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Author Topic: PC351 / 613: Hoywverch  (Read 8440 times)

Talia

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on: February 20, 2015, 09:22:21 PM
PodCastle 351: Hoywverch

By Heather Rose Jones

Read by Sarah Goleman

Featuring Special Guest Host Amal El-Mohtar

A PodCastle Original! Welcome back to Artemis Rising, Week 3!

Elin verch Gwir Goch oed yn arglwydes ar Cantref Madruniawn wrth na bo i’w thad na meibion na brodyr. A threigylgweith dyvot yn y medwl vynet y hela. Ac wrth dilyt y cwn, hi a glywei llef gwylan. Ac edrych i fyny arni yn troi, a synnu wrthi. A’y theyrnas ymhell o’r mor. Ac yna y gelwi i gof ar y dywot y chwaervaeth Morvyth pan ymadael ar lan Caer Alarch: Os clywhych gwylan yn wylo, sef minnau yn wylo amdanat. A thrannoeth cyvodi a oruc ac ymadael a’y theulu a’y niver a’y chynghorwyr, a marchogaeth a oruc tra doeth i’r mor.

Elin, the daughter of Gwir Goch, ruled over the cantref of Madrunion, for her father had neither sons nor brothers. And one day it came into her mind to go hunting. As she was riding after the hounds, she heard the cry of a seagull and looked up to see a white bird circling overhead. She marveled at it, for her lands were far from the sea. And then she remembered what her foster-sister Morvyth had said when they parted on the shore by Caer Alarch: “When you hear a gull crying, that will be me—crying for you.” And the next morning she took leave of her household and her warriors and her counselors and rode west for the sea.

Rated PG


Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 11:24:56 PM by Ocicat »



hrj

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Reply #1 on: February 20, 2015, 10:03:02 PM
I'm so excited to have my story here, but I just started listening to the introduction and feel horribly embarrassed because the bio claims I was born and grew up in Wales and that isn't the case at all. I have no idea how I could have given that mistaken impression in the materials I provided. I'm so sorry for any confusion this causes.

Heather Rose Jones



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Reply #2 on: February 20, 2015, 10:15:46 PM
Heather -- my apologies for that. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I'm not sure either. It may have gotten mixed up with the narrator's bio somehow (probably). I'll have to look it up. But we can fix it, and will do so ASAP.


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Reply #3 on: February 21, 2015, 06:09:48 PM
I'm so excited to have my story here, but I just started listening to the introduction and feel horribly embarrassed because the bio claims I was born and grew up in Wales and that isn't the case at all. I have no idea how I could have given that mistaken impression in the materials I provided. I'm so sorry for any confusion this causes.

Heather Rose Jones

Heather I'm so sorry! This was entirely my fault -- I was sent your bio and Sarah's in separate emails, and Sarah's had additional material added to it later, so in floundering about from one document to there I made the error C&P-ing it into my reading file, adding it to yours instead of hers. My sincere apologies for the mistake. Dave tells me it's been clipped out and will be re-uploaded within the hour.



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Reply #4 on: February 21, 2015, 06:49:08 PM
Folks, I wanted to let you all know that the file has been updated, and should be good to download again. Amal offered to re-record something, but we decided to just clip the incorrect sentence in the bio, and get this back up ASAP.

Many thanks to Peter, our sound producer, for the quick fix, and our apologies to Heather for the error.


hrj

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Reply #5 on: February 22, 2015, 02:18:44 AM
I'm sorry to have caused such a bother about this. I hope we can move on to talking about the story now!



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Reply #6 on: February 22, 2015, 02:32:56 PM
I enjoyed this. I'm pretty sure that I have heard both tricks used in fairy tales before, but they are still entertaining. And I agree with the host, that Elin messed up when she fell into thinking that she could bargain with her partner's affections, even though she was tired, and that the story addressed this error was quite welcome.

Not much else to say, it was fun.



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Reply #7 on: February 22, 2015, 03:12:30 PM
I'm sorry to have caused such a bother about this. I hope we can move on to talking about the story now!

Don't mind if I do! :D

I straight-up loved this to tiny little pieces. A queer, woman-centered twist on the tradition of the Mabinogion, centering around consent, and slyly funny to boot? Read by a Welsh speaker? And with Amal El-Mohtar guest hosting?! This is full of so much win. :D

I especially loved how elements of the story echoed and subverted bits and pieces of the source material. Women often (but not always) act as bargaining chips between men in the original stories, shuffled around to seal alliances, and a lot of conflict comes from men accidentally or foolishly promising women in marriage to others without thinking through the consequences and the obligations at play (IIRC, this notably happens with Rhiannon and Pwyll. After Rhiannon deliberately sought out Pwyll as her chosen husband to get out of a bad betrothal, he accidentally promises her to someone else and then has to undo it before marrying her). And there were little details I loved, like how Morvyth keeps insisting she hears the Irishmen following, but Elin doubts her, and finally Morvyth says something like, "Um, I *know* the difference between sheep and hunting horns!" It was a fresh, smart take on the Welsh tradition, and loads of fun.

Also, that last line? Perfection. :)

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Father Beast

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Reply #8 on: February 22, 2015, 03:50:43 PM
And, before anyone else says it, I can hear the chorus of, "Eww.. with your sister? What is this, Game Of Thrones?"



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Reply #9 on: February 23, 2015, 03:18:34 PM
This story was all right.  I did appreciate the reversal on some old tropes of tales of this kind and I was interested to see how the tricks would be pulled off.  It seemed throughout, though, that there wasn't anything that posed a major challenge.  The first thing they tried in every case worked without issue and she even had backup plans if he had reacted differently to the "sack of riches" trick.  I would've preferred if there had been some more daunting obstacles.

And, before anyone else says it, I can hear the chorus of, "Eww.. with your sister? What is this, Game Of Thrones?"

They were FOSTER sisters, yes? 



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Reply #10 on: February 23, 2015, 03:39:10 PM
This story was all right.  I did appreciate the reversal on some old tropes of tales of this kind and I was interested to see how the tricks would be pulled off.  It seemed throughout, though, that there wasn't anything that posed a major challenge.  The first thing they tried in every case worked without issue and she even had backup plans if he had reacted differently to the "sack of riches" trick.  I would've preferred if there had been some more daunting obstacles.

That's extremely valid from a contemporary perspective, but I'll point out that as a send-up of the source material, it's dead on, conflict-wise. The Mabinogion is very ancient, and has more of the feel of folk tales, where you've got a central badass heroic character who overcomes obstacles by their wit and/or strength. So it's more like the Beowulf plot arc (badass shows up and solves other people's problems for them) than Medieval-style stories onward (like Morte d'Arthur, which turns on a character's virtues and flaws creating the conflicts and additional struggles [although I'll note that interestingly, the Mabinogion contains some very ancient King Arthur tales that are fascinatingly different from what you see in Morte d'Arthur/later French romances]).

Anyway, it's still very fair to say this sort of story arc has a strange taste to the modern palate. Might connect best with people who love the folktale tradition.

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Reply #11 on: February 23, 2015, 04:44:05 PM
This story was all right.  I did appreciate the reversal on some old tropes of tales of this kind and I was interested to see how the tricks would be pulled off.  It seemed throughout, though, that there wasn't anything that posed a major challenge.  The first thing they tried in every case worked without issue and she even had backup plans if he had reacted differently to the "sack of riches" trick.  I would've preferred if there had been some more daunting obstacles.

That's extremely valid from a contemporary perspective, but I'll point out that as a send-up of the source material, it's dead on, conflict-wise. The Mabinogion is very ancient, and has more of the feel of folk tales, where you've got a central badass heroic character who overcomes obstacles by their wit and/or strength. So it's more like the Beowulf plot arc (badass shows up and solves other people's problems for them) than Medieval-style stories onward (like Morte d'Arthur, which turns on a character's virtues and flaws creating the conflicts and additional struggles [although I'll note that interestingly, the Mabinogion contains some very ancient King Arthur tales that are fascinatingly different from what you see in Morte d'Arthur/later French romances]).

Anyway, it's still very fair to say this sort of story arc has a strange taste to the modern palate. Might connect best with people who love the folktale tradition.

That makes sense, taking on the style of the story it's referencing. 



Father Beast

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Reply #12 on: February 24, 2015, 02:34:27 AM


And, before anyone else says it, I can hear the chorus of, "Eww.. with your sister? What is this, Game Of Thrones?"

They were FOSTER sisters, yes? 


Oh. My mistake. That makes it allright.



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Reply #13 on: February 24, 2015, 05:29:59 AM
I enjoyed it, and I'm glad it didn't end (SPOILER ALERT) as the blood-soaked tragedy I was expecting.

I'm mildly surprised that people haven't complained that this story doesn't have enough of the magical, but given the fairy-tale structure of the tale, I wasn't bothered at all.

I will say - and hopefully the author won't mind - my favorite bit of prose was the opening translated paragraph.



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Reply #14 on: February 25, 2015, 11:09:28 PM
I loved the narration and the story in equal measure.
Hmm, where to begin about what I liked most.
I love the relationship between these two women. There was such trust and respect here and they were both so kick ass characters in their own way. What I find significant, (and someone may have already addressed this), is that things never seemed to go wrong until the boundaries of consent were overstepped. The fiance never did seem to respect his bride's agency or desires.
What's also lovely is that these relationship dynamics, the good and bad, are so universal.
I appreciated the ancient fairy tale feel of this story coupled the very current issues of sexuality and women's (human) right to her own agency and will. This is a smart, funny, interesting, timeless tale. Sarah did a tremendous job with the narration and Amal did awesome with the hosting. It was a lovely experience all around.

K from Vega


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Reply #15 on: February 26, 2015, 01:33:18 AM
[although I'll note that interestingly, the Mabinogion contains some very ancient King Arthur tales that are fascinatingly different from what you see in Morte d'Arthur/later French romances])

But remarkably similar to Chretien de Troyes Arthurian romances. With the exception of Peredur/Perceval. Chretian died before he finished Perceval/Conte du Graal, and Peredur goes wackily off the rails at right about the place in the story where Chretian's manuscript stops.

Sorry. I was infected with the Arthurian bug as a teenager and was laid low by it for years. I still have outbreaks from time to time.

Oh, and the Mabinogion is great fun and y'all should totally read it.



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Reply #16 on: February 26, 2015, 03:45:31 PM
[although I'll note that interestingly, the Mabinogion contains some very ancient King Arthur tales that are fascinatingly different from what you see in Morte d'Arthur/later French romances])

But remarkably similar to Chretien de Troyes Arthurian romances. With the exception of Peredur/Perceval. Chretian died before he finished Perceval/Conte du Graal, and Peredur goes wackily off the rails at right about the place in the story where Chretian's manuscript stops.

Sorry. I was infected with the Arthurian bug as a teenager and was laid low by it for years. I still have outbreaks from time to time.

Oh, and the Mabinogion is great fun and y'all should totally read it.

OH REALLY? :D I... need to read that!

My favorite Arthurian story will always be "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", which is also on the Celtic-influenced end of the pool. Because nothing says "Christmas" like a beheading contest. ;)

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Reply #17 on: February 27, 2015, 03:00:22 PM

And, before anyone else says it, I can hear the chorus of, "Eww.. with your sister? What is this, Game Of Thrones?"

They were FOSTER sisters, yes? 

Oh. My mistake. That makes it allright.

I don't know. It still kind of squicks me out.

I'll be back later with a real comment. Actually, I loved the story so much that this didn't bother me in the slightest.

But for the record... foster siblings. Ew. Still weird.

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Reply #18 on: February 27, 2015, 03:29:34 PM
"Elin, the daughter of Gwir Goch, ruled over the cantref of Madrunion, for her father had neither sons nor brothers."

That should be mother, not father.  In the tales that come down to us in the Mabinogion, the culture is matrilineal, with a child's father being unknown or at least unimportant.  That's why the heroes are named as their mother's sons, like Math fab Mathonwy.  The closest equivalent to a father/child relationship is with an uncle and his sister's children, hence Gwydion fab Dôn is Math's nephew by Math's sister Dôn.  I recall that a minor plot point in "The Island of the Mighty" is that Gwydion wanted to try being a father, a concept he had heard about earlier.



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Reply #19 on: February 27, 2015, 05:08:06 PM
Welsh folklore will always have a special place in my heart. My wife once studied something called "narrative therapy" where you look for stories that have a peculiar resonance and explore what they mean. Often this story will be something that struck the person in childhood; sometimes it will come up during therapy. You tell the story again and again, sometimes acting out different parts, sometimes changing the details, looking for what the story has to offer.

Anyway, for me, that story was several of the stories of Gwydion, a character from the Mabinogion who I first read about in Time Life's Enchanted World series. I eventually figured out that Arianrhod was my mother, Lleu Llaw Gyffes was me, and Gwydion was the savior/uncle/father-figure I wished would come and rescue me from my crazy family, but never did.

If you know the story, you know that I had a pretty messed up childhood :-\

So I was primed to enjoy this story... and boy did I ever! I loved the lesson about consent and respect that was embedded in the story. I loved the lyrical, mythic, poetic style. This is definitely a story that will stick with me.

I feel bad that I spent more words talking about myself than about the story, but this is one of those cases where the story was so excellent that I don't have anything to say... it was wonderful. It moved me. I loved it. My only regret is that I'm not listening to it right now.

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Reply #20 on: February 28, 2015, 11:55:47 AM
"Elin, the daughter of Gwir Goch, ruled over the cantref of Madrunion, for her father had neither sons nor brothers."

That should be mother, not father.  In the tales that come down to us in the Mabinogion, the culture is matrilineal, with a child's father being unknown or at least unimportant.  That's why the heroes are named as their mother's sons, like Math fab Mathonwy.  The closest equivalent to a father/child relationship is with an uncle and his sister's children, hence Gwydion fab Dôn is Math's nephew by Math's sister Dôn.  I recall that a minor plot point in "The Island of the Mighty" is that Gwydion wanted to try being a father, a concept he had heard about earlier.


My only experience with a matrilineal society is in the Sheri Tepper novel, I think it was "Grass". I appreciated it for being something that worked because it recognized a child's need for both male and female parental figures in their life, and the father's need was filled by uncles or other male near relatives of the mother. I had no clue that it was practiced at some point in history.



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Reply #21 on: February 28, 2015, 05:07:55 PM
"Elin, the daughter of Gwir Goch, ruled over the cantref of Madrunion, for her father had neither sons nor brothers."

That should be mother, not father.  In the tales that come down to us in the Mabinogion, the culture is matrilineal, with a child's father being unknown or at least unimportant.  That's why the heroes are named as their mother's sons, like Math fab Mathonwy.  The closest equivalent to a father/child relationship is with an uncle and his sister's children, hence Gwydion fab Dôn is Math's nephew by Math's sister Dôn.  I recall that a minor plot point in "The Island of the Mighty" is that Gwydion wanted to try being a father, a concept he had heard about earlier.

My only experience with a matrilineal society is in the Sheri Tepper novel, I think it was "Grass". I appreciated it for being something that worked because it recognized a child's need for both male and female parental figures in their life, and the father's need was filled by uncles or other male near relatives of the mother. I had no clue that it was practiced at some point in history.

Oh, yeah. There have been a number of societies in which children are considered to belong entirely to the mother's family and the role of "father figure" was filled by mom's brothers or other male members of the community (one of which might actually be the kid's biological father, but nobody cared). In fact, some societies didn't even have the same concept of sex as we do, such as one Amazonian tribe who believed that a kid came from the combined semen of everyone the mom slept with, so women who want to have a kid are encouraged to seduce all the smartest/strongest/most handsome men they can find so their child will combine all their traits.

And then, again, none of those men have a special relationship with the kid, unless they happen to build that relationship later as one of the men in the kid's community.

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Reply #22 on: March 03, 2015, 03:38:22 PM

And, before anyone else says it, I can hear the chorus of, "Eww.. with your sister? What is this, Game Of Thrones?"

They were FOSTER sisters, yes? 

Oh. My mistake. That makes it allright.

I don't know. It still kind of squicks me out.

I'll be back later with a real comment. Actually, I loved the story so much that this didn't bother me in the slightest.

But for the record... foster siblings. Ew. Still weird.

I guess it depends on what exactly the family dynamic was like, whether they were like a small tight-knit family or more like an orphanage--the former might be more like brother and sister the latter might be more like classmates/roommates.  Anyway, for whatever reason, it didn't squick me out here, and it played an important role in the final resolution.



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Reply #23 on: March 03, 2015, 08:28:28 PM

And, before anyone else says it, I can hear the chorus of, "Eww.. with your sister? What is this, Game Of Thrones?"

They were FOSTER sisters, yes? 

Oh. My mistake. That makes it allright.

I don't know. It still kind of squicks me out.

I'll be back later with a real comment. Actually, I loved the story so much that this didn't bother me in the slightest.

But for the record... foster siblings. Ew. Still weird.


We can extract an interesting analysis of taboos. The taboo of incest largely springs from the production of degenerate offspring from the shallow gene pool. Is the taboo of homosexuality greater than the taboo of incest? Considering that homosexual relationships are unable to produce genetic offspring, does the taboo of incest apply? The same question is there with adoptive siblings, as the shallow gene pool problem would be eliminated.

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Reply #24 on: March 03, 2015, 08:40:45 PM

And, before anyone else says it, I can hear the chorus of, "Eww.. with your sister? What is this, Game Of Thrones?"

They were FOSTER sisters, yes? 

Oh. My mistake. That makes it allright.

I don't know. It still kind of squicks me out.

I'll be back later with a real comment. Actually, I loved the story so much that this didn't bother me in the slightest.

But for the record... foster siblings. Ew. Still weird.


We can extract an interesting analysis of taboos. The taboo of incest largely springs from the production of degenerate offspring from the shallow gene pool. Is the taboo of homosexuality greater than the taboo of incest? Considering that homosexual relationships are unable to produce genetic offspring, does the taboo of incest apply? The same question is there with adoptive siblings, as the shallow gene pool problem would be eliminated.

I had this conversation with my buddy Jon back in college and it was really interesting. We ended up deciding that although it's a non-reproductive relationship, the same could be said of a heterosexual couple who simply decides not to have children, so it's not really an exclusively gay issue. Also, for me, there's still some squickiness based on the nature of the relationship. It's hard to imagine how ending up with someone you were raised with as your primary romantic partner isn't a little bit... unhealthy. Aren't you supposed to go out into the world and encounter people in order to become close to them? For the record, I'd have the same ambiguous feelings about a couple who met as children, were raised very close, and basically never spent time away from each other before shacking up. Ew.

So, in this case, it's the fact that they were basically raised as siblings that makes it a little weird. By contrast, I read a little while ago about a German couple who discovered that they were actually half-siblings, but had been raised separately, and while I felt very bad for them - they had already had one child with severe disabilities, and had originally planned to try for more children, but were forced by this revelation to stop - their relationship wasn't squicky at all.

Of course, come to think of it, this story isn't really clear. We know that they were little girls together, because the story describes them playing little girl games, but I'm not entirely sure that the amount of time they spent together was for long enough and at a formative enough period for it to really bother me.

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