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kellhus == good guy?? posted 22 June 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

WOW. Welcome to the board and what a first post!

Re the vacuum (sorry about the lag): We may begin in vacuum, which I have not thought enough about yet to have an opinion regarding, but in the post-vacuum existence, life, we can make theory decisions based on evidence. I see more evidence of a lack of morality than presence. Regardless of where we begin, we can still analyze the world around us.

Also, where is this vacuum? Prior to conscious thought? If that is the case then we apparantly randomly choose a belief or disbelief in morality. If you can't think about it, you can't even make a decision. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 02 July 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tighe, Commoner

BTW the last post was mine view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 03 July 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

Um, I don't think any of us are (lawyers, that is). Mostly absessed readers. Though I suppose its quite a complement.

Kellhus himself may be neither good nor evil, but I think he can be put into a perspecitve within the story. In TDTCB I think he would be considered a good character based on his actions, if not his motives.

Welcome to the forum, way to jump in! view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 04 July 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by saintjon, Auditor

For me it's the opposite. In The Darkness That Comes Before his actions were what made him out to be er 'questionable' to me, whereas I think his motive might be a respectable enough one.

Well when he first left Ishual he was thinking to himself "I shall dwell in the house of my father." Now that could just mean that he's going to hang around after he kills him, but I don't think so. He seems (and even more through the second book) like he yearns for his father in a different way. After all, neither of them can go back to Ishual, and an island of Dunyain in a sea of deluded animals would probably start to appeal to him after awhile.

Also, going out into the world and blindly following the Dunyain mission to the letter kind of goes against what the dunyain are about anyways. Why shouldn't he (or what he wants to do) come first?

Anyways, for me de-valuing everyone around you because they can't see what you can does not a good man make. Even the ones he supposedly decides to "help out", he only shows them enough of what the Dunyain understand to make them need/want him even more. In the prologue the monk who found the Anasurimbor says crimes will continue "only so long as men are decieved", well I fail to see how being decieved by history is worse than being decieved by Kellhus. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 04 July 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Loof, Peralogue

Great reply saintjon, you summed up my feelings about Khellus almost exactly. Especialy the inconsistency about trying to eliminate ignorance and at the same time deceiveing and useing everyone around him. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 05 July 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by saintjon, Auditor

Thank you for the compliment.

Even if Kellhus did use his abilities truly for the greater good of those around him the idea of him still scares the bejeezus out of me. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 05 July 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

I think you are right, actually. I never thought about it quite like that, and I agree with you.

I still maintain that the reader empathizes with him as a 'good' character (at least in TDTCB). view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 06 July 2004 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by saintjon, Auditor

Oh I dunno about that so much, he sort of moves in the trappings, but the way he worked Lleweth over was pretty harsh. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 22 February 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by RevCasy, Candidate

I still maintain that the reader empathizes with him as a 'good' character (at least in TDTCB).


I'm a reader and I didn't empathize with him as a good character. I identified with him as a protagonist, and because the character fascinated me, but I never stopped being troubled by him and thinking of him as, if not evil, not-good.

I've never been the type to root for the villains either. Kellhus is a little like Dirty Harry (without the redeeming quasi-moral crusade against crime), you like him because he is strong and hard, not because he is nice, or even good. However, I suppose that it is easier to avoid thinking about the troubling aspect of Dirty Harry (precisely because Harry justifies himself with that quasi-morality) than it is to ignore Kellhus' amoral manipulations.

If Kellhus had died I would have been dissappointed, and I suppose that reaches to the heart of my loyalties, doesn't it? But I would rather, over the course of the series, that Kellhus would become... more than he is now. Because, as he is now, I can imagine the possibility of being glad if he died at the end of PoN. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 14 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Scilvenas, Auditor

I wouldn't say he's a bad guy. The problem is trying to judge him by "normal person" standards. He's quite a bit beyond "normal" in ability. If you judge him by a lower standard, a human standard, he appears almost evil.

No, I think the problems might arise if he ever becomes capable of judging by human standards. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 14 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Well, some strange things are happening to him. He's beginning to have emotions and involuntary emotional reactions.

I am not sure he is evil either, at least not in the sense of what we think of as unadulterated malice. He simply has one overarching goal -to get to dad - and all other things must be made to follow. (Maybe also to be equal to dad, hence the desire to learn the sorcery).

I am just curious, if the Dunyain are so free of emotions and customs and history, what is this sense of "Father" that he sets out with from the beginning and does that change over the course of the book? What is vested in the biological connection? What cultural notions of paternity? view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 21 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Randal, Auditor

I don't know whether universal morality exists or not, but by my code of ethics Kellhus is evil, for his casual abuse of humans when it suits his ends. Not just when it's absolutely necessary to achieve his goal, but also when it just might give him an infinitesimal advantage later on will Kellhus gladly kill, manipulate and destroy. Not even an "end justifies the means" defence (to which I do not subscribe) would get Kellhus off completely, I think.

But he is more than just evil. Cnaiur is evil, probably more so then Kellhus, since the Sklyvendi destroys, kills and maims for pleasure, whilst Kellhus destroys to achieve a goal he percieves as necessary. But even so, when the two of them travelled through the steppes I found myself rooting for Cnaiur to prevail, to defeat and kill the abomination that is Kellhus. For whilst Cnaiur is a thoroughly evil and despicable man, it's a human evil, which I can in some ways understand even as I abhor it. Kellhus... frightens me. Yes, the book would not nearly be as interesting without the Dunyain monk, so on a more rational level I wanted him to survive. But that did not change the way I felt.

I think, as some have said above, that Kellhus indeed cannot be judged by human standards. He is beyond that. But to me, that does not make him more than human. It makes him less. He no longer is one of us. Instead, he is utterly alien; the monster in the night, the beast that howls and screams at the moon, the unknown and the enemy of all. Although he wears a pleasant mask, he'll destroy you with as little thought as the beast that jumps your back in the woods. And the fact that he acts not out of mindless hunger, but out of cold logic combined with preternatural intelligence, only makes him more of a threat.

Maybe Kellhus is more than human. Maybe he is better than us. But so were the Martians in the War of the Worlds. And whilst I am one of those lowly humans crawling on the ground in Kellhus' shadow, every instinct I've got screams at me to kill him before it is too late. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 27 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Echoex, Auditor

But he is more than just evil. Cnaiur is evil, probably more so then Kellhus, since the Sklyvendi destroys, kills and maims for pleasure, whilst Kellhus destroys to achieve a goal he percieves as necessary.


This very topic was dealt with in TDTCB, wasn't it? Didn't Cnaiur explain that the Scylvendi kill out of some twisted respect for life? I don't remember the exact phrasing, but it had something to do with being a part of the course of existence -- of taking life because life was there to be taken.

Cnaiur and Khellus are so similar in character that Bakker needs to win a Booker prize for this slight of word genius.

Both are victims of their environment. Cnaiur is conditioned to be violent by the harsh laws of his race. Khellus is conditioned to be single-minded and egocentric by the teachings of the Dunyain. Both characters really have no idea how to live otherwise. Does that make them evil? view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 28 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Randal, Auditor

I did qualify "by my code of ethics Kellhus is evil." Maybe Kellhus isn't evil for a Dunyain.

But to truly answer that question, one would probably need something to compare them with. i.e. other Dunyain or Sklyvendi. Right now, we don't know whether all Sklyvendi are murderous bastards like Cnaiur, nor do we know all Dunyain are manipulative bastards like Kellhus. Maybe the ones we see are the exceptions to the rule.

We do know Cnaiur is violent and nasty even by Sklyvendi standards; that's how he held onto his position despite being hated by all his tribesmen as a tradition breaker and father killer. Maybe Cnaiur is evil even for a Sklyvendi.

And as for the Dunyain, I'm not quite convinced they're all manipulative bastards. They teach extreme detachment and rationalism, yes. But they don't come into contact with the outside world, so they don't teach their monks to manipulate 'lesser' humans. Maybe Kellhus made that part up by himself. He's nothing if not good at improvising... view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 28 April 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Remember the scene where the Pragma smacks Kelhus so hard in the face he falls down, just for interrupting him... by our ethics, that is bordering on child abuse. But even up to my grandparents' generation, that sort of thing was just good child rearing. Kids were whipped and beaten by their parents and teachers on a regular basis, for their own good. It was accepted practice.

So in a way, comparing the practices of the Dunyain (or Cnaiur's violence) to our time (and place) is a little pointless. (Because having killed the most men in battle was considered admirable and brave in most medieaval contexts.)

So is Kelhus evil? Maybe from where we are standing. But is that really the most interesting way to pose the question? view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 25 May 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Randal, Auditor

I'd be willing to bet Kellhus is evil from the Three Seas viewpoint, too. He himself probably disagrees with the very notion of "good" or "evil." And whilst his people might well admire Cnaiur for his savagery in battle, (for which I do not condemn him either) they still think him a monster for what he did to his father.

But yes, it's perhaps not the most interesting question to ask whether in this time and age Kellhus or Cnaiur would be evil. In any case, that wasn't my point. The point was, whether he works for some strange good or evil or nothing at all, Kellhus scares me. Much more than Cnaiur, who may be a psychotic bastard, but at least is fundamentally human in the dispicable deeds he commits.

And I think this is a testament to R. Scott Bakker's writing skills, for I've never encountered any villain who scared me half as much as Kellhus, be it in literature or movies. Even if it turns out he's working for the greater good all along, I'll hate and fear him. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 25 May 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Kelhus is definitely evil from the Three Seas point of view. He's even evil from Cnair's point of view and I think that takes some doing!

I don't think he'd necessary disagree with the concept of good and evil (how ever it may be historically constructed) but he's probably think it's irrelevant, a world born construct. Although there is that interesting moment when he watches Serwe get raped the first time that (I don't have the book with me now) his head spins and he has this new inkling that this might be wrong. Maybe the fact that he is starting to have emotional reactions (like crying at Serwe's death) might link him up with the concept of good and bad and right and wrong in a new way. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 20 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by SoulKing, Commoner

This question of Kellhus being either good or evil becomes more of a philosophical question rather than a physical one.

When we reflect back onto that which we have learned regarding Kellhus, what have we been shown that would solidify our knowledge of Kellhus' motivitions being "good" rather than "evil"? What do we know about him for certain?

We have learned for certain that his main goal is to find the "Absolute" form of Logos - though we don't possess a clear picture of what this means as of yet. We have also learned that Kellhus possesses an intelligence of the human condition unlike anyone - with the exception of his fellow Dunyain - the world has ever seen. We have witnessed Kellhus' ability to recognize the whole spectrum of human emotions and react in kind.

Is it a possibility that we as humans refuse to quantify that someone who possesses so much knowledge and understanding about ourselves and our purely human condition, with all of the ups and downs that make up this condition, from being evil? When we consider his motives, which have not been plainly shown to us, after witnessing is actions, can we truly "know" that his intentions are good rather than evil? Can we base our view solely on the relationship between what it means to be human and Kellhus' keen abilities to influence this condition?

On the other side, we know that Kellhus believes that each soul, each person, has been dominated from birth. Dominated by their family, their principles, their society and their customs. Dominated by their fears and joys. Kellhus sees nothing wrong with dominating these individuals for his own end (which may be a worthy or good end) since they are already dominated. If one is currently a slave does it really matter that they have swapped one owner for another? This seems to be at the heart of Kellhus' reasoning for dominating and conquering those he comes in contact with. So if we analyze these actions can we consider these acts of domination over the already dominated an evil gesture? When we consider what an "evil" act truly is, do we require there to be an intention to commit such an act? Or can we say that if intention to commit evil is not present it cannot be considered evil; such as when we speak of fraud the "intention" to de-fraud is implicit to it even taking place? Does evil follow the same rules surrounding intention that are so prevalent when speaking of fraud?

What if we say - for the sake of argument - that intention is irrelevent and the Kellhus' actions in and of themselves are evil, but his overall objectives remain worthy and good. With this being the prerequisite, are these individual acts of evil overidden and out-weighted by the OVERALL act of good that Kellhus is striving for? Can Kellhus be considered good because his INTENTION is not to commit evil but rather to commit good? Does the old-time addage of the end justifing the means hold up under this scenerio?

There are many questions that arise when we discuss Kellhuss' motives, overall objectives and intentions and whether in the end Kellhus is good or evil. Simply being able to ask these questions and debate the answers on such a philosophical level allows us to see that Kellhus is one of the most interesting and intelligent fictional characters created in the history of literature. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 29 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Echoex, Auditor

We do know Cnaiur is violent and nasty even by Sklyvendi standards; that's how he held onto his position despite being hated by all his tribesmen as a tradition breaker and father killer. Maybe Cnaiur is evil even for a Sklyvendi.


Perhaps he is. Or perhaps he's just the best at who he is. Remember, we're talking about a character who's title is 'violent-of-all-men'.

If you're going to do it right, do it right.
.Ex. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 29 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Remember that what gave Cnair away when Moenghus rode away was that he cried. So everyone thinks he was Moenghus's lover (plus according to them, a very "unmanly" thing to do). Thus the betrayal of his father and the breaking of traditions is always in the shadow of the suspicion of homosexual behavior. That is part of why his tribe treats him with underlying contempt and disgust. If that makes him evil is another story.

And probably why he strives to be uber masculine by beating his wives and killing the most men.

In the middle ages, the accusation of sodomy was not often leveled at the actual instances of anal sex, rather during instances of "heresy", whether political or religious. This is one of those instances where the ambiguous charge applies. There is some homoerotic tension between Moenghus and Cnair, which Moenghus works to get Cnair toward the betrayal. And the muttering of his tribe afterward link the two inextricably. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 29 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Lucimay, Subdidact

good evil black white

this doesn't enter into this story for me. i suspend disbelief when i read. i don't judge "the world of the play". i become immersed.

i think this discussion is going on because of the complexity of the characters in this story. nobody is all good or all bad. we see things that are likable about Xerius (or at least pitiable) and unlikable about Kelhus.
i am truly surprised at a lot of the reactions to Cnaiur. i find him to be the most intriguing kind of interesting. (but then I always go for the most dangerous guys!!hahahah!)

if i had to choose which tent to sleep in, i'd be in Cnaiur's tent as opposed to Kelhus'. violence is honest. it's up front. understandable. for me, easier to deal with than that sneaky stuff that Kelhus is up to. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 29 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

Personally I'd rather live in a happy little delusion than a repeat rape filled horror fest. So it's Kelhus for me. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 29 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Lucimay, Subdidact

weelll...i'm not saying rape is preferable
i'm just saying that Cnaiur is more up front and Kelhus is slimier and possibly MORE dangerous. losing your innocence is one thing, losing your soul is quite another.

i didn't mean to spin off into a tangent, tho'. i only meant to say that i don't think either Kelhus or Cnaiur are "evil" or "good".

and if you asked me which one of these two characters is actually capable of love (i.e. which one actually LOVES Serwe) i'd still have to say Cnaiur, Kelhus seems concienceless and therefore more CAPABLE of greater "evil." of course, it remains to be seen, doesn't it. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 29 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

OK, but Cnair "loved" his wife Anissi too. But now he's fogotten who she is and seems to have replaced her in his mind with Serwe. I think Cnair is too insane to really love anyone. He's obsessed with Serwe more than anything, which you could argue is Kelhus's doing. I am not trying to argue that Kelhus actually loved her or what not, but I don't think that what you see with Serwe is real love. It's mentioned that he even beats Anissi. Count me out!

I guess this is a long winded way of saying I agree with you, there is just not black or white here. Sure, maybe we could say Akka "really" loves Esmi, but at the end of the day, he left her before and now, even after all his pretty promises, he left her again. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 29 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Lucimay, Subdidact

i capitulate! you like kelhus better. that's cool.

we all get what we get from a story, no matter the author's intent

it's better for me if the waters are a bit muddy, the experience is better, i have to think more, decide how what i am reading is making me feel because if the story is well-told, it's going to make me feel SOMETHING.
and in THIS particular story, one of the most intriguing (there i go with that word again) aspects is the complexity of the characters. not just caricatures of barbarians and noble knights. real people in bizarre circumstances.
AND i am glad now, to be having a conversation about the story, so thank you! (i had just, for the past week, been browsing around the forum and chatting about whatever, just to get acclimated!! <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> ) view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 30 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

And so you have! You have more posts than me and I've been a lazy lurker for a while now...

it's an interesting forum, more interesting than most. I'm checking in after a while and perhaps I will see what's been said recently. The wait between books is brutal.

Yes, I agree. Black and white is boring and trite. I like to live in the world of the book too, but I have always thought that you can never totally leave yourself behind. Thus is the curse (and blessing, if acknowledged) of the historian, no? Thus when I read history, I know the sources aren't just speaking for themselves, there is the mediation of the historian. And Bakker is in the here and now and what ever rendition he has given us of his world has an element of our time inevitably as the lens... view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 30 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Lucimay, Subdidact

lordy.

you've gone eloquent on me! don't lurk!! i'm happy you're here!!

this site is better than most!! (limited experience speaking here)
i'd like to talk about the dark tower series but i'm terrified to go to a king forum!! <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> kingians can be very zealous and possesive!!

so i might bring it up here if a decent thought ocurrs.

anyway, i ramble. thanks again for the communique! view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 30 July 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by target, Auditor

Interesting thoughts there about the nature of the historian, i will have to keep that in mind, especially as it is kind of the basis of my dissertation.

As far as the characters go, i feel a greater affinity to Cnaiur than to Kellhus. I would heartily agree that he does seem souless, but what scares and concerns me more than that is his seeming complete lack of agenda. OK, so he has been summoned by Moenghus, but throughout the story i have no real idea of his motives or objectives, especially concerning his manipulation of the Holy War and the major characters.

I think one of the reasons i quite like Cnaiur is his ability to resist Kellhus's verbal and mental games (much like trying to make sense of a civil servant - especially Sir Humphrey Appleby, gotta ove 'Yes, Prime Minister'). I won't deny that i like Kellhus, i don't really see how you can. Rather i'd say i don't trust Kellhus and to that extent i would not yet consider him good or bad. Yet. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 08 August 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Randal, Auditor

For me, to say I "like" Cnaiur would definitely be going too far. He's a murderous bastard.

It's more like I'll cheer for anybody who tries to oppose Kelhus. As I said in my first post, I don't find it all that relevant whether one would call Kelhus "good" or "evil." What's relevant is him being completely alien to "normal" humans, and incredibly dangerous to them.

Let me put it this way: if I were one of the people in the Three Seas and knew what I do now about Kelhus' nature, I would turn all my resources towards destroying him before all of us are enslaved. And if that would be impossible, I'd run until I'd put as much distance between me and him as possible. view post


kellhus == good guy?? posted 08 August 2005 in The Darkness That Comes Beforekellhus == good guy?? by Tattooed Hand, Auditor

I vote for running, since there is no possible way to win... view post


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