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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: (urth) Little, Big: 52; Eigenblick
Date: Mon, 08 May 2000 09:32:08 

alga wrote:

> Can someone supply page (or chapter) numbers for 52 fairies, 52
> Drinkwater kin and 52 cards? Thanks.

I can only cite page numbers for the original 1981 Bantam trade
paperback.  But I'll do that, along with chapters. 52 cards: "The Least
Trumps," II, 3, p. 156; confirmed in "Fifty-Two," VI, 1, pp. 432-33.  52
fairies: "A Parliament" VI, 2, p. 459.

The other 52 does not, strictly speaking, refer to the Drinkwater kin,
but to the guests at the wedding party/wake.  This doesn't include
Grandfather Trout, and it does include Eigenblick; it's not clear
whether it includes Fred or Alice.  And it's not stated explicitly, or
even implied conclusively: Sophie tries to count the guests, but fails,
and then thinks "anyway she didn't need to count in order to know how
many were here."  ("She's Here, She's Near," VI, 5, p. 536.)  Given the
importance of the number 52, this probably means that there are 52
guests (or at least Sophie thinks there are), but you could put another
construction on it.

There's another 52 too, which hasn't been mentioned so far: 52 henchmen
of Russell Eigenblick transformed into playing cards ("Fifty-two
Pickup," VI, 4, p. 510).  This number doesn't include Eigenblick
himself, who is turned into the Fool.

Speaking of Eigenblick, a long time ago (well, it seems that way) alga
asked if somebody could justify the presence of the Eigenblick subplot. 
It's not my favorite part of the book either, and Eigenblick's speech is
the one passage in the book which rings false to me.  Still, the subplot
does have the function of showing just how ruthless the fairies are.  As
for any other functions, this is the best I can come up with: when we
first hear of Eigenblick, he seems to be the activist counterpart of the
Drinkwaters, fighting against the Noisy Bridge Rod and Gun Club to
re-enchant the world.  But Eigenblick proves to be an insane tyrant who
brings disaster to the whole nation (except the Drinkwaters).  The moral
is either that politics is no good (a very seventies conclusion); or
that any sort of action to bring the fairies closer is wrong, and the
only acceptable course is to wait passively like the Drinkwaters do
(somewhat like the "negative Taoism" mantis found in GWoT); or that
longing for enchantment is wrong in itself (as Nutria would argue).  You
pays your money and you takes your choice.  I think the first two are
definitely there, and possibly intimations of the third as well.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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