(urth) more Idnn

Chris rasputin_ at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 26 12:01:01 PDT 2005

David said:
> >This seems fairly absurd to me. Beel wanted her to be queen, and she did
> >feel a strong sense of duty to her father. But every indication was that 
> >was frightened of what was going to happen, and was really hoping for a 
> >to avoid it. A significant portion of The Knight makes no sense at all if
> >you assume she "cared only about becoming queen".
>She was frightened and hesitant before the fact, but once she saw the
>wealth and power that came with the position, she seemed to become

Well it seems like you have already backtracked from your original position 
that all she ever wanted from the start was to become queen. But even so, it 
seems like you are judging your entire assessment of Idnn based on her 
embrace of the role *after it was thrust upon her* and downplaying as much 
as possible everything that happened before that.

Idnn's embrace of the queenly role is certainly jarring. On the other hand 
bear in mind that she is not exactly unfamiliar with what is expected of her 
in that role - she was a friend of Arnthor's queen. And she was placed in a 
situation in which failure to live up to expectations would likely result in 
the messy demise of everyone who came with her to Utgard. Now it's true that 
by our standards, we would naturally drop the royal role and adopt a more 
casual style among friends. But let's be clear that, like the world of 
knights, the world of kings and queens is less immediately accessible that 
we unreflectively assume. We think we are as familiar with Idnn as with the 
girl next door, and this is a rather jarring reminder that her background, 
ideals, and perception of her own duty are quite different.

>Couldn't they exercise their autonomy by living a good life in their own
>land, instead of joining the futile war in the south?

And why do women need to vote, or go out in the workplace anyway? Couldn't 
they exercise their autonomy by living a good life in their own house, 
instead of joining the futile ratrace of the modern world?

> >What *did* Garvaon die for, again?
>Partly to expiate his guilt over killing Gilling without orders, but
>I think mostly out of petulance because Idnn chose Svon over him.

The key concept that you leave out is that of honor, and I don't think 
you're going to get a good impression of what's going on in the terms you've 

But in general, you portray Garvaon is a fairly contemptible little worm - a 
petulant, murderous child. Is that really how you think of him? And if so 
then why did you lament that he "died for nothing"?

> >But in general, what do knights die for?
>To impress the Valfather, in hope of a job promotion to Knight of Skai.

I'm not sure how you come to this belief. Most knights seem only vaguely 
aware of how things stand in Skai, and only the best of them seem 
particularly devout. Able also routinely has to explain the valkyrie to his 
listeners, they appear not to be a matter of common knowledge.

When Ravd explains that a knight doesn't fight for the reasons Berthold did, 
do you really think he'd follow that up with a "No, what knights really 
fight for is a job promotion"? To be honest if I had gotten the same 
impression you did about what was going on, I probably wouldn't have 
bothered to finish these books.

> >than Ravd or Garvaon or Able. And also that we know a little less about 
> >knightly ideal than we unreflectively assume we do.
>I certainly agree with this.  However, we don't know what ideal a resident
>of Skai would need to follow in order to ascend to Kleos.  I think Able is
>wondering about that while he is sulking in the dungeon.

I find the portion of the story with Able in the dungeon to be more than a 
little disconcerting. It seems like he regresses, badly, during this period. 
Able, from the beginning, has a rabid hatred of jailers. And it seems like 
even after coming back from Skai, he considers jailers to be outright 
subhuman, for lack of a better word. But if this is saying something about 
the prison dynamic, I can't quite connect it fully with the rest of the 
story. It seems a bit shallow to suggest the jailer as the antithesis of the 

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