Tag Archives: Frad Jinmaer

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 15

In which Aelliana and Daav go to inspect their ship and make discoveries of several kinds.

Several important developments occur in this chapter, but they’re the kind of things I’m not good at stringing words together about.

I’m much better at the trivial observations, like noting that there are a few details in this chapter that have extra resonance for readers familiar with other books in the series, like Clonak’s choice of occupation, or the way Trilla apologises before wiping her face.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 1

In which dead women do not need new clothes.

And the sequel starts, straight out of the gate, by picking holes in the happy ending of the previous book. Which is unexpected, perhaps, only in how quickly it gets down to it, since if there were no holes in the happy ending it would not be necessary to have a sequel.

(I do wonder whether the authors were aware all along of the issues Daav and Er Thom lay out here, and glossed over them for the sake of a tidy ending, or if they only realised them after further thought, during the time between publishing Scout’s Progress and beginning to write Mouse and Dragon. I do not mean this as a slight, to suggest that it may have taken them a while to realise what Daav realises almost immediately; after all, they are authors, not Delms, and have not spent thirty years learning to think like a Delm the way Daav has.)

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 34

In which Aelliana invents a solar system.

There’s a parallel going on here between the situations of Aelliana and Samiv. Neither of them is getting the care they ought to be able to expect from their own clans. Both of them have an opportunity to appeal to Daav for assistance, and impediments to grasping the opportunity. (It’s a sign probably of Samiv’s desperation as much as anything that she has actually taken that step — especially after her delm expressly forbade her to.)

I wonder… if Aelliana had also decided to turn to Daav, would she have ended up waiting in the same room as Samiv? What would they have talked about? Probably not, though; I expect when you have a house as big as Korval does, the standard routine is for the butler to leave each visitor waiting in a different room, and probably not even let them know there are other visitors unless instructed otherwise. (And anyway, if Aelliana had decided to turn to Daav, she’d have phoned instead of turning up on his doorstep, the location of which is still unknown to her.)

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 32

In which Nadelm Mizel demands to see Master Binjali.

I had not noticed on earlier readings how much Ran Eld was bothered by Clonak’s facial hair. (Nor, consequently, that when Clonak strokes his mustache he’s probably deliberately playing up to see how much more bothered he can make him.)

Frad’s remark that Ran Eld doesn’t appear to appreciate Aelliana’s flight points out another aspect of Ran Eld’s blinkered view that I hadn’t considered previously. It’s not so much that he doesn’t know how impressive the piloting was, since I can see where a non-pilot might not grasp that — but there’s no indication, in the last chapter or this, that Ran Eld has even noticed that Aelliana helped save somebody’s life. As far as Ran Eld is concerned, this is apparently an entirely irrelevant detail.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 30

In which there is dinner, dancing, distinction, and a difficult decision.

Aelliana’s speculation about Daav’s ringless finger reminds me that this is a parallel to Local Custom, where Er Thom also spent a significant portion going about without his ring of rank. Or perhaps not so much a parallel as a reflection, because in a way the situation here is a reverse: Er Thom’s lack of ring was a punishment, but Daav’s is more in the way of a much-needed vacation.

And when Aelliana asks him what he has around his neck, and he replies, “A chain”, it’s an obvious dodge into literal-mindedness — but it also works as an honest (perhaps more honest than he intended?) description of how he regards the delm’s ring.

I think I was a bit uncharitable toward Olwen sel’Iprith back in Local Custom. If Frad is any indication, all the members of Daav’s former team are very close, just not the kind of close that, say, Er Thom and Anne are. (Or, as we can confidently say after the happenings of this chapter, Daav and Aelliana.)

And here’s a fun thing I noticed for the first time on this re-read: the authors are ingeniously uninformative as regards the genders of Trilla’s and Frad’s chosen table partners. We learn that Frad’s companion is a redheaded Scout, and Trilla’s companions are both described as dancers, but do we get a single gendered pronoun between the three of them? We do not.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 24

In which Clonak tells Aelliana a story about Daav, and Korval responds promptly to an insult.

As usual I’m going to duck talking about how this chapter was emotionally affecting, and talk about something else instead, like how this chapter does some clever work of incluing and foreshadowing. For instance, the list at the beginning of the chapter of the people who have been entrusted with Daav’s private number does multiple duty by introducing the reader to Olwen and Frad, so that their names glide smoothly by in Clonak’s story later.

I even caught myself thinking that the last scene of this chapter did a remarkably good job of foreshadowing the end of Mouse and Dragon, considering that this was written so many years before that was, before I remembered that that end had already been established in another book that was in its turn published many years before this one.

Another interesting thing about the list of Daav’s near ones is that it includes, apart from Aelliana, his brother, and his former Scout teammates, one Fer Gun pen’Uldra, Daav’s father. One gets the impression that there are not many Liadens who know their out-Clan parent at all well, let alone remain so close as to include them in such an exclusive list. (The situation with Aelliana’s father illustrated in Chapter 9, where he has had no further contact with Mizel since the conclusion of contract and Aelliana doesn’t even know his name, seems more typical.) Is there a story there? If so, it’s one we haven’t been told yet; Daav’s father is mentioned only rarely, by name even more rarely, and as far as I recall has never made an in-person appearance.