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kuenjato

Bakker: The Great Ordeal SPOILER THREAD pt. II

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As the other is on the verge of lockdown, thought I'd start the next... 

Finished the book last night. Some random impressions:

*New author photo... looks like RSB auditioning for a Norwegian Death Metal Band. 

*There seemed to be an awful lot of general copy-edit mistakes this time around, much moreso than the other books. Commas missing or in strange places, repetition of words that shouldn't have been repeated (as opposed to deliberate rep. for effect), even the printed text appeared different in places. On one of the Momemn chapters, the header was "Chapter Title." Overall, it felt sloppier than any of the proceeding 5 volumes.

*Still juggling my feelings on this one. Overall, I liked it more than TJE or WLW, but it didn't quite reach the best parts of the first trilogy.

*Also, this might be RSB's densest book, with the most prose experimentation and outright philosophical examination. I always shake my head when he states on his blog that there might be a sales breakthrough any day now. While I love how Bakker seriously labors to deliver an intellectual experience, that sort of thing isn't going to get you anywhere near the bestseller lists.

*Writing was fairly consistent, overall, but it definitely felt like there was less of an editorial focus this time around. Some of the sentences, particularly the descriptive passages, were rather flabby or--while evocative--didn't seem to actually give much in the way of concrete orientation of what was going on. I contrast this with the more taut prose of, say, TWP.  

*Favorite thread was Ishterebinth, naturally. The Ordeal was probably my least favorite. Didn't seem like much progress was made but it felt very heavy with detail and gradual revelation. 

*I'm glad Moe didn't show up--can we kill that crackpot, now, please?-- and that we got a glimpse of Nay-nay in all his damned glory. 

Not sure where I'd rate this. With the huge caveat that I just completed it...

TWP

TDTCB

TGO/TTT (leaning more to TGO)

WLW

TJE

 

 

 

 

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What Hello World mentioned at the end of the previous thread piqued my interest.  Mimara is an anagram for Mariam (Mary's name in the original Aramaic and current Arabic).    Doubtful that's unintentional by Bakker. 

Maybe she's bearing real prophets, then?

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regarding the OH JOHN RINGO NO thing--

have not finished the thing, but i just hit the 'congress of greater souls' bit (128) and my marginalia bear OH RSB NO.  after, i realized that the commission of the crime therein makes narrative sense--but FFS.

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4 hours ago, sologdin said:

regarding the OH JOHN RINGO NO thing--

have not finished the thing, but i just hit the 'congress of greater souls' bit (128) and my marginalia bear OH RSB NO.  after, i realized that the commission of the crime therein makes narrative sense--but FFS.

Yep. That's the one. Though how does it make narrative sense? I'm curious what you think of this, because I don't think from a narrative perspective Kellhus has to literally rape Proyas in order to convince him to do...um...something. 

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25 minutes ago, Dickwad Poster #3784 said:

Yep. That's the one. Though how does it make narrative sense? I'm curious what you think of this, because I don't think from a narrative perspective Kellhus has to literally rape Proyas in order to convince him to do...um...something. 

It's within the kellhus bits leading up to that. Probably just kellhus deluding himself about his need to dominate. He can wipe a skins spy interrorape completely out of a persons memory, but he can't convince proyas to do something without raping him? Ah yes, dunyain, inchoroi parallels, deep. Transgression, inrilitis. 

Also, proyas was just raped by a god so he believes, weren't all the women raped by the Greco roman pantheon usually rather pleased by such a blessing? The God CHOSE. Him, I'm not sure why proyas wouldn't rationalize it into a positive unless that would be inconvenient for the author?

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Ok just got through this thread and last one after finishing TGO yesterday. I want to digest a bit more before stepping into any of the major points being debated. A few things that I haven't really seen mentioned yet:

 

1) Mimara does not notice the skin spy at the Scylvendi camp with the Eye. She sees the dammed and focuses on Cnauir but nothing mention of seeing something different with the skin spy at all. Did Mimara ever see Soma with the Eye in WLW? Does the skin spy disappear because no soul when Eye opens?

2) Cnaiur being a "mighty shard" and no mere "splinter" in view of the Eye. My thoughts was that once he dies Cnauir will have power in Outside and be able to kick Ciphrang ass, but I'm not sure what I'm basing that on. 

3) Someone had a great quote about the Hundred needing to spread their power out over all of time. Maybe Oirinias or Kel? Anyone remember? I think this answers the question of why Yatwer doesn't just send lighting bolts or more earthquakes. The more Yatwer intervenes now, the less she can intervene at other points along the timeline. 

4) Awesome confirmation of the speculation that swazond of the Scyvendi trapped the souls of dying. Wonder what this soul magic does. 

5) I think there's a decent read Kell knew about the nuke. He tells Saccarrees not to let the Sranc go east. He tells Saubon all they have to do is not let Sranc leave Dagliash. I read both as meaning Kel has some big trap ready in Dagliash. Possible he just knows there is an Inchoroi trap that he thinks he can turn but . . .  

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More random thoughts:

 

6) Love the confirmation that Kel hasn't (yet) changed damnation or the outside through the Saubon death scene. That was great. Since TTT we have debated this question and it was a great scene to get the answer. 

7) I'm ok with Kel disrupting the WLW. In hindsight I think there was foreshadowing in TJE and WLW. Anjokli as the god that can see what the others can't. So Anjokli is on Kellhus side and stops Yatwer through Kelmomas. Anjokli as the trickster God must be able to do things the other gods can't predict. Else he wouldn't be the Trickster Principle. With perfect prediction there are no tricks. 

8) nommen view the hundred as Principles. I feel like there is a deep world building insight here that I don't fully grasp. Love the theory that nommen created the hundred. 

9) Agree that the conclusion to Monmen arc felt unearned. Kellhus coming back works for the Kellhus arc and there is plenty of foreshadowing for motive and opportunity on that point. But for the Monmen arc is feels a bit lame. 

10) How does sending Ciph-Malowobi back to Zeum move forward the Mission? Was this emotional revenge from Kel for Zeum allying with Fanayal? Or does the Mission now include saving the Empire so sending Ciph-M stop some future invasion by Zeum?

11) Was Yatwer just hedging bets with Sorweel? Or did Yatwer somehow know WLW failed even if she couldn't see the intervention by Anjokli? I'm very confused by causality and what the gods see when in this setting. Does Yatwer only realize WLW failed post intervention, so Yatwer can "go back in time" for the Sorweel intervention? Remember that intervention is not without cost. It is implied that the hundred only have a finite amount of "intervention power."

 

more later. 

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31 minutes ago, unJon said:

More random thoughts:

 

7) I'm ok with Kel disrupting the WLW. In hindsight I think there was foreshadowing in TJE and WLW. Anjokli as the god that can see what the others can't. So Anjokli is on Kellhus side and stops Yatwer through Kelmomas. Anjokli as the trickster God must be able to do things the other gods can't predict. Else he wouldn't be the Trickster Principle. With perfect prediction there are no tricks. 

 

I thought it was more Ajok denying Kelmomas what he wants most, which is the death of his father. All the sibling murders lil Kel does to further dominate his mother are proxy to the Big Bad he fears the most, Daddy Kel. So Ajok gives lil Kel almost everything, save the biggest competition of all.

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So here's something I've been pondering for a few days:  Why did the Ordeal need to happen in 20 NIY?

Think about it.  There's really no reason why it must be this year and not the next.  Kell could have conquered Sakarpus in spring of 20 NIY and spent the rest of the spring/summer/fall building roads to the northern extremes of the Pale and moving his supply dumps from Galeoth to Sagland/Pale.  His Ordeal would then be that much better-equipped and better-fed, which would delay the split and lessen the chance of disaster.

It wouldn't make much difference to the overall end result - they would still end up eating Sranc before Dagliash - but it makes much more logistical sense to move methodically northwards rather than all at once.  

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13 minutes ago, WrathOfTinyKittens said:

So here's something I've been pondering for a few days:  Why did the Ordeal need to happen in 20 NIY?

Think about it.  There's really no reason why it must be this year and not the next.  Kell could have conquered Sakarpus in spring of 20 NIY and spent the rest of the spring/summer/fall building roads to the northern extremes of the Pale and moving his supply dumps from Galeoth to Sagland/Pale.  His Ordeal would then be that much better-equipped and better-fed, which would delay the split and lessen the chance of disaster.

It wouldn't make much difference to the overall end result - they would still end up eating Sranc before Dagliash - but it makes much more logistical sense to move methodically northwards rather than all at once.  

Because kellhus wants it to happen and the author wanted the roads to run out. Also supply lines are hard to protect from sranc without the ordeal herding the horde.

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9 hours ago, Dickwad Poster #3784 said:

Yep. That's the one. Though how does it make narrative sense? I'm curious what you think of this, because I don't think from a narrative perspective Kellhus has to literally rape Proyas in order to convince him to do...um...something. 

the first consequence is the 'catamite images that clogged his eyes' (129) leading to his 'faith' being 'no more' (id.). AK occupied/controlled/dominated NP physically as a visceral demonstration of what had been done conceptually.  the second consequence is the effect this information has on CS thereafter, and then, third, the changed relation between NP and CS.  maybe.  

am thinking that it is almost required when we find that the dunyain are in fact the tleilaxu with regard to women, 'the unspeakable evil that is the shortest path,' which 'only the inchotroi could surpass' (160).

not done with volume yet.  the presumption should always be against the inclusion of scenes of sexual violence in a narrative; am withholding judgment until done.

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56 minutes ago, sologdin said:

the first consequence is the 'catamite images that clogged his eyes' (129) leading to his 'faith' being 'no more' (id.). AK occupied/controlled/dominated NP physically as a visceral demonstration of what had been done conceptually.  the second consequence is the effect this information has on CS thereafter, and then, third, the changed relation between NP and CS.  maybe.  

am thinking that it is almost required when we find that the dunyain are in fact the tleilaxu with regard to women, 'the unspeakable evil that is the shortest path,' which 'only the inchotroi could surpass' (160).

not done with volume yet.  the presumption should always be against the inclusion of scenes of sexual violence in a narrative; am withholding judgment until done.

It has an effect on the NP and CS relationship I think, which seems to impact how CS reacts on the Raft to NP's asking to volunteer for Dgliash duty. This then has dramatic consequences for CS. 

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I'm not saying it didn't have an effect - just that it seems implausible that it was necessary. It's hard for me to believe that the Shortest Path goes through proyas' butthole. 

Though chuck tingle would disagree.

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My recollection of the scene is that Kel showed a bit of emotion. Something about enjoying the sensation. So maybe not just Mission. 

 

New idea:

The Celmomas prophecy scene where Akka dreams it is Kelhuss. My theory is that this is accurate and Kelhuss actually is the progenitor of the prophecy. Which is of course important because it is the prophecy that convinces Akka to betray the Mandate and teach Kel the Gnosis. What convinces me of this is that it's basically the same thing Saubon did to his younger self when Saubon dies and reaches back. 

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Interesting article debating physics and time, seemed relevant to the Bakkerverse metaphysical discussions:

A Debate Over the Physics of Time

Quote

According to our best theories of physics, the universe is a fixed block where time only appears to pass. Yet a number of physicists hope to replace this “block universe” with a physical theory of time.

 

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15 minutes ago, Dickwad Poster #3784 said:

I'm not saying it didn't have an effect - just that it seems implausible that it was necessary. It's hard for me to believe that the Shortest Path goes through proyas' butthole. 

this could be completely correct.  is there anything to suggest that the probability trance failed AK in this moment?  he does admit that his trial "would drive me mad" (126) to NP in the same colloquy--in which case the sex offense is not exactly inconsistent with two decades of religious genocide.  

his admission is cool to the extent that it is substantially identical to "he would go mad" (6) in the updated 'what has come before,' which means that AK is the writer of preface?

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As I've said before, my suspicion is that it is meant to show that Kellhus will do anything at all in order to gain what he needs, and this was a very quick way to demonstrate this. When we have Mimara later see him and judge him holy, it will be to illustrate that despite all of his incredible litany of sins, he is holy - and therefore, judgment itself is an enemy. That's where I think this is going. That's one of the only ways I can see to reasonably justify this - that not only is it meant to put Proyas on the right path, it's meant to do something that isn't morally acceptable by our eyes in order to show that it is morally acceptable via the Judging Eye.

At the same time, I suspect strongly that there were a lot of other ways to demonstrate this without said shorthand or baggage about rape, and I think Proyas' arc with this was pretty poorly written as far as this trauma. 

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I finished up a couple days ago and then have gradually been making my way through the Blog of Blogs that is the first thread on TGO.  Overall, I was blown away.  I'd definitely put it up there with the first trilogy entries in quality.  I have always been less enamored of TJE and WLW.  This book had a lot of pay off.  After reading through and seeing the (somewhat dubious/disappointing) explanation of the way the split was handled as a very deliberate thing in advance, I can understand why this book seemed to be a much more complete work than other notorious fantasy splits like AFFC/ADWD and the Sanderson completion of MoL. 

Like many, I felt the Momemn scenes dragged and I didn't see much point in them at all.  Even after the payoff at the end, I do tend to agree with those that say they don't fully understand why it was necessary.  Honestly though, I've felt that way about the Empire chapters in all three books though.  I suppose we have gotten some interesting world building, but I see nothing that advances the story in any way unless this newest return by Kellhus is indicative of a personality change.

I also was caught by the change in the WLW's perspective of Kellhus' end.  As noted in the other thread, it was previously established that the assassin's sword breaks due to the notch in the blade received in an earlier conflict and that allowed it to hit Kellhus.  The throwing of the blade is something new.  As is the chorae that salts his cheek.  Which is something I was curious about,  Kellhus asks "What have you done?" to Esmi, and the WLW's timeless vantage repeatedly brings up the "catch."  Presumably, this is the peach that she tossed him earlier; but I have wondered if perhaps she didn't toss him a chorae with the intent of him killing Kellhus and this is what he sees when he looks on her and asks the question.  I hadn't really considered Ajokli being the reason that Kelmomas interrupted the White Luck until reading the thread.  Part of me always associated the voices in his head with Kellhus believing that the No-God was speaking to him.  I thought perhaps somehow that Lil Kel was tied in with the No-God and was invisible to the WLW and that was why he was never seen in his observations.  In my mind, this also allowed him to be the unseen factor in the climax.  I think the Ajokli likely makes more sense with what we know of Kelmomas though.  :dunno: 

In the last thread, a question came up about the demon and whether it looks like Malowebi.  (Curse that foul Likaro.)

Quote

The abomination raised his hands, held them about the sorcerous turmoil of its face, the knitting of his blood to its blasted meat and skin.  Malowebi screamed for watching Malowebi reborn in demonic replica

I read that last part of the sentence as saying that the demon had now taken on Malowebi's appearance.  As with others though, I don't see how it will be able to do anything in time to matter in TUC.  Perhaps it will come to fruition in the Series That Shall Not Be Named.

I kept hoping and hoping and hoping that we would see Serwa, Sorweel, and Moe again in the book.  As I looked at the index, I saw all the Demua Mountains chapters and had hoped that in the final chapter they might meet up.  Suppose we'll have to wait for a bit there.

 

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12 minutes ago, Dickwad Poster #3784 said:

As I've said before, my suspicion is that it is meant to show that Kellhus will do anything at all in order to gain what he needs, and this was a very quick way to demonstrate this. When we have Mimara later see him and judge him holy, it will be to illustrate that despite all of his incredible litany of sins, he is holy - and therefore, judgment itself is an enemy. That's where I think this is going. That's one of the only ways I can see to reasonably justify this - that not only is it meant to put Proyas on the right path, it's meant to do something that isn't morally acceptable by our eyes in order to show that it is morally acceptable via the Judging Eye.

At the same time, I suspect strongly that there were a lot of other ways to demonstrate this without said shorthand or baggage about rape, and I think Proyas' arc with this was pretty poorly written as far as this trauma. 

I tend to agree that it was unnecessary.  However, could it be that he raped Proyas not as a prod to Prosha... but as a prod to Saubon?  In the next scene together we find that Saubon almost seems more distraught by it than Proyas.  :dunno: 

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