Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 39

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It’s refugee crisis time in Evilton.

THE city of TAMARANG couldn’t hold all the people who wanted in; there were simply too many. People coming from every direction, seeking protection and safety, had overflowed to the countryside around the established quarters. Tents and shacks had sprung up on the bare ground outside the city walls and out onto the hills.

Well better just start killing them. They probably lack moral clarity anyway.

Fruits and vegetables were stacked at other stands.

Fruits and vegetables. Where did these fruits and vegetables come from? Did the desperate, fleeing refugees haul them all the way here? Where did they even get the fruits from since this seems to be a temperate European climate and rapid international transport hasn’t been invented yet?

All the people are way impressed by Kahlan since they can tell immediately that she’s the Mother Confessor. She marches up to the gates of the city all regal-like and Zedd berates the captain of the guard into letting them through. I like how in these scenarios no one ever says “hang on a sec, let me just check with my superiors instead of making a snap judgement that could drastically affect our security arrangements”.

Richard was seeing her world for the first time, the loneliness of it. What had his heart gotten him into? With cold pain, he understood her need for a friend.

Yes poor Kahlan, with people treating her like a God everywhere she goes. And she did have a friend, remember Dinnee or Dennee or whatever her name was.

Though he knew he had no right, the shape of her in that dress was making Richard sweat.

This gets dropped randomly into the scene and is then forgotten about. I hereby dub the phenomenon of male characters ogling women at weird or inappropriate times “Dresden syndrome”.

Queen Evil’s palace is ridiculously huge considering she’s supposed to be the ruler of a minor kingdom- it’s all gigantic, awe-inspiring throne rooms and gigantic, awe-inspiring walls and gigantic, awe-inspiring columns.

Richard felt as little as a bug

No, we’re following Richard at the moment, not Rachel. I know their names are similar but only one of them gets the treacly baby speak.

But Michael’s tapestries were to these as a stick drawing in the dirt was to a fine oil

I’ve been getting historical dissonance for a while here, which makes me wonder exactly what kind of technology level we’re dealing with in Richard-land. The description of Michael’s house made it sound almost modern, but then you’ve got the clearly Ye Olde Fantasy castle that Queen Evil lives in. And they both have tapestries, which are usually associated with medieval times (or at least the pop culture version of “medieval” times) but apparently they also have oil paintings as well?

It’s this tendency you usually see in fantasy novels where the author wants to have the story be set in a fantasy-tinged version of Europe during The Past, a vague and nebulous chunk of history that can encompass everything from the Roman Empire to the 19th century just prior to the industrial revolution.

At their front stood Queen Milena, an amply fed woman in layered silks of garish colors

Look! Look, she’s fat! And she has no sense of style! AREN’T YOU DISGUSTED BY HOW EVIL SHE IS

The Queen turned slightly to the side and handed the little dog to a man in a bright green, sleeved doublet and black tights with red-and-yellow striped pantaloons. There was a whole gaggle of men behind the Queen dressed in similar fashion


Anyway the queen reluctantly kneels and kisses Kahlan’s hand.

“Fidelity sworn to the Confessors, on my crown, on my land, on my life.”

Richard had heard few people lie as smoothly.

Yeah I wonder why she might not be thrilled to be intimidated into swearing fealty to an order of authoritarian despots with mind-control powers.

The Queen introduces her entourage of flunkies, including her court painter, who is creepy and gross. I seem to recall him being mentioned before but I can’t remember the specifics. Kahlan then introduces Zedd (as her cloud reader) and Richard, as the Seeker. Princess Hitler comes striding down the stairs and acts arrogant and snobbish to Kahlan, so Richard threatens to murder her.

The Sword of Truth came out, sending its distinctive ring around the huge room, the stone amplifying the sound. With the sword point an inch from Princess Violet’s nose, he let the anger of it rage through him, to make his words more dramatic.

“Bow to the Mother Confessor,” he hissed, “or die.”

Then he says he’ll cut her tongue off! Our hero.

This is particularly stupid because there is no way in hell princess Violet would act like this. Even if the Queen was really as cartoonishly petty and egotistical as she’s portrayed (and to be fair some people are), she’d still understand the necessity of keeping a respectful face around powerful political figures. Violet would likely have been trained how to act around people like Kahlan, lessons that would presumably include things like “don’t piss off visiting dignitaries, especially when they can have your kingdom overthrown at the drop of a hat”.

He gave her a smile. “You’ve handled it well so far, dear one.”

Why the fuck is Zedd reassuring her, she’s the Mother Confessor, surely she’s done all of this before.

They head off to the dungeon as part of the pretense that Kahlan is here to do legitimate Confessoring and Zedd tells Richard that the creepy artist dude has art The Magic that he can use to do spells on people. Down in the dungeon there are a bunch of dudes sentenced unjustly to die for speaking up against the Queen’s disastrous non-capitalist economic policies (as opposed to peaceful protesters lacking in Moral Clarity and old men who disagree with Richard, who of course deserve to be violently slaughtered). All of them request to be Confessored so they can prove their innocence, but then Kahlan notices that Siddin is imprisoned with them so Richard cuts the bars from their cell. Hi Siddin! I guess Goodkind decided to lay off the grimdark a bit.

I have found all the prisoners innocent, and ordered them released. I trust you are pleased to find I have saved you from executing innocent men, and will see to it that their families are compensated for the trouble this `error’ has caused. If an `error’ such as this is repeated, the next time I return I will not only empty the prison, I will also empty the throne.

Why can’t Kahlan be this awesome all the time?

Turns out Giller is hella dead and swinging from a meat-hook in an upstairs room. Don’t worry though he went out with a bang- literally. The explosion that Rachel saw was Giller using a suicide attack called Wizard’s Life Fire (costs 100 mana and all of the character’s HP) to go nuclear on some of the Queen’s soldiers.

“Yes. And it tastes sweet. That means he gave his life to save another. If he had done it only for himself, for instance to spare himself the torture, it would taste bitter. Giller has done this for another.”

(Note: I originally had a reference to Hiroshima in the following paragraph that after consulting with a read I decided was in poor taste, so I removed it)

So the guards he killed were vaporized and burned into the walls nuclear explosion-style, and the ashes taste sweet which means he sacrificed his life for someone…. okay. Not sure how that works. Through a complicated sequence of magic exposition BS Zedd explains that Giller sacrificed himself while being tortured by Rahl to avoid giving up the name of the person who has the box. Yeah that worked out really well dude, Rachel is totally safe.

Anyway they all leave. That sure was a worthwhile journey. But then!

It wasn’t long before he knew what it was. It was four horses galloping toward them. Only one had a rider.

Well that’s convenient. I wonder who it could be??????





(It’s Chase)

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13 thoughts on “Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 39

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 40 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. andrea harris

    Kahlan sounds like Goodkind wants his badass and eat it too: he wants his main characters to be able to fling themselves about like tin Mussolinis on acid, but he also knows that what makes his clock tick isn’t socially acceptable, even in the ruthless, capitalist USA, so he writes in all this “humble” “uncertain” “lovey-dovey” stuff with Kahlan’s suicidal moping and Richard’s “felt like a bug.” Only he’s not good that that either, because when you get right down to it he’s not as dedicated as Rand was to her vision. Like her or not, she was passionately into her ideas of how men and women should act, and with Goodkind you see a basically middle-class ordinary dude trying to live up to the unrealistic Objective ideal. But no one can do that because basically Objectivism was “be Ayn Rand.” It’s easier to be Jesus than Ayn Rand.

  3. Signatus

    I slept. Like, literally, I fell asleep while reading this chapter and had a tough time to slog through it. Come on, we’re 75% into the book, do something aside from walking and talking and threatening people.

    Geez, seems like threats are a formal way of communication in this planet. I’m not going to say humans do not threaten others, passively or actively, but there is something ritualistic in our ways of communication that allows for societies to thrive in relative peace instead of becoming murderfests of threats and testosterone. Conflict is energy consuming and not very adaptive, wounds tend to fester and an animal that can’t hunt or find food is as good as dead. Social animals take a bigger approach on ritualizing conflicts and keeping social peace because the whole pack is neccesary for the survival of the group.
    This people are a bunch of crazy psycopaths!

    And the whole political commentary is just ridiculous. Goodkind just said it is fine to let other people starve by overpricing the food you sell, while at the same time complaining that the Queen’s tax collectors almost starved your family by charging overly high taxes. That doesn’t make any sense.

    Kahlan was acting awesome in this chapter. I don’t find any logical reason why she wouldn’t act always like that.

    1. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

      When the government charges taxes it’s theft but when you price gouge someone it’s the free market in action, which sanctions and justifies your behavior. Basically if the government does anything then it’s bad, while a business has to do something like deliberately murder people for the sake of murder (if it’s incidental to making money then it’s okay) in order to be bad. American Libertarianism/Objectivism 101.

  4. braak


    “Harry, what did the woman who attacked you look like?”

    “She had the kind of curvy figure that would make you sweat…”

    “Yeah, no, I know she was hot but, like, what did she LOOK like?”

    “She had these adorable earlobes…”

    “Okay, but what does that mean, exactly? They…they were small?”

    “…with these round hips and a spunky nose like someone’s sexy kid sister…”



    1. braak

      MUrphy: Yeah, I don’t know, I guess put out an APB on every woman in a size six with a 36DD bra. Hair color: sexy.

      Dispatcher: What?

      Murphy: It’s the best I could get out of him.

  5. Austin H. Williams

    I was about to comment on the last Wizard’s First Rule entry, remarking that the book is supposedly 3/4 the way through, but it still feels in a lot of ways like the characters and the plot were just sort of floundering along, not really building up to a climax of any sort. Then I realised that quibble didn’t seem legitimate. I saw how there could be potential for a final showdown between Rahl and Richard, there would be some cathartic heroics involving Zedd and Kahlan dealing with the Queen, and ultimately Rachel’s suffering could be redeemed when she gives the book to whomever, and somehow the evil princess got an appropriate comeuppance (appropriate meaning not getting killed by a full-grown man wielding a magic sword).

    But no. The confrontation with the Queen is anticlimactic, Rahl is nowhere to be found, people are still running everywhere with the idiot ball, and as rushed as a heroic climax would have felt at this point, it still would have been better than the anticlimax this story is surely leading up to.

    Other thought: Who would actually look at Richard as a hero at this point? Like, seriously, what does it say about the psychology of the people who read these books that a guy who would butcher old men for disagreeing with him and sends death threats to little girls for being petulant? What kind of resentment, impotence and malice would have to be brimming in someone to read this and think, “God! What a hero!”

    Seriously. Mind = blown

      1. Reveen

        I think if you lined up the traits of both misanthropes and pure Randian Objectivists the result would look less like a Venn Diagram and more like a circle seen by a drunk guy.

  6. Pingback: Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 37-38 | Doing In The Wizard

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