Saturday, 21 May 2016

A Last Look At Ys

This blog is very far from being a fully comprehensive analysis of Poul Anderson's texts. I keep finding words and phrases, like "threnody" and "tiring room," with which I am unfamiliar but I do not always google, track down their meanings or record them here.

Dahut has persuaded Queen Vindilis to banish Rufinus from Ys for at least a year. Rufinus has skillfully persuaded Gratillonius to send him on a long secret service mission into the hostile Roman Empire, first as a courier, then in whatever lowly role he can find. All the pieces for the destruction of Ys fall into place:

hostile Gods;
their instrument, Dahut;
young challengers on her behalf;
Rufinus' absence.

Gratillonius advises the departing Rufinus:

"'Take your last look at Ys.'
"Rufinus sat a long while gazing back at the city where it gleamed against heaven and Ocean."
-Dahut, Chapter XII, section 3, p. 275.

By now, we are familiar with the gleaming city. A comparable fictional city is Susan Howatch's "...radiant, ravishing Starbridge."


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

It's a long time since I reread THE KING OF YS, but I thought Gratillonius sent Rufinus to the Imperial court to act as his agent and representative there. Rufinus was to counteract the intrigues of Gratillonius' enemies in the province of Armorica and give Stilicho the prefect's side of these disputes. And Rufinus not only did this he took care to make friends at court who were influential persons whose views Stilicho took into account.

True, acting as an agent for Gratillonius did not have to be Rufinus, since he was blackmailed by Vindilis into asking for this post. There must have been others at Ys, friends of Gratillonius, who could have done the same job.


Paul Shackley said...

Check DAHUT, Chapter XII, section 3.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I checked out the passage you referred to me. And it seems I was wrong. It was more RUFINUS' idea, not Gratillonius, that he should act as the King's agent at the Imperial court. I had thought Gratillonius' enemies had complained about him at court and Rufinus was being sent to counteract them. Instead, it was all his idea, after Vindilis blackmailed him.