Left Hand of Darkness – Chapter 2


Reading Left Hand of Darkness with Aya Natalia… and this is just so much fun.

Chapter 2 is titled The Place Inside The Blizzard. It begins with an attribution that this is from a sound tape, this chapter is from a soundtape. So the anthropology continues. I imagine oral histories and collections of lost languages. The last chapter was a transcription from the ansible, perhaps “supposed” to be a log, but rendered as a story. This story is now an oral history.

It is an origin my it strikes me. It follows a character Gethen. Is this the Gethen who founds the the country Gethen in chapter 1 it is unclear.

We begin with an origin myth of two brothers like the biblical origin myth of cain and able. Except here our brothers are lovers, the twin, the gemini. I am also reading Coming Into Being and there is a curious discussion of the gemini of homosexual male love, of art and culture in opposition to procreation. However here, the twinning is disrupted by procreation. What is happening here? I wonder perhaps biology is different on this world.

Anyway we learn the laws of this culture, suicide is a greater crime than murder. Homosexuality and sex between brothers is condoned. From the creation of these rules a drama is created when the rules are transgressed. We learn the language of this place; kemmer Hearth, Domain. We have sacred numbers 3 days, two days, We also have a sort of somatic, embodied transformation. “He began to crawl forward on knees and elbows. He had no reason to do this.” We then have a mystical experience: the vision of Gethen’s dead brother who is all white (white walker like for you GOT fans). This is the journey. But it is not quite the hero’s journey. It somehow echos the journey of Christian Rosenkreutz. It is a journey of transformation. At the beginning Gethen has a name. Then he becomes nameless, he is exiled, he wanders and then finds a new home, takes a new name, and finally reclaims his old name and can finally die.

I remember from the wizard of earthsea something about names, so this is a LeGuinism.

Some phrases I love

The names are curious Ennoch, reminds me of Enoch (from the Bible and the first occultist), Erhenrang reminds me of the myth of Er that I wrote about yesterday, Gethen remends me of Geth which is the go version of ethereum.

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