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Judging Eye X (Re-read)

Happy Ent

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The Wolf Gate is too much to try to post on right now, so I continued the Cil Aujus chapter, I’ll come back to the Gate later.

We Nonmen... we think Earwa holy, or at least we did before time and treachery leached all the ancient concerns from our souls..”

“Earwa, holy?”

“Of course… Think on it, my mortal friend. Earwa is oblivion made manifest. And oblivion encircles us always. It is the ocean, and we are naught but silvery bubbles. It leans all about us. You see it every time you glimpse the horizon—though you know it not. In the Outside, our eyes are what blinds us. But in Earwa—in Earwa!—the line of the horizon opens… opens like a mouth… and oblivion gapes.

You must understand. For my kind, holiness begins where comprehension ends. Ignorance stakes us out , marks our limits, draws the line between us and what transcends. For us, the true God is the unknown God, the God that outruns our febrile words, our flattening thoughts…”

In this quote, I have changed “The Dark” to Earwa and “light” to Outside. I thought it was interesting to do so , because the description of being surrounded like an ocean by Oblivion, sounded to me like another way of describing the Outside. While it is perhaps a bit silly to replace The Dark, with earwa, I think it may be likely that Oblivion and Outside are related, and that the nonmen refer to the Outside as oblivion.

This raises the crackpot theory that the nonmen created Earwa or came to Earwa to shut their eyes to the outside, to create a place where they could worship ignorance; to build a monument to what they did not know; that they would make their lack of knowing something holy. They would live in darkness to demonstrate their devotion to the light. Sounds very monkish.

And beyond the silly, light and darkness. Ignorance and darkness. The darkness that comes before. No wonder Akka thinks it sounds like Kellhus. No wonder Nerdanel thinks that Mek (who is, in secret, also 10,000 other historical nonmen) founded the Dunyain.

Note that the Outside is often described as leaking into the world and that Cleric here describes the oblivion in terms of ocean. If you think about a sphere being surrounded completely, like the fruit of an orange being surround by the pith of the orange and the peel of the orange, you realize that being enveloped or suspended in water is one of the only metaphors that fully gets at how the Outside envelops the real.

Also, look how Cleric says, “our eyes are what blinds us.” And in a few pages we will find a man who has grown an eye in his heart, and confronted with the wight at the gates at the endless stair, all the men of the slog will grow eyes in their hearts. Their eyes blind them at the heart, the point where they are most vulnerable to the outside. Eyes that cannot see the world, eyes that are trying to see the outside. Blind eyes trying to watch or be watched and failing at both.

Btw, I may have to reread this utterly mammomth and gigantic cil aujus chapter again, I think Baker may be weaving a motif of eye/vision descriptors throughout this chapter. These probably have literary significance and meaning. A page later, at the section break, we begin the section with “Blinking in the bright light.”

Note that Mimara immediately associates Cleric’s sermon with Ajencis’ Dialectic. This is not the dialectic of Watcher and Watched referred to in the WLW teaser, but it is another similar dialectic. A dialectic has three parts,

Thesis --> Anti-thesis


(imagine the square root is a southwest pointing arrow).

Substance --> Desire

New substance

The degree to which substance of the world yields to desire determines how much the world is changed. Only sorcery changes the world and it yields a mark. Outside, desire more easily changes substance. The more outside you are, the more desire can change substance. In Earwa, the world does not yield to desire. Belief does not make reality. But in the outside, belief has more capacity as a tool. It has more force.

Watcher --> Watched


This gets you somewhat out of a solipsistic narcissism. Affirmation of who you are arises from the other. Being comes from community. Stature comes from things that are seen. Things that are unseen have less stature. The people who pray in a closet in secret are lesser than those who abase themselves in the street for all to see.

Also, a couple things here. Mimara is conditioned.

Mimara thinks, in stages, 1) Kellhus 2) she had the run of his library and was encouraged to read 3) she wanted to try to be more like her father.

Note how CLEVER Bakker is here. He is presenting Kellhus’ conditioning of Mimara obliquely, in the form of a dialectic. This just moments after Mimara has mentioned a dialectic. That the first two yield the outcome Kellhus wants, an educated Mimara (which will be attractive to Akka) and a Mimara obsessed with Akka is something the reader is being prompted by the author to see due to the structure of the text itself. Bakker without Cnaiur cannot out and out tell us that we’re seeing a Kellhus construction, he has to hide it. He can’t hide it as perfectly as Kellhus, or we’d never know, but he can give us tips and pointers. The viewpoint is from Akka, and it’s essential that Akka not believe that Mimara was sent to him by Kellhus.

Note that immediately after this revelation of Kellhus’ manipulation we have two major character events. Akka gives MImara the Surillic Point to hold (was this due to the revelation of the Judging Eye or her invoking Ajencis properly, I think it was Ajencis) and Mimara tells Akka she has the Judging Eye. It seems Mimara bringing up Ajencis’ Dialectic, something from her Kellhus inspired education, was a trigger that opened up Akka to the next stage of teaching Mimara.

Kellhus "told" her to try and be like her "father." It seems he may have planted the idea that Akka was her father rather deep, he may have also planted some sexual attraction to a father figure there, intending to lash Mimara to Akka both with filial bonds she is so desperate for, and with the myriad of physical and emotional bonds that come connected to sexual expressions as well.

At the very end of the chapter, Akka thinks of chorae as holes in existence. Due to the late hour, and the cleric sermon earlier in the chapter, I think of them now as holes in a spaceship, leading to explosive decompression. Perhaps that's what we see with sorcerous salting, the equivalent to vaccum explosively and suddenly meeting with a sealed and pressurized container that has suffered a fatal puncture.

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that's okay, I read it again today and can't quite follow the eyes in hearts thing either. I blame posting at 1am after a full days shift and working a 12 hour sunday (only 4.5 hours of sleep sunday to monday). Honestly, I'm stunned that post has the small amount of coherence it manages. one need only look at my four-dimensional-sight posting to see what sleepdeprivation+Bakker does to my brain.

Here's what I think I was getting at.

Cleric says, "Our eyes are what blind us." A few pages later we find a man who is more or less blind, but has an eye growing in his heart.

at the end of the next Cil Aujus chapter they confront the wight. and when that happens, men of the slog begin to grow eyes in their chest.

Mimara turns to their sudden silence. In a moment of madness it seems that she can see their hearts through their caged breasts, that she can see the eyes open.

Achamian falls to his knees, clutching his chest. He looks to her in pleading horror. Lord Kosoter stumbles backward into the corridor. Some clutch their faces; others begin to shriek and scream. Soma stands riven. Sarl cackles and bawls, his eyes pinched into lines between red wrinkles.

"I can't seeeeee!" the crease-faced sergeant gibbers. "I-look-I-look-I-look ..."

As for the other stuff I wrote, I"m really not sure. I tried to have another go at it, and just wound up confusing myself more. I don't think I have a firm enough grasp on the metaphysics to really grok what I sort of intuit is happening with the eyes and what they mean in terms of watching, seeing, and their connection to the outside. It made sense at the time. :P

also, I don't think that Wacher->Watched->Existence works as a dialectic. doh.

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I haven’t gotten that far in my re-read, but let me chime in on the hearts:

Claim: The heart of man is the part of the physical body that is closest to the Outside. To the extent that man’s soul resides anywhere (physically, in our bodies), it’s in the heart.

Elaboration: Our souls are pinpricks in the outside. They are connected to each other. (This is how the cants of calling work, for example.) This pinprick resides, physically, in our hearts. The shortest distance between two men, metaphysically, is through their hearts: Heart1 -> SomewhereOutside -> SomewhereElseOutside -> Heart2. Since the Outside is pliable, it’s easier to navigate if you know what you’re doing.

Remember that I believe that the Outside has location, so two souls in the Outside can be at different places. Location in the Outside tracks location in the Inside, but it‘s not distance-preserving (it’s a homeomorphism, but not an isometry). However, “close” souls (such as Sammy and Little Kelmo) would be physically close in the Outside. Kellhus’s soul is physically close to Esmi’s when he speaks “through” her. And it’s extremely close to Serwë’s when she dies for him.

This explains the scene where Kellhus rips Serwë’s heart out of his own ribcage, for example. It would have been harder to rip, say, Serwë’s left eye out of his own skull (because hearts, not eyes, are the connecting points). It would have been harder to rip, say, Acka’s heart out (because Acka’s soul isn’t so close in the Outside.) And it would have been impossible to rip out the heart of the thing called Sarcellus, because he doesn’t even have a soul.

So far, so good. I think this is correct.

(The location-based argument also neatly explains why Sammy and Kelmo don’t want to be separated. They are almost one soul on the Outside, and their corresponding bodies don’t want to be ripped apart. Much like the physical pain that people feel in Pullman’s world when they’re separated from their little animals. It also solves the mystery of souls being damned in one place of Eärwa but not another, such as sorcerers being holy in Shimeh but damned in the Nansurium.)

What I can’t quite wrap my head around now is why the eyes, but I think I’m close. Allow me to ramble.

Clearly, normal eyes feed irrelevant sensory information to the brain, if your main interest is the Outside. Nonmen feel blinded by them. The Cishaurim go so far as to rip them out. I assume that the Third Sight is some kind of “looking through the Outside”, the soul literally apprehends other souls as per their representation in the topology of the Outside, rather than the physical Inside. For example, the Cishaurim can see Kellhus over long distances, he shines in the third sight.

What happens in a topos? The distance between Outside and Inside is even shorter than it normally is. The soul wants to see. (I don’t know why. I think we’re getting closer—it‘s the No-God’s desire to see, the “circle between watcher and watched”.) Maybe the Outside-soul wants to see what’s going on in the Inside. Maybe the Inside-sould wants to see what’s going on in the Outside. Maybe both. No matter what, the desire so see, by virtue of the malleability of the Outside, physically manifests an eye. Where is this eye created? At the easiest place: the shortest distance to the (already close) Outside: the location of the heart.

So what happens to the Skin Eaters is that the normal, skull-based eyes are shut off (to remove the “noise”) and a new eye forms in the physical place that is closest to the highly malleable Outside: the heart.

That’s all I’ve got.

It would follow that if you enter a topos and really, really desire A Dance With Dragons to come out, the book would physically manifest in your ribcage. And your twin or soulmate could rip it out of his own ribcage.

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Also, I think the single most damning thing about Sarl is that he is laughing at the pain of the eye opening in his heart. Skin Spies laugh at pain, right?

I like what Happy Ent is saying, it is sort of what I was trying to wrap my head around and failing.

It's also interesting to note that eyes are sort of instruments/appendages/part-of the brain. I think Bakker is sort of playing with something there, an irony that eyes are connected to intellect, intellect is not necessarily connected to the soul (soul is in the heart, intellect in the brain) but that the soul is trying to open an eye in the heart when eyes are often decieving both the soul and the intellect.

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Also, I think the single most damning thing about Sarl is that he is laughing at the pain of the eye opening in his heart. Skin Spies laugh at pain, right?
No. They get quite upset about it, actually.
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Haha, you guys made me skip ahead and reread ch 14 &16 :P

Claim: The heart of man is the part of the physical body that is closest to the Outside. To the extent that man’s soul resides anywhere (physically, in our bodies), it’s in the heart.

Really, this is an extension of a common metaphor. Objectively it is demonstrably false, and even in Earwa most people would know this.

(It seems quite obvious that the organs with the most direct 'proximity' to the outside are the eyes and mouth. You don't have to be a sorcerer to see the light of the outside streaming through when they are channeling arcane powers. The eye fixs the perspective of the objective onta whilst the mouth shapes the subjective semantics.)

However, the common (subjective) perception and belief structure (that the heart is the focus of the soul and the very seat of belief) is important. As noted, the topos causes the onta to become thin and so circumstance yields more easily to desire.

So an eye grows in the heart - despite it being useless. (Note that the pick could still see with his regular eyes - he finds them because of Akka's bar of heaven) Now whether the eye is a manifestation of some agency trying to wend its way into the souls of these victims or simply a frightening expression of what it means to manifest social beliefs is debatable.

I harbour suspiscions that Mimara is indirectly responsible for summoning the wight with the judging eye somehow.

When she holds the surillic point at the same time as her judging eye opens and then feels as if there is a heart-eye growing in her chest. (First time any of them experience this feeling.)

Later, Mim stares at a chorae whilst the JE opens again and the wight shows up.

When Akka awakens, she recalls to him his words about the topos blurring into the outside, then explains that the topos is caused by the suffering of 10'000 years of Emwama slaves living, toiling and dying in the darkness. (Akka believed it was the betrayal of the non-men and the ensuing slaughter)

The non-men thought the darkness holy, but to men it was suffocating. Eyes blind in the darkness + suffering in the heart becomes very relevant.

One comment the wight makes seems interesting, he seems to be saying that the 'terrain' of the Outside that the nonmen knew has changed and that the thresholds are no longer guarded. More evidence of stucturalization occuring in the outside perhaps?

"You have dwelt here too long, Cousin."

"I am lost. All the doors are different, and the thresholds... they are holy no more."

"Yes. Our age has passed. Cil Aujis is fallen. Fallen into darkness."

"No. Not darkness..." "Hell"

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random thought



Salt = side effect

Salt is purifying (classicly)

Could Chorae be designed, originally, to purify sorcerous practioners, say you've worked sorcery and are marked, but you need to hold a chorae to work some aporos. You could use chorae to salt away your mark, purifying yourself. Once your mark is gone, you can use a chorae. Think of the Mark as radiation, and chorae as a process that would wick away the radioactivity, leaving you unmarked.

Then, perhaps when the aporos became too dangerous and was banned the inchoroi weaponized the chorae into trinkets as we know them.

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I've got a question for you all.

What the hell makes you all so sure about this eye growing on everyone's heart? Is that really the consensus here? I definitely read that one objective passage about the eye on the Scalpoi's heart as one of the many insanely fucked up things that could happen to you in the living manifest proximity of Hell.

Had Bakker chosen that the dude grew an extra finger on his knee, would you all be spouting about that being the seat of the Outside?

Really now.

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Yeah, I always interpreted as a guy who is in a topos, is scared and is in total darkness, and is just praying to see anyting, a topos being a 'carefull what you wish for' place, he grows an eye in his heart. Why all our scalpers have eyes growing inside their hearts? Well, after seeing it happen to that one poor chap, they probably couldn't think of anything else (kind of like a 'don't think of a pink elephant' scenario). Not quite as elaborate as your theories obviously ;)

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I've got a question for you all.

What the hell makes you all so sure about this eye growing on everyone's heart? Is that really the consensus here? I definitely read that one objective passage about the eye on the Scalpoi's heart as one of the many insanely fucked up things that could happen to you in the living manifest proximity of Hell.

Had Bakker chosen that the dude grew an extra finger on his knee, would you all be spouting about that being the seat of the Outside?

Really now.

I thought exactly the same. Lockesnow's post sent me flipping through the chapter initially to refute his assertion - but it seems fairly defined that this is what is happening.

Akka actively checks for the heart in the pick, whether via intuition or insight is uncertain - but he declares the place cursed in response to finding the pick's heart-eye.

Then Mim feels an eye 'growing' within her after Akka gives here the surilic point and her judging eye opens.

When they reach the medial screw with the wight in pursuit, all the scalpers act as though they are feeling the same thing Mimara earlier experienced - again she is experiencing the JE.

Maybe Mimara is doing something, she is the one who frames it as a consequence of the particular damnation (or curse) that exists in Cil Aujis. But it does seem pretty explicit that its a uniform potential consequence of being in CA (at least for her group) rather than the random manifestation of freakishness that I initialy took it for.

Idk, perhaps its just confirmation bias. But y'know, 2 times is co-incidence - 3 times indicates something is probably going on, at least in a planned narrative.

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My theory is that the heart-eyes are due to the wight's influence. I think when he was alive he was introduced to the concept during a theological discussion.

Human: You need to see with your heart.

Nonman King: WTF?

But well, since humans aren't automatically all damned like the Nonmen maybe that nonsense about seeing with one's heart really might work somehow, or that's what the wight hopes. In Hell remote chances at salvation become worth trying. Meanwhile the wight still hasn't figured out what the human meant. That's quite possibly because the human's real point was something totally and obviously wrong to a Nonman who know more than humans about how things work on Eärwa.

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Akka actively checks for the heart in the pick, whether via intuition or insight is uncertain - but he declares the place cursed in response to finding the pick's heart-eye.

I thought it was interesting that Akka didn't complete a full autopsy - the heart was the only thing he checked. So there clearly is something about hearts.

Whatever that is, it could be connected to why it's Seswatha's mummified heart that is used in the Mandate ritual, and not his mummified pendulous phallus, which would be more natural (in these books anyway).

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Chapters 9, 12 — Momemn

Esmi and Maitha plot against the Yatwerians. Kellhus doubles back and rolls a critical hit with an open ended Charisma test. Shara wets herself. At the same time, Nanny gains all her HP back and transfers some Wisdom to the anonymous Shigeki father who is the White-Luck Warrior.

Kelmo decides to not subject himself to his father’s scrutiny. Instead, he fucks around a bit, then smells Shara’s urine and decides to kill her. Esmi and Maitha don’t know what to do.

These chapters are heavy on plot, decorated mainly by some nice internal monologue of Esmi.

Random details: Chapter 9 starts with Thraxami (black stripes of mourning) and ends with Wurrami (red stripes of rage) — painted in menstrual blood, no less!

Whores are cursed also according to the Sinyatwa (the holy scripture of Yaterwianism), which is interesting in light of the fact that whores like Esmi pray to her.

“The smooth cheek [of the White-Luck Warrior] became gravelly with the memory of another’s pox.” This is of course Nanny’s own pox, we heard her described earlier as the “Shigeki pox-girl” (p. 109).

Porsi, the slave tricked by Kelmo to bring medicine (which he had hidden) has been scourged and turned out. Terrible, of course.

Kellhus’s teleportation spell works even if he brings somebody along. This is not incompatible with my ideas of souls having simultaneous locality on the Outside and the Inside. After they reach the bedroom, Kellhus pretends to be exhausted. The reader doesn’t believe a word of it, and I think neither does Esmi.

When Kelmo overhears the conversation between Esmi and Kelly, his inner voice says “She knows. Someone told her the truth about father.” This is clear to us as well, Esmi has long stopped buying Kellhus. She knows. He knows. Probably for 20 years.

Kelmo’s decision to kill Shara comes immediately after he smells her.

He breathed deep the Matriarch’s rank odour. It transported him, enlightened him in the manner of petty things followed deep.

Then he stood and turned, leapt the stair to the dais in a single, effortless bound. [...]

He proceeds to kill Sharah. Interestingly, Kellhus departs at the same time, lucky for Kelmo.

Kelmo is of the Few, he has no difficulty avoiding the Wards.

I like the attention Bakker gives to minor characters. The panicked cart-driving slave and his demeaning interaction with drunken Kidruhil soldiers. The Yatwerian guard who is a father.

Final Esmi POV contains further reflection on her role as Empress, a theme that has been with us throughout this book. It’s endlessly frustrating for her that Phinersa momentarily glances as Maitha to confirm her commands.

We learn of the “heady days” of the first unification wars, before the fall of Nilnamesh and High Ainon. Interesting: High Ainon is ruled de facto by the Scarlet Spires, who seemed to be on Kellhus’s side at the end of the first Holy War already. Cheph himself was a skin spy, even! Yet High Ainon seems to have had to be conquered anyway.

I assume that Conriya just joined Kellhus because of Prosha. Most of the West was already conquered, of course. Do we have a list of nations that fell to Kellhus during the Unification Wars?

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I wonder if was that Kellhus didn't conquer Conriya, so much as he just left it untouched while conquering everything else while waiting for Proyas' father to die. So long as Proyas was at his side, Proyas' father couldn't really rebel or collude with other kings in his neck of the wood. Although I doubt Proyas realizes it, he was probably the first royal hostage.

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because Kellhus teleports Esmi and himself from the throne room to his bedchamber.

Chorae. Tear of God. Trinket…

It wrenches the eyes even to glance at it, to see both the plain iron ball tacked in Sranc blood and the pit that scries into oblivion. She clutches it, she who is not yet cursed, presses it against her breast and bodice. Nausea wrings her like a wineskin. The vomit surprises her mouth, her teeth.

Scries into Oblivion. Where have we heard Oblivion just recently? Cleric’s Sermon. I’m not taking this as proof that Oblivion=Outside for nonmen terminology, but I’m taking it as Very strong evidence. Also note that she Immediately sees it as a pit, this will be important later.

She can feel the Chorae between their two hearts.
This seems incredibly significant in light of what Kellhus probably did with Serwe’s heart and the outside… I don’t think this is just a physical sensation that she can feel it pressing between them, but that because they are physically close and momentarily close in the outside she can feel the Chorae separating them. The chorae is making this entire seven paragraph POV section completely subjective and different, although it seems reasonable as a sort of fever dream as she drifts in and out of consciousness. I think the rest of what we see will be a gaze enhanced by the chorae, or the judging eye, hard to say.

A lick of hair has dropped past her brow, threading the blood from her eyes to her cheek to her lips
Eyes and mouth here, and in Earwa, these are holy portals to the soul. Eyes and mouth and hearts are the important bits and within a couple of sentences Mimara has invoked all three. She’s not seeing normally.

She sees the Captain farther back, sprinting alone, a shimmering silhouette against the torchlight. She sees him raise his sword to strike the laggard down.

And beyond, in the distance, as though peering into a well without walls she sees Cleric shining, afire in sorcerous light. Javelins explode like birds against the curve of his Wards. Sranc throng and heave before him, cut and rent by the glittering fury of his song. Three Bashrag close with him. Stump-haired obscenities that lurch untouched through weaving geometries of incandescence, each bearing echoes of the absence that pockets her left breast. The Nonman leaps out of their monstrous reach, sails into the midst of more Sranc, his word falling in an oblique arc. Sorcerous lines mirror his every shriek. White light etches the pillared hollows of the gallery, the graven vaults, the paneled surfaces, revealing a floor clotted with hosts of Sranc, aisle after aisle, paced as thick as wind-tossed wheat…

I don’t think Mimara is quite seeing with just her physical eyes here. It seems more like third sight, or the in between world walked by Akka and Xin. Note that Kosotor’s silhouette shimmers. That’s a contradiction he wouldn’t be a silhouette unless he was lit from behind, but he’s at the very edges of the torchlight, no light behind him (because Cleric’s light is definitely in front of him. And he is Shimmering. That could possibly be interpreted as similar to glowing. It’s not a heat shimmer because we’re not yet to the lava pit.

Note that we get two really strong indications of the unusualness of this section’s gaze. First is “peering into a well without walls” (that doesn’t seem much like just looking down the hall towards the Cleric fireworks) Second is the italics on “Cleric shining”. Again, I don’t think Mimara is quite seeing with her normal eyes, this seems like another gaze entirely. Also note how the paragraph ends, with a God’s eye view of the battleplain, (heh, I could have said bird’s eye view, but I didn’t). Despite being slung over Soma’s shoulder, Mimara manages to see a lot more than that limited perspective should allow. She sees behind her and in front of her. She sees the walls all around her and a well without walls, she can see the ceilings and and she can see laterally, but from a high enough perspective that she can see the whole scope of the hall and that Sranc cover the entire floor surface, that last one doesn’t indicate a gaze stuck at shoulder height or below looking laterally at a Sranc horde.

One page later we have one of the most monumentally intriguing metaphors of the entire series, Mimara’s semi-lucid gaze continues and comes up with this insanely fascinating gem.

Achamian lolling unconscious, his cheek and temple caked in a tree-cancer white.

And she follows this up with an insight into who Soma is

His eyes have become beacons of his caste-nobility
. Have we had any indication that Soma is a noble?

Note the next paragraph is important, their eyes have been shut off, they barely have light to see by, and their ears are sources of deception. We’ve never had ears be holy before, but it’s worth considering that Ears are not holy. Also Kellhus uses Ears as the portals to deceiving and mastering the circumstances of men’s souls. Hmm. Just after this we have this short gem:

Once again the horns swell through the deeps, a yawing menace. The rumble fills them, thins them with terror, until they become rags blown on a dread wind. The halls and vaults and the graven panels flash into sight and fall into oblivion. Men moan and cry.

They are all sobbers now.

There is SO MUCH to unpack from that single paragraph. Once again, ears are how men are undone. Bakker seems to be underlining the use of hearing in these two paragraphs. You have sight countered with Oblivion, two significant signifiers in Bakker land and

Just where the heck did a flash come from?

And then the ‘they are all sobbers now’ paragraph continues with a triptych meditation on Doom with a capital D. This is perhaps the first indication of the coming wight.

Akka cannot be woken, yet we’ll later see that his dream seems a deeply short one, and a dream in which akka and seswatha are aware of the awake world and the need to wake up but still seswatha doesn’t release Akka until much later. Akka is very close to the outside in this topos, and if dreaming brings you closer to the outside in general, than this unconsciousness of Akka seems to be very deliberate, Seswatha is insistent on getting out the ‘bury it in the coffers bit.’ Perhaps it takes tremendous effort for him to do so?

Then, like a vision, a figure trots out of the blackness…


Not shining anymore, her sight seems more normal here. On the other hand, Cleric’s voice is miraculously audible through the screeching roar.

dredging holy nimil for their Nonman masters.
Kell is armored in nimil now. But note the “holy” here, and that it is not just a more refined steel, it’s a different ore, like mithril. Ore veins run through the earth like, well, arteries or veins, but perhaps the nonmen had a different perspective, perhaps they though that ore veins are the roots of a great tree? Or the branches of a great tree? I wonder.

She has fallen behind herself. A sensation soaks through her, so warm, so consoling it seems sacred, a kind of revelatory horror, bodiless and floating and so heartbreakingly clear.
Do we need more than this to question her perspective since picking up the chorae and being hit in the head with a lance that miraculously only grazed her? Sacred consolation? Revelation and horror? Bodiless and floating? Clear sight? Fuck. That is fascinating and indicative of what she will see on the other side of the chorae when she unleashes (?) and faces the Wight. She’s already connected to the other side.

But we do need more because after the above sentences we have more:

She has thrown herself to the ends of terror and will, and nothing remains but to pirouette and plummet…

She has run to the very edge of Away.

Forgive me…

If that first is not a prayer and if Mimara is not absolved for that prayer I’ll be shocked. That’s why Mimara can do what she can do, I’ll posit that from that point of forgiveness onward, Mimara is not damned, she is forgiven.

Is Mimara to become the Real Post-Latter Prophet? The true Prophet to Kellhus’ false one?

Also, Away is capitalized.

For the first time, Cleric is thought Lost to the company.

And after this prayer, suddenly Mimara’s perspective is limited to what we would expect to someone slung over Soma’s shoulder

She lets her head carry her eyes where it will. It jolts and rolls to the rhythm of his exertions
Note that when she sees the company silhouetted against the orange lit entrance to the lava cavern she does not see them as shimmering silhouettes, but as shadows against the orange light. Again, I think the look at Kosotor earlier was significant and otherworldly.

We end this section, with another juicy gem:

The world sets its hooks deep, ever drawing souls tight across its infinite contours. Circumstances are reborn, and hearts are renewed.

As I said, I thin Mimara is no longer damned, she is Forgiven. And come on, Bakker is outright telling the reader to fucking pay attention, he used the C-word for Christ’s sake.

A spark throbs through her gutted muscles, returns slack extremities to her will.

only now does Mimara regain bodily control, where does that spark come from? herself or outside? this is also accompanied by an insight to Soma, a comparison to being a child etc, and the return of conscious control of her body, all fascinating stuff, imo.

Mimara soon thinks Cleric is fallen. She is wrong, but I consider this part of the first time they think Cleric is gone.

The lake of fire shimmers across the distances, a brilliant plate across the bottom of a vast cavern, rutted like the hollow of a long-dead tree.

Roots of the tree I’m telling ya. I wonder more and more about the Copper Tree of Siol.

A few pages later, the skin eaters escape, leaving Cleric in the lava room, he’ll come after them once again.

Later, when Mimara looks at Cleric we get

A peculiar shyness leans against her eyes whenever she looks at the Nonman.
Men are little more than animals to Nonmen, a variety of Sranc, a corruption of their own angelic form.
Hmm Cleric shys away from Mimara’s gaze, and just before this, he is looking directly at her when he lies about it being a barracks, and she calls him on it and names it a slave pit. He responds by showing the truth of her description to the others with a surillic point. I think there will be a lot going on between Cleric and Mimara, rather than Mimara and Akka in the next book.

I was going to get into the Chorae stuff that follows, but this post is already plenty long enough.

just wanted to add a note of just how sad and pathetic it is that, at the end of the chapter, Akka's thought is that the company finally understands just how awesome sorcery is when he clears the snow and ice from the stair and allows them out of the mountain, Akka even thinks he sees awe in their looks. I seriously doubt it. Everyone but Akka saw sorcerous badassery 1000 times more amazing when passing through CA, whereas Akka was more or less a useless burden, an unconscious sack of poatatos bregrudgingly carried through the horrors and glories unawares. If akka thinks they are incredibly impressed by clearing some snow after what they've witnessed in CA, then that is incredibly sad.

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