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2012 Reads > TIG: A King and his Fool (spoilers)

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David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments One of the most interesting (and possibly most complex) relationships in the book I found to be between Brandin and Rhun - especially as we learn later that Rhun is in fact Valentin.

The idea that the King and his fool have a psychic link gives us a clue to unravelling Brandin's emotions. Brandin does not wear his heart on his sleeve so much but it appears he does wear his heart on his fool. So much so that Dianora has learned to guage the kings mood by watching Rhun.

I have included a particularly emotionally charged excerpt below, where an assassination attempt originating from Brandin's own family back in Ygrath, is foiled.

There was screaming everywhere and a pandemonium as the court backed away. One figure suddenly ran forward. Stumbling, almost falling in its haste, the figure jerked out a sword. Then awkwardly, with great clumsy two-handed slashes, Rhun the Fool began hacking at the dead body of the singer.
His face was weirdly distorted with rage and revulsion. Foam and mucus ran from his mouth and nose. With one savage butcher’s blow he severed an arm from the woman’s torso. Something dark and green and blind appeared to undulate from the stump of Isolla’s shoulder, leaving a trail of glistening black slime. Behind Dianora someone gagged with horror.
‘Stevan!’ she heard Rhun cry brokenly. And amid nausea and chaos and terror, an overwhelming pity suddenly laid hard siege to her heart. She looked at the frantically labouring Fool, clad exactly like the King, bearing a King’s sword. Spittle flew from his mouth.
‘Music! Stevan! Music! Stevan!’ Rhun shouted obsessively, and with each slurred, ferocious articulation of the words his slender, jewelled court sword went up and down, glinting brilliantly in the streaming light, hewing the dead body like meat. He lost his footing on the slippery floor and fell to his knees with the force of his own fury. A grey thing with eyes on waving stalks appeared to attach itself like a bloodleech to his knee.
‘Music,’ Rhun said one last time, softly, with unexpected clarity. Then the sword slipped through his fingers and he sat in a puddle of blood beside the mutilated corpse of the singer, his balding head slewed awkwardly down and to one side, his white-and-gold court garments hopelessly soiled, weeping as though his heart was broken.
Dianora turned to Brandin. The King was motionless, standing exactly as he had been throughout, his hands relaxed at his sides. He gazed at the appalling scene in front of him with a frightening detachment.
‘There is always a price,’ he said quietly, almost to himself, through the incessant screaming and tumult that filled the Audience Chamber. Dianora took one hesitant step towards him then, but he had already turned and, with d’Eymon quickly following, Brandin left the room through the door behind the dais.


My observation

The contrast between Brandin's unreadable expression and what is truly raging inside of him as observed through Rhun.
And Stevan's memory is part of that rage.

Questions

Why is Rhun shouting ‘Music! Stevan! Music! Stevan!’
Is this suggesting that when Stevan died all the music went dead for Brandin?
Is he raging at his inability to bring Stevan back so the music can come back?
Is it because the singer has dishonoured his son's memory instead of using music to bring his son's memory to life?

We learn later that Brandin left enough of Valentin's awareness in Rhun so that the former Prince could bear witness to Brandin's vengeance.
So the question then arises how much of Rhun outburst is Brandin and how much is Valentin?

Lets flip this around to imagine this scene is at least in part an expression of Valentin's rage against the son whose death stripped a Prince and his people of their music.

Or is that just taking it too far?


Charles (CAndrews) | 60 comments Interesting questions. I would suggest that Valentin merely has awareness of events and nothing more (recall the references to the mountains pressing against him).

I think the reference to music was that Brandin was actually looking forward to being entertained by the singer and was bitterly disappointed that he had to execute her.


message 3: by Stuart (last edited Jun 10, 2012 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stuart (stuartellis) | 47 comments Well, here's how I read it...

Brandin is homesick, and he was keyed up to hear the music as a reminder of home. Then of course, it all flips around horribly in moments.

The family that he remembers have utterly betrayed him, to go home again he will now have to give up his revenge, which is his connection to his dead son, and the thing that he has literally been living for, and he will have to kill the remainder of his family when he gets there. All of which is his own fault.

So Brandin is overcome with conflicting emotions and nearly loses it completely. He has to use Rhun as a kind of emergency emotional vent. The musician and her music are just the only things that he can safely focus his feelings on.

Once he's offloaded his unbearable feelings on to Rhun he can think clearly, and makes the decision to sacrifice the idea of going home in order to preserve everything else that he cares about.


message 4: by Sky (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sky Corbelli | 352 comments Maybe if the sculptor had instead been a musician, I could have seen this outburst as being an echo of Valentin. As it is, this felt like 100% crazy Brandin passion, with absolutely no Valentin involvement.

But I like where you're going with this, so let me ask you: what if, at the end of this display, instead of "Music," Rhun had whispered, "Tigana"?


David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Sky wrote: "Maybe if the sculptor had instead been a musician, I could have seen this outburst as being an echo of Valentin. As it is, this felt like 100% crazy Brandin passion, with absolutely no Valentin inv..."

I tend to agree. If there's any Valentin in there its probably too subtle, even for Kay. And at this stage in the book we don't know Rhun is Valentin. Still, it's got me thinking.

Whispering "Tigana" at the end would probably be as subtle as a brick? We don't wan't "strong" reasons for suspecting who Rhun is before the end. We do get a subtle hint not long after in the passages where the making of a fool is discussed and in particular the cruelty of making a fool who starts off normal and healthy. Brandin suggests that he's done it before.


David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments @Stuart - I like your take on that scene. It's the extremity of the reaction that spoke to me about the depth of pain/grief Brandin still carries rightly or wrongly.


message 7: by Sky (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sky Corbelli | 352 comments Personally, I think that whispering "Tigana" would have been just subtle enough. The name is obviously bound up in Brandin's hatred and passion, at least as much as music or his son. I mean, we knew Rhun had to be important in the end anyways, since he had a name and all.

Of course, if that first chapter (which I actually liked) had shown the prince having a deep love of music in particular amongst the arts, or being so proud that the youngest son left behind was showing signs of being a talented musician, it would be a different matter entirely...

Then again, I don't think I need to argue this point with you. The fact that you're retrospectively looking for signs for Valentin leads me to believe that you also feel it should have been foreshadowed a bit more than it was, which is something I heartily agree with.


message 8: by Sky (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sky Corbelli | 352 comments I'm not saying that it wasn't foreshadowed at all, I'm just stating my preference for more liberal foreshadowing. As it was, the revelation of Rhun inspired me to think, "Interesting. Yeah, I guess he hinted at that," rather than, "Wow! This story was so well constructed!" I'm sure other people felt differently, but they aren't me.


message 9: by Sam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam Erwin | 26 comments On the subject of foreshadowing, I have to admit that I never saw this particular reveal coming. But that made the reveal even more astonishing and devastating.

I've even missed what apparently minor foreshadowing there is on subsequent reads.


David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Sam wrote: "On the subject of foreshadowing, I have to admit that I never saw this particular reveal coming. But that made the reveal even more astonishing and devastating.

I've even missed what apparently mi..."


This coversation between Dianora and Brandin was the clincher for me.

She took a breath, and then plunged ahead. ‘I know the truth. It is such an ugly, vicious thing to do. If you must prepare a Fool to follow Rhun, why mar a whole man and a healthy one? Why do such a thing?’
He did not answer for a long time and she was afraid to look at him. Rhun, too far away to hear, had none the less stopped leafing through his book and was looking over at them.
‘As it happens, there are precedents,’ was what Brandin said at length, his tone still mild.



message 11: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John (johntai) | 35 comments Unfortunately I ruined this mystery by clicking on this thread when it was started. STUPID STUPID ME!!!

But it was a great twist, especially learning that Valentin was aware of everything.

Obviously I did catch those foreshadowings and also thought they were perfect.


Aline | 1 comments "His face was weirdly distorted with rage and revulsion"
This sentence is interesting to me - I did not think it made sense for him to be filled with rage while feeling revulsion the first time I read it - it just seemed odd, but after finishing the book I took the revulsion to be from Brandin and the rage from Valentin (or is it vice versa?).


message 13: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jun 16, 2012 08:18PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Rhun Ruin

The Fool - foolish behavior is the ruin of many a good man.

Crippled, malformed, misshapen shadow follows the straight, handsome, strong, clear-eyed front man, but both are really the same person symbolically - the dark side and the good side, the Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde.


Cassius:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
Cassius, a nobleman, is speaking with his friend, Brutus, and trying to persuade him that, in the best interests of the public, Julius Caesar must be stopped from becoming monarch of Rome. Brutus is aware of Caesar's intentions, and is torn between his love of his friend Caesar and his duty to the republic. Cassius continues by reminding Brutus that Caesar is just a man, not a god, and that they are equal men to Caesar. They were all born equally free, and so why would they suddenly have to bow to another man? On another level this phrase has been interpreted to mean that fate is not what drives men to their decisions and actions, but rather the human condition. http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quo...

I'm sure there are more literary and religious symbols out there.

Yin/Yang?


message 14: by Walrus (new)

Walrus | 80 comments +April the Cheshire Meow Is there a Like button? Or a +1? This is so good, I don't know what to say.


Richard | 221 comments I was expecting something different for the fool. I thought he would turn out to be tied into Brandin's power & the point of weakness through which he would have to be attacked (kind of like the snake was for Voldemort). Being the death of him in a completely different way was a good twist.


message 16: by Erick (new)

Erick Taggart | 71 comments Looking back on it, I can definitely see how the groundwork was laid for the reveal at the end. Still, I was like Sam in that I was totally blindsided by it, but it definitely added a certain poetic end to things, particularly after Brandin had been shown in a more favorable light, so it was hard to see how he would be killed by Alessan and still feel resolved.

In terms of the whole King and his fool thing, I kept thinking of it more like the fool was the Id to balance the overwhelmingly Superego-ness of the King's office. He isn't allowed to indulge his baser instincts, so instead, he projects them through this other person who can act impulsively and it's acceptable. In that way, the scene where Rhun is hacking at the body makes sense to me in that he's shouting "Music! Stevan!" because it's everything that he impulsively feels at that time: the anger at being betrayed, the long-held loss of his son, and the fact that he wanted to listen to some music, dammit!


message 17: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim | 477 comments I actually think this relationship was one of the big let-downs of the book. It could have been so much more but after the big reveal... nothing. He dies, Dianora dies, he's unknown and forgotten about. I felt it was a big cop-out and pretty much rendered the entire thing pointless.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Erick wrote: "Looking back on it, I can definitely see how the groundwork was laid for the reveal at the end. Still, I was like Sam in that I was totally blindsided by it, but it definitely added a certain poet..."

; D


message 19: by Ian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ian | 2 comments Kim wrote: "I felt it was a big cop-out and pretty much rendered the entire thing pointless"

I thought it was an interesting parallel to Alessan. The King and his fool; the Prince and his wizard.


Heather | 29 comments I'm one of those who didn't see Rhun's reveal coming at all. Completely oblivious to the foreshadowing people have pointed out.

As I was reading, I thought it was a fitting death. Brandin's story was a deep, nasty gash in the history of the place. Rhun/Valentin's action closed the gash while at the same time bringing his own tragic storyline to a semi-satsifying end.

Upon reflection, though, it doesn't feel as... natural? ...poetic? It feels like yet another thread that was just a little too neatly wrapped up. (Alessan and Catriana, I'm looking at you.) Alessan's better future will probably be easier to create without these particular loose ends, but reality would never be so cleanly cooperative.


message 21: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan | 77 comments I imagine I would have been blown away by the big reveal. Except for Tom's "I won't do a spoiler here, but - you know - who Rhun turned out to be." Or whatever he said in the first video episode on Tigana. Classic "I'm not going to spoil the movie by telling you which main character turns out to Keyser Soze" sort of spoiler...


message 22: by aldenoneil (new) - added it

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Ryan wrote: Classic "I'm not going to spoil the movie by telling you which main character turns out to Keyser Soze" sort of spoiler...

It's funny because it's true.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1864 comments John wrote: "Unfortunately I ruined this mystery by clicking on this thread when it was started. STUPID STUPID ME!!!"

I was the same. I assumed since characters had been fully established when I read this read, I was safe from the 'spoilers' warned about, but alas...we really need to be clear about where in the book the spoilers relate to, because no one could guess that this thread was about the last chapter until they read it.


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