What happens? Merry has a dream. MERRY. HAS. A. DREAM. Each of her menz is in it, doing shiny magical shit because IT'S NOT LIKE WE HAVEN'T BEEN DOING MAGIC SEX AND NOTHING BUT FOR THIS ENTIRE BOOK SO FAR. LKH thinks she's being symbolic, but the reality is she's just spoiling a lot of shit for us. Kitto will probably get the power to control snakes and will lead the goblins to who gives a fuck.
The only thing plot important is that the Goddess is present in her Crone form. She's holding a glowing cup. No, that doesn't quite cover it.
The chalice began to shine the way the skin of a sidhe shines when power is running through him. The shine became a glow, until the chalice was like a star sitting in her hands, a glowing, pulsing star. Light seemed to spill out of it, as if light could be liquid and held in a cup.You know, I've seen a lot of people try to imitate LKH's way of repeating fucking everything but nothing looks quite as overdone and parodying as the woman's own fucking words. THE CHALICE IS GLOWING, OKAY? DO YOU GET THAT YET.
Anyhoo, Merry takes a drink from the cup, and the goddess is now a young girl.
...Okay. I have to get this off my chest. I've avoided it because I do not like picking at other people's religions (I'm a pro-choice, feminist Christian who uses tarot cards and the Bible with equal frequency) but...yeah, LKH ascribes to a form of paganism a lot of people call Fluffy Bunny. I wouldn't call it that because bunnies are mean little shits when they want to be and this form of paganism usually loses all its teeth in infancy. It's the kind of paganism in which practitioners do a sage smudging before their Tibetan Singing Bowl ritual to Odin and Isis. The kind where you ignore the blood-soaked history between, say, Rome and Ireland, and decide to stick Zeus and Brigid in the same shrine. And a big, big, BIG hallmark of this is trying to make every single fucking goddess be a triad in maiden-mother-crone format. Or else picking and choosing goddesses to fill out each role, which works about as well as a dill pickle split topped with vanilla ice cream and bacon. Some of this comes from lineaged Wicca being a closed religion. If you want to know all of its secrets, including who the Lord and Lady actually are, you have to be initiated. I have yet to see this information be posted online. That's how seriously they take it. The reason that most books on Wicca-esque paganism talk about a triple goddess is because that's what they follow: A very specific triune female Deity whose identity is oathbound.
The nearest thing LKH seems to have gotten to that piece of inner-court material is Silver Ravenwolf. Given Silver's track record (I am thinking specifically of a table she included in one of her "To" books on sigils for various spirits. Unfortunately for Ms. Ravenwolf, it looks like she cribbed off the Golden Dawn's material, and in that particular chunk of GD stuff, the things marked "Spirits" were also marked "evil, use with caution". So basically she copy-pasted a list of demons into something intended for beginners, when the list marked "benign, possibly friendly" was literally on the same fucking goddamn page) I do not think that LKH ever got near the oathbound materials.
My point here is that LKH seems to be making a play for Danu having that maiden-mother-crone format. The problem with that is....far as I can tell, Danu doesn't have the triple aspect. There are female celtic deities that do (though some of them, like the Morrigan, still don't fit the criteria) but Danu does not appear to be one of them.
However, if LKH has suddenly developed a sense of the symbolic between paragraphs, this could just be a metaphore for the renewal of lands and peoples via Merry.
Anyhoo, Merry wakes up and she's got the magic glowy cup sitting on her bed. Apparently the Magic Vag of Holding even works when Merry is asleep.
In the next chapter everybody's gathered around the kitchen island staring at the goddamn cup.
We get a boring description of Sage the demifey, and how the demifey are basically spying for everybody.
And then...wait...is this...yes it is. IT'S A DESCRIPTION THAT DOESN'T SUCK.
It sat in the glow of the overhead lights looking like what it was, an ancient relic of power that just happened to be sitting on a breakfast nook table barely big enough for the four chairs that framed it. The cup needed at the very least a large dining room table, with acres of gleaming hardwood and shields and weaponry mounted on the walls. The cat clock on the wall with the moving tail and eyes didn’t match the cup...I like this. I like this a lot. Yes, it's still got LKH's patented Kronk repitition (The poison, the poison for Kuzco...) but it's an honestly good image. A thing of great power and magic sitting on your dining room table next to your laptop and phone. One of the things that I love about urban fantasy is it kind of brings fairy-tales back where they were originally. That little cottage in the woods back then was basically the suburbs now. In fact, lots and LOTS of scholars have pointed out that King Arthur didn't have that shining armor, or those castles, or any of the other things that medieval people gave him. They upgraded the actual legend to what was contemporary terms at the time.
....And yeah, that quality didn't last. Here's how the paragraph actually ends.
The cat clock on the wall with the moving tail and eyes didn’t match the cup, but it did match the white canisters with black-and-white kittens painted on top of them. Maeve had never owned a cat, but I’d bet her decorator did.This is writing 101: stick with one fucking idea per paragraph. The idea here is that the cup does not fit in this world. Maeve's cat-obsessed decorator has nothing to do with it, and shouldn't be present at all. And LKH is professional enough to fix this shit.
We get a history lesson on the cup. It started life as a caldron, turned into a cup because Holy Grail (I mean it. The legends about the Holy Grail changed the cup around) and then disappeared. Doyle rants about how much he wanted that cup back, especially during the potato famine in Ireland. Apparently this thing can feed an entire army. And then...LKH stops sucking. Again.
He spoke without turning around, as if he spoke more to the darkness outside than to us . “What do the gods do when once they could answer the prayers of their followers, then suddenly they cannot? One day they simply have to watch their people die of diseases that only weeks before they could have healed. You are too young, Meredith, and even Galen; neither of you really understands what it was like. Not your fault. Not your fault.” He spoke the last in a whisper to the glass, his face finally pressed gently to it.I love everything about this paragraph. I love this entire concept. I love the emotion behind it.
Thing is? We're never going to really address this. It's like she had a brain fart, got one good idea out there, and went "Whelp, let's go back to fucking. That won't go anywhere." But it shows so much of what these guys were like, what they valued, and how differently they think. THIS should have been the book. The return of gods, and what that would be like, would be really, really, REALLY awesome.
But we're stuck with the Magic Vag of Holding. Thanks, Laurel.
We also find out that the Fae gave up their powers three times; the third time the big clump of magic spontaneously came alive and became the Nameless.
...WHY WOULD YOU COME UP WITH SUCH GOOD IDEAS AND THEN NOT USE THEM. WHY.
And LKH just keeps on writing good shit.
“We could have stayed in Europe,” Frost said.
“And what ,” Doyle said, “be forced out of our hollow hills to buy houses and live next door to humans? To be forced to intermarry with humans.” He looked back at me and said, “I don’t mean to insult the princess , but a little mixed blood is one thing; to be forced to marry humans is something else. Those who remained behind in Europe had to sign treaties to give up their culture. ” He spread his arms and hands wide. “Without their culture and belief a people do not exist.”
“That’s why they did it,” Rhys said. “It was a way of destroying us that didn’t smack of genocide.”Goddamn it, Laurel. This is something that actually has meaning. This is something that we've done. It's something that we continue to do. WHY AREN'T YOU ACTUALLY USING THIS? Why are you doing the all-sex-channel when you goddamn know that you could be working with this? And even if you fuck up and get it all wrong, it'd be better than every single other thing that's happened in this entire series so far.
I can't even say that I'd dread how much she'd fuck it up, because even a fucked up commentary would have some kind of meaning behind it.
“The Goddess gave us her gifts, the Consort gave us his gifts, then one day they were gone. How can we trust that whatever gift we are given will not abandon us at our hour of need?” Pain, anger, frustration, hope, all fought across the darkness of his face.You know what? I have no criticism of this at all. I actually relate to this intensely. One of the issues I have with my faith is trusting that God will follow through with his promises...mostly because growing up, most of the adults I knew never did. It's very, very difficult to regain the ability to trust, to believe, once that trust is violated. And the guys keep on talking about this, and it's fucking beautiful. And I do not understand how the person who wrote this scene could be the same person who wrote the "let's rape Kitto" scene just a few chapters ago.
And then Merry interjects her own POV and it all goes straight to hell. See, she appreciates their pain. She doesn't give one flying rat's ass for the issues and questions these guys have raised--all of which are things she's going to have to address if she becomes Queen--but she feels for them. That makes it all better.
And then the guys segue into a conversation about politics and how the Fae shit all over the goblins and how none of that matters because they have to deal with the cup now.
They decide that they'll basically sit on it for a while. And then this happens:
“That is a different problem, my old friend,” Doyle said. “The Goddess gives where She will, and it is not ours to question why or where.” The fact that Doyle had been doing that very thing a few moments ago seemed to have escaped his notice— or maybe Doyle was the only one allowed to express doubts about the Goddess. Whatever the logic, or lack of it, no one pointed it out to him.Uh...yeah. No. There's two different attitudes being expressed here. Related to each other, but differing. What he was doing a few moments ago wasn't doubting the Goddess. He was doubting his ability to trust the Goddess because, when things went to shit, she wasn't there. What he's doing now is trying to scrape that trust together. It's that first, fragile step towards repairing a relationship.
Obviously this chapter is a mixed bag for me. Once again, this shit is the reason why we keep on reading her garbage. Every once in a while she throws something that isn't garbage. Maybe it's not solid gold, but it's something worth having and working with. The problem is that she doesn't work with it. She doesn't think about the implications of anything once she sets it down on paper. The non-con and the dropped ideas are absolutely related to her own myopic apathy. Because this, right here? This was the book. All she needed was an actual plot to call focus to the ideas here. This was what we should have gotten, and we didn't because she wanted to write sex instead.
Aside from that...I got nothing.