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Tammi Esposito

Propinquity Contrivance Re-read: The Deep Purloining

It’s been a while since I last posted my re-read of E.G. Praithewaite’s Propinquity Contrivance series. Because of the lag in posts (and I apologize for that but I’ve been recovering from a bout of bird flu) it’s necessary to do a little more re-capping here and there than I usually would.

Last time, we’d gone over chapters 3 through 5 of the twelfth book, The Deep Purloining in which Praithewaite’s already grim portrayal of interspecies violence turns grimmer indeed with the Battle of Mount Valley. The battle is, without a doubt, the bloodiest fight between unicorns and midwives ever written.

The first time I read it, the gore so overwhelmed me I was of no mind to consider the subtext. It’s a reference to the Viet Nam War, according to some, though I favor the theory that Praithewaite patterned the bloodshed after the battle of Sekigahara. Still others say he drew inspiration from the second Superbowl (given the similarity of the names of the unicorn Starrbolt and quarterback Bart Starr).

As the battle raged, far from the evisceration of midwives or sudden episiotomies of enchanted ungulates, a second conflict erupted between the wizard Mions and his former master, Farkenlug. The two faced off at Troubledwater Bridge. (I’m still a little pissed that Mions’ famous line, “Hello, my old, dark friend” didn’t appear in the film adaptation.)

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