josselin: (neuroses - starla)
[personal profile] josselin
As you've probably gathered, I'm on a bit of a Captive Prince kick recently, and I was rereading (as one does) and paid more attention to the first lines than I ever had before.



Starting the prologue, the first lines have never much made an impact on me before, probably because the first few times I read I didn’t know enough to wonder at them. But now, I’m thinking – those are actually very interesting first lines. Jokaste is addressing the ambassador from Vere.

“We hear that your prince,” said Lady Jokaste, “keeps his own harem. These slaves will please any traditionalist, but I have asked Adrastus to prepare something special in addition, a personal gift for your Prince from the King. A gem in the rough, as it were.”

The scene is from Guion’s (the Veretian ambassador’s) point of view, and he responds mildly about the kindness of the new King of Akielos and is observing the slaves and some general thoughts about Akielos. So Guion doesn’t remark upon this comment in his own point of view, nor does he say anything about the observation in return to Lady Jokaste. But the odd thing is, in my reread – it isn’t really true!

Laurent doesn’t keep a harem, and in fact, the rumors in his own country seem to be firmly turned toward the opposite conclusion. Jokaste might be referring to the Regent—the ambassador notes later in the prolouge that the slaves are in fact to be a gift to the Regent, though clearly later events seem to bear out Jokaste’s intention of presenting Damen as a particular gift to Laurent—and the Regent also is presumably styled as prince. But as far as we know, he doesn’t really keep a “harem” either, to the extent that one particular favorite can be called a harem.

So anyway, I’m thinking about this more now. It’s easy to slip past the new reader, since new readers don’t know Laurent to take Jokaste’s comment any differently. Is the implication that Jokaste is misinformed? I would consider it more likely that she makes it up. Almost more surprising than Jokaste making up a lie that serves her own purposes in disposing of Damen in a humiliating fashion is the fact that Guion does not note it as a lie. His commentary seems to mark him as unfamiliar with Akielos (perhaps relatively new as the ambassador) and yet his tacit agreement with something that the Arles court would know to be false about Laurent also seems to mark him as ignorant of his own country. This could be deliberate, as an ignorant ambassador would serve Jokaste’s interests nicely.

Or possibly the first sentences were written at a point where even the author thought that Laurent might have a harem, and the story developed somewhat otherwise after this portion was already posted.

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January 2015

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