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Messages - Odium

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I don't think the Consult are in command of the Sranc.  That's what they need the No-God for.  It possesses all the Sranc, and nowadays that would be automatic victory.  The Consult, unaided, can't herd enough Sranc together to defeat human armies with School support.

Someone else said that on the last page. I agree they seem to be herding the Sranc more than commanding them thus far, but they've still managed to muster a swarm large enough to opaque the earth, dwarf the host of all the nations of Men, and wage war on the Dunyain to the point of driving them to extinction. They could have conquered any of the southern kingdoms before Kellhus organized them into the largest army of Men since the First Apocalypse, before the Swayali existed and other Schools were forced to cooperate as opposed to busying themselves with the squabbles of their internal factions etc.

It's just my opinion - if I were writing the series, it would be a particular detail that I couldn't just handwave away.

Odium, it seems the Consult long ago abandoned that track. They did that against the Nonman, open warfare, and lost. They did it again with sranc, and lost, beaten back to Golgotterath. They did it a third time during the 1st apocalypse, even before they had the No-God. They released the No-God to have absolute control over the horde, and lost.

To many times they have thought they had insurmountable odds. How could they lose with all their might? The Tekne, their own magics, sranc/weapon-races, later the Quya on their side...

They probably think the God's against them, or at the very least they don't want to risk losing. They turned to skin-spies and slowly made Men forget. They have been subverting Earwa in a much different way this time around, until Kellhus came along and brought the war to them.

I find your argument somewhat more convincing. Like I said above, I don't want to stray into the same territory I critique below (picking apart instead of giving in to my suspension of disbelief on a detail that's reasonable for the sake of the narrative), but I still think it's a bit... overblown in the text. The Sranc have had several thousand generations to breed without any kind of environmental pressure to limit their growing population. The Quya are pretty much under the Consult's thumb. The Mandate is crippled compared to the school it was during the First Apocalypse.

But after thinking about it more it doesn't really detract from the narrative. I just can't help but see it as an oversight in a series that has worked so exhaustively to make its world seem real and functioning within its own parameters. But I guess that's where fate comes in.

Re: whale-mothers and the silly controversy they've been provoking - I am certain I recall a quote about Nonmen who grew until death (unless we decided this was poetic license by Bakker). If the Dunyain possess at least some measure of ancient Nonmen blood, does it not make the exaggerated sexual dimorphism a little more credible in-universe? The fact that it's been brought under such scrutiny compared to other supernatural elements of the series is a little telling about how chafed the fandom's ass is about anything related to the whole feminism subplot.

I'm a little shocked at how startlingly accurate some of the forum's predictions have been. The axolotl tanks coming true were a bit of a shocker. I have to disagree with MSJ though - as someone who has experienced it myself in my writing, I think it's difficult to avoid referencing the works that inspire you in your own creations. I mean, they form and shape you in so many ways. I doubt it would have disappointed you if it hadn't been the subject of much scrutiny on this forum, and pried apart as a potential homage to Herbert and to Dune over the years of questioning what's up with the Dunyain women. Besides, there's a thread on this forum that analyzes all the references Bakker has woven into the Second Apocalypse series, and it's quite a tapestry.

I'm getting a lot of Yatwer vibes (describing her belly as a sickle?) from Mimara. I think the Judging Eye will be the crux of the metaphysical conflict to come - clearly it's an interest for the Consult, Kellhus and the Hundred.

I have to say though, I've seen a detail mentioned before that is becoming more and more salient to me: if there are so many Sranc in the North, so many that between the Dunyain, the scalpers, the Great Ordeal, there's still an incomprehensibly vast amount of them... By all rights the Sranc should have eradicated mankind a long, long time ago. If there's an entire subspecies of them dedicated to leading their roving bands, if the Erratics under the Consult have mustered a great many of them as an army, then even despite the No-God's absence I just can't think of why they've taken so long to reduce the population to 144k. The Consult have had this one in the bag for the last couple of centuries at least, why on Earwa have they been waiting for mankind to muster its forces and cut their way into Mordor?

The Almanac: TAE Edition / Re: The Slog TJE - Chapters 4-6 [Spoilers]
« on: March 22, 2016, 03:14:19 pm »
I'm on board with Ishual at least partly being of Nonman manufacture. From Kellhus' first time in a mansion:

The halls were not human.
 The drafts came to him, murmuring their secrets. His soul reached out, calculating probabilities, transforming inferences into space. About him, the galleries scrawled on and on into the immured blackness.
 So like the Thousand Thousand Halls … So like Ishuäl.

I also found it strange that the Empire had "replaced" one of the priestesses with a Swayali. They have their own arcane version of skin spies now?

The text openly insinuates that Ishual is of Nonman origin: its name is derived from Ihrimsu, a Nonman languge, and Bolivar has quoted the scene where Kellhus openly remarks on the similarities between a mansion and the Thousand Thousand Halls. At some point we heard about Nonmen hiding in Cil'Aujas after it was claimed by men; would it be so remarkable for the Dunyain to do the same? At the end of TWLW, Achamian and Mimara come across the ruined fortress, but many times now we've seen it stated that the most important structure in Ishual is beneath its surface. (To speculate on the possible new angles that this might raise)

As far as the Empire replacing a priestess with a Swayali, I think it's more to highlight the convenience a sorceress might have while infiltrating a matriarchal cult. Though it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Kellhus has expanded greatly upon Moe's research.

The Almanac: TAE Edition / Re: The Slog TJE - Chapters 4-6 [Spoilers]
« on: March 14, 2016, 11:05:16 pm »
Maybe the Voice is shielding Kelmomas from Kellhus somehow and the boy hasn't realized it yet. However, I doubt it - to be honest, I find it incredibly hard to believe that Kellhus isn't completely aware of Kelmomas. I would say one of the highly probable alternative explanations, if the Voice proves not to be Ajokli, is that it is Kellhus himself. Even so, Kellhus seems to feel a dim (but nonetheless real) affection for Esmenet and I doubt he would maneuver to almost explicitly destroy her. I think it's possible that Kelmomas, and maybe Akka himself, are other strokes against Kellhus by the Hundred. Maybe Sorweel is a feint.

The Almanac: TAE Edition / Re: The Slog TJE - Chapters 4-6 [Spoilers]
« on: March 11, 2016, 07:12:56 pm »
I hadn't picked up on that before, but yeah, the ritual used to separate them seems to point verrrry directly at the theory that one of the Hundred accompanies Kelmomas - specifically, Ajokli, given that Bakker has been pretty clear associating his characters with their respective gods since the beginning of TSA and everything indicates the Trickster would be Kel's patron. Maybe what the Voice says in your last quote alludes to Ajokli's purpose in possessing the boy: another cruel joke for life to play on Esmenet, taking away the last thing she loves. I figure this will somehow relate to Esmenet seeing her beloved son for what he really is.

The number is, if nothing else, one of numerous Biblical parallels in the story. TSA sets out to depict a world where the arbitrary truths of our own are instead absolute truths - to show the world our ancient predecessors dwelt in - for this reason, I feel the number is deliberately arbitrary, maybe a nod to that mission. Bakker's own words, related to this:

For instance, take the ancient Middle-East as described in the Bible. If you were to redraw the shorelines, rivers, and mountain ranges, and to rename the various peoples, nations, and cities -- to change everything, that is, except its fundamental form -- what would you have? A prescientific world where magic and prophecy are possible, where divinity is certain, where individuals have an indisputable place in a cosmic order, and where the end of the world is imminent.

What you would have, in other words, is something very similar to Eärwa or Middle-Earth! And this is my point: if you change the details and leave the fundamentals intact, scriptural worlds become fantasy worlds.

Personally, I find this fact extraordinary. It explains, for instance, why so many Biblical literalists have so much difficulty with Harry Potter. If you think the world as described in the Bible is the world, then Harry's world is no longer 'harmless fantasy' -- he might as well be a gunslinger! And it also explains, I think, something of epic fantasy's mass appeal.

I find this to be the best interview he's done about the series, and perhaps the most revealing, to any lurker who might not have chanced upon it and feels curious.

As for the No-God, I believe that ultimately it is another product of Bakker's philosophy. Rather than a soul eater or a repository for souls, I believe the No-God represents the destructive potential of what Bakker calls scientific naturalism upon the world he weaves in TSA (referenced in an earlier part of the answer I quoted). The Solitary God created the cosmos with its words, and sorcerers damn themselves by stealing its voice to rewrite the world. I feel the No-God breaks something in that process, makes the language of the Solitary God meaningless somehow. I also personally believe that it's a metaphor for the semantic apocalypse Bakker postulates on TPB.

I dunno. I'm rambling about something a little tangential to this thread, but I feel like it's necessary to understand Bakker's goals with the universe he created if you want to understand how or why that universe works.

The Almanac: TAE Edition / Re: The Slog TJE - Chapters 1-3 [Spoilers]
« on: March 09, 2016, 12:23:59 am »
I can't imagine conventional strategy applying much to the armies of the Weapon Races. Just judging from the Sranc/Bashrag it seems they kind of war with overwhelming numbers. I have a hard time imagining that the Consult would just spare two cities because of the resources necessary to conquer them. I'm sure there is some deeper significance to Atrithau and Sakarpus enduring the No-God, and what we know of them strongly suggests it has something to do with the disadvantages for sorcery at both locations. The Consult employed sorcery to create the No-God - maybe, paradoxically, it depends on it in some way.

The Almanac: TAE Edition / Re: The Slog TJE - Chapters 1-3 [Spoilers]
« on: March 08, 2016, 02:49:25 am »
I was not very loquacious throughout the PoN half of the slog. I'll try to put forward more thoughts as we advance through this one.

Eyes rolling, they stared in lust and apprehension...


Perhaps it's the amount of Michael Haneke's cinema I've been consuming lately, but something about the very beginning of TJE gives me the initial impression that the Sranc are, in many ways, a grotesque distortion of the negative qualities in Men. Afterwards, the anonymous traveler reflects on how the scalpers are like animals. I feel the passage I've quoted and what immediately follows, including the tone throughout the scene with the traveler, do suggest that there are many parallels between the Skin Eaters and their prey. I'll even stick my fingers into the pot of wild speculation and say that afterwards, Bakker might be deliberately mentioning other typical conceits of violent men when he states that Ironsoul is as jealous of his voice as he is of his women and his blood.

(edit: to clean up my thoughts there a bit, what I mean here is that re: the feminism threads, another key concept in the series is Bakker's portrayal of this objectively, metaphysically hypermasculine world and all the terrible shit that involves, which would be the reason behind a juxtaposition of Men and Sranc to begin with)

Regarding the traveler's identity, I don't think he's anything more than the secondary character he appears to be. A red herring if he was intentionally meant to sow the question of who he is. Mostly I think he's just a convenient vehicle for the scene and, authorially, an easy way of introducing us to changes in the setting since the end of TTT.

Regarding Kelmomas' voice, I've reviewed the theories that have been suggested on the forum and the one I like the most is that the voice is Ajokli. I feel like I read another quote somewhere (besides, obviously, the prologue) that really put me behind the idea... besides, I think it fits into the framework of the other ways we've seen the subtle influence of the Hundred: Cnauir, Sorweel, and Psatma.

Regarding MSJ's points:

As you know,  I'm of the opinion that Akka's dream are unfiltered truths straight from Seswatha.  I believe Nayu is Ses's son and this is merely Seswatha providing Akka with little truths to get him to follow the dreams. Akka is the direct hand of Seswatha in these events.  I also don't see where this makes him at odds with Kellhus.

Later on, we receive in-universe confirmation that all of Akka's dreams have secondary interpretations relating to their contexts and other secondary meanings. Here I believe we are glimpsing the suggestion that not only did Seswatha father Nau-Cayuti, but potentially that he created the Dunyain and consequently Kellhus.

This ties deeply into my interpretation of some of the biggest questions in the series, among them the No-God itself. I believe Nau-Cayuti's fate-worse-than-death is suggested in the [ex-TUC] excerpt, and that it was to become the No-God, the first self-moving soul that deconstructs the soul itself by dissolving its 'meaning' on a metaphysical level. I arrived at this conclusion after contemplating the series and what I understand of Bakker's philosophy as written on his blog, so your mileage may vary wildly.

So...... is he a liar? The million dollar question,  no? After his exchange with Moe, I truly believe that whatever Kellhus is trying to accomplish, he believes is truly best for Mankind. Now, as Locke has pointed out many times, Kellhus is not always correct in his assumptions. So, what he thinks is best, might not be.

Along the same line as my previous thought, I feel there are multiple Nau-Cayuti / Kellhus parallels. I believe he was unknowingly turned into the No-God, and that Kellhus is on his way to Golgotterath because he truly believes he can harness the power of the No-God in a better way. IMO the narrative definitely indicates that Kellhus believes himself a genuine savior, basically re: everything relating to "The trial has broken you."

Also, per the influence of the gods, it was mentioned here on this very forum that Scott once dropped a comment about the Womb Plague & Yatwer being tied by irony. I believe Wilshire is spot on when he suggests that the irony here is the Womb Plague being an ironic byproduct of immortality and Yatwer ironically trying to murder Kellhus, the only being capable of stopping the rise of the No-God, because the gods are blind to the No-God's existence.

That pretty much sums up my thoughts so far.

I don't know if it's been suggested before - hell, it might have been Locke's initial insinuation from his post further up this page, but the idea that the Dunyain are all grown from Celmomas' seed would solve the problem of the Dunyain women.

The White-Luck Warrior / Re: What is the No God? (II)
« on: January 13, 2016, 02:48:31 pm »
It was me!

I think the Solitary God exists as well, but that the Hundred are humanity's impure interpretation of the God's existence. Notice Fane was blind in more ways than one when he perceived the Solitary God - he was exiled from mannish society. H, to me, your post synthesizes my point eloquently - the No-God is probably a prototypical self-moving soul, and Kellhus is seeking the means to harness the same power and become a truer version.

As for the still-births, Ciphrank encapsulated my thoughts better - the No-God does have a real "pull" on souls, because they are the meaning. He devours souls in the literal sense by deconstructing their meaning, at least in my hypothesis.

The White-Luck Warrior / Re: What is the No God? (II)
« on: January 11, 2016, 07:04:41 pm »
I've decided that I feel it is unlikely that Scott has undertaken the task of writing TSA without linking it very intimately to his personal thoughts on the nature of consciousness (Blind Brain Theory). I feel there are certain indications that this is true in the text already, ie, the essential nature of the concept of blindness to the narrative, and Apocalypse as a key word to the entire series. I'm not sure, but it wouldn't surprise me if other people have posited that the apocalypse refers to the semantic one Bakker talks about occasionally on his blog.

I'll quote Dragharrow's thoughts in the last thread, as I feel it might help provide context:

The gods are the blind brain. They don't exist but they believe they do. They are entities in the chaos of the set of all possible things. There is only void but that doesn't stop these potential entities and hungers from experiencing in a rich way. They feel without existing and they are unaware of their own nonexistence. They create the world through anosognosia just as humans create meaning through anosognosia.

But the no god is the opposite. He is an eye focused on his own nonexistence. He can see that he is the result of calculations, see that he has no soul or agency. Somehow, in doing this, he can instigate a new genesis. Thats probably why he's so desperate to know what we, the blind, do see.

We already know that Earwa occupies a special place in its cosmos, and that the goal of the Inchoroi is to shut it off from the Outside, where the gods dwell as not-quite-alive entities blind to their own existence. There are many allusions to the linguistic nature of sorcery and its relation to the voices of the gods themselves. I feel like the Apocalypse the series refers to is both conventional and semantic, where the structures upon which the sorcerous languages are based will collapse, and like the gods themselves cease to have meaning or pull on reality. Another Dragharrow quote to help me express myself here:

Sorcery is like Wittgenstein's conception of language games except it goes beyond language. Meaning games and truth games. We like to think that when we inquire into truth we are doing something something objective but we aren't. Truth is up for grabs and we manipulate it with whatever tools are at our disposal for selfish animal reasons. Science, philosophy, religion and common sense are all the same. They are just sets of rules for the games we play with truth.

(Viramsata is another example of this idea on Earwa)

I feel like the gods and their agency are somewhat illusory, as Bakker posits that all subjective meaning we attribute to life is a powerful illusion brought on by our brain's inability to see its own machinery. I could be misquoting Bakker, but he once stated that TSA takes place in a universe inverting our own, where there is objective truth in God, damnation, and so on. Earwa is unique in the sense that the onta can be grasped, and manipulated with language, and the Solitary God has been fractured into a hundred aspects by the blind brain of humanity fragmenting the one true God into digestible packets of meaning. (this is my interpretation)

The Inchoroi have discovered this strange quirk about Earwa, where they can escape Hell by shutting it off from the Outside. They've also discovered the way to do this in the No-God, which I postulate is a machine that takes souls and strips them of their meaning. In some way when enough souls have had their tethers cut, something will happen to uncouple Earwa from its place in this inherently meaningful cosmos and reduce it to a place where the illusions have all been broken. I've also postulated that the No-God's engine is a soul that has somehow been fixed in the chorae-studded sarcophagus.

I'm unable to find the exact post, but Lockesnow pointed out in a thread somewhere the similar timelines of Nau-Cayuti's disappearance and the rise of Mog-Pharau. I feel this is because he is the being that was placed there, and that the ultimate ulterior motive of Achamian's progressively distorted Nau-Cayuti dreams will show us that he was indeed captured to be made the No-God's vessel. Likewise, I believe Kellhus has realized this and is guiding the Ordeal to Golgotterath to assume his throne as the next vessel of the No-God, this time one that can harness its power for motives we'll have to wait till TGO to find out.

Somewhere on this forum or elsewhere, I recall seeing a hint dropped by Bakker that Achamian's dreams all had subtle purposes in the narrative besides the ones made obvious by their placement. At Mengedda, I believe we get a taste of how the Whirlwind's pseudo-awareness is asking the questions of a mortal mind stripped of the meanings that guide it. This is a complex idea to foreshadow, so I believe Scott pulled it off by suggesting that the No-God's questions mirror those that Achamian's own conscience asks itself, wrapped within the context of his insecurity regarding Esmenet's budding interaction with Kellhus:

Esmenet laughed. “No, you fool. I sa—”


Somehow, he could feel her cock her head, the way she always did when struggling to articulate something that eluded her. “About the way he speaks … Haven’t you—”
“No,” he wheezed. “Never noticed.” He coughed violently.


“Anyway, Kellhus …” she continued, lowering her voice. Canvas was thin, and the camp crowded. “With everyone whispering about him because of the battle and what he said to Prince Saubon, it struck me—” TELL ME “—before falling asleep that almost everything he says is either, well … either near or far …” Achamian swallowed, managed to say, “How do you mean?” He needed to piss.

Esmenet laughed. “I’m not sure … Remember how I told you how he asked me what it was like to be a harlot—you know, to lie with strange men? When he talks that way, he seems near, uncomfortably near, until you realize how utterly honest and unassuming he is … At the time, I thought he was just another rutting dog—”
“The point, Esmi …”

There was an annoyed pause. “Other times, he seems breathtakingly far when he talks, like he stands on some remote mountain and can see everything, or almost everything …” She paused again, and from the length of it, Achamian knew he had bruised her feelings. He could feel her shrug. “The rest of us just talk in the middle somewhere, while he … And now this, seeing what happened yesterday before it happened. With each day—”
“—he seems to talk a little nearer and a little farther. It makes me—Akka? You’re trembling! Shaking!”

Quinthane suggested I check out the Anaxophus dream that goes wrong at the end of TTT. Given the way Anaxophus imitates the No-God's own questions, I feel it could like it lines up decently with my hypothesis. It also offers a potential explanation of the No-God speaking through the Weapon Races in their many thousands: they are beings who have already had the illusions stripped from them, nothing more than automatons that act on the impulses fed to them by their brains. As the No-God breaks down these illusions for other souls, they too ask themselves its questions.

Sidenote -- I believe the idea of the No-God possessing a living vessel is supported in the text by: the continued exploration of Nau-Cayuti's fate upon being left in Golgotterath alive for special torture, the description of the No-God's epicenter as a sarcophagus which implies someone's burial, the precedent for the achievements of the Tekne as focusing on the modification of living beings. Perhaps there are few other iffier indicators. In my opinion, it explains Kellhus' potential motives beyond the unlikelihood of him wanting to save the world for no particular reason, a trope that Bakker could eagerly subvert in his effort to deconstruct the fantasy genre.

The Thousandfold Thought / Re: Moenghus is a lying liar who lies
« on: January 01, 2016, 05:28:18 pm »
I have to say, I personally have begun to buy into the Moe + Cnauir = Meppa hype. Inri Sejenus ascended at Kyudea, and we have also hypothesized that love is somehow a purifying force? It seems like Serwe's utter devotion could have been what made Kellhus holy, what if Cnauir's to Moe is what enabled the transition? At the very least, food for thought.

General Misc. / Re: Happy Ritual 2015!
« on: December 26, 2015, 04:16:15 pm »
I have to second Quinthane there. Bakker's going to be hard-pressed to top that with TUC.

Florence & the Machine - Seven Devils

The White-Luck Warrior / Re: TUC pt 1 BLURB ANALYSIS
« on: December 04, 2015, 10:51:32 pm »
Reading the brief discussion thus far has also engendered in me, like Bolivar, the idea that maybe Kellhus is riding the Great Ordeal into Golgotterath because he wants to become the No-God's next vessel. I feel like I remember seeing it somewhere, but didn't someone point out that the dreams involving the true end of Nau-Cayuti take place shortly before Mog's birthday?

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