The penultimate chapter, “Harvest Fest,” begins with a reply from Kettricken to Bingtown about Tintaglia. It turns then to Fitz in a spyhole, observing and musing on festivities in progress, the Harvest Festival’s preliminaries. Among his observations are Hap’s performance and the conduct of Molly’s children, as well as the doings of his recent and earlier companions. And he grows somewhat maudlin as he watches others’ merriment.
Fitz determines to call on Molly and makes his way to the chambers where Lacey had noted she is quartered. She reluctantly admits him, and the two confer about Burrich and about how they will proceed in the wake of his death, the details of which Fitz relates. Fitz also accounts for his deeds and doings in the years since his death. And as Fitz makes to take his leave of Molly at her insistence, news comes that a ship from the Out Islands comes–bearing Elliania. Fitz finds himself swept up into the general assembly, shielded from easy view by Patience and Lacey, who come upon him amid the press of people eager to see what is going on. He therefore marks Elliania’s grand entrance and Dutiful’s enthusiastic response thereto, and through the Skill, Fitz prompts the Prince to action.
Celebrations commence, extending into the next days, which are marked with celebrations not only of the accelerated nuptials of Dutiful and Elliania, but the honoring of Burrich and the elevation of the Witted coterie. Fitz determines to call on Molly again and makes bold to do so, announcing himself openly to some consternation from Nettle and concern from Molly. The imminent arrival of Tintaglia and Icefyre forestalls further motion in that line, and arrangements for that arrival are swiftly concluded. The dragons alight and feast, their presence prompting Dutiful’s elevation to King-in-Waiting.
Festivities draw on for some time, until farewells become obligatory. New routines begin to emerge, with Fitz integrating more openly into Buckkeep life, and exploration of the Skill commences in earnest. Plans for the days to come are noted, as well.
I find myself feeling…hurried again as I read the present chapter, although I again note that the position of the present chapter in the novel and the trilogy conduce to hustling things along. And there are dangers in lingering too long on descriptions of festivals and the like. An old gift I received from my wife, Winkour’s The Traveling Curmudgeon, opines that “No one want to read about a halcyon voyage on glassy seas, a routine flight in first class aboard a half-empty 747, a glorious stay at a four-star hotel with sumptuous food and fabulous service. Comfort and luxury are forgettable” (viii); the comment speaks to prevailing disinterest in good times, and disinterest is anathema to a novel. Too, getting into the details of such things can easily provoke fandoms, which are far from always kind, as well as scholars, who are often even worse.
Yes, that’s my tongue in my cheek. Why do you ask?
Still, there are threads yet to tie off in the Tawny Man tapestry, and there are others to hang upon the walls yet. I continue to look forward to them.