Do you guys have a favourite chapter?

Agreed! It is so goooooood!!

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Yessss!

I think questioning oneself–one’s perception of reality–doesn’t even factor for most people. It’s actually an achievement to realize that “the question” needs to be asked in the first place. And then, even once you intellectually understand that “the question” should be asked of yourself, actually asking it, repeatedly and even when it hurts, is STILL hard.

It almost seems to go against our basic human nature, putting forth effort where none is required for survival.

My favorite chapters:
12 – Oral Examination
16 – Harmless Blood Magic (I’ve mentioned this before but Theo’s accident is based on my childhood.)
36 – Conception of the Raven Queen (this is what started it all.)
41 – Friendships Forged by Accident
52 – Faulty Deductions (Damien you sweet bean.)
60 – Request a Boon
61 – To Slumber but not Rest
62 – Cold Sweat (this whole sequence was going to be way less important, and then as I was writing I just got carried away in flow state. I looked up thousands of words later and it had developed Miles and Gera’s character into what they are today. Siobhan has a soft spot for children.)
66 – An Interview
82 through 87 – The Newterrant incident.
92 – She Who Brings the Night
106 – Witchcraft (playing with the gremian was so fun.)
109 – Hard Bargains
113 – Heed My Prayer
117 – Babysitting
123 – An Honorable Burial
125 – Blackmail
127 – A Monster Egg
128 – Raven Summoning Spell
134 – Explosive Solve Everything
140 – Faust
Bonus Novelette – The Honeymoon Suite
167-177 (The Crown Capture Sequence, as I called it in my notes.)
178 – Death Wish (I love reaction chapters, too, and all the “evidence” being so overwhelming was just hilarious.)
179 – Pyrrhic Failures (Seeing the events from an outsider’s perspective…The Raven Queen has fully earned her reputation.)
186 – Symbolic Meaning (where she was thinking so hard she forgot to stand up.)
189 – A Great Divide (I’d been planning that reveal for sooo long.)
193 – Almost New Again (Bear is best boy, also please imagine what this whole weekend was like from the servants’ perspective.)
198-201 – I won’t specify because spoilers.
203 – Again, spoilers. You guys are going to love it and wish there were more. Like eating only one potato chip.

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Yay, even the author responded to my question! :slight_smile:
I will definietly reread those, (though honestly I am at that point that after the book finishes, I will probably reread everything again)

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I hope this does not offend you Azalea, but it seems like this answer is: “My favorite chapter is … all of it. I just really like writing all the things.” :face_holding_back_tears:

And I LOVE thinking about what the servants saw for that whole weekend. Like they have to see dogs go in an out and Bear comes out healthy; it’s like “Raven Queen brought that dog back to life!”

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Hahaha, you are, in fact, totally correct! (Zero offense taken.)

I often say, this job/work is so freaking hard, if you’re not having fun with it, you might as well just stop and do something else.

I really enjoy writing all of the things.

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This is the most hilarious way I’ve ever seen that thought worded, but I agree​:joy::joy::joy:

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Guys guys, your both pretty, put them back in your pants cause your both wrong

Our girl is clearly ace/aro right now, she’s not understanding any of the attention. While I’m hoping she’s more like me and does grow out of it

She’s got this group of people who are showing some kind of romantic or very strong emotional attachments to her

Oliver, Damion, LACER, if tidus has to many more scenes he might be tempted…

But what about Ana when she realizes our girl is female? I have a small hint that she might a bit more interested, but that is a guess, not that much proof. She’s an ally if nothing else.

She’s gonna wake up and realize that they are gonna make her choose one or to have a reverse harem and THEN the chaos will really begin

And don’t forget both Theo and Miles have a childhood thing for her too, while Theo will prob grow out of it, I’m kinda afraid Miles might not, I have seen that before.

Btw, that’s one of my favorite chapters, when those two bicker about which she likes best, they are gonna be bestest friends or frienemies… To soon.

I like the chapters from Lacers point of view, when I first heard the bit where he’s thinking about the raven queen and then headed into his bedroom I’ll be honest, my mind went right to the gutter… No, that’s not what happened, and I’m still not sure if I’m disappointed or not.

… As someone who has had their actions misjudged for most of their life, it’s only funny to me because I can see how to their mind of course that makes sense.

You have to be taught to look at things from a different perspective, you have to learn to ask so many questions.

If you ask the 11 year old why it took him so long to go to his sleepover last week he will tell you that it’s because i am mean and didn’t count his chores.

If you ask for more details, he will say he did 350 words, 50 more than told, and therefore did his chores. He might even admit that he did it at school

But if you ask him WHY he had to write 300 words in the first place instead of the 250 he normally has to do once a week, he refuses to answer.

There is several follow up questions to get down to the bottom of what actually happened that people don’t normally think.

This happened!
Okay, what was going on before?
This
Why do you think that was happening
Cause they are stupid/mean/whatever
Can you stop and consider how they might be justifiying their actions and you are in the wrong
No! Huff!

I have actually for the last 3 decades have been trying to train myself to see everything, why did they do that, all the reasons…

I developed this skill because I was getting gaslit and that is sometimes the only way to get out of the trouble, understand what’s going on so you can stay ahead of them.

I’ve noticed in the last two years some doctors will actually try to ask deeper questions, the why, your mindset… Not to just assume e.e

I can’t wait for the interview with Lacer and our girl to happen. What is his reaction gonna be?

And she’s avoiding O, exactly why is that.

One of my favorite chapters is always the one I’m about to read as I try to figure out just what is going on

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“Prescription strength gaslighting” is now a part of my lexicon. Absolutely hilarious!

S has literal sparks with Oliver, so I’m not so sure there. But she’s definitely not romantically interested in anyone that e know of.

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I have to jump back in and say that my new favorite chapter is 203. It’s everything. And Lacer in 204 is such a great follow up!

Oh, yeah, I remember feeling like a spark towards some people, but it wasn’t important to me.

Until it was

Then oh gods facepalm. No more skipping school for adult fun I swear, but I had been very sheltered and very dumb at the time

I am pretty sure Oliver, the clever charismatic person that he is, did stuff deliberately to make her a little interested

After all, he wants her as his ally in almost every way he can do it, I don’t think he’s really being malicious about it, but he’s so use to automatically playing cards that will help his long term goal that he just does it

I kinda want to see her just waking up in book five realizing she has so many options and they are all just cool with her having all of them

Like Damion said, he doesn’t have to be the one with great power, he just wants the respect of those who hold it, there is many ways to get power

And I can see him just kinda accepting that he has applied it to a semi romantic relationship with Sebastian.

“You’re so forward” no qualms when he thought S was making a move on him

By the way, the guys guys was said mostly in jest.

It’s a bad misquote from Firefly.

I was trying to make y’all laugh.

I have no idea for sure.

Oliver is a pretty strong contender I’ll admit, he’s actually admitted she’s more important to him than he planned her to be

I think the main reason why Damion isn’t at that level of infatuation is because he thinks S is a boy, and while he has no qualms with it, it might take a bit more for him to realize he’s got more than just a little bit of a hero worship.

Reading between the lines, I think Lacer could develop romantic feelings for Sebastian if the kid can honestly prove himself an equal.

Because of how Lacer thinks about the Raven Queen, someone who he thinks might be his int equal, he’s def so interested that he forgets himself for a moment and kinda chases…

There’s a line about wanting an equal that could be a companion, but I forget which he is speaking about, I think he’s actually is looking at both in a weird way

Theo’s foolish little hero worship, I am sure is a child’s fanboy, no real interest, just wants to be a favorite. As long as she is his friend he will be happy.

But Miles hero worship is a bit of a different story. There is a chance that he will grow out of it, but due to what he is and that he’s a part of the nightmare pact, I don’t think so. He seems to have this deep respect for her, understanding that can’t be a thing now I think. But he sleeps with her scent, she is who he goes to for safety, and he is willing to do everything in his power to protect her. Maybe he will grow out of it, maybe he will be like one I know and it’s obvious to anyone but the target that the love is there and strong, will never act on it, or maybe, when he is old and brave enough, he will try to join her little reverse harem :slight_smile:

And yeah, the thought of a child so loving an adult is gross, I’ve watched it happen, with the adult not knowing, or the adult knowing and either discourging or ignoring it.

Children have feelings too, and they are strong and real to them.

In David eddings Spearhawk series, queen E falls in love with Spearhawk when she’s like 3, and I don’t think he realized it until she pretends he is purposing her, while in that same series, kurks wife picks him at 8 and then, um, talks him into marriage 10 years later.

But I’ve seen it in real life too.

Our girl hears them fighting over which is their favorite and just makes them stop for the moment, but I don’t think she quite sees what it means just yet.

… And please note, while I’m okay with a child having feelings for an adult, I am not okay with an adult looking at a child that way, though my idea of an adult is somewhere between 17 and 18 to be clear.

… The praying woman, I haven’t heard enough come out of her mouth or seen the world from her actual point of view, but there’s a chance that she might want to be on this list, as well as the guy who says “she is your(or our?) queen”

I need more info to see just where they are.

Also, if Ana figures out that S is actually a girl and can change genders at will, there might be a thing there. Like I said before, I don’t know if she’s interested in the same sex couples having babies for herself, or if she just an ally. If she does have preferences for females, the idea that S can be her partner in public as a guy to shut up her family, and then female in the bedroom for the fun time…

As someone who is pan and poly, the natural selection to me is pick all of the adults that actually appeal to me… Then do the nightmare of work to keep everything balanced.

Though, I wonder what Oliver opinion of Ana is after how incredibly clever she took her uncles out of competition. He said he could never marry someone he didn’t respect. What she pulled I think she absolutely has earned respect.

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We had the same 20s, I think. :joy:

Truly, I’d be happy if S never ends up in a romantic relationship. The books are excellent without it, and any real romance is going to have to move the plot forward. But I am still looking forward to every time an Oliver chapter leaves her a flustered mess, and every time she mentions Lacer’s beard. I adore her total obliviousness to anything that’s not directly related to to her goals.

Oliver and Ana are very nearly the same person. I have thought for ages that they would have a perfect sham marriage if Ana ever needed it, but hopefully she’ll be able to pursue her own relationships with people she’s interested in once she gains enough power. She might even have a girlfriend that we don’t know about - S certainly isn’t curious about her personal life, and she and Damien have been ignoring poor Ana all term. A lot can happen in a few months!

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“Is it possible to learn this power?”

Asking for a friend of a friend…

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To learn how to be ace or aro?

Or to stop being?

… Honestly, I think most kids are ace/aro and at some point in puberty kinda wake up and stop.

And some people, like me, take a bit longer.

I got convinced, by someone who turned out to be a douch and well, there’s still some damage to this day.

But I’m more demisexual now, it’s almost like I’m bipolar, I’m one extreme or the other. I’m also different.

Some people never really find interest in sex, some people never get anything out of romantic relationships.

… Honestly, I wish almost everything could just be considered platonic, hugs, cuddles, some mild affection. We being creatures who psychologically need physical interaction with others of our kinds, putting a stigma on a lot of stuff is … Controlling.

But I’m not going to deep dive into that

Short answer, there’s a chance you can get them interested, maybe even carefully trying (twice, it’s always awkward the first time)

But it might never happen, and that’s okay. The friend of a friend is awesome and should be respected for being the wonderful creature they are

Oh raven feathers, just got to this chapter

And prescription strength gaslighting is a pretty good way to describe it

Except, they don’t mean to. To them they are telling the truth as they understand, as they witnessed.

Gaslighting, to be true gaslighting, like the movie that gave it it’s name, is used a weapon again the person to get them to doubt what they believe due to whatever reason.

… I do not tolerate gaslighters, because they are liars and manipulative people

But these guys, bless their feathers, have misunderstood EVERYTHING, and of course their beliefs are real., of course they are going to share it with the non believers.

… Gera’s reliance on divination and our girl always having some kind of ward to make her seem a void makes her feel correct and it just corroborates with everybody else.

Why would they consider the jerky puppet actions her being in that much pain and just powering through it (sweety stop or your gonna end up like me)

Or that her hair and eye color has to do with being one of The People.

Even if Kat tried to speak up, they have all convinced themselves and I do not believe our girl can even get them to see reason if she showed them how to brew the pot of darkness themselves…

She’s just stuck becoming a godling now, oh no,

I think questioning oneself–one’s perception of reality–doesn’t even factor for most people. It’s actually an achievement to realize that “the question” needs to be asked in the first place. And then, even once you intellectually understand that “the question” should be asked of yourself, actually asking it, repeatedly and even when it hurts, is STILL hard.

Yes. Absolutely. And my favorite chapters are ones where Thaddeus goes on about the topic.

This is a topic that I’ve spent thinking a lot about. Here are some of my thoughts.

Humans are primates. We are built to be social animals. Social animals depend on group identity. Our group, right or wrong. And are limited in size to the number of others you can track socially. Which is Dunbar’s number, and is estimated at 150 for our species.

But as the book Sapiens suggests, we’ve transferred our identity from groups to ideas. We can cooperate because we work for the same organization, share a religion, are fans of the same sports team, and so on. We attach our identity to family, ideas, social structures, etc. This took us from being social animals to supersocial animals. There is no evidence of any hominid other than homo sapiens being able to cooperate in groups above a band. But as soon as our race started showing up, we first saw long-distance trading networks, and later evidence of rapid technology transfer. Today, of course, we cooperate (if not always well) in groups of many millions. China, India and the Catholic Church are all roughly in the neighborhood of 1.4 billion.

But this ability comes with a giant downside. The fundamental group dynamic is, “My group, right or wrong.” And the idea of the group being wrong is exceptionally painful. The result is easy to see all around us - implicitly or explicitly criticize a group that someone identifies with, and that person gets angry. This is why religion, politics, and sports are often not discussed at the dinner table. Because they too easily lead to arguments.

And so, criticism of group ideas and identity causes cognitive dissonance. With a whole host of irrational behaviors following from this. Including bizarre things like groupthink. Leading to the otherwise perplexing behavior that a logical and reasonable person remains logical and reasonable as long as it isn’t about anything that they feel it is important. But as soon as it is important, logic and reason go out the window. The formerly reasonable person is entirely unaware that this happened, and will strongly deny all evidence that it happened.

I’ve known this intellectually for many years. But still it came as a shock to me in the last couple of years as I’ve been forced to face that I’m no exception to this pattern. As a result I’m deeply interested in the question of how we can actually do better. Here are the tools that I’ve found.

  1. Adopt an identity where being open to criticism is part of the identity. This is a standard prescription for avoiding groupthink. See Cargo Cult Science for a famous talk where Feynman encourages scientists to this attitude.
  2. Take as much out of your identity as possible. See Keep Your Identity Small for an essay by Paul Graham advocating this. People in professions that require good contact with reality often develop approaches to help. For example see The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming. (The author of that cofounded the top question and answer site for programmers.)
  3. Targeted gratitude. Many traditions, both religious and philosophical, have zeroed in on gratitude as being important. Very specifically, it can help mitigate pain. In my experience, this can even help with the pain of challenges to our own identity. I was shocked at how much a little gratitude helped me become more rational about what counts for me. And it is easy for me to target gratitude with accepting feedback that helps me do better at what I most care about.
  4. Last, only because it is not under our control. Being on the spectrum. At least one friend with mild autism has told me that he’s able to separate himself entirely from his own criticism. Information on how he’s done poorly leaves him feeling pretty bad. But he’s really good at hearing it anyways. This completely fits my experiences with him.

OK, end of random brain dump. I’m happy to receive messages from anyone who has questions or thoughts of their own on this topic.

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Gratitude, honestly ment gratitude can be a huge difference.

I have just accepted that most people just take me and what I do for granted and do not expect a thank you.

However, I try to make sure that I honestly express my thanks for everything.

It has made a big of a difference in my chosen family’s life. I have found the 18 year old has very little qualms helping me, when I do ask, or sometimes just offering to help, I think because he knows I will appreciate him, and that I do my best to never ask because I’m being lazy and want others to do stuff.

If I have to call someone to my room to get something, it’s prob because I’m literally stuck on the floor due to medical reasons and legitimately need help

Not just that I didn’t feel like getting a thing.

Heck, I rarely ask for them to hand me something in the fridge that they are in, I will wait my turn to get into the fridge unless it’s obvious it will take them a few minutes.

But the few times I get a thank you, or can see the gratitude in someone’s face because someone helped them

Gods, I think that’s one of the best things in the world.

I still feel a bit awkward when I’m told that one of my thoughtless acts of kindness saves someone’s life, like just smiling at a bunch of strangers made some of them decide to not unalive themselves, and when I didn’t smile for a week, they sent their boss to check on me.

Really, it was a life changing thought.

Even stupid little things you do that make someone smile might be the only reason they smile that day. That might be a huge huge thing to them.

Let’s grab an example from a practical guide. You know our girl was only thinking of the short term impact of the sprite nest she moved. But not only did she help the critters in the short term, she unwittingly got others to also help those sprites, and I bet even more random critters are stashed around campus being helped

Like the stray cat thing that happened at one of my colleges, there was little food/water/shelters by almost every building and oh man could you get in trouble if you got caught hurting one of the strays.

Sometimes people just need to be shown how to be nice, because sadly, here in the “great” USA it’s not a big priority.

Everything is worry about the next quarter, the next profit, who cares about anybody else, take what you can, give nothing back

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… Just got the chapter where you hear the story of a young lacer and learning magic.

Omg, I love it.

And the chills down my spine as I realize how close the magic is to a series of dreams I had about a decade ago. That worlds magic works in a very same way… Like almost all of it corresponds… Though I don’t rememebr using the word that our girl uses.

It becomes more and more interesting.

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