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Topics - mrganondorf

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The No-God / What else will the No-God say?
« on: August 05, 2021, 05:45:05 pm »
I find it unlikely that the No-God only repeats the same phrase unendingly.  I think it more likely that Bakker narrowed his lines down thus far for effect.  So, what else might Mog say?  Probably more self-agony stuff.

I'm betting there's at least one scene with Esmi speakin with her son(s), a bakkeresque subversion of those scenes where a character gets a robot to recall that they were once human kind of thing.

Literature / Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
« on: October 26, 2020, 02:19:37 am »
Susanna Clarke has a new book out!  It's been 16 years since Jonathan Strange and 14 years since the Ladies of Grace Adieu.  Ms. Clarke hasn't been well but she did get this book to print and it is wonderful.  No spoilers from me in this post.

A few things about Piranesi:
- It's not related to the Jonathan Strange universe except thematically.  It takes place in 'The House' which brings to mind the King's Roads.  I think everyone was expecting a sequel but I've got to wonder if that's even possible.  The book I'd really wish she'd write would be A Child's History of the Raven King by Lord Portishead.
- It's pretty overtly inspired by and a tribute to C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew (but it isn't Christian propaganda).  That's the sixth book in the Narnia series or what some heretics think of as the first.
- Feels a bit like Kafka's The Castle but is not ultimately Kafkaesque.
- Like I mentioned, it's great.  Clarke has not lost a beat.

I listed to the audiobook--the narrator, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is extremely capable.  I will look for his books hereon.

The No-God / The Heart
« on: June 04, 2018, 08:47:08 pm »
I bet someone has brought this up before, but I'm wondering if the heart used in The Grasping is actually Nau-Cayuti's.  It's always been a bit weird to think about Seswatha performing this ritual--doing complicated magic while passing out from blood loss and making a heart like that might have been beyond the power of any remaining sorcerers.

Here's how it would work: Seswatha is there when Mog is struck down.  He scoops up the heart in the aftermath wreckage, both out of love for NC (and maybe Ses didn't find out that Mog was NC until just then--for all we know NC is not dead but dying and passes on some last words to Ses which would make for a tragic repitition of his father's battlefield death) and to prevent the Consult from remaking Mog (if he assumes they need this bit).  Then Ses could ctrl+c, ctrl+v his soul into NC's heart later on.

This would explain why Akka is getting memories from both dudes and may offer a glimmer of hope for humanity.  Akka or some other Mandati like Serwa might be able to glean some secret about the inner workings of the Carapace and use this in battle.  The Mutilated are as vulnerable to ignorance as anyone else, if there is any hope against them it will come out of the darkness that surrounds those four.  There's no reason to think that they would anticipate this development and a constant theme in Bakker is pervasive finitude--no one ever premeditates everything.  It's just not possible.

P.S. On the possibility that NC has a death scene like his dad's -- right after the carapace is broken, the gods are back in Earwa and that would be the perfect moment for someone (like NC) to have a vision witnessing their return.

The Unholy Consult / The Heart
« on: June 03, 2018, 02:45:37 am »
I bet it's been brought up, but it makes a lot of sense that the Heart is Nau-Cayuti's.  It would be difficult, I guess, for Ses to make a sorcerous artifact out of his own heart.  Perhaps it wouldn't be so hard to copy/paste into another heart.  The legend holds that the Consult collected NG's remains, but maybe Ses did and intended to set one piece of it beyond their reach (Atyersus).  Ses could load his memories into NC's heart and it would be "Seswatha's Heart" in the same sense that the meat that Kellhus pulled out of his chest was "Serwe's Heart."  The heart that possesses.  For Bakker's purposes, it would mean that Akka might glean some insight into the NG's state and how to fight it.  The Consult will think of everything, but they might not suspect this.

The Unholy Consult / Influences on TSA
« on: May 07, 2018, 03:53:14 pm »
Just thinking about updating this topic.  Of course there's Tolkien.  Besides that, here's a few things that came to mind:

Dante - Bakker depicts ciphrang and Ajokli as hungers, eternally eating.  This hearkens back to the very bottom of Dante's hell where the three-headed Satan gnaws on three souls forever: Brutus, Cassius, and Judas.  The passage:

The Emperor of the kingdom dolorous
  From his mid-breast forth issued from the ice;
  And better with a giant I compare

Than do the giants with those arms of his;
  Consider now how great must be that whole,
  Which unto such a part conforms itself.

Were he as fair once, as he now is foul,
  And lifted up his brow against his Maker,
  Well may proceed from him all tribulation.

O, what a marvel it appeared to me,
  When I beheld three faces on his head!
  The one in front, and that vermilion was;

Two were the others, that were joined with this
  Above the middle part of either shoulder,
  And they were joined together at the crest;

And the right-hand one seemed 'twixt white and yellow;
  The left was such to look upon as those
  Who come from where the Nile falls valley-ward.

Underneath each came forth two mighty wings,
  Such as befitting were so great a bird;
  Sails of the sea I never saw so large.

 No feathers had they, but as of a bat
  Their fashion was; and he was waving them,
  So that three winds proceeded forth therefrom.

Thereby Cocytus wholly was congealed.
  With six eyes did he weep, and down three chins
  Trickled the tear-drops and the bloody drivel.

At every mouth he with his teeth was crunching
  A sinner, in the manner of a brake,
  So that he three of them tormented thus.

To him in front the biting was as naught
  Unto the clawing, for sometimes the spine
  Utterly stripped of all the skin remained.

"That soul up there which has the greatest pain,"
  The Master said, "is Judas Iscariot;
  With head inside, he plies his legs without.

Of the two others, who head downward are,
  The one who hangs from the black jowl is Brutus;
  See how he writhes himself, and speaks no word.

And the other, who so stalwart seems, is Cassius.
  But night is reascending, and 'tis time
  That we depart, for we have seen the whole."

Other influences - it seems that Bakker has taken the ethical views of Kant and Mill and set them up as opposite pairs, divine and damned, feminine and masculine.  Mill's utilitarianism *uses* and thus Kellhus is more damned than all others.  Kant focuses on the inviolable laws of conduct represented by Mimara.  Of course it's more complicated and messier than an on/off switch, Akka says as much referencing X, but using/not-using seem to be the polarities forming the ultimate morality of Earwa.

I want to write about mechanismism from Descartes and Hobbes' clockwork people but back to work now.

Literature / New Book by Tolkien...
« on: June 02, 2017, 04:13:15 pm »

Anyone read it?  I like the Beren and Luthien story.  Might pick this up soon

The Unholy Consult / The Unholy Consult Giveaway
« on: May 25, 2017, 06:25:33 pm »
Overlook Press will be giving away two Advanced Reader Copies of The Unholy Consult!  Make your predictions for the book!  Who will die?  How?  Who will live?  What secrets will be told?

Here’s how to enter:
- Create an account at (if you don’t already have one).
- At, scroll down to The Aspect-Emperor link and click and follow through to The Unholy Consult subforum.
- Select “The Unholy Consult Giveaway” thread.
- Post a response to the thread.  Make a prediction about what will happen in TUC!  Come back later for an “I told you so!”

- ONE entry per person.  You can post all you like but only ONE chance to win per person responding in the thread (even if you have more than one account).
- The contest is open from now until 5PM EST Thursday, June 1st.
- Winners will be contacted through a private message at and by email (if you include your email with your account).


[EDIT Madness: Made one small adjustment to your instructions.]

The Unholy Consult / Book Review: The Unholy Consult
« on: May 15, 2017, 07:42:54 pm »
The Unholy Consult by R. Scott Bakker crashes into the inevitable contest between the Dûnyain-Prophet, Anasûrimbor Kellhus, and the vile Consult hierarchy.  This novel, the fourth and concluding volume of The Aspect-Emperor series, chronicles a convergent conflict, millennia in the making, between Men, Nonmen, and Inchoroi abomination.  Tekne and Logos will vie for the fate of the world, the fate of souls.  The Great Ordeal will traverse the unnatural wastes at the end of the world to face it…the Golden Horror.

Weaving the narrative threads of The Aspect-Emperor into a rope, The Unholy Consult hangs from the Horns of Golgotterath.  The survivors of Ishterebinth make haste to join the Great Ordeal, which in turn staggers in its last desperate trek through the Fields of Woe.  Following the destruction of the Horde at Dagliash, the false Believer-King, Nersei Proyas, struggles to steer the might of Earwa across ashen Agongorea.  Stripped to the foundation of their Meat, the Men of the Ordeal find they must overcome themselves to march upon their foe, to achieve the requisite mad ferocity to topple wicked and alien heights.  Besotted, crazed with loss and bewildered hope, the old Wizard, Achamian, and the pregnant Prophet, Mimara, draw near to gaze upon the Aspect-Emperor with the Judging Eye.  Even the eyes of the damned will stand witness to the Warrior-Prophet’s ultimate disputation of war. Gobozkoy like no other.  As the Great Ordeal unleashes its collective might on Unholy Golgotterath, Bakker rolls into one all the strategy, tactical reversal, and heartbreak of the battle sequences of his six preceding novels…and the Gods play benjuka across the very the plate of the world.

Thematically, the darkness that comes before dominates all individuals through every faction. In a contest of this magnitude, none can be sure their cause is righteous truth.  Meat and spirit, meaning and its wages compel reason run to the end of sanity—The Unholy Consult emerges as the most profuse expression of Bakker’s philosophical viewpoint on humanity’s frame and substance. Stylistically, Bakker furthers the coiled power of word and verse from The Great Ordeal: epic fantasy as adventure and elegy.  This novel is word for word, line for line, condensed, packed, loaded.  In the end, Bakker sparks a detonation proper to the termination of The Aspect-Emperor series.  A rebuke of and tribute to the Tolkinesque tradition, a rumination on holy scripture, and prophetic word, The Unholy Consult is above all a tale to grasp the heart.

Included with The Unholy Consult is an expanded encyclopedic glossary, elaborating on the glossary of The Thousandfold Thought, divulging history, secrets, lies, and promising more.  A particular highlight is a short account concerning the Aspect-Emperor, revealing insight into his peculiar magic and snatched, it would seem, while the Anasûrimbor thought no one watching. Bakker’s, previously available online Atrocity Tales, short stories set in Earwa, “The False Sun” and “The Four Revelations,” are also included as Appendices Two and Three.  “The False Sun” constitutes an episode from the formation of the Consult and their grudge with the ancient Grandmaster of the Sohonc, mighty Titirga.  “The Four Revelations” takes the reader inside the mind of a Nonman Erratic, long-lived beyond all dead glory and sanity.

Tragedy, tragedy averted, tragedy necessary and inescapable, The Unholy Consult marches toward Golgotterath, measuring its path by the suffering of its persons.  This is the seventh book in The Second Apocalypse series.  Apocalypse is revelation.  Bakker delivers humanity, character and reader alike, to the revelation of the fate of worlds.

Behold!  The Passion of the Warrior-Prophet.

General Earwa / The Unholy Consult - The Bad News and the Good
« on: March 14, 2017, 03:49:59 pm »
The bad news and the good

THE BAD NEWS - Two problems with TUC: 1) there are questions answered, 2) there are questions unanswered.  As for the first, I don’t know about you, but in the 5 years between WLW and TGO, my mind filled with 1,001 pet theories to explain the unexplainable Earwa.  Bakker is so good at creating the impression that every stone is impregnated with bundled meaning, that anything seemed possible.  When I did get the answer, I felt all the other possibilities turn to smoke.  A strange feeling.

That there are questions still unanswered, what can I say?  TUC reveals a lot, but not all.

THE GOOD NEWS - That mysteries remain means we can look forward to plenty more Earwa.  However, there are a few super duper things about TUC in particular that I want to share:

1) Bakker cares.  When I read a book, I have a feeling for what parts the author agonized over.  Some sentences like “Bob shot Dubby" are obviously low effort on the author’s part.  Word for word, sentence for sentence, Bakker lets the reader know that he has crafted this thing jot and tittle.  That means a lot to me.  More than all of the previous Earwa books, this one is exquisite in the minutiae.  AND THAT’S JUST THE MANUSCRIPT! 

2) Bakker has done some super subtle foreshadowing going all the way back to the PON books.  I would like to hint about that, but it’s just too wonderful.  Once you finish TUC, you’ll def want to start the whole journey over.  I know that you know Bakker did this, but the way he did it was surprising and unlooked for.  There are parts of the previous 6 books that foreshadow events in TUC that do not seem to be foreshadowing moments or seem to foreshadow something else entirely.

3) IMO, Bakker hits the perfect balance of narrative and philosophy—better than the other books.

4) Action!  This thing is tense through and through and ends with rush upon rush of page-turning action. 

I really enjoyed TUC!  I think you will too!  I’ll be putting some of this stuff in the forthcoming book review. :)

Lastly, if you can only squeeze one reread in before now and July, reread TTT :)

Writing / Humor Stories
« on: March 10, 2017, 04:18:18 pm »

The Great Ordeal / [TGO SPOILERS] The Amiolas
« on: August 07, 2016, 05:41:22 am »
Well, this was a goddamn cool part of the book. 

That nonman had to be pretty fucked up to get a death sentence from Cujara, but then he must have done something pretty awesome to get it amended by Nil-Giccas.  It's going to be fun to see what kind of warlord Sorweel has turned into.  Being uber-ruthless is going to play well with Kellhus.  "Sure you can date my daughter now that your soul is half-ghoul, that would be swell!"

Wonder if Akka is getting someone else's soul through that shirt?  Oinaral's comment about how the takeover happens faster if the wearer is ignorant made me wonder if someone is going to unknowingly get something like an Amiolas.  I wonder if Moenghus will get another Amiolas to make some sense of his brutalized person.

Maybe Sorweel gets a little bit of other people who have worn the Amiolas too?  Could have been some Anasurimbors back there.

The part about Serwa thinking Sorweel is real makes me think that Sorweel got more of the Amiolas soul than previous wearers did and/or the human/nonman combination might be a sum greater than it's parts--she doesn't seem to think that Harapior or the other nonmen have especially neat souls (she doesn't say that she, Inrilatas, Kellhus and all nonmen are real)

The Great Ordeal / [TGO SPOILERS] What's Missing from TGO
« on: August 07, 2016, 04:53:09 am »
I was wondering about all the stuff Bakker deliberately left out of TGO and what it might mean.  Of course Golgotterath isn't in TGO, but some of the interesting missing bits:

- Atrithau
- Chorae (wherever the mother load is)
- Sarl
- Skin-spies (except for right at the end)
- Wutteat
- The nonman from the embassy in WLW
- Iyokus
- Ships

I gotta think that last bit is because they are going to be showing up like the Black Fleet in TUC.

Skin-spies will have to be an important part of TUC since Bakker foreshadowed that Kelmomas wants to see one without revealing it, he's the last potential face reader left for Esmi to use whenever Kellhus takes off again.  Though I have to wonder if Kellhus has endeavored to train world-born people, like Esmi's spy-master, to ID skin-spies.

The Great Ordeal / [TGO SPOILERS] Music for TGO
« on: August 06, 2016, 09:43:11 pm »
I know we have other music threads, but it might be fun for a TGO-exclusive one.

Zero-God? How about Zero by Smashing Pumpkins (includes "God is empty"):

It's also got that dark and desperate edge you might feel in the wasted north.

Kind of weird video, but definitely an Inchoroi/Arkfall vibe: Space Lord by Monster Magnet:

This vid has a boring beginning but switches to ridiculous/amusing at about 1:25

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