Post moved from Royal Lines in the General Discussion.
On the issue of royal bloodlines - F7 fostered those five traits in the bloodlines - but wasn't the true test, exposure to the presence of a Paravian? I also recall somewhere (correct me if I'm wrong) that decendents of the bloodline can actually fail this test? I'm thinking of Lysaer, who should have, by this stage, been tested.
Arithon was able to withstand the test, despite his burden of grief. Elaira also survived living Paravian presence.
Wonder what that means? Can new bloodlines be chosen for royalty?
Another thought comes to mind: wasn't the line of the Tier S'Gannley originally asked found the lineage of the High Kings of Tysan? Their ancestor said no, so Lysaer's S'Illessid ancestor agreed instead.
Doesn't this set precedent for a new lineage to be founded to replace S'Ellestrion?
That is, if the solution to the survival of Athera is reinstating the bloodlines. Davian thinks this system is unstable.
Looking forward to see all of this play out.
How far, I wonder, are the Paravians, to some extent, a metaphor for religious or ethical faith? The sense of believing in something greater and better than self and selfish/power hungry/mercenary humanity? For all their royal geas and so forth the s'Ilessid kings on Dascen Elur seem to have gone quite mightily wrong and, with the exception of Arithon (who received mage training and is anyone an exceptional sort of person) the s'Ffalenns don't seem to have been any better. Without faith in those things the Paravians and the things they represent (beauty? loyalty? strength? selflessness? joy?), the qualities of Justice and Compassion are perhaps somewhat meaningless, or at least directionless. Also, a naturally slightly egotistical man (e.g. Lysaer) might find that negative aspect of his personality somewhat curbed by repeated exposure to something so obviously better and greater than him as a Unicorn/Centaur. I don't think Lysaer really believes in anything more important or more sublime than mankind (e.g. abstract ethics, religion, even Paravians), and this is why he has only human (at best) and selfish (at worst) interests and aims. This (as well as his upbringing) is why he finds it so hard to accept the clansmen's disdain of the notion of owning land. He doesn't consider the land to be a greater or more important thing than man itself - quite the contrary - so it seems preposterous, to him, that man should be subject to the land rather than vice versa.
So - the question of where the Paravians are, may, to an extent, be psychological/sociological rather than geographic. Athera operates on a system of respect, and human existence there is dependent on humility and an awareness of man's designated space within a wider, greater order. Man is only creative in Athera when he accepts this Greater Otherness, and acknowledges his place within the system - c.f. asking permission of things during magic, the cycles of the Ath's Adepts. The Paravians are, perhaps, a sort of embodiment of the values attached to this sort of respect, and they have disappeared, because man's humility and respect have disappeared. (I wonder how Davien fits in with this?)
As to the question of whether or not new bloodlines can be chosen for royalty - yes, I should think they can, but probably only with Paravian approval.
I think we're due to find out a great deal more of Davien's political philosophy and history. I certainly want to - he's one of the best things in the series. I'm so glad he popped up. Gotta say - the system seems pretty unstable. Quite apart from anything - fancy giving power to a family of jumpy crosspatches like the s'Brydions! They're tremendously amusing, and would be helpful in a war, but in a world desirous of peace, surely they'd be a liability.
Let me give this one a shot, as Hunter and I have been discussing this, among other things, off-the-board (warning: this is in a spoiler thread for a reason, TK spoilers _are_ present below):
What do we know: The Paravians are living beings, unlike other flesh-and-blood creatures (links to Ath Creator, not mortal, can still die, etc).
Should we treat them as being "special" in thier own right, or are they "only" channels for a greater force ("Ath's light")?
I'm tending toward the latter, simply because it would explain so much in the story to date that's otherwise inexplicable.
Anything touched by the Paravians, or created by them, would channel some or all of Ath's will into the real world. In a way, items would become self-aware, intelligent entities enfused with life, etc in much the same way as the Paravians. This would include humanity (different traits might be emphasized through contact, such as the royal gifts, and you could get different aspects of Ath's will coming through in different people or items, but still a unified whole).
And so we get Alithiel's defenses activating on their own (I don't know how else to explain the clothes chest in Ithamon in CotM -- everywhere else Alithiel has had to be in someone's hand, Arithon's or Jieret's or Dakar's for it to blaze in defense).
We also get the towers at Ithamon as having different tones and identities, yet sentient too in their own way (and unified in their grief, via the missing tone).
It could also explain why Desh-thiere can't cross Paravian wards: they are aware and channel at least some power from Ath on a constant basis, renewing and remaking themselves infinitely.
Some things, such as renewal of lane force, went dormant without the Paravians to actively maintain it, but the echo's still there, and it could be lifted back to life by one sensitive and strong enough (as Arithon has done repeatedly with his music).
Arithon and the adepts would channel Ath's light through themselves at times, in effect invoking a defense of sorts, strong enough to take down a necromancer's cult. The F7 would seem to be able to do the same, but as I told Hunter they are restricted by the Compact in the when and how of this.
Arithon would seem to have no such restrictions (other than his obligations as a crown prince of Rathain).
Having gotten a little off track, let me address some of your other points with some speculation (which could be way off):
Ath's guidance on Dascen Elur seems to have been limited (when Lysaer first visits a hostel it's nothing like he experienced on Dascen Elur) -- I'd tend to say that humanity there, at least under s'Ilessid, lost its way (and in Lysaer's specific case, remain lost).
I think the Paravians are still present somewhere on the continent, just nowhere likely to be found on a map (like the grove of the hostels perhaps?). Their impact would largely have been spiritual. We don't really know enough yet about how the clans lived in Paravian times, only how far they've fallen to have to rely on force-of-arms to survive.
I'm of the opinion that new royal bloodlines could be chosen, but not without Paravian consent. The kingdoms were older than humanity, but it's not yet clear if the old Paravian royal lines still exist (to either resume or replace dead human ones).
Davien also intrigues me. I think he is largely misunderstood, and he was right about the instability of the rule of high kings as you clearly pointed out. His comment to Sethvir about stepping back and allowing the darkness to unveil its own light and salvation is perhaps the most telling to me. In effect this is what happened with the great drakes, and then Ath Creator sent the Paravians to redeem Athera. If Lysaer gets darker and darker, the Paravians are likely to have to come out of hiding and face him directly.
Let's see if this stirs up some discussion
Well that was definitely very interesting! A whole new way of thinking about the books, for me, at least. So, you think of Ath Creator as a real and interventionalist 'being' - or as a central origin for good? I hadn't thought about it in that way. As an atheist myself, I suppose I have a tendency to take an automatically secular view of anything I read, and I approached Ath, Daelion et cetera as more mythological or spiritually ideological than actual. Now, thinking back, I think your view of it is probably closer to what's intended - I've been very subjective, always rather dangerous! - which means I'll have to go back and have another look at all the books. (Not that I'm sorry about that, and frankly it's about time, too...!) And when I've done that, I'll be able to add more to this discussion than I can at the moment.
As for now: well, "If Lysaer gets darker and darker, the Paravians are likely to have to come out of hiding and face him directly"
Perhaps. But what exactly has been the effect of humanity on Athera and the Paravians - perhaps even on Ath? How far are they still within the control of Ath and the Paravians? Or how far is this situation a test, as it were, for humanity? Perhaps the Paravians simply WILL NOT not help except in the capacity of providing spiritual guidance (when asked - as at the end of Arithon's trial in Kewar).
That is, Atheran mankind are currently faced with a choice between, on the one hand: pride, selfish human considerations, the unwholesome, but regrettably human, belief that mankind is the most important and powerful being in existence (all represented by Lysaer and his townsmen followers); and, on the other hand: unselfish respect for the world and for ethical or spiritual values (Arithon and the clans). The F7 have already learned the consequences of choosing Lysaer's path; it is up to the rest of the race to make the correct decision without having to undergo the same, very hard, lesson.
In rebelling and overthrowing the high kings who effectively controlled and policed man's collective ego the rebels (now townsmen) also rebelled against these greater values, thus releasing themselves from their controlled and consequently globally harmless state.
(In a sense, Davien acted as the serpent and the townsmen as Adam and Eve, resulting in a loss of the Paravians, and so effectively Eden, in a sense - interestingly the choice of the various 'scientists' who decided to leave Athera in order to pursue their research marks a similar ranking of forbidden knowledge/intellectual freedom above what might be thought of as religious faith etc. C.f. also the choice made by the s'Brydions about gunpowder.)
Under these conditions (i.e. those of man's free choice of action) the Paravians cannot - or at least should not - intervene. I'm not suggesting that we have to view this as a Christian fable, as such, but Lysaer could be seen as something like Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost (not because he's attractive to the reader as Satan sometimes is - in this respect Davien's far more of a parallel- but because he exemplifies traditional heroism but is actually misguided, if not decidedly evil). Arithon, then, might be a Christ figure - persecuted, undervalued, possibly destined to be sacrificed by an angry and deluded human population. (One can quite imagine him looking to heaven and begging Ath to 'forgive them for they know not what they do', don't you think?)
Um...right...I think that's all I have to say for the moment. All thoughts and comments very welcome... I do hope Ms Wurts forgives me for my presumptuous and highly subjective interpretation of her material...!
I think you will find that Janny does not mind when we wander off the garden path with our interpretations of this work. However, it's worth noting, she won't step in to keep us from stumbling into the briar patch and getting all snagged up.
Based on what Asandir has revealed, this lesson may be quick and non-remembered. My interpretation is that if it becomes necessary for Paravian survival the F7 are bound by the Drakes to eradicate mankind.
The F7 have already learned the consequences of choosing Lysaer's path; it is up to the rest of the race to make the correct decision without having to undergo the same, very hard, lesson.
And thank goodness for that - I like being wrong when it means I get a good surprise, and Janny's awfully good at delivering those.
Yes - I think if Lysaer and company's noxious ways continue unchecked the F7 will have no choice but to commit mass slaughter (poor souls). Not so much a lesson as a solution, really. What I meant is that it's mankind's job to wise up mighty quickly and see Lysaer for the fraudulent semi-psychotic that he is. The trouble is that they don't want to because it's in their immediate (though clearly not long-term) interests not to. They, presumably, don't want the Paravians to come back, and they don't know that the price for attempting to banish the Paravians permanently is wholesale eradication.
(By the way, is anyone else reminded of a nuclear explosion by the consequences of Lysaer going barmy with his 'gift'?)
Also - 'if it becomes necessary for Paravian survival the F7 are bound by the Drakes to eradicate mankind' - I wonder what compulsions the F7 are actually under? Does Janny say anywhere? Is anything other than their consciences actually in place to enforce this? If not, are we sure the F7 would make that choice? Not sure Davien would, at least...
Have you read the FAQs on the website? Much information in there. So much I forget what's in there. The FAQ pages are located under the Author's Notes menu.
Since the original issue on this thread was about the nature of the royal bloodlines, I would like to pose a question: although the Five bloodlines have been refered to as the Five Ruling lines, wasn't the responsibility of the Royal lines, in fact of all of the clansmen (clanspeople), to simply uphold the Compact and to carry out Paravian will? There was a discussion in one of the books, forget which book, where it was mentioned that the townspeople rebelled because they resented Clan rule, but that the Clans didn't rule as much as they acted as intermediaries between humanity and the Paravians. If that is the case, then the problem that S'Illessid and s'Ffalenns encountered on Dascen Elur might not have been because Ath's guidance was limited, but simply because the Royal lines became Ruling lines, something that they were never intended to be and a role for which they were unsuited.
Nice thread so far... a few more rambling thoughts on clan lineages - purposes etc..
I suppose asking 'what is the nature of Ath?' is like asking 'What is the nature of God?'.
I do recall Janny mentioning that one of the reasons the Paravians evolved on Athera was because, scientifically/magically speaking, the planet had a high enough frequency for them to manifest. Their dances and rituals worked with those frequencies, to maintain them. We eat food, drink water for sustenance, they raise the mysteries? Do Paravians graze? *grin*
Humans come from planets with lower frequencies -and so the clans were created to bridge that gap. I'd love to know more about exactly HOW that was achieved - Jieret's clan line wears the same braid as the ghost Paravian he summoned.
But surely in that crossover - clan humans inherited the ability to evolve to match Athera's frequency - which I think is happening to Arithon and could happen to Elaira. (Wonder what clan lineage Elaira carries? Actually, I can't recall exactly what Elaira's magical abilities are specifically, all I can recall is that she's attuned to water. Does anyone know?)
Not terribly 'romantic' in terms of spirituality - I make it sound like spiritual growth is a side effect of evolution, whereas I mean that spirituality is the next phase in evolution... like the Catholic concept of ascension. Suspect this is the only way that Athera will keep its high frequency - ensure Paravian survival etc... etc...
I don't think the Paravians are some kind of master race that will come and kick Lysaer's butt. I never get that impression from the books themselves - they are a miracle of creation, but so are humans - it's just that humans are further away from the Prime Source (have lower frequency) and so choices are more subject to confusion and forces of entropy.
I do hope the non-clan town dwelling people also would have a chance to reach that frequency - I suppose these are the ones that end up in Ath's brotherhood?