Spoiler Space I

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 under Spoiler Space.

With the UK edition in stores, and the US edition days away (except one “leak” in the pipe has already been reported to me off-site)  it’s time to make a Spoiler Space available.   Please confine all discussions of Crown of Renewal to Spoiler Space, below the cut.

If you don’t want spoilers, please do not read in this topic, and do not look at the comments below the cut.   There will be spoilers; spoilers are legal here (and only here.)    Spoiler Space rules will be in effect until I give an all-clear.   If this spoiler space’s comment line gets too long, I’ll open Spoiler Space II.

Have fun.   As I am still deep in Computer Joy (that is, the setting up of a new system in which some things go smoothly and some…are hours’ long hangups) and still need to work on Sunday’s main anthem (Vaughn-Williams’ “Choral Flourish”)  and get a large wodge of serious writing done by Monday…I may not be as nosy in Spoiler Space and as available to answer questions as usual.  Email me if I need to wander in with a fire extinguisher or something, but just hold errors you find in a file, because I’m not ready for those yet.   (The one I found today while reading the UK edition in the small tiled room was most annoying.   A father was referenced when it should’ve been the grandfather. )



  • Comment by Iphinome — June 10, 2014 @ 5:03 pm


    @Suburbanbanshee you might make a swordmaster of Tir but never a feudal lord since you’re so quick to forget that fealty runs both ways. She wasn’t a minimum wage employee to be discarded just because someone could make more money moving a factory to Bangladesh and buying some child slaves. She was a vassal.

    How do you think _Natzlin_ feels having now lost a partner and two lords who she was sworn to? What does that do to someone’s self esteem?

    @Annabel I think both of her lords had perfectly legitimate reasons for what they did and for not keeping her. Barra… was Barra. That doesn’t change that there’s a pattern forming in Natzlin’s life.

    And isn’t there a steward in charge of the staff? Did I miss a line where Farin Cook was made majordomo?

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 10, 2014 @ 5:11 pm


    Annabel: Spot on with the magelords’ illnesses. 500 years of pathogen evolution is a lot of generations in bacterial/viral ability to change. Magelords had never been exposed to “modern” illnesses. “Travelers’ ill” was known, of course, but with all the traffic between Aarenis and the north, a lot of germs traveled every year. So most of the travelers’ ill (like most “shipping fever”) was nonfatal. But the magelords who were NOT invaded were susceptible to “modern” diseases that were minor for the modern peoples, but deadly to them. I also suspect (but don’t know) that 500 years of enchantment lets the immune system get very, very lazy. Germs? What germs?

    Falk’s story in somewhat more detail will be in the short fiction collection that’s next. The character you’re thinking of in “Gifts” is not Falk, but a Falkian knight (or paladin) who decided to give it up, run away, escape the responsibility.

    Natzlin: Natzlin is a good, but weak, character. In any situation, she would seek out a person to cling to and depend on; she’s a competent soldier, at her own level, but–in the intact Duke’s Company, would not have made corporal unless on the coattails of a sergeant she clung to. She was discarded by Barranyi, whom she loved (though to Barra, she was never more than a useful sidekick and bed partner.) She chose to stay with the Company, rather than following Barra, because of her hero-worship of Dorrin (and, um, she had a thing for tall, dark, black-haired women.) Natzlin is not in any sense bad; she’s naturally a follower, but she’s also loyal, brave, generous, and a hard worker. Dorrin certainly tried to care for her (after she was badly wounded) and was delighted when she and Farin made a couple. Dorrin knew Farin was a much more honest and generous lover than Barra had been, and when she had to leave her domain, she knew Farin would take care of Natzlin emotionally.

    Kathi S-. The magelord problem turned out to be far more complicated than I anticipated. (If you can imagine the author trying to peek inside the head of enchanted magelords to see what was going on there, what had gone on there, etc.) I realized fairly early that Luap’s version of how the emigration and resettlement went could not be entirely right (well, I sort of knew that when I was writing it…), and that the iynisin would be able to corrupt at least some of the magelords who moved there. There would not be time, in less than a generation, to eliminate all the bad attitudes, all the arrogance, all the resentment of their new status as the losers, the hated, etc. The use of other bodies had existed (Gird did not know of it, being a peasant, but it was known among the magelords, some of whom refused and scorned it, and others who used it a lot) for a long time–the concept was introduced by the iynisin originally, as form of ancestor worship (“You can keep them within you…” as the Guardians did) and then corrupted to the forms seen later. So both direct taking over and indirect (encouraging the use of other bodies, either by those willing to be “ridden” or by nearly killing someone and taking over as he/she “died”) were going on. Luap’s own blindness, and the ability to cloud the awareness of others–to enchant with magery–hid the truth from the better magelords. Seri, of course, was not a magelord and had no ability to sense this magery; Aris was focused on his healing magery; both were somewhat clouded by Luap (and by others doing the same thing for their own purposes.)

    Cover art. You have no idea what my efforts gained for you, in that regard. That is the betterr Dorrin. The original had long flowing locks, a red gown cut down to here, and some other details I threw a bit of a fit about. It’s the old “A woman wrote this, so it has to appeal to women readers of romance novels” thing, I guess. (I think I’ve mentioned before the discussion online last year about covers of men-written fantasy books compared to covers of woman-written fantasy books.) I still did not get a beard on Kieri, and it’s not the first book cover where, asked for my opinion and a description, I gave his hair color and beard as essential. But there comes a point where the author–me, anyway–simply cannot get the artist/art department to do it, and where further complaint accomplishes nothing but a reputation for causing trouble. I don’t know whether it’s terribly difficult to do beards in digital art, or what, but…dammit, the man has red hair and a kingly beard. Not a scruffy beard, or a trailing wispy beard, but a beard like my husband’s, full but trimmed to a dense, appropriate-to-kings real beard. (Take a breath. Calm down….)

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 10, 2014 @ 6:38 pm


    Iphinome: Though fealty runs both ways, I think you’re failing to account for a very different culture almost none of us have experienced. Natzlin’s self-esteem isn’t at risk when someone above her obeys a still higher person’s command to go do something else. She’s sad…but she has no sense that it was her fault. It was different when Barra discarded her–that was someone of her own rank, feudally speaking, and she had believed Barra was as loyal to her as to Barra. Natzlin was always more attached to Dorrin than to Kieri anyway, so Kieri’s departure didn’t affect her as much, since she still had Dorrin. Dorrin’s choice to put her in charge of the Verrakaien militia was a strain, but also increased her self-esteem–she was trusted, considered competent, and to be confirmed in that even as Dorrin was leaving gave her another positive burst. Yes, she is very sad that Dorrin is leaving–and has no attachment yet to Beclan–but she doesn’t feel betrayed, and she knows (being who she is, and from that culture) that Dorrin had no real choice either. Feudalism was born of military structure. The oaths of loyalty that go both ways are structural as much as (in some cases much more than) personal. (And that does vary with the individual, of course, but the trend is toward structural…individuals know that their commanders may be ordered elsewhere, away from them; they don’t like it, but they know it and they don’t blame themselves for it.) Fortunately for Natzlin, she had formed that bond with Farin before Dorrin had to leave, and Farin is not going anywhere. Yes, there’s been a past pattern of loss (as for most of us, for that matter.) But Dorrin’s approval of their bond will strengthen Natzlin’s trust in Farin. She will not forget Barra, or the wound Barra dealt her, any more than she will forget the wound in her leg and the physical pain and weakness…but overall she will heal. There was not room in the book to detail everything Dorrin told the “committee” of dukes that would supervise Beclan’s governance until his majority, or all she told her steward, but they all understand Natzlin’s position and value, and Farin’s. So Natzlin will be in the best possible position, and though she continues to have some bad memories, she will have good years ahead. As for the steward, there’s always a tricky relationship between an estate steward and and house staff. The steward will let Farin run the kitchen, and even encroach on the housekeeper’s/butler’s position (because right now there isn’t one and in the absence of an adult duke, the steward is run off his feet taking care of other things.) In the next year, the ducal committee will recommend adding another senior person to the household staff, once they’ve gone over all the financials. There are some surprises ahead. Beclan is not over being annoyed with his father and the king.

    I don’t think the analogy to modern corporate behavior is what Suburbanshee meant or expressed, however.

  • Comment by Dale — June 10, 2014 @ 6:55 pm



    Sinyi = angels, an elder race?
    Iynisin = Ni-Sinyi (backwards) = fallen angels?
    Luap = Paul (backwards), the after-the-fact apostle with different writings?
    Dragon = embodiment of wisdom and agent of change = tongues of fire = Holy Spirit?
    Magery = reawakened gift of the gods that will be needed (but wasn’t in the end [of this series anyway], except by Dorrin), breaking out in families of every class everywhere but not accepted by fundamentalists = gay rights??
    Paks = Pax = Peace?
    Gird = peasant farmer demigod vs peasant carpenter, sacrificed himself for all?

    How much allegory was intended, vs my imagination?

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 10, 2014 @ 7:31 pm


    @Lady Moon Suburbanbanshee did reduce the liege-vassal relationship to that of employer-employee.

    I’m sorry if I implied that Dorrin or for that matter Kieri didn’t meet their side of the obligation–both did. Kieri through Arcolin and Dorrin through Beclan. My reaction was to the suggestion that there wasn’t an obligation _to_ Natzlin. She’s oathsworn, there is an exception that she be kept unless dismissed for cause.

    It is true my understanding of feudalism is… detached. I have no lord or master, I’ve had no lord or master, I prefer it that way exactly because I’m the product of a society without those bonds. The level of understanding will always be limited to what can be learned from books.

  • Comment by Fred — June 10, 2014 @ 11:28 pm


    A few days ago, one of my co-workers was walking around humming a tune – which was a kind of “ear-worm”. So, in the spirit of a very-not-serious filk:


    Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
    A tale of a fateful trip
    That started out from Bannerlith
    Aboard this tiny ship.

    The mate was a mighty sailing man,
    The skipper named Royan,
    Two passengers set sail that day
    For a three-hands-day span, a three-hands-day span.

    The weather started getting rough,
    The tiny ship was tossed,
    If not for the present of a certain herb,
    More supper would be lost, her supper would be lost.

    The ship sailed by the Slavers’ Bay,
    Sailed Eastbight by night,
    Hoping to avoid the fray
    Of the bold pirates’ fight, the bold pirates’ fight.

    The pirates tried to board this ship,
    With Verrakai
    The Captain too,
    The traitor plant (and his knife)
    The fire-rings,
    Here on Immerhoft Sea.

    The ship put in, but not as planned, her water to renew,
    At the port of Ka-Immer,
    where it was said, by not a few,
    To be ruled by Alured, ruled by Alured.

    But the Captain feared old Alured,
    In hot pursuit of all,
    Dorrin would be the castaway
    Before the ship would fall, before the ship would fall.

    Things never went, quite as they planned,
    Alured failed the jewels,
    Dorrin was kicked overboard,
    Went down in the deep pools.

    So this is the tale of the castway,
    She’s in for a long, long climb,
    She’ll have to make the best of things,
    On the shores of old,old Aare, it’s a long, long time.

    The Watchers and the Guardian too,
    Will do their very best,
    To get her where she’s going to,
    By the dried-up lake a-west, by the dried-up lake a-west.

    No home, no lights no water wet,
    Not a single luxury,
    Like famed old Frodo Baggins,
    As weary as can be.

    But as the water fell on down,
    Old Dragon found our gal,
    Soaking wet without the crown
    Here on Old Aare’s isle.


    The moral of the story: watch what you do around your co-workers…and apologies to George Wyle and Sherwood Shwartz (but not much).

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 10, 2014 @ 11:30 pm


    Dale: Not nearly that much…in fact, not at all. I don’t do allegory. I tell stories. Just for a few…I’m lousy at anagrams, and so didn’t realize Luap was Paul spelled backwards until someone told me (AFTER the book was published that first mentioned him. I wanted that vowel combination, the sound of it, with the liquid consonant in front and something harder at the end. When I was told, it was head-smacking “Oh NO!” time.) Dragon is a straightforward folkloric dragon; breathing fire has been a dragon characteristic in many (but not all) cultures. Fire is the element (in alchemy) associated with transformation, so being able to transform from dragon to human appearance went along with that. But there’s nothing “Holy Spirit” about it. Magical ability has been both desired and distrusted in multiple cultures, but any ability/skill may be attacked on religious grounds (for instance the Boko Haram’s kidnapping and enslaving of schoolgirls because “western education is evil.”) Gird and his followers had legitimate reasons to fear and distrust the magelords of their day, and his rebellion was not religious in origin. However, once any religion is established, it becomes vulnerable to extremism. We see that now in fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, where an extreme position that does not represent the general tenor of the religion takes hold and caused schism. The Fellowship of Gird, which did not start out as a religion and did not have a settled “theology” to start with, was as vulnerable to this as any, and magery was its natural target, because of its history. If I’d intended Paks to = Peace, I’d have spelled her name with an X and she would not have been a mercenary or enjoyed fighting so much.

    I write stories, not allegories. The characters are people, not symbols of something else. You are certainly free to think of them as you wish, but the stories were written with their own internal logic, of character, of culture, of history. You will get more out of them by reading them as stories instead of playing the “what stands for what?” game, but if you want to limit yourself to allegories, I can’t stop you.

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 10, 2014 @ 11:41 pm


    The closest modern equivalent in this country is military service. Oaths are sworn, and violating the oath is a very serious matter. For some of us, the oath persists beyond the time of service. Because this is (at least in theory) a nation of laws, the oaths are structural: to uphold and defend the Constitution, to obey a position, not a specific person. Very Roman, in that sense, as opposed to the Germanic/Celtic/”barbarian” concept of loyalty only to an individual person. A less Roman form is found in some countries, including (when I was a child and to some extent now) Mexico and (by extension and enculturation) part of south Texas. Both from growing up there, and from my time in the military, I have some small real-life experience of what it can mean (and has meant) for many people.

  • Comment by Richard — June 11, 2014 @ 4:01 am


    Nice one Fred.

    Was it Dragon turned Dorrin’s hair gray at the end, or had that already happened?

  • Comment by KarenH — June 11, 2014 @ 10:08 am


    Some ideas and questions about magery. I was struck by the way that the Marrakai whisper to the horses and use the old words, the same way that Dorrin did when using the Verrakai magery.

    Did the Marrakai still have some form of magery all those years, but no one, including them recognized it because their magery was only used in horse breeding and training?

    What kind of magery did King Mikeli recognize that he had while he was sitting on Camwyn’s bed?

    Arvid seems to me to have some magery also and to have had it all for a long time. He mentions that he has always been able to see and avoid a glamour.

    Also – the smaller stories are wonderful woven into the main arc are wonderful. I love the Arcolin and his adventures with the gnomes, I want to know what happens to Camwyn and Horngard, …

    There were several comments about Paks having silver hairs earlier in that thread. I never thought anything special about them. because we had a friend of the family that had white hair at a very young age. He had been a Marine and fought in the Pacific during WWII and he came back with white hair. He finished high school with my parents and his hair never changed back from white.

  • Comment by jdw — June 11, 2014 @ 2:18 pm


    I see from Elizabeth’s post on May 31 (9:52 pm) that Dorrin at the end of the book is still a bit of an open end with some spoiler-issues attached to discussing it.

    I like that way of your “they will consider her a great hero of Falk, but not yet know what she really is” comment puts it. It’s wonderful that you can leave the readers feeling the exact same way as the characters you’ve created. Perhaps most beautiful: Dorrin herself at the end is still rolling over in her head exactly what she is. 🙂

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 11, 2014 @ 6:31 pm


    @KarenH and if some sort of magery is inherent in all humans what kind do the seafolk have, or the people in Kolobia, or the horse nomads? Not that I expect an answer now, it’ll probably appear in other stories but it is something I wonder.

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 11, 2014 @ 8:44 pm


    @Lady Moon

    But Paksworld oaths at least in Tsaia aren’t to the crown or to the lord they’re to Mikeli for the lords and to Lord/Count/Duke X for the rest… mostly. I did see some hints that non-titled nobility swear to the King but still the oath is person to person. Otherwise no one would have stayed with Dorrin or had to swear new oaths to Arcolin or to Mikeli when he became king, an oath to the lord of the north marches and the crown of Tsaia would have been sufficient even after the holders of those offices changed. The only structural part is that anyone who’s not the monarch needs to have some_one_ rather than some office they clearly owe allegiance to. That difference matters.

    And yes I understand we’ve gotten far off the original comment which was about Natzlin being thrice left. Fealty only enters into it as note that a vassal is not the equivalent of an employee.

  • Comment by Fred — June 11, 2014 @ 11:24 pm



    You are right about the oaths being between persons. “Fealty” is not part of our present culture, so it’s easy to miss aspects of it. Still, there is a closely-related concept which is “chain of command”. I will guarantee you that, for example, Natzlin, who had sworn fealty to Dorrin, also knew Dorrin had sworn fealty to Mikeli – and that affected what she did. And you can be sure that EMoon knows the concept of “chain of command”, its strengths and its weaknesses, well.

    We’ve abstracted the role from the person in our modern society – so much so that it seems natural. We even have a word, “fungible”, for the idea that one person can replace another. (IMHO, never true, but it feels like I’m in a minority).

    But I think that in Tsaia and Lyonya, one didn’t perform the role of a Duke, one WAS a Duke – the office and the person were inextricably linked. When a new person took an office, new oaths were needed – and there was choice there – the troops who stayed with Dorrin being a good example.

    One of EMoon’s better lines, which can be taken out of context and still hold true, is the one where she says, “…but coercion was present in the person of the king,” at the transfer of Beclan from the Mahieran family to the Verrakai family. (I may not have that absolutely correct – it’s almost impossible for me to quote anything verbatim.) And so it was with fealty – not totally free, but choosable.

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 12, 2014 @ 12:06 am



    Why do people think I’ve suggested that Natzlin was somehow unaware of what other people’s obligations were?

    Three people left her, and others, behind. One who wouldn’t stay and two who had to go. This is not in dispute.

    On a practical level the two lords she lost could not have taken her along. I know this, you know this, she knows this. On a theoretical level they could have, however unwise. As the gnomes say, is always choice.

    This is where my comments enter. Three people made use of Natzlin in some capacity, three people left her behind at the point where she was no longer useful to them. Barra could find another bedmate, Kieri could just hire any mercenaries he needed later, Dorrin didn’t need a militia sergeant for her quest. One would think that history would be hard on the self esteem, the Author says not.

    That could–should be the end except for comment 97. The suggestion that as an employee it would be silly for Natzlin to think an employer would keep along her forever. This is where fealty enters. Natzlin was Dorrin’s vassal and will be Beclan’s, thus there _are_ two way obligations not present in the 21’st century employer/employee relationship.

    Everything beyond that has been about the nature of fealty.

    Now to more directly address your comment. If the person is the office then an oath to or from the office would be binding on whomever assumed that office. Bad bad bad idea for feudalism. When oaths are to the realm you stop needing a hereditary rulers. You could just appoint a good administer with the instructions to keep good on all oaths. Before you know it you’re having the people pick their own administrations, democracy breaks out and the Liartians invent 24 hour cable news. Is that what you want to inflict on these people?

  • Comment by Fred — June 12, 2014 @ 10:42 am


    Hi Iphinome,
    Oh my. I must really have been unclear – my apologies.

    As I understand it, if the person is the office, then when the person is no longer there, then neither is the office. Not that the oath somehow transfers – the oaths are personal, and cease (at the very least) at death. At Kieri’s coronation, everyone at the level to swear to the king had to do so.

    Transfer of power in any political context is hazardous – things may not go well, people may not agree on the rules (think of the War of the Roses in our world).

    Appointing a good administrator sounds good, in theory, but in practice is more difficult than it sounds – consider the case of the Chancellor of Horngard, who is exactly an administrator. (Admittedly, not a good one!)

    Perhaps the baggage that goes along with words such as “used” when applied to people is part of why I reacted to your posting. When I hear the word “used”, it immediately implies to me an asymmetrical relationship with respect to consent – probably without respect. Possibly true with Barra – but people can change over time, so that relationship may have soured over time. In the cases of Kieri and Dorrin, the relationship was more of exchange than “use”.

    IMHO, democracy doesn’t “break out” – it comes about by mutual concern, and almost always by conflict (in our world, the American revolution and the French revolution are cases in point).

    No human relationships are without change – or transformation.

  • Comment by Kathy_S — June 12, 2014 @ 10:25 pm


    Thank you for clarifying. My scientist persona finds the immunity argument quite convincing. It’s just that, when buried in the story, I saw the illness as similar to the crisis stage during Verrakai takeovers, especially when the first magelady to recover morphed from the one who got along best with the children to someone strewing corpses around. Likewise, if the iynisin hadn’t invaded the rearguard (except for the banast taig-ish being finally cast out of Luap) until post-enchantment, it would help to explain why someone with the power to enchant the lot of them at once couldn’t just stop the attack of the iynisin subset without resorting to desperate swordwork. But then, between the power of the gods invoked during the enchantment, and the love of the iynisin for long-term betrayal, it also works the other way.

    And many, many thanks for defeating the red-dress-cut-down-to-here! Funny, I’d always assumed that those were supposed to lure in male readers more than the romance market, rather like the sultry poses on my Dad’s Perry Mason collection.

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 12, 2014 @ 11:13 pm


    Kathy S- It’s a genre thing, and possibly also generational. When it’s a detective story, the sexy female on the cover (who may be the victim or the killer) does (supposedly) attract male readers. But she’s not shown with a male figure on the cover–it’s her and an empty glass, or a blood-stained dagger (and sometimes she’s already dead with an artfully placed bloodstain.) However, when it’s a voluptuous woman and a handsome man on the cover, that’s a romance cue, and–in our genre–a warning to many genre readers that it’s going to be a love story with some fantasy sprinkled on top. “Too touchy-feely.”

  • Comment by Richard — June 13, 2014 @ 2:44 am


    Elizabeth, have you STILL not got your US hardcover author copies? You did better this time than you remember (#102) with Kieri’s hair color and beard.

    (As for “kingly” versus “scruffy”, it is interesting to compare – on Google images – the beards of England’s Kings Henry VIII, Charles I and Edward VII.)

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 13, 2014 @ 6:44 pm


    @Fred I apologize for misunderstanding, if we’re not on the same page we’re at least in the same chapter.

    @Richard For a great kingly beard try Brian Blessed when he plays Henry 8.0

    *deep breath* Back to the book. US Hardcover

    Page 73 “Kieri has had warning from Kostandan” In Limits he got a note from the Sea Prince of Prealíth. Could be he heard from both but with the communication lag we’ve seen so far it would be odd for Arcolin to get info of what Kieri heard before Mikeli did. Also Vladi said he didn’t know Alured was invaded until recently.

    Page 400 Dorrin’s POV describes a boat as a galley but Dorrin doesn’t learn that word till page 411.

    Verrkai minors who aren’t Beclan, we should assume their guardianship was decided off stage… off page?

    The guardians in Aare holding ancestors… The real reason the royal “We” was invented?

    Kieri has a torc made of what looks like alicorn, that’s kind of cool.

    Arcolin’s name. Is it his mother’s? Is it a Hornguardish version of Fitzroy? Did he make it up when he left?

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 13, 2014 @ 7:45 pm


    addendum to previous post.

    @Richard for an ever better kingly beard try Isabella, She-wolf of France. *rimshot*

  • Comment by Richard — June 14, 2014 @ 5:52 am


    Kieri’s facial hair is like his human father’s (see Oath of Gold) – but do elves have beards? Can they ever?

    Page 411 (409 in UK edition): might not be the first ever instance in the world of a man (the captain in this case) explaining to a woman something she already knows.

    Arcolin’s mother: in a culture where it was accepted, and maybe almost obligatory, that the king (starting when he was prince) would have pre-marital and extra-marital affairs, would it be more likely that his partners be girls and women of some rank – the queen’s ladies-in-waiting, for example – than young scullery maids?

    (Though consider also the example of William the Conqueror’s mother.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 14, 2014 @ 8:57 am


    Richard: Horngard’s founding society found nothing wrong with a man of rank having multiple wives and/or concubines. In fact, it was a safeguard to having an heir of the body (and there was high mortality in the back-history.) The society did not have a deep layer of rank distinctions…it was more binary…so inevitably some of the king’s women were commoners. There was far less interest in virginity and having young girls for that supposed virtue, but there was an advantage to bearing a child for the king, whether as an acknowledged wife (“heir-bearer”) or concubine (whose son would not inherit unless all the sons of acknowledged wives had died.) The king supported acknowledged wives (usually only 2-3) and their child by him for life; with concubines, the king supported them until their youngest child by him was 5 winters old, and the children until they were of age. However, having a child by someone else broke that agreement; boys remained in the king’s household, but girls went with their mother and the new partner was supposed to assume responsibility. All boys were raised together, but the sons of acknowledged wives were considered heirs, and the sons of concubines were intended to be their shieldmen when of age. Not body servants, though some of the heirs wanted it that way. Arcolin’s mother was a concubine, but that does not say anything definite about her parentage, except that the king wasn’t afraid of retaliation by her parents. She was a favored concubine, however, and Arcolin’s father liked Arcolin and wished he’d been an heir. Hence the gift of the ring, and listing Arcolin as the one to be chosen first if all the heirs died.

  • Comment by Richard — June 15, 2014 @ 1:45 am


    Going through Crown again slowly, taking notes, I have just finished Camwyn’s chapter in the valley of horses. Can I take it that Pelyan, the least wise ever king of Horngard who was lazy, mean and a drunk, was Arcolin’s father? Father also to Galdalir (his eldest heir?) and Perdal, described in Limits, the latter the boy prince who expected Arcolin to be body servant as well as shieldman, and who would have been an even worse king if he’d survived to inherit.

  • Comment by Richard — June 15, 2014 @ 2:59 am


    N.B. #78: “does Falk come before or after Gird chronologically?” – from Crown‘s last chapter we now know that Falk lived as long before Gird as Gird did before Kieri, Dorrin and Paks. Gird was five hundred winters ago (chapter 19) whereas Falk is twenty times fifty winters young (last chapter). Matharin, the magelord from Kolobia who had shifted bodies so his memories go back well before Gird’s time, remembers hearing about Falk as an historical figure, King Cunias’ youngest son who “never amount to anything”.

  • Comment by Margaret Middleton — June 15, 2014 @ 12:43 pm


    Tuppenny at #39 and GinnyW at #52: I thought that Arvid’s horse HAD made it back north. Or maybe, as described in the scene with Arcolin and the mage-hunters, he’d just found one as close as possible to the first one in looks.

    I also expect Arvid to wind up as Marshal-General eventually, though not necessarily immediately succeeding the current M-G.

    Richard at #89: I’ve duly copied-in the new verses to that song.

    Iphinome: weren’t you credited in an earlier comment-string with “Gird’s Cow”? Is there a complete lyric posted somewhere? Not to mention the tune? Or is “Run Fox Run” also the tune name in the world of us-the-readers, to-where I can find it online-somewhere?

    BTW there’s something stirring in the back left corner of my mind about Old Dun Cows in general.

    Fred at #106: OMG! copied-and-pasted this one also. What do you want it titled, when I sing it, and can I get the rest of your name for proper attribution?

    Richard at #124: I had the sense that Pelyan [who’d been mentioned earlier in the conversation with the Chancellor] was one of Arcolin’s legitimate half-brothers.

    I finished reading _Crown of Renewal_ about 1 AM today, after having re-read the 4 previous books in this story-arc, to refresh my memory on potentially significant details.

  • Comment by Margaret Middleton — June 15, 2014 @ 1:00 pm


    Back to Fred at #126: The verse about getting fresh water at Ha-Kimmer has way-too-many syllables in there somewhere. If you want to take this conversation off this thread, I’m msminlr at gmail.

  • Comment by Fred — June 15, 2014 @ 3:27 pm


    There are a couple of weak spots in that filk – and you put your finger right there. I wasn’t satisfied with the lines:

    “She’ll have to make the best of things,
    On the shores of old,old Aare, it’s a long, long time.

    The Watchers and the Guardian too,
    Will do their very best,
    To get her where she’s going to,
    By the dried-up lake a-west, by the dried-up lake a-west.”

    The original was somewhat free verse, and so I didn’t feel compelled to be precise in the syllable count, but it is weaker because of that.

    I’ll e-mail you offline. Thanks for the good words – I was a bit worried that people would find it too silly. But my kids grew up with filks like “Never Set the Cat on Fire”, so you know that I personally like to have fun with my favorite books and genres.

  • Comment by Richard — June 15, 2014 @ 10:55 pm


    Margaret at #126, the half-brother we heard most about when the Chancellor spoke to Jandelir Arcolin was Perdal, (Jandelir’s least favourite) dead by someone’s blade in a quarrel over a gambling throw. “He’d gone soft, you see. Been too long a prince, waiting”. Which makes me think Perdal was never king, so not the same as the Pelyan whom Camwyn learns about. Either Perdal died before his father, or the throne had gone to another brother (or skipped a generation – “Galdalir had sons”). It sounds now like Perdal, in becoming lazy, mean and a drunk, was taking after his father, and that Arcolin was fortunate to get out of there when he could.

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 15, 2014 @ 11:23 pm


    @Margaret Middleton #126 I just threw out a funny line in a comment in this thread, not a full song. I don’t want to leave you disappointed though so in case the bit of verse I’ve been playing with doesn’t work out I just threw this together.

    With the usual apologies, hope it doesn’t cause a tempest.

    This common cow came a surprise;
    Of simple hide and branches made;
    There were holes where should be eyes;
    and it stank when first displayed,
    But like all things she did change,
    And climbed the platform in the grange.
    All seem’d lost till the rain fell:
    Hark! Now the cow’s here all is well.

  • Comment by Richard — June 17, 2014 @ 4:27 am



    I love what Gird’s Cow stands for, I love the choice of a cow to symbolise it, I love Salis’ rustic earnestness, Arianya’s willingness to acknowledge him, and the humour in the snootiness of certain High Marshals’ reaction to Girdsmen who smell of cow.

    Rhetorical question: which crown is the Crown of Renewal? The magelord Queen of Water’s jewelled crown, or the Cow’s garland of flowers?

  • Comment by Richard — June 17, 2014 @ 4:33 am


    P.S. The Gird’s Cow group: a grass roots moo-vement.

  • Comment by Karen H — June 17, 2014 @ 11:33 am


    Did the regalia have the power to create individual jewels? Is that why the road builders found jewels? Is that why the drought follows the regalia?

  • Comment by Richard — June 19, 2014 @ 4:04 am


    Elizabeth’s latest blog post about socks set me on the road to http://e-moon60.livejournal.com/2014/05/26/ where some other readers have commented on Crown.

    Karen, my impression is that the drought was following the iynisin, however they were doing it. I think it follows that they didn’t need the regalia, just wanted to get the latter away from Dorrin. Maybe what the iynisin had set in motion kept going without them, or maybe Dragon’s sealing them up in Kolobia stopped the drought from getting any worse, but what they’d already done could be rectified only by the water Dorrin freed.

    What was obvious in the Deed, but I’ve to keep reminding myself, is that what Elizabeth does is to tell the stories of individuals. Which, even if they play pivotal roles in momentous events, is not the same thing as telling (not even if through the eyes of participants) the stories of those events. Especially since the individuals she chooses are not masterminds orchestrating events so much as people there on the ground doing their own things as best they can within the limitations of what they know (even if they happen to be kings).

  • Comment by Fred — June 19, 2014 @ 9:39 am



    Thank you for the clear, concise, and perceptive statement about Elizabeth’s writing – it really focuses in on one aspect of her work that appeals to me in a clearer way than I had seen.

    It explains how fantasy can feel “real”.

  • Comment by Karen H — June 19, 2014 @ 1:16 pm


    Richard, thanks for your thoughts. I hadn’t thought about the iynisin causing the drought. I was focused on the regalia and not looking at the bigger picture.

  • Comment by Richard — June 21, 2014 @ 2:58 am


    How is it the Regalia seemed to have a mind of their own? I’d like to suggest the water made into its jewels is a taig. Just as a tree, a grove or an entire forest can be a taig, so too can a spring, a waterfall or the lake in Old Aare besides which three towers were built. Which is why the water had to be released in the particular place where that taig belonged.

    (I was wrong before – I’d been thinking the stones might be from dragon eggs, only snow and water dragons. If there was any truth behind human fancies, as told in the Legends blog about Dragon Colors.)

    Should we start calling it the “One Lake”? “First Lake”, even?

  • Comment by Tuppenny — June 21, 2014 @ 7:13 pm


    My guess was that some of the renegade Verrakai were creating the jewels -sucking up the water to make them was causing the drought.

  • Comment by Richard — June 28, 2014 @ 2:33 pm


    A fitting end for Alured, that his fate became so unimportant that we’ve not been told what happened to him. Last Dorrin saw, the regalia had just strangled him half to death and taken out both his eyes. “Who drinks from me without a right shall live for aye in endless night.” He hadn’t drunk from the goblet, not literally, but obviously the desire had been taken for the deed. I hope he let go of the necklace in time (letting it follow Dorrin into the sea), and survived for his pirate crew to chain him to an oar-bench as a blind slave the rest of his life.

  • Comment by Iphinome — June 28, 2014 @ 6:53 pm


    @Richard To the pain much? There are… alternatives.

    Wouldn’t a more pleasant thought be Alured, Siniava and Barra having each lost his or her chance to be the big bad are now traveling around together singing and doing bad comedy like a Bob Hope road movie? Road to Aarenis.

  • Comment by Richard — June 30, 2014 @ 2:36 am


    Wot, no role for ex-Marshal Haran?

    I’d got Frank (his new stage name) Siniava down for a different show, singing “I did it my way”.

  • Comment by Richard — July 2, 2014 @ 5:35 am


    The beauty of the way our Author tells selected characters’ stories is that she doesn’t have to find ways of info-dumping explanations of how every event worked, leaving us free to imagine for ourselves.

    Matharin’s bloodstone has just been mentioned over in http://www.paksworld.com/blog/?p=2272#comments #19. (He was the magelord from Kolobia who turned into an iynisin.) I can imagine at least two answers for how the bloodstone vanished. One is that an elf knew how to destroy it (afterwards). Another is that Matharin used it up turning himself into the iynisin.

    Having seen one human sufficiently devoted to evil transform when desperate into an Achrya-monster, why not another into an iynisin? Perhaps into an epheme (in a sense) of the particular iynisin who had “invaded” (cultivated a seed or off-shoot of its own personality within) the human?

    Magelord invasion can be destructive or seductive but (from all we’ve seen) the invading personality can only reside in one host at a time, so in either case must abandon its previous host (or original body) when invading a new one. Sekkady abandoning Alured, for example. It doesn’t follow, though, that iynisin invasion has to work the same way.

  • Comment by Genko — July 3, 2014 @ 12:00 pm


    Hmmm… My sense of humans transforming into other entities is that it depends on the other entities. That is, Achrya (or maybe her clerics or other minions) finds a weakness that can be exploited to turn someone to her path, and that may or may not involve transforming shape. The magelord transfer clearly is instigated by the one transferring, not by the one being invaded. A magelord turning into an iynisin seems more mysterious. Ummm, maybe I’m getting too close to a philosophical question about what is the source of evil — we think it comes from outside of ourselves, but maybe it doesn’t …

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