The Ritualiest Ritual of Them All: Untamed Chapter 31

Posted on March 10, 2016 by

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House of Night, Untamed, Chapter 31:

I never thought I’d be typing these words, but we actually haven’t experienced the joys of a House of Night ritual in ages. I’m happy to report, this chapter is all ritual all the time, and it’s the craziest one yet.

Shekinah comes over to talk to Zoey, and checks in on her grandmother, which is very thoughtful. Zoey doesn’t take this opportunity to recap how a nun is looking after her grandmother, which I am grateful for. She also mentions that she wanted to postpone the ritual, but Neferet thought this ritual would be very important to Zoey. I’m sure this is completely innocent and that Neferet just wants Zoey to have a nice ritual.

Zoey realizes that Neferet is nowhere to be found even though she’d apparently just been with Shekinah moments before! I’m sure she’s up to completely innocent things, like grabbing a quick snack before the ritual.

Before the ritual begins, Shekinah drops a bomb on Zoey:

“Oh, I almost forgot to mention this to you. Actually I expected Neferet to tell you.” Shekinah paused and looked around for Neferet again. “No matter, I can let you know just as easily. Neferet mentioned that you’d never performed such a large cleansing ritual before and that perhaps you didn’t know, because you are such a very young fledgling, that during a ritual of this type you must mix the blood of a vampyre with the sacrificial wine you’ll offer to the elements.”

“What?” I couldn’t have heard her right.

“Yes, it’s quite simple, actually. Erik Night has volunteered not only to call you into the circle, taking our poor Loren Blake’s place, but Erik will also play the traditional role of priestess’s consort and offer his blood to you as sacrifice. I hear he’s an excellent actor, so he’ll do quite well tonight. Just follow his lead.”

Oh great. Erik’s here. Acting again.

And I’m sorry but how much acting is actually going to factor into this ritual? Will the way he stands transform him into the priestess’s consort?

For some reason, Jack pops up and is like, “SURPRISE!!!!! That’s the surprise I mentioned!” Which I guess is a thing that happened.

Shekinah walks away, and Zoey rightfully tells Jack that this is a terrible surprise. What a fucking idiot! What makes it worse is that apparently Damien was on board with this.

“Jack,” I whispered violently. “Erik playing Loren’s part tonight isnot what I’d call a good surprise!”

Jack frowned. “Damien and I thought it would be. It just shows that you guys can maybe try to talk to each other.”

Clueless.

Jack is about to burst into tears because he is the worst, but Zoey pretends to be cool with the surprise. I sincerely hope no one in this series ever lets Jack be in any way, shape or form connected to a surprise of any sort.

We also get another ominous moment lacking any subtlety:

I closed my eyes and began the deep breathing that would help me clear my mind and prepare myself for calling the elements and casting the circle—and because of the Erik surprise, totally forgetting to tell Jack he should check the nanny cam.

So Neferet is definitely not up to anything innocent and is definitely checking on Stark who is most certainly rising from the dead as we speak.

But ritual and Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack time! I think the Casts must be getting paid per mention.

As always, I was a ball of nerves until I started toward the circle and the music filled me. Tonight the soundtrack of Memoirs of a Geisha was haunting and beautiful. I lifted my arms and let my body move gracefully to the orchestra. Then Erik’s voice joined with the music and the night, creating magic.

Erik is reading a poem about death and healing. Zoey is really moved by this because obviously Erik is doing this for the whole school because he’s such a good person. I love how we have no evidence that this is Erik’s intention. I can’t think of any conversations where it was clear Erik was always thinking about others. I mean, the one class we saw him teach had him create a situation where he wound up making out with his ex-girlfriend in front of his class. So selfless and thinking of others and their learning opportunities.

Now it’s time for Zoey to mix Erik’s blood with wine:

“You’ll need this,” he said, handing me the knife.

I took it, disturbed by how the moonlight glinted off the blade, not having a clue what to do next. Thankfully, the music was still playing and the watching horde of people were swaying gently to the mesmerizing Geisha melody.

Seriously, it is so weird that 1) we keep hearing that the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack is playing and 2) that it is playing at all. I feel like there should be people actually playing instruments at the ritual, not Jack setting up a sound system while Zoey (?) selects whatever random music she’s in the mood for. Could Zoey feasibly play music from Jaws next time if she wanted to?

Erik is very nice to Zoey and guides her through the ritual. It’s really odd that Shekinah, who was fully aware Zoey had never done this before, didn’t her run her through these steps five minutes ago.

One thing Erik says about the ritual really stands out to me. “Tonight you give each of the representatives of the elements a drink of the wine, ritualistically cleansing the elements before you do the big school cleansing part.” I really want to know what cleansing the elements means. Because I’ve sat here thinking about it for awhile, and it just doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Anyway, Zoey mixes Erik’s blood with the wine, and then she has each of her friends call their elements and drink the blood/wine. Then she gets to Aphrodite and things start to kick off as the chapter ends:

“I need to invoke earth next. We all know that. But there’s a problem. You all saw that Nyx gifted Aphrodite with an affinity for earth. And she did. But it turns out the gift was just a temporary one because Aphrodite was keeping the element safe for the one who really represented earth, Stevie Rae.”

As soon as I said her name, there was a fluttering movement in the big oak and the night-darkened boughs that spread over our heads, and then Stevie Rae dropped gracefully from the branch above us.

“Dang, Z, it took you long enough to get to me,” she said. Then she walked over to Aphrodite and took the green candle from her. “Thanks for keeping my place warm.”

“Glad you could make it,” Aphrodite said, and stepped aside so that Stevie Rae could move into her place.

Stevie Rae took the earth position, turned, and shaking her curly blond hair back from her face, grinned out at everyone while the intricate pattern of vines and birds and flowers that made up her scarlet tattoo blazed as brightly as her smile. “Okay,now you can invoke earth.”

I’m sure everyone will calmly accept that Stevie Rae is alive, this will stop Kalona from rising, and the next few books will be about whether Zoey wants to make out with every boy or just some of the boys.

 

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