If you haven’t given the Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir a try yet, stop reading this right now and go read that instead. Seriously: go, you can thank me later. I also had not read it until now, and it’s easily the best series I’ve started since A Chorus of Dragons–and I loved that one so much I started a podcast about it. Also this article is going to contain spoilers for Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth so you probably won’t appreciate that.
While reading the first two Locked Tomb books I incessantly DM-screamed theories at my fellow reviewers and podcast co-hosts Christina and Josh.* (It’s our love language.)** We’ve decided to rank my predictions starting with how wrong I was going up to a few I absolutely nailed.
Seriously, here be major spoilers for both books.
Gideon the Ninth Theories:
- So Wrong: Gideon is Mattias Nonius reborn or cloned. I thought this one since there were a few comments and jokes at the beginning of the book about Gideon being Nonius come again. Plus she’s good at swords and arrived at the Ninth House in a tube.
- Mostly Wrong: Gideon and Harrow are going to fuck or murder each other before the book is over. My reasoning for this was everything about their relationship. Ultimately wrong due to a case of iron fence vs Gideon’s torso, but not entirely out of the picture?
- Pretty Much Nailed It: Dulcinea is sus. Dulcinea had more reason than anybody else to become a Lyctor since she was dying and she presumably didn’t want to do that. She also mentions at one point that her brain is perfectly healthy and working. Definitely seemed like somebody who could be pulling strings behind the scenes. This one more or less ended up being real, although it wasn’t actually Dulcinea, but Cytherea had very similar motivations.
Harrow the Ninth Theories:
- The Wrongest: The Body is the Resurrection Beast of the First House. Made some lore sense at the time but NOPE.
- So Wrong: There is some kind of time travel/alternate universe fuckery going on. This was born out of a few things, mostly that the Emperor makes a few references to how he wish he mastered time rather than death. And the alternate history of the events of Gideon the Ninth playing out in the alternate chapters. Turns out this was just good old fashioned magical brain surgery.
- Mostly Wrong: Harrow is with the BOE and is in deep cover, she will assassinate the Emperor. The whole book we have this countdown to the Emperor’s assassination and particularly once Harrow meets up with Camilla this seemed possible. Particularly because Judith is obviously being held captive and tries to warn of a plant in the Lyctors (before Harrow fuses her teeth together yikes). I was right about Judith being loyal to the Emperor and held captive, but not so much about Harrow being allied with the BOE.
- Almost There: Harrow has purposely removed Gideon from Ianthe and her memories because Gideon is connected to the BOE and she wants to protect her. This was on the way to being right, but Harrow did it for Harrow reasons and not so much political which tracks.
- Correct but a lowball: The narrator is Gideon. This seemed obvious since we knew she was somewhere in Harrow’s mind and there were occasional snarky comments about Harrow.
- Pretty Much Nailed It: The Body is the Emperor’s Cavalier. I actually had this theory before my Resurrection Beast theory and I should not have doubted myself! It made sense to me since we got pretty hammered with the necromancer/cavalier relationship early in the book and the Emperor notably didn’t have one.
- Fucking Nailed It: Gideon’s mom was part of the BOE. This one was reasonably low hanging fruit since they kept mentioning that the BOE showed up around 20 years ago. But I felt very good for getting it early.
Predictions for Nona the Ninth:
- I feel like a good chunk of this is going to be Gideon and Harrow getting their groove back. And by groove I mean bodies. We learn from Judith’s journals at the end of Harrow that Gideon’s body doesn’t decompose, presumably due to her Imperial parentage? And Harrow’s body appears to have been recovered by…someone? So I imagine the central mystery of this book is going to be “Is Nona Harrow or Gideon or both?” and that separating out the combined souls is going to be an issue.
- So who is Nona? Seems like her caretakers don’t know and are trying to figure it out as well. The prerelease summary of Nona tells us that she is living with Pyrrha, Palamedes and Camilla. Pyrrha was most recently with Gideon-in-Harrow so I’m guessing Nona is at least Harrow’s body? Also because at the beginning of Harrow we learn that Nona is also a title for the Reverend Mother of the Locked Tomb.
Knowing Tamsyn Muir this is all going to go in some direction I could never anticipate and also will immensely enjoy. I can’t wait for Nona the Ninth, which comes out on September 13th; be sure that we will have more coverage of it.