Orson Scott Card Wiki

Hierarchy of Foreignness

Redirected from Varelse

383pages on
this wiki

The Hierarchy of Foreignness is a classification system made by Valentine Wiggin as Demosthenes, for classifying how "alien" an individual is relative to a subject. It is organised in five tiers:


 An utlänning is "the stranger we recognize as being a human of our world, but of another city or country."

Presumably from the Swedish utlänning, "alien, foreigner (someone from another country)."


A främling is "the stranger we recognize as human, but of another world."

Presumably from the Swedish främling, "stranger, alien, foreigner, outsider."


Raman (Plural Ramen) are "the stranger we recognize as human, but of another species"; a sentient being who is of another species. Pequeninos and Formics are thought to be ramen.

Although not a common word, may be constructed in Swedish from + män, where rå indicates "coarse (not refined); brutal (crude or unfeeling in manner or speech)" and män = "man" or "person."

Varelse Edit

The varelse are "the true alien, which includes all of the animals, for with them no conversation is possible. They live, but we cannot guess what purpose or causes make them act. They might be intelligent, they might be self-aware, but we cannot know it." The Formics were thought to be varelse, but after The Hive Queen was published, people's opinions changed.

Varelse means "being" in Swedish.


Djur is the lowest branch on Demosthenes' Hierarchy of Foreignness. "Djur" means animal or beast in Scandinavian.

Djur can be thought to mean a being who operates with impulse or instinct, that is not capable of communication with sentient beings.

"He's varelse then, or worse — djur, the dire beast, that comes in the night with slavering jaws." - Speaker for the Dead, page 36.

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki