Proof that Tela is not a spy!

as seen on the

O.K., here we go. The idea that Tela wasn't a spy first came to me in a flash during the 1993 spring tour. After all, who was it who said that she was a spy? Errand, of course. Before I get into the details to prove my case, some of you may be wondering why Errand would want to kill Tela if she wasn't a spy. The answer is simple. Tela, being the only woman in TMWSIY, obviously is meant to represent the female archetype. She would therefore be more in touch with nature, and hence with Icculus and the old gods and godesses. If she would have lived, she would have joined forces with Forbin- who represents the American values of freedom- and overthrow Wilson in a nearly bloodless revolution, after which the Lizards would once again live in harmony with the universe. (Note that, in contrast, after Errand's revolution, not only did he establish his own dictatorship, but that the fighting kept going on for generations (see Llama's liner notes...)

O.K., to understand my argument you must agree with me on the pecking order of trustworthiness. First comes the narrator. Being the omniscient third person, we must trust his judgement first. Then comes Icculus; the god of the mountain would not steer the Lizards wrong. Then comes Forbin. The colonel is our protagonist. Barring anything said by those above him, his reactions must be trusted. On the other hand, Errand's remarks must be held in some level of contempt, because he sold out the revolution.

Now what do we know about Tela? Well, just by examining her song, we should take Errand's pronouncement with a grain of salt. First we are told of her hatred of Wilson's regime. However, she is able to transcend mere anger, "Tela grew strong/ From her struggle to endure/ In the shadow of Wilson's castle./Time touched her wounds/And shelter proved the cure/In the shadow of Wilson's castle/Each passing day/ Seemed to feed the brazen serpent locked inside/And liberate the spirit she'd concealed for so long." Note the serpent imagery. Traditonally, women were negatively associated with the serpent of Genesis. Therefore the idea of feeding the serpent means that she is in touch with traditional female power. Note that the result of that was to "liberate the spirit." So clearly, this song is telling us that Tela has managed to overcome her anger by using pagan spirituality; she has become closer to Icculus.

Now let's contrast her attitude to Errand's. Some people think that it was the HFB that corrupted Errand. However, obviously this is not true. Our first impression of him tells us that "He seemed to emit a kind of violent energy that sent chills down the colonel's spine. And as the multibeast moved towards him, he raised his fist in anger and his voice filled the forest." Note Forbin's reaction. He was scared of Errand. Moreover, unlike Tela, who was able to transcend her anger and hatred, Errand acts only out of hate, as he repeatedly screams, "Wilson, king of Prussia, I lay this hate on you." So even from the beginning, it is obvious that we should cast a somewhat sceptical eye upon Errand.

In order to truly understand Errand's character, we must examine the scene where he orders Tela to be murdered. The background music for the entire scene is the Wilson theme. It builds and builds in the background until right after Tela is killed. The loudest chords on the Wilson theme are heard just as Forbin says "Why?" Obviously, this question can be examined on two levels. On the more basic level, this is Colonel Forbin's attempt to understand the murder. However, this is also a question for the listener. Why is the Wilson theme being played? The answer is shortly revealed- while Forbin is asking this question, Errand is sneaking into the room. Even at this early point in the saga we now know that Errand is as bad as Wilson.

Moreover, Errand's explanation does not ring true. According to Errand, it was only recently that he suspected Tela was a spy. One would expect him to confront her first in an attempt to make her confess. It is not easy to have a companion and fellow revolutionary betray you, yet Errand felt no remorse. His tone of voice in explaining that Tela was a spy was a barely controlled sneer. Besides, Forbin was there. If Tela was a spy so dangerous that she had to be killed immediately, why wasn't Forbin under any suspicion? It is readily apparent that the reason Tela was killed before she could explain her actions was that Errand knew she wasn't a spy. If she were allowed to speak for herself, she would reveal the lie of this accusation. Therefore it is no wonder that Forbin saw evil in Errand's eyes. We should be seeing it at that point too.

At this point some of you must be shaking your head in disbelief. The motive of power-lust, while strong, shouldn't be nearly strong enough to kill one of Icculus' loyal servants. This is true. However, Errand had another darker motive. Errand had grown to hate Icculus.

When the revolution first started, Errand was as much of a follower of Icculus as any other Lizard. As time passed though, he became more and more obsessed with the idea of overthrowing Wilson. His first questioning of the power of Icculus came when he began to wonder why Icculus was not helping the revolution. With this crack in his moral armor, he began to view the Lizards' religion more critically. "After all," he thought, "it was the dependence on the HFB that let Wilson control the Lizards in the first place." Before long he began to hate everything about Icculus. Around the time of Forbin's arrival, he decided that the only way destroy the Lizards' love of Icculus was to try to destroy their tradition. Reasoning that the name "Lizards" reminded them of their ancient traditions, Errand tried to stop people from using that word. He started with his most loyal henchman Rutherford. Soon he had Rutherford believing that he was no longer a Lizard, and in fact "The Lizards, they have died." Unfortunately, we do not know the name that Errand planned to use to replace "Lizards." This piece of knowledge would have revealed more about Errand's character.

Of course Icculus was not unmindful of Errand's hatred. He knew that Errand was filled with "avarice and greed," yet he decided to give him one more chance. Indeed, it nearly worked. When the Famous Mockingbird came swooping down, Errand was filled with awe. For one moment, he paused. It seemed as if the old religion might still have some power over him. Alas, the moment was fleeting. Not only did Errand not return to the fold, but it was here where he truly revealed how far he had fallen. His first action was to imprision Icculus' "faithful friend." To prevent any bad feelings, he came up with a quick rationalization- letting the Mockingbird free would enable Wilson to know his plans. Note the similarity in his reasons for working against Icculus. The killing of Tela was because she was a spy. The trapping of the Famous Mockingbird was to prevent information about his plans getting out. One wonders if he felt his real enemy was Wilson or Icculus. As if this wasn't bad enough, he soon let on his feelings about the HFB. The Helping Friendly Book is the source of all knowledge, yet he thought of it as a mere tool, something he could put to work for him.

While the smear campaign on Tela was good enough to fool the Lizards long enough to win him power, in the long run information like this cannot be kept secret. It is rumored that there is a spot deep in the forest where the ghost of Tela visits. There she teaches the Kung chant and the Divided Sky rituals to Lizards who are afraid of losing their heritage. "Don't worry," it is told she says. "The Lizards will rise again."

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