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FoE Book Club > The Starless Sea: Book 5: The Owl King

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 875 comments Mod
This is the post for talking about book 5, The Owl King.

Feel free to answer whichever questions you like, ask your own, or put any other thoughts about this section.

Who do you think Mirabel is? What is her purpose or importance? What about the Keeper?

What do you think the portrait of Zachary and Dorian signifies?

Do you agree with Mirabell's sentiment that stories are about change?

Do you think it means anything that Dorian survived the fall, but Allegra did not?

Mirabell gives Zachary a lecture about not blaming fate for things he does or does not do. How do you feel that relates both to how stories often work and how real life works?

When Zachary is alone in the depths, what do you think is the voice he encounters?

What do you think of the woman who is not Elanore, and her ship on the sea?

How does Zachary finding Simon relate to the story?

In the final interlude of this section, we see two years have passed with Zachary missing. How do you think time relates within the Starless Sea? Has Zachary been down there more time, less time?

Any other thoughts, questions?

message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan | 236 comments 1. I'm still not completely sure about Mirabel - I can't remember if we knew her parentage at this point, and I don't have the book in front of me, so I don't want to be too spoilery. But she seems to embody the "old" harbor, and has come to acknowledge that it isn't going to come back, so she wants to bring in a new era with Zachary.

2. I took it as a sign that their story will have a happy ending, and that it will be epic enough to be worthy of portraiture - but there's probably some other implication that I'm missing with a literal picture of Dorian in gray....

3. Absolutely - I think her arc in the book is about her coming to understand that, just as we all learn to accept and handle change as we grow.

4. Well, Zachary couldn't very well have his Happily Ever After without Dorian...but also it goes with this section's theme of killing off the past to allow the future to happen - Allegra is firmly of the old harbor and doesn't want to see the new beginning that Mirabel is now looking for.

5. At the time I was reading this, I was envisioning the Bill Nye/Amy Schumer skit about the Universe when Mirabel was talking, because Zachary does have just the tiniest bit of that same vibe throughout this story. :) But I do think that Mirabel is so adamant because she's had to come to the same conclusion herself through experience. Stories are really life stripped of all the trivialities - even complex, messy stories are "cleaned up" compared to reality, because you have to edit out the distractions to see the main line of the plot. Whether the plot is preordained or determined by the character in real life is a philosophical conversation beyond the scope of this book, but I think anyone considering that question at a serious level would consider a blanket attribution of events to "fate" a copout.

6. I wasn't sure if that was supposed to be the bees, an omniscient narrator, or the force that governs the sea and harbors - or if those are really all the same thing.

7. She seems like a pretty great character, and I would have loved more time with her - but I understand why we didn't get that, since she has a fairly specific part to play here and this isn't her story.

8. It definitely brings a few threads together and confirms that on some level they exist in the same reality.

9. I wondered at this point if time works in a more literary way there - like how a dash on a page can signify years, decades, or centuries passing, but no time at all has elapsed in the real world.

message 3: by Jen (new)

Jen (piratenami) | 215 comments I was so excited about my theories in my last post, but, wow, was I wrong about everything! :D But that's the fun of reading a story like this, at least for me. Making predictions. Just jotting down some random thoughts here, not necessarily answering all the questions.

The Keeper says he and Mirabel are the pirate and the girl, but we're also told many times that the pirate is a metaphor. Does that mean Mirabel is actually Fate, and the Keeper is Time? I guess the spirit that spoke to Zachary through the book in the crypt was that prior incarnation of Mirabel.

Eleanor is exploring again! I'm glad she's alive.

I appreciated Dorian's complicated feelings for Allegra during her funeral. She was very obviously abusive and cruel to him, and he's finally able to move on, but he's still very conflicted about her. And of course, Eleanor remembered her so differently, as the painter.

I still kind of think Dorian might be an incarnation of the Owl King. Interesting that he has the box right now. As soon as Zachary found the coat that Simon abandoned, I realized... oh, I think maybe the innkeeper gave the box to the wrong man with a sword! I think Zachary was supposed to find his way there first, and Dorian coming to the inn was... not an accident, necessarily, but maybe something carefully manipulated by outside forces (the bees?), maybe trying to keep the status quo of the story.

I loved that Zachary threw the last star paper about himself into the fire rather than read it. He's been going along with the books and stories up until know, but, probably because of Mirabel's speech, now Zachary is rejecting the fate spelled out for him in the book.

I do kind of think its like a faerie thing - time passes differently underhill/under the ground. I don't think it's been two years for Zachary -- or if it has, the time's been flowing differently for him or he's been outside of time, so it doesn't seem like it to him.

I do think once I finish the book, I want to read at least the stories from Sweet Sorrows again and see if I can put all the pieces together now that (I think) know more.

I also loved the inventory management joke when Zachary's trying to decide what to take. Gamer brain, it's a real thing. :D

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