Stargate Monuments

marthawells

Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Stargate Monuments
marthawells

Raksura Question

This is a Raksura question and bit of discussion on consort sexual politics over on tumblr

notahyper-specific asked:

It hadn't occurred to me until I read your last post, but now I have a question about queens and consorts. Consorts are almost as physically powerful as queens, but their role in the court is almost completely passive. Is that an attitude queens deliberately encourage to keep their consorts "docile", a consequence of how important they are to the survival of the court, or a combination of the two?

marthawells answered:

Originally, it was probably mostly the second reason, that they are important to the court’s survival, with a bit of the first mixed in. It’s definitely a cultural construct, but also figures into the way Raksura manage their bloodlines. Queens wouldn’t want other courts to steal consorts and get access to their court’s royal bloodline without permission. Consorts are also a status symbol. Allowing the consort out to fight for the court, or to do anything that a queen or a warrior would normally do, would also lessen the court’s status, since if you have to resort to using your consorts that way, your court must be up shit creek. Having consorts who don’t have to do anything except make and raise babies is a sign that the court is rich, well-defended, and comfortable.

Though for small courts like Indigo Cloud that tried to establish colonies outside the Reaches, there probably were quite a few consorts that ended up fighting for the court or going on more exploring and trading visits than would have been seen as acceptable in the Reaches. (I think Jade tells Moon at one point that consorts have fought for Indigo Cloud in the past. (Though Indigo Cloud had pretty much been living on shit creek for most of Jade’s life.) They have the ideal of how consorts are supposed to be passive and protected, but don’t always have the resources to live up to it.

1houreveryday said

I think my favorite thing about the Raksura books is Moon coming into this and being like “you may be physically stronger than me and faster than me and look down on me for not fitting you ideals but I’ve been kicking ass for a long time and I’m not gonna just stop now, obviously”.

notahyper-specific said

One of the things I =love= in the Raksura books is Indigo Cloud interacting with courts that are used to consorts who won’t even go to the bathroom unless they check with their queens first, and then they end up having to deal with Moon and Stone taking the Look at all the Fucks I Don’t Give revue on tour.

  • 1
I love the complex social dynamics you've created for the Raksura so much, and how the different characters engage with them! I'm also fascinated by Moon specifically (I love him!), but I wonder to what extent he is able to get away with being an atypical consort *because he is a consort* and they are given more leeway in things? If he were an Arbora or even just a male warrior, would he face more pressure to conform?

He would actually face less pressure, since warriors and Arbora are not seen as representing the court, and the standards for their behavior just aren't as strict. And there's a lot more of them, so it would be easier to sort of get lost in the mix, as long as you weren't getting the reigning queen's attention by hurting anyone or disrupting things to the point where it causes a big problem.

Thanks! I could see it both ways when I thought about it, but wasn't sure, since Consorts have such a special role already.

You know, I've also wondered if Jade's willingness to (mostly) let Moon be Moon has to do with the fact that one of the most crucial consort-figures in her life is Stone? Moon occasionally seems like a cranky, mouthy old line-grandfather, except for how he is not actually an old line-grandfather. Conversations with him, and his independence, maybe feels almost like business as usual to her?

I also wondered how much of her letting Moon get away with diving into dangerous situations has to do with being practical-minded, or a reaction against Pearl's and her faction's opinions ("if they're against it, I'm going to support it" kind of thing), or just the fact that she at some point decided she cares more about Moon than about what other courts think of her for having a consort like him? She tried to tell him to behave once at Emerald Twilight, in a manner that suggested she was worried he'd embarrass her, but even after his behavior turned the situation somewhat disastrous there, she doesn't seem to have brought it up again.

On the other hand, Moon seems to be learning-ish, which I find fascinating. He's going to jump into life or death situations automatically, still, but he seems to try to adhere to more of the 'be seen but not heard' aspects of being a consort in social situations....

You know, I've also wondered if Jade's willingness to (mostly) let Moon be Moon has to do with the fact that one of the most crucial consort-figures in her life is Stone? Moon occasionally seems like a cranky, mouthy old line-grandfather, except for how he is not actually an old line-grandfather. Conversations with him, and his independence, maybe feels almost like business as usual to her?

That's a really good point. Indigo Cloud hasn't been a "normal" court for a long time, and that probably factors into it too.

She tried to tell him to behave once at Emerald Twilight, in a manner that suggested she was worried he'd embarrass her, but even after his behavior turned the situation somewhat disastrous there, she doesn't seem to have brought it up again.

He also hadn't been with the court long at that point, and that thing at Emerald Twilight was mostly caused by his trust issues, and not expecting the warriors to stand up for him like they would for a "rea"l consort. It was a lesson he needed to learn, basically.

He's going to jump into life or death situations automatically, still, but he seems to try to adhere to more of the 'be seen but not heard' aspects of being a consort in social situations....

He's also shy around strangers, and even if he'll defend himself verbally when he's insulted, he'd really rather just sit in the back and watch other people talk.

I think that Moon's attitude is one of the reasons Stone likes him: having seen just how dysfunctional a Court can become, knowing that Moon will be there calling problems to everyone's attention -- sometimes with both feet firmly in mouth -- probably gives him hope that things won't become a complete wreck after his death (may that day be far off!). It's not as if Moon doesn't get the essentials right: he loves Jade, he adores children, he tears vital parts off of anything that threatens the above or anyone else who happens to be around . . . .

Besides, watching Jade's faction go "Oh sweet shambling Cthulhu noooooooooo" at the idea of Stone as the primary role model for the first consort is fun. :-D

Nothing can happen to Stone! I love Stone and Moon's relationship. You just don't see much of that in books.

Well, yes -- my best friend and I communicate concern and affection with whaps upside the head and the phrase "stop being a dumbass", so I'm always glad to see more of that!

I have to say, my favorite character by far is Chime. He's "Moon-lite": Where Moon is a consort who doesn't know the rules, Chime is a warrior who wasn't supposed to be a warrior; and yet at least he knows the rules for being one (having lived in a court his whole life). I'm sooooo reading into things, but Chime seems very gay to me. (Raksura don't really have orientations, so...I'm reading into things. Every reader does, I suppose.) At "puberty" (sic), he undergoes this change that completely isolates him from the rest of his society. He's supposedly part of a caste (read: gender), but he is completely isolated from it too (read: not straight). He's bonded completely with Moon, nipping him right from almost the moment they meet and then forming this major bromance with him. Like Moon, Chime's kind of caste-less. This allows him to sometimes sees how the rigid rules of the court need to be relaxed, because he himself has crossed them.

But up until now, Chime's been pretty naive, maybe more so than I expected. This has gotten him into some very, very deep trouble. He's also pretty miserable, being a warrior who doesn't want to be a warrior, being a low-on-the-totem-pole warrior who gets picked on, and being Moon's friend.

Are we going to see Chime pull out of this? I keep waiting for him to remember his Mentor training, to apply the knowledge he has (and which he's accumulated in his search into the deep lore of the Raksura), and help save the day somewhere along the line instead of being the same old insecure but sweet-natured Chime he's been up 'til now.

Edited at 2015-09-25 02:44 am (UTC)

I, too, adore Chime. He's such a sweetheart. I hadn't thought of it from the similar-experiences-to-many-queer-people angle, but I am bi (& gay-married) myself. I hesitate to say that's why I like him so, but the alienation he has there really does go right to my heart. My precious woobie! Etc. I love that he and Moon have this thing going (on all levels) and really want to see more of Chime as the stories go on. Maybe when I actually read the second set of short stories that I've been hoarding. :D And yes, his mentor training! I love when the other mentors include him in things, too.

It's not really clear in the existing books how the Raksuran caste system came about. There's probably a good reason, just as there are good reasons why Consorts don't do work or defend the colony except in extremis. But as Moon (and Stone, in a way) points out, having a more active Consort may be beneficial. Being a warrior, mentor, teacher, hunter, or soldier takes training, and perhaps that's why the cast system exists. But castes>/b>? That goes way beyond job training! :)

Maybe Chime is going to show the Raksura a "new way" too? I sure hope so! Chime is introducing something new to the Arbora and the Aeriat: History. While the Arbora Mentors have magic and healing powers, they also are historians. But Chime is doing something new: History without magic. A different way of seeing history. And a way of seeing history as a Warrior, not as a Mentor.

Chime would make a fine Mentor advisor to a Queen. Say..... Jade? :)

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account