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?
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