[DWJ] Cart and Cwidder Cwestion

Philip Belben philipbelben at alice.de
Sun Mar 18 02:51:08 EDT 2012

Minnow said:

> Clennen did one of the nastiest things I can think of: mindrape.  He
> wanted this girl who was getting married to someone else, so he used
> the cwidder's magic to cause her to abandon the man she loved and
> everything she knew, and to go with him even though she had never in the
> slightest wanted to, and to bear his children and stay with him as long
> as he lived. And at the time, she even wanted to do his will: her own
> will was taken over and subverted.  And this oaf constantly belittled
> the man she loved, and there was nothing she could do about it!

OK, if we're moving away from Clennen's failings as a parent to his 
failings as a man...

Yes, he did mindrape Lenina.  I don't think it is as clear-cut that the 
spell with the cwidder did all you say, though.  I think it is quite 
clear that what was keeping them together by the end was Lenina's sense 
of duty - part of her southern aristocratic upbringing.  It is arguable 
that the spell Clennen cast with the cwidder was enough to make Lenina 
come away with him; he got the knot tied before she realised what was 
happening; and her sense of duty did the rest.  It certainly seems to be 
an important aspect of her character.

It was her sense of duty that made Lenina protect Kialan after Clennen's 
death, for a start - going back to her Southern roots, she could easily 
have simply turned him in.  I'm inclined to think that the old Lenina - 
the one who hadn't lived at the Earl's court in Hannart, nor travelled 
as a singer - would have considered it her patriotic duty to turn him in.

If a woman has sex with her husband out of a sense of duty, is he raping 
her?  We could discuss that question alone for a whole month, I think. 
(Hmm.  I recently re-read "Komarr".  Eek.)

Returning to Clennen, I wonder how aware he was of what he was doing to 
Lenina.  Love is a strange emotion.  Predatory love, which should be a 
contradiction, is alas all to common.

> no wonder that when the man who had loved her all
> along, not washing his hands of her and getting married to someone
> else, came and said "I'm still here" she went with him willingly and
> for the first time that her children had ever known her to be so really
> happily.  A most heroic and constant man, who understood that she had
> not been in control of her own mind and emotions and waited for her.
> His offence as far as the children were concerned was that he wasn't
> Clennen, really.

I'd not thought of Ganner's parenting before.  We don't see enough of 
it, but he again seems generally concerned to do what is right, but not 
interested enough to find out what's needed.

I've read the book so many times that the narrative has already begun to 
get political for me when the kids leave Ganner - probably from the 
moment that Moril sees Tholian from the ladder - so I don't get any 
feeling of bad - or good - parenting from Ganner.  It's interesting 
trying to think when a first time reader would see it as political.  The 
politics are there already - Clennen's been preaching about them enough, 
and his murder was blatantly political - but it's not clear what the 
kids' involvement will be until Dagner is arrested, or even until Kialan 
reveals his parentage.

> Were the people in Dogsbody parents, really?  Parent-figures, I agree.

To Robin and Basil, yes they were parents.  To Sirius and Kathleen, no 
less so than Ganner!

This is a discussion for next month, but we see the Duffields mainly as 
foster-parents, i.e. through the eyes of Sirius and Kathleen.  So the 
way that Duffie treats Robin, for example, is not very prominent.  But 
it is visible enough to see the bad parenting.


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