Study Guide

Foundation Part II, Chapter 2

By Isaac Asimov

Part II, Chapter 2

  • Anselm Haut Rodric is the envoy from Anacreon, and Chapter 2 opens with his arrival to the Foundation.
  • Hardin receives him with fitting pomp and circumstance
  • The two discuss Foundation. Haut Rodric is interested in the planet, especially the fact that they have so much land and no nobility or peasantry.
  • He doesn't even know what to do with himself when he finds out that the leader of the Foundation is a scholar, of all things.
  • Hardin is bored all afternoon by the ceremonies, but we'd say Pirenne and Haut Rodric have it worse. Not only do the two detest each other, but they've got to make all buddy-buddy while hating on each other. Good stuff, politics.
  • At dinner, Haut Rodric controls the conversation with his tales of wars and battles and triumphant victories. His stories last well beyond dinner (he's one of those guests).
  • Then, the three head onto the balcony to discuss "serious matters" (II.2.24). War, eh, it's lollipops and giggles to this Haut Rodric guy.
  • Planets across the Periphery (i.e., the edge of the galaxy, where the Foundation is located) are breaking away from the Empire. Each wants to have power over the others, and that's what Haut Rodric is there for.
  • See, the planet Anacreon wants to establish a military base on Terminus. It's a strategic spot for Anacreon should the planet of Smyrno become aggressive again, and it comes with the added bonus of "protection" for the Foundation.
  • Oh, and the Foundation would have to support the occupying, we mean, protecting forces by paying taxes. Fair is only fair.
  • Pirenne argues that the Foundation is a state-supported institution under the protection of the Empire.
  • Haut Rodric notes with a hint of menace that Anacreon is much, much closer.
  • While Pirenne keeps arguing for state-supported institution, Hardin tries to get to the core of the situation. After all, Terminus is a metal-less hunk of rock. What good is it to Anacreon?
  • Well, Haut Rodric thinks the land might be fertile enough to dole out to the Anacreon nobility. Of course, Pirenne and Hardin would get their titles too. Again, fair's fair.
  • Hardin seems to go along with Haut Rodric, asking if they can supply plutonium for their nuclear power planets, but Haut Rodric ends the conversation there and turns in for the night.
  • Pirenne is super angry, but Hardin understands the value of the conversation.
  • (1) He now knows Anacreon's true intentions: to take Terminus as land for its nobility.
  • (2) He also knows that Anacreon no longer has nuclear power, because of the way Haut Rodric reacted when he brought up plutonium.
  • He doesn't share any other insights, but we're pretty sure he's got some more tricks located up those sleeves of his.