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4 years ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Person o... · 0 replies · +2 points

Speaking of costumes: I'm doing a re-watch-along, and something I noticed this time that I've never noticed before: They misdirect us to believe Reese's theory about Root with the casting (Hanna looks a lot more like Root on an obvious surface level), but the hint is there the whole time in the costuming. Both young Sam Groves in the library and present-day Root on the kidnappy road trip wear skinny jeans, a longish white top that reaches low on the hips and drapes there a bit, and a dark jacket over the top. Root would NEVER be seen in a kicky miniskirt like Hanna's unless it was for an alias, and I don't think any of her onscreen aliases ever even called for it.

I was astonished by this especially because both versions of the costume work for the period in which each iteration of Root exists. There are small changes in recognition of how fashion cycles make the old new again but different: grown-up Root is wearing black, probably partially elastic jeans, while young Root is wearing much lighter jeans that seem to be pure denim, for example. And the shoes are different. But the broad strokes of both costumes are the same. I LOVE THIS SHOW.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +9 points


To me, what the core of the book is about is change. And what's key is that change, here, is neither something that just happens as a result of external forces nor solely down to individual action. Ith is able to enact change partially through the help and example of Arhu. Rhiow exhibits continuity--this whole business was tied up with leftovers from her Ordeal--as well as change. And she's able to change, and make change, through the combination of everything in the book: the Powers; her mentors; her team members; her mentee; even the loss of Sue. To me it all comes together in the moment where Arhu and Urruah are begging her to do the spell, and she's struggling with the idea that you can't just ask for what you want. That everything must be an equal exchange (in a sense, a transaction), and can never simply be a wish granted or a desire fulfilled. If there is a moral to this story (there are several, but shh), it's Why Not. Really, why not? Why should the Powers laugh at a supplicant? Why should things stay the way they are? Change isn't presented here as uniformly good (again, Sue), but it is certainly always productive. [Next chapter spoilers] Ruuvs qb unir fbzrjurer gb tb jura gurl qvr. Uhuun vf fzvyvat and the saurians are free.

(I do wonder if Rhiow would have been psychologically able to let go and do the spell, or accept the overall shape of what was happening re: the connection between cats and saurians, if Sue hadn't died. She struggles SO MUCH to overcome her ingrained ideas that I tend to think she needed to be in a pretty desperate place to get where she needed to go. So the Lone Power's machinations backfire again, perhaps?)

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +7 points

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS. Oh, what a relief. Arhu and Urruah pleading with Rhiow to just do the spell as Urruah dies is the thing most burned into my brain from this book. Bless. It's so good.

There's a lot I want to say about the themes of this whole...Thing...but I think it's better saved for a little later.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +10 points

I mean, as always in this book, the primary reference is to Egyptian mythology. That story about SaRaah and the blood-beer is a story about Sekhmet. The Egyptian underworld featured rivers and lakes of fire. Apep the Serpent (the Egyptian Lord of Chaos, enemy of Ra the sun god, here Iau) is clearly the form the Lone One has taken. (I also recently learned that while the etymology of Apep is uncertain, at some point the Egyptians incorrectly took it to be related to a similar word, and glossed it as "he who was spat out"--which is a nice resonance with the books' origin story for the Lone One.) While so far as I know there isn't a specific Egyptian story about a serpent and a tree--this much is clearly Biblically inflected, though serpent/tree combos are found in world mythologies earlier than the Bible*, and independently in other traditions--we could just as easily see this as a mixture with Norse mythology (which does have a world-serpent gnawing at the root of a world-tree). That's even a better fit: while the Garden of Eden has a serpent *in* a tree, it isn't gnawing at the root.

*It's always worth remembering that a lot of what we think of as Biblical, even Old Testament, pre-exists the Bible by a significant period. It was already old when the Babylonians were getting into it. While of course we shouldn't ignore that most of these ideas and images exist in the popular consciousness now via the Bible, and so usually when they show up that is the reference point, that doesn't mean we always have to interpret their presence as explicitly/only in a Biblical tradition; the Bible itself is an entry in a larger, longer West Semitic tradition.

ETA: Also, there are certain Jesus-like resonances in this story (which I remember other commenters noting elsewhere), but Jesus' story is also a relative latecomer in a long history of Dying God stories. Given the Egyptian bent of much of the book, Horus might be the more appropriate reference.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +8 points

I was thinking, this time around--if Arhu hadn't wished, maybe they never would have gotten to the end? If the stairway space is that responsive to people's minds, then if they just expected it to (feel as if it were going to) go on forever...would it?

A lot of the descriptions of this space kind of reminded me of video games, tbh. It's like Arhu found a cheat code. And in the final space where the Tree is, Rhiow remarks on how there's finally "some texture." Like the textures hadn't loaded in the previous renders.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +3 points

Oh my gooooddddddddddd thanks so much for pointing this out

I'm verklempt

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +10 points

Mark's already acknowledged a mistake in this post, so I won't get into that, but I do want to point out that Ith is not their captor. He's their captive. This chapter definitely leans hard on the fact that there is severe potential for the tables to turn and the roles to switch, but at the moment he is their captive. This is maybe less reinforced than it might be otherwise by the fact that Ith doesn't really seem to mind, to the points made by Mark and others about his seeming doubts in what he's been taught.

I remain constantly surprised by the book's length and slow burn! I have the plot pretty well memorized from years of rereading (and probably speed-reading on some of those later ones--at a certain point you're just rereading to let a book kind of remind you of its contents, or get the specific wording and details that you don't hold in your mind, rather than actually re-experiencing the pace and mystery), so it's sort of compressed in my mind. Things I expected to come out pretty fast once they met Ith are still bubbling away under the surface! I think it's very effective writing--this isn't a complaint--but it just keeps surprising me.

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +11 points

THE ETCHINGS AND CARVINGS! And the fact that it’s very clear how the Lone One—still assuming that is who the rogue wizard is—feels about the saurians is EATING ME UP. All of those creatures are “used as a pedestal or footstool, crushed or otherwise thoroughly dominated.” What kind of fascist nightmare is this???

A slight mistake there, Mark--the creatures crushed underfoot are all mammals. It's saurians doing the crushing. Unless I'm misreading what you wrote here? It's definitely still a fascist nightmare! Just a saurian supremacist one, not one of the Lone One expressing Its distaste for Its subjects. (I feel like that would be closer to what we saw on the bug planet in Wizards at War.)

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +13 points

I think Arhu was just going to say something about having Seen how close Rhiow's relationship with Sue was, and express that he's sorry. I'm not sure we would have gotten much more out of him even if Rhiow hadn't snapped; I can't imagine him handling such a thing with much grace at this stage in his life. Awkward-head-bump-of-sympathy-then-run-away feels about right :D

5 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Book o... · 0 replies · +8 points

I assume Duane simply wanted an explicitly feminine noun that would convey She Who Devastates. -trix is a Latin suffix used to form nouns and adjectives naming a female actor (or I guess, actrix); it has the same function as -tor does for male subjects. So it's just a feminine version of Devastator, formed appropriately according to the rules of Latin and English borrowing therefrom. I don't know if Duane was pulling from its existing usage or just made it up; either seems like fair game to me.