WoT episode 6 : GUYS IT GOT SO GOOD




But first the requisite spoiler text…

As a reminder, I’ve read all the books starting when I was eleven, so I value them from a nostalgia standpoint, but by no means do I hold them up as bastions of fantasy literature or even particularly fine offerings of 1990s genre fiction. They’re just…present, very much so, with 14 several thousand page books comprising the main story. So am I excited about the show? Yes! Do I count myself among the slavering hoards of neckbeards who want to skin alive anyone who dares shake up the gender dynamic (or anything else) in the canon version of the story? No! The canon version of the story leaves much to be desired.







So most importantly: they remembered New Spring! They threw the idiotic Moiraine/Thom pairing conjured at the last minute in the books (to everyone’s bafflement) out the window, where it belongs! Moiraine/Siuan lives!

WHY this is important:

1.) Women over 40 getting boned. Hi, deal with it.

2.) They are extremely in demand and capable and busy (Moiraine is in almost every goddamn scene, cementing alliances, putting out fires, and generally managing EVERYTHING) saving the world, and this isn’t displayed as somehow negating one’s need for love and affection. Or muting it. Or making one bad at dispensing it. When they finally get their one moment alone they joke, they tease flirtatiously, they exhibit no stiltedness, nothing petty, no awkwardness after two years apart. That matters. That we don’t have to swallow cattiness or shallowness or jealousy or suspicion on their parts. (As media so loves to portray women.) That, despite all the very real weight of the world that bows them down, they still find time and energy to love each other. People in power are not always portrayed as being capable of that. Women, less so—since they are so rarely portrayed as occupying those positions of power. It absolutely matters that Moiraine and Siuan aren’t full of shit, when they are surrounded by intrigue and—increasingly—the threat of insurrection.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, look at how beautifully Moiraine both anticipates and deals with that threat, in her very public oath on the Oath Rod. What Siuan asks for is an oath to the Amyrlin Seat, at which my stomach plummeted. Oh god no, not Elaida. But Moiraine doesn’t! Instead she swears to Siuan herself, in whispers we hope/assume were too low for everyone to hear the tenderness and sorrow in them. This oath isn’t in the books; it’s a way to introduce the trappings of the Oath Rod long before Salidar draws it to our attention, and the scene is done so well.

Maybe newcomers to the series found it to move a bit too fast—what is this rod? how does it work? what are these politics? does it matter if you’re gay?—but while I recognize the financial necessity of drawing those people in, I don’t really care personally if they’re on board or at sea. This story should be all Moiraine all the time and, in this episode, it was. And it was so good.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Elaida is set aside in favor of Liandrin in this telling, since we skipped Caemlyn altogether so far (fine by me; the twins are exhausting and boring in equal measure) and she’s being set up so closely to Elaida, values-wise, that it would be difficult to tell them apart for newcomers, were Elaida placed on the Seat. Except for the whole Black Ajah thing, I suppose. It seemed important in the books to emphasize that not all Reds were servants of the Dark One, bigots though they may be. But I don’t know that we have…space? In the show for that? Liandrin would have to be exposed early as Moghedian’s girl for another red to grab the power she has amassed, and still that would confuse a lot of people. “Who is this? What happened to the other evil red? Is this one supposed to be less evil?”


This interview where Rosamund Pike absolutely owns the interviewer asking a boneheaded question about the Moiraine/Siuan relationship: “Have you read New Spring?”

“Oh, you stupid boy.” YES. Moiraine to Mat. Who 100% deserved that. Dragon Reborn my ass, you’re just a greedy kid who almost got yourself killed.

Moiraine’s blackmailing of that snake Liandrin. The satisfaction, I tell you! The shut down!

“If Wisdom is the name you have chosen, it’s time you start using some of it.” BAM. Take your pride and stuff it, Nynaeve! It almost got people killed. Not for the first time.

The White Tower. It looks SO much better than my childhood imaginings. Also just Tar Valon in general? (Though the pronunciation still tweaks me every time.) I don’t know if they used models like in LOTR or if it’s all CGI but it looks fantastic. My only qualms are a couple dawn shots that look at first like we are back in Shadar Logoth. But then, given the age of the city and the wonders practiced there, it makes more sense for it to resemble the past than not, I suppose. It does seem very much deliberately othered for a western audience. “WE ARE NOW IN ANOTHER LAND,” screams eastern-inspired architecture. Which makes me wonder if Caemlyn is going to be (as it was in the books) jolly Olde England. But again, not really keen to find out, since Elayne and Gawain are such pains in the ass. And don’t even get me started on Galad…

“I wish you’d take your meetings in an office like everyone else.” This from the leader of the Blues to Moiraine in the baths. And Moiraine says she’s been on the road forever and please don’t begrudge her this. I mean, yep. Valid.

Mat: bye, buddy. Maybe they’ll use his absence from the Ways as a way to hook in Min (whom we skipped en route to Tar Valon, although without Rand’s sheepherder good nature to entertain her why would she waste her time with surly Mat Cauthon?), bring Thom back in with the limp from the Myrdraal, or maybe just skip right to the Seanchan. Or have someone talk to Padan Fain again instead of just hearing his whistle (did you hear it in Shadar Logoth? And again before we saw him in Tar Valon? I caught it every time and always had to point it out to the people I know watching the show. Listen for it!)

The whole warder thing with Stepin—it’s a good way to showcase the bond and also to set Moiraine up for the transfer of the bond: her seeing firsthand a loss and what it does to the warder who survives. Also I guess if you still don’t like her or think her cold it’s good to see her crying—she does give a fuck about Lan even if they aren’t sleeping together. I feel like a lot of the old guard fans (see: angry neckbeards on Reddit) need to be reminded that one needn’t be fucking someone to respect them. Shocking, I know.

Also consider how well set up Moiraine and Siuan are to share another loss: that of their power. Siuan being stilled and then healed only to a fraction of her ability, and Moiraine being tapped out almost entirely by the people in the ter’angreal: they’ll be able to share that. If the show gets to last until Salidar, which. It better!

The looks that between Moiraine and Siuan in the interview with Nynaeve and Egwene. I LIVED for those. Even more than them actually embracing or anything, the shared knowledge and responsibility and “see who we have here”-ness of those looks carries such WEIGHT. So good. Those are the kind of looks you see pass between adults when you’re a kid and you know they’re in on something you’re not and it’ll take what feels like your whole life to get there.

So in short, the show is pretty great right now.

fates and furies

I didn’t know if I had the energy for another Lauren Groff book so soon—and I still don’t; I didn’t know we were signing up in part for a painstakingly detailed Gen-Xer nostalgia trip and I have an embarrassingly low tolerance for the trials and travails of people who graduated neither into a recession nor into their parents’ political nightmare; jump in a lake with your findable rent-controlled housing and your decent entry-level wages— but she does write beautifully:

“A tiger of light from the transoms prowled the clean pine floor” and


There is, as with Matrix, rather more and emptier sex than one might hope for—if it’s not transcendent do we really have to spend so much time smashed between people’s skins?—but again, elsewhere, she writes beautifully, as if trying to make up for the simplicity of fucking by pounding out the transcendence in other, quieter moments.

At the bookstore, I had paused to consider The Terror, which is up my alley historically, but a pull quote describing it as “a turbocharged vision of popular doom” slotted me decidedly against it. Folks, I live in December 2021. I do not need to spend my sparse free moments in a turbocharged vision of popular doom. That’s redundant.

The shallow carnality of Fates and Furies kind of feels akin to that, though. I hope there is more to it than some dazzlingly charismatic and privately, legitimately sad guy realizing decades too late that his sexual pursuits have been attempts to bury the sadness. That’s a tawdry story and too familiar to anyone who has consumed media in the last 20 years. That ends either in therapy or violence, against himself or maybe others. A story we’re all pretty tired of right now.

wheel! of! tiiiiiime!

Yes, I’m a bit late to post about it, but I got my Covid booster and was somewhat zonked. But it’s for the best anyway since episode four was far better than the previous three. So! As a reminder, I’ve read all the books starting when I was eleven, so I value them from a nostalgia standpoint, but by no means do I hold them up as bastions of fantasy literature or even particularly fine offerings of 1990s genre fiction. They’re just…present, very much so, with 14 several thousand page books comprising the main story. So am I excited about the show? Yes! Do I count myself among the slavering hoards of neckbeards who want to skin alive anyone who dares shake up the gender dynamic (or anything else) in the canon version of the story? No! The canon version of the story leaves much to be desired.

Without further ado then…









I mean, obviously. It’s Rosamund Pike. But there are specific things she’s doing that are great. Donning pants and armor in the opening suiting-up sequence, for example. As the child of someone whose parents owned every Xena Warrior Princess episode, I was pleased that we had a suiting-up scene at all, but particularly that instead of sexualizing like Sailor Moon (or Xena for that matter), we have no boob shot, and she gets to wear pants. Why? Because she’s in the saddle all goddamn day, that’s why. And she dresses for it.

Also, they do a great job early on of clarifying the non-sexual relations between her and Lan. See: the bathtub scene. Two folks naked in a tub, yep, but that’s because they’re in the sticks and there’s only one tub. We have the cloudy-with-herbs-and-soap water for chasteness, sure, but Moiraine also drapes a hand across herself even as Lan requests a magical tune-up to the water’s temperature. They’re familiar with each other’s bodies but not from a habit of commingling them, which is maybe more important for people completely new to the WoT world to realize than not. They don’t have to be sleeping together. It’s great if they are (more on that later, Alanna!) but pointing out that not every Aes Sedai is boning her warder seems expedient. And reminding us as they do in that sweet moment in the tent later—“I shouldn’t have had a drink. You always get emotional when I drink”—that lack of sex doesn’t mean they’re stonehearted coworkers is also important. Because another thing they’re getting right is…


Yeah, Nynaeve, whom I so very much loathed in the books, is fantastic in the show. They ditched all the schoolmarm-y aspects of her and kept the fierceness. Hallelujah! Fierceness, though, is something easily trotted out in women characters of the aughts. What stands out so for for Nynaeve is her undoing—her realizing that all her ferocity and even her willingness to use a knife won’t matter a whit in the literal battle she finds herself swept up in. It’s a difficult visual story to tell: we need to know not just that she’s terrified but that she feels useless: her one petty knife is not going to turn this battle or even keep herself alive; the people with the power are the people with the Power and they’re using it in ways she can’t. And they do tell this story, without words, just bouncing back and forth between the enemy, Nynaeve, and the Aes Sedai and warders turning the forest into a tiny Verdun. It’s so well done, and it manages to portray a breakdown without any of those hokey effects so common to tv shows: stutter-cuts intended to give the effect of perception slowing down, echoey sound, or killing the rest of the soundscape in favor of heavy breathing. The battle had some moments that were a little too Guy Ritchie for me, but I suppose if that’s the fashion what are you going to do.

Also, Nynaeve emerging swamp fox-esque from the pool to end that trolloc was so badass, and that she appeared braid first must have been empowering for people who never get to see themselves kicking ass on-screen.

Speaking of ass-kicking—

The Women’s Circle

—was so very much improved in the show versus the books. In the books it’s a group of women who are gratuitously secretive about periods and puff up their feathers and complain a lot. In the movie they laugh loudly and drink beers and clink glasses and encircle trollocs with pitchforks and taint them basically to come at me, bro. It’s great. It’s a small thing in the grand scheme of the show, but it’s great. Speaking of gender,

Gay People Exist!

—in this show and it’s about time. I’ve ranted before about the terrible representation in the books—first where lesbianism was a thinly veiled label for evil (hi, Galima) and then in the pathetic attempt to make amends for that by making vaguely hand-waves gestures toward a Sea Folk diplomat and her landlubber pillow-friend—and I didn’t have great hopes for the show. But in an aside where Rand is correcting a barmaid’s assumption that he and Mat were lovers, his dismissal is shockingly gentle. Not disgust, not testosterone-laden bravado, just a laugh and the comment that if he were looking for a man he could do better. I know it’s not as open as one might like, but the fact that it was there at all, and so lightly done, gives hope. One might even go a far as to hope that Min might solve some of the ridiculous imbalances in Rand’s dumb threesome by being interested in some of the other women…but let’s not pin our hopes too high. This is still Amazon trying to capture what it thinks mainstream ex-GoT people want. Which brings us to…


The Landscape Composite Shots

Look, the close-up CGI in this show is fantastic. Myrdraal are terrifying. Saidin’s tainted madness forms whispering to Logain were beautiful, visible realizations of a very abstract concept. Even the trollocs—to my continuing amazement—look good, and not like someone raided the prop closet of a Willow remake.

But that is where the CGI budget went in this show. The close-ups. The composites of the mountains in the background with the Two Rivers in the foreground are just terrible. The light falling on each landscape doesn’t even match. The distance between the mountains and the village makes no visual sense. And who in their right mind would place a village right in the path of every rampaging mudslide, snowmelt or avalanche event? It’s like pitching your tent in a ravine.

They filmed in Slovenia and the Czech Republic for this show and the landscapes are beautiful. Stark, at times, but beautiful. Cramming those visceral landscapes into poorly-matched CGI composites kills the grandiose vibe and makes it feel, as one friend noted, like “a made-for-tv miniseries from the 80s.” Guys, you trekked all the way out there to film in the frigid plains and mountains. Let those visuals speak for themselves! Don’t clutter them up with your sets poorly cropped into the frame. You don’t need to see the whole lofty mountain range behind the Two Rivers. We’ve seen Rand’s house! Egwene’s leap! We get it! Don’t insist on having all the majesty slapped in there with daily life village scenes. Spread it out a bit. And if you can’t bear to do that, in the name of world building, maybe you should have made a pilot episode that ran 90 minutes instead of 60. Because you’re trying to do a lot in those 60 minutes and your imagery is suffering as a result.

Note that I leave out of this critique the Horizon Zero Dawn-esque views of the pillars below the Mountains of Mist, as Lan and Moiraine head for the Two Rivers. Those were cool. What at first glance could be karst towers like those in Guizhou turn out in fact, possibly, to be the ruins of some sort of long-ago skyscrapers. I know a couple newcomers to the series who resented this from the outset but, sorry to say, it’s canon. If not those specific ruins, then certainly the assumption that our world collapsed some time in the distant past and this is the world that is left. Later in the books in some ter’angreal we even see references to tanks and trench warfare and guns. Was I happy about it when I read it as kid? No, no more than I was happy about the dragonriders of Pern stemming from ancient earth people (us). But I’m just saying, that’s not the show’s fault. And anyway the world as we know it would have happened at least two ages ago; it’s not like anyone’s great great grandparents remember cheering at a Steelers game or anything. So cool it on the righteous fantasy outrage.

Mat’s Shitty Family Life

This isn’t a real complaint because giving Mat shit parents gives him a reason to be who he is, and puts us in the regrettable position of feeling for him—but that’s why I’m complaining. I hate Mat Cauthon. He’s a player and a sleezeball and I can’t count the number of guys I’ve met who read the books for whom to Mat’s “hurr, I’ll just drink and dice my cares away, oh and teach this street urchin about pinching barmaids’ butts, oh by the way please sit on me pretty lady” approbation is their honest response. And now I have to care about him? To feel sorry for him? I don’t want to feel sorry for him! But I do. Fuck that.

Thom’s Spaghetti Western Guitar Riff

…when he walked into the shot with the Aiel outside the mining town. I laughed audibly. This isn’t exactly a real complaint either, because it was entertaining, but it was a little slapstick for a character who is supposed to serve as the moral compass. Maybe it was them trying to get a Witcher-like gag in (“he thrust every elf / far back on the shelf!”), but it was a bit much. But I’m also probably more into morose, serious fantasy than campy fantasy, so that may be on me.

My biggest actual complaint is just

The Kids

—because they are whiny and we spend way too much time in the first three episodes listening to them whine and churn up relationship drama. (Except Perrin—Perrin is a Good Boy and must be protected at all costs*.) Rand is such a shitheel it’s a shock that he doesn’t open his mouth in front of the Whitrcloaks. Egwene exhibits none of her lately-developed sense in putting up with Rand’s sulking over her wanting to have A Life and A Career and Goals, instead of just getting pregnant with his kids for the next two decades. Mat is Mat. (Ugh.)

The real reason episode four shines is that we don’t have to listen to the Two Rivers kids the whole time. We get to meet people who actually know things! And are doing things! Other than whining! Here’s to hoping we get more of that in episode five.

* I don’t know why they gave him living parents but a dead wife. I assume we will get more flashbacks that perhaps use her to expand on the limited gender roles available in the Two Rivers: she clearly didn’t belong there and hated the normal Women’s Circle stuff. Brawny and bristling with piercings, she made no sense in the Two Rivers and I was sad to see her go. But maybe they just wanted to load Perrin up with extra emo. Or to explain why he falls for someone like Faile later. (I loathed Faile the first time around but upon my second read-through a decade later, having fought off my own Berelain from my then-boyfriend’s heels, I was somewhat more sympathetic. Berelain is the absolute worst.)

sign me up


That guy usually creeps me out. Even when he plays someone not designed to be unhinged per se, he still seems like…like if he were your uncle, in Signs for example, you’d worry about him exploding at some point. He had dreams and he didn’t reach them and he stares too hard or pauses too long before a response to a question, and you think, “is he just spacing or is he reminiscing and is he going to lash out because whatever he thought his life would look like, it doesn’t?” Even if you aren’t as a child articulating it like that, you can sense when some adults want something they never got, and when they’re not okay with that. It’s unnerving. Because they could turn it on you.

But if he can really set those trappings aside for some quiet movie with light and kindness in it, I’ll watch.

you go girl

I love The Man. I love the shiv of the chant in the chorus, like school ground taunting (which most girls know firsthand). I love the video too (people still make music videos??), the grossness of the second-to-last section, how she leans into it, making you look. This is what they dooooo, that visual says. I used to defensively shrug off that reality, like “oh duh, of course they do.” As though I didn’t care. As though it was normal and thus, acceptable. I did that in response to Michel Houellebecq’s shitty novel along those lines, when the man who introduced me to it seemed almost to want me to be offended (how often do men do this? on the Internet especially? throw some vile behavior in your face and wait gleefully for a reaction? as though having feelings is the failure?), snorted and said “oh yeah, well, obviously he keeps going after younger and younger women.” Said man eventually dumped his wife while she had stage four cancer so he could impregnate his decade-younger coworker. True story!

I am done shrugging it off. Yep, that’s shitheel behavior and bravo for her for calling it out and having the money and resources not to give a fuck if people turned up their noses at the oblique condemnation of shitty behavior.

Anyway, after falling for “The Man” I read every long form article that accompanied some new album of Swift’s, because you have to respect the re-recording of her entire discography to take control of it back from some asshole hedge fund manager. Especially as it means confronting your younger self over and over with each lyric. And all the mess that went with it.

If we’re being strictly literal, I can’t relate to half her stuff. I’m only two years older than her but it feels like more. High school drama, even in retrospect, is anathema to me. I refused to put up with some of the bullshit relationship dynamics she describes, because my mother taught me not to and I listened. I have zeeeero patience for the “bad boy” aesthetic, culturally or emotionally. (Sup honey, if he can’t take care of himself he sure as fuck ain’t gonna take care of you. Or even your dog if you go out of town.) But we’re not being strictly literal because it’s music and what, you think her legions of Gen Z (and younger? older? who are they?) fans can relate to mountains of money and private jets? Pssh.

All of which is to say this new album is great. I don’t have a history with it; I didn’t listen to it sobbing through breakups like I guess many people have. But the heavy production value of especially the stuff that didn’t make it onto the original album is great. It dates me but it’s great. I appreciate a chest-squeezing melody on an acoustic guitar, sure, but I also appreciate being blown out of the room by a thud, like in The Moment I Knew.

I guess actually that big overblown bass in the chorus is comparable to the loudest version of Someday the Dream Will End, off-handedly dismissed once by my mom as “the sound of a straw sucking at the bottom of a glass,” which crushed my adolescent self. But still, it’s great.

I hope she swabs the decks with the entrails of that hedge fund guy’s trust fund.

random music fridays : eochaid

Fiddles, bodhran drums and concertinas! (Also, surprise! A keyboard.) But don’t retreat in a huff if that isn’t your jam; this is not traditional by any means: it starts off like a down-and-out anthem and turns into what feels like a musical. And I don’t like musicals generally! But there aren’t any voices making this mawkish, so it’s just a good, swelling time. Enjoy!

Eochaid means horse. I wish I knew horses enough to make something like this about them. Though they might also be referencing a king of the Picts.

once more with too much feeling

I started The Overstory by Richard Powers but I don’t know that I can command the emotional endurance to finish it. It’s exhausting. Beautiful, but exhausting. So much sadness. I am so tired of sadness.

After seeing it referenced obliquely and tangentially for years I finally bothered to get it when I read part of an interview that said writing it had exhausted Powers. I figured something that had been so draining to write must be worth reading. And it is! But maybe not by me. I would feel more reassured that the prose wouldn’t leave me in a dark pit of despair if it were someone like Colum McCann writing. I know he won’t do that to us; whatever emotional cesspit he drops you in he’ll always pull you out with something sparkling and meaningful and true.

But the first chapter of this was just, fuck. I read it all in one sitting, staying up long past when I ought to have gone to sleep, and then lay there in the dark feeling slugged in the gut. Making coffee the next morning I kept googling chestnut trees, trying to see if science had brought them back yet. The short answer is no.

And now the next chapter. Dementia? Again? Can we just not? I hate putting down a book I’ve already marked up with so many moments I want to take away from it, but.

I have pushed myself through so many books in my life that were just cruel. Maybe witty, maybe brilliant sometimes, but books whose conceit lay in their conviction that filleting you open and then leaving you out on the rocks to rot at the end was Good Literary Practice. I don’t mean books about hard things. I mean books that take the time to delicately and with a kind of sinister delight twist the knife. A lot of time this comes with satire. Sometimes not. But I no longer reach the end of such books and congratulate myself. It just…sucks. Saving your most lyrical phrases for your most horrible moments and then letting them go…it’s like you’re demanding us as readers to watch you release butterflies into a bell jar and then gas them to death. I really, really hate it.

Even the bit the I’ve read, just…dude, no. Dementia doesn’t look like that. You wrote clean, cute Hollywood dementia. Not the mess. Not the anger, the piss. Just cute little old ladies forgetting things. I have such disdain for that kind of ignorance. You’re going to force me to read your poetic language about brutal violence and yet you couldn’t be bothered to expose yourself to this ugly disease in the face? Tit for tat, my man. I won’t suffer for your poetry if you won’t stare into the absence of mine.

harissa beans on toast

Improve your morning!

I know, it’s not pretty. I don’t take pretty food pictures. I try, but I always have two dogs circling the food in question inside, and if I’m trying to make it look good outside there’s the constant threat of sticks or leaves falling in it. Which has happened. So this looks a bit more Halloween-esque than I might like.

But who cares how it looks? This tastes delicious, and is more frankly named here than the NYT listing for it. But this is that, with the following exceptions:

Six eggs

1 can of chickpeas

1 can of diced tomatoes (sorry but all my fresh tomatoes are done for the year, alas)

carrots instead of a bell pepper (I didn’t have bell pepper)

1 tablespoon of dry harissa spice instead of wet paste (probably not a 1:1 substitute but I’m a wimp)

sour cream instead of crème fraîche (again, what I had)

Lime juice instead of lemon

White vinegar instead of red

Also I did not separate the beans from the veggies because I only have so many pans.

But! This is great. So, so good. The Simply Organic people put out harissa and I was excited to use it as much as possible—I haven’t gotten ahold of harissa in years. This toast is fantastic.


I should have devoured this book in a weekend, as I wanted to, instead of rationing it out like water on a long run. I shouldn’t have given myself time to grow tired of the return to lust, for it to feel repetitive–I should have just wolfed it down while all of it filled me with wonder.

But when I do that it all becomes a blur. By pacing it out over a week I was able to finish it with a need to go back and find out where a particular line that was nagging at me occurred–and to give up on that quest, only to discover that thankfully I had taken a picture of it on my phone. Or folded a corner. That sacrilege I used to pride myself on avoiding–such preening over a book that, upon finishing, looked unread–that now I greedily perform, no longer vain enough to imagine people coming after me through untrodden fields. Or maybe no longer interested in appearing ephemeral, present only in the collection on the shelf and not in pages dog-eared and margins written in.

I loved Matrix. It has been a long time since I loved a book that didn’t revolve around grief as its centerpoint. Or since a book felt wise without…pretension. Wise women rarely get to be earthy in contemporary fiction. They are fragile as birds, or hard and cruel, or shaped by cavernous absence. I guess that last maybe applies here, but instead of being defined by that absence she expands to absorb and contain it and grow beyond it, which is often written about but rarely cleverly, lovingly portrayed. A book being both clever and loving is rare. With no smirk hidden behind a hand, either.

this. book.

It’s true fantasy. It’s magnificent. The fantasy is in this kind of a person being allowed to exist in the 12th century. I worry she’ll end like I worried they’d end Alexandra in O Pioneers. But then they didn’t end her that way—a mob, a rope, or maybe stones—and so I maintain hope that this book’s goal is not to leave us with a trickling hollow in our hearts intended to instruct (how many more cruel lessons do we need?) but rather to lavish us with possibility and leave us exulting in it.

This book is so short. I don’t want to finish it but it is so slim. I just want to read it forever.

True fantasy:

This is like Alanna of Trebond for adults. Or any other heroine were were silly enough to fall in love with before we realized we could never become them. This book is so good.

Also, I love when sex is centered in a soul but said soul is allowed to be adept at, and animated by, other things too. So rarely are we allowed that, without being caricatures.