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The No-God / Re: Will the Mutilated step out of the shadows?
« Last post by MSJ on Today at 12:52:18 am »
Quote from:  ThoughtsofThelli
It's very likely we'd have the same happen in Akka's case, especially since he's already the infamous Wizard who renounced their late Holy Aspect-Emperor...

And, most of the world will believe Kellhus the No-God. Setting Akka up as the "not as crazy as we thought" Wizard. As you alluded to with Akka renouncing Kellhus and then writing a book denouncing him. He almost definitely will be the moral compass to many.
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The No-God / Re: Will the Mutilated step out of the shadows?
« Last post by ThoughtsOfThelli on May 24, 2018, 11:30:56 pm »
Yet it might also be that he meant that the books might be structured around shorter, more self-contained arcs.  As Esme notes in TTT, the through line for the Sagas was Seswatha -- he'd appear and disappear and played a number of different roles.  So I could imagine something where there are a lot of new POV's that experience TSA with Akka and his ragtag band as the through line.

I like this idea, having not only the Akka POVs but also seeing him from new (or returning) minor or secondary characters' eyes. Remember how Seswatha was seen as villainous, or at least morally ambiguous, in some of the books of the Sagas? It's very likely we'd have the same happen in Akka's case, especially since he's already the infamous Wizard who renounced their late Holy Aspect-Emperor...
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The No-God / Re: Kellhus and the Dreams - what could it lead to?
« Last post by ThoughtsOfThelli on May 24, 2018, 11:27:00 pm »
As I have said in previous threads, I think this theory of yours has potential. :)

I agree that it's quite likely that Kellhus will replace Seswatha in future Dreams, since as MSJ said, what Seswatha tried to prevent already happened, his role could be considered complete (also, Akka is now the Seswatha figure of the story).

I think it would be interesting if Akka's first Kellhus Dream took place chronologically shortly after Akka renounced him, his School and Esmenet back in the spring of 4112. Akka could even "catch up" with significant events in Kellhus' life from the past 20 years over the course of the series.

Now, will anyone else have the Kellhus Dreams? Serwa would be an obvious choice here...it would be interesting to have her react to possibly learning quite a few things she didn't know about the father she idolized - especially after his Thousandfold Thought failed at the end of TUC. As for anyone else, I'd love it if one or more of the witches had survived and become secondary characters who also have the New Dreams. Having at least one other Mandati, such as Saccarees (if he survived, I think it's likely he could have) react to the Dreams would also be nice (Nautzera could even return in this capacity...).
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The No-God / Re: Kellhus and the Dreams - what could it lead to?
« Last post by profgrape on May 24, 2018, 11:13:48 pm »
I could see Kellhus having manipulated the Dreams such that was positioned to lead the final resistance in case Kellhus failed at Golgotterath.  And similarly, I could see the Dreams shifting to Kellhus.  Which would be all kinds of amazing as it could reveal tidbits of other things Kellhus had done as a backup plan.

Now that I thinking about it a bit, it would be amazing to start TNG with a Dream.  Akka is Kellhus and sowing oats with Esme.  Then he wakes up to see both Esme and Mimara lying on the ground in Agongorea. 
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The No-God / Re: Will the Mutilated step out of the shadows?
« Last post by profgrape on May 24, 2018, 10:44:03 pm »
Well, also Bakker did say he was leaning toward the next series being written more like The Sags rather than how the rest of the books were.  I take that to mean less first-person perspectives, so if we do "see" them, it is probably only glimpses of them from afar.
Actually, if we take it at face value and imagine something along the lines of the Silmarillion, then I'm worried about his readership. A narrative structure of this kind doesn't seem to engage contemporary readers.
I had the same reaction.  As much as I like the stories Bakker tells, what I really love is the way he tells them.  And so much of that comes down to perspective -- seeing things through the characters' eyes. 

Yet it might also be that he meant that the books might be structured around shorter, more self-contained arcs.  As Esme notes in TTT, the through line for the Sagas was Seswatha -- he'd appear and disappear and played a number of different roles.  So I could imagine something where there are a lot of new POV's that experience TSA with Akka and his ragtag band as the through line. 
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The Unholy Consult / Re: Influences on TSA
« Last post by TLEILAXU on May 24, 2018, 10:27:32 pm »
I extremely like how well-thought-out this argument is, considering proposed parallels. But I see problems with it. First of all, we are led to believe that Kellhus doesn't pursue the Logos anymore. He poses that he abandoned it for the pursuit of the subjective, the divine and its domain, the Outside.

The second problem I see is one of the most important morals of the story, the one that holds Kellhus, with all his gifts, as still very much fallible. Him "sparing" Kelmomas is portrayed as a mistake, as something he didn't - in all likelihood couldn't - foresee leading to the later catastrophic failure of the Great Ordeal.

Well, Kellhus might have abandoned the pursuit of the Logos' ultimate goal, that of attaining the Absolute through it, but I don't think he gives up on the fundamental precept of the Logos, that all things could be leveraged via the intellect.  In no way does Kellhus ever, that we can see, consider that a spiritual answer could help him.  I think this is part of what Bakker is getting at, how the Dûnyain are so powerful intellectually and so weak spiritually.  Consider what we finally hear from Kellhus himself:

Quote
“You were delivered to the machinations of the Tekne. And now you see it as the consummation of Dûnyain principles, the truth from which your very sinew and intellect are hewn. You think our error was to confuse the Logos with the movements of our souls, when in sooth it belongs to the machinery of the World. Your revelation was to understand that Logos was nothing but Cause as concealed by the darkness that comes before. You saw that reason itself was but another machine glimpsed in the blackness, a machine of machines.”
[...]
“You realized the Mission was not to master Cause via Logos, but to master Cause via Cause, to endlessly refashion the Near to consume and incorporate the Far.”
[...]
“But where you were delivered to the Tekne, I was brought to the Gnosis.”
[...]
“I seized temporal power, usurped the Three Seas as you have usurped Golgotterath. But where you saw antithesis in your damnation, a goad to resume the ancient Inchoroi design, I saw fathomless power.”

What I think Kellhus is saying, is that they both realized the the Logos, as a mission, has limits.  That limit is essentially the limit of the soul.  So, where the Mutilated saw an impasse at Damnation, Kellhus instead doubles down, and attacks the issue of the Logos' limit via the Logos.  So, Kellhus, here is actually chiding the Mutilated for thinking they had "answered" the issue at hand, thinking that the Tekne could answer the issue, the fact is that the Tekne and the Logos are essentially the same thing.
The way I see it, Kellhus acknowledges that circumstances lead them to different paths. He's not invalidating their approach, just confident that he is the one who wanders Conditioned ground.

What Kellhus brags about here is that he, in having gained the Gnosis (and so other metaphysical abilities), is able to leverage something beyond the limit of the Logos.  Interestingly though, I think the Mutilated know this, in part, because it isn't as if they didn't learn sorcery.  But they fail to fully double down, falling into the Inchoroi trap of believing that the Tekne can offer salvation.
Yet the Inchoroi spoke true.

Of course, the joke is on both Kellhus and the Mutilated, because there is still more.  Kellhus' plan isn't flawed in that it couldn't work, it's flawed in the fact that he failed to fortify himself spiritually.  In other words, as a failed Abraham, Kellhus recognizes the need for sacrifice, but fails to make the necessary one.  Of course, we want to ask, just as Abraham would have, why is this sacrifice necessary, but that is aside the point.  If we need an answer, the plain one is because little Kel is the No-God, the whole time, so he must die.  But that is beside the main point.
This sounds like overinterpretation to me. What Bakker is primarily trying to tell with Kellhus is that despite his prodigious gifts, being the most powerful warrior and sorcerer to ever wander the Three Seas, he's blind to the Darkness that Comes Before nonetheless. Hell, he would have failed at the Circumfix were it not for Divine intervention by the one capricious God who intuited a certain absence...

In my argument I mostly refer to this quote:
Quote from: R. Scott Bakker, "The Unholy Consult", Chapter 18, "The Golden Room"
The Holy Aspect-Emperor did not so much as glance at the gulfs of golden reticulation. “And if the Logos no longer moves me ...” he said, his greasy resemblance at last turning to survey the skin-spies assembled across the margins of the Golden Room. “What is your contingency then?”

It seems to make your interpretation less likely, because the Logos and the Outside are basically synonymous with the Subject and the Object, representing the core dichotomy of the series. So looking beyond the world, into the mysteries of the Gnosis, Kellhus looks to the subjective, the Oustide, abandoning the objective, the Logos. Even the principles of the Dunyain hold that the Logos lies outside the circle of the world only in a formal sense, ontologically still being a part of it. The Outside, on the other hand, violates ontology, at least from the human perspective.
Bakker said as much, i.e. Kellhus going full subject and the Mutilated going full object. Of course, Kellhus' approach coupled with his weak spirituality lead to the possession by a God, and the Mutilated's approach involves shearing off the orthogonal dimension to the World.
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The No-God / Re: Will the Mutilated step out of the shadows?
« Last post by SmilerLoki on May 24, 2018, 09:11:51 pm »
Well, also Bakker did say he was leaning toward the next series being written more like The Sags rather than how the rest of the books were.  I take that to mean less first-person perspectives, so if we do "see" them, it is probably only glimpses of them from afar.
Actually, if we take it at face value and imagine something along the lines of the Silmarillion, then I'm worried about his readership. A narrative structure of this kind doesn't seem to engage contemporary readers.
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The Unholy Consult / Re: Influences on TSA
« Last post by SmilerLoki on May 24, 2018, 09:05:52 pm »
In my argument I mostly refer to this quote:
Quote from: R. Scott Bakker, "The Unholy Consult", Chapter 18, "The Golden Room"
The Holy Aspect-Emperor did not so much as glance at the gulfs of golden reticulation. “And if the Logos no longer moves me ...” he said, his greasy resemblance at last turning to survey the skin-spies assembled across the margins of the Golden Room. “What is your contingency then?”

It seems to make your interpretation less likely, because the Logos and the Outside are basically synonymous with the Subject and the Object, representing the core dichotomy of the series. So looking beyond the world, into the mysteries of the Gnosis, Kellhus looks to the subjective, the Oustide, abandoning the objective, the Logos. Even the principles of the Dunyain hold that the Logos lies outside the circle of the world only in a formal sense, ontologically still being a part of it. The Outside, on the other hand, violates ontology, at least from the human perspective.

In such circumstances no sacrifice is enough for Kellhus, because he met his inherent limit. And this is, I feel, the point. Your limits shape your perception, what you can see is completely defined by your limits, so transcending them without changing your very nature is impossible. And playing with them is folly.

That's why Bakker's philosophical outlook is so grim. He thinks that humanity is already playing with things beyond its limit (that is, things not present in our ancestral cognitive ecologies, if we use his terminology), which can only lead to a catastrophic failure. The ending of TUC in this sense is a cautionary tale. At least that's what I currently think.
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The Almanac: PON Edition / Re: ARC: TDTCB, Chapter 7
« Last post by TheCulminatingApe on May 24, 2018, 08:29:43 pm »
Quote
I've wrought what no man has wrought. Doesn't that make me more than a man?
Conphas could no longer count how many times this breathless thought had beset him, and though he was loath to admit it, he yearned to hear it echoed by others--especially Martemus.

Last chapter we had only a small inkling of Conphas' opinion of his own divinity as seen from Cnaiür's POV. This chapter, we're not even 2 paragraphs in and we get the whole delusion spelled out for us in all its glory.
Though I wonder why someone with such a high opinion of himself and self-confidence would be "loath to admit it". Maybe some small part of him still realizes believing himself to be a god is delusional - or blasphemous?

He just doesn't want to admit to himself that he needs the good opinions of other people.  The insecurity of arrogance, if you like.

Conphas makes his first mistake this chapter and underestimates Xerius. As we talked about in the chapter 5 discussion, Xerius really isn't as incompetent as most people in and out of universe tend to believe. And we'll see more evidence of his in a while.
Also, Skeaös is established as someone who is behind all the "brilliant ploys" in Xerius' court (at least in Conphas' opinion). Doesn't really seem to be the case anymore, but then again, he is probably a skin-spy by this point.

Xerius comes across as lot more in this Chapter, and puts Conphas back in his box a few times.


Quote
Never in his life had Conphas felt anything approaching the elation he'd experienced at the Battle of Kiyuth. Surrounded by his half-panicked staff, he had looked across the undecided battlefield and somehow, unaccountably, had known--known with a certainty that had made his bones feel like iron. I own this place. I am more . . . The feeling had been akin to rapture or religious ecstasy. It had been, he later realized, a revelation, a moment of divine insight into the immeasurable might of his hand.

This is an interesting passage, as it could of course be read as Conphas' usual sense of self-importance and recognition of his own brilliance...but could it be something more? He does mention that he'd never felt anything like that before. Intervention from Gilgaöl (or Ajokli?) perhaps? (Might be too much of a stretch, I know.)

With hindsight, this could be a kind of surrogate Kellhus POV.  Telling what happens when Kellhus 'goes mad', but also pointing out that this is delusional.  There are a lot of correspondences between Conphas' and Kellhus' arcs across the both series IMHO.

Quote
And now, the great triumph he'd so anticipated, the all-important recognition of what he'd wrought, had been overshadowed by greater events. The Holy War had dimmed his glory, had dwarfed even the destruction of the Scylvendi. Men would celebrate him, yes, but the way they celebrated religious festivals in times of famine: listlessly, too preoccupied by the press of events to truly understand what or whom they celebrated.
How could he not hate the Holy War?

Defeating the Scylvendi was an unprecedented accomplishment, to be sure. The timing just didn't work out so well. And you know Conphas just hates it when he's not the centre of attention. (Still, I kind of feel for him. Just a little bit.)
You'd think he would have realised why he had been sent north in the first place.  Whilst Conphas is a brilliant individual, he does seem very self-absorbed and not necessarily good at picking up what's going on around him.

Quote
The Battle of Kiyuth had been but the first step in a larger scheme to wrest the Holy War from Maithanet, and the Holy War was key to his uncle's dream of a Restored Empire. If Kian could be crushed, and if all the old provinces could be reconquered, then Ikurei Xerius III would be remembered not as a warrior-emperor like Xatantius or Triamus but as a great statesman-emperor such as Caphrianas the Younger. This was his dream.

As we learned from his POV in chapter 5, Xerius is quite aware of his strengths and weaknesses when compared to previous emperors (to an extent, anyway). It really wasn't a bad scheme, not at all. Xerius and Conphas really got unlucky with the Dûnyain involvement.
Not really, the Holy War itself is a Dunyain scheme.  Moenghus and Maithanet are playing the Nansur.

To be fair, if Conphas as a child was anything like Kelmomas (I have the feeling he was)
This has got me wondering if Conphas could potentially be an Insertant.  He is of course no God, despite his opinions to the contrary.

Quote
"Whatever wisdom I possess, Grandmother, I owe to you."
Istriya nearly giggled. Flattery, especially from Conphas, had always been her favourite narcotic. "I was a rather harsh tutor, now that I recall."
"The harshest."

More confirmation of Istriya's very important role in shaping Conphas' character.
It does make me wonder exactly how long she has been a skin-spy, though. Surely she wasn't one during his formative years, but you never know... (And yes, I know some of you think she is still the real Istriya at this point. As you've noticed, I don't, and I'm working from the assumption that she isn't).

Quote
Conphas was laughing. "I'm afraid I discovered the pleasures of women at an atrociously young age, Grandmother. I had other tutors to attend."
Istriya was sly--even flirtatious. The whorish crone. "Lessons drawn from the same book, I imagine."
"It all comes down to fucking, doesn't it?"

This was definitely not the sort of thing I'd want to dwell on, but I was curious. Did Istriya manipulate young Conphas sexually the way she did with young Xerius? I've seen people argue for both interpretations, and I used to believe that she hadn't, but this passage does make me wonder. Conphas could be talking about "metaphorical fucking" only when referring to the lessons he got from Istriya, but I don't think the other interpretation can be fully disproven either.

Manipulation via perversion of sexual desire does seem a very Consult thing to do. I'm not saying Istriya has or hasn't been a skin-spy for any long duration - just pointing it out.


Quote
There was something dead inside his nephew. No, more than dead--something smooth. With others, even with his mother--although she too had seemed so remote lately--there was always the exchange of unspoken expectations, of the small, human needs that crotched and braced all conversation, even silences. But with Conphas there were only sheer surfaces. His nephew was never moved by another. Conphas was moved by Conphas, even if at times in mimicry of being moved by others. He was a man for whom everything was a whim. A perfect man.

This is a fair assessment. And people still think Xerius is dumb...this reread has really given me a new perspective when it comes to him. It should also be noted that Xerius' description of Conphas sounds rather...Dûnyain.
Despite the fact that their personalities are nothing alike, I can't help but be reminded of this quote about Thelli:
Quote from: TJE, Chapter 3
Theliopa was a woman with an unearthly hollow where human sentiment should be.
Conphas is no Dûnyain, of course (unless there is some crackpot theory I am unaware of?), but it can't be denied that there are many similarities. Moënghus and Kellhus aren't moved by others either (Ajokli interference aside), even when it seems to others that they are. They do think of themselves as having reached a perfect state. And while Conphas' focus is Conphas, there is room for interpretation concerning the Thousandfold Thought and how self-serving Moënghus and Kellhus really are, to say the least.

Indeed, more similarities between Conphas and Kellhus.

Moënghus was the intermediary between Xerius and Skauras back in chapter 5...could he be behind this? It's entirely plausible it's just as Conphas says, of course, but I wonder.

It certainly shouldn't be ruled out, should it? ;)  Also, Moenghus must surely know that Skeaos is a skin-spy, and therefore that the Consult are involved with Nansur decision making at the highest levels.

You can actually draw some parallels between Istriya and Xerius and Moënghus and Cnaiür. Both Istriya and Moënghus were adults manipulating a teenager via both psychological and sexual means for their own gain. Both Xerius and Cnaiür have deep psychological scars from said manipulation, and are still in denial about aspects of it even as middle-aged men. (There are still many differences between the two cases, of course, I just felt it was worth mentioning.)

Good call :D

Quote
"Like an immense sarcophagus," his mother said. Always, the asp of truth.

Foreshadowing?
The No-God.
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The No-God / Re: Kellhus and the Dreams - what could it lead to?
« Last post by MSJ on May 24, 2018, 08:15:41 pm »
Quote from:  stuslayer
What do you think might happen if Kellhus appears in the Dreams? Will he supplant Seswatha, or something else? What would he command? Who will he appear to, and why? Where do you think the story will go if this idea is right? I'd be fascinated to know what people think.

Its just a great idea, again, I'm astonished no one ever brought it up. I think Kellhus will supplant Seswatha (as his job is done, the No-God is walking) and aid in the attempt to stop the No-God. I am of the opinion, that only Akka will recieve these dreams and will converse with Kellhus. Akka needs to know of the Mutilated and that Kelmommas is the No-God.

If true, he has access to the Outside, presumably. He can see all of time and mayne aid in what is needed to kill the No-God. Maybe, I'm with H, and think Mimara is the ultimate savior.
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