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Understanding Amberyl and the Irda

by Margaret Weis

In order to understand Amberyl, you need to understand the Irda. They are a mysterious race and cannot be judged as we would judge humans or elves or dwarves, etc. The Irda are a race of loners. They prefer to live in complete isolation. Now, a person who lives completely alone all his or her life can't very well produce off-spring. This was the problem with the Irda. The elders decided that they must encourage their people to reproduce by forcing them to do so. This magical spell affects the male as well as the female. Neither really has a choice in the matter. Yes, one could say it is for the purposes of breeding, but if this doesn't happen, the race dies out completely.

If Amberyl did not have a child with Raistlin, she would have had a child with an Irda male. Neither she nor the man would have had any say in the matter. The Vallan would have happened between them and that would have been it.

Amberyl could certainly have defended herself (she could have blown the Inn to Lunitari and back!), but to do so would have revealed how powerful she was. The Irda are very self-centered. It suited her to allow Raistlin and Caramon to defend her. She maintained her cover and she could have intervened if it appeared that either might get hurt. What she didn't expect was the Vallan to happen between her and Raistlin.

Finally, she could have gone back to her people to have her baby, but she had left them for a reason and apparently that reason was so strong that she didn't want to return. She chose to live her life among the humans who loved her.

Let us be wary of political correctness. We cannot assign our values to people who lived in times past. Should we throw out much that is good and beautiful because it doesn't fit in with "modern" thinking? Do we throw out Jane Austen because she believed that men and women had definite roles in society and that each should remain in those roles? Should we throw out the Merchant of Venice because of Shylock? Should we miss reading Huck Finn because of the language? Or should we instead study the times in which people lived, study their cultures, look at who they are and why they thought as they did and then make our determinations.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on Stig's Weblanthas site in January 1997.

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