Sometimes the characters seem to move the narrative on their own. Originally, Will’s pronouncement was supposed to lead directly to a scene in the Board of Governors chamber. When the Narrator ended with “Why did you say that?” this plan derailed. Let’s unpack.
Writing the Narrator
Good grief, the Narrator might be the most fun character I’ve ever written. I really enjoy Nobody, and need to get Bug some more spotlight time, but the Narrator is just so weird.
Up to now the Narrator has only spoken directly in side comments to Will, or in footnotes to the readers. This is the first extended conversation he’s had. I enjoyed how he steered the conversation between Will and the Chair, but also how he vented some minor frustration with his prophet to the readers. Will’s nodding grates on the Narrator, he thinks it makes the teen look like an eager puppy. So the focus on Will’s nodding, even after it ceased to be part of the dialog, was especially enjoyable for me. The moment when Will was ignoring the Narrator’s voice, leading him to switch to footnotes to address the readers with “Again,” made me smile. How many parents do the same and look for a sympathetic ear when their kids won’t listen?
I also enjoy Will’s inability to communicate with the Narrator silently. It makes him look unbalanced, and is always fun. The Chair was really not happy when Will shouted, “You shut up!” at the ceiling.
Sills may be a career special agent, but that doesn’t mean she believes her superiors have a clue. She opposed the Penny Ore Detonator from the very start, even as she facilitated Nobody’s work. Her facilitation, however, was always done by dragging at least one foot 1. This is why the Chair was so convinced the agent had paid Will to declare the Detonator a failure.
Sills isn’t certain The Realm can win the war, and is terrified by the prospect of the Firewall coming down. But she’d rather fight as an insurgent against a hostile foreign power than blow up the world as she knows it.
You don’t know anything
No parent of a teenager has gone six months without hearing this. The Narrator is a bit harsh with Will. There are a number of times where a parent might not really understand, but what teens often fail to grasp is this doesn’t mean they can’t have both empathy and practical wisdom to help navigate forward.
Or maybe the Narrator was just trying to unleash Will’s buried adolescent frustration at full volume. He succeeded. In a happy circumstance the Narrator was right, the Chair was clueless.
The other Board of Ordinance members were, indeed, convinced the Governors had secretly approved the use of the Detonator in the event of a Firewall failure. But they aren’t a particularly brave group of beings and are rather fond of life 2. So even hearing an unproven accusation against the Chair caused them to buckle.
The Elf is vain and annoying, but is actually not incompetent. I felt bad he had to play the role of absentee comic-relief to end this scene. I suppose I’ll have to give him something nice to do soon to make it up to him.