Actually, I think they both
talk before thinking. They're made for each other.
About Alon's intelligence--if anything, I would say that Jarol was outmatched by Ghemor there. He seemed to have anticipated almost all of her objections...and even with the one that he couldn't counter, I still think he came off as very sensible about it. He is not a prideful man, and I don't think he worries about where
a good idea comes from, whether it's Jarol or even someone from the Federation. That lack of ego is what I think allowed him to outmaneuver her. But I also think there's some force of character that Jarol may not see.
Keeping the tea scene in was a very good idea...like I said, very believable for this family and its traditions. It's funny how we all see the same things!
See here, for what Glinn Yejain has to say (and my version of Alon speaks, too, but on personal matters): http://www.adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=7
BTW, I don't think "character" chapters are boring! If we're still learning something about the characters, then it's worth it.