|badgerbag (badgerbag) wrote,|
@ 2009-05-19 09:25 pm UTC
And have to mention the really, really, really over the top scene where what's his name cuts off the other guy's leg. OMFG, it was gross. But it was also how I imagined leg cutting off would be. Because really, who hasn't imagined having to amputate a limb in an emergency? (I was ruined for life by the story of that hiker who had a boulder fall on his arm, and was pinned for days until he finally sawed off his crushed and gangrenous arm with his pocketknife.)
Spoilers below! Complicated thoughts! Mostly about the Liveship books and dragons and culture and slavery (and gender) but also mention of the same themes in the Farseer trilogy.
Here's the deal. The Rain Wild River people, who live in treehouses above the poison acid river and live from archeological looting, are kin to the more settled Traders of nearby Bingtown. For many generations the Trader families buy Liveships from the warty-skinned mutated Rain Wild people, who make the ships out of wizardwood which sort of soaks up memory. After three generations of Trader family have died upon the deck of a ship, it comes to life. I mean, the ship itself but mostly the carved figurehead on the prow. The ship has a psychic bond with the Trader family members and has to have a family member on board most of the time (or it goes crazy). Dude. Okay. Got that?
But really, "wizardwood" is the cocoon or husk of unborn dragons which were buried in a huge earthquake aeons ago, and which the newborn dragons absorb in order to unite with their ancestral memories. AND the sea serpents are another part of the dragon life cycle, so all these years the sea serpents have been stuck, confused, and gradually losing sentience.
Sooooo the main Liveship (captured by pirates) has just now realized she is actually a sort of Thing carved from the husk and memories of the dead dragon she will never now become, enslaved for many lifetimes by the humans who love her and who she loves. She's a personality construct with a tenuous hold on reality, held together by the imaginings of the Trader family member on her deck and the blood & memory of their relatives.
There is so much going on with gender here, and marriage, and slavery and art, with the romantic dreams of Malta, her mother Keffira, and Althea, and Malta's suitors. I'm blown away! It's as good as the stuff in Temeraire - actually better.
It then makes horrible sense to me how the religious kid Wintrow sort of worships the ship in place of his god... and how the evil pirate (with background of rape and abuse when he was a child) so obsessively seeks out a Liveship that he can bond with and dominate! all part of the same thing. and it goes well with the Farseer trilogy's theme of the stone carved dragons which are glorious and save the Six Duchies and which are also terribly wrong. (And Hobb's repeated theme that people refuse to acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of animals so they can ignore how they abuse the animals; echoed in her fascination with the problematic bits of creating unliving things and imbuing them with imaginary life. It is a complex critique of the idea of robots - and of machines.)
wild, isn't it?