Hope you all had a lovely weekend! It snowed here last night (FINALLY!!) and later this week we’re supposed to hit windchills of -40 to -50 degrees! (But hey, all the creepy-crawlies around here are all well and truly dead… so that’s a plus)!
Remember, this is the last full week of read-along posts because FEBRUARY IS FANTASY MONTH starts on Friday! I’ve got 20+ bloggers signed up to bring you all sorts of fantasy awesomeness on their blogs, and I’ll be posting the schedule and more info on Friday morning before the afternoon read-along post. Then, through February, we’ll alternate: M/W/F posts for the read-along, with T/TH posts about fantasy stuff.
(I’m already getting some of my posts written, but if you have ANY requests of things for me to write about for my FIFM posts, please let me know in the comments and I’ll try to accommodate!)
Today we begin the second part of this book. Rhoyan has a new name (Brant), he’s on a new adventure, and I’m sure exciting times are ahead of him, so let’s find out what he’s up to, shall we?
The chase is on
Poor Brant! Even slipping away under the cover of darkness is not enough to keep him safe. Scarcely has he begun to flee than he realizes that he is being chased.
As he flees, desperately racing to stay ahead of the larger vessel, Brant avoids sleep as much as possible. I was kind of shooting for the same feel I get whenever I watch “The Spirit of St. Louis” – if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it – but for a good part of the movie you’re just watching Charles Lindberg struggling to stay awake so he doesn’t crash his plane in the Atlantic Ocean! I didn’t want to drag that out, but I did want to capture that sort of feeling.
Thus, when a storm hits and he needs his wits the most… they abandon him and he curls up in his cabin and falls asleep, unable to sort out what to do to keep himself and his ship intact.
Miraculously, the ship makes it through the storm and gets tossed up on the jagged rocks of an unfamiliar shore.
A vast desert stretched in every direction
Confession time: I’ve never been to a desert. The closest I’ve ever gotten was the sand dunes on Lake Michigan. (No comparison at all, I know). But they feature heavily in Second Son and King’s Warrior for a couple of reasons. 1) I grew up watching movies like Lawrence of Arabia, The Black Stallion Returns, Sahara, and Capricorn One, in which deserts kind of featured a lot, and I think they just kind of strike me as mystical places. 2) When I was writing King’s Warrior, my family and I went to Lake Michigan and spent some time walking around on the beach. It was too cold to go swimming, but warm enough for shorts, and I was the only one wearing shorts. It was also ridiculously windy, and the sand kept blowing against my bare legs and stinging really bad… and my family just laughed at me as I walked along going, “ow! Ow! OW!!!!!!”
From that experience, the Harshlands were born. I picture them as a sort of cross between the Sahara desert (though not nearly so big) and the Arizona canyons and deserts of red rocks and shale. Somewhat barren and lifeless… and yet with a majestic beauty that cannot be denied.
“Let the prophecy take me… I have reached the end.”
After days at sea, hours in the desert, dehydrated, sore, weary, his skin ripped to shreds by the relentless wind and stinging grains of sand, and beginning to struggle against severe paranoia, Brant reaches the end of his own strength. For the first time in his life, he gives up and acknowledges that there is nothing more he can do.
And it is at this moment, that help arrives.
“Do you need help?”
The appearance of a young man, about his own age, offering help is hard for Brant to accept. Not because he doesn’t want help, but because he has learned to be distrustful. But he is at the end of his rope and so he follows the young man home, where he instantly feels more out of place than he has ever felt in his entire life!
However, these people welcome him with open arms. They care for him, tend his wounds, feed him, and Barr even offers him a job in return for room and board, an offer Brant gladly accepts. He is ready to begin a new life: a simple life on a farm with kind and caring people and perhaps a new friend, as well.
Discussion Questions:1. What did you think of the Harshlands? 2. Were you “taken in” by Brant’s dream? 3. What do you think of Arnaud and his family?