The Larkin Ledgers

Like an endless chain of half-built houses

Reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things: Part XI.i – THE ANGRY DARK

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WHEN AURI WOKE on the fourth day, things had changed.

Things are different. It’s not just a fold in the narrative, a turning toward the end, but it is definitely that.  It’s interesting because the ring expands here.  Not only is the chapter parallel to “HOLLOW” in some creative ways, it also nods to “WHAT A LOOK ENTAILS.” Look at the beginnings.  These are the days that begin in darkness. They rhyme. The second day is a turning day

So today was a tapering day. A burning day.

It’s a tapering day not because she makes candles, but because the narrative is narrowing back to its beginning from this point forward. She intended to use a candle, or course.  However, it’s telling that she couldn’t light it. Like an incongruous foot in a line of poetry, it points to a deeper meaning. It’s a burning days because Foxen is “full of mountains” and unusable, unavailable. My best guess is that mountains refer to it’s figurative inaccessibility. She’ll have to rely on flame for light, which will cause a little bit of trouble.

spirit lamp

This chapter begins addressing in earnest something only hinted at so far. Want, desire, is attached to wickedness. It’s somehow fundamentally wrong.

But for half a minute she wished it was a different sort of day, even though she knew that nothing good could come from wanting at the world. Even though she knew it was a wicked thing to do.

She’s nonetheless compelled to behave as though it’s a different sort of day,  Despite being a bad day for doing, she has much to do.  And so she acts as though it’s a doing day.

The world seems to resist. Her matches fail, leaving her to navigate in the dark.  She’s left without soap, which is devastating to her normal routine. And we’ll come to several other minor setbacks and annoyances.

She’s an imperfect creature. She’s come to some unusual understanding of the world, but not herself. This isn’t a complaint. The text, both The Slow Regard of Silent Things and The Kingkiller Chronicle, are explicit about her name being new. This chapter vaguely refers to the time before she had it.

She had been sitting like this, empty as eggshell. Hollow and chest-heavy in the angry dark when she’d first heard him playing. Back before he’d given her her sweet new perfect name.

Not having a name, nor knowing it intimately, Auri’s wants and desires can be mitigated and yet misunderstood at the same time.That’s also the first of two doubled title drops in “THE ANGRY DARK.” It has to carry the burden of “HOLLOW” as well, since the latter was given over to metatextual function.

Auri makes her way in the dark. She passes through both Scaperling and Dunnings, reinforcing the parallels with “WHAT A LOOK ENTAILS,” the only other chapter featuring those areas. New areas of the Underthing in this chapter include The Black Twelve, The Silver Twelve, Emberling, Bakery, Old Ironways, Winnoway, and Draughting.

Damp Early Treeand moldy from Scaperling and sticky with webs from Dunnings, she finally arrives at Tree. In the Worldbulders 2014 Hangout with Nate Taylor, Pat revealed that part of the name for Tree came from a simple riddle.  What kind of tree has food in it?

They also revealed one of the earlier designs for Tree where it looks more like a kitchen with shelves over a a sink-like chill well, hanging pans, and a full body image of Auri.

She finds and lights her spirit lamp. She rinses her hands and face and feet in the chill well. She eats the turnip and the remaining fig.

From there she makes her way to Bakery to replenish her soap. Her stores are missing, eaten by some intrepid rodent. We see her angry for the first time. She denies the rodent’s being, calling it a thing. It’s fairly significant since she tends to allow most objects a rudimentary self.

Reaching out , she took the tuft of fur between her fingers. The gesture was so tight with rage she feared she’d snap and crack the world in two.

It’s unclear here whether she could. Is her fear legitimate.  Or is it the hyperbole of excessive emotion.  While it’s probably the latter, I think the remaining chapters create a context in which Auri sees that kind of unfettered feeling as a catalyst for the incredible misuse of power.

Is there a parallel here to the broken world? Is it this kind of overwhelming desire that engendered so much strife?

She stamped her foot. She hoped the greedy thing shit for a week. She hoped it shit its awful self inside-out and backward, then fell into a crack and lost its name and died alone and hollow-empty in the angry dark.

With the second double drop, Auri wishes her worst moments on the thief. The eater. The thing. While it’s understandable in its way, it’s also somewhat terrifying. So, Auri isn’t all butterflies and flowers. Witnessing her rage prepares us for the reveals in the final chapters.

Her rage turns to disgust and she casts the tuft of fur away. Exasperated, she tries to run her hands through her hair and finds even that difficult. Behaving as though its a doing day when it’s not is contrary.

For a second her hard eyes went all brimful, but she blinked them back.

Because she cried on the third day, she cannot on the fourth. Like the chapter titles, this will come up again. Enraged, she storms back toward Mantle.

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2 thoughts on “Reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things: Part XI.i – THE ANGRY DARK

  1. “even though she knew that nothing good could come from wanting at the world”

    Pretty sure this is supposed to evoke Jax stealing the moon. Even no there’s no textual evidence that leaps to mind, I feel pretty safe saying that Auri is aware of this event.

  2. A little off subject because i don’t remember reading anything on here about it but:

    I’m confused about the black door. Since we see her approach the door in Mantle and in Scamperling she continues to say the the door is not for her. I used to think the door led to only one place.. like a back door to the Copper door in The Stacks. But since she didn’t just take the black door to get back to Mantle I’ve thought different, that maybe it is just another thing in the Underthing that is ever-changing and yet still leads somewhere evil?

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