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Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast
Post by Randomiser   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:03 am

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Just been re-reading lots of earlier Honorverse and came across this story again. Am I the only one who finds it very difficult to fit the degree of treecat-like connection between Honor's parents in that story into the rest of the canon, given that Honor never refers to it and seems to be unaware of it? Surely a lot of her internal dialogues about her developing abilities to detect other's emotional states should have been informed by her knowledge of her parent's connection and her father's empathic connections with others? There was a reason she could never get away with telling him lies when she was growing up after all, so she shouldn't have been unaware of these things.

Of course, I am thinking of the stories published after Beauty and the Beast in particular.
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by quite possibly a cat   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:22 am

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Her parents probably haven't told her (or anyone else) because it would sound crazy. Similarly she hasn't picked up on it because that's a crazy thing to conclude. Just some humans happen to have psychic powers!
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:18 am

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quite possibly a cat wrote:Her parents probably haven't told her (or anyone else) because it would sound crazy. Similarly she hasn't picked up on it because that's a crazy thing to conclude. Just some humans happen to have psychic powers!


Having recently re-read On Basilisk Station, hindsight shows that RFC wrote Honor's empathic abilities into the very first book. It's just that in OBS she doesn't realise that she's an empath. Neither does the reader: the description of her reading people is described in lines like 'his anger was so strong she could almost taste it'.

So, yeah, if Honor doesn't understand that she's an empath herself, I'd go with 'that sounds too crazy to be true' - and also that it became a bit immaterial when Honor adopted. 'Oh, by the way, dear, your father and I seem to have an adoption bond between ourselves, so watch out because you might get adopt... oops!'

Sphinxians seem to have been secretive about treecat abilities before the 'cats decided the time had come to 'out' themselves. I can imagine that the Sphinxian Alfred Harrington might not be too keen on suggesting that the prolonged exposure of his family line to treecats appears to have made him, at least, capable of 'adopting' another human.
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by Randomiser   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:52 am

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I'm not surprised that the elder Harrington's haven't told the world. I am surprised they apparently haven't told Honor and even more so that a tree-cat adopted empath as smart and now emotionally connected as her with such a close connection to them hasn't figured it out for herself.

I'm tending to the idea that that aspect of Beauty and the Beast is at least partially a continuity error, which isn't really being honored (no pun) in the rest of the canon.

On a tangentially related point, I would really like to see a book or at least a novella on Gunny Harrington's career in the marines and particularly how he came by his Ostermann Cross.
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by cthia   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:10 pm

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Randomiser wrote:Just been re-reading lots of earlier Honorverse and came across this story again. Am I the only one who finds it very difficult to fit the degree of treecat-like connection between Honor's parents in that story into the rest of the canon, given that Honor never refers to it and seems to be unaware of it? Surely a lot of her internal dialogues about her developing abilities to detect other's emotional states should have been informed by her knowledge of her parent's connection and her father's empathic connections with others? There was a reason she could never get away with telling him lies when she was growing up after all, so she shouldn't have been unaware of these things.

Of course, I am thinking of the stories published after Beauty and the Beast in particular.


I see your point.

Honor actually may not have been wholly privy to the treecat-like connection enjoyed by her parents -- which has nothing to do with treecats, btw, as far as I recall it was genetic. And her parents might not have been too quick to give up their advantage to their young child. They might would want to keep their abilities classified for the same reason Honor kept a lid on her abilities. If my parents could really see in the back of their heads like they always claimed they could, I think they'd've kept a lid on it.

And Honor's abilities relating to Nimitz wouldn't have anything to do with her parent's abilities, so why should she make the connection? Moreover, she would be absorbed inside the strange new world opening up to her as teenagers are absorbed by smartphones today and they see nothing else.

On the flip side, supporting your notion, however, Nimitz would have been aware of her parent's connection and may have been aware of their wishes to keep it "black."

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by George J. Smith   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:26 pm

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cthia wrote:
snip...

On the flip side, supporting your notion, however, Nimitz would have been aware of her parent's connection and may have been aware of their wishes to keep it "black."


ISTR a passage where Nimitz tells a younger brother, before he bonded with Honor, that he would have considered bonding with Alfred, if Alfred had not bonded with Alison.
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by Randomiser   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:42 pm

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George J. Smith wrote:
cthia wrote:
snip...

On the flip side, supporting your notion, however, Nimitz would have been aware of her parent's connection and may have been aware of their wishes to keep it "black."


ISTR a passage where Nimitz tells a younger brother, before he bonded with Honor, that he would have considered bonding with Alfred, if Alfred had not bonded with Alison.


That one is also in Beginnings. Actually it's early on in the story of how Honor got adopted. At that point Nimitz is explaining that there is nooo way he would ever adopt a human (grins), but if he had been going to it would have been someone like Alfred was - before he went off to the marines and got damaged. Which damage had only been healed by his marriage to Allison. I would have to go back and read the actual passage again to work out how much knowledge of their connection his comments implied.

Of course the more he knows about it the more he has managed to keep secret from Honor all these years which makes it sit even more oddly in the canon.
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by quite possibly a cat   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:15 pm

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Bluesqueak wrote:
Having recently re-read On Basilisk Station, hindsight shows that RFC wrote Honor's empathic abilities into the very first book. It's just that in OBS she doesn't realise that she's an empath. Neither does the reader: the description of her reading people is described in lines like 'his anger was so strong she could almost taste it'.


Ah hell, I remember that! I just chalked it up to Honor's interpretation
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by Randomiser   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:06 pm

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quite possibly a cat wrote:
Bluesqueak wrote:
Having recently re-read On Basilisk Station, hindsight shows that RFC wrote Honor's empathic abilities into the very first book. It's just that in OBS she doesn't realise that she's an empath. Neither does the reader: the description of her reading people is described in lines like 'his anger was so strong she could almost taste it'.


Ah hell, I remember that! I just chalked it up to Honor's interpretation


I seriously doubt he did. That's just purple prose. After all when OBS was written the series masterplan called for Honor to die during 1st Manticore, in which case a lot of the development of her empathic abilities would have had much less plot utility and so might well never have happened. Things change when a series extends over so many years and other writers get involved in it.
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Re: Beauty and the Beast
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:38 pm

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Randomiser wrote:
I seriously doubt he did. That's just purple prose. After all when OBS was written the series masterplan called for Honor to die during 1st Manticore, in which case a lot of the development of her empathic abilities would have had much less plot utility and so might well never have happened. Things change when a series extends over so many years and other writers get involved in it.


It's true that the only person who could possibly tell us would be the author, and that these things are partly open to the interpretation of the reader. But you may be failing to consider that one important subplot of the series is the bond between a human and an empathic alien. The series also wasn't meant to end with Honor's death. It was meant to continue with the next Harrington generation.

Which means that 'the Harrington family have a strong (unconscious) empathic ability' might well have been part of RFC's planned series backstory from the start. I can't remember that Honor's ability to fly gliders (sailplanes) has ever been really important to a plot, but that was also there from the start.


As I said, I recently re-read OBS. When you're aware that Honor is an empath, the number of times other people's emotions are described as having an almost physical effect on her is ... noticeable.
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