A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 106: Ship of Magic, Chapter 5

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

The next chapter, “Bingtown,” opens with Althea rehearsing her circumstances since her confinement to quarters. She has come to feel a deeper connection with the Vivacia and with her ancestors who have died on her decks, and what she learns from the connection leaves her with a greater appreciation for the ship–and for all ships.

She figures heavily in the novel.
Althea Vestrit by FleurStolk on DeviantArt, used for commentary.

The ship’s second mate, Brashen Trell, comes to check up on her, having heard that she fares poorly. Althea sets his concerns aside, but, when the Vivacia begins to come into her home port of Bingtown and Althea dresses to disembark, she sees the truth of those concerns in herself. She is further disheartened when Brahsen arrives, under orders, to remove her possessions from her cabin. An uncomfortable trip to the Vestrit home follows.

Althea’s arrival at her childhood home is not more comfortable. Her sister, Keffira, effectively ignores her, and the household staff does not recognize her. Ronica greets her, though, if bluntly, and sends her to visit Ephron in their bedchamber. He greets her as best he can, but he is in the final stages of his final illness, and he knows it, bidding her take him to the Vivacia. She rushes off to have the ship made ready to receive him, meeting with some small resistance along the way.

The rest of the family follows, Wintrow not understanding what he is to do with himself in the strange situation. The changes to his family in his absence strike him strangely, and his own liminal status as a priest makes fitting in harder for him than needs to be. And he is swept along by the family’s preparations for Ephron’s death.

Brashen wakes Althea from where she has succumbed to her grief aboard ship. As she rouses, he considers the older sailors aboard her decks and how many of them have no other home. Including him.

Hobb demonstrates a preference for emblematic names in works focused on the Six Duchies; it is not outside expectation that she would do something of the sort in other novels in the same milieu. Certainly the Divvytown that gives the previous chapter its title is something of a description of the place; it is a town in which spoils are divvied up, clearly. So I thought I would take a look at meanings for “Bingtown”; one of them I found attested is…interesting, certainly, being cited as a euphemism for intoxication. Of course, that definition postdates the novel by a few years, and even if it can be accepted that a term is in use before it is attested, it seems a bit of a stretch to think that being stoned is the image that most fits the actions of Bingtown.

Perhaps a more apt reference is to a piece in Ed Blair’s Kansas Zephyrs, “The Bingtown Band.” While the poem itself is perhaps best taken as a send-up of amateur rural musicianship, the line that “‘CASH IS KING’ is their new motto,” with the capitalization in the original and therefore prominent to even a casual glance, seems apt enough for a city founded and governed by self-styled Traders.

I continue to appreciate your backing.

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 105: Ship of Magic, Chapter 4

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

The following chapter, “Divvytown,” starts with Kennit fancying himself up as the Marietta pulls into the harbor of the titular settlement, which is given a glossed description. He confers with Sorcor as the ship is towed into port, speaking of ambitions for leadership; Sorcor comments aspersively on the notion, remarking on the desire of those in Divvytown to be free people.

r/dndmaps - Dock town/Pirate bay encounter map
Something like this for the setting, perhaps.
Dock town/Pirate bay encounter map by glennjitsu on r/dndmaps, used for commentary.

As the Marietta continues into port, Kennit considers her and her history. Against it and his ambitions, the ephemeral desires of the crew become as nothing in his mind, and their indulgence of those desires makes all his victories shallow. But his career continued, as does his reminiscence over it until the Marietta is safely moored; at that point, he makes his standard offer to the crew regarding their shares of the ship’s booty. Some take it; more do not, and Kennit grouses about it to Sorcor after the crew has disembarked. Sorcor reminds Kennit that such has always been the way in Divvytown, and Kennit disembarks in anger.

The anger sustains and distracts Kennit as he proceeds through the dockside crowds and barters the bulk of the Marietta‘s takings. And it continues to sustain him as he returns to a familiar brothel, seeking the prostitute whose services he prefers–Etta–and accommodations for the night. Despite some protests, they are provided him, and Kennit avails himself of them, some musings and awkward conversations intermingling.

After, Kennit gives one of the treasures he had taken from Others Island, the ruby earring, to Etta and stalks out angrily. While he does, the wizardwood charm on his wrist speaks with him, and Kennit calls on a tattoo artist he favors. The artist rebukes him for perennially employing and destroying his work, but he proceeds after being paid, Kennit reveling in the pain as a price paid for a bad decision and looking forward to removing the tattoo as a way to put the bad decision behind him.

The chapter is useful in laying out more context for the characters, particularly Kennit and Sorcor, and for introducing Etta. Kennit’s musing on and conversations with Sorcor about governance seem to follow the more overtly political bent of the Liveship Traders novels, though I am not quite as up on political theories as I need to be to trace the implications further than noting their existence. And I find myself frustrated at that, that I know enough to see that something is there but that I do not know enough to know what that something is, even if I have the nagging sensation that I used to know enough to know.

Something else comes to mind as I read the chapter again, as well. As Kennit voices ideas about Divvytown to Sorcor, one of the things he mentions is placing defensive weaponry at strategic points–specifically pre-gunpowder weaponry. It is a strange anachronism, given common depictions of pirates. I’ve commented elsewhere on the admixture of pirates in medieval/ist settings, and the Realm of the Elderlings certainly is medievalist in its overall shape (again, with large caveats); it seems a common enough thing that I should not be surprised to see it here. I do have to wonder, though, why so many fantasy authors steer clear of gunpowder…

Summer’s coming, and A/C is expensive. Help?

Some Things Overheard

Always watching…
The reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, as on the Washingtons in your pockets…

I‘m very familiar with law
I’m very familiar with politics
I’m not trying to bullshit you
I’m not an idiot
I’m not crazy
There’s a church shaped like a snake’s head
Why is there a church shaped like a snake’s head?
Can you explain it?
Look it up
You can’t not believe me if you don’t look it up
I’m not pulling your leg
There are spells in spelling and curses in cursing
The New World Order is pulling the strings
And they are out to get us all

Help me get some soundproofing?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 104: Ship of Magic, Chapter 3

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

The following chapter, “Eprhon Vestrit,” starts with Ronica Vestrit tending to her titular husband in his final illness and grousing about the servant, Rache, that had been sent her by Davad Restart and who had tended Ephron poorly. She mentally rehearses their life together and the plans that Ephron’s illness has halted. She also recalls arguments they had had regarding their daughter, Althea, and notes the shift in practice in Bingtown towards “keep[ing] one’s womenfolk free of such tasks” as estate management before musing on the falling fortunes of the Vestrit family and public shits towards slave labor and trading in Bingtown.

This might be the kind of thing on which the chapter ends.
Image from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by way of the Pittsburgh City Paper, which I think means it’s public domain, and used here for commentary

Ronica is roused from her reverie by Davad calling at her home. Amid likely unintentional rudeness, he carries an offer from another Trader family to buy some of the Vestrit holdings. Ronica’s refusal carries the weight of tradition and history, of which she reminds Davad (and allows Hobb to inform readers, a smooth bit of exposition). Davad rebuts with assertions that the old ways his family and hers had followed are ending, and Ronica’s own refutation grows emotionally charged and fraught for them both. They retreat a bit, laying the blame at the feet of the governing Satrap, as Ephron wakes and asks for pain medication.

Ronica takes the chance to escort Davad out. Despite their earlier argument, they reaffirm their friendship and their common legacy of suffering. And as Ronica looks out over Bingtown afterwards, she muses yet further on the changes already in progress–changes that look as much like depredations as anything else to her old eyes.

While the previous chapter, treating Althea, made some motions toward it, the present chapter, where it focuses on Ronica, presents something of a feminist vision–not of feminine dominance, but of parity. This is something that Hobb’s Farseer works treat, certainly, as noted by both Bokne and Katavić, among others, but it is more prominent a concern in the Liveship Traders books. Given what I know about large, loud sections of the fantasy-literature fanbase, particularly those who focus their devotions on the Tolkienian tradition of which Hobb partakes to a limited degree, it is likely the cause of the lesser attention given the Liveship Traders books; a damned lot of readers (yes, I mean “damned”) mislikes “politics” in their reading, with “politics” being “a position I do not espouse and from which I do not benefit” in such minds, and questioning patriarchy as the Liveship Traders books begin to do in earnest in the present chapter reads as such a position to entirely too many people.

Perhaps related to the burgeoning feminist thread, too, are certain Marxist leanings–Ronica makes much of the shifting economic base, though she remains in the employer’s position rather than the laborer’s, so perhaps some other term than “Marxist” applies–and ecocritical possibilities–Ronica also makes much of the balance between the Bingtown Traders and their environment, noting the changes to that balance occasioned by the shifting labor conditions. Being out of academe, I am out of practice with such theoretical approaches, so that I am not the best person to follow up on their implications, but it is clear even to me that they are there to follow–which is another argument, among many, in favor of Hobb’s writing.

I continue to appreciate your support.

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 103: Ship of Magic, Chapter 2

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

The next chapter, “Liveships,” opens with Brashen Trell waking from a dream of sea-serpents to familiar surroundings aboard the liveship Vivacia. He considers his situation, now diminished after the illness of his former captain, Ephron Vestrit, and the demotion to second mate under his new captain, Kyle Haven. His history as a son of a leading Trader family receives a gloss, as does his first encounter with a sea-serpent as a junior sailor–and his realization that the serpent worked some strange compulsion upon him.

One of the titular liveships, but not the only one…
Vivacia by FloorSteinz on DeviantArt, used for commentary

Althea Vestrit, also aboard the Vivacia, considers her situation and the changes to it as she is summoned to Kyle’s cabin. He upbraids her for her initiative aboard ship and for her desire to captain the vessel, noting that she will be replaced by one of his sons when the Vivacia next sets sail. He also confines her to quarters for the remainder of the trip back to their home port of Bingtown. He also strikes her for words spoken drunkenly in a tavern, and he slut-shames her.

In her cabin, Althea considers what she knows of the ship’s history, the enlivening effects of family deaths upon the Vivacia‘s decks. She contrasts the familial tie with Kyle’s mercenary tendencies–pronounced even among trading families–and arrives at the conclusion that any defiance from her would only hurt the crew before looking ahead to returning to her home.

Ashore, the liveship Paragon listens as a pair of people–Davad and Mingsley–approach him on the beach and discuss selling him off. Mingsley is taken aback by Paragon‘s condition, which Davad explains as peculiar to the wizardwood of the ship’s construction; it holds up far better than regular wood, and some ships made of it are able to speak and move of their own accord. Paragon does not do so while the men are present, but after they leave, the ship voices his interest in Mingsley’s plan to wreck him for salvage rather than refit him.

Brashen’s story of his encounter with the sea-serpent recalls Verity’s work with the Skill against the Red-Ship Raiders prior to his expedition to the Skill-quarry. It is another tie between the series, made early on, and one the points toward other Elderlings works that have come into print since Ship of Magic and the Liveship Traders novels. I am in doubt that those novels were intended when Ship of Magic was in draft, but I did read my Wimsatt and Beardsley, thanks.

I’ll note, also, that there seems to be less fanart that deals with the Liveship Traders novels than with the Farseer, Tawny Man, or Fitz and Fool books. Some of that is understandable; the Farseer novels are older and have had more time to accumulate fan-works. But the Tawny Man and Fitz and Fool novels are younger, and they seem to a casual search to have as much or more, and the Dragon Keeper books seem to have even less. As I write this, I’m not sure the implications, but it might be worth commenting on at another time.

My parents’ anniversary is tomorrow; help me get them something nice?

One Fine Hill Country Morning

I‘ve lived in the Texas Hill Country more years than I haven’t since 1988, and it’s a fact of life that, even in the “civilized” suburbs of the large cities like San Antonio, nature’s not too far away. The part of the Hill Country in which I live–just outside Kerrville–is not one of those suburbs; Kerrville is not a large city by any stretch, at least not by today’s standards, and it makes much of “still being” a small town. It follows, then, that nature is even closer in Kerrville than in a place like Leon Valley or Helotes–and even closer outside the city limits.

Yeah, about like this.
Image from the Wildlife Center of Texas, used for commentary.

Sometimes, it gets even closer than that.

A little while ago, now, I was woken from a fitful sleep by the sound of something crashing around in the bathroom right off of my bedroom. Grumbling about the cat my wife and I have causing trouble, I groggily staggered towards the room, and, just as I flipped on the light switch, I saw the cat come out of the cabinets under the bathroom sinks. His tail was held high, as was his head–and, dangling from his jaws like a kitten in its mother’s mouth, was a juvenile opossum. It was maybe nine inches from nose to haunches, its naked tail limply dragging close to the same length, and I was reminded of noises from nights before of small, clawed feet scurrying in or on the ductwork underneath the mobile home where I live with my wife and daughter.

We’re outside town, not far from a creek, so we get a fair amount of wildlife on the double lot we rent. Deer are in the yard most nights, and I’ve seen signs of armadillos in the yard. There’s a colony of feral cats near us, too, to judge by how many of them I see in and around the place, though I’m not sure where all it is. And we’ve had opossums before; our dog has gotten pretty good at snatching them up the two or three times she’s found them in the dog run. So, in one sense, it wasn’t a surprise to see the cat come up with one, in turn. But in another, it’s damned shocking to have one of them pop up in the house and in the cat’s mouth at a quarter to five in the morning.

I guess I wasn’t quite awake enough yet to be properly startled, though, because I remember being pretty calm–if annoyedly grumbling–as I told the cat to drop it (which it did, as I realize now should’ve been a surprise) and got some bags set up to take the opossum out, as well as the broom and dustpan. By the time I got back to the bathroom with the lot, though, the opossum had roused and backed itself into a corner under a cabinet-lip. The cat was poking at it, of course, and the opossum was not only hissing, but growling, baring its little goblin teeth at the much bigger murder machine that stared intently at it. When I set down the bags and nudged it with the broom to try to get it into them, it turned and growled its little goblin growl at me, in turn; the cat looked at me as if to ask “You gonna eat that?”

The opossum wasn’t the smartest creature; as I nudged it, it turned, backing out away from the corner–and into the bags. I could tell it wasn’t hurt much if at all, so, after I got it bagged up, I took it out to the far corner of the yard and let it go. So it was a happy ending, more or less, but still not the way I’d like to wake up again.

Fund me getting some traps set up?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 102: Ship of Magic, Chapter 1

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

The first chapter, “Of Priests and Pirates,” opens with Kennit walking along a path on Others Island, considering his trip there and the tales of others who had visited the island. He and his companion, Gankis, confer as they proceed, Gankis relating lore surrounding the island. Kennit sends Gankis to retrieve an object from the cliffs above the beach; Gankis returns with a strange glass bauble. Kennit sends Gankis back out and considers the wizardwood charm he had had wrought for him. He also walks the beach, finding more and keeping a ruby earring.

Oh, this one wil be trouble.
Captain Kennit by RZ-Seven on DeviantArt, used for commentary

Elsewhere, Wintrow Vestrit finds himself enthralled by work on a piece of stained glass. He is roused from his focus by the priest Berandol, who confers with him about the work he was doing and the flow-state in which he was doing it. They walk together for a time before falling into conversation about theological points. During their conversation, Berandol lets slip that Wintrow is being summoned home to attend upon the death of his grandfather, and Wintrow muses on life among his family. Berandol also remarks on political and economic matters before noting that Wintrow must depart presently, and he heads off to prepare for the journey.

Back on Others Island, Gankis rejoins Kennit as Kennit confronts one of the Others that gives the island its name. Gankis surrenders more findings from the island to Kennit, and Kennit comes to recognize the ensorcellment the Other is attempting against him. He receives the information he seeks, and he destroys the bauble before taunting the Other before he and Gankis withdraw. Gankis asks for clarification he does not receive, and Kennit begins to suspect another ensorcellment. When he sends Gankis on an errand, the wizardwood charm speaks, divulging information to Kennit that sends him back on his return to his ship. Gankis rejoins him in haste and fear, and the two effect passage back to the ship, the Marietta. Kennit resumes his decks in triumph.

There are clear connections made between the present chapter and the events of the Farseer novels. The Buck River and the ceasing of trade from it occasioned by the Red-Ship War get explicit mention. Too, the flow-state in which Wintrow is when he is introduced seems very much like the exercise of Skill, or, at least, a similar magic. So is the glamour with which the Other confronts Kennit. And those ties are juxtaposed with the Others, themselves reinforcement of the non-humanity presented in the prologue to the novel.

Indeed, much is made in the chapter of juxtaposition and contradiction. The religion in the structure of which Wintrow operates makes explicit use of contradictory, paradoxical statements as teaching devices. Kennit muses on similar paradoxes on Others Island. What seems to emerge is that, just as foresight is a major trope of the Farseer novels, paradox and puzzling will be of the Liveship Traders. And that is a promising thing.

New month, new contribution?


A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 101: Ship of Magic, Prologue

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

The prologue, titled “The Tangle,” is a short few paragraphs in length. In it, Mauklin, a leading sea-serpent, rouses the other serpents in his group–the titular tangle–to answer his dimly-perceived recollections of time and begin to migrate to some uncertain end. The other serpents are resistant, but they eventually follow, leaving shed skins behind them as they swim north.

This seems about right.
Maulkins Tangle [sic] by baccahanal on DeviantArt, used for commentary
The prologue, focusing on non-human–indeed, non-humanoid–creatures immediately differentiates the work from the earlier Farseer series; though dragons factor into the text, those shown started as humans, even if they are other than the people who read of them, and the animals that feature as Wit-bonded companions are still filtered through human perceptions. Neither applies here, however, leaving no doubt that the present series is a different thing entirely. (The lack of Asimovian encyclopedia-style entries is a subtler clue, though still worth noting.)

Symbolism in the prologue seems to be more overt than in much of the Farseer novels. Maulkin’s false eyes are noted explicitly, of course, and it is hard to miss the sloughing off of reptilian skin as a sign of leaving old ways behind. The emphasis on poisons, though, seems of interest. Maulkin emits and consumes poison to affirm his honesty; are readers to take the notion that words are potentially perilous? It would be something consistent with other work Hobb has published (if later), as I’ve noted elsewhere. That Hobb’s corpus tends to ascribe that peril to the non-human likely has some additional resonance that might be worth untangling.

More personally, the Liveship Traders series that begins with Ship of Magic was the first of Hobb’s series that I read; Ship of Magic was the first of her books that I read, one recommended to me by Gloria at Books to Share in Kerrville, Texas. I’ve been buying books at that store since 1986, taken there originally by my late maternal grandmother, who had been one of the store’s first customers. It was also the first book in a still-emerging series that I recall; it was the first one I read and hungered for more to come out–with the expectation that I would have that hunger sated.

I still have the copy of the book I bought that day; it’s the one I am reading again for this reread. I most recently previously read it while putting together my paper for the 2019 International Congress on Medieval Studies, which can be read here. I’ve not read it as often as I have the Farseer novels, even if I read the Liveship Traders first. I’m glad to be reading it again, though, and I look forward to this portion of the project.

Help me get going again?



I have often fretted about telling such small stories as I have lived or seen. I have wondered what right I have to relay events to such audiences as find me, to speak of others in my life, to write what I have heard and may well misremember. Occasionally, though, discussion will turn such that a story comes out, and, once it’s out, I might as well keep it that way.

Unicorn Horn Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
Close, but not quite.
Image taken from iStock, used for commentary.

One such that recently came up hearkens back to my days in the classroom–somehow, many of my stories move that way–when I was teaching several sections of first-semester composition. It’s a common enough class for adjuncts to teach–and, whatever my “formal” title might have been, I was an adjunct, working on a term-limited contract that hinted at but never promised renewal. As happened from time to time, I had my students read a short story from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which I then devoted class time to discussing. That is, I gave them the story on a Friday, telling them that they would do well to look at some historical context for the character types in the story, and be ready to discuss it on Monday and Wednesday in advance of a writing exercise to come on the following Friday. I believe I was going to be away at a conference that day, and I needed something for them to do while I had somebody else cover my class.

One of the students, whom I’ll call Chuck(lefuck), spent the class meetings on Monday and Wednesday with his head turned to the side and his jaws flapping–a common enough occurrence, really, and easily visible in the small-but-still-overenrolled class I was teaching. Another, whose name was something like Mary, had a really good few questions when she came in, though; she’d clearly taken my recommendation to heart, which is always flattering, and she’d clearly thought about what she’d read, which is always good to see. And, when I read over and assessed the writing exercises my students had done on the Friday, I was generally pleased with what I saw; Mary earned an A or an A+, and Chuck…didn’t.

I thought nothing more about it until the next semester started. When I got back to campus–because the break between semesters was a break for me, too–I got called into the composition director’s office. Evidently, Chuck was unsatisfied with the grade he got–a D–and complained to Daddy, telling him that I had been “pushing a gay agenda” in the class and “called [him] out repeatedly” because he “stuck to his beliefs.” Daddy was a golfing buddy of the provost’s, so Daddy complained to him. The provost called my department chair, who, to his credit, reminded the provost that the institution had a grade appeal policy for a reason and invited Chuck to follow school policy.

I have the distinct impression that Chuck, faced with that invitation, wanted to decline. I also have the distinct impression that Daddy demanded he not. And I learned that Chuck talked to the composition director–I was evidently considered hostile–who denied the grade change. Chuck went to the department chair, who also denied the grade change. Chuck went to the dean, who denied the grade change. And Chuck went then to the academic appeals committee, the ostensible institutional final word on the matter.

It was at that point I became involved in the matter again; the committee summoned me to appear before it. But I was not a stranger to academic bureaucracy at that point, having already completed my doctorate and having taught at more than one school previously. I knew that, because it was an internal institutional matter, FERPA protections did not apply; they could not, with Chuck’s performance being, indeed, the very matter being discussed. So I made sure to bring copies–printed from the institution’s learning management system, through which all the students’ papers had been submitted and returned with comments–of Chuck’s work, and I dressed to impress, it still being a time when it was the seams at my shoulders that strained, rather than the seams at my waistband.

The committee called me in just after sending Chuck out of the room; again, I was evidently considered hostile to him. The members told me that Chuck had complained that his grade was issued because I was discriminating against him based on his beliefs, and that I had “made him uncomfortable” through forcing discussion of practices he found morally repugnant, namely the story “Billy and the Unicorn.”

I couldn’t help it; I laughed. And I told them what had happened with that story, that I’d assigned it as a reading to inform an in-class writing exercise, that a student–who’d looked into unicorns and noted that, historically, they are attracted to virgins–had asked if she ought to read the unicorn as homosexual, that I’d noted it as one way to regard the character, and that I’d asked the class if and how it changed their reading to look at the unicorn in that way. The members seemed to agree it was an appropriate thing for me to have done in a college classroom, and they agreed that, in a class of under twenty students, one student persistently having his head turned to the side with his jaws flapping out to be called out every now and again. And they agreed, when I presented them the copies of Chuck’s papers, including my comments on drafts and notes on final submissions that the comments had not received attention, that the student’s grade was an appropriate one.

Now, the story came up in another discussion, one involving a number of people who still teach at the college level, as well as people who have completed degrees, about student complaints. I certainly earned enough such things in my years at the front of the classroom, and it is probably for the better that I am no longer there; I was in the wrong more than once. But I was not always so.

Whether I am in this, though, I am not sure.

Support my ongoing efforts?

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 100: Assassin’s Quest, Chapter 41

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

The final chapter, “The Scribe,” opens with comments about the end of the Red-Ship war that trail off, revealing themselves to be in Fitz’s retrospective hand. His “current” circumstances are noted; he and Nighteyes have been joined by a foundling, Mishap, brought to them by Starling on one of her irregular visits to where man and wolf have made a quiet, lonely life for themselves, and taught by Fitz as best as he is able.

An apt enough image, really.
FitzChivalry by Calealdarone on DeviantArt, used for commentary

How others in the narrative fare also receives attention. Patience has taken over Tradeford, which has become an agricultural hub. Burrich and Molly live well, having had more children together and started breeding horses. Kettricken was delivered of a prince, Dutiful, who seems to be growing well if solemnly. Chade has emerged into the public eye and seems to be enjoying it greatly.; he is the subject of Starling’s major work, with which she is pleased.

The Fool was delivered to Buckkeep by Girl-on-a-Dragon, who joined the work of the other roused dragons against the Red Ships. He did not remain long, but fled.

As for Fitz, he and Nighteyes spent years wandering before returning to Buck Duchy and taking up residence near Forge. Fitz cannot help but reach out with the Skill, despondently, and he continues to take drugs to number himself to that pain. And, as the text ends, he and Nighteyes dream of carving dragons.

I wish I could take credit for having had the foresight to plan things such that the end of the book–the end of the Farseer trilogy–and the first hundred entries of this rereading series coincide as they do. It was pure chance, however; I am not prudent enough to undertake such planning, as my efforts at fiction attest. That is not to say I am not pleased by the coincidence, but it is only that.

As I read the chapter again, I find myself once again feeling contented. The ending reads as satisfying, even as it does set up more material for more work to come; Dutiful’s reign and the Fool’s flight both foretell works following them, the which Hobb delivers and to which I will turn soon enough. (I am going to take the holiday weekend off, however.) But the sense that the world continues after the events of the novel adds to the verisimilitude that marks so much of Hobb’s work; even in apocalyptic situations, things continue afterward, and the apocalypse seems to have been averted for the Six Duchies. Nor is it the case that things are always happy and pleasant for those who work toward such ends, as my day-job shows me all too clearly, and the fact that Fitz endures, largely alone, wracked by his competing addictions, while not necessarily comfortable, seems more true than would be the case if he returned so quickly to glory and honor as other novels might have had him do.

The project is not the “Farseer Reread,” though, but the “Robin Hobb Rereading,” and there are more works, not only in the Elderlings corpus, but outside it. Next, I’ll start in on the Liveship Traders novels–after Memorial Day, which I plan to spend with family. But it’ll only be a short break, after all…

Could you help me mark the Monday holiday?