A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 342: Dragon Haven, Chapter 10

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

Following news of a message from Hest cutting off financial support to Alise and Sedric and a comment on the scandalous nature thereof, “Confessions” begins with Relpda eating and Sedric considering his increasing entanglement with the dragon. Carson’s return and his work to assist are noted, and Sedric wonders if Carson will also offer to help kill Relpda, as Jess had done and as Sedric had earlier desired. Sedric and Carson confer, and Sedric finds himself looking forward to simple pleasures and chastising himself for being so willing to resign his autonomy. Carson lays out his plans and explicates his reasons for having joined the expedition; the upriver journey will allow him to leave a mark on Rain Wild history that he would not earlier have been able to make. Sedric compares Carson to Hest, finding the latter lacking, and Carson comments with some aspersion on the intended machinations of some in the expedition. He comments, too, that Sedric need not return to Bingtown, noting his appreciation for the other man. But the moment of intimacy passes, and more of the truth of events emerges, and Carson finds himself considering matters more deeply as he and Sedric turn in for the evening.

Gotta love a map…
Crooty’s Map of the Rain Wild River: Colour on DeviantArt, used for commentary.

Aboard the Tarman, Leftrin stands watch while his crew sleeps. He considers approaching Alise in the absence of Sedric and chides himself for the thought, conferring with his ship in the darkness. Leftrin ruminates on his ship and his family’s long work thereupon, including the refit that had given the Tarman limbs and a tail. The betrayal of trust that brought Jess aboard rankles both ship and captain, and they make their plans for the coming days. Tarman notes to Leftrin that Alise is awake, and the ship chivvies the captain as he makes to approach her. The two swiftly fall into an assignation, in which both delight.

The romance-novel conventions seem once again to be at play in the present chapter, and on the parts of both Sedric and Alise–which is itself good to see. Admittedly, it sits somewhat less comfortably with me that Sedric is getting them than that Alise is; Alise is (largely) an innocent, while Sedric is not so, and not because of Jess’s death. As I think on it, I suppose it might be a redemption arc in progress (as opposed to the self-actualization arc occurring with Alise), and there is certainly value in such things. I’ve certainly done many things I regret, some of which have been in the attempt to bring in more money, and I would like to think there is something I can do to make things, if not right again, at least better.

Too, as I think on the matter further, it is clear that both Alise and Sedric are in abusive relationships with Hest, relationships to which they therefore ethically need not be bound, even if there are legal/istic entanglements they must address. And maybe that is what is going on: commentary on the right of release from abusive relationships. It’s certainly foregrounded in the chapter’s prefatory materials, and it’s been clear that Hest is…unpleasant. So there’s probably something to explore, there, for those versed in such things.

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