Author Topic: The value of Harry's debt is punching above its weight in Summer Knight  (Read 4510 times)

Offline Hankthemoose

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I'm rereading Summer Knight, and two things really stuck out to me.

-Lea was under the influence of the athame when she sold Harry's debt to Mab.

-Mab considered Harry's debt to Lea—at the time of Summer Knight!—to be of equal value to Morgana's Athame, which Lea says has similar value as a Sword, not because of what it is, but because of who's it is.

At this time, Harry is not anything particularly special, beyond the fact that he has a debt. It sounds like, though, lots of wizards occasionally indebt themselves to the Sidhe, though few probably do so to someone on Lea's level. Why would Mab allow Lea to keep the Athame in exchange for Harry's debt?

Offline kbrizzle

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I was under the impression that Lea was forced to sell her debt to Mab since possession of both the athame + Harry’s debt made her too powerful individually (upset the balance of power in the Winter hierarchy).

There are 2 ways to look at the value of Harry’s debt.
  • As a Starborn & future top 5 wizard, Harry has a lot more power than he is aware of in SK. Having him bonded to Winter (since his proclivities seem to be towards Summer) early is a great idea & may actually be equal in value to a Sword or the athame.
  • The other way of looking at it is that Harry’s debt is valuable, but not as much as a Sword or athame. If Lea+Athame+Debt = too powerful, perhaps by taking away the Debt, Mab has rebalanced things back in the Winter Court

This part is my WAG about what likely happened between SK-Changes:
Unfortunately the power grab after GP made Lea #3 in Winter, not powerful enough to take on Mab who is #2 (#1 would be MW), but more powerful than Maeve who is the current #3. Mab obviously wants Lea back down to #4 position to keep the hierarchy of the Court in order, so she orders Lea to give up her debt to Harry in compensation as well as all her knowledge about him (including the fact that he is a Starborn). This is why Lea tells Harry to never let Mab bring him to the Stone Table in both SK & Changes - Mab is now aware that Harry is a Starborn & may decide to sacrifice him there if such a need should arise.
Of course after Maeve gets Nfected & Lea cured, Mab decides to make her #3 anyway. Lea will likely stay at #3 until Molly is fully trained - in ~5-10 years.


« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 12:37:07 AM by kbrizzle »

Offline Eguzky

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I did not think Leah sold her debt at all; Mab was doing Leah's duties while she was being cured of her Nemfection, since Leah was Mab's vassal, and so Mab had to be a good ruler and take up her Vassal's duties and obligations as a balance for rendering said Vassal unable to do them herself?

It's been a bit, so I could be misremembering.

Offline nadia.skylark

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I did not think Leah sold her debt at all; Mab was doing Leah's duties while she was being cured of her Nemfection, since Leah was Mab's vassal, and so Mab had to be a good ruler and take up her Vassal's duties and obligations as a balance for rendering said Vassal unable to do them herself?

It's been a bit, so I could be misremembering.

You're misremembering, yeah. Lea sold Harry's debt to her to Mab somewhere between Grave Peril and Summer Knight. This is a separate thing from Lea's duties as Harry's godmother, which Mab was fulfilling while she had Lea imprisoned.

Offline Eguzky

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Ah yes, I remember now. Mab shows Harry she has his debt by making him stab his own hand.

Offline Bad Alias

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I don't really understand how that would have worked. If Mab acquires Harry's debt to Lea, doesn't she have to give Lea something? Wouldn't an imbalance remain?

Offline Eguzky

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Maybe Lea owed Mab, for failing her duties by getting corrupted?
Or maybe Lea owed Mab because Mab was healing her, and thus Harry's debt was to pay for services rendered (the being cured of Nemesis)

Offline Bad Alias

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Mab had not yet found out that Lea was corrupted.

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I returned to Faerie with great power and upset vital balances. Those balances had to be redressed, your debt was the mechanism that the Queen chose to employ.

From the quote and the text around it, it is unclear even if an exchange took place. If there was a debt used as the purchase price for Harry's debt, then the balance would still remain the same. Perhaps the debt was more valuable in the hands of Mab than the Leanansidhe because of some limitation she had based on her bargain with Margaret.

Offline kbrizzle

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I was under the impression that it was the Athame that Mab did not want Lea to have - she has probably known about Harry’s debt for decades... I believe this was the point of gifting the Nfected dagger to Lea - she would be forced to give it/ trade it to Mab as a way to maintain the Winter power hierarchy.

However, 2 things ruined this plan:
  • Lea as a Winter Fae is power-hungry by nature. She had her own designs for the athame (to end that which stalks us all) & tried to hold on as long as possible
  • Mab realizes after the unusual death of Ronald Reuel that a BC plan is afoot but her WK will be useless in doing anything, so she realizes that Harry’s debt is currently more useful to her than the athame

Offline dspringer1

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I think the actual events are different than Hankthemoose described.   Based on what was described Dead Beat, Lea challenged Mab in some way.   Mab stated that Lea thought the atheme gave her that right and she showed her the error of her ways.   

We know from later books that this is when Mab realized lea was infected.  We also learn that the challenge was related to Harry - specifically Lea was desperate to help Harry against the necromancers in Dead Beat.  That desperation was presumably what tipped Mab off about the infection as it is not typical of Fey.  But I cannot remember which books gave this info, but they were late stage books (cold days perhaps). 

I also believe that Mab was holding the Atheme during her meeting with Harry during Dead Beat, but I am a bit hazy on this.  If correct, then Mab had already taken the Atheme from Lea and cleansed it.   Certainly Lea was aware that the athemea was how she was infected and holds a grudge -- which she explained to harry to justify Mab using her to help him during Changes.   Mab was doing a favor for Lea to allow her to get her revenge on the red court - otherwise lea's services would have been much more expensive to Mab. 

Offline Hankthemoose

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I think the actual events are different than Hankthemoose described.   Based on what was described Dead Beat, Lea challenged Mab in some way.   Mab stated that Lea thought the atheme gave her that right and she showed her the error of her ways.   

We know from later books that this is when Mab realized lea was infected.  We also learn that the challenge was related to Harry - specifically Lea was desperate to help Harry against the necromancers in Dead Beat.  That desperation was presumably what tipped Mab off about the infection as it is not typical of Fey.  But I cannot remember which books gave this info, but they were late stage books (cold days perhaps). 

I also believe that Mab was holding the Atheme during her meeting with Harry during Dead Beat, but I am a bit hazy on this.  If correct, then Mab had already taken the Atheme from Lea and cleansed it.   Certainly Lea was aware that the athemea was how she was infected and holds a grudge -- which she explained to harry to justify Mab using her to help him during Changes.   Mab was doing a favor for Lea to allow her to get her revenge on the red court - otherwise lea's services would have been much more expensive to Mab.

Lea didn't think the Athame "gave her the right". It simply made it possible for her to act against her inherent nature, and so to violate the terms of her relationship to Mab, which would be obvious to Mab regardless of exactly how she "challenged" her.

I just reread most of the series for maybe the 6th or 7th time a week ago, and there is no indication that I've ever seen that this challenge is in any way related to Harry, or that Lea is even interested in supporting Harry against the Kemmlerites in Dead Beat. Lea is encased in ice at the time, why would she even know about those events at all? Why would she be desperate? Are you just making stuff up? That's a huge reach unless you've got a source for it.

Please provide references for what you're talking about, or just a quick quote.


Offline Mira

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How could an exchange take place when Lea possessed both Harry's debt and the Knife?  Also Maeve enters into this at some point as well..  She also had gotten the Knife either from Lea or her mother, that is how she got infected before Mab realized the Knife was infected in the first place.. See Cold Days..   Another question, since Lea was Harry's godmother, why didn't that give her more say over his debt to her?  Also as of Summer Knight, Lea was not yet symptoms of infection from the Knife.

I think it was a bit more complicated than a simple exchange....  Lea had made a promise to Harry's mother to keep him safe,  I think Mab wanted him dead and Lea exchanged his debt to her for his life...  I don't think the Knife was part of that exchange, I think Lea had already passed it on to Maeve... 

Offline morriswalters

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The timeline is,
We see Lea in Summer Knight, where she takes Harry to Chicago over Chicago, and warns him never to let Mab take him to the stone table. This may have been the event that triggered Mab's suspicions. Though that is speculation.

We next hear of Lea in Dead Beat.  When Harry summons Lea , Mab appears wearing a knife that is assumed to be the Atheme.  She tells Harry that Lea is detained but in no danger.

And the in Proven Guilty We see Lea and learn of the infection.

In Changes we see Lea when Mab brings Harry to the Stone Table to kill Slade and take the Winter Mantle.  Lea reminds harry that she had warned him never to do this.  Mab will draw blood on Lea when Lea speaks out of turn.  All of this takes place in chapter 31.
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“Yeah. But why?” I asked. “Why would your voice hurt me?”
“Because she is angry,” answered the Leanansidhe in her natural voice. “Because her voice is a part of her power, and her rage is too great to be contained.”
I swallowed. Mab had spoken a few words to me a couple of years back, and I’d reacted exactly as she described. I’d lost a few minutes of time during the episode her words had provoked as well. “Rage?” I asked. “About what?”
The shadowed figure let out a spitting hiss, another feline sound that made me flinch and cringe away from it as if from the lash of a whip. My godmother jerked sharply to one side. She straightened only slowly, and as she did I saw that a long, fine cut had been drawn across one of her cheeks. Blood welled up and dripped down slowly.
My godmother bowed her head to Mab, and the cold voice came from her mouth again. “It is not for my handmaiden to judge or question me, nor to speak for me upon her own account.”
Lea bowed her head to Mab again, and not a flicker of either anger or chagrin showed in her features.
  Harry states his terms for accepting the Mantle. One of those is Mab's help at Chechen Itza.
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“That before my service begins, you restore my body to health. That you grant me time enough to rescue my daughter and take her to safety, and strength and knowledge enough to succeed. And you give me your word that you will never command me to lift my hand against those I love.”
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“There,” I said quietly to Mab. “My part is done. Time for you to live up to yours.”
“No, child,” said Mab’s voice through Lea’s lips. “Your part is only begun. But fear not. I am Mab. The stars will rain from the sky before Mab fulfills not her word.” She tilted her head slightly to one side, toward my godmother, and said, “I give thee this adviser for thy final quest, sir Knight. My handmaiden is among the most powerful beings in all of my Winter, second only to myself.”
Lea’s warmer, more languid voice came from her lips as she asked, “My queen, to what degree am I permitted to act?”
I thought I saw the fell light gleam on Mab’s teeth as Lea’s lips said, “You may indulge yourself.”
Lea’s mouth spread into a wide, dangerous smile of its own, and she bowed her head and upper body toward the Queen of Winter.
I speculated about the timing of Mab's suspicions of Lea due to Lea's remarks about the Stone Table in the two different Books.  In the first she whispers it to Harry as if she doesn't want Mab to know,
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Lea completed her circuit of the table and stopped beside me. She glanced furtively around her, then looked me in the eyes and said, her voice barely audible, "Child. Should you survive this conflict, do not let Mab bring you here. Never."
in the second while speaking for Mab.
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“I warned you,” said a calm voice behind me. “Never let her bring you here, my godchild.”

As a side note unrelated to the topic this is the second time that we see that Mab, under some kind of condition, is capable of looking anywhere  to see  persons of interest to her.

Offline Mira

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We next hear of Lea in Dead Beat.  When Harry summons Lea , Mab appears wearing a knife that is assumed to be the Atheme.  She tells Harry that Lea is detained but in no danger.

True, but what we don't know is how Mab acquired the Atheme..  We know that Lea is detained, but don't know if it is because she defied Mab or because she is showing symptoms of infection or both.. As of Summer Knight Maeve appears more or less sane if one can go by the scene in Mac's bar...  However at some point she came in contact with the Atheme, became infected to the point where Mab couldn't cure her as she had Lea or herself..  So was Mab's contact with the infected Atheme brief?  We next hear of Lea in Dead Beat.  When Harry summons Lea , Mab appears wearing a knife that is assumed to be the Atheme.  She tells Harry that Lea is detained but in no danger.

So one assumes that Mab got the Atheme from Lea... But in Cold Days after Maeve's death Mab says.  page 503 hardcover
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"It was the knife," Mab said.
"Knife?"
"Morgana's athame," Mab said in a neutral tone---but her eyes were far away." The one given by the Red Court at Bianca's masquerade.  That is how the Leanansidhe was tainted---and your godmother spread it to Maeve before I could set it right."

Which begs the question as to how the infection is spread in the first place...  Because either Lea gave the knife to Maeve and Mab took it from her before Dead Beat, or it can be spread through other means which Mab was unaware of before it had gone too far in Maeve...

Offline Bad Alias

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@ Mira: I don't think that Maeve was directly infected with the knife. It isn't necessary as I strongly doubt that's what was used to infect Cat Sith. I take Mab's quote as Lea was infected by the knife and Lea, not the knife, spread the infection.

We also learn that the challenge was related to Harry - specifically Lea was desperate to help Harry against the necromancers in Dead Beat.  That desperation was presumably what tipped Mab off about the infection as it is not typical of Fey.  But I cannot remember which books gave this info, but they were late stage books (cold days perhaps).

I don't know where this if coming from, but I'm 99% certain it isn't the books.

@Morris: Are you referring to something in the quotes you supplied, or when Mab shows Maggie to Harry, which is near all this?