ARC (A Real Chopper): Prologue & Chapter 1

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« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2018, 02:24:22 pm »
So, chapter 1 doesn't live up to the Prologue, which is arguably the best chapter in a Fantasy novel ever.

A curious line here:

Quote
Bodies tumbling through the knotted waters of a river cataract. A lover grunting blood through clenched teeth. Fire wrapped like a wanton dancer about stone towers.

It's framed oddly, because those are scenes from three Dreams (presumably) and Akka has only told us of three Dreams: the Fords of Tywanrae, the Burning of the Library of Sauglish, and the Death and Prophecy of Anasūrimbor Celmomas.  So, then, the first "vision" is clearly the Fords, bodies clogging a river.  The second, makes no sense to be the Burning, especially when the thrid so explicitly features fire.  So, then, plausibly the "lover grunting blood" is Celmomas.  Could it be that Seswatha seduced both Celmomas and his wife?

The rest of the chapter is somewhat unremarkable, aside the fortuitous timing of Akka's being recalled.  Although, in light of us knowing that there was a Skin-Spy in the Mandate, possibly even at this point, was this really a coincidence?  On first reading, my presumption is the Akka has a "narrow miss" with the Skin-Spy, but considering that already knew of him, knew his location and his identity, Akka was allowed to continue the whole time.  Akka being recalled and Geshrunni being killed is not a coincidence at all, or just some manipulation of "fate" but rather a direct Consult plan to use Akka to garner information.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasūrimbor . . . 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

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2018, 12:01:28 am »
BFK's ARC: TDTCB, Prologue

(Note: A lot of my questions and comments are just rhetorical. I'm trying, not very successfully, to maintain the illusion of a first-time careful reader.)

I agree with H, the Prologue is excellent.  An introduction to the Dūnyain and to Kellhus.

Prologue, first part, notes:

1. The Dūnyain are already in pursuit of "awareness most holy" when they arrive at Ishüal, and have repudiated the Gods.  They deliberately obliterate all records and evidence of sorcery. (pg. 4). What could they be up to?

2. Dūnyain: "We are Dūnyain, child. What reason could you have to fear us?"
Boy: "So long as men live, there are crimes!"
Dūnyain: "No, child. Only so long as men are deceived."

(Deception, we soon learn, is an art that the Dūnyain have mastered.)

3. The Dūnyain celebrate their discovery of Ishüal as a great correspondence of cause. What is a correspondence of cause? Who are these Dūnyain?

Prologue, second part, notes:

Generally, just an first-rate introduction to Kellhus. It is very difficult not to identify him as our hero. Even his abandonment of Leweth seems .... necessary. We learn about Dūnyain methods, the Probability Trance, and Kellhus' ability to read persons and to craft, through his words and expressions, responses that will enable him to "come before" all men and all circumstances. Superhuman also in physical ability. Defeats his Nonman adversary (one of my favorite scenes) as he defeats the Sranc. But he is nearly undone by....sorcery! Surprise!

 During the interrogation of Leweth, Kellhus views sorcery as just another of Leweth's myths. Leweth, like all men, does not know what comes before. And then comes this line: "But what came before, the Dūnyain had learned, was inhuman." (pg. 17) Inhuman? What could this mean?

« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 03:31:58 pm by BeardFisher-King »
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

MSJ

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« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2018, 01:39:37 am »
Quote from:  BFK
3. The Dūnyain celebrate their discovery of Ishüal as a great correspondence of cause. What is a correspondence of cause? Who are these Dūnyain

Its part of the reason I believe they was sent there. Think on it. The Bard would have survived if not for a very pissed off young boy. Brought a disease with him to clean house? And, lo and behold, a secret redoubt for the Dunyain. Truly, a great correspondence of cause, or a Consult plan they fucking forgot about because Mek is a Nonman. (I'm just saying, really no evidence that makes it a fact, but evidence keeps piling up that it could of been a Consult long game.).

Quote from:  BFK
During the interrogation of Leweth, Kellhus views sorcery as just another of Leweth's myths. Leweth, like all men, does not know what comes before. And then comes this line: "But what came before, the Dūnyain had learned, was inhuman." (pg. 17) Inhuman? What could this mean.

Legion. Passion, envy, spite, etc, etc. Hell, in Earwa's scheme of things, the 100....
“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,

Wilshire

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« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2018, 12:40:22 pm »
(Note: A lot of my questions and comments are just rhetorical. I'm trying, not very successfully, to maintain the illusion of a first-time careful reader.)
Noted ;)
I agree with H, the Prologue is excellent.  A
If the prologue wasn't so amazing I never would have finished TDTCB. I struggled to finish it up until about 75% of the way through, and the prologue is what kept me going.

2. Dūnyain: "We are Dūnyain, child. What reason could you have to fear us?"
Boy: "So long as men live, there are crimes!"
Dūnyain: "No, child. Only so long as men are deceived."

(Deception, we soon learn, is an art that the Dūnyain have mastered.)
This is actually a really great line on a reread.
On the face of it, the Dunyain's goal is to illuminate the darkness of ignorance. Ostensibly then, this line means that the Dunyain mission once achieved will end all crime and rid the world of evil.
So interesting how that pans out. There's probably a lesson in there somewhere. Something about how singular pursuit corrupts even the most noble goals.

What is a correspondence of cause?
To me it sounds to be an archaic, 'fantasy-y', way of saying coincidence. That said, there are some interesting search links if you look up that phrase:
https://www.startpage.com/do/search?q=correspondence+of+cause

One of the other conditions of possibility.

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2018, 05:01:29 pm »
Quote from:  BFK
3. The Dūnyain celebrate their discovery of Ishüal as a great correspondence of cause. What is a correspondence of cause? Who are these Dūnyain

Its part of the reason I believe they was sent there. Think on it. The Bard would have survived if not for a very pissed off young boy. Brought a disease with him to clean house? And, lo and behold, a secret redoubt for the Dunyain. Truly, a great correspondence of cause, or a Consult plan they fucking forgot about because Mek is a Nonman. (I'm just saying, really no evidence that makes it a fact, but evidence keeps piling up that it could of been a Consult long game.).

Quote from:  BFK
During the interrogation of Leweth, Kellhus views sorcery as just another of Leweth's myths. Leweth, like all men, does not know what comes before. And then comes this line: "But what came before, the Dūnyain had learned, was inhuman." (pg. 17) Inhuman? What could this mean.

Legion. Passion, envy, spite, etc, etc. Hell, in Earwa's scheme of things, the 100....
I'm thinking more along the lines of your "Consult long con" theory. Is this line a hint from Bakker that the Dūnyain (who have repudiated the Gods) have learned that the Apocalypse is being driven by inhuman forces? Have they plumbed the depths of the Consult? What is the extent of the Dūnyain's mundane knowledge?
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

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« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2018, 05:27:41 pm »
I'm thinking more along the lines of your "Consult long con" theory. Is this line a hint from Bakker that the Dūnyain (who have repudiated the Gods) have learned that the Apocalypse is being driven by inhuman forces? Have they plumbed the depths of the Consult? What is the extent of the Dūnyain's mundane knowledge?

I think "inhuman" here might hark back to earlier in the chapter, where Kellhus experiences himself nearly "going feral" and needs a reminder than he is not an animal.  What comes before, as far as the Dūnyain are concerned, is inhuman, i.e. primitive and animalistic, unvoiced and a-linguistic.  The Logos is what sets them apart from the animals; literally The Word(s).
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasūrimbor . . . 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

TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2018, 07:27:33 pm »
But, at this point in the story, be a easy thing for a skin spy to suss ya out. Their unheard of.

Not necessarily.  Just because he's not aware of them doesn't mean they know what he is.

The rest of the chapter is somewhat unremarkable, aside the fortuitous timing of Akka's being recalled.  Although, in light of us knowing that there was a Skin-Spy in the Mandate, possibly even at this point, was this really a coincidence?  On first reading, my presumption is the Akka has a "narrow miss" with the Skin-Spy, but considering that already knew of him, knew his location and his identity, Akka was allowed to continue the whole time.  Akka being recalled and Geshrunni being killed is not a coincidence at all, or just some manipulation of "fate" but rather a direct Consult plan to use Akka to garner information.

However, I forgot about the skin-spy in the Mandate, in which case they would know what he was - and where. 

Wouldn't a skin-spy Geshrunni give access to the Scarlet Spires rather than to Akka?
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

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« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2018, 07:35:28 pm »
BFK's ARC: Prologue

(Note: A lot of my questions and comments are just rhetorical. I'm trying, not very successfully, to maintain the illusion of a first-time careful reader.)

I agree with H, the Prologue is excellent.  An introduction to the Dūnyain and to Kellhus.

Prologue, first part, notes:

1. The Dūnyain are already in pursuit of "awareness most holy" when they arrive at Ishüal, and have repudiated the Gods.  They deliberately obliterate all records and evidence of sorcery. (pg. 4). What could they be up to?

2. Dūnyain: "We are Dūnyain, child. What reason could you have to fear us?"
Boy: "So long as men live, there are crimes!"
Dūnyain: "No, child. Only so long as men are deceived."

(Deception, we soon learn, is an art that the Dūnyain have mastered.)

3. The Dūnyain celebrate their discovery of Ishüal as a great correspondence of cause. What is a correspondence of cause? Who are these Dūnyain?

Doesn't cause have a more specific meaning to the Dunyain?  Also to me it seemed ambiguous as to whether they were celebrating the discovery of Ishual or of the Anasurimbor boy. 
Sez who?
Seswatha, that's who.

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« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2018, 07:45:24 pm »
However, I forgot about the skin-spy in the Mandate, in which case they would know what he was - and where. 

Wouldn't a skin-spy Geshrunni give access to the Scarlet Spires rather than to Akka?

Not only that, but recall that skin-spies can somehow see "Chigra" in Mandate schoolmen.  Even without the Mandate confederate on their side, the skin-spy could probably find a Mandati in seconds.  But no doubt the insider information made it even easier to find him in the first place.

As for replacing Geshrunni, well, we know that at some point the Scarlet Spires are infiltrated, so Geshrunni's death at the end of the chapter is probably the beginning of that.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasūrimbor . . . 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

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #39 on: April 13, 2018, 09:32:29 pm »
I'm thinking more along the lines of your "Consult long con" theory. Is this line a hint from Bakker that the Dūnyain (who have repudiated the Gods) have learned that the Apocalypse is being driven by inhuman forces? Have they plumbed the depths of the Consult? What is the extent of the Dūnyain's mundane knowledge?

I think "inhuman" here might hark back to earlier in the chapter, where Kellhus experiences himself nearly "going feral" and needs a reminder than he is not an animal.  What comes before, as far as the Dūnyain are concerned, is inhuman, i.e. primitive and animalistic, unvoiced and a-linguistic.  The Logos is what sets them apart from the animals; literally The Word(s).
That's a sound interpretation, H. What I like is that Bakker, in this introduction to the Dūnyain, gives us a little chill of foreboding. "Inhuman" has many implications. It could imply that "what comes before" are those powerful, mechanistic forces of custom and heredity to which the un-Conditioned man is subject. That's my guess, but I like feeding the "Consult long con" theory.  ;)

3. The Dūnyain celebrate their discovery of Ishüal as a great correspondence of cause. What is a correspondence of cause? Who are these Dūnyain?

Doesn't cause have a more specific meaning to the Dunyain?  Also to me it seemed ambiguous as to whether they were celebrating the discovery of Ishual or of the Anasurimbor boy. 
You're right about the ambiguity, CA. In fact, building on your thought, the "great correspondence of cause" that the Dūnyain refugees are celebrating is the "co-incidence" (thanks, Wilshire!) of these two events. Nailed that one down, folks!
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #40 on: April 14, 2018, 05:21:09 pm »
BFK's ARC: TDTCB, Chapter One

Some brief thoughts:

Bakker's choice of Drusas Achamian as primary POV for this chapter of exposition is necessitated by the fact that the Mandate sorcerors know more, especially about the past. So the exposition that the story needs can proceed concisely and dramatically, thanks to the Dreams. Very clever and astute of Bakker.

A glimpse of the enemy! The removal of Geshrunni's face links us to the Nonman's cloak of faces in the Prologue.

Prologue Body Count: Innumerable
1. The entire population of Ishüal save the surviving Anasūrimbor Prince.
2. Numerous Sranc.
3. Leweth.
Chapter One Body Count: 1 (Geshrunni)
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 05:27:17 pm by BeardFisher-King »
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

mostly.harmless

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« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2018, 12:47:43 pm »
Sorry, 80 hour workweek threw a wrench in my plan to read this last week.

Prologue I is still the best (prologue) I've ever read.
Prologue II a close second as a character introduction so well done we're still mining it for hidden meaning and revelatory information.

I have no qualms with the Bardic Priest, that is, I don't think he is a consult agent. Not everything can have meaning and two survivors from the plague out of a whole household is a reasonable outcome (in my eyes). I think it's not auspicious to give a slot to the bard/priest. He fullfils two roles, so he's doubly useful.

The dunyain's arrival though. That is the greater mystery I hope to solve. A random (?) monastic order that just happens to find a sorcerously hidden redoubt (that 'even the no-god can't assail' - this intrigues me but I'm not sure what to make of it) asking for help.
I am not a big fan for the Consult having set this up, simply because it doesn't make sense at that point to do so. They're winning, the no-god is on his rampage. Why hedge your bets? If you know of your main antagonist's fallback plan, you take that out the moment you're winning or make your move to tip the scales.

Maybe the point is that it doesn't matter and it really is a coincidence. Chasing down the wrong rabbit hole.

Or maybe, and this is a big maybe, Seswatha made this his backup plan. Why on earth he would send monks though is beyond me. Maybe he thinks knowledge and study is power and this particular cult lend themselves well to being set on this path, and their values and ideas are the kind of ruthlessness the world would need if the no-god wasn't stopped? Like a nothing-to-lose-by-doing-it-anyway kind of plan. You set it in motion and it might pay off or you might never hear from it again.

Akka's chapter indeed feels clunky after those prologues. Almost as if they were written by a different person.  Nothing to add to what has already been discussed.

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« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2018, 02:19:41 pm »
That's a sound interpretation, H. What I like is that Bakker, in this introduction to the Dūnyain, gives us a little chill of foreboding. "Inhuman" has many implications. It could imply that "what comes before" are those powerful, mechanistic forces of custom and heredity to which the un-Conditioned man is subject. That's my guess, but I like feeding the "Consult long con" theory.  ;)

It could also be considered a little Easter egg of sorts, since we will later learn that what really comes before is well and truely inhuman altogether.

Not sure about a Consult long-con though, since I've usually maintained that the Consult position is pretty logical and technically correct.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasūrimbor . . . 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

Wilshire

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« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2018, 03:54:16 pm »
The skin spy replacements are for a couple things.

One is to place people high up so the Consult have top level information about everything going on.

Another is to screw with the Mandate. The Mandati have fallen into I'll repute - this is probably not just because the Consult is hidden, but because the skinspies themselves are at top levels and telling everyone to disreguard them. It's a two pronged assault.

Another reason for the skin spies is to replace the spies of the Mandate - all the ones they haven't yet killed. This allows then to feed false or confusing info to the Madate and effectively control every source of data they have. Another dual assault.

In addition, it also let's the Consult spy in turn on the Mandate. The Consult only have the one spy wlinsude the Auorum (I assume), and probably recently (last few years?). They have probably been replacing spies for centuries as a way to figure out what info the Mandate knows. It also allows to discover information, like if the Mandate are suspicious of their replacements, what lies they listen to from the Consult, etc.etc.


With all that in mind, the replacement of Geshrunni was probably for at least several reasons. The-Thing-Called-Geshruni would probably provide a new, useful, source of info to the Consult about the SS and about Akka (and in effect the Mandate).
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2018, 05:47:36 pm »
Yeah, not just controlling the flow of information that the Mandate can get, but also to make sure that the Mandate doesn't know anything they don't.  If you know what your enemy knows, you can easily plan accordingly.
“I am a warrior of ages, Anasūrimbor . . . 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