A brief missive regarding payment for peas precedes “Currents” beginning with the continued progress upriver of the dragons, their keepers, and the Tarman. Thymara chafes somewhat at Tats having accompanied Jerd and being constrained to accompany Rapskal, and she notes the disposition of the other keepers. Thymara and Rapskal confer about events, and she begins to warm to him.
Leftrin considers shifts to plans as the Tarman and others shove off to follow the dragons upstream. He is interrupted in his preparations by the appearance of hunters and their gear on his decks: Carson, Davvie, and Jess. The former is an old associate of Leftrin’s, and he is introduced to Alise. Alise takes to her cabin to get out of the way and considers her earlier rebuke of Sedric and its implications, and they end up conferring about events and their mutual situation. After, Sedric considers his own relationship with Hest, rehearsing its beginning in some detail.
Sintara struggles upstream with the other dragons, some of whom fare worse than she does. Old memories rise within her, and she and the other dragons confer about what they recall. They are disturbed from their reverie by the emergence of riverpig, and a hunt for the creatures begins, Sintara killing one and devouring it in joy. Emboldened by their successful hunts, the dragons press on, Mercor leading them.
I remain troubled by the ways in which Sedric and Hest seem to be playing into stereotypes of homosexual behavior. It calls to mind depictions of Oscar Wilde, as well as more general negative presentations of male-male sexual relationships. There are several scholars who have addressed homosexuality–and queerness, more generally–in Hobb, as I have noted; their works are far better to consult on the matter than anything I might add. But I will note that I know Hobb knows better than to rely upon the stereotypes; same-sex intimacy is addressed earlier in the Elderlings corpus than the present novel, and with far greater nuance and authenticity. So there has to be a purpose here; it escapes me at the moment, but that does not mean it cannot be found…