Featured Articles

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ravnica: City of Guilds - Chapter 2

Fifty-Seven years have passed, and we open up with a bit of Ravnican culture.

Ravnica: City of Guilds - Chapter 2

The League of Wojek, and only the League of Wojek, shall keep the peace within the free City of Ravnica in adherence with the Guildpact Statutes.
-City Ordinances of Ravnica


We open up as spectators to creation of the Guildpact, in play form. Beginning with the classic confrontation between the archangel Razia , and the cyclops Cisarzim, equipped with his legendary axe, Skullhammer. This play ends with "the fight that changed the plane of Ravnica forever."

The two eventual guild paruns begin to battle, as the other paruns make their entrances, beginning with Szadek followed by Azor. Within Kos' thoughts we learn that he believes there aren't actually ten guilds, and how "educated" Ravnicans know Szadek and the Dimir never existed. The Selesnya made him up, along with his guild, to set up an opposing force for their religion.

(That's a mighty fine education he has.)

But this play isn't all fun and games. Kos is here on duty, with the angel Feather as his partner, because some people are performing plays in a non-play zone. This is market territory according to the zoning office, and while it was all well and good when no one complained, decamillennial is approaching. That means tourists and more money. The playfolk are harming harming the marketfolks' ability to make their living.

(I'm sure all the marketfolk are all upstanding citizens, who just want to provide goods that will make the world a better place.)

Now it's time for the twist. Before it's time to break up the proceedings, and before the other paruns can make their entrance, the cyclops goes off script. He starts attacking anyone he can in a cyclopish fury despite the fact that he's just a human in a cyclops costume. Good news is he's only holding a paper replica of Skullhammer.

(Safety first.)

Kos and Feather move in to break up the fight (well, Feather was actually on stage already, as an understudy to play Razia, and making her acting debut). After taking their licks, they stop the actor/playowner Gullmott by removing an amulet from around his neck that was supposed to simply get rid of the acting jitters and keep him in character.

...In the audience...

We cut to Wenvel Kolkin. He's your typical boring man, out with his boring wife, who decided to catch a play while they were in the heart of Ravnica. The problem is that his boring wife, and her boring name, Yertrude, isn't actually with him. He was distracted by the commotion, and when he turns around, his wife is gone.

Like any good husband, Wenvel runs around in a panic trying to find any trace of her, but alas, no one has seen her. He picks a direction and asks everyone he possibly can if they've seen his wife. They don't seem interested in his plight and/or simply can't help him, until he reaches a merchant stall with a very owl shaped merchant.

(Who better to ask for information than an owl?)

But information isn't free. This is a female owl merchant, and she says she doesn't know where his wife is, but maybe she ran away because he doesn't buy her enough gifts. (*wink wink*) Wenvel realizes his honest pleas won't get him the information he wants, so he coughs up the money to buy a trinket. He asks again and the owl says she hasn't seen his wife pass by.

(What a jerk. Never trust an owl. Especially not with your Tootsie-pops.)

Wenvel has no choice but to keep on with his search. His wife is all alone in the big city by herself.  After a few more minutes, he finds himself at the entrance of a dark and lonely alley. If she went down an alley, this is obviously the type of alley she'd want to walk down. Who wouldn't? And look at that, Wenvel can see straight to the other end of this alley, and there she is. There is no way he'd not be able to recognize her, even though she's facing the other way.

This is obviously not a trap, so down the alley he goes. And it's perfectly normal that she hasn't moved an inch since he's seen her. Feel like there's something odd about her? Just forget about that.

Surprisingly, it was a trap, and it was strange that she wasn't moving. He isn't seeing her. He's seeing her ghost. But this is his wife, and he had to make sure, and he screams when she turns around to face him.

...Back to Lieutenant Kos...

He's taking statements, and the playfolk offer him a "teardrop" made of pure mana that only wojeks are supposed to have. It's a standard wojek tool, used as a miracle cure, which I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of. And here we learn that Feather isn't actually his official partner. That honor belong to Bell Borca, who was finishing up some paperwork. Feather is concerned and insists he accept their offer. He's only human after all, one that's not as spry as he used to be, with him being one-hundred and ten after all. (You read that right, one-hundred and ten. It must be the water.)

The play owner is arrested, and one of the actors, Wezescu, is happy to provide any assistance and full cooperation, because he knows with the owner out of the picture, he now has control over the play.

We close with Kos and Feather parting ways, with Kos on his way to a bar to drink away the pain.

* * *

Some Good, Some Bad

Good: I thought the play was a clever way to show us the history of Ravnica in a very natural way.

Bad: The denial of the tenth guild made me roll my eyes a bit, because we're all in on the joke and get to laugh at the hero, but at least Herndon came up with a somewhat plausible reason why he believed it.

Then we're presented with the best quote of the chapter followed by the worst quote in quick succession.

Kos had never understood how an axe had gotten the name "Skullhammer, but he was no historian.

How can you not LOL at that? It's a nice little touch that brings some personality to the history of this plane.

"Over my dead body," the cyclops rumbled. - After Razia declares the Guildpact is the future.

Over my dead body. Seriously. I'm not a fan of breaking the 4th wall, and this phrase is too earth-like to be used, not to mention is actually too cheesy to properly use in real life.

Agros and Wenvel

The three part structure to the chapter, containing two very different old men was interesting. I guess it makes sense chronologically, but it's hard to tell where Herndon is going with Wenvel. Perhaps the Dimir are building up a zombie legion to unleash when they make their appearance, which is obviously going to take place during the celebration of the decamillennial.


  1. I have a question. The chapters of this book are complete here in your blog? I'm reading more seem to be very short or incomplete.

  2. I'm not quite sure I fully understand your question, but these Read Throughs are meant to be summaries of each chapter, with my reactions to each chapter included.

    The major events of each chapter are included, but many of the smaller details will of course be left out. With this chapter as an example, this takes up about 7% of the book and it's being condensed into just a couple pages.