MILD SF spoiler enclosed.......
I have a lot of sympathy for Lysaer, but that doesn't change the fact that he is the one most likely to throw all of Athera into serious jeopardy.
Remember Lysaer was raised at court to rule. he believes UTTERLY, the the way that only someone raised to believe can - that he is born for kingship. At the same time, a powerful hatred/distrust of magic/ the Karthan pirates / the Rauven mages and the s'Ffalen was engendered into him. Understandably he has applied this distaste to the clans and F7.
Try arguing against a cradle taught racist and see how far you get.
Add to this the fact that he was not mage taught and does not understand or sympathize with the deeper issues concerning Athera. He has little concern for the issues of Paravian survival, the sanctity of the free wilds, the stability of the Grinwards, and no real understanding of the need to preserve the clan bloodlines, make a better dfense against the Wraiths etc.
THEN, he has had a powerful curse, which he does not understand, cannot separate from his core character and lacks the faculties to extirpate laid upon him.
AND he finds a powerful wellspring of anti-clan sentiment just waiting for a figurehead.
With all that laid on you, worked in such a way that it makes you feel completely justified, what would YOU do?
Remember Lysaer is a compassionate individual - his love for Talith was absolute, merely sullied by his geas-influenced hatred for Arithon and the machinations of the Avenor council. He has shown regret and self coubt, but a combination of his prejudices, bad (vested interest) advisors, the curse itself, the Kralovir, and Arithon's missteps (the Havens for one) have lent the geas massive leverage over Lysaer's innate sense of justice.
Lysaer does NOT understand that he can assert the right of his Name and fight off the curse - partially because he does not even truly realise he is cursed, and partially because the nuance of the Law of Major Balance is completely alien to him.
His choice to build the religion of the Light was a terrible, false and destructive one, but was rooted in the (good) apsects of his characetr that people should not suffer, should be protected and have justice.
As was said at the start of COTMW, the Wars of Light and Shadow are an impartial tale, and though it seems obvious to us (perhaps because of the pre-existing sympathies that exist amongst fantasy fans for the underdog, harp carrying tragic hero) that Arithon is the hero and Lysaer the twisted nemesis, that is NOT the case. BOTH are needful to defeat the wraiths and reunite the Fellowship.
I feel that Lysaer will in the end have a redemption, probably through self-sacrifice, although Janny continues to surprise and delight, and I could be very wrong or have misinterpreted so very much.
[BEWARE OF STORMED FORTRESS SPOILERS]
I would have to say that I actually really like Lysaer's character. Yes, I will admit that Arithon is my all time favorite and I definately want him to prevail, but I do like Lysaer a lot too. I don't want his character to die or be a "badguy." I actually feel really bad for him because of several of the reasons you presented Chris; (do you mind being called Chris?) the main reason being the loss of Talith and his son.
My impression of the series was the same as yours; both Lysaer and Arithon are needed to defeat the Mistwraith and therefore Lysaer has to escape the curse or he'll be unable to work with Arithon. I wouldn't presume to guess how this could happen as I never manage to guess properly when it concerns Janny's writing. (I absolutely love that I can't guess)
I do think it would be interesting to point out the Prologue in Curse of the Mistwraith. I won't rewrite the whole thing on here but I think it's an interesting thing to go back to. I do like the last line though; "This is the chronicle the sages recovered. Let each who reads determine the good and evil for himself."
When I first picked up the series I thought the prologue was pretty much saying that Arithon dies and that Lysaer was the one that went down as history's savior. A comment someone wrote on another of the discussion pages has me thinking of this in a new way. The comment had something to do with their belief that that Arithon will never become King. It's interesting to remember as well that Arithon doesn't know he has a daughter and she could very well take his throne. This could lead to an ending in which Arithon disappears into obscurity (hopefully with Elaira?) and explain why history still views him as the "spinner of darkness."
Anyway, back to Lysaer... The prolgue, especially the ending line, makes me thinks that Janny doesn't want us to view Lysaer as the badguy but to understand his character and see both sides of the conflict equally. If read unbiasedly, Lysaer does everything because he thinks it's correct and just. He is the hero of his people. Arithon is doing the same thing but he's the more unwilling hero of the clansmen.
I still have my fingers crossed that the ending of this series isn't going to end in huge amounts of bloodshed and Arithon's death. Can't help it, love the characters too much.
Sends Janny an apologetic smile...
(Message edited by admin on November 24, 2008)
I want to apologize for any spoilers from Stormed Fortress in my previous comment. I hadn't read the rest of the discussion before I posted. I was just responding to Chris's comment.
So sorry, if there is a spoiler in there somewhere.
No doubt there are possible spoilers.
I have oodles of sympathy for our prince charming lead astray. It was hardly Lysaers fault he was cursed and although the 7 odd generations of blood feud might have made it all too easy to embrace hatred of Arithon, he was at least trying before fate stepped in and stole his freedom to choose away. They say justice is blind, obviously that particular gift made it all too easy for the mistwraith. Yes Lysaer really threw himself into it and probably exceeded expectations, but if he had not been warped in the first place by the curse, he could have applied those gifts to actually helping Arithon heal the problems already present. Lysaer had just as much potential to do good as Arithon, he is just probably not ever going to get the chance to show it. Even so we can see glimpses of what he could have been throughout the series. The only good likely to come out of the war is that Lysaer unites all of the townsfolk, making it easier to do away with at least one thing dividing Paravia. They could always decide to do away with monarchy altogether and become a republic, I doubt Arithon will object.
Unfortunately when he is eventually freed, I doubt that the s'Ilessid gift of justice is going to be much kinder to Lysaer than the curse was. If he could not accept responsibility for all those deaths while cursed, what chance has he got when he realises it was all his fault. Seems the way he is to be freed is not going to be any kindness to his feelings of guilt either. His crowning strike is more likely to end up making him feel like he is already in Sithaer. Lysaer king of the damned. I have no doubt he will be redeemed, no doubt who will be doing it, I just have some doubts Lysaer will survive it. But then it does not seem likely he was ever going to survive any of the other ways of being redeemed either. Janny will no doubt have some interesting twist to the story concerning Lysaer.
"I have no doubt he will be redeemed, no doubt who will be doing it, I just have some doubts Lysaer will survive it."
I take it you mean that Arithon will redeem Lysaer? I disagree. A consistent theme in this series is self-determination and controlling your own destiny. Arithon sought and found his redemption through Kewar. The Fellowship have been offering Elaira redemption in many different guises, doing everything short of asking "do you want to be freed?". Elaira has to reach that point on her own and only then will she be in a position to ask and receive redemption.
Lysaer has already had many opportunities of redemption - the Ath's initiate hostel in Shaddorn when he went chasing Tharrick and Jinesse; when he was whisked to Althain to front the Fellowship and an Ath's Adept and given the opportunity to recant slavery and was henceforth thrown out of the Compact; when the shade of the Paravian appeared in Araethura to confront Lysaer as he was chasing Arithon into Kewar; and when he met Kevor and Ellaine at another Ath's Adept hostel. Or outside Alestron when under the spell of Alithiel and his sanity was restored.
Ultimately Lysaer has to find his own way to redemption and essentially transcend the bigotry and righteousness of his upbringing that the Mistwraith twisted for its own ends. An unwarped s'Illessid gift of justice - as shown in what Kevor achieved at Avenor - would be a powerful force for healing on Athera.
Will Lysaer fail to survive this series and Arithon and Elaira ride off into the sunset together? I very much doubt it - a "feel good" ending to this series would be an enormous cop out when the series has spent so much time challenging people's morals, thoughts and emotions. Will good win over evil? That kind of depends on who you think the good and the evil people are. As the prologue challenges you to do when reading this series.
Finally a chance for discussion, thank you Hunter. Yes I was getting bored the place is so quite. Where to start, we could end up with a thread bigger than one of Janny's books. I do not believe either brother is evil to start with, or that what either has done while under the influence of the curse is going to make much difference to where they both end up eventually, which should be the same place.
And yes of course the discussion involves possible spoilers.
Yes I think Arithon will be the one to both free and redeem Lysaer, and I think they will be done separately. Now how did I jump to that seemingly not obvious conclusion?
Yes Lysaer has been offered redemption both times when he visited a hostel of Ath. And the Centaur called from the past also offered him redemption. So it seems Lysaer is not going to accept redemption while still suffering from the curse, Lysaer is not free to seek his redemption, he believes he needs to stay. Lysaer himself said "I was beyond help the moment I fell under Desh-thiere's curse." Whether that is true or not, that is what he believes. Removing the curse will free him. However being shackled in guilt and pain is unlikely to redeem Lysaer, otherwise Arithon would never have needed to go through Kewar in the first place. And strangely enough it was Arithon himself who brought on his own self redemption in Kewar. I doubt Lasaer is going to be calling any Paravians out of thin air, so something else is going to have to happen.
Alethiels song at Alestron defused killing enmity, it offered Lysaer a chance to see more clearly, but still he had to fight against the curse for even that glimmer of hope, he was not free of the curse. Removed from Alethiels influence the curse again would be too strong, even though he could now fight against it with help. Redemption was never offered at Alestron, if it was perhaps Lysaer while under Alethiels influence would have accepted it, perhaps not. Alethiel had a similar effect on Arithon when the curse drove him mad and the sword had to be used against him, it was not a permanent solution to the problem.
The sorcerers do not seem to have the power to redeem Lysaer, they could free him, but it would kill him (none of the other methods were likely to result in Lysaer remaining on Athera either). The fellowship of 7 is there to stand guard for the land, to preserve the mysteries. They might be able to redeem a shadowbane but against the perils threatening Athera they do not seem to be doing so well. They apparently wiped out the seardluin, banished the hate wraiths, confined the khadrim, were hoping to transform the meth snakes and initially locked up the iyats in Rockfell only to have them escape. (maybe Davien had something to do with that) As they themselves said "The Fellowship has never been a force in Athera to take guiding charge of human destiny" So it seems they might have lots of power, can redeem a small number of wraiths but not an entire planet or two of them and perhaps not a still living mortal.
With the coming of the mistwraith the Paravians left Paravia. They were in no danger of possession by the mistraith, surely redeeming human spirits was not beyond them. Why did they leave?
"Man's meddling created the Mistwraith. By the tenets of the Major Balance, mortal hands must
achieve its defeat."
and the warning delivered by his gift of Sight shows a packed city square with a scaffold, cordoned about with white banners and a dazzle of sunwheel blazons, and chained there for the blade of a public execution is his sworn liege, the Prince of Rathain ....
The prophetic dream broke on a scream of sheer rage, torn from the throat of a doomed prince.
The spring's prophetic dream lodged too vividly in recall, with its wrenching potential for tragedy. The vision was terrifying, final: the wide square paved in brick, centered by its cordon of guardsmen and the unpainted rise of the scaffold, pennoned in the dazzling glitter of gold cord and sun-wheel banners. His very pulse seemed to throb to the chant of packed onlookers. He shook off the mesmerizing hold of remembrance, in thought or utterance unwilling to grapple the silver-bright length of the executioner's sword, then the scream of this same prince, fallen.
"The time seemed high summer," Jieret resumed, ferociously bland. "A public execution, under town auspice, with every appropriate trapping."
"How splendid and trite. How predictable'." Arithon gasped back shrilling laughter.
The enchantment is fallible.' He spun, but the refuge of the curtain wall was too far. Clear air could not mask his untenable agony, and for pride, he refused craven use of his shadow. 'A sword thrust might not serve to dispatch the spirit, but death could be sealed by dismemberment' 'And fire?' pressed Parrien. That might work, too?' That's why they burn sorcerers,'
The vision he wanted was one that Earl Jieret had dreamed...
He saw blinding summer sun, and the red, bloodied length of a sword laid across an altar spread in a gold-edged, white cloth. The image jolted through him, almost slammed his heart still.
Screaming now, the Mad Prophet reached anyway, tried to rip past his grief to back-trace the event to its source. But the blood was
too fresh, too red, too real. In slowed motion, the vermilion drops soaked the white silk, ragged stains scribing an ending too vivid to escape.
"Unstop your ears and listen, scion of s'Ilessid. Persist on your present path, and you shall gain your desires." As Lysaer's blue eyes widened, she pressed him, "Oh yes. Your half brother shall walk in the shadow you create. But not before you stand blackened enough to raise despair of a force sufficient to break him. Every mortal enclave on this continent shall fall as victim to your cause. Your memory shall be sealed in the archives by violence, for nothing in creation can stand or flourish in the absence of love. Let us see, in the hour that Arithon's blood stains your hands, whether conviction for your fellow man or overweening pride is your master."
"You begin to understand," Lysaer said, satisfied. "Davien the Betrayer's fountain in the Red Desert has expanded the game board across the next five centuries. Time enough to usher in sweeping change. As the guilds suffer predation from s'Ffalenn ships and renegade crews, I'll gain for Avenor and my Alliance the omnipotent support to raise standing armies across the continent. My crowning strike must be withheld until I have won the sworn loyalty of every city in athera. Then I shall bring down the s'Ffalenn bastard, and with him, the Fellowship of Seven, and any other factions in the land who obstruct the growth of human destiny."
"Beware, false prince," Sethvir interjected, neither wistful nor diffused, but earnest in a concern that terrified for its mildness. "The fears you smooth over in the trappings of moral platitudes will counterbalance nothing. Neither can they build. You will find the just fervour you raise can save no one. In the end, your own followers will dictate your actions. Their will shall rule yours with a needy finality that you will be powerless to gainsay. We can offer no help for you then."
Arithon will forgive the knife that kills him.
Why not let the darkness unveil its own light, and resurrect its next hope of salvation?'
Here are a few more quotes, I am sure Arithon also said something somewhere that is relevant to how Lysaer will be freed, but cannot find it.
'A fool's errand, truly! Do you realize whose Name you spurn to know? His hand is the same, that will wield our ancestor's knife! Through him, the Kralovir's vile works have just been undone for all time. Ahead, if his strength stays the course of his fate, he bears the very flame of your hope.'
'You claim that this man has brought Lysaer's salvation?' 'Past, and perhaps for the future.' The crone bent her head, deferent. 'Alone on Athera, he is the key to secure your liege's deliverance from jeopardy!'
'Who else has the fibre to shoulder the load? I salute you, and grieve,' stated Arithon Teir's'Ffalenn. 'Before s'Ilessid, you could break my spirit' He tightened his sash, perhaps reamed by a chill, though the desert air wafted in through the cleft carried the baked warmth of summer.
The s'Ilessid still suffers. No recourse exists, yet. Desh-thiere's geas still grips Lysaer in wilful blindness. All of his choices are clouded. That madness can't help but turn for the worse if Arithon comes into close contact. The half-brother will strive to murder his nemesis.
'Lysaer lies in jeopardy as long as you live! The mere fact you breathe is a threat to him.''Truth,' allowed Arithon, drained ghostly pale. "Though I very much doubt my death at your hand will do anything to help save him.'
'Your life is your own affair, but I refuse responsibility for your death.'
'There will be a solution,' he murmured, since Elaira would not broach the subject. 'Your Prime's tyranny over us denies us our right to individual freedom upheld by the Major Balance.'
Elaira turned her cheek. Green eyes met velvet-grey, and exchanged deep communion, fired through by the flame of frustrated passion. Their discussion had already mapped the fixed obstacles. Had exhausted the obvious avenues, in those shattered, past hours of shared company at Halwythwood: that the Fellowship Sorcerers' power to act in her behalf remained tied by the inexplicable choice of her personal quartz. Ath's adepts had been first to unveil the riddle of the crystal's self-made consent. Aligned to her with a persistence that posed an enigma, the stone's willing consciousness, partnered to hers, kept it subservient to the Koriani Order. The stone pendant now rested in Selidie's hands, a powerful game-piece that posed a consummate danger to any outside liaison.
Arithon smiled. The current of joy entrained through his music had not quite tapped out and gone dormant. 'Patience hurts, I agree. But I won't spoil the present.' His thought held cold iron: after his promise to Jeynsa was honoured, the Prime Matriarch had best defend her interests. 'There will be reprieve for us, though at the moment, our limited straits can't imagine it.'
'I have to return,' Elaira burst out. 'I don't relish the prospect. But one matter of driving importance remains. My personal crystal is still in the Matriarch's keeping. The question persists, why the quartz chose to bind its right to freedom under my vow to the Koriani Order. The riddle posed by the stone must be answered. Nobody else can pursue that course for me, or honour the peculiarity in my stead.'
Asandir sighed. 'Sethvir's earth-sense cannot unravel that quirk, since your quartz was not formed on Athera. Though you're right. The mineral's preference will carry a reason, strange though it seems to our human-based sensibilities. Neither are you one to forsake a friendship that has not turned and betrayed you.'
'He's pacified,' said Elaira, turned pale at the thought. 'I've promised my hand. He'll have to abide my Prime's interests until the time's fully ripe.
Interesting to see this topic revived.
Spoiler warning, of course.
Remember, Arithon had to experience the scathing of Kewar before mastering the curse, but even then, he was not free of it: he had only mastered it. Arithon's freedom was only achieved after Kewar was followed up with his visit to the King's Glade at the beginning of Stormed Fortress. Then, and only then, was he free of the Curse.
Since Lysaer is Arithon's opposite, it should be no surprise if Lysaer ends up doing it the other way around, as well as depending on someone else to save him.
Did anyone else suspect the centaur that appeared in Daon Ramon and Kewar was Cianor Sunlord? Since according to Davien he was merely a fiend and not the devil himself. Presumably the devil in this case would have been Cianor Moonlord.
Where is everyone? Annette you've pulled up some really interesting arguments and quotes - I fully support you in your belief that these quotes are important. I also think that as Jieret's Sight is true, Arithon will be sacrificed (scream of rage is interesting, I'd wonder if it is rage, often interpretation of a vision is based on the individual's prejudice).
Just a few random thoughts to keep the conversation going.
I'm not sure I agree entirely with your interpretation (great to have a debate!) Why shouldn't Arithon just die?
On the other hand, why does it need to be Lysaer killing Arithon? Maybe the redemption has already happened, but the religion is out of his hands. - for example, would Lysaer allow such a formal execution? I find it hard to believe that after 500 years of the curse getting stronger (as implied by the prologue) - or even 200 - Lysaer would be able to restrain himself enough to let a ceremonial death happen.
Remember Arithon is remembered as being evil - Lysaer is remembered as being good.
Alternatively, should Arithon die (willingly?) and the curse be broken, Lysaer would come to his senses and be redeemed, perhaps.
One question we all aren't asking, though, is why did the Mistwraith arrange the curse as it did? The Fellowship ask it, early on. Why not just kill the brothers? What is the Mistwraith trying to achieve? The destruction of the Fellowship and Athera's mysteries? Maybe we need to be digging deeper than just Arithon/Lysaer? What could the two do together they can't do alone?
And lastly, I can't live with the Paravians dying out - the Sorcerers can't either. Any solution has to be satisfying there. Yet IF the Paravians were still around in the 7th age, surely they would know what happened, and we wouldn't need to have the truth being 'recalled' as said in the prologue.
I want a black rose ending! (incurably romantic, but recognising it will be bittersweet at best, not happy, if it does happen)
Janny seems to believe that redemption is possible, that the human spirit can triumph.
I wish we could do the same in our own world
I have just been reminded by other Janny Wurts fans in the house that Arithon can't die willingly, as he's oathbound not to (at the moment, say I).
I agree he wouldn't die willingly at the moment, as the fate of the clans and the Paravians hangs in the balance. He's been through too much to just give in, unless it did guarantee the return of the mysteries to Athera.
The Mistraith's purpose seems to be to destroy all life, perhaps for some reason they could not destroy Arithon themselves. Perhaps his protections against possession are not all taught, but go deeper. Get Laysaer to kill him or drive him mad or if Arithon killed Lysaer the guilt would achieve the same end, no matter what happened the Mistwraith would win. Arithon seems to be the key.
Arithon once he left Kewar would not kill, not even to save his own life, the blood oath is not going to be enough. True there are ways he could avoid physical confrontation that could get him killed, but there is still Lysaer to deal with. The Sorcerers used the wraiths as the reason for Arithon to be bound by the blood oath, well what if he has already dealt with all the wraiths and Lysaer and his fanatics are the only remaining problem caused by them. Lysaer or Selidie breaks the compact, mankind gets destroyed, Arithon might think the Paravians are already safe, and be looking for a way to save mankind. The Sorcerers never told him any other reason why he had to survive, he is hardly suicidal but a situation could arise where he had to decide.
I doubt even then Arithon would just throw his life away, like with the Kralovir, there is likely to be a plan (although Arithon might not know about it). Either that or Arithon might be given reason to think that he is not meant to avoid the execution. Davien has set it up so that Arithon can live far past the 500 year life span he already has, but still he is mortal, he can be killed. Either one or the other is going to have to change, can Arithon still be mortal yet death not be permanent? The execution might not be the point where that changes, Arithon might be returned by someone else, but it will not be the Sorcerers, he will be beyond their help. That leaves the dragons, Mother Dark and Ath (I am thinking not Ath in this case) that we know of who could intervene. Perhaps even the Biedar, Arithon still has another visit to the far side they will probably be helping with, could Arithon possibly find yet another way to have his spirit separated from his body before the most obvious one comes up. It was never explained precisely why or how the Biedar tribe on Athera was diminished. They used to be able to move entire planets, they seem to have got to Athera without the help of technology. Maybe Arithon helps the Biedar solve their problem before dealing with Lysaer. There could also be more to Arithon than some suspect. The hints are all there to lead us down that path, Arithon will become more than he is now. Maybe Lysaer has a further part to play after he is redeemed, but that both Ath's adepts and the Paravians offered Lysaer redemption and a painless journey to Athlieria seems to indicate Lysaer is not needed on Athera. Or maybe he surprises us all and ends up being one of Ath's adepts.
The Paravians are not around now, yet they have not died out yet, Arithon seems to be able to find them well enough when he really needs them. They would probably only return to Paravia if Arithon accepted the kingship of Rathain or Paravia, Rathain seems out of the question now and what chance has Arithon got of ruling such fanatics as a king under the compact. What if Arithon eventually accepts another kind of kingship. The Paravians are needed if the compact survives, what if another choice becomes available, where the Sorcerers are given their freedom from both the compact and the binding of the dragons and the humans can be given care of Athera? The dragons wanted the Paravians to survive no matter what the cost, the Paravians wanted Athera's mysteries preserved. The two are not quite the same thing. There is bound to be a twist to how it is resolved.
The completion of the black rose prophecy is probably not going to be the end of the series either, although it might be the end of the third age and Destiny's Conflict. Janny would explain past that point in the last book, or else we are not going to understand what happened to Arithon. She leaves it at that there will be too many unanswered questions still. And I do not see Janny explaining too many of those mysteries in the next two books, although I am sure she will give us plenty more clues. A clue to what th in Paravian means would be nice. Alethial is a bit more than what she seems, I just cannot work out what exactly, despite Janny's attempts to explain the complexities of the Paravian language.
Wow, reads like a college seminar class here! Lysaer and Arithon used anything at hand to play their game of "live chess". Arothon was able to step back afterwards and understand that which racked him in guilt. Only after the curse was lifted could Arithon take complete control of his actions. Lysaer has had glimpses of insight which over the course of the story which have had more lasting impact. I think he is trying to figure out how to temper the results of his actions to avert wide spread chaos and still remain in charge. The idea of free will is foreign to him- his upbringing was to give himself wholly to his people. He has become a much more interesting character.
Thus far, yes I still have some sympathy left, for both characters. I've just finished Ships of Merior, and the fact that both anti-heroes are being pushed into what could be considered to be evil actions by corruptions of their virtues is a fantastic twist
They are both sympathetic characters in their own right. Although I find Lysaer's more interesting because he has grown. Arithon already had so much insight and control. I still hold out hope that Sulfen Evand will provide the guidence that the Fellowship cannot.