Till We Have Faces

Till We Have Faces

The Palace on the Mountain Symbol Analysis

The Palace on the Mountain Symbol Icon

As a child, Psyche dreams of one day living in a palace on the Grey Mountain, which she later sees as a sign that she has always been destined to go there as a sacrifice. The palace additionally represents the cloud of mystery in which the gods exist, which makes up the center of Orual’s accusation against them. She feels that if only they spoke more clearly to mortals, mortals wouldn’t make the sorts of mistakes that anger the gods. Specifically, if they had allowed her to see Psyche’s palace, she wouldn’t have had to guess whether or not Psyche’s story was true, and she wouldn’t have made Psyche look at the god’s face. The palace and its invisibility represent the conflict between mortal and divine, between provable reality and holy mystery.

Additionally, the palace represents Orual’s unconscious desire to hurt Psyche. Although she tries to ignore it, Orual does in fact see the palace. She tries to convince herself it might have been the result of drowsiness or the mist, but she does see it, and willfully refuses to believe Psyche anyway. The fact that Orual never tells anyone about her vision of the palace proves that on some level, she knows she’s at fault for ignoring it.

The Palace on the Mountain Quotes in Till We Have Faces

The Till We Have Faces quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Palace on the Mountain. 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 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 Characters: Orual (The Queen) (speaker), Psyche (Istral), The god of the Grey Mountain (the Brute/the Shadowbrute)
Related Symbols: The Palace on the Mountain
Page Number: 133
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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Palace on the Mountain Symbol Timeline in Till We Have Faces

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Palace on the Mountain appears in Till We Have Faces. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 2
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...Mountain and dreams of one day marrying a great king who will build her a palace on top. The Fox says she is more beautiful than Aphrodite, but Orual thinks that... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 3
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...next day, Psyche falls ill with the fever, talking in her delirium of her imagined palace on the Grey Mountain. When she recovers, she is even more beautiful, and more mature.... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 7
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Psyche points out that she’s going to the Mountain, where she always dreamed of a palace. The gods have chosen her for their sacrifice, and she has been preparing for it... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 10
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...on her before leaving. She tried to cheer herself up with her fantasy of a palace on the Mountain, but she couldn’t believe it at all. Orual is glad Psyche let... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...all Psyche says is true, everything she’s believed is false. She wants to see the palace. Psyche agrees, but when Orual asks if it’s far away, Psyche is confused. Orual likens... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 11
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...they must leave this terrible place. A Greek would ridicule her for believing in the palace, Orual says, but in Glome, the gods are closer to mortals. She feels like everything... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Psyche thinks that Orual does see the palace, and Orual becomes angry like her father the King. She screams at Psyche to stop... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
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 might be many things in... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...Psyche’s voice to comfort her. Psyche says that the god might help Orual see the palace. (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...can breathe more easily then, and demands that Psyche show her the god and the palace. (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...soon as possible. In the meantime, she’ll figure out how to help Orual see the palace. Orual is helpless and lets Psyche lead her back to the river. She promises to... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 12
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...down to the river for a drink. When she looks up, she sees a huge palace, incredibly beautiful and entirely dark. Somewhere inside, she thinks, something holds Psyche in its arms,... (full context)
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Orual asks the reader to judge. She wonders if the moment she saw the palace is evidence against her or against the gods. The gods might say it was a... (full context)
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...they stop for lunch, Orual tells Bardia everything, but leaves out her glimpse of the palace. In response, Bardia says that he tries to stay out of the way of the... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 13
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Orual considers telling the Fox about her vision of the palace, but decides he wouldn’t take it seriously. She suggests that Psyche’s lover might also be... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 14
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
...nor Bardia, nor she herself believes that Psyche’s husband is a god or that her palace exists. All the people of Glome would agree with them. Psyche insists it doesn’t matter,... (full context)
Part 1: Chapter 21
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...her to be sacrificed on a mountain, and the goddess’s son took her to his palace, where he came to her only in darkness. The priest claims that the god couldn’t... (full context)
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...when he claims that both of the sisters went to visit Istra and saw her palace. (full context)
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...story to spite her. There’s no other way a human would have learned of the palace’s existence. The gods have revealed part of the truth to a mortal, but have hidden... (full context)
Jealousy Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
...the sisters wanted to get Istra away from the god if they had seen the palace. He replies that they were jealous of all that she had. In that moment, the... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 3
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Orual knows the gods will say she had enough signs that Psyche’s palace was real, but she didn’t want to acknowledge it. They’ll say she was jealous of... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 4
Self-understanding Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
...she ever was. Psyche recalls her prediction that she and Orual would meet in Psyche’s palace in friendship, and Orual is perfectly joyful. (full context)