Homeward Bounders (spoilers)

Nat Case ncase at hedbergmaps.com
Wed Jun 26 18:53:22 EDT 2002

Thanks, Melissa. Beautifully exposited.

At 4:25 PM -0600 6/26/02, Melissa Proffitt wrote:
>On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 08:05:40 +1000, Kathryn Andersen wrote:
>>On Wed, Jun 26, 2002 at 11:33:33AM -0500, Nat Case wrote:
>>>  >On Wed, Jun 26, 2002 at 01:18:35PM +1000, Kathleen Jennings wrote:
>>>  >> Correction - Homeward Bounders, not Dogsbody. I'm not thinking straight.
>>>  >
>>>  >That one is, indeed, darker than it might first appear.  Fascinatingly
>>>  >paradoxical and angsty -- but can someone *please* explain the ending to
>>>  >me?  I don't understand the rationale for what Jamie decided to do...
>>>  >(and reading it multiple times hasn't helped...)  8-(
>>No, what I can't figure out is, really, why there had to *be* somebody
>>who considered the "bounds" to be home, to walk the bounds at all, and
>>why would doing this keep the worlds safe from the Game-playing demons?
>>It isn't that Jamie doesn't think he could find a new home, it's that he
>>feels it's his duty to *never* stay somewhere long enough to think of it
>>as his home.  Otherwise he could have made a new home with any of his
>>friends who offered; he *was* tempted to, but felt that he shouldn't.
>This was the second most confusing ending for me, after _Fire and Hemlock_.
>Here's how I understand the thing to work:
>Jamie has a conversation with Prometheus at the end, and Prometheus explains
>a lot of things to him about THEM and how the worlds work.  What Prometheus
>tells Jamie is that in the beginning, all the different worlds were their
>own Real Places.  Prometheus learned that a place is less real if seen from
>outside, or if remembered, and that it becomes *more* real if a person
>settles in it and calls it Home.  He realized that reality could be removed
>if there were someone to whom all worlds were Home, if that person never
>went to any of them.  That's why THEY chained him up.  Then they had to
>create the Homeward Bounders because the worlds kept splitting, there were
>new worlds Prometheus had never known, and those new worlds were becoming
>dangerously real (which threatened the reality of THEIR own Home, leeching
>as it was off the reality of the others).
>One of the rules said that there could be no more Homeward Bounders than
>there were of THEM.  Jamie was the one kicked out when that number was
>threatened, but he chose to go back and walk the Bounds anyway.  This made
>him Real, and a threat to their game--because his reality would drain the
>reality out of THEIR Real Place.  So he ended up being the only one who
>could keep THEM out.
>This is the complicated part.  As long as THEY existed, they had a Real
>Place and all the other worlds were unreal.  But when they were kicked out,
>the Real Place started to disappear and the reality it had borrowed from
>everywhere else could return.  So at the end of the book, THEY had lost
>power and all the worlds were Real again (and could be Home to all the
>Homeward Bounders who had been trying to get back to them).  In order to
>keep THEM from returning, there had to be a new anchor--someone who kept
>moving and didn't think of any place as Home.  The opposite of Prometheus,
>the first anchor.  Jamie.
>I think the reason it's confusing--the reason I was confused anyway--is that
>Prometheus's explanation doesn't seem to have anything to do with the plot,
>just with tying up loose ends.  But you have to look at both to see that if
>Prometheus acts as one kind of anchor, Jamie, who does exactly the opposite
>things, acts as the opposite kind of anchor.  It's complicated and terribly
>sad.  I have to say that that last line still brings tears to my eyes, every
>time I read it.
>Melissa Proffitt
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