From Four Rings to Six

In class on Monday, Dr. McCoy mentioned that Jemisin uses elements from other works in her story building. Something that came to my attention was how she worked the element of  Mandarin’s rings in Marvel Comics into The Fifth Season as the rings that the Fulcrum uses to dictate a hierarchy. At the end of The Fifth Season, Syenite has six rings. Four of them, earned in the Fulcrum, are made of carnelian, white opal, gold, and onyx (Jemisin 61). Then Alabaster gave her two more made of jade and mother of pearl (Jemisin 414). As far as we’ve read there is no meaning behind each ring, so why does Jemisin specify what mineral/rock each ring is made of?Mandarin’s rings each have their own power. Some of these powers stood out to me as something the orogenes were able to use. The ring on Mandarin’s left pinky, “Ice Blast,” can freeze any air in it’s path. When orogenes use their orogeny, their torus creates a circle of ice around them. The ring on Mandarin’s left ring finger, “Mento-Infestor,” gives him the ability to mentally control someone. In The Fifth Season, Alabaster is able to control Syenite’s orogeny; “There. There. She can almost feel his elation. And then his power folds around her, and she stops seeing with anything like eyes” (Jemisin 164). There are others, such as “Impact Beam” and the “Matter Rearranger” that mimic exact abilities the orogenes possess; they’re able to create shockwaves and move the earth.

I believe that Jemisin adapted the use of Mandarin’s rings from each containing their own power, to each ring signifying a new skill that was learned. Alabaster has ten rings and is the most powerful orogene in the Fulcrum. He can do things no other orogene can do. Maybe every time an orogene learns a specific skill, they earn a specific ring. Or, maybe, Jemisin simply specifies what the rings are composed of because she wanted to add some flare to her work. Although, there always seems to be some bigger, intentional meaning behind her every word.

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