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Elza and the Emperor

Now that some of you have had a chance to read The Emperor's Agent, what do you think of Elza and the Emperor? I'd love to hear what you think, as I've been dying to talk about this for months!

*there may be spoilers in comments*

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lillibet
Aug. 16th, 2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
The characters, specifically? I really enjoyed Elza in this book and the Emperor not so much. I wonder if that soul has ever realized/appreciated that people falling all over themselves to put their lives on the line for you is not something that happens to other people.

My favorite parts were the explorations of the Companions past lives, though having so many of them in one room does get a bit confusing at times. I'm curious what your thinking was about having Elza so suddenly and completely open herself to the richness of her history in the world--why now? And is this something that her (I keep using the word and I don't know if you'd use it, or if you have a better term) soul will retain through subsequent lives, or an effect of having so many of them together?
jo_graham
Aug. 18th, 2013 10:41 am (UTC)
I think he does know it's unusual. I think he's very aware of the responsibilities. As he said in Milan in The General's Mistress, the flood is already here. The French Revolution wasn't of his making, and would it be better to have Moreau in charge? Or Barras? Which is I think at the heart of Elza's feelings on the matter. She knows Moreau and Barras too well.

I'm curious what your thinking was about having Elza so suddenly and completely open herself to the richness of her history in the world--why now? And is this something that her (I keep using the word and I don't know if you'd use it, or if you have a better term) soul will retain through subsequent lives, or an effect of having so many of them together?

That's a fascinating question! I think why now is that she has to make a decision about which world view she'll believe, and that decision is about her survival. If she chooses to frame her life's story as a tale of woe, a young woman victimized and ruined, then she will die. She could choose to be Fantine in Les Mis. And that would be admired in her society, as Fantine is. Fantine is good because she dies. Had she made a living as a prostitute, hooked a man, and moved Cosette into a townhouse, she'd be evil. Because she dies in misery, she's good.

If that's the choice, Elza must choose a different worldview because she's decided not to die. It's a matter of survival. And she has the deep keel, the past experiences to make that choice. Somewhere in her, below Elza's bad experiences and Georg's dog eat dog world, there is Lydias. Lydias rose above all the turmoil and had a happy life because he believed. And so when she makes those oaths, when she chooses to believe, she's reaching for Lydias. Does that follow?

I think she will retain it. I think that having made this decision, she will not be Georg again. Just as Lydias can never again be Gull, who tried so hard not to engage.
raederlephoenix
Feb. 21st, 2014 08:55 am (UTC)
Napoleon
I was mostly disappointed that they didn't make love again. I rather liked that scene in The General's Mistress.
jo_graham
Mar. 11th, 2014 02:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Napoleon
*g* That was a fun scene to write, and very challenging because it actually happened and is partially described in her autobiography. Many of the lines are real! :D
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )