A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 310: Fool’s Fate, Chapter 33

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

The succeeding chapter, “Family,” opens with a brief and pointed message from Patience to Kettricken before picking up with Fitz and Nettle meeting in the flesh for the first time. Their exchange is strained and somewhat awkward, although they both recognize that they are acting poorly and restart their conversation–with both of them being somewhat overwhelmed by their emotions, Fitz at meeting his daughter and not being able to say as much, Nettle by grief for her father and upset at the change to her family and station. Fitz passes along Burrich’s message, and Nettle takes her leave.

Fatigued, Fitz falls asleep where he is. When he wakes, it is with Patience and Lacey present, and his appearance startles both women, so much so that Lacey passes out. Patience orders Fitz to assist her and Lacey to their rooms, and Fitz complies, barely getting the door shut behind them before Patience lights into him, demanding an account of his days and deeds since she had seen him buried. Only when Patience has finally fallen asleep does Fitz excuse himself and take a solid meal, purloining supplies to take back to Aslevjal for Prlikop and the Fool. He is sent aside by Chade’s Skilled command, though, and serves as relay between Fallstar and Kettricken as the former complains to the latter of Dutiful’s actions. Amid the task, he finds himself bidden advise Kettricken, and he does so–against Chade’s ideas. And he finds the older man ceding power to him at last.

The denouement continues in the present chapter, with Fitz belatedly “coming into his own,” although it is a partial and frustrated thing. Because he is not the true king, despite Chade’s epithet at the end of the chapter, and he is not the seniormost Farseer; that is, instead, Chade, even if Fitz was recognized as belonging to the family in a way Chade never was. So he is neither a public face for the throne nor the one most entitled to that throne, and he seems to be aware of as much, given his reluctance to assume power at this point in his life (with reference to an earlier instance of his doing the same). Again, though, Fitz’s story is not the traditionally heroic. It is, in some senses, much more as Tolkien’s legendarium operates; the traditionally heroic figure, Aragorn, is not the protagonist of the tale. And while Fitz is far removed from Frodo or Sam, he is just as far from the traditional heroic ideal as they are–closer in birth, perhaps, but far more willing to do what would never occur to either of those hobbits. But so much is to be expected from the protagonist of series that use the Tolkienian tradition even as they make decided efforts to move away from it…

Help me keep this going!


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