This post is part of a series of posts discussing characters and events in WARRIOR WITCH. They will all contain serious spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book, I’d suggest holding off on reading them. I’m even sticking a giant image below so that you don’t accidentally see anything you don’t want to.
In WARRIOR WITCH, Cécile says of Marc and Sabine: …I knew he’d left a mark on her soul that would not soon fade, if it ever did.
Some people have interpreted her words to mean that after meeting (and losing) Marc that Sabine is unable to seek love again, and that’s why she pursues a career and remains unmarried and childless at the end of WARRIOR WITCH. But that was not at all my intention. I often get the impression that for SOME readers, happily ever after only has one definition for fictional characters: getting married to your one true love, probably having babies, and living a long life free of the drama that dominated the plot of the novel. But the truth of the matter is, that isn’t the life that everyone dreams of living. The mark that Marc left on her soul was not sorrow, but strength: the idea that she could do what she wanted and be what she wanted.
In the beginning of STOLEN SONGBIRD, Sabine is a timid girl who is too afraid to ride a horse in order to attend a party at Cécile’s farm. But the loss of her friend, and her sense that her cowardice was partially to blame, became the impetus for her to overcome her fears. She continues to challenge herself, moving to Trianon with Cécile and taking a job with the opera house. She makes friends and swiftly adapts to live in Trianon, despite it likely being terrifyingly large and different from Goshawk’s Hollow. Though she hates the trolls, Sabine helps Cécile and Chris in the hunt for Anushka, despite knowing the dangers of involving herself.
And she does all of this of her own volition. She isn’t a “special one” with the divine/magical/prophetical talents needed to save the day, but she turns herself into an important ally that Tristan, Cécile, and later on, Marc, rely on tremendously.
In HIDDEN HUNTRESS, Tristan brings Sabine to the masque with him because she’s capable. She’s nervous, and feels like an impostor, so Tristan bolsters her courage with the following:
“You told me once that information was free for the taking to those who watched and listened… This is the same. Watch them, and do as they do. They may not know who you are, but that is not the same as them knowing you’re the daughter of an innkeeper from a town in the middle of nowhere.”
His sentiment is that she is clever enough to fake belonging to the crowd of rich and noble people, but it isn’t the same as her having the right to be there. It’s an act. Contrast Tristan’s words with Marc’s in WARRIOR WITCH:
“You aren’t helpless in this, Sabine. Circumstance has put you in a position to make a difference, if you are willing.”
He’s saying that her ability to make a difference isn’t dependent on her pretending to be something she’s not, but rather on her willingness to take the risk and make the effort.
“What would you have me do?” she asked him.
“You’re doing it,” he said. “We need to have a unified front if we are to have any hope of making it through this war. They need to see that they are on the same side, and I think you can make that happen.”
Sabine creates and nurtures her own inner strength, but Marc helps her to see that there are no limitations to how she might deploy that strength, other than her own willingness.
That was the mark he left upon her soul. And to have her retreat into her old life – perhaps by me having her marry Fred or Chris – just because our protagonists no longer needed her to help save the world would’ve been a disservice to how she’d grown and changed, and shown total disregard for all the skills and interests I’d shown her as having. Sabine’s choice to pursue a career rather than marriage and children was not a consolation prize – for her, it was the life she fought for. It was her happily ever after.
The next post will be on the Duke d’Angoulême!
Comments are open for questions!