Monday, February 11, 2013

[Amber] In which my daughter walks the Pattern

The UU church that my wife and daughter attend occasionally has special activities, and even though organized religion isn't a part of my life, it is a part of their and I try to attend these activities.

Today they did a dragon dance for Chinese New Year and it was nice, but the thing that I'm going to remember is Lily walking the Pattern.

I never had a clear visual for the Pattern of Amber. Zach said the one on the Corwin card that Inquest mocked up back in the day served as his reference for the Pattern. I recall reading that issue now that I've had a chance to look at the cards again, but the color on the Pattern seems so wrong that I just couldn't buy into it.

I was hoping that the Amber RPG or the Visual Guide would have a representation of the Pattern, but I later read somewhere (I want to say the Visual Guide?) that it was by design, as it were, that the Pattern was left undefined in such a fashion.

So I had the vaguely imagined Pattern in my head right up until today, when my daughter unfurled the labyrinth they use for Sunday School classes. She was telling me about it, in that lecturing style that little kids have, that labyrinths are different from mazes in that there is only one path through them.

And two things came together for me.

1.) Her exact wording was something like "There is only one way through"
2.) The way she stepped on it to walk it was exactly like I imagined the characters in the books doing it.

I think the only logical conclusion is that her mom is an Amberite. She does have green eyes after all. I should have suspected sooner.


  1. I actually dug up that issue of InQuest after I made the comment, and I have to agree--the color is way off. I actually picture the Pattern chamber in Amber as being very dark (save for the sparks and light produced by the Pattern itself--which are not pink, mind you), and the Pattern's surface as being something like black glass or polished obsidian.

    But still, it's the design of the curves in that InQuest picture that I see as being influential to my visualization of the Pattern. I think the lines should maybe be a little thicker, and maybe have less space between them, but the general shapes and runes are still what I see when I think of the Pattern.

    But yes, the colors on that card are dumb.

    Also, where did Lily choose to go when she reached the center of the Pattern? Or did she let the Pattern itself decide?

    1. Zach: Also, where did Lily choose to go when she reached the center of the Pattern? Or did she let the Pattern itself decide?

      We let the Pattern decide and spent a leisurely afternoon punching Merlin in the face.

    2. I imagine the Pattern in a very similar fashion. Electric blue lines on something shiny and dark.

    3. And on reviewing 9PiA, I see there are reasons why we each came away with the same impression:

      "In a room the size of a ballroom the Pattern was laid. The floor was black and looked smooth as glass. And on the floor was the Pattern.

      It shimmered like the cold fire that it was, quivered, made the whole room seem somehow unsubstantial. It was an elaborate tracery of bright power, composed mainly of curves, though there were a few straight lines near its middle. It reminded me of a fantastically intricate, life-scale version of one of those maze things you do with a pencil (or ballpoint, as the case may be), to get you into or out of something. Like, I could almost see the words "Start Here," somewhere way to the back. It was perhaps a hundred yards across at its narrow middle, and maybe a hundred and fifty long."

    4. Huh. Reading that, I feel like maybe I didn't need the InQuest illustration at all. I mean, the information is all right there!

    5. The thing I like about these pictures too, is that her feet never leave the Pattern. Dworkin taught her well.