Whose bright idea was it to lock up live Free Magic nasties in the basement, anyway?
Sabriel is killed, but when she enters Death she is greeted by the spirits of her ancestors, who tell her she cannot go with them until there is another to carry on the family line. What's Lirael besides someone to carry on the family line? Sabriel's own kids ended up being irrelevant to that bloodline anyways.
Yes, but Lirael was very young at that time and the Powers That Be probably thought that it was far too long a time for the Kingdom to go without a proper Abhorsen. And given all of the Dead and other nasties that plagued the land during that time, they were right.
Yeah, at the end of Sabriel, Lirael was at most a four-week-old fetus. It's pretty clear from what Lirael sees in the Dark Mirror that she was conceived literally the night before Terciel started the trip to Belisaere that left him trapped in Death until Sabriel rescued him. Near the beginning of Sabriel, when Sabriel is talking to Colonel Horyse before entering the Old Kingdom, Colonel Horyse says that the full moon will occur in fourteen days. Then, when Sabriel and Touchstone arrive back in Ancelstierre near the end of the book, Colonel Horyse tells them that the full moon is that night. Sabriel does say after that that she's certain that she was in the Old Kingdom for at least sixteen days, but Colonel Horyse explains that there's often a small time discrepancy between Ancelstierre and the Old Kingdom. It's highly unlikely that it took Terciel more than a week to reach Belisaere from Abhorsen's House, so even if Sabriel was in the Old Kingdom for twenty days, that's still less than a month after Lirael's conception.
If, when Orannis was bound by the Seven, they used seven wards to keep him sealed, since he was rebound by Eight, does this mean that there would be an eighth ward under the hill? And if so, since Yrael went through Becoming the Mask, would it be a ward of fish?
This falls into the category of "Blindingly obvious once you realize it," but the reason Sam has so much trouble trying to read The Book of the Dead isn't just PTSD regarding anything to do with Death, it's that the Book can only be opened by someone with a natural talent for Free Magic and necromancy. Sam doesn't have one.
Actually, Sam does have some talent for it, as he is capable of crossing into death, but he just wasn't meant to be the Abhorsen-in-waiting, and the book knows it.
Having just re-read the series, Sam does indeed quite plainly have the raw talent to be an Abhorsen. It's his personality that is much less suited for the job, being more in line with his real gift, that of being a Wallmaker. I'd figure that if something had happened to Lirael he could have been an Abhorsen (though I doubt he'd be a particularly good one); with her there as a much better candidate to take over that side of the family business, however, the paraphernalia (Book, bells, etc.) naturally gravitates to her and Sam is left free to pursue his true destiny.
Although, it's possible that when Sabriel dies and Lirael becomes the Abhorsen, Sam might become the next Abhorsen-In-Waiting, if Lirael doesn't have any children. Mogget stated that the previous Abhorsen, Terciel, trained under his aunt.
Alternately, given that the royal and Abhorsen lines are still tightly mingled, any of Sam's children could easily become Lirael's successor. We don't really know if Wallmaker is something that can be passed down, or if it's Just Sam, Because of Fate.
Although this could also fall into "Blindingly obvious", Lirael reading about the panpipes in The Book of Remembrance and Forgetting. "Though generally the instrument of a Remembrancer, the pipes are not infrequently used by Abhorsens-in-Waiting, till they succeed to their bells." Which is precisely what happens to Lirael at the end of the book, when she discovers she is an Abhorsen rather than a Clayr — she succeeds to the bells. And, given what we know about Remembrancers, it seems likely that this has happened before.
The Charter bloodlines are the answer to everything. How does Kerrigor have so much power? Power enough to actually break Kibeth and Saraneth when he needs to, power to set about breaking the Charter, and nearly succeeding? Because he himself is one of the Great Charters — the Royal bloodline. He is tied to the Charter itself, so if anyone can break it, it'll be one of the family. (In which case, Chlorr's story will be extremely interesting...)
And on that note, why did he try to use the blood of his family and the Abhorsens to break the Great Charter Stones? Why not that of the Clayr, who are far more numerous and would probably be at least a bit easier than waiting for two hundred years for a vulnerable Abhorsen to come along? Because the Clayr can see the future, and are especially sharp on Seeing that which pertains, personally, to them. Probably the only point that the Clayr's Sight would fail them would be when every other bloodline had been used to break the Great Stones — which would leave only about two or three left.
Honestly, once the Clayr Saw what Kerrigor was up to, they probably just hunkered down in the Glacier, a fortress even he couldn't conquer until he'd already destroyed all else, and waited him out except on occasions they Saw something particular they needed to do (like sending Sanar and Ryelle to advise Sabriel and Touchstone).
On the same general topic, it's explicitly noted that Kerrigor gathered all of the Old Kingdoms most powerful necromancers and Free magic sorcerers under his control (Hedge being a prime example of this)... except for Chlorr, who was also explicitly never a Servant of Kerrigor. Why? She was an Abhorsen, presumably familiar enough with both Charter and Free magic to understand the general shape of Kerrigor's plan, and would have therefore wanted nothing to do with him because she knew full well that if he figured out who and what she was, he'd sacrifice her on one of the Great Stones. The fact that her usual outfit is in the same general vein as the oft-mentioned but never seen Northern barbarians, it also seems a pretty safe guess where she went to keep her head down during the years of Kerrigor's rise.
When Sam first looks at the Dog's collar, even though he doesn't know most of the Charter Marks on it, he's sure he's seen the same collection before on something, and recently. This is probably because they're the same ones that are on the Kibeth bell.
And, possibly, on the Wall or on Charter Stones. Given that "Three and Five became stone and mortar", and Kibeth is the third bell...
No, he definitely remembers the marks from the bell because that poem refers to the bloodlines: One in the people who wear the crown (Royals) Two in the folk who keep the dead down (the Abhorsen) Three and Five became stone and mortar (the Wallmakers, I guess there were two types) Four seems all in frozen water (the Clayr)
Astarael's remnant under the well. It seems like a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere at first, but makes perfect sense after reading what is required to bind the Destroyer. Remember, Lirael stood for Astarel in the Binding, and wielded the sword that could separate him, in exchange for its wielder being the target of Orannis's Taking You with Me stunt. Lirael is mortal, so she'd just die. But Astarael, who struck the final blow against Orannis, was one of the Nine, and much like the Dog, Mogget, or Orannis probably pretty damn unkillable. The Dog says that Astarael's fate was to forever be outside of the Charter that she had made. Being locked under the well, outside of the Charter, would be the equivalent of killing one of the Nine.
In the first chapter of Sabriel, the narration says that the sound of the First Gate gets louder as the messenger from Sabriel's father passes through it, but every other time something passes through the First Gate (including at least one other instance in Sabriel), the narration says that the sound of the gate ceases. It may be a simple case of the author changing his mind and forgetting to go back and edit, but there's also one noticeable difference between that first instance and all the other times—the messenger from Sabriel's father was passing from the First Precinct into the Second Precinct. Every other time something passes through the First Gate, it's going from the Second Precinct into the First Precinct.
Y'know, it seems like Astarael would be a Game Breaker level bell if you just wore earplugs. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's magic, surely that won't actually work, but it's kinda weird that they never actually addressed the idea. Except they did, at the beginning of Abhorsen. Sam suggests wearing earplugs to ward against the thing under the well — which is much later revealed to be Astarael herself — and Mogget shoots the idea down, citing that you'd hear her voice in your very bones.
The Dead themselves. The protagonists are always talking about innocent people being killed and having their spirits enslaved and hoping like heck it doesn't happen to them, but it's all too easy to forget that a lot of the baddies that are doing things of their own relatively free will, all the Greater Dead, used to be human as well.
Midway through Lirael, the Nine Day Watch shows Lirael a vision of Nick at the Lightning Trap, in livid detail, so she knows how to find him. However, they only tell her about, and don't show, the vision of her on the lake with Nick. The kicker is that in that vision, they must have seen Lirael in the stars-and-keys surcoat, and in the garb of an Abhorsen-in-Waiting. That means that from the moment they met Lirael coming out of her Path, they knew exactly who she was and who she was meant to be, and didn't tell her.
In retrospect, if the Clayr had told her what her heritage really was, it would have crushed Lirael's spirit. Lirael who has wanted nothing but the Sight if just to fit in. Sending out someone in shock out to save the world isn't smart; not only that, Sanar and Ryelle are aware of that fact. The Clayr may be detached, but they do not lack empathy or sympathy.
So, at least they gave her a chance to find out more about the world, and learn about people and society who aren't Clayr, so that when she found out her true destiny, she would have been able to accept it better. It's come back into Fridge Brilliance!
"You're not a Clayr. Also, get off our Glacier." Telling that to a person who's already potentially suicidal is a terrible idea.
The binding used to contain Orannis. Rowan, ash and oak, silver, gold and lead, and the seventh ward was bone. While the lead ties in nicely to the parallel between Orannis and the nuclear bomb, where did the bone come from?
The poor sod who gave their life to bind Orannis the last time he got out. The Dog put the kibosh on the noble sacrifice thing this time by biting off Lirael's hand, which managed to do the job on its own without costing her her life.