Fifth Season Ch 18 & 19, Interlude
Essun, Hoa, Tonkee enter Castrima and discover it's a city, many Seasons old, built in a geode. There's a big sensawunda moment. Ykka demonstrates he unexplained power to "call" orogenes and stone eaters to her. Ykka explains that the air filtering systems require orogeny to operate. Essun and her gang may now be prisoners of Ykka.
Syentie and Alabaster are trapped in Meov, as they would be blamed for the destruction of Allia. Alabaster is happy to be free of the Fulcrum, Syenite is not happy to be exiled. The garnet (broken, submerged) obelisk made the hole that destroyed Allia, but it's unclear why this happened and what (or who) caused it. Innon fancies both Syenite and Alabaster; they both fancy him. Alabaster is unsure what to do; Syenite is generous and plays matchmaker. They all end up in bed. Syenite realises she's pregnant.
This implies time passes. It draws a metaphor between tectonics and life. After the last sentence, does anyone else hear Richard Burton saying, "Slowly but surely, they drew their plans against us."?
- Ykka and Innon. We've now seen two non-Fulcrum-trained orogenes, who are open about their abilities and are in leadership positions. How are they different from the Fulcrum-trained orogones? Is their confidence a product of their abilities, or are they leaders because of their personality? Does orogeny make for a good leader?
- Are you impressed by the city-in-a-geode? Would this be an interesting setting for a game?
- Why would Ykka want to keep Essun & co in Castrima?
- The Castrima chamber is a deadciv artefact powered by orogeny. What point is Jemisin trying to make by including it in the story?
- Jemisin is careful to let us know that Innon isn't using his physicality or privilege to get Syenite or Alabaster into bed. Is it important to you that Jemisin does this? What if she just hadn't mentioned these details?
- Both chapters have characters finding places that could be home. In both places they're welcomed but also trapped. (Arguably, the same is true of Damaya in the previous chapter.) How do the characters react to these changes? How do you think they will react in future? How will their existing relationships change?
- Is Syenite stronger than Alabaster? Is Alabaster's crying a sign of weakness?
- Any more ideas about who the interlude's narrator is talking to?