Second Son Read Along: Chapter 18

Second Son Read Along

I hope you are enjoying February is Fantasy Month!

Today we join Brant and Arnaud as they travel home and have to tell Aunt Euphie and Uncle Barr about the results of the Naming Ceremony. Let’s go find out what they’re up to!

Kiernan Kane

He’s kind of been popping up all over the place in this book, hasn’t he? The wandering minstrel certainly seems to always be in the right place at the right time…

Back Home

Brant and Arnaud reach home and begin regaling Arnaud’s aunt and uncle with details about their trip. We see that Brant has a bit of a sense of humor after all, and then… Arnaud drops the bombshell.

But before we can find out how everyone reacts… the author goes and switches scenes on us!

She’s kind of notorious for that…

New Characters!

Here we get a glimpse into the life of four sisters: Calyssia, Dylanna, Leila, and Zara. Each one with their own unique personality and strengths, I hope you got at least a bit of a feel for each of them in this short scene. You’ll get to know them a bit better later on in the story. Weaving them into the story was a lot of fun. You meet each of them in King’s Warrior, as well, but they play some very different roles in that story. One of the best things about writing a prequel is being able to go back and delve into the back stories of ALL the characters and get to show them younger and less mature and in different roles!

The announcement

Much to Arnaud’s surprise, his aunt and uncle AREN’T surprised. Of course they knew his heritage, though they never dreamed it would actually lead him to the throne someday. My siblings joke that “Euphie” and “Barr” are the worst names I ever gave to a set of characters. But just like books, you can’t judge them solely by their titles. Do you have a Euphie or a Barr in your life? A parent or mentor figure who has loved, supported, and encouraged you? I hope so. Everyone needs someone like that in their lives. Arnaud would certainly be a very different sort of person without them.

But the more important part of this section is that Arnaud reveals to Brant that he is pretty sharp. He hasn’t forgotten the strange circumstances that led to them meeting, nor did Brant’s behavior on their trip and in the palace go unnoticed. However, Arnaud’s trust in Brant is also complete, and he does not press his friend for answers.

This loyalty does not go unnoticed by Brant, and he determines to stay by Arnaud’s side and help him in any way that he can. He even returns to his training regimen after dark so that he can be ready for anything Arnaud might need.

Time passes and Arnaud turns 21. The celebration preparations consume the family and the day arrives… but with it comes Scelwhyn with the somber news that King Jairem has died and Aom-igh needs her new king to take his place on the throne.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do you celebrate your birthday?
2. What do you think of the four wizardess-sisters?
3. Did you have a favorite moment in this chapter?

~ jenelle

Fantasy Favorites Blog Tag

February Fantasy Month Banner

What is a celebration without a few games? We’ve already kicked off the hashtag game over on the other social media sites, and today I’d like to introduce you to the brand-new blog tag for this year!

We’ve had lots of fun with these tags the past couple of years, so here’s a new one (though, you can feel free to to one of the old ones if you’d like. You can find them HERE and HERE.

This year, I’m focusing on our favorites in fantasy. Feel free to grab these questions, answer them on your own site, and then keep the fun alive by tagging your blogging buddies!

Fantasy Favorites Tag

Rules:

Thank the blogger who tagged you.

Include the graphic somewhere in your post.

Answer the questions.

Tag a few blogger friends – and let them know they’ve been tagged

Have fun!

What is your favorite fantasy book?

Kicking this off with a super hard question to answer, of course. My FAVORITE fantasy book. How can I pick just one? Who thought UP these questions?

Okay.

I look at my shelves and I start to pick one, then another. I hug them close and know that the answer is “ALL OF THEM” and how can I choose just one? Then I give up and cry a little.

But when I pick myself up off the floor, I know there can be only one. It’s the one I am drawn back to time and again. It’s the one that I will recommend most often, defend most ardently, and always be up for a good, long conversation about. Over on social media over the past 5 days I’ve talked a bit about various different favorite fantasy books… mostly trying to avoid being cliche and/or just using “LOTR” as my answer for EVERY QUESTION because that would be SO EASY…. but here on my blog, where it really counts, where I can talk about my favorites without any sort of character limit… there is only one ultimate favorite… and it is a clear, clear winner, far and away the story that stole my heart and never gave it back:

The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I know that’s cheating because it’s more than one book, but it’s my tag, so I can get away with it. Besides, Tolkien wanted LOTR to be all one book, so author’s wishes prevail here.

What is your favorite fantasy movie or TV show (or both!)?

This one is a little easier. Favorite fantasy movie is Ladyhawke.

Surprised?

Well, I’d have said The Princess Bride, but Ladyhawke has more fantasy elements, so I think it fits for this question a bit better.

Of course I also love The Lord of the Rings trilogy dearly, and the newer The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, as well as the Hobbit trilogy The Neverending Story and SO MANY OTHER awesome fantasy movies including How to Train Your Dragon (see end of post for related awesome giveaway going on now!) and Tangled as my animated favorites, most of the Marvel and DC movies (and I’ve got a whole post coming up later this month devoted to lesser-well-known favorite fantasy films) but… at the end of the day… no matter what my mood, no matter what other movies have captured my heart… this answer remains steadfast.

Ladyhawke

Favorite fantasy TV show is Grimm. Hands down, without question. **Disclaimer: Grimm is pretty dark and can be creepy, intense, scary, and overly graphic when it comes to violence… I don’t necessarily recommend it, but it is my favorite fantasy TV show** I also love Merlin, but I haven’t finished it yet… so I don’t think I can count it as a favorite until I have done that… as I’ve heard it has a bummer of an ending.

Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine?

My favorite fantasy hero is probably Haplo from The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I don’t talk about him much, because I don’t happen across very many people who are familiar with this series, but Haplo is my all-time favorite. Which is saying something! I love that he kind of starts out as an anti-villain but over time he begins to realize more and more that he is NOT the hero he thought he was, and overcomes the lies he’s been told and ultimately becomes a true hero.

A few runners up would be Ben Holiday from Magic Kingdom for Sale: Sold, Eugenides from The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, and Chrestomanci from the Chrestomanci Chronicles.

My favorite fantasy heroine is Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. I love her wry sense of humor, her pragmatic personality, and her go-getter attitude. If she was a real person, we’d definitely be friends in real life.

Runners up would be Eowyn from Lord of the Rings, Eilonwy from the Prydain Chronicles, and Hermione from Harry Potter.

Who is your favorite fantasy side-kick?

This one is tough, because I tend to be drawn to secondary characters more than main ones. Samwise Gamgee is definitely high on the list. I also love Luna Lovegood, Eustace Scrubb (after he turns into a dragon, of course), Fflewdder Fflam, Rowl, and many others.

Who is your favorite fantasy villain? (the one you most love to hate?)

I’m going to have to go with Sycorax Cavendish from The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher. Of all the fantasy villains I’ve read, she is hands down the most shudder-worthy!

What is your favorite fantasy sub-genre?

Based on the books I own… epic is my favorite sub-genre. If it has quests and prophecies and magical weapons, dark lords and something about the end of the world…. WE WANTS IT, PRECIOUS!

What is your favorite thing about fantasy?

The characters.

I love a lot of things about fantasy. But my FAVORITE thing is that by and large, across genres and age-levels, magic systems and unique worlds… fantasy characters are among some of the most real, well-written characters out there. They step off the page and steal my heart as they whisk me along on their various adventures.

What is your favorite fantasy realm?

Narnia.

No contest.

What is your favorite fantasy magic system?

I tend to like the magic systems where the magic isn’t really the focus. People just have it, but I don’t need to know how or why or what-have-you about it. If the magic system becomes too much of the focus, I find that it detracts from the story and the characters. (Not always, Harry Potter is a notable exception). (And before anyone brings up Sanderson, I’m just gonna say this right now… his books are EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Too much world-building, not enough character-building).

Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it! Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

I just recently finished So Sang the Dawn by Ann Marie Pavese and it was spectacular! I am planning on doing a formal review later, but for right now, this is one you definitely don’t want to miss. I like massive books, but even I can admit that most of them could have been just as good or better if the author had pruned a couple thousand words or more. Not so with this book. The story and world and characters absolutely call for the book to be the size it is. The pacing is excellent throughout and the story never felt like it was lagging or “boring” anywhere. I also don’t always love 1st person stories, but again, this story did it SO well, I kind of forgot it was in 1st person at times. Add in kidnapping, gladiators, an entire fantasy realm hidden in Antarctica, and people with the ability to turn into enormous magical lions with wings… and it all adds up to an awesome adventure.

What are you waiting for?

And that concludes this tag! If you like the look of this one, consider yourself tagged!


 

Speaking of fantasy favorites, one of my all-time favorite fantasy animated films is How To Train Your Dragon. It’s about time for a re-watch… actually. And we are all SUPER excited about the new movie coming out this month! If you love this movie, you should definitely head over and check out this AWESOME giveaway of all the HTTYD-themed things! The Grand Prize is worth over $200 of amazing draconic items!


 

Here is a “clean” set of questions so you can grab them and use them on your own blog!

What is your favorite fantasy book?
What is your favorite fantasy movie or TV show (or both!)?
Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine?
Who is your favorite fantasy side-kick?
Who is your favorite fantasy villain? (the one you most love to hate?)
What is your favorite fantasy sub-genre?
What is your favorite thing about fantasy?
What is your favorite fantasy realm?
What is your favorite fantasy magic system?
Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it! Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

~ jenelle

Fantasy Month Giveaway

February Fantasy Month Banner

An extra post for you today because I just had a brilliant idea… mostly because I just saw this little fun thing and thought it was awesome and decided to make it part of the Fantasy Month celebration!

 

Isn’t that super cool? It’s a letter-opener… and it’s a dragon!

So here’s the deal. I’m making this into a February is Fantasy Month Giveaway! Whoever leaves the MOST COMMENTS on the tour blog posts over the course of the month will win this little guy!

(US entries only, unfortunately… some countries have some weird restrictions about allowing me to send my postage-carrying dragons across their borders carrying things that could be considered “weapons”)

Any blog post on the tour is fair game, and I’ll give you until March 3 to get your comments in! In the case of a tie… I’ll pull names from a hat!

~ jenelle

Second Son Read Along: Chapter 17

February Fantasy Month Banner

Good morning! I am feeling much better this week, and hope you are all doing well. February is Fantasy Month got off to an awesome start on Friday and I couldn’t be more pleased with how well it’s going so far. Make sure to check the pinned post for the schedule to see which blogs to hit up and where you can read all the awesome fantasy content. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing our annual game of tag here so that you can join in this fabulous fantasy frolic if you’d like.

But for now, let’s get back to Second Son and find out what Brant is up to since we saw him last.

Second Son Read Along

A Naming Ceremony

A year has passed, and true to his word, King Jairem is getting ready to announce the name of his heir. This is a very exciting moment for the people of Aom-igh, for they have been wondering who will take the throne next, since their king has no children and there is no obvious direct “next in line” choice.

Here we get to see a little bit of the difference between the cultures of Llycaelon and Aom-igh, as Brant is aghast at the idea of the king simply choosing someone. True, his own family has managed to consistently produce heirs for a couple of centuries, but Brant knows that should there be no direct descendant, there would have to be a contest of some sort to determine the best candidate, even if that person wasn’t of royal blood.

Being royalty himself, Brant is unimpressed by the idea of seeing royalty. But his adopted brother is eager to go to the naming ceremony, and so Brant joins in on his enthusiasm.

What would you do if you were king?

Arnaud can have no idea the wound he is opening with that simple and — in light of their current pilgrimage — completely natural question!

“That life isn’t for me, I wasn’t meant to be king. I’d rather wander forever. The only mistake Yorien ever made was when he tried to go back home.”

“Mistake? How was it a mistake? His family was there,” Arnaud argued, “why wouldn’t he return to them?”

“Because when he left they forgot him, so he ought to have forgotten them as well,” Brant’s voice was harsh, too harsh, he realized, but he could not seem to stop. “It would have been better for everyone if he had simply remained forgotten. Instead, he tormented them by returning home. Don’t you see? They thought he was gone forever, and then, there he was again, but how could they ever be certain he would stay? How could they ever trust him again?” There was pain in Brant’s voice that he could not hide.

Arnaud fell silent, thinking about what Brant had said. After a moment he spoke, his voice serious, “I’d take the crown like a piece of land and do everything in my power to cultivate and grow that land. When I could do no more, I’d hand the reins to the next good man so he could continue the work.”

“You might find it hard to give up,” Brant warned bitterly.

“No, I don’t think so.”

There’s a LOT of foreshadowing in this little conversation.

Ayollan

One of the things I loved about writing Second Son was getting to explore the different locations around this world I’d created. Because of reasons I can’t expound on because 4th book spoilers — I wanted the cultures of the different countries to feel similar, while still being unique from one another. I’m not sure I mastered that, but I tried. World-building is something I’ve learned a lot more about since writing this first series.

Jairem Preparing for the Ceremony

We get another glimpse into the inner chambers of Jairem’s life here. We see his relationship with his staff, discover he has a sense of sarcasm that he desperately tries to keep in check, and his honest eagerness to inform his chosen successor of his new role in life.

The Naming Ceremony and Beyond

Man, this was a fun scene to write. From Brant recognizing the king as the traveler who ate with them a year ago, to his moment of amused realization that he is the only person in the crowd absolutely guaranteed NOT to be named the king’s successor, to Arnaud’s instantaneous terror and confusing when he hears his own name called… everything just kind of came together in this scene. Arnaud’s numb response to his summons, Brant’s banter with Scelwhyn (which sort of turned into an impromptu job interview!)… that was indeed a pleasure to pen.

And then we get to the moment of truth. The one where Arnaud is beginning to realize that this is his destiny, that the innocent conversation he had a few days before with Brant has become a reality and now he must own the answer he gave and take on the responsibility he has been given.

Discussion Questions:

1. There were a lot of little moments in this chapter… meaningful lines and fragments of glimpses into characters and cultures, as well as some foreshadowings and…. backshadowings? (Not entirely certain if there is a word for what I mean here). Did any of them jump out at you in particular?

2. What would YOU do if you were suddenly announced as the heir to some position of high importance?

 

 

~ jenelle