Now that the child has been established in the Arena, it is time to start thinking about things going on outside the Arena itself. There is more to this tale than just the child’s survival. Even if I have kept the focus primarily on just this fact. I know that it can be hard to keep track of who is who when you don’t have a name to attach to, but I figure by this point you’ve got a pretty good idea just who the main character is.
With this in mind, it’s time to start looking at why he is fighting, and how this plays into the overall scheme of the tale. And, that is what actually leads to the chapter title “Gaining Favor”.
In this, the Silk isn’t just gaining favor with the crowds – if any thing he’s facing an even stiffer resistance there than he is with the reader. He is also gaining favor with the local goddess. Each time he wins, her Children are being fed the carrion. Makes for a wonderful disposal of the corpses, but like most spiders, they do prefer fresh food. And it is in this chapter that the Silk figures this out. Each time he goes out, because he is bored, he does his best to humiliate his opponent, and leave them alive, though traumatically injured.
Also, we get to see a bit more of the other Arenas, and learn a touch more about the culture. Each Arena specializes in different things, depending on the local geography. I’ll let you read through this on your own. Don’t want to give away too many spoilers, now do I?
We also get to meet the actual goddess – well, almost get to meet Her. The Silk is introduced, and much of what he has been experiencing starts to come clear, and the seed of his core identity beliefs are planted in this chapter. There are also a few very vague references for the discerning that all is not as monotheistic as it appears.