Three Seas Forum

the archives

dusted off in read-only

  •  

Cnair posted 31 August 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Scarred, Candidate

While reading the two books, I noticed that nearly every character was despicable and evil in their own way, that everyone had their own agenda and lied constantly to themselves and others, I felt some degree of disgust for all of them, yet strangely felt sympathy for Cnair.

I became entranced, and appalled as I saw every character become manipulated and changed by Kellhus, yet I only felt outrage at him, when he began using Serwe to manipulate Cnair, playing on his tormented memories. Cnair seemed to be a sort of wall, standing against the Dunyain's domination.

For some reason, Cnair seemed to be a pure sort of character, and probably the most sympathetic of all in both novels. He has commited atrocities, but still has a sense for justice and honour, and would likely be a friend of many of the nobles, were he not torn apart inside by his conflicting views of whether he was one of the People or not. When he finally gave into Kellhus, then turned on him, then seemed to give in again, I started to wonder what sort of role he would play later on in the series.

What more can Kellhus use him for? What of the prophecy which (I believe, correct me if Im wrong) contains a mentioning of a Scylevendi? Now that he no longer has his "proof" how will he be able to live with himself? I'm pretty sure that he will play a significant role in the next novel, possibly as a means of killing the Consult? Since he has shown himself to be capable of at least fighting at a similar level with them. All I know is that Cnair is my favourite character and I hope he can survive the series.

Comments? Theories? (Sorry for the crappy thread, I'm a n00b it would seem :p) view post


Cnair posted 01 September 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Andrew, Peralogue

I'm intrigued by your sympathy towards Cnaiur - i see him as being the most thoroughly evil human character in the book. Unlike the other characters, he acts the way he does without any reason but to affirm himself and his own choice. When he randomly murders and rapes to "get what compensation he could", he isn't doing so because he fundamentally believes anything the victims are evil, or are an abomination in the God's sight, or whatever. He acts as he does to affirm for himself that he is what he choses to be - the most violent of men. He has no reason to chose that however - he might as easily chosen to become the most "sucessful of horticulturalists". Unlike other men, and indeed, other scylvendi, Cnaiur choses the paths which he forces himself down, and it is quite the demonic twisted path indeed! I see Cnaiur as the ultimate psychopath.

In terms of a sense of honour and justice - i don't know where you see that. This is the man who sympathized with the sentiments of the Fanim traitors who opened the gates of their city over their hatred of the governor (incidentally, i think that was a Consult move, not a fanim move). That is, he understood a hatred so large, it would sacrifice an entire city of innocents to accomplish its ends. This man abandoned his entire family, including the wife he loved to the Steppe with all the inevitable consequences that would entail. He measures himself by his slaughter. He murders and abuses simply to distinguish himself from those around him. If the man had any sense of honour or justice in the way we recognize, he would have cut his throat long ago.

You may i think, be confusing purity of purpose, or purity in action, in the sense of acting entirely for one purpose and with one end, with purity of character. Even that purity of purpose is lost by the end of the Warrior Prophet, when Cnaiur trades War for Serwe. In terms of his character ... my goodness. Even in our politically correct, give em a second chance, they're victims too, Capital of the Universe (Canada) you'd find near unanimity on reinstating the death sentence for the guy. view post


Cnair posted 02 September 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by tellner, Peralogue

Good? Evil? We are judging him by our standards here. I know, what other standards do we have to judge him by? Still, it's much more interesting to get inside his head and see the world from his complex, alien point of view.

He is violent, murderous, rapacious, mad by the standards of everyone around him and his own people. But the way his mind works has an internal logic. He doesn't do things just because he's evil but because he is what he is just as hard as he can be. It's not something terribly pleasant by our lights, so he's a bad guy.

Contrariwise, Kellhus isn't "good" by our standards. He sees human beings as white boxes - complex but understandable and ultimately nothing more than input/output devices to be used. But he fits more of our preconceptions about what a certain sort of cool hero is like. So we tend to identify with him. As does everyone whom he meets <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

They are both great men, accomplished, wise alien and driven by larger purposes. But neither of them is "the good guy"

I'm betting that in the end Cnaiur will prove at least as important in the Second Apocalypse or its prevention. view post


Cnair posted 02 September 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Andrew, Peralogue

Aiturahim: I have to agree about Kellus - i've always been torn about whether Kellus or Cnaiur was more "evil" (i'll use quotes so as to avoid ruffling Tellner's feathers). Kellus would definitely qualify as a psycho-path. How can anyone read the abandonment of Leweth and not be appalled? The only consolation the reader can find, is in the otherness of Kellus psychology - we can understand his actions, because who among us hasn't swatted a fly that interefered with our supper? The difference, and the key to identifying with Kellus, is that for him all men are flies.

Tellner: I don't think anyone does things "Just because he's evil" - people don't sit around like "ok, i'm evil, what wicked thing should i do now?" - rather we call them wicked/evil, or they prove they are evil AFTER the person has decided to act in whatever way they want. IE. Cnaiur doesn't murder and rape because he's evil - rather the fact that he murders and rapes makes him evil.
I would point out that no one has suggested getting into the head space of a Sranc, or a Skin-Spy and trying to identify with why they want to fuck severed heads. The Inchoroi are litterally aliens, who seem to lust after destruction and pain in the same way people look for peace and sex. I'm not interested in seeing the world from their point of view - No one wants to make the No-God a hero - "but maybe the no-god wants to make every womb barren because he was abused as a child - oh i feel bad for him! maybe if i were abused in the same way, i would want to destroy the earth! I'm not evil, ergo the No-god is not evil!" Or, we could take the evolutionary tack "the inchoroi clearly evolved in an atmosphere where rape, torture, and abomination enabled them to become evolutionarily superior - since the only objective measure of the good is evolutionary success, for the Inchoroi rape, murder etc. is a moral good, therefore in trying to destroy the world they are not evil." view post


Cnair posted 03 September 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Joel, Commoner

Interesting thread. Although I'm not sure I'm understanding everything that's been said so far.

I haven't really given much thought to Cnaiur in the greater sense of things as near the end of TWP his role seemed to diminish. In general he comes across to me as a foil/counter/opposite of sorts for Kelhus. All rage and passion to Kelhus's endless objectivity. I suspect that that is why Kelhus still uses him, a sort of fascination with something so different, has he ever been able to study a madman before? Plus, he is easy to manipulate and a powerful man. Why discard the tool you might need.

I'm sympathetic to Cnaiur because of the more straightforward honesty inherent in him. I'd never want to meet him but his character is a pleasant rarity in The Prince of Nothing so far. It's refreshing to read about him after all the pages devoted to people manipulating each other.

And as to speculation about where he is heading well, I tend to think that either he's going to continue his degradation and die. Or there will be a redemption of him which eventually leads to him returning to command the Scylvendi in the 2nd Apocalypse. Wow, what daring guesswork.....<!-- s:-( --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_sad.gif" alt=":-(" title="Sad" /><!-- s:-( --> view post


Cnair posted 03 September 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Andrew, Peralogue

Scarred: In terms of the Nietzschien element - i've always considered both Cnaiur and kellus to be reflections of two Nietzschien ideals. Cnaiur on the one hand seems to be a perfect example of the Master Morality ideal. Strength, dominance, power etc. affirming itself through action. Nietzche i think would approve of Cnaiur. Kellus seems to be a perfect example of the Uber-Mensch. An individual that has transcended humanity - is in complete control of his actions and of all men, most perfectly able to choose. Nietzshe (N) would also approve of Kellus. From that perspective, what either character does is right and good regardless of its consequences on other people. N viewed things like compassion, forgiveness, mercy, humility etc., in, shall we say, a less than favourable light. The weak and pitiful value mercy etc. and set such values up to be desired in order to subvert the natural order and value system of dominance, strength etc. N derided Christianity because it says, "blessed are the meek, poor, merciful etc.; turn the other cheek - if a man asks you to go one mile, go two miles." Having said this, i don't believe that Bakker is setting up these two characters as ideals or saying their actions are actually good. Just because N would tell you they are good, right, above reproach whatever, doesn't mean they actually ARE good.

I think that if anything Bakker has set out to destroy those 2 ideals because scarred, you are perfectly right when you say that in a universe goverened by Nietzschean ideals, the Consult is exactly the same as Kellus. - actually it might be better to say that the Consult is the same as Cnaiur. In a typical book, the characters from whose point of view the book is told, or who the action follows most closely, are intended to be the sympathetic character - the 'good guy'. I don't think that is the objective in the PON - i think what we have in the PON are the extraordinary characters. The characters, good or evil, upon which the fate of the world rest. I don't think we can say from this that Bakker is sold on N. It doesn't follow that the actions of the principal characters are good.

It certainly doesn't follow that I am going to say "oh, it's a nietzschean universe, i guess i'll have to applaud Cnaiur's raping and murder" - hang that! i'm solidly against N and the moral system he espoused.

In terms of resolving the Kellus v. Consult issue - i think we got a huge hint of that at the end of the WP. I've spoken of this in other threads, but consider:
- mercy towards Cnaiur - Kellus even lied to himself to spare Cnaiur
- sorrow for Serwe
Recall: when Moenghus returned to the Dunyain from his time in the world, he was sent away having been deemed to be polluted by the world.

I'm not sure why you think Cnaiur is a Dostoyevskian character?

Joel: Cnaiur is easy to manipulate? Even when Kellus finally suceeded, Cnaiur was aware that he was being manipulated...who else can claim that? Kellus knew that Cnaiur was his biggest threat - he believed Cnaiur's usefulness to be at an end, and yet he could not bring himself to kill him. Something's going on. view post


Cnair posted 04 September 2004 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Scarred, Candidate

Quote: &quot;Andrew&quot;:2yxgh3es
Scarred: In terms of the Nietzschien element - i've always considered both Cnaiur and kellus to be reflections of two Nietzschien ideals. Cnaiur on the one hand seems to be a perfect example of the Master Morality ideal. Strength, dominance, power etc. affirming itself through action. Nietzche i think would approve of Cnaiur. Kellus seems to be a perfect example of the Uber-Mensch. An individual that has transcended humanity - is in complete control of his actions and of all men, most perfectly able to choose. Nietzshe (N) would also approve of Kellus. From that perspective, what either character does is right and good regardless of its consequences on other people. N viewed things like compassion, forgiveness, mercy, humility etc., in, shall we say, a less than favourable light. The weak and pitiful value mercy etc. and set such values up to be desired in order to subvert the natural order and value system of dominance, strength etc. N derided Christianity because it says, "blessed are the meek, poor, merciful etc.; turn the other cheek - if a man asks you to go one mile, go two miles." Having said this, i don't believe that Bakker is setting up these two characters as ideals or saying their actions are actually good. Just because N would tell you they are good, right, above reproach whatever, doesn't mean they actually ARE good.

I think that if anything Bakker has set out to destroy those 2 ideals because scarred, you are perfectly right when you say that in a universe goverened by Nietzschean ideals, the Consult is exactly the same as Kellus. - actually it might be better to say that the Consult is the same as Cnaiur. In a typical book, the characters from whose point of view the book is told, or who the action follows most closely, are intended to be the sympathetic character - the 'good guy'. I don't think that is the objective in the PON - i think what we have in the PON are the extraordinary characters. The characters, good or evil, upon which the fate of the world rest. I don't think we can say from this that Bakker is sold on N. It doesn't follow that the actions of the principal characters are good.

It certainly doesn't follow that I am going to say "oh, it's a nietzschean universe, i guess i'll have to applaud Cnaiur's raping and murder" - hang that! i'm solidly against N and the moral system he espoused.
[/quote:2yxgh3es]

I agree with you on pretty much everything. The one mai thing that I found most fascinating about PoN, is that NO character is entirely free of blame in anything, everyone has their own agenda of sorts. There are various times when every character may seem sympathetic, there are times when every character seemed repulsive to me. There have been times when I felt that the Holy War itself was the real antagonist of the story, ot the Consult, Kellhus or anyone else.

And just for the record, (I dont think anyone assumed this) I didnt feel any sympathy towards Cnair or applaud his actions of rape and murder, I felt sympathy towards him for his past manipulation, which haunts him in the present time, as well as for his conflicts between whether he helps the Inirithi for whom he has developed some sympathy, or for him to stay true to his heritage. view post


Cnair posted 03 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Wracu, Commoner

"Swazond," he had said. "The man you have killed is gone from the world, Serwe. He exists only here, a scar on your arm. It is the mark of his absence, of all the ways his soul will not move, and of all the acts he will not commit, A mark of the weight you now bear."......"I will bear you," he said to the blackness. And never, it seemed had he uttered a mightier oath....He raised the knife to his throat. TWP pages 538-539

I think this clearly explains that Cnaiur felt that he was responsible for serwe's death. Serwe's throat was cut, so he would bear her swazond upon his throat. view post


Cnair posted 03 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Wracu, Commoner

"Swazond," he had said. "The man you have killed is gone from the world, Serwe. He exists only here, a scar on your arm. It is the mark of his absence, of all the ways his soul will not move, and of all the acts he will not commit, A mark of the weight you now bear."......"I will bear you," he said to the blackness. And never, it seemed had he uttered a mightier oath....He raised the knife to his throat. TWP pages 538-539

I think this clearly explains that Cnaiur felt that he was responsible for serwe's death. Serwe's throat was cut, so he would bear her swazond upon his throat. view post


Cnair posted 06 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by ilana richardson, Candidate

the only good is innocence. Serwe is good. With knowledge comes competition, desire, and evil. Ikurei Conphas is evil. view post


Cnair posted 15 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by RevCasy, Candidate

the only good is innocence. Serwe is good. With knowledge comes competition, desire, and evil. Ikurei Conphas is evil.


I disagree with that definition of good and evil. First of all, you seem to be equating innocence with ignorance. I don't think they are one and the same, though they sometimes go together.

Secondly, I don't think desire comes with knowledge. Babies, for example, are ignorant (and innocent) but they are also supremely selfish and they definitely have desires.

Thirdly, I don't think knowledge of the world, desires for various things, or a competitive nature makes one evil. It *can* be argued that Ikurei Conphas is evil, but I don't think it is for those reasons. Also, though you say Serwe was innocent and good, she *did* have desires, very strong ones. Another example, Mahatma Gandhi had a great deal of knowledge of the world (enough that he figured out how to drive the British Empire out of India), but I wouldn't say that he was evil.

It is how a person uses their knowledge, how they treat their desires, and how they manifests a competitive nature (among other things) that makes that person good or evil. view post


Cnair posted 15 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Andrew, Peralogue

i would generally agree w. revcasy's last comment - except with the proviso that a person may be very evil, and yet not manifest such in a way detrimental to those around him. I am referring to a person who might be too afraid of punishment or failure to carry out his evil desires and so is completely innocuous to those around him.

in respect of the evilness of babies, i'm not really sold on that - selfishness is not per se bad or wrong. it depends on the context - the 'selfishness' of a baby flows (at first anyway) from its obliviousness to what is going on around it and its lack of comprehension that something other than itself really exists. In a world with no other people, selfishness wouldn't be good or bad, it would be neutral... I certainly wouldn't agree that "the only good is innocence", but innocence is certainly one way of goodness.

in terms of "desire" i think Ilana was referring to base desires...

Interesting tie-in to this discussion: In the bible, Adam and Eve were forbidden from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because to gain that knowledge would be to enable sin with its consequent separation from God and death. view post


Cnair posted 17 February 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by RevCasy, Candidate

in respect of the evilness of babies, i'm not really sold on that - selfishness is not per se bad or wrong. it depends on the context - the 'selfishness' of a baby flows (at first anyway) from its obliviousness to what is going on around it and its lack of comprehension that something other than itself really exists. In a world with no other people, selfishness wouldn't be good or bad, it would be neutral


Oh, I didn't mean to imply that babies are evil, though that is a rather amusing thought. <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> Rather, I was attempting to point out that it isn't knowledge of the world that leads to desire, but that desire is inherent in human beings. Babies are ignorant, but have desires anyway. You see?

Also, I agree that babies are essentially neutral with regard to good or evil. One can't make moral choices when one has no knowledge of right or wrong. (As an aside, on a forum where so many people are interested in philosophy, that last sentence feels like a risky statement to me, but I'll make it anyway.)

This is getting rather off topic though isn't it? I appologize for hijacking the thread. view post


Cnair posted 20 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by diarmuid, Peralogue

interesting questions and answers posted here...

grasping the idea of good and evil, thinks I, defeats what is transpiring here.the question should be...

are these characters being true to their natures?

good and evil aside all actions of any sentinent being must be measured and weighed against the nature of that being whatever the cause of nature

do any of you view the doll in the second book as evil?

are the characters acting within or without the bounds of their nature as we understanf it to be?

there lies your good and evil I think. view post


Cnair posted 27 November 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnair by Anonymous, Subdidact

DELETED view post


  •  

The Three Seas Forum archives are hosted and maintained courtesy of Jack Brown