Friday, 26 December 2014

Windy Rim

(This is definitely the last post of 2014. I want to end with a round number and am unlikely to do another ten before New Year. I do not know what 2015 will bring but we will find out.
(Thank you all for many page views and various communications during this past year.)

(Addendum: However, a companion blog has acquired a new post.) (Also here.)

Windy Rim, the ancestral mansion of the Tamarins on Hermes, is enclosed by forest above the Palomino River opposite the Arcadian Hills. Twenty four years before the Babur War, Sandra Tamarin and Peter Asmundsen step out onto a terrace above the river. Shortly after that war, Sandra and Nicholas van Rijn, the father of her son Eric, step out onto what must be the same terrace.

On the first occasion, Sandra and Peter manage to propose to each other:

"'...Pete, I'll admit to you, I wish Eric were legitimate. That his father were a man who could bide with us.'
"'Something of the kind might be arranged,' he blurted."
-Poul Anderson, Rise Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2011), p. 7.

And what happens?

"The breeze lulled, the tilirra chanted, the river laughed on its way to the sea." (ibid.)

The reader notices that laughter after a mutual proposal is appropriate even if s/he does not recognize the literary device called the pathetic fallacy.

On the second occasion, when Sandra has been widowed for several years, van Rijn comes as close as he ever will to a proposal when he invites her to "'...take the Long Trail with [him]...'" (p. 287), on an expedition right outside of known space.

Inside the mansion, Eric and David Falkayn drink and talk in a wood-paneled study with leather books, family portraits, a gun rack and a window open to the sound of the river. Falkayn says:

"'You're going to Lorna and marry her. I'm going to Coya and our kids...Here's to the lot of them...They're what life is all about, right?'" (pp. 282-283)

And that is the last that we see of van Rijn, Falkayn, Sandra or Eric.

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