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The Left Hand of Darkness
by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Left Hand of Darkness Chapter 6 Summary
One Way Into Orgoreyn Don't be fooled by the "I" here. It's Estraven's "I", not Ai's "I." This is great, because we finally get to see some of the events from Estraven's perspective. Anyway. The cook wakes Estraven up and tells him a runner has come from the King's House. The runner gives Estraven a paper and then nails it to his door. Never a good way to start the day. Estraven packs his stuff and heads west, deciding he was "born to live in exile" anyway (6.5). Yeah, why not. Thankfully, the chef packs him some food to help him get by. He heads for a town called Kuseben. There, he meets his former kemmering, Ashe. Estraven tries to sneak by, because conversations with ex-boyfriends are always tricky. But Ashe follows him and tries to convince Estraven to let him come on exile too. Then Estraven brings up a broken oath, and things get a little heated. Awk-ward. Then Ashe tries to get him some money, but Estraven declines even that. Super awkward. Seems Estraven must bounce from the country by the sixth hour or else Tibe's men can legally have "justice done." We're guessing murder-type justice here. Estraven decides theft won't matter in the long run, since he's already a traitor, and promptly jacks a row boat. Rowing away from the port, he spies two figures on the pier. One of them has a sonic gun with which he promptly blasts Estraven. He's doesn't die, but the shot hurts something fierce. He rows as fast as he can toward Orgoreyn, his body going numb with each stroke. A patrol ship picks him up. Very unlucky. However, his time's not up yet, so the boat's officer can't legally kill him. Instead, he takes him to Shelt Port in Orgoreyn. So, some pretty lucky bad luck there. Estraven regains full consciousness in a Commensal Hospital. A physician checks in on him and is promptly followed by an inspector. Apparently, that's how they do their thing in Orgoreyn. The inspector asks him for his papers and how he plans to return to Karhide. Estraven laughs, saying he'll return in a coffin. Pretty dark sense of humor you have there, Estraven. The inspector fumes a little, until the doctor pulls him aside and talks to him. Estraven is then asked if he's here for permanent residence. Estraven works his way to Mishnory, his new home, by working as a landboat loader. It's probably just as fun as it sounds. He moves up in the world (we think?) when he gets a job working in the ice-house, living in a place called Fish Island. Sounds delicious. Eventually, a guy named Commensal Yegey shows up at Fish Island and takes Estraven into his service. Movin' on up again: Estraven is now Yegey's secretary. Are you starting to think Estraven's planned this whole thing out? Because it sure isn't sounding much like lonely exile, here. One day, Yegey calls Estraven to his study where Obsle, the Orgota Naval Trade Commission head, waits. Wow, that's a whole lot of alien words. (Well, not "Naval Trade Commission." We got that.) Obsle wants to know what Tibe has planned regarding the Sinoth Valley dispute. Estraven says Tibe wants to run Karhide like Orgoreyn. Why? War, of course. Obsle then brings up the Envoy, one Genly Ai, leading Estraven to believe Ai has asked permission to enter Orgoreyn. Estraven confirms that Ai is indeed an alien from another world, though he's not a threatening alien. You know, the "we come in peace" rather than the "we come with ray guns" variety of alien. Estraven tries to convince Obsle that Ai could really help out, maybe straighten out the whole Sinoth Valley dispute. Obsle seems on the fence about the whole situation and asks Estraven to tell him everything he knows. Looks like Ai's coming to Orgoreyn.
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