Gender Roles in Romance

Tammy: Just because you’re bold and aggressive in some areas doesn’t mean you’re that way in all of them. It’s one thing to learn to be quick on your feet in combat, and quite another to succeed in romance–look at how awkward men are in that department. And some of this comes from me: I’m quite forward about speaking my own mind, but I prefer to be the pursued, because every time I’ve been the pursuer, I’ve made a fool of myself.

That’s a lot of Kel’s motivation. What has she been called in terms of her femininity? “Cow”? Why on earth would she approach Neal, particularly when she knows someone like Daine is his ideal?

Beka does mention other relationships. Her issues with Rosto are not based on who initiates, but on what he is. She will never be aggressive with him because that will give him ideas. Yes, they have chemistry, but he is a rusher, a criminal, the kind of man she has sworn never to involve herself with.

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Yamani names

I was just curious about that “noh” that Tammy used in her two main Yamani females’ names. As in, Haname noh Ajikuro and Yukimi noh Daiomoru. Is that simply part of their surname, or does it signify something deeper, like some kind of link to a matr- or patrilineal line? I don’t know anything about Japanese/Yamani name structure, and I was wondering if “noh” was part of their family name or if it was independent of it, and if Tammy had derived it from something similar in a Japanese name.

Tammy: In this case, the “h” is simply there to indicate the o is long. In the Tortallan universe only, Having “noh” in your name signifies that you are a descendant of the original imperial line.

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Liankokami and Succession to the Throne

Tammy: And Roald and Shinkokami have a daughter, Lianokami.

Tammy: The fiefdoms are not all governed by primogeniture–if the only heir is female, it goes to her. And Jonathan and Thayet, as co-monarchs, quietly put it through that succession is no longer secured to the male line, but the royal line, to ensure more heirs. Not that it matters in their case, because Roald already has an heir, so his sisters and brother are out of the loop unless something happens to him and to Liano. When Kally married Kaddar, she signed documents taking herself out of the succession to prevent the crown passing to Carthak. (Think how messed up it would be, for Ozorne to fail at the conquest of Tortall, only to have Kaddar get it by marriage!) That means should anything happen to Roald and Liano, the succession would pass to Liam.

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Peachblossom’s Former Owner

Who WAS Peachblossom’s former owner? Because when Kel asks Stefan who made his mouth so hard, he says, “Don’t worry. He won’t be harmin’ any nore horses,” or something like that.

Tammy: He’s just a knight with two knees shattered beyond the healers’ ability to repair. So sad.

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Daine, Invertebrates, and Chickens

We know how she feels about hunting – she won’t eat game, but will eat animals that are not hunted. We know she cares about letting the underdog survive.  But what does she think about insects?

Tammy: She can’t talk to invertebrates at all. She can talk to the kraken–his neural net is huge, so it processes the same number of neurons (if not more) as a vertebrate. I’ll bet she can talk with giant octopi and squid, too, for the name reason.

Yes, the bugs in the Realms are gods, so it stands to reason she can talk to them.

She doesn’t eat the creatures she’s been, because it’s just too weird. Also, she’s been hunted in those forms, so she doesn’t like the memories. But she’s very much a carnivore among those animals she hasn’t been, so she stays away from being farmyard animals.

I’ve asked her not to be so chickenist, since I met a very nice chicken and liked her a lot, but Daine won’t be persuaded. She said I wasn’t inside Chicken’s head, and she can be. I finally gave up trying to convince her. She just hasn’t met the right chickens, that’s all.

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George’s birthyear and a Spiffy Timeline

Terrier tells us it’s 400 H.E.

But basic math says it’s 412 H.E.

Kel’s second year as a page is 453 H.E. (according to Page). Fourteen years before was when Jon was crowned and Alanna killed Josiane. (In First Test Joren tells us, “The King’s Champion killed a Copper Island princess thirteen years ago.” Now, unless Alanna made a habit of this…) This makes Alanna 20 years old and George 27 in the year 439 H.E. Ergo, George was born in 412. Making him Eleni Cooper’s naughty 6-year-old son in 418 H.E., not 406.

Tammy: This is because I screwed up and I suck at m-m-m-math.

Timeline Timeline Timeline. God I love that thing.

Tammy: My God. This is a thing of extraordinary splendor!

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“The baby, Thayet…found.”

In Lioness Rampant when Alanna, Liam and Coram meet Buri and Thayet, Buri explains that they are headed towards The Mother of Waters in Rachia because most of the children and teenagers in their little party were students of the convent Mother of Mountains. (Which we can assume was destroyed in the civil war in Sarain.) There are two teenagers, three ten-year-olds, and a baby. Buri says, “The baby, Thayet…found.”

The ellipsis has always made me raise an eyebrow. Found? Or saved (kidnapped) from a dangerous family? Or is it one of the teenage girls’? When I was younger I thought that the baby is actually Thayet’s, but I don’t think so now. I know she’s “only” a character in a book, but I don’t think Thayet’s the kind of person who wouldn’t take responsibility for her own child.

Tammy: I hate to ruin Niltao’s happy scenario, but the baby wasn’t Thayet’s.

She heard noises on a road off the main one and went to check, Buri trying to argue her out of it. Some stragglers from the army had looted a farm and killed the family. Thayet attacked from the shelter of the woods, shooting three, so Buri had to help. When they’d killed the murderers, they heard the baby cry from where it had been hidden in the rabbit hutch.

By the time they talked to Alanna, Buri was still mad that Thayet took such a risk with her own life, even though Thayet said it was worth it to save the baby. (Then Buri says, “You didn’t know there was a living baby.” And Thayet says, “But one of the others could have been alive still. Besides, they deserved to die.” And Buri says, “You had no right to risk your life that way.” And Thayet says, “It was worth it to save that baby.” They are still having this argument, all these years later.) They didn’t tell the others the detaila because they didn’t want to admit they killed five men, even if they were scum.

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Kaddar, Kally, and Daine

Tammy: Kally, like other characters who “disappear,” ran afoul of the problem that a good book has to be about the main character and those characters who are involved directly in his or her own story. A lot of people wanted to know why a bunch of characters from Kel’s training days “disappeared” in LADY KNIGHT, when they were simply posted somewhere else in Tortall. I can tell you what people are doing, because I know, but unless I can justify mentioning them in a book (and even then I don’t usually get to go into whys and whats)–Kally’s mentioned in QUEEN, I can’t just write them in. Yes, Kally’s making trouble, but since she was raised to be a queen, she’s doing it in a queenly way, and mostly who she makes it for is Kaddar. She is definitely stirring things up at the Carthaki court, among the Carthaki noblewomen, but she knows just how far she can go.

In the end, Daine frightened Kaddar, as she frightens most people. He didn’t really fancy her that much, though she dressed up well. Daughter of moon ocean is right, Kaddar and Kally had an arranged marriage–royals don’t marry for love, however much they may claim to nowadays–but it’s becoming love, which happens when the people involved are lucky and work at it.

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Vania, Ilane, and Thayet

…so there’s another one?

Tammy: Vania, the youngest of the royals.

Wow, she and Ilane are machine women.

Tammy: Actually, there are woman today who have that many routinely. Of course, there are major health risks in our world, and to the women who can’t afford the best mages or who have serious physical complications during birth in Tortall. In that world there is still childbed fever and infant mortality for those who are poor.

Thayet finally said enough: she’d secured any alliances Jon might want, and Ilane just said she was tired. (She liked having babies, and she was in really good shape for it–shape she kept up with a lot of exercises she learned from an old local midwife who was also a mage.)

Gee, you’re right, Daine was 26. She might have had a hard time anyway, even without the shapeshifter. Good thing she’s one herself, eh?

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Beka’s Memory

Tammy: In Beka’s case, though, she mentions at least once at first, and often later in the book, that they are trained to remember everything exactly, and that she uses her journal to keep her memory skills sharp. Medieval people were taught to remember far better than we are, because they didn’t have access to so many methods of record-keeping on paper.

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Future releases (Aug. 2006)

Tammy: So far it’s
BLOODHOUND — originally the Provost’s Dog, now just the Beka
ELKHOUND Cooper trilogy
the Numair book (still don’t have a real title)
Maura of Dunlath’s book (she’s from WOLF SPEAKER)

those are under contract

After that, I think I’ll be doing the
Kel-and-her-squire book (maybe 2)
Neal’s daughter for certain
and who knows what else?

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Nicknames of Riders’ Groups

Tammy: There are a lot more of them now, but these are the ones who were extant by the end of REALMS OF THE GODS:
technical name — nickname (if they have one)
1. First Riders Group — The First
2. Second Riders Group — Ghostwind
3. Third — Webspinners
4. Fourth — Queen’s Rabbits
5. Fifth — Clouds
6. Sixth — Thayet’s Dogs
7. Seventh — Nightbreath
8. Eighth — Soft Lightning
9. Ninth — Ogre Bane
10. Tenth — Royal Arrows
11. Eleventh — Trollwatch
12. Twelfth — Spiderdeath
13. Thirteenth — Razors
14. Fourteenth — Gret’s Shadows
15. Fifteenth — Stickers
16. Sixteenth
17. Seventeenth — Group Askew

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Pregnancies and the Goddess

Tammy: One thing: I think some of you are confusing rape with sex (one person did mention it’s about power and control). If it were truly about sex, people wouldn’t rape tiny children and old people. It’s about power, violence, humiliation, and rage. No power can protect people from that, or Jon would have employed it to shelter his entire realm by now.

Kel’s mom urged her to get the charm because she was facing facts: Kel was living in an unsafe, unsheltered world where Sex Happens, and Kel might choose to have it. Better to ensure that she has her choices afterward.

Most nobles and upper class merchants guard their daughters to ensure bloodlines in their marriages, but Kel has already turned her back on that world. Alanna announced she was so not interested, in case anyone believed she might be, by having multiple partners. (And people being what they are, they assumed the worst of a girl who lived among boys, as many assumed of Kel. Talk to a large number of people about female cops and women in the military, and you’ll run into more than a few who believe they’re promiscuous.)

There are ways for these people to deal with it if a girl is pregnant and doesn’t want to be. From magical solutions to herbal ones to adoption.

I also think everyone’s forgetting that there is a very strong Goddess religion here, with its own courts, and its own soldiery. Women who choose to go to the servants of the Goddess have help, and this society has a lot more protections for its women simply because Goddess worship is so strong in the Eastern Lands. They can’t interfere if a woman tells them her choice is to go with what society wants for her, but if a woman goes to her temple, unless that temple is corrupt, its servants will help her. She does have rights. Alanna didn’t know it, but she could have fought Lord Alan’s choice for her in the Goddess’s court. Of course, she couldn’t have become a knight that way.

And you really don’t want to defy the Goddess. You really don’t.

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Pregnancies and Choices

Tammy: Sarralyn is definitely loved, anyway. I don’t think Daine could even have safely had an abortion (she was more than three months along when she even realized she was pregnant)–though abortions are done by potions or spells–but she wouldn’t have wanted one. She was 24, after all, and while she wouldn’t have chosen a time when she was needed on the northern border, since it was forced on her, she was happy to follow through.

There are pregnancies that happen when someone doesn’t get a charm (they listen to silly ideas like “you can’t get pregnant your first time,” and a lot of other idiotic theories), loses a charm, the magic on the charm isn’t good, their charm is taken, they get pregnant and for any number of reasons decide not to follow through. The women can choose to have the child and give it up, or they can have an abortion, hopefully with healers who are good enough that it’s safe. Like real medicine, it’s as safe as your doctor.

It’s like anywhere, you have stupid people and you have smart ones. Smart ones try to plan for their bodies as much as they can. And I’m prejudiced, I admit. If I’m going to spend as much time with people as I need to in order to write a book or several books about them, I’d prefer they be smart. Stupid people aggravate the hell out of me. If one of my girls got caught, and it might yet happen, she would do her best to be responsible. That’s what I hope all girls and women would do.

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Port Udayapar

 In TQ, Kyprioth mentions to Aly that two thieves, one a horse nomad living east of “Port Udayapar” would help steal and hide the Sun and Moon shields(pg. 251). Since this place was unimportant to the plot and only mentioned that once, it’s not in the Glossary or on the maps. Can you please tell me if Port Udayapar is on a island in the Copper Isles or some other country?

Michiru: It’s in the lower right of this map:

German version

Tammy: Thanks, Michiru! I was just about to come in and post where it was, and you had it covered!

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Gift Colors

Tammy: Assuming I knew what I was doing at the time . . .

I did start out going by eye color, before I realized that I was going to run into repetitions in a hurry. Then I began to get creative, and discovered I’d get repetitions anyway. That’s when I came up with no visibility for magic in the Circle universe (unless special magics are applied).

Roger’s Gift comes from the non-Conté side of his family, which is where he gets his dominant magic. It turned color in LIONESS RAMPANT through mixing with Thom’s, and after corruption by Roger’s hate and paranoia.

I try to have magical colors run in families (which is why I explain Roger’s color as I do), but it won’t always work out like that. It is why Neal’s and Baird’s colors are green, though.

And since I know my own magical system and I know a lot of our world’s theories of magic and color, it’s possible what I knew seeped into my subconscious thinking as I worked. If that’s the case, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for Onua’s Gift being red (other than that it’s her favorite color): red is also a protective color, and that’s what Onua can do best with her Gift, particularly when the protection involves concealment. I think having an abusive husband helped her hone that skill.

I suspect that Numair’s Gift was actually something like a deep amber or gold when he was small, his mother’s family’s Gifts being in the yellow range, his father’s in the red range, but mom’s being the dominant, but in Numair’s case it was the development and expansion of his power with each year that changed his power’s color.

I imagine Duke Gareth’s Gift was originally a dark rose in color, but as he’s aged and his heart’s gotten worse, the color has paled. He doesn’t use it any more because of the strain it would put on him, but I bet it would be light pink!

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Nobility, King’s Own, and Liberalizing

Tammy: In a country where they have things like the Books of Gold and Silver to track bloodlines, there’s no way a commoner can fake nobility–everyone knows everyone’s bloodlines. Alan takes a lot of sneerage in his training as a page and squire, because his father is newly ennobled, even if his mother is bluer blooded than the King.

Money, of course, is a big issue for equipping a knight, and for that matter, joining the King’s Own. Those rich merchant’s sons have to be able to afford two riding horses, plus pack horses, the equipment, outfits, etc. If their families can’t do it, then they need a rich patron (as Myles was Alanna’s; as Alanna as mystery friend and Raoul were Kel’s).

Jon and Thayet aren’t just liberal for creating the Own (which anyone can join, not just women, meaning Bazhir and immigrants), but for creating schools and liberalizing a lot of laws, as well as opening the ranks of the knights to noblewomen once more. And they’re instituting other reforms as carefully as they can. But they aren’t going to turn into anything we would recognize as liberal in the next few hundred years. They can’t. Their nobility and their merchants are already strained as far as they can go without popping, and they can’t satisfy their own wishes and ignore those of a majority of their people, not without civil war.

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Jon and the Chamber of Ordeal

In regards to a recent thread in the Dove where we were pondering what exactly the King saw in the Chmaber of the Ordeal (both as a knight and as a king)? There was something in ITHOTG that he kept on waking up screaming from his dreams of it.

Tammy: What was disturbing enough to trouble the young royal so? Fear of failure? fear of being helpless, of being a terrible king despite his efforts, of being hated by his people and scorned by history? Fear of dying before he could realise his dream to become one of the greatest kings in Tortallan history? His parents or friends’ deaths? Fear of losing his power?Failure, of course–seeing himself striving, only to come up short, watching the kingdom fall into chaos, his friends turn on him, poverty come on the people and the blame falling squarely on him, his name becoming a joke, not knowing what to do and everything he tried turning out wrong. Seeing those he loved murdered by his enemies while he watched, powerless and useless.

Everything Jon’s become as a king has been to redeem his father’s mistakes and to ensure that what the Chamber showed him will never, ever happen.

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