I’ll admit that a chapter devoted to a winter feast in a great hall with warriors and their king, all drunk and telling tall tales is cliché, but when it’s done well it is so much fun and helps weave the epic thread of the overall story
Just like in the Russian novels about the upper-classes, here the ‘rules of the game’ determine your life, your place in society. Make the wrong decision and you’ll never have any ‘friends’ – those old circles that you once traveled in will close up like Russian nesting dolls.
Add in religion and then your soul is on the line too.
Steadiness and unsteadiness.
this section begins with Sebastian a hopeless drunk living in squalor with a syphilitic German leech / criminal. Charles, however, finds himself through painting, his own hand steady as he documents the decay of the great British manors (and manners). At sea, the few still able to stand lurch and flail about in the storm, barely able to shake hands, a comic image of manners lost.