Ghost Court: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 22 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for the power of art in the Ruins of Ambrai.

We have some BIG feelings in this episode, from Val’s child being forcibly adopted away from his mom, to hating Auvery for everything he’s done, to the dynamism of sibling relationships. This is our penultimate episode for this book!

Pre-order Queen of Dreams by Kit Rocha

Wheel Takes live-reaction to Percy Jackson and the Olympians

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

Check out other FARM podcasts
Wheel of Time Spoilers:
That B*tch Is Always Late:
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Wheel Takes:

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

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The Ruins of Ambrai, Dreams parts 1-9: Ghost Court

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

Ali: Welcome to the Hot Nuance Book Club, a podcast in which a novelist, a screenwriter and a podcaster walk into a book, diving into its craft and impact in their mission to bring nuance back. I’m Ali, and I’m a screenwriter, most recently for the show Rugrats on Paramount Plus. And I’m also the co-host of the podcast – podcast? Wheel Takes, which is a first time reader podcast that is currently going through the Wheel of Time and also The Hunger Games. And also we do some live reactions to TV shows on YouTube, on our YouTube channel. And the Grinwell Cup is coming up! I should probably plug that. That is the March Madness –

Aradia: (gasps)

Ali: I know! Hotness bracket that happens every day during the month of March. And then we have some live break down coverage of the results on our YouTube.

Aradia: Very hot.

Bree: Always a very good time.

Aradia: Very nuanced discussions happen in the thing.

Ali: Mostly just me screaming: Goth girls!, every time someone dares to suggest Moghedien isn’t hot. You know.

Aradia: And screaming: No actors!

Ali: Oh, yeah, No actors, because we just – you know, I trust a lot of people to keep it cool about the actors and not be weird about them. But not everyone. And I think that we have to play to the people we don’t trust sometimes. Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: Unfortunately, as people on the Internet, yeah.

Bree: You got to put guardrails in place so we all have fun.

Ali: Yeah, it’s like it’s what they teach you about classroom management when you’re a teacher. It’s like, when the kids misbehave and you haven’t set up the parameters of those expectations, it is your fault at that point. So same thing here. We have to set up the guardrails before people fall off the cliff, not after.

Aradia: I am Aradia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcasts, currently reading Knife of Dreams, as well as a podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media.

Bree: And I am Bree, also known as one half of the bestselling sci fi fantasy romance author Kit Rocha and I am currently writing a book, I guess. So I am back in my writing era, which means I’m pretty chill because I’m not in deadline mode yet. We will see what happens as that continues on.

Ali: How many brooms will be used to chase you off of the Internet, Bree?

Bree: Infinity. Infinity Brooms.

Ali: Honestly, as someone who has used the broom method that you use with our discord? It’s helpful.

Bree: It is, right?

Ali: Yeah. Having people chase you is helpful.

Bree: For those who are not on the Wheel Takes discord. At one point I told them that if they saw me, they had to chase me away with brooms because I needed to be writing, which meant any time I would sneak on there and try to enter a conversation, they’d all just start putting broom reactions on all of my comments and broom gifs. And I’d be like, Oh no. Oh, okay, yeah, I gotta go write!

Ali: It’s so helpful.

Bree: It is because it’s like, you know, you get that little ADHD chaos and you kind of alt tab over to discord out of habit and they’re like, no, brooms.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, it was. It’s satisfying to wield the brooms at the artists and shoo them back to their caves.

Ali: My house is never cleaner than when I have a deadline. There was that month where I had all this fellowship applications due, and so I was trying – because of a series of events, I was not particularly ready for fellowship season to happen, largely because I think all of us assumed they weren’t happening due to the strikes. And then the strikes were over and all the fellowships went, Actually, they’re due in a month! And none of us were ready. And so I was like, I have to turn around two pilots and a spec script in a month. Okay, let’s do this. And everybody was so helpful during that month because it was honestly one of the most stressful months of my life.

Currently, we are nuancing our way through the Ruins of Ambrai. So if you haven’t read that yet, go do that and come back when you have. For the rest of you, let’s break it down now.

Bree: Before we jump into the time machine, this week, we have some patrons to thank!

Aradia: Woohoo!

Bree: All of our episodes, of course, remain free. But if you’d like access to an ad free version of this podcast, you can support the patreon at And the link, as always, will be in our episode notes.

Ali: It also makes us so happy.

Aradia: It really does, as you’re about to hear. There are also more levels where you can get such fun rewards as secret discord channels, which aren’t secret since we announce them – stickers, an invite to the end of book live via zoom Book Club with us, which is coming up very soon. We’re going to be talking scheduling for that asap.

Ali: Oh, my God.

Aradia: I know. And of course, what you’ve all been waiting for, Patreon shout outs.

Ali: First off, thank you to our new Hot and Hotter Nuance Patrons, Lee-Sien, and Bob and Kristen Kuo.

Bree: Lee-Sien is actually from the romance community and she is my new spreadsheet goddess. We’re getting ready to do another of our every two year fundraisers where we raise just like hundreds of thousands of dollars for voting rights. And she last year sent us – or two years ago – sent us the most amazing email with basically like, Here’s how you could solve all your spreadsheet problems. And I’m like, Oh, girl, you’re going to regret this. I am co-opting you and I’m putting you in a headlock and I’m taking you with me everywhere I go from here on out. So thank you, Lee-Sien, you are one of my favorite people already, and now you’re a patron here. So we also have two Hottest Nuance Patrons to induct into our hall, the official titles for those who pledge at the Hottest Nuance level, we grant you an official Hot Nuance Book Club title that is theme based on whatever book we happened to be reading at the time. Right now, thanks to Melanie Rawn, anyone who pledges gets their own official Patron Saint title, so you’ll be the Saint of something in the Hot Nuance calendar of Saints. So we have two people to give Saints titles to this week. LongStrider, who will be the Patron Saint of –

Ali: Distance running.

Aradia: I mean, how can you really? Yeah.

Ali: I mean, Long Strider, please.

Aradia: Either that or the Patron Saint of being Aragorn.

Ali: Just being Aragorn, but the specific moment where he opens that door. Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: (explosive laughter)

Bree: Yeah. The Patron of –

Ali: That specific moment when Aragorn opens that door.

Bree: Got it. The Patron Saint of Melodramatically Entering Rooms or Taverns.

Ali: Perfect. Bonus points if you ran a long way to get there.

Aradia: Welcome to the Hall of Saints, LongStrider, Patron Saint of Melodramatically Opening Doors.

Bree: We also have Symon – and I believe the rest of this name is definitely a legacy of the Wheel Takes discord – “sometimes surprisingly snarky”, where everybody gets their alliterative nicknames on that discord. So. Symon, sometimes surprisingly snarky, should be the Patron Saint of –

Ali: Wicked burns.

Bree: There we go.

Aradia: Excellent. Because, sometimes surprisingly snarky. That’s a wicked burn.

Bree: And a wicked burn is always, like, surprising. So, you know.

Aradia: Always.

Ali: Here’s the thing. Don’t bully people. Don’t be mean to people. But if you’re going to be a little snarky, be accurate.

Aradia: You know, accuracy stings worse. You know, generalizations that are downright wrong are just lead balloons, you know.

Ali: But honestly, if it’s accurate, then it’s funny.

Aradia: Yeah, the more accurate the better.

Ali: We had someone say about our podcast one time that they didn’t like it because it sounded like Gus had learned to swear that day. And that was so accurate and so funny that I was like – to this day, every time I think about it, it makes me laugh. It’s so good.

Aradia: If you’re going to be snarky, be specific. And that is what makes a wicked burn.

Ali: Specific, accurate, and original. Like, I’ve never heard anyone say that about someone before. Was good.

Aradia: Yeah. So, yes. Welcome to Symon, the Sometimes Surprisingly Snarky Patron Saint of Sicked Burns.

Ali: A good, accurate, funny, wicked burn.

Aradia: Especially if you can use words that are needlessly complex and way too verby. You know?

Ali: Right.

Aradia: Like, excessive, circuitous elocution, you know, like really just the thicker you can lay that sort of nonsense on while being extremely accurate. Mmh.

Ali: Mmh. Mmmh.

0:09:15 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: It’s time to jump into the time machine! (swoosh sound) I’m really excited about this one this week. I have been going deep now because I’ve only got a few of these left, so I’m just out here, googling 1994 trivia. And this one, actually, I found some disagreement. First, I found the claim that the first thing that was ever sold on the Internet was pizza, and it was in 1994. And then I tracked down some – I was like, Is this true? So I started googling and I found out that it’s actually hotly contested, what the first thing sold on the Internet is, because it depends on your definition of sold. Did you have to transfer the money over the internet? If it’s just arranging a purchase, the argument is like, the first thing that happens is in the seventies, of course, somebody tried to arrange to sell some weed to somebody else, which, you know, makes sense.

Ali: Makes sense.

Aradia: I mean, I was going to guess sex, but, you know.

Ali: It was drugs or sex for sure.

Bree: Yeah. It’s going to be one of those.

Aradia: Pizzy makes sense, though.

Bree: But it is uncontested that in 1994, the Pizza Hut in Santa Cruz decided to put up a website called And on, you could fill out your order and somebody would call you to confirm it, and then they would bring you a pizza. And you can still visit – they have immortalized the OG 1994 site and we will have a link to it in the description and you can go visit it. And let me tell you, it is the 1994 Internet.

Aradia: Ohhh!

Bree: Did you click on it?

Aradia: I’m looking at it right now. Oh, my gosh. It’s so 1994.

Ali: Wait, I’m going to look at it too.

Bree: Yeah. You’ve just got to admire it in all of its glory, because it’s just so –

Ali: It says, site can’t be reached.

Aradia: Oh, it’s so cute. There’s just nothing there. It’s just, it’s just literally –

Ali: Mine says, site can’t be reached. What am I doing wrong?

Bree: How about, Oh, here, I’ll put a little screenshot of it.

Ali: Thank you.

Bree: In the notes just so you can see it.

Aradia: Also shout out to Santa Cruz for having such an innovative Pizza Hut.

Bree: Yeah, right?

Ali: Though, if you were going to tell me – if you were going to ask me to guess, if you told me: Hey, Ali, pizza was the first thing sold over the Internet. Guess which area did it? I would be like, Well, definitely either Santa Cruz or Berkeley.

Bree: Yeah, Yeah.

Ali: Just knowing those two locations, I would have been like, you know, just knowing what the world was back then, because there are obviously more candidates now. But I feel like, just in terms of vibes alone, I was like, It has got to be some surfer bro who thought, God, I just wish I could order a pizza over the internet.

Aradia: Yeah, and like the bay area being what it was for internet development, like.

Bree: Yeah, yeah.

Ali: Yeah, yeah. It was either a surfer bro or a college student. Oh, I see. Yeah. I typed in the wrong thing. Welcome to Pi- Oh. Oh, my God, It’s so cute.

Bree: It’s adorable.

Ali: Aww.

Aradia: Right? All grayscale. And, like, I just.

Ali: Someone set this up in 5 minutes. Actually, back then, this probably took a long time.

Aradia: Yeah, it should have been 5 minutes, and it wasn’t.

Bree: I was making HTML documents in like, you know, 96, 97, and yeah, yeah. I mean, the first time you managed to get something like, you know, the under construction gif on there, you were just like the proudest person that ever happened. Yeah, I remember my Geocities site.

Ali: 5 minutes in today’s minutes is how many minutes back then?

Aradia: Time does not flow the same now.

Bree: Somebody spent a good 2 hours making that form work. I’m guessing.

Ali: And, so much swearing, too, because there’s no square Squarespace. It was all code.

Aradia: Right. Yeah. And there was no Internet to just go look up like a good template or whatever.

Ali: This podcast is brought to you by Squarespace.

Aradia: No, it’s not.

Ali: No, it’s not. Yeah, Aradia has to be Gus.

Aradia: I was like, Wait, what does Gus say in this situation? No, it’s not.

Ali: No, it’s not.

Aradia: WWGS. What would Gus say.

Bree: So yes, we have this pizza thing. I love it. I love it.

Ali: Nice, adorable, great find.

Bree: Also in 1994, Melanie Rawn said, What if we introduced a ghost trial to debate the merits of mercy? So welcome to the Ruins of Ambrai, guys. We’re almost there.

Aradia: Woo! Penultimate episode!

Bree: And we got Ghost Court.

Aradia: Ghost Court!

Ali: Here’s the thing about Ghost Court. I kind of do feel like all justice should be meted out by ghosts. I do. I do.

Aradia: I did like the ghost getting to render judgment. Yeah.

Ali: Because who better?

0:14:22 Music break. Dreams, chapter 1: A bit of Rebellion FOMO

Bree: Let’s just start with, you know, part one, which is where they all show back up, and all of the Mages, everybody from the Octagon Court has arrived. The Rising. We get our Flera, our great great grandmother spy, who is just like, no longer pretending to be senile, but is just sharp as a whip and having the time of her life, because she just overthrew a government. So what do you guys think about all of this?

Aradia: I mean, old lady Grandma spy, we love her. We love her a lot. I love how Sarra wonders how she was ever able to hide her senility because she’s so sharp. It’s a delight. And the whole, We’re having a major party now, and Sarra’s like, a little bit pouty about it, and this old lady is just like, No, I’m throwing a party. It’s just great.

Ali: I kind of feel like the smartest people are the ones who can be disarmingly just kind of not ostentatious about their intelligence? Like if someone walks into a party and is like, Thou!, I would be like, you’re a dumb ass.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure.

Ali: Thus! Per my last email! Like, if somebody walked in who was acting that way, I’d be like, Hmm. You want to look smart, so you’re insecure about it. You know what I mean? It’s like, kind of like the men who are like, I’m so masculine! I go, Oh, honey, what are you insecure about?

Aradia: I’m so dangerous! It’s like, Are you?

Ali: Okay. Oh. Yeah, so I feel like, honestly, the smartest people are the ones where they’re kind of secret smart. So I feel like the smartest people are the ones who can kind of, like, be sneaky smart. Yeah, You know what I mean?

Bree: They have nothing to prove!

Aradia: It’s a little bit Dunning-Kruger.

Ali: It takes a smart person to be able to act less smart than they are.

Aradia: Right, right. Yeah.

Ali: Being a dumb character as an actor is actually really hard, because you don’t want to play stupid. Because that’s not an actionable thing, to be stupid. Because no one walks about in their life going, I’m going to be stupid. Just like playing a bad actor is a really hard thing to do because they think that they’re do acting well. So you have to – and being drunk is really hard, because no one sets out acting like they’re drunk, unless they’re like 12 and, you know, had one sip of something, and they want to see an impressive. Nobody else wants to look drunk. So you have to like, fake that you are playing to the height of sobriety, right? You have to pretend, like you have to be like, I am going to act sober. And that’s what makes you look drunker.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Because you’re trying to, like, speak articulately and move precisely, but no one looks like they’re trying to do either of those things. So the more you try to look sober, it’s the same thing. It’s like the more you try to look dumb, the smarter you look. So you have to figure out how to do that convincingly. I think it’s just a testament to how smart she is.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: For sure.

Bree: Oh, also, she asks where Sarra found Collan, and Sarra says, In a whorehouse. So, yeah. Excellent.

Aradia: (leery laugh) Which is not untrue.

Ali: It’s not untrue. I’m not sure if I were Collan, if I would appreciate my partner putting me on blast like that. It’s kind of one of those where you’re like, you couldn’t have come up with, like, make up a story.

Aradia: I don’t know. He doesn’t seem to mind.

Ali: True.

Aradia: The old lady approves, so.

Ali: And there you go. So then why does it matter? But I don’t know, if Gus were like, That’s how I met – I met my wife in these very you know, out of context, very scandalous way. I kind of be like, Just say eHarmony, just say Tinder.

Bree: What else? This chapter is mostly actually, this is a lot of Sarra sort of being a little put out that they kind of did a real revolution without her, like she wasn’t part of the actual overthrow of the government. She’s sort of like, well, I thought I was the queen of this revolution, which is sort of cute because, you know, she is just a little baby who learned about it at the beginning of this book.

Ali: Well, it feels realistic that, of course, she wouldn’t necessarily be involved. She’s, first of all, they didn’t know who she was. Right. She’s just some random cousin. And then also, she’s a baby.

Bree: Yeah, well, she’s just a random girl. Yeah.

Ali: Yeah, she’s a random girl. They have no idea.

Bree: So they all know that she’s, like, being groomed for, like, you know, a political future. But yeah, she was not at the heart of this big conspiracy, and nor did anybody tell her all of the people for very legitimate reasons. You know, you can’t – nobody can afford to know the whole structure.

Ali: Everything, right?

Bree: Except for Gorynel Desse.

Ali: She just got some rebellion FOMO and you know, everyone was posting them and their rebellion fatigues on Instagram and she felt a little left out. She had an outfit picked out that now she’s not going to wear. And that’s fine. It’s just, she wishes she had gotten a heads up.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. But it’s, you know, it’s fine because she’s also, you know, thinking that all revolutions are run like grand organized machines, kind of Malerrisi thinking and the reality is that shit’s a little bit more seat of your pants and taking things as they come and, like, just trying to survive. And it’s like, Girl, your way too idealistic about how this is all going to work, to be in charge. You are not seasoned enough with the messiness of life to actually be where you think you should be. And so you’re the main character of the book, you’re not the main character of the revolution. But I almost think like it was a little bit of a nod to the reader because like the whole section is called The Rising and then the actual action happens off screen. And as the reader, I almost felt slightly cheated of like, Hey, I thought we were building up to this big thing! And so I’m with Sarra in that moment, of it’s like, Well, this isn’t about the revolution, really. Sarra’s story, and the story that you, the reader, are meant to receive is actually on the periphery of the revolution. The revolution is just the larger context that the actual story is happening in.

Bree: And I think it’s also a nod to the fact that like, just murdering the head of this government does not immediately save the day. There’s a little bit of a – I think she’s poking a little bit of fun at the idea that the chosen one stabs the emperor and then this entire vast, you know, authoritarian thing just magically poofs away. Like, no, it does not. You know, there’s a lot of other things that have to go down and happen. And so I think that this is a little bit of an attempt to gently unpack, I think, the chosen one myth. Sarra is – Cailet really was sort of like the chosen one, right? She’s the one who faced down the two big bads. But that’s not what overthrows a government necessarily. So that all happens and she goes around at this party basically like, you know, Collan’s trying to dance with her. Like, Can we be romantic? And she’s like, No, no, I’m going to go get my FOMO. I’m going to go make everybody tell me exactly what went down. And so that’s what she does for most of this party.

Aradia: Drinking and getting revolution gossip.

Bree: Yes. Gets the revolution gossip.

Ali: It was a little shady when this guy goes, It’s a long story, and she goes, Make it short.

Bree: Yeah, he’s still hitting on her. He’s one of the ones that hit on her on her when she got her inheritance. He’s still hitting on her. And she’s like, No, no. But she does do one thing. She goes and she gets Val’s son because it turns out that our favorite old lady spy is like the matriarch of the family who Val had the kid with. The mother who doesn’t let Val see his son. And she basically has the son –

Ali: I had feelings about this moment.

Bree: Tell me about your feelings.

Ali: I mean, Aradia, I don’t know if you feel the same way. There was a lot of slut shaming of that one lady, which –

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: (grunts)

Ali: You know, I know that there are some 1 to 1s of, sort of like when there are men with children with a bunch of different women. At a certain point you go, Oh my God, stop having babies with a bunch of different women. It’s not responsible. I do know, I know and get that. And she does have three children, I think they say, or something like that, with all different fathers.

Bree: She has three I think, and she’s pregnant again.

Ali: Right. At the same time, does that necessarily mean that she, like, is not a good mother and doesn’t love her children? That was my – that was one question. I was like, there’s a lot of slut shaming of this lady, you know?

Bree: Yeah, she is – It’s definitely complicated. I don’t feel like we ever get a really good picture of Rina. Like she doesn’t let Val see the kid, which is unchill, kind of, I think. But maybe not from her perspective. I mean, from her perspective, this dude is like a revolutionary criminal. So, I mean, she may think that’s –

Ali: The right decision.

Bree: Why he can’t see the kid. Yeah.

Ali: Yeah. I mean, it’s like, the context could go either way.

Bree: There’s this, after all, who is going to raise the babies if there’s no husband around the house? And I think that’s sort of a thing that’s hard to flip?

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: Because generally speaking, like in our world still, the women do get stuck with the babies.

Ali: Right.

Bree: That they have. And so if a man goes around fathering lots of babies, he’s not going to necessarily have them following along behind him, usually. It’s not like he’s going to like have a bunch of babies and then like, he gets them all, usually. But I think in this situation, I don’t know, a nanny? Relatives? There’s no reason that it is – I don’t know. I feel weird.

Aradia: Yeah, there was a lot in it, because yeah, it’s like – you assume that because she’s not married, she’s not being an engaged parent. Like, that’s like the way the language comes across. And it’s like, if that assumption is wrong and this woman just doesn’t want to be married and loves having kids and loves her children, then you’re just kidnapping. You’re just going to fucking kidnap this child.

Ali: Then this is cruel. Then you’re just like, I’m going to claim this kid and take it away from its mother. Take him away from his mother. And he’s only a boy anyway, so she won’t care. And then it’s like, Oh, and you’re going to need to pay her a lot and she’s going to want to be paid a lot. And I’m like, Has no one’s bothered to ask the little boy or his mother whether this is a chill arrangement for them?

Aradia: Yeah. And we’re meant to read it as a good thing, because it’s like looking after what Val left in this world. Right. And yeah, like it’s, I think, meant to be read as a good thing, but, yeah. The just disregard for parental rights and the disregard for the rights of children is like, blegh.

Ali: Or her feelings about him, no, his feelings for her. I mean what they’re going to do is basically rip this child from his mother and bring him to a place where he knows no one. Right. And his siblings, too.

Aradia: And everyone’s going to look down on his parent and be like, Oh, yeah, your mother was a slut and a whore and didn’t take care of you.

Ali: Yeah, they’re not talking about her nicely at all.

Aradia: Yeah. So he’s an orphan and yeah, it’s just like.

Ali: But I’ll look after – I, a stranger who you don’t know at all, will look after you? It just to me feels like, it’d be one thing if the judgment about her character was, she’s an unfit parent. Like she is not a good parent.

Aradia: Right. Right. But because she’s unmarried, she’s a bad parent, is egh.

Bree: Well, no. I do want to say that I think that the implication is, that women don’t raise children in this world.

Ali: But isn’t that also kind of concer – Because here’s my thing. I mean, from a biological standpoint, one of the reasons why monogamy exists in nature tends to have to do with how much parental investment is needed to raise a baby. You know, it depends on how many babies they tend to have at a time and over the span of their lifetimes, by consequence. And how much parental investment is needed to keep that baby alive, tends to be why certain species of animals – most birds, like a surprising number of birds, and like other mammals slash other animals – tend to form monogamous pairings, right? Human babies- and I saw this TikTok today where it was new parents going, How do single parents do it? Because it’s so hard, right? And all respect to single parents, raising a kid is so hard. And I think that monogamy in humans was kind of started as a like, babies take a lot of parental investment. It can’t be done by just one person by themselves. They do need some kind of village. And then, of course, we created bullshit around like what mothers and fathers are supposed to provide. And I think that this is the inverse of that. But really, I mean, I think in most modern couples, that there is as much of an equal division of labor as they can, obviously day to day looking different. But, you know, I mean, I think it was like, when you look at in terms of like boomer fathers saying they’ve never changed a diaper, versus millennial fathers saying they’ve never changed a diaper, the numbers are staggeringly different.

Bree: Oh, I do think that we’re doing a lot better. But I also think that how bad it was before means that we are still way more skewed than we recognize.

Ali: Oh, totally.

Bree: I do think that because I don’t know. I just what I think is that there’s still, that we’re still going to have this sort of – I mean, I’m imagining that in this world women have the learned incompetence, the aggressive, weaponized incompetence, that boomer men so often. I mean, maybe Rina is like all other women in this world who go, oh, I just can’t figure out how to change a diaper, you know? Men are just better at it.

Ali: And obviously I do actually kind of hate the generalization about boomers in some ways, because my father in law is one of the most involved fathers of all time. Like, he was a stay at home father while his wife was a doctor. So it’s like, you know, obviously that is not to say that all boomers are the same, but like when you’re looking at just the trends of things, there has been a staggering difference in the number of fathers who are –

Bree: We can shit talk my dad.

Ali: Yeah, we’re just talking certain men, obviously. But like, you know, my father in law is super awesome and is a super awesome parent. But yeah, I mean, I think there’s obviously still very much that imbalance, but it’s hard for me today to imagine saying, even with that imbalance existing, oh, then that means, any single father is going to be like, fine with their child being taken from them. Do you know what I mean? Like, I think it’s just as someone who had a single dad for a big portion of her life and who was a really good dad to us. Yeah, obviously, we’re still alive. So he was a good dad. I have very fond memories of that period of my life. I just don’t love that notion that just because the societal expectations for a parent are that they’re not going to be the primary care giver means that then by extension they can’t rise to the occasion. I just felt like I wish that the criticism of her were not around her sexuality. I think just as like a woman thing. And it was about her ability to care for her children, even if it were like she treats the daughters so much better and her son is kind of not cared for well, and it’s obvious, or something like that, where it clearly would be better.

Bree: I mean, I do think the fact that she’s willing to sell her kid, they think that she’s going to be willing to sell her kid, is not a great record.

Ali: It’s not. No, it’s not. But I think because we never asked her in the first place, this is all like an assumption. And I’m like, Is this a societal assumption, or is this a indictment of her character?

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Because if it were like, we asked and she said she doesn’t want him, that would be one thing, right? And then it’s like, well then he’s probably better with Sarra, who does want him.

Bree: It’s not Sarra. The kid’s not going to Sarra.

Ali: Oh, sorry.

Bree: By the way, the kid is going to Val’s brother. Val’s twin brother. Yeah.

Ali: Okay.

Aradia: Same idea.

Bree: So, like, it is family. It’s not like just a random person, but, you know, I think it’s totally fair. I think that I would have appreciated if it was less, Haha, she spreads her legs!, and more, Aha, she neglects her kids. You know, we could have been set up much better for this.

Ali: Yeah. Versus, you know, understandably hearing like, oh she won’t care that her kids are gone. I like there are plenty of people that are, you know, that have very robust sex lives and who are good parents. Those things are not a 1 to 1.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The whole shaming of having a body count is just like, get out of here. And then she looks at Sarra, gives her this total once over and iis like, You don’t seem like a hoe. You should go marry that guy. It’s like, Shut up, Grandma. You might be smart, but shut up.

Ali: I also, I guess if it is a 1 to 1 also, I don’t know how much a body count would factor into someone’s assessment about someone’s abilities as a parent in the traditional masculine sense. I mean, I guess if they had a bunch of babies with a bunch of different women, that would be maybe one thing. But like, I don’t know, I, I don’t know.

Aradia: It just seems like in a world where the birth control seems reasonably good, that if she’s having a lot of kids, maybe it’s not because she’s a ho, maybe it’s because she wants a lot of kids?

Ali: Maybe she wants them, yeah.

Aradia: I don’t know, just, mmh.

Ali: Or she could be really irresponsible. That is also totally true.

Aradia: It just seems like a lot of work to have a baby irresponsibly, and just be like, Oh, I’ll just do that again. It’s like, But you’re the dominant gender. Surely you have birth control?

Bree: I’m not sure I would assume that the birth control is like, super good. Well, yeah, this is the thing, you would assume. But they clearly do not have great reproductive care because ladies are still dying of the sads.

Aradia: Yeah, the 1 to 1 is breaking down on the medical front.

Ali: This is true.

Bree: Why does it always break down there?

Ali: The matriarchy of it all is really breaking down. I don’t know if you all –

Bree: The way we just, you know – to be fair, it’s based on Star Wars, and Star Wars, you know, she foresaw that Padmé would die of the sads. I don’t know how, you prophet you, Melanie Rawn.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: George Lucas is just reading the Ruins of Ambrai and like, takes notes. What if Auvry Feiran murdered some babies?

Aradia: What a brilliant idea! Dying of the sads.

Ali: But I guess I was just a little outraged on Rina’s behalf in some ways, because I was like, I don’t know, when we’re all having this conversation about taking her kid away without talking to her about it and just assuming she’ll be fine with it because it’s only a boy and she’s kind of a ho. By the way, I’m saying ho only as a paraphrase of their implications, not as a derogatory.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Ho, complimentary from us.

Ali: Ho, a compliment.

Aradia: Heavy scare quotes and sarcastic eyebrows.

Bree: So yeah, then we just sort of end it with, you know, yes, the weird comment about Sarra being someone who would wait for marriage, which just, I don’t know, maybe she’s picking up on the asexual spectrum vibes.

Aradia: Sure, that’s what it is. We’ll go with that.

Bree: Yeah. Demisexual Sarra, this is what I will – Sarra is like, both deploring and grinning and blushing, and then she decides to go off and claim Collan before there’s a pretty Garvedian looking at him. And that’s the hot family, remember, all the Garvedians are the hottest people who ever lived. They are the Grinwell Cup winners of this world.

0:37:28 Music break. Dreams, chapter 2: a gender neutral Who hurt you

Bree: We get the part 2, which is Collan’s point of view of this whole party.

Bree: And so while Sarra is running around doing politics, I think that she did a very particular thing on purpose here, which is that she had Sarra running around this party thinking about politics, and Collan’s thinking about babies.

Aradia: Yeah, that did feel like a good 1 to 1.

Ali: That felt like a nice 1 to 1 in terms of literary tropes. That felt nice.

Bree: Yeah, it felt exactly like what we have read in sci fi so often before, fantasy that the men do the politics and the women dance around thinking about babies. So yeah.

Ali: That felt nice.

Aradia: But he was also being like, super jealous. And like, very like, men are animals and that’s just the way they are. And they’re possessive and violent and they think about making babies on you all the time and like, that felt a little stale.

Bree: It was like really cute baby stuff. And then, just as we were like, doing a great job, we get this quote: ”Mine, snarled something that thirty Generations had not bred out of the male animal, and Collan stalked forward, prepared to do battle.” And I was like, okay.

Aradia: Ugh!!!

Ali: Okay. There’s a lot to unpack there.

Aradia: Do we have time?

Bree: So much to unpack there. Can we just, like, put the, what’s his name? That comedian, That’s al lot. We don’t have time to unpack all of that.

Ali: I think that’s John Mulaney.

Aradia: Yes. Yes. Yeah.

Ali: He’s like, We don’t have time to unpack all of that.

Bree: I don’t love it. As a romance author, I’m going to say, but this is one of those things that like – One of the ways the genre remains gendered in a way that can get really uncomfortable and that we pass on from generation to generation, from people who grew up reading romance and then like, you know, continue, even when you do better at other things. The hotness of the possessive hero man, it is – I literally have gotten reviews on books, mad that heroes aren’t possessive enough. So, like, it’s a thing. People are still asking for it. People are still demanding it, and it is very gendered and it is very, it is what it is.

Ali: I think, because for some reason we’ve decided that male love is violent and possessive. And that’s like something we should want. Listen. On the one hand, if someone – one time I was at a bar with Gus, and Gus was off talking to – we were like at a general party that was at this bar, and Gus was off talking to somebody else, and I was talking to some girlfriends at the bar. And some guy came up, and this is the weirdest thing. He just stroked the back of my head.

Aradia: Ew.

Ali: And then walked away.

Bree: Urgh.

Ali: And of course, my immediate response was, because Gus is over six feet tall – and I am five six, which is not nothing, but like, you know, if I’m going to confront somebody, I would like a little muscle. And also a teacher of mine was there. And so I went up to the teacher and like, there’s a creepy guy at this bar. Because I had thought we had rented out the bar area, which we had, and the guy just kind of like crashed in the bar area and like, was like randomly stroking the back of women’s heads. I wasn’t the only one, because several other women came up.

Bree: Ew!

Ali: And it was such a weird, creepy thing. And so we went up to the teacher. The teacher is like a slightly shorter man. And he looks at me, he goes, Gus is here, right? And I was like, Yeah, he’s over there. And he goes, Great, I’m gonna go get Gus and we’ll go. Because you’re like, in that situation, right? It is nice to have a partner where you know that if somebody is going to mess with you, that they’re going to come stand up for you. But in a similar vein, if someone insults Gus, like, you can insult me all you want, but if someone insults Gus, they’re ashes on the floor, right? By the time I’m done with them. So it’s like, nice to have a partner that, you know, will go to bat with you, or for you, in a situation that is uncomfortable for you. That’s obviously a good thing to have in a partner, but I think we’ve mistaken that for like, Then they should be that way all the time. They should be always like –

Aradia: Yeah, it’s not possessive to be defensive, right? Like we’re conflating the two things.

Ali: Right, when I need him, like he knows I don’t need him to back me up all the time, but when I need him to back me up, he’s going to back me up. Versus, like, this woman – yeah, this guy is kind of like, flirting with her. With Sarra. But Sarra’s perfectly capable of handling that situation and, like, is able to extricate herself from it. And it’s like, I think to a certain extent, you do have to trust your partner to handle their shit and not be swayed by some rando. Do you know what I mean? There’s just like a certain extent to which I’m like, let women handle their shit unless they say they need you.

Bree: So what I think is at the heart of the fantasy, it’s the fantasy of having access to and having coopted the power of the patriarchy.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: So basically, like all of these bodice rippers were always basically just about taming the patriarchy, harnessing its power for your use. It’s the, you know, Come fight my battles for me, whether I, you know, that’s that sort of thing. And then I think that that’s like – we have a sort of debate going on in romance. Lots of books are in conversation with each other and with our past, where the question is, is the fantasy to co-opt that power or to develop your own, so that you do not need to rely on, you know, the patriarchy’s power to be safe? Because it’s violent and toxic, it’s not a safe sort of power when it can be revoked. Not to go too deep on the history of romance here in the all of that, but yeah, that is that is why I have a sort of visceral ugh. I will say the top highlighted line in our book right now, in the Horny Dragon book, is the line where he says he’s not some insecure human boy to be threatened by his consort having another lover. So, you know, yeah, some people like, you know, if they’re not insecure.

Ali: The thing is, I’m a sucker for a Who did this to you? I am. I am a sucker for a Who did this to you. That does get me every time. But I think for me, that’s more like I want someone to passionately care when I’ve been wronged.

Bree: Gender neutral Who hurt you?

Ali: Yeah, the gender neutral who hurt you.

Bree: It doesn’t have to just be a guy, you know?

Ali: Yeah, because, like, obviously, if Gus had some random weird, mysterious wound that he was being cagey about, I, too would be like, Who did this to you? I will make them rue the day, obviously, because that’s loving somebody. But I think that there’s that, and then there’s like, a guy is talking to her at a bar and now I feel murderous. And that to me is always a little scary because I’m like, If you go from zero to murderous that fast over something that small like that, that makes me worry about your ability to go to from zero to 100 with your partner.

Aradia: Uh huh.

Ali: Do you know what I mean?

Aradia: Yeah!

Ali: Like, rather than being like, Huh, that’s interesting, you know? Right. That’s interesting.

Bree: Big My property vibes. Don’t like it.

Ali: Yes, that too. Yeah. Yeah. There’s just a thing about it that feels so possessive.

Bree: Yeah. And that’s what this is.

Ali: Yeah. And to me, possession isn’t love. They’re very different things. And I think we often make the mistake as young women – and I think it’s because society feeds us these narratives that that’s what love looks like. But that leads to, I think, a lot of issues where you’re not able to really separate for yourself what healthy romance looks like, versus what toxic possession looks like, because they can look very similar based on what society tells you love is, but they’re not.

Bree: And for all of the criticisms of the ACOTAR books, I’m going to say, the first two books –

Ali: Do a really good job.

Bree: Yeah, yeah. This is the point of them. So yeah, I’m going to say that and then I’ll say, if you want to know more, go over to Wheel Takes, I believe they will be starting to read them soon.

Ali: Well yes, and yes we are. But yes, I just think and without giving any spoilers, but there is a person in the books where, I think, when they’re given the opportunity to showcase them going to bat for a partner versus being possessive of a partner. Right. Those moments of like where your partner’s like, I need you in my corner for this. They kind of failed to do that. And that’s kind of like your first hint that something might be amiss.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: You know.

Bree: And I do think it’s interesting that both ACOTAR and Fourth Wing are having a moment right now, and both of them involve a situation where there are two main male characters, one of whom views support as protecting for their own good no matter what they want. And the other views support as making them stronger so that they can protect themselves.

Ali: Yeah, that’s so real.

Bree: That is an interesting moment we’re having here, I think, in the romantasy genre. And I tend to prefer the latter, like, you know, we can’t always borrow someone’s power. Sometimes you want to build your own.

Ali: Yeah, but I think there’s an argument to say that both series do have men making their partners stronger, as a form of protection, which I’m like, I prefer that because obviously the agency that is with the women ultimately, which I like. I don’t know, it just feels like better partnerships.

Bree: Also, final plug for Who Hurt You –

Ali: The Horny Dragon Book?

Bree: No, girl gangs. Get yourself a text message group, get yourself a group chat or some friends and they’ll say, Who hurt you? Does it have to be romantic, man. Get yourself some friends, and they’ll roll out.

Ali: Honestly, a woman at a bar. Have you ever cried in a girl’s bathroom anywhere? Like, truly, the female support in this world is real and good.

Bree: Drunk bar bathrooms are a weird alternate dimension where, like, just the normal rules don’t apply. I don’t understand it, really. But it is. It is a thing.

Ali: Honestly, though, I mean, I feel like I could be upset at a movie theater girls’ bathroom. I just feel like you’re more likely to encounter crying in a bar bathroom than you are in a movie theater bathroom. But like, I don’t know, I feel like if I walked into any women’s bathroom and I saw a woman crying, suddenly it would be about the sisterhood really fast. It’s just like when you see a woman getting hit on by a random dude and you can tell that she’s not into it. And you’re like, Becky, it’s so good to see you. Oh, my God, It’s been so long. I mean, the sisterhood is real.

Bree: Sometimes you got to protect each other from the creeps out there, man.

Ali: Yeah, but again, still, in a way that gives agency to those women.

Bree: The good news is we have this one line, and it immediately gets short circuited because we get the Falundir/Collan moment that hopefully we have all been waiting for. I had been waiting for.

Ali: Yes, yes.

Aradia: This was good. This was reconciliation that I needed.

Bree: Also damn Gorynel Desse for not letting him remember him. That’s right. We roasted you, man.

Ali: I will continue to roast and toast Mr. Gorynel Desse. I know you love him, Bree, but.

Bree: I do love him. But I mean this especially, because of how important Falundir was to Collan. Like, that’s his family. And he erased his family.

Ali: Yeah. My boy literally had nothing. He had nothing.

Aradia: He does get to have him back now, like he does remember now and get to, like, have the – This was nice. I was worried that Falundir was going to die before Collan was able to have this moment. And I was really, really comforted by the fact that they were able to have full memories, engaged eye contact and, you know, a conversation such as it is. And then to have Falundir be like, Now that you know that I know who you are, please play for me. Just like, Ah, yes. Let’s settle in and have a very meaningful concert. This is good.

Ali: The most meaningful concert.

Bree: I actually cry at the end of this. I did it again.

Aradia: Aww.

Bree: I always cry at the end of this chapter because he, like, you know, he looks out at all these people and like, wondering what he could play for them, and for, you know, “For Sarra and Cailet and Taig and Verald and even old Gorynel Desse.” And then he plays the Long Sun, which, there’s something in there about the power of art. Like, this is forbidden art that has been repressed for so long and it’s powerful because it’s the – in some ways it’s the song that started this, that made her silence this Bard. Because that must have been like one of the more wild things she did in public.

Aradia: In the contest of wills between Falundir and Anniyas, Falundir gets the last word through someone else’s mouth, but he’s still standing. And the hall that she no longer possesses is like ringing with the full sound of this song that has been, like, whispered in corners.

Bree: Oh, you’re going to make me cry again.

Aradia: And tapped out on like tapped out on like tables, like, circumspectly. And now he’s getting to, like, give it its proper performance, in the space that that bitch was inhabiting, you know. And Falundir gets to sit there and see it happen and be like, Guess I win, bitch. You know, there’s just mic drop, mic drop, mic drop, just all over it. I love it.

Ali: Well, I guess I mean, obviously I don’t like art or care for art at all in any way, shape or form.

Bree: Yes. You are known for that.

Ali: It’s dumb. But yeah, I mean, at a time where we’re seeing art under attack in so many ways, right? We’re seeing people banning books. We’re seeing people – we’re having the year where artists and their works have been under attack in so many ways. I mean, the creation of AI and AI art and where that fits in with everything, in that a lot of that is built on the theft of actual people’s intellectual property. And I saw a take the other day that was like, Well, most artists don’t make a living on their art anyway, so they should make it free.

Aradia: Oh, my god.

Ali: It should be all free.

Bree: Yeah, I saw that one.

Ali: I mean, just these takes about –

Bree: By the way, the person who said that is in charge of fucking AI at Meta.

Ali: Well of course they are.

Aradia: Of course they are!

Bree: This is not some random person on the internet making a bad take. This is someone with power.

Ali: Yeah, they’re a person, well, they’re a person that is saying that not necessarily even because they believe it. Because they’re trying to make it acceptable discourse and move the Overton window on what’s acceptable discourse. And that’s just such because then they can make it seem like their assertions are reasonable. But obviously that’s a bullshit take. A lot of the takes about art and artists and books that are banned are bullshit takes, right? But yeah, I mean, I guess that’s why I think this hit so hard for me as well. Is that when we’re talking about the power of art and artists, I mean, so much of what got people through the pandemic was art, right? Was TV, film music. You know, there’s that innately human quality about the power of connection and the power to tell story and the power to make people feel things, that I think is purposefully being taken, people are trying to take away. I think that it’s purposeful because it makes – it unites people toward causes, it creates momentum, it elicits feeling. And that is a extremely powerful thing that I think can’t really be quantified. And yeah, the emotional catharsis that it can provide, that can’t be undervalued, especially at a time where I don’t think we’ve begun to unpack much trauma we’ve endured the past few years, not even a little bit.

Aradia: You can’t process trauma while we’re getting more trauma. I’m still on the intake.

Bree: Yeah, there’s no post traumatic stress. It’s just ongoing traumatic stress.

Ali: Well, and we’re blaming people for the symptoms of that trauma, right? That whole, Generation Alpha can’t read thing, that they’ve decided to make an indictment of those parents. I’m like, Have we not forgotten that for three years of their crucial development, they were at home? You know, are we not accounting for the fact that maybe survival was more important at the time than learning to read.

Bree: And parents were supposed to teach them. But we don’t respect teachers, so we just assumed that every parent could, like, automatically do that on top of their like three jobs.

Aradia: Insane. It’s insane.

Ali: You know? Right. Trying to stay alive themselves during the pandemic. I’m like, Can we not at this moment in time, post-trauma – and not even post trauma, enduring trauma. I know that we need to teach Gen Alpha to read. Obviously, that’s not a question, but can we do it without necessarily placing blame on people who were just trying to survive? Like can we not act with grace, and in that grace find a solution?

Aradia: No.

Ali: I just – (laughs). No!

Aradia: Unacceptable.

Ali: Yeah, and this is my thing is, I’ve just like I, I just feel so deeply right the devaluation of art in our society, right. That being the first thing to go when we’re making budget cuts in schools, all of this is done on purpose, because I think it makes for a more ignorant, more malleable, less socially conscious society. And that is actually something that some powers that be want! It’s why Anniyas silenced Falundir in the first place, is that he was a threat.

Aradia: Yeah, because art helps us make sense of things. It takes really big, giant, complicated, multifaceted things and boils it down to like, an earworm or like a single painting that just won’t get out of your head and like, yeah, when, when you’re denied access to that thing that helps it make sense – it’s bad. It’s bad for everyone when we get denied the language to describe what’s happening to us. And sometimes that is art.

Ali: Well, and what’s shocking to me, right, is like – I in school had to take a lot of science and math classes, but like, the roles reversed, there’s been a lot of discussion about how a lot of engineers, computer scientists, don’t have to take any kind of ethics courses, or art courses, or humanities at all.

Bree: I got a computer science degree and my ethics thing was like, I basically had this one credit joke of a thing where we, like, had to read a pamphlet and go to like, a thing. It was a joke, it was an absolute joke. And I just – woof, I have a lot of feelings about that. But also I wanted to point out that Anniyas and Falundir, we just saw a dynamic like this go down. And the reason she wanted to silence him is the reason that all those fucking executives are so mad that they could not get control of the narrative during the strike. They were desperately saying things like, Oh yeah, we’re just going to wait till they –

Ali: Take their houses?

Bree: Yeah, lose their houses and shit. Yeah. And every attempt they made to manipulate the situation, the writers just karate chopped it out of their hands, turned it on them, because writers know how to craft the narrative and how to tell a story. And the writers on social media were just running circles around those executives. And you know, they wish they’d had Anniyas’ power, man, because if you can’t shut the writers up – the trade is no longer the only outlet for information. The writers had direct access to the people and they used it, and that’s powerful.

Ali: Well, yeah. And it was interesting talking to the folks that have been through the strikes in, I think it was 2007, right, on the picket lines, and just talking to them about their experience then and how it was different now. And they said, you know, one of the big things is they did this exact play back then. Right. Turn the public against us, make it seem like a bunch of wealthy people, which, most writers are working class at best. Most actors are working class at best, they were working additional jobs. And this is our passion, that we are willing to give up our free time. I talked to Gus about this, I’m like, Wow, people really have like a 9 to 5 and they go home and then they go home. We close our computers and then reopen them, to work on our other stuff. That’s wild, right? To be like, I work two jobs, and one of them is because I love it, not because it pays me well, as that one person on Twitter so hopefully pointed out. Because I’m like, You can’t fathom a world in which passion exists and you deserve to be at least compensated a little for that passion. But yeah, so for me, when I was talking to them, I was like, What’s different this time? They said, Well, first, obviously the energy of the young people is just completely different. Like they’re showing up in numbers, they’re angry, they’re active, like we’re just seeing this war. And they’re like, And the support of the public, it feels like they’ve just caught on to these attempts at, you know, of actual wealthy people trying to change the narrative to suit themselves and the like. But part of that is just that you’re able to fact check this stuff in real time, right? You’re able to immediately give it feedback. Whereas back then it was like, there was an article that was clearly skewed. Yeah, all the trades, of course, are owned by these executives or are in the pocket of these executives to some extent. And so you know, they publish these things. So there was nothing we could really do about it other than keep marching. Right. And after a while, of course, we had to concede because of course people were losing their homes and their apartments. And we did not have that same level of public support. But now it’s like we can immediately turn around and go, This article is completely bullshit in a way that we just never were before.

Bree: Oh, every time an article dropped, John Rogers was there, man. He was there, you know. Of leverage fame.

Ali: And say what you want about social media, like, I think that there are very things about it that are public ills, of course, because I don’t think necessarily we were always meant to get immediate feedback from so many people about our things. But when it comes to the powers that be – and this is what I’ve also heard, is that PR is completely kerfuffled right now –

Aradia: tee-hee.

Ali: Because they’re really unsure how to combat this new age of instant feedback and instant fact checking from a public, and that people are just so much more savvy now about the ways in which they’ll try to manipulate narratives. So I think it’s really an interesting – it’s also done a lot of public good and it’s made us a lot more globally aware. And then I think also then it might not be a coincidence that those things have been bought by people that seem only intent on destroying it.

Bree: Yep. Oh, Twitter.

Aradia: Yeah. We don’t deal with that in the book though. In the book we just have a nice anthem at the end of Act three and it’s just like, We’re good.

Ali: But I’m always a sucker for a reminder that art is important and that art is catharsis.

Bree: Yes.

Aradia: I liked that he went up there not sure of what to play, and was kind of going through his normal repertoire and then looked at Falundir and was like, No, no, no, I don’t need to do a normal party repertoire. I need to do the song with political weight behind it. Like, that was nice.

Ali: Well, and that’s such a true moment as an artist, too. I mean, Bree, those moments where – I mean, I had a meeting with the director of this movie we’re trying to make that I wrote. The first draft of it was like my first big thing that I wrote, like, I wrote a play that went up. And then after a while, I realized this is actually a screenplay that I wrote as a play because there are differences, and I didn’t know that at the time. So I turned it into a screenplay. And so I’ve worked on it continuously for years, just polishing it. And my friend and I, my director friend and I, we were sitting there talking about it, kind of like taking another pass at it. And she just something where I was just like, Oh my God, that has to be in there. It just does. Like this is just such an encapsulation of what this moment needs to be. Yeah. I mean, there’s just those aha moments as artists about what the emotional catharsis needs to be. And sometimes you’re wrong, sometimes you’re like, I’m brilliant, and then you’re like, This is actually so dumb. But it’s that magic of like, when it just hits you and you’re like, it’s so simple. It’s so perfect. That’s where it needs to be. It always needed to be that, you know. Do you know what I’m talking about, Bree?

Bree: Yeah, totally. Yeah. Sometimes you just know.

Ali: It would be funny if she’s like, No.

Bree: No, no, no, no, no. You just know it’s –

Ali: You just know.

Bree: It’s the thing that that ties it all together, that brings it home and makes it real. And I think the fact that he’s playing this in the Ruins of Ambrai –

Aradia: Literally!

Bree: When it’s a song about Ambrai under attack, you know. And he’s playing it in the place where, you know, the song came true. But they’ve now defeated the evil that was attacking it, you know. And like, this may be the first time the song has ever been played completely, because remember, while he was playing it, she –

Aradia: In full. Yeah.

Bree: Yeah. So this may be the first time the song has been played in full.

Aradia: It’s the first time the end of the song has been able to be played in this space. Ugh god.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: And that he’s able to give him a bookend to that moment, you know, that he’s able to give him – Yeah. And that the inspiration of what was the perfect thing in that time, which I feel like is so true, doesn’t come from necessarily the artists themselves. It comes from the world and the people around them.

Aradia: Right.

Ali: It gets channeled into this moment. And it is what makes this moment powerful because it’s – making art is so great, it’s so deeply personal. And like he could have overthought it, right, and been like, Actually, no, maybe I shouldn’t play that because that could hurt him or something, but instead he’s able to have this like moment of acknowledgment of this other person’s trauma. And everyone’s, by extension, trauma. I mean, it’s a beautiful moment. Bree, I get why you cried. I teared up for sure as well.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s a good moment.

Bree: Yeah, it’s it’s a good one.

1:06:22 Music break. Dreams, chapter 3: an allegory for daddy pain

Bree: Okay, so let’s get on into part three here. And part three is mostly just Cailet building the cairn on which she’s going to burn her father. And she’s sort of thinking about stories, too, thinking about the stars and the stories behind them and how she sort of, like, takes comfort and that none of the little things that they do right or wrong is going to impact this like, you know, huge, endless history of the stars. And a lot of this is her thinking about if there’s any redemption for her father, and if there’s such a thing as a clean victory. And so, I mean, do you guys have any thoughts about this? Poor Cailet. She’s just having a deep philosophy.

Aradia: So, Seth and I started Knife of Dreams yesterday. We did our first recording for Knife of Dreams, which was very exciting. And we got caught looking at the epitaph at the beginning, which, you know, is no spoilers for the book. It’s literally where the title of the book comes from. It’s, “The sweetness of victory and the bitterness of defeat are alike a knife of dreams.” That’s how the book opens. It’s a quote from within the world. So, you know, whatever, it doesn’t matter. It’s not a real quote. But we got caught up in trying to interpret what that meant. And we had very different interpretations. And I think they were both correct. It was great.

Ali: Ooh, I love that.

Aradia: But this really reminded me of that, because in my mind, what it’s saying is that victory and defeat are both ideals that you hold in your mind. And then the reality is very different, right? And like, reality kind of brings that dream to an end when you actually get whatever the thing is, whether you’re anticipating victory or defeat. And it kind of all just is meaningless. Like there’s what you think and then there’s what happens. And the way she was phrasing this with the stars was really reminding me of that discussion, of just like, what is victory? Is it this ideal you have in your mind about what’s going to happen? Or is it the very messy reality of what is actually happening, whether it’s victory or defeat, it’s messy. And your idea was not messy. Your idea was very one or the other. And the reality is almost always muddy and messy. And so I don’t know. I feel like Cailet is in Knife of Dreams space. She is dealing with the Knife of Dreams actively in this moment.

Ali: Now I kind of want to hear Seth’s interpretation. I can’t listen, because obviously spoilers, it is called WoT Spoilers.

Aradia: Several more years.

Ali: All right. Well, I will listen in 15 to 45 years, whenever it is that we’re finished.

Aradia: I think his interpretation was more like, everything is a dream. I think that was basically what his boiled down to. I’m like, reality cuts the dream. And I think his interpretation was, everything is a dream. But I could have forgotten by now because I haven’t actually edited that part yet.

Ali: That’s interesting. For me, I kind of thought about the complexity of what it is to bury a parent that you don’t have a positive relationship with and how that can feel. So like, I have a family member – and I’m not going to name specifically who – I have a family member, though, who lost their mother not that long ago, and their mother was not a great person. And, you know? It is what it is, right? You’re born with the parents you’re born with. But the person talked to me and another family member about it. And both of us had a very different response to this. But they said, you know, I almost feel like in some ways it would be easier if I had a positive relationship with her, because then I would have these happy memories to look back on with them. But I don’t have any of that. So in this grief, it’s just like this kind of unfulfilled relationship where like, I never really got this closure of like, you know, I was wrong or – and even if they had, to me, that would have been too little, too late. I think in a lot of ways, I don’t think that that necessarily would have given the closure, to, like Auvry did, do it at the buzzer, right? At the final buzzer. It’s kind of like, well, now there’s all these years that like if you had had this realization earlier, like then maybe you could have atoned for it. But we don’t have any time left right? So you’re gone. So now I just have to be like, I don’t have any good memories of you, you know, and the person that she talked about this to before me said, Well, no, I think that would be much harder to have a good relationship with your parent and lose your parent because, you know, that’s so heartbreaking. And when she was talking to me about this, I think it’s both. I mean, I don’t think one has to be easier or not. I think that there are really horrible things about both losing a beloved parent and losing a parent where you’re like, I wish we could have found a way for that to be our relationship.

And unfortunately, through some series of events, you were not able to get it together. For me. And that’s just what it is.

Bree: Yeah, you’re grieving for a parent either way. It’s just either the parent you had or the one you wish you’d had.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Yeah. And I think yeah, it’s that you have this added feeling though, of like, why wasn’t I enough for you to change or, you know, all that stuff. And I think that that is what Cailet is going through here, he changed at the buzzer.

Bree: Well she’s in a kind of weirder situation, because it’s like zero. He showed up at the buzzer.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: Yeah. And then he changed.

Ali: Yeah, but not before.

Bree: Her personal interaction with him is blank. So she’s the only person on this earth, maybe, who has a 99% positive relationship with him.

Aradia: Right?

Ali: Which, how sad is that?

Bree: Yeah, but, like, you know, that 10 minutes was the only 10 minutes she had with him, and he spent it doing hero shit for her. So, like, how fucked up is that? The genocidal monster of everybody else’s nightmares is the guy who saved her, and that’s her only relationship with him.

Ali: And he is her father. And he probably only did it because she was related to him, is probably the only reason he did that.

Bree: Yeah, but I mean, in some ways, considering her mother was like, yeah, don’t look at me. In her mind, she thinks her mother didn’t want her. So, like, that’s not enough reason. Her dad still chose to want her. Right? Cailet is been given the ultimate daddy issue here, I think.

Ali: Yeah. We need therapy for her.

Aradia: She’s got, like, 5 minutes of each parent.

Bree: Yeah. Poor Cailet.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: And that she even thinks, “Was Auvry Feiran’s death a victory? Was she the only one who would feel her father’s loss?”

Aradia: That’s the roughest part, is there’s no one to share the grief with. The relationship that she’s grieving, if that’s good or bad, or how to make it worse or whatever, that’s kind of beside the point. The fact that no one is going to be able to share it with her is what’s going to make the trauma really last. You know, and really make this a problem for her going forward. Because like, maybe Sarra’s going to be able to intellectually try to understand with her, but like, it’s not going to be the same and she’s probably not even going to try to get that understanding from Sarra. She’s probably going to try to bottle it up and hide it like her missing half of boob. It’s just the part where she’s the only one who mourns him is, I think, the bitterest detail to me.

Ali: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s so real, right? That is something that some people experience, where it’s like – I think about the children of people who do awful things. Right. And how weird and complicated that must be, because I do believe that there are horrible people that maybe love their children.

Aradia: Stalin being an excellent example.

Ali: I mean, think about Stalin’s children as an example, right? Like, I’m sure that’s a very weird, complicated thing to experience, and I’m very glad I never have to reckon with, is that your parent is a terrible person but loved you and you have fond memories of them and you’re the only one who feel sad that they’re gone. And then you can’t necessarily go to somebody and be like, I miss my – you don’t have the luxury that like, you know, other people have, of going to somebody and being like, I really miss my dad today. Because they’re like, Well, a lot of people miss their dads because of your dad.

Bree: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ali: So I think it’s one of those fun – well not fun, but hot nuanced – situations, where it’s like, I think Cailet, no matter how you look at it, Cailet is very much a victim in this situation because she had no choice over who her parents were. She’s been deprived of all of these choices. And then right at the buzzer, her father shows up just to fuck her up further, to be honest.

Ali: Yeah, I mean, yeah, he saved her life. But now she’s having a lot of brain stuff. Fun brain stuff.

Aradia: Yeah. And I don’t think she’s going to deal with it, because of the way she thinks about her breast injury, Right? She thinks about how, like, she can maybe, like, do like a prosthetic garment and like that, and then she’s like, No, I’m going to use magic to hide it from everyone forever as this brutal reminder of all this shit that I went through. And I’m like, That is an allegory for your daddy pain.

Bree: Yeah. She’s going to make herself cast the spell every day as a reminder, which, ow.

Aradia: Yeah, like, that’s as an allegory for more than just your physical injury. This is your issues with your dad. And also what Glenin did to her. But like, especially the loss of her dad. This is an allegory for bad things.

Ali: Here’s the thing. There’s a very stark – because there’s different ways of dealing with trauma, right. There is the like, I’m going to bury it, never think about it, never touch it. And then there’s the, I’m going to flagellate myself with it every day. Neither are good. Neither are you coping well. It’s the, I’m going to face and accept that it is a part of my reality in my every day, but not make that the defining thing about my life, you know? It’s like I learn to live with it, not I’m going to flagellate myself with it every day. That’s just too much, right?

Aradia: You get yourself a prosthetic garment to just support yourself and what you’re missing. It’s okay. You just make adjustments.

Ali: I’m also like, if women need to get a mastectomy, they’re like, I want the battle scar. I want it because it’s a reminder of my strength or whatever. I’m like, You go, you go, you do you. If you’re like, No, people need to see that some women don’t have one breast or both breasts, or whatever. But all of that is complicated and very personal and up to each person.

Bree: She’s punishing herself here.

Ali: It’s only what should be best for you. Not like I’m going to do something that will actively be bad for me as a like thing, to torture myself with because I am not facing my trauma well. Also the thing that always gets me is like, one conversation about Cailet being sad about her mother turning away from her, with Sarra, would address in a big way this assumption she’s made about her mother not wanting her. Because I’m assuming Sarra’s immediate thing would be like, Well, no, it’s that she feels sad that she’s not going to be a part of your life. So it’s too painful to look at you. And that’s still painful. But like, that is not a rejection of you.

Bree: Well, Gorynel Desse did try to tell her that.

Aradia: Well, he’s Gorynel Desse.

Bree: Like, he did.

Aradia: She needs to hear it from Sarra.

Bree: She’s not, she’s not buying it.

Ali: But I feel like she needs to hear it from Sarra. Or hear it from multiple people. But I just know, when we make these assumptions that are damaging, we’re all – There’s some, I think, hostility bias or something like that, that we all have where when something happens, we decide to assume that it’s the worst possible case scenario, right? It’s that the other person is being malicious. And I think that us on the outside can all go, Well, I mean, I kind of get that it may be too painful to look at a baby you’re never going to raise in their last moments. Right. But, you know, Cailet is immediately assuming the worst of the situation because that’s a normal human thing. But because she’s getting no additional feedback on that other than Gorynel Desse that one time, she’s not addressing it in any way or coping with it. She’s just kind of like, And that is going to become a core tenet of my personality, even though I’m not looking at it from my mother’s perspective at all. I just feel like, Argh, just communicate, just communicate. Please, I’m begging you all. Because sometimes people can tell you the thing you need to hear to actually contextualize the situation.

Aradia: No, but no one’s going to communicate with her about anything ever, because she’s the Captal and she’s up on a pedestal in – what’s it, a cage of golden bars or whatever she described it as. There’s no one at her level that she can talk to, you know, like there’s no one that’s ever going to feel like an equal because she’s the Captal, you know?

Ali: Yeah. No, I mean, that’s true. I just don’t know. I feel like, one conversation with Sarra and this would be clearer.

Aradia: Sarra is the only person she might be able to hear it from, but she’s not going to open up. She’s not going to think anyone can be talked to. Right. Because she’s the Captal and everyone looks up at her, who is she going to feel like she can open up to, you know.

Ali: Justice for Cailet. Honestly, justice for Cailet. Everyone deserves better parents than that.

Aradia: And also, justice for not putting 17 year olds into lifetime appointments of being top dog of the magic pyramid for the whole planet. Like, I just really feel like that’s too young to be given a lifetime appointment to, like, actual pope.

Ali: I also just feel like lifetime appointments are kind of bullshit.

Aradia: Also that! Yeah, yeah.

Ali: I just, I just am kind of like, Let people retire, let people have childhoods, let people not be put on this weird pedestal where like, they have to be perfect.

Aradia: Just less pedestals.

Ali: Just less pedestals. Yeah, fewer pedestals would be great. I mean, because I feel like they’re bad for everybody.

Bree: Well, we’re going to make it worse.

Aradia: Should we talk about the pins?

Bree: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. We’re going to make it worse because she’s dragging her dad’s body and she finds two pins kind of concealed in a secret hidden pocket inside his long vest. And they are a sword in a candle, which would be the pins he would wear if he was a Captal’s Warder. So basically a Mage Guardian would wear them if he was the personal bodyguard of Captal. And he has been carrying these in a secret pocket forever. So why do we think he’s doing that? Because Cailet thinks he never really gave up on the Mage thing.

Aradia: That does seem to be what the pins are indicating. But like, he ruined Ambrai, with these pins in his pocket I guess, like he was a double agent the whole time. Like triple agent, quadruple.

Ali: He murdered his wife’s family.

Bree: I don’t think he was a double agent, but I do think that maybe he had some regrets. I don’t know. I mean.

Aradia: Was he holding a candle for his former life? Literally?

Bree: I mean – And we can jump just ahead a tiny bit, because in part six, Cailet shows these to Sarra, like, Look, it’s proof he always loved the Mages. And Sarra’s like, He took them off some Mage he killed, dumb ass! Which does seem like the likeliest thing, because these were not the pins that he would have had as apprentice Mage. So it’s not like these are his pins that he has carried all this time. So the question is, what’s going on here in this man’s head? I’m going to tell you, Ali, this whole time that you were so convinced that he has had a master plan this whole time. I honestly, because of this, I don’t think he has. I don’t think there’s ever been a master plan. I think this has just been a chaotic dude who fell in love and then got real butthurt because grandma was like, Fuck you, not giving you any power. And, you know, I think he’s just made a bunch of really bad choices, just constant bad choices. I don’t think that it was all a long con. I think he was a fucking mess. Auvry Feiran. Fucking mess.

Ali: And in some ways that’s so much worse.

Bree: It is! It is.

Ali: How do you go from like, I’m in love with this woman. There are aspects of my extended life that are not always the easiest. I would hope that would not be Gus’s villain origin story. Do you know what I mean? I feel like when you love someone –

Bree: Their mom can be a bitch, but you probably shouldn’t murder her.

Ali: Yeah. There’s so many people that have, like, terrible mother in-laws, right? Or grandmother in laws or whatever, and they don’t then go, I’m going to murder my spouse’s entire family and kidnap my kid, as an FU to that person. To me, that does indicate to me that there is something fundamentally broken about Auvry Feiran. They’re just is.

Aradia: Oh, he’s got a lot of unprocessed trauma and wild magic. So.

Bree: Yeah, I think that the awakening of his magic and the death of his brother and all of that, and then being dragged to this house and like, kept away. And I think that probably the fact that they wouldn’t let him in because he was so dangerous, there was probably some sort of lifelong insecurity and resentment for rejection and like, you know, an anger inside of him. And I think that he probably was real ripe for being seduced, being told, Here is a place where there’s steady rules, and then we follow them, and you will have a place of honor, and your daughter will be protected and safe and grow up to be the most powerful person ever.

Aradia: Yeah. So, I then wonder if the reason he has the pins is, he did take them off of a corpse, but he took them because he was having those second thoughts and regrets. Because we saw him, you know, learning from Glenin that Anniyas was never going to, you know, protect them and all that. And I wonder if he picked these pins up after that weird conversation on the stairs, where he realized that he had been a dupe. And he is kind of like, this is who I wish I had been. This is what I wish I had done. This is who I wish I was during this conflict. And I’m going to carry this little totem around as this sad little regret, just to himself. And then those thoughts are part of what helped him do what he did for Cailet. So, like, for them to then fall into her hand is actually appropriate because that was him trying to, like, psych himself up for redemption or something, along the way. I think he had them for some good reason emotionally to, like, tie it all together. Because, yeah I liked the long con idea, these pins really shattered the long con idea. These pins really speak to chaos and regret.

Ali: Weren’t there Mageborn members of the Ambrai family? Could it also have been a souvenir?

Aradia: Ope. Oof. Ew! He’s been carrying them the whole time. Taken off of one of his in-laws that he really didn’t like.

Ali: I just, that was just a thought.

Bree: I think that it’s sort of infamous that there were not Mageborn Ambrais, because him having magic was like such a traumatic – like a problem, because the sons never have magic. You know, him having magic messed up all of the political stuff. So I don’t think that they were usually Mageborn. It was his wild Feiran blood that they were so upset about.

Ali: I mean, the thing about the pins is that – what’s hard about losing a parent is that all the answers to your questions die with them, to a certain extend. Any of the closure, any of the – like you know you find something in your dad’s office that doesn’t make sense. You don’t get to ask that, right. And we’re left with, of course, the assumptions that we’re going to make based on our relationship with Auvry Feiran. And s Cailet is desperately looking for redemption for her father. So of course, she operates under the assumption that it was evidence of his essential goodness. Sarra had a very much different relationship with her father. So her assumption is going to be that it was for a terrifying reason, and we never get to know either way.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Because he only pivoted at the buzzer.

Bree: And you know what, I think that that honestly – I like it. I like that he is a mess. I believe him when he says that if he had known about Cailet, that he might have stayed. Because I think that he was flailing around looking for something to fulfill him. He was being dissed by his mother in law, you know. And I think that he picked power, but he might have picked something else. You know, the baby – this might have been the one baby.

Ali: I don’t believe him.

Bree: I do, because I think that he is a fucking impulsive mess.

Ali: It’s because he’s a fucking impulsive mess.

Bree: But it doesn’t mean I don’t think he still couldn’t have gone and done it again. Like, you know, maybe Cailet would have kept him around for a couple of years, and then he would have taken her to become a Malerrisi.

Ali: Yeah. That’s what would have happened.

Aradia: I mean, it’s the question that she’s asking is what had driven him to the Malerrisi instead, like, without knowing that actual thing, we can’t know what level of staying power Cailet’s existence might have actually had on him.

Ali: And Sarra and Glenin weren’t enough?

Aradia: Right exactly. Unrelatedly, why did her magic vanish? And is that related to part four?

Bree: What do you mean?

Aradia: Like when she went to pick up her dad with magic and she couldn’t, and her magic was gone and she had to, like, hoof it over, like, physically haul him on to the pyre himself. She like, talks about her magic being gone. And then we go into Ghost Council. And I’m like, Did they steal her magic to, like, manifest themselves in the physical plane to pass judgment? Like, what is up with her magic ghosting? Literally.

Ali: I just figured it was emotional, emotionally driven, that she was in a like, bad headspace. Kind of like when you’re a singer, being a – singing can be deeply psychological, or an athlete that gets the yips like, I just kind of assumed it was like I’m in a heightened emotional state and therefore had difficulty accessing magic.

Aradia: It’s just not that deep. All right.

Ali: I mean, I like your explanation too.

Aradia: Gotta to power the Ghost Council.

Ali: I’m just Occam’s razoring it, you know.

Bree: I think that what she thinks is that she actually tells herself that maybe the whole thing was that if she had used magic, she wouldn’t have found the pins. So maybe she was guided by the Saints to find them, because they are the – And she thinks about this. She thinks about the Guide and the Guardian. That’s what they are. And so you know, and then she thinks about how he guided Glenin to the Malerrisi, but he had been her Guardian. And she thinks maybe the reason that she hadn’t been able to use magic is because she had to find these pins. But she doesn’t want to try again because she just feels like his body is lighter now. And I think that there is a lot of psychological stuff going on, but it could be the ghosts.

Aradia: I’m like, I want metaphysics!

Ali: Sorry, can I just say one thing? I also I just feel for Sarra a little bit in there because it’s one of those things, you know, how with older children or oldest children, they’ll be raised by one set of parents. And then the younger set are sometimes raised by like a completely different set of rules, a completely different version of parenting. And it’s kind of like, Well, I’m sorry you weren’t around or aware of the real shit that was going on in the family or whatever, because you were seven. But like, I mean it she has this relationship with her father that I think is very legitimate, he killed her whole family. He’s the reason she is basically an orphan. Everything she’s gone through in her life has been because of a decision that he made. He abandoned her also and chose her sister over her. She wasn’t enough to stay. Apparently, her younger sister was. And she got to hear that, which is super fun. And then the younger sister comes to her and goes, Maybe he wasn’t that bad?

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Sarra is a lot nicer than I would have been, to be honest with you.

Bree: Okay, We will get deep into that part six, that comes after Ghost Court.

Ali: Okay. I just have a lot of feelings for Sarra.

1:33:13 Music break. Dreams, chapter 4: No heaven, no hell, much more therapy

Bree: So, yes, it is time for Ghost Court. So I told you that there was going to be discussion of the redemption of Auvry Feiran. And I do think that this was probably Melanie Rawn – what it looks like to me is that this is her grappling with the idea of coming in at the buzzer. And does that mean that you’re redeemed? So basically what it is, is it’s all the Captals who have ever existed, and they just kind of show up to judge him. And so what do you guys think about this scene as it goes down?

Aradia: Well, you did promise us a longer discussion on the page, so it was nice to get that. I liked how they fleshed out all the different sides, you know, tallying up his deeds, and then they come down on the side of, We’re going to judge him according to what will be best for Cailet.Which I had feelings about.

Ali: I had a lot of feelings as well.

Bree: Good. Tell me your feelings.

Aradia: But I felt like it was a very well fleshed out conversation and nothing was left unturned. But okay, so like, I get it. Like, you know, Ali said the last time we talked about this, you know, forgiveness is not about the other person. It’s about you, right? You need to forgive people for your own sake, for your own cortisol levels and blood pressure. It’s not about them, it’s about you. You got to do what you got to do for yourself. And so I get the ghosts being like, Cailet needs to effectively forgive him for herself. And if we have the power to create a situation where she can’t have that forgiveness and so we’re going to, like, do otherwise. But I also feel like you can’t give him a pass because of how it’s going to hurt someone else. That transference of responsibility was very strange. So now she’s responsible for him getting a free pass into the good place, because it would hurt the world too bad otherwise? And also I just had a whole issue with the concept of ghosts getting to pass judgment on people. Who are you to judge? He’s not even a Captal. But setting that aside, I just thought it was very weird that – I get it for the sake of the world. We got to save the world. We’ve got to keep Jesus happy. You know, Luke Skywalker has to, like, not be in an existential pit of despair, but you’re forgiving this man for reasons outside of this man, you know?

Ali: Yeah. I mean, I have issues with the whole good place, bad place thing.

Aradia: Yeah. Then there’s that.

Ali: Also, The Good Place is an amazing TV show, by the way, for anyone who’s looking for a lot of deep dives about who deserves to be in heaven or hell and all the nuances of that conversation.

Bree: But I am going to say, I think this is just Mages. I think this is a specific Mage ghost thing.

Ali: Elysian Fields kind of deal?

Bree: Yeah, the Mages either become free roaming happy ghosts or have to go to the dead white forest. I think that’s just Mages, not anybody else. I’m not sure what the afterlife is for everybody else.

Aradia: Okay, Death elitism. Got it. Cool.

Bree: This seems to be a magic specific thing.

Ali: We can’t even get away from Tiers and shit in the afterlife.

Aradia: That’s what I’m saying!

Ali: Okay. My thing is, I have an issue with the heaven and hell concept because I’m like – I mean, obviously everyone is loved by someone, like you don’t just go through life, not loved by someone, probably. My issues are always the absolutism of like, okay, some deserve eternal happiness and some people deserve eternal awfulness. And how boring would eternal happiness be after a while? I also worry about that. So. And who is left to judge that? Yeah, I just have my issues with that. But in addition to that, yeah, I mean, what about all – I know they talk about them, but we never have a visual representation really – I mean, other than actually Sarra! – of the people that he hurt. So like, what’s best for Cailet. Sure. But like, is that best for Sarra?

Aradia: Well, Sarra is not Jesus, so she doesn’t count.

Ali: And that’s what I’m saying. Justice for Sarra. Because really, I mean, Cailet, yes, the mommy trauma is sad and I’m not taking that away from her. But if we’re looking at, like, who has suffered the most because of Auvry Feiran, it is Sarra – I mean Glenin also, but I don’t think they’re factoring her into the conversation at all. But Sarra has suffered an unbelievable amount and that’s going to be disregarded because her sister’s Jesus? I just. What about all the people that he killed? And the people who loved them? I just, I don’t know. Here’s the thing. I appreciate that Melanie Rawn had this discussion because I think it’s an important discussion to have and to keep having. I do believe that there is hot nuance to a lot of issues and that we can find that hot nuance and give people the grace that they need while still holding them accountable. Right. Because obviously, a lot of the time people are messy and do messy things because mess has been done onto them or because of context that we’re not necessarily always privy to and that they can’t always articulate it. That being said, I also believe in accountability. I believe in having both, like the whole thing about cancel culture and everything. I’m like, it’s nuanced.

Bree: I mean, sending Auvry Feiran to the place where all the Mages he killed are hanging out, he’s probably going to get cyberbullied for the rest of his natural afterlife.

Ali: Yeah, that sounds like a bad time anyway, I’m not sure if he would really want to be there anyway, but you know, I mean, just from – and of course I’m neurodivergent so have a strong feeling about justice, of course, which I will also factor into the equation. And I know it’s not a black and white thing, but that’s my issue with heaven and hell, it is a black and white thing. It turned the whole spectrum of nuance about human behavior into a black and white moral quandary. And I just don’t like that because I’m like, I think that we can have a nuanced discussion about, it’s great that he turned at the buzzer. It’s also kind of a little too little too late. And yes, he was messy and there were circumstances that certainly led to him being a dick. But that doesn’t mean that we go and massacre an entire city of people who were innocent of all of that harm done to you. You know, I think. Yeah, I think that ultimately the conclusion that I end on is like, I think that we can leave space for all of those things to be true and to try and categorize it as good or evil is a futile and unnecessary and maddening prospect. And we’re not worthwhile, just be like, he did bad stuff and did one good thing at the end.

Aradia: Yeah. But like, you know, we saw Anniyas get eaten by the Wraith of her son. It would make sense to send Auvry into a similar pit. You know, like you have to go live with all the people you killed. Like, that would make sense. Like, I just. I feel like Cailet can just take some ayahuasca and, like, purge this out on her own, without ghost forgiveness.

Ali: Let the earth forgive you.

Bree: See, here’s the thing. I don’t agree with you guys. I mean, I don’t disagree with you either. I agree with you 100% of everything you said. I think it makes sense because I think these people have been responsible for thousands of years for trying to build a better world. And they fucked up. They all fucked up, like they fucked up so bad that they put all of their memories and a couple other random dudes, into a 17 year old, who then got traumatized real bad and the only hope of magic not turning into a shit show in the future is this one girl’s emotional health. In a world that does not seem to have therapy.

Ali: Again, where is the therapy?

Aradia: Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Yeah, yeah.

Bree: I think they chose to try to – they’ve got a 17 year old and she’s got all the power from here on out. Unless they die and put her brain and everybody else into a new person. And I think that they decided that they can either have one who is emo and sad and does not believe in hope, or they can try to give her the emotional grace to grow up into someone who will make the future for magic that they want. And so that’s why they did it. And is that great? No. Is any of this great? No. This magic system that they have set up is kind of a fucking mess. And so I kind of like what they did in that choosing to give Cailet – give her the chance to be a hopeful person who believes in hope and redemption is probably the best thing they can do for everyone who has to live in this world where she’s the most powerful, magical person around. Is it fair?

Aradia: Yeah. We do have to think about looking forward rather than revenge. That is also a very big part of this.

Ali: True. That’s valid and necessary.

Aradia: Yeah, that’s valid. Yeah.

Bree: I think that that’s what they did. They looked at who Cailet can be. Now would it have been better if they had said, Why don’t we invent therapy? Yes.

Aradia: No heaven, no hell, much more therapy. And this whole situation is different.

Bree: So much more therapy. But in a way, I liked the thematic idea that we need to put aside our need. And because these people were hurt, he turned on everything that they were. And some of them, I mean, one of them, who was arguing for his absolution, he directly fucking killed. The Garvedian Captal, Leninor or whatever? Yeah, like he killed her. And she was still sort of arguing for it. And did you guys notice? I don’t know if you did, because Ghost Court was popping off, but there is a very line for you, Ali, in there, where she says, “You think me a fool, I know, for keeping watch over Collan all these years.”

Aradia: Yes, I did catch that!

Bree: So there’s a heavy implication that this old Captal has been watching over him. I mean, she says she’s been watching over him. So, like, is she the wind?

Aradia: She’s the wind. She’s the wind. She’s the wind. That line says she’s the wind.

Ali: She’s the wind.

Bree: She was alive when the wind happened, I think, by the timeline. But like, what’s going on here? I personally at this point, especially because remember just like in the previous section, or maybe it’s the next, whenever Collan’s dancing, one of the Garvedian shows up and goes, That’s Collan? I kind of think he might be a Garvedian. That’s, that’s one of my little things that I thought at the end of this book.

Ali: Remind me what a Garvedian is.

Aradia: One of the families.

Bree: The hot chick. The hot chick who was in love with Elo.

Ali: Okay, Yeah.

Bree: I’m not sure I’m pronouncing that right. I probably said it like six different ways. Lusira is the – they all got L names, and then they’re – But I think like we’re supposed to think that this hot chick who has shown up that’s Lusira’s cousin is hitting on him. But I sort of think that it’s actually a secret, Oh, wait, that’s Collan. So maybe, maybe, maybe. I don’t know. Just something’s going on there.

Aradia: I like it. I did catch the line, and I was like, That’s the wind person who, however the wind happened. That’s the wind person for sure. Wind for sure. No, no doubt.

Ali: Wind lady. Yeah.

Bree: But yeah, she got murdered by Auvry Feiran.

Ali: Surprise, surprise.

Bree: And she still says, You know, listen, this chick, this Cailet is lonely and desperate for love. And Gorynel Desse fucked her up because of course he did. And so we need to, you know, make this choice for her. And I don’t think it’s about whether she suffered more than anyone else. I think it’s the damage that she can do going forward if she does not have hope in her heart, if she doesn’t believe in mercy and redemption, they need her to because she is the head of machine guns for hands. So we need machine guns for hands.

Aradia: Yeah, we can forgive one shitty person for the sake of literally saving the world. I guess.

Bree: Ali is like, Oh, do we have to?

Ali: But it’s not even so much about the absolution or forgiveness. I’m very much one that believes that a lot of the time you’re not going to get that level of closure with the things, you know. Where we can say like this is definitively bad or good or ended in a satisfying way. And certainly what is best for Cailet ultimately is what’s best for the world and what we should be oriented in, whatever these kinds of things happen is largely trying to kind of like find beauty that can come out of bad, right? What can we create moving forward in response to that bad that will lend itself to a better world where maybe that won’t happen again. And I think that’s the mission that, out of trauma we can find for ourselves. That doesn’t mean that that thing happened for a reason, but it does mean that we can find reason for being out of it. Right? So I think there is a certain extent to which that is what is happening is that it’s like, well, there is a very young, very fragile, very scared young lady who needs the powers that be to grant some grace. It’s not about what’s good for Auvry Feiran. And I do think that that’s important, that we have a victim oriented mentality about this, we do need to think about in our quest for justice, not just about our own anger, but what is best for the victims involved.

Aradia: Repair and restoration.

Ali: Yeah, in that repair and restoration is like violent, brutal justice really going to help them, you know, find the peace that they need? Maybe not.

Bree: I am going to say I still hope they’re going to cyberbully him in the afterlife.

Aradia: Little ghost shunning seems reasonable.

Bree: Just, just lightly.

Ali: And this is why I’m kind of drawn to reincarnate action as a concept, because I’m like, there’s a lot of Tiers at which this could go right? There’s a lot there’s a lot of ways to factor in nuance, like are they –

Aradia: Put in a millennia as a mosquito getting slapped constantly.

Ali: Yeah. Are they mosquito level? Are they cockroach level? Are they excrement level? Like, at what level do we want to scatter these atoms? Right. I think there is a little bit more room for nuance there. And you know, you become a part of everything. But to what extent, maybe those items get humbled a little bit for a while. But, you know, I’m excited that this conversation is happening in this book because I think that there is a lot of – like our podcast attests, it’s a lot of hot nuance. I just think the black and whiteness of it strikes me a little funny. And I am also always a little like, Well, it does always come back to protecting the youngest child, doesn’t it? In these family trauma moments, it’s like what’s best for the youngest? We all, the oldest will bear the brunt of the trauma and the youngest we will protect. I mean, granted, that is also a nuanced thing to say. And of course, it’s not every family’s reality, but – I suppose that as an older sister, if I were faced with this trauma, and it would be like – it would ultimately come down to, what is best for my youngest sister. Of course.

Bree: I’m a big sister.

Ali: It does make sense.

Bree: Where I kind of come down on this is, I think this is the smartest choice they could have made in a world where the future of humanity rests on an emotionally traumatized 17 year old girl. But how about we go forward and build a world where the future never rests on the emotional well-being of one traumatized 17 year old girl? Because that’s a bad system. It’s just a bad system.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: So I am thumbs down on the system, but you did what you had to do. But let’s make it better.

Ali: In the process we are also shunting the responsibility for the creation of that world onto said traumatized 17 year old.

Bree: Yep. I mean, they shunted it onto her the minute they made her the Captal. And I mean, she can just sort of be like, Yeah, let Mages die out, I guess. But, you know.

Ali: I guess I kind of at this point am like, Oh, now you’re thinking about what’s best for Cailet. Like, Oh, now you are.

Aradia: Right, yeah yeah yeah.

Bree: Well, they owe her, because boy they had not thought about it yet.

Ali: I guess they do. I guess it’s time someone other than Sarra thought about what’s best for Cailet.

Bree: So, Ghost Court.

Ali: That’s where I’ll end on it. I guess I will accept that we are finally thinking about Cailet, and I guess as an older sister, I would also land on the, what’s best for her is probably best for me. I do think though, that the only way to honor the rest of the victims then is to clean up a lot of shit on aisle 12.

Aradia: Which Sarra is all gung ho to do that. So I have optimism for the sisterhood of the traveling reformation.

Ali: Of the traveling trauma.

1:52:24 Music break. Dreams, chapter 5: Phenotypes

Bree: Well, the next part is part five, and it goes down pretty fast. I do want to ask you guys, do you think that we just saw the Wards work, when Collan sees Sarra and Cailet hugging and he’s like, Oh wow, they’re sisters. Why didn’t anybody notice it before, they look so much alike? And then his brain, like, record scratches and immediately goes, No, they don’t look anything like. Do you think that was the Wards? Did they just kick in again?

Aradia: Naw, I thought that was just him being sarcastic.

Bree: You think so?

Aradia: I didn’t think that much of it. I thought he was just like, Yeah, I mean, they look similar. They don’t, but they do. But they don’t. I don’t know. I didn’t read that much into it.

Ali: I think I also didn’t read that much into it, only because I have two sisters. We all have blond hair, and that’s pretty much the extent to which we look like one another, and we’ll get a lot of comments like, You all look alike. And then they kind of look at us and they go, I mean… Well, they’ll go, You don’t look alike. I mean, I guess the hair. Yeah, you know, there’s a lot of that.

Aradia: Oh, my God. Me and my sibling look so different. Like my brother looks more like our stepdad than our actual dad.

Ali: Genetics is so weird.

Aradia: It’s wild. My mom has gone around and had to field so many questions being like, No, no, no, despite the fact that they look extremely similar, that’s not actually the biological father, the biological fathers. And you put me and my brother side by side and are like, These are not siblings. You’d have to scrutinize us to not believe that, like it’d be so easy for us to say we aren’t siblings. It’s only when you look closely that you can tell we’ve got some underlying bone structure that’s the same, but like our height and our coloring are just radically different. And fun thing, I recently sent off my ancestry DNA test because he’s done his before and I learned recently that full siblings don’t get the same results back. You get different results. You know, given how different we look, surely our results are going to be equally divergent, like because we don’t look alike. It’s so epigenetics, man.

Ali: Isn’t that interesting, that you and your siblings don’t get the same? Yeah, you don’t necessarily get the same breakdown of what your ancestry was.

Aradia: That’s bonkers.

Ali: So, I mean, it makes sense because like the phenotypes that show up in siblings can be so drastically different. Like, I know a family with three kids, one was a blond, one was a brunet, and one was a redhead.

Aradia: Oh, yeah.

Ali: And I always thought that was wild. You know, I really, like that’s kind of wild.

Bree: I mean, look at me, you guys. My brother is a tanned redhead, who is, like, four inches shorter than me. Yeah, we just totally, totally different.

Ali: I have a friend who’s half Italian. She is blond haired, blue eyed, fair skinned. Her younger siblings are tan and have dark hair. And they look nothing alike, she’s like, They would always think at the park that my dad was kidnapping me, because we look so different. Yeah. So you just can’t assume anything nowadays about siblings. But at the same time it totally could also be Wards. I just did not think about it. At all.

Aradia: Hey I mean yeah, I could totally imagine that there’s a few last traceries of Wards that are still poofing off as these interactions happen. It just didn’t occur to me until you brought it up.

Ali: I think I was just so ready for the cat to be out of the bag with those Wards, that when I decided the Wards were gone, the Wards were gone.

Aradia: Yeah, totally.

Ali: I was just like, I am ready for the secrets to be out. I’m just not a fan of keeping crucial information from people. I just am like, It’s not efficient. Please.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Can we all be on the same page.

Aradia: But this little chapter was just to get Cailet and Sarra to go off and have a private conversation. It’s just the interlude of that.

Bree: Yeah. Collan’s worried about Cailet. She is showing the trauma, let’s just say. And so he gets a drink and he goes like he’s ready to go and like, you know, talk to her because he’s got Big Brother vibes, and I do love how protective Collan is of Cailet.

Ali: I love that.

1:57:00 Music break. Dreams, chapter 6: World building lore, after the fact

Bree: But she and Sarra have wandered off to have that conversation.

Aradia: Dun dun dun!.

Bree: And this is like – Ali, I mean you’ve pretty much already covered this. Cailet’s like, Yeah, I’ve got good news. Here’s some pins. Daddy loved me just all the time! And Sarra’s like, Uh, what? No.

Ali: It’s amazing how even if you do grow up in the same house with the same parents, you can have a drastically different childhood than your sibling. I’m not necessarily talking from personal experience, by the way. But you can have a drastically different childhood from your siblings. Partially because I do think that there are older siblings that shield their younger siblings from some of the more problematic aspects of their childhood purposefully. And so then sometimes it’s kind of wild to have conversations after the fact with your sibling, because they don’t have the same perception of reality that you do. And that could be really frustrating to experience, I think, for some people. I talk to a lot of people with a lot of different life circumstances.

Bree: For older siblings who were sort of parents like, you know, second string parents –

Ali: Or parentified in some way?

Bree: It can be both affirming, like, wow, I did a great job. And also frustrating, like, wow, you don’t understand how much shit I was taking on the back, like, as I was shielding you from it.

Ali: Yeah. Which is like, good job, good job, you know, older sibling. But also, I mean, that’s a lot. And you don’t always get to have that moment of like, Wow, you really did that for me! You know, because they don’t see it. And by your design, they didn’t see it.

Bree: Thank God I live in a world with therapy. Poor Sarra.

Ali: Always, poor Sarra. And so, you know, I am happy for Cailet that there is something that she has that she can hold on to. But I also empathize a lot with Sarra in this moment where, like, her frustration is coming from. How do you not see, I know you spent 5 minutes with him and those 5 minutes were him at his very best. But like, how do you not see that everyone we could have cared about is gone and we were forced to have these very traumatic upbringings and everything that’s happened to both of us is all because of him. Yeah, I would be frustrated too, if I were Sarra in that circumstance.

Bree: Also, he tortured the man she loves, he like, tortured Collan.

Ali: Oh yeah. There’s just so many things where it’s like, uurgh. Older siblings can’t catch a break. I just, you know, it’s just so complicated because I feel like Sarra’s feelings are absolutely valid about her father. And here’s my thing. I think that forgiving and reconciling your past is a deeply personal thing. And if you don’t want to forgive someone or you’re not ready, that is your prerogative, Right?

Ali: And far be it from anyone for anyone to say you have to do that. Yeah. So I just don’t think she has to forgive Auvry.

Bree: The grand force of the universe, like, might have a higher responsibility to think about the big picture. Sarra gets to hate this man for the rest of her life. And anyone who tells her not to, I will fight them. In the streets.

Ali: 100%. Even if the – and Cailet is not even someone who gets to tell her how she gets to feel about Auvry.

Aradia: Oh, god, no.

Ali: It just reminds me a lot of that dynamic, though, how there are a lot of times that – I have a lot of friends who talk to me about the fact that they feel like their younger siblings lived completely different experiences than them. I mean, you know, even as an example, my sister and I, our parents were divorced, so we were traveling back and forth to two different households, while our youngest sister – And that was a similar thing that all of our older step siblings shared. My youngest sister’s parents, my mom and her dad, have been married her whole life. Her home is her home. Completely different childhood, like we were in and out, but she was always there with the same set of adults, with everything. And it’s a completely different experience. And it’s not that that doesn’t mean – I’m super close with her, but my other sister and I have a shared experience that she just doesn’t have. And it’s just like, you don’t remember all of that and you weren’t a part of all of that. And that’s just a different life. And I think that’s the same thing here. It’s like they lived very different life experiences in relation to Auvry, and so they get to have very different responses to how they want to feel about it. And yeah, Sarra gets to hate him as long as she wants.

Aradia: I mean, Sarra describes having been afraid of him ever since the family broke up when she was five. Like he has loomed large as a villain and a monster. Right? Like, just because he saved you at the last minute doesn’t mean I didn’t spend the last 15 years in terror of the man, right? Like these are different frickin scales.

Ali: And I remember all the family that’s gone, you don’t.

Aradia: Right.

Ali: So, you know, hearing that your aunts and uncles and grandmother are dead, that doesn’t impact you in the same way, at all. I think in some ways, Sarra’s relationship with Auvry is more complicated.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Because she has all that memory banked. Whereas Cailet got to see him one time at his very best. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s an accurate representation of who he was. And so then for her to try to tell Sarra who he was, I imagine it would be really frustrating, because it’s like, you don’t know! All of this stuff that has happened? Yeah, there are Captals in your head that can inform you, but all of the stuff that’s in you, it’s all theoretical to you, but it’s real to me because that was my life. Whereas you get to read about it. It’s like the people who are alive for 9/11 versus not. It’s like, that was real to us. And that’s just a story to you.

Aradia: The first time that I heard that that was being considered weird old history, I was like, What?

Ali: That people are like, No, that’s the thing that happened. And you’re like, No, I was there. It was a thing. It was traumatic. It was scary.

Aradia: Yeah. It’s like there’s life before and after. Like, fuck.

Ali: Yeah, everything changed.

Ali: The whole country just completely changed. It was wild. Yeah. So I just. Yeah, I don’t know. To me, that’s how it kind of feels, is talking to somebody who’s like, I wasn’t there, but I’m going to give you an opinion on it. And you’re like, You weren’t there, you don’t know.

Aradia: Yeah. And then to spiral tangentially back to the book, then there’s the, Can you keep our relationship secret from your husband, question. She’s like, Hey, can you not tell Collan like, all of this stuff? And I’m like, obviously, I get the political implications of that, but let’s just take this traumatic, complicated situation and just add lying to our intimate family members on top. Like, you know how you get to the point of needing more therapy? This is how. You have a world with no and you’re stacking up needs for more therapy. Like, ugh.

Ali: This is how trauma begets trauma. It’s like, we’re being open. We’re going to do things to other people out of context. They’re not going to have the context for it. They’re going to make assumptions. They’re going to give us feedback back. And we’ll just keep being mad at each other, back and forth forever. Keeping secrets from each other back and forth forever, or keep not talking around an issue back and forth forever, until it comes out at a chandeliering point.

Aradia: Yeah, exactly.

Ali: And then we’ve traumatized someone, right? Because now, we’ve probably blown up and gone over the top. Like, now it’s a whole thing again. And it just comes leaking out somehow or exploding out somehow. And this is my thing. I mean, all of us have partners, right, that we’ve been with for a long time. How much do you keep from your partner?

Aradia: More than I should, because I have emotional issues.

Ali: Valid. You’re real for that.

Bree: He knows my name.

Ali: He knows my name! Okay, well, maybe I’m just an oversharer.

Bree: No, no, no. I mean, I’m saying that in a – that’s a very basic thing to tell. And this is what they’re arguing about. Right?

Aradia: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Bree: Like, literally, do we tell Collan my last name, and Collan’s not going to know their last name. He’s literally not going to know Sarra’s last name.

Aradia: Cailet proposes keeping their sisterhood secret until Sarra is like, Ah, that cat’s already out of the bag.

Ali: But I’m like, how? How do you keep something that huge from my partner?

Aradia: Yeah. The only things I keep secret are, like my stupid shit, you know, like, important things – I guess Cailet just figures this is her stupid shit. We all have our own bar for what stupid shit qualifies as.

Ali: I mean, for me, like, there’s not really anything Gus doesn’t probably instantly know. I think partially just because I’m not a – I just can’t keep secrets of my own, obviously, based on what I sometimes share on this podcast. But like, I just don’t really have secrets because – Well, okay, that’s not true. I do have secrets, but not from him. He’s kind of like an exception to the rule. Unless someone specifically is like, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell Gus and it’s someone else’s secret, then I will draw that line and be like, Yeah, then Gus doesn’t get to know that. But I mean, that’s rare.

Aradia: But yeah, I mean, I get what you’re saying. Like I chronically overshare the blow by blow of my life and have to like reel it back in, because I’m like, And then they said this and then they said that. And by the way, here’s the Wheel of Time reference that makes the joke make sense. And it’s like, it’s blow by blow.

Ali: Now we get to analyze whether or not someone hates me based on an interaction we had at a party.

Aradia: Yeah, totally.

Ali: Now we get to sit there and analyze that, and he’s like, No one hates you. And I’m like, I don’t agree.

Aradia: Yeah. No, I absolutely. Yes. And it’s hard to imagine that someone as intelligent and story oriented as Collan is going to let the little white lies slide. He’s going to demand an explanation. And if you put it off long enough, he’s probably going to divorce you when the truth comes out because you lied to him for so long. Like, that’s what I see them setting up here. You know.

Bree: This blank face is me knowing the answer, the book 2 answer.

Ali: Yeah, I just. I don’t see a world in which you can keep that from him. I just don’t see that working out. It’s just too funda – Well, it’s this. Here’s the thing. If she keeps from him what her identity is, she has to keep her entire life story basically from him. That’s her whole life. You cannot keep your whole life from your partner, even unintentionally, and have that be a marriage that works, because he’s eventually going to like, So how did you end up being fostered by these people? What was your life before, you’re old enough to have memories.

Bree: Well, what she does is, she has a story. She has a story for that, which is basically – she’s telling Collan this story, which is the story that she’s sort of like – they’re not going to make it public, but that she was the daughter of Mages killed at Ambrai, which is, you know, the daughter of people killed at Ambrai, which is not an untrue statement. It’s just not a, which people, daughter of which people killed at Ambrai.

Aradia: Yes. Darth Vader killed your father.

Bree: It is very much the Darth Vader kills your father of explanations. But so Collan knows that she was an orphan because her parents were killed in Ambrai and that she was fostered by Agatine. So that’s what Collan knows. And it’s, you know, it’s a story. She was five. She may not have to, like, go much deeper than that, but it doesn’t really matter because so much of the context of this entire thing, like all the trauma she just went through, is so dependent on who she is. It doesn’t matter if the story checks out. Her emotional truth can’t be, she can’t share them. She can’t share the trauma she just underwent where her father tortured him. You know, and part of it is, she doesn’t want to because she doesn’t want him to look at her and think, your dad tortured me. But like, you’re right. There’s a fundamental dishonesty in that relationship because so much of her emotional wounds don’t make sense if you don’t know who her parents are and who her sister is.

Ali: Yeah, I just think that relationships built on lies, it’s not a great foundation for a healthy relationship. I don’t think.

Bree: It is messy.

Ali: So, you know, because I guess for me it’s like a tragic thing because it’s like I just trust Gus with pretty much everything. Well, I guess there was a moment where I eventually did, right, like obviously they took a second.

Aradia: Sure.

Ali: But like, there’s just a point at which – like I told him all of the things that I think make me unlovable in some way, or all of the worst things about myself I could think of that I just flagellate myself over. Because I think everybody has those moments. And he was like, Oh, that’s okay. Like, you have intrusive thoughts. So does everyone. Things like that where you’re like, Ah, this makes me bad, this makes me awful. And it was so healing to just have, like, your partner accept all of you in that way, right? And you’re like, Okay, I am fundamentally a lovable person and can trust somebody with who I am. In its wholeness. And I guess they found all of those flaws not that bad, actually. And that’s really helpful. And it’s sad to me that Sarra is being asked to not have that with her partner and not share who she is with her partner. I just feel like that’s such a big ask and such a fundamentally sad thing to be asked, because it’s such gift when you do find those people in your life – and it doesn’t have to be a partner, but like a friend or a sibling that does know all of you, that’s a real gift that she’s being told to not have.

Bree: But there is a specific point where she says she’s not going to tell Collan. It is her choice when she thinks about it, because she does not want him to know that Auvry is her father.

Aradia: Yeah, And that’s her call, which is –

Ali: Yeah, that is her call.

Bree: So it’s not just her being asked that. She’s also choosing that, I think. And I can’t, like, tell her – I mean, I feel like I can’t judge her too hard. You know, maybe he has a right to know or maybe he doesn’t. But that’s a hard one. Like, do you have to tell the man you love that your secret dad tortured him?

Ali: Ah.

Aradia: Ha!

Bree: That’s one for the hot nuance books.

Ali: Here’s the thing. Here’s my feeling. Obviously, that’s a deeply personal decision. There is an element of Does he have a right to know? Probably. You know, I do think that is an important piece of information that he’s missing. But also feel like the relationship that Collan and Sarra have could withstand that information. Do you know what I mean? Like, I think that his feelings for her are such that, like, he would not hold that against her.

Aradia: Yeah, she wasn’t like, working with Auvry at the time at all. I mean, they’re very separate entities.

Ali: It’s not like she was Glenin about that whole thing.

Aradia: Exactly. Exactly.

Ali: It’s like, that was very much against her will. Very much traumatic for her. In every way. Right? So it’s like really it’s more of a shared trauma that they have in every way. I think it would contextualize some moments that he has with her going forward, that might make their communication healthier. I think ultimately it’s something where you’re like, it’s a huge risk for her. Right? But I do think it’s a risk worth taking ultimately, because I’m just like, how do you live with that otherwise? How do you live with that knowledge with yourself and the guilt of that otherwise, without being open with him about it, and allowing him to make the choice. Again, as much as it is Sarra’s choice, she, by extension, is denying Collan his.

Bree: Yeah, yeah.

Ali: And then by extension, by extension, denying herself the ability to reconcile that her father did a monstrous thing to somebody she loved. But that is not her responsibility per se. You know, I think until you have that come to Jesus with each other, that’s going to be something that informs your relationship forever. Like, that’s something that’s going to be hard to move past mentally, for her.

Bree: I think she’s going to do the emotional equivalent of casting a Ward on it every day. That’s what seems to be the choice right now. These girls.

Ali: I think it’s going to – it just ultimately will affect your relationship even if you don’t talk about it, because then there’s just all these – like you’re just going to inevitably – it leaks out in weird ways. And I think he’s going to notice that that’s off. But he has got no explanation or context.

Aradia: Yeah. And also if you consider, in this chapter they discuss how Sarra’s going to have a whole bunch of Mageborn children. And I’m like, So is the wild magic of those kids’ grandfather ever going to come up? That’s a very loose end that we’re just leaving on the completely unexplored – Collan’s going to have these kids who might possibly have wild magic erupting out of them because of their grandfather, and he has no idea who that grandfather is like. It just – hmm.

Bree: I do think that the wild magic implication was that it was because he got so old with his magic untrained. And that’s what Cailet is saying, You got to give me those babies.

Aradia: Okay.

Bree: So that I can, like, stay on top of that.

Aradia: But still.

Bree: I do think that’s like what the implication there is. But yeah.

Aradia: Okay. I didn’t – I didn’t follow that.

Bree: It was a very small detail. Like it’s when he tells Glenin the story, and his magic awoke in him because he got the Captal’s summons, basically. Yeah. And it sort of woke his magic and there was no one around to help him deal with it. So Cailet clearly plans to keep an eye on these babies and their magic.

Aradia: And like, okay. And I want to be pro Cailet taking the babies, but also, What the fuck Glenin, Give me your babies so I can train them? Like, why is it okay when Cailet says it and creepy when Glenin says it? You know, she’s treading real close to the line of Malerrisi thinking.

Bree: Well, I don’t think you’re going to be like, taking her babies, but she is going to be taking their teenagers.

Aradia: Sure. Sure.

Bree: You know, puberty seems to be sort of the magic.

Ali: Yeah, but how do you explain to your spouse Cailet’s interest in them? I mean, yeah, she’s their aunt. But how do you explain – how do you explain her interests?

Bree: Well, I think aunt works.

Ali: Also, wait, was Collan there for that final thing?

Bree: Also, they’re like BFFs. I mean, nobody asked to explain my interest in Donna’s kids. Like, she’s my BFF and they’re my babies, you know? So I think that’s sort of an easy one.

Ali: I mean sure. Bu was Collan at that final confrontation, though? Wasn’t he? There?

Bree: No.

Ali: When Auvry sacrificed himself for Cailet?

Bree: No, no. He and Sarra were asleep. Remember, Cailet sleep spelled them. So they were just unconscious. So only Cailet was there.

Ali: Mm hmm.

Bree: Okay, so now we’re just going into this future with big lies. Big lies, just assume everybody’s lying.

Ali: I just feel like the note we’re going to end on narratively is not going to be, Lie to your spouse about your past.

Aradia: I don’t want that, no.

Ali: Especially when he has proven himself to be so trustworthy and there for them?

Bree: I mean, I think Sarra’s just scared. I think that’s what it all is. I think she’s scared that he’ll look at her differently.

Ali: Well, love is scary.

Bree: Because they are very young and very new. And I will say there’s a possibility that once they’ve been together longer – like these two basically got meet cute, forced proximity, and that’s like the longest they’ve been together. So there’s a possibility that this will get better and communication will improve when they’ve actually spent time together. We can hope.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. As long as it doesn’t come out awkwardly and chandelier-ly. It would have to be like, Hey, so we’ve been together for five years and we’ve had a good month, so let’s talk.

Ali: But on Collan’s side. Okay. Imagine, you have your partner, you trust them 100%. Like, I was trying to imagine Gus comes to me and is like, Okay, so we’ve been together ten years, right? So now we’ve got all of our lore, we’ve got everything going on, and now I’m going to drop new lore on you that is so huge, it’s going to recontest our entire relationship. I’m like that’s, that could be a big betrayal in a way, that you didn’t inform them of that earlier. You know?

Bree: Oh, definitely. We are definitely making this part nine marriage very dark now.

Ali: And listen, new lore gets dropped between each other every day all the time, because you like re- remember thing, and whatever. But this is big.

Bree: You’re right, this is big lore.

Ali: This is recontextualizing lore.

Bree: This is world building lore.

Ali: It’s like, okay, when you go into a relationship, does your partner not deserve to know that you have an STI? Things like that, where you’re like, there are just some things that you kind of have to say up top, because if you say it later on, is that not kind of a fundamental breach of trust a little bit?

Bree: Yeah, it is. But I do think that at the end of the day there’s also a –

Ali: I’m not saying they can’t survive it.

Bree: There’s also a, sins of the father. Like, she refuses to accept this man as her father. At what point is it unfair to force her to like – she’s allowed to decouple, to like, you know, deny this legacy. She shouldn’t have to drag it along behind her.

Ali: Valid. I don’t think she needs to introduce herself in every conversation saying that that’s her father.

Bree: No.

Ali: I’m team Be honest with your spouse and I’m going to die on that hill. Because to die on any other hill would make Gus look at me funny.

Bree: It’s a hard one. Well, Mr. Bree is not going to listen to this, but also, Mr. Bree, I promise I do not have any secret parents who are really crazy, scary murderers.

Ali: Yeah, I don’t know. I just. I Yeah, I think it’s one of those where it’s like. That is a complex one.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: That’s a toughie.

Bree: I don’t want to punish Sarra for having the dad she has, when she has been punished enough for that. But I also understand, there’s a lot there.

Ali: At the same time. At the same time. True that. At the same time. I guess for me, looking at it being an outsider, looking at it – Obviously if I were Sarra, this would be such a scary choice and ladidadida, holding space for Sarra. But I guess as an outsider looking at their relationship, I’m just like, I feel like it would ultimately be better for your relationship with him – And love is risky, it’s worth the risk of being seen, because I just feel like his response would be, That’s not on you. And then they can move forward versus now, this is just something hanging over them forever. This unspoken thing. I, you know, it just feels like ultimately, while this might feel like an easier, nicer decision to make now, I think ultimately, in the long run, their relationship could suffer for it. Do you know what I mean?

Bree: Yeah. She’s planning to denial her way out of it. And generally speaking, that’s never the move that goes well.

Ali: I feel like washing things down, deny, deny, deny, is always the way to handle trauma. It is. It’s how we best move forward. Actually, don’t listen to therapists. Just kidding.

Bree: Speaking of moving forward, Sarra exits the scene because she’s done with it. Sarra is like, I’m done with you and your daddy issues. Trying to make them my daddy issues. I don’t have a daddy. What? Sarra’s in denial mode.

Ali: I sprang out of the ground.

Bree: Sarra is just like, bye bye. And so then the minute she denies her father and leaves, he does spring out of the ground, literally. Just like, Surprise, I’m here. I’m a ghost.

Aradia: One last ghost chat.

Bree: I’m going to give you some more daddy issues now that Sarra’s gone.

Aradia: But hey, he’s doubling the length of their relationship with this conversation.

Ali: Go away. Go away. Like, I just, when he showed up as a – go away, you have done enough to these girls. You do not get to do anything more in your afterlife. You are done.

Aradia: But in fairness, he had to do this in order for the ghost verdict to matter. Right?

Bree: That is true.

Aradia: This is how she gets informed the verdict came down the way it did.

Ali: Could they have sent anyone else?

Aradia: This meeting could have been a email!

Ali: Even if it were Gorynel Desse –

Aradia: Oh my god.

Ali: I would have preferred Gorynel Desse over this asshole showing up.

Bree: Oh, God.

Aradia: I would not.

Bree: Ali is mad. Ali’s like, Gorynel Desse –

Ali: Literally. That’s how mad I am that he showed up, because I was like, Have you not done enough?

Bree: When he popped back up, Ali, I was like, Ali is going to be so mad this bitch is back.

Ali: It’s just like, Have you not done enough? The one thing about death is it’s final. That is the closure. And whether that’s a satisfying closure or not is up to you. But that is the closure. And then we just get to process your bullshit. If you inflicted any from there on out, you don’t get to come back and do some revisionism shit. Imagine! Imagine if some like historical bad guy came back to just give his little version of events or whatever. No, you have done enough. Now we get to not be rid of you. We are rid of you. Now you don’t get to come back and do a PS.

Aradia: I will say, though, in his defense, she’s been numb and stoic this whole time. And after she fills herself with the love in his eyes and hears that he loves her, she cries. And generally speaking, in a therapeutic context, if you move from being numb to crying, you’re making good progress.

Ali: Okay. However, that is, and that is caused by love bombing. Love bombing. We are getting love bombing that is causing that emotion. It’s not like a healthy processing of emotion. It’s daddy loves me. Daddy doesn’t love you, Daddy doesn’t know you. He loves you because you’re powerful.

Bree: Ali, I could not love more how much you hate him, like it is my favorite thing of this podcast.

Ali: I hate him so – I’m going to die on the hill of, I am right to hate someone who is a family annihilator who massacred an entire city. If that makes me wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Bree: No, it’s just your view is amazing. It’s beautiful.

Ali: Hate this man.

Aradia: He does give us the insight that Cailet is supposed to help adult Sarra access her magic. Which like, with him, apparently, he accessed it too late. So it was all cattywampus. Sarra hasn’t been able to access it at all because Gorynel Desse, like, locked it away. And apparently now Cailet not only has to, you know, carry all these daddy issues by herself, she now has to fix her sister’s problems that other men put on her.

Ali: She’s been parentified.

Aradia: Literally, the youngest child has been parented inside. What an incredible maneuver from ghost daddy.

Bree: We’re giving her more homework.

Ali: We have been doing everything to protect the feelings of an already traumatized child. And then this mother fucker shows up and gives her a task, which is Take care of your sister. How about you have taking care of her, dad? How about you have done that? Was that not your job in your life? And now in death you’re going to come back and be like, Oh, by the way you’re you’ve got to help your sisters deal with the shit that I caused? Fuck you, Fuck you. Oh, my God. You do not deserve the afterlife that you’re getting. You are lucky that you got it. And this, too! This is my thing. He does admit that he is the reason for Glenin. He does. He does own that. But I’m like, It’s too late, Dad. It’s too late. You did this, and now you’re expecting your children to undo it. You’re just passing the buck on all of the crap.

Bree: This is the literal manifestation, ghostly manifestation of generational trauma, right here.

Aradia: Yes. Yes. And also what is with the line, You were Captal from the moment of your birth? Like, what the fuck even does that mean?

Ali: And that’s why I couldn’t know about you. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, is that they knew they were going to have a powerful child and they needed to keep her from Auvry because that’s all he wants. He does not love Cailet. He loves that Cailet is powerful and that he looks at her as an extension of himself. That’s why he left Sarra behind, because he was like, She’s not enough for me to stay. Just absolutely Fuck you, man. Just absolutely – And now he just gets to rest. I mean, guess hopefully he gets bullied.

Bree: Absolutely.

Ali: And doesn’t get invited to any of the heaven functions. But like, now he’s like, I’m going to rest now in my eternal paradise. Thanks, by the way, for being the reason why I get to do that. Now you’ve got to fix all of the trauma I caused?

Bree: I mean, to be fair, we don’t know that it’s paradise.

Aradia: It’s not the dead white forest. It’s whatever the opposite of a dead white forest is.

Bree: We don’t know that it’s paradise. We just know that it’s not the dead white forest. I mean, how much paradise-y could it be? They still have jobs. Apparently, they have to do Ghost Court. He’s going to get cyberbullied.

Aradia: I really hope that he’s just like, ghosts gopher-ed, always getting the coffee. You know.

Ali: Being a Mage sounds like ass. You don’t even get to retire in death. That sounds like ass.

Bree: Hey, the Mages apparently have a weird thing going on here. That was that. But I will tell you, that’s the last we’re going to see in this book of Auvry Feiran. So, RIP or not.

Aradia: Rest in pieces.

Ali: No. Rest in pieces. I’m just so enraged.

Bree: Goodbye, Sir. We knew you better than we wanted. Ali hates you. We all hate you. We all hate you, except for Cailets. And we hate that Cailet doesn’t hate you.

Aradia: You’ve displaced Gorynel Desse on the hate-o-meter. Good job.

Ali: You broke the hate-o-meter. You broke it. Yeah, because it’s everything. It’s everything. It’s the parentification. It’s the lack of accountability. And, yeah, like, at the very end, he was like, Oh, I’m responsible for how Glenin turned out. But like, you got it. I mean, it’s just the passing the buck, the, the perpetuation of generational trauma. I just, I guess my thesis for life is like, I am here hopefully to make things a little better. Maybe. Hopefully, that’s the hope. Like, I could do like, a little. You made things so much actively worse and then did not – and then are just like, Well, good luck to you fixing it. Oh God. Just go. Just be dead. Just go. What good are you? Honestly. He doesn’t even give her tips as to how to undo it, or how to fix it. He’s like, I don’t know how to fix it, but you’re going to have to. Fuck you.

Bree: Well, to be fair, do you want his tips?

Aradia: No.

Ali: That’s valid. And I know, he did say you can help Sarra get her magic back somehow. Ugh, I just. I hate this guy. It just. No, no accountability, at all.

Bree: Goodbye, Auvry Feiran. Let’s switch to talking about somebody who is going to make the world better, apparently.

2:31:16 Music break. Dreams, chapter 7: Driver’s license inferno

Bree: Because in part seven, Sarra is like, I know we’re having a party, but how about I abolish slavery?

Aradia: I mean.

Bree: Then she just sort of does.

Aradia: That was cool. It was cool.

Ali: Okay. Should be always, when you’re trying to make a just society, the first thing you go after.

Bree: Yes.

Ali: Always. You cannot have a just society with slaves. I’m talking about you, Seanchan in the Wheel of Time. You cannot have a just society if it is operating on the backs of enslaved people. Period. So yes. Excellent first step.

Aradia: It’s a fun conversation to see them hashing out.

Bree: Yes. Her first step is to abolish slavery.

Ali: And then my favorite thing is that that turns into, abolish driver’s licenses, which I was like, interesting.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We hate driver’s licenses thing, I feel like it has got – like I’m wondering if there is a 1994, like I mean, maybe the Internet was just getting started. If there was some sort of like vibe right then, because like, I like driver’s license are the things I’m just the least concerned about right now when it comes to being tracked and monitored.

Aradia: Oh, my God, right?

Bree: By entities, governmental and otherwise? A piece of paper that I have to, like, manually hand someone? Not high on my list.

Ali: No, not high on my list of concerns. You know, if you think they’re not monitoring you, you’re dumb.

Aradia: Right, yeah.

Bree: My cell phone is listening to me right now.

Aradia: And like, I carry my phone with me more than my wallet. So a chip in my ID isn’t the best way to track me. You can track the phone that I’m already using to navigate on Google maps. Like, it’s not complicated.

Bree: Undoubtedly, some game I downloaded is unloading all of my data somewhere because I’m a little reckless sometimes.

Aradia: But I do think that it’s an interesting discussion between the anarchist flat hierarchy, like no documentation, we just all do what we want – versus the fascistic level of regimentation that makes everything efficient and balanced and soulless. There is not a lot of merit in either polarity. You really want a mix in the middle, so it is good to hash it out from square one in this kind of moment of flux where you’re like, Let’s abolish slavery and also consider if we need driver’s licenses. Like that does seem like a worthy thought experiment in this kind of gathering.

Ali: Obviously I was making a joke. You know, they are much more loaded than driver’s licenses, these ID cards. It’s about the Tiers, obviously. But it was funny to jump from slavery to, Should we abolish driver’s licenses? It just makes me laugh.

Bree: I mean, they are more loaded, but also like, they’re silly, because as Collan points out, Sarra is wearing somebody else’s. So like, did they ever really mean anything? Now, a necklace that you can take off and put on, like how much does that really – You know, I mean, we know that Collan’s is fake because Gorynel Desse had it made for him.

Aradia: Mm hmm.

Ali: Also, I would forget mine everywhere I went. I just, there’s no way.

Bree: ADHD nightmare.

Ali: Oh, my God. I sometimes feel like I’m barely making it. You know? I will carry my driver’s license in my pocket some of the time. Like I’m doing better. But like, the idea that I have to bring an ID card everywhere I go, all the time? Nightmare, would forget. Ablist.

Bree: Yeah, I lost mine for three months because I had put it on my monitor, my computer stand, and it slid underneath the little circle thing of my monitor, my monitor base. And it just disappeared, until like three months later I was dusting and I picked up my monitor and like, there is my driver’s license that I thought I had lost.

Ali: Not to mention they can be stolen from you. Yeah, all the stress of a Social Security number, but around your neck.

Aradia: Ugh, no thank you.

Bree: Don’t like it. So basically, yeah, we, we, we are hashing out, you know, the implications of this, the varying interests. Our friend Tele, you know, his family makes them so maybe they don’t want to get rid of them. And other people are arguing about, you know, what matters, what not what doesn’t. What do we have to track? And Collan is the one who basically, like, jumps up and he’s like, You know, fuck all yo, Sarra is who she says she is and he throws the identity disk in the fire. And then everybody starts throwing them in the fire. So we’re just burning all of the identity discs. So driver’s license inferno.

Aradia: Which we do love a good Citizenry burning all of their identification paperwork moment. That is a moment in the revolution.

Bree: It is fun.

Ali: We do like that. Yeah, I do like symbols of oppression being thrown into fire.

Bree: Yes. Sarra is so turned on by this, that she proposes, basically.

Aradia: Kind of.

Bree: Did Ali just fall out of screen? I can’t tell if you’re looking for something or you just died.

Ali: It was a combination of I just died and I also was turning up the volume on my computer. But it was a combo effort of, Sarra was so turned on by this, she just proposed. Incredible.

Bree: I mean, she kind of did.

Aradia: I mean, not really. She just looked at him with the most come hither eyes that have ever come hithered. And then they fight about it. Then they get a biology lesson about birds and then they are proposed. It’s very – But yes, basically she looks at him with, I’m going to marry you so hard and then that’s how it ends.

Ali: Have you ever looked at somebody like, I’m going to marry you so hard?

Bree: We get a line in here that I highlighted. It’s the most Robert Jordan line, and it feels like I highlighted this because it feels like every line that’s ever written about women in the Wheel of Time series that drive me crazy. And it’s: “Then, with the illogic that was the birthright of even the most rational men and the despair of countless Generations of women, he did an incomprehensible about-face and accused, You need a husband, Lady—and it’s going to be me!” And I was like, that right there, I feel like I’ve read that about women in the Wheel of Time, like these men just bemoaning the irrational illogic of women?

Ali: Mm hmm. 100%.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, I know, that line was very Shadow Rising, Robert Jordan.

Ali: It was like men writing women, in the nineties and early 2000s.

Bree: Good job, Melanie Rawn, you nailed that one. Yeah, you nailed that one to the wall.

Ali: You nailed it.

Aradia: Yeah. The 1 to 1 on that was (chef’s kiss sound).

Ali: ? Impeccable. Do it again.

Bree: So yeah, they fight and then – I almost forgot. Cailet gives them a little lecture about birds.

Aradia: Not the bees. Just the birds. Only the bird part.

Bree: Just the birds.

Ali: The matriarchy has no need for bees.

Bree: So, yes.

Aradia: That’s the title right there.

Bree: Then they propose. Sarra is like, I’m going to make you miserable. We’re going to make each other miserable. And Collan’s like, So what?

Aradia: AWe’re going to be a nineties rom com. It’s going to be great.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Sorry. Early 2000s rom com. That’s what that really is.

Bree: Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss.

Ali: The music that I have in my head ind this part is like: (sings) “This will be an everlasting love. This will be.” And then we cut to the marriage.

2:20:20 Music break. Dreams, chapter 8: Cubed generational trauma

Bree: Well, before the wedding chapter we have one more, which is that Cailet is like, you know, she’s eavesdropping from the shadows. She’s glad that she’s got them married off because she has been shipping this the whole time. So now, instead of getting to like, relax and rest, all of the Mage Guardians are coming with terrible news, or like, weird news.

There’s two pieces of news. The first is that somebody went to Ostinhold and they just saw smoke, so Ostinhold his burned down, which is very sad.

Ali: Great.

Bree: And then she’s trying to process this, because what else does she need tonight? Oh, yes. The place of her adopted family and her birth, that she grew up, has burned and nobody knows what’s going on with her adopted mom. Okay.

Ali: Sarra is constantly a victim. She’s constantly a victim. It drives me absolutely batty that nobody, just nobody looks at and is like, Baby, you’re a victim. Victim away, victim.

Bree: So then somebody else shows up and is like, Err, Malerrisi Castle disappeared. And she’s like, It was destroyed? They’re like, No, it just disappeared.

Aradia: The castle just raptured itself out of everywhere. It’s fine.

Ali: Great. Amazing. Not ominous, not concerning at all.

Bree: Glenin the most melodramatic bitch.

Ali: Glenin is really saying, I want to perpetuate this generational trauma so badly. Can’t wait. Our children will inherit some drama. I keep saying, Double it and give it to the next person.

Aradia: And she’s like, No, no, no, no, no. Square it. And give it to the next person, which is also doubling, but fuck you.

Ali: But that was so Auvry as well. He’s like, My brother died and also I’m feeling rejected, so I’m going to give my children the legacy of Burning their childhood home to the ground, killing everyone they love, causing the death of their mother, making them be raised as orphans in other places cut off from all that they should know about themselves. And they have to reunite right at the point of my death. Thank you so much. That’s a lot to unpack, but I’m the victim, Auvry, here.

Aradia: And then Glenin is like, you know what we should do? Instead of just having intergenerational trauma, we should breed for intergenerational trauma. We should just, like, be pregnant and set this up before we’re even all pregnant. Like, Mm. Let’s just let’s just cube this trauma.

Bree: Glenin is raising this boy to fuck up his cousins. That’s the situation. But the castle has disappeared because she just kind of wants to, like, make everybody anxious and wonder what the fuck they’re doing over there.

Ali: Because Glenin, Glenin can’t have any moment not be about her. You know what I mean? I mean, she just.

Bree: I love her. I kind of love her just like a little.

Ali: It’s so dramatic.

Aradia: And to be clear, she hasn’t moved the castle. She’s just draped invisibility over it. So, like, they know where they are.

Ali: Her drama is such that she would have made – and I said this about President Snow as well – in a different life she would have made an incredible theater major.

Aradia: Yes. The sense of dramatic timing. Oh, yeah.

Ali: Put her in theater. Arts education could have avoided this, I feel. Instead of creepy tutor.

Bree: Listen, the birthday party, everything. Everything she does is so dramatic.

Ali: Yes, She has a flair, an unmistakable presence. She deserves the stage. She yearns for it. And she would give so much Les Michelle. Am I wrong? She has a Rachel Berry quality to her.

Bree: She would be amazing. And it is a tragedy that she’s going to have to do fascism instead because nobody gave her an outlet in the theater.

Ali: I’m just saying.

Bree: Yeah, I think you nailed it.

Ali: In another life.

Bree: Yeah. So basically, yeah, the rest of this chapter is just Cailet like, This will be fun. Can’t wait. Raise some kids, wait for Glenin’s to come out and try to murder us all, woohoo. Got fun stuff to do.

Ali: Well, Glenin’s got a head start on that whole baby making thing. So do we think that she’s going to wait until those children are adults, or just send her fully grown son to fuck them up?

Bree: I guess that’s the real question.

Ali: Collan and Sarra got to start popping babies out like hotcakes because that baby is older.

Aradia: I assume that they’re going to be, like, popping them out like hotcakes. I just kind of assume.

Ali: Yeah, but, like, she’s got a big head start.

Aradia: Oh, about, like, six months.

Ali: That is a lot of development in a child. That’s a lot of development.

Aradia: Well, I’m assuming we’re having several children on each side of this war, we’re going to have, like, a team of siblings going up against a team of siblings. I’m assuming.

Bree: We will see.

Ali: Where’s Steve Harvey for this family feud? You know what I mean?

2:45:10 Music break. Dreams. chapter 9: The wedding!

Bree: Okay. We only have one part left, and that’s good because this is getting long. We have been recording for like, a few hours

Ali: Sorry, I have had a lot of feeling about this.

Bree: No, this is a big feelings. And I love that this book is giving us time to like, unload the feelings. Like, we’ve still got another part to go. They’re, they’re letting us really marinate in the aftermath of this traumatic mess that has been caused.

Aradia: And thus we are letting all of you marinate with us, dear listeners.

Bree: But first in, we’ve got a wedding. Yeah. Sarra and Collan get married. Falundir gets to stand with him.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: And Imi does too, because someone has to, like, speak the responses. And we get some very typical. Men have to pledge duty and fidelity and obedience, and Call says the words, seeming very annoyed. And Cailet thinks that Sarra’s rewriting this law in her head right now, which, good.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: And then the first thing she does is rip that coif off of his head and say that he has to obey her. And her first order is to never wear one of those again. Sarra is like, Fuck you. I know you hate this.

Aradia: I mean, that’s, like, amazing. That’s like, that’s like taking away, like, the hated bra, the high heels and being like, Girl, you never have to do this for me. He has felt so constrained by this coif, for her to just be like, No, I recognize that you don’t have to, is just – I wish she had said You don’t have to unless you want to. But that’s just a nitpick. I love the sentiment.

Ali: That is a nitpick. Yeah, the sentiment is good. Yeah. I feel like that’s such a nice gesture. She’s like, Oppression is over, in this particular way.

Aradia: I think she really just likes his hair and just wants to look at it more.

Ali: Well, yeah. I don’t know why redheads get such a bad rep. I think they’re very nice looking, you know. It’s a beautiful color.

Aradia: I went to school with some kids who had the brightest red hair I’ve ever seen in my life before or since.

Ali: It’s gorgeous!

Aradia: Like, are you sure that that’s natural? No, that’s very natural. That’s just the reddest hair. Like, Oh, my God. So red.

Bree: It is beautiful.

Ali: In honor of Sarra’s wedding and her casting off this thing, can we, as we move into 2024, just be done with going, This particular body trait that people can’t help but be born with is unattractive? Because I think we’ve seen so many times that that is just inherently untrue. And there’s a lid for every pot. I’m just done with us speaking for the billions of people on this planet about what is and isn’t attractive. Can we just abandon going into 2024, just go like, live and let live.

Aradia: Hear hear.

Bree: I’m down with it.

Ali: I’m done. Aren’t we tired? We survived a pandemic and we’re to worry about our calves? Like, enough. Anyway. Red hair is beautiful.

Bree: It is. It is. And most of this is just them getting married and being cute. We get a little moment of, you know, he’s got – Falundir also provided a perfect bardic blue like outfit for Collan which fits perfectly, which I feel, given Collan’s clothing and wanting to feel in control and also like, look good. This is a nice touch that he gets to have something that he loves to wear.

Ali: We love a little character detail like this.

Aradia: That he gets to look as good as he wants to look on his wedding day when he is such a fashion oriented person. It might be oriented around Sarra because she’s the dominant sex in the situation, but it’s nice that he got to be his very best, most dapper self. Yes. And then they go to the river and have this really like, private moment with their wreaths, and it’s like very sweet after the giant party wedding to have them go take a moment to like, have a more intimate little ceremony with their flowers by the river at a private, which. It’s so cute!

Ali: It’s so cute. I love them. No notes.

Bree: Yeah. I guess it’s a tradition that you throw your flowers, like the crown and the necklace of them, into the river and make a wish.

Ali: I love stuff like that. Cultural things like that, where it’s like this little moment. I love. I love that kind of stuff.

Bree: And so she wished to be happy. And he’s relieved because he thought she was going to, like, wish like, you know, for all this political stuff. And, you know, it’s sort of cute. And he wished for a whole interrupted night alone with her, and a good lute. We find out that she has his loot. Somebody has rescued it.

Ali: Oh yay!

Bree: Oh, yeah. So he gets to have his lute back.

Aradia: And they aren’t planning to get interrupted!

Bree: No! And he says the very cute thing, “All the songs—they’re all

for you, the rest of my life.” And I love that line.

Ali. Oh, damn.

Aradia: What a line. Marry him again, Sarra!

Ali: Honestly, Gus and I do have a joke where, like, when the other person does something that we really like or something, we always turn to each other, Do you want to get married?

Aradia: Hehehe, yeah. Yeah.

Ali: Do you want to get married, we should get married.

Bree: Oh, that’s so cute. Get married.

Ali: Yeah. So that’s another moment of like, We should get married. Honestly.

Aradia: Mmhmm, very much. What a good line.

Ali: Yeah, what a good line. Oh, I’m a sucker for stuff like that. For a guy, for like a really good –

Bree: Yeah. Mm. Yeah. A good line.

Ali: Just love a guy devoted to his girl. I just do.

Aradia: Yeah. And she’s like, You’re going to have to convince me. And so he does. And it’s just the most flirtatious way to end that section. “And so he did.”

Ali: And of course, it made me very happy.

Bree: We fade to black. But definitely things are going well for these wacky kids.

Aradia: Fireworks!

Bree: Fireworks.

Ali: And enter Glenin, anyway.

2:51:11 Wrap up. Next reading: Dreams chapter 10 to the end! Trauma is stored in the casserole

Bree: And we are at 94%. We have a few more sections to go and we will be done with this book, y’all.

Aradia: Wow.

Bree: I think I got ten through – How many sections are there? Let me look.

Aradia: We’re reading through to the end next time.

Bree: Yeah, we’re reading through to the end.

Ali: We are?

Aradia: Yeah. This is our penultimate episode, for this book.

Ali: Woo! What a book.

Aradia: Yeah, this is. This has been great.

Bree: 14. There’s 14 sections, so we’re reading 10 through 14, plus the epilogue. Part 14 is pretty long, so we’ve got a bit more to read, but it will be fun. I’m excited for you guys to see the last little bit, because I do think that – we get some choice Sarra and Cailet, and also just like a little bit more political stuff that I find super interesting. Because a lot of these revolutions, like I said before, I really think she’s interested in unpacking the choices in, One stabs the bad guy and everything is perfect and that’s not the world they live in. And so she’s going to give us a little more taste of that before our happy ending and our generational trauma.

Ali: That’s not the world we live in? We don’t live in this world where things are just solved?

Bree: Apparently not.

Aradia: Ugh.

Ali: Okay.

Bree: I’m glad we live, you and me, live in a world of therapy because, whew, these poor people.

Ali: I don’t know how people survived to be honest with you. And you know what? On reflection, I think that generational trauma and no therapy is why there were so many jello-ed things.

Aradia: That makes sense.

Ali: I think there’s a correlation.

Bree: That was not where I thought that was going. I was like, so much war, so much death, so much pain.

Ali: It’s the weird jello to concoctions. I think that really –

Bree: I didn’t see it going there. But now that you said it, the hot dog, the hot dogs and jello, that is something I’ve never had an answer for before.

Ali: Trauma is stored in the casserole. Do you know what I mean?

Bree: That’s going to be the title of this epsiode.

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.