Monday, December 19, 2016

Swan Knight's Son: Chapter Seven

Now that Gil has seen the elephant, so to speak, the set-ups of the first half of the book start to pay off.  He hocks a gift from Nerea and we meet a human wise in the ways of the fairy tale realms that surround him.  A mysterious stranger gives him the key to the mysterious disappearing and re-appearing door that has followed him around all his life.  But the bulk of the chapter revolves around Gil finally confronting his mother about his training, his heritage, and his goals.

Earlier in the book the wolf Krasny Volk Odinskyy referred to Gil's mother as Ygraine of the Riddles.  Here we see why.  Even as she grants Gil small hints and clues about his heritage and the danger he now faces, she grabs whole bushels full of information from him.  She uses his desire for answers as a carrot that allows her to draw from him the full story of his apprenticeship to Bruno the bear and his night on Brown Mountain. 

She also forbids him from becoming a knight.  For all his gifts, Gil's greatest is that he possesses the patience of Job.  She won't tell him exactly why, only that there are rules that must be followed, and no she can't tell him what those rules are.  All she can tell him is that he is in danger from powerful things, and no she can't tell him exactly what the threat is, but boy howdy is it serious.  Ygraine might know a lot about building suspense, but she is clearly understand the first thing about how to help people protect themselves from danger.

Francis, the handy neighborhood Church repairman comes up again, and Ygraine mentions that his is the hand of providence.  It's not blatant, but it's a small acknowledgement of the deeply Christian background to this story.  We haven't talked much about it yet, but the folklore of this book owes much to biblical truths.  In this chapter, for example, we get confirmation by way of Ygraine mentioning the three knights Gil fought with back in Chapter Six are descended from the sister of Joseph of Arimethea, who brought the Holy Grail to England.  She also mentions that their proximity to Gil's home is passing strange, but as is her way, won't say why.

To close things out, Gil uses the magic key given by the black clad stranger to open the magic door.  Since the key was given to the stranger by Gil's father, and the cover of the book gives the game away a bit, we can see where this is going.  But that will have to wait for another chapter...

Now I feel like Ygraine myself.

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