old question

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Dec 19 10:00:31 EST 2003


Philip wrote:
>>> (The invention of the Embroidery Factory with all its ramifications
>>> doesn't seem to have got much further, though.)
>> Oh no? I think we visited it in Merlin Conspiracy.
>I must have dozed off when the Embroidery Factory entered this thread,
>but on the assumption that it got here from the Tough guide...

My fault.  It was one of the things Clute and DWJ discussed when she was
doing stuff for the Encyclopedia of Fantasy: everyone always seems to
have oodles of embroidery on their clothes but nobody ever seems to be
doing it, in Fantasyland, was where it started on that occasion (and
later I think Pat Wrede too discussed the lack of origins for much of
the furniture in Fantasyland, with particular reference to an old,
overstuffed leather armchair in a bar, and all that would imply in
social and economic terms).

>Didn't Milda work there for a while when she was being single mum in the
>slums of Holand?  Um... no.  She worked there when Al was still living
>with her.  After he left, she was too frightened to go out and got
>sacked for absenteeism.  But her next job was probably embroidery again,
>since that's what she was good at.

She worked in a workshop making fine embroidered hangings.  I conclude
that DWJ had been aware of the need for people actually to *make* such
things if they are mentioned in a story or assumed as part of the Court,
even before she got peevish about the lack of people in most of
Fantasyland doing all the things that keep societies ticking over.

>(I think in the Merlin Conspiracy, they were weavers rather than
>embroiderers.  Or is that a nitpick?  No it isn't!  It was important to
>the plot that when they learnt to weave intricate desings - if not
>spellcoats :-) - then they could rise out of their oppression.  If they
>had been embroiderers, they would have been doing intricate designs
>anyway...)

Sorry: they were embroiderers.  The thing was when they started to
recognise that they could make works of art rather than just clothing
for the rich; and they had started to do that before Nick met them, it
was just that they wanted reassurance that what they were doing was as
good as they thought it was; once they had been told so by a real
outsider, they took his word for it and moved over to tapestries instead
of clothing. Romanov had been egging them on to demand more money for
their work, and as far as I could tell that was mostly what the
Prayermaster had it in for Romanov about, but I don't think he had
actually suggested the picture-rather-than-clothes idea: they had that
all by themselves. Then later on Romonov helped them to move to another
world where they wouldn't be under the sun that was bad for them, some
time during the ten years he lived that were three weeks for Nick.

Minnow
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