[LMB] Watson and Doyle ; Guy Gardner vs Hal Jordon; Catti and Pen; Platonus, Lavoisier

pouncer at aol.com pouncer at aol.com
Fri Apr 3 16:01:02 BST 2020

TL;DR - The philosophy of the 5GU has become more modern as the stories
unfold from Cazaril's to Penric's, probably due to Doyle's 
principle that "the author is allowed to have a better idea" BUT
could be due to narrator's / Watson's confusion over, for instance, medicine.

The philosophy that "spirit" -- the power of the wind, the breath, the
motivations of heaven -- is the driver of life is old and common in
our world. It's often attributed to Platonus,  or maybe Plato.  (The
confusion of names doesn't help.)  Catti's / Umerue's unnamed 
Demon's ability to zombify Ahrwin is based on this understanding.
She demands her husband's "spirit" be "put back" and held in
his body.  He takes very little nourishment, doesn't sweat, and
fights without even breathing hard.  

The philosophy that "engines" -- systems or machinery with many
complex parts -- burn fuels to create motion, even in living 
creatures, is relatively modern.  Lots of parents to the notion, 
but simplify and call it all Lavoisier's fault.  In particular we
get the notion of burning as a "downhill" process -- as Pen 
learns of fire, unmaking complex poisons while they are still on
his tongue, or speeding up rust. Pen's ability and training
in medicine depends mostly on pushing parasites and tumors
down the hill, much less so on putting nerves or muscles
back in touch, up the same hill. 

The idea that Des could animate Ahrwin is VERY DISTINCT from
Catti's idea, and demands, of her unnamed demon. 

So,  the author had a later, better idea.  Demon's are creatures of
chaos, life is a magically-affected natural process of directed
combustion, and where the soul happens to reside with 
respect to the body is not particularly important -- in Penric's
universe or Lavoisier's.

But if Catti and Pen share the same universe, how are the
two situations similar? 

I remind U.S. readers of a certain age about the magical
powers of the SuperHero "Green Lantern".  Two (or more,
I've lost count) humans were portrayed with identical 
powers, just as Pen and Catti mastered more-or-less
identical demons.  A green magic ring would manifest,
for either, any physical shape or effect the wearer might
imagine and want.  But while Hal Jordan, wanting to 
smite an evil doer, would manifest a giant boxing glove
to punch a villain in the face,  the 2nd Green Lantern
Guy Gardner would manifest a giant baseball bat, 
and whack his oppoent over the head.  Gardner's
ideas were much more crude, and potentially dangerous. 
The two different manifestations of magical power
entirely depended on the personality and underlying
philosophy of the user -- in this case, of "what is a fight?"
Jordan, an officer and a gentleman, fights with a cushioned
glove as if in an implied or understood boxing ring.  
Gardner fights like a thug in a bar room, with deliberate
misuse of his tool and no concept of "overkill".  

So, Catti and Pen are different in the same way that
Gardner and Jordan are; while Desdemona and the
unnamed demon Catti rode are, basically, the same
as two Oan Green Power Rings.  And the 5GU is at least
as, if not much much more, self-consistent than the DC 
Comics multiverse. 

Am I wrong? 


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