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Literature / Harrow the Ninth

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From his far-off sanctum deep within the Mithraeum, you heard him exhale. You imagined him sitting in his patchy, worn-out chair, all alone, worrying his right temple with the thumb he always worried his right temple with. After a brief pause, he said: "Harrow, please don't be in such a hurry to die."
"Do not underestimate me, Teacher," you said. "I have always lived."

WARNING: Late Arrival Spoilers abound for Gideon the Ninth.

Harrow the Ninth is the second book in The Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir. It was released on August 4th, 2020.

Harrow has won. She has received everything she ever wanted: immortality, an eternity of service to God, and the restoration of her dying House. She will be forever remembered as the Ninth Saint to serve the King Undying. All it cost her was her cavalier.

Everyone acts very strangely whenever Harrow speaks her cavalier's name, but she has bigger problems. Bigger problems than her malfunctioning Lyctorhood, bigger problems than her constant headaches and nosebleeds and bizarrely fast-growing hair. She has been trapped in the Mithraeum, the Emperor's flagship fortress, with four other Lyctors and the Emperor himself. A Resurrection Beast, one of the planet-eating monsters born from the murder of a planet, is coming for them. It is already too close to escape, meaning that she will have to learn to fight it. Over the course of ten thousand years, only five have ever been destroyed, mostly through luck and the sacrifice of immortal Lyctors. Now, she must survive with no experience, and a body with malfunctioning immortality.

Throughout it all, she remembers her time exploring Canaan House with her cavalier, Ortus Nigenad. He was a terrible cavalier, too old and too fat and too weak, but he was her only option. There was never anyone else.

Well, there had been another girl who grew up alongside Harrow - but she had died before Harrow was born.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Harrow forcibly removes all her memories of Gideon Nav and replaces her in them with her original cavalier, Ortus Nigenad; as part of this process, Harrow even perceives any mention of Gideon's name as "Ortus" instead. Thus, she spends most of the book believing that the name of the Saint of Duty (after whom Gideon was inadvertently named) is "Ortus the First" and referring to him as such, and only realizes after regaining her memories that it's actually "Gideon the First".
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Gideon Nav accuses Ianthe (and all necromancers) of using her necromantic powers to do weird stuff during sex, Ianthe says she "loves a little gall on gall". Gideon being Gideon, she immediately stops arguing with her to propose they get married.
  • The All-Concealing "I": The Second-Person Narration is presented as if Harrow's Sanity Slippage has also made her intensely detached from her sense of self until she meets Palamedes again, whereupon the narration suddenly uses “me”, revealing that the narrator is a separate character who's been telling the story to Harrow the whole time. It's not till the next Act that it's revealed that Gideon Nav was the Narrator All Along.
  • Allegiance Affirmation: The Emperor demands that everyone present in the climax declare whether or not they're loyal to him, including people who've served at his side for ten thousand years. It also overlaps with Join or Die, since he makes it clear he'll kill anyone who refuses the way he just killed Mercymorn. His oldest companion answers, "No, John", and teleports the entire Space Station into The Underworld in a last-ditch attempt to kill him for his crimes.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Most of the book is narrated in either Second-Person Narration (for Harrow's thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the present-day, real-world setting of the story) or third-person from Harrow's POV (for flashbacks and Fake Memories that are actually set in her Dream Land). A few times, though, we do get the story from someone else's viewpoint:
    • The final chapter of Act 4, "Epiparados", is a Flashback to Harrow and Ianthe performing "the work" on the former's brain, and is narrated from Ianthe's third-person perspective rather than Harrow's.
    • In Act 5, the Second-Person Narration has an interesting twist on this with the Narrator All Along reveal. Specifically, Gideon was always the first-person narrator telling the story to Harrow, but since she was a dormant, passive viewer inside her Lyctor's body, she didn't explicitly assert her own narration until one occasion in Act 4 after meeting Palamedes again. However, once Harrow's soul goes MIA in Act 5 and Gideon's soul takes full control of her body, we get her active viewpoint for the rest of the book.
    • As Yet Unsent is a log/report kept by Judith Deuteros while she's in captivity by the Blood of Eden, and as such, is from her point of view.
  • Arc Words: Variations on the phrase "Is this how it happens?" appear frequently as asides to Harrow in her Fake Memories, as the ghosts she's pulled into her dreams struggle to recognize their surroundings.
  • Ascended Extra: Several characters who did little in the first book reappear in more prominent roles, because Harrow is populating her Fake Memories with the spirits of the dead, and most of the people who played larger parts in the first book either survived or are...otherwise unavailable.
    • Ortus Nigenad is a particular example. In Gideon the Ninth, he only appeared in person in one scene near the beginning before he and his mother Glaurica stole Gideon's intended escape shuttle to flee the planet, and she later learned they were Killed Offscreen. Here, since Harrow has replaced Gideon as her cavalier with him in her Fake Memories, we see them interact a lot more and see more of his personality. Once she regains her memories in Act 5, she and Ortus finally have a real heart-to-heart and resolve the issues between them, and he plays a crucial role in saving the group from the Sleeper.
    • Abigail Pent is another. In Gideon, she and Magnus were the first two characters killed at Canaan House (not counting Dulcie and Protesilaus being Dead All Along), and she got far less screentime than he did before their deaths. In Harrow's Dream Land, she plays a role similar to that of Palamedes from the first book of being Harrow's closest inter-house ally, of whom she's somewhat wary but gradually grows to trust more. She also acts as the Team Mom to the group, and Magnus as the Team Dad, similar to their brief role before their deaths in the real world. Once Harrow gets her memories back, Abigail and Magnus are the biggest sources of advice to her, and like Ortus, Abigail has a vital role in defeating the Sleeper.
  • Assassination Attempt / Assassin Outclassin': Multiple people are trying to kill Harrow. They're almost successful in the prologue.
    • Ortus the First believes she's a threat and tries to kill her multiple times. Or, at least, that's what he claims; it's revealed near the end that he's actually doing so on John's orders.
    • Commander Wake also tries to kill her, both in the real world with Cytherea's corpse and in the Dream Land as the Sleeper.
    • The assassination attempt in the prologue/end of Act 4 was intended by the Saint of Joy as a Mercy Kill. While this does basically trap Harrow's mind in her Dream Land, it causes Gideon to take over her body and also gets her Healing Factor to start working properly, so the wound heals and she survives it.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Harrow quotes Psalm 137:5 after she finally remembers Gideon, as well as part of Ruth 1:17 in a Call-Back to the end of Gideon the Ninth.
  • Aside Comment: People in Harrow's Fake Memories do this often, breaking the flow of narrative by asking her if she's sure this is how everything actually happened.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Subverted with Mercymorn and Augustine; there are several times when it seems like they've finally reconciled, only for it to be revealed later as little more than a temporary truce. Double subverted after they've killed the Emperor, where Augustine admits that while they have hated each other too long to stop, he's glad to have her by his side as they work towards undoing necromancy and finally bringing peace to the galaxy. They embrace. Cue the Emperor reconstituting himself, killing Mercy and spattering Augustine with her organs.
  • Awful Truth: Two huge ones in rapid succession:
    • Gideon spent her whole childhood believing that her mother, who was DOA on Drearburh after giving birth to her, must have loved her a lot, and frequently would talk to her mom's skeleton and tell her she loved her. Then Gideon, while possessing Harrow's body, learns that said mom, Commander Wake, was working with Mercymorn and Augustine to breach the Locked Tomb to confirm their suspicions about John; Wake only conceived Gideon with his stolen semen after other methods of conception failed, hated her all along, and always saw her as nothing more than a weapon against God, intending to murder her shortly after she was born to open the Tomb. She also finds that said Emperor, her biological father who never knew she existed until now, doesn't really give a shit about her.
    • Although the aforementioned plan failed, Mercy and Augustine seeing that Gideon has the same gold eyes as Alecto confirms another one: she could only have inherited these gold eyes from John, her father, and not Alecto, so they must have been his original eye color, while his own black eyes were originally Alecto's; she was his cavalier, and eye color swaps like this happen when a necro and cav achieve immortality together. This reveals that it is, in fact, possible for necros to ascend to Lyctorhood while preserving the life of the cav, meaning that all of the original cavaliers—who submitted to being killed out of the belief that this was the only way for their necromancers to become Lyctors—died needlessly because John hid his technique from them and lied to his Lyctors for ten thousand years that there was no other choice.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Harrow, despite planning to assassinate the Saint of Duty (who has been trying repeatedly to kill her, and was able to destroy the bone wards she used to attempt to fend him off), rescues him when she finds him about to be killed in the incinerator by Cytherea's possessed corpse. He (or rather, his cavalier Pyrrha Dve, whose soul is controlling his body at the time) then tells her how to set proper wards that will prevent future attempts he may make on her life. Sure enough, these blood wards work.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Emperor/God/John is generally the most sensitive and caring person on the Mithraeum. But when Mercymorn briefly murders him, he brutally kills her afterward without a thought. Also, he's something of a Sink or Swim Mentor, telling the Saint of Duty to repeatedly attack Harrow so that she either unlocks her full Lyctor ability or dies. All while maintaining his benign appearance.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Resurrection Beast ultimately ends up as a backdrop to the Gambit Pileup of the true antagonists: Commander Wake, Mercymorn, and Augustine.
  • Brain Bleach: Harrow and Ianthe are both Squicked out of their minds at seeing Augustine and Mercymorn initiating a threesome with God, and are described as getting the hell out of dodge as though escaping from a fire.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Gideon Nav makes many from the previous book return, with her first observation upon reawakening inside of Harrow being "Goddamn it, I told you to lift weights."
    • Cytherea-disguised-as-Dulcinea suggested that Harrow could make a "very weeny construct?" to handle the avulsion trial. In order to break into the incinerator and pull out the Saint of Duty, Harrow finally does make a weeny construct.
  • Brown Note: The Resurrection Beasts’ physical bodies are, in some way, horrifying for necromancers to look on, and getting a good eyeful of them can drive even Lyctors insane (for a while). Their Heralds are better, in that just their proximity fills necromancers with overwhelming, inexplicable terror, though only necromancers, as the dead cavaliers inside of Lyctors are immune. The Blood of Eden once got their hands on a dead Herald, and used its corpse to make some highly effective anti-necromancer weapons.
  • Candlelit Ritual: The necromancer who tries to banish a hostile ghost from Harrow's body lights a circle of candles around the coffin that's their only known physical link to the ghost; they erupt in blue flame when the ritual begins. Justified by Clap Your Hands If You Believe, because they're operating in a Dream Land that's shaped by willpower.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Throughout the book, all of the Emperor's now-deceased acolytes—the dead Lyctors and all of the cavaliers—are mentioned regularly, sometimes in passing and sometimes more directly. One of the most frequently mentioned is Pyrrha Dve, the cavalier of Gideon the First (one of the only three original Lyctors still alive at this point). Then come the end of the book, Pyrrha is revealed to still be alive inside of Gideon's body—unbeknownst to him—and regularly takes control of it, including, in the past, for the purposes of carrying on an affair with Commander Wake (Gideon Nav's mother).
  • Cool Sword: Gideon's longsword has become such after her death, with Harrow encasing it in regenerating ash (because she can’t physically touch it without becoming violently ill) and wielding it as a weapon to kill planets, and then kill their ghosts. Gideon's disgusted by the state of it after she reawakens inside Harrow, as Harrow completely ruined the edge and it being sheathed in bone pitted the metal.
  • Darker and Edgier: The early portions have the sarcastic and adventurous tone of Gideon the Ninth shifted into bitter and remorseful Psychological Horror. The previous tone returns in Act 5, along with Harrow reconciling her memories and Gideon returning.
  • Dark Secret: The Emperor has two that come out in the final moments of the book that change everything about how he's viewed by his Lyctors: there is a perfect form of Lyctorhood that doesn't require anyone to die, and he achieved it with Alecto, taking her eyes.
  • Deader than Dead:
    • The River is the representation of the underworld in this universe. The climax of the book heavily implies both that the River is not the end, and there may be another shore on the far side of the River. It's this trope because a gateway to whatever is beneath the River tries to devour most of the main cast, does succeed in doing so to Augustine, and also did the same to Ulysses in the past.
    • It's also stated that, if any of the ghosts in Harrow's Dream Land bubble in the River are killed, this will be their fate, as they'll be unable to return to the River from there. Thankfully, everybody survives the fight against the Sleeper and escapes intact from the bubble before it collapses.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In order for Harrow to make an attempt to kill the Saint of Duty (who keeps trying to kill her), she needs the Emperor distracted. So Augustine (who's agreed to help her) and Mercymorn (who's agreed to work with him) interrupt dinner with a threesome.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Harrow regrows Ianthe's arm bone, the way the scene is described makes it feel more like they're having sex. This was confirmed as intentional by the author.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Intentionally invoked by the way Ianthe is written, according to Word of God.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Resurrection Beasts approaching the bottom of the River trigger a "stoma", a huge gaping maw with many long tongues, to emerge and attempt to draw them into it. It’s not clear if this leads to a literal hell or not, but the characters describe it as such and are terrified of it. Augustine tries to pull the Emperor into one at the end of the book, but falls in himself when Ianthe rescues the Emperor.
  • Dream Land: A major element of the story. In the wake of performing "the work", Harrow spontaneously and accidentally created a liminal bubble within the River, pulling in the dead of Canaan House to fill out the roles of her Elseworld recreation of her Fake Memories. Chapters with a split skull show her in this space, and only take place when she's asleep or incapacitated. Near the climax of the story, she becomes trapped in this space, forcing a Battle in the Center of the Mind against the revenant of the Sleeper trying to possess her body.
  • Eldritch Abomination: This book introduces the Resurrection Beasts, which are the souls of planets violently killed by necromancy. The Emperor accidentally created nine of them in the Resurrection, and his Lyctors have been fleeing/fighting them ever since. They’re planet eaters that grow more powerful by sucking the life out of living planets and absorbing their mass, and inexorably hunt down anyone who has committed the “indelible sin” of becoming a Lyctor. Over the last ten thousand years, the Empire has killed five of the nine, with three left, and lost half his Lyctors doing so.
  • Eldritch Location: The River is an alien place inhabited by the ghosts of the dead and Resurrection Beasts, where the normal rules of the world do not apply. Despite looking like water, you don't actually need to breathe in it.
  • Elseworld: Harrow's Fake Memories end up as this, completely changing the events at Canaan House around Gideon's absence. The beginning of Act 5 is a cascade of them as Harrow desperately tries to avoid admitting Gideon's death. As an injoke, all of them are based on popular fanfiction tropes: a Role Swap AU where Gideon is the Reverend Daughter and Harrow Nova her abused cavalier, a Masquerade Ball where the events of Canaan House are a means to find "Her Divine Highness" a spouse, and a Coffee Shop AU complete with a Meet Cute with Gideon.
  • Empathic Weapon: Gideon's longsword is characterized as one by Harrow, having a personality and moods, mostly composed of a complete hatred of Harrow, and burns her hands when she tries to wield it. It's actually the Soul Jar of Commander Wake, who does completely hate necromancers.
  • Eye Color Change: Lyctors gain the eye color of their cavaliers. The Emperor and Alecto exchanged eye color as well due to completing the lyctor creation process without the cavalier dying.
  • Fake Memories: Chapters with a split skull in the header are flashbacks to the events at Canaan House from Harrow's restructured memories. They're actually events taking place in her Dream Land concurrently with the main story.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted, after being enforced in Gideon the Ninth. Oddly, the guns in question all seem to be from approximately the early 20th century, rather than the black powder or laser guns one might expect from the 17th century-ish rapier fighting or the futuristic space ships.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Resurrection Beasts have a physical form that manifests in the real world, as well as a part of them that is in the River. Killing their physical body doesn't work for this reason, unless you drive the body into a black hole which is usually not as practical as fighting them in the river and driving them into a stoma.
  • First-Episode Twist: It's pretty difficult to discuss the book at all without spoiling the first major twist: Harrow was so distraught by Gideon's death that she completely remade her memories to remove Gideon from them entirely, and is not handling Lyctorhood well in the aftermath.
  • Forceful Kiss: Harrow plants one on Ianthe to check if Ianthe's jaw or tongue had been recently replaced.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The reader knows the Emperor is not long for this world because several chapters begin by stating how much time remains until the Emperor is murdered. Subverted when he reconstructs his body after a few moments and kills his would-be assassin.
  • Foreshadowing: The series features a lot of extensively foreshadowed events, so much so that they're listed separately here.
  • Gainax Ending:
    • The final chapter is a cliffhanger with all three remaining original Lyctors dead; the Emperor, Ianthe, Gideon the Ninth (in Harrow's body), Pyrrha Dve (in Gideon the First's body), and the entire Mythraeum crashing into the River; and Harrow's soul... laying down in the Locked Tomb?
    • Additionally, this action-packed climax cuts to the epilogue, featuring an unnamed character laying low with Camilla Hect in an unspecified but politically unstable city.
  • Gambit Pileup: The Ninth House Operation, the mysterious event that took place almost twenty years ago, has far reaching consequences that only reach fruition during the events of the book, with the differing agendas and actions of Commander Wake, Augustine and Mercymorn, Gideon the First, Pyrrha Dve, Gideon Nav, and Harrow all culminating in the revelations that the blood ward on the Tomb has been broken and that the Emperor has been lying to his Lyctors for a myriad.
  • Gaslighting:
    • Harrow already believes herself to be insane thanks to being an imperfect Lyctor with malfunctioning powers, memory issues, and hallucinations. One of her lowest points in the book is when Ianthe tells her that she doesn't see Cytherea's reanimated corpse under Harrow's bed when the latter tries to show it to her, and Harrow realizes she must have hallucinated it and truly fears she's too far gone. Then Gideon's narration later reveals that the corpse was indeed there and Harrow wasn't imagining it at all, and Ianthe just claimed otherwise apparently just to mess with her. Gideon is notably furious about this, and wants to kill Ianthe for it as soon as she sees her.
    • A common fandom joke is that the entire book is gaslighting the reader, as it spends most of its page count trying to convince the audience that the previous book didn't happen at all how we remember.
  • God-Emperor: John is something of a subversion in that he isn't particularly godly nor imperious. He seems like more of a middle manager or step-parent most of the time.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: What the novel's main conflict ultimately reveals itself to be. John has been lying to his closest companions for over 10,000 years and leads his people in an endless, pointless war of symbolic retribution against the unfathomably distant descendants of his long-dead enemies. However, his death would result in the death of the Empire's sun, followed shortly by the demise of the millions that orbit it. The conspiracy against him isn't exactly happy about this consequence, but it doesn't stop them, and they're willing to use horrific methods like sacrificing a newborn baby to get their way.
  • Haunted Heroine: Harrow specifically tries to avoid this by removing her own memories of Gideon, both to avoid consuming her soul and so she won't be traumatized by Gideon's death. However, she ultimately turns out to be haunted in the literal sense by multiple parties:
    • Harrow has been seeing visions of the Body in the Locked Tomb, Alecto, ever since first encountering her at 10 years old. She thinks they're just hallucinations and signs of her Sanity Slippage since no one else can see the Body, but it's strongly implied by the end that the visions were real and Alecto has been watching over Harrow as a benevolent ghost all these years, for as-yet-unknown reasons.
    • Commander Wake, the leader of the Blood of Eden who hates necromancers with a passion, is residing in Gideon's two-handed sword as her Soul Jar; since Harrow, a Lyctor, is using the sword as a Security Blanket and keeping it close to her at all times, this allows Wake to haunt her dreams as the Sleeper and attempt to kill her in her Dream Land. It's only once Matthias defeats the Sleeper that Wake is exorcised from the two-hander and prevented from haunting Harrow further.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X":
    • Invoked; at one point, Harrow says she's been told repeatedly that being half-cocked is "worse than not being cocked at all", and the narrative remarks that Ianthe should have taken the opportunity for this and doesn't. There are several similar moments; it's Gideon obliquely doing this trope from the back of Harrow's head.
    • Lyctors refer to themselves by callsigns that consist of the first initial of their and their cavalier's name when fighting Resurrection Beasts. Given that Harrow believes that Ortus was her cavalier, Ianthe gets a laugh out of her being referred to as "H. O."
  • How We Got Here: The opening features Harrow and the other lyctors fighting a Resurrection Beast and Harrow getting stabbed, and then cuts to months earlier.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Even short term exposure to the River causes hellish hallucinations and comes with the inevitable reality of being devoured by thousands of hungry ghosts, or worse, running headlong into the body of a Resurrection Beast. The longest that anyone is known to have survived full immersion is seven minutes.
  • I Am Who?: Gideon finds out that she is the child of John/God and Commander Wake, born so that her death could open the Locked Tomb.
  • I Love the Dead: Harrow sees the Saint of Duty making out with Cytherea's corpse. This is apparently kind of a thing for necromancers, enough that Ianthe is fascinated and has several Unusual Euphemisms for it. It's heavily implied it wasn't actually him, but his cavalier, and Cytherea was actually possessed by Pyrrha's former lover Wake at the time.
  • Immortality Immorality: Used in an existential way. Lyctorhood does confer vast thanergetic reservoirs and enhanced abilities, as well as becoming The Ageless... but marks someone forever with an indelible sin due to killing their cavalier, drawing the attention of the planet-destroying Resurrection Beasts from across the entire universe.
  • In Medias Res: The prologue begins with the Seventh Resurrection Beast bearing down on the Mithratheum and Harrow being stabbed through the gut with her own sword, before jumping back nine months, to just after Harrow became a Lyctor.
  • Innocent Innuendo: In his epic poem, Ortus has Mathias Nonius go into a "bone frenzy". Harrow suggests that such a phrase might be open to...ahem...misinterpretation, which sets Ortus off on a rant about how only dirty-minded churls could find sex jokes in his poetry and he doesn't want people like that to read it anyway.
  • Ironic Echo: In the Emperor's and Mercymorn's first scene together in the book, which descends into their usual bickering, the former chides the latter for attempting to sidetrack their argument. Later in the climactic confrontation, Mercy repeats those same words back to John when he's trying to do something similar to avoid owning up to all the lies he's told.
    "You are trying to start a fight with me to get out of the fight I am trying to have with you, which is a painfully domestic tactic."
  • Join or Die: The Emperor's Allegiance Affirmation in the climax. After Mercymorn tries to murder him and he re-forms to kill her instead, he drops all pretenses of being a Reasonable Authority Figure and demands that everyone else present—Augustine, Ianthe, Gideon Nav-in-Harrow's-body, and Gideon the First (actually Pyrrha in his body)—swear loyalty to him or meet the same fate as Mercy.
  • Killed Off for Real: While Lyctors are immortal and have a Healing Factor, they can be killed by Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain, or being Dragged Off to Hell they can't escape from. In addition to Cytherea from the last book, we learn about the deaths of a few more Lyctors here, and see other characters die as well:
    • Cassiopeia was Devoured by the Horde of angry ghosts in the River while fighting a Resurrection Beast, Cyrus dragged another Beast into a black hole with him, and Ulysses similarly dragged another Beast down into the stoma (the inescapable deepest layer of the River) with him.
    • Though Commander Wake originally died 19 years ago, she has persisted as a revenant—with Gideon Nav's two-handed sword acting as her Soul Jar—who then haunts Harrow's dreams as the Sleeper thanks to her close proximity to the two-hander, and also possesses the corpse of Cytherea once Harrow stabs it with the sword. During the course of the book, Harrow's allies defeat the Sleeper in her Dream Land to exorcise Wake from the sword, and then Pyrrha blows her brains out while she's in Cytherea's body; these two actions combined permanently banish Wake's ghost from the world of the living.
    • By the end, the last three original Lyctors are all dead, too: Mercymorn seemingly kills the Emperor by reducing him to Ludicrous Gibs, only for him to reform and do the same to her in retaliation (except, unlike him, she can't heal from it); Augustine then tries to pull a Taking You with Me on John by dragging him down into the stoma with him, only for Ianthe to rescue John and leave Augustine to be devoured by himself; and Gideon the First is revealed to have died while fighting the Resurrection Beast in the River, leaving the soul of Pyrrha, his cavalier, to permanently gain sole control over his body.
  • Kiss Diss: Harrow turns away from Ianthe's drunken kiss at the last second, so Ianthe's lips get her cheek instead. This is a happy compromise between Harrow's other impulses of either leaning into the kiss or murdering Ianthe on the spot.
  • La Résistance: The Blood of Eden, an anti-necromancy insurgency believed to be almost entirely extinguished after their leader disappeared nearly twenty years ago, yet suspected to be behind the recent destruction of three Imperial warships. They're actually not a resistance at all, but a militant arm of the civilization outside the Empire; the "Eden" in their name refers to Earth, which they believe the Emperor murdered.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The dead in Harrow's Dream Land refer to themselves acting out roles and reading lines in a play, which is both literally true and the framing for each book.
  • Lethal Chef: Most of the First are noted as being terrible cooks, including Ianthe and Harrow, and it's a Running Gag that the only things they can cook are mediocre soups. Harrow's is particularly bad, because at the time she's cooking it she hasn't slept in six days thanks to the Saint of Duty's numerous assassination attempts on her. Also, she put her own bone marrow in it, and turns it into a skeleton after he has eaten a good bit of it. Only John's intervention stops her being literally lethal.
  • Love Dodecahedron: If you thought the last book had some tangled romances, this one ups the ante completely:
    • Before ascending to Lyctorhood, several of God's necromancers had romantic relationships with their cavaliers. However, over the 10,000 years since the necros killed the cavs to become Lyctors, all of them except Gideon the First (see below) have hooked up with each other, and sometimes even with God himself, to stave off the loneliness. Even in the course of this book, Augustine and Mercy (who hate each other) have a threesome with John, and it's revealed near the end that they had another one 20 years ago.
    • On the subject of Gideon the First, we learn near the end that he was in a Love Triangle in the past where all three parties were involved with each other. He had Single-Target Sexuality for his cavalier, Pyrrha Dve (whom at least Augustine and John were also both attracted to), for most of his life; he was in a relationship with her until she died so he could ascend to Lyctorhood, and she was The Lost Lenore for him ever since. However, a little over 20 years ago, he started a Dating Catwoman-esque relationship with Commander Wake of the Blood of Eden, which was so complicated by them being on opposite sides that he ended up killing her. And then we learn that Pyrrha's soul survived his ascension, and she continued loving him for 10,000 years as a ghost who occasionally took over his body. However, she also fell for Wake and had already been in a Secret Relationship with her for two years at the time that Gideon become her lover too, meaning that Wake was dating two different people at the same time who shared the same body, though she seemed more interested in Pyrrha than Gideon overall. There's a reason that, upon learning about this, Gideon Nav's only reaction is "What the fuck."
    • Throughout Harrow the Ninth, there's a decent amount of Belligerent Sexual Tension between Harrowhark Nonagesimus and Ianthe Tridentarius. In moments of weakness, Harrow feels attraction to Ianthe, and even initiates a makeout with her (purely to test if past-Harrow's hex on her is still intact), but mostly spurns her advances, including turning away when Ianthe tries to kiss her. On Ianthe's end, she enjoys messing with her and tries to pass it off as merely acknowledging that it's inevitable that they will eventually hook up over their endless lifetimes, but Gideon Nav calls bullshit, noting that Ianthe's feelings for Harrow are genuine. For her part, Gideon seems to have realized since her death that she's in love with Harrowhark, but mocks Ianthe that Harrow has Single-Target Sexuality for the Body in the Locked Tomb (Alecto) and can't return either of their feelings. While she does sincerely believe this, and it's quite true that Harrow loves Alecto, it's also all but outright stated that she has feelings for Gideon as well.
    • As Yet Unsent adds a few more, revealing that Coronabeth Tridentarius reciprocated Gideon Nav's attraction to her in the first book and ogled her a lot as well; however, she's also been obsessed with Judith Deuteros since they were kids together, and even offers to be her cavalier in the present day. While the feeling is mutual, as Judith has likewise desired Corona for 12 years (since childhood), she additionally had a crush on her cavalier, Marta Dyas, since age 14 (when the latter was 19), before they were even officially matched together; she confessed her feelings when she was 17, but Marta, a Consummate Professional devoted to duty, turned her down, feeling that they needed to keep a Strictly Professional Relationship since she was her subordinate in the military. Despite accepting this response and even considering it to be kind, Judith has enough lingering feelings for Marta to turn down Corona's offer in honor of her memory.
  • Meaningful Echo: Numerous ones, sometimes returning all the way from Gideon the Ninth.
    • The first time Gideon's Supernatural Gold Eyes are mentioned, Cytherea muses "Lipochrome... recessive." Mercymorn repeats the exact same words when she realizes what those eyes in Harrow's face mean: that a perfect Lyctorhood is possible and that God's eyes are not his own.
    • Several from Gideon's Heroic Sacrifice return. Harrow again quotes from Ruth 1:17, as Gideon did to her, as she remembers what happened to her cavalier, and when she bids farewell to Abigail and the other revenants, she repeats a variation of what Gideon told her: "Someday I'll die and be buried in the ground, and you can take it up with me then."
  • Meaningful Rename: Lyctors of old ceremonially discarded their names entirely, adopting new titles as the Empire's Saints in order to let themselves become Shrouded in Myth, only keeping their given names around each other and the Emperor. At Cytherea's funeral, all of the remaining Lyctors and the Emperor genuinely can't recall what her house name was, especially since she renamed herself "Cytherea Loveday" (using her cavalier's name as her surname) after ascending.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Harrow keeps Gideon's sword with her and can't bear to be parted from it even to sleep, despite not remembering Gideon. It ends up being very important to the plot, since Commander Wake's soul is initially contained inside it, which lets her infiltrate both the Mithraeum and Harrow's Dream Land.
  • Memory Gambit: Harrow's memories of what happened in Canaan House are completely different than what happened in the last book, including her not remembering Gideon exists, and letters from her past self suggests she's done it on purpose for some kind of plan. It turns out that not remembering Gideon prevents Harrow from absorbing her soul, which would render her permanently dead.
  • Mercy Kill: It turns out that Mercymorn was the one who stabbed Harrow in the back in the prologue, hoping to let her die quickly and relatively painlessly when the Heralds arrived.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Invoked by name when Mercymorn does it in one of her first scenes.
  • The Mole: Judith warns Harrow in the beginning of Act 4 that there is a traitor in the Emperor's inner circle. While the latter is bound by her oath to Camilla and never tells the Emperor, it becomes something she worries about as Number Seven bears down on the Mithraeum. In the end, both Augustine and Mercymorn are revealed to have been working with Blood of Eden, and both try to murder the Emperor, but fail.
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: All three modes of first, second, and third-person narration appear somewhere in the book.
    • Most of the story is divided into two threads: the main one being the Second-Person Narration about Harrow's life after becoming a Lyctor, and a subplot with conventional third person narration recounting her Fake Memories.
    • We get the third mode in Act 5 when the Second-Person Narration is revealed to be Gideon talking to Harrow, with the remainder of the Act being in first person from her perspective.
    • As Yet Unsent, the bonus story at the end of the paperback version, is in first-person from Judith's POV.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: When Gideon takes over Harrow's body to fight the Heralds, she repeatedly has problems with how much shorter and weaker Harrow is than her, and mentions that it would be nice if Harrow had lifted some weights like Gideon told her to.
  • Mutual Kill:
    • Augustine attempts this with the Emperor, trying to drag them both into the stoma. It would have worked if it wasn't for Ianthe saving John.
    • In the past, this is how two different Lyctors—Cyrus and Ulysses—died while killing Resurrection Beasts.
  • Mysterious Note: Two different uses:
    • Shortly after she becomes coherent, Harrow receives a stack of letters from Ianthe, written by Harrow herself before she suffered Trauma-Induced Amnesia, marked to be opened under various specific circumstances. Most of them never come up, and Gideon accidentally discards them when she removes Harrow's Powered Armor.
    • In her false memories, Harrow repeatedly hallucinates letters in all caps and jagged handwriting, which all seem to part of a larger whole. They end up being the thoughts of Commander Wake in her final days, loosely addressed to the Emperor, his Lyctors, and Pyrrha Dve.
  • Mythology Gag: Harrow comes across a romance novel starring a woman from the Third House named Abella, which was a name that one of the Tridentarius twins had in an earlier draft of Gideon the Ninth.
  • No Kill like Overkill: Resurrection Beasts basically necessitate it. It's mentioned that Cyrus the First died by drawing the Sixth Resurrection Beast into a black hole, and even then the Emperor isn't wholly certain it's dead.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: After defeating the Sleeper, Abigail and Magnus try to coax Harrow into returning to her body, which means accepting Gideon's death, living and grieving for her in a healthy way. This would be the very good, emotionally stable advice Harrow has needed her entire life... Except for the fact that unbeknownst to them, her work succeeded in preserving Gideon, and the rest of the Lyctors have just discovered that the Emperor is concealing the existence of true Lyctorhood, meaning that Harrow may not have to face the difficult choice at all. Fortunately, Dulcie's intervention seems to set Harrow on a different path. Maybe.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Mercymorn, Augustine, and especially the Emperor are prone to dithering and childlike bickering even when circumstances demand decisive action. Subverted by Ortus the First, who cuts through all of it in moments.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Of the "Now Or Maybe Never" variety, including some crossover with Kissing Under the Influence. A half-drunk Ianthe tries to kiss Harrow before the latter leaves to fight the vastly more powerful and experienced Ortus the First, but Harrow turns her mouth away and the kiss lands on her cheek, to Ianthe's irritation. The latter's parting words are "good luck" and "Try Not to Die."
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Near the climax, the souls of Ortus, Protesilaus, Marta, and Matthias Nonius, alongside Gideon the First, apparently managed to not only hold off the Seventh Resurrection Beast by themselves but actually got it to retreat.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted: there are two characters named Ortus. Actually, there are two characters named Gideon; but Harrow thinks Gideon the First is named "Ortus" as a side-effect of her decision to forget Gideon Nav existed.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Discussing an "ancient theoretical epigram" Magnus found in a men's bathroom of Canaan House:
    Pent said mildly, "Magnus is being amusing. It reads as a dialogue between magicians from the schools of flesh, spirit, and bone magic, the punchline being: Yes, but my bone expands when I touch it, which at least proves that joke is as old as the Nine Houses themselves."
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: The In-Universe poem "The Noniad" often features its hero Matthias Nonius getting into fights where both parties bleed copiously but never seem any worse for wear, as Harrow snarkily remarks on. When Abigail summons Nonius to the dream Canaan House, since the summoning was based on Ortus' poem the rules of the poem apply, and during his fight with Sleeper both end up bleeding from a lot of wounds but not being slowed down by it.
  • Painting the Medium: The Dramatis Personae at the start of the book reflects Harrow's Trauma-Induced Amnesia. Gideon the First's name is replaced by "ORTUS the First", and the text "Gideon Nav, her cavalier" is written over with "ORTUS NIGENAD, HER CAVALIER" so many times that it's a completely illegible scribble.
  • Planet Eater: The Resurrection Beasts wander across the universe in their pursuit of the Emperor and his Lyctors, draining entire planets of thalergy in their mindless hunger along the way.
  • Powered Armor: To get around her necromancer-physique frailty, Harrowhark creates a literal exoskeleton for herself: an external harness of bones, worn on her skin, that helps her lift her two-hander and which she can reshape into extra armor as needed.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Emperor comes across as easily the least toxic and most helpful person on the Mithraeum. Subverted by the ending, though, where he brutally murders Mercymorn, admits to ten thousand years of treachery, and forces all of his Lyctors into a Join or Die Allegiance Affirmation.
  • Resurrection Gambit: This book reveals that Palamedes had, before his Suicide Attack in Gideon the Ninth, transformed all the matter in his body into a Haunted Fetter, preserving his soul in a Pocket Dimension for later retrieval. The Stinger suggests that he and Camilla have achieved some form of Lyctorhood.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mercymorn, who already thinks Harrowhark is only 15, revises her age lower and lower over the course of the book, usually in increments of 3 until she then brings it down from 3 to 2 years old. By the end, she’s incredulously referring to Harrowhark as an infant.
    • Throughout the first part of the book, whenever Harrow mentions the end of a sword, there's a little aside correcting that it's called a pommel. This turns out to be an early hint at Gideon being the narrator.
    • As coddled necromantic nobility, most of the First are terrible cooks, with the only things they can make being mediocre soup. This culminates in Harrow serving a meal to the gathered First after weaponizing soup to try to kill Ortus the First.
    • Harrow's hair gets mentioned several times as growing incredibly quickly, to the point where she's worried it's the only manifestation of her missing Lyctoral Healing Factor. This is eventually revealed to be because, after helping Harrow perform "the work", Ianthe kicked her hair follicles into overdrive out of spite while putting her head back together.
    • In As Yet Unsent, you could turn it into a drinking game (and quickly get alcohol poisoning) with how many times Judith states that "an argument ensued" between her and Coronabeth about their differing ideologies about the Empire and the Blood of Eden.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: In-Universe, when Harrow replaces her memories of Gideon with Ortus to cover up the fact that Gideon was actually her cavalier, she accidentally replaces the name of another Lyctor, Gideon the First, with Ortus, and believes that Ortus is his name.
  • Second-Person Narration: As opposed to her narration at the end of Gideon the Ninth, the portions of Harrow's narration that take place after the events at Canaan House are second-person narration about Harrow, told to her by Gideon.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The River is both a metaphysical location full of the dead, and itself tries to violently destroy any living thing that enters it.
  • Sex Starts, Story Stops: Played with. Augustine and Mercymorn initiating Three-Way Sex with the Emperor in Act 3 is very calculated and deliberate on their parts, being what they were building up to all evening with the intention of distracting him. But for Harrow, Ianthe, and the reader, who're not let in on exactly how the distraction was going to go down, the turn to a sex scene does feel incredibly sudden and out of nowhere; still, the girls quickly flee the scene (partly to implement Harrow's assassination plot and partly out of pure disgust), so it's only the initial making out that fills this role, while everything afterwards is a Sexy Discretion Shot that does occur offscreen.
  • Sharing a Body: One big reveal near the end of the book is that Gideon the First and his cavalier Pyrrha Dve have been doing this for 10,000 years since her death; unlike the other Lyctors and their cavs, her consciousness was accidentally preserved when he compartmentalized her death somewhat while absorbing her soul. However, only Pyrrha knows that this is the case; from Gideon's perspective, the periods where she takes over his body are memory lapses for him.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Discussed at length by Ianthe as she dresses Harrow up for Augustine's dinner party. She then dismisses the idea by saying no one is capable of giving Harrowhark of all people "a sexy makeover."
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: When the Emperor assumes Harrow and Ianthe are sexually involved (when in fact, they're only "sleeping together" in the literal sense, as Harrow has been sleeping in her bed for safety), Harrow gets very flustered and nearly walks out of the room altogether. She does privately feel attraction to Ianthe on a couple of occasions, but these are treated as a Moment of Weakness each time. Gideon deduces near the end that, for Ianthe's part, she has developed genuine feelings for Harrow, not that she's capable of expressing them in a way that's at all healthy.
    Harrow: We—are not—intimate. Neither are we romantic—neither are we, frankly, platonic
  • Shout-Out: The Dios apate minor and Dios apate major plots are well named, since it refers to an episode of the The Iliad when Hera seduces Zeus to distract him from supporting the Trojans against the Greeks, like how Augustine and Mercymorn seduce the Emperor to distract him from noticing any other plots that are ongoing.
  • Significant Name Overlap: The female Gideon Nav shares her Gender-Blender Name with the male Gideon the First, the Saint of Duty, one of the Emperor's Lyctors. As it turns out, the Ninth House unknowingly named her after him; after Nav's mother, Commander Wake, was dead on arrival at Drearburh a day after giving birth, the Ninth summoned her ghost, and she just screamed the name "Gideon!" several times, leading them to assume this was her baby girl's name. In fact, Wake was actually shouting the name of the person who killed her, who was also her ex-lover. Thanks to Harrow's Memory Gambit, this causes some problems; since she has replaced Gideon Nav with Ortus Nigenad in her Fake Memories, complete with perceiving any mention of Gideon as "Ortus" instead, she spends most of the book believing that the Saint of Duty's name is Ortus the First, which is one more thing that contributes to everyone else on the Mithraeum thinking she's insane.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Invoked; Ianthe admires Augustine's cigarette habit and intends to cultivate one herself, because she loves the Conspicuous Consumption of smoking on a space station. (It helps that they're Lyctors and it can't actually hurt them.) He himself picked it up from Pyrrha Dve in an attempt to impress her, and her necro, the Saint of Duty, got it from her as well.
  • Spoiler Cover: The cover indirectly spoils Gideon's death, as Harrow is pictured with Gideon's Supernatural Gold Eyes and her two-hander.
  • The Stinger:
    • The epilogue takes place six months after the Emperor's murder and leads directly into the set up for Nona the Ninth: Camilla and Palamedes have achieved some form of Lyctorhood, and they, alongside Pyrrha, are taking care of a mysterious woman in a busy city on a planet far outside the Empire, with nobody quite knowing who she is.
    • As Yet Unsent, a short story from Judith's perspective added for the paperback version, adds in a second as the final content in the book. Despite months having passed since her death, Gideon's corpse has failed to rot, and Blood of Eden has access to a ship with a stele and intends to force Judith to use it on an unknown mission.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: When it becomes clear that none of the Canaan House ghosts in Harrow's Dream Land can defeat the Sleeper thanks to the latter being able to bend the rules of the "bubble" to suit her will, Ortus and Abigail summon the ghost of Matthias Nonius, the greatest warrior in the history of the Ninth House who died 1,000 years ago, to fight her instead and protect Harrow. Thanks to the rules of the bubble changing to suit Ortus and Matthias instead of the Sleeper, he succeeds and "kills" her, which permanently exorcises her from her Soul Jar (Gideon's sword).
  • Switching P.O.V.: Most of the book is from Harrow's point of view, just told in Multiple Narrative Modes (second- and third-person). However, we do see the perspective of other characters a few times:
    • The end of Act 4 (Epiparados) is a flashback to Harrow's and Ianthe's brain surgery on Harrow, but told from Ianthe's (third-person) viewpoint.
    • After Harrow is stabbed through the chest at the beginning of the book/end of Act 4, she's trapped in her Dream Land (with her memories now restored) for all of Act 5. All of the real-world chapters for the rest of the book are thus from the POV of Gideon, who was the Narrator All Along of the Second-Person Narration, but, until then, was just a mostly-passive presence observing the story from inside Harrow. Once Harrow's soul goes AWOL, Gideon's comes to the forefront, and the narration switches to first-person to signify that she's actively controlling Harrow's body now. The chapters alternate between Gideon's and Harrow's POVs in the real world and Dream Land respectively.
    • As Yet Unsent is from the POV of Judith Deuteros (first-person), showing her time in captivity with Camilla Hect and Coronabeth Tridentarius after they were taken by the Blood of Eden.
  • Take a Third Option: Near the end, Harrow believes that her only choices are for her soul to return to her body from the Dream Land—which she fears will fully absorb Gideon's soul now that she's remembered her and kill her for real—or abandon her body and enter the River with the other ghosts, risking madness and basically dying herself. She nearly chooses the former after Abigail and Magnus convince her that this is what Gideon would want and the latter option is more dangerous (both of which are completely true); however, Dulcie then reveals to her that her body is active in the real world, and Harrow realizes that Gideon is indeed still alive and in control, so she instead enters the River long enough to find a different "bubble", one of the Locked Tomb (which may or may not have been created by Gideon), and falls asleep in it, essentially making her own soul "dormant" but still alive.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Harrow attempts to kill Gideon the First by putting bits of bone marrow in his soup, which she can then use her powers to explode.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Augustine and Mercymorn have not been on speaking terms for over a hundred years, and Mercymorn especially is not fond of the new "infant" Lyctors Ianthe and Harrowhark, who themselves get along hardly better, but they all pull together in the face of the Resurrection Beast. Augustine and Mercymorn have also been conspiring against the Emperor for ages while hating each other... less, but still hating each other, while Ianthe helped Harrow do brain surgery on herself to write over memories of Gideon.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality: Harrow's Dream Land runs on rules applied by whoever's currently dominant within it.
    • When the ghosts try to exorcise the Sleeper, they fail because she is firmly in control. She's able to absorb and negate damage to such a degree that the combined efforts of Protesilaus, Marta, Magnus, Harrow, and Dulcie do no lasting damage to her, while she can break through any and all of their defenses like they're made of tissue paper.
    • When Ortus takes control and summons Matthias Nonius to fight the Sleeper, it plays out exactly like a duel would in The Noniad, with both combatants speaking in verse, fighting alone for an extended period of time, and taking only cosmetic injuries until one of them is conclusively defeated. The Sleeper's guns even stop working because there are none in The Noniad. Ortus warns Harrow about trying to join the fight, because he's worried it might break the narrative and give the Sleeper total control again.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: How Augustine, Mercymorn, Pyrrha, and to a lesser extent Gideon Nav feel about The Reveal that John lied to his Lyctors all along by telling them that the only way the original eight necromancers could achieve immortality was by killing their cavaliers to consume their souls, when in fact there was another method to do so that would not have required them to die (which he not only knew about all along, but used himself, together with Alecto), thus making the cavs' deaths and the 10,000 years the Lyctors have spent mourning them into an utterly Senseless Sacrifice. Mercy and Augustine both separately attempt to kill John for this, and Pyrrha turns against and abandons him as well.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Subverted. Harrow and Ianthe decidedly do not think so when Mercy and Augustine start one with the Emperor and are utterly grossed out by it, and when the two elder Lyctors are alone together afterwards, they're shown arguing bitterly about it, with Mercy outright calling it a farce. It helps that they were only doing it in the first place as a favor to their younger "sisters" to distract the Emperor. It's also revealed that they did something similar about 19-20 years ago, likewise with an agenda: to steal some of the Emperor's semen to conceive his child.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Subverted. Harrow states very early on to Ortus that she's insane, so it seems like her perspective throughout the book is this; she erased her memories of Gideon and replaced them with Fake Memories, sees things written on paper that are different from what other characters see, hallucinates the Body's presence with her frequently, and seems to hallucinate other things as well. But by the end, we see that Harrow was never crazy at all, and all of her confusing experiences that she was chalking up to her madness are the results of either her improper self-lobotomy, the fact that she's being literally haunted by two separate parties, or plain ol' Gaslighting from other characters.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Due to Harrow's Trauma-Induced Amnesia and the Fake Memories that come with it, even she can't trust that what she experiences is actually what's real. Subverted, though, because in the end, all of it was real.
  • Wham Line: Several, but the biggest ones are probably:
    • During the final moments of visiting Palamedes inside his "Bubble", he gets a look of awestruck shock and then smiles, which just confuses Harrow. The first-person narration provides an answer.
      But you were always too quick to mourn your own ignorance. You never could have guessed that he had seen me.
    • In As Yet Unsent, describing the first months of Judith, Camilla, and Corona's capture by Blood of Eden.
      "The corpse has still failed to rot. The princess says they are leaving it outside in significantly fluctuating temperatures, under observation, and it still fails to rot."
    • In the audiobook, during both the reveal that the second person narrator is Gideon Nav, and the reveal that Gideon the First is gone and his cavalier Pyrrha Dve is now controlling his body, narrator Moira Quirk switches characters mid-sentence.
  • What You Are in the Dark: After the Saint of Duty's numerous attempts to kill Harrow, she plans to assassinate him, with indirect help from Ianthe, Augustine, and Mercymorn...only to find him trapped in the incinerator and about to be murdered by the possessed corpse of Cytherea. Harrow could easily flee the scene and let him die, achieving the end result she'd wanted without the Emperor ever knowing she had any involvement, but she chooses to save his life instead. She promptly gets some positive Laser-Guided Karma for this, as Pyrrha tells her how to properly make wards that will prevent future murder attempts.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: While just invoked at the end of Gideon the Ninth, with both Gideon's ghost/hallucination and Harrow saying "We can't go home again," the Emperor reveals early on that Harrow never had a choice in the first place, as Lyctors inevitably attract Resurrection Beasts that can kill planets.
  • You Will Be Spared: The Sleeper offers to let the ghosts of Harrow's Dream Land leave and return to the River (their afterlife) peacefully if they surrender Harrow, whom she intends to kill; if they refuse, she'll "kill" all of the ghosts there and render them Deader than Dead. Harrow does consider giving herself up when defeating the Sleeper appears to be hopeless, but Ortus and Abigail directly refuse (and the others follow suit) and Summon Bigger Fish.