With the new found information on the carved panels, Elspeth had to restrain herself and hide her excitement. All she wanted to do was gallop back to Obernewtyn and demand Maruman take her to see the panels, all in good time Elspeth. I wonder if Kasanda had seen that Elspeth would ordered them burned, or whether Elspeth veered off the ‘path’. I think there are two ways of interpreting ‘futuretelling and predictions’. One is considering the predictions as set in stone, so basically you can do anything you want, and the prediction will come true, even (or especially) if you try to change things, they will still happen. Another, is to see a futuretelling as just one possible future, and unless you change something it will occur. The latter gives a person some free will, and makes them less confronting for someone, to consider that they can actual do whatever they want and not get to what the prediction says, but so does the former, as you can do whatever, but you will always get to the ‘future’. I see the futuretelling in Obernewtyn to be more fluid, and that things can, and do change, but also the futuretelling isn’t precise, as some things aren’t too clear, so allow some ambiguity.
Garth comes over, to ask about why Elspeth looks so pale, and talk turns to Gypsies in general. Garth tells Elspeth that what Swallow did to her, was give her a tattoo. As to why the Gypsies have the same symbol as the Govamen, who knows. It is thought that the Govamen saw the Agyllians as beautiful, but also they were significant because they were tested on, possibly why such a symbol was used. Garth voices his desired to go to the Lowland library again and keep everyone on a lookout for books pertaining to the Govamen, and the city under Tor. He will propose such an expedition at the next guildmerge. Elspeth hints that Rushton might have something to say about this diving business, but leaves it there.
As is the fluid progression of conversation, it turns to the Beforetimers and their weaponmachines. Elspeth was reminded of her dream where the girl spoke of accidents, and who better to ask about the Beforetimers than Garth (apart from a Beforetimer that is). Apparently in many books, accidents were described, but the impression gathered from the book is that the author really thought that they were just called accidents so countries didn’t have to take the blame, and so that full scale war would not erupt. As we are all too aware, wars and fights erupt because of greed, greed for land or money, and Garth knows this too. Elspeth asks about religion and tells him about the Sadorian ties to Gadfia, which intrigues Garth, as he full well knows of those people. I know I commented earlier that Gadfia sounded/looked like Gadafi (the dictator) but it makes me wonder if Gadfia is the Middle East, given the lack of rights for women that are in the area, and of course the parallels between Jakoby’s and other Sadorian’s descriptions and the Middle East. I think that this would be a conscious connection by Isobelle Carmody, but of course, this is a future Middle East, and she is alluding to what is happening in our world without pointing it out entirely.
Garth builds on what Elspeth was told by Dameon’s letter and her own dreams, about the Beforetime. There were five main ‘super-powers’ who ruled the world (I’m guessing US, China, Middle East, Russia and maybe Europe?). So Gadfia was one of the largest, but it was lacking in resources and wasn’t very progressed in terms of their economy or their social customs. Where Obernewtyn is situated, the Land, they believe was part of Uropa (no guesses that sounds EXACTLY LIKE Europe). Gadfia and Uropa were linked by land, well until an ‘accident’ left it as wasteland (again Europe and the Middle East are connected). Of course that country was annihilated, and Elspeth knows it was Turka (or I guess, Turkey).
Elspeth asks about where the Reichler Clinic was situated, and Garth tells her it was in Inva, in Old Scotia (I wonder if that is Scotland, with even a hint that they broke away from England/UK). Elspeth suggests that Hannah Seraphim was from Inva then, since the location of the Reichler Clinic and her connection. But Garth says that she was from Tipoda (that’s a new one, which reminds me of antipodes, and since that is a term for Australia and New Zealand, I guess Tipoda is the Pacific). Tipoda and Uropa were allies, so Hannah was free to move from place to place, and this alliance stems from the same language, urolish (hmm. English…?) and also we cannot forget the other urolish speaking country, Mericanda (Mexico/America/Canada). Apparently in Uropa there used to be hundreds of languages but they were ‘devoured’ (no actual evidence of that, I just am assuming) by English (I mean urolish).
Elspeth cannot believe that there used to be a time when neighbouring lands could not understand each other. Which makes me wonder about language in the Land. Sure they have accents, but they all speak the same, even the Sadorians do (and I guess because of their proximity in the Beforeland, the people probably all spoke urolish (apparently there were only two other languages, I’d say Chinese would be one – or Chinonese?, and as for the other one maybe a Middle Eastern language like Arabic?)). But what about other people? What happened to all the Chinon people? Are they still around? I guess because of the distance, any travel or communication is unlikely, and given the fact that Chinon closed all their borders they might not be allowed to really go and explore, but neither are the Land folk. I kinda wish that a different group of people would arrive at the Land, but not speak the same language, just to see what that would be like, and what the Council would do, and the Herders as well. But because there were only two other Beforetime languages, that might not happen, since Chinon is far from Uropa, and the other language is anyone’s guess.
As Garth continues to explain, part of my theory is flawed, as Mericanda bordered Gadfia (well Gadfian ruled territory, so it could have been South America or something). It was the Gadfians who were the most violent and killed the most people, because of their strong beliefs, but one good thing was that they didn’t have quite the same level of tecknology (I seriously did not intend to type it like that, but I guess this is what happens when you become too immersed in Obernewtyn) to start a war with. I was partially right about the languages, the Chinon spoke chinanka (not quite chinonese) and Gadfia spoke gadi (which makes me think of Hindi, so maybe Gadfia was larger than just the Middle East, but some of Asia too). But it seems that nothing much is different when looking at population size, as in Chinon and Gadfia, both have more people than the three urolish powers. Even with closed borders, Chinon still traded with everyone else, via diplomats.
The concept of a person speaking more than one language, is mystifying to Elspeth, especially since she only thought there was one language. Elspeth asks a good question, how come Sador speaks ‘urolish’ or whatever it is the Land speaks, and not gadi. Or did they reject that when they rejected Gadfia? Garth doesn’t know, but maybe Fian or Jakoby will know. Elspeth then asks another question of Garth, how did Hannah and Jacob Obernewtyn meet? All this is speculation, but Jacob Obernewtyn was a rich person, so he could easily afford to travel to Tipoda, or they could have met in Uropa, as Jacob was Uropan. Elspeth asks a fundamental question, why did Hannah call it the Reichler Clinic? Maybe because of the man Reichler that pioneered the Misfit abilities, again who knows.
Garth is reminded of something one of them found, that a year before the Great White, accidents had been occurring, and that there had been much talk about how such actions could be countered without causing a world war. Garth even knows about (I am impressed by their knowledge) the program that Elspeth saw in her dream, that would connect a ‘neutral’ computer program to control the world’s weapons, the sentinel program (I forget if we got a name earlier). It was a decision by the world council, made up of delegates from all nations (I guess the UN) to control the abuse of weapons. The whole thing is highly suspicious as the Govamen were connected with weaponmachine manufacturers, and were trying to keep the ‘peace’.
Garth ends the long talk, which has been highly infomative and intriguing, and says they best go to sleep. Elspeth went to say goodnight to the horses, but they were already asleep. Elspeth lay down thinking of Maruman and what she could say to get him to take her to the dreamtrails and to find the door. But she was too sleepy and was quickly asleep.
So much new info about the Beforetime, The Keeping Place has certainly had more information about everything than any previous book, and yet, there is still so much that is not known, at least we are getting somewhere!