I love that this has been included:
This is the sort of question characters are usually too wise to ask aloud, in Guy Gavriel Kay’s books. This isn’t a bad thing. Those young enough to think of it, in his books, are wise enough to keep the thought to themselves, and I appreciate that. Not all young people are blind to the pitfalls that honesty opens up beneath them. Nor do the very, very young ask such questions, in some gooey pastiche of innocence. Using kid characters as such shills for earnestness is hokey and a little self-righteous, and is thankfully beneath GGK.
But Ned, here, at 15, under duress, bothers to ask. Immediately regrets it, but bothers to ask. And I like that he was allowed to do so. He avoids both seeming like a stupid adult or like a poster-child of innocence — because he’s wedged in that miserable space between the two. Being a teenager is absolutely wretched. But it allows you, in fiction if not in life, to be ephemerally honest, with yourself and with others. And the ephemeral nature of that honesty only serves to heighten its power, and draw attention to its fragility.