Xray the Enforcer

[SPOILERS] Stone Sky + The Obelisk Gate + Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

79 posts in this topic

 

On Father Earth, I am down with unJon's spec that it is the living consciousness of the planet's Silver (Magic).  That was pretty much my feeling throughout the books.  I think there are some scant clues scattered around the books as to how the Orogene/Stone Eater/Guardian puzzle fits together.

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Listen, listen, listen well.

There was an age before the Seasons, when life and Earth, its father, thrived alike. (Life had a mother, too. Something terrible happened to Her.) Earth our father knew He would need clever life, so He used the Seasons to shape us out of animals: clever hands for making things and clever minds for solving problems and clever tongues for working together and clever sessapinae to warn us of danger. The people became what Father Earth needed, and then more than He needed. Then we turned on Him, and He has burned with hatred for us ever since.

Remember, remember, what I tell.

—Lorist recitation, “The Making of the Three Peoples,” part one

We know that sessapinae came before the Seasons though, because the Obelisk's are what caused to Moon to be flung away.  I think what we can take from here though is the last line.  Corepoint and the Obelisks are how the Orogenes turned from being something beneficiary to Earth into being exploitative.  At the point at which the dug out Corepoint, perhaps they "breached" the "well" or the "fount" of Earth's silver and so awoke it's consciousness, i.e. Father Earth.  At that point, he was pissed.

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“It did what it had to do, last time.” Press and tighten. This Guardian, unlike Schaffa, has longer nails; the thumbnail begins to dig into Damaya’s flesh. “It seeped through the walls and tainted their pure creation, exploited them before they could exploit it. When the arcane connections were made, it changed those who would control it. Chained them, fate to fate.”

I keep coming back to this quote from the "malfuctioning" Guardian in TFS, because I think it points us in the right direction.  I had an idea that the Corepoint Orogenes were using the Obelisks as a weapon versus Guardians, but perhaps it started earlier (not that it really matters much if it was pre- or post-Seasonal).  Schaffa comments how the machinery that makes him a Guardian (notably the chair) was used for other things before.  I think Warrent was the home of the Orogenes that opposed Corepoint.  I think Father Earth took to them, as a way to fight Corepoint and so created Guardians.  "Chained fate to fate" may be an allusion to the need for Guardians to be parasitic off Orogenes?

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“Father Earth fought back,” she says.

“As one does, against those who seek to enslave. That’s understandable, isn’t it?”

 

Father Earth had no desire to be exploited.  Perhaps it goes as Corepoint begins exploiting Father Earth, he makes Guardians, Corepoint turns to use the Obelisks as weapons now to fight them.  We know the rest.  This explains why the Obelisks were used as weapons.  Explains the Father Earth connection to Guardians.  Explains why Guardians are actually Corestone converted Orogenes.  Explains why Father Earth is pissed.

In other words, way too neat and no doubt wrong.  Need to somehow get Stone Eaters into this narrative, need to think on it more.

Edited by .H.

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Interesting thoughts on Father Earth and the first Fifth Season. And Darth Richard may be right that I was expecting this to go more sci-fi than it will; I don't think we'll ever find out Father Earth is a supercomputer, but I guess I do think that there is science behind what our characters percieve as magic. 

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So Nassun is set up as the villain? That is one fucked up little kid. Understandably, though.

The impression I had with Schaffa is that he resists father Earth's influence, so that rather than being in his corner seeks a compromise.

I can't pin Hoa's angle and all his talk of betrayal. As hs is the voice narrating Essun's life to her, I assume she has become a stoneater and as Alabaster's condition suggests at the end of the book the transformation involves loss of memory.

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The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin - August 15, 2017

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The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS... FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother's mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

 

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Some thoughts after the rumination following the end of the book.

At some point it mentions a contamination on the part of father Earth right after Essun discovers the pit at the pit at the Fulcrum which is lined with iron spikes. The guardian who was overcome mentioned that at first Father Earth was looking for a compromise. At some other point the books mention that the stone-eaters were his creation, his attempt to make some humans like him.

I think the reason using the obelisks turns powerfull orogens into stone-eaters is whatever Father Earth did. I think it was supposed to work twofold. It is a deterrant for orogens two use obelisks freely and to their full potential and second to bring some of them to his way of thinking, while neutralizing them. Let's face it orogens are over-powered as it is. With unfettered access to the obelisk network they would have been ridiculously over-powered. The Guardians wouldn't have a chance in hell to bring them to heel. I think the orogens abandoned the use of the obelisks long before the Guardians, out of the fear of what would become of them. And here is the kicker. Powerful, magic-wielding orogens are the only way the stone-eaters have of procreating. Of course the procedure of being turned into stone and then devoured obviously did not appeal to the orogens. Yet the stone-eaters rather than adhering to Father Earth's cause would actually encourage orogens to use the obelisks.

I think the Guardians came later and the were Father Earth's revenge. Both to ensalve the orogens and to actually use them for mankind's destruction.

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Finally gave myself the push to get started on TFS a few weeks ago, was relatively hooked just by the line about the giant pyramid in the prologue "Why build this infeasibly large pyramid? Wrong question! Why not build it?!!" and got dragged in more from there, burnt through both books in a week. Really loved it. Having read back through this thread and TFS thread I'm struck by how much the revelations from OG change views from TFS. In particular I think Alabaster becomes a lot more understandable in deciding "this world is utter garbage, and I can fix it with an enormous cost" rather than just "this world is garbage, kill it with fire". The twist on the Guardians smiling was also fantastic and huge - this super creepy thing from the first book changes from them being incredibly cruel to it being an indication of their conflict with Father Earth and a pain relief mechanism doesn't remove the creepiness, but it does make it a lot more interesting.

I'm confused by a number of people who seem to think the Guardians are Orogenes, its already a couple of weeks since I read them but I thought it was pretty clearly stated in a conversation between Syenite and Alabaster that they are the stills born of Orogenes. I think that conversation is after they see the node maintainer and are discussing prospects for their child if they have one, and the outcome of being a still was considered the worst case. I took this to mean that Guardians are carriers of the Orogene gene.

The piece of stone lore relating to the stone eaters and them being the creation of folly is pretty clear in hindsight as well - the folly is drawing too deeply on magic by activating the obelisk gate.

I don't think the orogenes of Corepoint can have been using the obelisks to fight Guardians, Cecause corepoint pre-dates the loss of the moon from its regular orbit, and the Guardians seem like they can only have come to exist after Father Earth got pissed. Of course I could be wrong, and the Guardians were created by Father Earth in response to Corepoint, but prior to loss of the moon - fighting back but not hating humans yet.

I think the other Guardians with Schaffa that are following FE completely are in the 'crash the moon into Earth and kill the humans' school of thought, but I read Schaffa as actually working towards the same end as Essun at this point.

Also the low key inclusion of a prominent trans character, and a loving somewhat happy (Syenite doesn't know how to be happy really) poly MMF triad in TFS, were real highlights for me. The characters are fully realised within the story, and they're not built around those things - they're simply part of their characterisation and I don't think I've seen that anywhere else in equivalent novels.

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The Stone Sky comes out tomorrow.  Looking forward to reading it, Amazon claims I should have my copy tomorrow as it already shipped.

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1 hour ago, .H. said:

The Stone Sky comes out tomorrow.  Looking forward to reading it, Amazon claims I should have my copy tomorrow as it already shipped.

Oh nice!

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N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Fifth Season’ Book To Be Developed As TV Series At TNT

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N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo Award-winning sci-fi fantasy novel The Fifth Season is getting the drama series treatment at TNT. The project is in early development at the cable network with Leigh Dana Jackson (24: Legacy, Sleepy Hollow) set to pen the adaptation and Imperative Entertainment’s (All the Money in the World) Dan Friedkin, Tim Kring and Justin Levy serving as executive producers.

 

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Well this is interesting. But TNT? I don't have much confidence. Certain scenes will have to be watered down.

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I finished Stone Sky last night. @Werthead or @Xray the Enforcer can we convert this thread into a spoiler thread for the final installment (or maybe wait a couple of weeks first)?

I really loved the concluding volume overall. Though not perfect I think it concluded an excellent trilogy in the right way  

A few thoughts in spoilers:

Jeminsin's so great at showing emotion through her writing. I was moved by all the main characters, Essun, Nassun and Hoa. I ended up sympathizing with each of them, despite not liking Essun in the prior books. I thought she had a nice redemption ark. 

I did think the climax would be . . . Bigger I guess? With the Guardians and adversarial Stone Eaters all at CorePoint, and with Essun having collected a merry band, I was expecting a battle of some sort. But that didn't happen at all and Daniel, Tonkee and Hjarka just did nothing helpful in the end. I think that's really my only complaint though. 

I thought the world building was top notch and the Evil Earth explanation worked for me (and was pretty close to my speculation after Obelisk Gates up thread). 

I'm still not sure I fully understand the Guardians. Are only "corrupt" ones working for Father Earth? I think yes. But if so, who do Non-corrupted Guardians serve and what is their goal? Just a self proposing organization that really was trying to keep humanity alive through control of Orogones?

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I will not be returning to this thread until I've finished the book. I'm about 5 chapters in so far.

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Just finished The Stone Sky today -- I thought it was a great conclusion to the trilogy.

Spoiler

I thought the final conflict being limited to Essun and Nassan made thematic sense and worked quite well, but I agree with unJon that Essun'taking a group of non-orogenes to Corepoint didn't really make much sense from her point of view.  (I can believe most of them wanting to go, I just don't really see why she'd let them.)

.

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I just started Stone Sky today.  I'll be back.  It took me a few pages to recall where we left Nassun and what Essun saw/experienced when she used the Obelisk Gate, but the early chapters do well to remind without repeating ad nauseum. 

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Quote

In January, Orbit Books announced that it had acquired three new novels from N. K. Jemisin, including a contemporary fantasy “dealing with themes of race and power in New York City.” In a recent interview with Playboy, Jemisin—who just won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for The Obelisk Gate—shared more about how the novel will grapple with “basically Cthulhu” and the legacy of H.P. Lovecraft.

The as-yet untitled novel, which Jemisin plans on being the first in a trilogy, is based on her Tor.com original short story “The City Born Great”: the story of New York City’s rebirth at the hands of a reluctant midwife into battle against ancient enemies. Jemisin discussed expanding the themes of the story:

http://www.tor.com/2017/08/18/nk-jemisin-lovecraft-trilogy/

 

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22 hours ago, Plessiez said:

Just finished The Stone Sky today -- I thought it was a great conclusion to the trilogy.

  Reveal hidden contents

I thought the final conflict being limited to Essun and Nassan made thematic sense and worked quite well, but I agree with unJon that Essun'taking a group of non-orogenes to Corepoint didn't really make much sense from her point of view.  (I can believe most of them wanting to go, I just don't really see why she'd let them.)

.

I'm not going to use spoiler quotes since X-ray made this a spoiler thread. 

SO BEWARE: SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW. 

 

Plesz, I agree it works thematically. On a plot level, though when the protagonist gets together a posse the reader has an expectation that the posse will accomplish something meaningful towards the climax. So I had those expectations for the stills in the party that were never met. Like Chekhov' gun never fired. 

It wasn't a big deal for me at all, just something that could have been more satisfying if the posse had been utilized. 

Similarly, I didn't understand why Steel and her stone people didn't continue the attack at CorePoint. There was clearly an underground battle during the travel there, but why did it stop after that?

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I've not peeked at the above since it converted to a spoiler thread, but about a third in and really enjoying it. I'd forgotten a bit of the detail from the climax of the last, but it felt naturalistic how it built up.

 

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I burned through The Stone Sky and will have to reread through slowly to try and gain more understanding of some of the finer details, but i really enjoyed this book, i bounced off Jemisins hundred thousand kingdoms and was initially reluctant to try TFS , am glad i did, great trilogy, delivered on time and solid all the way through, on the origins of the guardians, when the iron sphere  that was taken from the earth exploded during the firing up of the plutonic engine hoa described iron shards working its way up veins and arteries of the conductors, i am wondering if this is how the first guardians were created? Father earth gained control of the conductors and it progressed from there.

It used the corestone fragments to take direct control of these most dangerous vermin – but this did not work as it intended. Human will is harder to anticipate than human flesh.

 

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