Abgeschickt von Birgit am 12 Maerz, 2005 um 19:46:21:
I have always wondered about this following passage at the Hall of Revels in RC:
"...said Lymond 'My God. Hay for the stuffing of Deaths.' They all came to a halt. 'Medioxes, stuffed with Hay, Half Death, Half Man,' Philippa read. 'Now I do know who that reminds me of,'said Lymond feelingly."
Now of course the immediate reaction to the reference 'stuffed with Hay' would be that this reminds Lymond of Oonagh. This was my reaction at first. But something didn't quite feel right about that. Lymond says it 'feelingly'. Not horror-struck, shocked, disturbed or dismayed. Feelingly. And the whole atmosphere at the Hall of Revels is relaxed, playful, full of joy. It sets the tone for Lymond's anvil moment shortly thereafter. Philippa's sunshine is already thawing the icicle Lymond. Not really a good place to bring up the matter of Oonagh. So I was wondering if DD was trying to convey something different here. Medioxes, stuffed with Hay, Half Death, Half Man - a perfect description of Lymond's state shortly before his anvil moment. He is only half alive, operates by his intellect only, is only half a man, his body and heart are like straw, numb, in a way even dead, without feeling. But not for very much longer.
"Philippa was still unconscious when he disentangled her from the cluster of Medioxes and, pulling off the wig, lifted her in his arms while Nicholas, climbing before him, pioneered their footing out of the shambles."
And he walks out into the sunshine and has his anvil moment. His body and heart reawaken and he is fully alive again.
But the metaphor works both ways. Philippa, is in the same state. Her mind has grown up but her body and heart are not 'alive' yet. That's why the metaphor gets picked up again a few pages later, after the Hall of Revels incident when Philippa muses on her not yet divorced state:
"While extremely tired of her condition, half maid and half matron like the Medioxes, Philippa was aware that the matter was far from simple."
She feels "stuck in the middle" but has not yet realized what the desires of heart and body are. That will happen in Lyon.
The question was brought up to which extend Lymond is aware of his state. I think he is under no illusion there. He is quite aware of his state. His self-deception works in other ways. But I think he is under no illusion about being half-dead or frozen. In fact, he admits it a couple of times. To Güzel, after the Vencelslas incident, he says: "You dragged out of Greece a sorry carcass, rotten with opium, and barred against every assault of the senses." and then goes on to tell her:
"You have destroyed the weak places and undermined, one by one, all the bastions...They are all open, Güzel." (on an aside: note the negative terminology applied here, destroyed the weak places, undermined the bastions ! quite a give-away).
When taking leave of the Tzar he says: "I fear. But I must face my fear. And when I return, I shall have conquered it. Nor is it of moment. A fragment of dead self, better buried."
And then of course Alec confronts him about just that outside the gate, before crossing the bridge (wonderful metaphor that, by the way - The watcher at the crossroad, giving advice and going unheeded, but the bridge does get crossed).
"Man is not intellect only," Guthrie said. "Not until you reject all the claims of your body. Not until you have stamped out, little by little, all that is left of your soul."
And Lymond knows quite clearly what he refers to, and reluctantly concedes the point.
"On the other matter....the terms of reference by which I live are my own,...I have said the intellect is all that can matter. I haven't said it is easy - or painless....to rid oneself of all that is left. ...There are no bonds between us, except those of the intellect."
"Abandon your quest," said Francis Crawford. "What you are looking for, dear Alec is buried. And no leech in London is going it revive it."
What a perfect set-up! No leech, indeed, but Philippa...
So he is under no illusion about his state, where the self-deception does come in however, is that he believes he can sustain it and live by the intellect alone, disregarding the rest. As for lightly admitting it in public, he probably thinks that nobody will get the hint. But more than that I think it shows how relaxed the atmosphere is at that point (at the Hall of Revels) and how much he has unvoluntarily let his guard down already under Philippa's influence.