Let’s Get This Name Salad Eaten: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 8 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for the language of flowers in Betrayals (parts 6-9) of The Ruins of Ambrai. We learn that our childhood Barbie play habits predicted our current careers, and that we favor term limits except in cases of international superspies. We also want to know what your family crest would be!

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

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0:00:13 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 apologize for my microphone quality, I am not at home. And I am also a screenwriter and co-host of The Wheel Takes podcast and the inventor of the Grinwell Cup, a march madness bracket in which we annually figure out who is the hottest character in the Wheel of Time series.

Aradia: It’s a different person every year. (laughs) I am Aradia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, currently getting near-ish the end of Crossroads of Twilight, and desperately hoping we can wrap it up by the end of summer.

Bree: A huge accomplishment.

Aradia: Thanks. As well as a podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media.

Bree: And I am Bree, one half of the bestselling romance sci fi fantasy author Kit Rocha, and I am still on deadline. So just, it’s me racing the September 1st drop of the first three episodes of Wheel of Time right now to finish this book. So, who’s going to break first, me or the series? We’ll find out. Stay tuned.

Ali: I put my money on you, I think. I think you’re going to do it.

Bree: I’m not sure it’s the smart money, but I appreciate it.

Ali: Yeah, it’s the friendship money. It’s the, I believe in you money.

Aradia: It’s the loyalty money.

Bree: I got this.

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

Bree: But before we jump into the time machine this week, we have a couple of patrons to thank. All of our episodes will always remain free. But if you’d like an ad free version, you can support us on Patreon.com\TheHotNuanceBookClub.

Aradia: There are also more levels where you can get fun rewards, like secret discord channels, stickers, an invite to an end of book zoom book club with us. And of course, patreon shout outs.

Ali: This week, we have two patrons to thank. First off, thank you to our new Hotter Nuance Patron Rose. Thank you, Rose.

Aradia: Thank you, Rose!

Bree: We also have a Hottest Nuance Patron to induct into our hall of official titles. If you don’t know, we are giving people who pledge at the top level their own official podcast titles themed by whatever we happen to be reading. And right now, since we are reading Melanie Rawn, we are inducting you all into the Hall of Saints. And this week we are welcoming Badger Honey X, who is familiar to us from the Wheel Takes server. And because I know that you are a narrator, I have declared that we are naming you the Patron Saint of Soothing ASMR Voices To Fall Asleep To. Which, honestly? Isn’t that’s like the best thing? Absolutely. You love someone who can just, like, let you drift off to sleep, being soothing and wonderful. So thank you so much.

Aradia: Yes. Falling asleep to voices is top shelf.

Ali: I learned that people fall asleep to mine and Gus’s voice recently and I am shocked. I didn’t realize our voices were soothing.

Aradia: Oh my God. I have heard the same about me and Seth that I’m like, What about the times when I start randomly swearing at three times the volume? How does that work out?

Ali: They’re asleep by then.

Aradia: I would not make a good patron saint of this.

Bree: Oh, didn’t we find out about Wheel Takes because of, umm, the buzzer. Didn’t a bunch of people tell you when you introduced the buzzer? It was like, all of a sudden you were there, like drifting off. And it was like (screaching buzzer sound), which I feel guilty about because I’m pretty sure I told Gus to give some money.

Ali: We got a lot of emails being like, This is a sensory nightmare. And we were like, okay, heard, understood. So the buzzer lasted all of one episode. It was hilarious.

Bree: Sorry everybody. I just wanted to give Ali an out!

Ali: It got replaced by magical notes, like some kind of a – literally a harp sound, that apparently was much less of a sensory nightmare.

Bree: Understandable. So I think.

Ali: Part of it was by Gus and I, like, had way too much fun pressing that buzzer, that episode.

Aradia: Yeah, for sure.

Bree: I mean, you were reading a buzzery book, so.

Ali: A buzzery book, yeah. So it was hilarious.

Bree: So anyway, thank you very much to our new patrons. And now let’s jump into my time machine1

0:04:49 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: Welcome to my mostly reliable time travel adventures. We are going back to 1994 right now, and I got to tell you, this one made me laugh. This is when Beanie Baby mania began

Ali: Ooooh!

Bree: And somewhere out there, someone’s got a closet full of Beanie Babies, and they’re still waiting for this to pay off so that their grandkids can go to college.

Ali: Oh, my gosh.

Bree: Beanie Babies are like the NFTs of 1994.

Ali: We had so many of them, like, trunks full of these babies. I love them so much. I still have a few of my favorites.

Aradia: Oh, see, I don’t have any of the half dozen or so that I had. I just never got too obsessed. And now I’m sad because I have very good memories of me and my third grade friends all having Beanie Babies together.

Ali: Yeah. I mean, maybe my Babies look a little worse for wear. I was not a gentle play kind of gal, so they’re definitely, like, weird Barbies.

Bree: I was just a little too old. I was like, too old to get Beanie Babies, but too young to invest in Beanie Babies. So I feel like the Beanie Babies thing, I just slipped through a hole there. So I missed it.

Ali: My dad was recently divorced and so we really took advantage of his, like, wanting to make us happy.

Aradia: It was just one of the only toy fads I ever got to engage in.

Ali: Yeah, that was a big toy fad, they were everywhere. And what the best was, my dad – this is pre 9/11 – could walk us to the gate and on the way we’d pass a store full of tchotchkes and there are always Beanie Babies there. So we could always go like, Oh, Dad, we’re saying goodbye to you. Could you buy us a Beanie Baby to make us feel better on the flight home?

Bree: Ali’s a hustler.

Aradia: I don’t know why my dad let me engage in the Beanie Baby craze. I mean, I went to a private school. We were all hippies. We don’t do anything mainstream. Somehow, Beanie Babies got into the population, and our parents all just let it happen. Like, I don’t know.

Bree: Listen, when an NFT type investment scam crosses with adorable toys, I feel like it just hits a weird cross section of culture. So I hope your trunks of them, Ali, you’re going to pull them out in 20 years and retire.

Ali: Most of them are gone. Most of them, I think, were given to other people’s children. And I definitely think our trucks of Barbie dolls were just jettisoned entirely, because they were just a nightmare of like Weird Barbies. If any of you have seen the Barbie movie, like we were not – again, we’re not gentle players. Like, we were not – like when our dogs got them, and oh man.

Aradia: Yeah, I was hard on my Barbies. I only ever bought my Barbies from the second hand store because I knew I was going to be so hard to them. I never played with them correctly.

Bree: There’s no wrong way to play with Barbie.

Aradia: I was a little Semirhage to my Barbie. Let’s just say that.

Bree: Listen, my Barbies used to oversee trials, where the My Little Ponies would put each other on trial and hang each other for murder.

Ali: Yes, yes, yes! Okay. People are like, Oh, little girls playing, with their teacups and stuff. I was like, Mine were like, like, you know, one of them was like an emperor who had a harem of wives.

Bree: We were like, burning witches, and stuff.

Aradia: Mine were on adventures, like Indiana Jones style, like, almost getting crushed, crawling through the flames. I would, like, throw them out the window. They were adventurers. I had some badass Barbies. They survived things.

Bree: So Aradia is the fantasy, epic fantasy, adventure fan. And we are these sadistic writers. This just tracks so clearly.

Aradia: That does track extremely well, actually.

Ali: Yeah. If your child is like, you know – don’t take your kid to therapy if they’re, you know, having their Barbies have affairs, they’re going to be fine. They’re just going to be writers. Mine always had affairs. I’d be like, This one’s not actually this guy’s kid. It’s so funny.

Bree: Beautiful. Okay. The Beanie Babies. So I put us on a tangent, but it was a beautiful tangent, so. Okay, my next one, the first successful cloning of a mammal happened in 1994. You guys remember Dolly the sheep?

Ali: Dolly the sheep!

Bree: They cloned Dolly in 1994.

Aradia: I remember reading about her years after the fact.

Ali: And everyone is like, We’re playing God! What can we do with this technology? Should we do this technology? Ladidadadada.

Aradia: Yeah, I think I remember more like, the 2004 ten year retrospective on Dolly the sheep because I was too young in 94. But I do remember a lot of stuff about Dolly the sheep throughout the nineties and early 2000s.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: I also seem to recall people cloning their pet. Like there were a couple of really, really rich people who cloned their pets, right? Like someone did a cat, someone did a dog.

Bree: I feel like that did happen. I have a weird memory.

Ali: I feel like this happened.

Aradia: It sounds like a rich people thing to do.

Bree: Yeah, very rich people thing to do. Also, I don’t think we have time to unpack this.

Ali: A lot to unpack there.

Aradia: Probably not.

Bree: Also, in 1994, Hotwired sold the first banner ad on the internet to AT&T. First banner ad campaign. We’ve sure come a long way.

Ali: Oh no, don’t do it. Don’t do it!

Aradia: How things have degraded.

Bree: Thanks, AT&T. You ruined everything. They’re going to, like, cut my Internet now any second. And in 1994, Melanie Rawn decided that it was time to drop a, what, 13 character Council retrospective on our heads? Introduce us to all of these people at the same time. So are we ready to dig into Betrayal, part six through nine?

0:11:22 Betrayals part 6

Ali: I definitely am. I’m definitely there. Let’s do it.

Aradia: Let’s get this name salad eaten.

Ali: I feel like – have you ever gone to a party where you really kind of just know the hosts and you have, like, really great conversations with a bunch of people, but you leave and you’re like, I don’t know a single fucking person’s name from that. I’m dealing with that picketing for the writers’ strike right now. Like, I’ll have these amazing conversations with people and then I fucking leave and I’m like, Damn, I am never going to see that person again. And I have no fucking idea what their name is. But I definitely told them, like my childhood traumas, you know what I mean?

Bree: Yeah, we got some childhood trauma from these Councillors. I mean, we’ve learned everything about them in about 5 minutes.

Ali: Glenin spilled the tea so hard on these Council members. She knows everything. It was like a burn book of these Council members.

Aradia: Oh, my God.

Bree: It was actually. That’s why I kind of love being in Glenin’s point of view. Even when she is being evil, she is so intuitive and perceptive about everybody. And she’s pretty cutting, too. So she’s just right to, I’m going to tell you the worst thing they ever did. And what I think about it.

Ali: Yeah, have you ever had a friend with, like, a really fucked up family and they just give you the rundown? They’re like, Okay, so-and-so is like, he left his wife, basically taking all their stuff out of their house. Like, you know what I mean? And they just give you the rundown and you’re like, Damn, you just – It’s just all out there on the table. It’s all an open secret. I felt like that was what occurred with Glenin just now, and I. I just love what an asshole she is. I really do. I’m like, I know she’s a murderer, but she –

Aradia: She has fun.

Bree: Okay, speaking of that, this opens with us getting a little glimpse of what Garon’s new spellbound life is. And it is waiting on her hand and foot.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Being absolutely devoted to her, tenderly bringing her things, asking if she wants a pillow. Pretty much, she is his life now.

Aradia: Honestly, she was being generous, allowing him to have such a long leash before.

Bree: I mean, Girlboss?

Ali: Gaslight Gatekeep Girlboss?

Bree: Gatekeep, Guy… Compulsed? I don’t know what the third is. She’s got his brain in a pretty tight vise now.

Aradia: He’s like an automaton. He’s not really a person outside of fulfilling his basic programming.

Ali: It’s less of a brainwash and more of a brain car wash. You know what I mean? It’s like, extra.

Bree: Yeah, she got the wax.

Aradia: Yeah, she put wax on and never took the wax off.

Ali: She smooth brained that guy.

Bree: And she’s kind of annoyed already, because he’s just hovering over her and smothering her and like, her whole thought about it is, Well, I guess it’s better now because people will just assume he’s renewed his love to me because of the miscarriage, and it won’t be suspicious if I had to whammy him later, when he was clearly fucking around.

Aradia: I mean, she’s right. Good time for that to slip under the radar.

Ali: And Elsvet’s like, You’re so lucky, he adores you! And I’m like, Uurgh, girl.

Bree: Yeah, well.

Ali: Anyone could adore me , if I wanted.

Bree: You could adore me, too. I mean. So that’s poor Garon, or not poor Garon. I mean, he’s hard to be sad for him. But also, generally speaking, I’m a light no on any sort of mind control.

Ali: We’re not here to blame the victim. But Garon is not a perfect victim. Let’s be real about that.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: No, but like, it is a disproportionate response, I feel, to take away his entire free will.

Bree: Just. Just a little.

Ali: Definitely. I mean, he sucks as a person, but Glenin sucks way more. You know what I mean?

Bree: And I want to be clear, we’re being very jokey here. Clearly, we’re not into scooping men’s brains out.

Ali: Don’t speak for me!

Bree: Whatever it is, it’s hard sometimes. Glenin is so fabulous. Even though she’s clearly down for fascism and terrible things, she’s got a little bit of that Forsaken vibe from Wheel of Time, where it’s just, like, you’re kind of fabulous. I hate to love you.

Ali: Yeah, I don’t root for Glenin, but I am fascinated by Glenin. Does that make sense?

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: And we don’t know – I mean, this is not a thing where she’s already for evil. We don’t know what’s coming for her. So, you know, she’s got some sisters out there who could try to change her mind. We don’t know if she’s committed to evil or not, but right now she’s committed to fabulousness and power.

Ali: It’s like, when a woman kills her husband in an old Hollywood movie. But they have a fabulous robe. Do you know what I mean? You’re like, okay, not cool that you killed your husband, at all. We’re not stanning that, at all. But wow, that robe, beautiful.

Aradia: Totally.

Bree: So, yes, we’ve got Glenin sitting here with the Council. We get a brief overview of, like, how the government works here, which is basically, each of the Shires send two Council members and ten Assembly members. So it’s kind of like a Senate and House of Representatives sort of thing, where you’ve got the High Council and then like the larger Assembly that has to do, you know, full voting stuff.

Ali: Essentially the Senate.

Bree: Yes, the Senate is the Council and the Assembly is the House of Representatives. So the Council are the super fancy people, and they come in and we get this whole rundown of – how many of them are there? We even get a graphic in the book, of how they sit.

Aradia: It’s honestly really nice. It’s laid out with the first names are like, closer together and the last names are farther away, or the other way around, it is quite visually pleasing.

Bree: Yeah. So, okay, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. There’s 14 Council members and then there is Anniyas, who is Murder Punch Card Lady, our First Councilor. So she’s sort of like the first of the Senate. I’m not sure we – we don’t really have a first of many sort of situation there. I mean, maybe we have like –

Aradia: Is she like the president? I would see her more as like the president.

Bree: Yeah. I feel like she’s – this is sort of like a president situation. It’s not like the majority leader. She’s definitely got more power than one senator would have.

Ali: Than the speaker.

Bree: Yeah, it’s definitely more of a presidential role. The most powerful person in the country. So yeah, we get them in decreasing age, basically. There’s some who are in their eighties. I believe there’s four men and the rest are women. There are also some on here who are not Blood, which it used to be, before Glenin abolished Bloods and Tiers, it was all Blood families. There’s a few Tier people on here who are sort of still having to be a little scrappy or terrified. Did anything jump out to you guys? Is there anything that you – anyone you remember?

Ali: Yes. I thought that the lady who was like, I think we should just abolish all male Saints, she just introduces that proposal every year. I thought, this is so petty!

Aradia: And moreover, Carthage must be destroyed.

Ali: Yeah, she was like, You know what? I’m going to fucking show all my cards, put all my cards on the table. I’m gonna show that I am a fucking misandrist, and we’re cool with that. She stood up. She stood out for sure. I was like, All right, all right. You seem like you would be not so fun to invite to a party. DO you know what I mean.

Aradia: Yeah, the one that stood out to me was the doddering old lady who needed to be guided through being a political person by her granddaughters.

Ali: Term limits! Term limits.

Aradia: Yeah, I’m like, I literally was listening to a story on NPR this morning about, like, is it agist to consider that ancient people maybe shouldn’t be in charge of driving the biggest government in the world or whatever. And like this, this woman needing to be reminded what her vote is. It was just like, this is too real.

Bree: I’m going to read a couple of lines here, because some of these are like hilarious. Her granddaughters are constantly, and daughters are constantly like, waving off all the crazy stuff she does. When she addressed remarks to Council members dead twenty years, it was, “Incisive irony to remind colleagues of similar circumstances in her long career.” When she nodded off during sessions: “Subtle commentary on the discussion.” Whether or not she heard, let alone understood, today’s proceedings—or anything else that happened in Council—was immaterial; the granddaughters would decide her vote as usual.

Aradia: I mean, good gig for the granddaughters, not having to take the heat. But like, boy.

Ali: Who was it that just gave like power of attorney to her kids, but is still fucking running the government?

Bree: Feinstein. Yeah.

Ali: Fucking fuck.

Bree: It is funny that this is the week we read this because, yeah.

Ali: It’s kind of like how Gus and I read a very particular section of the Wheel of Time, right when the January 6th stuff was happening? It was like, the timing of this was weird, where I was just like, Are we somehow accidentally controlling what is happening in real world events by reading?

Bree: We also had Mitch McConnell’s little blue screen incident. And so it’s like –

Ali: Oh my God. His spinning wheel of death.

Aradia: 404. Mitch McConnell.exe has stopped functioning.

Bree: So yeah, like, it’s like 1994, she’s writing this stuff clearly sort of pointedly. And I mean, I don’t remember who was doing this in 1994, but I’m guessing nothing has changed.

Ali: Term limits!

Aradia: Well, McConnell and Feinstein would have been at the beginnings of their careers, if not in the middle! When she wrote this, because they’re fucking ancient and need to god damn retire.

Bree: Yeah. That is very true.

Ali: They’re a thousand years old. And listen, that is not me saying old people can’t do stuff. It’s just, when you are at a point where, like, we’re questioning whether or not you can drive, like we should probably say – or like, whether or not you can handle your own finances? You should retire. Like, you should retire.

Bree: I mean, also, I do think there’s something to be said about someone who’s 90 years removed from, you know, or like 70 years removed from being a young person trying to start a life. What points of reference do you have for what people are trying to go through today? If you were trying to start a life in the, you know, 40s.

Ali: Well, and also how much investment in the future do you really have? You know, when climate change is going to be a problem in 20 years, they’ll be like, Well, I’ll be dead, probably. So that won’t be a problem for me. Like, I just I go, –

Aradia: Yep.

Bree: We need a mix of perspectives and right now it feels a little blue screen heavy, this week.

Ali: But I just kind of like, raise my eyebrows when they’re like, Okay, like, no, like no free health care or anything like that. But we won’t touch Medicare. We’re not going to touch Medicare, because that impacts us. And I’m like, Oh, okay, I see how it is to a certain extent, right? So yeah, that one stood out to me for sure.

Bree: Yeah. What about Tirri Mettyn, who has worn out five husbands and 11 official lovers? Here’s your person you were asking for last episode, Ali. She is running through, she’s 80 and, you know.

Aradia: 11 official lovers.

Ali: That’s my grandmother. She outlived, I think, like four husbands? She was like in her nineties. And she like, outlived four husbands, and she was dating a guy. And we asked her, Hey, are you going to marry him? And she goes, No. I’m done with marriage. At my age, you’re either a nurse or a purse.

Bree: A legend. A legend.

Ali: Miriam was a legend.

Bree: Yes. And so is Tirri Mettyn in my opinion. She hates Murder Punch Card Lady, too. She’ll vote exactly the opposite of her no matter what. So she’s just running through her lovers and trying to stop the evil fascist lady. You know.

Ali: I don’t know if that’s a great policy normally, but I feel like I’m kind of down with the lady who just, like, always votes against fascism or the fascist lady.

Aradia: There are worse single points.

Bree: One of these ladies is the mother of Glenin’s little friend. So we’ve got other people here.

Ali: We have the guy who is pissed that he was there because he was like, I had better things to do.

Bree: Oh, the boat guy.

Aradia: So ungrateful. He’s allowed into the halls of power, and this is his attitude?

Ali: Well, I’m sorry. Sometimes you get the dream job, but you’re still, like, in the, This should have been an email meeting, you know?

Bree: Yep.

Aradia: I was honestly impressed that there were men in this at all, and like. And how little they were tokenized. I was like, how much tokenization rigamarole do these men have to go through? And it seems like it’s mild, to judge by this one instance.

Ali: They’re not like, this is the man.

Bree: They do have to sit on the Council with the lady who’s constantly like, We need to get rid of all the male Saints!

Ali: Oh, that’s true. So.

Aradia: Words can’t hurt you. It’s not like she’s actually going to make the policy real, just because she throws these insults in your face constantly and no one ever shouts her down, why would you feel threatened?

Bree: Everybody’s like, Let’s keep taking the vote.

Ali: Why would you, why would that – Oop! I just laughed so hard, I pulled my headphones out. Hold on. Why would you be worried about that? Why would you be worried about that at all?

Bree: Oh, no, he’s not the boats. He’s mad because he likes watching the Council guard practice. And instead of being able to out there watching them drill in the parade ground, he’s stuck in here.

Aradia: Well, that sounds a little homoerotic to me.

Bree: Yeah, I was just looking at that, going, Is this an implication? He likes to watch? Because, His knowledge of matters martial began and ended with a fascinated interest in men wearing uniforms.

Aradia: He doesn’t like women, really likes men.

Bree: And I can relate. So I feel like maybe, Ali, get your headphones plugged in.

Ali: Okay, I’m back. I was like, Why the fuck are my headphones not working? I realized I laughed so hard. I, like flung my arm out, I grabbed the wire, it went all this way, and both things came out. And I was like, plugging one. And I was like, Why the fuck isn’t this working?

Bree: So Ali missed all the homoeroticism. Everything got gay while you were gone. So, now we’re going to move on.

Ali: Everything got gay, I missed gay? Noo!

Aradia: Yeah, we were talking about gayness.

Bree: Yes, we’re talking about this quote, His knowledge of matters martial began and ended with a fascinated interest in men wearing uniforms. So we’re feeling like, that might be a little gay. Also that’s pretty much where I’m going to situate myself.

Ali: Iit’s giving, I really love to watch basketball where it’s shirts versus skins, do you know what I mean? It’s giving predilection.

Bree: So yeah, I think that the loon chick is Fourth Tier, because the problem with the Waste getting representatives from the Waste is, that we know the Ostins don’t fuck with politics.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: And there aren’t that many Blood names from the Waste.

Ali: So they got a Fourth Tier.

Aradia: Backwater hicks! Don’t even have nobility.

Ali: Didn’t they say the Fourth Tier gal always looks shocked to be allowed to vote? Even though she’s been there 16 years, she’s like, Oh my God, they want me to vote?

Bree: Yeah. So we have a few more. Some younger men who – and I do think that most of the men who are talked about as possibly voting for Sarra are universally talked about voting for her because she’s so pretty.

Ali: Boo! I just, you know, if you are an oppressed class and you get into a position of power, you do have some level of obligation. I know you do. Like it’s a complicated issue, but you do have some level of obligation to the rest of your oppressed- let’s take it somewhat seriously! You know, sometimes, women are in power and you’re like, What are you doing?

Bree: The least senior guy is Garon’s friend Irien Dombur, and they think that he’s going to vote for her because he wants to marry her, get all that money.

Aradia: Which, now that I understand, like, she’s coming there with that as an open ended thing, like, okay, going to vote for the one you want to try to get in with, fine. But like, Oh, she’s pretty. It’s just like, ugh.

Ali: Yeah, I mean, it would probably put a damper on the whole marriage thing if you’re like, So I voted against you to have all of this land and power, but I’m kind of awesome. So you should marry me.

Aradia: Yes. A tough sell. Yeah, tough sell.

Bree: Also, you would have destroyed yourself in the foot because you wouldn’t get access to all the land and power.

Ali: Right. That would be kind of a dumb move, actually. That would be kind of a dumb move. So that one I get.

Bree: Okay. And then, you know, Sarra comes in, and we get Glenin seeing Sarra for the first time. And since we’ve had so much discussion on the discord and also you guys like expecting that this was going to go crazy. I really read this closely this time. Did you guys notice anything?

Ali: Yes.

Bree: What did you notice?

Ali: Glenin’s magic went weird.

Bree: Yeah, her magic did go weird when they met.

Ali: They stared at each other. There was significant eye contact.

Bree: Oh, yes. They had a moment where they stared at each other, and Glenin’s magic went weird.

Aradia: And I was expecting everything to come completely unzipped. But no, Melanie Rawn wants to make this a slow burn. So there was just a little twitch, and then it all went quiescent again.

Ali: Ooh, quiescent.

Bree: Okay, I’m going to tell you guys what I noticed, because I had never noticed this before, but we’ve had so much discussion of it. Glenin twice described Sarra’s eyes as dark brown, and Sarra’s eyes are infamously black, like Cailet and her mother’s famous black eyes. And this made me wonder, like, and I don’t know this for sure, this is just me going, Hmm, maybe this is the first time I’ve thought about this. I wonder if there’s some – she was told there’s Wards going on. I wonder if Glenin is even actually seeing Sarra as she is, because she’s seeing brown eyes. And those eyes are like – I mean, from a distance, maybe brown and black look the same. But even when she’s like, you know, she thinks it twice. And those eyes are supposed to be so infamous, right? Like Falundir is writing songs about her mother’s black eyes, that Sarra also had.

Ali: Oh, it’s the Wards!

Bree: So that made me wonder for the first time, if I’m supposed to think Glenin’s not really quite seeing. Or like, not seeing the right face, or the right features.

Aradia: Well, that makes sense. Subtle alterations are going to be harder to catch than big ones. Making her eyes green, like bright green, would be weird. But from black to dark brown is – because she totally, like, something pings on her radar and then goes away again. And that’s the kind of uncanny valley, like, there’s something… nah, I’m whatever. She just brushes it off.

Bree: It’s exactly what all those Wards are constantly doing, making people sort of pause, and then sort of forget. So I feel like that’s maybe something that’s going on there. And I only noticed it because we’ve had a couple of people who have asked, and they read a little bit ahead and they were like, How on earth does she not recognize Sarra? Like this person comes in, She’s like, Wow, she’s got my long lost sister’s name, and she looks exactly like her. And she has our mother’s famous black eyes. And now I’m like, Well, like currently Glenin does not see her mother’s famous black eyes. So what else is Glenin not seeing?

Aradia: Interesting.

Ali: In-ter-esting!

Bree: That’s my new conspiracy theory. I’m glad that I have read this book 100 times and still get new conspiracy theories.

Aradia: Podcasting brings a whole nother layer out of books, man.

Bree: It really does. So yes, we have the tremor of magic after Sarra compliments – she starts her speech by complimenting Glenin for abolishing the Tiers.

Ali: Probably a good move.

Bree: Yeah. So, like they have a little moment where everybody claps, and their eyes meet, and Glenin’s magic sort of like, eh, eh, eh, I guess not. But then Sarra is sort of snarky and immediately talks about how, you know, a mother’s gift to her children is her name. Unless circumstances forced withdrawal or renunciation.

Ali: Oh, damn.

Bree: After she is just mentioned Glenin who’s lost her mother’s name.

Aradia: Mhm. Yeah. This is a very – a lot of punches are packed into a few words with this speech.

Bree: Yeah. She sort of compliments Glenin, and then drops an elbow on her.

Aradia: Right. But so smoothly and subtly, it’s like Wait, did she just insult me? I think she just insulted me.

Bree: Yeah, Elsvet is like, Cunning little bitch!

Ali: She’s a cunning little bitch.

Bree: But in that way, where your friend who is supposed to be your friend but is really your frenemy, is like, Oh, she just got you.

Ali: Yeah, That was a sick burn.

Aradia: Ooh, look what she just said. It’s like. I will punch you.

Bree: So what do you guys think about her speech and her strategy with this speech?

Ali: I think it was smart. I mean, she goes in, she’s like, all right, well, if you’re not going to give it to me, then give it to these boys I know you’re not going to give it to. She’s like, these are your options.

Aradia: Yeah. It’s that management thing of not asking what color you want the room painted, but do you want it painted one of – which of these three colors do you want it painted? It’s like that kind of thing. I thought it was very well-crafted. Like she’s subtle. She gets a lot of, like, emotional, like, subtext into it with, like, who she’s flattering and who she’s insulting. And the way that it, like, puts her in a position to make Anniyas feel good with how the vote goes. Like it just all felt extremely well crafted. And I mean, we know that Sarra didn’t come up with this all on her own, that it is the Rising’s crafted opinion to do this. And it shows in all the layers of what she gets accomplished.

Bree: Though, Tiron does say at some point that she diverged from what they expected her to say. So apparently when she goes a little bit rogue, she’s just – I mean, this could be her gut jumping, but she went a little bit rogue with the whole, Or you can just give it to the boys. And everyone was like, what? You know, the Council erupts in absolute horror.

Aradia: Right? She does do that riffing. That’s got to be gut jumping because like, it works very effectively for the end she was there to meet.

Ali: We can’t give men power! Their vast deference will fall out.

Aradia: Half the blood will rush to their groins. And then how are they going to manage important things, like taxes?

Bree: Yeah. So she’s like, well, you know, I just thought if you didn’t want to give it to me, you could, you know, give it to my foster brothers because they, they should, you know, get to inherit too. And basically what someone tells her is like, you know, well, women can give their sons property if they want. It’s just it becomes their wives’ upon marriage. And she’s like, not if men get to keep property. And everybody’s like, whaaaaaaaaaat.

Ali: And she’s like, I’m just putting it in their heads.

Aradia: Scandal!

Bree: Yeah, It’s like, the air horn goes off. Everybody’s jumping up. People are starting to fist fight.

Ali: (makes air horn noises)

Aradia: Yeah, totally. And then she’s just like, What? It’s just a thought experiment. I just thought I’d float it and see what happened!

Bree: Yeah. She’s like, Oh, sorry! I didn’t mean to cause a fuss!

Ali: Where you’re like, Sarra, you wily minx, you. You knew what you were doing, you silly gal.

Bree: Oh. And so then Flera pops up, who has never said a coherent word in years. This is apparently where her blue screen restarts. And she just, like, all of a sudden is like, I like that you love those, her sons, as if they’re your brothers. A-plus. Thumbs up. I’m going to vote for you.

Aradia: Yeah, that was great. I haven’t had a coherent thought in 30 years, but I like the concept of familial loyalty.

Bree: So during this whole thing, Glenin is doing this mental tally, keeping track of who she thinks is going to vote for what. And then basically Anniyas does the thing where instead of voting first, she makes everybody else vote first. So that the people who tend to vote to make her mad or to agree with her, they have to all vote on their own. And we get this going up and down and basically it ends up being 7 to 7. And Glenin is impressed because she feels like there’s no way that you could have known that this was what it was going to come down to that. But Anniyas obviously felt like she had this, like, all figured out, so that she could do this, so that Sarra owed her entire inheritance to her being the eighth person who broke the deadlock. So Glenin actually giving props to mother in law there for a moment, for being brilliant.

Aradia: Yeah, she gets a lot more respect for her mother in law in this chapter, or the section that we’re reading today, than before.

Bree: She’s usually pretty confident and cocky in her political aspirations, but I guess she sees for a moment that there are some people who know things that she does not, still.

Aradia: Yeah. And we learn also that Anniyas’ kind of special thing is that she’s weirdly lucky. And that’s like part of why the lords of Malerris like her and want to go with her. So it makes sense that she was able to negotiate the situation the way she did and be like, Oh, I’ll just happen to have things work out perfectly. And it also makes sense that Glenin is not super respectful of that, and it’s a very slow burn on her thinking that Anniyas has anything to offer at all.

Bree: Yeah, they both love her luck and they also kind of hate it and fear it because, if you’re a pattern weaver who is trying to plan everything out, I feel like luck is maybe not like the quality you’re going for. Luck tends to be associated with chaos a little bit.

Ali: It’s a little antithetical to what you’re hoping for.

Bree: Yeah. Pattern and order.

Ali: She’s an influencer, you might say.

Bree: So, yeah. So how do you guys think? Do you have any other thoughts about how that all went down? Basically, she gets – they all vote for her. She gets her little portfolio.

Ali: Well, Glenin is like, That was a risk. And then later she’s like, it wasn’t a risk because I knew so-and-so wanted to marry her, but he didn’t want to – like so-and-so’s family wanted him to marry Sarra, but so-and-so was not going to want to marry Sarra, because then he’d have to give up his lands. Then he was going to vote no, so that he would piss her off, so that she wouldn’t marry him. Was that not a thing?

Bree: Yeah, Granon Isidir, who is the one who we had just talked about, how he wanted to marry her so he should vote for her? His family wants him to marry her, but he doesn’t want to marry her because she would get his seat, obviously, she would immediately get his political powerful spot, if he marries any powerful woman with political ambitions. You know, and I think this is a sort of interesting thing, too. We’ve got men who recognize that the minute they get married –

Ali: Right.

Bree: That’s it for them.

Ali: Almost as if this is an unequal society. And that’s bad.

Bree: That’s bad.

Ali: That’s. Wait a minute. That’s bad. Hot Take.

Bree: Just a little bit. So, yes, we have this whole thing and Anniyas makes mention of Glenin’s abortion. At this point, when she’s telling her that it wasn’t luck.

Ali: Yeah, okay, here’s the deal. This why okay – conspiracy hat on. Why don’t they want these women having daughters? Excuse me, Are we reinventing the patriarchy? Excuse me? Excuse me.

Bree: It is sort of strange. So it seemed the implication was that – at least what it sort of felt like to me was that Anniyas was saying, Well, I wasn’t allowed to have a daughter. I had to have a son so he could marry you, even though they couldn’t have known, there’s some sort of plan. And a little a couple people asked if the fanfiction origins was Dune after reading this section, and I feel like they got this sort of Bene Gesserit – and I know, Ali, we’re going to Dune Takes you, but like, but Dune has a – basically – I’ll just do a – I’m not going to do what Gus does to you, and start saying all the words, mostly because I can’t pronounce that.

Ali: There’s so many words!

Bree: But Dune has a thing where they have this generations long breeding scheme program.

Ali: Always good.

Bree: And I did start to get vibes, because it’s like – she basically is like, Well, I understand now why I had to give up my first daughter, because now you’re my first daughter. I had to have a son so he could marry you.

Aradia: Magic eugenics. So good.

Ali: Are we trying to make German shepherds or golden retrievers? Like what? What is this, like, selective bullshit? I don’t know. This is. It’s creeping me out. And it’s creepy that there’s no first daughters allowed, apparently.

Bree: It is weird. I don’t love it either.

Ali: Well, it’s a daughter each time. It’s a daughter each time. And I’m like, What? Why?

Aradia: The Loom is trying to weave something and these fucking assholes are like, messing it up!

Ali: Bullshit! Bullshit. Like, that’s wild to me. Yeah, I just. I don’t know. The breeding thing is always creepy. It’s just like, What are we trying to do here? What are we trying to do? Create the German Shepherd people?

Bree: Well, yeah, and she said she was very young and she deeply loved the child’s father, which, what does this remind me of? Glenin being deeply young and deeply loving red flag tutor.

Ali: In her bride and groomer moment?

Bree: Yeah. Who I still have to think Anniyas might have bopped off, so that she would have to marry her son?

Ali: Definitely, there’s a lot of questionable bopping off in this chapter I’ve noticed. Oh, like the guy who voted against Glenin, again, that we didn’t expect. And she’s like, Oh, he was gonna marry this 20 year old woman that he was in love with, but she suddenly mysteriously died and no one knows why, except for Anniyas and Glenin! And I was like, Glenin’s been up here fucking murdering people left and right! Snipping the Loom. Snipping.

Bree: Yeah, yeah.

Aradia: Yeah. But like, the weird – the interesting thing. Not weird, but the interesting thing about this interaction was that, like, there’s also this emotional, like, Hey, I see your pain. I witness your pain and I’ve had that pain? But also, like, let’s do it in such a context where we can have zero emotional reactions. She literally comes up to Glenin and says, I want to have a deeply emotional conversation with you in a place where you cannot show emotions, because that will just be easier for all of us. And it is just like the weirdest, hot and cold contrast of like, maybe this could be a bonding moment between mother in law and daughter in law. Maybe this is a time for them to bond over their humanness instead of their political things. But like, the timing of it, it’s just another move in the game. That’s all it is.

Ali: Yeah, it’s all corrupted by fascism. It also did you notice that Glenin said, Anniyas showed a weird amount of interest in Sarra and was like, into Sarra, but Glenin was like, She’s not going to live to see Roseguard again?

Bree: Yeah, but then after Anniyas sign, was the final person to sign, Glenin was like, Well, maybe she is, because why would you incur a debt from her if she wasn’t going to be around to use that later?

Ali: Good point, Glenin. Good point.

Aradia: Right, Right.

Bree: So, yeah. Glenin’s not sure what Anniyas’s interest in Sarra is at this point.

Ali: I’m not sure what Anniyas’s interest in Sarra is either!

Bree: It’s a little scary.

Aradia: I don’t know what she knows about. So is she looking at Sarra at face value, or is she looking at Sarra knowing who she is? Like, questions!

Bree: I mean, how are those Wards working on her? Does she see brown eyes or black eyes? I guess.

Aradia: She’s lucky. She’s chaotic, who knows what she’s figured out.

0:45:51 Music break; Betrayals part 7

Bree: It could be. Okay. So let’s jump to the next one. Part seven. Okay. I’m just going to say this, a couple of people have mentioned it on the server: the ace-spec Sarra is kind of growing on me because the entire first part of this section is to Sarra being like, Guys, ugh! Sarra hates men flirting with her so much.

Aradia: She is just drinking and rolling her eyes. It’s so cool.

Bree: Nobody has hated hot men coming at her more that Sarra. So, okay, I’m starting to buy into a little bit. I had not really paid attention to how much Sarra is, just like, Why do all of these guys keep hitting on me? And so that’s basically what she has to do, go into this ballroom and have everybody try to marry her.

Ali: Cause you’re a snack, girl. But yeah, I’m kind of, it’s kind of growing on me, too. Sarra’s ace. We’ll just decide now.

Aradia: I like it as working canon. It’s fine.

Bree: And honestly, girl, same. I mean, I don’t know if I am too old. I don’t think I’d want, like, 50 young men trying to marry me for my money right now either. If I had it.

Aradia: Sounds overwhelming.

Bree: Sounds like a lot.

Ali: You know, post-COVID, I can’t imagine being in a room that packed and not feeling completely overwhelmed. If all of them were talking to me? A concert is one thing, no one’s paying attention to me. But like, if I were like, in a space, and all these people were talking to me, I’d be like, Oh, absolutely hell no, absolutely not. No, ma’am.

Bree: Yeah, but she drinks her wine and then she smiles her sweet smile, and goes in and does the politics thing, and she flirts and she laughs, and teases them, basically tries to wonder how long she’s going to have to do this. And she’s dreading what she knows has to be coming eventually, right? She’s going to have to meet her father and her sister. And so what do you guys think about when this actually happens?

Ali: Okay. Again, I was expecting for them to be like, Wait a minute. Because I’m like, a man is going to recognize his own daughter, right?

Bree: Yeah. You guys went in pretty hard at the end of the last episode on this blowing up, and it did not blow up.

Aradia: I yeah, I was so sure it was gonna blow up. I was waiting for it this whole time, and I was very disappointed that it didn’t.

Ali: I thought it was going to fireworks, but I ended up at a camp fire, do you know what I mean?

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: There was no explosion, there was just a crackling.

Aradia: Because there was tension, it just wasn’t the tension I was expecting, and it didn’t break. It was tense.

Bree: It got worse. Though Sarra did have to deal with a little bit of PTSD here, remembering her father, who she loved, you know, and then he’s coming at her as this monster who murdered her family and burned her house down. I mean, that’s a lot to keep, I think, in your soul, as conflicting – like, you know, I have some family members who I have to, like deal with the fact that, like, maybe they have done some bad things, and also I love them? But like nothing quite on this level.

Ali: I mean, who among us doesn’t at this point in the? Who among us is like, Ooh, yes, my family escaped unscathed.

Aradia: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ali: Everything’s really fun at Thanksgiving all the time.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: Including the fact that we’re celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving itself. There is so much loaded about that holiday!

Aradia: Everything is tainted! It is interesting how much Anniyas was really into Sarra and like, driving that conversation and, like, dominating that. Like, I am very curious why. Is it just because she’s also entranced with the cute new novelty in court? Or does she know, like just the way she keeps drawing this conversation to happen?

Bree: She also gives Sarra some marriage advice, like, Don’t marry Taig Ostin!

Ali: Oh, yeah. The creepy yeah, the creepy rhyme. The creepy rhyme. And I was like, I’m not going to read all that.

Aradia: Which isn’t even a good rhyme.

Bree: Oh, wait. Before this happens, Flera, our favorite old lady, crotchety old lady. Did you guys catch this?

Aradia: Oh, my God. I was so perplexed what was happening here.

Ali: Wait, what happened? What happened?

Bree: Basically, when her father and her sister come up, Flera, the old lady, is with her and Sarra is like, okay, I’m going to buy myself some time by taking her to sit down, and the old lady just starts saying some wild shit.

Aradia: Yeah, She’s like, Oh, you remind me of someone. You really remind me of someone. Sarra’s like, That’s nice, honey. Let’s just put you to bed, Grandma.

Ali: Well, could it be Maichen, by any chance? I was like, Do not oust my daddy issues!

Bree: Yeah, she says, You remind me of someone, child. Can’t think who. I’m sure she was charming as well. I wonder who it was. Wouldn’t do for Avira to know, though, would it? Who is Anniyas.

Aradia: Right? It’s almost like she’s saying, I know your Glenin’s sister, wouldn’t that be awkward. But like, you’re a senile old lady.

Ali: Or Maichen’s daughter. I thought that was who she reminded her of, was Maichen.

Aradia: Oh, that would make more sense. That would make more sense.

Bree: So then Telo comes up, and she’s like, Young man, are you trying to get me drunk? So I agree to marry you? So she’s like, she’s getting feisty.

Ali: I thought she was trying to distract her. Like, I’m going to just pretend like I’m flirting with somebody right now.

Bree: So Sarra is like, Isn’t he dreadful? His mother ought to have given him a good paddling. And then the old lady says, His mother was never the question, child. As for that so-called Nameless father of his—

Ali: Oooooh!

Bree: And Telo starts to panic a little bit, like, Let’s not go naming my father in here! And then like, yeah, she ends the whole thing with, Oh, if Avira only knew what I know about the two of you!

Aradia: I am like, Get a pillow. Take this woman to a dark room. And end this, because she is threatening to spill out all these secrets!

Bree: Do you think she actually knows anything, or is she just crazy?

Aradia: I don’t know. I don’t know. She’s just throwing out random information, like she knows. But like, what if she doesn’t? Eh! She seems like a liability.

Ali: I felt like she was giving grandma that’s spilling all the family tea, like she knows everything. And she’s like, I’m just going to give it to you straight. And you’re like, I just turned 20 and now everyone’s decided, I can know all this information. Do you know what I mean?

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: Like when you’re at the age where all of a sudden people are like, I don’t care. I’ll start telling you everything. And you’re just like, I kind of missed when I didn’t know that about you.

Bree: Yeah, We have this lady who, we were told, basically never speaks coherently anymore. All of a sudden, she’s just like, Okay, I’m here to give you 80 years of gossip.

Aradia: Which, like, it’s good subterfuge. If people think you’re senile or, you know, missing a few marbles, they’ll say a bunch of stuff in front of you. And then, you know, I mean, like that one dude in the Good Place, right? Like, just don’t talk. People sign all kinds of things to you.

Bree: That is true. Though, if she is really in full control of her cognition, this is definitely a risky thing for her to be doing right now. She’s just like, Let’s just start flirting with some like, treasonous secrets.

Aradia: You seem to have a really important secret. Let me blow it open for you.

Bree: Do you guys want to each take a position on Flera? Is she?

Ali: I feel like when you’re old, that is the time to do espionage. That’s the time. Like you’re like, what’s it going to hurt? Like, first of all, who’s going to suspect me? You know, like, I’m a million years old. Especially if you’re a woman. I feel like that’s, like, the perfect cover, right? You’re like a little cute old lady with your cookies. But really, you’re an international superspy. So I think that that’s the perfect cover. One. And two, if you get caught, I mean, you’re like, you’ve lived your life. You know, like, how much more do you have?

Bree: Okay, so Ali is team espionage.

Ali: Apparently I’m team term limits, unless it’s international super spy.

Aradia: Well, being in power is different than being a spy, okay?

Ali: It is different. You’re just getting secrets, that’s all you have to do. Though, I don’t know, considering how bad my memory is now, I don’t know how bad my memory is going to be when I’m, like, super old. To be like, Oh, I’ve learned the secret! God, I can’t fucking remember what it is now! Would be bad.

Aradia: Yeah, Yeah, I, hmm, I don’t know. I like espionage theory, but also like, it would be a good red herring for her to just have a few lucid moments and have it lead nowhere.

Ali: That’s true.

Aradia: Just because. Because she’s 40 years out of date and connecting dots the wrong – she’s connecting the dots the right way for the wrong reasons. Like, I’m going to go with team senility, but I hope I’m wrong.

Bree: Okay!

Ali: You’re team senile? I mean, you know, it could have just been like, you know, how they kind of flashback sometimes to different times.

Bree: Well, they did say that she talks to people who were 20 years dead, on the Council. So maybe she’s living in a different time.

Ali: Yeah. So she’s a little dementia, for sure, right?

Aradia: She’s meeting young Maichen, who reminds her of her mother, and like, that sort of, you know, whatever, I don’t know.

Bree: So, yes. Then we have this whole little meeting between Glenin and Auvry. Sarra’s dealing with trauma.

Ali: Mood.

Aradia: Same, girl.

Bree: Basically, it doesn’t last very long before Glenin is looking tired. And so her dad’s like, I’m going to take you away. And that’s when we get this weird – like Aradia said – weird Anniyas and Sarra conversation, where she starts to recite this children’s song she, quote unquote, pretends to remember. About like, yes, Though he seem as solid as oak Yet recall that oaks draw lightning. And basically just talking about these different sigils.

Ali: This conversation made me certain that Anniyas and Glenin killed Taig’s sister.

Bree: Oh, you think so?

Ali: Because if they know that that family is up to stuff, there is no way they’d let their Mage granddaughter, like, pass.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: So yeah, so she’s warning him about oaks, which are the Ostins, roses, which is her foster brothers, the Slegin. So basically she’s naming, she’s identifying and saying that, we know the Slegins are Rising adjacent, which is kind of a warning about her foster mother. And then daggers, which is our good friend Collan the Minstrel, who we haven’t seen in a while. So the daggers are the Rosvenir daggers.

Ali: Wait, so does he have a family then? Have you figured it out?

Bree: I mean, Anniyas felt it necessary to warn Sarra about him. So whatever is going on, he is clearly been busy over the past few years, because he’s on her hit list now.

Aradia: Right. But he’s identified with his fake name, his Rosvenir assigned name.

Bree: It could be it’s somebody else in the family. But he does mention that he never, like, sees anybody else. The family’s, like, basically dead. I think is what we are told.

Aradia: Right. And it’s part of why they picked the name, was that there wouldn’t be people who are like, Hey, who the fuck are you?

Ali: Okay.

Bree: So it seems likely that this is him that she’s talking about. Makes you wonder what he’s been up to recently!

Ali: I’m eager to hear. I’m eager to hear what’s going on with him and how he’s related, once again, to this group. How is he related to the other girls? Is he a cousin, a brother? What is going on?

Bree: It seems like it kinda has to be.

Ali: Respectfully, what’s happening? How is he involved in all of this?

Bree: It’s a weird conversation. Anything else in that conversation strike you guys?

Ali: Yeah, She’s got it in for Taig, for sure. She’s definitely killed Taig’s sister. But why is she then, like, against Sarra? Sarra is technically the foster daughter.

Aradia: Because. Because her magic’s hidden.

Ali: But Taig’s not magic. And she is against him.

Bree: Could be a, See if I can, you know, play the next generation. Taig doesn’t have magic. Or at least we’ve been told he does not.

Ali: That would be such a bummer if that was a possibility. And he found out that you didn’t win the genetic lottery. Maybe not.

Bree: Well, it doesn’t feel like a lottery at this age.

Aradia: Yeah. The only thing that stuck out to me was just kind of how the conversation ended, with like, Sarra noticing, like why Anniyas is so formidable. With, like, the way that their back and forth goes with like, Hey, you’d better remember that you owe me everything. Tell me where your priorities lie. Like, it’s very game of houses from Wheel of Time, kind of like back and forth. And Sarra is keeping up with Murder Punch Card Lady, which is better than I could do. But she’s also like – much like Glenin is getting a better sense of the emotional depth of Anniyas – we’re getting, Sarra’s getting a better glimpse into the intellectual depth of what Anniyas can do.

Bree: Yeah, though how it ends is actually pretty funny, because Sarra – Geron comes wandering up and is like, Where’s my wife? Where’s my wife? Because that’s, you know, he is the ultimate wife guy now. Sarra, Sarra notices that mom’s not loving this. Mom’s not into this renewed dedication that her sweet baby boy suddenly just cares about Glenin.

Aradia: Mama’s boy has another lodestar!

Bree: Yeah. So she tweaks Anniyas here by, like, commenting about how Glenin – sort of making it sound like she was weak, and she was leaning on her dad’s arm. And Geron’s like, I’m off! Like superhero husband, to save my beloved.

Ali: I’m smooth braining away!

Aradia: Oh, it’s so funny.

Bree: So. Oh, yeah. Anniyas is noticing that her baby boy has changed somewhat and she’s not into it. So I guess we’ve got that, Glenin’s got that to reckon with going forward.

Ali: We just call her the monster in law. Fun party.

Bree: And that is basically how the party ends. We find out that Val designed this dress for her.

Ali: Oh, yeah? And that it weighs 1,000 pounds.

Bree: So what do you guys think of Val, the dress designer? And it has 80 million buttons, which she hates.

Ali: Yeah. And so you go, Okay, of course, a man designed that. Try to walk around in something that heavy, and have to undo that many buttons.

Aradia: Yeah, though in fairness, I do feel like there was a little bit of interpersonal specific pranking with that. Because he is that kind of an asshole.

Bree: He does strike me as the guy who would give her 25 buttons from wrist to elbow just to be that bitch.

Aradia: And then to have the audacity to be like, Oh, you inviting me to help you take that off? He is just such an irreverent flirt, and I love it.

Ali: My favorite thing is, I have two family members that recently got married who both had wedding dresses with buttons down the back, like that, you know, beautiful, like button back look. But of course, both of them were zipped into the dress, like no one had to do a fucking button, all those buttons were fake. And I thought that was hilarious because I was like, Yes, that would take 70 years to get into! That made me laugh. Anyway. Yeah. So it’s a friendly suggestion for the next dress.

Bree: Yes, Val: Invent zippers, please. If you have not had them yet.

Aradia: Yeah. First invent zippers.

Ali: Yeah. Oh, do they not have zippers yet? Probably not, huh?

Bree: We don’t know. I don’t want to assume.

Aradia: Probably not. I mean, the Amish consider buttons to be aggressively fancy, so, you know.

Ali: Bree, you’re the time machine. Did they invent zippers in 1994?

Bree: Yes, I believe we had them in 94. I’m just going to go out on a limb there and say, I had enough jeans. We had zippers. It’s all okay. Nobody panic. Don’t get the historian re-enactor blogs to come out.

1:02:56 Quick tangent into Nineties re-enactment

Ali: Oh, god. Okay. I had two questions that came up from our reading now. So the first is that, if there was a historical nineties reenactment. What would be reenacted?

Bree: I’m wearing hyper color, okay? Hyper color.

Ali: I feel like I would want to reenact, like, the basement of someone when Y2K doesn’t happen.

Aradia: Hey I lived that, okay?

Bree: I was at a hotel for Y2K. We were like, Let’s go to a hotel.

Aradia: I actually genuinely don’t remember New Year’s Y2K, but the two years leading up to that where my dad was freaking out, I remember in vivid detail.

Ali: I do not remember the Y2K of it all either. I don’t remember – I asked my dad later. I was like, did you, were you freaked out? And he’s like, No, I, I just figured, like, if it happens, it happens.

Aradia: Yeah. My dad went like, full prepper for, like, two years. Burned all his social connections, spent money on land, like, really went all out. I thought everyone had that experience for Y2K. It’s been trippy, moving through adulthood, being like, So, your dad didn’t spend your college money on a bug out location in the woods? Cool. Cool cool.

Bree: No, That’s a definitely – you got the extreme Y2K experience.

Aradia: But I don’t remember New Year’s. It’s the weirdest thing. I have no recollection of what we were doing when the actual moment of truth arrived.

Bree: I woke up and Australia was doing okay and I was like, okay, I think we got this, guys. That’s what I remember.

Aradia: And my dad still thinks that it was a hazard that was averted at the last minute. That is still how he makes sense of it today.

Bree: I mean, it kind of was like if you want the practical truth, I mean, it kind of was.

Aradia: Yeah. So he still feels justified in all that.

Bree: Because everybody took it seriously and the programmers were like, Okay, well, let’s fix the situation. And it was like a concerted effort. I do feel like it’s good to say that the reason we didn’t have a Y2K crash was because people took it seriously and then dealt with it? Sort of like we’re not doing with climate change.

Aradia: Yeah. So if I was going to reenact the nineties, it would be like somewhere between the weirdly hopeful climate change messages that we can still fix it, and the impending doom of Y2K. I think somewhere between those two things and a choker necklace, that’s where my reenactment is at.

Ali: (laughs)

Bree: If I could remake one’s experience of my nineties. IIt would be to go back to Austria in 1996. Romeo and Juliet, Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet, came out, which is the best film, the classic, the best soundtrack in the world. And I went to see it with a group of Austrians in the theater. And what I did not know going in, what I couldn’t have thought of, because I just have a very American centered brain, is that not everybody, especially in other countries and different languages, inherently knows how Romeo and Juliet ends. So I saw Romeo and Juliet in theaters with 30 teenagers who didn’t know how it ended.

Aradia: Oh no!

Bree: Literally. They did not know Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes were going to die. You cannot repeat that experience. It was the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me in my life. None of them knew it was coming.

Aradia: Oh my god!

Ali: Don’t they tell you at the beginning in that opening monologue, don’t they say?

Bree: Listen, if English isn’t your first language?

Ali: Oh, my God.

Bree: Like, you know, and also, like, there’s two ways you can read that first line. I always read it like, Bree: Take their life is, they were born of these two opposing houses. You can take your life from, like, be born and you can take your life, like, be unalived!

Ali: I have always wondered, what it must have been like to be someone who saw that when it came out, and we’re like, Oh my God! You know, watching the whole thing. And that was like a shocking moment.

Bree: They were like, Why didn’t you tell us?, on the bus afterwards. We were like, We’ve never met anybody who didn’t know!

Ali: You got everyone’s dream! That’s everybody’s dream.

Aradia: Oh, that’s amazing.

Bree: It was beautiful. (chef’s kiss noise) Sorry to all of those traumatized kids, though.

Aradia: Pour one out for you.

Bree: I mean, murdering Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the nineties was a traumatic experience.

Ali: Oh, my God. That is incredible. I love that so much. Okay, my second question, and then we’ll move on. That question is, if your family had a crest, what do you think the crest would be?

Aradia: Headphones, definitely would be involved in my family’s crest, There are so many audiophiles in my family.

Ali: So the rhyme would be, The headphones could be unplugged.

Bree: Though he’d be like his headphones, remember, headphones unplug.

Ali: Though the headphones make sweet sound, remember, the headphones can be unplugged.

Aradia: They might not actually be plugged into anything. What about you, Bree?

Bree: Probably dice.

Ali: You can come up with a natural one.

Bree: You can step on a D4. That’s the threat. So, now listen, listen. Stepping on a D4 – as someone who has had her husband’s dice left sporadically stepping on a D4 is the threat of a – that shit can puncture your feet, okay.

Aradia: Yeah it’s like a caltrop.

Bree: Yeah, it’s like, taps! So there you go. What about you, Ali?

Ali: My family’s crest would probably be, like, a mountain. There’s like, a lot there.

Bree: I like it. Yeah, this.

Ali: There’s a lot to climb.

Aradia: A lot to climb up there. So then your rhyme would be something like –

Bree: Though he’d be powerful as a mountain. Remember, mountains have landslides.

Ali: Oooh.

Aradia: Yeah. I was thinking, like, You can climb up the mountain or the mountain can throw you back. Or something.

Ali: Earthquakes can make the mountains tremble. Or some –

Bree: Avalanche.

Ali: Exactly.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Okay. Discord, discord! Everyone in the discord, you’re going to have to come up with a sigil.

Ali: Come up with your sigil, and what Anniyas would have said about you.

Bree: Yeah. How Anniyas is going to warn you off?

Aradia: How would Anniyas shit talk your family to Sarra?

Ali: I’m very excited for this.

1:09:40 Back into the chapter

Bree: Yes. We need this badly. Oh, we find out who Telo’s father is, Telomir’s father. At the end of this chapter, do you guys notice?

Ali: Did I notice?

Aradia: Yeah, they talk about that and, like – I’m like, So did he leave his own child’s memories alone?

Ali: (incoherent excitement)

Bree: Gorynel Desse is out there just, sleeping with women and leaving babies behind.

Aradia: Is this the only one of his children we know about?

Bree: I feel like we have seen, we’ve heard of another one.

Ali: (still barely coherent) It’s not the first kid he did the brain wiping on! Was that the self taught – He is like, here is this baby to practice on?

Aradia: He’s playing peekaboo with his kids. But like, it’s with actual memories.

Ali: He’s like, Oh, is this kid learning object permanence? Not anymore!

Bree: Oh, Gorynel Desse.

Aradia: I mean, he’s lucky he remembers that that’s his dad. Given these memory wiping tendencies.

Bree: He hits on women, steals kids memories, and now leaves babies behind.

Aradia: Absentee father. It’s great.

Bree: Gorsha is – I mean, is there anybody who is not somehow related to him, or has lost memories to him? He’s everywhere, doing everything and everyone.

Ali: He’s just out here shucking and fucking away.

Bree: So he does seem to be like The Legend, though. I mean, like it seems like a generation ago, Flera definitely was saying, you know, that so-called father of his. So you want to know what stories she’s got about what this man was doing in his heyday.

1:11:22 Music break

So the next part of it, we open with the flower code. We get to learn a lot about the flower code, which actually is like one of the things I love in this series, is that they have this whole, like, the secret language of flowers. Which is common, I mean, we have that in our world, but I always love it when people go deep on that in a fantasy world.

Aradia: Yeah, it’s fun. I enjoy it too.

Bree: And so what she’s basically getting is that it’s a custom that people give you little bouquets tied with the ribbons of their family colors. When you’re going away, it’s like, good luck. And so lots of people are giving her just like basic bouquets, but some are getting creative and putting like flowers in there that, you know, suggest reconciliation, or lover’s faithfulness, or heart stricken that she’s gone, and like all of these different things. And so while she is getting her horse absolutely covered in every flower that anyone could buy, Glenin shows up. So any thoughts about this sequence, y’all?

Aradia: This gift that she brings? She brings this, like, cool little globe with a suspended hawk in it, and it’s really pretty. And she’s bringing it herself and then, you know, Alin throws it to the ground, because it had magic in it. And it’s just – I don’t, it felt really overt. It felt really heavy handed, almost? Like it wasn’t subtle enough. It just felt really weird that Glenin was going through this extra effort to talk to Sarra, which, again, like that twitch of magic in the meeting the day before, is like, is she trying to, like, get close to Sarra again? To be like, Hey, what was that twinge at the edge of my consciousness? Like in addition to the spy device that she’s trying to hand off?

Bree: Yeah, definite spy device. Magic. And she also seems to recognize Alin.

Aradia: Yes, Well, she recognized him from the castle when they were doing their side quests through the castle. They got, like, a million good pictures of him. And she said before that she thought she recognized him. Now she’s seen him close up. She absolutely knows who he is.

Ali: Why didn’t they get a bunch of good pictures of Sarra?

Bree: Oh, no, they did. They know Sarra was in the castle.

Ali: Oh, but she’s like, oh, Alin was also there.

Bree: They discussed this. We mentioned it a couple episodes ago. They were like, Any idea why Sarra was traipsing around the castle? So, like, all of this is going on with them knowing that she went to that castle. So they’re playing a deeper game where they know that. But she doesn’t know that they know that.

Ali: Yeah. And she’s like, Wait, Alin was definitely there, too.

Bree: So whatever they’re doing with Sarra, they’re playing with her a little bit.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, I think they’re waiting to see where she can lead them with respect to the Rising. They’re like, No, we don’t need to blow our cover with her yet. She’s going to lead us to them, because she doesn’t know how much we know about her. But Alin was an unknown who has become a known, and that’s an actual hazard. I’m very concerned for his longevity.

Bree: Yeah, we do have – Glenin definitely talks about fish, little fish and big fish before. Like Taig Ostin is a big fish that she’s been trying to catch. But the biggest one they’re all trying to catch is Gorynel Desse. Everybody’s trying to flush this man out. So it does seem like they’re possibly hoping that Sarra might lead them to him. So. So, yeah, there’s the thing she broke – Alin purposefully knocks into her and breaks the thing, because he could sense that it’s magic. Super spy magic, and the magic escaping seems to hurt Sarra for a little bit. Because she’s got her own little magic, and so she’s, you know, kind of freaking out a little bit.

Aradia: Right, right.

Ali: Alin’s like, I don’t know, I panicked, and I threw the globe.

Aradia: And then she talks to Alin to be like, What the fuck just happened?

Aradia: And Sarra is like, She recognized you, she recognized you! And they don’t take it as seriously as they should.

Ali: Why are we not trusting the gut jumping girl? She’s the gut jumping girl.

Bree: It seems like a mistake. And Sarra connects it at the end. She felt the hawk’s yellow eyes staring at her. Just the same feeling she’d had at Malerris castle.

Ali: Yeah, she knows. She knows.

1:16:00 Betrayals, part 9

Bree: She knows. So our final part of the episode is part nine. Alli, you got an info dump on your missing sisters.

Ali: Finally! Finally.

Bree: Mai and Elin. You get to figure out everything that happened to them.

Aradia: Where were the girls? Here’s the chapter.

Bree: Where were the girls? And the answer was, it was a woman who was related to Lusira. Lusira Garvedian, or whatever her name is. But the prettiest lady in the world, Lusira. So it was, yeah, somebody – and her name was like, Elsvet or something. And she came and got them and took them to like their summer home. And then when Ambrai burned, the night Ambrai burned, they hustled them off to someplace like, even more remote, where basically they just hid out with their grandparents. Their grandfather’s last name is Rille, and he is the one that gave Cailet her name. So like her secret identity. So once again, all in the family.

Aradia: Yeah. It’s funny too, how it’s like the alias identity that Sarra has is a cousin of Mai, and then her actual identity genetically is also as a cousin of Mai, just through a different channel. So much family crossing.

Bree: Her foster brothers are actually Mai’s cousins. And then she’s actually Mai’s cousin. So her foster brothers are her cousin’s cousin. So that family tree does loopback around, where she got fostered by people who are related to people who she’s related to. So yeah, basically Mai’s in the cabin, because they’re going to do more of this deceptive stuff where she gets to pass as Sarra. And so they’re practicing their like you know, resemblance. Practicing each other’s mannerisms. But mostly they’re locked up in this cabin together on the boat, and they get to learn about each other and learn about each other’s past. Except for Sarra can’t tell Mai who she is, which is, you know, this is one of the things where I was like, I kind of wanted her to. I mean, it was like, you know, I get that not a lot of people can know, but if anyone can know, can’t your freaking cousin know?

Aradia: Right. Especially as she’s going through this, you know, terrible internal revelation of what it would have meant, what she escaped when she was a little girl when Ambrai burned. Right? Talking with Mai, she’s able to start to unpack some memories and trigger some memories and have these intense thoughts about, like, did Father deliberately try to have us killed, or we escaped, or did he kill everyone else but specifically let us escape? I’m having horrible thoughts about my dad either way, and she has no one to process it with. She’s having to carry on the subterfuge with Mai while having all these thoughts in her head. And it’s like, my heart’s breaking for her. She needs to talk to her cousin.

Bree: Yeah, she’s even having to, like, deal with Mai being like, Okay, but like, don’t appropriate my unique Ambrai experience here, because –

Aradia: Right.

Bree: At one point, I mean, it’s like it’s not like everybody else thought, you know, I was actually there. This is my family and my story. And I’m like, Oh, Sarra, see, this is what lying gets you.

Ali: It’s less special if you also feel the drama.

Bree: Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. We find out that Elin was spirited away at 14, by Gorynel Desse Dass again, because there is no child who has not been kidnaped.

Ali: This mother fucker. Loves. Kidnapping. Children. He loves it. It’s his favorite thing.

Bree: He’s taken her off somewhere to learn Mage stuff.

Ali: My interests include: Kidnapping children. Wiping children’s memories. Schucking and fucking. That’s Gorynel Desse.

Bree: Making children. Yeah okay. And yeah. And her brother Pier is 17 and Mageborn, and he’s also off somewhere. You know, all the Mageborns basically have to get swept up and taken to secret locations for training. Which, not fun! Not the best. And near the end of this chapter Elomar the healer comes back in, and basically does another, Okay, I’ll let you ask me questions. Did anything stand out from this?

Ali: Oh, that she was – I just love when she pounded the pillow and was like, Don’t make me go talk to fucking Gorynel Desse. And then it was, like, end of chapter! And I was like, That’s it? That’s what we’re leaving this? That you have to go talk to memory wiper, child kidnapper, Gorynel Desse?

Aradia: Yeah, nothing really stood out to me because Elo basically just kind of recaps what’s been happening and that he’s been playing out his part in what’s been happening, and sort of confirms some stuff about the globe and nothing really stood out except for yeah, the pillow punching. Like, God damn it, Gorynel Desse again? I’m with Sarra on that. I’m going to go punch a pillow.

Ali: She’s voice of the people at this moment. Voice of the people.

Bree: I’m going to tell you why I made you stop here. The next section switches back to Collan’s point of view, so we’re going to go find some minstrel antics.

Ali: Oh, what’s the Minstrel tea?

Aradia: Collan!

Bree: So, yes, we end on a pillow punching, ugh, fuck Gorynel Desse note. I feel like we’re going to get a lot of that. I’m going to have to tell you that we’ve created a new place in the discord for people who are recklessly reading ahead. And the Gorynel Desse slander is just escalating in that channel. So you guys, brace yourselves and it’s going to be a rocky ride with my – I’m telling teenage Bree to hold on, because this is going to get so much worse with your favorite old guy, Mage Gorsha.

Aradia: I’m so sorry to teenage Bree! And there’s another channel I can’t access in this server! It’s so rude.

Bree: I know, I’m torturing you guys so much.

Aradia: Everyone go to #No access! I’m like, That’s a weird name for a channel. Oh, right. Oh.

Ali: Yeah. Welcome, Aradia, to the hell that is knowing people are talking about you and you can’t know what they’re talking about. It’s horrible.

Aradia: And unlike you, I’m not committing to reading back through all of it. Now that is lost to the ether.

Ali: No, I have to know.

Bree: Do you guys have any final thoughts of this episode?

Aradia: It’s fun getting into the politics and seeing like second, third, fourth steps of like what’s been set up. I definitely enjoyed getting to see some of the parts moving together and having the slow burn, like the slow burn of the politics is like, I am engaged in the burn, but it oh, it is so slow. Yeah, I’m just really ready to read more.

Bree: I will tell you it’s about to start burning faster.

Ali: But telling me, you’re telling me, that we’re going to leave off on our – We got to go talking to Gorynel Desse again, and then we just go to Collan? We’re gonna cut to Collan right now?

Bree: What If Collan is around Gorynel Desse, we don’t know.

Ali: Fine. We’ll cut to Collan.

Bree: I mean, you never know where Gorynel Desse is going to pop up, honestly. I mean, we just got to find the nearest kid who’s remembering something.

Ali: We are going to the nearest spelling bee, where a child –

Bree: Or the nearest the nearest spritely and sassy octogenarian, because he does like his ladies.

Ali: Go to the nearest trivia contest and we’ll find the smartest child there, and will wipe their memory, for fairness.

1:23:40 Wrap up

Bree: Okay, So, yes, I am enjoying the politics. Okay. I’m going to tell you guys that we’re 9 parts into Betrayals, how much betraying? Who do you think’s been betrayed so far?

Aradia: Ooh, I don’t. I don’t think there has been a followed through betrayal, but there’s a bunch of potential betrayals that are initiated.

Bree: Garon definitely got betrayed by his wife a little.

Ali: Oh yeah. But Garen was doing some betraying himself, so.

Aradia: Okay. But he’s just a man.

Bree: That is true.

Aradia: That just – That just felt like such small potatoes compared to the scale of the plot.

Ali: What? They’re not the same?

Aradia: I mean, I guess I just only care about the betrayals between the sisters. I guess that’s the only ones I’m looking out for.

Ali: I got excited again and accidentally pulled out the wire in my headphone.

Bree: So for next week, we are reading Betrayal, sections 10 through 12.

Ali: Oh no, I’m really nervous that we’re going to start getting some real betrayals.

Bree: Well we’ve got to – we’re doing Betrayals in four parts, so there’s two more parts of Betrayals, two more episodes of Betrayals. And then I will tell you guys what comes after Betrayals.

Ali: Running away.

Bree: Flight.

Ali: There, this is not going to end well. We’re running away from Glenin for sure.

Aradia: The betrayals go badly for our heroes. Seems like a safe assumption.

Bree: We are also 42% into the book right now.

Ali: Woo!

Bree: If you guys want to know, pacing things. So yes, we’ve got two more chapters of Betrayals and then.

Ali: So we’re headed for the midpoint, is what you’re saying.

Bree: I might be saying that.

Aradia: Which will be in flight. That makes sense. That makes sense. Running away from the antagonist as a good midpoint, sort of like tension thing that makes sense to me.

Ali: It kind of reminds me of like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the like running away section, running away.

Aradia and Bree: Run away!

Bree: Okay, everybody. Definitely join us next week with Betrayals sections 10 through 12. Get your betraying on.

Aradia: Let us know what your sigil is.

Bree: Yes, Let us know what your sigil is, and what your rhyme in Anniyas’ very goofy song is. Want to take us out, Ali?

Ali: Well, not in the way Glenin takes people out, but in a different way.

Bree: In a gentle and loving way.

Ali: Thank you so much for listening. If you want to keep gabbing with us, our social media and contact details are in the episode description. Until next time, have a very nuanced day!

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