Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.
The following chapter, “Challenges,” opens with translated in-milieu commentary about mapmaking in the Outislands. It moves to Fitz’s departure from Jinna on amicable but tentative terms with her. He glosses the passage of several days and the events, noting the continued avoidance of the Bingtown delegation by the Narcheska and her uncle. Fitz and Chade confer about the implications of the strained relations among the three parties, as well as about Fitz’s tense relationship with Starling. They also talk of Dutiful’s suspended Skill lessons–Selden’s presence makes them perilous–and the Narcheska’s afflictions by tattoo and Henja.
Fitz additionally chews over the strain in his feelings towards the Fool, Chade commenting aspersively on them; they also talk briefly of Hap, Fitz recalling Hap coming to him. They part to prepare for their evening’s work, Chade acting as councilor and Fitz as spy in the tunnels. He observes as Elliania and Peottre make a delayed entrance and the Narcheska voices doubts about the betrothal. She issues a challenge, and Dutiful erupts into acceptance of it before he can be halted, whether by Kettricken’s words or Fitz’s Skill-command–the latter of which he sets aside. Dutiful issues one, in turn, which Elliania accepts; if he is to slay the dragon Icefyre, she must accompany him to see it done–or to affirm there is no dragon to slay. In a generally approving tumult, the betrothal is formalized, and a toast is drunk to the intended couple.
The present chapter is near to the middle of the book, and the present novel is the second in the trilogy; it’s as near to the center of the series as could be desired. For those taught with Freytag’s pyramid in mind, it is a “natural” place for the climactic action to occur–and the mutual challenges and acceptances would seem to fit that rubric. While this is not the inciting incident of the plot–not even as presented in the novels, let alone within the broader context in which the events depicted exist–it is a cause of much of the action to come, as well as marking off the end of what is primarily explication (in the “main” plot, at least, or the one concerned with the fates of peoples and nations). Hobb does demonstrate a tendency to make such moves in her work; I’ve noted it before, here, here, here, and here, if not elsewhere. It’s not to be wondered at, then, that she does it again.
And as far as ways to make that climax happen go, teenagers are great. Ill-considered emotional outbursts come off as authentic, verisimilitudinous, from hormone-riddled people whose brains remain in development, after all…
7 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 263: Golden Fool, Chapter 13”
[…] the previous entry in the series here.Read the next entry in the series […]
[…] healing, too, does seem to function as something of a literary climax, although the novel has already featured such. Admittedly, there are multiple narrative threads going on in the novel, in the series, and in the […]
Thank you for this! I am rereading right now in ROTE chronological order
I’m glad you’re liking it!
[…] Woman to Elliania through Henja and conferring about steps to take as they move forward to address the challenges Dutiful and Elliania had presented to one another. Their talk ranges to Skilling before Chade informs Fitz that he will be “hired” into […]
[…] his request that Chade ensure the Fool would not travel to the Out Islands with Dutiful to fulfill the betrothal challenges the Prince and the Narcheska had exchanged. It moves then to the return of spring to Buckkeep and the lightening of Fitz’s mood as he […]
[…] they do not understand how it can be so, and Dutiful himself asks Narcheska to release him from the promise made rashly. She does not, and more argument about the manner of taking Icefyre proceeds, leaving Fitz to […]