Till We Have Faces

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Batta acts as nurse to Orual and Redival when they’re children, frightening them with stories of what an evil stepmother they’ll have. Later, the King assigns her to guard Redival to keep her from getting into trouble with men, and she and Redival are the best of friends one moment and at each other’s throats the next. Eventually Batta grows close with the King because she flatters him. She’s a hopeless gossip, and is often cruel. Orual never likes her. Once Orual becomes Queen, she finds out that Batta has always blackmailed the other servants into giving her valuables, so she has her hanged. It seems likely that Orual hates Batta so much partly because she sees herself in Batta’s cruelty and doesn’t want to admit it. At one point, Psyche actually likens Orual’s actions to Batta’s, which angers Orual.
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Batta Character Timeline in Till We Have Faces

The timeline below shows where the character Batta appears in Till We Have Faces. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1
Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Orual begins her story with the day her mother died. According to custom, Orual’s nurse, Batta, cuts off Orual’s hair as well as her sister Redival’s. They are outside the palace,... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
The princesses’ nurse, Batta, is a rough slave woman. She warns that as soon as the King marries a... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 2
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
...sounds less angry, she is terrified for the Fox for the rest of the day. Batta shaves Orual’s head along with Redival’s and confirms that the new Queen has died. The... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
One night Batta hears Redival and Tarin, a guardsman, kissing beneath her window. She alerts the King, who... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 4
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...Orual to help with affairs of state, and one day she finds Redival returning with Batta from visiting the house of Ungit. Redival makes fun of Psyche being regarded as a... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 8
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...has forbidden her to watch the sacrifice. When one woman asks if she should bring Batta, Orual almost hits her, but regrets it. The servants dress Orual and give her wine,... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 16
Justice Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...and the Fox from the task of watching Redival, and he gives this job to Batta instead. Batta has grown close with the King, for she flatters him. She and Redival... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...to fear Orual, screaming for her to be taken away. He develops a cough, and Batta keeps giving him too much wine. He seems to think Orual is someone else who... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 17
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Orual goes to the King’s chamber, where Batta sits at his bedside. He’s awake, but can’t speak. He looks terrified when he sees... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 20
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
In the first year of her reign, the Queen hangs Batta after finding out that she has always blackmailed the other slaves into giving her valuables.... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...over her, and the Queen sees a very vivid face that almost reminds her of Batta. The Queen remembers running to escape from Batta’s smothering embrace. (full context)