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Started by Wren, July 20, 2021, 02:39:45 PM

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I have always wanted more than we were given about Meraude. She is a fairly strong supporting character in The Histories and the later books. She is one of those supporting characters that is there when conveniently needed, but we get little back story. . We know she fell in love and married Nigel at a very young age and of course they had 4 children.

She seems immediately tolerant and even sympathetic to Alaric from a young age. What made her different about her attitude towards Deryni then her brother?  Her brother Saer wasn't so accepting of Deryni at first. Alaric and Kelson seem to trust her implicitly.

I also wonder how she felt about having the role of hostess and Chetalaine thrust upon her when Jehana left in the Histories books. When Jehana just took off, someone had to fill the role of chetlaine at Rhemuth  and that someone was Meraude. Did she resent having that thrust upon her?

If Jehana had not left, would Meraude and Nigel have been able to live in Carthmoor? Or would they have still had to stay at Rhemuth since Nigel is Kelson's heir apparent.
Maraude seems  to be totally out of patience with Jehana for her rigidity regarding Deryni.
I really would have liked to know more about Meraude.


I too would like to know more about Meraude.  She's interesting, and as you said, we have little backstory for her.

I think that regardless of Jehana, though, she and Nigel would likely have stayed in Rhemuth at least most of the time; not only is Nigel Kelson's heir apparent (at least until Prince Javan is born, per Codex, and even then, if--heaven forbid--Kelson were to die before Javan was an adult, Nigel would certainly be an important member of the Regency Council, even as he is an important member of Kelson's Royal Council), but he seems to be the most important instructor of pages, squires, and knights.

And for Meraude's part, I think she too would prefer to stay in Rhemuth most of the time; she seems to be a family-oriented person, and she seems to want her children to be with their cousin (and cousins, plural, once Kelson and Araxie marry and start having children). I'm getting this notion from her treatment of Vanissa and Conalline.  She is more concerned that her granddaughter and that child's mother be with their family than that their association with Haldane family is because of Conall's dishonorable conduct. 

She seems very practical that way; by KKB, Conall is dead, Rothana and Alpin are settled (or, once Rothana agrees to let Alpin make his own choices re: church or secular life, they are), and Conalline is close to Eirian's age.  The circumstances of Conalline's conception were not because of Vanissa behaving badly, and Meraude sees no reason for Vanissa and Conalline to pay for Conall's treachery by being ostracized from the rest of the family.

As to Meraude taking up the duties of a queen while Jehana is flagellating herself and Kelson is yet a bachelor, Meraude was a noblewoman before she married Nigel and became a royal duchess.  She would have been taught to shepherd a large household as a matter of course, because that was how noblewomen were educated.  I don't get the impression that she resents Jehana because Meraude is, effectively, doing Jehana's job for her; I think she resents Jehana's intractability re: Deryni in general and Alaric Morgan specifically.  In other words, I don't think she minds being chatelaine; I think what bothers her about it is the reason why.

But yes, I would like to know more, canonically, about the lady.  I like her very much.  :)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)


My memory fails me, but wasn't it in The King's Deryni, where Nigel is being chased by the Lady from Meara( her name fails me) and he narrowly stays away from her. And then he meets the much sweeter Meraude and falls in love.
May your horses have wings and fly!


The late JastaElf would have jumped into this conversation with both feet, as she had a passion for both Nigel and Meraude. At the time she and I originally met online, she had started a fanfic story about their meeting and romance that alas, she never finished, much to my regret.   I remember feeling started in TBH when Kelson mentions "Nigel and Aunt Meraude have been badgering me to marry." We know that Prince Nigel is a father, and as a Royal Duke, it stood to reason he was also married. But we never actually meet his wife in the original trilogy. 

We also don't know too much about whatever moral and spiritual battles Meraude may have fought in her own mind over the Deryni matter. She grew up in the North, and since Loris was  Bishop of Stavenham for a time, that doesn't suggest the area was particularly  accepting of Deryni. As a young girl and woman newly come to Brion's Court, and then as Nigel's bride, she and Jehana became related by marriage, and Lord knows, Jehana wouldn't have  fostered much tolerance for Deryni, and especially not for Alaric Morgan.

It could be that Meraude is someone who can watch and learn, drawing her own conclusions, but discreet enough not to just blurt out dangerous points of view. As a girl and young woman, newly come to court to serve Queen Richeldis and then as Nigel's bride, she would have spent quite a lot of time in Jehana's company, and they do appear fond of each other. They raised their children together, and Meraude is definitely a fully fledged member of the Royal family. Maybe Meraude can recognize how religious fanaticism can make people behave foolishly.  She could no doubt see that her Brother-in-law the King had HIS head on straight about the Deryni  matter, and could value Morgan as a friend and courtier, and took her cues from him rather than from Jehana. She could disagree with Jehana, but couldn't do so all that openly or often, so possibly she spent a lot of time biting her tongue. Maybe she tried to gently reason with Jehana to foster peace in the Royal marriage, but could never get very far past Jehana's religious conditioning.

  It might not have been that rapid a transition to accepting Deryni for Meraude, since she was married to Nigel young, and by the time we meet her, she's in her late twenties or early thirties.  It is true that as a nobleman's daughter, she would have been taught how to run a large, complicated household.  It stood to reason that someone experienced would have to run the royal household. In a matter of a few months, Kelson went from being a boy and a Prince with two living  parents, not having to handle adult responsibilities yet, to losing his father, becoming King, and then having his mother leave for an extended period.

    Was Meraude going to say "sorry kid, you're on your own" in those circumstances? I don't think so. I believe she accepted becoming chatelaine at Rhemuth Castle in the same spirit that Nigel accepted his new role in Kelson's court. It would have been disastrous to have the royal household founder into chaos. NEITHER one of them was about to desert their King and nephew when he badly needed help from every adult he could trust. Perhaps Meraude gave Kelson some discreet mothering when his spirits were particularly low because he certainly had a big adjustment to make about his change of circumstances.  Whether Meraude approved of Jehana's leaving for the convent is another matter entirely. Jehana was newly widowed and deeply grieving, AND having to confront the unwelcome realization that she was Deryni; maybe Meraude approved of her going in the short term at the time, not realizing that Jehana would be away from court for years rather than months.

You can have a sound mind in a healthy body--Or you can be a nanonovelist!


Meraude is very much one of those characters whose story is worth telling. I hope you'll try your hand at her tale!


Shiral very good thoughts. It is an interesting perspective that Meraude became chatelaine thinking/hoping it would be temporary, long enough for the queen to get through her grief, but in time it became more permanent, that is until Kelson married. It was very fortunate that Meraude was a very capable women and just did what was necessary to do for her husband, family and king. 
I would love to read a story about her.
May your horses have wings and fly!


playing devil's advocate:

If  King Brion Haldane *was* nursing a viper at his breast by taking in a Deryni, after the inevitable betrayal and death, Nigel becomes king.
A truly cynical wife would regard becoming queen as sufficient reward to justify being a wallflower and letting nature take its course...


Many years ago "The Mearan Sunday Herald" did a shock expose of the evil villain Meraude - dubbed the most wicked villain of the Kelson era. As the Mearan Sunday Herald wrote way back when "Don't tell me you fell for the nice Auntie ploy?"

The expose also painted the noble Nigel Haldane in a not so good light as well.  The perceived slight to the good name of Nigel led the late Jasta to write a spirited defense of Nigel allegedly published in the pro-Haldane "Carthmoor Clarion"

It is still possible that I have a copy of the original post saved somewhere


This is a great discussion! I've always like Meraude. She seems to have a level head on her no doubt lovely shoulders. I like the way she is portrayed in the story about Richenda and Alaric becoming engaged. Maybe she had a secret friend who was Deryni and that's why she likes Alaric. I agree, she would have had to keep her head when talking to Jehana, but maybe she saw promise in the queen if HRH would just accept her own Deryniness. Would love to read a story about her, especially one before she came to court & met everyone else. Or one that referred to her pre-court days.
Judy Ward
You can buy a pretty good dog with money but you can't buy the wag of its tail.


A great discussion - I would love to see the scurrilous article if it can be found.

Two things have occurred to me as to why Meraude was accepting of Alaric.
I think that she would have most likely heard from both Nigel and Brion that Alaric had used his magic to save Brion in the battle against the Marluk. This would have predisposed her to be favourable, and Meraude has always struck me as being pragmatic and wise, not given to extremes like Jehana.

I was also wondering whether Meraude as a young woman had acquired a less than favourable impression of Lori's. When he was not fulminating against Deryni I can imagine him also having strong views on the dangers of young attractive women as " The devil's gateway". Perhaps she had to listen to one rant too often on the subject and decided that Loris' fanaticism on all subjects should not be taken at face value. Just a thought.

Saer of course would not had had either of these reasons to question the prevailing wisdom about Deryni - he strikes me as trustworthy and solid but not much oc a challenger of the status quo.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Quote from: duck on July 21, 2021, 06:24:57 AM
It is still possible that I have a copy of the original post saved somewhere

I would love to see this!! :)


From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


Me, too. Sounds like a fun read.


Me, too. Sounds like a fun read.


I agree with all that has been posted above.

I also think Meraude may have been an additional mother figure for Kelson, certainly a counter to Jehana's fanaticism. Kelson certainly seems to have live for her and she seems to be one of the few humans that Kelson and Morgan trust implicitly. 

I suspect that she also saw Morgan's interactions with Brion and with Kelson as he was growing, and this enabled her to see a side of Morgan that Jehana didn't. She respected Morgan for his Deryni abilities but more so for his unconditional loyalty to the Haldanes.

There are a few instances throughout the series of Kelson displaying affection towards her so I believe he loves and trusts her as his aunt but also trusts her enough  to share secrets with her. Morgan seems to as well.