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


Kalnestk Oblast

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For me it needs to own a narrative sense of belonging in that particular moment, or others for that matter. 

Whether he has the feels or not, to me Kellhus projects a detached and self satisfied yet indulgent type of persona, so I never find his EAMD moments out of place. Frankly, I'd find it out of place if he didn't have them. But Esmi, while she has her moments-- she's not the type to run off course like that. The comparative 'whore' inner dialogue, that she does often and did so in seemingly unlikely situations all the way back to PoN, but it still remained in character as it has been a particular fixation of hers.

EAMD on the otherhand... just nawp.

Not like that, anyway, and while my sarcasm filters may be a little off at the moment I'd bet money that were this particular example pointed out to Bakker, in this instance, he likely wouldn't disagree.    

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10 minutes ago, JEORDHl said:

For me it needs to own a narrative sense of belonging in that particular moment, or others for that matter. 

But it does belong to that particular moment.

The way I read it, it's just a third person explanation of the action of a character. It's not expression of what the character is thinking.

Those two lines PRECEDE what Esme thinks, they aren't part of her conscious thought. I take those as third person, detached from the character.

I'm curious about what Bakker thinks, and thought. In any case the third person limited is not an hard rule. We just assume it is. Breaking it might be either a mistake, or deliberate. My interpretation is that it's deliberate.

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5 hours ago, Hello World said:

Note that that sentence is mentioned twice, at the start of the Sranc eating section and at the end of the Outside PoV.

I like the parallel between the men of the Ordeal harvesting sranc and the gods harvesting the souls of men. 

Also "the Sons". Do not Sons imply a Father? I think there is room here for the God and the hundred/ciphrang. It's what the quote of the Book of Fane seems to imply also. This scene is what I think what Kel describes in WLW as "God, broken into a million warring pieces." (Paraphrased)

At the end of TTT, Moe said "the God sleeps."  He sleeps as his Sons war and harvest. What would he do were he to wake? Is Moe's Thousandfold Thought driving Kel towards that goal?

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I mean, Book 1, first line of the Prologue:

"One cannot raise walls against what has been forgotten."

Who is thinking this? No one.

First Chapter:

"All spies obsessed over their informants. It was a game they played in the moments before sleep or even during nervous gaps in conversation. A spy would look at his informant, as Achamian looked at Geshrunni now, and ask himself, How much does he know?"

Even here it's not Achamian who's consciously thinking that. It's third person again. Achamian DOES that, he obsesses over his informant, but he doesn't think about obsession to hand exposition to the reader.

It just doesn't seem to me Bakker is using the third person limited the way Martin would. Those do not seem "slips". It's just written differently.

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Regarding the Head on the Pole scene,

Does anyone else get the sense that the the Head on the Pole functions as some mooring device? After reading it a few times it seems to me that it's used as some type of anchor to keep the person (Kellhus?) from becoming lost lost/stranded in the Outside. Because he isn't dead, the Sons cannot devour him it seems but maybe he can lose himself and become trapped?

 

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17 minutes ago, Udat said:

Regarding the Head on the Pole scene,

Does anyone else get the sense that the the Head on the Pole functions as some mooring device? After reading it a few times it seems to me that it's used as some type of anchor to keep the person (Kellhus?) from becoming lost lost/stranded in the Outside. Because he isn't dead, the Sons cannot devour him it seems but maybe he can lose himself and become trapped?

 

That seems to be the case. @lokisnow put forth the idea over at SA, that it is Serwe and this is a flashback of him visiting the Outside while on the Circumfix. While there's no concrete evidence for that, I like it....A LOT.

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I really liked this from the next excerpt:

Quote

But when life became momentous... nothing seemed more absurd, more precarious, than the now. One ate, as one always ate, one loved and hoped and hated the same as before–and it all seemed impossible.

It's something I keep finding thinking these days. You're dealing with this thing that is horrible, that people do cheesy lifetime dramas about, and...yeah, sometimes it's emergent and horrible, but a lot of times it's just spent doing the normal things. You eat, you joke, you play, you go to work and try and make normal the abhorrent. It gets into people's inability to deal with the concept of change but their capacity to adapt and make normal quickly new situations. 

Similarly, Mimara's new observation:

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The thought almost makes her laugh, not out of any callousness, but out of exhaustion. Toil, harsh and relentless, has a way of twisting hope into self-consuming circles. Battle peril long enough, she has learned, and you will come to see salvation in your doom.

Mimara remains Bakker's best written character. 

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I might agree with you there, Kal. Mimara is something else.

 

And that excerpt, craziness.

Spoiler

Dunyain women. Guess that answers that question. Bakker can really peel back some disgusting shit.

Earlier, when Mim and Akka found the pit within the ruins of Ishual, for a moment, just a moment, I saw the False Sun and the pit that Aurang and Shaeonanra revealed to send Titirga to his doom. The Viritic Well. Can't be right though, can it?

Anyone also wonder if the Inverse Fire is the Absolute? 

 

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So much to talk about!

1-that fucking introductory quote is drenched in significance. Especially in regards to the second, Ishual, chapter

2-Sologdin is right, but does not go far enough. Esmenet's mind is fucked by twenty years of deliberate Dunyain fuckery--that is why her thoughts now run in PARALLEL tracts to the manner in which Cnaiur's thoughts run in the first trilogy. Cnaiur thought as she did, constantly having his internal monologue assaulted and co-opted by Dunyainic whispers and recriminations and aphorisms.

3-Sranc meat seems to act as an inoculant, perhaps it makes the human soul far less tasty or far less visible to the gods, per head on the pole revelations.

4-God=Thesis. Humans=Anti-thesis. No-God=Syn-Thesis, aka Neo-Thesis

No-God=Thesis. Kellhus/Dunyain=Anti-Thesis. Mimara=Syn-Thesis

5-Head on the pole behind you, the head is Serwe:

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 “Not think, know. We’re but squabbling children absent you and your word. I was there! I partook in the conceit that ruled the Holy War before your revelation! The ruinous folly!” 

This is the context by which Proyas frames their conversation, he speaks of how he knows Kellhus is divine because of the Circumfix, and he knows it because he was part of the opposition before the Circumfix.

Kellhus responds to Proyas thus referring the Circumfix as:

 

Quote

 

“And what was my revelation?”

“That the God of Gods spoke to you!”

Eyes losing focus. Imagery boiling up out of oblivion. Probabilities like crabs scuttling on the shores of what was unknown.

“And what did It tell me?”

*snip*

“Yes. What did It tell me?”

*snip*

“What was my revelation? What secret could It whisper into an ear so small as mine?”

~~~

There is a head on a pole behind you.

*snip*

Because you fear not damnation.

Because there is a head on a pole behind you.

 

The text goes directly from discussion of What Kellhus learned on the Circumfix to THERE IS A HEAD ON A POLE BEHIND YOU

When Kellhus was on the Circumfix there was a head on the pole behind him. That head was Serwe. Serwe is why Kellhus does not fear damnation.

Pretty sure this also fits with how Kellhus perceived and was disturbed by Serwe's body whilst on the Circumfix in The Warrior Prophet.

I would quote TWP but the industrial complex demands I not as when I tried to launch my kindle on my WinXP laptop I now get the message: "this version of the kindle application has expired and can no longer be used." I love e-books, but this sort of corporate malfeasance makes me hate them!

More importantly!

what does THIS mean:

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So he seizes the lake and the thousand babes and the void and the massing-descending Sons and the lamentations-that-are-honey, and he rips them about the pole, transforms here into here, this-place-inside-where-you-sit now, where he has always hidden, always watched, where Other Sons, recline, drinking from bowls that are skies, savouring the moaning broth of the Countless, bloating for the sake of bloat, slaking hungers like chasms, pits that eternity had rendered Holy ...

Are the OTHER SONS dunyain?

transforms Here into the place inside? that seems like a very sort of Darkness that comes before. that seems like a very sort of Grasping the Absolute?

 

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Oh I cannot resist:

Quote
CHAPTER ONE: Aörsi
IV. The Game of Thrones is the part of the whole that reenacts the whole as the whole.
The TV show therefore recognizes nothing outside itself, as we recognize nothing outside
what we recognize.
—The Fourth Canto of the Song of Ice and Fire

 

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And yep, we got the Axolotl tanks. Good call on whoever advanced that notion first.

And we got that Kellhus is a lying liar too. Not only is he damned, he is the Most Damned. The World sees Kellhus as evil, objective, pure evil. Now one could argue that this is because his morals directly and heavily conflict with the morals of the World-Bakery, but this should finally put to rest the idea that Kellhus can in any way change the world by his choices, or that he is holy when sorcerers are not. His decisions change nothing about how the World and the God see him. Or the Dunyain. He makes nothing holy, at least not yet. 

Kellhus breeding before he left was another guess that people made, and makes sense. 

So, questions-

  •  how did the Consult find Ishual? They clearly respected the Dunyain's force and came ready to destroy, have spent maybe a decade waging a war in the cold depths of Ishual - so someone made sure they got exactly what they'd need. They came with an army that the Great Ordeal hasn't even seen yet - hordes of Quya mages, uncountable Sranc.
  • I'm still assuming that Kellhus is setting Akka and Mimara to see Ishual. While we have had no idea that this happened, I find it completely implausible that Kellhus wouldn't have known of a war on his home that lasted a decade. Kellhus wanted Akka to find this. Kellhus wanted Akka - and Mimara - to witness the horrors and likely to find the survivor. Still not sure why. This does dovetail somewhat nicely with Proyas - it seems like Kellhus is setting up some counterculture to his world. One where the God of Gods is horrible, and one where the Dunyain are evil. What is left?
  • Did Kellhus know that his child lived? 
  • The child of Kellhus certainly knows about Kellhus, though. Which is interesting itself. It implies that his leaving isn't just an accident. That him grasping the Absolute by going to the Worldborne was planned. That Kellhus taking over was itself part of the plan. It's unclear if the Consult wiping them out was also part of the plan (my suspicion is no) but Kellhus leaving, taking the world over, becoming more powerful, even potentially gaining magic - that all is likely part of the plan. 
  • And of course, it's also implied that Kellhus hasn't met the survivors. Whether they're lying liars is another matter.


 

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my first thought is that the child is Kellhus' grandchild, Koringhus' child.

My second thought is that the Dunyain yet live in numbers we won't see. The assault was only broken off as the Ordeal began to move. the Consult can't fight a two front war. It is in the Dunyain's interest to spin the tale told to Achamian and Mimara and it is in their interest to use an Anasurimbor as a buffer, because they will correctly surmise they were assaulted because of Kellhus and thus will use an Anasurimbor to both bait the hook and also to conceal their survival.

The Dunyain attempting to become gods means they feast on the suffering of the human race like gods do.

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Putting some space here because I know Tapatalk previews the first line of the most recent post and I don't want people getting accidentally spoiled:

 

I know we are constantly referring to axolotl tanks, and this is probably the best term to use, but use of the term is a considerable spoiler for the Dune series so perhaps we should reconsider? Whale Mothers would seem to be the in universe descriptor/referrant and may be better to use.

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1 minute ago, lokisnow said:

I know we are constantly referring to axolotl tanks, and this is probably the best term to use, but use of the term is a considerable spoiler for the Dune series so perhaps we should reconsider? Whale Mothers would seem to be the in universe descriptor/referrant and may be better to use.

It's not a spoiler for the Dune series. Not at all. It's a mechanic in the Dune series. It's a spoiler the way the existence of the planet Dune is a spoiler for the Dune series. 

I'm not sure how much I want to get into the mothers, either. Their existence is very problematic for thoughts of gender binary as a whole. Like, I was one of the people that advanced the logic behind the Dunyain doing this - having women constantly breeding, constantly having babies, because the Dunyain's success is predicated on producing more viable offspring. (that women being chained up as broodmares is not a successful breeding strategy for animal husbandry in the real world is a separate point). 

But...what this implies is that the same selective traits that you can choose to make men super intelligent, strong, and logical are the same that make women into giant misshapen wombs. It doesn't even imply it - it states it as such. Think of what this implies - that all the actual selected 'good' genes are entirely on the Y chromosome. That the XX chromosome gives misshapen skulls, 'pockets around wombs'...it's horrible, but it also is so absurdist. It's a silly caricature of the Handmaid's tale. 

I think it would have been far more affecting if the women weren't deformities. If Akka couldn't say that they weren't human. Because raping inhumans and forcing them to breed - that's not horrible, that's just what we do to cows or pigs or chickens. That's what we do to our livestock. That's almost mundane. As it is, this is somewhat of a cheap way out. 

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14 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

But...what this implies is that the same selective traits that you can choose to make men super intelligent, strong, and logical are the same that make women into giant misshapen wombs. It doesn't even imply it - it states it as such. Think of what this implies - that all the actual selected 'good' genes are entirely on the Y chromosome. That the XX chromosome gives misshapen skulls, 'pockets around wombs'...it's horrible, but it also is so absurdist. It's a silly caricature of the Handmaid's tale. 

I think it would have been far more affecting if the women weren't deformities. If Akka couldn't say that they weren't human. Because raping inhumans and forcing them to breed - that's not horrible, that's just what we do to cows or pigs or chickens. That's what we do to our livestock. That's almost mundane. As it is, this is somewhat of a cheap way out. 

I disgaree.

I think you're discounting that what the Dunyain employed to realize their goal in the Men, or a particular Man whatever, are the same eugenics they'd have used to turn Dunyain Women into the Whale Mothers. The Shortest Path, right? 

It IS disgusting, dude.  

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33 minutes ago, JEORDHl said:

I disgaree.

I think you're discounting that what the Dunyain employed to realize their goal in the Men, or a particular Man whatever, are the same eugenics they'd have used to turn Dunyain Women into the Whale Mothers. The Shortest Path, right? 

It IS disgusting, dude.  

But again, that doesn't make sense. That kind of sexual dimorphism doesn't happen in mammals, especially not after only a few generations. 

I'm not discounting it. In the sentence you quoted from me I'm stating it as the actual problem. I'm disagreeing with the premise. Genetically it just doesn't make sense at all. And it's a lot harder for me, personally, to sympathize with some weird misshapen thing that might not even have the ability to think. 

It also doesn't make sense from what we've seen of the offspring Kellhus has had. Why are Theliopia and Serwa both basically normal humans other than their brain? So...one X chromosome from Kellhus contains perfectly viable recessive traits, the Y chromosome contains totally dominant ones that also happen to be awesome, and XX becomes recessive but also unlocks ultimate brood mare? I guess Theliopia's arms and legs might be like this, but not exactly. Again, Akka can identify that these things aren't human other than their skulls. Their pelvis is probably massively wider, the hips wider, the legs and arms tiny and thin, the ribcage small and distended. 

Let's go with you as a writer. What do you think is a more sympathetic picture in people's mind: the idea of some weird misshapen woman-like thing that is mostly womb and not much else, with a normal head and insect-like arms, and having the idea of people just mechanically fucking that. Or...the idea of someone who looks like your wife, or your girlfriend, or your sister, or your mother - who looks basically just like that, being held down in the basement and being raped over and over?

Which is more horrific? 

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Oh yeah, hopefully we can shut the fuckers up who think that the World of Earwa isn't making women less:

Quote

Between women and men, women possess the lesser soul. Whenever the Eye opens, she glimpses the fact of this, the demand that women yield to the requirements of men, so long as those demands be righteous. To bear sons. To lower her gaze.. To provide succor. The place of the woman is to give. So it has always been, since Omrain first climbed nude from the dust and bathed in the wind. Since Esmenet made herself a crutch for stern Angeshraël.

 

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51 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

But again, that doesn't make sense. That kind of sexual dimorphism doesn't happen in mammals, especially not after only a few generations. 

I'm not discounting it. In the sentence you quoted from me I'm stating it as the actual problem. I'm disagreeing with the premise. Genetically it just doesn't make sense at all. And it's a lot harder for me, personally, to sympathize with some weird misshapen thing that might not even have the ability to think. 

It also doesn't make sense from what we've seen of the offspring Kellhus has had. Why are Theliopia and Serwa both basically normal humans other than their brain? So...one X chromosome from Kellhus contains perfectly viable recessive traits, the Y chromosome contains totally dominant ones that also happen to be awesome, and XX becomes recessive but also unlocks ultimate brood mare? I guess Theliopia's arms and legs might be like this, but not exactly. 

Let's go with you as a writer. What do you think is a more sympathetic picture in people's mind: the idea of some weird misshapen woman-like thing that is mostly womb and not much else, with a weird head and insect-like arms, and having the idea of people just mechanically fucking that. Or...the idea of someone who looks like your wife, or your girlfriend, or your sister, or your mother - who looks basically just like that, being held down in the basement and being raped over and over?

Which is more horrific? 

I'd argue that there's been more than few generations between the Dunyain that found the Prince in the prologue of PoN, but that would be quibbling. Putting it aside, "We are Dunyain, child," suggests at least at that point in time Dunyain women were normal [or as normal as the men anyway].

And discounting was a poor word choice, but it seems apparent to me that Bakker is playing quite liberally with the notion of selective breeding. I mean, arriving at a Dunyain male [also in a relatively short period of time] who in intellect, reflexes and overall ability is so many magnitudes beyond the typical Worldborn strains credulity, not quite but still nearly as much as the Dunyain selectively breeding their wives and daughters into the Whale Mothers to better quicken their male progeny. So arguing that Bakker does or doesn't understand how this works or how some traits would definitely shared between both sexes is kind of moot, when it doesn't work either way.

I'll be frank, and I'm repeating myself here, but I'm absolutely disgusted by this turn. At first, way way back, when the whole Bakker and Women thing seemed urgent I was ok with where Bakker was going because at the very least it felt consistent with what he was trying to do, even if women like Cerys [Lyanna, now] almost convinced me otherwise. Now though, I just don't know. I might not even continue with this series after this. Seriously. 

So when you ask me as a writer, it's hard to answer that question. I mean, if Bakker remains true to form, it's entirely possible it would be more offensive if it had been painted as you suggest, but unlike you I think it would mostly be because Bakker would then have, say, Akka or Mimara conversing one or several of the Dunyain 'brood mares' and we'd have to listen to their responses like Dunyain women were ok with their lot [because Dunyain women would be] that their being relegated to breeding stock little better than speedy wombs was alright, that this made sense. That they were convinced by reason. That they chose it. And while it is arguably the same in either case [the choosing] I'm not sure I could handle that assertion coming from the mouth of a Dunyain woman as if she were placidly speaking for her entire gender. So not only some form of brood cow physically, but also mentally. 

I guess you do have a solid point there. 

I'm not disagreeing as strongly as I came off in my first response, I suppose, it's just so fucking... ugh. What the fuck is wrong with this guy. Like, I know this is fiction and dark as darkling fuck, but I'd be lying if I wasn't morbidly curious about what Bakker's wife might wonder is behind that adoring gaze of his and the shit he comes up with.   

 

edited for lots of stuffs 

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