Though the river is milk
It stops dead in my throat
Like a stone, stone, stone
pg 199, "Surely there was some other place for her": Miri needs something to make her special, something (being a princess perhaps?) that gives her a place, a reason, something to contribute. I think we all do. Even young children. It's interesting in large families to see how children will claim a certain role--the funny one, the smart one, the good one, the baby, etc.--even though those labels can be limiting and sometimes just wrong. I wonder how we can allow ourselves and each other to be someone special, and also to be more than one thing. (more on that in Palace of Stone)
Pg 201, Miri waves: Even though we know a main character pretty well 200 pages in, it's important to keep learning new things. This is a simple act yet I think it's revealing of Miri's character. Would you have guessed she'd wave cheekily at the prince's carriage? Would you have done it?
"The prince had suddenly become a real person with a height and an age and hair color": For so long he was just "the prince." Slowly his character is revealed. At this point, what kind of a person are you expecting he will be?
Britta's sickness, pg 204: When I was in high school, I participated in the Homecoming queen pageant. At my school, each club and organization nominated a girl, and then we did an interview with the judges and then performed a talent at an evening assembly. (I wrote and read a poem--I was very dramatic...) The first night I did well and made the final ten. Then the next day we did it all over again. I got a little sick and nerves brought it on so fast, by the evening I was barely conscious. The interview was a nightmare, I couldn't remember the questions after they'd asked them. I remember lying on the floor backstage when someone told me I was supposed to be on stage. I stumbled on, forgetting all my props. Of course I didn't make the top royalty. Now it seems strange to me that I was a part of the competition at all. But I thought about this experience when I was writing about Britta's illness.
Esa's arm: Whenever I have a newborn (or two) I think often what it would be like to only have use of one arm. It's hard, very limiting. I was writing Princess Academy when I had my first child. Trying to open jars and make meals while holding a newborn was tricky. Those thoughts led to Esa's disability. And not just Esa. In my current novel, my main character was born with one arm. (still rewriting that one but hoping to make Fall '13 release.)
Sorry I'm out of time again! Tomorrow I promise to get to your questions. Feel free to ask more.