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From: Spectacled Bear <spectacled.bear@pobox.com>
Subject: Re: (whorl) RTTW spoilers: alga's complaints
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 12:04:43 +0000

At 20:16 2001-02-13 -0800, Michael Andre-Driussi wrote:
>Putting aside the godling issue as the lesser, I'm still working on how
>alga is bugged by Jahlee's death.

Let me have a go.

1. Jahlee thinks of herself as a beautiful woman - a bit of a vamp,
one might say. Compare her teasing Hide, and probably others, plus
the guard on Urth, and her general attitude.

2. The Rajan is a) charismatic b) powerful c) the first man who has
ever treated her with kindness, let alone respect. If alga or anyone
else can make a case for her *not* falling in love with him, I'd like
to see it.

3. She meets Nettle. Nettle is her great rival. Even if she was human,
how safe would Nettle? But Jahlee isn't human, however kind Horn has
been to her, however much she wants to be (and Nettle *is*, which would
inspire bitterness and envy in a better person than Jahlee).
Without wishing to appear speciesist, she *is* a blood drinking reptile.
And Horn loves Nettle. He really does, though he may not have been very
good at showing it, and Jahlee can see that.

Given the above, if you were Jahlee, could *you* resist biting Nettle?

And if you were Horn, how would you feel when you saw it?
The original Horn, dour, impulsive, and knowing the inhumi only
as vampiric monsters, would be right in there. Horn who has come
to know Jahlee might feel more charitably towards her, but the
betrayal will surely make this *more* horrific for him. There's
hardly an aspect of his character, Horn or Silk, that isn't going
to be outraged. He loves Nettle. He brought Jahlee to Lizard, and
she betrayed his trust - both her guilt and his own, projected,
are going to add vehemence to his attack. It's significant that
he doesn't calmly use the lethal weapon he carries. This is personal.
I've spent a paragraph arguing for the plausibility of Horn attacking
the inhuma who's biting his wife, but I don't really need to, I think.

Finally, though he didn't intend murder (I'm fairly sure of that),
she's hardly going to get better. There isn't much place in a happy
ending for a jealous vampire, however much we want there to be.


>Aside about RTTW's ending seeming to exhibit authorial fatigue. Oh, really?

Yes, that's nonsense. Sorry, alga, my unicellular friend, but what I mean
is that I don't agree with it at all. I found the resolution of the book
to be as satisfying as advertised, which is very interesting considering
it only involved a change of point of view - "does Horn know he's Silk?"
is a nonsensical question when looked at closely. It's a contradiction,
and the resolution is that only Silk can be Silk. It is more than a change
of perspective as well, of course - Silk recovers.

>If he were tired of the characters I'd expect a retirement of some sort,
>happily ever after or simply dead--I'd hardly expect him to launch them on
>a starship!

I must admit, as an aside to the aside, that of all the possible things
that I could have guessed might happen, Nettle setting out on a starship
was not one of them!


>Can you agree that the situation of Jahlee and Horn is like Jim and Huck
>floating down the river?

It sounds like it to me. There was always going to be trouble when
he got home. I wish there wasn't, but that isn't realistic.


>Of course you are entitled to your opinions.  You don't have to like the
>death of Jahlee--fwiw, I don't like it, but I see that it flows from what
>came before it.  You think it perfunctory, and if it were written in the
>3rd person authorial voice I might agree with you, but it is written by the
>man who did it, and it is too painful for him to write any more than he
>does.  It seems to me that the moment was an explosion, where Jahlee shed
>her mask and was a vampire, and Silk, spiritual son of Pike the Vampire
>Slayer, suddenly burst into violent action.  A side of the narrator he is
>not at all happy about; an aspect which seems to betray all that he has
>been working towards.

And he stops writing. For a compulsive scribbler like Horn, this is an
indication of a highly traumatic experience.

Spectacled Bear.


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