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Xray the Enforcer

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

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Because I think a lot of people will start reading the Fifth Season after its Hugo win, and they should be able to get through that book without spoilers for the sequel in the current Fifth Season thread, here's a SPOILERIFIC thread for both The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate.

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Probably a good idea to have the second thread. I'm half way through OG.  I started a week ago but was too tired with travel all week to make much progress.  I'm really enjoying it so far and will return to discuss after completing. 

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I'm now about a third of the way done. I was also way too tired from travel to focus, and have been trying to make up for lost time this weekend. Really enjoying it thus far -- the Nassun POV is a welcome addition to the storyline.

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I'm 4 Or 5 chapters in, and well, it hasn't really taken off yet. Loved the first book, but sorta just waiting on something to happen, ya know? I am really interested where Schaffa's story is headed though and what becomes of Nassun. Essun and Alabaster has had a few interesting tid bits, but nothing has really happened yet.

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That sample chapter is pretty hard hitting.  Guess we can write off that Dead Civ being the cause of the moon's disappearance, at least directly.

Lots of hints at the interplay between the Guardians, Father Earth, Stone Eaters and Orogenes.  My theory of the Sanze being responsible for Guardians was totally blown out of the water, which is for the best.  Also, I was wrong in speculating that Orogenes might have evolved in response to the Seasons, it couldn't be given what we know about Stone Eaters now.

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5 hours ago, Michael Seswatha Jordan said:

I'm 4 Or 5 chapters in, and well, it hasn't really taken off yet. Loved the first book, but sorta just waiting on something to happen, ya know? I am really interested where Schaffa's story is headed though and what becomes of Nassun. Essun and Alabaster has had a few interesting tid bits, but nothing has really happened yet.

TBH, it takes awhile. But I'm about 35 percent or so through the book and it's starting to pick up. (Obviously, mileage varies on what "picking up" means for individual readers. :) )

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5 hours ago, .H. said:

That sample chapter is pretty hard hitting.  Guess we can write off that Dead Civ being the cause of the moon's disappearance, at least directly.

Lots of hints at the interplay between the Guardians, Father Earth, Stone Eaters and Orogenes.  My theory of the Sanze being responsible for Guardians was totally blown out of the water, which is for the best.  Also, I was wrong in speculating that Orogenes might have evolved in response to the Seasons, it couldn't be given what we know about Stone Eaters now.

I'm another one who had no sample chapter, and I had the kindle version. How disappointing. 

I know this is a spoiler thread but I'll spoiler tag, for now, because I see most still seem to be reading the book.

Carrying over a small discussion from the other thread, I agree with the interpretation that Steel is hoping to get Nassun to make the moon and Earth collide and wipe out humanity, whereas Hoa seeks to get Essun to put the moon back into orbit and restore the balance. 

I'm a bit confused by the whole thing with Guardians and Orogenes and Stone Eaters though. From what I have gathered, Guardians are Orogenes themselves, who are implanted with the mental needles as children and then seemingly live indefinitely, barring the removal of the implant, or some real damage (Schaffa was able to survive the drowning, after all, and had thoughts to this effect). But then I'm not quite sure I understand the difference between a regular Guardian, and one like Schaffa who allows Father Earth to take control. Is it that the former merely seek to control Orogenes, whereas the latter want to use them to destroy Earth? I found that bit very confusing, but it might just be because of how quickly I blazed through this book. 

 

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17 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I'm another one who had no sample chapter, and I had the kindle version. How disappointing. 

I know this is a spoiler thread but I'll spoiler tag, for now, because I see most still seem to be reading the book.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Carrying over a small discussion from the other thread, I agree with the interpretation that Steel is hoping to get Nassun to make the moon and Earth collide and wipe out humanity, whereas Hoa seeks to get Essun to put the moon back into orbit and restore the balance. 

I'm a bit confused by the whole thing with Guardians and Orogenes and Stone Eaters though. From what I have gathered, Guardians are Orogenes themselves, who are implanted with the mental needles as children and then seemingly live indefinitely, barring the removal of the implant, or some real damage (Schaffa was able to survive the drowning, after all, and had thoughts to this effect). But then I'm not quite sure I understand the difference between a regular Guardian, and one like Schaffa who allows Father Earth to take control. Is it that the former merely seek to control Orogenes, whereas the latter want to use them to destroy Earth? I found that bit very confusing, but it might just be because of how quickly I blazed through this book. 

 

I'm not sure the rules, can I put the sample chapter here in a spoiler quote for people to be able to see it if they didn't get to?

On the rest:

Spoiler

Indeed, it seems that Guardians are orogenes who basically vampire energy off "normal" orogenes?  Perhaps the "corestone" implant that really makes one a Guardian is another relic from the same deadciv that made the obelisks?  I'm not sure that Father Earth is who a "defective" Guardian represents though.  Recall that the "defective" one in The Fifth Season claimed the be speaking for Father Earth and gets killed because of it.  I think Guardians are looking out for Guardians (and so Stills as well) at the expense of orogenes. 

My best guess at the moment is that the deadciv made the "big hole" (in that city of the other side of the world) in an attempt to harness all the power the the core of the planet and they made the network of obelisks to focus it (at the expense of Stone Eaters).  They stupidly used it as a weapon at some point and that's where everything came apart.  Perhaps also the deadciv itself was actually orogenes and they were out to destroy some other deadciv who made the Guardians, since they could be a real threat to oppress them (as evidenced by the fact that the later did/do).  Then everything goes to hell with the Moon and Father Earth is pissed at all of them, because they all acted petty and exploitative and fucked up the whole planet as a result.

I definitely need to ruminate more on this though.

 

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Unfortunately it's copyright infringement to post the whole sample chapter here, even under spoiler tags. It's OK to excerpt a couple of relevant quotes (up to 200 words), though. 

Also going to put this under a spoiler while the first wave of readers gets through the book:

Spoiler

Re: the book. I'm still trying to process the scene with Tonkee in the control room with the iron shard. 1) why did she lash out and grab the iron shard and 2) was that iron filament actually a corestone making its way to her sessapinae?

 

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2 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Unfortunately it's copyright infringement to post the whole sample chapter here, even under spoiler tags. It's OK to excerpt a couple of relevant quotes (up to 200 words), though. 

Also going to put this under a spoiler while the first wave of readers gets through the book:

  Hide contents

Re: the book. I'm still trying to process the scene with Tonkee in the control room with the iron shard. 1) why did she lash out and grab the iron shard and 2) was that iron filament actually a corestone making its way to her sessapinae?

 

Spoiler

My guess is that it speaks to her?  Just like when Tonkee and Damaya find the socket, that other Guardian keeps asking, "what did it say to you?"  My guess is that what was in the socket is in the corestones too, which is what that sliver was.

Going back to that part though, this is an interesting quote to throw a wrench in my simplistic layout of orogene vs Guardian vs Father Earth:

Quote

“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.”

Interesting, so perhaps it was originally Orogenes, exploiting stone eaters, versus Guardians, then Father Earth, pissed off at Orogene's for opening up that hole, "corrupted" the Guardians to kill/control all the Orogenes?  Orogenes felt they had to choice and use the obelisks as a weapon to try to kill the Guardians.  Or worse, try to kill Father Earth.

Then we are presented with this:

Quote

“A thing is done to make us what we are. An implantation. Sometimes it goes wrong and must then be removed, as you saw.” He shrugs. His right hand is still covered in gore. “A Guardian’s connections with his assigned orogenes can help to stave off the worst, but Timay had allowed hers to erode. Foolish.”

So, the Guardians fight Father Earth's influence by attaching to Orogenes. 

Crackpot theory of the moment: Guardians are powered by "the silver" i.e. Magic.  They vampire it away from Orogenes but if they fail to, it comes from Father Earth and then they are under his control/influence?

 

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On 8/29/2016 at 11:10 AM, Xray the Enforcer said:

TBH, it takes awhile. But I'm about 35 percent or so through the book and it's starting to pick up. (Obviously, mileage varies on what "picking up" means for individual readers. :) )

Hey, I'm on chapter 12 I believe and things are getting very interesting. By picking up I wasn't meaning a lot of action. That's not really what these books are about. But, now a lot of things are starting to come together and we're beginning to see the different plots and such merge together. I love that magic is being introduced and the way it's used in this world, wel, as much as we've seen up to this point that I've read. I love Jemisin's writing, a very unique stlye.

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I've finished the book. Loved it. I'm still gathering my thoughts. A couple of questions, which I'll put under the spoiler tag. 

Spoilers for Obelisk Gate:

Spoiler

 

It seems that connecting to an obelisk won't turn you to stone, but networking them to open the Obelisk Gate will? Basically, trying to suss why Essun and Alabaster turned/are turning to stone, while Nassun has not. In the end, Alabaster got turned into a Stone Eater (at least, that's how I interpreted that passage) -- will Essun meet the same fate? (I'm guessing yes, and that she + Alabaster or Hoa will eventually face off against Steel, as it looks like only Stone Eaters can reliably kill other Stone Eaters.)

Does anyone have speculations on where Guardians go during Seasons? And does the Fulcrum actually commit suicide during a Season (seems....unlikely) or just the outposts at the two poles?

 

And a couple of thoughts/questions on the sample chapter for the final book:

Spoiler

So it looks like Hoa was the first (?) to open the Obelisk Gate and is responsible for throwing the Moon out of stable orbit. Does this mean he is the first Stone Eater? Maybe this is why so many Stone Eaters hang out at Corepoint?

 

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2 minutes ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

I've finished the book. Loved it. I'm still gathering my thoughts. A couple of questions, which I'll put under the spoiler tag. 

Spoilers for Obelisk Gate:

  Hide contents

 

It seems that connecting to an obelisk won't turn you to stone, but networking them to open the Obelisk Gate will? Basically, trying to suss why Essun and Alabaster turned/are turning to stone, while Nassun has not. In the end, Alabaster got turned into a Stone Eater (at least, that's how I interpreted that passage) -- will Essun meet the same fate? (I'm guessing yes, and that she + Alabaster or Hoa will eventually face off against Steel, as it looks like only Stone Eaters can reliably kill other Stone Eaters.)

Does anyone have speculations on where Guardians go during Seasons? And does the Fulcrum actually commit suicide during a Season (seems....unlikely) or just the outposts at the two poles?

 

And a couple of thoughts/questions on the sample chapter for the final book:

  Hide contents

So it looks like Hoa was the first (?) to open the Obelisk Gate and is responsible for throwing the Moon out of stable orbit. Does this mean he is the first Stone Eater? Maybe this is why so many Stone Eaters hang out at Corepoint?

 

On the first part:

Spoiler

I guess it is the Obelisk gate that turns them, but since there are stone eaters in each obelisk, they must have predated them, right?  Essum will definitely turn into a stone eater, she has already started to.  My guess is that Nassun won't yet because she hasn't used the obelisks in that strong a manner yet?

My only guess on the Guardians is that they go where ever they came from?  I think it was said that they only commit suicide if the Guardians there can't watch them all or are gone, but I could be remembering wrong.

On the second part:

Spoiler

I don't think he'd be the first Stone Eater, since stone eaters are in each obelisk, but he might have been the last orogene from that deadciv to become one?  Perhaps the other stone eaters at Corepoint are the rest of the orogenes from there?

 

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18 minutes ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Re: your second part -- that's a really good point. I like your interpretation.

Spoiler

The only theory I can currently come up with on how orogenes become the "original" stone eaters has something to do with the Corepoint deadciv's work on harnessing energy.  Perhaps the early experiments on pre-obelisk ways to channel the core energy yielded stone eaters?  Then stone eater exploitation allowed obelisk creation?

 

 

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This thread was started to avoid long conversations under spoiler tags so be warned that this post contains spoilers. 

 

Look away. 

 

Look away. 

 

Why do you say there is a stone eater in each obelisk? Hoa was in a cracked and kinda broken obelisk because he (paraphrasing) had a run in with the wrong origene. It's a way to trap stone eaters, but other than that one obelisk I don't recall being told that other obelisks or each obelisk has a stone water in it. 

I think excessive use of "magic" as opposed to heat/motion transference origine will eventually turn you into "stone" which Hoa described as the perfect arrangement of atoms into a pure magic. (Or something like that when thinking of Essun's arm). Linking the obelisks increases magic use exponentially which is why I think you get visible flesh-to-stone reactions.  Nassun's use of a single obelisk may have turned a negligible amount of her to stone and it just went unnoticed. I think we can't tell. 

 

And then somehow the stone eater digesting the pure magic arrangement of the stone flesh turns the person into a new stone eater. With lots of power but no longer an ability to use the obelisks. Which is probably some fail safe mechanism from when the humans were at war with those that had turned into stone eaters. 

Big mystery for me is how the Guardians work and Father Earth. Maybe father earth is the consciousness resulting from the magic in all life that has come to permeate Earth over millions of years. Remember how Nassum (I think it was her) sensed all the magic in the calcite.  

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*continuing spoilers from unJon's post, look away*

 

I agree with unJon,  I did not think there was a Stone Eater in every obelisk (certainly doesn't seem to have been one in the obelisk Nassun kills her father with), and I agree that the more one uses magic, the more likely one is to turn into stone. I think it also has to do with how powerful the individual using the obelisk is too. For example, a "one-ringer" who tried to connect to an obelisk might be stoned instantly, whereas Nassun and Essun are clearly both very powerful, so they are able to connect to them without turning to stone.

 

On my point earlier, about the Guardians and Father Earth, I don't think you and I really seem to disagree .H., I might just have worded it in a way that it came across wrong. Basically I assume that a standard Guardian, like Schaffa in The Fifth Season, uses the power of Father Earth, granted by the implant, but uses it to maintain the status quo and control Orogenes. A "rogue" Guardian, like Schaffa in The Obelisk Gate, works with Father Earth to vampire off of Orogenes/magic and use them to Father Earth's ends (the destruction of humanity, seemingly). However, with Schaffa, it seems he retains some vestige of humanity, because he has become too attached to Nassun to force her to do anything, or see her hurt etc.

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2 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

*continuing spoilers from unJon's post, look away*

 

I agree with unJon,  I did not think there was a Stone Eater in every obelisk (certainly doesn't seem to have been one in the obelisk Nassun kills her father with), and I agree that the more one uses magic, the more likely one is to turn into stone. I think it also has to do with how powerful the individual using the obelisk is too. For example, a "one-ringer" who tried to connect to an obelisk might be stoned instantly, whereas Nassun and Essun are clearly both very powerful, so they are able to connect to them without turning to stone.

Hmm, yeah, in retrospect, I think unJon and you are right.  I don't know why I thought we had seen a stone eater in a different obelisk, but I probably day-dreamed that up remembering from The Fifth Season.  Also, I agree, I think that magic use definitely has a part in turning into a stone eater.  Here is an alternative idea then, perhaps the Orogene Deadciv builds Corepoint, then the obelisks to harness all that power.  Only after trying to use it as a weapon (perhaps verses the Guardians) Hoa decides that is enough and flings the moon.  The last of the Deadciv Orogenes are pissed and so trap him in an obelisk, like Essun traps those others that are attacking Castrima?

 

2 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

On my point earlier, about the Guardians and Father Earth, I don't think you and I really seem to disagree .H., I might just have worded it in a way that it came across wrong. Basically I assume that a standard Guardian, like Schaffa in The Fifth Season, uses the power of Father Earth, granted by the implant, but uses it to maintain the status quo and control Orogenes. A "rogue" Guardian, like Schaffa in The Obelisk Gate, works with Father Earth to vampire off of Orogenes/magic and use them to Father Earth's ends (the destruction of humanity, seemingly). However, with Schaffa, it seems he retains some vestige of humanity, because he has become too attached to Nassun to force her to do anything, or see her hurt etc.

I'm not sure, honestly.  The whole Father Earth thing is confusing.  What makes me think that standard-issue Guardians are not in league with Father Earth is how Schaffa kills that one interrogating/ranting to Tonkee and Syenite, because it seems that it let "Father Earth" take control.  I was thinking that vampiring off orogenes are what keeps them from being under Father Earth's control, they either pull magic from an orogene and are then bound to them, or draw from Father Earth and are then bound to him.  One thing that might be confounding this is that Schaffa in TFS isn't really a standard-issue Guardian, I don't think, and so Schaffa in TOG isn't a usual broken Guardian either.  That's trowing me for a loop I think.

I need to think on this more.  What is the mission of standard-issue Guardians?  And so what is the broken Guardians mission?  In TFS the Guardians seem to be all about controlling the orogenes.  What are the other two (besides Schaffa) up to at Found Moon?  Is that the clue?  They are also trying to bring back the moon?

So many half-baked ideas I have, so little time...

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4 hours ago, .H. said:

Hmm, yeah, in retrospect, I think unJon and you are right.  I don't know why I thought we had seen a stone eater in a different obelisk, but I probably day-dreamed that up remembering from The Fifth Season.  Also, I agree, I think that magic use definitely has a part in turning into a stone eater.  Here is an alternative idea then, perhaps the Orogene Deadciv builds Corepoint, then the obelisks to harness all that power.  Only after trying to use it as a weapon (perhaps verses the Guardians) Hoa decides that is enough and flings the moon.  The last of the Deadciv Orogenes are pissed and so trap him in an obelisk, like Essun traps those others that are attacking Castrima?

 

I'm not sure, honestly.  The whole Father Earth thing is confusing.  What makes me think that standard-issue Guardians are not in league with Father Earth is how Schaffa kills that one interrogating/ranting to Tonkee and Syenite, because it seems that it let "Father Earth" take control.  I was thinking that vampiring off orogenes are what keeps them from being under Father Earth's control, they either pull magic from an orogene and are then bound to them, or draw from Father Earth and are then bound to him.  One thing that might be confounding this is that Schaffa in TFS isn't really a standard-issue Guardian, I don't think, and so Schaffa in TOG isn't a usual broken Guardian either.  That's trowing me for a loop I think.

I need to think on this more.  What is the mission of standard-issue Guardians?  And so what is the broken Guardians mission?  In TFS the Guardians seem to be all about controlling the orogenes.  What are the other two (besides Schaffa) up to at Found Moon?  Is that the clue?  They are also trying to bring back the moon?

So many half-baked ideas I have, so little time...

Your ideas are all very interesting, and good to bounce off. On the Guardians, my basic idea is that the standard Guardians use these implants, but don't really allow Father Earth to take control, they aren't in league with him (I agree with you there that the Guardians are one of the three factions, not in league with Father Earth). What you say about vampire get Orogenes is interesting. I wonder if it's he case that the Guardians need to vampire off of Orogenes to use magic and retain their sense of self, otherwise they must allow father earth to take control to tap their powers. I say this because of how Schaffa survives, and how he seems to regain himself a bit once he siphons off some magic when he reaches land. Nothing he can tap into in order to keep himself alive, so he allows the implant to take control of him (which seems a gradual process, rather than instantaneous. Maybe it's sending silver through the blood/nerves or something?)

 

My thoughts are a bit incoherent and probably way off but I love how much this series has me thinking

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