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Triskele

The White-Luck Warrior by R. Scott Bakker

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I am starting this partly because the book is now available to more people than the thing called Pat. I am also starting it in hopes that no one will put anything spoilerish in the remaining speculative Judging Eye threads. So if you're reading TWLW, this is the place to post on it.

I hope I can join soon.

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Who has it already? Canadians? Brits?

In any case, I'll bow after saying "It's not fair!", mostly because the Discussion Ground will already be Conditioned by the time I read the book.

EDIT: The Canadians got it.

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Being Canadian doesn't get us shit usually.

But at least we get Bakker before anyone else! :P

Patrick

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Being Canadian doesn't get us shit usually.

But at least we get Bakker before anyone else! :P

Patrick

Savor it Patrick, for it is but a taste of what is to come (Aurang voice).

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Being Canadian doesn't get us shit usually.

But at least we get Bakker before anyone else! :P

Patrick

Urge to invade... rising...

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Resist, weaklings. This will be fraught with spoilers. This is the slog of spoilers. In this will be discussed the following:

What is found in Sauglish

Who Cleric really is

Who the Captain really is

Who the White Luck Warrior really is

Many, many big-character deaths

More ruminations on what the Outside is, what souls are, and what the Judging Eye does

More on the second inutterals

What the Consult wants and what they don't want

and much more.

So don't read this if you don't want to know these things. You have been warned.

Ok.

So sadly I feel let down by the endings, especially after my enthusiasm for the first 300 pages. The strongest storyline was probably the slog, still, but that ended badly; while it was great getting confirmation of Akka's manipulation by Kellhus (and finding out the Captain was around for years just to be near Akka), finding a big-ass dragon was kinda meh. Him mocking them was great though. The reveal about the Consult was very, very jaw-dropping for me; the Inchies came to this world specifically to seal it from their damnation, something they've been trying to do on world after world after world. Why is Earwa special? Why is 144000 special? But that they've had Wracu before, that they've done all of this before - very weird. Very cool.

Still, was hoping (especially after Pat's teaser) that we'd have more on the gates of Sauglish. But we got a ruined corpse.

Soma as a skin spy was one thing we got right. Soma's behavior was...more than odd as a skin spy. It being on the protective path of Mimara is even more odd - what prophecy does she fall into? The skin spy was definitely not there for Akka; it knew her, but not him. Though I guess it expected her to go there. Never did explain how Cleric was killing them though.

More on the Judging Eye - particularly that she didn't see Kellhus ever, that she does see damnation and more, that she sees herself - all neat stuff. Kinda lame that Akka still lies to her (withholding that she's going to have dead kids isn't DOOM, especially for a whore, and Akka knows that). Mimara withholding the details sucks even more. I felt like they were castaways on Lost - no one was talking to each other. Bah.

Nil'giccas as cleric (and the book == Kosoter part) was interesting recent conjecture. That said, I think the arguments that Akka would recognize him seem apt given how much he actually uses the 'I was seswatha, I know you!' worked.

Qirri is odd. Not sure how I feel about that.

Ishual wiped out is awesome and annoying all at once. I desperately wanted to see more Dunyain. My first thought is that this is, above all else, Kellhus' work. I don't think it's the Consult's, and I don't think it's by chance. I guess the alternative is that they've since moved, but my gut feeling is that Kellhus did know where Ishual was all this time, he didn't care about the library, and manipulating Akka to go there was either to demonstrate his power or simply to get him out of the way. It's a great cliffhanger, worthy of GRRM, but it's also so...very final. And it likely means so many questions about the Dunyain will be completely unanswerable.

I did like the reveal of the Captain's job. I didn't like the non-reveal of how Cleric was discovered. He just went and left, and the Captain ended up finding him? That seems very odd.

The Ishterebinith being Consult should be interesting, as is so many nonmen working for the Consult.

Sorweel's story got a bit more interesting, but I still felt he was way too passive. The Ordeal got better but reminded me too much of TWP, especially them starving and all that. FInding out more about the metagnostic cants was kinda awesome though; while Kellhus is apparently really powerful (and power means smarts here, I think - being able to hold the meaning of the cants requires a ton of concentration unless you're brainiac like he is), other Mandati can do so - including his daughter. It's become just another science.

The idea that Sranc are going to attack the empire seems irrevocably flawed given what happens to the Great Ordeal. The Consult doesn't even seem that interested in anything there.

I loved the random 'sorcerers can build things but they don't because it's beneath them' shoutout to Maia.

The ending of "Sranc is made of people" was meh. Sending Sorweel to be held by the Consult is interesting but not that special, but the Ordeal continues to be somehow a big letdown, even with lots of death swirling down.

Seeing Bashrag in action as a massed unit was interesting. Ursranc though? Really? Lame.

The title is even more misleading than TJE. The White Luck Warrior does...almost nothing at all. There's only a small glimpse of Psatma (and what the hell was she doing in Shigek?) Disappointing that once again, evil woman fucks to gain power. It's interesting that Akka mentions that TJE means you've been lived all at the same time and thus cannot have kids, and WLW lives all at the same time and acts similarly to Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. Goes to my idea that the No-God somehow destroys causality and is everywhere at once, since it appears gods are too. The collapse of the empire chapters were good, but so much happens offscreen. He's clearly not Sorweel though. Or anyone we know. He's just...there.

That being said, the Dunyain interrogation was awesome. Just awesome. this was exactly what I was hoping for when I heard about Ishual, and it was great.

I loved Esme telling Maitha and her son "Okay, I'm driven by what comes before...SO THE FUCK WHAT?" and them saying 'uh...' Similar moment with Mimara too. Her reaction to Dunyain training reminded me a lot of Cnaiur, and that's a good thing. That skepticism was something I've missed and Akka didn't have much of it - but Esme did in spades.

Kelmomas is still very interesting. Him being tied to the god of murder remains a plausible tale.

Maith's death was very predictable and kinda weak. Especially his about to tell Esmi the Dread Truth about Kel. Christ, that's juvenile. I would muuch rather had Esme hear it the same way Jaime heard the truth about Cersei and then spend a bunch of time trying to not believe it.

Spending tons of time talking about Esmi being a whore, about Mimara being a whore, about how hot Serwa is and how Sorweel wants to fuck her, about Psatma fucking to gain power, then having Esmi hang out with a whore and get betrayed by one...sigh. OH SCOTT BAKKER NO. I liked Mimara a lot more in this book, but the 'women are for fucking only' and 'all women are whores' continues to reign as a conceit.

Happy ent will be really happy with the Mop.

I did wish that he'd stop with the continued 'all men are slaves to the desires they don't know' schtick. I know that's his deal, but really - we get it. We got it before, we got it again. every single character seems to either say it (Cleric, Kellhus, all of Kell's kids, Esmi, Maith, Akka at times when it suits him, Psatma) or buy into it (Proyas, Mimara, Sorweel). OKAY. Enough with it. It did mean I could read it fast because it was basically repetition after a while.

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MAJOR SPOILER ALERT

Ok, so I finished on THursday. Overall I enjoyed it. It didn't blow my mind the way TJE did. Most of the questions I wanted answers to after TJE were answered here, and there were alot of new questions raised. None of them were as burning as the ones I had after TJE though. My big wish is that it was longer and progressed more.

Some random thoughts:

1) Props to the Nil Giccasiri. I was hoping he would be some as yet unknown/unnamed badass nonman, but NG fit well. Kept the story tight. Mixed feelings with how things ended with him, though. Was hoping for a spectacular blaze of glory, but somehow the Odaini concussion cant and "What just happened??" seemed fitting. Better to die at the hand of an old friend than some dead dragon. Would have been sweet if Akka became his Elju. Also love how death comes swirling UP when a nonman king dies.

2) Props to the Somundatta peeps.

3) WTF happened in Injor Niyas??? Clearly there's been some sort of coup. Speculating that some relatives (sons?) of Nin'janjin have taken over. From PON, where the inchoroi name Nin'Ciljiras as king, to WLW, where the emissary of Injor Niyas is Nin'sariccas (who names himself a dispossessed son of Siol??)... Everyone we've seen/heard from has the "Nin" prefix to their names. Yet they are still pretending to be under Nil'giccas' rule when interacting with men. I am very intrigued as to how this will play out. Can't wait to see what happens when Kellhus retakes Dagliash. Or when Serwa, Moenghus and Sorweel reach Ishterebinth.

4) WTF happened to Ishual? Did Kellhus destroy it to erase all evidence of where he came from? Move it? Did they destroy themselves? Did the consult find them and kidnap them to enslave an army of Dunyain? Did someone raise a glamour over it? Did Kelhus come to them, take them, and train them as a secret weapon to be revealed in times of great peril? Where... are... the Dunyain?

5) Loved the progression of the Great Ordeal. Sorweel's chapters finally weren't boring to read through.

6) If Incariol = Nil'Giccas, and in TJE Gin'yursis said to him, "...you betrayed...", How exactly and whom or what purpose did Nil'Giccas betray? His nation for abandoning them when they turned en masse to Min Uroikas? For not leading them and preventing the turn to Min Uroikas? Was it a betrayal during the first apocalypse?

7) With Qirri as the ashes of powerful dead nonmen, what is the mechanism of its strength giving properties? Is it infused with some essence of their power through the millenia? Is it a residue from the Tekne that made them immortal?

8) Speculation... Meppa = Anasurimbor Moenghus. If true, total wild card in the game.

9) I thought the simultaneous existence in three timespaces very close together of the WLW was cleverly written by Scott. Wish more had been revealed. I have to re-read those parts again, but did he end up being the assassin who took out Maithanet??

Hurry up everyone else and finish so we can start discussing.

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The dragon scene, with everything it reveals, could well be my favorite Bakker scene thus far... :)

Patrick

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The scene with Wutteat was cool from that perspective, Pat.

I'd have to say my favorite Bakker scene was in TJE when they encounter Gin'yursis. A full book later and I still have questions about it (and the whole Cil Aujas experience)...

The Wutteat scene didn't set me on edge with anxiety, awe, and confusion the way the flight from Cil Aujas did. I also found myself asking how a several thousand year old piece of vellum in a Broken case survived intact when in a sulphuric, humid dragon environment...

The closest I came to that TJE scene when reading WLW was probably during the meeting with Nin'sariccas. I've reread it a couple of times and keep picking up small things. Why was NS so curious about Kellhus' trip to the outside? He mentions that demonic substitutions have happened before, suggesting that Kellhus is not the first among Earwa's inhabitants to travel to the outside. Who/how many preceded him? And which ones were replaced with Ciphrang? Immediate speculatory names would be Su'juroit.

Also why do the 2 nonmen accompanying Nin'sariccas keep their eyes down in shame the whole time?

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The Wutteat scene didn't set me on edge with anxiety, awe, and confusion the way the flight from Cil Aujas did. I also found myself asking how a several thousand year old piece of vellum in a Broken case survived intact when in a sulphuric, humid dragon environment...

I wondered how they wouldn't have known a dragon - the father of all dragons, no less - was there instead of the coffers. That seemed wrong to me.

I suspect many who toyed with the Ciphrang and the Daimos got possessed. They mention later that many people have suffered possession anyway, even not being in the outside - so it's certainly more commonplace than TJE is, for instance.

The dragon scene still confuses me. So the Inchoroi travel worlds seeking to shut them out - does that mean there are a whole host of worlds that are connected to the Outside, and you have to shut them all? Is Earwa special? it's a neat twist, but it's also hugely confusing - especially given the ark's landing and how inept the inchies have been. You'd think if they'd been doiong this for a while they'd be better at it.

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That was awesome! I continue to grow in awe of Bakker, the sheer epicness of his vision is humbling in an apirimg writer, and yet a new standard of excelloence.

I totally disagree with Razor about Psatma, she has great angency of her own with the fact she started a rebellion within the empire, and she did not fuck to gain power, her power was taken and she became a sex slave, she was the head of the most numerous cult in the three seas and new her home and people were destroyed, she has taken a step down not up in power. And yet her powewr is still great although it is now hidden from Fanayal.

The problem with seeing influences is that they are just that, my supposition that Cleric was like Aragorn was true up to a point, at which he veered in a different direction in a Finrod like direction, the last High King of the Noldor who died in a tower. But it does further confirm to me that Akka and Mimara are Beren and Luthien. I was right in that the destruction of Ishual was the fall of Gondolin in that once its existence was recealed it must fall, with clues from Cnaiur the Consult would know the general area and two decades to search. I think that there are plenty of Dunyain still around, the promise of Ishual is to great for Bakker to just kill it off screen. Like Gondolin there would be some survivors that escape, especially with Dunyain intellect and endurance, the children and some adults would have been ushered to safety. Depending on the time it was destroyed their could be small bands of Dunyain throughout the north. I am hoping that my theory of Feanor, Fingolfin, and Finarfin holds and that Kellhus has brothers reproduced. So their could Kellhus sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews hiding in the mountains. The avalanche that saved Akka and Mimara may not have been a coincidence, if you are a human trying to remain hidden and a pair of humas brought an Srannc tried towards you, the simplest course wold be to bury them all to remain secret, they did not count on sorcery from Akka to escape.

I agree that when Bakker said the PON was like the Hobbit for the Second Apocalypse I did quite believe it until now, holy shit, the Holy war was a simple side show to the main show. At the end of the PON I admit that I thought that the Consult was kind of overmatched, Kellhus with twenty years to study and consolidate power would easily be able to destroy the Consult who only had a penchant for necropheliac sexcapades. But now I think Kellhuss may be overmatched, The Consult which was described as a cabal of Magi and Generals is starting to reveal itslef, the generalship is now becoming apparent. The near fatal trap of the army of the east was just a taste, like they were only testing the Ordeal's competence. Their destruction of the army of the South was awesome, using the terrain combined with mannish arrogance, and destroy an entire army, the cunning of the Consult is showing. Bashrag are deadly, they probably are not common in the south bbecause their size makes it only possible to live in large forests where their clans have enough to eat. Although not as noumerous as Srance there are problay hundreds of thousands of them across the north. Now the Sranc which up to now have only served as a way to show the freaky tendencies of their makers, but now I am scared shitless of them. They have their own language and culture with simple industry, and they reproduce quickly,a magnificient weapon. I can now see why the Ancient North was obliterated, they were overwhelmed in fury even though they had hunted the Sranc to the northern fringes of Earwa, and now the entire north is covered. There are probably many of them across the great mountains in Eanna, so that may be why the people in Eanna get involved this time. I thought Bakker should have changed the name of Ursranc because it jarred me at first, to much like Uruk-Hai although the appelation fits their role. When the No-God returns which he must, the Sranc will drown the world.

I disagree with Pat that the Scalper storyline dragged, I thought that all were awesome to read. Razor they were refering to the Celmommian prophecy, which states that an Anasurimbor will return at the end, Mimara is not a true one but since she refers to herslf as one and prophecy is fickle, there is no need to take chances. It does not mean this person will save the world, only that they will come at the end, and if this is true why kill this person that may change the outcome you have been working for. The Consult is starting to sound like evil geniuses, if they have turned all the remaing Nonmen that is a deathstroke for the Ordeal, although must have considered treachery with their delicate mental state, if he gave Nil' giccas to the captain like is hinted then he knows that all is not right at Ish. The quote of Bakker that having Nonmen blood means many things and that those things come the fore in this series got me to thinking about Serwa, the only thing that could restrain the Nonmen from betrayal is if they could see a way to revive their race, if Serwa and her Nonmen blood could bear a child it may turn their allegiance.

The fact of Bakker's incredible writing skill is this is the fifth book in the series and we still have not gotten more that a glimpse of the enemy or its plans. We have only seen a synthese from time to time, Aurang in his true from a couple times, a scene with Mekeritrig whose identity he accidentally let slip, and few Nonmen from a distince. And yet I am totally hooked with the increase in tensionand intrigue. The Nonmen get more fascinating the more the more they are revealed, and the fact that only the greatest and most fortunate would survive ten millenia speaks to the power of Ish, all are sure Quya and Ishroi both, the most powerful sorcerors alive. They are a mighty although uncertain weapon for whoever wields them. I cannot wait to see a living Nonmen city, that was second only to Cil-Aujas and Siol before the Inchoroi came, Bakker has something special in store for us there. I wonder at the size of the Mangaecca, with all of the sorcerors the Ordeal has borught, the sorcerous duels between Shauriatis,Mangaecca, and Erratics, against the schools will be epic.

Who our what the fuck is the Black Heavens, the way Wutteat and the skin spie speaks of him, it sounds like he may be in charge of all the Consult. Akka's dreams keep getting more obscure, now he is dreaming of people who are not Seswatha, I think the person going into the room may be Nau-Cayuti, Seswatha's son. The number 144,000 has great biblical meaning, it is the number of people at the end of the world.

I was struck by the thought that I wished THe Way Of Kings was written by Bakker, their is visceral sense of dread that is missing in Sanderson's works. The world he created seems almost as rich as Earwa, while fascinating the gut reaction of fear is missing.

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I shouldn't be clicking this thread, why did I click this thread? I must resist this thread.

Damn you Canadians! I take back my thread about you!

P.S. Send me the book and all will be forgiven. :P

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I totally disagree with Razor about Psatma, she has great angency of her own with the fact she started a rebellion within the empire, and she did not fuck to gain power, her power was taken and she became a sex slave, she was the head of the most numerous cult in the three seas and new her home and people were destroyed, she has taken a step down not up in power. And yet her powewr is still great although it is now hidden from Fanayal.

Okay, I'll go slowly since you don't seem to get it.

Psatma is the most powerful human being on the planet outside of Kellhus and perhaps some of the Consult. She walks with Gods power.

Why does she end up naked and a slave to some men? Why does she fuck him to gain power over him instead of..anything else? Heck, why is her power taken at all? She doesn't use sex to gain power - but the fact that she ends up there in the first place is just another Bakkerism.

Hell, that's worse now that I think about it. We had Psatma at the end of the last book becoming young again and creating the seeds of the rebebllion. First time we see her in this book? She's naked, a sex slave, and in a completely different area of the country. There's not even a reasonable path that we see her take to get there. One moment she's fucking WLW to give him power, and the next she's fucking Fayanal to get power over him. What does this add to the book? What does this add to Psatma?

I disagree with Pat that the Scalper storyline dragged, I thought that all were awesome to read. Razor they were refering to the Celmommian prophecy, which states that an Anasurimbor will return at the end, Mimara is not a true one but since she refers to herslf as one and prophecy is fickle, there is no need to take chances.
Yeah, don't buy it. They already have Kellhus fulfilling that prophecy. An Anasurimbor HAS already returned. This is something new - something about Mimara.

Serwa, the only thing that could restrain the Nonmen from betrayal is if they could see a way to revive their race, if Serwa and her Nonmen blood could bear a child it may turn their allegiance.
The hell? Just because she's Dunyain doesn't mean she has nonmen blood, and if it's because she's anasurimbor, well, plenty of people for thousands of years have had that blood. This doesn't makke any sense at all.

Who our what the fuck is the Black Heavens, the way Wutteat and the skin spie speaks of him, it sounds like he may be in charge of all the Consult.
Really? You didn't get that? That's the No-God. Clearly. It's interesting to refer to him as thus because it implies that it really is an overlay of the Heaven like some hypothesis was made - that to those without Souls it represents an actual god that they have a clear connection to. What I'm curious about is the notion of the Nonmen - that they worship 'the gods between spaces' - which may actually refer to the No-God.

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Razor,

I think you juxtaposed Nin'sariccas... He said they worship the spaces between the gods. My take on that was that unless god was fractured into a million tiny pieces, individual existence would not be possible - there would only be one mega-sized soul in the outside (God). Kellhus' statement that they are damned as a result implied (to me) that Worshipping the fact that God is not whole is blasphemous.

From that, it seemed to me that a variation of the notion of the thousandfold thought may have occurred to the nonmen.

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Latan,

I also assumed that Akka's dream sequences where he is in the chained line of slaves were him dreaming Nau-Cayuti's life.

My take on the light at the end of the tunnel was that it was some tekne equipment designed to bind souls in the creation of the no-god. Nau-Cayuti clearly didn't die from Ieva poisoning him - but being captured by Aurang is clearly worse!!

Now, how can Akka dream Nau-Cayuti? My assumption there was that due to Seswatha being Cayu's father, there's some sort of soul-link that exists whereby Akka, in his dreams, is traveling further down the line into Cayu's life.

What's the s

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Latan,

I also assumed that Akka's dream sequences where he is in the chained line of slaves were him dreaming Nau-Cayuti's life.

My take on the light at the end of the tunnel was that it was some tekne equipment designed to bind souls in the creation of the no-god. Nau-Cayuti clearly didn't die from Ieva poisoning him - but being captured by Aurang is clearly worse!!

Now, how can Akka dream Nau-Cayuti? My assumption there was that due to Seswatha being Cayu's father, there's some sort of soul-link that exists whereby Akka, in his dreams, is traveling further down the line into Cayu's life.

What's the significance of the Herons and Lions on Nil Giccas' hauberk? The only other place I've seen herons is with the heron spear. Lions in the symbols of Kyraneas.

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I think you juxtaposed Nin'sariccas... He said they worship the spaces between the gods. My take on that was that unless god was fractured into a million tiny pieces, individual existence would not be possible - there would only be one mega-sized soul in the outside (God). Kellhus' statement that they are damned as a result implied (to me) that Worshipping the fact that God is not whole is blasphemous.
Nil-Sic said that directly - but Cleric said that basically as well. Think about how much Cleric stated that they worship darkness, the unknown, the unknowable - and for all their power the Gods are certainly 'known'.

Whereas the No-God - is decidedly unknowable, even by itself.

And if you're not worshipping the god or the gods, you're going to be damned. Gods essentially appear to rescue souls (this comes pretty clear throughout WLW, the descriptions of gods and ciphrang playing and claiming souls happens all over the place from many sources including probably the best one, Psatma).

It would also neatly explain why the nonmen seem to band with the Consult; note that every single Nonmen we've met save Cleric has been working for the Consult. Every single one. Admittedly that's not a ton, but it would make a perverse sort of sense in the same way the Scylvendi do.

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I didn't interpret worshipping darkness, where darkness is symbolic for the true godly aspects of god (which are beyond mortal/cunuroi comprehension), as the no-god.

The smaller gods (Ajokli, Yatwer, Gilgaol, etc) are closer to Ciphrang (Meppa even calls them such) than they are to the true god. I don't recall seeing evidence that one is damned if they don't worship the small gods.

We don't necessarily have firm evidence that the nonmen who visited Kellhus are with Golgotterath. There could be a rogue faction Among them who resisted turning to the consult. Maybe not. But possible.

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