Sunday, 26 March 2017

More On POVs

See POV and Narrative Points Of View.

Is there a moment in The King Of Ys when a viewpoint character leaves a room but we continue to be told what is happening in the room, thus raising a question about the status of the point of view (pov)? I remember posting about something like this but can't remember volume, chapter, details etc.

Poul Anderson's povs are usually tightly controlled. If a passage is narrated from the point of view of a character, then the omniscient narrator does not in that passage impart any information that is unknown to that character - unless anyone can find an example to the contrary?

I can illustrate what I mean by quoting from another author. At the end of Chapter 2 of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008), Lisbeth Salander guesses that it was Blomkvist's infidelity with Berger that had ended his marriage to Abrahamsson. In Chapter 3, in a passage narrated from Blomkvist's pov, we read:

"...he was helplessly drawn to Berger. Just as Salander had guessed, it was his continual infidelity that drove his wife to leave." (p. 56)

The author and the reader know of Salander's guess but Blomkvist does not. In fact, we read:

"Blomkvist had never heard of Lisbeth Salander and was happily innocent of her report delivered earlier that day, but had he listened to it he would have nodded in agreement..." (p. 57)

Thus, the pov is now that of someone writing later with access to what Salander said and to what Blomkvist thought on that day.

In a later volume of Larsson's Trilogy, we are told that two characters each independently known to us are in the same cafe but unaware of each other. Thus, this information at least is not imparted from either of their povs. This might be regarded as corner cutting. Another approach, requiring more words, is two point of view passages such that we read of character x in the cafe at a certain time, then of character y in the cafe at that time and thus realize that both were there at the same time.

Does Poul Anderson ever cut across povs to impart information in the way that I have shown Larsson doing?

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I had to read this more than once before I was sure I understood what you were saying. No, I don't recall Poul Anderson, or other SF writers like Stirling cutting across POV in the manner described by you.

    Sean

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