While I was at my mom’s house over the weekend my brother and I had a series of long, rambly conversations about Tortall, and one of the things I came away with is that I really want a series rewrite of Trickster that writes out Aly and tells the entire story from Dove’s perspective. The first book could focus on Dove moving to Tenair and negotiating her relationships with Winna and Mequin and Sarai but also having her eyes opened a bit to the realities of her country. Because she was just a kid when they moved, really, albeit an extremely perceptive kid, and I don’t know quite how much social consciousness she’d developed yet. But on Tenair it’s hard to avoid. On Tenair there is no barrier between her family and the locals, not really, and Dove’s the kid of person who listens. So Dove hears about how the local Raka live. She sees the tensions between the Raka and the Luarin in the villages and on the estate. And she sees how they all watch Sarai, silently, constantly, expectantly.
She watches, and she listens, and she talks it over with her father – not all of it, not the stuff about Sarai, but the racial politics. And he looks at her and sighs, because she’s twelve and he loves her and she shouldn’t have to think about these things, but he talks with her about it, because she’s half Raka and will inherit this world his ancestors built and deserves to know about it. And Mequen’s a moderate, a believer, someone who puts all of his faith in his friends and truly, genuinely believes that the current system can be fixed. He knows more than he lets on about the prophecy and about his family – he and Sarguani talked about it once, just once, in hushed voices, when they found out that her first child would be a daughter – but he desperately wants to believe – needs to believe – that there is a peaceful way.
But then Bronau attacks, and Mequen is killed by a man he considered nearly a brother, and Dove realizes that they cannot count on the system to protect them. She already knows that the crown actively despises the Raka; now she realizes that the crown cares only slightly more for the Luarin, for the nobility, for its own blood relations. She goes to find Ulasim the very next day.
The second book can stay basically the same. The Balitang family goes back to Rajmuat. Dove, a member of the Raka conspiracy in her own right by now, a young lady rather than a child, takes on a more active role against Ulasim’s wishes. She has the blood as much as her sister, and she will not be part of any regime that doesn’t talk to the people. Ulasim, who sees in her the same fire as he sees in Sarai, as he saw in Sarugani, backs down.
And so things escalate. Navigating the regent’s court, from Dove’s perspective, would be heartbreaking and fascinating and infuriating. Gone is the detached observational tone we get from Aly. Instead we watch as Dove swallows the insults and the condescension. We watch as Dove’s little brother befriends the young king, as Dove herself makes conversation with Taybur and slowly, unwillingly, comes to the heartwrenching realization that both boys are in terrible danger and that there is only so much she can do to protect them. Her influence only goes so far, and she knows enough of the rebellion, of its scope and its stakes, to know how much she would be asking of them if she asked for mercy.
Sarai, proud, headstrong, passionate, chafing desperately under the
expectations placed upon her by everyone, takes her life into her own
hands and flees. Dove reads her farewell letter and sees in the eyes of
every Raka in that room that, in their minds, all is ruined. She lifts
her head and sticks out her chin and, the moment they return to Rajmuat,
reminds them that Sarai was not Sarugani’s only daughter. They argue –
she is too young, she is too serious, she does not know what a burden
she will be taking up – but she stands her ground and, in the end,
whether because they believe in her or because they have run out of
options, the leaders of the rebellion accept her as their future queen.
The regents – guided by Kyprioth, who cares nothing for individual lives, who plays a game of chess on a cosmic scale and sees his chosen as pawns and barely notices anyone else – give the order to create a storm. The king’s ship is dashed to pieces by the waves. Dove watches Winna, watches Taybur, watches the Raka leaders, and does not know how to feel. She goes to the rebellion’s leaders later, after she has put Winna to bed, and looks at them, her face still wet with tears, her gown a mess from the long wait in the storm, and says that she will not start her reign with the blood of children. She cannot – will not – ask for a bloodless revolution. Her people have gone through too much and the Luarin hold their power too jealously. But this, the murder of children for no crime other than the blood flowing through their veins, cannot be a precedent, cannot be a roadmap for things to come. Someone says something about the God, and Dove glances up towards the ceiling and says, to both the Raka and to Kyprioth, that if the God has a problem with that he can deal with her directly.
(He does. He comes to see her that night, in all his glory, comes to meet the girl who will free him from his shackles. He takes her on a tour of the Isles, soars across emerald jungles and sparkling seas, and tells her that soon it will all be hers. She shakes her head and says that, no, soon it will be theirs, and he looks at her like he’s never seen her before before sweeping her up into a hug.)
Dove dances through the minefield that is the royal court, learns from Ulasim how to rule and from the regents how not to, studies history and economy and geography, talks to shopkeepers and sailors and beggars. She watches as the crown soldiers trample the poor, notes how they mow down Raka and Luarin alike, and weaves this into her conversations. With growing rapidity, Rajmuat comes to a boiling point.
And then it happens. The riot spreads and becomes open revolt. Dove flies a kudarung over the city and when she lands the rebellion leaders welcome her as their Queen. She watches, safely in the skies, watches as her people fight and bleed, ostensibly for her but truly for themselves, for their own freedom and dignity, for their children and grandchildren. Even as she lands before the Grey Palace, before Taybur opens its doors and offers it to her without a fight, Dove swears that she will not let her people down.
TRICKSTER’S QUEEN FANCAST: with Yara Shahidi as Queen Dovasary Balitang, Jennifer Lawrence as Aly, Gary Carr as Nawat, Janelle Monae as the Jaguar Goddess, Michael Obiora as Kyprioth, Lupita Nyong'o as Jimarn, Aisha Hinds as Chenaol, and Jai Courtney as Taybur Sibigat.
30 Days of Tamora Pierce--Day 19: A minor character you wish got more time to shine
How about all of them? I would really say those in the Trickster’s series. They all seemed to be very deep, but we never really got a chance to see how so. I would love to see into all of them before and after they met Aly.
And Taybur. OH MY LORD TAYBUR. That man. He is amazing and witty and adjgfdjk. I want to know more of him and see him again and again.