Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 2: Gran’s Goin’ Bogart

Chapter 2 begins with Merry waking up to Galen staring down at her. Have you ever woken up with someone staring down at you, face super close to yours? It’s fucking creepy. Anyway, Merry’s not creeped out by it in the slightest and instead describes Galen’s green braided RAT TAIL with utter passion.

Dude’s got a freaking rat tail. It’s green and trails down his back. This book was released in 2007. Were rat tails still an attractive thing back then? Were they EVER attractive? Please someone let me know because why do all of LKH’s male characters have just the WORST HAIR.

After a touching embrace, Galen steps aside and reveals that Merry’s Gran is standing in the room. Gran is a half human, half brownie, and her speech is written with a Scottish accent, which to me is incredibly annoying to read. I hate when authors do that. It may just be a me thing, but it completely throws me out of the story when an author, especially one who’s likely not well versed in the accent, tries writing the character’s dialogue with an accent.

Gran immediately swears to kill the king too, so we’re back onto that fight. Cool. Merry begs and pleads for Gran to not go after Taranis, and Gran only really relents when she finds out Merry is having twins, because she herself had birthed twins. Then the doctor enters the room and again chastises the men for upsetting Merry.

I feel like I’m going to use this image A LOT throughout this book.

There’s then a long discussion about how the doctor was only able to determine two of the “sperm donors” who left a “deposit” in Merry before her rape. I feel dirty just typing that sentence. She determined that Frost and Rhys were both donors, but were unable to confirm the other two – her uncle and someone else.

Merry then wonders how the doctor was able to confirm Frost’s DNA in the sample, and Doyle tells her that he had left some of his and Frost’s hair with a trusted member of their party before they left to rescue Merry from the Seelie court. There’s then bickering about who Doyle trusted enough to leave hair samples with, because Doyle for some reason doesn’t want to announce who it was. There’s a long pause, and finally he announces that he left the samples with Kitto.

Kitto, who is by far the worst character of the entire series. Kitto, who is this child-size half goblin who Merry constantly treats like a child or a pet. Kitto, who Merry regularly invites to her bed.

So they all begin discussing the fact that Merry’s cousin, Cel, will likely try to have Merry murdered before her children are born. Remember, Cel and Merry were in a race to conceive in order to win the crown. Merry’s conceived, but can’t actually become queen unless her children are born. This is a real good way to keep Merry’s blood pressure down, you guys. I know I’m always at my calmest when discussing my inevitable demise.

Meanwhile, Gran is just throwing some serious shade at Sholto, and it’s pissing Merry off. Turns out, Sholto probably killed Gran’s mother during one of the last wars between the courts. Sholto shrugs it off, like “I killed many, I didn’t keep a list”, but Gran’s insistent that he personally killed her mother. There’s several pages of Merry and Gran fighting, and finally Merry just about kicks Gran out of the room. Since Sholto is one of the fathers of her children, she doesn’t want Gran around them if Gran is going to harbor such hate.

I mean, I would probably hate the person who killed my mother too, if I were in that situation. It’s really not something one can just get over.

Gran keeps digging in, now turning her hate towards Doyle.

She motioned to Doyle. “The Darkness kills withou’ mercy. His mother was a hell hound, his father a phouka who bedded the bitch when in dog form. You could ha’ puppies inside ya. They act as if the high lords are perfect, but they are jus’ as deformed as we are. They can just hide it behind their magic better than us lesser folk.”
I looked at the woman who had helped raise me as if she were a stranger, because in a way she was. I’d known that she resented the courts – most of the lesser fey did – but I had not known that she had this prejudice inside her.
“Do you have a special grudge against Doyle too?” I asked.
“When ya came to me, Merry, you had Galen with ya, and Barinthus. Them I ha’ nothin’ again’, but I didnae dream you would go to the Darkness. Ya feared him as a child.”

See how terrible the accent looks typed out? This isn’t even a very egregious sample, but it just drives me batty.

Gran then insinuates that Doyle could have killed Merry’s father, Prince Essus. At the time of Essus’s death, Doyle was the Queen’s right hand man (dog?) and would have done anything she ordered. Gran wonders how Merry could love someone who would have killed her or her father without any reason other than he was ordered to do so.

“I could say simply that I love him, Gran, but the look on your face says that won’t do. He is my Darkness now. He would kill at my orders now. He is one of the greatest warriors to ever walk the courts, and he is mine now. He is my strong right hand, my killing blow, my general. In all the courts I could not have taken a king who would have made me stronger than Doyle.”
Emotions chased across her face so quickly that I couldn’t follow them all. Finally, she said, “So ya took ‘im to your bed because it was good politics?”


ALL of Merry’s merry men were taken to her bed because of politics. Only Galen went out of pure love. Every single other man Merry loves and cares for only went willingly because he was ORDERED TO.

Galen eventually realizes that something is wrong with Gran. She seems to be spelled, as she wouldn’t be behaving this way otherwise. The men begin trying to spot the spell, and Gran is fighting them, which is stressing Merry out. So, of course, Dr. Mason charges into the room and orders everyone out. No one listens.

Gran starts making things levitate in the hospital room. Merry worries that she’s starting to “go bogart”, which is what happens when a brownie “goes bad”. Dr. Mason starts threatening to call security. Rhys finally attempts to get Gran to calm down. He uses his magic to help calm her as well, which is considered insulting, because Gran had counted Rhys as a friend.

Doyle orders the doctor out of the room, and as she’s leaving, a pitcher of water exploded next to her. Dr. Mason screams out, and Galen goes to help the doctor. This leaves an opening for Merry to see her Gran drop her fists to her sides, and the chairs in the room start levitating. Merry shouts for her to stop, but everything that’s floating in the room suddenly rushes towards Merry, who is being protected by Rhys, Doyle, and Sholto. Doyle leaps onto her to shield her with his body, and the chapter ends with Merry hearing Rhys yell “Sholto, no!”


With all that’s going on in the world today, everyone’s support is so important. I want to highlight a different charity or organization to support with each post. This week is the Black Visions Collective. If you’re able to financially support them, please donate here. If you’re not, there are tons of ways to support without a direct donation. See the below link for other options.

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