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I have read the book probably 4 or 5 times. I still cannot figure out how Anzha adopts the adult name of "Mitethe". I can understand the "lyu", that is her birthright as being the first born, of the line of the First Born. Mitethe, though, is a personal endearment from Harkur to Dyle. Where does Anzha get this information for, or where is it even hinted at?? - Michelle

Reply#1 - neocount@merentha.org
This is a good question! I've read ICB many times but cannot recall for the life of me how she got it, especially since it's not mentioned anywhere else except at the end as you pointed out.

I can only conjecture that it is perhaps a Braxin term of endearment, and she adopted it for various symbolic reasons to disorient her foes.

Reply#2 - csfriedman@adelphia.net
Alas, there is no clean answer to how she knows it -- readers' imagination is such a wonderful thing to inspire -- but it does show up in a former scene.

She actually has a dream, as I recall while on the ice-plains of Derleth, which pretty much mirrors the scene that actually occurred with Harkur.

If you believe in racial memory, an odd but interesting theory, you could say that it was an actual fragment of the past surfacing in her unconscious.

Or you could say that with her background (parents obsessed with Braxin culture) and their knowing more of the language than most Braxins did, it might have been a construct of shreds of images picked up unconsciously while she was a child, a kind of reassurance filtered through the mythos of the culture she grew up hearing about. Also her whole life was obsessed with the Braxins, so it was natural she would dream in that venue sometimes. Since she was more Braxin than Azean by nature, you might also argue that unconsiously she knew this, and used Braxin imagery in dreams to symbolize the comfort of being accepted. Which is of course what the dream is all about.

Or you could allude to the advice of one best selling author (I forget which one,unfortunately ) who said that every author is allowed one unexplained coincidence per book. :-)

But anyway, while there is no certain answer where the dream came from, her use of the name came from that dream.

What is the significance of Anzha Lyu's ancestry? - neocount@merentha.org

Reply#1 - csfriedman@adelphia.net
The truth about Anzha's descent:

  1. Shows that there was contact between the two planets before anyone suspected, and (there) might have been cultural contamination.
  2. Explains that much of her genetic heritage which appeared wrong for Azea was in fact Braxin traits surfacing...particularly the emotional ones.
  3. Provides some major irony, all of which I think is quite clear in the book.
  4. Of course makes her the inheritor of a valuable bloodline, which gives her exactly the value in Braxin society that she has been denied in Azean (more irony).
  5. Makes her a desirable mate for Zatar, and implies that emotionally and sexually she may be well suited to that role.

Reply#2 - Rlmarlar@aol.com
I saw that you had listed some "ironies" about Anzha's predicament (being the descendant of a famous Braxin and obviously carrying the genetic material of Braxin in her body and mind). Another irony is that the Azea who pride themselves (as do the Braxin though moreso) about the genetic "purity" of their race, are IMPURE. Anzha was descended from hundreds of well-know statesman, politicians, diplomats, scientists etc... and each of those ancestors CARRY WITHIN THEM THE BRAXIN HERITAGE (they had to or she couldn't have been a "throwback"). So what is genetic purity but a bunch of baloney?

At the end of _In Conquest Born_ when Anzha faces Zatar after Feran's death, my question is: when Feran revealed the programming that he had done to Anzha and she later's enforces it upon Zatar, is she HERSELF free from that programming??? It was unclear to me that she had fred herself from that mental prison. - Rlmarler@aol.com

Reply#1 - neocount@merentha.org
I don't believe so. We have several pieces to go on:

Zatar: "What does she need?"
Feran: "Consummation of a self-hatred so intense that all the Probes in the institute couldn't alter it."

(Above from page 453 (paperback), below page 454)

Zatar: "And what if that hatred were consummated?"
Feran: "But that would take the destruction of Braxi-of you-of herself..."

And lastly, from page 478

Anzha: "But to kill you, to defy my conditioning outright, that I can't do." But what she *does* is not kill him outright (like shooting him), but indirectly (like giving him cancer). I think that, in conjunction with identifying the psychics as her people instead of the Braxi, would free her from the original programming (esp that Pazua is dead, per Feran).

Reply#2 - Rlmarler@aol.com
Some added contradictions:
Page 476
"...We made our peace, so I can't take full credit. He (Feran) undid what he could of his early work within my mind, and gave me the key to deal with the rest; that freed him from the builk of his guilt. You may therefore take credit for his suicide."

He undid what he could... Was she free, then? Had the sexual traps been removed from her psyche, that a man might indulge in her pleasure without risk of death?

Page 480
"I'm not a Probe, so I can't do it cleanly; any contact we have will be tainted by my experience. But he (Feran) set the patterns in my mind, and showed me how to work them. ..... To fulfill my conditioning - which will give me my freedom."

Page 485
"Conditioning can't be undone," she gasps.

There is a sadness in his (Feran's) mind. --- Institute propaganda. I can negate my original work; it will require th last of my strength, but it can be done. As for the rest, you must deal with that yourself. A lifetime of habit has reinforced the patterns I set into your mind. You must deal with that directly -- satisfy the conditions of your programming, in other words, and then you will be free of it."

My feeling is that she, with time, can overcome her conditioning. and by giving Zatar his psychic abilties she fulfilled (in her mind) what was necessary for the fulfillment of her original "race."

Reply#3 - Jdoherty@opic.gov
I think she is free. At the end of the book we don't know for certain that Zatar is going to die. Throughout the book Zatar has shown a remarkable ability to defy tradition without consequence. He has also shown an ability to counter-act the usefulness of telepathy and second-guess the thought processes of psychics, prior to becoming a telepath. As long as he was given the time to master his new talent, I don't believe he would be easily defeated. The key is how Zatar will deal with the new talent and its' side effects.

What would it do to Braxi, to have an involuntary psychic for a ruler? What would it mean to that nation of hedonists that their figurehead denied himself sexual contact? And what would happen to his House, whose very structure was founded upon sexual intimacy?

You have destroyed me, my enemy.

(Page 490, paperback)

At the end of the book it is clear that Zatar feels defeated, but that is where it ends. I find it difficult to believe that someone that powerful in fact and in personality would be so easily discouraged. So I can't go along with the idea that she has outright defied her conditioning by contributing to his demise. Feran had already told her that with li Pazua gone and no Institute in existence, any conditioning dependant on those two entities became invalidated, so bearing a Braxin child is not an issue. However, Anzha does have the Azean codes that dictate the pairbonding instinct, and so becoming a part of Braxin culture and mating with Zatar is something that emotionally she can't accept. I've always felt that she offered the talent as a chance to support and accept the culture as her own without actually having to stay and become a part of it.

Li Pazua is dead; Zatar killed him in your name. The Institute is gone and the psychics are scattered. Any part of your conditioning that depended upon him is now invalidated. You need fear no sudden surge of maternal instinct ... as long as there is no Institute, that part of the conditioning will remain inoperative.

(Page 485)

"I'm Azean, Zatar, enough to give that special meaning. Tau checked the codes, and they're all there. Any intimacy would bind me to you in ways that you can't imagine, ways I can't accept. Already - "

She stopped herself, and he thought he saw the promise of tears. "There's an alternative," she said hesitantly. "I wasn't sure whether I would offer it, but it seems to suit both our purposes."

(Page 478)

Shaken, she withdrew her thoughts from that foreign arena and limited them to the confines of her body. She was afraid to try again. What did it mean, that the thoughts which drew her were not those of ambition thwarted, but of pairbonding shattered? She had lived with her obsession for so long that she had ceased to analyze it. Azeans paired for life; was it possible that she had done that? Had that one Azean instinct bred true in her after all? Hasha, if that were the case....

(Page 383 - 384)

I believe that she was freed from her conditioning. By undoing his original work, Feran has given her a chance to explore many avenues and allow her an opportunity to forge her own future. But by removing that mental surgery that enabled them to save a catatonic child, also removes those crutches that enabled her to survive the trauma of her early childhood. Being freed from her conditioning may not have freed her from her self-hate & guilt. Feran told her that the only thing that would get in the way of that freedom would be a lifetime of experience and habit that reinforced his original work. But I believe that it is that same lifetime of experience that would give her the strength to face the self-hate and guilt to build a new life. By facing Zatar, her fathers' assassin and the ruler of her people, and giving him this new telepathic talent, she closed the door on that section of her life. She freed herself from her conditioning by giving Zatar a power that could strengthen and continue his power, but because it was tainted by her experience, she would give him such pain and suffering that her need to strike back at her fathers' assassin would be fulfilled.

I can give you immortality, Zatar - by guaranteeing the strength of your dynasty. By giving you such insight that you'll be able to negate Azea's psychic advantage. I can even give you the key to discovering whatever power remains among your own people - while showing you such pain that you'll regret this meeting for the rest of your life. I can make you a ruler, Zatar, such as no ruler has ever been! - and I can and will cause you such suffering that at last my hunger for vengeance will be satisfied.

(Page 479 - 480)

In the end Anzha is gone without another word and we don't know where she will go or do. But it seems to me that being freed from her conditioning and at last having some closure to the deaths of her parents, she has the chance to move forward and make a new and better life.

Just my thoughts on the matter! Thanks for listening!


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