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The Horse & His Boy: Chapter 9 - moonspinner
moonspinner
moonspinner
The Horse & His Boy: Chapter 9
I had planned to write about Lasaraleen’s and Aravis’s journey through the Palace in the last chapter review but decided to save it for this one since it’s a Journey Chapter.

If you ever go on a Calormen tour and you pass through the Tisroc’s Palace without visiting the Hall of Black Marble, the Hall of Pillars and the Hall of Statues, know that you have been cheated of your money’s worth. According to the narrator, these are ‘all too magnificent for words’, which certainly saves a lot of tiresome description that would not do this justice.

At last Aravis’s suspicions about Ahosta are vindicated. Which leads to the question of if Ahosta is evil because of his ‘base blood’, despite the heights to which he has risen as opposed to Shasta and Aravis who are intrinsically noble because they are high-born even though at certain times, they had fallen to hard times. But that theory isn’t supported by Prince Rabadash and the Tisroc, who are dishonorable blue-bloods. (Or, from the Narnia angle, King Miraz the Usurper?)

Aravis blackmailing Lasaraleen is not at all nice, or particularly spunky but whatever anger I feel at the character for doing this is immediately countermanded when she owns up to it, and apologizes for it. The girls’ friendship really shines through with their parting. They still see things very, very differently, but the affection is clear and I love Aravis wishing her friend a wonderful life. I hope she has a happy life. There’s something so endearingly naive about Lasaraleen’s blind loyalty to the Tisroc, the way she’s just satisfied with her life and the way things are.
"But she stuck out her chin (and a little bit of her tongue too)"

Love!

Spare a thought for the poor groom who would no doubt have had a perfectly dreadful night.

Aravis instinctively and with no hesitation whatsoever tells the others about Rabadash’s stealth invasion. One reading indicates that her loyalties are flexible. Another reading is that it’s Calormen-bred pragmatism: escaping to Narnia is useless if the country that she’s escaping from will soon invade it. But while these could be factors, I think Aravis’s decision here is primarily due to outrage that the rules of engagement are being broken. The fact that herpeople are the dishonorable ones only makes it worse. That’s also why she’s so vitriolic towards the ‘Tisroc’.
"All that about galloping for a day and a night, like in stories, can't really be done."

It can’t? Damn.

This chapter ‘reads’ particularly long but I’ve counted the pages and it’s no longer than average. I love how realistic the journey is. It starts out delightful and everyone feels adventurous and excited as they trot across cool sand in the moonlight. Then it gets boring even before they start feeling tired. Then the sun comes up and it becomes almost nightmarish.

It’s scary to realize that if not for the fortuitous encounters at Tashbaan, our Fab Four would not have made it across the desert with their original plan of just facing North and walking.
"One wouldn't expect Horses to keep awake after a day's work like that, even if they can talk. And of course that Boy wouldn't; he's had no decent training. But I ought to have known better."

I am unrepentantly amused by the way Aravis capitalizes Boy the same way as she does the talking Horses. Perhaps she really believes that Shasta is a different kind of species from herself because he is/was almost a slave. Or maybe it’s just the fact that he’s a male.

Was I the only one who wanted to smack Bree hard for wasting everyone’s time and then dragging his feet? I’ve had to work with people like that on several occasions – from high school to my professional work – and I can assure you that you can never get used to that brand of prima donna.


Next: The Hermit of the Southern March where structurally Act 3 of this story commences!

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Comments
aohdwyn From: aohdwyn Date: February 24th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Thinking about it, it strikes me that the reason she capitalizes Boy the same way she capitalizes Horses is while he is a boy, he is unlike any other boy she has ever known (or so I assume) just as the Horses are unlike any other horses she has ever known. I mean, it is not just that she considers him strange, both because of his status and his sex, but also that he seems to be unique in every way from any other boys (or even people) she has known. And perhaps I am overthinking this. (like I do everything)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: February 24th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I never thought of it that way! I like that. It makes a lot more sense.
(Deleted comment)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: February 24th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying them. :)
sunlit_music From: sunlit_music Date: February 25th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I like how Aravis does terrible things like blackmail, but has enough decency to own up and apologise. It makes her a more well rounded character.

But she stuck out her chin (and a little bit of her tongue too)

Hee!

All that about galloping for a day and a night, like in stories, can't really be done.

Finally, someone mentions this!
It's annoying reading about characters in fantasy books who ride for a day and a night (I think I read about horses galloping for a night and a day in either DragonLance or Eragon, I'm not sure which).
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: February 25th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)
It makes her a more well rounded character.

And it keeps the moral compass of the story firmly pointed North, not swivelling to face the character's changing whims. Aravis is our hero but she did a bad thing. *gasp!* It's hard to comprehend that happening in certain other stories, isn't it?


It's annoying reading about characters in fantasy books who ride for a day and a night

LOL!
jump2narnia From: jump2narnia Date: February 28th, 2009 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm lovin' these reviews! Keep 'em comin'! 8D
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: February 28th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks dear. With feedback like yours, I'm hardpressed not to.

P.S. Nice icon. ;) :P


jump2narnia From: jump2narnia Date: March 1st, 2009 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks dear. With feedback like yours, I'm hardpressed not to.

D'aww. ^^

OH you're a Twilight LOLFan, too? 8D Are you committed to sparkle motion? >:3 Haha...I couldn't help but become an LOLFan after reading <lj user="cleolinda:> 's reviews on the Twilight books shortly after reading them all myself. xD
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 3rd, 2009 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)
OH you're a Twilight LOLFan, too?

Oh no, definitely not. I mean, I've laughed at a lot of the melodrama of the books but I don't really agree with the level of ... vitriol ... that some (not you, by any means) of the LOLfans have againt SM. I kind of admire the fact that a book reading by a woman, from a woman's perspective and with such girly themes became an international phenomena and was made into an equally successful movie directed by a female director. Twilight made Katherine H the first female director to break into the Top 100 money-making movies of all times and that's something. And SM is the only writer whose had her books (all her books as a matter of fact) in the Top 4 of the Best sellers' list. Even Rowling didn't accomplish that at the height of her appeal.

But there's no denying that Twilight isn't exactly a recipe for a healthy relationship and well, like someone once told me, Bella is the queen of failpires. But I think I'm more OK with Bella, than say, Ginny Sue Weasley, because SM has never gone on record to say that Bella was perfect or that her decisions are in anyway admirable. And, well, a good number of real-life teenage girls do act like Bella Swan - one of the reasons why the books are so popular is because her character is so identifiable - but Bella is lucky that she's in a fantasy world where her boyfriend is a perfect vampire that doesn't turn into Angelus after his "moment of perfect happiness."
jump2narnia From: jump2narnia Date: March 4th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL I don't hate SMeyer at all. xD I just don't like her books. =( But yeah, that is true that SM deserves our respect, despite the fact that her books aren't the perfect romance novels. And heck, I loved the first three books when I first read them and I probably would've remained a fan if it wasn't for the atrocity that was Breaking Dawn.

But...but Bella is a Mary Sue in Breaking Dawn. D: I mean, it was pure wish fulfillment. Bella became faster and stronger than Emmett and Edward, she didn't experience the extreme thirst that newborn vampires usually go through, and on top of that she looked like a super model. >.< And, in my opinion, Bella really has no personality all of her own and because of that she's a self-insert, meaning anyone can put their own personality onto her empty shell. And since she really had no character to begin with, she was given a martyr complex in order to get the readers to sympathize with her. =P
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 4th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
:D You're preaching to the choir. :D But I think the self-insert/wish-fulfillment modus operandi has also been used in a lot of other books. SMeyer gets a lot of flack because her target audience is primarily female. Somehow it's OK for boys to have Peter Parker, computer nerd turned Superhero, turned Mary J's boyfriend/husband; but if girls have their own wish-fulfillment hero, it's a travesty. The double standard really bugs me.

Edited at 2009-03-04 07:08 pm (UTC)
jump2narnia From: jump2narnia Date: March 5th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Icon love! 8D

But, Peter Parker is different. I mean, he actually goes out into the action, whereas Bella Sue always has to rely on the protection of her pretty, shiny boy toy. xD But yeah, I do agree with you somewhat. Despite what society tells us, the USA is still very much a male chauvinist country. =/ OH...you do live in the US, right? O.o If you don't, please forgive my assumptions. ^^

On another note, it's so nice to meet a fellow feminist. Too bad feminism has a horrible reputation for being made up of male-haters who want to restore the matriarch or something. >.< No one really understands that it's for gender equality rather than female superiority. =( I'm mostly a religious feminist myself. xD
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: March 5th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
But, Peter Parker is different. I mean, he actually goes out into the action, whereas Bella Sue always has to rely on the protection of her pretty, shiny boy toy.

Yeah, but my point is that it’s still wish-fulfilment. How many stringy boys don’t dream of going to bed and waking up with the body, the powers and the girlfriend of Spider-Man?


On another note, it's so nice to meet a fellow feminist.

Same here, my dear! And I agree with you about how it’s so easy to get the wrong impression of feminism.
jump2narnia From: jump2narnia Date: March 5th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but my point is that it’s still wish-fulfilment. How many stringy boys don’t dream of going to bed and waking up with the body, the powers and the girlfriend of Spider-Man?

True...and he wasn't given all that much of a personality in the movies. I can't say the same for the comics because I've never read them.

Same here, my dear! And I agree with you about how it’s so easy to get the wrong impression of feminism.

Yes, ma'am! Like, I was on this very conservative Christian fundamentalist discussion board once and they were discussing the issue on whether or not women should be allowed to be ordained as ministers and I was stating my Biblical evidence, but they just laughed me off for being a radical feminist. >:( And that is only ONE of the reasons why they banned me from that forum. xD

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