Questions after reading

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Arc 1: Curse of the Mistwraith: Curse of the Mistwraith: Questions after reading
   By Catherine Britt on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 04:30 am: Edit Post

Have been re-reading CothM.

1) Wonder if anyone has any thoughts about Dakar's fey sight on Arithon's and Asandir's being in mirror image?

2) Being wondering about the towers at Ithamon. If the power that binds their structure is the force of each virtue renewed, then Arithon's receipt of grace, his endurance at each challenge, his increasing wisdom etc must be meaningful for ?.

   By Blue on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 09:52 am: Edit Post

1. Well, I think Dakar's insight, which was pretty rare for him at the time, meant that he recognized that Arithon was just about as powerful as Asandir, AND that they had a lot in common, something Arithon himself could not recognize, considering his upset at being manipulated into accepting the crown at Ithamon, with the coronation at Etarra.

Of course, Janny really puts the poor guy through the wringer, so sometimes it is hard to say exactly WHAT he realizes, early on.

Also, Arithon himself may not have realized his own strength (of character and will) and power at the time, because he was, literally, a young man of 22 who was still growing, in terms of maturity, knowledge, magic, music, AND experience. At this point, the F7 realized that he had a LOT of potential that could complicate their plans for restoring the monarchy, which is why the power of the s'Ffalenn crown jewels was hidden from him.

There are times, while on their travels to Althain and then to Ithamon, when Arithon ACTS like a very young, somewhat immature guy. It is to be expected, as Janny, I think, is allowing us to grow in knowledge with him. Arithon of Traitor's Knot is a much different man than he was on arrival in Athera, in CotM. Makes me drool to wonder how much more he will grow come Stormed Fortress!

2. As for the Towers of Ithamon, there is a lot of room for interpretation, and Janny is being rather coy on the subject. We can speculate anyway, because that's half the fun.

I don't think it is coincidence that the 5 Towers are imbued with the virtues that correspond to the main geas virtues of the human royal lines. (Will have to look that up, it has been a while since I last read CotM).

As long as those virtues were being practiced, in a whole and healthy scheme of things, the Towers thrived, too. However, the Justice Tower fell into ruin when King Marin Eliathe was murdered in his hall by an assassin. A lot of evidence points to the King as being Paravian, and further, that he was assassinated before the arrival of humans. Who did it? Why?

Janny, at the moment, is laughing up her sleeve at us, I think. She just loves a good tease, as we see.

I also wonder if the F7, or possibly even the Paravians will look to Arithon as being the one to make that Tower whole again. Since it is the Justice Tower, could it have something to do with the redemption of Lysaer, and the final resolution of Desh-thiere's Curse?

NOTE: This is speculation only. For all I know, I am a MILLION MILES off base.

   By Matthew on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 04:59 pm: Edit Post

I can only guess the towers were aligned to the different virues during or after the building process. So, they won't repair themselves. I believe they were built by the paravians so even if the wrongs which broke the towers are corrected no-ones around yet to rebuild.

If the king that was murdered was paravian then the fellowship looked for the 5 virtues in people to match the towers. If he was human it might indicate the towers were specifically made for humans as a visible embodiment of those virtues.

Interestingly, after everything that has happened the tower of justice is in the worst state (i think)could this indicate it's the easiest virtue to corrupt?

   By Blue on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 07:32 pm: Edit Post

There are too many who mistake justice for vengeance, which Lysaer's father, and now, thanks to the Curse, Lysaer himself have made.

The old Biblical "eye for an eye" suggests vengeance for the loss of an eye, in that the person who (might have accidentally) put out the eye of another is then himself deprived of an eye.

Of course, with only a little more reading, this is explained to mean that the person who lost the eye is entitled to monetary compensation for the loss, kind of an Old Testament "death or dismemberment" insurance policy. Pirates, too, had this kind of compensation in their articles, at least the ones active in Caribbean waters during the 1600-1700s.

In any case, it might not be that true justice is an easier virtue to corrupt, but it is possible, through ignorance, a curse or deliberate intent, to misconstrue what it truly means.

There is an FAQ somewhere that explains the origins of the s'Ilessid/s'Ffalenn feud back on Dascen Elur. A shipment of grain that was supposed to relieve a famine in Amroth went awry. Due to various shenanigans, of crooked people covering their tracks, the s'Ffalenn employee who had been responsible for the shipment was blamed. Through a further series of misunderstandings and bad timing, the then-King of Amroth invaded Karthan and sowed the fields with salt, to make the Karthish suffer the death and deprivation and hunger of the Amroth controlled area. To this King, this was justice - but it was an overreaction, especially since this condemned an entire NATION to famine.

The s'Ffalenn Kings, unfortunately, were forced to resort to piracy against the s'Ilessid of Amroth and thus, the feud that was responsible for shaping Lysaer and Arithon was born. According to one reference in CotM, this feud was seven generations strong. I wonder, however, if part of the problem with the s'Ffalenn maintaining their end of the feud could have resulted from that quick temper they inherited, along with their compassion/empathy geas from Torbrand s'Ffalenn, the founder of the line.

Both sides were capable of committing terrible atrocities against one another, and neither had any thoughts of possibly turning to s'Ahelas as a neutral party to mediate - there is no mention in that FAQ that any attempt was made, so I am going to presume that none WAS made.

Once started, the feud just fed on itself. The s'Ilessid retaliated strongly against the s'Ffalenn "aggressors" for their "barbarities" and the s'Ffalenn, trapped by their compassion/empathy geas, read and used their enemy's weaknesses against them, making it seem as though the atrocities committed were due to the s'Ffalenn having NO scruples.

In order to stay in power, I am guessing, it is not so much that Justice was corrupted as a true virtue, it was conveniently redefined into something it was never meant to be. The s'Ilessid King could not afford to look "soft on piracy" so the punishments became increasingly harsh against the men and women committing the acts, who were doing so out of sheer desperation.

   By Catherine Britt on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 12:24 am: Edit Post


I thought the main royal virtues/geas were: justice, farsight, wisdom, temperance and compassion.

The qualities imbued in the towers were: justice, wisdom, grace, compassion, honour/endurance. I suppose I was wondering if Arithon as sanctioned prince was in some way reinforcing those virtues.

Maybe the s'Ilessid king was more concerned with retaliation rather than a proper response to a wrongdoing.

   By Blue on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 05:57 am: Edit Post

Oops! You are right, Catherine - I really need to pick up the book and look up the references BEFORE I sound off.

Of course, I have that problem in "real life," too - my brain is in park, while my mouth is in overdrive.

Maybe the s'Ilessid king was more concerned with retaliation rather than a proper response to a wrongdoing.

You have a gift for summing things up that I envy! Of course, I am notorious for reading a 10 page short story and writing an 8 page book report on it. You are exactly right, the s'Ilessid King WAS concerned with retaliation, rather than true Justice. To him, what he did, WAS just, not an act of mean spirited revenge that caused a war seven generations long.

Of course, it could also be a convenient misinterpretation of the old "eye for an eye" adage, that served some unknown political agenda. "Our people suffered, now theirs do. THAT'S justice."

If JUSTICE had really been a concern, the s'Ilessid King could easily have sued for monetary compensation, or demanded a replacement of the grain that was lost, gratis, instead of condemning an entire country to starvation.

I'll leave it to Janny to fill in the blanks - maybe there was a compelling reason the King of Amroth did what he did. Perhaps the geas gift was not at its full potency in him, as it was with Lysaer (pre-Curse).

   By Catherine Britt on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 05:59 am: Edit Post

Blue, it almost feels like the s'Ilessid, s'Ffalenn and the s'Ahelas gifts were not working as well as they should on Dascen Elur with the war going on for so long.

Maybe the gifts were changing in some way due to the resonance of Dascen Elur. Even Arithon and Lysaer ended up with elemental mastery. Am sure as you have said Janny will expound on this somewhere.

   By Blue on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 11:30 am: Edit Post

That's an interesting thought, that perhaps the different (lesser?) resonance of Dascen Elur could have dilluted or otherwise changed the royal geases (?) somewhat.

I believe in TK, Janny does have an afterword, wherein she does get into the geas gifts and how they might be weaker in some, stronger in others - similar to a river, the gift flows in the family lines, stronger in some individuals than others. The reason, therefore, that Arithon has such a heavy dose of the s'Ffalenn compassion/empathy geas is that he is the only one left. If he had any blood s'Ffalenn relations, that burden would be spread out some.

Maybe there was something about that lesser resonance on Dascen Elur that did corrupt the s'Ilessid gift to an extent. Lysaer, for all that he was, pre-Curse, fully endowed with the Justice geas, was still short sighted and bigoted to the extent that he was willing to kill every last s'Ffalenn in sight, even his own half brother, without giving the benefit of the doubt or the (US/UK/Australian/Canadian) standard of "Innocent until proven guilty", if such standards even exist on Athera or Dascen Elur.

What might have been interesting would have been Lysaer risking his father's wrath to act as Arithon's legal counsel, since they were of equal rank as the respective Crown Princes of Amroth and Karthan.

Now THERE'S an interesting bit of "what if?" that Janny might want to think about one day - Lysaer "Perry Mason" s'Ilessid.

   By Angus on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 01:24 pm: Edit Post

Quote: "Lysaer, for all that he was, pre-Curse, fully endowed with the Justice geas, was still short sighted and bigoted to the extent that he was willing to kill every last s'Ffalenn in sight, even his own half brother, without giving the benefit of the doubt..."

Blue, I recently re-read CotMW, and I do not think he was ready to kill every last s'Ffalenn in sight. In fact, he was quite concerned about Arithon's welfare when he first encountered him. Arithon, in response, provoked Lysaer to extreme anger. Our bard was young, foolish, angry and grieving then. Lysaer reacted to Arithon's prodding, which was Arithon's intent.

Pre-curse Lysaer was not ready to "kill" every s'Ffalenn on sight. In fact, I thought he was a fairly decent person, especially after the bonding struggle of the Red Desert & Mearth, until his freak out at Etarra. That was a Very Bad Day. He was pompous and privileged, and a bit naive, but he was learning. Had the Curse not intervened, he would probably have become King of Tysan.

As a lawyer, I think that Lysaer, pre-curse, would have been an excellent barrister (trial lawyer to you Yanks). He has poise and grace, and an excellent turn of phrase. His in-born sense of justice would help too. Might have made a good judge. Then he got wrecked. Not Perry Mason though. Horace Rumpole. Mason was a hack.

The bad thing about Lysaer is that he could have undone the Curse, and chose not to.

   By Trys on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 01:49 pm: Edit Post


The bad thing about Lysaer is that he could have undone the Curse, and chose not to.

Chose not to or was influenced so heavily he could make no other choice than to 'not to'?

   By Angus on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 02:41 pm: Edit Post

Okay, I plead guilty to over-simplification. But Lysaer was given the opportunity on more than one occasion to admit that he was curse-driven, and to ask for help. He refused. Obviously, the Curse aided his refusal, but his own judgment had a role.

Lysaer cannot escape his share of personal responsibility for his actions, curse-driven though they may be. His own weaknesses contributed to his failure to make any attempt to battle the Curse.

   By DarthJazy on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 03:06 pm: Edit Post

The true question here do you think he can be redeemed?

   By Angus on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 03:24 pm: Edit Post

My faith tells me that anyone can be redeemed, but not in their own strength. They must admit that they are helpless to defeat their burdens, and ask God to take care of them. Then, God gives them the things they need to be redeemed.

If Lysaer comes to that dark place where there is no place else to go but death or redemption, he will be faced with that stark choice. But he must choose to admit his helplessness, or he cannot hope for redemption, and will instead die.

Yes, Lysaer can be redeemed, but it requires him to release all control of everything he has tried to control. He must repent. Otherwise, no redemption. In his case, and in the context of this story, it is likely that the curse must be lifted from him first, at least partially, so that he can see more clearly.

I too find Lysaer a tragic figure. He was so promising in the beginning. Now, he is a homicidal maniac.

   By Catherine Britt on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 01:11 am: Edit Post

The charge of heartlessness against Lysaer is disputable.

His apparently preferring stance for the larger good of Athera (by getting rid of Arithon) is misguided but perceived by him as prevention of avoidable human suffering.

Therefore, Lysaer must care. It would be difficult to take personal responsibility when his autonomy has been sufficiently compromised both by the possession of the wraith and the curse.

On the odd moments clarity hits him, his autonomy surges and despite his weaknesses he recognises the human suffering caused by his nonautonomous choices.

Maybe when he stands before a life Paravian and his autonomy is restored (like Arithon in Kewar) he may be able to take personal responsibility and seek redemption.

   By Blue on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 04:26 am: Edit Post

Man oh, man! Do I love a good debate. Direct quotes, word for word from my (finally excavated!!) copy of CotM:

"A few short minutes of madness had nearly brought him to murder, to sacrifice the lives of loyal sailors to end the misery of a criminal."

Really? Does this mean, then, with Arithon dead, that somehow or another the sailors will still die? The only way that can happen is if "Daddie Dearest" s'Ilessid orders the entire company of that ship executed.

Interesting, though that Lysaer's inner mind choice of word for Arithon's death at his hands was "murder" - considering all that Arithon had provoked him with, having some idea of what he was capable of committing with his magics, Lysaer could actually have reported the scene of Arithon's death as a JUSTIFIABLE summary execution, since as a mage of such powerful status, he could not be contained to bring to rightful trial, at least, not by whatever means there were left to Lysaer and the Briane's company, all of whom were untrained.

The only other way the lives of those sailors could possibly have been "sacrificed" would have taken a few IFs: IF Arithon were truly as powerful as it was believed, IF he were actually unscrupulous enough to misuse Grand Conjury this way, IF he were angry or scared enough, IF he knew the spell, THEN there was NO WAY that ANY member of the Briane's crew would have made it to that port where Lysaer was staying, and Lysaer KNEW IT.

"For the first time in his life, Lysaer fully understood his father's deranged hatred of s'Ffalenn; to the last son left living, they were a breed of fiends."

"A breed of fiends" jeez, that almost sounds like a racial/racist slur.

The "real life" military took a lot of flak for training soldiers to kill the enemy by using dehumanization tactics. Instead of issuing the order to an inexperienced soldier, "Go kill that child," which is likely to be disobeyed, that soldier would be told, "Go kill that (insert racial slur here)." Thus, the soldier was killing an enemy, a thing, not a child/person.

How many of the Karthish were killed that way, I wonder? "Kill all Karthies, let Daelion Fatemaster sort 'em out!" could be a motto for the Amroth military.

"Arithon's plight at the hands of the King would be unpleasant and prolonged."

This likewise does not fill me with admiration for any "Justice" on Lysaer's part. He will allow someone to be tortured to death, as seems likely from the above reflection? If THIS is a nice, JUST guy, please don't let me meet up with an unfair, mean one! Whoops! Post Curse, that IS Lysaer

Okay, I do sit the fence, and I will sometimes defend Arithon, and sometimes Lysaer. In this case, however, Lysaer gets my vote for "Biggest jerk in CotM until Pesquil and the grottoes at Tal Quorin."

   By Blue on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 04:30 am: Edit Post

One last thing, Angus, I'll take your word on who Lysaer could be compared to as a Lawyer - Perry Mason was the most famous one I could recall off the top of my head. I almost put in Vincent LaGuardia Gambini from My Cousin Vinny.

   By Hellcat on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 05:32 am: Edit Post

Have to disagree with you Blue ;)


Really? Does this mean, then, with Arithon dead, that somehow or another the sailors will still die? The only way that can happen is if "Daddie Dearest" s'Ilessid orders the entire company of that ship executed.

That's what I believe would have happened and the crew of the Briane clearly believed it too or they would have killed Arithon once they found out who he was. The fact that people (including Lysaer) believed Lysaer's father was capable of this says something about the state of Amroth's government, not Lysaer's sense of justice.

IMHO he did the best risk limitation in that circumstance, how to make sure the least number of people suffered or were killed. He took responsibility (as the person his father would punish least) for Arithon's drugged state meaning the crew of the Brianne DID NOT have to face his father's wrath. And hoping that Arithon would suffer the minimum possible because his drug addicted state would numb the pain.

Lysaer chose the least of many evils, and without a perfect system of COMPASSIONATE justice rather than VENGEFUL justice I don't see how he could have done better.


   By Jo on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 06:03 am: Edit Post

Ok I don't like Lysaer precurse and def not afterwards but I suppose Arithon was accused of burning all of Amroths fleet with magecraft (although we know he didn't do it on purpose) so I don't suppose Lysaer could let Arithon kill himself because ther would be no justice for the families of those sailors. Then again Arithon was offering to end his life and the feuds but Lysaer rejected that (let the killing continue) and let the King have his vengenace because it could never have been justice. Also Lysaer blamed Arithon for landing in the red desert and tried to do him in on quite a few occasions until he finally realised that maybe Arithon was not like his ancestors. There are a few passages before he was curse riddled where he is jealous of Arithon as well (the Khadrim and in Althain tower). For me it seems that if Lysaer doesn't have power he doesn't know who he or what his purpose is. Think that was why he really struggled in the beginning of curse I think I'm going off on a tangent now not sure what point I'm trying to make.

   By Angus on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 08:15 am: Edit Post

One thing to which we are all susceptible is to judge people subjectively, based on our experience. For instance, it is easy to judge an American plantation owner of the 1790's as evil, by today's standards of racial equality. However, this kind of judgment is impossible. To American society in the 1790's, particularly in the South, slavery was an acceptable and, to them, necessary way of life. Their whole economy was based on it (the British can take a fair amount of the blame for this too, because they didn't ban it in their empire until the early 1830's). This does not make slavery any less wrong, it just puts it in context.

Moving to WoLaS, to judge Lysaer (pre-Curse) as being vengeful is inappropriate. He had been spoon-fed hate against Karthan and its rulers, the s'Ffalenn, since his birth. And to be fair, the Karthish leaders had done their fair share of evil in the 7 generation dispute. For a guy who had been brought up in that kind of environment, he makes amazingly just choices. Arithon deliberately provoked Lysaer to kill him, and Lysaer stopped himself. He did not give in to generations of hatred, to the provocation, to his subjective reality. He made a choice to stop. I agree with Hellcat, that Lysaer made the best decision he could in the circumstances.

That he came to that conclusion at all is almost beyond belief, given the insane hatred his father bore for s'Ffalenn.

The crucible of the Red Desert and Mearth taught Lysaer a lot about his half-brother, just as it taught Arithon, who, at that time, was certainly no angel. Sorry, but the arrogant little snot deserved a punch in the nose for what he showed Lysaer (wasn't that compassionate!). By the time they came through the West Gate, there was the budding of mutual respect, and even friendship. Arithon did not suffer the same, spoon-fed hatred that Lysaer did, because he did not even meet his father until he was a young man. He was raised as a s'Ahelas in Rauven, away from the fierce dispute between Amroth and Karthan.

Without taking these factors into account, Lysaer cannot be fairly judged the way that you are proposing, Blue. It is too stark, ignores the reality that Lysaer experienced on Dascen Elur, and imposes post-modern morality on a medieval-renaissance era.

Post-Curse, Lysaer is still a homicidal maniac.

Vinny Gambini would have been a good choice, Blue. Can you imagine if Lysaer and Arithon had be caught in Erdane, and Vinny was on hand to defend them? He could have called them the "two yewts". Still, I would rather have had Rumpole of the Bailey, the classic Old Bailey Hack. Best lawyer on television. Period.

   By Kam on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 03:05 pm: Edit Post

I was re-reading CotM and TK yesterday and came across the passage where Lysaer is in the garden at Etarra. Skim it over if you think Lysaer is an arse in CotM.

I'd have to agree with Angus that we're viewing Lysaer on our principles and forgetting his. He was raised in that prejudiced environment and probably was allowed less free thinking than the average bloke cause his daddy's always ranting in his ear.

I actually like Lysaer as a character. He's very human (ironic, innit). In CotM - Etarra, he learns just how narrow his upbringing was. I believe if the curse didn't mess up his priorities, Lysaer would've gone on to be a decent king.

By the avatar state, Lysaer has pretty much dug himself into his own grave. We all say that he needs to admit he did something wrong yadda yadda; but we're not talking about a smashed plate here, he's responsible for the death of thousands. So Lysaer took the easy way out. I'm not saying cowardice is the right way, it's just a very human thing to do.

Being lonely is very human too.

One of the main problems I have with Arithon is that his choices, how he pulls through his trials and everything... well, sometimes it's a bit unbelieveable!

I find I sympathize with Lysaer alot more. He's a delusional fool and he brought it all on himself; but I just don't see how he's gonna get himself out of this one!

   By Matthew on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 03:51 pm: Edit Post

*cheers* and the tide shuffles its feet abit... i won't go as far as saying it's turned :-).

I think there are a growing number of people who are reevaluating the opinion they might have formed about Lysaer. We all owe a big thankyou to Ms Wurts for providing characters that arnt 2d.

   By Matthew on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 04:02 pm: Edit Post

I still strongly believe that the gifted virtues can be effected by the personality and upbringing of the person who has it.

Justice for one person may not be the same for another person, it seems that having a virtue is no guarantee that it will change events for the better on its strength alone.

Even if you are compassionate things said in the heat of temper can cause alot of emotional and physical damage.

Arithon was able to clamp down his compassion to commit cold blooded slaughter at the havens. He was choosing to ignore it, if he could do that why doubt that another person could ignore or be guided away from justice.

   By Jo on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 11:45 am: Edit Post

Ok - maybe Lysaer was not allowed to think for himself! In TK didn't one of the F7 say he was flawed anyhow. Wasn't it said that yes the curse messed him up but only part of him everything else is his own work. He lies for convenience could be the curse or could be him I'm not sure. Do the lies and the sense of justice go hand in hand? Arithon ignoring his compassion not sure about that it nearly killed him what he did. He was doing it to spare a lot more lives if that is the case then his compassion was still intact.

   By Matthew on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 01:42 pm: Edit Post

Arithon suspended his compassion to spare lives.. could lysaer be suspending his sense of justice for the individual to spare lives in the grander scheme of things? being flawed already and also having the mistwraithes geas its a wonder that he can function at all.

   By Jo on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 02:17 pm: Edit Post

I'm afraid despite the fact that I try to understand Lysaer I just can't like the guy maybe it's the fact that he is blonde (no offence meant to anyone who is blonde)

I suppose in a way though we see all of Arithon's actions and why he does them eventually we don't really get to know Lysaer except a bit in curse (didn't like him in that as I have said) we just don't know what is the real him and what has been tainted by the curse. For me I just see a pompous and arrogant young man who gets 10 times worse. This is probably very narrow minded and judgemental for which I apologise for and I know Arithon is no saint either.

   By Jo on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 02:47 pm: Edit Post

Not sure where everybody lives but I have just found out something about myself I live in the Uk (that's not what I found out) and I'm watching Any dream will do (talent contest for west end production for Joseph)there's a young blonde lad and I can't stand him - i think I'm a hairist. I don't like blonde men. That explains everything. Hence why I probably favour Arithon. I am now going to stop posting as I think I am prejudiced against poor Lysaer! (I don't get out much with having kids think I need to)

   By Matthew on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 04:03 pm: Edit Post

i used to be blonde when i was 5.. but i grew out of it :-) maybe Lysaer can too?

If not maybe baldness runs in the family?

   By Blue on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 07:58 pm: Edit Post

I still hold my ground that Lysaer was prejudiced - he was "spoon fed hatred all his life" about the Karthish? Isn't that where prejudice/bigotry starts?

True, "Daddie Dearest" s'Ilessid was probably just barely this side of insane, which REALLY makes me wonder WHY Mak s'Ahelas would have sent his daughter to marry this guy. With the mention of bridal dowries of elementally gifted children, this struck me as an arranged marriage, rather than Talera s'Ahelas marrying for love.

The s'Ahelas (neutral in the s'Ffalenn/s'Ilessid feud?) HAD to see how desperate both sides were, and how vicious this war was getting.

Too, Mak s'Ahelas was a very wise, insightful man, how could he NOT have seen "Daddie Dearest" for what he was?

Note, too, that when it was obvious that Arithon would have been beaten to death in the throne room, Lysaer DID have the "decency" for regret, but did NOTHING to intervene. As the crown prince, who was QUITE popular, and thus, could have been a real power to contend with, he did nothing but "feel regret" and try to leave.

In later books of WoLaS, in fact, as early as SoM, we saw Lysaer literally put his own life on the line to make a point - such as when he allowed himself to be chained to protest the enslavement of those clansmen captured by the Mayor and sent as convict labor while he was rebuilding Avenor. There were a LOT of townsmen guarding those prisoners, and they could easily have chosen to gut him for his "softness" towards the clansmen. But in that case, Lysaer could easily have called upon his own town loyalists, such as Lord Diegan, who outnumbered the mayor's guard, to save him.

So, he could put his own neck on the line for strangers, but not his own half brother?

In CotM, he "TRIED" to go to bat for Arithon, when Arithon had manipulated the situation with the Camris clans to force the F7's hand. I was not too impressed with Lysaer's response there, for while he was outnumbered, he also knew he had a full fledged F7 Sorcerer to back him up. In fact, when it was revealed that Lysaer was the one to whom the clans would defer, he STILL said he would leave punishment up to Asandir.


In no way, shape, or form, am I implying that Arithon has no faults or does not share any of the blame for the troubles between himself and Lysaer. But Lysaer keeps holding himself up as the "superior" and the "just" one, and most of his problems, post Curse were indeed already in place. He is a blindly prejudiced, arrogant, pain in the rear who should never have been given a mirror. He is far too worried about the image he projects than to give much thought to what he should truly be.


I am also not saying that Lysaer is beyond redemption, because it looks as though Sulfin Evend is challenging his ingrained notions on a much deeper level than anyone else has ever dared. Sulfin Evend already challenged the rigid stance of Lysaer's that ALL mage gifted or clan blooded had to be eliminated, especially since the gifts of those people would be needed to counter the influence and powers of the necromancers. Then Lysaer did a little backpedal, and said only those who used their power unjustly were to be eliminated.

Really? Then he'd better give stricter instructions to the likes of Vorrice and the other priest idiots who are trying to purge the countryside.

Sulfin Evend has a pretty good inbuilt bull detector that he is going to need working at top speed to help deal with Lysaer. I think he will be the catalyst, as perhaps no one else could be, to put Lysaer on the path to redemption, if Lysaer doesn't somehow screw it up.


I kind of wonder, and this is something that perhaps only Janny can answer, did the s'Ffalenn King of Karthan ever make a request for Talera to become his bride? I am not saying Avar, (Arithon's father, the last king before Arithon's exile) since Avar might have inherited later, and might not have been the one to make a marriage offer.

Daddie Dearest went berserk when he found out Talera had left him for his most notorious enemy, but was there something deeper in his reaction? Had he actually been the winner in the bid for a s'Ahelas bride, but only just?

   By Catherine Britt on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 04:36 am: Edit Post

We tend to think of prejudice in terms of a dichotomy; either I am prejudiced or I am not. To me it is more of a continuum varying from high to low.

This suggests that both Arithon and Lysaer would have been prejudiced to some degree. Prejudgements and faulty generalisations are natural and unavoidable in any social setting.

For example, Arithon was a victim of prejudice by his cousin. His show of displeasure of that prejudice earned him solitary confinement and early mage training at a tender age. He was given knowledge and discipline to cultivate distance, sensitivity etc.

Lysaer, was probably more ethnocentric in that he thought that the Amroth people as virtuous and superior and the Karthan people were scaled according to it. Possibly Karthans were even contemptible and inferior. May be that was what you mean about being 'superior' Blue.

Consequently, he would have viewed Arithon's behaviour negatively rather than try to understand him.

As far as trying to save him in the throne room, Lysaer realised that Arithon wanted the king to kill him and that the blame would rest solely on the king. Maybe his gift made him understand that justice here was charity and in letting this happen.

There is an inference in CoTM that Lysaer himself did not feel safe, if Arithon died as the king would seek vengence on him. While Lysaer might have been the crown prince he was not the power behind the throne -and he was certainly not going to challenge his deranged father unless his own hide was being threatened. I think he did this at some stage. I am sure Lysaer had issues of abandonment and jealousy besides which may have influenced his personal value system.
Post- curse Lysaer, right or wrong, as a leader initiates a war (jointly with other leaders)in pursuit of an individual.

Sadly, this is reminiscent, of current world affairs where right or wrong a war is initiated in pursuit of an individual.

I cannot in all honesty dislike the guy or call him by the grandiose title of homicidal maniac, when all I can visualise is an individual with a false sense of self only tightly held together by sapphires and a white jacket, while inside he is a quivering morass.

   By Jo on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 09:23 am: Edit Post

My thoughts are very simplistic and I know I said I wouldn't post again but I've changed my mind. Isn't it a bit worrying then that a future King cannot think for himself. How do we ever turn prejudice around if we are unable to think for ourselves. (yes he is a prince blah blah) but he still has a brain in his head. Like I said before post curse I don't believe all Lysaer's actions are driven by the curse.
The worrying thing is just like the books Arithon's alliance is waning and Lysaer's is gaining momentum. I am shocked!

   By Kam on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 12:56 pm: Edit Post


Lysaer's father states that he was "promised" a Master of Shadow. From the sound of this, the arranged marriage could be bribery or blackmail (ie, "I will raze your farmlands unless you help me in this war"?) Or even some kind of hostage exchange. Could explain partially why, um, Devon? went off his rocker when she ran.

There was another queen and daughter before Lysaer who died in the feud; maybe that had something to do the high blood pressure.

I also feel that much of people's hatred of Lysaer occurs from the setup during the beginning of CotM. Yes, Lysaer was an arse (although Arithon wasn't too pleasant either) but CotM has one of the best character development at play. Each stage is different.

Amroth - I am not sure why you think Lysaer should even feel anything for Arithon let alone stand up for him. Arithon is The Enemy. Add this on top of the spoonfed prejudice. He killed Amroth sailors through magic - they had no way to protect themselves against this attack.

Lysaer pressumably knows Arithon exists; but how should he react? His mother left him to have this child and then died. Abandonment and jealousy is pretty easily developed in early childhood.

In the throne room; I think Catherine pretty much covered this. Arithon needs to die, by Amroth's justice system (Lysaer at this point still thinks justice is something that is solid). Dying fast is probably the best for him.

After Mearth there's an uneasy truce between the two. You have to realise just how left out Lysaer is feeling at this stage. Everyone he's met so far is a crazed, mind-reading sorcerer who clearly have unspoken intentions for him. He stays friendly with Arithon because Arithon is the closest thing to home that he's got. A few people pointed this out, as if it's a terrible thing! Is it wrong that he clings to something familar in a world of strangers? No different from the concept of security blankets.

At some point; most likely in Althain Tower, Lysaer realises he needs to resolve the issues between him and Arithon properly. We can see this progress all the way to Etarra, up unto the point where the curse makes him go zappy. Right prior to the zappy thing, Lysaer realises that there is no clear cut "justice" - between townsmen/clansborn and himself/Arithon. His whole belief is topsy-turvy, and he has to reform his values. Self-esteem: low.

In Etarra they seem to be on good terms - Lysaer's main issue with his half-brother is the fact that Arithon shies away from responsibilty; having been burnt by the fire and no wonder. Arithon, being the prickly briar that he is, does not share his experiences - so Lysaer has no way of understanding his intentions. Lysaer, I noticed, isn't afraid of responsibilty. He strives for grandiose causes, I believe Arithon said once.

And the Mistwraith gave him a pretty good one, eh.

The whole affair at Tal Quorin, what with the children cutting people's throats... the mass murder of townsmen... that probably erased any memory of Arithon being a decent guy (o'course, Arithon was no responsible for those, but Lysaer's got no way of knowing that)

I noticed Janny makes a really big deal with how Lysaer reacts to Arithon throughout CotM; but she doesn't mention at all what Arithon thinks.

At some point, I would like to see Arithon's side to the whole prejudice thing. Would be an interesting comparison; especially when Lysaer is painstakingly trying to remedy it in CotM. I think the curse makes Lysaer regess in terms of character development. It's like he's back at the stage where he just popped out of the West Gate (and getting worse).

I couldn't say for sure if this means Lysaer is really like this underneath and all of his actions in CotM is just a facade or it's the curse that made him, er, forget stuff. Reforming values, changing yourself is always difficult; and the curse gave him an easier option. Cowardice isn't admirable, but it's human (and a nasty flaw).

I guess I still believe that there's a sane person under all of his crazy talk.

   By Jo on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 01:10 pm: Edit Post

Ok you got me I am seeing a different point of view we will see by then end of the series if anyone is an arse or both are and to exactly what point this curse has driven Lysaer's actions. I suppose we know why Arithon wasn't very pleasant in COTM to start off with. As its been said is there really a good/evil person in this there is nothing clear cut. We shall have to wait and see

   By Matthew on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 03:03 pm: Edit Post

The wraiths did their research well.. Arithon's compassion and Lysaer's justice have both been used to provoke unspeakable amounts of bloodshed. Lysaer's sense of 'justice' spurs him to lead men on while Arithon's sense of 'compassion' means that whenever someone seems to be even slightly threatened he steps in to try and help and generally men pay with their lives, often in the thousands.

Without mage training Lysaer will never be in the position, like Arithon, to recognise changes within himself. If someone tells arithon he's under some sort of geas of compulsion he'd understand what that phrase actually means AND be able to look for it... Lysaer is unable to do that, so even if someone tells him about the curse he has no way of verifying it for himself. The curse can easily turn any beginning of doubt into mistrust of the individual telling him he has a problem.

   By Jo on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 05:21 am: Edit Post

See i'm sitting on the fence with this one. Lysaer could well be just not wanting to face up to the fact he is cursed because everything he has done. Enough people have told him and have tried to help him. Fair enough the curse could be corrupting his thought then again maybe it has nothing to with the curse. All these hedge witches he is putting to death but if other mages work for him they are ok how is that justice in any way shape or form. It just seems if someone doesn't agree with him they are killed, no wonder Arithon never stands a chance (not saying it's actually Lysaers fault in all the cases) anyone who realises he is not the evil b that Lysaer says he is gets killed. I don't think Lysaer needs mage training to realise what a curse ridden fool he has been. My view all along has been we don't know har far this curse has corrupted either of them. We don't know if all their actions are curse ridden or not and we don't know if Lysaer is lying to make himself look better or that the curse is making him do it. The cruel lies he made of Talith were they cruse driven or him being an arse, was his abuse of Elain curse ridden or him. Well only Janny will know for sure. Arithon to me, doesn't go and rescue people who are slightly threatened, he is leaving the S'Brydon and I would say they were in a whole lotta trouble! I think I will stop posting as it is driving me a bit insane. I now have the urge to read COTM again to try to get a different perspective on it.

   By Catherine Britt on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 03:10 am: Edit Post

Quote: My view all along has been we don't know far this curse has corrupted either of them.

In PG, Arithon's passage through the tunnel shows how devastated he was when it exposed his scyring as being influenced by the curse. He constantly reminds the clan and Dakar that he himself is unaware of how far the curse influences his actions and hence his choices.

If one extropolates this, then Lysaer must be even more influenced in his actions and hence his choices and this was an individual who was possessed as well.


Lysaer's exposure to mage talent is different to what he knows from Dascen Elur I think. He was astonished at the Ath,s adepts in Athera. They were different to what he knew back home.

His curse driven geas makes him link ALL mage talent as bad. It is not till PG and TK that Sulfin Evend brings his attention to clan inheritance and mage talent. I suppose Lysaer was deceived by the half truth and hence made a false conclusion of mage talent. On SE's exposure he had to rethink again.

It is only on Sulfin Evend's insistence that Lysaer attempts to use mage talent. However, Sulfin Evend is not aware of Arithon's relationship to Lysaer till later. Wonder if this would have made a difference to SE's choices.

Lysaer's half truths could be the deceptions and false conclusions that he subjectively creates in the process of becoming a righteous leader. Am not sure if he is being pompous - I just think he is more delusional and his half truths get stretched a lot more.

I think his treatment of Ellaine was pathetic but then his role model was his father. I would have thought that the image that should have reminded him was of his father abusing Talera - but maybe that was the image he had.
SE has spoken out a few times. Lysaer when not curse driven has not killed him yet.

   By Iris on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 01:53 pm: Edit Post

Pertaining to Lysaer, there are a few things that come to mind immediately - though I do not have my books here with me to refresh my memory ...

Lysaer saves Arithon through the use of 500 year fountain in the desert...

Triath grieves for the character he sees in Lysaer that he knows will somehow go so very wrong (I believe he offers to help him learn how to use his gift) this is while they are in Althain Tower in CoMR ...

Lysaer faces the Paravian spirit that has been called forth through Jared (PG) and confesses that he (Lysaer) may indeed be completely insane and curse driven and if that is true then that all he has done is a horror beyond belief, yet if he is NOT, and there is truly terrible evil praying on the world, then he is the only one who can stand against he chooses to do so.

I remember reading this passage through tears due to Jared's fate and the grace of this being that comes. When this happened with Lysaer, it made me see him more far more clearly. His stance we all know to be stunningly wrong, but he does not know it to be wrong. He only knows that it is possibly wrong (this he admits to the Paravian spirit). But imagine what that means to him. All he has done and lost would seem to be impossible to reconcile with. I hope he can somehow be redeemed...but cannot imagine how.
Because, also, in the back of my mind it is the Mistwraith that is to blame afterall...

And I have to wonder what benefit the Mistwraith would get from these horrible wars and loss of innocent lives. Is it simple revenge and a way to keep the two from collaborating? or is it more? Do the spirits of the dead that are lost without having a proper rite somehow strengthen it? The nature of the MW is still such a mystery!

Ahhh now I am back into Athera obsession!

Also - on a lighter note, I saw the Shrek 3 movie this weekend and kept having visions of Lysaer when Prince Charming was!

   By Jo on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 01:54 pm: Edit Post

Just started to re-read curse and a couple of questions for Janny. Would the sailors of Amroth had any dealings with Arithon before the fateful voyage? The way I am reading it obviously the sailors are terrified of him after what he had done but it seems they already know a bit of what he is like. Also were there ever any mages on Amroth. Thank you

   By Angus on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 02:34 pm: Edit Post

Jo: There were mages in Dascen Elur, namely the s'Ahelas decendents of Dari s'Ahelas. Whether there were any in Amroth is unknown. I got the impression they were all in Rauven, wherever that was (no maps of Dascen Elur - Janny? I know, it's not a priority, but it sure would be nice. My imagination just doesn't do it justice).

Good one on Prince Charming. But he is a truly manipulative bastard. Lysaer is deranged, not manipulative.

I retract my "homicidal maniac" bit of hyperbole that I spouted waaaaaay above. Sorry, it was indeed outside the Pale. It looks like Lysaer is getting some understanding.

You know, a lot of people can't understand repentence and forgiveness. It is possible for this to happen to the worst person on this planet. It does not mean that the consequences of your crimes/sin/etc. are wiped away, just the guilt part. You still have to face the music. I predict that the Mistress of the Pen shall surprise us with some kind of amazing yet tragic redemption of Lysaer, probably in Arc V.

Of course, only she knows, and it'll be a few years before we get there.


   By Janny Wurts on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 07:51 am: Edit Post

Jo - You Asked.

Maps of Dascen Elur - intriguing. Someday there should be.

Mages in Amroth - not currently. There is a reason.

Arithon's reputation with the sail hands outside of Karthan - his existence was known to them, and rumor could have lent a fearful edge to the gossip -- sailors are about the most superstitious lot going. Not hard to imagine the stories would have been exaggerated. Given the s'Ffalenn reputation on the high seas, adding a son who could wield shadow would have been right terrifying, seen from the outside perspective.

   By Jo on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 09:13 am: Edit Post

I'm intrigued Janny. Does that mean we will find out why there are no mages in Amroth and does the not currently mean there will be in the future and we will read about it. Not sure if you can say anything or not as could be spoilers for future books.

   By Jo on Friday, May 25, 2007 - 03:18 am: Edit Post

Just noticed something in re-reading the curse and never in all the times I have read this book have I took it in but it says that the King of Amroth bannished the old lore after his marriage failed.
This is only a guess but that would kind of explain why there were no mages in Amroth and why Lysaer was not trained and maybe why they distrust mages so much is because his mother was one. This is a lot of guessing i have to say. I'll carry on with the re-read and see if there is anything else I have noticed before.

   By Jo on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - 05:20 am: Edit Post

Me again. On the note about Lysaer not being so bad afterall ( because he's cursed didn't the F7 throw him out of the compact because it wasn't the curse ruling all his actions or even any (can't remember where it was written or the exact words could be FP) because if it is the curese ruling everything then the F7 would be very harsh to throw him out. Think they checked his aura or something.

   By Blue on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - 06:32 am: Edit Post

You're on FP, aren't you Jo?

Yes, it seemed a little harsh that Lysaer was kicked out of the Compact, but he just would NOT admit, or even allow for the possibility that he was cursed. That is ONE stubborn monkey boy.

The aura reading you are referring to was one Sethvir helped Traithe with - Traithe is pretty screwed up after his part in stopping the invasion of the WHOLE BLOODY WORLD of Marak coming through South Gate, and was not sure what could be made of Lysaer's problem. So Sethvir more or less "possessed" Traithe, so that he could see the aura, using Sethvir's mage-sight.

Lysaer's human judgment/Justice gift is so screwed up that it is virtually impossible for him to think straight. But there seems to be some agreement on the part of the F7 that he did not CHOOSE to fight the Curse when it came over him in Etarra, due to his ingrained prejudices - yes, I STILL maintain that he is prejudiced! - and that he was ILL USED by the Curse BY HIS CONSENT. Why? Janny is still unravelling that for us. Aside from his prejudices, I personally think he was jealous of Arithon - not only because Arithon is so multi-talented, but also because HE was getting a crown and Lysaer was not.

Back in Mearth, just before he and Arithon found the gate that took them to Athera, he was reflecting on the "uselessness" of his skills, which were primarily centered around a crown he would not inherit due to this exile. Arithon, on the other hand, had skills as a mage, pirate and sailor/ship's officer, which Lysaer felt were more marketable than his own. At this point, Arithon's musical talents were not known, either to Lysaer OR to we, the readers.

   By Jo on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - 01:30 pm: Edit Post

Completely agree Blue, also in cotm when Lysaer and Arithon square up in Strakewood it says ref the curse that Lysaer endorsed usage with consent. Also saying that Lysaer surrendered to his passion.

   By Neil on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - 03:45 am: Edit Post

I feel that the curse is a separate issue and the F7 may help to resolve (See FP - F5 discussion with Moriel: Kharadmon states that the F7 won't leave the 2 princes completely unaided or something like that).

I think that Lysaer was cast outside the compact because he endorsed slavery and refused to admit to publically admit his mistakes and stop his "faith movement".

I don't think the curse caused this stubborness...from memory(?) the curse kicked in once the fellowship had passed judgement and even then Lysaer felt one some level that he was losing "something".

   By DarthJazy on Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 01:02 pm: Edit Post

Lysaer did offer to stop all that he was doing if the F7 would just entrap both he and lysaer. the F7 refused. Arithon would have gladly been imprisoned by the F7 to save all those lives and so would Lysaer.

I think the F5 are so focused to get Arithon on the throne they are making bad decisions.

   By Jo on Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 03:15 pm: Edit Post

Would Arithon give himeself up to Lysaer don't think so he would be sentencing the clans to death. In FP where the F7 are discussing Lysaer's aura (not sure if I can quote direct from the book and apologise in advance tried to break it down) so will break it down saying that the curse drives Lysaer to kill Arithon but it doesn't enslave every part of his self will or has the power to force his heart or spirit to give impassioned collaboration to drive bloodshed and war. Hate drives the curse not conceit or vengeance for vanity.
If everyone said to Lysaer yes well done chap you did the right thing by leading all those thousands of people to their deaths and here's your half brother to kill as well of course he would stop. He let the curse take him (it said in COTM) and lets it control the aspects that the curse can but he controls the rest of his actions. He is quite happy to let men die for is cause which is based on lies and half truths. Think the only truth he has told about Arithon is he is a pirate bastard Lysaer can't even tell the truth about Arithons parentage.
i hope Lysaer does find redemption for all the crimes he has commited how I'm not sure there is far too much blood on his hands.
By the way can Lysaer actually use a sword only ever seems to wield his light display. Wonder who would win in a proper sword fight Arithon or Lysaer.

Anyway sorry for warbling I do go on I was trying to give Lysaer the benefit of the doubt as I had forgotton about the aura thing and the bit in cotm so I will stick to my thoughts Lysaer is one wicked a@$@

   By Neil on Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 05:09 pm: Edit Post


"Lysaer did offer to stop all that he was doing if the F7 would just entrap both he and lysaer. the F7 refused. "

- Curiously, the F7 seemed to sidestep the request that the F7 "bind Arithon first".

"Arithon would have gladly been imprisoned by the F7 to save all those lives and so would Lysaer. "

- Seems to be a fair assessment, but I wonder therefore why the F7 did not pursue this? Arithon's free will? They could have asked. Would such a path have caused other issues? Their priority seems to have been to try to keep Lysaer protected within the compact by getting him to publicly deny his divinity stop the slavery at that point in time. Lysaer's refusal on this day made him outcast and any subsequent discussion with Arithon would not change anything perhaps? Lysaer is still cast outside the compact. In any case the F7 are not responsible for humanity in general.

"I think the F5 are so focused to get Arithon on the throne they are making bad decisions."

- Hmm...unfair I think ;-) These guys have a tough job and the contract is not one that they wrote. They have no get out clause :-)

   By Kam on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 01:59 pm: Edit Post


Is there a particular reason why the King of Amroth was so keen to get a Master of Shadow? In the scene with Talera, he states he was promised one as a bride gift.

But Talera's gift was children gifted with elemental powers - surely someone who could wield fire or water would be just as (if not more so) devastating in naval battles?

   By Janny Wurts on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 01:15 pm: Edit Post

Kam - you asked.

The King of Amroth's underlying motive was to further the war, as the book showed.

You didn't get to see what Rauven's stake was, since that would have overcomplicated a bit of the plot that was not relevant to the main story. But there is a story there.

On Talera's bridegift - you have mistakenly applied the term "elemental powers" to apply to the four elements, earth, air, fire and water. Light and Shadow do not fit into that catagory....nor should they.

Elemental power, as Asandir would define it, means that the powers the two princes possess draw directly OFF OF the elements, and in short, influence all of them, without boundaries.

So the power of Light and Shadow do not correlate to earth, air, fire and water, but use the forces of all elements.

What drives the powers of the elements - that would be source for the princes' abilities.

Hope this clarifies -

Sorry I took a bit to get back to you - I've been finalizing the black and white interior art for Fortress, and finishing production on the text. It's had me engrossed.

   By Kam on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 02:59 pm: Edit Post

I see! This explains alot regarding Arithon's abilities and that khadrim in CotM - does this mean instead of shielding himself with what I had thought to be some kind of shadow barrier, he actually negated it's energy? And this clears up my puzzlement regarding the "shadowing an iyat" thing.

Sorry to keep you away from important work, but I was wondering.. since Rauven's story is not relevant, I don't suppose we could get a hint? A summary? :p

   By Angus on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 08:23 am: Edit Post

Instead of a hint or a summary, how about another story? That is, of course, in addition to the story about Mearth. And Verrain.

THIS NEXT PART MAY BE SPOILER MATERIAL for "CHILD OF PROPHECY" (I know it's been out a while, but I don't want to be a jerk).

I got and finished "Child of Prophecy" last week. Wow! That story certainly puts a lot of stuff in perspective. This was the direct ancestor of our hero and our villain (I won't say who the hero and the villain are, because there has been, surprisingly, a fair bit of debate on which one each of our two Princes may be).

This story sure did cement my judgement of the Koriathain as the Twisted Sisters. Talk about a manipulative bunch of - well, you get the point.

My question is, did Meiglin s'Dieneval remarry, have other kids, and carry on the cathdein of Shand's line? Also, what manifestation of the s'Dieneval gift of Sight, together with the s'Ahelas gift of Farsight, do we see in our Princes? Also, does this open the door for a s'Ahlelas ermergence from the Westgate in Arc IV or Arc V?

I know, I know. Janny is just cackling away at me right now. This was a pretty ham-fisted attempt to pry out some of the details from the Wurts inventory of imagination.

Still, the questions are asked, for any who would try (read: dare) to answer...

   By Janny Wurts on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 09:27 am: Edit Post

Angus - well, I daresay if you read Sundering Star (Under Cover of Darkness, just released,) and THEN reread the series - you will see quite a bit you didn't before you perused the short material.

And - hey hey - you have Reins of Destiny coming in December in addition to Stormed Fortress.

now I get to run off, doing the authorial cackling thingie....

   By Angus on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 09:45 am: Edit Post

Oh, but I did, and am. I read Sundering Star a few weeks ago, in the midst of my CotMW re-read. Won't spoil it though. Needless to say, a very dry area in southern Shand seems to be figuring largely in how this story unfolds...

I still want more stories. What can I say, I know what I like, and I'm greedy for the good stuff. And yours is the best.

   By thomas h. burch on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 09:51 am: Edit Post

Hey all,

It has been a while since I posted but I have a theory of sort concerning Elaira. We know she grew up in Morvain, which is near Halwythwood. I think i read that Steiven had lost a sister to the headhunters. Both he and Eliara have reddish colored hair and have clairvoyance. Could Eliara be Stieven's sister.....Janny???

   By Janny Wurts on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:04 am: Edit Post

Thomas -

You asked - Steiven's sister would be stone dead, and not a pleasant passing at that, given the headhunters' alignment in those times.

Sorry to quash your theory -- grin.

   By thomas h. burch on Thursday, June 14, 2007 - 11:21 am: Edit Post


Thanks for the response....i thought i was on to something there.

   By Jo on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 03:18 pm: Edit Post

Just wondered in cotm Asandir said that they new what they were about when naming Arithon. Could Arithon's mother see his future with the farsight thing, guessing she named, him could have been his grandfather although normally a father/mother thing. If she did I wondered if she saw all the war, deaths and heartache he was to endure but hopefully she saw a lot of good stuff as well!

   By Jo on Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 09:24 am: Edit Post

I know i put the above question to Janny but does anyone else have any thoughts as to whether Arithons mother could have seen his future?

   By Neil on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 03:14 am: Edit Post

I think it was mentionnd that his grandfather named Arithon (Feliron seemed to know this in FP).

I do wonder whether we'll see more of the splinter worlds...?

   By Blue on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 03:18 am: Edit Post

Now there's a good unanswered question - when did Arithon ever get chummy enough with Felirin prior to that point to let him know that Mak s'Ahelas had named him? Or was that just an assumption, perhaps as part of a Shandian royal tradition that the family patriarch or matriarch names the grandkids?

   By Jo on Monday, June 25, 2007 - 02:17 pm: Edit Post

I wonder why Mak named him forger of fate then Maybe he knew something or it could be nothing . Didn't realise that Ferlin had said anything but haven't read FP in a while.

   By Elizabeth Cordts on Sunday, November 09, 2008 - 04:33 pm: Edit Post

Just wanted to comment on a few statements posted by other members:

Matthew said: "Justice for one person may not be the same for another person, it seems that having a virtue is no guarantee that it will change events for the better on its strength alone."

In my opinion, I think this is what makes the concept of "justice" so inherently corruptible. "Compassion" is something that you would feel towards anyone, but "justice" in and of itself requires that some sort of judgment or determination be made for either one side or the other. Plain and simple, you can't mete out justice until you decide which side is "right." Based upon one's personality and prejudices, then, "justice" could easily go one way or the other, and we see that clearly with Lysaer. It's obvious that he believes his cause to be "just," but that is because the curse has twisted his perception of truth and backed it with an unreasoning hatred against Arithon.

It makes sense then that the tower for justice was the first to fall in Ithamon. No other trait associated with the other four towers (Honor, Wisdom, Compassion, Grace) is as easily twisted as Justice inherently is.

And now for something completely different:

Blue said: "In later books of WoLaS, in fact, as early as SoM, we saw Lysaer literally put his own life on the line to make a point - such as when he allowed himself to be chained to protest the enslavement of those clansmen captured by the Mayor and sent as convict labor while he was rebuilding Avenor. There were a LOT of townsmen guarding those prisoners, and they could easily have chosen to gut him for his "softness" towards the clansmen. But in that case, Lysaer could easily have called upon his own town loyalists, such as Lord Diegan, who outnumbered the mayor's guard, to save him.

So, he could put his own neck on the line for strangers, but not his own half brother?"

I'd just like to point out that he never really "put his neck on the line" for the clansmen enslaved there. Yes, he ran out there and was chained up, even with the group of townsmen surrounding him. He also had an army practicing only a short distance away, along with Diegan riding up even as he was talking.

I've just started rereading the series after a few years' break (I have to prepare for the imminent arrival of Stormed Fortress :D), and that whole incident of him being chained up to protest enslavement was something I'd completely forgotten about. Rereading it, I was uplifted to see that Lysaer still held some good and proper feelings... until barely two pages later.

What's so chilling about this event is that he turned right around and remarked that the clansmen he'd so graciously freed were weak and tired, and had been released basically for headhunter sport. Sure, he let them go, but in their physical condition and with headhunters right on their trail, it was no act of mercy. He deliberately set them free to be slaughtered. And he goes on to explain that his act of protestation over the slavery was done more out of concern that allowing clan slaves into Avenor would be giving the enemy an opening than because he was concerned about their ill treatment.

Honestly, Lysaer is such a frustrating character. He's such a tragic figure, but a tragic figure who's plummeting straight into outright evil. I was mourning the entire time while rereading CotM, just because I knew what was coming and I hated seeing his wonderful character development on the verge of being fatally undone by the curse. So on that sense, I pity him for being a tool of the Mistwraith. But first and foremost, I can't help but hate him for his blind actions. Maybe he's just a tool, but he's a willing tool who spurns all reason and all attempt to help him to see the truth.

I honestly don't think he can be redeemed. Maybe someday the curse will be lifted somehow and he'll see the error of his ways. But how can anyone who's committed such terrible acts be redeemed? This is different from Arithon's guilt over the deaths of his clansmen. The ones who died for Arithon did it out of free will and with perfect knowledge of why they fought. The ones that died under Lysaer's banner did so because they were misled into it. Their fear was twisted and used in support of the Light's cause, and as a result thousands and tens of thousands died where none needed to die at all.

If Lysaer ever realized that and saw the truth without the Mistwraith's interference, would he ever be able to reconcile with it? I sincerely doubt it, because if he hadn't gone all curse-driven homicidal maniac on us, he would have been decent guy and a good king.

Hmmm.... I'd just like to add that this series is the only one with characters for which I feel so strongly.

   By Janny Wurts on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - 10:27 am: Edit Post

Hi Elizabeth Cordts - welcome here, I don't think, at least, I've seen you post before?

The chat's pretty quiet, I'm not sure why - usually a post such as your provokes an intelligent discussion.

I know why I've been quiet :-) - the next book has me quite immersed. (Run on brain brings to mind that song jingle, "Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you WAIT...!) You have yet to see Stormed Fortress - stay away from the spoilers, there. :-)

   By dheu on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - 11:56 am: Edit Post

Thanks for the welcome! :-)

I used to come here a long time ago (a long, LONG time ago), but I completely forgot my screen name. So after a dozen tries or so, I gave up and re-registered, ha ha. (I'll be posting under "dheu" from now on.)

And don't worry about the lack of discussion... that's what I get for thread zombification, mwa ha.

I can't wait to read Stormed Fortress, and I wouldn't dare spoil myself. That'd take all the fun out of it! :D!

Thanks so much for continuing to provide us this truly fascinating story.


Another comment on the discussion above:

Blue said: "Aside from his prejudices, I personally think he was jealous of Arithon - not only because Arithon is so multi-talented, but also because HE was getting a crown and Lysaer was not."

That's a good point. Throughout CotM we get constant hints that Lysaer is frequently jealous when the attention is focused on Arithon's kingdom, especially when his own ascension to the throne in Tysan is placed on the backburner. He's just not comfortable without a crown, which is understandable, considering his entire life he's been groomed to become a king to the exclusion of everything else. So, under the Mistwraith's curse, he's got a purpose now. He's able to use the talents he's been honing since birth: statesmanship and command.

Maybe this is another subconscious reason why he refuses to consider the possibility that he's been cursed. If he has been, and he accepts help from the Fellowship, then his purpose will be once again stripped away, because obviously his misled army would be disbanded and his crown would be withheld until they could figure out a way to free him from the curse.

   By Clansman on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - 12:37 pm: Edit Post

Welcome, dheu. I'm also known as Angus (changed my screen name after signing up) in the posts up above.

You are waiting for Stormed Fortress? Have you ordered it? You can get it from the UK right now in mass market paperback, or wait until next spring when it will be released with the rest of the series in North America.

Personally, I don't know how you could wait that long, but...

   By Sundancer on Friday, December 05, 2008 - 09:19 am: Edit Post

Hi dheu

I'm surprised DarthJazy hasn't chimed in, he is usually Lysaer's champion.

I have to admit that I felt much the same way as you about Lysaer, but on re-reading the books for the fourth or so time I gradually changed how I viewed Lysaer. There's an undercurrent which makes you empathise - you see his weakness from his character faults (which you have spelt out so well) and you see him choosing - almost against his will and desire - to do what he thinks is right (to destroy Arithon). You have to catch him in private moments, in public you will only see his public face. Lysaer being confronted/cast out from the compact by the Fellowship is a good example, it took me ages to understand what was going on for Lysaer (probably still don't), but it is not a simple response. He's shattered, and then pulls himself together, and is it just because he can't face the terrible things he's done and admit them publicly, or because he can't risk letting himself believe the Fellowship?

And get hold of Stormed Fortress if you can! You see lots more Lysaer.

   By dheu on Sunday, December 07, 2008 - 11:35 pm: Edit Post

Sundancer: "... and you see him choosing - almost against his will and desire - to do what he thinks is right (to destroy Arithon)."

But that's just what I can't decide. Is it really against his own will and desire to destroy Arithon? I find it hard to believe that he's really struggling with some of the decisions he's making, because all of the choices he makes feed into his vision of himself as a self-righteous leader struggling against evil. He can get cast out of the compact, because now he's martyred himself for his cause. He can make hard choices about killing innocents like women and children, for the same reason.

The more I see of his character and the farther along I get in re-reading these books, the more I come to believe that he's in love with being a martyr. Not consciously, of course; he doesn't actively realize it or act on it. But maybe somewhere inside of him it makes him feel good to be worshipped as the person who will save everyone from evil. It gives him purpose, and maybe he doesn't mind sacrificing himself to attain that. So when he makes a choice and takes a hard path to "save" everyone from Arithon, maybe in reality all that's happening is that he's just seeking more adulation.

This is at least the fourth or fifth time I've re-read CotM and SoM/WoV (the other volumes I've read less frequently), and I'm rather surprised at how much I dislike Lysaer now. I'd always been a little sympathetic to him, but when I read through the books this time, I was shocked at how much my opinion had changed in the years since I last read them. So I sort of went the opposite direction as you, Sundancer.... ha!

And yes! I finally got Stormed Fortress in (you're right, Angus, I couldn't wait for it to come in, so I had to order it from the UK)! Now I just need to finish catching back up with the previous volumes, so I'm once again on top of all the events when I get into SF. Awesome!

   By Sundancer on Monday, December 08, 2008 - 06:43 am: Edit Post

Hi dheu

I think I was a little imprecise in my words - I don't think it is against Lysaer's will to destroy Arithon, I think that it is why he does these things. I do think that some of the things he has done in order to achieve this goal (and not just condemning Talith) are done with a clear sight of how terrible they are.

I agree that Lysaer is very hard to read, because we don't see inside him so much, and I often find him abhorrent (but then Arithon's destruction at the Havens is abhorrent, we find it easier to forgive because we know his motivation and self-hatred - he can't forgive himself). But re-read Lysaer at the end of WoV.

I used to agree with you he has (had?) great dependency on being adored - that comes through in the first books - but I think by the end of Vastmark he is consciously choosing the adoration as a weapon against Arithon, knowing it will be harmful but believing that it is better than the greater evil of Arithon. He becomes in the next few books an incredibly lonely figure, which for me goes against the need for adoration - it becomes theatre/chess for some 'greater' end.

His greatest flaw is to have given in to the mistwraith and not fought it - because at least initially it gave him what he needed.

For me it is this difference between the two which is one of Janny's themes: compassion drives Arithon - he would see the whole world burn for an individual, remember for example how he was willing to let his honor be impugned because he 'owed' Glendien for her father's death, while Lysaer is driven by justice, and for him the end justifies the means (e.g. destroying the ship and sailors that were suborned by Lirenda).

There are parallels here for me between the Fellowship (compassion - if the Fellowship were not bound by the dragons) and the Koriathain (end justifies the means).

(I can see the tailspinner having private chuckles over how far we're off the mark)

Enjoy SF when you get there! I'd love to hear your view of Lysaer after you've finished it.

I think I can feel a re-read of the series coming on ...

   By Clansman on Monday, December 08, 2008 - 11:40 am: Edit Post


I must quote Sundancer:

"Enjoy SF when you get there! I'd love to hear your view of Lysaer after you've finished it."

Also, I would recommend that you pay particularly close attention to Arithon's trial in Davien's Maze in Peril's Gate. You get some real insight into the nature of the Curse, and how it impacted Arithon, who was not hit with its full impact as Lysaer was. In fact, the F7, after the victory at Ithamon (CotMW), when they examined what had happened, realized that they had protected the wrong Prince (Arithon), as Lysaer had no ability to resist the Mistwraith, whereas Arithon could have defended himself with his mage training. Had Arithon been exposed at Ithamon instead of Lysaer, the Curse may have been averted, or at least much better managed (good thing it wasn't, otherwise we wouldn't have this great story to talk about!).

Just a few thoughts. I still believe that Lysaer's redemption from the Curse is key to the resolution of the story line. I suspect though, that it will not be a happy redemption, but rather very, very messy.

   By dheu on Monday, December 08, 2008 - 06:56 pm: Edit Post

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to see Lysaer redeemed. Like I said awhile back, the greatest tragedy and the hardest part of re-reading CotM was in knowing how it would all end up, and then reading those small events that revealed that while Lysaer wasn't perfect, he was a good man who was constantly trying to improve himself. It was so sad to see him come under the curse, after seeing his potential. And it's only more tragic to know going into it that the curse could have been averted if the F7 had protected Lysaer instead at the critical moment.

But of course Lysaer's actions since being cursed can't be fully blamed on the curse, so while on the one hand I want to see him redeemed, on the other I really despise him. Either way, as you said, Clansman, his redemption is going to be pretty messy.

But, then, it's been awhile since I've read some of the later books, so my memory is... imprecise, shall we say. And after reading SF my opinion might change again!

And I have to say I love these characters, even while I hate a certain few of them and badmouth them, lol.

   By Annabelle Ang-Bok on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 03:15 am: Edit Post

I'm just wondering ' I recall a line somewhere that says it's when mankind abandons a particular quality that the corresponding tower at Ithamon will fail. Is the King's Tower/Justice tower included in this? If so, wouldn't that mean that in essence, justice has already failed and is corrupted/abandoned as far as humanity is concerned, and there can be no real justice to be expected from mortal humans?

This thread is really old so I don't know if anyone is going to respond... Janny, would you care to shed a little light if you see this? Thank you!

   By Annette on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:12 am: Edit Post

"When civilization has abandoned any of these qualities, its respective tower will fail,
for the power that binds their structure is the force of each virtue, renewed."

Asandir said it in CotM, when they first arrived at Ithamon.

Paravians built Ithamon in the first age, the kings tower first cracked in the second age when a Paravian king was assassinated, before humanity even arrived on Athera. The tower finished crumbling during the rebellion. It is when civilization abandons that virtue the corresponding tower fails, not necessarily human civilization. The current civilization is human, and they seem to be abandoning a lot of things. A few more towers might fall yet.

   By Janny Wurts on Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:45 am: Edit Post

Annabelle Ang-Bok - you asked (I only respond if people ask directly because many discussions prefer to explore the speculative debate of what's happening as the books unfold, rather than know the definitive answer from my perspective.

I'd say Annette's response IN THIS CASE is on the mark; I would not regard other posts by this reader (or any other) to carry Any such stamp of authority... :-) :-) :-) - in this particular case, Annette's interpretation is in line with Athera's actual history....elsewhere, it's anybody's guess, and sometimes - hers, or anybody's guess, can be wildly, remarkably wrong!!!! (evile authorial grin, here! The books have a lot of stuff right in PLAIN sight, but 'twisted' by unreliable narrators, or the limitations of ignorance of particular characters, OR, (heh!) the readers' own ingrained presumptions.)

Part of the fun and the challenge is trying to figure out WHICH way things will fall. Annette's a brave player, indeed.

There are viewpoints within the books that CAN be trusted more than others; its figuring out which that's the rub.

Enjoy the ride! The people here are respectful enough not to spoil your first trip through the volumes, BUT, I would caution: be careful, careful!!! about reading general threads or posts ahead of where you are reading as you may majorly spoil the impact of certain reversals and unveilings.

There are also discussions that constrain spoilers (one vol by vol, each book, and a second set, done one chapter by chapter) archived at a few GoodReads groups: The Fantasy Book Club, The Fantasy Book Club Series, and Beyond Reality. You would have to look into the backlog folders to locate them.

Also, new readers, feel free to start your own thread discussing ANY point, but requesting no spoilers from your current position in the series.

Often I figure the threads are quiet simply because it is difficult not to unveil stuff openly when a new reader ventures in.

Have fun!

   By Annabelle Ang-Bok on Sunday, October 19, 2014 - 01:01 am: Edit Post

Thanks so much Annette and Janny! Sorry I tend to get historical dates mixed up if I don't write them down... keeping the current storyline chronology is usually all I can do while in the middle of the actual read (I like to get through once for the overall storyline and feel before going back to check things). :P I'm now trying to get up to speed on the FAQ page and then I'll get back to the actual book. :D

   By Annette on Sunday, October 19, 2014 - 02:39 am: Edit Post

I would continue reading through the books and then go and study the FAQ, otherwise you could spoil all those little things you never noticed the first time, or have forgotten. Easier to read through the books again and then see if you can pick up any extra info or clues.

   By Annabelle Ang-Bok on Sunday, October 19, 2014 - 03:20 am: Edit Post

True that. Heh.

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