It’s the second day in Nona’s unhappy paradise. Let’s go:
Day 2: four days until the tomb opens
Chapter 7 Header: Second House
Nona has a normal routine morning at home. After taking a slightly alternate route to school, she arrives to find Honesty suffering from a spectacular black eye, gotten during his job the night before when his job went bad. He keeps it from the adults but tells the gang that his team last night tried to rob the Convoy.
- Nona recounts her dream. It continues the pool scene from Gideon and covers the part where after the (metaphorical) baptism of forgiveness, Gideon and Harrow sit on the side of the pool, holding hands and talking. Nona can’t remember the conversation.
- “My feet are in the nice water, the safe water” (p. 79), the salt water.
- “I’m touching my own hands but they’re not mine.” This is a mixed memory.
- “There’s eyes all around us, red eyes.”
- Harrow’s skeleton constructs all have red eyes, so the dream is accurate.
- “I’m hungry. In the dream. Really hungry.”
- Camilla asks “’when you’re looking at your hands . . . who do they feel like they belong to? Do you like them?’ Nona chortled. ‘Not one bit.’ Nona hated having hands” (p. 81).
- Another hint dropped. Or just a very strange detail.
- Nona has dark circles under her eyes.
- Breakfast is cold mush because they don’t have money for food.
- Pyrrha got only half pay and used it to bribe her way into “Site C” (p. 83).
- Palamedes offers to swap her for Site B (now we know what Camilla has been doing all day).
- Pyrrha says she would pay anything to keep the two from overlapping their souls because it’s so dangerous to Camilla (p. 83). The whole section is worth rereading.
- “The only other people I put through that damn trial were Mercy and Cris, because only Cris didn’t mind being trepanned on the regular” (p. 84). This is the bone construct challenge at Canaan House, where both souls are (briefly) combined in one body.
- So only Gideon/Pyrrha and Mercy/Cristabel actually performed the challenge.
- Palamedes says, “So you think I trust myself too much” and Pyrrha answered, “I think that you can’t be your own checks and balances, and you shouldn’t try” (p. 84).
- No colder cut than “Sometimes you remind me of my mother” (p. 84). True in any universe.
- Pyrrha: “two of my guys got in a fight because someone said the fighting at Prithibi had been tougher than the fighting at Antioch” (p. 81)
- “Prithibi” is the Bengali word for Earth. It also means “lover of the earth,” is a girl’s name, and a Hindu devi. Search engines are your friends.
- Antioch: ancient city in Turkey, also considered the cradle of Christianity, once hosted the apostles Peter, Paul, and Barnabas. This will be helpful someday.
- There’s been fighting at both places (both planets?) We don’t know if these people are refugees from war or Blood of Eden.
- The fight is just a symptom of deteriorating conditions: “They would have just yelled at each other three months ago. Now they’d happily kill each other over who spilt whose beer. There’s more dead bodies in the streets now then there were at the first barracks massacre” (pp. 81-82).
- Things are deteriorating fast.
- There was a “first barracks massacre,” meaning the standoff is at another barracks, and is likely also to end in a massacre.
- Pyrrha treats Nona like an adult. When Nona asks her why We Suffer hates her, she answers, “Because I remind her that her God was just a human being who could get tired and fuck up” (p. 82).
- She’s referring to Wake, but the sentiment has equal application to John.
- Pyrrha says, “I’ve got a broken heart and I’ll never love again” (p. 82), and Nona knows it’s more true than Pyrrha lets on.
- Remember when we meet Pyrrha in Harrow just after she’s been dragged out from the incinerator: “’I know you’re there,’ he rapsed. ‘Kill me all you like. I would know you in the blindness of my eyes … in the deafness of my ears … as a shadow smudged against the wall, annihilated by light...’” (HtN, p.291). Wake was the great passion of Pyrrha’s life, and it was a passion that Wake returned. It’s to Pyrrha that Wake writes the message: “I will remember the first time you kissed me — you apologised — you said, I am sorry, destroy me as I am, but I want to kiss you before I am killed . . . I kissed you and later I would kiss him too before I understood what you were, and all three of us lived to regret it — but when I am in heaven I will remember your mouth, and when you roast down in hell I think you will remember mine” (HtN, pp. 252-253). Not only did Pyrrha love Wake, but she’s never gotten over her, and we’ll see this again and again.
- Nona hangs back on the way to school to look at street vendors and they discuss her upcoming six month birthday. Camilla says there’ll be no presents until it’s been a year.
- “Nona was alarmed; if she didn’t get a present now there was a good chance she would not get to have one later” (p. 85).
- Pyrrha objects: “God, you think she’s ever gotten presents? I visited her hometown back before Anastasia got settled, and it was grim as fuck then. Just spooky caves all the way down …” (pp. 85-86)
- Pyrrha’s been to the Ninth House before.
- Nona asks for colored rubber bands for her birthday because they’re cheap.
- Cam drops Nona off instead of walking her up, which is unusual.
- The Angel arrives all disheveled and worn out, examines Honesty’s black eye and knows it wasn’t caused by a fist. “I am adjacent to being a doctor, and I’m getting a good crash course in, er, triage” (p. 88).
- Honesty’s job involved retrieving a scavenger who would strip air conditioning units off trucks while they were underway. After two successful sweeps, the scavenger hit the Convoy.
- “He climbed down into the vent pipes to get the unit, pay dirt he said, real good stuff, but then he … he pulled up a vent, and he saw down into the cargo trawler, and he said he saw . . . People with no eyes” (pp. 92-93).
- “They’re all just sitting around — they all look up … they all look up at the same time. They look at him” (p. 93).
- So the scavenger sees something he’s not supposed to see, gets shot at, and bails. Then the whole crew is followed. “. . . and then one of the old chicks is like, get the kid out, and … and they stop the car and there’s another two big trucks pulling up behind us, militia trucks with guys, and ...” (p. 93).
- Honesty escapes. but he’s still on the run.
Chapter 8 Header: Third House
Hot Sauce tells Nona to pretend to make a radio call when she’s outside with Noodle, which she does. It’s hot, so she sits in the shade with Noodle and drowses.
- On the way outside, Nona makes sure the door is locked and alarmed, so keep anyone else from coming inside. “. . . if they had another teaching building get taken over by squatters she simply had no idea where they’d go” (p. 96). It’s happened before.
- Show of hands: how many people think the teachers are unpaid and all of this is volunteer effort, trying to keep a steady routine for displaced and traumatized children, as well as a safe space for them to be?
- Nona feels the heat most in the backs of her knees. I don’t know what to make of that, but it’s an interesting observation.
- “’Hello, hello,’ she said into her hand. ‘I am having a conversation with Crown.’ Nona remembered that she was meant to be covering her mouth, and did so” (p. 97).
- Nona asks Crown to visit her and come to her birthday party on the beach. She knows Crown visited before, but she was too young and doesn’t remember.
John 15:23 No header
Three days after the power failure, John says, his eyes had turned from brown to gold.
They’re climbing a hill as, around them, water rises. As they submerge, John identifies the vehicles that he knows belonged to people he knew. This is home ground for him. Looking at the devastation, he cries. He tells her that they picked two bodies for experimentation and tried to make them rot. They failed. As Cassiopeia keeps the authorities at bay, John’s powers grow. He names the bodies Ulysses and Titania, and introduces them to M— and A—, puppeting them from the other side of the room.
- A— is first to believe, the M— and G—, and finally the rest (p. 98). “P— said I looked like a Maori TV Pink Panther.”
- Indications are strong that John is at least part-Maori.
- This very useful Tumblr post notes that Maori TV is a television channel.
- Also from Tumblr: Macca = McDonalds, Ute=Utility vehicle
- “I only wanted to be with my bodies, like if I took my eyes off them the magic’d stop. I started knowing what room they’d been stashed in even if no one told me . . . I could feel them — I could feel everyone in the building . . . It wasn’t that I hadn’t been able to hear them before, but I couldn’t separate the noises. Like hearing a chord without knowing what notes go into it” (p. 100).
- John describes a dark and magnificent silence with the bodies: “They were my moreporks and possums. I was hearing their bodies in all that silence, all the bacteria that weren’t growing … what wasn’t building up in the gut, what wasn’t pooling at the joints. They were my silent night” (pp. 100-101).
- Moreporks are nocturnal birds native to New Zealand. Also called rurus.
- “Silent night, holy night . . .” The Christmas carol. It’s not a random association, but a reference to God’s birth.
- “You know, I can’t even remember how it came together now. There was no catalyst, no revelation. I was too far gone for revelations. It was like I’d been dozy and now I was waking up” (p. 101).
- “He thought about it and added, I better say that it was Titania from Midsummer, Shakespeare, but Ulysses was for a dog my nana had when I was a child” (p. 101).
- This is a giveaway that John is constructing a narrative, not telling the truth. If he feels like he should say he named Titania for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, that means conclusively that he did not.
- Possible sources for Titania’s name? Well, there’s Titania, voice of Gaia from Magic, the Gathering.
- Gaia is, of course, the Greek name for, not a goddess, but the personification of Earth itself.
- John’s name is John Gaius, Gaius being both a Roman Commander and grandson of Caesar Augustus, and the masculine form of Gaia.
- And there’s Titania, moon of Uranus.
- Ulysses S. Grunt: There’s a part of John that’s impossible to dislike. What a great name for a dog.
- On the other hand, we can’t discount the Classical Ulysses of the Odyssey, especially since Classical references abound in these books.
- That’s twice in a few lines that John has tipped his hand: lying about Titania’s name and saying that his time with the two corpses were his “silent night,” a phrase spoken by the new-borning God. It means that, despite the confessional and apparently sincere nature of these passages, this is a pre-plotted story he tells, and so we can’t take any of it (forgive me) as gospel. This doesn’t mean that he’s insincere, or that parts of it are not accurate but, with John, it’s better to question his motivation before accepting his sincerity. He, too, is an unreliable narrator.
- “Because, Harrow, I’d done it from the other side of the room” (p. 102).
- It’s the start of necromancy. John is getting powers, and the powers are strengthening. We don’t know where they’re coming from, but it’s undeniable that they’re real.
- Let’s talk about who John is talking to, though. These events, unfolding in memory or some sort of Dreamtime, are apparently a recreation or a story about the events that led up to the extinction event that led up to the Resurrection. John has a companion in this dreamspace whom he calls “Harrow.”
- But it’s just as obviously not Harrow. It’s someone who was there with John, as companion and witness (“you were so sick”). It’s also obvious that there’s some sort of memory overlay or bleedthrough — something along the lines of Gideon’s experiences in Harrow’s body while Harrow was also there: some of her “combined with Harrow memories” are clear, but others are ones she has to search for.
Chapter 9 Header: Sixth House
Nona wakes up from her nap after only a few minutes and goes back inside. Hot Sauce confirms that whoever had the building under surveillance left as soon as Nona made her fake radio message, but won’t explain further. The day deteriorates as gunfire moves closer to the school and doesn’t abate. Cam sells Pyrrha’s contraband to get food before picking up Nona, and insists on keeping the normal routine. Nona is miserable enough to long for the beach, but after their last visit a month ago, she knows they can’t go.
- Nona and Noodle’s pattens prove that dog owners and their struggles with keeping their pets safe are eternal. Pattens are overshoes — we would call them footies or slippers.
- Nona tells Hot Sauce, “I wasn’t good at pretending to talk at all. I just pretended I was talking to someone and I only talked for like ten seconds because I felt silly” (p. 103).
- Nona can’t lie.
- She’s annoyed when Hot Sauce won’t explain the purpose of the radio prank.
- Shortly after she comes back inside (it’s an Hour of Science, they’ve done with the hair dryer, and the lesson is wrapping up so, 15 minutes or so?) they hear gunfire start up in the street outside the school. It doesn’t subside.
- “It was more boring and hot than it was terrifying. Even the Angel only seemed annoyed” (p. 104).
- Between the Angel’s lack of panic at close gunfire and the comment that she’s been getting a crash course in triage, we can make some assumptions about why she looks tired and rumpled.
- We can also surmise that Nona’s fake radio call and the gunfire are related.
- Both the Angel and the teacher try to keep the classes going through the afternoon, but parents are picking up their kids. The shooting is a few streets away now.
- Camilla makes Nona eat a meat roll: “She peeled off the casing and ate the stuff inside and hated the experience” (p. 105). There’s more to Nona’s food aversion than lack of appetite.
- Nona longs for the beach, but knows they can’t go, not after “Camilla had got sick, and less important, Nona had got shot” (p. 106).
- Jandals are sandals, specifically flip-flops.
- They vary their walking routes to isolate and throw off anyone who might trail them.
- The route takes them past the cemetery, where all the coffins have been recently piled up and burned (the stinking pile from Chapter 3), meaning it was not fresh corpses from a bomb site.
- “Pyrrha said that the first thing that happened was all bones got burned, whether they were moving around or not” (p. 106).
- “It only took her feet being in the salt water to make her happy again” (p. 106).
- Again with the salt water.
- “The first time Nona had asked to swim they had let her without cavil: she had barely known how to explain herself, then, but her hunger was so terrible that she had made them all understand” (p. 107).
- Shortly after the first swimming episode, Varun appeared and no one has fixed the lights that Camilla broke out, so it’s dark and relatively safe.
- “She let herself go under and felt the huge, rocking cradle of the waves rolling her forward to the beach, nearly weeping with relief” (p. 107).
- “Salt water had always relieved her: salt water made her feel as though, if there was someone in there with her, she would suddenly know the words to tell them everything” (p. 108).
- Remember the Ninth House tradition that essential truths could only be shared while submerged in a pool of salt water?
- Another callback to the pool scene, but this time it’s more than that — it’s the salt water itself that makes Nona feel at peace.
- “The only terrible part was an awful longing to let her head go below the surface, to lose all buoyancy and lie at the bottom like a flat fish. Nona didn’t want to die, but she wanted to sit in the water and drowse, which she was forced to admit was the same thing eventually” (p. 108).
- There’s a feeling of homecoming here, don’t you think?
- “She stared up at the glowing blue circle in the night sky: it crowded out the stars and looked much like an incandescent jellyfish itself, crowning in a black ocean” (p. 108).
- She’s not afraid of Varun.
- Camilla is cornered by Merv Wing. She gives Nona a hand signal to stay back, but when Nona hears them threaten to kill her, she shouts a warning and Merv Wing shoots her.
- She’s hit in the shoulder and falls back into the water. “A yellow light shot through the waves like a dropped egg” (p. 110). A flashlight beam; they’re searching for her.
- When Nona comes out of the water, she finds that all the Merv Wing agents are dead; Camilla’s eyes have mixed and both Cam and Palamedes are present. Then Palamedes drops out.
- Camilla confirms that Merv Wing wanted information and we realize they’re willing to torture her for it. Therefore, a month ago there had been tensions and distrust between Merv and Ctesiphon Wings. Now, Pyrrha says that Merv Wing is ascendant.
- Pyrrha warns Camilla: “Synthesis is a one-way ticket . . . You’re killing each other” (p. 115).
- “’It was good,’ said Camilla, and her eyes closed. ‘It was good. We were happy’” (p. 115).
- “When Nona asked if Camilla was going to be all right, Pyrrha said — ‘No’” (p. 116).
- After toasting to Camilla, “yet another of devotion’s casualties,” Pyrrha “said to the light, quite gently, ‘No, I don’t blame you, man … He was always looking for things to throw himself on’” (p. 116). She’s speaking, of course, of Gideon the First, who died in his fight with Number Seven.
- “’If Cam’s fine,’ she said, ‘why did you just say goodbye to her?’”
Chapter 10 Header: Second House, fractured.
Violence is breaking out across the city, mostly isolated cases. Nona and Camilla learn that there’s been an attack on the spaceport, despite the fact that, no ships being in orbit, it gains the anti-House forces nothing. Pyrrha comes in filthy, bloodied, and shocky, her “pupils blown wide” (dilated). Palamedes heals her. While Nona draws a bath for Pyrrha, she hears her tell Palamedes to keep Camilla from the park, where the rebels have taken three people to be burned in the cages. Nona asks to go into the hallway for five minutes, just to be alone. She peels back a little of the window cover and lets the blue light fall on her, and feels better. She can hear it sing.
- Nona wants to return to school to check on her gang, but Camilla says there’s been too much violence in the city. When Nona says she has responsibilities, Cam tells her that her primary responsibility is to keep herself safe.
- Nona says it’s hard to feel responsible for the “other two people I might be . . . I don’t know them. But I feel very responsible for Hot Sauce and Honesty and Ruby and Born in the Morning and even Kevin, and I’ve only got so much time” (p. 118)
- Nona acknowledges there are other souls with her, but she doesn’t know them.
- “I’ve only got so much time.” Camilla thinks it’s the Blood of Eden deadline looming, but Nona thinks differently.
- “Maybe the other two people I am would feel incredibly responsible for Hot Sauce and the others.”
- Camilla answers, “Oh, one of them, definitely . . . And maybe the other” (p. 118).
- But they’re not the people she’s talking about: she means herself, Palamedes, and Pyrrha.
- The attack on the port happened because “too many loyalist soldiers had been rerouted to the barracks siege, and the old workers had busted through with a key card trying to hijack a shuttle off-world” (p. 118).
- Fish is cheap; few people will eat it “because the blue light got into them. They said the blue light got into the air too” (p. 119).
- Nona still can’t eat. She ate sand a week ago.
- “I had the joy of working on a … body like yours, the once, and I don’t want to repeat the process for anything smaller than a brain haemorrhage” (p. 120). The once Palamedes speaks of could either be when he “turboed” Cytherea’s cancer or when he retrieved Gideon/Harrow from the river. It’s probably the latter, since that involved hands-on work.
- Police are increasing their use of force against the riots, using Manpads (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems or rocket launchers) against civilians.
- Pyrrha reports that she saved the people she could, “left the rest to be buried . . . Or burned. Lots of ‘em were burning. Couldn’t do a thing for them … People notice when you don’t burn, is the thing. There was an audience. Others have been killed for less” (p. 120).
- Palamedes asks if the rebellion has started, and Pyrrha answers, “I know that sounds ridiculous, but not yet. Even though they’re chucking bombs at the cops and yelling shit about No deals, no lords, no zombies, and Cops love zombie money. When it kicks off, nobody will be yelling anything” (p. 120). Pyrrha has, as they say, seen some things. She calls the violence “labour pains.”
- The Sixth House does gravid pregnancy (as opposed to vat reproduction) “only for research” (p. ).
- “I helped at a birth once. There’s a lot of noise and run-up before the real thing happens” (p. ).
- We don’t know when it was or whose birth it was. It could have been Gideon Nav’s, but maybe not.
- Pyrrha asks Palamedes to keep Camilla from going to the cages, and we get a lot of intel while Nona eavesdrops.
- The lynch mob took three adults from the cops, with no real information where they were taken from. This sparks Palamedes’ worst fears.
- “I know you and she are doing some ungodly tricks with soul manipulation, but what do you think you are, a damned Ly — L-word? You’re not even a fraction of one, you’re only a step in the theory” (p. 122).
- Pyrrha is deeply, sustainedly, afraid for Camilla and Palamedes. She does not want them to become a Lyctor.
- “We’re all three of us in enough trouble as it is” (p. 122).
- “Me and the boys combed Site C and I found nothing: no bodies, no blood, none of your people. No sign they were even kept there by the Edenites” (p. 122).
- This matches their conversation the day before about searching for something or, rather, someone. They’re searching for the Sixth House Oversight Body, which is being held by Blood of Eden.
- No wonder they’re alienated from Crown and BoE, if BoE is holding the Oversight Committee that came to negotiate with them.
- The people being burned tonight are not necromancers, but random civilians who are “insane, or drug-addled, or who said the wrong thing” and that’s “been the the vast majority of the cage deaths since the initial flush” (p. 122).
- Always the case that terror spreads and catches innocent people in its zeal.
- “Even if it is one of yours then Number Seven’ll have them so out of their tree that they’ll hardly notice when—“
- “This isn’t about House loyalty . . . It’s about three people being burnt to death” (p. 123). Palamedes still wants to save everyone.
- Here’s our confirmation, beyond Pyrrha’s toast in Chapter 9, that Varun is the Resurrection Beast John calls Number Seven.
- We have to wonder why Varun is here.
- Palamedes tells Pyrrha that Camilla’s sister is on the Oversight Body. “Led here by my conviction and Camilla’s hand. My colleagues, my friends. My family … The people they put in cages will be someone’s family, someone’s friends” (p. 123).
- Nona “let the light touch her eyes and her lips and felt better for it. This was a secret Nona kept from Pyrrha and Camilla and Palamedes, almost the only one she kept from them, but one too beautiful to tell” (p. 124). Even though everything went off the rails when Varun arrived, “Nona loved the blue sphere as much as she loved everything else. She, and nobody else, could hear it sing” (p. 125).
- Nona tells Camilla she’s not afraid of dying “because I like the letting go of the pull-up bars and falling off” and is amazed “that anyone might not love the weightlessness when your fingers slipped off the metal and you hung, unsuspended, in midair” (pp. 125-126). Nona hints subtle and blatant are piling up.
It’s night, and she and John lie looking at the sky while John continues his story. By the end of the day, he can make Titania and Ulysses walk. John’s companions believe because, he says, they want something to believe in. They figure out that John can animate the corpses according to his proximity; other factors such as location or provenance of the bodies don’t matter. The implications of John’s power and their eventual fate at the hands of government officials terrify them, and they decide their best protection against being co-opted or seized is to appeal directly to the public. They livestream.
- The stars are shrouded by falling ash and thick green clouds, but beyond, if the sky were clear, they would see the Southern Cross.
- The falling ash establishes continuity of time in the dream; it’s the evening of the first dream day.
- Although the ash evokes fallout, the green clouds indicate violent weather. They’re not specifically associated with nuclear events.
- John thinks of the Southern Cross as an anchor, which is what it’s called in Maori culture.
- He likes “the idea that the Milky Way was pinned down and couldn’t go anywhere. Said when he was a kid he hated change, any change at all” (p. 127).
- “She had quite liked change — mostly. But he did not want to dwell on that” (p. 127).
- The essential difference between them makes him uncomfortable. Also, keep in mind that she likes change.
- Despite that the others find the animated corpses downright alarming, John keeps them with him “so I could look after them — it seemed so important” (p. 128).
- Cassiopeia and Gideon had been raised as Christian, and were more accepting of miracles than Mercymorn, who was an atheist although her best friend was a nun.
- “They wanted to believe. All of them. We all wanted a miracle. . . We all thought of you right away, what it could mean for you” (p. 128).
- “She” is so sick, so in need of help. What could animating a couple of corpses do to make her better?
- Here’s my editorial moment: John fundamentally and purposely misinterprets and rationalizes everything that happens from here on. This power of his makes him powerful; it doesn’t help “her” at all, but it becomes John’s driving passion.
- “P— was worried that this was some kind of zombie apocalypse” (p. 128).
- Interesting, given that Blood of Eden calls necromancers zombies. And that there really was an apocalypse.
- “Titania and Ulysses ween’t zombies. They were … extensions. Constructions without a soul. They hadn’t woken up, they hadn’t been resurrected in that sense of the word” (p. 128).
- I open this topic because we’ve had discussions in comments about the difference between waking and resurrection. We haven’t had a neat definition of either term, not exactly, but here’s what we know about resurrection:
- In Gideon, Harrow calls Alecto “the cost of the Resurrection” (p. 354).
- Also in Gideon, Ianthe says that she studied “large-scale energy transferral. Resurrection theory. I studied what happened when the Lord our Kindly God took our dead and dying Houses and brought them back to life, all those years ago … what price he would have had to pay. What displacement, the soul of a planet? What happens when a planet dies?” (p. 384).
- Cytherea calls herself “Lyctor of the Great Resurrection” (GtN, p. 405). We know that Cytherea is a second generation disciple, and she lived at Rhodes, so there were people existing before the Resurrection? Mercymorn remembers that Valency and Anastasia were also part of the second generation (HtN, p. 120). It’s not clear, but it appears possible that the “Great Resurrection” happened after the Houses were established.
- In Harrow, John tells Harrow that he hasn’t resurrected anyone in 10,000 years (p. 35).
- He also says that, in conceiving her, in using 200 children to power her conception and mark her soul, her parents performed a kind of resurrection
- The frozen bodies John sends to renew the Ninth House are being wakened, not resurrected.
- John is called “the Emperor of the Nine Resurrections” (HtN, p. 156). These would be the planets, which is further clarified when John says, “A myriad ago, I resurrected nine planets . . . and I reignited he central star, and I called it Dominicus” (HtN, p. 344).
- Augustine says, “Do keep in mind that our holy resurrections were staggered, and it took generations for our merry band to assemble” (HtN, p. 176).
- Taking all these points together, I (tentatively) surmise that resurrection requires a dose on thanergy to animate a previously dead entity (since planets have been resurrected, and maybe individual people), while waking doesn’t. Waking requires restarting the body’s functions and reviving the sleeping, insensate soul.
- Maybe John resurrected everyone and then froze them for waking later? Who knows?
- It pays not to be limited to people in the definition, since planets and stars can be resurrected. Which would also explain the difference between thanergy planets (within the Nine Houses, capable of supporting life, and the citizens of those Houses, who can have children safely) and thanergenic planets, where everything dies, albeit slowly.
- It also distinguishes between thanergy used to power magic, as John does in resurrection, and what he has his Lyctors do in flipping planets, which doesn’t harness thanergy. In fact, it’s just straight-up murder.
- Okay, where were we? Ah, yes:
- “I knew I’d touched something, come away with something, that could be used for good. Could be used to fix everything, used for you” (p. 128). Lo, the unreliable narrator! Although, for the record, John probably believes his statement.
- “Something about our particular patch in the Wairarapas” — gives us the installation’s location: on the southeast side of New Zealand’s North Island, east of Wellington.
- “The corpses were what mattered. They were my batteries” (p. 129).
- Wait, what? John gets his power from the corpses. He doesn’t power them, they power him.
- This runs counter to everything we’ve learned from John about how his powers work. I can’t help but think it’s deliberate and important. Is it possible that John needs death to make him powerful?
The memes are fewer in Nona, and there’s no comprehensive list of them. I’ll note the ones I find. You should do the same.
If you haven’t tuned into the Locked Tomb Podcast, you should.
Here is a list of things I suggested we pay attention to. Since the list is long, I’ve removed items that have been resolved.
Nona the Ninth
- The week’s codewords:
- Lowdown: Danger, everyone scatter
- Deadweight: All clear
- Red ribbon: Someone following
- Fritters: Someone listening
- Fishhook: Important resource, come and help secure it
- There are millions of people from many different planets who have come from being resettled on other planets before this one, and none of them are happy.
- There’s a choice between the barracks and Palamedes’ people.
- Merv Wing has the upper hand among Blood of Eden.
- The school is being watched.
- The Sixth House had a “break clause” and the “installation” had a secret.
As yet unsent
- Gideon’s corpse is incorruptible.
- Blood of Eden has a ship with a stele, and a necromancer to power it.
- Mercymorn worked directly with Blood of Eden.
HARROW THE NINTH
- The Mithraeum. The bovine skulls in Canaan House. Also Sprach Zarathustra.
- Harrow: “Beloved dead...let me live long enough to die at your feet.”
- John: “I mastered Death; I wish I’d done the smarter thing and mastered Time.”
- From “The Little Mermaid”: the chance to live as a human, also the bit about sharing souls.
- Harrow was the 311th direct descendent of the Tomb keeper, and the 87th Nona.
- John says there’s a hiccup with FTL travel in that it destroys something to do with time and distance.
- John has been fighting with Blood of Eden for 5,000 years. He’s been searching for another enemy for 10,000, but we don’t know who.
- Ianthe: “I always take the smartest option first . . .” Pair this with Harrow’s opinion that Ianthe dismisses as unimportant everything she isn’t interested it.
- Something has gone wrong with the River.
- John says his work is “not yet finished.”
- A.L.: The First, Alecto. Who/what is she? She’s John’s cavalier.
- Why did John lie to his Lyctors and induce them them to kill their cavaliers?
- Gideon tells Ianthe that Harrow has already opened the Tomb. Never forget that Ianthe has her own plans, and they involve Harrow staying alive . . . among other things.
- “Space was being cleared for a new character” (p. 464).
- Mercy says that the Resurrection Beasts were coming for Alecto.
- Augustine begs John to stop his 10,000 year old mission. “Nobody has to be punished anymore for what happened to humanity” (p. 483).
- Pyrrha wishes that Augustine had given them the packet.
- Abigail tells Harrow that the “soul longs for its body.” Others have said so, too, over the course of the books. The soul longs for its body.
THE MYSTERIOUS STUDY OF DOCTOR SEX
- Dulcinea writes a letter to “My dearest pals...” Either to Palamedes or to him and Camilla both. Also worthy of note: in Harrow she calls Palamedes her first strand and Camilla her second, and three strands were not undone.
- The Lyctoral letter: Darling girl,
Tomorrow you will become a Lyctor and finally go where I can’t follow. I want you to keep this letter when you are far away and think of me and want me and can’t have me, and know that no matter how far you travel, nor how long the years feel, the one thing that never stays entombed is
APPENDICES OF GIDEON THE NINTH
- Thanergenic planets: are powered by thanergy. Only the Nine Houses are thanergenic.
- Thanergy planets: are planets in the process of being killed by necromancy. Every part of the Empire outside the Nine Houses is made of thanergy planets, whose inhabitants are colonized, but aren’t citizens. On thanergy planets the life is slowly mutating and dying off.
GIDEON THE NINTH
- “Die in a fire, Nonagesimus.” (p. 47)
- Aiglamene: “Things are changing. I used to think we were waiting for something...and now I think we’re just waiting to die.” (p. 55)
- “’Down there resides the sum of all necromantic transgression . . . The unperceivable howl of ten thousand million unfed ghosts who will hear each echoed footstep as defilement….” (p. 151).
- Ianthe: “I’m interested in the place between death and life . . . where the things are that eat us” (p. 382).
- Colum Asht is possessed by something with mouths for eyes, a long blue tongue.
- God: “There are things out there that even death cannot keep down. I have been fighting them since the Resurrection. I can’t fight them by myself’” (p. 441).
- God can’t go down Canaan House. He says, ‘I saved the world once — but not for me” (p. 443).
- House of the Emperor, his servants, and his Lyctors.
- Seat: Once Canaan House, now the Mithraeum.
- Skull: no adornment.
- Planet: Earth
- Primary: John Gaius (gold eyes), aka God; his cavalier: Alecto (black eyes).
- Pre-Resurrection John was a scientist.
- Colors: white and scarlet, martial. Home of the Cohort, God’s armies.
- Characteristics: discipline
- Necro: Judith Deuteros, age 22, (Judith beheaded Holofernes), cavalier: Marta Dyas, age 27, (Marta=martial).
- Lyctor: Gideon, saint of Duty (brown eyes); his cavalier: Pyrrha Dve (green eyes).
- Canaan House trial: Projection and winnowing (the big bone construct). Pyrrha invented it.
- Pyrrha was a “bombshell” (John) and a “stone-cold fox” (Augustine).
- Pre-Resurrection: Gideon was G—, an engineer and childhood friend of John.
- Pre-Resurrection: Pyrrha was P—, a police detective and G—‘s best friend.
- Specialty: Spirit magic, use of thanergy in battle. They siphon their enemies to strengthen their cavaliers.
- Skull: A Spartan-style helmet
- Planet: Mars
- Colors: Violet?
- Characteristics: wealth and flash
- Necro: Ianthe and Coronabeth Tridentarius, princesses of Ida, both age 21 (purple eyes), cavalier: Naberius Tern, age 23 (blue eyes).
- Lyctor: Cyrus; his cavalier: Valancy Trinit.
- Cyrus drew the sixth Resurrection beast into a black hole.
- Valency thinks that “one flesh, one end” sounds like instructions for a sex toy.
- Specialty: Spirit magic, “animaphilia” — lover of the soul
- Skull: Jewels in the eyeholes.
- Planet: by the process of deduction: Neptune. It’s beautiful. It’s also the RB Number Seven.
- Colors: Blue
- Characteristics: courage
- Necro: Isaac Tettares, Baron of Tisis, age 13 (hazel eyes); cavalier: Jeannemary Chateur, knight of Tisis, age 14 (brown eyes). (eye color here and elsewhere h/t DesiderataDetritus)
- Lyctor: Ulysses; his cavalier: Titania Tetra.
- Augustine calls Ulysses “a madman” who incited “the sexy parties.”
- Specialty: Spirit magic? It’s unclear, but Abigail Pent was training Isaac, so it’s logical.
- Skull: Wears a laurel wreath
- Planet: Saturn? (h/t RunawayRose)
- Notes: The Fourth supplies soldiers and necromancers to the Cohort. The Fourth has large families, since so many die in battle. The Fourth is first on the ground in war.
- Colors: nothing formal, but sensible brown works.
- Characteristics: Intelligence. Temporal power.
- Necro: Abigail Pent, age 37, Koniortos Court cavalier: Magnus Quinn, age 38. Husband and wife.
- Lyctor: Augustine, saint of Patience; his cavalier: Alfred Quinque (eyes gray).
- Pre-Resurrection Augustine was A—, a scientist.
- Alfred, with Christabel, coin the phrase “one flesh, one end.”
- Second disciple in the Resurrection.
- Alfred “led astray” by Cristabel.
- Specialty: Spirit magic, speaking to the dead. Abigail is a famed historian.
- Skull: Wears a decorated headband, possibly a crown of thorns (h/t Ahianne).
- Planet: Jupiter
- Notes: “Koniortos” = “dust” (h/t BMScott).
- Colors: gray
- Characteristics: scholarship, rare book librarian and conservatorship skills, medical expertise
- Necro: Palamedes Sextus, master warden, age 20, (Palamedes: genius Greek soldier in the Trojan War) (eyes clear gray), cavalier: Camilla Hect, age 20. Second cousins, (eyes gray/brown).
- Lyctor: Cassiopeia; her cavalier: Nigella Shodash.
- Cassiopeia developed the magma metaphor to explain travel in the River.
- She led a Resurrection Beast into the River and was ripped apart by ghosts in seven minutes.
- Described by John as “brilliant and sensible and careful.” (HtN, p. 97). And a good cook. And an easy drunk. Protective of and/or jealous around Nigella.
- Pre-Resurrection Cassiopeia was C—, a lawyer
- Nigella: “prettier” than Pyrrha Dve.
- Specialty: Flesh magic, emphasis on science and magic.
- Skull: Clutches a scroll in its teeth.
- Planet: Mercury.
- Notes: the Sixth House developed the process of cramming numerous souls into a body. Purpose and application still unclear.
- Colors: seafoam green
- Characteristics: love of beauty, especially the fleeting type. Fans of the beautiful death and heirs with hereditary cancer.
- Necro: Dulcinea Septimus, duchess of Rhodes, age 27 (pallid blue eyes); cavalier: Protesilaus Ebdoma, age 39 (Protesilaus: the first Greek to die in the Trojan war). Rhodes: island in the Aegean, site of the Colossus, visited by both Herod the Great and the Apostle Paul.
- Lyctor: Cytherea, Saint; her cavalier: Loveday Heptane (blue eyes).
- Cytherea was one of the 2nd generation Lyctors.
- Loveday was fiercely protective of Cytherea, and the rest at Canaan House disliked her.
- Second generation of disciples, the last to arrive at Canaan House.
- Specialty: flesh magic, with emphasis on beauty.
- Skull: A rose in one eyehole.
- Planet: Venus.
- Colors: White
- Characteristics: orthodox purity, dogmatism, “White Templars,” the “Forgiving House”
- Necro: Silas Octakiseron, age 16 (eyes brown); cavalier: Colum Asht, age 32, 34, or 37.
- Lyctor: Mercymorn, saint of Joy; her cavalier: Cristabel Oct (grayish hazel eyes).
- With Alfred, Cristabel coined the phrase “one flesh, one end.”
- First of the disciples after the Resurrection.
- Augustine calls Cristabel “a fanatic and an idiot,” and blames her for “leading Alfred astray.”
- Pre-Resurrection Mercymorn was M—, a medical doctor.
- There’s some relationship between the Eighth House and the stoma, a place that God cannot comprehend. Augustine says the House “sucks at it . . . like a teat.” Likely has a relationship with soul siphoning.
- The entropy and siphoning challenge at Canaan House: Mercy designed it.
- Specialty: spirit magic, focus on soul siphoning. Also hypocrisy.
- Skull: Blindfolded, denoting blind loyalty.
- Planet: Uranus (of course). It’s a pale planet.
- Colors: black
- Characteristics: devotion to the Locked Tomb.
- Necro: Harrowhark Nonagesimus, age 17 (eyes black); cavalier: Gideon Nav, age 19, (eyes gold).
- Not-a-Lyctor: Anastasia; her cavalier: Samael Novenary.
- Specialty: bone magic.
- Skull: lacking a mandible.
- Planet: Pluto.
READERS & BOOK LOVERS SERIES SCHEDULE
If you’re not already following Readers and Book Lovers, please go to our homepage (link), find the top button in the left margin, and click it to FOLLOW GROUP. Thank You and Welcome, to the most followed group on Daily Kos. Now you’ll get all our R&BLers diaries in your stream.