Foreigner Series: Spoiler Alerts: Page 2

I’m giving the page a second section because page 1 was starting to behave oddly.

As always, wait at least 30 days from issue of the book before starting to discuss. And give our overseas friends some extra leeway: the distribution system doesn’t reach everywhere as fast!


  1. JB Zimmerman

    Cheers folks, new poster so apologies if this comment doesn’t go where I think it will (I hope it joins the bottom of the thread…) Just came by because I was looking at the news and saw that Airbus has apparently patented what looks a whooooole lot (to me) like a junior version of Shai-shan. I won’t link it here – I don’t know the etiquette on external links – but if you google for ‘Airbus concorde 2’ you’ll find it. In short, though, it’s an airliner body underneath a big delta wing with multiple engine sets (including some which extend out the bottom after liftoff) to take it from turbofan up through I think ramjet to SCRAMjet. This one will only go Mach 4.5 and hit ~100-150k feet, but it feels like a baby step towards HOTOL SSTO! ‘Delta wing’ – check. ‘airliner body’ – check. ‘Runway takeoff’ – check. ‘Long burn after takeoff’ check. ‘Engine switchover’ – check.

  2. chesty

    The thought of Cajeiri finding honest young advocates for the Heritage Party among Toby’s kids and their friends leads to thoughts on what they want, and whether Cajeiri thinks he can work something out. I’m guessing they want to find a world of their own, first and foremost, where they can be masters and Atevi can be guests. I expect Cajeiri would understand and support such an effort. Honorable cause, possibly even kabiu, and guaranteed adventure. What’s not to like?

    On a separate topic, I have a question about Damiri. Should I expect her to have a fortunate third child with Tabini, or is it best to have ONE boy and ONE girl?

    • scenario_dave

      The Heritage party seems more of an emotion based party that’s basic policy is that humans are the best. They don’t seem to want to share. They want to rule. Finding and settling a new world will take a long time. The mindset of many of the people in the Heritage party doesn’t seem very logical or long term to me.

      In the end, it’s up to Tabini. He can hire counters to argue whatever he wants. There are so many ways this could be counted. Tabini as a unit of one and Damiri and the children as three. Tabini and Cajeiri as units of one with Damiri and her daughter as an unfortunate two. Tabini and the children as a unit of three with Damiri as a unit of one. This one is unlikely because Tabini and Damiri have already decided that the baby is going to be Damiri’s child to raise.

      Tabini is the Aji. He can always count as one. Cajieri is the Aji-heir. He can count as one. I can’t see how Damiri and the baby could be counted as two sets of one each. They have to be thought of as a set.

      • chesty

        True, the leaders of the Heritage Party that we’ve met have seemed to be more interested in protecting the privileges they no longer deserve than in working toward a realistic goal. I’ve been assuming they seem petty and cartoonish because they have no peers to teach them better, being big fish in a little tiny puddle, but we don’t see from their perspective. So, I don’t know. I do worry that they will not all be inept buffoons. I was worried about Gin Kroger for a while. Didn’t Bren wonder if she was secretly a Heritage Party agent? If enough people like her share certain HP concerns about the future of humanity in their part of the universe, it might not be wise to ignore them. On the other hand, if Bren can lure at least one of them out the shadows for some straight talk, it might be good thing for all. Maybe Irene’s mom will be a key figure in coming events?

  3. Rigeldeneb

    Toby’s ex is named Jill. Given the stresses on the family caused by Bren being paidhi and the threats the Heritage Party provoked against the family in the earlier books, I see no reason for Bren’s niece and nephew to be interested in the Heritage Party. I’d think they would be making extra effort to be typical Mospheirans, trying to stay out of politics and attending to their family life, education and vacations. With her former mother-in-law dead and her ex-husband more or less permanently out on the ocean, Jill would have every incentive to draw no political attention to herself and her children and every incentive to avoid activism.

    I have always thought that part of Bren’s attachment to Cajieri is partly fueled by frustrated paternal instincts. He is not likely to ever have children of his own and he has never been able to connect with his brother’s children, though, if I remember correctly, Jill and the children have visited his estate at least once. I seem to remember some kind of party. . . Does anyone else?

    • Neco-ji

      Little references tell me that Bren has- or had- some kind of attachment to his brother’s kids; he used to send them birthday money, at least. In Inheritor, at the end, he hosted a “children’s birthday party” on the beach. I remember Tano and Algini being tasked with security for that one, and Bren and Jago watched from the terrace. He also made sure Toby got the phone call when Julie fell and was taken to hospital; he seemed very concerned then, so I think a little attachment remains, though it is possible that he was mostly just concerned for his brother.

      I really love Bren’s attachment to Cajeiri, not only for the boy, but for his father. I think someone even mentioned that Bren was a good surrogate father (possibly even Tabini himself), but I’m not sure where or what the actual wording was on that one.

      Jago told Bren (in Pretender? on the mecheiti ride back to Tirnamardi after the skirmish in the hills) that Cajeiri talked to Bren because he listened to him “like a man”, instead of patronizing (or ignoring) and treating him like a boy.

      They are good for each other, I think. Cajeiri seems to fill a space for Bren’s orphaned instincts, and Bren seems to fill a space for Cajeiri’s need for… something. Mature judgement, a role model, something like that.

      • chesty

        The “like a man” thing continues. When Bren’s aishid warned Cajeiri’s directly, “as if he were grown up and important”, I thought, “Well, you are important, and you are growing up, fast.” I hope not too fast.

  4. scenario_dave

    Bren sounds like the classic cool uncle. The man who may or may want to have his own children but does like to interact with them. The fact that he talks to Cajeiri like a man and not like a child fits in with that. I don’t know if there is an equivalent in the Atevi but I assume so since none of the Atevi think it’s strange that a adult male who is not a child’s father would show interest in the child.

    Many children want multiple role models and teachers so they can compare them. Its generally best for the child as well. You can’t take the human model too closely but a teacher and roll model do not have the same emotional context as a friend does.

  5. Raesean

    I’ve been rereading the whole Foreigner series at bedtime, doing half a chapter or so an evening until I get so sleepy my head is drooping between sentences. It’s been a great “real time” experience rather than touching base with the story at yearly intervals, especially since the books I’ve been reading this summer have been the meeting of the Kwo and the destruction of Reunion Station and, right now, the attempt back on “Earth” to reseat Tabini in the aijinate. Currently, clans are converging on Tatisegi’s front lawn and, a theme of this particular book, pretty much everyone is so stressed they are trotting out their worst manners.

    An unexpected benefit, perhaps you could call it, of nodding off during reading is that, once I set the book aside and do go to sleep, Bren and the Atevi wander through my early night timedreams. Nothing overly concrete and plot-like, but they and especially Cajeiri are mingled in with other sleepy considerations of the day past.

  6. Rigeldeneb

    It occurs to me that maybe Bren “talks” to Cajeiri as if Cajeiri were an adult and not a child because–Cajeiri is as tall as Bren. Might be an unconscious response to that eye-to-eye contact. Also, Bren seems to instinctively respect any sentient creature–it seems to be part of his character. I can’t see him talking down to anybody.

    It really is difficult to wait for the next book in the series, since each book raises new questions and sets up new situations. Will the next book be about the Kyo and the station or will it focus on planet-side politics that affect the aji’s standing (what is Machigi up to?)? Will we see more station politics? I admit to being really interested in station politics, since I find the stationers just a little less alien in their responses and thinking processes than the Kyo. We haven’t much discussed the events of “Tracker” and I am already hankering for the next book!

  7. scenario_dave

    I don’t think that Bren only talks to Cajeiri as an adult because of his size. Bren is a superb politician. He automatically talks to people in a way that he will be best understood. Cajeiri associates are exclusively adults or older adolescents. He has been pushed to think as an adult his whole life. He is also brilliant.

    Bren talks to and up to a point treats Cajeiri as an adult because Cajeiri acts more like one than many of the people that Bren deals with on a day to day basis.

    Bren also knows that by talking to Cajeiri as an adult, he is setting the expectation with Cajeiri that he would act like an adult. Cajeiri tends to act much better when he is treated like an adult and kept in the information loop.

  8. chesty

    Jeichido. She is very fine.

    • chesty

      Oops. Already answered, I just noted. Shameful, I am.

  9. Hanneke

    How do the Atevi handle those unavoidable but endless numbrrs like pi, that are part of the matural world but impossible to solve completely?
    I don’t remember if they use a base-10 system, but I expect it wpn’t come out neatly in another base either.
    I also can’t remember if anything has been said about them using circles in their designs, but it’s such a simple universal shape I can’t imagine it going unused. Unless it’s a taboo because it drives the ‘counters round the bend… no, even simple roads and traintracks need bends for which one would need pi to calculate, I think (I’m no good at math and numbers).
    Considering how much they hate the uncertainty in the numbers at very large and very small levels, near-lightspeed and quantum and computers, I rather expect them to dislike numbers like pi quite viscerally, which might translate to a dislike of perfect circles. Maybe that’s why the large presentation porcelains were asymmetric, iirc?

  10. Hanneke

    How do the Atevi handle those unavoidable but endless numbers like pi, that are part of the natural world but impossible to solve completely?
    I don’t remember if they use a base-10 system (I think so, because they had the same number of digits as humans which would be a logical base for choosing to learn to count in 10s, and it would be very much harder for Bren to calculate and talk in another base at the same time), but I expect it won’t come out neatly in another base either.
    I also can’t remember if anything has been said about them using circles in their designs, but it’s such a simple universal shape I can’t imagine it going unused. Unless it’s a taboo because it drives the ‘counters round the bend… no, even simple roads and traintracks need bends for which one would need pi to calculate, I think (I’m no good at math and numbers), and the same goes for arches in bridges and windows.
    Considering how much they hate the uncertainty in the numbers at very large and very small levels, near-lightspeed and quantum and computers, I rather expect them to dislike numbers like pi quite viscerally, which might translate to a dislike of perfect circles. Maybe that’s why the large presentation porcelains were asymmetric, iirc?
    I just woke up thinking about this one morning – perhaps I should start a reread and pay better attention to the details.

  11. Hanneke

    How do atevi handle numbers like pi, that keep on going endlessly?
    With their need for precision I’d think it would drive the ‘counters round the bend, but as it’s needed for designing anything with a circular segment like bends in roads and traintracks and arches in bridges and castle portals they couldn’t do without. Would it give them a visceral dislike of circles, the way that even numbers grate on their senses? Or would it be a sort of symbol of ultimate indivisibility?

    • paul

      Irrational numbers certainly shocked the Pythagoreans’ dogma.

      “Since of all things numbers are by nature the first, in numbers they (the Pythagoreans) thought they perceived many analogies to things that exist and are produced, more than in fire, and earth, and Avater; as that a certain affection of numbers was justice; a certain other affection, soul and intellect; another, opportunity; and of the rest, so to say, each in like manner; and moreover, seeing the affections and ratios of what pertains to harmony to consist in numbers, since other things seemed in their entire nature to be formed in the likeness of numbers, and in all nature numbers are the first, they supposed the elements of numbers to be the elements of all things”. Quoted by Sir William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870, p. 620)

      “Greek mathematicians termed this ratio of incommensurable magnitudes alogos, or inexpressible. Hippasus, however, was not lauded for his efforts: according to one legend, he made his discovery while out at sea, and was subsequently thrown overboard by his fellow Pythagoreans ‘…for having produced an element in the universe which denied the…doctrine that all phenomena in the universe can be reduced to whole numbers and their ratios.’ Another legend states that Hippasus was merely exiled for this revelation. Whatever the consequence to Hippasus himself, his discovery posed a very serious problem to Pythagorean mathematics, since it shattered the assumption that number and geometry were inseparable–a foundation of their theory.” (Wikipeda – Irrational numbers)

    • paul

      We also strongly associate the “Golden Ratio” with the Greeks. It is also irrational. 😉

    • Jcrow9

      As regards pi, why assume they calculate the ratio out? Pi can be expressed explicitly as a ratio: 22/7. Done.

      • Hanneke

        That makes sense – I just didn’t know it. Sorry, maybe we did get that in class long ago and I completely forgot, as I’m very bad with numbers.

        I got completely mixed up by switching in the year (8-9) I learned my tables from Dutch (which says everything between twelve and 100 as nine-and-thirty, reversing for that one digit the order in which you need to write down what you hear) to English (which says thirty-nine, as makes sense when you write down what you hear) and then back again. Decades later I still need to enumerate longer numbers as single digits to avoid making mistakes in writing it down.
        I’m probably just bad at math, but I tend to blame my starting to be bad at it on the confusion caused by that switch, in that year when the mental basics for math were being laid.

      • J. C. Salomon

        The ratio 22/7 is an approximation to pi, somewhat less accurate than the decimal approximation 3.14 (or 3.142 or 3.1416 or 3.14159 or …). When mathematicians call a number “irrational”, they mean that you cannot write any ratio that exactly corresponds to it; and pi has long been proven to be irrational.

      • paul

        Sorry, 22/7=3.14285714!
        You’re off in just the third decimal.

      • paul

        Re: pi, π. Irrational numbers cannot be represented by any fraction, i.e. division, of whole numbers. (Sorry, I had to rush off to a doctor’s appointment. I should have mentioned this in the previous post.)

  12. nekokami

    And to clarify, irrational numbers are always irrational, regardless of numerical base. 🙂 (Repeating decimals are different– one third can be expressed evenly in base 3 or base 9, for example, but is expressed as a repeating pattern in base 10 or base 8.)

    On the other hand, irrational numbers have very precisely defined properties, and can be calculated to arbitrary precision. I imagine there’s a long tradition of ‘counters expanding the number of digits of pi to increase the knowledge of “true numbers.” I don’t know if atevi would ever have had the Pythagorean hissy-fit over irrational numbers, given their near-intuitive understanding of mathematics. Given that they don’t like numbers that are easily divisible, especially by 2, they actually might have a special fondness for pi, e, etc. I’m curious about how they refer to the square root of -1, though — this is necessary for certain kinds of geometry, like calculating the volume of a truncated pyramid, not to mention electronics applications. I would be very surprised if they call it “imaginary,” and their initial reaction to that human term might be quite amusing.

    I’ve been assuming the atevi abhorrence for easily divisible numbers, especially even numbers, has to do with their need to know the status of manchi, and manchi could be threatened by a tie among two evenly sized factions of followers. The higher numbers seem to become more or less desirable if they can be parsed into groups that might be too evenly matched– I’m a bit surprised that 9 is so felicitous, but I suppose atevi don’t experience a three-way tie very often, with manchi being such a strong force urging them to resolve all ties as fast as possible.

    • paul

      It’s been half a century since calculus class–ISTR repeating decimals are not irrational.

      • nekokami

        Repeating decimals are specifically not irrational. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

  13. Neco-ji

    Questions! Well, questions and random thoughts, because I am the nosy sort that thinks too much:

    Are there alcoholic atevi? There’s mention of people drinking too much in celebration and perhaps not making good decisions because of it, but surely there are some who go beyond the norm and fall into alcoholism? Or does atevi society have a way of preventing that?

    Are there atevi born with disabilities (blind, deaf, etc)? If so, might they also have a form of sign language or Braille to accommodate them?

    What happens to those who are born with more serious problems? Are they kept in the home with the family, or sent to some kind of special care facility? Are they left to a much harsher fate?

    I was very pleased (I am so weird) when I read about the Guild Observers. Ruheso, with her missing arm, and Sisui with his half an ear, are the first Guild members we’ve seen with obvious evidence of serious injury (who aren’t in Bren’s aishid, or in Ilisidi’s guard). Most of the Guild mentioned in the previous books all seemed to be in pretty immaculate shape, give or take age.

    Considering their athletic lifestyles, continuous physical training and the risks they take in their jobs, how many older Guild members suddenly find themselves with osteoarthritis or worn out joints? That kind of profession surely takes a toll on even the hardiest members eventually. Healthcare and retirement packages for the Guild are probably pretty good, considering.

  14. Ruadhan

    Hrrmmm… Just wrote up a question, but not seeing it. Suspect connection gremlins ate it.

    If they cough it up again, my apologies, because it will be the long version of this: I was thinking yesterday about atevi, about ‘like’, and manchi, and machimi plays, and their affinity for odd numbers over even numbers. And because of the odd numbers thing, I got to wondering if atevi like odd numbers because social groups with odd numbers always have a tie-breaker, and therefore, the power gradient of the group is nice and clear and no one has to kill anybody to fix the problem. Until, of course, someone changes sides and upsets the apple carts en masse …

    Which got me to thinking about ‘equal’. Does this word, and the social concept behind it, contain a tripwire for atevi/human relations, the way ‘like’ does, but maybe more insidious? ‘Equal’ used for numbers is clear, but can ‘equal’ be used for atevi with the connotations which humans (particularly those of the Western cultural traditions) would attach to it? I’m thinking not … because manchi implies a one-way gradient of loyalty/power, and how can one atevi be equal to another (or to a human) in that situation?

    Perhaps ‘equivalent’ is a better word than ‘equal’ in such situations …

    • Hanneke

      Good thought. The prevalence of the thinking in threes, one leader and two followers, might imply that the followers can be equal (to each other) but the leader never is. Within an aishid team, the two partners are generally equals, each respecting the other’s expertise and alternating taking the lead when dealing with trouble based on that expertise; but the one they owe man’chi to is not exactly equal.
      Bren’s functioning is this is probably slightly unusual, as his hardwiring for mutual regard instead of primarily one-way loyalty to a leader made him try to function more as part of the team; though by now both he and his aishid have learned to accomodate each other.

      • Ruadhan

        I would say that even in pairings, the power/loyalty gradient is clear, because each member understands the other to the point of, “This one is smarter in this situation, but that one is stronger when that is going on.” It is only when a third member arrives that the gradient becomes unstable, because if all three are ‘equal’, then each has to wonder who pairs up with who for any particular situation. It is inherently unstable, at least until the ‘leader’ of the three is decided, at which point we get back to clarity again.

        Is ‘like’ like that? There’s that unstable power gradient again, because ‘like’ imposes no directionality whatsoever. One can ‘like’ an enemy, or a friend; a rival, or a lover. It says, “I feel a pleasant feeling about you,” without saying anything about what you might do about either the existing relationship or any possible future relationship. There is an implication of a positive action, but no guarantee; one can ‘like’ someone one has no intention of ever interacting with. How much more unstable can you get?!

        I may be reading too much of a psychological need that the atevi might have for stability ….

        • Ruadhan

          And … maybe pairs get more unstable the higher up the power gradient you go. A lord and lady, for instance, might come into conflict because they cannot agree who leads in a particular situation, and if there is no higher third to appeal to, that conflict may escalate to lethal levels.

          That third might be a child, whose welfare trumps the escalation.

          Think think think …

  15. Sapphire

    Haven’t posted here for yonks. Am currently rereading Foreigner (again!) and revisiting the earlier books makes me realise how much I miss the wonderful relationships Bren has with Jago, Banichi, Tano and Algini – the humour in them, and the references to how different human/atevi instincts are. The atevi in these books are enigmatic, and Bren still has much to discover about them. I haven’t done another reread of the later books featuring the southern atevi, but remember the way Machigi described the destruction of an island producing fabulous pottery by a giant wave…that, too, was wonderful.

    I am less interested in books centred around Caijeri, who I find quite annoying at times, as I do the human offspring. The mature atevi are far more interesting, in my view – and I would love it if there was more engagement with the above characters. So is/was Algini THE Guildemaster? How fascinating if that should turn out to be the case.

  16. Neco-ji

    Thought I’d share this here, as I just pre-ordered visitor this morning:

    My cousin Amanda and I had this exchange just now:

    Amanda: Is visitor the new cj cherry book
    Me: Yes. 😀 why?
    Amanda: Haha I know you too well. I knew that was the only thing you’d pre order and be super excited about

    I have become so predictable. 😛

  17. scenario_dave

    If Bren is the Lord of the Heavens, does that mean that the space station is in his district? If Geigi is the Lord of the station, does that mean that he is in Bren’s manchi?

    It makes sense that Bren is the Lord of everything Atevi in space. As a Lord in his district, he has the right to stand up to the Dowager in the earlier books when he hadn’t accrued as much power.

    • joekc6nlx

      At the time Tabini made Bren Lord of the Heavens, Geigi was still on earth, and there was no atevi presence on the station other than the shuttle crews. Once Bren took over, established an atevi presence, and then departed on toward Reunion, Geigi was appointed as Lord of the Station.

      I would tend to consider Geigi still holds title to the lordship of the station, but that Bren, being of far more experience dealing with “outsiders” would be lord of all space outside of the station, and that as Tabini’s direct representative (and with the advice of several other people), would dictate the terms that best serve Tabini and the atevi.

      • scenario_dave

        I think of the Heavens as a district like the East or the Marid. Geigi is the Lord of the station but only the station. When they finally get to build a second ship or station with a mixed crew, Geigi will not be its lord but it will still fall under the Lord of the Heavens.

        Is the station part of the Heavens or its own district?

        The East and the Marid are semi independent districts with their own rulers. Two is not a favored number. If the Heavens are also a semi independent district, wouldn’t that be more stable?

        The central districts seem to be a unity of one. Putting them as the third district would set them as equals with the East and the Marid but the Aji is clearly the ruler.

  18. Xheralt

    I think you’ve pegged the essence of it. Bren’s “area of responsibility” as Lord of the Heavens is *everything* “up there”, incoming starships, etc. If Maudit Station is ever built, it will fall under his umbrella, but have it’s own Lord (peer to Geigi). While Bren cannot command ship-aijiin, as representative of governments, he is their peer. Jase and Sabin have come to understand that, pity that Ogun doesn’t yet, and the new guy is still too new — although a few dealings with Bren should teach him the error of his ways.

    • Hanneke

      Yes, I agree with Xheralt.
      But not with scenario-Dave’s idea that the central districts are a unity of one because Tabini is overal ruler. The aiji is specifically supposed to not represent one district, with his heritage from both West and East, and no ancestral holdings in the Padi valley which is the original center of rule for the western atevi.
      Maybe the long-ignored and somewhat repressed Edi and Gan north-coast culture can count as a separate region; certainly the north and the coast were politically separate from the center during the coup. That would make 5 or 6 districts, which is a lot better than four; or maybe seven if I’m forgetting one:
      – central (Ragi, centered around the Padi valley),
      – east (with Malguri as leader, but a possible subdivision of the lowlands from the mountain-and-lakes area where the power resides and most of the resources);
      – the Marid (southern coast including the remaining southern islanders);
      – the northern coastal region (Edi and Gan, including the island of Dur);
      – north central: it’s not clear to me if the northwest coast and the north central area are one region or two – we’ve not heard anything about the north except that Damiri’s family are from there, and the Ajuri actions make me think that north is a separate region, or maybe a part of the central Padi valley region;
      – the heavens (including the space station).
      I’m not sure about the mountains where the Astronomer has his observatory and Cajeiri’s young bodyguard come from; it seems an independent sort of region, which doesn’t align with the central region but seems to align more with the north and the coast. It may be too thinly inhabited to count as a real influential (semi-independent) region like the Marid and the East. Both it, the north and the north coast have been under the central authority for longer, which can explain their more-absorbed but still not quite unified status.

      • Hanneke

        Oh, the Taibeni also align with the mountains rather than the Padi valley where their hunting range is located, so maybe that’s a cultural divide between the valley settlers and the mountain hunter-gatherers.

      • scenario_dave

        I look at it as the Ragi is the Ruling district. It is where the Aji comes from. It is a unity of one in the sense that their Manchi flows directly from their local lords to the Aji. There are no middle men. There may be small sub-clans that are dependent on larger lords and unusual cases like the Gan and Edi depended on Geigi’s clan but they do not have a district Lord controlling a major portion of the continent between them and the Aji.

        How does the Manchi flow? In the East, in many cases but not all, a common persons manchi flows to their Clan lord to maybe a bigger local Clan lord (if they are in a sub clan) to the Dowager to the Aji. Most of the Manchi in the district flows through the Dowager to the Aji. The other clans like the Edi, the Gan, and Dur don’t have a district Lord that the Manchi flows through to the Aji.

        If Bren is the Lord of the Heavens, does Geigi’s Manchi flow through Bren to the Dowager to the Aji?

        • Hanneke

          I get the sense that there is quite a difference between those regions that have been a part of the Western Association for a long time, and the more recently independent associations like the East and the Marid.
          The regions making up the Western Association do not seem to have one clear leader per region through whom all the man’chi flows to the aiji, though there seems to be regular politicking for local leadership, like between Tatiseigi and the Kadigidi (until they overstepped with the coup and got thrown back, losing position and influence regionally as well). In the older associated areas it seems the man’chi can flow directly from clan leaders to the aiji, like from Geigi or Dur or the lord of the Taibeni to Tabini.

          The Marid was trying to get Geigi loose from Tabini when Bren & the dowager saved him with the astronomer’s insights. This has moved Geigi’s man’chi slightly aside, but only after Bren assured him the dowager wouldn’t go against Tabini, so now he has man’chi to Ilisidi and through her to Tabini.
          I don’t think, considering how few people live up in the heavens at present, that this can be considered as a complete fourth Association within the aishiditat; it’s nowhere near on a par with the East, the Marid, or the Western Association.
          On the other hand, man’chi doesn’t have to flow in a neat stairstep along geographical lines, as Geigi isn’t part of the East and was still lord of his western clan when his allegiance shifted toward Ilisidi.
          And it doesn’t have to follow all the intervening steps; if a clanlord in the East or the Marid felt really grateful and connected with Tabini, there’s no reason his man’chi couldn’t flow directly there instead of through Machigi.
          It also doesn’t need to follow theines of political representation, asit seems the Edi’s man’chi still flows strongly to their local matriarch, who can have ties with Dur or Geigi who represented them in the aishiditat, but when Geigi’s nephew was being stupid those matriarchs didn’t follow his lead, but looked either to Bren’s estate with his close ties to the aiji, or directly to Tabini, through their historical ties with Tabini’s ancestor giving up his lands for their resettlement.
          Which also means Tabini’s ancestor who solved the resettlement of Mospheira was mostly based on the northwest coast, because that’s where the Gan were settled, and not from the central Padi valley powerful families. Thus the strong loyalty of the northwest to Tabini during the coup.
          Historical ties, family ties and tradition play a part, as well as proximity/contact and indebtedness/gratitude, and of course the personal charisma of the leader and the convincingness of his followers (numbers and enthousiasm); which mean that the local, well established relationships among all the interconnected clans in the three main associations tend to keep the man’chi flowing to theocal association leader and through him to the aiji; but exeptions are possible (like Banichi, who came from the Marid but is personally loyal to Tabini, even if that flow now goes partly through Bren).
          I think Bren still has his formal man’chi toTabini, though his human affections are engaged with Ilisidi and Cajeiri – in everything he does that could impact the stability of Tabini’s reign, he will always choose to support that stability.
          Geigi’s man’chi is probably to the dowager, and through her to Tabini, though he likes Bren and sees him as an equal. Like at Najida and Kadiminda(?), in the heavens and on the station they are neighboring estate lords who value good relations among their estates, and will work together to solve problems.

  19. scenario_dave

    Manchi needs to be reinforced through personal contact. That’s one of the reasons that Ilisidi has to go back east regularly. Keeping hundreds of small clans in the same Manchi could be difficult.
    Most of the relationships between Lords are associations rather than Manchi.

    The situation seems to be one Aji who rules them all but their are two districts large enough to produce a rival, the East and the Marid. Both of the rulers are intelligent and know that they are much better off ruling their own district under Tabini. But what if Tabini and the heir died at the same time? There are now two rivals for the Ajinate. Two is a very bad number. When every one thought that Tabini was dead, didn’t they expect that Geigi would challenge the false Aji for the Aginate? Who is the third challenger with enough followers or power to balance the East and the Marid?

    Bren is the offical Lord of the Heavens. Because of the ship and the station his district is very powerful. A c charged rock can do a lot of damage. Bren could be the third powerful District Lord who could not be elected himself but would be in position to be a king maker.

  20. scenario_dave

    I’m rereading Inheritor for about the 4th or 5th time and I’ve found my views of certain scenes have changed since the first time I read them. I’m getting more and more convinced that most of the Atevi people thought of Bren as a Padhi in the Aveti sense rather than in the human sense from very early on. I also am coming to believe that Ilisidi and Tabini used him that way, regularly.

    I read the scene where Bren meets Lord Tatiseigi for the first time differently this time.(Page 245 in the paperback.) Ilisidi sets the scene up. She puts Bren and Tatiseigi facing each other. Tabini is directly behind Bren so Bren cannot see him but he is clearly visible to Tatiseigi. Bren knows that there is some reason why Ilisidi sets this up. Bren is his normal polite self but Tatiseigi insults Bren right off the bat. When Bren tries to walk off Tatiseigi grabs his sleeve to prevent him from walking away.(I do not remember any other scene except combat where any Atevi has ever grabbed Bren.) He continues to yell quite loudly at Bren with Tabini standing right behind him. Everyone in the room can hear him but politely pretend not to. Finally Bren gives unwanted advice while telling him he is speaking as the adviser to two governments. Then Tabini walks up and immediately supports Bren.

    My view of this scene now is that Ilisidi set up the scene to allow Tatiseigi to change sides and keep face. By yelling at Bren who was clearly acting as the Paidhi, he was yelling at Tabini, while not yelling at Tabini. He looks strong to his supporters. He’s not changing sides because he he is afraid. He is changing sides because he believes it is the right thing to do. But from Tabini’s side he can hear the yelling at him without having to acknowledge it.

    Tatiseigi needed to publicly and loudly stand up to Tabini to save face. Tabini could not allow Tatiseigi to yell at him for political reasons. By having Bren in the middle acting as the Paidhi under the Atevi view of the position, Tatiseigi can defy and yell directly at Tabini, in public, without actually defying and yelling at him. Tatiseigi is not yelling at Bren the human. He is yelling at the Paidhi, eyes, ears and voice of the Aji.

    There are also many times where Illisidi wants Bren at her side when she does something political, why? I think it is because when Bren is acting as the Paidhi, he is the Aji in the eyes of most Atevis. People who act against Illisidi are also directly acting against the Aji if the Aji decides to view it that way. It increases her power and allows her to act outside of the east with more freedom.

    Tabini regularly uses Bren as the Paidhi because it allow him to do things that he needs to do but politically can’t do. The Aji needs to go to the Marid but politically he cannot do so. Send Bren. He can then position the visit in 4 different ways later. 1) Lord Bren visits the Lord of the Marid for strictly local reasons. 2) The Paidhi went on behalf of Illisidi, acting as Illisidi and only as her. 3) The regional lord, The Lord of the Heavens, visits another regional lord, The Lord of the Marid. 4) The Paidhi was acting as the Aji.

    The Aji can wait to see what happens and then announce which way he views it after it happens. In this case he chose option 2.

    • Hanneke

      Interesting, this new view on earlier happenings!

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