A Concordance for John M. Ford's The Dragon Waiting
[Spring 1478 - Oct 1479] 9. Across

Hywel said, "That's just the juliet tower. There was a Norman keep around it, but that's down now..."

"Who destroyed it?" she asked, in a dull and morbid tone.

"A man named Owain Glyn Dŵr," Hywel said. She did not press him for a reason; he was glad of that.

During Glyn Dŵr's rebellion against Henry IV.

I cannot find a usage of the term "juliet tower." It recalls the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet; but if that were the reference, it would imply popular awareness of the Romeo and Juliet story long before Shakespeare's era.

See also: p12 (King in Harlech)

"[...] And the saddle mountain, high afar off, is Pen-y-fan."

The name means "top of the beacon," but the mountain is also one of many places called "Arthur's Seat." (See p213.)


Latin (and also Italian): "to enter." It is not clear why Cynthia uses the infinitive, rather than the imperative entra.

TODO: Check grammar.

She had cared about something -- something minor, but something.

Cynthia is now deeply mired in the trauma she exhibited in chapter 7 (p183).

"Arthur's Court. Tonight and tomorrow, everyone here is a lord or lady."

"Or a wizard?" She looked at his robe and staff. "When I first met you, you called yourself Plato. Are you a Platonist? Your nose is sharp."

Hywel had seen the long-nosed man in her memories, wondered who he was.

Marsilio Ficino, the Neoplatonist in Florence.

See also: p63 (translated Plato)

"[...] Just at dark, the Lady will appear bearing Caliburn, and there'll be a splendid first court. Then tomorrow, the Triumph, and the joining of the Kingdom. In the afternoon, the Cauldron Quest, and finally the Evening Court..."

Caliburn is an old form of Excalibur, Arthur's sword. (The one given by the Lady of the Lake, not the one in the stone.) Arthur's Triumph was his victory over the Saxons (an event used as a year-mark in the very beginning of the book; p3, p357). The Joining would be his unification of the British Isles into one kingdom. And the Cauldron Quest must be the TDW version of the Grail Quest; the Celtic legend of the Cauldron of Life replaces the story of Christ's cup.

All of this mummery (in the literal sense) is the town celebration of Arthur's Court (p230).

"Oh," Hywel said lightly, "Arthur was born a Welshman. Ask anyone here; it was England he joined to the Kingdom, not the other way around."

Recall that Colin said (on p213) that Arthur was a Scot.

A small boat appeared, with a woman standing in it; there was only a small stiff sail, and no one seemed to steer the craft (though there was a heavily draped couch in the stern that might have concealed marvels, or an engineer).

Even in a small Welsh town, theatrical engineering is important.

"I can't -- how can anyone make up words to music as it plays?" She turned and walked out of the pavilion.

Cynthia took part in such improvisation in Florence (p69). Her pain is such that she is ignoring or rejecting whole groups of memories.

Hywel let his witchlight fade. Cynthia looked up sharply, said "I need--"

Hywel turned to the adults who were arriving. "Would you get that lantern over here, please? The doctor needs light. [...]"

Hywel is willing to use his magic in front of children, but not adults. Presumably he feels that children's stories will be dismissed, so he will not have to explain himself as a wizard.

The speaker was a small, stocky woman in a gray wool gown and white linen cap. She was flat-featured, forty or a little more, with bright eyes.

Introduces Mary Setright.

The boy yelled. Startled, Cynthia drew back her hand, raised it to slap him.

Mary smacked the roll of gauze into Cynthia's open palm, held it there.

Mary restrains Cynthia from striking the child, without making it obvious to the onlookers that she is doing so.

"Madonna... Messer Ficino... forgive me: I am the only Ricci left." Her voice was remarkably even.

Cynthia was focussed on reality while acting as a doctor; but now she perceives Hywel as the dead Ficino (see p230). She refers to Mary as "Madonna" ("mother"), perhaps imagining Lorenzo's mother Lucrezia.

See also: p249 (last Ricci)

[The medallion] was as wide as two fingers, cast in white metal, with a hole for a cord or chain. The face showed two dragons, one incised dark, one bright in relief. The dragons were fighting, and the dark one was clearly winning the combat.

He knew the symbolism well enough; anyone born in Britain would have. The Red Dragon and the White, that Merlin had prophesied Uther should find.

Uther was the father of Arthur. (Some versions of this story apply the prophecy to Vortigern, an earlier king.) The prophecy was that the king would find two dragons fighting under a hill; the white would at first have the upper hand, but the red would triumph in the end.

The Red Dragon was the kingdom of Wales. The White...

The White Dragon represents the Saxon people of England.

Hywel turned the disc over. Stamped on the back in Roman capitals was the legend REXQUE FUTURIS. And everyone in Britain knew that much Latin: the second half of Arthur's epitaph. THE FUTURE KING.

The epitaph, of course, was Rex Quondam, Rexque Futurus: "The Once and Future King."

(The medallion's legend is more literally "And the Future King." The spelling "Futuris" appears to be a typo.)

There were minds at work here, he knew, who did not have his fear of the energies of magic: people playing with wildfire.

The medallion has some spell imprinted in it. Hywel has said repeatedly that magic is costly, slow, self-destructive, and weak in comparison to the energy expended. (See p144, p170, for example.) This spell, then, must be energy expended recklessly, without thought of the cost.

Mary told the vermin to go, all but the spiders whose webs she harvested for wound dressings, and they all but the spiders went away.

The first indication that Mary is a wizard.

"I've sung [Cynthia] asleep," [Mary] said, "but she's still not resting; she talks, in her native speech -- Italian, is it? She talks of poison, and a man with a scourge, and quicklime. She said she is a gwaedwr, though I can see she does not need blood. What has my sister seen?"

Cynthia is recalling the poison in Florence (p78, p79, p98); the fanatic Savonarola (p82); and the murder of her family (p98). And she sees herself as a vampire because of her role in Claudio Falcone's death (p117, p238).

Note that Mary understands Cynthia without knowing what language she speaks. This implies a use of magic to comprehend (as well as to sedate).

[...] Mary's shrine on the wall, the twinkling candles and the Latin cross.

And the first indication that Mary is a Christian.

"I will not eat," she said suddenly. "I'll starve, or swallow poison, but none of your food or wine."

Cynthia may be reliving a story of a journey through the underworld; these traditionally include a prohibition against food or drink. Lorenzo and Ficino recited parts of Dante's underworld poem (p87-88), so it would be associated with her repressed memories.

"There is no redemption without love, no love without contact," Mary said. "Our Lord knew this, and became flesh, so that there could be contact, and love, and forgiveness. [...]"

This is not the Christian doctrine of our era. But it is no farther from it than the heresies that were pushed out of the early Church in our history. (Those tended towards the denial and mortification of the flesh, whereas Mary's statement sacralizes it.)

"I did not cut him," Cynthia said. "I taught the spy the points... I took the quill from my bag. But I... I..."

Cynthia confessed to this on p132-133. Falcone was found with cuts (and the hollow quill) at the points which a vampire would have used to drain his blood (p117). The spy was della Robbia.

See also: p236 (sleep talk)

At once he erased the nausea. Too quick, too easy, he thought; he was already doing enough damage to himself, and to Cynthia. Mary had trapped him, with the best of intentions.

Hywel seems to feel guilt for his intrusion on Cynthia's mind. The nausea those memories cause would be a just penance; but he cannot allow himself even that amount of self-forgiveness.

The damage is because Hywel is using magic on Cynthia to keep her still. He does it reluctantly ("despite himself," p238); his use of magic always harms himself and his subjects, as Ptolemy taught (p23). But he cannot avoid helping Cynthia.

Mary's magic does not have that element of harm (p239). She does not think in terms of withholding magic for the sufferer's benefit, so she does not understand Hywel's struggle.

Note that Hywel is not reluctant to use magic on himself (suppressing the nausea). Presumably he feels that he deserves the (slow) self-harm inherent in that. The contradiction inherent in that stance is not surprising; the conflict underlies his life.

Of all the wizards he had known since first Kallian Ptolemy opened his mind, he had known only five who were not corrupted by the power. Five, in hundreds.

The five being a Taoist, a follower of unnamed Russian idols, Mary the Christian, a mechanist atheist, and one described later. (See p259.)

We recall that Ptolemy was something like a mechanist (p17, although he also spoke of Thoth on p23). But Ptolemy is clearly not one of the five Hywel refers to here.

Hywel has met hundreds of wizards in the 54 years since he met Ptolemy. That may include the majority of the wizards in the regions he has traveled, since wizards can always sense each others' magic. But it is still a considerable number. If Hywel has met every wizard in Europe (in the timescale of a lifetime), we have a rough lower bound on wizardly talent of one in a million humans. If he has missed some, they would be proportionally more common.

See also: p239 (faith)

"...and I took a sacred thing and cut into a little boy's heart. And I did it very, very well..."

The killing of the young vampire on p77. This, then, is the center of Cynthia's trauma.

The phrase "very, very well" echoes Mary's compliment on p234.

He knew what kept those five alone from devouring themselves. It was not the sorts of spells they worked, nor the names they worked in, nor magic circles or eye of newt or the phases of the moon. He knew what it was, but knowing could not save him, because the parts of him that could sustain faith were all burned out.

A level of faith that most people do not attain, clearly, if only five wizards in hundreds have it.

(Ptolemy said on p23 that he had lost faith in his god; but the destructive effect of his magic predated that.)

Shakespeare's plays:

"Eye of newt" is an ingredient of the witches' spell in Macbeth (act 4, scene 1).

"I have said to you before, this work of yours will not make you happy. When will you believe this, and rest?"

"Never," he said finally. It was only half an answer, because he did believe her. He [...] had known for over half a century, since his first departure from the Beautiful City Byzantium, that he was not on the road to any heaven.

It has been 54 years since Hywel met Ptolemy. Therefore, he must have visited and left Constantinople -- and committed himself to destroying it -- in his first few years after becoming a wizard. Most likely he carried through his intent (p23) to follow Ptolemy there.

"There was another thing in the boat, I could not see what it was for the setting sun... but I think it was a treasure, for it shone like red gold."

The scene makes it clear that Bedwyr is describing Arthur's body, in the boat. This underscores the association of Arthur with the Red Dragon in the legends of Wales, and recalls the medallion that Hywel found (p235).

The knight looked up. A moment passed, as if both were thinking that now it would be only love, and no adultery, but too late, too late.

Bedwyr (Bedivere) here has the role that Lancelot usually takes: the knight who loves Gwenhwyfar and Arthur equally.

And he genuinely wondered if Mary's unspoken accusation was true: had he brought her to be healed only because he wanted her for his real work... his dragon-hunt? He touched his pouch, seemed to feel the medallion warming through the leather.

This associates the dragon medallion with Hywel's ongoing work against the Empire. There is, however, no obvious reason for the connection yet.

The text hints that the medallion is magically active. (Contrast the cold, inert medallion on p47.) It may be influencing Hywel in some way. But if the medallions are active at this point, they are only trying to get themselves spread around Wales; and their later effect -- p352 -- does not seem to be relevant either.)

"Rhiannon..." said more voices.

They believed that just reading a person's mind gave the reader total communion with that person's soul. They were wrong, so cruelly wrong.

"What is life," Cynthia Ricci sang, eyes flooded and glowing, "but an improvisation to the music?"

Cynthia's words are a direct quote of Ficino, from the last time she sang in pure joy; see p69.

Hywel, in contrast, is lost and unhappy; he does not know what he thinks of or wants from Cynthia. This is not a situation which will improve much; see p376.

See also: p383 (coda)

It was a brilliant high summer day [...]

Summer of 1478 AD, now. This sequence of scenes covers almost two years.

The wizard had too many secrets, she thought.

The story shifts to Cynthia's point of view, for very nearly the first time since chapter 3 (p99). She has been the sole protagonist of a few scenes (e.g., p189), but her state of mind has been conveyed almost entirely from the outside.

Now that she is recovering, we begin to see her observations of Hywel's state of mind. The narrative focus reflects her new non-passivity. And this reveals more of her to us, but also more of Hywel; for he is (as she perceives) a secretive character, and his narrative is always guarded and incomplete.

(The exception to the external view of Cynthia was a moment on p162.)

She nodded, thinking of Urbino's hill fortresses, where there had always been someone waiting for Byzantium... and, since Duke Federigo had a son, perhaps there still was.

Federigo's son Guidobaldo survived his death (p96). But, as Guidobaldo would have aided Lorenzo, it is not certain that he is still alive.

"[...] You could say that Mary is to Rhiannon as you are to Minerva."

Startled, Cynthia caught at her owl pendant.

That is, not a worshipper, but an instance of an archetype. Minerva and Rhiannon are both presented as legendary healers of their cultures (Greek and Welsh).

"Some say [Rhiannon] was the moon. Often she's a lady on a white horse swifter than wind... Why are you laughing?"

"Because if I didn't I'd cry. [...] You know, don't you, that Lorenzo de' Medici called me 'Luna,' for the color of my hair? Dimitrios spoke to me once, or tried to... he talked about riding a white mare called Luna. [...]"

Dimi recalls this on p205.

It was a few days past Iambolc, the February festival of light, [...]

It is now February of 1479 AD. (Hywel's comments about spring and the coast seem to imply that it is still their first winter in Wales, but this cannot be the case, since the previous scene was summer -- p243.)

[...] drifting across the country in search of plots and legends and planchets of white metal.

Wherever the things came from, they had spread far and wide. In every village they entered, they found the medallions, worn or carried close to the body and out of sight.

From a chance find, the medallions have become the focus of Hywel's attention, and thus of the story.

"A dozen years ago, Harlech was holding out for Henry against Edward, and my lord Herbert was told to take the place. He decided to make an example as he went up the Vale of Conwy, and he assuredly did. You could follow the army by the smoke of its burning [...]"

This is William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.

"[...] I could show you an inn, where still the sooty bones--" He stopped, shook his head.

The inn Hywel grew up in was in the Vale of Conwy (p3, p21). This must certainly be the inn he mentions. It would have been burned over forty years after he left, but it is clearly still a painful thought; Hywel refuses to take that road.

See also: p368 (actual things)

"Rhiannon once went into a strange house, and found a fountain within; but when she touched it she was held there, unable to move hand or foot, lips sealed fast. It took Gwydion son of Don all his wit and the threat of murder to free the lady."

This story is from the third part of the Mabinogion, in slightly altered form. (Gwydion does not appear in that chapter; it is Manawyddan who frees her.)

[...] the first red leaves of autumn blew out of the darkness, past the windows, and vanished again behind them.

And now, autumn of 1479. Although the text does not say so, half a year has gone by since the last scene (p244).

He was blond, tall, with a warrior's build. He wore a black velvet gown of scholar's pattern, but the collar was white silk instead of linen, [...]

Introduces Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers.

The book, on the other hand, she recognized instantly; it was the most standard of medical references, the Liber Mercurius.

Appropriate, since Mercury carries the caduceus, which is a symbol of medicine. However, no such medical work exists in our history.

"Elizabeth is ill, then?"

"Much worse. The Prince of Wales is ill."

Edward, the elder son of King Edward and Elizabeth.

"I am the last Ricci of Florence," she said, needing to know if she could indeed say it.

Cynthia has already said this, on p234; but that was while she was shielding herself from pain.

"Oh... I understand, I think. Lorenzo de' Medici was my friend."

"He was my patient." It still hurt. She supposed it always would. It was better, surely, than an atrophied soul.

See also: p254 (atrophied soul)

Suddenly Hywel said "Morton's here." He stopped on the stairs. "How long has he been here?"

"My lord wizard Morton has been traveling with Her Grace for some time now." Rivers gave a tight smile. "In fact, the old deceiver's got her liking him. I must say, he's talented."

Hywel senses Morton's presence by his magic.

"If you own a copy of Doctor Pier Leone's On the Systems of Muscles and Bones, I would like to see it."

This work does not exist in our history either.

He must be only nine, she thought, or ten.

Prince Edward was born in November of 1470 in our history, so he would be not quite nine. However, the Edward of TDW history may be a year older; see p283.

"Then... we need another room, for a surgery; a stone room, so the walls can be scrubbed down with lye. [...]"

Antisepsis and the germ theory of disease, several centuries earlier than their appearance in our history.

He was of middle age, with heavy black eyebrows and a beard slightly longer than the fashion; sturdily built, but not athletic. [...] To Cynthia, he looked oddly like a huge strawberry.

Introduces Doctor John Morton.

See also: p294 (from my garden)

Morton smiled. "In Britain, you mean. Well. A man must remain supple, Doctor. Do you feel no stiffness of age? Oh -- your pardon, my lady. Now, if you will excuse me, good night to you both."

Morton implies that he is in Britain for his health. He then makes some extremely indirect insinuation about Hywel, and possibly about Cynthia.

(This might be the implication that an old man's joints get stiff, but other organs get less so. If so, then Morton's (faux) apology is for the (deliberate) crudity.)

Our history:

"As a young man I used to have four supple members and one stiff one. Now I have four stiff and one supple." (Henri, Duc d'Aumale, 1822-1897)

"I might as well tell you now," he said with a deadly calm, "I can do nothing for the boy."

Hywel must be bringing this up now -- and upset -- because of Morton's comment about ageing (p252).

"Your surgery--"

"Is only to examine those nodules, be sure of what I suspect. [...]"

"And [Pier Leone] could not treat these?"

"No, he couldn't. But there's a footnote to one case: 'Referred to a sorcerer. Apparent remission.' So you see--"

So a wizard could possibly help Edward; but Hywel is refusing to (p253). Either it violates his ethics of magic, or he believes it would cause more harm than good; or, more likely, the one because of the other.

(It is not obvious what Edward's disease actually is. Leukemia is a possibility, given that Leone's book dealt with bone disorders. In that case, the nodules would be enlarged lymph nodes.)

"Cynthia... do you ever feel an aching in your muscles and sinews? A great aching, more than you would expect from exercise?"

"Don't change the subject." What had Earl Rivers called the wizard Morton? Old deceiver.

Hywel is certainly not changing the subject; this must be relevant to magical healing, and to what Morton implied (p252). But Hywel himself is the only wizard whom Cynthia has been near (up until a few moments previously, when she met Morton). So if this aching has a magical cause, it must be Hywel. (See p254.)

(It could also theoretically be caused by Mary, or something she did. But Hywel considers her healing entirely benign, and did not hesitate to elicit it on Cynthia's behalf. So this possibility is unlikely.)

"I have an oath to Minerva Medica," she said, and thought Which I will not break again.

The Hippocratic Oath, in our historical tradition, does not mention Minerva by name. It is to "Apollo the physician, Asclepius, Hygieia, Panacea..."

"How old do you think Morton is?"

"What? Thirty-five, perhaps forty, I suppose."

"He will be sixty in the next year."

"What does that have to do with this?" She caught her breath. "I don't know your age, Hywel."

Morton's age is consistent with our history. (He was born around 1420, which would make him 59.) Recall that Hywel is only six years older.

Clearly Morton is using magic to avoid ageing. And he is in Britain for that purpose (p252). The implication seems to be that he has drawn strength from Edward, leaving the boy terminally ill.

If this is the case, then Hywel could presumably help Edward only by condemning someone else to an even more acute illness.

"Before you choose to trust my lord wizard with Edward's life, not to mention his soul, I would remind you that Guillaume of Anjou probably had a similar trust in him as well."

Hywel here implies that Morton was involved in the plot to bring the Exemplification to England. (Guillaume died while trying to carry this out; see p170. In fact, his strength was drained through magic -- not directly by Morton, but if he were undertaking Morton's plan, then the parallel would hold.)

Maybe he should be hurt, she thought suddenly; better than an atrophied soul.

This echoes Cynthia's earlier thought, about herself (p249).

She knew it was not the bed. The pain had come before, and it was indeed much more than a common night cramp. It struck her worst when she slept, because then she dreamed, of straining to escape from a box nailed shut. Or a bed, with snow blowing through the window, and her blood draining out.

Both images are of vampirism: the chests that Sforza nailed his victims into (p76), and the scene of Falcone's death (p117).

So Hywel was right about the cramps (p253). Given the previous discussion (p252), the only explanation is that Hywel has been draining Cynthia's energy, to some extent. And indeed, we recall that he moved very stiffly in chapter 3, particularly in the cold (p122); but he shows no such difficulty in this chapter, even when Cynthia is shivering (p259).

Hywel would not steal power consciously. But we have seen repeatedly that a wizard can apply power without intending to, to fulfil some overriding desire or need.

"[...] You didn't faint when I excised the nodules."

Cynthia said (p253) that she only intended to examine them. Presumably she saw the possibility of alleviating Edward's symptoms -- which is more than Pier Leone was able to do.

"Perhaps you would like a position... a teaching chair at the University at Oxford?"

Oh, White Lady, she thought. It might have been Lorenzo speaking: I would like you to go to Pisa, bella Luna.

Lorenzo said this on p67 and p72. Ironically, if she had done so, she would have replaced Pier Leone as professor of medicine (see p67).

The parallel is of more than words. Cynthia and Rivers are flirting in this scene, very lightly.

[...] a white palfrey waited for Cynthia. She laughed when she mounted it, so that she would not cry.

See p244.

They rode out into a gentle October breeze.

October of 1479, and the last of the long scene intervals (since p247).

[...] she had thought it was Morton in the mask and hood, throwing light from his palm onto her work. But Anthony told her later that Morton had departed the castle before dawn.

Unclear why Cynthia would confuse Hywel and Morton. Perhaps it is because both wizards have been using parasitic magic.

People were out on the road in numbers, headed for the circles of the old faith, to be safe against the spirits that would have the freedom of earth tonight [...]

We presume it is now October 31st (Halloween). The previous scene (p256) must have been the same autumn, because it began the trip to Mary's cottage which is now almost complete. (And chapter 10 is not too far in the future, because Prince Edward's illness will still be news then -- p281. This confirms that it is 1479 AD; see p265.)

Note that there is still an "old faith" in the Wales of TDW history. The old Roman Empire would have brought its gods; and possibly the influence of the Byzantines spread their array of gods as well, as Christian missionaries did in our British history. As one would expect, the indigenous "old" beliefs seem to be more prevalent and more honored than they are in our world; Samhain brings a large part of the population out of their homes.

Hywel eased his Venetian eye from the socket.

His false eye is Venetian glass (p111). It is also, we now find, a conveniently portable crystal ball.

He had seen Morton with absolute clarity, as he worked in the tower chamber at Brecon. "Edward..." he said raggedly.

"The Prince?"

Hywel had also seen what was lying before Morton, and what Morton had done to him. "No. The King."

That is, what was lying before Morton was a person, and Morton was doing something (an "atrocity"). It takes little imagination to see black magic, fueled by human sacrifice, aimed at Edward.

Yet there were rules, and rules. Strip, to carry less weight -- that made sense; fix the route with a map of chalk and candles -- he could understand that. But he did not know why the Road must be walked barefoot, and without lanterns.

Other fiction:

Diana Wynne Jones describes a similar spell in her book Deep Secret. (Published in 1997, so it may well have been influenced by TDW.) It has the same converging rows of candles, and explicitly invokes the nursery rhyme of Babylon.

Neil Gaiman wrote the rhyme into his 1999 novel (later movie) Stardust. The candle it described was a rare artifact, carried on the way rather than placed on the ground.

(To complete the polytope, the epigraph of Stardust is a poem by John Donne: "Go and catch a falling star..." Diana Wynne Jones placed that poem in her novel Howl's Moving Castle, laid on the Wizard Howl.)

See also: p327 (home by morning)

The last of Hywel's five sorcerers who never felt the power gnaw their vitals was a Hungarian noblewoman, who did no magic without an accompanying human sacrifice. [...]

She had faith absolute that as long as she had someone to kill, she need never herself decline; and there was no evidence that it was not true. When she died, she did not even curse the mob that tore her apart.

See p239, p239. Like the other four, this woman was a person of faith. Unlike the others, her faith was not in anything that we, or the polytheistic TDW world, would consider a religious matter. Nonetheless, it was effective.

Our history:

There was such a serial murderess in Hungarian history: Countess Erzsébet Báthory. She lived somewhat later than TDW's era; she was born in 1560 AD. The Countess and her accomplices tortured and killed a great many girls and young women. (The legend is that she bathed in their blood to retain her youth.) She was eventually imprisoned, although without a formal trial, and died in solitary confinement in 1614.

Other fiction:

One of Andrei Codrescu's first novels, The Blood Countess, described Bathory's life.

John Morton had visited her some years before that.

Our history:

John Morton went on a diplomatic mission to Hungary in 1474 AD.

The wording implies an event somewhat more than five years in the past, so TDW history does not match exactly here. (Of course, the obvious object of his visit, Erzsébet Báthory, is mismatched by over a century. See p259.)

Later, Hywel thought, he would tell her about Arianrhod.

Arianrhod appears in the fourth part of the Mabinogion; she is the sister of Gwydion (see p247). Her name means "silver," which is presumably what Hywel is thinking here.

"A large enough magic has... side effects. Corona, it's called, or just spillage. Something like this..."

"You m-mean," she said, "that you were influenced, at L-ludlow."

"I suspect I was. It doesn't change the substance of what I said... but I'm sorry for the way I said it."

The argument on p253.

"Do you have to be a wizard to feel that? I mean, to be affected?"

"No." When we destroy ourselves, he thought, we may take the rest of humankind with us.

Hywel is thinking back to his comment (p170) that wizards would all eventually kill themselves off by their use of power. (Which does not, in fact, seem likely.)

It is not clear whether he is too caught up in glum contemplation of wizardry to notice that Cynthia is apologizing as well.

He wondered, unable to help himself, why the damned snakes worked.

The serpent binding, which restrains wizards, as we saw on p7-8.

Hywel's inquisitiveness about magic echoes his thoughts on p258.

[...] there were five or six men, ordinary men-at-arms, in the Duke of Buckingham's livery. Of course, he thought; Morton could hardly do his grisly business in Brecon Castle without the master's knowledge. One soldier carried a little pendulum of corroded silver cupped in his hand, and Hywel knew how they had been found.

The soldier is obviously not a wizard, or Hywel would have sensed the soldier as he sensed him. So the pendulum must be a portable spell, created by Morton, for detecting wizards.

His heel crushed out the last candle, then came down on the discarded bit of matchcord.

Hywel breathed a word of nine syllables, and stroked his forefingers together. The powder vials across the man's chest went off in a single long flash. He fell down, his heart and lights spilling on the ground.

"Lights" is an archaic English word for the lungs.

Hywel waited until this moment to cast his spell. There are two possible reasons: he needed the strength returned by the extinguishing of the last candle (see p260), or the spell relies on the sympathetic connection between matchcord and gunpowder. Or, likely, both.

[...] he fell down, thinking, Kill me, kill me and I'll curse you all blind; but they just held his head down with a boot to his temple. And he could not blind himself, but had to watch after Cynthia running, silver in the darkness, until the soldier shot her down.

As in chapter 1, even a wizard bound with snakes can cast an effective death curse.

See also: p317 (can't sleep now)