’s robe, staff, and Ruin Song are three different versions of the same thing: a story of the endless, inevitable rise and fall of history. Civilizations begin, grow, decay, and eventually die out, often in a fiery blaze, to be followed by a new, fresh civilization. The Song shows this with words, the robe shows it in weaving, and the staff shows it in wood. As Kira
learns, the Council of Guardians believes that it is in its own best interest to control this version of history: to make sure that everyone knows it, and to make sure that when Thomas and Kira tell the future of civilization by carving the staff and embroidering the robe, their vision of the future depicts the Council in a flattering light. By the end of the book, it’s clear why the Council is so invested in teaching their version of history to the village: doing so encourages the villagers to believe that death and decay are inevitable, and therefore that everyone should accept their place in life and obey the Council. Kira decides to undermine the Council’s plan by weaving a version of the robe that includes blue
, and will teach compassion and love to the villagers. Thus, the robe, staff, and Ruin Song show the power of art: a power that can be dangerous in the hands of a corrupt government, but liberating in the hands of individual artists working toward their own vision.