What is Ella's curse and how does it affect her throughout the book?
From when Ella was a baby, the fairy, Lucinda, curses her with the gift of obedience. Whatever someone commands Ella to do, she must do it otherwise she experiences dizziness or feels like throwing up. This is a very terrible gift for Ella to have because she must at all times obey the orders people give her.
Mandy, the cook, is very kind to Ella and doesn't hurt her or order her to do atrocious things. But then Ella leaves for finishing school, where she is accompanied by her two sisters in law to be. Hattie and Olive, once they figure out that Ella must obey anything they say, use it to their advantage and the expense of Ella. They don't allow her to eat and they take away all of the things that Ella owns that is valuable. Eventually they even order her to end her friendship with Arieda, the only nice person that Ella made friends with. Arieda was the only person who made her happy and not completely miserable at the finishing school. But Ella manages to not hurt Areida too badly, by running away.
When Ella meets the ogres, they command her to not run away when they sleep. But Ella tries anyways, tip toeing over all of them, but once she reaches her limit the symptoms start again: dizziness and nauseousness. Because of her curse, she isn't able to run away. But eventually she persuades them to let her go.
When Ella makes it to Uaxee's farm for the wedding, she meets Lucinda, the fairy who cursed her with the "gift" of obedience. There, Lucinda orders her to be happy about being obedient, so Ella goes around happily obeying anyone's commands. But once she gets back home, Mandy reverses the order telling Ella to feel however she wants to feel.
In the end Prince Char asks Ella to marry him, but asks in the form of a command. So, according to the curse, Ella must obey and marry him. And she does want to because she loves him, but then she could be a danger. She could kill him if someone ordered her to or betray the royal family. Marrying the Prince wouldn't be a good idea if she was cursed with being obedient. But because of her love for Char and not wanting to harm him or the Kingdom of Kyrria, Ella refuses to marry him. And this breaks the curse, so then she does marry him, without the fear of harming him because she had broken the curse.
These are all examples of how Ella's curse hinders her through her life. She can't be completely free and can be a danger to people. However, in the end she is able to break the curse.
What does it show about Ella's father when he marries Dame Olga? What does it show about Dame Olga when she marries Ella's father?
Ella's father marries Dame Olga because she is rich. The same is for Dame Olga, she wants to marry Sir Peter because he is rich. Then, when Sir Peter becomes in debt because he had sold a house that didn't belong to him and it actually belonged to the gnomes, he has to sell his whole manor and carriage and all his riches to pay back the gnomes. So then he has even more reason to marry Dame Olga, because with her riches then he wouldn't be completely broke.
Sir Peter wants to make himself believe that Dame Olga would want to marry him just because she loves him and not for the riches. This is shown in a letter he writes to Ella, "I flatter myself that there is not a shred of greed in Dame Olga's affection for me." So they get married, but at their wedding, Lucinda gives them the gift that they must always be in love. So even when Dame Olga finds out that Sir Peter no longer has any money she can't be angry, she can only be in love. The reason why she married him, all the riches and money, were taken away. But because she can only be in love with Sir Peter and not angry she directs her anger at Ella, giving her a hard time.
Sir Peter, when the gift is bestowed, is "open-mouthed in horror." Then the curse takes affect and he is all nice towards Dame Olga, but that second before the curse goes into effect shows that he didn't really love Dame Olga and only married her for her riches.
What is the relationship between Ella and Prince Char like?
The first time they meet is when Char comes out to get Ella after she had been crying outside during her mother's funeral. They talk a bit and Ella makes Char laugh. The next time they meet they are walking around Kyrria and Ella yet again makes Char laugh. Char says, "'I like you. I'm quite taken with you.'" This foreshadows the fact that they will eventually marry, though much will happen between then and their wedding. Through a letter to his father, we learn that Char admires Ella for who she truly is and that he enjoys her jokes. He writes, "I admire the daughter, Ella, but she has gone to finishing school, where I fear she will be made less admirable. What do they teach in such places? Sewing and curtsying? It is a great distance to go to learn such paltry tricks."
They next time they meet, they bind and gag a group of ogres with Ella mimicking the ogres with a voice full of "honey and oil". At Sir Peter's and Dame Olga's wedding, they both go upstairs exploring and they find glass slippers, which Ella puts on and they dance. Char tells Ella that he must go to the neighboring kingdom, Ayortha, for a year. It keeps the peace between the two kingdoms. They slide down the stair rail laughing. Then Char leaves.
The next day, he comes to Ella's house to visit, but Hattie forces Ella into her room because she wants to be with the Prince. This goes on every time Char visits, much to his confusion. Then, he leaves to Ayortha, without saying goodbye to Ella. Ella makes an excuse that she was stuck in her room because her father was upset that she left the wedding early. She tells Char this in a letter and they correspond through letters for the time that Char is in Ayortha.
But then through a letter, Char tells Ella in a letter that he loves her, Ella knows she can't marry him because of her curse. So she writes a letter, pretending it to be from Hattie, that she has married someone else for their riches.
So when Char comes back from Ayortha, he holds a ball to meet all the maidens of Kyrria, so that he might find a bride to marry, because he believes Ella doesn't want to marry him. Ella goes every night but with a mask so Char can't see who she is. She dances with him every night. But because of the mask, he doesn't know who she really is. Then, on the last day of the ball Hattie yanks her mask off. Ella was exposed. She ran home and tried to pack and leave with Mandy, but Char gets there faster. He realizes that the letter about Ella marrying a rich man was actually a fake. He asks her to marry him, but in the form of a command, "'Marry me, Ella... Say you'll marry me." Ella has a big internal struggle, trying to not obey because her curse would be a danger. But eventually, through her love for Char and wanting to protect him and the Kingdom of Kyrria, she is able to refuse and break the curse. So in the end they do marry and they live "happily ever after."
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