Zana continues her tale, recounting how, ironically, the founding of the Hunters was what began to drive the 3 founders apart. Targonane and Rungrot argue constantly over the Hunters’ use of physical force, leaving Zana to deal with the actual day-to-day running of their group as well as mediating between her best friend and her doki-luna. Eventually, Zana and Targonane leave to find the Hand of Doro, leaving Rungrot furious. While Zana says that the story of the Hand was much the same as the one she told them two Silver Nights ago, she admits that she left something out: she was pregnant at the time. The group is shocked to hear that her child is, in fact, Dita, who Zana left with her father because her place was no longer with the Hunters.
Upon hearing this, Dita becomes furious, and storms out of the room; Fesmer quickly follows her, telling Zana how very disappointed he is in her. The others also depart, though not before Zana imparts to them some final words of love and support. Katherine, however, she asks to stay, to hear one final story; it is to Katherine alone that Zana reveals that the story of the Hand of Doro did not happen quite as she told it. In reality, when she encountered the hand, Zana set it free, thereby letting Doro’s undying spirit awaken. Doro offered Zana the chance to learn of his power in order to change the world for the better, and Zana hesitantly agreed…a decision she immediately regreted, as Doro then demands payment from Zana – in blood. Doro demanded that Zana offer up either Targonane or her unborn child, but Zana refused; as she fled, Doro’s spirit cursed her, telling Zana that she will not meet her end without offering up a life. (This is true, in a manner of speaking; Zana ended up offering her own life, meaning that, while she will die, Doro will also be destroyed)
Zana took Doro’s curse to heart, pushing away everyone close to her, including Targonane, Rungrot, and Dita, in order to protect them. In fact, it was not until her old age that she relented and began to make friends with anyone at all, eventually coming to love all of our main cast – and it is here that Zana admits that, while Dita may be her biological child, she truly thinks of Katherine as her daughter. Katherine admits how much she loves Zana, and leaves only when Targonane comes to say his final goodbyes. A few days later, our group is at the final services to mourn Zana’s passing. The rest of the group doesn’t really know what to say, but Katherine offers a heartfelt, honest eulogy – which is interrupted, bizarrely enough, by a still-alive Porec.
- Hmmm, Targo, bringing up Dita’s murder may not have been one of your better debate tactics. Generally speaking, when you’re trying to reason with someone who’s in a tough emotional spot, bringing up an even more emotional topic isn’t the best idea.
- Targo and Rungrot’s respective arguments are really very reflective of the systems they were raised in (which is delightfully ironic when you consider that both men fled these systems). Targo is very measured and methodical, and very hesitant to move towards using physical force; Rungrot is swift and decisive, and is not opposed to using violence when necessary. If that doesn’t sound like the general operating procedure for University and the Legion respectively, I don’t know what does.
- “‘Targo says’!! What would you have us do, Zana?!” I get the distinct sense that this was a constant source of tension in Rungrot and Zana’s relationship. Her friendship with Targo was well-established long before Zana took up with Rungrot, and honestly, he was probably able to tell that there was something more between the two, even if Zana and Targo never acted on it. Hell, even if there hadn’t been any romantic tension between the two, Rungrot strikes me as the jealous type.
- Perhaps this is why Zana is so keen to give her children advice that prevents further bickering: along with the fact that it’s annoying as all get out, she has some very negative experiences associated with what happens when friends can’t stop arguing with one another.
- “This was a great relief […] to see that a man filled with anger still had room for love.” I know they’re very different people, but there are some very unnerving similarities between Rungrot and Fesmer that keep cropping up. Both are cunning and dedicated wholeheartedly to seeing their plans through, (SPOILER) and both inevitably meet their downfall when they can’t do exactly what Zana is talking about here: putting aside anger and revenge in the place of love.
- Thinking about it, Targonane might have found peace with his pre-planned life in Laundi precisely because of what happened with the Hunters, and with Zana. From a certain perspective, everyone else in his life had been lost to him; the Hunters’ increasingly forceful methods and Rungrot’s tempestuous nature pushed him away from that aspect of his life, and Zana’s pulling away from him meant that he lost his adventuring partner, not to mention his best friend (and whatever more she meant to him). Targo’s life in Laundi was the only thing he had left that hadn’t dismissed him, so it’s no wonder it was an appealing option.
- A slight confession: I completely, totally understand Dita’s reaction to Zana being her mother, and I’m totally willing to accept her feelings…but I’ve never been all that accepting of Fesmer’s reaction. Oh, I understand it completely; Fesmer’s no stranger to abandonment, and he probably associates Zana’s “abandoning” of Dita with the way Porec left him. I just…I guess I just feel like this is Zana and Dita’s issue, and that it’s really none of Fesmer’s business. Dita has a right to feel the way she does, it’s her mother, after all. But Zana had a right to do what she did as well. Even without Doro’s curse hanging over her, she knew that life would never be easy for Dita if the girl had to grow up under the specter of two parents who couldn’t work themselves out. You can’t really divorce Zana’s decision to leave from her curse, but…well, even without it, she would’ve been doing what she thought was best for Dita by leaving. So…yes. #CT just has a lot of thoughts regarding mothers and daughters, and the rights of both to their own feelings and lives and blah blah blah
- Aside from being general uplifiting final words of wisdom to her children, Zana’s final messages to Mike, Arkahn, and Jareth pretty much define the EXACT traits they’ll need to get through this season’s conclusion: Mike’s passion and perseverance even in the face of many voices of reason, Arkahn’s ability to weather the many, many trials the world throws at her simultaneously, and Jareth’s ability to rally others during times of danger and panic. Clearly, she’s perceptive to the last.
- “…as you say.” Jesus, I don’t know why Jareth being emotional always gets to me – but it does.
- Dita’s breakdown is just…so tough to listen to. The poor woman has been through so damn much, and she’s tried to stay strong through it all and it finally just gets to be too much to bear and she only has one person left in the world that she can lean on and Fesmer does his best but it’s really not enough because how could it be? UGH. MY HEART.
- “You made us think you were infallible…” I think Katherine definitely figures out by the end of the episode, even if the others don’t, that this perspective they had of Zana wasn’t her fault at all. Zana never considered herself perfect, and never tried to make her protégées believe that about her…not that that stopped them from thinking she was the Great and Wise Zana. We, all of us, tend to idolize our role models, which is perhaps why so many of us are disillusioned when we actually meet them. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, and to assume that someone is greater than that is a disservice on our part, not theirs.
- Seriously, if any of our main cast is considering judging Zana, they need to stop and look in a mirror. Zana made mistakes, yes, but she was a young adult finding her way in the world. That’s, like, the entire point of being a young adult: YOU MESS UP. If our group thinks that they’re any different, they just need to look at the past 4 months of their lives.
- “You could have chosen to stop lying, to advise on the basis of your mistakes. …you could have confided in me…” I think Katherine’s hit the nail on the head here, regarding why she’s so upset about Zana’s story. The deception and abandonment probably sting, but worst of all is that Katherine thinks her mentor, who she has trusted so deeply, doesn’t trust her. Of course, we know that isn’t the case, that Zana trusts Kathe more than perhaps any of her other children, but at this point Katherine doesn’t know that, so she reacts out of a place of hurt.
- Zana’s interruption to tell Katherine that she straight up won’t accept her judgment until she hears everything is yet another signpost to us the audience that yes, Zana is human. This whole episode has been about that simple truth, and the fact that Zana wants, even needs, Katherine’s acceptance is another subtle deconstruction of the, well, the myth that mentors aren’t actual people.
- Hmmm, now that’s something I’d never thought of before…Katherine and Mike have just made the jump from “Just Friends” to “It’s Complicated”, and before they could talk anything over, Katherine hears Zana’s tale, and how Zana has essentially spent the past few decades being in love with a man who inevitably went back the woman he was first involved with. How does this influence the way Katherine thinks about her own relationship with Mike, and his relationship with Shauna?
- “Finding myself alone with my thoughts was an…unbalancing experience. It brought many worrying truths about myself to light…” I think this may be one reason Zana understands Katherine so well, because Katherine does this to herself ALL THE TIME, and Zana knows that while a degree of self-reflection is healthy and necessary, too much can be detrimental to one – and to the decisions they ultimately make.
- “It was Doro’s pain that I felt, trapped in the world of the living, knowing only eternal agony.” Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered another series, even in the fantasy genre, that so skillfully deconstructs the idea of immortality or eternity. Every mythical being in this series that could be said to be immortal has experienced nothing but pain or sorrow because of it.
- “A combination of horror, curiosity, and pity overwhelmed me […] without a thought I reached out and took hold of the metal spike…” Hmmm…just as with Shauna and Oren, Zana accidentally freed and helped an “ancient madman” due to her own sense of compassion. Both women have faced incredible repercussions for their decisions, but…well, both of them also helped to free the world of cruel and dangerous beings as well. I think that’s kind of an interesting reflection on the nature of compassion: that in the short term it can be taken advantage of or manipulated, but in the long run it’s good for everyone.
- Oh young!Zana, didn’t you ever learn? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain – particularly if said thing forces its way inside your mind without asking.
- “I see in your mind the stunted thing the art has become; a plaything of scholars – bah!” Two things here: one, this confirms that Doro is either a contemporary or a predecessor of Oren. Two, this sort of firms up, at least to me, why Algonostro and Targonane are so adamant about the superiority of ritual magic. In the short time we know him, we see demonstrated what everyone has said about Doro: he is completely amoral, and cares only about power. He’s terrifying. I can easily see a man like him conquering an entire nation, and I can see where our University professors are coming from when they say that they need to keep power out of the hands of those who would use it for destruction.
- The scariest thing about Doro? He’s not just powerful, cruel, and ruthless. He’s intelligent. Look at how he leads Zana up to striking the deal with him – slow, methodical, and entirely innocent on the surface. If he’d asked her to strike that deal with him from the outset, she’d never have gone for it; Zana’s never been the type to seek power for its own sake. But by couching it in the things she cares about, by talking around the things she’d take issue with (like MURDERING PEOPLE), he manipulates her into signing that metaphorical deal with the devil.
- I wonder how much of this experience with Doro went into Zana’s concept of “strength” (ah, there’s that word again!), and into how she conveyed that concept to her children? When Zana chooses not to make a choice, Doro screams at her about how weak she is. Zana, however, views her choice to make the deal in the first place as her moment of weakness. 20 years later, when she meets the Boston Trio, she gives the name that means “Strength” not to the physically imposing young man, and not to the young woman with combat training – but to the woman who actively avoids physical/mystical power. It’s interesting.
- What did Targo think in the days and weeks that followed, when Zana started pushing him away? In fact, what did Targo think about all of this? Zana has admitted in the past that she has never actively lied to Targonane, but there is so much of her life that she hasn’t told him about. Yet, at the same time, Targonane is not the type to be left in the dark; like Katherine’s said, he’s a master schemer, and he’s never without information for long. How much does he know about Zana and just chooses not to talk about?
- “I maintained a distance from my employees, choosing instead to bury myself in my newfound arts: fishing, cooking, writing…” Oh man, how much would I pay to get an hour to look at Zana’s journals? SO MUCH.
- “But what do I tell the others?” “You will tell them what they need to hear.” This is one of Zana’s last lessons to Katherine, and it’s one she takes to heart. Compare Katherine at the beginning of our story, the woman who says, “I’m not harsh, I’m honest!” to the one at the end, who (SPOILER) withholds the truth about Ainorem, because at that moment, the truth would have done nothing but hurt others. She eventually reaches this beautiful balance between pursuit of the truth, and acknowledging that the truth can be painful, even dangerous, to those not prepared for it. A growth in spirit indeed.
- “The fire that consumed him was of his own making…” I know Zana means it literally, but this is pretty much the best metaphor we’ve seen thus far for the dangers of seeking power for violence and revenge: if you set a fire, hoping to burn your enemy, don’t be surprised when it burns you too.
- “I took a life: my own. No one else’s.” Zana’s choice echoes yet another one of Season 2’s themes: there is almost always a third option. Now, this is not to say that the hypothetical third option will not also have repercussions. All this means is that life is rarely a black or white, right or wrong zero-sum game; there are endless choices available to us, if we have the chance to look for them. (SPOILER) Natural magic or Ritual magic? Technology! Let Oren go on a rampage or Potentially end the world? Change the way Oren thinks (err…literally)! It pops up all over during this season.
- “Though the child of my womb stands outside this door, it is to you, the child of my heart, that my thoughts turn.” BRB, SOBBING. (Seriously, though, Zana and Katherine’s relationship has always been one of the cornerstones of 2S; Zana has guided Katherine in a way she hasn’t quite done for anyone else, and Katherine’s opening up to Zana has facilitated her ability to open up to everyone else in her life. Zana can’t continue to Sonsa, this is just how stories work, the mentor has to leave so that the main characters can come fully into their roles…but I will be forever grateful that Katherine and Zana were granted a chance to actually say goodbye to one another.)
- (SERIOUSLY seriously, though, I can’t get through this scene without tearing up.)
- “Targo! You always come into my life at unexpected times.” “…I come when you have need of me.” And THIS is the point where I burst into tears. #Goddammit now I’m crying at work #This show just breaks my heart
- “Katherine…are you okay?” “Mike? …I am. I am now.” Katherine still makes mistakes after this, still messes up and gets into trouble – but she never backslides like she did before. She accepts her mistakes, apologizes, moves forward, and does her best for both herself and for others. She doesn’t need someone to constantly guide her on her path anymore, doesn’t need that second syllable, because she is finally strong enough to stand on her own. Much of this strength is due to her own efforts, but some of it is due to the fact that Katherine finally had a figure in her life who loved her openly, honestly, and unconditionally. That is no small thing.
- Oh god, Arkahn’s attempt at a eulogy just twists the knife in my heart. I think that, apart from Katherine, she’s the most accepting member of our group towards Zana’s hidden past; she knows what it’s like to have secrets. But I think, more than Fesmer or Jareth, she viewed Zana as a stand-in mother figure, and to realize you know so little about someone that you’re that close to is tough.
Ugh, I just can’t take Arkahn crying, it’s so difficult to listen to, please feel better bb!
- Like I said before, I understand why Dita’s so upset. Zana, who left her with severe abandonment issues, pops back into her life, makes this big revelation, then has the indecency to die before Dita could calm down enough to think, leaving her with a lifetime of questions that she’ll never have answered. From Dita’s perspective, I can see how completely cutting herself off from thinking or caring about Zana could seem preferable. I mean, I don’t think she’ll be successful at it forever, but in this moment, when her entire world has caved in around her, I can see why she’d do it.
- Oh man, the revelation that Porec’s still alive laid me FLAT the first time I heard this. Of all the things I expected to happen at the end of the episode, this was probably at the very bottom of the list.
- Katherine’s eulogy is just…so beautiful. It’s not just a summary of 2 seasons of character development for her (although it does do that very effectively), it’s one of those take-away lessons for the entire series. People are people. We mess up and make mistakes and hurt each other deeply, often without meaning it – but that doesn’t mean we’re terrible, or without value. The same goes for everyone else. If we can remember that about one another, accept our faults and others’, work towards improvement, well, maybe we’d understand ourselves and one another better as a result.
- It would be so easy for Katherine to be selfish with Zana’s bow. Dita doesn’t know anything about it, and I really don’t think any of the others would begrudge Katherine’s keeping the bow as one final memento of her mentor. But Katherine doesn’t need a reminder of Zana, not really, and definitely not the way that Dita will need in the future. (Also, Katherine is the only one who knows about Dita’s true parentage; when she says that it should stay in the family, she’s the only one who really knows what that means.)
- Ugh, that final swell of Zana’s theme, THANKS TIVEN NOW I’M CRYING AGAIN.
- “Are you truly ready to leave this place?” “…I am. I am now.” And y’know what? She was ready. Zana gave up her life freely, even before she met her end. By the time she reached that point, yes, she was ready to go. And even if her death hurts, I’m glad she was so accepting of it. May we all reach our time so gracefully.