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


Kalnestk Oblast

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honestly I was more horrified by the descriptions of the "Sons" and the "babes" in the Kellhus chapter than anything in the Ishual chapter. I knew Bakker would be unable to resist something along the Whale mothers line, because you know, the Dunyain self- eradicating 50% of the possibilities of their race by reducing women to this state is right on target for typical Bakker.

Note that Mimara sees Kellhus doing his duty in the whale room and he is already monstrously damned in this past moment, pre leaving Ishual. at least that's how I understood it.

One thing not yet mentioned, Esmenet and the other women Kellhus bred with delivered multiple defective dunyain children, could these have been "normal" dunyain women and none of them knew what it was that they birthed?

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1 hour ago, unJon said:

I like how Pat's leadin says the chapter doesn't contain spoilers. :P

From Bakker's email I got this morning:

"It might be worth letting your readers know that this is the first chapter of the Achamian thread, and so contains no spoilers."

If the man himself claims there are no spoilers, than I guess there are no spoilers. . . ;) 

Patrick

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45 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

It'd fit right in as well as give a nice checkmark to the twin horrors for Men's Rights Activists: being cuckolded and having sex with fat women. 

 

I'm at T-Ball for my six year old, while my eight year old plays over at the playground. Trying to keep an eye on both my daughters and being here on my phone may not be the best idea...

---

I've missed something, I think, although I haven't really participated in Bakker threads in years.

Can you unpack that a bit?

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I think I missed what the babes was referring too (probably mixed them up with 'sons') the first time through - just to horrific to grasp the context the first time around.

So this whole damnation machine includes damning nations for believing wrong before you've even gotten a chance be indoctrinated? Or are they babies born out of wedlock and died as babies as well? What a fucking carnival.

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re: Dunyain genetics. We have previously had discussions about genetics working differently in Bakkerworld. There is evidence with the seed is strong bit etc. 

Also the argument of male/female distinction, there's another possibility that doesn't require postulating a gender divergence. It could be that half (or some other fraction) of women are born normal and are killed as babies and half of the males (or some other fraction) are born as whale fathers and killed as babies. Maybe even the "normal" females become the "defectives" in the face reading room. 

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I like that explanation. It's genetically implausible and violates how things grow typically, but if you make it so that the women aren't half and half but instead are like 1 in 100 or something (think dwarfism or downs syndrome) or if it's something like a xxx breed it becomes a bit less insane.

I still think it would hit harder if the women are normal, but again it doesn't horrify the loyal anti cuck MRA audience if you can't picture being forced to have sex with fat women.

 

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1 hour ago, Callan S. said:

I think I missed what the babes was referring too (probably mixed them up with 'sons') the first time through - just to horrific to grasp the context the first time around.

So this whole damnation machine includes damning nations for believing wrong before you've even gotten a chance be indoctrinated? Or are they babies born out of wedlock and died as babies as well? What a fucking carnival.

My first read I thought it referred to babies, but I think the term babes is actually used to refer to any ensouled being used as food by the gods.

not damning whole nations, damning the whole universe, if the world is a granary, all worlds are equally granary. Only on earwa can something be done about it.

think how the sranc are deliberately constructed to "sin" by the inchoroi, all ensouled beings throughout the universe have been deliberately constructed by The gods to "sin" in order to feed the gods, sin is written into the biological imperatives of existence so that damnation cannot be avoided--unless you create over the millennia a Mimara.

perhaps chorae are not a weapon against sorcerers but a check against the harvest?

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7 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Yeah, there are existing examples of such odd dimorphism in the sexes in the animal kingdom - but none that are mammalian to my knowledge. Even when breeding artificially (such as bulldogs) the female isn't changed significantly from the male, and that's with the head making it impossible to give birth naturally. 

I'd be willing to buy that Dunyain were hermaphrodites and bred via parthenogenesis than I am this odd dimorphism, honestly. 

Not that that specifically matters - it dragged me out of the moment a bit, but as you say, it's a fantasy. What I think was disappointing was that he made the whale-mothers inhuman. I think it would have been a lot more horrific to make them entirely human and then have Mimara see them chained up, raped, their jaws and tongues surgically removed, their legs purposely and deliberately crippled. I can see it as being horrific for men thinking about having sex with these whales in some way, though, so it's more of an artistic license, but I think it robbed the scene of being a bit more affecting on doing something to someone who is human - and choosing to do it anyway. Breeding women so that their only role is a broodmare and making that their only physical trait makes me think more of the sentient cow at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, who was happy to be eaten. 

Completely agree that it would be virtually impossible in mammals without causing some change in the male as well. To "achieve" such a difference without changing the males seems hard to imagine. They could of course do something akin to dogs in that their could be breeds that are physically very different but can still mate. In that scenario you'd get "whale fathers" but the Dunyain possibly bin them.

I also fully agree with your point of losing impact by dehumanizing the victims. Which is rule number 1 in all attempts at justifying persecution, torture and killing of groups. A bit like the urban myth of a GM KFC tumour that just produces wings from a vat vs a battery chicken. One emotes more empathy even if the disgust levels are similar.

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17 minutes ago, lokisnow said:

My first read I thought it referred to babies, but I think the term babes is actually used to refer to any ensouled being used as food by the gods.

not damning whole nations, damning the whole universe, if the world is a granary, all worlds are equally granary. Only on earwa can something be done about it.

think how the sranc are deliberately constructed to "sin" by the inchoroi, all ensouled beings throughout the universe have been deliberately constructed by The gods to "sin" in order to feed the gods, sin is written into the biological imperatives of existence so that damnation cannot be avoided--unless you create over the millennia a Mimara.

perhaps chorae are not a weapon against sorcerers but a check against the harvest?

Which makes you wonder what exactly the Judging Eye is, in the setting. Is it entrapping the God? Why can Mimara re-write sin and forgive?  

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We have an answer to this from book one

Quote

Chapter Three – Sumna
If the world is a game whose rules are written by the God, and sorcerers are those who cheat and cheat, then who has written the rules of sorcery?
    —ZARATHINIUS, A DEFENCE OF THE ARCANE ARTS

The answer being that the rules of sorcery are written to increase the taste of the harvest. Sorcerers think they are cheating but they are being cheated.

this leads directly to the next chapter heading

Quote


Chapter Four – Sumna
To be ignorant and to be deceived are two different things.  To be ignorant is to be a slave to the world.  To be deceived is to be the slave of another man.  The question will always be: Why, when all men are ignorant, and therefore already slaves, does this latter slavery sting us so?
    —AJENCIS, THE EPISTEMOLOGIES

Sorcerers in Being deceived by the gods are slaves to the gods. And boy does the damnation sting.

This then leads to this chapter heading

Quote

Chapter Eight – Momemn
Kings never lie.  They demand the world be mistaken.
    —CONRIYAN PROVERB

When we truly apprehend the Gods, the Nilnameshi sages say, we recognize them not as kings but as thieves.  This is among the wisest of blasphemies, for we always see the king who cheats us, never the thief.
    —OLEKAROS, AVOWALS

The gods are thieves and we are blind to it. They steal our lives from us to succor their endless hunger and we are blind to their theft. We are being cheated and do not know it.

Now let us recall the header of the great ordeal, "let there be deceit. Let there be desire."

note that the first thing the god writes into the universe is deceit. Then he writes in desire. The universe is lie and desire is the yoke of that lie the enslavement of ensouled beings, all deliberately first deceived. The darkness that comes before is the deceit of the gods, in a way. Spinning of this lets move on through book one to another chapter header.

Quote

Chapter Eleven – Momemn
Reason, Ajencis writes, is the capacity to overcome unprecedented obstacles in the gratification of desire.  What distinguished man from beasts is man’s capacity to overcome infinite obstacles through reason.
But Ajencis has confused the accidental for the essential.  Prior to the capacity to overcome infinite obstacles is the capacity to confront them.  What defines man is not that he reasons, but that he prays. 
    —EKYANNUS I, 44 EPISTLE

Prior to desire is prayer and (as we have seen illustrated throughout these chapter headers) prayer is deceit. 

Quote

Faith is the truth of passion.  Since no passion is more true than another, faith is the truth of nothing.
    —AJENCIS, THE FOURTH ANALYTIC OF MAN

And if prayer is deceit then we see  Ajencis point it out in a chapter header after this. Perhaps he was just wrong about the order of desire and deceit in the universe. 

And in case you were wondering we basically have a variant on the world is a granary in book one

Quote

hapter Fourteen – The Kyranae Plain
Some say men continually war against circumstances, but I say they perpetually flee.  What are the works of men if not a momentary respite, a hiding place soon to be discovered by catastrophe?  Life is endless flight before the hunter we call the world.
    —EKYANNUS VIII, 111 APHORISMS

I am sort of baffled and amazed rereading these tonight.

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38 minutes ago, lokisnow said:

My first read I thought it referred to babies, but I think the term babes is actually used to refer to any ensouled being used as food by the gods.

not damning whole nations, damning the whole universe, if the world is a granary, all worlds are equally granary. Only on earwa can something be done about it.

think how the sranc are deliberately constructed to "sin" by the inchoroi, all ensouled beings throughout the universe have been deliberately constructed by The gods to "sin" in order to feed the gods, sin is written into the biological imperatives of existence so that damnation cannot be avoided--unless you create over the millennia a Mimara.

perhaps chorae are not a weapon against sorcerers but a check against the harvest?

Maybe that's what babies refers to. Maybe.

Really 'good' people are just the failed crop, under that paradigm.

Of course the necessity of eating sranc and how quickly it's normalised is a reflection of mens souls being eaten.

I'm wondering if the sons mentioned are the ones that end up on Kelhus' belt as skulls.

Anyway, if males sin more than women, maybe that's why men are more important on Earwa? ;)

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I don't think damnation is the only thing which happens in the outside I think it's just once side of the "harvest" some the gods reward some the gods punish. 

Quote

He comes to the shore that is here, always here, gazes without sight across waters that are fire, and sees the Sons swimming, lolling and bloated and bestial, raising babes as wineskins, and drinking deep their shrieks.

Quote

He has always hidden, always watched, where Other Sons, recline, drinking from bowls that are skies, savoring the moaning broth of the Countless, bloating for the sake of bloat, slaking hungers like chasms, pits that eternity had rendered Holy ...

These seem to be both the outside, one has fire, one has sky,one has shrieks, one has moaning, and I would hazard to guess that in one the Sons feed off pleasure and in the other they feed off pain. How one gets sorted between one or the other I would guess is the difference between salvation and damnation, the world exists to give souls experience and depending on the experience the soul is used for pleasure or pain. 

It's interesting to me that this section more or less proves the Cishaurim right, the gods are demons who just want to snack on souls. Given that Meppa seems to be able to see this I wonder what the Cishaurim method of avoiding this is? I also wonder if, seeing as  Kellhus is warring against the gods the Fanim invasion was not merely a consequence of leaving but a feature after all if you want to fight the gods it is the Fanim who would be  your natural allies not the Intrithi, we can see this already with the cults rising up.

Finally could this be a reference to Moenghus? 

Quote

We pondered you, says the most crocodilian of the Sons.

“But I have never been here.”

You said this very thing,

They look the same so maybe the son thinks they are the same person? Who knows but given that it seems the Cishaurim can see the outside it seems  probable Moenghus also visited there. 

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Quote

 

We pondered you, says the most crocodilian of the Sons.

“But I have never been here.”

You said this very thing,

 

I figured it was a weird memory thing that happens in the outside. Much as the POV is kind of cast onto the reader - as if identity kind of fails like that.

But it could be they just mistook Kellhus for Moe "All you food look alike to us!"

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Regarding the Whale-Mothers,

While I totally understand what some of you mean when you say that making the females into humanless blobs is pulling the bunch a bit, I personally don't have less of a reaction about what I'm reading because of that. 

Just knowing that at some point, these were "normal" women gives me the same reaction of disgust and makes it extremely difficult for me to read. That part about men "arched like sh*#ting dogs", man that conjured up visions in my brain I'm certain to lose sleep over. 

What really stuck with me however was that bit about women yielding to the requirements of men because of them being the lessor soul. Maybe I read it wrong, however I took that as the Whale-Mothers slowing becoming those blobs overtime was not only do to the Dunyains breeding practices. But also due to the collective force of their will and that is something I found more upsetting. 

The way it does about happening doesn't make sense sure, but the intent is what gets me. 

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7 hours ago, Kalbear said:

But again it doesn't horrify the loyal anti cuck MRA audience if you can't picture being forced to have sex with fat women.

 

Not sure what you're trying to say here. That Bakker wants us (or some segment of his audience) to sympathise with or feel 'horrified' that Dûnyain men are forced to have sex with those females?

Though on the risk of sounding stupid, is Kellhus really evil for procreating in this way? I mean, this is what their race looks like. It's a terrible race as he himself thinks, but what else is someone born in Ishuäl supposed to do but procreate with the females of their race in the only way that they know?

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7 minutes ago, Udat said:

Just knowing that at some point, these were "normal" women gives me the same reaction of disgust and makes it extremely difficult for me to read. That part about men "arched like sh*#ting dogs", man that conjured up visions in my brain I'm certain to lose sleep over. 

 

Were they ever "normal" women? If they were it's horendous - if they were born as the creatures they now are then it's probably less so as they may see this as their existence?

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