Howler Back: Why Is Mustang A POV Character In Dark Age?

Let’s break down some of the theories…

We’re just shy of three eight months away from the arrival of Dark Age (Red Rising Book 5). Pierce Brown has been understandably tight-lipped about the contents of the Iron Gold sequel, but we do have some details to glean about the plot, thanks to the previously released description. Included is the reveal that Mustang is being added as a point of view for the story. After four books, we’re finally going to get a peek at what’s going on in Mustang’s amazing mind.

As exciting as that is, it certainly begs the question, why is Mustang suddenly being showcased as a POV character? That’s exactly what Howler Alyce Keck asked when she wrote in to Howler Life recently. Here’s her message…

Something I just thought of recently; why do we have a Mustang POV in Dark Age? Is it just so we can see what happens with Sevro/what’s going on in the political realm? Or is something more going to happen that involves Mustang? Maybe I’m just speculating too much, but it just kinda dawned on me that there’s gotta be a point to a POV, and if Mustang’s in the new book, something big might just be happening that involves her.

My response below contains SPOILERS from Iron Gold, so if you haven’t gotten caught up on the last Red Rising book, stop reading now!

Obviously, I don’t have a definitive answer to Alyce’s question, but I certainly have plenty of speculation to offer. I think there are a number of possible explanations for why Mustang is being introduced as a POV character in Dark Age.

Possibility 1: To give us political perspective on the republic

Going straight to Alyce’s suggestion above, I think there’s a good possibility that there will be things happening with the Republic that we need to see firsthand. While the colors are trying to work together, they aren’t all getting along. We got a glimpse of some of the brewing strife from Darrow in Iron Gold, but now that Darrow is off trying to finish the war, he may be too detached from the politics for us to stay up to date on what’s happening on Luna.

This seems like the likeliest theory of the bunch, as Mustang is reigning Sovereign of the Republic, in addition to being Darrow’s wife and Pax’s mother. Factor in Pax’s kidnapping and Darrow going rogue at the end of Iron Gold, everything ties together in such a huge way that it’s entirely possible the only way for us to get a complete understanding of the decisions Mustang has to make for the Republic (and her family) is from Virginia, herself.

In Iron Gold, we got glimpses of what was going on with Mustang through Lyria’s perspective. But Lyria has her own problems (Barcas) to deal with, as of the end of Iron Gold. And, even if Lyria is out of trouble relatively soon into Dark Age, what are the odds that she might just happen to be in the room every time Mustang has an important moment in Dark Age?

Possibility 2: Someone’s got to keep an eye on Sevro

Iron Gold left off with Sevro and Darrow parting ways. Sevro set off to return to Luna to be with his family. This means Sevro would’ve been out of view from all of the existing POVs, save possibly Ephraim or Lyria, both of whom could very well come into contact with the Goblin at some point in Dark Age. Still, they’re both very much on the outside, perspective-wise.

But then why can’t Sevro or Victra be a POV?

If Sevro is the (or a) reason Mustang is a POV character, why can’t Sevro or Victra be a POV? Oh, if only. But I’m going to default back to Possibility 1. Even if politics isn’t the primary reason Mustang is a POV, the odds are high that it’s at least a big part of it. It’s also possible that either Sevro or Victra will be setting off to track down Elektra, which might overlap with Ephraim’s POV. The same would apply to Victra, who will presumably be crossing paths with Lyria in Dark Age.

On this sub-point, my guess is that Mustang would cover a broader range of unclaimed POV territory than Victra and Sevro could in Dark Age.

Possibility 3: There are other things Mustang knows that no one else does

Obviously there are things Mustang knows that none of the other POVs do, but this theory is aimed at something (or things) more specific than that. As Sovereign, Mustang carries a lot of weight on her shoulders and probably a fair amount of secrets. She has a lot of decisions to make, both as it relates to the Republic and her family. With Darrow out and about, there’s no other POV that she would likely trust enough to confide in. Moreover, there may not be anyone she wants to confide in for certain things, Darrow included.

In past books, we knew almost everything Darrow was doing as it was playing out. Pierce Brown did a sneaky great job at keeping certain key bits of info from Darrow’s perspective away from us until just the right moment. With Mustang as a POV, there might actually be opportunities to give us key information without her having to tell anyone else. Kind of like the time she ran off to capture the Jackal and decided not to mention he was her brother. Except this time, maybe we’ll know about it before Darrow does.

In addition to present-day plot developments that may require Mustang’s perspective directly in Dark Age, my hope is that there will be a few fascinating reveals from her mind that Pierce Brown has been sitting on. That brings me to the last theory…

Possibility 4: Because it’s about bloodydamn time

On one hand, I wonder if Pierce Brown has either been itching to or otherwise completely avoiding the prospect of exploring Mustang’s perspective. She’s both a fascinating and complex character whose perspective could be a challenge.

On the other hand, he didn’t write her into the series as a POV character until now, which leads me to believe he needed a good reason. Mustang is too big of a player to throw into the mix for shits and giggles. I don’t think “it was time” would be the only reason to add her as a POV.

The fact that Pierce Brown is finally giving us a Mustang POV does have me hoping — potentially beyond reason — that we’re going to get some fascinating insight into Mustang’s perspective on a lot of things. Darrow has proven to be a pretty reliable narrator as it relates to his perspective on the people he trusts, so I don’t expect Mustang to be a completely different person on the inside. With that said, she’s also very calculating and not the type to word-vomit every thought that goes through her mind. There may very well be some Mustang thoughts and memories that are completely new to us and possibly even unexpected.

But this is all just speculation…

We can really only guess as to why Mustang is a POV, but I have no doubt that the question will be answered in Dark Age. The most obvious and simple guess is that there are one or more key pieces to the plot that fall under Mustang’s substantial domain.

Regardless of the reason(s), a Mustang POV is brimming with potential, not only as it relates to the events that follow Iron Gold, but also hopefully some insights and information related to past events and characters.

What say you, Howlers? Are there any other theories or ideas that I didn’t cover on the reason Mustang needed to be a POV? Sound off in the comments below, or drop me an email in the contact form and I might include it in my next Howler Back feature. And don’t forget to vote for Iron Gold and Red Rising in the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards!

Dark Age arrives February 12, 2019 July 9, 2019.

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