[LMB] Paladin discussion questions no. 2

Pat Mathews mathews55 at msn.com
Wed May 9 16:20:49 BST 2012

Come to think of it, what about the electoral/succession crisis in HALLOWED HUNT? 

> Date: Wed, 9 May 2012 08:17:14 -0700
> From: tonyz at eskimo.com
> To: lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
> Subject: Re: [LMB] Paladin discussion questions no. 2
> On Wed, May 09, 2012 at 09:34:47AM -0400, Walter Bushell wrote:
> > On May 8, 2012, at 10:04 PM, Pat Mathews wrote:
> > 
> > > Back when Paladin first came out, I raised that issue and the 
> > > problems it would cause, being quite familiar with the way the 
> > > Tudor family got its start in English politics. To be brief -  
> > > Iselle would have a fit! Because while her mother and stepfather 
> > > wouldn't cause any succession problems, two generations down the 
> > > road it could be a civil war waiting to happen. 
> > 
> > Ista's late child would be way down the order of legitimacy compared 
> > to a younger brother, which you have to have. 
> The problem is, particularly for the early period, that just about
> anybody with royal blood _could_ be a contender under certain
> circumstances.  If they were a strong forceful leader-type and
> the guy ahead of them in the line of succession was stupid and
> indecisive, odds went way up.  Early in the Middle Ages, for
> instance, the Scandinavian monarchies were elective from among
> anyone of the royal kin (which usually meant civil wars after
> the death of one king).  The whole theory of "legitimate" heirs
> and "line of succession" originated in an attempt to formalize
> the royal rules to avoid those civil wars.  
> This also varied by time and place.  In many areas you had kings
> attempting to secure the choice/election of their chosen heir
> (not always the _oldest_ son) before their death to avoid a
> succession crisis afterwards.  Sometimes it even worked.  But
> as late as the 15th century, a vaguely blood-connected nobody
> like Henry Tudor could show up with an army, win a battle, 
> and take the crown off the head of the previous heir.  (It
> got tried in the 16th century, too, with Lady Jane Grey in
> England, but by then everyone had gotten sick of the idea,
> hence she was a Nine Days' Queen.)
> Hence, if (say) one of Ista's grandchildren is a particularly
> driving sort, and Iselle's grandson is a weak and mousy type,
> there could be a war floating around.  Hard to see how that
> gets avoided no matter what, though I think Her Ladyship
> commented at one point that while Ista would probably have a
> couple of children, they'd be dedicated to the B*stard to avoid
> just such a possibility.
> > Today the plan is an heir and a spare, but in those days you 
> > really needed more for insurance, because childhood mortality 
> > was so high. 
> If you don't have enough kids, there's a chance none of them
> will succeed.  If you have a lot, chances go up dramatically
> that one or several of them will make a bid for the crown.
> You can't win, short of blind luck.  (One common Germanic 
> solution was to divide the monarchy among the heirs -- this
> had problems of its own, as well... but look at Henry III
> and his sons in England, or Louis the Pious earlier in France
> and Germany...)
> > We already saw one such attempt in _Chalion_, oops that was a son, 
> > dangerous to have children even. Ista married way up and so brings 
> > no blood legitimacy. But you know the Ottomans managed the brother 
> > problem by strangling all the brothers of the new sultan.
> That was actually a later development -- the original version had
> all of them fighting it out on the death of the previous Sultan.
> May the best general win.  Which at least kept the throne in the
> hands of someone who knew how to win wars, but was rather bloody.
> Then they developed the custom of strangling all but one (let's
> hope he was the best one.)  Then they developed the habit of
> putting them all in the harem and just bringing out one when
> the previous Sultan died (which meant that the heirs were
> feckless wastrels who didn't know _anything_ about war or
> international relations... one may date the decline of the
> Ottoman state to not very long after, though more was going
> on than just the method of heir raising.)
> > Of course, this kind of thing probably happened in Byzantium and 
> > Egypt too, but *everything* happened in both those societies.
> Last long enough, and lots of things happen...
> Tony Z
> -- 
> Saying X = Bad is easy; whats hard is deciding what to do 
> when you are confronted with X. -- Leigh Kimmel
> --
> Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to mathews55 at msn.com
> Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
> http://lists.herald.co.uk/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/lois-bujold

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list