Jump to content

Excerpt from R. Scott Bakker's The White-Luck Warrior


Recommended Posts

I finally convinced Bakker to let me post a teaser extract from The White-Luck Warrior! :thumbsup:

It's spoiler-free, so no worries on that count. It's a Seswatha Dream sequence which gives you a taste of what's to come.

Follow this link to read it. :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

holy shit.

Layered meanings throughout here. enslaved souls to bind mechanical machinery to sorcerous purpose, the map turning into a dead infant, and back into a map, and then the appearance of the no god. How many animata are part of the No God's construction? Is the dead infant Nau Cayuti, Mimara, or the creature inside the carapace that is the No God. Is the No God interfering with Akka's dream, or is Akka interfering with his own dream?

Also, the circuit between watcher and watched that underwrites all reality. Wild. speaking of "is the no-god interfering with Akka's dream," just who ELSE is watching this dream with Akka. Or even more irritating, is it Akka or Ses that is the watcher or the watched? Ses's homonculus existence, married to the souls of the Mandati, blurs the line between Watcher and Watched. Ses' life is Watched, but Ses is also a watcher, because Akka, at least, often experiences the dreams as himself, not as Seswatha, and he is the Watched one. So perhaps the No God is also watching Akka? The opening of the excerpt also seems to suggest that dreams are closer to the Outside, which would make them more vulnerable to non-incarnate No-God. With the phrase, "circuit between watcher and watched," "What do you See?" potentially takes on greater significance. This dream is a truly massive information dump.

Also, I think it might give us more insight into what Mimara does at another Nonman gate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nope, not aware of anything, I'm afraid...

I've been gunning for this extract since Scott sent me the file containing the last copy-edit of TWLW. But he wanted to go through the manuscript one last time to see if there was anything else that could work without being too spoilerish because he's not that pleased with this particular Seswatha Dream sequence.

So the delay probably has more to do with the production or something like that...


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Also, WTF?? Seswatha, and apparently lots of other Sohonc, can do Kelly's teleportation Cants, or similar ones??

He didn't teleport, he just walked through the wall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have this theory I don't think I have ever posted which is about the Womb Plagues.

Womb Plague #1: All the women die

Womb Plague #2: All the babies are born dead

Womb Plague #3: ???

As the plagues seem to be getting subtler (not that two data point are anything much to go by), my guess for the next in the series would be that all the children born are soulless monsters. (The last in the series would have all the children born without souls but seemingly normal nevertheless.) In the excerpt, the dead baby coming alive could signify a difference between the apocalypses. Perhaps this one will have undead babies everywhere.

The baby could also signify the No-God coming back to unlife. The excerpt has an impressive amount of wheel symbolism in it and among other things wheels symbolize death and rebirth. But there is also straight movement - Western view of history in contrast to the cyclical Eastern.

I'm getting the feeling that opening the Sohonc Coffers will be instrumental in bringing about the Second Apocalypse and that's why Cleric wants to go there.

Calling souls proxies shows how people use language in order to distance themselves from the horror. I wonder if the souls in the Great Gate of Wheels were originally from sacrificed babies.

I really hope that we don't get belief making things real in Eärwa. That's such an old hat and I've never liked it anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, let's talk about this some.

To mundane eyes it was a wonder of scale and machination. To arcane eyes it was nothing less than a miracle of interlocking deformities: enormous incantation wheels carved from milk-white marble, turning through a frame of bronze set with constellations of faces carved of black diorite, instilled animata–or proxies as they called them–enslaved souls, whose only purpose was to complete the circuit between watcher and watched that was the foundation of all reality, sorcerous or not. So hideous was the Mark of the thing, so metaphysically disfigured, that bile bubbled to the back of his throat whenever he found himself before it.


I'm guessing that the proxies are there to ensure that whatever binding magics stay active and strong regardless of the presence of someone else there. But that's not as interesting as the notions that:

a) souls can be enslaved

B) souls can be used as a tool in magic - not as fuel or anything, but as an actual part of an object

c) the foundation of reality is associated with the watcher and the watched.

a) had been theorized for some time. What's interesting is that this is the first concrete mention of souls being enslaved in the material world. We knew about souls being damned and kept by Ciphrang; we had no idea that they could be bound in a similar way on Earwa.

B) it's been often mentioned by many that the No-God is an enslavement of souls or required as such. It wasn't clear whether or not a Topos was needed for all that death or the souls were being used that way. Now, at least, we know souls can be used that way.

c) is phenomenally interesting, as at least Seswatha believes in a epistemologically-defined universe on an objective level. What's especially interesting to me is combining this notion with the No-God's phrasing. What do you see?{/b] is a very different question when it no longer describes, it defines.

It's also interesting because now we may have a reason as to why some souls are valued more. If they can be used as tools for things like arcane machinery and for seeing, perhaps there is something about how things perceive that makes them more valuable (or less). I don't know what that property is, but we can kick off another ramble about how Bakker hates women that way.

Note also that Seswatha nee Akka commands the proxies to open the gate. That it doesn't open by sorcerous command; rather, they act as a UI to the gate. They're an adapter between this world and the sorcery on the gate.

Then we get to another fascinating bit:

“This,” Seswatha gasped, “is not what hap–!”

So wait. Seswatha knows what happened and knows that this isn't it. The Seswathan dream is being corrupted. It's not just that Akka is being fed false dreams; he's either being a lucid dreamer and taking control of them or something is actively modifying the dreams that Seswatha sends out. What is really interesting to me is that it seems like Seswatha (or Akka as Seswatha) is actively conscious of this action. So it need not be that Seswatha is in the past; it can simply be that the heart of Seswatha is reliving these actions over and over again and broadcasting them. This gives a bit more credibility to Nerdanel's idea that Seswatha is actively warning Akka with his dream connection.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

a) had been theorized for some time. What's interesting is that this is the first concrete mention of souls being enslaved in the material world. We knew about souls being damned and kept by Ciphrang; we had no idea that they could be bound in a similar way on Earwa.

I thought we knew that Akka's puppet was a bound soul.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...