The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness

by

Ursula K. Le Guin

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Handdarata men who are able to predict the future when they work in collaboration with each other.

Foretellers Quotes in The Left Hand of Darkness

The The Left Hand of Darkness quotes below are all either spoken by Foretellers or refer to Foretellers. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ace Books edition of The Left Hand of Darkness published in 1987.
Chapter 5 Quotes

“But we in the Handdara don’t want answers. It’s hard to avoid them, but we try to.”
“Faxe, I don’t think I understand.”
“Well, we come here to the Fastness mostly to learn what questions not to ask.”
“But you’re the Answerers!”
“You don’t see yet, Genry, why we perfected and practice Foretelling?”
“No—”

“To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question.”

Related Characters: Genly Ai (speaker), Faxe (speaker)
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

“The unknown,” said Faxe’s soft voice in the forest, the unforetold, the unproven, that is what life is based on. Ignorance is the ground of thought. Unproof is the ground of action. If it were proven that there is no God there would be no religion. No Handdara, no Yomes, no hearthgods, nothing. But also if it were proven that there is a God, there would be no religion…. Tell me, Genry, what is known? What is sure, predictable, inevitable—the one certain thing you know concerning your future, and mine?”

Related Characters: Faxe (speaker), Genly Ai
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

The luck that had turned in Ethwen now turned the world with it under my hand. I never had a gift but one, to know when the great wheel gives to a touch, to know and act. I had thought that foresight lost, last year in Erhenrang, and never to be regained. A great delight it was to feel that certainty again, to know that I could steer my fortune and the world’s chance like a bobsled down the steep, dangerous hour.

Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:
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Foretellers Term Timeline in The Left Hand of Darkness

The timeline below shows where the term Foretellers appears in The Left Hand of Darkness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
...in Karhide, outside of Erhenrang, first. He will continue to gather information, specifically about the Foretellers. (full context)
Chapter 4
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...story recorded by Ai. It begins with Lord Berosty rem ir Ipe paying for a Foretelling. He asks what day he will die, but is only given the day of the... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...to whom he had vowed kemmering, becomes worried about him and goes to have a Foretelling of his own. He offers his life to the Foretellers if only they will tell... (full context)
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
The Foretellers don’t charge Herbor for his Foretelling, but warn him there is always a price. He... (full context)
Chapter 5
Truth and Storytelling Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...Handdara religion, which was not deeply examined by the Investigators. Ai has heard of the Foretellers of the Handdara, who supposedly can see the future, and he wants to verify these... (full context)
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...who lives in Otherhord. Ai tells Goss he’d like to ask a question of the Foretellers. When Goss asks who specifically he’d like to speak to, Ai admits he’s “exceedingly ignorant,”... (full context)
Sex, Gender, and Behavior Theme Icon
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...for a few days until he decides whether or not he wants to ask the Foretellers a question. (full context)
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
Goss helps Ai figure out how to ask the Foretellers a good question. He cautions that “vagueness breeds vagueness,” and some questions are unanswerable. Yomeshta,... (full context)
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
Ai picks a question for the Foretellers to answer, and waits until all nine of them can gather together: the Weaver; Faxe;... (full context)
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...the sensitivity that allows him to mindspeak, Ai can feel a spider-web-like connection between the Foretellers. He tries to keep out of their minds, but as he resists he begins to... (full context)
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...is broken and the doctor takes care of the Zanies as the rest of the Foretellers slump, exhausted. Faxe wonders if Ai has been answered, and Ai confirms he has been.... (full context)
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
Two days later, as they walk together, Faxe and Ai discuss the Foretelling. Faxe tells Ai that he felt a tenth presence in the room during the Foretelling.... (full context)
Chapter 6
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
...his former kemmering, with whom he has two children. Although Ashe is now a Celibate Foreteller, the two still love one another. (full context)
Chapter 8
Duty and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ai informs Tibe of his question to the Foretellers, to no response. He then goes to the Orgota Embassy and requests to enter Orgoreyn.... (full context)
Chapter 15
Otherness and Connectedness Theme Icon
Light and Dark, Religion and Spirituality  Theme Icon
...about his intuition and “luck.” Ai suspects this is related to the talent of the Foretellers of the Handdara. He also thinks it is related to the Yomeshta belief in seeing... (full context)