The team makes it to Rakhat, only to suffer an unexpected loss. Questions of faith, and faithfulness, are raised and … answered? And we begin to learn a little more of what may have happened to Emilio, pre-rescue.
Let’s discuss The Sparrow. Spoilers follow for chapters 12 through 19.
Would you go to Rakhat if you were in Anne/Sofia’s shoes? Why/not?
This is a really good question, and I’d love to be the sort of person who’d say “Are you kidding? Of course!” but in reality, if I’m being completely honest I’m not at all sure I’d have the courage – or meet the physical requirements. There is a hell of a lot to have to go through just to be ready to travel through space, and it does not sound like an experience I’d be willing to put myself through. Don’t get me wrong, the end result would be an amazing thing to experience, but I can’t kid myself that I’d definitely make it that far.
What would be your essential items to pack on a voyage into the unknown? Coffee? Duct tape?
Tea. Always tea, for sure.
As much clean underwear as I can carry. I don’t care if there are washing facilities. Always take spares, people.
Books. Voyages into the unknown sound potentially awfully long, and I couldn’t get through a seven-hour flight without reading material. So, books. Big chunky epic numbers are good.
A camera. I mean, come on.
(And as amused as I am by the duct tape scene, I have to admit that having duct tape around is never a bad idea. You never know when you might need it. I’m sure George agrees.)
Anne and Emilio both talk passionately about vows this week and give Jimmy a new perspective. What do you think?
I think Jimmy’s point of view, however narrow it was, was understandable. People who are not affiliated with the Church (any ‘Church’) often don’t and/or can’t really understand what it’s like to live your life by a doctrine that requires so much faith, and I include myself among that number most of the time. So this has been an interesting thing to read about for me.
I think Anne and Emilio are both right, in their way. I’ve said before that I love the older-and-wiser nature of Anne and George’s relationship, and the wisdom she shares with Jimmy regarding people and all the ways they change as they grow, whether on their own or in a relationship, made me love her even more. It serves to highlight, especially to Jimmy, just how little he really knows about either Emilio or Sofia, and that his feelings for the latter are only really based on his own shallow perceptions of her rather than a real understanding of who she is. The same goes for his perception of Emilio; he sees a priest and therefore sees a bunch of rules to be obeyed, instead of seeing a man trying to lead a life where those rules fit comfortably. Sometimes they just don’t, or it’s difficult to make them fit – but that’s to be expected when you’re a human being with flaws.
And, as fascinating and insightful as all of this is, it is not making me feel any more reassured about whatever terrible cat is going to come out of the bag from here…
What do you think the outcome will be of the attraction between Emilio and Sofia?
I’m honestly not sure, given all of the above insights about Emilio at this point in his life. Ordinarily I might be all over this development in true heart-eyed shipper fashion, but there’s that sense of dread again, messing up all the bright fizzy feelings with its foreboding.
I don’t want to know what’s coming. I cannot put this book aside.
There has been much allusion to God’s will this week, both positive (removing hindrances) and negative (Alan’s death). Any thoughts you’d like to share?
I’ve commented on this privately to imyril already, because rather than seeing all of their good luck on the mission preparations as a thumbs-up from God, I feel like every potential setback was God sticking their head in the room and going “Are you sure about this, guys? … Really sure? … How about now?” And Alan’s death was a similar thing, very much like God was going “Well, all right then. I tried.”
I am not feeling optimistic for some odd reason, is what I’m saying.
Anything else you’d like to reflect on?
I still don’t like Voelker at all, and I’m still dubious of the Father General, but I was at least relieved to see Guiliani take the pressure off of Emilio when he realises just how little he actually understands about him, and his one-sided perspective on what happened on Rakhat. I do, however, feel like this is the deep calming breath before the utter rending of all my feelings really begins. Guiliani might think he still wants to know what really happened, but I AM SO NOT READY.