The Slog TDTCB - Part One: Prologue & The Sorcerer [Spoilers]

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Camlost

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« on: November 28, 2015, 02:43:02 am »
Congratulations, you made it past the recruitment phase. Fasten your boots and sharpen your knives. This marks the first step on the journey I guess. Within this thread we'll be discussing the prologue as well as chapters one through four. The entirety of this endeavour is taking place under the Almanac heading, so there shouldn't be any reason to fret over spoilers (Madness you keep your mouth shut). Have at it boys!

[EDIT Madness]: The topics during this reread are open spoilers. The rest of the Almanac is up for debate (and really was a wild wild place of conduct because nothing was ever enforced).

[EDIT Madness]: Title to include the Prologue.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 03:47:34 pm by Madness »

Wilshire

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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2015, 06:24:40 am »
Might wraps rephrase that. Fine to have open spoilers for this slew of topics [state it in the first post], but the almanac isn't necessarily all open. The only topics that do that are misc and TGO.

Thanks for the start cam.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2015, 03:02:33 pm »
Lol - thanks, Wilshire :).
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geoffrobro

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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2015, 04:08:07 pm »
yeah im ready
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2015, 12:24:35 pm »
So, I am going to just throw out some quotes I find interesting in the moment:

Quote
Superstition. Everywhere and in everything, Leweth had confused that which came after with that which came before, confused the effect for the cause. Men came after, so he placed them before and called them “gods” or “demons.” Words came after, so he placed them before and called them “scriptures” or “incantations.” Confined to the aftermath of events and blind to the causes that preceded him, he merely fastened upon the ruin itself, men and the acts of men, as the model of what came before.
But what came before, the Dûnyain had learned, was inhuman.
There must be some other explanation. There is no sorcery.

So, here we have what might be the first example of Kellhus being absolutely wrong.  Or is it?  Sure, he is wrong at sorcery isn't real, but since we know that, we would tend to discount this entire portion as "Kellhus is misguided by the Dunyain."  But perhaps the first part is right?  We don't actually know if the god or gods came before or after.

Quote
The walls shivered beneath a fierce succession of gusts, and the flame twirled with abrupt incandescence. The hanging pelts lightly rocked to and fro. Leweth looked about, his brow furrowed, as though he strained to hear someone.
“It’s a long way off, Kellhus, through dangerous lands.”
“Shimeh is not . . . holy for you?”

Is the wind and the fire's sudden increased brightness made to show us his superstitiousness or is there something else going on?

Also, how does Kellhus know that Shimeh is holy at all?

Quote
“Ruins. Ruins. N-Nonmen ruins. Many places to h-h-hide.”

Another Injor-Niyas mansion West of Sobel though.

Quote
Kellhus was astonished by the great stones of the gate. Many had a girth as huge as the oak they obscured. An uplifted face had been hewn from the lintel—blank eyes, as patient as sky.

Interesting, that is not a motif we have ever seen after.

Quote
“It speaks the language,” the man muttered at length. He stepped closer, peering at Kellhus. “Yes,” he said. “Yes . . . You do not merely mock me. I can see his blood in your face.”
Kellhus again was silent.
“You have the patience of an Anasûrimbor as well.”

This is a part of why I very much doubt that Kellhus is an Anasûrimbor in name only, Mek recognizes him and I believe him on this.

That's my thoughts on the Prologue, I'll try to get though another chapter tomorrow.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . 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

locke

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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2015, 12:40:14 am »
"The flame twirled with abrupt incandescence."

Across all five books variants on the word incandescent only and exclusively are used to accompany and denote the presence of sorcercy.  The word is never used in the absence of sorcery except this line--which indicates sorcery is probably occurring unbeknownst to the POV.  The prologue concludes with kellhus definitively wrong about sorcery and this use of incandescence is within the context of a conversation in which he is wrong about sorcery. Leweths concise evaluations of the supernatural is accurate on all counts per later evidence and kellhus is wrong on all counts, in other words a good place to slip in a kellhus error of not recognizing the presence of sorcery.


"It speaks the language" almost as though mek were waiting for someone speaking a very particular language, a language mek was waiting to particularly hear--THE language.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 12:47:47 am by locke »

Camlost

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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2015, 03:53:07 am »
Just some preliminary thoughts and/or notes on the Prologue. I'll follow up on some discussion later and post a few more things from following chapters. But for now:

Quote
Ganrelka had only wept at Ishual,  raged the way only an Emperor of nothing could rage
Interesting little parallelism to the name of the trilogy

Quote
His food ran out, and he continued to walk. Everything---experience, analysis---became mysteriously sharp
Wouldn't being starved and exhausted dull or muddy one's experiential inputs?

Quote
The world had always been strange with significance to the trapper, but now it had become terrifying
For some reason I feel like Leweth has a considerably more complicated past than his current situation would allude, but ultimately his role in the narrative is primarily as a cipher for Kellhus.

Quote
There were witches, Leweth had told him, whose urgings could harness the wild agencies asleep in the earth, animal, and tree
I could simply be overlooking obvious references, but Akka's doll aside, I can't recall very many other mentions of witches pre-TAE and those are more a sanctioned sect than hedge magic. Are rogue magic users more openly accepted in the North in the absence of Inrithism?
 
Quote
And in the gloom of a faltering fire, Anasurimbor Kellhus slowly drew Leweth into his own descending rhythms---slower breath, drowsy eyes
Thought it was worth pointing out the first instance of Kellhus using hypnosis

Quote
On the far side of the stele he saw tracks in the snow
Is it mere coincidence that a group of Sranc are hanging out around an ancient Kuniuric relic? Are they genuinely in there area solely to pilfer Leweth's runs?

Quote
For Kellhus the threat existed only in the fear manifested by the trapper. The forest was still his.
This is quite the conceit, even for one of the Conditioned; especially one who very nearly became consumed by the chaos of it. The entire prologue seems like a series of colossal missteps by Kellhus. It's a wonder he makes it.

Quote
The ruins of a gate and a wall towered over the nearer slops. Beyond it, a dead oak of immense proportions bent against the sky
Another ancient, massive tree shows up at the Nonmen ruins in the South does it not? What fascination do the Nonmen have with trees?
In the scene immediately following, Kellhus enters the courtyard before being rushed by Sranc. He comments
Quote
So clear, this place
. I only direct attention to it because it seems partially incongruous with his situation. Why, if one must necessarily fight a group of enemies, would he choose open ground? Arrow catching aside, it seems like a tactical mistake to me. I might be reading more into it than it warrants, but I can't help but feel that perhaps the very ground resonates with something in him.

Quote
A powerful voice rang out in Kuniuric
It seems odd to me that the Nonman's first attempt at communication would be in the language of a long dead civilization. Unless I'm mistaken and it is still used amongst the North? I almost wonder whether their encounter was as much happenstance as it appears. Compound this excerpt with the Sranc prints near the Anasurimbor stele and it seems less likely it was chance

Quote
"I see that you are a student. Knowledge is power, eh?"
To what is he referring? A student of sorcery? The Gnosis? A student of the Logos? If the latter, wouldn't he know the Dunyain cult disappeared during the Apocalypse, presumably wiped out? How might it be the former if Kellhus bears no Mark?

Quote
"For us life is always a...decision. For you...Well, let us just say it decides."
Is the emphasis on it meant to signify something other than life? If so, what? Just something that struck me as odd as it seems he is ruminating on something as he speaks.

Quote
"This Sranc here---you could not pronounce its name---was our elju...our 'book,' you would say in your tongue. A most devoted animal. I'll be wrecked without it---for a time, anyway."
What is an elju? What does it do? Why is it necessary that he have one in his entourage?

Quote
A furious incandescence...Sorcery? How could it be?
Noted this because of locke's previous comment in regards to "incandescence." Also, can't Kellhus see the Mark? Whether or not it might be something he even recognizes as such, surely it would be something particularly out of place in the context of what he has come to learn in Ishual as well as with Leweth. It strikes me as something that should come up in his scrutinizing. Unless Kellhus develops a means to identify the Mark unrelated to be one of the Few?

locke

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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 05:40:45 am »
First item suggests Ganrelka was something of a prisoner.

"His food ran out, and he continued to walk. Everything---experience, analysis---became mysteriously sharp"

that's trauma inducing Kellhus to see the Onta. sharpness and onta go together hand in hand.

"So clear, this place"

oblique way of saying conditioned ground.

***
 "And in the gloom of a faltering fire, Leweth slowly drew Anasurimbor Kellhus into his own descending rhythms---slower breath, drowsy eyes"

Leweth (or one working through him) hypnotized Kellhus in this scene. Kellhus was just conditioned to think otherwise in the hypnosis.

I love the catch on Kellhus' blunder and egotism in thinking the forest belonged to him.

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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2015, 12:46:40 pm »
Quote
For Kellhus the threat existed only in the fear manifested by the trapper. The forest was still his.
This is quite the conceit, even for one of the Conditioned; especially one who very nearly became consumed by the chaos of it. The entire prologue seems like a series of colossal missteps by Kellhus. It's a wonder he makes it.

Is it mere coincidence that a group of Sranc are hanging out around an ancient Kuniuric relic? Are they genuinely in there area solely to pilfer Leweth's runs?

On Kellhus' mistakes: realize he doesn't actually "make it" in the sense that he survives of his own ability.  Leweth is the one who saves him, otherwise he is dead in the snow there.  The greatest question is how deep does Moënghus' conditioning of Kellhus' path run?  Alternatively, how guided is Kellhus by things Outside?  I think that is a very deep tension in the whole first three books we should keep an eye on.  On that, Leweth's finding him is no coincidence.  Leweth being camped near those ruins is no accident.  The Sranc being nearby is also no accident, as it brings Mekeritrig into (or back into) conditioned ground.

Another ancient, massive tree shows up at the Nonmen ruins in the South does it not? What fascination do the Nonmen have with trees?

I believe that the trees mark the locations of Mansions.

Quote
A powerful voice rang out in Kuniuric
It seems odd to me that the Nonman's first attempt at communication would be in the language of a long dead civilization. Unless I'm mistaken and it is still used amongst the North? I almost wonder whether their encounter was as much happenstance as it appears. Compound this excerpt with the Sranc prints near the Anasurimbor stele and it seems less likely it was chance.

I think that since Scott let slip that the Nonman is Mekeritrig and also considering that Scott said it was a mistake to tell us that, means that one, there is no chance this meeting was just a coincidence, and, two, that the fact that it's Mekeritrig is significant.  The reason he could be shouting in Kuniuric though is the same reason why he is prowling around Kuniuric ruins: he is reliving the past, trying to remember something, or someone.

Quote
"I see that you are a student. Knowledge is power, eh?"
To what is he referring? A student of sorcery? The Gnosis? A student of the Logos? If the latter, wouldn't he know the Dunyain cult disappeared during the Apocalypse, presumably wiped out? How might it be the former if Kellhus bears no Mark?

This seems to speak to a Moe-Mek connection, perhaps he refers to the Dunyain?  We don't know what that word actually means.

There is the possibility that when Moënghus left Ishual, he met Mekeritrig on the way.  Or, more likely, is that Moënghus met him in the first place, prompting his dismissal from Ishual.  Perhaps it is actually to Moënghus that Mekeritrig speaks when he says, "I can see his blood in your face" not Celemomas or any of the other Ancient Anasûrimbors.

What is an elju? What does it do? Why is it necessary that he have one in his entourage?

The elju is a person who aid's an Erratic's memory.  I don't really understand how a Sranc fills that role, but perhaps it was just a Sranc with uncommonly good language skill?  Remember that Kosoter will be Cleric's elju later on.

I think the prologue is by far the best chapter in the series.  So damn layered, but we have no real idea which are dirt and which are gold.

I read Chapter 1 this morning, which, coming from the Prologue, is so much slower, haha.

Only the following stuck me:

Quote
“They call to me. They say that my end is not the world’s end. That burden, they say, is yours. Yours, Seswatha.”

This is Celemomas to Seswatha in Akka's dream.  So, Seswatha's end is the end of the world?  What dos that really mean?
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . 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

MSJ

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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2015, 01:12:57 pm »
Great analysis guys. I picked up on the incandescence also and could very well be Moe watching Kellhus. Camlost, a elju is someone who keeps the memories of a Nonman. The captain was Nil'gaccas elju.

One thing I picked up on that I hadn't noticed before. Is a quote at the very beginning of the prologue and something Kellhus ruminates to himself.

Prologue
Quote
Thus we shall define the soul as follows: that which precedes everything.

Kelhuss
Quote
But what came before , the Dûnyain had learned, was inhuman

If the soul precedes everything, and what came before is inhuman, then what's that say about the soul? And, the soul being what the fight is about in these books, I found that very interesting.
“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,

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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2015, 01:28:11 pm »
Quote
Thus we shall define the soul as follows: that which precedes everything.

Kelhuss
Quote
But what came before , the Dûnyain had learned, was inhuman

If the soul precedes everything, and what came before is inhuman, then what's that say about the soul? And, the soul being what the fight is about in these books, I found that very interesting.

Well, it makes sense, in that the soul proceeds from the Outside and is not a product of conception (I wouldn't say birth, because in utero I would imagine you are still souled) but rather seems to be a union of the Outside and the womb at conception?

This would be why birth still happened under the No-God, yet, all were stillborn because the connection between the womb and the Outside had been severed (or shunted, or blocked).

In other words, it is the Outside that proceeds everything?  So, is Kellhus manipulating the Outside, or being manipulated by it?
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . 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

MSJ

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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2015, 03:03:41 pm »
At this point, and what we of the rest of the story, I'd have to say Kellhus is manipulating the Outside. Thanks for putting into perspective H. That makes sense, and I'd love to know exactly what the Outside is.
“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,

Camlost

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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2015, 03:31:39 pm »
"And in the gloom of a faltering fire, Leweth slowly drew Anasurimbor Kellhus into his own descending rhythms---slower breath, drowsy eyes"

Leweth (or one working through him) hypnotized Kellhus in this scene. Kellhus was just conditioned to think otherwise in the hypnosis.

I love the catch on Kellhus' blunder and egotism in thinking the forest belonged to him.

Does your version have Leweth hypnotizing Kellhus, or did you just misread my quote? Because that would be a massive discrepancy, absolutely change how that scene is read.

Quote
For Kellhus the threat existed only in the fear manifested by the trapper. The forest was still his.
This is quite the conceit, even for one of the Conditioned; especially one who very nearly became consumed by the chaos of it. The entire prologue seems like a series of colossal missteps by Kellhus. It's a wonder he makes it.

Is it mere coincidence that a group of Sranc are hanging out around an ancient Kuniuric relic? Are they genuinely in there area solely to pilfer Leweth's runs?

On Kellhus' mistakes: realize he doesn't actually "make it" in the sense that he survives of his own ability.  Leweth is the one who saves him, otherwise he is dead in the snow there.  The greatest question is how deep does Moënghus' conditioning of Kellhus' path run?  Alternatively, how guided is Kellhus by things Outside?  I think that is a very deep tension in the whole first three books we should keep an eye on.  On that, Leweth's finding him is no coincidence.  Leweth being camped near those ruins is no accident.  The Sranc being nearby is also no accident, as it brings Mekeritrig into (or back into) conditioned ground.
I just meant "makes it" in so far as survives the prologue despite his many blunders. First he nearly succumbs to the chaos of the forest, then he insists on tracking the Sranc and leaving the dogs behind despite Leweth's admonishment that the Sranc run down everything, and finally gets himself into a battle with a Nonman and ultimately is confronted with sorcery. At nearly every turn Kellhus is  vastly underestimating his circumstances and only narrowly escaping. In his flight from the Sranc he even out distances the area of forest that he knows, relying on Leweth to direct him to the ruins.

Quote
A powerful voice rang out in Kuniuric
It seems odd to me that the Nonman's first attempt at communication would be in the language of a long dead civilization. Unless I'm mistaken and it is still used amongst the North? I almost wonder whether their encounter was as much happenstance as it appears. Compound this excerpt with the Sranc prints near the Anasurimbor stele and it seems less likely it was chance.

I think that since Scott let slip that the Nonman is Mekeritrig and also considering that Scott said it was a mistake to tell us that, means that one, there is no chance this meeting was just a coincidence, and, two, that the fact that it's Mekeritrig is significant.  The reason he could be shouting in Kuniuric though is the same reason why he is prowling around Kuniuric ruins: he is reliving the past, trying to remember something, or someone.

Quote
"I see that you are a student. Knowledge is power, eh?"
To what is he referring? A student of sorcery? The Gnosis? A student of the Logos? If the latter, wouldn't he know the Dunyain cult disappeared during the Apocalypse, presumably wiped out? How might it be the former if Kellhus bears no Mark?

This seems to speak to a Moe-Mek connection, perhaps he refers to the Dunyain?  We don't know what that word actually means.

There is the possibility that when Moënghus left Ishual, he met Mekeritrig on the way.  Or, more likely, is that Moënghus met him in the first place, prompting his dismissal from Ishual.  Perhaps it is actually to Moënghus that Mekeritrig speaks when he says, "I can see his blood in your face" not Celemomas or any of the other Ancient Anasûrimbors.
I'm willing to believe this. I don't know if I would necessarily claim that Moe directly has Mek traipsing up and down the North, but I wouldn't be surprised if a nearly identical scenario played out between the two during Moe's mission. Is Mek still aligned with the Consult these days?

"The flame twirled with abrupt incandescence."

Across all five books variants on the word incandescent only and exclusively are used to accompany and denote the presence of sorcercy.  The word is never used in the absence of sorcery except this line--which indicates sorcery is probably occurring unbeknownst to the POV.  The prologue concludes with kellhus definitively wrong about sorcery and this use of incandescence is within the context of a conversation in which he is wrong about sorcery. Leweths concise evaluations of the supernatural is accurate on all counts per later evidence and kellhus is wrong on all counts, in other words a good place to slip in a kellhus error of not recognizing the presence of sorcery.
Something occurred to me about this, and it may be nohingt, but assuming that this scene does involve sorcery, whose is it and what type? I can't speculate at whose it might be without defining what type and even doing that makes for little clarification. Being that it is a manipulation of the flame itself, one might infer that it is Anagogic in nature, but how prevalent is Anagogic sorcery in the North? However, and I hate to draw a parallel across such a span, we later see Kellhus use the Gnosis for his little face in the fire trick. This seems a stretch even for me, but why shouldn't someone else be able to perform it? Is it a meta-Gnostic Cant? Someone decry this for me.

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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2015, 03:48:59 pm »
"And in the gloom of a faltering fire, Leweth slowly drew Anasurimbor Kellhus into his own descending rhythms---slower breath, drowsy eyes"

Leweth (or one working through him) hypnotized Kellhus in this scene. Kellhus was just conditioned to think otherwise in the hypnosis.

I love the catch on Kellhus' blunder and egotism in thinking the forest belonged to him.

Does your version have Leweth hypnotizing Kellhus, or did you just misread my quote? Because that would be a massive discrepancy, absolutely change how that scene is read.

Pretty sure locke has reorganized the sentence to emphasize the Dunyain Fallibility Hypothesis.
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2015, 03:59:17 pm »
At this point, and what we of the rest of the story, I'd have to say Kellhus is manipulating the Outside. Thanks for putting into perspective H. That makes sense, and I'd love to know exactly what the Outside is.

I'm not so sure.  I feel like Kellhus thinks he is manipulating the Outside.  We are constantly presented with the idea that Kellhus doesn't make mistakes, but we know from all our rereads and research that he does.

I think maybe this is why Moënghus regards him as insane, attempting to harness the Outside might be impossible, regardless of power-level.

"And in the gloom of a faltering fire, Leweth slowly drew Anasurimbor Kellhus into his own descending rhythms---slower breath, drowsy eyes"

Leweth (or one working through him) hypnotized Kellhus in this scene. Kellhus was just conditioned to think otherwise in the hypnosis.

I love the catch on Kellhus' blunder and egotism in thinking the forest belonged to him.

Does your version have Leweth hypnotizing Kellhus, or did you just misread my quote? Because that would be a massive discrepancy, absolutely change how that scene is read.

I, for one, am not buying Leweth as a mastermind here, I think he is just yet another pawn.

I'm willing to believe this. I don't know if I would necessarily claim that Moe directly has Mek traipsing up and down the North, but I wouldn't be surprised if a nearly identical scenario played out between the two during Moe's mission. Is Mek still aligned with the Consult these days?

I don't know, but my guess is no, not really.  In fact, I have a feeling he never really was in the sense that he agreed with them and was working toward their agenda.  I think the whole time, it's been about his selfish desire for memory and he always just put himself where he could spur the greatest atrocities on (thereby remembering the most).
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasûrimbor . . . 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