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 Post subject: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:34 am 
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Clan Fraser
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Pawn in Frankincense
by Dorothy Dunnett

© 1966 - © 1994


Pawn in Frankincense
Chapter 26: Constatinople: Pawn's Move


Quote:
So this was no sport, no impersonal battle, no exhibition of vanity or childish adventure embraced out of pique. This was an ultimate trial of every quality of his life Lymond had squandered: of speed and wit and clean, objective intelligence.
Move by move his decisions had to be right.

Roxelana has made her command and the big room, emptied, is to be the place of the Live Chess game. The mutes are part of the scene as they wait to perform their grim duty as executioners of the taken pieces once the deadly game begins.

The rules have been modified for the purpose of this particular game. Lymond will play with five pieces, himself as King. His pieces being a Queen, a Knight, a Rook and a Bishop, to be chosen from his friends. Both sides have the same pieces, to be placed on the opposing side, except for Gabriel’s Rook. The Rook must be placed on the other corner of the board since Lymond has no pawns to protect his from Gabriel's. The challenges facing Jerott's friend are overwhelming. Lymond :
Quote:
..must defend himself against Gabriel, who would care little...for his own men, but who could rely on one thing absolutely: that under no circumstances whatever would Francis touch his two Pawns.(433 Vintage, pb)

Although the Sultana said Lymond could choose his pieces among his friends, there are two "friends" for whom Lymond needs substitutes: Kiaya Khatun, ineligible, being Dragut Rais's mistress, and Míkál, for belonging to the "moneyed race of strange children of love." Marthe suggests Georges Gaultier as a substitution for Míkál.

Standing by his sister, Lymond vindicates Marthe:
Quote:
You were right, it seems, to fear and despise us...There is no reparation possible for what I have done to you.
Marthe, resigned to her fate, her demeanor cool:
Quote:
Relieve your conscience of me...You have enough to answer for. Mr. Blyth, may go to the devil for me, as I shall for my uncle.
(433)
Lymond gives Marthe the role of Queen, most easily removed from danger; Jerott is the Knight; Archie is the rook, and Gaultier, the unwilling Bishop. Altogether Gabriel has seven pieces with himself as King and the two pawns, the babes Khaireddin and Kuzum.

The Chessboard, a cloth painted with red and white squares, is brought in and unrolled on the floor. Philippa, the prize, also enters, straight-backed and impeccably groomed. She is not long seated by the throne when she begs and is given permission to go by Kúzum who is crying.

Jerott is anxious to exhort Lymond to fulfill his mission:
Quote:
if there is any doubt: any doubt at all of the outcome, sacrifice anything and anybody so long as you take Gabriel.(434)

Gabriel, garbed in gold and white, means to look confident and kingly. The dice is tossed and the first move is Gabriel's. With the first move Lymond is in Check. Jerott, to himself, "It had begun."

From its incipience with "Queen to Queen's Rook fourth" to its harrowing end, the game moves at a nerve-wracking pace as Lymond uses all his wits to preserve himself, while protecting the others.

The first death occurs when Lymond moves his Rook to tap on Gabriel’s knight. Until that point, the Knight and the onlookers had not quite grasped the severity of the game.
Quote:
They all stared after it, thought Jerott, as if no one until now had really believed it would happen.

Meanwhile, Gabriel’s pawns remain unobstructed by Lymond. Gabriel takes advantage of Lymond's handicap and moves them towards the eighth rank with ease. Khaireddin is the first to be promoted to Knight. Meanwhile, Kuzum is also being advanced.

As Kuzum progresses to joining the rank of attacking pieces, Philippa is between both children. Khaireddin is still smiling; he's been smiling for most of the game, and Philippa wonders how long the child can keep himself from breaking down. She is there and Kuzum allows his Fippy to comfort him.
Quote:
She looked at the other chid then, smiling, and touched his bright hair with her hand and felt him flinch like an ill-treated horse. p. 438
Across the board, Marthe gives Philippa an encouraging smile.
Quote:
“Philippa, her hands shaking, smiled back.”p. 438


The game continues its intensity and Jerrot looks at Archie whom he sees looking at the clock of the spinet. No doubt worried that the drug would give out.

The moment comes when Francis warns Jerott not to look around. Looking around would alert Gaultier to imminent danger. Gaultier’s scream signals that he already is aware. Gualtier has seen that Kuzum, as Bishop, is in position to take him. His nerves described as lacerated, Jerott almost attacks Gaultier but for Lymond stopping him. “Look at the board.” They all look except Gaultier, who is too busy screaming and protesting his fate. Lymond admonishes his enemy,
Quote:
You were too intent on your own slaughter; too ruthless; too greedy. You have pushed me until I have no alternatives left. You must take the consequences of that. (442)
The room had become silent with what had become of the board. Archie loses his stoic demeanor, and in a loud whisper, “’Oh Christ! Oh Christ, the bairns.”
Quote:
Gabriel had planned it, this delicate checkmate, with Lymond’s King locked in his place, with no possibility of escape; with every possible route filled or covered by an enemy piece, or by the two children.442

Quote:
Gabriel Malett had forgotten one thing. Far off, unregarded on the edge of the board, stood Lymond’s Queen, and Georges Gaultier, his own Bishop, still there in his corner. And in a straight line, from Queen and from Bishop there ran a free, shining path to each child.(442)

Quote:
Either move would checkmate Graham Malett instead.

Lymond begs Roxelana, for some clemency: to spare the children and his friends. The game is Lymond’s. Lymond verifies with Roxelana that he and all his would go free. Hearing of their freedom, Gabriel protests. Roxelana accuses Gabriel of treason and forgery and Sultana bids Lymond make his move. Lymond reminds the Sultana that the Tespi beads could be hers but to please spare the child. Lymond is willing to take one of the boy's place. Sultana is unrelenting,
Quote:
The rule is clear. Break it, and you lose.(p. 443)

Philippa stands, eyes on Lymond, as she moves away from the board. Meanwhile the perfidious Gabriel tries to bewilder his opponent first to give up, on the premise that Lymond doesn’t know what he’s doing. Gabriel makes a promise to declare a stalemate, with both of them going free. Reaching, he reminds Lymond of his vow at St. Giles.
Quote:
'I don’t know,’ Francis Crawford said steadily, ‘which is my son.'
His decision made, Lymond calls on Marthe.
Compassion stirs even in Marthe as she stops Philippa from going to the ill-fated child, “Leave him to me.” Philippa keeps Kuzum’s eyes from seeing.
Khaireddin breaks in a run towards Lymond, but the look on the trusted man's face makes confuses the child. Before reaching the only one he trusts, the Mutes closing in, Mikal intercepts gathering the child in his arms…Gently...
Quote:
"'Come my love' said Míkál, ' and say goodnight to the dark.' And held him close, full of a sweet young compassion, as the little boy died.'" (445)

The deed is done, as Lymond looks on and then goes to kiss the dead child, "as he had not kissed the living, full on the mouth." (445)

The Kislar Agha is ready to hand his sword to the avenger. Lymond has the mutes free Gabriel before he kills him,
Quote:
partly, thought Jerott, because he could not bring himself to execute a motionless man, and partly to manhandle him. (445)

It has ended and Marthe warns Jerott to be quick if he’s going to be sick. “We’re going to have a full-scale collapse on our hands in a moment…” She asks about the amount of opium Lymond has taken.
Jerott regains himself and comments on Marthe’s wet cheeks and wonders how Marthe knows of Lymond's addiction.

Roxelana has commanded the group to remain until the morrow when they will be escorted from the Seraglio; Philippa and Kúzum too. To be made presentable, Archie brings Lymond another surcoat. Lymond asks his friend, "Why?" Archie does not understand the philosophical question and answers that his one is stained. Jerott understands that Lymond is asking why Khaireddin had to die, and notes that Gabriel's death had no importance at all.

Having arrived too close to the edge, Archie can’t give Lymond any more opium; Lymond has had all he can take. Marthe takes charge of her brother.
Quote:
The chessboard has gone; and the people. You must let me take the room from you too.
She removes the surcoat and Lymond remains as he came, in his European dress.

Marthe's approach: "Would madness be kind?" she asks, and offers to play the spinet.

Lymond wants to be left there but Marthe will not allow it reminding Francis that he has a duty to the child and to Philippa.

In Marthe’s room, Kuzum is fussing and Philippa settles him to sleep.

Later, taken to their chambers, Philippa is almost cheerful as she tells Marthe that she, as the prize, is to share Lymond’s bed. Although Philippa has tried, Roxelana will not allow her to switch rooms. Nor can they leave as Jerott would prefer, for according to Kiaya Khatun; that would offend the Sultana.

The chapter concludes with Marthe politely inquiring if Philippa will take advice.
Quote:
“I have told him that you are his responsibility. While he believes that, he will continue to protect you.” ( 449)


Philippa must give Francis a reason to live.

Questions for reflection:

1. What is the story with the children of love, "moneyed race"? Why do they have such protection?

2. Why is the Chess board painted red and white?

3. Why is Lymond's robe scarlet with black embroidery, his own clothing underneath, stained and somewhat tattered? How will this affect Lymond?

4. For a fleeting moment, Jerott's point of view changes,
Quote:
...he began to watch Francis Crawford for the first time, with deliberate scrutiny, as with angry pain a woman might watch her false lover for the first signs of plague.
Is this still Jerott's point of view, although we hear mostly from him? Is it Marthe's? The author's voice? Thoughts?

5. What did you think of Lymond's kiss? Why did he kiss the child on the mouth?

6. Do you think that Lymond meant it when he told GRM he didn't know which child was his? Does he have an inkling the child might have been switched? Does it matter?

7. Do you believe that Lymond's vow was fulfilled in saving one of the children?

8. How has Marthe and Lymond's relationship changed? What did Marthe mean when she asked if she should play the spinet? What was her intention?

Now and again, I do enjoy a game of chess, although the game has never been the same after reading PIF. Even so, I was trying to replicate the game but quickly found it absolutely daunting. Certainly, someone else must have already done the moves. I discovered someone who had also made the attempt at reproducing the game. Here is the link to Bill Marshall's work with the chess moves. It helps to visualize the incipient moves which DD provided.
The Chess Game in the Seraglio


Edited by NighheanDubh for correction

_________________
"'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: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:14 am 
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ND, thank you for taking on this dreadful assignment and providing us with such an excellent summary of one of the most difficult chapters in literature.

:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

I've been holding off on commenting because it's so painful to discuss what happens in this chapter.

I only want to mention a couple of things that struck me. The Gaelic:
Quote:
Halfway there he halted, bemused by the look on Lymond’s face and after a moment said in a small voice, ‘I’ve ‘topped being a bad boy. I’ve ‘topped.… Mo chridh is a good little boy now.…’ And at the Gaelic, Jerott said, ‘Dear God in Heaven,’ and looked away from Francis Crawford, whose face was that of a man tortured with thirst, or lack of air, or the bitterest hunger.

Not a word is wasted in Dunnett ever, but certainly not in this most important of scenes. Why does Dunnett have Khaireddin speak Gaelic at this critical moment? I think it's an important fact.

The spare use of language:
Quote:
Lymond said, ‘Marthe’ The end of a baby’s life in two syllables.

Could anything have created the sense of horror any more surely than the way Dunnett does here?

The full-mouthed kiss, as with the "say goodnight to the dark," was foreshadowed in Ch 22:

Quote:
The child, level with the kneeling man, had moved nearer, his eyes wide, his face uplifted as if to embrace him. Before he could touch him, Lymond rose, and, looking down, smiled. ‘Keep thy kisses. Thou art almost a man; and a man chooses to kiss only the persons he loves. Then thy kiss will be a big gift indeed.… It is time to go. Míkál’s friends will go with thee.’ ‘I am good?’ said the strained treble. ‘Thou art good,’ said Francis Crawford in a dry voice;...Come, Khaireddin. It is time to say goodnight to the dark.’

And, of course, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. As with Lymond's kiss, it was the kiss of death.

_________________
"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: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:13 pm 
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ND, You will have an extra jewel in your in crown in heaven for tackling this most heinous chapter.


It is perhaps appropriate that we discuss it on on Maunday Thursday of Holy Week since that day is focused on death and betrayal as well. :cry:

The red and white chess board is certainly emblematic of this blood game. It also puts Roxelana, I think, on par with GRM for not showing the children mercy when she could have. What was there to gain in not being lenient on this one small thing?


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:35 pm 
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LynnL wrote:
.... It also puts Roxelana, I think, on par with GRM for not showing the children mercy when she could have. What was there to gain in not being lenient on this one small thing?

Lynn, thank you for asking this question. I, too, cannot see why Roxelana won't let Lymond take the baby's place. What would it cost Roxelana? She could let Lymond kill GRM and then let the mutes kill Lymond. That way she gets rid of both her pesky problems.

Could this be the hand of Kiaya at work? Did she perhaps strike a deal with Roxelana to let Lymond live if he won the game for the price of her silence and, perhaps, her departure from court?

Or it could be simply that Roxelana is cold, cruel, heartless. She set the rules and the rules will be followed regardless of who has to die. Roxelana has maneuvered her way through the Ottoman court for years, and no one does that without being utterly, fatally ruthless.

But sentencing a tiny boy to death as part of a chess game...that is truly evil.

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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: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:12 pm 
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Thank you for the summary NigheanDubh, which must have been tough to do. I had been puzzling all week over how they were going to play this game with sixteen pieces each, and imagining bodies dropping all over the place. By starting with five pieces each it intensifies the game, especially as we go through many moves until the first piece is knocked out of the game.

NigheanDubh wrote:
What is the story with the children of love, "moneyed race"? Why do they have such protection?

I would like to know more about this. Or, was Mikkal spared because he could be useful to KK later on?

NigheanDubh wrote:
Do you think that Lymond meant it when he told GRM he didn't know which child was his? Does he have an inkling the child might have been switched? Does it matter?

I think Lymond knows more about the children than we are told. He has had time to talk to Jerott and Archie, and time to work out the dates in his own head. But, it probably does not matter, as he would view both as innocents. I wonder if we will find out what reasoning led him to sacrifice Khaireddin rather than Kuzum. I'm glad that Mikkal was able to step in and comfort the child so that it is likely he did not know what was coming.

It seems odd, but after all this time of hoping that GRM would be killed, now that he is, there is no feeling of relief for the reader. (Probably we are feeling numbness, like FC.) At least this time we have all been assured that he is dead.

Marthe is very astute, at the last, telling Philippa that Lymond needs a reason to keep going, so that she and the little boy need to be seen to need his protection.


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:22 pm 
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[quote="NigheanDubh"]1. What is the story with the children of love, "moneyed race"? Why do they have such protection?

From Philippa's description on first meeting Mikal (Ch 10, Zakynthos): "Perhaps Greek, probably rich, certainly wellborn, he was a Pilgrim of Love; one of the ***** dilettante sect of whom Archie had told her, travelling Asia from patron to patron, giving of poetry, music and love in exchange for a livelihood."
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“...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: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:17 pm 
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Thank you for your kind comments, all.

It was quite an intense chapter and after putting it together I felt numb too--like phew, he's finally dead.
The Gaelic caught my eye, but I knew it would be brought up and hopefully be discussed further. Thank you Clewless.
For me, I found these words of tenderness what an adult would say to a child, as a focus of endearment and not the other way around. I believe the child learned these words from his training. :( :(
I had difficulty with this particular scene, emotionally.

Another shattering moment was when Khaireddin flinches from Philippa's touch. :( :( He couldn't stand to be touched.

[/
Clewless wrote:
The full-mouthed kiss, as with the "say goodnight to the dark," was foreshadowed in Ch 22:

Quote:
The child, level with the kneeling man, had moved nearer, his eyes wide, his face uplifted as if to embrace him. Before he could touch him, Lymond rose, and, looking down, smiled. ‘Keep thy kisses. Thou art almost a man; and a man chooses to kiss only the persons he loves. Then thy kiss will be a big gift indeed.… It is time to go. Míkál’s friends will go with thee.’ ‘I am good?’ said the strained treble. ‘Thou art good,’ said Francis Crawford in a dry voice;...Come, Khaireddin. It is time to say goodnight to the dark.’

And, of course, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. As with Lymond's kiss, it was the kiss of death.quote]
Thank you Clewless, this makes great sense.

LynnL wrote:
The red and white chess board is certainly emblematic of this blood game. It also puts Roxelana, I think, on par with GRM for not showing the children mercy when she could have. What was there to gain in not being lenient on this one small thing?
I thought that Roxelana was about to relent but for GRM's protests at them going free. Lymond tried every possible avenue, and she could have spared the child and removed GRM just the same.

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--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:24 pm 
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ND, you deserve an award for taking on the summary of this infamously painful chapter yourself. As summary scheduler, it's positively noble that you didn't assign it to any of us. Well done -- both the choice and the execution!

:hug: :thumbsup:

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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: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:46 pm 
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Pagali, thanks for the information about Mikal.

NigheanDubh, that is a good point that Roxelana might have relented over the child. Or, she could have had him knocked out and removed from the room, and then brought back alive, later. But I get the feeling that nobody cares much about the feelings of children in this day and age. Didn't she have another young child killed (son of the Sultan's son?)

Where was OZ all of this time? Did he not accompany Jerott to fetch Marthe, so he must be in Roxelana's clutches? Does the fact that he was not put on Lymond's side in the chess game mean that he was the spy all this time?

And how does Marthe know about FC's opium additction? She says she knows the Levant, but she also knows that Lymond would not succumb willingly, so how and why does she assume that somebody has been secretly poisoning him? Or does she just guess at his addiction from watching him move on the chessboard?


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:43 pm 
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DLT wrote:
NigheanDubh, that is a good point that Roxelana might have relented over the child. Or, she could have had him knocked out and removed from the room, and then brought back alive, later. But I get the feeling that nobody cares much about the feelings of children in this day and age. Didn't she have another young child killed (son of the Sultan's son?)

Where was OZ all of this time? Did he not accompany Jerott to fetch Marthe, so he must be in Roxelana's clutches? Does the fact that he was not put on Lymond's side in the chess game mean that he was the spy all this time?

And how does Marthe know about FC's opium additction? She says she knows the Levant, but she also knows that Lymond would not succumb willingly, so how and why does she assume that somebody has been secretly poisoning him? Or does she just guess at his addiction from watching him move on the chessboard?

Yes, Roxelana was behind the plot against Mustafa that also included the murder of his 4 year old son, so she really and truly is heartless. One can imagine her saying to Lymond, "you brought this death upon the child by your interference in my husband's court. I made the rules, you agreed to play by them, and you selected Khaireddin to die. His blood is on your hands, not mine."

I assumed Marthe could tell from her experience in the Levant that Lymond was showing signs of very far gone opium addiction. She is keenly attuned to her brother. But perhaps someone told her. If so, we have not been told that, I think.

And, yes, where exactly is OZ?

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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:20 pm 
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My main reaction to this chapter - which I've been dreading since we started this book because it was about all I remembered from my first read because it is so completely heart-breaking - was: :cry: :cry: :cry:

Thanks for the wonderful summary and comments all.

Not sure I can really add much, but before reading here, the thought I had (and have had probably since my first read) was that when it came down to it, Lymond chose to rip out his own heart by killing the neglected and abused child whom he had started to form a connection with rather than ripping out Philippa's heart by killing the child she had come to love. As always, he is protecting everyone else to his own detriment. I'm not sure it mattered which child was actually his biologically since they were both innocents. Roxelana was extremely cruel not to allow the children to both live when the outcome was clear.

I'm still not a huge fan of Mikal, but he redeemed himself a bit by rushing in to hold Khaireddin and reduce his fear right before his death. :cry:

ETA: Oh, and I thought when Archie went to remove Lymond's coat saying it was stained and Lymond asked why because he wasn't near him (Khaireddin) when he died, that the why wasn't an existential question, but a simple one about how the coat got stained because it goes on right after that to say that he'd already forgotten about the death of Gabriel. Was it that between the opium and shock that Lymond had actually forgotten that he'd killed Gabriel and that's whose blood was on the coat? Is that possible? :thinking:

ETA 2: I really should be doing something else, but I remembered that there was one more thing I meant to say. I was wondering why Roxelana made things so much more difficult for Lymond than for GRM. I mean, having the children on his side already put Lymond at a disadvantage because he wouldn't choose to take/kill them, but if they had been on Lymond's side, GRM would have no such scruples. Then, rather than making them two of GRM's five players, she made them additional players giving GRM seven to Lymond's five. And, then, she allowed them to be replacement more powerful pieces when they reached the end of the board even though that part of the rules hadn't been discussed earlier. And that was all before the end when she refused to allow Khaireddin to live. Wasn't GRM's crime against Roxelana considerably more serious than anything Lymond did? Why did she make this punishment so much more difficult for Lymond? :x :( :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:23 pm 
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audiobooklover wrote:
ETA: Oh, and I thought when Archie went to remove Lymond's coat saying it was stained and Lymond asked why because he wasn't near him (Khaireddin) when he died, that the why wasn't an existential question, but a simple one about how the coat got stained because it goes on right after that to say that he'd already forgotten about the death of Gabriel. Was it that between the opium and shock that Lymond had actually forgotten that he'd killed Gabriel and that's whose blood was on the coat? Is that possible? :thinking:

Yes, I agree. That's the way I always interpreted this bit. The death of the child was that much more important to him than GRM's at this point.

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“...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: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Hello everyone, first of all huge thanks to ND for taking up this most difficult assignment. I'm right now on vacations and don't have a computer with me, signing in from my phone, not the easiest thing but I just wanted to enter to say this, thank you ND and thank you all for your comments. I read the chapter before leaving but just skipped the chess game, probably I won't be ever able to read it again. We wonder at Roxelana's cruelty, but I often think about why would DD write this chapter? I mean... killing a child is one thing, and then the way it us written, another thing altogether. Was she deeply afectedd by it? Was it necesary for the story to put her character at such extreme pain?
I also think, as Pagali said, that the why? question was related to his stained surcoat, why, if I didn't come nesr him? and Jerott understands that Lymond has already forgotten he killed gabriel, staining his clothes while doing it.
I also wanted to draw attention to Lymond's reaction after killing GRM: twice it's said that he had his hands flat on the wall, and when Marthe tries to remove him from the room, she says "you won't fall" and when he takes her hands he is groping for them. It sounded to me as some kind of vertigo? Please help AC or ND with the word!! It seems he was facing a precipice, and in a figurative way he is.
As for Marthe offering to play the spinnet for him, I think she meant I can help you to lose your mind. Because 1) music drives Lymond in every way, it's the only key to his emotions, facing music at this time woul certainly be too much. And 2) Marthe understands him, and thinks it is a valid decision for him to just sign out of feeling and reason at all. But then she goes on by pushing him on his duties. She knows him just too well. I would like to say more but technology is against me right now, I'm sorry for not quoting, no answering and not thanking properly, but at least I'm trying. I'm in a beautiful beach in Brazil and Ringed Castle us keeping me company!!

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"Think, Yunitsa" he said abruptly (Checkmate)


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:04 pm 
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ND… I think you are very brave to take on this dreadful ,emotional, wrenching chapter. Thank you
LynnL wrote: ND, You will have an extra jewel in your in crown in heaven for tackling this most heinous chapter.
It is perhaps appropriate that we discuss it on on Maunday Thursday of Holy Week since that day is focused on death and betrayal as well.


Questions for reflection:

1. What is the story with the children of love, "moneyed race"? Why do they have such protection?

Going back to the quote Ch. 10 Zakynthos…the mention of the Geomaler’s powerful ‘patrons’ ( Kiaya Khatun)made me stop and think. Also in the Companion there is the reference to the writings of Nicholas de Nicolay that mentions the Pilgrims of Love and their way of life. Darling Dorothy is able to take one tiny fact and spin it into a marvellous soap bubble of character & story.

2. Why is the Chess board painted red and white? Blood and Flesh

3. Why is Lymond's robe scarlet with black embroidery, his own clothing underneath, stained and somewhat tattered? How will this affect Lymond? I found the opposing Kings’ clothing and the colours…Black/Scarlet for FC & Gold/White for GRM so dramatic on this incredible stage of the Selamlik …another place where Darling Dorothy is indulging her artist’s eye. FC’s robes would have been given to him by the Sultana prior to this appalling “Game of Kings”. I can’t comprehend being even able to IMAGINE this scene let alone plot it, picture it and write it. The pathos & irony are so acute.
I agree with audiobooklover & pagali… FC’s feelings about Khaireddin’s death were all consuming and GRM’s death almost unimportant in comparison. All he thought was that if there was blood on his surcoat, it had to be the baby’s.

4. For a fleeting moment, Jerott's point of view changes,
Quote:
...he began to watch Francis Crawford for the first time, with deliberate scrutiny, as with angry pain a woman might watch her false lover for the first signs of plague.
Is this still Jerott's point of view, although we hear mostly from him? Is it Marthe's? The author's voice? Thoughts? Jerrott is terrified about the extent of FC’s physical & mental endurance under the narcotic influence and the fact that the whole group is so vulnerable.

5. What did you think of Lymond's kiss? Why did he kiss the child on the mouth?
The unbearable tenderness of a last kiss. And the devastating foreshadow from Chapter 22.

6. Do you think that Lymond meant it when he told GRM he didn't know which child was his? Does he have an inkling the child might have been switched? Does it matter? Audiobooklover wrote:
Not sure I can really add much, but before reading here, the thought I had (and have had probably since my first read) was that when it came down to it, Lymond chose to rip out his own heart by killing the neglected and abused child whom he had started to form a connection with rather than ripping out Philippa's heart by killing the child she had come to love. As always, he is protecting everyone else to his own detriment.
7. Do you believe that Lymond's vow was fulfilled in saving one of the children?
I don’t think FC feels his vow complete, and I don’t think he wants or expects to survive.

8. How has Marthe and Lymond's relationship changed? What did Marthe mean when she asked if she should play the spinet? What was her intention?
I really like lormza’s comments about that. Lormza you read my mind and expressed it much better than I could.
Remember the impromptu concert at the French Embassy after FC had tuned the spinet? At that point I think he had made every arrangement he could and thus for a space was free…kind of like the total release of jumping out of a plane with a parachute on…no going back. Heather


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 Post subject: Re: DUNNET: PIF: CHAPTER 26: CONSTANTINOPLE: PAWN'S MOVE
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:13 am 
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lormza said:
Quote:
I also wanted to draw attention to Lymond's reaction after killing GRM: twice it's said that he had his hands flat on the wall, and when Marthe tries to remove him from the room, she says "you won't fall" and when he takes her hands he is groping for them. It sounded to me as some kind of vertigo? Please help AC or ND with the word!! It seems he was facing a precipice, and in a figurative way he is.

Beautifully put, lormza. Lymond seems to be on the verge of collapse and even shock (literally). Yes, 'vertigo' is a good word (the feeling that the world is spinning out of control all around you). He has had a huge amount not only of opium but adrenaline pumping through him, and now that the extreme tension and focus of the moment have passed, he is drained and limp and weak. He gropes for Marthe's hands like a child who is lost in darkness reaching blindly for his mother's (or his sister's) steadying grasp. This is a different Marthe. So she can rise to the occasion. She behaves very much as Lymond would were the roles reversed. We shall see if Good Marthe continues or Bad Marthe comes back.

And what you said about Marthe and the spinet was perfect! Thank you for such a superb analysis.

hevva said:
Quote:
4. For a fleeting moment, Jerott's point of view changes,
"...he began to watch Francis Crawford for the first time, with deliberate scrutiny, as with angry pain a woman might watch her false lover for the first signs of plague."
Is this still Jerott's point of view, although we hear mostly from him? Is it Marthe's? The author's voice? Thoughts? Jerrott is terrified about the extent of FC’s physical & mental endurance under the narcotic influence and the fact that the whole group is so vulnerable.

I have puzzled over this, too. I think it's the author's voice here. I believe she is giving us another deep insight into Jerott that we normally do not get because so much is written from his POV and he is notoriously unreliable (especially about his own feelings!). This is the FIRST TIME Jerott has watched Lymond with "deliberate scrutiny"? Wow. I suppose all those other times he's observed Lymond it was biased by conflicting and deep emotions: love and hate, envy and admiration, desire and repulsion. Jerott must be thinking, "This time, this time...is Lymond really going to die? Am I going to lose my lodestar?" Notice that Dunnett says Jerott is like a woman and Lymond is like his false lover. It seems odd she would insert this subtle reference to Jerott's hidden homoerotic desires at this moment, but she does. In extremis, even Jerott cannot completely bury those feelings because he truly fears this may be the end of them all. Imminent death has a way of focusing the mind and stripping away pretense and self-deception.

hevva said:
Quote:
7. Do you believe that Lymond's vow was fulfilled in saving one of the children?
I don’t think FC feels his vow complete, and I don’t think he wants or expects to survive.

I agree. That vow is pulp. He probably looks back on that arrogant young man of a year ago with contempt that he could have made such a vow. All his grand plans, his carefully crafted plots, his intrigues and maneuvers...all are laid waste and mocked by a tiny voice saying, ‘I’ve ‘topped being a bad boy.'

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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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