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All the idiots on the Arcanan side?

"Hell's Gate" and "Hell Hath No Fury", by David, Linda Evans, and Joelle Presby, take the clash of science and magic to a whole new dimension...join us in a friendly discussion of this engrossing series!
Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by tonyz   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:03 pm

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PeterZ wrote:I would add one thing to S&J's potential incarnation: coverup. The events unfolding was going in the direction a huge fisk-up. The leadership must have begun thinking CYA. Jasek and Gadrial must have recognized this possibility. Getting S&J to Arcana Prime is the best way to make sure the leadership gets the best information possible without local CYA filters getting in the way.


I'm not sure that J&G have recognized this even yet -- do they even know that the attacks are underway, or has military secrecy been clamped down on that as well? And would they recognize the fisk-ups? (I think they'd certainly recognize the potential for them, but even if Jasek is privy to dispatches flying down the chain, would he recognize the problems?

Or were you referring to the original set of fisk-ups, Fallen Timbers and the Sharonan seizure of the swamp portal?

PeterZ wrote:Even looking back at mul Guthak's actions and Harshu's defense of his actions, its easy to assume both tried to play politics. Mul Guthak wanted to offer some successes to offset the fisk-ups and verbally encouraged Harshu's adventurism yet covered his butt with the more limited written orders. Harshu took the verbal orders over the written ones because he agreed that Arcana needed gains at all costs in this conflict.


Tend to agree. Mul Guthak definitely wrote things so he could cover himself if things went wrong. Harshu doesn't seem to have recognized at first that the written orders without the verbal orders would lend themselves to that kind of coverup. He's sneaky, but maybe not that kind of sneaky. But both Harshu and his second suspect cover-up as of the end of the second book -- and what is that going to do to their effectiveness, looking over their shoulder? But they don't yet know that the cover-up is multi-layer.

PeterZ wrote:That sort of CYA mind set must be rather prevalent in a peace time military. It could also roll over two magicless civilians pretty easily.


Yes. We recall that even Jasek, who is presented as a very honorable and effective Andaran officer, spends much of his time during the initial contact session worried about CYA, and stupid subordinates setting things up to cover their asses, and all that. All of which takes away from his focus on the actual situation. 200 years of (mostly) peacetime operations have left a lot of rust in the Arcanan military, I think.
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Politics! re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:05 pm

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Oh yes! Politics.

I was intending to argue earlier, in another thread,
that the two centuries of Peace have turned most
Arcanan Army officers into Politicians.
With no warmaking, it becomes Army Politics rather
than Military Skills that earn promotions. The higher
the rank, the more true this becomes.

We have seen (well, I have) that whatever the degree of
Military Skills mul Gurthak and Harshu have or lack,
they are both excellent Politicians. Gurthak is a Master
Politician, using the Chaos of First Contact to set up
the conditions he could not get in more stable times,
and manipulating Harshu into a very bad position.

And yet Harshu is not blindsided by this.
Although he was deceived at first, and so trapped,
he is a good enough Politician to see the trap closing
in on him, and to try to save as much as he can.

Toralk is less of a Politician, and needs more than one
warning from Harshu. I figure that Air Force officers
*must* have Pilot Skills, including *everything* which
affects dragons, so these skills affect their promotions
more than Politics does.

I wonder how this Arcanan Political/Military dichotomy,
that I think that I see, will affect the next part of
this story. Oh! for another snippet or three!

HTM

PeterZ wrote:
Even looking back at mul Guthak's actions and Harshu's defense of his actions, its easy to assume both tried to play politics. Mul Guthak wanted to offer some successes to offset the fisk-ups and verbally encouraged Harshu's adventurism yet covered his butt with the more limited written orders. Harshu took the verbal orders over the written ones because he agreed that Arcana needed gains at all costs in this conflict.

That sort of CYA mind set must be rather prevalent in a peace time military.

It could also roll over two magicless civilians pretty easily.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:06 pm

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Yes, Tony, I was referring to the initial fisk-ups at that time. If things got worse and S&J were in custody the temptation for terminal CYA would be profound.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:21 pm

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Howard,

The war will galvanize pre-war political positions of course. We don't know what those positions are yet. S&J have yet to get to Arcana. The tendency towards viewing a civilization so bizarre as to be devoid of magic as harmless will be hard to resist. It won't be until Harshu Expeditionary Force gets hammered that they begin taking things seriously.

Until the each side in the Union will use the news to support their political position.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:34 pm

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And yet, by OTL standards,
Sharona is *not* devoid of magic.
Telepathy, Flicking, etc., some of us listed a dozen!

Perhaps Arcanans can be persuaded that they are magic.
Especially after they meet folks like US!

There are gonna be a lot more shocks to Arcanan nerves.
Sharonan, too.

HTM

PeterZ wrote:Howard,

The war will galvanize pre-war political positions of course. We don't know what those positions are yet. S&J have yet to get to Arcana. The tendency towards viewing a civilization so bizarre as to be devoid of magic as harmless will be hard to resist. It won't be until Harshu Expeditionary Force gets hammered that they begin taking things seriously.

Until the each side in the Union will use the news to support their political position.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:39 pm

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Yup, lots of clue sticks waiting to get swung by our authors at the readers and both sides in the story.

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:And yet, by OTL standards,
Sharona is *not* devoid of magic.
Telepathy, Flicking, etc., some of us listed a dozen!

Perhaps Arcanans can be persuaded that they are magic.
Especially after they meet folks like US!

There are gonna be a lot more shocks to Arcanan nerves.
Sharonan, too.

HTM

PeterZ wrote:Howard,

The war will galvanize pre-war political positions of course. We don't know what those positions are yet. S&J have yet to get to Arcana. The tendency towards viewing a civilization so bizarre as to be devoid of magic as harmless will be hard to resist. It won't be until Harshu Expeditionary Force gets hammered that they begin taking things seriously.

Until the each side in the Union will use the news to support their political position.
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Grantyl textev re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:28 pm

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500 Grantyl was first mentioned on p344 HG, when he
would *not* give Klian any of his 4 recon gryphons.
We see Jasek as being upset by this.
Perhaps some of us readers dislike Grantyl for it.

OTOH, textev says those r-g's would take a week to
reach HG; too late. Also, had they been used at HG,
a Sharonan might have noticed one. The Prince was
still there to be asked
"Hey, Your Highness, is that what you Glimpsed?"
"Maybe ... maybe, but ISTR a rider on it."
-------------------------------
Main textev: Chapter 37, pages 598-90 HardBack Ed.
"Five Hundred Grantyl (had) none of the sympathy,
none of the awareness that what had happened ...
wasn't their fault, that they'd seen in Klian.
Instead, there'd been suspicion, hostility, and
more than a little fear.
It had been **obvious to Shaylar** that Grantyl
would have been far more comfortable locking them
up in a dungeon and preferably losing the key."

So the textev is Shaylar's feeling, her opinion.

Textev continues that instead "He'd insisted on
sentries outside their quarters ..."
but otherwise he treated them "... almost as guests.
Not welcome, ... but still guests."

Next, Shaylar doubts aloud that Grantyl "was all
that happy not throwing us into chains ..."

"'You're right, Grantyl did want to lock you up in
the brig besides vos Hoven,' Gadrial said.

That is the Textev. I seem to have
made more of it than BR Nicholas did.

HTM

Howard T. Map-addict wrote:I will have to go home and check the text,
and reply tomorrow.
(Pity you didn't post this 1/2 hour sooner. :) )

I think it more likely to find textev that J & G worried,
than that Grantyl intended harm. (We didn't read his PoV
and I am not sure we saw *him!*)

I doubt that the expression "like normal POWs" was
meaningful in Arcana's Outworlds at that time.
It had been two centuries since Arcana had a War.
The jails in the Outworld Forts were for criminals.

Treating civilians, who were captured by soldiers through
no fault of their own, as prisoners of the Law as if
they were criminals, is arguably harmful in itself.
That is an argument that I am making here.

There was also the possibility that Grantyl would
interrogate them, in person or by agent. As he was
not likely an experienced interrogator, and as he was
"upset" by what Sharona's army had just done at the
Portal as well as by what their fellows had done at
Fallen Timbers, any such interrogation might have
ended up harming them.

So I reason, but I do not at present recall the textev.

Howard "True Map-addict" Wilkins

brnicholas wrote:Can you provide some evidence that he wanted to
"leave them to rot in a jail" instead of simply
keeping them in his jail, like normal POWs,
until the party moved on? Can you provide any evidence
that Jasek and Gadrial worried that the sentries
Com-500 Waysal Grantyl posted outside their quarters
would harm them or let others harm them?

I understand the dispute between Jasek and Five Hundred Grantyl as being over rather Shylar and Jathmar would be treated as civilian member of Jasek's family traveling to New Arcana or as prisoners being transported to New Arcana. Neither designation would involve 500 Grantyl harming them and I see no evidence Jasek feared that 500 Grantyl would.

Nicholas

"Howard T. Map-addict" had written:
Leaving them to rot in a jail, is not harm?
Putting them where Questioners could get to them,
would Jasek & Gadrial deem that "not harm?"
(Not to mention that J&G were the only Arcanans
talking to them and getting data. Monopoly?)

If Grantyl wanted to keep them close to HG so that
they could be returned (to Sharona),
then that would be "not harm!"

HTM

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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:51 am

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Your textev, Howard, is suggestive of something deeper but not what exactly. Gadrial's willingness to use battle magic to protect S&J is also indicative of something...well several somethings.

That Gadrial could threaten to use combat spells in a military compound suggests that both she has serious juice and mages have juice both formally and informally or perhaps de facto and de jure. That she DID make that threat suggests she was worried about their safety in jail. Not necessarily from Grantyl but from any "official" need for information and eventually from politics.

The most interesting point is the almost tacit acceptance that whether with authority or not mages will use their power. That use might not be condoned but accepted as an unpalatable fact of life. This might argue that the rule of law in Arcana might have some helping of might makes right.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by Howard T. Map-addict   » Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:53 pm

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Please note that,
at Grantyl's Fort Wyvern,
no mention of combat magic is made.
The word "shardonai" sufficed.
But Gadrial was already expressing doubts about the
next stop, Fort Talon (ominous name!),
and about its commander, mul Garthak, a Mythalan.

It was at Ft Talon,
where the brig is a veritable dungeon,
that Gadrial produced her defensive combat spell.
Note: produced, not merely threatened.
It was in front of 100 Neshok that she produced it.

As for her right (or at least privilege) to do that,
well, L E Modesitt tells us "self-defense is always permitted" in his Imagers' Universe. I would guess
that any place with combat magic would use that rule.
And besides, who could stop her?

Whether or not might makes right,
what might certainly makes, is law!

HTM

PeterZ wrote:Your textev, Howard, is suggestive of something deeper but not what exactly. Gadrial's willingness to use battle magic to protect S&J is also indicative of something...well several somethings.

That Gadrial could threaten to use combat spells in a military compound suggests that both she has serious juice and mages have juice both formally and informally or perhaps de facto and de jure. That she DID make that threat suggests she was worried about their safety in jail. Not necessarily from Grantyl but from any "official" need for information and eventually from politics.

The most interesting point is the almost tacit acceptance that whether with authority or not mages will use their power. That use might not be condoned but accepted as an unpalatable fact of life. This might argue that the rule of law in Arcana might have some helping of might makes right.
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Re: All the idiots on the Arcanan side?
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:42 pm

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Yet the basis of the Law is at issue. Is that basis simply another expression of force or a moral code?

That Gadrial can use force because she has the intrinsic power to do so speaks to the foundation of Arcana's laws. This is consistent with the existence of mages and a recognition of the fundamental inequality between people in their society.

We have yet to see the degree of libertarian beliefs the Ransarans hold. Their view of the rule of law might well be the most consistent with we the reader's. I doubt that consistency will be profound.
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