I’m sitting in a movie theater waiting for my friend who is late. After checking my watch and phone a dozen time she runs in with a book under her arm squealing about this prince named Po and how’s he’s absolutely perfect. We were seeing “Inkhart” and I was preparing to swoon over Dustfinger, so I was annoyed. A few days later she handed me the book — “Graceling” by Kristen Cashore — and I promptly forgot about the imperfect Dustfinger and pronounced my heart belonged to Po. And it still does.
If you haven’t entered Cashore’s Seven Kingdoms world full of people blessed with X-Men-like abilities — mind reading, fighting, bread baking, jumping on one foot, etc.,you’re missing out. It’s a world of romance, evil and awesome adventure. Prince Po even returns in her latest sequel called “Bitterblue” and I found my feelings for him were not at all weakened by the long four-year absence. In fact, I called that same friend and gushed, “He’s baaack!”
Name: Prince Greening Grandemalion of Lienid or just Po to his friends
Age: 19 or 20
What Does He Look Like? As with all Gracelings, Po has eyes of different colors; his are gold and silver. He’s tall, tan and slouches quiet a lot. He’s graceful, laughs often and wears gold rings on his fingers and hoops in his ears, representing his Lienid heritage.
Dream Casting: Someone dark and handsome, can fight and wears his heart on his sleeve. Does Ian Somerhalder from the “Vampire Diaries” have a younger, tanner brother? That would do it.
What Does He Do? Po starts the story on a quest to find his kidnapped grandfather and runs into a ragtag counsel out to do good in the seven kingdoms. Once his grandfather is safe, he decides to find the motive behind his kidnapping and enters a long quest with Lady Katsa, a member of the counsel graced with super-natural fighting abilities. Despite the fact she can kill a man with her pinkie finger, she’s completely oblivious to the feelings of those around her. And, as she learns, her feelings towards a handsome prince who could never let her go.
Who Does He Love? Po loves his family, his island country of Lienid (he’s the seventh prince), his niece Bitterblue (who he endearingly calls Beatle) and, most of all, Katsa. He puts it best when he introduces her to his grandfather; “I’ve met my match, Grandfather.” Indeed.
Why Him? Po’s brave, kind, selfless and proud. And his heart is as big as a Winnebago. And he feels deeply burdened by his grace, which he has a terrible time disguising and feels retched when he’s forced to lie about it. I love that he allows Katsa to be her wild self, not wanting his love to change her or tame her. And if you don’t love Po from his first kick to the head, the final chapters of this book, his misfortune due to his bravery and the way he changes to his new circumstances (I’m being careful here not to give away the end here) will endear you to him forever.
“You could kill me.”
“I couldn’t,” she said. “for you would know I meant to kill you, and you’d escape me. You’d stay far away from me, always.”
“Ah, but I wouldn’t.”
“You would,” she said, “if I wished to kill you.”