I recently finished reading the Fitz and the Fool trilogy from Robin Hobb, and the strong feelings this ending created in me pushed me to write down some thoughts. I’m aware this piece of writing is very far from my usual style, but somehow I felt the urge to share it; I hope you’ll tag along anyway and bear with me. If not, don’t worry, we’re going back to birds next week 😉
The Fitz and the Fool trilogy is the fifth series set in the Realm of the Elderlings universe, the third one to focus on the same cast of characters even though it brilliantly brings all the previous series together. It’s written at the first person, from Fitz’s point of view. A royal bastard, his life has been one of many torments.
The first series starts when the protagonist is maybe 2 years old, when he’s brought to court. Fitz and I grew up together, he much faster than I. Therefore, it’s no wonder that I sometimes recognized myself in him, in his attitude, in the thoughts he shared. How much influence did these books have on me, on the person I have become?
I started reading them 9 years ago. I remember buying the second one in Pau, while on holiday in the Pyrénées. I remember reading it, once back at home, on my Turkish pillow in a corner of my room, getting more anxious as pages flew away yet being absolutely unable to leave it aside. I consider Robin Hobb as the Poet of Despair, for it’s those moments of great distress that struck me the most, no matter how uncomfortable it was to see the hero suffer.
This story is about a White Prophet (the Fool) and his Catalyst (Fitz), working to set Time’s Wheel on a better course. It’s a tale of lies and omissions, of secrets kept hidden, of difficult relationships, of lack of self-confidence. Yet it’s also one of accomplishment, of joy and fulffilment, of present, past and future.
Is a book that makes you cry a good book?
“Fantasy as it ought to be written”
Those are Georges R.R. Martin’s words. Though this guy had better write his own books rather than read others’ (:D), I can’t think of a better formulation. I realized that he was right from the beginning of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, but this apotheosis of an ending came as a confirmation. A friend of mine once told me that fantasy shouldn’t be written at the first person, for it would mean leaving too much aside. I disagree. I don’t think there’s any better way to draw you into the story. And once you’re into this one, there’s little chance you’ll ever get out but at its end.
Thank you, Ms. Hobb, for all these years.
Header image: source