I really enjoyed reading these two comments by our reader PMark. He didn’t just make some wild guesses about Viviana’s backstory, but put together a well thought out line of argument. Of course, this doesn’t mean that his conclusion is necessarily true.
DShadow: what? I thought more people would have realized by now that she´s the princess of Ileasaar and the Avaril actually belonged to her parents… Well I guess they do just not the ones who commented
PMark: You could very well be right. Consider:
(1) She is just known as “Viviana” — no last name. All the other key players have last names. Not her. Novil obviously wishes to either keep that a secret for a while, or she is like other royalty; few of them have last names, as well.
(2) She is rather young to inspire the loyalty and devotion in the rest of the Shadowdancers. Now if she were an Ileasaarian princess, that would help explain it.
(3) She has her own apartment in Shadow Keep, and it is rather spacious and very well furnished. That is just what you would expect of a princess.
(4) She seems quite comfortable hobnobbing with the rich and famous.
On the other hand:
(A) She doesn’t seem to be that up on the Ileasaar lines of succession (SD-64). A royal princess would know such things.
(B) She claims to not have any say on whom would assume the throne (SD-64). A royal princess would have a say in the matter — especially one who is the leader of an underground movement such as the Shadowdancers.
(C) Assuming the two graves in SD-52 are her parents, they are awfully average tombstones. If Cania wished to minimize their memory, they would be in a couple of unmarked graves somewhere in Ileasaar — think the Bolsheviks and the Czar family. If they wished to honor them and thereby defuse some of the Ilaesarrian anger and resentment, they would be buried with more pomp and display worthy of a king and queen. Average tombstones for a King and Queen are an insult to their memory.
(D) She is currently attending a party with the rich, famous and well connected of Cania, and she is giving a false name. You have to assume that if she truly was an Ileasaarian Princess, there would be a good chance someone in the illustrious group might recognized her.
(E) SD-81 suggests that Ileasaarian resentment of Canian rule is still alive and well. Under those circumstances, you have to believe that the Canian authorities would be keeping a watchful eye on surviving members of the Illeasaarian royal family. Remember, these are the same guys who threw Lilith in jail on trumped-up charges. Yet Viviana comes and goes as she pleases.
So let’s just say the jury is still out on the matter. The evidence could be interpreted either way.
safetypin: How long would the Ileasaaran (sp?) royalty have been underground? (And I don’t mean her parents’ graves.) If they’ve kept themselves secret for more than a generation, it’s possible no one actually knows Vivi’s the princess. But I favor her being not royalty. Remember, she wants to put someone else on the throne.
PMark: From the Glossary:
“Ileasaar – Province of Cania, was an independent country before being conquered by Cania a decade ago”
So they’ve been deposed for about ten years. That is hardly enough time to disappear into anonymity.
Disposed royalty will still have major status. They always have. They always will. They are generally wealthy in their own right, and even if they are not they will still have their connections. They will still have celebrity. So you if you dispose of a ruling family, you have two choices — kill them all off like the Bolsheviks did, or allow them to continue to enjoy their status and risk an uprising.
In my opinion, the biggest telling against her being a princess are those graves. Why bring the bodies of a deposed king and queen back to the conquering country unless they are going to either humiliate them or honor them. You humiliate them by burying them in an unmarked grave so that their supporters can’t use their graves as a symbol. If you wish to honor them, you do so by erecting a monument, or at least a nice tomb. If they just placed them in an ordinary grave, the members of the family and their supporters would erect the monument, or at least do something more for them than just marking them with two common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill gravestones.
And if the graves are not those of her parents, then whose are they? Relatives, perhaps? Relatives of royalty are nobility, and they seldom lie in common graves, either.
No. I am inclined to think that her “Daddy” is buried in one of those graves, and he was not the king. So that precludes her from being a princess.
But then why would such a young person be the leader of the Shadowdancers if she was not of royal blood? It’s a good puzzle to be sure; which is one of the reasons I am enjoying Gaia so much.