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Notes - Little Lark

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First, a bit of housekeeping on ages/names:

Wallace is around 23 in this fic. Madelyn's 20. The other key players are also in their (indeterminate) 20s. As for my naming scheme, y'all know I hate naming OCs and such, but I kept with a vaguely Roman-Britain/Celtish theme. Any other names that show up are from the game.

Cordelia -- a reference to Shakespeare's King Lear. (Kent and Cordelia, a duke and Lear's daughter respectively, are the only characters who remain loyal to Lear to the bitter end, even after Lear banishes them. Our Kent's mom has always been named Cordelia in my head for this reason. lol.)

Adrian -- a reference to Hadrian's Wall. Also, alliteration ftw!

Brandon -- pulled out of my ass. Well, somehow my brain jumped from William Wallace to Bran the Blessed, but this one's not so much an active ref. He just felt like a Bran, and it fit in my naming scheme.

I also switched back to the "Djute" spelling over "Jute", which I have preferred in the past. I still prefer "Jute" for various reasons, but not to the extent that I really care which one is used, so I figure I might as well just go with the fan translation on this one.

And now, three main things to point out about this fic:

1. People tend to have a very limited view of medieval women and their place in life; I was trying sort of to respond to that while not completely disregarding the limitations that *did* exist for them, and the general mindset of society. (The society that these women were born and raised in, and thus shared in the ideals of.)

That being said, I'm well aware that there are "anachronisms" regardless. Chalk it down to FE being not our world but a fantasy world -- with magic, and with at least two highly respected historical women, one of whom founded what is probably the major religion on the continent -- which does or *should* change the dynamics somewhat. Also, I'm admittedly lazy, so some of details I just threw in if I could make it sound more or less plausible. (potatoes -- which was mostly a nod to hooves EPIC depiction of Wallace XD, patronage of the arts, etc.) I mean, again, I have Lycia, especially eastern Lycia down mostly as early medieval, Roman-Britain-ish era, but there are definitely some world-building details I slipped in that are probably more accurate to later periods.

At any rate, mainly this is just to say, I don't really buy the spunky tomboy!Madelyn interpretation that I think is probably common. In a relative backwater canton like Lycia it's not unbelievable (see: Isadora, who is also a nobleman's daughter, though I wouldn't exactly call her tomboyish either), and in fact seems like a natural assumption to make, given Lyn's personality and well, the fact that Madelyn ran off to the plains. Nothing against it, I guess, but it's pretty cliched imo, and anyway it's more interesting I think to assume the opposite, and really make her a product of her society. It makes her ultimate decision far more difficult and complex. Instead I funneled off the tomboyish aspects to Cordelia, mostly because I like the idea that Kent's mom was crazy but mellowed out with age (also other factors, but won't go into them here). I was also setting up an obvious parallel there with the Cordy/Brandon relationship -- eloping probably did not in general lead to happily ever afters.

2. Sacaen/Lycian relations were modeled loosely on a mix of American Indian/colonist relations and Christian (Western Europe)/Saracen. (The Sacaens themselves are more Mongolian than anything though, as I've mentioned elsewhere.) I know very little about Roma, otherwise I'd say there's a bit of similar stigma attached to the Sacaens probably. Similarly to #1, I was writing from the viewpoint again that if you're born and raised in a society with a certain set of prejudices and standards, you're going to retain those same prejudices no matter how open-minded you might otherwise be. And often these prejudices will not be overt, but rather will manifest in very subtle ways -- not all of which will appear "negative" at first glance. Also, prejudice goes both ways.

More or less, I'm pretty cynical about Madelyn/Hassar and don't think it was quite the romantic episode everyone likes characterizing it as, though I have no doubt the two of them eventually fell genuinely in love. (We begin to see that happening towards the end of the fic, I think.) For one thing, I have a hard time figuring out what Hassar would be doing smack in the middle of Lycia anyway, not only for long enough to have become good friends with Wallace but also with enough freedom to interact with Madelyn on a regular basis and indeed, fall in love. Sure, Lycia and in particular Caelin probably has "looser" standards, allowing for more freedom of interaction -- hence the servants' relatively friendly relationship with Madelyn -- but I reeeally don't think Lord Hausen would have allowed his daughter to interact casually with just any guy off the streets, especially a Sacaen. (there is almost certainly an element of "savages stealing our women" involved wrt Sacaens and Lycians, though the truth is probably the opposite, i.e. probably more mixed marriages involve Sacaen women and Lycian men rather than the other way around.) Also, I could understand if Hassar were hanging out in Araphen or one of the other cantons closer to the border, but in Caelin of all places? Hmmm. (Guy in Santaruz is an exception -- we KNOW he's been wandering away from his clan, in order to prove himself. But Hassar's the chief of the Lorca, or at the very least the son of the chief!) Well, this is addressed in fic, obviously.

3. Lycian politics must be insane, if only for the sheer number of players involved. Military arms are probably a much larger factor than court intrigue in general (contrast Etruria). And aside from that, Lycia fascinates me because it strikes me really as the most heterogeneous of the various countries on Elibe. There are a variety of cultural influences at work, I think.

But, perhaps most relevantly to this fic, Lundgren has never really made much sense to me. According to primogeniture, Lundgren would in fact be the heir over Lyn in the order of succession. In most instances. Though actually the way inheritance is set up in Elibe frankly confuses me. Clearly we have something like equal primogeniture or actually something probably closer to agnatic-cognatic or cognatic primogeniture as oppposed to purely agnatic in place (see: both Lyn and Guinevere), but eh. To put it in plainer words, women *can* inherit -- i.e. females are not excluded entirely from the line of succession.

Bah, primogeniture is confusing period, though. This is a pretty decent rundown, though seriously lacking in sources. (see also: order of succession) Or see this book (published in 1895 by a British dude).

Lyn's case is simply weird in particular as she's not just female -- she's the daughter of a daughter. And the other thing that seems to be clear about Elibe is that, as a typical "medieval" setting, inheritance is traced through the male line. So if Lyn were a son, then yeah, she'd maybe have a stronger claim than Lundgren (by "quasi-salic inheritance", in which succession can go through the female line but only males can inherit still). And then there's also the whole deal regarding proximity of blood. And this is leaving out the fact that Lyn's father is Sacaen, and that Madelyn wouldn't have inherited if she had stayed and married Araphen in the first place. There are really a lot of factors at work here -- i.e. it's really not as clear cut as the game tries to make it. Lundgren actually has a pretty strong claim on the throne even without resorting to the whole "Lyn is an imposter spiel" (which is probably another factor in why he has so many supporters, disregarding the implied blackmail).

The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that Lundgren himself has no tenable heir. I mean, clearly he's old enough to be a grandfather, and yet the game treats him as having no heirs? (In the sense that, if not Lundgren, the throne should have gone to Lundgren's son, or daughter if he had no son, and from there on to his OWN grandchildren. The whole inheritance dispute realistically would NOT have ended with Lundgren's death. As long as the male line holds out, they'd have priority over Lyn. And whether or not she actually had the strongest claim she really really would not have had an easy time of it if she'd actually wanted the throne, as she wouldn't have had any political backing whatsoever, and only the slightest military backing!) And if he didn't have heirs -- then why the fuck did he want the throne so badly? If he'd been a younger man at the time he made his power grab, then that'd be totally understandable, but if you believe the game he's just been sitting around for YEARS waiting for his brother to conk out so he can enjoy a few years of rulership before he himself conks out... huh?

So no, Lundgren almost certainly has heirs of his own, but for some reason or other their claim is just as shaky as Lyn's. But before Lyn shows up, there are no other complications, so hey, he can rest easy, assured that the throne's going to go to them through him regardless, simply because they're the only options.

Anyway, this will be explored more in Wherever I May Find Her. I'm just setting up some issues beforehand here.


And re: other stuff, yes, I was intentionally drawing parallels between Wallace/Madelyn and Kent/Lyn (though they really don't quite map very well XD), and yes, Hassar speaks quite a bit, if only because I don't believe in ".... ..... ....." romances. :P

And if you can't put two and two together regarding exactly what Madelyn was planning, it's probably my fault, but damn it, I just wanted to get this fic over with already. So uh yeah. Sorry. Her motives are complicated and not at all straightforward.

Anyway, if I don't get around to responding to comments I'm sorryyyyyyyy but really tired. T_T

(This fic totally needs to go through a round of editing when I am considerably more sane. i.e. I FAIL)
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On July 8th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC), kaeyko commented:
KING LEAR. (Dear sir, forebear!) I think I mentioned FE!Kent mental lol'ing before while reading it.

I like your Hassar. He's taciturn, but not "..." laconic. Not totally terse though - he's just not flowery or Wallace-like. At the best of times, I imagine he's a lot like Ferid from Suikoden V.

On Lyn's claim to Caelin: maybe Lundgren isn't that popular politically? That's a totally weak reason to say why Lyn might be favoured. The political forces at work in Caelin might just want to delay Lundgren's chance to take control by seriously considering Lyn as a more suitable heir for Hausen (for whatever positive or negative reasons, maybe, considering she would be an outsider to Lycian politics - she's objective but also out of her element). And they're sick of the blackmail.

I agree with the weirdness of his timing for this sort of thing, because he's wants power now, but he could have done this years ago, after Madelyn was disowned. Even if Hausen is popular, Lundgren would have been his heir presumptive (apparent?) with Madelyn gone. Lundgren's been rather patient about the whole thing, but given his age, it doesn't look like he's going to have a really long reign. Maybe's just desperate and wants to make the mad power grab, especially in light of Lyn appearing. Or maybe he's got some weird Macbeth thing going on where he just wants the throne. Uh, but I seriously have no idea what I'm talking about.

On primogeniture: Unrelated, but I always wondered how the "sister's son" thing works out in Celtic/Old English culture considering Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Before the introduction of Mordred, Gawain is Arthur's heir as the son of his sister and may actually hold a stronger claim than Arthur's possible sons, depending on his son's mother. Mordred as his sister's son and as his son has a pretty solid claim that way, if you're willing to look past the incest. (Probably a way to assimilate the matrilineal inheritance with patrilineal ones.) XP

Discussion of elopement reminds me of Laura Ahearn's Invitations to Love and the relationship between elopement and modernity for younger generations in Nepal. The ethnography discusses how love marriages perceived as modern aren't necessarily better, especially for the young women involved. In an arranged or even kidnap marriage, she's still got the traditional right to run home to her birth family if things get bad.

I guess this would be indirectly related to agreeing that I don't buy the whole tomboy!Madelyn either and that she's "modern" just because she ended up running away and eloping with Hassar. Especially given how well she knows what will happen if she marries Araphen in your fic. She's rather contained (I guess Lyn gets her liveliness from her dad? Wallace and Hassar running laps around the castle for fun... XDDD)
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On July 12th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC), shimizu_hitomi replied:
I haven't played any of the Suikoden games, so don't know the character, but glad you liked Hassar. XD I actually wanted to put a lot more of him into the fic, but was afraid he'd hijack the plot. (Yeah, my Hassar's a bit crazy or at least unorthodox though he doesn't necessarily show it -- he'd have to be, to be friends with Wallace... XDD He's very uhh, go with the flow, in a way. Lyn definitely gets her impulsiveness from him. XD)

And oh, that's a good point. If people just plain don't like Lundgren, or want someone they could control more easily, Lyn would definitely be a potentially better alternative.

Lyn's appearance definitely threw a wrench in his plans though, whatever they were. I'd guess even just the realization that Madelyn was still alive (and that Hausen wanted to reconcile with her) must have panicked him. It could be just the Macbeth thing -- though iirc even in Macbeth there was the concern about continuing his line, hence the big deal about Banquo being the one to found the line of kings in the prophecy? Been a while since I read it though.

And oh wow that is weird. Didn't realize Gawain was Arthur's heir. Would he still have been heir over Arthur's sons if they'd existed though, or was it just because Arthur had no sons? Because my guess would be it's related to age/generation, maybe, where the line of succession goes horizontally before it goes vertically (if that makes any sense, lol). Or does it just go diagonally? That would certainly explain why the Mordred conflict got so bad, though. XD

love marriages perceived as modern aren't necessarily better, especially for the young women involved

Ah yes, I remember reading something about this (possibly an excerpt or maybe an article touching on the same topic), which is why I made sure to write in Hassar and the Sacaens' positive attitude towards arranged marriage. (Also I think I was reading Kaoru Mori's new manga which features an arranged marriage among nomadic peoples on the Silk Road.) I've always thought the traditional right to run back home was really interesting... and really a contrast to the way most people (Westerners) view arranged marriage nowadays.
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On July 14th, 2009 06:19 am (UTC), kaeyko replied:
I think Gawain as Arthur's heir is an old throwback to the earlier Celtic tradition. In Green Knight, Gawain has this need to establish himself because, as he tells Arthur, he's got no real accomplishments and he's at the Arthur's side because he's the son of Arthur's sister. O_o

I'm guessing that when Mordred was introduced to the cycle, he usurped Gawain's role as the (most immediate) heir to Arthur. Maybe society wanted to introduce the idea that the son of the king supercedes the older culture's ideas on matrilineal inheritance? I've been having trouble looking up the whole "sister's son" thing by myself, though there is some interesting anthropological conjectures as to why the sister's son (or brothers if available) are preferable for inheritance. For one thing, there's greater certainty of kinship with your sister's son or your brothers because maternal kinship is certain whereas a man can't be completely certain that his son is definitely his son. O_o

(Or maybe they like verticals more than horizontals.) Uh... but don't take my word for it; I'm sorta just recalling what my Medieval English professor was giving as background and that was awhile ago.
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