No one else seems to be doing this... but... Theory Time!

So I’m not seeing very many independent threads, hopefully this is okay. I just wanted a spot where we can talk about our theories without it becoming attached to a particular chapter.

Here’s my wild theory:
We know that “Abroad” has technology, and probably humans. The “taint” of abroad is an ephemeral threat that nobody seems to understand, but that forces families to be separated from each other. I propose that Treehollow is some sort of scientific experiment. When a creature “goes abroad” they exit the experiment, and thus are “tainted”, aka, they can’t be allowed back in because they will somehow mess with the results. In order to keep everyone from exiting the experiment willy-nilly, they invented the story/stigma about the taint to scare everyone into staying put more or less out of free will. Tamberlane (OG name Kai?) was introduced as a variable in the experiment. The person who threw Tamberlane the rope has been observing from afar, and is probably not technically allowed to intervene (thus the secrecy, instead of just helping her out of the water immediately.)

Not a perfect theory, and I’m not super attatched to it tbh… but I thought it was interesting enough to share! Especially because it looks like we’re getting close to some big reveals.

Edit: For reference purposes, this is as of me reading page 318

3 Likes

Oh hey, I had just thought to look up if anyone had really speculated about the name Tamberlane and here’s a fairly recent speculation thread!

Tamerlane/Tamburlaine/Timur was a Genghis Khan-like figure, a conqueror of the steppes. Kit Marlowe wrote a play using the Tamburlaine spelling. Anyway, I assume that that’s where that comes from.

Weirdly enough, since I haven’t read Marlowe (except Faust) and am not into Central Asian history, I realized that from reading an old poem about how the humans are destroying the world and will die off and leave it to the insects:

the ant is the inheritor of tamerlane
and the scorpion succeeds the caesars

3 Likes

Ooh, how interesting! Is there another spelling of it that’s like Taberlaine or something? I feel like I have heard that before, perhaps in some sort of fantasy story that was referencing this. What a cool poem! Thanks for sharing!

1 Like

Interesting theory, and one I wouldn’t be shocked turns out to be true, but I have a feeling that tree hollow isn’t some experiment, but naturally existing as a village, not due to an experiment. Also, I feel you are partially correct on the taint, but instead of labeling people tainted to keep them from messing up the experiment, the tainted are labeled so they don’t “disrupt the natural order of society”, or something like Plato’s Cave allegory, but in this situation the tainted are the freed prisoner, while tree hollow and other places are the imprisoned.

1 Like

I like your spin on it, the philosophy angle is really interesting! I agree with you that in a lot of ways that would be more likely. If you’re correct, I’ll be very interested to see what the motivations of the person who Tamberlane/Kai the rope, if technically there isn’t any actual restraint on them besides the social taboos of Treehollow itself. My suspicion is that the “free people” in this particular story are a little bit more involved in the whole cave/shadows/prisoners part than in the original allegory, and that they have their own interests as well.

1 Like

Totally! I just used the cave allegory as the best comparison I could think of. If yours turns out right, it would be interesting to see why these experiments take place.

1 Like

Interesting questions all around! I can’t wait until we find some of the answers :3

1 Like