A few fun incidents on the way to the train. Let’s unpack.
“Fantastic folk” is the term used by citizens of The Realm to describe all the peoples of the world, both actualized and unactualized.
The gnomes do have a rather negative opinion of the Fantasy genre. Aside from the clear lack of technological progress and the general absence of intelligent gnomes, they can’t understand why everyone in fantasy thinks the Elves are so wonderful. I don’t blame them. After all, they want to base The Realm’s economy on socks 1.
The edition of The Hobbit held up for display by Bug is based on my own copy of the book. I ordered it from a Scholastic Book Club in sixth grade, and it’s been with me ever since. It’s actually the very copy my daughter read when she decided to enter into the world of Middle Earth.
I have a great appreciation for digital books, and actually prefer reading them over physical print at this point 2, but I grew up in a home lined with book shelves. Not having a few full bookshelves around the house would seem very odd to me.
While some people might see Sills’ attitude about wanting to throw her weight around unsettling, it’s really not sinister. She gives away her reasoning with the line, “There’s conventions which have to be maintained.” While The Realm is not actualized, it does tend to be subject to narrative conventions. One of these is the overbearing federal agent who forces everyone to do their bidding whether they like it or not 3.
Sadly, with the war, narrative convention has been significantly weakened. Leaving Sills feel as though she isn’t contributing to the well-being of The Realm.
So even if Sills had thrown her weight around, people wouldn’t have minded it. In fact, they expect it. The conductor who complained about having the train schedule delayed, for example, actually saw Sills’ distress and decided to complain just to make her feel better. The train wasn’t actually delayed, but the crew person saw it as their duty as a good neighbor to complain it was.
Yes, The Realm is a weird place