The Blind Assassin Part 8, Chapters 1-5 Summary

Margaret Atwood

Part 8, Chapters 1-5 Summary

The unnamed man and woman meet again. The man has moved once more. He does not stay in one place for very long because he is afraid of being discovered. When the woman arrives at his new place, she tells him she has been thinking about the story of the blind assassin. She has some suggestions for his story.

The last time they had been together, the man had told her that the blind assassin and the sacrificial female he had rescued had been caught by the barbarians who were about to seize the city, Sakiel-Norn. The barbarians were taking the assassin and the woman to see the Servant of Rejoicing, their leader, who would determine the assassin’s fate.

The unnamed woman suggests that the man have the assassin tell the Servant of Rejoicing that he has a special message for him. Once the assassin gains a private audience with the leader, he should tell him he knows the secret code that will allow entrance into the city. One sentry should enter the city in this way and then string out a long rope along the city’s canal. Once this is done, the other soldiers can pull their way along the rope, thus entering the city underwater and undetected.

The unnamed man tells the unnamed woman that her idea is very clever. However, he also says that this information alone may not save the blind assassin. So the woman says the assassin should not convey the secret code until he and the woman have been escorted to the foot of some distant mountains and given provisions for their survival. In that way, they can run into obscurity after they give the ruler the code.

Although the unnamed man goes along with some of the woman’s ideas, he thinks she is too much a romantic. She wants to get rid of challenges too easily. He insists that a good story needs some terror. After all, life also holds terror and stories must be realistic, he says.

The next time the unnamed man and woman meet, he tells her he is leaving. He has been called to some location outside the country; he does not tell her where. The woman says that when he comes back, she will be willing to leave her husband. He asks why she does not leave her husband now. The woman’s reason is that she has no money of her own, no skills with which she could get a job, and no place to live; she does not want to live as the man does, in cheap rooms. The man encourages her to leave her husband because the thought of her being with him makes him ill. However, she insists that it would be better for her to wait until he returns. He eventually agrees.