Dalemark Quartet

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Jul 28 20:00:23 EDT 2004

Robyn wrote:

>Lenina is an interesting character, I think; she is very loyal to her
>husband while he is alive, but as soon as he dies, all her bottled up
>resentment and regret  get full sway. She is not loyal beyond death, which
>is the difference between her and the children.

I think there is a greater difference between them than that: I think the
children were to some extent free agents whilst he was alive, and have no
reason in particular to be glad he's dead, but I am not at all sure that
his death is not simply a very great relief to Lenina, and an escape from
seventeen years' involuntary servitude.  I think she is released from a
magical compulsion: I don't know how loyal one would feel, in the
circumstances.  I can't think of any reason one would be.

   "Mother never had a say in anything.  She just did the work."  That's
how Dagner puts it when they're leaving Markind.

Then later we get

   "Don't you think Mother was fond of Father at all?" [Moril] asked dolefully.
   "Not in the way we were," said Dagner.
   "In that case, why did she run off with him like that?" Brid asked,
triumphantly, as if that clinched the matter.
   Dagner looked pensively at a new vista of apple-trees coming into view
beyond Olob's ears.  "I'm not sure," he said, "but I /think/ that cwidder
had something to do with it."

As soon as he dies, the magic he worked on her in the Lord's hall, using
the cwidder to compel her to abandon her previous life and her betrothed
love Ganner and go off to be a raggle-taggle-gypsy-o with him, is finished,
and she is able to go back to her own people and place, and the man she
originally wanted to marry, was how I read it.  I think that Clennen's
dying words, "Only found the power once, when I --" would have ended "used
it to get your mother" or some similar phrase.

That's a form of rape, isn't it, using magic to force a woman into your
bed.  And she describes his not being there any more as "being free", and
her staying with him as "her duty".  This might explain why she doesn't
move heaven and earth to get his children back and keep them safe, too:
they are all of them the products of rape, if one looks at it that way, and
she may not be sorry not to be being constantly reminded about that.

Clennen has been gloating over her about it for years, too, telling and
re-telling the story of how he took her from her home and kin and
pretending her real love is so unimportant that he can't even remember his
name, and every time he does she must resent it, I would suppose.  "She
always looked very non-committal whenever Clennen told this story".  I'll
just bet she did!


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