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Points of Protocol II: Where do I stand?

xx Points of Protocol II: Where do I stand?
Feb 19, 15, 10:41:40 AM by Nicole
Where do I stand?

Protocol, in Blood society, can show at a glance where someone stands in the perceived pecking order -- and also dictates literally where someone ought to stand.

So, in the Anne Bishop books, Jaenelle and her posse of queens delighted in ignoring Protocol. This is a point where our alternate universe would differ significantly. No one in our history had the insane amount of power Jaenelle had, so you're not going to find so many people here ignoring Protocol, which is actually a very handy tool. A lifesaving tool in some cases -- so, if you buck Protocol, your character should have an excellent reason for it. In this instance, it's a fun way for you characters to subtly show support or cut someone in a scene.

You can tell a lot about a character, just by where he chooses to walk, like Theran Grayhaven in this example:

"He was ignoring Protocol by walking on her right to indicate his Jewels were dominant instead of walking on her left to indicate his power was in her service. He wasn't offering his hand in the traditional escort position so that she could rest her hand on top of his. Maybe he thought it wasn't necessary to follow those formalities until they were clsoer to the audience room, but the servants they passed noticed.

"Prince Theran was sending a message that would trickle through the court and through the Blood who worked in the mansion: the new Queen wasn't worthy of courtesy or respect."

- from The Shadow Queen.

I love the example because there are a few tidbits of Protocol embedded in there, and also a great illustration of how following or bucking Protocol can affect another character, and the perceptions of characters around you.

As this implies, standing to the right of someone indicates you're stronger than they are. This could be a pretty audacious thing to do, particularly if you're close in jewel strength. If you have a very strong character who goes to the left of someone, that character is indicating to everyone present that he or she will fight for that person.

The system for determining the pecking order can be somewhat convoluted. When everyone is the same caste, it's easy enough to assume that the strongest jewels are the strongest individuals. However, when you have a Green Prince and a Blood Opal Black Widow -- could be a little more complex, yes?

Since Protocol can be somewhat instinctive for Blood who grow up using it -- but not for the writers behind these characters -- I like to ask myself the following questions to figure out what my character would do.

- Can the other character in the scene kill mine without breaking a sweat? If yes, that means my character probably OUGHT to defer and the riskier a break in Protocol will be.

- What are the relationships between the characters in the scene? A slightly weaker character who is the favorite of the queen is probably not someone I want to risk angering without good reason.

How do your characters react to those more powerful than they are -- and how does their knowledge and use of Protocol demonstrate those leanings? What other questions are helpful to ask yourself in guiding your character's actions?


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xx Re: Points of Protocol II: Where do I stand? (Reply 1)
Feb 19, 15, 11:32:51 AM by Dany
Protocol is the thing that puts a white jeweled witch on the same playing field with a black jeweled warlord prince. It is the thing that grounds everyone. By far the best weapon to have in your artillery as a character.
xx Re: Points of Protocol II: Where do I stand? (Reply 2)
Feb 19, 15, 03:05:57 PM by Allure Alindolea
This is why I try to keep Ranseur to my left.
xx Re: Points of Protocol II: Where do I stand? (Reply 3)
Feb 20, 15, 03:46:29 PM by phinneas
I would enjoy seeing more of these, going forward. Not so much as to establish more rules that have to be minded when composing a post, but as tools for pointing out IC moves. I mean, it doesn't seem like anyone here would jump down my throat cause I thoughtlessly had Baelfire walk on the wrong side of Allure, for instance. But if I ever need a mechanism by which I could show Baelfire making a statement, I can point out that he intentionally chooses the side he stands on.

Does that make sense? It sounds muddled to me, but the gist of it is that I think this kind of stuff is really useful, even knowing that it isn't referenced all the time.
xx Re: Points of Protocol II: Where do I stand? (Reply 4)
Feb 23, 15, 02:10:09 AM by Nicole
Makes sense to me, Phinn!

That's why I wanted to do these blog posts. I understand that Protocol is important, but when I try to do it on a character level, I'm afraid I'm doing it "wrong," because I don't know the rules. So, the ones that are actually well-defined I'm trying to parse out -- in hopes we will all start making up our own and coming up with a way to track them.

Like you said...not so there are more rules, but because it can be such a nice little jab or character move.

I'm really looking forward to the day I have Aksel sidle up to someone's left during a heating moment, as a quiet way of saying, "STEP OFF, JACKASS!!"
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