The prestigious military orders had some of the most exhaustive witness requirements: at least twenty-four witnesses to prove blood purity, twenty to prove nobility, and whatever other witnesses might become necessary, but some cases could require up to five hundred interrogations (71).
The practical changes to the marriage ceremony developed at the Council of Trent, although not prompted by concerns about limpieza, nevertheless compounded the problems the ideal of blood purity posed.
"La fuerza de la sangre" presents honor as both a genealogical fact and as the province of one's private conscience; these irreconcilable definitions demonstrate that honor, like blood purity, is an impossible fiction.
This idealized, effortless vision of honor stands in stark contrast to the laboriously constructed, always precarious status of blood purity.
Blood purity is, unavoidably, a fiction, like the novela: reading "La fuerza de la sangre," one can see and believe--while, at the same time, disbelieving.