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The Locked Tomb Trilogy by Tamsyn Muir


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On 9/18/2022 at 8:17 PM, Poobah said:

 

Regarding the comments about FTL, something that stood out to me as interesting given some of what we learn in Nona was this comment from John early in Harrow:

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I feel like this off the cuff remark is more than just a casual one off line to explain why they travel via necromancy and opens up some interesting questions/theories.

 

Yea, but Blood of Eden moved their troops and operatives from planet to planet  without necromancy  fairly quickly. They wouldn't have been much of an opponent for the Cohort otherwise.  And of course there are/were all these planets inhabited by non-ressurected humans, and though theoretically they could have gotten there via sublight, 10 millenia probably shouldn't have been enough for there to be so many. So, some form of non-necromantic  FTL travel must exist and communication between planets ditto. Additionally in Nona:

 

Spoiler

Escaping ships were able to leave the solar system - and John's grasp, within hours/days. He described holding the last ship with his power and then it winking out of his grip.

 

I have to say that I am in awe of all of you folks noticing all the many allusions and homages that flew straight  over my head! And exponentially more so of Muir for elegantly cramming all this stuff into her books. And of how with each book we get better and deeper understanding of  characters and their motivations. We got mystery boxes with actually satisfying contents, for once. For instance, it now seems clear that 

Spoiler

 lyctors began to remember or reconstruct what actually happened to Earth at some point and that they might have been right that getting rid of John was worth sacrificing everything in Dominicus system. It was never just about him preventing them from discovery of the perfect lyctor theorem that would have allowed their best friends to survive - though his reasons for doing it had been even more miserably ass-holish than I imagined.

 

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On 10/3/2022 at 3:18 AM, Maia said:

Yea, but Blood of Eden moved their troops and operatives from planet to planet  without necromancy  fairly quickly. They wouldn't have been much of an opponent for the Cohort otherwise.  And of course there are/were all these planets inhabited by non-ressurected humans, and though theoretically they could have gotten there via sublight, 10 millenia probably shouldn't have been enough for there to be so many. So, some form of non-necromantic  FTL travel must exist and communication between planets ditto. Additionally in Nona:

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Escaping ships were able to leave the solar system - and John's grasp, within hours/days. He described holding the last ship with his power and then it winking out of his grip.

I'm not even convinced that true FTL travel is good enough to explain the spread of non-Nine Houses humans in 10k years, I get the impression their populations are significant and they are *very* spread out, so its going to need to be a lot more than just FTL but its clear from As Yet Unsent

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That whatever they have is still inferior to travel via Stele, which itself is dramatically worse than non-local/linear travel through the River. Which at the very least implies that both BoE and Stele travel doesn't let them just blip from one place to another

Where I'm going with this is that given what John says about it in Ht9 I won't be surprised if it turns out that BoE FTL, at least the initial version, threw them back in time and humanity has actually been spreading for a lot longer than just 10k years. Or something else along these lines.

Also (Nona spoiler)

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Nice point regarding it being worth sacrificing the Dominicus system to get rid of John. At the end of Ht9 I thought they were cracked from 10k years and their value system was broken, but knowing how small the population of the NIne Houses actually is compared to the human diaspora elsewhere, and just how monstrous John actually is its absolutely worth that trade. 

 

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2 hours ago, karaddin said:

I'm not even convinced that true FTL travel is good enough to explain the spread of non-Nine Houses humans in 10k years, I get the impression their populations are significant and they are *very* spread out, so its going to need to be a lot more than just FTL but its clear from As Yet Unsent

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That whatever they have is still inferior to travel via Stele, which itself is dramatically worse than non-local/linear travel through the River. Which at the very least implies that both BoE and Stele travel doesn't let them just blip from one place to another

Where I'm going with this is that given what John says about it in Ht9 I won't be surprised if it turns out that BoE FTL, at least the initial version, threw them back in time and humanity has actually been spreading for a lot longer than just 10k years. Or something else along these lines.

Also (Nona spoiler)

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Nice point regarding it being worth sacrificing the Dominicus system to get rid of John. At the end of Ht9 I thought they were cracked from 10k years and their value system was broken, but knowing how small the population of the NIne Houses actually is compared to the human diaspora elsewhere, and just how monstrous John actually is its absolutely worth that trade. 

 

Yeah what I thought from the quotation was that they'd been spread across time and space by whatever jank FTL method was first discovered and used back then.

Regarding the current methods it seems that Stele travel is implied to be instant but only goes to pre-made anchor points (there's a comment about this in Harrow about setting up these being an important Lyctor job since they can go wherever through the river), and yeah it does feel like there must be some slow but useable method for BoE to get around under the noses of the houses. I get the impression that most of the time that human populations are moved it is by the forces of Jod forcibly relocating them after the planets they were on were killed and reached the point of uninhabitability though, but BoE feels too widespread and organised to be just hiding amongst those populations.

To your other point: 

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I don't think it'd ever be... Right I guess? To plan to sacrifice the population of Dominicus and in fairness to them Mercy and Augustine did, in Harrow, talk about having plans for an evacuation, but obviously couldn't go through with then because of the circumstances of their assassination opportunity. As a kinda "double effect" of removing a terrible evil from the universe I think it was one they were (perhaps rightly) willing to have on their consciences though when push came to shove, and they were both ready to sacrifice themselves in the attempt or die afterwards so yeah I think they were being as rational and ethical as a ten thousand year old horror realising the enormity of the evil of their boss/god/ex-friend can be. 

All that said I am wondering how much information we lack given the crazy shit going on with the river and those undead things. Is it all him and his existence and power and all the evil planet killing and soul manipulation/eating he's doing that's creating these problems? Did killing him however temporarily start some kind of chain reaction / release some of this evil that's been building up? So when/if death finally sticks to him how many more problems will there be to deal with? Is necromancy the only solution? Is there a better way? 

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One thing that's been bugging me in Nona:

Spoiler

We see that the ecosystem of the planet they're on has been ravaged. Characters have to wear masks outside, it's implied that they're going through their own global climate catastrophe (too hot during the day), the sea walls can't open and the harbor is clogged with venomous stinging jellyfish, etc. How TF did that happen? How much of the population is living in poverty? And what does that say about humanity as a whole that they keep having to get evacuated off of planets after they destroy them? (that alone suggests to me that the timeline is much longer than 10K years.) What is Tasmyn trying to say about humanity in general? 

I mean, like, John sucks. But honestly it sounds like humanity is destroying as many planets (with the consequent human misery) as the Lyctors are, they just aren't creating RBs when they do it. 

 

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1 hour ago, Poobah said:

Regarding the current methods it seems that Stele travel is implied to be instant but only goes to pre-made anchor points (there's a comment about this in Harrow about setting up these being an important Lyctor job since they can go wherever through the river), and yeah it does feel like there must be some slow but useable method for BoE to get around under the noses of the houses.

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All that said I am wondering how much information we lack given the crazy shit going on with the river and those undead things. Is it all him and his existence and power and all the evil planet killing and soul manipulation/eating he's doing that's creating these problems? Did killing him however temporarily start some kind of chain reaction / release some of this evil that's been building up? So when/if death finally sticks to him how many more problems will there be to deal with? Is necromancy the only solution? Is there a better way? 

I can't remember if it was here or on Reddit, but I did see someone say

Spoiler

A holy Trinity (given all the catholicism) of Gideon, Harrow and Alecto might be the end state. Given John dying doesn't seem like it's going to make the RB problem go away I do think they're going to need some ability to address issues going forward that purely tech humans don't have access to.

On the Stele travel front, I thought when Ianthe freaks out about how useful river travel would be to the cohort there's an implication it's better than Stele travel due to more reasons than just not needing the infrastructure already in place. Although she does talk about fuel so maybe those two advantages were all.

1 hour ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

One thing that's been bugging me in Nona:

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We see that the ecosystem of the planet they're on has been ravaged. Characters have to wear masks outside, it's implied that they're going through their own global climate catastrophe (too hot during the day), the sea walls can't open and the harbor is clogged with venomous stinging jellyfish, etc. How TF did that happen? How much of the population is living in poverty? And what does that say about humanity as a whole that they keep having to get evacuated off of planets after they destroy them? (that alone suggests to me that the timeline is much longer than 10K years.) What is Tasmyn trying to say about humanity in general? 

I mean, like, John sucks. But honestly it sounds like humanity is destroying as many planets (with the consequent human misery) as the Lyctors are, they just aren't creating RBs when they do it. 

 

You've just made me realize

Spoiler

I read the entire book assuming it was so bad because Lyctors had killed the planet already and this is what that gradual death looks like before the population hits the point of needing to be evacuated, but now I'm unsure that's actually stated or it was entirely an assumption.

Varun the Eater doesn't eat the planet though, although Alecto's presence is sufficient to explain that without another reason.

 

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On 9/26/2022 at 4:29 PM, karaddin said:
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On the things at the Ninth, I saw a a theory that the drill shaft of Drearburh is paired with or the mirror reverse of the tower in the river. Or, and I'm just trying to think it through now - the two are in the same place, one in the river and one in the physical world.

Spoiler

It seems unlikely they're in exactly the same location (that would make getting into Drearburh impossible, surely?) but I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the tower came from. Though at least the opening of the shaft is square, not round.

On 9/26/2022 at 4:29 PM, karaddin said:
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I've been intrigued with the theory that Drearburh is actually on the moon, not Pluto, ever since I first saw it...

All the other issues with cold and lack of light can be due to it being at the bottom of the drill shaft and close to a pole.

Spoiler

"The bright bead of Dominicus winked benignly down the mouth of the long vertical tunnel" implies it's not the Moon; that's describing a star much further away. And the shaft is obviously not at the pole, either. Whatever planet it is, I suspect it's tidally locked to the sun. But if you ignore that, the depth of the shaft would insulate Drearburh from the Moon's surface temperature changes, and the average temperature is substantially colder than Earth's. Hmm... I suppose there could be a lens or curved mirror at the top of the shaft that keeps Dominicus constantly visible but looking smaller than it should?

 

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Just to be clear I think the obvious location is the most likely one, this alternate theory is a crackpot that I think has some potential but a long way from being sure its right haha.

2 hours ago, felice said:
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It seems unlikely they're in exactly the same location (that would make getting into Drearburh impossible, surely?) but I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the tower came from. Though at least the opening of the shaft is square, not round.

 

I'm not doing a good job of describing it because I'm not sure how to even conceptualize what I mean

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They're not literally in the same location, in part because I don't think the River has geography in that sense anyway. I think they are....spiritually? a pair, two halves of the same coin, mirrors of each other...that sort of thing. As much as they can be when one is a concrete physical place and the other is a materialized concept inside an abstract dimension. Perhaps a terrible ASCII diagram would help!

Physical reality ------------------        --------------

The drill shaft                                |        |

Dreadburh                                     |_____|

The tower                                      |        |

The river           ----------------- |        |

                                                       |        |

River bottom / hell --------------|        |

                                                       |        |

This isn't perfect though, then enter into the tower then rise out of the river and they're in the shuttle fields which are halfway down the shaft rather than at the top or bottom lol. But yeah, some abstract spiritual same location

 

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19 hours ago, karaddin said:

Just to be clear I think the obvious location is the most likely one, this alternate theory is a crackpot that I think has some potential but a long way from being sure its right haha.

It would make a lot of sense; the Moon's internal temperature near the surface is apparently around -30 to -40 degrees C, and I think you'd have to go a loooong way down (dozens of km at least) to get above freezing, which seems like a good fit for Drearburh. While Pluto's crust is made of frozen nitrogen on top of frozen water below -200 degrees C - good luck drilling a habitable shaft in that! It's only the view of Dominicus that doesn't fit, and a transparent dome at the top of the shaft would be very reasonable - I'm not sure what sort of curvature or refractive index it would need, though.

19 hours ago, karaddin said:
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As much as they can be when one is a concrete physical place and the other is a materialized concept inside an abstract dimension.

Spoiler

My guess is the tower is a real physical object that was transported into the abstract dimension, rather than being a materialized concept. But we don't have much hard info to go on yet...

 

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There was some discussion of the moon idea on Reddit as well with someone bringing up some passages from the start of Gt9 talking about Drearburh/the drill shaft. The main bits I remember were that the atmosphere inside the shaft varies in thickness and visibly so, the atmosphere is pumped in so it's not a natural feature of the celestial body it's on, and I think the atmosphere was giving the sky a non black colour.

I'd taken the atmosphere thinning to imply that the shaft isn't actually sealed, but the atmosphere is kept in the shaft by gravity which felt... Unsafe lol. But with your suggestion of a dome at the top causing lensing it makes a lot more sense, the shaft does not have an adequate amount of atmosphere to fill it so you get thicker atmosphere at the bottom and where the vents are blowing it out and thinner at the top.

I'd also been inaccurately picturing the prison facility above Drearburh as being hovering or low orbital, but these same passages also makes it sound much more likely that it's about half way down the shaft and is where the atmosphere starts to really thin.

I'm really liking your idea that it's lensing from a dome that's making Dominicus look further away.

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Actually on the subject of the prison, we have absolutely no idea who is imprisoned there which seems a bit weird. John refers to it as a decoy facility in Ht9, but no one from the other houses has ever indicated knowledge its even there. 

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Makes me wonder if its a long shot as another source of the 'damned'. Early in Gt9 when Gideon is reflecting on her mother there's a comment about checking with the facility to make sure no one had escaped from there, so on the one hand that makes it less likely since there are actual regular mortal guards there. On the other hand the idea of escapees getting down the shaft has already been primed so who knows.

 

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On 10/4/2022 at 9:12 AM, karaddin said:

 

You've just made me realize

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I read the entire book assuming it was so bad because Lyctors had killed the planet already and this is what that gradual death looks like before the population hits the point of needing to be evacuated, but now I'm unsure that's actually stated or it was entirely an assumption.

Varun the Eater doesn't eat the planet though, although Alecto's presence is sufficient to explain that without another reason.

 

I had the same thoughts that you had, and if I do a re-read soon, I’ll make note of why I also thought this. Just know that you aren’t alone.

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