(urth) An Evil Guest: is

Gwern Branwen gwern0 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 15 13:22:59 PDT 2010

On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 5:02 PM, Roy C. Lackey <rclackey at stic.net> wrote:
> Gwern wrote:
>> As I re-read AEG with an eye to Margaret, I'm just not convinced that
>> Margaret is either a werewolf or a time-traveling Cassie.
> FWIW, I am largely in agreement with you, given that I raised many of the
> same objections. The only point I would quibble over is this one:
> [snip]
>> I think we may have over-played
>> her fall; Cassie hasn't fallen below her old self, she's fallen *back*
>> to her old self, just with bleached hair.
> I don't think Cassie reverted to quite her old self after her long ordeal on
> that island. It seems to be a rule of "magic" that a price must be paid for
> its use, and she is the one who paid it.

But this isn't really magic, and in magic payment is usually to
'outside' entities; the powers are like a loan. Cassie isn't borrowing
anything from anyone; the star power, as Gideon explains thoroughly,
was always in Cassie, she just didn't have access. If someone helps
you find a 5$ bill in your messy room, it might be *nice* of you to
give them 1$ or something, but there's no genuine price to pay. (What,
you have to give them 5$? That'd be silly.) Chase is involved, but
he's amply repaid by her assistance; the Manbats are involved, but
they seem to be altruistic - hence the talk about 'cub' and 'friend'.
The rest is Cassie.

If you think of the star power/mojo as acting or a skill, reverting to
normality (minus the real effects of being marooned) is what one would
expect. When you go bicycling around, stop, and years later have
forgotten, you don't suddenly get crushed by the fatigue of running
around _n_ miles. You simply can no longer bicycle.

> She didn't just lose her "mojo";
> she seems to have suffered a blow to her general health that "aged" her more
> than she would have naturally in that span of time, so much so that she
> would never again be the pretty but ordinary young woman that Gideon first
> saw on the stage. Margaret had also known pre-mojo Cassie, but failed to
> recognize the haggard woman who passed her by on the street near the bank.
> -Roy

'pretty young woman'? Hold on, isn't Cassie's age late thirties-early
forties? She can still be attractive, but by that age the adjectives
have usually dropped the 'young' bit and replaced 'pretty' with
'beautiful' or 'handsome'. We can only describe her - as Ambassador
Klauser does - as a 'young woman' and 'luscious' because of the mojo.
(We expect sex idol stars who wear 3-square inch bikinis to be in
their 20s, after all.)

By the time Cassie has, months later, recovered from the island and
consulted beauticians (who would do much, but not 'enough'; presumably
'enough' would be Cassie mojo level of beauty), and go to Klauser, who
is scrutinizing her, hazards a guess that Cassie is her mother. Going
by the usual ~20 age bracket, and remembering that Cassie is ~40, it
works perfectly. But if Cassie is washed out and dry as dust and has
dirty pale hair - looks like Margaret - then who would guess that she
was Cassie's mother? The circumstances don't make 'mother' the
overwhelmingly obvious guess. If Cassie is back to her usual self,

Margaret seems only to have known Cassie pre-mojo in passing - as
someone she saw occasionally from a distant and heard a reasonable bit
about. She then spends *months* with Cassie post-mojo, and like
everyone else, seems to forget about ordinary pre-mojo Cassie.


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