Everyone self-harms in one way or another. Calling ourselves names or making ourselves less is one way we love to harm our self-confidence. Others self-harm through physical means. In the there and then, self-harming usually relieves some kind of pressure or stress. Long-term, though, we damage ourselves. Taken to extremes we might even lose body parts or become permanently damaged in other ways. Autistic people know about self-harming that may come a part of a stim.
The Baredians see women as doormats. To them, women are to be used without regard for their feelings, growth or well-being. In A Rat for a Rat we meet Miniri, a seriously troubled girl. She is addicted to self-harm, even if that self-harm means putting herself in the way of being trampled on and sexually abused by the Baredi. Imagine what a person like that could get up to in striving to fill the void inside of her.
Healers are revered people in Istonnia. They may go where no other person may and expect no harm to come to them. Like all work groups, some healers are more popular than others. Inna Malduri is definitely lowest on the totem pole and only the worst students get sent to her. Which is why Anniscia is shocked when she is sent to be Malduri’s apprentice. You see, Anniscia happens to be at the top of her class and feels she is much to good to serve the poorer part of town. She is about to be exposed to a side of life of life she is unused to.
The Regent, being used to living out in the desert with his group of followers, is having trouble adjusting to politics and people who have different goals. He forgets that in politics revealing the identity of people you love is dangerous to yourself and the one you care for, at least if that person is to be a secret. The world is not supposed to know that Nivvo is his son, but the Regent is not able to avoid reaching out to him.
Nivvo tries to protect his father and brother by being absent. He knows the way the city works and what a wonderful weapon Vicco Cambrosi gains in knowing how much the Regent cares about his long-lost son. Both father and son suffer from a need to over-protect, a trait that exasperates the people around them.
Reka is the one who is most annoyed by this father and son interaction. If she could beat some sense into their heads, she would. Instead she treats both like the brats they are. Nivvo is used to her way of showing anger. The Regent, however, is used to getting his own way, and is at a loss about what to do when Reka treats him the way she does.
A Rat for a Rat was an action-filled and fun story that also dealt with consequences that may arise from our actions.