Speculation about Kellhus' concubines and their children

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ThoughtsOfThelli

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« on: June 07, 2018, 07:33:40 pm »
Alright, I don't know if this is a topic that anyone besides myself has any interest in, but here we go. I have discussed these characters before, and have even recently speculated that one of them might have been Conphas' half-sister in one of the reread threads.
The thing is, as it has been brought up many times before, unlike Moënghus, Kellhus was definitely not limited in the choice of worldborn women he could have children with. As Aspect-Emperor of the Three Seas, he could have made virtually any woman he happened to think had the potential for giving birth to viable (if not balanced) half-Dûnyain children into one of his concubines. Yet Esmenet only refers to seventeen concubines, which seems like a small number for someone in Kellhus' position. Especially when you consider all the children these seventeen women gave birth to were (allegedly) stillborn and/or severely deformed. Maybe he thought that the children he managed to have with Esmenet would be enough to help accomplish his Thousandfold Thought.
However, you have to consider that Kellhus only had two children who, in Maithanet's words, "expressed balance", with Thelli being useful in her own way despite her issues, and Inrilatas being completely unsuitable for any of his plans (I'm not counting Kelmomas and Samarmas here, as it appears Kellhus started searching for suitable concubines quite a bit before they were born). Accidents can happen to anyone, and no matter how resilient half-Dûnyain are, he was still in a precarious position if he really thought he needed to have at least a few balanced children around. Serwa, in particular, was even more valuable than a regular balanced half-Dûnyain, given her status as one of the Few.

So, the first point I wanted to bring up here for speculation is: how did Kellhus actually choose these concubines? Was he making a choice based only on "native intellect" (which seems to be a marker of potential Dûnyain-compatible genetics), as Esmenet says? It seems likely that there would be other criteria. I think that Kellhus' best bet here (intellect aside) would be to go for maximum diversity, and not just, say, choose intelligent women from the former Nansur Empire. Seems like that would broaden the chance of at least one of them having genetics compatible with those of Dûnyain. I actually wonder if he did choose at least one from wherever Maithanet was from (supposedly either Nilnamesh or Cingulat), since Moënghus had found a woman capable of bearing a healthy and stable half-Dûnyain child in that region. And how likely is it that at least one of these concubines was of the Few? You'd think Kellhus would also want to maximize his chances of having another child who would grow up to be a future powerful mage. (Yes, I know he needed every Few woman he could to be part of the Great Ordeal later on, but there would be still be women of the Few who had never actually become witches and were too old to be trained at the time of the Swayal Compact.)

Second point of speculation (perhaps verging on crackpot territory): do you think one (or more) of Kellhus' children by his concubines could still be around? Now, Esmenet seems to think that all of the children Kellhus fathered, aside from (six of) hers, were either (apparently?) stillborn or killed shortly after birth due to their deformities. But we all know Kellhus had a history of hiding things from Esmenet. It doesn't seem that implausible that one or more (though definitely not many) of the concubines' children survived, and were kept hidden from Esmenet (and maybe even their half-siblings) for some unknown purpose. We already saw a previously unknown child of Kellhus appear in the story, and speculation about Moënghus' other children goes on to this day. Would this really be that much of a stretch?
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 09:16:11 pm »
Quote from:  ThoughtsofThelli
So, the first point I wanted to bring up here for speculation is: how did Kellhus actually choose these concubines?

Imho, id say he chose them based off of intellect. That's why he chose Esme, so we're told.
“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,

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 10:43:16 pm »
Imho, id say he chose them based off of intellect. That's why he chose Esme, so we're told.

I meant besides intellect. ;) You'd think Kellhus would have had some more criteria at least for some of those concubines.

Also, he was incredibly lucky he managed to find Esmenet so early on, those other women had the intellect marker too and look at how that turned out (allegedly, at least...). Amazing "luck" (or...intervention from someone?) is nothing new for Kellhus, though.
"But you’ve simply made the discovery that Thelli made—only without the benefit of her unerring sense of fashion."
-Anasûrimbor Kayûtas (The Great Ordeal, chapter 13)

"You prefer to believe women victims to their passions, but we can be at least as calculating as you. Love does not make us weak, but strong."
-Ykoriana of the Masks (The Third God, chapter 27)

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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2018, 12:05:27 pm »
I meant besides intellect. ;) You'd think Kellhus would have had some more criteria at least for some of those concubines.

Also, he was incredibly lucky he managed to find Esmenet so early on, those other women had the intellect marker too and look at how that turned out (allegedly, at least...). Amazing "luck" (or...intervention from someone?) is nothing new for Kellhus, though.

I don't think it's luck, but I also don't think Kellhus could know what to actually select for.

Remember that Mimara is also spectacularly special and that has nothing to do with Kellhus.  So, Esmenet is just special of her own right.  She, similar to biblical Mary, is the entrance point of god into Eärwa, but then twisted as the entrance point of the No-God.
“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

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 12:40:58 pm »
Remember that Mimara is also spectacularly special
I don't think Mimara is inherently more special than any other woman with the Judging Eye. Mimara might have gotten further in using it, but that is a question of experience.

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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 01:57:46 pm »
Remember that Mimara is also spectacularly special
I don't think Mimara is inherently more special than any other woman with the Judging Eye. Mimara might have gotten further in using it, but that is a question of experience.

Well, yes, still we have no idea how common it is to have the Judging Eye.  And, even so, Mimara is "different" in that we are related the idea that all women who have the Eye fail to birth live children, yet Mimara does.  We also don't know if others who have had the Eye were in the same boat as Mimara, having always had it even before being pregnant.
“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

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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 02:29:48 pm »
Well, yes, still we have no idea how common it is to have the Judging Eye.  And, even so, Mimara is "different" in that we are related the idea that all women who have the Eye fail to birth live children, yet Mimara does.
Actually, it was specifically phrased as something like "always birth dead children". Which she did. The fact that she had twins, one of who wasn't stillborn, doesn't negate the stated and fulfilled condition for having the Eye.

We also don't know if others who have had the Eye were in the same boat as Mimara, having always had it even before being pregnant.
There is no indication of it not being so.

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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 05:05:57 pm »
Actually, it was specifically phrased as something like "always birth dead children". Which she did. The fact that she had twins, one of who wasn't stillborn, doesn't negate the stated and fulfilled condition for having the Eye.

True, but again, doesn't prove anything one way or the other.  "Always birth dead children" is both fulfilled and failed by Mimara, so the paradox remains.  Inevitably, the wording of that statement leaves nearly anything open to interpretation and no manner to resolve it.

We also don't know if others who have had the Eye were in the same boat as Mimara, having always had it even before being pregnant.
There is no indication of it not being so.

Right, I mean, you said the same thing I did, just with a double negative.  The result is still the same, we don't know.
“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

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 05:55:14 pm »
Right, I mean, you said the same thing I did, just with a double negative.  The result is still the same, we don't know.
I think you misunderstood my point both times. The paradox is solved with the twins, we have a case when only one child needs to be stillborn if the woman is pregnant with twins. It happened, so the condition is clarified. The phrasing is correct, but one of its initial meanings is eliminated.

When we're talking about other women with the Judging Eye, there is no reason to consider them any different from Mimara, no evidence to the contrary is present in the books. Since formally evidence first needs to be found, the argument about other women possibly being different is inherently weak. Though I'll admit this formal method pertains more to the real world than to fiction.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 06:01:00 pm by SmilerLoki »

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2018, 06:55:29 pm »
I don't think it's luck, but I also don't think Kellhus could know what to actually select for.

Luck, Conditioned Ground, divine intervention, whatever you want to call it. I mean, he chose Esmenet for a reason, sure, but he could have been wrong. He certainly was with those other women, which may have appeared like very promising candidates to bear healthy half-Dûnyain children at first.
And he wouldn't exactly know what to select for, but he did have a general idea (as we see with the intellect factor). I think diversity, like I mentioned in my first post, was also something that would make sense (in addition to the intellect).
Something else occurred to me: while I'm not sure if Kellhus knew about the half-Scylvendi child Moënghus had with Cnaiür's mother (I don't think so, but I could be wrong?), I think that if he did, he would have chosen a Scylvendi woman as one of his concubines as well (there was a Scylvendi hostage from the Akkunihor tribe in the Company of Scions, it's not that much of a stretch).


Remember that Mimara is also spectacularly special and that has nothing to do with Kellhus.  So, Esmenet is just special of her own right.  She, similar to biblical Mary, is the entrance point of god into Eärwa, but then twisted as the entrance point of the No-God.

A good point, but I still think Kellhus could have had, say, one concubine who happened to produce one viable child (and probably some deformed ones as well) and that wouldn't have diminished Esmenet's special status that much. She gave birth to six non-deformed half-Dûnyain children, which was still quite a feat.
This part of your post brought to mind a TUC quote that can apply nicely here:
Quote from: TUC, Chapter 13
And he understood how profoundly it had mangled her, being the human portal for the emergence of inhuman souls, loving what could only manipulate her in turn.
People can say what they want about Esmenet and her children, but there's definitely no denying the fact that all of them are/were quite remarkable.


I don't think Mimara is inherently more special than any other woman with the Judging Eye. Mimara might have gotten further in using it, but that is a question of experience.

I think we just don't know, and probably will never know. Mimara is special. She sees with the God's own Eye, she is the true prophet and is confirmed as being holy (those silver halos, compared to Kellhus' golden ones). Now, we could assume that other women throughout history who had the JE were holy prophetesses as well, but it could go either way, really. We just don't have enough information to go on here.
What is special about Mimara when compared to other women with the JE is that she is the one that we see in the story, the one whose POV we have, the one who was there to witness the beginning of the Second Apocalypse (and who will definitely have an important role to play in the future).


Well, yes, still we have no idea how common it is to have the Judging Eye.  And, even so, Mimara is "different" in that we are related the idea that all women who have the Eye fail to birth live children, yet Mimara does.  We also don't know if others who have had the Eye were in the same boat as Mimara, having always had it even before being pregnant.

We really don't, and I would love to know more (even if I've grudgingly accepted that we probably never will). I always assumed it wasn't very common, but it had to be common enough for people to recognize it as an actual supernatural phenomenon that manifests itself in women that will be pregnant (and give birth to stillborn children) at some point in their lives. (I have the headcanon that there is only one woman with the JE living at any given time, but, of course, there's zero evidence to support that.)
Given the atemporal nature of the Gods, it would make sense that other women with the JE throughout history would have had the Eye before they became pregnant as well. It's possible that Akka just didn't know that, as he did tell Mimara he didn't know that much about the JE.
Mimara giving birth to a live child may indicate that there is something extra special about her aside from having the JE. Though, to be fair, if the JE is still fairly rare, it could be that all other women known to have possessed it only gave birth to singletons, and never multiples. (I think that the average probability of a twin pregnancy is like 1 in 80, so it wouldn't be too implausible?)


Actually, it was specifically phrased as something like "always birth dead children". Which she did. The fact that she had twins, one of who wasn't stillborn, doesn't negate the stated and fulfilled condition for having the Eye.

See what I speculated above, it's very possible that the JE is rare enough that no one actually knew what would happen if a woman who had it gave birth to twins (or higher order multiples).


When we're talking about other women with the Judging Eye, there is no reason to consider them any different from Mimara, no evidence to the contrary is present in the books. Since formally evidence first needs to be found, the argument about other women possibly being different is inherently weak. Though I'll admit this formal method pertains more to the real world than to fiction.

There's no evidence to suggest that Mimara isn't any different, but there's no evidence to suggest Mimara isn't somewhat more special either. I think that (as of now, at least) it comes down to what you believe to be true about Mimara and the JE.
Honestly, any of us could come up with different theories about the JE and there would be little, if any, evidence for or against them. I, for one, will just stick to what I said before, that Mimara is special because of proximity, and because of the specific time in history she is living in, if nothing else. (It does makes me wonder if there was any woman with the JE alive at the time of the First Apocalypse, and who she/they was/were.)
"But you’ve simply made the discovery that Thelli made—only without the benefit of her unerring sense of fashion."
-Anasûrimbor Kayûtas (The Great Ordeal, chapter 13)

"You prefer to believe women victims to their passions, but we can be at least as calculating as you. Love does not make us weak, but strong."
-Ykoriana of the Masks (The Third God, chapter 27)

SmilerLoki

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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2018, 07:54:23 pm »
I think we just don't know, and probably will never know. Mimara is special. She sees with the God's own Eye, she is the true prophet and is confirmed as being holy (those silver halos, compared to Kellhus' golden ones).
I heavily dispute all of those claims. The Judging Eye, while uncommon, is not unheard of. Mimara's prophet status lives only in her head (note that no one else calls her a prophet in-universe), and at this point I'm much more of a mind to consider her crazy as opposed to special. Silver halos are completely unconfirmed, they are not specifically referred as such in the books, are seen only in a very strange vision with the Judging Eye active, are not compared in-universe to the golden ones Kellhus has, and, lastly, might easily just be a quirk of light of perception. Like a distortion indicating that what Mimara sees is actually a vision of some kind, and not her actual reflection.

Also, what I meant by stating that evidence first should be presented that she is, in fact, different is best illustrated by an example. There is nothing ruling out the possibility of Mimara being an alien hybrid inserted in the narrative because Ridley Scott paid Bakker big bucks to do so, which incidentally explains all of her special abilities (Ridley Scott gets his money's worth, and also, alien science!). Now, this is, obviously, a ridiculous claim, but it is supported by the lack of evidence to the contrary, instead of any evidence of it actually being so. This is why I always come very opposed to the idea of such unsupported claims. They aren't based on anything objective, anything that can be reviewed by others, they only have an idea or a gut feeling behind them. There is no productive discussion to be had in such circumstances.

What is special about Mimara when compared to other women with the JE is that she is the one that we see in the story, the one whose POV we have, the one who was there to witness the beginning of the Second Apocalypse (and who will definitely have an important role to play in the future).
Now, this is indisputable. But it's an out-of-universe thing instead of an in-universe one. It's something important to us readers, but it shouldn't - and hopefully doesn't - have any bearing on the plot or setting of the series.

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2018, 10:51:35 pm »
I heavily dispute all of those claims. The Judging Eye, while uncommon, is not unheard of. Mimara's prophet status lives only in her head (note that no one else calls her a prophet in-universe), and at this point I'm much more of a mind to consider her crazy as opposed to special. Silver halos are completely unconfirmed, they are not specifically referred as such in the books, are seen only in a very strange vision with the Judging Eye active, are not compared in-universe to the golden ones Kellhus has, and, lastly, might easily just be a quirk of light of perception. Like a distortion indicating that what Mimara sees is actually a vision of some kind, and not her actual reflection.

It's not unheard of (though it's sort of an obscure thing), sure, but while I stand by what I said, I didn't mean she was the only one who was a prophet or saw herself with silver halos. For all we know, the other women with the JE might have been the same.
Okay, this might come down to a matter of interpretation/opinion, as I said before. What I said in my last post is only my opinion. I might, of course, be completely wrong. I can see where you're coming from with your arguments against the points I made.
But I think we can't completely discard the silver halos as being only in Mimara's head/a trick of the light/whatever. There was also that tapestry that she finds in TUC that mirrors what she saw in the vision with the silver halos (almost?) perfectly. I know that may be flimsy evidence (Mimara could just be subconsciously remembering the tapestry, etc.). Yet I think it still shows that the silver halos weren't an isolated incident, and don't think the tapestry came into play for no reason. Sure, no one except Mimara ever saw the silver halos, but I don't think the ones in the vision or in the tapestry were there just as a random detail. Also, I didn't mean Kellhus' halos were compared to Mimara's in-universe. I wasn't too clear on that, but I was mostly basing that part on an out-of-universe opinion (that has yet to be proven right or wrong in the series).
If I remember correctly, Achamian also thinks of Mimara as a prophet a few times, so it's not just her referring to herself as such. Now, this probably doesn't mean much to your argument (he could be as mentally unstable as you claim Mimara might be), but there's that.
Also, in the series, it is said that a prophet speaks with the God's voice, and delivers the word of the God to Men. Mimara (and every single woman who had the JE) sees with the God's Eyes. I'm not claiming this is true - I'm saying that's what the JE is regarded as, in-universe. (Whether actually true or not in universe, it's not something that applies only to Mimara.) Kellhus pretended to speak with the God's voice and bring the word of God to Men, since the very beginning, as we all know. Following from the general assumption of what the JE is (again, not only restricted to Mimara), is it that much of a stretch to assume that someone with it could be considered a prophet? When speaking of what they see with the JE, they would indeed be bringing the word of the God to Men.


Also, what I meant by stating that evidence first should be presented that she is, in fact, different is best illustrated by an example. There is nothing ruling out the possibility of Mimara being an alien hybrid inserted in the narrative because Ridley Scott paid Bakker big bucks to do so, which incidentally explains all of her special abilities (Ridley Scott gets his money's worth, and also, alien science!). Now, this is, obviously, a ridiculous claim, but it is supported by the lack of evidence to the contrary, instead of any evidence of it actually being so. This is why I always come very opposed to the idea of such unsupported claims. They aren't based on anything objective, anything that can be reviewed by others, they only have an idea or a gut feeling behind them. There is no productive discussion to be had in such circumstances.

I don't think anything of what I said regarding Mimara was that outrageous. I think your example was a bit too much considering that everything that I said was either something already acknowledged out-of- or in-universe (if only by Mimara herself in the latter case), but fine. The last thing I wanted to do was to put an end to a potentially interesting discussion with my claims, so if it came across like that, I apologize.


Now, this is indisputable. But it's an out-of-universe thing instead of an in-universe one. It's something important to us readers, but it shouldn't - and hopefully doesn't - have any bearing on the plot or setting of the series.

I never tried to imply this had any bearing in-universe. It's the way Mimara is special to us, like you said, and separate from what might be going on in-universe. I was just trying to address the out-of-universe as well as the in-universe angle there.
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-Anasûrimbor Kayûtas (The Great Ordeal, chapter 13)

"You prefer to believe women victims to their passions, but we can be at least as calculating as you. Love does not make us weak, but strong."
-Ykoriana of the Masks (The Third God, chapter 27)

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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2018, 12:19:32 am »
But I think we can't completely discard the silver halos as being only in Mimara's head/a trick of the light/whatever. There was also that tapestry that she finds in TUC that mirrors what she saw in the vision with the silver halos (almost?) perfectly.
Let's address the tapestry first and foremost. Here is its description:
Quote from: R. Scott Bakker, "The Unholy Consult", Chapter 11, "The Occlusion"
A dank socket between trees. A rare shaft of moonlight. Her own reflection across a black pool ... only transformed by the Eye into the very image she now holds in her hands ...
A pregnant woman, her cropped hair all the more black for the plate of brilliant silver about her head.
Blessed.
The way I see it, "the plate of brilliant silver about her head" indicates that the woman is blessed, which is an antonym of "damned". It doesn't specify any kind of enlightened state (even from Mimara's point of view), it speaks of judgement. This judgement needs to be stylized somehow in the image, since not everyone sees with the Judging Eye.

If I remember correctly, Achamian also thinks of Mimara as a prophet a few times, so it's not just her referring to herself as such.
As far as I remember, he thinks of the abilities bestowed upon her by the Eye as prophetic and something more than human, it's not so much about Mimara herself.

Also, in the series, it is said that a prophet speaks with the God's voice, and delivers the word of the God to Men. Mimara (and every single woman who had the JE) sees with the God's Eyes.
And here we have a problem. The Eye is known, yet the prophets we're aware of are all men. Now, it's not in itself an indication of anything, it's just something I consider extremely important. To the point of not being sold on Mimara's prophet status.

Even taking into account that I'm very aware that Earwan society is extremely discriminating toward women.

I don't think anything of what I said regarding Mimara was that outrageous. I think your example was a bit too much considering that everything that I said was either something already acknowledged out-of- or in-universe (if only by Mimara herself in the latter case), but fine.
No, no, no, I wasn't at all bashing you! I specifically used an outrageous example to make my point clear, it wasn't about what you or H said. The claim that Mimara is special in-universe is much more plausible than my example, but it has the same innate problem, the lack of evidence in support of it. My point is, not everything that could happen (however plausible) should be considered with the same care. Some things (again, however plausible) just don't have the same amount of corroboration as others.

For example, the way that Mimara thinks herself a prophet for a huge amount of chapters has, from the structural (and thus out-of-universe) point of view, clear signs of misdirection. She repeats that she's a prophet so many times that we, the readers, are starting to take it for granted, forgetting that it's only her opinion. Later, it even stops being an opinion, she is completely convinced, and again, it wears on the readers, diluting our critical thinking.

And then all of it is complicated by the fact that she, in fact, has supernatural abilities, ones attributed to the God, no less. She can do more than a human, more than a sorcerer, more than anyone encountered, actually. But is it proof of her prophetic status? Or is it the same trap Kellhus fell into in TTT? He believed himself divine, at least for a time, and he also possessed outstanding abilities, even rarer than Mimara's. Unlike the Judging Eye, which was encountered more than once in history, Metagnosis was used by just one Nonman (Su'juroit) before Kellhus.

We know how well it worked out for Kellhus. But he, in the end, stopped trusting his visions. Mimara, on the other hand, has been shown to utterly lose her critical thinking on the matter.

The last thing I wanted to do was to put an end to a potentially interesting discussion with my claims, so if it came across like that, I apologize.
You have nothing to apologize for! If anything, I should apologize for coming of as harsh because I often prefer brevity to clarity. I most certainly do not want other people to stop participating in the discussions I take part in.

So far, Mimara's special status stands entirely undisputed, but I have serious doubts about her. I voice them as an attempt to dig out the truth of the matter. I will freely admit that I'm interested in what is much more than in what could be. Speaking from my writing experience, there are many points when a narrative can go any way, and it wouldn't even have that much bearing on the story. It might not be relevant that characters are traveling south, for example. They might as well travel north, because it is their journey that's important, not its (physical) direction, which is quite possibly only referenced for the sake of wording a specific paragraph better. Then there are other situations, where, while many possibilities are present, the narrative is limited by the main idea of the work, or at least its plot. This is where Deus Ex Machina often rears its head, or where writers start adding new and previously non-existent elements to their worlds for the sake of moving the plot forward or, even worse, solving it. Now, when the work becomes completely arbitrary in those situations, it's a sigh of bad writing.

The Second Apocalypse lacks those signs almost completely, and they are most certainly not present in anything that concerns metaphysics (there are some plot aspects that are suspect to me, for example, but nothing that comes even close to unraveling the whole series; it's a huge achievement of Bakker in my eyes). This is why I think that many elements that solve the mystery of Mimara are already present in the narrative. Present and stated or at least alluded to. This is good form, and it was always a mark of the series. And this is why I'm loath to accept as an argument, especially in the case of Mimara, something explicitly not stated or alluded to in the books.

This was my point concerning the claim that Mimara might be different from other women with the Judging Eye. There is no statement that I can remember that comes even close to suggesting something like this. So, while possible and not outrageous, it is still unsupported, unlike many other things that we have clear evidence of.

I never tried to imply this had any bearing in-universe. It's the way Mimara is special to us, like you said, and separate from what might be going on in-universe. I was just trying to address the out-of-universe as well as the in-universe angle there.
Oh! Got it.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 12:21:27 am by SmilerLoki »

ThoughtsOfThelli

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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2018, 01:49:49 pm »
Let's address the tapestry first and foremost. Here is its description:
Quote from: R. Scott Bakker, "The Unholy Consult", Chapter 11, "The Occlusion"
A dank socket between trees. A rare shaft of moonlight. Her own reflection across a black pool ... only transformed by the Eye into the very image she now holds in her hands ...
A pregnant woman, her cropped hair all the more black for the plate of brilliant silver about her head.
Blessed.
The way I see it, "the plate of brilliant silver about her head" indicates that the woman is blessed, which is an antonym of "damned". It doesn't specify any kind of enlightened state (even from Mimara's point of view), it speaks of judgement. This judgement needs to be stylized somehow in the image, since not everyone sees with the Judging Eye.

Alright, I did admit that the tapestry could be seem as flimsy evidence. The similarities do give me some pause - as this story takes place in a meaningful world, I find it harder to write off certain things as just coincidences. I could still be completely wrong, this could be just a tapestry depicting some historical or mythical holy figure (or even no one in particular) with some similarities to a previous vision of Mimara's (and there could be a subconscious association of ideas from Mimara, even if she didn't remember the tapestry that well, as I said in my previous post).


As far as I remember, he thinks of the abilities bestowed upon her by the Eye as prophetic and something more than human, it's not so much about Mimara herself.

Fair enough. I think I'll still go and hunt down quotes (including those from Akka's POV) that refer to Mimara as a prophet, maybe there are some other details there we're not remembering at the moment.


And here we have a problem. The Eye is known, yet the prophets we're aware of are all men. Now, it's not in itself an indication of anything, it's just something I consider extremely important. To the point of not being sold on Mimara's prophet status.

Even taking into account that I'm very aware that Earwan society is extremely discriminating toward women.

Yes, you're right on this account. This whole situation is not helped by the fact that there isn't a large sample size to begin with, and most prophets we're aware of lived thousands of years before the current series. So, we'd have: Angeshraël and the other Prophets of the Tusk, Inri Sejenus, Fane and Kellhus as the prophets that are considered as such in-universe (I think I'm not forgetting anyone there?). We, of course, know that Kellhus was a false prophet despite being widely accepted as the real thing. About the others, we just don't have enough information to go on, much like in the case of the JE. There's that comment Bakker made about Fanimry being very far off from the actual truth, but I don't think this can be used to fully disprove Fane's status as a prophet.
The fact that women appear to be inherently more damned than men in Eärwa (I'm not going on Mimara's JE-based opinions here only, there are several other characters that seem to fully accept this as a fact), alongside the misogyny present in most (all?) societies we know of, is kind of a confounding factor here as well, true. It does seem much more likely that any known prophets would be men due to these reasons alone. A potential female prophet would have a much harder time establishing herself as such and managing to not be dismissed as, say, a delusional, mentally unstable woman. I agree with you that in-universe, it seems much more likely for any prophet to be male, but again, we can't fully discount the possibility of the emergence of a female prophet (this being Mimara or someone else) either.


No, no, no, I wasn't at all bashing you! I specifically used an outrageous example to make my point clear, it wasn't about what you or H said. The claim that Mimara is special in-universe is much more plausible than my example, but it has the same innate problem, the lack of evidence in support of it. My point is, not everything that could happen (however plausible) should be considered with the same care. Some things (again, however plausible) just don't have the same amount of corroboration as others.

Glad to hear that. :) You know, tone in the Internet can be misinterpreted sometimes. The fact that I was a bit tired when reading your post and then replying to it didn't help much either.
I admit that you do have good points on there not being a substantial amount of evidence for Mimara being a true prophet, maybe I (and everyone else who thinks the same) should be more careful when taking this into consideration in the future. Anyway, this makes for a much more interesting discussion, it just wouldn't be the same if all of us were in agreement about Mimara's status. ;)


For example, the way that Mimara thinks herself a prophet for a huge amount of chapters has, from the structural (and thus out-of-universe) point of view, clear signs of misdirection. She repeats that she's a prophet so many times that we, the readers, are starting to take it for granted, forgetting that it's only her opinion. Later, it even stops being an opinion, she is completely convinced, and again, it wears on the readers, diluting our critical thinking.

I think I'm starting to realize that (part of) the reason I actually believe Mimara's own claims (and Achamian's to a lesser extent) could be good old wishful thinking. It's not implausible that Mimara is deluding herself, but I still want to believe that there could be truth to this, that she will have a role to play and that we'll get to see an actual true prophet in the series (as opposed to just Kellhus). I'll try to be a bit more critical from now on, but we can all be a bit biased when it comes to certain characters/subjects/etc., it's just the way it is.


And then all of it is complicated by the fact that she, in fact, has supernatural abilities, ones attributed to the God, no less. She can do more than a human, more than a sorcerer, more than anyone encountered, actually. But is it proof of her prophetic status? Or is it the same trap Kellhus fell into in TTT? He believed himself divine, at least for a time, and he also possessed outstanding abilities, even rarer than Mimara's. Unlike the Judging Eye, which was encountered more than once in history, Metagnosis was used by just one Nonman (Su'juroit) before Kellhus.

We know how well it worked out for Kellhus. But he, in the end, stopped trusting his visions. Mimara, on the other hand, has been shown to utterly lose her critical thinking on the matter.

Thinking about this for a bit, yes, I do see why we, the readers, could be in danger of being taken in and having another "Kellhus moment" take place in TNG.
When you're talking about Mimara's abilities, you're talking about how she used the Chorae to banish the Wight-in-the-Mountain, right? Because I don't recall her doing anything else that could be seen as extraordinary (only seeing certain people with the JE, and that was something that every other woman with it did as well). To this day, that incident has not been adequately explained in-universe (and probably never will), and both Achamian and Mimara herself have no idea of what actually happened there. Even out-of-universe, there have been differing theories on how Mimara was able to do this.
Out of curiosity, let's say your interpretation of "Mimara is deluded and no true prophet" is true. How do you explain this from that point of view? Were there outside circumstances/forces that no one was aware of in-universe that happened to make it work? Were Achamian and the Skin Eaters themselves imagining things to due their general psychological condition at the time?


You have nothing to apologize for! If anything, I should apologize for coming of as harsh because I often prefer brevity to clarity. I most certainly do not want other people to stop participating in the discussions I take part in.

Like I said above, I just misinterpreted your tone in the previous post, it was a honest mistake, it's fine. :) I think this discussion definitely has potential and we should continue exploring the topic.


So far, Mimara's special status stands entirely undisputed, but I have serious doubts about her. I voice them as an attempt to dig out the truth of the matter. I will freely admit that I'm interested in what is much more than in what could be. Speaking from my writing experience, there are many points when a narrative can go any way, and it wouldn't even have that much bearing on the story. It might not be relevant that characters are traveling south, for example. They might as well travel north, because it is their journey that's important, not its (physical) direction, which is quite possibly only referenced for the sake of wording a specific paragraph better. Then there are other situations, where, while many possibilities are present, the narrative is limited by the main idea of the work, or at least its plot. This is where Deus Ex Machina often rears its head, or where writers start adding new and previously non-existent elements to their worlds for the sake of moving the plot forward or, even worse, solving it. Now, when the work becomes completely arbitrary in those situations, it's a sigh of bad writing.

As I said above, despite having a very different opinion, I can see why you'd doubt the interpretation of Mimara's character/thoughts/actions/etc. So far, I think that there hasn't been any danger of a deus ex machina situation being set up regarding her abilities (we'll just have to wait and see what happens next). The situation with the Tear of God and the Wight-in-the-Mountain was unexpected and unexplained (as I also mentioned above), but there were other strange things (not involving Mimara or her powers) occurring at that time. I think the fact that the whole situation took place in a topos can mitigate some of the doubts about it, and (at least for me) it doesn't break suspension of disbelief. I do hope Mimara's character continues evolving in a way that makes sense within the narrative, as much as I may like the character and believe her claims, I wouldn't want her whole arc to be ruined by a deus ex machina situation at the end of the series.


The Second Apocalypse lacks those signs almost completely, and they are most certainly not present in anything that concerns metaphysics (there are some plot aspects that are suspect to me, for example, but nothing that comes even close to unraveling the whole series; it's a huge achievement of Bakker in my eyes). This is why I think that many elements that solve the mystery of Mimara are already present in the narrative. Present and stated or at least alluded to. This is good form, and it was always a mark of the series. And this is why I'm loath to accept as an argument, especially in the case of Mimara, something explicitly not stated or alluded to in the books.

This was my point concerning the claim that Mimara might be different from other women with the Judging Eye. There is no statement that I can remember that comes even close to suggesting something like this. So, while possible and not outrageous, it is still unsupported, unlike many other things that we have clear evidence of.

Very true, and like I just said above, I hope the series keeps evolving in this same way.
My faith on the character's abilities never meant that I considered that the other women with the JE were not as special. I already addressed the idea of Mimara's special status out-of-universe. Where the JE is concerned in-universe, yes, we have no evidence that any other woman with the JE could not do anything Mimara does. I think that if Mimara does turn out to be a true prophet, then all other women with the JE most likely also had that very same potential. Of course, as circumstances are important, the events in their lives, the point of history they lived in, etc. did not lead to the same outcome as Mimara's specific situation.

And now, I think it would be a good idea to move the Mimara discussion to a brand new thread. :)
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2018, 03:05:32 pm »
Well, yes, still we have no idea how common it is to have the Judging Eye.  And, even so, Mimara is "different" in that we are related the idea that all women who have the Eye fail to birth live children, yet Mimara does.
Actually, it was specifically phrased as something like "always birth dead children". Which she did. The fact that she had twins, one of who wasn't stillborn, doesn't negate the stated and fulfilled condition for having the Eye.

We also don't know if others who have had the Eye were in the same boat as Mimara, having always had it even before being pregnant.
There is no indication of it not being so.
Keep in mind the Judging Eye could also be short-circuited by the No-God. I feel this is very deliberate on Bakker's side.