Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 14

wizard's first rule header

Chapter 14

Zedd, Chase, Richard and Kahlan have arrived at the point where they’ll cross the boundary, an area that’s all fetid and dead looking, and actually described more evocatively than just “a forest, I guess”.

Richard feels more at peace with the world since taking a hit off Zedd’s wizard rock the previous day, but is still dismayed that he can’t be with Kahlan. I have a feeling that, like Zedd, this is a feature of the plot that won’t be going away any time soon.

Chase arrives at an area more or less like any other and begins to walk forward into the boundary, which is indicated by glowy magic effects.

As he went forward, a green glow formed around him, at first hardly perceptible. It grew stronger, brighter, until after another twenty steps it became a sheet of green light pressing against him as he proceeded, stronger close to him and fading away about ten feet to the sides and above, growing larger with every step. It was like green glass, wavy and distorted, but Richard could see through it, see the dead trees beyond

Wasn’t the boundary like a giant mountain wall? That’s the way it’s been described up until now. Richard even points this out but we don’t really get an explanation for it.

Chase pushes a stick through the boundary (if you know what I yeah okay) and when he pulls it out it’s been gnawed on by Heart Hounds, which makes me picture the space beyond the boundary as being nothing but wall to wall Heart Hounds for miles on end.

Chase leads Richard over to show him the special effects too, leading to these wonderful descriptions:

Green light began. With each step it became more intense, but it was different from when Richard had watched Chase go in by himself. Then, the light had been to Chase’s sides and above him, now it was all about. There was a buzzing sound, like a thousand bumblebees

What makes a buzzing sound? I know, bumblebees! A thousand bumblebees!

When they go far enough Richard and Chase find themselves inside the boundary and looking into the world of the dead. They can see ghostly shapes floating around and Richard realizes that the sound of All The Bumblebees is actually voices whispering his name.

Richard’s dad floats over and Richard has to fight back a sudden urge to step through and join him and his dead buddies, but Chase stops him. Wasn’t there something like this in Lord of The Rings as well, with a ghost-swamp?

Anyway, Richard’s anger roars to life again (I’m starting to think this should be a drinking game) but Chase manages to prevent him from killing himself.

When they get back out Kahlan transforms into a Robert Jordan character and starts slapping Chase across the face, but he grabs her wrist and stops her with his big strong man-muscles, explaining that he needed to show Richard the Underworld or he would have walked right into it.

I’ve never had a child yet who had the proper respect for fire until they put their hand in it once

This is actually complete bullshit, lots of people know to stay away from fire despite having never been burned by it. Going by this line of reasoning you could argue that letting kids get bumped around by cars (just a bit to cause some bruises, you know) is the ideal way to teach road safety.

Richard suspects that the ghost of his father was actually one of Darken Rahl’s dead disciples employing a clever ruse, and therefore Darken Rahl will soon know where they are. Richard makes a lot of these strange leaps in logic to get the plot moving, which reminds me of this:

All of a sudden a black…. thing grabs Richard and Kahlan and drags them toward the boundary. Kahlan is of course completely helpless, and Richard’s anger rises in him again and he’s “filled with murderous need” and all that and manages to save the day.

Kahlan pushed away from him and started to run back. Richard snatched her by the wrist, almost yanking her from her feet.

“Stay here!” he yelled far more angrily than required, pushing her to the ground.

Such a nice guy, that Richard Cypher.

Zedd and Chase are both unconscious after the attack so Richard and Kahlan decide to haul them to a nearby swamp that Chase had mentioned as being safe from the Heart Hounds. On the way the sun starts to go down:

When the day’s death began stealing away the soft gray light, they still had not reached the swamp, and there was no way to tell how much farther it was. Off through the tangled woods, they caught the sound of howling. Their breath caught in their throats.

Yes, “the day’s death”.

Looks like it’s going to be heart hound central soon!


5 thoughts on “Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 14

  1. braak

    The freedom to be angry and violent probably makes a lot of sense to a white guy who imagines that he’s been bottled up by an increasingly “feminized” and “PC” society.

  2. Andrea Harris (@SpinsterAndCat)

    The anger thing sounds a whole lot like “primal scream” therapy and “let our your anger, don’t bottle it in!” and other nonsense that was big in the 1970s, when Goodkind was in his 20s-30s. An impressionable age…

    I’ve encountered the idea of anger as a healing force that cleanses you/strengthens you before in fiction, and there is some truth to that, but it depends on who is allowed to be angry. Righteous rage, as in real life, is usually granted to the (usually white) hero of the story. I notice no one else gets Richard’s special rage packs in this book. Kahlan gets mad at Chase for endangering Richard’s life but he stops her.

  3. Reveen

    I guess Richard’s power makes him kinda like the Incredible Hulk except instead of turning into a tragic monster he becomes slightly more of an asshole than usual.

    Atleast the story if kinda self aware about this in that self-righteous anger is explicitly his source of power, instead of being just passed off as a virtue.

  4. Signatus

    I can only hope the heart hounds (I really have to draw that concept, I’m having a hard time not picturing them as Fluffy from Harry Potter, but with heart cutie marks on the sides like the ponies in MLP), get to them and rip them to shreds. That’d be a book I’d read!

    The fact that Kahlan has gone from; “I’m such a badass I can fend off four highly trained assassins with my magic” to a damsel in distress hurts me very much.

    I can’t stress enough how STUPID that whole anger concept is. I presume Goodkind must have some sort of road rage syndrome and thought it would be awesome to transform that into a superpower. That, or he really likes the Hulk.

    And we keep having zombie horses! Yay!

  5. ghosthelwig

    Sadly if you make Richard’s anger into a drinking game, all your readers will die of alcohol poisoning.

    All I remember of these books (I block a lot of terrible memories) is how much of an angry, self-righteous asshole Richard is. It seems I’m not missing as much as I thought.


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