The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 3, Scene 1

In the Hall of the Mountain King
Enter Talizea, Miri, Jeeves, Val Con, the Tree, clowders of cats and kindles of kittens

In which the house is unsettled.

“In the Hall of the Mountain King” is the title of a famous piece of music by Edvard Grieg, originally written as incidental music for Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt. The relevant bit of the play tells how Peer Gynt visited the court of the Mountain King and formed a connection with one of the King’s daughters, not entirely to the satisfaction of anybody involved. The supernatural and inhuman Mountain King’s most famous moment has him proclaiming a philosophy of supreme selfishness that regards everyone and everything else as inconsequential.

…and I’ve said all this before on the blog, because Crystal Dragon used “In the Hall of the Mountain Kings” as a chapter title when it had a sequence set in the domain of the Great Enemy. To have the same metaphor now applied to Jelaza Kazone is, to say the least, disconcerting.

At this point, we can guess who the two guests are that the Tree is anticipating, but it is still not clear what Toragin and Chelada want with the Tree.

Also unclear, as Val Con complains, is the whole business of how the Tree and the cats and Jeeves communicate with each other. There are some hints in “Intelligent Design”, Jeeves’s origin story (and in that connection, it’s interesting that Merlin is named as a cat in whose lineage the Tree has taken an interest), but those are no more than hints.

“Clowders” is a fun word.

Mr Mulvaney and Surebleak Transport have not appeared before. It seems like every time we get a scene with the Road Boss dealing with a problem, it’s a new problem; that’s progress, I guess.

2 thoughts on “The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 3, Scene 1

  1. Ed8r

    RE: “In the Hall of the Mountain King”

    I could see it being applied to the prologue of Crystal Dragon as a reference to the domain of the sheriekas and the busy, busy, and even frantic behavior of the tumzaliat and zaliata trying to escape their initial capture and then confinement as dominants. Here that characteristic of business and confusion could also apply (I think of the authors’ occasional reference to their RW home as “the cat farm and confusion factory”). But it is the fact that the authors had already linked this piece of music to the activities of Enemy that makes it so disturbing now. Is it possible they had actually forgotten this association that had been set up years ago in Crystal Dragon? I hope so.

    Paul: “Clowders” is a fun word. It is, but I would not omit kindles from that category either. I’ve never heard it applied to kittens before.

    Jeeves offers to prepare for Val Con a list of Korval’s ten greatest muddles and Val Con asks him to send it, but to include an explanation of the communication method among Jeeves, the Tree, and the cats. I want to read that list! I’d also like to hear more about Merlin…I miss him.

    It is also interesting that when the Tree finally does communicate with Miri and Val Con, they sense images of dragons, struggling against some unknown problem, failing to take flight, wilting, collapsing, followed by anguish and despair. Does this suggest that the Tree sees cats as dragons too?

  2. Skip

    I love that piece of music. And I love its title. I agree that it’s odd to use the same reference for the Enemy (CD) and for the tree.

    I love this cozy family scene but …. It bothers me more and more lately that we never see Shindi and Mik playing with Talizea and Miri in the rumpus room. In any book or short story. Ever. With Anthora gone for so long at healer hall, they especially need family… Those little twins never ever ever get any screen time, as if they just don’t count, while meanwhile we hear repeatedly about how small the clan is. Now, having just read Salvage Right, I say it again. What about the twins?

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