Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nine Princes in Amber: What did Eric know and when did he know it?

Someone recently posed a question in a comment and I thought I would reply in a post rather than in a comment.

The question:
just finished book 1. is the following a plothole?
In his cell, corwin mentions not knowing how long it would take for the guards to notice his food being uneaten, if he were to escape. 
He escapes through the Lighthouse etching by the card maker, and spends 4+ months with the Lighthouse keeper!
Is Eric so busy to not check out the cell or listen to a report on two strange etchings on the walls of the scene of corwin's disappeance?
Or have they all really not noticed and have been shoving 4 months worth of water bottles and bread under the prison cell door?
Maybe the card maker came in every day, with a light source, and took the extra food? 

 hat's a good point, and that's something that had always bothered me. I read it again because I needed a refresher on the timeline.

Several books later one of his captors mentions that they knew that he was receiving care packages from a visitor, so that might account for some of the delay in their response.

However, that ignores the fact that he lit a fire in his cell. They're hardly concerned for his welfare, but it's just due diligence to check it out, if only to ascertain *how* he set the fire.

From there, it's not much of a leap to investigate the lighthouse. It's unlikely that they would recognize it as a Trump image, but it's enough of an anomaly that they'd want to dispatch some investigators to see how it figures in with Corwin's disappearance.

So, how does this strike you for an explanation? We'll be charitable and say that no one was around when Corwin set his mattress on fire and the cell smells so bad that it covered up the smell of burning.

After a week or so Corwin's jailers notice that he's not eating his food. Nobody wants to be the one to tell Eric that a prince of Amber died in the dungeon, so they kick the can down the road and just sit on the information until it comes time to celebrate Eric's coronation. There is no hiding Corwin's absence at that point, so somebody tries his Trump to determine what's going on.

They have no idea of how long he's been gone by this point, and he may be sufficiently recovered to defeat Eric at this point, which is why Eric doesn't immediately depart for Cabra himself. We'll assume that he dispatched some palace guards to check out the lighthouse, but it takes time to set it up and Corwin is already gone by that time. (Poor Jopin is probably in for an unpleasant conversation, however)

Speaking of Jopin, we'll assume for the sake of this discussion that he knew Corwin was lying about having been in a shipwreck, even if he probably didn't know his identity right off the bat. A sailor is going to have more a suntan than someone who spent the last five years in a dungeon and there is no disguising that. Jopin probably thought, "This guy is lying about the shipwreck, but he needs help and I don't get many visitors."

Does anyone else have any thoughts? 

1 comment:

  1. My favorite author had a fairly straightforward mind.This does not mean he was not aware of circular/veering minds. Eric, like all the Princes except Gerard, played a wheels with wheels game. How wonderful to imprison and blind his most hated person while keeping him for backup! Obviously, leaving Amber causes much much less of a "disturbance in the Force" than approaching. Therefore, tracking someone who is leaving is essentially impossible. Reason for no extensive search On Camera. Second, that the Lighthose is what we see does not mean it is the totality of the world away from Mount Kolvir(sp). In much the way that Gene Wolfe's worlds in the Wizard/Knight, and I consider the brothers to be the ultimate wizard/knights of the last century, are each larger than the one before so is Amber larger than all other planes/worlds/etc. Next, with Corwin as a backup/reserve plan why alert his proponents/followers of his escape. After all, as Eric, I have already defeated him multiple times. Bring it on, brother. Having said that, I always considered the Trump on the wall showing the Lighthouse as a plot weakness.Only if it's posited that millennia of existence puts the idea of a trump other than the decks out of mind (boxing to a wrestling golem?) does Corwin's sticking around Cabra make sense to me. My opinion is that Jopin recognized him the first day. Jopin was not developed on camera so I cannot but speculate as to Jopin's motivation. Good thoughts and good posit. I'm on FB as Bob Miller