That last entry was me going too far. I do that sometimes. Much of Spanner is all about either the characters or their author going too far. But the whole Wold Newton Universe thing? You know the old Arab proverb warning against letting the camel stick its nose into your tent...
Anyway, there's a purpose behind that "Grail Family", "Wold Newton Family", and "House of Dracula" stuff. Margaret Starbird introduced it and Laurence Gardner (who included the genealogy of the House of Dracula in his Realm of the Ring Lords) echoed it. It's contained in the Hebrew words anakim and anawim.
The Anakim are a tribe of very large stature who do battle with the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. Goliath himself may be descended from that tribe, a branch of the Nephilim. The very word anakim itself, of course, means "giants".
Anawim means the opposite: "little ones". It's a word Starbird uses often. It's what Jesus means when he speaks of widows, orphans, the lame, the lepers, etc.
My character Ariel Shield explains it thus in a dialogue: In the Grail romances, when the Grail is shown in the Grail Castle, Sir Percival says nothing, and the Wasteland is the result. He was supposed to ask questions, you see. The first question he doesn't ask involves the Grail itself. Wolfram von Eschenbach uses an entire verse of Parzival to state in detail all the foodstuffs that the Grail magically serves the people of the castle. So the question "What does the Grail serve?" is already answered. The crucial question, Percival did not ask, is: "Whom does the Grail serve?" The answer is: either the anawim or the anakim.
Thus does Ariel describe, in the form of a myth, the central theme of Spanner. It goes for the Grail Family (the Grail Conspiracy vs. the Synarchy), the Wold Newton Family (the League of Chaos vs. the Companions of Silence), and the Dracula Family (among the vampires: those who love their victims vs. those who kill them). Ultimately, it comes down to the final conflict: Armageddon vs. Ragnarok.
The other question Sir Percival does not ask echoes the theme, at least according to Stephan A. Hoeller in Freedom: Alchemy for a Voluntary Society. He concludes chapter 9, "Hermetic and Puritan America: Opposites in Our Society", by asking this specific question, which is: "Uncle, what ails thee?" Percival's uncle is the wounded Fisher King, who more broadly represents "the sovereign", which in America is, at least in theory, the people (i.e., the anawim). The sovereign people are also wounded: what is their condition? I say they've been usurped by — you guessed it — the big men, or anakim.
So it goes far beyond mere "good superman vs. evil superman" battles. I'm changing the game. In Spanner, the "good supermen" are allied with the "people of no significant lineage", some of whom either belong to ancient bloodlines of power (if obscure or in eclipse) or have spontaneously mutated (e.g., the "indigo children"); the "evil supermen" remain the same because they have the same goal: the dictatorship or "synarchy" of an all-powerful "master race" elite. Once again, it comes down to democracy's struggle to replace authoritarianism as the fundamental form of social organization. In evolutionary terms: which side are you on, for human evolution or against?
This is the theme of Spanner, and so this is what the "superior families" theme comes down to.
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