spock: logic is sexy

Meditations on Amanda/Sarek

I wish I had held off my end of the year fic meme until I posted Walk the Line (and god, I will never again title a story after a song because I get it stuck in my head every time I go back to answer a comment). There wasn't a category for most fun comments on a story, but I would have made it for this one. I have been so entertained and intrigued to hear which character each reader empathized with the most. I admit a bit of prejudice toward Sarek myself; he is on another planet, trying the best he can to carry out the rituals of another culture. His mistake was totally innocent, and he was probably baffled when the gifts weren't better received. On the other hand, I imagine Amanda made a large sacrifice in accepting that he would go to work on Christmas day, and perhaps she'd consoled herself with the thought of a sweeping romantic gesture to compensate for what she gave up. And I doubt this is the first time some larger emotional need of hers went unmet. Mostly, I sympathize with her because she knows she's a little wrong to act the way she does, but she can't quite stop herself. I've been there before.

The meme did have a question for which story changed your perspective on a character or pairing, and this was it for me. Honestly, I hadn't thought much about Amanda and Sarek before, and I probably wouldn't have if fringedweller hadn't left me a prompt for them. I had thought about the different ways they might parent Spock, and I had thought about the problems they might have had conceiving Spock (because I don't think genetically engineering a hybrid child would be problem-free, especially the first time around), and how those things might have affected their marriage. But I had never thought about them before, especially as a young and childless couple. I imagine that Spock and Uhura have challenges and miscommunications too, but Spock is half human and grew up with a working model of a human-Vulcan relationship. Amanda and Sarek would have been doing this on their own. The barriers must have been formidable.

And while I've thought a lot about the prejudice that must have been directed at Spock, and perhaps at Amanda, I never considered what it might have done to Sarek. In my head, he met Amanda when he was posted on Earth and fairly new to the diplomatic corps. Dating her might have been considered a bit of an eccentricity, but probably a tolerable one, and possibly even a logical method of intercultural exchange. I imagine that Sarek was a bit of a rarity, but maybe not the only Vulcan who got sexually or romantically involved with a human. What makes him different from everyone else is that he allowed it to turn into a relationship, and then he got married. I imagine that's when he crossed a line, and a lot of his fellow Vulcans (in or out of the diplomatic corps) might have viewed him with suspicion. He's the guy who went native, and just like they don't trust that Spock is wholly Vulcan, they don't trust that Sarek is either. Maybe the prejudice that Spock is facing is partly because he's half human, but also partly because they think Sarek is a little human too. But that's a digression; what I really wanted to talk about was Sarek. I imagine that he would have had to work extra hard to prove that he was still Vulcan, at least in public, and I wonder what kind of personal or marital strain that created. No doubt he had to neglect some of Amanda's needs, at least publicly, in order to appear more Vulcan. To have married a human and then achieved the ambassadorship is quite an accomplishment. Sarek must have been as exceptional as his son.

Of course, my personal canon is up for debate. When Sarek talks to Spock after the fight, he says something like "as the ambassador to Earth, it was logical for me to marry a human," which implies that he married her after he became the ambassador. I like to explain this away because Sarek is already being a bit revisionist just by suggesting that logic propelled the relationship rather than love. Maybe he meant that he had ambitions to become the ambassador, or maybe he figured baby Spock didn't actually know the exact year that he became ambassador. okay, yeah, that is definitely wishful thinking. More realistically, maybe that's one of those tiny canonical details that script writers insert without thinking and discard later, so maybe I am justified in doing the same. I am very, very attached to the vision of Amanda and Sarek as a couple just starting out in their careers. I suppose the other version could be fun too though -- Sarek as an eminent and respectable ambassador who went a little renegade and suddenly came home with a human wife. Maybe I can play with that later. Maybe I will take some prompts from you guys later too. I would really like to write more of them, but I don't have the bunnies yet.

ETA: I know Star Trek V said Sarek had a wife and a child before Amanda, but I just really prefer to pretend that film never happened. I don't think I'm alone in that.

ETA #2: Ooh! Maybe they were in a super serious relationship for a long time, but they didn't get married until he became ambassador. That would let me keep my personal canon with only a few small revisions...

ETA #3: I need an icon for them. Can anybody point me to one?
Good memory indeed!

In a weird way, I like that whole history better. It's sort of funny, thinking of Sarek and this other lady having basically a one night stand and then being mortified afterward. Things like that would have to happen in a society with such a strong biological urge to mate every seven years. Maybe without the melodrama about the son though...
*saves in my personal canon* This reminds me a lot of stories my biracial friends have told me about their parents (Sarek and Amanda being a literalized metaphor and all).

taraljc did a massive icon post the other day, where this icon came from. Maybe there's one of Sarek and Amanda innit?
Very interesting thoughts.

Re age upon first meeting: at least Amanda was fairly young IMHO. She wouldn't have looked that spry in ST:IV if she'd been even older when she had Spock. Though Humans probably age differently in the 23rd century. Hm.

Sarek is a bit of an enigma to me &ndash he seems so quintessentially Vulcan and confident in his Vulcan-ness (Vulcanity?) yet he obviously broke with Vulcan traditions in his choice of marriage partner. Diplomatic duties are a convenient excuse but I wonder if some Vulcans like to believe that he only married her because he got stuck during pon farr or something.

My personal belief shares some of your preferences for a vision of their first meeting: they met while he was an up-and-coming person in the Diplomatic Corps, stationed on Earth or elsewhere with a Terran presence, and his fascination with the culture and the young woman herself mixed up for him. He chooses to consciously de-emphasise the personal reasons for public statements, of course.
After reading the other comments:

unrund's info on T'Rea and the like is from the novelisation, not from what was shown on screen, so something you can accept for your canon or not. Personally, I like the backstory of his first marriage and divorce because it does explain why Sarek is free to choose a partner.

rubynye's comment, your note about Sarek perhaps being a renegade and my own family's story combined to give me another idea. Maybe as a young adult, Sarek went on a bit of a travelling and self-discovery spree (could even be traditional for those about to join the diplomatic corps? explore other cultures before you choose to represent your own and all that) and during his travels, he meets Amanda, who is in the tourism business. After some adventures, he decides to join the corps after all and return to his Vulcan serenity but compromises by taking a Human wife. ;-)
An alternate explanation that would still allow things to fit would be that Sarek wasn't 'the' ambassador - after all, there's the official head ambassador and then all of the guys under him. So, still on earth as part of the diplomatic envoy, just not the top dog?

idk, am I even making sense?

Anyway, I also like your headcanon.