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White-Luck Warrior


Calibandar

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I also just reread all the Sorweel chapters and think they are really great, and Sorweel is a great character.

In truth, I don't understand the argument about not liking "whining" characters, to the point of finding the sentiment suspect. What else do you want to read about if not the human soul in conflict with itself?

Like I said, he grew on me when I re-read Judging Eye seriously.

Then again, PoN had Cnaiur, The Most Violent of All Men, Conphas, Saubon, Athjeari, Gothyelk etc. Warriors to and fro. Sorweel otoh, is a soul in turmoil, which makes for much less action-packed chapters. Only in Akka's chapters is there any real action.

If I want to read characters who do not fret I can go to Rand or Goodkind.

Go and wash your mouth out with soap. ;)

But he is stricken with pangs of compassion early on. So I don't even see that.

Is he though? I remember Kellhus doubting, and struggling with the Shortest Path, but not with feelings of compassion. His manipulation of Serwe in particular is cruel.

But more generally, how else should Kellhus be? Bakker wants to write a story where humanity is united in its attack on the consult, much like it is united in Tolkien's work—in fact, even more. (An interesting contrast is given by Martin's setup, where humanity is divided.) In Bakker's world, metaphysical entities have agency, and do indeed send a Messiah. The set-up in Middle-Earth, with the Istari is exactly the same. Bakker has thought long and hard about how such Messiah would work within the confines of his metaphysical set-up. How would he incarnate? In whom? What could he plausibly do within the constraints of his story.

Think about it: how would a Gandalf POV be? In particular, if Tolkien had made the psychology of leadership (control, discipline, deception, etc.) his focus. Just think about the first meeting in Bilbo's house, with the dwarves, from Gandalf's perspective.

Good point.

This I can believe. Such a figure could lead a host of two hundred thousand over thousands of miles (after twenty years of preparation, including wars, infrastructure, administration, propaganda) through hostile territory to face absolute evil. Take anything away from the conception of Kellhus, and his effect becomes a postulate, like Tolkien's postulate about Aragorn.

I agree that Bakker thought long and hard about this, and pulled it off, except for the military genius bit. Kellhus has no experience of war and after witnessing Cnaiur order everyone around and being part of one battle, he's the next Triamis (or better yet). I dunno. We just have to acecpt that the Dunyain are Übermenschen and dwarf the worldborn in intellect (and aptitude).

How is Kellhus not great stuff? I don't get it?

He's definitely interesting.

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Is he though? I remember Kellhus doubting, and struggling with the Shortest Path, but not with feelings of compassion. His manipulation of Serwe in particular is cruel.

Here it is:

Kellhus watched while the Scylvendi took her again. With her whimpers, her suffocated cries, it seemed the ground beneath slowly spun, as though stars had stopped their cycle and the earth had begun to wheel instead. There was something . . . something here, he could sense. Something outraged.

From what darkness had this come?

Something is happening to me, Father.

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I agree that Bakker thought long and hard about this, and pulled it off, except for the military genius bit. Kellhus has no experience of war and after witnessing Cnaiur order everyone around and being part of one battle, he's the next Triamis (or better yet). I dunno. We just have to acecpt that the Dunyain are Übermenschen and dwarf the worldborn in intellect (and aptitude).

I would say the opposite: we actually see him learn. We never saw Aragorn learn. Like all others, he springs into the story, fully formed as the best military commander of his generation.

On the other hand, Kellhus knows nothing about war in the beginning, and only when Cnaiür explains to him that it is basically a question of psychology does Kellhus get it. Because psychology he knows.

But his military genius is never pronounced. We never see him order troops around—even 20 years later, the strategic and tactical military planning is left to Prosha and Saubon, who are prodigies at this. Kellhus’s job is to keep everybody motivated by almost-dying at the opportune moment or defending a battle standard. He’s also a battle wizard. And he may have an overall idea for a battle plan much like Dany. But genius general? We haven’t seen that. It seems to be one of the few areas where he gladly defers to other people.

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I would say the opposite: we actually see him learn. We never saw Aragorn learn. Like all others, he springs into the story, fully formed as the best military commander of his generation.

Then again, Lord of the Rings is more a story of destiny. Aragorn knows that the Dark Lord may rise again, and has spent his life preparing for that challenge. Also, the Men from Numenor are more then normal men (Aragorn sometimes reveals his royal splendour) and live longer. You could argue that Bakker has also taken the theme of "a specialkind of men" and make it more realistic with the Dunyain, who have a reason/beliefsystem according to which they do what they do.

On the other hand, Kellhus knows nothing about war in the beginning, and only when Cnaiür explains to him that it is basically a question of psychology does Kellhus get it. Because psychology he knows.

"War is intellect", and the Dunyain are more intellectually gifted than the worldborn.

But his military genius is never pronounced. We never see him order troops around—even 20 years later, the strategic and tactical military planning is left to Prosha and Saubon, who are prodigies at this. Kellhus’s job is to keep everybody motivated by almost-dying at the opportune moment or defending a battle standard. He’s also a battle wizard. And he may have an overall idea for a battle plan much like Dany. But genius general? We haven’t seen that. It seems to be one of the few areas where he gladly defers to other people.

I don't know. I thought Kellhus definitely decided on strategy etc. Proyas and Saubon execute his will. They do not suggest they have a say in making the decisions, not even twenty years after the Holy War.

As a sidenote, I like Saubon as a scroundel. IMO Bakker modelled him somewhat on the historical Bohemund. Another great bastard.

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Or should he be less good at leadership? Should Bakker have written Kellhus more like Aragorn, who just appears out of nowhere, and where we are meant to just accept that this character is indeed able to assemble hosts around him because his blood tells us and he's wearing the right ring and sword?

Hey now, you forgot that great leaders also have to have the great hair to go with it. Men follow hair, because its all you see of the guy in front, you know, leading. So baldies need not apply for the Kellhus/Aragorn/Paul mantle.

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Wow. That blog is kind of embarrassing. I know others will disagree, but I think I'd be able to enjoy the books more if I encountered Bakker's internet persona less.

He is a bit self righteous, though I do appreciate some the ideas that he puts into distilled form.

In his position, I'd have written something more like, "I'm not sexist, or at least I don't think I am. My world treats women harshly but I don't portray as a good thing. My female characters aren't actually more fucked up than my male characters. If you think I'm sexist, there's nothing more I can do to convince you."

Then again, Bakker's not a philosophy PHD, but rather a philosophy PHD candidate who dropped out of the program after nearly completing it, according to him, with a near 4.0. I've spent enough time with some incredibly smart people to realize that somebody like that's gotta have a couple wires crossed. If he were the type of person to handle accusations of sexism and arrogance tactfully, then he wouldn't be the type of person who would write an heavily philosophical swords and sorcery epic fantasy that explores themes of free will, domination and societal biases starring ninja-sorcerer jesus.

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I think he's got a point (Bakker). He's trying to point out the extent to which we are all victims to confirmation bias.

It's not that he doesn't have a point; it's that he repeats it over and over and over again.

He is a bit self righteous, though I do appreciate some the ideas that he puts into distilled form.

He feels like someone who had a conversion experience and can never stop proselytizing about his new religion. And like many converts, he can't seem to see the glaring blind spots in what he's saying.

Then again, Bakker's not a philosophy PHD, but rather a philosophy PHD candidate who dropped out of the program after nearly completing it, according to him, with a near 4.0.

That was one of the more embarrassing parts. Anyway, I'm really not trying to bury the guy, and this is off the topic of the thread, so I won't belabor this.

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Eh, he's never been the best at being "internet tactful" or anything. The way he writes shit in personal correspondence/blog/forum/etc mode can really rub people the wrong way sometimes. (Though I think some people really set out to not read between the lines in what other people post on the internet)

He also seems to be pretty honestly mystified at the accusations of sexism that always seem to come up. And, I think, a little offended.

It's one of those reasons I think authors talking to their audience alot isn't always the best idea. It always seems to go badly in some fashion or other.

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That was one of the more embarrassing parts.

Why's that? It's just part of the story. As he said, he used to "care about that shit then".

It's one of those reasons I think authors talking to their audience alot isn't always the best idea. It always seems to go badly in some fashion or other.

Yeah, if GRRM posted here on a ragular basis, half the board would be cursing his name for reasons not related to the release of ADwD.

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I’m afraid that this forum is the last place on Earth that has the authority to make fun of an epic fantasy author for the way he behaves on his blog. So we should not do that. It makes us look worse than a Goodkind forum. We are quickly becoming the laughing stock of SFF internet fora.

And even though I do share the distaste expressed on the above comments to a certain extent, let us not forget that RSB is one of the few authors who is willing to discuss Really Important Stuff in his books or on his blog. He is the genre’s new hope. We have threads and threads about fantasy authors, say, addressing gender issues in their books. Bakker actually does that, with intelligence and authority.

So let’s play nice. If we want to talk to him (he desperately wants to talk to us, his readers) then we should be thrilled about that, and do it.

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"... quickly becoming the laughing stock of SFF internet fora"? Really? I love that, actually, because Ghu knows there's not much to distinguish this forum from a half-dozen other SFF forums. We should be more, not less, of that. What do we need to do to finish the process of becoming and instead be the laughing stock? Any links to critiques which may light the way, HE?

On topic, I'm not sure anyone has made fun of Bakker here, so that part seems strange. Mostly people seem to be genuinely vaguely embarassed and/or concerned on his behalf, or (in Jurble's case) annoyed at the implications they're seeing in what he writes.

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Then again, Bakker's not a philosophy PHD, but rather a philosophy PHD candidate who dropped out of the program after nearly completing it, according to him, with a near 4.0. I've spent enough time with some incredibly smart people to realize that somebody like that's gotta have a couple wires crossed.

Getting a 4.0 in grad school is not very difficult. Completing a thesis is difficult. Dropping out could very easily have been the most sensible choice depending on how many years of funding he had and what school he went to. (Needless to say, the job market for philosophy PhDs is awful and highly tier-dependent.)

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He also seems to be pretty honestly mystified at the accusations of sexism that always seem to come up. And, I think, a little offended.

Having corresponded with Bakker several times, I can tell you that it is indeed the case.

Patrick

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Though he is obviously intelligent, he's not the smartest person in the room, so the chances are that if a great many people think that some of his themes are sexist, then perhaps it has less to do with people not getting it, and more to do with him espousing a view thats a little off kilter. Not sexist, i honestly do not believe that, but perhaps stilted at an angle just enough that a given number of people find it odd.

You would think, given his background, that he might understand that people think differently, and his views are not the same as others.

Meh. The Judging Eye was awesome. I'm curious to see how things progress with Cleric, perhaps more so than i am with Akka.

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