Wednesday, 29 October 2014

War On Diomedes

Awesome: van Rijn's new Diomedean infantry is unassailable from the air because each foot soldier carries a shield above him and is unopposed on the ground because they are the first infantry on Diomedes so they can march straight to an occupied town and can even recapture it temporarily. However, this alone is not enough to win the battle. Against van Rijn's advice, this town was attacked first only because of its religious significance even though the enemy at that point was clearly strong enough to separate the ill coordinated Flock air and ground forces and to drive them back. (The winged Diomedeans had never thought of fighting on foot.)

Undeterred, van Riin reorganizes, plans his next moves and rallies his disaffected troops with rhetoric from Shakespeare, Pericles etc. Does he remember all this? Surely it loses something in translation? If "royal" means "of kings" and if a throne is a seat of kings, then Shakespeare's "...royal throne of kings..." has to be a double or treble tautology? And less meaningful to a people without a king?

Here is a wise Diomedean saying: "It is written: 'The Lodestar shines for no single nation.'" (The Van Rijn Method, p. 444.)

Poul Anderson shows us a real war with conflict spread across a wide geographical area and the tide of combat moving back and forth.


  1. Hi, Paul!

    But Poul Anderson DID handle the issue of van Rijn's speech to the Flock warriors including concepts strange to them when the herald Tolk complained he didn't understand everything Old Nick was saying and Trolwen told him to keep quiet because he was enthralled by the speech. That is, Old Nick's speech had enough that was understandable in it that it moved the hearts and minds of his listeners and raised their spirits.


  2. Sean,
    Yes and they were easily moved because unfamiliar with rhetoric.

    1. Hi, Paul!

      Well, at least not the kind of oratory Old Nick gave to the Flock warriors!