The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

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Essun’s friend and neighbor in Tirimo, Lerna is a younger man who leaves the comm for a while and returns trained as a doctor. Lerna is the only one besides her own children who knows that Essun is an orogene, but he never reveals her secret to anyone else in Tirimo. Lerna has a crush on Essun growing up, and it seems to still have lingered even when they are reunited in Castrima. A man of integrity throughout the novel, Lerna starts out polite and relatively shy but is hardened by life traveling during a Fifth Season, and seems much more world-weary when Essun meets him in Castrima.
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Lerna Character Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the character Lerna appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: you, at the end
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
...doesn’t answer, the visitor breaks the glass on the door and comes in: it is Lerna, a friendly young man who lives nearby and works as a doctor. Lerna sees what... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
When Essun wakes again, Lerna tells her that there has been a big “shake” in the north, and that the... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Lerna is the only one besides Essun’s children who knows that Essun is an orogene. Lerna... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Lerna then brings up Uche, and Essun says that she knows Jija is the one who... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
When Essun is able to speak again, she tells Lerna that she wasn’t the one who revealed Uche’s orogeny to Jija—the child must have done... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
After Lerna leaves, Essun washes her face until the tap water turns brown and trickles to nothing,... (full context)
Chapter 21: you’re getting the band back together
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...and starts to wash herself when someone approaches her: she’s shocked to see that it’s Lerna, her friend and ally from Tirimo. He tells Essun that he thought she might end... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...people at the baths seem to look more kindly on Essun after her encounter with Lerna, and Essun wonders if Ykka tries to hide her orogeny from the public, or if... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Lerna says that he left Tirimo the day after Essun did, as the town was already... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Lerna continues, saying that he snuck out of Tirimo and walked with the flow of refugees... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Lerna continued on alone and realized that he, too, was extremely vulnerable, just like the daughter... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Lerna and Essun fall silent for a while, and then Lerna tells Essun that Nassun definitely... (full context)
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Lerna suggests that they go to Essun’s apartment, and Essun manages to control her tears once... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...they make it back to Essun’s chambers, where Tonkee is eating in the living room. Lerna introduces himself to her, and they are cautious with each other until Lerna mentions testing... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Hoa enters the apartment and first glares at Lerna, but then seems to visibly relax. He turns to Essun and says that there’s someone... (full context)
Chapter 23: you’re all you need
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Essun and Lerna make their way down to Castrima’s infirmary, but at the door, Essun silently warns Lerna... (full context)