Challenge 1: Would you rather be a Swords-person or a scholar? Discuss!
Really, it's not as if one can't be both.
Challenge 2: What social media sites would the characters use? Feel free to either write a post describing their habits, or create a post/tweet/image as if you were one of them.
Diane would use the latest, openly and obviously, saying what everyone expects her to say. She'd monitor every site she could, or hire people to do it -- but I suspect she'd want a certain amount of hands on attention here. Possibly she'd post as several different people, or hire different people to post what she instructed them to post. I'm not entirely sure how she'd react to the pr0n dimension of social media.
Possibly she wouldn't be as hands on as I assume. She uses the City's and the Land's social media as everyone expects -- she writes and receives letters. She does what she can to learn what news she considers important, but she doesn't go out and walk the streets of her City to get a feel for it.
And she's very conservative. To her, the discovery of a route to the Kinwiniik does not mean a revolution in navigation and trade and mathematics and the way the world works. It means a threat to Tremontaine, and as she might say, if only to herself, "Tremontaine means _me_."
Micah might not ever use social media. I could see her using an intranet for the farm, giving very, very precise instructions for milking cows or planting turnips. If she used social media at University at all, she'd be discussing very advanced mathematics with likeminded students and professors.
Rafe would be all over social media, arguing with everyone.
This might count as partial credit to an earlier challenge. I'll let Her Grace have her people figure that out.
I'm annoyed at Vincent, as I've said, for dropping the job to protect Tess. He's very firm on the rules about jobs -- just what the heck are the rules he's using here, and how is he convincing himself that he's following them?
But, these last two episodes or so, I've been very, very annoyed at Kaab.
Oddly, I'm not used to this. Sure, Kaab swaggers around as if she owns the place, doing as she pleases, putting her foot in her mouth, her flaws in full display. But, before now, she never struck me as, well, stupid.
Her plan to find out about the chocolate thieves was overly ambitious and selfish -- but not stupid. Ixsaabim thought it was risky, but had merit. Telling Tess what was going on was, I maintain, correct. Yes, Tess is not wrong that staying with her is Kaab's excuse for the spying she's doing -- the the spying she's doing is also Kaab's excuse for staying with Tess. And Kaab is taking an immense leap of faith by telling the Tess the truth.
Taking Tess to her family's home in the City went disastrously wrong. But, here again, I can see Kaab's heart as being in the right place. Tess has asked to be more part of Kaab's life. Kaab is trying. Kaab is failing and mishandling, and I understand why Tess is not perceiving this as "the woman I love loves me so much she is risking her family's wrath telling me their secrets". Heck, she is also risking Tess's life, and I think everyone is aware of this. Well, possibly not Kaab, which is a problem.
Last year, Kaab solved her problems by being brilliant and daring, and it isn't absurd for her to think she can do that again. And, she almost pulls it off. She does find the thieves. She survives. She makes two mistakes.
The first is that she leaves Shade and Florian alive. This is surprising, but she was hard pressed. She does not think for a moment that this will put Tess in danger. This boggles me. Sure, the pair have reason not to go after Tess, but honestly, given that Kaab made such a big thing about protecting Tess, it's really annoying to see her drop it. I care about someone torn between conflicting responsibilities. I don't care about someone acting stupidly selfish. There's a huge difference in forgetting to pick up your clothes and forgetting your lover might be in danger from the two men you didn't finish murdering.
The second, of course, is that it never occurs to her that moving against Shade and Florian in any official legal way is breaking Riverside's rules. More, it never occurs to her that -- well, not so much that Riverside has rules. She seems to be aware of that. It's more the reason Riverside has rules.
Riverside isn't just that dangerous place on the island where swordsmen come from. It's home to many people. It's a community, and the rules are what make that community work. It is Tess's community and her home.
And, as Tess realizes, it never even occurred to Kaab to think of it that way, or to truly join not Tess, but Riverside.
And this is heart-rending. This is a true conflict of loyalties here. As I understand it, what Kaab wants and perhaps needs to do on behalf of her family is exactly what Tess cannot countenance.
This is exactly what Kaab feared on some level -- and what, on so many more, she would not allow herself to face, that there would come a time when her loyalties to her family were in full on conflict with her loyalties to Tess.
Except that the next couple of episodes don't give us this tragedy. The next episode gives us Kaab being stupid.
All right, says Kaab to herself, I need to give up something to prove myself to Tess.
Right, you haven't heard what Tess was saying. This was forgiveable last season, but really not at this point.
I cannot give up my family, reasons Kaab, and obviously, Tess cannot ask that of me.
All right, let's ignore the part where you were pretty much expecting her to do the same for you AND the part where you still don't realize that this is what you were doing, because --
Kaab: I will give up the sword!
W. T. F.
You're going to give up the one thing that makes you of any use to Tess -- the ability to protect her.
You're going to ignore the fact that Vincent is no longer Tess's protector because he is trusting you with that job (which is stupid of him, but I've had that rant several times already).
You're going to ignore the fact that Tess has already been threatened / pressured and that the thing that keeps threats and pressure at bay is a protector, which is someone with a sword, which is what you are, and Tess has no other protector at the moment. (Side note: She really should look into getting someone.)
You're also ignoring the fact that, without a sword, Riverside will eat you alive, by which I mean "probably murder you", because it's not like you're going to be in any way quiet about giving up the sword for love of Tess.
Please, someone tell me I missed a section where Kaab got even drunker than when she spilled the beans to Rafe, and that was why she came up with this extremely stupid idea.
This is the point where I throw up my hands and lose sympathy for Kaab. Heck, it starts to be hard to care for her at all when she's acting like a caricature.
She does seem to have a few working brain cells when Vincent points out to her that she does have to honor her agreement as a swordswoman, as otherwise, other swordsmen will kill her for the insult. And she understands his position when it comes to Reza. Maybe I did miss a paragraph where she got drunk before that hair brained idea of giving up the sword.
Or maybe not.
I can understand Kaab's reluctance, even her refusal to kill Vincent. Heck, I can even give her points for her attempt to find a loophole and brazen it out. She's in an impossible situation, and she got there by trying to do a good deed.
Where she loses me is when she decided that she doesn't have to follow the stupid Xanamwiniik rules. It's not simply the contempt for their culture -- the contempt for Tess's and Vincent's culture, not just the culture of brainless or ruthless nobles -- but the childishness of it all.
These rules will make her do something she doesn't want to do? Then she won't play the game any more. So there!
And the problem is that this seems to sum her up too well this season.
I can care about someone who's in an impossible situation. I can care about a relationship broken because Kaab must bring Shade and Florian to Official Justice using her position in Riverside and Tess can't countenance that.
But at the moment, I'm seeing a spoiled woman, and I'm wondering if I've overestimated her good qualities. Has she perhaps been nothing more than this all her life?
I hope not. I want to believe not. (Well, sort of -- obviously, I don't want character consistency to be something that gets dropped because we need someone else to be carrying the idiot ball this week -- don't get me started on the troll episode of Buffy...)
Her arc in season one is largely that of someone who's screwed up, revealing a huge secret, and who managed to cover it up at a horrible cost -- but one which involves no one dying, except for someone trying to kill Kaab, so she needn't feel bad about killing him.
I thought it was about a woman who was slowly coming to realize how much hard work a relationship was, but... everything in season 2 indicates Kaab did her level best not to learn anything about that. Sure, it was a big thing that caused Tess to send Kaab away, but let's face it: There were enough little things that aren't that little that their relationship was none too steady to begin with.
And then, I started to wonder about what happened before Kaab got to the City. We know the outline of it, sure. Kaab went on a Trader mission that went very wrong when --
-- when the "game" she'd been playing with Citlali turned deadly.
And Kaab was pulled away from Citlali's body and into the safety of her family's embrace. Was this her first adult mission?
Has Kaab ever had to do anything she didn't want to for any length of time? Has she ever had to work harder than she was comfortable with for any length of time to get something she wanted?
Last season, I would have been sure that the answer was yes. Now, I'm not so certain.