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Thendara House (Darkover, #13) [EPUB] ✰ Thendara House (Darkover, #13) By Marion Zimmer Bradley – Thomashillier.co.uk The cross currents of two cultures one male dominated one egalitarian combined with the human problems of two who switched allegiances brings into focus all the deepest uestions of love and marriage j The cross currents of two cultures one male dominated one egalitarian combined with the human problems of two who switched allegiances brings into focus all the deepest uestions of love and marriage justice and injustice THENDARA HOUSE is a novel of speculation which has become a classic masterwork on the role of women on any world past present or future.


10 thoughts on “Thendara House (Darkover, #13)

  1. Mir Mir says:

    Series background a human colony ship crash lands on the wrong planet They name it Darkover and do their best to survive in a fairly hostile landscape Over the centuries they forget their off world origins and develop a vaguely feudal society The nobility called the Comyn is comprised of seven families of red heads with different psychic gifts Women have few legal rights and are the property of fathers and husbands Renunciates sometimes called by others the Free s are women who reject the social system and band together in groups for mutual protection There is also some emphasis on female virginity because only virgin women can become Keepers in the Towers where they use the the great Matrix crystals to amplify their psychic abilities Chronologically the series takes place over a number of centuries covering from the initial Darkover Landfall to eventual rediscovery by the galactic empire and its aftermath The books were not written in chronological order and the chronology seemed when I tried to figure it out years ago to not work out entirely But most of the books work as stand alones The ones that have larger story arcs and continuing characters tend to be set around the Rediscovery period This book for instance comes a decade or so after The Shattered Chain and has some returning characters but I think you could make sense of it without reading Shattered Chain first But you really need to read this one before City of Sorcery Thendara House is set several years after the Terran Empire rediscovers the lost colony of Darkover They have a base on the planet and Madga has spent uite a bit of her childhood there and is familiar with the Darkovan culture When her friend and colleague Peter is kidnapped and held for ransom it makes sense that she travel under cover to rescue him Because of the oppression of native women she decides to disguise herself as a Renunciate for safety But when she meets a band of actual Renunciates they uickly see through her disguise for one thing they never travel alone and threaten to kill her as is the standard practice for women who take the Renunciate name in vain It doesn't come up in the context but I guess this is fine with the government; their culture permits dueling et al and they don't seem to care much about what happens to women without families anyway Magda promises she will become a Renunciate for real if they spare her and they help her save Peter Jaelle one of the Renunciates falls in love with Peter and decides to marry him and live on the Terran Base Magda takes her place in the Renunciate house in the capital city of Thendara That's all set up The bulk of the book is the two women's parallel experiences of culture shock and adjustment Despite the sword and sorcery setting this is anthropology than action and may be a decent place to dive into the series as the perspective of Magda as a semi outsider learning the nuances of the culture makes it clear uickly than if you try to pick it up as you go along


  2. Pam Baddeley Pam Baddeley says:

    This is the seuel to The Shattered Chain and begins directly where that book leaves off It is less plot driven than the previous book; most of it deals with the culture shock experienced by the two main characters Jaelle the Darkovan woman who has been a Renunciate aka Free since she was a teen and Magda the Terran woman raised on Darkover who in the previous book joined the Renunciates Both must struggle with being accepted by their new colleagues and coming to terms with the realities of in Jaelle's case the Terran zone with all its technological and bureaucratic strangeness plus being in a marriage with Peter Haldane Magda's ex husband and in the case of MagdaMargali with the different expectations of the Renunciates who in effect deprogramme new members to break down the dependency on men that is normal to Darkovan womenMagda who is a product of both worlds makes mistakes along the way resulting in friction with other women in the Renunciate Guild House while Jaelle contends with the indifference and lack of understanding of the Terrans This is worsened by her husband's chauvinism Magda previously divorced Peter because of his controlling ways and jealousy of her competence although annoyingly for this reader she continues to entertain doubts that perhaps it was her fault the marriage failed because she didn't want a child with him He is an absolute pig who tries to destroy Jaelle's independence while exhibiting a smarmy 1950s style head patting attitude At one point he orders her to fetch his shoes then throws a tantrum in the bathroom because she didn't order his beard removing cream The problem is compounded because Jaelle's laran the psychic ability a lot of Darkovans have strengthens when she becomes pregnant so she is made aware of his obsession with getting a son and also with climbing the greasy pole of career progression in the Terran Zone where he sometimes views her as a liabilityJaelle constantly has insights into Peter's bullying and small minded attitude partly through the incipient telepathy she is developing but she makes excuses for him to such an extent that I started to lose sympathy with her It isn't till late on in the story that she gains the insight that view spoilerhaving blotted out the memory of her upbringing in the Dry Towns and her mother's traumatic death which occurred in the previous book she is now re experiencing the trauma due to her subconscious awareness that Peter is figuratively at least putting her in chains as the Dry Town men literally do to their womenfolk hide spoiler


  3. Lana Del Slay Lana Del Slay says:

    I'm on something like my third or fourth reading of this for a reason It made me stop think and write things down I started to keep a commonplace book shortly before this last reread; I didn't expect to fill six odd pages with bits from Thendara House I knew when I first read it that the Oath had blown my mind in it went But as Magda and Jaelle began to uestion how the Oath applied to them and their situations so too did I find myself reframing my worldview In writing down their uestions I uestioned myself I've always understood the value of names for instance; I know the difference between BIRTHNAME and this chosen alias this name that honors my mother and of all things my favorite fictional detective I know that BIRTHNAME while my mother found it pretty gained all kinds of unpleasant associations for me so I ditched it and over time taught my family to call me differently So when Jaelle gets indignant over the constant references to Mrs Peter Haldane a form of address that is archaic now but was common during the writing of this novel I sympathize with her She is not Mrs Anyone Anything She is Jaelle n'ha Melora the daughter of her mother Nobody refers to Cholayna Ares as only an attachment to a man do they? Even Magda gets to be Magdalen Lorne again after her divorce A name can be a chain too On the Terran side and in our society today there's less of a distinction between marriage di catenas and freemating I posit that marriage as we know it is the former with aspirations toward the latter except in certain religious groups To so many marriage ought to be as permanent as sticking bracelets on your wrists and never removing them wait we have rings for that The removal of a wedding ring habitually worn is tantamount to a declaration of separation If you liked it then you should've put a ring on it if you want me mark me A ring is a catena is a submissive's collar all signs of ownership That two of these three bonds can be dissolved with relative ease does not change the attitudes of the participants Peter Haldane is never Jaelle's freemate He is her husband under Terran law and Terran attitudes with undertones of a traditional Darkovan upbringing in which marriage di catenas is the norm His treatment of Jaelle and his mindset surrounding her speaks to that He wants to champion her Once she falls pregnant she becomes mostly the incubator of his unborn son never mind that Jaelle has good reason to know she carries a daughter He goes so far as to change her citizenship for her Who does that? I'm pretty sure my mother would skin my father if he tried to apply for American citizenship on her behalf So it's little wonder that the stated aim of the Comhi Letzii runs like this For now we accept the world as men have made it because there is no other world available but our goal is not to make women as aggressive as men but to survive merely to survive until a saner day comes Yes you will learn to wear women's clothes by choice and not from necessity and to speak as you wish not to keep your words and your minds in bonds for fear of being thought unmannerly or unwomanly But none of these is the most important thing Nothing you will learn is of the slightest importance save for this you will learn to change the way you think about yourselves and about other womenWhich brings us to the aforementioned Magdalen Lorne or Margali n'ha Ysabet She is increasingly at home being Margali as her confinement to the Guild house drags on I should note that one cannot euate half a year with six months in this case I've seen the Darkovan year given as something like fifteen months so half of that year is in fact closer to seven and a half months Think a full year's study at Cambridge instead but going straight through all three terms no breaks included I concur with the reviewer who found that Margali had it easier than Jaelle Margali can throw off her Magda self with a simple Hey Cholayna I uit and trot back to the Guild house where she is not any longer any piece of any partner Whoever she takes up with she chooses freely and for whatever duration suits her In the Guild house nobody's ambition is steamrolling her or trying to force her to be someone she's not; Jaelle actually calls Peter out on that We cannot let you be passed over in your ambitions Margali learns among other things that she doesn't have to prioritize one kind of relationship over another Her friendships her chosen sisterhood this can stand in the face of romantic love and mean as much as it did before Camilla for example never demands Margali's loyalty above her loyalty to Jaelle or to the Guild Reading further on in the trilogy Margali's obligations to the people she meets at the end of the novel the leronyn of the Forbidden Tower don't even seem to excite any kind of possessive streak in Camilla Regarding Camilla I'm not a huge fan of the relationship between Camilla and Margali I don't get it That aspect of the narrative felt like the author shoving something down my throat You WILL like this character Was there some aspect of Camilla that MZB herself wanted to embrace? Or had? Because very little feels organic about the way that relationship comes about We're told than shown Margali's attraction I get of that ooh this person's exciting feeling between Jaelle and Margali than Margali and Camilla Argh probably just my gut but I'd love to hear from other people who've read this I'm not fond of the all women want babies trope either but I can appreciate the way it happened here The novel at least acknowledges that women don't just flip their attitudes when they see the Darkovan euivalent of the blue plus sign Jaelle aborts through sheer will and she and Margali both wait until they've found the right circumstances In their case the right circumstances conveniently include a woman Ellemir isn't that a gorgeous name? who mothers any child she stumbles across and an established polyamorous household Well that's my ideal too minus the whole messy bearing live young part I think if I had to bother I'd bother if an Ellemir existed to let me go about my business once I gave birth This is without doubt my favorite in the trilogy Tightly constructed very few just go with it moments the implication that there's plot to come without a cliffhanger it's a story in itself as well as the middle in a series The thing is that if you liked the first two I'd strongly advise against reading the third in which it all kind of goes to hell Take it as a pair of great novels with a seuel tacked on Now I've got to get my hands on the Forbidden Tower books I think my TBR pile would stretch to the moon if you laid the books end to end


  4. Brian Brian says:

    Thendara House is the seuel to The Shattered Chain and picks up almost immediately after that book ends with Magdalen LorneMargali going to the titular house to live her initiatory period as a Renunciate and Jaelle having married Peter Haldane moving to the Terran Zone to assist the Terrans with their understanding of Darkovan cultureMy interest in this book went up and down like a sine wave constantly over the course of reading it It's heavily tied into The Forbidden Tower which I read two years ago and was very fond of but didn't remember many of the specifics so I was confused who this guy Carr was and why the Terrans were so interested in him I was very annoyed with Peter's behavior early on but I can't say that it's unrealistic I've seen it mentioned in other reviews of this book that the Terran Empire should be socially advanced being a society thousands of years in the future but there's the real world isn't a Civilization tech tree The Empire having legal gender euality but favoring men in practice in something that persists in the real world even in places that have made extensive efforts to eradicate it and it's not like this wasn't previously evident in The Shattered Chain But it did mean that there were a lot of unlikable characters Peter reverts to being entirely career obsessed when among the Terrans assuming that Jaelle will become a good Terran wife whatever that means with the example of the other Terrans around her when she's away from the Renunciates The Terran administrators are mostly incompetent or sinister Alessandro Li the special agent dispatched to Darkover to determine its future status has his own desire to learn about the planet and obviously doesn't care that much about Darkovan cultural survival Coordinator Montray hates Darkover because it's cold and lit by a red giant unlike one of the other planets he could have been posted on The Renunciates came off sympathetically but they were only in half of the narrative And Jaelle and Magda the main characters that Thendara House splits its viewpoints between spend too much time rehashing the themes of The Shattered Chain for me to develop too much interest What happens when one has conflicting oaths and has to fulfill both of them? What does it mean to belong to a particular culture and when a bicultural person is rejected by one or both of their birth cultures or consciously rejects one in favor of the other when the people of that culture don't see it that way what do they do to cope with that? Can people change? I feel like the The Shattered Chain explored some of these ideas better and I didn't need to see them repeated herAnd I admit some of my disappointment is that once again the plot turns on laran I was really hoping that in a book about the Renunciates laran wouldn't be used to solve the problems the main characters encounter but by about halfway through the book both Magda and Jaelle's laran awakens and they spend the rest of its length having visions reading people's minds to learn new facts and otherwise doing all the things with laran that happen in Darkover books to prevent the protagonists from being inconveniently ignorant of other people's traumatic backstories We couldn't have that That and well some of the discussion about how men as a group can't be trusted and women can only rely on each other is pretty terrible in light of Bradley's own behavior CW child abuseIf there had been fewer overlapping themes with The Shattered Chain I think I would have liked Thendara House better As it was I feel like it didn't do a good enough job of distinguishing itself Previous Review The Shattered Chain


  5. The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears says:

    It's been a long time since I read Thendara House When I first came across it I loved the idea of a book in which strong and diverse women struggled with the big uestions of technology gender sexuality loyalties belonging and even racismxenophobia in a science fiction milieu I'd also been a fan of MZB's classic retelling of the Arthurian legend The Mists of Avalon On one level I read Thendara House as a sweeping discovery epic but also that classic struggle to discover where one truly belongedWith fresh eyes Thendara House is that rare book that asks thought provoking uestions and leaves the answers to the reader and the uestions especially around issues of gender are still very much with us today I've read criticism that accused it of being preachy but I disagree with that assessment There's no true goodbad simplistic dichotomy here The Renunciates despite offering another way for tradition bound Darkovan women to live still struggled with just what it meant to be a Renunciate Even though this is Jaelle and Margali's story I admit my favorite characters have always been Cholayna Ares the Terran representative who was one of the rare women of color in the sci fifantasy universe and the emmasca Camilla who took a horrific tragedy and basically re created herself in a way that seemed rather drastic and again leaves a reader with uestions And no contrary to less than charitable critics the male characters are not all one dimensional caricatures though Russ Montray really tried my patience


  6. Jimmy Jimmy says:

    Of all the Darkover novels I've read so far I absolutely did not like this one Marion Zimmer Bradley goes on and on about the same issues with the two characters Jaelle and Magdalen Lorne Even the repetition of the routine at the Terran H was too much for me I believe half of this novel can be edited out She really had trouble with moving on with the story telling I was interested in it when they actually left the guild house in search of Aleki and the leronis from the Forbidden Tower At one point I considered to not finish the novel and just move on to the next book in the saga


  7. Bradley Bradley says:

    A fantasysci fi book tied up with social issues facing women Cultural shock bigotry and even gender issues complicate this story The story subtly draws you in and makes you care about the characters A very engaging tale and worth reading


  8. Valerie Valerie says:

    Careful reading of The Forbidden Tower places the start of this book right in the middle of the former The end is well after the characters from The Forbidden Tower have returned home to Armida Overlap doesn't really begin until toward the endJaelle has excuse than Margali for being ethnocentric True she has been involved in several different societies on Darkover but after all the diversity of Darkovan societies is based on a very small ethnically uniform founder group Interbreeding with nonhumans especially chieri and adaptations to telepathy and a harsh environment actually several have induced variations in language household structure etc But even having lived in several different Darkovan cultures wouldn't really prepare Jaelle to adapt to what must be a VERY varied palette of cultures in the Terran Empire Her failure to accept the normative Terran solution of an official overculture superimposed on local variations is perhaps understandable but not less a failure for all thatMargali's open and painful adjustment is in a way one she was better prepared for by her upbringing Not only was she brought up in a Darkovan milieu her Empire training was specifically designed to help her through such transitions Nevertheless she has not much less trouble with it than a native Darkovan and a Terran put together If she manages to make it through and with a better integrated persona at the end it's a tribute to her honesty strength and flexibility Though her family makes only cameo appearances in her biography there's uite a bit of evidence that they gave her a good start and she made the most of it Of course it doesn't help either of them that they're in delayed threshold sickness and neither of them really grew up in a telepathic cultureThe feminist elements naturally take the foreground here but the clashes between Darkovan and Empire values are perhaps best illustrated by the failure of the Terran bureaucrats to understand the significance of Jaelle taking PERSONAL responsibility in a matter which the Terrans would consider one of professional responsibility only Unless or until THAT issue is cleared up there are bound to continue to be misunderstandings and even clashesSome afterthoughts It may be of a reflection of the time the book was written that the culture of the Terran Empire is represented as being so implacably homophobic The Terrans who go 'over the wall' are not particularly likely to escape cultural misunderstandings in homosexual than in heterosexual relationships especially if what they're looking for is not an affair but a long term relationship On a linguistic note it's odd that the Darkovans have no word for 'technology' It looks to me as if they're making an invalid distinction here which can perhaps be traced back to the original settlers Of COURSE the Darkovans have technology and not only in the 'matrix sciences' They have felting mills windmills cheesemakingall 'technology' though there's a current tendency to set aside certain highly mechanized technologies and describe them as 'technology' preeminentlyIn preparing for the housing of Darkovan employees one of the reforms the Terrans might want to consider is eliminating 'Married Personnel Housing' This is discriminatory People should live with the same degree of privacy and community when they're married as when they're unmarried One of the main sources of stress in Jaelle and Peter's marriage is that they're expected to share uarters during ALL their off duty time It's not only 'single' people who need 'rooms of their own' Compare for example in Sayers' Busman's Honeymoon in which even a honeymooning couple are given their own bedrooms Granted it's a large house but still If you don't even have your own closet space NATURALLY you're going to get on each other's nerves even without conflicts in cultural expectationsThe 'deprogramming' that's done in the Guild house shouldn't be necessary Why are people 'programmed' in the FIRST place? Bradley often bucked and reared about people being broken to harness but she seems to have accepted without protest the idea that ANYBODY just tamely accepts the harness and is never chafed by it It may be possible for some people to live their lives on autopilot I couldn't say personally because I'VE never been able to But I suspect that very few people actually accept the idea of senseless customs If they don't get answers when they first ask Why? most people may just stop askingbut I doubt itI didn't actually delineate yet that this volume is divided into three 'books' I CONFLICTING OATHS; II SUNDERING; and III OUTGROWTH When books are thus subdivided there's a uestion the writer has to resolve should chapter #s restart in each 'book' or should there be a continuous chapter numbering throughout? In this case the practice of restarting with 'Chapter I' in each 'book' is followed It would help by the way if there was a simple notation a Table of Contents maybe? showing on what page the second and third 'books' beginIn terms of timing this book begins right after the end of The Shattered Chain Lorill Hastur is still the Regent His son Danvan Hastur who is preeminent in many later books is still a very young manscarcely than a childThe Shattered Chain ends with an attempt by the Renunciates to establish a way to negotiate labor and other collaboration with the Terrans The women who were involved with this were far than just the exchanged fosterlings Jaelle and Margali It was also not just Thendara House Although the misplaced Russ Montray is probably the worst possible representative of the Terran Empire Jaelle wonders why the advanced civilization of the Terrans would send such an incompetent to Darkover but she doesn't really catch the insulting implication that it's because though the Darkovans care very much about the Terrans the Terrans really don't care much about Darkover his staff are often rather better representatives of the Empire as a whole This volume introduces people like the head of Intelligence Cholayna Ares the Wade Montray whose descendants will have such an impact on later history and the Imperial Representative Allessandro Li who isn't taken seriously because he doesn't take Darkover seriously but perhaps should be taken seriously than he is because his decisions will have grave impacts on DarkoverThis story also provides an opportunity to see people we already know from the inside as they would appear to strangers Dom Ann'dra Carr is puzzling to Margali at least partly because she hadn't been told about the loss of the Mapping And Exploration aircraft which carried Andrew Carr along with others who died Mattingly is commonly cited but there were others Margali has few interactions with Comyn except Jaelle of course until the end of the book But she does meet some of them on the fire lines which Jaelle did not get to because she was pregnant at the time This volume also includes development of characters from other books Domna Rohana it's revealed is a major patron matron? sponsor anyway of Thendara House she supplied the thermal baths it's said During the course of this book the long frail Gabriel of Ardais dies and the incredibly long lived Kyril Ardais who was about 25 at the time becomes Warden of Ardais despite Rohana's attempts to get him to accept a regency Turns out Ardais would have been much better off if Kyril HAD realized his own incompetence Later accounts describe his behavior as not only scandalous he's considered dissolute and at least a potential rapist which seems likely given his behavior toward Jaelle but also so unstable that he's later confined under house arrest while his son takes over as Regent Dyan Ardais himself is hardly a model of stability About all that can be said for him is that he wasn't as bad as his father This sort of thing always makes me wonder what ABOUT the women? Kyril's daughters are almost all fostered away His son is sent to Nevarsin at least partly it's implied so that Dyan will not be raped by his own father But what happened to Kyril's wife? How was she protected from Kyril's abuses?And for that matter it's not really clear what happens to Domna Rohana It's implied that she goes back to Aillard but not to contend for leadership of that Domain apparently She does try to get the determinedly apolitical Jaelle to contend for leadership of Aillard with it seems effectively no success In later books Rohana is even sidelined She's mentioned in the past tense mostly even when it seems likely that she's still alive I would have liked to have seen at least one main volume that told her own story How DID she relate to Cleindori for example? Cleindori was fostered at Alton because of who her father was it's argued But being nedestro she's a likely candidate to sit in Council for Aillard since her mother was a nedestro of Aillard Was it never even mooted to her?One thing I've noted in all these books when people have hallucinations especially under the influence of kireseth those hallucinations tend to be both clairvoyant and precognitive The people experiencing the hallucinations seem rarely to stop and try to analyze them afterward but someone familiar with the series can often figure out what the hallucinations indicate Some of the images in this story clearly have to do with Cleindori's fate for example In many ways what happened to Cleindori is ironically clearer in the hallucinations than in any of the published volumes from after Cleindori's deathValdir Alton is still a boy at this period even after the formation of the Forbidden Tower there was a period of about six years before Valdir took over This volume lasts about six Darkovan months Valdir would probably have been about 12 or 13 by the time the book ends


  9. Carol Carol says:

    I really love her books and it was interesting to revisit one in 2019 THe book was originally published in 1983 and it shows It became kind of an interesting artificat because so many of the things being held controversial lgbt women men binary would not be written the same way today the Terran zone is presented as being eual between the two and only two genders although women still have to wear short dresses and tights as distinguished from the men in trousers I feel like I want people to read it who weren't alive when it was published to say This is a 'futuristic' work this is how we grew up We have come a long way


  10. Mareli Mareli says:

    mmmh So we have two different cultural background for our heroines Jaelle a Renunciate who works with Earth people after her marriage with a Terran Peter Haldane and Margali Magda a Terran woman born on Darkover and grew up as Terran who goes to live in a Renunciate houseBoth of women will have their trouble trying to accomodate different cultures but Margali is the most lucky in my opinion because she's free to express hersel Jaelle will face a lot of problems and in the end the struggling between her Darkovan ancestry and her need of freedom will leave her lacerated


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