«Nicodemus was positively fierce in his affections. Sharp and frightening as if he were set on wielding his own heart as a weapon. But Mari was too serene to be afraid. Or perhaps simply too stubborn.»
Mari first, Nico second. Two men bound together by an odd fate. Impending doom, strange cults of eldritch gods, occult studies, missing siblings, working through trauma, finding peace and...queer love.
My fiance and I are working on a novel with these two as protagonists and I poured all my love into their portraits.
I want to talk about one of the extra lines in the series:
“Respect doesn’t make history”
Jaskier is very well-read and he’s just had his world-view turned on it’s head a little bit. He realized that humans have lied for YEARS about what the elves were like and what the Great Cleansing actually was. But he also knows that if he were to sing about what actually happened, “Hey so a bunch of Elves survived and they want to leave and try and rebuild a better country for their people so they can rise up against the humans” it would lead to humans coming after them and slaughtering them.
So he paints the elves as a left over band of thieves, there’s not many left, easily beaten by Geralt of Rivia, the White Wolf. This way, Jaskier can create a story for Geralt where he defends humanity and also help the elves gain peace from humans in the process.
That’s why he looks scared when Geralt says he didn’t slay any Elves at Calanthe’s banquet
This is a look of panic. He’s trying to let Geralt know to please not talk about the surviving eves and the fact that they can kick your ass in front of a woman who’s totally cool with committing genocide and would absolutely hunt down the rest of the elves with no worries.
When Jaskier said “respect doesn’t make history” he was saying that sometimes it’s better to lie in wait, sometimes it’s better to only show one side of yourself because the world can’t handle or wouldn’t accept more. It’s a way to let Gerat know that people can be fickle and cruel and to expect everyone to respect each other and let the truth win in the end is to be naive.
“Respect doesn’t make history. Legends make history.”
And that is what Jaskier is trying to do. He crafts Geralt into a legend, into a hero people couldn’t imagine harming them. He gives Filavandrel a chance to run, to become his own legend. Jaskier is a hell of a lot more perceptive than anyone gives him credit for and the way in this scene all the humor drops from his voice when he delivers that line really lets us see the further depths he has that he doesn’t show.
As a bonus have the exact moment Geralt realized this bard is going to end up changing his damn life.