Reading: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs Part Six

dbpm01h5smallChapter Fifteen: Sola Tells Me Her Story

(Even though we do not really see much evidence of friendship or rapport between these two characters, so we really have no idea of why Sola is offering it.)

John wakes up to discover that he has successfully defeated his opponent. The women of his household tend to his wounds, and we realize that John is only remotely complimentary concerning Green Martians if something they do directly benefits him. (In other words, his narrative states that Green Martian women are extremely skilled as far as medicine is concerned. Of course, he does not bother to show his appreciation for the efforts of the women in his household.)


Next, he checks up on Sola, who had been badly injured in her battle with Sarkoja. He sees that Dejah is utterly miserable and makes sarcastic comments when Sola explains that Dejah believes him to be dead. (Though you’d think she’d hear them talking about her, even if she was blubbering her eyes out. The chariot is not very big!)

Sola scolds him for being a jerk and tells him that weeping with real, water tears is extremely rare and only occurs in times of extreme emotional upset. She reveals that she has only seen two people cry, and one of them was her mother. John of course states that this is impossible, but Sola replies that she knows who her mother and father are, and that she’ll tell him the story later.

Sola tells the story of her mother and father. Her mother was small and not likely to be chosen as a parent. She was also a very quiet and dreamy for a Green Martian and inclined to wander by herself. Sola’s mom ended up striking up a friendship with a warrior that slowly turned into something more than a friendship. The relationship resulted in an egg that Sola’s mother kept hidden and tended on her own, while the warrior was sent away on a mission. Unfortunately, Sola’s mother was found out and was eventually tortured to death.

Sola ends this sad tale with the statement that Tars Tarkus is her father. (Who is the only other John-Approved Green Martian, conveniently enough.)

Chapter Sixteen: We Plan Escape

They arrive at the city of Thark, and we learn that this particular tribe of Green Martians has named themselves after the city. (John states that they “stole” the name.) We learn a little about how this tribe is organized. John makes a snide comment that Green Martians do not care about the correct use of a building, only for its size. (It is very stupid to be contemptuous toward the Green Martians for this reason since the cities they occupied were built for people much, much shorter than they are. If I were ten feet tall and the only building I could fit in comfortably was a courthouse with huge ceilings, I would not go live in a house with a low roof.) Tal Hajus is currently ensconced in a very large public building that was not actually designed for residential use.

After many days of sulking like a little boy, John goes to confront Dejah, who is still extremely mad at him. John attempts to lay it all on the line, but Dejah is really not having it because John she finds John to be extremely confusing and also thick as a post.  John grovels as much as he is able to grovel considering he is John Carter and they exchange various declarations of love that may or may not have been understood by the other person. While they are being sweet at each other, Sola rushes in with a declaration of Doom. It seems that Tal Hajus has decided that both John Carter and Dejah Thoris are going to be thrown to wild calots.

We also learn that the chapter title is a complete misnomer. Dejah, and John do not so much plan escape as dramatically declare that they are going to escape. Dejah also throws out an invitation to Sola to come live in Helium since Sola is absolutely not at all like the cold and heartless Green Martians. (Being the attendant/lady’s maid of a princess is definitely being a step up from being the attendant/keeper of a captive.) Sola does not so much accept as take it for granted she’s going with.

The plan is to ride to Helium from Thark. Dejah completely takes leave of her senses and draws a map on the floor with a diamond. (Dejah, do you honestly think that Tharks can’t read maps? I mean, it is quite likely that they have a system of writing and they used diagrams and the like when they build. These are not stupid people Dejah.) Dejah’s map outlines their travel plans. Despite the fact that there is a MAP SCRATCHED INTO THE FLOOR, everyone decides that this is the best ever plan and no one will ever figure out where they are going.

(I would also like to state that I am amused that in the original illustrations for this serial, Dejah is wearing clothes instead of a few bangles and a smile.)

Of course rather predictably, it turns out that their plan was found out by Sarkoja, who immediately told Tal Hajus. John discovers things have gone south when he overhears the warriors who are planning to ambush him talking about Dejah having been sent directly to Tal Hajus.

Chapter Seventeen: A Costly Recapture

John immediately rushes off to rescue Dejah Thoris. Tal Hajus is apparently the type of villain who feels the need to pontificate before he engages in any abuse or torture. John interrupts the tirade, and we discover that Tal Hajus has the glassiest of glass jaws. After knocking out the Thark jeddak he grabs Dejah and they make their escape with Sola not far behind. (He deliberately decides not to kill Tal Hajus because he feels that Tars Tarkus should have the pleasure. John is an idiot.)

Since their plans were pretty much overturned from the beginning, they have no supplies, and it’s not very long before they and their mounts are exhausted. To make things more interesting, they are being pursued. John decides to hold of the Tharks to give Dejah and Sola a chance to escape. Dejah tries to declare that she’ll stand with her man, but John picks her up and throws her in Sola’s direction and tells Sola to take off.

We end on another cliffhanger.

Part Five | Part Seven


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