A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 128: Ship of Magic, Chapter 27

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


The succeeding chapter, “Prisoners,” starts with Wintrow incarcerated and facing being sold off as a slave, days after he has been taken. The absence of the priesthood from civil life and aid is noted to him, and Wintrow considers his straitened circumstances ruefully, musing with horror on the dehumanization awaiting him.

Old Gaol - Nantucket Historical Association
Not the kindest kind of view
Image taken from the Nantucket Historical Association, used for commentary; it seemed to fit a sailing novel…

Torg, looking over potential slave purchases, sees Wintrow and delights in the chance to earn a reward. He ensures that Wintrow hears what awaits him, and he leaves him in his incarceration. Wintrow considers his errors in the past days, but hindsight is no comfort.

Aboard the Marietta, Kennit rages as Etta as she attempts to tend to his wound. She leaves his cabin, leaving him to consider his amputation alone–save for his wizardwood charm, which rebukes him for his folly. He summons Sorcor, receiving a report of events after his maiming; the rest of the capture of the slaveship went well. Kennit’s injuries start to tell on him, and Sorcor and Etta make to tend him.

Kennit begins swiftly to work towards returning to active captaincy, and he continues to receive reports from Etta. She notes to him news of two liveships, one of which is the Vivacia. His actions seem to renew his crew’s confidence in his abilities and spirit, and Kennit continues to plot as well as he can amid his injuries.

Wintrow, at last, realizes his errors, and he remains a child even by his own reckoning (which is rare for an adolescent boy and a sharp contrast from his younger sister, Malta, who professes herself ready for adulthood). Hindsight is never a comfort, however, and his horror at what awaits him elicits no small sympathy.

It is tempting, almost, to feel sympathy for Kennit in his present circumstances; Hobb’s descriptions tend toward that end, certainly, and his reactions are understandable, at least. But the same things are true of Kennit that are true of other figures about which I’ve written (for example, here); he is a bad person who has done many bad things, and he is not working to atone for those errors. Sympathy for him would be false, somehow, and even fiction should do better.

What better way to end a month than to send some support along?

2 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 128: Ship of Magic, Chapter 27

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