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Old Jun 22 2011, 05:07 PM   #1
janeir0
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Default Was Robinton an alcoholic?

I read a lot of the books years ago, and now I'm making my way through the series again. I've gotten DF, DQ and half of the white dragon done so far. I really just do not like the character of Robinton so far. It seems like he is written to be likeable, all the main people get along with him, he's highly revered, pretty wise... But I just can't get over his whole "hardy har har I need Benden wines" schtick. It just seems to me like he is a functioning alcoholic, and that just kind of makes the character unlikeable to me for some reason (though I think that is the opposite reaction that is supposed to incur). Every time he or someone else mentions wine, I'm like "can he even spend a day without drinking" ??


Anyone else have thoughts on this matter? And I would maybe just request keeping spoilers to a minimum please?
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Old Jun 24 2011, 10:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

It's really impossible to say because we don't see Robinton forced to go through withdrawl, plus we don't actually know the alcohol percentage of Pernese wines (most wines on Earth are fairly low percentage to begin with, and the Pernese, like many cultures without water sanitation treatment, drink it a lot more than we do). There is the implication, if not outright statement, that Robinton is often pretending to be far deeper in his cups than he actually is, to make people underestimate him.
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Old Jun 24 2011, 01:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

In Earth's history, wasn't there a time where it was safer to drink the alcoholic beverages than the local water due to sanitation issues? I don't think he was an alcoholic just enjoyed his wine. He also drank wine as a medicinal purpose as well (DragonQuest/White Dragon). I think wine and Klah and fruit juices were the normal beverages on Pern. You never hear much about people wanting milk or water. They always carried wine skins on trips.
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Old Jun 24 2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

He was not protraded as auctually drunk very offten, so it is hard to say.
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Old Jun 24 2011, 03:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

Definitely! My GP says that one who structurally consumes three or more glasses of an alcoholic beverage per day is an alcoholic; so Robinton is And most often, I am too.

There's alcoholics and alcoholics... you don't always have to think of the bum on the street, begging...
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Old Jun 24 2011, 04:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

the thing is, do you ever see Robinton actually get drunk, when he's not pretending to?
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Old Jun 24 2011, 04:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

I'm not sure that being drunk is the only criteria for being an alcoholic, or even a criteria. I got drunk a few times when I was in college. That doesn't make me an alcoholic. My former best friends' ex-husband drank 6 or eight beers every day, yet he was able to hold a job and function (even though he was a horrible and abusive person).
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Old Jun 24 2011, 06:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

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Originally Posted by Priscilla View Post
I'm not sure that being drunk is the only criteria for being an alcoholic, or even a criteria. I got drunk a few times when I was in college. That doesn't make me an alcoholic. My former best friends' ex-husband drank 6 or eight beers every day, yet he was able to hold a job and function (even though he was a horrible and abusive person).
No, it's not. Alcoholism is an addiction and disease. It has nothing to do with how many drinks in raw numbers. Someone who has been drunk is not an alcoholic automatically. It's a dependency--can you control your drinking? If you get a hangover and swear off drinking, can you follow through? Priscilla isn't an alcoholic because she was drunk a few times in her life. However, I would guess that the friend's ex with temper problems might well have been. Alcoholics can hold jobs and can get by daily. It's "can they get by if you take away the alcohol?"

The "medicinal" argument is dubious in Robinton's case unless they were just using it as a masking agent. There are long-term health benefits to MODERATE alcohol consumption and it can half a mild dilatory effect on blood vessels (it will NOT save you in a heart attack the way aspirin will) that can help with some pain, but it won't treat anything acute or cure any diseases. It's good for dissolving some medications.
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Old Jun 24 2011, 09:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

Except in the instance where he was poisoned and transported on the back of a wagon in the first place, Anareth, where they were planning to put him on a ship and hold him prisoner. I do remember that they put something in his wine.
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Old Jun 24 2011, 11:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

As far as information given in the books, I would have to say Yes he is. alcohol percentage of any given drink has nothing to do with wether someone is an alcoholic. Many an alcoholic will drink anything with any amount of alcohol in it, Cough medicne and mouth wash are a couple. We don't have much info on how much he drinks in his normal everyday life other than with his meals. I guess he could be considered a, fuctional social alcoholic???
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Old Jun 25 2011, 12:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

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Originally Posted by jube View Post
Except in the instance where he was poisoned and transported on the back of a wagon in the first place, Anareth, where they were planning to put him on a ship and hold him prisoner. I do remember that they put something in his wine.
If I recall right, Fellis was found in the 'dead man' dressed to look like Robinton, and in the food fed Zair, All the Weyrs of Pern, book is near, I just can't read pg. that good.

Also I recall, something, about only the MasterSmith could out drink him, which book or were I don't recall, I think Dragonquest, .
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Old Jun 25 2011, 09:57 AM   #12
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

You have to remember one thing: Anne's Pern is in many ways similar to Earth's Middle Ages, and in that time people drank a lot of alcohol, but they weren't drank. They drank much more alcohol than water or fruit juices, all of them, man, women and children. Where ever you read about the Middle Ages, you hear people saying:''Give me some wine'' or some other type of alcohol, and not:''Give me some fruit juice'', or ''hot chocolate'' and the sorts. So it's a question is Robinton is an alcoholic.
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Old Jun 25 2011, 11:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

NO, Robinton isn't an alcoholic. Not any more than anyone else on Pern over the age of 14, and probably far less than some. He prefers wine to ale, and prefers Benden wines as a matter of taste, but when he is first recovering, and isn't drinking wine, he doesn't suffer from physical withdrawal symptoms. An alcoholic would.
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Old Jun 25 2011, 12:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

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As far as information given in the books, I would have to say Yes he is. alcohol percentage of any given drink has nothing to do with wether someone is an alcoholic. Many an alcoholic will drink anything with any amount of alcohol in it, Cough medicne and mouth wash are a couple. We don't have much info on how much he drinks in his normal everyday life other than with his meals. I guess he could be considered a, fuctional social alcoholic???
Wrong. It matters if you're not drinking enough to be drunk and Pernese wine is likely low enough you are not getting a significant buzz off a couple glasses. We see Robinton drinking in situations where it would be expected, and the few times we see him alone, he's not impaired. In fact the few times he appears to be impaired, the emphasis is on 'appears'. Robinton is somewhat sneaky (one might say 'underhanded') and a political manipulator--he wants to be underestimated by people like Meron. (Or once, as is pointed out, when he's deliberately drugged.) He does not go out of his way to drink anything (to the point he passes on Tillek wines, not something an alcoholic would do if that's what he's got to drink.)

Robinton, except when deliberately given a drug to tranquilize him, never shows that he cannot stop drinking or that he suffers DTs from withdrawal. He shows no indications of physiological or psychological addiction. In a culture where wine (and though we don't see it, beverages like ale and cider) would be more common than water, drinking wine on a regular basis is not an indication of alcoholism. (Heck, drinking wine every day in the real world is not indicative of alcoholism. The question is: can you take it or leave it alone?) It's not about what you drink or even how much you drink, it's about whether or not you HAVE to. If you cannot control your drinking and cannot stop when you have to (Robinton can), you are not an alcoholic.
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Old Jun 26 2011, 08:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth View Post
Wrong. It matters if you're not drinking enough to be drunk and Pernese wine is likely low enough you are not getting a significant buzz off a couple glasses. We see Robinton drinking in situations where it would be expected, and the few times we see him alone, he's not impaired. In fact the few times he appears to be impaired, the emphasis is on 'appears'. Robinton is somewhat sneaky (one might say 'underhanded') and a political manipulator--he wants to be underestimated by people like Meron. (Or once, as is pointed out, when he's deliberately drugged.) He does not go out of his way to drink anything (to the point he passes on Tillek wines, not something an alcoholic would do if that's what he's got to drink.)

Robinton, except when deliberately given a drug to tranquilize him, never shows that he cannot stop drinking or that he suffers DTs from withdrawal. He shows no indications of physiological or psychological addiction. In a culture where wine (and though we don't see it, beverages like ale and cider) would be more common than water, drinking wine on a regular basis is not an indication of alcoholism. (Heck, drinking wine every day in the real world is not indicative of alcoholism. The question is: can you take it or leave it alone?) It's not about what you drink or even how much you drink, it's about whether or not you HAVE to. If you cannot control your drinking and cannot stop when you have to (Robinton can), you are not an alcoholic.
No, I am not wrong, Please contact AAA for yourself and you will find there are many, many, types of alcoholics. We may also not see Robinton show any signs of Withdrawl due to What seems like Everyone on PERN always ready to give him as much wine as he wants,Since he always is offered ( and is said he never says no to a good Benden) he always has some in his system so doesn't go into withdrawl.) And yes he could decline a glass of Tillek Wine because He knows someone else will be ready and willing to get him some "Good Benden White".
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Old Jun 27 2011, 01:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

I always read it as being a running joke among the characters that Robinton has to have his Benden wine. I know there have been many scenes where it specifically says he responds with *exaggerated* eagerness. It's not like he's chugging it all day.
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Old Jun 27 2011, 08:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

Thank goodness Pern isn't set in the modern day psych heavy diagnoses of Earth. because by those twisty, turny, self contradictory applications, Robinton, and pretty much anybody who drinks alcohol, is a suspected alcoholic. Drink in a social occasion? alcoholic. Drink alone? Alcoholic. Drink Excessively? Alcoholic. Drink with meals? Alcoholic. Notice that you drink more than the last time without "feeling" the effects? MAJOR alcoholic!

might be an exaggeration, but not by much.

I agree that Pern being cast as an agrarian society, with only Earth's society as a model does put people into direction of social drinks are wine, mainly wine, and usually wine. with the only difference being the amount consumed.

I can't recall any demonstration of a person out of control in drinking. Actually I can't remember any mention of drinks, outside of wine, until later books when fruit juice, was mentioned, beer and quickal at first pass, but mainly wine, with Benden at the head of the line.

Brain just kicked over, one instance of water mentioned, Robinton's heart attack. I recall in Skies of Pern, F'lessan is handed two skins on recovering from the fireball's evacuation runs. - had to find it - water and klah.

Last edited by ghost8772; Jun 27 2011 at 08:55 PM. Reason: just remembered klah...
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Old Jun 27 2011, 10:00 PM   #18
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

@ghost8772, Alll very true, We will likely never know 100% either way, some will say yes, some will say no. and both could have rather valid reasons for their way of thinking. Perhaps The only one who Knows for sure is AM, was Robinton written as a lovable drunk or The highly respected elder statesman who happens to like the fruit of the vine a bit much? Or even Pretends to like too much. Either way, I still like the Stories she choose to write.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 06:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: Was Robinton an alcoholic?

Historically, wine was transported in a concentrated form (more potent than brandy) and then was watered down 'to taste' by the person drinking it. Robinton preferred Benden wine because it travelled well and tasted good. Most of the time, I suspect, he drank wine about as strong as 'vin ordinaire' (0.5% alcohol).
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