The sorn (later revealed as Augray) welcomes Ransom in, and Ransom finds himself surprisingly calm at meeting the very thing he has been avoiding all this time. The sorn assesses Ransom as a being from Thulcandra, seeing that Ransom’s body shape is right for a heavier planet and Ransom does not seem to be from the hot climate of a planet called Perelandra. Ransom confirms that he is from Earth, but is used to a warmer climate with more air than they currently have. The sorn gives Ransom an oxygen mask.
The sorn is not the nightmare that Ransom expects, but a welcoming and kind presence. The sorn also presents its desire for knowledge, immediately deducing where Ransom must be from. Instead of using its scientific skills for evil, as Weston has done by coming to Malacandra at all, the sorn uses its technology (like the oxygen mask) to help others.
Ransom introduces himself, and the sorn says he is Augray. Ransom inspects the sorn’s long, feather-covered body, finding it far more pleasant to look at up close, though the face is still just human enough to be terrifying in its alien-ness. The sorn sets out a meal for Ransom, trying to explain the entire process of how the sorns make cheese from the milk of the giraffe-like creature. Ransom is heartened by the thought of the sorns as shepherds, until he remembers that the cyclops of Homer also cared for sheep.
Ransom has become much better at accepting others on their own terms and celebrating their differences, though he is still uncomfortable with things that look almost human and remind him how different sorns and humans really are. The cyclops is a villain of Homer’s Odyssey—but Ransom seems to forget that Jesus, too, is described as the “good shepherd.”
Ransom asks Augray if the sorn rule the hrossa. Augray answers that Oyarsa rules all the “hnau” of Malacandra, and elaborates that Oyarsa is the greatest of the light-bodied eldila. Ransom is confused, thinking that bodies can only be made of solids, liquids, or gases, but Augray explains that a body is movement. A body moving fast enough could be in all places at once, but would be too fast to see. For hnau like humans and sorns, light is the fastest thing their sense can perceive. The eldil, who perceive light as a liquid, can see even swifter things in the heavens. Ransom begins to think of the sightings of eldila-like things on Earth, such as albs and devas.
Ransom has been unable to let the idea of a hierarchy on Malacandra go, though he has been told multiple times that Oyarsa rules all the hnau species equally. Ransom has no way of believing this, as he still does not trust that Oyarsa is real and that an entire species could be so good as to not exploit one who might seem weaker. Lewis indulges in some scientific musings about the possibility of beings that might live on another plane, again using the framework of science fiction to talk about spiritual matters such as angel-like beings. Lewis’s world has room for both science and religion.
Ransom asks Augray why Oyarsa has sent for him. Augray guesses that Oyarsa wants to meet a visitor from a planet with no oyarsa. Ransom is confused. Augray explains that there is an oyarsa for each planet except Thulcandra (Earth), and that they live in the heavens and communicate regularly. Ransom asks to go to bed to avoid more of this confusing talk.
Lewis folds Earth into the religious framework of Malacandra, contrasting the silent Earth with the vibrant community of the rest of the planets. Earth is in some way cut off from this support, partially explaining why Ransom has so much trouble understanding the concepts that seem second-nature to the hrossa and the sorns.
Augray leads Ransom to a dark, warm chamber. Out a small window, Augray points out a silver disc in the sky. Ransom inspects the heavenly disc, making out the continents of Earth on its surface. He is overcome by the knowledge that everything he has ever known is on that small disc, and feels the bleakest he has yet on his entire journey.
After the wonders he has experienced on Malacandra, thinking of Earth disappoints Ransom. He is partially ashamed that he has come from a planet that does not interact with the heavens.