Read the previous entry in the series here. Read the next entry in the series here.
The succeeding chapter, “Revelations,” begins with an in-milieu discussion of body-sharing among the Witted and their animal partners. It moves thence to follow Fitz’s continued convalescence. As he recovers from his ordeals, he calls on Hap at his apprenticeship and on Jinna. The former regards him warmly, though briefly, as work calls. The latter effectively ends their friendship, unable to move past the loss of her ability to fit him into her tokenism.
Tom returns to Buckkeep and makes for the practice courts, finding himself much reduced by his injuries and recovery. He takes his time answering a summons from Lord Golden, contemplating what he has missed out upon as things have changed around him. When, at length, he does find Golden again, he is informed that Chade had been who wanted to see him. He also shows Fitz his tattoos, discussing them as Fitz notes their similarity to the Narcheska’s; the Fool relates bitter personal history and raises the specter of the Pale Woman again. The Fool also discourses on events to come, noting having had to keep Fitz from dying and that death awaits him on Aslevjal.
I find it interesting that Hobb makes the Wit a more general metaphor for minority status in the present chapter via Jinna’s tokenistic regard for Tom Badgerlock. Fitz realizes that he had been regarded as “one of the good ones” by her, a phrase I know is all too familiar for all too many people; the one the book uses is that “She had been willing to make an exception for me, but when I killed, I had proved her rule,” as if many, many others, Witted or otherwise, do not kill in the Six Duchies and in the Buckkeep Town Jinna claims as her native home. Again, it’s not to be expected that every character in a novel will be a “good” one, nor is it to be expected that even a “good” character will be uniformly positive. Indeed, I’ve noted repeatedly that it’s part of the authenticity and verisimilitude of Hobb’s writing that her characters falter and fail.
As is no real surprise, I’ve spent a lot of time with my nose in a book, and I’ve spent a fair bit of that time with a pen or pencil in my hand, or with a keyboard in front of me, making notes about what I have in front of my nose and trying to make some sense of it–not only looking at what the words on the page are doing within themselves, but also at what they’re doing within the contexts in which they exist. What they use and how they use it, what it means that they do, and what wonders they contain…I spent a long time in search of such things, orienting a large part of my identity around that search. I had to, really; it was the only way to learn how to do it in the ways that it needs to be done, insofar as it does need to be done (I am well aware that many would argue the point–and I don’t blame them).
I do what I can to keep working with texts, of course, not only in my freelance work–which does give me appreciated opportunities to read things I wouldn’t’ve considered picking up otherwise–but also in this webspace and, on occasion, others. Still, there are many, many projects that I had conceived of doing while I was still a more “normal” participant in academe, ideas I had had for papers or monographs that I had intended to get around to addressing and just never did. And thoughts of them sometimes return to me, beckoning me all too invitingly.
Marvell comes to mind again, although I know not what coy mistress I address in considering putting together some paper on a series of writing commentaries in a major newspaper or plumbing an edition of a role-playing game for its textual import. Yet still I dream of such things, from time to time, and I wonder if it is, in fact, too late for me to follow such pursuits…before I turn again to the work at hand, for which I am paid and which I therefore very much need to do–such as that I might well do for you?