Sunday, 13 August 2017

Some Details In A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows

Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 339-606.

Dominic Flandry thinks:

"Yes, God, Whom the believers say made all triumphant beauty." (Chapter XII, p. 496)

A grammatical error: "Whom" is the subject of "made" and therefore should not be in the accusative case. Anderson must have thought that "Whom" was the object of "say" whereas "say" is followed not by the pronoun alone but by the entire phrase, "Who...made all triumphant beauty."

We always appreciate descriptions of meals, however brief. In Chapter XII, pp. 493-494, Chives serves breakfast to Flandry and Kossara:

shining orange juice;
fragrant coffee;
an omelet;
fresh-baked bread.

Does it come as a surprise when, in Chapter XVII, p. 565, Chives' suspects Flandry's son of treason? Flandry had begun to suspect sixty pages earlier:

"'...could I resist hallooing off -'
"It jarred through him: - off into whatever trap was set by a person who knew me?
...No! This is fantastic! Forget it!" (Chapter XII, p. 505)

This is an Andersonian moment of realization but, unusually, one that Flandry initially suppresses.

On the colonized planet, Dennitza, the Gospodar (head of state) has, since the days of the Founders, addressed Shkoptsina (Parliament) from a "...wooden lectern, carved with vines and leaves beneath outward-sweeping yelen horns..." (Chapter XIII, p. 514) The current Gospodar wears "...the grey tunic and red cloak of a militia officer, knife and pistol on hips..." (ibid.)

Weapons in Parliament - troubled times.

"His words boomed across crowded tiers in the great stone hall, seemed almost to make the stained-glass windows shiver." (ibid.)

Carved wood, stone hall, stained glass - Anderson shows us how people would build traditions even on an extrasolar colony planet. See also Hermes and Avalon.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Yes, you are right, the usually hard headed and determinedly realistic Flandry uncharacteristically held off from investigating an insight from a "moment of realization." Flandy was, quite naturally, unwilling to think badly of his own son.

And I would expect colonies to develop customs, traditions, ceremonies as centuries passed. Both on and off Earth.