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Bakker LIII - Sranc and File

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Layers of revelation are common enough in various shows (as I'd see it), most often with a character who turns out to be a double agent. Suddenly all the past history of that character and all their personal interactions with others are tossed into the air, like whirlwind going through a camp, settling things back into places both familiar yet eerily wrong.

It doesn't have to be a double agent, it could be many things that suddenly change the audiences perception of a great deal of history that was previously taken as cannon. To whatever extent you think Bakker succeeds, it has attempts at multiple rewritings of history due to new information. Thematically you could expect that, given his doubt motif rather than promoting being certain of history.

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I had the semantic apocalypse wrong the whole time. I thought it was basically what happened to the Progenitors in The Unholy Consult sans "finding out they're damned".

4 hours ago, lokisnow said:

The layers of revelation bs should be removed from the intro given that Bakker specifically said nothing was layered to begin with. Layers of revelation is just wishful thinking by fans.

Ever are readers deceived . . . 

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24 minutes ago, Callan S. said:

Layers of revelation are common enough in various shows (as I'd see it), most often with a character who turns out to be a double agent. Suddenly all the past history of that character and all their personal interactions with others are tossed into the air, like whirlwind going through a camp, settling things back into places both familiar yet eerily wrong.

It doesn't have to be a double agent, it could be many things that suddenly change the audiences perception of a great deal of history that was previously taken as cannon. To whatever extent you think Bakker succeeds, it has attempts at multiple rewritings of history due to new information. Thematically you could expect that, given his doubt motif rather than promoting being certain of history.

Such as what?

I'm quite serious here - what has been revealed that changed your perception of how the series worked that was 'previously taken as cannon (sic)'? 

The only one I can really think of is that gods were actually real and manifest and fucked with things. Everything else seems to be largely as we thought it would be; as @lokisnow is fond of pointing out, TUC works best in its revelations as completely ignoring everything that happened for the last 3 books and jumping in right from Kellhus' conversation with Moenghus. 

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Only thing I can think of that changed my view of how the series worked is that there doesn't appear to be "redemption" with the God, like (presumably) what the Fanim were hoping for. It's Demons-All-The-Way-Down, with eternity being either moaning in pleasure as the demons/gods feed off of it, shrieking in agony as the demons/gods feed off it, or being such a determined, hateful bastard that you become a minor demon/god and start feeding off of souls yourself.

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Yeah, that's fair - I was expecting the Fanim to be the most right, but per extratextual they appear to be the Most Wrong. But it didn't really change my view of things, and again to be fair that was never actually revealed in the text.

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I mean I guess Bakker told us it was a 'metaphysical whodunnit' and then it was revealed not to be that at all.

Or maybe the meaning of 'a right way and a wrong way to worship in earwa' changing to 'theres a right way (ps there isn't) and a wrong way (ps they're all wrong) to worship in earwa' I guess that's a revealed layer if you want it to be.

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The revelation was that there was no revelation! Isn't your mind, just like, totally blown?

 

Also the metaphysical whodunnit thing still pisses me off.

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I guess it is kind of amusing that the Consult is right about their goal of shutting out the Outside, but horribly immoral and evil about how to get to it. That feels Bakker-esque to me. 

2 hours ago, Kalbear said:

Yeah, that's fair - I was expecting the Fanim to be the most right, but per extratextual they appear to be the Most Wrong.

That bugged me. It felt like there was something important that the Fanim had come across metaphysically, since the Cishaurim don't leave a Mark and don't salt either upon death (they explode in a flash of light when hit with a chorae). But it turns out they just found a different way to do sorcery (which the most powerful Mandate sorcerer ever probably stumbled on by accident anyways), and they probably made the fate of everyone who ever believed Fanimry worse off because they weren't cutting deals with gods or doing the Zeumi ancestry thing. 

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22 minutes ago, Fall Bass said:

I guess it is kind of amusing that the Consult is right about their goal of shutting out the Outside, but horribly immoral and evil about how to get to it. That feels Bakker-esque to me. 

I dunno; that seemed obvious at the end of TTT, when Moenghus would have decided to join with them. It also seems obvious as a thought experiment: what does anything matter compared to the eternal torture of your soul? There is literally nothing worse than that, save perhaps causing even more people to be eternally damned. I had been saying 'go Consult, choose Consult' since then, IIRC. Nothing really changed. 

22 minutes ago, Fall Bass said:

That bugged me. It felt like there was something important that the Fanim had come across metaphysically, since the Cishaurim don't leave a Mark and don't salt either upon death (they explode in a flash of light when hit with a chorae). But it turns out they just found a different way to do sorcery (which the most powerful Mandate sorcerer ever probably stumbled on by accident anyways), and they probably made the fate of everyone who ever believed Fanimry worse off because they weren't cutting deals with gods or doing the Zeumi ancestry thing. 

Yeah, that kind of sucked. It certainly was a letdown to build up Meppa so much in WLW and then have him kind of be there only to be a possible fight against Kellhus, and that was it. 

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36 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Yeah, that kind of sucked. It certainly was a letdown to build up Meppa so much in WLW and then have him kind of be there only to be a possible fight against Kellhus, and that was it. 

Baffling.

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In hindsight, the last two books are a complete travesty.

Like others, I went from eagerly awaiting the conclusion (surely it would re-orient everything teased throughout TSA) to essentially boxing the books and storing them. The disappointment was that strong.

Partially it was the entire set up of the second series -- it deliberately hinged on WWKD? -- what what would the underlying metaphysics truly mean? Years of discussion on this site had generated mind-blowing possibilities. 

Then the "delay". And the shenanigans to split the book into two.

Then TGO, and its obvious lack of editing... although there were some interesting revelations (Grainery, the splitting of the God, Ishterebinth)

Then TUC, which really didn't need those four extra edgelord chapters, which squandered many of the pivotal meetings, which ultimately ended in the most predictable grimdark manner. It wasn't so much a shock as it was, "that's all?" And the writing was even more sloppy. 

The Expanded Glossary had a few interesting bits, but nothing revelatory like the one in TTT. It seemed pointless. 

And then the revelation that, after 30 years, everything that came after is extremely nebulous. 

I defended the author and books on here for nearly ten years, after the Bakker & Women threads blew up, and I was sure that TJE/WLW were being deliberately vague in areas to really blow us away with the final book. It was always interesting to check in the Bakker threads to see what theory was currently brewing. And now? Void. The occasional moment of disbelief, followed by the sense of rue. 

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I'm still trying to square my thoughts on The Unholy Consult. The Great Ordeal is a much easier cut for me - it has some editing weaknesses, sure, and the split results in a lack of a clear ending, but it still works throughout and contains some of my favorite writing in the series (Ishertebinth and the Survivor). 

TUC I really can't figure out where I land. It's a weird mix between being riveted by some of the twists I never saw coming (Kellhus as Ajokli, the Dunsult reveals), incredible iconic and haunting imagery (the description of the ordeal coming across Golgotterath was stunning), and huge disappointment at the lack of resolutions and answers. I partially love the world and reveals and need to see more and am partially devastated by how little it amounted to. If Bakker hadn't come out and said the third series is basically being winged at this moment, I'd be holding out hope and faith it would all finally come to a head...

It's odd, I've never been this invested in a series before. This fervent to get answers and an ending. When I was younger,but LOST, maybe Mass Effect was the last thing I was desperate to get to the ending of and know more (look how that one turned out). So I felt like I've been waiting some six years with a need to see what happens with TUC, only to finally get there and be like...you actually gotta wait until that third series. Keep reading. And also, the third series probably won't answer any of it because it's largely incidental. 

Which is kinda why I'm like, write it and release it now, so I can get some sense of resolution, either to the story that was promised or to me realizing that Bakker never had as much to offer as I thought he did. 

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2 hours ago, IllusiveMan said:

It's odd, I've never been this invested in a series before. This fervent to get answers and an ending.

That was Bakker's whole gimmick if I understand it correctly. Make a series that's filled with mysteries and questions, promise or at least hint at a final book that will reveal everything (g string moment) and in the end the No-God rises, the series abruptly ends and you don't get answers to almost anything because all your questions are now meaningless. 

That's Bakker's gotcha moment, this is why he said fans will need therapy after TUC, why he would die with a shit eating grin on his face if he died after TUC. That's what's "genuinely unique and daring" about this, not simply that the Consult won (they didn't win yet, anyway). 

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I suppose that's daring, though not all that unique. And from a literary standpoint hardly fulfilling. You could argue there's merit to that approach, but in my approach nowhere close to the merit achieved if with his ending he actually had something to, you know, say. 

I also suspect the grim dark ending of the Consult winning and the Ordeal perishing was an idea he came up with at a young age (he has said as much IIRC). And like Wheel of Time or Harry Potter, he stuck to that ending even when by the time he reached that point the series and his skills as a writer had outgrown the concept he found so riveting at a young age. But that is just a whim that occurred to me. At least, unlike Jordan and Rowling, his prose skills in that final chapter didn't take a sharp decline. 

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12 hours ago, Hello World said:

That was Bakker's whole gimmick if I understand it correctly. Make a series that's filled with mysteries and questions, promise or at least hint at a final book that will reveal everything (g string moment) and in the end the No-God rises, the series abruptly ends and you don't get answers to almost anything because all your questions are now meaningless. 

That's Bakker's gotcha moment, this is why he said fans will need therapy after TUC, why he would die with a shit eating grin on his face if he died after TUC. That's what's "genuinely unique and daring" about this, not simply that the Consult won (they didn't win yet, anyway). 

If he really wanted to troll, he should have killed off Akka, Mir., Esme, etc. Wipe 'em all out for maximum middle-finger. 

It's a pretty lame gotcha, in that we have to read 2000 pages, some awesome, some of the slog of slogs, in order to get to the "it was all fated anyway." If he seriously had to stick to his 17-year-old guns, I for one would have preferred skipping a lot of that, and having this be a duology like originally intended.

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Oh man. Killing off Akka would guarantee that I wouldn't be bothering with the next trilogy. He's the only character who matters to me now that Proyas is gone. :(

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On 27/01/2018 at 1:49 AM, Fall Bass said:

I guess it is kind of amusing that the Consult is right about their goal of shutting out the Outside, but horribly immoral and evil about how to get to it. That feels Bakker-esque to me. 

That bugged me. It felt like there was something important that the Fanim had come across metaphysically, since the Cishaurim don't leave a Mark and don't salt either upon death (they explode in a flash of light when hit with a chorae). But it turns out they just found a different way to do sorcery (which the most powerful Mandate sorcerer ever probably stumbled on by accident anyways), and they probably made the fate of everyone who ever believed Fanimry worse off because they weren't cutting deals with gods or doing the Zeumi ancestry thing. 

What is the Zeumi ancestory thing?

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The ending of the series is absolutely atrocious. 

Its proper grim dark and brutal etc. but it kind of negates the point of the entire Aspect Emperor series and to a lesser extent, the Prince of Nothing.

So many questions, the world is cool as fuck (In a grim way), the involvement of the Gods, the bargains struck (Although I feel Bakker would be better if was more obvious with some of the plot points, but thats just me) and then just 'haha everyone is dead, nothing matters, mothers are wailing the world over WOMB PLAGUE BITCHES!!!!

I was left thinking 'What was the point?'

Bad guys winning is grim as fuck and OMG SO COOL but not if its just explicit Dark Lord wins. It has to be more subtle.

The sad thing is, I will probably read the No God books, even though I suspect they will just be a 1800 pages of horror like the canibal rape bits in TUC.

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2 hours ago, The Prince of Newcastle said:

The ending of the series is absolutely atrocious. 

Its proper grim dark and brutal etc. but it kind of negates the point of the entire Aspect Emperor series and to a lesser extent, the Prince of Nothing.

So many questions, the world is cool as fuck (In a grim way), the involvement of the Gods, the bargains struck (Although I feel Bakker would be better if was more obvious with some of the plot points, but thats just me) and then just 'haha everyone is dead, nothing matters, mothers are wailing the world over WOMB PLAGUE BITCHES!!!!

I was left thinking 'What was the point?'

Bad guys winning is grim as fuck and OMG SO COOL but not if its just explicit Dark Lord wins. It has to be more subtle.

The sad thing is, I will probably read the No God books, even though I suspect they will just be a 1800 pages of horror like the canibal rape bits in TUC.

I would have been happy (to some extent) with Kellhus / Ajokli as the Tapeworm Overlord. When i got to that part of the book, my mind when -- "WHA... this changes things."
But no. Kelly got salted and it's the no-god all over again. Which leads to the obvious conclusion: Moe jr. gets the heron spear, its passed along many hands, things reach the apogee, boom, no more NG.

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What undermines the ending for me was the fact that it is presented as the Consult "winning".  The No God walks, the Great Ordeal is crushed, curtains. 

But this is just a tactical win.  The armies of the North massed and were crushed in the First apocalypse too, only to be defeated years later.  Most of the important characters from the series are still alive (Akka, Mim, Esmi, Kayutas) or undetermined, but probably alive (Serwa).  Thus, the impact of this defeat is greatly reduced, since the people we most care about survived.  As a huge OMG moment, ending the story in this way was a failure. 

Now, perhaps you see the Great Ordeal as peripheral to the Kellus vs Consult showdown.  In that case, yes, the showdown did have some nice surprises.  But that showdown has its own problems, as it largely undermines the metaphysics we've been dissecting since TJE (if not earlier). 

I think I would be more interested in reading the third series if Kellhus had destroyed the Dunsult prior to his untimely demise.  I am tired of the Dunyain.

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