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unJon

Bakker XI: Spoilers for PoN and TJE

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Old thread closed. Feel free to continue inanity here.

I'll even start. Esmi has more than sexual agency in PON. She has sexual agency, but also intellect and has power based on her intellect especially in TTT. She tries to asset her intellect in TDTCB but Akka never listens. She's actually a better spy than Akka and puts the pieces together better, but he tragically ignores her. Do note that both Akka and Inrau enjoy her company for her conversation and not just her sexuality. In fact, don't think Inrau ever has a sexual relationship with her. Then in TTT, Esmi is head of what is basically the Kel secret police. She is able to run things and control the other Zundunyain (or whatever they are called) because she is smart, not because she has awesome sexual prowess.

ETA: To be clear, I agree that Bakker made a conscious choice to have downtrodden women basically defined only by sex in PON. Just pointing out that the arguments in the old thread were incorrect to the extent they were taken to an extreme, mainly by High Priest Zadok.

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UnJon, could I ask you to change the subtitle? There’s so much about Bakker’s book I’d like to discuss, and I find the debate over sexism so banal, that I’d prefer if the thread was not programmatic in the sense of actively soliciting (if only in jest) more endless invective over a topic that I find exactly has valid, interesting, and illuminating as whether GRRM’s book are inherently pedophile.

In fact, the thread should maybe just be called Bakker XI, or however far we have come. It contains nothing specific to WLW, but having an active spoiler thread around (for books 1-4) is good.

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I don't think that snakes being blessed is arbitrary.

Well, it’s interesting in any case, and we have heard very little so far about why they are holy. Bakker could blog about it, but we’d have to spend two full threads about discussing whether he’s a serpentoophile in order to get his attention…

Snakes are probably holy to the Fanim because they were the eyes of their priests. Imagine if pigs were holy, and the Cishaurim were forced to drape two piglets around their shoulders!

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I don't think there's any particular reason for snakes being holy. They usually are after all.

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UnJon, could I ask you to change the subtitle? There’s so much about Bakker’s book I’d like to discuss, and I find the debate over sexism so banal, that I’d prefer if the thread was not programmatic in the sense of actively soliciting (if only in jest) more endless invective over a topic that I find exactly has valid, interesting, and illuminating as whether GRRM’s book are inherently pedophile.

In fact, the thread should maybe just be called Bakker XI, or however far we have come. It contains nothing specific to WLW, but having an active spoiler thread around (for books 1-4) is good.

Done.

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I don't think there's any particular reason for snakes being holy. They usually are after all.

I agree. It's more or less arbitrary, in fitting with Bakker's "What if the universe had objective meaning, and it was Old Testament-style religious belief that was that meaning?" theme.

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I agree. It's more or less arbitrary, in fitting with Bakker's "What if the universe had objective meaning, and it was Old Testament-style religious belief that was that meaning?" theme.

Except that in the Old Testament, the snake was the agency for getting Adam and Eve cast out of the garden of eden.

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Some versions of gnosticism think the serpent at the Garden of Eden was good. Also, snake is holy in some non-Christian religions. And, by the way, since I suspect the God and the setter of the so-called "objective morality" (which really isn't that...) in Eärwä is in fact evil, snakes being holy doesn't have to mean anything beyond the God liking them for some reason.

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This thread will never get to 400 posts if there aren't arguments about sexism. :worried:

Quote: Snakes are probably holy to the Fanim because they were the eyes of their priests. Imagine if pigs were holy, and the Cishaurim were forced to drape two piglets around their shoulders!

That's pretty much what I assumed. They're light and portable, unlike pigs, which would have to be fastened about the shoulders of the Cishaurum. And what if they (pig) slipped off? You can't be stopping to adjust your pig right in the middle of a battle.

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I never really saw much meaning behind the choice of snakes as divine when I first read that passage, but it isn't that surprising from what I know of the symbolism of serpents in mythology. In Abrahamic religions snakes were linked to deceit, but in many other mythologies snakes were associated with protection, healing, immortality, and nearly divine wisdom in many other religions.

What strikes me as interesting is that the mythology in which snake worship was practiced were mostly Cambodian, Buddhist, Native American, Hindu, and various mythologies of African descent. I don't see a lot of influences from any of those belief systems in the series. If I remember correctly serpents were symbols of immortality in ancient Mesopotamia and a few other cultures in that geographical area, but since most of the religions in the book seem to be primarily based on Abrahamic religions I do find Bakker's choice of snake divinity interesting.

Since he seems pretty well versed on the mythologies he used as influences I think it's safe to assume the deviation for snake divinity was chosen on purpose, and merits discussion.

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I think Inrithims is best described as a cross between Roman Catholicism and Hinduism. The various gods that make up the One God of Inrithism are somewhere between Catholic saints and the more independent Hindu gods that are still in many traditions considered to be aspects of Brahman. The emphasis on castes is also Hindu style. The position of a cultic priest being hereditary is part of that.

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Kishalet looked up through rodent's eyes, drenched in sweat.

"Anything yet?"

"No." Krima's reply was curt and forced. For men always shorten what makes them feel small. It is in their nature to wank endlessly about their successes, but when circumstance defeats their intent, their replies are clipped like the fingernails of an Ainoni child whore.

A half sentence, annoyingly, interspersed the narrative and trailed off into —

"We have to focus," pressed Knürhâihat-Cihrandaphoot, first Oobma of the tribe of Indara-Kishauri, and second to none in the sight of Fane. But the Judging Eye he possessed not, and as all men, he counted slights and grievances. Why was Krima blessed—or cursed—with the ability to look at the nature of things, alone to see if animals were damned or pure?

The Cishaurim sat, hundreds of them, filling the plaza before the Great Tabernacle with three concentric circles of saffron cassocks, rocking as to an unheard rhythm. This would be their greatest gambit for centuries, and the pierced backs of generations of Cishaurim bore witness not only to their unquestioning devotion, but also to the necessity of this action. It simply had to succeed, if their school was to survive. Mallahet had told them. They had to grasp the Thousandfold Thought.

In the middle laid two animals, sedated by poisons known only to Knürhâihat-Cihrandaphoo. Left, a snake, slowly breathing, its scales reflecting the merciless sun. Right, a Great Demuan Porcupine, its spines swaying calmly in the gentle breeze, as if to mock Kishalet.

Fucking spines, he thought, while the heavy specimen on his back shifted its weight. The pain was like an old, hated friend. For men always make persons of their emotions, as if the familiar shape of soul, body, and agency made these passions easier to fathom.

Another sentence, half—

"Maybe now," Krima exclaimed! "Yes, they are coming around."

He leant closer over the two animals in their middle, inspecting them. Apparently his Judging Eye had opened again.

"The snake is beginning to glow! Believe harder! Believe! Believe!"

Damned are the rodents, Kishalet began anew, the mantra he had repeated with his fellow priest for a day now. The mantra that was repeated all over Fanim lands today, sung from temples, murmured in homes. Damned are the rodents, for their incisors make a pit of them. Damned are animals with spines, for the Solitary God will crush them in his wrath. And holy are the snakes, or small kittens, or other soft, calm animals in general, provided they don't excrete acids or fart a lot.

It just had to work this time. Hopefully the Scorpionfish debacle would not repeat itself.

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This thread will never get to 400 posts if there aren't arguments about sexism. :worried:

I'm done with that. It is obvious that neither side is going to change their minds. So further debate on the matter at this point would be futile.

ETA: So unJon do not take my lack of a reply to your points as silent consent or agreement.

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How does everyone feel about the title? I loved "Neuropath" as a title, but can't quite decide how I feel about "Disciple of the Dog"

On topic of titles, he mentioned on his blog that he's thinking of naming the book after White-Luck Warrior "The Unholy Consult" which just sounds too much of a generic fantasy title to me. His fans managed to convince him to change "When Sorcerer's Sing" to "The Thousandfold Thought" (which is my favorite title of them all) I've heard, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some peer-pressure changing his mind on this one too.

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