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Goodkind 54: How to Revive a Dead Dick


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What has happened to Tairy's website?  It's all about Nest, which came out last year (according to the website).  Didn't this new Nicci & co. book come out earlier this year?  Something is afoot...

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Hey Everybody,


So a year and a half ago or something like that I undertook to summarize Warheart, but then I was weak and never did it. Even the first few chapters defeated me. Recently, however, inspired by Myshkin's hilarious work on the pile of stupid that is Death's Mistress as well as the noble efforts of previous recappers of Terry's works, I decided I would be goddamned if I let Warheart make a liar out of me. So, in hope of offering some amusement to the five or so people who still read Goodkind threads, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna summarize Warheart for giggles.


But how, you ask, am I to know that having undertaken this I will not immediately weaken as before? Well, you see, worried that precisely this thing would happen, I read and summarized the entirety of this most-recent-but-one of the Yeard's literary masterpieces before posting this. I am not totally sure I am still sane, but I have taken the entire dark journey. My recap is a done deal, all twenty-thousand-plus words of it -- I was super bored, apparently, and also, well, there's a lot of stuff to have fun with. So, unless I delete it in a fit of mad despair brought on by staring too long into the Yeard, which is not impossible, I should be able to avoid flaking out in the middle.


Each bit still needs some light proofreading,and I don't want to clog the thread, so I'm gonna start posting parts once a day or so as I get time to read them over. There should be around twenty-two sections in the thousand word ballpark -- the segments I chopped the document into to start out with are too long to post, so I'm cutting each in half. I'm pasting from Word, so hopefully it's readable. There are gonna be some walls of text, sorry.


Warheart's the last of a four-part arc, so we start in the middle of the story. I wrote a big-ass rundown of where things are at before my first aborted attempt at this summary and posted it here; I think it's in this thread on one of the early pages, or maybe late in the previous one. I got all the info for it off wiki pages on the previous books in the arc, The Omen Machine, The Third Kingdom, and Severed Souls, so you could also go there. I also try to provide a brief sketch of the state of things near the start of my recap. You could also, however, just go with it and not worry too much, which is what I mostly did and it made things more fun.


And so now, without further preamble, I invite you to cast your mind back to a time before all was well in Dickland, a time before Nicci and Nate Dog roamed the land having picaresque adventures with evil stone wizards and sex-trees and spreading the good news about how the world is ruled by Dick. Come back to a time of horror when Dick's benevolent mastery of all he surveys was in dire peril, dark days when his position as the most important person in the entire universe was not taken for granted. Good people of the lit board, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME TERRY?!

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Warheart: Chapters 1-7: The Quest for Dick, Part 1


            Kahlan is standing by Richard's funeral pyre.  The cold wind brushes her face like a thing that is very cold, but its coldness cannot quench the fire of her grief, which is hotter than the coldness is cold.  She is supposed to give the torch-bearers the word to light Dick's remains up, but she can't do it.  She is super bummed that Richard is dead; it is the end of all her hopes and dreams, indeed the hopes and dreams of all living folk, for what is a nation without its Dick? A whole bunch of the D'Harran people are there and they are all very cut up about Richard being dead, like with adjectives and shit; among them are Nicci and some new Mord-Sith who Richard had just recently freed from "bondage" and hired on to replace No.  1 leather-suited bodyguard Cara, who rode mopily off into the sunset a book ago to mourn the death of her husband General Benjington, whose name is actually something else that I can't be bothered to look up.  They're in the courtyard of a big-ass fortress called the Citadel near a city called Saavedra, by the way, not at the People's Palace.

            Kahlan spends seven pages agonizing over giving the order to burn Dick's body.  A chapter division passes by without a line of dialogue being spoken, or indeed anything happening at all beyond exposition about how busted up Kahlan is and a little light necro face-stroking.  She then starts straight up worshipping his corpse, falling to her knees and whispering that fascist prayer they use, the "Master Rahl guide us, ...  In your light we thrive, in your mercy we etc, ...  Our lives are yours." "It was her goodbye," we are informed.  This is a woman to her husband.  This is super fucked.

            Catchup time, insofar as it matters: Evil Torture-Bishop Hannis Arc, for whom I hope to devise some more suitable name in the fullness of time, has used Dick's magical warwizard blood to resurrect Emperor Sulachan, a non-specifically evil emperor guy from a long-ass time ago.  Flushed and throbbing with dickblood, Sulachan has led his forces of "half people," zombies with the "taint of death" upon them, a hunger for souls, and the foul stench of dirty foreigners, out of the Third Kingdom where "the world of life and the world of death" conjoin, past the non-legally-actionable very tall wall-like structure that spontaneously appeared north of D'Harra around 2012 after the first season of Game of Thrones had aired on HBO.  They are now wandering the countryside and generally wrecking shit.  Apparently their goal is to break the divide between the world of the living and the world of the dead, which is called the Grace with a capital so it's important.  In the time between Sulachan's revival-by-dickblood and the present moment Kahlan has died, stabbed to death by Sammie, a sorceress Dick and Co.  met in the Dark Lands who was initially their buddy, but then got super-pissy when Dick killed her mom.  Her mom was of course evil — all the people Dick kills are evil, he never makes mistakes — but she doesn't know that so she's still mega choked.  Dick has Nicci stab him so his soul can travel to the Underworld to restore Kahlan's "spark of life" and send her back to the world of the living, which is magically possible for reasons.  Also Zed has died too, I'm unclear on how but he's definitely totes dead, so he will show up to help Richard in the Underworld later during Warheart, I am calling that right now.  At present Torture-Bishop and Sulachan's armies of ravening immigrants are understood to be on their way to the Citadel, and Kahlan has the vapors over what they would do with Richard's body if they got their filthy unclean foreigner hands on it — the subtext is that they would create zombie-Dick.

            And so here we are again, standing at this pyre, looking at this dead asshole and lovingly describing everything he's wearing and occasionally touching his face.  Dick's body has been preserved by "occult magic" and won't decay, so Kahlan could conceivably continue doing this for the rest of the book.  She looks up and sees Red the witch-woman's weird cat-thing, which is named Hunter because we deserve nothing better, watching from a distance.  In the midst of her grief and her corpse-worship her mind snaps and she begins free associating a way to advance the plot, because she and the good people of D'Harra have now been staring at this dead dude for eleven pages and their salvation is up to her.  She madlibs frantically — "soul," "sacrifice," "Grace," "spark of life," "world of life," "occult magic," "witch woman," "in time." She recalls how Red sent Hunter the cat-thing the last time she wanted Kahlan to come and listen to her talk about all the things she'd seen in the flow of time, and how Richard is the "pebble in the pond" whose actions cannot be predicted, and how fucked they are without him because he is named in all the prophecies and is the handsomeest most important person who has ever existed, and comes to the conclusion that Red has sent Hunter the cat-thing to her again because she wants Kahlan to come talk to her about a way to save Richard from the Underworld.  "Oh my fascist dictatorship!" thinks she, "what if I could rescue Richard from the Underworld by doing pretty much the exact same things he did to save me from the Underworld like a week ago? Gorsh!" She tells the royal guard dudes to take Dick's body back inside the citadel.  Sorry, D'Harrans, no Dick-burning today; y'all came out in the rain for nothing.

            We'll break there for now to keep the post length semi-acceptable.  I know it feels like we've gotten nowhere, but in fact several chapters have gone by. This non-action is just how Warheart rolls. Something sort of kind of happens next time, I promise!

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Warheart: Chapters 1-7: The Quest for Dick, Part 2


            Kahlan explains her plan to Nicci at greater length and makes some speeches about how important it is that they try anything and take any chance to get Richard back, which gets Terry through another couple pages.  Oh also the Sword of Truth is not on Dick's body; Kahlan has it.  Kahlan and Nicci set off to ask the witch-woman if there is a way to transform Dick's seemingly permanent sojourn in the afterlife into more of a temporary refractory period and the Mord-Sith understudies go with, five brave women united by an ironclad determination to retrieve Dick.


            Dumb sidenote: the Understudies all have names, but appear to be indistinguishable, plus Cara will one-hundred percent definitely be back later in this book and then it won't matter.  Oh, I bet the Understudies have different colour hair though, since that's the kind of finely-honed characterization Goodkind likes to use to distinguish the women in his books from one another in the reader's mind; I will report back on this point.


            The guy leading the soldiers at the citadel is named Commander Fister, which I think is funny because I am twelve.  He gets all mopey about Kahlan going without an army, but she tells him that last time she went to see the witch-woman she had to walk through a valley carpeted with human skulls to get to her witch-hangout so they probably shouldn't piss her off.


            Hair update: We have one blond-braided Understudy.


            Kahlan and Nicci and the Understudies finally set off following Hunter the witchy cat-thing, but even though they're marching double time every page or two Kahlan has to ruminate on how there's no time to waste and they have to hurry and save Dick, which slows things down like a motherfucker.  Kahlan's worried about encountering the half-people, because they usually attack in hordes, and so even though the five of them are each worth a dozen dirty foreigners they'll eventually be overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers, and Terry is just so super worried about immigration you guys.  They travel through the Dark Lands for a while.  I dunno how this all works out map-wise or why the Dark Lands weren't pertinent to the first Sword of Truth arc, but that's fine because maps are for communists and continuity is too.  The going gets tougher as the sun goes down and they climb higher up into the hills, but Hunter the cat-thing leads them on and nobody complains, for they are all propelled forward by thoughts of Dick.


            Suddenly a bloody shirtless dude stumbles out of the bushes and as soon as he sees them they can tell by the look in his eyes that he turbo hates them.  Turns out this is a single half-person, so they travel in massive hordes except when they don't I guess.  His hairdo is "strings of bones and teeth" holding a "tuft of hair" together atop his head, which makes it "obvious that he was a half-person," because there's nothing like a nice vigourous equation of the story's supernatural enemy with stereotyped tropes of savagery to get a fantasy novel's engine going of a morning in the Year of Our Lord 2015.  Kahlan whips out the Sword of Truth, but Laurin, Understudy No.  1, kills the shit out of him by knifing him through the throat.  Also it turns out that without their bond to Dick the Mord-Sith's painrods don't work.  I urge you to make of this what you will.  No.  1 apologizes for not murdering the man faster, and after a brief patrol to ensure there are no more illegals in the immediate vicinity they move on.


            Interlude: Even though this part is already long I feel compelled to pause here for a moment to mention the Yeard's double standards re the half-people.  When the book starts describing the half-peoples' soul-hunting preferences, we are informed that: "Being greedy about getting a soul, they weren't inclined to share or wait their turn.  When they found prey, even if they hunted in large groups, it was every man or woman for themselves." This is too rich, and a sign that the Yeardly objectivism is perhaps descending into incoherence without vigourous regular exercise — or maybe just that there is zero self-awareness up in here, which I guess we knew.  This strikes me as precisely the sort of relentless self-interest that Randian objectivism has as its, albeit unacknowledged, logical endpoint, but here it's shambling teeth-and-bones-in-hair immigrants doing it rather than broad-shouldered dictators with stern-but-fair raptor gazes, so I guess what we're meant to understand here is that what's good for the gander isn't necessarily good for the goose, especially when the goose is a combo of ASoIaF plagiarism and thinly-veiled alarmist fantasy about the depredations of 'dem illegals.


            They finally stop for the night, after spelling out all the insipidly obvious goddamn reasons why resting now will allow them to help Dick rise back up better later, which gets TG through another page or so.  This is a ladies-only fantasy quest party, but it still feels regressive as shit because almost literally every conversation they have is about how important Dick is and how they need to save him in order for their lives to be complete.  The next day they walk deeper into the forest, resigned to this taking a long-ass time.  However, Red has come down from her valley and meets them in a clearing with lunch and weak snark.


            They open negotiations with an inconclusive bout of passive-aggressive Concern Olympics wherein Kahlan, Red, and Nicci keep explaining each to the others how there's no time and they need to start talking real talk about what to do and the Mord-Sith eat and chill.  Kahlan asks why Red came down from the hills to meet them, but does not thank her for saving them over half their walking time, because thankyous are for death-choosers.  Red starts rehearsing why Sulachan is terrible because he is going to break down the barrier between life and death and make it possible for the Keeper of the Underworld to finally get at her delicious witchy soul, but mercifully Nicci tells her that they already know this and to answer the goddamn question; the glacial pace is driving TG's characters to rebellion.  Turns out Red gets her name not because she's a ginger, though she is indeed a ginger; she gets it because when people invade her valley the ground runs red with blood.  Sulachan has sent a huge force of half-people through Red's mountain pass to try and get at D'Harra faster and she has killed the shit out of them, so her home is all goopy.  She had to leave one alive because somethingsomething balance, and that was the one Kahlan and Nicci and the Understudies encountered on the path.


            They talk a bunch of magic talk.  It is painful.  They're just getting around to discussing the saving of Richard's soul when the chapter ends, and we've reached the fifty page mark, which is where I decided I'd break for today.  I'd carry on for one more chapter so we could get a sense of how things are going to proceed re Dick's revival, but flipping ahead it looks like another ten pages or so before Red actually says any goddamn definitive thing, so I'll hold off.

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Warheart: Chapters 8-14: How to Revive a Dead Dick, Part 1


            Apologies for jacking the thread title.  I thought it worked really well for this part.


            So Red is not happy with Kahlan.  Last time they met she told Kahlan to kill Nicci, because she had seen in the flow of time that Nicci would kill Richard if not stopped.  Kahlan didn't do that and now Richard's dead.  Red dumps on Kahlan's madlib plan to bring Dick back to life.  Because the writing is incredibly shitty this manages to be both entirely sensible, since the plan is vague and stupid, and very annoying, because while she's being a bitch about the plan Red is further putting off dispensing actual information.  Eventually though she reveals that the only chance she sees in the flow of time, a phrase they use a lot, is for them to help free Dick's soul from some kind of demon-thingers that have him so he can move onward to the Good Spirits and help them stop Sulachan's "subtractive" and "occult" power from the Underworld.  Goodkind's approach to telling us about magic is basically just to assign each flavour of magic an adjective, and if shit's still vague pile on a couple more adjectives.  It is the most mechanical, least effective way of describing the fantastic I think I've ever read; I've gotten a more evocative sense of the ineffable and the numinous from videogame instruction manuals and late-career Raymond Feist.


            Kahlan and Nicci aren't having any of this shit about Richard only being able to help defeat Sulachan from beyond the grave.  Sure, the most important thing is saving the world from the forces of chaos, but Dick is just too handsome to stay dead.  They reiterate how awesome Richard is a few more times and tell Red to get her ass in gear and find a way to unkill this dude.


            The three of them competitive infodump for a bit -- the Mord-Sith are still chillin'.  What it amounts to is that, because Richard's body is preserved with death-magicky powers that Kahlan made the Torture-Bishop's minion Torture-Abbot Ludwig Dreier use on him, there is a link between life and death through Richard's body and this means that, surprise, they might be able to revive Dick.  Red fucks off mid-explanation to take a pee, I mean to "look into the flow of time to seek the answers you need." In the evening she returns and tells them that Nicci needs to speak to the dead and seek their help.  She dicks them around a bit, saying they need a spiritist, a woman who can travel the Underworld and find specific souls there, but haha lol they're all dead, except wait, Sisters of the Dark can talk to the dead and Nicci used to be one of those.  So Nicci needs to go to the Underworld and find the soul of a dead spiritist named Naja, who can in turn help them find Richard's soul, except I am now more than slightly perplexed, because this plan still involves Nicci finding a soul without being a spiritist, so if she needs to find at least one soul no matter what why can't she just try and find Richard's?


            Turns out it's even more convoluted than that, because Naja is a very powerful spirit who opposed Sulachan in life, so she will have hidden her spirit after death to make sure Sulachan can't find her in the Underworld and spend eternity kicking her ass, and so, no fooling, Nicci needs to find the soul of another lesser spiritist named Isidore, who has the secret spiritist knowledge to help her find Naja's soul, and only then can Naja in turn help her find Dick's soul, so now the Nicci catches the spiritists plan involves her having to find two souls, as opposed to the Nicci finds Richard directly plan, which only involves finding one, and oh my god she swallowed the spider to catch the fly, and I don't know why she swallowed the fly, but perhaps she'll die.


            Now Nicci attempts to have a character moment, worried about opening herself up to the Underworld again in a way she has set aside now that she's no longer evil, the memory of which is now deeply painful to her.  This threatens to introduce some compelling ambiguity to the character and is at risk of being interesting, but don't worry, Terry's on the case. Kahlan emotionally steamrolls her, reminding her that she said she would do anything for Richard and asking her if her doubts mean this isn't something worth doing for him.  It's gross.


            Red mentions darkly that there will, somehow, be more requirements once Richard's soul has been located, but then waves Kahlan off when she asks what they are, because we've had enough foreshadowing for today.  Except wait, no, now she's telling them: Turns out someone else has to die in trade for Richard's soul, thus continuing the pattern of ridiculous go-fetch-me plotting begun by Kahlan dying and Richard sacrificing himself to retrieve her, except while everybody will doubtless be very sad about this last sacrificial person nobody will go after them, because they're not special like Richard and Kahlan are.  It has to be someone who loves him.  If Nicci's spinoff novel Death's Mistress wasn't already out I'd bet on Nicci, but we know she makes it so I suspect it's Cara.  Thoughts?


            The next day they make their way back to the Citadel.  Red comes back with them, presumably so she can continue to burn wordcount talking circles around important plot points and then explaining them straight up two pages later.  The First File and all the other dudes at the Citadel are super happy to see them.  Commander Fister, the Citadel's Masturbator in Chief, informs Kahlan that there are half-people roving the countryside around Saavedra, which I feel like we knew.  Kahlan freaks out and "scans the darkness" to see if she can spot any of the half people right now, even though we're inside the Citadel and there are D'Harran guards like everywhere.


            Spooky magic ritual prep with lots of adjectives and our introduction to Team Evil tomorrow!

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I thank you on both counts. And I too now have a more visceral appreciation of the sufferings endured by those who have walked before me on this path of sacrificial torment.


Warheart: Chapters 8-14: How To Revive a Dead Dick, Part 2


            They clear all the guards not just out of the bedroom where Dick's body is stashed but off the entire floor, and Nicci gets her dark ritual freak on.  She has Understudy No.  1 bring her "a scratched and dented metal bowl," and tells Kahlan to fill it three fingers deep with her own blood, which is actually quite a bit.  Nicci explains that no one but Kahlan must touch the bowl, but Understudy No.  1 just carried it into the room, then Nicci touched it, and also it's a beat up old bowl, like for eating and shit, so I'm guessing several people have touched it at various times, so I dunno how that works.  Maybe it only becomes a monogamous bowl once it has a ritual purpose.  Whatever; I'm really glad we don't pause for an explanation.  Kahlan is about to slice her own wrist with her knife, but Nicci busts out some prophecy so she uses the Sword of Truth instead.


            Nicci gets some candles going on for ambiance, sends the Mord-Sith outside, and then starts painting the floor between the candles with Kahlan's blood to make a maximally creepy ritualistic circle that apparently represents the Grace with the capital G, the separation between the living and the dead.  Nicci tells Kahlan to bring a drop of Richard's blood and place it in the center of the circle in a creepy Sister of the Dark voice and things are on the verge of getting campily atmospheric, but then Red and Nicci over-explain a bunch of bullshit magical theory and it kills the mood.


            Nicci has Kahlan sit in the centre of the circle, because she's going to be the conduit through which Nicci sees into the spirit world.  Then Nicci starts doing a freaky chant in gibber-jabber that she says is the language of the Underworld, but Kahlan totally interrupts her scary death ritual, walks out of the circle like a moron, and leaves the Sword of Truth on Richard's body.  Sadly, the forces of the outer dark have not already been summoned into the room, and so she does not get her face eaten off for leaving the circle like a fucking idiot.  She brings Richard's amulet back into the circle and gives it to Nicci, because she, a person who has not studied this shit for centuries, has this gut feeling that Nicci, a person who has, will need it.  She's not all cool about it though: "Kahlan tried not to think about how she had just handed an ancient object of power to a Sister of the Dark." This is something she is thinking about a person who has been one of her and Dick's closest advisors for years now, and someone who is about to go through an experience redolent with past personal trauma so that Kahlan can get her husband back.  The gratitude, it flows.  Nicci whispers that it is "time to dance with death," which is the closest thing to the melodramatic trash I came for that TG has thrown down so far, but just as shit's presumably about to get really occult up in here we cut to the bad guys.


            The bad guys are rather boring.  Torture-Bishop Hannis Arc is standing outside a small D'Harran city called Drendon Falls.  Zombie Emperor Sulachan is there too, and his absolutely ginormous army of half people is hanging out in the forest behind them.  Incidentally, while a whole shit-ton of half people have been released to cause havoc, Sulachan's half people army are all from one nation or something; they're called the shun-tuk because that sounds kinda ominous and foreign, and their faces are smeared with white ash because that sounds foreign too.


            Hannis Arc is pissed because the city has its gates closed.  He hails the walls, informing the city's mayor that he considers the shutting of the gates to be an act of grave disrespect.  The mayor explains that the people of Drendon Falls respect all people equally, which sounds disturbingly socialist for a D'Harran, but he regrets that they have heard about other towns getting slaughtered by a ravening army of psychos.  In a bid to make this another of the olympic-level circlejerk conversations in which Warheart specializes, Hannis Arc reminds the mayor that he has sent emissaries ahead to warn the city that any settlement that does not bow down to him as the ruler of the D'Harran Empire will get fucking shitcanned, thereby outing his army as the aforementioned band of psychos.  The commie mayor, who is being super polite, confusedly reminds him that Richard Rahl, in addition to being the most handsome person in the D'Harran Empire, is also its ruler, praise be unto him.


            Hannis ...  Han ...  oh my God, why didn't I think of this before? Hannity.  Okay, he is now Sean Hannity, right-wing American blowhard and noted Fox News dweeb.  Sean Hannity is super choked that Vaguely Commie Mayor would dare to mention the guy who has been in charge of this country for like ten years now, but then Emperor Sulachan calls out that Richard is dead in his creepy zombie voice and all the people on the walls are like oh shit.


            Then Emperor Sulachan starts giving Sean Hannity lip about how they should stop fucking around with this tiny town and hurry to reach the People's Palace so they can secure the Omen Machine, that big computer thing from the book of the same name that prophesies using the Language of Creation only backwards or some shit.  Sean Hannity is super insecure and was not loved as a child, so he keeps reminding Sulachan that he, Hannity, is in charge, that Sulachan would never have been resurrected without him and all the trouble he went to tattooing the magical symbols required for the resurrection all over his body — reminder: tattoos are evil — and that Emperor Sulachan and his gigantic-ass army of undead hardcases are his, Sean Hannity's, to command.  Sulachan is all whatever, as long as they get to the Omen Machine — he is very intent on this Omen Machine.  One of these people is an evil wizard who has nearly broken an empire and the other is the resurrected spirit of an ancient magical dictator and they sound like an unhappy married couple: Sulachan rags Sean Hannity about his history of underestimating Richard Rahl, and Hannity reminds Sulachan that Richard is his problem now, since Dick's in the Underworld; it's like he's reminding Sulachan to take the garbage out for the fifth fucking week in a row, goddammit Suchi we talked about this.


            Anyway, finally we come around to Hannity deciding to do something evil to Drendon Falls, so that word will spread across D'Harra about what a badass he is and everyone from here to the People's Palace will stop resisting.  He has his evil Mord-Sith Vika bring forward a bunch of prisoners and I start laughing uncontrollably, because he uses magic to throw most of them into the sky.  Some of them smack into the wall and their broken bodies fall to its base, while others clear the wall and fall screaming into the streets of the town.  For some reason I find this hilarious.  Then Sulachan blows the gates off Drendon Falls with his zombie magic and the Shun-tuk totally sack the shit out of it, while Hannity sends the few remaining prisoners ahead of the army to tell tales of how tumescent and overpowering his magic is.

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Yeah! They don't show up much through the rest of the book. Now we know why: they're practicing for their tv debut. They will be the toast of the conservative whackjob cable news universe!


Warheart: Chapters 15-19: Hell Is the Absence of Dick, Part 1


            Nicci is in the Underworld, and the place is just lousy with souls.  She is surrounded by thousands of grasping arms and hears the agonized screams of other souls beyond the wall of arms; these are the souls of all the people she has killed trying to get at her, but it's okay cuz they had it coming apparently.  Nicci is lost among the swirling multitude of souls, but Red puts her hands on her shoulders and steadies her, guiding her using the "flow of time," which is what Red seems to use for goddamn everything.  Using Kahlan's beautiful shiny soul — Kahlan's still sitting in the middle of the creepy Grace-drawn-in-blood, remember — as a guide, Nicci starts searching.


            Then, uh-oh, she's confronted by the soul of the wizard she killed and stole power from in order to become a Sister of the Dark, and apparently this does not go on the acceptable murder list.  But then the spirit reaches out to her and tells her that, while what she did was an injustice, she has done more good with his power than he ever could have himself and so it's all good.  We are told that Nicci is super moved, like so moved, with adjectives; she even cries.  I urge you to follow her example and be moved as well to the best of your ability by this assertion that, basically, straight-up unambiguous murder is acceptable as long as the murderer takes something positive away from the experience.


            She heads onward and finds Isidore, the minor spiritist she was looking for, almost immediately and tells her that she needs to help Richard.  Given how things have gone so far I was worried that Terry would have Nicci explain the whole plot over again, but Isidore is pleasantly non-obstructionist and monosyllabic, and agrees to help her find Naja right away.  Even ghosts love Dick, I guess.


            Isidore ushers Nicci deeper into the Underworld, through "tunnels of blackness through the inky gloom" — no, I have no clear mental image of this place either.  Naja, too, they find almost right away, in a "deep cavern of eternity" whatever one of those is, so I dunno why Isidore was necessary.  Terry wanted to get everybody from the First Confessor spinoff in here I guess.  Oh yeah, Naja and Isidore were buddies with Magda Searus, the First Confessor, way back when.  Naja is way less cool with Nicci than Isidore, and demands to know what gives.  Magda Searus and her War Wizard show up too, and goddammit Nicci re-explains the entire plot to all of them together, so Isidore only saved us for a couple of pages.


            Naja agrees to help, and guides Nicci deeper into the Underworld.  As Nicci looks back she sees Magda Searus and Merritt the first War Wizard glowing and sending her good vibes and being all loving and confident and competent, and it reminds her of Richard and Kahlan, because Terry's characters are really distinct from one another so it's important that the parallels between them be highlighted for us.  Also apparently Naja used to work for Sulachan and has an "exotic form," so she's like Asian or something I guess.  Aw man this book, you guys.  We've only just crossed the hundred page mark and already I am weakening in the face of its boredom and stupidity.  But no, no, I must press on.  I will not be so easily defeated.


            So the Underworld is, like, dark.  Actual quote from this professionally-published novel, the words of which I have not changed for greater effect or fucked with in any way: "Even though the darkness of the Underworld was beyond dark, Nicci began to sense that they were moving into places darker yet.  Where before she had seen the glow of spirits, she now saw spirits drifting through the darkness and those spirits were sometimes so dark they were difficult to see.  Some were darker than the surrounding darkness." Like it is dark here, you guys, it is super dark okay? Like Batman-with-no-parents dark, only actually even darker than that.  Yeah that's right, motherfuckers, Terry's Underworld is darker than Batman, and that right there is some dark shit.


            Onward they whoosh.  Through the darkness.  The dark spirits are chasing them through the darkness, but it's okay because Naja glows at them, which makes them back right the fuck off because they're death-choosers and the light turns their hatred inward and shows them how shit they are relative to the awesome person who is doing the glowing.  But Naja warns Nicci that the demonic spirits guarding Richard will be much more hardcore, and worries that "even if we can find Richard, hidden by the dark ones in eternal darkness," she doesn't have the juice to get him away from them.


            Nicci asks why the spirit of Merritt the War Wizard can't come smack the demons around.  Naja starts explaining that you have to have friends in the Underworld in order to exert destructive power here, and I would think that Merritt's got friends because his girlfriend Magda the First Confessor and uberpowerful soul is here but she doesn't count for some reason; I'll never know why though, because as soon as Naja starts talking about how you have to have friends I start singing "'cuz you gotta have friiiiiends" in the voice of the donkey from Shrek so I miss the next part.  What it amounts to is that even once Richard is free somebody on the other side has to sacrifice themselves in order to keep life and death in balance, which we knew.  Nicci says she'll do it, but her spinoff is already out so let's not dignify that bullshit.


            Continued darkness.


            Finally Naja points out some nasty-ass looking clawed demon things flying in front of them.  They've got Richard, and Nicci and Naja get ready to fight even though Naja's just spent pages talking about how she can't win.


            Tomorrow, an event for which Terry is certain you have been waiting and longing with every fiber of your being: the return of Dick himself!

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Blue or red, the pill is death. Deeeeath. But convenient death, accomplished for the greater glory of Dick, and entered into willingly by one of his worshipers who returns to the plot for this purpose and no other.


Warheart: Chapters 15-19: Hell Is the Absence of Dick, Part 2


            A chapter shift and, ladies and gentlemen, we are finally back with our main man, Dick himself.  He is in great pain, pain down to his soul, because of the darkness you see.  He's okay with it though, because Kahlan is safe and life without her would not have been worth living etc.  He's enfolded within the dark wings of the dark ones, but then a flash of light penetrates the dark wings.  It fades, but then comes again, and Richard fights back against his captors while they seem to be distracted.


            Flashes of light and magical spears tear the demons — oh, sorry, the dark demons — away from him and start pounding the shit out of them; I dunno what Naja was worried about because she and Nicci are crushing these guys.  I guess Terry got bored.  A spirit swoops in to protect Richard from the demons and speaks to him in an "intimate" voice; it's Denna, who I think was the first Mord-Sith Richard turned into a good person, freeing her from her evil sexy pain-loving sex ways just by being such an awesome guy, so, yeah, I guess she is a person who is here now.  Richard sees Nicci and asks if Kahlan is alright, and Nicci says no, because life is as unbearable for her with him gone as it was for him when she was dead.  Though usually as perfect in mind as he is handsome in body Richard had not thought of this, and it makes him sad.


            Oh hey, so that's why the demons are getting stomped so bad: Turns out Zed is randomly here as well; he tells Richard that the "flow of time" had need of him here, which is why he died when he did, so he could be here in the Underworld to help Richard return to life.  Man, this flow of time is great.  It's like one of those boxed flour mixes that you can use to make what the fuck ever — pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuits, anything; whatever kinda plot twist you need, just spray on some flow-of-time and Bob's your uncle, there it is.  Somewhere someone thinks this is good plotting.


            Terry now launches into a list of all the good spirits who show up to help Richard that so far as I can tell consists of every benevolent person in the series who is dead.  This part is like the episode near the end of the run of a serialized tv show in which all the characters the show's killed off show up as dreams or ghosts to mug for the camera for thirty seconds.  Oh, Cara's husband is here and it turns out his first name is Ben, so I didn't pull General Benjington entirely out of nothing.


            Anyway, they stomp the demons.  Magda tells Nicci she needs to return to the living world because the half people are coming to killify Kahlan and everybody in the Citadel.  Before Nicci can ask for more information Magda boops her on the forehead and she vanishes.  Then all his spirit buddies give Dick the bad news about the need for someone who is still alive to give their life as a "bridge" so that he can return; without that bridge he cannot get past the skrin, who I recall being an alien species in the Command & Conquer games but who are the guardians of the veil between life and death in the Dickverse, and he is stuck in the Underworld with the capacity to do sweet fuck all.  Denna, who has always been hot-and-heavy attracted to Dick, as are all good women, takes this opportunity to try and comfort him with an arm-across-the-shoulder moment, but Richard cannot be comforted, and feels only rage at Sulachan.  Merritt approves, advising him to "let the rage fill you," which I'm pretty sure is a tip that Emperor Palpatine once gave Darth Vader.


            Meanwhile, back in the world of the living, Nicci pops out of her trance, weeping and clearly profoundly shaken.  Kahlan doesn't give a shit, though, she just wants to know if it worked.  As soon as the darkness recedes and she can leave the circle she runs over to the bed and bends over Richard to see if he's woken up, despite Red having told her MULTIPLE FUCKING TIMES using simple words that somebody has to die to balance out Richard's return and that hasn't happened yet, so no of course he's not back.  Red looks confused even though she knows goddamn well why this hasn't been enough to bring Richard back by itself, because she was the one who explained it.  I feel like the continuity editing may have gotten a bit fucked here, oh wait haha silly me, there is none.


            Nicci summarizes what went down and explains, holy shit, Kahlan has legit forgotten, or Terry has forgotten that she knew, oh sweet Zombie Jesus he did not even reread this after he wrote it did he?, Nicci re-explains that someone has to die in order for Dick to come back.  Or rather she starts to, because OMG SUDDENLY THERE BE EVIL OUTSIDE THE DOOR!


            I dunno how zombies got into the Citadel without making any noise, but they're all up in here.  There's some screaming and crashing, the door gets blown inward, and this freaky zombie with red glowing eyes and treeroots through him and spears sticking out his back comes charging in.  This guy actually looks kinda cool; I am invested in him as a character. Some soldiers and Mord-Sith come in and pile on him, and Nicci does some magic, but this dead dude's basically invincible and none of it does fuckall.  Then a ton more walking corpses come rampaging down the corridor and hit the soldiers from behind.  Kahlan tries to get to the Sword, but Nicci pulls her into the Grace, the blood-pictogram-thing, and dead dude stops on the edge of it.


            The soldiers get their asses absolutely handed to them, and even though thirty seconds ago one of the dead dudes stopped on the edge of the Grace now one of 'em charges over it like it ain't no thing.  Kahlan, Red, and Nicci scatter.  Nicci finally decides to stop fucking around and uses magic to light one of the dead guys on fire and throw him out a window.  Kahlan plays chicken with the other dead dudes for a bit, still trying to get to the Sword.  Then a Mord-Sith runs into the room and KILLS THE SHIT out of the remaining undead using a knife of a kind that was apparently created by the half people, who are only semi-dead people, to kill the completely-dead people, who are different.  This is totally Cara.  She turns around and yep it's Cara.


            Cara looks different now.  She is still, Goodkind hastens to reassure us, endowed with "pure, graceful femininity," which means I know not what, but I'm guessing something like "strong, but not with like visible muscles or anything 'cuz that's gross, and also with boobs, definitely boobs." She looks distant, haunted, and when Kahlan hugs her she feels cold.  Cara says she has to go.  This totally means that she is now going to kill herself so that Dick can rise back up and she can go to the Underworld to be reunited with General Benjington, but Kahlan is somehow confused.


            Cara goes to the bed and looks down upon Richard.  She looks all glowy and holy, like she's got wings, as if a good spirit is within her — it is totally Denna, I'm calling that now.  She stares soppily at Richard for a moment and caresses his face, then bends down and puts her mouth on his, but not, we are assured, in a kissy way.  Nicci tells Kahlan that Cara is giving Dick the breath of life, which is a thing Mord-Sith can do by stealing their victims' dying breaths and then sharing them out later — also yep it is Denna working within Cara, Nicci recognizes her.  Richard's chest starts to move as Cara breathes her life into him.  Ladies, gentlemen, Dick is beginning to stand erect once more.


            I'm travelling without a computer for a couple days, so there'll be a short break I'm afraid. Should resume around mid-week.

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Yeah, I apologize for suspending things just before the, ah, big moment of revelation, but I have now returned. Terry Time!


Warheart, Chapters 20-26: A Dick For All Seasons, Part 1


            Dick returns to consciousness and, weirdly, even though there has just been a battle in this room during which a rotting corpse got lit on fire, he immediately smells Kahlan.  She smells damn fine, apparently.  He, Kahlan, Red, and Nicci congratulate themselves and talk about how this was all meant to be.  They start to talk about future plans, first and foremost the need to end prophecy, which apparently existed for the sole purpose of providing the information necessary to revive Richard — this is like all prophecy for ever and ever — and has now served its purpose and must be ended.


            Except, uh-oh, Cara is sprawled across Richard's chest and, yep, she's totally dead.  He begs her not to do this for him, but tough turkey, it's already done.  Richard cries and cradles Cara's body, but she always wanted to give her life for him and she's with General Benjington now, so it's okay.  He lays her down and picks up the Sword of Truth to go fuck up some half people.  As soon as he sits up and puts his hand on the Sword he becomes super angry and ready to kill the shit out of people, almost like a really violent really clunky arousal metaphor.  In the past Dick's fury has generally been a "calm fury" and there is no information on whether that is the case this time, but I think we can safely assume so.  Instead of the remainder of the scene focusing on Richard pounding on zombies, however, we instead get a page and a half of Richard thinking to himself about all the reasons why he has to kill the half people and stop Emperor Sulachan and Sean Hannity, and how shitty all his enemies are.  Maybe the budget wouldn't stretch to another fight sequence.  "It's a book," I hear you object, and that's true, but imagination is also a kind of currency.


            We cut to Cara's funeral pyre.  In marked contrast to Richard's abortive funeral they have totally burned the shit out of her.  Dick can't take wearing Cara's pain rod, so he passes it on to Understudy No.  2.  Or, okay, now that Cara's for real dead I guess they're not understudies anymore and it is only fair to give them their names: There's Laurin, and Cassia, who's the one with Cara's agiel now, and Vale, who doesn't do much.  Cassia says she is not worthy, but they have a quick talk about how she is an individual and this perks her right up.  Turns out, however, that the Mord-Sith's pain rods, which are bonded to the Lord Rahl for reasons that are totally not a weird sex metaphor, still don't work, which is weird because Richard's not dead anymore.  Oh ye gods, what laboured magical goatshit is this now? Why can't the rest of the book just be fighting, with no attempts at character moments or magic talk?


            Nicci takes Dick's magical temperature, and he's still got the hedgemaid's poison in him.  So he's still totally gonna die.  But he doesn't wanna talk about it.  He says that he's got a few more days, and he needs to focus on beating Emperor Sulachan and Sean Hannity.  This is supposed to add tension — oh nos! will Richard die again?! I am so tense you guys.


            Terry can't think of what should happen next, so HOLY SHIT ONE OF THE CITADEL's GIANT GUARD TOWERS FALLS RIGHT THE FUCK OVER WHERE RICHARD WAS STANDING! Red pulls him out of the way, because, everybody take a drink, she sees it in the flow of time.  Nobody dies, but several guards get injured as the tower smashes all over the courtyard.  Instead of thanking Red, Richard bitchily tells her that "it would be helpful" if she could look farther ahead next time.  Maybe this offends her, because she suddenly disappears.


            Richard knows who has perpetrated this act of sabotage.  He thinks its Sammie, the sorceress he met in the Dark Lands a couple books ago who turbo hates him, I think because he said he would rescue her mom from Sean Hannity and then Richard ended up having to kill her mom for reasons.  Richard tells Kahlan, Nicci, and the Understudies to wait while he tracks Sammie out beyond the Citadel's garden gate, because she, a random smalltime sorceress, would love to get her revenge on him by killing them and they are totally helpless before her, being as they are the Mother Confessor, three hardcore sex ninjas, and one of the most powerful sorceresses on the planet.  When they object he raises his voice to them and they pipe down, because Dick is back now and he knows best.  This as you might imagine reads very uncomfortably.


            Dick looks out the gate and spots Sammie right away; she's just standing right out in the open in a field.  He approaches and calls out to her.  He calls her Samantha, which is a name that he gave her because I guess Sammie, the name her mother called her, wasn't good enough.  She takes this poorly, saying she doesn't want a name from him; her name is Sammie, she says, and he killed her mother and should prepare to die.  He says okay fine he'll call her Sammie, then immediately calls her Samantha again, because he's a patronizing asshole who thinks he knows what's best for people.  He tells her that her mom was evil, that she killed a bunch of people in Stroyza, which was Sammie's village, and oh hey also turns out she killed Zed.  As evidence he presents a magic book that Evil Mom used to communicate with Sean Hannity's minion, Torture-Abbot Ludwig Dreier, with whom she had apparently been plotting for years.


            Richard goes into a long speech about everything Sammie's mother Irena did to further the fall of the barrier that would let the half people free and this woman is basically Satan: she kills her sister and brother-in-law and dumps them in a swamp, orchestrates her other sister and brother-in-law's deaths by torture, murders her husband, and decapitates Zed.  This conversation makes me hazier than I was before on whether German-sounding abbot and Russian-sounding sorceress were working with Sean Hannity, by the way, because apparently Russian-sounding sorceress Irena allowed herself to be captured by Hannity so she could report back to Abbot Nazi on his activities, rather than being one of his minions.  So maybe Abbot Nazi is just another psycho evil guy who just so happens to be around for when Terry needs a villain to torture somebody and Sean Hannity's busy, or maybe they're uneasy allies.  I'm sure we'll find out.  Sammie can accept all this and grow into Samantha, Richard says, or she can deny the truth -- recall that in Terryland "the truth" is whatever Dick says it is, and that those who question this self-evident fact are death-choosers who deserve what's coming to them -- and remain Sammie, a child.  It is all massively patronizing.


            Sammie articulates again, very clearly, that "I don't want the name you want to give me." Richard's response, and I wouldn't be pausing so long over this boring horseshit except it feels to me like it really encapsulates a lot of the assumptions that people are stupid and incapable of making their own choices that contribute so heavily to making TG's work infuriating, runs in part: "Maybe you're right about that much of it.  If you won't hear the truth ...  then maybe you are still a girl, still Sammie, and not really ready to carry the name Samantha like I thought." In addition to being insulting, this is like Terry somehow gazed into the future, saw the scene in Batman V.  Superman where Superman and Batman bond over both their moms being named Martha and thought that it was profoundly meaningful and he should rip it off.


            We'll let the stupid sink in and leave them standing in this field for today...

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Warheart, Chapters 20-26: A Dick for All Seasons, Part 2


            Richard and Sammie say all the same shit we just went over in different words, Richard demanding that she "live up to your responsibility as a woman and take up the difficult business of using your head to see the truth that's right here before you," by which he means accepting absolutely everything that he has told her without question.  Classic Terry.  He pulls the my father was evil and I got over it.  Finally Sammie loses her shit and shoots a magic bolt at him.  He catches her magic attacks with the Sword.  Kahlan comes up behind him and Sammie gets all freaked out, because she stabbed Kahlan to death and now here she is back again.  Kahlan tells her that Richard has "kept her from being a murderer," and that he is now trying to "keep you from forever losing your way." What a horrific plight the citizens of Dickland face, caught between these smug self-righteous dipshits on the one hand and sadists like Sean Hannity on the other.


            Sammie goes apeshit, tries to kill Kahlan and then runs away.  Richard starts out after her, but Nicci and Kahlan stop him because Sammie's ability to make things explode would totally own him if he went into the forest among all the combustible trees.  Credit where credit is due, Richard listens to them this time.  They let her flee and go to see the Citadel's scribe to ask some boring questions about how Hannity did all his magic bullshit instead.


            They meet the scribe in the Citadel's recording room, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this recording room? Get ready to spend a truly heartbreaking amount of time in it. The scribe, whose name is Mohler, lays down some history about Sean Hannity and the Citadel: The Citadel used to be a prison for people with occult power.  Over time it was taken over by people who wanted to use prophecy to dominate the world.  Sean Hannity was especially obsessed with domination, particularly of the House of Rahl, because some of Richard's ancestors murdered his family.  There's weird shit like bones and gears and sundials scattered all over the record room, and Dick speculates that Hannity's mind loves chaos, so people who don't keep their houses tidy are evil I guess.  There are scrolls with prophecy lying all over, some of them collected through torture by Abbot Nazi, who, yes, apparently was one of Hannity's sources for prophecy and so worked with him to some degree, though not closely.


            Mohler has spent his entire life copying these newly-collected prophecies into books that organise prophecies by subject and have existed for generations.  Richard asks why the prophecies aren't categorized chronologically, which is the Lord Rahl-approved way to record prophecy.  Mohler says he usually has no means of determining chronology and Richard pityingly dismisses his life's work as useless.  Richard then schools him on prophecy, explaining that the words of a prophecy often aren't the actual prophecy and that only a Prophet can see the real prophecy.  This shocks the shit out of this guy who, I remind you, has studied this stuff his entire adult life.  Nicci adds that "true prophecy is a specialty of wizards, not regular people," and that all prophecy delivered by country folk is false prophecy.  Richard realizes that, since pretty much all the prophecy in here is useless and Hannity doesn't seem to have cared about it much in and of itself, he must have had some other interest in this recording room.


            Richard goes over to the desk where Hannity worked when he came in here and finds a scroll written in the language of creation, or rather the Language of Creation, with capitals because it's a big deal.  The Language of Creation, I remind you, while it is not Richard and Kahlan's native tongue, is not jibber-jabber because it is very old and plot relevant.  Dickie-boy asks Mohler if there are more of these and now that he asks why yes yes indeed there are; Hannity called them cerulean scrolls, so I guess they're blue, and on the rare occasions when a new one showed up he'd spend all his time reading and rereading it, which Mohler could have fucking mentioned earlier except that Terry wanted to spend twelve pages dicking around so this recording room section would take up more space.  I'm not trying to be a jackass here, or, well, okay, I'm not only trying to be a jackass: Warheart reads to me as if Goodkind is making sure everything takes absolutely as long as it possibly can, like he's just grinding out words until he drags this thing up to the minimum length he considers appropriate for an important work of literature and then he's gonna hit "send" and never look at it again.


            Anyway, turns out in Dickland "cerulean" isn't a colour, it means "celestial." Dick cogitates for a bit, and cleverly discerns that Hannity only sought throughout the land for prophecy as a pretext to cover his real urgent interest, which was in these celestial scrolls.  Mohler says that sometimes, after Hannity had been working on one of the scrolls, Mohler'd come in to work in the morning and Hannity would have more of his freaky tattoos.  Richard once again asks Mohler if there are any more of these scrolls — a question asked and answered in the affirmative two pages ago, my faith in art and literature and publishing is getting the shit shaken out of it here, I need an adult.  Mohler looks a little bit puzzled by Richard's interest in ancient scrolls that might as well have WE ARE SUPER IMPORTANT engraved on them in diamond-encrusted golden bling, but gamely points out a huge-ass cabinet of the fuckers that has spontaneously appeared since the last time Dick asked this question.


            Dick and Nicci read some of the scrolls and find some stuff in them about banishment from the world of the dead.  Richard decides to translate all of them, because they will reveal Hannity's evil plans.  Kahlan says that they need to focus on curing Dick's poison problem, but he blows her off.  Having spent his first hours back from the dead illustrating how much better he is than everybody else — a mightier warrior than all the First File and sex ninjas of D'Harra, smarter and more cool-headed than emotionally-scarred young women who have watched him kill their mothers, able to reduce a learned scribe's entire life's work to a meaningless puff of smoke within half an hour of conversation — our boy Dick, the Lord Rahl, Seeker of Truth, Bringer of Death, settles down to do some hard-core ...  translation! It's a thrill a minute here in Dickland! What will happen to the gang next time?

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