(urth) Honor

James Wynn thewynns at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 30 18:17:21 PST 2005

>Chris said:
>The first obvious question is WAS Able a knight, regardless of whether the
>captain (or anyone else) recognized him as such? I think this is a
>contentious issue.

I think it is an objective certitude that Able was a knight. While people
thought he was crazy when he told them that Disiri, the Queen of the Moss
Elves, had knighted him, no seemed to doubt he would certainly be a knight
*had it been true*. Granted, a knight of Aelfrice was properly lower than
the most menial slave in Mythgarthr, but no one in Mythgarthr seems to
realized that.

Another point: Able first arrived in Mythgarthr from Aelfrice (it is so
hinted) after having died. If we assume he achieved the honor of rising to
Mythgarthr as some kind of "sacrifice" by the Aelfs...achieving the honor in
a comparative manner in which he got to Skai, then perhaps he really *was* a
knight all along.

So why does Able sometimes talk as though knighthood is "something to be
grasped"? Presumably, because although he knows he is a knight
intellectually, he doesn't *feel* that he is one on the inside...he feels
the need to earn it..to *make* it true. So he must do what is necessary on
*his* part to make it "real".
Isn't this like the Catholic concept of *justifying* the grace of God?

>But... the other passage you quoted [that he would make Pouk clean
>his vomit and kill him if he didn't] really calls into question whether
>that's what he really believed

This struck me as an outburst made by an immature person to an "employee"
who he knows be a truely dependable friend. He's lashing out because he's
sick and embarrassed and he knows he can lash out like that because the
employee is a loyal friend. It's not right, but I know people who never grow
out of that behavior.

Speaking of which, Pouk never seems to take Able's words to heart. He
continuously affirms that he is willing to work for Able for nothing. In
fact, he only takes payment (when Able has it) as a token of his employment.

It is interesting that you compare TWK to the Latro books. Pouk seems to see
something in Able that Able does not. That reminds me of the gods' reaction
to Latro.

>There seems to be almost no indication that Able thinks that gaolers,
>as a species of sorts, are fit to live at all.

Well, in the case of the gaoler in question, he intended to starve Able to
death in prison. I didn't get the idea Able was the first person he had
treated accordingly. Does mean he deserved death? I don't know. But Able
didn't kill him. Did the gaoler deserve to have Able lift a finger to save
his life?
Able seems to have treated his replacements better.
However, I recall a former convict saying the following about prison guards:
"Prison guards are the lowest form of life. The convicts are in prison
against their will. Prison guards are the only people in prison who chose to
be in prison. They are the only people on earth who *would* choose to be in

I don't know if Wolfe has heard the same thing. But I think the point of the
prison was that Able, by virtue of who he was, *naturally* became the lord
and master of where they put him. Put him in Hel and he would end up running
the place.


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