Multiple emporers in a reign, revisited AND Adron's motives

Tue Mar 14 16:10:20 PST 2006

On Tue, 14 Mar 2006, Scott Schultz wrote:

> > > The real question is "Why would Aliera lie?" To impress Vlad? I
> > > hardly think so. She's plenty proud enough of her heritage without
> > > having to dress it up for a Jhereg/Easterner. Whatever Aliera
> > > thought of Adron's plans, she was never ashamed of him or his
> > > actions.
> >
> > Begging the question every which way.
> I don't understand this response. How is it begging the question?

You're assuming Aliera isn't ashamed of Adron's actions, that she wouldn't
lie to impress her soul-brother, that her story is less honorable than the
other.  As I've argued here in the past, it's quite possible the Paarfiad
is Sethra's way of covering up her and Aliera's murder of Tortaalik.
There are many reasons Aliera might lie.

> Yes, considering that this list has had days of discussion on this very
> phrase before, I'm seriously asking this question.

I'm using it in the petitio principii sense - assuming one's conclusions.

> > > I'm not sure how Paarfi could be considered anything like
> > >  authoritative, particularly in comparison to Adron's own daughter.
> >
> > See too many posts in the archives presenting the "authoritative
> > Paarfi" view.
> This is a quote from you, Phil, about Paarfi, from yesterday: " We know of
> at least one error in _TPG_ which is "awfully significant" by comparison -
> the business with the Captain and the conspiracy. There is a strong argument
> for Paarfi being thoroughly sloppy and fallible - consider the historians
> Ilen the Magian quotes."

> So, which is he? Sloppy and fallible or the one true authoritative source of
> independent historical fact? I can't see how you can have it both ways, just
> as I don't see how you can dismiss Aliera as a prevaricator with no textev
> to back up that assertion.

You seem not to grasp my project in commenting on these matters, which is
to consider what's available in the Texts and considering what reasonable
scenarios might have given rise to the data they present.  I'm not
attached to any particular view, which is why I espouse both the
Paarfi/Sethra-as-truth and the Paarfi/Sethra-as-propaganda positions,
which have the extensive varying virtues described in the archives.

As noted above, the G'aereth bit I blame not on Paarfi but SKZB. And I
acknowledge that the Ilen Text exists - but it is of course of unknown
value.  And if you're going to base your multi-emperor theory on one
extremly-explainable-on-grammar-mixup grounds point in Paarfi, you're
faced with the question of why you happen to trust him on that particular
point but not anything else.

What I want from the Texts is a coherent whole, to the extent that SKZB
gives us one.  Bryan has a project to map Dragaera - but if it doesn't
_entirely_ hold together, I don't much care.  More important to me is to
make sense of character and event.  If Aliera says something to Vlad that
seems unlikely, we have to consider her feelings towards Easterners, and
Jhereg, and Vlad's soul, and we have to consider her lack of self-esteem
and her likely feelings of guilt for her father's death and the deaths of
millions of others.  And we need to consider Vlad's degree of recall
of the story given his general knowledge of Dragaeran history and the
possibility he may get Pathfinder in the ribs. And if we need to toss
out a bit of early Text - even through _Taltos_ and its whatchamacallit
moment at Death Gate - as uncanonical, fine - and if we can keep that
bit and use it to understand character better, great.

To the extent that it's possible to rely on Paarfi (a great deal in my
view) we have a much better idea of the characters of many of the people
who are important to us and the events that most shaped them.  If Paarfi
is lying, or making things up, that's not very interesting (unless of
course it's a coherent effort at covering up the truth) - if Vlad is
lying, or making things up, that's more interesting.  And to the extent
that Paarfi's description of the Disaster is deeper and Cooler than
Aliera's, we're nearly obliged to accept his over hers.  If Khaavren
has read the Paarfiad, I hope he finds a portrait of his friends that
accords with his love for them and for his honor.

Perhaps the real issue here is that I disagree with what I hear as
(unwarranted) certainty in your claims.  Perhaps I'm just advocating
a different version of certainty, but I hope not.