Firefly (was "Re: Smothers Brothers")

David Silberstein davids at kithrup.com
Thu Feb 13 02:28:29 PST 2003

On Wed, 12 Feb 2003, Damien Sullivan wrote:

>On Wed, Feb 12, 2003 at 05:43:03PM -0800, David Silberstein wrote:

>> Inara is probably an Issola, but I suspect her of secretly being a
>> Yendi (that is, I have a notion that her real agenda is espionage).

>Seems an odd place for it.  Unless you mean her contacts as she

Hmm.  I should have said "intelligence gathering" rather than
espionage.  There's nothing on the Firefly itself that is useful or
interesting (well, except River, but Inara didn't know that River
would show up).

I just think it's... interesting that her job entails socializing with
the movers and shakers of the worlds that are not so much on the
highly travelled routes.  She *might* be gathering intel on where
loyalties *really* lie, who is the actual power behind the nominal
gov't, who has economic clout, etc.

My notion derives from the historical tendency of prostitution to be
combined with spying, and more specifically, of the description of the
Guild of Prostitutes in "The Story of the Stone".  But it's just a

>> Book is... hm.  Dunno.  Maybe Yendi; I suspect *him* of having a
>> secret agenda as well.
>Certainly secrets.  "That's no Shepherd."

Of course, wossface may have been unreliable when he said that...

>> Simon & River are Hawks, or maybe Athyra.
>River seemed to be turning into an athyra. :)  I think Simon's too
>proper to be a Hawk.

"Too proper"?  I don't think of Hawks as being improper.  Paarfi is
*exceedingly* proper.  :-)

>  Lyornish, maybe.  Except Lyorns don't commit crimes. 

Shaltre was a Lyorn, and he commited some pretty despicable crimes.

>> Mal, I suppose, is a Jhereg.  Or an Orca.
>Nope, way too honorable and loyal to his people for a genuine Orca.

While the general sterotype of Orca seems to be the merchant banker
cutthroat competitor, they *are* also real sailor types, and
presumably can be tightly loyal to their crew - which Mal is.  And
while Mal has never given in to offers to sell out, he has sometimes
been more than a little tempted... 

>Probably another Dragon, except he (and Zoe) are willing to be
>sneakier than I suspect a Dragon would.  Although I guess we
>shouldn't be too picky.

>His love of fights and weakness for the underdog has aspects of the
>Dzur, actually, even if he has an un-Dzurlike tendency to run away. A
>_smart_ Dzur. :) 

>Hmm, Vlad does discover Dragons are quite capable of being subtle and
>sneaky in their campaigns.  Just won't break their honor. 

Not breaking their honor seems to consist of (a) not being caught or
(b) denying that there's anything wrong with it (such as Adron: 'I
do not *dabble* in Elder Sorcery, I am quite expert')

>Actually, I think that's a lesson of the later Vlad books -- the
>Houses mean something, but it's possible to read too much into them.

Oh, absolutely.  I'm just following an amusing notion.

>Everyone thinks of the Yendi as the sneaky ones, and they do seem to
>go for a particular brand of sneakiness.  But Orca can do it in
>finance, Jhereg lie all the time, Dragons sneak in campaigns, Issola,
>well, "strike from courtly bow".

Hmm.  Only Yendi seem to be sneaky just for the hell of it.  :-)

> Grita's father was plotting a lot, and I forget his house, probably
>Tsalmoth, but the important part was that it wasn't one of these. 
>The Phoenix Illistra plotted.  Lying is universal,

True.  And there's also that line about only Issola serve in the
Palace - that is, the most diplomatic members of each House.

> except maybe for Lyorn or Dzur.

For lyin' Lyorn, see Shaltre, already mentioned above, and even
Aerich bent the truth in accusing Shaltre.  For Dzur, while I
can't think of a specific instance, I think it has been implied that
Dzur are not always 100% truthful.  Tazendra has the sterotypical lack
of subtlety of a young Dzur, but the older Dzur do seem to have that