China Miéville’s The Scar Chapter-By-Chapter: Ch. 5, Interludes

Tonight’s post will be just one chapter and the interludes that come before the start of Part Two, because it’s late, I’m tired, and chapter 6 is long and full of tons of ship names. As usual, click the link immediately below for the index and intro. WARNING: WHOLE-BOOK SPOILERS ARE ABOUND IN THESE POSTS!

Introduction & Index

Uther Doul by Ashley Wood

Uther Doul by Ashley Wood

Chapter 5

This is the first big action chapter, where the Terpsichoria is taken by Armada, and we meet Uther Doul. The picture accompanying this post is of Uther, painted by Ashley Wood for the cover of Dragon Magazine when they did a Bas-Lag themed issue. Looks very cool. I’m not sure why, but when I first read The Scar I pictured Uther to be older, like in his 50s. He’s even described as being in his 30s in this chapter. Oh well.

(I highly recommend hunting down that issue of Dragon, too. It’s number 352. It’s got a lot of awesome artwork and some maps of the continent Rohagi, as well as lots of semi-canonical information about the world.)

The first real interaction between Bellis and Silas illustrates how easily he can manipulate people. He confides basically nothing in Bellis, yet she is completely won over by his conspiratorial demeanour, and agrees to keep his secret.

As the Armadan spy scopes out the Terpsichoria, we hear mention of the Pirate Wars. I’d love to know more about this period of Bas-Lag history. Is it perhaps when Armada was formed? Or unrelated? Oh, what I would do for an encyclopedia of Bas-Lag…

Bellis runs back to the cupboard to watch the ensuing violence. I love that Bas-Lag pirates are all flamboyantly dressed (apart from the grey-clad Uther Doul) with pantaloons and so on. In a movie adaptation the silly clothes would jar with all the bloodshed. But that could work!

Then we see the Possible Sword for the first time, and the damage it can do. I’d forgotten that even the wounds shimmer between different states of probability. That’s freaky, and awesome. Uther takes command as the Terpsichoria is defeated. He’s described as having a soft, almost feminine voice, and it’s hard to imagine. All his lines seem to be growled by a Vin-Diesel-alike in my head. Then Myzovic gets killed. Gotta give the guy credit for refusing to look away.

Interlude I – Elsewhere

Grindylows do scary shit.

Interlude II – Bellis Coldwine

This is the part I don’t like. Granted, there’s probably no other way he could have introduced Armada, but the train-of-thought writing style seems forced, too unnatural for actual thought. “His Guardship” is mentioned. Is that Uther’s title?

Bellis thinks she holds Silas in her hands because she knows a secret about him. Kind of ironic, considering she’ll be manipulated by him for the next 400 pages or so. Anyway, that’s enough for now!


Uther’s submersible – Not sure of its name yet. Can’t remember if it has one. Black, more than a hundred feet long.


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