In Gathering Blue, many effects that at first seem to have one cause end up having a completely different cause. For example, the novel opens with Kira's mother's death after a "brief and unexpected sickness," leading readers to believe her death was unavoidable. Later, when Kira begins to piece together how the Council of Guardians is gathering young artists "for their own needs," she suspects her mother may have been poisoned by the guardians.
Likewise, Kira has always been told that her father was killed by beasts on a hunt. Her mother told her that, and the guardian Jamison says he saw it happen. In chapter 22, we learn that Jamison attacked Christopher so he (Jamison) could be appointed to the Council instead of Christopher.
It is believed that Jo's father stabbed himself through the heart after his wife died. Kira finds it hard to believe a man would commit suicide and leave a "tyke" behind. Later, Kira realizes that all three artists have become orphans. The cause of Jo's mother's death was probably poisoning from the guardians, and they probably murdered Jo's father when no one was there to see it—when he was watching over his wife's dead body at the Field.
The scars on Vandara's face and neck are initially said to have been caused by an attack from beasts. Vandara presents herself as a brave woman who lived through a harrowing attack from wild animals. Christopher eventually explains that the cause of Vandara's scars was slipping on wet rocks when her child grabbed her skirt.
Annabella's death is another example of an effect being attributed to a false cause. Jamison tells Kira that Annabella died in her sleep. Kira realizes it is odd that anyone would find Annabella so quickly since she lives alone in the woods. Readers can infer that Annabella was killed by the guardians—and probably Jamison specifically—for telling Kira that beasts did not exist. Jamison reveals "astonishment and anger" when Kira tells him of Annabella's remark. He then says, "It's dangerous for her to speak that way." He reminds Kira that he saw her father taken by beasts. Later, readers know that is untrue. Thus, readers may infer that Jamison was behind Annabella's death, but that Kira inadvertently caused it by telling Jamison what Annabella said about beasts.
Lowry maintains interest and suspense in the novel by planting doubts about the supposed causes of certain events. She then resolves those doubts at the end of the book, revealing the true causes of those effects.