[TUC Spoilers} Apocalypse, Armageddon, Eucalyptus, and Word Choice

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The P

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« on: February 08, 2020, 10:40:52 pm »
In a general sense, when we read the word "apocalypse" we think of cataclysmic, end-times destruction and ruin, synonymous with "armageddon."  But Bakker knows words and etymologies.  "Apocalypse" really means "uncover" or "reveal."  Our association of the word with destruction comes from the Revelation (Apocalypse) of John being largely about the destruction of the current world.

Bakker could have called the series the Second Armageddon if he wanted.  "Armageddon" gets across the same idea, and actually comes from the name of a Biblical battle plain where there was/will be lots of death.  In fact, Bakker maybe even primed himself to be able to use the word by including a very similarly named and functional "Mengedda" in Earwa.
So back to "Apocalypse," the first one.  Unveiling of the No-God?  Then of course it happens again the second time around.

BUT (and now I dive deeply into an obscure word choice that Bakker almost certainly meant nothing by)

Why is Umiaki (the tree of the Circumfix) a eucalyptus?  The Three Seas are pretty clearly analogous to the Mediterranean and the Middle-East.  There are plenty of trees he could have used that are associated with the area (cedar, sycomore, acacia), but eucalyptus, I'm pretty sure, is only native to Australia (maybe also New Zealand and some islands around).  So why eucalyptus, it seems jarring and out of place.  That's right, it shares a root with "apocalypse."  Almost the opposite really, "eu" meaning "true" or "actual."  So Umiaki is the actual covering, the actual hiding.  Hiding what?  Not the No-God, he sleeps.  The hiding of Ajokli in Kellhus of course.

If there is any merit to my leaps, then the importance of the Second Apocalypse is maybe not the uncovering of the No-God (not that it isn't a huge deal), but rather un-hiding of Ajokli from Kellhus and his freedom from the Outside (since the No-God has locked him out so to speak).

Thoughts?

mostly.harmless

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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2020, 09:55:39 am »
I.. really like this.
I don't know if we get here because there's so (too?) much uncertainty about many things and RSB doesn't throw us enough bones, that we dig deeper than we should.

But OTOH it fits, semantically. Another layer to the world he's presented.

Maybe with enough mystery, that has no clear answer, everything takes (can) take on meaning.

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SmilerLoki

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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2020, 10:46:47 pm »
It's important to note that "The Second Apocalypse" isn't the official name of the series, it's a fan name. It just caught on so well that everyone is using it.

As for the eucalyptus theory, it certainly is an interesting etymological observation.

but eucalyptus, I'm pretty sure, is only native to Australia (maybe also New Zealand and some islands around)
Most of the species, yes, but not all of them:
Quote
There are more than 700 species of eucalyptus and most are native to Australia; a very small number are found in adjacent areas of New Guinea and Indonesia. One species, Eucalyptus deglupta, ranges as far north as the Philippines. Of the 15 species found outside Australia, just nine are exclusively non-Australian.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus#Distribution

Wilshire

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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2020, 01:35:10 pm »
Well, I'm at least game for the first bit regarding apocalypse. I think that's something that has come up before, though I usually forget about it. It does seem pretty likely this choice was on purpose, given Bakker's background and interests.

Eucalyptus seems like it could be a stretch.

From wikipedia, regarding Eucalyptus (my bold):
Quote
Of the 15 species found outside Australia, just nine are exclusively non-Australian. Species of eucalyptus are cultivated widely in the tropical and temperate world, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, China, and the Indian subcontinent. However, the range over which many eucalypts can be planted in the temperate zone is constrained by their limited cold tolerance

You are correct that they are primarily found in Australia, however there are 9 species of the tree found entirely outside of that. Botany, I think, is not likely one of Bakker's interests, which means this information could be taken either way. To mean that he had no idea which trees go where and there's a nice big eucalyptus from somewhere in his life that he's always thought "if I was ever going to be killed/hung/crucified on a tree, I'd like it to be that one". Or to mean that the plant was entirely arbitrary with the Name itself being important, and a passing google search pinging Mediterranean was enough to satisfy that such a tree might exist there (its not like he picked a Douglas fir or something).

Kellhus did have that dream when he was up on the tree, and heard voices, which seems unlikely to be The No-God and more probably Ajokli. Seems the greek roots of the word shake out to be something like "well covered" or "I cover well"...

Lets try to think of other things it might mean along those lines. We might take that to be that the scene itself was masking something more directly. Serwa was supposed to be important there but she always plays second fiddle. Also remember that Moenghus' Thousandfold Thought could not see beyond the Circumfixtion - Eucalyptus could be a nod to that crossroads.

Hmm, I'm not overly impressed with any of those tbh. Eucalyptus mean 'to cover'/hide and meant to be a nod to Ajokli seems pretty reasonable among those options.


It's important to note that "The Second Apocalypse" isn't the official name of the series, it's a fan name. It just caught on so well that everyone is using it.
No. Its the name of the series as a whole, not a fan name. The series names are the original names of the books, which each became multiple. The Second Apocalypse was always the name.
Edit: For clarity, a 2004 interview with Bakker on wotmania details the above.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 05:47:29 pm by Wilshire »
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SmilerLoki

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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2020, 10:43:30 pm »
No. Its the name of the series as a whole, not a fan name. The series names are the original names of the books, which each became multiple. The Second Apocalypse was always the name.
I've literally never seen it referenced anywhere in the books (like, the covers or summaries, or any sort of technical info) or by Bakker himself.

To be fair, I always found that strange, since "The Second Apocalypse" is just such a fitting name. At the same time, I would venture that it's even more of a spoiler than "The No-God", and Bakker refused to reveal the latter for years.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 10:51:05 pm by SmilerLoki »

Wilshire

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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2020, 03:17:48 pm »
As for the books, I'd have to check. However, just look at Bakker's personal websites (not the fan made ones):

His "newly" built author website: https://secondapocalypse.ca/ (built by Scott and his brother Brian)
Not only is the website's url secondapocalyse, The Second Apocalypse is used all over the website when refering to all the books - Its even the website title ("The Second Apocalypse by R Scott Bakker") on the loaded page and the descriptive text on the browser tab. Even the first sentence on the home page: "This trailer showcases many of the aspects of the Second Apocalypse that make the series unique." It is describing the Second Apocalypse trailer which is a trailer of the entire series, from TDTCB.
Farther down on the page:
" Though you'll be missing out on an amazing back story it is possible to join the Second Apocalypse saga at book four.
The picture to left features Second Apocalypse Author Scott Bakker co-hosting... "

Or his blog https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/
There is a link up top that say "The Second Apocalypse Trailer"
Up in Stories there's two headers:
(1)  Atrocity Tales (short fiction set in the world of The Second Apocalypse)
(2)  Short fiction unrelated to the world of The Second Apocalypse

Also on TPB, check out his about page, its all over that as well https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/about/ :
"...the centerpiece of my project is The Second Apocalypse, the tale of a monastic outcast who rises from obscurity to ..."

Edit:
Checking out  some of his oldest interviews. Back in 2004 Bakker said:
Quote
How many books are you planning on writing in the PoN Universe? Also, are there any other writing projects you're considering in the near future?

I'm presently working on The Thousandfold Thought, which concludes The Prince of Nothing. Following this, I have a draft of a near future thriller entitled Neuropath, which I hope to gussy up and shop around before returning to fantasy, which is my first love.

When I originally conceived the whole story (The Second Apocalypse) way back when, it was a trilogy with The Prince of Nothing as the first book, The Aspect-Emperor as the second, and The-Book-that-Shall-Not-Be-Named as the third. But of course The Prince of Nothing has since become a trilogy in its own right, which would seem to suggest that The Second Apocalypse will be nine books long! I honestly have no idea how long it will ultimately be. My best guess is that The Aspect-Emperor and The-Book-that-Shall-Not-Be-Named will both be dualogies - if that's really a word...
my bold.
I'm sure there's more.

Its really all over everything Bakker has done or put together in at least the last 15 years . I'm not going to go all the way back to the derelict Three Seas forums to check references there. I'm also pretty sure he's used the name himself in the various Q/As he did here/reddit/other-forum but I'm less sure about that.

Regardless, "just a fan name" is definitely a gross misinterpretation. If its not clear from the books, that's definitely Bakker's fault though, not yours.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 05:46:11 pm by Wilshire »
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SmilerLoki

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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2020, 10:09:40 pm »
It still looks very fuzzy to me. Bakker's new site (it's like a year or two old now?) just uses the already extremely well-established name, while the interviews are edited in such a way as to be clear to the reader and do not necessarily reflect Bakker's own words as they were said. My biggest problem is the books themselves never featuring the name. Granted, it might be Overlook doing its magic again, but, nonetheless, it is done.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 10:16:53 pm by SmilerLoki »

Wilshire

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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2020, 01:16:24 pm »
You said two things, one was that its not in the books, and two was that Bakker never said it. He's clearly been saying it for 15 years is all that I was pointing out.

I'm pretty sure its in the books somewhere, but at the very least its not in the PON books. There is confusion in many places about what to call the whole series, precisely because its not made clear from the start. I keep forgetting to check my copies when I get home.

Just keep in mind that Bakker is known for this kind of gaff. He didn't know, for example, The Rape of Omindalea was removed from the TTT glossary, which is a pretty fundamental piece of lore imo. He probably is entirely unaware that most of the internet has no idea what the title of his book series is (its usually refereed to as Prince of Nothing).

But regardless, people being aware of it doesn't change what it actually is.
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2020, 11:06:26 pm »
You said two things, one was that its not in the books, and two was that Bakker never said it. He's clearly been saying it for 15 years is all that I was pointing out.
That might simply be because he was using an established fan name (still not sure it was exactly him, and not the editors of his interviews), my point was. Which means there can be no inherent meaning in it, just convenience.

And yeah, the Rape of Omindalea debacle is another thing that I find severely odd. Oh well, those are some questions to ask Bakker if I ever get the chance.

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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2020, 12:05:01 pm »
I don’t recall it coming up until TAE, I think the WHCB sections refer to the ‘First Apocalypse’, which heavily implies an as yet unmentioned Second. Akka also declares it to the Ordeal as they retreat, ‘the Second Apocalypse is upon us’ or some such. Its late on, but Bakker does mention it in text.

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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2020, 12:13:48 pm »
I don’t recall it coming up until TAE, I think the WHCB sections refer to the ‘First Apocalypse’, which heavily implies an as yet unmentioned Second. Akka also declares it to the Ordeal as they retreat, ‘the Second Apocalypse is upon us’ or some such. Its late on, but Bakker does mention it in text.
We were talking about the title of the series as a whole, though, not about the words "The Second Apocalypse" being present in the prose.

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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2020, 03:16:26 pm »
Various mentions from Cu'jara Cinmoi on ZTS. There are others I recall but the search features are on ZTS are... difficult to navigate.

- The Series That Comes After?:

Quote from: Cu'jara Cinmoi
The Aspect-Emperor, another trilogy which returns to the demented cast (those that survive, that is) of PON some twenty years later. More than a few people groan when I say this, which is why I always feel the need to explain myself! First, I conceived and roughed out the greater cycle of stories (as a trilogy of trilogies) the year before WoT came out, so this is most definitely not a case of me slavishly following commercial precedents. This means, secondly, that every book in the series is motivated by STORY, and not money (if there is any in this business!) Third, PON is a complete tale, and not merely the first third of one. The relationship of AE to PON is more akin to the relationship between the Dune books, though the narrative arc that binds them - the story of the Second Apocalypse - is, I like to think, less ad hoc than Herbert's.

As strange as it sounds, I look at PON as my version of The Hobbit.

- Scott, tell me this won't be your excuse for delaying TTT ;):

Quote from: Cu'jara Cinmoi
I have outlines that sketch the entire story of the Second Apocalypse, starting with The Aspect-Emperor and ending with a third. Whether these will turn into trilogies like The Prince of Nothing remains to be seen. They could be dualogies.

- A few questions . . .:

Quote from: Cu'jara Cinmoi
The original plan was to write The Second Apocalypse (am I weird for loving that title as much as I do?) as a trilogy. Since the first installment, The Prince of Nothing turned into a trilogy in itself, I'm assuming the same thing will happen with the sequels.
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2020, 01:38:21 am »
Thank you, Madness! Now, let's blame Overlook.

It is interesting, though, why did Bakker consider "The No-God" to be a spoiler, then?

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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2020, 06:45:57 pm »
I honestly think that he thought readers wouldn't expect (and he was borne out on this somewhat) that the No-God would actually rise again in the novels.

Plus he's mentioned to me since "revealing" The No-God title that he didn't want readers going through the preceding novels expecting Kellhus' to become the No-God (given that the third series title breaks the convention of series titles).
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2020, 08:22:09 am »
Plus he's mentioned to me since "revealing" The No-God title that he didn't want readers going through the preceding novels expecting Kellhus' to become the No-God (given that the third series title breaks the convention of series titles).
As the saying goes, two is just a coincidence!