Till We Have Faces

Till We Have Faces

Orual (The Queen) Character Analysis

Orual is the narrator of the novel. She begins as a princess of Glome, and becomes Queen at her father’s death. Orual writes because she hates the gods, and in fact she is a character full of anger. In this way, she takes after her father the King, even though she hates him too. Orual is essentially defined by love and a lack thereof. Her indisputable ugliness means that others’ love does not fall on her naturally, and her father’s constant reminders of this ugliness lead to her strong sense of insecurity. When others do love her, she struggles to believe it, and her constant fear that their love will disappear makes her cling to it in a potentially harmful way. In other words, she becomes a very jealous person, never wanting to share her loved ones with anyone else. Ultimately, Orual realizes she has been jealous of the gods themselves for being so beautiful that they can attract the love of anyone they want, including her beloved Psyche. Her tendency towards jealousy leads Orual to harm those close to her with her possessive form of love that constantly borders on hatred. As Ansit puts it, Orual’s love devours those she loves. When Orual becomes Ungit late in the book, it only makes more evident what she has always been—ugly inside and out, controlling and destructive through her love. Yet despite her major faults, Orual is obviously a sympathetic character, since she is the protagonist and the narrator. In fact, readers may find themselves relating to Orual almost against their will, as she suffers from failings common to anyone who’s tried to love another person. In this way, the character of Orual functions to enact the central message of the novel by forcing readers to see their true selves and their faults more clearly.

Orual (The Queen) Quotes in Till We Have Faces

The Till We Have Faces quotes below are all either spoken by Orual (The Queen) or refer to Orual (The Queen). 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:
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition of Till We Have Faces published in 2012.
Part 1: Chapter 2 Quotes

The Fox clapped his hands and sang, “Prettier than Andromeda, prettier than Helen, prettier than Aphrodite herself.”

“Speak words of better omen, Grandfather,” I said, though I knew he would scold and mock me for saying it. For at his words, though on that summer day the rocks were too hot to touch, it was as if a soft, cold hand had been laid on my left side, and I shivered.... I knew it is not good to talk that way about Ungit.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), The Fox (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Related Symbols: Ungit
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 3 Quotes

Her beauty, which most of them had never seen, worked on them as a terror might work. Then a low murmur, almost a sob, began; swelled, broke into the gasping cry, “A goddess, a goddess.” One woman’s voice rang out clear. “It is Ungit herself in mortal shape.”

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Related Symbols: Ungit
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 7 Quotes

Since I write this book against the gods, it is just that I should put into it whatever can be said against myself. So let me set this down: as she spoke I felt, amid all my love, a bitterness. Though the things she was saying gave her (that was plain enough) courage and comfort, I grudged her that courage and comfort. It was as if someone or something else had come in between us. If this grudging is the sin for which the gods hate me, it is one I have committed.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Page Number: 74-75
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 9 Quotes

While I was in there, one of the other soldiers... came into the passage and said something to Bardia. Bardia replied, I couldn’t hear what. Then he spoke louder: “Why, yes, it’s a pity about her face. But she’s a brave girl and honest. If a man was blind and she weren’t the King’s daughter, she’d make him a good wife.” And that is the nearest thing to a love-speech that was ever made me.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Bardia
Related Symbols: Faces
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 10 Quotes

And he took me... and pulled me right out of the iron girdle... and carried me up into the air, far up above the ground, and whirled me away. Of course he was invisible again almost at once. I had seen him only as one sees a lightning flash. But that didn’t matter. Now I knew it was he, not it, I wasn’t in the least afraid of sailing along in the sky, even of turning head over heels in it.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), West-wind
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 11 Quotes

For the world had broken in pieces and Psyche and I were not in the same piece. Seas, mountains, madness, death itself, could not have removed her from me to such a hopeless distance as this. Gods, and again gods, always gods... they had stolen her. They would leave us nothing. A thought pierced up through the crust of my mind like a crocus coming up in the early year. Was she not worthy of the gods? Ought they not to have her? But instantly great, choking, blinding waves of sorrow swept it away....

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Page Number: 120-21
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Get up, girl,” I said. “Do you hear me? Do as you’re told. Psyche, you’ve never disobeyed me before.”

She looked up (wetter every moment) and said, very tender in voice but hard as stone in her determination, “Dear Maia, I am a wife now. It’s no longer you that I must obey.”

I learned then how one can hate those one loves. My fingers were round her wrist in an instant, my other hand on her upper arm. We were struggling.

Page Number: 126-27
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Part 1: Chapter 12 Quotes

I must lie on the steps at the great gate of that house and make my petition. I must ask forgiveness of Psyche as well as of the god. I had dared to scold her (dared, what was worse, to try to comfort her as a child) but all the time she was far above me; herself now hardly mortal.... if what I saw was real. I was in great fear. Perhaps it was not real.... Then as I rose... the whole thing was vanished.

Related Symbols: The Palace on the Mountain
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
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I perceived now that there is a love deeper than theirs who seek only the happiness of their beloved. Would a father see his daughter happy as a whore? Would a woman see her lover happy as a coward? My hand went back to the sword. “She shall not,” I thought.... However things might go, whatever the price, by her death or mine or a thousand deaths... Psyche should not—least of all, contentedly—make sport for a demon.

Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 13 Quotes

Then I did a thing which I think few have done. I spoke to the gods myself, alone, in such words as came to me, not in a temple, and without a sacrifice. I stretched myself face downward on the floor and called upon them with my whole heart. I took back every word I had said against them. I promised anything they might ask of me, if only they would send me a sign. They gave me none. When I began there was red firelight in the room and rain on the roof; when I rose up again the fire had sunk a little lower, and the rain drummed on as before.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker)
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 14 Quotes

You are indeed teaching me about kinds of love I did not know. It is like looking into a deep pit. I am not sure whether I like your kind better than hatred. Oh, Orual—to take my love for you, because you know it goes down to my very roots and cannot be diminished by any other newer love, and then to make of it a tool, a weapon, a thing of policy and mastery, an instrument of torture—I begin to think I never knew you. Whatever comes after, something that was between us dies here.

Related Characters: Psyche (Istral) (speaker), Orual (The Queen)
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 15 Quotes

He made it to be as if, from the beginning, I had known that Psyche’s lover was a god, and as if all my doubtings, fears, guessings, debatings, questionings of Bardia, questionings of the Fox, all the rummage and business of it, had been trumped-up foolery, dust blown in my own eyes by myself. You, who read my book, judge. Was it so?

Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 18 Quotes

“Fool!” I said to myself. “Have you not yet learned that you are that to no one? What are you to Bardia? ...His heart lies at home with his wife and her brats. If you mattered to him he’d never have let you fight. What are you to the Fox? His heart was always in the Greeklands. You were, maybe, the solace of his captivity. They say a prisoner will tame a rat. He comes to love the rat—after a fashion. But throw the door open, strike off his fetters, and how much’ll he care for the rat then?”

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), The Fox, Bardia, Ansit
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 20 Quotes

I must now pass quickly over many years... during which the Queen of Glome had more and more a part in me and Orual had less and less. I locked Orual up or laid her asleep as best I could somewhere deep down inside me; she lay curled there. It was like being with child, but reversed; the thing I carried in me grew slowly smaller and less alive.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:
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My second strength lay in my veil.... [A]s years passed and there were fewer in the city... who remembered my face, the wildest stories got about as to what that veil hid.... Some said... that it was frightful beyond endurance; a pig’s, bear’s, cat’s or elephant’s face. The best story was that I had no face at all; if you stripped off my veil you’d find emptiness. But another sort... said that I wore a veil because I was of a beauty so dazzling that if I let it be seen all men in the world would run mad; or else that Ungit was jealous of my beauty and had promised to blast me if I went bareface. The upshot of all this nonsense was that I became something very mysterious and awful.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Veil, Faces, Ungit
Page Number: 228-29
Explanation and Analysis:
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But the change of my quarters, and later changes (for I tried every side of the house) did no good. I discovered that there was no part of the palace from which the swinging of those chains could not be heard; at night, I mean, when the silence grows deep. It is a thing no one would have found out who was not always afraid of hearing one sound; and at the same time (that was Orual, Orual refusing to die) terribly afraid of not hearing it if for once—if possibly, at last, after ten thousand mockeries—it should be real, if Psyche had come back.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Related Symbols: The Chains in the Well
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 1: Chapter 21 Quotes

For if the true story had been like their story, no riddle would have been set me; there would have been no guessing and no guessing wrong. More than that, it’s a story belonging to a different world, a world in which the gods show themselves clearly and don’t torment men with glimpses, nor unveil to one what they hide from another, nor ask you to believe what contradicts your eyes and ears and nose and tongue and fingers.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), The priest of Istra, Daaran
Related Symbols: The Palace on the Mountain
Page Number: 243-44
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2: Chapter 1 Quotes

And so take away from him his work, which was his life... and all his glory and his great deeds? Make a child and a dotard of him? Keep him to myself at that cost? Make him so mine that he was no longer his? ...He was to live the life he thought best and fittest for a great man—not that which would most pleasure me.

Related Characters: Ansit (speaker), Orual (The Queen), Bardia
Page Number: 264
Explanation and Analysis:
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Oh, Queen Orual, I begin to think you know nothing of love.... Perhaps you who spring from the gods love like the gods. Like the Shadowbrute. They say the loving and the devouring are all one, don’t they? ...You’re full fed. Gorged with other men’s lives, women’s too: Bardia’s, mine, the Fox’s, your sister’s—both your sisters’.

Related Symbols: Ungit
Page Number: 264-65
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2: Chapter 2 Quotes

“Do not do it,” said the god. “You cannot escape Ungit by going to the deadlands, for she is there also. Die before you die. There is no chance after.”

“Lord, I am Ungit.”

But there was no answer.

Related Symbols: Ungit
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2: Chapter 3 Quotes

But to steal her love from me! ...Do you think that we mortals will find you gods easier to bear if you’re beautiful? I tell you that if that’s true we’ll find you a thousand times worse. For then (I know what beauty does) you’ll lure and entice. You’ll leave us nothing; nothing that’s worth our keeping or your taking. Those we love best—whoever’s most worth loving—those are the very ones you’ll pick out.... It would be far better for us if you were foul and ravening. We’d rather you drank their blood than stole their hearts. We’d rather they were ours and dead than yours and made immortal.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2: Chapter 4 Quotes

The complaint was the answer. To have heard myself making it was to be answered.... When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Faces
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:
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Each breath I drew let into me new terror, joy, overpowering sweetness. I was pierced through and through with the arrows of it. I was being unmade. I was no one. But that’s little to say; rather, Psyche, herself was, in a manner, no one. I loved her as I would once have thought it impossible to love, would have died any death for her. And yet, it was not, not now, that she really counted. Or if she counted... it was for another’s sake. The earth and stars and sun, all that was or will be, existed for his sake. And he was coming. The most dreadful, the most beautiful, the only dread and beauty there is, was coming.

Related Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral)
Page Number: 307
Explanation and Analysis:
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Orual (The Queen) Character Timeline in Till We Have Faces

The timeline below shows where the character Orual (The Queen) appears in Till We Have Faces. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 1
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The writer is Orual, the daughter of the King of Glome. The city of Glome lies on the river... (full context)
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Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Orual begins her story with the day her mother died. According to custom, Orual’s nurse, Batta,... (full context)
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...rough slave woman. She warns that as soon as the King marries a stepmother for Orual and Redival, their lives will become much harder. One day, the girls are trying to... (full context)
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In the King’s Pillar Room, Orual finds traders just packing up. They’ve sold the King a slave, a red-haired Greek man.... (full context)
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Before long, Orual loves her teacher, known as the Fox, more than anyone else in her life. Considering... (full context)
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...saw Aphrodite in her true form, he asked her to kill him. The Fox assures Orual that the story isn’t real, but even so, Orual perceives that the Greeks’ Aphrodite is... (full context)
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The Fox is ashamed that he loves poetry, thinking it foolishness, but Orual works hard at philosophy to get the Fox to teach her poetry. He likes her... (full context)
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The King decides that the Fox must teach Orual, Redival, and other noble girls to sing a Greek bridal hymn, even though none of... (full context)
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Orual worries that her stepmother will be particularly cruel to her because of her ugliness. When... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 2
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...a year. She becomes pregnant, and the King is ecstatic, sacrificing to Ungit frequently. Once, Orual overhears the King tell his wife that her father has cheated him by not revealing... (full context)
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...They sit in the great hall, the Priest of Ungit performing ceremonies around a fire. Orual is afraid, but the Fox tells her not to fear anything related to nature. She... (full context)
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Orual has the wild idea to visit the new Queen. As the Fox tries to stop... (full context)
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...who killed the slave, and then suddenly screams about having only female children. He shakes Orual and throws her from him, then attacks the Fox, ordering him to go work in... (full context)
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The King throws everyone out of the hall. Orual begs the Fox to run away, but he says he’s too old. Orual insists that... (full context)
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...of Phars have arrived. The Fox is called to the palace, and when he and Orual go to the Pillar Room, it is crowded with strangers. The King sends Orual away.... (full context)
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Later, the Fox comes to tell Orual that he won’t be sent to the mines. He has just bargained well with the... (full context)
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The King names his baby daughter Istra. Orual knows that in Greek, the name is Psyche. There are babies all over the palace... (full context)
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Orual takes on the raising of Psyche, finding her a nurse and having both of them... (full context)
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...and she makes everything around her beautiful. For a while, the world seems wonderful to Orual, and she devotes herself entirely to Psyche, wanting to love her in every possible way. (full context)
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The King now completely trusts the Fox, who often brings Orual and Psyche to a hilltop where they can see all across Glome and the Grey... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
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...King, who surprises the couple and has Tarin made into a eunuch. The King blames Orual and the Fox for not keeping Redival out of trouble, and commands them to never... (full context)
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...his attempts to remarry. One day, Psyche and Redival wander off through the gardens while Orual and the Fox are studying philosophy. When they return, Redival mocks Psyche, calling her a... (full context)
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Orual discovers that Psyche has had similar encounters in the past, and she fears that the... (full context)
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...another bad harvest, and a fever spreads. The Fox falls ill and the King forces Orual to do the Fox’s work. She finds she doesn’t mind the work, and her father... (full context)
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...as they kiss her feet and the ground where she walks. As Psyche becomes pale, Orual worries she will die, but the King says the people will kill them if Psyche... (full context)
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...townspeople die and some don’t, but the people leave offerings for Psyche outside the palace. Orual worries that Ungit will be angry, but the Fox assures her that the Priest of... (full context)
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Redival suddenly begins going to the house of Ungit frequently to make offerings. Orual assumes she’s praying for a husband and trying to get away from her family. She... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 4
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Orual has known little about the people until now. Their love of Psyche comforts her somewhat;... (full context)
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The King decides he no longer needs Orual to help with affairs of state, and one day she finds Redival returning with Batta... (full context)
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Orual watches the city, waiting for Psyche to return, and the city begins to look like... (full context)
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Orual is angry at the people and insists the King must know. Psyche soothes her, saying... (full context)
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...the river dries up, animals die, and lions come to steal sheep. The King needs Orual’s help again, for there are conflicts with the neighboring kingdoms. He alternates between hitting Orual... (full context)
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...comes to the palace with a host of armed guards from the house of Ungit. Orual thinks there might be a fight, and almost hopes for it. The Priest has two... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 5
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Orual feels afraid of the Priest of Ungit, who now says that Ungit only gets angry... (full context)
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...than the King, and he has heard of humans taking the place of the gods. Orual immediately blames Redival. The King doesn’t believe that the Brute is real, but the Priest... (full context)
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...contradicting himself—the Accursed is supposed to be both the worst person and the best person. Orual doesn’t believe the Fox will help in this situation. In his exasperation, he has forgotten... (full context)
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The Fox seems hurt by the Priest of Ungit calling him a coward. Orual would like to kill the Priest and make the Fox king, but she can tell... (full context)
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...his dagger and puts it to the Priest of Ungit’s ribs, threatening to kill him. Orual is impressed by the Priest’s calm. Not moving, he tells the King that, even if... (full context)
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...chair. The Priest finally reveals that the lots said the King isn’t the Accursed, and Orual is ashamed to see the King’s relief. She thought he was fighting for Psyche, but,... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 6
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Orual wakes to the King and the Fox lifting her into a chair. The King is... (full context)
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Orual says the King must do something to stop the sacrifice, and he reveals that it... (full context)
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...Fox replies that he forgot the King’s own safety was the only thing that mattered. Orual knows it’s his way of insulting the King, but the King doesn’t notice. (full context)
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Orual argues that it will shame their house if the King lets a girl die to... (full context)
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Orual stands and asks that she be sacrificed in Psyche’s place. The King then leads her... (full context)
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Outside the Pillar Room, Orual finds the palace slaves gossiping and an animal sacrifice happening outside. It smells like holiness.... (full context)
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Orual is injured from the King’s beatings, but she goes to the room where Psyche has... (full context)
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Bardia praises Orual’s effort with the sword, expressing regret that she’s not a man. She wishes he had... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 7
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...the room where Psyche is held. She sits on a bed with a lamp, and Orual throws herself upon her. Psyche comforts Orual and worries about her injuries. This strikes Orual... (full context)
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Psyche smiles and sits tall, frightening Orual. Psyche reminds her sister that the Fox always told them to pity the bad people... (full context)
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Orual weeps in Psyche’s lap, wishing Psyche would cry in hers instead. Psyche says that because... (full context)
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...a city, but Psyche wonders what must be outside the city, providing nourishment and danger. Orual says the gods are ruining their lives, but agrees that the Fox is wrong. He... (full context)
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Even though Orual would die for Psyche, she feels angry with her for being so calm and seeming... (full context)
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Desperately, Orual asks whether Psyche even cares that she’s leaving Orual behind, and wonders if she ever... (full context)
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Psyche admits, to Orual’s dismay, that she has always almost wanted death. Orual thinks this means that she has... (full context)
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...whole life, longing to go to the Mountain and find the source of beauty. Although Orual calls her cruel for saying such things, Psyche says she feels like she’s going home... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 8
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Outside Psyche’s prison chamber, Orual begins to feel her injuries. She plans to go to the Mountain with Psyche and... (full context)
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When Orual’s servants wake her, she screams because all of her injuries have become stiff and painful.... (full context)
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At Orual’s command, her women drag her painfully to the top of the staircase, where she can... (full context)
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Orual lies sick and delirious for many days. The gods have the most power over humans... (full context)
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Orual becomes aware of a pleasant sound and finds the Fox sitting next to her. He... (full context)
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...Phars is in civil war and is no longer a threat to Glome. One day Orual asks the Fox whether he still believes that Ungit doesn’t exist. Orual thinks the changes... (full context)
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Orual says that if only the sacrifice had been delayed a few days, Glome’s fortune would... (full context)
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The next day, Orual tells the Fox that it’s too late for her to be Iphigenia, but she can... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 9
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Before long, Orual is well enough to be up and about, but she hides this from the King... (full context)
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Orual plans for her journey to the Mountain. She doesn’t know how to ride a horse,... (full context)
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One day, Orual sits in a doorway near the guards’ quarters. Seeing a fly crawling up the door,... (full context)
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Bardia equips Orual with a shield and tells her to use it as a weapon. He gives her... (full context)
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Orual takes lessons from Bardia every day, and it makes her feel better, although she still... (full context)
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Six days later, Orual and Bardia set off early in the morning. Only the Fox and Orual’s servants know... (full context)
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Orual feels better once they pass the house of Ungit. She has never been this way... (full context)
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Orual struggles because she feels inclined to be happy and must tell herself all the reasons... (full context)
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...dark, forbidding valley lies below them, and the Mountain rises in towers of black stone. Orual no longer has to battle happiness. Bardia points out the Holy Tree. They descend into... (full context)
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...get her whole body out of the chains, and it would have left some remains. Orual feels that her journey was in vain, but suggests that they look around. Eventually Bardia... (full context)
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Orual insists that they keep searching in this direction. Bardia wants her to stay behind because... (full context)
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...descend, it gets warm. Bardia wonders if this is the god’s valley. At the bottom, Orual is about to drink from a stream when she hears two people cry out and... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 10
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Orual laughs and cries with joy until Bardia warns her that it could be Psyche’s ghost,... (full context)
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...the sisters are in a confusion of happiness. They sit down together, and, seeing that Orual is short of breath, Psyche brings her some berries in a leaf and spring water... (full context)
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...so she hardly felt it was her own face, or herself being sacrificed. She saw Orual, but couldn’t wave. It all felt like a dream, and in a way, it was.... (full context)
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...she could cry, for she was now very frightened, but she wanted to be brave. Orual interrupts to beg that she hurry so they can plan for the future and get... (full context)
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...her fantasy of a palace on the Mountain, but she couldn’t believe it at all. Orual is glad Psyche let this go, because it made her seem strange and distant. (full context)
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Psyche assures Orual that she was awake. West-wind was in a human shape, but as different from a... (full context)
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Orual thinks it all must have been a dream, but Psyche insists that everything before the... (full context)
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...them. They gave her a bath, and she felt shy of taking off her clothes. Orual doesn’t understand, because the spirits were women, but Psyche clarifies that the shame was of... (full context)
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Orual bursts out that if all Psyche says is true, everything she’s believed is false. She... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 11
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Orual and Psyche stand like enemies about to fight, watching each other. Orual is trying to... (full context)
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Psyche thinks that Orual does see the palace, and Orual becomes angry like her father the King. She screams... (full context)
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Psyche then becomes sad and understands that Orual truly can’t see the palace. Psyche’s complete belief almost convinces Orual, and she realizes there... (full context)
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Orual feels horrible grief at this new distance between herself and Psyche. For a moment she... (full context)
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Orual had forgotten about the god, and now she begins to hate him as Psyche talks... (full context)
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...bring light into their bedchamber because she can’t see his face or know his name. Orual sees joy in her eyes and insists that Psyche is speaking nonsense. She doesn’t mean... (full context)
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Psyche again assures Orual that the god will make everything all right, but Orual snarls that she hates it... (full context)
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Orual reiterates her desire for Psyche to return to her, but Psyche insists that Orual must... (full context)
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Orual commands Psyche to obey her. Psyche says that she now must obey her husband. Orual... (full context)
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Psyche regrets Orual’s anger and wishes they could have feasted together, but she knows that Orual would not... (full context)
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Once Orual has crossed the river, she begs again for Psyche to come with her. Psyche says... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 12
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Bardia comes to Orual, but she can’t talk about what has happened. Bardia says that they’ll have to stay... (full context)
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Bardia falls asleep quickly but would awaken at any sign of danger. Orual can’t sleep at all due to discomfort and worry. Before dawn, she creeps down to... (full context)
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Orual asks the reader to judge. She wonders if the moment she saw the palace is... (full context)
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They begin their journey home through wind and rain. When they stop for lunch, Orual tells Bardia everything, but leaves out her glimpse of the palace. In response, Bardia says... (full context)
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Orual has already guessed what Bardia put into words, but it’s still a shock to hear... (full context)
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Orual touches her sword hilt. Before the sacrifice, she swore that she would kill Psyche rather... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 13
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When Orual reaches her chamber, the Fox is waiting for her, and she tells him Psyche is... (full context)
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Orual considers telling the Fox about her vision of the palace, but decides he wouldn’t take... (full context)
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The Fox can’t think of what to do, and Orual despairs as to how she’ll escape back to the Mountain. The Fox reveals that lions... (full context)
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The Fox points out that Psyche will get pregnant soon, which makes Orual want to torture Psyche’s lover to death. She suggests they could hide Psyche in Bardia’s... (full context)
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Orual can’t think how to convince Psyche to leave the Mountain besides using force, but the... (full context)
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Orual says she feels responsible for Psyche, and she will do anything to get her away... (full context)
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Orual insists that the Fox doesn’t understand everything, and he readily agrees. He doesn’t believe the... (full context)
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...tired, and must go to bed. He says they will continue talking in the morning. Orual lets him go, but feels he has failed her in a way that men always... (full context)
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Orual then does something unconventional. She speaks to the gods herself, in her own room, without... (full context)
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...then Bardia is correct. If Greek philosophy is correct, then the Fox’s theory is correct. Orual herself has been raised to believe both sets of beliefs partially, and she won’t be... (full context)
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Orual must get Psyche away. Suddenly she remembers how happy Psyche looked in the valley, and... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 14
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When Orual hears the hunting party preparing to leave, she gets ready for her journey. She brings... (full context)
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Bardia comes, and Orual tells him she’s going back to the Mountain. He says he can’t accompany her because... (full context)
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Orual meets Gram outside the palace, and he puts her on his horse. Their journey is... (full context)
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Orual feels very sure about her task. She crosses the river and calls for Psyche, who... (full context)
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The two women sit down, and Psyche remarks on Orual’s angry expression. Orual asks her not to be critical, because they have serious matters to... (full context)
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Orual says that people sometimes have to hurt the ones they love, and that she’s about... (full context)
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Psyche is silent. When Orual tries to comfort her, Psyche says she is angry, but she manages to forgive Orual,... (full context)
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Psyche is surprised that the Fox even believes in the Brute. Orual didn’t say he did, but she doesn’t correct Psyche. Instead, Orual says that neither he,... (full context)
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Orual says that if Psyche is so sure of herself, she shouldn’t be afraid to test... (full context)
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Psyche says that Orual doesn’t know much about love. Orual retorts that if Psyche wants to talk about her... (full context)
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The sun is setting, and Orual’s time is running out. She commands Psyche to obey her, but Psyche tells her that... (full context)
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Psyche says that Orual only has power over her through the threat of suicide, not murder. She looks like... (full context)
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...will only swear because she has faith that her husband will be more understanding than Orual is; she trusts that he will forgive her. Orual points out that he won’t know... (full context)
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Orual wants to take everything back, but instead she offers her dagger for Psyche to swear... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 15
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Orual faints after she crosses the river. When she comes to, she drinks water and realizes... (full context)
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However, Orual can’t help fearing that she might have done wrong. She imagines Psyche lost and in... (full context)
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Orual sees the first lighting of the lamp. It gets very cold and her arm is... (full context)
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Suddenly there’s a loud voice that terrifies Orual because it’s immortal. She hears weeping, and her heart breaks. It all happens quickly, and... (full context)
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...speaks in a voice without anger. He says that Psyche must go into exile, and Orual will know herself and see what she does, and will also “be Psyche.” The voice... (full context)
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When dawn comes, the valley is completely ruined. Orual calls for Psyche again and again, but she knows that Psyche has gone into exile.... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 16
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Orual enters the palace through the back and finds that the King is still away. She... (full context)
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Orual tells the Fox only that a storm flooded the valley and she heard Psyche leaving... (full context)
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The Fox asks how Orual convinced Psyche to go through with the plan. Orual knows that if she admits that... (full context)
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That night, Orual decides to veil her face forever. When she was a child, she didn’t realize she... (full context)
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...week later drunk and in a bad mood. A few days later, he sends for Orual and the Fox. He orders Orual to take off her veil, but she doesn’t fear... (full context)
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Orual waits for the gods to kill her, and she’s almost disappointed to find that she... (full context)
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Orual often asks the Fox about science and politics, wanting concrete knowledge. She also continues her... (full context)
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...Second Priest, Arnom, tries to set the leg, the King almost stabs him. Bardia and Orual have guards hold the King down, and he seems to fear Orual, screaming for her... (full context)
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Three nights later, Arnom tells Orual, Bardia, and the Fox that the King will probably die. Orual thinks she’ll be driven... (full context)
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...up the long conflict over the “Crumbles,” land claimed by both Ungit and the King. Orual has always thought Ungit should have it so the priests won’t have to take so... (full context)
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Standing alone in the great hall, Orual feels very strange. Being Queen won’t lessen her sorrows, but it might help her push... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 17
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A tall man comes out of the bushes and tries to kiss Orual, calling her pretty, but she takes out her dagger and points out that she’s veiled.... (full context)
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Orual reveals that she is the Queen, unless the King recovers. The man says he is... (full context)
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...run away, but he trips and hurts himself. He submits to being a prisoner, and Orual says she’ll save him from his brother if she can do it without going to... (full context)
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Orual goes to the King’s bedroom. He seems worse, and he can’t speak. The Fox tells... (full context)
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Orual, Bardia, and the Fox agree that Trunia will probably rule Phars in the end, since... (full context)
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Orual has an idea and asks Bardia how good Argan is with a sword. Bardia replies... (full context)
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Orual proposes that their champion must be someone so low that it would be shameful for... (full context)
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...the plan is scandalous—Greeks are more sensitive to social conventions than the people of Glome. Orual points out that she’s already so ugly that she might as well become manlier by... (full context)
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Orual goes to bed, knowing that Bardia will send the message. Once she’s alone, she realizes... (full context)
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Orual realizes that she’s thinking the way she did when she was sick and Psyche seemed... (full context)
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Orual goes to the King’s chamber, where Batta sits at his bedside. He’s awake, but can’t... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 18
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The next morning, Orual goes to check on the King as soon as she wakes. Redival comes in, desperately... (full context)
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Arnom comes in wearing the bird mask, and Orual knows that the Priest of Ungit has died and Arnom is the new Priest—but she... (full context)
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Bardia is worried that Orual has never killed anyone, and it’s much harder than it seems, because it doesn’t feel... (full context)
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Orual returns to the Pillar Room, where she frees the Fox from slavery. Immediately she hears... (full context)
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Orual doesn’t understand how much the Fox wants to go home, because she’s never left Glome... (full context)
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The Fox finds Orual before bedtime, and she is subdued. He has decided to stay, as he would only... (full context)
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...dream. There are crowds at the gates who have heard what’s happening and they cheer Orual on. Nobles visit to show their support, and they wonder what’s behind her veil. Orual... (full context)
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When Redival leaves, Trunia wants to know who Orual is and why she wears a veil. If he survives, he wants to ally with... (full context)
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Later, Bardia has Orual practice her swordsmanship once more. He says that if they were to fight, she would... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 19
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Often the most important part of a day takes up the least time, Orual says. It takes very long to prepare for Orual’s battle with Argan, even though the... (full context)
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Nobles wait at the palace gate to accompany the party. Orual thinks of Psyche going this way to heal the people and then to be sacrificed.... (full context)
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...sacrifice a bull. Argan sits with his men on the other end of the field. Orual finds it strange that one of them will soon kill the other. Both of them... (full context)
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Argan doesn’t begin to respect Orual until she skins his hand with her sword. She isn’t afraid anymore because the fight... (full context)
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Everyone runs to Argan, but he can’t be saved. Orual suddenly feels weak and different, perhaps the way women feel when they lose their virginity.... (full context)
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Bardia tells Orual she must have a feast for the important nobles. They don’t have much food, but... (full context)
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When they reach the palace, a slave girl whispers to Bardia, and he worriedly tells Orual that he must go home because his wife is giving birth. Orual wants to be... (full context)
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The banquet that night is the only one Orual sits all the way through. In future, she only comes in briefly to give a... (full context)
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After the banquet, Orual thinks how disgusting men are. They got drunk and ate with no manners at all.... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 20
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...back to normal. As the years pass, the narrator becomes more the Queen and less Orual. Orual has been trapped far within the Queen. The Queen knows that the stories about... (full context)
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The Queen ’s strength comes from her excellent advisors, Bardia and the Fox, who are honest and... (full context)
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Early on, the Queen moves to a different side of the palace to avoid the sound of the chains... (full context)
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In the first year of her reign, the Queen hangs Batta after finding out that she has always blackmailed the other slaves into giving... (full context)
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The Queen also makes the silver mines more productive. The King only used them as a place... (full context)
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...they realize that someone in Glome is buying books, though the books are very expensive. Orual and the Fox manage to buy eighteen books, which is impressive for Glome. They have... (full context)
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The Queen begins getting to know her nobles, and she meets Bardia’s wife, Ansit. She expected her... (full context)
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The Queen doesn’t like having to sacrifice in the house of Ungit. At least Ungit is weaker... (full context)
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...but for a while she’s tormented by dreams that she has walled up Psyche or Orual. The dreams eventually end, and the next year she defeats the kingdom of Essur. (full context)
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...Glome’s language. He doesn’t know Glome’s language as well as he thinks he does, but the Queen doesn’t tell him this. As he ages, he strays from philosophy towards beauty and poetry.... (full context)
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The Queen doesn’t have much time for the Fox. She makes many changes for the good of... (full context)
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...verses for his gravestone. He is buried behind the pear trees, where he, Psyche, and Orual were happy. Life goes on until the Queen decides she’s sick of seeing the same... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 21
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The Queen first goes to Phars. Because they harvest later there, the party sees everything happening that... (full context)
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When they leave Phars, they pass through mountains to enter Essur. The Queen and her companions become good friends and enjoy their travels together through the beautiful land.... (full context)
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The Queen planned to go home after this, but she hears of a hot spring nearby and... (full context)
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...altar holds a wooden statue of a woman with a black veil over her face. The Queen likes this much better than the house of Ungit. A priest appears and asks for... (full context)
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The priest of Istra tells the story as though he has often repeated it, and the Queen realizes that he’s telling the story of her own life and Psyche’s. A goddess was... (full context)
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The Queen is glad she’s only hearing this story now, since she’s not as disturbed by it... (full context)
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...truth to a mortal, but have hidden the most important part—the fact that they made Orual guess whether or not the palace was real. In the world of the story, the... (full context)
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The Queen asks the priest of Istra why the sisters wanted to get Istra away from the... (full context)
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The Queen is disgusted that the gods would use such a debasing lie by saying that she... (full context)
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The Queen asks when Istra’s veil will be removed. The priest of Istra says they do it... (full context)
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...what goes on around them. Instead, she remembers every detail of her own story, freeing “Orual” from that place deep inside her. She feels sorrow, but always more indignation. She must... (full context)
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When the Queen gets home, few issues have arisen in her absence. She hears that Bardia is ill... (full context)
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...to be responsible for Psyche’s fate and wouldn’t reveal what her true situation was. When Orual guessed wrong, the gods punished her through Psyche. On top of this, they started a... (full context)
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The Queen thinks the gods are unfair. They won’t leave humans alone, but they also won’t guide... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 1
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Not long after finishing writing Part I, Orual begins to write again. She is dying. She can’t rewrite the book, so she has... (full context)
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When the Queen is writing about her happy childhood years, she receives word that an embassy is coming... (full context)
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...he only took pity on her because she was lonely. She used to say that Orual loved her until the Fox and Psyche came, and then Orual stopped loving her. The... (full context)
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The Queen continues writing, sorting through her own motivations. At night, she dreams of sorting a pile... (full context)
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The Queen is so focused on her work that she hardly thinks of Bardia, except to be... (full context)
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Five days later, Bardia dies. The worst part is that the Queen never told him she loved him. At the funeral, she can’t beat her breast for... (full context)
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Ansit seems very calm, and she is beautiful in a proud way. The Queen offers words of sympathy, but Ansit is deferential and distant. The Queen begs her to... (full context)
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The Queen doesn’t know whether to believe Ansit. She says she’s worked just as much as Bardia... (full context)
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The Queen spits that she has never had love except from her servants. She thinks Ansit has... (full context)
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This seems so preposterous that the Queen pulls off her veil, asking whether Ansit is jealous of her face. Ansit stares at... (full context)
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However, their sympathy doesn’t last long. The Queen puts her veil back on and Ansit’s face hardens again. The Queen says Ansit has... (full context)
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The Queen asks whether Ansit can bear doing nothing to keep her loved ones by her. Ansit... (full context)
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The Queen imagines torturing Ansit to death. She tells her that the King would have cut her... (full context)
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The gods are working on her. The Queen soon realizes that Ansit’s words are true. She has always given Bardia extra work to... (full context)
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Once the Queen works through all of these thoughts, she has stopped longing for Bardia. Perhaps the strongest... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 2
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...house of Ungit overnight and then ceremonially fights his way out, although everything happens symbolically. The Queen goes into the temple an hour before the ceremony. The weather is beautiful, which makes... (full context)
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...sit in rows at the doors to their rooms, where they live their whole lives. The Queen thinks that men’s semen goes to waste on these girls when it could produce healthy... (full context)
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...lumps of the rock form countless faces. Now blood has been poured over her, and the Queen sees a very vivid face that almost reminds her of Batta. The Queen remembers running... (full context)
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The Queen asks Arnom who Ungit is. He replies that she represents the earth, a way of... (full context)
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...front of the stone for a long time, but when she gets up to go, the Queen sees that she feels calm. In response to a question, the woman confirms that she... (full context)
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When they emerge from the temple, a crowd greets them with celebration. The Queen is amazed at the people’s joy. They’re so happy just because a man dressed as... (full context)
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The Queen goes home to rest. She hears a voice and opens her eyes to find her... (full context)
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The King makes Orual jump into the hole with him. They land safely far below in a smaller version... (full context)
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The King asks who Ungit is, and drags Orual to the mirror that used to hang in the palace. She tries to get away,... (full context)
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The Queen suddenly wakes in her room and realizes it was a dream, but from now on... (full context)
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The Queen isn’t sure whether anything that happens afterwards is real or a dream, and the only... (full context)
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That night, the Queen gathers a cloak and a cane. She realizes that her veil now distinguishes her, and... (full context)
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The Queen goes out into the city, thinking of herself as a nightmarish monster, perhaps even the... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 3
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...to change her soul any more than she was able to change her ugly face. Orual thinks that the gods won’t love anyone unless they have a naturally beautiful soul. Ugly... (full context)
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Soon the Queen has another vision. In this one, she’s standing on the bank of a river. On... (full context)
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Orual doesn’t think she’ll ever rid herself of Ungit. She continues going about her duties, making... (full context)
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Before she can begin, Orual has another vision. She’s walking through a desert, carrying a bowl that she must fill... (full context)
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A giant eagle wheels down from the sky, clearly from the gods. When Orual gives her name, he says he’s not there to help her, but he asks what... (full context)
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Eventually Orual finds herself standing in darkness on a platform in a gigantic cave. She sees millions... (full context)
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Orual says the gods will claim that she should know that the real gods aren’t like... (full context)
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Orual knows the gods will say she had enough signs that Psyche’s palace was real, but... (full context)
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The judge stops Orual’s speech, and she realizes she has been reading the book over and over. Her own... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 4
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The act of hearing herself read her own complaint has satisfied Orual’s need for justice. The Fox always told her to say what she meant. Now (still... (full context)
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The Fox then speaks up in the courtroom, taking the blame for teaching Orual that gods didn’t exist—he encouraged her not to believe that Ungit represented humans’ own sins,... (full context)
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Orual wants to protest, but the trial is over. She jumps down into the crowd of... (full context)
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The Fox leads Orual into a bright chamber. The walls are painted with stories that come alive when she... (full context)
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The Fox asks whether Orual understands the pictures. She doesn’t see how Psyche could have been so happy, but the... (full context)
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On the final wall, Orual sees Psyche walking down into the earth. The Fox explains that everyone is born into... (full context)
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Orual can’t believe she and the Fox did such awful things to Psyche in the name... (full context)
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...approaching, bringing the casket of beauty from the land of the dead. The Fox leads Orual outside into a beautiful courtyard. Psyche appears, and Orual falls to the ground to kiss... (full context)
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Psyche says Orual must stand up so that she can give her the casket to make Ungit beautiful.... (full context)
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...the courtyard, and everyone seems awed. They say that the god is coming to judge Orual. Psyche brings her to the edge of a pool as the air becomes bright. Orual... (full context)
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Orual lives four more days. She is weak, and knows she’s close to death, but she... (full context)
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...the book in the temple. There are markings at the end that are illegible because Orual’s head fell onto them. If a traveler to Greece finds the book, he should take... (full context)