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Tad Williams - The Witchwood Crown / Empire of Grass spoiler thread

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Tad actually has a fairly respectable section at my local B&N.  I'd guess about a shelf and a half, by official measurements.  I know when I bought the last copy of The Dragonbone Chair last year, it was restocked when I went back in the next week.

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I’m poking around in B&N right now and it’s interesting how everything here seems to be the exact inverse of what Pat described. Not that I’m accusing him of lying, just that region differences are...very different.

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Posted (edited)

I guess that's to be expected. For example, I figure that stores here carry way more Guy Gavriel Kay than you would find in any American bookstore. 

Out of curiosity, in which area are you? I know that in NYC, some stores I've visited in the past offered the very best SFF selection I've seen this side of London, England.

Edited by Lord Patrek

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Oh, I'm in Rochester, NY. It fucking sucks. We have two Barnes and Nobles and um, well we have two Barnes and Nobles. And yeah the GGK selection is fairly small.

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Finished TWC. Fucking loved it. You people are all insane. :P

On 6/27/2019 at 9:49 AM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

 

Anyone else think the mention of “great years” as reflecting a year in “The Garden” is a clear indication that “the Garden” is another planet, not another destroyed continent?

Ah yes, I was trying to remember the board member who was so gung ho about that theory. I'm still not sure if I would say other planet but they sure as hell ain't from this one. Could be some inter dimension stuff.

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Finished TWC. Fucking loved it. You people are all insane. :P

Ah yes, I was trying to remember the board member who was so gung ho about that theory. I'm still not sure if I would say other planet but they sure as hell ain't from this one. Could be some inter dimension stuff.

That is possible.  However, I believe the mention of “great ships” and “Navigation” suggests space travel.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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3 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

That is possible.  However, I believe the mention of “great ships” and “Navigation” suggests space travel.

That's my impression

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On 7/18/2019 at 3:42 AM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

That is possible.  However, I believe the mention of “great ships” and “Navigation” suggests space travel.

Although still possible, I felt that Witchwood Crown poured some water on that theory with several references to them crossing an actual physical ocean (not the "ocean of stars" mentioned in MS&T) and landing on the eastern coast of Osten Ard. There's also the issue that if it was a spaceship, then where is it? Inside Stormspike, raided for parts millennia ago?

At least Bakker (whom I occasionally muse is Williams' extremely grimdark reflection) was upfront about the spaceship and space alien stuff.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Although still possible, I felt that Witchwood Crown poured some water on that theory with several references to them crossing an actual physical ocean (not the "ocean of stars" mentioned in MS&T) and landing on the eastern coast of Osten Ard. There's also the issue that if it was a spaceship, then where is it? Inside Stormspike, raided for parts millennia ago?

At least Bakker (whom I occasionally muse is Williams' extremely grimdark reflection) was upfront about the spaceship and space alien stuff.

I rather like the vagueness.  Were there humans, or other sentient beings, in Osten Ard to witness the arrival of the Ked’ya from, elsewhere, as in Bakker’s series?  Is there a frame of reference to perceive “space” or travel from another planet?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

At least Bakker (whom I occasionally muse is Williams' extremely grimdark reflection) was upfront about the spaceship and space alien stuff.

I'm reading The Dragonbone Chair and thought the same thing during the part where Simon was escaping the Hayholt.  It was trippy and reminded me a lot of the journey underneath Ishterebenth or whatever it's called.

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The ship may just have crashed into the ocean and they had to cross it to reach land. Which would also explain why they have lost so much from the Garden.

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35 minutes ago, Lord Patrek said:

The ship may just have crashed into the ocean and they had to cross it to reach land. Which would also explain why they have lost so much from the Garden.

I like that hypothesis.

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Posted (edited)

I enjoyed Empire of Grass very much, and Morgan grated on me much less than in the last volume.

I thought for sure that Tzoja was going to lose her eyes in this volume (because of the prophesy), and was very relieved she did not. I also absolutely adored the many call-backs to The Dragonbone Chair and Stone of Farewell, which I think Williams included as subtle nods to his careful readers.

I originally recoiled at Williams' take on Simon, 34 years later, as he felt like someone ill-fitted to the throne, with far too many vices and much too little education to be very effective. I was quite disappointed that they never even got the library built: the one they were planning to build 34 years ago. But then I looked back on my own life, and how many disappointments there have been over the last 30 years. I definitely did not accomplish what I set out to do 30 years ago. I slowly came to the realization that Simon and Miri's failures have been... pretty realistic, IMO.

I was definitely disappointed to see that so little progress had been made in 34 years: I had imagined for many years that the Sithi would have rebounded, thanks to their allies in Hernystir and Erkynland. But that didn't happen, and instead the Sithi-human relationship has degraded even further than it was during Presbyter John's years. John Josua's death, Simon and Miri being betrayed by those closest to them... it all felt like continual loss.

I was also kind of heartbroken to read about those disfigured Hidden, who turned out to be Tinukeda'ya apparently somehow mangled by the Norns, and believing Norn propaganda, calling the Vao the "enemy of the People". It made me think of Fox News, and all of those poor rednecks calling for an end to government programs such as food stamps and PELL Grants and medicare. I felt chilled to the core thinking about the parallels with what's happened here in the States, with uneducated people believing lies that can only harm them, and then spouting that nonsense. Despite my disappointments in how Simon and Miriamele's rule turned out, and all of that lost potential, I think Empire of Grass is quite possibly Williams' best book since Stone of Farewell back in 1990.

 

Edited by Jiriki

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Posted (edited)

Here is a new Tad interview, where he talks about Empire of Grass and five more upcoming Osten Ard novels, novellas, and short stories. It contains some spoilers for Empire of Grass, so I posted it in this thread, rather than in the other thread.

Edited by Jiriki
edited to clarify

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Is Empire of Grass worth reading?  I was not keen on Witchwood - would much prefer not to have seen my kitchen boy grown up, weary and bickering with Miri no matter how realistic that might be.  The two young ones had potential.  But when I put Witchwood down I was not sure I would pick the sequel up, and I was a huge fan of the original series.

But I just never know with Williams.  My favorite book of his has the unlikely name of War of the Flowers and I almost put it down during the first third.  I wasn't keen on the characters in Otherland at first either, but came to see the series as a work of genius.  And Dragonbone Chair has stayed in my top ten through forty years of SFF reading.

That said I disliked the brother-sister fantasy one, and the angel one.  So Tad is a bit hit or miss for me.

Does Simon play a big role in Empire of Grass?  Did anyone else dislike his reintroduction but he's growing on you?  I just don't know if I want to cringe my way through another book with my formerly beloved character!

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3 hours ago, Lady Barbrey said:

 

Does Simon play a big role in Empire of Grass?  Did anyone else dislike his reintroduction but he's growing on you?  I just don't know if I want to cringe my way through another book with my formerly beloved character!

No, no big role. About the same as the first. He didn't grow on me, and that's one of the huge disappointments with the series. I do get the feeling he's going to strap in and so something in the third, but I'm not sure what.

Mostly, he's hamstrung by having a psychopath for a court advisor.

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On 7/23/2019 at 9:53 AM, Jiriki said:

Here is a new Tad interview, where he talks about Empire of Grass and five more upcoming Osten Ard novels. It contains some spoilers for Empire of Grass, so I posted it in this thread, rather than in the other thread.

FIVE more Osten Ard novels... geez.  Um... I'm not sad to hear this, just a bit surprised.

 

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7 hours ago, Ded As Ned said:

FIVE more Osten Ard novels... geez.  Um... I'm not sad to hear this, just a bit surprised.

 

Haha!

Also, I need to correct myself. Above I said "novels", when I should have said something like "novels, novellas, and short stories", as there will be a mixture of sizes, depending on the story. Also, Tad's brain is constantly churning, so things may change, and have already.

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My new map of Osten Ard.

100 pages into Empire of Grass so far and it's fine. Could probably do without Morgan getting lost in Aldheorte (I feel that well was truly wrung dry in the first trilogy) but beyond that it's ticking along nicely, and it's good to find out what happened to Josua's kids (finally!).

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