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Bakker's the Great Ordeal excerpts III: Barthes to Balzac(spoilers)


Kalnestk Oblast

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On the onkis thing - interesting that that goddess is the goddess of hope and aspiration and is a prophetess of people's motivations. Sounds like a cross between mimara and Kellhus on some odd level.

Crackpot would be that mimara acts as the head on a pole, seeing Kellhus and seeing him as not damned.

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46 minutes ago, bakkerfans said:

Here are the winners of The Great Ordeal ARC giveaway!

http://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=1818.msg27334#msg27334

Bummed not to get an ARC, but oh well, I still have to start my re-read of TAE anyway.

That Inrau/Onkis catch is fantastic. I was reading TTT when the excerpts were released and there was some interesting underlying descriptive themes relating to the "demon feasting" scene.

 

Question for Kalbear: Where would you rank TGO in terms of the series -- better/worse that TJE/WLW?

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55 minutes ago, kuenjato said:

Question for Kalbear: Where would you rank TGO in terms of the series -- better/worse that TJE/WLW?

Hmm. I'll spoil mark this just in case.

Spoiler

 

So I personally think TTT is the best, followed by TJE and WLW. WLW would probably be the best if it wasn't for a somewhat flat and slow ending. Based on that it's definitely below TJE (TJE has a significantly better ending and has more bootstrapping to do to get there), and has nothing as awesome as the Maithanet/Inrilatus/Kelmomas scene as far as highs - though the Ish parts come real close. It doesn't, however, have as many low parts as WLW did, and certainly ends more interestingly than WLW did. My personal take is that it's lower than WLW because of the endings, which were fairly disappointing to me. 

Keep in mind that others love, love, LOVE the endings, so whether you like it depends a lot on how the endings grab you. Some people seemed to see them as a giant cliffhanger of craziness, and kind of love that (and they sort of are, like WLW). I saw at least two of the endings as fairly unearned, in the D&D trope of 'rocks fall, everyone dies' kind of way. Because of that I felt a lot more like there was no real point in predicting or thinking deeply on the books, as essentially anything can happen and will be justifiable by the way the world works. 

Ultimately I think the problem is that it just isn't a complete book. While things do take big twists, there aren't a ton of climaxes (or are anticlimaxes) and things just don't feel done to me. It's sort of like having TTT end as the battle of Shimeh rages on and Kellhus just gets to talking with Moe while Akka just gets to talking with Esmi. That's some really exciting stuff, but it's not an ending precisely. That's why I recommended to Jeordhi that he waits - because whether or not this is a good book will depend significantly on what happens in TUC. 

 

 

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The What has come before section is really great.  I've reread the other four WHCB several times and this is probably the best one he's written. People who have not read the series in five years (or longer if they've skipped Aspect Emperor) could pick up this book, read through the WHCB and start the Great Ordeal with no problems, in my opinion.  If you feel like Wert spoiled anything with his elucidations in the first history post, basically everything he stated is stated with similar clarity in the WHCB.

I skipped rereading the prologue. meh. I reread & skimmed the first chapter. I HAD to reread "The Head on the Pole Behind you" section after the above mentioned reference to Onkis. Isn't Onkis referred to in the False Son as the goddess of the darkness that comes before? So is the head the manifestation of Kellhus mastery of the darkness that comes before? Or is it a manifestation of the watcher and watched?  is Onkis mixed up in the watcher and watched thing? 

I have theories piling up but since I've now been polluted by the other content, I'll refrain from saying anything as I'm not sure I could separate things out.

Chapter two, Injor Niyas. YAY! I devoured this chapter, but as I went on, I realized I was reading slower and slower, trying to soak everything in. Unlike Kal, I don't think this would have been as fantastic a pre-release as Chapter 1 and the Ishual chapter have been. But it's a really freaking nice chapter.

I couldn't muster the strength to continue reading so I read the chapter header for chapter 3, it is a really awesome chapter header, inspired, I started flipping forward and reading the chapter headers. I stopped at the second Ishterebinth chapter and got immediately and totally sucked in. Until my wife came out and told me it was 1:30am and I should really come to bed. despondent, I responsibly put the book down in the middle of the chapter and retired for the evening. 

Ugh. Work sucks. I just want to read and read and read. It's going to be so hard to be responsible and go back and read all the intervening pages between the two Ishterebinth chapters.

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Once again - open invite to locke, Kalbear, and any other Westerosi ARC readers who would like to talk privately with a growing number of ARC readers (10+).

@Werthead, was there a reason you didn't include Bakker's Three Seas comments about the war among the Five Tribes between the Shamans and the Prophets?

I'm only half done the essay so far. Great reads.

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Glad you got the book safe and sound, Locke :)

Yeah, it'd be an interesting experiment to have someone just read (or reread) the storyline chapters in order instead. Particularly the Ish chapters would work well for that, and maybe the Ishual ones.

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32 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Because I wasn't aware of it? Can you send me a link and I'll update the article.

I'll try and find it for you in an hourish when I'm on the bus? Though, maybe you wouldn't include it in the article proper as you didn't the other three Mansion names.

I believe it's in this thread. White Lord quizzes Bakker relentlessly for twelve-some odd pages between the release of TWP and TTT. Intesresting read, regardless.

Carry on.

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@werthead I think the place where you put Ketyai on that map is wrong, that's where Galeoth is and it's Norsirai. The Ketyai are mostly the Nansur empire just east of the the Scylvendi lands and the Kianene in the desert to the south. Plus the Proyas and Scarlet Spires nations East of the sea (can't remember what they're called).

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Conriya (Proyas) and High Ainon, HW.

@Werthead, that thread is considerably harder to read in the read-only resurrection of the old Three-Seas forum.

Anyhow,  a response to White Lord on pg. 3:

2) So far, the deepest the histories go is to the Fall, which is to say, the arrival of the Inchoroi in the last Age of Nonmen. At the moment, that feels plenty deep, and it precedes the Tusk by quite a few thousand years. I haven't been looking at the history of Earwa so much from the standpoint of an 'absolute observer,' as from from the standpoint of what is known or thought to be known at the time of the Holy War. This isn't a rule that I adhere to, just a tendency I seem to have largely followed. There are things from the time of the Tusk I do want to flesh out, such as the conflict between the Old Prophets and the Shamans, the question of how the surviving Inchoroi brought Chorae, the 'Tears of God' to the Five Tribes before the Breaking of the Gates, and the Cuno-Halaroi Wars (Halaroi is the Nonman name for Men). Stuff like that.

So yeah, probably not something you'd have included regardless.

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I think I found it, along with some other tidbits:

 

 

Quote

 

All told, I would say the population of the ThreeSeas would hover around 75 million - just somewhat larger than that of the Roman Empire circa 300CE. Since Zeum has a big role to play in the future books, I'll take a pass on answering that one

So far, the deepest the histories go is to the Fall, which is to say, the arrival of the Inchoroi in the last Age of Nonmen. At the moment, that feels plenty deep, and it precedes the Tusk by quite a few thousand years*. I haven't been looking at the history of Earwa so much from the standpoint of an 'absolute observer,' as from from the standpoint of what is known or thought to be known at the time of the Holy War. This isn't a rule that I adhere to, just a tendency I seem to have largely followed. There are things from the time of the Tusk I do want to flesh out, such as the conflict between the Old Prophets and the Shamans, the question of how the surviving Inchoroi brought Chorae, the 'Tears of God' to the Five Tribes before the Breaking of the Gates, and the Cuno-Halaroi Wars (Halaroi is the Nonman name for Men). Stuff like that.

 

Men only tried to enter Earwa through the Northern Kayarsus, though no one knows why. The Cunuroi have no record of having to defend the gates from any race other than Men.
  • Originally, among the Men of Eanna, magic was the monopoly of the Shamans. They were of the Few, their souls recalling the God of Gods in near-perfect proportion, and were also considered holy, with a direct line to the will of the divine. They were Prophets and Sorcerers in one (to the point that this distinction was meaningless then).

  • At some point (still in Eanna, long before the Tusk), individuals arose who claimed to represent the Gods as Prophets, but who were not of the Few, and whose souls did not have any special recollection of the God of Gods. This perhaps gave the Gods a means of bypassing the God of Gods' influence and interfering in the World themselves, each with their own individual agenda.

  • Probably the Gods gave their Prophets 'magical' powers (miracles/thaumaturgy), but these remained under the control/will of the Gods, not of the Prophets themselves.

  • There was eventually a conflict (initially political/philosohical, but eventually violent) between the Shamans and the Prophets. The Prophets won and outlawed/condemned Sorcery.

  • The Prophets monopolised the claim of representing the divine. This was the beginning of recognisable Kiunnat beliefs, with the Gods and their laws as pre-eminent and the God of Gods as an impotent 'placeholder' to represent the Gods as a collective.

  • The Few were driven into the shadows, near-universally believed damned as witches and forced to pass on their knowledge of Sorcery in secret, disguised as herbalism or harmless folk magic. Knowledge of magical healing was entirely lost.

  • The condemnation of Sorcery was thus already widely accepted in Eanna when the Inchoroi compiled the beliefs of the Five Tribes into the Tusk. Likewise, Shamans (Sorcerer-Prophets) were a distant memory, already a myth to most. They got a brief mention in the Tusk but nothing more. The same with healing magic.

  • During or after the Breaking of the Gates, the Men of the Four Tribes began to realise that they needed Sorcery. A few miracles handed out to Prophets by the Gods just didn't cut it against Quya mages. Sorcerers began to assemble into Schools and formalise their oral traditions into the Anagogis.

  • Under the Nonmen Tutelage, the Nonmen demonstrate to Norsirai Sorcerers the conceptual leaps necessary to adapt the Anagogis into the Gnosis. The God's thoughts can be represented more accurately as Gnostic theorems than as mere analogies. It is akin to representing fundamental particles as mathematical formulae rather than as tiny billiard balls bouncing around in space.

  • Inri Sejenus and Fane each tried to bring back the idea of the God of Gods as pre-eminent. Fane also combined the roles of Prophet and Sorcerer. Were one or both of these individuals true Shamans?

The non-bulleted points are from Scott direct, the bulleted ones I think are a summary of some discussion with Scott on the old three-seas forum.

One interesting point is that Scott confirmed that before the Womb-Plague, the average Nonman lifespan was 400 years. This puts an upper limit for the Arkfall at 400 years prior to Cu'jara-Cinmoi's dotage, which led to the Inchoroi being allowed to go amongst them and then allowed the Womb-Plague. When Viri was devastated by the Arkfall, they begged Cu'jara for aid and he agreed before promptly invading. So everything that followed happened in 400 years until Cu'jara started fading from old age. If we assume that there was only a relatively short time between the Inchoroi ministrations and the Womb-Plague (a century?) and resulting 500-year war, then that puts Arkfall at more or less exactly 1,000 years before the Inchoroi defeat. I also don't think there can be too long a gap between the Inchoroi defeat and the Breaking of the Gates, given there's a few Nonmen knocking around from the Incu-Curunoi Wars who haven't entirely succumbed to madness.

I'm not sure how that factors into the idea that Arkfall was "quite a few thousand years" before the Tusk.

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@werthead I think the place where you put Ketyai on that map is wrong, that's where Galeoth is and it's Norsirai. The Ketyai are mostly the Nansur empire just east of the the Scylvendi lands and the Kianene in the desert to the south. Plus the Proyas and Scarlet Spires nations East of the sea (can't remember what they're called).

The map shows the original (rough) locations of the Five Tribes. The Ketyai originally seemed to settle in what is now Shigek and Nansur, but they were spread all around the Three Seas from Nilnamesh to the Shiradi Empire (what is now High Ainon). The Norsirai were located almost entirely north of the Osthwai and Hethanta Mountains. During the Apocalypse, particularly the collapse of the Meorn Empire, they were displaced south of the mountains by Sranc. Those from eastern Meorn came down the Wernma, eventually founding Thunyerus, and those from the west came through the mountain passes and founded Galeoth, although only with the approval (more or less) of Cenei.

2,000 years earlier, there were probably few to no Norsirai living south of the Osthwai Mountains, and given how slow the Three Seas were to get their shit together compared to the North, not much reason for them to live there.

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25 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I'm not sure how that factors into the idea that Arkfall was "quite a few thousand years" before the Tusk.

There's some amazing stuff in that thread - Mithfanion (Calibander here) was a contemporary there. Too cool ;).

Yeah, I figured you'd enjoy that thread, Wert. I don't know if it informed you any and you seem to have a good grasp on the history already. I wouldn't doubt if 2005-Bakker and 2016-Bakker differ somewhat in their narrative accuracy.

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Wert I was under the impression that their was a 6thousand year difference between arkfall and the breaking of the gates, giving the entire story a 10 thousand year range 

Not unless Cu'jara Cinmoi could live a lot longer than the other Nonmen. He was King of Siol during Arkfall and the Nonmen lifespan was only around four centuries, so thus everything that followed from Arkfall to the Inchoroi "curing" the Nonmen's mortality must have happened in 400 years.

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Fascinating summation, Wert, and much easier to read / grasp than flipping through the byzantine corridors of TTT's appendix. 

And those bulleted points seem to confirm the Hundred Gods/Higher Ciphrang as tapeworms in the digestive tract of the God of Gods.

Is Kellhus going to "awaken" the God of Gods? Or do a thorough parasite cleanse? 

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