Saturday, 8 June 2013

Merseian Analysis Of Terra

Ydwyr, Merseian, tells Djana, human, that she will not be a traitor to her race if she strikes off from them the Imperial chain or, alternatively, burns out the Imperial cancer:

"'The breakdown of legitimate authority into weakness or oppression - which are two aspects of the same thing, the change of Hands into Heads - is a late stage of the fatal disease.'" (Poul Anderson, A Circus Of Hells, London, 1976, p. 150)

Here at last is positive proof that the Merseians have made the same analysis of the Terran Empire as Chunderban Desai and are acting upon it. They understand that the Empire is in a late stage of decline with rulers who have lost legitimacy and who therefore resort to oppression which can only hasten the decline.

Ydwyr expresses this analysis in Eriau terminology. Each Merseian Vach is led/ruled/guided by a male whose title is "Hand," implying that he is a servant of the Vach, not "Head," which would perhaps instead imply one to be served?

On the evidence available to her at this stage of the narrative, Djana would indeed not be guilty of any treason if she agreed that humanity should become partners of the Merseians. She understands that they would be junior partners but then she has evidence that the Merseians are indeed superior. Later, Flandry shows her that Ydwyr has casually manipulated her throughout and that, although the Merseians certainly regard themselves as superior, this is an entirely different proposition from any actual superiority.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    Drat! I never thought of it that way, but Ydwyr's shrewd, if biased, analysis of the Empire does bear a strong resemblance to the Hordian theory discovered somewhat later by Chunderban Desai. Most likely, as you think, Merseians like Ydwr discovered this from Aycharaych's teaching.

    But not all Merseians were racial supremacists! Dwyr the Hook, the Merseian spy Commander Abrams captured and "turned" in ENSIGN FLANDRY, came to reject Merseia's rulers when he discovered how cynically his superiors used him (refusing to cure him of war wounds and deceiving him in such a way that he would not find out he could have been cured).


    1. Hi, Paul!

      I should have added to my previous note that at the time A CIRCUS OF HELLS was taking place, the Empire still had legitimate rulers. His Majesty Georgios was still the reigning Emperor and even his unworthy son and successor Josip III was a legitimate Emperor. As long as they lived Flandry still had some faint, wisftul hopes of improvement.