The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Chapter 1: It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding

It’s the first official recap of the series! Protagonists will be introduced! Stuff will happen! Food will be described! And it’s all there after the cut.

Part 1: Why, Hello There. I’m a Protagonist.

Let’s meet Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza, the princess of Orovalle. Today’s her sixteenth birthday, she’s getting married at the last minute, she hopes her future husband is unattractive, and she’s fat. And we know she’s fat because she’s bursting out the seams of her wedding dress. Of course, the book doesn’t really describe how overweight she is – Elisa could be anything from morbidly obese to what I like to call “Hollywood fat” (i.e. 10 pounds overweight). What we do know is, according to her nurse Ximena, Elisa has some … um … nice assets.

Another important thing about our protagonist: she has a blue jewel in her navel. Elisa was apparently chosen by God (yes, it’s capitalized in the book) to carry this “Godstone” and perform some “act of service”. So yeah, she’s a Chosen One … but she doesn’t really want to be the Chosen One. Elisa has no intention of ruling any country, but she’s being married off to Alejandro, the king of the neighboring kingdom of Joya d’Arena, anyway.

After the wedding dress fitting fail, Elisa goes down to the kitchen to eat some honey-pistachio pastries. It’s here that we meet Elisa’s older sister, Juana-Alodia. Compared to Elisa, Alodia is beautiful and athletic and not fat. She’s also been groomed to be the heir to Orovalle. Elisa thinks that Alodia doesn’t like her because she’s the Chosen One, but a lot of Alodia’s actions later in the book kinda disprove that. Hell, I think Alodia gives Elisa the stinkface in this part of the chapter because Elisa’s eating two gigantic pastries.

Anyway, Alodia offers to help Elisa get ready for her wedding, and Elisa eats pastries out of boredom. End scene.

Part 2: Insert Billy Idol Lyric Here

It’s time for the wedding! And Elisa’s birthday! But mostly her wedding!

Before leading Elisa down the aisle, her father Hitzedar retells the story of how Elisa was chosen by God. At Elisa’s fantasy equivalent of a christening, a bright light shone down from the heavens and left a Godstone in Elisa’s navel. So God obviously exists in this book’s universe, because he literally places Sparkly Rocks in babies.

The wedding goes like any other Catholic wedding plopped down in a fantasy setting: Elisa is led down the aisle, the priest talks about marriage, and Elisa and her new husband Alejandro kiss. Elisa spends most of the ceremony thinking about how she’s still a child, even though she’s basically memorized this book’s universe’s equivalent of The Art of War. And then, when she finally lays eyes of Alejandro, she discovers that he’s actually really attractive and totally not ugly.

Part 3: Food Porn!

And it’s time for the requisite wedding feast! And there’s so much food described! There’s cheese-stuffed green chiles (I guess you can’t call them chile relleno in a fantasy setting), and shredded pork in walnut sauce, and fried anchovies! And all of this is making me hungry!

Elisa is embarrassed about pigging out at her wedding feast, but at least Alejandro doesn’t seem to mind because he pigs out, too. And then they discuss the art of war. Eventually, Alodia makes a toast to the happy couple, and Elisa’s maid Aneaxi escorts them to their wedding chamber to consummate the marriage. Of course, Elisa is scared about what comes next because she obviously has no idea what to do in a nuptial chamber. Alejandro doesn’t seem comfortable with what obviously comes next, because does his best to avoid her during their walk.

——————–

So How Are You Doing RPG Sheets for These Characters?

Good question, hypothetical reader! I think I’ll be referencing the Blue Rose rulebook for this series, since there’s only one magic user (Elisa), and most of the future party members are nobility. Blue Rose has Noble as a character class, so I find it more appropriate for this series’ setting. I’ll probably still reference D&D for the few spells that do show up, though. If you can’t find a copy of the Blue Rose sourcebook, you can probably download a PDF of it somewhere.

Also, thanks to one of our frequent commenters for recommending Blue Rose a few months ago!

Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:

Elisa’s wedding dress is a terno. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a Filipino formal dress. Filipino readers of this blog, you’re welcome to correct me if I’m wrong about that.

This series’ setting appears to be Renaissance-era Spain, but in a tropical climate. How do we know that? Well, for one, the musicians at the wedding play vihuelas, which are Renaissance instruments similar to guitars. And a bunch of the flowers mentioned in Elisa’s inner monologue (hibiscus, allamanda, bougainvillea) only grow in tropical climates.

So, major plot point I forgot to mention: Orovalle is having border skirmishes with another neighboring country called Invierne. This is Very Important. We’re going to see a lot of Invierne in this series.

Another major plot point I forgot to mention: Elisa’s ancestors left Joya d’Arena to found Orovalle. This is also Very Important.

It’s Translation Time!

Spanish (and Spanish-influenced) words from this chapter:

  • Scriptura Sancta = Holy Scriptures (this is actually fake Spanish, but whatever.)
  • Riqueza = wealth (very appropriate surname for a royal family.)
  • Orovalle = Golden Valley (I guess the kingdom is rich.)
  • Joya d’Arena = Jewel of the Sands (obviously a desert kingdom.)
  • Lengua Classica = Old Tongue (more fake Spanish. Also – spoiler alert – it’s not Latin.)
  • Invierne = derived from Spanish invierno = winter (must be a cold country.)
  • Belleza Guerra = Beautiful Warfare (this is a really rough translation)
  • Nobleza d’Oro = Golden Nobility (Elisa translates it as “Golden Horde”)

——————–
Next time: A marriage is consummated. Alodia gives Elisa some advice.

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8 comments

  1. Vihuelas sound nice. I’m glad to learn about them today.

    Yay, Blue Rose! Thank you for the shout out there!

    I was a little confused at first as to the pronunciations, but then I saw “Joya d’Arena” and immediately thought “jewel of the dessert”! The mention of a terno made me wonder if this was supposed to be a fantasy version of Spanish period Philippines, but I don’t see any other indication of that. A pity; that would have been very unique, and it would remind me of the delicious food of Jollibee, blessed fast food chain of the Philippines!

    I need to get back to Spellsinger. I would have, except I couldn’t find much to say about the chapter I last read. Not a bad chapter; I was just unsure on what to comment on.

    1. Ack! Don’t remind me about Jollibee! You’re making me homesick. There’s almost no Filipino food in Boston at all. >_<

      Fun note: a vihuela is also a type of a mariachi guitar. But then I cracked up laughing when I thought of a mariachi band at a royal wedding.

      I've taken way too many notes on the climates and cultures of this book series. Orovalle is kinda like the Philippines (tropical climate, everyone is super-religious); Joya d'Arena is sorta like Spain, but plopped near the Sahara (Islamic architecture and oases abound); and Invierne is apparently a very cold Rome expy, except everyone speaks pseudo-Portuguese (there are hints that there was an older Invierne civilization later in the series, and the religion practiced by the characters stems from their magical rituals). There's also another country (revealing it now would be major spoilers) that's basically the American Southwest, complete with Monument Valley-esque buttes.

      1. Ah, now that’s helpful knowledge.

        A mariachi band at a royal wedding does sound rather fun now…

        Really? That’s unfortunate about no Jollibees. I do now love Dunkin’ Donuts and Friendly’s though.

        1. Seriously, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on every street corner here! I can think of three near my apartment — that’s more than the number of Starbucks in the same area. Never had Friendly’s, though.

          The only Filipino restaurant I know of in the metro Boston area is a mom-and-pop type place in Quincy. It’s really inconvenient to take public transportation there, and I’m not driving 20 minutes (and paying tolls both ways!) just to get adobo.

  2. That sound quite inconvenient.

    I’ve only seen Friendly’s in rural areas, so maybe none are in Boston itself. I didn’t see any in Salem either. I quite liked their food. Dunkin’ Donuts is great for me since they provide small meals without potato fries. Very helpful for my diet!

    1. There’s a Friendly’s in Watertown that I pass by often, but I’ve never been interested in eating there.

      I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a meal at Dunkin’ Donuts. I usually just drop by to pick up an iced coffee on the way to class.

  3. I’m stoked that our protagonist is fat! As a larger woman, I think that it’s super important that we have more humanized, fat protagonists. There definitely aren’t enough.

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