Chapter 22 begins with Merry and Co at her grandmother’s bed and breakfast which is again decorated in whites and pinks and floral print lace. Barf. They are apparently having a tea party which is A Big Deal. I guess brownies take tea very seriously, and everything is levitated in the air and it’s very hard for Merry to focus on all the floating tea cups and sugar dishes because she’s so worried about going back to court.
Gran notices that Merry is super tense and tries to get her to calm down. Gran has a very strong accent, and LKH goes so far as to write it as such. Lots of “I do na” and “I cannae” and it just looks dumb. I’ve always been of the opinion that if a character has a strong accent, don’t write it as such. Explain their accent to us, describe it. I’ve always felt that seeing it written down just looks awkward and it takes me out of the story. It looks too forced this way.
Gran is very tiny and frail, inches under Merry’s five feet, with brown skin and long wavy brown hair. Her face and skin was wrinkled like a nut and not due to her age, Brownies are just wrinkly by nature. Their eyes are large, their mouths are nearly lip-less, and they have no noses, just slits where their nose should be.
Gran’s mother had been a Brownie, her father a human, and her father loved her very much and always told her she was beautiful. She had been born in the 1600s, and her mother had been killed in a faerie war before the fey came to the US.
They begin talking about Merry’s fears about returning to court. She’s worried about whoever dared risk the queen’s anger to put the lust spell attached to the ring in the limo. Gran hasn’t been back to court in years and doesn’t possess much magical ability that isn’t innate to Brownies, so she cannot even begin to guess who could have created the spell. They sort of wish that Merry’s father, Prince Essus, had killed his older sister, the queen, and taken over the throne of the Unseelie Court. However, Merry knew her father was too good of a man, and loved his sister, so he would never have killed her. No one knew who had slain Essus. Gran sort of blames her daughter, Besaba, Merry’s mother, for never believing in Essus. The only reason she slept with Essus was because no sidhe of the Seelie Court, which Besaba belonged, would dare touch her for fear of mixing their pure blood with her tainted half-brownie blood. After sleeping with Essus, Besaba became pregnant, which due to the sidhe’s FUCKED laws, forced them to marry.
Besaba always hated the Unseelie Court, so after Merry was born the Seelie Court called Merry ‘Besaba’s Bane’. Merry knew her mother never loved her, but merely tolerated her due to her tie to the Unseelie Court, and Besaba desired royalty above all.
Can we talk for a second about the fucked up sense of family in this book? Merry is basically hated by anyone of blood relation, save her dead father and brownie-grandmother. Merry hasn’t ever really had any strong role models in her life because everyone is fucking crazy. Her father was too weak and cared too much about his family to step up, kill his psychotic sister, and take over rule of the Unseelie Court to bring it out of whatever dark insanity the queen caused it. Her grandmother was weak and stayed in a very abusive relationship merely because she valued her life amongst the sidhe more than she valued herself. Her aunt, the queen, had tried to drown her when she was six. Her cousin, Prince Cel, has had his loyal supporters try to kill Merry at every chance they had. Merry’s grandfather, Uar the Cruel, is a raping bastard who begot monsters prior to Gran. And we haven’t even gotten to meet Merry’s uncle (great-uncle, Uar’s brother, King Taranis of the Seelie Court) yet. Fuck.
Merry learned that Gran had finally divorced Uar three years ago, right when Merry fled into hiding from Faerie. Merry asks Gran if she did it so that Uar would talk to the queen about protecting Merry, and Gran laughs at that suggestion. Uar hated the Unseelie Court because it was the only court that would accept his three monster sons when they were banished from the Seelie Court. I guess Uar’s sons had poisoned hands? It’s not really explained well at all (and I can’t even remember if they’re even ever introduced in the series?? Such a waste), but they can wear modern surgical gloves to protect others from their touch.
The chapter ends with Merry saying goodbye to her grandmother after Gran accidentally insults the Unseelie Court. They leave to go to the hotel Merry booked for her stay at Faerie.
Gran – Merry’s grandmother, half human and half brownie, basically looks like a small wrinkly brown skeleton.
Merry’s got family issues.