I'm still not tired of the "That is my secretary" scenes. Sigrud, the unlikely comic relief. Sigrud and Shara are at a fancy party, by the way:
"A small hubbub breaks out before one of the hearths. 'What could that be?' says Ivanya, but Shara can already see: Sigrud stands with one foot up on the hearth, reaching into the fire to pull out a small, flaming coal. Even from here she can hear it sizzle as it touches his fingertips, but his face registers no pain as he lifts it to his pipe, sucks twice, exhales a plume of smoke, and tosses the coal back. Then he skulks away to a shadowed corner where he crosses his arms, leans against a wall, and glowers.
'Who is that creature?' asks Ivanya.
Shara coughs. 'That is my secretary, Sigrud.'
'You have a Dreyling as your secretary?'
'But aren't they savages?'
'We are all products of our circumstances.'"