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 Post subject: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:49 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Pawn in Frankincense
by Dorothy Dunnett

© 1966 - © 1994


Pawn in Frankincense
Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh


Lymond:
Quote:
"My debt to Ishiq I know. My debt to you I am beginning to learn. Mikal, I do not think it possible that I could have come to rely on opium or anything else without my own knowledge. How could it be?'" (357)



D'Aramon is left stunned at how Lymond has handled his petition with Suleiman the Magnificent. Furious with Lymond's audacity d'Aramon berates the Ambassador, "I have heard you present a tissue of lies, prostituting the name of France to gain your own ends." (341, Vintage)

Lymond is unperturbed. France will disown him and d'Aramon will not suffer from his, Francis's behavior. There is a chance that the extravagant gift Suleiman has been refused publicly may be accepted privately. Meanwhile, wasting no time, Gabriel's dark aegis darkens their paths as Lymond and his servants are led into a Danse macabre, meeting the blood spilled and flowing from the ambassador's household; this only a start to other "unholy incidents to follow."

The horrific incidents continue, leaving the household fearful. Suspicious of Lymond, who leaves and returns to the embassy unharmed, d'Aramon confronts him. Antagonism towards Lymond is mounting. While d'Aramon is there to accuse, Lymond points to a package; the filigreed casket and its contents have been returned. D'Aramon notices that close by the seal "someone had inscribed a six-pointed star." (D'Aramon's point of view notes this strange occurrence but it is only later in the chapter that we discover who wrote it and why.)

Lymond realizes he must resign, clarifying why the events have happened and how they must stop.
Quote:
"Your reign of terror is over...The attacks were made in order to force me to leave. While I am Ambassador, it is difficult even for Graham Malett to treat me just as he desires. As a discredited fugitive I shall have no one to avenge me.'"

In great kindness, d'Aramon entreats Lymond to stay. Lymond notes the gesture, considering what this would mean for the embassy and its people. Lymond will not subject the rest to inevitable slaughter.
Quote:
"Let us see what private enterprise will do."
343. Lymond is free to pursue Malett on his terms.

It's time for Lymond to leave the Embassy. While others wish Lymond well, George Gaultier stays within. Four days earlier Lymond had entered GG's room to inform the clockmaker of a tuning fault that he, Lymond, had arranged in order to get communication with Philippa. GG refuses to go to fix the spinet fearing for his safety, even when threatened by Lymond's knife.

No longer in miniver, Lymond sets out wearing a more practical cloak with deep pockets filled with Onophrion Zitwitz's provisions of water and food, enough for several days. Where Lymond is heading, no one knows, and d'Aramon, wishing to remain ignorant, does not ask further.

Jerott: The slow journey towards Constantinople is frustrating for the former knight. Marthe, Pierre Giles and the Ichneumon are still will him. Archie had already left in Chios but not without some exchange with Jerott. While Jerott does not feel disguise is necessary, Archie's aim is to "make a more modest entry" dressed as a mahout. Archie brings up a possibility or two. First, as a mahout, GRM will not recognize him.
Quote:
"I might lay my finger on one of the weans. Better a fowl in hand nor two flying, whichever fowl it will be.'" p.346
Two: GRM may have already killed Francis. With this, Archie gets a wee bit personal, wanting to know if Jerott's plans to be sober. Jerott is somewhat insulted but Archie brings up reality:
Quote:
"For if Mr. Crawford is killed, we'll need all the wit we can muster between us."
:(

Jerott suffers around Marthe, but she is civil, if distant. She attaches herself to Giles. At one point Marthe is overjoyed when she discovers coins from the days of Alexander. The exuberance short lived as "... the flame was extinguished, and she was careful again." 347

Jerott wonders where Giles will be staying and gleans some information,
Quote:
"The girl here has an uncle who is buying a workshop between the Bazaar and the Hippodrome. They can give me a bed."
347 GG will start up a business as a clockmaker. Interesting information. Jerott is annoyed about it.

As they approach Bursa, Jerott does some self reflection:
Quote:
"All he had done had been done for Lymond. With the vanishing of that star from his firmament he had found nothing to take its place: nothing to drive him but pique."

Bursa is mourning for the death of Suleiman's son. Arranged by the sultan himself,
Quote:
"It was said that from behind the hangings, Suleiman watched his son die."
349 Jerott hastens to leave the town. Mustafa leaves his widow and a four year old child.

Ten days later the travelers cross the Bosphorus. Onophrion Zitwitz, greets Jerott and company with updates of the state of affairs with Mr. Crawford. There has been no news from Mr. Crawfored and Jerott reports that they do not have the other child if that is what OZ wants to know. However, there is one message that Jerott is keen on delivering to GG:
Quote:
"He should perhaps know...that he has bought a house half-way between the Bazaar and the Hippodrome, and that M. Giles is going to stay with him. With his ichneumon.'"
349 Perhaps GG will appreciate the animal more than Jerott does.

As Marthe said, the child is at the House of the Nightingale. He is beaten every day, thus accounting for his good manners. Food is withheld until he recites
Quote:
"the words he did not understand and practised the other things he had to do."
Of note is that the boy can recall two journeys and he compares them. The voyage in the sponge boat was not as pleasant as the one he was on long time ago when he ate a lot and was sleepy. (Quite impressive for a little guy to do--compare journeys.)

Názik, the bird merchant, keeps the boys watered, fed and in good looks. Názik has a house and earns the most from keeping the child Khaireddin.
Quote:
If the great Lord dies, he might keep the boy and make a great fortune off him
(350) As long as the child's life is not endangered, Nazik can use the child as he pleases. For the most part the child behaves well. Since he has been instructed that the child be seen, he lets the child talk with the story-teller. Nazik knows his shop is watched.

At the Seraglio of Topkapi. Philippa is distraught over Kuzum's beating. Any bond forged is lost; Kúzum does not trust Philippa. "
Quote:
When she spoke to him, he paid no attention. She had failed him, she understood.
" 351
Philippa concludes that Gabriel will never allow her to be free, and worse, that the "final conflict with Lymond would be forced to its climax" Philippa remains grimly determined despite what awaits her. She feigns a cheerful disposition, but conductsher own interior monologue.

The day comes when Philippa must play the spinet. In the drop front, she finds a small card written in English "I have tuned this myself." with Lymond's initials. (352) Philippa finds a note out of tune. Checking the faulty string "coiled round its wrest pin was small scrap of paper." The scrap had a minute drawing of the star of David. After trying to fix it Philippa knows that its repair requires someone from the outside to fix it. After deliberating whether this is a trick from GRM, she deduces the note must be from Mr. Crawford (353)

Meanwhile, Khourrém Sultana asks Philippa to rewrite a letter in English to Lymond about a Philippa Somerville and not being able to accept the gift from the French Ambassador. Philippa concludes that the princess has not made the connection between herself and the Pearl of Fortune. Philippa adds a small six pointed star close to the seal (which d'Aramon will see later.)

Lymond has observed Ishiq and notices how well he guides the blind Meddáh (storyteller.) Lymond charms the ferryman to take himself and Ishiq over the Golden Horn, while assuming the role of a Meddáh. It is through this disguise that he is able to meet Khaireddin. This meddáh tells stories in which a child always triumphs. 355. "and to the small one from the nightingale shop he was always gentle." 355.
At one point a slender man calls Ishiq and offers him and his master food and a bed for the night. When at the home, the master falls asleep. A second man walks in. This man removes the grey wig. Lymond, sick, recognizes Míkál.
Lymond asks what Mikal gave him to fall asleep. Opium. Lymond has been dependent on it and only now, that he is without it, does he feel its horrid effects.
Ishiq is asleep as Lymond learns all this from Mikal, who had been days looking for him. Ishiq did not betray Lymond. "Thy betrayer, beautiful as a bird, is the colour and form of thy voice." (357)

Lymond realizes the danger he is in and asks Mikal what remedy there is. Mikal gives him two paths. Lymond chooses the path that will lead to GRM's destruction, and possibly his own. (358)

Some things to reflect on and discuss::
There are a few point of views in this chapter.
There are also events happening out of order (Philippa rewriting the letter and adding the star of David, which d'Aramon sees at the beginning of the chapter. ) How does this style work for you as reader and what is the sense that it creates?
What do you make of the events and how they are presented? Do you think it could create the sense of anxiety for the reader as the reader feels for the characters?

This chapter is sad with regard to the death of Mustafa as his father watches from behind the hangings.
This chapter features fathers and sons, and we have seen Jubrael Pasha (GRM) cruelly having his "son" whipped.

When I read the possibility that Lymond could have been killed, I felt Jerott's desolation. Had I been reading these books as they came out, I would have been terrified that DD would have killed Lymond off.

Jerott's self reflection about his own duties. That introspection requires more analysis. Thoughts on that?

This chapter is packed and there is still quite a bit to bring up. There were a few allusions, which I will leave to the experts.

Other questions?

Here are some images:
Image
Beyazit mosque (above)
Image
The Beyazit mosque (above) overlooking The Golden Horn

_________________
"'I wish to God,' said Gideon with mild exasperation, 'that you'd talk--just once--in prose like other people.'"
--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:44 am 
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ND, wonderful, as always! :clap: :clap:

I hate this chapter, too. Well, I hate what is happening, and it does seem that there is no way we are heading towards a HEA ending, doesn't it? I try to imagine that the next book(s) had not been written or published yet. I would be panicked, I think.

One tiny point: the "mutes with a bowstring" first appeared in TDK, Pt 2, Ch 2 when Lymond was hauled before the Grand Master. DD is a master of foreshadows. This is so horrific. You are right: fathers and sons: Suleiman and Mustafa, GRM and his son, Lymond and his. How different FC is towards his presumed son--all tenderness and care, even in his drugged state.

Speaking of the opium:

Quote:
‘There is an old Turcoman saying, The soul enters by the throat. For many months, thy body has fed on it, Efendi, to make thee thus distempered without it.’...‘There is an old Turcoman saying, The soul enters by the throat. For many months, thy body has fed on it, Efendi, to make thee thus distempered without it.’...Every camp has its traitor, Kiaya Khátún had said. And Francis Crawford knew the traitor in his.

So Lymond knows who the traitor is. I wonder how long he has known this. The fact that Mikal says "the soul enters by the throat" and Lymond's body has fed on opium for many months seems to point to OZ as the culprit, but then again, DD is a master of misdirection. If he knew that OZ was the traitor, why would he have kept him with him this long and seemingly trusted him?

Also, I am surprised that Lymond was not aware he was becoming an addict. However, I do not know much about opium addiction, so perhaps it was so subtle and gradual that Lymond never realized what was happening to him. He certainly seems shocked to learn from Mikal that he is an addict.

One of my favorite lines in TLC occurs in this chapter. It is also a Lymond POV moment as he thinks in his drug-addled state about his mother:

Quote:
You have all the afflictions of the highly-strung, Sybilla had said to him once, long ago. All your life you will have to disguise them.

I like this line because it gives us a rare and deep insight into Lymond's perception of himself, an explanation for much of his behavior, and one of his motives for becoming who he is. And, to be honest, I like it because I suffer from the same afflictions (without Lymond's talents and skills and intellect.) :)

_________________
"Look up," said the Master, "and see them. The teaching stars, beyond worship and commonplace tongues. The infinite eyes of innocence." Dorothy Dunnett, Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:53 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Thanks for the summary, NigheanDubh. There was so much going on in this chapter that it made my head spin.

The part where Lymond becomes the Meddah was very confusing - were there four men in the room at the very end? A sleeping Ishiq, Lymond in disguise, Mikkal and one other?
So if Mikkal has been searching for Lymond, does that make him a good guy? But if he knows about the poisoning, that would make him a bad guy?
And, like Clewless said, how could Lymond not notice he was an opium addict?
GRR - if OZ was the villain, then why didn't Lymond wonder at the ease with which he appeared in the first chapter - we all did. Maybe Lymond knew all along and was on his guard and waiting to see how that played out?
Do we think that OZ had something to do with Salablanca's death?
Could somebody please enlighten me as to the two choices Lymond has for overcoming his addiction? I got confused at that part (well, more confused than usual, I should say.)

It was not clear if Gaultier finally did go to tune the spinet, or maybe we will find that out in the next chapter?
And why did Philippa gasp when she saw the diamonds? Was it just at the opulence and the cost that Lymond was willing to pay for her release, or had she seen them before?

Jerott's party seemed to take an age to get to 'Stamboul. Of course, if Oz is the villain, then they don't yet know that and will spill their news to him. I wonder if Marthe's source of grumpiness in the earlier chapters is because she knows she will be made to live with Gaultier in 'Stamboul and does not want to do that?

Poor Jerott has finally arrived where Lymond is but has no way of finding him, or knowing what to do next.


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:41 pm 
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Excellent summary ND, as always! :D

DLT wrote:
The part where Lymond becomes the Meddah was very confusing - were there four men in the room at the very end? A sleeping Ishiq, Lymond in disguise, Mikkal and one other?

Yes, Ishiq, Mikal, and Mikal's friend Murad, who brought Ishiq and the Meddah to this house.
DLT wrote:
Could somebody please enlighten me as to the two choices Lymond has for overcoming his addiction? I got confused at that part (well, more confused than usual, I should say.)

Choice 1: quit the opium cold turkey, it would be extremely painful, and he might or might not come out with his senses intact.

Choice 2: slowly, over weeks, reduce the amount until he's free of it.

He decides that neither option can be pursued until after he's freed the children and killed GRM. This is because when he has the opium in the amounts his body now needs, he can operate at full strength physically and mentally.

_________________
Mary

“...I prize freedom of the mind above freedom of the body. I claim the right to make my own mistakes and keep quiet about them. ... My life is at your disposal, but not my thoughts.”
Francis Crawford, in Dorothy Dunnett's Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:49 pm 
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Thanks for the clarifications, pagali. So if Lymond has decided that he needs to continue taking opium in order to be fully alert, does that mean he needs to find somebody to supply it, and he needs to know what dose to take. So, if he is going to do this, why not slowly reduce the dose and wean himself off it at the same time?


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:00 pm 
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DLT wrote:
Thanks for the clarifications, pagali. So if Lymond has decided that he needs to continue taking opium in order to be fully alert, does that mean he needs to find somebody to supply it, and he needs to know what dose to take. So, if he is going to do this, why not slowly reduce the dose and wean himself off it at the same time?

I gather Mikal and his friends know about this stuff, and have no trouble getting it.
Quote:
‘There are two paths,’ said Míkál. ‘Thou mayest shun the drug. This is the great illness thou hast tasted, exciting in mind and body a commotion from which the reason may steal away, as the diffusion of the odour of perfume.’
‘And the other?’ His voice this time was under control. ‘The other course is to withdraw thyself day by day from the drug, disregarding thy senses and tied to thy purpose, [...] It will take many weeks during which I shall stand thee in stead of thyself, for thou wilt be languid and faint, as a man with a wound which will not be staunched.’


So... neither way will work in the present situation, when he needs to be on his toes right now.

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Mary

“...I prize freedom of the mind above freedom of the body. I claim the right to make my own mistakes and keep quiet about them. ... My life is at your disposal, but not my thoughts.”
Francis Crawford, in Dorothy Dunnett's Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:21 pm 
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Excellent summary ND of a complex and rugged chapter. :clap: :clap:

No matter which child, GRM is abusing them both. Nazik, the nightingale dealer seems to have no issue with caging children and animals. :( How can people live like that?

How horrible for Lymond to be sick and witnessing a child he believes to be his who is so ill treated and he can do nothing about it. DD sure knows how to torture her characters. :cry:

Anyone figure out what a "tespi in diamonds" is?


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:56 pm 
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LynnL wrote:
Anyone figure out what a "tespi in diamonds" is?

Some VERY expensive prayer beads!

There are a lot of links explaining them; here is one.

https://community.iamtravelr.com/threads/turkish-prayer-beads-tesbih.25879/

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"Look up," said the Master, "and see them. The teaching stars, beyond worship and commonplace tongues. The infinite eyes of innocence." Dorothy Dunnett, Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:25 pm 
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Great summary and comments. Thanks for the link about tespi (which look a lot like a rosary, I think).

The fact that Lymond is addicted to large amounts of opium and didn't know it is quite troubling. Lymond is usually so aware of everything, to have missed this for so long to have built up such a tolerance especially when he knew there was a traitor, just doesn't quite seem right. It's nice to see Mikal acting to help Lymond, but I'm still not sure I completely trust him after he left Philippa with no explanation.

I'm so sad for both little boys facing beatings and not being able to understand what's being asked of them. And, in Kuzum's case, I was so sad that he no longer trusted Philippa to protect him and sad for her that she wasn't able to. GRM. :x

Glad Jerrott and Archie are finally arriving, but of course they don't yet know where Lymond is. Hopefully they'll connect in the next chapter since Mikal found him, so hopefully they can too or Mikal can help connect them or whatever.

Interesting that Giles says he'll stay with GG, since earlier he told Jerrott not to trust him and Marthe and I thought he didn't like them very much. Still haven't figured out what purpose Giles will serve, but it seems like he'll have one.


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:56 pm 
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Clewless wrote:
LynnL wrote:
Anyone figure out what a "tespi in diamonds" is?

Some VERY expensive prayer beads!

There are a lot of links explaining them; here is one.

https://community.iamtravelr.com/threads/turkish-prayer-beads-tesbih.25879/


Ahhh! That explains my puzzlement on this same issue. For some reason, I always thought the diamonds were loose, and maybe a "tespi" was a Turkish measurement of weight, or volume, or some such. Now I understand why they were in a long slim casket, too! Of course, made to fit the shape of the string of prayer beads!

I absolutely love how one can keep learning, and learning, and learning, from Dunnett (with help from the members here, of course!).

_________________
Mary

“...I prize freedom of the mind above freedom of the body. I claim the right to make my own mistakes and keep quiet about them. ... My life is at your disposal, but not my thoughts.”
Francis Crawford, in Dorothy Dunnett's Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:15 pm 
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According to the link Clewless posted, women did not use tespis, only men. Were the diamonds in the form of a tespi so that the gift from the ambassador to the sultan's wife appeared more appropriate than just lavishing her with jewels?


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:11 pm 
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I believe that Philippa gasped over those beads because she was incredulous that Lymond would have gone to that tremendous expense. That was my take, anyway. And with the refusal of such a precious gift, one that for her was quite a bit of what Lymond had, the princess's refusal didn't look promising for the release of herself and Kuzum. Her hope was dashed. :(

DLT, Lymond's gift was clever. It was a gift attached to a religious end. I should think that it made an appropriate gift than giving her something of a more personal nature.

I felt so sad when Philippa was burning the note from Lymond. "Philippa pulled the card off and, regretfully, burned it." (p. 353)
That "regretfully" is so painful for poor Philippa. But there was still some hope. The diamonds undid that home.

audiobooklover wrote:
Interesting that Giles says he'll stay with GG, since earlier he told Jerrott not to trust him and Marthe and I thought he didn't like them very much. Still haven't figured out what purpose Giles will serve, but it seems like he'll have one.
I still think that Marthe asked Giles to say that to Jerott, to get Jerott away from her. Then again, one could argue that Giles uses whoever he can in order to survive. He needs a roof and they have one.

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--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:21 pm 
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DLT wrote:
According to the link Clewless posted, women did not use tespis, only men. Were the diamonds in the form of a tespi so that the gift from the ambassador to the sultan's wife appeared more appropriate than just lavishing her with jewels?

I believe women did traditionally use prayer beads, just not in public. I think among Turks that is still the case. Many practices have changed since the mid-16th century, so what was acceptable then might not be today. I am sure Lymond would be well aware what would be an appropriate gift for the sultan's wife.

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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:31 pm 
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Clewless wrote:
DLT wrote:
According to the link Clewless posted, women did not use tespis, only men. Were the diamonds in the form of a tespi so that the gift from the ambassador to the sultan's wife appeared more appropriate than just lavishing her with jewels?

I believe women did traditionally use prayer beads, just not in public. I think among Turks that is still the case. Many practices have changed since the mid-16th century, so what was acceptable then might not be today. I am sure Lymond would be well aware what would be an appropriate gift for the sultan's wife.

Thank you for the link. The one you chose is a good one. The article does not say that men used them exclusively. It was more of an appendage for women. From the link, the women did not finger the beads in public, but appended them to their garments. I'd never heard of tespi beads before. And DD calls them tespi diamonds.

One can only imagine the cost of 99 diamonds, which is the number required to make the beads, the craftsmanship required, the tremendous expense. :thud:

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"'I wish to God,' said Gideon with mild exasperation, 'that you'd talk--just once--in prose like other people.'"
--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNETT: PiF: Chapter 21: Constantinople: The Meddáh
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:31 am 
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Nazik ponders the strange orders for his handling of Khaireddin and thinks:

Quote:
There was no limit, he knew already, to the whims of mankind.

I suppose we are also learning about the whims of womankind, i.e., Kiaya Khatun. This nicely ties GRM's and her "whims" together. Both of them are playing a vicious game with the lives of too many people.

ND asked, "What do you make of the events and how they are presented? Do you think it could create the sense of anxiety for the reader as the reader feels for the characters?"

Great question. I think that, in addition to anxiety, this shifting timeline creates a sense of confusion and concern that we are sharing with some of the participants. Philippa is confused and worried; d'Aramon is confused and worried; Jerott is confused and worried. What is happening? What is going to happen? What should I do? Where is Lymond? What is he up to? What are Marthe and GG and Giles doing and why?

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"Look up," said the Master, "and see them. The teaching stars, beyond worship and commonplace tongues. The infinite eyes of innocence." Dorothy Dunnett, Game of Kings


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