In the Hands of the Goddess: Facing that Which you Fear
It seems to be a universal law of nature that everyone has something that they fear, even if they deal with them differently. Some people ignore them, believing that if they refuse to acknowledge their fear it will cease to exist. Some people fail to deal with their fears and are consumed by them. And still others not only face their fear but learn to overcome them. In Tamora Pierce’s novel, In the Hands of the Goddess, facing your fears is at the heart of the story.
After saving Jonathan from a great evil and he discovers that she’s a girl in the process, Alanna is now the prince’s squire. Her responsibility and desire to protect the prince only grows as the dangers to his life as well as hers increases. For Alana has begun to suspect Duke Roger, Jonathan’s cousin and second in line for the throne, to be behind all the near mishaps that her prince has had, as well as the attempts on her own life. The word of a squire, however, does not hold the same weight as the word of a royal, not without evidence.
In addition to her suspicion’s Alanna must also deal with the god’s interference. For the Goddess visits Alanna, her chosen in the mortal realms, to more directly guide the young squire in the trials that she will face and in confronting her fears. The day when Alanna must take the Ordeal of Knighthood is fast approaching and she must prepare. If she passes she will have achieved her dream of becoming a knight, but to do so she must face all that she fears. As Alanna struggles to overcome her challenges and pass the Ordeal, danger to Jonathan continues to grow. For when Alanna earns her shield she must face her greatest fear of all; Roger, duke of Conte. And failure means the death of all those she’s sworn to serve.
Fear is a natural emotion to experience. But as Alanna shows through her actions, running away or ignoring your fears won’t make you stronger. You can only grow by facing that which you fear.