a ruler who is unconstrained by law
First come merchants,
potentates, and artisans of the City Erhenrang, rank after rank, magnificently clothed, advancing through the rain as comfortably as fish through the sea.
articulate in a very careful and rhythmic way
Next come the lords and mayors and representatives, one person, or five, or forty-five, or four hundred, from each Domain and Co-Domain of Karhide, a vast ornate procession that moves to the music of metal horns and hollow blocks of bone and wood and the dry, pure
lilting of electric flutes.
The various banners of the great Domains tangle in a rain-beaten confusion of color with the yellow pennants that
bedeck the way, and the various musics of each group clash and interweave in many rhythms echoing in the deep stone street.
sad beyond comforting; incapable of being consoled
The gossiwor, played only in the king’s presence, produces a preposterous
a worker who holds or is invested with an office
Next, the royal party, guards and
functionaries arid dignitaries of the city and the court, deputies, senators, chancellors, ambassadors, lords of the Kingdom, none of them keeping step or rank yet walking with great dignity; and among them is King Argaven XV, in white tunic and shirt and breeches, with leggings of saffron leather and a peaked yellow cap.
conveyance consisting of a chair or bed carried by bearers
Behind this group eight sturdy fellows bear the royal
litter, rough with yellow sapphires, in which no king has ridden for centuries, a ceremonial relic of the very-long-ago.
a sandbank in a stretch of water that is visible at low tide
All about us as we stand jammed on our platform lie the faces of the people of the city, upturned like a
shoal of brown, round pebbles, mica-glittering with thousands of watching eyes.
a craftsman who works with stone or brick
Masons below have set an electric winch going, and as the king mounts higher the keystone of the arch goes up past him in its sling, is raised, settled, and fitted almost soundlessly, great top-weight block though it is, into the gap between the two piers, making them one, one thing, an arch.
showing little emotion
They are anything but a
phlegmatic people, yet they are obdurate, they are pertinacious, they finish plastering joints.
showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings
They are anything but a phlegmatic people, yet they are
obdurate, they are pertinacious, they finish plastering joints.
They are anything but a phlegmatic people, yet they are obdurate, they are
pertinacious, they finish plastering joints.
the act of enlarging or increasing
In Estraven, for instance, one feels the man’s power as an
augmentation of his character; he cannot make an empty gesture or say a word that is not listened to.
having unsuitable feminine qualities
Annoyed by this sense of
effeminate intrigue I got off the platform and lost myself in the mob, crouching and slouching somewhat to do so.
an event indicating important things to come
augury for the success of the new Port,” I said.
lacking interest or significance or impact
I was trying to speak insipidly, yet everything I said to Tibe seemed to take on a double meaning.
associated by chance and not an integral part
Karhiders eat four solid meals a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, along with a lot of
adventitious nibbling and gobbling in between.
a courtyard with covered walks
The Palace of Erhenrang is an inner city, a walled wilderness of palaces, towers, gardens, courtyards,
cloisters, roofed bridgeways, roofless tunnel-walks, small forests and dungeon-keeps, the product of centuries of paranoia on a grand scale.
cause to become
Estraven’s house, sign of the king’s high favor, was the Corner Red Dwelling, built 440 years ago for Harmes, beloved kemmering of Emran III, whose beauty is still celebrated, and who was abducted, mutilated, and
rendered imbecile by hirelings of the Imierland Faction.
a person who works only for money
Estraven’s house, sign of the king’s high favor, was the Corner Red Dwelling, built 440 years ago for Harmes, beloved kemmering of Emran III, whose beauty is still celebrated, and who was abducted, mutilated, and rendered imbecile by
hirelings of the Imierland Faction.
cause to happen or to occur as a consequence
Emran III died forty years after, still
wreaking vengeance on his unhappy country: Emran the Illfated.
change or alter in form, appearance, or nature
I wondered at this, but we went to table at once, and one does not talk business while eating; besides, my wonder was diverted to the meal, which was superb, even the eternal breadapples
transmuted by a cook whose art I heartily praised.
Thus as I sipped my smoking sour beer I thought that at table Estraven’s performance had been womanly, all charm and tact and lack of substance,
specious and adroit.
quick or skillful or adept in action or thought
Thus as I sipped my smoking sour beer I thought that at table Estraven’s performance had been womanly, all charm and tact and lack of substance, specious and
Was it in fact perhaps this soft
supple femininity that I disliked and distrusted in him?
pretending to be another person
For it was impossible to think of him as a woman, that dark, ironic, powerful presence near me in the firelit darkness, and yet whenever I thought of him as a man I felt a sense of falseness, of
imposture: in him, or in my own attitude towards him?
granting favors in return for political support
“I’m sorry,” he was saying, “that I’ve had to forestall for so long this pleasure of having you in my house; and to that extent at least I’m glad there is no longer any question of
patronage between us.”
inclined to a healthy reddish color
He sat back so that the firelight lay
ruddy on his knees and his fine, strong, small hands and the silver tankard he held, but left his face in shadow: a dark face always shadowed by the thick low growing hair and heavy brows and lashes, and by a somber blandness of expression.
a sudden short attack
I dislike the thought of their being killed in
forays, or sent to Voluntary Farms in Orgoreyn.
prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
obviate the subject of dispute?
attack as false or wrong
But that’s not a patriotic idea. In fact it’s a cowardly one, and
impugns the shifgrethor of the king himself.”
a socially awkward or tactless act
gaffe was even worse in Karhidish, but Estraven did not smile, or wince.
of or relating to direct observation or participation
I know what a king was, Earth’s own history is full of them, but I had no
experiential feel for privilege—no tact.
consideration in dealing with others
I know what a king was, Earth’s own history is full of them, but I had no experiential feel for privilege—no
a tiny piece of anything
All I’ve told him means to him simply that his power is threatened, his kingdom is a dust
mote in space, his kingship is a joke to men who rule a hundred worlds.
not clear to the understanding
Of all the dark, obstructive,
enigmatic souls I had met in this bleak city, his was the darkest.
audacious behavior that you have no right to
He had the
effrontery of the powerful.
unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating
Estraven took leave of me and turned away; he was never
fulsome in his greetings and farewells.
betrayal of a trust
I was cold, unconfident, obsessed by
perfidy, and solitude, and fear.
damage to bodily tissue caused by extreme cold
They were white as the snow. Yet the
frostbite was gone out of them, and he could use his fingers, and stand upon his feet.
affected by something that prevents growth or prosperity
Nothing prospered there in Hearth or tilth, all being
blighted with illness, the spring seed frozen in the ground or the ripe grain rotten, and so it had been for many years.
a large entrance or reception area
It was all knocked right out of me in the
anteroom, before I ever saw the king.
using exactly the same words
The order was printed and posted on several gates and road-posts about the city, and the above is
verbatim from one such copy.
a platform raised above the surrounding level
Argaven was standing in front of the central and largest fireplace of three, on a low, large
dais or platform: a short figure in the reddish gloom, rather potbellied, very erect, dark and featureless in silhouette except for the glint of the big seal-ring on his thumb.
make oneself guilty of telling untruths in a court of law
“Damn him,” he said, “the proud, posturing,
perjuring traitor! You dined with him last night, eh? And he told you what a powerful fellow he is, and how he runs the king, and how easy you’ll find me to deal with since he’s been talking to me about you—eh? Is that what he told you, Mr. Ai?”
a dissenting clique
Keep clear of
factions. Tell your own lies, do your own deeds. And trust no one. D’you know that? Trust no one.
a fine difference in meaning, opinion, or attitude
Though Argaven might be neither sane nor shrewd, he had had long practice in the evasions and challenges and rhetorical
subtleties used in conversation by those whose main aim in life was the achievement and maintenance of the shifgrethor relationship on a high level.
an interminable period of time
All the worlds of men were settled,
eons ago, from one world, Hain.
evil or harmful in nature or influence
“I don’t speak Voidish,” said the king with his dull,
a complete and impressive array
I thought of Estraven waiting for me there as the snow fell last night, and felt a pang of pure pity for the man whom I had seen in yesterday’s parade sweating and superb under the weight of his
panoply and power, a man at the prime of his career, potent and magnificent—gone now, down, done.
use to one's advantage
The king had given me the freedom of the country; I would
avail myself of it.