A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 217: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 38

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

The ensuing chapter, “Jamaillia City,” opens with Malta musing on the splendor of her assigned chambers and the attentions paid her by servants. The surroundings and ministrations are detailed, as are the changes to Malta’s own appearance. Etta is attended similarly, though the loss of Kennit still hurts her, and she works to comport herself as the queen she is recognized as being. Malta also muses on Etta’s perceptions of Kennit and her own of Reyn, and the promotions of both Etta and Wintrow–the latter by unanimous consent of the captains who had followed Kennit–are noted as Malta and Etta join Wintrow and Reyn, all attired for formal reception.

Quite the striking image…which is Sam Hogg’s, used for commentary.

The group calls upon the Satrap in a hall that is described, along with their locations and relative precedence. Malta’s continuing machinations are glossed, as are the changes to the prevailing state of affairs. The Pirates–with recognition of national sovereignty, the capitalization seems in order–and Traders make to take their leave of the Satrap, and Reyn and Malta confer about their upcoming nuptials and progress in Bingtown and on the Rain Wild River. Talk turns to others’ romances, then to liveships, about which Reyn has some ideas. They dance together, reveling in one another, and Etta and Wintrow confer a bit pettily about the way they do so.

In the harbor, the Ophelia confers with the Vivacia, the two liveships gossiping. Jek joins them, and the ships note the tensions between recalled lives and experienced ones, and the Vivacia recommits to her current life.

I find Reyn’s note about the liveships that do not recall dragon-lives of interest. He remarks that it is possible some of the cocooned dragons died before their cocoons were opened–and while ignominous disposal of the bodies of sentient life rankles even so, it does offer the prospect of ethical wizardwood harvesting. If memory serves, it’s something discussed in later books in the Elderlings corpus; I will be continuing my rereading for the foreseeable future, so I’ll have a chance to come upon it again. Whether I will remember to connect back to this entry at such times as I come across other references, I don’t know; I have the suspicion that I do poorly with such things. But that might also give me more to do, here, and I like getting to roll around in this, so…

Help me get supplies for my daughter’s coming school year?

Some Musing about Poetry

It will doubtlessly be noticed by you, loyal reader–and I do thank you for reading!–that I have included a fair bit of verse in this webspace. Those who click links I embed may even note that another blog I have long maintained, and that I occasionally threaten to incorporate into this webspace, is mostly poetry. Some may even note that I have a few poems published in various places–although I have not taken a creative writing class, or even a workshop, really. My training has been to write sober prose regarding the works of others, rather than to produce my own, although I do write things and have done so for a long while. (Whether any of it is any good is another issue, entirely, and one I do not want to address at the moment.) Why, though, is not necessarily clear to me.

beavis and butthead mike jude GIF
Yes, you are.
Image from Giphy, used for commentary. Bunghole.

I suppose that, in some sense, poetry is the most “art” form of writing; it tends to be perceived as being the most remote from people’s daily lives (if the words of my students and others are to be believed), and the most rarefied writings tend to be in verse (with the line as the primary unit of meaning) rather than in prose (with the sentence as the primary unit of meaning). I have tried to fancy myself an artist in one form or another for longer than is likely good for me; I’ve tried to be a musician, tried to draw. Poetry, I can kind of do; prose fiction…much less so. And essays…I don’t have the kind of cachet that makes my essays necessarily popular, although, again, I appreciate those of you who do read what I write.

In some ways, I write poetry (badly) to feel…daring? Artistic? Edgy, maybe, even? I am not an exciting person, as may be guessed; someone whose output is like mine is more apt to be sedate and stolid than particularly daring and compelling. It’s fine in one sense; I’m much less likely to get into trouble, doing what I do. But then, YOLO and FOMO and memento mori and all that, and I…spend a lot of time staring at a screen or at a book, pen in my hand or pixels proceeding from it. I’m…not all that interesting, myself.

Writing, though, I can maybe put something out into the world that is interesting, take a risk that is not so much of one but still feels it. Just as reading can be transportive, taking readers to other places and times than their own, writing can be daringly exploratory, letting the writer venture into unknown places and report back on what they find. The road out is not always straight or level; it sometimes winds strangely, passing by sights yet more removed, and the report of them must similarly be otherwise than straightforward. Maybe the verses I write do it some justice.


I continue to appreciate your kind support.

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 216: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 37

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

The following chapter, “A Dragon’s Will,” starts as a group from the small pirate fleet–Althea, Brashen, Malta, Reyn, Wintrow, Amber, Jek, and Red–readying a landing place and food for Tintaglia. She alights without dignity and takes food with complaint, and she reports the status of her serpents as she comments favorably on Malta and Reyn. The dragon’s imperiousness sits ill with Wintrow, and a tense exchange ensues that Malta manages to defuse.

File:Muddy beach 2 - geograph.org.uk - 1140082.jpg
Something like this, perhaps?
Image is Jonathan Billinger’s Muddy Beach 2, used for commentary under a CCBYSA 2.0 license.

Back aboard the Motley, further negotiations ensure, spearheaded by Malta; Althea finds herself approving of Malta’s work in that line. As the talks proceed, Althea realizes that the world has shifted, fundamentally, something she discusses briefly with Brashen as the talks conclude and the parties begin to disperse. Jek ships out aboard the Motley, while Amber accompanies Wintrow to the Vivacia, and Brashen and Althea return to the Paragon. After reporting things to the ship, they retire to Brashen’s cabin and make ready for bed; Althea struggles with herself as they compose themselves for the night’s rest.

Etta considers Amber and Wintrow as the two make to confer; her own status is strange to her, and she tries to reconcile herself to it. Meanwhile, Amber apologizes to Wintrow for having failed to find him before, to Wintrow’s confusion. Amber also offers cryptic wisdom. The beginnings of a hailstorm force them below decks, and Wintrow joins Etta.

Althea wakes from a nightmare, having struck Brashen in her somnolent thrashing. He believes they are to part; she disabuses him of the notion, and the two affirm their mutual love. Althea, though, holds something back.

The theme of arrogance, touched upon again in the present chapter, is one that pervades the Liveship Traders series. While there are a great many characters who do well to take pride in themselves and their abilities, no few of them take far more than is due them. It is not only the dragon–though a prideful dragon is a long-standing literary trope, to be certain–but several of the ships’ captains, as well as many of the wealthy and ennobled depicted in the series. Many of them learn humility, to be fair; those who do not seem either to be the dragon or to die. I am sure there’s some lesson to take from it, just as I’m certain that more could (and perhaps should) be done to explicate the theme–but that will be for another piece than this one.

Help me move into the new month?