The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 4, Scene 1

Comes a stranger from the storm
Enter Boss Gotta

In which Vertu’s cab reaches the scene of the accident.

From context, Boss Gotta (“Boss Gotta, a metaphor”, according to the dramatis personae) is a Surebleak version of the philosophy Vertu embraced in “Skyblaze”: if you find yourself saying “somebody’s gotta do something about this”, and there’s nobody around with a clear claim to the problem, that means you’re somebody.

This time, when Anna speaks soothingly to her dog in the language that slips by Vertu’s ears, the narration does report one of the words she uses, which we know the meaning of though Vertu doesn’t.

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.
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The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 2, Scene 1

Beset in the belly of the storm
Enter Toragin, the blue-and-red driver, Chelada

In which Toragin del’Pemridj’s quest hits a detour.

A new act brings a new viewpoint character: Toragin del’Pemridj, Clan Lazmeln.

We’ve heard of Line del’Pemridj before: a Lady del’Pemridj was one of the guests at the garden party in “A Choice of Weapons”. And Clan Lazmeln: in Carpe Diem, when Shan was refusing absolutely to let Nova strong-arm him into a contract marriage, he mentioned that he’d been married twice already, once to Padi’s mother and the other time for clan-political reasons to someone from Clan Lazmeln.
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The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 1, Scene 3

In Vertu’s taxicab, on the Port Road. Outside, a blizzard.

In which Vertu’s passengers see signs of other travellers.

Speaking of things I’ve never heard of because I live somewhere that it never snows: graupel. I thought from the context of it being something on the road surface that perhaps it was “gravel” being mangled (like the “Salmo’s Fire” later in the story) by Surebleak dialect, but it turns out it’s a particular type of thing that falls from the sky, something like a cross between a snowflake and a hailstone.
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The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 1, Scene 2

In Vertu’s taxicab
Enter Yulie, Mary, Anna, Rascal

In which everyone is going to the same place.

Apparently the hill at the end of the Port Road is now named Undertree Hill — or perhaps that’s just what the Bedel call it and Yulie has picked it up from them.
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The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 1, Scene 1

In the house of the taxi driver
Enter Vertu and Cheever

In which Vertu Dysan greets the new day.

The story is subtitled “A Minor Melant’i Play for Snow Season”, which offers a hint at what it’s likely to be about. Melant’i plays involve dramatic consquences revolving around points of correct behaviour; the examples we’ve had described seem to generally end with dead bodies, and sometimes with buildings burning to the ground.
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A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom

In which Lina yo’Bingim does not wish to be part of the problem.

I’m fairly sure the merc who says “Efning” to Lina is attempting to wish her a good evening, but in the first moment I always think he’s offering his name.
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An afterthought

If you might happening to be thinking of doing your own project of blogging a novel one chapter per day, I have the following advice:

Don’t try it with a novel that’s 94 chapters long.

Especially don’t try it with a novel that’s 94 short chapters long; after a while, one runs out of new things to say. Especially when one has already established that one doesn’t talk about the emotional bits.

It’s even more difficult if it’s a novel with a large cast and several concurrent plot strands, because then a certain proportion of the short chapters consist of characters learning things about what other characters have been up to that you already know and about which you have already said what you have to say.

At times, I have wished that I had just sat down with the novel as soon as I bought it and read it straight through, without trying to find something to say about each chapter as I went. Certainly, it would have done the novel more justice in the reading. I suspect it would have made the blogging worse when I got to it, though, because then I’d have deprived myself of the topic of “I wonder what will happen next”, and it would have been the harder to find something to say.

PS: I’m trying out the “read it all first and then re-read and blog” approach with “The Gate That Locks the Tree”. Preliminary results are that I enjoyed the story more than I might have done if I’d sliced it up, but it’s harder to get motivated to write each blog post when there isn’t the reward of the next chapter to look forward to. On the other hand, now that the backlog is catching up with me, the usual motivation of needing to keep the blog fed is starting to come back into play.

Accepting the Lance – Epilogue

In which yo’Lanna achieves a crush and Surebleak achieves a coup.

After Val Con commenting at the first inspection that the decor in the entrance hall was unsubtle but mendable, I was looking forward to seeing what had been done with it, but the narration skips past it and straight to the ballroom. Then again, perhaps Lady yo’Lanna hasn’t had time to do anything interesting with it yet.
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Accepting the Lance – Chapter 94

Jelaza Kazone
Tree Court

In which Miri has had a long rest.

I wonder about the yellow, orange and red flowers with the peppery smell. The description reminds me of the nasturtium flowers my mother used to grow and use the edible parts in salads. As I recall, they had a peppery taste, but I don’t remember what their smell was like.
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