Marriages and Naming in Tortallan vs. Raka Cultures

Tammy: But not all marriages are going to be the same; it’s a world where most people of the middle and lower classes begin to marry at fifteen and sixteen and many young women marry around 18; and not everyone is going to go into marriage with a solid and sedate marriage plan or way of dealing with one another in their relationship. Some of us–most of us–make it up as we go. Remember, we haven’t seen the Contes or the Coopers in their married life before the kiddos arrived.

Also, if you look at post-war populations, marriages and childbirths skyrocket. People want to prove they’re alive; they want to prove they survived. They want to get married and they want to have children. That’s what Aly and Nawat did. They lost three people they were close to, and they were still alive. Also, they weren’t exactly counting on having three kids at once. No, Nawat didn’t do things as we think people should do them. He is what? Three years old? He’s still learning.

Tammy: A word about people getting named.

In Tortallan culture, it is considered very bad luck to name a child after someone who is still alive. In our culture, plenty of people name their children after someone who is alive or someone who has passed. I got the idea for the Tortallan/Eastern Lands bias from Quaker belief, actually. People name their children for someone who has died because there is something about that person they miss or they want to honor. This is particularly true in families that have fought in wars, like the royal family and the household at Pirate’s Swoop. The familes at Mindelan and at Trebond, with one or two exceptions, have chosen different names.

Raka belief is stricter. You may not name a child exactly for one who is passed until three generations have gone by, for fear of bad luck. You may only refer to the lost one if the name is changed to a masculine or feminine variant. Thus the names of the Crow children.

Other faiths believes different things, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

SOURCE: [MR:N.1, N.2]


House Sorting, Naming Conventions, and Languages

Tammy: It’s funny–I was thinking Jon is a Slytherin, too, keeping his secrets and his thinks pretty much to himself, being ambitious, and being more Goddess than Mithros. (She does have those snakes wrapped around her arms!)


Tammy: No, Daine is not a Stark. She learns, and she uses her head. She doesn’t widen her pretty eyes and wait for a tree to fall on her.


Tammy: I know all the English and American historical naming conventions, and as a history buff it kills me to break them, but as someone says, when I use the same name twice, people think it’s significant. So, I can’t do that, not really. I had already decided when I began to write these books that I would follow Quaker naming conventions (other groups do it, too; that’s the one I know best) and have people not name children after anyone living. Even when they do name children to honor someone who has gone to the Peaceful Realms, oftentimes the name is a different version or the version given to a child of the opposite sex.


Tammy: Common is what Latin was in our world, spoken in the Eastern lands and at least the northern parts of Carthak, because it all used to be one empire. Scanra has its own language, ditto the islands and the K’mir and points east.


Governments in Tortall Universe, and Kel on Jonathon

I have a couple questions, first and foremost about Tortall’s government. From what I can tell there are restrictions set up on Jon’s power, such as councils of nobles. Yet what’s the specific arrangement? How many councils are there, and how are places determined? Is it a parliamentary monarchy, and are they moving more towards democracy? How many levels are there before laws are passed? Finally, is Tortall one of the countries with more restrictions on the monarchy or less, for example, in Carthak does the emperor have absolute power?

Tammy: At the risk of disappointing you, the mysteries of government will be revealed in the Tortall Companion when it comes out in 2013. The realm is a monarchy, but the king is obligated by law to listen to the councils, and if all of them agree that he has shown a pattern of ignoring their counsel, restrictions can be placed on his power. (Honestly, it’s easier and cheaper to rebel than to get all of these people to agree.) The Carthaki emperor can have more absolute power if he can terrify enough of his nobles into agreeing with him. In Tortall, the de facto rule is that if the nobles agree with the monarch, that’s that, unless the mages and commons band against them. It keeps everyone in line. Tusaine and Galla are more monarchies like Carthak, Maren like Tortall, and Saraine and Scanra can be messes. Tyra is a parliamentary monarchy. The Yamanis are an empire.

And how has her opinion on Jonathan changed from when she was a page?

Tammy: Her opinion of Jon is somewhat more balanced.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers – Fall 2011 Chat with Tamora Pierce!]

Why Beka/Rosto Wouldn’t Last, and Development of Humanity

I really like Rosto but I have never seen him and Beka ending up together. They’re both too smart to deny that one of them would either have to make dramatic and, I think, unfair compromises or the relationship would end badly for one or both of them. Actually even with the compromises the relationship probably still wouldn’t work.

Tammy: I’m particularly appreciative of your understanding of Beka and Rosto. Alanna and George were not at all in the same position, and besides, George had to either turn against his noble friends or give up being the Rogue. Fortunately for everyone, the kind of work that would keep him from getting bored was available, or I fear he would have gone back to his old ways. Beka, though, for all her friendships, is not a loose Dog, and Rosto is a Rogue, blood and bone.

I loved Terrier, because it was so realistic about the atmosphere of the time – from bribery to children dying all the time to the vocabulary that substantially differed from the other books. I’m working in Legal History and I appreciate all the work that must have gone into researching how courts and law enforcement worked then. My personal pet peeve with fantasy is when our 20th century sensibilities are enforced on characters who just can’t feel that way.

Tammy: A particular thank-you for this! I have worked very hard to stay as true to the time as I can, crushing my own humanitarian impulses. I have to be so careful in writing about things like crime and slavery for that very reason. These people cannot react as we would. Even Becka’s own anti-slave feelings are rooted in her own near-brushes with it and her discovery that the trade breeds more crime, not a moral feeling that it’s wrong. Humanity won’t develop that for hundreds of years. My research has actually been fascinating. It never occurred to me, before these books, that our modern warehousing form of prisoners is fairly modern, and that prisons were just waystations in the past.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers – Bloodhound]

Races and Fan Toss

Tammy: The peoples (races) of Tortall are the same as those of our world.  I based the Bazhir on the Bedouin tribes on Africa and Arabic, and the Shang system is pretty much the same as the Chinese and Japanese temples where martial arts was taught (except mine admit women).

The fan toss game is real, but as far as I know, it’s done with wooden fans, not edged ones.  Still, it seems to me that if you were crazy enough, you could play it that way!  And it wouldn’t be done with separate knives.  Instead of wooden ribs, the fan would be made of steel ribs, very thin, and the outside edge is the sharp one.  You play the game by catching the hub where all the ribs are fastened together.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce – Tortall] (Archive by WebCite)

Zahir, Kara, and Kourrem

In the POTS series, what was the reason (or one of the reasons) Jonathan took Zahir Ibn Alhaz as his squire? What happened to him?

What became of Kara and Kourrom (from WHRLAM}? What happened to their tribe? Do Jonathan and Alanna still visit occasionally?

Tammy: Jon took Zahir for a squire for political reasons largely, since Jon is the Voice and he works hard to knit the Bazhir into the rest of the kingdom.  But kings do have squires if they want, and Jon always has one on duty as his personal attendant.

Of course Jon and Alanna visit the tribes regularly (they did as part of the progress in SQUIRE).  Kara married Halef Seif, and teaches magic as well as raising her family.  Kourrem became a wander mage.  She visits not only other tribes, but other places, teaching and learning.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce – Tortall] (Archive by WebCite)

Developing Tortall

Tammy: Tortall actually just grew.  I started with the girl and her brother, and the destiny their father decreed for them, and I needed a castle.  Then I needed a ride to the royal palace, and a city to surround the palace.  After that came the palace itself, and the forest, and bit by bit I filled out the surrounding area until I realized I needed a country.  I’m not really sure how I came up with it, though obviously I had Spain in my mind somewhere.  As I wrote, I filled in the map.  I feel like every place ought to have something like a Mediterranean, and then an Africa, and I filled in island archipelagos becase I like archipelagos.  And the reason the Tortallan map gets more complex and detailed with each rendering is because I discover different parts of the countryside.


I first went back to Tortall because I wanted to see how things had changed with a reformer king and queen.  Then I began to wonder how the first known girl to try out as a knight would do it, and what problems she would encounter.  I knew there would be political issues to deal with as well.  You could say the universe has unfolded, like the map, as I realize certain questions in the way the world and the people grow simply demand answering.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce – Tortall] (Archive by WebCite)

Mindelans, The Noble Books, and Conte-Naxen

1. How many siblings does Kel actually have? The books mention three brother and I think three sisters, but there are sure a lot of nieces and nephews at Mindelan for just a few siblings that couldn’t have been married for that long.

Tammy: Let’s see–in descending order of age: Anders is the oldest.  He and his wife Vorinna have five kids, of whom Lachren is the oldest; Lachren’s now a page.  Patricine* is next of the sibs; she’s married to Toshuro noh Akaneru; they have two kids and live in the Yamani Islands with his family.  Inness and his wife Tilaine have three kids.  Conal is an unmarried knight.  Demadria** recently married Gavin*** haMinch; they have one on the way.  Adalia**** married Merovec of Nond; they have two, having ::cough:: gotten started early ::cough::.  Oranie married Ortien of Hannalof.  Avinar is a scholar/teacher at the City of Gods.  And Kel is the youngest.

2. How far back do the noble books (Book of Gold, Book of Silver) go? What’s the cut off date between the books?

Tammy: The Book of Gold begins 630 years before Alanna’s time, when Tortall, a state of the fallen Thanic Empire that once covered all of the Eastern Lands, set itself up as a realm of its own, setting down the names of the ruling families in a parchment book with gilded letters and plates of gold for the front and back.  Since the sheets of parchment were set it with no way to add unless the book was taken apart, the length of time and the number of families listed in it ran as long as there was space in the book!  The Book of Silver began 170 years later, with the same construction, only in silver.  Once that ran out of pages, 245 years later, The Book of Copper was begun, and they’re still using that.

3. Will we ever see any of the Yamani Islands firsthand? What we hear about them from Kel sounds interesting, as do the women from the Islands ;]

Tammy: I don’t have any plans, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever get there!

4. How far back does the Conte-Naxen partnership (for lack of a better word) go? How are the families related or have the Naxens always just worked with the Contes?

Tammy: They try not to intermarry too often, but they’ve worked together off and on for a couple of hundred years, what with one thing and another.  A Naxen was one of the Old King’s best generals, his right hand, and he married a Naxen third cousin.

5. Is there any map, even a sketch, that you have of the whole Eastern Lands? I would like to see Sarain, Maren, the Roof of the World, etc. in relation to Tortall.

Tammy: Not yet–I only have the overall one for LIONESS RAMPANT.  By a companion to Tortall is in the works, and I promise, there will be more maps!

NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
*This is the second time Tammy has called her Patricine, as opposed to Patrissa in Pronunciation Guide to Tamora Pierce Characters.  It is unconfirmed as to what her true name is.
**Demadry according to Pronunciation Guide to Tamora Pierce Characters, and Demadina according to this post on Sheroes.  It is unconfirmed as to what her true name is.
***Gelvan according to this post on Sheroes.
****Originally mistyped as Adelia, although Tammy has made this mistake before.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Champion’s Duties, Scanran War, King Roald, Duke Gareth, and the Bazhir

1. Did Trebond participate much in the Scanran War? In Afta Alanna mentions that Trebond deals with Scanran bandits most years – were Coram and Rispah heavily involved in the war too?

Tammy: They served as a supply depot and hospital, for one.  Jonthair fought as a knight; Alinna rode with the Queen’s Ladies,* helping Thayet keep the rest of the realm in order; Thomsen was squire to Emeric of Legann,** serving near the City of the Gods, and Mylec was with the Queen’s Riders, near Frasrlund.  Daran, Liam, and Thayine worked as scouts.  Coram is too old for combat or scouting, so he coordinated supplies and housed troops coming through while Rispah worked in the hospital.  Is that heavily involved enough for you?

2. How did the Scanran war end? After Kel got rid of the Killing Devices, was it just a series of battles when the Tortallans bit-by-bit kept on winning and killing the Scanrans, or was there one huge battle where they smashed them?

Tammy: It’s nearly impossible to stage a huge, set-piece battle in mountain country–there are too many places to hide, and no clear lines of sight that extend far enough to do any good.  No, the fighting piddled out over the next two years, a skirmish here, a clash there.  Killing Blaise just got rid of the killing devices.  It ended finally in the spring of 464.

3. In Trickster’s Choice you say that Alanna wields the Crown’s authority when neither Jon or Thayet are present, and you’ve said on Sheroes that her job basically means that she’s either fighting bandits or is by the King’s side 24/7. What does the King’s Champion actually do?

Tammy: When a serious issue of law comes up somewhere, something that must be settled in that place, by the monarchs, and neither of them can go, they send the Champion, who is permitted to speak the Crown’s justice.  This is pretty rare, but it does happen.  If Alanna is present at a quarrel of some kind where people refuse to take the matter to court, or if they can’t afford to take it to court and they don’t want a village court to decide, they can agree to accept the Champion’s ruling.  This is less rare.  Most often, a noble will be brought to court on a matter of law, and that noble will insist on trial under the original laws of that kingdom, as is every noble’s right.  It’s a risk, because everyone knows Jonathan wants everyone to rely on the courts of law and their judgment.  Under the original law, the defendant’s guilt or innocence can be revealed in trial by combat.  The defendant chooses his or her champion, while the Crown is always represented by the King’s Champion.  (This is where Alanna being glued to the king most of the time comes in.)

This choice is not as common as it once was.  In the beginning of Jon and Thayet’s reign, every noble with a grievance big enough to give them combat as an option chose it, because they were convinced the stories about Alanna were inflated and they would beat her handily.  After six deaths, Jon, Alanna, and Thayet sat down and worked out something else.  Now Alanna maims her opponent, and the requests for trial by combat fell by three-quarters from those first four years.  Apparently being handicapped for life is not nearly so romantic, or noble, as dying in combat.

Does she also involve herself in politics – convincing nobles and priests and merchants to agree to certain laws that Jon and Thayet want?

Tammy: I was just informed, very firmly, she does not.  According to her, that sort of nonsense is for people who care to waste their lives gabbling like hens.

Or is she just Jon’s slave? :P,

Tammy: I won’t pass that on, if it’s all the same.  I have to live here, too.

4. How old was Duke Gareth when Gary was born? Does Gary have any siblings?

Tammy: No, Gary’s an only child–his father married Roanna of Irimor when he was in his 40s, having spent most of his time until then soldiering.

5. How old was Roald (Jon’s dad) when he inherited the throne? and how old was he when Jon was born? Did Lianne have problems with fertility, or was Jon’s birth so bad that she was told she can’t have any more children?,

Tammy: Roald was 26 when he married Lianne, 19; Roald was 31 when Lianne had Jon.  Lianne had problems with fertility and a couple of miscarriages, then her pregnancy was so rough, and she had so many health problems, that she was advised not to try again.  She did anyway when Jon was three, because she knew her duty, but she nearly died, and after that she couldn’t get pregnant again.  That child was stillborn.

6. do the Bazhir still think that the Burning Brightly One and the Night One destroyed the ysandir, or have they accepted it was their Voice and the Woman Who Rides Like a Man?

Tammy: They have no problem at all with believing that the Voice and the Woman could not be both.

NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
*In an earlier post at Random Buzz, Alinna was a member of the Queen’s Riders, not the Queen’s Ladies.
**In an earlier post at Random Buzz, Thomsen was a knight who served in the King’s Own, not a squire serving a knight master.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Slavery and the Balitangs

It seems rather unfair (and not particularly conducive to political harmony) for those slaves who rebelled to be free, but those who didn’t to remain slaves. At the same time, abolishing slavery would cripple the Isles’ economy.

Tammy: Oh, no, Dove’s freeing the slaves, and even just the ones who rebelled, would give birth to another revolution!  What she does is give those slaves who rebelled a cash payment which they can use to buy their own freedom, or a child’s, if they pass a mage-test that they did take part in the rebellion.  Dove isn’t particularly against slavery–the Eastern Lands, except for Scanra, and stopping at Maren’s eastern border–are an exception, not the rule, and Maren’s system of bond servitude on the big farms doesn’t bear inspection.  Tortall, Galla, Tusaine, and Tyra–and supposedly Maren–are slave free because it’s not economical.  You need large farms to make slavery pay off, or a long-term slave economy.

Also, what sort of role will Petranne play in Dove’s reign? Is she a Princess, and considered Dove’s heir?

Tammy: No–she’s all luarin, remember.  She has no raka blood, and that’s what put Dove on the throne.  Petranne is a duchess, and whoever marries her will have her father’s lands, plus the close connection to the queen.

Will she make a political marriage (future aliance with Tortall? :D)

Tammy: She’ll marry politically, certainly!

Also, who succeeded Elsren as the titled head (Duke) of the Balitangs? Was it one of the girls, or did it pass to a male relative?

Tammy: Winnamine is guardian, and the title will pass to Petranne’s husband, since there are no other male relatives close enough in Mequen’s line.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Security, Varice, and Maps

Were there any consequences for the folks who smuggled the darkings to Aly, even if it was just a stern talking-to or a “For Mithros’ sake don’t do it again!”? Giving the kind of surveillance magic(/technology, to continue the real-world analogy) that would make the CIA or even Mossad (whose tech makes the CIA jealous) drool seems like a pretty big breach of security.

Tammy: No one got caught. The only reason Taybur found a darking was because he saw it bouncing on the king’s bed, with the king. No spy magic picked up on them, because they weren’t made of mortal magic and they didn’t employ mortal magic to communicate. Frankly, I’m not certain that a spell could be made to pick up on their presence, given that Ozorne was a Stormwing working in the Divine Realms to create them.

Will we be seeing Varice in a, er, more flattering light in the Numair books than we saw in Emperor Mage?

Tammy: Mmmmmm . . . could be. Could be not. Could be both. }8-D

Is there a larger/more complete map of the Tortall planet/universe somewhere, or is what you see in the books really what you get? (The most complete map I’ve seen to date is the famous ‘Tortall and Hinterland’ map from an older release of Lioness Rampant

Tammy: I have several, though not one of everything (too big). However, Random House and some very talented people I know are commencing work on a Tortall Companion, so if anything is guaranteed to get me off of my butt to do a complete one, that will be it. (No, no publication date yet–they don’t even have a contract signed. Details on my webpage and livejournal––as they happen!

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

When Every Sword was Needed…

Tammy: This* is the time when women are knights, though not in equal numbers to the men–I’d say about a third are women.  In another century the numbers will finish a long, slow decline that begins in Beka’s time and ends about a hundred years before Alanna’s.  (Actually, they forbade the addition of more female knights about thirty years before the last ones died–the realm was overloaded with peacekeepers, the conservatives were in power, and the cult of the Gentle Mother was at the height of its popularity, so it was decided the realm no longer needed its women to help keep the peace.  It was something that happened throughout the Eastern Lands.)

In the meantime, girls and boys train and fight under the same conditions.

NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
*Around the time Provost’s Dog/Beka Cooper Trilogy takes place

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Bloodhound Progress Report #2

Tammy: So I have a confession to make–this book isn’t coming as easily as some of the others. I suspect that counterfeiting just doesn’t appeal to me as much as murder, epidemic disease, war, forest fires, and earthquakes do as plots. There’s so much explaining to do with counterfeiting to do. I have to come up with a ring of counterfeiters (colemongers, in the book), and hide them where you won’t spot them so easily. (Coles are fake coins.) I have to figure out who’s making the coles (colesmiths), and hide them even deeper. How do you know a coin is fake? And how do you set out a major hunt for the counterfeiters without tipping off the whole country?

Because you see, that’s the last thing Lord Gershom wants, and it’s the last thing the Dogs who know there are false coins making their way into Tortall’s moneystream want. There are always a few coles about, but this is a lot of them, which could turn the whole national economy on its ear. A search for the colemongers and the colesmiths has to be done quietly, by Dogs who can be trusted to keep it close. And how many Dogs would that be?

The hard Dogs of the Lower City have assembled some information, and all of it’s bad. They know gamblers from Port Caynn are losing a lot of false silver coins in games in Corus and on the riverboats. Lord Gershom decides to start a quiet search within Corus for the fakes, and to send word to the Deputy Provosts of the cities, to warn them and to get them started on their own searches for colemongers. He sends Dogs out on the riverboats.

And to Port Caynn he sends two Dogs who just happen to be free. Remember that riot? Tunstall got both his legs broken. Yep. Both. And the problem with all those healings in the past is that he’s built up an immunity. Healing now only takes him so far. The rest he has to do the hard way. That means Beka and Goodwin have each other. Goodwin is familiar with Port Caynn, as it happens, and she worked on the report about the colemongers for Lord Gershom. So did Beka. She also has the powerful Duke of Queenscove screaming for her hide because she talked back to his drunken son. Lord Gershom thinks Goodwin and Cooper are just the pair to send to Port Caynn to snoop around off the leash.

On the surface, they are there under the guidance of Sergeant Nestor Haryse, Gershom’s cousin, posted to the Day Watch in Deep Harbor District in the port city to learn the way Dog work is done Port Caynn. They wander the city during the day, talking to people and looking around. At night, they’re supposed to party in the gambling dens, losing money, winning coles, being sociable, making friends, and keeping their eyes open for the colemongers. Because all threads lead so far to Port Caynn.

Beka has already made friends in Port Caynn, too, it seems. It happened while she was still in Corus. One is a limber, laughing gambler named Dale, another is a hulking, hard-handed caravan guard named Hanse, and the third is his fellow guard, the slab-like Steen. (They all met during the riot.)

The problem is that Beka’s and Goodwin’s hunt may be over before it begins. Port Caynn’s Rogue, Pearl Skinner, just had them kidnapped and brought to her. Pearl is a very nasty piece of work, and she doesn’t like having strange Dogs in her city. She really doesn’t like them interfering with her pickpockets, as Beka has already done. And she suspects that Beka may be a spy for Rosto, and that Rosto may be planning a move against her. Pearl’s not as cool-headed as Rosto. She’s thinking that now that she has these two Dogs, she might just send them back to Rosto in a box.

SOURCE: [Official LJ]

Peerage and Titles

Tammy: Okay, here are the ones I use, and they’re all dependent upon the inheritance of a title, which is usually bound to the inheritance of property:

  1. Duke
  2. Count (Raoul is a count’s heir)
  3. Lord (I didn’t want to use Viscount because it’s French-based)
  4. Baron

Lord and Count are actually pretty much equal–you see Lords in the southern half of Tortall where the title would be Count in the north, which is why there’s a Lord in charge of Port Legann. As you’ll see in Provost’s Dog, the southern half of what we know as Tortall was originally a separate country with its own way of doing things.

Sir and Lady Knight are titles granted to individuals by the crown and aren’t passed on. Alanna prefers “Sir” because she was making a point. Kel prefers “Lady Knight” because she’s making a different point. Jon just throws up his hands and tells the Master of Ceremonies to ask the ladies for their preference.

SOURCE: [50590]

Liam, Roger, Black City, the Jewel, Bazhir, and the Voice

 1 Why did Liam hate Roger when no one else did? He said he’d tell Alanna someday, but he never did. It can’t be just because he was a sorcerer – did he know something, or just suspect it?

Tammy: Because Liam met Roger in Carthak and had seen how he acted there, like a prince dispensing favors among the healers, rather than somebody who just wanted to help people. He’d even seen Roger hit slaves. He never bought Roger’s “I’m reformed and humble” act because he didn’t think Roger had it in him.

2 What happened to the Black City after Alanna and Jon vanquished the Yslander? Did the Bazhir just stay away from it like a legend? Did they stop guarding it? Was there much rejoicing (OK, that’s Monty Python, but whatever)? Were the Yslander really demons, or something like the kraken? After all, we never heard about demons again.

Tammy: The Black City’s still there. While the Ysandir are gone, the Bazhir are never going to feel it’s a safe place to be. Demons are somewhere between immortals and elementals, I suppose. They never got banished to the divine realms, and there aren’t that many of them, so I haven’t had to deal with them again. ::cough::ignoring that I created them::cough:: It’s a big old world, after all, and I haven’t really done that much exploring in it. Though I know Rebba will be doing some traveling. Maybe she’ll run into some.

But I don’t see the Bazhir ever treating the Black City casually. They have very long memories. And who knows what kinds of bad spirits still inhabit that glossy stone and can come out now that the Ysandir no longer hold the spell chains that keep them captive? Bwaaahaaahaaa . . . Djinn, anyone?

3 In Squire, Raoul says that there was a famine after King Jonathon used the Dominion Jewel against Roger. But when he used it in the Immortals War, there wasn’t, or at least we don’t hear about it. Was that just because during the Coronation Revolt he was holding the land together, rather than fighting with it? I mean, the whole “all things have a price” cliché feels like it should either be relevant both times or not at all. And will Roald inherit it?

Tammy: On Coronation Day Jonathan had to use the Jewel to hold the entire country together. Since then he’s been very careful to use it only in small areas, and to try to have stored-up power in other crystals on hand in the royal treasury or at the university to replace what the Jewel uses, so the Jewel doesn’t take it from the land later. The Jewel replenishes itself with what’s handy. Jonathan can deal with small shortages if he must, but the famine was pretty grim. These days he tries to be prepared for anything. As Armitage says in this thread, just because I don’t get a chance to include it in the books, that doesn’t mean it isn’t covered–the kingdom has to run even in the places I’m not writing about it.

4 In The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, one of the important Bazhir (sorry, forgot the name) tells Alanna that the shamanistic school will grow and become a rival of the City of the Gods. So why haven’t we ever heard from it again?

Armitage: Tammy said this: The Bazhir school is flourishing, but it’s mobile, like the Bazhir. Some scholars are invited to come and lecture, and some actually stay; some Bazhir come to the university to study. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
In a topic called Questions about the Royal University which can be found here:

Tammy: And Armitage posted the link to the thread where I answered that one recently.

5 After the death of Jonathon, what would happen to the Dominion Jewel? Would it just be passed to Roald/heirs of Tortall – and if it was, could he use it? Second, what about being Voice of the Tribes? Isn’t passing that one going to kill him? Therefore, isn’t getting killed in battle (Squire, “Roald is of an age…”) not exactly the smartest thing to do? Who will become Voice after him?

Tammy: The Jewel may or may not pass to Roald. It has been known to pass to a line’s heirs, and I imagine it will probably go through a couple of generations of Contes. Eventually, though, there will be an heir who isn’t really fit to rule, and the Jewel will move on. It’s done it before, it will do it again. But not, I think, with Roald, even if he is a bit stiff, poor boy.

The Voice isn’t hereditary. It’s never hereditary. And I don’t think it’s necessary to die in passing it on, it’s just that Ali Mukhtab was sick, and the passing killed him. Even if Jonathan were killed in battle, or there was some accident, I can’t believe it’s never happened in all Bazhir history. There would be some immense magical working to bring the Voice back, but they would create a new one if they had to. And since it isn’t near time to pass the Voice to the next person, I have no clue as to who the new Voice will be. I only know at most into a couple of years into the future, and for the time being I don’t even know that. For the next few years, all the books I have to write take place well before the events in TRICKSTER’S QUEEN, so I haven’t really begun to think about the books that take place after that. It’s only then that I’ll be able to see what’s going on for the next couple of years.

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The Royal University, Exchanges, and the Bazhir school

Tammy: The Royal University is actually mostly academic, though there are schools for healing which teach both magic and academics, and a school for mages. You can enter if you pass the examinations, which means between the ages of 14 and 16 for most people.

Most programs end with a scholar’s degree at about four years, but again, you have to pass examinations. You can stay on for a Master’s degree for advanced scholarship if you want to teach on the university level there or at other schools, but a scholar’s degree is enough to get you work teaching at royal schools or employment at libraries where they value scholarship; a two-year instructor’s degree is enough to get you work as a tutor with the right recommendations. That’s all the Brain Train stuff–the engineering instruction, healer’s instruction, and mage instruction is good for real work. And they sometimes swap instructors and do inter-school year abroad with the universities in Carthak and Udayapur. I think with the Yamani marriage there’s even talk of an exchange program with the Yamani university.

The Bazhir school is flourishing, but it’s mobile, like the Bazhir. Some scholars are invited to come and lecture, and some actually stay; some Bazhir come to the university to study. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

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Zahir and Joren

Zahir and Joren.  Why do they like each other?  Why do they like each other? They’re both ultra-conservative, so according to SOTL they should hate each other, because Zahir is a Bazhir and Joren is an old-fashioned noble.  Also, how did Zahir become a page? Did Jon nobilize (is that even a word?) his family?

Tammy: “The enemy of my enemy is also my friend.” They became friends because they both respected the same traditional “manly” ideals, and both saw Kel as an offense against nature. They probably didn’t talk other politics very much, just the increase of females in the fighting professions. And in any case, Zahir realized that he had more important things to do than bully people who were already there to stay.

The Bazhir women made headway in one tribe because Alanna was shaman whether the Bazhir liked it or not. Kourrem and Kara have made some inroads, but it’s still going to be a long, slow process, going better in some tribes than in others.

And Jon did create fiefdoms for Bazhir lords, precisely so he could get the Bazhir into the ranks of knights.

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So, I was wondering what the Mages wore at the Royal University of Tortall? The Carthaki students have coloured robes signifying what level they’re at… do Tortallans have that too?  And since I’m asking, what’s the order of the Carthaki robes, does anybody know?“A scarlet robe from the university in Carthak means you have your mastery–the same level as the Mithran black-and-gold robe. University yellow robes are adepts.”Another quote: p. 164 in “Emperor Mage”

“White robes, explained Kaddar, plain or with colored trim, meant a novice in any program of study. Wide bands of color at cuffs and hem meant the wearer was a journeyman in his course of study. Sold-colored robes indicated mastery; trim on a solid-colored robe meant advanced mastery.” So… in conclusion (so far)…

Carthaki System:
White -> Novice
Yellow -> Expert
Red/Scarlet -> Mastery
Black -> Uber Advanced Mastery

Tortall System:
Mithran black-and-gold -> Mastery

Another question: Mithran and University aren’t the same, are they?

Tammy: The university is on the north bank of the Olorun, at the edge of the city, so if anything blows up, it won’t take too many people with it.

Robe colors are pretty much the same through the university system (there’s one in Maren and Galla, but they don’t have very good departments for magical studies like the Tortallan one and the Carthaki one), as an accurate measure of someone’s ability. There are also smaller schools, colleges, scattered everywhere, but not everyone has the bucks to support a full-fledged university. The school at the City of the Gods is a theological university: whatever you do, once you enter advanced studies (there’s a basic program for young noblemen and noblewomen, like high school) you come out of it a Mithran priest or priest/mage. And it was the closest convent school Alanna’s father could send her to.

There are thousands of mages out there without degrees, but the parchment on the wall means you can charge higher prices and get magical workings that are uniform in quality. Most of those non-university mages learned from local mages, or even traveled from mage to mage to study. Some mages have their own schools, similar to Roger’s at court, but if you want to make it as a top dollar professional, university is the path you have to take.

Most people get in by passing the entrance exams at 16 or older, by paying their fees, and by passing their classes. (Sound familiar?) There are a few exceptions. They admitted Numair at 12, for excellent reasons.

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Diversity of Religion

Tammy: Ummmm–actually, religion is quite diverse. Mithros worshippers don’t invariably worship the other gods, though they may at least pay lip service to the Goddess (or rather, it’s respect for another religion with a strong following), any more than Goddess worshippers worship the Hag or the Horse Lords or Mithros. The one universal god is the Black God of death. George is respectful of Mithros and the Goddess, because he knows people who have met them, but his primary allegiance is to the Trickster, also known as Kyprioth. Fadal (“Elder Brother”) was brought up in the faith of the God in the Flame and his prophet, but her father told her of other gods. Weiryn and the Green Lady are worshipped only in the mountains shared by Tortall and Galla. The K’mir worship the Horse Lords and their parents, and I haven’t even gotten to the local gods in the Yamani Islands, Maren, Saraine, Tyra, Tusaine, and Scanra. The Banjiku of Carthak don’t worship any of the Great Gods at all, and they definitely don’t like the Graveyard Hag! Kyprioth is the former patron god of the Isles, but the raka, or natives, worship Gunapi the Sunrose, a warrior goddess who also rules over volcanoes and isn’t an aspect of the Goddess.

What’s different is that people for the most part respect other ways and other gods. They don’t diss other people’s beliefs (except for odd abnormalities like Yahzed worshippers, or the true believers of the Flame and his Prophet). It’s my idea of an ideal world, where people grant others their own beliefs and don’t slam each other over religion, for the most part.

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Music in Tortall

Tammy: Good heavens–of course there’s music in Tortall! How could people live without their tunes?! Can you? Could I? I think not!

They have the normal assortment of medieval instruments: lute, gittern, drums, bagpipes, tambourines, harps, dulcimers, recorders, pan-pipes, flutes, horns, harps . . .

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