The Battle of Red Hill, cont. (Spoiler-Free)

Fell asleep before midnight, resumed reading A Little Hatred on first waking. The Battle of Red Hill is many pages, probably the longest section of the novel. Which means, when self resumes reading this morning, it is still undecided.

Point of view: Leo van Brock

He caught sight of his standard. The white field, the golden lion. Hanging sodden at the near end of the bridge. And there was Stour Nightfall’s. The slavering wolf on grey. Drooping in the rain at the far end. A lion fought a wolf in a circle of blood, and the lion won.

— p. 297, A Little Hatred: Book One of the Age of Madness, by Joe Abercrombie

A digression: Self was curious about ALH ships, so she went looking for fan fiction. She found only 3 (Pitiful: Everlark has 6000+), and all of them are between The Young Lion and . . . Jurand, his shield man (?)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Gendrya: HOARFROST IN HER EYES, Ch. 1

  • She turned on Gendry with an expression of such shock, such anger he knew he should start running. She inched toward him and said in that same high, cold voice from before “Gendry Waters …. Baratheon now apparently. Gendry Baratheon.” He backed away slightly, like you might try to escape from an enraged wild animal. The courtyard seemed to quiet. Maybe Jon was saying something to Arya but she unsheathed Needle and held it at her side, advancing faster now. He took out his loaned longsword and held in front of him. It wasn’t his hammer but he’d take anything in this moment. Their weapons clanged and he just stopped her from slashing his face. She was so fast. She parried and started dancing around him while he frantically tried to block her. “Gendry” she said with a laugh and nicked his shoulder. “Gendry who know ‘Arry.” Slash. “Gendry who would never work for a lord.” Slice. “Gendry who wouldn’t serve those overgrown high-borns.” Slash. “Gendry the smith. Gendry the bull-headed fighter. Gendry who couldn’t stand the thought of subservience to a Stark brother.” She was laughing now, manically, laughing with a smile that did indeed reach her eyes. They shone with bloodlust. She disarmed him. His sword flew. She lauched herself at him, jumped on his back, wrapped her legs around his throat and brought him down. She pinned him and continued laughing saying “Gendry, Gendry, Gendry, the bastard smith. Gendry the bull-headed, bastard son of a whore.” Jon was yelling now, but Gendry didn’t make out what he was saying. Arya leaned in and whispered “Gendry wouldn’t have come here. Even the bull wasn’t that stupid. I know what you are,” and then she brought something hard and heavy down upon his head.

Current Everlark Obsession

  • A hundred black-hulled ships, sailing towards the pillars of Hercules.

Takes place in ancient Mesopotamia. Peeta is under the thrall of a goddess named Clove. Katniss is a slave woman he has taken as a wife. Clove tries to create mischief between the two. Annie is a minor goddess, in the thrall of Clove.

omg, the author left it on a cliff-y for over two years. A week ago, self couldn’t believe the notices dropping in her in-box, multiple chapters dropping in one day. There is a God.

The author had re-written everything from the beginning. Who does that? Who has the time? (Pandemic, thank you)

Anyhoo, the characters are the same, but they are slightly less wild (for which self mourns). Peeta was a real lout. At least he was, in the beginning. When he is a lout, his blue eyes turn completely black. Black-eyed Peeta is Katniss’s enemy, because that Peeta destroyed Katniss’s home city of Troy. Blue-eyed Peeta, however, is really something else!

There are so many gods, but Katniss’s god is a woman named Seeder.

The gods do not simply appear and disappear. They dissipate. There is always a slight blurring of the air as they do so.

Hush, now, self has to return to reading.

Amos and Holden, CIBOLA BURN

There is an ease between these two characters that makes Naomi almost superfluous.

There is so much good fan fiction about these two. Honestly.

It’s not self’s main ship, but the Amos/Holden fan fiction is mostly better than the Nolden fan fiction (Also, BTW, Naomi/Drummer fan fiction is pretty good)

pp. 144 – 145:

“So,” Amos said when Holden exited the town meeting that night. “How’d it go?”

“I must have done it right,” Holden replied. “Everyone’s pissed.”

They walked along the dusty street together in companionable silence for a while. Amos finally said, “Weird planet. Walking in open air at night with no moon is breaking my head.”

“I hear you. My brain keeps trying to find Orion and the Big Dipper. What’s weirder is that I keep finding them.”

“That ain’t them,” Amos said.

“Oh, I know. But it’s like my eyes are forcing those patterns on stars that aren’t really lined up the right way to make them.”

The scene continues. It’s such a charming conversation, not forced in any way. Love it.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

Everlark: The Great Bake-Off

The baking teams, final round:

  • Gale/Delly (???????)
  • Cato/Clove (stole Peeta’s cupcake recipe, BOO!)
  • Peeta/Katniss (Katniss can bake???)

The Judges: Effie, Haymitch and Cinna

Master of Ceremonies: Caesar Flickerman (but of course!)

First Person Point of View, Peeta

“So what do we have here?” Caesar bounces up to our table.

“It’s a dandelion and pear cupcake with a honey buttercream and walnut garnish.”

“This is lovely,” says Effie. “Such unusual flavors, and yet you balanced them nicely.”

Cinna nods at us. “Pear can be a delicate flavor. Speaking of which, nice job with the dandelion!”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 70: MONOCHROME

P. A. Moed quotes Kim Hunter:

. . . emotions come through much stronger in black and white. Color is distracting in a way, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart.

20190908_100104

Domestic Terminal, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila: September 2019

fullsizeoutput_628

DSCN0245

Sitting at an Outdoor Table, Café Borrone, Menlo Park, California: August 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Lynchings: AS LIE IS TO GRIN, p. 30

DSCN0035

Currently Reading

Very stream-of-consciousness, this novel is. Self likes it. It’s something like Francoise Sagan meets disaffected young black man in the University of Vermont.

It’s been a long time since she’s read about lynchings in a work of fiction. She certainly wasn’t prepared for the subject to be in the middle of a paragraph about the narrator trying to hook up with Delilah. But there it is. The young man’s personal pain conflates with his memory of a particular story in Jean Toomer’s Cane (A reader somewhere detests Marsalis and calls this entire book a pack of lies. Of course it is. It’s fiction)

  • There were little things that I did not know about her, which made me realize that I had not taken a serious interest in Delilah. I tried to remember more of what she had told me about herself, but was distracted by the thought of a story Jean Toomer had written in Cane, called Blood Burning Moon, about a black man (Tom) who killed a white man (Bob) over his continued dalliance with a young black woman (Louisa) whom Tom hoped to marry. It ended with Tom’s hanging by lynch mob. What gave the story life were the horrible questions that went unasked by the narrator. Why had Louisa chosen to continue seeing Bob, why wasn’t Tom given a fair trial, what did Tom truly desire?

After a while, the narrator’s silent ruminations make Delilah uncomfortable and she asks him to leave. “Why?” the narrator asks.

  • Delilah: You are acting weird.

Then Delilah goes to sleep.

Wow! What. A. Scene.

It’s like this fan fiction story self read, where Gendry sleeps with Sansa. After, she turns him out of her bed and he wanders into a very cold dawn.

Here, the narrator ends up welcoming the dawn “in the little amphitheater between Mills and Austin Halls, twenty yards from the footpath, and stared out at the Green Mountains of Vermont.” (Young men always seem to welcome the dawn after being turned out-of-doors by their paramours or ex-paramours, self notices. Welcoming the dawn = angst/unhappiness/disappointment/frustration)

Later, Marsalis delves further into the life of Jean Toomer and finds that he “looked white.” Is this an echo of the narrator, who is attending the University of Vermont while black? Self guesses there aren’t too many blacks in the University of Vermont. At least, that is the impression she gets (so far) from As Lie Is to Grin.

BTW, is it significant that son has kept his cell turned off for days? It doesn’t even finish one ring before it turns to voice mail. That means the cell is turned off. Right? She hasn’t heard son’s voice since Mother’s Day, and he placed that call in the evening. Self thinks a Mother’s Day call that doesn’t happen until the evening is not really a Mother’s Day call. Right? But it’s better than no call at all. Maybe.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

The Amber Spyglass (Pause for Now)

NO SPOILERS FOR THE AMBER SPYLGASS, PROMISE!

p. 248, just halfway. But self was immersed in a wonderful piece of Amber Spyglass fan fiction (and there are very few of those. At least, when compared to Hunger Games. There are six times as many Hunger Games fan fics than there are Amber Spyglass fan fics — of any ship.) Anyhoo, self was enjoying the fan fic hugely until she landed on a chapter where the writer quotes the end of The Amber Spyglass. And — self knows the end already because Twitter is an undisciplined space. But she didn’t expect it to go down like that. It was so awful. Seeing as how she found the ending of The Subtle Knife excruciating, she knew she wasn’t strong enough for the end of The Amber Spyglass. Exhibit A: She put off reading the last 50 pages of The Hunger Games for two years, until the movies started coming out, because she was so sure Peeta would die. But then a niece looked self straight in the eyes and said, “Peeta makes it.”

Oh. He DOES?

Screech!

Self returned home, read the last 50 pages of The Hunger Games, went to the local bookstore, bought Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and binge-read.

So, alas, farewell for now, His Dark Materials, and on to . . .  Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, which has zero angst.

The edition self checked out of the Redwood City Library has a neat little intro — Stevenson’s essay, “My First Book.” She’s actually been dipping into it off and on, the past few days. Here’s an excerpt:

I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and find it hard to believe. The names, the shapes of the woodlands, the courses of the roads and rivers, the prehistoric footsteps of man, still distinctly traceable up hill and down dale, the mills and the ruins, the ponds and the ferries, perhaps the Standing Stone or the Druidic Circle on the heath; here is an inexhaustible fund of interest for any man with eyes to see or twopence worth of imagination to understand with!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

A CLASH OF KINGS: pp. 491 – 492

Since self began writing Gendrya, she’s been learning just how different the Game of Thrones fandom is from the Hunger Games fandom.

For one thing, in the Game of Thrones fandom, minutiae matters to an obsessive degree.

Self learned today (from reading GoT fan fiction) that the language the White Walkers speak is called ‘Skroth.’ It supposedly “sounds like the cracking of ice.”

So if you’re planning to write Night King dialogue (or inner monologue, or whatever) you’d better know your Skroth. Just saying.

To help give her Gendrya more texture, self has been reading the books. There was one in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and another from a friend’s son’s bedroom. The one she has with her in Mendocino is the one that belonged to the son of her friend. And it’s A Clash of Kings. Which is thrilling as all get-out (She’s also reading Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust, Vol. One: La Belle Sauvage, and that too is pretty exciting, so she’s in the equivalent of Reading Heaven right now)

Conversation between Sansa and Tyrion:

“My guest.” He was wearing his chain of office, a necklace of linked golden hands. “I thought we might talk.”

“As my lord commands.” Sansa found it hard not to stare; his face was so ugly it held a queer fascination for her.

“The food and garments are to your satisfaction?” he asked. “If there is anything else you need, you have only to ask.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

#amreading GRRM’s A CLASH OF KINGS

In preparation for Game of Thrones‘ final season, airing sometime 2019, self has set herself the task of reading the books. She’s read one so far; it was in her cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig two years ago, and it was still there when she returned last year.

Writing dialogue is hard. Writing Game of Thrones fan fiction dialogue is even harder, especially when one hasn’t read the books. George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones dialogue is so on point!

Examples:

Maester Luwin to Bran Stark, p. 442, A Clash of Kings:

“We look at mountains and call them eternal, and so they seem . . . but in the course of time, mountains rise and fall, rivers change their courses, stars fall from the sky, and great cities sink beneath the sea. Even gods die, we think. Everything changes.

“Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.

“No, my prince. Jojen Reed may have had a dream or two that he believes came true, but he does not have the greensight. No living man has that power.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

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