In Peadar Ó Guilín's the Call series, why did the author choose for the Sídhe to steal teenagers away to the Grey Land for exactly 3 minutes and 4 seconds? Was this length of time, or proportion of a day, chosen because of some kind of mythological resonance? Or is it just a random short length of time?

  • Are you interested in the in-universe reason (i.e. why this amount of time in the context of the story) or just the out-of-universe reason for the author's decision? – Rand al'Thor Apr 7 at 18:03
  • @Randal'Thor - OP's acceptance of my answer would seem to suggest that my initial reading (that they were interested in why the author chose the time out-of-universe) was accurate. – Valorum Apr 7 at 22:56
  • I (OP) was interested in what mythological or calculated percentage the author based the time on, yes. I wasn't sure how much the reasoning would be in-universe and how much out-of-universe, since his fantasy universe has such deep roots in myths and religious beliefs of ancient people. Turns out he just went with what felt right - not the most satisfying answer, but a definitive one, which means I can stop looking for time references in fairy tales to try to find the answer. Thank you for a very useful and quick sourced answer. – MikeC Apr 8 at 5:40

The author answered the out-of-universe reasoning in a series of tweets in 2016.

Q. How long is a day in the Grey Lands? Also why is it 3 mins and 4 seconds?

PÓG: Nobody really knows. It feels like a day, but is it? 3 minutes and 4 seconds was a decision I made because I wanted it to be long enough for tension to form, but not so long for tension to run out... Not a good answer, I know ;)

Per Twitter 1, 2 - Edited for readability

In universe, the amount of time was because the Sídhe don't use human time measurements.

Q. "3 minutes and 4 seconds" seems very precise. Was there a specific reason this amount of time was chosen by you?

PÓG: Not really. I didn't want it to be exactly three minutes, because, why would the Sídhe use our measurements of time? That's all

Per Twitter

  • Boiling an egg? – DannyMcG Jun 14 at 18:56
  • @DannyMcG - Sure, if you're really keen to have a runny undercooked egg – Valorum Jun 14 at 19:04

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