Thursday, September 08, 2005


The Last Battle
Chapter 1
  • Panniers. Originally, these were large bread baskets slung onto pack animals. Today, these are fabric bags used in balanced pairs on bicycles and so forth. In the context of this story, these were probably general-use baskets or bags that Shift would sling across Puzzle’s back.
Chapter 2
  • Sapient. Wise. This is worth commenting on in this context since the human species is called “homo sapiens,” which means “wise man.” Hence, the Calormene is using this term with extreme irony in addressing Shift, who is, after all, merely an ape.
Chapter 5
  • Wire. A telegram. Before the telegraph, messages were delivered by hand. With the advent of the telegraph, messages could be sent electronically, “by wire.” A message sent “by wire” came to be known as “a wire.”
  • Rude. Today, we almost universally use this term to mean, “Behaving as if a cable news talk show host.” Lewis, however, uses the term to mean “rough” or “crude” (and no, he doesn’t use “crude” to describes those same cable personalities, either—though perhaps he would if he were alive today).
  • Stiff. Since locks are generally made of iron or steel, yes—most locks are indeed stiff. What Lewis means, though, is that the lock was slightly rusty, making it hard to turn the key.
  • Firkin. A type of cask, most frequently used to store ale. Casks were formed of staves, like barrels, but were much smaller. A firkin generally held nine gallons, or about a quarter barrel.
Chapter 6
  • Miscarry. Go awry. Tirian is not suggesting that he’s pregnant; he’s suggesting that his plans might fail.
  • Rive. To tear apart. “Riven” means “torn apart.”
  • Malapert. An impudent, disrespectful person. Any time a word begins with “mal,” it means something bad.
Chapter 7
  • Manikin. Literally, “little man.” Disrespect is meant in this usage.
  • Moke. Just an archaic term for “donkey.”
  • Touch One’s Cap. Give deference to. It used to be the custom, when passing a respectable person, to touch one’s hand to the brim of one’s cap and bow ever so slightly.
  • Wood Sorel. Oxalis, a wild herb.
Chapter 8
  • Homely. Not “a touch on the ugly side,” but just plain “home-like.”
Chapter 12
  • Flannel. Not so many years ago, “flannel” by definition meant “wool.” These days, we don’t wear so much wool, and flannel (almost by definition) means “cotton,” which is quite comfortable. Unlined wool flannel, by contrast, tends to be pretty scratchy stuff to wear.
Chapter 13
  • Tongues. This is food. Really. At one time, the tongues of various animals (usually cattle or game) were considered delicacies. Today, you can still get tongue from your butcher, but you don’t typically see tongue served with your fries at Mickey D’s.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about chapters 14, 15, and 16

5/17/2008 10:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home