The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 5, Scene 1

In the Hall of the Mountain King

In which Korval prepares to receive guests.

We have not previously encountered Finifter’s Shave, the ship that brought Toragin and Chelada to Surebleak, but the planet Finifter has been mentioned a couple of times. It’s one of the stops on Tan Sim’s trade route in Trade Secret, and one of the planets discussed in Culture Club in Saltation.

I laughed at the bit where Val Con pretends to apologise for his annoyance while actually pointing out that he’s got a reasonable basis for being annoyed. And Jeeves’s response, pretending to take the apology at face value.

On the other hand, I think Pat Rin’s annoyance is misplaced: it may have the clan’s necessity that led him to suborn a planet, but the choice of planet was entirely his own, as was the idea of settling on it long term.

The reflection on the feelings accompanying the conclusion of a large project is interesting. I wonder if it’s drawn from life; after all, the settling of Korval’s long-running conflicts was also the conclusion of a large project for the authors, if not one so long-running for them as for the Tree.

6 thoughts on “The Gate That Locks the Tree – Act 5, Scene 1

  1. Ed8r

    First about the chapter title:
    It has occurred to me belatedly that, by applying the association of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” with Jelaza Kazone, the authors may be intending to rehabilitate one of their favorite pieces of music and give it a new association. I prefer this explanation to just thinking they forgot its use in Crystal Soldier.

    Paul: I think Pat Rin’s annoyance is misplaced. Nah. He’s just using the deflection as a vehicle in order to make a wry comment on the extreme weather.

    RE age of the Tree, which I recently addressed in comments about Act 4, scene 1:
    Apparently the little Tree Jela found was much, much older than we were thinking. After Miri suggests Clutch assistance for the Tree’s depression, Jeeves comments that Collectively, the Clutch elders may be as old in this universe as the Tree was in the Crystal Universe. Note that, rather than just naming it the Old Universe, Jeeves has now given it a new, and very appropriate name for us to use: the Crystal Universe. So—back to my question from the earlier chapter—anyone want to take a guess what the collective age of the Clutch elders might be, plus or minus a thousand years or so? (so that we can add it to the known 1600 years in this universe)

  2. Ed8r

    Oops. It posted while I was trying to address this myself.

    Do we know how many elders there are? If Edger is himself over 800, then even if we had ten elders of his age (which I don’t think is supposed to be extreme) we’d be adding over 8,000 years to the age of the Tree!

  3. Paul A. Post author

    I Dare tells us that there are “dozens” of elders, and that each of them was old before Edger’s first shell was dry.

  4. Skip

    It’s credible that Tree was already thousands of years old, despite its small stature in CS

  5. Ed8r

    Oh, agreed, Skip. It’s just that I don’t think we’d considered the possibility of its being quite *that* old.

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