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The Locked Tomb Series (open spoilers for Gideon and Harrow! Nona the Ninth is out!)

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    nightmarennynightmarenny Registered User regular
    I ended up posting a semi-long comment about Gideon somewhere else and thought maybe it would be worth posting here.
    I'm so glad you posted this because I've been itching to talk about something specific about these books. Each book plays with a lot of different themes and ideas but I think what makes them really interesting is that one of the principle writing techniques used to interact with those themes is perspective.

    The perspective(s) we see the story from is very specific. In GtN we have a pretty standard third person limited perspective but the way it's done reflects that the book is very much about Gideon's lack of choice. Gideon spends the majority of the book a silent narrator as things happen around her that are too complicated or too out of her wheelhouse to understand.

    This is emphasized when Gideon is literally frozen unable to move or speak as Palamedes solves the mystery for everybody and takes a shot at killing the bad guy. I don't think enough people talk about this because it's a pretty wild moment. Our protagonist, The person who traditionally should be the one solving the mystery and beating the bad guy, made to watch.

    Gideon spends the entire book being misunderstood and mischaracterized by the other houses. She looks spooky, tough, and doesn't talk so everyone sees what they expect to see. They don't see her. We the audience are the only people involved in the story that even begin to understand what Gideon's thinking or feeling.

    The real climax of the book after Palamedes fails to kill the bad guy is Gideon being faced with two bad choices and choosing to save her friends. How amazing is that? That someone abused her entire life and treated like she didn't matter while also being denied freedom or choice would at the end choose to bestow grace and kindness onto others.

    In HtN Muir puts a little bow on the entire first book when Ortus and Harrow talk about Gideon's death. I don't have the books with me but he speaks about how Harrow can think about it either as Gideon being murdered or choosing to die. Was she a victim or a hero? The answer of course is both but the point of all this is that when all you have are bad choices you still get to make them. Gideon was in a position where she had to die but she got to choose her death.

    The use of perspective becomes much more explicit with HtN and NtN. I'm not clear on whether we can talk about spoilers for any books in this thread so I'll leave it at that

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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    One thing I think is really fun about all three books is each one is from the perspective of someone out of their depth and not really understanding what's going on for various reasons.

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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Muir definitely takes the idea of 'unreliable narrator' to an aggressive level

    I am in the business of saving lives.
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    3cl1ps33cl1ps3 I will build a labyrinth to house the cheese Registered User regular
    I wouldn't say her narrators are unreliable, none of them are lying to the audience, but they do frequently describe things that you'll lack the context to understand until much later because they, themselves, didn't understand it.

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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    3cl1ps3 wrote: »
    I wouldn't say her narrators are unreliable, none of them are lying to the audience, but they do frequently describe things that you'll lack the context to understand until much later because they, themselves, didn't understand it.

    You don't think the perspectives of Harrow or Nona aren't...unreliable to put it mildly?

    I am in the business of saving lives.
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    3cl1ps33cl1ps3 I will build a labyrinth to house the cheese Registered User regular
    MegaMan001 wrote: »
    3cl1ps3 wrote: »
    I wouldn't say her narrators are unreliable, none of them are lying to the audience, but they do frequently describe things that you'll lack the context to understand until much later because they, themselves, didn't understand it.

    You don't think the perspectives of Harrow or Nona aren't...unreliable to put it mildly?

    We might be talking past each other, but to me an unreliable narrator is one that's deliberately lying or leaving out crucial information to mislead the reader (Kvothe, for instance), and I wouldn't say that applies to either Harrow or Nona.

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    lonelyahavalonelyahava Call me Ahava ~~She/Her~~ Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    They're not unreliable.

    They're uninformed.

    Which isn't really the same thing, IMO

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    Grey GhostGrey Ghost Registered User regular
    I halfway recall from some lit courses that narrators with limited perception, or incomplete worldviews or whatever, still fall under the unreliable umbrella. The end result is still that you can't fully trust that the way they're seeing and relating to the world is the way it actually is. But it's a pretty fine hair to split

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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    When I think of an unreliable narrator what I'm saying is that not that their POV or opinions is incorrect, but rather that their descriptions of common events is flat out wrong.

    For example, in Harrow
    Her description of events are flat out altered by her self administered lobotomy. Her memory and audio visual intake is altered. Almost nothing of what she says, describes, or remembers is accurate.

    Then in Nona
    She's the spirit of Earth that was murdered by God or...something. Not only does she have no frame of reference for like... anything, but she also has brain damage.

    As opposed to Game of Thrones where different characters and different POVs have distinct interpretation of events, they still agree that something happened.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
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    KanaKana Registered User regular
    Yeah I mean they're not unreliable because they're lying, but they're still unreliable. Like a lot of Gideon's narration about her feelings about Harrow are straight up BS. She does believe what she's saying, but it's frequently flying in the face of what she's doing. Like panicking that harrow has been hurt while her narration claims she'll be so happy if harrow is hurt.

    A trap is for fish: when you've got the fish, you can forget the trap. A snare is for rabbits: when you've got the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words are for meaning: when you've got the meaning, you can forget the words.
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    MsAnthropyMsAnthropy The Lady of Pain Breaks the Rhythm, Breaks the Rhythm, Breaks the Rhythm The City of FlowersRegistered User regular
    While it talks more about her relationship to fandom than the actual books, This American Life had a recent segment on Tamsyn Muir that I enjoyed: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/811/the-one-place-i-cant-go

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    "The only real politics I knew was that if a guy liked Hitler, I’d beat the stuffing out of him and that would be it." -- Jack Kirby
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    DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist I swear! Registered User regular
    edited October 2023
    I tried searching through this thread but could see if it was mentioned, in Harrow how did Camilla travel 40 billion light years to seek out Harrow? The book seemed to imply the only way to travel that distance is through the River and only a lyctor can travel through the River.

    Were they juicing Captain Deuteros somehow?

    Nona spoiler:
    it seems like BoE was trying to use Judith's power as their own power source, so maybe that's how it works?

    DisruptedCapitalist on
    "Simple, real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time." -Mustrum Ridcully in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather p. 142 (HarperPrism 1996)
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    RollsavagerRollsavager Registered User regular
    I tried searching through this thread but could see if it was mentioned, in Harrow how did a Camila travel 40 billion light years to seek out Harrow? The book seemed to imply the only way to travel that distance is through the River and only a lyctor can travel through the River.

    We're they juicing Captain Judith somehow?

    Nona spoiler:
    it seems like BoE was trying to use Judith's power as their own power source, so maybe that's how it works?

    This is explained in As Yet Unsent (contains Harrow spoilers), which takes place between Gideon and Harrow. I believe it was included in paperback and eBook copies of Harrow.
    Blood of Eden captured a Cohort vessel with an intact stele (necromantic FTL drive). Mercymorn instructed them on its use and healed Judith so she'd be capable of powering it.

    Ordinary necromancers can use a stele for FTL travel, but navigation is constrained to systems where anchors have been deployed. Lyctors can withstand direct exposure to the River, which is why they can navigate more freely.

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    RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    I tried searching through this thread but could see if it was mentioned, in Harrow how did a Camila travel 40 billion light years to seek out Harrow? The book seemed to imply the only way to travel that distance is through the River and only a lyctor can travel through the River.

    We're they juicing Captain Judith somehow?

    Nona spoiler:
    it seems like BoE was trying to use Judith's power as their own power source, so maybe that's how it works?

    This is explained in As Yet Unsent (contains Harrow spoilers), which takes place between Gideon and Harrow. I believe it was included in paperback and eBook copies of Harrow.
    Blood of Eden captured a Cohort vessel with an intact stele (necromantic FTL drive). Mercymorn instructed them on its use and healed Judith so she'd be capable of powering it.

    Ordinary necromancers can use a stele for FTL travel, but navigation is constrained to systems where anchors have been deployed. Lyctors can withstand direct exposure to the River, which is why they can navigate more freely.

    So what you're saying is
    Necromancers can sail the boat wherever there are good winds.

    Lyctors drive the boat wherever they want as long as they have the power

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    nightmarennynightmarenny Registered User regular
    edited October 2023
    I tried searching through this thread but could see if it was mentioned, in Harrow how did a Camila travel 40 billion light years to seek out Harrow? The book seemed to imply the only way to travel that distance is through the River and only a lyctor can travel through the River.

    We're they juicing Captain Judith somehow?

    Nona spoiler:
    it seems like BoE was trying to use Judith's power as their own power source, so maybe that's how it works?

    This is explained in As Yet Unsent (contains Harrow spoilers), which takes place between Gideon and Harrow. I believe it was included in paperback and eBook copies of Harrow.
    Blood of Eden captured a Cohort vessel with an intact stele (necromantic FTL drive). Mercymorn instructed them on its use and healed Judith so she'd be capable of powering it.

    Ordinary necromancers can use a stele for FTL travel, but navigation is constrained to systems where anchors have been deployed. Lyctors can withstand direct exposure to the River, which is why they can navigate more freely.

    So what you're saying is
    Necromancers can sail the boat wherever there are good winds.

    Lyctors drive the boat wherever they want as long as they have the power

    More like
    Any Necromancer can land at a port with a light house.

    Lyctor's can their make own ports.

    nightmarenny on
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    SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    I tried searching through this thread but could see if it was mentioned, in Harrow how did a Camila travel 40 billion light years to seek out Harrow? The book seemed to imply the only way to travel that distance is through the River and only a lyctor can travel through the River.

    We're they juicing Captain Judith somehow?

    Nona spoiler:
    it seems like BoE was trying to use Judith's power as their own power source, so maybe that's how it works?

    This is explained in As Yet Unsent (contains Harrow spoilers), which takes place between Gideon and Harrow. I believe it was included in paperback and eBook copies of Harrow.
    Blood of Eden captured a Cohort vessel with an intact stele (necromantic FTL drive). Mercymorn instructed them on its use and healed Judith so she'd be capable of powering it.

    Ordinary necromancers can use a stele for FTL travel, but navigation is constrained to systems where anchors have been deployed. Lyctors can withstand direct exposure to the River, which is why they can navigate more freely.

    So what you're saying is
    Necromancers can sail the boat wherever there are good winds.

    Lyctors drive the boat wherever they want as long as they have the power
    I thought of it more like the difference between a cable ferry and using an outboard motor. A group of necromancers can run the thing once both ends are established, but a lyctor or the emperor has to set the line in the first place.

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    knitdanknitdan In ur base Killin ur guysRegistered User regular
    If we try hard enough I bet we can stretch these metaphors to the breaking point

    Regular death wizard can use ship to do some things

    Death wizard Nazgûl can use ship to do many things

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
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    DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist I swear! Registered User regular
    edited October 2023
    Anywayyyyy. I do love how the mirhraeum is 40 billion light years away. 6 billion less than the current known radius of the universe. Of course it's still not far enough since the resurrection beasts can travel the River too...

    So I finished catching up on all the spoilers today. I missed like, 90% of the memes. Is the 40 billion thing a meme too!?

    DisruptedCapitalist on
    "Simple, real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time." -Mustrum Ridcully in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather p. 142 (HarperPrism 1996)
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