Carax’s casual murder of Sanmartí makes Nuria realize he’s a much different man from the one she fell in love with, and that he is now dominated by his alter-ego Laín Coubert. She discovers that “Laín Coubert, impersonating Julian,” has been returning to the Aldaya mansion every night to open Penélope’s coffin.
Nuria explains Carax’s flaws by deeming Laín Coubert his own character, completely independent from Carax. This differentiation of Coubert from Carax shows a literary character freeing itself from the control of its creator, but also arguably shows Nuria letting Carax off the hook for his actions, and trying to preserve him in her memory as the man she fell in love with.
Meanwhile, Fumero arrests Nuria to interrogate her about Sanmartí’s death. He doesn’t torture her and eventually lets her go, but in the meantime his men destroy her apartment and scrawl “WHORE” on the wall in their own excrement.
It’s disturbing, although not surprising, that the police attack Nuria’s sexual character. Their behavior is an amplification of the widespread male tendency to feel entitled to know and control the sexuality of the women around them.
Nuria rushes to the Fortuny apartment, but Julian isn’t there and she knows he’s gone forever. From that point on, she only sees him sporadically. Once he approaches her in the cinema and tells her he’s heard about a remaining copy of The Shadow of the Wind in the hands of a young boy. Barceló had been bragging about his discovery of the book, and Carax comes to respect Daniel without knowing him because of his refusal to part with the book for money. Carax says the boy reminds him of himself.
At this point, Nuria is repeating parts of Daniel’s story that he’s already lived and recorded. The narrative’s structural repetition mirrors the tendency of characters to repeat each other’s lives. It’s also important that while Carax sees Daniel as inherently reminiscent of himself, by starting to interfere in the boy’s life he makes it even more probable that Daniel will become more like him.
Nuria sometimes visits Carax at the Aldaya house, where he now squats. He thinks he’s going insane, but Nuria believes he’s just overcome by his tragic life. Sometimes Carax tries to write about Daniel, and he keeps tabs on his childhood and adolescence.
While Daniel lives out the events of his youth, Carax is writing about them. Just as the events of literature often assert themselves in real life, reality is easily transformed into literature as well.
Nuria is afraid of Daniel because she believes that “we were all bound together in a strange chain of destiny,” and that Daniel will reopen the wounds of the past without resolving them. She’s also anxious because Daniel inadvertently leads Fumero back to Carax.
Nuria interprets the strange resemblance between Daniel and Carax as destiny, rather than the result of coincidence or human behavior. It’s reassuring to believe this, since it provides some meaning to her otherwise tragic life, but there’s very little real evidence to support her theory.
Concluding her manuscript, Nuria writes that she knows that Fumero is watching her, and she’s convinced that she “will die by his hand.” She urges Daniel to read her story and “set it free,” and to always remember her.
Nuria’s final injunction underlines the tendency of history to repeat itself harmfully. Her desire for Daniel to resolve the past and move forward contrasts poignantly with her desire to be remembered, even though she’s now dead and part of the past herself.