Part of the fun in watching Tytania is in picking apart the choices taken by Tytania’s Dukes, and my favourite example of this is the chain of decisions surrounding Lydia, ‘the Moe Princess‘. Tytania doesn’t fit Lydia, though I imagine she would say it’s the other way round. Her sense of honour-driven politics is naïve, but increasingly attractive when juxtaposed with, say, Idris’s serpentine plotting, or even Zalisch’s more honest belligerence.
In fact, Lydia’s naïveté seems to have confused Tytania into behaving decently. She was also just lucky, because she became the responsibility of Jouslain, the Duke who’s capable of thinking outside the Tytanian box (a box which is probably made of diamonds and irritatingly justifiable arrogance). I love the conclusion to the ninth episode, when Jouslain visits Ajman to put Lydia’s case. Ajman has to remain an enigma, because another part of the fun in watching Tytania is attempting to predict who might be the next Clan Lord, and if we should learn too much about him we’ll lose the pleasure of that particular parlour game. Nevertheless, I think I detect a sense for mischief in his decision to agree to Jouslain’s proposal while obliging him to look after Lydia.
Amusingly (and, judging by my – admittedly limited – experience in the workplace, realistically), however, the problem gets passed down the hierarchy – in this case to the unfortunate Bal’Ami.
One of the (few) advantages of nepotism is its tendency to provide leaders with known quantities for subordinates: your nephew might not be the best man for the job, but you probably know much more about his capabilities and his probable behaviour than you would about an elected stranger. When Bal was introduced he appeared to be a fairly standard Tytanian: we saw him, factious and hungry for advancement, urging his father to plan a coup. Perhaps Jouslain has the measure of Bal, and thinks that looking after after Lydia will be more character-building for him than going out on Tytania’s regular excursions to crush minor nations, which seem to be the only kind of career development opportunity the clan offers.
Being lucky enough to live in a drab democracy, I find fictional or historical regimes which combine family and government very characterful, though not necessarily very attractive. The fact that Bal can be asked to gather information for Jouslain one moment and to compose Lydia’s letters for her the next is somehow exciting. In these moments of delegation Tytania actually makes the administration of an interstellar empire sound interesting, which is a very memorable feat if you stop and consider it.