Meanwhile, Miquel’s brothers succeed in evicting him, and Nuria finds him in a derelict apartment building, bankrupt and ill with tuberculosis. She takes him home and marries him. One day Jorge shows up at their apartment asking where Carax is, and they lie and say that he’s in Italy. Jorge reveals that he’s fallen in with Fumero and they both feel “cursed.” Carax writes Nuria that he’s working on a new novel, The Shadow of the Wind.
Nuria is the novel’s only woman who remains fairly independent even after marriage. However, her self-control contrasts with her belief that her fate is already decided. When she describes her situation as “cursed,” she uses the vocabulary of destiny, showing that she believes her fate and that of Carax’s to be predetermined.
One day Nuria comes home from work to find that Fumero has visited Miquel and announced that Carax is getting married to Irene Marceau, which Miquel assumes is an arrangement so that she can leave him her money. Fumero also tells Jorge that his old enemy is marrying into a fortune, stoking Jorge’s anger into fantasies of revenge. Miquel writes to Carax to warn him.
If anyone is determining characters’ fates, it’s Fumero, who has become an adept manipulator. Many events attributed to destiny are actually caused by the villain Fumero. This undermines the conviction of characters like Nuria that their lives follow a predetermined scheme, as well as the wisdom of believing such schemes to be inherently positive.
Eventually, Fumero prods Jorge into going to Paris and challenging Carax to a duel. Just as Fumero predicts, Jorge tells Carax all about Penélope’s imprisonment, without mentioning that she died soon after. Carax gets so angry that he kills Jorge and immediately returns to Barcelona to search for his lost love.
Penélope continues to be a pawn in struggles for power between male characters. One of the novel’s great tragedies is that her death is never really mourned for its own sake, but only in that it causes sadness or anger to the men around her. The identity of Coubert is also becoming clearer, now that it’s revealed that he can’t be Jorge.