Study Guide

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer Fate and Free Will

By Lish McBride

Fate and Free Will

Brid looked at him. "When I'm taoiseach, mistakes will get people hurt."

Brannoc let go of her shoulders and brushed her hair out of her face. "You aren't taoiseach yet. That wonderful responsibility still lies with me. Worry about that day when it comes." (6.48-49)

As a leader-in-training, Bridin knows that she's destined to someday hold the office of her father—and this isn't a responsibility she takes lightly. She clearly recognizes that power can be dangerous if it isn't exercised with the wellbeing of the rest of the group in mind. Douglas provides an pretty strong example of what can happen when power is exercised for selfish means.

"A binding is usually done to keep a person from, or from, causing harm." She frowned at the teacup in her hands. "I've never seen it used to harness like this. It's as if a part of you has been locked away." (9.127)

It's interesting that even though Tia and Nick both attempted to bind Sam's powers, there's still plenty of evidence that they're there. The fact that they can't be hidden completely demonstrates that necromancy really is something Sam's fated to be a part of.

"Nick, is it dominant? I mean, does Kevin…"

"You're worried about the baby?"

She didn't trust herself to speak. She nodded.

"Kevin never manifested," he said. "It's not like lycanthropy, where every kid gets it. But that doesn't mean he's not a carrier."

"So there's a chance?"

"Yes." (12.53-58)

The idea of necromancy being hereditary is one of this book's more interesting concepts. Forget about having the deck stacked against you when it comes to heart disease and cancer—your firstborn child could end up being a necromancer.

At first she saw nothing. Perhaps she'd done the spell wrong? But then she felt it, that whisper of arctic chill. The cold died for a second, replaced by the green smells of early spring, the taste of sunshine and growing things. But the cold came back a second later.

He would take after his uncle. (12.97-98)

Doing a bizarre spell isn't exactly the most comfortable way to foretell your child's future, but at least it seems to give concrete, reliable answers to a discomforted Tia. In terms of knowing your kid's destiny, being a witch probably comes with some useful territory.

"He's going to be in danger his whole life. Even if he was normal, you'd feel this way. Your baby's just going to have… more specific problems, that's all." (13.19)

It can't be comfortable for Tia to know that young Sam faces a life of dodging Douglas and hiding from his gift. But in a way, Nick's right. Don't all parents fear for what the future holds for their children?

"I was hoping his power would feel like a trickle. But it feels like a river. A big, icy river, and he's just a baby." He kissed Sam's knuckles. "No, you're right. He needs to be hidden, and now." (13.57)

Even as an infant, Sam's incredible powers of necromancy are more than evident and more than enough to give Nick and Tia pause. Clearly, he's an extraordinary child destined to grow up to have an extraordinary gift.

Nick pulled a safety pin out of his jeans and pricked his finger. He used the blood to draw a small symbol on the baby's forehead and another over his heart. "We try again," he whispered, and closed his eyes. (13.63)

You kind of have to feel badly for Sam during this flashback to his infancy. First his mom does a weird ritual with some herbs to determine whether he's a necromancer, and then he has to go through the blood ceremony of binding not once, but twice. He's only a baby and his life is already super complicated.

I'd learned a lot since yesterday, but I felt no closer to understanding what I needed to do. I'd run out of ideas. I couldn't join up with Douglas. Besides being morally sketchy, it was suicide. Running wasn't much of an option. He'd either find me and kill me, kill someone else if he couldn't find me, or do some as yet undiscovered, horrible third option. And even though I knew now why my powers were bound, that didn't change the fact that they were bound. (15.11)

After learning the truth about his past, Sam realizes that Douglas really is a formidable and dangerous adversary. No matter how much he wants to avoid the whole situation, he can't open a single door without running smack into him. It seems Sam is fated to have a confrontation with Douglas that will either kill him or allow him to prove his powers.

"I get all his stuff?" I said slowly. "Including his house?" The house I'd been trapped in for days. A chill went down my spine as I thought about it. I had no desire to set foot in it ever again.

"Yes." The lawyer handed me a pen. "And a temporary council seat until you can be voted in properly or until we can find a more suitable candidate." (30.83-84)

If Sam had any hopes of going to back to his regular life at Plumpy's after killing Douglas, they've just been shattered. Being a necromancer has always been such a total part of who he is that it's inescapable. Even if he has no personal desire to go back to Douglas's creepy house.

I needed to take the house on, if only to prove to myself that I was right—that this power could be used for good. I needed to accept what I was. What I am. (31.110)

It's significant that the book ends with Sam accepting his identity as a necromancer. No more running and hiding for him, and no more bound powers. He's clearly embraced it as his fate.

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