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Religion in the Great God's War

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:02 pm    Post subject: Religion in the Great God's War Reply with quote

As the son of a Missionary Man, Donaldson's relationship with religion has seemingly taken an ambivalent if not outright skeptical stance since early in his writing career.

As evidenced in The War Within, Donaldson recognizes the power of Christian iconography, using some very pointed examples of Christian 'branding' including an 'irregular' cross and a compelling-yet-vague 'In the beginning'-type sermon.

His Church of the Great God Rile insinuates itself into the lives of a Bellegeren culture that has no frame of reference as to prepare them for what they are dealing with.

Archpriest Makh makes light work of Elgart in the War Within, but I think the true peril is in his potential to to influence King Bifalt by playing to his prejudices.

Makh seems to wield some type of theurgistic power of suggestion, and he will be preaching to the already-credulous when he finally gets a chance to drop his persuasive anti-Magister speech on Bifalt.

I can forsee Bifalt being persuaded into joining the Last Repository's Enemy, putting him in direct conflict with Estie in the process.

While I acknowledge that the Last Repository is worth preserving - and maybe even fighting for - I find it hard to justify some of the actions of the Librarian Sirjane Marrow - are his ruthless manipulations an attempt to achieve Good through Evil means?

Donaldson poses the merits of the ends justifying the means repeatedly throughout the Last Chronicles, and seems to fall on the side of pardoning the sins of the righteous at times - you don't mess with anyone's birthright in a Donaldson universe.

Other religions and cultures make strong impressions in the Great God's War; the Cult of the Many, the yin-yang devotees of Spirit and Flesh.

As of the War Within the motives underpinning these spiritual paths are hard-to-determine.
The holy devotees of Spirit and Flesh are plainly efficacious in all that they assay. But their motives are murky.

Queen Estie will likely be the key in resolving both the duplicity of the Last Repository's guardians and in turning the battle against the library's enemies; she may even be the one capable of helping Bifalt transcend himself a 2nd time, as Third Father insisted he must.
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