Read Chapter 11 First

Or read up through Chapter 11 first, if you're not caught up. Don't say I didn't warn you. Spoilers beyond this point.

I love this scene, I just think it's a bit too silly at the end of Chapter 11, and I want there to be some uncertainty. Ultimately, it failed the logic test, as revealed in the final question from Iorneste. It could be argued it's worth keeping, since it illustrates how sometimes, no matter how hard Mourne might wish it, and no matter how much Iorneste tries, certain experiences of feeling truly "human" are denied to him.

Resumes from final sentence/end of chapter.

"You're supposed to be a dragonslayer. Do you ever intend to stop getting distracted by matters of the heart, and start killing dragons?"

"We still have twenty-five years to figure that out, friend Mourne. Do not let it concern you. I wanted to ask you about something else that weighs on me."

"You don't have to ask permission to ask me something, Iorn."

"You said you were a sufferer"

"Yes. But I really don't want to talk about it."

"I am not asking you for anything more than what you are willing to discuss. I wished to talk generalities."

Mourne sighed. "This conversation needs to be had over a drink."

"You are thirsty?"

"Suddenly? Desperately, but not for water. There is a part of every man's education that you are lacking. And before we trek off in search of Selka in the morning, we need to take care of it tonight."

"Mourne, I have read about human copulation."

"That's not—you have? Nevermind, I don't want to know. I didn't mean that. Let's go."

"Right now?"

"Yes, right now."

"To do what? What sort of manly education am I lacking?"

"To get drunk in a bar with friends, to laugh until morning, and to get into a fight."

"I'm not so—"

"And lose."

"You want me to lose?"


"But I can't lose."

"They don't know that."


"Then you get up, thank the one who knocked you down for showing you some manners and giving you the best beating you've ever received in your life, and you keep buying him drinks until he doesn't want drinks anymore."

"This is madness."

"Then you carry him home, and you have a friend for life."

"Also, suspiciously specific. Is this a ritual that every natural-born human male must pass through before they are allowed to enter society as an adult? Like the First Exile."

"No, Iorn. Not even remotely like the First Exile. But yes to the rest of it."

"So, to summarize: We are to go to the nearest tavern, consume copious amounts of alcohol, laugh until morning—does that mean constant laughing? I am not sure either of us could sustain—"


"—Just checking. Then I start a fight, lose, buy many drinks, carry home my 'victor', and have a friend for life?"

"More or less."

"This is silly."

"This is instruction. It's my job, and there are more lessons you are going to learn in there tonight then you have learned all week."

"I highly doubt that. But somewhere in the midst of this ritual I will become a man?"


"And you will tell me more of love?"

"We will discuss generalities. No details."

"This seems unlike you. Spontaneous and rash."

"This whole situation is madness. What I'm talking about doing is something completely normal. Something that happens to an actual human being every day. A rite of passage to give you a sense of what it's like."

"Do you think alcohol will work on dragons?"

"Only one way to find out."

"That is true. Except..."


"Isn't alcohol flammable?"