Daily Archives: February 2, 2010

Re: Paksenarrion

If you want to read a taste of Elizabeth Moon’s acclaimed fantasy trilogy, The Deed of Paksenarrion, you can get a free e-copy of the first book, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, from Baen Books’ Free Library or from Random House/Del Rey’s free e-library at Suvudu.

This was her first book, and in many ways it shows. But Moon’s rural and military background also shows to great advantage. It’s gritty, mostly cheery high fantasy. The second book brings Paks both opportunity and unimaginable crisis as she starts work as a paladin; the third book actually takes a look at what makes a hero and martyr.

But Paksenarrion does survive all that. So this next part of the series is more or less standalone, but starts at just about that point, with faraway friends who don’t yet know that she’s survived her little Deed. That’s pretty much all you really need to know; and from the excerpt, it’s all covered in the opening chapters of the new book, Oath of Fealty.

Btw, Paks’ world is not a Christian world; but all the gods of Paks’ world are either foes or saint/servants of the High Lord, who is qualitatively different from the rest. So it’s a Christian-compatible world, in case you were wondering.

There is one very disturbing moment when Paks is at paladin school. She isn’t particularly devoted to any of the lesser gods, although the god Gird apparently has picked her as his paladin. So all the teachers at the school gang up on her and demand that she commit to some god or leave paladin school. Of course she prepares to leave, at which point they explain to her that they want her to commit because otherwise she’s an ingrate whom they can’t trust and who might be a servant of the evil gods. Even though she’s doing perfectly fine, and even though you’d expect a servant of evil gods to have a bit better cover. Nothing like paladins shading the truth in the name of a greater good….

So basically she ends up doing a conversion thing at that point, but only because people are nasty to her “for her own good”. Instead of killing herself or riding off on her god-given horse with all her untrained god-given paladin powers, like I personally was expecting. I found it really, really disturbing later, when I found out that some people actually do this exact sort of thing to “encourage” religious conversions. Personally, I’d think it would encourage two-by-fours to the heads of all involved and never darkening a church door again, but I guess that’s just me.

Now, one of the themes of the books is that Paks is a nice person with some anger issues. Said issues only increase after paladin school. The author doesn’t seem to think that the above has anything to do with it, but if it gives me more anger issues on her behalf, it sure must do it for Paks!

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Gentle When Stroked, Fierce When Provoked

Here’s a video of an Irish wolfhound playing with a Jack Russell terrier. Terriers and wolfhounds tend to get along well, mostly because terriers are sure they’re the same size as wolfhounds, and wolfhounds like puppies. :) This video is set to some kind of German heavy metal, so you might want to turn down the speakers.

Here’s multiple small dogs playing with an Irish wolfhound. He’s a stockier hound than I like, but still handsome.

Wolfhounds and deerhounds — two great dogs that go great together!

Irish wolfhounds who live with cats have solidarity with them on the importance of lying down for long periods. This cat is busy training some puppies.

Wolfhounds and parrots. I love this video so much!

Kids who live with Irish wolfhounds have absolutely no fear of their big jaws, as you can see from this video. This child gets a little too comfy, although he’s not worried about it. Lying down in front of a wolfhound like that is just asking to get “captured” and licked….

Here’s a funny video of a wolfhound out coursing (on a more wolfhound-friendly coursing path than you sometimes see). Unfortunately, Fern gets bored by chasing the cloth/bunny, and decides to go off on her own. Later, we see that having figured out the path this game, she decides that it’s time to cut the bunny off at the pass. Wolfhounds are very logical like that…. She then proceeds to have selective deafness. Naughty.

Sometimes selective deafness is not about being excited, but about inertia. Also note the “I’ll obey you exactly, and then go right back to doing what I was doing”. More wolfhound logic.

Wolfhounds behaving themselves nicely on scenic Lindisfarne. Well-trained and socialized wolfhounds don’t need a leash. Note the glances behind them to make sure everyone’s staying together.

Some wolfhounds like obedience, and some are even happy to learn tricks. Here’s Scoota, showing everybody that it’s not that wolfhounds can’t do this stuff, it’s that they usually don’t want to. Persuade them it’s fun, and you’re golden.

And this is why you don’t leave food on the edge of the table.

One last funny video: a 9-week old wolfhound puppy defends the household from a strange monster!

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Here’s Something You Don’t See Every Day

Here’s a German video of a couple of Irish wolfhounds doing a little socializing, by semi-fighting in the back garden. We’ve only had the one wolfhound at a time, so I’ve never seen this particular behavior. Wolfhounds that aren’t living together usually just sort themselves out with a lot of sniffing and eyeing each other. Dominance isn’t really a factor, because they know they all have their own people and place, and they don’t care too much about the rest as long as nobody gets pushy.

These two look like they’re young. They’re mostly taking this only semi-seriously, but there’s a moment of real intensity toward the end when there’s some barking. (Somebody may have hit a sore place.) You can also clearly see that, although they don’t set out to damage your yard, there can be a bit of lawn damage done in the process of playing….

Anyway, this video will show you that wolfhounds are not slow or clumsy. If you take them off the leash and let them play, they get up a fair turn of speed when they’re not even serious about it, and when they don’t have the room to run flat out.

There seem to be a number of videos online of wolfhounds play-fighting. It’s interesting stuff to see, but rather makes my heart lurch. Good thing they know their own strength.

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