A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 57: Royal Assassin, Chapter 32

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

This entry needs something of a content warning for torture and suicide. Consider it given.

The penultimate chapter, “Executions,” opens with something of an encyclopedia entry regarding Burrich. It moves to Fitz failing to understand Nighteyes’s call to join him.

Dungeons by ThereseOfTheNorth on DeviantArt, here;
image used for commentary

Understanding breaks upon Fitz as he wakes to pain. He tries to release himself from his own body and into Nighteyes’s, but he cannot. Guards seize him and drag him out before Regal, who watches with mild interest, drink in hand. Will urges Regal to allow him to work on Fitz, and Regal refuses; Fitz provokes Regal, and very nearly poisons him. The toxin takes Will instead, though, and, after more brutality, Fitz is returned to his cell. Rousing himself there, he takes the dose of poison Burrich had prepared for him and lets his consciousness enter the wolf while his body dies.

The chapter is a brief one, indeed, though the death of the narrating protagonist does call for the division. And Fitz does kill himself in the chapter, even if there is some…nuance to it. But it is still suicide, and it necessarily introduces the idea of when such is acceptable. Noting that the milieu is a fictional one, the mores of which differ from those prevailing around the circumstances of composition, it still seems a cold and pragmatic thing for Fitz to end himself as he does–and a mercy for Burrich to offer the specific means. The mercy fits him, though; euthanasia would be an expected duty of a stablemaster, and it is made abundantly clear that Burrich esteems the animals in his care. That he values Fitz at least so much…

Defeat is certain for Fitz in the situation. That he dies as he does, and not as Regal wills, is perhaps the only victory he can claim in the situation. It is hard to begrudge it him.

Any chance for a present?

7 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 57: Royal Assassin, Chapter 32

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