Study Guide

Blood Red Road Fate and Free Will

By Moira Young

Fate and Free Will

Chapter 1

Ain't you figgered it out yet? It's all in his head. Made up. There ain't nuthin written in the stars. There ain't no great plan. (1.49)

Although Saba doesn't know how to feel about Pa's mystical vibrations, Lugh knows exactly what he thinks about it—it's a bunch of hogwash. This leads to a great deal of tension between Lugh and his dad, and Lugh even considers leaving home.

Jest like the land, Pa's gittin worse an his eyes look more'n more to the sky instead of what's here in front of him. (1.10)

Saba's dad has always been obsessed with "reading the stars," but everything went into overdrive when the family started struggling. These days, he spends so much time thinking about the future that he hardly pays attention to the present.

The door creaks open. Pa's head appears.

Are they here? he says. Have they come?

You seen this comin. You read it in the stars. (1.239-241)

This is a big moment, because Pa seems to already know that there will be men coming to kidnap Lugh. He even seems to predict his own death. That's pretty trippy, and it also seems to prove that his fortune-telling abilities are authentic, right?

Chapter 2

If Pa couldn't read the stars, if the stars ain't got nuthin to say, how did he know all that?

How did he know? (2.123)

This is the one thing Saba can't explain: how did Pa know that there would be men coming for Lugh? No matter how much her rational mind wants to toss it aside as nonsense, she just can't shake this eerily accurate prediction.

Or maybe the truth is this. [...] An all his spells and chants was jest him bein so desperate fer rain that he'd try any old thing, no matter how crazy. (2.109)

After Lugh's kidnapping, Saba struggles to make sense of this eminently confusing series of events. On the one hand, she empathizes with Lugh's rational disposition, believing that there's no way Pa could have actually predicted what happened. But still...he did, didn't he?

Chapter 6

Every six years, on midsummer's eve, they sacrifice a boy. They kill him. An that boy cain't jest be any boy. He's gotta be eighteen year old an born at midwinter. (6.134)

It seems like Pa isn't the only person who's obsessed with the concept of fate, after all. Every year, the King enacts a bizarre sacrificial ritual which he claims rejuvenates him, thereby rejuvenating his subjects. It's all a bunch of chaaled out nonsense, of course, but we wonder if these two prophecies are in any way connected...

It'll happen if it's meant to happen, he says. It's all written in the stars. It's all fate. (6.730)

Oh, boy. Who would have guessed that Saba's new boyfriend would be obsessed with fate, too? Can't a girl get a break? Or at least a fortuneteller who's more direct about his predictions?

Chapter 8

Then I ended up in Hopetown [...] an suddenly there's a chance an do somethin decent in my life [...] It's fate, like I said. (8.819)

Once again, Jack brings up fate when he talks to Saba. That can't be coincidental, right? We're not going to say that their relationship was "written in the stars" or anything, but there's definitely something deeper going on.

Chapter 9

I had a dream, I says. The night before the fire.

You dreamed where to find me? (9.1013-1014)

With all this talk about stars, we almost forget to mention that Saba herself seems to be able to predict the future in her dreams. Trippy, right? Looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

That's where Willem an me fell out, she says. [...] He looked to the sky for answers. I look at what's in front of me, what's around me, what's inside. (3.106)

Mercy seems to disagree with Pa's fate-weaving ways. In addition, she gives us a little bit of backstory about how he got into it in the first place, showing it to be a relatively recent obsession in his life. What do you think led him to getting so obsessed with such an esoteric topic?