Today is the FINAL DISCUSSION for our amazing Summer-Read-Along! But before we jump in I wanted to let you know, Champions, that W. R. has two novelettes out for this series as well: All the Different Shades of Blue, and Cloudy With A Chance of Dropbears. She also has some free extras over on her Facebook Page (under the Notes section) so if you haven’t gone and liked her page, here’s the excuse you need! (Side notes, the Novellas take place farther out in the series in books that aren’t available yet. W. R. says Cloudy should take place after book 5 and Shades of Blue is between books 6 & 7. (And I say mad props to her for being able to keep all of this straight!)
W. R. Gingell and I will be holding an online talk…soon, ahaha we have to get our Timezones figured out and a day picked, but you can expect to see some kind of Youtube live event in the next two weeks or so, so stay tuned!
Next, I want to give a big thank you to W. R. Gingell for joining us in our fun in the comments, and for taking the time to answer my interview questions. And I also want to thank you awesome Champions for entering into the spirit of our Summer-Read-Along. This event was so much fun for me, and it’s been such a blast looking over your theories and seeing all the things you guys picked up on that I missed!
Since today is the last day I’m naturally raising the spoiler ban so we can discuss everything today! I also thought it would be fun if we closed out by taking a look at some of your amazing theories from past few weeks.
- had some amazing insight on our favorite goth girl Morgana and noted that perhaps she is part mermaid given that she’s bedridden and her breathing sounds raspy! Colleen, on the other hand, wondered if W. R. is goes with another poem theme she might be Elaine from The Lady of Shalott. Either theory thinks way out of the box, so mad props! 😉
- Elizabeth pointed out during Between Floors Zero and JinYeong both seemed a little more open to comforting Pet every time she woke up after Athelas killed her–something they wouldn’t have done previously, and something I absolutely agree with. (JinYeong in particular seemed to soften up to her, though perhaps Zero understood more just how upsetting it was.)
- Caitlin, Rachel, and Faith had a great conversation as they noted that in Between Floors JinYeong actually falls asleep with Pet–something Vampires don’t do often–and wonders what the significance is to this given that Pet has had something of a wonky affect on him from book one when she essentially tricks his nose . (This line of thinking is something I hadn’t quite noticed either, so I’m all ears on this one!)
- Many of us (like myself, Diane, Kadi, Faith, ) think that Pet might be a Heirling. (I was especially inclined to think so after Between Frames, because who else could be the Harbinger’s favorite???) BUT I remember in an earlier discussion–though I can’t find the comment so I don’t know who to credit, sorry–it was mentioned that if Pet was fae….the werewolf virus should have been deadly to her. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm….so many questions.
- Some fabulous readers DID solve some of the Korean translations in the Between Floors discussion, so if you’re curious go check out that discussion post.
In regarding the romance in this series, I think Kat best summed it up in a comment she made in an earlier discussion post: “I’m not proud of how late I stayed up last night reading book three (though I don’t really regret it either). Having finished it, I can officially say that I’m jumping ships…into the ocean. I’m just gonna float there until I can figure out how the heck I feel about the potential romantic relationships in this series.”
I’m right there with you, Kat! Too many ships–I can’t commit to just one!
I’ll actually be around for the discussion this week (more on why I was absentee this week in a future post) so if anyone wants to float some new theories out there, I’m all ears! 😀
And that’s everything! I can’t wait to see what you guys want to discuss–though I’m hoping you guys were as heartbroken by Athelas’ childhood and cackling over a “drunk” Zero like I was! 😉 But I digress. Let the talking begin!
I was just rereading Between Floors and it made me wonder why Pet didn’t fall asleep after the kiss at the end of Between Frames. That is quite a drastic change.
W.R. Gingell says
Between “Floors” and “Frames”, Pet has steadily been exposed to more and more, and the effects have been less and less each time 😉
Started to listen to audiobooks – again. Another question came up. Did we ever learn who sent the mercenaries? Who equipped them with fay magic embossed silver weapons? They were low level, they wore Family signal, they were very well equipped.
The Family is not stupid. Why send things JinYeong would kill anyway. The only reason I can see is to stir trouble between Zero and Athelas. But who else could have sent it? Maybe someone watching the house and trying to dissuade Pet from associating with the lot? The time frame is rather short though. I don’t know. Any insights? Did I miss something?
My question is why did Pet’s parents go to such great lengths to hide her? Lots of Americans are homeschooled (I don’t know what it’s like in Australia) but most have regular birth records and are not hidden in secret bedrooms. Pet’s parents obviously knew she was special and in danger. Why? Was it her heritage? Was there fae involvement in her conception/ birth? Are they really her parents or did they take her or were given charge of her?
And the question raised in the first book:
Who was paying the rent and utilities for the four years after her parents died? Why?
What wasn’t any prospective renter or owner ever shown the house?
Her parents are obviously a key to who and what Pet is. But we have nothing but hints about them.
There is some hint, that the police was involved in keeping the house the way it is, at least unsold. The house was supposedly under survailance for there was precedent for murders of this nature being repeated in a certain time period.
This might hint a serial murder, or simply the house being linked to behind.
This doubles the question how she was not cought living there.
Also not sure it has anything to do with utilities. It seems Athelas knows the answer though.
As for hiding Pet, I wonder. Living in a house has signs more then just pictures on the wall. Cleaning supplies, like toothbrushes, clothes eg in laundry basket, or shoes, books etc. Either they went to great length to hide even those, or the murderer hid those or maybe the house hid that even from the murderer?
Alas I do think Pet was found by the murderer and (s)he chose to not kill her outright.
Questions raised also: neighbours. How come not one of them told the police about Pet?
I mean she was in the garden, she was on the streets. That’s how she met the old bloke.
She knew if the neighbours, it would be strange if they didn’t know of her.
Also: can fae lie? Bc I dunno if Zero had bought the house when he told Pet he’d bought it. He said it 630 AM the day the 3 psychos went to the way station to get the sword. The next day, Tuatu came over after dinner when Athelas and Zero were visiting the morgue, and Tuatu confirmed that “yesterday” the listing agent sold the house “to them.” Who buys a house before 630 AM?
And I believe in Between Floors, Pet notices that Tuatu (or a cop of some sort) doesn’t know that Zero owns the house. (Although he presumably uses an alias, like Athelas’ A. Butler alias)
Thank you for bringing up the homeschooling point, Lin! That’s one which has been bothering me – is homeschooling that different in Australia?? It’s also why I had trouble getting past the first book: I was homeschooled, and I took Anatomy & Physiology in highschool, so the prospect of leaving your hidey-hole after your parents’ brutal murder and being able to identify all the little pieces was a little too real for me.
But I find it interesting her ‘parents’ went to such lengths – she seems to have had a really good education by human standards. Why bother if she’s fae/behindkind? You don’t need high quality to fulfill a cover.
I’m just going to leave this here:
Since the first book I have pictured Athelas being played by actor Mark Gatiss who plays Mycroft Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock. Anyone else getting those vibes?
Yup! I could totally see that!
The third book is still my favorite. I don’t have theories yet, such as the harbinger and what is the Old bloke, because I feel I don’t have enough underlying data to make proper presumptions. It doesn’t mean, the others are not correct, I am just not good in it and like to play safe 😀
I do think Pet is important for the Old Bloke. I think the fact it was always the fluids he stole might be important, as well as the fact he keeps referring to as lady. I think he might have been testing her?
Athelas – I am unsure how to feel about his childhood. I think such a psychological torture would lead to a bigger distortion of psyche as he has. Depending on the age he was sold – provided Fae psyche has anything to do with human psyche. I just put this in the fays are just different in regards of attachment development. Aside from that he touches on my sympathy cords. I love his humor and his hidden tenderness and care. I feel sorry for him having to fear forming attachments. I hope he will find a proper partner for himself (maybe a kindly human librarian with the soul of the North Wind? – sounds like a proper counterpoint to balance and probe him).
He drastically increase the reread value of the book with how he entertains himself (and me. His humor is amazing.)
Zero – he really needs to be able to let go of thinking everything is about him. Must be difficult, since I presume the family is repeating over and over again, that things are. Once he can let that go, he won’t be feeling guilty about everything bad about him. It is very lucky he still has a way to distinguish good and bad, right and wrong. He might fail at times, but his compass is not that off. It is endearing how he tries to solve everything for everyone preferably without them knowing. But he needs to learn to deal with things in team. Pet is doing a good job in forcing them together. If I am to chose someone for him in the long run based on the current data, I would go for the golden Fae woman that can and is willing to stand up to him. Her silent ways and respectable strength might be a good partnership.
Morgana – she is scary for me. I don’t see her motivations and she makes Pet ignore questions with ease that reminds me on Erika and it rings all the wrong bells for me. Also probably because Morgana is a goddess in a Hungarian role playing game, goddess of dreams and shadows. She is believed to be dead, but her followers are secretly and quietly reviving her, aiming to rule the world from the shadows unbeknown to others. She is not evil or good. She is simply who she is, keeper and seeker of secrets, without giving information. Not a bad ally to have. Of course I am convinced City between Morgana heard nothing of MAGUS Morgana ever, so it is just something I would need to set my mind straight about. Still: she is suspicious and none, NONE calls her on the shady things happening around her. That makes my skin crawl. Again, based on the info I have, she and Daniel seem to have something going on between them.
Daniel, so far he did the biggest growing up. He is growing into a caring, affectionate, attentive good leader. He is also strong and able to sacrifice. His pack is lucky with him.
Tuatu – poor fellow. Seriously, just poor fellow. He is the real victim and he still isn’t insane. The dryad won’t die of boredom with him. No wonder the green man came to help out with him. Though it is peculiar. Why did the green man decide to intervene and help out Tuatu? I wonder if he has some inborn affinity too or just the charm of his grandmother is to blame. He is quite quick in understanding things though, like he realised fast enough he wasn’t the one remembering what his granny told him, but the dryad’s wisdom leading him to remember. I am not sure I would have jumped that bar. I hope there’ll come a point where he can solve a case without or against the triad’s better judgement. He deserves to be a hero on his own right, not in the shadow of others.
Pet, well yeah, we all want to know who and why she is the way she is. Why is she drawing in all the events around her, why can she do things she is not supposed to, why is she linked to the house the way she is. Is Daniel right, and is she behind kind? All in all she is still a kid watching the world in amazement. I like how she is brave enough to take things at face value and instead of asking why bad things happen, she focuses on what can we do with and about it. I adore her character flaws. While she is very open about facing danger and situations, she is not very open about her feelings and real thoughts. Not even to herself. She likes to use different explanations then her motivations at many times, even when opening a door. I am very glad she was willing to set limits to her moral compass. She is going toward the right path and I wish her strength in it. Lucky there is Morgana and Daniel there for her, because loneliness can erode quite a bit of moral standing over time.
JinYeong – I don’t know what to write, because it is difficult for me to see him without Pet. He always comes up in relation to her in my mind. So far he is the only one who stood up against Zero for her. He took his wrath just to make life easier for her. Without being asked. It takes something from the value that he actually loves arguing with Zero. I loved the expression he made, when Pet cared enough when Zero zapped him. I think that must have been a turning point for him. I can’t see many people caring enough. This also made the scene when the gold fay bated him with his sister’s death very emotional. The whole dynamics was one of the things that makes me rooting for them together. He is a lost soul, and she can anchor him. I don’t think he ever got over losing his sister. It must be very difficult to like the person who basically caused her corruption and demise. Not to mention, he can not really have a girlfriend. They just fall asleep the moment he kisses them. So yeah, Fay hate him, most trying to kill him, the one he likes the most is also (unwilling) reason for the person’s death he liked the most, people don’t get to a point where they learn about his personality, they either freak out, become mental salivating zombies or fall asleep. And that for 50 years now. I can forgive the cologne due to that. Though I utterly hate colognes. One thing I would point out: in the last book, when Pet was in danger, she trusted him to save her, not Zero. That is why I wasn’t surprised about her reaction to his kiss.
I also love Diana and her books, she is definitely in my top 5 authors, and while I enjoy her style and plot twist and smart tweaks, I think City Between has more layers and hidden hints. Though I think I reread both about the same times.
The character I would hate to leave out: the leprechaun. He is my favorite type of hero. With proper flaws, weaknesses, temptations, sacrifice and dignity. I hope we see him again in the future.
Outstanding questions aside from the general ones asked by others (such as Pet’s heritage, what is goal of Upper Management etc):
– why was the perython (or however it is spelt correctly) not afraid for his life?
– why is Zero alive after the first murder series of harbingers? The king didn’t kill him in the last round. Why?
– is there any sort of islander shaman magic or something? In other words: Tuatu’s grandmother 😀
and tonnes of others, that I forgot by the end of my flood of words.
And after word: yes for mistakes and flaws. YES. Angels are boring, and frustrating. They make me feel less and annoyed for it. Mistakes drives people to better themselves, mistakes (or laziness) is a motor behind development be it tangible or mental or intercharacter ones.
I am excited about Christmas and thankful, that we can have two books a year from this series. It is more than I can hope for, just don’t let WR Gingell know about that. It is better to keep her thinking, she must get out 4 City Between books a year at least >.>
Ooh- I like the Zero and the Fae lieutenant idea! Tuatu’s description of their standoff made me happy. I think they already respect/understand each other somewhat. Who knows what it could turn into?
W.R. Gingell says
😉 I won’t tell her if you don’t…
Agreed. I can be subtle. Me confirming that repeatedly doesn’t negate the fact, right?
I too like your Zero with the Fae Lady pairing. Everyone needs someone who will call them on it when they are wrong.
Rachael Liankatawa says
Your thoughts on Morgana have me fascinated! I didn’t ever visualize her as evil but anything could happen. The thing about being dead but having followers that are secretly reviving her definitely makes me think of the kids. I think her nightmare about being dead is real so mu guess was always that she was some kind of zombie creature but there is still so much mystery surrounding her. I can’t wait until more is revealed! (I am shipping her and Daniel too).
I felt like this book hinted at something to happen between Zero and the Golden Fae Lady so it will be interesting to see how that develops.
Yes to everything about JinYeong. Pet really is the best for him and I think future books will show how he is good for her too. The moment with the Golden Fae taunting him broke my heart but Pet knew what to do to calm him (even though she didn’t think she knew what to do her instincts were dead on).
I would be surprised if Morgana turned out to be evil or perilous. But I am paranoid and I think if something looks too good to be true, it isn’t. And Morgana is too good to be true. But at times random great things happen, there is reasonable good around and at times people just help you because they do. So she can be good without ulterior motives, but I’ll just keep looking at her crossly waiting the knife in the back till we learn more 😀
I suspect we’ll hear more of the golden fay lady. There are too many subtle hints about her being different for Pet to leave her alone. She was doomed to do Pet’s bidding the first time she smiled at Pet. I kinda feel sorry for her. Not enough for she endures her boss and even saved his sorry sitting accommodation when in peril, but she is just waiting for Pet to lure her good sides out. Or force them out. Whichever is more convenient at the time.
Rachael Liankatawa says
Yep! Pet likes her so she is doomed 😂 kinda like all the Psycho’s.
Your “saved his sorry sitting accommodation” had me in stitches. Going to use that sometime.
W.R. Gingell says
Favourite comment of all time! 😂😂😂 “saved his sorry sitting accommodation” 😂😂😂
There’s really good insight here, Sara.
I had never thought of Pet as a harbinger (which still isn’t defined all that well). But it seems to be sort of a catalyst for action, not an actor. Pet is anything but passive. Heirling seems more likely. I have no doubt she’ll somehow play a strong role in deciding the next ruler of Behind. I could see her being a queen, even, with or without Zero. Or help Zero get the job. Or create a democracy for Behind (smile).
If Zero is heir to half of Behind, who’s in line for the other half?
Good question about how Zero survived the last purge of heirlings.
I’m rereading Between Jobs now and the exchange between Athelas, Zero and Pet when she pulls out the sword and then can’t on demand, and the when she explains some Behind kind opened the door to Between for her and Zero was relieved- it points to Athelas and Zero wondering if she was an Heirling, ……I thiiiiiink…! Zero was already fond of her and didn’t want to have to kill her in the fight for the throne…?
Intisar Khanani says
Am I the only one who thinks Pet will eventually end up with Daniel? I think I decided that after he cooked for her in Between Jobs. LOL! And he’s more her age in so many ways, and kind of adorkable even when he’s trying to be all mighty. He clearly also has a soft spot / need to protect Pet. Although I like the psychos, I really can’t imagine Pet having a romantic relationship with one of them (even if she did kiss JY back…whoops.).
Definitely agree that I think Pet is a harbinger as well, and perhaps the Old Bloke is the last generation’s harbinger. Which would also explain his keeping an eye on her.
If not with JinYeong, then I can cope with that pairing. Daniel is on my positive list for sure. They would work, I believe. Just enough bickering and humor, to balance all the sweetness. It wouldn’t make me overly upset.
I thought so at first, but he seems to regard her as a pack member, and after reading about Frey in the MBRC, that immediately puts me in a protective, cute older brother mentality. Who knows, though? I’m with whoever said they jumped ships into the ocean!
I think in some of the previous book discussions a couple folks suggested Pet and Daniel as the best/most likely couple. And I can definitely picture them ending up together. I like his loyalty and his protectiveness. And he is certainly more in touch with humanity than the other Behinder characters.
The problem I have is that I can also easily picture Pet ending up with JinYeong, or Zero, or Marazul, or some other character we haven’t met yet haha. So I am *trying* not to get too invested in any one ship at this point 🙂
W.R. Gingell says
Meanwhile, Author: *cues up The Shipping News OST for her writing playlist*
I thought I heard someone cackling in the distance 😛
As one of the few males (and a pretty old one, too) in the discussion, some other thoughts on romance (or lack thereof).
The only thing I saw in four books that was remotely romantic was the kiss between JinYeong and Pet, which came a little bit out of nowhere.
Previously JinYeong acted like a 12 year old boy who really doesn’t know what to do with girls. So he pick on them and teases. And Pet has her share of 12-year-old moments — hardly surprising since she’s been on her own since she was 13. I doubt she had ever gone on a date.
In one of the earlier book threads, someone said W.R. had said, perhaps on her blog, that Pet would go on a date later in the serious, and there would be reaction from the psychos or Troika or whatever we’re going to all them.
The only other boy-girl attraction I saw in the series so far was Marazul’s huge crush on Pet, though I saw no evidence it was in the slightly bit returned.
I think there is love between Pet and Zero and Athelas. But at this point it seems like family love, not romance. That could change.
I really appreciate you writing your perspective. It’s interesting and cool to see different approaches.
Also, I am not a typical woman, I was born wierd and as Sanderson says in his book: odd little girls grow into odd young women. My life experience indicates this trend continues at later life stages too 😀 So I am not really your guideline when it comes to how others think. That said, I think there is quite a bit of romance in the book, it is merely subtle and not the classic one. Maybe it is a different definition of romance that we go by? When I speak of romantic aspects of the book, it is not necessarily a romantic event but one that brings the involved parties closer together in a bond that is necessary for a romantic love relationship. Just a few instances I can think on: not just buying shoes she had before, but choosing one that is something she would need and love, or taking an otherwise unnecessary fight just so the person of interest can get a sleep she would not strive for herself, but what she direly needs, not letting her run away on her own, but checking where she’ll spend the night, or keeping an eye on her when she walks on her own to see where she is spending time after he learned she was attacked, cleaning her shoes so she doesn’t have to look at the blood, carrying her anytime she can’t cope seeing what is before her, instantly noticing that her neck was hurt and caring enough to see why and how… things like this. These might be small, but still leading toward a forming attachment. On the other side, taking revenge on the golden fay via blood snack, checking to see he is ok when zapped and doing what he would think of as important (cleaning the suit), actually trusting him to fall asleep in his arms, taking revenge even if a petty one when he is insulted (bloodsnack) or calming when none else is there. These things lead toward an attachment that is a great base for romance. I am not saying this will lead to a full fledged love relationship, I am saying these are hints that indicate a development of the relationship that can lead to one.
Jealousy that is displayed on JinYeon side on multiple times also indicates at least on his side an interest toward her, even if it can be simply selfimportance and hurt pride, but even if it started out as such, I think it tuned into something more. There is a reason why he told her she will think on him when she smells the scent she associates with him. Usually that is an element hinting of romance. Or a wish at least.
As for Malazul, yeah, he is head over hills for her, but it was not unreturned. I think Pet is in a total ‘can’t breath, is my face on fire? OMG, he is soooo cute, does he know? Please, let him not know. Why doesn’t he know? How do you act casual again? I am totally casual, right? SOOO good looking,” sort of giddy teenage girl crush with him. The way she kept looking at him with sparkles in her eye and with all the cooing she did with ‘how cool is that, what you do” she sent him a very strong signal of green light. (I personally think JinYeong’s death threat to him was mostly due to this, just like that bite, it was aimed to show Malazul a ‘taken’ tag. How valid it is is another question.)
I also think Daniel and Morgana hinted at a potential romance.
So while neither of them (but the Malazul and Pet one) are very strong and apparent, but the best romances are slow burning and progress throughout a longer time span.
With Athelas and Zero I feel a bond, but not romantic flavoured. I don’t think it can change with Athelas, but maybe with Zero. He certainly takes her for granted.
We’ll see 🙂
In the end, it might be that I see it all wrong 😀
Sira (sorry, autocorrect said Sara before), I don’t see anything weird about anything you’ve written.
You have good insight about JinYeong’s gestures toward Pet. I see them as caring but not necessarily in a romantic way. It may well develop in that direction; I just haven’t seen it yet.
I was writing about Marazul off the top of my head; your points are much better developed. The author (she went by Wendi on the YouTube chat) apparently has written somewhere that the Troika reacted strongly to her going on a date later in the series. I’d guess (on very little information) that he’s the date. But that doesn’t necessarily mean long-term romance.
I didn’t see signs of romance with Daniel, though that may be that I just didn’t like him very much until the the scenes at the end of the fourth book. Seems more friend or brotherly than romantic.
Thinking of the overlying arc — the battle of succession in Behind — a romance with Zero makes the most sense. There are certainly signs he cares for her, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to romance. It will take time to develop if it does.
As you said, the romance — and all the relationships — are subtle. To me, that’s the strength of the series.
I’m certainly going to keep reading.
Agreed. I am not much for insta-feelings. The development is what I enjoy. For Daniel, I was not meaning Pet, but Morgana. Also I like my books with romance, which means there is a book, a plot aside from romance. I hope there’ll be chance to chat about the other books too 🙂
The one thing with the Morgana theories is that in Cloudy With A Chance of Dropbears we have Pet mention that she knows a female troll who is “nice”. At this point in the story, Morgana is pretty much the only other female Pet has met who might qualify as nice.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I think Morgana might be a troll. Or not, I’m not sure.
Rachael Liankatawa says
I just read Cloudy with a Chance of Dropbears today. The troll thing didn’t occur to me but it might make sense with what Five-four-one said about them being so eager to please (or something like that). Morgana seems to have that kind of personality.
Given how loosely the poem the highwayman was woven into Between Floors, I think The Lady of Shalott probably only loosely helped direct some plot elements in Between Frames. Dunno if it’s terribly important subsequent. I’m being a little facetious in my speculation. 🤓
Interesting idea, I also slipped over the troll part, but I am glad you noticed.
Could be. Although we do have another full book before Cloudy. Maybe she meet’s a troll in there. I’m interested to see how WRG depicts trolls. Apparently, as people-pleasers!
Rachael Liankatawa says
I love the Lady of Shallot theory. I’m super curious to find out what happens with Morgana. There are some fun theories about her so far but I think we haven’t been given enough information to know what exactly is going on with her yet.
Rachael Liankatawa says
Whoops meant that as a reply to Colleen’s post 😊
Rachael Liankatawa says
This book made me 100% for JinYeong. The ending with him pleading for her not to leave, then following her to make sure she got somewhere safe, knowing it was her birthday (wasn’t there something about her birthday in the first book? Is that how he knew about it?) And then of course that kiss!!! I was actually really surprised about Pet’s reaction to his kiss. I think she likes him more than she realizes. (That part where he starts to walk away and she thinks she’s relieved but actually pained).
And although JinYeong had an ulterior motive in kissing her to get into the house, I think in part he wanted to make sure the house was safe for her. Maybe he even secretly put up some kind of protection on the place?
I personally favor the “Pet is a harbinger” theory. The heirling theory that others have talked about makes perfect sense. I am just not very keen on the idea of Pet and Zero being set up as rivals. Not that I actually think they would treat each other as rivals. But others would view them that way and I am sure that would cause all kinds of unpleasantness, not to mention putting Athelas in a very uncomfortable position. Although, if things do go that way, I still trust WR to see us through to a happy ending.
So, why I think Pet is a harbinger. Toward the end of Between Frames, we learn that
Harbingers “sow discord, bring rebellion, attract danger—and heirlings.”
As heirling and harbinger, Zero and Pet’s close relationship makes a lot of sense. Remember that Daniel said, “if the harbinger doesn’t take a shine to Zero, there’s no way he’s going to end up running Behind.” And as their relationship continues to develop, Pet can continue to sort of “mentor” Zero’s humanity and ‘incite rebellion’ by encouraging him to go against the will of the Family and the Behind status quo by saving humans. Also, Athelas suggested (in reference to the Old Bloke) that a harbinger could view it as their duty to protect people and heirlings. That seems very Pet like to me. Finally, Pet also seems to fit the description of “attracts danger” very well. Athelas says that both heirlings and harbingers can be identified “by the way they interact with the world around them. And by the amount of dead bodies around them.” Pet seems to have a special relationship with Between (she says it likes her). Zero laments her ability to get into danger. And Pet said in Between Floors that “some days it felt like I was surrounded by death—an irresistible force that mowed down anyone who stood too near me.”
So that is my theory. It may all turn out to be red herrings, but it is what I am putting my proverbial money on for now.
Wow, I never even though of that before! She does seem to attract a lot of trouble and favor Zero a lot. I never really understood the idea of her being a harbinger until now, but thise are really good points. We don’t know much about harbingers and their physiology etc, which means it also could explain why she messes with Jinyeong’s sense of smell, seems completely human, and isn’t affected by vampire/lycanthrone in a way that being an heirling can’t.
I’ve also been leaning toward the “Pet as harbinger” theory, but I have had a hard time articulating why. Thanks for putting into words what I’ve only been able to entertain as vague musings!
I admit that I have thought that maybe she could be a harbinger but I’m still leaning towards her being a heirling and the old bloke being a harbinger just because of the weird stuff following him. Like he can go between and he’s been “killed” so many times and all that. But who knows there is still so much of the series to go who knows what’s going to happen
The Old Bloke continues to puzzle me. I do wonder though if he might be someone from the previous succession cycle (either an heirling or the harbinger). The psychos say that those folk all died, but we know the Old Bloke is very good at pretending to die.
If he’s not a harbinger, then I think he might be the serial killer–just because my brain is going crazy trying to assign him a place! 😁
I’ve also thought of that. I wonder if he knows anything about Pet’s parents deaths?
Almost certainly- but how and why is the question.
I’ve never even thought about Pet being a Harbinger, but that makes perfect sense! Maybe you’re right… But then what the heck is the Old Bloke?
Another thing I’ve been wondering is if maybe one of Pet’s parents was a hireling- Zero’s Father had all of them killed which might explain why everyone is so hush hush about her parents murders and the deaths that are similar. It also could explain how Pet has her abilities, she’s 1/4 Fae.
Or she’s the Herbinger who *doesn’t* want to be a Herbinger and chooses her own course like Athelas and her muse about the old bloke (who I think was the Herbinger for the generation the king had killed to keep himself in power).
Rachael Liankatawa says
YES! As soon as they described a Harbringer, I was thinking “but that’s Pet”. Still not sure who the old bloke is though.
I have lots of questions, thoughts, observations, etc., but here is one I haven’t seen addressed yet (which is interesting, because it’s actually one Pet herself asks):
How did JinYeong know it was her birthday? That is the kind of information one might expect Athelas (if anyone) to have uncovered, but it seems highly unlikely that he would share it, especially with JinYeong. Any thoughts? Did I miss something? (Which is possible. I DEVOURED 4 books, 2 novellas and any snippets or other scenes I could find in less than 48 hours. If I have to be sick, I might as well get something out of it.)
You’re right! I just sort of glossed over that, but with W.R. there is NO glossing over. Everything means something/has a deeper meaning. And W.R. has hinted in one her of her comments on the series thread on her Facebook that we still don’t know why JinYeong wanted into Pet’s house in the first place. It seems he knows more about the people, or at least one of them, of that house than he should.
Aaaaaaaaaah!!!!! Good point!!!!! Oooooh all the layers and layers and layers……! Off to ponder and reread……
I know Pet told Zero that her birthday was soon. It was when she asked for alcohol for her sauce and told him she would reach drinking age in a few days. But I don’t know if she ever told any of them exactly what day it would be or if she said anything at all within JinYeong’s hearing.
OOOHHHH I forgot about that, too!!! I was still going “Wut, wut?!?!” from the whole book! Good catch! 😀
I didn’t catch that… interesting. And Forty Eight Hours?! You deserve applause- I’m a fast reader and I think it took me three-ish days.
Well, one can certainly see why love doesn’t go with Athelas very well. That he can still risk any kind of liking at all is amazing, given his childhood!
Wah. I missed all of today’s discussion so far because my internet was down.
Given the fact of the latter dates in the series timeline of the novellas, I am glad to know that Pet gets back with her pyschos again!
Yeeeeeeeeeees! I was so so so glad I read Shade of Blue before Between Frames came out!
And no worries! 😀 We’ll probably keep the discussion rolling into mid-to-late next week!
And Athelas’ childhood also explains why he took very badly to killing Pet in Between Floors!
You’re right. That’s so sad!!! It’s his childhood torture all over again plus!
The ending was bittersweet and very necessary. My respect for Pet has gone up even though I already liked her. It is hard to turn away from family and safety to chose what is right This event might be something that reminds the psychos of any humanity that they might have left.
I saw the Psychos’ resistance to her leaving as concern for her safety rather than control which I think marks a turning point for them all. Maybe it will help her to be on a more even power dynamic playing field in the future. Of course, it’s unlikely any of them will be able to truly let her be on her own (even if she thinks she is) and there will be lurking psychos around her building. Jin Yeong has already proven this.
Altheas’ childhood was so sad and it explains so much, especially in regards to Between Floors and having to repeatedly kill Pet. I’m sure it will make those scenes on a reread even more poignant.
The kiss with Jin Yeong was interesting because Pet didn’t really push away. She betrayed her inner thoughts which had always been with protests and put downs in regard to him. Of course she still thinks he’s just manipulating her and he probably is to an extent. He has a ways to go if anything is to develop there. I’m still not shipping anyone just yet. There is too much to go to get attached or read into any possibilities just yet. However, after this book I am okay with Jin Yeong as a possibility.
The novellas were fun extras and obviously she rejoins her psychos at some point. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Can’t wait for the next book.
Thanks for engaging in this discussion everyone. It was a lot of fun!.
Also- it’s my birthday today if anyone cares to drop any preview scenes for the next book in celebration . *wink wink* (Lol, I had to try!).
Happy Birthday, Lynn!
And I agree with your remarks about Pet. The only thing that kept me from shrieking like a harpy…hm…okay, the only thing that kept me from shrieking like a harpy for more than a few minutes after reading that ending was that it shoved Pet like ten steps forward emotionally/mentally. A serious good for her–though I’m super glad JinYeong followed her.
Me too. I think JinYeong seeing her off made it a lot easier for her (and us!).
Thanks! And yay for shoving Pet forward. Gotta focus on the good 🙂
W.R. Gingell says
Happy birthday, Lynne! (I put up an excerpt of #5 yesterday, if that counts? 😀 😉 and one from Clockwork Magician as well)
It counts! I’ll just tell myself it was a birthday present :D. Thanks!
This was sooo plot twisty. It’s super hard to keep track of the threads and potential foreshadowing! Go WRG! (Super reminiscent of Diana Wynn Jones…. and George r r Martin – I only read his first song of ice and fire before the adult content deterred me, so I mean this comparison with all compliments – I hold George r r martin’s creativity and writing skills in the highest regard, but it ain’t my cup. I prefer DWJ, super miss plot twisty and literary snark author originator herself, and I would gladly give WRG a DWJ successor award. (Howl’s Moving Castle w how it utilizes John Donne’s poem, dark Lord of Dernholm and stirring thefantasy motif pot, etc! Doesn’t WRG do similar amazing creative stuff w this series?)
Alright. I should stop bc I may be getting too obscure…. my hubby isn’t here to poke me pointedly heh.
So I think Pet has to be an Heirling but has Behindkind blood and/or a small amount of fae blood that allows her to live w vampire spit and lycanthrope venom/blood . Partly bc I noticed in between floors, when Pet asks Zero what an Heirling is, Zero tells her that he is the heir, but he doesn’t want to be king of behind (and Jinyeong laughs) and the Family isn’t royalty, and no one can tell “Where the blood will out”. So I think Pet is a Heirling bc of how crazy old guy/harbinger is so fond of her. HOWEVER…. in the short stories, whenever Zero shows up, the POV character calls him “Lord Sero, heir to half of all Behind.” If just one said he was heir to half of all behind, and the other said heir to all behind, it wouldn’t be significant… but Marazul and Dropbears’ leprechaun both saying it means zero’s “heir” status is probably only for half. So I think Pet is heir to the other half. Athelas I suspect was sent to keep an eye on her parents for just that possibility, but he is pretending to the Family that he doesn’t know about her. I have no idea what Athelas is up to, though. Why bring zero and pet together in the same house, if together they are heirs to all of behind? And I dunno why Athelas would intend to tell upper management that Pet could be an Heirling or Changeling.
Now, Morgana! In the poem Lady of Shalott, Elaine is only allowed to see the world through mirrors, and given that medieval mirrors are terribly unclear, it’s no wonder Elaine says in the poem, “I am sick of shadows”. Well, bc of Morgana’s equipment (photos are kinda modern equivalents to medieval tapestries right???), Pet solves the mystery of the shadows in the murders! Plus the only time Elaine looks out her tower window without the aid of mirrors, she sees Lancelot and falls in love. The only time Morgana looks out her window without mirrors, she sees Jinyeong and finds him attractive. So…… Pet is queen to Zero’s Arthur, and Jinyeong is Lancelot…? Heh. Pushback anyone?!?
That’s a very good point about Athelas being sent–particularly because he seemed most distressed when captured by any hint of Pet-related info leaking out. I was /hoping/ it was due to a fondness for her, but it’s twisty Athelas, so having political undertones should be expected.
And I’ve actually thought myself multiple times that W. R. Gingell writes with that same sort of bedazzling/astounding world building skill and tone that Diana Wynn Jones had! (It’s something I WISH I had, but I suspect my writing voice is more along the lines of Tamora Pierce.) It’s one of the things I love about her writing!
Yes to your thoughts on Athelas and his political orientation! I felt it more so after reading the short on wrg’s Facebook. I feel like I have to get into the characters’ heads to have any chance of being decently right in predicting anything. I love it.
And Tamora Pierce has a very special place on my shelf! My favorite character of yours (apart from Life Reader characters- that’s the latest of yours that I’ve read and I can’t not fall in love with everyone in it and all it’s library-fanatic world building awesomeness) is Elise – she is so much fun and so unusual! (And your characters are so much wiser than Tamora Pierce’s I think! That was my one hesitation to Tamora pierce)
Rachael Liankatawa says
I love the Lady of Shallot theory. I’m super curious to find out what happens with Morgana. There are some fun theories about her so far but I think we haven’t been given enough information to know what exactly is going on with her yet.
Yes so true, we don’t know yet! I’m excited to see what those kids are and if they turn into significant minor characters in the series
I was also excited to see Pet hold her ground even though it was sad. It was certainly interesting to see how each of her psychos tried to keep her–even Athelas was trying everything he could think of. It’s going to be a very quiet house without her. I can imagine everyone sitting around glumly pretending they don’t notice. Thank goodness for excerpts showing their paths will cross again soon! But must we really wait until December? Granted, that’s lightning fast, but what am I supposed to do in the meantime?!
I knoooooow! I’m keeping my mouth shut because poor W. R. doesn’t need to hear me whining, but gaaaaahh! That was the cliff hanger of the century!
The novelettes reassured me, too. (If I hadn’t read All the Shades of Blue before Between Frames there’s a good chance I might have lost it.)
SAME! It gave me a level of reassurance I didn’t realise I needed.
Zero’s betrayal, given how deeply Pet trusted him, while sort of expected (I’ve studied The Hero’s Journey), still really hurt.
At the same time though, Pet DIDN’T need to worry about him… He was already dead. So I didn’t feel Zero was flat out lying to her.
Was he really? Okay, I didn’t catch that- that makes me feel a tiny bit better. I was pretty shooketh. :.(
It might sound weird…but as an author I was actually kinda glad that Zero failed her in this way.
The average series would either have him 1) never screw up in this way and never betray her, but make the same claims which would then ring false because we know he’ll help even if he says he would OR 2) Still have him screw up apologize profusely and have Pet instantly forgive him.
Seeing the fallout and the consequences made the story nerd in my chortle in glee because this just makes their character arcs and the depths of their characters that much deeper!
I agree completely. People mess up, even fae, and frankly they also failed to save the fae they were trying to protect. If anything, I think this shows that protecting folks is hard, especially if those potential victims aren’t doing their part to stay alive. My hope is that this event acts as a counterweight to Zero’s claim that getting involved only hurts humans. Staying UNinvolved doesn’t work well, so stop blaming yourself for every injured person and focus on what you can manage. Also, if you want to help people, you’re probably going to have to share information once in a while.
Ha! Zero sharing info? I’m excited to see how their characters change. Pet’s willingness to take responsibility in executing judgment in “cloudy w a chance of dropbears” was really impressive to see, and I think WR has something equally impressive for the 3 psychos. But I have to say I think something was up w the lawyer… he claimed Tuatu sent him but it was implied Tuatu hadn’t. I think the lawyer was a plant from Upper Management…? Or not really human…
Colleen, I agree that the lawyer was lying and had some secret agenda. I thought it was very interesting that (during the freezer scene) Zero lumped Mr. Preston in with Upper Management and the peryton as things Pet needed to be protected from. I hope we get to learn more about his secret agenda, and who sent him, in the next book.
Mr. Preston definitely had some sort of ties to Bethindkind. He said he takes cases of things that sound crazy and impossible, and he knew that Zero and Athelas were Fae. Something’s going on with that.
I totally agree. It was a necessary (though heart-wrenching) step to building them as characters and continuing to develop the intricacies of the characters’ relationships.
I know- JinYeong’s pleading eyes killed me. I loved that her sort of dropped her off. And everything will be boring for them, indeed.
I immediately did a full series reread after finishing Between Frames, and it struck me how much Pet has brought the three together. I’d forgotten how they were only just returning to their …friendship? Partnership? Sometimes-trying-to-kill-each-other-ship? Pet was a unifying force even when it seemed she was deliberately provoking them. I’d love a tiny snippet from one of the psycho’s point of view of Athelas listening to the clock tick, Zero sharpening knives, and JY muttering in Korean.
I tend to forget that too. I am also very interested to see how they manage without her. I am picturing a lot of takeout in their immediate future.
W.R. Gingell says
😀 yes. A LOT.
I was also hoping for a recipe book of Pet’s meals…. like tea cake. Was sat? I’m Chinese American! I do live in New England so I’m slowly gleaning things. (So shortbread is supposed to be very lightly golden? Heh!)
I couldn’t help but laugh when JinYeong kept trying to get Pet to make kimchi- My mom makes kimchi every year, so it was funny to have Pet be so cluless as to what it was.
W.R. Gingell says
I actually do have a recipe for at least one of the tea cakes (can’t make it without yet…) I’ll have to post it on my FB at some stage, cos it is DIVINE.
Oh! does that mean you do kimchi day, Eleniel? Or just your mum? I made it while I was in Korea, but I didn’t have to do more than a tiny pot, and I can’t imagine doing the whole YEAR’s worth in a day or two!
We do a lot of preserving and stuff, and we do different things depending on the season the plants are ready. We set up kimchi to ferment usually late summer early fall. It lasts us part of the way through the winter. 🙂
Between Frames is my favorite book in this series so far. I’m sooo proud of Pet for going out of her comfort zone by leaving. I can’t wait to see how she grows from this experience. Also, JinYeong completely won me over in this book. Super excited to see where their relationship goes.
Yeah, when he came after her at the end I set sail in the SSS JinYeong Fangirl, hahah! 😉
Yes! And Gingell keeps torturing me with those excerpts on Facebook. Each glimps of JinYeong makes me more and more excited for the fifth book!😆
IDK, I just keep feeling like JinYeong is a red herring or maybe something of a placeholder. I think she’ll end up with Zero in some kind of heirling/royalty situation, but a LOT has to happen before that! This is a looong series so there’s going to be lots of development in our characters. Pet needs to grow up more and really be independent and Zero would need to at some point see her as an equal. We are far from that now. But, I’m looking forward to seeing how it all ends up there!
I could see JinYeong being a romantic interest for a little while but in the end her ending up with someone else since a Zero. I agree that her and Zero have growing to do before they can end up as anything romantic but I love how he seems a little more human in this book like with him being drunk and at the end with their fight. Either way feeling are happening and Pet is becoming more important to our Pychos and they are going to miss her like crazy even if they won’t admit it.