Let's talk about the introduction of the WLW (spoilers)

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Francis Buck

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« on: December 19, 2013, 08:45:32 pm »
So, I've gone over this scene (or set of scenes) numerous times, and while I think I get the jist of what Bakker's going for (the passage of time, and also timelessness, and all things happening at once), I'm still a little lost on certain aspects of it.

It starts on page 211 of TJE, in my US version.

In particular, it's the opening I don't understand. I'll transcribe some of it, what I believe is the important part (the parts that are most vague, anyway):
Quote

A life lived, now forgotten.

A breeze as dry as hot ash. An airy room, clean with tile and paint, the floor canted to drain storm-waters. A woman in a simple linen shift, wedding young, her hair raven-dark, suckling an infant, smiling, asking something sweet and curious. Her head tipped, almond eyes flashing, poised to laugh at something soon to be said, a warm and gentle wit.

Peach-colored walls trimmed in vining green.

A life forgotten...

Concern clouding her dark eyes. A quick glance at the infant against her breast, then again the question.

"Love? Are you okay?"

You look like you are dreaming...

We then move on to some more descriptions, mostly giving off the vibe of warmth or tranquility, almost paradise-like (blue skies, metaphors of heaven, etc).

Then:

Quote
The threshold crossed. Then a courtyard where gnarled old slaves chase chickens. A young scullery girl staring, immovable save for her tracking gaze, her skin as brown as her broom handle.

The gate. The street.

The infant wailing now, swung from a frantic hip, the woman scolding, weeping, crying out: "What are you doing? What has happened?"

Wake up, please! You're scaring me!


A slender clutch knocked aside by a strong, wide-waving arm. Steps taken. Distances rolled up into oblivion. A tugging from spaces unseen. The woman shrieking. "My love! My love, please!"


What have I done?

That bolded part in particular intrigues me, since it seems to be hinting at supernatural happenings.

The narrative then jumps two hundred and fifty seven years before, with the whole building collapsing bit. Then some random sequences, seemingly of different time periods. We get what appears to be a brief paragraph describing Psatma, and then we jump again, backwards in time, one thousand four hundred and twenty-two years earlier, a Scylvendi marauder rapes a Ceneian woman.

And then we jump back to Psatma, meeting the White-Luck.

So the part that really gets me is, what the hell's going on with the woman and the baby in the beginning? Is that modern times? Why is that particular sequence so vague? The rest of the descriptions of different time periods, while seemingly somewhat random, at least...well, make sense. They describe a specific and relatively simple set of events.

Any thoughts on what is happening in the beginning there? Bakker makes particular note of the slaves, including the scullery girl, and we know slaves are potential pawns of Yatwer...so yeah, there's that. Ideas?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 10:42:01 pm by Francis Buck »

locke

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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 11:47:57 pm »
he killed the woman--his wife--and the baby--his child, or Yatwer made him do it and he thinks he did it, and that's why he becomes the white luck? 

Francis Buck

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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2013, 04:00:38 am »
he killed the woman--his wife--and the baby--his child, or Yatwer made him do it and he thinks he did it, and that's why he becomes the white luck?

So then are the italicized thoughts supposed to be those of the WLW, or the woman? They don't really sense as either (yet they could fit as both?).

Madness

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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2013, 12:57:07 pm »
Hmm... my first thoughts turned towards Psatma's "falling disease." In most peripheral, and Psatma's direct case, Bakker seems to be using physical dysfunction as a portal between the Earwa and the Outside - which I think is also the untapped wealth of a couple disciplines in real-life, using diagnostic techniques anachronistically to discern the various dysfunction that might have occurred with religious and spiritual figures.

But count me as most confused about these passages. I actually felt I got most of the one off allusions and metaphors that constitute the Warrior's perspective.
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locke

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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2013, 06:24:15 pm »
no, the italicized thoughts are his own, disjointed brief lapses of awareness.

Wilshire

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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2013, 07:39:33 pm »
no, the italicized thoughts are his own, disjointed brief lapses of awareness.
Agreed. Though I can't look it up currently I'd have to say that from the passage quoted, and from what I remember, I always thought this was kind of all the POV of the WLW. The bit in question, at the beginning, is present day, and the italics are the thoughts of the White-Luck himself. Though its possible the narrator is Yatwer here. This is all tentative though until I can go back and read it.
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Francis Buck

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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2013, 07:50:04 pm »
Hm, I mean some of the lines make sense, but others dont. Why would he think "you look like you're dreaming" or "wake up please you're scaring me". Those seem like they should be coming from the woman. Unless they are things the woman is saying, and we're just "hearing" them through the daze of the WLW's consciousness?

Wilshire

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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2013, 08:22:18 pm »
I should have read more closely. These three lines are confusing:
Quote
Concern clouding her dark eyes. A quick glance at the infant against her breast, then again the question.

"Love? Are you okay?"

You look like you are dreaming...
I think the first line is WLW's thoughts. He is watching the woman.
Line 2 should then be her asking him a question.
Without context, the 3rd line would seem to be WLW's thoughts.

However, once you move down "Wake up, please! You're scaring me!" and "What have I done?" show up in italics. The final line looks like WLW, and "wake up" is probably the girl.

That really only leaves that 3rd line. Since there isn't a ton of consistency it could go either way, but it does sound more like the nameless woman rather than the WLW.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2013, 12:58:35 pm »
From p162: Psatma's words to the Goddess are in quotes and italicized, her thoughts are just italicized, and Yatwer's words are in bold. Also, peripheral notation: a Nansur caste-noble touches her poxed cheek and asks how long she has suffered the Falling Disease.

And in looking up FB's page number right now, I realized how far I've led you all astray (I always figured pages between versions would be closer than this - so how do I figure out what prints my books are?) But starting at p319 (FB's p211), in reading it again I think its the White-Luck Warrior's perspective the whole time, excepting the one moment explaining why the wife and child of the body whose soul it reads like he just replaced had to be killed... for the continuity of the way it happens...

In this moment of hindsight, it seems like dude's eyes just glaze over at this random moment, wif's like "we were just talking, why are you leaving" (I think those are both her words and italicized thoughts), White-Luck is just moving because he's the execution of what happens and the life forgotten is the man he just took a body from and the wife and child die... 'cause Yatwer don't leave no loose ends.
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Francis Buck

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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2013, 07:42:18 pm »
I think the way Bakker's screwing with how the man's and the woman's thoughts and/or spoken words are italicized could also be indicating the White-Luck's (I.E. the nameless man) mind moving into its weird sort of third-person viewpoint that it has.
(click to show/hide)

Hopefully some of that makes sense lol.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 01:03:38 pm by Madness »

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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2013, 12:46:12 pm »
It made sense. I actually think that the White-Luck/nameless man's "mind moving into its weird sort of third-person viewpoint" is what occurs in the first moments there, which I think are the only moments of actual timelessness.

But... spoiler for WLW. We're in TJE.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2013, 04:35:15 pm »
- so how do I figure out what prints my books are?
Well just look at the copyright page near the front, it should tell you more than what you need. I like to put the year, the country it was published in, and hardcover/softcover. If its PoN series, than you can also add large/small edition, since there are 2 different soft cover publications.
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Francis Buck

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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2013, 10:45:59 pm »
But... spoiler for WLW. We're in TJE.

Ah, sorry man, I never think about spoilers on this forum, it always feels like everyone has already read the whole series (which is obviously is not the case, especially for newcomers).

Madness

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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2013, 01:06:45 pm »
Well just look at the copyright page near the front, it should tell you more than what you need. I like to put the year, the country it was published in, and hardcover/softcover. If its PoN series, than you can also add large/small edition, since there are 2 different soft cover publications.

Uh... so for instance, TWP, small Canadian Softcover (2005 ed.)?

Ah, sorry man, I never think about spoilers on this forum, it always feels like everyone has already read the whole series (which is obviously is not the case, especially for newcomers).

No worries, FB.
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Crtha

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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2014, 11:25:50 pm »
Hm, I mean some of the lines make sense, but others dont. Why would he think "you look like you're dreaming" or "wake up please you're scaring me". Those seem like they should be coming from the woman. Unless they are things the woman is saying, and we're just "hearing" them through the daze of the WLW's consciousness?

This is what is happening.  The WLW is her husband who just up and leaves before the tenement is destroyed due to erosion caused by the river and dog piss (lol).  She tries to stop him but he knocks her aside.

The italicized bits seem to be her thoughts, that he is somehow aware of.

Later, during the ritual:

Quote
His was the body of a man newly wed - a father of but one child.

I wonder if he and Psatma are actual or figurative siblings.
Retracing his bloody footprints, the Wizard limped on.