FANDOM


Farm-Fresh balanceYMMVTransmit blueRadarWikEd fancyquotesQuotes • (Emoticon happyFunnyHeartHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3Awesome) • RefridgeratorFridgeGroupCharactersScript editFanfic RecsSkull0Nightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out iconShout OutMagnifierPlotGota iconoTear JerkerBug-silkHeadscratchersHelpTriviaWMGFilmRoll-smallRecapRainbowHo YayPhoto linkImage LinksNyan-Cat-OriginalMemesHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
  • Okay. You have the bells and all. What if you're deaf? And if you wanted to use Astarael, couldn't you just plug your ears really, really well?
    • I imagine you can feel the vibrations, just as you would if you stood next to a loud bass. Also, it seems like the sort of Phlebotinum that can be heard by more than one's ears. After all, most of the dead things don't even have proper form, let alone functioning ears.
    • I believe the books mentioned that that the bells affect people, even if they can't hear them.
    • Yes; the music activates magic (the powers of the Seven), the music isn't the magic itself. You don't have to aurally hear it.
    • The books also specifically state that a necromancer, Abhorsen or not, is required to have rudimentary music skills. Because if they get caught in Death without their bells, like Sam did in the beginning of his adventure in "Lirael", whistles and claps can be used in leiu of the bells.
  • I just wonder what would happen to an Abhorsen who had something like pinched-nerve syndrome or cerebral palsy, where they're shaking all the time...
    • Probably they die in some sort of messy way and the bells go on to the next candidate. Sometimes even Charter magic is not especially nice or friendly.
    • This troper always assumed that the relative of the current Abhorsen who is most fit to hold the title becomes the Abhorsen-in-waiting rather than the one most closely related to them for example as Lirael, Sabriel's half-sister, inheriting the bells rather than her son, who was meant to become the new Wallmaker, so hopefully there is a built-in failsafe against something like this. Either that or there is some sort of "Abhorsen gene" that only manifests in two people at once for some reason. (Though all this does bring up the question of how they used to determine who the next Abhorsen would be…).
    • Maybe Saraneth or Astarael still retains some form of consciousness or subconsciousness
    • The Bells are certainly seen to be able to move around on their own (turning up in Sam's pack, for example). Presumably in the old days they just waited to see which of the next generation woke up one morning with the Book and Bells in their room, and knew enough not to jump to conclusions (cf. Sameth).
  • It Just Bugs Me how it completely sucks to be an ordinary person in this world. You're pretty much guaranteed to get screwed over whatever happens. Everyone's 100% behind the monarchy, because last time the country went without one (for 200 years) everything went to hell. Pretty much the only function of people who aren't one of the five great bloodlines (or, rather, three, because only the Clayr, the Abhorsen and the Royal family are still around and the Wallmakers, but not until right at the end of the third book) is to get killed to provide mooks for the Abhorsen to fight. It's hardly surprising that some of them become necromancers, since (though Free Magic may well give you cancer), there isn't much else you can do except be doomed to a stereotypical fantasy role for all eternity. Sorry, you can't become a kick-ass Abhorsen, you don't have the right blood. You'll have to be a farmer instead. Maybe an innkeeper if you're lucky. It looks like you could have some fun as a Charter Mage, until you realise that all the most powerful books check for the right Blood when you touch them and will asplode you if you don't have it. By the time the King's forbidden a bunch of books, the Abhorsen's taken away all the books on Necromancy and associated dark magics because they're cool like that and the Clayr have stowed the rest in their magical library pretty much all that's going to be left is My Very First Book of Charter Magic. Isn't life in a world where your entire future is based on being born into the right family fun?
  • The Clayr, being as they are sort of Blessed with Suck. Because they are so numerous, their powers have been extremely diluted to the point at which few Clayr will experience a full vision in an entire lifetime. Even when they all band together, their powers are limited. Despite supposedly being very clever and organised, it took them years to notice that they couldn't See anything near the Red Lake. It bugs me how much importance Lirael places on getting the Sight - sure, it's a sign of normality in the Glacier, but it doesn't really do much and doesn't impact much on most Clayr's day-to-day lives.
    • I got the impression that the Red Lake thing had grown with time as the Sealed Evil in a Can was unearthed, but maybe that's just me. Also, part of Lirael's problem is that because the way the Clayr's society is structured, she is officially considered a child until her Sight awakens. Imagine being trapped in third grade until high school. That's why they arranged for her to get the Librarian job; it gave her something to do other than be around children and people who treated her as such.
    • Their Sight may not have a lot of direct impact on the Clayr's day-to-day lives, but it's definitely deeply ingrained in their culture. Lirael, though an adult by non-Clayr standards since she was fourteen, was technically living in the children's quarters with a group of pre-teen (and possibly younger) children up until she left the Glacier when she was eighteen. There are two or three places where it's stated that Lirael has been the butt of gossip and teasing and that the younger, un-Sighted Clayr gawk at her because they're mortally afraid they're going to end up like her. It's also said that the Clayr never go very long without turning the conversation to their Sight (which is why Lirael finds it painful to talk to them) and that their clairvoyance makes them rather indifferent toward individual people's problems (which Filris states as a reason for her absence from Lirael's life). It's made pretty clear that Lirael only places undue importance on it because everyone else in the Glacier does, as well.
      • Since the entire trilogy is something of a coming of age story for pretty much everyone involved, part of Lirael's desire to gain the Sight is completely explainable'. Getting the Sight would prove she is normal and allow her to become a part of the adult Clayr society, which she had basically been raised to expect to become a part of her whole life. Part of growing up is wanting to find your own niche in your community, so the idea of being a Sightless Clayr understandably nearly drove poor Lirael to suicide.
  • How was Sam born a Wallmaker? I mean, I'm not suggesting his mother was humping the Wall or anything, but you do wonder... If it's an at-times-of-need kind of thing, why didn't one turn up in the 200-year Interim, when hundreds of Charter Stones were broken and the land was plagued by zombies?
    • Because a Wallmaker wouldn't have helped? I mean, the problem was that two of the fundamental pillars that kept the world sane had been corrupted and nearly destroyed. Thanks to the weakening of the Charter, presumably no amount of awesome Mage Punk gadgetry could have held together civilization without the restoration of the royal family. Alternately, perhaps it's more related to the royal bloodline than the Clayr or Abhorsens?
    • As for how Sam specifically inhereted the powers of the Wallmakers, presumably Arielle wasn't the first-ever Clayr to shack up with an Abhorsen, or Touchstone the first Royal to do the same. Presumably, the bloodlines are all crisscrossed, which is why Sabriel refers to the Clayr as cousins, as does her father to Arielle -- they literally are, though very, very distantly. Thus, it was a mere fluke of genetics that latent Wallmaker genes happened to manifest in Sam. Well, fluke or fate, take your pick.
    • The Charter Did It. That seems to be the explanation for a lot of seemingly random things in the Old Kingdom. Bells appearing when a new Abhorsen awakens. Sabriel getting pushed back into life at the end of the first book. I would guess that the Charter realized it would need a human avatar of the Wallmakers, both to represent them at the binding of Orannis, and to forge the sword needed to break It. Since Sam is a part of the Charter due to having two of the bloodlines as parents, it just altered him into a Wallmaker.
    • I think it was also heavily implied in the first book that Touchstone had Wallmaker-like abilities.
  • Not to sound like a hater, but the entire first book bugged me. It's painfully clear that Garth Nix, a middle-aged man, has no idea how the mind of a teenage girl (Sabriel) works.

Every other chapter he finds a way to reference her gender in a glaring, unnatural way, two or three of those times of which are referencing her physical gender, which I found creepy and unnecessary. Sabriel seems to me a very flat, one-dimensional character. Comparably, Lirael is much more convincing. Coincidentally (or not, is what I'm saying), the fact that Lirael is female isn't constantly, constantly driven down our throats in the second two books; what's focused on, especially in the second book, is her social withdrawl and awkwardness. Likely, Garth Nix never got within ten feet of a teenage girl back in his day, but intimately knows what it's like to be socially inept, wishing for friends and for joy at company but only ever reviling at human contact. And don't get me started on the forced, unnatural romances. "I think I might love you, too." *rolleyes* Romance doesn't work that way, Nix. That trainwreck reads like Nix fantasizing himself as Touchstone and Sabriel as his personality-devoid dream girl. And at the end of the third book, I just kept saying "no, no, no" out loud during the epilogue, when it was clear Nix was playing up a Lirael/Nick romance. Gag me with a spoon!

    • When I read the books for the first time, I read them as a teenage girl. I found Sabriel fairly "convincing", and I don't remember creepy references to her gender. Examples might help with that. But I do remember her gender being mentioned in ways that could be odd to somebody who isn't a teen- menarche can seem like kind of a big deal at the time- or are appropriate to the time period.
    • As mentioned above, an example that the OP might be referring to (and the only one I can think of) is discussion of Sabriel's first period. An alternative would've been No Periods, Period, but it seemed handled reasonably enough to me. Sabriel's themes of parental abandonment/lack of guidance play a part, as does the time period (see bullet #2 of No Periods, Period). So sorry, it does seem like you might just be hating that Most Writers Are Male - it seems like you're reading a lot more Author Appeal into the romances than most.
    • As an eighteen-year-old girl, I found Sabriel very convincing. Perhaps it's more of a personality thing? She's certainly more restrained than most teenagers, with the whole walking in Death thing and all.
    • Personally, I found Sabriel far more realistic and pleasant than Lirael.
    • This Troper is a girl and also found Sabriel just fine in terms of characterization. Not to mention, the stories take place in the equivalent of the twenties, so there might be some Values Dissonance.
    • To add another perspective, I also found that Sabriel was a rather flat character, though her age did not matter. The narrator had the tone of an unconcerned third-party, to the point that the reader never has any idea what Sabriel thinks of everything that has happened to her. I mean, yeah people might be taught to keep their emotions in check back then, but inside their own heads too?
  • Um, also, dropped mysteries much? Who is Chlorr of the Mask, really? Mogget lets it slip that she was an Abhorsen, but nothing beyond that. And Hedge is never anything but a generic villain; who is he, what's his story, how'd he get to be the way he is? What about the Our Country Party and the whole mess in the south? The Old Kingdom is saved, so screw Ancelstierre? And the most glaring drop of all -- why did Arielle abandon Lirael? Again, Mogget, relaying her final message to her daughter, tells that it wasn't her choice to leave, but that's all we get. Is she still alive? Is she dead? Why, exactly, did she have to leave her daughter?
    • To answer one of your questions, at least, there's apparently a prequel in the works called something like "Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen", about Chlorr. Dunno about Hedge, tho.
    • There's also supposed to be a book set chronologically after Abhorsen, which might clear some of the other stuff up. As for Hedge, I believe the beginning of Lirael establishes him as a necromancer who worked for Kerrigor, then transferred his allegiance to the Destroyer when Kerrigor went down- he's probably not that different than most of the Old Kingdom's petty necromancers, save being a fair bit more powerful and having more blatant supernatural support.
    • If you read some of Nix's other works he's pretty fond of Cryptic Background Reference and we don't always get full explanations for things that the characters wouldn't find out in the actual story or only find out in passing. As for Ancelstierre it's mentioned in passing at the beginning of the novella but since it's not something that the main characters would be involved in we don't get to find out much.
  • Since Sam, by fate or genetics, is not to be an Abhorsen, then why/how do the bells and book follow him magically in Lirael? Shouldn't they either jump into Lirael's possession or remain inert until she obtains them? And for that matter, how does Mogget find him? Does his service now extend to the entire royal family? It seems too easy and flawed to say that whoever the current Abhorsen thinks is the Abhorsen-in-waiting is recognized by the Charter magic, regardless of their actual abilities.
    • Perhaps they were following him as a quick way to get taken to Lirael?
      • The book says so.
        • Presumably the bells can't just jump to where ever they want, so they went with Sam in an attempt to get back to the House? As for Mogget, even if Sam's not the Abhorsen he still has Abhorsen blood.
      • Also, Mogget serves the Abhorsens only because there are no Wallmakers. In the first book he's described as the Relict of the Wallmakers, and the Wallmakers made his collar. Mogget serves the Wallmakers first, then Abhorsens, which is why he sticks close to Sam.
  • Okay, so at the end of Sabriel all the past Abhorsens bring Sabriel back because she needs to provide a successor before she can die, since she's the last of her kind. Alright. I buy it. OH WAIT WHAT ABOUT LIRIEL!? Sure Liriel was a baby at the time and it would have taken a while for her to grow into it, but ancestors of charter blooded people didn't really care all that much when Touchstone was imprisoned for much longer than it would take for one girl to grow into her power. I buy Nick's resurrection a lot more, if only because it's completely within the Dog's personality. I understand the climactic need for her to have a brush with death that close in a book where the actual line of when you're DEAD is quite blurred, but JUSTIFY IT BETTER!
    • These are both a bit of a stretch, but pick from one of these
      • They can somehow see into the future and knew that Sabriel would give birth to a Wallmaker, which would be important enough to send her back into life
      • As a reverse, their knowledge at the time was limited, thus they didn't even know Lirael existed. After all, Sabriel's Dad only met Lirael's Mum once, so it's entirely possible he never even knew of Lirael's existence.
    • I always saw this as Lirael needing an Abhorsen around to be able to find her true calling. The Clayr had no idea what to do with her. Lirael was about to commit suicide without ever knowing her heritage, and it was only Sabriel's imminent arrival that stopped her
    • At the time, Lirael was 1. There's no way in hell she could have stopped Kerrigor, and that would have meant the end of the world, pretty much.
    • I figured that there needed to be someone that could actually become the Abhorsen right then, not someone who just had the blood and could become the Abhorsen once she'd grown up and been trained.
  • At the end of Sabriel, Mogget and Kerrigor were both turned into cats. Mogget shows up again in the later ones, but what happened to Kerrigor?
    • This one is actually answered in Lirael. He is at Abhorsen's House, in the deepest cellar, and will sleep there "till the end of time", according to Mogget.
  • I got one; how the heck does a Charter-Mark become corrupted? It clearly isn't due to Free-Magic; the Abhorsens have a tendency of spamming the stuff while in Death, and, hell, Nick, due to being heavily affected by Orannis' shard, would likely be stabbed as soon as someone tested his Charter-Mark, so that can't be it. So, what creates a corrupted Charter-Mark?
    • My guess is that it all depends on intent. If you use Free Magic with the intent of perverting the Charter, bam, corrupted mark. The Abhorsen uses Free Magic to keep the Dead bound, and take care of nasty Free Magic constructs, so the Charter would approve it. It's also possible that the Abhorsen's bloodline has an innate resistance to corruption. As for Nick, he wasn't exactly a willing host, was he? And let's not forget that Kibeth herself gave him his mark.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.