“hunch” had a meaning related to a push or thrust (source), centuries ago. a hunchback has a spine thrusting up. a hunch is never certain, rather a general feeling towards a possible future.
“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”
— Faxe to Genry, Chapter 5, The Left Hand of Darkness
uncertainty is a joy, a surprise. also a terror, a discomfort, a danger. have the foretellers “domesticated”, harnessed intuition, hunch? nine souls needed to grab it, direct it (not quite a minion). it takes considerable effort and time to reach the Weaver and crew, they are not central to Karhide society. they seem to be at the margin, looming but not central. are their private talismans and home altars related to fortelling? Genry hasn’t observed this, or told us. do the Karhidians tell their kids “just wait until i send you to the foretellers! you’ll see!”?
foretelling is expensive, and tricky to approach: most questions aren’t worth asking, Meredith reminds me in her response. and what will Genry do with this experience? now that he has his answer, that the outcome of his work here will more or less be a success in that the Ekumen will connect with Karhide within five years, what will Genry do? why doesn’t he decide he’s done, wrap up, go home? i don’t think this is the last time we’ll hang out with the foretellers and their thirteen-thousand-year-old tradition.