How does someone get a link to the Orb

Wed Jun 25 14:34:52 PDT 2003

On Wed, 25 Jun 2003 charles_sumner at harvard.edu wrote:

> At 08:50 PM 6/24/2003 -0700, Philip Hart wrote:
> >We don't know much about who Paarfi has interviewed, but he claims to have
> >read notes or correspondence from the principals and to have gotten
> >information from Sethra.  Tazendra, Pel, Aerich, and Khaavren were present
> >at the decreation, and if you don't trust the former two to quote Adron
> >correctly, surely the latter two are fair witnesses.
> Paarfi is not writing an historical account of the disaster, he's writing a
> romantic novel about it that features people who were present during key
> events.  We have no assurance that he has related whatever quotes he may
> have gotten from Aerich or Khaavren (or found in their letters) verbatim,
> and every reason to believe that he has not.  IIRC, the introduction to TPG
> explains how Paarfi's adjusted the style of language to give it more of an
> old-fashioned feel as was used in the plays of the period.

I don't know whether Paarfi's account is historical, a novel, or both. I
don't much care about the style of language Paarfi uses (inconsistently) -
but it is inarguable that he is (at least occasionally) very careful in
his choice of words - see my discussion of the ambiguity of address in the
last pages of Chapter 33 of _FHYA_ or the great two letters in _TPotD_.
I think we have some sort of evidence that Paarfi isn't making things up
>from whole cloth in the non-fatal reception of the novel.  And I think
Sethra's agreeing to correspond with him represents evidence that he has
some chops worth respecting.

> Whatever real facts Paarfi has collected about the disaster would appear in
> his great unfinished work "Toward Beginning a Survey of Some Events
> Contributing to the Fall of the Empire" and it'll probably be a while until
> we see that in print.  For his historical romances, he may have tweaked the
> facts to make Adron seem more noble than he actually was (it helps them
> sell better after all).

Adron does not receive a fawning portrayal in _FHYA_, unless he was
actually an utter villain.  In my view his conversations with Aerich show
him to be a Shakespearean character - ok, not Othello or Macbeth - anyway
he's aware he may be doing something awful but he's noble enough to earn
Sethra's and Aerich's respect - and Khaavren's friendship - and I think it
would be hard to construe the unmistakeable fact of the latter two's
survival of the Disaster otherwise.  I'll throw in Morrolan's good opinion
(aka worship) of Adron, and Verra's choosing to sleep or something with
him.  And I'll cite his dying words, which are either a tribute to his
character or an odd choice for a fawning hack romancier (and note the
simple language) - "Don't tell them that I meant well."

> >I think _Jhereg_ is not exactly canon - Vlad says some funny stuff about
> >reviving beheaded people, for example - and Aliera's account seems both
> >muddled and likely to be biased.
> If Paarfi did "read notes or correspondence from the principals," that
> would have to include Aleria and _Jhereg_ (as well as _Issola_).

You are quite likely wrong re _J_ and _I_ - Vlad says he was assured his
accounts would never see the light (or shade, I guess) of Dragaeran day.

I find it somewhat unlikely that Aliera would consent to be interviewed.

> Yes, her account is biased, but if she consented to talk to Paarfi about
> the details, you can bet that she'd have happily spun her account of the
> events to shed a more positive light on her father and perhaps Paarfi
> bought into it.  Also, if Paarfi had written that Adron was an idiot, he
> might not have survived to write the later books.

On the other hand, Paarfi asserts (preface to _TPotD_) that Adron was
widely reviled at the time (see Vlad's participation in this in the
course of _Issola_) - his survival might as easily be endangered by
offering a moderate view (consider writing a novel today representing the
9-11 terrorists as noble) - and as discussed in this list there are a
variety of people who might well want to challenge him to a duel on the
basis of what he has published.

> I think that FHYA is an excellent primer about the events surrounding the
> disaster, but just as everything in the Taltos books is colored by Vlad's
> point of view, the "historicals" are colored by Paarfi's (and the
> information that the players were willing to write down or otherwise give
> to Paarfi) so you have to be careful before accepting them as canon.

I don't believe I have accepted them as canon - I've asserted that
Paarfi's story hangs together, has some likelihood of being based on
eye-witness accounts, hasn't resulted in his death by duel, and is all we
have to go on, so deserves to be considered the default description of
what happened until we have more obviously reliable information (and what
would that be?  Perhaps Sethra or Verra [no, she could be accused of bias
too] speaking in a Vlad novel?)

> All of the Dragerea books have a bit of Rashomon to them in that the
> accounts are colored by the person telling the story.  The fact that the
> Paarfi books are told from a third-person perspective doesn't make them any
> more truthful than the Vlad books since they are very much told from
> Paarfi's point of view (and SKZB is happy to remind us of this throughout
> the books by drawing attention to Paarfi's style).

The fact is that Paarfi is our best (well, almost only) source of info on
these matters and one has to either accept it as an internally-consistent
and plausible description of events or choose ignorance of this
interesting period of history.