As much as I was complaining about Rachel last time, my reaction upon seeing that this is another Richard and Kahlan-centric chapter was “God not these fuckers again”.
Anyway, R and K are climbing up some mountains to get to the witch whose name we will not be typing and Kahlan explains what we all figured out ages ago, that Darken Rahl has a pet dragon.
They had traveled three days across the plains, with Savidlin and his hunters, then had bid him goodbye with a promise to his sad eyes to do whatever they could to find Siddin
Richard and Kahlan promised to rescue Siddin in the previous chapter as well, supposedly as a kindness to Savidlin, while flatly stating in private that there’s no hope and the kid is as good as dead. I don’t see how giving the guy false hope is better than just telling him the truth and letting him start grieving. I mean I can understand lying about the whole sadistic child molestor thing- there’s no reason he needs to know that- but not pretending that Savidlin is totally going to see his son again, only for him to slowly realize that he’s gone for good.
Anyway Kahlan spends a while explaining what a dragon is even though we all know what dragons are. Mantasy authors have this tendency to pretend that the concepts they’re using aren’t total cliches and everyone reading the book hasn’t already encountered this stuff. It’s extra disappointing in this case because Goodkind has actually been quite good about making up his own creatures, many of which were quite cool and unique.
Kahlan says that red dragons are proud and normally would never submit to anyone so it’s odd that Rahl is riding around on one. Maybe they formed an alliance?
Just then a quirky old man with twinkling eyes and a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly appears with a message from Zedd. God it’s like he cloned himself.
Old John held his stomach as he laughed. “How many old wizards do you know, my boy? Of course old Zedd.” He gripped his beard, pulling it a little as he peered at them with one eye.
What is with the quirky old men, seriously.
“I’m an old man,” he complained, then sighed loudly. “But I know how anxious you are. And I know how badly he needs you.” He wagged his finger at Richard
This is actually Zedd in disguise isn’t it
Then it’s back to Rachel, who’s talking to her trouble doll!
“Mostly, I miss my brother,” she said to her doll. She looked away. “They said he died,” she confidedsoftly.
Rachel had been telling her doll her troubles for most of the day. All her troubles she could think of. When she got tears, the doll said she loved her, and it made her feel good
This could have been really poignant but it’s laying on the glurge way too heavily.
We learn that Rachel’s brother was murdered and she used to live at an orphanage where she met someone named “Brophy”. I could swear we’ve heard that name before. The doll tells Rachel to “help Giller”. Woah way to be specific doll, thanks a bunch.
Back to our dynamic duo, Richard starts thinking that something is wrong but he can’t figure out what it is. Maybe Old John is actually some sort of decoy. Rahl has figured out Richard’s one weakness: quirky old men.
He caught a brief glimpse of something off to the left, in the woods, keeping pace. Just a small animal, he thought. But it looked like something with long arms, skittering along the ground
See here’s more of the creepy stuff that Goodkind actually does quite well.
Richard realises that Old John just walked through a spider web without breaking it and is like “woah that’s pretty funky”. Frankly that plus the mysterious long-armed creature would be my cue to freak the fuck out but whatever, I’m not The Seeker.
Richard’s left hand shot forward, seized a fistful of Kahlan’s shirt, and yanked her behind him, causing her to cry out in surprise. He tossed her backward as his right hand pulled the sword free.
Now Kahlan is getting tossed around like a sack of potatoes. Was that really necessary?
Old John transforms into a giant creature of “snarl and snap”. That’s kind of a nice turn of phrase, but your giant threatening fantasy monster probably should not remind me of something from a Lewis Carroll poem.
But then the beasty runs off and Gollum appears:
“My sword,” it snarled. “Gimme. Gimme my sword.”
“Gimme,” it hissed, in a flash turning its pallid head back to his, snapping, trying to bite his face. Spaces between its teeth were packed with spongy, gray debris. Its heavy breath reeked of rot. Dark splotches covered the hairless, waxy head.
Fantasy really is the genre of imagination isn’t it.
Not-Gollum explains that he was following the “Calthrop” until it killed Richard so he could steal the sword. Richard realizes he can’t see Kahlan around anywhere. Maybe she finally realized he’s a douchewaffle and left.
“Mistress has the pretty lady.”
“Mistress!” it shook, pleading for rescue. “Mistress is
The first of many “Kahlan gets kidnapped” bits, from what I hear.
The creature works for the witch who will not be named, who wants the Sword of Truth, so she’s kidnapped Kahlan as bait. Richard ties a rope around the creature’s neck and orders him to lead him to the witch, also discovering that it’s name is…… Samuel. Huh.
Samuel leads Richard along to
Shota, grabbing randomly at rocks and shit for some reason.
He was afraid for Kahlan, and he was furious at himself. Old John, or the Calthrop,
whatever it was, had completely taken him in
Richard just can’t resist quirky old men, he totally lets his guard down once they start the ol’ eye-twinkle going.
People believe things because they want to, he had told Kahlan, and so had he, and now the witch woman had her. The very thing she had been so afraid of, and because he had been so stupid, had let his guard down.
Well maybe you shouldn’t have tossed her over your shoulder like that dude.
They reach the snow and Richard shows a surprising streak of not being an enormous asshole by giving Samual Kahlan’s cloak and some food. After apparently walking all night (these people have ungodly stamina) they descent again into a swampy forest.
Dark forms followed, keeping to the shadows, the thick brush, sometimes letting out whoops and howls. Richard wondered, and worried, if they were more things like Samuel. Or worse. Some followed in the treetops, just beyond sight
More creepy horror-ish elements. As I’ve said before Goodkind is actually good at that stuff.
Eventually they arrive at
Shota’s lair, which is a Disney castle.
In the center of it all, set among a carpet of grand trees, was a beautiful palace of breathtaking grace and splendor. Delicate spires stretched into the air, wispy bridges spanned the high gaps between towers, stairs spiraled around turrets. Colorful flags and streamers atop every point snapped lightly and flew lazily in the wind. The magnificent palace seemed to be reaching joyously to the sky.
Richard stood silent for a moment, mouth agape, staring, hardly able to believe what he was seeing. He loved his home of Hartland, but there was no place there to compare to this. This was, quite simply, the most beautiful place he had ever seen. He never would have imagined that a vision of such exquisite loveliness even existed.
Totally going to turn out to be an illusion or something.
They come to
Shota sitting on a rock with Kahlan nearby, standing “oddly”. Richard, suddenly developing a probably-foolish sense of fair play, unties Samuel since he had said he would earlier. Seriously dude this is one situation where the whole “heartless asshole” thing would probably actually be the most sensible course of action.
Richard walks toward Kahlan and realizes she’s covered in snakes. She tries to convince him to leave but he’s all “F that I’mma kill these snakes” and marches over to
Shota so we can get a shocking plot twist.
When he reached her, she stood and gently turned to him, speaking his name in a voice he recognized.
His heart leapt into his throat when he saw the ‘face that matched the voice.
It was his mother.
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN
actually no she’s totally using a magical disguise.
And oh look Zedd is back welp not doing that chapter for awhile.