Different colors of steam? *Spoilers*

  • New to the board or trying to figure out how something works here? Check out the User Guide.
  • The message board is open 8:30am ET Tuesdays to 4pm ET Thursdays. Posts cannot be made outside of board hours.

    As always, the Board will be open to read and those who have those privileges can still send private messages and post to Profiles.
Mar 12, 2015
I don't have the book with me (it's back at the library), but was the difference in steam's color ever explained?

If I recall, Danny saw it as red, and the True Knot's steam was white. (Or was it the other way around?) I think there was some conversation in the book where he was mildly surprised at the difference.

Maybe it was from the way the Knot "extracted" their steam.


Well-Known Member
Sep 6, 2013
Heart of the South
My memory's not very good so I can't promise this is correct, but knowing what I know, and reading what I've read: I believe the white steam is what the True Knot took from those who shined. And Danny saw their steam (the True Knot's steam) as red, because they were not pure - but I could be making this all up - it just makes sense to me following the goodness of the shiners: Danny, Carrie, Charlie, in some other books, and the Crimson King in the DT. Someone with a better memory than me might be more helpful.

Welcome Aboard!
  • Like
Reactions: GNTLGNT

Walter Oobleck

keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going
Mar 6, 2013
Just past halfway into the story, Dan was surprised when Abra told him it was white...he'd seen it as red, first from Charlie, then from Eleanor at the Rivington House, Charlie and Eleanor, two oldies who passed and Dan was there to watch the passing and he saw the red, the gasp as an old nurse had called it. The white is special and that is what the Knot seeks, special kids.


Well-Known Member
Dec 13, 2016
I think, just my opinion, that dan saw the steam as red because it was poisoned by death and unhealthy. The steam the knot was taking was young and vibrant, charged by pain, and invigorating. Momo's steam was filled with cancer... and death....

Which is why it killed the knot so quickly.
If It Bleeds - New Collection Coming 4/21/2020 The Institute - Available Now The Outsider - Now Available in Trade Paperback! Flight or Fright - Now Available in Trade Paperback!