[LMB] Penric reread, the very beginning (was: Re: Lois-Bujold Digest, Vol 169, Issue 40)

Pat Mathews mathews55 at msn.com
Tue Jul 2 23:04:23 BST 2019

Oh, we mortals can push or influence the minds & souls of others. There is an entire industry in the 20th Century & later culture devoted to just that, and it is making toms of money, the results being very akin to black magic.

Three guesses which industry I mean, and it dominates TV and radio and the Internet and sends people into frenzies of buying "things they can't afford for people they don't like who can't use the things anyway" at every holiday in the calendar, religious or secular.
From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of Joel Polowin <jpolowin at hotmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, July 2, 2019 11:09 AM
To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
Subject: Re: [LMB] Penric reread, the very beginning (was: Re: Lois-Bujold Digest, Vol 169, Issue 40)

Matthew George <matt.msg at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 26, 2019 at 10:29 AM Doug Weinfield <douglasw at his.com> wrote:
>> I think this is error, as the Five can act in the world only through
>> humans, animals, or plants, if I recall the text correctly.
> 1)  The Fifth is part demon. As such, it's possible he has slightly more
> influence.
> 2)  Who says the gods wouldn't have been working through someone?  If the
> gods can reach through someone to send a demon to rip the soul out of
> someone else, I fail to see why they couldn't arrange one little heart
> attack.

Textev is that they simply don't have the ability.  They can influence
mind/spirit, if it's open enough to allow them: the saints, who have
freely and completely given over their will; someone like Palli who
is devoted to the Daughter, and prays focusedly to her before bed,
is open enough to receive dreams from her.  The Temple animals are
trained to the task of signing at funerals.  But broadly speaking,
the gods can't move matter themselves, any more than you or I could
push on someone's soul (or mind, if you prefer).

There are a couple of odd cases.  There are the apricots at the end of
_Paladin of Souls_.  Can the gods influence the "spirits" of plants,
somehow?  And there's the miraculous sweet-smelling fluid that filled
Caz's "tumour".  That's a thing that could, perhaps, have been done
by the death demon, since demons *can* affect matter.  But that kind
of thing isn't the death demon's "mandate", so to speak.  Normally,
it's sent to grab two souls and come back, pausing only to cause
bizarre distinctive bloating in the bodies that continues after the
demon has departed.  (And unlike most demons, it *wants* to return to
its master.)  It could, perhaps, have been given additional orders.
"Oh, and if you find yourself contained by a god's influence in
someone's body, here's what you should do while you're stuck there."

It's possible that another sorcerer was involved, creating a little
bit of heart damage: enough to kill eventually, but not immediately.
But that seems to me to be a bit of a stretch.

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