Let’s Read Queen of the Tearling: Chapter Six

It’s a two-fer today! We’re almost halfway through.

Kelsea has finally entered the Keep. She wakes up in her mother’s bedroom, which is quite frou-frou and described at length. How long ago did her mother die, anyway? How are the sheets still fresh? Gross.

Kelsea remembers an incident from her childhood, when she stole one of Carlin’s dresses and pretended to be a queen. Carlin freaked out, tore the dress off, slapped her, and didn’t speak to her for a week. Kelsea looks back on this incident and misses Carlin, whom she realizes slapped her because of nasty old girly Elyssa.

Poor Elyssa, I have to be her white knight.

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This isn’t Rose of Versailles, it’s Elyssa + me FOREVER

All right, Elyssa sounds like an idiot, but Kelsea also seems like an idiot, just not one who likes dresses. Kelsea has just realized that her kingdom is based on serfdom and slavery and is bound to send its people to a foreign land. Nobody around her has prepared her in any way to handle her responsibilities as a monarch, even though thousands of lives depend on her decisions.

Yet she’s not angry at all at Barty and Carlin, who kept her in complete ignorance and mistreated her–who slaps a child, then sulks about it for a week? Bad parenting skills, Carlin–but instead is solely angry at her mother, for having a froofy bedroom and not keeping a library. It’s perfectly understandable that Kelsea would be angry at her mother, but really? Over dresses? Presumably if Elyssa had had tons of books and wandered around in a smock, or had an armor collection instead of a collection of dresses, serfdom and slavery would have been all right.

After having her psychologically unrealistic reaction,Kelsea daydreams about the Fetch a bit, and how hot he is even though he threatened to kill her pretty much all the damn time that they hung out. You know, dumb as Elyssa was, I bet she liked dudes who didn’t want to kill her.

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OK, this post may have become an excuse to post shojo pics

Kelsea discusses her upcoming coronation with the Mace, then she meets with Spooky Lady from the last chapter. The lady’s name is Andalie, and she’s from Mort. Kelsea is suspicious of her because she’s foreign, but it turns out that Andalie’s cool because she doesn’t want a silly court title. Yeah, god forbid that a person at the center of a court respect its customs.

Digression: The Tearling has very little modern technology and most of the inhabitants are serfs, while Mort has stuff like metal and bricks and doctors. Why aren’t more of the Tear trying to get into Mort? Or any of the other countries on Ye Olde Right-Aligned Fantasy Map? You’d think that slavery wouldn’t be necessary.

OK, according to Andalie, Mort is full of kiddy rapists. Oh, god, book. You’re going to break my brain.

Also, Andalie is an interesting person who seems to have mind powers and prays to strange gods.

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Why can’t we have her point of view? Instead of Kelsea, who is now complaining about how armor makes her look butch?

Finally, it’s time for the big event, the coronation. We’re almost halfway through the book. Kelsea gets into the throne room and surveys her nobles. They’re pretty much all slave-owning assholes, we know that, but the Tearling seems to be a feudal monarchy and Kelsea should probably consider how to deal with them–or how to get rid of them, if that’s what she wants.

Everywhere Kelsea looked were faces, male and female, enhanced with cosmetics: dark-smudged eyes, lined and rouged lips, even one lord who appeared to have powdered his skin. Many of them displayed elaborate hairstyles that must have taken hours to create.

OH NO GIRL COOTIES, EVEN ON THE MEN! It gets worse; some of them are wearing hats!

Hey, these are nobles, this is their new queen, of course they’re going to dress up to impress her. She doesn’t know any of their names and she basically despises them on sight because ew, they look girly. Kelsea doesn’t even know where any of them come from or how they feel about her. This is a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, Evil Uncle is around for everyone to focus on. He’s even sitting on a throne older than the mists of time, although it’s not made of iron, but rather silver. Diana Wynne Jones’s Tough Guide to Fantasyland says that most Regents are evil, and of course this one is, but unlike her “hale men in their early forties,” this one is a bit more grimdark. So Evil Uncle Thomas is wearing a purple jumpsuit and keeping a woman on a leash! He’s a bit like Prince, isn’t he?

The woman, by the way, is “willowy yet voluptuous.” Aren’t they all?

The coronation proceeds, although Evil Uncle tries to stop it by saying that he lost the crown. Nobody in this family is particularly bright, are they? Kelsea gets round this by having her guards take a tiara from one of the nobles. The guards laugh at the noblewoman while they take this no-doubt expensive possession from her. Well, that’s one way to make new friends!

“Well, you’ve lost Lady Andrews,” Pen murmured.

“I didn’t need her,” Kelsea replied, her temples throbbing with sudden anger. “I don’t need anyone with hair like that.”

Yeah, that would be funny if Kelsea wasn’t actually judging people by their hairstyles WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END.
Kelsea asks the attending priest whether her tiara will work as a substitute, and he agrees.

It occurred to Kelsea that for all the priests knew, she could have been raised to the Church’s teachings, could even be truly devout.

Oooooh, Kelsea, you had a thought of your own! Good girl!

Unsurprisingly, everything goes pear-shaped when Evil Uncle’s guards attack Kelsea. Someone throws a knife into Kelsea’s shoulder, but she has the time to get a knife out of her boot and stab one of her attackers to death. She’s pretty competent for someone with absolutely no fighting training.

Also unsurprisingly, Kelsea’s guards are able to overcome her uncle’s attackers, and Kelsea manages to get herself crowned and get her uncle off the throne.

Prince-Cycle

(He’s short, too! Sadly, he’s fat and doesn’t have a motorcycle to ride off on.)

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