In the second half of the eighth chapter of Lifeboats, Kit trusts his instincts and has a bizarre conversation with a sibik. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.
Y’all, I feel like Kit is so close to putting this all together, and I need him to do that because THEN I CAN PUT IT TOGETHER MYSELF. I don’t know how this is all going to be wrapped up in just under 40 pages, but here we are, y’all. HERE WE ARE. And gods, y’all, WHAT IF THIS IS ALL ABOUT KIT DEALING WITH HIS LOSS OF PONCH??? Well, maybe not “all” that is going on, but the fact that the second half of this chapter relies so heavily on the emotional weight of Ponch’s death feels like a hint to me.
The parallels are sort of there, in the sense that Lifeboats deals with slow inevitability. Just like Thesba is going to crash into Tevaral, Ponch was inevitably going to transcend and leave Kit’s side. (Or die. You could choose that as the end point and still make the same point.) So it feels telling to me that Kit suspects that in some way, Ponch is within this sibik and is gently pushing him towards acceptance of a world that he cannot control.
And really, that’s what I think that this novel is about. I’m going back over this incredible conversation between the unnamed sibik and Kit (and it’s truly one of my favorite scenes in the whole book), and it’s amazing to me that it starts in such sorrow, but moves to a place that is far more uplifting. The sibik’s sadness is understandable because it can’t quite understand what is happening to the people it has bonded with, and that frustration becomes its own sadness, too. There’s something to be said for how this emotional upheaval is a mutual thing, too. Even for Kit! These Teveral are not his friends, and he doesn’t know any of them well, and yet he is still having an existential crisis while trying to help them out.
So Kit and the sibik, confused and saddened and uncertain, share a packet of saltines while Kit tells a story. And that story—about a man convinced that God will save him—deals with inevitability and control. The irony is that the man is convinced that every lifeline sent to him is God testing him, when it’s actually how God offered help. How does that relate to what these two are going through, then? Well, I’m wondering if Kit things that the gates the wizards have brought to Teveral are the same signs of help that are in the story he told. Initially, that was my theory, but I’m not sure that makes sense. He knows why certain Tevaral won’t leave. It’s not that they think help is coming later; they simply can’t leave their home behind. Instead, he recognizes what a horrible situation this is, but believes that out of every possibility, living would be best. Even in a world that isn’t their home, even in a place that feels unreal and unfair and terrible, wouldn’t trying to live in that world be better?
I guess we’ll have to see.
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