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Whoever heard of a princess who could spin straw into linen thread?
Here we’ll be picking over chapters 5 through 8 of Dealing with Dragons.
A great deal happens in these chapters but one thing that we see throughout is people’s surprise at Cimorene’s unconventional ways and rejection of how things should be done. She also finds an equally unusual friend in Alianora. Do you think protagonists have to be unusual and ‘go against the grain’ to be compelling? Could the story be as interesting if more princesses were like Cimorene and (to some extent) Alianora?
One convention you really should follow to keep the story interesting for everyone is using spoiler tags when discussing specifics of the plot.
"Does the Walker choose the path or the path the walker?" -Garth Nix
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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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I really like how the characters have been set up as who and what they are in the first chapters of Dealing with Dragons
. Then, when I am ready to settle into a book with a princess and dragons and folks who want to kill and/or eat her, here come some new people! Well, of course. There are other dragons with captives so this is the next step!
The first thing I laughed at was "If you don't like being a dragon's princess, why don't you escape?" Cimorene asked, remembering that Kazul had said that three princesses in a row had run away from the yellow-green dragon, Moranz.
So practical, so sensible! The person she asks (Hallanna) is shocked " ... Oh, I couldn't!" and another (Keredwel) responds with "It isn't done" with a following accusation "And I notice that you haven't tried it." But Alianora is curious! She asks "Then you really did volunteer to be Kazul's princess?"
So now Cimorene is of influence amongst the others princesses -- but to what end? More adventures are had, but intermixed with lovely comments about tea and ingredients for spells and BOOKS. I would love to read some of the books which are mentioned ...
This is so great.
Another part I found very amusing ...
Finally, towards the end of this section, Kazul and Cimorene go to visit someone who Cimorene has already met (Morwen). Kazul asks, of one the cats perched on the porch, to tell Morwen that they are there and would like to talk with her.
The cat, a large gray tom, blinked its yellow eyes at Kazul. Then he jumped down from the porch and sauntered into the house, his tail held high as if to say "I'm doing this as a particular favor, mind, and don't you forget it."
"He doesn't seem very impressed," Cimorene commented in some amusement.
"Why should he be?" Kazul said.
"Well, you're a dragon," Cimorene answered, a little taken aback.
"What difference does that make to a cat?"
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Prof. Scarlet Leslie-Lewis
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It doesn't necessarily have to be the protagonist that goes "against the grain" to make the story interesting, but there is usually that one character that is unusual (like Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series). Meeting the other dragons' princesses really helped set the tone and illustrate the "normal" expectations of princesses in their world. It made the scene when Cimorene tried to emulate her sisters to pass off as a regular princess quite amusing. I'm glad Cimorene was able to make one sensible friend in the lot.
And yes, Morwen's cats are the best!