A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 167: Mad Ship, Chapter 29

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

The following chapter, “Bingtown Convergence,” begins with Serilla considering the Satrap’s situation and her own among the Chalcedean fleet. She has managed to gather a fair bit of power to herself, although she yet feels the trauma of her experiences with the Chalcedean captain. She does, however, exult in being in position to command the Satrap.

No disco in Bingtown…
Source in image, used for commentary

In Bingtown, the ringing of the town bell occasions tumult as Traders’ families rush to answer its summons. One Trader reports having seen an incoming Chalcedean fleet, and the town begins to prepare against attack; Selden and Malta make to report to the bucket brigades that begin to form, and Malta muses sourly on the wasted opportunities and missed chances of her life.

Aboard the liveship Kendry, Reyn Khuprus and Grag Tenira confer. They commiserate regarding the Vestrit women they love before turning to politics. Grag voices the thought of leaving the Traders’ life behind, earning some rebuke from Reyn. Grag goes forward to confer with the liveship, and Reyn muses on his circumstances. The dragon continues to trouble him, aggravated by his having violated his agreement with his mother, and works to overwhelm his being with visions of crafted memory. The liveship on which he sails as he mulls over ancestral wrongs also regards him differently, and the crew marks the change.

Serilla greets the Bingtown fleet in the Satrap’s name and is taken aboard a liveship. After she voices her concerns for the Satrap, Restart offers her the hospitality of his home, and Serilla begins to plot against him for his assumption about her helplessness.

I am struck in the present chapter, as I perhaps ought to have been previously in the reread, by the parallels to the United States that Bingtown and the Rain Wilds offer. Both colonies long exploited for economic gain that begin to chafe under the changing terms of remote rule, both with troubled settlement and immigration histories, both based on genocide of which a great many people remain ignorant–and with other strong North American parallels, to boot–they offer an (inexact) coincidence I really ought to have noticed or remembered noticing before. And I’m sure that someone more up on colonial history than I am would have a fair bit more to say about the matter; I think it’d be an interesting read.

It’s coming up on my daughter’s birthday. Send her a present?


3 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 167: Mad Ship, Chapter 29

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