“Tooth and Claw” Chapter 7 Review

Sorry for the delay in this week’s chapter review – I had some critical issues to deal with at work, and just didn’t have time to get to it until today.  Which is a shame, because things are getting interesting at the Benandi establishment.

This is one of the coolest results you get when you do a Google Image search for "dragon church."

This is one of the coolest results you get when you do a Google Image search for “dragon church.”

The Exalt Approves Amer

Exalt Benandi is a tough old dowager, isn’t she?  She has such an assumption that she is right to control every aspect of her (and Sher’s) establishment that she basically interrogates Amer to see if she is suitable to serve Penn and Felin’s household.  Amer had asked Selendra to bind her wings back tightly just for this interview, which is quite a change from how Amer is accustomed to working.  Servants are not supposed to fly, which is why they have their wings bound, but if you recall Haner and Selendra allowed Amer to fly to look for herbs that could help their father during his last few months.

And we can see from this conversation that Exalt Benandi is especially keen on making sure that everyone knows their place, from the way she approves Amer’s show of subservience and her questions about Selendra expecting to have a personal attendant.  Amer slips up a little when she mentions that she chose to accompany Penn and Selendra rather than go to Daverak, and again when she asks the Exalt why it’s so fitting that the young should only be served by the young.  Amer has centuries of experience with dragonets, and it’s a fair question.  But it’s clear that Amer is lucky that the Exalt was in such a good move, to the point where Amer wonders if it might not have been better for her to go to Daverak after all.

Firstday at Benandi

No flying on Firstday, which means that Selendra has not been allowed to use her wings since before she even arrived at Benandi with Penn and Amer.  And let’s not forget that she’s still coming to terms with the loss of her father, who passed away only a week since.  And because of Exalt Benandi, everyone needs to attend church.  Everyone.  She even takes some time to reprimand a farmer whose daughter was absent from this week’s service.

Sher takes the opportunity to express his condolences to Selendra after Penn’s service, and describes old Bon so well that Selendra has to keep herself from crying.  Sher is touched by her grief and offers to take her flying the next morning.  Meanwhile, his mother is communicating her disapproval of Amer to Felin.  Felin is pleased with Amer’s work at making preserves, and gently rebuffs the Exalt’s suggestion that Amer wishes to fuss over Selendra, and that Selendra sees such fussing as her due.  Their conversation moves on to the dinner party that the Exalt is holding as part of her plan to set Sher up with Gelener Telstie.  Felin is unsure about including Selendra, since the pain of her loss is still so fresh, but as the Exalt is insistent upon having Penn there, there’s really no excuse for Selendra not to come as well.

Selendra and Sher

Selendra is a dragon after my own heart – after Felin lets her know that she’s been invited to the dinner party, Selendra says that she would much rather stay home and read.  Things are a little tense between her and Felin until they come to an understanding, and Selendra offers to look after the children.  Felin is not available to take Selendra flying, since she must accompany Penn to see to a farmer’s sick child in the parish (and remember, by “see to” they mean confirming that the dragonet is healthy again, or eating it).  Selendra resigns herself to playing with her nephews, Wontas and Gerin, when Sher arrives to keep his promise.

Sher is pleased to see Selendra acting like a loving aunt, and she in turn is happy to see how much her nephews like him.  Even though Felin is not there to accompany/chaperone them, he insists on taking her flying anyway.  She sees nothing inappropriate about it because her understanding of his relationship to Penn, Felin and the dragonets is one as family, and considers the flight to be no different than if she were accompanied by one of her own brothers.  But as they fly alone to view the beauty of the wild areas of Benandi, Sher starts to think of her as something more than a sister.

A Dinner Party

It seems like Selendra’s initial inclination not to attend the Exalt’s party is a good one, as things don’t go well for her.  She’s not used to this kind of social event, as she and Haner were pretty isolated at Agornin.  So when she meets Gelener Telstie, whose family name she recognizes, she says so in an attempt to make conversation.  She mentions that her father Bon was once a tenant of the Telsties before he made his fortune and became Dignified.  Gelener is “politely” distant and basically walks away, which leaves Selendra confused.

Exalt Benandi clears it up for her, telling Selendra to mention her connection with the Fidrak family rather than actually mention her father’s “low origins.”  Selendra is even further confused, as her closest Fidrak relation is not a dragon that she even knows, and she doesn’t see anything wrong with her father’s origins.  Things get heated when the Exalt explains to her that it is something that should be hidden lest others think less of her (including the Exalt, Gelener and her mother), and Selendra is justifiably offended, declaring loudly that she is not ashamed of her father, whom she loved.  The Exalt tries to evade responsibility for the argument by telling Selendra that she misunderstood what she was saying, and Selendra reluctantly apologizes.

Sher is indignant on Selendra’s behalf, and persuades her to stay when Felin would have taken her home.  Felin is dismayed as she recognizes a familiar pattern of Sher’s behavior, one in which he becomes invested in someone’s sympathetic circumstances before growing bored and forgetting about them.  Felin is accustomed to taking over Sher’s “projects,” which have included her own children.  They love Sher like an uncle, but he forgets them when they are out of his sight, not even bothering to say goodbye when he leaves Benandi.  But Felin also dislikes Gelener as a bride for Sher, and allows herself to hope that maybe his interest in Selendra is different.  Though she quails at the thought of the trouble this will cause.

Top image via AFAE.

Chapter 7, Video 1

Chapter 7, Video 2

Chapter 7, Video 3

Chapter 7, Video 4

“Tooth and Claw” Chapter 6 Review

I suppose I’ve given up on making my videos visually presentable – I’ve been having difficulties in recording videos longer than 15 minutes, and it’s just more comfortable for me to sit on the couch.  This means I have computer screen reflected in my glasses and it looks weird.  But it’s the words that are important.

Hats are very important.

Hats are very important.

The Importance of Hats

I’ll bet you didn’t know that dragons wore hats, or that they were important, did you?  Hats are basically the most practical item of clothing for a dragon to wear, and of course the more expensive the hat, the better status symbol it makes.  As Avan muses, rules about hats are more relaxed in the country, as hats are generally only “required” for church attendance, but in Irieth it’s impossible to be seen as a dragon of status without one.  Sebeth and Avan plan out the day in vague terms while choosing hats, and Avan discloses his intention to visit his attorney, Hathor.  Avan’s inheritance isn’t safe within his quarters, and he’d do better to invest it anyway.  Sebeth points out that he won’t be able to do anything with it if he squanders it all on a lawsuit he may lose, but Avan remains undeterred.

Extended Claws

I like the little moment we have when Avan is flying towards Hathor’s office, thinking that if he were a dragon that had to survive on size, strength and claws alone, he wouldn’t be too shabby at it.  When he reaches his attorney’s office he runs into the Exalted Rimalin, who hints around about an investment opportunity and invites Avan to stay with him and his wife in their country demense.  Avan is surprised to get this invitation, but accepts it.  They also catch a glimpse of Respected Gelener Telstie, the maiden that Exalt Benandi has picked out for her son Sher.  Were she and her mother making dowry arrangements?

Office Politics

Avan’s plan to arrive fashionably late at the office means that his timing is perfect to interrupt his co-worker Kest in harassing Sebeth.  V— is a bad word for female dragons, and Kest has no problem using it to address Sebeth because of her “ruined” and not-respectable character.  Sebeth’s sass gives me life, especially considering that Kest is almost twice as big as she is, but Avan steps in after hearing Kest say the V-Word.  Avan basically wipes the floor with him, but he yields immediately and shows Avan enough submission to escape with his life.  Sebeth reveals that Kest often pesters her to do his copying, and is really gross about it, and Avan basically institutes an anti-harassment of Sebeth policy right then and there.

It’s a good thing Liralen missed all of the excitement, because the old dragon is ready for retirement and has very decided opinions about dragons that kill each other for promotions.  He gives Avan an important and relatively secret job regarding building plans for the Skamble, which is basically the slum part of Irieth.

A Second Confession

Sebeth isn’t even accepted as an equal among her fellow clerks, who she passes in the street.  Her coloring without being betrothed is there for all to see, and the people who know she is not a bride do not consider her to be respectable.  She makes her way toward the Skamble and enters a church of the Old Believers.  If you remember from the first chapter, when Penn was shocked at the idea of Bon wishing to confess to him, you’ll also remember that the modern church has disavowed the sacrament of confession, and dragons who practice it are also not respectable.  I can see how Sebeth would feel more welcome there than at any modern church.  Another interesting thing to note is the depiction of the gods on the walls of the church.  Jurale and Veld are dragons, as always, but Camran is depicted as a Yarge (human).  And not just as a metaphor – the Old Believers think that Camran really is/was a Yarge.  Blasphemous.

Sebeth confesses to Blessed Calien, and he forgives her for living in sin with Avan and of enjoying it when Avan kicked Kest’s ass all over the office.  She also tells him everything she knows about the plans Avan is reviewing about building in the Skamble, and Calien instructs her to keep passing information to him.

Chapter 6, Video 1

Chapter 6, Video 2

Chapter 6, Video 3

Chapter 6, Video 4