Exiles: The Official Melanie Rawn Website
The Mystery of Collan Rosvenir
as researched by Lady Brenlis

Collan Is Not Mageborn:

My biases do not allow me to write an impartial rebuttal. But hear me out. I will lay out all of the evidence I have found to support the claim Collan is not Mageborn, then I’ll tell you what I think.

The characters and the narrator state unanimously, “Collan is not Mageborn.” Characters, can be dishonest, but the narrator is, obviously, completely truthful. Isn’t she? In Collan’s Memories we established that the narrator was dishonest in establishing Collan’s Age At Enslavement. Therefore, the narrator is untrustworthy.
In May of 1999, Melanie told me we can't necessarily trust EVERYTHING the characters say, they could be lying. But what strikes me, is she could be referring to all the characters in both books who keep insisting that Collan isn’t Mageborn.

The Case:

The following selection of quotes are statements that Collan is not Mageborn, or may be of interest to anyone seeking to build a case:

  • The quote holding the strongest weight against Collan being Mageborn, is Glenin’s:
  • [Collan is] The oddest of all in magical terms, lacking any trace of power but protected by vigorous Wards and his own unruly personality. By the Great Loom, she had reason to know that strength of will, having tried to break it nearly twenty years ago…. ….That [Taigan and Mikel] were Mageborn was obvious, even Warded from their magic. Glenin’s musings MT p278

    Every other character has either a lack of strong ability to sense Collan’s power or a motive to deceive. However, Glenin is obscenely powerful and sensitive with no motivation for deception in the above excerpt. Which leaves two possibilities:

    • Collan really isn’t Mageborn.

    • Those who Warded Collan, including Gorynel Desse, were so good even Glenin, Anniyas & Auvry were fooled. 

Well, the Wards are vigorous!  Back to the list of quotes.

  • The Ward (for the twin’s protection) was triggered not by touch but by presence. Set by Cailet and regularly renewed by her Mages, it was keyed to Sarra and even to Collan’s unMageborn mind by some obscure and difficult spell. MT p150 You would think that Cailet would be sensitive enough to notice his power while connecting a spell to his mind.
  • Collan to Gorynel Desse, “Why tell me about it? It’s not as though I have any magic.” “Not a whisper.” RoA p29
  • Orlin Renne: Sarra’s [Wards] guard her magic. Collan’s are totally different. RoA p298

People who state that Collan isn’t Mageborn

Collan Rosvenir           RoA p469                   many other places
Gorynel Desse             RoA p29
Elomar Adennos          RoA p386
Cailet Ambrai              RoA p418
Sarra Ambrai               RoA p622
Narrator                      MT p150,                   many other places
Amilie Rosvenir           MT p233
Glenin Feiran               MT p278

People who take Collan through a Ladder

    • Desse
    • Telomir Renne from Ryka to Ambrai when Feiran confronts Desse. Who else could it have been?
    • Anniyas
    • Alin to Longriding with Sela
    • Auvry Feiran, velvet Ladder
    • Cailet to Longriding in RoA

Why did Col have to be knocked out before the first time going through ladder? It wasn’t a problem later. RoA p 338? Had he been through that ladder before? Or to make it easier for Gorynel Desse as Riddon suggests to Sarra, perhaps. Could Desse have required Col to be knocked out so he could fashion a new kind of Ward, one that would prevent anyone who takes him through a ladder from sensing his magic. Or perhaps Col had been through that specific Ladder before and Desse wished to prevent new memories triggering old?

Conclusion:

That is all the evidence against Collan being Mageborn.  Just a list of people (including the narrator)who insist he isn’t Mageborn. Nothing definitive, no details or actions to back up the bold statements. 
I believe this is a case of unreliable narrator!   One of the things we love about Melanie’s work, is that she keeps us guessing. She could pull the wool over the narrator’s eyes as well as ours, certainly. This is not an omnipotent narrator in any case.
In the previous section on Collan’s Memory, I already established that an unreliable narrator leads us to believe Collan was sold as a slave at age 4. We have already determined the narrator is unreliable! How can anyone recognize that Collan’s childhood memories were not what they seemed and then insist the narrator is truthful about Collan not being Mageborn? 

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© 1995-2006 Irena Pereira, DAW Books, Inc., Melanie Rawn, and artwork © Michael Whelan.