Friday, 2 September 2016

Safety And Predictability

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977), Chapter Eleven.

"In this universe the wild folk of the Middle World might be restore some primeval state where anything could happen. Decent humanity would, on the other hand, always want to strengthen and extend Law, safety, predictability." (p. 66)

To Anderson's heroes, Nicholas van Rijn and Anson Guthrie, safety and predictability are death - although:

"...between the Dog and the Wolf there is only the Law."
-Poul and Karen Anderson, The King Of Ys: The Dog And The Wolf (London, 1989), p. 504.
-copied from here.

Poul Anderson covers every possibility.

Morgan le Fay tries to win Holger to the side of Chaos:

"'you're but bulwarking loutish peasants and fat-gutted burghers...'" (p. 68)

I am sure that the peasants are not all louts and that the burghers are not all fat. But, more importantly, is the Carolingian Earth static? Will peasants and burghers never become merchants, explorers, inventors, scientists or free workers? Are cosmic or social stasis possible? Must this world forever be as described in the myths? The myths assume social stasis so this is probably meant to be the case.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I don't think a civilization which maintains or upholds Law, safety, predictability has to be inevitably a kind of living death. Not if that civilization has outlets and frontiers for ambitious, venturesome, restless individuals to seek their fortunes or fates.

And I think any society which has peasants and burghers has already shown it has the potential to include many different kinds of people, some of them listed by you. Which mean I have to conclude the Carolingian society we see in THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS does not necessarily have to be or become static.