Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Juan's Moment Of Realization

While Juan is alone in the wilderness, gathering crystals to decorate the Christmas tree, he is surrounded by nomads who intend to take him hostage - which would be a death sentence because he cannot eat their food and needs a steady supply of antiallergen even to keep breathing. Anderson always makes clear that another planet is not another Earth.

"The warriors trod closer.
"There went a flash through Juan. He knew what he could do, must do." (The Van Rijn Method, p. 330)

This is Juan's moment of realization. Overbeck had allowed him to go into the wilderness but had told him to take a blaster and to use it if necessary. Juan uses it.

"Raising the blaster, he fired straight upward." (ibid.)

Ivanhoans see better than Juan in the dim light of their sun but not if they are blinded by the dazzling flash of a blaster. Juan runs. Later, they are impressed that he could have killed but didn't...

Like Van Rijn, Juan solves a problem in a way that benefits everyone concerned and is good for trade.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And this touches on the mistake Thomas Overbeck made about the Ivanhoans: in his effort to be strictly pragmatic, businesslike, toughly fair to both the city dwellers and the nomads, he made humans look too strange and alien to the Ivanhoans. Both sets of Ivanhoans were both pious and fearless in their own ways. BUT the humans did not seem to regard anything as SACRED. Both Juan's preparing of a Christmas tree and then sparing the nomads who tried to take him prisoner brought home to the Ivanhoans that the humans DID believe in sacred things. That made them more willing to listen to the advice of the humans.