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White-Luck Warrior X: X Marks the Slog


Spring Bass

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Soul-trapping was, so the debate is only about whether or not the mechanics should have been more fleshed out, right?

It's not the mechanics, to me, so much as soul trapping isn't a way to escape damnation because your consciousness still goes to the Outside.

Now for some the fact that damnation is a problem made it obvious to them that Bakker had this covered and would explain it time. People who enjoy the layered revelation technique, trusting the author will provide when the time is right and that the timing (as Mim notes) is what matters.

Heh, nice bit of meta-fiction there Bakker.

To me, and I'm assuming Kal, it's jarring to have new facts on the metaphysics of Earwa presesented like this.

Like I said, YMMV, I'm just shooting the shit.

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The whores shell is a common item made by witches and others who aren't formally trained. Akka - who isn't remotely the best sorcerer around even at the time of the first series - knows of multiple ways to bind souls.

What evidence do we have that whores shells involve soul trapping?

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The "shearing" phenomenon might explain something like a Wathi doll which isn't too bright, but clearly Shaeonanra's consciousness is not in the Outside, or at least not exclusively. Unless he's directing the Consult using only his primitive hungers or whatever. Perhaps his proximity to the Outside means that he experiences it and the physical world simultaneously. The method that he is using pretty much has to be fundamentally different from the Wathi doll for anything to make sense.

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With regards to the revelations now coming fast and loose, this was of course always the plan. WLW revealed some more, but TUC was always intended to be where the shoe drops. Just look back at last year's interview, some excerpts

Speaking of THE UNHOLY CONSULT, what can you tell us about the final volume of The Aspect-Emperor?

Completing it will certainly be a tremendous relief, simply because it’ll allow me to finally talk about so many things I’ve kept bottled up for so many years. I’m not sure whether The Second Apocalypse will be anything more than a cult success, commercially speaking, but when you live with a story as long as I have, it becomes a kind of yardstick, something almost religious in its demands. I am very, very happy with how the tale has come along–thanks, in large part, to some important lessons I learned along the way. My brother and I used to pine and daydream about this back in our D&D days, so to see it rendered, every bit as epic as we hoped, and as profound and lyrically beautiful as I could make it... well, that’s just way, way cool.

It feels scriptural, in my imagination at least.

Now, at the top of the sixth inning, the bases are loaded and I need to hit the ball out of the park. So what I want to say is that The Unholy Consult is where most of the burning questions will be revealed. I write books that many people love to hate: my hope is that after this latest set of reveals, the series will have earned their grudging respect as something genuinely unique and daring.

Will THE UNHOLY CONSULT - the final volume of The Aspect-Emperor sequence - reveal the name of the final sub-series? And if Kellhus is the Prince of Nothing and now is the Aspect-Emperor can we assume that the title of the final series will also refer to Kellhus?

So much will be revealed, in fact, that I can’t comment–at least not in a family-friendly interview such as this! Things. Get. Positively. Hardcore.

This is evidenced then, by every little tidbit thrown at us since then. False Sun and it's Inverse Fire concept, the general spoilers for TUC that are in False Sun which caused Scott to wonder if he should publish it, the snippets from this newest ( but very brief) chapter excerpt.

There's no way to judge if Scott has dropped the ball with his revelations until we have read the 3rd book. There are dangers of course, he is treading carefully on the edge of incomprehensibility at this point in the series, even for dedicated readers. The new reveals will be many and varied, but while some may come out of the blue, they have to fit within an overall framework of the world that he has built, it should not break internal consistency. If that happens, readers will sooner cease to care, as shown by for instance Steven Erikson ans his following on this board.

One thing is clear, once TUC has been released, we will all have to merge into the Board Hive Mind to see if anything can still be made sense of.

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What evidence do we have that whores shells involve soul trapping?
I don't have the books, but we have the following bits IIRC: Whore's shells are magical constructs. They are created by witches. Whores are specifically hated 'for making a pit of their womb'. Note also the description of 'pit' there and in this excerpt. I think there was some other bits; maybe someone can help out. It was a common theory for a long time, that the whore's shell somehow interferes with the soulbinding power to life and was related to how the No-God works.

Even if you throw that out you still have Akka knowing a number of soulbinding abilities - which means that most Mandate, most nonmen, many other sorcerers and many others that deal with sorcerers know about it. And while sorcerers might be rare, they're not rare as far as the reader is concerned; we've dealt with quite a few.

As to why it bothers me, it's primarily because the metaphysical nature of the world and what is happening is a central mystery of the series; it feels as if things are being unnaturally left out because they would spoil the big reveal. Great writers will set things up so that the big reveal has hints to it throughout the series but not show the whole thing; as an example of this Bakker did a really good job in the first two books with respect to Moe's behavior and why he was doing things. Not everything; the parts with the cish weren't particularly well-done as far as revelations. But most everything else was set up nicely. Instead, we get snippets that lead us to completely silly blind alleys that are totally obliterated as possibilities in the next book because 'oh yeah, it's just been that way all along'. And those reveals were things that we reasonably should have heard about by now but we didn't because, well, we would then have had more information. It's not quite as bad as Lost where they basically threw in random questions about shit and then revealed that they were completely pointless, but it's still frustrating. Like I said earlier - remember how we were all harping on the importance of the door in Sauglish and what it revealed in the metaphysics and how cool it was when that snippet was released, only to find out that none of it really mattered? It's sort of like that. It's just not that interesting to me when a careful reading of the text simply doesn't matter and whatever guesses you have towards the mysteries are going to be so ludicrously wrong that you might as well not bother.

Same w/ the Judging Eye. That and White-Luck seem like huge new layers that were never (as far as I can remember) even hinted at in the first series.
Yep. Or why the gods can't see the Consult or wouldn't help the humans even if they couldn't see them directly. Or odd things like the mentioning of how the herders on the Great Ordeal would become holy but we don't see them mentioned ever again. It's little weird details that bug. And yes, Shryke, many other authors do this kind of bait and switch too, and it bugs me then as well.
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iirc, the wathi doll thing is a reveal because I think in the many threads covering the series it has been asked more than once 'why doesn't everyone use a wathi doll to escape damnation?" There were implications in the text as to why this wouldn't work, but now the text has made explicit why it wouldn't work.

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technique of layered revelation

i dig it, personally. it counterposes the self-reflexive inerrancy and completeness of the greco-hebraic scripture common to certain strains of post-tolkienian intervention--

2 tim 3:16 -17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

--with the more liberal islamic understanding--

2:106 If we abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, We will replace it by a better one or one similar. Did you now know that God has power over all things?

tolkien himself was more islamic, willing to state that certain things were unknowable about the setting & story (fate of the blue istari, say). we see the same incompleteness and non-inerrancy in the allegedly omniscient RSB sections.

layered revelation fits in well, each installment of the serial abrogating the prior installments. know ye not that RSB has power over all things?

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Mandate re-live only Seswatha's life experiences? So isn't it really significant for Akka to be re-living NC's now? Does Akka ever reflect on this in the books? Or maybe that's something that will come in TUC?

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Mandate re-live only Seswatha's life experiences? So isn't it really significant for Akka to be re-living NC's now? Does Akka ever reflect on this in the books? Or maybe that's something that will come in TUC?

That's what I thought too. Akka's shocked when he relives Ses's mundane, everyday life experiences, and then when he gets NC's experiences is really weirded out. I don't recall how much reflecting Akka does on the NC experience. He doesn't have too much time for it in WLW.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Mandate re-live only Seswatha's life experiences? So isn't it really significant for Akka to be re-living NC's now? Does Akka ever reflect on this in the books? Or maybe that's something that will come in TUC?

He reflects on it several times, if I recall correctly. I remember him thinking in TJE about how bizarre it was for him to dream of Seswatha stubbing his toe, or screwing one of the Anasurimbor King's wives. Then he gets really freaked out when he has the dream of defending the Library at Sauglish where Seswatha is nowhere to be found.

EDIT: Tears of Lys beat me to it.

I don't recall how much reflecting Akka does on the NC experience. He doesn't have too much time for it in WLW.

He's also high as a kite for a big chunk of WLW, so that perhaps interfered with his ability to think. :laugh:

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DA's reaction to the dreams is one of the threads that holds the entire thing together. the first dream in PoN is dicked up, and the last dream in PoN is very dicked up, but they're S dreams, of the normal horrors. in AE, we get mundane S dreams and then bizarro N dreams.

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As regarding whether or not the Mandate is aware of Shauriatus, I think they are not, not Achamian's final thought, filled with wonder about Shauriatus:

To suffer this Dream the very day he would at last set foot in Ishuäl. To not only see Shauriatas, but to learn the true fate of Nau-Cayûti–or something of it. What could it mean to learn the truth of one great Anasûrimbor’s death, just before discovering the truth of another, even greater Anasûrimbor’s birth?

Also note that Achamian more or less got confirmation that NC could be Seswatha's son in WLW, and was less than impressed, it had long been rumored, but interesting that he still thinks of NC as an Anasurimbor, however, perhaps it is important that NC is Seswatha's son...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Mandate re-live only Seswatha's life experiences? So isn't it really significant for Akka to be re-living NC's now? Does Akka ever reflect on this in the books? Or maybe that's something that will come in TUC?

I've been ruminating on that for a while and I think it has to do with Seswatha's Heart.

And based on the last dream of TTT, the variant where the Heron Spear does not fire and all the weird fucking dreams since then, including Nau Cayuti, I've been wondering how NC gets into the dreams.

so, WTF is up with variant dreams, WTF is up with NC in the dreams, and WTF is up with Seswatha's Heart arguably the source of the dreams?

There are two ways NC could get into the dreams, one it's part of the magic involved with Seswatha's heart and not just Seswatha's experiences of the apocalypse are preserved therein; or two, Kellhus planted them when he hypnotized Achamian to talk to Seswatha.

So how does NC--who was captured by the Consult and taken into Golgotteranth, how do his memories get into Seswatha's heart, what comes before determines what comes after right? So if his memories got into the heart after all the events of the dreams, how'd he get out of clutches of the Consult?

There is a strong presumption that NC was in the NG, or may have been an integral part of the No God--perhaps NC was turned into a larval wretch like the ten wretchs powering Shaeonanra and he was inside the NG when it blew. If part of NC was inside the sarcophagus of the NG, it is possible that Seswatha recovered NC's heart from the wreckage and later imbued his own self into the heart as well, but he never did it to his own heart.

It's possible that what happened on the Circumfix, wherein Kellhus reached through his chest into the outside came back inward into Serwe's chest cavity and pulled her heart back through the hole so that it appeared he ripped his own heart out, it's possible that is how the NG was destroyed, not by the Heron Spear which malfunctioned as seen at the end of TTT.

I'm saying perhaps Seswatha--Nau Cayuti's father--reached into his chest and reached through the outside and reached back inward--which was inside the NG carapace and inside NCs chest cavity--and pulled NC's heart back out of his own chest. This loss of a heart in a body powering the NG caused it to go critical and boom.

Truly? Can you not see? In a world so vast, so fraught... The father who does not lie is no father at all.

– Protathis, The Over King

What if the lying father is Seswatha, a lie he's told for thousands of years...

What was happening?

He sat rigid, his breath pinched by the sense of things converging...

Origin to ending.

What came after to what came before.

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Lots of great ideas there.

Man, the stakes really are pretty high for this next book. There are so many things we're waiting on explanations for.

NC as part of the NG has been speculated for some time, but wouldn't we say at this point that we aren't entirely sure if the NG actually has any person in it at all? Isn't it possible that it's just some tekne construct? I wouldn't be surprised either way.

I do think it exceedingly likely that NC was somehow a part of its creation whether he was just one more person in the long line towards the golden room or whether it's something more than that.

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Clearly, the Heron Spear never actually fired. Seswatha's dreams are lies. The No-God suffered a Y2K error, because it hit the Inchie year 2,000 and was only storing the year in a 'XX' format not a 'XXXX' format. Seswatha joins the Consult as Chief Debugger, or something.

The fact that the Dreams establish Nau-Cayuti as Seswatha's son, before bringing us Seswatha's perspective is important, I think. I think it's possible Seswatha actually is communicating with Achamian. He wants Akka to know the truth about ... something. To this end, he shows Akka the conception of NC.

But then what's with the burning Sauglish scene? As far as we know Akka isn't even inhabiting any body in that scene. He's just floating in the air watching Skafra hover in place. What does that imply? Moreover, if Seswatha is communicating with Akka, how does he facilitate NC's memories onto Akka?

Mimara might be correct, and Akka is literally a prophet of the past. A normal prophet sees the future, but Akka sees the past for how it truly was. (Though, still I don't understand the Sauglish scene).

This implies that the Heron Spear really did not fire at the last battle. Which means what?

Remember, Anaxophas pulls the Heron Spear outta no-where, and everyone is like WHOA. Supposedly it had been lost at Eleonot. But, I don't see why the Consult would furnish him with a fake Heron Spear, and if it were a fake Heron Spear, how did the No-God truly die?

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Clearly, the Heron Spear never actually fired. Seswatha's dreams are lies. The No-God suffered a Y2K error, because it hit the Inchie year 2,000 and was only storing the year in a 'XX' format not a 'XXXX' format. Seswatha joins the Consult as Chief Debugger, or something.

The fact that the Dreams establish Nau-Cayuti as Seswatha's son, before bringing us Seswatha's perspective is important, I think. I think it's possible Seswatha actually is communicating with Achamian. He wants Akka to know the truth about ... something. To this end, he shows Akka the conception of NC.

But then what's with the burning Sauglish scene? As far as we know Akka isn't even inhabiting any body in that scene. He's just floating in the air watching Skafra hover in place. What does that imply? Moreover, if Seswatha is communicating with Akka, how does he facilitate NC's memories onto Akka?

If you take Akka to be a Prophet of the Past, then it would imply that seswatha was never at Sauglish, that he constructed a story about the epic battle of the burning of Sauglish--ala Michael Bay--but he didn't actually experience it--it's a seswatha fiction...

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Well, we know Akka's dreams aren't 'real' exactly; there are parts where present-day people are mentioned (the "who is Mimara" part and Seswatha's "Wait! This isn't how it happened!" in Sauglish). There are other odd inconsistencies as well, like seeing a battle where Seswatha isn't even there.

Here's a gotcha Nerdanel theory: the Consult and Mandate are the same. At the highest level, they are united, fighting a shadow war to bide time. The No-God failed in some other way or simply wasn't controllable or died due to philosophical differences or something. The dreams were always figments and make-believe, and now we're just getting a bit more. And what's worse - it's not Seswatha's heart. Seswatha is still alive in the same way that Shae is. It's Nau-Cayuti's heart.

And naturally Kellhus knows this - knows this ancient, ugly trick. He doesn't care because no one else in the Mandate knows at all; they are basically puppets at this point.

Why this is wrong: because the Consult's hatred of the Mandate is literally programmed into their DNA. Why would you do that if you're just pretending - to hold up pretense? That doesn't make sense.

My suspicion is that the dreams are going to end up another metaphysical gotcha. I'd love to be proven wrong. I also think the heart and the binding on it are not Seswatha exactly and there will be some switcheroo there; it's too perfect that the dreams repeat themselves so frequently and heavily. It's a means of control, not a way to communicate. It's a way to generate terror. That it is 'broken' for Akka as soon as he renounces his allegiance speaks to this; what use in controlling a piece that has forsworn the fight entirely?

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And what's worse - it's not Seswatha's heart. Seswatha is still alive in the same way that Shae is. It's Nau-Cayuti's heart.

My suspicion is that the dreams are going to end up another metaphysical gotcha. I'd love to be proven wrong. I also think the heart and the binding on it are not Seswatha exactly and there will be some switcheroo there; it's too perfect that the dreams repeat themselves so frequently and heavily. It's a means of control, not a way to communicate. It's a way to generate terror. That it is 'broken' for Akka as soon as he renounces his allegiance speaks to this; what use in controlling a piece that has forsworn the fight entirely?

I think that the theory that it is Nau-Cayuti's heart is pretty credible. I don't really know how Seswatha could have imbued his own heart with his memories anyway (pure speculation, but that sounds fatal). But imbuing his son's heart with that information has a certain symmetry to it (coming before/coming after). It would also help explain how NC's memory's are leaching into Achamian's dreams, although not necessarily why the other Mandate have been unable to see these memories as well.

Locke - That was a great post, lots of interesting stuff. I don't think I like the idea that the Heron Spear wasn't fired (the battle seems way less epic if it's just Seswatha saving the day through weird magic and coincidence. Using a miraculously recovered Consult weapon against them may seem trite, but at least it fits the scale of the struggle). But nonetheless, I think that Nau-Cayuti's heart = the heart the mandate uses = the heart that was recovered from inside the No-God is an interesting possibility.

I need to think on this more, and reread the "above Sauglish" dream, because if we have proof of dreams that are constructions, rather than actual experiences, then that calls into question the veracity of any of the dreams.

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Yeah; the more I think about it the more it feels plausible that it's NC's heart, not Seswatha's. And that Seswatha (btw: SesWATHA and Wathi doll? Hmm) programmed the heart afterwards. It doesn't explain the jumps though - why we get Seswatha's tale for some of it (even the unexpurgated parts) and then later the fictional ones and then later NC's tale without any jumps.

But yeah - I'm leaning towards all of it being a fiction.

Also note that if the prophet of the past thing is correct AND it goes both ways (the 'who is mimara' implies this vaguely) then we also have a plausible source for the Consult caring about the prophecy. Why would Mimara be important to the Consult? Because they know back, 2000 years ago, that she's important in the eventual end of the world. Which wasn't with the No-God - which they knew all this time - but was with Kellhus' rise to power.

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