This post explores yesterday’s “Fiction Tuesday” post, The Plan.
The teen shows up
Jeremy’s character has been bugging me for a few posts now. He is a “lad,” as Walter calls him – probably around 16 years old. Jeremy just seemed too passive to me. This could have something to do a sense of unease with his situation, but he was really just too darn polite. That’s not to say Jeremy isn’t impressive, he is, but he is a teenager and they tend to not be as passive as he’s been acting. His sense of betrayal at Walter and Ama’s plan was the first inkling that there is more to his character than the polite youth we’ve seen thus far. It’ll be interesting to see how this aspect of his character comes out in the future, and how the adults handle it. Jeremy is never going to be a “troubled teen,” but Ama is used to having the youths near her as apprentices – Jeremy is not going to take on that role.
Last week the idea of Ama’s touch calming people was posed. Jeremy certainly remembered! As Ama reached out to soothe Jeremy he jerked back so he could hold on to his indignation a bit longer. Ama is disappointed when he pulls back, as she sees soothing people as part of her healing role. At the same time that moment is also the first time she sees Jeremy as a person who might have his own aims – it both confuses and impresses her.
Walter, who is more versed with independently-minded people than his friend, already noticed that trait in Jeremy and was not dismayed. In fact, it gives him hope that Jeremy may actually be able to prevent himself from being manipulated by one of the Inner Valley families. How the two adults deal with Jeremy’s emerging independence may be something I’ll have to explore.
Seek and find
Ama mentions “Seekers” in this post, but never explains who they are. Readers can probably deduce that Seekers are people who desire to seek out their people’s past, and that’s correct. Ama also mentions Seekers believe the people of The Valleys don’t have a future because they don’t have a real past. This has only been inferred so far, but all is not well in The Valleys. Stagnation has set in, and rigidity is preventing renewal to come to the society. Ama and Walter were correct that the Water Gap council would have sent Jeremy to The Ravine with great fanfare had they not attempted to “keep” Jeremy’s origin from them. Seekers are considered odd balls in The Valleys, and Jeremy’s presence is a validation to them they are correct. We’ll have to see if they are.
If you have ever seen Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn you are familiar with Saavik’s surprise in catching Spock in a lie. In response Spock gave her his patented eyebrow raise and insisted, “I exaggerated.” Both Jeremy’s reference to lying and Ama’s reaction to his statement are inspired by this moment. May Leonard Nimoy rest in peace.
What is Walter’s story? Very few hints have been dropped thus far, and the serial nature of this story makes one of the biggest hints difficult to spot. I’ll feel bad when I have to let this one go at last. I like Walter the way he is, even if that’s not entirely who he is.
If this were a traditional novel this section would be the end of Chapter 1. In fact, in the Scrivener project to which I’ve transferred all the posts, this really is the end of chapter one. Jeremy and the others will get a good night’s sleep and be off for The Ravine in the morning. It’ll take several days to get there (unlike the Minecraft world this is based on, where Water Gap and Ravine Town are not very far from one another at all). It will be a bit before the party arrives in the Inner Valleys, but the landscape will begin to change. Water Gap is a population center cut off from other locales by some pretty intimidating barriers, and before The Boulevard was created it was a sleepy little hamlet along the river. It’s isolated history is probably why the Seekers are so welcome in the town. The Rest of the Valleys is much different.
Jeremy’s thought at the end of the passage is rather cryptic. Is he sad about having to move on from Water Gap so soon, or because of something else?