A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 285: Fool’s Fate, Chapter 8

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


The succeeding chapter, “The Hetgurd,” opens with an Outisland creation narrative. It moves on to the arrival of Dutiful’s company in Zylig, a port in the Outislands. Riddle assists Fitz in seeing to Thick and his own preparations, and their approach to the town is detailed. So is the town itself as Fitz and Thick catch up to the rest of their group while Dutiful accepts the greetings of the Hetgurd. Fitz and Thick are shown to their lodgings, their progress through the town detailed and their surroundings described.

The current scene…
Winterkeep’s Map of the Outislands, from Hobb’s universe on DeviantArt, used for commentary.

Fitz gets food into Thick and eats, himself, then scouts out their lodgings. He slips into the initial meeting between Dutiful and the Hetgurd–a group composed of the various clans’ warleaders, or “kaempra.” Riddle briefs him on the limited happenings thus far, and Fitz turns his attentions to the ongoing discussion, in which the kaempra press Dutiful about his intended dragon-slaying, and he responds to their concerns. Dutiful, Chade, and Fitz exchange ideas via the Skill, and they use that magic to convince the kaempra to adjourn discussion, allowing them time to confer.

The conference comes swiftly, Dutiful and Fitz informing each other what they know and have figured out. Chade offers some rebuke to Fitz before they are interrupted by the arrival of Peottre Blackwater, who notes some political tensions and offers a means for resolving them. Chade takes over the conversation with Peottre, to some annoyance on Dutiful’s part, and arrangements are made at some length.

The Hetgurd and the kaempra who compose it factor heavily into the reading and interpretation I had originally had of the Out Islands (and I note the frustration of the term in the present chapter as previously) as analogous to the Vikings in popular–and some medieval–conception, one I realized at an inconvenient moment was not as accurate as the understanding that later emerged for me. They’re not the only such things, for example, but they do much, for reasons I explain. And as I reread the chapter, I am minded of other associations, having read Njal’s Saga relatively recently. I am not convinced to return back to my earlier idea, but I am, at least, satisfied that I had decent reason to think what I used to think.

There is some comfort in having been wrong for the right reason.

I continue to appreciate your support!

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