The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season

by

N. K. Jemisin

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Schaffa Guardian Warrant Character Analysis

Schaffa is Damaya’s Guardian who first comes to take her away from Palela and to the Fulcrum to be trained. A tall, sinewy man with pale skin, long dark hair, and pale “icewhite” eyes, Schaffa always wears the burgundy uniform of the Guardians and exhibits their many mysterious traits such as frequently smiling while also being ruthlessly violent. Schaffa seems to genuinely care for Damaya even as he physically hurts her, and she loves him as a father-figure for years despite the fact that she also fears him. Like all the Guardians, Schaffa is an enigmatic figure in The Fifth Season whose past and true motivations are unknown (though further explored later in The Broken Earth trilogy). At the Fulcrum Schaffa seemingly saves Damaya’s life by getting her to immediately take her first ring test after being caught breaking into a forbidden chamber—thus proving her use to the Fulcrum so that they won’t kill her—but he also joins the other Guardians in their attack on Meov, and tries to take Corundum away from Syenite to make the child into a node maintainer. Syenite finally turns against Schaffa in this moment, cursing him and reaching to the nearby obelisk for the power to destroy everyone around her—presumably including Schaffa himself.

Schaffa Guardian Warrant Quotes in The Fifth Season

The The Fifth Season quotes below are all either spoken by Schaffa Guardian Warrant or refer to Schaffa Guardian Warrant. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Orbit edition of The Fifth Season published in 2015.
Chapter 6 Quotes

Never say no to me,” he says. The words are hot against her skin. He has bent to murmur them into her ear. “Orogenes have no right to say no. I am your Guardian. I will break every bone in your hand, every bone in your body, if I deem it necessary to make the world safe from you.”

Related Characters: Schaffa Guardian Warrant (speaker), Essun/Damaya/Syenite
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

“I have to do what you say or you’ll hurt me.”

“And?”

She closes her eyes tighter. In dreams, that makes the bad creatures go away.

“And,” she adds, “you’ll hurt me even when I do obey. If you think you should.”

“Yes.” She can actually hear his smile. He nudges a stray braid away from her cheek, letting the backs of his fingers brush her skin. “What I do is not random, Damaya. It’s about control. Give me no reason to doubt yours, and I will never hurt you again. Do you understand?”

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite (speaker), Schaffa Guardian Warrant (speaker)
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

He does understand. She bites her lip and feels fresh tears threaten. It isn’t right that she loves him, but many things in the world are not right. So she fights off the tears, and makes her decision. Crying is weakness. Crying was a thing Damaya did. Syenite will be stronger.

“I’ll do it,” Syenite says, softly. “I’ll pass the test for you, Schaffa. I promise.”

“My good girl,” Schaffa says, and smiles, holding her close.

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite (speaker), Schaffa Guardian Warrant (speaker)
Page Number: 331
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

Promise, Alabaster had said.

Do whatever you have to, Innon had tried to say.

And Syenite says: “No, you fucker.”

Coru is crying. She puts her hand over his mouth and nose, to silence him, to comfort him. She will keep him safe. She will not let them take him, enslave him, turn his body into a tool and his mind into a weapon and his life into a travesty of freedom.

[…]

Better that a child never have lived at all than live as a slave.

Better that he die.

Better that she die. Alabaster will hate her for this, for leaving him alone, but Alabaster is not here, and survival is not the same thing as living.

Related Characters: Essun/Damaya/Syenite (speaker), Alabaster (speaker), Innon Resistant Meov (speaker), Corundum, Schaffa Guardian Warrant
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Fifth Season LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Fifth Season PDF

Schaffa Guardian Warrant Character Timeline in The Fifth Season

The timeline below shows where the character Schaffa Guardian Warrant appears in The Fifth Season. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Damaya, in winters past
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...uniform, takes off his short cape and wraps it around Damaya. He introduces himself as Schaffa Guardian Warrant and explains that Damaya will be trained at the Fulcrum to use her... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Schaffa says that Damaya is actually lucky that her parents reported her and kept her isolated,... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
As Damaya remembers this, Schaffa continues speaking, describing Damaya as “firemountain-glass” and a “gift of the Earth.” But he reminds... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Schaffa reassures Damaya that none of this is her fault, and she shouldn’t blame herself or... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Schaffa hands Damaya the blanket that Mother brought, and Damaya realizes that it is the one... (full context)
Chapter 6: Damaya, grinding to a halt
Power and Control Theme Icon
Damaya and Schaffa first arrive at the town of Brevard. Damaya has never left her hometown of Palela... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Schaffa and Damaya ride for many hours until they come to a place near a fault... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Schaffa begins his story: 1,200 years ago, before the Fulcrum was established, a powerful orogene named... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Schaffa says that Misalem came to Yumenes and demanded that the Emperor come out to meet... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
This story thrills Damaya, but Schaffa isn’t done. He explains that Shemshena was the first Guardian. The Fulcrum is the order... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Schaffa describes how the Guardians train just as Shemshena did, learning to neutralize the threat of... (full context)
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Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Schaffa and Damaya keep riding through empty plains, and Damaya notices ruins of old civilizations as... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Schaffa asks Damaya if she is still thinking about the story, and he seems to know... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Schaffa stops the horse. He asks if Damaya really can control herself, and he says that... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Schaffa’s grip on Damaya’s hand now steadily tightens, and she starts to whimper and struggle. Calmly,... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
As Damaya struggles, Schaffa whispers into her ear, saying that she could kill him right now if she wanted... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Schaffa now takes Damaya’s hand again, gently this time, and tells her that it will heal... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...beneath her continues to beckon to her. But now she knows that she cannot kill Schaffa, as he is “the last person in the world who loves her.” Schaffa then reveals... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
When night falls Schaffa makes camp as Damaya sits nursing her hand. Finally, she says, “I want to go... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
Schaffa gives Damaya some soup, and they lie down to sleep on their single bedroll. Damaya... (full context)
Chapter 17: Damaya, in finality
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
The Guardian is a short-haired woman who seems older than Schaffa and is smiling in the same strange way that every Guardian seems to. The Guardian... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...returns and leads her into a large new room, saying that she has sent for Schaffa, who is currently in Yumenes. This room is full of people, some wearing black uniforms,... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
...woman continues, she starts to press her thumb into the bones of Damaya’s hand that Schaffa broke a year and half ago. The woman keeps speaking as her thumbnail now cuts... (full context)
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Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Suddenly Schaffa enters the room and addresses the woman, whom he calls Timay. She continues to drone... (full context)
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History, Storytelling, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Schaffa then takes Damaya’s hand and examines where Timay cut her. He smiles sadly at her... (full context)
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
After a while, Schaffa picks Damaya up and lets her weep into his lap. She cries for a long... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
...went, and she feels suddenly that the Fulcrum’s way of life is “not right.” But Schaffa asks again, and she knows that she loves him too, however wrong that might be.... (full context)
Chapter 22: Syenite, fractured
Freedom Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Syenite then hears a familiar voice, and Schaffa appears. She grabs Corundum and backs away as he approaches. Schaffa sees the baby and... (full context)
Hierarchy, Oppression, and Prejudice Theme Icon
Disaster, Violence, and Survival Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Naming Theme Icon
Corundum is wailing now, and Syenite starts to say “no” over and over again, but Schaffa reminds her that she is never to say no to him. Moments seem to flash... (full context)