Reassessing The Great Ordeal

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Ciogli

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« on: January 13, 2017, 06:15:10 am »
When I first finished TGO I did not know how to feel about the book, I was unsure if it was the best or worst of the series. Since then I have been meaning to do a reread but have not gotten around, at Christmas I got a gift card and bought the audiobook. The parts that I liked I really loved this time around and the parts I didn't like I now enjoyed, although not loved. 

The storyline of Momen dragged the first time, Kelmommas is an annoying character, his madness is not interesting unlike Inrilatas. His continual dupping of Esmenet only aggravated me, this brilliant character is being dragged to her and the empires destruction by that little shit. This time the parts that did not involve Kelmommas were actually good. Fanayal and his losing battle with Psatma and the growing dismay of Malowebi , how he could see how fucked he was by fate and the growing sense of doom. Esmenet and her sense of inadequacy in the face of impossible odds, she rose to the challenge only to be smacked down by the Gods and the product of her own womb. My biggest problem was the lack of Maithanet and, I'm not saying that Maitha is Darth Mail, I'm just saying that he was massively underused in this series.

Now the greatest shortcoming of the Ordeal storyline was the sense that it was the opening act to the real battle. The battle of Dagliash was great but the feeling pervaded that was only setup, my only disappointments were the part where Aurang is about to fight Saccares and then runs off, the Consult had finally shown itself then flew off. Saved for the true battle at Golgotterath I suppose , a sorcerous duel between two Gnostic sorcerers is something not seen yet. Proyas was interesting, but he was a butterfly in its cocoon and not yet come out in his new form. Interestingly Zsoronga was with Proyas and Kayutas and when the eruption happened they escaped the fallout, with the impending destruction of his line he is now Satakhan of High Holy Zeum. Kellhus reveals both his madness and his battle with the No God, he thought his own race terrible, seeing their great folly.  The revelation that there was no Kellhus, that who he e is completely a function of local circumstances. Only his saving Esmenet belies this, it shows that a sliver of the original Kellhus that in love with her during the Holy war still survives. This may be the strangest case of unrequited love in all of fiction, Kellhus the ultimate manipulator truly loves Esmenet who worships but does not truly love him, she in turn loves Achamian who despises them both for their betrayal.

In Ishual not much action happens but it might be my favorite storyline, the exposition peels back the layers of the Dunyain. We meet the Survivor and the Boy, who happen to not only be the only survivors of the Dunyain but also direct descendants of Kellhus.  I wish more of the Order had survived, some of the Pragma perhaps but at the very least an unbound female. It would have been nice to see Dunyain manipulation coming from a young girl, a full one that has no world born blood. The battle for control between the two siblings Koringhus and Mimara was, they were both mad and yet it was he who succumbed to her. He was a prodigy in the Order like his father before him, at it would seem that the Boy might be the greatest still except his emotions still thrived and so was deemed Defective by the Dunyain Assessor. He would have lived out his days is the Unmasking Room strapped to a gurney, it seemed that Fate brought Akka and Mimara to Ishual simply to retrieve him. He would have the greatest of the Dunyains physical and mental gifts and yet could still feel some emotions. Only his hand marred his perfection. The boy clung to his father and his father could see the desire for closeness in his face, when he ran from the Skinspy he suddenly started crying and he did not know why. His father saved him for unknown reasons, the greatest of the Dunyain, the only child to be so  spared and so burdened for years in the Thousand Thousand Halls he saved the boy. And then Akka and Mimara arrive to save him again, it would seem that Fate has much in store for him. He and his twin cousins, if the NoGod walks then they will be born stillborn and legend says that all with the Judging Eye also give birth to stillborn children. Only the Anagke the Whore of Fate can save them. I believe the Boy will find his way back to Achamian and Mimara, the trio has a date with the Ordeal.

The most awe inspiring storyline was of course Ishteribinth, from the revelation that Sorweel was supposed to hate Serwa and Moenghus, to their first glimpse of the Weeping Mountain which was carved into the very shape of a penitent man. Emwama that have literally been bred into Hobbits to better serve their insane masters. The melding of Sorweel to the Amoilas so that he was Cunuroi in truth, the Nonmen seemed to be part insane asylum, pare prison, all decked out in the guise of inhuman kings. Oirunal the Lastborn, With, the youngest and least of his ancient race, they had forbidden him martial pursuits so that he could record their dissolution in relative sanitary.  Confirmation that the Consult had indeed come to rule the last mansion in the guise of a descendant of Nin Janjin the traitor. Since the Nonmen have always been my favorite part the dive into their history was awesome, yet to see such greatness on its final legs soon to be lost to history was a lot depressing. What seemed the first Nonman King who dug the first mansion in the great Kayursus, Will, house primordial. This is the same as Moria in middle.earth if we ever get there. The boatman and his descent into the Holy Deep, who turns out to be the wicked uncle of Cujara Common the greatest Nonman King. He was a bigger asshole than I suspected, his antics practically drove Nin Janjin into the Inchroi camp. Maybe it was because he was the product of incest, his parents seemed like assholes to. Lastborn giving his life so that Oirunas might remember himself once more so he could fuck shit up. I think Serwa's plan was to sing mundanely before the king and so bring him under her sway and free herself that way. Once released  she could sing her arcane song. It was amusing to see both the contempt and terror that the Nonmen held the Hundred.

The reveal of Cnaiur and his control of the Scylvendi at last King of Tribes, it would seem that he kept his identity secret so Kellhus and the empire took no notice of what was going on in the steppe.  That is why the Scylvendi never attacked the weakened empire, they held themselves back for the Ordeal. The fact that Cnaiur kept the Skinspy for two decades says that he loved it as he can love anyone, also it is in the guise of a beautiful woman and yet has great strength along with a penis means he hit the lottery. No one will question his sexuality and yet he can succumb to someone stronger than himself. If they had avoided significant bloodshed then over twenty years they could have replenished their ranks, the Scylvendi are now at full strength. It seems that Cnaiur would need allies or those scared of him to become King of Tribes, twenty years of political intrigue across the steppe. Since Kellhus would doubtless have spies watching the steppe for this possibility, Cnaiur has become canny in old age. I wonder if they have sorcerers in the Scylvendi, since they have the Few, it would make sense to train them in Gnostic sorcery, another dagger for the Ordeal.

A couple questions that I had, the mysterious circles that have been talked about on the maps, could they be the result of ancient Scalding. Set off during the ancient Nonmen and Inchroi wars, Bakker hinted that ancient accounts of those times are what allowed him to know radiation sickness symptoms. During the Ishual chapters Koringhus thinks of the legion within similar to that described by Leto all when he struggled with possession, disparate pieces of himself that could be yoked to his ends. Leto made a deal with his inner selves so that he was simply the face of a inner community that did his bidding, Koringhus thinks much the same except because he was broken the pieces were more obvious. Just before his death with the Leap of Faith he has a curious thought, to avoid damnation he will make a sideways step, this seemed similar to the Nonmen and their theory of hiding from the Afterlife. In the False Sun Titirga talked of hiding his voice and finding oblivion, Harrapior talked to Serwa of Emlidis and his saying that finding oblivion was like the flight of an arrow and just as difficult. Maybe this is the same place that the Nonmen got their idea, someone with the Judging Eye.
The world holds no terrors for me, I stand naked as the falling sword, I am the Terror.

MSJ

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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 09:35:40 am »
 
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My biggest problem was the lack of Maithanet and, I'm not saying that Maitha is Darth Mail, I'm just saying that he was massively underused in this series.

Bro, Maithenet died at the hands of the WLW at the end of WLW. Its how Esmi becomes Empress again and restored to her home. How would you expect Maitha to play a role?
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

H

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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2017, 11:48:36 am »
In the False Sun Titirga talked of hiding his voice and finding oblivion, Harrapior talked to Serwa of Emlidis and his saying that finding oblivion was like the flight of an arrow and just as difficult. Maybe this is the same place that the Nonmen got their idea, someone with the Judging Eye.

While it's possible that a past Judging Eye influenced them, I feel is it unlikely.  I think it goes back as far as the days where the god was still whole somehow.  In any case, I think it has less to do with the cubit, or anything else that necessitates damnation, but rather an emphasis on, for lack of a better term, keeping your soul compact.  In this way, it is less likely to be noticed or be enticing to a god and so you could slip past that which would trap your soul and you can reach Oblivion.

(Our kids like to play the browser game Agar.io, which is sort of how I think part of souls on the Outside work.  The bigger your souls gets, the less likely you can slip past anyone.  Indeed, bigger means you can devour the smaller...until someone bigger comes along.  Presumably the gods are massive, so it's better to stay small and dodge them then contest them at their own game.)
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasűrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.” -Cet’ingira

Ciogli

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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2017, 12:36:36 am »


Quote
My biggest problem was the lack of Maithanet and, I'm not saying that Maitha is Darth Mail, I'm just saying that he was massively underused in this series.

Bro, Maithenet died at the hands of the WLW at the end of WLW. Its how Esmi becomes Empress again and restored to her home. How would you expect Maitha to play a role?
I know that Maithanet died in the prior book, that was the problem, he is such a great character that we get far to little of. He is the second most powerful person in the empire and is only a side character, from the Holy war to the Ordeal we only get glimpses of him. I think it would have made the storyline better if we followed Maithanet around to see what he was up to, with a base of power in Sumna and the thousand temples behind him. His own Dunyain insight about the world and his brother, I would rather have read that than about Kelmommas.
The world holds no terrors for me, I stand naked as the falling sword, I am the Terror.

Francis Buck

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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2017, 04:13:12 am »
I agree in spirit on Maithanet, and really every Dunyain/Anasurimbor character. They're all pretty fascinating on-page, but you can tell they're kept remote because they know things the reader isn't supposed to yet. They're dolled out like candy, even Moenghus II, who (allegedly) has no Dunyain blood, but did receive the training to some degree -- making him interestingly similar to his father as an "outsider of the inner circle" that is the Anasurimbor.

Furthermore, I don't feel like we've actually been granted access to the arc of Maithanet (because spoilers?) just yet to understand the character fully. I feel like there's going to be a Dune-style twist in which the "Nansur" side of the family are like the Harkonnens, and that Esmenet and Maithanet are part of that regime, alongside the Ikurei, knowingly or not. Conphas in particular feels like a possible proto-Kwisatz Hederach, only for the real one (Kellhus) to show up a generation later.


Ciogli

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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2017, 05:18:12 am »
I feel that it would have been natural for Maithanet to have a family of his own, their would have been good reasons to do so and only Kellhus would have stopped it. Since they would have only have been a quarter Dunyain they would be less dangerous. I hope that is one of the Revelations of the next series.
The world holds no terrors for me, I stand naked as the falling sword, I am the Terror.

themerchant

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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2017, 12:15:23 pm »
I imagine the Shriah can't have children, he is not even allowed to laugh.

MSJ

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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2017, 05:42:59 pm »
I always felt (after we find out he's Moe's son) that he was nothing more than a useful puppet. We wonder, "Why would Kellhus leave the Empire to Esmi and not Maitha?". Well, I think H has hit the nail on the head. Whatever "The Voice" is (i am increasingly becoming convinced it is Kellhus post TSA, whatever that might be.) had told or shown Kellhus what would happen to Maitha, he was of no use. Its the same reason he lets Akka live, what comes After is controlling what comes before. We know the gods can see all of time, so I say Kellhus ascends in some manner at the end of TUC. That's why Kellhus sees his own face in one of his visions when speaking to the Voice.

ETA: sorta went off on a tangent there, but in short, Maitha had no story to tell. First he was Moe's tool, then Kellhus's. Not much to learn, unless you want to know what the life of a Shriah was like. I do want to know what he was trying to tell Esmi of though as he died.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 05:47:06 pm by MSJ »
“No. I am your end. Before your eyes I will put your seed to the knife. I will quarter your carcass and feed it to the dogs. Your bones I will grind to dust and cast to the winds. I will strike down those who speak your name or the name of your fathers, until ‘Yursalka’ becomes as meaningless as infant babble. I will blot you out, hunt down your every trace! The track of your life has come to me,

MG

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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 04:05:59 am »
I feel that it would have been natural for Maithanet to have a family of his own, their would have been good reasons to do so and only Kellhus would have stopped it. Since they would have only have been a quarter Dunyain they would be less dangerous. I hope that is one of the Revelations of the next series.

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