Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.
The following chapter, “Promises and Threats,” is preceded by another part of the message-exchange in which a sealed message is accompanied by further developments of romance among the bird-keepers’ families. The chapter, proper, opens with Alise insisting on taking her promised trip to the Rain Wilds, Hest demurring and attempting to defer it. She rehearses the state of their marriage and recalls interactions with Sedric, noting to herself that the latter is an excellent companion for her husband and remarkably helpful in many situations.
Conversation with Hest grows tense, and he shifts his tone with and approach to Alise. She has misgivings but sets them aside–by asserting that she has made arrangements for the trip. At his questioning, Alise tells Hest that she will find an appropriate traveling companion, that he need not bestir himself, prompting another tense exchange, and the painful topic of their assignations and not having yet produced an heir prompts yet another. Angrily, Hest agrees to her trip, and Alise begins preparations in earnest.
Afterward, Hest confers with Sedric, the latter recalling trips with him. Hest jests with Sedric, complaining of the lack of an heir despite his reluctance to assist in the conception of one. He also offers insults, to which Sedric responds quietly, noting his distaste for their pretense. Hest responds acidly, focused on money, and Sedric suggests that they might use Alise’s trip to harvest dragon parts–blood, scales, and others–to sell to the Duke of Chalced, who, aging, casts about for any remedy. In dudgeon, Hest assigns Sedric to accompany Alise, to his chagrin.
Rereading the chapter, knowing what will come, I have to wonder to what degree Hobb is relying on stereotypes in her depiction of Hest. Of course, it may be that the perspective from which I read is not the one that would normally be expected–I’m often an atypical reader for what I end up reading–and so I am more apt to look for such things than many. It’s certainly true in other areas in my life, that I look for things others usually don’t, and I focus on them, often to my detriment. How looking at the book for possible stereotypy works against me here, I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it does.
In any event, it’s of some interest how the conflicts emerging in the novel are shaping up. I shall continue to follow them (again) with happiness!
I’d be happy to put my talents to work for you; let me know what all you need written, and we’ll talk!
2 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 322: Dragon Keeper, Chapter 7”
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