The Obelisk Gate, chapters 19, interlude, 20
Essun tries to negotiate with the Rennanis army occupying Castrima. It doesn't go well, her orogeny is disrupted by a Guardian's knife, and she is rescued by Hoa. Tonkee concots a plan to herd boilbugs into the army.Ykka yokes Essun to create an escape tunnel, and that allows Essun to learn how to yoke together all the orogenes in Castrima and the obelisks to carry out Tonkee's plan. All the Rennanis soldiers are boiled alive by the boilbugs. Some stone eaters attack; Hoa disables the first. Hoa then takes Essun to the surface. He buffers Essun's first attempt to yoke together all the obelisks. She senses the stone eaters attacking Castrima and traps them in the geode's structure. Essun turns all the inhabitants of Rennanis to stone then detects Nassun by her command of some obelisks. Essun is greeted by Hoa, Antimony, and an unknown stone eater made of alabaster.
Hoa contemplates the fate of the surviving soldiers from Rennanis, and the destruction of the mechanisms that maintain life in the Castrima geode. Essun's right arm has become stone. Hoa discusses consent with Lerna. Hoa tells Lerna about what happened in Rennanis, and Lerna deduces that the people of Castrima could move there. Hoa explains his motives.
There is a revelaiton that stone eaters can't access the obelisks. Nassun detects Essun's use of the Obelisk Gate; the grey stone eater explains things to Nassun. Nassun realises that she cannot hope to rely on either parent. Jija finds Nassun; she explains that she has done bad things, but was guided to do them. Nassun calls the sapphire obelisk and transforms it into a knife shape. Jija attacks Nassun; she turns him to stone. Steel tells Nassun that she will kill all she loves, but she can stop that by capturing the moon.
- We now know what the Obelisk Gate is. Was sufficient piple laid to justify this revelation? Did it follow from what had come before?
- Just as Essun was perhaps demonstrating some morality, she unleashes a biological weapon on an army, killing them all, then commits a genocidal act against a city. Are any of these actions justifed?
- Who are the "you"s referred to at the end of the interlude?
- Both Hoa and Steel, Essun and Nassun, want to recapture the moon. What do you think is really the difference between them?
- Is Nassun right to think that she was guided (groomed?) into the actions she's done?