Earwa > The Darkness That Comes Before

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Dora Vee:
These are basically a series of live reactions I wrote months ago when I started this series. Since these are "live", I make a lot of writing boo boos, but they should still be readable. I will admit that this is all how I see things and I do get clouded by "modern" sensibilities and seeing what I want to see. Enjoy!

The Prince of Nothing (1-10)
The one good thing about my hard drive finally dying is that I finally started reading The Prince of Nothing. Just a few pages in, but I started. Doesn’t pull punches, that’s for sure.

https://divinesong.tumblr.com/post/162699518463/the-prince-of-nothing (10-110)

Plowing through. Today, I went from page 10 to 110. It was difficult for me to put down.
Here are some of my thoughts.

1. I like Esmenet–a lot. She is a smart lady. Her tattoo is awesome.

2. I like “Akka” too.

3. Kellhus creeps me out, but he is interesting. I can see him being a bit irritating too as he makes it clear that he wants to possess EVERY ONE because he’s “conditioned”. Not like he’s the only one though because “birthright” and in this world, plenty of people want world domination. That poor hunter though. Posses him and then abandon him. Lovely, Kellhus, but it might have been necessary considering what happens next.

4. Please tell me that Inrau Priest boy was not killed. He did something awesome. Would be a shame to die right after that. :( If he did…FIGURES.

5. I like Proyas for some reason and is a favorite. Must be a reason for this, but I’m guessing it’s because he’s quite passionate.

6. LOL! Bird shit on the Emperor. Birds don’t care about your social rank! LOLOL!! And yea, that Palatine guy is a dumbass.

7. Crapsack world, but it is fascinating. Damned scary too, but R. Scott Bakker is quite good at comic relief. “Making mud”. Birdshit! LOLOL!


1. Dear God…the names. Some of them are hard to pronounce/spell. I can imagine actors trying to recite the names only to constantly flub. I understand why he did it as I know what Earwa is based on, but still…YIKES.

2. Welp. Looks like Inrau is indeed dead. FUUUCK. Sad trombone. Yea. Suicide my ass. Poor Akka has to deal with Proyas now(always being obvious) and he is a bit more,er, spirited. Also, a confidant of Mahinet/Mathinet(whatever)? Wonderful. But, there is something about Proyas though. Other than being remarkable.

3. Did I mention that I love Esmenet? What a bold woman. She just left a city she’s lived in all her life. She had good reason though. Too bad she’s treated like shit. A lot of the things against prostitution are based on ignorance and wanting someone to blame. That being said, she’s like an “Iron woobie” to me. The guy who “helped” her though. Lol, “help”. Pretty certain he was present when Inrau was killed.

4. Poor Vulgar Holy War. What’s sad is that the “vulgar” masses, especially the poor/desperate, are the ones most likely to get involved in Holy Wars in hopes of a better life. Or thinking they’ll get some kind of salvation or something. Many of them are uneducated(and most probably weren’t able/allowed to have one), disadvantaged, treated poorly, looked down on, etc. And for these people, a Holy War is an escape. A “savior” would
help them, or so they think. They are vulnerable people who tend to get taken advantage of and it isn’t all their fault. :(

5. So the Emperor was sexually abused by his mother. Yikes. Would explain a lot. As for him, he reminds me of the sort who isn’t stupid, but has bad judgement. Conphas is clearly a lot more brilliant and pragmatic. I do like how Bakker shows how people do things “from the shadows”.  I tend to like those who have power “from behind”. Not saying Conphas is quite like that(he wants to be Emperor, duh), but he likes doing it. What a brilliant character. I do adore him for some reason. I guess having a sense of humor helps.

The Empress Mother is too. She reminds me of Joan Crawford/Faye Dunaway.

6. Cnauir. Oi. What a nutter. Not that it’s all his fault given what happened to him, but WOW. I guess he likes to wear intestines. Jesus. Both him and Conphas do make me wonder if Bakker has ever read Berserk. I doubt it, but Canuir reminds me of a truly insane Guts and Conphas reminds me of Griffith. Love the visuals of Cnuair. Would make for some great illustrations. I feel for the “chattel” though and how they ended up paying the price for one dumb ass who no longer has “guts”.

7. Dumb law: Women forbidden to wear boots. I guess they’re jealous of the awesome kicky/spiked heeled boots women wear. Poor Esmenet was forced to wear socks with sandals! SOCKS WITH SANDALS!!!!!! I’m surprised she wasn’t stoned for that. ;) Those snake tats probably look pretty awesome.

I am close to half way through book one and will likely be done within a few days. Then, on to book 2!


He drove all night to REBUKE YOU! At least, that’s what Proyas would have done if they had cars back then. Jesus Christ. It takes around three hours to DRIVE 200 miles(probably would have taken him thirty minutes). Horseback? Probably about eight or longer. Anyone doing such a thing alone is a bit reckless, but it’s even more reckless as Crown Prince unless there are other heirs. As a KING, it would be beyond reckless, but I wouldn’t put it past him to do the same thing no matter his “rank.” DAYUM. He is a “full throttle” sort for sure. At least with Xin.

Oh, and the person he’s rebuking? Xin. Love at first read. He is AWESOME. No wonder Proyas likes him so much. Benjuku. Sounded like backgammon to me, but backgammon is in a box, not a bowl. Seems interesting though. I’m thinking Chinese checkers or
a different sort of chess.

Back to Proyas. He did WHAT now? He whipped someone for impiety(which is a bit dickheaded) but was then willing to take it in turn as punishment in front of his father and the court. That is a huge DAYUM. Cal, the dumbass who no longer has a head, thought it was a trick. Eh, I dunno.

Conphas might do something like that, but Proyas? I’m sure he’s smart, but he seems a little TOO honest for that. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a trick. Then again, Cal is derp and I do agree that he’s a “thief” or sorts. 100,000 people dead. Even by today’s standards, that’s quite a bit. No wonder Akka is so horrified. Yea, no doubt that Proyas would also be horrified. Hopefully, he’ll be a tactician to the Emperor rather than a judge. Surely, right? I’m guessing not. Will see.

https://divinesong.tumblr.com/post/163274319333/the-prince-of-nothing (322)

The Darknesss that comes before. At page 322. Lots of yammering.

1. Oh man…I had to stop at the “threesome” between Akka, Xin and Proyas. My god. I’m surprised Akka didn’t break down in tears. What a painful thing to read. But, intense. I tend to love those kind of scenes. Also love Proyas’s sarcastic humor. Reminds me of Adam Schiff in Law and Order. Speaking of reminders, Proyas’s reaction to the Consult reminded me of the clerics in Breath of Fire II. The heroes were trying to say that the “benevolent” God was actually a demon, but no one believed it. Honestly, it’s not surprising. Akka can’t prove anything. But, then Proyas turned Akka’s teachings around on him. And then saying that Xin is “the only reason why you have friends”. Doubles plus yikes.

Honestly, I’m still reeling over the Proyas’s intense fury/passion. God damn, I’m a sucker for these kinds of characters. Because I think that for all his fanaticism(which I LOATHE), he’s generally at least half-way decent at heart and not psychotic. He does, however, seem to have bad judgement at times given the way he acted to Conphas and I think the things he has to do to ensure the well being of his army will likely be used against him later. What’s sad is that he’s probably aware of this. What’s he supposed to do? Eat prayer mats? Lol.

It is totally true that a lot of people do have to make exchanges between morals and goals/survival, make compromises, etc. It’s not just those with a “high purpose” either. Still, such a thing can be painful for some people and it clearly is for someone like Proyas.

Oh, and I totally thought of the Shockmaster when Proyas was stumbling in his boat. And the “Sun Prince”? I think Louis XIV would like to have a word with him.

2. Yea, Cnauir. I can see why he is the way he is. Seems that violence is all he knows. At least he’s quite smart and good with strategy/land. He’s not a stick figure obviously. Still, he’d fit right in a Clockwork Orange with the ultraviolence.

He reminds me a great deal of Berserk’s Guts at his absolute worst.  Anyway,  Cnauir is quite a challenge for Kellhus, but it figures that he was eventually “won over”. That being said, it makes sense that Cnauir is pretty much a death seeker. He WANTS someone to kill him.

He is a tortured soul. Too bad it tends to bleed to every one around him. Once he gets to Mohengus, what then? Anyway, interesting that he threatens to kill Serwe for trying to leave and then wants to abandon her later. She’s not abandoned though. But, the shit she goes through. WOW.

3. Oh Kellhus. Right now, he’s obviously the good cop for Serwe. That poor girl. Right now, SHE is the WOOBIE. Looks like Kellhus is the one providing her blankets and cocoa. I find some of his views a bit offensive though. The world being “ignorant” is not entirely it’s fault. And being “children”? GAH.

Anyway, The Dunyain have always been isolated, so how can their ways spread? Looks like that’s what Kellhus is gunning for. He wants the world to be like his people. Like a world of Agent Smiths. Only, no desires, no passions, all reason, all intellect. ALL BORING. BOOOOOO!

4. There is no doubt that Proyas will encouter Kellhus and that is going to be fun.

5. Oh, the fake Sarcellus. What a scene. Creepy crow. Poor Esmenet. She has no idea. I’m pretty sure she’ll see Akka again though. And while I understand why she has the views she does, I personally believe that she is oversimplifying certain things(eh, every one does it) and that lions and humans are two different beings(derp). Like, when a lion kills, it’s because they’re hungry/defending themselves. When humans kill, it’s for a variety of reasons.

When people “take”, whether or not they steal is a question of who you ask and who is doing the “taking”. Just something that stood out to me. Beyond that, at least she’s treated relatively well now. At least for a short while.

I think that’ll do. I’m around 120 pages to the end. Quite frankly, I care about Proyas, Xin and Akka the most.

Did I mention that this book has a lot of quotables? When I get done with the first book, I’ll list the ones that stick out to me the most.

(I never did do the quotes thing. I should sometime this century).

https://divinesong.tumblr.com/post/163315663963/the-prince-of-nothing (Proyas, Proyas, Proyas. I was livid with him here).

93 pages to the end of Book 1.

Longest POST EVER. Well, right now it is.

1. Oh God. More pain. I spent over three hours thinking of the horseshit between Proyas and Akka. I even got teary-eyed for Akka. Right now, I’m hoping that Akka will find the courage to look Proyas dead in the eye and say this:

“There is no just god. If there was, Inrau would still be alive and you’d be dead.” And then just walk away. Like forever and leaving Proyas on his knees. Doubt that’ll happen.

Would be a dumb dumb move since there’s a treaty between House Nersei/Conriya and if that is broken, then Proyas could easily have the Holy War target the Mandate School and that would be VERY VERY bad.  I think he’ll end up stuck with Proyas for quite some time.
Akka’s issue is that he knows about the Consult and NO ONE believes him.

This is like Sarah O'Connor in T2. She knows what will happen in the future, but people think she’s nuts and she ends up locked away where she truly does go insane. Worse yet, he is hated by Proyas SOLELY because he is a sorcerer. Jelly much? Well, no. I mean, I know that the religion forbids magic, so I can see being against it, but to hate someone so intensely that you can’t even stay civil is just unreal.

Clearly, Proyas hates the fact that he needs a Schoolman for advice and hates it even more that it was a former beloved teacher, but it’s clear to me that he can’t seem to set aside personal feelings. What will make him a dangerous King is that he would govern too much with his heart. This is a good thing if you’re Ludwig Van Beethoven or some other kind of artist, but as a King? It can lead to a lot of self-defeating policies.

As for “quickly switching passions.” Honestly, my mother does that and so do I(to a lesser extent). I think at this point, Akka just has a very dim view of Proyas and I don’t blame him for that.

I know that there are fakes out there who “feel” for effect or people with shallow emotions, but I don’t think Proyas is that sort. Nor do I think he’s bipolar or personality disordered. He’s just someone who feels things strongly, which is both a great strength AND a great weakness. I also think that he is the sort who can(or can try) appear to be perfectly “okay” when he isn’t. This isn’t uncommon, especially in cultures where showing negative emotion is a bad thing(I don’t think he’s in that kind of culture though).

Yea, it can be deception, but sometimes it’s necessary to pretend to be happy/friendly when you’re not. Some people are just better at it than others and given how quickly he snapped at Cnauir, I don’t think he can fool that many people.

And really, what is he supposed to do in front of guests, especially someone like Cnauir? Stay angry? He HAS to appear friendly to them. He HAS to appear that everything is perfectly fine. He’s also only half-way right about counselors/advisers. Yes, they do give facts so the Prince can make better judgments/decisions, but they also give opinions AND JUDGMENTS of their own,  including dissenting ones. However, I am aware that dissenting opinions should be done in private and/or only in front of trusted people, but ideally in private. I know it, Akka knows it, and yellow dog knows it.

Speaking of judgement, guess what? EVERY ONE does it. Funny how Proyas is like, “don’t you dare judge me” and it sure doesn’t stop him from doing it. Typical of pretty much every one no matter their “caste”. But, god damn it is annoying.

I still love him though, but Akka deserves better. He deserves Kellhus. Honestly, I think Proyas is clearly very intelligent(another reason why I still adore him even though I want to set him on fire right now), but his judgement is poor fairly often and is easily provoked. He’s like a male Caitlyn Stark. Something like that. At least that’s how I see it.
Whatever the case, poor Xinemus is caught in the middle.

2. I am so over the “jnan” shit. And yes, Esmenet is clearly being isolated by Sarcellus. Poor slaves though. She’s no Danaerys, that’s for sure, but what is someone like Esmenet supposed to do? How can you resist being pampered even though there are slaves? Especially when the countries we know are pretty much slave states. Eh, it’s not like she’s treated that much better. :(

3.  I can’t think of anything else right now. All I can think of is the clear tension between Proyas and Akka. But, Kellhus has arrived and things will change from there. That is painfully obvious. Isn’t Kellhus an ACTUAL Prince though? Is his father also a Prince? Akka definitely had a strong reaction to the name as it did belong to kings of old.

I guess every one with the Anasurimbor name is a “Prince/Princess”. Just guess work right now. Still, it’s smart to make the claim. Hopefully, it’s a true one though and if it’s not, then I hope the lie is never exposed. I don’t think Proyas would take too kindly to fraudulent claims.

4. Yea, I can see why people have underestimated Cnuair. It’s easy to think people like him are dumb. And it’s easy to get killed by people like him too. That guy is such a trainwreck. I’m sure he’ll have a great time in the Holy War.

https://divinesong.tumblr.com/post/163390957428/the-prince-of-nothing (close to the end)

So close…so close…less than 40 pages to the end of book one and then I had to recharge the Nexus. This is where paper books have an advantage.

But, I will say that Cnaiur gave one of the best speeches on war—EVER. EVER. EVER. “War is intellect.” It sure is. And Proyas is a delight when he isn’t a meanie poo-poo head to Akka. And Kellhus nailed his personality. Then again, I called most of that ages ago and the other characteristics were sort of a “well, DUH, Kellhus.  The master of skepticism trained him.”

Loved seeing the Grandmaster of the Scarlet Spires. That was a hell of a meeting. 
LOL@the Emperor and his meanie Griffith clone Conphas.  Kellhus reminds me of Kwai Chang Kane from the old Kung Fu series. heh.  Proyas is passion. Kellhus is void of passion. They will make interesting foils if that ever happened.

https://divinesong.tumblr.com/post/163438572078/the-prince-of-nothing-book-1-done (DONE DONE DONE)

Phew…finished book one and just started book 2.

1. Dear God…the Consult. Skin Spies. Holy shit. At least Conphas saved Achamian. And why not? Achamian is the tits. And poor Conphas has to march in the Holy War. No doubt he STILL wants the Holy War for HIS own ends. You know he wants to be Emperor. Hell, FLEAS know that he wants to be Emperor himself.

2. Favorites? Proyas, except when he’s mean to Achamian. Achamian is a very close second.

3. I hope that I have the courage to ask R. Scott Bakker if he has ever read Berserk. So much of this reminds me of Berserk. Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe it’s Maybeline. I don’t know.

5. Loved Proyas in that floral robe. I actually pictured him in something similar in the pavilion scene when Akka is finally able to see him. I frequently picture him in very nice clothes. I hope he makes it to the very end and looks/is fabulous doing so. I hope he ends up reconciling with Akka. I hope. Yea. Even though this is THE SECOND APOCALYPSE with hands coming out of faces. I know this isn’t an idealistic sort of story.

6. Poor Esmenet. She thinks Akka is over her, but he’s not. She has no idea what he just went through. Right now, Esmenet is best girl. Serwe is just “there”, to be honest. The Empress is pretty awesome though, but there’s not enough of her. I want her to find Akka again. Hopefully, he’ll find her before Proyas does. I don’t think he would approve of prostitutes.

7. Seems that Bakker doesn’t mind fanfiction. This is good to hear, but I won’t dare try. Not now. When it comes to “shipping”, the most obvious would be Akka/Esmenet and the other clear het pairings. When it comes to slash. Oh dear god, do I dare? Eh, might as well.
Welp, a Grand Wizard accused Achamian of “buggering” Proyas. Yea, right. We all know Proyas would be doing the “buggering”. The thing is, even if I DID to slash, no way would they be “fluffy”. Then again, NO pairing is healthy/stable/fluffy. Akka/Esmenet comes close though.

Anyway, I’ve thought of Proyas/Akka, Proyas/Xin, Conphas/Proyas, Conphas/Cnauir. In the case of Conphas, it clearly be in the obsessive/possessive sense. Proyas would be the tsundere sort with a touch of obsessiveness.

8. As for Kellhus. Here’s a hint: When someone is too good to be true, they usually are. Nice to see the Emperor catch what Kellhus caught. As I’ve said before, Xerius isn’t stupid. But, he got outplayed in the end. Will be interesting to see Conphas deal with the Holy Rollers, especially Proyas since they’re polar opposites. Just like Proyas is opposite of Kellhus. Conphas and Kellhus will be interesting too. No doubt Conphas is full of resentment. And I seriously doubt he will be won over by anyone.

Honestly, I don’t think Cnauir was truly won over either. Every one else, OTOH, is. At least for now.

We can do a couple of things here.

Either you can post the links (or the text) where they might go in the appropriate subforum, or you can post everything in a big long string in the General subforum.

If you want to post them where they might have been along the way - ie, TDTCB reaction posts in this subforum, TWP in TWP, etc. - then I'll have to ask you to remove spoilers for future books. Each dedicated subforum's spoiler policy if that there are only open spoilers up to the end of that book. So no commentary regarding TUC in the TDTCB subforum.

If you care for my recommendation/preference: I think it would be cool to have them posted in the right subforum. Might be more work than you're interested in though. The other thing I might say is that regardless of where you put them, I think more people will be likely to participate if you paste the actual text. But again, probably more work than you're interested in.

If you want to keep it all in one post/thread, then we can go ahead and move this to the proper spot :). Feel free to respond here or PM me.

Thanks for posting!

Dora Vee:
I don't mind copy/pasting, but some of the posts are very long, so just linking would be easier. Not sure if it's necessarily better though. The advantage of copy/pasting is that I could detect grammar/spelling errors a lot easier. And it's a back up in case Tumblr ever goes belly up.

I honestly prefer to post reactions in individual subforums as I think it just makes sense. I've removed anything that could be a spoiler for future books.

And I both linked and post full text. Hope that works! :)

You're awesome. Thanks :)

Dora Vee:
You're welcome.


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