|“||Bards have a habit of dressing things up. There is a fine living, d’you see, in songs about deep-wise witches, but in shitty idiots, less.1||”|
Blessings and Curses2 is the first chapter of A Little Hatred.
Rikke3, the daughter of The Dogman, wakes from one of her fits, somewhere outside Uffrith. She is blessed or perhaps cursed with the Long Eye4, an unreliable ability to scry the future. The mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail has taken Rikke under-her-wing to help her control the gift and interpret its visions. This vision showed five different events: dozens of folk falling from a high tower5; rows of people hanged6; a battle below a red hill7; Uffrith burning; and a wolf eat the Sun, a lion eat the wolf, a lamb eat the lion, an owl eat the lamb8. None of it makes much sense, apart from worry about Uffrith. With typical tough love, Isern gets her groggy and soiled companion ready to leave for home.
The two women are walking to Uffrith, when Isern suddenly senses something up ahead. Rikke knocks a shaft to her bow, as Isern darts into the trees. Three armed Northmen appear on the path, scouts of Stour Nightfall, son of Black Calder and heir to The North. After a brief exchange, Isern erupts from the brush, killing two with her spear, while Rikke puts a shaft through the third. With Northmen south of the river Cusk and a smell of smoke in the air, Rikke sets off running, fearful for her home. Emerging from the forest, a devastated Rikke see Uffrith in the distance burning, just like in her vision. But Isern just claps her on the shoulder saying "You do have the Long Eye!".
|Rikke||Isern-i-Phail||The Dogman||Black Dow|
Locations and Terms
|The North||Uffrith||The Dogman's Protectorate||Chagga||The Union|
- This quote is almost an antithesis of Abercrombie. Less interested in wise women and nobles heroes, than in shitty idiots who might turn out wiser than most.
- The book is set roughly 28 years after the end of the original The First Law trilogy; the trilogy set in 575-577AU thus making the 605AU. Prince Orso was presumably born just after, and said to be 27-years-old. Leo dan Brock was supposedly conceived at the Battle of Osrung (584), and said to be 22-years-old in the second book, so 21 in the first.
- Many of the POV characters are children of characters from the previous novels: Rikke is the daughter of The Dogman; Leo dan Brock is the son of Harod and Finree dan Brock; Savine dan Glokta is officially the daughter of Sand dan Glokta and Ardee; Prince Orso is the son of Jezal dan Luthar and Terez. Victarine 'Vick' dan Teufel is the daughter of Sepp dan Teufel.
- Rikke is gifted with the Long Eye, only seen once before in Caurib. Knowing Abercrombie, we shouldn't expect a reason why. In the North, it is spoken about as an unusual but not unheard of gift, that seems likely to be related to demon-blood.
- The vision of a high tower might be a reference to the House of the Maker.
- The vision of people being gibbeted may be the rebellion that Prince Orso suppresses later in the book.
- The vision of the battle seems an obvious reference to the battle between Leo and Nightfall. The two hills are crowned with red bracken.
- This last vision is the most intriguing. The references to the Sun, wolf, and lion are pretty obvious. A lot of people are hoping the lamb is Logen Ninefingers, though probably more likely Prince Orso, called the lamb by the crowd during the Triumph. The owl could either be Rikke with the Long Eye or Bayaz always watching or even Broad with his glasses; it's pointless to speculate, since the owl is doubtless the last person we'd expect.