[PoN SPOILERS] Why are the Dunyain stronger and faster?

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Dreaming Johnny

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« on: February 27, 2020, 04:38:46 pm »
I've had this small question in the back of my mind for awhile now and thought about making a thread about i.

However before I do that and inflict my own attempts at answers and theories on the world, I thought it might be best if I just quickly asked to see if the question has already been settled.

Kellhus does some quite amazing physical feats throughout the first series. What are peoples explanations to this? How come he is able to do those things? Cnaiur speaks of the results of breeding, but would the Dunyain really breed for anything but souls better capable of being self moving?

I'm fully prepared to chalk it all up to convenience for the plot. It is hardly something of central importance to the books. But it could be fun to talk about and see what theories people come of with for why this messiah is so incredibly jacked^^

Note on Spoiler tag. I have read all seven books. However I set the spoiler tag as just the first series thinking that it might  be more inclusive to do so. However if you want to mention things from later books feel happy to do so within spoiler blocks without worrying that I won't be able to read your reasoning without having anything spoiled for me.

Wilshire

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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2020, 04:48:33 pm »
A far as the first series is concerned, the idea is brutal lifetime training combined with selective breeding.

As far as all the information in the books, about the same explanation. Strict breeding for physical and mental abilities. Only the fittest allowed to breed at all, only the perfect children allowed to live, harsh/brutal living conditions and training.

By the time Kellhus enters the scene, he's about 30 right? So presumably the peak of physical and mental ability.

There's some potential later on that Kellhus is using some kind of magics, akin to what we see Inrau use - but there's never any reference to that kind of thing. There's also the potential for some kind of special things only Kellhus can do that we see brief snippets of in TUC , but that extends far beyond the initial scope of the question I think.

So for Prince of Nothing, barring strange unexplained magic usage, the idea is that the 2000 years of Dunyain breeding and training gives them their abilities.

Also keep in mind that in the story, the Dunyain have trouble breeding with non-dunyain. This, I think, is an indication that their own breeding program has been so successful that the Dunyain are very nearly on the verge of being their own species (or just past that point). While 2000 years doesn't seem like enough time IRL, it seems pretty well established in Earwa that this is what has happened. (or at least this Could be a "reasonable" explanation within the books).

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H

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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2020, 05:02:06 pm »
Well, we do also have reason (within the text, the glossary entry for Kûniüri, a la Anasûrimbor Nanor-Ukkerja I, and extra textually via information on the Rape of Omindalea) to suppose that there is cause for this.  As Wilshire said, it isn't outlandish to suppose there were moving in the direction of a sort of separate species.

Of course though, in any case, it will be the case that it was a sort of narrative contrivance.  The question of if those above cases provide "sufficient reason" though is going to be in the hands of whoever is interpreting it though.

I don't think though, to me, that it is outlandish to consider that the "same" genetics that lead to better mental capabilities also happened to often confer better physical ones.  Especially since any physical deformities/deficiencies were likely excised as defectives anyway.  So there was never just a single-pressure selection at hand anyway.

That being said, welcome to the forum.  We love new idea, so loose!
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Wilshire

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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2020, 05:47:39 pm »
Oh, yeah, I totally forgot to mention those cases. Additional support for the idea that the Anasurimbor's themselves are somehow special is the long-lived Anasurimbor kings - 100+ years (check the TTT and TUC glossaries). This is often attributed to them likely having Nonman blood mixed in there somewhere, as H cited above.

And of course TUC revelations regarding the "original insertant" and how The No God was turned on the first time. That is specifically regarding the Anasurimbor line, but after 2000 years of careful inbreeding you'd still end up with some mixture of bloodlines in Ishual to the point where all the Dunyain would be partially Anasurimbor to varying degrees.
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2020, 06:45:17 pm »
And of course TUC revelations regarding the "original insertant" and how The No God was turned on the first time. That is specifically regarding the Anasurimbor line, but after 2000 years of careful inbreeding you'd still end up with some mixture of bloodlines in Ishual to the point where all the Dunyain would be partially Anasurimbor to varying degrees.

This is likely somewhat true, but I can imagine set of events that gradually could have distilled a sort of "most Anasurimbor" qualities into a single germ line.  And, in doing so, distilled out the most dominant of Nonman traits out as well.
“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

Madness

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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2020, 07:48:42 pm »
I can't find the quote - and can't dig up my books at the moment - but every wiki (and -adjacent) description on the interwebs uses:

"[T]he Dûnyain have concealed themselves, breeding for reflex and intellect, and continually training in the ways of limb, thought, and face—all for the sake of reason, the sacred Logos."

EDIT: The latter half of that is almost certainly a direct quote from TDTCB. Also, my bold.

EDIT/EDIT: Unless it's a quote by Cnaiur in TTT to Achamian but I feel like this is a quote from TDTCB from Kellhus' POV.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 07:51:29 pm by Madness »
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2020, 07:53:12 pm »
I can't find the quote - and can't dig up my books at the moment - but every wiki (and -adjacent) description on the interwebs uses:

"[T]he Dûnyain have concealed themselves, breeding for reflex and intellect, and continually training in the ways of limb, thought, and face—all for the sake of reason, the sacred Logos."

EDIT: The latter half of that is almost certainly a direct quote from TDTCB. Also, my bold.

EDIT/EDIT: Unless it's a quote by Cnaiur in TTT to Achamian but I feel like this is a quote from TDTCB from Kellhus' POV.

It is actually from the What Came Before, in TWP and TTT.
“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

Madness

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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2020, 07:55:31 pm »
I'll have to look, I'm almost positive Kellhus' reminisces in TDTCB about the training in the ways of limb and face.

EDIT: Oh, yes, that quote. Right. Still, what I wrote above.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2020, 07:57:09 pm by Madness »
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2020, 08:04:58 pm »
I'll have to look, I'm almost positive Kellhus' reminisces in TDTCB about the training in the ways of limb and face.

EDIT: Oh, yes, that quote. Right. Still, what I wrote above.

There is this line from Chapter 17, which is what you are probably recalling (Kellhus talking to a Pragma):
Quote
“Yes. The Logos is without beginning or end. And yet Man, young Kellhus, does possess a beginning and end—like all beasts. Why is Man distinct from other beasts?”
“Because like beasts, Man stands within the circuit of before and after, and yet he apprehends the Logos. He possesses intellect.”
“Indeed. And why, Kellhus, do the Dûnyain breed for intellect? Why do we so assiduously train young children such as you in the ways of thought, limb, and face?”
“Because of the Quandary of Man.”

And the appendix has under Dunyain:

"A hidden monastic sect whose members have repudiated history and animal appetite in the hope of finding absolute enlightenment through the control of all desire and circumstance. For two thousand years they have bred their members for both motor reflexes and intellectual acuity."
“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 #9 on: February 27, 2020, 08:06:50 pm »
The quote from Ch.17 was the one I was thinking of, thank you.
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Dreaming Johnny

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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2020, 12:05:41 pm »
Apologies for the long silence between replies.

Whenever I post on forums I spend so much time worrying at the clarity and relevance of any statements, which has the outcome of unfortunately making me an infrequent poster.

However, I'm pleased that the whole question hasn't been definitively resolved. So I'll try to summarize my own ideas within the next couple of days. It was great to read the references that other posters picked out, and hopefully I'll include one that no one so far has touched on, and that I think might be hugely relevant^^

Is it customary in this forum to continue with this thread here even if there might be more posts? Or should I start a new topic in the subforum that has the most suitable scope for the subject?

Madness

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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2020, 01:41:38 pm »
Just continue this thread, if we need to move it or retitle it, we'll do so.

Infrequency is not criminal here ;). Come and go as you please.
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