Not Your Usual Quest


In the center of the room stood a stone table, and on the stone table lay a worn red velvet pillow, and on the pillow lay a golden key, with three teeth.

Next to it was a yellowed slip of paper on which was neatly written:


The Magician King, p. 102

How can this be happening? We’re only a third of the way in!

This is hilarious! Like a Monty Python script!

Flower of the Day: Deciduous Magnolias

From the beautiful garden at River Mill, County Down, Northern Ireland:

Posting for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day.

Six-Word Saturday: Visiting the Titanic Museum in Belfast

Posting this for Travel with Intent’s Six-Word Saturday challenge.

It was rainy and cold in Belfast today, but — what an experience it was to visit the Titanic Museum on the same dock where the 11-story-high cruise ship was built. Self has visited the Seacity Museum in Southampton, which told the moving story of the large number of Southampton employees who sank with the ship (most of the Titanic staff were from that southern English city). But Belfast was where the Titanic was built, and the shipbuilding process is meticulously described, as is the history of Harlan & Wolff, the company that produced, in total, 1401 great ships (The Titanic was number 403; according to our tour guide, the builders knew their shipbuilding process was sound. The fault did not lie with them or their engineers. In fact, the man who designed her went down with the ship, as did eight of his engineers. In contrast, the man who owned the cruise line cravenly jumped into one of the 20 lifeboats — imagine, only 20 lifeboats for 2800 people! — ahead of the women and children, and survived). What a fascinating story.

The Titanic launched in April 1912. The museum opened in April 2012 (making this month the museum’s 10-year anniversary)

Thursday Trios: Various

The host of this challenge is Mama Cormier.

Ardglass Beach, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Ballyclander Road, Co. Down, Northern Ireland


At home during a storm

Quentin Meets His Animal

Self has been moving at glacial pace through The Magician King. Honestly she thought she’d be done with this book by LAST WEEK. But the weather in Belfast today was too nice, so self spent a lot of time walking around.

This is such a cool city. Not to mention, her hotel is a landmark. A sign out front says it is “the most bombed hotel in Europe.” What, you mean during World War II? self asked someone. No, came the answer. During the Troubles. But, remarkably, despite the bombings, IT NEVER SHUT DOWN

(Self asked a waitress in the Piano Lounge about how the hotel was affected by lockdown. It shut down completely, for the first time since its founding)

Back to The Magician King!

In a previous section, Eliot told Quentin that he had sent along an “animal” for Quentin’s journey to Outer Island.

On p. 61, readers finally learn WHAT THAT ANIMAL IS.

Self actually laughed out loud in that part.

This is a momentous journey for Quentin, as Outer Island is full of Fenwicks who, we are given to understand, are very shady people. Not only that, Julia is along for the ride (Does the Quentin/Julia ship have legs? To go by what transpires on the ship, unfortunately, no)

Quentin and Julia in The Magician King

It is SUCH a beautiful day in Belfast. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Seems a crime not to be out there on the street.

Self is cooling her heels for a bit. Walked for three hours this morning. Aimless walking. Stopped for carrot cake at Waterstone’s. Picked up more books. Tried to read a bit more of The Magician King. Came to a part with Quentin and Julia.

Is this a legitimate ship? Or is this just Lev Grossman being coy? Since she’s come so late to the party, she’s sure there are spoilers galore on goodreads. But she’s avoided them, so far.

The wind had caught her black hair and was whipping it wildly around her face. She looked outrageously beautiful. It might have been a trick of the light, but her skin had a silvery, unearthly quality, as if it would shock him if he touched it. If they were ever going to fall in love with each other, it was going to happen on this ship.

The Magician King, p. 53

Julia’s eyes turned completely black more than a few pages ago. That means: no pupils. Or: all pupils. Must be quite a sight. The change happened when she was casting an ‘attack’ spell. The others were in a state of complete confusion and dismay (something BIG happened) and Julia was the only one who had the presence of mind to start using her magic to go on the attack. What else is magic for? Of course you have to go on the attack!

Stay tuned.

Skywatch Friday: Gorgeous Weather Today in Belfast!

Weather today in Belfast is brilliantly gorgeous. There’s not a cloud in the sky. Amazing.

Self walked around, returned to her hotel just to dump her books (she ordered five books while she was in River Mill) and dashed out again. The best way to get one’s sea legs in an unfamiliar city is to walk, walk without a plan. She’s already seen a number of things. And signed up for an all-day Game of Thrones tour (Don’t @ self. Even though she is over her Gendrya obsession, come on: the Dark Hedges? the Giant Causeway? This might be her only chance!)

Posting this for Skywatch Friday.

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 196: HUMOR

Thank you to John for coming up with the great theme! As he explains:

I’m occasionally accused of having a (weird, warped?) sense of humor, so my first thoughts for a theme were: humor, humorous, fun, funny, pleasing or pleasurable. Objective, subjective? Simple, nuanced? Can we photograph such an abstract, humanoid concept?

I hope, as this is published, we can still find at least a corner of our lives for some humor. ‘We must keep our sense of humor, sometimes it’s all we have left.’

Self has spent most of April in County Down, Northern Ireland. It’s a lovely, peaceful place, filled with sheep, lambs, cows, horses, and myriads of birds. The animals just did not know what to make of self and would stare. And stare. And stare.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: Rossglass Beach Again

Self just found out about the Wordless Wednesday challenge. Not sure if it’s supposed to follow a particular theme.

Anyhoo, here’s a picture that is beyond all words. Birds, birds, birds flying overhead as she tried to capture them in mid-flight. She took many pictures, this one was the only one that wasn’t blurred.

Rossglass Beach, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Sentence of the Day: The Magician King, p. 42

King Quentin, one of the four rulers of the magical land of Fillory, organizes his first joust. He is unprepared for the enthusiasm:

  • An intelligent sword arrived, borne on a silk pillow, and explained that it wished to enter, it merely required somebody willing to wield it.

This is such an entertaining novel! Love the tongue-in-cheek humor.

Stay tuned.

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