Persistent re-reading has not given me a good understanding on the pressures on the fellowship and on Arithon for him to be crowned king. More than once I have studied all the passages I can find yet I keep failing to match up the words of the prophecies revealed to the reader and the conclusions later refered to as fundamental in the characters' necessities, motivations and feelings. Janny, please will you answer some questions? I would really like to understand because I have had such a good time reading these books, and am frustrated that such a crucial, as well as dramatic, train of plot eludes me. It is so emotionally central to the books, and to Arithon.
When the sorcerers are reading strands for possible futures, the scene at Althain Tower, they discover that the Paravians will die out from existence on Athera if the brothers do not restore sunlight. Also, that war follows, inevitably, the return of the sun. Arithon's kingship, as revealed by Dakar's prophecy, will enable the fellowship to be restored to its full complement, with Davien once more acknowledging the Law of Major Balance. That's what I understand. My first question relates to the connection between Arithon's crowning and the Paravians' return. I cannot find a causal relationship revealed in the strands or in prophecy between one and the other, but it is central later to what follows on the way to Ithamon, Asandir's manipulation or pressure on Arithon, Dakar's words, and Arithon's grief. Is it the unity of the seven which is essential to the return of the Paravians? I have never understood why Arithon is pressurised to be king because of the Paravians' situation. I cannot find where that is revealed in the strands and the prophecies as linked to his kingship, only the Black Rose Prophecy about the fellowship, not the Paravians' return or survival. The continuation of Desh-Thiere's blocking of sunlight would make the Paravians extinct. I know that. The brothers' work to restore sunlight must bring war, or persecution. Arithon as musician not king, precludes the fellowship's reunification. That's what I do see. End of question one.
Question two, and I am confused, so my questions may also be, is what should I understand from the text itself to be Arithon's 'Truth and lies!... The needs of this land are killing me.' (misquote, apologies). I have driven myself to put together my own ideas, and have a few, but I cannot support them directly from the train of prophecies, events, conversation etc. I very much would like to grasp what I have missed. My ideas on his truth and lies are perhaps whether Asandir is telling him truly about the consequences of his refusal to be crowned (yet a sorcerer would not lie?), or that truth for Arithon means refusing a crown which will break his heart, the lie would be to accept it not at all wanting to be king.
Thanks for any answers. More especially thanks for the books, which I have enjoyed to the extent of rating them in my top two beloved stories. The intensity of Arithon's experiences, the cost of his struggles to avoid the hurts that follow the curse's driven results, and his confrontations with people necessitated along the way make these books unique.
Hi Jules, you asked.
If you read the passage where Asandir opens Arithon's awareness to the Paravian mysteries on Caith-al-Caen, (Vol I) you will note: Asandir permitted Arithon to DRAW A FALSE CONCLUSION. The Sorcerer never lied to him. But he failed to correct a misconception for his own purposes. This is a fine point, written plain, but easy to miss.
It involves responsibilities Arithon (at that time) believed he MUST shoulder - but did not have to...it was a false sense of responsibility. Truth at that moment would have set him free.
But the Fellowship required him for Rathain.
Later, in Peril's Gate, Arithon voluntarily shoulders this responsibility as a heartfelt choice - which hinges the scene in TK, which I will not mention in case it spoils for somebody who hasn't read yet.
The material in the Appendix (USA edition of Traitor's Knot) explains in depth: the intricacies of Athera's land rule, the connection to the crowned kings, and the tight interrelationship between the clans and the Sorcerers and the compact. I see no need to repeat here what has already been illuminated in published text for the benefit of you readers.
With regard to the fulfilment of the various prophecies in this book - all are still in play in the story line. One will resolve soon. Remember I have a good bit of this tale left to tell!
And those who think I will slavishly go through five hundred years, blow by blow, are just not correct. When you see arcs four and five, in hindsight, you'll wonder why you didn't realize sooner that the story has it's own path to destiny.
Jules, welcome to the legions of the confused!
Join the rest of us as we go through the books so far, reading and re-reading, speculating, arguing and counter-arguing (we do it nicely or Janny's Watch-Gryphon, Trys, will shred us!).
For me, that has been more than half the fun on the board, and occasionally, Janny herself will chime in to clarify points we may just not get.
Honest, we're a nice bunch o' folks, and the more the merrier. So join in on the discussions and speculate away.
Welcome to the board Jules.
Welcome Jules, and thank you for asking that question, it was something that had been bugging me as well.
Thanks for an answer, Janny, very quick, and for your welcome, Blue, Trys, and Hellcat! Good to hear that other people are puzzling over questions!
I note, carefully, Janny's last two sentences. Frustration remains. Why does Dakar say, to Arithon at Kieling, that refusing the crown seals the Paravians' disappearance? Do I as a reader KNOW why Dakar says that? I thought I had missed it, in the strands' readings and Black Rose prophecy scene. I now think from what Janny's comments, that Dakar's originating premise may not be in previous text. Ditto, Asandir's indirect answer, phrased as a question, about doing nothing if the beings would disappear who caused the remnant resonances at Caith-Al-Caen. He is manipulative in the extreme in giving a false implication, OR there IS something about Arithon as Rathain's king that will signify hugely for the Paravians in a way that Asandir knows about. And I don't! Yes, I am pondering the interlinking connections of land, crown, compact, the fellowship (intact!)and Paravian needs (cue Davien... fanfare). (My TK is NZ/UK so I need to see if my Glossary is equivalent to the US appendix.)
I'll have to develop my thinking, and my approach to reading, if the slavishly/blow by blow reference includes my questions. Quite likely. (Ouch. Very ouch.) Maybe, I am looking for too much entrained information - I admit I assumed that the Kieling scene with Asandir's and Dakar's comments did follow from what had been told in the story so far.
My post was unclear: I realized early on that various storylines - and prophecies - will unfold in their due course, a point I believe Janny has made elsewhere, and that ALL the plotting is deliberate and significant, both in timing and in the telling.
And does EVERYONE but me understand Arithon's references to 'Truth and lies!' (Kieling, confrontation with Asandir)? I still don't, and I still want to (plea for help). I'll be rereading what Janny has said as often as the book, to get the implications.
I reread the scenes last night since I too got confused (heh, what's new!)
One thing that stood out was the first strand reading where the clans get wiped out if nothing was done to alter free will. We don't see any strand casts to find out whether the clans can be saved if Arithon doesn't get crowned because Dakar's prophecy interrupts that scene.
The other thing to remember is Dakar really doesn't like Arithon, so he jabs him with what he feels is the most painful thing he could say - if you don't accept kingship you kill the Paravians. From what was revealed to the reader in the strand casting, this is a lie or perhaps an extreme stretch of circumstances (no crown results in no clans which results in broken compact which results in no paravians).
I think Arithon picked up on Dakar's statement and Asandir's silence when he makes that statement about truth or lies, this land is killing me.
I'm on 4th read of Curse of the Mistwraith, and am also getting confused (and annoyed) with the way Asandir acts towards Arithon - what he tells, what he doesn't tell, etc. I'm not up to the part with the Paravian ghosts yet, but I have some similar issues right at the beginning, when Dakar and Asandir first find the princes:
First of all, when Arithon starts asking questions - Who's this Davien, and do Lysaer and I have something to do with fixing what he broke, and no, you haven't actuallly answered my question. It mentions Asandir answering him with "ebbing tolerance" - I don't get what Asandir has to be intolerant about at this point. Arithon seems to have picked up on the fact that the sorcerer has a plan for him - isn't it pretty natural to want to know what you're getting into? Of course, Lysaer chides Arithon for being undiplomatic too, but I don't get it - on one level, yes, Arithon is being blunt with his questions, but I think he has every right to be.
And then there's the memory block Asandir puts in Arithon's mind - I may have misread, but it doesn't sound like he got Arithon's permission to do that - how does that fit in with the Major Balance? To me, getting someone to do what you want through deception and/or hiding information isn't much better than getting them to obey you through brute force.
And then there's the horse fair, where Arithon and Lysaer get themselves in a bit of trouble after disobeying Asandir's instructions to stay there and wait. The impression I get is that Asandir didn't tell them why he wanted them to just wait until after the fact. Would it have been so hard to explain beforehand: "I want you to wait here because there are a lot of conflicts going on and your accents will lead people to make snap judgments about you that could be dangerous for you." And why not add "As soon as we get to a safe place to camp, I'll answer absolutely any questions you have about what I'd like you to do."?
I guess I'm annoyed because I don't think Asandir has justification for expecting the princes to obey him without explanation as soon as they meet him. Okay, he finds them half dead and provides food, shelter, and medical treatment - any decent person would do the same if they had the resources (or, if concerned about personal danger, at least call the paramedics and see that they're cared for) - that alone doesn't seem to give Asandir the right to order them around - what if Arithon had just decided something along the lines of "I'm grateful for your help, and I'll keep in touch as I find work so I can repay you for your troubles, but I'm going to go off on my own now."? The Fellowship can't interfere in free will in that case, can they?
I think Asandir is rude to Arithon and I don't see justification for it. I think he'd have an equal chance of getting what he wants by being more open with his explanations and requesting instead of ordering. Okay, end of rant. Sorry if I got too off topic there.
I ask myself the same questions when reading that book. Asandir wasn't very nice was he? He also ran roughshod over the townsmen when trying to get Arithon crowned.
Asandir skirted the fine line between free will and manipulating events towards Paravian survival. I think the drake binding overruled all other matters and that's why we see this behavior.
Finally, the Fellowship rarely if ever explains anything without being asked first. And if they are asked, they give the bare minimum - forcing the other person to learn for themselves and be self sufficient.
I don't know how much I agree with the Fellowship on the learning for yourself thing. (I actually had the same issue in my undergrad circuits lab, but that's a different story). Of course there are times when that has value, but we are interdependent as well as independent. There's also an efficiency issue involved - it would take a lot of time and experimentation for Arithon to figure out all the issues going on with Athera by himself - and we notice he does start experimenting, and Asandir doesn't much like that either. Also, I think if you're going to give orders for the sake of expediency, you'd better be prepared to explain them for the sake of expediency as well - it's hard to obey an unwelcome order without knowing the reason for it.
I have to admit, though, that I have something of a bias here - I would drive Asandir crazy, asking him questions all the time. And I go the same way too, as far as my willingness to share information - if you ask me something, my first impulse is to answer you and I check quickly to see if there's any reason not to. With the Fellowship - and especially Asandir - it seems the first impulse is to not answer, and then check to see if there's any reason to share the information.
And where would they all be if Sethvir decided to have all the other Fellowship members discover everything for themselves that he perceives through the earth link? Wow, I do tend to rant, don't I? I'm sorry. I can't even promise not to do it again - please try to bear with me :P
I'd suggest that all of these observations are Earth-centric. I suspect we don't fully understand how Athera works, the Fellowship's role in protecting Paravian survival, or all of the whys influencing Asandir's actions.
However, I do seem to remember something about the importance of getting the brothers to Althain tower as quickly as possible and their arrival being something of a surprise. After all, elementally gifted princes don't arrive through the West Gate on a regular basis.
Regarding Asandir's memory block on Arithon, I think the argument can be made that Asandir did not violate the Law of the Major Balance, because Arithon's consent was given to allow the Fellowship to perform such an act, when Torbrand consented for himself and every one of his descendents to serve the land and cede certain permissions to the Fellowship. This may seem like a bunch of double talking legalese, but as they say, "Tell it to the judge."
Also, the mind block was meant to be a temporary measure until they got to Althain - I recall that it was done to ease and open Arithon's mind a bit and keep at bay his inner conflicts of kingship and mage training that were a result of the experience where his father died ... he gave permissions to Asandir to help cure the curse of Mearth...which as I recall causes you to relive the bad things over and over in a spiral. Of course - for Arithon the major bad thing was his choice to not intervene and his father died.
Now I am compelled to go back and re-read it too!
Yeah, I've gotten up to the point where they're all at Althain Tower dealing with the meth-snakes, and Asandir says something along the lines of the block having been meant to ease Arithon's despair, but instead almost got his emnity. When the block was placed, I gathered that Asandir had permission to break the spiral cycle the Mearth curse had caused, but the memory block seems to be a separate thing from that. He could have made Arithon's mind stop playing his father's death over and over while still allowing him to keep his memories accessible.
Overall, I'm starting to sympathize more and more with Davien because I think the Fellowship tends to try to manipulate Arithon rather than telling him straight out what's going on and asking for what they want. There are later examples in other books - Elaira gives them heck for it at one point - but I don't want to put spoilers for later books in the CotM area... I think they ought to just tell him about the Black Rose Prophecy also, and let him have full information to make his decisions. Letting him figure it out for himself is fine up to a point, but really, who's going to get up one morning and say, "Hey, did you happen to come up with any prophecies that hinge on my becoming king?" *sighs* If I could just walk into the book, I'd tell Arithon everything I know from reading - wonder what would happen then :-)
If you walked up to him during CotM period and told him everything that happens in later books, it would soon be fairly useless info, because armed with the knowledge of what would come from his future decisions, he would probably choose differently to avoid bad outcomes(*coughVastmarkcough*), and even the smallest change in his actions would completely change the course of future events from that point on.
For instance, if you explained what would happen at Ithamon, and then at Etarra, Arithon and co. would have to change their decisions to try to avoid those things occuring--and then the future would spin into unwritten waters really quickly.
What if the F7 thus decide not to rush Arithon to Etarra for coronation? They never visit Ithamon and Arithon misses some good encounters with Paravian mysteries. Never stop at Erdane along the way, so he never meets Elaira.. you could see how that would completely change the course of future books.
Um... not that I've spent a lot of time thinking about doing just what you pondered or anything.
But, seriously, it's an interesting idea. I'm not a good person at forecasting how my actions will cause future events to play out. I do try to examine possible outcomes, but I always seem to miss an angle or two. So I like to sit and ponder "butterfly effects" when I get the chance. I can't imagine how the F7 can sit around and cast strands of the future and look at all the possible outcomes and branching destinies... my mind boggles.
Davien not manipulating Arithon... now there's a novel idea. ;)
Kimberly - even if Arithon did get up one morning and ask Dakar if he'd ever made any prophecies involving, oh, say, dark coloured flowers, I expect Dakar would be too frightened to tell him. There'd be lots of shuffling and 'Ath, you don't know what you're asking, Prince' comments. Ooo, I can see it now.
Hannah - you think you miss an angle or two! The F7 are pretty good at missing an angle or fifty themselves. I think the general drift in these novels is that casting strands and looking into the future is a major blunder. Just as one example: Arithon's use of tienelle before the massacre of the clans effectively facilitated that tragedy.
Trys - Davien's brilliant...he treats Arithon like a very interesting pet psychology project. What does Davien want? Oh! He's such an enigma! **beams a mental request to Janny for lots more Davien**
Miranda - you beamed...More Davien - just wrote a scene, in fact. Easy one, since he's one of the major players. Stormed Fortress will have this in a big way, depend on it.
Hey Janny - any chance of Davien meeting up with Lysaer?
Janny - you're an angel of mercy! Thank you sooooo much!!!! Oh, and I don't think I've said that I love the books yet, but I do. A lot.
I wasn't going to tell Arithon anything from his future, just whatever's known up to whatever point in the story I manage to walk in on him. So where I am now (they're just about to finish battling the Mistwraith), I'd tell him about the Black Rose Prophecy, but I wouldn't tell him that the mistwraith is going to curse him and Lysaer to hate each other.
I think this whole looking at the future thing is overall a bad idea, as others have mentioned. Not so much in Dakar's case - he can't really help it that prophecy comes and hits him on the head. But looking at the future closes off all the possibilities that depend on you not looking. Altough I guess not-looking closes off the possibilities that depend on you looking, so maybe it's an even trade.
As far as Davien manipulating Arithon vs the Fellowship doing so... I guess Davien probably is too, but he seems more straightforward about it somehow, if that makes even the tiniest bit of sense. At least, he seems to value Arithon's freedom more than the others do, even if it's still for his own reasons. But I'm going to stop with that train of thought before I rush headlong into TK spoilers :-)
I think if you tell Arithon about the Black Rose prophecy, you doom it to fail since he would be guilted into doing it instead of embracing it freely on his own. I also think the process that transforms him into accepting that will also be required to get Davien to follow the balance part that was mentioned.
Asandir is sneaky in his manipulations, but at least we see he regrets what he feels forced to do. We haven't gotten that type of insight into Davien's mind yet, though I'm hopeful the next book illuminates us a bit in this regard.
I think one major difference between Davien's and Asandir's means of manipulating Arithon is that Davien manages to be so very pleasant - and so much more subtle - about it. Asandir just seems to use the rather unattractive and brutal method of endless and obvious guilt-trips. Arithon does what he's intended to do - and knows that he's intended to do it - but only because his conscience won't let him do otherwise. Davien, on the other hand, manages to be so affable and careful in his string-pulling that it's almost imperceptible - at least to Arithon. Or perhaps it's just so suavely done that Arithon doesn't mind it. Also, I expect if Arithon looked Asandir in the eyes and said 'You're manipulating me, aren't you?' Asandir would look very grim and tight-lipped and launch into a stiff, painful, stinging explanation. Davien would laugh and smile and look foxy and say 'Yes! And?'.
The description you are giving of Davien's style puts one in mind of a master politician. It would be interesting to see Davien pitch himself against Lysaer in a council chamber debate.
Lysaer would probably lose, big time, to Davien.
Davien walked from the gallery, smiling, waving cheerily at the appreciative crowd. Lysaer's inner circle was left with him back in the councilroom, stunned, wondering how they were going to reattach the Divine Prince's lower jaw.
I have only done one read so far, but I just have to disagree with above. Davien has something very weird going on in his head. Now It's very possible I just don't 'getit' yet, but he strikes me as being rather juvenile when he sneaks up on Arithon to scare him. What is that about? It's just so weird. And altho I don't agree with Lysaer's pol
itics, he is a master politician, where as I don't see Daviens explaining his position at all. He just goes off and does what he wants to do. And so far it looks as tho he doesn't have a problem running over anyone that gets in the way of what he had in mind. I find the man irritating in the extreme! Of course as Janny opens the story more, Davien may show himself to be very compassionate. I thought he was a little more than cold toward Sethvir when Seth asked for help. but who knows? [grinning at ya]
Max, I think what you're saying is that he's somewhat amoral, and a little lacking in a sense of responsibility. Well, yes, these things may be very true. But I think, and I may be utterly wrong - beguiled by his charm, that he's transcended certain aspects of conscience (rightly or wrongly). Arithon, emerging from Kewar, is a far stronger, happier, calmer individual because he's at peace with himself and his behaviour, and I think that's because he's learned to see the bigger picture and his relevance to it. Perhaps Davien's in a similar position. Davien's apparent indifference to conventional morality is less appealing than Arithon's more moderate ability to accept his 'crimes' and live with them only because we're so accustomed to a human-centric morality, or perhaps Paravian-centric morality in WoLaS. If you take the 'bigger picture' far enough, nothing much matters anymore - maybe that's what Big D's done. And, yes, maybe it's made him a little nutty...
Blue - tee hee, yes, if Davien could be bothered with politics he'd be amazing. Poor Lysaer wouldn't know what had hit him.
I've been thinking about something, Supposedly the towers of Ithamon have tones? that reinforce their guarding virtues and that the 5th tower the one that fell is like a raw wound nothing where a tone should be to complete the vast harmony. For some odd reason I'd like to say that Rathain with it's towers could possibly be the heart of Athera especially since a good many High Kings have ruled there... I believe it mentioned the fact that a Paravian High King was murdered in that tower of justice and that was why the tower fell... because justice was basicly twisted out of itself. Some days i'm sitting on pins and needle wondering if that tower will be rebuilt and given absolution and if the tower itself will become twice as rabid in defending it's high king next time something bad rolls around... wonder what the full 5 chords of ithamon did? i think we caught a glimpse in peril's gate from just the 4chord tones ;)