[identity profile] ibmiller.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] queensthief
Section notes - from "The long summer's day was ending" to "He is an Annux, a king of kings."

In today's post, I'm going to pose two questions about all the chapters, and then a unique question for each chapter. I will then answer each of the questions with my own answers, and hope they're interesting enough to provoke discussion!

Questions for all four chapters:

1) What is accomplished in this chapter? (Could also be phrased, "Why does this chapter exist?")

2) If the chapters had titles, what would you call this chapter?

Individual chapter questions:

11: Is Barond Erondites an effective villain?

12: How has Irene changed since The Queen of Attolia?

13: Is the duel effective as a narrative/scene?

14: Is the reaction of the guard to Gen plausible?

Chapter 11:

1) I asked the first question because chapter 10 could easily be the climax of the book, were the Attolia books more typically "YA" and building to a simple climax. Gen has just accomplished an incredible feat of destroying the most powerful (by four times at least) of Attolia's political enemies in an extremely satisfying way. So why does this chapter exist? Mostly as an aftermath to the Fall of Erondites, and linking to the next conflict, that of Gen's need to ascend the throne in both his own and his subject's hearts as an Annux, as planted in the myth.
2) I would call this chapter: "The Fate of Go Betweens." Partly because Costis as POV, and partly because so many of the consequences of this story fall on those who don't initiate those actions. Plus, it has the sense of aftermath that I think is so vital to the chapter.
3) I'm not sure Erondites himself is a very effective villain. His actions are pretty top notch, like a spider at the middle of a huge web of plots against the Queen, but when he appears himself, he's kind of a greedy jerk. He's very plausible, but not very interesting, which is likely why he's not on page very often.

Chapter 12:

1) This chapter has two purposes, I believe. The theme of the healing of Irene's soul was introduced in the last chapter, but here we see it, in Irene's major revelation of the book. Additionally, in Costis's eyes, we see the problems that Gen refusing to visibly take the throne causes, despite his massive victory in chapter 10.
2) I would call this chapter: "The Inevitable Conflict." This highlights the purpose of the chapter in not just prolonging the book, but actually bringing to the forefront the real conflict of Gen's kingship, rather than just destroying Erondites.
3) I think I've made it super obvious that Irene is my favorite character in this series :). Here, I see her slowly coming to accept that she is worthy of love, not just the necessary evil to keep her people alive and as fairly ruled as possible. Seeing her through Relius's eyes, as well as Costis and Aris, has fleshed her out - one sees her as both daughter figure and beloved, terrifying sovereign, one loves her as the embodiment of strength and justice, and one is fiercely loyal while also regarding her as completely alien, if necessary. Seen from below, Irene is just as awesome as seen from Gen's perspective in the second half of The Queen of Attolia.

Chapter 13:

1) Obiviously, this chapter serves as the action climax of the book. After two massive, emotionally draining chapters, spanning many days (possibly a month or more, to justify how physically amazing Gen is after being gutted), we have the thematic problem of the book - the King of Attolia - combined with the first problem - Erondites.
2) I would call this chapter: "The King's Tower." Named after the idea of a tower duel sequence, where the hero works his way up through various opponents.
3) I think it's extremely effective. Though I'm still puzzling about the move Gen uses to take down Teleus - jumping in the air using a sword-armed version of the Superman punch seems like it would leave you way too open for an opponent of Teleus's caliber to counter - but it's an awesome image. I like that the sequence is Costis/Teleus/Aris/Menon/Damon/Laecdomon, instead of ending with Teleus. Though Teleus is likely the most skilled opponent, having the tension build up because of both Gen's increasing fatigue, and the gradual widening of the audience is masterfully done. Though not much actual fencing is described (similar to how C. S. Lewis describes the fencing in Prince Caspian, to similar great effect), the moves described are extremely emblematic of the characters, and very effective in creating the emotions that actually describing the thrusts and parries would not. Possibly too effective - I'm reminded of the way some authors (okay, really just Laurie King in The Beekeeper's Apprentice) describe chess to express the characters of the players, which don't resemble the emotional impact of actually playing or watching any chess games I've ever played or watched. :)

Chapter 14:

1) Even though the last chapter is the action climax, this chapter allows what Gen's done to actually sink in so we can believe it. Seeing his body, literally and thematically stripped of all disguise, we also can see him as Costis and the whole Guard do.
2) I would call this chapter: "Revealed in All His Glory." Because "King of Kings" seems a bit like cheating, being the closing line and all.
3) I think developing Costis's relationships to the guard is part of why we can buy this change of heart of the entire guard, after spending a whole book seeing and feeling their contempt for Gen. Costis is more than a stand-in for Teleus - I think he's partly a stand-in for Attolia as a country, and the Guard as a microcosm of the best of the country (rather than the court, which is the worst).

I haven't even touched on the gods or the mythtelling in chapter 11 very much, even though I love the way Gen's faith in the god of thieves is a fascinating picture of what it would mean to really have faith in a god who was there. Not to mention my love of Costis's love and loyalty to his queen and king, and Gen and Irene's love for each other, and the effectiveness of the language - each word so carefully chosen. It's all so excellent. :)
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