Headscratchers: The Redemption of Althalus
- I was rereading The Redemption of Althalus, and I found something that just seems wrong. Early in the book, Eliar participates in a war against Andine's city-state of Osthos. He somehow manages to get into a full-on fight with the defenders and ends up killing Andine's father, the Aryo (ruler). Of course, he and his men are captured. Althalus and Emmy get him out of Osthos. Then they go to Awes and find Bheid, before going back to Osthos because they need to pick up Andine, since they need her to defeat the Big Bad. Once they get Andine far far away from Osthos, they wake her up and she starts trying to kill Eliar. After the first attempt, Andine stops trying to kill Eliar because she realises that whatever she tries, they won't let her. What bugs me is this: Throughout the dialogue in that scene, everyone's attitude is basically: 'Andine, get over yourself and stop trying to kill Eliar. We all have to do something really important, so just stop it and get along. Your dad dying was an accident, so stop being such a bitch.' Eliar killed her dad! And no, it wasn't an accident. Nobody comforts her on the fact that her dad died and she can't avenge his death. Nobody comforts her at all. That bugs me a lot.
- The thing is, it WAS an accident. HOW would Eliar know that the guy charging ahead was the Aryo? He probably thought he was a commander or something. And besides, to his culture it WAS 'just business'. He's a MERCENARY. Its his JOB. It just so happened that the Aryo was Eliar's enemy at the time, they even say this (i think). Plus i think the whole world being plunged into eternal tyranny trumps one girls revenge somewhat.
- I get that, though that's not what bugs me. What bugs me is that everyone acts like she's making trouble because she's just a spoilt brat with no reason to. The fact that her father died and she got kidnapped and forced to go along with the group never comes up and nobody even tries to see it her way and help her get through it.
- Eliar's a soldier. He didn't murder her father. He killed him in single combat, in a war. She has no right to torture him to death for that, and getting that through her head was a lot more important than helping her with her grief.
- You're missing my point. He killed her father. The reason doesn't matter. He killed her father. She has every right to want to take revenge for that, and having her rights taken away and being forced to co-operate with a group openly favouring her father's killer is something never acknowledged in the book. I'm almost inclined to call Andine's eventual personality change a case of Stockholm Syndrome, because God knows there's not much else I can call it. And Dweia, the goddess whose job is supposedly to love things, doesn't attempt to help a teenage girl grieving for her only family member? I'm supposed to agree with this?
- I'm currently re-reading the book, and I don't see how anybody's acting like she's making trouble for them. They're actually very considerate; they make sure Eliar stays far away from her, because they realize that while she can't hurt him, "the sight of [him] might be hurting [her]." They give her plenty of space, and don't really try to pressure her to go along with them after she's in the party, they just assume she'll come around. And I noticed in this reading, this being the third or fourth time I've read this book, that Andine is...kind of a psychopath. Yeah, Eliar killed her dad on the battlefield (which, by the way, I'm not entirely comfortable with when he dismisses it as 'just following orders': a lot of evil shit has been done under that excuse), and since she captured him she technically has the right to have him executed or sent to jail or whatever. But she doesn't. Instead, she psychologically tortures him by chaining him in her throne room and staring at him all day while playing with his knife and making constant speeches about how she's going to make sure he dies in the worst possible way before selling him into slavery. Then she forgives him completely after getting to know him, deciding it was actually Ghend who was responsible, and after that she...never really seems to care about her father's death. I'm not convinced they were all that close to begin with. The only time she ever brings him up is when she mentions that she used to cut his hair when it bothered her, and she seems unable to understand that Eliar can love his parents. It's not unusual for royal parents to have little to no contact with their children, so it's possible Andine only saw her father infrequently, and never really loved him as a parent, just respected him because of his position and assumed that's how everyone felt about their parents (which is why she couldn't understand how Eliar could love his commoner father). And if anybody has Stockholm's syndrome, it's Althalus. Locked in a single room for thousands of years with one book to read and one arrogant, condescending cat-goddess. Of course he loves her, because for about two thousand years she was the only companion he had. He never had a choice in the matter.
- Yeah, Eddings wrote some really fucked up relationships. Don't even get me started on the Belgariad.
- I always viewed it as an example of Eddings characters pretty much always being fairly shallow. Fun, sure, but rarely much in the way of depth. I get he claims he's writing it that way deliberately as a kind of spoof of classical fantasy, but it still results in somewhat ludicrous situations like this: "You killed my dad!" "It was in a war! Plus, we've got this other important thing going on!" "I'm mad!" "Stop being mad!" "Ok. I'll help you kill the bad guy now.", with sarcastic remarks strewn liberally throughout.