Discussion Board

Topic: Yokels at court

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA
Date: 10/13/2009

Hey, Greg,

Just re-read "Eon," and moved on to "Eternity." I'm currently at the part where Rhita is getting pissed because she's been shunted off into the school instead of getting the official audience she apparently expected.

It struck me that when she decided not to play music using Patricia's stuff, because of possible repercussions, that we usually get two types of protagonists in most books, regarding court intrigue, and please don't take this personally; this is intended as an observation of the habits of MOST authors, and is certainly not a critique of YOUR writing. In fact, it really has little to do with Rhita's situation, but Rhita's situation made me think about it, and therefore I am presenting my question here out of a genuine desire to hear your thoughts regarding this.

The first type of protagonist is the one who, despite the fact that they grew up in a tiny village, somehow find themselves at court, and nonetheless are perceptive and sophisticated enough to realize that the bad guy, despite the fact that he doesn't SEEM like a bad guy, is lying through his teeth. And, of course, everything else this entails, yadda, yadda. (Enter Tim Curry)

The second is the big, often good-natured-but-rustic type, who Gumps his way through court intrigue because people either find his simple honesty refreshing, or are afraid of getting their chins smashed through their sternums.

Of course there are countless variations, but these are the two basic types. Substitute the street urchin,the blacksmith, the village beauty, whatever...

Although I am not a dumb guy, I must admit that in a situation requiring awareness of the machinations of court intrigue, I would fail horribly. Therefore, either of these character types inevitably make me feel a bit inferior.

Okay, VERY occasionally there is a storyline where someone like me ends up at court, and escapes by the skin of his teeth, but usually only because some experienced person who for some reason likes him comes up and says "Okay, now you've REALLY screwed up, and the time has well and truly come for you to get the hell out of Dodge."

As an aspiring writer, I can see how the two former storylines are easier to write, and how the latter is potentially very messy. But, the latter, in my experience, is far more likely.

So, do people usually write the former scenarios because it is so much easier? Or am I way off-base, here?

Re: Yokels at court

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/14/2009

Then there's the type who gets caught up in the quest for The Brew that is True! I think you'll enjoy Danny Kaye in "The Court Jester."

Re: Yokels at court

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA
Date: 10/15/2009

Oh, I'm a great Danny Kaye fan. That man was truly talented. "The Inspector General" comes to mind, as well.

Re: Yokels at court

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: Frsance
Date: 11/29/2009

Danny Kaye was no hero...my Father booted him out of HonKong in the 50's for indecency with little boys...sorry to burst your bubble.

Re: Yokels at court

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/17/2009

Ah, corroboration is in order here, of course. It used to be (and still is, unfortunately) pretty common for homosexuals and bisexuals to be accused of pederasty, particularly in the 1950s. Remember the steps taken against Alan Turing. Tough times.

Re: Yokels at court

From: Andrew Carpenter
Location: UK (at the moment)
Date: 12/24/2009

Hard to corroborate stuff that was hushed up at the time..especially when the person in question was a UNESCO Ambassador; doesn't make it less true though. Personally I can't see much difference between this and the recent Roman Priest revellations in Ireland. I wish I'd never mentioned him..I did so because my Father always had very strong feelings towards him, as he was his arresting British Officer in the Crown Colony of HongKong and packed him on his plane out of there.

I don't mean to denigrate one of your heroes..Homosexuality has nothing to do with my opinion at all.However I hate ..with a vitriollic hatered, seeing someone who abused children (even though he paid willing kids), being treated as a hero.

Sorry to be so blunt..I should restrict my comments in praise of your books in future as most of your fans do...at worst I should just shut up.


Re: Yokels at court

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/01/2010

It's a fascinating story, Andrew. I can't say Mr. Kaye is one of my heroes, but I'd be very interested in learning of official records of this case. If it wasn't officially recorded, then obviously the UK government was happy to cover up such scandals... for the right people. Either way, nobody comes off looking very good. If it was officially recorded, then by now, the records should be made available. Of course, with the transition from Crown Colony to Chinese port city, who knows what happened to all those legal or extra-legal proceedings? With some corroboration, there might be the germ of a rather sad biopic in all this.

Burst bubbles

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA
Date: 01/02/2010

You didn't burst my bubble, Andrew. I'm a fan of his work; I know virtually nothing of his personal life.

However, I must ask, did your father deport him because he, himself, witnessed Mr. Kaye's indecency, or because of accusations made by a third party?

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