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Flipped the burger and am now reading What We Can Stand For by Geir Lippestad abiut his experiences defending Behring Breivik in the trial after the 22 July attack.
Tomorrow I'll hopefully flip open the mailbox and start on Karen Memory by thejeff's pal Elizabeth. I've been promised steam-powered sewing machines doubling as Pacific Rim style robots, so anticipation is high.
“There are twenty-seven places on a man’s body and forty-five on a woman’s that provide intense desire when appropriately stimulated.”
Since I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment, I’m unable to put this to the test, but for those of you with a partner, start looking, counting, and report back. ;)
Delaunay, it seemed, had given orders that I was to be rendered unto him in as pure and untainted a state as it was possible to maintain for a child in the Night Court.
I’m slightly curious as to why he’d stipulate this –it’s not like his plans for her require some virginal nun straight out of the monastery. Maybe it’s just a case of him wanting to make sure he can have some control of what she learns of ‘Naamah’s Arts’ and when? Regardless, it means Phèdre is not allowed to read more of the works of [I]“…Felice Dolophilus, who joyfully unmanned himself for love of his mistress.”
Can anyone remember if we hear about worship of Magna Mater (the Great Mother) in Caerdicca Unitas during the course of the books, cause Dolophilus sounds like he could be a worshiper?
During the years covered by this chapter, the widow of the former Daupin dies, and we’re told that Phèdre mostly feels sympathy for the little Dauphine, who is her own age. Making up some romantic notions about her – “One day a handsome Duc would ride to her rescue.” Which does happen near the end of this book, although it’s clearly a lot more complicated than that, but a nice bit of not at all obvious foreshadowing.
She continues her friendship with Hyacinthe, repeatedly running away – if you can call it that when the people tasked with catching her always knows where to find her – to meet with him in the part of town below Mont Nui, called Night’s Doorstep. (Nuit is French for Night.) We learn that his mother is a washerwoman/fortuneteller – the only Tsingano fortuneteller in the City, in fact. We’re also told of at least one occasion where her foretelling came true. The Dowayne is not much pleased with this running away business, however, and after the third such escape has Phèdre flogged in front of all the adepts and servants of House Cereus.
And this would be Phèdre’s first real experience of the pleasure of pain – which is very well described by Carey. The fact that she’s able to write a scene of someone whipping a child and have me not throw away the book is proof enough of that, because in real life, if I were to see someone so much as slap a child, I’d be on the phone to the police right there (corporeal punishment of any kind, including that of parents on their children has been illegal in Sweden since the year I was born, 1979, and yeah, it’s something I have very, very little respect for). But continuing the discussion of Carey’s writing, there’s another thing about this scene that’s proof of good writing, which is that Phèdre’s voice is already so strong and established that at no point does her simultaneous reactions of “That’s really, really good,” and, “Please make it stop, please!” feel weird. You just go with it.
One thing I do have a real problem with, though, is the portrayal throughout this book of the Tsingano. The reason for this is that, in my opinion, it relies a little too much on one of the stereotypes about the Roma peoples that “we” i.e. the non-roma peoples of Europe have invented to justify our frankly horrendous treatment of them. In this case it’s the myth of the free as a bird, mystically connected nomads with their handsome horses and beautiful but mysterious women, which at least is better than the will-steal-anything-that’s-not-nailed-down myth, but still pretty bad – especially considering that anti-Ziganism is still a big deal in Europe (as an illustration, the day I post this, 11 roma sues the Swedish state because the police in Scania kept an ethnic register of about 5000 people, mostly roma despite this being very much illegal). So yes, I could have wished for a little less of that.
During the party, Phèdre literally bumps into Delaunay, who tells her keep her eyes open since “There may be more to see here than paid flagellants with a fetish for black velvet.”
Snort And now I’m picturing the adepts of Mandrake House as all looking like Robert Smith from the Cure in his 1980’s heyday.
About an hour before midnight a new party arrives at the festivities, it’s four young noblemen who behaves like a bunch of spoiled rock stars. Drunk rock stars. We learn that this is Prince Baudoin, a prince of the blood, and his friends. Phèdre tries to serve the prince, but is grabbed by another, called Isidore, who of course will be much more important in the latter half of the book, who asks another companion to taste the drinks first. Then Baudoin kisses Phèdre for good luck, tosses back glass after glass of joie while tossing glass after empty glass on the floor, leaving Phèdre feeling teary-eyed as she tries to pick up the broken glass shards.
And speaking of foreshadowing:
Some would say he was a fool to trust Melisande, and perhaps he was; even so, he would not have seen the other betrayal coming, from one he’d known longer.
So not only are we told that Prince Baudoin will come to a bad end, but even before we’ve heard anything else about her, we’re told that it’s probably a bad idea to trust Melisande.
There’s a welcoming feast of iced melons and grapes in a garden courtyard, where Phèdre is confused by the lack of a kneeling cushion. When Delaunay explains that he does not consider himself to be of higher worth than her, and that she should consider himself his equal, as he owns her marque, not her, and that he wishes that once she’s earned the price of that marque she would see him as someone who helped raise her up, she observes that, “You like to people to owe you favours,” eliciting surprised amusement from him.
So, this is a fairly transitional chapter, but we do get to learn a bit more about Delaunay and what his plans might be. One thing that struck me on this re-read was that he must have been quite relieved when Phèdre showed some signs of intelligence and perception – considering that he’s planning to use her and Alcuin as spies, it would have been quite a poor investment for him if she’d turned out to be an airhead.
And Alcuin is one of my favourite characters – admittedly we’re told the story through the perspective of Phèdre who has cause to gloss over any bad sides he might have had, but from his introduction in this chapter, he pretty much comes across as a perfect friend.
And in conclusion, I thought I should mention that the fiction podcast Far Fetched Fables has one of Jacqueline Carey's stories up this week. It's not Kushiel-related, but I figured I should mention it anyway.
Continuing with near-death scrapes of Swedish kings: After the Battle of Narva, when king Karl XII went to change into something presumably less blood and gunpowder smelling, it was discovered that a bullet had hit him during the battle, but had been stopped by his cravatte.
Social liberals? Hardly. They sound far more like our left block (social democrats, left party and environment party).
Seeing as I'd say there are more social liberals in the Social Democrats than in Folkpartiet (the traditional liberal party in Sweden) these days, I don't entirely disagree with that ;)
In fact, during Major Björklund's tenure, I'd say FP has moved far enough to the right that if I were a liberal I'd vote for the Social Democrats, the Greens, or Moderaterna (traditionally the big-C Conservatives in Sweden) before them.
Indeed, if I know someone has a problem with certain words I'll usually respect that (in roughly in proportion to how much I respect that person). Personally I'm more sensitive to tone of voice and body language - after all, a "Bless your heart" can be quite the condescending insult, while a more vulgar version of "you male fowl sucking lover of your most immediate female ancestor" can be an affectionate greeting depending on who says it, and in what manner.
I'm also aware that I should be extra careful when speaking foreign languages, sunce I live in a very secular society where most swears remain religious in origin and as such has lost most of their potency to us. I'm pretty sure even most priests in Sweden would react much to a "Helvete!" ("Hell!")
That said, much as I try to modify my language based on what I know of the people hearing what I say, I also think that if those listening to me don't take what they know of me (such as that bit I mentioned about my first language being one in which most cuss-words have lost their power, leading to me being quite casual about them), that's also pretty disrespectful.
"Magic is an art which the Ancestral Dragons created for themselves alone," she said, as though that explained everything.
Pierre Pevel, The Cardinal's Blades
If you liked the Three Musketeers, get this book - both Athos and Rochefort have cameos, and one of the titular blades is frequently identified as "the Gascon."
El Ronza wrote:
I finished Terry Pratchett's Moving Pictures, and loved it. Very funny book, with a lot of references to classic cinema that made me giggle. Currently reading it to my mother.
In the Swedish translation, the troll known as "Rock" in the original has gotten the name "Bergman," which I'd say was one of the translator's better moments.
James Jacobs wrote:
In all honesty, change the ball to a pig and that's what the Florentine Game looks like.