Kalbear

R Scott Bakker's :The Great Ordeal (spoilers)

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Since at least one excerpt came out today and people want to discuss it - and more importantly, people want to NOT discuss it - I wanted to create a spoiler thread. 

Here's the link to the excerpt (oops, forgot this earlier). This is the link to the Prologue (Momemn) and Great Ordeal chapters.

The second link is to the full chapter of Ishual. Parts of this had been released previously.

The prologue excerpt begins like this:

Prologue: Momemn
And naught was known or unknown, and there was no hunger.
All was One in silence, and it was as Death.
Then the Word was spoken, and One became Many.
Doing was struck from the hip of Being.
And the Solitary God said, “Let there be Deceit.
Let there be Desire.”
——The Book of Fane

 

Which is pretty cool. 

The Great Ordeal is scheduled currently to be out early July this year. The Unholy Consult, which is the conclusion of this miniseries and the second half of the split book, is currently due out next year. 

Edited by Kalbear
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Excerpt? Where's this, Kal?

 

edit: lazy guy, found it

Edited by JEORDHl

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It's been added. Thanks!

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Esmenet's chapter would be amazing if he could just stop talking about the EAMD bullshit every other sentence. She's panicking, she's crying, and then she'd thinking that ya know, everyone is controlled by what came before and the history of their world and blah blah blah. 

Seriously, edit that shit out. The first paragraph here is totally unneeded, at least the two sentences. It robs the story of the drama and panic that Esme has in the moment. She's a parent. She's not thinking about how knowledge command us. She's thinking that in sieges and revolts princes die. 

That's it. That's her motivation. We don't need more than that. We don't need to jump from point to point. Just that mantra - in sieges and revolts princes die. 

I suspect that this was one of the most earliest written parts of the story, because he would have changed this if he had reread it as a parent. 

Quote

 

Our knowledge commands us, though our conceit claims otherwise. It drives our decisions and so harnesses our deeds—as surely as any cane or lash. She knew well the grievous fate of little princes in times of revolt and overthrow. The fact that her husband’s Empire crashed down about her was but one more goad to find her son.

The Fanim would have to wait. 

 

 

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I still haven't made my way through the entire thing.  TBH, I kind of jumped around a bit and then saw the exchange between Kellhus and Proyas and had to stop and read that section. I really thought we were done with Kellhus POV's.

Quote

The World is a granary, Proyas... and we are the bread.

What in the ever living fuck is Kellhus doing with Proyas' head?!!?  I was looking forward to this book as it was, but now I have to know what Kellhus is up to.  Is the God just a demon?  Is Kellhus telling the truth????  Is Kellhus delivering the Great Ordeal with the purpose of joining the consult/becoming the No-God?????

July can't get here soon enough now.

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Yep. July of next year...

Didn’t think I’d encounter passages in the second person. Not sure how I think about that... Isn’t the Outside supposed to be timeless or something? Or is it only timeless in relation to the World whatever that means?

Edited by Hello World

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Quote

 

Each of them possessed gold coins—remnants of a long-forgotten hoard— very nearly worn smooth of image and insignia, but yet possessing the ghosts of long-dead Kings. Sometimes the leaves dropped of their own volition, rocked like paper cradles across motionless air. But usually high-mountain gusts unmoored them, and they battled like bats, danced like flies, as they rode the turbulence to the ground. The Dûnyain, their eyes dead with the absence of focus, let their coins fly—a flurry of sparks traced the raw sun. Without fail, some fraction of the leaves would be caught and pinned to the flagstones, lobed edges curled like fingers about the gold.

They called it the Tracery, the rite that determined who among them would sire children and so sculpt the future of their terrible race.

 

Um. What? 

The Dunyain - a race famed for their breeding program and weeding out failures and whatnot - uses basically a combination of luck and the ability to play tiddlywinks in order to decide who gets progeny? I get that having some kind of non-deterministic selection factor can help avoid local maxima in theory - but in practice this is a pretty weird way to go about it. 

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Agree with Kal about Esmi chapter and EAMD. Either it gets worse each book or my tolerance gets lower with age. 

Luckily it was not at all in th Kel/Proyas chapter in a heavy handed way. Gives me hope it will not permeate the other POVs. 

The head on a pole thing I took to be Kel in the Outside. Don't know what the head on a pole is except for some sort of Ground Kel is using. He spins the Outside around it at some point. I think scene meant to show that there is some Truth in the revelations Kel imparts to Proyas about demons eating souls. Which, props to Kal, is exactly how Kal has been describing damnation: some souls are tastier than others. 

Also so far absolutely everything still consistent with Kel following his speech to Moe in TTT about switching sides. Hmmmm. 

Kel didn't seem insane or broken in his POV. Still very calculating and rational. He didn't think of himself as the God avatar. 

Re: Tracery game. Not sure there's a luck element as such. Sure there could be but I think meant to convey that those that land the coins are very skilled in predicting the path of the leaf. 

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So, some observations on this.

  • Kellhus thinks the Thousandfold thought is his father's, and is a thing, not a person or place. That should reduce a lot of the various theories around what it is to a much smaller amount. It also implies that what the Thousandfold Thought is ends up being the template of God itself, or at least what Kellhus is.
  • More halo stuff? "He raised a hand into the dim air, gazed upon the nimbus of gold shining about them. Such a remarkable thing. So hard to explain. " Not sure if this is a meta statement or an actual one. 
  • The "Head on a pole behind you" seems to confirm a lot of what we thought souls are and what they do. Souls are marked by their experiences, and those experiences are consumed. The stronger the experiences, the more consumption. This also may be the basic explanation for the weighing of souls - the judging of souls is akin to a scale that determines, simply, how much sustenance you give to the God and the gods. A woman's soul might weigh or be valued less than a man because a man simply is more absorbent, and they thus take more of their experiences with them into the other. 
  • It also kind of implies that the God was not God before this, but was one of the Sons until it decided to seize the means of production and consumption. Sologdin would be happy. 
  • Apparently Kellhus is human too, and thus is mad (this was something I stated a while back to explain why madness described Kellhus): "The fact that his heart would also crash into ruin."
  • The "We are the bread" line is good, but it's something that had come up quite often, and was given more credence when Psatma mentioned what the Gods are and how they like playing with souls. 

Thoughts on it:

  • Gods, I did not miss the EAMD bullshit, from Kellhus especially. 
  • Proyas seems like a contingency plan. A way to save the empire and save Kellhus' eventual goals. To create something that lasts after...whatever happens. If I had to guess right now, Proyas is being set up to join the Consult in some way. The words that Kellhus is speaking sound a lot like some of the Consult's rationalizations, and both lead to common cause. 
  • Proyas sounds almost exactly like Sorweel, and I kind of hate him for it. The bullshit stuttering and pauses...meh
  • The Sons part implies that God has not been there forever, which is interesting. So does the "let there be deceit, let there be desire" part. The idea that the splitting caused this is interesting. It also does imply something that I hate, which is that it can be reversed and solved.

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But this puts to rest the idea that Bakker has been avoiding Kellhus’s PoV because it would be a massive giveaway about something.Especially since it seems like a recent addition: when Madness first read the manuscript he said there was no Kellhus PoV.

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37 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Um. What? 

The Dunyain - a race famed for their breeding program and weeding out failures and whatnot - uses basically a combination of luck and the ability to play tiddlywinks in order to decide who gets progeny? I get that having some kind of non-deterministic selection factor can help avoid local maxima in theory - but in practice this is a pretty weird way to go about it. 

Yeah, that threw me as rather random and not logical.  The Esme prologue... I'm pretty tired of Esme and the entire Momemn subplot, to the point that I will probably be skimming those sections when I get to the 2nd series in my re-read.

The only way all that space could be justified is if the Consult is playing a long con and planning to use Kelmomas as the No-God.

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I had the same reaction to the Dûnyain breeding thing but I Bakker must have known that readers would react in this way. I expect more explanations for this.

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5 minutes ago, Hello World said:

But this puts to rest the idea that Bakker has been avoiding Kellhus’s PoV because it would be a massive giveaway about something.Especially since it seems like a recent addition: when Madness first read the manuscript he said there was no Kellhus PoV.

Yeah, he also said he lied. So basically anything Madness said including how much he enjoyed it, how big of a mindfuck it is, etc - all of that is entirely up for debate and one should question his motivations before believing anything he has stated as fact. 

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I would believe that (that he lied intentionally) if it weren’t for the fact that Bakker specifically asked him to answer fan questions. Unless Bakker was also aware of the lying. eta: his opinions about how great the book is are a different thing.

Edited by Hello World

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Also this chapter implies an age-old idea about God - namely, if he's all powerful why is there suffering? And the answer is that because God doesn't love us, or care about us, or care. God requires more vespene gas. The world is unjust and people suffer because that's the best way for the God to get more nourishment. 

It also implies why the Gods - especially Yatwer - are so opposed to Kellhus. Uniting everyone? Not hating based on race or religion? Not damning yourself constantly, daily, with actions that you need to do in order to survive at all? Kellhus can't forgive damnation, can't erase the stain of sorcery or actions taken, but he can make a whole lot of them not as big a deal any more. 

And if you take both of these things as true, Mimara could be especially dangerous. If she can truly forgive damnation entirely, she is essentially voiding whole harvests for all eternity. 

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Another thing that struck me on reading it was the naming of the oak tree that drops coupons for fucking - it was called sacred. By the Dunyain. How very odd, that. 

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Haven't read Bakker in years -- stopped after the second book -- but decided to check out this thread to see where it was all at. (Much of it is gibberish to me, for what that's worth!) But one particular thing intrigued me: what does EAMD stand for?

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Prologue: Momemn
And naught was known or unknown, and there was no hunger.
All was One in silence, and it was as Death.
Then the Word was spoken, and One became Many.
Doing was struck from the hip of Being.
And the Solitary God said, “Let there be Deceit.
Let there be Desire.”
——The Book of Fane

But why did the Solitary God do this?

@Ran, ever are men deceived.

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Just now, Ran said:

Haven't read Bakker in years -- stopped after the second book -- but decided to check out this thread to see where it was all at. (Much of it is gibberish to me, for what that's worth!) But one particular thing intrigued me: what does EAMD stand for?

Ever Are Men Deceived. It's shorthand for the psychobabble that Bakker tends to get into in the middle of, like, random sentences. The crossed-out part above is an example. You have a woman running around desperately trying to find her young son in the middle of her enemy storming the gates and a full-blown riot. So...naturally she reflects on how prior knowledge influences actions and guides the course of events. Here's another example:

Quote

Kellhus reached into his beard to scratch a false itch, reclined so that he sat propped on his elbow. These simple gestures of discomfort, openly displayed, immediately summoned a corresponding ease in the Exalt-General, one that utterly eluded the man’s awareness. Bodies spoke to bodies, and short of flinching from raised fists, the worldborn were utterly deaf to what was said.

 

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Hah. Got it. I know it well.

I think once it's all said and done I may give it a go, but it was just too relentlessly depressing for me (and that's saying something as an ASoIaF fan, I suppose). The metaphysics of it all remains interesting.

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