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R. Scott Bakker: What am I missing?


Meneldil

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SPOILER: Kellhus's family
Okay, this comes down to two things.

1. We KNOW that the Cishaurim have a spell that superimposes the face and voice of another on them. See the scene where Mallahet (Moënghus) comes to meet Xerius. Now, the question is whether the face has to be translucent and the voice sound like it comes from afar. I don't think so. If making such an illusion realistic was common knowledge among the Cishaurim, they would not reveal it to the enemy when less realism works just fine for the purposes of relaying a message. And even if they hadn't developed the spell, I think Moënghus would have figured out how to do it. And if the realism is a factor of distance, that doesn't have to be a problem at all.

2. We KNOW that in the true Dûnyain style Moënghus has a bunch of Cishaurim followers ready to die for his cause, like the one that delivered Kellhus a message in Warrior Prophet. I think that Moënghus simply had one of his disciples cast the spell so that Moënghus could speak through him in perfect safety.

Were the remains identifiable, by the way?
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Happy Ent is right, it's all explained in TTT. And, now, here as well:

SPOILER: TTT

Moenghus = Kellhus' father = Mallahet (the second in command of the Cishaurim)

Maithanet = Moenghus' Son = Kellhus' half-brother = leader of the Thousand Temples

All the events in the trilogy are engineered by Moenghus in order to unite the Three Seas to face the coming onslaught of the Consult and the No-God. Due to some bad choices he made (becoming Cishaurim and realising, as a passionless Dunyain, that he has almost no power in their form of sorcery), he can't unite them himself. And although Maithanet is powerful, he's only half Dunyian and simply not up to the task. So he calls for his son Kellhus to do it instead. He sets everything up and gives Kellhus the world basically on a silver platter.

Of course, when they finally meet, he thinks that the world outside Ishual has broken him, since he actually now believes that he's a prophet and the harbringer. Kellhus then stabs him and leaves him for Cnaiur to kill, as he's realised that, inevitably, the Dunyain must side with the Consult, as their goals match.

Why do their goals match? Remember, the Dunyain are performing an .. experiment. They use their completely isolated monastery because they need to be able to control all the variables. That which cannot be controlled must be eliminated in their mind, which is why they send Kellhus to kill his father after he contacts them in their dreams. He's interfering with the project and he needs to be eliminated. Afterwords, all the Dunyain he contacted kill themselves too, inorder to preserve the sanctity of the project.

But the Outside (gods/sorcery/etc.) represents things that will interfere with the project that cannot be controlled. So they must be eliminated. And these are also the goals of the Consult.

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Two questions for the sake of an obtuse reader:

1. Who exactly is the guy who ravages Esmi that the Skin-Spy seems to view as a father and does anything become of him? Is he the head of the Consult?

SPOILER: TTT

He's the Consult Synthese. That bird with the little man head from the first book and onward. He's one of the only 2 remaining Inchoroi (there's only 2 brother's left, the rest of the Consult is humans as far as we know). The other one was that thing raping people at the end of TWP. And one of them was the thing that possessed Esmenet in TTT. And if he's not the head of the Consult, he's as high as you get in that group.

FYI - being Inchoroi, they created the Skin Spies, hence them viewing him as a father.

2. What becomes of Cnaiur, exactly? Or baby Moenghus?

SPOILER: TTT

Well, Cnauir we have no clue about. Many theorize he'll turn up in the next series as the Consults chief general or something of the like. Or, he may be dead. Who knows? It's deliberately ambiguous.

As for Moenghus, who's probably Cnauir's son, he's being rased as Kellhuss' son AFAWK.

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Okay, so the issue seems to go down to a certain person

SPOILER: TTT
Moënghus
acting either really stupid or really smart in that one situation we've been talking about. A massive, overconfident mistake or a gambit to make a genius proud? There is no middle ground here. The middle ground would have been that person not being there in the first place. Unfortunately it sounds like TTT has no solid answer, although I'm going to look for hidden clues come May.

By the way, even if the certain two characters are not the same, that doesn't have to change things that much...

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SPOILER: Bakker's interviews
Bakker has, in interviews, actually said that he had an explanation for Maithanet's aging that he was originally going to put in TTT, but he ended up not having a good place to put it. The explanation was that Moenghus had aged Maithanet's skin by consistently exposing him to the sun throughout his life, thus Xerius's problem identifying Maithanet's age (Xerius was looking at Maithanet, not Mallahet). In a roundabout way, the response makes it fairly clear that Bakker's not just pulling one over on us.
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Okay, so the issue seems to go down to a certain person
SPOILER: TTT
Moënghus
acting either really stupid or really smart in that one situation we've been talking about. A massive, overconfident mistake or a gambit to make a genius proud? There is no middle ground here. The middle ground would have been that person not being there in the first place.

I have no idea what situation you are talking about here, but as others have said, your theory is wrong. It would have been a great threory pre-TTT, but events in TTT have clearly shown that that's not the story Bakker is telling.

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Okay, so the issue seems to go down to a certain person
SPOILER: TTT
Moënghus
acting either really stupid or really smart in that one situation we've been talking about. A massive, overconfident mistake or a gambit to make a genius proud? There is no middle ground here.

This is a reach. There is no massive overconfidence. His actions are completely and reasonably explained because

SPOILER: TTT
Moenghus has no idea that Kellhus is batshit crazy until they meet at the end. If the world had not brokent Kel, then Moenghus's plan comes off without a hitch.
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There's a difference between "batshit crazy" and "sane, but operating on highly unusual information".

SPOILER: the force behind it all
One of my points has been that the No-God has been meddling with things, so that for one example Kellhus's prophecy based on very limited information came exactly true in the face of unlikelihood, to say nothing of the events on the tree. Being as rational as he is, Kellhus cannot ignore all the weirdness that has been going on around him, even if it leads him to conclusions he would not have believed possible.

In fact I tend to think Kellhus really is a divine prophet as far as those things go. As I've said, I think he's the Antichrist.

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There's a difference between "batshit crazy" and "sane, but operating on highly unusual information".

SPOILER: the force behind it all
One of my points has been that the No-God has been meddling with things, so that for one example Kellhus's prophecy based on very limited information came exactly true in the face of unlikelihood, to say nothing of the events on the tree. Being as rational as he is, Kellhus cannot ignore all the weirdness that has been going on around him, even if it leads him to conclusions he would not have believed possible.

In fact I tend to think Kellhus really is a divine prophet as far as those things go. As I've said, I think he's the Antichrist.

OK, but that has absolutely nothing to do with what we were talking about. Whether Kel is 'batshit crazy' or 'sane, but operating on highly unusual information' does not change the fact that what I put under the last spoiler tag is completely accurate.

SPOILER: end of TTT
Moenghus has no way to know that Kel is like that until they meet. Therefore, Moenghus is not making an error of overconfidence by being there. It's that simple. Nothing you said in your post responds to this at all. Moenghus has no way to guess that Kel would be 'broken by the world.' Is that better than batshit crazy for you? :rolleyes:
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I am currently reading The Thousandfold Thought, the third book in the series. For what it's worth, here are my opinions:

I found the first book, The Darkness That Comes Before, hard to get into. It was confusing, especially considering English is not my native language. I restarted it, deciding to be more focused while reading it, and discovered that the book simply required me to concentrate harder to get into it. Once I did, I finished the book, finding it interesting but not awesome in a way only very few works of art can (such as A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings or the classic Star Wars trilogy for that matter).

While really wanting to go into a sixth (or is it seventh) re-read of A Game of Thrones, I decided to continue with book two, The Warrior-Prophet, and things did indeed pick up - considerably. I think this is a great book, it has a very peculiar feel to it, Bakker's prose is quite unique. In a way, the overall setting is quite similar to how Martin made Westeros - while Westeros takes much of its cues from British Middle Ages (War of the Roses, the Hundred Years War), Bakker's world is built upon the near Middle-East and Biblical stories (some legends in Bakker's book are very similar to events in the Bible). Which makes for a more "realistic" fantasy, even though Bakker, like most fantasy authors, is unable to avoid certain fantasy clichés, most notably an orc-like species and a Dark Lord.

I haven't read much of The Thousandfold Thought yet, but so far the pace has dropped a bit, but by now I am so familiar with the characters that it becomes entertaining even so.

I am not sure what people mean with "unlikeable characters". Bakker does not have Martin's ability of making even minor characters very interesting, but the main characters are quite likeable; Drusas Achamian, Anasurimbor Kellhus, Ikurei Conphas.. all interesting.

Compared to other fantasy books I have read, Bakker's series definitely comes out as one of the best I have read, but at the same time, The Lord of the Rings and especially A Song of Ice and Fire transcend the fantasy genre - these tales are too great to be defined like that.

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I've just finished my first reread of the series. While going through the glossary in TTT I came across something I hadn't noticed before. I believe it was in the description of the Battle of Anwurat(sic), but I'm not sure as I don't currently have my books with me. Anyways, in this entry the Holy War is described as the First Holy War. Anyone else notice this, and if so, what did you think?

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If you pay attention to the opening paragraphs, you'll notice that an awful lot are signed "Drusas Achamian, chronicles of the first holy war".

But anyway, there is no real surprise, since everything in the Prince of Nothing is setting up the stage for a holy war against the Consult.

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I've just finished my first reread of the series. While going through the glossary in TTT I came across something I hadn't noticed before. I believe it was in the description of the Battle of Anwurat(sic), but I'm not sure as I don't currently have my books with me. Anyways, in this entry the Holy War is described as the First Holy War. Anyone else notice this, and if so, what did you think?

I'm guessing that the Holy War in The Prince of Nothing is 'The First Holy War' and that the build-up to the war with the Consult/No-God is the plot of The Aspect-Emperor, followed by the Second Holy War/Second Apocalypse in the untitled third series.

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If you pay attention to the opening paragraphs, you'll notice that an awful lot are signed "Drusas Achamian, chronicles of the first holy war".

But anyway, there is no real surprise, since everything in the Prince of Nothing is setting up the stage for a holy war against the Consult.

Yeah, now that you mention it I remember noticing that before. I thought something about the chronicles probably being a "heretical" text in th later series. I guess when you're stoned everything seems like a revelation. And it doesn't help with the short term memory either. Thanks though.

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There is a synopsis of the next volume on AMazon.co.uk:

«Some twenty years have passed since the events narrated in The Prince of Nothing. Anasurimbor Kellhus now rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years. The masses worship him as a living god, though a few, the Orthodox, dare claim he's a walking demon. With Proyas and Saubon as his Exalt-Generals, he leads a holy war called the Great Ordeal deep into the wastes of the Ancient North, intent on destroying Golgotterath and preventing the Second Apocalypse. Esmenet, meanwhile, remains in Momemn, where she struggles not only to rule his vast empire, but their murderous children as well. And Achamian, who lives as a Wizard in embittered exile, undertakes a mad quest to uncover the origins of the Dunyain. »

Sound very interesting. It seems to support theory that Kellhus is new Celmomas.

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Interesting bit about Esmenet's murderous children. I wonder if we are in for a competition between Moenghus and Khellus's first born. And I also wonder how far the Anasurimbor family will mirror the Ikurei.

On a not so serious not, Bakker will win some good points if he can introduce a masked Cnaiur and make him say "Moenghus, I am you father". :D

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I never took the metaphysics in the book seriously. I thought the Inchoroi were aliens from another planet whose ship crashed into the planet Earwaland back in the day. I figured non-men=elves who were not immortal, but the rulers of the planet and advanced mathematicians whose evolution allowed them to execute the mathematical 'sorcery' through some odd means. Humans, the Few, gained this ability through the one interbreeding of man and non-man mentioned in the glossery. Though humans lacked the calculus to manipulate sorcery to the highest degree. The aliens, equally advanced, but along the track of biology genetic engineering and manipulation, rather than mathematical purity, had never encountered such a species as the non men. since 99% of their number were killed in the crash, they used their knowledge to invent a new warrior race (the sranc) and introduce a lethal abortifact to all the non-men females--allowing for the eventual ascendency of humans, to whom the aliens+renegade school responded by creating the skin spy race. Also in their battles with the non men they studied the mathematics of the sorceries of the nonmen and used their knowledge to craft material whose essence negated the mathematics the 'spells' when contacted by the 'magic'--imaginary numbers for instance, sqrt of negative one, something divided by zero, that sort of thing. :) The Heron Spear was one of the aliens laser weapons, and thus wouldn't be bothered by the chorae around the nogod and could penetrate the armor/construction material that would be indestructible to earwa technology. :P

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I've been thinking that the Inchoroi are actually technically-advanced post-humans from a far-future Earth and that the humans in the series were a biological weapon created by the Inchoroi when they were in too much of a hurry to waste time making modifications to the material found in their gene banks. So they made humans and dropped them clandestinely in the east so that they could start their spread without Non-Man notice. The disposable, fast-breeding humans proved a successful strategy, but a bit too late for the Inchoroi. I think they may have already been on the brink of defeat and the humans were a way to get back at the Non-Men from beyond the grave.

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