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Happy Ent

BAKKER VI: Death comes swirling down

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The current Prince of Nothing thread becomes too spoilerific, and I can see by the baubles of sweat forming on the other forum member's foreheads that we need a new spoiler thread.

So here it is. If you're on a Windows box, the International keyboard layout is your friend. Also, remember that the "Quick Edit" button destroys non-ASCII characters, but the (slow) "Edit" button preserves them.

To pick up where that thread was headed:

Is Esmi just a pretty womb for Kelly? I say no. He specifically picks her for much the same reasons Akka chose her: she is easily the smartest woman we have met in the Three Seas. Here's a quote from the Kelly–Moe meeting:

"In this world," Moënghus said, "there's nothing more precious than our blood—as you have no doubt surmised. But the children we bear by worldborn women lack the breadth of our abilities. Maithanet is not Dûnyain. He could do no more than prepare the way."

Her name arose like a pang from the darkness: Esmenet

I think Kelly purposefully chose the best genes this side of Ishuäl. And that's Esmi. The prettiest womb would have been Serwë.

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At the same time, I think that quote shows us that Kellhus doesn't think Esmi measures up. She may be the best that the Three Seas has to offer, but while Kellhus seems to have genuinely come to care for her, she's still not Dunyain.

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So here it is. If you're on a Windows box, the International keyboard layout is your friend. Also, remember that the "Quick Edit" button destroys non-ASCII characters, but the (slow) "Edit" button preserves them.
And for fellow Mac users?

At the same time, I think that quote shows us that Kellhus doesn't think Esmi measures up. She may be the best that the Three Seas has to offer, but while Kellhus seems to have genuinely come to care for her, she's still not Dunyain.
I do not think it is a matter of him thinking that she does not measure up, but as it is him recognizing the validity of the claim.

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And for fellow Mac users?

We Mac users start out with a keyboard layout similar to what Windows users need to actively select.

The umlaut prefix is on ALT-U (or "OPTION"-U, depending on what is printed on your keyboard). So pressing the two letters "ALT-U" "U" gives you ü. And so on—the diacritic you'd most need over letter X is at ALT-X. ALT-I I gives you î, ALT-E E gives you é, ALT-N N gives you ñ. The grave accent is on the "backtick" key, of course: ALT-` E gives you è. You can mix and match these, of course: ALT-U E gives you ë.

Then there are few funny letters that only ever modify the same letter, so it's just a single keypress: ALT-S is ß, ALT-A is å, ALT-O is ø. All pretty logical. Once you get used to the system, the "funny letter" is where you think it is. Only exception: ALT-' gives you Æ, probably because that's the location of the key Æ on a Danish keyboard.

I you're not on a US-English keyboard, it's all different, of course.

But why not activate the "Keyboard Viewer" under System Preferences -> International -> Input Menu.

QUIZ: Where is cedilla-ç ?

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Something I've been thinking about, brought on by a comment in the other thread, I can't remember who by, which talks about Kellhus' justification for using people. Its something like; since people are already enslaved to what comes before, it is no crime for Kellhus to come before.

However, this doesn't seem like a great piece of justification to me - we wouldn't condone a man using a slave for his own purposes when he considers slavery a bad thing. And I think we can say that the Dunyain, who are normally amoral, think that slavery to the darkness that comes before is a bad thing - otherwise, why would they have spent their entire existence trying to free themselves from it?

So, in his own mind, does Kellhus' justification for his using of the worldborn men work?

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So, in his own mind, does Kellhus' justification for his using of the worldborn men work?

Probably not. But with such awesome powers of persuasion, certainly he could craft some pleasant self delusion if its necessary and fits his ultimate ends.

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So, in his own mind, does Kellhus' justification for his using of the worldborn men work?

The end justifies the means. That's how it has always been with Kellhus. The major, life-changing, central, pivotal decision he makes when he pulls a twig from his sandal the second time is that not all ends are equal. Life is actually worth preserving.

But if he has to have 10000 people executed (quoting from memory—it's one of the cities captured en route to Shimeh, which didn't open her gates to the Holy War immediately), Kellhus will do that without flinching.

Davos Seaworth and Drusas Achamaian don't agree. Neither may you or I. But the morally interesting question is who you and I would prefer command us in the war against the Consult.

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The end justifies the means

Indeed, this is perhaps the only way Kellhus can wriggle out of it. We might forgive a man who uses slaves to the end of freeing them.

But we don't know what Kellhus' ends are - except perhaps that he will face the Consult. I don't believe he has any intention of freeing all those he uses from the slavery of the world.

And anyway - for most of the story Kellhus doesn't know that he will be leading the world against the Consult - he doesn't know he will be saving anybodies life, but he still uses people.

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But the morally interesting question is who you and I would prefer command us in the war against the Consult.
Thinking about it, I would prefer someone else. Making people think he's the only option is an illusion created by Khellus, it doesn't have to be him. Having him as emperor is really not that removed from having your future closed off anyway, and humans beat the consult before without help from mad powerhungry sorcerors with delusion of grandeur.

It could change, though, since he isn't even amoral anymore, and we've even seen glimpses that what comes after actually shapes what comes before.

One thing I'm waiting for is the explanation of Khellus hands auras, though. Are they illusion or reality?

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And anyway - for most of the story Kellhus doesn't know that he will be leading the world against the Consult

I'm quite sure he is undecided himself. All he knows is that he must meet his father—whether to help him or kill him. In any case he'll need an army. Only during the course of the holy war does he understand that there is a war with the Consult. We never find out if Kellhus correctly infers that Moënghus plans to fight against the Consult. But I think that's a plausible deduction. Why otherwise strengthen the Tree Seas by using Kellhus to unify the factions under the Thousandfold Thought? (The counterargument would be that the Holy War significantly weakens the Three Seas, making them extra vulnerable to an attack by the Consult.)

What Kellhus clearly does not know is that Moënghus "doesn't get it". Moënghus believes nothing about the Outside, which Kellhus only learns when he finally meets his father. He then (correctly, I think) deduces that his father will eventually join the Consult. That's why Moe has to die.

So I think that Kellhus knows early on that his father's designs for him are to lead the world against the Consult. But there are two important realisation that only come later: (1) that this war is necessary and just, and (2) that Moënghus and the other Dûnyain will betray it when they realise the truth. Both of these observations go back to Kellhus actually being the Messiah (or, from Moe's perspective, having gone bat-shit crazy). We get little internal Kellhus-monologue in the latter books, so we can't quite be sure when he starts hearing voices and seeing haloes around his hands. Is it the Circumfix?

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One thing I'm waiting for is the explanation of Khellus hands auras, though. Are they illusion or reality?

My answer:

As real as a metaphysical thing gets. Kellhus sees them himself, and he's hard to fool.

The haloes are glimpses of the outside, pin-pricks in the fabric of reality. You must believe to see them, but then they're there. Serwë seems them first. They are "real" in the sense that Serwë wouldn't be able to see them on Conphas's hands, no matter how hard she tried and how much she believed Conphas to the a god.

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But there are degrees in believing, after all, the characters don't always see these auras, even if they constantly believe.

I initially thought it was a sort of cishaurim process, and Khellus was bestowed auras because people believed in him, and much like the cishaurim see without eye, through their fanatism, only Khellus fanatics could see this effect, and since it is an effect obtained through passion, the few cannot see or feel it.

Now, I wonder, after all there is such thing as culture that can influence the shape of beliefs. Coupled with Khellus manipulations, it could very well be that only delusion is necessary. It would make sense to me in the storytelling, to actually show that Khellus lost his godlike rationality, and is sliding into a more human persona.

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Quick question. Why does Kellhus believe that the Dunyan will side with the Consult (and presumably try to destroy all or most life) once they learn the 'truth' about the outside? I thought I had it pegged down, but reading some posts on Bakker's board leave me less certain. (call that completely uncertain).

I had originally thought that once they accept the outside as real, they'd realize that they're destined for damnation (probably because they're amoral sociopaths) and so seek to close off Earwa from the outside much as the Consult are trying to do. But now I really have no idea. Any help?

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I had originally thought that once they accept the outside as real, they'd realize that they're destined for damnation (probably because they're amoral sociopaths) and so seek to close off Earwa from the outside much as the Consult are trying to do.

Yes, I think that's the explanation. Avoid damnation.

More generally, they can't control the Outside, so they'd have to shut it out much like they have isolated their monastery against its surroundings.

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Yeah, I think the haloes are real too. I wondered at first though, because it seemed like Kellhus was developing something of an ego. He still might be - someone said in the previous thread that the reason Kellhus didn't stop Akka was because of his pride, but I'm not sure. Even if Kellhus had an ego, I doubt he'd let it interfere much in his dealings with worldborn men.

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But he develops that ego in the course of the books, particularly after his crucifiction. Like all the Dunyains, he was at first an ego-less organic computer, driven by cold logic, considering all paths equals and having only his goal in sight.

After that, he shifts toward a stance where he wants to be emperor, no because it would help in fulfilling his mission, but because he wants it, for him and his son. That's where we see that the world interferes: Khellus now actually has emotions and morals, meaning arrogance and guilt. Moënghus believes him mad, and he is, in the sense that reality tainted his judgement to this extent.

Emotions are what made him choose to let Akka go, exactly the same way he chose to spare Cnaiür... "There is always another use for him" was a truly weak justification at the time.

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I have a few quick questions, first did Kellhus really pull his heart from him after the circumfixtion? theres never really any explanation after that about it. And also I keep seeing errant bard saying he's now moral and actually believes in the God and what not, is that actually true or what? and when did he really change. Last whats up with Akka having the No-God's questions in his head, I can't remember if that happened all through the series or just at the end there.

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I have a few quick questions, first did Kellhus really pull his heart from him after the circumfixtion?
Nope, it was Serwë's heart. I think Caniür reflects about it at one point, or was it Khellus himself?

Last whats up with Akka having the No-God's questions in his head, I can't remember if that happened all through the series or just at the end there.
Akka has Seswatha's memories. Seswatha actually faced the no-god with Khellus' ancestor, and killed him, that is when he heard the words. Akka hears them through his Seswatha memories. It happened all through the serie, but Akka's visions actually slightly changed, and at the end the one pronouncing the fated word isn't the no-god, it's the Anasûrimbor king.

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