Teckla, etc

Gregory Rapawy grapawy at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 7 14:32:00 PDT 2002

--- "Michael S. Schiffer" <mss2 at attbi.com> wrote:
[of Cawti in _Teckla_]
> Half her conversations with Vlad come across as her 
> ignoring (or rather, willfully choosing to ignore) 
> the physical reality of the Cycle and the raw power 
> at the disposal of the  Empire and the noble Houses,

> not to mention her own personal experience with 
> Imperial politics (or at least with people who are 
> involved in Imperial politics).

Well, they certainly do come across that way, and that
is certainly how Vlad feels and how many others feel. 
I wonder if this is one of the places that we really
do need to take Vlad's perceptions with a grain (or a
shaker) of salt, though.  

Many historical and current cultures and regimes have
made and now make extravagant claims about how their
particular structure is (1) an inevitable consequence
of physical reality or other natural law; (2) too
well-entrenched ever to be shaken; (3) supported by
overwhelming  force too great to exist.  At any given
point in time these claims may appear from an internal
(or even a contemporaneous external) perspective to be
true, and then may either suddenly or gradually come
to be not true.

Vlad's perception of the Empire as something too big
to fight realistically, rather than as merely a very
big thing that would be difficult and dangerous to
fight, could be explained by (1) his desire (having a
comfortable position in the system) not to fight it;
(2) his reliance on sources of information friendly to
the established order of things (Aliera, Morrolan,
Verra, the Jhereg, maybe Sethra -- her allegiances are
complicated, though); (3) his temperament (Virt's
comment in _Dragon_ that Vlad is a tactician and not a
strategist, or Sethra's in _Issola_ that Vlad really
isn't comfortable with root causes, which two
observations come to a similar thing).

It might be, of course, that the author does view the
Cycle as a simple and unalterable physical reality, as
Vlad almost describes it in _Taltos_ (though even Vlad
says that a sufficiently strong person could move the
Cycle -- and that raises the question: what kind of
strength, and how much of it?).  I sort of doubt it,
though.  It seems more likely to me that Vlad's
conviction of the utter unreasonableness of Cawti's
position is a combination of these sorts of things and
as well of his predisposition at the time to think
that Cawti is being utterly unreasonable.

-- Greg

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