The final chapter, “Ever After,” begins with commentary on a Skill-ritual that summons those with potential for that magic to study. It moves to document Fitz’s attempts at courting Molly again after many, many years. A correspondence between the two grows up, one that grows to encompass Molly’s children with Burrich, although his relationship with nettle remains strained.
At length, the relationship begins to thaw between Fitz and Nettle, the two conferring about Farseer history and Fitz’s, and Fitz calls upon Molly not at the estate granted her in appreciation of Burrich (Withywoods, which had been the estate to which Chivalry had retired long before), but at Burrich’s own home. He is received stiffly there, though he soon finds himself more welcomed for his willingness to work and his familiarity with Burrich’s ways, and Fitz and Molly begin to find their way back to their old love.
Matters proceed for Fitz, with him calling on Molly at Burrich’s home, and Hap visiting Buckkeep along his itinerant minstrel’s life. Fitz visits Patience and Lacey, and when he visits Molly at her home again, the two reconsummate their love.
The brief epilogue describes Withywoods as Fitz glosses the continuation of his resumed relationship with Molly and events in the Six Duchies, at large. While he muses on having missed a final meeting with the Fool, he reflects with satisfaction on his life as it stands, ending with the comment that “I am content.”
I once remarked that the contentment which Fitz gets to have at the end of the present novel is as much as could be expected for him. Given his history, it’s quite an achievement; he does, in the end, find a life of peace and, if not ease, fulfilling work for himself, one that still allows him to be of service to his people but that does not keep trying to kill him and that does not oblige him to engage in underhanded works that are not the less useful–and perhaps needed–for their distastefulness. He gets to be as close to normal as it is possible for him to be, and it’s far from a bad thing to see–or to desire, truly.
With this, I’ve reached the end of rereading the texts about which I know most, having done my master’s thesis on them. (Indeed, I wonder if I ought to return to that thesis, tracing the Arthurian implications through the remainder of the corpus…) The remaining Elderlings materials, as well as the Soldier Son stuff, I’ve read less–once only, in several cases. It will be good to revisit the texts and to see what I recall–and what will be new to me once again.