Monday, July 17, 2017

Before You Meet Prince Charming: Chapter Nine - Part One

This chapter has the smooth title of "Dreams Must Die".  The book has been uniformly depressing since the Princess' most intimate relationship is with the Alligator who lives in moat who is trying to get her to have a life.  I don't even want to know how much worse this can get.

The allegory start with the Princess enjoying the nice weather while thinking and praying on the balcony.  She's decided to not go to the Merchants' Fest and plans to serve God with more energy.  There's no discussion at all of how she plans to serve God which is unfortunate; the Princess really needs a job, a hobby, an education or something that cuts down on the amount of time she spends alone in the castle moping.

Anyways, she's on her way to tell the King of her plans when she finds Sir Valiant in the courtyard. As near as I can tell, the Princess has seen him once when she was about 17 years old.  She's now 20 or 21 years old.  The two of them have never spoken to each other.  Sir Valiant did give talk with the King about plans to fight Temptation and Lies in the Kingdom, but the Princess isn't aware of that whole discussion.

The two of them chat for a few minutes.  This section below is their whole interaction:
It was, as you may have guessed, Sir Valiant. He had finished a lengthy conference with her father and was just mounting his horse to depart from the castle, dedicated in his service for the king.

The princess stopped suddenly. Then she quickly smiled and cheerfully exclaimed, " Oh, hello! " Though her voice was calm, her heart was trembling, and dozens of questions raced through her mind. What shall I say? Shall I introduce myself? Why is he here? Does he know who I am?

Her anxiousness was forgotten, however, when Valiant dismounted his horse, returned her greeting, and said " Oh, and you must be the king's daughter? I have heard so much about you. Many in the village speak of thy virtue and kindness."

The princess laughed and replied, " Oh, well, I have heard about you as well. My father says thou art among his most trustworthy knights. He deeply values thy loyal service.

The princess thought that Sir Valiant looked even more handsome and radiant than ever as he stood there in the bright sunlight. In reality, if she could have seen herself, she would have been equally surprised to see the brightness in her own face. It is perhaps a good thing that the princess did not realize that her beauty was only becoming more and more radiant with time.

The two of them did not talk long, but as the princess waved goodbye and watched him ride away, she felt as if her heart would burst. She had never felt that way before. (pg. 166)
  • Historically, the reign of the King and Queen is in much more jeopardy from Sir Valiant than Sir Eloquence. 
    •  Sir Valiant has started making connections with other knights within the Kingdom; Sir Eloquence had none.  
    • Sir Eloquence was approaching a princess who was barely at marriageable age and emotionally dependent on her parents; Sir Valiant is approaching an adult woman who has started to push back against the rules of her parents.  
    • The Princess was defensive against Sir Eloquence; she's partial towards Sir Valiant.  
  • If the Princess marries Sir Valiant legally without their permission, the King and Queen are facing two unpalatable options: Overlook the lack of permission and allow Sir Valiant to reign with the Princess in hopes that the grandson(s) of the King and Queen inherit the throne or remove the Princess from succession and leave the throne to the next nearest relative.  
  • I feel really bad for the Princess.  At 21, she's as disconcerted and flustered at running into a guy she's got a crush on as most people are at age 12.  More disturbingly, she's got a crush on a guy she's seen once five years ago and has never spoken to.  The Princess is the poster child of crushing loneliness. 
  • I'm confused about what virtue the townspeople are attributing to the Princess.   The book is obsessed with chastity and modesty, but those are not virtues that people praise others for.  I'm trying to imagine one of those young women the Princess taught to goldsmith saying "The Princess is such an amazingly virginal person!  Not only has she not had sex, she's never given her heart away to anyone!"  On the other hand, I can't attribute any other virtues to her. She's not wise, not prudent, has shown no courage, has show no interest in justice, has very little hope and does a handful of charitable acts per decade.  I guess she might be faithful, but that's not usually a virtue that townspeople find attractive in young princesses.
    • Of course, this makes much more sense if Sir Valiant is buttering the Princess up as a first step in taking the throne.
  • *pssst* Princess!  When someone compliments you, the polite response is to acknowledge the compliment with something like "Thank you".  Blowing past the compliment is dismissive of the other person.  
  • If the Princess is not the only heir, she'd better hope that the King thinks that Sir Valiant's loyalty is a bit shaky; the King would be best served by marrying the Princess off to a lineage who he needs to keep in line rather than a slavishly devoted toady.
  • Reminder: Sir Valiant's service to the King so far has been offering to train knights and squires to fight Temptation and Lies.  He's not actually done anything for the King yet.
  • When looking at dynastic marriages, the physical attractiveness of the parties was pretty low on the list of concerns especially if they were next-in-line for a kingdom.  
The Princess is understandably excited by this turn of events and completely forgets about her previous plan to be a better servant of God.  She meets her parents and asks bunch of questions about Sir Valiant's meeting with the King.  The Princess was super-excited for a full week before she realized that putting the cart before the horse since Sir Valiant hasn't reappeared.

I'm going to stop here because there is still a long quote involving the Queen and Princess that deserves discussion.

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