Archive through February 07, 2008

Janny Wurts Chat Area: General Discussion: Lysaer any sympathy left for him: Archive through February 07, 2008
   By Hellcat on Monday, November 15, 2004 - 10:20 am: Edit Post

On the re-read this time round I lost more sympathy for Lysaer. His reasons for founding the Religon of Light seems based on the idea that HE cannot accpet that his own pride/stupidity led to Dier Kenton Vale. He cannot admit responsiblity for that mistake, knowing that it will mean that his name will be linked to death, instead to give "Athera. That flaw is horrofic to me, you should always admit responsiblity for your mistakes as well as take credit for your achievements. You do not delude a continent to remove a stain on your good name.


   By Auna on Monday, November 15, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit Post

I'm going to wait and judge him by his reactions if he is ever separated from the curse.

   By Róisín on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 04:08 am: Edit Post

Isn't freedom from the curse predicated on his own self-awareness?

   By Neil on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 05:06 am: Edit Post

My 2p worth...

The reasoning presented after Lysaer's meeting with the Centaur is probably the "last word" so far...

1) Paravian tells the truth => Lysaer is mistaken => big downer for him (just for him + and the 30,000 or so deaths...)

2) Paravian lies => Lysaer is right => All of Athera needs his help (exciting grand cause...)

He swings towards the idea that potentially helping the masses is better than maybe that he is at fault...

Yep, political expedience here is more important than truth... :-( I guess the F7 know this only too well.

The Centaur says that Lysaer should accept he is cursed and ask for help...The F7 (or Artihon?) could and would help, no?

Would the paravians be inclined to 'help' or is there a contract to respect? Do they actually "care" about humans? Outside of time they already know what's going to happen? What motivated the paravians to let the humans stay? I guess according to the compact and raw power available that humans pose no risk to Athera...the humans are simply risking themselves...ignorant beings...

   By max on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 06:37 am: Edit Post

Lysaer IS CURSED and therefore not in his right mind. That makes him incompetent to decide what is right for him. Arithon is also in this position but is slightly more in control of an incontrollable 'illness'. To me it is odd that the F7 who are responsible for humanity, would not decide to take his autonomy away from him in the first place. In an ER of a hosp, if a pt. arrives unconcious or impaired thought processes, a physician determines if a pt. can make decisions for himself. If not, the patient is held until further determinations can be made and sometimes it has to go before a judge. So far a person has not been legally allowed to commit suicide or hurt others. Lysaer has been shown to do both. He is seriously ill and in my determination is not fully responsible for what he doing and therefore should be confined in a way he cannot hurt himself or others until he becomes competent again. I know the F7 are waiting for a consent, or for selfdetermination but it probably won't happen so why can't they 'treat' him, when he is not sane enough to give consent?? I know I am seeing this from an earth view but not just that, also from a medical standpoint. I know the humans on Athera and even the Paravians would not view it this way. But the F7 were from earth. What about compassionate care? If not for Lysaer's sake then for the rest of humanity's sake. Are they not suffering and dying under Lysaer's regime?? Can anyone tell me what I missed in my numerous readings?? [smiling at ya]

   By Neil on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 07:02 am: Edit Post


ok, an extra 1/2p then...

I guess "Free will" is the key. Lysaer is an adult and while cursed does have a choice. His character flaws play in addition to the curse. Moriel argued as you have in FP at Althane. The F7 give their response.

Unfortunately, Lysaer was risked due to the the scrying that, in theory, ensures that the paravians return. Presumbly the planet has to survive as well ;-) (F7 are bound to ensure this happens)

The F7 are NOT responsible for humanity EXCEPT where it affects the *land* (F7 conversation with Lysaer at Althain). ...the compact is there to guide minimal disturbance to both humans and Paravians.

   By Róisín on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 07:07 am: Edit Post

The F7 picked Lysaer over Arithon, because they didn't want to risk the Mistwraithe learning Arithon's magecraft. They picked the wrong brother. Arithon would have been able to warn the F7 and possibly shield himself.

I think that's pure tragedy.

   By max on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit Post

Now, now Neil, I certainly didn't mean to imply you only had 1/2 penny worth of thoughts. I just enjoy looking at things from another angle. I am an old nurse and assessment habits are hard to break. I certainly will buy that the F7 don't have responsibility for all humanity on Athera. But they definitely have to take responsibility to what happened to Lysaer. They made the decision to throw him to the mistwraith and then after threw him to the wolves. And Lysaer is affecting the world of Athera isn't he? He could be only affecting the human population of course, but telling Lysaer that he has to ask for help is not going to happen because his free will has been compromised by the curse. Yes he has character flaws, but I believe he was well on the way to loving his brother as brothers should, when the curse took hold of him. That is like saying that if you have a flaw in your DNA for cancer, it was your free will that you got cancer. [The insurance companies would certainly enjoy that theory] So I believe Lysaer should have been removed to a location [yes, against his free will] where he could do no harm to himself or others. [Ciladis is asleep, why can't Lysaer sleep?] Now the Koriathain on the other hand have been messing with Athera. Haven't they been messing with the lane forces? I say 'round them up and send them thru the east gate' all except for Elaira of course. well that's my 1/2 penny thought. By the way I will reread that part about Moriel again, thanks for that. But I still believe the F7 need to do more about them then clean up the messes afterword. [smiling at ya]

   By Trys on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 03:09 pm: Edit Post


But the F7 were from earth.

Were they? Can you point me to book, chapter, page and paragraph that indicates this? :-)


   By Greg Malcom on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit Post

Actually I think that it is pointed out very carefully. They don't really say that they are from earth. But, at one point I forget the exact place one of the fellowship refers to Asandir as Cal and then states that they were obviously distressed to call him by his original name.

Then when Morriel is confronting Asandir trying to get her the great waystones impression erased from the planet she states that her predecessor was there Calum ... gave his weapon or something to the powers that be. Forgive the vagueness I am at work and doing this from memory.

But at any rate these 2 instances infer that Asandir is the person talked about in both cases thus from the same planet as mankind.

   By Neil on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 04:49 am: Edit Post

hmmm.... :-)

Max, I wasn't at all offended ;-) I use "..." at the end of sentences to imply vague/unsure ideas/statements. Janny Wurts has a tendencey to surprise me so I never feel sure about giving had and fast opinions on this board!

I see where you are coming from with respect to expecting that the F7 should proactively help any human. However, I think that the books explain why the F7 do not act.


I had a look thro' FP / GC and PG yesterday evening. The key passages for me are:

FP: F7 passing "formal judgement" on Lysaer
F7 discussion with Morriel
GC: Asandir conversation on boat
FP: Centaur conversaton with Lysaer

Lysaer was given his chance to ask for help in FP. The F7 actually offered to help. Lysaer decided to give in to vanity, label Arithon the "real problem" - his *free choice* - F7 have to respect that by the LoMB.

So Lyaser is outcast by his own choice. His responsibilty. The F7 don't feel good about this but thay cannot act against Lysaer's free will!

The Centaur asked Lysaer to accept he is cursed...

Morriel seems to agree with you, Max. She seems believes in acting against the will of individuals to ensure the masses are protected, for example, capture Lysaer/Arithon in order to limit the curse's effects. The F7 say 'no' (free will must be respected and they must act carefully to avoid risking all life on Athera.

The F7 point out to her that they do not act against free will. The implication is that the F7 once intervened to pursue their aims against free will and the consequences were dire. They do not want to walk that road again. After 10,000 years they have a deep understanding of this, particularly the lack of free will themselves! ("we who are bound..." etc. in GC)

They have achieved redemption and act to avoid situations (at high cost) where they must remove Humanity from Athera (which would means they have "failed" to manage their responsibilties to the paravians to the point where humans would have to 'go').

During the conversation Lysaer accuses the F7 as being at fault for his situation. Do Asandir, Sethvir, Kharadmon and Luhaine feel at fault? It's not clear. They remain silent! However, Traithe "cut's to the chase" and plainly states that out of Arithon's presence Lysaer has suficient free will to resist the curse. The curse is just "hate". There is no excuse to go on a crusade againt "evil" / set himself up as divine etc. etc. (see passage for exact wording)

The F7 meanwhile, when they can, are pursuing the resolution of the curse/mistwraith. Kharadmon did go to Marak. And he came back at high risk. The F7 tell Morriel this. They are not "passive".

Greg, "Calum Kincaid" is Sethvir's birth name and one could assume that this is Scottish in origin :-) Yes, the koriani order is older than the F7. However, I'm 99% sure "Earth" or "one planet" is not defined yet in the story!

On the other hand there is a mention that the F7 have seen whole worlds reduced to a dust smear (or something like that...). And that they developed the great weapon to do it! My take is that humanity had spread to many worlds using science but without sufficient perception to live in balance with their environment. The F7 (and refugee humanity) probably came in a "space ship" so space travel seems to have been established at that point.

   By Róisín on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 05:53 am: Edit Post

Indeed, one of Morriel's goals is to restore the knowledge of spacefaring culture. (can't remember exact quote or book & page, trys? :-) )

   By Trys on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit Post

Nope, sorry. Not at my finger (or is that brain) tips. <g>

   By Neil on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 03:08 am: Edit Post

At the risk of 'overposting' in this thread...

Moriel thinks in terms of restoring 'star travel' to humanity when she attacks Athera (Athera is just an expoitable resource to her) in Grand Conspiracy.

   By Izzy on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 03:36 am: Edit Post


Yes, the koriani order is older than the F7.

I would actually debate that comment. From what I understand, the Koriani were founded before "Calum Kincaid sold out his great weapon", but I also believe that the drake dream that summoned the F7 to Athera reached across space AND time. So it's altogether possible that the F7 were fighting the good fight on Athera whilst they were also developing the weapon in another part of space. :-)



   By Neil on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 04:56 am: Edit Post

Izzy good point.

I guess I meant that the "Fellowship with their responbilties ON Athera" not their human origin beings...but yes, you're right, we don't know the exact order of historical events regarding birth of F7 members and creation of Koriani order. Were the F7 born before the wars started => Koriani founded BEFORE. Or were the Koriani founded during the F7 lifetime?

But I think as a whole these events have to be "historical". Humans arrived on athera as refugees without Drake influence (I assume!) F7 are partly responsible for this (Asandir in GC)

"Our Prime Matriarch stood at the right hand of free governance before Calum Kincaid sold out his great weapon and became the destroyer of worlds"

"Amid the suffering and the atrocities of humanity's Armageddon, the Koriani Order had been founded to resist the collapse of higher culture. Their purpose had been to petuate mercy, while other specious, greedy factions waged war, and burned priceless heritage to ashes."

   By Róisín on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 07:52 am: Edit Post

They 'sold' the weapon..? Interesting. I always thought that they had done the destroying themselves. Clarity, hah!

So I guess it's fair to say that Calum Kincaid is like J. Robert Oppenheimer (who helped to invent the H-bomb) who said "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." And, obviously, F7 the Manhatten Project scientists.

Glad I got that cleared up. The benefit of being on this website!

   By Róisín on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 07:58 am: Edit Post

er.. sorry A-bomb.. not H-bomb.


   By Izzy on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 08:11 am: Edit Post

I think it's somewhere on this site... I recall Janny saying that basically the drakes dream crossed the entirety of space and time to find a match for what they felt they needed. And they got a match with the project team lead by Calum Kincaid. If I recall correctly, the 7 of them were actually in their ship heading away from the destruction (or somewhat similar) when they were caught by the dream.



   By max on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 05:59 am: Edit Post

I know I am like a dog with a bone, but I can't let go of this! So forgive me. Lysaer, in my opinion, did not exercise free will when he became cursed. I don't dislike the F7 but they are human at least enough to have erred. I know that Lysaer has made decisions but if Arithon made decisions, and then realized that those decisions were affected by the curse, Lysaer's decisions are even more compromised. I know the F7 offered him help but again the dictates of compassionate care are such that if one does not make responsible decisions regarding their treatment because those decisions are hurting themselves or people around them then the decision to treat that person's illness must be taken out of their hands. It is not possible for Lysaer to exercise free will. He cannot make any decisions that are not affected by the curse, it entangles every aspect of his life at this point. How sad he could never let Kevor know he loved him. How sad he couldn't love Elaine and made a dozen children with her, and for that matter another wife and dozen kids every 100 years or so.LOL And even Arithon is letting the curse dictate some aspects of his life also. He's not married with children either, for a good reason I know, but there it is anyway. Well I guess I chewed that bone pretty well. [now to crack it and get at the marrow!!] GRINNING AT YA

   By Ursula on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 10:10 am: Edit Post


Just another 2p worth, but yes I have a lot of sympathy for Lysaer and hope that maybe somehow through Kevor (or what his son becomes) he can eventually find some sort of redemption. In the maze Arithon realises the full, and to that point quite unrealised, scope of the effect the curse has had on him, what chance would Lysaer stand without his brother's immense natural abilities or trained skill? Lysaer is still a victim, even if his curse driven works are hideous.

Cheers Ursula

   By Neil on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 03:45 am: Edit Post

For me the more I reread the more I see that Lysaer does have some freedom of "movement" and that the curse is not all controlling. He schemes "nasty" things himself quite easily without the help of mistwraith curse :-) for example: Maenelle.

Just another ref to add. In "Ships", when Asandir is explaining to the s'Brydians why their culverin is proscribed, "home worlds" are mentioned. Some humans do seem to be left behind doomed to repeat the failure than come from a society based on fear etc. etc.

This passage - worth a reread - actually has a lot of information that I thought came only in GC when Asandir (again!) is explaining the "real" situation that humanity has on Athera...

   By Neil on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 06:36 am: Edit Post

Ooh ooh I forgot to add...Asandir used the words "inconceivable centuries in the past" to describe the events that the F7 were involved with off Athera.

If the F7 have been around for 2 ages (say around 10000 years + a 18000 year reference in COTM refering to Ithamon(?) + the F7 arrive at start of second age anyway...) does "100-180" really amount to inconceivable? I can inmagine 200 sticks or brick for exemple...Or is it "10000" years+ which is inconceivable?

Izzy, therefore the Drakes could have dragged the F7 across time and space?

Do the F7 have any news of other humans on other planets? East/North gates are still "mysteries".

I still feel that culture of humanity on Athera does not seem to have 'developed' during the 3rd age. Any ability to understand the environment is still linked with clans. Maybe the necomancers understand/perceive more about Athera/"reality" than the Koriani?!? Leaving Athera seems to be the only way man is not going to pose a threat to Paravian survival.

In COTH glossary there is a reference to the 3rd age being the "age of man" (not sure?) but on the map we have "age of mistwraith"...

Going round in circles as usual, not now long to wait for my copy of Traitor's Knot.

   By Rurack on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 09:19 am: Edit Post

I just can not find any sympathy for him at all. It was never there to begin with. Here is the way I tend to see things. He has always blamed the s'Ffalenn's for Arithon's birth. Like Arithon's father had stolen her away. When it was Lysear's father that beat the daylights out of her and that is why she left. His father had murderous rages why should the son be exempt? My pity dried up with the broken water skin outside of Mearth. He did not have to kill his Caithdein. He did that out of pure spite

Here is something else to think about Talera had the s'Ahelas farsight. Her father saw the birth of two brothers gifted with light and shadow thus the dowry. What did She see? if she saw anything other than revenge.

   By Trys on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 11:28 am: Edit Post


He did not have to kill his Caithdein. He did that out of pure spite.

I would disagree on that one. I think it was more than spite. It was Lysaer's strict interpretation of Justice. She was, after all, leading attacks on caravans. These attacks would be considered, within the strictest sense of the law, to be illegal.

I believe that this is where Lysaer was coming from. He would need an equal dose of Compassion to see that the reasons for clan raids was simply clan survival... but then he couldn't know, at that point, just how important clan survival is.

Did I like the fact that he killed Maenelle? Absolutely not. I consider it to be one of the most reprehensible things that he has done. But my efforts to look through his eyes at that time leaves me a little room to pity him... but only a little. :-)


   By Blue on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 09:16 pm: Edit Post

Lysaer seems to have something in common with my interpretation of Davien's actions, only he comes out opposite of Davien's motivations - again, this is according to MY interpretation of Davien's actions, past present, and what teeney, weeney hints Janny is giving us for the future. As a result, feel free to agree, disagree and take as big a pinch of salt as you need. :-)

I stated, in another thread, that Davien foresaw some threat to the Paravians/Land, and acted to prevent it, even though he was technically breaking the law. Like Robin Hood robbing the rich and feeding the poor. Davien and Robin's actions, while technically illegal according to the LETTER of the law, served a much higher purpose, in preserving the SPIRIT of the law.

Lysaer, on the other hand, is bound to the LETTER of the law. If someone breaks that law, he or she should be punished. It does not matter, in his interpretation, that a Robin Hood-like figure is stealing from rich people to feed starving poor. The Robin Hood-like figure is breaking the LETTER of the law, and must be punished.

Rules lawyers (which reveals more years than I care to admit of D&D gaming) irritate me to no end.

   By Izzy on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 02:42 am: Edit Post


Izzy, therefore the Drakes could have dragged the F7 across time and space?

That's what I was implying.



   By Róisín on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 03:51 am: Edit Post


Talera had the s'Ahelas farsight

Just jogs something - we saw Arithon meet his father in the Kewar Tunnel - I wonder if he'll get a chance in the future to talk with his mother in spirit form or dream? I wonder what they would say to each other...

   By Rurack on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:58 am: Edit Post

Alson Lysear has been so warped from original ideals that I really can't find sympathy. I've tried but I can't. In SoM he was willing to put himself in chains in a stance against slavey. But in his hatred he choose to enact slavery in less than three years. And set himself up as a god. That has very little to do with the curse but the simplicity of his ego explains that action.

I am almost positive that The F7 was dragged across time and space to fight the drakes. They did not even come of there own free will. The drakes bound them to aethera and the survival of the Pavarians.

   By max on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 05:36 am: Edit Post

I rest my case. Why would someone who was against slavery all of a sudden see it as a solution. His mindset did 180* turn! But to quote Robin Hobb, "We are the sum of all we have done, but also all that has been done to us". I don't have sympathy for Lysaer, per se, but then I have no sympathy for Arithon either. I am sorry he suffered as I am sorry for the suffering of any creature who is in pain, physical spiritual or otherwise. And in that case Lysaer is also in pain, as are the clans. Only the townspeople don't seem that bad off or maybe just the wealthy ones. Who can judge another's pain? I see all kinds and all I can think of I have to alleviate it. [this is frustrating as I can't medicate Arithon or Lysaer. LOL] Anyway I guess I will have to see what happens in TK before I judge any further. smiling at ya.

   By skeoke on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 09:10 pm: Edit Post

/quote{Only the townspeople don't seem that bad off or maybe just the wealthy ones.}

You mean with their gout, and their fears, and their empty and honorless lives?

:oops, my bias is showing. I'll just tuck that back in:

   By max on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 05:05 am: Edit Post

Very good point! But happiness is a perception and the gouty, back stabbing, lying, cheating, townies seem to think they are happy. Not one of them would change places with clans. I don't blame you for being biased. There is hardly a town character in that book that is very likable at all. The mayor of Narms and his wife, and Elaine and Kevor seemed likable. maybe? smiling at ya.

   By Róisín on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 09:14 am: Edit Post

I've just reread FP and starting on GC - I've noticed that each time Lysaer is presented with news that shocks him back to himself - there IS a moment where he's about to 'get it' and about to step beyond the limits of his anger/hatred - and then a BELIEF kicks in... like the scene where he's told about Talith's death - he starts to grieve... "My dear, my dear..." but then he is drawn back to excusing beliefs: '...if it were not for the machinations of the enemy, I would have never have strayed from your side.' (I think it's 'strayed' and not 'left', in which case, interesting choice of word, no?)

Each time he chooses duty over love. Love, he sees as selfish because his upbringing conditioned him to believe that a Prince serves his people at all costs, duty above his needs - which is the moment I think that the mistwraith corrupts him, and NOT before - it can't corrupt honest feeling, that's the moment he has free will.

So... sympathy? The sympathy Lysaer needs is a compassionate slap upside the head... Arithon's sword seems to do that...

Then again - that would only suspend Lysaer for a moment - in the presence of Paravian statues, the F7 the priests of Ath's Brotherhood he is almost there, and then turns away, believing he is being deluded into softening towards Arithon, and then supplements HIS delusions as the truth.

Nope, he has to face it all himself. And THAT I feel empathy for, and I think others here do too. No-one likes to face the truth. And he has a LOT of truth to face. If he were to accept the truth of Arithon's innocence - then his cause is dust - and having all those souls on his conscience - he can't face. Imagine the moment when you realise, you've led all those people down the wrong path? *shudder* That's going to be TERRIBLE to face.

Arithon did face it - he even was challenged to see whether he would once again give into people's needs over his own, and instead he sang, and broke the cycle.

Sorry if I'm rehashing stuff others have realised already - I'm beginning to feel like I have a better understanding of the story, and love sharing the enjoyment of that.

   By Róisín on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 09:26 am: Edit Post

Hmm... one has to ask - if Arithon sang, and therefore ended the patterns that were draining him - what would Lysaer do?

Does he have no other wish than to be a ruler? He's got nothing other than the duty ahead of him? Does he have fun doing anything? Were he to arrive at the point of forming himself out of chaos - WHAT WOULD HE CREATE?

Or does he really not have any imagination? Lirenda 'tries to imagine him a young boy with scraped knees, and failed utterly' (misquote)

He tried it a bit after coming through the worldsend gate - but just got caught up with feeling sorry for himself. He didn't share that stuggle to redefine himself with anyone else.

Does he ever make paper aeroplanes out of parchment and toss them out of Avenor's tower windows?

   By Róisín on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 09:30 am: Edit Post

Ok.. paper birds... :P No aeroplanes on Athera... *cough* ** I'll stop posting now... really...

   By Hellcat on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 10:17 am: Edit Post

Rosin, Very well said. You captured my feelings about Lysaer completely.

I don't think Lysaer has any other dream/talent/desire than to be a ruler. He has always been bought up to be ruler, remeber how lots he was when he first got to Athera before he was told he was Prince of Tysan.


   By Róisín on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 11:12 am: Edit Post

Oh well - I'm going to post again. *grin*

Hellcat: regarding his pre-Tysan prince lost sense of direction, we're on the same page! :-)

He MUST have been have played at something as a kid, a hobby, a passion for bugs, SOMEthing... can it have been squashed utterly? Does anyone recall Lysaer doing something by himself and enjoying it?

   By Rurack on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 03:47 pm: Edit Post

[quote]Does anyone recall Lysaer doing something by himself and enjoying it?[/quote]

Yeah Talith and there was the the other women back on Dascen Elur. He's a ladies man. sorry girls the only explination I can think of. He lived for that. But the that option was "taken" away from him. More like he walked away from it!

Also I truely belive his father squashed every happy thing out of his life and blamed it on s'Ffalenn. So what was left to him? The mantle of office and the games of statecraft. He defines his existance on that. he was raised to always be a prince. At all times. You could infer that his father was always testing him to see if andy of his mother's "bad blood" would show. Lysear admits in COTM that he is nothing without his kingdom. What stopped him from devolping other talents. He's obviously smart enough to learn almost anything. He either choose or was forced to only look at statcraft, the besting of one's enemies, as the only true happiness.

And no I can't blame the curse for his actions. He did not HAVE to raise these armies. You can not tell me that there is not rouge spellcasters on Athera that would teach him spell craft. Nope he decided to drag the armies and nations into this war. Why? Because that is the only thing he knows

Or the books would not have been as good otherwise :-)

   By Leonie on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 03:31 am: Edit Post

After having now finished TK and then gone back and read CotM, I was struck by how easily Lysaer allowed his developing morals to be crushed by the curse. In the early stages of possession he is effectively completely mindless, but after the F7 have removed the wraith, he makes conscious choices - choices to lie, and to completely give up trying to sort out his moral dilemmas.

We see him in CotM slowly starting to understand the schism between the clans and the townborn, but struggling every step of the way with trying to reconcile a just rule. He has no clear cut moral safepoint in his own character from which to reason, and his struggle for integrity is quite rending. When the curse strikes after the F7 remove the possessing wraith, he has a choice to tell the truth to Diegan about his mother - his choice however is to lie - to say she was raped and that Arithon is the result of this. From that moment, he simply chooses to give up his internal moral dilemma and allow the curse to expand his dormant hatred (more likely fear, I suspect) of Arithon to overcome him and simply follow the path of least resistance while allowing adulation by the masses.

It also seems he has a "need" for adulation. He could have tried to get rid of Arithon's shadows from anywhere, however he picked the coronation dais - the most public place he could find. Maybe I'm judging him too harshly here, but I suspect there's a lot to him he won't even admit to himself.

Enough from me again!

   By Rurack on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 08:35 am: Edit Post

Dont read above post

unless you have read TK there is a big spoiler in there..... arg my insatiable curiosity gets me again

   By Janny Wurts on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 11:14 am: Edit Post

I didn't see any spoiler - all the references were to Curse of the Mistwraith proper. Nothing from TK, except that Louise had finished it. She nicely didn't mention anything that occurred in later volumes.

So, you're quite safe to read and respond if you haven't read the latest.

   By Sarah on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 01:00 pm: Edit Post

I think Leonie has hit on a major difference between Lysaer and Arithon. Throughout the series thus far (haven't got a hold of TK yet *sigh*) Lysaer consistently closes himself off from resposibility and emotion. His desire is to be loved by the masses not by his own family. Every time he is confronted by his actions he can either shift the resposibility on to some other scapegoat usually Arithon and the fellowship or he talks about how he sacrificed his happiness to see the spinner of darkness brought down.

Arithon OTOH, before Kewar, took all the resposibility and emotion onto himself believing that all those people died for him and keenly feeling each loss.

anyway that's my take being in the middle of PG reread.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all

   By Rurack on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 02:35 pm: Edit Post

I'm an idiot sorry I mistook "removed wraith" I thought she meant "removed wraith's curse" Feel free to throw eggs at me :-)
Sorry Leonie

   By Leonie on Thursday, December 23, 2004 - 02:51 pm: Edit Post


Oops, missed!!! :-) No problems Rurack. Have a lovely Christmas all.


   By Matthew on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 06:50 pm: Edit Post

I know in one of the threads i spawne i was pushing for people to take a second look at lysaer before judging him.. as i can't remember which it is i'll post on here what i found when re-readig... people doing re-reads may have already stumbled accross the passage i'm quoting from Peril's Gate, apologies if you already know it :-) (i think it's important that it comes from a reliable source, i hope it shows that lysaer doesnt just give in to the curse.. he just plain isnt equipped to fight it):

'the grip of Desh-thiere's curse subjugated its victim with a force that cancelled all mercy. More than once, jieret had borne witness to horror: he had seen the last trace of humanity extinguished from arithon's eyes. Lysaer was all the more sorrowfully vulnerable, lacking the course of arduous self-dicipline Rauven's mages had instilled in his half brother. The s'Ilessid prince had no resource to grapple the twisted obsession that drove him.' etc

   By DarthJazy on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 03:48 pm: Edit Post


I noticed that and also in TK there was a passage when he even states. "so my brother comitted no crimes" or soemthing like that. Everytime Lysaer almost has a grasp on what is really going on the curse seems to sink it jaws in a bit more. The books have even shown that before arithon mastered the curse his choices were corupted by curse Lysaer would be doubly or triply so.

   By Angus on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 04:21 pm: Edit Post

You Lysaer fans are making some headway. I have always had sympathy for the character because of what he was. He is easy to hate for what he has become. Perhaps Janny is trying to teach us some compassion for those we cannot hope to understand?

I still believe, and will venture as far as prediction, that Lysaer will have much to do in Arc IV and V with regards to the final defeat of the Mistwraith. I also predict a redemption of sorts, but it won't be either pretty or happy.

These things never end well (kind of like Opera), after all, and a Hollywood ending would be disappointing. Janny wouldn't do that to us.

Hey, this story would make a good Opera. You'd have to condense it a bit, but the story is full of tragedy and unrequited love. It's perfect for a heart-wrenching musical adaptation to the operatic stage.

You up to it, Janny?

   By Matthew on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 07:28 pm: Edit Post

I wouldn't call myself a Lysaer fan as such, i really do like all the characters Arithon included :-)... i know the prevailing feeling at one point seemed to be Lysaer was an arrogant, fanatical, murderous monster. So it seemed like someone should start doing some PR work for the guy :-)

He's set himself up as a messiah, i wonder if it'll be a case of him redeeming himself only to be sacrificed by the very people he was supposed to champion i.e. jesus and the jews.

   By Matthew on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 07:39 pm: Edit Post

hmm what i meant was that i don't consider myself a Lysaer fan 'exclusively' :-)

   By Angus on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 07:33 am: Edit Post

Whoa, there big fella. A comparison between Lysaer and Jesus Christ??????????? Let's see, a curse-driven murderer versus the only blameless person in history, who taught the world to "pursue peace"? Sorry, don't see the parallel.

Besides, Christian theology teaches that Christ had to be sacrificed, in order to be the perfect, blameless sacrifice to carry the punishment for all human sin, for all time. According to biblical scripture, it wasn't the Jews who set Christ up, God did, and Jesus knew the whole time. Also, there were some guys around called the Romans, who actually did the deed, and a particular Roman named Pilate who refused to step up and do something brave, because he was afraid of civil unrest and getting fired (Judea was a grave yard for Roman careers). Hence the phrase "wash my hands of it", when someone denies or avoids responsibility.

All the above being said, there are some very cunning people around Lysaer who understand how the "Messiah Effect" works. It is definitely possible that those evil b#$%@*ds (I mean that in the most derogatory way possible, not the Arithon way) would set up their avatar to perpetuate their false faith. The faith of Light does, after all, still exist in the 7th age (CotMW).

Still wondering about an Opera though. Even the name "The Wars of Light and Shadow" is right up there with the likes of "The Ring of Nibelung" (I probably spelled that wrong). I prefer the Italian masters over Wagner, though. Wagner was way too heavy handed. Maybe Pucini?

Just musing.

   By Trys on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:47 am: Edit Post


I would suggest the Sanhedrin (sp?) knew a thing or two about the "Messiah Effect" also and since they couldn't control Jesus of Nazareth they were more than willing to sacrifice him... not realizing a dead martyr is worth at least a thousand live gods. ;)


   By Matthew on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 03:08 am: Edit Post

Oh, I'm not saying there's a direct comparison, but there are quite afew superficial similarities.

I've never actually been to an opera =/ i suppose an epic of anykind could be turned into one though :-)

Also i love how people call Lysaer a murderous b*^%$%d but i still say if you sit down and look at the figures Arithon has killed or been the mastermind behind many more deaths then Lysaer (we only let him get away with this becuase hes 'hunted' and our 'hero'). Lysaer sets up the pins and Arithon knocks them down :-)

If arithon had just stayed at sea then there would be no target for him to have aimed at in the first place and the religion of light.. vastmark etc wouldnt have happened. Its Arithon's compassion that drives him back to land, he usually discovers that a friend is in danger and throws himself into their defence. Ironic that compassion has lead to more and more deaths. I wonder if the curse has been manipulating his compassion to keep striking up conflict when on better sense he could stay away and let others intervene.

Directly Lysaer has killed few men, even taking into account him burning his own companies (which again is caused by arithon triggering the curse and i dont think should be counted).

Honestly, im not a rabid Lysaer fan :-)

   By Angus on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 07:56 am: Edit Post

Sorry, I still don't see any similarities between Jesus and Lysaer.

This being said, I am jsut in CotMW where Lysaer and Arithon have been struck by the curse. I do have sympathy for Lysaer. However, he is more murderous than Arithon. He pursues Arithon, who often, as you say, is motivated by compassion to act. Arithon could simply stay at sea and do nothing, but in the face of institutional oppression, murder, injustice (ironic, huh?), persecution, etc. and so on? How could he, unless he was the heartless bastard Lysaer thinks he is.

The key is that both of them suffer from the curse, and in the first books it was more apparent. Arithon has now mastered the curse, but Lysaer is a merderous bastard because of the curse. He wasn't one before.

However, note Janny's description of Lysaer after he blasted Arithon from the balcony in the square in Etarra:

"Clear-cut as a cameo, the prince's profile reflected the inborn nobility of his lineage; no shadow showed of the evil that had blighted life and honour. Unwitting pawn of ill circumstance, Lysaer had yet to waken and feel the change that disbarred him from royal inheritance."

The "unwitting pawn of ill circumstance" part seems to indicate that Lysaer's responsibility for being a murderous bastard is somewhat limited, despite the other passages I know are going to be flung at me.

I still say that Lysaer will be redeemed somehow, albeit without an "all's well that ends well" result.

As far as Opera is concerned, I don't know a lot either. I just though it was a neat idea, born out of my thought that the sroty, as far as the characters is concerned, will not end well. The opera thought actually comes from Bugs Bunny ("kill the wabbit!): "what do you expect from an Opera, a happy ending?!?"


   By Hunter on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 08:10 am: Edit Post


Lysaer - a character from a fantasy fiction series who is purported to be divinity incarnate - or god birthed. The Religion he is alleged to have founded exists in the 7th Age, the origins and truths of which are lost in the mists of time, are coloured by the prejudices and opinions of subsequent zealots and fanatics over the ages and used as a powerful tool to subjugate and control the unenlightened masses.

Jesus - a character from a collection of fantasy fiction stories who is purported to be god birthed. The religion he is alleged to have founded exists two millennia later, the origins and truths of which are lost in the mists of time, are coloured by the prejudices and opinions of subsequent zealots and fanatics over the ages and used as a powerful tool to subjugate and control the unenlightened masses.

Seems pretty clear to me.

Lysaer just now has to say he is speaking Ath's will to complete the picture..

   By Angus on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 09:24 am: Edit Post


I have replied to your last post by regular e-mail.


   By Jeffrey L Watson on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 02:00 pm: Edit Post

Let us be careful in how we state our views so as not to offend others' belief systems. That said I would also ask that anyone who is offended by any post in this topic practice tolerance. I certainly do not want a religious war in this topic, or any other.



   By Matthew on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 02:44 pm: Edit Post

Aye, i dont want any ill feeling going on. I'd rather withdraw my statement then upset anyone. I wasn't intending the comparison in a derogatory fashion.

   By Angus on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 03:46 pm: Edit Post

Matthew: No offence was meant, that is obvious, and none was taken. You used the word "superficial" with regard to similarities, which is an important distinction. I'm cool with what you said.

Perhaps we should start a new chat area off Janny's page, to deal with metaphysical issues, like comparative religion, and whether or not athiests have a belief system (they do believe in "nothing" after all). We could call it "What The...?!?" or "The Gods Must Be Crazy". Sorry for the trademark violation, Trys, but I couldn't resist.

Oh, Oh. How about a new area on this page, for ideas on the modern Opera: Wars of Light and Shadow. We could steal from both Wagner and Bugs Bunny with Lysaer's solo:

"Kill the Bastard! Kill the Bastard!"

Well, how 'bout it?

   By Matthew on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 05:21 pm: Edit Post

i can imagine a daffy and bugs moment with lysaer and arithon pushing the gun back and too :-).. only bugs would throw himself infront of daffy at the last moment if he was arithon =/
whod be elmer? :-)

   By Matt Wright on Friday, June 15, 2007 - 06:29 pm: Edit Post

Dakar might fit the bill as an Elmer Fudd-type character, yes?

   By Hunter on Saturday, June 16, 2007 - 02:24 am: Edit Post

I saw your note Angus, I will reply separately.

   By Matthew on Saturday, June 16, 2007 - 03:50 am: Edit Post

actually that's a brilliant choice, i bet it'd work really well as dakar did swing loyalties :-)

   By Trys on Saturday, June 16, 2007 - 08:57 am: Edit Post

Actually I think this board is an appropriate place to discuss metaphysics and comparative religion (favorite subjects of mine), so long a it is done tactfully... and if it does not relate to the stories then it should be in the Miscellaneous area.

   By fhcbandmom on Saturday, June 16, 2007 - 05:36 pm: Edit Post

Back to Lysaer - I think he had some major character issues BEFORE the curse took control. He did not treat with Arithon well when they were banished thru the gate, he displayed jealousy numerous times on the road with Arithon, Dakar and Asandir. The curse twisted what was already there. (But I do still hope for his redemption in some form or other.)

   By Eshi on Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 11:02 am: Edit Post

Just a couple of things I would like to resuscitate in this resuscitated thread:

Lysaer _has had_ freedom from the curse to make a choice, most recently I believe in the grove of Ath's initiates, which he declined by own free will. I did find on my latest re-read that it frustrates me that he is continually presented with options, just out of fingertips reach, with the power to change him (for instance, his wedding night with Ellaine) and they just keep slipping away. I appreciate him as a character that he isn't a slathering, claw-handed, gore-dripping, power-mad, evil head honcho with nothing but subjugated masses in mind, but has genuinely believable motivations - the s'Ahelas foresight leading him to realise that the Fellowship don't have humanity at the top of their list of priorities (true) and that someone has to champion them instead to improve their prospects for the future. I find it funny to think that for someone who thought he had so much to lose when he first came through that Worldsend Gate, Athera is a far larger playground than Dascen Elur.

Also, re Angus' comment about Arithon - has not only come back from sea for 'compassion' as for instance saving the clan bloodlines is going to (or so I speculate) be extremely important to the future of humanity if the Paravians return.

   By Hunter on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - 06:25 pm: Edit Post

Angus - slight correction. You say, above, whether or not athiests have a belief system (they do believe in "nothing" after all). The definition of an atheist is:
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
I would argue, rather vociferously, that all people have their own beliefs. Particular labels are then applied, rightly or wrongly, to differentiate those that believe one thing from those that believe another. In this particular case, christianity believes in a supernatural being who designed the world about six millennia ago, atheists subscribe to a different view of how this all came about. To be told one believes in "nothing" is perhaps not a nice thing to say.

On a completely different topic: if Lysaer is supposedly "divinity incarnate" and the supposed supernatural being of the Atheran universe is Ath, does this mean:

   By Kam on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - 10:01 pm: Edit Post

I'm not sure divinity has to be associated with a "God"

In the scene where Kevor is about to be burnt to a crisp, there's a comment about his childhood faith (rather, his mother's) being Ath and not Lysaer's "Light" -

It sounds more like Light is not an alternate God, but something everyone will think of as... righteous.

We might as well say Lysaer was the incarnation of Good; not really a god as such, just a vague concept people would universally accept as (for lack of a better word) good.

Besides, Ath isn't a god (I think I remember Janny saying this somewhere but may have mangled it up) and was never worshipped actively - I imagine alot of townies are probably quite hazy on the whole Ath thing and are content just to cuss with it (like how most people use the word "hell," perhaps).

   By Derek Coventry on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 02:30 am: Edit Post

I'm just finishing my re-read of TK, and I find the second read can invoke more sympathy for Lysaer. Janny's skilled brushwork with words effect the reader's empathy with the characters that sweep you into the saga. A leisurely re-read enables you to absorb how she does it.

   By Dirdle on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 11:15 am: Edit Post


* Lysaer's religion should be Religion of Ath?
* Lysaer is really an Ath's Adept?
* If sent by Ath, is he then really a Paravian?
* Or, if all of Ath's works (Paravians, Fellowship, Ath's Adepts) are really evil incarnate and Lysaer wasn't sent by Ath, then is Lysaer an alternate God?

I imagine Lysaer and the Priests had this sorted out in much the same way that Christianity dealt with the difficulties of converting 'pagans' (read: the varied non-Abrahamic religions in Europe following the fall of the Roman empire and preceding the rise of the church as European superpoer). They'll steal the good bits and claim them as their own, pretend any similarity between the myths and legends of the old religion and their own is due to either the old myths being right-ish, but our new version is right-er, or else simply claim that Arithon created 'false' messiahs/prophets/Avatars of Light in order to tempt people away from the Tru Faith(TM), and finally burn everything else.

Back on topic: yes, I do sympathise with Lysaer. He may be a complete (insert your favoured insult here), but he's got some damn fine motives (note: spoilers in this. You've been warned):
He's lost the opportunity to be mage-trained (although he did refuse a point-blank offer, he's also described as quite envious of Arithon's magecraft at several points in CotM). He's lost his inheritance on Dascen Elur. He's lost his freedom, right down to the level of thinking, due to being cursed. He's lost his first and second good friends on Athera (Dakar and Diegan). He's lost his wife and One True Love. He's lost his second wife, someone he valued if not loved. He's lost his son and heir. He's lost a lot of his dignity, through both stooping to creating what he must know is a false religion in order to control his people, and through enslavement to necromancy. He's lost the honour and integrity he tried for at the start through his enslavement of the clans. He's drawing closer to losing another close friend, Sulfin Evend.
(List not comprehensive).

Lysaer has lost just about everything important to him, much of it through no real fault of his own. It's perfectly plausible to look at the scene and stop doing the easy thing and seeing Arithon as a 'good' guy. He is a whiny, pathetic, spineless crybaby, from a negative point of view. Not to mention a mass murderer and Luddite.
I have written myself to the conclusion that both brothers are equally detestable. I can only hope that we reach the simplest conclusion, and they kill each other. The resulting explosion conveniently destroys all books/crystals/people with the knowledge to save them by any means. Then we get a follow-up 'comic relief' series describing how Dakar poses as a Koriani, Lirenda hooks up with Kevor and Davien discusses philosophy with the last remaining wraith from Marak and a Dragon.

   By Angus on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 11:54 am: Edit Post


I agree, I short-labelled atheism, which you correctly define, and I apologize for the unintentional slight. I think I was quoting a comedian from some distant tv show, but I can't remember who that was. Doesn't make it right, and I am sorry.

I disagree with your statement that Christians believe that the world was created 6 millenia ago. In fact, that is the subject of rather intense theological debate. Some Christians do believe that, whereas many others take the view that Genesis, being originally oral, was written for nomadic shepherds living 5000 years ago, and therefore is at least partly allegorical, especially as it concerns creation. It is interesting to note that the order of creation in Genesis is identical to the order contained in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. A great many Christians, Jews and Muslims (all three faiths use what to Christians is the Old Testament) believe that the creation story is simply condensed and simplified for the audience of 5000 years ago, not literally true, but figuratively true, because the audience at the time was quite simply incapable of grasping the concept of billions of years, let alone a being existing outside of time. Darwin himself was a devout Christian and adherent of the Anglican Church, and my understanding is that he did not find his theory at odds with his faith.

Fun stuff, eh? Even for a person of faith, I can understand why an atheist or an agnostic holds the views that they do. Faith, by its very nature, is not explainable. I used to be an agnostic, after all, and I am happy to celebrate diversity.

Back to Lysaer again. I am going through FP right now (and getting worried I won't get through the next three books in time!), and when he gets kicked out of the compact at Althain, Ath's adept notes that Lysaer will be redeemed in the future. In fact, the F7 is very plain that Lysaer's abilities are key, with Arithon's, to the final defeat of the Mistwraith. Sethvir gained understanding at that moment that the key to restoring Traithe (and thus the F7) lay in the Mistwraith's defeat, as he had burned away corrupted parts of himself when he battled Desh-Thiere at South Gate.

Posed for your consideration:

Desh-Thiere did not curse the brothers for what they did at Ithamon. It cursed them because it is trying to prevent them from doing something in the future.

I'd LOVE to hear from Janny on this one!

   By Dirdle on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 12:09 pm: Edit Post

Apologies in advance. I'm going to seem quite rude, I expect, but it is time that many religious people learn that saying "you can't dispute that, it's religious" is a pathetic piece of evasion. Hopefully, you'll not prove to be one of them.
One other thing before I begin: I'm NOT attacking your right to have opinions. I am attacking THE OPINIONS THEMSELVES, and also the way in which they are often presented (as something 'holy' that cannot be gainsaid).


I disagree with your statement that Christians believe that the world was created 6 millenia ago. In fact, that is the subject of rather intense theological debate. Some Christians do believe that, whereas many others take the view that Genesis, being originally oral, was written for nomadic shepherds living 5000 years ago, and therefore is at least partly allegorical, especially as it concerns creation. It is interesting to note that the order of creation in Genesis is identical to the order contained in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. A great many Christians, Jews and Muslims (all three faiths use what to Christians is the Old Testament) believe that the creation story is simply condensed and simplified for the audience of 5000 years ago, not literally true, but figuratively true, because the audience at the time was quite simply incapable of grasping the concept of billions of years, let alone a being existing outside of time.

Rubbish. The original OT uses the Hebrew word for day in a manner which excludes any other interpretation (ie billions of years). And even if it didn't, the 'events of Genesis' are in no way ordered even similarly to Darwinian Evolution. Look it up at the skeptic's annotated bible. Click the links on the right for analyses of what's being said in the verses.
Or to put it another way:
God creates flowering plants before insects needed to polinate them (ok if the plants'll only be around a day or so, not so good if they've got to hang in for millions or billions of years).
God creates whales and birds before reptiles and insects. Birds evolved from reptiles. Whales are also quite recent, being a return to the seas for mammals, which evolved on land from reptiles. Insects were THE FIRST non-water based animals. But they're put in the next-to-last group.
God makes 'cattle.' Cattle were selectively bred, by humans. They didn't appear until after mankind. Not so in Genesis.
Finally, us imperfect humans appear. Oh wait - we're made 'in the image' of a perfect God. Pretty shoddy workmanship, really. If I were an architect, I'd fire builders who turned my perfect, flawless designs into houses as far from them as humans are from perfection.
Heck, could a perfect being even make imperfect beings?


Darwin himself was a devout Christian and adherent of the Anglican Church, and my understanding is that he did not find his theory at odds with his faith

Wrong again. Darwin began as a Christian, and would have trained for the ministry had a set of fortuitous circumstances not set him on a path to greatness. But his theory of evolution slowly eroded his faith, and he died an uneasy agnostic (anything you've heard about deathbed conversion is big time BS). See this wikipedia article, as an ok example of this fact.

Finally: you say that many regard much of the bible as 'allegorical', and I take it that you do so too. How does one judge what is true, and what is just metaphor? Possibly more importantly, what is, say, all or any of Leviticus a metaphor for? is a really good source for all things bible-related. It looks at it critically, and although it may seem biased to someone very used to hearing only the 'nice bits' and praise for those bits, but really it's far less one-sided than many biblical sources.

   By Lyssabits on Thursday, September 20, 2007 - 01:44 pm: Edit Post

As much as I hate to disagree, you really *can't* argue with religion. Why? Because it's not based on rational logic. That's not a dig, it's just fact. And I think people who try and argue their religion is right factually are just as silly as people who try to argue against people's religion factually. Faith is not rational, it's not meant to be, isn't that the point? Religious people may try to use logic to rationalize what they believe with what science tells us, and honestly, I can't really find it in me to fault them for it. It's so much better than the alternative.

Flowering plants -- there are plenty of flowing plants that don't need pollinators. I'm not defending the religious arguments as I am not religious, but yanno, just putting that out there. ;) I used to work with such plants, in our greenhouse where pollinating insects were strictly verboten. Having them around would have totally screwed up our experiments.
I think you could make the argument that while modern cattle are indeed a result of selective breeding and are completely different than their original parents, it's not like they started breeding with rabbits -- there were wild cattle (I think aurochs were the progenitors of modern cattle, but I'm by no means an expert on this). They're extinct now, but they were still there.

Plenty of scientists, past and present, have been able to resconsile their belief in Christianity with the science they dealt with every day. Gregor Mendel, father of genetics was a monk after all. And I applaud them for it, and respect their faith. I can't share it, but their willingness to embrace both science and religion I think is admirable and not worthy of the scorn they so often receive.

So let's not fight. This is so WILDLY off topic anyways. Bring up religion within the context of this story I think is somewhat appropriate since yanno, Lysaer is a religious figure -- I think attacking real life Christianity is not at all relevant to the topic at hand.

   By Dirdle on Friday, September 21, 2007 - 11:17 am: Edit Post


As much as I hate to disagree, you really *can't* argue with religion. Why? Because it's not based on rational logic. That's not a dig, it's just fact. And I think people who try and argue their religion is right factually are just as silly as people who try to argue against people's religion factually. Faith is not rational, it's not meant to be, isn't that the point? Religious people may try to use logic to rationalize what they believe with what science tells us, and honestly, I can't really find it in me to fault them for it. It's so much better than the alternative.

I agree, to an extent. Religion and science can exist side-by-side peacefully, but only so long as religion doesn't make too many (preferably any) claims about the world's nature, history, future, or any other thing that really belongs in the scientific domain. I don't mind people being 'spiritual.' I think they're idiots who can't accept the world as it is and in desperation turn to homocentric pseudo-science and quasi-philosophy, but I can tolerate it. So long as they don't introduce auras and angels into the science classroom, fine.
The same applies to belief in gods. I understand fully that not everyone wants to confront reality. That's ok, not everyone has to. It would be nice if they did, but they don't, so it doesn't matter. Go ahead and believe what you like, but don't infringe on other's rights by doing so.

Finally, don't expect your beliefs to go unchallenged. I'm not going to force anyone to change their beliefs; but I might point out where attempts to reconcile them with science go awry (generally big-time awry), and I might seem very interrogative when it comes to asking questions. I don't intend to oppress or convert anyone. I just want to know how religion can answer certain questions that pertain to its nature, or the nature of the no-man's-land between religion and science.

I'll also sign the cease-fire regarding religion, having had my parting words. Back on topic now.

I think Lysaer's RoL appeals very much to human nature. 'Light' is full of positive connotations. Christianity does much the same thing, appealing to people's base desires (surviving death, good people get rewarded, bad people get punished etc). The two have many similarities; similarities shared by the majority religions around the world and in fiction. I quite like the idea of 'memetic evolution' to explain this - ideas getting selected inside the memeworld of human brains in much the same way genes are selected in the real world. Those ideas with intrinsic appeal to human nature spread to more people, and hence are more 'successful.'

Returning once more to the topic: given that the RoL works so well because of its intrinsic appeal to human wants, then there are only two ways to truly stop it. Either create an even more appealing (and, probably, even less true) religion in competition with it. This could be done by building on the religion of the Sanpashir tribes, but I doubt it would appeal to people as much as the RoL. Or, enact a massive change in human nature across an entire continent. Could a masterbard do that in, say, half a millenium? Sounds a little too much like repetitive hard work for Arithon's taste though.

The non-conflicting options are:
Leave the religion alone.
Hijack it. This seems likely. Turning the whole system against its founding principles is both efficient and allows sufficient leverage to wrap up all existing plot htreads without contradiction. It's also completely in line with Arithon's desires for victory, which would seem to be uniting mankind under one banner. If he can manage that, I doubt he'll mind if the banner sports a sunwheel.

   By Konran on Saturday, September 22, 2007 - 02:46 pm: Edit Post

As I reread through the series, I find myself seeing Lysaer as the "better" character, in a literary sense. Here we have Arithon, who has all these super-cool powers (mage talent, Masterbard, his shadow powers, etc...), always manages to get out of whatever desperate situation he's in, is almost as powerful as a Fellowship Sorcerer, manages to do spells without his mage talent through his musical gift... it's *almost* too much after a while. Yes, he screws up, sometimes with major consequences, but he always comes out of it pretty much fine.

Lysaer, on the other hand, is a flawed being whose own shortcomings cause his downfall. He had to work and slave for every inch of his light powers that he now commands (yes, Arithon probably had to work to master his powers as well, but he was *trained*, and we don't get to see it, he just *has* them.) Lysaer continually has chances to leave the path he's walking, and because of his own pride, or vanity, or sense of martyrdom, he denies those chances and keeps going. He enjoys being needed too much to stop, he enjoys being the "savior" of an entire world, and if he lets himself admit that Arithon's really done nothing wrong and doesn't deserve to be hunted down, he loses that, so he doesn't allow himself to see. The Mistwraith's curse probably augments that feeling.

"Light" and "Dark" are very powerful archetypal symbols and the human mind does associate light with goodness, righteousness, power, the ability to see... whereas darkness is always scary, evil, unknown, cunning in the backstabby sort of way. It's only natural that people are going to flock to Lysaer and fear Arithon. Lysaer almost doesn't have to do anything... all he has to do is say, "Hey, that guy over there has evil darkness powers and he's using them to hurt people," and the masses are going to panic and demand a lynching. If the tables were turned and Arithon was telling people, "Yo, that Lysaer guy's light powers are killing people and being used for bad," I don't think as many people would have had that knee-jerk reaction and wanted his head. Symbols are insanely powerful tools for guiding the minds of the masses.

I'm interested to see the lasting impact of Lysaer's religion on Athera.

   By Clansman on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 10:27 am: Edit Post


This is now the FIFTH time I have tried to respond. I have been booted by my week ISP every time. Very frustrating, and I am changing ISPs in the very near future. Mine only lets me do relatively short posts on this Chat Room right now, for some unknown reason.

Perhaps it was divine intervention, giving me even more time to think about my reply? (I have written that at least twice now).

Darwin: You are right. I am sorely wrong. I am guilty of shoddy research and arrogance, and I beg your forgiveness. I based my comments on something I read twenty years ago, and I obviously misremembered most of it.

Genesis identical to order of Evolution: Again, you are right. However, I beg the indulgence of changing my word "identical", which I used quite carelessly, to "generally similar", which is what I really meant. I know, that argument rings somewhat hollow after being dealt something of a comeuppance, but it is true. I was simply careless with my language.

Regarding determining which books of the Bible are allegorical and which are factual, the answer can only be determined by reading them. Curiously, the Bible is one of the best sellers annually on the planet, but it is notorious for collecting dust. Genesis, for instance, is certainly allegorical until you hit Abraham, and then the allegory is interlaced with traces of history. The history part grows as time goes on, and the allegory seems to reduce its presence by the time you get to Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat. That is the view of this humble reader.

Exodus (Genesis through to Deuteronomy were written by Moses) is the first book written by a first hand witness: Moses. It is mostly historical. The miraculous parts we can only really guess at, and either accept or deny. There are often scientific explanations for the miraculous phenomena cited by Moses. To ancient peoples, these would have been nothing but supernatural. I submit that having a natural explanation makes them no less miraculous.

The Book of Job is wholly allegorical, and it is speculated that it was originally a play. Can you imagine Satan, the enemy of God, waltzing into Heaven and having a chat with the Almighty without even so much as a by-your-leave:

"Yo, Yahweh! Have you checked out how rotten your world is lately"

"Oh, it's you. Have you considered my loyal servant Job..."

Not bloody likely! But the book illustrates a number of important spiritual concepts and crises, and how to deal with them. Whole books have been written about this one book, and it has been instructive for people throughout the ages about how to deal with crises in their lives.

Leviticus, which you cite, is easy. It's an instruction book, plain and simple, on how to be a Hebrew. It sets out the standards of behaviour, the festivals and holy days, the ceremonies, the offerings, the ways that the priests were to do things, and even rules for hygiene and community living.

Many other books are historical narrative, though accuracy is always open for debate (such as the Gospels). Others, like Leviticus, are instructive, like the letters of Paul, Peter, James, and John. There are the prophetic books of the Old Testament, from Isaiah to Malachi, and of the New (Revelation), which are prophecy, and prone to constant misinterpretation.

Then there are the praises of Psalms, and the wisdom of Proverbs. The beauty of the Song of Solomon cannot be denied, and it is incredibly sensual.

That is how I interpret the various books of the Bible. It is easier if you read them first, though.

In your second post on this topic, you comment on the nature of Christianity being appealing (eternal life, good get rewarded, bad get punished). RUBBISH.

Firstly, eternal life with God is not a reward for good behaviour. It is the simple gift of God for those who choose to accept that gift. One must remember that God is perfect and holy, and cannot tolerate anything unholy. His justice is also perfect, so if you mess up (which we all do daily), you are out. We cannot enter heaven by being perfectly holy, because humans are incapable of following all the rules.

God tempers his perfect justice with the mercy of the Gift: Jesus Christ, the perfect, flawless sacrifice, who died blameless on the Cross to wash away the inequities of humanity.

Christian theology is very clear on this point. Those who live good lives receive the rewards for living that kind of life here on earth. These rewards tend to be the peace of mind and having the respect of your fellow-person kind. For bad people, similarly their punishment is here on earth. If you live a bad life, don't whine about the consequences. If you kill somebody, expect to be punished. Plain and simple.

Good people don't go to heaven. Bad people don't go to heaven. Those who have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross get to go to heaven. Period. It is only by the Grace of God that people are admitted to paradise, and there is nothing on this earth that we can do to gain admittance, except accepting Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our inequity.

This point is like a jumping contest. This is a poor metaphor, so please forgive its inadequacy. Suppose that a bad person is only able to jump a few inches. A pretty good person jumps a few feet. A high jumper jumps over two metres. However, the successful competitor must jump all the way to the Moon. The Christian believes that only the Grace of Jesus Christ can lift us there, so one's ability to jump is irrelevant.

Therefore, to finish the illustration, the agnostic who works hard her whole life, who contributes to society, pays taxes, raises good children, volunteers with Oxfam or World Vision or at the local shelter, donates to worthy charities, is eternally separated from God at death (Hell. The character of hell is a whole other theological debate). The death-row serial killer who genuinely repents of his horrible existence and accepts Christ as his Saviour, enjoys the eternal presence of God, even though he is going to be executed shortly. Consider the thieves on the crosses beside Jesus. One accepted Him, and despite being a thief and a murderer, he was promised he would be in paradise that very day. The other didn't, and was condemned.

It doesn't seem fair, but the point is that without divine intervention, which the individual must ask for, you remain separated from God. So you can have bad Christians who go to heaven, and good agnostics who don't. It does not make sense to human values, but God's ways are not our ways.

Image of God? Apparently we look like Him, but we don't act like Him. He gave us freedom of choice, and we abused it, and continue to do so. That's not His fault, it's ours, because we do know what basic good behaviour is, but refuse to behave well. But it's better than being sheep.

Finally, Dirdle, I must say that I find your tolerance somewhat, well, intolerant. It appears that anyone of faith, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Druse, animist, et cetera, is an "idiot" who refuses to see the real world for what it is. I could respond in kind, but that's not what Jesus would do (WWJD). So I will try to emulate Him, and simply say I respect your right to say whatever you wish, and please know that you are loved.

I do accept the world for what it is. I also accept that there are amazing mysteries that I do not understand, and that science does not understand. Some things we will never understand. Science, in its own way, is a religion of sorts, with its own religious rules. It has told us to do things that have turned out to be utterly wrong, and then changes its mind (anyone remember eugenics? I believe that it was based on the Theory of Evolution). Sounds a bit like the Christian church of the last 2000 years and some of the horrible things that it has done.

I know that I have probably not answered all of your criticisms, but I must end this sometime, or I might be squished off again. In my four previous attempts to post this response, I mentioned other things that I have either forgotten now or have edited. I agree wholeheartedly with Lyssabits. The argument is somewhat impossible, as the lack of understanding of faith puts consensus out of reach. I appreciate her views. Also, we ARE wildly off topic.

Needless to say, I am happy to debate these things. I do not hold with some of my fellow believers, that some things are inviolate. Debate tends to make my faith stronger, as it makes me think about it more, and probe it, challenge it. I am a man of learning, and yet still I believe in things that seem pretty unbelievable. That is because I have seen their impact in the lives around me, and because I know my God loves me, and everyone else.


   By Clansman on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 10:29 am: Edit Post



I am happy to debate this further outside of this chat area. You can reach me at the e-mail in my profile.


   By Dirdle on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 12:12 pm: Edit Post

Angus: my biggest issue is that you say I am 'intolerant'. I'll address ONLY that here. More later on other debates.
Although it might seem intolerant to say what I think of religion, please remember that it's not my fault if I offend anyone. I'm just exercising free speech. If you are offended, that's not my fault. If you really don't want to be offended by anything, ever, I suggest you cut yourself off from all new information, starting now. The world is not out to avoid offending you. Nor do you have to live every moment in the fear that someone is being offended by you.

Regarding religious debate: I really don't care for going over all of this. I've done it before, and doubtless I'll do it again, but to be honest it gets really tiring, making good points and valid requests ("show me the evidence" etc), only to have one's opposition fall straight back to it being a matter of "faith" (to make my counterpoint in brief: is it a matter of faith or science if you step off a skyscraper in the sincere belief that you can fly?).

Anyway, if you want to pursue the debate, or merely want to learn a little more about the Bible, morality, religion, and why I can't stnad another circular go-nowhere 'debate', head over to the evilbible forums, where there are friendly people, myself included, who can make my points both more eloquently, and, importantly, under far better moderation, than I could using e-mail.
Yes, I know it sounds very offensive. The 'evilbible' name is MEANT to be shocking. The forum users are perfectly nice, though, but be warned - we have two 'golden rules', if you will. One, have your evidence/sources ready. Two, don't keep trying to say something after it's been proven wrong. We call that lying, and lying gets you banned. Three, answer the questions you're asked. Four, try not to be too specific in how many items you say will be in a list.

Really though, if you're quite certain that Christianity is right, and you have enough evidence to prove it, and you don't leave any big logical holes in your argument, you'd be able to convert everyone on the site. Rule two, remember.

   By Clansman on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 02:03 pm: Edit Post

I think that I will attempt as you suggest. However, who decides when something proven wrong? Who has that authority, and how did they obtain it? Also sounds like the decisions have already been made in evilbible forum. Should I try to argue with those who don't even want to try to understand the nature of faith? Or are there people there with truly open minds? I like brick walls to build with, not to hit my head against.

Also, this is my only chat place. I don't have time for another, and the one you suggest sounds strangely similar to preparing for trial...Too much like work. If I get the time, I'll jump in.

Your statement about free speech is sophistry, and blantantly wrong at law (welcome to my world). A person, if they are invoking a freedom, must be responsible for their exercise of that freedom. I submit for your consideration that if you use an insulting word to describe someone's intellectual abilities because they believe in something that is not necessarily logical by your standards, you will have to take responsibility for that comment. If they are offended, then I suggest that it may be perfectly reasonable for them to be offended. This is the basis of Human Rights legislation in my country, and I suspect others as well. Your comment, if it was uttered during your employment, would have had you or your employer in front of a Human Rights Tribunal in very short order.

Personally, I wasn't offended, because I consider that specific comment uninformed and of little value, as you know nothing about me upon which to base your opinion that I or any other person of faith is an "idiot". Certainly, there are some who are. But not all.

If a person goes too far, and gets too specific, you can actually be sued for it. This is called the tort of libel or slander (aka defamation, and specifically libel in this instance), and it is a restriction on your free speech that can have dire consequences for the speaker of careless remarks. You can say "Christians are idiots" (which, I submit again, is obviously offensive to anyone who isn't an "idiot"), because it does not ipugn a specific person, but you can't say "Angus is an idiot" or "Hunter is an idiot" or "Blue is an idiot" (THESE ARE EXAMPLES, PEOPLE. I'M NOT PICKING ON ANYONE!).

Perhaps you are an anarchist (the true, peaceful kind?) who believes in unrestricted freedoms? That won't ever work on a planet with over 7 billion people. To live in community, we must accept that there are reasonable limits on our freedoms. Those limits exist where our neighbour's freedoms begin, and are governed by the Rule of Law. It is a difficult balancing act, yes, but necessary.

For the balance of what you said about faith, given your unwillingness to seek understanding of those who have a faith, I'll follow the Penguins advice in "Madagascar" (Also the Headstones, who really rock):

"Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave."

We don't agree on it, so there is no more point talking about it in here and boring the rest of the denizens with our harping at each other. I still like you for the person you are. You do like Janny's books, after all, and you are most certainly not an idiot.

I think we should agree to carry on the conversation elsewhere, such as in your evilbible forum, but no longer here. As Lyssabits so ably pointed out, we are WAAAAAY off topic.


   By Lyssabits on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 02:53 pm: Edit Post

Don't make me break you two up again. =P

Although with regards to the defamation charge.. technically, I don't think this is defamation. My understanding of defamation of character cases is the person being defamed has to have their reputation hurt by another person's comments, and those comments also have to be KNOWINGLY untrue and stated as a fact. Or they have to be statements that a reasonable person could not possibly come to make. (I shall use a more benign example than religion..) I can say you're a WoW hater. ;) You're on record as making anti-WoW statements. Now, you could secretly be a closet WoW player, but given what I've seen you say, I come to the assumption that you hate it, and I say so. I say this at BlizzardCon and get all the other fans riled up against you and possibly hurt your reputation as a result. That's all legal, I believe. However if there's a rash of WoW-player deaths in your hometown, I can't say that you stalk and kill WoW players because you're a WoW hater if that's not actually the case.

Besides, this is all academic. Dirdle's statements are opinions and in fact, not about a specific person. They're directed at you because you started the conversation, but nothing more. But I think you can think anything you want about someone and say so. Dirdle said, "I think they're idiots who can't accept the world as it is." Clearly an opinion. And there's no way for you to prove harm, since Dirdle didn't say anything that would harm you. No one here is going to think you more or less an idiot than they already did just because Dirdle says he thinks so. (I think most people already have their minds made up about how they feel about religion and religious people, and aren't likely to be swayed.) I already thought you were an idiot because of your insults towards people who couldn't afford to pre-order the book because they prioritized things differently than you did. ;) As hostile as Dirdle has been, I personally think you skated way closer to defamation with the WoW thread and other comments directed towards DarthJazzy than he did with the religion bashing. It's just a lot easier to bash nerds than Christians and get away with it. Yet here I am, arguing for your right to believe whatever you want without getting yelled at as just as vehemently as I was for DarthJazzy's right to play WoW without getting yelled at.

Now let us all chill out and get back to the real discussion. ;) That Lysaer, he sure should be sued for defamation of character...

   By Clansman on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 03:41 pm: Edit Post

I agree, Lyssabits. However, I was only talking about defamation as a limit on free speech. I don't think that what Dirdle said was defamatory either, because it wasn't referring to a specific person.

Also, you don't have to prove damage to recover in a defamation case. Take my word for it as a lawyer. The defamation of the character in and of itself creates the damages. I know this, because I have just researched this issue extensively, being involved in a defamation case currently before the Court. Defences to defamation are that the comment was true, or that the person did not have a reputation worthy of being damaged by the defamatory comment.

Nice bit about WoW! I actually know I'd like it, that's why I stay away from it. I also said I was sorry. It was a poor attempt at sarcasm, from one nerd to another, and was faintly idiotic. I am somewhat fanatical about promoting Janny's books, and lost my way. Can I stop digging in this older hole now? Your example would have been a good Law School exam question. I may not have had a cause of action in defamation for the convention thing, but I would have had one for intentional incitement to cause bodily harm or for negligence.
Are you sure there isn't a university professor lurking inside you somewhere?

Lysaer should be up on war crimes, not just defamation!

   By Lyssabits on Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 04:03 pm: Edit Post

You don't have to prove damages? Interesting. Seems like that would be sort of crucial to the whole exercise, since otherwise what would be your (legal) motivation? I mean, generally there aren't laws against hurting people's feelings. Or are you saying you don't have to *prove* damages, just the possibility that there could have been damages?

Not sure what's up with the university professor thing.. I mean, you don't have to be a professor to like to think about these things. I'm a scientist. I like hypothetical situations, thinking about how something in a system interacts with all the other parts of that system. It's proving it that's tough in my line of work -- nature is so messy. It rarely does what you think it should. But I never want to be a professor, I'd have to spend all my time writing grant proposals and that's so boooring.

   By Clansman on Friday, October 12, 2007 - 08:57 am: Edit Post

RE: damages for defamation. You simply have to prove that the comment was untruthful and defamatory. The assessment of damages is based on what courts have previously determined the particular kind of defamation, or damage to the reputation, was worth. It is very difficult to quantify these kind of damages.

In addition to the reputation damage, if you claim additional damages, they have to be proven. Such as "I lost my job because you said I was a WoW hater". If my job was with the company that produces WoW, that might be provable. If it was with a rival, that's a tougher sell. If the employer said "I fired him because you said he hates WoW", and if the comment about hating WoW was not true, then there would be additional damages, which must be proven, for the loss of employment.

All of the above being said, a defamation action is one of the hardest to prosecute, because of the nature of speech, the nature of truth (there is some perspective involved), and the difficulty of the damages argument. They are way easier to defend.

The university professor thing comes from the scenario you proposed. It was an excellent exam question, because in law school examinations, one of the main things asked of the student is to identify the different issues. You posed a defamation scenario, but there were other torts in there as well. A lot of students miss higher grades by not picking up on the minor issues.

Simply put, your example was an excellent hypothetical, and law school professors are notorious for devising these nasty hypotheticals that could have you writing for days, when all you have is 3 or 4 hours (that exam time always goes at warp speed). The hardest exam I ever wrote was in Evidence. We received one hour to read it, and 4 to write, for a total of 5 hours. Not one person left the room before time was up.

So, you would be good at setting these exam questions, which is why I made the university professor comment.

   By Jeffrey L Watson on Friday, October 12, 2007 - 10:06 am: Edit Post

The other reasons for not continuing this discussion here are:

1) It is waaaay off topic.
2) The moderator (moi) has to wade through the lengthy posts and carefully evaluate if anyone has gone over the 'edge' of what I will allow on this board (as I once pointed out, I consider this Chat Area to be an extension of my living room and so expect all visitors to be on their best behavior... which everyone usually is). AND, some of what has been said has been very close to the edge. Fortunately the people involved are not thin skinned (for which I applaud them) and so a flamewar has not erupted... but I've been standing by with a fire extinguisher just in case.

So, can we let this discussion die?


   By Dirdle on Friday, October 12, 2007 - 11:45 am: Edit Post

To go back (briefly, with luck) to your EB questions, Angus:


I think that I will attempt as you suggest. However, who decides when something proven wrong? Who has that authority, and how did they obtain it? Also sounds like the decisions have already been made in evilbible forum. Should I try to argue with those who don't even want to try to understand the nature of faith? Or are there people there with truly open minds? I like brick walls to build with, not to hit my head against.

Who decides when something is proven wrong? Well, anyone has the authority to say they've proven something, and naturally to try and demonstrate their proofs. I suppose you could say the rest is peer review.

To answer the next two questions: rule two, rule two, rule two. I ought to have made it rule one. It's the only fundamental principle that everyone on the forum shares, really. Accept with grace the times when you are proven wrong. It's like the James Randi Prize - if anyone can prove it, then gratz to them and you've beaten us all. The fact that no one has proven it is very easy to interpret as meaning that we don't really hold true to that, but I think it says a lot more about the (lack of) proof for many religious claims. After all, I changed my views on the content of the bible within a few minutes of being introduced to the EB website. I always followed the herd with "well, it's a guide to morality if not truth" before then. The same for the VHEMT website. The same for the proof that 0.9999...=1. The same for Gödel's Theorem. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I read a convincing argument in 'the End of Faith' for how moral relativity fails. I stopped seeing morality as purely relative and subjective. I could go on. I'm almost tempted to level the same not-quite-accusations of defamation, just for saying that the people on EB have 'made their minds up and won't change them for anything.' But I don't think I will. After all, it's normal when you think of your view as being 'right' to see everyone else as ignorant and close-minded. I'm guilty of it myself.

I think that ties up all the loose ends. My apologies for having pushed this discussion. Maybe this thread can go back to topic now?

As I recall, we were talking about Lysaer. Hmmm. Unlucky guy. I blame society.

   By Clansman on Friday, October 12, 2007 - 12:34 pm: Edit Post

I'm lettin' it die! I'm lettin' it die!

Could we blame Lysaer's parents? The controlling father and the emasculating mother? Talk about abandonment issues. I recall Talith using them quite painfully in FP just before she got locked up. I remember a b-side song called Blame Your Parents by a band whose name escapes me.

Society, Parents, The Man. Does it amount to another way to avoid responsibility? This being said, we are at least partially the products of our environment. (I think that it would be prudent of me to avoid morality arguments at this juncture.)

Lysaer's hope lies in Arithon, according to the wonderful teaser that I will read again later today.

I do have sympathy left for Lysaer. His parents messed up royally (no pun intended). The F7 messed up at Ithamon (to be fair, that was only determined in hindsight), and Lysaer was cursed as a result. He remains cursed, as did Arithon. But Arithon had several advantages, such as knowledge of Dakar's prophecy before he was cursed, his mage-trained talent, and his self-awareness. Now, he also has the gruelling winnowing of his guilt thanks to Fire Hands (I like that bit) Davien and Kewar.

Lysaer does, however, believe that the means justify the ends, and has messed up a fair bit himself. That may be curse-borne, but there it is.

   By skeoke on Friday, October 12, 2007 - 02:01 pm: Edit Post

Can't blame his mother, she was refusing to knuckle under to s'Illesid's desire to squash s'Ffalenn in an unfair, lopsided, baseless battle using her offspring. After seeing light and shadow work together to bottle the mistwraith, can you image what it would have done to Karthan?

'Course, Arithon wouldn't've been mage trained. He'd've been s'Illesid trained, stunted, and weak. Might've made a difference.

Might blame the grandfather. Didn't he arrange the dowry, and curse s'Illesid with temptation? No inordinate power, no ability to abuse it. Or, did Mac just give him a rope; the use he put it to was his choice. (I'd've made a hammock, not a noose - at least, I'd like to think so.)

   By Matthew on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 10:40 am: Edit Post


Ok not really, i just want to say... i'm glad i tried to sway the public to give Lysaer a chance =D what do you think now huh!

   By Meredith Lee Gray on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 02:04 pm: Edit Post

I think that my opinions on Lysaer haven't changed through the entire series...


   By Lyssabits on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 02:36 pm: Edit Post

The latest book makes me happy because while my opinion of Lysaer hasn't changed, I once again have hope. ;) My anger at him and hatred of him was less of him specifically and more a reaction to the way you can see, for lack of a better phrase, someone's powers for good being turned to evil. ;) Also because he's incredibly stubborn. The Curse only worked with what's there. I thought he was annoying and sort of narrow-minded in the first book, but I could see him expanding his horizons. The Curse cutting that off and dooming him to his petty attitudes was perhaps one of the cruelest parts of the situation for me.

   By BILLEEBEE on Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 11:20 pm: Edit Post

Nup Lysar's got the thumbs down from me!! His self centred vanity is only being magnified by the curse. I agree with Lyssabits when they said that character flaw was already present before being infected with the curse. He is pompus and ignorant (cursed or not) and actually uses his gifts (light and charm) as weapons to obtain HIS moral justice as he see it and not a balanced Social justice as nature intended.

   By Meredith Lee Gray on Sunday, December 09, 2007 - 01:29 am: Edit Post

I guess I should have specified more about what my opinions on Lysaer have always been.

Yes he had flaws before he was Cursed. I would feel hypocritical in JUDGING him for that, because I have flaws and prejudices that, if I were suddenly cursed, could easily have been manipulated in just the same way. BILLEEBEE, I don't think there's any dispute that he had his issues before he was struck with the Curse. But you can't tell me that you don't also have numerous 'character flaws', perhaps a lot more destructive than mere vanity, that could be twisted by a curse into a destructive weapon for wreaking havoc on an innocent populace!

The evidence indicates that he was not unaware of his biases, but was willing to work on overcoming them, in order to be the best ruler he could be. He had resolved to undertake that task.

And, under the circumstances of his life and upbringing, all the 'character flaws' he had were completely understandable, and perhaps even inevitable (distrust of magic/mages, sheltered upbringing, etc.)

And then he was cursed, and all those little personality flaws became grossly magnified.

Under the influence of the curse, he was even prevented from being allowed to believe anyone that said he was cursed, refused to admit there was a problem.

I don't think you can really say that Lysaer is pompous. Almost every single person he comes into contact with is put at ease by him, and struck by his GENUINE warmth and caring, and thoughtfulness even to the little pages and servants.

I think calling him ignorant is also REALLY stretching it. He's a very intuitive and intelligent guy. He doesn't miss much. But his mistrust of mages and clansmen and Arithon has become a tool of the Curse to keep him doubting every piece of honest advice or input coming from those quarters. So if he does disbelieve those parties, you can't state for certain that it's not a product of the Curse.

Narrow-minded, possibly. I would call it the product of a sheltered upbringing. He was a little shocked and dismayed at the clansmen's way of life in CotM, but I would probably have been to, if I'd been just thrown in the midst of them. Honestly I would have been uncomfortable around those rough and rowdy clanspeople! And I certainly haven't had the plush and privilaged royal upbrining that Lysaer had. And at the time, Lysaer didn't have all the facts about what drove the clansmen to their thieving, murdering ways, and probably couldn't reconcile it with his sense of Justice.

I posted some more regarding how you could possibly begin to differentiate between Curse-driven actions, and actions that he makes of his own free will. If there can even be a distinction. Anyhow, it's in the Stormed Fortress Spolier Topic: Sulfin Evend. And there are of course Spoilers there if you haven't read SF.

So my opinion of him was not completely negative. I found his motivations and actions to be very understandable, given his circumstances. Not that I agreed or condoned what he did! But I just find his character to be interesting and well-written. And it's fun to defend him. Although, we've been doing it since the series started Matthew. It's always a fun topic. For me at least. ():-}


   By Hunter on Sunday, December 09, 2007 - 04:37 am: Edit Post

To me, the primary failure of Lysaer is not his upbringing, not his father's madness, his hatred of women nor his distaste of the lives of the clans of Camris.

His signal failure, and I believe the message Janny is thumping us with a bit of 4x2, is that here we have a ruler with large power who has based *all* his decisions on his limited viewpoint and steadfastly refused to expand his awareness to encompass alternate points of view. What the Curse did was merely (?) lock in and magnify somewhat those rather narrow and limited points of view.

Specific examples of Lysaer's failure of vision:
1. The Rauven mages wouldn't train his gift - where was his introspection to understand why they mightn't have done so?
2. Arithon taking from Lysaer's memory of when Talera left Amroth never to return - Why did Lysaer take his father's side or at least, when prompted by Arithon's rifling, pause to at least consider the relative merits of his mother's treatment at the hands of his father versus that of Avar s'Ffalenn.
3. In the Red Desert, Arithon's usage of magecraft to drive Lysaer on - Why would Arithon bother?
4. Early after their arrival on Athera and Asandir keeping Lysaer somewhat uninformed - Should Lysaer not have known the secretive nature of mages and gain some degree of perspective of what the mages were actually about and whether the lack of information, or direct communication, might actually have had a point and a good reason?
5. With Maenelle and the clans of Camris - If the Gift of Justice was strong in Lysaer, although how the clans lived and their predation affronted his prejudices, surely his Justice should have been telling him, with big ringing bells and red flashing lights, that for a proud people to live in such appalling conditions should be a transgression of the very notion of Justice. IMHO, Lysaer's inability to properly understand the plight of the clans of Camris is his principle failing as it coloured all of his subsequent actions. Asandir charged Lysaer to watch and learn. Lysaer failed badly.
6. In Etarra before the failed coronation when he finds Arithon amusing street urchins in slums - Lysaer's upbringing in similar tasteless merchant lead surrounds in Amroth showed him completely capable of manipulation of merchant guilds, what it should have also lead in his Gift of Justice was that underbelly such organization might have created. Lysaer's derisory jibe to Arithon that Arithon judged the unwashed waifs equal or better than the merchant guilds showed clearly Lysaer's prejudices and his failure to comprehend that wider picture

Arithon has grown and changed as the books have gone on, Lysaer has stayed, since the failed Coronation, almost a caricature that has been in very bad need some adjustment and, thankfully, some light at the end of that tunnel started to emerge towards the end of Stormed Fortress.

Lysaer's failure to address his flaws is inexcusable, whether he is both capable and willing to address them and similarly evolve, is his key challenge in Arcs IV and V. What frightens me here is a quote from Janny many years ago that stated "Arithon is the more self-aware at this point in the narrative". Which can bode bad things for Arithon, but equally it will not be good should any such self-awareness for Lysaer become another vanity le parade of self-pity and self-loathing. My opinion of Lysaer will be based on his actions in Arcs IV and V where he now has his chance to plot his own course basically for the first time in the entirety of this series.

Mer - I would disagree completely that Lysaer has *any* genuine warmth or caring for anyone around him. He has charisma in spades and the ability to rouse those around him into a fever pitch. These people are all simply tools to help Lysaer achieve his desired ends. A leader with one iota of genuine warmth would not have spent lives with such disdain as Lysaer has.

   By Meredith Lee Gray on Sunday, December 09, 2007 - 01:36 pm: Edit Post

All I'll say is that it's nigh on impossible to seperate out what in Lysaer is untainted by the Curse. If you, anyone, think you can go point by point through the entire series from CotM onward and decide what was Lysaer himself, and what was the Curse (if there even can be considered a distinction), then... be my guest. You're a more intuitive reader than I.

Hunter, you chose points that were all pre-Curse. Yes Lysaer was a human person with real prejudices and biases (well, okay, he's just a written character, but still...). He did have to work to overcome that. But ultimately he acknowledged his short-comings and where he was being prejudiced, and committed himself to overcome those. Traithe himself was grieved that someone with so much potential to be an exceptional ruler was all-but destined to be twisted by the Curse.

Regarding your point #6, well, Lysaer had a point, from his point of view. He just didn't realize that Arithon was planning on dealing with the guilds in his way as well. He thought Arithon was completely ambivalent to his rulership responisibilities, preferring to abandon them for playing in the sewers to amuse and comfort those street urchins. If I thought that, I would have gotten on Arithon's case in exactly the same manner. But Arithon set him straight on his intentions and (I'm trying to recall from memory, as I don't have the book at hand) Lysaer was satisfied.

Oh, and I continue to disagree about Lysaer's genuine caring. You can know how to politically maneuver people and situations, and still be able to sincerely care about people at the same time. I think Lysaer was sincere, and Janny made a point of writing about how the recipients were often struck by the depth of his sincere attention. However, this aspect of Lysaer's personality would be under influence of the Curse, so is up for manipulation to further those machinations.


   By Lyssabits on Sunday, December 09, 2007 - 03:21 pm: Edit Post

I think you're missing Hunter's point -- he chose points that were all pre-Curse to demonstrate that he has non-Curse related problems because, as you say, no one will be able to separate out his Curse-driven/non-Curse-driven actions.

Personally I'm sensitive to Lysaer's plight.. but I still don't like him. You can acknowledge that someone has a lot working against them without letting that excuse their behavior. Some people use it as an excuse for why they'll never become better. Lysaer, I think, ultimately would have become a good ruler if he could have learned to overcome his ingrained prejudices.. but I don't think he will now. He's caused too much damage. I know it was because of the Curse.. but that doesn't make it okay. He wasn't in his right mind, he's not "legally" (for lack of a better term) responsible.. but that doesn't make it right. I'm happy he's getting a chance to see what he's done, and hope he'll be able to mitigate the damage.. but he's still caused irreperable harm and I can't completely forgive him. Also some of the traits I find distasteful about him now aren't Curse-driven, and unlikely to have ever been overcome.

For example.. I think he does genuinely care about people... but that caring does not translate into a willingness to not resort to war. The Curse drives him, but if he didn't already have the willingness to needlessly spend thousands and thousands of lives in a cause he feels is just, and more tellingly, in a cause he KNOWS IS FALSE (argue all you want about the Curse, he knows Arithon isn't the demon he pretends he is and he knows he's not the Avatar he's pretending to be) the Curse would have no foothold to motivate that behavior.

   By Jeffrey L Watson on Sunday, December 09, 2007 - 04:22 pm: Edit Post

We are treading dangerously close to Stormed Fortress spoilers. Please be careful or move this thread to the SF Spoiler topic. Thanks.`

   By Meredith Lee Gray on Sunday, December 09, 2007 - 05:52 pm: Edit Post

No, I didn't miss his point. I've acknowledged many times that he had flaws, prejudices and/or biases pre-Curse. In almost all my posts here I've acknowledged that he had those flaws pre-Curse. No, he wasn't a perfect person.

You can't claim that YOU don't have any such flaws that couldn't be twisted to a Curse as well. We all do. And because of that fact, I have sympathy for him. He's no more or less a tool of his shortcomings than any of us would be in such a situation. Even Arithon was to an extent he didn't even realize.

You may have a problem with Lysaer, but who would you substitute as a better candidate to be cursed than he? There really isn't anyone that would improve on the situation. And a LOT of people who would be worse.

I've not ever said that I "like" him. But I do have sympathy for his situation. I don't condone his actions, but I understand that his flaws are being manipulated, and it makes me more aware that I have flaws that (were I in his shoes) could also be freely used.

Trys, was I? I thought I was being really careful to not post anything SF Spoilerish here... :-(


   By BILLEEBEE on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 04:46 am: Edit Post

Meredith Mate.. I'm a reader who reads for the pleasure of a story and allows the author to invoke emotion in me. I'm not one to sit and cut it up and critically analyse the characters and plot!!

   By Trys on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 05:35 am: Edit Post


There have been no specific spoilers but there have been references to events in SF. I was just reminding... and I wasn't singling anyone out. :-)


   By Hunter on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 06:12 am: Edit Post

My apologies master Trys, i was trying to be deliberately vague enough to not contain any real spoilers or unSpoiler commented SF happenings in my comments. Should I mention Lysaer riding the unicorn across the Cildein to Los Lier? Guess not.. :-)

(peek to see who sat up then!)

Lyssabits - regarding your comments on Lysaer's legal liability for his actions, surely he would be judged on the facts of his actions, not his intent or mount a tenuous case of "possession". Action is a matter of fact and evidence, intent is irrelevant.

Just having re-read Curse, it did occur to me to wonder why Arithon, Steiven or perhaps Dania might not have appealed to the Fellowship for protection just prior to Lysaer's immolation of the Deshir clan women. For surely under the Law of the Major Balance, being burnt to a crisp by Lysaer - who was, to give him some sense of Justice, "saving" them from a fate worse than a fate worse than death - is a transgression of the fundamental tenets of that Law and a clear opening for the Fellowship to enact a defense of some proportion - should one of the clanborn simply ask. Kevor was saved by just such a cry for help. Elaira's need was met by a Riathan Paravian.

Mer - Lysaer may have acknowledged his short comings, but I felt (my opinion - not sure there is a right or wrong answer, just an opinion) he did not act sufficiently on those acknowledged short comings. As Kharadmon told Dakar on the slopes of Rockfell, Desh-thiere worked with what it could find, it didn't make anything up.

Also, find someone worse? Anyone without the fearful charisma of Lysaer and political skills - like Dakar.. if a half-wit had been cursed, he would have been sent to an asylum and harmed no one but himself. Lysaer had great power and great potential, which became the double edged sword.

   By Blue on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 09:10 am: Edit Post

With regards to Lysaer and his APPARENT, yes, only apparent sincerity, I offer the following, which I believe was attributed to Groucho Marx:

The key to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.

[Sarcasm/] Really, Hunter? Lysaer rode a UNICORN? I thought only virgins could, which means Morriel would be eligible, but Lysaer definitely not. [/Sarcasm]

   By Hunter on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 10:02 am: Edit Post

As Smith said to Schaeffer in the Schloss Adler.. "best I could come up at the time".. either that or Lysaer being lauded around on a palanquin carried by sunchildren with Dakar running in front throwing rose petals on the ground..

I was trying to come with something so implausible it would never be taken as a spoiler..

Oops... was about to say a spoiler about unicorns and maidens.. better not.

   By DarthJazy on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 12:09 pm: Edit Post

I enjoyed this new debate greatly. I would only like to add to something HUnter said about his moral and social justice.

Now social justice is decided by the land or ruling Society. The people of that place decide or in this case the paravians what is justice.

Lysaers Morals Justice is exactly the same. his morals are a depiction of the society he was raised in which is not Athera so would be greatly different.

Each Society depicts what is right and what is wrong. what is moral and immoral also comes from this. He knows no different cause whats he see as right and wrong is not the same as what it will be on athera.

   By Meredith Lee Gray on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 02:17 pm: Edit Post


No, I was thinking the same thing whne I wrote that about "someone worse." It was sheer bad luck that someone in Lysaer's possible position of authority that was cursed. If it had been a goatherder or someone, who knows if Desh-thiere could have caused the widespread mayhem that it has through a charismatic prince.

I only meant that there are a lot of people out there with a lot less moral qualms... really bad people, who would be all too happy to let their darker side take control, and not ever think twice about it.

Blue, I've been re-reading a lot of Lysaer's scenes in the recent books, and I think it's apparent that Janny is emphasizing the sincerity of Lysaer's caring for the servants and followers around him (when it doesn't interfere with Curse-driven intentions). Here's just a random quote about Lysaer "His brief smile to the lease insignificant page could have fuelled a torch by sheer caring." I don't think that's a façade.


   By Lyssabits on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 02:35 pm: Edit Post

Hunter -- I'd argue that your intent *is* relevant. You get lighter sentences for accidental death, emotional distress, and non-premeditated murder. You are not legally liable if you're insane. They usually force medical treatment on you, but they don't send you to jail. I think Lysaer would have a hard time proving he's insane, but technically he is as it is the Curse causing him to go after Arithon using any means necessary.

My point was only that for all that people can understand and sympathize with mitigating circumstances such as being cursed (and clearly Meredith does), at some level it really doesn't matter that Lysaer has good reasons for doing what he does, he still has done all these terrible things and rightly or wrongly, people will take him to task for it. I am very sad and sympathetic to Lysaer's plight, but that doesn't mean I don't also sort of despise him. The Curse can only work with what it's given and Lysaer has plenty to work with. I don't have to be perfect and faultless to recognize and dislike bad traits in others. And I can sympathize with Lysaer and still not want to have anything to do with him. Some people are just toxic, and it's not always their fault, but that's no excuse to let them get away with some behaviors.

   By Matthew on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 03:06 pm: Edit Post

Just to clarify, Shand's forest gets Warded but Rathain's forest didnt?

   By Matthew on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 03:21 pm: Edit Post

As to interfering with freewill.. didnt one of the fellowship invoke trees or something to defang men set to destroy a forest? couldnt the same thing have been used on Lysaer without compromising his free will?

   By Trys on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 03:36 pm: Edit Post

I believe that the Fellowship 'invoked' the trees with their willing participation.

   By Matthew on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 03:56 pm: Edit Post

aye with the trees willing participation, but not the soldiers it effected. so if they were willing to let the soldiers be effected by hte trees why not Lysaer?

   By max on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - 12:25 am: Edit Post

If the curse could drive Arithon to insanity, then you had better believe that Lysaer's end decisions are a result of insanity from the curse. I believe he honestly thought he was going to win the wars that he has started. and look at the beginning of each of those wars. At Tal Quorin inexperience ruled right along with the insanity. [both sides on that one] At Vastmark, even Arithon didn't know how that was going to turn, hence the faulty scrying and the sacrifice of the 500. Arithon still has the training to help him defeat the curse and sometimes he didn't bother to fight it. He killed Caolle after all. Lysaer isn't evil, just a bigger combination of what affects Arithon as well. Character flaws, curses, insanity, how can one poor boy fight all that.[happy day]

   By Maurice Peter Vialle on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - 12:28 am: Edit Post

Jean Giraudoux (1882 - 1944)
The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.

   By Julie on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - 04:01 pm: Edit Post

Lysaer was raised to be a king- one who would give himself wholly to his people.Unfortunately he has was raised by a bitter father and the lasting memory of his mother is one of abandonment. He was starting to challange some of his long held prejudices when he was cursed. He is sincere when dealing with his subjects, he truly loved Talith and cherishes the loyalty and friendship of Sulfin Evand. He is aware of how little control he has of a fanatical following. [SF Spoiler deleted.] Remember Arithon began his as a 3 year old.

(Message edited by admin on December 12, 2007)

   By Jeffrey L Watson on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 07:11 am: Edit Post

I deleted a reference to SF in the last post. Sorry.

   By Clansman on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 09:24 am: Edit Post

Thanks for the delete, Gryphon. I stopped reading it just in time, as I am only in the middle of SF.

   By DarthJazy on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 05:13 pm: Edit Post

oneday i may get to start to read it. as i can no longer sit up to play wow thanx to neck back shoulder problem, the time at work spent in chair is aobut my limit. I am trying to save money for january to by it or febuary. after i rehab from xmas :P

   By Julie on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 06:33 pm: Edit Post

No problem with deleting the spoiler- I should have flagged it. Darthjazy- do you have a local public library that can order Stormed Fortress? Or perhaps another blogger on this site who would lend you the book. I cannot imagine the exchange rate will improve over the next few months and its a shame you haven't been able to read it. good luck with the rehab- do the exercises and ice, ice, ice

   By DarthJazy on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 11:18 am: Edit Post


it would be great if their were any other tucsonions around but alas i don't think i have seen one. the b ack exercises are a normal for me and my stretches, the last person to touch me with ice on my back at all got a fist in the chest, Coldness on my back causes me severe pain i think because how my nerves are all messed up and missfire often or could be the spasims

   By DarthJazy on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 06:03 pm: Edit Post

Ok just reread this topic and dam you people are all good arguers. the only things i will add to the debate are this.

Religion is the explanation of things humans either are not ready too or can never understand.

Science is the persuit of all truth and maybe wrong at times as humans it creator is flawed

I am so glad for times liek these that as an Agnostic in belief i reserve the right to talk about view or see god as I see fit or choose at the time. If a god is real I will not choose a religion for I would hate to be wrong choose to be morman get to heaven and have to say dam it it was budda. ofcourse all this coming from a man who created his own religion in college around a rock star Ozzy Osbourne. I did create it and whats left of the website is still around just ask ill give you the website.

OK that being said now that we know more about Lysaers curse who now has sympothy for him? I would ask the question given the depth that he was controlled till now is he or the mistwraith responcible for the enactment of slavery and the other deeds done leading to lysaer being kicked from the compact?