Chapter Twenty Three: Lost in the Sky
John rushes off to tell Kantos Kan everything he knows. Instead of decrying John’s complete inability to stay undercover, he is horrified that Dejah agreed to marry Sab Than. Apparently, the very idea of a political marriage or marriage alliance is abhorrent.
Kantos Kan has no clue of how they can remedy this horrific situation! John states that he’d like to settle the problem by killing Sab Than, but can’t for personal reasons. Kantos realizes that this means John is in love with Dejah. After some discussion, Kantos agrees to kill Sab Than so that John’s way to Dejah will be clear. (Apparently Dejah would be able to marry the guy who arranged to have her fiancé killed but not the guy who actually did the deed. Mars has no lawyers because Martian law makes no sense.) Continue reading
Chapter Twenty One: An Air Scout for Zodanga
John continues on his journey to Zodanga, stopping at various farms along the way. We get a lot of world building details about how Martian irrigation works. We also learn that there is no weather problems, or pest problems involved with Barsoomian agriculture. In addition, we discover that Dejah Thoris is widely believed to be dead, even though no body was recovered. (All that was found was the thoats Dejah, John and Sola had been riding.)
(Special Note: Unlike in the movie, Zodanga is a normal city, not the evil cousin of Howl’s Moving Castle.) Continue reading
Chapter Eighteen Chained Warhoon
John wakes up to discover he is now the prisoner of a different tribe of Green Men. These folks are from Warhoon, and the leader of the party thinks John has a very brief future as a gladiator in the great games. The Jeddak of this tribe, a guy named Bar Comas is apparently not as much of a jerk as most Green Men appear to be. We know this because Bar Comas does not want to kill John if he doesn’t have to.
Chapter 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.)
Chapter Twelve: A Prisoner With Power
Lorquas Ptomel wants to have a nice little chat with John about his plans to escape with Dejah Thoris. He is very reasonable and points out that John has a lot of prestige despite being a prisoner, and that John’s plans of escape are not very honorable! Lorquas mentions that there is some indication that John is a heretic, and this is another reason why John needs to chill on his escape plans. Lorquas also points out that John’s behavior is making the politics of this particular tribe very murky and problematic and John needs to stop causing problems. Lorquas also states that Dejah Thoris is a very important prisoner and absolutely needs to be transported to the big Thark shindig where she will be torn to bits or worse. He then finishes up with a speech that Tharks are honorable and justice-seeking beings and that Dejah’s lecture is completely untrue.
Chapter Eight: A Fair Captive from the Sky
John and Sola return from the hatchling retrieval field trip to find that some airships have turned up. The Tharks fire on the airships and there is a battle. The end result of the battle is that the airships are destroyed and the Tharks take one of the survivors of the battle prisoner. John is quite surprised to find that the prisoner is a pretty, human looking girl. A very pretty naked girl; Martians seem to be nudists for the most part.
I was extremely impressed by John Carter. They apparently went with doing an update or reboot instead of a faithful adaptation. (This is a good thing, as the book is very much a product of the time it was written in.) I really liked the way they handled the main plot elements of A Princess of Mars, and I liked the expansion that was done on Dejah Thoris. In the book, Dejah has some fairly strong moments and has a lot of interesting character traits. Unfortunately, she still very much fits in the trope of “fair maid in need of rescue,” and the writer has her up on a pedestal most of the time. She is a story book princess and while she does a lot of dramatic and brave things, it is usually a set up for the hero to do something heroic to win her over. The movie version acts more like a “real” princess; someone with a political background and an expectation that if she says something she will be listened to and obeyed. When she does dramatic or brave things, it is a set up to show that she is brave, and then the hero does something. Continue reading