Gathering Blue contains three kinds of irony: verbal, dramatic, and situational. Verbal irony occurs when words mean the opposite of what their literal meaning suggests. Dramatic irony is when readers, or other characters, know something that a certain character does not. Situation irony is when events turn out to be the opposite of what was expected.
An example of verbal irony occurs when Kira, accompanied by Matt, follows Jamison to her room in the Council Edifice. Matt asks with concern whether Kira is a captive, and Jamison replies, "No, she's not a captive. . . . Why would you think that?" Later in the book, Kira comes to realize that, although her door is unlocked, she is not really free. Jamison's words turn out to be ironic.
One example of dramatic irony revolves around Annabella. Kira mentions to Jamison that Annabella told her "there be no beasts." Jamison replies that it's dangerous to talk that way. Shortly after, Kira learns that Annabella has died. Readers put two and two together that the guardians have had Annabella killed for contradicting the lie about beasts that the guardians use to keep people from leaving the village. But Kira never makes that connection, so readers know something Kira doesn't know.
An important use of situational irony appears near the end of the book when Kira's father arrives in the village. Kira wants her father to stay, and assures him that Jamison will find a place for him. Kira's father stiffens upon hearing Jamison's name. He says, "Your defender, Jamison? . . . Yes, he tried to find a place for me before. Jamison is the one who tried to kill me." It's ironic that Jamison should be Kira's defender and mentor when he was the one who had attacked her father and left him for dead, resulting in her growing up without a father and facing much hardship in her life.
Lowry uses verbal, dramatic, and situational irony effectively in Gathering Blue.