Okay, why did I assign the Elders as I did? I'll try to hold down the esoterica.

Let's begin where I began, with The Emperor. The Emperor is the archetypal ruler. If you ever see this card in a layout, ask, "What am I ruling? How am I ruling it?" At his best, The Emperor is a matchless organizer and administrator. At his worst, The Emperor is a ruthless manipulator. Sure sounds like Oberon, ruler of the One True World for more than 1500 years and ruthless manipulator of his own children, to me.

Now let's look at The Chariot. If you haul out a Rider-Waite deck, or several others, you'll see a young warrior, crowned with stars, riding over all his opposition in his chariot drawn by two sphinxes. At its best, The Chariot is a card of overcoming obstacles through self-discipline. As the warrior harnessed the sphinxes, so you harness your talents and emotions to win the day. With proper discipline, the victory seems like an act of fate, denoted, again, by the two sphinxes, one black and one white. (Note the yin-yang symbolism.) The Chariot is also a card of emotional armoring, sometimes. The warrior wears armor, and the shoulder plates have the faces of the Greek theatrical muses. They are also moon-shaped, another clue. If there is no struggle and The Chariot appears, the next question to ask is "What armor am I wearing? Why?" Now, who do we all know who wins every battle, makes it look effortless, and almost never shows his feelings? Benedict.

I wouldn't give Benedict Death because Death usually isn't literal. Death is a card of profound change. Various parts of your life may seem to die, but you will not. Death is an opportunity, underlined by the fact that Death reversed is stagnation.

Now let's look at The Fool. The Fool is the character out of countless fairy tales. He doesn't know where he's going, or what he's doing, but he's going out into the world to seek his fortune. It's been proposed before that the rest of the Major Arcana, or the entire deck, is just The Fool's journey. His heart is as pure as the white rose he bears, and if he stepped over the cliff, angels might bear him up. Think of Zen's "beginner's mind" or Saint Francis' "holy innocence". Who begins the books knowing almost nothing, not even his own name? Who gets used by his own brother because he is ignorant? Who learns more about his world than he thought was possible? Who re-examines his own life throughout the first five books? Corwin. Just as The Fool finally becomes one with all things in The World, Corwin becomes a Pattern.

Random's a difficult man to assign. I chose The Wheel of Fortune for more superficial reasons in his case. Random's always loved to play cards, and The Wheel of Fortune can signify a game of chance. More often, The Wheel signifies a turning of one's luck, or an unexpected stroke of luck. Random gets several lucky breaks in the first five books. Random gets Corwin's protection when the creatures from Fiona's tower attack. Random doesn't get killed by Moire, who certainly has cause to hate him, when he returns to Rebma. Vialle, his blind wife, is someone who truly loves him, and he grows to love in return. Random doesn't manage to kill Eric with that crossbow bolt, true, but Eric only places him under house arrest rather than, say, blind and in the dungeon. Later on, Random manages to stick Corwin with a particularly nasty explanation to Vialle. Whether Random's choosing by the Unicorn at the end of The Courts of Chaos is the best or worst piece of luck he gets, I leave to you to decide!

The High Priestess sits veiled with the Book of the Law on her lap. Hers is a hidden wisdom, intuition, secrets. Perfect for Fiona, who always knows more than anyone suspects and keeps more secrets than anyone guesses.

Look closely at Temperance. With one foot on the land, and another in the stream, the angel mixes the contents of two cups. In the Sacred Rose deck, one cup is silver and the other is gold. Llewella, like the Healing Angel, has one foot on the land of Amber and one foot in the water of Rebma. Temperance is a card of calm and balance, both qualities Llewella owns. As Llewella mixes the two halves of her heart (a long-standing correspondence for cups), who can say what will be created?

The Sun. Joy, health, happiness, success. What better card for Bleys the valiant, rash, and impetuous redhead? Note that redheads were often believed to be especially blessed by the sun, especially among the Celts.

The Magician has the symbols of earth, air, water and fire before him, the pentacle, sword, cup and wand. He can command them through his will alone. Above his head, a symbol of infinity hangs (in some decks, it is literally glowing with power). Ouroborous, the Worm of Wisdom, is his belt. Brand attempted to impose his will on the universe, through mysterious powers he gained and a blood sacrifice (Martin), and almost succeeded. Brand makes a marvelous Magician-gone-wrong.

Eric, given his qualities, is another difficult character to place. I thought of the High Priest, upholder of tradition and traditional values for Eric because he took an oath to defend the throne of Amber. The Devil might work better, given that The Devil isn't quite as evil as he seems to be. The next time you see The Devil, note that the two figures chained to his throne can slip their chains over their heads and free themselves at any time. Eric might be best represented by the Arthurian Tarot's The Green Knight, who challenged Arthur's knights in order to teach them wisdom.

Strength is a good choice for Gérard. The maiden in Strength tames the lion not by brute force, but by love. Gérard's demonstrated on several occasions, from rescuing Random from an island to saving Brand's life, that he loves his siblings and Amber. That is Gérard's true strength, and the noblest kind.

Flora's another tricky Amberite to assign. The Empress is loving, nurturing, caring and creative. Perhaps Flora would be better as the negative aspect of The Star, vain and attention-seeking.

Dworkin could do equally well as The Hermit he lives like, or The World. Remember, Dworkin is his Pattern, which defines an entire universe.

Deirdre and Julian are almost impossible to work with. In Julian's case, we seem to have already assigned the most appropriate cards to more appropriate Amberites. We see very little of Deirdre. The Hanged Man, suffering in search of enlightment, might apply to her death for Amber. Corwin would surely attempt to assign Deirdre the pure and beautiful The Star, but I don't think her heart is that pure.

In its positive aspects, The Moon symbolizes intuition, the astral plane, and the wisdom of dreams. The dark side of The Moon is deception, illusion, and self-deception. Hence why I connected it to Caine, Amber's great master of "smoke and mirrors".

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