Good afternoon! How are you doing so far with the read-along? Hopefully the pace is not too brisk, but we’ll have the weekend off to catch up if you need it. (I do! haha)
Today we head into the first major turning point in young Rhoyan’s life.
But now Rhoyan was determined to add hard work to his raw talent.
This moment, so small and innocuous in the grand scheme of the book, is one of the first major character-building events for Rhoyan. I felt this scene was important for a couple of reasons: 1) it explains the additional skill Rhoyan has acquired with the sword since we last saw him sparring with Ky in chapter 1, and 2) I really wanted to highlight this moment of training and self-motivation. It’s the first time Rhoyan truly pushes himself to be more, to be better than what he can achieve through talent alone. It’s kind of like the scene in Miracle where Herb Brooks tells his Olympic Hockey team, “Gentlemen, you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone!”
I also wanted to infuse the scene with the same feeling that every child has on Christmas morning. That abundance of expectation, the impatience and excitement combined with the frustrated need to wait!
“I’ll be right here.”
The tournament was a fun section to write as I got to use it to give a tiny glimpse of Llycaelon’s customs and culture. This is a warrior race, a warrior people. Even before I knew anything else about the story, way back when I began writing King’s Warrior, I knew that Llycaelon was going to be heavily based on the ancient city-state of Sparta.
I also enjoyed continuing to deepen Ky and Rhoyan’s friendship as they support and cheer for each other throughout the tournament.
He had no desire to heap yet another defeat on his older brother’s shoulders.
Rhoyan, ever the empathetic one of the two, is already keenly aware of Ky’s wounded dignity. And yet, there is also a tinge of arrogant confidence here in Rhoyan, as he faces his brother with complete certainty that his extra training over the past months has bestowed upon him the skill to do something he has never done before: defeat Ky in a sparring match.
“I don’t want him to stop being my friend.”
Agh, my heart! This simple moment between Fiora and Rhoyan is one of those first steps toward tragedy, because, as you’ll soon note, this chapter was never meant to be one of Ky’s defining moments, but Rhoyan’s. His reaction to winning this simple match sets the tone between himself and his brother for years to come. Perhaps if he had trusted Ky’s friendship more… ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The rematch would never take place…
It is interesting to read this section and wonder. What if Rhoyan had sought a rematch? What if he hadn’t put Ky on such a high pedestal? What if Ky really wasn’t as bothered by losing the sword-fight as Rhoyan believed he was? I suppose we’ll never know…
Discussion Questions:1. Any predictions about what is coming? 2. Do you have a favorite character yet? 3. What do you think of the King and Queen? Although they are not main characters in this story, I tried to make sure they were not just shadows in the background, would you say that I succeeded? (you can certainly say, “No” without hurting my feelings, I promise!)