The Roasting of Gorynel Desse: Episode Notes

Ruins of Ambrai by Melanie Rawn

Welcome to episode 13 of the Hot Nuance Book Club, where it’s time for Flight (parts 17-22) in The Ruins of Ambrai. This is it: the long-awaited nadir of Gorynel Desse’s esteem in the eyes of Ali and Aradia! We also get deep on the purpose of creativity, love, and the pains of growing up.

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0:00:10 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 screenwriter, celebrating the fact that the WGA got a frickin fire deal this week!

Bree and Aradia: Woo hoo!

Ali: I cannot tell you the frickin relief that has shot through our family. And now we’re just waiting for SAG to get their fair deal.

Bree: And let’s hope they do. I mean, I feel like the WGA, you know, they landed that plane so frickin hard.

Ali: The older screenwriters, honestly, were making me cry last night, being like, This is the first deal I’ve ever seen on a table in my 30 year career, 40 year career, 50 year career, that I hadn’t thought, Well, we got screwed again, folks. It’s making me cry. Anyway, sorry. This is now a strike podcast.

Aradia: This is so incredible. We’re all so happy for you.

Bree: Now, listen, when I saw that AI section, I was like, Holy shit.

Ali: Shaken.

Bree: I was holy shit, like for all of us. The precedents that sets all of us.

Aradia: Punching the air. Punching the air with glee.

Ali: Unbelievable. And I mean, just literally, it saved screenwriting as a profession, and probably the whole entertainment industry.

Aradia: Creativity as a societal thing.

Ali: This creativity as a whole was potentially saved by this deal. And of course, they’re already starting their own lobby group to try to, you know, then lobby the government.

Aradia: Nah, cat’s out of the bag, we know what we can do.

Ali: Cat’s out of the fucking bag, folks. The power of the people –

Aradia: The bar has been set.

Ali: We can fight back and we can win. And it takes, you know, 147 days, 148 days. But we did it, and I’m so proud of us. It’s unbelievable. SAG next. And hopefully then the world.

Aradia: I am Aradia. I am one half of the Wheel of Time Spoilers podcast, currently very near done with Crossroads of Twilight, and the podcast producer for Fox and Raven Media.

Bree: And I am Bree, half of the best selling fantasy romance author Kit Rocha, currently celebrating still that we finished writing a book. I’m now doing edits on a book.

Ali: I’m so proud.

Bree: Which is so fun. I get to make it the perfect book it can be now.

Aradia: Hell yeah.

Bree: So excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Everything is great.

Aradia: It’s a good day.

Bree: I mean, everything’s great for writers. I wrote a book. Which is just as big of an achievement as screenwriting as a profession being saved.

Ali: I mean, I think you have been working on that book as long as we’ve been on strike. So, I mean, it could be comparable.

Bree: Good week. It’s a good week to be a writer, for me.

Ali: For all of us, really, it’s a good week to be a writer. So, and you know what, people often do not care about – Well, they’re just not as nice to writers as I think they should be. So it’s a really nice week to be a writer.

Bree: What are we nuancing our way through this week?

Ali: Oh, right. 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, I don’t know why I said that like I didn’t know what the title of the book was.

Aradia: Well maybe you didn’t, for that moment.

Bree: We’re all gleeful.

Ali: We’re in a place.

Bree: Before we jump into the time machine this week, we have a patron to thank, a new patron.

Ali: Oh!

Bree: All of our episodes, of course, remain free. But if you’d like to access an ad free version of this podcast, you can support us at The link is in the episode notes.

Aradia: There are also more levels, where you can get rewards like a secret discord channels, stickers, and an invite to an end of book live via zoom book club with us, and Patron Shoutouts. Podcast Shoutouts? Podcast Shout Outs.

Ali: This week we have one new patron to thank. First off, thank you to our new Hot Nuanced Patron, Erin.

Aradia: Erin! Thank you, Erin.

Ali: Erin, thank you.

Bree: Thank you, Erin! We appreciate every person – you guys are helping us make sure that we provide transcripts which we really feel strongly is a great thing to do. So thank you, Erin, and everybody else. We don’t have any Hottest Nuance Patrons this week, but remember that you can always up your pledge to the highest level, even if it’s for just one month. And we will give you an official Hot Nuance Book Club title. You could join our list of Patron Saints, which is something I’ve just recently decided I’m going to be compiling into a snazzy t shirt or a coffee mug or something, when we finish this book. So we will have our official list of Patron Saints I and you could be on it.

Ali: You could.

Aradia: I love that.

Bree: Which I think will be a great celebration of finishing this book and all the people who helped us get there.

Aradia: You are believing in us so that we can believe in ourselves. It’s very appreciated. I will be buying that.

Ali: Truly, I have never believed in myself harder than this particular day, and that is in large part because of the WGA thing, but also because of you and your support.

0:05:55 Bree’s Time Travel Adventures

Bree: We love you guys. So with that said, let’s jump into the time machine. Please do not stick your hands and arms out. We do not want to leave them somewhere in the 2000s, because that was a wild time. So we’re going all the way back to 1994. (swooshing sound)

And okay, you guys, TikTok is going to put me back on conspiracy talk, because I googled for this. But in Cando, Spain, in 1994, residents thought they saw a fireball in the sky for an entire minute, which has prompted many claims of alien and UFO activity that have never been properly explained.

Ali: Oh, God.

Bree: I had to dig deep on my, random things that happened in 1994, to find that one. But I do love a mysterious fireball in the sky, especially given the book we’re reading. So yeah, Evidence of Malerrisi ill intent, maybe?

Aradia: Clearly.

Bree: Wraiths? I don’t know. So also in 1994, the first 32 women were ordained as Church of England priests. Proving that it only took 460 years for a religion started so a dude could bang his mistress to let women have a say.

Aradia: Wow. Congratulations.

Ali: I mean. Fucking, go off, Bree.

Bree: Listen. Hey, 1994 is a long time to wait. But we love it. Also, Star Trek actor George Takei had an asteroid named after him in 1994.

Aradia: Aww!

Ali: I love that.

Bree: So that’s kind of cool.

Ali: That’s cute, I bet he was really touched by that.

Aradia: I would assume so.

Bree: I love the the sci fi geek to space geek pipeline, where it all wraps back around and we start naming everything in space after like sci fi things that we loved. It’s sort of like my favorite thing. You can actually go on Google Earth if you guys don’t know, like Google Maps, and you can go and look, like scroll out into Google Space. I don’t know if they call it that. But you can go look on the moon and like on moons of Jupiter and stuff and see the different things that have been named. It’s all geeky stuff.

Aradia: That’s cool, though.

Bree: All geeky stuff. So there’s my tip for the day. Not a 1994 tip. Definitely not.

Ali: But I just think acting as a whole is just so cute as a concept, because it’s really just someone playing pretend really hard in front of you. And then we’re going like, did they play pretend the best?

Bree: Imagine play pretending so hard you get space named after you.

Ali: It’s so cute, right?

Aradia: You pretended to be a space person and now space things are named for your play acting. Beautiful..

Ali: Art is the cutest thing ever. Like when you really take the time to think about it, it’s the cutest little – like we’re all just, like, making up little things to playing pretend together and it’s really cute, and whatever.

Aradia: I love also how many Star Trek actors have specifically become science ambassadors.

Ali: I love that.

Aradia: Like, there is way more than one who has actively leaned into, I am actually from the Star Trek universe and I will do sci com until the day I die, and I fucking love all of them.

Ali: I fucking love it so much. I mean, it’s so cool when you see someone who’s been uplifted and, I mean, should it be the standard? Yes. But when you see someone uplifted, they’re like, you know what? I’m going to use this platform to really try and make a difference and spread people’s awareness. I had a conversation with somebody where they said, guess what? Like one of the most effective things was – I may have talked about this on the podcast already – but in changing people’s minds about climate change? It was the Big Bang Theory.

Aradia: Oh shit!

Ali: Because, it was all these people going like, you know – it was like parasocial relationships for good, right? Where they’re like, Leonard and Penny and Sheldon are my friends, right? And they just started talking about climate change like it was fact. They weren’t arguing with me. They just start talking about it like it was fact. And I thought, Well, I love Leonard and Penny and Sheldon, And so they can’t be wrong because I love them. And I have this parasocial relationship with them. So it made them start believing in it.

Bree: Hey, I mean, I truly believe that – That’s why I think that art matters so much. And that’s why I think we have, like, podcasts like this, where you examine what – this is the pop culture that I was absorbing as a kid, that made me. And the things that we see normalized in it are the things that we, you know, sort of accept as normal. And so that’s why I think it matters so much, because it really is – pop culture, especially, like genre stuff and the stuff that’s just super popular. You’re not sitting there looking for messages from it. So it’s really what you’re just looking, and it’s hitting your subconscious. It’s the stuff that you’re absorbing and taking into yourself as, this is the way things are on some level. And so it really has power to shape what we think is normal. And that’s why, like, I care about it so much.

Aradia: Yeah, and this also proves why it’s so important to have lots of different art that speaks to different people. Because I hate the entire genre that the Big Bang Theory exists in, I can’t stand it. I won’t touch it with a ten foot pole. I’ve tried watching bits and pieces of it and it makes me want to tear my skin off. And yet it’s having this profoundly useful thing. So it’s like maybe one person’s idea of what makes good or effective art, isn’t true for everybody else. And so we need a massive diversity of ideas and content creators of all stripes, and like art being supported however, the artist wants it to go. Because you never know how you’re going to reach certain people. You’re not going to reach everyone the same.

Ali: Right? There are 8 billion people in the world.

Bree: I hate the Big Bang theory too. I think a lot of nerds actually do. Not all. But I do think a lot of nerds and geeks do. But my mother loves it and it has made her more appreciative or like, think that she understands that, like, I like video games and stuff, because the show, because it’s reaching her on her level. I mean, and I think that’s the type of people that it’s more, are the audience, where it’s like explaining geeks to people who don’t understand, instead of, we’re sort of like, eeeeh.

Aradia: Yeah, Portlandia versus real Portland.

Ali: Yeah, Yes, exactly. I think it should be like popularization of nerds as people?

Aradia: Yes. Yeah. As cool, and interesting, and well-rounded and like. Yeah. And I mean, I love that. Neil deGrasse Tyson defending the demotion of Pluto a bit. I mean, that was fun. Like, I did get that, give it to me in isolation.

Ali: And I’m still mad about it anyway. Still mad. Yeah.

Bree: Sorry. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Blood feud.

Ali: We’re still mad about it. Yeah.

Bree: We’re all going to die mad. Not all of us, but I am.

Aradia: All of us on this podcast.

Ali: What else happened in 1994?

0:12:53 Begin the Roast of Gorynel Desse (Flight chapter 17)

Bree: You know what else happened in 1994? Melanie Rawn said, It’s time, I’m ready. Begin the roast of Gorynel Desse.

Aradia: Oh. My. God.

Ali: I feel like that was almost an, Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd? Attend the roast of Gorynel Desse.

Aradia: Gorynel motherfucking Desse. So Bree has been warning us this entire time that we aren’t yet at the roast of Gorynel Desse, and we can’t use that as the title. I was doing the reading for this and I went, Oh! This is the episode that will be titled The Roasting of Gorynel Desse. I see it now.

Ali: I believe I came on to the zoom and was like, I have a bone to pick with Gorynel Desse.

Bree: Only one?

Ali: For the first time ever!

Aradia: Yeah it’s – teakettle status has been exceeded on this motherfucker. Oh my God.

Ali: Well, it was really funny, because they really tried to sneak that one by me at the very end. Because, of course, I, being who I am, read right before we come on. I, you know, I start the morning up – because otherwise I will forget everything that happens and forget what I need to rant about. And, hm, you know, I was reading and rushing through my reading a little bit. And I read that, and I went like, No, that can’t be what I just read.

Bree: It’s like, pretty much – I have like notes in our little file that we share, and I have a nice little description of each of the parts. And part 22 is just, the roasting of Gorynel Desse. Because I figure we’ll get there. I saved it for the end. So let’s go to the beginning first and then we will end on a bonfire.

Ali: I was alone. I talked to the dog about it. I had to externalize my feeling. I turned to Petey and was like, Gorynel Desse. Just planted one on a 17 year old and we’re all just going to be like, That’s acceptable.

Bree: That happened. Okay, so we start in part 17 with Collan packing his lute, like, I’m out of here. These people are all crazy. You know, trying to decide if he can split, but then he’s like listing all the people he’s going to want to bring with him, just like the kids, and then pregnant Sela, and then Sarra. And then, okay, well, maybe pregnant Sela can’t be moved. And then there’s a little girl and he’s like, sort of accepting, okay. He apparently feels responsible for these people to the point that he is not running off. So what are you guys, do you have any thoughts about part 17?

Aradia: I notice that Sarra seems to be maybe flirting back at him, like we’re starting to get a bit of a meeting of wits and of minds that makes me, like, roll my eyes with where that appears to be ging.

Ali: My theory that Collan is related to them is growing more and more unlikely by the day.

Bree: And it does seem to be, we are starting to get some flirtation.

Ali: Yeah, she’s hardcore flipping off my theory right now, Melanie Rawn is.

Aradia: Yeah. I do like how Sarra flirts back, though, because it’s very much like when they go low, you go lower, which I do enjoy as a flirting style.

Bree: Yeah, She’s not going to suddenly turn into a simpering flirtation. She’s just going to keep punching him. Maybe with some fluttering eyelashes.

Ali: I am a sucker for when they’re negging each other. It can’t be one sided. It has to be both of them. But, you know, I am a sucker for the romance that starts out of negging each other.

Bree: There is a little adversary situation going on here with Princess Leia.

Aradia: Yes.

Bree: I don’t know if that sounds familiar.

Ali: I mean, we’re just missing the, I love you – I know.

Aradia: Yeah. Which I’m fully expecting to happen at some point.

Ali: I am positive that that will be happening. Oh, not to mention Collan’s little foreshadowing moment, I think where he is like, I can’t imagine giving your life for a woman.

Bree: Uh oh.

Aradia: Oh, yeah. Also, that whole situation is so sad. Like the thing with Imi and Advar, where they weren’t pretending to be married anymore, which either means that they had their fling and they were done, or they just happened to be changing up their thing. But either way, they had to go through this ridiculously painful, awful scene, and it’s just told like a very distant third person. And my heart broke, and then it continued to get broken as we continued through the reading. But it starts here with Imi and Advar.

Bree: Yeah, he’s accepting it. It feels like he’s sort of becoming a reluctant – this is the reluctant hero arc. First he’s the rogue. He’s like, Fuck, you know, You know, he’s been resisting the call to action pretty strongly for this entire book thus far. But I think this maybe was the first time when nobody stopped him from going. He just sort of admitted to himself that there’s too many people here he doesn’t feel okay leaving behind.

Ali: Yeah, I’m concerned about him with that little comment. Listen, he saved a child and a cat, so. And he literally saved the cat.

Bree: Yeah.

Aradia: Mh-hm.

Bree: I don’t know. The cat might have saved him in this book.

Aradia: I mean, attack kitty is pretty frickin awesome.

Ali: I love the cat. I would die for Velvet.

Aradia: Correct.

Ali: Like, without hesitation. Like, even if I didn’t need to.

Bree: Just for fun.

Aradia: Just to save her a minor inconvenience.

Ali: Yeah, I just save Velvet the kitten a minor inconvenience. I would lay down my life, like, love this cat. And I just can’t imagine the Imi scene. I had to sit with that for a sec, I had to stop reading for a second and just kind of stay with it.

Bree: Well, let’s get here. We basically, you know, they have their little flirtation, while he is like leading her to get something to eat. And it’s sort of like, you know, a little snarky, you know, a little punching and poking that ends with him asking if she, “Did you ever stop wishing I’d taken you with me?” And she, like, dimples at him and says, “Did you ever stop wishing you had?” And so, yeah, she can hold her own with him. She’s not tongue tied anymore. So they go out into Bard Hall, and we have basically been told that Bard Hall did not burn quite as much as the rest of the thing because it was sort of set aside so that the musicians can have their peace and quiet to play. And they’re eating canned foods, or glass preserved foods from the basement, and very well aged wine. And that is when Taig says that Imi and her father have arrived. And just like – Kanto Solingirt man, let’s give props to this 80 year old Mage –

Aradia: Boss.

Bree: Who just, like, kept stealing boats and floating down river in them and, like, just a badass.

Aradia: Yeah, that man is just like the Energizer bunny. Like, steals a boat, bitches about it, steals another boat, continues bitching about it.

Bree: Yeah. Sails it across something called Blighted Bay, which I can’t imagine is a fun place.

Aradia: It’s got to be badass. He hasn’t slept, hasn’t eaten. He’s 80 and he’s just, You kids get off my lawn, can’t trust anyone to do anything. Mrr, mrr, mrr. I’m like, Great.

Ali: Incredible.

Bree: Well, then they tell us the less happy story, which is about Imi and cute knees.

Aradia: Yeah, cute knees.

Ali: Oooh.

Bree: Cute knees, Advar, the other healer Mage. Yeah, their job was to get these books to safety. And so they got the books and got them in a caravan going somewhere safe. But yes, Advar – basically what happened was, someone fell from the rigging, and instead of letting this person suffer or die, he used this magic to heal them, basically outing himself. So and Collan is sort of like, What the fuck, man? Be chill.

Aradia: I agree with Collan, that was signing a death warrant for a stranger. Why would you do that? You have a mission.

Bree: Yeah, but he did it. He did it because, you know. And Collan thinks, What is it with these people anyway?

Ali: I love how Aradia is like, what an idiot. And I was like, Oh, my God, giving your life for a stranger! How noble! I’ve literally wrecked my brain, and you’re like, What an idiot. You have a task.

Bree: Yeah. There we go. There’s the two types of people: Sarra and Collan.

Ali: These are the two real two genders.

Aradia: I did appreciate, though, how Imi was able to just stone face her way into making sure he had a clean death. Like a fast death.

Ali: Yeah. Like that was good of them.

Aradia: Because you know that it was destroying her inside, because even if they weren’t together at that point they had been together, and she had to just be like, Oh no, I heard that the best way to kill them is this way. And like, just absolutely masked it.

Ali: And then my brain decided to be mean to me like, Imagine having to do that to Gus! Why did you even, why would you want to imagine that today? Why?

Aradia: Why are brains? Why are brains.

Ali: Yeah, why are brains like that. I was like, Ooh? Why am I empathizing too hard actually, with this?

Bree: Well, here’s the line that I thought was interesting, because Sarra says she understands. And Collan’s thought is, “Collan was damned if he did. Self-sacrifice was expected of parents when their children were endangered; although he couldn’t find even the rudiments of such an emotion in himself, he recognized it as simple practicality. But to give your life to save a woman? Moreover, a woman who told your killers how you ought to die?”

And then he admits, okay, well, drowning doesn’t sound a lot of fun. Straight through the heart with the sword is marginally less awful. “But as far as Col was concerned, living was the only sane option. Selecting the least objectionable way to die from a list of possibilities wasn’t something he’d ever thought about.”

Aradia: Must be nice to have a brain like that.

Ali: Yeah, must be really peaceful.

Aradia: Think of how much sleep he’s able to get.

Ali: Can’t relate. Well, not only that, I’ll sometimes also go, But what can you live with? Like, Aaah! I always say to Gus, It’s hell in here. Like, she never shuts up. Like, she’s just constantly having this, like, you know, thought bubble at all times. And it’s like, mh.

Aradia: You need Gorynel Desse to Ward off half of your brain, like Col.

Ali: Honestly, that sounds real nice.

Bree: Gorynel Desse, come on in! I know you haven’t watched Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Ali, but you need to. You need to watch it with me, I swear to God. But there’s a song called Thought Bubbles, and it just so much sums this up. Like one of the lines is, I used to like guacamole, Now I don’t like guacamole. What if I stop liking other things I like? Like, what if I stop liking my mom? If it worked on guacamole, it could work on my mom!

Ali: Now I’ve got that thought bubble! Thanks for giving me a new fear. I don’t have enough of those.

Bree: I love the show. I love it so much and it is so much about mental health. So it is a good, good show for all of us. So yeah, so now that we’re very, very depressed, nobody wants to finish dinner. Col doesn’t really want to either, but he likes the fish, so he keeps eating. But just as he’s tried to, like, finish his wine, someone yells, No, don’t come in here. And he turns around and he been Falundir rolled.

Ali: Can’t a man finish a glass of wine anymore? I’d be so annoyed with that. I am enjoying my dinner, be this way at a more convenient time.

Aradia: Insta migraine in the middle of dinner. Rude.

Ali: Oh yeah.

Bree: He just straight passes out.

Aradia: Terrible. Wine everywhere.

Bree: Agony explodes in his skull and he becomes unconscious, just from seeing Falundir.

Ali: That would embarrass the shit out of me.

Bree: Not the greatest situation here, Gorynel Desse and your Wards.

Ali: I think about this a lot. I’ve been to a couple different theater productions where an audience member has had some kind of medical emergency, where they ended up being fine. But I turned to Gus and I was like, I would be so embarrassed for the rest of my life. All these people paying attention to me having a medical emergency. I just simply couldn’t. I just simply couldn’t. So yeah, that would embarrass the shit out of me. So pour one out for Collan, he has way more self esteem than me that he wasn’t instantly humiliated by this.

0:26:16 Music break, Flight chapter 18

Bree: We start the next part, part 18 with him heavily dosed with the medicine that they carry around for their Collan blackouts.

Aradia: Frequent as they are.

Bree: And I guess Gorynel Desse has done something to his Wards.

Ali: And again, the fact that it happens frequently enough for them to have a medicine that they carry? That would just, I just –

Aradia: It’s a red flag. Maybe this is bad.

Ali: That activates so much anxiety.

Bree: So the medicine was provided by Riddon, the eldest of Sarra’s foster brothers, and she’s like, okay, what the fuck? Why do you have this medicine? What is going on? Desse has to go take a nap because he’s like swaying on his feet, so he needs to get some rest so they can go and do this Captal making adventure that they’re about to be on. So Sarra decides to haul her brother off, to grill him on this. And Riddon’s theory is that Col is Mageborn. Discuss.

Ali: Okay, finally someone puts it out there. Finally someone puts it out there. I need someone else to be having theories about why the fuck Collan is there, because everyone has accepted his presence up until now. And I’m like, but why is he here? Why do we need a musician on this flight for our lives? To play us ballads about it, to write down some songs, because we’re hoping the album drop will be really great? I just, I don’t understand why he’s there.

Bree: No, remember, Minstrels can’t even write songs.

Ali: Then why the fuck is Collan there? Morale?

Aradia: Yeah. Riddon is asking the questions we need asked.

Ali: Yeah, Riddon’s like, Why is Collan a POV character and I’m not? Riddon wants to know.

Bree: Yeah, so Riddon thinks that he’s Warded, and also because they were told to knock him unconscious before going through the Ladder, and Sarra remembers that, you know, when she went through the Ladder for the first time, Alin knew that she was Mageborn and it caused trouble. So maybe that makes sense? And then, you know, he says that Orlin, his father, gave him the bottle and said that if Collan showed any signs of pain or passed out suddenly, you’re supposed to give him a swallow of it. But, you know, that’s all he knows. He doesn’t know why Falundir made him freak out. You know, Sarra is like, okay, maybe he’s a Mageborn.

Ali: Okay. But then Tog, Tag, Taig? Taig super dismisses that, right? Isn’t it Taig that dismisses it, he’s like, Nah

Bree: No, it’s Elo.

Ali: Elo dismisses it. He goes, No.

Bree: First we have a screaming of kitten, absolute screa – the puppy too. The puppy and the kitten scream. And then Sarra gets like terrible pain in her skull and we realize Cailet has almost escaped again.

Ali: No one reacts to the puppy and kitten screaming to my satisfaction. I would have sprinted to the area to make sure that they were okay, but maybe that’s just me. I was like, is no one going to? Because they go, Well, they’re either fighting or someone stepped on them both. And I’m like, Either way, we should go check on that then, immediately! Like this second, please. But whatever.

Bree: They go and check on Cailet instead. Yeah, they’re like, There’s no time, you know, you’re not going to get to rest. We have got to go deal with this now. And that is when Elo tells her that he’s not Mageborn. And then she’s like, Okay, but what about his Wards? And he’s just like, Ask Gorsha, which everybody says.

Ali: He goes like, Mage privilege. And I go, Oh Gorsha, the font of information.

Aradia: Right? Yeah. Totally.

Ali: Will one person gave me the answer I seek in this book, which is Why the fuck is Collan there?

Bree: Yes, he. He does this thing: three fingers up, with his thumb and his pinky folded in, facing out. And this is apparently the sign that means – it’s the Girl Scout oath sign. And it also means Mage-Right. Which basically is that some of the secrets are for Mages and you don’t get to ask.

Ali: And their little oath starts with, On my honor, I will try to whatever the rest of it is, because I got kicked out.

Bree: Serve god in my country to help people at all times and to live by the Girl Scout law. Sorry, I was a Girl Scout for 14 years.

Ali: I was for like three months. And then my mother and I were asked to leave.

Bree: The two ADHDs, right there.

Aradia: I went to a summer camp that was put on by the Girl Scouts one year, and it was one of my first real points of contact with mainstream society, with kids who went to public school. I did not like that. I did not like that at all. And I was very perplexed the first time that I saw a Pledge of Allegiance being performed, I’d never seen one before. I was so confused.

Bree: Hmm. Yeah. I feel like you either found your right Girl Scout squad or not. Mine was, like, chaotic. My Girl Scout leader was put in jail at one point.

Ali: For what?

Aradia: For good reasons?

Bree: I don’t remember, something crazy.

Ali: I should say, for something funny or for something real?

Bree: No, it wasn’t anything like endangering kids or weird or creepy like that. It was something weird. I don’t remember. But I do know that – I remember one time for Halloween when I was like 14, she took me and her daughter to a karaoke cowboy bar called the Hitching Post, where we just did freaking karaoke with Minnesota Cowboys all night.

Ali: Incredible.

Bree: She wasn’t necessarily appropriate, but like, it meant that we had some really crazy fun times. So.

Ali: You know, on a scale of one to Gorynel Desse, she’s more like a 5, you know what I mean?

Aradia: That’s fine, that’s fine.

Bree: It wasn’t a great thing, but it wasn’t like – I mean, it was mostly just bizarre. Also, for some reason, I believe we were dressed as clowns.

Ali: Yeah. There’s a part of me that also felt like, to a certain extent, I don’t know why. Like, I don’t know if all adults really knew what to do with children in the eighties and nineties.

Bree: Yes, like seriously, this was some nineties, okay let the 15 year olds go to the bar dressed up as clowns and sing on Halloween, nonsense.

Ali: That’s what you do with children, you know? Yeah.

Bree: Not like sexy clowns either. Like, ridiculous clown.

Ali: Well I hope not sexy clowns!

Aradia: I mean, the concept of childhood is very recent. Like, the notion that children are anything other than tiny adults is like, kind of recent. So it makes sense that we’re still workshopping what childhood is supposed to be.

Bree: The nineties were weird. We were starting to transition from like that Gen-X thing where they just threw them outside with like a rusty hoes and were like, Don’t die before me, right? Like that was the Gen-X experience. And I was like, on the very tail end of that.

Ali: I’m a millennial, but I am a child of divorce. And I have vivid memories of my single dad taking us to adult parties. We were the only children there, the only ones. Everyone else didn’t have children, or were single, and we were THE children at the party. And his friend was making martinis in the kitchen. And my sister and I were like, What is that, it looks like a toy. A martini shaker looks like a toy. And they were like, We’re making martinis. Do you want to try making martinis? So we became the de facto bartenders at this party. And then everyone got super wasted because we were generous pourers. I think we were like, nine and seven or something.

Aradia: Jesus.

Ali: Generous pourers. I think this story actually really explains who I am as a person. So we were generous pourers, everyone got super drunk. At some point somebody put out a jar that said, Ali and Kennyis college fund. And they were putting tips in there, I think we made $120.

Aradia: That’s amazing.

Ali: Which to children is like an insane amount of money. I mean, it’s an insane amount of money for, you know, adults, but as children –

Aradia: I mean, for one night of bartending, that’s pretty good tips.

Ali: Yeah, we were wealthy, and so we were fighting about how to split it walking home and my dad – because we were trying to debate who was more helpful at this party in terms of getting tips, and who had done more, ladededa, and my dad turned towards us and he goes, Okay. Understood. You know, you’re going to split it evenly, first of all. And he goes, And second of all, you’re never going to tell your mother about this, because she will take you away and I’ll never see you again. And I just got back on the plane, never told her. Anyway, I hope she doesn’t listen to this podcast. But she can’t take me away now, so.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah.

Bree: A little late.

Ali: But yeah, so that was that. I mean, in the nineties they didn’t know what to do with it with children. I just, some of them. And of course we’re going to get comments like, I raised children in the nineties and I knew what to do. Well good for you, know you are a thought leader.

Bree: My mother had a Ph.D. in education, okay. And we were still just like catapulting out there, as experimental projects, you know.

Aradia: Oh yeah, my parents were so involved and thoughtful and nice and I am so fucked up. Like, I had four parents, plus my Waldorf teacher, which made five – like, I’m fine. I have so many issues.

Ali: But then, hey, it is relatable. Yeah, I now write for cartoons. And one of the things that was told to me by an executive was like, you know, they do all these studies, right? To try and figure out like, what kids will watch, you know, and all this stuff. And the big notable thing that is changing cartoons right now is that parents watch with their children. That’s the like big – it’s the parents are taking interest in what the children are interested in. And so because of that we have to be like, Oh, we’re also writing for the parents and the fact that they’re going to be watching with their kids. So it’s like that’s like a whole factor now that did not exist prior to very recently. And I think that’s kind of hysterical.

Aradia: It feels like a return to like old cartoons, though, right? Because you watch old stuff, it’s like, Jesus, these are inappropriate jokes. Only adults would get this shit. And then you get the eighties and nineties and 2000s and it’s so saccharine, I could draw it with a crayon in my non-dominant hand with my eyes closed. So that kind of feels like it’s coming around.

Ali: Though. I don’t know. With the nineties I felt like, I don’t know. It’s not that it was saccharin, but it was like –

Aradia: But it didn’t have the risque racy jokes from earlier in the century, right?

Ali: Sure. That’s true. I felt like they were for kids, but now it’s like they’re for parents but in a different way.

Bree: There was appropriate, is what we’re reaching for, we’re grappling for the word appropriate.

Ali: Appropriate, it’s appropriate. And now it’s like, how do we make it appropriate? But also stuff parents like. Because I guess before then, right, it was like the parents were watching because there was nothing else on TV. You had four channels and one family TV. And then like the eighties and nineties, it was like, you might have more than one TV, or like, there’s infinite channels to choose from. So then it was like, okay, well now we’re making content that really is just for kids because their parents are like putting them in front of the TV so that they can have like 8 seconds of silence. And then now it’s like a totally different thing where it’s like, now they’re like, Ooh, I also like cartoons because I liked them as a kid, and now I want to experience liking this thing with my child.

Aradia: It’s so trippy to me how the medium itself that we get to work with has changed so rapidly in like the last hundred years. Like I was tripping out on this last week, like we are not built to have recorded music. Like, neurologically we are not equipped for the fact that recorded music is a thing. It’s so fucking recent, and I’ve got all this integration with like Spotify’s AI for what kind of music I want, and I’m constantly listening to just whatever.

And like my dad was a huge music curator back when the internet was barely a thing. And just the way that the medium itself changes, our access changes what we want, changes the medium. Like, aargh!

Ali: Not to mention, we’re not built to have this much information at our disposal at all times. Like it’s – and be this in communication with one another? It’s wild. I mean in good ways and in bad ways, I think. Because people shit on the Internet all the time and I’m like, okay, But it’s also an incredible tool.

Aradia: Profoundly so!

Ali: Incredible tool, that has profoundly changed the world. And I do actually think in a lot of really, really good ways, because I think it’s made us more empathetic toward other countries. It made us more interested in one another, ladedadada. But I’m also like of course, there’s also the downsides of, you know, duh. But I don’t know, it trips me out.

Bree: Listen, I have almost 30,000 followers on Twitter, and no neurodivergent anxious person needs the ability to broadcast their most random thoughts to 30,000 people at a time, 24/7. That’s like a crime that I have that power, like the amount of therapy I have taken to put guardrails on it so I’m not ruining my life every day.

Ali: Okay. We have to talk about that because yeah, I mean, and just to know what other people think about you immediately, and in mass is – woah. I mean, just to download all that.

Aradia: It changes everything. It changes how your creative process even works. It changes what art you would think of making. It changes the questions you’re wrestling with. Like, it doesn’t stop, it just doesn’t.

Bree: No, I’m really glad we finished the second book, we got to finish it before the first one came out, because writing these characters after they have been out in the world and I have been forced to have a, like a fire hose of people’s opinions about them fly back at me.

Ali: And their theories? Ooh.

Bree: It’s a whole different thing now.

Aradia: I remember reading a quote from NK Jemisin several years ago that she enjoys the fact that fanfic exists, but she aggressively never wants people to send it to her, and she will delete it unread because she doesn’t want it to get in her space. And it was a really – like, I’d never thought of that before, but it’s like, No, get out, this has to be uncontaminatedly me in here. But like, the internet makes it actually hard.

Bree: People really like to write soccer fanfic in our worlds. It’s very strange.

Ali: What? So they like, play a soccer game?

Bree: Like, soccer crossovers. Like, with real life soccer players living in our world. It’s very strange. I don’t know, it’s a whole thing. But anyway.

Ali: That’s fascinating!

Bree: Yeah, I’m, hmm? Strange, strange, strange. But yeah, that got in my head and I just thought about it for weeks. I was like, what is making it the soccer players specifically? I don’t know!

Ali: Your niche is like, soccer lovers who also read romance. This is your niche.

Bree: Read gritty dystopian romance.

Ali: So yeah, well, because at the end of the day, creating art is also so funny because it’s like, I’m going to take these 8 billion people that are out there in the world and I’m going to find – because really, at the end of the day, you’re selling millions of copies, but that’s still such a fraction of a fraction of the amount of people that exist? Right? So you’re really finding the tiny niche of people that think exactly the way you do, and like the exact art that you like. And that’s just like how this goes. It’s so funny.

Bree: That’s the goal. Okay, speaking of, let’s swerve back into this book. We went wide.

Ali: Speaking of downloading too much information into our brains – look at that. I just brought it back.

0:43:54 Flight chapter 19

Bree: You did! Let’s swerve right into this. It’s time to make a Captal. Yes. Gordynel Desse says, Bring on my victims. Because, you know, we’re doing some morally gray stuff here and nobody’s pretending we’re not.

Ali: Some!

Bree: We’re about to scoop some brains out of some men and put them in a 17 year old.

Ali: Yeah. And then they’re like, No, but you can’t have this life transforming thing happen to you on your terms!

Bree: Part 19, Collan wakes up to some folks talking about him basically. We’ve got Imi and Tarise, and so we’ve got a little light street harassment of Collan going on here. How do we feel about this gender flipped situation?

Ali: I mean, it was a flip!

Aradia: And I was uncomfortable.

Ali: I don’t like it on either gender. I think we should not do it on either gender.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: No, I think they did a good job making it like – I mean, it was really uncomfortable. Like, dude, he just woke up from like a war brain agony coma, could do, like, give the man his fucking pants?

Ali: There is exactly one person in this world whose opinions about my body I want. And even then it’s like, proceed with caution. So I just feel like as a whole, no one wants to hear what you think about their appearance or body, like No, no. If it’s not like – yeah, no one wants to hear it.

Bree: However, right in the middle of the street harassment, Collan still finds time to think that bad events are making Tarise not pretty. She’s like stressed in a not attractive way, but like, Sarra is stressed in a hot way.

Aradia: Did not like that either. I’m like, You know what, Collan? Whatever, the cat calling is fine.

Ali: Is there a hot way to be stressed?

Bree: Well, this is what Collan says. “But where Tarise was made haggard by exhaustion and sorrow, Sarra had seemed refined by it, as metal is purified by fire. Perhaps “redefined” was a better word.”

Aradia: Yeah, I just. I didn’t think that was necessary.

Bree: This is a trope. It’s a whole like, bad things make other people worn down. But this special person is, like, energized by the bad things because they want to fight back. They’ve been burned. The purify thing especially, like I see a lot of metal. What is it called when they like turn iron into steel? It’s basically like the idea of, these people who are being burned in these fires of this conflict, they’re being made stronger by it instead of tempered.

Ali: I had this whole come to Jesus conversation with Gus at one point during the pandemic where, like, I just broke down one day and I was like, No, I can’t break down. Because one day if we have children, I want you to be able to tell them that their mother was strong this whole time, and was like a rock and was, you know, all those things. And he was like, I would still tell them that even though you are a person.

Bree: Yeah, we have these very strong opinions of ourselves of not wanting to break, like, dude, if you don’t break a little bit, once or twice during an apocalypse? I’m worried.

Ali: Yeah, that is actually concerning. Yeah. Like, who among us did not have one cute little menty b during the course of – at least?

Bree: Actually, I didn’t have any mental breakdowns for a long time during the pandemic, and it wasn’t a good thing. It was my childhood trauma resurfacing and me just going right back into that mode where I’m like, Ooh, I know how to respond when everything is going wrong. This is my comfortable place.

Ali: Mm hmm.

Bree: Because I feel safest when everything is terrible, because nothing bad can happen to surprise me then.

Ali: Oh. Mm hmm. Yeah. I think we have this idea of – because, like, in my mind, I was like, I’ll be the strong matriarch who rose, you know, who, like, single handedly – you hear all these people talk about like, Oh, my mom worked four jobs, she was a single mother, she raised seven boys. Like, it’s so that story every time? And they’re like, The strongest woman I know. Never even complained. Never shed a tear.

Bree: Yeah, that woman was crying in a lot of closet somewhere.

Ali: Yeah, I’m like, To you! She never shed a tear to you, because you were a child she was taken care of. But I’m sure Becky, her best friend, got a fucking earful, right? Like, I mean, they must’ve had some outlet because, like, that just is not true, or that’s concerning. Or that woman’s got, like, got a lot of crying to make up for because, My God. Yeah. Oh, I just. I don’t like this weird patriarchal – it feels patriarchal, this thing of like, how the expressions of emotion that actually, and suppressing of emotions, and being like, I am excited and strong all the time to fight humungous battles. And as somebody who has just been through a pandemic, then pretty much immediately a strike for half a year, where our entire industry was shut down, and no one was hiring people that were in the industry, outside of the industry, when everyone was like, Oh, just get another job. No one was hiring people who had any entertainment on their resume anywhere, because they were like, Well, you’ll just go back the minute the strike’s over. So people were genuinely fucked, legitimately fucked, and, and like if that doesn’t somehow make you break down, I mean, I just, I you’re – I don’t even know. I just get mad when people are dismissive of feelings.

Bree: Well, and it’s not even just like, dismissive of this, but specifically tying it to prettiness. Is like a whole different like, you know, you’re pretty when you suffer? Hmm. I don’t know.

Ali: Yeah, there’s like 45 bags to unpack, because apparently we have to suffer gracefully on top of everything else?

Bree: But then they immediately, like, turn it right back on him and stare at his junk and his –

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree; So I guess we’re all assholes here.

Ali: Yeah, well, so noone’s sympathetic here, but, I mean, I just feel like, isn’t suffering kind of like – why is it an either/or? Why are you strong or haggard and weighed down by it? Can not two things live in one body?

Aradia: No!

Ali: Can we not be be beaten down, and then strong, and then beaten down, and then strong? Like, that’s kind of how it works for me!

Bree: Imi says: “The rugged, day-old-beard look has a certain appeal”, and I’ve never related to her more. But don’t say that to men if you are, like, holding their clothing hostage. That is just a PSA from me to you. We like consent. His shirt is under the bed. I’m not even sure how, that is something that you have to do on purpose to like trap him into bending over.

Aradia: Unnecessary, all around.

Bree: What did you guys do? Tarise and Imi, I usually like your horniness, but I got to say no.

Ali: I feel like it’s fun when it’s like, playful and not directed at somebody. Do you know what I mean? Like, the minute that there’s a target –

Bree: It felt playful until the clothes thing.

Aradia: Right.

Bree: Like, like it felt like they were all kind of being jokey, jokey, and then they, like, wouldn’t give him his clothes. And then he got up naked and like, had to bend over, which again, the dude’s just been in a frickin coma.

Ali: Yeah, it just felt insensitive.

Aradia: But it doesn’t bother him. He’s just ready to skip-e-de-do out there, until – It’s baby time. And then he gets stuck into staying with the party again. Because now there’s like a laboring woman and her children to protect.

Ali: And a sword fight during this dramatic labor.

Bree: Yeah, Yeah. He just goes outside. He’s like, he gets some food and he goes out in the sun. He’s like, You know what? This isn’t so bad. And then, like, Sela who has been holding this baby in for two hundred pages at this point –

Ali: That can’t be recommended. That can’t be recommended.

Bree: She pops!

Ali: I’m pretty sure that’s actually a really bad thing to do.

Bree: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It has not been great for her.

0:52:24 Music break, Flight chapter 20

Bree: So part 20, we leave the laboring girl and we are here with Cailet, finally. What do you think about the space she’s in, this magical space?

Aradia: I liked it. I like the dreamy allegory landscape where nothing makes sense and towers rise and fall, and the sky is made of crystal. I love those sequences in stories.

Bree: The flat black glass is what she’s like stepping on, and it breaks sometimes and then heals itself. Any thoughts from you, Ali?

Ali: Many. I’m trying to figure out one thought.

Aradia: This is the first one.

Bree: Well, this is before the kissing one. This is what she takes.

Ali: Oh, I know. I still have a lot of thoughts about this section, because – so she looks in the mirror. Mirrors always represent identity, right. And like that the fact that it’s black was interesting to me as like, you know, it’s an obfuscated identity, to a certain extent. So I was kind of like, what is that symbolically in my silly writer brain. And then it breaks. I’m like, okay, that’s got to mean something. So I was kind of like, Is this an augur of things to come? Is this just kind of Melanie going, I’m going to do something cool with images?

Bree: Well, she is trying to figure out who she is. So this like, obfuscated glass, like you’re dead on with the identity.

Ali: Oh, yeah. It’s the identity. It’s obfuscated. It shatters.

Bree: Like, first part of this is her trying to figure out who she is. She’s asking them who she is, and she’s calling.

Aradia: And she’s like, following her mother’s story and, like, seeing past pieces of herself and like, yeah.

Ali: Yeah. I don’t feel – very visual metaphor of Melanie. Yeah.

Bree: So we do get a couple of, like, glimpses of her mother and the romance, like one with her saying, “Whatever you may call Auvry Feiran, I will call him mine!” So like, her mom, that is undoubtedly Meemaw Ambrai getting screamed at.

Ali: Which, deserved.

Bree: When they tried to stop the wedding. And then the protest about not letting him take Glenin.

Ali: Oh, that was so sad. I think we’ve seen that before or heard about it before, but it was still sad.

Aradia: Yeah. And then the thing at the end where it’s like, And then she couldn’t even look at her own baby because she was so upset and died of the sads. And like, that’s the burden of Cailet’s birth.

Bree: Yes. “She can never be my child, my daughter—I don’t want to look at her!”

Aradia: It’s so rough.

Ali: I’m not trying to be flippant about this, at all. But that is a level of – I have such strong curiosity. There’s like, even if I wanted to be that stoic and esthetically dramatic for a second, I absolutely could not. Because I would be so dying with curiosity, I’d be like, All right, let me take a peek.

Aradia: Mh-hm.

Bree: Well, she was literally dying at that point, so.

Ali: You know, and I get it.

Bree: She was exhausted and, like, worn out. So she must – she was feeling the melodrama. I guess she was just like, nope.

Ali: Yeah. Occasionally characters do something so esthetically melodramatic that I’m like, Yes! But also, I could never, because I just couldn’t take myself that seriously.

Bree: So Gorynel Desse’s voice comes in and says, You cannot take living power from the dead. So like, stop, stop, stop summoning your mother’s memories here. That’s not going to help. But apparently, thinking that her mother didn’t even want to look at her is not helping her either. She’s 17. She’s a baby.

Ali: A child.

Aradia: Being chased around by a knowledge that hurts, that she can’t escape. I mean, honestly, what a metaphor for puberty.

Bree: Oh, my God. Right?

Ali: I stumbled upon this TikTok of this girl who just, like, published a little bit of her poetry. And there was one entitled 18, and it was about how she is so confused because she’s 18, but she still feels like a child and she still feels like 13, but she also feels so much older than 13 at the same time, like all those feelings being a thing and I couldn’t help but comment. I was like, Do this again, Do this exact poem again, this exact premise. But looking at when you’re like 30 and looking back at yourself at 18, looking back at yourself at 13, because I promise you, it’s the same. And also so completely different. And you will like, howl at how you at 18, feeling still like a child, but also not knowing yourself at 13, but also like longing to be 13, but also being like, I’m such a different person than you. All of those feelings, I’m like, Do it again. Like at a different milestone age, and just keep doing it because it’s like – and then publish the book. Because I wish I had started doing this kind of reflecting at 18. It was a really powerful poem and I was like, It will only get more powerful the older you get doing it.

Aradia: Hell yeah.

Ali: So yeah, yeah, it’s so young, but so old.

Aradia: Yeah, I am definitely 13 years old with 20 years experience. That is very much how I feel.

Ali: So many moments in my life I’m like, I am but a mere 30 year old child.

Aradia: Very much so.

Ali: I can’t possibly be paying taxes. I couldn’t!

Bree: Yeah, I feel like I’ve been like on – I’ve been Benjamin Button-ing inside. So like when I was 13 I felt like 70.

Ali: Same. Same, and yeah, I feel like I’m reverse aging. Like the older I get, the younger I feel.

Bree: Though I also feel 70 today. So like, maybe I just like briefly did it, I like bounced to mid twenties, and now I’m aging again.

Aradia: I’ve always felt too old for my age. But then when I look back, I’m like, Wow, I was an idiot! And then I know that now I’m an idiot compared to me in another ten years, just like, how is it all true at once?

Ali: Yes, yes. That’s a trippy fucking thing about being alive, isn’t it? Especially as you get older. I like the fact that you’re like, Oh, I am simultaneously every age I’ve ever been, but also every age that I will be. All the time, and I’ve been grappling with that so hard this year for some reason. I just, like everything just feels so weird, because you look back at, like, the obstacles that you overcame and now they feel small, but it’s like, they feel small because you over – or not small, but like they feel smaller, and you’re like, well, they feel smaller because, you know you lived through it. You know you survived it. But like, it felt so big then. And I look back at photos of myself. It’s weird to do now, like looking back at myself at like 27, right before the pandemic. And I just go like, You have no idea. You have no idea what’s coming. And that’s – you’re like, it’s kind of like watching a weird, weird movie, where you just go, Oh.

Bree: It was those viral videos of the chick explaining the pandemic to herself every three months.

Aradia: Yeah, Yeah. Explaining the pandemic to my past self, part billion.

Bree: Oh, yeah. That’s what the last couple of years have been. It’s just like, Can you go back? Can you go back and like, tell yourself half of this would be believed. Like it has been a wild, you know, span of like six years for unprecedented things.

Ali: Oh, my God. It just gets more and more unprecedented as it goes.

Aradia: It’s like once in ten generations, levels of power unprecedented.

Ali: Well, even this WGA deal, it’s unprecedented, how good the deal is.

Bree: Unprecedented. And it’s good!

Ali: It’s good. But also, whoo. You know what I mean?

Bree: But speaking of unprecedented –

Ali: Of this unprecedented 17 year old becoming the Captal?

Bree: We get told that a power like hers, occurs once in ten generations, which sounds a lot like, you know, everybody on the Wheel of Time show telling Nyneaeve that she’s the most powerful channeler in a thousand years.

Ali: And Egwene just seethes.

Bree: So yeah, one in ten generations, which is more than a thousand years, because it’s 25 years to a generation in this book, so we’re talking 25,000 years. Right? Yeah. She’s a power and she’s running around in this thing, and she finally finds a guy. Well, first she sort of summons accidentally her dad and her sister.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: Who are in the city, remember, with her, like they’re on the other side of the city, and Auvry sort of looking at her. And remember, she kind of looks like their mom. So he’s probably like, What’s up? Am I having dreams about my wife when she was younger, because I’m in the city where I murdered all of her family?

Ali: Well, okay. And she has – okay, so she sees Glenin and she’s like, Glenin is a cold fish, but Auvry has some warm-ish feelings. And I’m like, We are not Auvry redemption arc-ing right now. No!

Bree: Well, that’s what she seems to think.

Ali: No, Cailet! Cailet, this is 17 you. You’re like, I can fix daddy. No, you can’t.

Aradia: No, not really.

Bree: She thinks she can. Well, I don’t know. She just thinks that he’s – actually, I sort of love Glenin, because Glenin in the dream is just like, That’s enough of this nonsense. I do not believe in weird dream things, go away.

Aradia: Honestly, that’s basically lucid dreaming and more power to her.

Ali: Yeah, Yeah. But they’re like, Don’t go near him. Don’t go to him. And I just go, Okay, but can you provide her with any context as to why? Because she’s kind of, you know, discovering her whole identity.

Aradia: Yeah. She’s supposed to become your leader, but also unthinkingly follow your instructions without further context. Like, pick one.

Ali: Yeah, my loves. Be consistent, at least.

Bree: Also she just saw her mother refuse to look at her. You don’t think maybe we need to not thrust her into the arms of a potentially loving father?

Ali: And listen, I get why she didn’t want to look at her, because she’s like, I’m not going to raise her. That’s super painful, you know, ladeda.

Bree: But she’s a 17 year old, so, you know, that clearly hurt her feels.

Ali: It would hurt anyone’s feels.

Bree: She’s feeling rejected by her mother. So building some walls here against the father, Gorsha, might be the best idea, but nobody seems to be thinking.

Ali: Once again, nobody’s putting Cailet first, nobody.

Bree: She calls Sarra into this sort of dream world. Sarra can’t really talk to her or do anything, because she’s not magic.

Ali: And they’re like, We can’t -she goes, Undo hers like you undid mine. And they’re like, We can’t. She goes, Why? And I go, finally someone’s asking again the other question that I have been asking, Why can’t we unward Sarra?

Bree: And Gorynel Desse is not planning on telling you.

Ali: Gorynel Desse won’t tell me fucking anything. And if I hear one more person say, Ask Gorynel Desse, when that has been 0% helpful to us so far, I will lose it!

Aradia: Put this book in the freezer. Three freezers, three books.

Ali: Put my whole computer in the freezer, because I am reading it on kindle.

Bree: She does finally find someone though, she finds Tamos Wolvar, the nice old dude.

Aradia: Who she’s supposed to find. That’s what was supposed to be happening.

Bree: She finally finds someone she supposed to – well, she does figure out her name first, because she finds – he says they’re in Ambrai. And she’s like, Ambrai, Cailet Ambrai. And this hurts. This is more knowledge that hurts, but also there’s some pride there because you know, it’s THE name.

Ali: Right. That’s a lot to unpack. She’s like, I’m finding out today that I have a family, except, No, I don’t.

Aradia: Right, Right.

Bree: Oh, I have a home. Oh, it’s burned to ash. Oh, I have a family. Oh, my mom doesn’t want to look at me. My dad and my sister are evil! But she has Sarra.

Ali: All I have is Sarra. But they’re like, they won’t even let them be together, for reasons that are still rather unclear to me.

Bree: Very unclear.

Ali: I’mma need Gorynel Desse to start explaining stuff, posthaste.

Bree: Yeah, well, he’s busy. So, she finally finds Wolvar, and he starts giving her little Mage Globes of knowledge that she’s sort of like – She touches them and they tingle and they become part of her. So he’s giving her his knowledge, all of his knowledge of Mage Globes.

Ali: Finally, someone’s giving her knowledge.

Aradia: But then keeping back some memories. It’s really interesting how it’s like, he is just like effervescing, like his whole being is effervescing. And he’s giving her like 90% of them and being like, No, no, no, this one, 10% that goes into the ether, that’s not for you. It’s kind of beautiful.

Bree: Yeah. You don’t get to have my little private memories.

Ali: Oh, I kind of love that.

Bree: Yeah. He starts to swipe some of the globes away and he says, Some things are and must remain my own.

Ali: I think that’s something that a lot of content creators need to hear.

Aradia: Yes. Yes.

Ali: Like, not everything is for everyone. Keep some of your things yours.

Bree: And then he just says, Be wise and farewell, and his little sphere of leftover memories enclose him and he disappears. And then Gorynel Desse pops up and you know, tells her who he was, a scholar Mage and his friend of many long years. And we find out like, I don’t know if we found out before, but Gorynel Desse has decided to appear as his young self in this thing. Younger hotter self.

Aradia: Which, on the one hand, mood, because that’s something that a lot of old people will talk about, how they look in the mirror and they don’t recognize themselves. They feel younger. So in a dream space where you can be anything, it makes sense that that would be the face that would come to mind while you’re focusing on other things. I get that. But given what comes next, I can’t help but find it kind of weird.

Bree: It seems innocent now. It’s like, I’m vain, I want to, you know, look the way I looked when I was young and virile. And then it gets weird.

Ali: And it gets a real weird real fast. I’m like, you ruined it. You ruined it. You ruined it. Yeah, because I mean, I got it from a perspective of I’m, you know, aging. I want to be my former body and have my former face, and ladeda. Yeah, but then, what comes later retroactively, really puts the creep in creep. You know what I mean.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Bree: Yeah. Okay, let’s get there. She finally finds the Captal. She’s like looking at him. He’s wearing all black with a sash and he has pins in his collar, and he’s sort of annoyed that she doesn’t recognize the regimentals, that he is dressed as a Mage Captal. But, you know, she has not seen this, because Mages are basically outlawed by this point.

Ali: Yeah. How is she supposed to know?

Bree: Yeah, he’s a little bit of a butthead, which we have been told over the course of this book, that he’s sort of like a dour, whiny butthead, this Captal.

Aradia: Yeah. Some things don’t change even when you’re dying.

Bree: So Gorsha, Gorynel Desse is like, You are a Mage Captal in a time unworthy of you, which is sort of a sop to like, you know, the fact that he is now getting murdered. Basically.

Aradia: Wrong place, wrong time. Sorry.

Bree: Yeah. And Cailet apologizes and he is just sort of hesitant, because he remembers how it felt to be the Captal, having the stuff all dumped in his head and that it was not fun. But he’s trying to be gentle with her. So he starts passing on everything, everything. Well, first he reaches out to her and he feels how powerful she is. And he’s like, Why didn’t you tell me? And Gorynel Desse is like, Would you have believed me? So we are getting this indication that, like, she is – She’s like a raging sun, if we can borrow a phrase. So much power. So here come the things: “Spells and Wards and conjurations; small witcheries and magnificent sorceries; tricks of hand and eye and word and gesture——and the rules a Mage Guardian lived by.” So she’s getting all of this stuff. And then something crazy happens. He disappears!

Aradia: And then the baby shows up.

Ali: And then she sees a little orb, yeah, she sees a little orb, and she starts going toward it. And they’re like, No, don’t go toward it! And she’s like, What could be the matter? It’s just a baby.

Bree: It’s just a baby!

Ali: A Suzanne Collans level chapter ending.

Aradia: Yeah! Very.

Bree: The Captal dies, his cloak just, like, slumps down onto the thing and he she has not got all the Captal stuff yet, so, like, hngh!

Ali: The empty cloak thing, that slumps on the ground, also feels very Star Wars, doesn’t that happen?

Bree: Yeah, yeah.

Aradia: Yeah,

Ali: When does that happen? I can’t remember.

Aradia: When Obi-Wan gets murderfied.

Bree: In the first movie.

Aradia: It’s one of the few things I remember.

Bree: Yeah, by Darth Vader.

Ali: Yeah. Yeah. And all of a sudden, it’s just, empty cloak slumps to the ground.

Aradia: And so I’m like, Did we just make a baby Captal? Is there a newborn baby who’s, like, halfway out the birth canal, who’s now Captal? Like, is that what just fucking happened?

Ali: I was so confused because I was like, was 17 year Captal not enough for us? We had to have neonatal Captal?

Bree: Basically what I believe is that he just died.

Aradia: Before the transfer was complete. He ripped out the USB before it was done transferring!

Ali: He ejected the USB!

Bree: Oh no!

1:11:11 Music break, Flight chapter 21

Bree: So we flip over to them about to take Sela through the Ladder. They’ve got to hurry because whatever is going on, Cailet is apparently reaching for the baby, so we got to get the baby out of there.

Aradia: You were going to risk killing them to avoid getting them killed. It’s very hasty.

Bree: Yes, it’s, Do you want to possibly die on the Ladder or definitely die when Cailet fries your baby’s brain. So they decide on the Ladder. This is the infamous cactus Ladder.

Ali: The Ladder (latter), in both ways.

Aradia: Yeah, yeah.

Ali: Well, I guess it was the former, but whatever. The joke works! Shut up.

Bree: It’s fine. It’s fine. We are dragging them all through – they have Sela in a chair, and she is literally in labor.

Aradia: She is being carried in a birthing chair like a litter. It’s so cumbersome. You’re just trying to have a fucking contraction!

Ali: Ugh. You’re just trying to do one of the hardest things ever –

Aradia: And you’re being carried while it happens.

Ali: And you’re just being carried through the air, vag akimbo –

Aradia: Into a cactus.

Bree: Into a fricking cactus!

Aradia: Vag akimbo?

Ali: I once again would be like, Let her fry me. Like, I just can’t live through this. The flashbacks alone.

Aradia: Too much.

Bree: Yeah, well, one thing that happens in here is Collan remembers his cat.

Aradia: Oh, he remembers his childhood kitten and I died! I’m deceased.

Bree: So he has this moment where he has a memory and it doesn’t hurt. He’s so shocked that it doesn’t hurt, that he almost drops Tamsa, because it’s just like, Wait, I just remembered something and there was no pain! So apparently what Gorynel Desse did, was remove the pain from his memory thinking.

Ali: Oh, and that’s what’s giving him a headache.

Bree: Yeah. Well, no, it’s not anymore. Like after, after he had passed out, Gorynel Desse did something to his Wards, and apparently, whatever he did, he can now remember things without pain.

Ali: Could we not have done that before, Gorynel Desse? Could we not –

Aradia: Why, why not until now?

Bree: That is the question.

Ali: He’s been suffering for like two days now.

Aradia: Yeah, see, I was interpreting it as like, he is allowed to remember things from before everything went to shit. And it’s like, there’s certain topics that are safe. Because that actually makes sense, unlike, Now he doesn’t get headaches for some reason.

Ali: Yeah, I thought it was like a beautiful metaphor of like, oh, you know, the suppressed memories, they’re coming back. The ones that are painful are painful, but the ones that aren’t, aren’t – But no, it’s just Gorynel Desse fucking around!

Bree: No, he was literally like getting sho – he basically had a magical shock collar. So if he thought about the past, he got, like, shocked to stop him from doing it. Gorynel Desse literally shock collared this poor guy.

Aradia: And now he’s un-shock collared him for some fucking reason. Like, what, he’s well trained enough now?

Bree: Or Gorynel Desse may not think he’s going to survive this.

Ali: I’m sorry, Bree. I know you are a Gorynel Desse stan –

Bree: I love him, but he’s a fucking mess! No, I’m, listen.

Ali: He is a problematic fave for sure.

Bree: I am never going to defend, no matter how much I love a character, I will roast them all day long. I will still love them and I do still love him. But he is a goddamn mess.

Ali: I mean, I love roasting characters.

Bree: Listen, I hadn’t quite thought about the fact that he, like, basically installed a shock collar on Collan. I mean, in retrospect, I’m not feeling great about it, but.

Ali: You know, it wasn’t great.

Aradia: But speaking of things that absolutely suck, how about fucking Val and Alin?

Bree: Okay, so yeah, we go through here.

Ali: Uh, Valin?

Aradia: Valiant. I’m sorry.

Ali: Did I not say from the beginning, I was like, these two are fucked. Because this was written –

Aradia: Yeah. No, I, yeah. Like, no, they are too sweet. At least one is going to die.

Bree: It is a 1990s book and I –

Ali: It’s a nineties book, we are killing gays left, right and center.

Bree: I mean, given that she is mowing everybody down, it did not seem likely that the gays are going to be the only ones who made it out.

Aradia: Honestly, I felt like it could have been worse, if only one had lived and it had been – like the fact that they both died within the fight was like, well, that’s something? That’s how bad it was!

Ali: That’s something!

Aradia: I hate it! I hate it.

Bree: Okay, well, here, let’s get to this. So basically they come out of the – in the big cactus Ladder, which is in Longirding, in Lady Lilen’s house. So they pop out. Collan gets cactussed out in the ass, gently. Wait, wait, wait. Like literally. Oh, okay. This sounds really bad because of what cactus means on Wheel Takes.

Ali: I know, I know. I keep having to readjust.

Aradia: Right, Right. Awkward double take.

Bree: He gets poked by a cactus spine. Because Lady Lilen has literally trained this cactus to grow in a giant circle, so that when you come through the Ladder, if you’re not prepared, you get stabbed by the cactus. And he gets poked by the cactus.

Ali: Feels dangerous.

Bree: And then a bunch of guards show up and that’s bad. It’s like 25 Council guards just start coming in and they are in the most ridiculous fight I can imagine, which is in a room full of cactuses inside a giant circular cactus, with a child, a kitten, a woman in labor.

Aradia: It’s such a mess.

Bree: It is. It is so messy. So Collan’s hiding the kid underneath this spiny cactus thing, to try to get her out of the way, moves Sela. Tries to get rid of the kitten, and the kitten’s like, Nah, fuck you, you bitch. I’m coming to war!

Aradia: War Kitty is the best kitty.

Ali: War Kitty! Warrior cat. Am I right?

Aradia: Yes, exactly.

Bree: Yeah. So then Collan jumps into battle with the kitten on his shoulder.

Aradia makes an angry cat noise

Ali: Iconic of him.

Aradia: And he is way more into battle than most characters have been depicted. He’s just mowin’ em down, chopping his way through, thinking disparaging thoughts about their numbers. It’s like he’s in some kind of berserker trance.

Bree: He does this a lot. Every time there’s a fight, if you notice, he really gets into this, like, murder rage.

Ali: He’s always like, Yes, one of my top five favorite things to do, is just mow people down.

Aradia: Which feels a little like, what’s going on there? Are you just violent or is there another Ward to blame?

Ali: Or, are we doing the man thing? Are we like, Msn! Man, man loves killing!

Bree: Or is there some repressed rage here?

Aradia: Yeah. Like if he goes to therapy, will he not be good at this anymore?

Bree: Well, I think that, like almost always, the targets are like, Council guards, people who want to imprison him. And I do think that on a certain level, like, I mean, I could guess this is not a man, considering relationship in the way that his enslavement trauma has evidence in his clothing and like a lot of other things. I don’t think he wants to be taken to jail.

Aradia: Better dead than imprisoned.

Ali: Sure. Yeah.

Bree: But, so we have this big fight.

Ali: It’s very Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Bree: Yeah. Yeah. Basically. And there’s a woman on the stairs screaming.

Ali: Oh, this wench.

Bree: This is our least favorite woman. She’s back! Geria.

Aradia: Throw the kitten at her.

Ali: Oh, my God. This woman I hate so much, I just can’t stand her. Anyway.

Bree: She stole a young kid’s – the last time we spent much time with her, she was stealing Cailet’s book money to buy herself face cream.

Ali: The audacity to betray your family and then yell at them to get out of your house is so wild.

Bree: I do think it’s sort of ironic, the face cream, because Velvet the kitten claws her face up.

Aradia: Yeah, get those nasty cat claws right in that cheap skin.

Ali: Do it again, for us. That was satisfying.

Bree: So Taig tells Collan to go upstairs and try to find where they’ve stashed Lady Lilen. And the kitten jumps over to Geria, swipes up her face, bites her ankle for good measure.

Ali: She did it for us. Yeah. Velvet the kitten did it for us.

Aradia: Velvet was there for us in our time of need.

Bree: And then runs back up the stairs, a true legend. And eventually Collan finds Lilen, like, tied to a chair in a bedroom.

Aradia: For three days. That’s too long to be tied to a chair.

Ali: She’s an older woman. Her joints alone.

Aradia: Right?

Bree: I do love the choice of dialog tags on this one line. I hope she scarred Geria for life, Comma, said Geria’s mother.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah. That was fun.

Bree: She’s been the Lady, or Lilen, in all the other ones. But that is –

Ali: I mean, at a certain point you’ve got to be like, somewhere along the way I fucked up with you somehow. Like, you suck so much as a human being. It’s wild. It’s just her screaming at her brother to get out of her house, after she tied up their mother for three days and betrayed them utterly, tried to have them killed. And then she’s like, Meh, don’t talk to me like that! Fuck you! Fuck you. I just hate her. And then they were like, Okay, let’s lock her in the basement for a few days, and I’m like, Good. Do it.

Bree: You know, she can enjoy her time down there.

Aradia: The luxury of not even being tied to a chair for it, because we’re humane.

Ali: I was like, Hogtie her.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Lilen gets downstairs and Taig is- it says his silver gray eyes were bleak with agony, and thus so were ours. Val has been killed, defending Alin.

Aradia: Literally lay down his body to protect his Ladder rat lover. And I hate everything. I’m sad.

Ali: I can’t help but notice Collan didn’t think to himself, That was stupid.

Bree: No, no, no. Actually, what Collan does, like, breaks my heart even more somehow. So Lilen sort of takes immediate control of the situation, and there’s even a little bit in here where Collan’s, like, sort of grateful for her, because he’s so stunned. He’s like, Thank God a woman is here to tell me what to do.

Aradia: Which, like, I did enjoy that. I did enjoy that, because that’s so often a thing, where you rip out the independence of the strong, independent young woman and it’s like, Oh, aren’t you glad there was a man there to save her in her time of need? So I kind of liked Col having that same, like, patronizing sort of experience.

Bree: So like, they had this. The thing is that Collan hears Taig explaining everything to Lilen while he’s dragging these bodies in. And we get little snippets, like “—was defending Alin, who had no sword”, and then Lilen saying, “Oh sweet Saints, how am I going to tell his mother?” And then someone saying, “His sword is still in the body. It must’ve happened almost simultaneously. And very fast—his wound is through the heart.” – “So will Alin’s be.”

Aradia: That writing destroyed me.

Ali: All of us, queer screaming right now.

Bree: Oh, my God.

Ali: I just. Oh, I think I’m too emotional to read books sometimes. I really do. Because I can’t help but go like, Oh, what would I do in that situation? What would it feel like?

Bree: And then this is what we find, where we find out that Alin is hurt, too.

Ali: Honestly.

Bree: They’re trying to do something about his leg and he’s calling out for Val, and she’s like, Hush sweeting, It’s all right, I’m here. But he just keeps calling for Val.

Aradia: Calls him Alinsha! I was like, Oof, we’re dying. If she’s calling him Alinsha, we are dying.

Ali: We’re dying, we’re dying.

Aradia: And like, and Sela is still having her labor, but now she’s so stressed out, she’s, like, passed out and getting sedated and, like, just nothing’s going well.

Bree: Yeah. So Collan’s boiling water, he’s getting sheets, he’s helping make up a bed for Sela. You know, we get this: “Later, perhaps, he might be disgusted with himself for so readily obeying a woman—he who had always prided himself on his independence, his self-reliance, he who treasured his freedom from feminine discipline and who scorned men who did as told like good little boys. Later. Perhaps. But right now he was abjectly relieved that a woman was here to give orders.”

Ali: Please point to the men who have been listening to women this book. Point to them, point them out. I would like to look at them.

Bree: Basically, the Slegin boys. Like, basically that’s it. Sarra’s foster brother.

Ali: Someone who is not an NPC. I want to – Yeah, exactly.

Bree: But I am going to say, I have read this exact paragraph. Like I feel in my bones what she is doing right here, because I read that exact paragraph in so many fantasy novels by men, where it’s just like, yeah, where the woman is just like, you know, she’s usually strong, but it’s like so nice that there’s a man here to, you know, rescue her.

Ali: Instill the right order back into things. Yeah.

Aradia: She gets to settle into her proper place.

Ali: Mh hmm.

Bree: I mean, I like being free of manly discipline, but every once in a while, it’s nice for a man to come in and just take over or an out of control situation.

Ali: Every now and then. Yes, When I get into too deep, he just fishes me out.

Bree: I don’t love it. I don’t love it. I’ve read it like so many times.

Ali: You’re right. You’re right.

Bree: And so I feel like I know in my bones exactly what she was doing right here, because – But it just reads so silly in this perspective –

Aradia: Because it’s silly!

Bree: It is silly. It reads as silly as it is right here, because it’s hard to imagine someone putting this in a fantasy normally, like a man thinking this. But I have read it. I’ve read it. I mean, I’m pretty sure if I thought long enough I can find a couple Wheel of Time references that went down pretty much this way.

Ali: Mm hmm.

Aradia: Yeah, I guess I can think of one or two.

Bree: Let’s be real, as a fandom, when we do get mad at the girls, we’re usually mad because they didn’t respond this way to someone saving them.

Ali: I am going to sit with that for like a and a half, I need a day and a half to process what you just said about that. And you know what? Here’s the thing. I am sick of being aware of the broader implications of things. It is exhausting.

Aradia: That’s just such a fucking mood.

Bree: You heard it here first, guys. Nobody owes Mat an apology for the Stone of Tear.

Ali: I’m sick of it. Once you wake up how much is this tied in like misogyny and racism, it is exhausting. I feel like, oh my God, it’s everywhere.

Aradia: Everywhere. And this is why I think about the Roman Empire once a day, because I’m getting mad about the broader implications.

Ali: Of what it means. I literally said to Gus, How often do you think about the Roman Empire, and he goes, I’ve seen that TikTok trend. And frankly, it’s red flags all over the place. And he was like, That is red flag behavior. I was just, like, Explain. And he was like, Because they’re not thinking about the politics or whatever. They’re thinking about themselves as the guy from Gladiator, and all the women, like, fanning him, like that’s what they’re thinking of.

Aradia: Right, meanwhile, I’m over here angry that August is a thing.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: Okay, that’s fair.

Aradia: I’m sorry. Oct-ober should not be the 10th month! Don’t teach me prefixes if they don’t mean anything.

Ali: Well, and this is what I say. Once you start seeing how stupidly our society is set up, it is little as October being the 10th month. It’s as simple as – it’s like the little shit. And then you’re just like, We are all just on like a house of cards right now. This is the true red pill. And yeah, and you’re like, I’m grateful but I’m exhausted. I’m fucking tired. Everything’s exhausting now, including October.

Bree: Everything is exhausting, But you’re not as exhausted a Sela.

Aradia: No, no one’s as exhausted as Sela.

Ali: Who has still not popped this damned baby out.

Aradia: She even has time to joke with Collan about how she’s not going to name the baby after him. She’s such a fucking boss.

Ali: Such a boss. Oh, she does not get enough credit.

Bree: Yeah. So she wakes up. Lilen is basically like, Go. I can explain this girl, a baby and the friend, but I can’t explain the rest of you. And Lilen is being a boss here, too, because she’s basically like – she knows that there’s this thing where, like, there’s broadsheets and they’re all wanted. And Collan does have another little, like, slavery PTSD thing here. When He realized that he’s like, on wanted posters, like his picture with price at the bottom. “Like the price put on a slave. The mark on his shoulder seemed to burn.”

Ali: Triggering. The fact that we – really quickly – the fact that there was a hysterical, screaming woman during this fight, and it was not Sela is a testament to that woman’s mental fucking fortitude, a fortitude I can’t relate with.

Aradia: She was too busy. It’s amazing

Ali:. I’m just saying, this is the anti birth plan.

Aradia: Yes, very much so.

Bree: Collan tries to like, you know, Collan says, Alin’s wounded. He’s the only one who can work the Ladder. And without looking up, Lilen says, Alin is dying.

Ali: Uuugh!

Bree: Because she knows this mother is about to lose another kid. And she has just guts. She’s like, The rebellion needs me to do what need to do right now, so I’m going to fucking do it.

Aradia: I’m going to work on delivering this baby while you use my dying son to get everyone else away. Fuck!

Ali: Fuck.

Bree: And she says, “Tell Sarra and Cailet I love them. And tell Gorsha there’s nothing to forgive.”

Aradia: I’m sorry, there is a few things.

Ali: Umm! There’s a lot to fucking forgive. Let’s pause right there.

Aradia: Put a pin in that one.

Ali: We’re trying to be graceful. I get that we’re trying to be magnanimous, but that’s –

Bree: Well, I think that this is the one thing that Gorsha would apologize for, is killing Alin.

Aradia: That’s fair.

Bree: And I think that that’s not his fault.

Ali: That one is not his fault. That one was not Gorsha’s fault.

Bree: That’s kind of on his sister.

Ali: Yeah, that’s Geria’s fault.

Bree: His sister got him killed.

Ali: Yeah, that’s Geria’s fault. I can’t imagine. Just again, using my, like, emotions. I can’t imagine being a mother, having a bunch of kids. Right? And then your daughter betrays you, horribly. Getting your son killed, and then you’re just supposed to kind of like, go on with your day. How does one survive this? I am unsure. It’s incredible. Women, hear me out. Women.

Aradia: Women.

Ali: Women. Anyway.

Bree: Lady Lilen, badass. So he goes back to the greenhouse. Taig and Telo are in there with Val’s dead body and Alin barely alive. And Alin is, like, confused and disoriented, and he just wants Val. And so Collan, like, fakes Val’s voice and says, Let’s get out of here, Alin, to him.

Aradia: Cause Alin thinks that Col looks enough like him, and he’s whole hazed out.

Bree: Yeah. When when Col comes in, Alin kind of looks at him, and smiles at him, like, that’s, he’s Val.

Aradia: Because he’s dying and he thinks that Val is coming for him. And Col is like, I’m a performer. I’m going to not cry. I’m going to fake my voice instead, and… ugh

Bree: Yeah. And this chapter, because we’re just going for the Suz drink trifecta. “There was nothingness for a long, long time. And then there was the room at Bard Hall, and Sarra Liwellan staring at him and at Alin and then at him again, with a look on her face as if her heart had broken.”

Aradia: Because it did!

Ali: There’s no as if about it, there’s no as if about it. That’s – fuck.

Bree: Fuck!

1:32:33 Flight, chapter 22

Bree: So let’s get to the end of this before we discuss the burying, as it were. Let’s just go into the roasting of Gorynel Desse.

Aradia: Okay, Gorynel Desse.

Ali: All right, all right. Ready? Let’s crackle the knuckles.

Bree: The baby disappears in part 22, they discuss that death is what took the Captal away. And she tries to pick up the cloak, but she can’t reach it, she can’t touch it. And nobody thinks that’s great. So, like, she has not gotten all of the Captal’s knowledge. And there’s a metaphorical cloak there, sort of taunting her about it. You are incomplete.

Ali: That’s not good. That’s a lot of knowledge.

Aradia: You can’t pick up that mantle.

Bree: But then someone comes along and says, You can have mine if you want, and it’s Alin. And Alin has offered her a cloak.

Ali: Melanie Rawn just was like, I’m going to fuck Ali and Aradia up, specifically.

Aradia: Specifically.

Bree: So bad.

Ali: She specifically thought of us.

Aradia: Like, when the ghost on its way to the ether decides to stop off and give you knowledge on the way through? Heartbreak. Heartbreak, heartbreak.

Ali: Basically saving the Library of Alexandria?

Aradia: Yeah! With his dead moment.

Bree: And he gives her her the knowledge of Ladders with that cloak, basically, in a gentle way. Not like he was given it.

Aradia: She’s a Ladder rat now.

Bree: She is!

Ali: And he’s like, It’s going to be pleasant dreams for you, as opposed to the nightmares it was for me. And, oh! I just finished The Hunger Games, y’all, I could barely get through that. And just the fact that it’s like, I’m going to try to make like, the next person that shoulders this burden, have it be a lighter burden. Just like that idea alone fucks me up so goddamn much. Like, is that not what we’re here to do? Like, when people are like, this generation is so much softer than my generation. They didn’t have to go through what we did. I’m like, Yeah, isn’t that great?

Aradia: Yeah, very much so.

Ali: Isn’t that the goal? Is that not what we’re here for?

Aradia: Right? Like the are people, Like, you know what, we should eat like our paleolithic ancestors and, like, You know what our Paleolithic ancestors did? Invented agriculture, and cooking.

Ali: You know what they wish they had? Medicine.

Aradia: Potable water, soft things that don’t hurt your teeth. Like, our ancestors are so happy for us that we have modern shit. Maybe with some caveats, but like, no. No, they survived so much so that we could have our first world problems.

Bree: Yeah. And then he says something to break us all again. Val’s waiting for me.

Aradia: At least he has that. And they aren’t lost forever in the ether.

Ali: Fuck, fuck, fuck. I’m such a sucker for that shit.

Bree: Yeah, he says, Don’t be scared. And don’t be sad, either, youor Sarra. Tell her we loved her, as much as we loved you.” And then eagerly – he even, like they said, he’s smiling and he “strode into the distance with quick, eager steps”, because he’s going to Val.

Aradia: He’s like, mic drop. I’m out.

Bree: And Gorynel Desse says, “But not as much as they loved each other.” And so here’s the thing. If they have to go, if we have to lose them, I’m at least sort of like, is it better or worse that they went together into like, confidently canon ghost heaven together?

Ali: I am not okay! At all.

Bree: Are you okay? Ali is just sort of passes out briefly.

Ali: No!

Bree: She’s shaking and crying, guys.

Ali: I’m okay, but I’m not okay at all about this, I’m suing!

Aradia: Emotional damage.

Bree: I told you she was going to kill all of your dreams. She is a murderer. She is stone cold.

Ali: Oh, my God.

Aradia: I honestly feel like it would have been worse if one of them had lived and had to, like, do the whole carrying on thing. Like the fact that they get to, like, frolic off into the sunset makes it easier. But also then we’ve got more gays to bury.

Ali: Yeah, I mean, if we’re going to kill the gays, kill them together, please.

Aradia: In the same fight so they don’t really have to deal with the grief of being alone.

Ali: They don’t even know. They don’t even know. Yeah, I feel like this was – ugh.

Bree: It does feel slightly different when you’re in like a fantasy and there’s like proof that they’re going off somewhere together, where they continue on together. Like it feels like it’s not quite as bad. We’ve lost them, but they haven’t lost each other.

Ali: Can I be so real for a second – as opposed to how I am normally – my worst fear in life is like, doing this all without Gus. So this hurt. Like this one part. This one struck at a real feeling because it’s like, yeah, I mean, that is the real risk of loving somebody. And in like I think that’s why the Notebook kind of still hurts, even though there’s like so many problematic things about that.

Bree: Okay. Listen, we went to see that, like, three days before our wedding.

Ali: Oh, fuck! Because that’s the thing about weddings. Because you’re like, nothing has really changed, right, about our relationship. Except I just promised in front of everyone I love and, like, swore that I would basically sign up to potentially see you die. And that’s like, oooh. Like, that’s a big fucking deal. And so, yeah, I don’t know. So there is something different about that, like going through that experience together, being like, Yeah, we just like, did that. And now kind of have to confront in a weird way, our own limitations of what love can do, you know, it can’t overcome everything. But hopefully you can overcome most things, and it’s just like, ooh, yeah, but then there’s this idea that it’s like, well, maybe it can though. Maybe it can overcome everything. Maybe there’s a world in which it can, and we’re just not aware of it. And that so hits every fucking time for me. That hits every fucking time for me, because it’s just like, yeah, there’s being alive and being a sentient monkey is a lot. And love is one of those things about life that just makes it fucking worth it. And it’s like, but it can’t overcome everything. But then there’s this idea that maybe it actually can, and fuck, that’s like – and then maybe you can do this on your terms, even though it feels like so much is out of your control. I’m getting really fucking like, deep here, maybe, or maybe I’m just rambling, but wow.

Aradia: Yeah. Yeah, I know. Being in a relationship is stupid. Makes you vulnerable to stupid books and stupid hazards and stupid emotions.

Ali: But it’s so stupid worth it, though, it’s so stupid worth it. And that’s the thing. At the end of the day, it’s so stupid worth it. And it’s like the idea that we don’t have to – Like, we come into this world alone and we die alone, but maybe not, though! But maybe not though. And maybe there is a way in which we can find that person to like, face the world with. And isn’t that wonderful, that we get that opportunity to, like, make such a strong connection? I don’t know. I just. Anyway.

Aradia: Yeah, Or maybe you just are an old man, creeping on some little girl, because she happens to be the love of your life.

Ali: Aah! Just – the emotional backlash!

Bree: So. Yes, we have our boys. They go off into the sunset together. We’re all sad and we’re emotionally compromised. And Cailet and Gorynel Desse have some, like, yelling at each other. Like, why did you do this to me? Why wouldn’t you tell me everything I need to know? And he’s like, No, I’m not going to tell you the reasons behind all of this, because Gorsha hates being asked. Everybody’s going to ask Gorsha, but Gorsha hates being asked. And so she tries to, like, force her way into his mind, which is like a terrible thing to do, because Mage guardians don’t really believe in it. She can’t even find the spell to do it with, because even the Captal, like, that’s one of their things. That’s one of their, We don’t do that even if the Malerrisi do, and then she’s like, You know, I just proved I’m a mistake. This shouldn’t have been me. And so he’s trying to like, tell her that, you know, one day she’s going to understand the full truth, and then she’ll just hate him for new and different reasons. But they’ll be the right ones.

Aradia: There’s so much I’m confused by here, but I appreciate her asking, Why the fuck not you, Gorynel Desse? If you’re master minding and puppet minding this, like, why me? Why not you? And then also we get our big clue into Auvry, a man whose magic came from nowhere. And, like, you’re the one who brought him to the academy. And it’s just like, Yeah, Gorynel Desse. I’ve been wondering this, too. Like, why the fuck not you? Why aren’t you doing this? You doing something like Dumble- no, not Dumbledor – some Gandalf shit? Like, No, no, no. I’d take the ring for good, but then I’d actually become worse than Saruman. Like, you know, is that what’s going on here?

Bree: Well, I think he’s too old now. But before, why he put this in like, Adennos, instead of taking it himself, and he blames himself. I think he blames himself for Auvry. He brought Auvryin. He was the Obi Wan who brought in the Anakin Skywalker. Everyone was like, No, that kid’s trouble. And he insisted that he wasn’t and taught him anyway.

Aradia: And so now his progeny is supposed to be a better, an upgrade? Like, um, Gorsha, I’m not following your logic.

Bree: Now that’s the question. That’s the question. He seems to be betting on it. And that is how we get to this place where he rolls up on her strong and lithe in his young man dream body, and cradles her face and says, For just this moment, try not to hate me. And then he kisses her.

Aradia: With tongue.

Bree: “Not an old man’s affectionate kiss, but a young lover’s: long, deep,searching, tender—and ah, Saints, so sweet…”

Ali: The amount of fucking willpower it’s taken for me not to make vomiting noises on this podcast. Because I know people don’t like it. I know people don’t like it when I make vomiting noises on a podcast. We’ve gotten several emails.

Aradia: Vomit emoji, vomit emoji, vomit emoji.

Ali: We’ve gotten several emails.

Bree: Vomit dot emoji.

Ali: So I want you to know that I’m not doing it for you, for you, right now, But I want to do it so bad, because it’s the grossest thing.

Aradia: I would have loved you for your magic, teenager.

Bree: Here is the final line. “I would have loved you this way, Cailet. For the magic of it, the magic of you and me. Remember this, heartling. Remember that I loved you.”

Aradia: No! Wipe this memory, Gorynel Desse.

Bree: Okay. Light him on fire.

1:44:19 Music break. The roasting of age gaps. Or maybe not?

Ali: Before anyone has the horrible take, that this is agist of us to say, if he was macking on a woman his age and she was into it? Fine. Totally fine. Love it actually, for them. But I can’t imagine – And I think there is something honestly fundamentally wrong with someone if they can watch a baby shoot out of a woman’s vag and then want to make out with it 17 years later, there is something wrong with you.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: Especially if they weren’t particularly young at that point either.

Aradia: Yeah!

Ali: Yeah, because I’m like, here’s the thing. As I grow older and appreciate how young, right, 18 is – like, there’s all these lies, I think, like, girls mature faster than boys, and like, no, girls are exploited faster than boys. Yeah, that’s the whole it. They are disciplined, I think it’s like two times more than boys, as toddlers. Like, it’s something crazy like that. We are socialized completely differently based on what we’re assigned at birth. It’s actually wild. And when you look back and you think about actually how young you felt at 17, even though you were trying to look grown up because that’s what everyone wanted you to be, but then also hated you for being, was like trying to like come into your own, was like, I guess I am a sexual being, though I’m 17. And then everyone goes like, Yes, but also we hate you for it, right? We’re going to throw you into that, but then we’re also going to hate you for it. And there’s going to be adults in your life that hate you for it, that you were like, You’ve known me since I was five and now you hate me because I’m a sexually mature woman, but I’m not actually that, but you’re telling me that I’m that? That’s so fucked for anyone to be attracted to, over like, that exact age grouping. It’s fucked. Like the idea of – It’s just predatory. It just is.

Aradia: And with Gorynel Desse, it’s not like he ran into her, like on the astral plane one time. He basically was a father figure for a huge portion of her childhood, like a mentor for when she was like, nine or something.

Bree: Yeah, for basically, for puberty.

Ali: Yeah.

Bree: He was her crazy old man friend in the desert.

Aradia: Who never was creeping on her. And suddenly he’s like, by the by, I’m super crushing on you? Like, ew!

Ali: In this vulnerable moment, in this really vulnerable moment where she’s like –

Aradia: She’s confused and angry and, like, learning all these things, and having power shoved on her. And he’s like, Imma shove my tongue down your throat. And it’s just like, What the fuck?

Bree: (singsongs) Your mom doesn’t love you. Your dad is evil. Your sister is evil too.

Ali: I had a conversation with a coworker, and I – So there was a celebrity that famously dated a 17 year old when he was 29, and she wrote a song about, now that she is 29. And I was talking to a coworker about it because it came up in a conversation, and he says to me – and he is a adult man, older than I am, and has several daughters – And he says to me, Well, she was 17. She knew what she was doing.

Bree: I’m 43 and I don’t know what I’m doing.

Ali: There is something – I’m 30, right? So I’m a year older.

Bree: Like we’re going to hold me responsible for my actions, but like, none of us know what we’re doing and –

Ali: None of us know what we’re doing, especially at 17. And the idea that someone can say that about a 17 year old girl and thinks that’s acceptable to say about a 17 year old girl, I almost shot back – But I was on a professional call. I almost shot back, Let’s see how you feel when your daughters are 17. But it shouldn’t take someone’s fucking daughter, it should not take someone’s fucking daughter turning 17 for you to realize how young 17 is.

Bree: Oh, no, they’re messing with my property now.

Ali: That’s fundamentally wrong. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And you know what? Here’s the other thing. Here’s the other thing that drives me absolutely goddamn batshit – But I don’t want to fight with strangers on the Internet, because who has the time to dismantle other people’s patriarchy when you don’t know them? Because I’m like, that’s someone else’s job. But sometimes you have to go through your day – But when there is a video of a newborn baby girl, she has older brothers and people, They’re going to be such great protectors. And I’m just like, Protectors from who, though? Like, why do we go like, women need protection, but we never go like. Hey, but from who, though.

Aradia: Right? Also, like statistically, they’re the most likely to be on the list of people she needs protection from. So, you know.

Ali: And then people are mad at women for not getting married as much nowadays. And I’m like, Your spouse as a woman is the most likely person to kill you. Like you’re basically like, Let me just invite a tiger into my house, please.

Aradia: Basically, basically.

Ali: And hope that I gambled correctly. Like what? What?

Aradia: Right. And here in the books, everyone’s treating Cailet like the tiger, and then fucking Gorynel Desse turns around and is like, Surprise bitch, I was the fucking tiger.

Ali: But isn’t that just the fucking way, though? Isn’t that just the fucking way.

Bree: It’s a weird interlude. It’s so weird. Like, it’s weird for this book, right?

Aradia: I think so.

Ali: All right. We demonize young women all the goddamn time. They cannot do fucking anything. They can’t do fucking anything. We demonize them all the time. We hold them to these ridiculous, unbelievable standards, right? And then punish them repeatedly when they fail, basically beating them into haggardness. And then we hate them for aging. So I just –

Aradia: They didn’t refine properly in the crucible of our society.

Ali: You didn’t do womanhood how I want you to do womanhood, I specifically want you to do womanhood, perfectly, based on my idea, when there’s 8 billion people in the world and all of them have a different idea of how women should be, it’s fucking exhausting. And then really, again, the real tigers are these fucking predator who take those girls who are just looking for somewhere to fucking land, right? Some friendly place to fucking land, and there is none. And they’re like, Let me guide you. It’s so goddamn predatory.

Aradia: Which like, honestly, this is – particularly with Cailet, I’m really seeing parallels to the experience being like an autistic assigned female at birth person growing up, because it’s like, Hey, so you have all these magic powers that nobody else has, but we’re not going to tell you about them. We’re going to fucking gaslight you whenever they start to seep out of the cracks. And then when you start to really come into your power and ask for some space and respect, we’re just going to keep not answering your questions. We’re just going to keep telling you that you’ll understand later. And it’s like, Bitch, I’m in my thirties. Okay, it’s not coming clear, this thing that you told me to not worry about when I was 12 and like, I’m just. I don’t have magic powers. I’m just autistic. But like, the way she is being denied knowledge of herself feels very like growing up undiagnosed.

Bree: Yeah, I can see that, totally.

Ali: Oh, yeah, right? I think that’s what’s so angering about it, too, is that it’s like this whole – I’m seeing a lot of people getting diagnosed as neurodivergent as adults, especially women. Right. A lot of women I’ve seen getting diagnosed as adults.

Aradia: It’s a thing right now.

Ali: Right. And again, like as that’s happening, people like, Well, they’re not really, because I don’t know, they’re attractive or whatever.

Aradia: Oh my God, pretty privilege, fuck off.

Ali: Well, pretty privilege, and also not though, because it’s like, oh, it’s just there’s so much, right, to unpack with all of that. But it’s like, I see how angry they are, when they finally realize what they’ve been denied their whole lives. Like, all the things?

Aradia: Exactly. I could have had knowledge of myself. I could have had the power to read minds, or fly, or whatever the fuck Cailet’s actual powers are. But like no, some old man who thinks he has a right to your body has been putting it behind a fucking glass wall and gatekeeping it for you like. Like, urgh!

Ali: And then once you do get that stuff they still gatekeep it anyway.

Aradia: No, not like that!

Ali: You’re not as bad as my nephew or whoever I know who get by.

Aradia: You’re doing your autism wrong.

Ali: Yeah. If I have my ADHD compared to a young boys’ one more goddamn time, I’m going to lose my shit. I’m like, Yeah, I do function better than a five year old –

Aradia: Shocking. Yeah.

Ali: It’s weird that, like, I have, like, learned to adapt in a society not built for me. Yeah, of course I have. Because It’s that or I don’t know. Die.

Aradia: Yeah.

Ali: You have to. Anyway, so all of this was very angering for me in like 45 different ways. But I also feel like – I’m hoping and I’m thinking, maybe Melanie Rawn is doing it on purpose?

Aradia: Well, within her world building it’s subversive, right, for an old man to be into a young woman, right? Within her worldbuilding, not within her storytelling, but within her worldbuilding that’s supposed to be subversive. So maybe there’s going to be a payoff for that mismatch. Like as their mentor mentee relationship continues, maybe? She’s set up a world where there should be, maybe?

Ali: God, I hope so. If I had a nickel for every time there was a predatory mentor in this book, I’d have two nickels.

Aradia: I think at least three.

Ali: Which isn’t a lot of money, but it’s weird that it happened twice.

Bree: Well, I think probably only two, because Gorynel Desse is like seven of them. Because, do you get one per time, predatory relationship, or do you just get one nickel for him?

Ali: Gorynel Desse is just, What the fuck, Gandalf?

Aradia: Yeah, he’s What the fuck, Gandalf, totally. And also, like you said Bree, this does feel like a weird interlude. Like, I felt the confrontation making sense up until the kiss. And then I’m like, That didn’t seem necessary by everything else that had happened.

Ali: Yeah, it was weird.

Bree: It did. It did sort of feel weird. And I am going to say that like I do feel like – and this is so funny, because we’re having this whole discussion about age gaps, and I literally just wrote a book between two 25 year olds and like a 3897 year old.

Ali: Okay. But I mean, there’s a whole conversation to be had about how –

Bree: But yeah, I want to, like, get my hypocrisy out front here. Because, you know, I do think that when you’re dealing with fantasy – and sometimes you start to get into these, like ridiculous age gaps – you’re like, you know, that’s a thing. And like, they’re popular. But I do wonder, like, I, I think that I have internalized a pretty high tolerance for this like, May-December thing, because I’ve read Nineties fantasy. And even the women were doing it in all of these stories and I mean like – I mean we’re talking like, Anne McCaffrey was bad, Anne McCaffrey has not met a teenager she didn’t want to hook up with a 35 year old. And even to the fact where we get into the Talent series and like, you know, Daria’s husband raised her, after he had a crush on their mom. You know, it was the original Renesmee. It was like –

Aradia: And I was thinking like, well, how could I make the Gorynel Desse thing make sense? Well, if he was like an immortal God who’s been around forever, then that would make it better. And I’m like, Wait, what? I’m saying, if he’s a way older and has even more power -?

Bree: He’s going to be either like 30 or 200.

Ali: Mm. Yeah, I, respectfully, with all the respect and love in my heart, begging romance fantasy writers to make them at least 30. I’m on my knees, because when I am reading them, I literally do not register their age. I’m like, no, they are 35. They are at least 30. And it’s still problematic. But at least like her prefrontal cortex or whatever it’s called, is fully – at least her brain is fully developed.

Aradia: Finished cooking in your cranium.

Ali: I at least want her to have her brain, her mental faculties all shunted in place, because. Yeah, so I will read those books and I will enjoy them. And I literally walk around like this, like I cannot see that she’s 19 years old, because my brain will not allow it. It will not allow it, if it’s the difference between me enjoying the book and not enjoying the book.

Aradia: Yeah. And I do like – as someone who was married before the age of 25 and very much felt the moment when my brain finished cooking and the little thermometer thing popped out, like I fucking felt it happen.

Ali: It’s actually wild, like how you do feel it happen, you’re like, all of a sudden, No, I don’t want to go out and I want to garden like, what’s going on? Like, I just.

Bree: I definitely have never felt anything like that.

Aradia: It’s just. And like, I got married a long time, I got married a long time before that, before I turned 25. And I happened to get lucky with it. But like, as much as I love my husband and I blame him primarily for the reason that I’m married, because he’s awesome. I also blame a bunch of books that told me that getting swept away by someone and when you’re 19 is like the pinnacle of romance. When I was like nine, I was starting to read these books, right? Like, and it was just such a drumbeat with no deviations, right? Like if we had a varied thing, that would have been different. But that was the only narrative I knew to apply myself to. And by the time I knew better, I was literally married.

Bree: We’ve internalized it and we’ve – And I do think that it’s the sort of thing where writers sit down and we’re like, okay, I’m picturing myself as 25. Okay, What age of man can I possibly want to saddle this woman with? When will they be emotionally mature enough? And then you’re like, Oh God, I cannot imagine making this poor woman have to deal with a 25 year old boy. And then you’re like, okay, maybe if he’s 35, maybe if he’s 40 – are they done at 40? When do they pop?

Ali: I’m also just like, if you’re a thousand years old, what the fuck do you have to talk to a 19 year old about?

Aradia: And then there’s that.

Bree: I guess you’ll have to read my upcoming book and find out.

Aradia: Oh, I will be. Like, respectfully, I have questions that I will be getting answers.

Ali: Yeah, you’re like, I would be a teenager in the, I don’t know, stone age and – what do you talk about?

Bree: Literally, stories, of history, stories. Amd that’s part of this, part of what we did, because it’s fun. I mean, if you’re a history geek, don’t you want the guy who can tell you why the Roman Empire sucked to tell you?

Ali: Right. Fair.

Aradia: I mean, I did love A Discovery of Witches for that reason, specifically.

Ali: At 30, when my prefrontal cortex was fully developed, Yes.

Bree: Well, okay. But I also am not writing 19 year olds.

Aradia: Again, people who like that idea should read A Discovery of Witches, because she is a mid-career who hooks up with a vampire with all the cool stories. That, that is very cool.

Bree: Yeah.

Ali: That might be my next series because I’ve had it on my bookshelf forever.

Aradia: She’s a historian by trade, and it’s her first novel. It’s so cool. The tone of the trilogy changes because it’s her very first writing project. You can feel her learning things as the book goes on. But like, yeah, mid-career person, but yeah, meets a very old man who can tell her all kinds of very cool shit while also being hot as fuck. It’s pretty cool. Spoilers, I gues,s for Discovery of Witches.

Ali: I just. I have a protectiveness I think for like women of a certain age.

Bree: Oh, total.

Ali: And the older I get, the more I feel this way, where I’m just like – I feel like there was a weird feeling of being young and feeling like, weirdly, like sharks were circling. You know what I mean?

Bree: Well, no, it’s like a duel, it’s like a battle inside me. It’s like the two conflicting urges. One is, like, to charge at that older man and slap him and say, What the fuck is wrong with you? This is a child. But then, like, also to like, run at that girl and be like, I know he looks like he’s got his shit together, but there is something wrong in there if he wants to date you, baby.

Ali: Yeah if he really has this shit together, then he’d want someone with their shit together, that’s how that works. Like, it’s giving senior dating a freshman. There’s just something wrong with that, they’re just.

Bree: And I do want to say for people out there who have, like, big age gap relationships, we are not coming for you specifically. There are always situations where people just click.

Ali: It’s almost like hot nuance exists.

Bree: But generally speaking, generally speaking, grown ass people should not be trolling 17 year olds, let’s just, let’s say, let’s let them finish cooking.

Aradia: And I especially am bothered by Gorynel Desse being like, I love you for the magic, so not even for her, but for her once in ten generations magic. Also a red flag, regardless of age gap.

Ali: Yeah and not to mention Gorynel Desse has been throwing up all kinds of red flags throughout this entire book.

Bree: Oh, so who has Gorynel Desse not loved for the magic of it. He’s got kids everywhere.

Ali: But also speaking of like, us always consuming things that tell us like we’re supposed to meet our, you know, true love at 19 and they’ll sweep us off our feet and they may or may not be much older than we are. Yeah, like, I met my husband at 18, we started dating at 20 and then we ended up getting married. But I’m like, that is very much the exception to the rule in my mind, that is very much weird. And like, I have had younger people, younger women in my life be like, But you and Gus met at this age and ladedadada, and I’ve gone, Yeah, we’re freaks. We’re weird.

Aradia: Yeah, I would never recommend anyone do what I did. Bad calls, that I got lucky on. That’s all.

Bree: All of us did that, didn’t we? Yeah. We’re all here ranting about this and like, what?. What ages did we meet? 21.

Ali: 20. Or 18, and then started dating at 20.

Aradia: Technically, my husband was a friend of the family when I was a little kid. So, like, I technically first met him when I was 12. But, like, we didn’t start making eyes at each other until I was (goes very quiet) 16.

Bree: Yeah. So we are all a bunch of hypocrites.

Ali: And now there’s a part of me that’s like, Is there some kind of neurodivergent urge to trauma bond with your partner really young and then you’re like –

Aradia: Well, I mean, there’s a same person safeness, You know, I’ve often felt like I should describe my romance style for myself as, or my sexuality, as like, same person. My sexuality is, everyone’s hot, but also I want one person, because that’s safety.

Ali: Yeah, I well – and it’s like it’s not, not in like a mean way. It’s just like, the idea – well, I mean I’m obviously obsessed with my husband, and he’s the best person ever. But also, just when I sometimes – like intellectual exercise, like if something were to happen and like, I don’t know, all of a sudden I found out that my instincts are horrid, and Gus is actually an ax murderer. What would I do?

Bree: What if you found out that he spent the last several years psychologically torturing you, by lying to you constantly about what happens in the book series?

Aradia: I mean, that would be awful, especially if a bunch of people on the internet have been watching the whole time?

Bree: Yes.

Ali: What a weird thing.

Bree: What if there was a spreadsheet of every time –

Aradia: That would be super weird.

Bree: That would be crazy.

Ali: That would be crazy.

Bree: Does Ali know about the spreadsheet?

Ali: I didn’t until super recently.

Aradia: Wow.

Ali: I did not know about the spreadsheet until somebody mentioned doing it to Gus during the Hunger Games, I was like, Wait a minute, is there a spreadsheet?

Bree: There’s an episode of this podcast in there too.

Ali: I hate you. Anyway, so –

Bree: Anyway, Ali is not safe with anyone in her life. But other than that –

Ali: It’s just like intellectual exercise for fun things. Like what if Gus turned out to be an ax murderer and I had to start over? Because that’s like, you know, just the idea of doing that is so emotionally exhausting. I tell that to Gus, I’m like, You are it. Like, whatever happens, you know, axe murderer or not, I’m like, I can’t date again. The idea –

Bree: It’s my husband, and then crone commune, that’s the only place I’m going after him if something happens.

Ali: Oh, the idea of sitting down at a table and being like, Do you have siblings? I just, I couldn’t.

Aradia: Yeah, I can’t like and like, I’ve never actually truly lived independently, like hippie family commune, blurriness and all that. I’ve never truly lived independently. And if I somehow lost my husband in any way, shape or form and had to support myself, I wouldn’t. I would go run away to be with family and be like, You take care of me now. This is not happening. I am not doing this on my own. I’m just going to have a bunch of cats and like a pension from my grandparents, and that’s going to be it.

Ali: I’ll probably have a well, I don’t know. A well, it seems appropriate. Like being that woman who’s like, I’m going to just make my own water somehow.

Aradia: There’s a narrative trauma bonding and like support skilling. Right. Because like we’re more than the sum of our parts. We’re able to, like, limp the ship down the road a little bit because our deficiencies overlap too badly. Like, and and that’s another part of why I’m like, I got so lucky at the ages that we were, because that mutual support thing is not something you can necessarily like just do a dating thing for? That kind of has to be like serendipitous matching, that just – you’re not going to let go of that just because the ages look a little funky. You’re going to cling to that like a life raft.

Ali: I can’t reteach someone how to deal with me. That’s really a process.

Bree: I love that We started as roasting Gorynel Desse, and now we’re just like sort of roasting the concept of living with anyone but our partners.

Ali: Stupid.

Aradia: Well, I mean, the one thing I will say is that I don’t know myself outside of my relationship as an adult, because of how young that came on. And so sometimes I’m like, I’m sorry, but you need to put up with an adolescent growing phase because you met me too young. Like, I’m sorry, but you basically got together with a child. I hate it. I hate it so much.

Ali: That is so real. I mean, just like – there have been several years where, like, I have suddenly realized that something in my life was traumatic. You know what I mean? Were you like, this is a charming story. And then you realize the more you sit with it that, you’re like, Oh, actually, that was really high key traumatic and holy crap. And just like, yeah. And then you have to go through the whole process of rediscovering who you are with that new information.

Aradia: What is diagnosing yourself with autism in your thirties?

Ali: So yeah, so to a certain extent I like, I feel like Gus has watched me regrow up like 45 times at this point. And I yeah. And each time I’m like, I’m sorry you didn’t meet me after I was a cluster fuck because of this, you know? I’m sorry that I’m unpacking this with you now because you are so amazing, but, I mean, and vice versa.

Aradia: Totally.

Ali: Do you know what I mean? Like, yeah, And that, you know, you’re just like, I’m sorry for the ways in which I am not a perfect partner when I feel like you are.

Aradia: And to bring it back to the books, Gorsha is going to give none of that to Cailet. Cailet is going to have none of that space with it. Look, whatever the fuck he thinks is going on, and that’s why he’s the worst and should be roasted for like, I don’t even know how long we’ve been roasting him, but like, roast further.

Bree: Hours.

Ali: I think it’s been half of this podcast episode, has just us been like, This is creepy, right? I mean –

Bree: It’s weird. It’s not a great thing. I’m sad that you did that. Like, I actually tried to describe it to Donna, because I was like, Tomorrow’s recording is going to be wild. And I was like, I don’t know, imagine if like while they’re on the Millennium Falcon right before they, like, go and fight Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Just like French kisses Luke for a while.

Ali: I mean, can we call Gorynel Desse, Obi-What?

Aradia: Obi-What!

Ali: Obi-What? No.

Bree: I mean, I’m sure that the fan fiction is out there somewhere, but –

Aradia: I don’t like Obi-Wan kissing Luke before they go into battle. I don’t like that. That makes me uncomfortable.

Ali: Either Obi-What or No-bi one. We’ll workshop it. But I’m putting those two out there as potential names for Gorynel Desse.

Bree: Okay, chat, discord, please vote.

Ali: Yeah. Which one do we prefer? Or we could also put, Hand-alf.

Aradia: God. Yeah. But I think I feel sufficiently emotionally drained from baring my soul and roasting Gorynel Desse, alternatingly.

Bree: Yeah, we lost our beautiful gays, but at least they went off to heaven together. That’s another thing I’d like to – I’d like to hear chat weigh in on, if that is, for them – because this is a very nineties, bury your gays moment – but feel at all mitigated by the fact that at least, you know, they went somewhere together happily? I mean, they have escaped the plot, from whatever is happening next.

Aradia: (laughs) Escaped the plot.

Bree: Honestly, at the rate people are going, this might be the best –

Ali: They might have left the party at the perfect time. Have you ever gone to an event and then after you leave, shit goes down, and you’re like, Damn, I left at the perfect time. I feel like that is Val and Alin.

Bree: So, tell us what you think.

Ali: Yeah, I don’t know. I feel like things are going to get even more fucked, so maybe they did the right thing.

2:11:20 Wrap-up

Bree: Okay, next week we’re finishing this section, Flight part 23 to 29. So. And the section after this is called Rising. So, I guess we got betrayed, we’re running and then we’re going to start fighting, so.

Aradia: I’m sure we’re going to lose a few more people before the fighting properly starts.

Bree: It seems likely.

Aradia: Melanie Rawn is bloodthirsty.

Bree: So who do you think we’re going to lose next section? One Guess.

Aradia: Probably Riddon. Yeah, I think Sarra’s got to lose someone super, super close to her that she felt responsible for in a way that – Val and Alan she felt responsible for, but they were her peers. If she loses one of her little half siblings or cousin siblings or whatever, step siblings, she loses one of her step siblings, she’s going to – yeah, I think she has to lose someone closer.

Ali: Didn’t she lose her parents, her foster parents?

Aradia: Again, not someone she should have felt responsible for, but Riddon?

Ali: Oh, sure

Aradia: She technically is in charge of them, because she’s their mother now. There was a line earlier about like, you’re not my mom! I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant, well, actually, you kind of are my mom because you’re like the legal person now. So she has to lose someone that she is like legally and age wise bound to protect, I think. So Riddon has been singled out, so I suspect that that would be bad for him.

Ali: I’m like, what’s going on with Gorynel Desse macking on Cailet? Like, what is he trying to do? Is he a bad guy? Is he like, trying to steal something? Why was he even there? Why was he –

Bree: It’s weird. It’s a weird move.

Ali: And what did he fail at? That’s the other, we never even talked about.

Bree: Well, yeah, we briefly did it, I think that the failure was implied pretty heavily to be bringing in Auvry, who then destroyed everything. He was like, I’m going to teach this strong wonderful, mysterious magic boy. And that turned out to be a bad idea.

Ali: Well, I mean that I feel like it’s not necessarily your fault, but I mean, maybe it is. Maybe you creeped on him as well, but –

Bree: Oh, God, that’s opening a –

Ali: Whole can of worms.

Aradia: Bisexual Gorynel Desse.

Ali: Oof.

Bree: Not the representation we’re looking for.

Ali: That is, that, we can erase that.

Bree: Please remain invisible.

Ali: Please stay hidden. I’m not one to tell them to stay in the closet. But like, the movement does not need you, know what I mean? There are some people where you’re like, You are actively going to not help. So please do us a favor. Very few people, but this would be one of them. Yeah, I think we’ve got to kind of figure out what Gorynel Desse’s end goal is. Why was he able to be there, though, if he failed? Why was he macking on Cailet? Let like, I’m kind of hoping there was some kind of reason for that. But also, what reason could possibly justify that to me? I Don’t know. I feel like Glenin has got to reunite with the sisters. You know, I feel like that’s coming, their reunion. I’m worried we’re getting an Auvry redemption arc. And I am. I’m worried about it. I’m. I don’t want it.

Bree: You didn’t like that warmth from the magic, did you?

Ali: I did not like it, because I was like, Melanie, I know what you’re doing. You’re like, Well, he’s not as bad as Glenin. And I’m like, Is he not as bad as Glenin, is he not as bad as Glenin?

Aradia: Yeah, but no, I totally agree with you. I feel the groundwork being laid for that as well.

Ali: Yeah. And I’m like, if there’s a redemption arc being laid for anyone, that it should be like my problematic fave, Glenin.

Aradia: Maybe we’re going to get a redemption attempt by him that he fails, and then Glenin will try the same redemption arc and, like, succeed because, like, she’s the next generation and that’s where the hope is.

Ali: God, I hope that’s it’s, Auvry, no, you have caused too much damage. And I know. Like, theoretically, we can hold space for growth and (mumbles). But come on. He raised a fascist and he murdered his wife’s entire family. So I don’t know how much space I’m willing to hold for him. Whereas Glenin?

Aradia: Maybe like one city that’s been burned off the face of the earth, maybe like that much space. One burned out cities worth of space.

Ali: One burned out city’s worth of space in the entire globe.

Bree: Maybe we could subtract the other city he burned from that space too.

Ali: I don’t even know how you repair the damage that that man has caused. But I’m like, with Glenin I go, Well, she was indoctrinated from the time she was a child to be what she is. And maybe the power of sisterhood and woman power will bring her back. What I am really hoping, I think part of it is I’m like, Oh, I just – women against women. Ugh.

Aradia: Yeah.

Bree: It’s not fun.

Ali: I’m like, why can’t we come together, girls?

Bree: Unless it’s all women, and then I don’t care. I mean, Wheel of Time is doing a really good job of making me love women against women.

Aradia: Yes. Yes, I am supporting women tearing women down when it comes to Wheel of Time.

Ali: I’m kind of supporting all of the women’s wrongs. And it’s really problematic of me. I mean, I’m happy to see them being complex weirdos.

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.