A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 43: Royal Assassin, Chapter 18

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The next chapter, “Elderlings,” opens with an account of the defection of one of the warships Verity had had put into service and outfitted; the vessel turned to piracy rather than fight for the kingdom that had supported her. It moves to Fitz working on a garden with Kettricken. He puzzles out that the Fool has taken to using her to see to Shrewd, since Fitz and Verity do not, and she quizzes him over what he knows of the Elderlings. As they talk, she arrives at the idea of seeking them out to request their help, as legend had said an earlier King in Buckkeep, Wisdom, had done. At Verity’s Skilled behest, Fitz takes Kettricken to her husband to discuss the matter, and Verity takes the idea to heart–to her sorrow.

kettricken - Google zoeken
Image found on Susan Botes’s Pinterest page, here, and used for commentary

After being dismissed from Verity and Kettricken, Fitz muses on Molly and the looming courtship with Celerity. Seeking distraction, he calls upon Patience, who subtly suggests to him that his repeated assignations with Molly are having an easily anticipated effect. Neither the time with Patience nor the later brief encounter with Burrich do much to ease his mind. Nor does his response to Shrewd’s summons–which is, in fact, Verity’s; Fitz is to witness Verity’s request to depart to seek the Elderlings. Shrewd is somewhat skeptical of Verity’s own going, though he sees the value in making an attempt.

Regal inserts himself into the discussion, and the tension between the half-brothers is made abundantly clear. Regal capitalizes on an opportunity to eliminate a rival, and Shrewd assents to Verity’s request. As they leave, Verity reminds Fitz of the import of his witness, and Fitz purposes to visit Molly only briefly, to thank her for what she does. In the event, though, he is overwhelmed by Verity’s Skilled interlude with Kettricken, the memories of which linger.

In the chapter, Fitz muses on the unseen sacrifices made for him, noting that he does not know them and feeling some angst at that lack of knowledge. The novel is written perhaps early to make much of the name, but the concept of emotional labor is clear in the text. Again, I find myself reading affectively, and I find that I cannot help but think about the emotional labor done on my behalf during my adolescence. (Some is still done, I know, but I am more aware of it, and I try to minimize the need for it. I am told that I have some success in it, but I have to wonder if that telling is not itself emotional labor…) Certainly, I was not as aware of it as Fitz seems to be, and he is not very aware of it–and the awareness seems apt to fade, though adolescent hormones are strange and powerful things, indeed…

Another point comes to mind, one less bound up in my own affect. The comment is made that the earlier king, Wisdom, was thought eccentric or worse in pursuing the aid of the Elderlings, for which he had later renown. Given the Six Duchies’ propensity towards emblematic names, it seems quite telling that a putative religious madman is called wise…

I ate the Frito pie; help me go get some antacid?


3 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 43: Royal Assassin, Chapter 18

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