Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tigana Part III

This is the part of the story where I got interested.  All the groundwork has been done, and now the Tigana partisans and prince-in-exile go around stirring people up to rebel successfully against Brandin and Alberico.  Like the long-planning political operators they are, the prince, Alessan, and his second in command, Baerd (the son of the former king of Tigana's favorite sculptor and also brother to Dianora) visit sympathizers in each little town and tell them to get ready.  It's exciting, and we see a lot of it through Devin's admiring eyes, so we love the bravery and courage and strength of the prince and what a good team he and Baerd make.

I especially like the part about how Alberico's increasingly repressive measures result in poetry about him:
"seeing plots hatching in every barnyard and using them as an excuse to seize fowls and vegetable gardens all over the Eastern Palm. There were also a few, not very subtle sexual innuendos thrown in for good measure.
The poems, posted on walls all over the city...were torn down by the Barbadians almost as fast as they went up. Unfortunately they were memorable rhymes, and people didn't need to read or hear them more than once..."
This reminds me of British 18th-century satires, about "Farmer George" (King George III--yes, the one who later went mad and who we Americans ultimately rebelled against) and of the Leslie Charteris stories about a character called "The Saint" who liked to leave a stick drawing of himself as a kind of calling card.

What happens when Alessan uses his power to bind a sorcerer to his service is described in some detail, and I found it interesting and not altogether predictable. I especially like the part where Alessan tries to make up for what he's done a little bit by playing music he knows the bound sorcerer enjoys.

I previously skipped over the whole big deal about Dianora and Baerd's incest because it seemed like the rankest kind of sensationalism to me, but then I got to this character Alienor, who has S&M sex with Devin, leaving "marks" and shredding his clothes.  I did not need to know that about the two of them, I did not need the pseudo-philosophizing over it ("an admission somewhere in the soul that we deserve no more than this"), and I definitely did not need to see Devin's symbolic pilgrimage to Catriana afterwards, for a kind of contrition and healing.  It's not like you really needed to build her up any more as a perfect mate for Alessan, Mr. Kay.

I like the quiet control and nobility of Marius of Quileia, by contrast--one of the most important of the chess pieces Alessan has set up around the board of little countries he is trying to free.

I also really like this article about cultural omnivores.


kittiesx3 said...

Sounds like a tabloid!

Jeanne said...

Elizabeth, but unlike a tabloid, the details are actually interesting!