Monday, 11 April 2011

"My Prince, We Are Coming."



"Bill and scythe! Bill and scythe, and the grey wolf in the red gloaming!"

One of my hardest chapters has come to its end, and Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland is drawing to its close too. The next chapter is the fulfilment of the Rising arc, with the great and grievous battle before Castle Carrowglaze.

I'm not so happy with this first sketch of the way Kate rouses the demoralized rag-tag rebel army to its last fatal effort. The run-up to it was better than I'd hoped - Kate has changed so much, and she kindles such a different quality of loyalty now that she is herself such a blaze of it. She won over somebody I'd thought impossibly fireproof, almost by the way.

But precisely because she has changed in the living and the telling, the climactic scene stumbled for the vision I first had of it three years ago. Part of her rôle now belongs to Fiery Younger Sister, and there's another character who's hefted a much bigger part of the burden onto her slender shoulders than I'd looked for. Still, in the end, Kate's terrible speech lacks the clarion directness I need from it. It is divided and diverted between my new vision of it and the old ingrained one. There is no amending that until the whole tale is completed, and redrafted from the start in full knowledge of what she is and what she must become.

In the old story, this is the place where kindly sensible Katy Elflocks was wrong, and fell heroic Golden Kate was right at last. No longer so. This Kate knows that not only is Katy her true cause, but is enormously wiser than she is, even in this matter - and yet, because the people and times are what they are, the only way to save anything from disaster is her own cockeyed way. And this Kate is not grimly and righteously vindicated, but burning inwardly that it is her own stupid old tricks that must save both her new loves and her old.

So it is unexpectedly like Katy in the first of all their tales that she fares down into Langdale at last, with neither hope nor pride remaining, nor any need for either.

And to the Dull Tower Kate Fireguard came.


And the devil whistles the marching-tune, over the blue unremembered hills.

Three chapters and one epilogue to go.

1 comment:

  1. Wowsers. The last three sentences but one of the post is enough to stir my interest. Nice poetic imaging!

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