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SleeplessOne
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:10 pm    Post subject: SO MANY SPOILERS Reply with quote

Can we talk about this book in a spoiler-y thread?

I hate having to redact everything; I say mark this or any thread clearly with spoilers in the Subject and leave it to the discipline or lack thereof the readers and posters.

There are a few scenes and characters in particular I'd love to openly discuss!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please do!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam wrote:
Please do!


Yes!!
Big Grin

seriously, my excitement mounted as I read this book; the first couple of chapters I was a bit iffy as to whether it was going to maintain my attention (yet even in those early chapters there were aspects that intrigued me) but as the story progressed I found myself more and more engrossed until I got to a stage where I read perhaps a quarter of the book in one evening (and I've got young kids; finding time to read is hard at times!).

I'm happy to be the annoying cheerleader for SRD's current series, as it doesn't seem to be gaining much traction, even on KW, unfortunately.

Ultimately I feel as though I need to read the War Within again to fully appreciate it, as there was a lot to absorb and I reckon I've already forgotten some significant parts .. nevertheless ..

SPOILERSSSS:

things I loved:

* Estie's journey to confront King Smegin.

This section was just so well-paced and brought to mind some of Donaldson's more expertly-conducted passages of writing.

After the long journey through Amika, guided by Lylin's sure hand, we finally arrive at King Smegin's retreat and Donaldson promptly whips the narrative to a fraught crescendo with some stark imagery and wordplay (evoking the lovely cherry-blossom-lined path leading to Smegin's abode in one sentence only to announce 'they were (now) dead' in the next) before revealing the full extent of Smegin's depravities.

I'd suspected the nature of Magister Facile's decimate (which is unlike me; when I am into a book I tend to be very much in the moment and not bothering too hard to divine what will come) prior to it's use, but the confirmation of her ability in no way diminished the power of the scene for me.

* The epilogue, which took it's time to escalate it's urgency, had some wonderful imagery - the sustained bolts of lightning and also the revealed beauty of the Bay of Lights itself worked to evoke a memorable scene.

* Bifalt. Donaldson held him back with admirable restraint; we have plenty of Estie and others ruminating on his brooding charisma for much of the early parts of the book.
By the time the reader gets his POV they are primed for a glimpse into the character of this intense man.

I listened to the SRD interview Wayfriend posted in another Great God's War thread and Donaldson himself compares Bifalt to Covenant and Angus Thermopyle; I guess that it's the extreme nature of Bifalt that invites the author's comparison.

SRD strikes a great balance with Bifalt (and nearly all the characters in TWW) in that he is able to render the character in short hand (broody and hoarse of voice) and yet still have Bifalt capable of surprising the reader with his actions and responses.

His behaviour when taking audience with Tchwee was straight dickish, and yet maybe ultimately necessary .. and by the time Bifalt names his 'gift' in the penultimate chapter (and that entire confrontation between Estie and Bifalt was so damn good) I was all in with this bitter, cornered man.


* Prince Lome. Great character, I loved getting a glimpse into this damaged man's mind; his scream in the face of his brother and King had a surprisingly visceral effect on me. His 'sloppy giggles' and rat-cunning amused me more than once.

* many of the minor characters were memorable, and SRD left himself room to let some of those minor characters grow into their roles for the final book; e.g. Sikthorn or Crayn or even Bifalt's bodyguards, who to my memory are named by don't get any lines in TWW.

Things I could've done without:

* The whole Matt/Matta/Mattwil/Mattwon't bit - an otherwise solid chapter was sullied somewhat by a poorly judged (imo) idea - Donaldon/Klamath explain why Matt and Matta choose to name all their offspring in such a way (lucky for Matt he met the similarly named Matta in the first place!) but it took me out of the moment and tested my suspension of disbelief unfortunately.

* similarly, the whole Demure/Immure business was borderline insufferable - I loved the young Princess Estie's first journey to Belleger's Fist, with Donaldson's descriptions of the ravages of decades of war and the poverty it had wrought ... but Demure/Immure?? No.

*Estie pining for Bifalt's love early in the book - ultimately the story earned this angle, but early on something about it made Estie seem to simpering when she should have been more complex - she earns that complexity over time and their withered love ends up attaining the tragic dimensions Donaldson wants to mine, but imo it is a bit shaky early on.



apart from that, very few complaints and I am sure there was plenty of other great stuff that I am already forgetting!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am a bit taken back by the Lack here on KW on this book...
The War Within is very fine writing by the author. Its good or great as any of his other Good or Greatest.Its as if,,as Sleepless suggests,,,every character is a Tom Cov.Every character is made interesting..hero, villain, King, street urchin..all..are intertwined in to the story by who they are ,what shapes their decisions, actions etc. Lots of compassion demonstrated by the author.
..I liked the Matt motif..it reinforced the " family" concept and thereby emphasized the destruction of it by Gen Klamath,,and the Coming War.Matta's reaction to the Gen is classic.

..the subtle again, takes my breath away in this book. The Yin/Yang perspective ,,the double ,dual, nature of things is at the foundation of the story telling. Some pretty neat metaphoric lessons in this tale.Making mistakes is seen as a learning opportunity rather than an opportunity to berate and belittle. A drunk gives good advice.A crowning achievement or a victory is an opportunity to display humility.Everybody's heroine beats the crap out of a good guy. The author takes us thru time ,demonstrating changes in perspective from Yin to Yang on the same character or events or places or etc...So like the unification of Belleger and Amika..the reader is being lead to a unification perspective,,the courage to see and deal with the Yin Yang double nature of life,I suspect will be the achievement when all confluences climax in the next book.

A little disappointed with Elgart character insistence he was gonna dominate the archpriest.He believed his own BS..But I see where his gambit even in failure would expose what the church was up to..nice cliff hanger with the devotees and Elgart being a mystery

and Thanks to the author for using the word " lurch" almost as many times as he did in any one of the books of the TC Chronicles.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurch2 wrote:
I too am a bit taken back by the Lack here on KW on this book...
The War Within is very fine writing by the author. Its good or great as any of his other Good or Greatest.Its as if,,as Sleepless suggests,,,every character is a Tom Cov.Every character is made interesting..hero, villain, King, street urchin..all..are intertwined in to the story by who they are ,what shapes their decisions, actions etc. Lots of compassion demonstrated by the author.
..I liked the Matt motif..it reinforced the " family" concept and thereby emphasized the destruction of it by Gen Klamath,,and the Coming War.Matta's reaction to the Gen is classic.

..the subtle again, takes my breath away in this book. The Ying/Yang perspective ,,the double nature of things is at the foundation of the story telling. Some pretty neat metaphoric lessons in this tale.Making mistakes is seen as a learning opportunity rather than an opportunity to berate and belittle. A drunk gives good advice.A crowning achievement or a victory is an opportunity to display humility.Everybody's heroine beats the crap out of a good guy. The author takes us thru time ,demonstrating changes in perspective from Ying to Yang on the same character or events or places or etc...So like the unification of Belleger and Amika..the reader is being lead to a unification perspective,,the courage to see and deal with the Ying Yang double nature of life,I suspect will be the achievement when all confluences climax in the next book.

A little disappointed with Elgart character insistence he was gonna dominate the archpriest.He believed his own BS..But I see where his gambit even in failure would expose what the church was up to..nice cliff hanger with the devotees and Elgart being a mystery

and Thanks to the author for using the word " lurch" almost as many times as he did in any one of the books of the TC Chronicles.


Thanks for responding; not much buzz about for the Great God's War unfortunately, so your post is a welcome perspective.

I agree that the disappearance or withdrawal of the devotees and just what the hell is going on with the Church and the Archpriest/Elgart's disappearance stand out as the principal, pressing mysteries among many ... and yet with so many threads left dangling I in no way felt short-changed nor frustrated by the unresolved nature of the story.

The nature of Estie's gift will no doubt be a big reveal; I did guess Magister Facile's talent in the lead-up to Estie's confrontation with her father; I'm wondering if Donaldson will leave enough breadcrumbs for me to suss out Estie's talent.
Bifalt's disdain for sorcery will reach it's conclusion one way or another with Estie's reveal: her father's demise is the worst-case scenario here.

Interesting you point out Elgart's shortcomings; I liked the idea that Amikans in general are a more subtle people than the Bellegerins, who apparently have difficulties with things like diplomacy.

The church's relationship with the library's Enemy is still unclear although Third Father makes it pretty clear toward the end of the book that he believes they are very much connected (if not one and the same?).

Speaking of the Last Repository, re-reading the prologue reveals the blind Librarian Sirjane Marrow openly admitting to himself that he had knowingly and willingly condemned Belleger to slaughter and ruin; and so Bifalt, for all his bitterness and gall, is very much right in thinking the worst of the manipulative sorcerers who oversee the library.

What's the bet on a decent time-jump in the 3rd book; yay or nay?

I could see Donaldson skipping straight to the middle of the now-looming war; he's already played with timelines effectively in telling this story to date.


One more thing; its probably stating the obvious but King Bifalt's straits very much casts him as the classic Donaldson protagonist.

Free will versus the use of Man as a Tool is again a huge concern for a key Donaldson character; toward the end of the book Bifalt's deeply repressed emotions are released somewhat - and it is clear that he sees himself as nothing more than a tool, the instrument of someone else's designs.

His unofficial, occasional counselor Third Father believes that Bifalt needs to transcend himself one more time to achieve a better resolution, and its pretty clear by the end of the book that he's barely hanging onto his resolve by a thread.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the idea of a time jump will be applied in a jagged saw tooth fashion. Threads will be picked up at different times that suite the authors larger telling. Perspectives will be employed when required by the tale. Maybe the first thing to happen will be the discovery of the whereabouts of the archpriest and the removal of his hands.? I don't know when, but his hands need to be chopped off.
Tool or not to Tool..Bifalt is slowly learning to tool himself..His refrain of being denied his life is false . Kinda like the when life gives lemons make lemonade. Free will to do what? Hes coming along but the nihilistic " we're all gonna die" still haunts him . His denial of Estie is the most extreme self defeating " but I won't put any sugar in the lemonade" I've seen of Donaldson's characters. Again there are hints to a full realization of Yin Yang of the character Bifalt but, as it is put..hes a slooow learner.

Yes slow learning seems a characteristic of the Bellegerian. Elgart is no exception apparently. But he is the Spy Master. Apparently my expectations of Elgart where/are(?) too high. My bad. His capture serves to remind what happens when out of balance. A more clear, honest appraisal of what he was walking into was blocked by his inflated view of himself and his abilities..It seems that lesson was learned by Bifalt by the time and place of the epilogue.
I think Estie is not even a thin play on Estrogen...the female..so yes the unification of the male Bifalt and the female Estie is required for a future....The thing is..Bifalts aging has already been made plain...so..the author needs to keep that in mind if he wants the two to have the best and healthiest possible "future."

Perhaps the whole of The Great God's War..is about growing up , maturing,, dealing with Life and Learning to live well and good enough to produce a better future.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finished my first reading of The War Within late last month, and have to say that I enjoyed the development of the impulsive go-getter character Queen Estie very much. I feel like I know her pretty well right now, and have much empathy for her. I plan to re-read this book later over the summer.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
I finished my first reading of The War Within late last month, and have to say that I enjoyed the development of the impulsive go-getter character Queen Estie very much. I feel like I know her pretty well right now, and have much empathy for her. I plan to re-read this book later over the summer.


I re-read it also.

Thoughts on Bifalt? And Lome?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SleeplessOne wrote:
I re-read it also.

Thoughts on Bifalt? And Lome?


To be clear, SleeplessOne, I have only read TWW once; not re-read it, yet. There's a small stack of books on my reading list for the next few months, and I probably won't get around to a re-read of TWW until next August or September.

I was ambivalent about Bifalt when reading Seventh Decimate, and some of that ambivalence has remained after a first completed read of TWW. At first, I found Bifalt's thinking the alliance between Belleger and Amika will be more secure if he practices celibacy with Estie to be incomprehensible. However, I take his point that if they have children, those children could be put into danger by the coming war, and might even be used as leverage against them. His fear that Estie will become untrustworthy if she explores her ability for sorcery fits with the depiction of him in the first book, but it makes him seem paranoid to me. But I admire that he wants Estie to have full control over how Amika is ruled, and that he trusts her judgement when it comes to matters of with whom to share his councils. Bifalt's insistence on publicly and privately respecting Estie's judgement and autonomy seems wise for purpose of keeping the alliance of their respective kingdoms strong.

As for Lome, I will comment on him after sharing the following passage.

In Chapter Three of The War Within, entitled "The Queen In Council", was wrote:
While she [Estie] smiled for the First Captain [Jaspid], and for her husband's defense of his second brother, Prince Lome lurched upright. "I have a request," he said too loudly. "Majesty. You have heard it before. You must reconsider." Drink or his uncharacteristic temerity made him sound belligerent. It concerns the Church of the Great God Rile."

Blocked by turrets and ramparts outside the windows, the sunlight was fading. Prince Lome was an indistinct figure, slurred by shadows and gloom.

"Will you be more specific, Brother?" If King Bifalt felt any displeasure, he kept it to himself. "You know my position. I have allowed the building of churches because my lady Queen sees no harm in them. I have not resisted the worship of this 'great god,' whatever he may be. But I do not trust these strangers. Their purposes are unclear to me.

"What must I reconsider?"

"A place on your council." Prince Lome's effort to speak assertively scattered saliva. "Your private council. Where Belleger's future is decided. A place for Archpriest Makh, who leads the Church of the Great God.

"You have rejected any priest." The Prince spoke strongly, yet he did not sound strong. He sounded frightened. "You are wrong. The Archpriest is more than his disciples. He is wiser. And he preaches peace. We do not have it now. We are allied with Amika, but you cannot pretend we are at peace. Even you, Brother. You cannot pretend we have peace.

"Only hear him once. Only let him speak in your council once. Then his purposes will be clear." To keep his balance, Lome braced his arms on the back of the bench in front of him. "You will know how wrong you are."

There was silence in the hall until Land-Captain Erepos suggested to Lome laconically, "Majesty."

At once, Prince Lome's confidence seemed to abandon him. "Majesty," he echoed in a smaller voice.

With what Queen Estie considered admirable restraint, King Bifalt repeated, "You know my position, Brother. I will not restate it." Then he turned to her. "But if my Queen-Consort has any new thoughts? We have spoken of this before. What do you say to Prince Lome's request now?"

Estie had forgotten her impulse to provoke her husband. This was not an occasion for an unloved wife's frustration. It was a time for the Queen of Amika.

In her most soothing tone, she asked Lome, "Will you answer one question, Highness? What do you say to one of the Nuuri on the King's private council? Will you hear him? "

Vague in the dimness, Prince Lome gaped at her, but no words came.

She gave him a moment to gather himself. When he did not respond, she said, "Then I will tell you how I view your request.

"I see no threat in the priests or in strangers. The world holds many people, and they each have their own wisdom. We can learn much from strangers.

"But I place great value on privacy. King Bifalt's private councils are private, as mine are, because they consider private matters, maters that do not concern strangers. In these meetings, every voice and opinion can be heard and answered without fear. Beliefs and desires can be debated there, thoughts that cannot be addressed publicly because they might give rise to rumors and confusion.

"In private, any stranger can only be a distraction. I do not call it wise to admit any priest, even the Archpriest, to the King's private council. I would not admit him to mine."

For the briefest of moments, King Bifalt's severity eased. Then he stood. Crisply now, he told Prince Lome, "You are answered, Brother. And my Queen-Consort's need to depart is grave. If you remain dissatisfied, speak to me alone. This council is ended."

To his wife, he gave a formal bow; he turned away and left the dais, heading toward the passages that led to his personal rooms in Belleger's Fist.

Doing her best to emulate her husband's manner, Queen Estie also turned away. But before she departed, she could not resist one more look around the hall.

Prince Lome had collapsed into his seat. Almost immediately, however, he lurched to his feet and rushed toward the public exit. His brother Jaspid stood back, letting other people pass around him; watching Lome with a smile that might have been sardonic or rueful. Grinning, Land-Captain Erepos bowed elaborately to the Queen-Consort before making his own departure.

But Elgart and Magister Facile were still absent.

Queen Estie needed them.


While it's true that the character of Prince Lome appears several times in TWW, it's that passage that is most influential to my opinion of him.

Lome sounds like a slob, spraying spittle while talking, and his frightened manner while trying to be assertive says to me that he is easily manipulated. (Maybe Lome's malleability to influence by the Great God's priests is enhanced by a wish to assume the throne, which could explain why Lome is reluctant to address Bifalt as "Majesty".)

Lome is not truthful, for despite his insistence that no peace exists between Amika and Belleger, it is clear that peace is what they now possess. Lome is not open, for he never explains what Archpriest Makh would say that would demonstrate purposes both trustworthy and wise. Lome doesn't seem to want any Nuuri on the King's council, likely because he's involved with Smegin's plotting against them.

I think that Lome is a treacherous, self-pitying, weak persona, who probably left the council so that he could report to on of the Great God's priest as soon as possible the resistance to having Makh on the council. I concede that Lome's presence in the story makes the story more interesting reading.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are valid observations, CH. Still, this is only our first glimpse of Lome, and what we see of him later in TWW adds nuance to our impression of him.

SRD has frequently used misdirection to influence how we view characters for whom he has downstream intentions. I have no insight into where he is going with Lome (or really most other aspects of the Great God's War), but I am avid for him to resolve his difficulties with his editors/publishers. Only then may we have in hand The Killing God (nee The Last Repository) to Read And Find Out.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am likewise eager for SRD to resolve his difficulties with his editors/publishers, because I have no idea where this story of his is headed.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My impression of Lome is that he wants more power for himself, either by getting his brother deposed by the Great God's church, or by getting a reward of pwer for making his brother Bifalt a puppet of the Great God's church. I know I am only guessing, but I think that is what Lome is up to doing.

In Chapter 14 of The War Within, entitled "A Courted Man", was wrote:
Prince Lome reminded himself that he wanted news. He wanted to know the outcome of his gamble. Maybe this was how tidings came to him. Maybe King Bifalt felt compelled to deliver the news in person.

Maybe everything in Belleger had changed while the Prince waited.

The King seated himself and poured a small amount of grot into his mug before he gazed at his brother again. His expression--his whole visage--had been formed and hardened to reveal nothing. But Prince Lome had become adept at reading faces through his inner haze. He saw the subtle lines of worry around King Bifalt's eyes, the slight tightening of pity at the corners of King Bifalt's mouth.

He did not see the consternation he desired.

Above all things, Prince Lome hated his brother's pity. Ignoring the way Jeck and Malder loomed behind the King's shoulders, Lome quenched his impulse to flinch with a mouthful of grot, then set down his mug like an announcement that he was ready to hear King Bifalt's latest reproach.

Without looking away, the King tasted his drink. Grimacing, he placed his mug like a challenge in front of Prince Lome's.

"So, Brother." King Bifalt sounded neither more or less hoarse and hash. than usual. "This is your preferred sanctuary."

"It is, Brother." The Prince could not match the King's tone, but he could grimace as well as any man. "Although I prefer to be alone in it."

"Always?" asked the King. "You have no companions? No one drinks with you? No one shares your"--he paused over the word--"sadness?"

It was conceivable that Bifalt meant the question kindly.

Lome did not believe it.

"No one shares yours," he retorted with a smolder of grot in his mouth. "That is your preference. Why should I not feel the same? Perhaps it is a family trait. Jaspid would rather use his saber than exchange three words in an honest conversation."

As an attempt to deflect his brother, Lome's gambit failed. "On my way here," remarked Bifalt, "Boy saw a priest leaving. Does he speak with you, Brother? Perhaps you consider him a friend. You have been a steady advocate for his Church."

"Yes, Brother," sighed the Prince, "he speaks with me. He tries to convert me. He pretends he hopes I will join his congregation. But his real interest is ale. He craves it. He craves it so much that even this dunghole's brew pleases him."

"Indeed?" King Bifalt appeared to study Lome's reply. "If what you say is true," he continued, musing, "and his efforts to convert you are a pretense, why does he speak to you at all? What does he want from you, Brother?"

That question may not have been kindly meant. Malder's grin made his opinion plain enough.

Prince Lome took two more swallows of grot, summoning sarcasm. "What do all men want from me, Brother? Nothing at all. I am merely a pretext. If he respected my wishes, he would leave me alone."

As would you, thought the Prince.

Or tell me what I want to know.


I just can't believe that Prince Lome has positive intentions for either his brother the King or for the alliance with Amika.
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