In the Hall of the Mountain King
In which there is a dance of dragons.
There have been several occasions in recent stories where Val Con, or someone else, has raised the question of how the Tree actually regards the creatures that live under its branches. Part of what this story is about, and particularly this chapter, is giving an answer to that question.
I get the impression that even the Tree didn’t entirely know the answer before, or at least had never had to frame a specific answer before, in the terms here given. “Family” and “friends” are probably concepts that are not in a tree’s natural vocabulary.
I appreciate that Jeeves volunteers to translate. He seems to be able to receive specific details from the Tree, and at a higher rate, than the kind of visions the Tree gives to Val Con and Miri, which takes two pages to convey a general concept. Although part of the Tree’s answer seems to be that it’s going to work on that channel of communication, too.
We might also have a hint of the significance of the title: the physical gate to Jelaza Kazone doesn’t restrict the Tree; as Yulie said last chapter, it can reach out much farther than that if it wants to. But it is restricted by its ways of thinking, sometimes in ways that it doesn’t recognise from the inside, until an event like this occurs to unlock new paths of thought.
There’s a nice bit of quibbling in the description of the room full of dragons. There’s the description of all the remembered dragons in flight around the room, and slipped in there is a mention of the two dragons perched on the sofa, which is Val Con and Miri.
I enjoyed the idea that Val Con and Miri had joined a dragon dance that included—not just random images of other dragons, but—the Tree’s memory of actual ancestors of Val Con. I almost expected the Great Black Dragon and its Golden companion to have been identified by name.
Paul, could you go back to my question on the previous chapter and see if you have any insight?