Monday, December 5, 2016

Swan Knight's Son: Chapter Two

When Gil returns home we meet his guardian spirit - a dog named Ruff.  Ruff is a congenial sort, and really about the only one of Gil's associates willing to share all of his information with Gil.  Most of the animals Gil meets are too preoccupied with their own troubles, and their minds are constrained by their own worldviews.  As a result, the rabbits give him rabbit advice, the bear gives him bear advice, and the wren gives him wren advice.  Only Ruff seems to understand that Gil doesn't think dog thoughts.

Ruff also serves as a guide-dog for the reader in that he manages to coax information from Gil's thoughts.  Thanks to Ruff's curiosity we learn that Gil chose a father for himself, and the man he chose was none other than King Arthur.  Since his tenth birthday, Gil has endeavored to act like a knight...must be something in the blood.  He wrote his own little knight's code, defended the weak, stood up to bullies, and wound up getting kicked out of more than one school by way of thanks.  This includes the school that had expelled him the day before for the fights that earned him the beating that saw him sleeping on a park bench in Chapter One.

As we will see later, the previous day's fight has a few lessons for Gil.  He had fought nobly, but in his ignorance committed a few chivalrous faux-pas.  His mother corrects him, obliquely, and we impartial observers note that she is in on the whole magic-world business.  In fact, her fear and desire for flight stems from fear of the unseen rather than a need to keep Gil in school.  This first fight we learn of is a definite harbinger of things to come.

We also learn of a mysterious door, the strange manner of keeping the days that Gil's mother follows, and her own ignorance of the world in which Gil has grown up.  In all, this is largely a chapter full of forboding and stage setting.  Seeds are planted, and the curtain drawn back just a peek, but no real answers are found just yet.

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