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Why Three Patterns?

This has always been a question for me. After all, there is only one Logrus mentioned in the books, so why have the Primal Pattern, with three others (if not more); Amber, Rebma, and Tir?

The way I see it, there is one basic assumption. That walking the Logrus can infer some disabilities on you. There is some mention of that in the books, and any number os sites have referred to it. These...afflictions can take either physical or mental forms, or both. Psychosis, altered forms, phobias, obssessions, etc.

So, we can take this as "canon" or not. It really doesn't make much of a difference. Eons ago, Dworkin was one of the candidates to walk the Logrus. He studied and trained for the arduous journey, perhaps for years until Suhuy felt him ready. He walked the Logrus, becoming a full Chaosian Lord, one of the highest in the Chaosian caste system. Now, either the Logrus gave him an affliction, or he had the potential for "madness" which the strain of the Logrus caused to become paramount. It probably didn't happen overnight, rather over many, many years. It could certainly explain hisphysical abnormalities.

At some point, the genius part of him decided not only that he could create what would become the Pattern, and that he should. So, he broke from the Courts and created the Pattern.

At the risk of being more than a little Freudian, the mind can be classified into the three classic classifications: Id, Ego and Superego. When he made the Pattern, it would be a "reflection" of his own (dis)ordered mind. Each one of those three classifications warred at any given time for dominance, though he was largely in control. It seems to me that it would be nigh unto impossible to create something from the mind, which you cannot conceive. Descartes said it best.

Where does that leave us? Well, we have Tir. The place that is made up of what is, what was, what could have been, what might be yet. Dreams, wishes, hopes, desires, with little to make sense of it. Unchecked, unguarded, still weak enough to not completely take over. Perhaps on those full moons, one would find themselves doing things which would be improbable in the light of day. It could be our Id.

Then we have Amber. The Family won the war against Chaos. Why? Perhaps because the ego, the reasoning, allowed the Family to use tactics and strategies the Chaosian would have a difficult time conceiving. Reasoning alone could leave anyone coldly logical to what must be done, to use tactics that would be an anathema to the Courts. Dishonorable? Perhaps. But Corwin noted that with the stakes being life or death, it is more important for survival.

What does that make the Amberites? A term often used is Machiavellian. Machiavelli certainly uses Reason without being hampered by moral considerations in his works. We've seen evidence that members of the Family are more than capable of doing the dirty deed to accomplish what is necessary. One example is when Eric puts out Corwin's eyes, whether to secure his place or to put Corwin out of action, thus "keeping him safe". A coldly logical way of dong things. Was the reason wrong? Perhaps not. But his methods seem extreme. There are numerous other examples throughout Corwin's story, if they can be taken at face value.

Then we have Rebma. We don't hear too much about it. But I was struck by the idea that Moira would take action against a sovereign member of Amer. Namely Random. History is full of stories of one royal family member mistreating another. Yet, they continued to have relations (unless it is a good, convenient excuse for an incursion). Some examples? Princess Mary (not Bloody Mary), sister to Henry the 8th, who married one fellow that filled almost every modern role made for the abusive spouse. He cheated on her, physically abused her and publically humiliated her at various times. Was she bitter. Of course. Yet, she not only divorced him, but allowed him to stand up at her next, and last marriage. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry the 1st had a long history of difficulties, many of which found her locked away in a tower for years at a time. She always rose up, gathered an army, and tried to wrest control away from him. Yet, they gathered from time to time, holidays and the like, with some respect and affection, despite everything. Yet another example is Princess Gertha (Germany) who met her future husband on the battlefield disguised as a knight (her father and brothers were off at the Crusades). She did so well against him, he was duly impressed and he married her. Their marriage was long and happy, but tumultuous, and it ended when she killed him in one of their fights. Yet, she and her husband's family remained close allies for their lifetimes..

There are many, many more incidents throughtout history. So, why would Moira not simply let it go? It was tragic, certainly, but there are many worse things Random could have done than fouling a relationship. It might be a stretch, but the Family of Rebma walked their own Pattern, one which is Conscience, the Superego. What Random did was simply wrong. End of story. They were compelled to see some justice done, to rise above mere politics. Could Rebma's Pattern have been the reason why Corwin decided he no longer needed or wanted the Throne? Martin was described as almost a dull boy, before he walked Amber's Pattern. Could this have made a difference in how he drastically changed his life and look. Of course, Brand didn't help matters, but I wonder...

So, what happens when one walks only one of the three. Well, for the most part, the Family seems to have walked Amber's if none other and we can see the results. Llewella probably walked Rebma's, if not more than once. It could explain why she has long since removed herself from the politics of her siblings. She just doesn't believe in "the ends justify the means" arguments. And she has no way to clue the others in. Brand could have walked Tir's, perhaps more than once, giving that part of him dominance, over time. It could certainly explain the variety in the Family's make up if different members walked various Patterns.

I started thinking about this when reading the Scene in the dungeons where Corwin and Dworkin are talking. I was never satisfied that Dworking was mad. It was too pat an answer, I think. Rather, he is fully aware, by now, that his mind will shift from one area to another. He is certainly lucid enough, at first, when speaking to Corwin. He is aware enough of himself to know when his "Id" is emerging, giving Corwin advanced notice to get away. Perhaps his "Superego" is the only thing keeping others safe. It is what kept him locked away. I would not think Oberon, or anyone else, for that matter, could keep him locked away, a Trump Master,unless some part of him cooperated.

I'm not saying that walking one Pattern will radically change your personality. Rather, it might enhance certan proclivities, already extant. Walking all three might allow for a greater balance, if one is willing to go to the effort. Or, not. As you choose.

Is this an answer to my question? Well, it is only one. It works for me and gives me more depth to the other Patterns, as well as to the denizens thereof. Are there other possibilities? Absolutely. Which is what makes the stories, and the games, endless interpretations and endless enjoyment. I hope Zelazny is enjoying what he wrought.


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