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Nathan Henderson
Nathan Henderson's picture
Canon Character Discussion

I thought a thread just on this one question would be too limited to get much discussion, so I'm hoping its open to broader discussion about other characters too.  That said, I was just pondering - what are the political points against a marriage between Elaine and James?  Obviously Elaine has her own love life, but that generally isn't a barrier for a monarch making a political alliance.  Her real life counterpart never married because a man would be automatically superior to her in rulership, but that isn't necessarily the case in Theah.

So it seems most likely the barrier is on James' side - it might simply be too unpopular with the Separatists (even though it would open up a MacDuff descendent ruling over Avalon as much as it would open a Lovaign descendant ruling the Marches).

Or of course he could already be married.  Seems slightly surprising he isn't given his age and station.

Another possibility is that Elaine has certain binding glamour vows that forbid it.  She may literally be wed to Avalon as an abstract concept for example.

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NeoTanuki's picture

In 1e, IIRC, it was stated that she was indeed "wed" to Avalon. She was under a Geas that if she loved any individual more than Avalon, she would lose the Graal and the kingdom would fall. I don't remember exactly who that turned out to be -- I think it was either Lawrence Lugh or her long-lost daughter Meryth, who returned at the head of an army to depose Elaine -- but in the 1e metaplot she did love someone, the Graal was lost, she fell into a coma and Avalon was engulfed in war just as the line was being cancelled, I think.

I don't recall if the 2e sourcebooks specify if James is married or not, but I would imagine the situation would be as you suggested-if he married Elaine, the Separatists would probably revolt. 

Also, since the Highland Marches are a part of the United Kingdoms, marrying James would close off using Elaine's unmarried status as political leverage when dealing with foreign nations, I suppose. 

NeoTanuki's picture

Personally, I find the whole new detail about Elaine having an affair with the wife of the Highland ambassador the most baffling new change purely from a political standpoint. SInce the wife is described as a Separatist ally, I would presume her husband is also. But the preview says the affair is going on with the husband's permission and approval. Why would her husband approve of her starting an affair with Elaine, unless the Separatists want to blackmail Elaine by threatening to reveal the affair, since the preview says the Separatists are looking exactly for that kind of scandal to damage Elaine's reputation? Why would Elaine make herself so vulnerable to her political enemies?

A "forbidden romance" where the two fell in love and were secretly involved without the husband's knowledge would make more sense to me from a dramatic standpoint. That lends tension and explains more the wife's conflict between her loyalty to Elaine and the Separatists described in the fluff....but the whole "Oh, they are involved and the husband totally approves" description doesn't make any sense at all to me if the Ambassador and his wife are involved with the Separatists. Unless they are indeed setting Elaine up for a fall, which just makes Elaine seem very foolish if that's the case. 

BluSponge blusp...
BluSponge blusponge@verizon.net's picture

Eh.  The cynic in me thinks someone was more in love with the idea of a polyamorous Elaine than the conflicts the proposition creates.  Hopefully someone pointed out your issues during the review cycle.  Maybe they'll be addressed.  I think your concerns are warranted.

Nathan Henderson
Nathan Henderson's picture

I will point out that Elaine in a love triangle has Arthurian resonance, but I agree the political hooks and threats of the situation need addressing.

Nathan Henderson
Nathan Henderson's picture

As I said, a man of James' age and station would certainly be married in a society like the one he lives in (unless he's a widower) - I'm considering making up a spouse for him.  My idea right now is that while the MacDuff's were ousted from power, James' wed a Vesten Objectionist daughter of a powerful jarl as a political alliance against Castillian and Margharet backed opponents in the Highlands.  She's loyal, and a powerful link in the political alliance between the Isles and Vestenmannavnjar, but she's also an outspoken Objectionist true-believer who is no fan of the Sidhe or the Vaticine-ritual still preserved in the Church of Avalon.

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