Exploring Inner Landscapes
In which Toragin doesn’t believe in adventures but does believe in promises.
There’s something going on with Toragin. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s something to do with her having been taught that she’s Not Supposed To Get Angry. And being “not of the usual type”, in a way that’s “barely socially acceptable” and which “the Healers would not heal”. And believing in social bonds as absolutes. And being “good at research”. Something on the autism spectrum, maybe?
And that bit about doing “worthy work” — I suspect from the way she thinks about herself that she’s been taught that she has to do worthy to be worthy, that to be considered worthy of consideration she has to make herself useful. And that no matter how useful she makes herself, her family can never really be trusted to give her real consideration. The thought pattern where she’ll stand up for somebody else’s rights but never feel as if it’s worth the effort to stand up for her own, I’ve known people who have been taught to think like that.
It probably says something about how Lazmeln places Toragin’s worth that the delm was willing to pay for her to go away but not for her to come back.
The bit about Toragin’s situation being one that “the matchmakers never bothered to challenge” is ambiguously worded, I feel. By itself, I’d probably read that as meaning that it’s not something that the matchmakers are bothered by, not something they’d consider an obstacle to a good match; in context, it seems to mean the opposite, that having whatever-it-is means the matchmakers are likely to leave one aside.
The other main character in this chapter is Jelaza Kazone, and I think by now I’m willing to take a shot at why the authors have chosen to identify him with Peer Gynt’s Mountain King. (I did briefly wonder, since I’m used to thinking of it as Korval’s house, whether it was Delm Korval who was being proposed as the Mountain King, but now I’m confident it’s definitely the Tree.)
The thing about the King, apart from him being ancient and inhuman, is that he only cares for his own people and what happens within his own hall, and it’s no concern to him what happens outside that. The current situation has exposed the Tree as seeming to have a similar attitude, to not care what happens to Chelada and Toragin or what becomes of promises made to them.
But the important difference in the end is that the Tree, unlike the King (and unlike the Great Enemy, who I’m still not sure if the authors remembered they’d already used the analogy for), is capable of realising that this is a bad attitude and striving to do better.