History Literature / TheLeftHandOfDarkness

21st Jun '16 12:54:16 PM Winter
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* BizarreAlienReproduction: Gethenians are usually asexual and [[NoBiologicalSex genderless]], but go through a stage each year called kemmer. While in kemmer a Gethenian will become either male or female with no control over which sex they take, unless they use certain chemicals. Because kemmer puts the body in a MateOrDie situation Gethenians will mate with whoever they need to, including immediate relatives, to stay alive, and this is not frowned upon, although if a child is conceived from incest those relatives are expected to never mate again. While in kemmer Gethenians are male or female as we would recognise them, and children are conceived through regular sex.

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* BizarreAlienReproduction: Gethenians are usually asexual and [[NoBiologicalSex genderless]], but go through a stage each year month called kemmer. While in kemmer a Gethenian will become either male or female with no control over which sex they take, unless they use certain chemicals. Because kemmer puts the body in a MateOrDie situation Gethenians will mate with whoever they need to, including immediate relatives, to stay alive, and this is not frowned upon, although if a child is conceived from incest those relatives are expected to never mate again. While in kemmer Gethenians are male or female as we would recognise them, and children are conceived through regular sex.
21st Jun '16 6:56:46 AM Ulysses21
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* BizarreAlienReproduction: Gethenians are usually asexual and [[NoBiologicalSex genderless]], but go through a stage each year called kemmer. While in kemmer a Gethenian will become either male or female with no control over which sex they take, unless they use certain chemicals. Because kemmer puts the body in a MateOrDie situation Gethenians will mate with whoever they need to, including immediate relatives, to stay alive, and this is not frowned upon, although if a child is conceived from incest those relatives are expected to never mate again. While in kemmer Gethenians are male or female as we would recognise them, and children are conceived through regular sex.
16th May '16 3:38:33 AM Morgenthaler
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* TheMeaningOfLife: It is mentioned that some person once asked a group of seers "what's the meaning of life". Some seers went mad, some died, one killed the guy who asked the question, and the leader went on to found his own religion, claiming that during his attempts, he saw everything that was, is and shall be. No answer to the original question was ever provided.
25th Dec '15 2:16:26 PM Prioris
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* TheBerserker: [[spoiler: Estraven]] -- in a non-straightforward way. The Handara discipline teaches its acolytes how to induce and control ''dothe'', what Genly translates as "hysterical strength," which another writer might call berserker strength. ''Dothe'', properly used, can increase stamina and strength many times over, but it's also very dangerous -- the user must know what "stage" of ''dothe'' they are in, and if they don't rest and eat abundantly afterwards, they could easily kill themselves.



** On the other hand, Gethenians have no proper word for man/woman, so outsiders attempting to make themselves understood must use the words that refer to the male and female forms of kemmer (the only alternative being words for male and female animals). In other words, they can only make the sex/gender distinctions humans routinely use by thinking of them as animals in permanent heat. This creates a few difficulties for Genly.

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** On the other hand, Gethenians have no proper word for man/woman, and of course, ItIsDehumanizing, so outsiders attempting to make themselves understood must use the words that refer to the male and female forms of kemmer (the only alternative being words for male and female animals). In other words, they can only make the sex/gender distinctions humans routinely use by thinking of them as animals in permanent heat. This creates a few difficulties for Genly.



* TheGulag: Orgoreyn runs them. Gulag - "[[ReassignedToAntarctica send them to Siberia!]]" - the planet [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Winter]] - [[IncrediblyLamePun get it]]? Wink, wink?

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* TheGulag: Orgoreyn runs them.several of them, called Voluntary Farms. Gulag - "[[ReassignedToAntarctica send them to Siberia!]]" - the planet [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Winter]] - [[IncrediblyLamePun get it]]? Wink, wink?



* MarryForLove: Gethenians "vow kemmer" to one another, but never for political purposes -- all such vows are made purely for love. That said, to vow kemmer is a much rarer act than marriage is on Earth. Most people are happy enough to go to the kemmerhouses, couple freely, and go back to normal life. And vowing kemmer is something done only once in a lifetime -- even if death or divorce do ye part.

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* MarryForLove: Gethenians "vow kemmer" to one another, but never for political purposes -- all such vows are made purely for love. That said, to vow kemmer is a much rarer act than marriage is on Earth. Most people are happy enough to go to the kemmerhouses, couple freely, and go back to normal life. "Keeping kemmer" (the equivalent of having a live-in significant other) is more common, but such a kemmering can be dissolved at any time with no repercussions. And vowing kemmer is something done only once in a lifetime -- even if death or divorce do ye part.


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* SuperMode: The Handdara faith teaches its acolytes how to induce and control ''dothe'', what Genly translates as "hysterical strength." ''Dothe'', properly used, can increase stamina and strength many times over, but it's also [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique very dangerous]] -- the user must know what "stage" of ''dothe'' they are in (going too long is deadly), and must spend a long time recovering afterward. (The "''thangen'' sleep" after a ''dothe'' session is described as more like a low-level coma, and the practitioner becomes a BigEater for weeks afterward. This becomes a problem when you're in a low resource environment. Failing to recover properly from ''dothe'' is permanently deleterious to the practitioner, in a quasi-CastFromHitPoints scenario.)
3rd Nov '15 1:46:19 PM vifetoile
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* EvilChancellor: [[ZigZaggedTrope Zigzagged]]. At first, the Chancellor is a decent [[strike:guy]] [[GenderNeutralWriting person]] serving the insane King, but is soon replaced by a properly evil one. Of course, both the insane king and Genly initially think Estraven is evil.

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* EvilChancellor: [[ZigZaggedTrope Zigzagged]]. At first, Estraven the Chancellor is a decent [[strike:guy]] [[GenderNeutralWriting person]] person serving the insane King, but is soon replaced by a properly evil one.advisor. Of course, both the insane king and Genly initially think Estraven is evil.



* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: with a few twists, quite apart from the [[GenderBender obvious one]]; Argaven is also, for the most part, sufficiently bonkers to qualify as a version of TheCaligula.

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* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: with a few twists, quite apart from the [[GenderBender obvious one]]; Argaven is also, for the most part, sufficiently bonkers to qualify as a version of TheCaligula. A noteworthy aspect is that Agraven is trying to become a mother, because only a "child in the flesh" can inherit the throne.
3rd Aug '15 1:31:20 PM vifetoile
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* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: It's complicated.

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* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: It's complicated. [[spoiler: At the end of the book, Genly meets Estraven's son by his own brother, and is comforted to know him.]]


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* TragicVillain: Downplayed with Estraven. From his own moral and cultural point of view, he's crossed multiple taboos and boundaries by the story's end. He keeps most of them secret, but it's possible to read his later actions as increasing desperation as he sees himself as more and more of a pariah. [[spoiler: To wit, he's vowed kemmering twice in his life, once to his own full-blooded sibling, he's failed in the game of politics and shifgrethor, resulting in exile, and he steals food and supplies from an isolated outpost.]]
10th Jul '15 12:23:43 AM vifetoile
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* TheBerserker: Played with. The Handara discipline teaches its acolytes how to induce and control ''dothe'', what Genly translates as "hysterical strength," which another writer might call berserker strength. ''Dothe'', properly used, can increase stamina and strength many times over, but it's also very dangerous -- the user must know what "stage" of ''dothe'' they are in, and if they don't rest and eat abundantly afterwards, they could easily kill themselves.

to:

* TheBerserker: Played with.[[spoiler: Estraven]] -- in a non-straightforward way. The Handara discipline teaches its acolytes how to induce and control ''dothe'', what Genly translates as "hysterical strength," which another writer might call berserker strength. ''Dothe'', properly used, can increase stamina and strength many times over, but it's also very dangerous -- the user must know what "stage" of ''dothe'' they are in, and if they don't rest and eat abundantly afterwards, they could easily kill themselves.
10th Jul '15 12:20:11 AM vifetoile
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* TheBerserker: Played with. The Handara discipline teaches its acolytes how to induce and control ''dothe'', what Genly translates as "hysterical strength," which another writer might call berserker strength. ''Dothe'', properly used, can increase stamina and strength many times over, but it's also very dangerous -- the user must know what "stage" of ''dothe'' they are in, and if they don't rest and eat abundantly afterwards, they could easily kill themselves.
7th Jul '15 7:48:51 PM vifetoile
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* LoveMartyr: Estraven's poor ex.

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* LoveMartyr: Estraven's poor ex.ex, Ashe.
* MarryForLove: Gethenians "vow kemmer" to one another, but never for political purposes -- all such vows are made purely for love. That said, to vow kemmer is a much rarer act than marriage is on Earth. Most people are happy enough to go to the kemmerhouses, couple freely, and go back to normal life. And vowing kemmer is something done only once in a lifetime -- even if death or divorce do ye part.
6th Jul '15 1:52:14 PM vifetoile
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* SelectiveObliviousness: Genly, normally a conscientious and careful Envoy, hits this badly when he enters Orgoreyn. [[spoiler: His first day in a police state ends with him and the entire inn put under brutal arrest, but within days of being recovered and put in the hands of the politicians, he's able to convince himself that Orgoreyn is the enlightened nation he's been looking for. Still, all the time he's there his instinct keeps telling him something is off.]]
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