Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Dominic Flandry meets a nephew of that Merseian who is:

"' the glory of the God, Almighty Roidhun of Merseia, the Race, and all holdings, dominions, and subordinates of the Race.'"
Poul Anderson, A Circus Of Hells IN Anderson, Young Flandry (New York, 2010), pp. 193-365 AT pp. 281-282.

The Roidhun:

may or may not be a figurehead, depending on circumstances;
is elected by the Hands of the Vachs and heads of states;
is always of the landless Vach Urdiolch, presumably " part [as] a check on his powers..." (p. 282);
is regarded by all with awe and pride;
stands for "...the God, the unity, and the hope of a warrior people..." (ibid.);
never comes on-stage in the Technic History;
is represented by the Protector of the Roidhun's Council;
resides in Castle Afon in the ancient Wilwidh capital of Ardaig.

When the Merseians needed to unite their planet, did they decide that, to give the supreme position to a member of any landed Vach would be to empower that Vach too much as against the others and that therefore the only solution was to elevate a member of the one landless Vach? (See here.)

A humorous parallel: Doctor Who was originally aimed at children but came to be watched by teenagers and University students. One country had to be entrusted with data that it could notionally misuse to its own advantage. The Brigadier solemnly intoned, "And, of course, the only country that all other governments would trust not to misuse the information was Great Britain!" University students laughed while school children got a dose of nationalist propaganda. Was the Brigadier's dialogue satire, propaganda or both - deliberately aimed at two different audiences?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I suggest that by choosing to make the office of Roidhun elective from among the members of the Vach Urdiolch, the beings who unified Merseia did intend that as a check on his powers. Because a strictly hereditary succession would make the Roidhun more independent of the Hands and heads of other Merseian states.

And while the reigning Roidhun in A CIRCUS OF HELLS might or might not be a figurehead, even '...the harshest, most dictatorial Protector regarded his Roidhun with something of the same awe and pride that inspired the lowliest "foot" or "tail" ' (A CIRCUS OF HELLS, Chapter XII).

And your last paragraph reminded me of what we see in Poul Anderson's TAU ZERO, when a war and strife weary Earth decided to entrust control of nuclear weapons to SWEDEN, because none of the other powers thought Sweden would aspire to dominate them. Altho, of course, that still led, inevitably, to a rise in Swedish power.