The Redemption That I Bought On Wish: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 21 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for lessons in kissing and redemption in the Ruins of Ambrai.

Do you remember Tiger Beat, Cosmo, or Seventeen? Cailet clearly got her kissing information from a similar source. Ali has some big feelings about the culmination of the parental and sibling relationships we’ve been following all this time.

Pre-order Queen of Dreams by Kit Rocha

Wheel Takes live-reaction to Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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Here is Bree’s Murder Mystery Picture

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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 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. I’m also the co-host of the podcast Wheel Takes, where we do a deep dive into the Wheel of Time TV show and books, and also now part of Wheel Watches, which is our new YouTube Live reaction series. We’re currently doing Percy Jackson and the Wheel of Time.

Bree: (gasps) Oh, I haven’t seen the Percy Jackson ones yet. Have you dropped them? I have to go look.

Ali: I just dropped the first one last night.

Bree: Oh, I’m so excited.

Ali: Yeah. And if that is appealing to you, know that I have never read the books.

Bree: Ooh.

Ali: And so that is my first time reaction. Actually, this has been my favorite reaction so far, because I have an absolute Menty B at the end, about the fact that they’re not running enough! They’re standing there, having these lovely conversations, objectively lovely conversations, but they are not hoofing it while having these conversations. We wait until the Minotaur is visible for us to run. So take that for what you will.

Aradia: Excellent. I’m Aradia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, which will be starting Life of Dreams shortly, as well as a podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media, which is definitely getting a website by the end of January. That is a commitment to myself that I am making to everyone.

Bree: We’ll hold you to it. And I am Bree, also known as one half of the bestselling sci fi fantasy romance author Kit Rocha, still celebrating the recent release of Consort of Fire. And now I guess I get to start telling people to buy Horny Dragon Book two – 2 Horny 2 Dragon, otherwise known as Queen of Dreams, which comes out in August. So we just turned our copy edit’s back in for that. So I only see it like one or two more times. (laughs) By the time you get done seeing books that you have written, you don’t want to look at them ever again.

Aradia: I can imagine.

Ali: I totally get that. I feel that way after I edit our live reactions. I’m like, I never – or write a script. I’m like, I never want to see you again, actually. Thank you very much for your time.

Aradia: It’s one of the hardest things about making crafts that you intended to wear yourself, like clothes or whatever, because by the time you get to the end, you’re like, I will literally burn you out of sheer spite for what we’ve been through together to get to this point, I never want to wear you. But then of course you get over it.

Ali: Yeah, of course you get over it.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s a pitfall.

Bree: It is. Creation is hard, y’all.

Ali: Pay your artists, anyway.

Bree: Yeah, that’s all I have to say about that.

Aradia: Pay your artists. Support art.

Ali: Currently we ar 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.

0:02:58 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: Okay, y’all. Since we’re splitting this episode in two, I did not actually prepare a new time machine fact. So we’re going to get in the time machine still. Let’s move back to 1994 (swoosh noise) So I decided to go and just give you guys a picture of me from 1994, and I will put this in the discord. Ali and Aradia can admire it right now in the notes. And I’m going to tell you that in 1994, I don’t know what other nerd children were doing, but me and my friends were doing murder mystery parties.

Ali: Okay, murder mystery parties are amazing.

Aradia: Objectively very cool.

Bree: Right?

Ali: Look you cute you are!

Bree: We barely had Internet. You know, like, we didn’t have, like, fun video – we did have fun video games. But, like 1994, we were still looking for random ways to have parties. So this is what we did. And then this one – I do not remember all the details, except for I was the grieving widow of the deceased. And the guy standing – I’m sitting here, all in mourning black in the front, in a rocking chair, and the guy standing behind me .

Aradia: You have a thousand yard stare. Very happening.

Bree: I do! I was grieving. I was committing to the bit, okay? Except for it turned out that I was having a torrid affair with the guy standing behind me, who was my dead husband’s twin brother.

Ali and Aradia: gasp dramatically

Bree: So it was all very mysterious.

Aradia: Goodness.

Ali: Woooow.

Bree: Are they still happening?

Ali: I went to a murder mystery party the other day. So they’re still happening. They’re still alive and well.

Aradia: Right before – two years ago, I did one two years ago.

Bree: I’m going to tell you the contents of this were two mature for 14 and 15 year olds. Absolutely. This was – the innuendo, the dirty jokes. All of the affairs and stuff. Probably not 14, 15 year old material, but we had a great time. And I will share the picture with you all. We’re dressed up, the guy with the jersey is supposed to be a soccer player. I don’t think he knew what a soccer player dresses like. He looks like a basketball player. The guy with the vest next to me is my psychic, because apparently I had one.

Ali: Ooh.

Aradia: So that’s why his clothes are more flamboyant. I love it.

Ali: So cute.

Bree: Yes. So it’s my children and their evil spouses. And then my priest, of course.

Aradia: Yeah, I was noticing – I was going to ask about the priest.

Ali: You’re saying you had a psychic and a priest?

Aradia: Wow. Powerful lady.

Bree: I had a psychic and a priest. I was a complex, grieving widow.

Ali: You’re just putting your chips in every basket. Dou you know what I mean?

Bree: The rich guy, his brother, the priest, the psychic. Yeah. I’m just covering all the bases. I do think I actually – No, I don’t think I was the murder. I think my son in law was the murderer. Who was the guy in the red beret looking absolutely fabulous.

Aradia: The red beret does say murderer.

Bree: Totally like he killed someone.

Aradia: The red beret really is just a give away.

1:06:09 Who deserves redemption?

Bree: So, yeah, this was my trip back to 1994. I was living my best, weirdest nerdiest life. So. And I was also reading the Ruins of Ambrai! And guess what? This week, shit gets real. It gets so real.

Aradia: Nice segway.

Bree: So y’all, we split this episode in half, because the Glenin of it all. Ali, people have been anticipating your response to this section in particular in the spoiler section for a while.

Ali: I have feelings.

Bree: Because instead of getting a sister team up for redemption, we got a daddy redemption and a sister on sister violence.

Ali: I’m not happy Daddy got a redemption. I’m not, I’m not happy with it.

Bree: No, I didn’t think you were going to be.

Aradia: No, I’ve definitely spent way too much time with you to have been happy with that. I was just like, How dare she?

Ali: All due respect to Melanie, I feel like – and I know that this was written at a time where, like, our crappy parents were getting redemption stories, and I know that was just something we as a society wanted, but.

Bree: Well, I mean, think about this. This is – if Cailet is Luke Skywalker here –

Ali: But the man killed the city? The man killed a city.

Bree: Tell it to George Lucas.

Ali: I said – I will also say this to George Lucas.

Bree: Imagine, we didn’t even know back then that Darth Vader also murdered all the babies. I mean, I guess we did, Alderaan had a lot of babies on it. So Ambrai is Alderaan, obviously.

Ali: Here the thing.: I do believe that most people are redeemable and that there is a lot of nuance to be had in this world, and there is a lot of like, Okay, well, you know, we need to look at the circumstances. I’m always the person in the comments going like, But maybe she had a really bad day!, you know what I mean? But in this particular instance, I don’t feel that if you were – I think there’s a line between like, forgot their toddler at the airport, you know, and I’m like, maybe that’s just a overstressed parent and not necessarily a sign of negligence – versus I murdered an entire city. Like, there’s got to be a line at some point where we’re like, we just can’t nuance this guy into like, daddy actually loves us. Like it’s just – he’s too far gone for me.

Bree: Yeah. Yeah.

Ali: He killed your whole family!

0:08:46 Rising, chapter 34: Kiss like a dragon or asphyxiate!

Bree: Well, okay, let’s go back and start at part 34, which at least is a little fun, because that’s where we get the Collan and the Sarra romance.

Aradia: Yes.

Ali: I personally don’t like romance at all, actually.

Bree: Yes. Ali is known to hate it.

Ali: Known romance hater.

Bree: When last we left Anniyas, she had been gently eaten by ghosts. And so they’re like, Let’s get out of here.

Ali: That’s what I would do if I saw someone gently eaten.

Bree: And then so, yes, Cailet’s like, Am I going to have to tell them that they love each other? And then Collan’s like, No, I’m going to throw this sword away and start laying down lines.

Aradia: Oh my God.

Bree: And he got some good ones.

Aradia: It was, it was nice.

Ali: He dropped some really good lines. I was impressed.

Bree: This is. – I love this. He says: “If I don’t say this now, I may never get the chance again. I can put more feeling into other people’s love songs than any Minstrel alive. And it’s all faked. That’s the way I wanted it. I swore I’d never let any woman make those songs real for me. But you have. I don’t know how, but you did.” So, like, yeah.

Aradia: (delights groan)

Ali: I’m such a sucker for a guy with a good line.

Bree: Yeah, he – she made the songs real!

Ali: I’m such a words of affirmation person, I’m so bad!

Bree: Sarra – Cailet is not impressed with Sarra’s comeback, which is, When do I get to hear the songs? But Collan apparently likes it, because she dimples, and it’s clearly a innuendo.

Ali: Cailet is not here for the romantic spar.

Aradia: No, but it’s not her relationship, so it’s fine. Collan and Sarra are perfect, the way they spar.

Bree: Yeah, their a little pokey pokey. We got the “Frees up the Minstrel’s famous hands” line. So that came back.

Aradia: I knew when that line first came up, I was like, That line. If that line comes back around, we know that the things are for sure. Here it is! I called that line.

Ali: You did call that. That was a bookend for sure.

Bree: Yep. And so he says, I’m going to make a song out of you. And then they start to kiss.

Ali: And we’re saying that in front of the sister? My goodness.

Aradia: I know, right? And that I love the line –

Bree: Collan doesn’t know that’s her sister.

Ali: But she’s still a teenager. She’s a minor.

Bree: Read that line for us, Aradia.

Aradia: Yeah, there’s this line, this line from Cailet: “Cailet began to count. She marveled at their stamina—then worried about asphyxiation.” (high pitched laughter)

Bree: Cailet’s never been kissed good and proper. It makes me sad, but it’s hilarious.

Ali: She’s in that era where you think you can’t breathe during a kiss. I think I read this thing one time that was like, You can’t breathe through your nose during your case because then they’ll think you’re a dragon.

Bree: Listen, BookTok’s like-

Aradia: Like, well, first of all, why would that be a bad thing? Second of all –

Ali: I know! I remember this so specifically, I don’t know where I read it. I was one of those teenybopper magazines or something like that, where they have like all these articles and stuff, that definitely misled me about pretty much everything having to do with relationships. But yeah, it was like Cosmo for girls – 17 Magazine, I think was where I read that.

Aradia: Ugh, makes sense.

Ali: Yeah, Yeah. And it was like, You can’t breathe through your nose while you kiss, because then like, your breath will go all over them like you’re a dragon. And I was like, Wow. Okay. So then I’m pretty sure during my first kiss, I did almost asphyxiate.

Bree: Oh, sweet baby.

Ali: Yeah. So she’s in that era where she doesn’t understand how kissing works.

Bree: She read a bad 17 article.

Ali: She very much did.

Aradia: Which is like, Who amongst us?

Ali: Who amongst us in the early 2000s.

Aradia: Yeah. Oof.

Ali: Is that magazine still around?

Aradia: I think so. I don’t know.

Bree: I’m not sure.

Ali: Do the youths buy magazines?

Bree: I don’t know.

Aradia: No, the youths kill things.

Ali: Always.

Bree: Millennials probably killed 17, to be perfectly honest. I mean, what did millennials not kill?

Ali: It’s not how the economy works.

Aradia: I mean, it’s been 17 years since we were 17, or whatever. So, you know.

Bree: Millennials killed Tiger Beat.

Ali: Tiger Beat. What was Tiger Beat?

Bree: Are you guys too young for Tiger Beat? You must be too young for Tiger Beat.

Aradia: I don’t know what that is.

Ali: I don’t know what it is.

Bree: Tiger Beat is the nineties teen magazine, and it was just pict – Oh my God, they had a paper edition until 2018!

Aradia: Wow.

Bree: Oh my gosh. Okay, it was founded in 1965. Tiger Beat was like where I went to get all of my Jonathan Brandis and Chris O’Donnell pictures, they just had like fold out posters of them, like huge posters to put on your wall and stuff, and then articles with like, you know, interviews with – I mean the nineties, it was like, Chris O’Donnell and Jonathan Brandis and oh, that kid from Full House, no, Home Improvement who will be, who was Simba. I don’t remember. Jonathan Taylor Thomas! And then Leonardo DiCaprio, as the nineties moved on. You know, that squad. I feel like I’m very specifically placed in time, like I know when I found another 1980 baby, because it’s the Chris O’Donnell, the Three Musketeers movie, we all just imprinted on Chris O’Donnell, just really strongly.

Ali: Did anyone else experience the rite of passage which was sneakily buying a Cosmo and then hiding it in your room and then you and your friends would come and like, look at the Cosmo?

Aradia: No.

Ali: And each of you had like one Cosmo?

Bree: I did not. No.

Ali: Okay. So at least of my group of friends this is what happened. Each of us, like, sneakily bought one Cosmo, right? Each of us had one edition of this magazine that we had.

Bree: Oh, so this was like a black market?

Ali: Well, because Cosmo was like, bad sex advice and, like nothing else..

Bree: It was explicit stuff.

Ali: Exactly. It was like, bad sex advice and nothing else. And so, of course, we as teenagers coveted it. Because it was like illicit material that wasn’t actually illicit. You know, it was just like one degree, like a couple degrees shy of porn. It was like a romance novel magazine, essentially.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Right. But not even, it was just yeah, it was bad sex advice.

Bree: Oh, Cosmo published some romance novelas. They got Sylvia Day to do some – Yeah. Yeah, I know some people who did some Cosmo, did not go very well. Long story anyway. Publishing drama!

Ali: But yeah, each of us would go out and we would buy one month’s Cosmo as a secret, and then like, ferret it somewhere in our rooms. And then, like when we were having a sleepover, each of us would, like, go to each other’s houses and, like, read their Cosmo all together as a group. And it was a rite of passage, at least for us.

Bree: I can imagine it. I can imagine. I did get caught trying to play Pretty Woman at a party, that’s the closest I get. So apparently that was a no go from my mother.

Ali: I think one of us did get caught with a Cosmo and that was the end of that. Like I think where our Cosmos all got confiscated. Oh, I think that was the thing that happened.

Bree: Too bad.

Ali: You got caught trying to play Pretty Woman?

Bree: Yeah, I tried to play a VHS somebody brought over of Pretty Woman, so that got confiscated.

Ali: How dare you?

Bree: Yeah, you know, so. Yes. Okay, let’s get back on to this. We have detoured through the strangling, through kissing, passing out – so nobody passes out. Everything’s good.

Aradia: Right. So now we’re done with the kissing? Yes.

Ali: Cailet’s like, That’s how they did it in Cosmo.

Bree: Yeah. Collan wants to get the fuck out, Cailet wants them to leave without her. Sarra is like, Yeah, she wants us to leave because she wants to go face Glenin, you dumbass. Collan’s not fucking with that. Collan has had enough of Glenin, and so basically Cailet figures, Oh, we might as well all go together. And she goes, and then what does she do to them?

Aradia: She puts them to sleep. She just like, parks them under a tree and is like, You stay here until I’m done dealing with Glenin, just be sleepy over here. And just leaves them and has another amazing line where she has Col go to sleep and then he like, slumps over – where was the line? He’s like, he’s sliding down the tree trunk fast asleep. “Cailet snatched up the sword before he could endanger anything vital to her sister’s future happiness and progeny.” Again, with the just delightful talking around understatement in Cailet’s point of view. I love her sense of humor.

Bree: Yes. Not going to accidentally stab him in the balls there with the sword.

Aradia: Yeah. I would really suck if he castrated himself while falling asleep, you know, that would just really suck.

Ali: I love that she’s like, I’m not going to do that, for Sarra.

Aradia: For Sarra, Not for him, but for Sarra.

Bree: For Sarra.

Ali: Were Sarra not around, maybe I would. I don’t know.

Bree: But then she does something interesting, though. She has the sword and she doesn’t take it with her. Even though the sword would 100% probably have protected her. And she doesn’t take it with her because she’s afraid that it knows her intentions, and she isn’t sure that she – her plan is not to kill Glenin, but she’s not 100% sure that’s what she really wants. And she’s afraid the sword will do it for her, because you can’t lie to the sword.

Aradia: Oh, yeah.

Bree: So she leaves it behind, which I don’t think is the best idea.

Aradia: It’s an interesting call. A very interesting call for her to make.

Ali: Yeah, I’m not sure if that was the brightest decision. I get the hesitation, because it’s an icky prospect to kill your sister. And you don’t want to do that, certainly, by accident.


Bree: She’s very idealistic right now.

Ali: Can I ask a question about the mechanics of the sword?

Bree: Sure.

Ali: So the sword doesn’t just jump out of your hand and kills people just because – like, I mean, if you were holding it, right, and your husband, say, didn’t break down the boxes when he told you he was going to, which might be an example of a time you might want to murder your husband. But just for a moment, you don’t want to actually kill him. You just have a brief, murderous thought. This is a real life example. But then your husband walks in and you’re holding the sword. Does the sword just like, go kill him or are you – or is the sword going to kill him if you engage?

Aradia: I mean, I would assume the latter.

Bree: It’s going to take over your body.

Aradia: Oh, okay. The former. Nevermind.

Ali: But so, if Gus were the example here, he would be murdered.

Bree: Probably. I mean, it could absolutely just like, have you pull it and swing. That is my interpretation of it. And this could be because, my first interaction with magical swords was Mercedes Lackey. My first fantasy had a magical sword like this: “By the Sword”, and it actually has a magical sword that is like, got a old mage kind of soul stuck in it. If you wear it and are bonded to the sword, it forces you to go save women. And it will take over your body and make you do things, whether you want to or not. And also, if an evil woman attacks you, it turns you into Rand al’Thor. You can’t kill –

Ali: Ew! I hate that.

Aradia: Yes, hate that.

Bree: It refuses conflict, which is interesting. Because, like, sometimes you really got to like, you know, stab a lady in the face, if she’s evil.

Ali: Sometimes you do. Sometimes – there are some women, in literature, that deserve to be stabbed in the face. In literature.

Bree: And at least in this book, it’s a bad thing that the sort won’t –

Ali: Don’t stab women in the face, don’t stab anyone! But yeah, I feel like, okay, so in that case, then maybe – but okay, it’s not whether you want to or not, because it’s like whether you truly want to or not.

Bree: Yeah. Yeah.

Ali: If you truly –

Bree: In your heart.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: You can lie to yourself, but you can’t lie to the sword.

Ali: But I feel like, okay, then I’m mixed on the decision, but I feel like your desire to kill Glenin might shift over the course of this conversation, and then it would have been useful to have that sword.

Bree: I think she’s going into this from a place of just, idealism.

Ali: Can you give it to someone neutral to hold on to until you make a more concrete decision? Because I feel like otherwise the sword is a huge liability.

Bree: Do you think anyone feels neutral about Glenin?

Ali: Probably not. But I don’t know. Could you just go to some rando on the street and be like, I’ll give you 50 bucks if you want this sword until I need it?

Bree: I feel like that’s sort of the thing.

Aradia: Yeah, I figured that, like, she needed – she should have taken it. She should have taken it, because if Glenin needs killed, she’ll figure that out in the course of the conversation, in the course of the fight. And if Glenin can be redeemed, then her presumably deepest desire to not kill her sister will carry the day.

Ali: We have a gut trusting problem here. We have a gut trusting – Wait, is Cailet experiencing imposter syndrome?

Aradia: We recognize the signs.

Bree: I mean, I feel like the fact that the fact that she was willing to leave it behind is proof that she could have taken it.

Aradia: Exactly.

Bree: Because I feel like, you know, she wants to redeem Glenin so badly, but she is putting aside a weapon that could protect her. But I feel like this is really, you know, she’s idealistic and she thinks that this is maybe the destiny. And it kind of does feel destined, right? Like these three sisters who could come together and heal this ancient war?

Ali: I thought so for sure, and then Glenin whiffed!

Aradia: Yeah, You weren’t wrong, Ali. Glenin was wrong.

Ali: Glenin was wrong. Glenin is an idiot. Yeah, You heard it here first. I’m not wrong. Glenin is an idiot.

Bree: You and Cailet are on the same page. You were reading the same symbols. You’re like, Look at this. We are ready for sister redemption.

Ali: Yeah, the redemption for the dad is the redemption that I bought on Wish. This is what I wanted. And then they were like, We have redemption at home. And I did not want that at all.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah.

Ali: This is not what I wanted, Melanie. I’m not mad at her.

Bree: You can be mad at everybody.

Ali: I’m not mad.

0:24:00 Music break. Rising, chapter 35 and 36: the redemption that I bought on Wish

Bree: Okay, part 35. We jump to Glenin’s point of view, and she has got her velvet Ladder. And her basic idea is, Let’s go to Ambrai, let the Captal wear Anniyas out, and then she can, like, do something, kick your ass, whatever. But that’s not really what happens because she gets there and there’s a super dead Anniyas. And what is her response, you guys, what do you guys think of her reaction to that?

Aradia: Her underwhelming disappointment was really funny. She was just like, Oh, I wanted to kill her, all right. Like, she just, like, wasn’t even that upset. Like, she was annoyed but not enraged. It was really funny. I mean, I assumed that would be her reaction to Garon dying, is like, Oh, fine, whatever. But the lack of intensity on her disappointment was almost the funniest thing to me.

Ali: Yeah, she really was kind of like, Oh, that was on my to do list and you did it for me. And now I don’t get to check it off.

Bree: Yeah, yeah.

Aradia: Exactly.

Ali: It’s like if someone finished a puzzle piece, like, put the last puzzle piece in when you were the one who did all the work, and you’re just kind of like, Uhh, that was mine to do. Thank you. I earned that, actually.

Bree: Yeah, she’s like, At least my son is safe now, but, you know, I don’t get to murder her in like a Malerrisi on Malerrisi challenge, so that’s kind of a bummer.

Ali: I had a vision board for how this was going to go, and this is not it.

Bree: Not at all. Yeah, her five year plan is just shot.

Aradia: Yeah, I mean, where do we even go now?

Bree: Though her reaction to finding Garon is actually even more hilarious, because the literal thought –

Ali: Where she just goes, and you? Ah.

Bree: “Garon had often asked to be taken through a Ladder. It seemed his mother had finally granted his wish.” Ow!

Ali: That’s cold.

Aradia: Spitting on the corpse while it’s not even cold yet, like damn.

Ali: That’s your child’s father, like, Oh my God.

Bree: And he’s like, literally dripping down the walls still.

Ali: I mean, yeah, it’s kind of horrifying. But again, I’m blaming the parents on this one.

Aradia: And she’s got a very Cailet sort of dryness to her humor in that, you know, just a talent for understatement.

Bree: They are both very dry.

Aradia: Talking around the thing, like you can see the family resemblance in how they approach difficult things.

Ali: Okay. But there’s dry and then there’s, I’m looking at a eviscerated human being and going, Ah, that sucks.

Bree: Cracking a wry little joke.

Aradia: But I mean, you’re right. That is a slightly wetter situation.

Bree: Sticky.

Aradia: Moist.

Ali: Yeah. I mean, you know I think – well, listen, I’m not necessarily someone who is opposed to cracking a wry little joke at a bad time, but like, I don’t know. I don’t know how you walk into a room like that and not at least scream a little first.

Aradia: Well, she was going to have him die in a sailing accident in, like, five years. So again, it’s just someone else checking stuff off her to do list early.

Ali: But again, we’re giving redemption to the man who raised Glenin?

Bree: (sing songs) Complicated!

Aradia: Ugh, yeah, you’re right. You’re right.

Ali: Like, I’m sorry. Okay, You have three kids, right? And the two that you didn’t raise turned out great. So clearly, you’re the problem.

Bree: Oh Glenin, Glenin. Okay, so Cailet calls out to her, says, Can you find me? And, you know, Glenin walks in and we finally – you’ve been waiting for this too, Ali for, like, the whole book, like 700 pages – for Glenin to figure out about Sarra. And it’s not until she literally is like – they exchanged some barbs about how Cailet is standing where she’s not supposed to be standing, because she’s not an Ambrai. And Cailet’s just like, Lol. Glenin finally, finally figures it out, and she only figures it out after she does a little stab of magic at Cailet. And I like this paragraph, because during this book, a lot of times we have had – since Cailet had the people put in her head, they have talked about how the emotions are the only thing that are hers. So this little bit of magic, Glenin expects to get thoughts or impressions back, but she doesn’t, because the thoughts, the brain is very controlled. Her magic is very controlled, but her feelings are all the fuck over the place, because she is a 17 year old girl!

Ali: Right.

Bree: And her emotions are everywhere. And so the things that are the one thing that felt like hers, they start to betray her at this point. Give Glenin all the information, the grief about Taig, the joy about Sarra and Collan, the loss of all of the people who have died for her. And then she gets pity for Anniyas and Garon, and Glenin, fear for Ostin Hold –

Ali: Which is more than I can say for Glenin.

Bree: Right. And then pain. And the pain is that picture of her mother looking away from her that she stole from Gorynel Desse. And that is when Glenin starts to put the pieces together. How do you feel about this, Ali? You finally got Glenin going, Sarra!

Ali: Well, at first I was like, How did it take you this long? You’re super perceptive. And then I was trying to think about it and I go, And she looks just like your mother. That’s the other one. Very, what? She looks just like your mother. How did you not know? And then I kind of thought, well, I guess, out of context, if I just ran into my siblings at a bar, I don’t know. Even though they do look like my parents to some degree, I don’t know if I would necessarily look at them and go, Oh my God, you must be my sibling, because that is a heck of a jump to make.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: And remember that there were – we were told many times that there are Wards, but the one thing I pulled out that I had actually never noticed before we did this read, is that Glenin thinks about Sarra’s eyes explicitly as brown several times, when we know that they’re black. Because she’s supposed to have her mother’s black eyes, her infamously famous black eyes. Sarra had them and Cailet had them. So whatever these Wards did, I do believe that Glenin was not seeing Sarra as she actually was when they saw each other, there was something going on. Because she wasn’t seeing those – Like if she had seen those infamous black eyes that nobody apparently had but her mom and her baby sister, you know, but she didn’t see those. So something was going on. But all of that sort of shatters right here.

Ali: Well, I was hoping that her getting that inside look into Caile’s head was going to be her moment of transformation, of going, Oh, all of this makes sense now, our dad is the problem. I really thought maybe that would – getting that inside look into someone else’s brain would help her see how much she’s been used and manipulated. And, you know, all the propaganda that she’d been raised to believe, I was hoping would kind of come down. And I know that that’s kind of a lot of an emotional journey to go through. But instead, I raise you that we then gave the emotional journey to the guy who is the family annihilator. So I’m just saying, I thought Glenin was going to have a moment with Cailet and Sarra and realize that their dad is actually the bad guy. But, you know.

Bree: She went from, “My sister’s alive” to “What if forced breeding” in, like, 37 seconds.

Aradia: Yeah, it really bothered me.

Ali: It did not take the turn I hoped for. She also went into her sister’s head and did, like, weird sex scenes and stuff. And I was like, I don’t know if – even if I were evil, that would be my first impulse?

Bree: Well, it wasn’t her first. If you look at the thing, she tried a couple things. She did this sort of Mage Globe that I think showed pictures and also made Cailet feel what was going on. And she tried a couple different things until she found what triggered absolute horror and revulsion in Cailet. And there’s even this awful line: “So. That’s where it starts. I should’ve guessed. You’re very young.” And then she just goes, you know, hard.

Aradia: Yeah, I was very annoyed with this entire section. Glenin, this was supposed to be awesome. And instead it’s the worst. I felt very like – the explosion of, like, the eye contact, the mental contacts, the magic explosion. And then it went dark, like it was just such a high, then low whiplash of – because her first thought is, Oh, Dad lied, Sarra’s alive. I should make everything worse and terrible. I was just like, But, but, you were doing so good!

Ali: Yeah. My hope was that she go, Dad lied. What else did he lie about?

Aradia: But yeah. Then a minute later, she’s like, mind raping her sister. And I just – What a turn.

Ali: Yeah, exactly. I was saying, What? No! Glenin.

Bree: At first she spends like three pages making fun of her for being idealistic and thinking that they could be this happy family that ruled Lenfell like, you know, and make, you know, all of this.

Ali: I felt made fun of. I didn’t appreciate it.

Bree: I think I did the first time, too. I feel like it’s explicit.

Aradia: Yeah, for sure. Especially from someone who wants to control the world, from someone who has this fascistic vision of how she can be in charge of everything. I mean, you are one to talk about idealism, lady.

Bree: Well, I do think that that’s sort of the point, though. It’s like, she has been raised. And I think that like – Gorynel Desse says it later, she’s Malerrisi to her fingertips. And she really is. And I think that the point here is to ask us, Is she going to just turn around from that or is she going to take these new siblings and find a way to work them into her little master web? Now, the question is, should daddy get redemption? And I feel like that – hmm. This isn’t the first, I will tell you guys, this is not the last time we’re going to address the question of whether daddy should get redemption. It’s going to be an explicitly on the page discussed thing, so we can talk about it now. But we’re also going to talk about it again because, you know, the book is not unaware. Melanie is not unaware of what she’s doing here. And what she’s doing is, asking us to swallow an awful lot right now.

Ali: Yeah, I’m not coming for Melanie or the story. I’m coming for Glenin as a character and also Auvry as a character. I’m just like, You two suck, and I don’t think that it is outside of the question of reality that, like, you know, there are certainly plenty of people who get all the evidence presented to them that they are in the wrong and they double down on being wrong. Certainly there is plenty of evidence in real life to validate that. And so I’m not necessarily upset that I was wrong that Glenin turns, and I’m not necessarily upset that Auvry sucks as a person, but I do kind of bump up against – and I’m glad that this is an ongoing discussion, but it feels like Auvry has not necessarily done enough for me personally, and maybe he will, there’s plenty of pages left. He has not done enough for me personally to go, You know what? It’s cool. We’re fine. We, outside of Glenin – who you raised to be this monster! – we’re cool. You know what I mean?

Aradia: Yeah. I feel like that’s a thing that really got hammered at me with a lot of, like, nineties and 2000s media, was like, if someone sacrifices their life at the very last minute, then they get a retroactive forgiveness for everything they did, and they don’t have to actually do anything other than give up their life in a last act of redemption. I feel like that was just hammered on at this point in time.

Ali: I also feel like what was hammered on in the nineties and early 2000, was a lot of like, Okay, your parent was abusive or awful or neglectful, but they’re still your parent, so you got to forgive them if they say they’re sorry.

Aradia: Yeah, that too. That too.

Ali: And I don’t know how much I agree with that, to be honest. I do believe in forgiving people, not for the sake of the other person, but for yourself.

Aradia: Sure. Yeah. Yeah.

Ali: You know, I think that you carrying things becomes your burden, not someone else’s. But I don’t necessarily believe in letting people off the hook if they don’t deserve it. Do you know what I mean? Like, I think we can forgive with an addendum, a note at the bottom that says, Don’t fuck around. Or you don’t, and I also believe you don’t have to forgive somebody if you don’t.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah. And especially in the context of this book and this story, where he’s had time on page to do things and he’s used it badly. I don’t feel like he’s earned it. Like, in real life, people have way more complexity than a book could ever capture. But this is a character who’s been given a fairly narrow space to inhabit, and that space does not include anything that makes this feel earned. Aside from dying, because apparently that redeems all. What weird Christian programing are we all being subjected to? Just putting it out there. If you die, then everything’s forgiven?

Bree: Listen. Darth Vader!

Aradia: I don’t know. It feels a little Christian normative, and I’m a little not into it.

Ali: It does. And then yeah, and then on top of that be like, yeah – forgiving your parents feels a lot like, Oh, we all recognize as adults that maybe we’ve done things to the generations below us that aren’t ideal and that we may want to be forgiven for. So we’re going to have these narratives in which kids forgive their parents that were not good to them. And yeah, I feel like there are a lot of people in the world that are like, Well, you have to love them, or you have to forgive them, they’re your family. And I go, I mean, to a point. Right, to a point. And I think that is a deeply personal decision, whether or not somebody is worth the pain of their presence.

Aradia: Also, fun fact, the phrase, Blood is thicker than water means the opposite of what everyone fucking uses it for.

Ali: Yes! It does!

Aradia: It’s, The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb, or some shit like that. It’s literally the opposite. It’s literally a statement about chosen family over family of origin. So, suck it, people that say it.

Ali: Blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb, is what they actually – And if you look at a lot of those phrases, they’re all that way.

Aradia: Backwards and backwards and backwards.

Ali: There’s, Jack of all trades, master of none, is always better than a master of one. I think.

Aradia: That’s right.

Ali: That’s actually how that works. Yeah, it’s yeah, if you have varied interests, that’s actually better than being obsessive over one thing, which is actually how that phrase is supposed to go. I think there’s something about, The early bird catches the worm, too is actually not what we think. Yeah.

Aradia: Oh, and, Pull yourself up by your bootstraps is meant to be a paradoxical statement, not a motivational one. It’s meant to be a paradox because you can’t. That’s the fucking point.

Ali: Yes! Honestly, there’s so many of those phrases where I go, Oh, the version of the phrase that has lasted, has been actually a very pro-Captalist propaganda, when actually it’s the opposite.

Bree: Wonder why.

Aradia: Yeah, just – critical thinking, everyone! Critical thinking.

Ali: Yeah. So anyway, I thought that was pretty interesting. And that’s just, I think kind of my issue always is like, this idea that like – yes, like you said Aradia, that because someone puts their life on the line at the very last minute, right? They haven’t – it’s, again, putting in the last puzzle piece and expecting applause.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah.

Ali: It’s like, well, we’ve been here putting these puzzle pieces in place.

Bree: While they kicked the table and poked you.

Aradia: Yes!

Ali: Yes. Well they’ve done everything to be a hindrance to that. Right? And this is my thing, too, about the parents coming in at the last minute and apologizing. It’s like the thing about having parents who don’t deserve your forgiveness necessarily, is that you have built a life in spite of them, right? You have built a rebellion, in spite of him. You have tried to save the world, in spite of his efforts. And then he decides – By the way, dying at the last second is the easiest out.

Aradia: Mh-hmm!

Bree: You don’t have to be responsible for everything he did.

Ali: Yes. It requires no accountability.

Aradia: No repair. There’s no repair.

Ali: It’s the easiest button. You go, Oh, well, I’m instantly forgiven and there’s no work that I need to do, because this –

Aradia: All outcome, no process.

Ali: Yeah. It’s all like, Oh, that’s justice. And I go, That is not justice.

Bree: Well, this is a world with ghosts, guys. So, maybe there is. This is a world with ghosts. Remember, we now have ghosts popping around.

Aradia: Eh.

Bree: I mean, there’s a ghost in this scene, Gorynel Desse decides to come all up in this.

Aradia: Ugh!

Bree: He’s died, and he’s not done redeeming himself.

Aradia: Stop being alive. Die already!

Bree: He is dead, and he’s still got stuff to do.

Aradia: That doesn’t count!

Bree: Which, to be fair, we were just complaining that they stopped trying to fix their mistakes when they die. Gorynel Desse is like, I will continue to fix my mistakes after death.

Ali: But can we start with him apologizing for kissing a teenager?

Bree: No, he’s going to do it again. But it wasn’t a creepy kiss this time.

Aradia: That’s true. The bar is so low that that felt like a victory.

Ali: Yeah, that was a low bar. But I guess we can hurdle over it.

0:43:30 Music break. Rising, chapter 37: Let’s vote the Leopards Eating Auvry Feiran’s Face Party

Bree: So yeah, to remind anyone following along, basically what happens is that while Glenin is is mind raping – I mean I don’t think there’s any other term for what she’s doing to Cailet. She’s basically trying to break her with horrible images.

Ali: Which is just really fucked up.

Bree: And so while she’s doing this, their dad comes in and he’s basically like, Stop, no, stop, don’t do this. You’re not doing this. And she’s like, No, daddy, I’m going to have my sisters go back to the castle and be breeding stock. I can get two babies easy out of each of them, if we take good care of them. And I hope somewhere inside he’s doing like a swift internal inventory of all the wrong choices he made.

Ali: To lead to this.

Bree: Because I’m going to say, at the end of the day, what makes me the maddest is that he was an adult when this started and had choices at every step along the way. She never gets.

Ali: Yes! Glenin never had. A. Choice. Yes!

Aradia: Yo!

Bree: She was groomed, and not just by the tutor sexually. She was groomed to be this person. To make these choices.

Aradia: Yes.

Ali: Exactly. Yes, exactly. And then he has the audacity to judge her. This is my thing, too. That he has the audacity to judge her for this, and judge her for her desire to kill her family members. When I’m like, You literally wiped out your ex-wife’s entire family. Glenin has no family because of you and your choices. And now you’re going to come in at the buzzer. At the buzzer, and tell her that she is a monster? Fuck you. You raised her.

Aradia: Yeah. You’re the only person in the world who doesn’t get to judge her right now. Everyone else can, but not you.

Ali: Yeah, You are the one person who doesn’t get to fucking say anything, like this is the thing. If you – and that’s what’s I think making me so angry, is that he takes no accountability for how he’s raised Glenin in this scene. He’s just like, Oh my God, who raised you? Basically. Who made you like this? And I go, I don’t know, the fact that you’re a family annihilator who supported this every step of the way and had no problems with it up until the very end when it just happened to be someone who was of your stock? To me, it’s like, it’s the fact that people, too – the difference is, if this were some random person that she was doing this to, he would not have an issue.

Aradia: Also that!

Ali: It’s the fact that – to me it’s the same thing as those people who are like, I learned to respect women when I had a daughter. It’s like, Why didn’t you already do that? Why didn’t you already respect women? Why didn’t you already think it was wrong to mind rape people and use them as breeding stock. It was just the fact that it was your kid that it was happening to that made you do a 180.

Bree: Yeah. You were standing by while she was being taught to do this.

Aradia: You literally trained her to be a leopard that eats people’s faces. You literally did.

Ali: And then you’re shocked that your daughter grew up to be that way.

Bree: No. You know what the thing is, though? He didn’t even get to train her, because they didn’t trust him and they didn’t teach him all of that stuff. He gave her to them, as we all discussed, unsupervised. He wasn’t even watching to see what they did to her, or what they taught her. That feels worse to me. At leastif he had been like training her personally, it would have indicated some oversight. But he was just like, Hey, crazy murder fascist, here’s my barely pubescent daughter, teach her whatever you want. And here we are.

Ali: Teach her whatever you want, I don’t care. And by the way, while you’re doing it, I’m going to murder her entire family. Like anyone else who cares about her.

Aradia: It’s garbage. You’re garbage, Auvry.

Ali: You’re garbage. And this is my thing, only does this change, only does this change when it’s when he finds out that Cailet is his kid.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: That’s the only time he starts to give a shit. If she were anyone else.

Bree: And Glenin kind of calls him on that.

Ali: And she should.

Bree: Glenin’s like, Oh, you’re so proud, because you fathered a Mage Captal.

Ali: And she should! She should be bothered about this. I would be! She has done everything that he asked, everything, she has sacrificed every part of herself. And then he turns around and goes like, Oh, but my other daughters are also strong, so fuck you. Go to hell.

Aradia: It was definitely a, Be yourself, no, not like that. But at a whole other level. Be the murderous, arch fascist, no, not like that. Like, fuck off. Fuck off, daddy.

Ali: Yeah. Honestly, he does not deserve it. Listen, I’m okay with the fact that Glenin does not get her – well, I don’t know if by the end she does. Maybe she has. I don’t know how you get past that. But yeah, I don’t mind that she doesn’t get a redemption because that is true to life. Some people just don’t take the redemption they’re offered, right? And they just double down because it’s that sound cost fallacy of, I’ve come this far, so I have to be right. And they just get more entrenched in their toxic beliefs rather than have to do the hard work of facing what they’ve done, because they believe the wrong thing, that’s totally a thing.

Aradia: Yeah, that is a thing. People do that.

Ali: But then I go, We can’t then – early 2000s and late nineties! – go, Okay, but murder fascist dude, because he had a last minute U-turn and sacrificed himself only because he realized that his daughters were the people being attacked and that they were as powerful, if not more powerful than Glenin, only then does he make a decision to change. And that to me is a very toxic mentality. Like, Oh, well then that’s fine. No, it’s not. No, it’s not. He literally did the easiest redemption possible, because he has no consequences to face from this.

Aradia: I mean, the Darth Vader comparison feels really, really fucking apt.

Bree: Well, I mean, this is when you see the Star Wars thing.

Aradia: I got so mad when he got to be a happy ghost. I’m like, You, you? No. You, no. No, no. And this is the same rage.

Bree: And while I think that obviously Star Wars explicitly inspired this, as we know, I do think that that arc inspired a lot of shit that went down in the nineties. Because that was like – we forget sometimes how much that trilogy of movies ate everybody’s brain in the late eighties and nineties. So like, I’m sure the influence of it was massive. And while he, George Lucas, was taking it from other places, obviously, I think that when it hit our pop culture and it just became pervasive, it became a thing that was in the water. I am going to tell you still, like I think that we can put a pin in the, Does he deserve redemption thing. Because something’s going to happen in the next section that brings the question around again. And we’re going to have a fun debate about it.

Aradia: Okay.

Bree: But I will say that at this point, I am just – the thing that I am left with right after here is just a sort of sorrow rage for Glenin, because he had come back because he was a grown ass man with a previous life when he started making these decisions. He had something to turn back towards. She had nothing to turn back towards. This is all she’s been since she was young enough to basically have memories. So, you know, he took away every chance she had.

Ali: Not to talk about the Harry Potter of it all, but people, you know, do baby girl Draco sometimes. Right. But I think it’s because to an extent – obviously he’s still the perpetrator of wrongdoing and should be held accountable for the wrongdoing. But you know, that’s where the hot nuance comes in, is that he is also a victim of this system. He was brought up. He had very limited choices and then ultimately did slightly do the right thing toward the end and then started to turn, right? And there is an extent to which that turn is a very difficult turn to make, when you are raised in an environment and in a society that teaches you to be one way. So that’s why I’m not necessarily mad that Glenin didn’t make that turn, because – what does she have? Like, what is she if she – it’s a scary, hard, very difficult choice to make, especially in a high pressure situation, when she still thinks that she has love and support on her side. And then all of a sudden her dad just flips on her and then she really has nothing. And that’s just bullshit for her.

Aradia: And like, also, like in the literary context, we’re expecting this to be a trilogy. There’s still many pages to go. There’s still so much space for her to have twists and turns and ultimately get there. It’s fine if she just teases that and retreats from it a few times and then finally gives us our thing. Like, there’s space for that. But Auvry’s dying and there’s no work after that unless maybe ghosts like, actually do something meaningful other than, like, creepy kiss girls.

Bree: Well, that’s the Gorynel Desse does at this point.

Ali: And obviously, there’s more to come, apparently.

Bree: Gorynel Desse jumps, the ghost of Gorynel Desse somehow intervenes here, trying to protect them from Glenin’s magic, and maybe blunting the lethal force of it somewhat. Because Glenin’s just over this, she’s backing towards the Ladder. She’s like, Fuck all y’all, you know.

Ali: I would be too!

Bree: Because her dad has betrayed her, you know, she says: “Your precious daughter the Captal will mother no Mageborns! Tell Sarra that my son and I will be waiting for hers!” Because she’s pretty confident she’s broken Cailet, that Cailet’s not going to be seeking relationships and love and children, that she is just sort of like broken inside. And basically she sends one last murder magic out. The dad jumps in between, and so does Gorynel Desse, kind of? And Cailet only gets a little tiny bit of it, though that little tiny bit is enough to burn off half of her boob, of her breast. Just bad, bad magic.

Aradia: Yikes.

Ali: Ow.

Bree: So if the ghost and the dad hadn’t gotten in there, that would have been the end of Cailet. And then her dad is dying, crawls over, you know, said he lied to Glenin. If he had known – and she was like, she says, Would you have made me the Malerrisi? And he says, No, I would have stayed.

Aradia: Fuck you.

Ali: Fuck you.

Bree: Man, that wouldn’t have taken much, huh?

Ali: That’s easy to say when you’re dying.

Aradia: Fuck the entire way off, sir.

Ali: Then you should have stayed for Glenin!

Aradia: I would have stayed if there had been more money, more – what? Urgh.

Ali: Or even better, even better. You should have just fucked off entirely and left the children with their family that left them. Because I actually, I have this feeling about Parent Trap, where I actually think the parents were completely selfish when they split up those two girls. And were like, let’s raise them individu – like, that is a fucked up, horrible thing to do to your children. And like, the fact that the kids had to find out at summer camp, I mean, all of it is just, actually, if you think about it, horribly traumatic. But yeah, you shouldn’t parent trap your children. I don’t know how else to say that. Figure out how to co-parent or fuck off. Yeah. I just yeah, that made me mad.

Bree: I guess they kind of did parent trap them a little bit here. Glenin feels like she got parent trapped.

Aradia: Yeah, basically.

Ali: Yes. They got parent trapped. And then also on top of that he has the nerve to be like, If I knew both of my daughters were powerful, I would have stayed and massacred an entire city of people.

Aradia: Like what fragile ego. That’s nonsense.

Ali: That should not be all it takes. And also, you already had a powerful child, so clearly that wasn’t going to be enough. You would have just taken her too. Yeah, as much as you could. Yeah.

Aradia: I don’t believe a word coming out of his mouth.

Ali: No!

Bree: Not really sure what he’s doing here. Unless he is just regretting all of his life choices lately, because I do think he’s gotten shaken up, because Glenin made it clear to him that Anniyas wasn’t going to honor any of their deals that they made. I think that he was naive and he is the literal leopard voting for the Leopards Eating Auvry Feiran’s Face Party.

Ali: But see, here’s the thing. Now he’s doing a big bout of revisionist history. And this I hate the most.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Is when people, when you go like, You screwed me over in this way, or you did this thing that really hurt me, and they go like, Oh no, I didn’t, essentially. Or, Oh, well – it’s not so much like, if there’s an explanation, that’s one thing. But if there’s an excuse, or it’s where they’re like, Oh, well I’m absolved of that guilt or that hurt for you, because I had it really hard growing up. And it’s like, No, no, you still did that thing. And to me, what’s also crazy is that, I think Glenin’s assessment that he turned because he saw how powerful his other two daughters are, is correct.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Yeah. Unfortunately.

Bree: I do think that he was wavering because of the Anniyas betrayal thing. I think he’s just sort of like, Wow, none of this went the way I wanted it to go. None of this is working. Fuck it all. But yeah, bro, you already broke that girl for this deal. You know, you can’t take it back.

Ali: You’re the reason everything’s broken. And now you just want to be like, Oh, but not me, though? I was wavering. I didn’t like how it turned out. You got to own how it turned out! You got to own that you screwed up. You can’t then go back and go, Oh, well, you know, if things had been different, though, I would have made a different decision. Well, you didn’t. And also, it’s screwed up that the reason you wouldn’t have sacrificed an entire city was you having two powerful daughters. Screw you.

Aradia: Intent over impact. Heard of it?

Ali: Exactly.

Bree: Oh, the impact of this man’s life. Oh, y’all. Oof.

Ali: And not only that, he was wavering, but did nothing to try and dissuade Glenin after that,. He did nothing to discourage her from the path that she was taking. He didn’t go like, You know, I’m kind of having second thoughts about this. He did nothing.

Bree: No, remember that scene? It was creepy. That was the creepy scene where he sort of slumped and looked old, and she stood on the steps above him. And it was sort of like, yes, I am in control now. And he just bends his head and is like, I will do whatever you tell me to do.

Ali: Exactly!

Bree: Which is an abdication of responsibility!

Aradia: Mh-hm.

Bree: In a situation he put her in.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Exactly. He raised her to be this way. And then the minute that she starts being the way that he raised her to be, right, the only person who she has ever thought loved her, who I don’t think actually genuinely loved her. I think that he is a fucking asshole and a creepingly bad parent. I think he saw her as a potential for him to seize power. But like she generally thought that she was fulfilling what her father wanted her to be. Right? The only person that she thought still existed that loved her. And then in that last minute, when he realizes that thing, that he has completely fucked everything up, he decides that he’s just going to shunt all of the responsibility on Glenin. A child that had no choice in anything that she did.

Aradia: She should have resisted his programing better if she wanted to have any of his actual love, apparently.

Bree: Ouch.

Ali: That’s it. That’s the thing. That’s it. Aradia, you just hit it fucking on the head. And that just breaks my heart for Glenin, it breaks my heart for Sarra and Cailet. And it definitely does not endear Auvry to me at fricking all, that he shunted everything on Glenin. Like if he had any kind of self-reflection of like, I was wrong to raise you this way, I genuinely, you know, fucked up here. But the fact that he was like, Oh, Sarra, if you had been powerful too, if I had known you were powerful, too, that would have been enough. It would never have been enough. That’s a lie. And that’s a lie that he’s telling her to justify his actions, to absolve himself, to make it seem like he would have been a good guy if circumstance were different – And also, in some ways to shunt responsibility off to her for not showcasing her power earlier.

Bree: Well, he says that to Cailet. So to be fair, Cailet could not have showcased her power earlier because she was in the womb, and he didn’t know about her.

Aradia: That’s fair.

Ali: Okay, that’s fair, but so!

Bree: So that’s the one he’s saying it to, if he had known about Cailet, then he would have stayed.

Aradia: And I was like, Well, how are you going to know about Cailet if you murder everyone, make her mom run away and die of the sads?

Ali: But it’s your fault Cailet, for not being born earlier. Maybe you would have saved your mom and my marriage. Absolutely not you would have saved your mom and my marriage.

Bree: Yeah. When has a Save the marriage baby ever actually, like saved –

Ali: It’s never worked. It never works. Ever.

Aradia: Oh, my God, It’s not a thing.

Ali: Take it from me!

Bree: Woah. Okay, Cailet sends the ghost to go get Sarra and Collan. And Auvry takes her hand and basically uses the rest of his magic and life force to try to heal her as much as he can. And then he just sort of dies.

Aradia: He heals her. That’s good.

Bree: He heals her, which is nice. But this is the thing. This girl – whose only idea of parents is a mother looking away from her and not wanting to look at her when she was born – now has Daddy telling her that he would have stayed for her, and then giving his life for her and his last bit of magic to heal her.

Ali: Exactly.

Bree: This is going to be a mind fuck.

Ali: Of course it is.

Bree: So she feels loved by one parent, and it’s her dad.

Ali: Not the right one. Not the right one. And this is my thing too. He doesn’t have the decency to die without giving his daughters more complexes.

Aradia: Even more issues. I mean, ultimate daddy issues at this point.

Bree: Yeah, well, she thinks her daddy loved her. And who knows, maybe in some weird way, he did for 5 minutes. I don’t know. I can’t.

Ali: He’s the absentee parent. Sorry. This is my last thought. I promise. But he’s like the absentee parent, right, where the mother does everything, right. And so of course the kid lashes out at the mother because that’s the only person there. And then the dad shows up on their 16th birthday and buys them a Corvette. That doesn’t make them a good dad.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s the energy.

Ali: They just do the things in public to look like the good guy and the good parent, but they don’t do any of the work to actually make that a thing. They do the big grand gesture so that, you know, they get all the joy and love.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s a very grand gesture. Dying.

Bree: His last words are, You must see the shadow, Cailet. She is your shadow. The only dark that can touch you. And Cailet thinks: “And I am the only light that can touch her. As if she had spoken aloud, he nodded. And died.” So he kind of gave his daughter some, unfuck my mistakes, homework.

Aradia: Basically.

Bree: I love you! Safe your big sister, that I groomed from the age of five to be a fascist. Bye-bye!

Ali: Yeah. And I’m going to say that she’s the darkness.

Aradia: Uh-huh.

Ali: Yeah, I’m going to say she’s the problem.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: That you have to fix. She’s not the – first of all, I made her the problem so clearly there’s no shadow touching me. Oh, I’m absolved of the shadow, because I did one good thing, I bought you a Corvette when you were 16. And then the other thing. I’m not going to do any of the work to fix my mistakes. I’m going to shunt it all on my youngest child. Fuck you, Auvry. Fuck you so much. I hope you’re in hell. I hope you’re in hell.

Bree: Oh Auvry Feiran. Not a big fan here on the podcast. Okay, we’ll come back to that, that man.

Ali: I think we were pretty – I think his reception was pretty mild.

Bree: We’ll circle back. It’s going to get wild again.

1:04:24 Music break. Rising, chapter 38: Swinging from that chandelier

Bree: We are in Collan’s point of view, and he wants to keep sleeping because there is a warm woman cuddling with him and there’s a voice in his head telling him to get up, and it’s Falundir again. He’s talking in his head, which we have never gotten an explanation for this, other than, obviously, Falundir is magical. Somehow. They wake, he wakes them both up. They figure out what Cailet did and Sarra’s like, Fuck, fuckety. Fuckety fuckety, fuck. And they’re off trying to find Cailet. And they do. And she’s pretty chill for someone who just suffered a excision of half of one of her breasts, terrible mind raping, and then the death of her father. Lot’s going on. She’s pretty calm.

Ali: I don’t trust that chillness.

Aradia: Yeah, seems to be a bit of an ask.

Ali: Yeah, that’s that calmy feel after you experience a trauma, where people don’t believe that you actually experienced a trauma because you’re so calm. In some people, there’s that eerie calm that comes over you, where you’re like in crisis mode.

Bree: The disassociation calm.

Ali: Yeah, I feel I think a lot of neurodivergent people have this, where like, when an actual crisis is happening –

Bree: Oh, I flip them off like a switch. Yeah, I flip emotions off like a switch.

Ali: Yeah. In a crisis I am so calm that to a certain extent I feel like I’m actually a little creepy, and then I feel like I have to display emotion during my calm, so that people know that I’m not an uncaring, unfeeling person. And then I feel like a sociopath because of course, I’m aware that the appropriate social thing to do in a crisis is to portray some level of panic. But I don’t feel panic during a crisis. I feel super calm.

Bree: Isn’t it amazing when we feel panic about the tiniest fucking irrelevant things, and we’ll stay up all night about like whether we said the wrong word to someone on the internet, and then something legitimately terrible happens and it’s just like, I’m fucking MacGyver. Move aside.

Aradia: Yeah, yup.

Ali: You know, I mean, that’s me. I am panicking 24 hours a day until there’s actually something to panic about. Until there is a huge problem. And then all of a sudden – Gus talks about this all the time, he says, And then you become like, the toughest person in the room. You’re just like, okay, I got this. We’re going to do this, this, this, this, and this. But then, once the crisis is over and everyone has forgotten about the crisis and been like, the crisis is over, we’re all fine. That’s when I have this, like, steep decline mentally. Because, like, everything is fine. And so in my calm moments, that’s when I have to process and deal with trauma. So, like, it’s so funny because like, I experienced a trauma when I was 16 and I was just in like control mode until I turned 20. And because I was like, I need to survive, right? I was in survival mode until I was 20. And then all of a sudden my mental health went like, whew, into the floor. Because I had to process it at some point. So it’s like, it’s borrowed time until you’re past it, and then all of a sudden – So this is why I don’t trust the calm. You don’t – contrary to popular belief, you do not shake off losing a whole breast and also being mind raped by your sister. You will not shake that off. You are just borrowing against time. Eventually that trauma is going to decide to be processed one way or another.

Aradia: And also she’s not sharing the burden of it with anyone. She’s using magic to hide the fact that she’s had half a mastectomy. Like, she’s not talking about the fact that her dad died with her other sister. Like, there’s just all this like you’re supposed to, like, experience and process things with other people. We are social animals. We are meant to like, work through things collectively. And she is just like, Not only am I denying this happened, I’m absolutely never going to talk – she clearly will never talk about it with anyone, like forever and ever. And it’s like, that is not going to work.

Ali: You know, the key to mental health, this is what I’ve learned, is to stuff it down and never discuss and never, ever let yourself feel it. That works for your whole life. That works. Yeah. There’s never a point where it just comes pouring out of your body at a uncontrolled, horrible time. And it definitely doesn’t make you take it out on your loved ones and friends, definitely doesn’t make you do that.

Bree: Lalalalalalala.

Ali: And then you have no explanation for why you’re being a huge asshole. Certainly not going to happen.

Bree: They don’t call it chandeliering. When I first read the term chandeliering, I was like, Oh my God.

Aradia: I’ve never heard this term.

Ali: Wait, what is chandeliering?

Bree: It was a term I read in a book about holding, you know, how you hold stress. They describe it as when you have had so many things happen that you have not processed. And then one insignificant thing happens and you basically just blow up so high, you smash the chandelier, just like absolute explosion. And I do this a lot. This is my main way of having feelings, not have them until I have to have them all at once.

Ali: Yeah, I’m not having a feeling until I stub my toe and then all of a sudden it’s about how, you know – I’m not going actually state my real issues on this podcast – But like, you know, it’s about how Daddy didn’t love me or whatever it is. Yeah. And that’s the thing. It’s like, and then unfortunately, your friends and family become victims of your volatility. If you’re not dealing with your – if you are not externally processing your trauma, it’s coming out, but it’s like you’re taking it out on the people closest to you, who do something small that triggers you and you chandelier. And then people are like, Oh my God, I just didn’t get you a bagel.

Bree: Yeah. And then you have to apologize, because you know.

Ali: Well, if you do, because I think there are a lot of people walking around with trauma where they explode and they never explain and they never apologize. Because you have to be aware that that’s what you’re doing.

Bree: Well, that’s called Twitter.

Ali: 100%, a hundred percent. There are just traumatized people not dealing with their trauma, walking around on Twitter, taking out their stress on strangers. And it just becomes this funny feedback loop, and I do think that the reason why they’re trolling on Twitter is because they’re so unhappy and so they’re looking for someone to make unhappy.

Bree: Yeah, fights.

Ali: So Cailet’s about to become a Twitter troll, is what I’m saying.

Bree: Yeah yeah. Hardcore.

Ali: She’s one stubbed toe away from trolling on Twitter.

Bree: She tells them to go to right to the double staircase, the double spiral, because the Mages are going to be arriving from Ryka Court. Which, this is something I didn’t mention, but Auvry basically points out, the Rising happened. And we didn’t discuss this and we need to discuss this, because what happened was Glenin’s birthday party – where she made everybody and their friends show up to the party with all the fabulous glasses and silverware – that got all the people in the government who they wanted to overthrow into one room. And so the three secret agent members on the Council, that we didn’t know about, locked the doors, replaced all the guards with their own, locked the doors and were like, Woohoo, it’s a fucking revolution! And my favorite thing is that the doddering old grandmother was one of the secret spies.

Aradia: Love that, loved that.

Bree: So yeah, the old lady –

Ali: I love old lady spy.

Aradia: Never believe the doddering old lady in the corner. Never believe what she wants you to believe.

Bree: Who slept during the council meetings? Yeah, she was one of the members of the Rising. So basically she was the leader of the Rising at Ryka. And so, yes. And so Auvry’s like, Come on, we got to run because they’re going to let all the Mages out of the jail and they’re all going to come here to get you. You specifically, also me. But, you know. So that was what they’re – Cailet’s like, Please go deal with the incoming revolution. I’ve got shit to do; and won’t take no for an answer. So Cailet runs off, Sarra accidentally drops to Collan that that’s her sister. A big revelation for Collan. Doesn’t say how, or what their last name is, just that they’re sisters. So Collan still doesn’t know. But he, you know, agrees to keep the secret, and Falundir just laughs about all of this as they go to meet the incoming revolution. And Cailet decides what to do with the body. And we have one last chat with Gorynel Desse because even after murdering him, we cannot escape him.

Aradia: This man.

Bree: My friend, my baby, my Gorsha, my childhood problematic fave. He shows up to her as a ghost, but a young ghost. Because, I mean, can you blame him.

Ali: Because he wants an excuse to make out with her again.

Bree: I would show up as a young ghost, too, maybe. No, I’m lying. I would show up as a bitter swamp hag because I just want to be a bitter swamp hag.

Ali: I would definitely try to show up as my hottest self. That’s true.

Bree: Yeah. I can’t entirely blame him for that.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s fine.

Bree: Cailet yells at him for letting her father die, so she’s not in a great space already. The daddy trauma is already coming out.

Ali: Because the stubbed toe is turning her into a Twitter troll. What am I saying? I said it from the beginning. This is not the end of this trauma. So yeah, I feel like it’s no great loss to her, actually, that Daddy is dead. But she’s not in the space to process that yet..

Bree: No. Yeah.

Ali: That actually she saw him at his best.

Bree: We get this line from Gorynel Desse: “And he wanted to die, Cailet. Glenin saw his defense of you as betrayal of the Malerrisi, and most especially of her. I say it was a return to the man he once was. But… others will decide.” And that’s why I put a pin in that.

Ali: Others being me and Aradia, and we think that he’s always sucked.

Aradia: Yep. Yep.

Bree: Some others will decide.

Aradia: We have.

Bree: She knew, she knew about this podcast. Gorynel Desse knows about us.

Aradia: Yeah. The Roasting of Gorynel Desse T-shirt has hit his desk.

Ali: Gorynel Desse is like, I mean, he used to be a really cool guy, you know, he let me screw around in his head sometimes and, like, take his memories away. And then, you know, then he suddenly became a bad guy. And I’m like, No, he sucked for a long time, all he wanted was power. He only turned because his daughters were powerful and because they were his daughters, which to me is not an excuse. And Gorynel Desse, you’re wrong. You’re giving, the leopard never ate my face, so.

Bree: So I don’t know. I feel like he definitely thinks the leopard ate his face.

Aradia: Well, now that he’s a ghost.

Bree: I do think one less has internalized a lot of responsibility for being the one who was like, No, no, definitely. You know, I saved this weird, wild magic kid out of a boat and told everybody that we should train him. And, you know, it’s the Obi Wan guilt, only, you know.

Ali: I mean, he does bear some responsibility for that.

Bree: He does have a responsibility. I’m glad he knows he does, because I think he does have some culpability here in how everything went down.

Ali: Yeah. I think when you raise a child, you have some culpability for how – you obviously have some culpability for how they turn out. And sometimes it also is the luck of the draw. But I think it’s kind of a combination of both.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: But if all of your kids suck, if you have multiple kids who suck, then I think probably it’s you.

Bree: Gorsha says that there’s – he’d never, he thought that the Bequest would be enough to protect Cailet, because he never imagined that Glenin would, like, do such things to her own Blood. Cailet’s like, Yeah, well, neither did my dad, and I’m the one that paid for it. So she’s got that trauma forever. And we basically get told in this scene, you know, he says that the other people whose memory she has, they took their wraiths with them when they died. But he didn’t, this is our explanation now. He has actually been kind of talking in her head this whole time, but he won’t be anymore.

Ali: I don’t believe that.

Aradia: Yeah, right. Like, yeah. No.

Bree: Yeah, he gives her a kiss on the head. Says, Remember how much I love you, fades away. And then we get the most heartbreaking paragraph, which is where she thinks about how her father is the one who had stopped Glenin’s attack. He protected her. He died for her. Basically, he’s the parental figure she feels loved and protected by. And this is going to not be great.

Aradia: No, because it was a whole 30 seconds worth of relationship before it went from nonexistent to trauma source. Like, oh my God, this kid.

Bree: Yeah well, he defended her for the entirety of their relationship, which is, you can’t deny that. Unfortunately, that was the only relationship they had.

Aradia: Sure.

Bree: But that’s what her experience of it is. And so she wraps him up in invisibility Wards, so that the people can’t find him and like, you know, whatever, and takes his body away.

1:19:05 So endeth the Rising: A dollar full of trauma.

Bree: So that is where we ended the Rising section. Two of our three protagonists are gone. Glenin has fled to parts unknown. Cailet seems confident she won’t be returning until she’s got her son.

Ali: So they’re going to make the babies fight.

Aradia: Baby fight, baby fight!

Ali: Let’s keep this generational trauma going. Yeah, We’re just going to keep it. We’re just going to roll it forward.

Aradia: Got a lot of momentum. Why would you want to lose that?

Ali: You know, when they’re like, I have a dollar for you. Are you going to keep it or double it and give it to the next person? Glenin really said, Double it, and give it to the next person.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: A dollar full of, uh, trauma.

Ali: That’s how generational trauma works. They’re saying, I’m not going to deal with it. I’m going to double it and give it to the next person, actually. Yeah.

Aradia: But so endeth the Rising. The Rising has come and gone and we are bloodied. We’ve lost a bunch of people. Ambrai is still a blood splattered ruin. We have not yet unruined Ambrai. Like, I don’t know, that was a wild ride. Like it was very violent. We lost so many people.

Bree: We’re still at only 90% of the book. I will say that she’s going to let us breathe a little, as we settle into what this revolution means. We’re going to get a little more of, you know, what is the aftermath of it. But how do you feel about the main revolution happening off page at Garon’s birthday party?

Aradia: I mean, that’s kind of funny.

Ali: It’s funny. I do wish we had seen a little of it, just because we’ve been leading up to it. But I feel like there’s probably a reason we didn’t see it. Yeah.

Aradia: It’s almost like it was too obvious how it would go, right? So it’s like you don’t need to see it and it’s almost funnier to just be like, Yeah, yeah, the revolution, you know, it happened.

Bree: If they did a movie, I’d want to see the little old lady, like, taking down the entire government because you love a little old lady. But, you know.

Ali: Yeah, that’s why I wanted to see it, is that I’m like, Oh shoot, we missed Grandma Spy. And that is something I am here for.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: But, I mean, we’ve got other stuff going on. We can’t always be there when. Things start. I get that, too.

Aradia: We needed the power of sisterly love not saving the day to take up the pages instead. We couldn’t have your standard run of the mill revolution.

Ali: (through her teeth) We had to have Auvry redemption arc, instead of of old lady spy?

Aradia: Seriously, that’s the true crime here. We could have had old lady spy.

Ali: And we got Auvry.

Aradia: But instead we got Auvry. Oh, yeah, yeah.

Ali: I have no lips right now. I’m just, hm. You know, here’s the thing. I’m liking this book, I like Melanie Rawn. I’m just like, I will reserve judgment on this particular plot point until such time as we address it. And I’m also going to keep in mind that this is meant to be a trilogy.

Bree: Yes. Though I will say, I truly believe this first book stands pretty well on its own. The second book, like, jumps ahead a lot of years and sort of starts its own story and then ends on a cliffhanger. So, you know, if – and I said this like multiple times, but, you know – if you have not read these books before, do not read book two, unless you want to torture yourself, because this one ties up all the loose ends and you can walk away going, Good job, you guys. You’re doing your best for Lenfell. The next one opens a book that will never be finished. Most likely. I don’t know. I mean, there’s always a possibility, but I do not think – if I were her, I don’t think I could write the book at this point. I mean, I think it’s associated with like a rough time in her life. And I also think – I mean, I know that fans maybe have given her a bad association with it at this point, because she definitely had some people who were pretty harassy every time she tried to write something else. You know, don’t- it is not as inspiring as you might think to go on to your favorite author’s Facebook or something and just yell the title of the book you want, anytime they try to do any sort of update. It backfires, people, don’t do it.

Ali: What? That doesn’t make people want to write faster? Telling them to write faster doesn’t work?

Aradia: Shocking.

Ali: Being mean to favorite artists does not breed creativity? I just don’t believe that.

Aradia: But I am excited that we get to see after the revolution in this narrative. I’m excited that this book includes a, And after the victorious old lady spy topples the government, what happens? Like I am glad that there’s a whole section called Dreams to, like, follow that climax. That’s, you know, if we’re going to have the revolution off screen. Can we at least get After the revolution on screen.

Ali: In my dreams, Auvry is in hell. Or has come back as a cockroach.

Bree: I mean, it is – I was paging through it quick, to see. It actually covers quite a bit of time. They do some skipping to really show us like what this face of this new place is going to look like. And also to be real about how revolutions don’t always immediately fix things. This is, as you can tell, I think, from the Glenin turn, not an overly idealistic book, but it still is a hopeful book. And I think I like that because I do like the reality that you don’t just get to fight one fascist and then everything’s fine again. It is fascism. And any sort of oppression and oppression are things you fight every day. And the second you stop fighting them, they come back. And we have to like – I think sometimes these neat, tidy endings give us a complacency about, Oh, well, I just have to vote for this one person, this one election, and then I can stop paying attention again. And you know, the fact that our midterm and the yearly like, you know, off season elections have turnout that is like 20% or something, I think that’s – It seems funny to blame, you know, fantasy novels and our general action, like in pop culture in general. But I do think sometimes it gives us neat and tidy endings. Where you just got to beat that one bad guy and then everything’s fine. And no, you guys, you cannot turn your eyes away, if anything convinces you of that, let the fall of Roe versus Wade convince you of that. Everybody was so fucking complacent that we couldn’t lose that progress. And now, I live in Alabama and I don’t have access to abortion. So yeah, I do appreciate a little bit of a nuanced ending to this.

Ali: Yeah, I think that’s my issue with like parent apology stuff, or like, die and all is forgiven stuff. It is so neat and tidy and I just go, Life isn’t that way. And I do think that there are people who think that just because they’re sorry for something means that all is well and they don’t have to do any work on that.

Aradia: And relatedly, it’s not a 1994 fact, but I was reminded by something on Facebook today that apparently on this day in 1993, Deep Space Nine premiered, which is a really interesting Star Trek storyline, in that it is about after the occupation. Most Star Trek is Monster of the Week style. But DS9 actually is about staying in one place and dealing with massive systemic, intergenerational trauma and systems of oppression that need to be dismantled. And it ends up in some very morally gray and dark spaces that a lot of other Star Trek doesn’t. And like, that feels very related to this whole concept of, do you just get to make one rousing speech and then fly off into the sunset? Or do you have to sit there and keep talking across the table with the person that ordered your family into prison camps? Like, it’s a different space.

Ali: I find that stuff fascinating.

Bree: I was really mad when I started DS9 that nobody had sold it to me like that. You know, who actually finally made me watch Deep Space Nine? It’s actually funny. It’s author Mike Chen who actually writes for both Star Wars and Star Trek now. He’s done some great writing and he has a Deep Space Nine comic book, where the Ferengi gets a space corgi, which is pretty hilarious. But Mike Chen was finally the one who told me – I don’t remember exactly what he told me, but it was something along those lines, and I was like, Wait, so this is like post-apocalyptic Star Trek, and like a shopping mall space station? Sign me up. And I started watching and I was like, Wow, okay, this is very much more my speed because I do like my my sci fi a little darker. Though I do like Strange New Worlds, I was all in when Discovery got all dark. I was like, Yeah, sign me up, because I’m a little bit of a darkety dark. I want hope, but I also want hope in desperate places. Because I want to constantly be reminded that it does not matter how broken everything is, hoping is still worth doing and can help. So that’s, that’s the sort of media space I like to live in.

Ali: Valid.

Bree: Break everything and then tell me that it’s possible to fix it.

1:29:30 Wrap-up. Next reading: Dreams 1-9. Next book: Song of the Lioness

Bree: Okay, so next week we’re doing Dreams, parts one through nine for next week.

Ali: One through nine.

Bree: 1-9. So we’re going to split Dreams, split what’s left into two parts. So we’ve got two episodes left, guys. We are almost done.

Aradia: Only two more episodes?

Bree: Yeah. So we will have done 24 episodes about this book though, I believe is the count. I think this is the 22nd? So yeah, 24 episodes about that. I have had so much fun having doing this with you guys.

Ali: It’s been really fun.

Bree: So I hope other people have had fun following along, and I cannot wait to start our next book. I think we have said, I don’t know if we’ve said in the podcast, have we said what our next adventure is?

Aradia: Oh, I don’t know. I know it started in the discord a million times.

Bree: Just in case we haven’t. If you’ve listened this far. What we are going to do next, with Aradia leading us instead of me, is we are going to be reading Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet, which are much shorter books. I think all four of them are the same length as this.

Aradia: Yeah, I think we’re doing 18 episodes, the way I’ve mapped it out currently.

Bree: Yeah, they are having their 40th anniversary this year, so they are actually eighties fantasy, and I am super excited about it. I love these books, but I have not reread them in about 20 years, which means I remember all the characters and almost none of the plot. So I am really excited. I have forbidden myself from looking at them until we do the podcast, so it’s going to be super fun. If you would like to come along with us. I believe that they’ve been rereleasing the books, and I don’t think they come out in Europe until February? But hopefully with the way this is all going to be turning out, you will not be too far behind if you have to wait to get them until then. So yay, please go check those out if you’d like to do this next part with us. And then I guess, Ali, you want to take us out?

Ali: Ab-sus-lutely. (rapid fire) Thank you so much for listening. If you want to keep gabbing with us, our social media contact details are in the episode description. Until next time, have a very nuanced day.