A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 202: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 23

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

A chapter titled “Flights” follows and opens with Reyn startling awake in Tintaglia’s clutches as the dragon seeks a place to land safely. He reviews their progress together, and he comes to reconsider the dragon as she shares her situation with him, and as the dragon heads off, Reyn tries to hunt some of the sea bullocks to aid her. The gesture confuses the returning dragon, but it also seems to mollify Tintaglia, and they confer about their expectations of the others’ species as their time together continues. Reyn is left uncertain of his feelings and of the price he and the rest of humanity will pay for the agreement he has made.

Pacific Walrus - Bull (8247646168).jpg
Something like this comes to mind.
Image originally from Joel Garlich-Miller for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, thus public domain.

Aboard the pirate ship Motley, Malta tries briefly to comfort the Satrap, but his whining sours her on the project swiftly. She moves to join the ship’s captain, Red, at mess, and the conviviality of his table is noted as he asks after the Satrap; Malta attempts to demur without success, and Red lays out the situation with the Satrap plainly: he will be taken to Kennit, who will ransom the Satrap to the highest bidder. Red also propositions Malta, and she considers how she might avail herself of standing as his mistress to effect her father’s rescue. She refuses, and he accepts the refusal–though he also notes that she would be better off joining him and his crew than holding onto her earlier desires before releasing her to get information from the Satrap.

Though the chapter is a brief one, it does much to present possibilities–and not only for Reyn and Malta, on whom the narrative action focuses. Reyn’s conversations with Tintaglia reaffirm that the two species, human and dragon, can learn from one another and can find some accord, although they also reaffirm that there are fundamental differences between the two not likely ever to be bridged. Again, I know I ought not to read for parallels to present circumstances, but I also cannot help but see them; I cannot help but think there is some kind of comment being made about one or another of the many, many divisions within humanity in the readers’ world as Hobb depicts the separation between species in her narrative one. And Malta’s conversations with Red speak to a certain relaxation of social mores that even she entertains–if only briefly, and if only to reject them. But her rejection is less on the grounds of adhering to the mores than upon pursuing her own goals, which is surely instructive…

Still working through the move, could still use your help.


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