Yo, bros, I am the worst blogger. The worst of all. Here is a picture of an adorable baby platypus to demonstrate my contrition.
Know what baby platypi are called? Puggles. Aw yeah, you forgive me now.
So remember last time (lo those many months ago) when Jon told Alanna that she should tell Gary that she is a girl? Alanna has decided that the best way to do this is to just blurt it out on horseback in the middle of the woods. I generally try to do the gender-related personal revelation thing over a nice glass of wine, but horses and trees is good too. She is clearly bracing herself for an over-the-top violent reaction, which makes me have all the feelings because damn this could be any trans kid coming out to their bff, you know? Gary’s reaction:
“That’s not funny!”
Oh, Gary. Never change.
Once Alanna has answered all of his awkward questions (including the inevitable “where are your tits, man?”), Gary proves himself wrong and starts cackling dementedly about how shocked everyone is going to be about Alanna’s vagina situation. Jon proves himself a douchebag once again by getting jealous over her and Gary’s newfound closeness. To the MOON, Jon.
Time passes weirdly quickly, as it does in these early books, and Alanna spends a lot of it worrying about the Ordeal. When she is not worrying about that she is worrying about what will happen if she survives it. Her current plan is to tell everyone she’s a chick and then split as fast as she can. She tells Myles this (omitting the chick part even though he clearly already knows), and he gives her one of his patented “we all love you, dumbass, deal with it” peptalks with hug function enabled. She says she loves him too and it’s all super emotional.
Alanna is still worrying the day before her Ordeal, when she goes to visit George. He watches her fret for a bit and tells her (quite rightly) that she won’t be able to stay up for her Ordeal if she wears herself out with all her pacing and hand-wringing. He then proceeds to (quite fucking wrongly) drug her fucking brandy so she falls asleep. Faithful, the worst fucking familiar in the whole goddamn world, laughs and tells George to cover her so she doesn’t get cold.
So what we’ve learned from George and Alanna’s relationship so far: true love is when you get all up in someone’s personal space, force-kiss them a few times, and then drug them immediately before one of the most important days of their life. Stay tuned for his new self-help book, He Is Totally That Into You And Will Tell You About It At Great Length No Matter How Uncomfortable It Makes You And Also Let Me Smell Your Neck (Wait, Where Are You Going?).
After the drugs wear off, it’s time for the Ordeal. Alanna dresses in white and goes to have a special pre-knighthood-or-possibly-death ice cold bath in the temple of Mithros. (Fun fact: this is taken from actual medieval knighthood rituals, although they generally spent the rest of the night praying over their armour rather than seeing crazy visions in a locked room that wanted to kill them.) Gary and Jon chill in the next room, both trying hard not to think of the boobs that are just a few feet away. They then instruct her in the Code of Chivalry, which is all about being a helper helping the helpless.
Then they settle in together for a long winter’s meditation. Instead of praying, Alanna spends some time silently angsting about the same crap she’s been angsting about all book. What if all my friends hate me when they find out that I’m a girl? Does Jonathan really love me or am I just super convenient because I am the only chick in the Palace whose rooms are connected to his? How do I stop Duke Roger from killing, like, everyone I know? Et cetera and so forth.
After what feels like forever it is finally time for her to be locked in the Chamber of the Ordeal and start trippin’ balls.
Like this, but less Samuel L. Jackson.
She is in there for all of ten seconds—it’s a super boring room, by the by, definitely not a must-see—when the Ordeal starts with its first, deadliest weapon: cold wind. Alanna actually starts freaking out because ewww the coldddddd but, luckily, does not scream (because if you scream in the Chamber you’ll be dishonoured or drawn and quartered or something). When a bit of a draft does not draw a squeak out of our stalwart heroine, the Chamber responds with a few of its more potent weapons, such as voices, very large spiders, and the ocean., to no avail. Finally it shows her the most frightening thing of all: some weird glowing moving wall tapestry thing showing Roger stealing a symbolic crown from a symbolically dead Jonathan. Alanna freaks out again at that one and tries to rip it off, ripping half the skin off her hands. She still doesn’t scream, though, so she wins at being a knight and gets to leave the Chamber.
Man, honestly, the spider would have been it for me. I don’t give two fucks about any chivalry if you start throwing giant spiders all up at me.
After she is let out of the Chamber she gets to take a nap before her knighting proper, where Thom presents her with a shield bearing the Trebond arms, a black tower on a red field. Everybody cheers because Alanna is very special and everyone loves her. Before the celebratory banquet later (which is apparently only in her honour- didn’t she have yearmates at one point? Did everyone else start screaming in the Chamber and get disqualified or something and nobody bothered to mention it? EVERYONE LOVES ALANNA BEST, W/E), Thom shows her in private that it is a magical hologram shield- one minute it is a boring ol’ Trebond shield, the next a bitchin’ golden lioness. Hence the series name. You so clever, TPierce. Thom says it’s for when she reveals who she really is to the Court. I, personally, would have gone with something a little more direct.
Will Alanna’s boobs ruin everything? Was that ominous tapestry an omen or was the Chamber just being a dick? Seriously, what the hell happened to Alanna’s yearmates, did they all die? Find out next time in CHAPTER TEN: TO DUEL THE SORCEROR, OR, FFS IS ROGER DEAD YET?