[LMB] Spirit Ring, Chapter 3

Edith khoreutees at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 2 18:49:23 BST 2021

> On Fri, Oct 1, 2021 at 12:19 PM Matthew George <matt.msg at gmail.com> wrote:
>> So:  Chapter 3.
>> It's curious that the salt-and-pepper shaker's powers never come into the
>> story.  In the light of what we eventually learn about the pepper side's
>> power, it's a little surprising that it doesn't seem to be involved in the
>> disastrous conflict and its fallout.  Chekhov's Gun isn't a hard and fast
>> principle, but never using an introduced element is an odd choice, even
>> though it makes the story somewhat more realistic.
> On 02/10/2021 00:01, Margaret Dean wrote:
> On the contrary, the test of the pepper side ends up handing the "good
> guys" an important piece of information; since that's quite a few chapters
> away, I won't specify right now.
Indeed. I also see the salt-and-pepper shaker as serving to reveal 
Prospero Beneforte's character on several occasions. Initially, his 
skill as both magician and craftsman, his willingness to use Fiametta to 
demonstrate, his insistence on delivering it himself (which puts them 
both in danger), the fact that when fleeing the fighting he saves it 
(which helps set up and drive home the significance much, much later 
when Fiametta notes that the fact Master Beneforte's ghost is not 
hanging around watching the casting of the Perseus shows how close he is 
to being bound).

It is also interesting that the three works of magic-and-craft that we 
see in this book all work, but none of them as intended. Fiametta's ring 
works, but does not achieve what she hoped; showing that Uri was her 
true love. The salt-and-pepper shaker demonstrably works, but does not 
achieve its goal of keeping the Duke safe and does not fulfil the role 
we expect in the narrative. The Perseus too has an unexpected role (or 
did others anticipate what its role in the story would be?), one not 
planned by Beneforte, and ends up not quite as intended. So, maybe that 
use or non-use of the salt-and-pepper shaker could be seen as fitting a 
theme here. Are there other aspects that would fit that idea of the ways 
things work beyond the intentions of their creators?

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