|M A N '
C H I A N D
R E B E L L I O N
posted in March 2002
for the sake of clarity.
Alert! Do not read this if you have not finished Defender.
In Foreigner Banichi mentions certain
associates that have maníchi to Tabini only through Ilisidi. And in Defender
Jago says: "Öour maníchi flows through you to the aiji, nandi; it takes
Are that how rebellions generally
get started? (Not that it will happen in this case since Bren is so loyal,
Tabini can absolutely trust him, heh).
Was this shift in Banichi's and Jago's
maníchi a revelation or did they choose it consciously (weighing for and
against and the numbers of the universe)?
Excellent question, Ansikalden.
I think Banichi and Jago's man'chi has changed over the years from directly
to Tabini to through Bren to Tabini. At the moment that doesn't have a
noticeable effect on their actions, but there is potential. As you mention,
even so subtle a change could lead to rebellion if the household's aiji
becomes disenchanted with the aiji-major.
In thoroughly wild conjecture, with
little basis in fact as we know it, Banichi and Jago might be persuaded
to act against Tabini if, say, it was proved that Tabini knew through Ramirez
that their Phoenix expedition is really doomed, the atevi slated for dissection
by evil human biologists. (I SAID wild conjecture, didn't I?) Tabini is
willing to do this in exchange for an unknown advantage to the Western
Association. Bren figures this out shortly after docking at the other spacestation,
recognizes the source of the betrayal, and swears revenge, convincing his
security that man'chi now stops at himself. Banichi and Jago and Bren,
being resourceful individuals, somehow manage to escape dire fate, return
to the atevi world, and take Tabini to task. And I think they'd pause long
enough to officially file Intent, but perhaps beat the messenger to the
top floor of the Bujavid.
I think it would take something of
that magnitude to change Banichi and Jago's man'chi, but that level of
betrayal or perceived betrayal is probably what started earlier atevi rebellions.
Slightly connected to this is something
I re-read in FOREIGNER last night. Bren remembers that most atevi aggression
is the work of individuals rather than armies. You send out an assassin
or two for the key individuals making a ruckus and positive change usually
ensues. How, I wonder, were the atevi persuaded to form an army to attack
during the War of the Landing? It was an alien activity to them.
I generally agree with you both.
If Bren had some compelling reason to break with Tabini, it seems likely
to me that his household would go with him. But it would have to be a pretty
compelling reason--given Bren's priorities, it would have to be something
that threatened the stability of his homeworld.
I also agree that such a change of
priorities in one part of the chain would be a motivator of rebellion in
atevi society at large.
Personal theorizing here, but I think
it's something that started in Foreigner, the same way Bren's attachment
to them did--an atevi emotional response to Bren and to the situation they
were in. (When Banichi declares he and Jago will go wherever Bren goes,
even to the station, he either has orders from Tabini that lead him to
think so, or his feelings about Bren have changed or intensified, I think.
Just personally, I consider this a declaration of man'chi.) I also wonder
if Tabini didn't consider the possibility ahead of time. At the beginning
of Foreigner we're told that Banichi and Jago are Bren's favorites among
Tabini's security, and that they pay special attention to him--there was
already some kind of attachment, or potential for it, there.
this shift in Banichi's and Jago's maníchi a revelation or did they choose
it consciously (weighing for and against and the numbers of the universe)?
This is a good question. I think there
are some references to wars, though, when Bren thinks about machimi. And
there's the story about Taidiri--the fortress was destroyed. Cenedi said
it lacked finesse, but it happened, all the same. And dropping bombs lacked
finesse, but, Bren says to himself, finesse doesn't count in war. Hold
on, let me power up the word processor....
connected to this is something I re-read in FOREIGNER last night. Bren
remembers that most atevi aggression is the work of individuals rather
than armies. You send out an assassin or two for the key individuals making
a ruckus and positive change usually ensues. How, I wonder, were the atevi
persuaded to form an army to attack during the War of the Landing? It was
an alien activity to them.
So wars aren't totally alien, I guess,
just less common, since an attempt to apply finesse would come first.
he'd heard it said in the machimi, didn't apply in war--and war was what
two rebel aijiin were trying to start here.
One does wonder where the army came
from, though--there don't seem to be any standing armies, the police force
may or may not be very powerful, since crime doesn't seem a day-to-day
problem (hardly anyone in just a few prisons, Bren notes), so where do
they get the armies? Was it just the assassins and maybe some other retainers
of the more powerful houses that fought humans to a standstill? Or what?
And would the bonds of man'chi be strong enough to keep a large army acting
together, since there doesn't seem to be any pre-existing military organization,
or would the resulting force be a sort of amorphous blob of individual
interests--working together when the interests are the same and fragmenting
when they change?
"...our maníchi flows through
you to the aiji, nandi; it takes no detours."
I think the discussion between Bren
and Jago in pages 276-277 of Defender simply clarifies Bren's status as
a lord, and the fact that Jago and Banichi will not recognize any other
lord, including Ilisidi, as being higher in the chain of command than Bren.
In other words, Ilisidi can't invoke Tabini's name and give orders directly
to Jago and Banichi. Anyone who ignores this hierarchy is asking for serious
Even Tabini has to take this into
account. If he were to now undermine Bren by giving secret orders or information
to Jago and Banichi, it will be extremely distressful to them, and they
would instinctively interpret this a signal that Tabini no longer considers
Bren loyal. And among Atevi, a misunderstanding like that could have lethal
Seems like Banichi and Jago gradually
became more and more emotionally committed to Bren. But it was only possible
because Bren gave up his loyalty to the Mospheiran government. As as this
happened, Tabini probably saw that he had to either reassign Banichi and
Jago, or make sure that Bren was in a position to accept their man'chi.
As for the question of rebellion,
I think that an atevi lord's followers could have more man'chi to Tabini
than they do to the lord, or they could have less. If Bren were to break
from Tabini, Jago and Banichi would not follow Bren. But if Ilisidi were
to break from Tabini, Cenedi would follow Ilisidi. Or maybe I'm confusing
the concepts of lord and aiji. Or maybe that is a working definition of
the difference between a lord and an aiji?
I thought of an instance that might
answer my own question about setting up an army: the demise of Deana Hanks.
Illisidi called Geigi called Tatiseigi called...not necessarily in that
order, but those with staffs of Guild members who, if not in your own man'chi
at least have a reason to associate in a given event, cooperate to varying
degrees to fight off a mutual foe. It's a ragtag group compared to terran
armies, but it gets the job done.
So, how paranoid were the original
humans, resulting in weapons production in the first years after the landing?
It might be that the colony was defeated by a relative handful of motivated
assassins, even if they were less technologically advanced. Humans thought
they were getting along nicely with the atevi, building their homes with
extra-large doorways and, with all of the ribbing Bren sometimes gets,
fraternizing with the "natives". I surmise the more security-oriented individuals
on the original Phoenix tended to be ship's personnel rather than the settlers.
I think you're absolutely right about
think the discussion between Bren and Jago in pages 276-277 of Defender
simply clarifies Bren's status as a lord, and the fact that Jago and Banichi
will not recognize any other lord, including Ilisidi, as being higher in
the chain of command than Bren. In other words, Ilisidi can't invoke Tabini's
name and give orders directly to Jago and Banichi. Anyone who ignores this
hierarchy is asking for serious trouble.
I'm mostly with you here, but with a
quibble. I think that Tabini made sure of Bren's loyalty during the stay
at Malguri--if Bren had sold Tabini out, he would have died for it (and
not neccesarily at Tabini's order, either). It was at Malguri that Bren's
actions clarified his "man'chi" for the atevi questioning him, and through
them for Tabini (who I don't think was ever in serious doubt of it). And
I think that Tabini assigned Banichi and Jago to Bren knowing they would
feel man'chi sooner or later (maybe there was already some indication of
this, as I've said above). From Malguri on, I don't think there's any question
where Banichi and Jago will end up. I don't think Tabini was ever in doubt
of that, or of Bren's loyalties.
like Banichi and Jago gradually became more and more emotionally committed
to Bren. But it was only possible because Bren gave up his loyalty to the
Mospheiran government. As as this happened, Tabini probably saw that he
had to either reassign Banichi and Jago, or make sure that Bren was in
a position to accept their man'chi.
I also don't think he ever really
transferred loyalties--it's been politically and socially expedient to
say he's now the aiji's man, but the truth of the matter is, he serves
the interests of the peace and stability of the homeworld, not Tabini.
I do disagree with you here. When Ilisidi
says that some number of Tabini's followers have man'chi through her, it's
a threat. People with man'chi to her will share her interests--if her interest
is served by associating with Tabini, then they'll do so as well. If not,
and she leaves, they go with her, leaving Tabini potentially in the lurch,
certainly as far as the east is concerned. There might be some who would
find man'chi elsewhere, but by and large they'll stay with her--or that's
for the question of rebellion, I think that an atevi lord's followers could
have more man'chi to Tabini than they do to the lord, or they could have
less. If Bren were to break from Tabini, Jago and Banichi would not follow
Bren. But if Ilisidi were to break from Tabini, Cenedi would follow Ilisidi.
Or maybe I'm confusing the concepts of lord and aiji. Or maybe that is
a working definition of the difference between a lord and an aiji?
When Banichi and Jago say their man'chi
is to the aiji through Bren, they're saying the same thing (not that they're
threatening the aiji, you understand, but that their loyalty is to the
aiji because Bren's is). Yes,the transfer of man'chi was made possible
because of their shared loyalty, but if Tabini were to give orders against
Bren, I think they'd go with Bren. Consider that in Defender Tabini no
longer issues orders of any kind to Banichi and Jago, or any of Bren's
staff. They don't know why Bren was called down to the planet, they don't
know in advance about his not taking the computer into the funeral (that's
extremely suggestive, right there), they don't know about the promotion,
they don't know they're going on Phoenix--not until the aiji tells Bren
those things. Because they aren't Tabini's anymore. Earlier on, Bren knew
nothing, and learned what was going on from his staff, who were all Tabini's.
That's no longer the case.
Oh, and I got distracted and forgot
I think "aiji" and "lord" are the
same thing. It's just that Tabini is the aiji to whom most of the other
aijiin owe man'chi or are associated with in some fashion.
Gah! I meant to say above, when Cenedi
says that certain of the aiji's associates have man'chi to Tabini through
Folks, don't try to post and cook
lunch at the same time, it does terrible things to your train of thought.
Don't have time to write much now and
don't disagree, but I just wanted to add a minor point. As late as just-before-Inheritor,
Banichi and Jago were detached from Bren for 6 whole months. Presumably
they're working directly for Tabini during this period, since they finish
by doing a hit for Tabini. On the other hand, when they return, Bren thinks
happily of them as "my staff."
Malguri on, I don't think there's any question where Banichi and Jago will
end up. I don't think Tabini was ever in doubt of that, or of Bren's loyalties.
Everyone posted very interesting
theories on where Jago and Banichi's manchi lies. I used to wonder about
these things as well, but finally realized that I wouldn't be satisfied
until I heard the truth of the matter from CJC herself.
Sadly for us, I have a feeling that
even she hasn't thought too deeply about certain issues herself either
because she wants to leave it ambiguous and define it later when she has
a better idea about it, or just plain doesn't want to get into it. For
instance, if I'm not mistaken, it was only in Inheritor that we learn of
the father-daughter relationship between Banichi and Jago. And I thought
I read somewhere that she didn't plan for them to have that relationship
until writing that specific book? (I'm sorry I can't make specific quotes--I
don't have the energy left over from my hectic schedule to scan scripture
at the moment.) It might have been from an online interview that I'm thinking
she said their age difference was not that big. And if she originally thought
that Banichi and Jago weren't far apart in age in the first book, then
she can't have thought they would end up father and daughter by the third
Anyway, I took the long way around
the barn to say that I don't think CJC herself even has some of these issues
(regarding manchi and whatever else) worked out in her head yet...and maybe
never will. And sometimes things are left deliberately ambiguous so that
we as readers can make up the explanation that we like best.
But I enjoy reading all of your theories,
so post away!
Doh! Arriving late again, all the
points I would have made have already been covered. Yet another fascinating
topic. This one was a pleasure to read.
Galateaprime, I agree that even CJC
may leave things ambiguous. Which is fine by me since it affords us hours
of entertaining speculation!
We could always add the question
to Sabina's list--how much of the relationships does she have worked out
beforehand, including Banichi and Jago's, and the whole complicated question
of man'chi we've been discussing--the worst that could happen is that she
would refuse to answer. The most likely is that she'd give us something
intriguing to chew on. (I myself was kind of intrigued by that one-sentence
back story for Banichi and Jago...)
And if we're going to ask that, maybe
we could ask about Wilson and Valasi, too....I never wondered much about
Wilson until that other thread started up.
was going to e-mail Ms. Cherryh and had asked others to submit any questions
they wanted her to ask.]
Please clarify the question about
Valasi and Wilson.
Now that you mention that pair,
I remembered a line which sounds terribly definitive "when his aiji was
dead, so was he" I wonder about the whole meaning of that. The obvious
thing is to believe that once Valasi was dead, Wilson simply was not required
by Tabini to remain on the mainland and that meant the end of his career
as pahidi. I think I recall a reference to Tabini's displeasure toward
Wilson and on further books it's clearly mentioned a few times that he
wouldn't even talk to Hanks or Wilson, just Bren. There's also a part on
which Bren remembers how he and Tabini clicked even before Valasi was assassinated
by that mysterious agency nobody could locate (a small group of people
acting on man'chi and outside Guild regulations?) Now, let's get into that
line I mentioned before. One could pressume the relationship between Valasi
and Wilson was a little deeper than needed. Perhaps a little like the one
between Tabini and Bren?
Leelah, great minds think alike!
That's more or less what I'm thinking.--I'm forgetting which thread the
original question was in, Sabina, but I'm curious now what CJC "knows"
about Wilson and Valasi's relationship, why Wilson got the way he was,
why he wouldn't quit until Valasi died, (why he quit after is more or less
obvious) and why Valasi refused to have him replaced. I hadn't thought
much about it until the topic was brought up in that other thread--wait,
it's over in Babbling Books in the Bren thread--Heritage Partier brought
it up, and it got me thinking about it.