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The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie [SPOILER THREAD]

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I believe it's not confirmed if the next book, The Devils, is a one-off or the start of a series. It sounds like it's about an elf and a demon getting into shenanigans whilst working for the Pope in an alternative version of Europe (some are guessing it's the same world as the Shattered Sea, which is an interesting idea).

If it's a one-off and he's back to the First Law world afterwards, that'll be interesting. He's also said he's not sure if he'll go straight back into another trilogy or will do more Heroes-style stand-alones first.

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I'm 200 pp. into Wisdom of Crowds.

The North, Rikke -- I don't care.  Will that change?

There is a certain amount of interest in seeing Abercrombie's recreation of the French Revolution's National Convention, the Terror, and how people behaved, and some survived.  His version of the guillotine, the Drop as equal spectacle (reminded me too of Rome's Tarpeian Rock for execution) for the People, was excellent.  One feels he read Hilary Mantel's Place of Greater Safety with careful attention too. Seeing Orso on display for eating etc., as was Louis XVI and his family, was familiar -- but fortunately for the non-existent queen and children, Orso doesn't have any!  So we're spared that.

And there is no sympathy for any of the characters, including Savine, despite all she has gone through.  All of it was horrible yes, but a lot of it she asked for, and none of it makes her any more of a character one feels is worth preserving.  What it comes down to, is Savine feels the most like a person in the book, but still doesn't come to real life.  None of the others come even close to feeling 'real.' Plus what we are given of every one of the cast is as banal, ugly, dull, dreary and uninteresting as the rich, connected fux in Succession (HBO series people are drooling over). I don't care who gets Waystar either -- just wish it and every single person connected with it, die as soon as possible and disappear forever.

 

 

 

Edited by Zorral

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I don't know, I'd say that all in all, this trilogy's protagonists are the most sympathetic set Abercrombie's ever written in the First Law books. Not everyone, of course (cough, Leo), but as far as aristocrats go, Orso is very likable and well-intentioned. Rikke, like the Dogman, is genuinely trying to do what's best for her people. Vick is trying to minimize the damage of the Great Change. Compared to the protagonists of The First Law and Best Served Cold, our POVs in this series are basically kittens.

Whether you find them "real" or not is another question, but I'd also say it's one of Abercrombie's most successful casts. I've come around on Leo's character development and so the only character that doesn't work for me is Broad. Six out of seven is pretty good.

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Yet, Orso coming far too late to jeebus, is feckless, don't you think?  He hasn't got what it takes, what it demands, and never did, having gotten it by that rule of blood inheritance monarchy.  Rikke gets the Big Head, as Midwestern They would have said back in my childhood, and so on and so forth. 

The Breakers are all caricatures, w/o dimension..  Except, Broad. He's the only one besides Orso in the cast that seems to have some self awareness of what he is. Broad knows he just wants to burn, kill and destroy and do it cruelly. Trying to resist this is a real inner conflict, and as he knows all too, becomes less possible the longer he's away from his family.

However, am only 200 pp. in, so we'll see how it all turns out, but I think everything that is to be established has been established, including the characters.  Of course The Great Change will fail -- especially as it was built to fail -- and monarchy will be restored until WWI.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Yet, Orso coming far too late to jeebus, is feckless, don't you think?  He hasn't got what it takes, what it demands, and never did, having gotten it by that rule of blood inheritance monarchy.  Rikke gets the Big Head, as Midwestern They would have said back in my childhood, and so on and so forth.

It depends what you think exactly Orso is about because Orso understands entirely what he's doing. It's just Orso is willing to die rather than be a monster and the monsters win.

But they're still monsters.

So who really won?

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I have to confess, I skipped the Aduan Revolution, and read the rest.  So some thoughts: 

  • Rikke's vision pretty clearly lines up with the return of Euz.  The sons of Euz, mighty as they were, were not invincible and it is quite clear that neither Juvens or Glustrode or Kanedias would have sat around watching Bayaz make himself the Shadow Dark Lord.  The only other possible candidate is Bedesh whose demise is never directly confirmed.  There are statements like the sons of Euz all destroyed themselves etc. so it is implied he's gone.  But Bedesh did not exactly distinguish himself in the earlier battles, so I kinda doubt his re-emergence or return would be such a big deal. 
  • In terms of story-telling, reading in real time, the slow-burning nature of the overarching story is a little frustrating. I"m sure when my daughter reads the trilogy of trilogies 20 years from now it's all going to fit together much better (no delayed gratification for her!).  But for now, I'm kind of hoping Joe will get to it sooner rather than later.  
  • Rikke's story-line has been the most interesting and enjoyable.  In fact, I think she's probably the closest thing to a heroine Joe has written.  So now I worry that her improbable run of success will come to a grisly end. 
  • The time-scale of Bayaz's revenge (courtesy of Hilde and Black Calder's bastard) is probably sooner than Euz's return.  In other words, I think the First Law World will have good and exhausted itself by the time Euz comes back and tries to establish his evil empire. 
  • The showdown, in other words, is going to be magic v. the technology of the masses. 
  • The fact that we don't know what has happened to Ferro is bothering me.  I know she supposedly killed the prophet, but a trilogy later, it would be good to actually get the inside story of what happened, maybe in a stand-alone series of shorts. 

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5 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

I have to confess, I skipped the Aduan Revolution, and read the rest.  So some thoughts: 

  • Rikke's vision pretty clearly lines up with the return of Euz.  The sons of Euz, mighty as they were, were not invincible and it is quite clear that neither Juvens or Glustrode or Kanedias would have sat around watching Bayaz make himself the Shadow Dark Lord.  The only other possible candidate is Bedesh whose demise is never directly confirmed.  There are statements like the sons of Euz all destroyed themselves etc. so it is implied he's gone.  But Bedesh did not exactly distinguish himself in the earlier battles, so I kinda doubt his re-emergence or return would be such a big deal. 
  • In terms of story-telling, reading in real time, the slow-burning nature of the overarching story is a little frustrating. I"m sure when my daughter reads the trilogy of trilogies 20 years from now it's all going to fit together much better (no delayed gratification for her!).  But for now, I'm kind of hoping Joe will get to it sooner rather than later.  
  • Rikke's story-line has been the most interesting and enjoyable.  In fact, I think she's probably the closest thing to a heroine Joe has written.  So now I worry that her improbable run of success will come to a grisly end. 
  • The time-scale of Bayaz's revenge (courtesy of Hilde and Black Calder's bastard) is probably sooner than Euz's return.  In other words, I think the First Law World will have good and exhausted itself by the time Euz comes back and tries to establish his evil empire. 
  • The showdown, in other words, is going to be magic v. the technology of the masses. 
  • The fact that we don't know what has happened to Ferro is bothering me.  I know she supposedly killed the prophet, but a trilogy later, it would be good to actually get the inside story of what happened, maybe in a stand-alone series of shorts. 

I’m assuming Calders kid helps release Euz, considering the blood on his hands seen in Rikke’s vision. 
 

I stand by the idea that Euz’s kids had something to do with him being stuck on the other side. Seems to fit. Time is a flat circle and all. 

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9 hours ago, Zorral said:

The Breakers are all caricatures, w/o dimension..  Except, Broad. He's the only one besides Orso in the cast that seems to have some self awareness of what he is. Broad knows he just wants to burn, kill and destroy and do it cruelly. Trying to resist this is a real inner conflict, and as he knows all too, becomes less possible the longer he's away from his family.

But the thing about Broad's story is, he's fooling himself about his family just as much as he is about everything else. May and Liddy aren't these beacons of purity and virtue who don't know what he truly is and exist in a different world from the violence and cruelty he wallows in. They know what's going on and they don't care. May, by the way, is a character I'd like to see more of. She's smart and ambitious. I could see her playing a role in future stories, perhaps as a foil for Hildi.

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8 hours ago, mormont said:

But the thing about Broad's story is, he's fooling himself about his family just as much as he is about everything else. May and Liddy aren't these beacons of purity and virtue who don't know what he truly is and exist in a different world from the violence and cruelty he wallows in. They know what's going on and they don't care. May, by the way, is a character I'd like to see more of. She's smart and ambitious. I could see her playing a role in future stories, perhaps as a foil for Hildi.

True that. Bad people need to fool themselves.  Well, probably all of us, whatever degree of 'badness' we possess, need to fool ourselves?

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16 hours ago, Garlan the Gallant said:

I’m assuming Calders kid helps release Euz, considering the blood on his hands seen in Rikke’s vision. 
 

I stand by the idea that Euz’s kids had something to do with him being stuck on the other side. Seems to fit. Time is a flat circle and all. 

Maybe.  Would that mean Bedesh is dead and therefore Euz is able to return?

My difficulty with that idea is the Euz seems a magnitude stronger than his children, Sauron to their Saruman, really, 

Edited by Gaston de Foix

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12 minutes ago, Gaston de Foix said:

Maybe.  Would that mean Bedesh is dead and therefore Euz is able to return?

My difficulty with that idea is the Euz seems a magnitude stronger than his children, Sauron to their Saruman, really, 

Makes sense, he has more demon blood.

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4 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

Maybe.  Would that mean Bedesh is dead and therefore Euz is able to return?

My difficulty with that idea is the Euz seems a magnitude stronger than his children, Sauron to their Saruman, really, 

What would Bedesh have to do with releasing Euz or are we just assuming that Euz can't return, hypothetically, until his children are dead? I would assume that means that Calder's kid would kill Bedesh, hypothetically. But if he works for Bayaz, wouldn't this mean that Bayaz wants Euz to return? That seems unlikely. 

I'm assuming it would be something along the lines of the seed talking to Calder's kid. Someone mentioned that there was a line in one of the books that all of Euz's children destroyed themselves. I don't particularly remember the line but that would indicate that Bedesh is already dead. 

Also, I think the magnitude is described as much larger than Sauron to Saruman. If Bayaz is Saruman and Juvens is Sauron, then Euz is Melkor. 

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On 10/22/2021 at 8:31 AM, mormont said:

But the thing about Broad's story is, he's fooling himself about his family just as much as he is about everything else. May and Liddy aren't these beacons of purity and virtue who don't know what he truly is and exist in a different world from the violence and cruelty he wallows in. They know what's going on and they don't care. May, by the way, is a character I'd like to see more of. She's smart and ambitious. I could see her playing a role in future stories, perhaps as a foil for Hildi.

I agree about May.  She was pretty clued-up, to see that protecting Savine offered far greater potential than turning her in for a quick reward.

I don't think she and her mother are especially bad people, by the lights of this world.  It's just, this world is pretty awful.

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