Sarah Rees Brennan (sarahtales) wrote,
Sarah Rees Brennan

Comfort Book Club: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Hi my flowers! How are we all doing in this our time of Corona? I hope as well as you can be. I am glad you enjoyed the first Comfort Book Club parody! And now after giving my selection much thought, I have made you another parody for a book I find charming and cheering and touching in all ways. And I shall be giving away three copies of the book! Just link the parody to be put in the draw.

Now the parody is spoilerriffic, so I also endorse you guys linking but not reading the parody. I guarantee, the book is amazing. (As is everything by Naomi Novik: I’m currently reading an advance copy of A Deadly Education, and I say that simply to brag!) Parodies make jokes, but I never joke unless I love.

These are the weirdest times! I live alone right in a house with roses round the back, I still can’t really believe I had a Sabrina book just come out, and I recently socially distance danced with a friend through a window. I know these times are muchly weird for all, and super tough for many. So. I hope this parody and this book cheers you,  dear reader.


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


MIRYEM: Has it ever occurred to anyone that Rumpelstiltskin is a veiled allegory for antisemitism?

MIRYEM: And it ain’t all that veiled.

MIRYEM: Anyway, I have my own problems. My father is the worst moneylender in the land, and my mother is both angelically good and frail. And since this is a story, that means Mother is narratively doomed.

MIRYEM: No dead moms in MY fairytale, thank you so very much.

MIRYEM: Also murderous ice elves prowl the forest, but I’m sure they won’t become relevant to me.


MIRYEM: I’ve decided to take over my father’s business and menace the townsfolk.

MIRYEM’S TOWN: this tiny girl! … Is actually extremely scary, and we will pay her.

MIRYEM’S SAINTLY PARENTS: my darling we fear your heart will become ice cold.

MIRYEM: No ethical consumption under feudalism, Mom and Pop.


MIRYEM: My life will be a fight against narrative inevitability.

AUDIENCE: We fear Miryem is being set up for a comeuppance, when what we want is for Miryem to get everything she wishes, and also become queen.

TOWN DRUNK: can’t pay my debts because I spent the money on drink.

MIRYEM: Send your muscular daughter to do chores at our place!

AUDIENCE: Oh no is this the moment where Miryem’s practicality becomes villainy?

WANDA THE MUSCULAR DAUGHTER: wow I am not being traded off for a pig at the marketplace so I will be forced to bear a man’s children. A big win for Wanda! My mom died in childbirth and is buried beneath this white tree.


STORY: We SAID, no ethical consumption under feudalism.


WANDA (thinking): while having your work commandeered isn’t ideal, it’s a lot better than having your body treated as chattel.

MIRYEM: u ok?

WANDA: uh-huh.

MIRYEM’S PARENTS: We are so horrified by our daughter’s practical nature that we must feed you at every possible opportunity.

WANDA: this is the happiest I have ever been.

MIRYEM’S PARENTS: are you certain you don’t feel callously taken advantage of?

WANDA: uh-huh.

MIRYEM’S PARENTS: She doesn’t talk much but she seems very nice.


WANDA’S BROTHERS: help one of us has been laid low by the fell hand of the ice elves!

WANDA: I don’t care about you because growing up in an abusive household has divided us!

WANDA: OKAY, maybe I’ll try asking the white tree where my mother lies buried for help.

WANDA’S BROTHERS: yay fairytale conventions! Boo ice elves.

WANDA’S BROTHERS: do we all love each other now?

WANDA: uh-huh.


WINTER KING OF THE ICE ELVES: Hello Miryem. Sadly, ice elves have become relevant to your plotline.

MIRYEM: Oh for… I’m the best moneylender in town. I am BOOKED AND BUSY.

WINTER KING: Heard you can turn silver into gold! Here’s some magic icy silver.

MIRYEM: Have you ever heard of a metaphor?

WINTER KING: The ice elves need no metaphors. Gold soon pls.


MIRYEM: I’ve gotta go to the big city and see my shrewd and wealthy grandpa. Hey grandpa, I rule my town with an iron fist now, please don’t judge me for my ice-cold business heart.

GRANDPA: … honestly so proud…

MIRYEM: Gotta go find a jeweller to make ice silver into fancy jewelry and sell at a profit. Are you gonna say ‘no ethical consumption under feudalism’?

GRANDPA: Get it, girl.


DUKE OF BIG CITY: It’s good to be duke. Except my first wife had some ice elf in her, so I thought my daughter might have some magic icy silver beauty. No such luck, she is objectively mousy.

IRINA, THE DUKE’S DAUGHTER: I don’t enjoy these family dinners. Not sure why.


MIRYEM: I turned a profit selling a magic silver ring and here’s the gold!

WINTER KING: Now for my next request…

MIRYEM: oh god, is it going to be like a firstborn or something–

WINTER KING: More gold.

WINTER KING: wow what would I do with your firstborn??

MIRYEM: I know. I know. I made it weird. Just take your gold and go. I’ve gotta get a magic silver necklace made now.


MIRYEM: You’ve been doing great Wanda and I’ve decided to pay you.

WANDA: Women can’t have bank accounts but they CAN bury their money at the foot of trees so their dads can’t drink it!


WINTER KING: Here’s enough magic silver to make a CROWN.

MIRYEM: I have other things going on your ice majesty, I’m starting a brisk dress and apron business. What am I getting out of this, precisely, aside from not being turned to ice?

WINTER KING: Fine! FINE. I see what you’re implying. My fair hand in marriage will be yours!

MIRYEM: Uh could I trade that in for like a fancy carriage, or…

WINTER KING: Stop being insulting you gross mortal. We’re now betrothed.

MIRYEM: Why have you done this!

WINTER KING: I’m helpless in the face of fairytale conventions.

MIRYEM: Well, you should see a specialist about that.


DUKE: Daughter here is some magic silver ice jewelry. Put it on and let’s ice dazzle the Tsar of this land.

IRINA: oh no…

DUKE: What, you want to die an old maid up in your cold rooms with your old nursey?

IRINA: I love my old nursey! Nursey! Dad’s making me marry the tsar.

OLD NURSEY: You’ll be Irina the Tsarina?

IRINA: that is the least of my problems. Remember how the tsar is as evil as he is beautiful?

OLD NURSEY: Also the son of a sorceress.

IRINA: Marriage under the patriarchy is always a gamble, but this is ridic.


TSAR: Hey girl.

IRINA: Hey. Tortured any squirrels lately?

TSAR: Haha, ah childhood memories.

DUKE: My liege, feast your eyes upon Irina’s magic jewelry and become slowly fasci-


DUKE: Cool? I mean, cool, cool, cool, but did you maybe want to hang around and fall gradually into the web of–

TSAR: It’s a beautiful night, looking for something demonic to do, hey baby, I think I wanna marry you.

DUKE: Can I just put the crown on her real quick—

TSAR: Enough fuss! Time to put a ring on it!


IRINA: I’m not sure Old Nursey prepared me adequately for my wedding night. She mentioned being apprehensive, and bracing yourself…

TSAR: Did she mention the bit where I’m possessed by a fire demon who wishes to devour you?

IRINA: I can’t stress this strongly enough: NO.

IRINA: Were you ready for the bit where I used my magic ice jewelry to escape through a mirror to a land of eternal winter, where I hid out for a bit so you couldn’t eat me?

TSAR: The bridal mirror escapes weren’t covered in my educationally sexy palace etchings.

TSAR AND IRINA: Marriage is a wild ride already.


IRINA: Hey sexy.

TSAR: Where did you go last night!!!!

SERVITORS: what did he say about last night???

IRINA: Hey hot stuff, and I mean that entirely literally, the servitors are listening.


SERVITORS: ohohoho heir to the kingdom, incoming!

IRINA: Oh babe I would love to surrender to the fires of your passione, but I have to go to church and pray for fertility. If you know what I mean.

TSAR: Oh, I will get you.

IRINA: Not if I get you first. Later, lover!



MIRYEM: Wanda, the king of the ice elves is forcing me into wedlock.

WANDA: Say what now?

MIRYEM: Please take care of my parents, I’m telling them I’m off to a visit to the big city. Ice elf amnesia will do the rest.

WANDA: Girl, first piles of spellbooks, now an ice king—

MIRYEM: Those are account books Wanda. And you’re keeping them now.


ICE KING: Look upon my ice kingdom, where it is always winter and never Christmas.

MIRYEM: I’m Jewish.

ICE KING: ok. Here’s an enormous silver crown.

MIRYEM: Haha, bet you think I can literally turn it to gold, well, joke’s on you, because…

MIRYEM: Oh, the crown literally turned to gold. Huh.

ICE KING: I told you, the ice elves use no metaphors!

ICE SERVITORS: We ain’t sayin’ our king’s a gold digger. BUT…


WANDA: Money in the Bank of Tree Root, learning writing and sums, Miryem’s indulgent parents fuss over me every day, everything’s coming up Wand—

WANDA’S DRUNK DAD: I’m selling you in marriage for drinkies.

WANDA: Yeah, that tracks. I’m gonna pass.

WANDA’S DAD: How dare you, what do you think you are, an autonomous human being? I’m going to—

WANDA’S BROTHER: Oh, you thought.

WANDA’S BABY BROTHER: I’m only seven, but have you considered that we might reclaim our own souls from this abusive household through the power of kinship and community and respect for our sister’s wishes?

WANDA’S BROTHER: Give me that poker of the patriarchy.


WANDA: ok great points everyone, but we’ve literally murdered our father and we gotta go on the run from the law now.


TSAR: I heard you love your Old Nursey. Sure would be a shame if I summoned her to the palace, and something fire demonesque happened to her.

OLD NURSEY: I am here Irina! Are you okay? I’ve heard marriage changes men—


OLD NURSEY: Ah, fiddlesticks.


MIRYEM: Wow, here I am, queen of an ice kingdom. What to do?

ICE KING: Oh I see how it is.


ICE KING: Be assured, my lady, I’m picking up what you are laying down!

MIRYEM: What are you talking about, my guy?

ICE KING: Fine, fine, I’ll allow you to despoil my nubile ice form! Turn on Ice, Ice Baby! I’m taking off my kingly raiment! But I do so with extreme bitterness!

AUDIENCE: Oho are we going ARRANGED MARRIAGE ENEMIES TO LOVERS?! Yes Your Majesty! We WILL turn on Ice, Ice Baby!

MIRYEM: Turn that off.


MIRYEM: Uhhhh what if I waive my rights to your nubile form in exchange for honest answers to questions?


MIRYEM: Am I a virtual prisoner here, wearing a crown as I make gold for you all day? And will my gold empower you to create eternal winter in my own land?

ICE KING: yes. 🙂


ICE KING: hehe this is a good game.


OLD NURSEY: I have always wondered if Irina, who is somewhat withdrawn, loved me at all. So in a way I am happy to be menaced by a fire demon in the shape of a tsar.

AUDIENCE: I would, personally, die on a battlefield for Old Nursey.

IRINA: Come on old nursey, we gotta escape through the mirror into an ice land.


MIRYEM: Oh hi, I’m the queen of this winter wilderness?

IRINA: Weird, I am also a queen. Haha, so I have this husband problem.

MIRYEM: Girl, we have a lot in common.

IRINA: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

MIRYEM: What if my ice king were to accidentally run into your fire demon?

IRINA: He ran into my knife. He ran into my knife eight times.

MIRYEM: The ice kings and fire demons only have themselves to blame.


IRINA: Hey look, a convenient witchy cottage in the woods to hide Old Nursey in!

WANDA, IN ANOTHER WORLD: Hey look, a convenient witchy cottage in the woods to hide our outlaw selves in!


MIRYEM’S SAINTLY PARENTS: It’s nice that Wanda’s youngest brother has come to live with us after the patricide, but we do miss… hmmm… it’s on the tip of our frostbitten tongues.

MIRYEM’S MOTHER, SAVED FROM FAIRYTALE DEATH BY HER DAUGHTER: Miryem! We have to go to the big city to get Miryem!

WANDA’S BABY BROTHER: We can stop in the witchy cottage along the way.


MIRYEM: I’m plotting to murder the ice king, so I’m not getting attached to my ice subjects.

(two days later)

MIRYEM: I have acquired an ice goddaughter. DAMMIT. Oh well, hold your head up high, walk, and think murder, Miryem!


TSAR: At last, there you are! I’m going to—

IRINA: Talk to the hand. And let me talk to the fire demon. Fire demon, are you interested in eating the king of winter?

FIRE DEMON: I scream for ice-cream!


TSAR: Court, meet Irina. Irina, meet my court. ok everyone, I know I made a foolish marriage, but it definitely wasn’t that my fire demon made me do it.

PALACE COURTIERS: omg the tsarina is beautiful. Clearly a love match. So sparkly.

TSAR: My wife is objectively mousy. Why does everyone think she’s an ice cold fox?

IRINA: Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s elven jewelry.

TSAR: What was that?

IRINA: Nothing, my lil demon pumpkin pie.


TSAR: Look, I’ve drawn one thousand pictures of my mousy wife.

TSAR: Look, I’m showing the pictures to everyone!


SUBJECTS: All RIGHT sire, you LOVE her, she’s the most beautiful woman in the WORLD, we GET it.

TSAR: fzzzzzzzllllttt!

FIRE DEMON: ur being mega weird. Everyone thinks so.

AUDIENCE: oho, oho, are we going TWO arranged marriage enemies to lovers WITH FIRE AND ICE THEMES? Dear god, for what Naomi Novik has delivered us, may the lord make us truly thankful…

AUDIENCE: but we’re also in for the lady murder revenge plot.


IRINA: Let’s get our court in order.

TSAR: Why?

IRINA: Absolutely not because I’m plotting to kill you! Can we arrange marry off your cousin?

TSAR: DEFINITELY arrange marry off my cousin! Wow I hate him! Busy hands…

IRINA: Is he meddling with the maidservants?

TSAR: I WISH he was meddling with the maidservants! Quit undressing me with your eyes, sir. This always happens. I am not a piece of meat!

IRINA: ohhhhh. OK.

TSAR: There’s more to me than being beautiful?

IRINA: yes you’re also possessed by a fire demon.

TSAR: AND I’m a VERY snappy dresser.


MIRYEM: I have made several halls full of gold so let’s attend my cousin’s wedding in the big city. Because I love revels. Revels. Definitely not murder.

ICE KING: You have such spirit.

ICE KING: Maybe… after the revel… we don’t ask questions?

ICE KING: Maybe… I get my violinists to play a romantical rendition of Ice, Ice Baby?

MIRYEM: Can’t talk now, time for revels. I’m murder on the dance floor.


FIRE DEMON: omg can’t believe tonight I feast on winter king. Let me reward you!

IRINA: Just leave me and mine alone forever kthnx bye. What kind of idiot makes bargains with demons?

IRINA: I’m lookin at you, my lil possessed muffin. Wow, getting a demon to kill your own brother, just for a throne!

TSAR: Wow none of this was my idea! My mom traded me to this demon! And yes I have trust issues, since you ask!

IRINA: I didn’t ask…

TSAR: And since we’re talking, my mom’s bargain for a crown and matchless beauty is just kind of embarrassing! I don’t understand taxes! I never have a bad hair day!

TSAR: FYI I loved my brother!

IRINA: Kinda feel bad about plotting your death but still going to arrange it while setting up all the courtiers for my power play.

DUKE: My little baby, off to destroy people… never been so proud of Daddy’s girl.


REVELS: Fire Demon Vs Ice King cage match!

WANDA’S BABY BROTHER: Typically, are most parties like this?


ICE KING: I am led off in chains, to be slowly consumed by a fire demon, as my winter kingdom melts away without me. My lady, let me just say…

MIRYEM: *braces self*

ICE KING: Well played, and you are totally cute.


MIRYEM: Did I make a bad bargain, after all?

MIRYEM: Extremely concerned about my ice goddaughter.

MIRYEM: ok listen up in the dungeon! Trade: my freedom for yours, also the safety of my country.



IRINA: Everyone now worships us as heroes for laying low the ice king. I have richly rewarded Wanda for her courage in battle. Next step… eliminate fire demon.

FIRE DEMON: Someone let the ice king go and I am HANGRY!

IRINA: Oh hey, come through this mirror with me, eat some ice people!

IRINA: Sorry 2 the ice people but I am not the queen of them.


MIRYEM: … Oh no, I AM the queen of them.

MIRYEM: Time to battle the fire demon.

MIRYEM: ok fire demon, I guess you don’t know ’bout me, but I have a heart of ice and nothing stops me.

ICE KING: My lady is not lying.

FIRE DEMON: I did not think this through.


FIRE DEMON: Oh well, at least I left an Irina snack in the fridge at home.

IRINA: Please examine the fine print on our demonic contract stating you leave me and mine alone. I thought it through carefully. There is no snack. Or fridge. Or country. It’s all mine. Have I mentioned what else is mine?

FIRE DEMON: I do NOT like where this is going.

IRINA: Evil Calcifer, please exit my husband stage left.

TSAR: Now I look at you in this light, you were an ice cold fox this entire time.

OLD NURSEY: I say that’s my baby, defeating fire demons and conquering hotties plus whole countries, and I’m really proud.


MIRYEM: Life at the witch cottage with Mom, Pops, Wanda and fam is great, but…

ICE KING: Hi. I was just wondering if you were free Friday?

MIRYEM: What would you want to do on our date?

ICE KING: Get married!

MIRYEM: Like, I doubt you’d agree to raise the half-ice kids Jewish, so…

ICE KING: Done! Never was a fairer bargain made.


ICE KING: The elves are merciless but religiously accepting.

MIRYEM: Mr Ice King… that’s hot.


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