Merlin (with spoilers) Grundo, Coercion

Ven vendersleighc at
Sat May 31 15:38:46 EDT 2003

I start with an apology -- instead of saving to
draft I sent a version of this message with no
original material, oops, sorry.

Jodel wrote

<Just twigged to another replay reversal here. I 
think someone else refered to 
it as well.

Nick and Maree are similar to Roddy and Grundo, 
of course and blindingly so. 
With no coercions on either side. However. the 
real configuration we are 
getting a flip side to is Cat and Gwendolyn 
chant. In both cases, the younger boy 
is clinging to the older girl, in both cases the 
boy's innate magical strength 
is greater, in both cases the boy has a genuine 
handicap that has to be worked 
around. And in both cases the story is told from 
the point of view of the 
person being used. Where it differs is that in 
this case the girl did volunteer 
for the position in the first place, and the boy 
is not using her for ignoble 
means, he is using her to survive.

It's a good comparison but I'm not sure in what
way Roddy "volunteered"  -- all she did was get
the kid a change of clothes. It's a bit like that
Chinese idea that if you save someone's life that
makes you responsible for them forever. Also I
wouldn't have thought life on the Royal progress,
even with Sybil and Alicia to contend with, would
be that bad. 

On Tue, 27 May 2003, Hallie O'Donovan wrote:

> Hmmm.  Do you think the difference has anything

to do with Grundo's
> using magic to get what he wants, rather than 
figuring out
> non-magical ways to do it?

	<Yeah, there is something nastily coercive about

that, isn't there?
And I say that as someone who *did* warm to 
Grundo, I found him very
charming. But what he did was deeply unscrupulous

and I was very glad to
see that it looked like his father was going to 
try to take him in hand!>

I agree with Philip about the normal rules of
morality applying. The problem with what Grundo
did is not so much with the means themselves but
because this is the kind of magical coercion that
(apparently) works perfectly. It removes freewill
and makes of the victim a willing slave. The only
non magical ways to do this involve drugs,
brainwashing and all kinds of damage and abuse,
and they are definitely wrong!

Having said that I'm not sure the kinds of charm
Grundo and the Izzies are using are of the total
mind control variety (see other thread). In my
role playing group we always give a "charmed
person" another chance to break the spell if they
are asked to do something totally out of
character or that endangers their own life or
some such. It seems to me that such spells will
work best if they are working with the
recipient's natural character. This seems closer
to the charms in Merlin. Roddy really does like
Grundo and feel protective of him, although she
worries that she is not, she really is that kind
of person. The Izzies' spell works on their
Grandmother and Aunt because they love them and
naturally think well of them, Grundo sees through
it. What Grundo has done to Roddy is not so much
to distort her basic character as to impose
limits on her behaviour. Near the start she comes
up[ with all kinds of reasons why she has no
close friends among the other children on the
progress but actually Grundo has never given her
the chance. I think this may  have been keeping
her a bit immature in some ways -- she hasn't
mixed with kids her own age and eg she doesn't
exactly know how to deal with male attraction
does she?

Apropos of using the talents one is given Sally
<Do we tell a natural runner to 
slow down in the race so the
less gifted can keep up?>

No, but we don't exactly approve if they use
their talent to say snatch somebody's mobile 
then run away faster than the owner...........

>I also thought that Grundo was a weird, silly 
name.  Am I missing some =
great joke here?

I don't think it counts as a joke - but Grundo is
(IIRC) the name of the =
magical land where Teddy Ruxpin lives! Whether 
DWJ was thinking of that =
I don't know - otherwise the word reminds me of 
'grunge' more than =

Teddy who?

Sally, on her daughter

<She opined (very PC) that you should 
never judge people by the way
they dress. I opine that anyone who wears a 
threatening scowl and jingles
with chains and has nasty comments tattooed on 
their hands is likely to be
treated with caution -  and with good reason.>

But Sally, the threatening scowl isn't an item of
dress nor IMO are the nasty tattoos.........
Clothing however is surely a much less reliable
indicator of character -- whether its smart,
scruffy or just plain weird.


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