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The Unholy Consult Post-Release SPOILER THREAD


Werthead

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1 hour ago, odium said:

Between TGO and TUC, it felt like I read five hundred pages about the teeming Sranc hordes and the terrors undergone by the Ordeal to reach Golgotterath, only for the ringleaders to be effortlessly dealt with over the span of a few pages.

And then there is suddenly 8000 chorae lying around... making it possible to wipe out the Ordeal... In just one page...

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2 hours ago, odium said:

Honestly, so much hangs on the suspension of disbelief. On one hand we're led to believe that Kellhus (and maybe the DunSult?) are orchestrating everything, have accounted for every possible contingency or twist of possibility, but on the other... why did Kellhus need the Great Ordeal at all, honestly? In the end he did all the heavy lifting himself. He only engaged with the teeming hordes of Sranc to help convey the Ordeal to Golgotterath, and later to defend it. He could have just used the Metagnosis to jump there, killed the leaders of the Consult and murdered the Dunyain instead of pausing to dialogue with them. Honestly, why did Kellhus just leave Ishual to be plundered by the Consult to begin with? From the very beginning we saw how Moenghus was able to survive captivity with the Sranc. Was it so far-fetched as to be beneath his notice, that maybe some of his brothers would get caught and just manipulate their way to the head of the Consult? 
 

 

Right?  The Ordeal had no utility from our point of view.   But the Consult just letting Kellhus in was contingent on the Consult being controlled by the Dunyain, I think.  And Kellhus wasn't certain of that until Dagliash he claims, though he suspected it.  So, the Ordeal was necessary up until Dagliash.  Which was, coincidentally, the point at which Kellhus abandons the Ordeal. I think we can view that literally - Kellhus abandons the Ordeal at Dagliash because that is when he confirms the Dunyain control the Consult and that the Ordeal is now literally useless.

So, Kellhus jumps to Momemn to execute his DunSult-Contingency Plan, which apparently involves bringing Li'l Kel all the way to Golgotterath and to feed him into the No-God and getting himself salted in the process.

 

Unrelated note - where is the rest of the Consult?  Did it really just consist of Aurang, Aurax, Shae, and Mekeritig prior to the Dunyain joining them? There were a couple hundred Erratic Quya, but they clearly aren't useful beyond being unleashed on a foe.  I had always assumed the Mangaecca continued to exist in some form, but given the elaborate form of immortality Shae took, it seems unlikely the Mangaecca also existed in that form.  

Like, the physical tasks necessary for the Consult seem impossible for just those four.  Who recovered the Carapace? How did they repair it?  The Consult breeds Sranc, how do they physically manage the Sranc-breeding without more manpower?  How did they breed Skin-Spies?  How do they wrassle and assemble armies?

The Consult literally just being Shae, Aurang, Aurax and Mekeritig makes me think that the automated systems of the Ark are way more functional than I had assumed.   Either that or the rest of the Mangaecca are still off-screen somewhere in the bowels of the Ark?

49 minutes ago, Galbrod said:

And then there is suddenly 8000 chorae lying around... making it possible to wipe out the Ordeal... In just one page...

Eh, the Consult knows how to make Chorae.  Aurang knows Aporetic sorcery - we're told this way, way way back in TTT when he passes through the wards Achamian sets up around Kellhus.

 

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9 minutes ago, Damned with the Wind said:

Eh, the Consult knows how to make Chorae.  Aurang knows Aporetic sorcery - we're told this way, way way back in TTT when he passes through the wards Achamian sets up around Kellhus.

 

With that type of resource lying around, I have a hard time understanding why the Consult did not put these chorae into more effective use before. 

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damn, I used the word "honestly" a lot in that paragraph. Hindsight definitely seems to indicate that Kellhus abandoned the Ordeal upon realizing that the Dunyain led the Consult. Without a doubt, that would explain his extended pause upon uncovering the nuke - it seemed a little fishy that he required more than a few seconds to ascertain that he was looking at an advanced technological device designed for mass destruction (/s). And that's fine to me! But I feel like there are too many moments where this happens that are not touched upon... and maybe it's because he left himself room to answer major questions during a third series, but he has also expressed that TUC could easily be the end of the entire saga, and I can't shake the feeling of sloppiness that he left so much untouched.

Nonetheless, I too think I've been overly vocal about my criticism, and Bakker really should give himself a pat on the back for finishing this behemoth. PoN is the best fantasy I've ever read and TAE is, for all its ups and downs, a very cerebral and philosophical work of fantasy literature... and writing one book is no small undertaking, but 7 is a monumental one. Despite whatever problems it might have, TSA is a tremendous achievement in his life!

But really, killing Shauriatas off-screen without an actual appearance after so much hype? No : (

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14 minutes ago, odium said:

 

But really, killing Shauriatas off-screen without an actual appearance after so much hype? No : (

There's just no getting over this one for me lol. Gonna be salty forever. That's just a huge kick in the nuts, in addition to making the rest of the Consult that we do see so lame and ineffective. And saying the Inchoiri were simply made to be incompetent may make sense within the story, but it also means there's a failure in conveying that because the build up and expectation told a different story. We got repeated, seemingly almost objective, hints at the vast power and intellect of Aurang (even Kellhus notes it). And the glossary states the Consult was the a joining of the most fearsome wills and intellects of their three species. You can't state stuff like that and build up on it so much only to be like 'nope, they were incompetent and fools' the whole time. They managed the First Apocalypse just fine without Dunyain pulling their strings, so they should have been way more than they were, even if not quite a match for Kellhus.

I really think the book's success depends on this third series. As the climax of part two of a three part story, i think it is mostly a success, few complaints aside. Let's hope that was the intention, because as an actual ending it does not work. 

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On 06/07/2017 at 9:34 PM, Werthead said:

Pretty much. How precisely that works, I don't know.

Impressive theory, Wert, quite impressive. I have a question about your original review of TUC, in there you write:

 

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Also, hold tight because here come another three revelations which you really didn't see coming. There are some revelations here that will have the reader nodding in approval, others that will be mystifying and several that are surprising in both their content and their elegance (one, extraordinarily important, answer to a vital series-spanning question would even border on the mundane, but the implications of the revelation are far-reaching).

Which answer are you referring to there?

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Damelon said:

Which answer are you referring to there?

"Why is Kellhus doing what he's doing?" "Because he's possessed by a demon god."

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3) What on earth happened with Serwe; where did that last Chorae come from ? I couldn't wrap my head around what happened in that scene.

Serwa detected 99 Chorae but there were 100; the last one was in one of those special pouches that seals their presence or non-presence away from sorcerers' detection.

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1 minute ago, Werthead said:

"Why is Kellhus doing what he's doing?" "Because he's possessed by a demon god."

Serwa detected 99 Chorae but there were 100; the last one was in one of those special pouches that seals their presence or non-presence away from sorcerers' detection.

Thanks for the quick reply Wert.

I'm not totally sure if that is the ultimate reason for Kellhus, since other Dunyain have come to similar conclusions regarding Damnation.  There are also a few schools of thought, already, about the possible timeline for Ajokli-Kellhus collusion, Circumfix or Daimos-seminars. Your reading would support the Circumfix one, I gather?

Missed that Serwa pouch part, although the earlier WLW Chorae concealing pouch was also not apparent to me.

I'm not a fan of the Serwa - Dragon duel. The narrative purpose to me is unclear, unless the purpose is that there is no real purpose to her efforts, since Kellhus's plan is beyond his children. Which undermines their agency, which could be thematically the point, but is dramatically less interesting. Besides that, the scene missed a payoff.

Perhaps I was numb after reading so many action scenes in TUC, but I didn't enjoy the scene itself so much either. It read like a video game, a platform game with a Chorae-countdown and a Dragon as an end of level guardian.

 

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Serwa detected 99 Chorae but there were 100; the last one was in one of those special pouches that seals their presence or non-presence away from sorcerers' detection.

As far as I can tell the second part (the pouch) is reasonable speculation but is not mentioned in the book. My personal view is that it is yet another way to show Ajokli's influence in things - it is the 100th god, the one that turns on you when things appear to be triumphant, and he chose Serwa to fail at that moment as part of his cost for services to Kellhus.

But it's not clear. It's not clear what the thematic linking is between Koringhus' 100 stones and the last stone being the one that Crabicus used to escape Cnaiur (who may or may not become Ajokli later), it's not clear why Serwa would miss this without that pouch, etc. There is a lot of ambiguity even in very simple things.

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Re: why does Kellhus need the Ordeal?  He needs a shit ton of his followers to die as believers as part of the Ajokli bargain -- he needs power in Hell / the Outside.  So between the unification wars and the Ordeal he scored a Kellic shit-ton of swazondesque god points

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14 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Re: why does Kellhus need the Ordeal?  He needs a shit ton of his followers to die as believers as part of the Ajokli bargain -- he needs power in Hell / the Outside.  So between the unification wars and the Ordeal he scored a Kellic shit-ton of swazondesque god points

I was thinking about this a bit more, and I'm a bit less sure of it because of the line 'Those souls which encounter the No-God go no further'. I don't know what that means precisely, but to me it implies that the souls no longer travel to Hell any more and are trapped, like those in the Swazond (again, maybe; it could be swazonds simply act as a reference to that soul, rather than storing it). 

In which case most of the Great Ordeal died and gave the Outside nothing at all, and those were the souls which were most tasty (as they had been through the great pornpocalypse and emerged as believers in Kellhus. 

I also don't know why they'd be particularly welcoming to Kellhus at that point, but perhaps they don't have anything like agency once they're souls. 

On another note: I desperately want Akka and someone else to recreate Seswatha's journey into Golgotterath with the goal of not securing the Heron Spear, but instead securing Kellhus' secondary head.

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31 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Re: why does Kellhus need the Ordeal?  He needs a shit ton of his followers to die as believers as part of the Ajokli bargain -- he needs power in Hell / the Outside.  So between the unification wars and the Ordeal he scored a Kellic shit-ton of swazondesque god points

I don't think those souls offer any more power in the Outside.  Souls are food for Ciphrang and Gods, but I don't think access to more food necessarily makes you stronger.  Ajokli's turning Kellhus into a true Ciphrang is something he can just do since he's a god.  I think it's really just a case of taking what Kellhus says at face value.  He wasn't certain the Dunyain ruled the Consult until Dagliash, so until Dagliash he needed the army.

9 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I was thinking about this a bit more, and I'm a bit less sure of it because of the line 'Those souls which encounter the No-God go no further'. I don't know what that means precisely, but to me it implies that the souls no longer travel to Hell any more and are trapped,

 

Again, I think we need to look at it using the no-subtlety perspective.  The DunSult say the No-God is God (literal deus ex machina).  When you die, you join the God c.f. Koringhus (though God is shattered, so you remain discrete enough to suffer in the Outside). The No-God being the God manifest in the world becomes the shortest path for the souls of the dead to reach the Godhead.  This is also a good way to explain the Bode - the souls of the living are literally being dragged towards the No-God, but are fixed in place by their bodies.

 

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1 hour ago, Kalbear said:

As far as I can tell the second part (the pouch) is reasonable speculation but is not mentioned in the book. My personal view is that it is yet another way to show Ajokli's influence in things - it is the 100th god, the one that turns on you when things appear to be triumphant, and he chose Serwa to fail at that moment as part of his cost for services to Kellhus.

But it's not clear. It's not clear what the thematic linking is between Koringhus' 100 stones and the last stone being the one that Crabicus used to escape Cnaiur (who may or may not become Ajokli later), it's not clear why Serwa would miss this without that pouch, etc. There is a lot of ambiguity even in very simple things.

I'm thinking Imimorul ties into this somehow: he may have been the 100th god who chose to abandon godhood and fled to the World and birthed the Nonmen.

Quote

 

I'm a bit less sure of it because of the line 'Those souls which encounter the No-God go no further'. I don't know what that means precisely, but to me it implies that the souls no longer travel to Hell any more and are trapped, like those in the Swazond (again, maybe; it could be swazonds simply act as a reference to that soul, rather than storing it). 

 

The No-God is a firewall between the World and the Outside: it goes up and nothing can then get in or out. Which itself is intriguing as it suggests that souls enter the world from the Outside: reincarnation of a kind, perhaps? Then the firewall's antivirus software kicks in and starts scouring the virus of life from the World, which is obscuring the source code for reality. Once the number of life forms fall below 144,000, the source code is fully accessible and the No-God can reboot the computer of reality from scratch, this time omitting the pesky damnation dump file which really shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Or, more simply, The Second Apocalypse is a delayed response to a really shitty time Scott had in upgrading his computer to Windows 95 back in the day.

I think the twin Apocalypses being described as "System Initiation" and "System Resumption" are extremely significant.

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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

 it suggests that souls enter the world from the Outside: reincarnation of a kind, perhaps?

The crazy guy on the slog says reincarnation happens (old men waking up behind the eyes of babes is the line I believe) and there are several references to the "cycle" of souls.  But we've never been told how it happens.  Presumably it isn't an option for the damned.  The Saved, like Sorweel get picked up by Gods (he explicitly gets taken by Yatwer).  But those who aren't sworn to any God, but otherwise aren't damned, probably end up recycling?

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17 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

I am perfectly capable of believing that Kellhus had a contingency plan and has survived in some form. I struggle to believe  that he "loved" Proyas. Nor has Proyas escaped from damnation. His deal with Ajokli was not to break the cycle of damnation. Ajokli was interested in eroding the border between the Outside and Earwa.

 

So yeah at first I assumed that everything is going to Kellhus' plan out of habit but thinking about it now I think your right that its more likely he was surprised and has a few contingency plans going. As for Proyas love is maybe too strong a word (it always is with the Dunyain) but there was something there. Before the last book there was a debate on whether or not Kellhus loved Esme and I've always said yes - my criterion is that any time Kellhus steps off the shortest path then that is evidence of love or at least some other Darkness. He didn't have to go back and confess to Proyas but he did and while you can make a good argument for Kellhus going back to Momenn for Kel not for Esme and it all being part of the TTT I don't think you can for Proyas.

But yes Proyas is damned as is Serwe probably. For now.

You  actually reminded me that my other big question from the last book was what separates the Dunyain, they are all near perfect computers they should all reach the same logical conclusions. In this book Kellhus says the difference is the tools they were exposed to when leaving Ishual but this can't be right as the 4 were also presumably Gnostic sorcerers. I speculated maybe the difference was Kell/Kor's ability to love and that was why they were so prodigious but this still doesn't explain Moenghus.

 

14 hours ago, odium said:

Ultimately, this book disappointed me, not only because of many points already mentioned throughout this thread but also because it shakes my faith in Bakker's capabilities as a writer. 

 

Yeah, that's it exactly for me. On the one hand I know that having to endure the Srancmen sections made me peevish and reading the books so quickly can't have helped but I feel like the measure of a story is how well it absorbs you and there were just too many times when Bakkers hand would jerk me out of the story. Sorwheel, Moenghus conveniently falling into his fathers lap, how every character would leave the tent "for air" only to conveniently reunite with a long lost friend/enemy in a overly emotional scene like it was all some cheap stage melodrama. Too many times I could see characters being moved from scene to scene instead of naturally making their own way. The combat was great but with the notable exception of Esme- Mim and Serwa-Kayu almost all the emotional scenes fell flat. 

 

11 hours ago, odium said:

Nonetheless, I too think I've been overly vocal about my criticism, and Bakker really should give himself a pat on the back for finishing this behemoth. PoN is the best fantasy I've ever read and TAE is, for all its ups and downs, a very cerebral and philosophical work of fantasy literature... and writing one book is no small undertaking, but 7 is a monumental one. Despite whatever problems it might have, TSA is a tremendous achievement in his life!

But really, killing Shauriatas off-screen without an actual appearance after so much hype? No : (

 

I also agree with the former though.

As for the latter I'm cool with it; Shae might have been a genius but he was only just a man. When facing the Dunyain it could only ever have ended in anticlimax. Like someone else said, the fact they couldn't manipulate him is credit enough.

 

10 hours ago, Damelon said:

Perhaps I was numb after reading so many action scenes in TUC, but I didn't enjoy the scene itself so much either. It read like a video game, a platform game with a Chorae-countdown and a Dragon as an end of level guardian.

 

Yeah I agree that it felt strangely out of place. The only way I could explain it was that this was Bakker's response to the feminists, like "women in my books have no agency? Look here's Serwa she's a strong independent woman and she don't take no shit from any sexist dragon!" But who on earth is still reading that gives a fuck ? Kalbear ? Like there is literally nothing that Bakker could write now that wouldn't be interpreted as misogynistic to this crowd while the rest of us are wondering why a Dragon is talking about cunny.

Infact I think it was a strangely lightheartend sequence all together. How the Hero (whose name I swore to remember but have now forgotten) boasts after surviving its breath then gets immediately chomped up. How Dragons are flying tanks but are so easily offended. It probably says alot about the series that these scenes, this ...attempt at humour?.. feels so blasphemously out of place. 

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The clarification that we haven't seen the full extent of the No-God's capabilities (System Completion is the rendering of everything into an object) was nice.

That also has to mean System Completion is... completed, at some point, otherwise it wouldn't be invisible. Unless it's a quality of complex Tekne artifacts to be invisible to the gods, which would explain why the Ark is also invisible.

I'd like to think that between his realization of the Dunyain subsuming the Consult, and his insight on the No-God's inevitable victory, Kellhus wasn't planning on winning in the Golden Room, and something else was afoot.

Is Cnaiur a fellow agent of Ajokli, or IS he Ajokli?

I don't think the Under-the-Tree Guy is Ajokli, I think Ajokli is "the most crocodilian" of the Sons.

After completing TAE I think I most miss TTT Kellhus who was actually convinced of his own divinity. Unless the pact with Ajokli and his King of Hell speech is a riff on that.

Also, please don't be a simulation. Well, I could sort of live with the series being the extension of a Surface-Detailesque conflict.

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