This time around, let us talk about Dances With Wolves. It is part of a genre where the White Guy partially assimilates and for whatever reason decides to help the culture he assimilated into. See also The Last Samurai. We may or may not have another example in John Carter. So the White Guy steps in to fight the oppression of the Other White Guys who are not as Enlightened as he is. This genre is pretty much a huge turn off for me and I tend to avoid stories with this plot because I am not sure the narrative understands what the hell it is talking about.
What is interesting is Fors, who is debatably white (we know that he is at least light skinned) does not get this narrative. You would almost expect it–Fors befriends Arskane and in any other book, he might have been adopted into Arskane’s tribe. There would have been some kind of “blood brother” ceremony. Instead, he swears allegiance as a fighter, agreeing to obey commands in battle, but not requesting entry into the tribe.
He is never at any point not a member of his own culture. (To whom he feels alienated because he is a mutant, not because of being more Enlightened.) At the same time, he is accepted despite being a mutant because of his friendship with Arskane who seems to view him as a younger brother. His big moment is doing something heroic by doing something he knows will probably be seen as cowardly. Also, he does it at the request of someone from his own tribe, who appears to be attempting to settle the disagreement between the Plains People and Arskane’s people.
Chapter Fifteen: Bait
This chapter opens up with a very cagey conversation between Arskane, Fors and Jarl. Jarl addresses Fors as “kinsman,” and lets the kid know that yes, he is in deep trouble and has been outlawed. Still, the “kinsman” seems to be an overture of some kind. (Fors is pretty upset about having been declared outlaw, though he knew that would probably happen.) We learn that Fors is extremely fond of Jarl because Jarl never treated him any differently than he treated any of the other kids of Fors clan.
Arskane immediately indicates that Fors is completely welcome to stay with his people, if Fors people don’t want him. Jarl points out that Arskane’s tribe is in imminent danger of getting wiped out. Fors and Arskane assume that Jarl is talking about the dispute between the Plains People and Arskane’s tribe. Jarl is actually talking about the Beast Things, who are definitely gathering an army. Jarl reveals that he has been in contact with Arskane’s tribe, which is camped not too far away. Arskane heads off.
Fors reports on their recent captivity with the Plains People to Jarl. The conversation is briefly interrupted by Jarl’s cat Nag, who arrives in the company of Lura. Cue touching reunion of a boy and his kitty cat.
Jarl takes Fors back to where Arskane’s tribe is. Arskane is meeting with a large group of his people. This group is mostly women and it turns out that Arskane’s mom is the chief of the tribe. Arskane tells his mom that Fors is his best friend 5ever and that she should totally let Fors join the tribe. Arskane’s mom is not too certain about that, but Arskane definitely thinks that they should take Fors in.
For his part, Fors warns Arskane’s mom that he is an outlaw with his own tribe. Arskane’s mom does not care! Though Fors is not a Dark Person she accepts Fors as a warrior for her tribe. (He does not actually get adopted into the tribe. He is just agreeing to follow orders.) She also makes it clear that she is mostly letting Fors join up because Arskane insisted! The Fors meets Arskane’s little sister, who talks his ears off, as little sisters will.
After some conversation between Arskane’s father and Fors, Jarl points out to Fors that Arskane’s people are in danger of getting turned into dog meat between the Plains People and Beast Things. Jarl suggests that Fors draw the Beast Things into the direction of the Plains People so that the Plains People (specifically their war leader Cantrul) would hopefully decide to kill Beast Things instead of Arskane’s people. Problem! He would probably look like a coward if he left suddenly, and he does not want his best bro to think him a coward. Counter problem! It is either look like a coward or horrible things will happen. Because Fors is a good kid, he decides to play bait.
Chapter Sixteen: The Hunted and the Hunters
Fors sneaks off at the first opportunity. He starts to engage the plan to lure the Beast Things into the Plains People encampment. While he’s scouting he discovers that Beast Things use rats much the way Fors’ people use their cats. (The relationship between the Beast Thing scout and his rats seems to be a little more antagonistic though.) Fors spends a lot of time worrying about this, because he isn’t sure of what capabilities the rats have, and he wants to know if the domestication is a recent thing, or something the Beast Things had been doing all along.