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Bakker LVI: the Rectum of Creation

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5 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

My recollection was that Gods need an anchor to do anything in the real world, or risk spreading themselves too thin across the universe. We dont see gods manifest except through proxies throughout - the wlw, psatma, cnaiur, and kellhus. They need someone with intellect in the world to act, I think is what is said by the dunsult. 

The problem isn't that ark is invisible or gibberish. The problem is that without the context of the no God they dont see it or the consult as an actual threat. They can't see how it results in their end. Even when the no God rises, ajokli isn't pissed about it or anything else other than being fucked over by kellhus. 

Well, yes, they can't just flatly manifest in the world, I'd think mostly because they aren't physical beings.  I think you refer to this part:

Quote

“The Hells are blind to this place,” the burnt Dûnyain declared. “Even if they watch you, they cannot see where you stand.”
Consult skin-spies ... one after another, emerging from the black, more than a dozen that Malowebi could see—and that the Anasûrimbor could not.
The Lord-and-Prophet of the Three Seas actually smiled. “You seek to starve the very Gods,” his reflection said. “Brothers, things so great need no light to cast shadows.”
“How do you mean?” the teeth-baring Dûnyain demanded.
“Some have always smelled your absence.”
“At most,” the unscathed figure retorted. “They Intuit rather than Reason. They lack the Intellect to question.”
Malowebi saw more black-garbed assassins surfacing from the darkness reflected in the fin. There had to be a hundred of the creatures now—spiderfaces!—all of them bearing Chorae in their palms. It scissored his senses, looking forward to see reflections of the vacancies he sensed floating behind him.
“Which is why,” the Holy Aspect-Emperor said, “they needed me.”

Again, I don't think I am just pulling things out of thin air about the Ark.  Note what Kellhus tells Proyas:

Quote

“When they attack me,” the Anasûrimbor continued, “their assassins are doomed since Creation to succeed, and then they fail as they were always doomed to fail. Eternity is transformed and the Hundred with it, oblivious to the transformation. The Unholy Ark is the disfiguring absence, the pit that consumes all trace of its consumption! To the degree it moves us, we pursue a Fate the Gods can never see ...
“Do you see, Proyas? We act outside Eternity, here ... in this place.”

It isn't just that they don't consider the Consult a threat.  They don't even consider the Consult, because they hide themselves and employ things outside the god's knowledge and view.  We know that Nonmen can "hide" too, which is what they did "digging deep" and "hiding their voices."  This is why, while they gods could see Shae and the Inchoroi, they don't.  And why they could see the Dunsult, but also don't.

16 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Note also that during the apocalypse the gods only blamed humans when the no God was running around. Prior to that there's no indication that they didn't act as usual. I think bakker said they had metaphysical alzheimers?

Well, considering these two quotes:

Quote

“The No-God stands outside inside and outside,” Oinaral continued. “The Gods of your idols could not foresee its coming two thousand years ago. When It walked the World in actuality they saw only the ruin that was its shadow—ruin they blamed on other things! The priests of Men cried out and out and out, for naught. The masses huddled in the Temples wailing, and their Gods—your Gods!—heard only madness or mockery …”
Sorweel gaped faceless. The Amiolas, which had been an insufferable burden, seemed the only thing holding him upright.
“What are you saying? That Yatwer is deceived?”
“More. I’m saying that given Her nature, She cannot but be deceived.”

and Bakker in the AMA:

 

Quote

Has Resumption bared the rest of the Hundred from interferiing in the real world?

4) The Gods are pretty much witless now. Imagine a virus erasing your memories and your meta-memories simultaneously. Theological Alzheimers.

I would tend to think that supports my view, that if the god's "memory" can be "erased" than it is more like they perpetually read and reread "the script."  The issue of the No-God and the all of Ark's (soulles) issuance is again, something that the gods cannot figure, because it;s origin lies outside the script they have access to.  The gods "memory" is likely not just stored information, it is a literal timeless reading and rereading of the script that both is the gods and so is all things which to gods can access.  And they imagine this to be the sum total of creation and of time.  Except that it isn't.

Quote

And he simply knew … knew that Oinaral Lastborn spoke true … The Incû-Holionas had come to exterminate all souls … and the Gods could not see it at all …

It certainly seems to be said that Ark is simply not perceptible by the gods.  Not in the sense of being invisible in a physical sense, but of simply being something not metaphysically view-able, which is likely the manner in which the gods actually "see" in Earwa.  That is, because thier general manner of "viewing" is to read the script, or so I can only surmise.  This is why the No-God retro-actively deletes their "memory."  Because their memory is just a rereading of the script.  But with the No-God active, the script is rendered blank (because it is, literally, both incorrect and now meaningless, since the whole point of the No-God is to end, as Aurang puts it, "fault" that is, accountability and the fact there is meaning in past events).

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1 hour ago, .H. said:

Well, yes, they can't just flatly manifest in the world, I'd think mostly because they aren't physical beings.  I think you refer to this part:

Again, I don't think I am just pulling things out of thin air about the Ark.  Note what Kellhus tells Proyas:

It isn't just that they don't consider the Consult a threat.  They don't even consider the Consult, because they hide themselves and employ things outside the god's knowledge and view.  We know that Nonmen can "hide" too, which is what they did "digging deep" and "hiding their voices."  This is why, while they gods could see Shae and the Inchoroi, they don't.  And why they could see the Dunsult, but also don't. 

Again, I don't think that follows. The Dunsult actively state that they can't be seen in this place. Not can't be seen - but specifically in this place. That gives your theory of Ark being invisible more credit, but gives the Dunsult/Shae being invisible less. 

Furthermore, it doesn't make sense if the Dunsult or Shae or the Inchoroi are invisible or outside God's knowledge because we know they can be tracked - and we know this because of the Inverse Fire. There is a clear link between their souls and the Outside. They aren't hidden because they came from somewhere else; they're hidden because they're happening to reside in Ark. 

It's also not clear what makes the Gods active in the world. The only examples we have of gods interceding is either as showing favor based on manifestations of that gods persona, or specifically to counter another god's actions. Remember, Kellhus isn't being opposed because he's a dude and he's being all protestant - he's being opposed because Ajokli is trying to steal the granary. The gods aren't trying to stop Kellhus' Great Ordeal or his plans - they're trying to specifically stop him.

1 hour ago, .H. said:

I would tend to think that supports my view, that if the god's "memory" can be "erased" than it is more like they perpetually read and reread "the script."  The issue of the No-God and the all of Ark's (soulles) issuance is again, something that the gods cannot figure, because it;s origin lies outside the script they have access to.  The gods "memory" is likely not just stored information, it is a literal timeless reading and rereading of the script that both is the gods and so is all things which to gods can access.  And they imagine this to be the sum total of creation and of time.  Except that it isn't. 

Again, I think you're conflating Ark and Inchoroi and Progenitors with the No-God's effects. I agree with the memory thing here - and furthermore, I think that the reason they lose their memory is because they effectively are beyond the script at that point and no longer have access to it, cut off the same way souls are cut off from the Outside when the No-God is active. Their memory is probably some collation of all the souls which have ever existed or will exist, a sum total of the experiences of the souled, and when the No-God is active that is completely annihilated, leaving them with basically nothing but their hungers and the dim desire of something they don't understand. 

1 hour ago, .H. said:

It certainly seems to be said that Ark is simply not perceptible by the gods.  Not in the sense of being invisible in a physical sense, but of simply being something not metaphysically view-able, which is likely the manner in which the gods actually "see" in Earwa.  That is, because thier general manner of "viewing" is to read the script, or so I can only surmise.  This is why the No-God retro-actively deletes their "memory."  Because their memory is just a rereading of the script.  But with the No-God active, the script is rendered blank (because it is, literally, both incorrect and now meaningless, since the whole point of the No-God is to end, as Aurang puts it, "fault" that is, accountability and the fact there is meaning in past events).

Yeah, that one quote does make it sound like Ark is invisible entirely, though it still doesn't say anything about Ark's creations or other things. Another case in point is how would skin-spies be invisible if they can be souled as well? I just don't think that makes sense. 

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8 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Again, I don't think that follows. The Dunsult actively state that they can't be seen in this place. Not can't be seen - but specifically in this place. That gives your theory of Ark being invisible more credit, but gives the Dunsult/Shae being invisible less. 

Furthermore, it doesn't make sense if the Dunsult or Shae or the Inchoroi are invisible or outside God's knowledge because we know they can be tracked - and we know this because of the Inverse Fire. There is a clear link between their souls and the Outside. They aren't hidden because they came from somewhere else; they're hidden because they're happening to reside in Ark.

Right, I mean, I admit, I was likely wrong about them all being invisible, but there are ways to simply just hide, which is what they are doing.  It's actually not clear at all if the soulless things of Tekne can be "perceived" or not though, unfortunately.  We just don't actually know what the gods know or don't about things like Sranc.  I don't think the gods care at all about things that don't have souls, because those things aren't what they eat.  So, maybe they just lump them into the broad category of "things that aren't food."

16 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

It's also not clear what makes the Gods active in the world. The only examples we have of gods interceding is either as showing favor based on manifestations of that gods persona, or specifically to counter another god's actions. Remember, Kellhus isn't being opposed because he's a dude and he's being all protestant - he's being opposed because Ajokli is trying to steal the granary. The gods aren't trying to stop Kellhus' Great Ordeal or his plans - they're trying to specifically stop him.

Good point.  We don't actually know what the gods position would be on Kellhus sans Ajokli, because it isn't clear if Kellhus would be different than Moe the Elder in respect to grand plans.  Which is to say, no real different than the Consult.

19 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Again, I think you're conflating Ark and Inchoroi and Progenitors with the No-God's effects. I agree with the memory thing here - and furthermore, I think that the reason they lose their memory is because they effectively are beyond the script at that point and no longer have access to it, cut off the same way souls are cut off from the Outside when the No-God is active. Their memory is probably some collation of all the souls which have ever existed or will exist, a sum total of the experiences of the souled, and when the No-God is active that is completely annihilated, leaving them with basically nothing but their hungers and the dim desire of something they don't understand.

It is plausible I am wrong about the soulless Tekne creations though, but the Ark is almost certainly outside the god's view and certainly the No-God is.  I am thinking that possibly the whole reason why the No-God even works is because, like the soul is a ledger, so is "time" on Earwa.  It has dimension.  So the god's can "see" it all, because they can look back and forth along the "line."  But the No-God, as a sort of singularity, collapses this dimensionality.  So, under the No-God there is no past, in any discernible, ledger-like way, there is only the present, devoid of any connection with what was done, or will be done.  In this way, it doesn't matter what you do, or did, because in the next moment, it's all new and nothing bears any connection with what was before.  You are, in a way, born new, every moment upon every moment.  This is the union of Subject and Object.  Subjectively you are nothing but an Object, bereft of greater consequence.  Maybe this is why souled things can't be born, because soul, as the signifier of "that which animates," cannot be, so you are born without the "animator," that is, just an object.

Of course, then we are left to ask how is it that soulless things can be born at all.  The answer is, I guess, that since that is their nature, it does no harm for them, as they are naturally already in that state of already being just Object.

34 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Yeah, that one quote does make it sound like Ark is invisible entirely, though it still doesn't say anything about Ark's creations or other things. Another case in point is how would skin-spies be invisible if they can be souled as well? I just don't think that makes sense. 

Well, Bakker does point out, extra-textually that sometimes, unsouled things just gain a soul, for reasons unknown.  I don't think that proves much, as it might be just as likely that a dog could gain a soul as a skin-spy.  If the nature of a skin-spy was such to extra-readily accept a soul, there'd likely have been many, many more skin-spy sorcerers.  Perhaps, sometimes, the Outside just done gone goofed.

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1 minute ago, .H. said:

It is plausible I am wrong about the soulless Tekne creations though, but the Ark is almost certainly outside the god's view and certainly the No-God is.  I am thinking that possibly the whole reason why the No-God even works is because, like the soul is a ledger, so is "time" on Earwa.  It has dimension.  So the god's can "see" it all, because they can look back and forth along the "line."  But the No-God, as a sort of singularity, collapses this dimensionality.  So, under the No-God there is no past, in any discernible, ledger-like way, there is only the present, devoid of any connection with what was done, or will be done.  In this way, it doesn't matter what you do, or did, because in the next moment, it's all new and nothing bears any connection with what was before.  You are, in a way, born new, every moment upon every moment.  This is the union of Subject and Object.  Subjectively you are nothing but an Object, bereft of greater consequence.  Maybe this is why souled things can't be born, because soul, as the signifier of "that which animates," cannot be, so you are born without the "animator," that is, just an object.

Interesting thoughts. I had always thought of it in programming views - that the No-God is a man-in-the-middle attack which intercepts all soul traffic. The gods don't see the world directly, they experience it through souls, except that has now been replaced with, basically, null data. So all their requests return nothing. The souls themselves either go from Earwa to the No-God and then do not travel any further, or the souls go from the Outside (or wherever new souls spawn) into the No-God and do not end up with the babies.

So yeah, the soul is the ledger of your actions, and the gods have access to that ledger when they can experience your soul - but when all the souls are disconnected, they get nothing. 

And yes, the No-God is outside of  the Gods view, and that's canonical and repeated several times. No dispute there. The question really I have is how is Ark outside of the view. Is it simply that Ark is anarcane effectively? From the Dunsult quote above, it's clear the gods could see the Dunsult, they'd just have no idea where they were and no idea how to interact with them - but it's odd that Ark is special but also different from the No-God. 

1 minute ago, .H. said:

Of course, then we are left to ask how is it that soulless things can be born at all.  The answer is, I guess, that since that is their nature, it does no harm for them, as they are naturally already in that state of already being just Object. 

My suspicion is that this would normally be one of those "Just RELAX" questions, but yeah - either there's something specific about nonsouled creatures which is fine, there's something about humans and nonmen which require souls to exist, or perhaps it's an independent value - IE, the No-God stops souls from traveling to the Outside, AND it also stops things with souls from being born (like the womb-plague did). 

1 minute ago, .H. said:

Well, Bakker does point out, extra-textually that sometimes, unsouled things just gain a soul, for reasons unknown.  I don't think that proves much, as it might be just as likely that a dog could gain a soul as a skin-spy.  If the nature of a skin-spy was such to extra-readily accept a soul, there'd likely have been many, many more skin-spy sorcerers.  Perhaps, sometimes, the Outside just done gone goofed.

I AM ALL ABOUT FIDO THE SORCEROUS DOG

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7 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Interesting thoughts. I had always thought of it in programming views - that the No-God is a man-in-the-middle attack which intercepts all soul traffic. The gods don't see the world directly, they experience it through souls, except that has now been replaced with, basically, null data. So all their requests return nothing. The souls themselves either go from Earwa to the No-God and then do not travel any further, or the souls go from the Outside (or wherever new souls spawn) into the No-God and do not end up with the babies.

So yeah, the soul is the ledger of your actions, and the gods have access to that ledger when they can experience your soul - but when all the souls are disconnected, they get nothing. 

I'm sure there is something of both elements actually.  I don't think the No-God has one unified nature.  Which is something I think Bakker actually tangentially alludes to in saying "The big thing to remember is that the big reason we can't make scientific sense of meaning is that it seems intrinsically contradictory: this has led a number of philosophers, like Zizek, for instance, to posit contradiction as a fundamental property of the universe. Add to this paradoxes pertaining to the relation of things like the eternal and the temporal, and things get weedy indeed. The bottom line is that there's no way to square any number of circles pertaining to a universe where meaning/soul/God/etc. are objectively real. Getting people thinking through these paradoxes is the best I can hope for!"

So, where the No-God does resemble a MITM attack vector, it also resembles whatever nonsense it is I cobbled together thre.  And since the No-God is almost certainly paradoxical in nature, it is fairly likely that it is both at the same time.

15 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

And yes, the No-God is outside of  the Gods view, and that's canonical and repeated several times. No dispute there. The question really I have is how is Ark outside of the view. Is it simply that Ark is anarcane effectively? From the Dunsult quote above, it's clear the gods could see the Dunsult, they'd just have no idea where they were and no idea how to interact with them - but it's odd that Ark is special but also different from the No-God. 

Well, if the No-God is invisible, and the Sarcophagus is a "prosthesis" of Ark, then that fact that the Sarcophagus is a part of the No-God means that the Ark is too?

Or, since that is really nonsense, perhaps it is that Soggomant, whatever it actually is, so absurdly anarcane it is even a meaning-sink?  I mean, who the hell even knows what Soggomant even is, or is supposed to be.

19 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

My suspicion is that this would normally be one of those "Just RELAX" questions, but yeah - either there's something specific about nonsouled creatures which is fine, there's something about humans and nonmen which require souls to exist, or perhaps it's an independent value - IE, the No-God stops souls from traveling to the Outside, AND it also stops things with souls from being born (like the womb-plague did). 

Right, since the soul is part of their fundamental nature, it's absence is detrimental to their existence.

20 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I AM ALL ABOUT FIDO THE SORCEROUS DOG

Summoning @Happy Ent to write us some good ol' fan-fic.

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1 minute ago, .H. said:

Well, if the No-God is invisible, and the Sarcophagus is a "prosthesis" of Ark, then that fact that the Sarcophagus is a part of the No-God means that the Ark is too?

Maybe? That sort of makes sense. Every part that is the No-God is beyond the time of the gods perception. It isn't that Ark itself is invisible, any more than it is the case that Kelmomas itself is invisible because of something about Kelmomas - it's that Ark is invisible because it is one of the things that makes the No-God function. The rest of the Consult does not, but those things do. So laser weapons, nukes, all that bullshit is totally visible (though largely the gods don't care about it, because it isn't food), but Ark isn't perceivable because it functions as part of the No-God. Same with the sarcophagus, presumably, which makes Cnaiur just randomly shouting at things angrily. 

1 minute ago, .H. said:

Or, since that is really nonsense, perhaps it is that Soggomant, whatever it actually is, so absurdly anarcane it is even a meaning-sink?  I mean, who the hell even knows what Soggomant even is, or is supposed to be. 

I think it's just a shiny chthonic metal that's supposed to be awesome because it's space metal or something. 

1 minute ago, .H. said:

Right, since the soul is part of their fundamental nature, it's absence is detrimental to their existence.

Again, maybe? Or maybe it's just something the No-God does in addition to getting souls that go from the world to the Outside. There's that weird quote about how the Inchoroi modeled the womb plague after the No-God principles, and while I thought it was simply them trying to figure out a way to kill babies, maybe there's a central part of No-God activation that kills babies. 

Heck, we don't know if it doesn't stop all births - souled and otherwise. 

1 minute ago, .H. said:

Summoning @Happy Ent to write us some good ol' fan-fic.

 

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22 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Same with the sarcophagus, presumably, which makes Cnaiur just randomly shouting at things angrily.

Well, one point of contention is that Cnaiur can see it and so Ajokli would be able to, through him.  It's only when we are talking about the disembodied Outside entity is it that Ajokli can't see the No-God.  Mundane vision is fine for it.  That's likely a major part of why Ajokli needs to commandeer eyes through a body.

25 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

There's that weird quote about how the Inchoroi modeled the womb plague after the No-God principles, and while I thought it was simply them trying to figure out a way to kill babies, maybe there's a central part of No-God activation that kills babies.

Yeah, it's hard to say if it was "designed that way" or it is just a nice complimentary side effect.  I tend to think side effect, but there is no real reason it has to be.  Again, considering the nonsensical paradoxical nature, it might even be both...

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Regarding the accidental ensoulment, if we think of the soul/psyche as a PoV in Creation forgetting that individuality is a lie then it seems possible the God may create an alternate personality whenever Its imagining of itself as an individual - whether animal or skin-spy - gets too deep.

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25 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

"I may look like a dog, but I self-identify as a human"

Quote

"I dream," Cleric's the Dog's voice booms through the wind howling black, "that I am a God good boy"

 

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WHAT DO YOU SEE

I MUST KNOW WHAT YOU SEE

AM I A GOOD BOY
 

TELL ME 

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(In retrospect, going with the No-Dog was clearly too good of a pun to ignore). 

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I just re-read the introduction to the Judging Eye and realize Bakker was subtly fucking with us by giving us all the answers in that chapter. Harweel, who is incidentally probably saved since Kiunnat is more less confirmed to be the  correct way to believe, calls him a hunger from the outside who by his nature comes to dominate everything and Kellhus tells Sorweel that as strange as it sounds he really has come to save the world, in his own twisted Dunyain way. So there we go he shows his hand but gives it to us through sources we are disinclined to trust, 

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Never really sure what 'save the world' actually involves, definitionally.

Which is a semantic ambiguity a Dunyain would abuse, of course.

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15 hours ago, Callan S. said:

Never really sure what 'save the world' actually involves, definitionally.

Which is a semantic ambiguity a Dunyain would abuse, of course.

Well, if we look at how things played out, I don't think Kellhus was playing with words all that much.  When he said, "save the world" he was just being as literal as possible.  In other words, he was really out to stop the Consult and prevent many people's death.

Of course, he was going to do this by selling everyone's soul to Ajokli.  While that does, indeed, seem pretty terrible, it's plausible that nearly everyone is damned anyway, so that really isn't a change to the status quo, for the most part.  Just changes who feeds out of the granary, not changing the fundamental fact that Eärwa is a granary.  Mortal suffering doesn't seem to be midigated, but consider what the Consult had been up to, the lines of people fed to the Sarcophagus, the suffering pits of places like Wreoleth, is Ajokli's plan likely magnitudes worse?

It's definitely arguable, it's hard to say if that is actually any better.  In one sense though, it logically is.  Where the Consult needs life to be snuffed out, humans to be essentially discontinued, Ajokli literally needs them for sustenance.  So, like a sort of "trolley problem" there isn't a great choice, but the Hell of Ajokli winning Eärwa is likely a slightly "greater good" than the Hell of the Consult winning Eärwa.

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Except Bakker said that wasn't his plan, and he didn't expect to be taken over by Ajokli. I would agree with you except for that.

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32 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Except Bakker said that wasn't his plan, and he didn't expect to be taken over by Ajokli. I would agree with you except for that.

Well, yeah, that's true.  I do tend to forget what Bakker said when it doesn't make much sense.

But I do think that Kellhus plan really was to somehow leverage Ajokli to beat the Consult/Mutilated, then...something.  Maybe hoodwink Ajokli and basically become a god somehow himself?

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21 minutes ago, .H. said:

Well, yeah, that's true.  I do tend to forget what Bakker said when it doesn't make much sense.

But I do think that Kellhus plan really was to somehow leverage Ajokli to beat the Consult/Mutilated, then...something.  Maybe hoodwink Ajokli and basically become a god somehow himself?

Maybe? That's really the weird thing - there's really no indication of what his actual plan was, or what it even could have been outside of Ajokli. Killing the Consult? He knows that the No-God must exist at some point. Using Ajokli as a way to avoid the goad of the Inverse Fire? Okay, but what's the next step after that? 

I keep coming back to him telling Proyas that the blindness of the gods means that the No-God must succeed at some point. He has that awareness. He knows it must happen. What I don't know is what his plan is after that. Or, for that matter, why it requires him to bring the entire Ordeal to Golgotterath. Similarly, I don't understand the Consult plan either; their wish is to get Kellhus into the sarcophagus, obviously, but their plan to do that is to almost nuke him? To constantly try and wipe out his force? 

I'm not saying that there isn't some plan there for both groups, but at least right now the plan remains opaque at best. Whereas I understood completely what Moe's plan was after TTT, and how things fit all together in that plan - and how he went wrong - I don't understand the basic plan of Kellhus or the Consult. I only understand Ajokli's plan. 

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10 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Maybe? That's really the weird thing - there's really no indication of what his actual plan was, or what it even could have been outside of Ajokli. Killing the Consult? He knows that the No-God must exist at some point. Using Ajokli as a way to avoid the goad of the Inverse Fire? 

Well, it seems Kellhus knew about the Dunsult too though, so he presumable knew that he couldn't just beat them himself.  So, the Ajokli gambit, even though he somehow didn't plan to be possessed by him, must have been to invoke him somehow.  I mean, that is a little silly though, to think that Kellhus couldn't realize that there would need to be a vessel from which Ajokli was to manifest.  Unless Kellhus thought he could Diamos out Ajokli?

But it makes even less sense if Ajokli wasn't at all part of Kellhus plan.  How could he have beaten that many Chorae without Ajokli's thaumaturgic-miracle "magic?"

24 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Okay, but what's the next step after that?

Well, it would have to be something like the installation of Kellhus as "master of Ark."  Perhaps Kellhus aim then was to kill the Consult, defeat Ajokli in turn, then figure out how Ark and the No-God worked and use it to disenchant the world while not killing everything?  That sure presumes a lot, that might not even be possible, but I guess it better than just letting the Consult win?

26 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I keep coming back to him telling Proyas that the blindness of the gods means that the No-God must succeed at some point. He has that awareness. He knows it must happen. What I don't know is what his plan is after that. Or, for that matter, why it requires him to bring the entire Ordeal to Golgotterath. Similarly, I don't understand the Consult plan either; their wish is to get Kellhus into the sarcophagus, obviously, but their plan to do that is to almost nuke him? To constantly try and wipe out his force?

Yeah, although perhaps he figures if he alone can control the No-God's rise, than he can somehow dictate it's terms?  A bold presumption that might be false, but again, maybe it's better than conceding?

I do think that while Kellhus didn't plan the possession by Ajokli, he was courting him the whole time, in order to leverage his power.  In this way, I think the Ordeal was his "burning the field" to fully draw Ajokli's attention (probably not necessary considering) and also a literal distraction for the forces of the Consult.  Something rather trivial, but not something they could ignore.

As for them trying to nuke him, I am still firmly of the mind that both the Consult and Kellhus knew exactly what was going on.  That is, the Ground was Conditioned, and Kellhus was in zero actual danger there.  That was just a big swat at the distraction that was the Ordeal.  Sure, again, the Ordeal is trivial, but still annoying and means they have to divert resources to bothering with it.  The nuke itself can't possibly kill Kellhus him, between him anticipating it, his skin-wards, and his ability to teleport.

Sure, there is some very minute risk, that somehow Kellhus fails in anticipation, in his Wards and to teleport, but if that were the case, then evidently the prophecy was not for Kellhus, but someone else.  Also, I don't think doing nothing is a tenable position for the Consult.  If the Ordeal Proceeds completely unmolested, than the Consult is firmly on Kellhus' ground, at the whim of whatever he wants to do.  They have to push back and they have to push back as hard as they realistically can, even if that does carry some tiny element of risk.

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