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Covers for The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Tomorrow will see the release of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the highly anticipated third title in Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle series. It's a bit of an understatement to say that all three of us here at Lady Business are fans: love for this series spread among us like wildfire after Renay reviewed The Raven Boys last year, and we've been counting down the days until the next book is in our hands. To celebrate its arrival, I've invited a few of our friends — Aarti, Jenny, Memory and Teresa — to come discuss the series and speculate wildly about what Stiefvater might have in store for us. Please feel free to join in in the comments! Needless to say, spoilers for the first two books will abound.
— Ana

Ana: Jenny, you recently told us on Twitter that your "frequently prescient" mother had a theory about the series. Mind sharing what that is with everyone?

Jenny: My frequently prescient mother’s idea is that what happens after the thing Adam sees in the cave is that Ronan finds Glendower and the favor he asks for is to bring Gansey back to life, but that can’t happen just on its own, so Ronan offers to take Gansey’s place. This is my mother’s theory. Ghastly, no? But y’all have some cheerier theories! Let’s talk about those ones instead!

Teresa: I think it’s likely someone will make a sacrifice, but I think it will be Gansey. Adam has gotten just about as obsessed as Gansey with Glendower, and his obsession seems more personal. So I think he’ll be the one who’s supposed to die as part of the quest and Gansey, knowing a death is needed, will decide he needs to be the one to die because he’s so guilt-stricken about his relationship with Blue. He and Blue will decide to kiss to make Gansey’s death happen, thus saving Adam. But all this hinges on my vague memory of how the prophecy works, so I may be way off! The cheerier part is that I’m not convinced that the being on the paths of the dead means being irretrievably dead. That’s what Blue’s family says, but do they have it right? Is it the kind of dream world Ronan can enter? Would having a ghost friend make it easier to get there? Mostly, I want a way that involves everyone in doing something awesome and that involves none of the core five characters being permanently dead. (Well, except Noah.)

Memory: this is my favourite theory. It makes things difficult and painful enough that nobody gets an easy out, but it doesn’t result in anyone’s never-coming-back-never-ever death. Win!

Plus, I’m a total sucker for anything that intersects ghosts and dreams.

Ana: I like it too. Plus as much as I suspect that Stiefvater has some emotional rollercoasters in store for her readers, she's proven in some of her previous work that she can do emotional intensity in ways that aren't necessarily tragic or obvious (keeping this a bit vague to avoid spoilers). I'm cautiously hopeful that everyone (other than Noah) will get to the end alive.

Jenny: Interjection on behalf of Richard Gansey III: I don’t think he would have to be guilt-stricken about Blue to be willing to sacrifice himself for Adam. I think he would do that anyway because he loves Adam.

Teresa: Yes, absolutely, I think Gansey would sacrifice for his friends, but I think the guilt will make him more likely to think he’s supposed to suffer, that there’s a poetic justice in it. Plus, there’s sacrifice and then there’s sacrifice, you know? There’s accepting death on behalf of someone and then there’s seeking it out. I also think that Blue’s own regret about how things are turning out between them would make her more likely to kiss Gansey even though it means his death. She wouldn’t be right to feel that way, but I can see how she would, especially if Adam continues to spiral downward.

Ana: I agree about Gansey--and then there's also the whole power differential inherent to his relationship with Adam, which he doesn't always know how to handle. Gansey is the sort of character who might want to sacrifice himself for Adam to make up for all his previous missteps, without necessarily realising that's the sort of thing that would drive Adam crazy (until it's too late, at least, and then he would be dead).

To go back to Jenny's Mumsy's theory: argh, it breaks my heart to even think about Ronan doing that. And the revelation about Ronan's sexual orientation at the end of The Dream Thieves only makes it worse, because as much as it might make narrative sense, no story exists in a vacuum, and I would hate to see this one fit into a pattern where lgbtq characters come to tragic ends. So if anyone has to go I guess I'm Team Gansey--except I'm actually Team No One because as infuriating as Gansey occasionally is, Stiefvater managed to make me really, really care about him. I shall continue to cling to Teresa's theory and hope for a heartbreak-free readerly future for us all.

Memory: okay, I’m legitimately tearing up now at the thought of any of them dying. And also at the thought of Ronan. [insert long, loud caterwauling about Ronan Lynch]

Jenny: I strongly second your point about lgbt characters coming to tragic ends. It’s also worth mentioning that Mumsy came up with this theory prior to realizing that Ronan’s second secret is Adam Parrish. I think that might reconfigure the landscape for her. (PS: Ronan’s second secret being Adam Parrish is legit my favorite thing in these book. I too love Adam Parrish. Ronan has good taste.)

Aarti: I am here! I too love Adam Parrish. And I agree that LGBT characters should be able to live happily ever after, too. Only, we don’t know yet about how Adam feels, so not sure if Ronan ever WILL live happily ever after, but I hope he does. Ronan is such a fantastic character - I love that he never lies but is still so impossible to read.

I don’t really have one of my own to add, except I wonder if the whole “let’s step into this tree and see some version of the possible future” scene from The Raven Boys will come into play somehow. Didn’t Blue see herself kissing Gansey while she was in the tree? And didn’t Adam see himself killing Gansey? I am vague on the memory, but I feel like that scene was put into the story for a reason and I wonder how it will play out. I think, probably, something similar to both Blue’s and Adam’s visions will happen (though in a context separate than what either of them would have thought). And then we don’t know Gansey’s or Ronan’s visions, so I wonder if they will all share what they saw at some point and it come out into the open.

Memory: I’m also a little hazy on the details (it’s been almost a year since I read it), but I think we saw Blue kissing Gansey, since we were in her POV, but it was only implied that Adam did something really awful in his own vision. Like, he came back from it all shaken up and insisting he could never, but we didn’t find out exactly what it was.

Or maybe we did and this is just one of those things I’ve blanked on. I always try to blank on a few things about the books I really, really love so I can have a few surprises the next time I revisit them.

Jenny: Yeah, I don’t think we know all the details of what Adam saw in the cave. (Ronan wouldn’t go in on principle, but Blue dragged him in during the stampede in Raven Boys, and we don’t know what he saw then (if anything).) What’s been described about Adam’s vision is Gansey bleeding out while Ronan screams at Adam something like “Is this what you wanted?” But I’m guessing there’s more to it.

What do we think about Blue’s father, team? Glendower or not Glendower? And Gansey’s crazy British professor friend: Greenmantle or not Greenmantle? (Please still love me if I’m wrong.)

Aarti: I think we are all being led down the path of Blue’s father being Glendower. I wonder how The Gray Man plays into this now. Is he going to have a role to play going forward, too? Does he have some as-yet-unseen psychic power?

Memory: I’m gonna be really happy if Glendower is Blue’s father, because cool, but I”ll also be a little sad, because obvious.

Jenny, it never even occurred to me that Greenmantle and the professor might be one and the same. Smart theory! That would be awesome.

Ana: I think Greenmantle is the professor, too. And mostly I worry terribly about what the inevitable discovery that this is the case will do to Gansey's heart.

Teresa: I feel sure that Glendower is Blue’s father, although I don’t have any reason to think that, other than that her father is mysterious, and Glendower is mysterious. But it may be that we’re being deliberately led in that direction, only to have the rug pulled out from under us in a future book.

And yeah, I kind of figured that the professor and Greenmantle are one and the same. It just seems likely for that guy to put as many irons in the fire as he can.

Part of me wonders if the Lynch family is more connected to Blue’s or to Glendower than we’ve seen so far. And then there’s Kavinsky who just randomly seems to have powers. There just seem to be too many people with special abilities for it to all be coincidence. We’re only halfway done with the series, so there are many ways it could all tie together.

Jenny: So what would everyone like to see happen in the third book? I’m definitely with Teresa in thinking that the Lynch family has more connections to Glendower than previously discussed, and I’d love to see that play out with the Lynch brothers all together. It seems like Declan, for one, knows more secrets than we’ve seen so far. The Dream Thieves could have been all scenes of the Lynch brothers arguing sotto voce at Mass on a series of Sundays, and that would have been fine by me.

Memory: I definitely want more Declan. That guy knows stuff. Isn’t it implied that Niall told him much more than he told Ronan? Or am I inventing that because I want Declan to be more than just a smug rich dude with political aspirations?

I agree with Teresa that it seems awfully coincidental that so many people with special abilities have converged on this one place. Maybe the ley lines are like magnets for magical types. I’d like to see everyone’s powers start to work in concert, or to feed off each other. It could be especially cool if it happened more or less against their will, so they’d all have to scramble to figure out how to control, or at least direct, what’s happening. I always enjoy characters put in positions where they have to fight to establish their agency in magical matters.

Or maybe Glendower’s got something to do with it. If he is Blue’s father, he’s evidently not permanently asleep. He, too, has to have some agency, and I quite like the idea of him pulling strings however he can. Makes him a bit more interesting than just some guy lounging around, waiting for someone to discover his tomb.

Ana: Like the rest of you ladies, I hope for more background information on, and a greater degree of involvement from, the secondary characters: Declan and Kavinsky, yes, but also Persephone and Calla and Maura and even Neeve. I agree it's likely that everyone will be brought together and become more involved in the main story arc, and I look forward to seeing how exactly Stiefvater will pull that off--like Teresa says, we're only halfway through the series, and she's bound to have a trick or two up her sleeve.

But mostly I just want more feels. The reason why I'm so involved in this story and why the plot feels momentous is that I'm so completely invested in the characters, and I desperately want Blue Lily, Lily Blue will continue the deepening of the ties between them (complications and all) that I so loved about the first two books. Does anyone have any particular hopes in the feels arena?

Memory: oh my goodness, yes. FEELS. My hopes in that area are fairly general--I want everyone to interact in fascinating, difficult, painful, joyous ways, and I absolutely trust Stiefvater to deliver. She’s oh-so good at writing relationships.

Jenny: I want Adam to say something nice to Ronan and Gansey. I get that he was working through some things in The Dream Thieves, and I’m not mad at him about that, and I get why he resents his richer friends, but it is time now for him to say some nice things to Ronan and Gansey. Especially Ronan. Ronan has been remarkably (for Ronan) good to Adam, and I do not think I have ever seen Adam say one nice word to or about him. Let’s change that up! (My friend says she wants Adam to get over his Order of the Phoenix phase, which I think is an unnecessary slam on both Adam and Harry Potter.)

Memory: yes! That! (The Adam saying nice things bit, not the OOTP bit.)

I’ve also realized I really want to see Gansey’s people-collecting tendencies explode in his face. They’ve already caused him some big problems (and so they should; you can’t go treating people like they’re only real insofar as they relate to you, even if you’re not being malicious about it), but I want to see him deal with some extreme, maybe-there’s-no-way-back-from-this shit as a result.

Jenny: Aw! Poor Gansey! I don’t want that for Gansey. Contemplating how fast he’d sacrifice his life for any of his friends has made me feel fonder of Gansey than I have sometimes felt in the past. I want all good things to happen for Gansey in this book. I don’t want him to mess up and be terrible like he sometimes is, and I want him and Adam to have some fun together like they haven’t for a while. SUPER BEST FRIENDS CLUB AND HAPPINESS FOR ALL, is mainly what I want.

Memory: the loves-these-characters part of me wants all that, of course. But the readerly-misery-is-tops part of me wants SHIT EXPLOSION, or at the very least something that hovers on the cusp of SHIT EXPLOSION but is thwarted at the last minute by the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP and also CHARACTERS LEARNING FROM THEIR MISTAKES.

Actually, yes. That’s what I want. That last thing.

Aarti: About the feels! I too hope for more of them, but not SO much of them that it becomes overwhelmingly YA to me because I can’t really handle all the teenage feels, especially when there is one girl and four boys. (Or, three boys and a ghost.) This series is 4 books, right? So I would EXPECT that if there is some big come-uppance coming for Gansey, then it would probably happen in this book so that he feels all alone and is all “I may have lost all the things I value, but I CAN GIVE THE WORLD THIS.” And then everyone will come back together in a mind-blowing, earth-shattering way in the last book because they’re all like, “Oh, Gansey is doing a lot of work all on his own and maybe he’s not SO bad.”

I also just want something nice to happen to Adam. Like Jenny, I think he’s had a lot going on over the past few books, and I just want to turn that frown upside down and give him some sunshine. The kid deserves it.

Teresa: I really want more of all the characters. I want more Lynches and more of Blue’s family. (Blue’s family are all a little bit of a blur to me, and I don’t want that to continue.) I want everyone coming together and making something amazing happen to get all this craziness worked out. I would be disappointed if there isn’t some sort of tragedy, but I’d like it to go down mostly the way Memory describes with the biggest bit of awfulness being averted at the last minute.

What would be really satisfying to me is to see the adults bearing some of the cost. I really like the way the adults aren’t entirely absent from the story but also aren’t closely involved in the main action. Given the way The Dream Thieves ends, I feel like we’re getting set up to see some significant backstory about the reasons behind all these happenings in Henrietta. And if the adults, including the mystical long-dead adults like Glendower, helped bring all this about, maybe one of them will be instrumental in ending it--or ending the destructive parts anyway, not ending all the magic because some magic is good. I wouldn’t want the resolution to center on the adult characters, but I want them--at least some of them--to be part of the resolution.

And yes, some sort of happiness for Adam--and for Gansey. OK, for everybody. All the happiness for all the characters with some sort of loss along the way that will add drama and be a growing-up moment. That.

Ana: I love your point about adult involvement, Teresa. Blue and her friends are sure to remain at the centre of the story, but that doesn't mean they can't have support from people who've been around for longer and are likely to have seen more. And fingers crossed for high emotional stakes but awfulness averted. I so want the best for these characters.

Fortunately our long wait for Blue Lily, Lily Blue is very nearly over--I look forward to catching up with you ladies and any other fellow fans on Twitter and etc over the next few weeks, as we read and gasp and explode with feels :D

Date: 2014-10-20 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] necromancyneverpays.wordpress.com
I have a nebulous theory that the grey man is someone who is less of himself than he used to be, maybe even Glendower himself, in some diminished form.

Because I wanted to wait for Blue Lily, Lily Blue before finishing the last few pages of the second book (and because I have to go back to my kindle to read it), I haven't read those last few pages yet...now I will have to, probably tomorrow! Because you have all whetted my appetite!

Date: 2014-10-21 08:24 pm (UTC)
nymeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nymeth
I'm impressed - I would never have managed that much self-restraint :P Enjoy those last few pages, and of course Blule Lily, Lily Blue :D


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