Week 8 Challenge: Shipping in Tremontaine -- and perhaps half credit for week 7: Something I'm curious about

I'm curious about Theodorick de Bertel and Rafe Fenton. Actually, I'm curious about Rafe's University years in general, and about his friends, especially, Joshua, but today, I'm focusing on de Bertel.



Rafe considers him brilliant. From Rafe, this is no small praise. He wrote a commentary on Delphin's mapping of the stars, and did work on planar geometry and elliptical motion.

This is the first master Rafe studied with, I think, and he was generous enough to forgive Rafe for trying other instructors when Rafe returned to him. Sure, by the time of Season 1 of Tremontaine, the two are on the outs again, as de Bertel will not tolerate Rafe's insistence on contradicting what de Bertel is certain are the facts of the universe.

I'd guess that de Bertel thinks highly of Rafe, just as Rafe thinks highly of him, and that his enmity is born of disappointment that a star pupil could fall into what he considers grave errors of scholarship. And, while I'm sure there's anger and malicious delight in de Bertel's decision to put himself on Rafe's examination committee, de Bertel probably also considers this a regretable, but absolutely necessary, decision. He must protect scholarship and everything the University stands for from someone from whom he expected so much better.

I don't know how frequently masters sleep with their students at the University, but if Rafe's pre-Will pattern holds, if they had sex, it would only have been once. That is, they would only have had what Rafe considers sex once.

The last time we see de Bertel himself is when he informs Rafe that he will be on Rafe's committee, and this is after a night where a drunken Rafe did a de Bertel impression in front of the man himself.

One wonders whether de Bertel hopes that Rafe will two the line in his examination, whether this is what de Bertel considers giving Rafe one final chance.

But, of course, de Bertel does not sit on the committee. Apparently, he "took ill".

It is strongly implied that what actually happened was that Will used his influence to

a. Get de Bertel pulled from Rafe's committee
b. Get the examination scheduled earlier than would normally have happened
c. Get Doctor Archibald Lyttle out of retirement to sit on the committee.

This is never explicitly confirmed. However, it is notable that de Bertel is not replaced by Martin. Rafe's original ideal committee was Martin, Chauncey, and Featherstone, and of these three, Martin is the only one who does not appear -- and is the one Rafe told Will would pass him if it seemed to mean a chance of having sex with Rafe. (Rafe also assurred Will that it wouldn't, although he was prepared to let Martin thing that it would.)

What I wonder is how the changing of the committee happened. How was Lyttle convinced to come out of retirement? How was de Bertel convinced to stand down?

Did Will approach de Bertel? That would have been a fascinating conversation.

Did Will go through the Board of Directors and never speak directly to de Bertel? If so, how did de Bertel learn that he'd been removed from the committee? What did he think about all of this?

Or did de Bertel actually take ill? And if so, was this with or without help? If it was an actual, fortuitous (for Rafe) illness, did Will simply take advantage of this and push for the exam to continue as planned?

What happened behind the scenes?
What did de Bertel think of it all?

What did he think when he learned the Rafe had left the University? That Duke Tremontaine had gone mad? He must have learned the first. He might possibly not know the second, but it's highly unlikely. However, he might not know the role the Duke Tremontaine played in Rafe's examination -- if, indeed, Will did play one.

And what does he think now? Is he bitter that Rafe beat the system and then abandoned academia? Is he relieved? Regretful?

And does he know about Micah and what this young scholar is doing?

If the truth of how the world works, in terms of mathematics and physics, were proven to him, what would de Bertel do? Would he explain it away as lies and sad delusion? Or would he accept it and write more brilliant studies?

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