Dalemark Quartet

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Jul 30 16:33:39 EDT 2004

Robyn wrote in reply to my:

>>I find it difficult to see how laying such a geas on somebody has a lighter
>>interpretation than thoroughly murky and despicable, to be honest: in what
>>way is forced marriage to a stranger not dark?  Even if you *don't* already
>>have someone else you're planning to marry, for whom you care?
>I think the problem lies in your steadfast refusal to see the possibility 
>that the cwidder was true to its nature, and that the spell wasn't entirely 
>coercive. I thought of it like the cwidder couldn't make someone do 
>something that was totally against his or her nature. So if Lenina had 
>thoughts about the romance of running away with the raggle-taggle 
>gypsies-o, then the cwidder could be used to make her act on the impulse. 
>If she didn't, then it couldn't.

The cwidder is able to compel an entire army to go to sleep against
their will -- in one case at least, Tholian, fighting against it all the
way and very well aware that he was being put under a spell.  I
therefore don't see the cwidder as only causing people to do what they
secretly in their heart-of-hearts want to.  Tholian doesn't in the least
want to go to sleep and let his victims escape him untortured, in his
heart-of-hearts or otherwise.  He wants to win, not to be lulled into

I will cheerfully concede that everyone needs sleep eventually, and that
it is therefore in the nature of human beings to go to sleep, but I
think that particular occasion was entirely coercive. 

So, if it could be put to a coercive use on one occasion, why not on

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