TDTCB, Ch. 4

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« on: April 19, 2013, 10:44:57 am »
Quote from: Madness
Cheers all. This is going to get pretty epic as it continues. I invite everyone to continue posting in the previous chapter threads and building those portfolios as we continue forward with our five-day weeks. Also, good luck to any students or faculty returning to their institutions for the fall semesters.

What Came Before

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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 10:45:13 am »
Quote from: Madness
This is a big chapter in terms of event. Also, I've previously picked one where two epigraphs appear, but this time I've included both for interest's sake.

Sumna

To be ignorant and to be deceived are two different things. To be ignorant is to be a slave of the world. To be deceived is to be the slave of another man. The question will always be: Why, when all men are ignorant, and therefore already slaves, does this latter slavery sting us so?

- AJENCIS, THE EPISTEMOLOGIES

But despite stories of Fanim atrocities, the fact of the matter is that the Kianene, heathen or no, were surprisingly tolerant of Inrithi pilgrimages to Shimeh - before the Holy War that, is. Why would a people devoted to the destruction of the Tusk extend this courtesy to "idolators"? Perhaps they were partially motivated by the prospect of trade, as others have suggested. But the fundamental motive lies in their desert heritage. The Kianene word for a holy place is si'ihkhalis, which means, literally, "great oasis." On the open desert it is their strict custom to never begrudge travellers water, even if they be enemies.

- Drusas Achamian, COMPENDIUM OF THE FIRST HOLY WAR

I literally could not decide between these two. Firstly, Ajencis raises an philosophic point close to heart. Why does it sting so when we are manipulated by people around us but it hardly raises an eyebrow if you mention the various cognitive biases for instance?

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§4.1 The Narrative & Holy War

This is the first instance of Bakker's classic overtures of narrative, the omnipresent reality perspective - unless he yet plays game within even these moments.

§4.1 describes Maithanet's call to the Three Seas Inrithi, how the faithful admonished each other to cleanse the ground of Shimeh, the earth of the Latter Prophet (p117).

It also describes the Cishaurim as "eyeless... who saw through the heads of snakes" (p116).

"Maithanet called, and the entire Three Seas had answered. The back of the heathen would be broken. Holy Shimeh would be cleansed" (p117).

Mid-Spring, 4110 Year-of-the-Tusk, Sumna[/b]

§4.2 Esmenet & Intrigue

A month or two have passed since Maithanet's call to arms, assuming the relative length of Earwa's seasons, and we are granted our first perspective from Esmenet, Achamian's whore lover.

"Esmenet's daughter was never far from her thoughts" (p118). Bakker uses the words and language of the text to establish that Esmenet's choices, specifically the one's she makes directly resulting from her circumstance as a prostitute, define her. She regrets not buying an apple for her daughter when the vendor refuses her service. Later she muses about her choices to take custom, despite the strange species of love that her and Achamian find in each other's arms.

Achamian has been living with her, waiting for news and "spent most of his time simply waiting for something to happen" (p119). Things sour between them when she takes custom as Achamian has obviously feelings for her and he divides his time between her apartment and the taverns.

I actually find it interesting how Bakker words the picture of Esmenet's emotions. He takes time to develop them and they comes across pretty clear in the sense that she is unsure of love in her life and she feels "shame because she knew that he loved her, and that every time she took custom it bruised his heart" (p120). Ultimately, she fears when he leaves. Obviously, it seems like an intensely difficult decision when committing to the chance of love, which if its not love, will kill her for leaving a life circumstance that feeds.

She reminisces on an incident where she is beaten by a coppersmith and Achamian spends the night out as he makes a habit of not returning during her custom. When he knocks on the door in the early morning, she realizes "then that she truly loved him" (p120).

I also find interesting her idea that "perhaps a certain desperation was to be expected of such unions, as though that strange word, 'love,' became profound in proportion to the degree one was scorned by others" (p121).

When Achamian later drags her to the smithies, we become acquainted with her (and our own) seemingly loose understanding of Achamian's power.

Following a knock at the door and some A&E awkwardness, Inrau arrives with important news (p122).

Esmenet reflects on Inrau youth's, his innocence, before Inrau reveals to the pair that the Scarlet Spires have joined the Holy War. The rumour is validated by the transaction of Six Trinkets from the College of Luthymae to Carythusal.

Inrau asks the, obvious to the faithful, question of why a School would join a Holy War, "Why would Maithanet pollute the Holy War by inviting a School?" (p124).

Achamian tells Inrau details of the Quorum's deliberations, that if the Thousand Temples warred against the Fanim, they would need more than an army of Chorae wielders. He also suggests that any deal struck is better than the one Ikurei Xerius III, Emperor of Nansur, would offer Maithanet for his Imperial Saik (p125).

"Shouldn't the question be, Why have the Scarlet Spires accepted Maithanet's offer?" (p125) Esmenet asks.

Achamian reveals to them Geshrunni's secret, that the Scarlet Spires have been warring against the Cishaurim since Sasheoka's assassination, "Sasheoka was slain precisely because he could not distinguish the work of the Cishaurim from the works of the God" (p126).

Also, we have the revelation of the mysterious, Psuhke, "metaphysics of the Cishaurim" (p126).

After some brief character building, Esmenet reveals to us the crux of the matter, "how is it that Maithanet, a man who only recently became Shriah, knows [of the Scarlet Spires' vendetta]?" (p128).

Late Spring, 4110 Year-of-the-Tusk, Sumna[/i]

§4.3 The Consult

We're privy to another of Paro Inrau's perspectives, perhaps again, months later. He's within the Hagerna, lonely and seemingly more paranoid than we've seen him before.

Bakker spends much of the initial passage on metaphor validating Achamian's decision to help Inrau from the Mandate's clutches. Inrau would pay "Any price" (p131), even one so petty as Achamian asks him, to repay his old teacher.

Inrau ducks into the temple Irreuma and finds himself very much alone in the godhouses of the Cultic deities.

"'God has a thousand thousand faces,' Sejenus had said, 'but men only one heart.' ... Inrau had found his grotto in the shrine of Onkis, the Singer-in-the-Dark, the Aspect who stood at the heart of all men, moving them to forever grasp far more than they could hold ... Her image never failed to stir something within him, and this is why he always returned to her: she was this stirring, the dark place where the flurries of his thoughts arose. She came before him" (p132).

Something which confuses me, even in terms of a reread is "this last heartbreaking revelation" (132).*

Inrau describes his Goddess, hears voices, places offerings of food. An interesting contrast: "All food had its essence, its animas - what the blasphemers called the onta" (p133).

"These were the events upon which the world turned. Enough for a Goddess. 'Please ... Speak to me.' Nothing. Tears branched across his face. He raised his arms, held them open until his shoulders burned. 'Anything!' he cried. Run, his thoughts whispered. Run. Such a coward! How could he be such a coward?" (p133)

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Inrau feels a mad sense of certainty and races to the upper galleries, thinking he chases his wayward Goddess and finds horror.

"It stood a short distance away, perched on the railing, watching him with shiny blue eyes. It had the body of a crow, but its head was small, bald, and human - about the size of a child's fist. Stretching thin lips over tiny, perfect teeth, it smiled ... A parody of surprise flashed across the miniature face. 'You know what I am,' it said in a papery voice. 'How?'" (p134).

Lord Cutias Sarcellus steps from shadow to answer it and Inrau wonders at "a Knight-Commander consorting with a Consult Synthese" (p135).

Another Shrial Knight, Mujonish, approaches Inrau and the Synthese comments on having him trapped.

"He knows this form is but a shell," the Synthese said to Sarcellus, "but I don't see Chigra within him ... You don't dream the Dream like the others, do you? ... Chigra never failed to recognize me" (p135).

Inrau stalls for time and asks what they are doing in Sumna, struggling to remember his sorcerous training, embracing his implied damnation.

"Doing? Why, what our kind always does: overseeing our stake in these affairs" (p135).

Then as the Synthese and Sarcellus mock Inrau, the young Shrial priest turns on Mujonish and we're treated to our first instance of sorcery - albeit the debated issue in Ch. 3 - as Inrau rips out the Knight's heart.

"He would have turned to Sarcellus, but the sight of Mujonish stilled him. The Shrial Knight had stumbled to his knees, wiping his bloody hands on his surcoat. Then, as though spilling from a bladder, his face simply fell apart, dropping outward, unclutching ... No mark. Not the faintest whisper of sorcery" (p137).

He gasps some Wards, which we know from Achamian's description of the inner sanctums of the Scarlet Spires are defensive spells and alarums. However, Sarcellus has a Chorae and simply knocks Inrau.

Then the Synthese unleashes some kind of sorcery on Inrau and tortures him with "lights like a thousand hooks" (p137).

"Oh, Akka! It's worse than you dared imagine" (p137).

"'I'm an Old Name,' the tiny face said" (p138).

The Synthese mocks Inrau's faith and this is too much for the young priest. He launches himself from Sarcellus' grasp towards the Synthese and through the railing of the balconies.

"The Synthese seemed to flicker out of his path, but it wasn't its death he sought. Any price, old teacher" (p138).

My opinion, though this was often debated on old Three Seas, is that Inrau attempts suicide here because he hopes that Achamian will know he'd never seek his own death and hoped that his old teacher would assume Consult murder.

And so Inrau sacrificed himself so that knowledge of the Consult might resurface in the World and in the souls of men...

What Came Before

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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 10:45:49 am »
Quote from: sologdin
we have had thusfar in the novel multiple instances of slavery and caste, and i have let them pass by.  no longer.  the preface to I.4 demands a reading of slavery.  the following is my attempt to satisfy the demand.

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To be ignorant and to be deceived are two different things.  To be ignorant is to be a slave to world.  To be deceived is to be the slave of another man.  The question will always be: Why, when all men are ignorant, and therefore already slaves, does this latter slavery sting us so?
(I.4 at 106). some might object to characterizing slavery as status imposed by differentials in knowledge, especially self-knowledge, rather than in differentials in property, power, or force.  but:  this is an important development, and brings us squarely within mr. hegel’s very famous master/slave dialectic:
Quote
Self-consciousness exists in itself and for itself, in that, and by the fact that it exists for another self-consciousness; that is to say, it is only by being acknowledged or “recognized”.
(hegel, phenomenology of mind IV.A § 178).  true self-consciousness exists both in-itself and for-itself, but onyl because another has recognized.
Quote
The master is the consciousness that exists for itself;  […] The master relates himself to the bondsman mediately through independent existence, for that is precisely what keeps the bondsman in thrall; it is his chain, from which he could not in the struggle get away, and for that reason he proved himself to be dependent, to have his independence in the shape of thinghood. […] Desire alone did not get the length of this, because of the independence of the thing. The master, however, who has interposed the bondsman between it and himself, thereby relates himself merely to the dependence of the thing, and enjoys it without qualification and without reserve. The aspect of its independence he leaves to the bondsman, who labours upon it.
(hegel, PoM § 190) (emphasis added). 
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the master gets his recognition through an other consciousness, for in them the latter affirms itself as unessential, both by working upon the thing, and, on the other hand, by the fact of being dependent on a determinate existence; in neither case can this other get the mastery over existence, and succeed in absolutely negating it. We have thus here this moment of recognition, viz. that the other consciousness cancels itself as self-existent, and, ipso facto, itself does what the first does to it.
(hegel, PoM § 191). 
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the unessential consciousness is, for the master, the object which embodies the truth of his certainty of himself.
(hegel, PoM § 192).
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The truth of the independent consciousness is accordingly the consciousness of the bondsman. […] just as lordship showed its essential nature to be the reverse of what it wants to be, so, too, bondage will, when completed, pass into the opposite of what it immediately is: being a consciousness repressed within itself, it will enter into itself, and change round into real and true independence.
(hegel, PoM § 193).

hegel is fairly abstract, and it’s not obvious to me whether he’s talking about two separate human persons, one person’s internality, or something applicable to “absolute spirit.”

these ideas, taken by marx, turn into something more readily recognizable, however--and much more in keeping with an economic conception of slavery:
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Economic conditions had first transformed the mass of the people of the country into workers. The combination of capital has created for this mass a common situation, common interests. This mass is thus already a class as against capital, but not yet for itself. In the struggle, of which we have noted only a few phases, this mass becomes united, and constitutes itself as a class for itself. The interests it defends become class interests. But the struggle of class against class is a political struggle.

In the bourgeoisie we have two phases to distinguish: that in which it constituted itself as a class under the regime of feudalism and absolute monarchy, and that in which, already constituted as a class, it overthrew feudalism and monarchy to make society into a bourgeois society. The first of these phases was the longer and necessitated the greater efforts. This too began by partial combinations against the feudal lords.
(marx, poverty of philosophy at §2.5)

western marxism would develop the master/slave dialectic more precisely:

Quote
Only the consciousness of the proletariat can point to the way that leads out of the impasse of capitalism. As long as this consciousness is lacking, the crisis remains permanent, it goes back to its starting-point, repeats the cycle until after infinite sufferings and terrible detours the school of history completes the education of the proletariat and confers upon it the leadership of mankind. But the proletariat is not given any choice. As Marx says, it must become a class not only “as against capital” but also “for itself”; that is to say, the class struggle must be raised from the level of economic necessity to the level of conscious aim and effective class consciousness. The pacifists and humanitarians of the class struggle whose efforts tend whether they will or no to retard this lengthy, painful and crisis-ridden process would be horrified if they could but see what sufferings they inflict on the proletariat by extending this course of education. But the proletariat cannot abdicate its mission. The only question at issue is how much it has to suffer before it achieves ideological maturity, before it acquires a true understanding of its class situation and a true class consciousness.
(lukacs, “class consciousness,” history & class consciousness (1971) at 76) (emphasis added).

as for the “deception” that must be cured, what makes for the slave‘s imperfection of self-knowledge, we find in the same discourse its source--it is still hegel‘s master/slave relation, founded on what RSB has designated as deception:
Quote
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch. For instance, in an age and in a country where royal power, aristocracy, and bourgeoisie are contending for mastery and where, therefore, mastery is shared, the doctrine of the separation of powers proves to be the dominant idea and is expressed as an “eternal law.”
(marx & engels, the german ideology 91846) at I.A.3) (emphasis added).

what do we know, then, about this RSB chapter preface?  we have a deceived slave who is stung by deception:  injured, aware of the injury, and angered by the knowledge of both the deceit and the enslavement that flowed from it. 

to be enslaved by the deception of another is to be placed in a master/slave dialectic, particularly within the scope of hegel’s enslavement by virtue of differential awareness and differential recognition.  and once we have slavery, we are in political economy--differential knowledge vis-à-vis class consciousness and the ruling ideas of every era, key contributions of marxism.  RSB’s slave’s anger at deception by the master not only envisions the accomplishment of class consciousness--but rather signals the beginning of the end of the offending domination:
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In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution.
(marx, “preface” to contribution to a critique of political economy(1859)) (emphasis added).

the anger of the slave at the negation of the slave’s self-consciousness by means of ideology.  we shall remain apprised of this fact.
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that’s an apocalypse’s worth of crap, so I’ll be brief otherwise.

a ) we get our first quasi-omniscient perspective here (I.4 at 107-08).
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b ) multiple references to ancient but not all in DA’s perspective.  some comparison may be warranted.  not now!

c ) some oddities in the gender politics with esmenet’s entrance: she begins with an obsession over daughter (I.4 at 108) and her “soul had quickened whenever she heard stories of war” (I.4 at 115).  likely much more to be said on this, so tabled unless the text itself pushes the gender critique to the point of critical mass.

d ) elezearas “was rumored to be close to Sasheoka, close in the manner of Ainoni men” (I.4 at 116).  cf. “They had been…close” (I.2 at 62), regarding DA and inrau.  the rhetoric of closeness will be a new structuring concept for my reading from this point forward.

e ) “Turning with sorcerous speed, he punched two fingers through Mujonish’s chain mail, cracked the breastbone, then seized his heart” (I.4 at 125).  umm, magicke super-ninjas are badass, right? 
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What Came Before

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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 10:46:01 am »
Quote from: Tony P
Quote from: sologdin
e ) “Turning with sorcerous speed, he punched two fingers through Mujonish’s chain mail, cracked the breastbone, then seized his heart” (I.4 at 125).  umm, magicke super-ninjas are badass, right? 
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Perhaps Bakker was chanelling Goodkind a bit too obviously?

Interesting point about Akka and Inrau. I must say that's the only hint I've seen for what you suggest. IIRC, other possible mentions are too vague to really denote anything.

====

Here's my summary for this chapter. I had drafted it in Word before the thread was made, so there will be huge overlap with Madness' summary. I had put in a bit more quotes, so there's that as justification for superfluous summary.

Madness also raises some interesting points about Onkis and religion in Earwa in general, and the metaphysics of the Cishaurim.


Sumna and the rest of the Three Seas are in the grips of the Holy War, and the propaganda by the shriahal apparati. Everywhere men, nobles and caste-menials, are preparing to go to war. “Maithanet had called, and the entire Three Seas had answered. The back of the heathen would be broken. Holy Shimeh would be cleansed.”
Meanwhile, Esmenet has some bitter memories about her daughter. She thinks about her love for Achamian (and Akka’s obvious love for her), and the impossibility of stopping to take custom while he’s with her; she needs to keep her customers interested, because Akka eventually always leaves. They are falling into their old habits, when there’s a knock on the door. It’s Inrau, who has a bit of news for Akka: Maithanet has asked the Scarlet Spires to join the Holy War. Akka is quick to explain that the presence of a school is needed to get the army to Shimeh. A sorcerous counter for the Cishaurim is a necessity. Furthermore, it is to be expected that the Emperor will try to subvert the Holy War to his own needs; by employing the Scarlet Spires they can bypass a dependeny on the Imperial Saik, the School indentured to the Emperor of Nansur. Esmenet has a gift for politics, and she relishes the opportunities Akka provides to broaden her horizon, and she points out that Maithanet must know something that would make the Scarlet Spires susceptible to the offer. Akka realizes that Maithanet knows about Sasheoka’s murder by the Cishaurim, which greatly disturbs him. He manages to get Inrau to get closer to Maithanet himself and to spy on him, because he shows himself to be altogether too canny to be what he seems.

Inrau thinks to himself about the two different paths of his life: “Through the wash, he could hear the supplicants wail. Arched into shapes of pain and sorrow, their song ran across the wet stone and cupped his thoughts in stretched notes. Hymns of suffering. Two voices: one pitched high and plaintive, asking why must we suffer, always why; the other low, filled with the brooding grandeur of the Thousand Temples and bearing the gravity of truth–that men were at one with suffering and ruin, that tears were the only holy waters.” Inrau feels indebted to Akka, because he knows that what Akka did, in allowing him to escape the Mandate, saved his life.
Inrau goes to pray at an altar devoted to Onkis, “the Singer-in-the-Dark, the Aspect who stood at the heart of all men, moving them to forever grasp more than they could hold.” Inrau asks whether Onkis will forgive him for returning to the Mandate, and asks for strength when he hears voices behind him, and the flapping of wings. Looking for the source, he eventually steps out on the balcony.

Quote
“Where are you?” he whispered.
Then he saw it, and horror throttled him.
It stood a short distance away, perched on the railing, watching him with shiny blue eyes. It had the body of a crow, but it’s head was small, bald, and human–about the size of a child’s fist. Stretching thin lips over tiny, perfect teeth, it smiled.
Sweet-Sejenus-oh-God-it-can’t-be-it-can’t-be!
A parody of surprise flashed across the miniature face. “You know what I am,” it said in a papery voice. “How?”


Inrau realizes he is being confronted by the Consult; Lord Sarcellus and Mujonish, another Shrial knight Inrau knows are also there. Sarcellus reveals that Inrau was spying for Achamian. Inrau is horrified that Consult is not only real, but much more up to speed than Akka knows, or even fears.

Quote
“As you can see,” the crow-bodied Synthese said, “there’s no place for you to go.”
“Who?” Inrau managed to gasp. He could see the mark of sorcery now, the scar tissue of the Cants used to bind someone’s soul to the abominable vessel before him. How had he missed it?
“He knows this form is but a shell,” the Synthese said to Sarcellus, “but I don’t see Chigra within him.” The pea-sized eyes–little beads of sky blue glass–turned to Inrau. “Hmm, boy? You don’t dream the Dream like the others, do you? If you did, you would recognize me. Chigra never failed to recognize me.”
Onkis? Treacherous-god-bitch!
Through the terror an impossible certainty seized him. A revelation. Words of prayer had become tissue. Beneath he sensed other words, words of power. [snip] “What are you doing here?”
“Doing? Why, what our kind always does: overseeing our stake in these affairs.”

Inrau is playing  for time, in hopes of unleashing some sorcery. When he does, Mujonish grabs him by the hair, but “blasphemy tumbled from his lips.” Inrau turns to Mujonish and punches two fingers through his chain-mail and breastbone to seize Mujonish’s heart. Inrau utters more “impossible words”, and the blood that is strewn about bursts into incandescent flame. Inrau striks out towards the Synthese, which ducks with a shriek. “Blinding beads of blood cracked bare stone.” As he turns towards Sarcellus, Mujonish’s corpse distracts him: “The Shrial Knight had stumbled to his knees, wiping his bloody hands on his surcoat. Then, as though spilling from a bladder, his face simply fell apart, dropping outward, unclutching… No mark. Not the faintest trace of sorcery. But how?” Sarcellus pummels the destracted Inrau, and uses a chorae to subdue him. The Synthese orders Inrau to relent, but Inrau refuses. He uses further sorcery, but the Synthese is far too powerful. Oh, Akka! It’s worse than you dared imagine.

Quote
”I’m and Old Name,” the tiny face said. “Even wearing this shell, I could show you the Agonies, Mandate fool.”
“Wuh…” Inrau swallowed. Sobbed. “Why?
Again the thin, tiny smile. “You worship suffering. Why do you think?”

Inrau manages to lunge towards the balcony, not to kill the Synthese perched on the railing, but to commit suicide and perhaps to protect or warn Achamian?

What Came Before

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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 10:46:11 am »
Quote from: Madness
Don't worry about overlap, TonyP. Its only been four chapters and a prologue and I can already see how when we get into the meat of this stuff, the ambiguity is going to really shine in our individual readings. Plus, I find the idea of building a portfolio like these threads concerning TSA immensely interesting.

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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 10:46:18 am »
Quote from: Tony P
Quote from: Madness
Don't worry about overlap, TonyP. Its only been four chapters and a prologue and I can already see how when we get into the meat of this stuff, the ambiguity is going to really shine in our individual readings. Plus, I find the idea of building a portfolio like these threads concerning TSA immensely interesting.

All right then! ;)

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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 10:46:26 am »
Quote from: Wilshire
Quote from: Madness
Don't worry about overlap, TonyP. Its only been four chapters and a prologue and I can already see how when we get into the meat of this stuff, the ambiguity is going to really shine in our individual readings. Plus, I find the idea of building a portfolio like these threads concerning TSA immensely interesting.

Are you suggesting you want to make some kind of cogent compilation of theories and rebuttals based off of these threads, summarize, and then place them somewhere that can be easily accessed? That would be crazy, and without excessive amounts of time and lots of effort, nearly impossible. Sounds awesome though.

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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 10:46:35 am »
Quote from: The Sharmat
Quote from: sologdin
e ) “Turning with sorcerous speed, he punched two fingers through Mujonish’s chain mail, cracked the breastbone, then seized his heart” (I.4 at 125).  umm, magicke super-ninjas are badass, right? 
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I'd imagine we don't see more for the practical reason that it requires being within striking distance of your opponent. This is why ninja aren't common in the modern world and I'm glad Bakker recognizes it.

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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 10:46:43 am »
Quote from: Madness
I think the Almanac subforum itself will serve as a portfolio and I actually don't think it would be as hard or fruitless as you might suppose, Wilshire.

I happen to think that as we move forward in our reread, we're all going to realize just how much ambiguity there is to this series and, specifically, how much our individual readings are going to differ as we continue participating in interpretation and discussion.

I don't think cogency between our individual readings is actually possible...

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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 10:46:55 am »
Quote from: Mog Kellhus
I always wondered what Inrau discovered about Maithanet that shocked him so much. I know that it is not important anymore but this and the scene at the end of the TTT with the synthese and the little boy are some of the things i cant explain even after three rereads of the trilogy.

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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 10:47:32 am »
Quote from: Church
What really struck me about this was the narrative structure of the Inrau passage - tell me if I'm getting a bit over interpretative here, but it seems to me like Bakker is using what happens to Inrau as a microcosm of one of the major themes of the series - how faith appears subjectively to be the most desirable state possible, but how it actually leads to people being manipulated by others.

Take this series of quotes when he enters the sanctum then goes up to the attic:
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The columns soared up...everything seemed to be reaching, reaching.

Always doubting, why was he always  doubting?

The uncertainty, always so powerful in him, was snuffed out.

Finally-after all his love, all his time-Onkis would sing to him instead of through.

So faith takes over the doubt, leading directly to his manipulation and death - we know a parallel process (though not resulting in death) happens with Cnaiur when he initially meets Moenghus, we wonder whether the same thing is happening with the Three Seas as a whole and Kelhus (depending on what his ultimate aim is).

And the way he dies is by falling back down next to the pillars which earlier (see the quote above) we are told represent faith, belief etc. Following the path of faith leads to Inrau plummeting back down to his destruction:
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With a single outstretched hand, Paro Inrau followed a pillar to the earth

Too much interpretation? Let me know. And maybe someone else has explained this, but could they explain to me:
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2013, 10:47:40 am »
Quote from: sologdin
tell me if I'm getting a bit over interpretative here

no such thing.  the true binary is only always proper interpretation v. under-interpretation.

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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2013, 10:47:48 am »
Quote from: Tony P
Quote from: Church
And maybe someone else has explained this, but could they explain to me:
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2013, 10:47:57 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
Quote from: The Sharmat
I'd imagine we don't see more for the practical reason that it requires being within striking distance of your opponent. This is why ninja aren't common in the modern world and I'm glad Bakker recognizes it.
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2013, 10:48:26 am »
Quote from: lockesnow
the job I started a month ago has finally slowed down a skosh from the 13 hr + days, and I finally got a chance to read half of this chapter, I should be back to posting soon. :D