TDTCB, Ch. 9

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« on: April 19, 2013, 11:11:59 am »
Quote from: lockesnow
[size=200]Sumna[/size]
Quote
And the Nonman King cried words that sting:
“Now to me you must confess,
For death above you hovers!”
And the Emissary answered ever wary:
“We are the race of flesh,
We are the race of lovers.”
—“BALLAD OF THE INCHOROI,” ANCIENT KÛNIÜRI FOLK SONG

Early Winter, 4110 Year-of-the-Tusk, Sumna[/i]

§9.1: Esmenet and a client, reflections on Achamian & Inrau, arrival of the Consult, attempt at negotiation, interrogated during rape, black seed, a gold coin, vomit.

§9.2: Esmenet leaves her apartment, wanders the city, decides to leave, remembers Achamian's warnings, finds a threadbare child similar to her daughter and gives her the gold coin.

§9.3: Achamian arrives in the valley of Sudica in Nansur, reflections on architectural ruins and arrival at the ruined fortress-temple of Batathent (a former sanctuary during the first Apocalypse), dreams off-screen of the summoning of the No-God, morning ablutions and reflections on Inrau's death and leaving Sumna, reflections on Esmenet, a Shiradi proverb & overwhelmed by circumstances, makes a map of known players in the game (see appendices), reflections on Proyas.

§9.4: Esmenet reaches the edges of the city, reflects on her whore's tattoo, prays to Gierra, gathers resolve from confidence in her trade, leaves the city.

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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 11:12:58 am »
Quote from: Wilshire
Now THAT is a summary of a chapter. Dont know why but I thought "interrogated during rape, black seed, a gold coin, vomit" was so funny, maybe because of its simplicity, but I had to a good laugh. Sums up everything quite nicely.

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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 11:13:11 am »
Quote from: lockesnow
Glad you enjoyed, I thought that construction was particularly good as well. 

Here's the first part of my take on the first part of this chapter.  More to come later:

I'm sure that sologdin will cover some of the interesting facets of the Ballad of the Inchoroi, particularly the juxtaposition and primacy of flesh before lovers.

And here is the first clue as to what the Inchoroi are, the nonmen of ancient times did not know what/who they were when they appeared, so they're a mystery, but apparently they are a race of lovers.  It's important that we get this song now, considering the events of §9.1 when Esmenet encounters the Consult/Inchoroi as Inrau did earlier in the book.

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This first passage begins with Esmenet reflecting on her and DA’s relationship as she bids farewell to a priest client.  She eventually admits to herself that it’s not DA she loves, it’s his life, she wants to be important more than she wants to be loved.

Obviously the interro-rape is extremely important, but perhaps it is a macguffin for a few other significant events in this chapter.  Does this event blind us to some other things?  I think that is possible.  As readers, we do not learn much from this scene, in terms of what Esme tells the inchoroi, but it does provide motive for her to leave Sumna, and it gives us another glimpse into the Consult—Bakker is very consistent at establishing the enemy in this book, starting with Mekeritrig, onto Geshrunni, the synthese, Sarcellus, and now this he reminds us every few chapters of their presence, and once we know future revelations more, we realize that the Consult is participating in other scenes behind the mask of skin spies.  We don’t lose sight of who the enemy is in this book.

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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 11:13:21 am »
Quote from: Wilshire
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 11:13:35 am »
Quote from: Callan S.
Do hope she washed that coin before giving it to that child...

Anyway, I didn't really see it as rape? More like a hack (which is kind of worse)? Though if you want to say they are the same, I can understand that position.

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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 11:13:50 am »
Quote from: lockesnow
I posted part of this first in the misc forum of the why esmi thread, but it’s all thoughts I was working on for this chapter.

Quote
But the mystery of this one woman, this Sumni harlot, stirred fear rather than disdain within him.  Fear and longing.  But why? After Inrau's death, distraction was what he had needed most of all, and she had stubbornly refused to be that distraction.  Quite the opposite.  She pried him for the nuances of his day, debating--more with herself than with him--the meanings of each meaningless thing he learned.  Her conspiracies were as impertinent as they were absurd.
From the beginning, DA's perceptions of Esmenet foreshadow her outsized importance, here we see it emphasized how he fears her and wants her and that when he thinks about fearing and wanting her the author chooses to emphasize her nihlistic tendencies, how she searches for meaning in a meaningless world--kind of like the traditional modernist protagonist.  It's interesting that Kellhus will be seeking the opposite of this, seeking to find meaninglessness in a meaningful world.  It's also interesting there's this binary of meaning and meaningless regarding Esmenet so soon after the definition of the No-God was provided, "emptiness, absolute and terrible," Esme is only a few paragraphs after this definition, and we should definitely make a connection here, I think.

Bakker continues,

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One night he told her as much, hoping only to silence her for a short time.  She had paused, but when she spoke, it was with a weariness that far surpassed his own, the tone of one injured to honesty by the pettiness of another.  "This is only a game I play, Achamian... There is is truth inside a game." He'd lain in the darkness, consumed by inner turmoil, feeling that if he could unravel his hurts the way she could, he would crumble, collapse into dust.  This isn't a game.  Inrau is dead.  Dead!
italics in the original, emphasis mine.  Amazing that Esmenet here could have weariness that surpasses that of the Mandate! The Mandate.  And note how her ability to self-analyze is considered so extensive, I think we're getting some foreshadowing as to why she will work with Kellhus, Achamian is so scared of her abilities that he thinks he would crumble into dust (biblical, eh?) if he did the same--and then look how FAST Achamian runs away from this conclusion, he distracts himself from the powerful conclusions he is approaching by retreating into the safe recriminations regarding Inrau's death.  Rather than following Esmenet's path to insights--a path very similar to the path Kellhus follows for insight--DA is scared and runs away, he rejects the 'game' and focuses on his hurt feelings. "Inrau is dead. Dead!"

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Achamian had lain with many whores in many cities through the years, so why was Esmenet so different?  he'd first come to her because of her beautiful boyish thighs and seal-smooth skin.  He'd returned because she was so good, because she joked and lusted the way she had with Callustras--whoever he was.  But at some point, he'd come to know the woman apart from her spread legs.  What was it he'd learned?  With whom had he fallen in love?

Esmenet, The Whore of Sumna

Often, in his soul's eye, she was inexplicably thin and wild, buffeted by rain and winds, obscured by the swaying of forest branches.  This woman, who had once lifted her hand to the sun, holding it so that for him its light lay cupped in her palm, and telling him that truth was air, was sky, and could only be claimed, never touched by the limbs and fingers of a man.  He couldn't tell her how profoundly her musings affected him, that they thrashed like living things in the wells of his soul and gathered stones about them.

Good god, look at that last paragraph, look at the foreshadowing there.  Esmenet is already like a god when see through the gaze of his soul's eye, this passage is screaming and describing her specialness.  Her appearance, her teachings they all overwhelm DA throughout this chapter and the series and this is long before she meets Kellhus, the world has marked Esmenet, for certain.

Who else could match Kellhus than someone such as this?

After all this ruminating on Esmenet, DA is shaking and wonders, “What’s happened to me?” DA, being DA, comes up with an excuse, “he had been overwhelmed by circumstances,” and yet has he really?  Or could he be shaking because the dream was so bad (we see this in other post-intense dreams) and Seswatha is trying to signal him towards the significance of Esmenet that she is now a player on the world stage, she is now a kahiht (world-soul), and shockingly DA responds to these signals by making a map of world stage and it’s players.  And note that the biggest mistake he will make is that he leaves Esmenet off this map, she’s integral to the events that unfold and the interactions that drive them, she’s as much a player as any of the others that DA will list—and he doesn’t know this yet.  But it was a lengthy rumination on Esmenet that led DA to make a map of players—his subconscious is prodding him, hammering him to notice her, and he doesn’t. 

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He was missing something, he realized.  Forgetting…

But although DA doesn’t include an ‘unimportant’ player like Esmenet, he does attribute significance to Inrau, even though Inrau isn’t an active player; ahh, DA, you sexist bastard. ;)  He magnifies a mystery he cares about and overlooks a much more important mystery, he overlooks the rumination that started this all which was, “But the mystery of this one woman, this Sumni harlot, stirred fear rather than disdain within him.  Fear and longing.  But why?

This whole thought digression begins with DA reflecting on the mystery of Esmenet and her importance and he does not even see it.  He does not even see it when it is right in front of him.

But really, pay close attention to Bakker pointing out from DA’s perspective those keywords, missing and forgetting, because after DA misses and forgets Inrau, two paragraphs later we have:
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Achamian often made such maps—not because he worried he might forget something, but because he worried he might overlook something.

How much more obvious can Bakker make it, DA tells himself he does not do the thing he has just himself done!  Oh so fallible, so very fallible.  And cleverly, Bakker hides this failing where readers of genre are most likely to miss it—he hides the failing in the middle of DA congratulating himself on his intelligence while he does something clever.  A reader is complicit, and if DA is congratulating himself on his intelligence the reader is even less likely to notice the failings of the narrator, because the reader is busy congratulating themselves for their own intelligence as well.  This builds on the pattern established with DA in Chapter One, where Bakker hides DA’s failings and shitty judgments of character by having DA insult jocks and popular kids, he is saying something clever and agreeable to the genre audience so Bakker gets away with some pretty egregious narrator character failings.

It’s very literary. ;)

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A prelude to the Second Apocalypse? Could it Be?
If it is so it fits with the dream and, note the timing, Esmenet has just become kahiht.  Note the structure, the chapter begins and ends with her, and details her transformation as she leaves Sumna, We cut away and the cutaway is 60% a rumination on the mysteries of her, that rumination leads to analysis of the world-stage; from a re-read perspective Esmenet should obviously be on this stage and her absence is conspicuous, in a sense she is a big part of that map as well, this chapter is all hers, as she thinks earlier, as a lead in to DA’s ruminations, “I survived, Akka.  And I did not survive.” I suppose you could say she is something… more.  What are the Dunyain but Whores of the Logos?

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Why hadn’t he thought of this sooner?
Just to remind you again, Bakker is making it obvious about DA here, he doesn’t make the map to remember things, because a man such he NEVER forgets something important, and while making it he realizes he’s forgotten two important things, but he NEVER forgets things, remember that. And he definitely has man-tinted blinders on.

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For an absurd moment, she found herself fearing for her fear.  If escaping Sumna meant nothing, did that mean the whole world was a prison?
Annnnnnd the confirmation bias I’ve got going on with this post is starting to go haywire, because I’m seeing confirmation that Esmenet is kahiht now literally everywhere in this chapter.  Wheee!  I'll leave it to Sologdin to discuss the Foucault implications of this last quoted passage I've noted.

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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 11:14:04 am »
Quote from: Church
I like your thinking lockesnow. The first time I read this I saw Esmemet's storyline as basically all being about Achamian - she's the one who will give him the missing piece of the jigsaw, and then him being a sorcercer (and a man) will go off, kill the bad guys, and it'll all be sorted. Re-reading, it becomes clear that it's all a lot more complicated than that and her story is her own.

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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 11:14:14 am »
Quote from: Wilshire
What exactly is a kahiht, or rather a World-Soul?

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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 11:14:26 am »
Quote from: Madness
Kahiht quotations:

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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 11:14:38 am »
Quote from: lockesnow
And my confirmation bias is going bonkers again from the first quote Madness gave, from later in the book, Esmenet is the one who provides us with the definition of a kahiht, and Esmenet has many ruminations about feeling that she has become more, particularly in the chapters belonging to her section, "The Harlot."

This is a re-read, and we control the flow of time in the secondary world, we can read something that comes after and apply those revelations to what came before it, we can take new data and apply it to our understanding of initial understandings and yield a new synthesis.

Bias Bias everywhere.  So much fun.

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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 11:15:46 am »
Quote from: Church
A quote from TWLW that seems to fit with the Kahiht thing:

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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2013, 11:16:02 am »
Quote from: Wilshire
Yes I see the hard definition of what a kahiht is. A world-soul. But what does that mean? Sorry for my ignorance.
Is it supposed to be a person, or a group of people, who's backs the fate of the world rides on?

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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2013, 11:16:14 am »
Quote from: Madness
Assuming there is no metaphysics involved, exactly what it says. Culturally, the Inrithi created a title to refer to those individuals who are the shakers and movers throughout history. This might be the mundane extent of it and, by that logic, every character you ever read about, ever, is Kahiht - considering the constraints of fiction and the fact that most stories by their nature focus on those small number involved in the climax of events. You know... history turns on the trivial, the entangled relationships of individuals.

However, I think that it will play out differently in Earwa, considering the murky relationship between the World and the Outside.

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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2013, 11:16:26 am »
Quote from: Wilshire
Ok well ignoring metaphysics makes it nice and simple. Thats the feeling I was getting from the word but I feel like lockesnow had a bit of a different interpretation, though I could be wrong.

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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2013, 11:16:36 am »
Quote from: lockesnow
I'm not sure we can extricate the metaphysics ourselves due to the limitations of the textual descriptions.  I think it is an in-world shorthand for describing those people who are favored by the author.  Is Daffy Duck in Duck Amuck kahiht?  Yes, yes he is, but as in Earwa, Daffy is kahiht at the whim of the author.  Within the world, the characters actually have conception that they're in a book/story/film--ala Daffy Duck--and they describe this buffeting by the author as being kahiht (and they conceive of RSB, the author, as the will of the God/Gods/world-conspires).

So the only assumption I'd really make is that becoming kahiht means you're on the radar; rather than being background, you're a player; rather than being a pawn you're a Bishop/Rook/Knight/Queen, and to be a part of this story means your path is paved supernaturally--somehow the arrows and bullets never find the hero cowboy, eh, that's an amazing fact about being a hero, immunity from the randomness.