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posts by Truth Shines Candidate | joined 25 Mar 2009 | 30

Re: Cnaiur Badass Quote! posted 28 Mar 2009, 01:03 in The Thousandfold ThoughtCnaiur Badass Quote! by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="skafadi":3pp8ilcw]'You know nothing of war. War is dark. Black as pitch. It is not a God. It does not laugh or weep. It rewards neither skill nor daring. It is not a trial of souls, nor the measure of wills. Even less is it a tool, a means to some womanish end. It is merely the place where the orn bones of the earth meet the hollow bones of men and break them.' ... Awesome:D[/quote:3pp8ilcw] That's indeed a great quote. After I finished the first book I went back several times just to re-read that quote. :D My nomination is actually for a quote from Cnaiur's old man. I forgot which volume this is from, but it's when he is reminiscing about his younger days spent with his father on the steppe under the night sky. Looking at the innumerable stars, his father told him how the whole sky is a big tent (yaksh) and the stars are the pinprick holes on the tent and the light is from a "greater sun" shining from Outside. And Skiotha then says therefore when it's day it's really night, and when it's night it's really day, and "THAT'S HOW WE KNOW THE WORLD IS A LIE." For me, this ranks as one of the scariest lines in the whole book. Knowing this is a people who have allied themselves with the No-God, it carries a terror like few others. view post

Re: Nostalgia: Fav part of the trilogy? posted 28 Mar 2009, 02:03 in The Thousandfold ThoughtNostalgia: Fav part of the trilogy? by Truth Shines, Candidate

Heh, it might be easier just to name the parts we don't like... :D I'll go first: the part when Esmi leaves Sumna to follow Akka after the encounter with Aurang in TDTCB. Kinda boring... :wink: OK back to the favs. I really like that joke Kellhus told in TWP, something like "Before you criticize someone, you should ride his horse for a day... Because then you are one day away and have his horse." :lol: Also, you just can't over look the theophany of the No-God. The towering whirlwind evokes Yahweh in the Book of Job. And the maddening questions it asks -- the ultimate proof that this series is MORE than just high fantasy. Take that, Sauron! I'm not just evil. I'm incomprehensibly evil. view post

Re: The Curse of the Judging Eye (SPOILERS!!!!) posted 30 Mar 2009, 05:03 in The Judging EyeThe Curse of the Judging Eye (SPOILERS!!!!) by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="Cynical Cat":1k2pb5yj]I'm not convinced that Mimara sees "sin". She has some unusual metaphysical perceptions, but to assume that the traditional explanation is true is very dangerous territory in Earwa.[/quote:1k2pb5yj] You my friend have just hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head. Mimara sees SOMETHING -- which she interprets as damnation. We simply don't know if that's correct or not. And yet. Yet. Yet. "I guard them! I hold the Gates!" Is she not proclaiming to be a gatekeeper of Hell? Of the inhabitants of Hell? Of the Damned? view post

Re: The eye in the Pick's heart *spoilers* posted 30 Mar 2009, 06:03 in The Judging EyeThe eye in the Pick's heart *spoilers* by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="Callan S.":3kfpinjn]Akka also explains that in some places, the [i:3kfpinjn]distance[/i:3kfpinjn] between desire and how things actually are, is shortened. That place leaked in and that desire have eyeballs in hearts. Or maybe it didn't get everything it wanted...[/quote:3kfpinjn] Excellent point. Like Ajencis said, the Outside is a sphere of diminishing objectivity. But whatever it means, I must say this is the scariest sh*t in all four books! :shock: view post

Re: Spoiler: Kelmonas' Voice posted 30 Mar 2009, 06:03 in The Judging EyeSpoiler: Kelmonas' Voice by Truth Shines, Candidate

I think we are making too much of this. The kid is just nuts, that's all. Remember his father's lineage: two thousand years of inbreeding. That's why he and Esmi and other concubines keep getting these eight-arms-no-eyes "nameless" things. It's a wonder they got any normal children at all. view post

Re: Consensus so far? posted 30 Mar 2009, 06:03 in The Judging EyeConsensus so far? by Truth Shines, Candidate

I re-read the PON trilogy before TJE. The scope, dimension, and sheer philosophical and religious depth of PON just staggered me. Moreover, it has an energizing core -- the Holy War -- that drive all these ideas (in their worldly incarnations) into conflict. Though most such conflicts remain unresolved, their mere clashes prove to be a dazzling spectacle. Comparing to that, TJE is something of a let down, mainly because it lacks that central, pulsing, energizing core. The sections on Momemn are in fact static (except that one AWESOME scene where Kellhus bitchslaps Sharacinth :mrgreen: ) The The Great Ordeal so far is mostly plodding along. Akka's trip in the Mines of Moria, eh, I mean, Cil-Aujas is much much better, but there is just not enough material. Also, this is not made up by the introduction of interesting characters. The psycho kid Kelmomas is inscrutable. Sorweel is somewhat pathetic. Mimara is sympathetic but has not much depth. Captain Kosoter is a total enigma. So is Cleric. And in any event even all of them combined can't hold a candle to The Most Violent of All Men Cnaiur (who has to rank as one of the most fascinating characters in all high fantasy). All in all, I get the sense that Bakker would have been better off cutting something from the Momemn and Condia sections, and combine the rest with whatever he has planned next into one volume. But of course this means we the readers would have been forced to wait longer. So... :? Or it might be a "Fourth-Volume-Jinx." I have in mind the fourth volume of GRR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire -- A Feast For Crows. The first three flow very nicely, and the fourth suddenly starts to grind the gears. Choppy, not enough material, and a crawling pace. p.s.: I don't mean to otherwise compare Bakker to Martin. As far as I'm concerned Bakker is on a whole other level. He's writing literature. Martin's is entertainment. p.p.s.: I'm sure I'm not the only one who recognized the parallel between Cil-Aujas and Moria. I remember when I first read the phrase "Black Halls of Cil-Aujas" I laughed out loud and said: "Akka I hope you don't run into a Balrog down there!" You have to give Mr. Bakker props: there's no hemming and hawing with this guy, he is going right up against Saint Tolkien himself. :) view post

The Doomed Ordeal? posted 31 Mar 2009, 02:03 in The Judging EyeThe Doomed Ordeal? by Truth Shines, Candidate

Way back when at the end of TTT when it became clear that Kellhus would lead an attack on Golgotterath, I thought about the route he might take. Try as I might I couldn't picture a realistic overland route. So I thought he would need to conquer Zuem, build a mighty fleet to hug the coast and sail up north to get at the Consult. This looks much longer, but transportation over water is always easier than land in the olden days, especially considering the nature of the overland route (no roads, more Sranc than you can shake a stick at). Now that I have read TJE, I'm disappointed to find out Bakker has Kellhus take the land route anyway, despite the strong telepathic suggestions I sent him. :D Just judging by the numbers provided in the book, this already looks likes the greatest collective suicide in the history of the world. TJE says from the start of the march to Golgotterath is 2000 miles. It also says at least at the beginning when the host is trying to preserve its supply line it's marching at the slow rate of 10-15 miles a day. Assuming all goes well and later on it picks up speed after it ditches its supply line, how fast can it get? 20 miles a day? 25 miles? This is the upper limit of a Roman legion's speed. Genghis Khan's army, made up purely of horsemen who each has multiple spare horses, could march no more than 40-45 miles a day. And we have to consider that this is [i:1rxmbp6z]not[/i:1rxmbp6z] just a march, but a [i:1rxmbp6z]fighting advance[/i:1rxmbp6z] since surely they will begin to fight Sranc sooner rather than later. So what is the realistic [i:1rxmbp6z]average[/i:1rxmbp6z] speed of the Great Ordeal over its entire length? Let's be wildly optimistic and say 20 miles a day (this is assuming they march much faster later on to make up for the slower start). That's 100 days right there, or more than 3 months. This will put them at the end of summer. Assuming they couldn't conquer Golgotterath overnight, they would need to besiege it (I'm not sure how they can do it since they are doing the besieging in a wilderness, they would very soon run out of the little foraging opportunity there is around them). For how long? In the "Encyclopedic Glossary" at the end of TTT, under the entry of "Apocalypse," we read the following about the first Great Ordeal: "For six years the Ordeal attempted to starve the Consult into submission, to no avail. Every assault proved disastrous." Even if the new Great Ordeal succeeds in just six months where the first Ordeal failed after six years, this will ensure the doom of all those who participated, since by then it will be winter. And those who are still alive would have to march 2000 miles BACK. Well, whatever else happens, pretty soon men would have to start hunting Sranc for food. :shock: view post

Re: Chorae (SPOILERS!!!!) posted 31 Mar 2009, 06:03 in The Judging EyeChorae (SPOILERS!!!!) by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="Landrew":2yz5hsn2]Moreover, as noted previously, we don't know the origin of sorcery. What activates it? what makes it effective? who is the sorcerer speaking to when he calls power into focus? Is he speaking to God? a small g god? the devil? demons from another realm/dimension?[/quote:2yz5hsn2] Actually Kellhus gave a very cogent explanation of sorcery in TTT to Akka. Put simply, there is an Oversoul that encompasses and connects all sentient beings, that the Outside is really the Inside of us all, and a sorcerer is someone who taps into that power of the Oversoul. Of course cogency itself is no guarantee of validity. Yet let us ponder this: this is from Kellhus, who is likely the smartest guy in the world (with the possible exception of other Dunyains), who has no reason to lie to Akka, who most of the time likes to use truth to impress and control others. All in all, one can say this is indeed the considered opinion of the most intelligent mind in the world. As with so many things in the world of Earwa, of course there are plenty of contradictions. The most glaring, of course, is the Ciphrang. How is the Oversoul theory to account for this? In TJE, Akka explains Topos as thus: "where the world slumbers or goes mad." Can we substitute "the world" with "the Oversoul?" Is the Ciphrang then the Oversoul's nightmare? And then what of the Chorae? If Kellhus's Oversoul theory is correct, then Choraes are no Tears of God. They are the Tears of the Damned. How is the power of sorcery/Oversoul disabled? By somehow severing oneself from that overarching fabric (Onta, anyone?) that connects all. No wonder they are referred to as "nothingness" and "emptiness" -- they are not just holes in the Onta, they are holes in the Oversoul. Through these holes fall the souls of the damned. [quote:2yz5hsn2]How many kindly old sorcerers have we seen? How many would you like to see as your father/grandfather? Haven't the vast majority been despicable? Maybe we are deceived about the nature and inherent morality about sorcery because we don't want it to be true that sorcerers are necessarily damned because we like Akka?[/quote:2yz5hsn2] Actually we have seen quite a few sorcerers. And based on what I can see they are no better or worse than your average man in power. I can't think of anything bad about any of them that can't be said of other kings or princes. view post

Re: Kellhus vs Whiteluck -<SPOILERS>- posted 31 Mar 2009, 06:03 in The Judging EyeKellhus vs Whiteluck -<SPOILERS>- by Truth Shines, Candidate

I was also under the impression that those heads were of skinspies. But if they are Ciphrang, so be it. After all Kellhus has fought a long Unification War. Surely somewhere along the line one of his enemies in the Three Seas knows Daimos and called up a Ciphrang against him. As for the White Luck Warrior, I doubt it's Sorweel, since Yatwer and her followers seem like a bunch of rabble rousers. Back at home they would have plenty of material to work with (slaves, poor farmers, the unemployed -- the "great unwashed" so to speak :) ). Sorweel, in the company of the Great Ordeal, is surrounded by a warrior elite animated by religious fanaticism focused on Kellhus the Aspect Emperor. What can he do? Besides, Kellhus has already designated Esmi as his ace in the hole against the WLW, so he certainly thinks this mythical warrior will show up back home. In any event, I'm fairly confident the WLW will go nowhere pretty fast. Unlike the Consult or Kellhus, this is a thing made up purely of spite. A petty, ugly, disgusting, 12-copper-talent-at-best thing. Both its good and evil are too small and paltry. I don't believe Bakker would let something so low to triumph against something so grand. view post

Re: The Doomed Ordeal? posted 03 Apr 2009, 02:04 in The Judging EyeThe Doomed Ordeal? by Truth Shines, Candidate

I agree that while the idea is interesting, there is just not enough time before the No-God rises again to repopulate the north. Also, I think the primary reason why Kellhus wants so many children is that he's afraid the Consult will infiltrate his court with skinspies (who probably killed Nau-Cayuti two thousand years ago). Even with translocation he can only be in one place at a time, so he needs more Dunyain eyes to spot the skinspies. As for the question of "the besiegers becoming besieged" if they go by sea, well I still think it's better to go by sea. Yes, they will be surrounded by Sranc if they just land from ships next to Golgoterrath. But that doesn't really matter much since all sieges involve a double-envelopment to some degree: one inner layer to prevent breakout, and one outer layer to prevent relief. Even if they march by land, they would still face the same problem. But there will be two big differences: one is they can be resupplied by sea, and two is their army will not be diminished by a thousand cuts from innumerable Sranc guerrilla attacks as they march by land (which is what I assume will happen, not unlike what the first Holy War experienced in the desert from those camel-riding Fanims, who name I don't remember :) ). But of course this means Kellhus would have to conquer Zeum first, then build the mother of all fleets -- and maybe he just doesn't have the luxury of time to do so. Also I have been curious about the fighting capabilities of Srancs. TJE is the first time we actually see Srancs fight when a group of them charged the Skin Eaters in Cil-Aujas, and frankly without the No-God they don't seem very impressive at all. Wild and ferocious as individuals, they don't seem to possess the skill and discipline to fight as a real army, and their weapons are consistently described as pitted and rusted. Those big Bashrags, however, look like trouble. Hopefully there will not be too many of those things. view post

Re: Chorae (SPOILERS!!!!) posted 03 Apr 2009, 02:04 in The Judging EyeChorae (SPOILERS!!!!) by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="Athjeari":2yppbpks]Hmm...I did not interpret Kellhus' conversation with Akka in the same way. It has been awhile since I've read TTT, but I looked at it as the human soul in everyone as representations of the Outside manifested in the world. That each person's soul is linked to the outside and this links everyone to one another (because we are all linked to the outside)[/quote:2yppbpks] Hehe I think that's the genius of Bakker -- he just keeps thing deliberately vague. I think what you describe there is in fact from Cnaiur. IIRC, this is when our favorite Utemot chieftain is riding with the skinspies in TTT and doing some philosophical musing. He is recalling one of those fireside chats back in the days TWP when Akka gave an interpretation (somehow involving a piece of parchment, I think) that just as the holes in a parchment allows light from the other side to leak through, so human souls are points of contact from the Outside. But remember this is during the TWP, long before Kellhus starts learning the Gnosis from Akka. Comparing this hypothesis and the conduct of the Dunyain, Cnaiur concludes that they represent two opposite models of the world -- one open world where there could be contact with the Outside (in the form of madness or prophecy), the other closed where the actions and beliefs of one become the roots of others. Curiously, the interpretation of the Outside given by Kellhus to Akka later in fact conforms to this "closed" model where in fact there is no real "Outside," where we are in fact the Gods we worship. [quote:2yppbpks]I did not take it that there was an Oversoul (which would suggest that each person is one and the same, yes?)[/quote:2yppbpks] That actually seems to be precisely what Kellhus means. The actual passage is fact quite brilliant, so it's worthwhile to quote at length: ********************************************************************************************************************** (Kellhus) "Indeed. Your body is your surface, nothing more, the point where your soul breaches this world. Even now, as we look upon each other from across this span, from two different places, we also stand in the same place, the same nowhere. I watch myself through your eyes, and you watch yourself through mine -- though you know it not." Somehow, at some point, insight had become a species of horror. He fairly stammered. "W-we're the same person?" Kellhus was speaking this madness... Kellhus! "Person? It would be more precise to say we're the same [i:2yppbpks]here[/i:2yppbpks]... But in a manner, yes. Just as there's but one Here, there's but one Soul, Akka, breaching the world in many different places. And almost always failing to apprehend itself as itself." Nilnameshi foolishness! It had to be... "This is just metaphysics," he said, the very instant Kellhus whispered, [i:2yppbpks]"This is just metaphysics..."[/i:2yppbpks] Achamian gaped at the man, utterly dumbstruck. His heart hammered, as though struggling to recover its rhythm through violence of action. For a moment he tried telling himself that Kellhus alone had spoken, but the taste of the words was too fresh on his tongue. The silence whined with a strange horror, a sense of dislocation unlike any he had ever experienced, a sense of things once sacred and intact now broken... Just [i:2yppbpks]who[/i:2yppbpks] had spoken? The world reeled through refracted sunlight. [i:2yppbpks]He is me... How else could he know what he knows?[/i:2yppbpks] ************************************************************************************************************************ "The silence whined with a strange horror" -- :D Classic Bakker awesomeness! view post

Swayal Sisterhood posted 04 Apr 2009, 02:04 in The Judging EyeSwayal Sisterhood by Truth Shines, Candidate

So here are the facts we know about this new School: 1. It's made up entirely of of female Few; 2. They used to be burned if discovered, but after Kellhus' rise, they are formed into a new School; 3. It's headed by the Princess-Imperial Serwa (I guess recycling is not just good for the Earth :wink: ), the second daughter of Kellhus and Esmi; 4. They seem to practice Anagogic sorcery. Now if you put these together, there are at least two problems here. First, since Kellhus became Aspect-Emperor only 20 years ago, the Swayal Compact could not have been more than 20 years old. We know that Schools only admit young children because only they can learn a new language with fluency, and it takes a LONG time to learn sorcery (in fact in TTT Aurang thought this meant Kellhus wouldn't learn the Gnosis fast enough to make a difference, until Cnaiur told him Kellhus learned Scylvendi in 4 days). From what we can see in the Mandate, the Scarlet Spires, and the Saik, all Sorcerers of Rank (i.e. the Big Cheese) are all at least middle aged, if not old men. In less than 20 years of training (you can't train an infant), this is more than enough for Serwa, what with her Dunyain blood and all. But for other young women of the Compact? Are they little more than a collection of Initiates? Other than Serwa, how many Sorcerers of Rank can they boast? Second: why would they use Anagogis instead of Gnosis? It certainly would be in Kellhus' interest to have as powerful a School as possible in his desperate war against the Consult. Even if we assume the Mandate are all a bunch of old sexist pigs (alas a very likely scenario) and refuses to teach the girls the Gnosis, why won't Kellhus teach it to Serwa, and have Serwa teach it to others? p.s.: if you think about it, all the Sisters would be in their late teens or early twenties. So it's not so much the "Swayal (whatever that means) School" as the "Swayal Sorority." Some pledge drive jokes, please. :D p.p.s.: this whole story of the Second Apocalypse is understandably pretty dark. To lighten the mood, I suggest Mr. Bakker write a torrid lesbian affair between Serwa and one of her students. :mrgreen: And hey please note that I'm not being entirely facetious, I do have some textual evidence! According to Esmi, Serwa is capable of love, and from Akka we know male homosexuality is pretty rampant in the Mandate -- well, I guess what could you expect when your School has a name like that? :wink: view post

Re: The Doomed Ordeal? posted 04 Apr 2009, 02:04 in The Judging EyeThe Doomed Ordeal? by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="BobbyR":2bcxl5sc]As soon as I heard that the next trilogy was coming, I wondered if Kellhus was planning a pit-stop at Ishual. Imagine the Dunyain's reaction when he appears in the middle of everything (using the Gnosis) and starts shooting lightning at everybody. Why would he do that? If the Three Seas caught on (because of Akka) that there is a whole fortress filled with a bunch of Kellhuses, that would really mess up the whole swanky "Aspect Emperor is God" setup he has going. Alternatively, maybe he could recruit some more bad-ass Dunyain to the Ordeal. [/quote:2bcxl5sc] I don't know if he wants to stop there, but I'm pretty sure he wants Akka to go there. I'm convinced that the "Traveller" at the beginning of TJE is an agent of Kellhus. He must have talked the Skin Eaters (or least Kosoter) into allowing themselves to be hired by Akka. Also Kellhus must have forseen the action of Mimara which will spur on Akka. Of course I still have no idea why. view post

Re: Swayal Sisterhood posted 04 Apr 2009, 22:04 in The Judging EyeSwayal Sisterhood by Truth Shines, Candidate

That's true. But why won't Kellhus do it? Apparently he has overcome the Seswatha mind-control/hypnosis thing, or whatever it is that has been implanted in Mandate Schoolmen. view post

Re: Swayal Sisterhood posted 05 Apr 2009, 04:04 in The Judging EyeSwayal Sisterhood by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="anor277":3cvn9trk]Are we sure that the Swayal Compact is Anagogic? The only glimpse we had of a Swayal witch (apart from Serwa) was the spy who had infiltrated Yatwer's matriarchs (p 114 [i:3cvn9trk]TJE[/i:3cvn9trk] Orbit TPB, and she did not summon analogies, she was swiftly turned off by a chorae in fact).[/quote:3cvn9trk] Actually one of priestesses charged her with a knife first, and was thrown back by "ghostly cyclopean walls" (or something like that, I don't remember the exact wording). That's where I got they use Anagogic sorcery. [quote:3cvn9trk]It has already been mentioned in the novels that the Mandate were obliged to share their knowledge in the event of a 2nd apocalypse.[/quote:3cvn9trk] You are right! Now I remember reading something like that somewhere in PoN. If the No-God should come again, the Mandate is supposed to share. Now they have no excuses except they are a bunch of old sexist pigs. [quote:3cvn9trk]And just regarding sorcerors' sexuality, we already know that there were a lot of wicked old buggers in all the schools.[/quote:3cvn9trk] Hehe. So it's not just convenient but also fashionable! All the more reason for Serwa to get her gorgeous groove on. :wink: view post

Re: This board blows. posted 15 Apr 2009, 01:04 in The Judging EyeThis board blows. by Truth Shines, Candidate

It's kinda sad that ASOIAF board is so much more active than this one, considering that Bakker's books are so much superior to Martin's. view post

Twice Read Tales posted 15 Apr 2009, 04:04 in The Judging EyeTwice Read Tales by Truth Shines, Candidate

This thread probably should appear in the subforum for one of the three PON books, but considering those forums are less lively than a skin-spy baby shower, I'll put it here in hope of getting it read by someone other than myself. :) Prior to reading The Judging Eye, I went back and re-read The Prince of Nothing trilogy. My intention was only to refresh my memory. But once I read it, I must say it really, really opened my eyes. To put it simply: after my first reading a couple of years ago, I believed this to be one of the greatest fantasy books I've ever read. After this second reading, I believe this is one of the greatest works of literature, of any genre, that I have ever read. The Prince of Nothing does not belong in the company of Martin or Erikson (yuck!), not even Tolkien. No. I'm putting this among the company of Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pynchon, you name it (eh, you can probably tell I'm an American :D ) Why do I believe this work transcend mere high fantasy? Ideas. It explores deep and grand and profound ideas, using the setting of high fantasy, with a dazzlingly lyrical style. I'll use just one example: Kellhus's sermon, in The Warrior Prophet, on putting one's face into the fire. This is when he is trying to attract support from the soldiers of the Holy War. He gives a marvelous sermon on the frailty of men, on the need to be honest with ourselves, on the meaning and significance of devotion, and on the holy and profound importance of the Holy War, by evoking a story from the Tusk where a prophet was commanded by a god to kneel and lower his face into the fire. He points out that men are frail precisely because we refuse to admit to ourselves that we are frail, and to remedy that we need to, paradoxically, expose ourselves to that frailty if we are to have any hope of overcoming it. And the Holy War is that fire where we lower our face into what we fear the most, to face the truth about ourselves, to test our devotion, to overcome our frailty. Many things can be said about that sermon. Before anything else, one must admire this as an exquisite piece of writerly craft. Bakker invents an awe-inspiring yet appropriately mystifying religious story -- putting one's face into the fire to kneel before a god? What can this mean? Merely a cruel, barbaric way of showing the power of the gods and the weakness of men? Surely there is more, we (along with the people of Earwa) must have wondered. He then lets Kellhus analyze and explore this story in order to seize the heart of the Holy War. Yet there is so much more for we the readers to appreciate. First, with a few appropriate modifications (like getting rid of the reference to Husyelt, the Dark Stalker), I believe this would not be at all out of place in a church on any given Sunday. It contains deep and painful truths that we would rather not see. Second, is there a more beautiful and heartbreaking dedication to the the men of the Holy War, in fact, to the First Crusade? Historical researches show that many, if not most, noblemen who undertook the First Crusade to liberate Jerusalem went deep into debt by mortgaging their estates and castles -- they had no realistic hope of financial or political gain. They marched through central Anatolia while being ravaged by thirst, convinced that they were being test by God like the Jews who wondered in the desert for 40 years. They faced plague in the Middle East. They defeated more numerous enemies. Finally making it to the Holy City, they slaughtered every man, woman, and child they could get their hands on. "God Wills It!" They cried. Make no mistake, these men (both fictional and historical) murdered, raped and pillaged in the name of God. They were monsters. Yet they were also frail, and afraid, and astoundingly brave. They threw their faces into the fire. The book, in the voice of Kellhus, explores a frightening truth: the line between the blissfully devoted and the violently fanatic is not at all clear. The world of the truly religious can be terrible and beautiful AT THE SAME TIME, and it is so beautiful not IN SPITE of its horror, but precisely BECAUSE of it horrors. Third, what of the function and nature of truth? We the readers know this sermon is part of Kellhus's scheme to take over the Holy War. Yet does he not speak the truth? Are men not supposed to be ennobled by truth? Have not the listeners of this sermon [i:1yuh0sdo]in fact[/i:1yuh0sdo] been ennobled? Have we not been told that truth shall set you free? This book explores how the truth can ENSLAVE. Fourth, this sermon reminds me of something Cnaiur once said to Kellhus, something like "you Dunyains need only to speak a word in order to make it a lie." As improbable as it sounds, we the readers nevertheless instinctively understand and sympathize with him. But if the holy devotion of thousands come from lies, is it still holy? In The Thousandfold Thought, the remaining soldiers reflected how even if the Holy War at the beginning was not at all holy but a collection of squabbling princes full of political ambition, it had certainly become holy at the end after walking on the bones of those hundred of thousands who had given their lives. And who can tell them that they are wrong? Yet if they are right, what of the Dunyain's principle of causality -- what comes before determines what comes after? Has not what comes after (the ordeals of the Holy War, the putting one's face into fire, the real world counterpart to the symbolic "Whelming" ceremony) determined what comes before (the holy nature of the Holy War)? Keep in mind that causality is not at all some esoteric, strange, hypothetical idea invented by the author! This line of questions goes straight to the heart of OUR world. The genius of Bakker, like that of other great authors, is not to offer some cookie-cutter ready made answer to these profound questions. He lets these ideas, or rather their earthly incarnations (people, religions, events), merge and transform and battle. It's a disputation. As Cnauir would say, it's war. As Conphas would say, it's intellect. It's up to us readers to read the battlefield. There are many other such points where one can take off and write whole essays about (what is the self-moving soul? what is the nature of crime?). The point I hope to illustrate is that the deep, dense and complex web of profound ideas that undergird The Prince of Nothing. This is something that frankly I have not come across in any high fantasy novels before. Tolkien touches on the tendency of power to corrupt... and well, that's pretty much it. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire? I'm not sure if it has any deep ideas. My experience of reading these books remind me of Akka's lame joke to Esmi. Remember what he said after he escaped the clutches of the Scarlet Spires (everyone thought he was dead) and reunited with her, only to find the former lowly prostitute had become the consort to the newly annointed Warrior Prophet? "What would happen if I die a second time?" Later he would find out: Esmi became the Empress. I wonder what would happen if I read The Prince of Nothing again. Perhaps I'll start wandering the world and preaching the Bakkerian faith. Truth Shines! :shock: :D view post

Re: Twice Read Tales posted 16 Apr 2009, 04:04 in The Judging EyeTwice Read Tales by Truth Shines, Candidate

Good point. It seems like people are so unfamiliar with a high fantasy book that's actually about more than high fantasy that they in fact come to dislike it precisely because of this. On people actually write reviews saying it's pretentious. One reviewer apparently even holds a grudge against The Darkness That Comes Before because of the quote from Nietzsche at the beginning ("a thought comes when [i:1qvuyu21]it[/i:1qvuyu21] wants, not when [i:1qvuyu21]I[/i:1qvuyu21] want"). I mean I can see their point. Shallow authors try to make their works appear more profound by dabbling in philosophy and religion and use them as ornaments to their high fantasy story. But The Prince of Nothing is nothing like that. If anything, it's actually the reverse: at heart it's a book about profound questions of philosophy and religion that chooses to present itself in the guise of high fantasy. These ideas are not ornaments. They are the very bones of the story. The quote from Nietzsche? It introduces the whole idea of "the darkness that comes before," which lays at the very foundation of the Dunyain. The very first line of the actual book is a quote from everybody's favorite philosopher Ajencis, defining the soul as "that which precedes everything" -- well this is not a throwaway line! This begins the exploration of the idea of the self-moving soul. And just the first 3 pages of the book? It introduces two different and profound views on the nature of crime ("as long as men live, there are crimes" and "there are crimes only as long as men are deceived"). Again, this is no mere philosophical window-dressing incidental to the actual story! The Inchoroi in fact represents the first view when pushed to its logical extreme ("when no man live, there is no crime"), while the Dunyain is the incarnation of the second view ("when one is not deceived, nothing one does is a crime"). I can understand why some people are not comfortable with this. They expect fantasy books to be a vehicle for escapism. They do not expect, or perhaps even want high fantasy to be about real world ideas. Yet this is exactly what The Prince of Nothing at heart is. Another way to see this is to look at the way it treats religion. Here religion, and its attendant concepts of soul, salvation, and damnation, are treated with deadly seriousness. I don't mean to keep picking on Tolkien or Martin, but it's useful to do a comparison (and because I'm familiar with their works): in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, religion (at least as we would normally understand it) is almost non-existent. In Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, religion is ostensibly much more prevalent, but in fact seems like the caricature of a religion as envisioned by a secular intellectual: all pomp and circumstance and power struggle, but no real substance. I can certainly imagine no one giving a speech about "putting one's face into the fire" in the world of Westeros. But did not men and women of the Middle Ages (which just about all high fantasy books are based upon) struggle precisely with questions about the soul, salvation, and damnation? Was not the Middle Ages in fact a highly religious age? Without a flesh and blood and soul [i:1qvuyu21]real[/i:1qvuyu21] religion, how could one even begin to explain something as mad as the Crusade? This is why I say this work transcends mere high fantasy. The Prince of Nothing's serious treatment of religiosity also has the added benefit, it seems to me, of making its characters seem deeper, fuller, more three-dimensional, and more life-like. view post

Re: Harbinger posted 16 Apr 2009, 04:04 in The Judging EyeHarbinger by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="Athjeari":2qyekfcq]Everyone seems to feel that Kellhus is the Harbinger, and most individuals think that this means he will be the one to save the world. For some reason they call him a harbinger and yet think, just because of the prophecy, that he will save the world.[/quote:2qyekfcq] Well actually not even everyone in the book believes he is the savior. To this day there are still "orthodox" who struggle against his rule. And many readers certainly have harbored doubts about Kellhus all along. Though this is in fact another great thing about this series: no one really knows what's going to happen. [quote:2qyekfcq]So, after stating that, does anyone feel that the WLW could be the one to deliver mankind from the brink of apocalypse? As of now the WLW has been portrayed as a somewhat dubious person/creation that is going to reek havoc on the world, but if the WLW does have divine power from a God, would that not make the individual good?[/quote:2qyekfcq] I very much doubt it. The gods seem pretty out of it. I mean they certainly didn't do diddly squat during the First Apocalypse. view post

Slog of Slogs, Boys! posted 01 Jun 2011, 03:06 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Slog of Slogs, Boys! by Truth Shines, Candidate

Amazing! Browsing through the forums, not only it seems like the admin forgot to create a forum for the new book, in fact no one has posted a topic for the The White Luck Warrior! Well, let me take the first bloody crack at this thing then. I shall do some ranting here, all about how I don't like this book :mrgreen: Let's hope this provoke some reaction. I'll post more fanboy-ish stuff later. :D Warning: some spoilers to follow. Reading The White Luck Warrior, I really feel like Sarl: this is indeed the slog of slogs, boys! :wink: There are three huge problems with this book, first pacing, second style, and third character. In terms of pacing, this book is just too many pages with too little happening. Huge stretches the book are filled literally with the endless slogs -- both the Great Ordeal's, and the Skin Eaters' travels to Sauglish. For the great ordeal, at least we get two big battles (alas both too short), the first being by far the more interesting. For the Skin Eaters, it's just sheer torture as a reader -- until the very end with the interesting encounter with the dragon, it's just an endless succession of, well, nothing. Bakker could have replaced all of it with just one line -- "one of the Skin Eaters is a skin spy, who protects pregnant Mimara for some ancient prophecy" -- and it would have the same effect on the plot. As for style, I fear Bakker may be heading toward the deep end here: preaching, preaching, and more preaching! He's becoming Cleric! It's one thing to hear "men are always wont to..." from the lips of Kellhus as part of a developing plot; it's another thing altogether to sit through page after page of this stuff hearing it directly from the author. Ouch! Last, character. Well, there just aren't any interesting characters. Esmi is flat. Mimara is flatter. Sorweel is the flattest. Kelmomas is not, since he's a psycho, but he's just not interesting. To see how to write interesting psychos: check out Cnauir and Kellhus during PON. For those of you who complain about the all-knowningness of Kellhus -- well see how do you like the book now without Kellhus's point of view! It's as exciting as white bread dipped in water. I have thought about why I don't like these new characters -- Mimara, Sorweel, Kelmomas (I've never liked Esmi very much). I think it has to do with far too much introspection. Both Cnauir and Kellhus do introspection, but they also emote openly: Kellhus with his preaching and jokes and manipulation, Cnauir with his wild shouts of "who will murder me!" and all that. These new people just think and think and think and eventually lose all energy. I've read somewhere that the next book will be titled "Unholy Consult." At this pace, some POV from the bad guys will be greatly welcomed just to spice things up a little. view post

Re: Slog of Slogs, Boys! posted 05 Jun 2011, 00:06 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Slog of Slogs, Boys! by Truth Shines, Candidate

Heh, here comes the avalanche... Anyway, thanks for the reply. Continuing the theme of my original post, I shall further detail some of the things I don't like about this book (again, this is not to say it's all bad, but this is the thread about the bad stuff). Once again, returning to why I don't like these new people: Sorweel, Mimara, Kelmomas: I've thought about it a little more, and here's perhaps the deeper reason -- they are too passive. In one way or another, they feel strongly that they are tools in the hands of greater things directing them to some goal that is not their own. Sorweel feels he's both a tool of Yatwer and the Anasurimbor family; Mimara fears she's being manipulated by Kellhus, but also with both her on-again-off-again "judging eye" and surprise pregnancy she just doesn't feel in control (she originally had a goal -- to learn sorcery -- but that has been abandoned a long time ago, casting her adrift); Kelmomas is literally being directed by a voice in his head. The only other main character, Esmi, of course is even worse as she spends most of her time guessing why Kellhus has put her in charge. As plot development, there's nothing wrong with them -- if that's how the story goes, so be it; but when put in the place of main characters, I find them very very wanting. As main characters, they are supposed to be the driving force of the story. They are supposed to have [i:28l45x8h]agency[/i:28l45x8h]. Again, I return to the comparison between them and the two main characters of PON -- Kellhus and Cnauir (Akka is kind of a narrator, straight-man). Both of them are overflowing with this sense of self-direction, agency, and strong motivation. From that comes great energy, action, and emotion. In contrast, these new people (and really Esmetnet and Serwe in PON) are forever in a state of doubt, insecurity, weakness. Perhaps it's a matter of personal taste, but to me that's just not attractive. view post

Re: Slog of Slogs, Boys! posted 05 Jun 2011, 00:06 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Slog of Slogs, Boys! by Truth Shines, Candidate

Now a couple of random potshots :) The assassination of Maithanet. Well this just doesn't make sense. In fact I would like someone to explain to me the whole break between him and Esmi, coup, and assassination for me. None of this makes much sense. But the assassination most of all. How could someone hide in a room and not be seen or sensed by a Dunyain? How could he successfully carry out a crude stabbing against a Dunyain? And why didn't Maithanet see something in Esmenet's face when they were talking, before the assassin struck? The whole thing stretches this reader's credulity past the breaking point. The destruction of the Army of the South. On two points, the way it happened really bothered me. First, in the initial phase of the battle, the king in charge (forgot his name) sent ALL the sorcerers out to attack the Horde. I just have a hard time believing that an experienced commander will make as egregious a mistake as keeping no reserves. In the first battle by the Army of the North, Serwa kept 40-some witches back as reserves, and this saved them from the ten-yoke-legion, so how was this lesson not learned? (In fact it is so basic it should require no learning). Second, they appeared to be utterly unprepared by the appearance of the Bashrags. How is this possible? This is supposed to be a march against the forces of the Consult! I would assume The Sagas would have included records of these monsters; but even if not, the Mandate schoolmen surely have told everyone about it -- all the more reason to keep some sorcerers in reserve. Yet they seem to have made no preparation for the Bashrags (things they could have used even without sorcery: a reserve of heavily armored knights with long lances, ballista, etc.). view post

Re: Well, ordered the book... posted 18 Jul 2011, 01:07 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Well, ordered the book... by Truth Shines, Candidate

Well don't keep me waiting! Tell me what you think. :D Actually I've been re-reading Prince Of Nothing (yes, yet again, for probably the 4th or 5th time). There's just some wonderful magic about that series -- that astounding mix of entertainment and philosophizing and just outright amazingness (like that time when Cnauir rides with Kellhus across the stepps, and when Kellhus delivers that mouthwatering public spanking to Conphas early in TTT) :D view post

Re: The White-Luck Warrior Conclusion (SPOILERS) posted 18 Jul 2011, 01:07 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]The White-Luck Warrior Conclusion (SPOILERS) by Truth Shines, Candidate

I didn't think much of the betrayal by the skin eaters. It was telegraphed from the very beginning. It feels almost like Bakker is saying -- "well, you guys have fulfilled your function, off you go." I did find the very end quite surprising: a true twist/cliffhanger, which has never happened before. In every previous book, the ends flow naturally from the early plot development and form natural stops. At the end of TDTCB, it's the start of the march of the Holy War after long preparations; at the end of TWP, it's the victory of the Holy War against the Padirajah, the decisive victory against the Fanim; at the end of the TTT, it's the ascension of Kehllhus to the throne of Aspect-Emperor, the expected end of the story arc for the "prince of nothing"; at the end of TJE, it's the skin eaters breaking through Cil-Aujas, a good waypoint on a long journey. Here, it's something that I never saw coming: the Dunyain, disappearing?! :shock: Honestly I have no idea what to think. Any hypothesis? view post

Re: The White-Luck Warrior Conclusion (SPOILERS) posted 29 Jul 2011, 03:07 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]The White-Luck Warrior Conclusion (SPOILERS) by Truth Shines, Candidate

Looking back, I suppose I should have expected this, given the nature of the Dunyain. After all, they have already gone through the experience of having Moenghus' exile backfire on them becauuse the guy knows where they are. It really shouldn't have come as a suprise that after Kellhus leaves, they would pick up and move somewhere else so Kellhus couldn't come back and disturb them like his dad did. The question, of course, is where. And what happens to Achamian? But suppose they didn't move? Some wiiiiiiiiiild speculations :wink: : after kicking Kellhus' ass, that Nonman Erratic from the prologue of first book decides to look for the source of this new Anasurimbor and stumbles upon Ishual. Big fight, his sorcery destroys everything and everyone. Achamian then uses the traces of the sorcery unleashed on Ishual to track him back to Golgotterath and infiltrates the pit of obscenities, a la Seswatha (this would also fit with those weird dreams Achamian suffers in TWLW, where he seems to be somewhere in a golden tunnel or something, which reminds me of those dreams he had of Seswatha when Seswatha went into Golgotterath). This fits nicely into the Achamian-is-Sesweatha-reborn theme. Also, if true, this may mean Mimara might give birth in Golgoterrath -- Mog-Pharu's second coming, anyone? :shock: Now you might ask: if that Erratic had attacked Ishual, how come the Consult didn't seem to know who the Dunyain were during PON? Well, he forgot, of course! :D view post

Re: Slog of Slogs, Boys! posted 04 Aug 2011, 03:08 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Slog of Slogs, Boys! by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="sneroplex":wp45atst]I'm assuming the assassin that killed Maithanet was the white luck warrior. Maithanet didn't do anything about it because he's Dunyain and thinks he's all badass with that 'what comes before determines what comes after' BS. The white-luck killed him because 'what comes after determines what comes before,' Maitha was already dead and that's why it was so easy for him to just walk up and casually stick a knife in his throat. Yatwer is at work.[/quote:wp45atst] I don't have the book with me, but I seem to remember that scene explicitly refers to the assassin as the person hired by Esmenet. But you may be right. The White Luck is just too mysterious. In fact, given how little we know of this being and how few glimpses we get of him, it might be said that the title of this book is really very badly chosen. He's almost as big of a mystery as the No-God. [quote="Callan S.":wp45atst]Because Kellhus manipulated them to screw up. So as to enable the taboo breaking 'We will eat sranc' command to be adopted while, in defeat, the armies collective mental guard is down.[/quote:wp45atst] I doubt it. If anything, losing one army makes it less compelling (fewer mouths to feed, more forage to go around). Eating Sranc is just a logistic necessity. But it is interesting to speculate on what will happen to those who do. We now finally know what "chanv" is -- dead Nonman. It makes those who eat it more Nonman-like. A parallel with Sranc is possible. view post

Kellhus vs Dune posted 24 Aug 2011, 03:08 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Kellhus vs Dune by Truth Shines, Candidate

Not sure if this is the right place to put this topic, but eh, since the admins are not here... Anyway. I just finished reading Dune (I know I know what kind of terrible person I am that I've never read Dune before... :D ). I am aware that there are a few sequels to this so my opinion might change after I read those. But at least so far, it is interesting to compare Paul Atreides to our favorite Dunyain. I become interested in this because I seem to remember reading some review of The Prince of Nothing on the internets somewhere that compares this work to Dune. So far, I must say PON kicks Dune's ass all the way to Sunday. Paul Atreides is like a Saturday morning cartoon version of Anasurimbor Kellhus :lol: Sure there are some parallels to the premonitions thing, but Paul's visions are all confused and semi-mystical, which is no match against the elegance and might of the Probability Trance. And if you compare the way he rose to become the leader of the Fremen to the way Kellhus rose to become the warrior prophet, well, there's just no comparison. Paul's rise seems very mechanical and matter-of-fact. It makes sense so far as the story goes -- the planted prophecy, the martial arts prowess, the psychic voodoo and all that do come together for the story to be believable. But in PON, we are not just told there are these things -- Bakker actually shows how the prophecy, the martial arts, and particularly the psychological (not psychic) voodoo works. The mesmerizing sermons, the cannily crafted fireside chats, the subtle manipulations, the horrifying truths... It's dazzling art, glory, spectacle. It's telling that in Dune Paul's big showdowns are physical fights (two rather poorly described knife fights), whereas in PON Kellhus' crowning moment (at least in my mind) is a breathtaking "talking scene" where, after he has been recognized as a prophet, he humiliates Conphas and kicks him out of the Holy War. It shows just how much deeper, psychologically and philosophically, PON is relative to Dune. Paul and Dune are really like an amateur version, or perhaps a very very very early draft of PON -- a set of interesting ideas, but poorly executed and only thought out in a very shallow fashion. view post

Re: Kellhus vs Dune posted 08 Sep 2011, 01:09 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Kellhus vs Dune by Truth Shines, Candidate

Right now I'm half way through "Dune Messiah," the second book in the Dune series. Honestly I have not become more impressed. Just to take one example, here's a passage. It's quoting from "the key reminder from the Bene Gesserit Creed." The Bene Gesserit is the equivalent of the Dunyain -- a sect that uses mental and physical training and multi-generation selective breeding in order to create a super-human. Now, keep in mind the gloriously elegant Dunyain principle -- "That which comes before determines that which comes after" -- and get a load of this clumsy mumbo jumbo: "Before us, all methods of learning were tainted by instinct. We learned how to learn. Before us, instinct-ridden researchers possessed a limited attention span -- often no longer than a single lifetime. Projects stretching across fifty or more lifetimes never occurred to them. The concept of total muscle/nerve training had not entered awareness." Upon reading this, it literally had me howling with laughter. :D If Dune had been written after PON, I'd say it's a very sorry, poor imitation. As it is, I can only say Bakker is showing Frank Herbert what to do with this type of material, because Herbert obviously doesn't have much of a clue. view post

Re: Kellhus vs Dune posted 11 Sep 2011, 23:09 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Kellhus vs Dune by Truth Shines, Candidate

Point taken. Still, I'm puzzled why Dune is so highly regarded (unlike, say, Lord of the Rings). On a recent edition, a blurb on the cover says "Science Fiction's Supreme Masterpiece." A movie (not so well received) has been made based on it. It's said to have sold for more than 10 million copies. Based on what I have read (I've finished the first two, starting on the third), I just don't understand. It's just not very good writing. Nevertheless it does have good ideas, and it's good that someone like Bakker can come along and resurrect them and put them to good use. view post

Re: Kellhus vs Dune posted 13 Sep 2011, 04:09 in The Great Ordeal [supposed]Kellhus vs Dune by Truth Shines, Candidate

[quote="Athjeari":3a3lkrom]I haven't actually been able to finish reading Dune Messiah, the story doesn't go anywhere at times. I might still finish it at some point, but Dune Messiah is not high on my immediate reading list. Dune is certainly worth reading, I personally kind of like the movie too (it's a bit odd and crazy but that's David Lynch for you), the way Herbert introduces the Fremen was fantastic and full of intrigue and mystery. I also like how he incorporates Spice in so many cool ways. All in all, Dune is certainly a classic that is worth reading. Personally, I think Bakker is a much better read, but hey it's opinion, man.[/quote:3a3lkrom] Word, brother. Reading Dune Messiah, I literally fell asleep twice. Granted I was kind of tired at the time, but still... :wink: It seems to be a long set up for the third book Children of Dune. I'm starting on that one so hopefully something interesting happens. I haven't actually seen the Dune movie, but I like David Lynch, so I'll try to find it. The Fremen are certainly interesting, but here again, the difference between Herbert and Bakker shows. Other than Stilgar, there are almost no notable personalities among the Fremen (and Stilgar is not exactly all that deep), whereas Bakker gives us many fascinating characters to complement the one superhuman. The "ecological" angle is very unique, and all the talk of "spilling the water" really reminds me of the Cishaurim. Indeed, it seems possible that Bakker adapted his Kian/Fane people from the Fremen idea. Remember how Fane was a blind priest who was left to die in the desert but came out a living prophet? Well at the end of Dune Messiah, Paul Atreides became blind and walked alone into the desert to die. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he comes back alive and kicking :mrgreen: view post


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