Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 33

wizard's first rule header

CHAPTER 33

It’s time for another chapter of The Rachel Show (featuring guest appearances by Richard and Kahlan)

RACHEL SAT ON HER little chair behind the Princess

Still wondering what the point of this arrangement is, unless the royal family literally just wants to fuck with Rachel in public for the lulz.

thinking about how she would get the Princess to put her out so she could take the box away with her and never come back

I dunno, breathe too loudly? The princess seems pretty trigger happy when it comes to this stuff. Then again, you don’t want to make her too angry in case she goes all Queen of Hearts on you.

God this would be such a tragic situation if the characters involved weren’t all cartoonish stereotypes.

Giller was standing behind the Queen with her other advisors. He was talking quietly to the court artist. She didn’t like the artist, he scared her, he always smiled funny at her.

RED ALERT

And he only had one hand

RED wait what

She had heard the servants talking before, that they were afraid the artist would draw a picture of them.

Not… entirely sure what Goodkind is getting at here. Do people get cursed if he draws them or something?

Just then Darken Rahl shows up, flanked by two goons. I am kind of excited to see how unabashedly over the top things are going to get with Rahl and Queen Evil in the same room together.

He was the handsomest-looking man she had ever seen

It really rubs me the wrong way that everyone keeps making a big deal about how handsome and totally not-evil Rahl looks, because of course that would only be surprising if you believed that evil people are always ugly.

….Which Goodkind does seem to believe, given that it holds true for literally every evil character we’ve seen previously, even the princess.

(This is something Goodkind has in common with Ayn Rand, by the way)

Rahl lays the moves on the queen, and of course she falls for it because she’s vain and self-absorbed.

Rachel was surprised at what the nice-looking man had said. She never knew anyone who thought the Queen was lovely

and also fat and ugly because she’s evil do you see.

Father Rahl looked around at all the people who were standing up now. The little dog barked. He turned to the source of the sound and it stopped barking; instead it began to whine softly.

…. this is secretly a parody, isn’t it?

Rahl is like “give me the box” and the queen is like “but we haven’t actually negotiated the terms of the alliance yet” and Rahl is like “no it’s cool I’ll sign whatever you want later”. Despite this being an enormous red flag the queen agrees to hand over the box. Does she know he’s basically invincible, I wonder? Because if not he’s standing in the middle of her castle, surrounded by her personal guards, with only two dudes for protection. He doesn’t have a whole lot of leverage in that situation.

Father Rahl said he didn’t have a seal, and that his written name would do, that he was sure he would recognize his own writing in the future

Political maneuvering this obvious would only work if everyone besides Rahl was completely stupid.

Oh, wait

Giller hands over the fake box of Orden and Rahl just has one of his men smash it, instantly exposing it as a fake. I would say Giller should have seen that coming, but then he was expecting to be miles away by the time Rahl realized he’d been duped.

I assure you, this is the same box I have guarded ever since you put it in my hands. It must have been a fake from the first. We have been tricked. That is the only possible explanation.

Unfortunately Rahl says that the real box “has magic” that a wizard would notice and so Giller could never be tricked by a fake. See, Rahl is clearly the only one who knows what he’s doing around here. Even his earlier “no I will not attack the queen with my unstoppable army because reasons” starts to make more sense when you see how easily he would have been able to convince her to hand over the box voluntarily.

Rahl and his henchmen drag Giller off, presumably to torture, and he sends Rachel a psychic warning to run. She manages to get out of the castle without anyone noticing her (the guards just assume she’s been sent into the woods by the princess WHOOPS GUESS YOU SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT OBVIOUS SECURITY RISK) and grabs the real box of Orden from its hiding place.

She had forgotten Sara! Her doll was still in her sleeping box! Princess Violet would find her doll, she would throw Sara in the fire!

No come on Rachel don’t go back for the stupid doll

Unfortunately she does, taking the long way through the servant’s areas of the castle to avoid detection.

They seemed excited. She heard Giller’s name and it made her get a lump in her throat

Someone in the comments earlier pointed out how ridiculous it is that Rachel apparently needed the concept of death explained to her. We also see that she frequently doesn’t appear to recognize her own emotions or what’s causing them- instead of the narration telling us that “she was worried” or “she was sad” (or something more elegantly worded than that) we’ll be told that she “got tears” or had a lump in her throat or whatever, which makes it seem like she’s some sort of robot.

 You know who I’m talking about, the young one, Frank and the other, with the limp, Jenkins. Said the D’Haran guards told them personal that there’s going to be a search of the castle, top to bottom.”

Quick get the box Rachel D:

She gets to her sleeping box in princess Satan’s room and discovers that her doll is missing.

“Looking for something?” It was Princess Violet’s voice.

God damn it.

She slowly pulled her hands out from behind her back. She had Sara. Rachel’s eyes went wide and she suddenly felt like she had to go potty.

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Princess Evil is all “imma throw this doll in the fire” and then Rachel remembers she still has the fire stick that Giller gave her and evolves into her Ultimate Battle Mode.

“Don’t you dare throw my doll in the fire or you’ll be sorry!”

f0chf

Rachel forces the princess into her sleeping box and locks the door, thus explaining why such an absurd scenario was present in the first place.

“Good night, Violet. Go to sleep. I’m going to sleep in your bed tonight. I’m sick of your voice. If you make any noise at all, I’ll come over and light your skin on fire. Do you understand?”

Rachel’s a fucking badass you guys 😀

She grabs the box and makes for the castle gates, but there’s a D’Haran guard there who insists that no one can leave. Suddenly developing an enormous amount of competence and apparently aging by about five years, Rachel does the whole “well I guess I’ll just have to tell the princess you wouldn’t follow her orders and let me out oh well” routine and manages to get past them

Outside, Sara the talking (and apparently sentient) doll tells her that she has to go on alone since Giller is, uh, indisposed. The plan is for her to keep heading away from the castle until winter comes (Rahl will die if he doesn’t get the box before then, remember) then find someone to take her in. Then a fireball shoots up from the castle which I guess has something to do with Giller possibly dying and Rachel heads off for ADVENTURE.

Gotta say, this was by far the best chapter in the book so far and legitimately enjoyable, possibly because it was about a character I actually like and not Richard and Kahlan the violent sociopaths. Hear that, authors? If you write about normal people instead of assholes I’ll enjoy your stories better! It’s a revolutionary idea, I know.

Since it seems like Princess Hitler’s role in the story is now finished (unless I’m wrong and she’s the one who features in The Scene later) I’d like to comment on her characterization. We’re clearly supposed to see her as an utterly hateful person, existing solely to torment Rachel and then finally get slapped down in a triumphant sticking-it-to-the-(wo)man scene, but I can’t help but view her as a slightly tragic figure.

Like I mentioned before, she was born into royalty- already a situation that lends itself to all sorts of unhealthy upbringings- and her mother and sole role model and authority figure is a selfish, power-mad tyrant. It would have been a miracle if she didn’t end up horribly broken in that scenario. Plus there’s the general question when it comes to young children (we never actually found out her age but it’s implied to be the same as Rachel’s and Rachel acts like a four year old most of the time) of whether you blame them for being horrible or you blame their parents for not raising them properly.

Now obviously, it would be unreasonable to expect Rachel, who is herself a child and the recipient of years of bullying at the Princess’ hands, to make these sorts of nuanced interpretations. But Terry Goodkind is supposedly a fully grown man and seems to actually view (and expect us to view) Princess Violet as rotten to the core. I would turn my nose up at the depiction of any character as evil just for the sake of being evil due to it being an example of bad writing; when you depict a child that way it actually offends me on a moral level.

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10 thoughts on “Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 33

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 34 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Signatus

    I really like your interpretation of the events, and while I’m quiet sure Goodkind didn’t have it intended as such (he seems pretty black and white), it makes far more sense. After all, while bullying is a despicable thing that should be properly addressed, most of the time bullies are insecure kids who have grown up in a hostile or excessively authoritary environment. True evil is a non existent concept, and while Goodkind did give a pretty sensible speech about it (how the people at the other side do not consider themselves to be wrong), in the end he falls into such simplicity it is laughable, and his messages are hard to take seriously. It is a pity he doesn’t show, and relays to telling some interesting concepts only to completely forget about them as the narrative goes on.

    Anyways, I’m giving him this. The ending of this chapter was pretty touching. When he’s not trying too hard to tell us concepts (like how many times per chapter Richard and Kahlan affirm their friendship), he can actually bring forward some pretty strong imagery.

    It is a pity he can only do so in very specific moments, while the rest of the time his book is a laughable mess.

    Reply
    1. Austin H. Williams

      If this is Goodkind at his best, it still leaves a lot to be desired. Cartoonish villains, whiplash characterisation, contrivances, characters running around left and right with the idiot ball…

      I find myself pinching my forehead when I remember not only that some editor thought this was worth publishing, but that it still went on to sell hundreds of thousands (millions?) of copies and get adapted into a television show.

      Reply
      1. Signatus

        Well, I wonder that myself. I mean, the plot is as simple as a pacifier’s mechanism, and while that in itself is a problem, it is not the biggest sin this book commits. When it comes to structure, the book is a horrible monstrosity. I can cite entire paragraph so badly written I can’t understand an editor could think that was publishable. Words that repeat themselves, redundancies, etc… that’s not good writting. That’s writing at its worst.

        Yet, people buy them. And like them. I can’t understand it. Maybe it is because I write myself, but every time I see how badly written this thing is, I cringe!
        It is not comfortable to read.

        For that reason alone this book should have never been published, but when we get into everything else… it’s not even a compelling story nor has likeable characters. What the fuck did a proffessional editor see in this?

        Reply
      2. Reveen

        I figure the only reason people ever liked his books was because of the Objectivism. And the people who bowed out of the series did it because it got too crazy for them and they’re too embarrassed to admit it.

        Reply
      3. Signatus

        Isn’t most of this book’s fanbase like teenagers? I thought this thing were YA geared. To be honest, I had read a bit about Ayn Rand, and I’ve yet to get my hands on Atlas Shrugged (sounds interesting enough), but appart from that, the principles of objectivism (and its existence for that matter), are unknown to me. I admit I had to make a more thorough read about Rand to realize that is the objectivism Goodkind so obstinatedly tosses every now and then.
        Is it such a strong movement in the USA?

        Reply
        1. ronanwills Post author

          I don’t think there are many super-dedicated objectivists these days, but a lot of hardcore conservatives (like the tea party types) are fans of Rand.

          Reply
      4. Austin H. Williams

        There aren’t that many Objectivists out there because most intelligent people can see the pseudo philosophy’s myriad flaws for what they are. That said, there are still enough Objectivists to keep Rand in best seller lists for half a century, and their influence is strong enough to currently be guiding the very course of United States social policy. (I shuddered writing that last clause.)

        If even a fraction of them get into the “rah-rah Goodkind! He believes what I believe!”-fanboi mode, that’s still potentially millions in book sales.

        And while this book certainly doesn’t seem to be written on a level that, say, a ten-year old couldn’t access, it seems very much to me that Goodkind intended for this to be a serious, adult novel.

        Reply
  3. Pingback: Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 32 | Doing In The Wizard

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