This covers chapters 8-14 of the Spinner's Web, please read at your own discretion.
Note: This post will cover things readers may have missed and/or reading guides and tips as well as detailed analysis on important scenes. For readers who are actively taking notes, we will write 'for your notes' on things you might want to save for later. In future posts, we'll abbreviate this as FYN. We always say it's important to have details that support your theories, those will be listed for things we claim as well.
Welcome back to our read along weekly analysis! A lot happened this week. We started this section meeting Hero of Nitor and ended with Fate's performance of the Spinner's Tale.
So, we'll start with a brief analysis of Hero's character up to this point, trail into Fate's development, and the plot so far.
Caeles Hero Character Analysis:
A few things readers know about Hero up to this point: he's one of the last Caeles, he's generally locked up in the palace, he's obsessed with folklore and mythology, he's a musician, he's facetious, and... oh, right, he's Tainted.
The debate we've seen in the discussions and within the book is the degree to which Hero's condition affects him and others.
One reader pointed out that he's kind to children (namely Yuzu) and to animals (Holly) and this seemed like a good reason to consider him kind.
Of course, the current issue is deciding where he falls on the moral scale. He's invested enough in visiting Fate and training her during this section and even shows his own drive to continue seeing her even after he's banned. However, we still don't know his motives.
They could be as simple as his friendship with Abyssus or as desperate as Fate's struggle to free herself from the brothel.
Hero vs. Fate:
Fate's biggest issue with Hero is the fact that he never seems interested in any of her ploys to win his affections. She's raised to entice others and, whether she believes it's good or bad, it's one of the few things she's confident about.
Hero is not at all interested in her advances. He's interested in... something else but he's not making it clear to Fate what that is and this is the source of her anxiety. She is following the Madam's plan to have him win the auction but he has complete control over the situation, hence his composure.
What pleases him is likely similar to what pleases the reader: Fate's overall development.
As we mentioned during that last weekly analysis, Fate started out this book being very self-oriented. Whether this is something she grew out of because of age or because of her environment is up to your interpretation. During week 2, she develops greater concern for the people around her and even shows that she has realized her distance from her brother. Additionally, she reaches a point in her training where she's capable of defending herself from clientele, something she previously expressed concern about.
Her motivations have shifted slightly from simply freeing herself to becoming High Queen and correcting the wrongs in the Empire. This is important because when she's faced with certain dilemmas like Neco's perversions, her goals keep her grounded.
We can summarize Fate's personal goals as:
Keeping her brother safe
Correcting the wrongs in the Empire (includes helping her sisters at this point)
Learning the truth
Her fixation with Hero is concentrated around his title as the future High King and winning his affections is something she sees as being within her power and control, despite her constant struggle to do so.
All of their interactions up to chapter 14 lead up to her performance. She attempts to understand what makes him tick and ultimately decides that the only thing she's sure about is his obsession with folklore.
Their relationship is always an interesting discussion because Fate sees herself as one trying to lure Hero to her when really it's quite the opposite.
This is another one of those situations where Hero and Fate are in a tug-of-war. She puts on her best performance and he responds with criticism and seems vaguely entertained. When she starts to feel badly about it, he tries to understand some of her choices then cautions her but ultimately invites her to the palace anyway.
This puts her in a position of being simultaneously let down and triumphant, which inevitably just makes her confused.
Hero never allows Fate or anyone else (note his conversation with Niteo after the performance) to feel like they have the upper-hand. This makes his interactions with Abyssus standout next to others.
Dreams & Visions:
In this section, Fate's dreams and visions are on the rise. She sees a small boy in a blinding mask, who she immediately compares to Hero because of his appearance (Fate, come on. Or, maybe not? We don't know yet.)
Aside from this, we also get these peculiar moments of static where the color and sound drain out of the scene and there's emphasis on some particular thing in the story.
Something like this...
Now, the only hint readers have thus far is during a conversation between Fate and Fortuna before the performance.
The young boy from her dream calls her 'Mistress' and Fortuna makes this reference here...
We should say, some concepts in TSW are subtle and others aren't. Readers have the prologue and snippets of Fate's dreams to begin trying to piece together the underlying elements while the surface level plot is unfolding.
Week 3, we jump into the second half of TSW. How is the book so far? Do you have any guesses as to what will happen next? Let us know in the comments below!