Sunday, 29 June 2014

Return To Avalon II

What does this mean?

"'I'm afraid we've no time for gaiety...We've walking weather ahead.'
"'The Empire's about to expand our way.'" (my emphasis)
-Poul Anderson, The People Of The Wind IN Anderson, Rise Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2011), pp. 437-662 AT p. 467.

Walking weather? The speakers, Christopher Holm/Arinnian and Tabitha Falkayn/Hrill, are human beings but each of them is also a member of a choth. Choths are social organizations of the winged Ythrians. Many of the human beings who share the colony planet Avalon with Ythrians have joined choths. Thus, these "bird-humans" are under choth law and custom, not human law, even though there is a Parliament of Man on Avalon, and, lacking wings, they fly with anti-gravity belts. Thus, "walking weather" must mean "weather too bad to fly in"?

Tabitha uses other bird talk:

"'...a man or woman who tries to be an Ythrian is a rattlewing.'" (p. 502)

"'Can't have it on both wings, son.'" (p. 504)

"'How blows your wind?'" (p. 506)

But when Chris, who is very Ythrianized, asks her why she speaks Anglic to him, she replies:

"'We are humans, you and I. We haven't the feathers to use Planha as it ought to be used. Why do you mind?'" (p. 500)

The intricate Ythrian feathers are so closely connected to muscles and nerve endings that "...their movements constituted a whole universe of expression forever denied to man.'" (p. 455)

When First Marchwarden Ferune of Mistwood Choth addressed Second Marchwarden Daniel Holm in Planha:

"Irritation, fret, underlying anger and dismay, rippled across his body." (ibid.)

His "...rippling 'reminder' note..." accompanied by a quirking of "...certain feathers..." (p. 459) is equivalent to an Anglic sentence. When he says, "'Walkers,'" (p. 462) this reminds Holm that, although many human beings have joined choths, some Ythrians have adopted the human lifestyle of atomic individuals in a global community. (Not participating in choths, do they instead vote, or run for election, in the Parliament?)

When Ferune adds, "'Influence,'" (ibid.) this alone is enough to remind Holm that many Avalonian Ythrians resent human influence and that this might be what makes them more reactionary than any on Ythri. Finally, since Ythrians have always hunted and still hunt live prey and regard their own deaths as God the Hunter stooping on them, Ferune comments, "'...we don't catch time in any net.'" (ibid.)

No comments: