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Messages - Odium

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1
The Unholy Consult / Re: Why would the Inchoroi fear damnation?
« on: January 29, 2020, 12:33:10 pm »
At what point did we discover that Oblivion is an option, that the Hundred and the Solitary God alike can bestow redemption, and that you can level up your soul? I recall hints about these things but not confirmation. I hadn't realized in my reading that there was much solid evidence that the Inverse Fire is just a tool of control, I thought there might be subtle indications that it could be but that the text presents it as a factual vision of damnation.

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Cross-posting the vitriol of my initial reaction to the book

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The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoilers] Ch. 1 & 2 Excerpts
« on: June 18, 2017, 05:38:54 pm »
I'm sure it's related to the Inchoroi, I just wonder what Bakker's interpretation was when he wrote it.

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The Unholy Consult / Re: [TUC Spoilers] Ch. 1 & 2 Excerpts
« on: June 18, 2017, 01:38:07 am »
- What is everyone's interpretation of "to the Idol more fearsome than its God." in the opening to the first chapter?

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Favorite

Cnauir - particularly his first chapters in The Darkness That Comes Before. I often find myself rereading his first scenes in the battle that devastated the Scylvendi: Is there no cock among you? The fact that this develops into a fantastic character study with more than one foray into the conception of homosexuality in such a society just makes it better.
Consult umbrella PoV (Skinspies, Synthese) - one of my favorite chapters is (I think?) in TWP or TTT where the Synthese just circles the skies, pondering the "crumbs" of the destruction it wraught in ages past. I also just generally love the way Bakker addresses these characters.
Seswatha - the dreams of the Incu-Holoinas are fascinating.
Koringhus - I really
Conphas - I found him another fascinating character, as (imo) were all the mortals that could resist the Dunyain. One of my favorite quotes in the series is the one where Kellhus humiliates him verbally and his arrogance is so overwhelmingly ingrained in him that he "smiles as if a leper had insulted his beauty." The resolution of his character arc with Cnauir was also very nice.
Ishterebinth arc in general - definitely a high point of the second trilogy for me.

Least favorite

Proyas
Esmenet
Kelmomas, except for a couple of chapters about his observation of the narindar
Serwe (for reasons the Great Scald mentions, despite her being a very compelling character)

I'm not very convinced by Bakker's female PoVs in general. I've read extensively about what he has been going for with TSA and feminism in general, but I can't help but shake my head at his execution in a lot of places. Esmenet in general just strikes me as a weak character, as I actually thought Serwe was far more compelling. Proyas, while having very interesting development, just doesn't resonate much with me... and Kelmomas just has a very hard PoV to work through, and thus far has had very little payoff. I really liked his first scene with the statue of Ajokli and the beetle, and (like I mentioned) the way he goes mad observing the narindar.

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General Earwa / Re: Biblical allusions in TSA
« on: July 31, 2016, 07:56:53 pm »
I didn't read the whole thread to see if it had been mentioned before, but I just noticed that the proportions of the Incu-Holoinas given in TTT are exactly 10 times those of Noah's Ark. :D

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The Great Ordeal / Re: [TGO SPOILERS] Meppa is...
« on: July 31, 2016, 03:56:04 am »
Maybe I missed something. Where is it confirmed that Meppa survived?

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Atrocity Tales / Re: The inverse fire.
« on: July 26, 2016, 01:35:30 am »
The Inverse Fire is named in Cunuroi or some other language in TGO, I think. If anyone could remind me what that name is (I can't seem to find it in my copy) I would be much obliged!

Edit - I actually ended up finding it. Xiríkirimakra

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The Great Ordeal / Re: [TGO Spoilers] The Gods
« on: July 25, 2016, 03:56:51 pm »
What did everyone think about the 99 birds Koringhus killed with 99 stones and the song of the Boatman regarding the 99 sons who would "bid their fathers be as sons?" Locke convinced me that the latter, at least, is a reference to the creation myth we've thus far been denied, and it seems highly unlikely that the two are unconnected given the number 99's lack of significance elsewhere in the series.

Beyond that, who is the outlier that made them the Hundred? Ajokli or Onkis? I feel like there's a certain possibility of Onkis somehow being related to the Cunuroi women, given that she shares the copper tree of Siol as her emblem.

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The Great Ordeal / Re: (TGO Spoilers) Son of the Survivor
« on: July 24, 2016, 10:31:39 pm »
In one of his PoV scenes Koringhus shoots down the idea of all Dunyain being Anasurimbors. He just confirms that they are the greatest of the (I think eight?) lineages that were selected to form part of the Ishual project.

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Hi Titan,

I completely agree with you. Bakker says: "morality is objective." Hence the Judging Eye affords Mimara a vision of reality; of the spiritual state of a person.  How come? Is that the nature of reality on this planet, in this universe? (That would fit with the Inchoroi's interstellar quest.) Is this because some creator god made it that way? My question is: is this objectivity & the damnation it implies a premise upon which the story is based or a belief of the civilisations in the story?

Humans, Nonmen & Ichoroi all seem to believe in damnation (& that most of them are damned.) But is that so? Hell & damnation are concepts found in pre-modern societies like those on Earwa & are very useful for social manipulation & mind control. A key question for historians of Earwa would be: who first introduced the idea of damnation?

If enough people believe in damnation then it would become an unquestioned fact, like: "Of course then world is flat, just look at it. How could it be an oblate spheroid? We'd all fall off. D'oh!" If enough people believe in damnation then the fear or the anticipation of it or the surrender to it's inevitability would be real & powerful forces at work in the mind, in the world. In a world where sorcery works repeating the mantra "I am damned," every day might even create a hell for you. It might even condition "The Outside" to become a hell dimension. This may be where Kellhus, the unconditioned comes in.

Damnation could have been invented by the Nonmen, within their own culture for various reasons or it might have just been a bad idea someone had some time which caught on. They might have used it in their enslavement of the Emwama, to condition humans. However the Inchoroi might have introduced both races to the concept of damnation. (To humans via the Tusk?) This would have happened so long ago that no-one remembers. There is no-one to question it. The Inverse Fire could be a device which convinces a person of their own personal damnation. Use it on certain key people & you can change history. In fact it could be said that it started a revolution & gave rise to the events leading to The First Apocalypse.

In other words, the concept of damnation might be a psychological weapon deployed by the Inchoroi. If so there's no reason why, in a world where sorcery is produced via speech, via words & concepts that hell & damnation took off, unruly thought-forms that they are & gained a life of their own.

Of course we have it from the Inchoroi themselves that they are on a quest for a world which they can seal off from their own damnation. Funny that the world upon which this is possible is the one which they crashed onto. It is possible that either they believe this for a variety of reasons, or that again it's a mythology which serves some other purpose, even simple mis-direction.

Mimara's judging eye might be a way for her to perceive the moral condition of a person & she might, because of the world in which she has grown up, the world in which she believes interpret that vision as a vision of damnation or of salvation.

In a story in which aliens land a spaceship (did it even  crash? we only have their word for it,) &

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I think that the simplest way of understanding what is going on is a more hard-SF interpretation: the Inchoroi  are amoral, predatory invaders from a decadent race trying to establish themselves as the overlords of a pre-modern world & making a hash of it because it turns out that sorcery is real.

I really love some of your thoughts here, Viridius! I want to challenge a few of them for the sake of discussion. Mainly, I am of the belief that regardless of whether or not Hell is some kind of almighty topos, the Inchoroi definitely believe in their own damnation. Everything indicates that they fear what awaits them in the afterlife. Wutteat mentions in TWLW that they sailed for "countless ages" through space, bringing ruin to world after world, in their search for Earwa. I agree that this then begs scrutiny of the coincidence that their technology should somehow fail them and leave them stranded there, a race doomed to die and so even more obsessed with escaping damnation... there's so much to scrutinize, in fact.

If all of them had witnessed the Inverse Fire, why would they risk themselves in combat with the Nonmen? Countless Inchoroi died in that conflict. Certainly it could have been handled with more finesse somehow and they had time enough to contemplate their own "shortest path," or at least one shorter than the four thousand years of struggle they've been saddled with...

In another thread, someone (Redsetter?) suggests that perhaps Earwa is a far-future Earth, or that the Inchoroi hail from such a place. I think there's a certain truth in that interpretation regardless of whether or not we receive literal confirmation in the narrative. In any case, what we see are three races who share enough emotional and cognitive overlap that they all fear an eternity of torment - we could see them as potentially problematic roads of transhumanism, something to consider in our future and a tragedy of Earwa's past. The Inchoroi generally seem to represent the essence of depravity, right down to their use of nuclear technology. Maybe the collective fear of these three races what created Hell, or maybe that is just the natural state of the Outside in this cosmos. In any case, regardless of my speculation, I think we definitely receive confirmation that Hell is real to the Inchoroi and to the Nonmen independently and that they reached awareness of it independently of each other.

As far as the Judging Eye, I'm torn. It's definitely set up to look like the most absolute vision of morality we can get in the series, but I think we'll have to see what happens in TUC before we can make a call. It will really depend on what it sees when its gaze is turned on Kellhus, or possibly by that point, the No-God. H speculates in another thread that Mimara will answer the No-God's question... that would be a great scene.

A really interesting idea for an Atrocity Tale would be the Inchoroi's discovery of the Inverse Fire. Maybe a relic they found on another world they conquered while they swarmed across it? Maybe one left for them by a race they extinguished, so that they could see the fruits of their labor? Bakker could go a lot of interesting places with that.

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The Great Ordeal / Re: [TGO Spoilers] Overall thoughts on the book?
« on: July 24, 2016, 10:00:57 pm »
Responses in this thread and elsewhere have done their job of softening a few of TGO's rough edges for me - Oinaral as a deliberate sacrifice to use the trauma of his murder as a way of clearing his father's thoughts for one last heroic duty, for example.  I agree with you, Viridius. A little more extrapolation on Achamian's dreams would have been nice. Especially after Mimara's in-universe revelation that is context rather than content that matters in their analysis. Considering they didn't appear much throughout this book, it almost leads me to believe that it was a hint meant to help us in unpacking some of the series' less obvious symbolism.

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The Great Ordeal / Re: [TGO SPOILERS] The Parts Appalling
« on: July 22, 2016, 04:29:26 pm »
It certainly wasn't the most graphic scene, but the image of Nin'ciljiras ladling oil over his head really stuck with me. Otherwise, Kellhus' calm return to his Dunyain self after encountering the golden coffer at Dagliash was pretty chilling.

The writing that glowers upon it... What does it say?
...
That not everyone can be saved.
...
What do you say?
...
His Saviour turned to him, smiled what might have counted as an apology had they played number-sticks.
That this is a good thing.

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The Great Ordeal / [TGO Spoilers] Overall thoughts on the book?
« on: July 22, 2016, 02:18:01 pm »
Well, I just finished TGO twenty minutes ago. For me it was definitely a mixed bag. I thought that Bakker's writing was definitely at its nadir here - even though it's head and shoulders above most fantasy, and as rich with philosophy as always, he didn't manage to evoke the epic feel as well as he has in previous installments IMO. The exceptions there would be Ishterebinth and Akka's parts, with a few more sprinkled in the other threads. To focus first on the negative, I just thought that there was a lot of general... weirdness in Bakker's decisions about where he wanted to go with the series.

There will be rereads in the future to make sense of some of these points, but overall I would say I found these things incongruous:

(wasn't sure where to cut the spoiler so I decided to spoiler everything)

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Those are my thoughts in a nutshell. tl;dr: TGO was disappointing on its own legs but a decent appetizer before TUC. I think that the only thing I won't be able to forgive unless I see it righted in TUC is that my faith in the grand design of the series has been shaken. Before, so many loose ends seemed like promising attempts to foreshadow or at least imply other aspects of the narrative... but some of the events in this book made me wonder if that's really true or if I've fabricated a lot of that greater meaning, and the series is more one-dimensional than I expected.

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I don't think the Consult are in command of the Sranc.  That's what they need the No-God for.  It possesses all the Sranc, and nowadays that would be automatic victory.  The Consult, unaided, can't herd enough Sranc together to defeat human armies with School support.

Someone else said that on the last page. I agree they seem to be herding the Sranc more than commanding them thus far, but they've still managed to muster a swarm large enough to opaque the earth, dwarf the host of all the nations of Men, and wage war on the Dunyain to the point of driving them to extinction. They could have conquered any of the southern kingdoms before Kellhus organized them into the largest army of Men since the First Apocalypse, before the Swayali existed and other Schools were forced to cooperate as opposed to busying themselves with the squabbles of their internal factions etc.

It's just my opinion - if I were writing the series, it would be a particular detail that I couldn't just handwave away.

Odium, it seems the Consult long ago abandoned that track. They did that against the Nonman, open warfare, and lost. They did it again with sranc, and lost, beaten back to Golgotterath. They did it a third time during the 1st apocalypse, even before they had the No-God. They released the No-God to have absolute control over the horde, and lost.

To many times they have thought they had insurmountable odds. How could they lose with all their might? The Tekne, their own magics, sranc/weapon-races, later the Quya on their side...

They probably think the God's against them, or at the very least they don't want to risk losing. They turned to skin-spies and slowly made Men forget. They have been subverting Earwa in a much different way this time around, until Kellhus came along and brought the war to them.

I find your argument somewhat more convincing. Like I said above, I don't want to stray into the same territory I critique below (picking apart instead of giving in to my suspension of disbelief on a detail that's reasonable for the sake of the narrative), but I still think it's a bit... overblown in the text. The Sranc have had several thousand generations to breed without any kind of environmental pressure to limit their growing population. The Quya are pretty much under the Consult's thumb. The Mandate is crippled compared to the school it was during the First Apocalypse.

But after thinking about it more it doesn't really detract from the narrative. I just can't help but see it as an oversight in a series that has worked so exhaustively to make its world seem real and functioning within its own parameters. But I guess that's where fate comes in.

Re: whale-mothers and the silly controversy they've been provoking - I am certain I recall a quote about Nonmen who grew until death (unless we decided this was poetic license by Bakker). If the Dunyain possess at least some measure of ancient Nonmen blood, does it not make the exaggerated sexual dimorphism a little more credible in-universe? The fact that it's been brought under such scrutiny compared to other supernatural elements of the series is a little telling about how chafed the fandom's ass is about anything related to the whole feminism subplot.

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