Zvominir’s Love

Zvominir, not a central focus of our discussions thus far, seems to stand out quite a bit in this last section.  As Jenn points out, once Morgan leaves, the focus shifts to the other characters and we can see all of them a bit more completely.  Zvominir is significant, I believe, because he is one of the only characters (if not the only one) who actively loves.  There is love between Morgan and his swans, but once the RedBlacks kill his pets, that love transforms into hatred and revenge.  Mrs. Giggs loved Charlie, as we understand in greater detail from chapter 54, but now that he is gone, her love morphs into self-loathing and overprotection.  Neither Jane nor Katherine really love Morgan — they may want to (particularly Katherine), but he keeps that from happening.  Jane wants Morgan’s love (or at least dedication) because a) he is the father of her unborn child, and b) he is the figurehead for her anarchic movement.  Katherine, it seems, wants to love him.  “If she were to be in love, she needed to be more than just a body to her lover” (253).  She is dedicated to him and pursuant, but he hasn’t given her anything more than his body for her to be in love with.  

Zvominir, on the other hand, proves his love for Morgan transcends all the bad things between them.  Despite getting his girlfriend pregnant, killing Tom, consorting with the gypsies, persistently provoking the RedBlacks, and disregarding his father’s wishes, Morgan is never denied his father’s love.  He searches for his son in the tunnels every night, sends him bird messages, and can’t even concentrate on his de-birding duties.  He is overcome by grief, but he never lets his grief become more powerful than his love.  “Zvominir roamed the tunnels every night, crawling through the hole in Morgan’s room to search the caverns, a bent and broken man who couldn’t sleep, who cried into the darkness, and blamed himself for failing as a father” (323).  The moment that most reveals his love, however, is when he and Jane, Ezekiel, and Jim are having dinner together and Jane tells him how great a cook Morgan is.  Morgan, earlier in the novel (on a page I can’t seem to find at the moment) wishes that he could show his dad how well he can cook, so he would be proud of him.  Zvominir’s reaction to learning of his son’s abilities are touching: “He started crying.  I hardly knew my son, he said, and now he’s gone.  He felt ashamed of sobbing, and yet he couldn’t stop; tears poured out on their own, as if a pipe had burst somewhere” (327).  Morgan craves his father’s approval (because he is always restraining his artistic expression with the birds), and only once he is gone is he able to attain it.  This love is unique to Zvominir’s character.  He is depicted as a meek and timid character, but he is the only one who can love unconditionally.


One comment on “Zvominir’s Love

  1. I read this post when I was only up to page 318, and I thought that Zvominir’s love for Morgan really was unconditionally. However, now into chapter 65, I’m beginning to question, not Zvominir’s love for Morgan, but Zvominir as a character. As I have said, I agreed with all of your points, but then we see a similar turn of character in Zvominir as we see in Morgan much earlier in the book. This time around, Zvominir makes a show with birds for a Gypsy wedding he, Jane, Ezekiel, and Jim come across in the tunnels. This show, just like Morgan’s earlier in the book, is provoked by Jane. After gaining the trust of the Gypsies, who before this scene in the tunnel were weary of Zvominir, Zvominir begins saying Morgan’s name (something he physically could not do before this scene) and praising his son. So much so that Jane confronts Zvominir: “Lay off the birdshows[…] Morgan was the showoff, you’re the one with dignity. And don’t talk about him so much. You’re pimping him, it’ll alienate the crowd” (Novy 344). Perhaps this scene was just a lapse in character for Zvominir, or perhaps we have seen a sharp character shift in Zvominir as we had seen earlier with the Tutor. Or perhaps this was Jane’s hope, knowing that her rebellion was lacking direction with only the myth of Morgan to lead the Gypsies, and thus she turned to Zvominir to rekindle that rebellion with his own bird magic.

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