zelda_queen (zelda_queen) wrote,

Divine By Mistake: Chapter 6

ZeldaQueen: So we're now in the actual magical land. Time for things to REALLY take a turn.

Chapter 6

ZeldaQueen: Shannon is awoken by “Suzanna” and immediately starts setting off counts by mentally shouting for someone to call in a substitute and wanting to force herself to dream something fetishy about Hugh Jackman.



This all is interrupted when she swallows and realizes that her throat, for some reason, is killing her. She somehow jumps back to her original conclusion that she's probably dead and in Hell, because komedy.

She wakes up to see “Suzanna” there with two more “
nymphets/nurses” and dear God but I wish PC would realize the baggage the word “nymphet” has! Oh, and I'd like to note here that Shannon nonjudgementally implies through her descriptions that the handmaidens are not exactly dressed conservatively. This is a trend. We'll see that most of the women in this world - the upper-class ones, at least – dress pretty casually, mostly in drapy things. I'm bringing this up now for you guys to keep in mind later, when we reach an unfortunate running subplot, so to speak.

The handmaidens have a gauzy outfit and a bunch of combs, brushes, and a crown. This being a picture-perfect Mary Sue fantasy, it is already time for Shannon to get all dolled up. And why? Well, as “Suzanna” informs everyone, Shannon's “betrothed” is on his way to meet her and she has to get ready for their wedding ceremony.

I'm sure you guys are already thinking of all the possible sources of conflict that can arise from finding yourself not only in a strange land, but about to be married to a guy you don't know at all. Well, forget about them. I'm dead serious. Virtually no complications will be arising on this front. Do you even think I'd joke about this?

Shannon picks up on the implications of the word “betrothed” and starts trying to get answers. Her throat's all screwed-up though, so she just rasps a lot. The handmaidens freak out at this and “Suzanna” angrily dismisses them, an order which they're glad to comply with. Yeah, we'll be finding out why this is. No counts now, but there will be something when we get a little farther in.

“Suzanna” helps Shannon up and goes to take her for a bath. Shannon feels like shit and tells us she must look “
like one of the old crones from Act I of Macbeth”. That's about as helpful as Clary saying that the vampire in City of Embers was leaning against his shovel like the gravedigger in Hamlet. Plays, especially ones by Shakespeare, can be done in a variety of ways. It's not like saying something like, “he let out a Darth Vader-esque 'No!'”, where there's only one version of it and it can be watched by anyone and always come out the same. Anywho, the two women head on down the hall and dammit, Shannon abruptly jumps back to thinking she's in a hospital! And this rattles her because she sees torches on the wall and that's not normal for a hospital!


ZeldaQueen: I...will grant that it is not normal. However plenty of other things in this scenario aren't normal either. Nurses wear uniforms and listen to doctors, not the friends of the patients. Speaking of, I'm fairly sure no respectable hospital would let any visitors go wandering in to visit a patient while dressed and acting like they escaped from a Renaissance Fair. What a respectable hospital would do is have an actual fucking doctor talk to the patient and tell them what's going on, inform the patient of whatever treatment they underwent/are undergoing/will be undergoing, and contact the patient's family. They would not start things off by offering the patient clothing that, we'll see, looks like the fetishy adult Halloween costume version of what Jasmine wore in Aladdin! Add in that we're going to find out that the rooms are all made of fucking MARBLE AND GOLD and Shannon's being fed from GOLD UTENSILS and there's not a single fucking modern device in sight, and Shannon's “I'm in a hospital” delusion should be officially dashed to bits by now. Her thinking she was in Hell was dumb, but it at least accounted for why the situation was so odd! And it doesn't sound like Shannon's just incoherent, because we're in her head and she's thinking perfectly rationally!!!

Shannon makes another attempt at getting a straight answer out of “Suzanna”, all wondering if “Suzanna”'s behavior is being caused by no longer having Prozac. That's...charming. “Suzanna” makes sure they're alone and then adopts what Shannon refers to as “
a serious-as-Oprahin- a-shoe-store voice” and asks what Shannon's name is.


Shannon decides to play along, but thinks that she'll know it's a dream if Sean Connery shows up.


And while I'm not giving it a point, it's funny how Shannon and Zoey crush on the same male actors, huh?

Shannon rattles off her name and who she thinks “Suzanna” is. “Suzanna” fucking finally gives something. Specifically, she says that her name is Alanna and Shannon is Rhiannon, “
High Priestess of the Goddess Epona, daughter of The MacCallan, betrothed to and soon to be handfasted with the High Shaman ClanFintan”. That enough titles for you?

Shannon, understandably, calls bullshit on this. Alanna says she understands it's tough to take in, but she'll explain as they go. I'm wondering why she didn't start explaining as soon as she kicked out the handmaidens, but I guess then we wouldn't have had the Komedy Hour. Shannon is dragged into the bathing room and you guys need to have this description.

The room we entered conjured images of those PBS specials that first show current-day ruins, which look like a jumbled, confused mess of old stone and decaying columns—then they morph a computer image over the ruins so that the audience can see what the original supposedly looked like in all its glory. This room definitely looked like one of the computer-morphed images. The floor and ceiling were smooth marble. It was hard to tell if the gold color came from the stone or the many wall torches. The symmetry of the walls was interrupted often by cutout niches, which looked to be carved into the stone at varying heights. In the niches lighted candles nestled in odd-looking golden holders (gosh, I really appreciated a room accessorized with gold), giving the walls the appearance of being set ablaze by faceted jewels. Along one wall hung an enormous mirror in front of which sat an elaborate vanity. The mirror was softly fogged by steam wisping up from a deep, clear pool of water that bubbled up from the center of the floor, and overflowed out in a fastrunning stream which emptied itself into another pool in an adjoining room. The air was so warm and moist it felt caressing. Just breathing it made me feel relaxed, and the smell reminded me of something…

'It’s a mineral spring!' Even my voice responded to the room’s healing aroma and Suz/Alanna didn’t have to strain to understand me.

ZeldaQueen: Those of you who've been following the House of Night sporkings no doubt remember that PC and Kristin don't put much thought into their worldbuilding. The same is true for here. There seems to be no shortage of gold or jewelry or finery or pimped-out architecture, but all we see is that this world is vaguely farmer-ish. We don't hear anything about mining or what resources this world has. We don't know if the people have to trade with other countries for the gold and jewels or if they have smiths and architects or how the resources are moved and smelted and made like this.

In terms of pseudo-fantasy realism, I know it's not impossible. There were plenty of ancient cultures that had temples and palaces that were truly gorgeous. And were this a different book, I wouldn't care about those sorts of details. It's not like every fantasy book can go into George R. Martin levels of detail, after all. But it bothers me here, because it mostly feels like PC just wants her self insert to conveniently be handed a gorgeous new home, a ton of jewelry, and a frigging mineral spring to lounge around in all day. It doesn't help that she's just mixing and matching the cultures she's stealing from! I'm fairly certain she's drawing inspiration from the luxurious and fancy temples built in the Roman Empire, but the rest of the world doesn't match! The Roman Empire was able to pull off works like that with the same innovation that brought more mundane things, like streets or aquaducts. If Parthalona can pull this sort of thing off, why are we going to see that the rest of it looks only slightly more advanced than the frigging Kokiri Forest?

Now, I know I'm not the most knowledgeable person about this time period, but I also have to ask, why is a temple outfitted like an actual palace, with baths and bedrooms and such? Did priests and priestesses actually live in temples? Weren't the temples supposed to house the deities they were in honor of? Even if the priestess lives there, why also set up countless servants, guests, and anyone else in the area? Please, someone, correct me if I'm wrong about all of this. I haven't been able to find much information on priestesses and temples, but at the very least, this page suggests Epona would have been worshiped in a temple very different from the Golden McShinyshit place here.




Because that sounds exactly like how the vampires of the House of Night series could somehow build ridiculously opulent schools all over the world and lounge around in outfits like they're in a vampire LARP, despite no mention of how they even managed to get the resources or land or money to do so.

Shannon is undressed, gets into the bath, and is given yet another goblet of red wine. And yes, she tells us how awesome she thinks, “
the taste of a wonderful cabernet” is.


Incidentally, I really hope she's joking about it being cabernet, because while I'm not sure what type of Cabernet it's supposed to be (Wikipedia lists several variations), the most popular type came about in 17th century France, neither of which are related to the time or cultures of this world.

Or wait, does this world just conveniently also have Shannon's favorite wines?


Alanna starts trying to wash Shannon, which understandably freaks Shannon out. We then go right back to Shannon thinking that Alanna is her friend, complete with this weird bit.

'And don’t think you can lull me into forgetting the bizarre crap you just laid on me in the hall. I want to know what’s up—now, Suzanna Michelle.' Girlfriends only use each other’s middle names when a crisis exists or when deviant sex is being discussed, so she had to know I was serious.

ZeldaQueen: First of all, she just insisted her name is Alanna. Even if she somehow was Suzanna, she clearly is unable or unwilling to respond to that name. Thus, the Full Name Ultimatum tactic shouldn't work.

Second of all... uh, doesn't the Full Name Ultimatum actually involve the full name? That's why it has impact. I don't think I've ever heard of someone just shouting a person's first and middle name to get their attention.

Third of all, I haven't ever heard of a middle name being used when talking about deviant sex before, except possibly in the context of something like, “YOU LET HIM HANG YOU BY YOUR ANKLES FROM THE CEILING? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?”

For some reason, out of all the sputtering Shannon's been doing, this makes Alanna go all submissive, apologizing for upsetting Shannon and bowing her head. Woman, how about if you explain what's going on? We're going to see that you know exactly what happened! Shannon, meanwhile, is confused by Alanna's behavior and decides that drinking more wine will help.


Still under the impression that she's talking to Suzanna (are you guys tired of this yet?), Shannon says that she's not angry but does want to know where she is. Alanna says they're in the High Temple of Epona, to which Shannon thinks, “
Oh, sure—a hospital named after a pagan goddess deep in the Bible Belt?”. Because yeah, Shannon just happens to know about Epona. I'm not saying people in real life don't, but I get the impression we're supposed to see her as Clever and A Deep Person for it. Not to mention, I don't think there are any hospitals named after pagan goddesses, unless a temple sponsors one! I can't find any examples, at least.

After informing us that she's still drinking steadily...


she asks which state she's in. Alanna tells her, “
You appear to have been injured, my Lady, but you look to be recovering remarkably well”, which confused the hell out of me until Shannon specifies that she didn't mean her state of being. Again, I'm sure someone could figure that out the first time around, but I have the feeling that Shannon wasn't confused for a second was because PC herself knew what Alanna meant, so Shannon did too.

So yeah, more back-and-forth, it's all really dull. Alanna informs Shannon that she's the mistress of all the surrounding lands, because apparently she gets to be basically a frigging queen on top of living in total luxury. FUCKING FINALLY, Alanna just tells Shannon that she's not in her old world anymore.

ZeldaQueen: This shuts Shannon up for all of five seconds, because apparently the idea that she's in a torch-lit hospital or Hell both seemed perfectly plausible but the idea of being in another world is unfathomable. She again demands that Alanna explain everything, thinks that this is “Suzanna” somehow hatching an elaborate revenge scheme for having her birthday forgotten (really), and emulates Cersi as she demands, you guessed it...


ZeldaQueen: Alanna tells Shannon that, “
It is complicated, my Lady.” Shannon says that she “sound[s] like Jeannie when you say that my Lady stuff” and, when Alanna “ignores” that, whines that she hates when Suzanna doesn't get her jokes.

Even if she did get it, it wasn't very funny. It really wasn't even a joke. It was a reference. Speaking of, guess who else decided to have stupid pop culture references make up most of their humor?


At long, long last, Alanna explains everything. Let's see what she says, shall we?

'My original mistress, the Lady Rhiannon, has exchanged places with you. She said your world made magic with machines, and power with money made from those machines, and she longed to live there. So she sent her soul there during one of her Magic Sleeps and found you. She said you are her mirror, her shadow, and that she could trade herself for you, thus entering your world. She believed that she could leave enough of her consciousness here, as she does when she enters the sacred grove, to aid and guide you.' Intently studying my face, her litany slowed, 'But I do not think she is here with you. You appear to be her, but you do not have her…' Here she faltered, as if catching herself in the middle of a thought. Then she continued, '…her manner. Now she has become you, and you must become her.'

ZeldaQueen: Let's just take this slow, shall we?

You guys, this is our first description of Rhinanon. And yes, this is implying just about what you'd think. Rhiannon's so selfish, wanting power and money! Just look at her! And that being the case, yeah, Alanna's little interruption there? Exactly what you guys are thinking. Rhiannon's so awful that her handmaiden nearly blurted out what a be-yotch she is and how Shannon doesn't seem to be like that at all! No, Shannon's different! Shannon, who we've seen do nothing but look down on others and talk about how awesome the gold everywhere is , is different than that mean, materialistic Rhiannon! And yes, I know most of her behavior has been mental. But we're going to see that this isn't just Alanna's opinion. Just about everyon agrees that Rhiannon's horrible, including Shannon, who never even meets her. And that being said, time for another count! You may recognize what this one was inspired by.


Guys, it might not seem like much right now. But you know Sue fics. You should know that this is just warming up.

On a non-Rhiannon note, we're going to see about how those “Magic Sleeps” work. It should raise a few eyebrows about Rhiannon being able to use it to cross dimensions. I also am not sure why the word “soul” is being tossed around here. This world is as much a mythology chop-suey as the one in House of Night, but all of the cultural aspects are based on polytheistic, pre-Judeo-Christian cultures. It feels...off that that word's being used, when “spirit” or “essence” could have worked just as well.

Shannon thinks this is all so unbelievable, which would be understandable if she hadn't seriously been entertaining the thought that she was in a weird-ass hospital or whatever. Alanna says that Rhiannon had left a question for Shannon if Shannon didn't believe the situation. No doubt you'd think it'd be some sort of a question to prove what's going on, right?

'In your world do you know stories that tell tales of gods and goddess, myths and magic, spells and sorcery?' She paused, and looked expectantly at me. Obviously, she wouldn’t take the eyebrow for an answer.

'Yes, of course, I’m a teacher, I teach those stories to kids.'

'My Lady Rhiannon said to tell you that this world is where those stories came from. They leaked across The Divide like shadows and smoke, seeking their mirror images in your world. Thus have I learned of that world, in the form of smoke and shadows, and thus I found my mirror image—you.'

ZeldaQueen: Well, that just clears it all up! She doesn't believe she's in a fantasy land, so tell her that she's in a fantasy land that inspired all of our myths and folklore! That will surely convince her!

And Shannon, just say you know folklore. You don't have to remind us that you're a teacher. We know.


Also, that description Rhiannon left is pretty vague. It covers folklore, but it also covers just about all works of fantasy ever. What, did this world also inspire Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Narnia directly?

Shannon once again insists that it's unbelievable and asks how she's supposed to buy it. Alanna, instead of actually offering any sort of proof, tells her “
Lady Rhiannon told me that she would use her image that was already in your world, and a wall of fire to move through The Divide.” This leads Shannon to remember the pot she got at the auction.

Uh huh. Yeah, remember that thing? The pot that doesn't at all resemble a replica of an actual ancient urn from our world? It seems PC failed to realize that there was a perfectly plausible way to explain Rhiannon's image being in actual artwork in our world.


For those unfamiliar with Welsh mythology, Rhiannon was a possibly divine lady who appeared through magical means before Prince Pwyll. He pursued her but was unable to catch her, despite her moving at a reasonable speed, until she stopped and berated him for forgetting to mind the wellbeing of his horse. Rhiannon appeared on horseback herself and thus is heavily associated with horses. There are quite a few people who think there might be some connection between her and the goddess Epona, though nothing definite has been figured out.

There is plenty of artwork of that Rhiannon in our world. It could have easily been that the Rhiannon of Welsh mythology was them hearing about the Rhiannon of this world and interpreting it. I'm pretty sure PC loosely (and insultingly, but that's for later) based this Rhiannon off of the mythological one, so it would fit that they were similar! And that way, PC could use something with some basis in reality instead of blatantly making shit up!

Shannon asks how Rhiannon didn't burn up if she jumped through a wall of flame to make the switch. Uh...magic? If I was told that a priestess used fire to leap between dimensions, that's what I'd figure. Alanna, upon hearing the question, goes pale and offers Shannon more wine.


At this point, I have to wonder how Shannon can see straight. I don't get the impression that wine is watered down. And yes, we're going to find out why that question freaked Alanna out. We're going to find out so far into the book, yet again, that I could understand folks forgetting this scene even happened.

A servant comes in to inform Shannon that her betrothed has arrived. Shannon is actually expected to act as mistress and give a response, which actually is nice if only because it's the only time we see her having to get used to acting as an authority figure. Despite her voice being all raspy (which has been going on, even though she's been talking just fine for the rest of the scene), she is able to scrounge up “
that 'don’t interrupt my classroom' voice my students knew and loved so well


Shannon tells the servant to inform her betrothed that she's still getting ready, which is fine as an excuse to stall. What annoys me is what she follows it up with.

'Fine. Tell him (stall, think, think) tell him…um (at the 'um' the nymph’s eyes widened in surprise—oops—guess mistresses/my Ladys don’t um) tell him I will greet him when I have finished dressing.' So there. I’m female—no matter where the hell I was, men must be accustomed to waiting on women to get ready.

ZeldaQueen: Maybe I'm being overly picky here, but considering how everyone praises PC Cast for writing such female-empowering books, it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable that all Shannon does is confirm just about every negative stereotype about women there is.

And I included the first part because I don't think I could accurately summarize how bad that writing is. There are ways to write thinking to show that a character is struggling for an answer, but that is not it. That's just awkward and clunky to read.

The servant leaves, which causes a pleased Shannon to note, “
My ruse seemed to have worked. I almost felt like Penelope.” Yes, your very basic lie (which really isn't even a lie, I might add) convinced the person whose entire job is to do what you said. Wonderful work there. That really is right up there with Penelope lying to countless relentless suitors, tricking them into thinking she was going to give one of them a chance while secretly engaging in loophole abuse nightly.

With the servant gone, Alanna tries yet again to get it through Shannon's thick skull that she has to be careful. This really makes it sound like Shannon posing as Rhiannon will have more danger involved than there will be. Shannon still thinks that Alanna is Suzanna and that this is all a dream, and Alanna finally gets through by saying that if Shannon loves Suzanna at all, she'll call her (Alanna) by the proper name. I'm not sure how that works, seeing as Suzanna isn't in danger, but oh well. It's enough to convince Shannon to stop calling Alanna the wrong name.

We finally find out the name of Shannon's betrothed. It's ClanFintan, which is rather...interesting. I was actually curious about how authentic a name that is, so I turned to Google... and just about every hit was for this book. So I then turned to gehayi and was informed by her that "Fintan" is not a family name. It's a given name. Also, one person can be the head of the clan (as he is), but can't be the entire clan. So his name is basically the equivalent of "Family Billy". What a swoon-worthy name.

So yeah, Family Bi - er, ClanFintan's set to enter a handfast for one year with Rhiannon/Shannon. Shannon still thinks Alanna is an insane Suzanna (fuck me, can we get past that?!?) but decides to humor her. Shannon says that she believes a handfast is a temporary marriage, and Alanna says that yes, it's a marriage for one year.

Yeah, about that. The actual ancient practice of a handfast wasn't for marriage. It was a betrothal period. The practice was held in several countries in the UK, but I'm going with the Scottish version, since that's the only version that seems to be temporary, like in this case. Basically, a guy lived with a woman for a year and then decided if he wanted to marry her or not. Having an arranged marriage for one year, especially one that seems to be the equivalent of marrying two members of royalty, sounds completely pointless if only because that isn't really the sort of marriage one would want to have fall apart.

Shannon starts asking about why Rhiannon is marrying ClanFintan for one year and Alanna starts going into a very obvious evasion mode. Not meeting Shannon's eyes and poking around with various objects, she explains that the marriage is an arranged one and Rhiannon has met her betrothed before. Going off of Alanna's shifty behavior, Shannon figures out that this meeting wasn't a good one. I'm not giving that a point since the blame isn't put on Rhiannon here, but three guesses as to whose fault it turns out to be that “Rhiannon” and ClanFintan don't get along from the start.

I do apologize for things going so slowly, folks, but this is just dragging.

Alanna gets Shannon out of the tub and starts toweling her off. She explains that she'll just say that Shannon lost her voice during an accident during the last Full Moon Ritual. Uh...gotta wonder what goes on with those rituals that voice loss is a believable side effect. Shannon, meanwhile, is justifiably concerned about having to possibly consummate a marriage to someone she doesn't know. Alanna tells her that won't be an issue, since she's Epona's beloved and Rhiannon lets no one touch her unless she wishes it, husband or not. Upon being told this, Shannon thinks, “
She sounded pretty confident. I must be a real bitch. Smile.


  • It's not bitchy to make it known, in no uncertain terms, that you will not let anyone touch you without your consent. That goes for anyone – man, woman, husband, or wife. Everyone has the right to set those boundaries. To say otherwise is damaging, especially considering issues like marital rape. In fact, I'm sure plenty of people would consider it empowering that Rhiannon does not let anyone take advantage of her like that. Here? She's a bitch for it.

  • Alanna prefaced this by saying that Rhiannon is Epona's priestess and beloved. Shannon is allegedly a huge fan of mythology. Has she never heard any of the countless myths that center around how favorite mortals, particularly those who devote their lives in the service of deities, are given protection by said deities? The same holds true for royalty, particularly royalty either chosen by divine beings or thought to be divine themselves. Does it not occur to Shannon that this world just might consider it sacrilegious and appalling to bone their ruler/goddess's chosen one without her consent?

  • Just wait until the next book, when we hear about Rhiannon's past. It'll make this – the idea of her being a bitch for not letting her husband touch her without her consent – even worse.

Alanna starts getting Shannon dressed in the gauzy outfit mentioned lo at the start of this chapter. We're told that it's reddish-gold. And it's pinned in a drapey way using gold hoops. If it's not obvious by now, PC is very fond of gold. Again, I have no clue where all this is coming from. Gold doesn't just pop out of the ground, you know.

So the way this outfit sounds on Shannon, it seems to be wrapped around like a sari or a toga, neither of which are particularly Celtic that I know of. Shannon herself describes it as being pinned like a Highland kilt, “
except that I didn’t think kilts were semitransparent and silky, unless purchased from MacFrederick’s of MacHollywood” But these outfits aren't slutty, you see. Shannon kindly specifies that it's see-through “not in a slutty, stand on the corner of Eleventh and Peoria Streets at midnight kind of way, but in a sultry Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra kind of way”.

Yeah, I have no clue what lines Shannon draws. Not to mention, I have to wonder why Guinevere, who was romantically involved with two men who, by most accounts, she really loved and one of whom she was married to, is a slut but Cleopatra, who was romantically involved with two men (neither of whom she was married to) for political gain, isn't. Does PC think that Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra is the same as actual history? Because that's how she puts it in the House of Night-verse.


Alanna finishes getting Shannon dressed. Her outfit at this point consists entirely of a gauzy wrap and a thong. At this point I must ask, what the fuck?!? What is going on here?!? This sounds like how priestesses dress in a frigging porno! Or, you know how stories parody men fantasizing about relaxing and show them imagining themselves in some exotic location with women dressed in extremely fanservicy outfits while fanning them and feeding them grapes? YEAH!

The rest of the scene is just a stupidly-detailed account of Shannon having her hair fixed and then getting lots of fancy gold jewelry and make-up put on her. There's a bit where Alanna tells Shannon what Rhiannon's favorite gemstone is, since Shannon must pretend it's her favorite as well. If she's bothering with that, why not also tell her that she has to mimic how Rhiannon acts? Or her political views? Or anything ACTUALLY IMPORTANT? Something tells me PC never saw The Man in the Iron Mask, especially the scene where the musketeers tell Philip how he has to fake being an asshole when he initially impersonates the king just so he can pass himself off as the real deal and, once the deception is accepted, he can shift towards acting as he likes.

Shannon asks for lots of golden-brown lip coloring and Alanna says that that's exactly what Rhiannon liked. She sees this as proof that Rhiannon was correct in saying that she (Rhiannon) and Shannon were the same person. You know, despite the fact that Alanna herself said that Shannon seems entirely different from Rhiannon in personality. What the hell? Are we supposed to buy that a person's personality and beliefs and actions are less important to who they are than their tastes in jewelry and make-up?

Never mind. Don't answer that.


Shannon is not happy to be told that she and Rhiannon are the same, which in all fairness isn't something unreasonable to be upset about. Most people would be upset to be told that they're just a copy of someone and just can stand in for them. What does piss me off, though, is that Shannon decides to address this by bluntly telling Alanna, “
[Rhiannon] lied.

There are a lot of ways Shannon could have expressed her feelings. She could have said, “Rhiannon was wrong” or “that's not right”. Instead, she voices it in a way that makes it sound like Rhiannon was maliciously making shit up. How does Shannon know that's the case? She knows nothing about Rhiannon! For all she knows, Rhiannon truly did think she and Shannon were the same person! If a person's wrong from a lack of knowledge, that's really not lying! But no, it had to be worded in a way that makes Rhiannon sound as bad as possible here. And I'm sure that PC did, in fact, intend for Rhiannon to have been actively lying, even though we're going to hear something later that makes it very unlikely she could have known much about what she was doing.


And of course, Shannon stresses that she is her own person by reminding us all that she's a teacher.


Alanna seems utterly shocked by the revelation that Rhiannon was wrong, even though Shannon has in no way been acting like Rhiannon. We get several random discussions about Shannon's way of speaking, Alanna's accent, and the fact that most of the sconces are in the shape of skulls, because this land worships skulls as the seat of knowledge. Shannon is utterly horrified by this last point, which makes it the only thing I can think of that isn't Utterly Perfect in this little Sue world.

We then jump back to the topic of Shannon's impending marriage. She asks about her fiance and is told that he's a highly respected High Shaman. Of course he is. Shannon gets suspicious for no reason about all of this. Maybe her Deus Ex Machina senses tipped her off?


She starts prodding for more information on the guy, asking if Rhiannon was in love with him. Alanna says it was an arranged marriage. When Shannon points out that Rhiannon's supposed to be incredibly powerful and in charge, Alanna replies that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. And yes, she basically uses those exact words, leading to Shannon making a Spock reference. In all fairness, that one was pretty much begging to be made.

At this point, I have to pause and ask why the hell this marriage is even happening. I'm serious. Going off of what happens, I can think of no fucking reason whatsoever for it to take place.

  • The marriage is temporary, so it can't be for uniting two groups or anything like that.

  • There's no mention of hostilities between his people and Rhinannon's.

  • There's also no mention of economic difficulties or trade opportunities that either hinge on the wedding or are a potential benefit from it.

  • There are no hostile territories or people that these people know about (ones will show up later, but everyone's taken completely by surprise by them), so it can't be that the two peoples are being unified against a temporary threat.

  • Again, since the marriage is temporary, there can't be any sort of expansion of their territory

  • Since the Sue-people of this world all seem to be one happy hive mind, they all basically worship the same deity and the little religious variety there is is perfectly accepted by everyone. Thus, it can't be for anything like spreading their religion or getting converts.

  • While it's possible that the marriage is being done for the purpose to Rhiannon conceiving an heir (we'll be going more into that in the next book), there's never any indication that anyone wants Shannon/Rhiannon to hurry up and have a baby. Not to mention that if that's the case, it makes Alanna's bit about how Rhiannon wouldn't even let her own husband touch her without her consent not too logical.

  • Similarly, if the marriage had some purpose like giving Shannon/Rhiannon a chance to push through some sort of legislature or policy reform, there's never any indicator of it. We never see anyone urging Shannon to hurry and propose that new bill or whatever. (Of course, it probably goes without saying that this happy Sue-land doesn't have icky things like political problems or dissent going on.)

  • If the marriage was arranged because of some ritualistic or traditional purpose, there is no indication given. Besides a basic marriage ceremony, there is nothing special done. It's simply said at one point that it's standard for the high priestess to marry the shaman or whatever this all is, but we don't know why this is so important to them. It just is.

If anyone can think of any reasons for an arranged marriage that I missed, please bring them up. I'm dead serious. We're just told vaguely that it was Rhiannon's “duty” to do this, but we never find out why. It's just a contrived way for Shannon to meet her love interest.

Which, I suspect, is really the only reason PC actually thought up.

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 59 (for the world-building fail, which also pervaded HoN)

So, onward. Shannon randomly decides that there must be something “
wrong” with the guy (no, there's no lead-in to this) and starts trying to figure out what. She first asks Alanna if he's ugly and, when she says he isn't, Shannon immediately thinks she's lying. Uh...again, this is very random. Shannon mentally runs through some other possibilities, “Herpes? Balding? Tiny penis? Or worse—was he a tightwad?” And hello, it's time for me to pause again and rant.

Really, Shannon? Really? You, who pride yourself in knowing so damned much about Ye Olden Times, can only think of things like that as reasons for a groom to be undesirable in this time period? Never mind the fact that things like disease or balding are nearly impossible to prevent in this time since there aren't the shiny modern methods of caring for one's body (or there ought not to be, at last. We're going to see that it's not so, since PC wants a clean, happy fantasy land). Never mind that you're in a fucking palace you yourself own, so whether or not he's a tightwad shouldn't be an issue! No, there's something else your tiny mind apparently hasn't figured out.


Dear lord preserve me, for all Shannon's “grrr, male chauvinists”, does she not know how bad a situation like this can get? What about if he fucking beats her? Or decides not to listen when she says he's not allowed to touch her? Or has an awful temper and will yell at her constantly? Or is sadistic and enjoys emotional manipulation? Or wants to make her a puppet ruler? OR ANY OTHER NUMBER OF HORRIBLE THINGS THAT COULD HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE AS WELL AS A FANTASY WORLD?

Or here's something that hasn't crossed Shannon's head – she's in a medieval-ish fantasy world that inspired our ancient myths. It's a very different world than ours. Logically, there are cultural and legal differences in things that are acceptable.

What if things like marital rape or beating one's spouse are considered perfectly fine?

Those things were acceptable in the Good Old Days that Shannon pined for, after all. Yes, I know they also go on today and I know there were exceptions depending on the area and the time period, but the fact remains that if Shannon thinks that a sweaty, balding man staring at her breasts is the worst thing ever, why should we think she can handle how women were treated in Greco-Roman times? You know, when women were considered property and couldn't get a divorce unless their husband is actually keeping his mistress in the same household?

And no, it's not arguable that this is based off of a mythological version of those time periods, because guess what? Those things happened in the myths, too! Again, I know it's not all of them. I know that there are plenty of Celtic and Greco-Roman myths that had women who were badass and respected. But there are plenty that go the opposite way! Etain was basically a human trophy with no qualifiers besides being beautiful, while her romantic rival is a villain who's killed off! Medusa was raped in her temple by Poseidon and she was punished because Athena wanted to punish someone and Poseidon was off-limits. The story of Deirdre of the Sorrows starts with Deirdre being proclaimed a source of misfortune before she was even born, purely by virtue of the fact that she would be beautiful. And let's not forget how the Trojan War essentially began over Helen of Troy, who could just as well have been a beautiful statue for as much input as she had in the situation. (And yes, PC wrote a book about the Trojan War. Yes, it's getting sporked. Yes, it's dumb as all get-out.)

My point is, what if those things are considered acceptable in this world? Alanna clearly knows nothing about Shannon's world. For all Shannon knows, Alanna assumed that wifebeating and marital rape were acceptable practices in Shannon's old life and thus there's no need to mention it now. Not to mention, that sort of life would make Rhiannon's desire to escape to Shannon's world actually make sense. For comparison, everyone who's read A Song of Ice and Fire or seen Game of Thrones, think of the situation poor Sansa Stark finds herself in for most of the plot. She's betrothed to a mad king who just about everyone hates and knows is a monster... but nobody saves her because he's the king and he's powerful and his family's backing him up because it's politically advantageous to keep her around. Now tell me, does anyone for a minute think that if she had the chance, Sansa wouldn't have moved to another dimension in a heartbeat? Particularly a dimension where she ends up in an area where there are laws against underage marriage, domestic abuse, and rape?

Now, I'm not saying that fantasy worlds have to have all of that. I understand not having every series be A Song of Ice and Fire. A bit of grittiness is fine, but not every fantasy needs to have it to such extremes. And if this series didn't ignore Bad Things entirely, I could buy that a matriarchal society would take it for granted that their queen would be respected and obeyed by her husband. But Shannon prides herself so damned much on being a teacher and knowing so fucking much about mythology and old stories. Despite all of this, the only things she can think of as a downside in a husband are that he might not be suitably attractive and he might not be a good lay. Even if it doesn't turn out to be the case, she ought to consider the possibility of darker downsides to marrying a stranger. But nope!

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 60 (that just reeks of Zoey whining that her stepdad is a meanie because he makes her park her car on the street, while completely ignoring more serious problems that children can have if they have abusive parents.)

Alanna still refuses to say anything, because of course we must get a ~~big build-up~~ on the subject. She finishes getting Shannon all dolled up and then says, “
Beautiful, as always”, while sounding smug.

ZeldaQueen: Indeed. And yeah, knowing what I know we'll learn later about Alanna and Rhiannon... yeah, eyebrows going up there.

They head out and Alanna reminds Shannon to remember that she's the lady here and doesn't rush if she doesn't want to. Shannon teasingly asks if she rules over everything and Alanna says that yes, she does. Hooray for blatant wish fulfillments.

As they approach the room for the wedding, Shannon notes that Alanna begins to walk “
she had something stuck way up her butt


Thanks for that. I totally was missing Zoey saying that about people.

Shannon then notices some guards standing by the door and, of course they're incredibly gorgeous. Shannon proceeds to show us that she appreciates the important things in life.

At my approach they snapped to very attractive attention, banging hateful-looking swords against their firm, muscular chests (God bless them). One jumped forward to open the doors for me (now, that’s what’s missing in America today—guys don’t think they have to open doors anymore). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to give them the attention they so obviously deserved. Alanna was nudging me into a huge room.

  • You're off to marry someone in what's clearly supposed to be an incredibly important wedding and on the way there, you all but drool over your guards. Stay classy, Shannon.

  • And while normally I'd be fine with a female character being comfortable with looking, especially since her husband-to-be isn't anyone she knows or cares about, just wait until you see how she acts when she finds out about Rhiannon's sexual escapades.

  • Not to mention, having Shannon whine about men staring at her breasts only to have her stare at these dudes' abs makes her a wee bit of a hypocrite.

  • Yes, we do get an explanation as to why this place is full of fanservicy men. Yes, it's Rhiannon's fault. Yes, it's totally different that Shannon is drooling over them.

  • Yes, I realize she is still kind of on her “it's a dream!” kick, but you'd think she'd have other things to be focusing on other than the steamy abs of some nameless guards.

  • Those men are opening the door for you because they are in your service, Shannon. Your “men these days are pigs!” idiocy aside, there's a difference between someone opening a door for a person because it's nice and someone opening a door for a person because it's their job to do so. There were plenty of women doing things for you just now, and you didn't say a blessed thing about it!

  • “Hateful swords”? What, do they have blood on them or something? They're swords and it's not like there's been any aversion to weaponry before.

  • What “attention” were you planning on giving them? What, were you planning on licking their chests? While on your way to this incredibly important wedding?!? Again, just wait until we see how she talks about Rhiannon!

AS THE RED BIRD FLIES: 63 (because of how much Zoey and Company loved oogling attractive men, despite the double standards towards men oogling women and because of how often those twits would do it despite MORE IMPORTANT THINGS HAPPENING!)

We get a vague description of the room, which can basically be summed up by saying that there are pillars, skulls (which Shannon thinks are “stupid”, so much for respecting cultural differences), a throne on a dais, and paintings of a scantily-clad Rhiannon leading some girls in frolicking.

ZeldaQueen: Yes, I'm still doing that. Subtext is all I have to keep me going, right now.

So...despite the fact that this marriage is supposed to be so incredibly important, we're just told that there are a few handmaidens lounging around in the room. Nothing about, you know, people actually being there to witness the ceremony or actually conducting it. I could understand if this was the way this sort of thing was done in this world, but we're never given any context! Shannon's just taken to this room with just a bunch of servants, has her betrothed sent in, and we're going to see that Alanna apparently is able to conduct their marriage ceremony just fine! I...okay, I know weddings in Celtic and Greco-Roman times aren't anything like the ceremonies that go on today, but surely it would be customary to have some sort of public celebration! After all, this is effectively the marriage of two members of royalty! We only hear that the groom brought some people in, and they only show up for the feast! What the fuck? Do the people of Partholon just not give a shit if their high priestess/direct link to their goddess gets married? If so it would be a wonderful subversion of how uber-important these things are, but if that's the case, WHY THE FUCK IS IT SO VITAL THAT THEY GET MARRIED?!?

*heaves a deep breath* The chapter is nearly over, thank God.

Shannon sits on the throne and tells us that she “
should have been nominated for some kind of Greco-Celtic Academy Award for Best Voluptuous Ascent to a Throne”. Uh, you just sat down on the damned thing. Go attend any number of fictional crownings and you'll see that's nothing special. There's an entire page of examples here. Alanna orders one of the servants send word for a guy named ClanFintan – Shannon's betrothed - and then we just sort of sit as PC Cast tries to build suspense.

The servant returns and for some reason, even though we've been told countless times how women here dress and even though this isn't the first time the servant has been mentioned, she feels the need to tell us that the servant is wearing “
a cloud of transparent wisp masquerading as clothing


Thanks for that, Zoey. Do you also want to tell us how “ho-ish” you think Aphrodite's dress is?

The servant announces that ClanFintan is on his way, and for some reason Shannon takes the fact that the servant looks flushed and excited to mean that her betrothed just might be hot after all (or at least not ugly). Okay then! Shannon hears the sound of hooves approaching and thinks that ClanFintan is riding a horse into the throne room. She promptly gets fussy about this.

Okay, I realize Epona was some kind of horse goddess, but he and I were going to have a talk about proper palace etiquette. Soon. I mean, as my grandma would have said, that certainly couldn’t be mannerly behavior.

ZeldaQueen: Don't you just love how she admits that there's a cultural reason why horses might be held in high regard here, then proceeds to ignore the fact that this might be culturally the norm in favor of bitching that she's going to MAKE her husband do what she wants? I mean, who the fuck cares if he rides a horse in? It's not like that's something unheard of for a ceremony! And it's certainly not like it just shat on the floor on its way in (Game of Thrones spoilers if you watch that entire video, careful).

Not to mention, Shannon's going to be in hog heaven pretty soon, going on about how great she thinks horses are and how she is so obsessed over them. Why, then, does she find the idea of riding a horse inside to be unseemly? She should be able to hear from the pace of the hooves that it's not galloping in or being skittish or wild! In fact, given what we see of her horse love later, a ceremony that involves her betrothed riding in on a horse ought to thrill her!

But no, this is just held up as a sign that he's probably unrefined and gross. Shannon hears that there are several people “riding” in (yeah, you probably have guessed what's going on by now, but in all fairness it's believable that Shannon hasn't) and just decides right then and there that they're “
[o]afs” and that ClanFintan is “probably the mirror image of an Oklahoma bubba. I could see it now, he would want to call me his sweet thang and slap me on the butt”. I'm sure the men of Oklahoma appreciate that just about as much as they do Zoey saying that they're all a bunch of homophobes.


I have to ask, why do you think this? You're getting married to a man who's clearly of high ranking, since the marriage is really important (for some reason). All you know of him thus far is that he and several others are apparently riding horses in a palace. So, what? How does that indicate that he'd be the stereotypical crass redneck? Why don't you think that he'd, you know, have some sort of breeding for his station?

Now yes, yes, I know there are plenty of cases in real life and fiction of high-ranking people being crass or jackasses. But really, I don't think that's what's going on at all, for two reasons. The first is that, like I said, Shannon has no reason to think this is the case! And the other reason? Well... the other reason is that it's a Dead Herring, plain and simple. I've already mentioned it, but the groom is a Perfect Fantasy Gentleman. This is no different than the usual slap-slap-kiss cliché of the willful girl assuming that the leading man will be uncouth, sloppy, stupid, useless, lazy, or otherwise undesirable, only to stand there staring when a well-mannered handsome gentleman shows up.

Hey, didn't Shannon say something about cliches being the “bane of mankind”?

The guards open the door and, even with her husband-to-be coming in RIGHT THEN AND THERE, Shannon takes the time to oogle then and note that, “
yes, they did appear proportional”. I'm sure your husband will really appreciate you sizing up the dicks of your guards, Shannon. It'll make this super-important marriage go swimmingly, I'm sure. And again, just wait until we hear more about Rhiannon.

So yeah, Shannon's betrothed and his entourage enter and, yes, they're centaurs. To be fair, Shannon's shock at seeing this actually is believable and well-written, if a bit overdone. Seriously, we don't need to hear her saying she was going to mime the universal symbol for choking because of how her heart was in her throat.


I so did not miss Zoey's tendency to drive things into the ground.

Shannon manages to squeak out “Centaurs!” to Alanna and Alanna gives no response at all, which makes me wonder why the fuck she didn't say anything about this. The only reason I can think of as to why she wouldn't say something is because she assumed centaurs were normal in Shannon's world. Either that, or contrived drama. (It's that one, isn't it?) And honestly, now would have been a great time to end the chapter. It's a decent length, something actually happened, and leaving off with the reveal that Shannon is marrying centaur of all things would be a great hook. But now, we have to carry on. ClanFintan approaches and greets Shannon and she's tells us that his voice is, “
surprising, deep and smooth, like dark chocolate”. Uh, why's it surprising? Were you so convinced he'd be a stereotypical Southern hick that you couldn't picture him sounding smooth?

And I'm giving this on principle...


Because just about everything about this guy is designed specifically to be everything Shannon wants in a man. I'm dead serious. Besides the horse end of him, there is not one damned flaw. And as for that...well, you'll see.

Just to prove my point, after hearing his voice, Shannon tells herself that, “
At least it was damn obvious that he wasn’t my ex -husband”. Considering we know fuck-all about your ex, that means nothing to us. Although I must say, that would be interesting as a source of conflict, if the man you absolutely had to marry in this world was this dimension's version of your ex. And that's probably why PC didn't do it.

Alanna informs ClanFintan that “Rhiannon” has lost her voice during the Full Moon Ritual, but had hurried to get well enough to make it to the wedding. ClanFintan finds this all suspicious and we get another horribly-written sentence.

'What a most—' pause '—inopportune time for you to lose your voice, my Lady.'

ZeldaQueen: To further add insult to injury, Shannon tells us that he was being sarcastic and doesn't seem thrilled by the state of things either. Once again, Captain Obvious saves the day!

ClanFintan continues to be grumpy and hopes that her loss of voice won't delay the wedding. He refers to the wedding as “
business”, which gets Shannon all bristled and confused, because whoever heard of an arranged marriage being considered business? I mean, the very idea is just so damned weird!

Shannon, for once, actually does something somewhat badass and appropriate for the situation – instead of having Alanna answer, she raises her chin and shakes her head “no”. I say “somewhat” though, because that's still a really stupid thing to try, given the circumstances. Yes he's being pissy, but all he's asking about is whether or not they're getting hitched. Shannon had no idea how powerful he is, what his temperament is like, what the laws of this world are, and what the background of this situation is. For all she knows, acting smart like that could give him the grounds to hit her later. Yes, that's a horrible thing, but this is a different world! Shannon doesn't know what happened! For all she knows, this is basically Westeros! And that's arguably the lesser of bad possibilities. Like I said, ClanFintan's supposed to be a very important person. He clearly has come in feeling shafted/insulted by Rhiannon. If Shannon pisses him off further, for all she knows, he could declare war. I'm sure Shannon would love to have to guide a country she has spent less than a day in through a fucking war.

But of course, since this is a Sue fantasy, ClanFintan just is happy things are progressing and says that Rhiannon's father sends his regards but is too busy to attend. Jesus Christ, this ceremony is looking less and less important by the minute! Not only are there no guests, but the brides father can't even be bothered to make it!

We get more of ClanFintan being pissy and Shannon holding our hands that he's being rude (thanks for that) before Alanna leads Shannon down to him. We're told that he smells like a “
mixture of sweet grass and warm man”, which is almost, but not quite, as silly as hearing that Jack Sparrow smells like, “the sea, rum, and pure masculinity”.


He takes Shannon's hands in his, and we're told how he's all warm and nicely-tanned and God, he sounds like every Fabio harlequin hero (except for the horse part).


He then recites the wedding vow.

I, The ClanFintan, do take you, Rhiannon MacCallan, in handfast this day. I agree to protect you from fire even if the sun should fall, from water even if the sea should rage and from earth even if it should shake in tumult. And I will honor your name as if it were my own.

ZeldaQueen: Mmm. You know, considering how much PC loves her some mixing modern paganism in with her ancient mythologies, I'm pretty certain she was going off of some wedding vows of that sort. I'm not 100% certain, since apparently handfast vows these days can be varied and the only actual one I found wasn't at all like this one, but I still get that vibe. Maybe I'm wrong and this was all just made up entirely, but it's hard to say. If anyone has any information about it, I'd love to hear.

(Although if this was meant to be based off of more modern pagan handfasting, PC really dropped the ball. Going off of this information, the wedding doesn't take place outdoors, there isn't a group of witnesses circling the couple, there's no invoking of elements or divine beings, the couple's hands aren't bound by a cord, and there's no jumping over a broom. It honestly reads like PC just wrote a standard Western wedding with a neopagan flavor.)

Also, “the ClanFintan”? Is...uh, that some sort of Celtic naming convention I'm unaware of? Or is ClanFintan worried about impersonators? “I'm the ClanFintan!”

Shannon starts going on about how he's not being sarcastic and how he's talking about their marriage like it's so sacred and noble and I'm sure I'm supposed to be sighing over how ~~dreamy~~ it is that he's being so serious about his marriage vows. I'm sorry, but it's impossible to take this marriage seriously. I just pointed out how utterly pointless it is and how nobody's doing anything to indicate that it's important. Why should I care, if none of the characters do?

Alanna recites Shannon's vows for her, which are purple and boring and I'll skip 'em. ClanFintan insists on getting some form of agreement from Shannon herself as to whether or not she consents to the marriage, and in a different book? This action could have something made of it. After all, it's made clear that Rhiannon really didn't want to go through with this, but suddenly is all smiles and agreeing to go along with it. It'd be interesting if ClanFintan somehow suspected that she was forced into it and want to give her a chance to let him know and back out if she so wanted. But no, that's not what this is. This is the same thing PC and Kristin did in the House of Night series. Instead of writing a male love interest who's legitimately interesting and likable and, y'know, actually has characterization, they just have their usual cardboard cut-outs do basic acts of decency or kindness and have it built up like “OH LOOK, THAT'S TOTALLY UNLIKE HOW MOST MEN WOULD ACT! ISN'T HE SPECIAL?”

Standards, folks. We need to raise them.

So Shannon manages to croak out a “yes” and ClanFintan is satisfied and declares the handfast to now be a Thing. He then takes Shannon's hand and very gently bites the part of her hand below the thumb. Shannon tells us that it's more surprising than painful, but for some reason this one particular action freaks her out more than most of the other stuff going on. I mean, she's apparently come to grips with being married to a fucking centaur, but we now get her beating us over the head with how HER HUSBAND IS A HORSE AND HE BITES, HOW STRANGE! DID I MENTION HE BITES? BECAUSE HE TOTALLY DOES!

Yeah. We know what this is. This is proto-Zoey “Aren't I Funny When I Ramble On Nothing?” Redbird. What next, is Shannon going to wonder if there are prep and goth vamires?


And this is where we end the chapter, folks. With this -

I’ve married a friggin horse.
And he bites.
Okay, I’m from Oklahoma and I like big horses, and I’m a John Wayne fan, so I like big men, but this was more than a little ridiculous.
And, well, shit, he bites!

Why didn't the chapter just end with the reveal of the centaurs? That would have at least been interesting! Instead, we end with this komedy. Hooray.

See you next time, folks!


Tags: book 1, chapter 6, fic: divine by mistake, series: parthalon, sporker: zelda_queen, suethor: pc cast

  • Divine By Mistake: Chapter 7

    ZeldaQueen: When we last left off, Shannon and her centaur husband, ClanFintan, got hitched in their year-long handfast, with no witnesses and…

  • Divine By Mistake: Chapter 5

    ZeldaQueen: Whew! Sorry about the delay, folks! Because I'm so behind and because things are going to be slow-moving for awhile, I'm going to try to…

  • Marked Redux: Chapter 4

    ZeldaQueen: Damn, sorry about the lack of updates! This is still going on though, no worries! Chapter 4 ZeldaQueen: When we last left off in…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.