One thing I really appreciated about this section was how it went to such lengths to remind us that, for all that slavery is bad (thankfully a mostly accepted truth these days), Tortall at the time isn't modern-day America. Slavery is terrible, but it's something that most Tortallans take for granted, and it's a really big deal to get rid of it that quickly.
Look at the king's evident nervousness when he made the announcement, or at Beka's almost throwaway comment about the people who'd be unhappy because they'd always had the possibility of selling someone into slavery as a last-ditch money-maker, and that'll now be gone. It's really not the sort of thing that's going to occur to a modern reader, because most of us were raised with the idea slavery=bad. It is, of course, but the people who've been living with it their whole lives aren't going to see it the same way, and I appreciated that reminder.
That is such a good point. Kudos for picking up on that, and thank you for the reminder! I always get so irked at Tunstall's attitude during that section that I somehow manage to minimize the very real and terrifying danger in this world of an enemy mage having a piece of you that way.
I'm with you on the side characters in PotS, for all that that is my favorite series. I love them all because they're all, you know, Kel's friends, but any of her page friends besides Neal (the snarky old one), Owen (the jolly young one) and occasionally Merric (the redhead) all kind of blend together for me.
I miss the Lower City crowd, I've got to admit. I'd read a whole book that was just vignettes of Beka and the breakfast gang.
This is about the point in the book where I start to love each section more than what's come before. How real can it get? Pretty frickin' real!
I really enjoyed how Mark's review this time around picks out all the same things that give me the warm fuzzies about this section - Farmer's clarity on asking for consent with his magic, and how awesome it is that the new queen was the source behind the king growing the hell up and taking an interest in ruling well. (I love how matter-of-fact Sir Tullus is about it, too - none of this Cult of the Gentle Mother nonsense about how The Wimmenz Should Stay In Their Place [Which Is In The Kitchen And/Or Birthing Bed]. He's the best.)
V nyjnlf xvaq bs nffhzrq gurl jrer va ba vg sebz gur ortvaavat (jul fjvgpu ubefrf va zvqfgernz, nsgre nyy?) - jvgu gung va zvaq, creuncf gur pbvaf unir fbzr fbeg bs ybj-yriry yvfgravat/genpxvat fcryy ba gurz? V qba'g erzrzore jurgure gung jnf nqqerffrq va gur grkg be abg, gubhtu.
I spent the first ~25 years of my life blissfully unaware that the Thames was pronounced "Tems," because why would you do that. British placenames...they're a thing.
I more or less always identified Tortall's Goddess with Artemis/Diana anyway - all of those things (moon, dogs, maidens, etc.) are attributes of her as well, along with the maiden/mother/crone trifecta. Plus the idea that a shot from her bow would kill instantly but leave no mark - that was one of the ways ancient Greece tended to explain inexplicable deaths.
I have nothing to say beyond the fact that I, too, love the reveal from Hans on pigeon-back, and the artful way it's shown as understandable but not justified by showing Steen's reaction.
(Also, now that shit's been getting real for a while now, kudos to Mark for being able to stop. It's certainly more than I've ever been able to do with this book at this point!)