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time periods

When I first read _The Blue Sword_ I assumed Daria was a version of India. "Home" is pretty clearly Imperial England, whether or not Robin wants Daria itself to be India. Damar would be the hills just south of Tibet and the Himalayas, if there are any such hills in real life, which I don't know. But the people have the right coloration, it's hot enough, and Daria is peninsular. I don't think the seven kingdoms of _Deerskin_ are not in Daria, let alone Damar. First, it's possible McKinley doesn't worry about making sure all of her stories are in the same consistent universe; this could well be "common element" fiction, where a magus ex machina will be a blonde called Luthe, and references might be made to a legend of Aerin, without the stories all being in a real common universe. The seven kingdoms certainly feel unreal enough. But if they are all meant to be in the same world, Ossin still says "all that was a long time ago and very far away". And I had the impression that the people of the kingdoms were paler than Darians; Deerskin's mother was unusually beautiful, but not unusual by virtue of being pale, as Aerin was. The kingdoms are likely to be closer to Home than to Damar. But we also have a constraint on "long ago"; _Sword_ is explicitly 500 years after Maur. So I'd guess Ossin is speaking 2 or 3 centuries after Aerin -- still "long ago" for mortals, and enough time for the legend to disperse, but before railroads and guns show up. So: "The Healer", with Lily; _Hero_; "The Stagman" and _Deerskin_ (indeterminate order); _The Blue Sword_. "The Stone Fey" can go anywhere, unless you believe Maddy is Angharad's (fine name) ancestor. As _Hero_ left Aerin immortal (weak version) and I thought her plan for polyamory was to outlive Tor and then go back to Luthe, I see no reason why she couldn't be a 500 year-old mage in Harry's time. Although Luthe refers to her in the past tense. I'm trying to tell myself that she and Luthe decided she'd be more useful as a legend, or perhaps it happened naturally after she left, and that she was one of Luthe's friends hiding in the bushes, so as not to be gawked at or mind-battered by the mortal horde. Separate problem: if Agsded was to Maur as Maur was to little dragons, I'd think that Luthe could have done more himself about the invading army. Unless he doesn't care all that much if Damar is overrun. He was limited in Aerin's day because he was weaker than Agsded, who also had some blood-protection; but were Thurra and Harry that strong? And a final temporal exercise for the reader: how old was Aerin's mother?

From: Damien R. Sullivan
Sunday, May 18, 1997 at 18:18:47 (EDT)