genarti: Fountain pen lying on blank paper, nib in close focus. ([misc] ink on the page)
[personal profile] genarti posting in [community profile] club93
And finally, the post that's actually supposed to be today: chapter 3.2.5, "La goutte d'eau froide," or "The Drop of Cold Water."

Date: 2014-06-10 03:51 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
"He was one of those who do not believe in luck and he was lucky." I like this line. Not sure how else we could generalize it to Cimourdain’s situation—he believes in God, after all, even if he’s awkward about it.

"it was like Chiron seeing Achilles in battle." Chiron the centaur; this talks a lot about Achilles, even if Chiron is relegated to one line on Achilles’ page. One emphasis here is that Chiron is not just a military centaur; he has other, more cultured, interests too. This maybe is hinting that Cimourdain, as a priest, is not just…interested in the religious structures of the day but also has revolutionary interests? Maybe.

"It was the time when each man had his own military dream, each wished to make a general: Danton wished to make a general of Westermann; Marat, of Rossignol; Hebert, of Ronsiu; Robespierre wanted to get rid of them all." Westermann: friend of Danton’s, allegedly bragged about how brutal and inexorable he was in La Vendée. Rossignol: didn’t want personal rivalries to influence decisions. Smart guy, given Ronsin (it’s typoed on Wikisource): follower of Hébert, threw a battle to the Vendeans because he was jealous?!

We had the Danton-Marat-Robespierre trifecta recently, but here Hébert is filling in for Robespierre, who’s above the fray. Not clear whether Robespierre just thinks all the generals are incompetent, or whether he’s dreaming about transcending the military altogether.

"and surely, he thought, this is not the time for emotion." Except for the emotional joy he’s going through right now. But that doesn’t count.

"Gauvain will be "at the top" "—á la hauteur,”—a phrase of that day.” <- Instead of the Vendean forests where he’s stuck right now. Cimourdain likes the mountain analogies, too.

"that voice, which in spite of years of absence was always sounding in his ear" Stop being adorable, you two. Though I wonder if Cimourdain’s imagined Gauvain has much in common with the real one after the separation, or whether Cimourdain’s just listening to his own dreams of greatness, projected from a different direction.

"You will live. You wished to kill me in the name of the king; I pardon you in the name of the Republic." <- And here’s where we get our chapter title shoutout, I think; it’s a bible quote. "Wheover gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward." (Jesus, Matthew 10:42.) Cimourdain is dreaming about the future Gauvain represents, and Gauvain is ready to live out the future by being better than the old regime, acting in the name of a more progressive cause. Except, instead of helping out "little ones" (we’re still in a book about "The Three Children," even though they’re not on-screen), he’s showing mercy to his enemies. That doesn’t bring about the kind of rewards Cimourdain has in mind.

Actually, here’s a link to the Bible verse in context, if that’s your thing. Families at odds with each other.

3.2.5: La goutte d'eau froide

Date: 2014-06-11 02:11 am (UTC)
bobbiewickham: Kalinda Sharma of The Good Wife (Default)
From: [personal profile] bobbiewickham
The drop of cold water is the effect of Gauvain’s “mercy” (and I put that in quotes for a reason, which I’ll explain in a bit) on Cimourdain’s dreams for him. Cimourdain is proud of Gauvain, who is both superb and terrible. Proud, and inspired, and possessive in the way that parental love can be: this is the child of his spirit, his own soul transformed into genius.

But the fact that Gauvain spares a man’s life is cold water to Cimourdain’s pride.

As for Gauvain himself, if I didn’t already love him, I would now. The man who tried to kill him is ready to die, wants to die, but Gauvain will have none of it. “Tu as voulu me tuer au nom du roi; je te fais grâce au nom de la république.” (“You wanted to kill me in the name of the king; I grant you mercy in the name of the republic.”)

That one line, and suddenly I have the urge to resort to Tumblr-speak about how I have FEELS and I CANNOT EVEN.

Of course I’ve read of merciful heroes before, heroes who don’t kill because they’d be as bad as the bad guys if they did. It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand, after all. Harry doesn’t want Remus and Sirius to become murderers over Pettigrew. I’m deeply familiar with this trope. But this is a little different, here, because it’s not just about methods, about having lines you won’t cross, about using honorable means to secure your ends. No, this is about the ends themselves. Gauvain doesn’t just spare the man, who goes by “Danse-à-l’Ombre” or “Dance-to-the-Shadow” (this shadow is symbolic). Gauvain specifically spares him in the name of the republic; he makes a point of saying that the man wanted to kill him in the name of the king.

Gauvain ties the means to the ends. He won’t kill the man, not because he’s being “merciful” and tempering his pursuit of his goal with compassion, not because he feels he must pursue his goal within the constraints of honor, but because that’s his goal. That’s the republic he’s fighting for, just as Danse-à-l’Ombre is fighting for a punitive and authoritarian order enforced by death and fear. He spares the man, not because he’s too compassionate or merciful to focus on his ends to the exclusion of all else, but because he is focused on his ends to the exclusion of all else.

But to Cimourdain, he’s a merciful guy, and dangerously soft, and cold water on his joy.
Edited Date: 2014-06-11 02:11 am (UTC)

Re: 3.2.5: La goutte d'eau froide

Date: 2014-06-11 04:15 am (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
Ah, yes, that's such a great point! He doesn't even do that much fighting during the battle, he just fakes out Lantenac's army and gets them to flee and surrender. He'd be totally capable of violence if he puts his mind to it, but given the choice he avoids it because he's already living out the republic he has in mind. <3 What a guy.

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