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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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    #1

    swiveled her wings on edge

    She skimmed over the waves, her reflection below and her shadow in front mirroring her every move like two ghostly companions, one dark and one light. Then she swiveled her wings on edge and, with three quick flaps, slowed herself and landed upon the water.
    (C. Paolini; Inheritance)

    What exactly did she do?

    Thanks.

  2. JohnParis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: swiveled her wings on edge

    She (the bird) performed a maneuver necessary to land on the water.

    Much like an airplane extends its flaps (the hinged or sliding section of an aircraft wing used to control lift and/or to bring the craft to the ground), the bird changed the angle of its wings to enable it to land.

    John

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: swiveled her wings on edge

    Imagine her flying, horizontally, face towards the ground. Her wings are spread out, so that, from the ground, you can see her body and the spread-out wings.

    http://admiralcreedy.blogspot.com/2011/07/angels-part-3.html#!/2011/07/angels-part-3.html

    She then moves to a vertical position, and closes her wings behind her. From the front, her body now hides most of her wings. You can see only the part that may extend above her head.

    http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/54/angels.php
    Last edited by 5jj; 23-Nov-2011 at 11:46. Reason: picture links added/typo corrected

  4. JohnParis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: swiveled her wings on edge

    I'm sorry Suprunp, I was wrong.

    I am not familiar with Paolini's work. You did provide the context, but I incorrectly assumed that "she" was a bird.
    While the mechnical description of my answer might still apply, I think 5jj's illustrations are better suited to answering your original question.
    Sorry for my lack of thoroughness.

    John

  5. suprunp's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: swiveled her wings on edge

    Thank you, JohnParis and 5jj!

    Although I seem to have understood the 'technique' I can't quite understand how exactly this meaning is conveyed via this phrase.

    'Swiveled her wings on edge':
    - swiveled - turned her wings, presumably upwards, but this word doesn't actually tell us this.
    - on edge - I take it to mean that she turned her wings to the very limit of their possible range of movement. The fact that she turned them upwards is left to our imagination to work out.

    Am I right?

    Thanks.

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: swiveled her wings on edge

    I am not too familiar with the coupling joints of wings on angels and other flyingng humanoid-type bibeds, though this might help: definition of swivel from Oxford Dictionaries Online. When we are reading about flying beings that we don't meet every day flitting past the number 11 bus, I think we have to accept that the descriptions don't bear too much scrutiny. I think that all the writer is trying to convey is that the wings moved from a roughly horizontal position with respect to the ground, to a roughly vertical positition.

    The wings may have still been outspread, but rotated through ninety degrees (watch a swan landing http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl...1t:429,r:0,s:0) in which case my second picture-link is unhelpful.

  7. suprunp's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: swiveled her wings on edge

    What exactly does 'edge' mean here? Why does it have no article?

    (I'm trying to understand how I can use this 'on edge')

    Thanks.

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