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11/17/2020 5:21 pm  #51

Re: Foreigner series observations

I think Bren has become, in many instances, a closely aligned, but nearly free agent. He carries many titles, and he now seems to acting in that capacity. This strengthens his hand, as he still has implicit, and often explicit, backing from Tabini and Ilsidi. And, beneficially, they could presumably deny involvement if a situation goes poorly. 


11/17/2020 8:02 pm  #52

Re: Foreigner series observations

That relationship between Ilisidi, Tabini and Bren is very interesting. One thing running around in my mind is why Bren is sent to the government center in Koperna, where he is supposedly acting as an official, not just paidhi. Why on earth would Ilisidi put Bren in front when she knows Marid people have a very negative view of humans?  We have Paigiti's insulting words as an example. 

I remember when Bren returned from the Kyo encounter and Tabini sends him to Mospheira because the Mospheirans need to know the true value of the paidhi-aiji. And in line with that Bren wins over most of the humans he deals with (except for some diehard Human Heritage party folks).

So I think is Ilisidi doing the same thing here? He is not sent with Bregani just because Banichi is in charge of city security, but because she knows Bren has the capacity  to win over all sorts of people. After all Cajeiri tells his parents that lord Bren can talk anyone into anything. And Bren charms just about everyone. He steps in to heal wounds even when no one asks him to do that. He is like a roll of sticky tape winding around all sorts of people and gluing them together.

I'm not sure I want to insist that this is what Ilisidi is thinking, but it does occur to me. And I don't see any particular reason against this interpretation.

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

11/18/2020 11:01 am  #53

Re: Foreigner series observations

lynxlacelady wrote:

One other thing that bothers me is who is Bren working for. In book 20 Tabini tells Bren that in this instance Bren works for Tabini. But in many places in book 21 Bren says Tabini told him to keep Ilisidi safe, which We never hear Tabini saying. We hear Tatiseigi saying it.

When Bren is getting ready to leave the Bujavid with Ilisidi, Machigi, and Nomari, he is in conference with Tabini.  At that point, Tabini tells Bren to protect Ilisidi.  Tabini makes it a point that he is not interfering with Ilisidi (at least, not that Bren knows), but he does want Bren to protect her.  I'd have to go pull the book to find the exact page, but it is there.  Yes, Tatiseigi says it, too...
As for the question, Who does Bren work for?  He states it quite clearly when he explained to Wilson and the Committee on Linguistics, as well as to Machigi, to Brenani, and to Topari.  He is the go-between, he will represent both sides as fairly and as aggressively as he can.  But Bren also admits that his ultimate employer is Tabini, although he is free to work for others, as well.  jmho


"Those who can give up essential liberties in order to purchase a little extra security deserve neither liberty nor security." - Benjamin Franklin
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius

11/18/2020 1:24 pm  #54

Re: Foreigner series observations

A few points. I go back to a point I made a long time ago. The Aji and the Dowager more or less share power as co-Aiji. Ilisidi of the east and Tabini of the West. TWO regions with TWO Aiji. Two is very unstable. Two cannot be allowed to stand. So Bren is in effect a third (much, much weaker) leader. He has proven himself to be useful over and over again. He is a peacemaker. And he cannot possibly take power for himself. Everyone including him knows it. He is safe to give power to. Also I think that the intention is to eventually have three regions, West, East and Marid. 

I think that the process of making a new lord is a three step process. Step 1 is that someone nominates a lord. Step two is that Tabini accepts the nomination. Step 3 may or may not be official. A new lord must have the support of the people, their own and in general. Even if Tabini accepts the new lord, if a powerful lord like Ilisidi or Tatiseigi opposes it, the nomination could fail. Since Tatiseigi was the one who nominated Nomari and Tabini believed that Ilisidi would support the nomination, then Nomari was confirmed. But Ilisidi then told Tabini that she wanted to have input in the situation so the official approval was held up. 

I believe that Ilisidi is very old and ill. A few books back she almost passed out and dropped a glass and Bren and Cenedi had to practically force her to go to bed. I believe that Ilisidi has been having more of these incidents lately. She needs her sleep more than before. She can't go night after night without sleep anymore. She wanted Bren there as her backup. He can do things she cannot do anymore. She cannot physically stay awake for 24 hours straight setting things up. At one point Cenedi had to ask Bren for permission because Ilisidi was asleep and he didn't want to wake her. He knew the her plans but he couldn't give orders on his own and he didn't want to wake Ilisidi because (I believe) she had another of those fainting incidents.  (I think she's setting up Bren to be her successor for her affairs in the west. She'll name some young relative we've never met as her heir with 3 regents to rule until they reach adulthood, Bren, Cajeri and her cousin. Her cousin handles the east and Cajeri and Bren the west.)

Also, Ilisidi didn't understand the inner workings of the Marid much better than Bren does. She could easily make a major mistake. She was walking on very shaky ground she didn't know or understand. She was relying on Machigi for her information and Machigi is a very uncertain ally at best. Machigi could be setting her up for a double cross. So she sent Bren in. He's a peacemaker by nature and being human no one expects him to completely understand things. He can make a minor mistake and it won't wreck everything. She can disavow any mistakes he makes and fix them. It won't hurt him politically in the west because he's human and no one outside of the Marid really understands the Marid anyway. 

Look at Bren and Topari. Topari called him a creature in one of the early books. But when the Dowager visits his capital he turns to Bren for advise. He trusts Bren to be honest with him. Bren can do that with people. People trust him and he has a reputation of being trustworthy. He never tells people to do things which will ruin them. Sending Bren in to negotiate throws everyone off balance. He is known to be the right hand man of both Ilisidi and Tabini. He has unofficial power in his own right as a respected lord. He has a reputation of being unpredictable but honest. He shows his emotions on his face way too much and people believe they can read him. But he has never been know to lie while negotiating. He's a peacemaker and a total wildcard. The people of the Marid will pause and think before doing anything because they don't really know what's going on. This pause helps Ilisidi and her allies. I think that Ilisidi sent Bren because of the fact that the Marid has a negative view of humans, not in spite of the fact. They will be thrown off balance and Bren can then act as the calming influence in a chaotic situation. 


     Thread Starter

11/18/2020 6:36 pm  #55

Re: Foreigner series observations

I also see most of that.

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

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