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The Haruchai and the Merewives.

 
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peter
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:05 pm    Post subject: The Haruchai and the Merewives. Reply with quote

Just re-read the bit where Brinn and Cail sucumb to the lure of the Merewives and dive overboard Starfares Gem to their apparent doom in the briney depths of the .....ocean [do we know it's name?].

Not quite sure I get what is happening here really. Firstly, do they sucumb willingly or are they under a 'geas' as such as Kasreyn tried, but failed to achieve. I get the feeling from Brin's subsequent words that giving in to the lure was deliberate on their part in order to 'see the white' of the mountains again.

Secondly, do they regard their 'entrapment' [if indeed it was such] as a thing to be despised, or relished. It seems to have a slightly ambiguous nature to it, like say the doing of heroin. {At the start of the film Trainspotting the voiceover says "The one thing they never tell you about heroin is just how good it feels."} Is this how the H see it. They despise it - but they love it too.

Or are they quite simply under a compulsion from which even they are not able to escape?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooooh...that's a good one.
Mostly I've been going with...
Yea, the initial surge/impetus/lure went directly to the instinct brain, and all force and manipulation---
But after that, it was choice...at least, a choice if/when one of them had escaped and shared with the others the experience.
But first contact just took them...like they were taken by the Sunbane-powered, but could resist after.
I kinda like the ambiguity...because it is one of the things that shows us, in very deep ways, the conflict inherent in persons/peoples.
Honestly, it's the one "real world" [ish] thing raised in the Chrons that I still think about a lot. The libertarian/authoritarian/communal nature [and SHIFTS---no one facet is always right]---only the Dune books [although it pops up in other Herbert, too] really have this thread dealt with with the complexity and integrity and, more importantly perhaps, lack of ultimate superiority of one side over the others.
[[[in a large/grand context, both kind of do decide, but---but, crap, comment deleted, cuz both too tank-ish and too 3rd chrons-ish and too "not chrons"-ish all in one long sentence]]].

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail certainly went back entirely of his own accord, and apparently found them.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The full story of the Merewives would entail a Last Chronicles spoiler. However what we see in the episode in TOT is that the Merewives are able to get the better of Haruchai rectitude, and that this is one more case of the tension between the absolute standards which the Haruchai set for themselves, and by which they judge themselves, and what flesh and blood Haruchai can actually achieve in the fraught circumstances of a world that includes a Despiser, Ravers, Sandgorgons, Elohim, Merewives, a Lurker, certain entitities that it would be a spoiler to describe here, etc.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes - wish in some ways I could have gone with my first instinct to put this in the 'entire chrons' forum, but no - I'd like to deal with this [because it may - no, must be possible] without seeing it with the benefit of [Last Chrons] hindsight. It's clearly [ Embarassed ] a sex thing. The Merewives absolutely get those 'prolific' and 'strong loined' [as we're so often told] mens hormones a'poppin' to the point where they are near about dancing on the spot. But the H are no pushover. These are as I said, the guys that shrugged off Kasreyn of the Gyre as though he were so much chaff, and yet over the side they go as though Thomas and Linden had never existed for them.

Clearly [again in hindsight] the story had to have Brinn a free agent in order to challenge The Ak-Haru; but the H could not [surely] have known this at this stage [or did they know that the Guardian was ........damn! Well, you know.] But why the capitulation to the call of the Merewives? Did Cail go back of his own accord, or was he like an alcoholic who, having stayed sober while he had work to do, once released from that constraint still found himself unable to resist a return to his nemesis. I lean to the belief that the H acted in choice rather than under compulsion. I think Bannor's words that men should not forego sleep and wives in the name of service - any service - had reached them at a deep level and they responded in as extreme a manner as they did everything else. They went chasin' tail!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Merewives showed them the one thing they could not just shrug off. They were shown an illusion/delusion of their mountain home and women that were ready to bond with them. Brinn explained as best he could that the one thing not easily borne by the Haruchai was a loss of wives. I think it was hormones but it was a bit more than that. The Haruchai have this race memory that spans incredible amounts of time. Possibly the memory of those of the Bloodguard that went back to their homes. The memory of giving up wives for centuries has to be a part of their racial memory. That may be why the delusion spoke so strongly to them.

Quote:
The bond joining man to woman is a fire in us, and deep. Did not Bannor speak to you of this? For those who became Bloodguard, the loss of sleep and death was a little thing, lightly borne. But the loss of wives... It was that which caused them to end their Vow when Corruption placed his hand upon them. Any man may fail or die. But how may one of the Haruchai who has left his wife in the name of a chosen fidelity endure to know that even his fidelity may be riven from him? Better the Vow had never been uttered, no service given."


Quote:
"In the song of the merewives we heard the fire of our yearning for that which we have left behind. Assuredly we were deluded, but the delusion was sweet. Mountains sprang about us. The air became the keen breath which the peaks exhale from their snows. And upon the slopes moved the women who call to us in their longing for fire and seed and offspring."

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which brings us neatly back to the thread[s] on Haruchai women! Spoiler:
How much I wish we could have met some of them!

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....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:41 pm    Post subject: Re: The Haruchai and the Merewives. Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Just re-read the bit where Brinn and Cail sucumb to the lure of the Merewives and dive overboard Starfares Gem to their apparent doom in the briney depths of the .....ocean [do we know it's name?].

Not quite sure I get what is happening here really. Firstly, do they sucumb willingly or are they under a 'geas' as such as Kasreyn tried, but failed to achieve. I get the feeling from Brin's subsequent words that giving in to the lure was deliberate on their part in order to 'see the white' of the mountains again.

Secondly, do they regard their 'entrapment' [if indeed it was such] as a thing to be despised, or relished. It seems to have a slightly ambiguous nature to it, like say the doing of heroin. {At the start of the film Trainspotting the voiceover says "The one thing they never tell you about heroin is just how good it feels."} Is this how the H see it. They despise it - but they love it too.

Or are they quite simply under a compulsion from which even they are not able to escape?


Having read the part where the Merewives show up I can see what you mean by a 'geas'. It is possible Brinn and Cail acted out of preservation for the quest. Apart from Seadreamer, it seems like they were the only males capable of answering the call, and so prevented the sinking of Starfare's Gem.

As for the rest, coupling heroin and Trainspotting with Brinn and Cail's epic dive has left me bamboozled.
Or put differently - I'll take you word for it! Razz
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good film though! Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Good film though! Laughing


Are you serious! Irvine Welsh is a nobhead.
Getting rich and famous on the pain and misery of junkies is nothing short of what drug dealers are doing anyway.

He, and Danny Boyle, offered no solution to the problems of heroin.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok. Wink
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'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always astonished at the constricted taste of these mere-dwellers; how in all sooth is it feasible that they desire not Giants? Whoever can resist the charm of a glib-tongued, hairy-chested Giant male rippling with muscle and in possession of a mighty sea-serpent standing second merely to the Nicor? Or a lush Giantess with billowing sails and a mighty keel to match? They ken not what they have omitted from their briny lives!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, Frostheart midear, heed thee not
The Elohimere are a funny lot
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:59 pm    Post subject: Re: The Haruchai and the Merewives. Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Not quite sure I get what is happening here really. Firstly, do they sucumb willingly or are they under a 'geas' as such as Kasreyn tried, but failed to achieve. I get the feeling from Brin's subsequent words that giving in to the lure was deliberate on their part in order to 'see the white' of the mountains again.

As I see it, if there's one key thing about this interlude that is critical for understanding it's implications, it's this: the Haruchai willingly went with the merewives.

Yes, the merewives lured them. Lesser men would have succumbed to their spell. Giants are stronger, and can resist. The Haruchai, too, are stronger, and could have resisted -- if they chose to.

This is why they later withdrew their service from Covenant. They had betrayed Covenant by choosing the merewives despite their promises to him. This is why Cail returned to the merewives in the end. He still desired to be with them.

There's something profound in the way that, knowing it was a snare and a delusion, they yet desired it. Donaldson says that the only truly human form of power is the power to choose how we feel about what happens to us. The Haruchai wielded that power here. They chose how they felt about the dream of the merewives, and then they acted on that choice.

A related topic that covers many of the same points: The Haruchai and The Bane Fire
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting idea, the thing about prefering the illusion to the reality. Cail, afterall, could have returned to the very mountain fastnesses that the mere-wives merely gave the illusion of, but chose instead to go with the deception. Odd.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I pointed this out a long time ago, but it's worth bringing up again.

There is sort of a foil relationship between Covenant and Cail here. Covenant, at least initially, preferred his reality to a fantasy, despite seeing how the fantasy was clearly the better deal. Cail, on the other hand, preferred a fantasy to reality, despite knowing that the fantasy was a deception. In both cases, the fantasy was seen as a snare. And in both cases, they made the more difficult choice, based on the complexities of their desires and their ideas of fulfillment. As Donaldson says, "Now we're talking about a belief structure which transcends the self interest of the individual."

As to why Cail chose the merewives over another kind of life? There are several possible answers. One I like is the notion that Cail considered this a challenge, of the sort that Haruchai like to measure themselves against. He may have thought that he could tame the merewives, bring them back into the fold of humanity. Maybe he was enticed by the notion of a life without responsibilities or harsh realities, the ultimate vacation, the opposite of Haruchai dedication.

But it's certain that he did not think he was going to succumb to them and die.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clearly we can't go into details here, but do you think Wayfriend that subsequent events were already in SRD's mind when he had Cail make this choice. (The foil idea is excellent by the way and really works. And ultimately Cail did in a sense draw the mere-wives into a closer involvement topside.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frostheart Grueburn wrote:
I have always astonished at the constricted taste of these mere-dwellers; how in all sooth is it feasible that they desire not Giants?

Found something in the GI for you, FroGru.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
I'm content with my original assumption that Giantish men are defended from the merewives by their gift of tongues. (It's often difficult to seduce someone who understands what you're *really* saying.)

(04/30/2008)

Note the word "defended" there. This implies that Giants are desired, I think.

peter wrote:
do you think Wayfriend that subsequent events were already in SRD's mind when he had Cail make this choice

I am going to say "no" here. It's a guess, but I cannot find anywhere that Donaldson contradicts this guess. This is my hypothesis because the purpose the merewives serve in the Second Chronicles seems rather complete in and of itself, and Cail's choice is not only fitting, but it is almost dictated. (If he chose the merewives despite his vow of service, would he not still choose them when all vows have been lifted from him?) I think Donaldson had Cail sail into the sunset here, and that was the whole plan at the time.

Regarding Cail's possible motives, I found this in the GI:

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Occasionally, however, I think about the Haruchai from a completely different perspective. One thing has always troubled me about the Elves in LOTR: why haven't they died of boredom? They can live forever, they know virtually everything, and their lives are almost entirely static; so why haven't they collapsed from sheer ennui? OK, OK: maybe there's an explanation hidden away somewhere in their background or nature. That's not my point. My point is that the shared racial memories of the Haruchai pose a similar problem. Individual Haruchai don't live as long as Elves; but since they all know pretty much everything that any Haruchai has ever known, why aren't they bored stupid? Well, because they're driven to take on huge challenges, driven to push themselves past their known limits, driven to *strive*. There's nothing static about the way they look at life.

(10/03/2007)

So perhaps Cails final choice was made because it was a "huge challenge".
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