Welcome to episode 7 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for Betrayals (parts 1-5) in The Ruins of Ambrai. We learn more about Glenin’s great ambitions and tackle that light topic with absolutely no current real world urgency: reproductive rights.
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Transcripts by Anna
Art by Bree
Produced by Aradia | Fox And Raven Media
0:00:00 Introduction, welcome, Patron thanks
Ali: Welcome to the Hot Nuance Book Club, a podcast in which a novelist, a screenwriter and a podcaster walk into a book, diving into its craft and impact in their mission to bring nuance back. I’m Ali, and I’m a very exhausted screenwriter who also is the co-host of the podcast Wheel Takes, a first time reader view through the Wheel of Time. If you heard that, that was my dog, Petey. And I also am the founder of the Grinwell Cup, a march madness bracket that happens yearly that votes on the hottest character in the Wheel of Time.
Aradia: I am Aradia, or Aradiapedia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, currently rereading Crossroads of Twilight with a four dimensional view of all the spoilers, as well as a podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media. Someday that will not feel weird to say.
Bree: And I am Bree, also occasionally known as one half of the bestselling romance sci fi fantasy author Kit Rocha, and I am currently on a race to finish my second Horny Dragon book before the Wheel of Time. Season two drops, September 1st. So my brain is scattered. Everybody wish me luck. I’ve got to write a lot of words.
Aradia: All the luck. What’s the right writer blessing? Like with actors, it’s break a leg, with writers, is it like, break a pen? May you lose your manuscript? Like, what’s –
Bree: Do not break a finger.
Ali: Crack a keyboard?
Bree: Crack a keyboard. There you go.
Aradia: I like that. That rolls off the tongue. Well, yeah.
Ali: Currently, we are nuancing our way through the Ruins of Ambrai. So if you haven’t read that yet, go do that and come back when you have. For the rest of you, let’s break it down now.
Bree: But for we jump into the time machine this week, we have some patrons to thank – actually, one patron. But 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 us at Patreon.com/theNuanceBookClub. The link is available in the episode notes.
Aradia: There are also more fun levels where you can get rewards like secret discord channels, stickers, an invite to a live session of the end of the book recording and, of course, patron shout outs. And this week we have one new patron to thank. And I want to personally thank our new hot, new, Hot Nuanced Patron. That’s harder to say than I thought it would be. Hot Nuanced Patron. Jesper. Jesper is a friend of mine that I met online in a different community and has joined our patron list. So. Hi, Jesper!. Thank you so much for your support. It’s been good meeting you.
Bree: Thank you Jesper!
Ali: What is Jesper the patron saint of?
Aradia: Jesper is the Patron Saint of Meeting Your People Online. Because obviously!
Aradia: They should get that as a bonus, because, clearly.
0:03:01 The Time Travel Machine
Bree: Okay, it’s time to jump into the time travel machine. Please keep your hands and feet inside the car. And we’re going back to 1994. (swoosh sound effect)
Iomega released its zip disk drive, which, you are either alive for that very narrow window or you were not. But oh my gosh, the zip disks, they were something. The first version of the Java programming language was released by Sun Microsystems in 1994, greatly impacting the field of software development and my college education. I can’t say that I loved Java, but it is what I learned to program with. So there we go. Also, apparently they made a My Girl 2 in 1994, but I completely blocked this out. All of my fellow Gen-X millennials know the trauma. Let’s not continue this train of thought. And Melanie Rawn, in 1994, said, Let’s talk about a non-controversial subject, like reproductive rights and abortion. Welcome to the Ruins of Ambrai, by Melanie Rawn.
Ali: My goodness, we’re still talking about reproductive rights.
Aradia: No, that totally got fixed. We solved that.
Bree: I’m going to tell you that I actually learned about abortion from a different Melanie Rawn book.
Aradia: Really? Wow.
Bree: Like, literally, I learned about it because in her other series she has a subplot where someone is raped and they want to get an abortion and their religious figure tells them basically not to in all the ways that it is still happening today. And basically there’s a very emotional, you know, showdown, where she’s like, you don’t get to tell me what to do with my body, fuck off. And, you know, she takes care of the situation. And so that was literally my introduction. I was 13 or 14 and that was my introduction to the entire argument. And it shaped it, I’m sure, pretty strongly. Because I was encountering a lot of very controversial subjects in these fantasy novels, and I was just taking them in and being like, okay, well, I guess this is the normal way that you deal with this. So thank you, Melanie Rawn, I guess, for imprinting early on me that my body is my domain and nobody gets to tell me what to do with it.
Ali: Love that, love that message. Can I ask a quick question before we get into reproductive rights, and obviously this book, but can I ask a quick question about zip disk drives? So.
Ali: Are those the square ones? That’s the floppy disk. Right? So that’s not that.
Bree: No, no. The thing big floppy ones are like, you know, those are like the earliest ones. And then we had these like small square plastic ones that were like three and a half or something inches. The zip disks are like, bigger than the hard ones and they’re like, they – so they had like a huge capacity. Comparatively, I don’t think it was a huge capacity now, but like, so they were bigger and they were sort of like oblong, like rectangular, kind of? Like big, hard disks. And they did not last a super long time, because they came right in between when we were switching from basically floppy disks to CDs.
Ali: Oh, I remember these. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, wait. They kind of look like Nintendos.
Bree: Yes. They kind of do! They were big and kind of weird. Yeah. And so, I was using them in the late nineties for my college design classes, because they were only thing big enough you could save like Photoshop files on.
Ali: Yeah. I remember these.
Bree: So like that’s what I was doing with them. Until you could – because they didn’t have like – CD burners were kind of unreliable for the early years. And that’s before we jump straight to the USB drives.
Ali: We honestly had zip disks for like, five minutes. Like, comparatively.
Aradia: Ah, CDs.
Bree: Yeah, because CD burning was always sort of like tetchy, you know. CD burning messed up pretty easily.
Aradia: Oh, my dad became a master of that. He burned so many CDs. My dad was really into that.
Ali: Oh, when you scratched them? That was like the worst day.
Bree: Yeah. So, yeah, yeah. Like, I actually wrote a book once, where somebody found a zip disc in the entire, like, subplot revolved around trying to find someone who has zip drive because, you know, they didn’t last long.
Ali: My grandma still got a VCR. She’s like, the only woman in the world. Still got that VCR.
Bree: I love technology, and I love how it ages like stories, too. Like, like in the late nineties through early 2000s, you can really tell exactly when a story was written based on what technology they were using because it just – everything came and disappeared so fast.
Ali: You’re like, You didn’t spend your summers burning CDs for your friends and it shows. You never had to do dial up internet, and it shows. We just know, you could just tell when you talk to someone.
Aradia: All the Nineties kids will remember.
Ali: The Nineties kids remember.
Bree: Um, the 1994 kids – I’m sorry – we were still calling the radio and trying to badger them into playing certain songs so that we could record them on our tape decks.
Aradia: That’s amazing.
Ali: Do people still do that? Do people still call it? And I don’t I don’t think I’ve listened to the radio radio in a long time.
Aradia: Old people probably do.
Bree: Remembering our glory days. You really had to work real hard to make a mix tape, that was a labor of love.
Ali: I was so into Radio Disney, uh-oh.
Bree: I would have liked that too, if I knew what it was.
Ali: Radio Disney. AM 1310. Wait, it was AM 1310! That came from deep within the brain.
Aradia: Nice! The memories that we can hold on to. Truly incredible.
Ali: Okay, I want to know who else remembers AM 1310 Radio Disney.
Aradia: Sound off in the comments.
Bree: Yeah. Okay, Discord, It’s time. Join us on the discord and tell us what era of mixed tape you were from. And if you remember AM 1310 Disney.
Ali: Radio Disney! Excuse me.
Bree: Radio Disney. Sorry, I do not want to mess that up.
0:09:42 Part 1: Betrayals
Okay. Let us start with part one: Betrayals. We let Sarra come in to Ryka Court like, you know, knowing that she has to face a bunch of scary people, but really wishing she could just bust out of here and go find her baby sister. And so now we switch to Betrayals and guess who our first narrator in Betrayals is? It is our good friend, baby fascist Glenin. So how do we feel being back in Glenin’s head, who is no longer a baby?
Aradia: Baby making fascist. She’s a baby unmaking fascist, I guess, technically.
Bree: Oh, yes. Yeah, yeah. So here we get a controversial couple of scenes for poor Glenin, and she’s kind of going through some shit.
Aradia: Poor Garon.
Bree: Yeah. Her husband. She apparently has a pretty shitty relationship, in her point of view, with her husband.
Ali: I think in everyone’s point of view.
Bree: Instead of being doted on and served by her husband as a woman should be, she is having to spend her time keeping him happy. And in fact, we find out that she even told her bower lad, who was supposed to, you know, be getting all of her pleasure down to train her husband – but she wanted to make her husband happy because she was so in love with him. So he just taught her innumerable tricks for seducing the man. And apparently that is how she keeps control of her husband.
Aradia: Not, not great. I’m not super pleased for Garon because of that.
Bree: So how do we feel about Glenin having to basically try to seduce her husband into not screwing around on her, and all of this weird situation?
Ali: I hate it. I hate all of it. I’m like, even in the matriarchy, we got to do this shit?
Aradia: That’s what it was, right? It’s like, oh, we’ve got this world where this shouldn’t be happening. But because we’re actually writing for an audience existing in the nineties, that is what our protagonist is going through, is a very familiar narrative. Like, Yeah, there’s a bower lad, and that’s exotic, but the woman is subservient to the man sexually, is still the dynamic and it’s just like, oh, like it’s just – blergh, I hate it.
Bree: And even if it’s in service of making his mother happy, it still does feel a little like –
Aradia: Gross? But it happens all the time.
Ali: And I’m mad. Here’s what I’m mad about, here’s what I’m mad about. So I’m going to go off about this for just one sec. That we still have – that women still have to be hot still. I want the trophy husband and the potato wife. That’s what I want to see. I want to see it. I’m mad about it. That Glenin’s hot.
Aradia: I’m nodding.
Bree: Yes, we are reassured multiple times in here that Glenin is the most gorgeous woman in the world, except for maybe Lusira, who is the one who is having sex with the potato man 20 years her senior.
Ali: And I cry foul. Where are the women getting to let themselves go and age as much as they fucking want to, while the men have to keep it tight? Where is that? I want that dynamic to be shown, because right now it’s like, Don’t worry, Glenin’s hot. Don’t worry. Sarra is hot. I’m like, You know what? I am worried about it. So I, I’m like, I’m like, where are they consuming their, like, burgers to their heart’s content and like – Urgh. I just yeah, there’s just, there’s just the dynamic there that I was like, even still, even in the matriarchy, we’re doing this. So that’s my feeling.
Bree: There does seem to be a lot of emphasis on female beauty, that doesn’t entirely make sense. And I’ve been trying to flip it around because like the way – I mean, I’m not saying that we don’t have, you know, standards of male beauty in our society, but they tend to not be – like they don’t line up with the things that women might necessarily like. All of this, I’m about to say, it’s a very binary heterosexual sort of thing. I’m going to put that caveat on it, because the whole male gaze, female gaze discussion is not sufficient. But with that caveat, I feel like the patriarchy, which is a very cis, heteronormative, binary thing, like in this construct that we have, we have a male attractiveness that does not line up with what females might want, the female gaze wants. Because like when you look at comic books, and you get these weird muscle bound, like weird muscles on muscles on muscles in a way that like, doesn’t even look normal. And it’s like a very different, like strength fantasy that you might – than you might get if you asked a woman. Like if you look at romance novel covers, they’re projecting two different kinds of fantasy, and they’re very different from each other. And it feels like in this book, the female fantasy of beauty is pretty on par with what the male gaze is. You know?
Ali: And I suppose my thing is like, the idea of what the female gaze is is so funny to me. Because I and most of my friends thirst after Stanley Tucci – and maybe I have shared this on the podcast before – to the point where my friend named her cat, Stanley Tucci. So to me, that’s female gaze, I also think there’s a reason why there are a lot of women who were like, I didn’t get Ryan Gosling until the Barbie movie, you know?
Bree: I didn’t get Ryan Gosling until the Barbie movie! I don’t really like those, like, blond Hollywood dudes. They all look the same to me. Like, I literally can’t see their faces because they all just look, like, manufactured in the lab.
Ali: But one guy has a sense of humor, or likes to travel, and like, you know, knows things about food and wine, and all of a sudden everyone’s like, A personality! I must thirst after that!
Bree: I mean, he was not taking himself at all seriously. And like, he’s just being like, deadpan, hilarious, this Ken stuff, like, all of it. It’s just like, Wow, I love you. I don’t know how it happens.
Ali: Gus was talking to me today on a walk. And he goes, You know what would be really funny if I got, like, really jacked, but then also got really into feminine hobbies, like knitting or, you know, crochet. And I went, Do you understand, though, if you did that on TikTok, first of all, it would blow the fuck up. Because women love men pursuing feminine interests. And I’m like, And second, oh yeah, the amount of thirst comments that you would suddenly get would grow exponentially. And it would be weird.
Bree: It would be weird.
Ali: It would be weird.
Bree: But we do I mean, Ali and I share TikToks from the guy who likes (?). I mean, we love his videos. Because it’s nice because he’s a dude who’s just, like, unashamedly into things that other dudes would make fun of him for. And there is something about that confidence and not giving a shit about how masculinity is trying to reinforce that.
Ali: It’s so attractive.
Bree: Very. It is. It’s just.
Ali: It’s so attractive.
Bree: It’s soothing, because it’s like, Wow, there’s someone else who thinks these rules are stupid.
Ali: Yeah, You’re like, Oh my God, A man who would pick up a romance novel is suddenly, like, so hot. Oh my God, you’re so comfortable with yourself and your masculinity that like, you understand that participating in female activities without derision does not suddenly, like, lower you in esteem. That’s hot. That’s hot.
Bree: And there is a whole thing in romance where we occasionally have backlash because men will come in and be like, I am here to take an interest in your girly hobby and therefore elevate it with my manly attention. And we’re like, Excuse you? But when someone just shows up and it’s like, Dude, I’m reading this romance novel and it’s fun, everyone’s like, Yay, thank you.
Ali: Yes, we love you. The bar is so low. We just want you to express genuine interest in ways that are not traditionally emasculate.
Bree: No Gus has been popping up, because he was reading Nalini Singh, he was popping up in our Discord, talking about it with people and everyone’s like, Yay, please come tell us your thoughts.
Ali: Well, that’s why I think Wheel Takes should do Sarah J Maas next. Because I’m like, I’m just excited to hear Gus take it seriously. Even if he has critiques, it’s like, but in a nice way.
Bree: It’s, you know, I mean, taking it seriously is like the whole thing and not being weird about it. And I think that’s what, like, exactly what it feels like – these women, like if they’re judging each other on a beauty standard like, or on a standard, I feel like I want it to be something like, you know, who is strong? It doesn’t have to be masculine, like, physical strength, but like, who’s got power? Who is doing something to indicate how little they give a shit about everybody else.
Aradia: Who has a big career, who has more academic credentials or. Yeah, because like it seems like Melanie Rawn’s idea of changing the beauty standard trope was to make men held to the same standard as women, rather than to like, actually have women judge themselves on a different scale, which seems like a miss.
Bree: Or even just slightly less. Yeah, like it just is just, slightly less. Like it means it is – because you’re right. It’s like, now we’re both objectified and need to be the prettiest.
Aradia: It’s a two wrongs make a right, and it’s like, No, now we’re just all miserable.
Aradia: Yeah, yeah, less. Less is more.
Ali: Yeah. Well, I guess also my feeling was to, where is the like – like I don’t want this necessarily, but like, where is the You’re shaming me as a man for sleeping around reversed? You know, where’s the I own you as the dominant person in this relationship, like I can sleep around but you can’t, vibe? Yeah, you know what I mean? Like, where’s the King Henry the Eighth, I’ll chop your head off if you sleep around, but I get to do as much as I want, vibe? I don’t want necessarily the head chopping off, but I’m like, you know, there is that vibe.
Aradia: Mm hmm. Definitely.
Bree: But if we are, like, dealing with a, I mean, like, you know, you don’t want Sarra who is supposed to be like, sort of the rebellious protagonist, to be feeling that vibe. But I feel like if we’re going to get it from anyone, Glenin is clearly down with the fascist dictatorship, right? But she’s still in a situation where being even like the second most powerful woman in the world, she has to somehow completely subjugate herself to this dude, just because of his mom.
Ali: But it also feels like the fascist – and this is all, due respect to Melanie Rawn, this is not necessarily like I don’t like this book or I don’t like what you did. I’m just like, it feels like, the Loom people, the Weavers. All right, Whatever their name is, I will never get it. So the Weaver people, it seems like they’re just like, Hey, we’re the patriarchy. You have to be, like, in your place. Because she thinks about the fact that she’s like, Oh, but I kind of have to be like, a little bit subjugated, because the Weaver people, and I’m like, What the fuck?
Bree: Yeah, let’s continue on here because we’re going a little deeper on this. So basically part one is like, we’re catching up with Glenin in her uncomfortable – right now, Garon is yelling at her a lot, because he wants to have a kid. He wants to father some children, prove his virility and she’s not having it because she’s busy. She wants to be moving around, working. She can’t. We find out she can’t, you know, use Ladders if she’s pregnant, and so that’s going to slow her down. She can’t be going around getting her Mage murders in. You know, if she’s pregnant. And so he is yelling at her and she’s figuring that she’s going to have to do something to placate him. And so maybe she’ll fake a pregnancy on this next journey and then have a tragic miscarriage. And everyone can be sad. But Garon can feel like he was a big, virile man who made a baby. And then we end this part with her finding out, oops, she actually is pregnant.
Ali: I just kind of also want that same energy of like, You can’t do that. Well, first of all, recently I learned and I think this is true, that the health of the father at the time of conception, is just as important as the mother’s health throughout pregnancy.
Ali: Like what they’re eating or what they’re doing. And all the stuff can influence in some ways the pregnancy outcome. And so, which – I mean, to me kind of makes sense – but I want someone to one of like, you know, women couldn’t like, run or ride horses because their uterus could fall out. I want them to be like, you have to protect your precious sac so you can’t get on a horse. Your balls might fall off. I want restrictions placed on the men over their virility. Like is the 1 to 1 with women. But it feels like there’s, like, restrictions for Glenin, should she get pregnant. But there’s no like, well, there’s no, no big sports for you because if you get kicked in the balls, that could impact future generations. So you have to be like sitting on a couch all day. You know, I’m just looking for those 1 to 1s with the aristocracy.
Bree: Yeah, that’s true.
Aradia: Yeah, I hadn’t missed that. But now that you’ve pointed it out, I totally agree.
Bree: No, it is definitely – the downsides of it are still resting on Glenin shoulders. And so she is off on her adventure. And right now we find out what she sort of does, which is that she travels around, meeting the common people, making them love her, being sort of like the representative from the council to all of the common people in all of these various cities.
Bree: And so that is her surface job. She goes around and she meets everybody and everybody falls in love with her. But then, underneath that secret job, like every time her boat takes off, she can, like, sneak onto a Ladder and go somewhere else. And do you know shady, shady Weaver shit, you know, find Mages, point them out, dig out secrets, and then, like, pop back onto her boat, like, I was here the whole time. Sort of like what Sarra is currently doing.
Aradia: But with more murder, Sarra doesn’t do any murders. Glenin is doing many murders.
Bree: Sarra’s not doing murders. She’s just like invading secret castles and stuff like that.
Ali: Yeah. Glenin gets to have murder as a treat.
Bree: Yes. So just a little. Little murder as a treat. So she is on her next trip when she finds out she’s pregnant and she has some complicated feelings about this, she knows that she’s not going to be able to keep this baby because they have already told her. And we find out here what she thinks is the truth, is that Murder Punch Card mother in law is not long for this world.
Aradia: That was an interesting note.
Ali: I was gagged by this. I was like, my goodness.
Bree: Glenin seems to think that she’s not going to make it two more years.
Aradia: Yeah, we’ve got less than two years for this plot to wrap up.
Ali: #Here’s my thing. If I were Glenin, she is a smart gal. I’d be sitting there going, So, like, this Loom thing, how impartial is it, really? Because it seems like, they’re like, This gal was kind of inconvenient. Luckily, the Loom just happens to say that she’s going to die in two years, so we’re not going to have to worry about her for very long. And I kind of go, okay, did the Loom say that? Did the Loom say that? What if the Loom decides that I’m going to die next? Because I’m inconvenient?
Bree: I feel like this is the infamous leopard’s eating faces party. Glenin is very much concerned that the – she’s very sure that the Leopards love her right now. The Loom loves Glenin, so Glenin does not seem concerned.
Ali: And Glenin is very much giving Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale. Or am I wrong? But they’re like, God, I can’t wait for the patriarchy to smash you girls. And it’s the only time you’re rooting for the patriarchy. Is when you’re like, I just want you to get yours. That’s how I feel.
Bree: Yeah. But here’s where she decides. She’s not quite as obedient to the Loom as she should be. She’s supposed to just go right over to the castle and report that she has gotten pregnant at the wrong time.
Ali: She’s going to call unplanned parenthood.
Bree: Yeah, basically.
Aradia: And it’s the wrong gender, because she can apparently tell.
Bree: We find out that they don’t want her to have a baby while there are any Mages left in the world, because they don’t want this baby to get corrupted. And they apparently call what they did to Auvry Feiran the Great Seduction, is his pattern in the Loom. They say that because they basically stole him from the Mages.
Aradia: He calls it that.
Bree: Yes, he even calls it that.
Ali: Red flag.
Bree: So what do you guys think about that? This is some sort of indication, perhaps, that maybe they all think that he was not always evil, but they lured him away. When do you think that the seduction happened?
Ali: Well, he had to be kind of young, right, because he didn’t finish his schooling. Right? He dropped out. Yeah. So I feel like it had to have happened right around then, which gives more credence to my, He never loved her theory.
Aradia: Yeah, that was how I read it. With the Great Seduction, I thought that that meant the seduction of Maichen. The great seduction was him always being a shithead and having gotten –
Bree: Ooh, I never read it that way. But you know what? I think that’s a cool way to read it. I always read it is them seducing him. But I mean, there were multiple great seductions going on, weren’t there?
Aradia: Well, Ali primed me to wonder about it. It’s Ali’s fault!
Ali: I trust no one!
Bree: Hey. Hey. I like that. I really like that. That makes me think, Mmh.
Ali: This makes me think, Mmh. I like it, too. That is an Mmh for me as well.
Aradia: I’m clearly wrong because, like.
Ali: No, I don’t think it can’t be both. Couldn’t it be both? Couldn’t it be a span of several years?
Aradia: I suppose.
Bree: So. I guess it depends on how we were stacking those seductions. So. Yeah. Oh, she’s pregnant with a First Daughter too.
Aradia: Right. Which is apparently wrong. She’s supposed to have a boy. So we’re having, like, girl infanticide. We’re having that whole dynamic, which is again, super familiar from our world, which, like, what the fuck?
Ali: I was going to say.
Bree: It’s weird, right? It’s weird, because she clearly does not want to lose her first daughter. But there’s. Why do you think that she might need to have a boy? Have you got any ideas?
Ali: It’s giving patriarchy part 2, electric boogaloo. It’s giving patriarchy reborn.
Aradia: Patriarchy Reloaded. The patriarchy strikes back!
Bree: It is. But can you guys think about in-world reasons why they might want her to have – like, is there anything you can think of, why whoever is in charge of this, wants her to have a boy?
Aradia: Marriage. Right?
Ali: Other than, The patriarchy, even patri-er?
Bree: It could be that. I mean, it could be that.
Aradia: Two past, two patriarch, two archy.
Ali: Two Patrie, two archy.
Aradia: Yes, yes, yes.
Ali: Yeah. I think for me, I was actually being genuine when I was like, it’s giving patriarchy. I think the Weavers in general, it seems like, want to flip the script and have men in power. I also feel like they want to, to kind of flip the script, not just for the, you know, levels of families, but they also want to bring Make Men Cool Again or whatever. So yeah.
Aradia: I saw it as the marriage sort of outcome of just like, Oh, we need a bargaining chip that we can promise to a First Daughter we already know exists and we want to target. And so we’re going to need to have the boy to market off.
Bree: Like the sort of Dune breeding program thing?
Ali: Well, yeah, I guess she’s been kind of doing that, right?
Aradia: More of just the patriarchy, more just patriarchy of like, this is how we have better goods on the marriage market.
Ali: Sure. But don’t they want to do away with that?
Bree: Well, here’s an interesting question, I think. In the past you guys both have asked, I think, if Red Flag Tutor – and someone else brought this up in the discord – if Red Flag Tutor was killed on purpose.
Ali: (gasps) Because it’s not supposed to be!
Bree: So think about who benefited from Red Flag Tutor dying.
Aradia: His brother, apparently.
Ali: Garon and what’s her face.
Aradia: Oh, yeah, right.
Ali: Because she wouldn’t have married Garon. And what’s her face’s son!
Bree: Yeah. She would never have married Garon, if Red Flag Tutor was around, because she is still, like, talking to him in her head. She loves this dude, for whatever moral judgments we put upon it. She’s devoted. This is the only man she’s ever loved, Red flag Tutor.
Ali: Oh, my God. Wait, wait, if they got married, it would be the bride and groomer.
Aradia: Ooooh. That is… that is bad. So bad!
Bree: Very bad joke!
Bree: We’re sending you to purgatory briefly, Ali.
Ali: Am I wrong?
Bree: No, no. It was, it was and I mean – I think that’s the thing, he was there as the emissary from the Weavers. So maybe he crossed some lines. I mean, he ended up dead in their own castle. It feels like he was not supposed to be doing something that he was doing there. They didn’t want him going back.
Ali: It always rubbed me the wrong way, too, because they were like, Oh, we just got rid of, like, expendable people. Like the very old, the not so powerful, and the servants, everyone who was expendable. But I was like, he was young, obviously powerful enough to be teaching Glenin, and was like good at everything. So he was an accidental loss? That never sat right with me.
Aradia: Seems unlikely. Yeah.
Ali: That sat funny with me. Especially, it was like, oh, he was trying to make sure everyone else got out. And I was like, But the agreement beforehand was that not everyone would get out.
Bree: Yeah, I think that, that right there is the question we should all be keeping our eyes on: Any time someone dies or is ordered to be aborted or killed. What is the long range Loom plan here?
Ali: Yeah. It’s also so uncomfy. Yeah, it’s like Aradia pointed out earlier. So uncomfy because it’s like that, like gender selective abortion thing. That’s always a fun topic.
Aradia: And it’s against a girl. Coincidentally.
Ali: I don’t like it.
Bree: That is why I brought up at the, at the start of the podcast, that I learned about abortion from the other book, which was presented in a much more straightforward but, you know, quote unquote, sympathetic way. Like the very common, You should not be able to, you know, stop this girl from doing some things she needs to do to feel okay about her life. And, you know, that was a very, very straightforward way to present abortion. In this book it’s extremely normalized in a way that I think is kind of cool. Nobody is outraged at all. Nobody is bringing up any horrible things, and yet it’s being forced on someone.
Ali: But they don’t tell anyone.
Bree: No, they don’t tell them.
Ali: They do play it off like it was a miscarriage, though. They don’t go like I had an abortion, and everyone’s like, what a Tuesday. Like, you know what I mean?
Bree: But when she thinks about having to have an abortion, she is sort of like, what a Tuesday. You know, it doesn’t seem like it’s something that’s traumatic or unusual in her point of view. She knows exactly what’s going to happen.
Aradia: Yes. Access to it as normal.
Bree: But it’s a woman being forced to, you know, have an abortion against her will, of a daughter that she wants. So that’s also like a – Yes. Ali, you are raising your hand.
Ali: True, true, true. But there are a couple of things that I was like, hmm, about it. Because, One, it wasn’t really her choice, because she did have a moment where she was like, I kind of want to keep it, but oh, well, which I was like, I have conflicting feelings. One about the like, I never wanted a kid. Oh, now I kind of want to keep it. But then also because I’m like, that feels like a trope that is interesting, you know, because not every woman who suddenly finds herself pregnant is then like, Oh, I feel this connection with this child and motherhood. And like, I feel like that’s a myth that perpetuates. And then the second thing was, and then it’s weird that she, like, is like, Oh, but I have to get an abortion because the rules, even though I might not want to, that felt weird. The third thing being that she got pregnant because her husband decided to go against her wishes and get her pregnant in the first place, which is a problem and is super problematic. And, not only that, but like, it’s considered like the man’s job to do all the, like pregnancy prevention. But we still in this world can’t get men to wear condoms, in the matriarchy. We can’t get men to wear condoms.
Aradia: And I know again, she goes so close and then pulls the punch at the last.
Ali: And then I’m like, but, but no! But no! This is like, I can’t feel anything. And I’m like, No, not in the matriarchy. The matriarchy doesn’t care how you feel about sex, right? Like.
Aradia: She even thinks that. She even thinks that.
Ali: Well, the toxic matriarchy, I’m like, if we’re going to do a toxic matriarchy, the toxic matriarchy doesn’t give a shit if you enjoy yourself.
Aradia: But she’s so in love with him that she does care about his pleasure. No. It is very is very – it’s like it’s almost there. And then the last little bit, it just twists away. Because she gets pregnant, not even because she wants to get pregnant. Right. Like she’s seducing him and having sex without a condom and following through with faking the symptoms of pregnancy. And then it turns out she’s actually – like all of that is all a ruse. And like, we never actually get into her. Like, just Glenin, does she want a kid? It’s all about like,I can use the concept of pregnancy and even the reality of pregnancy in this political machinations. Like this kid was never anything but a pawn – no, not this kid, but this fetus, this entire potential, the entire future that is spelled out by this pregnancy – she doesn’t even want it. Like she never even actually initiated that for anything other than political reasons. And it’s jus, ick.
Bree: Yeah, yeah.
Ali: Yeah, ick. Ick.
Bree: Yeah, yeah. I do feel like with the connection, even the connection did not feel emotional. Like Glenin’s like, Oh, I have a baby,! Glenin said, I have the first daughter of a first daughter of a first daughter of a first daughter. Like it felt very much like Glenin’s real investment there was continuing the political dynasty of power. You know, more than like, I have a baby.
Ali: Listen, I don’t think that Glenin would have been mother of the year. So this might actually have been a real win for this fetus, like, ultimately?
Ali: You know, I mean, this might have been a real win, because I don’t know if like, space fascist is the person that you want to be born to.
Bree: Can you imagine being her daughter? But she, like, worships abusive grandma, Meemaw Ambrai?
Bree: Honestly, I think it would be pretty terrible for sure.
Ali: Controversial opinion. But there are just some families you just like kind of don’t want to be born into. Do you know what you mean? Like, it’s just not, it’s not a good life. I mean, you’d have to reach really hard for a good life, you know what I mean? So that’s an uphill battle. And, yeah, I just don’t feel like Glenin would have been Mother of the year, So maybe this is all for the best, but I do have complicated feelings about, like, if she wanted to keep it, and there were rules that were like, No, no, you don’t get to keep your baby. I was kind of like, Oh, no.
Aradia: But as of rules within the political schema of – granted, it’s a conspiracy. She’s in charge. But also it’s sort of conspiracy with male in the title. And it seems to be a bunch of men telling her what to do with her life in order to bring about space fascism.
Bree: And they won’t call her Lady until she pops out a baby.
Ali: Yeah, I hated that!
Aradia: Yeah. And I just that’s just, there’s so much there. But at the same time, we do get a world in which it’s normal for abortion to be painless and simple and have an almost instant recovery time and not be a really challenging political thing to navigate fundamentally. Melanie Rawn’s giving us so much good stuff underneath this annoying stuff in the main plot.
Bree: I really appreciate that the abortion is not the controversial part of this whole thing.
Ali: Right? There are no dickheads screaming at her as she walked in the building or something like that. You know, there’s none of that.
Bree: It’s all people fighting over whether or not she should be forced to have this medical procedure that they treat as a totally normal medical procedure.
Ali: Yeah, I guess just like as a unplanned child myself, I have complicated feelings about, like, them having, like, a mandated plan for making a baby. Like, if you have an unplanned pregnancy and you choose to abort the pregnancy, like, no quarrel with me. I have a quarrel with, like, a governmental or religious body being like, This child cannot be, because the plans, because the rule! I’m too chaotic good for this, I think, in general.
Aradia: Well, that’s the thing, is she signed up for a conspiracy. She’s following through with a very specific conspiracy she’s helped architect. It’s not like the government’s covering this for everyone, which would be a different –
Bree: It’s, play fascist games, win fascist prizes, I feel like is what Glenin’s situation is.
Aradia: Right. Like, I still hate it?
Bree: But we’re supposed to hate it.
Aradia: I still hate it. There’s old bearded men telling her what to do and being like – that’s gross. But at least she did decide to play stupid fascist games. Yeah. So at least there’s that?
Bree: Well, and I feel like this is a question. This is a real pivot point for Glenin. And do you want to keep playing the stupid fascist games because you have just been delivered? And she decided, yes, she was like, okay, well, we’ll just keep playing, because she’s all in. And, you know, I feel like, where’s her breaking point going to be? Is there going to be one?
Aradia: I do think it is refreshing that getting pregnant doesn’t fundamentally change who she is, that she doesn’t have that instant turnaround. Ah! The hormones! Now I understand life, the universe and everything!
Aradia: I’m really glad that she was like, No, you’re inconvenient. Get the fuck out of here. Medical procedure. Let’s move on. It’s Tuesday. Like, I appreciate that consistency of character because like you said, Ali, like, that’s not true for the vast majority of people to some degree or other. Some people it’s true for. But it’s nice to not have our like baby fascist protagonists like one of those people. That is a trope Melanie very roundly kicked out for this moment and that is worth appreciating.
Ali: Yeah, there are certainly some women that get pregnant when they did not think they wanted children, where that was a mind change for them, certainly has happened.
Aradia: That literally was my mom, literally was my mom. I was an unplanned pregnancy where she figured out how she was going to make it work in the course of about 45 seconds and decided what she was going to do. But that’s not everyone. And I would absolutely not expect that to be everyone, despite the fact that I’m grateful for being alive.
Ali: I was totally unplanned as well. My parents weren’t even married. My dad was married to someone else. They were separated. But like still, very unplanned child. So, you know, I’m like, do you? But there are some women who are like, you know what? It’s inconvenient. But I want this child, versus other women who are like, I have no desire for children. Being pregnant does not change that. And I’m like, respect, totally.
Bree: I was very planned because my mother actually had an illegal abortion before me. Because it was she was pregnant before me and it was wight before, like the year before Roe versus Wade. Oh, I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has expired on that. So don’t go get her, please!
Ali: Don’t go get her. Who are we going to tell?
Bree: I mean. Yeah, but yeah. So, like, that is something I have thought about, because I was like, wow, I could have been the second child. I wouldn’t have all this other child baggage, but I am the oldest child and that is how it worked out. And, you know.
Ali: Yeah, I, I mean, and then there’s like, there’s some plannings where I’m like, I mean, that’s kind of a bummer planning. Like, my sister is very much a, Let’s try and save our marriage with a baby, baby. And like, I don’t know, I feel like that’s a weird thing.
Aradia: That’s a different kind of burden to have than, my parents had just met and had a bottle of red wine and probably would have been like a one night stand or maybe a week fling. But instead they had seven years of marriage and two kids.
Ali: Exactly. You’re like, You know what? Not the most auspicious start to a relationship, but you know, it is what it is.
0:45:32 Music break
Ali: Oh, can I also say another thing that kind of made me like, hmm.
Bree: Go for it!
Ali: Hmm. Yeah. That’s the face, it’s like a straight line mouth. Ugh. The fact that the husband immediately starts blaming her for the miscarriage?
Bree: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Let’s go back a little bit, and then we’ll get there and go right into it. If there’s one thing I just want to touch on before we go through the miscarriage part. Is that right before she, like, goes to have the miscarriage, she’s in one of her favorite cities, which is one where they have painted murals everywhere.
Aradia: Oh, yes, this.
Bree: And there’s this one mural I love that they describe, which is that they have like all 386 of the Saints. They used to have one for each day. And it’s like painted all along this wall and they just paint over it every time it starts to fade. So it’s been there for like 500 years. And there are saints that, like, people don’t even remember anymore.
Aradia: I love this.
Bree: But she wants to go see one of the pics, the big mural, her favorite, which is of where the Weaver’s castle is, Seinshir. And when she gets there, it’s like covered up with tarps because they’re repairing it. But she wants to look anyway and they look underneath and she finds a mural of her father destroying Ambrai. That some revolutionaries painted.
Aradia: Oopsie! Oopsie-poodle.
Bree: What do we think about this? Everybody’s, like, horrified, too, because they’re like, Oh, shit. Because everybody knows that this is her father. So everybody is like, Oh, God, she’s going to fucking murder us all.
Aradia: So, like, did they think she wasn’t going to hear about it, when a giant mural was finally unveiled?
Bree: I mean, that’s the question.
Ali: I mean, it’s a mural. It’s like a billboard.
Bree: Somebody has been sneaking under there and, like, painting it. I mean, that’s a logistical feat all on its own. You got to wonder, like, if they did it in, like, a couple nights so that people didn’t realize it was there or like, what?
Ali: Who are they, Banksy?
Bree: Maybe! Medieval Banksy, you know.
Ali: Just like going out there and everyone’s like, We’re all trying to find the guy who did this! Like, they’ve got to know. They’ve got to know.
Bree: I mean, at one point the person who’s in charge of all the murals says, Well, we’ll find who did this. And Glenin’s like, Do you think you will? Like, she knows.
Ali: Do you think he will?
Bree: Because yeah, I mean, nobody wants to be the next Falundir, right? He wants to get there.
Aradia: It’s very much, visual Falundir move.
Bree: Yeah. Fingers broken or whatever. And this mural implies that the Weavers were responsible for Ambrai, which they were. And she even admits it in her head. She’s like, Yeah, it’s truth. But like, how dare you say it?
Aradia: And how does someone know well enough to paint the truth specifically, in a way that will stab at the heart of someone who actually knows the truth? This is not some random street urchin who heard some rumors. This is a very specific, I know that you know that I know, kind of message.
Bree: Yes. And she does actually wonder if it was Murder Punch Card Lady. Like, sort of setting up Auvry to fall, you know, for the things that she helped orchestrate.
Aradia: Maybe she knows that she’s supposedly not long for this world and is taking steps? Who knows?
Ali: Should we consult the Loom? Will the Loom tell us?
Bree: There are plots within plots. the Loom tells you.
Ali: The Loom looms!
Aradia: The Loom looms large over this.
Bree: The Loom looms as the First Weaver looms. And the First Weaver – we don’t know much about them. We are told that they exist in the section. They’re called the First Weaver, and it’s the person who guides the Loom. And so I guess this is one of those things, where – Does the Loom decide or does the First Weaver decide? Does the First Weaver decide that the Loom has decided whatever they think is important?
Ali: Can I make a stupid little Shop of Horrors reference joke?
Bree: Obviously yes.
Ali: So we have Auvry, right. So could we call Glenin, Auvry II?
Aradia: Yes. I mean, literally, but…
Bree: Yes, yes.
Ali: Stupid! But I was like, I have to now.
Bree: So yes, I wanted to just sidetrack and make sure we discussed that political – there’s some political rumblings out there. There are some – we’re just going to call them Banksy now. Banksy knows.
Ali: Yeah, well, they got to know who Banksy is. And it can’t be a coincidence that this happened in her favorite city.
Aradia: And like, the odds of it happening when she was visiting.
Bree: That same time that she was visiting. Somebody was paying attention to where she was going and what was going on.
Aradia: And would know that that’s something she would care about.
Ali: Could it be Gorynel Desse like?
Aradia: That’s the other thing, is there a new Gorynel Desse like, I’m going to get these goddamned memories if it’s the last thing I do.
Ali: Well, because she thinks to herself, she’s like, I want to get Gorynel Desse. And I’m like, Maybe Gorynel Desse is moonlighting as Banksy. You know what I mean?
Bree: I mean, it wouldn’t be the weirdest thing he had moonlighted as, right? He’s got all these different identities.
Ali: Memory swiper?
Bree: Gorynel Desse could be Banksy.
Ali: Ooh, j’accuse. I’m j’accuse-ing. Cause he seems to be everywhere.
Bree: Yes. So she has her very miserable time with this. And then she eventually gets back on the boat, and the Fifth Lord is waiting for her. The Fifth Lord is the one who does the snip snips of the pattern, when somebody is not working well on the Loom, He gets his scissors out.
Ali: Not to be confused with the Sith Lord.
Bree: No, the Fifth Lord, who is a little Sith Lord-y.
Ali: Wait. Have we all figured out what this is like a fanfic of, essentially? Like you prompted us to at the beginning. Have we all figured it out?
Bree: Have you figured it out, Aradia?
Aradia: I have forgotten to try to figure it out.
Ali: Gus figured it out and then that made me mad. So then I figured it out.
Aradia: Yeah, I literally have forgotten to put brainpower into that question at all. So no, I haven’t.
Ali: That’s so oay. I was just curious if you had also texted Bree and said, I know what it it’s.
Aradia: No, I forget it’s a question. I will try to remember to think about it.
Bree: You have to think afterward. It’s after this episode, you’ll have to think about it a little bit. It was Gus. Gus figured it out and texted me, and I was like, You got it.
Ali: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. We’re not giving all the credit to a man. He did figure it out first, but he did not tell me. I figured it out on my own. Okay?
Bree: You figured it out out of rage that Gus figured it out.
Ali: Yes. I was mad that he had figured it out. So then I hyper fixated on nothing but figuring this out for, like, a week and a half.
Bree: I will tell you, Aradia, that in the first few episodes I did manage to get you guys to compare characters to their counterparts a couple of times. So it’s out there. It’s in your brain.
Ali: I also dropped a clue this episode.
Aradia: Oh, dear.
Ali: So it’s Little Shop of Horrors.
Aradia: Oh, okay. That makes sense.
Bree: Obviously. That would be sort of amazing, honestly. So anyway, yeah, I just wanted to get that political Banksy moment out there before we circle back around to – Yes. The Fifth Lord shows up, we find out he loves killing people, like he’s killed 78, I think, Mages, in the last five years.
Aradia: He likes it too much.
Bree: Murder machine.
Ali: That’s a hobby.
Aradia: Yeah. You’re becoming more than a hobbyist. You’re like, actually, like in the small leagues, almost professional at that point.
Bree: Yeah, like he’s got so many smoothies.
Aradia: Yeah, so many pre-smoothies.
Ali: Can you imagine his dating profile, you know, and it’s under hobbies and interests?
Aradia: I like killing people.
Ali: I like murder. Just a light murder.
Aradia: Specifically Mages.
Bree: Mage murder, yes. Specifically.
Ali: He likes to snip them out of the Loom.
Bree: And that is what is his job to do, is to arrange, to remove, this obstacle from the pattern, which is Glenin’s pregnancy. But one thing we find out during this conversation is that back when our favorite DnD party did their haunted castle side quest, they were being watched.
Aradia: That feeling was not suspicion. And yeah, shocking. Shocking.
Bree: So, yeah, this they all live in this castle and they managed to just somehow herd them to, like, abandoned parts so that nobody would see all the people living in it still. And they recognized Sarra, but they didn’t recognize the two boys. And so they basically asked Glenin, you know, Do you know why Sarra would be wandering around this castle when she’s supposed to be on a boat? Sarra does not.
Ali: Glenin showcases that she is not, in fact, a gut jumper like her sister because she’s like, Oh, it’s got to be Taig Ostin.
Bree: Yes, she mistakes Val for Taig.
Bree: Because Val is like the tall, handsome, dark one. And Alin is blond, like his father, unlike the rest of his family. So she decides that Taig must be with them. And she’s like, Well, cool. Let’s go catch him at Ryka Court, because he must be headed there with Sarra. Right? So she is definitely not a gut jumper. She is wrong about this, but she’s close. I mean, she has got one Ostin. It’s just the wrong one.
Aradia: Right. And she also identifies the pale blond one, the thin blond one, as being really important for killing, which makes me concerned for Alin. Because even if she doesn’t know his name, she can suss out that he’s important to the resistance. And I’m like, No, don’t know that! Bad. Bad!
Bree: No, don’t love it. Don’t love it. Also, did you notice on the wall of 386 Saints, there is one she takes special interest in, who is a blond short guy putting a ladder against a wall.
Aradia: Note the nameless Ladder Saint. Yes.
Ali: Yes, the nameless Ladder Saint.
Bree: Who has this vague description, not that much unlike Alin.
Aradia: I didn’t notice that, but –
Ali: Did I not say at the beginning that the Saints would be important? I’m just saying, I’m just saintin.
Aradia: What if Saints were one of us?
Ali: I think we saint seen nothing yet.
Bree: Oh, here we go. Okay, so Glenin has her abortion. It is easy. It is, you know, painless. But she pretends to be very, very sick. She pretends, so that her father can come to through a Ladder and get her basically, and take her up to the castle and back through a Ladder without anyone being suspicious. Because everybody knows her dad can use Ladders, so she pretends to be very sick, such an emergency that he has to rush to her side and bring her through the Ladder back home. Where her husband starts yelling at her. And let’s bring this back. Ali.
Ali: I hated this.
Bree: Garon decides it’s all her fault. That she was reckless and had a miscarriage.
Ali: I hated it. It feels too familiar.
Bree: Yelling at your murder wife. Good idea, bad idea?
Aradia: Bad idea!
Ali: One of his worst. We know he’s not the brightest bulb. You know, we know he’s not the brightest ball, but –
Aradia: He’s a himbo.
Ali: Truly a dim moment, for sure.
Bree: Yeah. She accuses him of violating the law of birthing, by not taking his birth control medication.
Ali: Yeah, and she’s like, I could divorce you for that witch –
Aradia: Okay, I’m fine with that. That part of the world building is fine. We can keep that.
Ali: Yeah, you can divorce for that. Yeah, absolutely.
Bree: Yeah, I do always think it’s interesting. I feel like I am so steeped in our world, but it’s almost hard for me to fathom a world where women are so confident that men will get consequences for their unwanted pregnancies, that they’ll just let it be all their responsibility. Like part of me wants to tell Glenin, Why did you trust him?
Bree: But then, like, I’m like, okay, well, this is – she has every reason to think that, because he will get the consequences.
Ali: Well, she’s probably also like, Well, he’s fucking everybody else, so probably should stay on those pills for lots of reasons.
Aradia: Also that.
Bree: Yeah, yeah. So I think that that’s something where I almost wanted to ding Melanie Rawn, but I think I just want to ding my own traumatized psyche instead. Because, you know, in a world where she has built in harsh consequences and like you do not want to be a divorced dude in this world, like, you’re kind of fucked. I do think it’s fair.
Ali: That was actually a 1 to 1 that I did appreciate. But, you know, so also, it’s like my trust issues are screaming. Yeah, but.
Bree: It’s just hard for me to fathom. Because we have been trained so strongly that this is all our fault.
Ali: That it’s our responsibility.
Bree: Our responsibility. Yeah.
Aradia: Yeah. Very, very much so. Hard to grok where these people are coming from. Melanie Rawn did a good job of the world building, because it feels alien as hell, the way that she thinks.
Ali: Yeah, where you’re like, I’m sorry! She just trusted him? Well, I mean, you know, your spouse is one thing. Like you would hope that you would –
Aradia: Not in this kind of a marriage! This is not a trusting relationship.
Ali: I just didn’t want to give the impression that I don’t trust my spouse! I trust MY spouse, but not everyone can trust their spouse.
Aradia: Yeah. And Glenin has been – Yeah. This relationship is not the kind that you should be having that kind of trust in. I mean, honestly, she should have been untrusting because of the fact that she’s, you know, completely screwing with him, and it’s at all political. But she’s so used to being the oppressor class, she doesn’t consider he could fight back, I guess?
Ali: Yeah. I just wanted there to be like, I don’t know, some blame on the – because like, we’re blaming women for miscarriage? How different – Oh, you know what I mean. So there is a part of me that wanted someone to be like implying that – I know obviously miscarriages are no one’s fault. Disclaimer before I say this, but there is a history of people placing blame with the women in the situation and being like, Well, what did you do? What did you eat? Where did you go? Why did you like, you know, ride a bicycle, you know, whatever.
Bree: Oh, they’re criminalizing it now, for women. Criminalizing!
Ali: And so I’m like, having a husband scream at a wife about her miscarriage being her fault, was a little like, hmm, that is triggering. But, you know, obviously happens. But I was like, where is the like, what were you doing at time of conception? Like, where you making sure the seed would be strong? What were you doing? What were you eating? Where were you going? What environments or chemicals were you using?
Bree: Did you swim in a cold lake or take a hot –
Aradia: What temperature shower were you using?
Ali: Yes! Yes. I wanted a little of that to a certain extent. I’m like, if we’re doing a 1 to 1, right. If we’re doing a like purely toxic matriarchy where we’re 1 to 1-ing things, I was kind of like, where’s the blame for you? You know, if we’re going full toxic here.
Bree: Well, he doesn’t get long to blame because he makes the mistake of telling her that he’s fucking around.
Aradia: Oh, yeah, he fucked around and then found out, is what happened.
Bree: She didn’t know. She knew that he was the type who could. No, that’s why she was doing all the sexual tricks and stuff. The one thing she would not would not take is him being unfaithful, because that diminishes her public power. Because people will know if he’s unfaithful.
Aradia: Yeah, she said that’s the one thing she won’t share.
Ali: Well, this felt like a 1 to 1. This is good, this is good. He’s not allowed to fuck around. She can, but he can’t. Because that would diminish her publicly. That would, like, ruin her reputation. Okay, I take a little bit of what I said back. She did do a 1 to 1 there.
Bree: Coming back in. So yeah, we find out that he has been fucking around. He tells this to Glenin rather triumphantly because he is – let us reiterate – not that smart, I guess.
Ali: He’s just Ken. He’s Ken.
Bree: She’s like, I’m done. I’m done! I’m done, I’m done, I’m done. So she fake cries so that he’ll come over and touch her. And then we get the line. We get the line.
Aradia: Grabbed him.
Aradia: And then she grabbed him. (little evil laugh)
Ali: I was on her side.
Aradia: I totally was, too. I’m like, You get him, girl!
Ali: Garon – you know what? Garon fucked around. Garon really fucked around there.
Ali: I was on her side.
Bree: Okay, here’s the line. And she grabbed him. He would never know what had happened to him any more than the maid knew the real origin of her headache. But Glenin knew. Glenin was one of the best spellbinders the Lords of Malerris had ever seen. The First Lord, Warden of the Loom, had admitted as much. Garon left that room spellbound, and remained so for the rest of his life.
Aradia: That’s a move.
Bree: So she basically compulses the shit out of him. She lightly lobotomized him.
Aradia: She mined slaves him. She blanks him out and replaces him with –
Aradia: Coding. I don’t know what she does. It’s bad.
Bree: I mean, we don’t know that yet. But –
Ali: You know. I mean. Here’s the thing. Is he a huge loss. He seems like not a winner.
Bree: He fucked around! And he found out.
Ali: He seems like not a winner. Seems like, dumb as a doornail. But you know, it’s complex. Because there’s a part of me that was like, Do it, queen.
Aradia: Yeah, it was complicated.
Bree: I mean, she played fascist games and won fascist prizes. He played fuck boy games –
Ali: And won fuck boy prizes. You know, he poked the bear and then was surprised when the bear bit him. Like, this is my thing. I’m like, when when the bear bites you, after you poke the bear, it kind of is your fault.
Aradia: Yeah. Like, he probably could have gotten away with that for a couple of years and not been completely screwed over in that moment. But he had to gloat. He knew she was Mageborn. He knew that she was more powerful in the relationship and he had to gloat anyway. And the leopards ate his face.
Bree: He was trying to hurt her. His wife, who had just miscarried.
Ali: That’s the thing.
Aradia: Another reason to support her.
Ali: Here’s my thing. Here’s the thing. This is what it is. This is what it is, for me. Because I’m like, I don’t want to sound like I’m victim blaming here, because obviously, like, wiping your spouse’s mind is not cool. Right?
Bree: We have a soft no on that.
Ali: But we’re talking about a spouse who, like, did reproductive rape on his wife, right? Then, then blamed her for her miscarriage, has been screwing around behind her back, and then decided, you know, what’s a great idea? I’m going to take this powerful woman that I married and I’m just going to rub all of that shit in her face. I’m sorry. At that point, I’m like, You sucked also. Like, So this is what happens when you suck also.
Bree: Yeah, as a person who was like, judging what we should and should not as a moral code, what she did was terrible. As a person reading these books, I’m really tired of just, just making stuff up.
Ali: You know? This conversation reminds me of? Ron Perlman with the writers strike. Withthe writers strike there was an executive apparently, that said that they wanted writers to lose their homes before coming back to the table so that writers would be desperate to take any deal. Which is shitty. Really, really shitty. Right? So Ron Perlman releases this video where he’s basically like, there’s more than one way to lose a house, pal. And people’s response was really funny to this because they were like, Whoa, too far! To like, threaten to essentially burn down somebody’s house. Right? But, you know, the conversations that I kept having with people were like, I mean, I’m against arson. And that was like too far. But!
Bree: Okay, listen, I didn’t think that was far enough. He’s only threatening to burn down one of their houses.
Aradia: It’ll only take one.
Bree: Because to me, all he did was make the violence of their statement explicit.
Bree: I mean, it’s like, fine when they remove thousands of people’s homes? But he threatens to remove one person’s home, and now suddenly it’s violent. No, y’all, you started it. Ron Perlman’s just going to end it.
Ali: It was so funny, though, having conversations with people where they were just like, I mean, like, that was too far, but. I mean, but.
Aradia: That But was funny.
Ali: The But was weighted, the But was loud.
Bree: Here’s how we know that I am just so over rich people. I’m like, no. Ron Perlman responded with great restraint. Because he didn’t actually do it yet.
Aradia: Whereas Glenin did not respond with restraint. Glenin decided that she’d had enough and has just decided to stop having Geron be anything except her toy.
Ali: Yeah. And so it’s like I’m against spouses, you know, lobotomizing their spouses. But I mean, if you’re going to have a spouse get lobotomized, Garon’s near the top of the list, right? Like if it has to happen.
Bree: He definitely did not win any favor anywhere else in this book.
Aradia: He should have just been allowed to be a fuck boy off in the corner and that would have been fine. He didn’t need to be mind wiped.
Ali: He could have himbo’d in the corner to his heart’s content. If he had just shut the fuck up.
Bree: It wasn’t like she was paying super close attention to him. I mean, there’s even a line in there where she’s like, you know, she would be really horrified if she was the sort of woman that Garon would fall in love with. But I was like, I mean, yeah, harsh, but relatable.
Ali: His Ken job was fuck boy, and he couldn’t even do that.
Bree: So, yeah, that is our final Glenin section. We end that with Glenin at Ryka Court, recovering from her miscarriage, having just done something to her husband. Which I’m sure we will see play out in subsequent chapters, where he is now, basically, her little mind controlled puppet boy.
1:00:00 Sarra’s part
And we have one more part that we read, which is Sarra. And Sarra is at court, too, also is tired of boys. Oh, boy. Sarra is bored of boys. They are all – all of the unmarried boys are chasing her around, inviting her to parties, telling her she’s lovely and wonderful and interesting.
Aradia: Oh, I’m so hot. Life is so difficult. It’s reminding me of Vin in Mistborn.
Bree: And Sarra is tired of being hit on. Sarra is Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy has just arrived at the country, and every single other person at this court is Mrs. Bennett. Just slingshotting eligible sons –
Ali: Whipping peens at her.
Bree: So Sarra is tired of being Mr. Darcy in the country with, whatever thousand pounds. And so we get, like, a little bit of skimming that, how exhausting it is, how she does not like being the center of attention. She is venting to her stepfather, or Orlin, her adopted father’s, brother, Telo. Telomir. Telomir?
Aradia: Telomir, like in your brain.
Bree: I always called him Telo (T low) in my head, but now I’m looking like, Hello? I don’t know.
Aradia: I was pronouncing it Telo also.
Ali: Telo’s better. I don’t care if it’s wrong, it’s wrong, but it does sound better.
Bree: Yeah. So Telomir Renne. Or Ren, which, I think Renne. I don’t know. Renne? I always call Orlin Renne, so I’m gonna call him Telomir Renne. Yeah. He is the minister of mining because the Renne family owns like, all of the iron, and we did find out about this once before when they got Gorynel Desse, they got Collan his fake ID tags. We found out that there was a family that owned basically all of the iron and it is Telomir’s mother, Jeymian, who is, we know, another of Gorynel Desse’s many lovers.
Aradia: Ex-lovers, mind you.
Bree: Lilen Ostin was one. Yeah, Jeymian was the one who refused to marry him, and she went off and married an Alvassy, and became related to Mai, the cousin that Ali was looking for everywhere.
Ali: Where is she? Where are the girls?
Aradia: Where are the girls?
Bree: She’s somewhere out there in a tavern somewhere, because she switched places with Sarra. So she’s still out there. And so all we know, like we’ve learned all this stuff, Jeymian is another of the most beautiful women ever. So I guess no wonder Gorynel Desse couldn’t resist chasing her around.
Ali: And it’s the tiny waist thing. She’s like, But not everybody has my tiny waist! And I’m like, –
Aradia: And my luscious curves! And it’s just like –
Bree: Yes. And the modest dress.
Ali: Because if we had a matriarchy, we’d be like, All bodies are beautiful. Fuck off.
Aradia: Right, right. It would be like, not all of them have my color eyes or some shit.
Bree: Yeah, it was. It was the modest dress thing that sort of made me roll my eyes, because it was like, yes, she wore a chin to ankle, modest dress, and not all the other women could carry it all.
Aradia: And still the boys were panting after her.
Ali: It’s giving like, She wear short skirts, I wear T-shirts, kind of deal. And I was just like, Mm hmm.
Aradia: Yeah, yeah. Tiresome.
Bree: Sarra’s kind of just, like she’s very –
Ali: Sarra loves the patriarchy.
Aradia: Just as much as Glenin does.
Bree: Lots of purity, modesty, sex negative stuff, going on with Sarra.
Ali: These girls. They’re going to kill me.
Bree: That we have not entirely unpacked here.
Ali: Well, it’s like. It’s like trying to unpack a Mary Poppins bag. It just keeps going and going.
Bree: And someone in the discord did ask if they could read, like maybe, that Sarra is sort of ace? Like, you know, maybe asexual spectrum.
Ali: I’m down with that.
Bree: But Sarra’s judgment doesn’t seem to be like, I don’t want, so much as, You should stop. And I feel that’s where I’m like, Sarra is not out here saying, I don’t want to have sex. She’s out here deploring promiscuity in other people. And so it feels like, well, she could be one.
Ali: Yeah. Because I’m like, there’s being, A: straight, which is totally fine. Totally awesome, totally valid. And then there’s B: shaming of other people.
Aradia: Right? Yeah. She’s not interested in anything except the shaming of other people, which is just a big open ended question of like, why is that your inclination?
Ali: Which, yeah, relatable. Don’t we all love shaming other people?
Bree: I do actually think that she probably – I mean, I actually sort of get a little bit of a demisexual vibe from her. She’s like, she wants to be interested in someone, I think. She wants to have some sort of spark and connection. She’s not just out here ogling the sexy people. You know, I think that maybe – that actually does sort of resonate for me.
Ali: Wait. That’s what demisexual is?
Bree: Well, I think, like, you know, usually it’s that you’re going to have an emotional connection with someone, before the, you know. I don’t want to be describing it wrong on here, because this is definitely not my best area.
Ali: Well, if that is true, then today I learned that that is what I am! Congratulations to me!
Bree: I have always resonated with, because that is extremely – I am a, Do not get anywhere into my personal space until we have a deep emotional connection, sort of person.
Ali: Truly, deeply that. But like okay, so today I learned! I did not know that. Thank you for breaking that down for me.
Bree: Also, don’t disagree with the whole you know, there’s a little vibe with that. I think for me, at least in the whole thing where we all just decided that Ryan Gosling was attractive finally ,because he’s funny and open in like, approaching in a way that is a specific personality instead of just Hollywood dude, you know.
Ali: Or being attracted to how well Stanley Tucci listens.
Bree: It is definitely a difference.
Ali: He just listens so well!
Bree: I get it. I get it.
Ali: And he’s got such sophisticated – Anyway. He’s just got – I just want a young Stanley Tucci, which I believe I have that. But I’m just like, that to me is the female gaze.
Bree: Yeah. I’m looking here. So they found the letters they needed with Avira Anniyas’ a.k.a Murder Punch Card Lady First Councillor’s handwriting on them. The boys were very disappointed because they wanted to do leverage style heists in the middle of the night, and they had worked out hand signals.
Aradia: They were ready for Mission Impossible. They had like a freaking soundtrack set up and like, everything. And then it was just like an easy walk in the park. Like, such a letdown.
Bree: Yeah. There were letters on display in both her personal and professional formal styles in the library, and so they just got to walk in and get all of the stuff they needed. The personal letter is apparently one written to Garon to pack up all of his toys and basically very patronizing, which everybody thinks probably embarrasses him, that it’s on display still.
Aradia: A letter to a little kid, just like on display as a state artifact. Like, awkward.
Ali: This is what I am saying. If I become famous after I die, everyone destroy my shit. Don’t let anybody have it. I don’t want any of my shit out there. Let me die a mystery.
Bree: So, yeah, there’s not a ton amounts going on here. There’s lots of talk about the family business. You know, Gorynel Desse. Where is he, and stuff. We know that Sarra is going to give her speech to the council soon, but the big cliffhanger that we end on is that Elomar, our healer with the lanky body who is, you know.
Aradia: Sexy knee boy?
Bree: The romantic partner of the most beautiful girl in the world. He walks in and looks at Sarra and says, If you are given to expressing shock, Domna , do it now. You must reveal nothing when you enter the Great Chamber. The Feirans, daughter and father, are here at Ryka Court and will attend today’s petitioning. So we know that Sarra’s about to go face her sister and her father. And how do we think that’s going to go?
Aradia: Sideways. That’s how I think it’s going to go.
Bree: I mean, here’s the thing. We have not had a lot of good luck with these people encountering family and not having their Wards explode in their faces.
Bree: Like Sarra and Cailet looked at each other for like 2 seconds, and Sarra was like, Oh, now I remember everything Gorsha tried to take away from me. So do we think this is going to go well? Do we think this is going to go crazy?
Aradia: It’s not going to go according to plan. It’s definitely going to not go according to plan. Something’s going to break.
Ali: This is going to fuck things up.
Aradia: At least one secret is going to surface.
Ali: Yeah, well, they’re definitely going to look at each other and be like – sisters! That’s definitely going to happen.
Bree: You think so?
Ali: They’re definitely going to realize who the other is, which then puts Sarra in so much danger, because I mean.
Bree: Well, do you think Glenin will recognize Sarra? I mean, it has been like –
Aradia: Well, Auvry recognized Sarra.
Bree: Sarra was yeah, Sarra was four years old. So, you know, you can change a lot between four and like 20.
Ali: But Sarra looks just like her mom, she said that.
Aradia: Yeah. Sarra and Cailet both take after their mom.
Ali: She has her mom’s eyes.
Bree: She does have her mom’s eyes.
Aradia: So, see, Auvry’s going to look at her and be like, God damn it, that is my wife as a child all over again.
Bree: No, see, I don’t think that Sarra looks like her. I think Cailet is the one who looks like mom. Like they both have the eyes. But Cailet actually looks like her. Glenin and Sarra looked more like their dad, I think, maybe.
Ali: So then will he go like, That girl looks weirdly like me!
Bree: And that’s the question.
Aradia: Yeah, he could recognize her.
Bree: I mean, how good are these Wards? Gorynel Desse has made Wards, and we find out, like at one point in the last section we read, Elomar says that Wards have been cast so they won’t recognize her. And then Alin and Val are like, Recognize her as who? And then like, you know, that’s where he says the thing that she is recognizable as someone she isn’t, which.
Ali: But that was supposed to be like the Cailet thing, right? But that didn’t work out, like she saw – took one look at Cailet and knew that Cailet was her sister, and she hadn’t seen her since she was, like, an hour old.
Bree: Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. So I guess we’re going to find out what happens when the –
Ali: That’s the power of siblings. Sisterhood!
Aradia: Yeah, I. Yeah, it’s. Mm. I’m very intrigued about what’s going to happen, but it’s not going to go according to plan.
Ali: But then, she looks just like him. She looks like him, her father, she looks like – As somebody who – I did one of those TikTok filters, right? Where it’s like, puts a beard on you.
Ali: And I looked so – my father has a beard. I looked so much like my father, that Gus walked by and saw what I was doing. It was like, Huh, that’s creepy. He’s like, I have to sit with that for a little while!
Bree: Yeah. I mean, it seems like this is a scary thing she’s about to have to face.
Ali: I just feel like he’s going to look at her and be like, That girl looks weirdly like me. I just. And I know I have a daughter somewhere in the world.
Aradia: Exactly. Exactly.
Ali: That’s the thing, is he does know he has a daughter somewhere in the world. And then if he sees a girl who just happens to look a freakish amount like him, but with the eyes of his dead wife?
Bree: Also, they kept her name Sarra. They’ve kept her name Sarra, which I’ve always thought was a little, a little –
Ali: Yeah. That’s dumb as fuck. And I’ve always thought so.
Bree: And there are lots of girls named Sarra in this world, to be fair, because apparently it’s a very popular name, named after Saint Sirrala or Sarrala, whatever her name.
Ali: But unless Auvry is as dumb as Garon, like, if there is a girl who – with his wife’s eyes and his face – who just so happens to be petitioning for these lands, also, what she’s there to do is petition for these lands that are her birthright. Am I wrong?
Aradia: That’s it. To get it transferred to her.
Bree: Yeah, She’s petitioning to inherit the Slegin land Sheve, which is next to Ambrai.
Ali: Okay, so she’s petitioning for lands next to fucking Ambrai. And not only that, but she also shares the name of the daughter that’s like, just happens to be missing? All of those elements together, he’s not going to go -?
Bree: It seems like it would have to be something very strange for him to not notice it. Very powerful magic.
Ali: It better be the most powerful magic in the world, we have to target all of his deductive reasoning!
Aradia: And like, not ping on Glenin’s radar. And she’s one of the best spell caster people? Like, I just –
Bree: We were just told she was one of the best spell binders, so.
Ali: And she’s good at capturing Mages. She’s good at that.
Aradia: Yeah. And like reading their minds and stuff. So it’s like, and Sarra hasn’t been giving nearly the same training or experience. So.
Ali: Yeah, no. And I’ve been saying from the beginning that that’s dumb as fuck, because Glenin is going to be a super, super witch. And she’s like, Today’s my first day. This is bad, this is dumb. Why are we doing this?
Bree: Chaos, let’s go. Yeah!
Aradia: Prediction. Your concern will come to fruit in the next episode. That’s my prediction.
Ali: I think that. I think we’re coming back here. We’re like, So that went like, fucking horribly.
Aradia: This is what happens when you don’t train your fascist assassin correctly.
Ali: It’s what happens when you don’t listen to Ali. Ali this whole time has been like, Will you fucking train this girl, please?
Bree: Ali definitely would have given you maybe a name change, some training.
Ali: Hair dye, hair dye!
Ali: Like, ugh, these people! At this point, if this is what the Mages have to offer, they’re too dumb to survive.
Bree: This is definitely the question. They are not doing great right now. The fascists are winning.
Ali: I’ve been victim blaming all over this episode.
Bree: Listen, sometimes it’s the victim’s fault. Says Ali!
Aradia: You know, sometimes? Context!
Ali: Oh, I’m just saying –
Bree: Guys, I do not mean that. Do not quote this on the internet: Bree thinks it’s the victim’s fault!
Aradia: Out-Of-Context quotes are the best quotes.
Ali: I, I just. I just, you know what? There are some people that sometimes bring things upon themselves. You know, in a larger sense. You’re going to like, Yeah, there were some things that could have been done to avoid this situation. That’s the leopard eating party. It’s the leopard eating party.
Bree: Yeah, I feel like Gorynel Desse has not won any confidence for most people.
Ali: Self-taught brain surgeon Gorynel Desse?
Bree: Has a world tour of erasing kids’ memories, and sleeping with ladies. Those are his two main things we know about him so far. Can’t wait to see him pop back up again and see what he’s got to offer us in his third go around.
Ali: Could he offer us some training of the two girls that need to go up against Glenin?
Aradia: As a treat?
Bree: Let’s hope so.
Ali: If I don’t see a training montage tomorrow, I’m going to be pissed.
Bree: You may get one, but I’m not telling you when, so.
Ali: Gorynel Desse is a deeply unserious person.
1:20:00 Wrap up, and the roast of Gorynel Desse, again.
Bree: I keep trying to take us out. Just one more thing about how I want to kill Gorynel Desse.
Ali: This is the roast of Gorynel Desse. Again! Part four.
Bree: Oh, oh, you guys, You guys, your days of roasting Gorynel Desse have only begun.
Aradia: Oh no.
Ali: Should we just rename this podcast The Roast of Gorynel Desse?
Bree: I love Gorynel Desse, too, which is why it is so hard for me. Because rereading, I’m like, Oh, bro, you are a hot mess.
Ali: You rereading it is like, Ali’s going to have something to say.
Bree: The roast of Gorynel Desse. Oh my baby. You can’t name this episode that, because one or two is going to be coming.
Ali: There’s got to be more applicable moments down the road.
Aradia: Save that for later on, then.
Bree: Yeah. Okay. Next week, y’all, we’re reading Betrayals, sections 6 through 9, pages 315 to 350 roughly, in the Kindle e-book.
Ali: Oh, that’s another thing. It’s called Betrayals! Like this is not going to go out.
Bree: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
Ali: The betrayal is they didn’t give her any training, a hair dye, and a fucking name change.
Bree: Yeah, It’s not going great. Okay, Ali, are you ready to take us out, or do you have one more?
Ali: I have one more. No, I’m just kidding. Okay, I’m done, I’m done, I’m done. I’m done, probably. Thank you so much for listening. If you want to keep gabbing with us about how dumb Gorynel Desse is, our social media and contact details are in the episode description. And till next time, have a very nuanced day.