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General Earwa / The Gods - which is your favorite?
« on: September 07, 2016, 09:35:12 am »
Which of the Hundred personally appeals to you, and why? Which "aspects" are underrepresented among the Hundred?

The Encyclopedic Glossary describes twelve gods who were worshipped by the Kiünnat and latter by the Inrithi. While the Kiünnat understand these as separate Gods, the Inrithi see “the unity of the individual deities of the Cults as Aspects of the God”. The Fanim believe in only one God, viewing the other Gods worshipped by the Inrithi as demons.[3]

Ajokli, God of thievery and deception

The god of deception and betrayal, Ajokli is also known as the Prince of Hate and the Four-Horned Brother.

Though listed among the primary Gods in The Chronicle of the Tusk, there is no true Cult of Ajokli, but rather an informal network of devotees scattered across the great cities of the Three Seas. Ajokli is oft mentioned in the secondary scriptures of the different Cults, sometimes as a mischievous companion of the Gods, other times as a cruel or malicious competitor. In the Mar’eddat, he is the faithless husband of Gierra. Idols of Ajokli show him as a leering figure with a huge penis that reaches up to his chin.

Akkeägni, God of disease

The god of disease, Akkeägni is the patron of most physicians in the Three Seas, rewarding those who strive against his influence.

Also known as the God of a Thousand Hands. Scholars have oft noted the irony that the Priesthood of Disease provides the primary repository of physicians for the Three Seas. How can one at once worship disease and war against it? According to the scriptures of the Cult, the Piranavas, Akkeägni is a so-called Bellicose God, one who favours those who strive against him over sycophants and worshippers. Some of Akkeägni’s priests bear tattoos. They also use small prayer chimes which sound thanks to Akkeägni, and use pharmaka and reliquaries to combat illness.

Anagkë, Goddess of fortune

The goddess of fortune, Anagkë is also called the Whore of Fate, and is the younger sister of Bukris, god of famine.

Also known as “the Whore of Fate”. Anagkë is one of the primary Compensatory Gods, which is to say, one who rewards devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife. Her Cult is extremely popular in the Three Seas, especially among the higher, political castes. According to old Kiünnat tradition, Anagkë is the younger sister of Bukris. Anagkë is also commonly called simply the Whore,[13] or the Whore of Fate. Anagkë also seems to be associated with the stars. In the text is said that a star “had just entered the horizon of Anagkë, the Whore of Fate”. The augur calls this “an excellent conjunction”.

Bukris, God of famine

The god of famine, Bukris is the older brother of Anagkë, the Whore of Fate.

As one of the so-called Punitive Gods, who command sacrifices through threat and the imposition of suffering, Bukris has no real Cult or priesthood. According to Kiünnat tradition, Bukris is the older brother of Anagkë, which is why Anagkean Cultic Priests typically administer the rites of propitiation during times of hunger.

Gierra, Goddess of passion

One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Gierra is very popular throughout cities in the Three Seas, particularly among aging men drawn to the “aphrodisica”, Cultic nostrums reputed to enhance virility. In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Gierra is rarely depicted with any consistency, and is often cast as a malign temptress, luring men to the luxury of her couch, often with fatal consequences. In the Mar’eddat, she is the faithless wife of Ajokli. Gierra’s “voluptuous” idol depicts “wide-thrown ankles”.

“The temple prostitutes of Gierra believes, that despite the hundreds of men who uses them, they couples with only one, Hotos, the Priapic God.” Sumni harlots must have the Sign of Gierra, twin serpents, tattooed on the back of their left hand, apparently in imitation of the Priestesses of Gierra.

Gilgaöl, God of war and conflict

The god of war, Gilgaöl is the brother of Yatwer.

One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Gilgaöl is the second most popular of the Hundred Gods, only after his sister Yatwer. In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Gilgaöl is depicted as harsh and sceptical of Men, continually demanding proof of worth. Though subordinate to the Thousand Temples, the Gilgallic Cult boasts nearly as many priests, and perhaps receives more in the way of sacrificial donations. Gilgaöl is also known as the Father of Death and One-Eyed War. '

The position of High Cultist of Gilgaöl is hereditary. The priests also sacrifice goshawks, dogs and lions, by burning them in godfires for the sake of those at war. Other goshawks are released into the setting evening sun. At least in one case, the hide of a lion was retained by the offerer. After battle, the priests of Gilgaöl preside over the declaration of the Battle-Celebrant.

Husyelt, God of the hunt

One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Husyelt comes after only Yatwer and Gilgaöl in Cultic popularity, particularly in the Middle-North. In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Husyelt is depicted as the most anthropocentric of the Hundred Gods, as intent upon enabling his worshippers as he is upon securing their obedience and devotion.[27] In The Chronicle of the Tusk, after:

    “The Prophet Angeshraël came down from his fast on Mount Eshki. Husyelt, the Tusk tells us, sent a hare to him, so he might eat at last. Angeshraël skinned the Hunter’s gift and struck a fire so he might feast. When he had eaten and was content, Husyelt, the Holy Stalker, joined him at his fire, for the Gods in those days had not left the world in the charge of Men. Angeshraël, recognizing the God as the God, fell immediately to his knees before the fire, not thinking where he would throw his face. And the God said, ‘Why does our Prophet fall to his knees only? Are not Prophets Men like other Men? Should they not throw their faces to the earth?’ To which Angeshraël replied, ‘I find my fire before me.’ And peerless Husyelt said, ‘The fire burns across earth, and what fire consumes becomes earth. I am your God. Throw your face to the earth.’ So Angeshraël, the Tusk tells us, bowed his head into the flames.”[28]

The Cult of Husyelt is rumoured to be extraordinarily wealthy, and high-ranking members of the Husyeltic priesthood often possess as much political clout as Shrial apparati. Shanks of butchered antelope are burned for Husyelt. He is also commonly called the Dark Hunter and the Holy Stalker.

Jukan, God of sky and season

One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Jukan almost rivals Yatwer in popularity among peasants yet is scarcely represented in major urban centres. The priests of Jukan are readily recognizable by their blue-painted skin. The Marjukari, an extreme ascetic branch of the Jukanic Cult, are notorious for living as hermits on mountaintops. During the mass migration to Momemn before the Holy War, priests of Jukan led people while singing soft hymns and clinking finger cymbals.

Juru, God of virility and fertility

One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Juru is popular among aging caste-noble men, and possesses only a handful of temples, most of them found in major cities. It is often mocked as the Mistress Cult.

Momas, God of storms, seas, and chance

One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Momas is the primary deity worshipped by seamen and merchants, and is the patron divinity of Momemn (whose name means "Praise Momas") and of Cironj. In the Higarata, he is depicted as cruel, even malicious, and obsessed with minute matters of propriety—leading some commentators to suggest he is in fact a Bellicose, as opposed to a Compensatory, God. His primary device is the White Triangle on Black (representing the Shark’s Tooth worn by all devotees of Momas). During the Feast of Kussapokari, which marks the summer solstice, the upper castes in Momemn celebrate on pleasure galleys, where the first swallow is spat into the sea as a propitiation to Momas.

Onkis, Goddess of hope

Goddess of hope and aspiration, Onkis is also known as the Singer-in-the-Dark, she who drives men to forever reach for more than they can hold.

One of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife, Onkis draws followers from all walks of life, though rarely in great numbers. She is only mentioned twice in the Higarata, and in the (likely apocryphal) Parnishtas she is portrayed as a prophetess, not of the future, but of the motivations of Men. The so-called “shakers” belong to an extreme branch of the Cult, where the devotees ritually strive to be “possessed” by the Goddess. Her symbol is the Copper Tree (which also happens to be the device of the ancient Nonman Mansion of Siöl, though no link has been established). Onkis is also called the Singer-in-the-Dark. Her idol depicts the severed head of a beautiful woman upon a copper tree.

Yatwer, Goddess of birth

Yatwer is the oldest and most powerful of the Hundred. She is one of the so-called Compensatory Gods, who reward devotion in life with paradise in the afterlife. While Gilgaöl is the most popular deity among caste-nobles, his sister is favoured by the lower castes — some six out of ten caste-menials regularly attend some kind of Yatwerian rite. Yatwer is far and away the most popular of the Hundred In the Higarata, the collection of subsidiary writings that form the scriptural core of the Cults, Yatwer is depicted as a beneficent, all-forgiving matron, capable of seeding and furrowing the fields of nations with a single hand. Some commentators have noted that Yatwer is anything but revered in either the Higarata or The Chronicle of the Tusk (wherein “tillers of soil” are often referred to with contempt). This is why Yatwerians tend to rely on their own scripture, the Sinyatwa, for their liturgical rites and ceremonies. Despite the vast numbers of adherents enjoyed by the Cult, it remains one of the more impoverished, and seems to generate a large number of zealous devotees as a result. Her symbol is a harvest sickle that also forms the outline of a pregnant belly.

One knowing lamb is equal to ten unwitting bulls, it is held.[41] Yatwerian priestesses also use unguents of manure.[

Author Q&A / Re: Whence the Inchoroi?
« on: September 02, 2016, 07:02:47 pm »
The Inchoroi seem to be exactly what they appear - a humanoid species who progressed technologically to the point where they could rewire their own neurology for maximum pleasure, at which point they turned themselves into a race of hedonist psychopaths.

Something like Bank's Culture gone horribly wrong? I like that idea very much.

They're the Culture gone horribly right.

Bakker is very much a technological pessimist, where Ian Banks was an utopian optimist. Their conclusions are largely the same, they just feel differently about it. (Bakker writes horror far better than Banks for this reason; he's basically a conservative soul, much like Lovecraft and Tolkien.)

In fact, Bakker's technological pessimism is why I don't think there are any "non-depraved Inchoroi". According to the man himself, the neuroscience revolution will lead to the destruction of meaning and morality as we know it, and our technical progress points that way - the amoral hedonists would've been the elite of the Inchoroi species, since transhumanism would inevitably lead to depravity, while the primitivists who clung to fossils like "morality" would've lost and gone extinct. If there was an Inchoroi Civil War, the neuropath elite won it. Meaning, according to Bakker, is a mammalian relic on its way to extinction.

Of course, the big twist is that morality is real in the Bakker-verse, and the Inchoroi are damned as a result of their progress. How they discovered that damnation, though, is the more interesting question. The g-string is still on, as of TGO...

Author Q&A / Re: Whence the Inchoroi?
« on: August 17, 2016, 06:14:28 pm »
The Inchoroi seem to be exactly what they appear - a humanoid species who progressed technologically to the point where they could rewire their own neurology for maximum pleasure, at which point they turned themselves into a race of hedonist psychopaths. What happened in Bakker's book Neuropath, basically, but on a species-wide scale.

They're probably not human originally, just a species who had a similar technological progress and reached a "transhumanism" of their own. The Ark seems to be a part of the species' reproduction, "a dead womb" rather than just a vessel, so their reproductive cycle is like nothing human. Their slimy translucent skin and oyster-skulls actually suggest a deep-sea origin - very likely, the Inchoroi were already a developed society when they left their aquatic home and added the wings, mouths, phalluses, etc.

Bakker's buddy Peter Watts, that old marine-biologist, should really write a Spacedicks: The Origins spinoff story one day.

Author Q&A / Re: Inchoroi women?
« on: August 17, 2016, 06:05:23 pm »
Hi, Bakker. Prior to their technological advancement, did the Inchoroi procreate through male female sexual interaction or are those penises that the current Inchoroi have later additions?

The Ark is their mother, both womb and ecosystem, hence Seswatha calling them "orphans". The alien dicks are probably a later addition, post-transhuman, perhaps added when they first came into contact with hominids and raped them.

Writing / Re: GRRM Interviews King!
« on: July 19, 2016, 10:16:32 pm »
GRRM and Stephen King are a perfect fit - two mediocre authors who mass-produce shitty mediocrities, to the point of defining "airport lit".

The Great Ordeal / Re: [TGO SPOILERS] The Parts Appalling
« on: July 19, 2016, 10:07:50 pm »
I was just curious to know what parts of the book all of you found to be the most disturbing.

Bakker's repeated use...of ellipses...and italics to emphasize profundity.

The Great Ordeal / Re: Favorite and least favorite POVs? (all books)
« on: July 19, 2016, 01:15:29 pm »
After finishing The Great Ordeal, and all the character development and changes therein, this list badly needs to be revised:

New Favorites:

Sorweel (his bildungsroman arc in Ishterebinth was one of the best in TSA, and the character genuinely developed - this is very rare in the masturbatory genre of fantasy lit. Sorweel convincingly developed as a person, his scenes with the Nonmen were haunting, and his "boy in an alien land becomes a hero" story was both a real classic and very refreshing to read.)

Koringhus (fascinating both as a character and as a viewpoint of the universal principle - the Tao, the Absolute, the multiverse, or what have you - because this holistic reality is so alien to his own worldview.)

Least Favorite:

Malowebi (verbal masturbator, token black, does nothing of significance, exists only to be a witness. Any other character could've stood in for him. His last scenes were good, but the Malowebi-Ciphrang scene would've worked as an one-shot epilogue.)

The Great Ordeal / Re: [TGO Spoilers] The Prince of Hate
« on: July 19, 2016, 12:47:01 pm »
......the Breaker of Horses and Men, not such a great guy after being Dunyain mind fucked.

Cnaiür fit thematically into this book for that reason; he's the polar opposite of Anasûrimbor Koringhus in many regards. They both demonstrate how damnation relates to free will vs. determinism. Cnaiür was likely "born to damnation" due his culture, no matter what - but he wouldn't be damned to that extreme degree if Moenghus didn't enter his life.

Koringhus's story, by contrast, demonstrates that a form of "free will" does exist in Eärwa (which is absolutely a fatalistic universe, not deterministic). Koringhus was also born to damnation, like all Dûnyain, and was damned by the circumstances - by the facts of life that he couldn't control. But in the rare moments when he did have control, he made the righteous choice, such as saving his defective son from euthanasia. This, along with his epiphany of "All is One", leads to him finding the Absolute (the God of Gods) and being no longer damned.

Maybe things would've been different if Cnaiür had stumbled upon Mimara or found Taoism at an earlier point - but I really doubt it. His death-worshipping culture and violent temper would've damned him anyway, Moenghus or no.

The Great Ordeal / Re: TGO Official Buys
« on: July 13, 2016, 02:30:46 am »
How did you guys manage to get an electronic copy of The Great Ordeal on the other side of the pond? I live in Europe but changed my address on Amazon so I could buy it on Kindle today, but it still says the Kindle copy won't arrive until September...

I'd be thankful for some advice.

Author Q&A / Re: How do Schools identify and draft students?
« on: July 02, 2016, 02:24:55 am »
Achamian recalls a specific moment in childhood when he realized it, and was later taken away by a Mandate Pederasik

I always had the impression Achamian was the "pederasik", especially in his relationships to Proyas and Inrau...

The Great Ordeal / Re: Favorite and least favorite POVs? (all books)
« on: July 01, 2016, 01:33:27 am »

Cnaiür (of course)
Mimara (a well-written Messiah figure, with a present-tense narration that is really refreshing)
Nersei Proyas (the well-intentioned fanatic who just wants to believe)
The White-Luck Warrior (an experiment with time)
Ikurei Conphas (the amoral psychopath in a world where morality is real)
Ikurei Xerius (a bit of comic relief)

Least Favorite:

Kelmomas (diabolical genius children aren't interesting or cute, just obnoxious)
Suh-Suh-Sorweel (just kill yourself already)
Serwë (very believable character, but eternal victims aren't very compelling to read about)

General Earwa / Re: Who is your favourite character and why ??
« on: July 01, 2016, 01:08:00 am »
Proyas is easily the most well-written character, and one of my favorites - the religious fanatic written as a sympathetic man. Bakker is really great at writing the viewpoint of a fanatic, and his pet topic of moral certainty is expressed really well in Proyas' chapters. His good traits are also his bad traits, since he's written as a nice, trusting, eager-to-please guy who's just looking for some higher purpose to follow - and he happened to find that purpose in Kellhus. A good man serving an evil cause? A lost boy following his idol? A brutal mass-murderer? Nersei Proyas is all of those.

The "head on a pole" spoiler chapter is also interesting as a study of a fanatic's moral compass, and it speaks to the truism that well-intentioned fanatics like Proyas are far more destructive than any sociopaths. The chapter points out that Proyas is the one with the most to lose if Kellhus is wrong, since he's killed more people for his faith than anyone else...

Proyas - I find people struggling with faith very interesting, and he may also be the most objectively "decent" person in the story.

For sure. Bakker is also superior to other fantasy authors, since he can write a fundamentalist convincingly and sympathetically, without any personal prejudice or atheist snark. Most fantasy stuff is like Game of Thrones, where the religious characters are either stupid or evil, due to the authors being atheistic nerds themselves. I guess it's Bakker's career of studying moral certainty and moral biases that makes him criticize his own, and it definitely shows in his writing. It's very refreshing to read.

(This is also why Proyas is cool - he's the polar opposite of the "snarky intelligent loser" type so beloved by fantasy authors, people like Drusus Achamian and Tyrion Lannister.)

Author Q&A / Re: The Bird and the boy
« on: June 27, 2016, 07:25:49 pm »
There is a scene at the end of TTT where the Synthese talks to a random child while it collects salt from the corpse of a Schoolman.Is there a significance to that scene other than to remind us of the Consult's creepy presence?I know it's not that important but I have always wondered about that part...

Now picture a young boy instead of Leda...

Author Q&A / Re: Heraldry and banners
« on: June 27, 2016, 07:23:49 pm »
There is no formalized heraldry across the Three Seas, though there is within various military and caste-noble traditions belonging to individual languages.

I noticed this as well - the Nansur legions with their own sigils like the Roman legions, the Fanim with their jihadist slogans instead of heraldry due to a religious ban on images, etc etc. It's really well-done.

What can you tell us about the Nonmen's heraldry?

Author Q&A / Re: Heraldry and banners
« on: June 26, 2016, 06:26:32 pm »
I remembered the Kyranean lions now from Anaxophus/Kellhus's breastplates!

The lion was a really common motif in royalty everywhere, from Iran to Denmark, but I'd guess Bakker's inspiration for the Kyranean symbol came from the bronze-age Mycenaean Lions. (The Eurasian lion has been extinct for over 1000 years - ancient kings were so proud of the lions that they exterminated them.)

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