philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
[personal profile] philomytha posting in [community profile] the_folly
I have lots and lots of thoughts on the ending of Broken Homes.

What has Lesley done? Why has she done it? How long has it been going on? These are the questions bugging me right now.

What we know: Lesley apparently shot Peter with a tazer to allow the Faceless Man to escape, then made the Faceless Man stop when he tried to give Peter a good kicking on the grounds that it wasn't part of the deal. After that nobody hears anything about her for at least two weeks. And that's the end of the book.

There's a little bit of deliberate ambiguity about the scene. Peter never sees Lesley, and it says he 'decided afterwards' that the voice he heard was hers. The tazer is definitely hers, and she definitely doesn't show up five minutes later with an explanation, but there's a tiny window of possibility that it wasn't Lesley. Given that she disappears afterwards, it seems pretty unlikely to me, though. There are the possibilities of mind control and so forth (which we know from the planning officer's suicide that the Faceless Man is very good at), but I think the way Lesley negotiates with the Faceless Man makes them unlikely. Besides, Aaronovitch has done Lesley being mind-controlled already, and it seems like having the ability to use magic makes you resistant to glamours.

So there's the whole double agent possibility. Peter dismisses it, and if he knows about it Nightingale is doing a pretty good impression of a man who doesn't - though keeping secrets is something he's rather good at. If he is running Lesley separately, I don't imagine Peter will be very happy with either of them for keeping it from him. If there's some other person organising this above Nightingale's head (Lady Ty?) well, that would be interesting. Or Lesley could be doing the whole thing on her own recognisance. I think this is a major possibility. One thing we're told again and again is what a good solid copper Lesley is. I'm not prepared to give up on her yet, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's trying to play for a new face AND the downfall of the Faceless Man. But it's going to be pretty hard for her to justify what she does to achieve this.

Peter thinks it's fairly simple. The bargain is, Lesley helps the Faceless Man in return for a new face. Somehow the FM has convinced her that he can do it, that he will keep his half of the bargain, and that what she has to do for it is acceptable. I imagine the fact that Skygarden Tower was evacuated before it was blown is Lesley's influence (and wouldn't the deaths of all the people in it have added significantly to the amount of magic the FM could have collected, had his plan succeeded? so he's making a sacrifice here) and there's also the fact that she won't let the FM beat up Peter. I get the impression she may not have been so protective of Nightingale--the FM expected Nightingale to confront him on the tower, not Peter, and I don't know that Lesley expected the FM to lose that confrontation, since she clearly hasn't got her face yet. But If Peter had died in the explosion, I wonder whether that would have changed Lesley's attitude.

And then there's the question of how long this has been going on. When did Lesley and the FM start making contact? When did he offer her her face back? When did he prove he could do it? When did she accept? What has she told him or done for him so far? How serious is this breach in the Folly? I mean, is it possible that he groomed her right from the start, that he taught her to do her first spell so that Peter would bring her into the Folly? He's obviously spent some time working on the woman whose face he shoots off--and is she the only experimental subject or are there dozens of other victims concealed somewhere, and where are they? And while I'm on that subject, why is Lesley willing to accept the murders of other people to restore her face? I mean, I don't underestimate the strength of her motivation, but killing innocent people to get a cure for her is a bit of a stretch even under these circumstances. And Lesley has to know, given that she's investigating the death--plus there's the conviction of an apparently innocent man who's been mind-controlled for murder. Does Lesley think that the presence of magic has screwed up the criminal justice system so badly that there's no point caring about these things any more? So there's that whole issue. It's clear Lesley is working for the FM by the time we get to the 'call your boss' moment with Varvara--and it puts everything she says and does afterwards into an interesting relief, because she never gives any other clue that she's betraying them until the moment she shoots Peter. In other words, she's really bloody good at this. From the FM's point of view, she is a fantastic double agent for him.

I do wonder about that time when Lesley was talking to Albert Gently-whatsisname, Faceless Man Mark One, and Peter goes out, and when he goes back Lesley has her mask off and is talking earnestly to him. Could this have been the moment FM v2 got the idea of how to turn her? Did Varvara tell him the whole story, or were FMv1 and v2 working together all along up till the point when v1 was killed to shut him up? Though I suppose Varvara doesn't know about Lesley, given that she's happy to shoot her later on.

The last quesion is, why does the FM want her in the first place? What does the FM want? Is he a common criminal or a Moriarty or a James Bond villain? (I'll note in passing that Nightingale, to my eye, is a retired magical James Bond-type figure; clearly he used to wander around the world doing 'jobs' for the Foreign and Colonial Office, which he doesn't talk about now). Anyhow, does the FM want to control the entire magical world in London? What was he planning to do with all the magic he wanted to extract from Skygarden Tower? Is he out for world domination? Getting really rich? Rationalising the world so that magical people are in charge? Modernising things somehow, certainly: he talks about what an anachronism Nightingale is, and in a lot of ways he is the new world, and Nightingale and Peter the old, and I bet he would have no trouble striking a deal with Lady Ty. Is he just using Lesley so that he can keep one hop ahead of the police while he assesses how to make himself more rich/powerful, or is he using her as a full-on attack on the Folly and everything it stands for?

In short, I have lots of questions and no answers until the next book comes out. Anyone want to join me in speculating?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-14 09:02 pm (UTC)
sevenall: (angler fish)
From: [personal profile] sevenall
I'm not prepared to give up on Lesley either.

I would hope that her motivations go beyond restoring her face. It might be an interesting plot twist or a trope turned inside out, but I would find it a letdown if this complex and resilient character threw away all her values for a promise built on the death of innocents.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-09-15 09:01 pm (UTC)
sevenall: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sevenall
I find it really difficult to make predictions, given that Aaronovitch is a complex and inventive writer enough that one cannot really say "oh, but Lesley was already brain-washed once, that won't happen twice" or "she'd never truly betray her mates for getting her face restored". He might do it and make us like it, in the process. However, I do think that Peter is not the most reliable narrator when it comes to Lesley. Too much emotional involvement, too much of seeing what he wanted to see.It says something about Peter (and he's admitted to being shallow before) that his immediate conclusion is that Lesley went with the Faceless Man to fix her face.

The scene when she left is actually a bit more ambiguous than it seems. Did Lesley save Peter's life? Probably. Did she save it by tasering him as well as after when she stopped the Faceless Man from kicking him senseless? Don't know, because Peter does not know. If she had not tasered him, what would have happened? Two dead apprentices?

I hold out some hope that Lesley and Nightingale planned something together, as there was certainly time enough for that.

But I'm also wondering if Nightingale might have set her up to betray him. If she passed, she'd have proved her loyalty. If she fell for the Faceless Man's promises, Nightingale would control exactly what information she went in with.

The Faceless Man may also be a bit more clever than Peter thinks. What better way to ensure that Lesley cannot go back, than making it seem as if she's been aware of or an accomplice to murder?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-17 11:19 pm (UTC)
spatz: nighttime lightning above skyscrapers (lightning city)
From: [personal profile] spatz
Lesley apparently shot Peter with a tazer to allow the Faceless Man to escape, then made the Faceless Man stop when he tried to give Peter a good kicking

Really? I thought she stopped the FM from *killing* him. After all, he'd just told Peter "I'd be extremely stupid to let you live" on the roof.

I'm also really hoping that Leslie is playing double agent, and the idea that she's being run by Lady Ty or someone is tantalizing. Maybe not Lady Ty, specifically -- but now I'm thinking of that scene at the Goblin Fair, when the boy says "oh, you're that one" to Leslie and she asks Peter what he meant by that. I remember thinking at the time that her confusion was odd, because I assumed the kid meant her face, and surely she was familiar with that reaction. But then later, when she's talking about how magical people don't really react to that -- maybe the kid knew something? Especially since he didn't react with horror, like the girls outside after their fight with Varvara, but recognition. Hmmmm. It's a stretch, but we don't know much about the fae so far, aside from the rivers. Plenty of blank slate and potential intrigue for Aaronovitch to play with :)

Now that I'm re-reading that post-rooftop scene, I wonder if perhaps Lesley didn't intend to go as far as she ends up going. "I believe this is the moment of decision" had a certain tone of challenge, like maybe she hadn't committed before that? Or had been hoping to play both sides to the middle?

Argh, this is frustrating! Anything that feels like a motivation that makes sense with how Peter (and therefore how we) saw her also feels duplicitous beyond what she seemed capable of or inclined towards. *headdesk* What is going ON?

wouldn't the deaths of all the people in it have added significantly to the amount of magic the FM could have collected, had his plan succeeded? so he's making a sacrifice here

Possibly not -- Stromberg has those notes about death vestigia being 'not useful'. OTOH, if the FM didn't know about the Stadtkrone, he probably didn't know about that. And it does sounds like something Lesley would ask for.

What does the FM want? Is he a common criminal or a Moriarty or a James Bond villain?

*laughs* Good questions. He certainly has the showmanship of a Bond villain when the mood strikes him (and his stunt on the roof definitely violates a few items on the Evil Overlord list), but he's got Moriarty tendencies: a network of minions in unusual but useful positions, kills people discreetly unless there's a message to send,

Another thing that's positively tantalizing is the revelation from Varvara that Nightingale is not alone in aging backwards. Could the FM be the same FM from the '70s after all? I don't have my books with me, so I can't remember on what basis they ruled that unlikely. (also, there's now the possibility of someone from Nightingale's past showing up not-so-dead-after-all, which is ALWAYS a good time. *g*)

I'll note in passing that Nightingale, to my eye, is a retired magical James Bond-type figure; clearly he used to wander around the world doing 'jobs' for the Foreign and Colonial Office, which he doesn't talk about now

I have to say, the odds of him knowing Lord Peter Wimsey went up exponentially with that little nugget of backstory. ;)

I'm also wondering now if Etterberg involved a betrayal of some kind. It's a stretch, but something about the way Nightingale was so paranoid about the hidden door thing: that feels like personal experience to me.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-01-18 08:21 pm (UTC)
spatz: sundial with fall leaves (sundial)
From: [personal profile] spatz
Ah, right, that makes sense. Sorry, I think I read the books too fast. Oh, well, guess I get to re-read them now, right? *g*

Could he be one of Nightingale's relatives? Now that would be interesting. We don't actually _know_ that Nightingale never married/had children, either.

Oooh, yes. That could be fun. He did dodge awfully fast when Lesley asked about that. It seems unlikely he was married, though - and for more than just that I also agree with the fanon that he's gay. ;) (I think Peter's instincts are more accurate than he gives himself credit for. Just because Lesley's the best of their class doesn't mean he's bad by any means) But yeah, before the war Nightingale was constantly travelling or being a renaissance wizard, and then he was...well, I suspect he's had undiagnosed PTSD for well over half his lifetime, poor man. Carving thousands of names in a memorial wall isn't something a spouse generally lets you do alone. However, with six siblings I'd say the odds are good that some of his family survived.

I am sorely tempted to ship him with Varvara even so.

You mean you want to ship the older generation of stealth badasses in your fandom? I'm shocked, Philomytha. Simply shocked. That's so unlike you. :)

Oh, good point about Peter! Though WWI was such an unholy mess of political nonsense, he might understand. And it's not like magic could have made trench warfare less awful. Probably just the opposite.

Now I'm just imagining Miss Climpson and Molly stuck in the same room together. *dies laughing*


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