It is almost dawn, after the night when Christopher reunited with Kira. Kira walks down to the dyer’s garden at the foot of the Edifice and carefully plants woad there. She thinks about everything that has happened to her in recent months. Her mother’s death, she thinks, was very sudden; it’s possible that the guardians poisoned her to get to Kira to work on the robe for them. It’s also possible, Kira realizes, that they killed Jo and Thomas’s parents to gain control of other artists, as well.
Kira doesn’t have any illusions about the Council anymore. Now that she knows that Jamison tried to kill her father, she accepts that it’s possible that he killed her mother, and Jo and Thomas’s parents, too. This shows that the pain Kira experienced in the previous chapter had a purpose: it enlightened her and freed her from any naiveté.
Kira thinks ahead to the journey she and Christopher have agreed to make: they will leave the village. Kira reflects that she will not miss the squalor or violence of her old life, but she will miss Thomas, Matt, and Jo. As she thinks of Jo, she remembers what she saw at the Gathering. When the Singer finished his performance, he lifted his robe slightly, and Kira saw his feet, which were bloody and scarred, so that as he walked he left a trail of blood behind him. Kira also saw why: he was wearing ankle cuffs and a heavy chain.
Kira struggles with contradictory emotions. She has no reason to live in the village, since it despises her, but she also wants to stay behind for the sake of the few people who she cares about. It’s also in this section that we learn that the Singer—and Kira herself—is a prisoner of the Council, forced to make art against his will to further the interests of the Council. The Singer’s dead stare therefore becomes a kind of symbol of what happens to an artist forced to create “art” that does not come from his or her own inspiration.
Kira realizes how the guardians maintain their power. By controlling artists—Kira, Thomas, and Jo—the guardians, who have no creativity themselves, can commission and control a vision of the future they want. Kira thinks of Annabella, who once told her that small woad shoots survive after a storm and go on to produce the color blue. Kira senses that the woad she’s planted in the grass will survive. And, as she contemplates the survival of the woad plants, she decides that she must stay in the Edifice.
Kira’s realization in this section is both crushing and empowering. It’s crushing because it reveals how much of a prisoner Kira has been for the last year. She’s been kept in a strange building and forced to make art she doesn’t care about. Yet this realization is also empowering, because it makes her see that, as an artist, she has the power to affect and change the future.
Kira decides that Matt must lead Christopher back to his home. Later that same night, Kira meets Matt, Branch, Christopher, and Thomas at the edge of the village. Christopher is surprised with Kira’s decision to say behind, but also completely accepting of it. Matt tells Kira that while she can’t find a husband in the village, because of her lameness, lame people in Christopher’s community marry all the time. He names one two-syllable boy who he thinks Kira could marry, and adds that the boy has blue eyes. Kira smiles and shakes hear head.
Acceptance and allowing someone to follow their own path, as Christopher does with Kira, is also a mark of love. The reference to the “two-syllable” boy with blue eyes is a reference to Jonas, the protagonist of The Giver, which is the first book in The Giver of which Gathering Blue is the second novel. It would seem that the village that Jonas sees at the end of The Giver is Christopher’s village of the wounded.
As Christopher prepares to leave with Matt, he tells Kira that she will come to his community later, and adds that Matt will make sure of it. Kira agrees that she will reunite with Christopher, after she has finished an important “task” in the village. As she talks to her father, she thinks of the undecorated robe she must begin to weave. She senses that the future is in her hands. Thomas gives Christopher a pack of food to last him the length of his journey, and Christopher shakes hands with him.
This part of the novel serves as a setup for the third book of The Giver Quarter, called The Messenger, which focuses on Matt, but also includes Kira as a character. That Kira has work to do on the undecorated part of the robe suggests that she wants to use her art to create a vision of the future that does not merely align with the Council’s hopeless worldview.
Before he departs, Christopher gives Kira a gift: in the darkness she can see that he’s holding threads. Christopher explains that because he’s had to learn to do everything without sight he’s become excellent with his hands. Earlier that night, he explains, he unraveled his blue shirt (the shirt he’s wearing at that moment is one that Matt stole for him). Now, he concludes, Kira will have blue threads to weave with. Kira embraces her father, and then watches as he, Matt, and Branch walk into the forest. She returns to the Edifice, carrying the blue threads, which seem to be coming alive.
Lowry reveals the missing piece of Kira’s decision to stay behind. Kira wants to work on the robe because she wants to introduce “blue”—both the literal color and what it stands for, love and compassion—to the villagers who have been taught by the Council to be selfish and cruel. Kira has always felt a strong desire to help other people, even if they don’t appreciate her help. Therefore, she will join Christopher and Matt later, but for now, she will try to work against the will of the Council and teach her community how to be better people. The fact that the blue threads in her hand seem to be coming alive suggests that she will succeed.