Till We Have Faces

Till We Have Faces

The priest of Istra Character Analysis

Orual comes across this priest in a small temple in the woods. He tells her the story of the goddess Istra, which is identical to the story of Orual’s Psyche except for a few essential points. To Orual’s frustration, the priest can’t fathom that Istra’s story might be real and recent. He sees it only as a symbolic myth, which is ironic since he’s supposed to be the religious man, and Orual the skeptic.

The priest of Istra Quotes in Till We Have Faces

The Till We Have Faces quotes below are all either spoken by The priest of Istra or refer to The priest of Istra. 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 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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The priest of Istra Character Timeline in Till We Have Faces

The timeline below shows where the character The priest of Istra appears in Till We Have Faces. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 21
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...she is called Istra. This is a common name, so the Queen doesn’t react. The priest of Istra explains that she is a young goddess who used to be a mortal. The Queen... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
The priest of Istra tells the story as though he has often repeated it, and the Queen realizes that... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...disturbed by it as she would have been in the past. She asks how the priest of Istra came to hear this story, but he’s confused and says only that it’s the sacred... (full context)
Jealousy Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
The Queen asks the priest of Istra why the sisters wanted to get Istra away from the god if they had seen... (full context)
Jealousy Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
The Queen asks when Istra’s veil will be removed. The priest of Istra says they do it every spring, but the Queen wants to know whether Istra has... (full context)