sailing plan. It’s like, Oh, my God, you’re so cold.

Ali: It’s your husband’s literal birthday.

Bree: Oh, frenemy, I’ll hook you up with your boy toy. You set my alibi for when I murder my husband. We hate each other, but we help each other.

Ali: Wink, wink.

Aradia: Very productive.

Ali: We love to see women supporting women.

Aradia: We do love to see that.

Bree: Anniyas wanders off because she gets something, some sauce on dress and leaves, and then she never comes back. And this is the start of how everything sort of starts to unravel. Because Garon goes off after her to go find her, and then Glenin’s father Auvry goes off to find him. So everybody’s sort of disappearing, Glenins trying to like, make sure everything’s cool here. 600 people are here to celebrate the birthday of the man who is now missing. So she finally is like, I’m going to have to go do this myself and goes to look for him. And she finds that the prison holding colony is empty.

Aradia: Womp, womp.

Bree: Which means Anniyas is not in the bathroom somewhere performing dress maintenance, shit is going down.

Ali: I was kind of bummed, because as someone who is a chronicle shirt spiller –

Aradia: Chronicle?

Ali: Chronicle? Chronic! Jesus. I cannot talk today.

Bree: The Chronicles of Ali’s –

Ali: Chronicle. You can chronicle it. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. I am a chronic shirt spiller, and I felt represented, I felt seen. And because I went, Oh, well, if it happens to the most powerful woman in these books, then I can be okay with it and accept myself. And then it was all a ruse!

Aradia: I know.

Bree: It was all a ruse. And Glenin’s like, Fuck, I’m going to have to grab my magical tiny Ladder and my cloak and go after her, because it is clear that Anniyas is headed to Ambrai to murder the Captal. And Glenin thinks she’s going to go and do it first and become the First Lord. Shit’s popping off.

Ali: Will anyone think about Garon’s birthday party and not make it about themselves for one minute? My God. I’m on – Garon’s had the worst birthday ever.

Aradia: Oh, it’s about to get way worse.

Ali: His wife is planning to murder him at his birthday?

Bree: It’s about to get much much worse.

Ali: At the end of the day, really what this is about is this is the worst birthday party ever. It’s his party and he can eviscerate if he wants to. Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: I thought he wanted to, though.

Ali: And Bree, this whole time is like, okay, enough about Garon’s birthday. We have so much more important stuff to talk about!

0:34:14 Music break, Rising chapter 31: Too awkward to strangle

Bree: Chapter 31, Part 31. We’re back in Collan’s point of view and – Man. Talk about who’s having a bad day. He has been through it. He cannot feel, he cannot move, he cannot talk.

Ali: He’s having a bad life.

Bree: It’s been time, like – and I think that the thing that just keeps going through his head over and over again is like, his hands and his tongue are useless like Falundir’s. This fear he has of never being able to play music again.

Ali: Bummer for Sarra, too. Am I right?

Aradia: Oh! Oh? Oh.

Ali: I said the quiet part out loud, I’m sorry.

Bree: You said the quiet part real loud. And then they do the thing to him that he hates even worse. Like his core trauma, which is they put him in someone else’s ugly clothing.

Aradia: The through line of his opinions about clothes running through this was a very necessary piece of light hearted humor to like, keep it balanced while shit hit the fan.

Ali: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like, this is what feels true to me, is when I’m going through the most shit is when my brain is the sassiest. It really just loses that layer of ability to give a fuck after a certain point, and I’m just like, I’m just going to compartmentalize with being a dickhead in my head.

Bree: I’m going to read this description just so we can all imagine it in our heads: “Skintight red trousers; blue shirt left half-open and tucked into a low belt; unbuttoned yellow longvest and matching coif heavily embroidered with red and purple roses; blue cloak with stiff shoulder pads.” So we’ve got the eighties power shoulder, and he also has boots, we find out later, that have a big chunky heel so he’ll be taller. So this is Garon’s clothing.

Ali: It’s giving Santos! Who is it, was it Santos or de Santis that had the lifts in his shoes that were super obvious?

Bree: No, it was de Santis.

Ali: It was de Santis!

Bree: But yeah, it could be both.

Ali: It tracks either way, but –

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: And then Collan’s reaction is: “It defied imagination. Somebody actually wore all this on purpose?” Poor Collan, you sassy, sassy fashion critic.

Aradia: He describes himself as being dressed like a cheap prostitute. He’s like, This is clownish, this is garish beyond all believe. This is like someone’s bad idea of what a sex worker looks like. Someone deliberate – and then Garren walks in.

Bree: An overage offering.

Aradia: Yeah, an underage offering. And then Garon walks in and he’s like, Oh, that makes so much sense. And I’m just like, being in Collan’s head is such a treat.

Ali: It’s Dollar Store Pretty Woman, You know what I mean?

Bree: Anniyas is like, Walk with me or die. And he’s like, Okay, fine. I choose option A. And so they go – Oh, there’s this really tragic line because she assumes he wants to go to Ambrai and he doesn’t, because he knows that once he gets there, he’s just going to be, you know, a hostage or a target or something that complicates their ability to survive. “Bait or bargaining chip, he’d cause them nothing but trouble.” And then this next line, which made me so sad: “Truly told, he’d been hoping Sarra thought him dead.”

Aradia: No! Don’t be like that, Collan. So sad. Yeah, that was a heartbreaking line.

Ali: Yeah, I didn’t like it. I was upset.

Aradia: I’m like, Collan, the number of times that Sarra has been grateful you aren’t dead is, like, ridiculous. Like, she has thought about how grateful she is he’s not dead, a dozen times. Like, sorry, Collan, you’re not getting that wish. Not by a million miles.

Ali: Not our girl Sarra. She’s got it bad. She is Coll-in.

Bree: All-in Coll-in. Yep. There you go. They go into the Ladder. The one that leads to the, like, double staircases where – if you are not on our discord, I figured out last week that they are in France. And there’s an author’s note at the end of the book that says that they’re based on a real staircase in France. I was thinking of an optical illusion staircase in Melk, Austria where I went to school. So that is where I got myself confused thinking I’d been to them. So they go into the circle and he’s thinking, you know, that when the Blanking Ward starts, we’ve been told over and over that magic won’t work. So, like, she can’t do anything to him when that starts. And he’s like, maybe I’ll just do some murder, or maybe I’ll crack her neck. And he tries to, like, get behind her and crack her neck in one of his patented murder moves,but he is too weak to complete it. So he’s just sort of like slowly choking her out. And that’s when Garon arrives.

Ali: I feel like choking someone out would be really awkward because apparently it takes a lot longer than you think.

Bree: Yeah, especially if your arms aren’t working. It’ll take a bit.

Aradia: Yeah. He’s like a freaking half drowned kitten trying to pull this off, and she’s built like a brick shit house. I mean, trying to strangle a barrel is going to be harder, because he’s so weak and she’s just, like, solid. And I’m like, this contest of wills is very much in doubt. Which of them is going to give out first without –

Ali: I just have too much social anxiety to hold someone that close for that long with nothing happening. Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: I’m sorry. This is getting awkward. I’m going to have to come back and kill you a faster way.

Ali: I’m really sorry. I’m much better at this normally!

Aradia: I’m not going to get an A in murder today. Oh, no.

Ali: I’m not getting an A in murder today!

Bree: Am I supposed to be meeting your eyes? Am I supposed to be not meeting your eyes, I don’t understand the situation.

Ali: I’m just too awkward to strangle someone. It just is so much pressure, you know what I mean?

Aradia: Congratulations, world. You’re safe from Ali strangling you.

Bree: You need to invade somebody’s personal space for a really long time.

Ali: Like, what if they’re judging me about how good I am about strangling them? I mean, it’s a nightmare.

Bree: Okay, so this is when my great line comes, Aradia. A hideously dressed man comes in. “Her son, he told himself distractedly. Had to be. No two people could have such consistently execrable taste in clothes.”

Aradia: He’s a poet. He’s a poet.

Bree: Can you imagine a world with fashion – He would be a fashion blog. Just like, Collan’s fashion blog. I would subscribe so fast.

Aradia: So fast. Oh, my God.

Ali: See? But here’s the thing. He would hurt my feelings because he’d be, like, making fun of an outfit that I would have totally bought. And this is why I don’t follow these fashion people on TikTok anymore, because they keep accidentally hurting my feelings.

Bree: I have no feelings to hurt in this regard because I do not care for fashion.

Aradia: Likewise. Likewise.

Bree: I am, as you guys can attest, wearing a faux fur lined hooded poncho right now. This is my poncho. I do not give a shit. I’m wearing it over a flouncy sundress.

Aradia: It’s perfection.

Bree: Because those are the only things that feel comfortable in me right now, but it’s too cold for them. So I bought a poncho to go over them.

Ali: But the way that fashion has been evolving lately, honestly just stick hard to what you like and you’ll be fashionable once every six months. Just stay, just hold the line.

Bree: It seems possible.

Ali: Whatever you like will be back in six months. Apparently, like now, middle parts are out again. And didn’t we just change?

Aradia: Yeah, I just don’t change my style literally, ever. Like, literally, I just. I’ve been wearing the same clothes for so long, and every now and then I’ll manage to make another garment and then I’ll just wear the fuck out of that. And like, I hate change so much that I couldn’t possibly care about fashion. I hate change way too much to care about fashion.

Ali: Say what you want about millennials. But we committed to our fashion choices, for eras. We had whole periods of millennial pink, mint green and chevron. We committed to that for at least three years. At least three.

Aradia: Kids these days!

Ali: Exactly. They can’t pick something.

Bree: I am just enough older than you to be like, Haha! Oh man. Late eighties, early nineties. Y’all.

Ali: Y’all.

Bree: So neon. So much neon. I loved it. I can’t lie. I was neon, team neon, hyper color shirts for days.

Ali: I feel like that’s all going to start coming back. I feel like we’re kind of sick of the beige, I think it’s starting.

Aradia: I hope so.

Ali: The color is coming back.

Bree: Good. I want neon. And speaking of what’s coming back, this line, “Most of him came to Ambrai with them. Parts of him did not.”

Aradia: Ewwww! Ew ew ew ew ew.

Bree: The sense, the rain.

Ali: There are not enough showers in the world. I would never feel clean again. Yeah, ever. I would develop new problems from this.

Aradia: never leap into the magic transporter mid transportation. It will always end with weird parts of your body missing.

Ali: It’s such a bad plan. Has he never read a book about magical transport?

Aradia: Has he not watched Star Trek? Has he not like – Come on, don’t mess with the transporter.

Ali: Have you ever been through an experience and gone like, This is – I’m going to develop issues from this. Like, I just know it. I just know this is going to be a part of my personality. My therapist will be hearing about this for a while. I feel like this is one of those moments where you go, You know, this is going to shape me, and that sucks.

Aradia: Yeah, you know, in a way, I’m glad that Anniyas – I mean, I’m not glad because Anniyas doesn’t deserve anything good – but like it’s nice for Anniyas that she doesn’t really live much past this, because this is a pretty fucked up moment. You know, she’s boy mom-ing and trying to, like, get her son back. And now –

Bree: Considering that he is the center of her world.

Aradia: And now his dismembered heart is beating its last on the floor. Sans the rest of him, like, Ew!

Ali: It’s very Titus Andronicus.

Bree: Yup. But before we get to that, we have to go to part 32.

Aradia: No! We have to go right to the beating heart.

Bree: We’ll come back to the heart.

Aradia: All right. All right, all right, All right.

Ali: We have to talk about the heart.

0:45:15 Music break, Rising chapter 32: Preemptive Strike of Karmic Justice

Bree: Part 32 is where we find out that apparently the whole country has just decided, fuck it, let’s do a rebellion.

Aradia: We love a spontaneous uprising.

Ali: I mean, someone should.

Bree: Mages have arrived saying that it’s like almost spontaneously, three different cities, four cities, 22 towns. Everybody’s in rebellion and they’re killing all the Council Guard, killing the local judges and stuff. Everybody’s fretting. Sarra’s fretting because, like, this is not organized.

Ali: I feel like that’s unfair because they’re part of the system, but they’re not the system.

Aradia: Yeah, but sometimes they are, though.

Bree: They’re the faces of the repressive system.

Ali: True, true, true, true. I’m just like, I don’t know. I don’t know if the person to be mad at is the, you know, local judge. Do you know what I – I don’t know.

Aradia: Well, depends on if the local judge was installed by the fascists or not.

Ali: That’s true. I don’t know the story. You’re right, Aradia. I’m not there. I’m not the one to be saying.

Aradia: Yeah, I just. I don’t know. It’s like at some point windows are going to get broken because, you know, violence is the voice of the oppressed. Like.

Ali: Yeah, you know, you’re right.

Aradia: But you know, it’s also like, And now we have packs of people hunting each other down in the street until someone can re-impose order, is also a tough time. That’s not good.

Ali: Well, see, yeah, that’s the thing. I think I just have a ingrained fear of mobs –

Aradia: Which is super valid.

Ali: Because at a certain point I think that’s so valid. People in big masses should scare me because like that psychology is terrifying because it’s like they, they just can turn. They can turn. And I go, yes, okay, I get the vigilante justice thing. And yes, that violence is the language of the oppressed. But then it goes like, where does it stop? You know what I mean? Because at a certain point, then at what point are you like, They were, you know, within – they were Cinna the Poet. They had the same name as someonw we were mad at – Julius Caesar, Shakespeare play reference, but Cinna the poet, spoilers for Julius Caesar, but I mean it’s been around. But Conna the Poet is wandering the streets, right, just hanging out. And he has the same name as one of the senators that the mob is targeting. And they’re like, Close enough, and they rip him apart. And it’s like, kind of a funny scene, but also.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s a little grim dark maybe.

Ali: It’s meant a little as comic relief, but it’s also really horrifying if you really take the time to think about poor Cinna the Poet.

Aradia: Yeah, people get caught in the crossfire. But it is nice to see the spontaneous uprising happening at this critical juncture. So, like, that’s nice.

Ali: If this were France, this would have happened so long before. Those folks really know how to make the government afraid of them. Do you know what I mean? Occasionally I’m like, wow, good for you.

Bree: And unsurprisingly, the lack of organization is stressing Sarra out because she wants word to go out and everyone to do this on their time. Cailet does make a point that she thinks it’s “better for people to decide on their own: their choice, their timing, their fight”, is how she thinks it. Which I do think is like sort of, if you are going to like, fight for yourself. I think about this a lot as someone who lives in Alabama and like, if we were left to like, you know, the devices of the National Democratic Party who does not think we exist, you know, sometimes we people know locally what’s best for them because it’s going to be very different in different places. You know, and Sarra probably would not do well addressing the unique problems of Alabama. So I think that that’s interesting. But I also am with Ali and that, like the thing that scares me about mobs is that mobs provide power and the people who seek control of them are the ones you can least trust usually. Like when there is a power vacuum, it is scary. Who might seize control of that? You’ve got to really hope that someone you can trust is guiding this, because yeah, people are attracted to – the wrong people are attracted to opportunities to exercise power. In my opinion.

Ali: 100%. 100%. That’s what I think really freaks me out too is that, it’s like you have to trust that everyone that’s in that mob has good intentions. And that’s a heck of a gamble.

Bree: Not even good intentions, but good sense, common sense. Enough to recognize when the line has been reached, you know, and that that’s the thing. Mobs are notoriously not great at thinking individually, calmly about things.

Ali: Well and the fear I feel like too is part of a mob is that if you do try to instill and impose a bit of sense, that the mob might turn on you for doing so. Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: Often does, yeah, exactly. The mob has a mind of its own.

Bree: Yeah. And what I think that a lot of people don’t understand about activist protest is that the people who do this are experienced organizers. And that is why, like so often, they maintain control of these, like, peaceful protests. These are all people who have been trained to not let the moment sweep them away, to not let the aggressiveness of the oppressors trigger them to do things that are beyond the scope of their immediate plans. These are like – and I feel like this gets lost a lot. How smart and prepared and organized and like just on fucking mission these people have to be, because everything is doing their best and – especially well-meaning people who think they’re just going to, well-meaning allies who think they’re going to come out here and like, you know, do some chaotic crap and just like get in the way of what are very, very carefully planned, you know, operations, basically. So are these well planned operations? I don’t know.

Ali: It doesn’t seem like it.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: But, you know, I mean, hopefully some who have risen to the roles who are helpful in those roles, you know, I just I always worry about just the –

Bree: Well, if they chase the Council Guard off, you know, just to stop killing our neighbors, that’s a good place to start. Stop killing our Mage neighbors. Cailet doesn’t really care about any of this, though. She’s just like, Y’all fuck off and make a wall of Wards, you know, Just go away. I don’t want to talk to you. She’s just sitting in the Octagon Court waiting for Anniyas, absolutely zero shits, and does not care about any of the political stuff happening, you know? Do you guys have any thoughts about this part where everyone’s like, trying to get her to –

Ali: I mean, she does have bigger fish to fry at this moment, I think. She’s got people coming for her, so she’s kind of got to prepare for that. And I don’t know what exactly she could do. I mean, what, it’s like three cities at this point, four cities, multiple cities? I mean, she’s one person. Yeah, she’s all powerful, but she’s one person. I think she can’t spread herself thin at this particular moment?

Aradia: Yeah, I feel like she was very precipitous in deciding she needs to face Anniyas now and like, maybe her efforts would be better put towards coordinating the Rising, and all these different spontaneous things and like trying to be some kind of leader. But yeah, I also get where she’s made her decision to face Anniyas and she needs to focus on that if she’s going to win. So trying to do both is going tolose her both, it’s going to win her neither. So like.

Ali: Yeah, and maybe she could delegate, like trust that the delegation will happen. I don’t know.

Aradia: Yeah. My main concern is just that she picked the fight with Anniyas really too soon, maybe? It felt like she was rushing into it and, like, the Rising is happening, but, like, maybe wait for Anniyas to like – I don’t know. I just was really worried about her picking the fight with Anniyas, more than her ignoring the political fallout of the Rising.

Ali: Sure. But I guess. I guess that – just a thought. If she waits until, like, a more opportune time, that also allows Anniyas to shore up a lot of preparation and planning and, you know. So what is a kind of inopportune moment for her is also an inopportune moment for Anniyas, which could be an advantage. I don’t know.

Aradia: It’s a gamble either way, really. Yeah.

Ali: I’m glad I’m not in this decision making.

Aradia: Sure. Yeah.

Ali: You know what I mean? I’m glad that my most intense decisions are not these decisions at this point in time. I’m glad I’m a podcaster, I can couch Captal as opposed to actually have to be in this situation. But yeah, I guess that’s the one argument I could see for why now is a great time, is that you know, Anniyas is on the back foot a bit more. So that might be good, but also she is.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Bbut she’s also a teenager.

Aradia: We do have to allow her teenage impulsivity. Yeah.

Ali: Yeah, we do, we do have to let that be a fake that happens. This is the problem with teenagers saving the world. They have all of their – they’re wanting to do it now, and maybe not the foresight as much. But I mean I guess she has a lot of people in her head, so maybe – I don’t know. I’m not saying teenagers can’t save the world. I’m just saying there might be some, you know.

Aradia: Side effects.

Ali: Pitfalls.

Bree: Along the way? Give me a 17 year old in control of everything?

Ali: Yeah, we have bad knees. There’s problems with us, too. Yeah, there’s problems with adults, too. Like the bad knees, the bad hips, the bad back. But, you know, there’s just different skill sets. When we fall, we don’t get up as easily.

Bree: So, speaking of different skill sets: Sarra arrives, and Sarra’s sort of like, Let’s go to, you know – Sarra’s she’s convinced that Cailet is going to Ryka Court, she has figured out that she’s going to confront Anniyas, but she thinks she’s going to Ryka Court and she’s going to come with her. And Cailet is just trying so hard to shove her away and just be like, You’re worthless, you’re useless. You don’t even have any magic, bitch!, which Sarra is like, Yeah, well, fuck Gorynel Desses for that, but who cares?

Aradia: Yeah. Get him, Sarra.

Ali: My girl. Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing about sisters.

Bree: So eventually, yeah, she’ss just like, I’m coming to get Collan and get him out, and then you can have a nice, we have a little sister bonding moment here. They put together a Mage Captal outfit for Cailet, so she gets to face Anniyas wearing a Mage Captal uniform.

Aradia: That’s how you know it’s an actual boss battle, is because she gets dressed first.

Bree: And then basically (dog barks in the background) puppies! Delly Belly, you’re okay!

Ali: Delly Belly!

Aradia: That’s very cute.

Bree: That’s my Delly Belly. Yeah.

Ali: That’s so cute.

Bree: Del, did you wake up from a bad dream? Come on. It’s okay. It’s okay. (whining) She is having a moment. Okay, so their little sister bonding is interrupted by primal scream of agony. And we’re back to the beating heart. Anniyas has arrived with parts of her son-

Ali: It’s very Edgar Allan Poe.

Bree: It is. Freaky, freaky McFreakypants.

Ali: You know, magic travel is not a joke.

Aradia: No, I want it desperately. But also, like, Yikes.

Ali: But the implications, the potential for failure is very big. I’m not a parent, and neither, none of us are parents. But it must be a massive bummer to see –

Aradia: To see your adult child dismembered before you? Yeah, that seems like it would suck.

Ali: It seems to be not awesome.

Aradia: I wouldn’t want to see that happen to a stranger, much less a member of my family.

Ali: Jesus Christ. Like I’m not on Anniyas’s side here, but I don’t think anyone deserves that. You know what I mean?

Aradia: Right. Right.

Ali: I mean, I know she’s dismembered some people, specifically Falundir, so I mean. But I don’t know, Garon didn’t seem like the worst person. I also feel like Garon didn’t really deserve it. Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: He was jumping into the situation to save his mom, like he sees his mom getting strangled and hurls himself to save her. Like, that’s a very noble act.

Ali: Which I go, Okay, I mean, who among us wouldn’t see someone we love getting strangled and try to jump into action.

Aradia: But it’s also extra bitter because she’s the one operating the Ladder, right? So it’s like, it’s not like Collan was the one doing the spell. It was Anniyas. Like, she worked the magic that dismembered her kid.

Ali: I didn’t even think about that. Oh, it’s so icky, so awful. And I mean, and your only child – I mean, like, losing a child is awful, but your only son.

Aradia: And the boy mom thing, right? There’s just a lot there, so she comes to Cailet, both very much on the back foot, but also like, animal backed into a corner with nothing left to lose. Which is scary.

Ali: Truly nothing left to lose.

Aradia: Truly.

Ali: Yeah. She is ready to go at that point. Which, I mean, gaslight gatekeep girlboss, you know, I mean, the fact that you’re covered in your son’s blood and you’re like, I’m ready for business?

Aradia: I mean, that’s a terrifying visage, that is impressive.

Ali: That’s terrifying. You couldn’t be scarier as a person, in that moment. Yeah. That’s an unpredictable lady.

Bree: So we jump back to Collan’s point of view here, and she is – Collan’s like, I’ve got 10 seconds max before she stops screaming about her dead son, figures out this is probably my fault, and it goes to hell. And he tries so hard to get away, but he does not.

Ali: Yeah. We knew that wasn’t going to happen. I mean, you know, you’d be stupid not to try, right? Of course.

Aradia: Especially Collan. Of course Collan’s going to try.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Of course you go try to get away because you know, otherwise that would be dumb. But I think we all knew that’s not happening. Not with someone as powerful as Anniyas.

Aradia: Never.

Bree: No. So do you guys have any thoughts? Let’s just like kind of – this jumps around points of view a lot. So let’s just cover everything up until Anniyas dies, to sort of talk about your memories of it and like what you thought about this fight. Because it kind of goes a little sideways.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: So Cailet hears the screaming, immediately runs into the fray. It goes about as well as you would think, initially, where Anniyas just starts battering at Cailet, not going well. And then – now my mind is blank. Aradia?

Aradia: There’s a bunch of exposition dialog. There’s a whole bunch of villain gloating speech. There’s like your final villain speech thing. So we get lots more exposition. and like clarification of plot stuff. while they do this Mage Globe battle back and forth. That seems like some very like high level Mage Globe-y shit. And then somehow the sword hits the globes – Oh yeah, Collan hits the sword with the Globes, and then somehow Wraiths are there.

Ali: Well, Collan first tries to like slam against her, but there is a Ward there and Sarra goes at Collan, Don’t, that’s not going to work. But Collan has to try, because Collan is Collan, and then he hits the thing and falls back. But then at some point he looks down and one of his hands is free? I think because of the distraction?

Bree: It’s working again.

Aradia: Right? His paralysis is starting to fall off. Yeah.

Bree: One thing that’s been happening is during the villain monologue, Collan notices this cool – something cool, that seems like it’s running over him.

Ali: Oh yes.

Bree: And that is Cailet, using the distraction of Anniyas’s villain monologue to like, basically put her magic between him and Anniyas magic. So she’s like slowly freeing him.

Ali: A classic use of the villain monologue.

Aradia: (snickers)

Bree: Yep. Yep. She is using the Mage Globe as a distraction, but she’s like, powerful enough that she’s doing both. She is fielding the Mage Globe and freeing Collan. So yeah, Collan finally gets free enough and they throw the sword to him, is what happens. And he uses it to attack Anniyas’ Globe, which blows up!

Aradia: Yeah, it seems like it blasts fire over him and like, burns all his hair off. Like, is he crispy now? Is he just naked and hairless?

Bree: No, it feels like it should, but it’s like magic, so it’s not real.

Aradia: Okay, okay. I was confused if it was real fire.

Ali: If we’re making the movie, it’s hot crispy.

Aradia: Oh, yes. Obviously, this is the crispest he’s ever been.

Ali: It’s, like, vaguely dirty. Yeah, it’s vaguely dirty.

Aradia: It’s grimes up good. It’s that.

Ali: Because, like, that is always my thing when I’m watching movies, where I like, If they are that, if they have been like in an explosion, say, wouldn’t they be burned, in not a hot way?

Aradia: In a very overly hot way?

Ali: Like, in a, Oooh.

Bree: No. Gently seared. Like suddenly fired from –

Ali: Whereas they’re usually just kind of vaguely dirty and dazed looking, and maybe there’s a slight ringing in their ears? Where I go – as someone with a husband with tinnitus – Oh, that’s never going away.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: So I’m going to be real. I don’t entirely know how to explain what happens next –

Aradia: Okay! Valid.

Bree: Which is that basically – so we’ve been calling her Murder Punch Card Lady all the time. Apparently the murder punch card, all the people who are pissed about it and who, like she used to, like, do all of her murders, the ghosts just sort of show up like, You know what? We got this, bitch. And they ghost murder her.

Ali: So not to bring up Harry Potter, because hashtag trans lives matter. But is it kind of a Voldemort Harry wand situation where like the dead kind of –

Aradia: It did kind of remind me of that. Yeah.

Ali: Wreck their havoc to the benefit of the good guys, the good people.

Aradia: That was what it reminded me of. But I didn’t see any hashtag trans lives matter wands, or any – the sword hitting the Globe seems like the precipitating event, but I don’t see why that rips a hole in the veil between the living and the dead.

Ali: Listen. Because it’s cool.

Aradia: But I was trying to think if it had something to do with like, the full moon, like making shit extra thin?

Ali: Oh, the lady moon?

Aradia: Yeah, I was thinking maybe there was something to do with that.

Bree: Well, I will argue that there’s been something we are going on all this time around Cailet.

Ali: True.

Bree: She’s got a literal ghost riding shotgun with her.

Aradia: This is true.

Bree: So, like, did Gorsha do something? Did the magic, you know, enable this or something? Because it seems like, like this was a moment.

Ali: Where they Wraithenbeasts? I just kind of thought the Wraithenbeasts just happened to show up because –

Aradia: Wraiths, they’re just wraiths.

Bree: They were just wraiths, which is like the ghosts of people. So like this – and like, I think it’s heavily implied that it’s people she corrupted.

Aradia: Right. And I also noticed that when Collan – I think it was when Collan picked up the sword – he thought that he felt a faint tingle from it and he was like, I really need to go over all the old stories about these swords because apparently they have properties that we don’t necessarily know about. So I’m wondering if generating wraiths to kill someone with their own guilt is one of the properties that the sword just has? And it’s one of those lost properties.

Bree: It could be.

Aradia: It feels like the sword – you can’t lie to it. Like maybe you can also summon the ghost of Christmas past with it. Like.

Ali: Well, I was going to say, it was very Scrooge. Am I right?

Aradia: Yeah, right? Unproblematic author Charles Dickens.

Ali: Could we also – well that we know of, right? I mean, he’s not around, he doesn’t have Twitter. But I feel like, does the power of love come into play?

Aradia: Well, Garon seems to help kill Anniyas, so it seems like the power of love is corrupted profoundly.

Ali: I meant Collan.

Aradia: Oh. Oh, well.

Ali: Like, is that Sarra? I don’t know. He’s trying to protect Sarra and Cailet, is the power of love –

Aradia: Oh, I mean. The sort of a major deus ex machina. We can ascribe whatever we want to the sword.

Ali: Yeah, I’m going, He loved it so hard. Well, because I feel like it’s also a Frodo, right? Or a Luke Skywalker, where sometimes they succeed and you’re kind of like, They did? And it’s just because they were so good, goodhearted people.

Aradia: Frodo didn’t succeed. Sam succeeded, but okay.

Ali: Valid, for that.

Bree: Have we considered maybe Ambrai is like a place that has –

Ali: Oh, the Octagon?

Bree: Like, I mean this this place should be frickin haunted, right?

Aradia: Valid.

Bree: And consider that she’s responsible for the death of this whole city.

Ali: The Ambrai ghosts. It’s the Ambrai ghosts. And Garon died technically in Ambrai.

Aradia: Oo.h Oh, I like this. I like that there’s something about Ambrai.

Bree: Yeah, I was. And I’m going to say, like, Brandon Sanderson has, like, a famous workshop online about world building magic. And one of the things he says that I think is probably the most useful thing he says in there that I think writers should take away, is that whether you have a hard or a soft magic system, whatever you do, the point is that, by time your person or whatever magical thing that’s going to happen happens, it should be obvious to the readers what is causing this to happen. And so, if I could say one thing about this book, I feel like a lot of us are confused. And maybe someone out there has a good explanation. We do have all the old bulletin board people around. Maybe Melanie Rawn has explained this to someone at a place that I never – but if I have one complaint about this book, about the magic, this one thing that happened where I don’t feel like I could trace it back through the book and find a precedent for Wraiths coming to like, you know, wreak vengeance in a way that, like, entirely makes sense.

Ali: I would agree with that. I would agree with that.

Aradia: Yeah. The only other thing that I could think that helped explain it was that she was intending to summon Wraithenbeasts to ruin the world? And this was just a little preemptive strike of karmic justice. But that’s about it.

Bree: Yeah. She was thinking and talking about it, just a little bit earlier.

Ali: That could be. And that the wraiths that she summoned to turn into beasts had a like particular vendetta against her, so they overrided it.

Aradia: Or something. Just the fact that she was thinking about summoning ghost monsters to terrorize the world is like, well maybe it’s okay that ghosts just popped out of the ether to do a murder and then left again. Maybe. Maybe that’s narratively cohesive enough.

Ali: Maybe. Yeah, okay. Yeah, I like that. I like that. And I like, I like narratively that the ghosts of Ambrai came to fuck her up. I’m just like, Why did they come? And I wish there had been any kind of slight explanation for that. But I mean, it was cool and that is fulfilling the Brandon Sanderson other rule, which is, Err on the side of awesome. Yeah, I wish there had been a little ghost before.

Bree: I’m not super unhappy with it. I wouldn’t mind a little more track laying. So I went like, Oh, that thing I never thought could happen just happened!

Aradia: Exactly. Yeah.

Bree: Yeah. You know, the fulfillment of the foreshadowing.

Ali: Or even if we had seen ghosts before, if Collan had gone back to his original home and seen –

Aradia: Yeah, yeah.

Bree: No we haven’t seen any ghost, I think, in this.

Ali: Yeah. So I feel like there was an opportunity, like if Collan went back to his house and, you know, saw the ghost of his mother or something. I mean, there’s a lot of dead people. We could, we could have ghosts for days, and I feel like we haven’t had a ghost. So the ghosts weren’t necessarily on palette.

Aradia: Yeah, exactly. But, yeah it’s also so cool that it’s like, Well, I guess I can just do the math in my free time and figure out how it worked.

Ali: Yeah, it doesn’t ruin the book for me, but I do wish there had been an explanation.

Aradia: It doesn’t ruin Ambrai?

Ali: Ope!

Bree: Oh, yeah.

Ali: Well played, well played, well played.

Bree: Do, do do! So, yeah, we have left our Murder Punch Card Lady. She has left the building.

Aradia: Her last murder has been punched. Now her murder card has been punched.

Bree: The implication is sort of like, that Garon took her? Because she yells his name and it’s like, maybe he was like –

Aradia: You bitch!

Bree: Mom, thanks for murdering me.

Ali: Well, I feel like, you know, once he can kind of, I don’t know -I like to think when you’re dead, you get kind of the context for everything. That’s what I like to think.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: So then he can fully see her for who she is and how much she’s set him up for the fate he ultimately had. And even though she loved him, she sucked as a person.

Aradia: Maybe he just really didn’t want to go through the afterlife without her and wanted her on the other side with him.

Ali: He needed mommy!

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah.

Bree: I mean, let’s remember, he also went out as the mental puppet of the girl she forced him to marry.

Aradia: Oh yeah. Yeah.

Bree: Awkward.

Aradia: Just like, You took me from my wife. Fuck you.

Bree: Or maybe he got context in the afterlife, like, You made me marry that bitch who made me her puppet!

Aradia: Oh, yeah. Maybe he gets all his memories back and is like, Wait a second, I’ve been. What?

Ali: Or. I don’t know. He met. He met his would have been sister who was not happy or something. Could have also been a thing.

Aradia: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. His would have been sister and first child, both being like, Hey, did you know that your mom is the worst?

Ali: Or I mean, you know, maybe he just was seeing all of the other Ambrai ghosts and just kind of like, You know what? Maybe my mom was a bad person. Actually, now that I’m confronted with the realities of what she’s done over the course of her life, and I’m now kind of free of her brainwashing and out from under her influence. Now I kind of see that maybe she was the bad one. And now I’ve got to take her out. She brought me in. I’m taking her out.

Aradia: She did technically, kind of.

Ali: Or I mean, she did technically kind of kill him.

Bree: Not even technically, just full out. She definitely killed him.

Ali: It was very much an accident.

Bree: Collan might have, like, assisted.

Aradia: It was a manslaughter, not a murder.

Ali: It was very much an accident. Yeah, definitely an accident. Definitely a bummer for her. But, you know, I mean, does she have time to explain?

Bree: Oh, think about it. He didn’t even know she had magic, I bet.

Ali: Oh!

Aradia: Lying bitch.

Bree: She’s hidden on that pretty well.

Ali: Hmm. So he’s pissed about the lying.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: So lots going on there, y’all.

Ali: Lots of reasons.

1:15:04 Wrap up: next reading is Rising 34 -39

Bree: Okay, you guys, we originally planned to do parts 29 through 39, because I didn’t think about how much ridiculous talking was going to be involved in unpacking this bonkers banana pants ending. So we’re going to end it at part 33.

Ali: And really just how much we wanted to talk about that birthday party.

Bree: Yeah, that birthday party was epic. We are all considering a lot about ourselves. I may become a place setting designer now. I don’t know. I’m into it.

Aradia: Four cups at dinner for the rest of time.

Ali: So many cups.

Bree: Yes. I wondered how many forks. I’m like mad. Tell me how many forks there were, because it’s important to me, because you got to start at the outside.

Ali: That feels more important.

Bree: So next time we’re going to do parts 34 through 39 to finish off the Rising, and that should be exciting. You’d think that killing Murder Punch Card Lady, a.k.a. the First Councillor, would be the biggest thing. But no, we have more crazy shit and scarier and more traumatic to come. So buckle in, kids, and we will see you 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!