Headscratchers / Keys to the Kingdom

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    The Architect having children 

  • The Architect possessed a human woman so she could have children with the Old One. Wasn't that woman technically raped, then?
    • Yep. All hail the Architect.
    • Assuming she didn't consent.
    • Not to mention that they are the same being! They once were the same person and then parted, making them siblings in some freaky way. Let THAT sink in for a while.


  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there a couple of loose ends here and there that the last book never answered? Like I'm pretty sure Arthur was meant to be able to ask the Raised Rats a few more questions at one point.
    • He already did in Superior Saturday. He used up two questions in Drowned Wednesday, and used his last question later to get into the Upper House.
    • I think you may be wrong. i believe he consulted them or something (sorry for me not being sure), but i don't think he ever got to ask the last question. its possible, too, because Garth Nix often adds little things like that. If you ever read Sabriel, you might remember another instance in which the protagonist never asked her last of three questions.
    • He does ask them how to get into the Upper House as his third question. Saturday, chapter 7.
    • A better Headscratcher is why the Rats didn't ask Arthur their third question. Unless I missed it?
    • I think their third question was 'What were you told happened to the Architect?' which culminated in their theory that the Trustees kiled her
    • That was actually their second question. Their two questions were, "Why do you want to go to Feverfew's secret harbor?" and "What did the Will say happened to the Architect?". Arthur holds back on his third question until Saturday, and the rats do not get the opportunity to ask their third in return.

    Loose Ends 

  • The last book is full of craziness and still has a few unanswered questions. First, what in the world happened to Pravuil? The first book sets him up to be a Chekhov's Gunman or the Big Bad or whatever, but then he's only mentioned in a few offhand references and then disappears. I was honestly expecting him to turn out to be Lord Sunday or the Big Bad or something of importance, but...no. It's like the author just forgot about him. Perhaps he could be the villain for the possible sequel? (Assuming he didn't die in the battle of the Incomparable Gardens, since I'm pretty sure he was with Saturday's forces...) Also, why did the Mariner and Piper just randomly die for no explained reason? After the Mariner fulfills his duty to Arthur, he just dies? And then the Piper seems to...commit suicide? I guess maybe they know that the Architect's plan is complete now and can't be stopped, but it still doesn't make much sense to me since there's no explanation given. Also, the Architect was being pretty selfish, since I doubt the Heir, if they're a normal mortal kid, would be happy in knowing the Architect just annihilated their friends, family, and entire world. (Perhaps the Atlas taking a snapshot was intentional, though, so the New Architect could just revert the universe to what it was before, but because of the Trustees, a lot of people still died and a lot of turmoil was caused...)
    • Pravuil is the guy who sets up the micronuke on the hospital, he gets caught afterwards. Maybe the author was aiming for hey its that guy on the part of the audience. The Mariner died because he opened the cage trap setup by his brother Lord Sunday, he was forced to unintentionally by his promise to Arthur to aid him. I think the Piper died because he was basically a ghost holding on by sheer will, and once his ultimate goal was crushed he let himself go. The Archiect being selfish is partly the whole point of the series as it about the corruption of power.
    • Well, yeah, Pravuil did have some importance since he was the catalyst in that whole subplot, but it's still a fairly minor and underwhelming role relative to the buildup and mystery surrounding him. And the Mariner died because he touched the cage? So even opening the thing kills you? He only touched it with his trident, so why did he die? How does Lord Sunday not vaporize whenever he opens it, then? (And while it would be reasonable to say he never intends to open it, how in the world did the Reaper get in there in that case?) I'd also think that he'd warn Arthur a little more in that case, such as "If I open this for you I'm gonna die" rather than just being vague and saying "Are you sure you want me to help you?" The only other explanation that I have is that maybe it was because he was being kept alive because of his pact with Arthur via the medallion and once that was used up he died, but that still doesn't make a lot of sense. Maybe he committed suicide like the Piper because he knew the Architect was going to destroy everything anyway?
    • Opening it with the Seventh Key probably neutralizes the disintergatey-powers. As for the Mariner, he didn't tell Arthur because he knew that Arthur wouldn't make him open it if he told him, and he thought opening it was worth the sacrifice, to defeat Sunday. (He may not have known that his mom was planning to end the universe).
    • The HARPOON (not trident) was part of the Mariner. It had the power to break the cage, but killed the Mariner in the process. The Mariner actually practically did say as much, as he changed the agreement from "I won't help you afterwards unless I feel like it" to "I will never help you again" and said "All stories must end," and "I feared it would come to this." Arthur was just in too much of a rush to deal with things.
    • Pravuil was, like everyone else except Arthur, the Architect, Suzy, Leaf, Fred, Doctor Scamandros, Giac, and Lord Sunday, wiped out PERMANENTLY when the Incomparable Gardens were flooded with Nothing. Arthur not confronting him fits with the overall theme of the books in that Arthur DOESN'T kill his enemies. As for the mystery of the character, the best explanation I've heard is that Saturday made him her Dawn after he contacted Arthur.
    • It's possible he was still on Earth at the end, which means Pravuil could still be out in the Secondary Realms for a sequel series. Also I hope at least some of the Border Sea denizens happened to be on a Secondary Realm ocean.

    Man with the china plate 

  • What ever happened to the man with the china plate back at the very beginning of Mister Monday?
    • We can assume he was taken to the Upper House (as no elevators reach the Incomparable Gardens that we see), and tortured by Saturday to find out how he freed the Will.

    Letting in the Piper 

  • Why did Sunday have the Piper let in?
    • I believe the Piper allied with Saturday and followed her through the hole in the floor of the Gardens.
    • Not quite. The Piper overcame Saturday and combined their armies. But yeah, he came in through the hole, same as Saturday and Arthur.

    Entrusting the Trustees 

  • Why did the Architect entrust the House to the Trustees in the first place, why didn't she just pick a mortal, give him or her the keys and the Atlas and let nothing overrun everything, what purpose did they serve. And where was she the last ten thousand years?
    • She gave the keys to the Trustees because she thought throwing herself into the nothing would kill her and when that didn't work she sent the will to them, But by that point they didn't want to die.
    • And the Architect as mentioned above was floating half-dead in the nothing.

    Leaf and sight 

  • Did they ever explain why Leaf can see House-related things?
    • Her Grandmother was a witch.

    Washing between ears 

  • Why were the Piper's children washed between the ears?
    • To stop one of them becoming the Heir
    • To hinder the Heir's efforts when he eventually arrived.
    • Or to keep them from taking advantage of the Denizens. Even with all the washing between the ears, they're still much much smarter than the Denizens; with it, they'd rival the Trustees in power after a few centuries.
    • And it's possible that (in addition to the above guess about taking advantage of the Denizens, in my opinion) it's a safety measure, as human brains aren't made to keep thousands or even millions of years worth of records like the Denizens were, so the washing between the ears is a sort of artificial Fog of Ages.
    • Aren't the Children also able to create? If they had enough knowledge, they could be very dangerous.
    • And since the Piper can control them, he could use their accumulated knowledge of the workings of the House against the Trustees. Washing between the ears meant they had less information the Piper could use if he ever came back, which he did.

    Leaf as a sue 

  • Leaf is a bit of a Sue - she's brilliant at everything she tries, whereas Arthur is sort of useless for a lot of the books. Despite this, she never seems to get annoyed at the fact someone who, other than an accident of fate, is clearly less suited to the task than she is trying to save the world.
    • She's a bit busy with other concerns, don't you think?
    • Also, she's nice. And, just like him, she would really like to get back to her regular life. I don't see how she's "less suited" than him, which is entirely subjective. She's pretty capable, sure, but is basically in the story to become the Audience Surrogate when Arthur can't be anymore.

    Border Sea and the Great Maze 

  • What are the Border Sea and the Great Maze for? The Sea doesn't seem to have any use to the house at all, and although the Maze is used to train the Army of the Architect, it would be much easier to keep the gates to Nothing closed...
    • The Border Sea could just be the House's pool... Or bathroom.
    • The Border Sea was where all lost objects from the Secondary Realms ended up, while The Great Maze... um... That's a little harder. Maybe it was something for the Old One to do, before he broke with the Architect and got imprisoned in the clock.
    • The Maze is the training ground for the Army. Why does the House need an army? The Architect moves in mysterious ways.
    • I always thought that it was to help keep the Nithlings under control. You know, kill off a couple thousand every couple months or so so that there are fewer to attack the rest of the House.
    • The Border Sea was designed as a way to transport goods from the Secondary Realms into the House, wasn't it?


  • In "Sir Thursday", Leaf escapes from the hospital and takes refuge in the house of an old lady. She watches a little television while there, and is said to "hold her hand out, palm up, wait for the television to calibrate on her, then raised her finger" to turn up the volume. What the HELL is that all about?
    • The series is taking place 20 Minutes into the Future.
    • Apparently the TV has a Kinect built in or something.
    • Which means you don't need to check under the sofa cushions for the remote. Hmm...

    Downer Ending 

  • Did anyone else find the end of the series ridiculously depressing? I mean, the frickin world is destroyed! What about all of the Denizens Arthur met in the previous books? There were many that seemed decent, like Sunscorch, but were irreplacably destroyed. There also must have been hundreds of nice denizens like them that suffered the same fate. Not to mention Arthur's mother!
    • Yep. All hail the Architect. All hail Arthur. I think a better ending would have rung hollow after the events of the last few books, but the ending as it was was still pretty unsatisfying.
    • Bittersweet yes, unsatisfying no. I thought it was brilliant.

    Real objects and their records 

  • What happened to the whole 'connection between real objects and their records thing'? Shouldn't the secondary realms have been destroyed with the Upper House where the living records were stored?
    • This is why the final book was considered such an Ass Pull. The author just changed continuity for the sake of drama.
    • Agreed. "Yeah, I know we established all these rules but they were just wrong."
    • ... Except the Secondary Realms were destroyed when the Incomparable Gardens were engulfed by Nothing. The Ass Pull was the Atlas suddenly turning out to contain a full save state for all the Secondary Realms, which allowed the New Architect to completely recreate them.
    • But that's exactly the point. According to previous books they Secondary Realms should ALREADY have been destroyed with the Upper House (Saturday's realm) where the living records were stored. This was forewarned multiple times throughout the series but then it just never happened so the story could continue, hence Ass Pull.
    • A possible explanation. Early on it's said that the Secondary Realms are controlled and dependent on the House, but this is later revealed to be misinformation on the part of the Trustees. The Secondary Realms came first (after the Incomparable Garden), and the rest of the House was created to monitor the Realms because they were so fascinating. It's possible that the living records don't have any actual power unless specific conditions are met for their use.
    • The House was invented after the Secondary Realms, so clearly they don't need the records to exist. It was designed to keep the Architect entertained. The only "foreshadowing" that destroying the records destroys the Secondary Realms comes from either Denizens who have no way of knowing if it's true or not, and Dame Primus, who is lying to manipulate Arthur.
    • Also, for those worried that it came out of nowhere, it was stated very clearly that the secondary realms would endure as long as the the center of the incomparable gardens was intact, long before this became relevant. And for a bit of Fridge Brilliance, nobody ever successfully changed the records in order to alter the secondary realms; As soon as Arthur came close to being able to do so, he was dissuaded by.. The Will. As in the one being that would actually know that was nonsense. At about the same time Arthur reflects that he's aware the Will is manipulating him. Seems he was more right than he knew.

    Lieutenant Keeper 

  • When the Lieutenant Keeper is introduced in Mister Monday, it sounds like he's not the main caretaker of the Front Door, he's just looking after it until the Captain Keeper returns. The Captain Keeper is never mentioned again in the series, that I remember....
    • If I remember correctly, the Captain Keeper is the Architect.
    • Also, the house was messed up at that stage. Particularly the lower house. By the time he returns in the seventh book, nearly all of it is controlled by the Will or at war, or both. Presumably Dame Primus promoted him off screen to resolve the issue.
    • The Captain Keeper is described in the first book as male, so it's unlikely to be the Architect. More likely he was just some random Denizen who was killed by Saturday so that she could have greater power over the Front Door.

    No negotiations with Monday? 

  • In the first book Arthur mostly enters the house in order to find a cure. Why then does he never try to offer his half of the key to Monday in exchange for a cure to the disease which was ravaging his hometown? Even assuming he doesn't trust Monday at all, he could still use it as a 'plan B' when he got captured and was about to be thrown in the coal cellar (as he didn't knew how easy it would be to escape from the coal cellar), or could only promise to hand over the key after he is certain the plague is cured. On the other side I also find it odd that Monday didn't really try to promise him riches or power in exchange for his key (he could always go back on his words and it would be much quicker than their 'throwing him into the coal cellar and waiting till he gives me back to key out of his hardships' plan.)