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Happy Ent

Judging Eye X (Re-read)

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With the permission of the moderators I will branch my TJE re-read off from Judging Eye IX, both to make it more visible, and because it becomes too difficult to disentangle the discussions.

I’d be delighted if others would join me!

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Rereading TJE. 1. Sakarpus

The chapter opens with one of Bakker's increasingly infrequent passages from the 3rd person "history"-voice. Bakker the world-builder takes very seriously the sheer logistics of planning a war over such long distances. (The price for this planning is revealed in the next chapter.)

First mention of the Battle of the Pass and the ensuing strife between Men and !Men.

Then comes a wonderful Sorweel passage, where we see Proyas again. As ever, Proyas comes off as honest, deep, and melancholy. I like this scene very much, pitting the three different characters against each other. Sorweel's themes (his rage, his internal conflict regarding his heritage, his mixture of curiosity and distaste regarding Kellhus) are all mentioned, together with his feelings towards his father.

Then follows the chapter's main focus: the exquisite battle scene of Sarkapus's fall. I can't get the images from Jackson's strongly realised battle from The Two Towers out of my head. More generally, the whole Sakarpi culture feels well aligned with Rohan's, though we get only few details: the king's hall, his throne, some descriptions of arms and armour. Stables. The steeds were holy.

A central scene just before the battle lets Sorweel (cold, wet, angry with his father's display of indecision before Prosha) meet his father around burning coals. This is splendidly written, the coal's embers pick out details at whim in contrasting orange (and the obvious wet/cold/alone transition to warm/dry/father). The gist of their conversation is to have Harweel tell Sorweel that he will be overcome by fear and despair, as all men must. Yet he must not break, like a fool. Sorwa's hatred evaporates and is replaced by renewed veneration for his father (who, of course, dies shortly after delivering this message, as the rules of narration proscribe).

We see a stork, obviously holy to the Sakarpi, and some random superstition about warblers.

I think Harweel's eyes are described as "judging" in this chapter, but can't find it again. I must be wrong.

Kellhus almost dies in the last scene. His bare sword hand is encrusted in salt, probably from his short confrontation with Narsheidel. Sorweel could kill Kellhus with ease at this point, his Chorae is inches from Kellhus.

Is Kellhus the beggar who blows up the Herder's Gate, dressed as a beggar? Otherwise other schoolmen must have learned to teleport, of which we have no other indication. (Also, Kellhus's original spell in Thought is too difficult for a world-born sorcerer to pull off, requiring two inutterals.)

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TJE Reread. 2. Hûnoreal

The chapter starts with Seswatha dream that includes the revelation that Nau-Cayûti is the sorcerer's son, not the king's. We get a little bit of description again, that gives the Old North almost a viking age feel: Chieftains, Clans, trestle table, animal tokens, people eat with their fingers, bronze tripods. On the other hand, there are pillars, decorative mosaics, and very solid, precise stonemasonry. I can't quite fit an image from Earth's cultures that fits.

Most of the chapter is concerned with the arrival of Mimara and the dialogue and internal monologues of Acka and Mim. I find this all splendid and heart-breaking, but have very little to add. Acka has become bitter and weird. Mimara is another fully realised Bakker character, depth and warts and all. Some of the small aphorisms are great: "But it means less than nothing, winning arguments. The same as with her mother." Both characters are old in the game of insults and hurts. These are very mature characters untypical of the genre (compare to how GRRM would have written this. Witty and perfects retorts—winning arguments—are a cornerstone of his dialogue. Bakker instead avoids exactly that. It's far less entertaining, of course!)

Mim's POV is always in present tense, for no reason I have yet been able to discern. It gives, of course, a very immediate and objective feel to her POV, and since we will later know that she has (or is) the titular Judging Eye.

Nice touches: Note how the description of the scene prepares the dichotomy in Mim's declaration. And she judging aspect is there as well (the division between light and dark):

Now the sun drew a line down her centre, violated only by the crease of her clothing, whose contours smuggled light and dark this way and that. The wilderness rose behind her, far more pale but likewise divided.

"I can distinguish between the created and the uncreated[...]"

The chapter sets up a mystery around Mim's parentage, so far unresolved. My money is on Inrau, but I'm sure Nerdanel can outdo that theory.

I like the atmosphere of Acka's little world, with the slaves that behave like caste-menials, children running around. I don't normally like my pre-modern characters to behave modernly, but I think it fits for Acka. He has slaves, but he doesn't care about how they behave.

Acka has owned Geraus for the entire time ("In the beginning, when it had just been him and Geraus…"). Geraus is Galeoth. The naming scheme is Idrusus Geraus, so he inherits Acka's first name with a prefix signifying his slave status. (I never understood where Acka got his first name from.) As far as I can tell, five or six years ago, Geraus took Tisthanna for his wife. I guess she is also a slave. Did Acka buy her? How did he find her? Clearly a case of cherchez le Dunyain; I must cross-check this with Geraus's visits in Marrow.

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TJE Reread. 2. Hûnoreal

The opening quote of the chapter is a description of the Mandati from an unknown Mandate schoolman. We resemble what we are: men who never sleep. This sets the scene only for the beginning of the chapter; the emotional centre is instead the confrontation between Mimara and Acka, and I would have preferred a quotation that was less focussed on the plight of the Mandati. (Also, Acka is no longer plagued by the Dreams so much as he was before. Other demons hunt him now.)

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The opening quote of the chapter is a description of the Mandati from an unknown Mandate schoolman. We resemble what we are: men who never sleep. This sets the scene only for the beginning of the chapter; the emotional centre is instead the confrontation between Mimara and Acka, and I would have preferred a quotation that was less focussed on the plight of the Mandati. (Also, Acka is no longer plagued by the Dreams so much as he was before. Other demons hunt him now.)

Hmmm...do you think that separating himself from the Mandate for so long could in any way be responsible for the way that his dreams as Seswatha are evolving and starting to show him stuff that he hadn't seen before?

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My opinions;

Mimara is in present tense because she has the judging eye and, as we are told, judgement is unceasing.

I fastened on Etruscan culture when visualizing the Kuniuri scenes.

eta; Inrau as Mim's pop makes no sense to me. As Akka's student he would have been at Atyersus and probably prepubescent from what I recall off the top of my head. Don't think he would have been in Momemn at the correct time.

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Reread: What has come Before

Right there at the start of the What has come before its stated flat out. The Inchoroi came to seal the world against the heavens. I guess they didn't like how damnation on their planet worked out, so like Zod they were sent away. :-p the What has Come Before is fasinating for much more than just the most important bit--which Bakker makes particularly significant by how he offsets it from the rest of the text.

And go mad.
But enough about the most over debated single line of the Judging Eye. Interesting tidbits:

Nonmen live longer, are more intelligent, more beautiful, more wrathful and more jealous than humans. The last two strike me as an interesting addition to the typical elf traits.

The Treachery of the Aporetics is an interesting phrase, did the aporetics manufacture chorae for the inchoroi or did the inchoroi take the aporetic knowledge and use it to fashion chorae?

The Gift of Immortality was in fact a fell weapon--the Womb Plague. So the two do go hand in hand, there has been some debate as to whether or not this was two separate workings or a combined thing.

The Gates were left unguarded. Sure this is specifically referring to some nonmen kings who did not defend themselves against the tide of men from Eanna, but in light of the end of TJE with the Wight and the Gate, as well as the phrase The Breaking of the Gates, this seems like a sneaky way of giving us another look at how men came to Earwa. The nonmen stopped guarding the gates, and man came through them. Bakker does not specifically mention the Breaking of the Gates. Methinks there is more legend, than fact, in the story of how Noah and the Eannans came to live in Earwa. How ironic would it be if humans coming to Earwa wasn't an epic triumph, but an accidental trickle of immigration?

Not a single nonman is named in the entire description of the cuno inchoroi wars

Those who could discern the joints of existence founded the first sorcerous schools.

The purpose of the Consult is to bring about a world shut against the judgement of Heaven.

The creation of the no-God required filling pits within the ark of innumberable corpses. sounds like a topos.

In creating the No God they were enslaved by him,

They made themselves slaves to better destroy the world.
Note that Bakker sets this off on its on paragraph in exactly the same way he sets off the abovementioned, "And go mad." I think knowing that the Consult is enslaved to the No God is at least as important as Kellhus going mad.

Seswatha is the first human mentioned, hardly any names are mentioned in the prologue, which is probably rather smart of Bakker up until this point.

Rather cleverly, Bakker gives us a nice little catalog of names in the paragraph he leads with, "And so the Nameless War raged anew. What has come to be called the First Apocalypse destroyed the great Norsirai nations of the North." The first part of the prologue began with an invocation of an Endless and Nameless war. That part is done, ended by the line about the enslavement of the Consult, the next part of the prologue begins with the Naming of the Endless and Nameless War. The First Apocalypse. Before this, names are not quite as important, following the Naming, we will get a slew of names. In the Naming paragraph alone we get: Norsirai, Seswatha, Anasurimbor Celmomas, Kuniuri, Golgotteranth, Ketyai, Heron Spear, Anaxophus, Kyraneas, Mengedda.

That is a huge stylistic shift, considering all the names we got in the entire prologue up until the Naming paragraph were: Min Uroikas, Sauglish, Mangaecca, Aurax, Aurang, Consult.

The names come fast and furious in the second part of the prologue.

But first note, that the paragraphs that bind the Naming paragraph, they both explicity refer to the Consult as slaves, because in the paragraph immediately after the naming paragraph we have this:

The No-God was dead, but his slaves and his stronghold remained. Golgotteranth had not fallen, and the Consult, blasted by ages of unnatural life, continued to plot their salvation

Interesting, how in the English language how similar the words slave and salvation are. I think Bakker is being very deliberate here. He's contrasting both slave and salvation, he's contrasting Shutting the world and Destroying the world, he's giving us different perspectives and understandings very rapidly. We're seeing both the Consults objective intent in some phrases and their interrpretation by the larger world in others. These repetitive cycles are deliberate, they're not meant to reiterate the point, but to make you think again. The consult are trying to shut the world to avoid damnation and earn salvation. The Consult are destroying the world and enslaving themselves. The Consult are being set up as another opposing religion, and in doing so, Bakker is setting up another indictment of religion, but perhaps of the more Marxist/Socialist sort of Belief.

And naturally, these contrasts and setups of the Consult religion are followed with descriptions of the rise of the two major human religions. The introduction of the Tusk is not mentioned. But the rise of both Fanimry and Inrithism are detailed. hmm.

We have another offset, single line paragraph here, as the description of the religions and Mandate ends and the description of the Holy War begins:

"And as always, they found nothing."

The next section is just three paragraphs, but it describes the creation of the Holy War using none of the principle actors of the last series, mentioning only Maithanet. And the section ends mentioning the circumfix and a man like a god, leading to our third offset:

"Anasurimbor Kellhus"

This introduces us to part four of the prologue which will describe Kell and Moe and TTT and their position in the story for us.

the Dunyain are described as ascetics here, not ecstatics.

In the context that TTT is presented in this, it reads very much like Leto II's Golden Path, a crafted future, drawn from a probability trance, a future that would allow humanity to unite against the threat of the Consult before the No God was resurrected (only a score of years away, btw, which is exactly what the dust jacket copy reads as from the first line, "a score of years have passed...")

It says that it was in thinking beyond TTT that Kell goes mad. is that madness believing that he can ascend to becoming a god himself if he succeeds? I don't know TTT as described here is about ending the nameless war by uniting all of humanity and taking the fight to the Consult. presuming victory, what would Kell see beyond that? trying to attain godhood seems likely, for some reason, so I'll go with that for now. yet a few paragraphs later is says kell tells moe that only with Moe's death can TTT be realized, this seems a big mad. ;) Hmm. Perhaps, understanding Kell's madness attributed here is as simple as going back to first principles. What Comes before determines what comes after. By leaping to beyond TTT Kellhus never grasped it properly. He thought he grasped it, but only in the manner that worldborn men grasp revelations. Rather than dispassionately absorbing every detail he leapt to a conclusion beyond TTT and by making that leap, he is mad, deluded in the manners that worldborn are deluded--he sees the forest but not the trees. otoh, it is Cnaiur that is later described as Kell's one mistake, not something as big as TTT.

dunyain genes in Kells seed is described as an onerous burden for Esmenet to bear.

Akka Esme and Cnaiur are dealth with rather swiftly. Cnaiur is described as dead, Moe is described as mortally wounded.

We end, somewhat similar to how we began, in reverse, a nice little parallel structure Bakker worked into this section.. Nameless War, Scope of History to start off the WHCB and Scope of History and Nameless War to end the WHCB section.

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Lol, oh soviet Earwa.

Lockenow, I don't want to hijack this thread for discussion so I just want to mention one thing. Please, please, really think about considering the What Has Come Before as canonical. If you read the What Has Come Before in both TWP and TTT, they outright contradict things that happen in the books. I think there were the best option for Bakker to introduce new readers to the story without spoiling things, and even, possibly, to intentionally mislead them.

Just sayin'.

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Please, please, really think about considering the What Has Come Before as canonical.

Hm…

the character and faction glossary includes,

Moënghus, son of Kellhus and his first wife Serwë, eldest of the Prince-Imperials

I don’t know whose POV that’s written from, but it isn’t mine, or that of any reader who paid attention, or from a all-knowing narrator. It’s a valid description of Moënghus, and official-from-the-point-of-view-of-an-Eärwan. But not a complete description of Moënghus’s parentage.

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yeah I know, not necessarily canonical. we've been over that discussion several times, mostly it revolves all around the "And went mad." bit which usually gets the thread length series of replies of "did not!" "Did too!" "Did not!" and so on.

What I do think is interesting is how Bakker weaves different explanations of the Inchoroi and Mangaecca in the space of a few sentances. They're closing the world they're destroying the world. They're seeking salvation they're being enslaved. The lack of consistency within just those few lines makes me distrust the entirety of the what has come before. Particularly as it comes after the text of the book.

haha, what comes before determines what comes after, the 'what comes before' is written to be biased by our reading of TJE. :-p

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What I do think is interesting is how Bakker weaves different explanations of the Inchoroi and Mangaecca in the space of a few sentances. They're closing the world they're destroying the world. They're seeking salvation they're being enslaved. The lack of consistency within just those few lines makes me distrust the entirety of the what has come before. Particularly as it comes after the text of the book.

I don't actually see much of a contradiction in how the are both seeking salvation and being enslaved. Oh, there is a contradiction simply in the words, but I get what they're doing. Being slaves to the No-God they probably don't actually feel as being true enslavement since they want the same thing that he apparently does.

I also think it's interesting to think about how the No-God is often referred to as "he" even though it has been said that it is not known whether "he" is a thing flesh or spirit or something like that. That is still a great mystery. Is it tekne or sorcery or some combination? They also have the aporos up there, so they've got all kinds of tools to work with.

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I don’t know whose POV that’s written from, but it isn’t mine, or that of any reader who paid attention, or from a all-knowing narrator. It’s a valid description of Moënghus, and official-from-the-point-of-view-of-an-Eärwan. But not a complete description of Moënghus’s parentage.

From the new empire's census, I would imagine.

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or from an authorly decision that encompasses this, RSB said on the three seas forum

I haven't been looking at the history of Earwa so much from the standpoint of an 'absolute observer,' as from from the standpoint of what is known or thought to be known at the time of the Holy War. This isn't a rule that I adhere to, just a tendency I seem to have largely followed.
So think that probably is as good an explanation as we're going to get. http://forum.three-seas.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=543&start=60

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I don’t know whose POV that’s written from, but it isn’t mine, or that of any reader who paid attention, or from a all-knowing narrator. It’s a valid description of Moënghus, and official-from-the-point-of-view-of-an-Eärwan. But not a complete description of Moënghus’s parentage.

Not to derail this thread (though by titling it TJE X it's going to be derailed as soon as IX closes--may want to rename as the Reread thread or something), but this explanation may work for the glossaries, but it fails with the WHCB "Kel is mad" quote. I will say no more on the subject.

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I was wondering about that myself. Is this the continuation thread, or a special re-read thread? Initially, I thought it mere coincidence, but I've become more and more convinced that Happy Ent took the Shortest Path towards getting to name the new thread by starting it.

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Yeah, I would also, again, direct this discussion back towards the other thread. Serwe is pregnant before she ever sleeps with Kellhus and Bakker just heavily misdirects from that description throughout the rest of the trilogy.

I, as well, said don't think of the What Has Come Before as canonical. The glossary and character factions, like the TTT Appendix, I wholly support.

EDIT: Ent asked that this just be a reread review thread with minimal speculation, seperate from the other discussion. I would agree because I hope to post chapter reviews tomorrow, lol.

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I was wondering about that myself. Is this the continuation thread, or a special re-read thread? Initially, I thought it mere coincidence, but I've become more and more convinced that Happy Ent took the Shortest Path towards getting to name the new thread by starting it.

Ah, I hadn’t seen this. Yes, I suggest this thread is X, and the other thread progresses IX to XI. We can ask for a Great Council to decide this, or spend a few years in the probability trance.

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Reread: What has come Before

The passage tells us that the Consult "realized" the No-God. There are now various verbs about how the No-God appeared, including "summoned".

I like "realized" because it is compatible with the idea that the No-God is "just" a huge tekne-based artificial intelligence, as laid out by Torsten on the Three Seas forum. (Instead of, say, a Ciphrang from the Outside.)

The summary also points to the countless dead that preceded the realisation of the No-God. Instead of for creating a Topos, like lockesnow suggests upthread, I simply think that the No-God requires a huge fricking number of souls for cognitive power. These have to come from somewhere. So the Consult kills innumerable men, traps and harvests their souls (presumably on the Inside, not the Outside, but I haven't made up my mind about that), and puts them into a Dalek. Instant supercomputer.

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The passage tells us that the Consult "realized" the No-God. There are now various verbs about how the No-God appeared, including "summoned".

Sticking with the TJE reread theme I was surprised that we got virtually no Consult in this book, and it sounds like we may not in the next book either. They've gone completely off screen (unless the expedition is Consult influenced which I think is possible, but less likely than it being Kellhus influenced).

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