This talk has been a long time coming. While there were several ways it could have gone, and I’m interested in further exploring this scene in the future, I do think it successfully communicates Welcome to the Valleys is Jeremy’s story.
Let’s unpack it.
I’ve writing how I’ve been displeased with Jeremy’s development for a while. To me, this teenager always seemed to passive. Beginning with this passage he is going to become much more expressive. This is the first conversation where the fantastic events in which he has become embroiled seem to be impacting him on a personal level, which is something I’ve known for a while. When he begins shouting, it’s several days worth of confusion, frustration, uncertainty, and fear boiling out of his psyche. In my mind it’s about time.
As a reflect on Jeremy’s journey thus far, however, I do wonder if I haven’t been too hard on him. In fact, Jeremy reflects my personality in certain ways every bit as much as the other two main characters. What I mistook as passivity was actually quiet observation. Jeremy had been overwhelmed with everything he’d encountered. It was his instinct to sit back and ask questions as he pondered his situation. It took several days, and hours in the company of people who had been very recently strangers, before Jeremy felt comfortable enough to lash out with his fears and frustrations. When Walter gave him the opening, Jeremy leapt. Ama’s gift of dinner, and the “show” of the rainbow sky, were more valuable to Jeremy than she could have possibly known. Or perhaps she did know, her call as a healer would make her instinctively aware of his mental and emotional state.
It’s interesting I should miss something so integral to my own nature in one of the characters created by my imagination. Jeremy isn’t passive, he’s a thinker. He is also very relieved he doesn’t believe he is personally a threat to The Valleys.
I’m also fairly certain Jeremy is left-handed, though I’m not sure why this is important.
Walter and Ama’s devotion
Other than it being a example of a right action, why does Walter feel he has a responsibility to Jeremy? He could have dropped off this amnesia-addled stranger at the town Council in Water Gap and continued on his merry way, yet he didn’t. Why? For that matter, why would Ama be willing to give up both her apprentice and her practice in order to bring an unknown youth to the Senate?
Jeremy himself is confused by their devotion to him, and Walter’s answer is far from satisfactory, “…helpin’ folks is what we’re about…” doesn’t explain anything. We could say Jeremy’s particular social status as a pathfinder makes them feel more responsible for his well-being, but Walter is telling the truth when he says he’d stay with him even if that weren’t the case.
The truth is, the society of The Valleys is far from a utopia, and Walter has been collecting “strays” for long time. Walter’s unwillingness to divulge this to Jeremy at this moment is probably more about him not wanting to burden Jeremy any more than he already had, than about revealing something about himself. Walter figures between being a pathfinder, having no memory, and the shadows’ interest in him the hostility toward “strays” is not the best information to divulge at present. He’s wrong, but he’s wrong out of a sense of genuine compassion.
The Shadows return
The shadows 1 didn’t go as far as we may have been lead to believe. The Boulevard Tunnel is extremely well-lit, so cutting off the light of the evertorches took an incredible amount of energy on their part. The bath room, however, was lit by a single evertorch and this was much easier to hold back. I hoped to convey this in the structure of the voice, there’s a lot less strain in this communication than in the tunnels.
Yes, there is at least one shadow which is following Jeremy’s journey. Why they have such an interest in Jeremy is unknown to the youth – nor can he understand why the shadows don’t want him to remember. How does one seek truth if you can’t remember who you are?
- “Shadows” is no more their name for themselves than “Shadestalkers,” but we’ll have to wait to find out what they call themselves. ↩