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Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn/The Heart of what was Lost/The Last King of Osten Ard

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38 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Have Jiriki or Aditu shown up yet?

Nope. But you won't miss them. The first hundred pages focus mostly on the old guard (Simon, Miri, Eolair, the queen dowager Inahwen, and Tiamak) and (re-)introduce the new characters. Prince Morgan is a POV character, too, and he and his band of merry drunkards (one of them is Porto from THoWWL) really seem to channel Prince Hal from Henry IV.

The other POV characters as of yet all seem to be Norns or connected to them. We have Viyeki, now the High Magister of the Builders (no idea yet whether Yaarike merely resigned or also died), his half-blood daughter Nezeru (fathered on a Rimmerswoman slave), and one guy named Jarnulf (from one of the sample chapters). The latter claims to have been born in Nakkiga but is a determined (and quite deadly) enemy of the Norns as well as an overly pious Aedonite.

Utuk'ku is awake (and the silver mask is strangely intact without anybody addressing the fact that this should not be so), and Akhenabi is still around, too.

Spoiler

Viyeki has a very eerie audience with her in the royal bedchamber early on in the novel.

Isgrimnur is also still alive, although dying as the story opens. That tidbit stretches credibility somewhat. I wouldn't have minded it if they had made the royal progress Simon and Miri take to pay the last respects to somebody else, perhaps Isgrimnur's son. Still, setting up the story with the death of a major character sets the right tone.

Simon and Miri are joint rulers, by they way. They are not king regnant and queen consort. Unfortunately they do indeed have only one child, John Josua, who died of a fever. He had two children, Prince Morgan the Drunkard (perhaps named after Doctor Morgenes?) and Princess Lillia by Princess Idela, daughter of Osric, the Duke of Falshire. The latter woman has yet to appear but is not popular at all with her royal parents-in-law.

As of yet we have only met the people of Hernystir. Here it turned out that Maegwin's brother had - surprise, surprise - fathered a bastard on some woman who inherited the kingdom after the royal line seemingly died out. Inahwen - whom we know from MST - ruled as his regent until the boy came of age. He intends to take a wife as the novel begins, the Lady Tylleth - the widow of some earl -, a somewhat controversial figure.

The Norn plot feels less weird and out of place than it did in the THoWWL. We are not under the impression that these people are really done. And in the novel it feels completely naturally to introduce us to the Norns in their mountain considering that they play a huge part in the story.

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Now things get interesting:

Spoiler

We get the names and back stories of the Red Hand - they were five powerful singers of the Norns Utuk'ku sent to Ineluki to help him fight against the Rimmersmen. One of them, a female named Ommu, is not completely gone, and is restored to 'life' (or whatever it is) by Utuk'ku in some ugly blood sacrifice ritual that involves the entire Norn elite. This is supposed to help them to gain the Witchwood Crown (whatever that is - one assumes some sort of very powerful and ancient artifact).

A strange new character is the obscure Norn Jijibo the Dreamer, a descendant of Utuk'ku's, who is reminiscent of Patchface. He makes odd remarks and appears to be very eccentric.

We finally met the Princess Idela, the widow of Prince John Josua, and nothing indicates she is evil as of yet. An interesting tidbit is that 

Spoiler

John Josua was apparently a very gifted scholar who was obsessed with books (he married very young but quickly tired of his wife and son - one of the sadder memories of Prince Morgan is that his father had so little interest in him that he once actually confused him with a page). Princess Idela wants to show the Lord Chancellor some ancient books and scrolls her late husband still has. Most likely those books are reasonably important for the plot but nobody is going to take a look at them for quite some time, presumably this entire novel ;-).

One also begins to wonder whether 

Spoiler

the death of John Josua was a natural death or whether somebody killed him. He supposedly died of a fever, making it pretty likely he is actually dead, but both Simon and his grandson have weird dreams about him on his birthday, dreams which also vaguely and weirdly involve supernatural stuff.

Could very well be he stumbled on some stuff in those books that made him a target.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm closing in on page 100. So far it is pretty interesting. There is one letdown, though.

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It looks like Hakatri is dead.

The drunkard grandson is funny. The overall take 'we have more pressing concerns' or 'we can't do anything about that right now' not so much. Simon and Miri rule this land. They should at least try to do something. Or plan to eventually do something.

Spoiler

Don't worry; they will.

I, too, was sad about Hakatri being dead. Because a return of Hakatri could have been awesome.

 

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11 hours ago, Jiriki said:
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Don't worry; they will.

I, too, was sad about Hakatri being dead. Because a return of Hakatri could have been awesome.

 

Yeah, that was a lot of lost potential. I really don't understand why he did that. And as of yet there is not even an explanation how he died or how on earth being a couple of days away on some island meant that the Sithi couldn't find out where the hell he was. I really don't like that.

Not sure if I trust the competent Lord Chancellor. He is from Nabban, after all.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Yeah, that was a lot of lost potential. I really don't understand why he did that. And as of yet there is not even an explanation how he died or how on earth being a couple of days away on some island meant that the Sithi couldn't find out where the hell he was. I really don't like that.

Spoiler

The only thing I can come up with is that Hakatri didn't want to be found (because of his wounds), and set up a ward similar to the one later used by Cadrach, which prevented anyone from contacting him (and Miriamele, who was traveling with him at the time). It's also possible that Hakatri only later went to that island, or that his bones were brought there later. I suspect this may be the case, because where were the bones of his most loyal servant, who went with him across the seas? Shouldn't there have been two sets of bones?

When I first read the character list of TWC and saw that Hakatri was on it, I was very excited. But just his bones was disappointing, because Hakatri was a bad-ass: the only living character who apparently sought out a dragon. Even Simon can't say that. I thought the idea of Hakatri coming back could be amazing. He'd be horrified to see his brother, mother, and father dead, and his people destroyed by the humans. Would he have sided with Utuk'ku and the Norns? We'll never know, now. Still, I'm willing to see where Tad is going with the bone storyline.

I also wonder what use the bones will be put to. Resurrection? Something else? Why the dragon's blood?

 

 

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5 hours ago, Jiriki said:
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The only thing I can come up with is that Hakatri didn't want to be found (because of his wounds), and set up a ward similar to the one later used by Cadrach, which prevented anyone from contacting him (and Miriamele, who was traveling with him at the time). It's also possible that Hakatri only later went to that island, or that his bones were brought there later. I suspect this may be the case, because where were the bones of his most loyal servant, who went with him across the seas? Shouldn't there have been two sets of bones?

When I first read the character list of TWC and saw that Hakatri was on it, I was very excited. But just his bones was disappointing, because Hakatri was a bad-ass: the only living character who apparently sought out a dragon. Even Simon can't say that. I thought the idea of Hakatri coming back could be amazing. He'd be horrified to see his brother, mother, and father dead, and his people destroyed by the humans. Would he have sided with Utuk'ku and the Norns? We'll never know, now. Still, I'm willing to see where Tad is going with the bone storyline.

I also wonder what use the bones will be put to. Resurrection? Something else? Why the dragon's blood?

 

 

Well, considering that 

Spoiler

the people on the island know Hakatri as 'the Burning Man' strongly suggests that their ancestors knew him when he was alive. I very much doubt his bones burned in a literal or figurative manner. Whether dragon blood still literally burned him until the day he died is unclear, but the moniker could certainly come from him feeling that he was aflame and telling the people around him that.

 I also noticed that neither the servant nor his bones where there but he might have predeceased Hakatri long before he ended up on that island. But then, it is not all that likely that he went all that far. If he was elsewhere and only got back this close to Osten Ard then there is no good reason why he did not make the entire way back.

And if Utuk'ku could find him - which she clearly did - Amerasu should have been able to do it, too. After all, mother and son would have had a much stronger connection.

I hope we'll get picture of 'the grand plan' before this book is over. But if Akhenabi wasn't lying during one of his speeches it seems clear to me that Utuk'ku intends to repeat the spell Ineluki and the Red Hand tried to work back when Asu'a fell. And she is most likely going to succeed where they failed. The impression one gets is that Ineluki tried and failed at something up on the Green Angel Tower back then. We never learned what he tried to do, only knew that whatever it was it still had devastating effects on everyone, including themselves.

The idea of resurrecting Hakatri makes little sense to me. He could have been a great character had he lived, both a potential ally for Utuk'ku and the Norns as well as an interesting third party or wild card. But bringing him back to life when Tad essentially had no good reason to kill him in the first place makes little sense to me. If Tad wanted Hakatri to be a monster he would not have the need to go through some resurrection spell to get there, he could simply had made it so that the pain from his wounds or some other things he saw and lived through in the west drove him mad.

Now, the whole book thing was unraveled much earlier than I thought. Thank you very much that we didn't have to wait for that thing as long as the revelation about Nisses' book.

The fact that the gang did not destroy Hjeldin's Tower comes both as a huge surprise as well as a grave mistake. Later we learn that they burned all the belongings of Pryrates (a wise move) but why not simply destroy the tower he lived in, too, instead of simply closing it?

Spoiler

Simon telling us that he dreamed about Pryrates being a cat and of his son as a mouse in the days of John Josua's sickness was a very bad sign. The fact that it turned out that the evil book his wife found once belonged Pryrates strongly suggests that John Josua found a way into Hjeldin's Tower, possibly through some secret tunnel.

 

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the people on the island know Hakatri as 'the Burning Man' strongly suggests that their ancestors knew him when he was alive. I very much doubt his bones burned in a literal or figurative manner. Whether dragon blood still literally burned him until the day he died is unclear, but the moniker could certainly come from him feeling that he was aflame and telling the people around him that.

 I also noticed that neither the servant nor his bones where there but he might have predeceased Hakatri long before he ended up on that island. But then, it is not all that likely that he went all that far. If he was elsewhere and only got back this close to Osten Ard then there is no good reason why he did not make the entire way back.

And if Utuk'ku could find him - which she clearly did - Amerasu should have been able to do it, too. After all, mother and son would have had a much stronger connection.

I hope we'll get picture of 'the grand plan' before this book is over. But if Akhenabi wasn't lying during one of his speeches it seems clear to me that Utuk'ku intends to repeat the spell Ineluki and the Red Hand tried to work back when Asu'a fell. And she is most likely going to succeed where they failed. The impression one gets is that Ineluki tried and failed at something up on the Green Angel Tower back then. We never learned what he tried to do, only knew that whatever it was it still had devastating effects on everyone, including themselves.

The idea of resurrecting Hakatri makes little sense to me. He could have been a great character had he lived, both a potential ally for Utuk'ku and the Norns as well as an interesting third party or wild card. But bringing him back to life when Tad essentially had no good reason to kill him in the first place makes little sense to me. If Tad wanted Hakatri to be a monster he would not have the need to go through some resurrection spell to get there, he could simply had made it so that the pain from his wounds or some other things he saw and lived through in the west drove him mad.

Spoiler

I agree about Hakatri: as an ally of Utuk'ku he would have been formidable. As a wild card, there's no telling what could have happened. I don't know that he'll be resurrected, but I can't think of any other reason they would need his specific bones.

When we saw Hakatri in TBM, he was covered in wounds, so it seemed to me that his wounds never fully healed. Yes, Hakatri's servant could have died much earlier, and that's possible, even probable, considering the secret of immortality was apparently hidden from the Tinukeda'ya. Sure, we don't know exactly when/where Hakatri was at the time of TBM, but if it was contemporary with the timeline of Sulis/Breda/Geloe, that would have been about 866 AF, 334 years before the events in TWC. Even if the Tinukeda'ya live for hundreds of years, that timespan likely means the two died hundreds of years apart.

I think Ineluki tried to turn back time by 500 years. I don't think that's Utuk'ku's plan. If she tries to unwind time, it will be by thousands of years, or just unraveling time completely. Just my theory.

As to why Utuk'ku could find her lost great-great-grandson, but Amerasu couldn't find her son, Utuk'ku is much more powerful than Amerasu ever was, and isn't afraid to go places (like on the Dream Road) Amerasu would never go, just as Pryrates didn't fear working spells Morgenes never would dare.

 

Edited by Jiriki

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@Jiriki

Spoiler

Akhenabi is talking about what Ineluki and the Red Hand did back 530 years ago when Asu'a actually fell. He spoke about the spell Ineluki and the singers wrought when they died atop the tower. Not the spell Ineluki tried to pull off back during MST that rewind time.

I asked the question a while back why on earth he and Utuk'ku tried to do that of all things rather than, say, a less ridiculous and overly convoluted manner to bring him back. 

Spoiler

Like the thing Utuk'ku did to bring the female Red Hand back.

This could be part of the answer - the plan back then was to get Ineluki not just a body but also get him back in time and at the place where he and the Red Hand tried to work their grand spell and failed. And with Ineluki back in this new body - and with Utuk'ku and the Red Hand focusing all their power on him through their control of the various wells (something Ineluki could not draw upon back in life) they could have completed that spell. And that would then have accomplished what they wanted it to accomplish.

Spoiler

Remember what Akhenabi has said. The War of Return is not over. What they are doing now is not some new grand plan or a plan B Utuk'ku has come up with in her sleep. It is the continuation of the same plan with other means. And that could very well suggest we are going to see them doing what Ineluki would have done if he had won back in MST had he successfully taken over Elias' body and crushed his enemies in the tower. 

Akhenabi says Ineluki and the Red Hand tried a summoning and failed, and that he 'sought for a weapon so devastating that it would scour the plague of mortals from the face of our land forever'. That sounds like something Utuk'ku wants, too.

As to what they might need Hakatri's bones for - no idea as of yet. But bones burned by dragon blood could just as well be a necessry ingredient for a spell which also requires blood from a living dragon.

I also don't know what the Witchwood Crown is but presumably some artifact from the Garden that ended up in the possession of the Sithi and not the Norns. Could it be that weapon Ineluki was searching for his last summoning? But it would be odd to summon a crown unless it was lost (assuming it is a literal crown at all).

If the Hakatri resurrection idea has any merit then it might be connected to that thing. Perhaps Utuk'ku won't wear the thing herself but has to put it on one of Iyu'unigato's descendants? That could also explain why she went through such effort to try to bring Ineluki back.

But still, Hakatri could have just come back to Osten Ard instead of them resurrecting him if he was supposed to play a role as a living character.

As for the time line, I think I've laid out why I think it is not all that likely that Sulis was talking to a contemporary Hakatri. And this is even less likely now. And he most definitely wasn't 

Spoiler

on that island yet, since he is rather astonished to talk with a mortal in his dream. There were quite a few mortals on the island where his bones were kept.

As to Utuk'ku finding Hakatri - keep in mind she apparently only found his remains. He must have been dead by the time Amerasu was looking for him, too.

 

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I, too, suspect Hakatri must have been dead during the final time Amerasu sent him a message on the Dream Road, else why would the Qosei be so adamant about keeping his bones? They didn't just recently start worshiping his bones; clearly, that had been going on for a long time: more than 34 years, I'd guess. The Qoseis' proximity to the Nornfells might have made the Norns' job in locating Hakatri easier. Once the Talons reached the coast, they only had to sail for four days. Amerasu would have had to cross a continent.

As for what Akhenabi says, I don't trust him, and I don't believe he'd ever tell low-level folks all of Utuk'ku's master plan. I'm not even sure he knows all of what she has planned.

If bones burned by dragon's blood are the key to whatever spell they are doing, why didn't Akhenabi tell the Talons to be sure to be on the lookout for Norn bones on Urmsheim? After all, Norns were present there during Igjarjuk's last appearance.

I'm not so certain Hakatri wasn't contemporaneous with Sulis et al. Yes, he was surprised to be contacted by mortals on the Dream Road, but who wouldn't? Most mortals didn't even know how to use the Road of Dreams.

As for your question on why Ineluki and Utuk'ku tried to wind back time itself, there would be no point in coming back if mortals already inhabit all of the continent. They tried to go back to a time when the Gardenborn still stood a fighting chance, before there were a million humans living in Do'sae ne-Sogeyu, their word for Osten Ard.

 

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Just coming out with a plot element that really sucks:

Spoiler

The handful of Norns along with the giant stumbling on the royal progress and actually attacking them for no reason is one of the most contrived things I ever read.

First, there is the fact that those are immortal beings who should have experience in warfare. It is not one of the young half-bloods making the mistake (that could have been believable), it is the much older Norn. Then there is the obviously *happy/bad accident* that arranged this 'chance meeting', and then there is the nonsensical explanation how Jarnulf got his message out.

If they are such blockheads the Norns deserve to die.

And while I'm at it the entire Norn expedition story is crap. Last time around the goblins were attacking Ineluki's and Utuk'ku's enemies. Why on earth do they now like to kill Norns, especially this close to their lands?

Why did Akhenabi only tell one of the gang where they should go? That ridiculous since, you know, that person could die, or the could be separated.

And why on earth do they believe this Jarnulf chap? Seriously, how stupid can they be?

The only good part of this whole thing is that it apparently doesn't seem to matter what they do or whether they succeed. 

Spoiler

Else Akhenabi would have killed Nezeru on the spot when he read her mind.

 

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Yes, Makho and Kemme are stupid, stupid, stupid. The stupidest Norns we have ever seen.

I believe that's the point. Akhenabi has sent them on a death mission by sending the half-bloods with the most ignorant leader ever; if they fail, and it's almost guaranteed, he and Utuk'ku can write off using half-bloods as Talons. It can be announced that the Queen, in her infinite wisdom, has decided there will be no more half-bloods honored with serving the Queen as Talons, as the experiment failed. Akhenabi gets let off the hook for introducing the breeding program.

The Bukken attacked because, like the Hunen, they must be controlled, and these Norns weren't given a means to do so. Why? As you point out, only Makho was given instructions on where to go. Why? Makho and Kemme clearly don't trust Jarnulf, but they have no idea where they are even going. Why?

Akhenabi knows Nezeru is lying, but does nothing about it. Because it doesn't matter. She's been sent to her death.

 

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@Jiriki

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Well, even if there were an internal reason why to send out morons the fact remains that we have to read about morons doing stupid things who - in the case of Nezeru - seem to be major characters. That is not exactly reading I enjoy. Especially if it turns out that their quest is leading nowhere or they are set up to fail.

I'm not sure your rationale about the half-blood policies is correct. While we don't get Utuk'ku's own POV - as of yet something that's missing in this series since we actually got that back in MST - we simply have no clue what her plans are. What little we learned about her own heart in MST is that she wants to kill everyone so she can die herself. If that's the goal then it is pretty much irrelevant whether her pawns are pure-blooded or not. Important is that they do what they are told. And the half-bloods try just as hard as the pure-bloods.

Utuk'ku is very much the goddess of her people. If she had wanted to kill all the actual 'reformers' she could have done so.

As to the goblins - the impression we get in MST is that they serve Ineluki and Utuk'ku. There is no hint that they have to be control in the same way as the giants. Even the ghants were doing the bidding of the villains back in MST without being *controlled* in any meaningful sense.

Closing in on page 400 now. I must say, the dragging on of the Sitha plot is also not exactly well-done. Why couldn't she give her warning already?

Miri's fear for the well-being of her husband and grandson begins to suck, too. 

 

 

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We do know that Utuk'ku specifically ordered the Norns to cease treating the human breeders as valued servants, and to return them to the slave pits. Akhenabi was a key part of the group (along with Viyeki) who approved the breeding program. I don't think Utuk'ku cares if the half-breed Talons die; but Akhenabi certainly wants that embarrassing political mistake behind him. I think Akhenabi has attempted to send this group to their doom, and that's why he doesn't care if Nezeru has lied to him. In his mind, she is already dead, and he can write off the experiment as a failure.

I don't think Nezeru is a "moron". She's very young, but she isn't fooled by Jarnulf.

You wrote, "Even the ghants were doing the bidding of the villains back in MST without being *controlled* in any meaningful sense." Actually, in TGAT, Cadrach concludes the opposite: that the ghants were being controlled by mirror shards (TGAT chapter 19, A Broken Smile).

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Jiriki said:
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We do know that Utuk'ku specifically ordered the Norns to cease treating the human breeders as valued servants, and to return them to the slave pits. Akhenabi was a key part of the group (along with Viyeki) who approved the breeding program. I don't think Utuk'ku cares if the half-breed Talons die; but Akhenabi certainly wants that embarrassing political mistake behind him. I think Akhenabi has attempted to send this group to their doom, and that's why he doesn't care if Nezeru has lied to him. In his mind, she is already dead, and he can write off the experiment as a failure.

I don't think Nezeru is a "moron". She's very young, but she isn't fooled by Jarnulf.

You wrote, "Even the ghants were doing the bidding of the villains back in MST without being *controlled* in any meaningful sense." Actually, in TGAT, Cadrach concludes the opposite: that the ghants were being controlled by mirror shards (TGAT chapter 19, A Broken Smile).

 

 

Spoiler

 

Well, is Akhenabi able to keep things from his queen? Does he know she cares about him as much as about anyone else? Most likely not. If the Norns knew and understood that she would long be either dead or alone in her mountain. There are hints that some of the older Norns knew what she is about and that the story of her being this great leader caring for her people is just propaganda but those seem to be very few. The most interesting hint in that direction was this casual remark about the people of her husband becoming enslaved after his death. We don't know who they are, perhaps one of the Norn clans, perhaps some humans the Norns once actually lived with amicably.

I know that the breeding program was implemented via consensus among the elite in the THoWWL but that doesn't mean that, say, Akhenabi or anyone who got briefed by the queen on the new plan might not have realized that breeding more fighters might not, in fact, be necessary.

They again abandon those conventional defenses Viyeki and his guys failed to repair over the last three decades.

Nezeru is somewhat of a moron for not killing that child and for coming up with one of the most clichéd explanations ever as to why she should not be killed.

They talked with Utuk'ku via that shard, yes, but that is not *control* in a strict sense. They wanted to work for her. The giants apparently don't. And the goblins most likely were neither controlled via such a shard nor via magical slave collars or the like.

By the way, considering that we never actually hear Utuk'ku speak, and her weirdo mental voice could possible be faked, one actually wonders whether she actually awoke from her slumber. For all we know she could just be Akhenabi's puppet, some girl wearing a silver mask. After all, the actual mask supposedly broke thirty years ago.

That is not all that likely considering the magical ritual that brought the Whisperer back but still, it is odd that neither we nor her subjects see all that much of her and that Akhenabi nearly always speaks in her name.

Pryrates (or his ghost) still being alive was a pleasant and interesting surprise. I hoped for something less direct there, perhaps Morgan finding things from his father in the tower, leading to the conclusion that he had been there, too, but what happened is also interesting.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, is Akhenabi able to keep things from his queen?

I believe so. She's still weak from 34 years of being in a coma.

13 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

There are hints that some of the older Norns knew what she is about and that the story of her being this great leader caring for her people is just propaganda but those seem to be very few. The most interesting hint in that direction was this casual remark about the people of her husband becoming enslaved after his death. We don't know who they are, perhaps one of the Norn clans, perhaps some humans the Norns once actually lived with amicably.

Good find, Varys! I don't remember that part, and I'll need to re-read it. We were told in MS&T that Ekimeniso died fighting with humans in Hernystir, so it would be interesting if those people were humans. Whoever they were, it's clear Utuk'ku has misruled her people, just from all the "traitor's bones".

17 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

They talked with Utuk'ku via that shard, yes, but that is not *control* in a strict sense. They wanted to work for her.

I did not get that impression. In fact, we saw ghants prior to their control by Utuk'ku, and they just seemed to be mostly harmless.

18 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

By the way, considering that we never actually hear Utuk'ku speak, and her weirdo mental voice could possible be faked, one actually wonders whether she actually awoke from her slumber. For all we know she could just be Akhenabi's puppet, some girl wearing a silver mask. After all, the actual mask supposedly broke thirty years ago.

That is not all that likely considering the magical ritual that brought the Whisperer back but still, it is odd that neither we nor her subjects see all that much of her and that Akhenabi nearly always speaks in her name.

I have considered this as well. She could be Akhenabi's puppet, and perhaps that's why he's keeping her alive.

The mask broke 30 years ago, but clearly was repaired. No way would Utuk'ku be seen anywhere without it.

21 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Pryrates (or his ghost) still being alive was a pleasant and interesting surprise. I hoped for something less direct there, perhaps Morgan finding things from his father in the tower, leading to the conclusion that he had been there, too, but what happened is also interesting.

This was one of my least-favorite parts. WTF is he (or his ghost) doing back?

22 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Nezeru is somewhat of a moron for not killing that child and for coming up with one of the most clichéd explanations ever as to why she should not be killed.

Nezeru is still a child. What is she, seventeen? She hesitated in killing another child. That's not moronic, that's human. For nine years, I taught seventeen-year-olds. When they didn't finish their homework, their excuses were lame. I didn't find her explanation lame; I found it better than what most 17-year-olds come up with. I've heard some doozies in my time!

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Jiriki said:
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I believe so. She's still weak from 34 years of being in a coma.

Good find, Varys! I don't remember that part, and I'll need to re-read it. We were told in MS&T that Ekimeniso died fighting with humans in Hernystir, so it would be interesting if those people were humans. Whoever they were, it's clear Utuk'ku has misruled her people, just from all the "traitor's bones".

I did not get that impression. In fact, we saw ghants prior to their control by Utuk'ku, and they just seemed to be mostly harmless.

I have considered this as well. She could be Akhenabi's puppet, and perhaps that's why he's keeping her alive.

The mask broke 30 years ago, but clearly was repaired. No way would Utuk'ku be seen anywhere without it.

This was one of my least-favorite parts. WTF is he (or his ghost) doing back?

Nezeru is still a child. What is she, seventeen? She hesitated in killing another child. That's not moronic, that's human. For nine years, I taught seventeen-year-olds. When they didn't finish their homework, their excuses were lame. I didn't find her explanation lame; I found it better than what most 17-year-olds come up with. I've heard some doozies in my time!

 

 

Spoiler

 

Well, considering what she did with the Whisperer it is unlikely Utuk'ku is really a puppet. Akhenabi is pretty powerful but that he could mess with powers like the Red Hand or bring back somebody from death while pretending the queen does it would be somewhat far-fetched. That doesn't seem like something he would come up with on his own. I mean, surely it would have been much easier to bring Ommu back, say, shortly after the end of MST rather than thirty years later.

He was pretty exhausted when he raised all those zombies back in THoWWL. And the Norns apparently feel that Utuk'ku touched them doing that. And one also assumes that the guy whose granddaughter they used as a sacrifice did not agree to that without being sure that the order came from the queen.

By the way, the fact that she Utuk'ku is now, apparently, being worshiped as this evil goddess Morriga by the Hernystiri also indicates that she herself has to do stuff. But it is also a hint that the Norns had once had some closer contact with the Hernystiri, perhaps around the time Ekimeniso died. Perhaps he is part of their pantheon, too.

Well, the point of such a magical mask breaking usually is that those things are then destroyed. If the mask was repaired then one might be able to see traces of that.

As to Pryrates - no idea, really. But it somewhat ties into this 'the Hjeldin's Tower' is evil part that could be interesting later on. Or not. And perhaps it wasn't Pryrates but Morgan's drunk imagination (I've on finished the climbing chapter).

I don't know how old Nezeru is yet. Thought she might even be between 20-30 or so. And, yeah, that she is somewhat soft isn't really a problem, but it is really odd in light of her conditioning. She makes it clear that her training was very cruel and hard, after all. It is odd that she should have any soft spot left, never mind that she is half-human. A human being going through that training should be as cruel as the Norns.

By the way, the Unver chap is Deornoth, right? Anything else would be pretty pointless. I just hope 'Empire of Grass' is not going to mean that he will build himself some empire. Simon's dream about the children is most likely both about 'the Navigator's Children' and Josua's children but hopefully not in the context that the latter do something overly stupid.

 

 

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Nezeru is still a teen. Her mother Tzoja was captured by the Norns 20 years ago. So she cannot be older than that.

And of course Unver is Deornoth. Isn't it said in his first chapter that he has the same grey eyes as Josua.

 

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On 2.7.2017 at 0:59 PM, ylvs said:
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Nezeru is still a teen. Her mother Tzoja was captured by the Norns 20 years ago. So she cannot be older than that.

And of course Unver is Deornoth. Isn't it said in his first chapter that he has the same grey eyes as Josua.

 

I don't keep track of the eye colors of the various characters. At least not in this series.

Spoiler

But, hell, this wasn't difficult to figure out, and since the reader knows that now there are essentially no surprises down the road. Unver will unite the clans and then they will destroy Simon's kingdom (or at least Nabban), with King Hugh taking the good guys in the rear. Etan's entire quest is pretty useless now because we know where at least one of Josua's children, and the story how he ended up with them could he easily tell himself - we don't need another character for that.

And quite honestly - them going searching for a man and his children who disappeared twenty years ago and giving the reader the impression that this is going to be a fruitful search is not all that convincing.

 

16 hours ago, redeagl said:

Now I do seriously wonder whether Pat have received a prank copy or not...

I enjoyed the beginning but it gets slower and slower when one have expected it to take up pace (after the royal progress finally comes back). Some of the slow tidbits are interesting to read but they don't get the plot moving at all (that is especially true for one boring conversation throughout a meal during which literally nothing happens). They slow it down, and then we also get that annoying tendency to simply decide not to talk about elements that are important for the plot, either because of personal stupidity or for other reasons that are not given. More often than not we get elaborate scenes where people talk about what they are going to talk about (or look at) later, and then this is either not done or done in-between chapters or going to happen later still.

Spoiler

Examples would be the talk about a Great Council that is supposed to happen but doesn't happen or doesn't happen in chapter, the relevance of the notes of a certain not-so-dead red priest in an ominous book and the subsequent investigation of the book itself, the contents of a letter about the strange behavior and beliefs of a (later murderous) Hernystiri servant, etc.

And it is not that both the reader and the character chance on something they don't fully understand. That would then be a mystery to both, something they could forget or not fully grasp. But we are more often than not talking about characters who not only should know but actually do know better. There is simply no excuse for that.

Edited by Lord Varys

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On 7/1/2017 at 4:38 PM, Lord Varys said:

Well, considering what she did with the Whisperer it is unlikely Utuk'ku is really a puppet. Akhenabi is pretty powerful but that he could mess with powers like the Red Hand or bring back somebody from death while pretending the queen does it would be somewhat far-fetched.

I tend to agree, but I'm not 100% sure.

You mentioned the guy whose granddaughter was sacrificed wouldn't have agreed "without being sure that the order came from the queen." But how would he know, if Akhenabi was using Utuk'ku as a puppet? Speaking through her, as we already saw he had the ability to do in HOWWL?

 

 

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