A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 102: Ship of Magic, Chapter 1

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

The first chapter, “Of Priests and Pirates,” opens with Kennit walking along a path on Others Island, considering his trip there and the tales of others who had visited the island. He and his companion, Gankis, confer as they proceed, Gankis relating lore surrounding the island. Kennit sends Gankis to retrieve an object from the cliffs above the beach; Gankis returns with a strange glass bauble. Kennit sends Gankis back out and considers the wizardwood charm he had had wrought for him. He also walks the beach, finding more and keeping a ruby earring.

Oh, this one wil be trouble.
Captain Kennit by RZ-Seven on DeviantArt, used for commentary

Elsewhere, Wintrow Vestrit finds himself enthralled by work on a piece of stained glass. He is roused from his focus by the priest Berandol, who confers with him about the work he was doing and the flow-state in which he was doing it. They walk together for a time before falling into conversation about theological points. During their conversation, Berandol lets slip that Wintrow is being summoned home to attend upon the death of his grandfather, and Wintrow muses on life among his family. Berandol also remarks on political and economic matters before noting that Wintrow must depart presently, and he heads off to prepare for the journey.

Back on Others Island, Gankis rejoins Kennit as Kennit confronts one of the Others that gives the island its name. Gankis surrenders more findings from the island to Kennit, and Kennit comes to recognize the ensorcellment the Other is attempting against him. He receives the information he seeks, and he destroys the bauble before taunting the Other before he and Gankis withdraw. Gankis asks for clarification he does not receive, and Kennit begins to suspect another ensorcellment. When he sends Gankis on an errand, the wizardwood charm speaks, divulging information to Kennit that sends him back on his return to his ship. Gankis rejoins him in haste and fear, and the two effect passage back to the ship, the Marietta. Kennit resumes his decks in triumph.

There are clear connections made between the present chapter and the events of the Farseer novels. The Buck River and the ceasing of trade from it occasioned by the Red-Ship War get explicit mention. Too, the flow-state in which Wintrow is when he is introduced seems very much like the exercise of Skill, or, at least, a similar magic. So is the glamour with which the Other confronts Kennit. And those ties are juxtaposed with the Others, themselves reinforcement of the non-humanity presented in the prologue to the novel.

Indeed, much is made in the chapter of juxtaposition and contradiction. The religion in the structure of which Wintrow operates makes explicit use of contradictory, paradoxical statements as teaching devices. Kennit muses on similar paradoxes on Others Island. What seems to emerge is that, just as foresight is a major trope of the Farseer novels, paradox and puzzling will be of the Liveship Traders. And that is a promising thing.

New month, new contribution?


5 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 102: Ship of Magic, Chapter 1

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