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Judging Eye X (Re-read)


Happy Ent

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lil Kel wants to be a tree.

then he kills Sammy and Sammy asks why lil Kel didn't do it sooner. I presume there will be olive oil on Sammy's shoe, and that Maitha will note that.

Like Triskele, I think Ajokilijikiliki (or whatever the damned name is) has a connection to lil Kel. Right after lil Kel thinks how badass awesome it would be to be a tree, he thinks about that God. And then he thinks of all his oh-so-clever tricksterness in sending away the poor slave girl and setting up Sammy to fall.

He also thinks about the 'war' with Sammy when they were little, and he describes their unbroken gazes as soldered into a single soul and then as a two-bodied creature. There is something going on with twins. And remember Nanny is a twin as well. Are we seeing something as simple as Kell being all ego and id and Sammy being all superego? ;)

Esme uses familiars with Maitha and Theli, shortening their names. It struck me as odd, reminds me of the board, seeing Maitha instead of Maithanet)

I think if we'd gotten the whole scene of Esme Maitha and Theli conferring we might have learned too much.

Sarl might be a red herring, but wow there are an absolutely massive amount of little descriptions of the cracks, creases and crevasses of his face.

Kosotor is described along the lines of 'something rides him'

Cleric's mark is so intense that Akka notices it before he even sees where Cleric is seated. But he doesn't notice either Chorae or MArk before entering the tavern, do walls hide the metaphysical impact both of those have.

And there's something poetically interesting in seating a Mark like that and a Chorae so close together and as partners.

Something in the initial descriptions of Kosotor made me think of the biblical Lazarus story, I wonder if he is someone whom Kellhus raised from the dead? Is Kosotor our token zombie? (what's D&D without a zombie buddy?) Or. Rather than Kell bringing him back, perhaps the God that is using Kosotor as his avatar brought him back?

Interesting to reread the descriptions of the Coffers. Akka tells them some things about them and then thinks how these things are a lie, but they seem to fit with the WLW teaser of the Coffers. Also of note, all of the Skin Eaters seem to know that the coffers are inaccessible to them unless they have a sorcerer, in particular a Mandate sorcerer.

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Cleric's mark is so intense that Akka notices it before he even sees where Cleric is seated. But he doesn't notice either Chorae or MArk before entering the tavern, do walls hide the metaphysical impact both of those have.

I don't think so. Akka and Cleric both sense the sranc horde in Cil Aujas by noticing the Chorae on the level below them. And Akka notices the Javreh with chorae when he goes god mode against the Spires.

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Psatma just fucked herself young in a presumably ancient ritual that struck me as rather obscenely glorying in fucking in the manner of the Inchoroi (without the sadomasochismatic pain BS, though).

I think it's more a counterpoint. Inchies use sex for control and gratification. Selfish reasons of taking. The Yatwer ritual is about giving. Psatma gives her maturity to the WLW and the WLW gives his youth ot Psatma. My take is that both benefited from the trade.

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I think my thought was that the fetishization of menstrual blood, fucking while on a period, fucking in public as a ritual etc struck me as very "we are the race of lovers" type of thing. I mean that Psatma chick wasn't married to the white luck bro, so she should probably be stoned for that, right? The implicit thought I had (though it wasn't really fully formed) was that if the Inchoroi made the Tusk for the Hallaroi and the Tusk elucidates the Thousand Gods, then perhaps the Gods have a bit of Inchoroi in their outlook. That or Bakker is a horny twisted git.

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But on topic as far as Judging Eye re-read I had a thought about dragons. In Cil-Aujas before they actually see the bones of a dragon they talk about what they're like and Akka explains that without the No-God they wouldn't really want to deal with a group of people. I'm also reminded from Seswatha dreams and other stuff that dragons are intelligent and can speak. I wonder if at some point in the future we could get an encounter with a non-violent (at least at that time) dragon who talks to a character. I'm thinking kinda like Smaug in The Hobbit. Given that Cil-Aujas is such an obvious Moria tribute I wonder if there's any chance we could get a Smaug tribute of sorts.

Oh golly I hope so. The dragons are my favourite part of this series.

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Just before they enter Moria, the Fellowship is all crazy nervous about the boundary/gate into the abyss. Even though the Gates are unguarded/broken, they all Know where the gate is, and it leaves them uneasy, avoiding the boundary quite explicitly according to Akka.

All except Cleric, who steps over the invisible border the humans have all avoided in order to have his little statement about the Gates being unguarded.

So I think the humans are sensing the echo of the damnation from the prior gate to Cil Aujus, a gate that was destroyed. But the endless Stair gate at the other end of Moria is still intact, and is nearly their undoing.

Note also, that they scratch their mark on the pillar before entering, and when they get to the endless stair they AGAIN scratch their mark by all the other Companies that have reached this side. In other words, other companies got through Cil Aujus to the stair, marked it, and then were taken by the Gate, just as the skin eaters were nearly undone by the gate.

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Lil Kel gets stranger and stranger.

Look at the internal dialogue there, is it just me, or are there as many as three possible voices? It does seem like at least one of the lines is definitely Samarmis, the "Mommy...kisses!" line. Then following that up is the "he'll see you" line and before a lot of this internal conversation, it seems like one of the italics lines is simply Lil Kel's own thoughts.

Note that Maithanet finds it unfathomable when looking at the carnage Lil Kel wrought. Lil Kel as a irrational force of chaos seems to be beyond the ken of Maitha's half-Dunyain intellect. I'm sure Kell would have deduced it to be his son by scent and location of stab wounds (he would calculate the distance between wounds, infer the order they occured and develop a very accurate theory about the 'reach' and proportions of the attacker). But Kell would have also noted olive oil on Sammy's foot/shoe and would never have been fooled by Lil Kel there either.

Inrilatus also shouts against the Gods. I'm very curious to hear his thoughts on them.

But isn't it curious that they don't immediately declare it to be the work of the Consult and the skin spy? it shows the short sightedness of giving the crowd the skin spy earlier in the novel. If they'd been interrogating the creature instead, they could have used it to quell the crowd after the Lil Kel slaughter and passed the blame on to it. It will be very interesting to see how the judgment of the killing goes (I don't think we have another momemn/andiamiane chapter, at least, I do not remember one).

I read the first of the next Condia chapter as well. Very early in the chapter is something I presume to be a pre-Ajencis phrase conception, The Great Song of the World (or something like that), which Sorweel believes Kell to be working against--and this belief seems to be the basis of his remaining resistance to Kell. The Mandati explanation of The Gods and souls of men, is fascinating. setting aside the "kellhus is the god in small" bit, notice how the sorcerer quite clearly states that not all souls of men are equal. Definitely NOT he says, it seems one of the more concise and clear explanations of the pre-modern view of souls as inherently unequal that makes so many people very cross with Bakker.

It is interesting that the God has to be shattered in order for the Hundred Gods and the souls of man to exist. Are we looking at a revelation that it requires a Christ-like sacrifice of a great soul, of the God, in order for people to even exist? And would it necessarily follow that the God is, in fact, dead, and that the souls that remain are his fragments and splinters. That perhaps the God was a great tree, The tree of the world that sacrificed itself for its creation, so that men and gods could florish and prosper? and that the souls of man are naught more but sawdust most times, and the souls of gods are naught more than a twig of that tree? Perhaps it was Kellhus' explanation that was flawed, that there is not a great "oversoul" and all souls are part of a still existing oversoul, but that the oversoul is the ancient ore from which souls are mined.

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Thx Lockesnow, interesting stuff. Looking forward to getting to TJE again. :D

Trees bifurcate, upwards and downwards. Perhaps the souls of men are but leaves, a brief life that alows the whole to drink the sun, then spiral down and decay to feed the roots. <feeling poetic :pimp: >

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I like the Marrow chapter very much.

When the mood takes him, Bakker can describe settings very well. Not only does he tell us how things look (nature, types of buildings, building materials, condition of the streets), he includes the full range of senses: smell and humidity. The population of Marrow is taken straight out of a spaghetti western. The I FUCK SRANC grafitti is hilarious.

We are led to believe that Mim has been following Acka throughout his trek. Then she camps for what must be days slightly outside of Marrow. I do find this a tad hard to believe. The environment of Marrow must be extremely dangerous to her, yet she survives unmolested in an area whose denizens probably combine well-honed tracking skills with an unfettered desire for the female form.

On this reread, the fact that Acka's entire journey and encounter has been anticipated, nay prepared, by Kellhus becomes increasingly likely. Haubrezer certainly knows what he's supposed to do, and in a later scene he seems to check that everything goes according to plan. Also, it's clear that Kosoter has been highly estimated by Kellhus (who gave him the name, Ironsoul), so it seems strange that such a veteran would spend his time hunting Sranc instead of joining the Great Ordeal. Unless Kellhus asked him to do just this, like he asked Saubon to stay behind in Caraskand. I assume that the presence of an Ishroi is explained by Kellhusian manipulation as well.

The only thing that cannot have been planned is the Coffers. This seems to be a genuine coincidence, bloody Fate, the whore.

As somebody already observed, there's a plot hole in the fact that Acka does not feel Kosoter's Chorae through the walls of the inn.

As sologdin observed some time ago, Kosoter's group is an homage to the Glanton gang of McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Cleric is Judge Holden. Just so that everyone knows.

The whole encounter in the inn is right out of a role-playing game's setup. I'm sure it's a deliberate in-joke that we're assembling a group of adventurers that includes a cleric.

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I like the Marrow chapter very much.

When the mood takes him, Bakker can describe settings very well. Not only does he tell us how things look (nature, types of buildings, building materials, condition of the streets), he includes the full range of senses: smell and humidity. The population of Marrow is taken straight out of a spaghetti western. The I FUCK SRANC grafitti is hilarious.

I think Marrow was the best evocation of place (inhabited by humans division, i.e. city, town, etc), we've seen in the series so far.

As sologdin observed some time ago, Kosoter's group is an homage to the Glanton gang of McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Cleric is Judge Holden. Just so that everyone knows.

I've always loved this observation, but I wonder how far we can really take it. The basic set-up (gang of scalpers, etc) is an homage for sure. And I can see Kosoter as a Glanton-like figure: stoic bad-ass, "complete in himself at all moments" or whatever. And Cleric seems to occupy the position of Judge Holden, to a certain extent: larger than life figure whose presence looms over the rest of the party; delivers sermons on the reg; name signifies an ironized metaphorical role: "Judge" / "Cleric."

But I don't really see any correlation with any of the other figures (although I haven't read BloodM all that recently), and Kosoter's gang actually seems a lot less insane.

I also wonder how far we can push the Cleric and Judge Holden analogy. To my mind, Cleric actually seems much more human (oddly enough) and much more tragic. Cleric is all history and pain, whereas nothing weighs the Judge down.

If Bakker is interested in pursuing the Judge/Cleric analogy beyond what we've seen so far, I think this may lend more credence to the Cleric = Nin-JJ theory. Not that the Judge and Nin-JJ are similar figures or anything, but it would push Cleric more toward the (metaphorically) demonic side of the equation.

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And right after the bit I stopped at last night (after the lesson with the broken pot, about souls). Sorweel dreams about/remembers a tree that grew up in the rubble of a ruined area of Sakarpus and how it was sort of his tree and he watched it grow and grow. often spending time underneath it, looking up at it. For the tree to thrive it had to outcompete the Hawthorne bush that occupied the same soil. His last glimpse of the poplar was of it thriving and strong, the bush long dead and gone.

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Please try and keep Blood Meridian comparisons to a minimum. Nothing has really been spoiled yet, so I just want to keep it that way. Merci.

No worries, man. I don’t think there are any plot similarities at all. And Finn correctly points to the boundaries of how far we can push even the character similarities.

(Excepting of course the scene in Blood Meridian where Judge Holden explains the basics of gnosticism to an antagonistic rabble of Indian warriors in the ruins of a subterranean lost Aztec city. That may have been a deliberate homage.)

And, yes, the Skin Eaters are the very models of civility and gentlemanly behaviour compared to the Glanton gang. How do you say “Better the Sranc” in Sheyic?

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I’m happy other readers pay attention to the arboreal perspective of Bakker’s books. Trees do indeed play an important role, I like Razor’s analogy to GRRM’s food. I’m prepared to forgive the lack of sentient trees that has plagues the series so far.

I we go back a few pages, to the Momemn chapter, there’s this:

He stared at the greening sycamores [... a full paragraph of tree porn].

He would very much like to be a tree, Kelmomas decided.

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