Archive through August 11, 2005

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Arc 1: Curse of the Mistwraith: Curse of the Mistwraith: Thoughts after 7th (or so) re-read...: Archive through August 11, 2005
   By max on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 04:10 am: Edit Post

Before this, [the umpteenth read or so] my sympathies were all for the clans. I knew there were extenuating circumstances for their activity but now I wonder. If I were to see Iraqi children cutting the throats of wounded US soldiers on the field, I would totally believe that as a people, the Iraqis had no reason at all to be allowed to exist as a people!! This is not only done by the clans, they actually sanction this!! And at this point in time, after reading that part again, I firmly believe that.. I'm not sure again.*&^%$ a people who teach their children to kill in that manner don't deserve to survive as a culture.

   By Blue on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 04:41 am: Edit Post

a people who teach their children to kill in that manner don't deserve to survive as a culture.

And thus is Janny's point made... IS there ANY real justification for killing?

   By Neil on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 07:46 am: Edit Post

Max, Blue,

You've ruffled my tail feathers this lunchtime :-)

I would argue that certain atrocities occur simply because these people are trying to *survive*. Well, that's their viewpoint anyway. And how can we be sure they're wrong?

What I've written here seems a little heavy in retrospect...sorry...but I hate deleting messages I've spent more than 1/2 hour typing ;-)

At the risk of being anti-american...why are the american soldiers in Iraq in the first place? Why don't they stay in the US? Why did these US people even become soldiers? Was there not a better career choice available to them?

I feel killing in self-defense to protect self/family/culture may be a final solution but a necessary one. You can run/hide but finally where can you go? (What are the external forces (language/state borders/etc.) Do you want to maintain your current culture/living conditions for your children? If you don't kill what will happen?

Sulfin's choice in TK is to survive the neromancers no matter what...killing innocents in the short term for the long-term the story, we *know* that the necromancers are *evil*...are we really sure? I guess we are...but this is still a "stance" we have taken

Real life example: If your only choice is to take the train to Auschwitz (and likely death) or kill the nazi soldier who is putting you on the train? You can run as a first choice. You can hide as a second choice. But what if you are captured? What if you could continue to live IF you kill someone else. Whose life is more "important"? And to whom?

It's a question of you or me. A question of perception of law/ethics/cultural norms. On earth there are many "systems of living". Some are choices; some enforced by state or culture.

In the WoLaS the clans kill for survival (they see themselves as humanity's hope for the future on Athera (grass roots of the compact - GC ) since if the paravians do return the town born are likely to have "interaction difficulties", putting it mildly.

The towns kill for profit/economic advantage.

Clans perceive more. Morally, the person with the greatest perception should choose(?)

Caolle is a good exemple of seeing that killing as solution doesn't really get him anyway. The key to the clans survival may well be giving up the stategy of killing...but they risk extinction...what then?

Davien states in PG that his opinion is that the "ends do not justify the means".

How do you weigh up the risks of your actions when there is no hard and fast method of coming up with a quantative result?

Maybe in real life it comes done to the relationships between individuals/groups/states/the land & it's resources.

Is there any real justification for killing?

Arithon would prefer to avoid it having tried it and finding that it solved nothing. What if it had solved his problems? Would he have looked any further? No need to...

The F7 does not *kill*. They done it too and paid the consequences. However, I am assuming that dragons have bound the F7 to kill if the paravian survival is threatened. A hypocritical result seen by the townborn who may have forgotten the 'agreed laws'...why not just rebuild space ships and send them on their way? The F7 could do this off world no?

But the WoLaS is only a story.

I have a question. Do you eat meat? (I do and feel absolutely very little guilt...even when faced with a pigs head on butcher's counter...but I did not *see* the pig die...)

Is eating meat killing?

So back to the kill question... where do you draw the line? And if I don't agree with your answer despite that fact that we agree on the facts/information. We draw different conclusions based on who we are. Then what?

   By Trys on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 12:09 pm: Edit Post


Just some thoughts one of your points.

We eat both plant and animal and get beneficial nutrients from both sources. Some nutrients can only be naturally gotten from animal flesh.

As to whether it's okay to kill animals to eat, and by extrapolation, kill humans I'd say it depends on your worldview. If you are of the mind that humans are at the top of the food chain, the most evolutionarily advanced species then it is more likely that you would believe that eating animals is okay. If you have the view that humans are animals are more alike than unalike then eating an animal may prove more difficult. If you believe animals have souls...

On the other hand it's worth thinking about plants vs animals. Are plants less important than animals in the ecosystem? Are they less evolved? Less conscious? Conscious at all? Is it any less devastating to the plant to kill and eat it than it is to the animal?

So if you are of the opinion that you are more valuable, advanced, and/or important than someone else, killing may be a viable option.

Personal conclusion, we are omnivores. We can and do eat anything. From my perspective it becomes an issue of respect and honor. If we have proper respect and honor the sacrifice of the plant or animal who dies for our evening meal then I think we've done all we can do when it comes to our survival.

As to killing humans, I can not imagine a situation where I would engage in such an act. But then I'm not in the situation where others find it necessary. I can only hope that at some point in time someone wakes up and realizes that killing only begets more killing and to end it one must understand one's adversary. Refusing to talk to one's adversary is the surest way to continue being locked into the cycle of violence. Jesus has a significant point to make with 'turn the other cheek' and it wasn't that you should let your adversary walk all over you.

Trys <-- whose opinion should not be taken as a denouncement of others' differing opinions.

   By Annette on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 02:44 pm: Edit Post

Hello all. To put my two cents worth in, I am mostly a vegetarian. For the most part it is because I am too much of an animal person to be able to think about one dying just so I can have a burger or a steak. And as for fish I can't stand the thought of them suffocating to death. I think I am just a crazy big fat weinie softie or something. I never ate meat even when I was a child. And then when I was about 12 I saw a pig being killed on a farm and that experience was enough to stop me from even thinking about eating pork for the rest of my life and then some. I won't go into detail for those of you that are pork eaters but I will say that it was the most horrifying thing that I have ever witnessed. I am now 39 and the memory still gets to me. As for killing a human, I think that I could if the provocation were strong enough. If someone was trying to kill me or someone else and the only way that I could stop them was by killing them then I think that I could do it. If someone is willing to kill for greed or convenience then, as far as I am concerned, they are basically giving up any right to their own life. Anyway I am finished rambling now.

   By Trys on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 03:04 pm: Edit Post


I didn't used to be able to eat beef. Anytime I'd be chewing on a steak or roast I'd get this image in my head of a cow chewing its cud and that put me right off. However, last year I discovered that I was hyperglycemic and needed to cut back on carbs. I quikcly found that I could only eat so much chicken and, at that time, hadn't found much fish that I liked (cod just doesn't cut it... probably from having it too much as a kid). Now however, I've discovered that the cud chewing isn't there... because I discovered the difference between low quality cuts of beef and high quality cuts of beef and how to properly cook it so it's tender. But I can symapthize with your position.

It is important to remeber that there are amino acids and enzymes that our bodies don't manufacture that can't be gotten from vegetables. Either you get it from meat or you get from supplements. If you're curious what they are I'll try to track down where I read about them.


   By Memory on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 04:32 pm: Edit Post


we are omnivores. We can and do eat anything. From my perspective it becomes an issue of respect and honor. If we have proper respect and honor the sacrifice of the plant or animal who dies for our evening meal then I think we've done all we can do when it comes to our survival.

That makes a lot of sense, Trys, and I don't at all take issue with it in itself. But the problem comes when you live in a society in which you are very far removed from actually gathering your own food. Animal farming is done on such a large, industrial scale in so many places, and often conditions can be horrific. They are bred purely to be eaten by humans; most of which will never ever see the animal that they are eating being killed. It's too calculating, too sanitised and too far removed for me. Even if I had the opportunity, I couldn't kill one of them, so I don't eat meat.

Memory >>>> again, purely my personal opinion relating to me - not a comment on anyone else's choices.

   By PurplePenny on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 04:54 pm: Edit Post

Annette, I too am vegetarian. I used to live near a pig farm and the screams of the pigs being taken to slaughter were horrific. They squealed when being loaded up for any kind of transport but when it was the abattoir lorry they became frantic.

Trys - these days it is generally accepted that this is a myth. The 8 essential amino acids can all be obtained from a vegetarian diet.

This is what the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada have to say on the subject:

And the Mayo Clinic:


   By Annette on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 07:38 pm: Edit Post

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the offer Trys that is very nice of you. And thanks Penny for the information on the ADA and Mayo Clinic. Have a great one everyone.

   By Ellydee on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 08:19 pm: Edit Post

Just a thought on your thoughts, Neil. :-)

It seems right to me that the clansmen do kill for the purpose of survival, which their more accurate (?) perspective on the situation makes them aware of. However, I was a little disconcerted by the statement that townspeople kill for "profit." I think the connotation of that word does not accurately fit the situation. A clansmen may see a trader killing in defense of his goods as a death brought about by greed for gold, but the merchant whose family is depending on this cartload for their own survival in the coming weeks may see things differently.
Ultimately, I don't think I could devise a metanarrative for whose perspective would be the "best" in these situations, or whose morals or motives would be the best. The towns' concerns are just as real to them as the clans' are to their own people. As Neil was saying, so much depends on perspective.
Killing in defense of one's own existence is no more than an act of self-preservation: even micro-organisms do this; it's based on our own instinct to survive. Since morals are higher, more aesthetic ideas, and killing is often based on lower, more animalistic instincts, such as hunger or fear, I think it's really rather strange to try to justify it through morals.
I'm not saying that murder should go unpunished, or that instincts should be the sole excuse made to a grieving family, only that I hold the opinion that killing can't be glorified by our own specific aesthetics, entangled in biology and perspectives as it is.

   By Hannah on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 08:37 pm: Edit Post

Neil and Ellydee, even though some of your points were different, I have found them to be very true (on different days, depending on my mood. ;) ) for me, so it was very thought-provoking reading how someone else wrote out my same beliefs.

I think in the culture that I live in, here in the US, it's increasingly difficult to get an accurate perspective on what's really going on in the world. Most of the info comes from the media, and how can one ever be sure that the info one receives is not unbiased. It seems almost certain that it is horribly compromised, and molded to fit someone's own agenda.

How can we be sure that our take on something is correct? I like to think myself an excellent interpreter of emotions and predictor of subsequent actions (who doesn't, right?), and yet I can't say anything with certainty, because I always have that little voice in my head saying "How do you know you're right here, though?" Sometimes I wish I could be more confident in what I say and think. But then again, a lot of people could stand to realize just a little bit that they're not 100% right all the time.

Someone once said to me that we have our own idea of who we think we are, convinced we know ourselves best. And then other people have their idea of who we are, thinking that they have a truer, unprejudiced perception. The truth of who we really are probably lies in between those two opinions. I think that is a truth that can stetch to a lot of things.

Just my wishy-washy ramblings. Hopefully they tie in just a little bit. I don't know, it was a long commute home.


   By Sarah on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 09:00 pm: Edit Post

"At the risk of being anti-american...why are the american soldiers in Iraq in the first place? Why don't they stay in the US? Why did these US people even become soldiers? Was there not a better career choice available to them?"

Can I just say; (without coming down on Neils POV at all) that I have a lot of friends in the armed forces who are in Iraq. They didn't join up to be career soldiers. They joined because the military was their best bet for a college education and the other opportunitities that the military has. The war probably interupted their plans as much as it interupted Saddams.

just my thoughts ;)

   By Kath on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 03:13 am: Edit Post

I'd like to add another point regarding the presence of our soldiers (UK in my case, but this applies to the whole coalition) in Iraq. Joining the armed forces is generally a very good career option, and providing the politicians do their jobs properly, there really shouldn't be any moral ambiguity about wanting to be in the armed forces.

People don't join up to kill, they join up to defend the innocent (and not-so innocent), those who can't fight back, and the right to live a decent human life without abuse by militias/other armies/tyrants/whatever. Those who join the armed forces are willing to lay their lives on the line for those of us who don't. The percentage who actually want to go to war is small - war should always be a last resort - but they'll do their jobs when they have to.

So, I fully support our armed forces in Iraq. They're doing their jobs, thats all - though I wish that certain elements could do so with a helluva lot more respect for the lives & lifestyles of the local population than they currently seem to. What I DO NOT SUPPORT is the politicians who sent them there - if I could punch Blair & Dubya's lights out right now...but what's done is done, I guess. Now the priority is getting that nation back together again as quickly, smoothly and with as much sensitivity as possible. If it is possible. But at this stage, I think that just washing our hands of the whole business would be almost as wrong as the fact that we went in in the first place. Like it or not, we've got to bear the responsibility of doing right by Iraq. As to whether our politicians are capable of getting things right, well, history will judge them and us. And at least here we're all able to have and express our own opinions, without expecting to force them on others, or have them shot down in turn.

But back on topic - I think we can see a lot of these viewpoints coming through in both the clanborn fighters and the soldiers of the Alliance. They all do what they believe they must in order to ensure their survival. Do they have all the facts? Undoubtedly not! It's not hard for Arithon to feel compassion for those who hate him - after all, it's not him they hate, but the non-existent malignant demon spawn that Lysaer & unfortunate circumstance have taught them to fear. As for the clan born sons, cutting the throats of wounded soldiers - are they any less dead than the soldiers killed outright by the adults? Did they fight with any less desire to slaughter the clanborn: man, woman and child? If left alone to recover or die in pain, what would their lives hold but more suffering, either in their last minutes before crossing the wheel, or in battles to come. They were soldiers, and headhunters, bent on killing. They were ready to die for their cause. I still find the thought of children being sent out to cut throats criminal, but I can see why the clans chose to do so. As for the effect on the children themselves, it's not as if they're going to be squeamish at the thought of blood - and besides, these are children with no illusions left to be shattered, and with enough hates and fears of their own to need little motivation to fight.

Right, I'd better stop before I start rambling!

   By Neil on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 04:03 am: Edit Post

Ellydee, you wrote:

"I was a little disconcerted by the statement that townspeople kill for 'profit'"

I guess I was referring to both the guild assassins (who kill other townborn) and headhunters (who go after the clans)...would the merchant starve if he lost a percentage of wagons (I assume the clans are not numerous enough to get all of the wagons...). Maenolle says in COTM that the clans rob "to ease a harse existence".

Have the clans ever disagreed amongst themselves sufficiently to go to battle? Would the F7 have stopped them?

Anyway, are there trade route between all towns that don't cross paravian land? Would they be too long to be profitable? I haven't looked...

The last minute "meat idea" shoe-horned in there sidetracked my "is it ever necessary to kill idea?" ramblings :-) oops...

And I guess Iraq/US/UK have been discussed before...Anyone following the latest events in Afganistan? Or is the media? Nope. Didn't think so ;-) Short memories have the masses and most politicians aren't stupid.

Trys, yep, we are "eaters". All animals are I suppose? "Glorified tubes"...

And yes, for killing, what/who do you value and how much over and above your self/continued existence? But if you were tortured, half out of your mind, I believe that, finally, most of us would want to survive at the expense of our capteurs (if it came to that).

   By Blue on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 04:35 am: Edit Post

Neil, as the daughter of a holocaust survivor, you scored one heck of a good point with the argument of killing a Nazi being "right."

HOWEVER, as others above mentioned, where does it stop?

Killing, as is rightly pointed out in this series, and as we see in "real life" is a never ending spiral.

[I won't enter the vegetarian debate.]

One of the people who started me wondering about the endless cycle in the Middle East was a political science teacher I had during my first attempt at college in the 1980s. He was Palestinian, and a confirmed "peacenik" with the ironic name of Dr. Jihad, which translates from Arabic as "Holy War".

Dr. Jihad had been in the US for several years for health reasons, but he still kept up with the goings on back home, especially since his parents and most of his siblings opted to stay put. Dr. Jihad had lost several family members to Israeli military operations, none of whom were combatants.

Whenever there was something in the news about the goings on in Israel, and whether the casualties were Palestinian or Israeli, he would shake his head with a very sad look, and more than once, I saw him move his lips silently. I think he was praying for the dead, and he did not discriminate.

He pointed out that in the Arab/Israeli situation, and he had good, first hand information on it, that it was going to be a LONG time before that war would ever be over, IF it could ever be solved.

"An Israeli kills a Palestinian. The Palestinian's family vows revenge, and kills an Israeli. The Israeli's family vows revenge, and kills a Palestinian. It never stops. It is a spiral. As long as each side holds on to their hate and desire for revenge, it will never stop."

He also pointed out that according to Muslim tradition, the Arabs and the Israelis are racial cousins, as both can claim descent from the Patriarch Abraham, the Israelis from Abraham and his wife, Sarah, and the Arabs from Abraham and his Egyptian concubine [wife?], Zilpah.


I am by no means a pacifist, and I believe "we" [as in nations such as the US, UK, whoever] should fight if threatened.

BUT, I'd prefer to see diplomatic solutions to the problems, or there are going to be more eternal spirals of murder, revenge, murder, revenge.

Nationality A kills someone of Nationality B, but says s/he did it in self defense. A member of Nationality B's military, family, or friends kills Nationality A and calls it justice. Nationality A's countrymen, family and friends call for retaliation against Nationality B. Nationality B turns to support and assistance from an enemy of Nationality A, and commits terrible against Nationality A in support of Nationality B.

Where does it stop? Where does it end? When?

The argument above is that we, humans, are animals, acting on lower level instinct. A valid argument, I would say, especially considering that human history is literally written in blood.

HOWEVER, as the Indian Ocean tsunami has shown, we, humans, are capable of acts of incredible compassion, and helping those of our species who have suffered horrifically. We are capable of putting aside our differences long enough to airlift food, clothing, medical supplies, and rescue workers to the afflicted areas to help those so devastated.

A few years back, there was a terrible earthquake in Turkey, and one of the first nations on the scene was Greece, even though the Greeks and the Turks have been hostile for a long time. When a big quake hit Greece, who was one of the first nations to respond? Turkey.

Despite their long history of mutual antagonism, the Greeks and the Turks were able to put aside their differences and help one another.

Why can't the rest of the nations try this? One fine day, our ability to survive as a species may depend on our ability to pull our heads out of our a*ses and treat with one another fairly and respectfully, instead of picking up a weapon and doing away with those who are "different."

   By Trys on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 05:12 am: Edit Post

FYI, according to an Arab-American living in Pittsburgh who was interviewed on TV shortly after 9/11, jihad does not mean 'holy war'. It means 'struggle' and is usually used in the context of a religious struggle. In his opinion, the term got wrongly translated. In my opinion, the propaganda machine (read as media) got involved and made it stick and now it is highly likely that the more militaristic factions within the Moslem world use the word in its new context more to inflame than to actually mean it... just my 2 cents.


   By Neil on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 05:41 am: Edit Post

Blue, sorry to bring up the holocaust...the 60th anniversary and all that means it's been on the TV here in France. Very scary stuff and not so long I live in Alsace where the people are very closed-mouthed.

Peace is obvious a less costly solution...After the 2nd world war Europe finally concluded that war was too expensive. The US does seem (to me, today...) continue to start "conflicts"...are most US conflicts profitable long-term?

For me the issue was "killing" and if there is a circumstance where you would have to...kill and live or be peaceful and die...the second choice is ok if you can come back to life again in 3 days. It's been tried and worked only once in recorded history...and that's if you believe what you read in the papers ;-)

An irreversible process...killing...Gandalf points this out to Frodo in LOTR.

So I agree killing is not a good choice when you have a 500 year life span and a general population that knows your name and face ;-)

   By Trys on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 11:30 am: Edit Post


are most US conflicts profitable long-term

All you have to is ask the mega-corporations which are now international mega-corporations. :-) I understand that many of the world's oil companies have reported record high profits exceeding projections even when elevated crude oil prices are taken into account.


Gandalf points this out to Frodo in LOTR

And also points out to Pippin that death is not in and of itself an end. I would suggest, however, that Gandalf has a preferred point of view. (Note: Gandalf is a Maia and therefore immortal.) What he is describing to Pippin is what one sees when they arrive on the shores of Valinor after sailing from Middle Earth, somewhere that most mortals can not go. There's no indication in any of the mythos behind the books (that I've read) that Valinor is the destination for those who die... nor a very clear description of what Gandalf experiences when he passes beyond the world after his battle with the balrog and is returned to recover in Lothlorien.

Love the comments about the 3 days. Very nicely delivered. ;)


   By Janny Wurts on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 11:37 am: Edit Post

"And another eye for another eye, until all of us are blind"

Quote from the ballad/song, "And There Were Roses" which was written about the Troubles in Ireland. If someone asks, I will dig up the author of the song. It's a treasure, if sad.

Another quote from that one, a truly inspired work:

"And those who give the orders, they are not the ones to die..."

When we, as a humanity, can learn to RESPECT DIFFERENCES - which means, not eliminating them, though they are not comfortable to us as a species - eliminate differences meaning - not to place them in "better than/less than hierarchy/ not to separate into "us" and "them" - not to demonize the difference as threatening, but to co exist with it - we will have learned the fundamentals of alliance with each other. The truth is that differences are not comfortable, and we have to mature that view.

Spirals are only broken through forgiveness - and forgiveness can only happen through contact that brings about understanding.

I truly respected the movie made of the black coach, who, after school integration laws in the US, was handed the job of coaching a racially mixed football team - and made a go of it. His tactic - force the "two sides" into close contact until they saw the humanity in each other, and solved their differences through becoming a whole team. This was a true story and a moving film - I wish I could recall the title.

   By Greg Malcom on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 12:11 pm: Edit Post

Janny I believe the movie was Remember the Titans.

My Manager when I used to work for MCI was a senior in that school the year the movie took place. He said it was a very difficult year.

As to what is happening in Iraq. I as a military person, I signed backup after 9/11 after 6 years as a civilian. If we had been able to do what we, in the military really wanted. Which was catch and punish those that perpetrated such a heinous act on our civilian population, a large number of us would be happier.

I do not feel that our goals remained pure. But I believe that we can help to bring piece. But I also believe that unless everyone wants piece, piece cannot reign.

This is also the trouble in the stories. The guild houses and the mayors do not want piece. They want death to those who know the truth and will try and force them to live by the compact. They believe that they were enslaved by the compact and can never truly be free so long as the clans, and ultimately the Paraviens, are still alive.

The towns people and the standing army are deluded. The lie about who Arithon is, is small compared to the lie about what the monarchy was and stood for. The monarchy was never about ruling people so much as protecting the land, the townies don't understand that, and can't understand it until the Paraviens come back.

   By Ellydee on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 02:56 pm: Edit Post

Hello again all.
I realized I'd forgotten to clarify a point about my previous post - obviously I don't believe that the animal-like instincts embedded in our brains are our only motivations. I'm more a follower of Plato myself than of Aristotle, and I like to think that we glimpse a better world intuitively. :-)
As Blue said above, I believe humans are motivated by higher morals and ideas, philosophies that separate them from other creatures on the planet. I think it's the struggle between the animal instincts that are carried over from our genetic ancestors and the morals, philosophies, and the ability to look beyond oneself that we associate with only humans, that is the main source of conflict both internally and externally among humans. Those that can conquer the more basic instincts and completely embrace their "human" side, choosing to be "moral," are often the heroes, like Ghandi, artists, or religious figures.
But again, all I can ever be sure of as far as the perspectives and morals I consider "right" in the world is through the funnel of my own senses and consciousness. So there's my story, and somebody else's story, and one is probably just as real as the next.
This does not stop me, of course, from viciously taking sides in anything from a chess tournament to world conflict.
Sigh. We should really have been built to understand each other.

   By Blue on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 04:18 pm: Edit Post

We should really have been built to understand each other.

What a gift that would be, Ellydee!

   By George on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 07:14 pm: Edit Post

Just to wade in to the quagmire of this argument and add my $0.02....

In the words of the Carpenters..."what the world needs now is LOVE, sweet LOVE".

How many of us have actually thought about what it is to love in the TRUE context of the words. In terms of love, and without meaning to preach, i wish to cast the following quotation from none other than JC himself:

"And what shall it profit a man if he shall love only those who love him, and give to those that will give back?"

In love there is no self-interest, no gain, and there is no duplicity. To love another, is to love them as yourself.

According to this standard, i ask the following philosophical questions:

How well do WE love eachother?

If our governments are duly elected by "WE the people", do they reflect our desires for unity and love? If not, WHY?

I agree to Janny that forgiveness is the key, but forgiveness (IMO)can only born out of LOVE. I think Janny touches upon this point in her books.

What do you all think?

   By Blue on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 08:31 pm: Edit Post

Couldn't have put it better myself, George!

AND you did it without getting as long winded as I did!

   By Konran on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 12:35 am: Edit Post

"forgiveness (IMO)can only born out of LOVE."

... or compassion? *wink*

   By Neil on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 02:18 am: Edit Post

Sigh Trys,

I believe you are quoting me the film... I don't think that Gandalf describes Valinor to Pippin; this was Frodo's vision on the boat at the end

Valinor is not a place for those who die. It is where the Valar/Maia/elves live. Frodo, Bilbo and Sam (I guess) would have gone to Eressa(?), an isle just off the shores of Valinor.

QED...Greg, the US military evidently wants a piece when the rest of us might be working for a peace :-)

But *I* was talking about killing :-)

War v Peace...easy choice.

And yes one should not start killing but if faced with the choice 1) survive and kill / 2) do not kill and's difficult, no? You don't get to come back and see the result of your sacrifice.

I note, with tongue *firmly* in cheek, that it is particularly the US people that seem to believe in peace. You'll have to forgive a resident of Iraq if he doesn't believe you...

   By Trys on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 04:59 am: Edit Post


I was quoting the movie, one of the truly wonderful scenes that was added (among many that weren't no wonderful that were added) and yet it has the problem I outlined. Just a little more evidence that the creators of these films didn't fully understand the world Tolkien created. :-)

Yes, you are probably right about Frodo's, Bilbo's and Sam's final destination. Hopefully they aren't there by themselves.


   By Ellydee on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 09:42 am: Edit Post


I believe Tolkien said somewhere that one of the major themes of his trilogy was death. I think that Valinor represented his own vision of death; it was his "heaven," I suppose. So do the technicalities of who ended up there physically matter all that much?

But this isn't a Lord of the Rings board. :-)

Reviewing the above posts, I am reminded of why I like this series so much - it's so morally ambiguous, in so very many respects, including the motives and actions of all characters involved. I really enjoy the struggle between the needs of the individual v. the needs of the group; I wonder what R. W. Emerson would advise Arithon to do? (That would be a fun conversation) Thanks for writing such a fascinating series, Janny!

   By Janny Wurts on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 12:12 pm: Edit Post

The movie was Remember the Titans, thanks, Greg.

You knew someone who was there - did they feel the movie was an accurate depiction? It certainly was a moving film.

With regard to the "kill vs. be killed" tape loop - I have always believed that this polarized presentation was erroneous - that there is ALWAYS another choice available, even if we cannot imagine it. There is always another way - even if apparently beyond our ken.

Few times is that choice held open - few times, is that possibility entertained.

I had a friend, who, when a violent man with a weapon climbed in her bedroom window - Talked her way out of a rape.murder - she patiently explained that this madman was going to hurt himself far MORE IN THE LONG HAUL than any act of his could harm her, short term...

I had another friend who, when held up at gunpoint in a convenience store, burst out laughing, fell on the floor in hysterics - and that so disoriented the criminal that it disarmed the entire situation. No money was stolen, no one was hurt. His laughter, he said, was entirely spontaneous. Yet it healed the violence in an instant.

These are only two cases - how many, faced with threat have ever dared to look in another direction, or believe that there may have been another way, if they could just see past the 'survival panic' in the moment?

For me, to believe otherwise, is to write a world script that states that hate is stronger than love, and that basic humanity is not sane. You do get what you believe....and that is what sets the limitation of what you can expect.

Lastly - in my admittedly limited travels, both to communist areas, to eastern cultures, to Africa, to Europe - in my utterly limited understanding, mind - and please do not take this as a statement that condones any act of aggression with armament - or as endorsement of any one nation's stand, whoever they are --- but, in my limited understanding of things --- very very very FEW areas of the world truly understand the concept of the words "individual freedom" - the meaning as some cultures understand it DOES NOT EXIST in the same way...there are too many ties to history, too many culturally perceived limitations attached.

Individual freedom - what it truly means, coupled with INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY for that liberty - is something that I think (My take, mind) bled through from indiginous thinking, coupled with the spirit of the people who fled a (born to it) class system, and were forced by survival to break into another paradigm.

I am not saying "best or better than" - I am stating a matter of understanding a concept - that in many areas of our globe, the CONCEPT does not have foundation to be understood in perspective, due to very ancient cultural encumbrances. "Take or be taken" - "dog eat dog" is just too ingrained - the idea of hammer and nail being ALL THERE IS, just too entrenched, to let in a breath of hope....there are many who cannot SEE this as being possible. They only look at overlord and underdog, and so see that, even when there is more to that picture Available to See. If they could JUST frame the concept - but kneejerk teaching from infancy prevents. And the stunted imagination, from a stunted life picture, also suffocates chance of the breakthrough.

Nor is any idealogy pure, in any area or country. When looking at mass events, I always have to go back to the individual stance: if no one pulled the trigger, no blood would be spilled, regardless of what the 'governments' in question wanted. In the end, we can only be truly responsible for the picture WE LIVE in the moment.

Our governments do NOT always do as the people wish - what happens next - up to the people. I think we're going to see some very VERY interesting developments, globally, over the next seven odd years.

   By Neil on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 12:15 pm: Edit Post

Oops sorry Ellydee...I was not having a serious ponder...sarcasm is hard to communicate in writing...

   By max on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 08:59 pm: Edit Post

how hungry are you????

   By max on Saturday, February 05, 2005 - 07:50 am: Edit Post

HUH!!?? I looked at that above post and I wondered 'when did I post that obscure and unexplained little comment'? I never should look at the computer after an evening of debauchery. What I meant was, if I had to kill to feed my family, my child I most definitely would. Maybe even the family dog Charli and I love her! I hope that I would have the strength to starve to death before I would even consider eating a human, but I don't see that humans are first on this planet just more numerous. Alot of folks in the Pacific Northwest claim they intend to go to the national forest when their time comes and be part of the food chain. Cougars have been known to eat a few folk out here and I have heard the alligators in the south don't shy from eating humans either. I decided a long time ago that nothing in my culture was worth dying for except freedom. I have no objections to other cultures and I never taught my child to shy from exploring other cultures either. I also taught her fair play, You don't kick a person down unless it's extremely important he don't get up again. Mercy stroke?? who is that a mercy to? Euthanasia? I don't think so, they stabbed even minor wounded that couldn't get away. I had a sociology professor that claimed that everything was acceptable in some part of the world. I don't accept that. Some things are universally wrong. Which are worse than others I can't really say because I am not God. But if we don't attempt to do better, to fix our world and not just Americans but all over the world than WE as a world on't deserve to last either and therefore if we go to destruction we will have proved to the universe that we were not fit to servive. In Nature the fittest survive. In the universe I fear that our fitness may be judged and based on a totally new foundation. Basically [and I must be down on humanity tonight.] I don't see either the townsmen or the clansmen on Athera deserving of their second chance. I also don't see the F7 as being gods and fit to judge but at least they have an oath to keep. Maybe that is why they are still in the medieval ages. I mean really how many thousands of years on Athera and they still don't have electricity or penicillin or TV or any of the other wonderful evils we left behind on earth. [grinning at ya!!]

   By PurplePenny on Saturday, February 05, 2005 - 08:52 am: Edit Post

"they still don't have electricity or penicillin or TV" - well to be fair to them they're not allowed to have those things.

But that leads me to wonder why they are still so mediaeval. Just which technologies would be proscribed? I read in a history of technology that the Romans had everything that was necessary for an industrial revolution (steam, water pumps and valves) but that it didn't happen because they had slaves to do everything that the machines would do - so they used the technology to run fountains and not to pump water out of deep mines. Are there fountains on Athera?

Even without electricity there are many ways of powering machines. Is steam a proscribed technology? What about direct wind or water power? The Laxey Wheel [a giant water wheel] on the Isle of Man powered weavers' looms - would the F7 have to destroy those?

Max - I'm with you on the clans and the "mercy" stroke.

"Some things are universally wrong" - I agree but I fear that your sociology prof. may be right. A few years ago there was a TV programme about a tribe in somewhere like Papua. They had a secret ritual, performed by adult men and pre-pubescent boys, that they were exceedingly reluctant to admit to. The ritual was supposed to build the boys into men. How? By making them swallow semen. How did the boys get the semen? By giving the older men oral sex.

Now what was really interesting about the programme was the men's reluctance to discuss this ritual, especially to admit to having taken part in it as boys. The reluctance was not based on our western revulsion at what they were forcing the boys to do; it was based on the attitude of their own women (who said the men made the boys do it because the women refused) and the tribes around them (who considered that tribe's men to be perverts and didn't like their women marrying into the tribe).

   By Neil on Saturday, February 05, 2005 - 01:16 pm: Edit Post

For me, if you're in a "survival panic" ("fight or flight" dilemma?) the mind/body has already got itself worked up using some primitive biological tricks and even if you're aware of this is the case cooling off takes the meantime if you have the choice and wish to avoid decisions you might regret later, you "walk away".

For me the idea of "kill or be killed", (theoretically) is nothing to do with love or hate.

You make a decision that you want to live more than you want to let yourself die. In a desperate situation I think you may already be too tired to even feel anything...suffering/horrors would blunt your senses...escape/survival would be the no. 1 aim. No energy for more thinking...

I'm going to read some primo levi books maybe he can shed some light on this...

I feel that forgiveness can occur without love...if you understand. You don't necessarily have to love...maybe understanding is a form of love?

I had a french teacher who faced down a gunman in my school back in the 80s. Guns in school were a rare thing in those days...I don't know the details but from knowing the teacher (a frenchwoman, strict but fair) she had the emotional strength stay cool and negotiate.

But my theorical rambling assumptions - badly explained above - are based on when negotiations have broken down and you are reacting to external forces outside your control.

"Is there ANY real justification for killing?"

I feel that you can justify it if you could escape from Auschwitz to raise your children. It's not nice and it would haunt you for the rest of your life. Who is to know if the person you "remove" wouldn't have invented something wonderful for the world? I guess this is "a human mistake, or an ignorance that sees without options".

Sorry if I'm boring anyone. Sadly, in my example, I don't think statistically many would have been able to find too many options.

   By Ellydee on Tuesday, February 08, 2005 - 02:21 pm: Edit Post

Sorry Niel (embarrassed smile) I sometimes find it difficult to pick up on said things, as you can well see . . . :-)

   By Neil on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 03:50 am: Edit Post

No it's me as well :-) I was worked up on this might have shown in the length of my posts...

...but "justification" is not the same as "condone" but maybe I don't understand the dictionary definition of justify (absolve?) ;-)

It seems finally that the clans aren't justified in killing/robbing. Extinction is a very real possibility in the current environment.

Caolle learnt killing leads nowhere, Arithon has learnt the hard way and will teach others I guess...

For Iraq, I really don't buy the argument that if invading force created a mess they might as weel hang around to ensure law and order...I feel this is ultimately a corrupt way of working. They should just go home, send civilian aid instead...but maybe I'm being here naive here?

I felt condemning others who pursue terrorist actions against invading forces in *real life* was naive. We don't live on Athera.

I feel it's easy to write what you would do in such a situation...what you feel is right etc. etc. what you feel state and nations should do, etc. etc.

Most of us live in a country that has not been invaded with force in our lifetimes. There are few people living today in our countries who have direct experience. Horrors continue today all around the world but the media does not focus on them consistently and with sufficient depth in order to understand all the angles.

It's easy to say what's right, harder to do what's right, and even harder to rectify mistakes once made...a vicious circle once entered becomes hard to get out of...the price that you may pay is yours to judge and choose. But justification is perhaps subjective...

   By Memory on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 02:14 pm: Edit Post


"Some things are universally wrong" - I agree but I fear that your sociology prof. may be right. A few years ago there was a TV programme about a tribe in somewhere like Papua. They had a secret ritual, performed by adult men and pre-pubescent boys, that they were exceedingly reluctant to admit to. The ritual was supposed to build the boys into men. How? By making them swallow semen. How did the boys get the semen? By giving the older men oral sex.

Now what was really interesting about the programme was the men's reluctance to discuss this ritual, especially to admit to having taken part in it as boys. The reluctance was not based on our western revulsion at what they were forcing the boys to do; it was based on the attitude of their own women (who said the men made the boys do it because the women refused) and the tribes around them (who considered that tribe's men to be perverts and didn't like their women marrying into the tribe).

This example is one I'm familiar with, as it was brought up in our kinship and gender lectures (as an example of how gender is not always given, but made). We need to be careful with things like this. Most people in New Guinea probably know more of anthropologists than any random member of the general public do in Britain or America. It has been one of the most highly studied areas, and the people there have had much contact with Westerners (some for over 100 years). This is why it becomes complicated when you say that there are feelings of disgust and shame involved in something like this now.

Of course, this is totally alien to us, and with the standards of our own society, we do not agree with it at all. But how these people think about their ritual now is highly likely to have been influenced by their contact with Western society - especially Christian missionaries. I very much doubt that reactions were always as such.

I think there are very few things, if any, that can be found to be thought 'wrong' on a universal scale.

   By max on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 08:04 pm: Edit Post

to say that we live in a country that has not experienced violence is not good enough. you don't have to drop a hammer on your foot to know it is going to hurt. and that is patronizing!! I watched my father shot to death in front of me 20 years ago. I know what violence is!! I intend to become a part of the northwest medical team and I assure you we won't be working with pretty little surgeries and nice clean syringes. so to say that we haven't experienced enough violence and we couldn't possibly understand what the poor masses of the third world are about is to say we all live in the 'ivory tower and I assure you I don't!!

   By Róisín on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 09:19 am: Edit Post

Max: what a terrible thing to have happened to anyone. My husband's mother was also a victim of violence - and he was only 11 and it has marked him deeply - and yet he grew up, a white in South Africa; without hating those who had done it - unlike many who might have used it as an excuse for violent retaliation.

   By PurplePenny on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 05:52 pm: Edit Post


I think there are very few things, if any, that can be found to be thought 'wrong' on a universal scale.

That was my point! I agree that the perceptions of both the people in question (Sambians?) and the surrounding villages will have changed. The practice used to be widespread in Melanesia as did anal insemination for the same purpose. But how they felt in the past has nothing to do with the discussion at hand as we need to use contemporary examples.

What I was trying to say was that although we may think that such a thing is universally wrong (involving as it does non-consensual sex) there are, as Max's sociology prof said, people somewhere in the world who think it acceptable.

Indeed I could probably have found more local examples of people who think acts that most of us would find reprehensible, to be acceptable (though then the definition has to be made between those that think there is nothing wrong with a particular practice and those that don't care whether it is morally acceptable). It is for that reason that laws are drawn up according to the mores of the majority.

Max - I ought to let Neil defend his own position but I don't think that he was saying that we live in countries without violence. I understood him to mean that we live in countries that have not been invaded in our lifetimes. In that, for the majority of us on here, I would imagine that he is correct, however I don't agree that that means that we can have no idea how it feels to be invaded. We have the testimony of those who lived through WWII to tell us how it feels.

I support a small charity that funds childrens' clinics in Palestine. When I received an e-mail to say that one of our doctors had been blown to pieces (and I do mean pieces) by an Israeli mortar whilst trying to bring a group of children under cover I could understand the anger, helplessness and frustration that leads to suicide bombers. It does not mean that I condone them - just that I understand. Whether I think that they are justified is an entirely different matter and one that I find hard to answer.

   By Ellydee on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 10:18 pm: Edit Post

I read in one contemporary Christian author's text on forgiveness (I cannot remember his name now; I'll have to look it up later) that he considered forgiveness not simply as a declaration of brotherly love and affection. To him, forgiveness was a tool that allowed the wronged person to have closure. Forgiveness did not mean that the person accepted the offender's actions, nor did it mean that the offender was absolved of his crime. It simply meant that the forgiver was putting the situation behind himself/herself, never forgetting, but also moving towards the future instead of the past. Just sticking another two cents in.

I'm so sorry, max. What a horrible thing to witness; I'm not sure I could do the same. I agree; violence occurs everywhere, and we cannot excuse ourselves by saying we live in the safety of, as you said, an "ivory tower."

   By Ellydee on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 10:40 pm: Edit Post

Just to clarify the above post - I really should be in bed - I do consider compassion and love to be two of the greatest ideas present in today's cultures. The above author's opinion is of course not universal, merely specific to his point of view. Understanding is important in preventing conflicts from occurring as well as solving them, but I do NOT believe in the doctrine stating that those who have trespassed against you should be treated as though the crime never occurred - your crime would be not holding them accountable; they would never learn from their mistakes, otherwise.

   By max on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 11:25 am: Edit Post

I apologize for blurting my rage out in such an unseemly fashion and not adhering to the spirit of this board which is to discuss the story in this series. It was inappropriate and rage is a problem I fight every day. Please forgive me.

   By Trys on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 12:55 pm: Edit Post


Apology accepted. These things happen. The quality of a person is determined not by the inappropriate things they do but rather by how they deal with them after. :-)


   By Blue on Friday, February 11, 2005 - 05:14 pm: Edit Post

What Trys said, Max! We luv yah! :-)

   By Neil on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 05:46 am: Edit Post

No worries Max, I was exaggerating my points to see where the conversation went and unfortunately "touched a couple of nerves" of two people.

It's sometimes easy to write on the board in a moment of frenzy...and more often than not it means *we care*...better than not caring, I feel...but of course once posted we can't unpost :-)

We're "back" to the fight/flight reaction...and the Centaur's "human mistake" quote...and our environment (with all it's inherited problems) within which we are obliged to live within.

Which is, of course, Mankind's problem on Athera as well as on Earth with slightly differing constraints and results ;-)

   By Ellydee on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 12:14 pm: Edit Post

No problem, Max!

Going on a complete tangent - I know what an adept does, but what are they, exactly? And do they experience death like other humans?

*Off to school again*

   By max on Monday, February 21, 2005 - 09:18 am: Edit Post

You are all darlings to forgive me. I will try harder to be worthy of frienship with all of you. I think I need to avoid politics, I am not very tolerant of alot that is happening today. And to Neil, I should know better. I have a little brother and a little brother-in-law who will say anything to me just to set off an argument!! They love arguing. Just like lawyers. [smiling at ya]

   By Ellydee on Monday, February 21, 2005 - 11:19 pm: Edit Post

I think my question was answered in another post; found it . . . Never mind!!

   By Róisín on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 - 09:43 am: Edit Post

On Forgiveness: I read an interesting interpretation of what forgiveness is. I found it insightful and interesting in the context of reading some of the above posts.

Caroline Myss writes:


"Forgiveness is not the same as telling the person who harmed you, "It's okay," which is more or less the way most people view it. Rather, forgiveness is a complex act of consciousness, one the liberates the psyche and soul from the need for personal vengeance and the perception of oneself as a victim. More than releasing from blame the people who caused our wounds, forgiveness means releasing control that the perception of victimhood has over our psyches."

-- Anatomy of the Spirit

Is this not how Arithon dealt with his guilt in Kewar?

People, religions, nations, all sucking some kind of energy from past 'wounds' to justify and fuel the 'fight'.

Imagine if all that was said was: "No more 'poor me/us'" to end conflict. How simple... how hard.

   By Trys on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 - 11:26 am: Edit Post


Bang on!


   By Róisín on Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 10:36 am: Edit Post

I have another question (I'm on my 7th reread of the series!) about Lysaer - wondering if anyone can help me work this out:

IF the trait of justice is descended through the S'Illessid line - then how, WITHOUT THE MISTWRAITHE, was Lysaer's father's sense of justice so warped out of true in his emnity with Karthan? (In fact, through seven generations?)

   By Trys on Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 10:43 am: Edit Post


Do you remember Janny expounding on the nature of these Gifts (geases)? The gifts do not necessarily manifest in full strength in every person alive at the time. The more people of a line then the more likely that the gift would be spread out and some people would have it in greater strength than others. Observing how Lysaer and his father acting during Arithon's trial, it appears to me that Lysaer has more of the gift than his father.


   By Hunter on Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 09:25 pm: Edit Post

The other point of course is that the royal Gifts don't 100% define the character of the person - but rather enhances what was a strong characteristic of the bloodline. There are other factors at play. It's probably also worth remembering that on Athera, one of Asandir's many jobs was to select the heir to the throne and generally he picked the one with the strongest Gift. On Dascen Elur, inheritance seemed to have followed a more familial line, say with the first born male inheriting, rather than the child with the strongest gift. If anyone would have performed Asandir's role on Dascen Elur, it would have been the Rauven mages, but they didn't seem all that welcome in the kingdom of Amroth.

Kevor as Lysaer's son seemed to have inherited the full force of the Gift. I do wonder how much of this was also to do with Ellaine and whether Talith could have born such a strongly gifted son?

   By Róisín on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 06:53 am: Edit Post

Thanks for that, Trys, Hunter.


   By max on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 03:20 am: Edit Post

In addition to what Hunter said, Lysaer was sanctioned for Highkingship until the Mistwraith spoiled him. He was, wasn't he??

   By Róisín on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 05:24 am: Edit Post

No, seems he wasn't - when they cast strands, they realised he would become disqualified after an event of clearing the Mstwraithe - I've just read the passage where Lysaer reforms his concept of justice, and makes a passionate statement to Traithe, who hears it with sadness because he knows that after containing the Mistwraithe, this prince is going to not be able to make good on his word. Instead they went to Etarra and sanctioned Arithon - and so the strife begins. Sad, tragic, still makes my eyes well up.

   By Iris on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 04:08 pm: Edit Post

Me too...Roisin, that is one of the parts that always gets me. More so now after knowing what lies in store for Lysaer. Sad.

   By max on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 02:23 am: Edit Post

But before they cast the strands didn't they recognize Lysaer as fit for kingship? and after the Mistwraithe ruined him, didn't it also ruin Arithon? but still they sanctioned him. There is something there I am just not getting. [smiling at ya]

   By Lyssabits on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 05:05 am: Edit Post

I think they were withholding judgement on Lysaer until after they'd had a chance to defeat the Mistwraith. If you recall, Asandir got pretty pissed at Arithon for getting himself captured by the scout, and thusly forcing Asandir to reveal that Lysaer is one of the descendants of a royal family on Athera. I know the big reason he gives for his ire was that he had wanted to introduce Lysaer to the corruption of the townsfolk first, and hopefully garner some sympathy for the clansmen. But I don't think they'd really decided to sanction him at the time. I think they were going to gauge his reaction to things, and if it turned out he wouldn't be able to accept the role and responsibilities of a sovereign as defined by the rules of the Compact, then likely they'd do what they are doing now, and wait for him to have a kid. Because as much as Lysaer was a good guy before he was cursed, he did have problems sympathizing with the clansmen and their thieving activities, and he shows clear sympathy for the townsfolk and their desire to grow beyond the limits of the Compact. And while you can argue that the directive of the curse is overwhelming, and it's the corruption of his geas of Justice that makes him use the convenient tool of the hatred between townsfolk and clanborn, I think he likely would have gravitated in the direction of the townsfolk on his own, and would have been a less than ideal candidate for High Kingship. We know the Curse doesn't control everything about him, and that it is inherent character flaws not of the Curse's making that cause the Fellowship to expel him from the Compact.

   By Lyssabits on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 05:16 am: Edit Post

Additionally, they were very close to not sanctioning Arithon for Kingship, not because they thought he was unworthy, but because they knew it was not the calling that would bring him the most joy. It was only Dakar's Black Rose prophecy that decided them that, his happiness or not, they would do their best to crown him as King. (Which I always kind of thought was weird. Because they're smart guys, yanno, and you'd think they'd pick up on the specific phrasing of Dakar's prophecy. Were they just so eager to reform the Fellowship that they were willing to gloss over the deeper implications of Arithon "accepting" kingship? Or did they think that forcing the conflict between the two brothers was the only route to getting his acceptance? That part has always kind of bothered me.) Also, they have more options with Lysaer than Arithon in terms of securing heirs. They know there's still s'Ilessid on Dascen Elur, if worse comes to worst, they have other sources to tap there, some may argue, "purer" sources un-tainted by the gift of foresight from his mother. Although there is always the obstacle of the unidirectional gates, but yanno they're the Fellowship, I'm sure they would think of something.

   By Andy on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 10:53 am: Edit Post

While it is true that Lysaer is not the last of the s'Illisid bloodline, it is Arithon and Lysaer's elemental mastery of shadow and light -- the bane of the Mistwraithe -- which is equally important to the Fellowship. Until the wraithes are finally dealt with, Arithon and Lysaer are unique and irreplacable and there is no indication that their mastery of light and shadow are hereditary vis-a-vis their progeny. E.g., Lysaer's son does not have his light power.

   By Hunter on Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - 07:26 am: Edit Post

Lyssabits - I don't think the Fellowship has any thought now of sanctioning Lysaer after the Curse. Before the Curse, Lysaer was one of their hopes of restoring peace and reconciling the clans with the townsfolk.

Lysaer is now thrown out of the Compact so he's even less likely to be sanctioned.. once thrown out, could he be "thrown back in" to the Compact? It's an interesting question.

As this series has progressed, the "requirement" for Lysaer has really diminished to the point of irrelevance. The whole point of Arithon and Lysaer together was that their paired gifts of light and shadow would basically confine the Mist containing Desh-thiere. With the real issue that free wraiths have still yet to arrive out of Marak, Light and Shadow may not be useful. Other means, such as a masterbard or Arithon's strategy at the end of TK - which both need Arithon - seem to be the path to salvation with the Mistwraith.

   By Auna on Wednesday, August 03, 2005 - 04:41 pm: Edit Post

Lysaer is a good statesman, so he would still be invaluable to helping mend the clan vs townsman rift. However, he appears to have a long, hard road ahead before he gets to the point where he might see peace as a viable strategy or begin to fight the curse's influence on him.

   By Miranda Bertram on Thursday, August 04, 2005 - 03:53 pm: Edit Post

This isn't really all that relevant, but all this talk of sanctioning Lysaer and so forth made me think of it - remember that scene in CotM when Lysaer 'infected' Arithon with the Curse through a bolt of light? Well, wasn't he able to do that by aiming at Traithe's raven? But Arithon (in typically self-sacrificing style) saved the raven rather than himself. (Is that right? Correct me if not). So anyway, my question:

If Lysaer had crisped the poor bird, what do we think would have happened to Traithe? Janny's never (as far as I can remember) been that clear about the exact relation between Traithe and the raven. Can he live/perform magic without it?


   By Trys on Thursday, August 04, 2005 - 04:12 pm: Edit Post

Perhaps a more significant question given the dual nature of that raven is what would have happened had Lysaer's bolt struck the bird.

   By Miranda Bertram on Thursday, August 04, 2005 - 04:15 pm: Edit Post

One more thought, guys, gals:

QUOTE: IF the trait of justice is descended through the S'Illessid line - then how, WITHOUT THE MISTWRAITHE, was Lysaer's father's sense of justice so warped out of true in his emnity with Karthan? (In fact, through seven generations?)

The Fellowship have, haven't they, admitted that the s'Ilessid family trait was 'flawed'? That makes sense, I should have thought, and explains Lysaer's father's behaviour - because, isn't justice a subjective quality, based on your opinions/upbringing/religion, rather than a universal and absolute abstract, such as compassion. The townsmen may, with some justification, feel that it is right that the thieving clanborn should be brought to trial and 'justice', whilst the clans, just as powerfully, believe that it is unjust that the townsmen believe in owning land, and that therefore much of the trade carried out by the townsmen is illegal, and therefore open to theft anyway.

So anyway, Lysaer's father evidently had a bad temperament and a skewed upbringing, as well, perhaps, as Trys suggests, a lesser dose of the s'Ilessid quality, and the consequence is a stubborn, narrowminded adherence to his own form of justice, which perhaps differs from what someone else might think of as justice. Just some thoughts.


   By Hunter on Thursday, August 04, 2005 - 05:52 pm: Edit Post

I don't think was Lysaer behind the bolt - it was the Mist-wraith.. given Arithon's mage training and wards, similar to the Koriani getting access to Arithon via Elaira's love (which the Paravian tower @ Ithamon was warded against), the Mistwraith knew Arithon's compassion would force him to try and protect the Raven, thereby giving the wraith the chance to access Arithon through his Compassion.

   By Trys on Friday, August 05, 2005 - 04:07 am: Edit Post


Lysaer's father was just the most recent king of Amroth to be engaged in war with the 'pirates' of Karthan. His attitudes are likely inherited from his father and exacerbated by his wife's 'defection' to his enemy. In other words he was horribly human and exhibited many of the worst traits of the species. :-)


   By max on Friday, August 05, 2005 - 04:42 am: Edit Post

Just a silly thought here people. I like ravens and I know Traithe's raven friend is probably special so I'm glad he didn't get killed. I know Arithon saved the bird because of it's being special also. So even tho Arithon's gift of compassion borders on the insane side of reason, I just don't think he would drive his car over a cliff rather than run over a raven on the road!!
:-):-):-) [grinning at ya!!]

   By Róisín on Friday, August 05, 2005 - 05:09 am: Edit Post

I just noticed this reread, how the mistwraithe was manipulating Arithon. I have been able to see how it affected Lysaer quite easily, but Arithon's was more subtle. There's this one sentence where he is arguing with himself about using his mage powers against the Etarrans, and then the next paragraph, there's a reference to the oath he's sworn to the Deshans, to Steiven and the fact that he cannot let the clans be decimated. So, even though in the past he didn't use his power to save his father, he does this time. I think that's the mistwraithe at work?

I could be way off - or a real ninny for not noticing it until now. But I really didn't 'GET' how the mistwraithe was controlling Arithon, till now. And this is the seventh re-read!

   By Blue on Friday, August 05, 2005 - 01:44 pm: Edit Post

Miranda, EXCELLENT question!

We have seen something of what "Little Brother" the raven really is in PG, and from Janny's own elaboration here on the board - an aspect of Athera itself.

IF Lysaer had been so compelled by the wraith controlling him, to attack "Little Brother" rather than Arithon, how would Athera itself have reacted? Especially given, with what we know now about the world itself, from PG, that it is alive and conscious of everything that is going on on her surface.


I still chuckle over the female raven aspect of the Raven's being allowing herself to be called brother. I wonder if Traithe ever wakes up and wonders where the occasional raven egg comes from?

   By Lyssabits on Monday, August 08, 2005 - 02:42 pm: Edit Post

Hunter - Sorry, but my response was in no way meant to indicate that the Fellowship may at some point in the future sanction Lysaer for Kingship, it was actually meant to say exactly the opposite. I thought I'd been clear, but I suppose not.

It is my belief that, although they would have liked a s'Illessid king sooner rather than later, the Fellowship decided early on in the series that Lysaer was unfit. I was responding to Max's question as to whether the Fellowship had sanctioned Lysaer before the mistwraith cursed him and Arithon. They had, as Roisin noted, not sactioned him, and after casting strands, I think they were firmly convinced that he'd never be able to be the king they needed. Now that he's been thrown out of the compact, I can't imagine a senario outside of direct incercession by the Paravians on his behalf that would have the Fellowship even consider sanctioning him for Kingship.

   By Hunter on Tuesday, August 09, 2005 - 10:36 am: Edit Post

Ok.. no problems.

I still think it's worth asking the question as to whether there will need to be High Kings in the future. These were created as part of the Compact.. if they Compact is broken or ceases to be relevant, then High Kingdoms, as currently defined, would then go away..

   By Lyssabits on Tuesday, August 09, 2005 - 02:07 pm: Edit Post

Maybe it's just me, but I've never thought that the Compact necessarily stipulated that there had to be High Kingships as they were implemented. I always thought the Compact was sort of a more nebulous set of rules governing what mankind could and could not do, and where they could and could not live.

Morriel's actions in unbalancing the lane force did nothing on a political level, but was described as her attempt to break the Compact by the Fellowship. (I think? It's been awhile since I read that one. I don't think I was ever clear on whether it was the diversion she created by unbalancing the lanes or if it was her unorthodox succession that the sorcerers were referring to.) That incident, and Davien's attempts to overthrow the High Kings, always led me to draw a disctintion between the poltical system of Kingdoms, and the actual Compact. I think that this political system is what the Fellowship believes is the best system of government that will serve the Compact, but that it's not necessarily the only available route.

Then again, Davien's motives and his goals for the rebellion are so unclear that I have no idea what exactly it was meant to prove. Also, Morriel's knowledge of what the Compact is seems to be fatally flawed if she believes that she'll actually be able to break the Compact in such a way that the sorcerors will be just sit back and let mankind return to the stars... so I don't know, perhaps this hasn't added anything to the current conversation.

I think if the Compact is broken, you're correct, High Kingdoms as they are currently defined would go away... because I assume that if it ever were broken, and mankind's subequent actions were determined to threaten Paravian survival, they'd all be kicked off the planet, in one way or another.

   By Auna on Tuesday, August 09, 2005 - 02:42 pm: Edit Post

From what I recall, the compact is the Fellowship's agreement that they will stand as surety that humanity does nothing to threaten Paravian survival. What Morriel did was upset the lane balance so badly that Athera was threatened. This would definitely have broken the compact had the Fellowship not been able to scrape together resources to hold things together long enough for Asandir to fix the grimwards.

Morriel believes the Paravians are gone forever, hence she thinks the Fellowship is unreasonable in keeping rules in place that prevent humanity from spreading out and advancing. As long as the Paravians remain gone, more people will begin to feel like her and it will be harder to contain humanity.

   By Miranda Bertram on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 06:57 am: Edit Post

Auna, very true. What I find more difficult to understand is exactly what Morriel thinks humanity should be spreading out and advancing towards. I just don't see what her aims are - can anyone out there tell me what's in the Koriani manifesto? Other than recruiting more magical talent...but why? What for? What is she going to do with all her witches?

   By Andy on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 08:19 am: Edit Post

The scope and interrelationship between the Compact, the FoS, the High Kings, and humanity are not completely clear to me, but here goes. The Sorcerors were bound by the drake dreams to defend the Paravians and ensure their survival. Right on the tail end of accomplishing this, rag tag, starfaring bands of humanity arrived at Athera, fleeing calamity and looking for sanctuary. Because the calamity was caused in part by the actions of the Sorcerors in their earlier lives, they (at least a majority of the seven) felt responsibility for the outcasts.

So the seven made a deal with the humans to allow them to inhabit Athera on sufferance in a kind of co-existence with the Paravians. But the Sorcerors did not realize that by allowing humans, they extended the threat to the Paravians, and thereby extended their obligation to protect the Paravians (now from the humans, as opposed to the drake spawn). Under the agreement with the humans (the Compact), the humans agreed to bide by certain conditions (where to live, how to co-exist with the Paravians, etc.)in exchange for being allowed to stay on Athera.

From the Compact, the Fellowship came up with this idea of the five kingdoms and they altered/enhanced the traits of certain bloodlines, those that would be the intermediary between the Paravians and the rest of humanity. So I agree that the Compact does not necessarily require high kingships. The Charters of those kingdoms do though. Also, the Compact, by the very nature of the Fellowship's overriding binding by the drakes, cannot ever threaten the survival of the Paravians. If it did, the Fellowship would have to revoke the Compact and destroy humanity on Athera. What input/influence the Paravians themselves had in the founding of the Compact or the kingdoms is unclear.

It seems that Morriel does not understand the consequence of her actions. She thinks her "Grand Conspiracy" is simply a way to wrest humanity from under the yoke of Fellowship control. What she doesn't realize is that if she succeeds, the Fellowship are duty-bound to destroy humanity. As Sethvir and Luhaine have mentioned on various occasions, it is most likely that the old girl is quite insane at this point and even if she did understand the consequences, she would do it anyway out of spite.

Davien's actions 500 years ago don't seem to violate the Law of the Major Balance; rather his actions signify his personal rebellion against his other colleagues and their reliance upon a flawed Compact, which must be inherently flawed if it relies so heavily on human nature, even human natures which have been enhanced and gifted with hereditary traints of compassion, justice, temperence, farshight and [fifth] or undergirded with magical crown jewels.

So one of the major questions (perhaps the ultimate question) which Janny will presumably answer by the end of the series is whether Athera will be restored to a pre-rebellion society; or whether the Compact will be modified and a new system of government for co-habitation by the humans will be created, which will probably have the effect of finally freeing the Fellowship from their binding. Just a hunch that it will be the latter.

   By Auna on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 02:21 pm: Edit Post

I believe Morriel wants humanity to be able to embrace space again. She feels she can somehow defeat the Fellowship eventually in order to gain this for humanity.

I think a new system has to be put in place, otherwise the Fellowship is tied to Athera forever and I don't think they exist at the time the prolog was written. Also, that wouldn't be a very happy ending for them, though I'll be sobbing if they do leave at the end of the series.

   By Trys on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 10:59 am: Edit Post

This is not a spoiler topic and to put TK spoilers in here, even with a clear warning, could still spoil TK for someone, so I've moved the post(s) to the TK Spoiler topic.

   By Miranda Bertram on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 11:26 am: Edit Post

Sorry, Trys. I couldn't remember if the bit that might have spoiler potential was a spoiler for PG or TK, and didn't have the books on me, so since I was fairly sure it was a PG spoiler I risked it. :-( It was reckless - it was wrong! Forgive an erring human...

   By Miranda Bertram on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 05:07 am: Edit Post


No, I don't think the Fellowship exist in the prologue era either. I agree that a new system has to be put in place, too. The current (or pre-rebellion) system is simply not sustainable, because the poor Fellowship really can't go on forever, and because humanity is growing stronger and more independent, and therefore challenging the increasingly pressed sorcerers. I think Davien was right in thinking that things needed shaking up - perhaps he just underestimated the exact level of shaking likely to ensue.

   By Hunter on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 07:24 am: Edit Post

The Fellowship have always stated what their calling is - to ensure Paravian survival, that was the binding laid on them by the great drakes when they were redeemed upon their arrival at the start of the Second Age.

Until such time that Paravian survival is assured, or they are released from their binding by the great drakes, they must continue their work.

Given the Ages are marked thus:
Age of Dragons - great drakes ruled
First Age - marked by the arrival of the Paravians
Second Age - arrival of the Fellowship
Third Age - arrival of humanity

there will be monumental changes to mark the change of Ages.

The prologue is in the Seventh Age, so I would think the Fellowship's given charge will have been resolved one way or the other well before the Seventh Age comes around.

   By Trys on Thursday, August 11, 2005 - 02:59 pm: Edit Post


No problem. I just move 'em to the appropiate spoiler topic... but now I think I goofed. I thought it said TK, if it was PG, it was okay. It's been out long enough. I really should've read the post.

Just checked and I don't see anything bad. I've moved 'em back. :-)

Sorry for the confusion. I shouldn't try to do this on my lunch hour at work. ;)