TSW Week 1 Analysis | Chapters 1-7
Updated: Feb 8
This covers chapters 1-7 of the Spinner's Web, please read at your own discretion.
Thank you for everyone who stayed with us through the first week of the read along! We're already done with the first 7 chapters, so we're going to really delve down into some details.
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.
What have we learned so far? Well, the basics of the situation in Mu, starting with Macellarius.
Some things to keep in mind:
The Rahma aren't Humans
This is really important because readers often get into the habit of telling themselves "years." Years, tahrun, and turns all pass differently in this story. It'll help explain the difference in physical age between characters.
For your notes: 1 tahrun = 25 turns
These questions shape the beginning part of the story because Fate (and her brother) really want answers.
If you do the math, at 7 turns Fate is 175 tahrun old. She's technically older than Neco. He is the type to use this as an argument and readers can make their own analysis about the morals related to this age gap. (As co-authors, we have our own opinions but readers are welcome to share theirs in the comments below.)
Current Location: The Empire of Mu, Second Kingdom, Nex
The kingdom of Nex was separated into two regions, Nitor and Macellarius. This is due to the quarrelling between Neco and Niteo and also explains Neco's behavior.
Bound are 'Twins' but not like human twins
Ancients have no concept of twins as Humans would see them. Although they're beginning to have similar traits between siblings, the 'siblings' Ancients have are simply people whose souls were carved into a similar shape as their own. As many readers surmised, Bound are similar to the Human's concept of soul mates. They were born together so that they would not have to live their lives apart. That is, until the Balance collapsed.
The plot so far....
The Princess Fate of Macellarius is sold to the brothel by her 'father', who wishes for the Madam Fortuna to make her a suitable wife. While there, she learns about a faction known as the Rebellion that seeks to overthrow the Council's rule over the Empire.
Her meddling brother, Abyssus, digs for information related to where he and his sister really came from and discover that two Dolls disappeared from the Capital around the same time that he and Fate arrived in Nex. He theorizes that Fate is the missing heiress and that it explains why everyone seems to fixate on her.
For your notes: At this point, Dolls are known as 'Children of Grim.' Most of the characters see this as a bad thing, including Fate.
Character Analysis: Fate starts off the book being self-oriented. You could see it as a normal trait for a child or a result of Neco grooming her.
Supporting Detail: As a reader in the comments pointed out, she acknowledges that Abyssus is her twin and then doesn't wish him happy birthday. (Yes, we know. This isn't a plot hole.)
This is followed by Abyssus being uncomfortable about Neco paying her 'special attention.' She's so accustomed to being the center of attention that it doesn't occur to her that anything is strange.
Plot Point: The Council has complete power over Mu.
Supporting Details: Their role in Fate being sold, the Rebellion, Hero being shut inside
You can see it as, they have enough control over the Empire to control this kid's fate. Funnily enough, most of the read along group saw Hero as a character who stood on his balcony in defiance of this idea.
Most of this week's section takes a turn during chapters 5 and 7. First, the introduction of Mortis and Hero then Abyssus digging into the Capital's affairs to begin theorizing.
One could argue that Mortis is also a support of the Council's power since Fate note's the Aska are deeply affiliated with the faction.
Speaking of the clans, let's do a quick review...
Iu - Element of Body
Characteristics: Tall stature (note Fate is excluded) - Pale skin - Violet eyes - Black hair
Abilities: Power over body gives the Iu significant speed, agility, and strength - they are described as the most elegant of the clans because they look like they're dancing when they fight. Their build is leaner than that of the Ignis and the Aska and they are not quite as tall as those clans. They are also incredibly skilled in the arts (ether and anima manipulation.)
Weakness: They aren't as durable as the Ignis and the Aska. Taking a heavy hit could be debilitating... if you can hit one.
Ignis - Element of Fire
Characteristics: Tanned skin, freckles, golden or amber eyes, tall stature
Abilities: The Ignis Clan have incredibly potent anima that lures the other clans to them. They are known for oozing of sensuality. They have a history of being enamored by the Iu Clans, who they view as soft and elegant, as the Ignis Clans are generally strong and built people. Their element of fire is one of the most powerful natural elements because it its fueled by passion (wrath, lust, or love.) The Triplets in particular are known for a unique ability known as the Cat's Eye, which allows them to see details usually invisible to the normal eye. (They can see small details and across great distances.)
Weakness: They are sensitive to the cold and will become ill when exposed to it for too long.
Aska - Element of Mind (Illusion)
Characteristics: Built - Pale complexion (red undertones) - Red hair - Green eyes
Abilities: Aside from having superior physical strength and durability, the clan is known for their element of mind, which allows them to cast illusions and even to cause objects around them to levitate. They are the most durable of the clans, capable of taking significant physical damage without flinching. Since the power over mind requires its user to have confidence in their abilities, they're a proud people.
Weakness: They are sensitive to the arts.
Vem - Element of Air
Characteristics: Varying Stature - Small pointed features - brown hair - pale - stark blue eyes
Abilities: The Vem are known for being the most laidback of the clans. They dislike conflict and will usually opt to form a truce rather than argue when given the chance. Although they possess the element of air, the clan members vary greatly in their personal abilities and are capable of tapping into other spiritual abilities akin to the Si. Many of them dedicate themselves to the temples or even to unlocking unique talents like Spirit Walking. Despite their distaste for battle, they are skilled with weapons, particularly ones that work in tandem with their element. The entire clan has unique vision but the specifics of what it allows them to see is classified by members.
Weakness: They are physically at a disadvantage against other clans because of their delicate build. However, like the Iu, they are incredibly evasive and difficult to hit.
Si - Element of Spirit
Characteristics: Varying Stature - Dark skin - Yellow/Golden or green eyes - Dark hair
Abilities: The Si are a unique and powerful clan with a multitude of physical and spiritual abilities. They're agile, quick-witted, and capable of seeing through to a person's true character at a glance. They are the clan responsible for the ability to Spirit Walk and are famous for their connections to the Grandmaster. They rarely, if ever, have issues with energy because they can understand the Universal balance of taking and giving. However, the clan is very secretive and have secluded themselves to avoid the conflicts between the other clans.
Weakness: Unknown - Since the Si dislike oversharing information, their weaknesses are not well known. They have superior power over the arts and balance themselves physically to minimize damage and strain on their bodies. Whenever something catastrophic is about to happen, they remove themselves to protect their clan. The only visible weakness is whether they trust other clans, as the Si are incredibly forthright and sometimes trust others more than they deserve.
Caeles - Element of Ice and Crystal
Characteristics: Fox Clan - Small Stature - Mint Green Eyes - Silver Skin and Hair
Wolf Clan - Built Stature - Ice Blue Eyes - Grey Hair and Complexion
Abilities: The Caeles split into two groups with varying abilities. The Fox Clan is agile and violent with a rugged fighting style while the Wolf Clan's built physique allow for powerful, more direct attacking styles. The clan is best known for their ability to adapt quickly in battle. Even though the Fox Clan is small, they have a tendency to shred their foes like piranha. These clans are also deeply scientific and intelligent, dedicating themselves to research that would help return the Ancients to a superior ethereal form. It is precisely this experimentation that led to the changes in their clan and them evolving their element into crystal.
Weakness: The Fox Clan is a cousin clan to one of the Iu subgroups and so it is natural they have similar weaknesses. They are quick to avoid damage since they are small and cannot withstand physical damage. Wolf Clan is more physically durable but not as quick to react to attacks, making them subject to fast moving enemies.
The Factions: The only factions introduced at the moment are the Council and the Rebellion. What should be clear so far is that the Rebellion doesn't agree with Council law and that the Council wants to preserve pure breed Ancients. Furthermore, the Factions disagree about how to handle the Plague.
The last thing to delve into here, is the progression in Chapter 7.
*Note: If you're unsure about Fate's age, check the roses on her wall.
Fate receives the book, Sands of Time, from Hero which she perceives as a riddle about beings known as the Lords of Light and Shadow.
FYN: For those trying to figure out the Lords, refer to this chapter.
What you make of the story and character relationships is greatly up to your interpretation, since you still don't have much information about the bigger picture. We'll see some very significant changes during Week 2.