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7/05/2020 8:49 pm  #21


Re: Foreigner series observations

I've thought a little more about it. It's a month or two after the end of Inheritor. The old lord of the Maladesi dies. They hadn't been to the capital for many years and their apartment was closed up. So they were never mentioned in the first 3 books. There's one clan claiming inheritance. It has a legitimate but tenuous claim. It is also a clan with a terrible reputation of backstabbing for centuries. No one outside of the Marid want's this clan to inherit the Maladesi's property.

The property consists of two properties. An apartment in the most desired location on the planet. And a small estate in the most politically sensitive place on the planet, think Middle East. 

Whose going to inherit? The Aji is within his rights to declare that the property has no heirs and give it to someone. Most clans approve because they do not favor the Marid. There is no clan big enough, powerful enough and old enough to just demand it. 

If he gives it to the Dowager, she would control the east and have a tiny bit of land in the west. People would be outraged. He really can't give it to any existing clan. This would be totally controversial. But Bren is an outsider. He doesn't have any links to any clan. He is one of the Aji's most important advisors. In effect, he is part of the Aji's family. He is an obvious choice. 

Now Bren is Lord Bren. But wouldn't that make Bren the head of a clan? Not the Maladesi, they're extinct. Bren can vote in the legislature in place of the Maladesi but what is his clan? I think that the Aji created a new clan just for Bren. That kept the numbers steady. I called the new clan after the name of his estate. 

 

7/05/2020 9:50 pm  #22


Re: Foreigner series observations

True, we don't know why the Maladesi had rated such an apartment. 
As to why Bren was given it --- at that point Bren had given Tabini some massively important services.Half the space station, with the Atevi part having control of the station's weapons (whatever they were). So Tabini perhaps felt he owed something in return. When Bren & Co returned from Reunion Tabini asked him what gift he could give. All Bren asked for was news about Toby. The Farai were camped out in Bren's apartment at that point. Tabini was looking for an excuse to ease them out.

Last edited by lynxlacelady (7/06/2020 6:27 pm)


Wild about cats, handmade lace, CJ Cherryh.   politics junkie
 

7/05/2020 10:36 pm  #23


Re: Foreigner series observations

lynxlacelady wrote:

True, we don't know why the Maladesi had rated such an apartment. 
As to why Bren was given it --- at that point Bren had given Tabini some massively important services.Half the space station, with the Atevi part having control of the staation's weapons (whatever they were). So Tabini perhaps felt he owed something in return. When Bren & Co returned from Reunion Tabini asked him what gift he could give me. All Bren asked for was news about Toby. The Farai were camped out in Bren's apartment at that point. Tabini was looking for an excuse to ease them out.

CJ said in several books that putting your relatives in positions of power is perfectly fine. You cannot trust anyone outside of your clan. The Aji might have trouble putting an actual relative in charge. But everyone believes that Bren has a very strong manchi to the Aji. In their mind they know he's human and doesn't have manchi. But at a gut level, they just know that Bren is absolutely loyal. 

Nobody would get mad if the Aji gave the estate to his actual sibling. But the Aji doesn't have siblings and Bren is as loyal as a sibling would be. 

Aji's don't owe anyone anything in an emotional sense. 

Last edited by scenario_dave (7/05/2020 10:37 pm)

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7/06/2020 2:55 pm  #24


Re: Foreigner series observations

There is the whole 'of course various staff members are spies' thing too. How many servants aiming for Tabini got palmed off on Bren in that move? (& Bren's cook is Geigi's man etc.) The backdoor negotiation by spy must be passing through Bren's apartment at a furious rate. (& so utterly, wonderfully, deniable.)

 

7/06/2020 6:36 pm  #25


Re: Foreigner series observations

"Aji's don't owe anyone anything in an emotional sense."
What I was thinking of was Ilisidi teaching Cajeiri about obligations owed to people for help given. I'm thinking of the race from Mospheira to the mainland, when a local villager lets them borrow her truck on the way from the coast to Taiben. Ilisidi makes a strong point that Cajeiri should not forget that service given and should be ready into the future to assist that village.

I have long felt that Bren's initial assessment of Atevi was erroneous, in book 1, that Atevi lords or aijiin have no emotions in a downward direction to their associates. This is what Bren believed initially because that is what he was taught on Mospheira. But throughout the books we gradually see that that belief was just plain wrong. Geigi is passionate about his aishid. Cajeiri is urgently attached to his human companions. I think CJ constantly gives us hints about that without ever stating in clearly and unequivocally.
 


Wild about cats, handmade lace, CJ Cherryh.   politics junkie
 

7/06/2020 8:17 pm  #26


Re: Foreigner series observations

lynxlacelady wrote:

"Aji's don't owe anyone anything in an emotional sense."
What I was thinking of was Ilisidi teaching Cajeiri about obligations owed to people for help given. I'm thinking of the race from Mospheira to the mainland, when a local villager lets them borrow her truck on the way from the coast to Taiben. Ilisidi makes a strong point that Cajeiri should not forget that service given and should be ready into the future to assist that village.

I have long felt that Bren's initial assessment of Atevi was erroneous, in book 1, that Atevi lords or aijiin have no emotions in a downward direction to their associates. This is what Bren believed initially because that is what he was taught on Mospheira. But throughout the books we gradually see that that belief was just plain wrong. Geigi is passionate about his aishid. Cajeiri is urgently attached to his human companions. I think CJ constantly gives us hints about that without ever stating in clearly and unequivocally.
 

Manchi is essential to the mental health of every Atevi except Aji.  The typical Atevi has to have manchi to someone or something to be mentally healthy. They need to be part of a web of Manchi. Upward to their lords and lateral to other people in their clan. But Aji don't have to have manchi. On the other hand, an Aji that doesn't care about their own people will tend to easily lose their people manchi and have difficulty drawing people in. 

But I believe that downward manchi is learned not in born in Aji. There's also a feedback loop going. The Aji who truly cares about their people binds them closer and attracts more people. The Dowager really cares about her people and they know it. That's one of the big reasons that she attracts so much manchi. 

But if you have a dysfunctional clan like the Ajury, this all breaks down. The Ajury has lost lord after lord. Lords only rule for a few years before they get killed. They don't have the opportunity to set a good example. Damiri was born and raised in the Ajury clan to be an Aji. But she never got to see a really good lord. They were always afraid and never really showed any loyalty to the people under them. Because of this she has a great deal of difficulty declaring manchi to anyone, including her own son. Her manchi tends to be weak and easily broken. She constantly switched between the Ajury and the Atageini her whole life. When she got married, she had the opportunity to attach to her husbands clan but couldn't. The Heir never really attached to her because he knew that she never really attached to him. Damiri is an example of an Aji who doesn't attach very well. She's an Aji. She has little or no manchi to anyone except to Tabini.  She's emotionally healthy but she cannot attract any followers.  

Also to Blond Tekikin, Bren's cook is a spy for Uncle T not for Geigi.   (Spoiler, we learned in one of the last couple of books that he's actually a spy for Tabini. Uncle T may have thought the cook was his spy but he was Tabini's all along.)

 

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7/06/2020 8:28 pm  #27


Re: Foreigner series observations

Another thing I've been thinking of. Why does Bren get so much inside information about the Guild?

I think its for a few reasons. Only really highly placed lords get inside information on the guild and only if they need it and only if the Guild decides to give it. Tabini and the Dowager get information regularly. But when Tabini lost his guard, he lost his high level guild.

The Dowager has high ranking guild but she's eastern and frequently in the east. The highest person in the guild who is near Tabini on a regular basis is Algini. CJ never really said, but I believe that Algini is the right hand man of the guild leaders. He originally went to Bren because Tabini's guard didn't want someone that high up interfering with them. Algini frequently has information that Tabini needs to know but the guild in uncomfortable telling Tabini's guard.

Bren is regularly acting for Tabini. Sometimes the guild wants to have someone high up in the guild in a certain spot. So they have Algini give both Tabini and Bren just enough information to get Bren's guard's where they want him. 

The guild trusts Algini and Bren to handle certain situations. They've both proven to be reliable. Sometimes they need someone powerful right on the spot. Tabini and the Dowager can't go into danger but Bren can. 

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7/06/2020 8:51 pm  #28


Re: Foreigner series observations

Another thought. How did Bren get such good people around him?

From the short story about Bren's first day, Tabini wanted to have a true Paidhi. All of the previous Paidhi's just carried messages back and forth. When he met Bren, he found someone he could talk too. I think that his original idea is that he could get more technology from Bren than most of the others. Plus, with brand new technology, he sometimes needed an expert on the spot. Once he was sure of Bren, he wanted to be able to send him anywhere as his personal technology representative. A factory is producing well below their ability, send Bren, etc. 

But someone in Bren's position is going to be a target, He will need a good set of guards. Banichi and Jago were in his personal guards and were excellent but they weren't in his clan and they fought hard to be assigned to Bren so they were chosen. Then the guild sent Tano and Algini and Tabini attached them to Bren because his own guards didn't want people that high up in the guild looking over their shoulders. 

When Bren went to the Dowager and helped to convince her to stay loyal to the Aji, all four of them saw how good he was. He was good as a negotiator and good under fire. They realized that he could be useful. He didn't realize it but his power grew a lot at that point. People in high places thought of him as a true Paidhi, the spokesman for the Aji. People knew he was going to rise in power and would be in contact with Tabini all the time so they tried to attach servants. Algini and Bianchi only allowed the best. 

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7/07/2020 6:18 pm  #29


Re: Foreigner series observations

Dave: Your ideas are very interesting. You think about Foreigner as constantly as I do. Amazing!
I did not mean to suggest that an aiji has manchi to his people. What he has for them is something different, but it isn't manchi. There is clearly a strong attachment.
As to Bren receiving briefings about Guild matters, in some cases I think his aishid is trying to goad him into actions that would bring the 4 of them near a problem that no one else can solve. I'm thinking here of his decision to be the foot-in-the-door for the assault on Asien'dalun (Kadagidi estate), and later for his agreement to join the assault on the Guildhall. He points out that if he is with them, they are protecting him, and then whatever they do is justified. And they do not break any law.
As to why Bren has such high quality people attached to him: I think Tabini knew Bren's life might not be safe sending him to Ilisidi the first time. So he sent his best 2- Banichi and Jago. Just exactly where Tano and Algini came from is never clearly stated. I think Tabini knew that he needed someone reliable to interface with the ship and Mospheira. If he had a reliable human speaking for him it would enhance the respect and acceptance of his rule (as well a necessary for just dealing with the situation). It would secure his position as aiji. But he also knew that his reliable human would therefore become a special target of his enemies precisely because such a human enhanced Tabini's hold on power. As you said, someone in Bren's position would become a target.
As to all the other Atevi staff who supported Bren's actitivies -- I think Bren's own character drew their manchi and attachment.


Wild about cats, handmade lace, CJ Cherryh.   politics junkie
 

7/07/2020 7:43 pm  #30


Re: Foreigner series observations

lynxlacelady wrote:

Dave: Your ideas are very interesting. You think about Foreigner as constantly as I do. Amazing!
I did not mean to suggest that an aiji has manchi to his people. What he has for them is something different, but it isn't manchi. There is clearly a strong attachment.
As to Bren receiving briefings about Guild matters, in some cases I think his aishid is trying to goad him into actions that would bring the 4 of them near a problem that no one else can solve. I'm thinking here of his decision to be the foot-in-the-door for the assault on Asien'dalun (Kadagidi estate), and later for his agreement to join the assault on the Guildhall. He points out that if he is with them, they are protecting him, and then whatever they do is justified. And they do not break any law.
As to why Bren has such high quality people attached to him: I think Tabini knew Bren's life might not be safe sending him to Ilisidi the first time. So he sent his best 2- Banichi and Jago. Just exactly where Tano and Algini came from is never clearly stated. I think Tabini knew that he needed someone reliable to interface with the ship and Mospheira. If he had a reliable human speaking for him it would enhance the respect and acceptance of his rule (as well a necessary for just dealing with the situation). It would secure his position as aiji. But he also knew that his reliable human would therefore become a special target of his enemies precisely because such a human enhanced Tabini's hold on power. As you said, someone in Bren's position would become a target.
As to all the other Atevi staff who supported Bren's actitivies -- I think Bren's own character drew their manchi and attachment.

I agree about the downward attachment. I think of it like this, human babies need to have someone take care of them. They need to attach to someone. Just being fed is not enough. A baby who isn't held and talk to enough as much as they need never learn to attach later. A typical Atevi needs the attachment of manchi the same way a baby needs to be held. It's instinct. Aiji don't have this need. However, Aiji who don't show concern for the people below them don't tend to attract many followers. An Aiji who doesn't show this to their followers tend to have weak and easily broken manchi. All good Aiji have it but its not instinctive, its taught. 

I think that Bren got a lot of his people through a kind of feedback loop. He got Banici and Jago from the Aiji because he needed protection. He got Tano and Algini from the guild. I believe at first it was accidental in a way but it soon became clear to Bren, Tano, Algini, the guild and everyone else that they were useful there. Bren was going to be in a lot of high level talks right from the start. If the Aiji and the Dowager are going to be planning something, the Guild wants their people there. I just reread Betrayer for about the 10th time and when the Dowager sent Bren to the Marid, Algini went along. The guild had a man who was clearly in the top tier of guild in the household of the main opposition talking to his people. This gave the guild an insight into the situation they wouldn't have had. By it's very nature a true Paidhi will be in this sort of situation at times and he needs to have high level guild help. Bren negotiates with aliens, the guild is there. 

Bren had power, he acted as an Aiji and he showed affection for his followers. All of these things made him highly attractive. Damiri said pretty early that she was afraid she was going to lose all of her maids to him. And when he said that he was afraid of doing something inappropriate, she said that the maids dream of him doing something inappropriate. He gets marriage proposals from Atevi women all the time. For every person that is in his team, I would bet that his people rejected 20. 

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