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Bakker VII: fens, bogs, dens and shades of death


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[quote name='lockesnow' post='1661447' date='Jan 24 2009, 22.24']continue...

props if you get the quote I used for the thread title. :)[/quote]

I'd be in paradise if I could work that doozy out :stunned:
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The last thread we had some discussion about how good exactly Cnaiür is at fighting. In my current reread I found an excerpt to show that he is remarkably good.

[quote]Kellhus drew his blade and lunged forward.

The Scylvendi reacted instantly, though in the wooden manner of reflexes dulled by disbelief. He parried the first sweep easily but fell back before the ringing combination that followed. With each impact, Kellhus could see his anger brighten, feel it awaken and grab hold of his limbs. Soon the Scylvendi was countering with blinding speed and bone-jarring power. Only once had Kellhus seen Scylvendi children practising the [i]bagaratta[/i], the "sweeping way" of Scylvendi sword fighting. At the time it had seemed excessively ornate, freighted with dubious flourishes.

Not so when combined with strength. Twice Cnaiür's great sweeps almost struck him to his heels. Kellhus retreated, affecting fatigue, planting the false sense of an impending kill.


Grunting, the barbarian redoubled his fury. Kellhus parted a hammering rain of blows, feigning desperation. He reached out and clamped Cnaiür's right wrist, yanked him forward. Somehow, impossibly, Cnaiür managed to bring his free hand up, seemingly through Kellhus's sword arm. He pound his palm into Kellhus's face.

Kellhus fell backward, kicking Cnaiür twice in the ribs. He rolled into a handstand, effortlessly vaulted back into stance.

He tasted his own blood. [i]How?[/i]

The Scylvendi stumbled, clutching his side.

He'd misjudged the man's reflexes, Kellhus realized, as he had so many other things.[/quote]

Whew! So, even though Kellhus eventually wins, Cnaiür is able to hold his own pretty well and does better against Kellhus than, say, Mekeritrig. This implies that Cnaiür has a good chance of being better at sword fighting than Mekeritrig, which means that Cnaiür's very good indeed. This in turn implies that the Consult could still find him useful, which means that he still might be alive...

(By the way, Cnaiür's D&D character class SO is barbarian.)
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Thats the wierd thing. Maybe Mekeritrig wasn't fighting as hard as he could? He's been alive for thousands of years; he should know everything there is to know about sword fighting and then some.
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[quote name='Jacen' post='1664634' date='Jan 27 2009, 17.46']Thats the wierd thing. Maybe Mekeritrig wasn't fighting as hard as he could? He's been alive for thousands of years; he should know everything there is to know about sword fighting and then some.[/quote]

Except he's probably forgotten half of it.
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ha, maybe. I do think that the Non-men forget only certain things, effecting different parts of the brain. But do the Non-men forget instinct, habit, and things taught through repition? I bet Mek doesn't have to relearn how to ride a horse every couple years. There's amnesiacs that don't know a thing about who they are but they still know how to walk, talk and flush a toilet etc, right?
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Well, in D&D terms Mekeritrig would have been multiclassed as a wizard/sorcerer which would have meant that he wouldn't have been as good at fighting as a fighter of an equal level. Cnaiür could be better at sword fighting than Mekeritrig even with fewer levels of experience. :) :P

(I've read somewhere that Eärwa was originally designed as an RPG setting. I can believe it. It's not nearly as obvious as with Malazan, but I think I can sense it faintly in the background anyway...)
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According to the Earwa Rule Book (4th Edition) there are no level caps and you can multi-class as many times as you want. So Mek should be able to be an uber wizard/blademaster at the same time, given that he's had thousands of years to level up.
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Belated reaction to TTT . . .

I read this a few months ago and believe it's the best so far. I thought each book in the first trilogy was better than the last, which bodes well for the rest of the series. Specifically, I think Bakker has gotten better at pacing and become more economical with his writing. I know some complained that TTT was somewhat shorter than the other two, but I thought it felt like Bakker had cut away some of the fat.

So . . . I liked it quite a bit and thought it was a successful conclusion to first part, but there were some disappointments.

1. Conphas: ruined. He was an intriguing and enigmatic character through the first two books; in this book he got Cersei'd. Note to Bakker and Martin: megalomania is interesting from a certain distance. If you're going to move in for the close-up, however, you need something more than, or in addition, to megalomania. 'Cause it turns out - megalomaniacs are kinda one-note and boring.

2. Moenghus: we waited all this time for this guy?

3. The thousandfold though: cool idea, poor follow-through

1. Akka, Akka, Akka: with this novel, Akka went from good to great character

2. Final scene (with Akka): perfect

3. Cnaiur: I thought the surreal journey with the not-Serwe and other skinjobs was weirdly beautiful and wonderfully twisted. Cnaiur's madness bore some strange fruit, and I thought his plot ended perfectly.

4. All the glimpses into the first apocalypse

Can't wait for TJE . . .
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I know that any number of threads start off with the same lines, i have in fact started one about Lynch and the Gentlemen Bastards (perhaps then its only me), but i cannot, for the life of me, understand why people like this series.

Its endless wankery. I bought the first book, and found it fairly decent, but nothing that really interested me. For christmas i recieved the remaining two books in the trilogy. Having gotten half way through the second book, i find that i pretty much hate everything involved. Well, not hate, but i can't go on. Its boring. And here's why.

(Note: And i want to like this series, because Bakker is a Canadian, and i like to support local product.)

Firstly, the shades of Dune and the actual crusades are so strong here that i am having a hard time getting past them. Kellhus and his ability to see all paths strikes me so much of Paul Atriedes that i cannot help but see it as a direct knock off.

The holy war is almost stolen en masse from the actual crusades, and while i usually have no problem with fantasy authors borrowing from events in history (GRRM anyone?), i find it to be almost a photo copy. Perhaps, having attempted to read more about the crusades on my own, i cannot get over how much more interesting the real life events were as opposed to what is going on in the book. Shades of the Byzantine, the pope, the Templars...its ALL there.

Kellhus himself: This guy is too much, too perfect. I do not get any sense of vulnerabilty from him. Perhaps from Paul Atriedes utilizing actual abilities to see into the future via a narcotic i can understand, but to be able to understand outcomes through massively complex deduction is too much. (and i don't know why, this is fantasy after all). But when he sent out that Saubon fellow, and told him to punish the Shrial Knights, and things worked out exactly in his favor i put the book down in disgust.

The Consult: They don't strike me as very scary, or evil. Mostly just horny.

Esmenet: For an unlettered whore, she seems to really be able to produce some very perceptive thoughts. Too perceptive. I know Bakker explains this away by claiming that everyone around Kellhus basically gets smarter, but i don't buy it. Usually perception comes with learning, with understanding more than how to simply live. It comes from reading from greater minds and coming to conclusions on your own about any given subject. At least, in my opinion.

The philosophy/nothing happens: In a book and a half it feels like they have done little more than talk. Talk, talk, talk. And most of that talk ends up being about how perfect Kellhus is, or from Serwe's point of view, how beautiful and perfect. Blah. I find myself skimming more and more as i go on because i simply want something to happen. I don't need to read about how endlessly insightful Kellhus is.

The names: I can't tell anyone apart. Perhaps becaues of the general feeling of boredom that has arisen i am not reading into it as deeply as i should, but you can replace almost anyone in the stories with anyone else and it wouldn't matter. The sole exception are a few of the people that have been flushed out, such as Kellhus (the perfect), Achamian (the weak with hints of overwhelming power), and Cnaiur (the insane). As for the two ladies involved, i can distinguish them both mostly by their names, though Esmenet has some fleshing out to her. But both seem there more for sexual release than anything else...so far. I feel it is an injustice to those characters in a way, but i'm not entirely sure why.

The world: I've read any number of reviews marvelling at Bakker's world building, but i'm not overly impressed. Its taken part and parcel from the crusades, and mashed together with fantasy and shades of Dune - which frankly did the entire presience thing a fuck of a lot better.

This is not to say that there are not a few good elements. Saubon's battle was interesting, and there are some interesting points...the schools, and Achamian in particular as a spy who has spent so long hiding beneath the radar that it seems he has adopted his cover as his own persona. But i just feel bleh about the story, and having taken up Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, i feel it is infinitely better in style and execution.

I know there is a thread already ongoing about the series, but i felt this was a different point. If its not, just merge the threads.
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I thought Bakker was really interesting. Slow to get into, but very interesting non the less. His fascination with his father, how he manipulates his surroundings and where he ends up, which is as he wanted, yet is it?

My main gripe with tPoN was how the women were depicted. That is, the few women that are actually in the story. I know Bakker has done this on purpose, but it is still grating.

[quote]But i just feel bleh about the story, and having taken up Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, i feel it is infinitely better in style and execution.[/quote]

While I liked GotM, I cannot say that style and execution is any better, especially since Erikson, as much as I love his works, suffers a lot from inconsistency and bloated prose.
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