I’m re-reading Fire right now (or more accurately, reading all the way to the end for the first time), and I’ve been thinking about something Cashore does in these books that writers too rarely think to do, especially in adventure-driven plots - she creates narratives in the spaces between misfortune and tragedy and pain for her characters to live in. Fire could easily be a character whose life doesn’t start until she gets to King’s City, entirely miserable, trapped person biding her time until she can undergoing her big realization, but she isn’t. One of the first things we find out about Katsa, a thing that happens before we even meet her, is that she formed the council of her own volition. Bitterblue learns to be queen slowly, messily. The way romance is treated as not incidental, but part of a larger and more complicated whole. You don’t get a sense that Cashore is saying “these are wasted years”. Things keep happening. Lives move in incremental ways that are just as important as the big plot resolutions or the ending of wars.
Just something I really, really love. Something I think is really important, especially in books for younger readers and ones that are so explicitly about personal and national abuse and trauma. What a great series.
So this is something I’m saying on tumblr since that’s the easiest (laziest) way to talk to the most people who would care, and I’m pretty tired of not talking about it and or being shifty about it or trying not to be asked about it by anyone. I’m not going to grad school in the fall! Officially, I am deferring for a year, and it was a decision that I thought about long and hard with a great deal of stress but it’s absolutely the right one for me and where I want to go with my career choices.
"More about Howl? Sophie thought desperately. I have to blacken his name! Her mind was such a blank that for a second it actually seemed to her that Howl had no faults at all. How stupid! ‘Well, he’s fickle, careless, selfish, and hysterical,’ she said. ‘Half the time I think he doesn’t care what happens to anyone as long as he’s alright—but then I find out how awfully kind he’s been to someone. Then I think he’s kind just when it suits him—only then I find out he undercharges poor people. I don’t know, Your Majesty. He’s a mess.’"