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The Wars of Light and Shadow > Warhost of Vastmark - finale CH VII, VIII, IX Spoilers!

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message 1: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments You may be wondering about the timing - there was a request presented to 'space' out this discussion an extra week, before starting the next volume, (and the next arc) Fugitive Prince. Rather than just have a dead week - I've chosen to spread the threads for Warhost's finish out, a few days each.

So the "finale of Arc II" - ending of Warhost will be current through October 27th - and Fugitive Prince will open on October 28th, allowing an extra week for this volume to let readers catch up.

Here is the thread, then, to finish Warhost of Vastmark, and to discuss the finale of Arc II, a major shift point for the series as a whole.

How have the characters changed?
What has shifted, in relationships both lost and found?
What are your in depth thoughts, as this stage of the story reaches closure, and where do you think the future will take them, as Wars of Light and Shadow moves forward, and stages for the impacts, at world view?


message 2: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 1027 comments I just finished chapter VII and OMG I WANT TO KILL DIEGAN!

That is all. Will come back when I finish the rest.


message 3: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) | 1139 comments Shel wrote: "I just finished chapter VII and OMG I WANT TO KILL DIEGAN!

That is all. Will come back when I finish the rest."


Yes! ::sob::


message 4: by orannia (new)

orannia Thank you Janny. I'm now ahead (I started The Fugitive Prince yesterday), although that is a good thing :)


SPOILERS FOR WARHOST


WRT Warhost...unlike when I first read the book (over a decade ago) I can see the arc ending, with the seeds sown for the next arc. And yes while Warhost followed Lysaer's development (we won't say in what direction :) for me it was Dakar's story. The man he became by the end of the book in no way resembled who he was at the beginning.. And yes he is still on that journey, but...the man he will become is there.

I'm curious - the changes Dakar wrought (because the decision to change and the journey he took was completely up to him) occured (I'm not sure I'm going to explain myself very well) with Arithon's indirect...influence isn't the right word. It's like Arithon allowed Dakar the opportunity to truely see himself...and the path he needed to take in order to change, the decision to change being solely Dakar's. And I'm not saying Arithon did it deliberately... I'm just wondering if that is his Masterbard training, his inborn trait of compassion or something that is inherently Arithon?

You've asked a few questions Janny *grin*, and I'm sorry I've really only answered part of the first. I will think on the others. I just want to say that I'm really enjoying this re-read - I think the person I am now can appreciate the nuances and shifts more. I definitely don't remember feeling this strongly about Dakar's journey...I think he realized that although his prescience caused him anguish, he had a gift that could make a difference, if he wasn't afraid to wield it. Hmmm. It's like...like Dakar has been afraid to truely live all this time.

I do have one question - how much pressure and stress can Arithon take before he cracks? I know the Fellowship would have chosen family lines that were strong mentally, but...there is only so much one person can take.


message 5: by orannia (new)

orannia I've been racking my brains trying to work out the timing - does that mean discussion about The Fugitive Prince starts 28 October, so we should start reading 21 October, yes? If so, I'm a week ahead, but that's a good thing :)


message 6: by Charles (new)

Charles (charliewhip) | 139 comments orannia wrote: "Thank you Janny. I'm now ahead (I started The Fugitive Prince yesterday), although that is a good thing :)


SPOILERS FOR WARHOST


WRT Warhost...unlike when I first read the book (over a de..."


Some may recall that in the beginning of these discussions, I advised to watch Dakar for interesting transformation.

As to how Arithon can take the stress -- well, he tries to supply himself with rest times, when he's incommunicado. And he does have his small joys among all the mayhem.


message 7: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) | 1139 comments Shel wrote: "I just finished chapter VII and OMG I WANT TO KILL DIEGAN!

That is all. Will come back when I finish the rest."


Shel, your post made me read the ending all over again and cry all over again. That's all I'll say.


message 8: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments orannia wrote: "Thank you Janny. I'm now ahead (I started The Fugitive Prince yesterday), although that is a good thing :)


SPOILERS FOR WARHOST


WRT Warhost...unlike when I first read the book (over a de..."


To answer your question (how much stress) would detract from the suspense - in short, make it TOO safe or TOO disheartening to read further - suffice to say, I do not write dystopia and I do not write a story that kills hope. So - keep reading and trust that nothing in this series is endorsing the theme of 'futility'.

For understanding why Dakar's epiphany happened, and to understand whether it was deliberate on Arithon's part - look at Dakar's maudlin reflections, while drunk, in the hold of the galley enroute to Ostermere for the exchange of Talith's ransom. The passage would be found in Chapter set VI, subchapter titled Sorrow.


message 9: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments orannia wrote: "I've been racking my brains trying to work out the timing - does that mean discussion about The Fugitive Prince starts 28 October, so we should start reading 21 October, yes? If so, I'm a week ahea..."

Orannia - you are a week ahead, I will open Fugitive Prince on the 28th - but do take notes - grin...save your comments. Fugitive Prince opens Arc III and there is a lot more to the opening volume (and chapters) than meets the eye...and in fact, grin, Shel's questions concerning the impact of the Fellowship/the Waystone, and the Koriani order are in that part.

It's a lot to take in, and I'm hoping for a lively discussion to start off Arc III (Alliance of Light).


message 10: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Charles wrote: "orannia wrote: "Thank you Janny. I'm now ahead (I started The Fugitive Prince yesterday), although that is a good thing :)


SPOILERS FOR WARHOST


WRT Warhost...unlike when I first read the book ..."


There are, yes, many respite periods as Charles points out - but the story does not turn on these moments, and the forward impetus of the action does not occur. Yes, some writers 'pause' for tea time with the characters; I tend not to (at least, grin, NOT HERE). The movement of the epic demands the the close up, staged action covers the focal points.


message 11: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Janny wrote: "I will open Fugitive Prince on the 28th"

I just added the date to the group's bookshelf, so there should be an automated message going out a week before the start date.


message 12: by orannia (new)

orannia Some may recall that in the beginning of these discussions, I advised to watch Dakar for interesting transformation.

@Charles - sorry, I've been unable to follow the discussion for a few weeks (although I've been keeping up with my reading), so I missed that :( His (Dakar's) transformation has been...amazing.

So - keep reading and trust that nothing in this series is endorsing the theme of 'futility.

@Janny - thank you. It's so good to have that reassurance. It's not that I doubt you...just that...I worry (if that makes sense). And it makes sense not to dwell on the respite moments - I'm just glad to know they exist. I know tension and stress can build up on one, and no matter what your strength of character eventually, without a break, you will snap.

And I understand why Dakar's epiphany happened, how he came to the conclusions he did, but I'm sorry to say that I missed whether on not Dakar's epiphany was as a result of Arithon's deliberate 'interference' (for want of a better word). Obviously I'm still missing layers :( I'll re-read the chapter - thank you for the suggestion - and see if I can pick up on the nuances.


message 13: by Charles (new)

Charles (charliewhip) | 139 comments orannia wrote: "Some may recall that in the beginning of these discussions, I advised to watch Dakar for interesting transformation.

@Charles - sorry, I've been unable to follow the discussion for a few weeks (..."


orianna, you have discovered the true mystery of Paravia -- that everything is concealed among the layers and that not a word is wasted. Good reading to you.


message 14: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Stefan wrote: "Janny wrote: "I will open Fugitive Prince on the 28th"

I just added the date to the group's bookshelf, so there should be an automated message going out a week before the start date."


Thanks, Stefan, that's helpful.


message 15: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments orannia wrote: "Some may recall that in the beginning of these discussions, I advised to watch Dakar for interesting transformation.

@Charles - sorry, I've been unable to follow the discussion for a few weeks (..."


Orannia - There is so much dystopia being written in the trendy niche, today - and 'gritty' stories have now come to mean that the concept of hope gets dismissed as futility, or that vengeance is the main driver and the means to find victory). I don't believe in cynicism. It's (to me) a dead ended philosophy - so while I will promise this is not a DARK story - you might be right to worry, given there's so much of that going round, at the moment.

On whether Arithon had a hand in Dakar's transformation - do review Kerry's current post on the chapter sets before the finale. She nailed it/and the passage correctly - what do you think, from there?


message 16: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Charles wrote: "orannia wrote: "Some may recall that in the beginning of these discussions, I advised to watch Dakar for interesting transformation.

@Charles - sorry, I've been unable to follow the discussion for..."


Well, Charles - grin - I will say (knowing you've read through Stormed Fortress - buckle on your seatbelt when you start into Arc IV.


message 17: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 1027 comments Just finished this, and feeling all mixed up between sorrow for needless violence, glee at the defection of the s'Brydion brothers, and warm fuzzies for Dakar. Will return with deep thoughts later :)


message 18: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Shel wrote: "Just finished this, and feeling all mixed up between sorrow for needless violence, glee at the defection of the s'Brydion brothers, and warm fuzzies for Dakar. Will return with deep thoughts later :)"

Great to see you need to catch your breath...I guess you've figured out why I said, earlier, the stories were crafted for maximum impact. ;)


message 19: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) A question about the Fugitive Prince discussion.. Are we starting reading this week to discuss starting on the 28th? Or starting reading on the 28th to discuss the following week?


message 20: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 451 comments I, too, would happily have killed Diegan myself at the end of chapter 7. But for all that, I can understand where he was coming from. I don't like it, but I can understand it. And we'd already had at least one, if not more, moments where he did exactly the same thing to "save" Lysaer from a situation.

It was a nice example of karma coming round to bite you, to see him realise his error too late. And I have to admit that I wasn't particularly sorry to see him go. The problem though, is that other people keep turning up to fill the vacuum. I was happy to see Pesquil die too, I must admit, but now there's Skaant, who isn't any better. What will Harradene turn out like?

It was wonderful to see Dakar's growth. He could, I think, eventually be amazing. Certainly, of all those we have seen reforged by contact with Arithon, he's got the most potential so far. And yet, he remains Dakar all through, which I liked. I found him very annoying earlier on, but just as Janny promised, once we began to understand where it came from, and as he began to face up to himself, he became a much more interesting character. I think he'll always do some annoying things, but I'm looking forward to more of his presence in the books. (By the way, how fat was he to begin with that he keeps being described as a fat man? Given all the privation he's suffered and exercise he's reluctantly engaged in, he must be losing weight by now, surely?)

Anyway, Dakar has turned himself into one of my favourite characters. I think, at his core, he is a man who will try to do the right thing. He'll sidle and he'll try to avoid, but when push comes to shove, as we saw when he took the arrow for Arithon, he'll try to do what he thinks is right. He's been drunk for 500 years to avoid just that aspect of his personality (among other things) and he may backstep, but he's finding out who he really is and I hope he continues to do so.

I thought this, realised by Dakar when he is linked with Arithon, summed up Arithon beautifully:

"The conclusion he had to bear forward was forthright in simplicity; that Arithon s'Ffalenn was no criminal at all, but a creature of undying compassion whose natural bent was to celebrate an irrepressible joy for life."

Arithon is getting no chance to do that at present - I don't think he ever has. I hope at last he comes to the point where he can.

The massacre at the Havens is amazingly written. To tell such awful events with such beauty, without ever lessening how awful they are is a great talent.

"But when those terrible, dry sobs of remorse finally stilled, the Mad Prophet crouched on his knees on sharp stone, a prince he had never believed he could pity cradled in his arms like a brother."

That is beautiful writing.

Those royal line gifts might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but surely not so much now. Without them, Lysaer might be able to stop and Arithon might be able to run away. But neither can, and the result is going to be more hurt and disaster and pain.

As chapter 8 started and we saw what the failure of the action at the Havens has done to Arithon, I found myself thinking of a line from Lois McMaster Bujold's "Shards of Honor". When her mother asks her if she is in love with Aral, Cordelia replies that she doesn't know but "when he's cut, I bleed" (or words to that effect). In Arithon, Janny has created a character about whom I find I feel like this. Turning the page to see his reaction to what has happened and the failure of his desperate attempt to stop a war, I found myself bleeding from his cuts.

Later in the chapter, we see that Caolle is another who has been reforged by knowing Arithon - and that he knows it and wishes to save others from his own near fate. He has the conversation with Jieret's Companion who says Caolle always said hate is what keeps them alive. Caolle says he thought that, but he's learned better and he reflects that "if not for his service to the Prince of Rathain, the lesson would have slipped his grasp entirely".

Lysaer just keeps on singing the same song. Again and again, he's telling himself how evil Arithon is. I find myself wanting to tell him just to GET OVER IT. If crazy is doing that same thing over and over again expecting a different result, then Lysaer is crazy. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Seeing Morriel use the Great Waystone, it makes Koriani (sorry, I still haven't got that usage fixed in my head) magic seem to be much more negative than what we've seen so far of Fellowship sorcery and the Law of Major Balance.

I did find Morriel's scrying and vision to be confusing. Janny, can you provide any clarify or is this a "keep reading" kind of thing?

Also the section with the new acuity of Dakar's mage-sight and the bit about "how much earth and air had forgiven his clumsiness through the years he had worked with Asandir. The old platitude was no fable, that the world's luck walked in a Fellowship Sorcerer's shadow."

I had been putting his improving skills up to being sober and paying attention to the world. So I'm a bit confused.

I think (first time reader, remember) that Dakar and Arithon could end up being very good friends. It would certainly be a truer companionship than what Dakar imagined he had with Lysaer.

I found Lysaer's cold, clear determination to create himself at the centre of a religion, simply in order to isolate one man for whom he has an irrational hatred to be very, very disturbing. From the prologue back in Curse of the Mistwraith I had imagined (if I thought about it at all) that Lysaer had kind of fallen into that role through the reactions of the general public. To see him cooly and coldly planning it out, yes, that was very disturbing. (It also makes me bleed for Arithon again, to imagine where that might go over the years.)

But, along with Arithon I get a moment to pause and take a deep breath before I tackle the next phase.

I shall go and read Cryoburn to clear my head before starting on Fugitive Prince.


message 21: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 451 comments Oh and for anyone who wants to look, here's the latest photo of the post-it notes.


message 22: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
That's an awesome picture, Kerry.


message 23: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) | 1139 comments Yes, it is! And an awesome post, too!

Am I the only one who turned into a sobbing mess when Dakar took that arrow for Arithon? I truly thought he might be dead and I couldn't bear it.

And yes, Lysaer's decision to turn himself into a god or whatever is very chilling. Cold, calculating and dreadful.

And I hated Dakar through Ships and gradually came to love him in this book.

I enjoy it all over again, reading the great posts from you guys.


message 24: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Dawn wrote: "A question about the Fugitive Prince discussion.. Are we starting reading this week to discuss starting on the 28th? Or starting reading on the 28th to discuss the following week?"

I will be 'opening' the first discussion for the book on the 28th. You can start reading whenever it suits you.


message 25: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Kerry wrote: "Oh and for anyone who wants to look, here's the latest photo of the post-it notes."

My lord, Kerry! grin -- I'll know who to ask if I need to find a reference, those rare moments when I can't pull it out of my head!!!


message 26: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Kerry wrote: "I, too, would happily have killed Diegan myself at the end of chapter 7. But for all that, I can understand where he was coming from. I don't like it, but I can understand it. And we'd already had ..."

Kerry - your two questions: it is nearly ALWAYS a case of keep reading, you'll find out.


message 27: by Janny (last edited Oct 23, 2010 08:01AM) (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Kerry wrote: "I, too, would happily have killed Diegan myself at the end of chapter 7. But for all that, I can understand where he was coming from. I don't like it, but I can understand it. And we'd already had ..."

Kerry - your two questions: it is nearly ALWAYS a case of keep reading, you'll find out.

But I will try to clear up your confusion, give me a moment to haul out the book and page to the actual scene.


message 28: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Kerry wrote: "I, too, would happily have killed Diegan myself at the end of chapter 7. But for all that, I can understand where he was coming from. I don't like it, but I can understand it. And we'd already had ..."

I have re-checked the bits you inquired over - and, for several points, yes, you HAVE to keep reading. All will become clear in due time.

There are meant to be puzzles in this sequence that the story will move into and solve.

The biggest fulcrum point you have to have clear, from Morriel's scrying - is that Lirenda's fitness for succession is flawed. And: that Morriel's death will come on her, unprepared, and there is a (forecast) break in the Prime Succession - which effect will deprive the next prime of the continuity of all the knowledge that Morriel holds, with her office...she is the sole guardian.

The CAUSE of both problems is Arithon - so here is the irrevocable point of enmity between the Order and Arithon's fate.

You will FIND OUT what the secret knowledge the order guards; and where those other pieces fit. Let the story take you there in due course.

Arc II, Ships/Warhost deepens the characters.

Arc III - will take the whole story to WORLD VIEW (and continue to deepen the characters); and will begin to open glimpses into the mysteries.

Arc IV - will lift the story from world view, finish staging and cross the threshold into the Mysteries (AND deepen world view and characters further).

Arc V is the finale on all levels.

So get ready for a 'gear back' in Fugitive Prince similiar to the ramping stage of Ships....it will BUILD. And there will be plenty of unveilings as you go...some of your questions will be answered early on.

As to why Dakar revises his opinion about his impact vis a vis, the world's luck walks in the Fellowship's shadow - that will become DEMONSTRATED. No need for a long technical view, here, you will encounter all that in action, forthcoming.

I do look forward to your encounter, and your discussion when the story gets there.


message 29: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 451 comments Thanks Janny. You've cleared up my confusion about the scene with Morriel. I did have all those pieces, but hadn't quite got it clear. I will happily keep reading to find out more.

Ditto re Dakar. I guess really, I was just wanting to check that I hadn't missed something important in my reading. If it's not there because it will be clarifed later, that's wonderful.

I do appreciate the way you deepen the explainations as the story progress. Authors who dangle ideas but leave us to wonder if our interpretation is what they intended, I find frustrating. You gently correct us as we go to help us get to the place you intend us to go, which I appreciate.


message 30: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Kerry wrote: "Thanks Janny. You've cleared up my confusion about the scene with Morriel. I did have all those pieces, but hadn't quite got it clear. I will happily keep reading to find out more.

Ditto re Daka..."


Part of why I wrote the little satellite short stories was to clarify areas where readers drew persistent conclusions, or even, held to a view that was not consistent with the text. While I hope to do more of this, it is always better/more helpful when I can see what points need straightforward re-statement.

Sometimes comments in a discussion, or the odd question - "we want to know more about this bit" clicks into a scene - and if I can demonstrate more without slowing the story, it happens.

Other times, (far more often) the questions posed are ones already answered in depth later on in the story - or even, just laid down solid in the new book yet to come. Always fun when that synchronicity happens - readers want to know, and the track is already laid down in depth. Then it gets very hard for me to wait until you get to see it.

There is that flip side, to seeing the next book before you do - I have to severely bite my tongue sometimes for quite a long time, until the production schedule catches up.

The HARDEST book, in that way, so far - was Stormed Fortress, because so much reached pitch and wrapped up in that volume/it holds an immense amount of finale for Arc III.


message 31: by Kernos (new)

Kernos | 265 comments I do not really understand the significance of the blood oath between Asandir and Arithon. This can up during and after Arithon and Dakar healed tried to heal the girl ravaged by Wyverns, from Dakar trying to understand why too during his processing of being in Arithon's mind.

I think this scene is probably of major importance. Arithon is keeping quiet about it, but Dakar has had his assumptions challenged and seems to easily rationalize them away by concluding Arithon is up to something sneaky. I wonder about these love/hate feelings for Lysaer and Arithon respectively.


message 32: by Kernos (new)

Kernos | 265 comments I spent some time over a sentence when the Sorcerers in Ostermere were discussing the power they felt as Arithon and Lysaer were becoming physically close:
Aremies massed on the borders of Vastmark, thick as the lines of summer anvil heads.

That last phrase puzzled me, thinking of blacksmith anvils, until I gave up and googled "anvil heads". Oh Yah! Clouds.

These books are filled with wonderful words, phrases and allusions. Many challenge my imagination.


message 33: by Janny (new)

Janny (JannyWurts) | 975 comments Kernos wrote: "I spent some time over a sentence when the Sorcerers in Ostermere were discussing the power they felt as Arithon and Lysaer were becoming physically close:
Aremies massed on the borders of Vastmark..."


Oh lovely, yes, what is fantasy for, and literature, if not for challenging the imagination? Thanks for posting this.


message 34: by Kathi (new)

Kathi | 1320 comments My brief comments:

I agree that Dakar has grown a lot over the course of this book, and his willingness to die to save Arithon is proof enough of that. I was one who was very impatient with him, and still don't understand his behavior, but he was able to question his assumptions and revise his opinions and loyalties, and I give him credit for that. And yet--why didn't he tell Arithon of his prescient vision earlier? I was relatively sure Dakar wouldn't die but I didn't expect Asandir to show up to bring him back from the brink of death. And I didn't connect Morriel to Dakar's vision until the attempted assassination showed us the connection.

I, too, found the scene with Morriel and the Waystone to be very odd. The Waystone seems so malevolent--I wasn't expecting that. And for Morriel to see the succession broken... that, too, surprised me. I sensed all along that Lirenda is a flawed candidate to be Prime. But the Order held Arithon as enemy even before Morriel's scrying with the Waystone.

As for Lysaer--I was sickened, first by Diegan's interference with the group sent to report on the massacre at the Havens, then by Lysaer's unwillingness to see that his use of his gift helped push the unstable hillside into deadly avalanche, and finally by his cold-blooded, self-blinded plan to deify himself as Prince of the Light. I hope Talith, with her intelligence, has a role to play beyond spurned wife.

The s'Brydion brothers are quite a group--not quite comic relief, but refreshing in an odd sort of way.


message 35: by Kernos (new)

Kernos | 265 comments Kathi wrote: "My brief comments:

I agree that Dakar has grown a lot over the course of this book, and his willingness to die to save Arithon is proof enough of that. I was one who was very impatient with him, ..."


If I randomly fell to fits of true prescience, I think I too would engage in scapegrace behavior or simply go crazy. Also, because of his prophetic powers he had to deal with the F7, a scary bunch, and for such a long life. But he grows, even after so long.

I too find the s'Brydion brothers a fascinating tribe. Fun, purely masculine with honor and a sense of history.

It is difficult to comment on your other toughts, as I am a book ahead. I begin to understand Janny's comments on this notion. But, I think too Lysear needs to develop a sense of responsibility. He's brilliant, but blind, IMO.

The question that looms for me about both princes is what parts of their behavior are due to their nature, their gifts or their Mistwraith possession.


message 36: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) I just finished Warhost of Vastmark. Wow, what a ride. Janny is a seriously good writer & this series is just mind blowing, if you're into epic fantasy. My review is here:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 37: by Alissa (last edited Jan 17, 2015 03:31AM) (new)

Alissa | 96 comments Indeed a major shift point! Warhost of Vastmark was everything I could ask for, both action-packed and full of emotional impact on many levels, I can see it clearly how this and Merior are two installments of a single book. I absolutely loved the level of introspection shown for both Lysaer and Arithon, of course the many point of views of the narration lend a sympathetic angle toward Arithon, but to learn through Dakar, and even Tharrick and Jinesse, the real scope of Arithon's torment and integrity was absolutely incredible. It makes Lysaer's resolve look like kid's play.
I've the suspicion, anyway, after seeing how Dakar is probably going to be Arithon's most trusted ally, that his irrational hatred towards the prince spanned mainly from jealousy. Arithon has always made clear that he didn't want the burden of his legacy or of his powers, but had always met the challenge headlong. Dakar, instead, had wasted centuries in drunken stupor and debauchery to avoid his prescience and its responsibilities. Faced with Arithon, the very epitome of both courage and compassion, I guess he was shown his own failures in his own face, and Arithon never spared him the brunt of his thinking, while Lysaer was more gallant. But surely Dakar's epiphany is the product of a long journey, and I loved the fact Arithon always showed him the truth by sheer example and not words. In a way, I think Arithon is a manipulator, but not like Lysaer, his compassion makes him see the plight and the needs of the others, but will always keep him from forcing a choice, he helps others to find the path of their free will. Lysaer instead manages to radiate such sense of security that those around him are lulled into complacency and do his bidding of their own volition.
They are both scary.

I appreciated a lot the part about Talith (Royal freedom!) and I'm sorry Diegan died. I didn't see it coming, really. He was so devoted to Lysaer, and so practical. Sorry to say, but his measures (his manipulation of Lysaer's uncertainties when they first met in Etarra, the merchant in Werpoint, and the twenty-five survivors of Haven...) were effective and to the point, he was not one to take chances or to leave loose ends. I also liked his development. Funny thing is, I liked him way more than Pesquil, but I was sadder at the former's death.

And Lysaer's conclusions are a genius stroke, how to turn a complete rout in the foundation of a higher commitment: where the soldiers of four kingdoms failed, the power of faith will win the day. But he has already shown to be a political mastermind of incredible finesse, all the setbacks of his own poor strategy and tactics he managed to manipulate to his own advantage. After all, facts are always relative to the viewer's angle. Very scary, and worst of all, Lysaer is completely the puppet of his own self-delusion. I wonder, too, how much of this is Diesh-tiere' geas and how much is his own petty jealousy towards Arithon.

Great book, as usual not one detail is fodder, all the characters are important and the choral actions matter. I hope to see more Elaria soon, and to smother my irk towards the Koriani.
Go go Arithon, four kingdoms and a religion in the making are eager for your scalp, I guess the title of the upcoming book is illustrative. Just started with Fugitive Prince, and planning to read the short story Reins of Destiny.


message 38: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) | 1139 comments Alissa wrote: "Indeed a major shift point! Warhost of Vastmark was everything I could ask for, both action-packed and full of emotional impact on many levels, I can see it clearly how this and Merior..."

I am really enjoying your insightful comments and your progress through this series. I'm always so sad and baffled that more people don't appreciate it.


message 39: by Alissa (last edited Apr 16, 2015 01:46PM) (new)

Alissa | 96 comments That's true Sandra. Of course, I understand that a series of such complexity and writing style, and such characters portrayed may not be to everybody's taste, but I hope all the readers who simply don't know about its existence, but who would just love this kind of tale will get to know it. I've recently posted a little on reddit, too, starting considerations and and mid-series thoughts if you happen by, let us know what you think. I marvel more and more at the tale, now I'm reading Fugitive Prince and I see matters are becoming even more entangled.

Thank YOU and all the others for the posts here, I'm so sorry I wasn't around for the time of the reading, but it really adds to the experience, there are so many details and angles of interpretation!


message 40: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 1027 comments I'm enjoying your commentary! I wish I had time and energy to read these again along with you :) Someday!


message 41: by Alissa (new)

Alissa | 96 comments Thank you both! Hope to see around soon Shel. I'm currently with Fugitive Prince and I'm getting a lots of questions answered, boy she is a master of world-building!


message 42: by Kathi (new)

Kathi | 1320 comments Shel wrote: "I'm enjoying your commentary! I wish I had time and energy to read these again along with you :) Someday!"

When the series is finished, I will do a reread of the books up to Initiate's Trial and then read that and the remaining books.


message 43: by Cody (last edited Apr 16, 2015 07:01AM) (new)

Cody | 2 comments I just finished Warhost as well and hope my impressions won't be too critical for my own good, haha.

I find that Lysaer's obsession is the most interesting plot point for me. It's interesting that despite many people he trusted giving him a heads up that he might be in the wrong, the curse just won't let him see his issues. This is the conflict that keeps me reading.

Both Alissa and Janny had told me on reddit to watch Dakar and that he'd stop being such a chode as his character progressed, but now that I've seen some of his progression, I feel like it felt flat due to -how- it happened.

Unless Arithon did a secret scrying and -knew- that Jilieth was in need of help in Vastmark, the fact he and Dakar randomly stumbled across them amongst the vastness of Vastmark felt hollow. Like it was a forced plot moment to make Dakar see into Arithon's mind in order to start the character growth ball moving. It would have felt more 'right' if his realization that the mysteries became clearer the less drunk and negative he was had driven his re-evaluation of Arithon instead of a forced moment that seemed to come out of nowhere.

Then there was Arithon's gathering of the vastmark shepherds after half a year of helping them out. I just don't buy that an entire people would decide to throw themselves in the path of a huge warhost just for some stranger who showed up and helped them with their work. Even after they found out who he was, why wasn't there much more skepticism? Of course, this may just be a case of Janny not showing those kinds of snafus to aid in the telling of the core story.

I'm glad to hear that the next arc takes the story to the world view, because staying so close to some of the characters has been confusing for me since they don't seem to act like real people.

Please don't hold my critical assessment against me, it's just my nature. I really am enjoying the overarching story of Lysaer's obsession and want to see where it's going.


message 44: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) | 1139 comments Hmm, interesting points of view.. However, I don't see the loyalty of a small group of shepherds who are defending their homeland and acting in their own self interest any more unlikely than the rabid followers of Lysaer in the tens of thousands to fight against what is a blatant lie - Arithon as the personification of evil. There's much subtlety going on here that is easy to miss. Did Arithin make the right decision at the Havens? What of Deigans slaughter of the survivors? Did Arithon use sorcery to bring on the landslides? Or was it merely smart tactics? Does Lysaer not know enough about his lack of control to maybe stop and think once in a while? What about his rejection of Talith when she merely suggests a more moderate point of view?

The wyverns are a constant threat in this area of Vastmark so it didn't seem contrived to me. I found Dakars transformation very moving.


message 45: by Cody (new)

Cody | 2 comments The Havens is another bit that seemed strange, in itself. That Lysaer wanted that specific point attacked and no others and Arithon knew about it long enough in advance to plan his extermination pressed my belief. What with the Cascains being so labyrinthine and having so many hiding places, you'd think Lysaer would launch a concerted landing all along the coast since it wasn't mentioned that Lysaer ever knew exactly where Arithon was. If that had happened, Arithon's plan would have been moot since he couldn't have exterminated all men on all of the landings.

Deigan's slaughter of the survivors wasn't right, but made sense for his character at that time.

I thought it was pretty clear that the only sorcery used to cause the landslide was Lysaer's fireball explosions in the darkness. Arithon merely knew the area and suspected if Lysaer launched into his light-shenanigans, there'd be a slide one way or another.

I think deep inside Lysaer knows something is wrong, but the curse is twisting his mind to not dwell on what is wrong. This is why he won't list to Talith's recounting of her treatment by Arithon or why Ath's Brotherhood's spell couldn't shake his resolve.


message 46: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) | 1139 comments You missed the part on the ship when Arithon took the seer's weed to look at future possibilities and decided that the Havens was the most likely place to confront the Alliance.


message 47: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (Sleo) | 1139 comments Oh I agree with you about Lysaer knowing somewhere inside himself. But it's not all the curse that keeps him blind. The curse however exploits his qualities of thinking he's the only one who can 'save' the world from evil. Also it exploits his distrust of women that began with his mothers abandonment.


message 48: by Alissa (last edited Apr 16, 2015 02:04PM) (new)

Alissa | 96 comments Hi Cody, I'm happy you liked the book!
Ehehe, I just love discussing this series and compare views, the threads here, and our chat at reddit inspired me a lot. I'm currently writing my review for Initiate's Trial (if it may be of interest, all my reviews from Peril's Gate on are completely spoiler free), and again, I'm surprised at all the links and choices and nuances which make the structure of the series. Event by event, of course I have my preferences, but the resulting picture is, for me, utterly captivating.

The scene in Ath's hostel was very intense, made me think a lot about Lysaer. Wanted to know more, to see more deeply in him afterwards. He keeps his struggles very private, but surely, particularly when he was confronted with Talith's "betrayal", I think he started to put more thought into his actions, he realized after the rout of Vastmark that his previous strategies were lacking. And changed attitude towards his duties.
Diegan is one of my favorite characters, along with Caolle. His choice to kill the survivors was sensible, as it was when he ordered the captain who witnessed Arithon's actions in Minderl Bay killed. He genuinely liked Lysaer, and his actions influenced the story a lot, it was him who first prompted Lysaer to stand against Arithon in Mistwraith.

As for Dakar, I saw it this way, his hatred for Arithon was genuine, his idea that he was a master manipulator, making the best of circumstances escaping the curse of the mistwraith and his brother's warhost, probably also true. Dakar knows it, and that is why, I think, he found Medlir companionable but stubbornly persisted in prejudice when the prince of Rathain was concerned. Arithon turns the flaws of the people he encounters, or who associate with him, against them, forcing change and evoking independence. He doesn't offer empty platitudes or flattery. That, coupled with a legendary temper and a mage-trained mien, not to mention a cartload of other irking character traits, don't make him the most likeable of persons. But deep down, Dakar knew that there was more to it, and that was the source of his dilemma. I think when Arithon was forced to show him his naked core, the inner change Dakar dreaded so much started to take root. He still is "a connoisseur of dark cells the length and breadth of five kingdoms", and a lover of binges and bawdyhouses, but he is forced to see his escapism for what it is, to recognize he can make a better use of his gifts. Sober or drunk, he stays ambivalent, and as character, he is ever developing, the direction is not so clear-cut anyway.

Sandra raises very interesting points, the story offers several scenes, some to immediate impact, some with slow burn consequences, and some seemingly borne of happenstance. I think the probability to find children of shepherds attacked by Wyverns in the vale were not so remote. They could have not, but they had. And the consequences of their act bought them faster acceptance among the nomad tribes, whose customs are different from the clans or from the townsborn. Sure, they lent their full-fledged support without stint, but their circumstances were also problematic, they were scattered and declining, poor, and very inclined against the townborn. If I recall correctly, they even resorted to give children to the Koriani to ensure their survival, but after the events in Vastmark, they actually improved their life conditions.

It is also a prophecy of Dakar's which led to the Havens. And it was Arithon who led his enemies into a terrain of his own choice. The main body of the warhost could not come by boat, after Minderl Bay, and the access points at Dier Kenton Vale by land were just a few, so Arithon knew where to expect his brother. He also timed the arrival with the ransom double ploy and all. And Lysaer acted rashly, confident of victory by his superior numbers and his warped sense of justice. His thoughts at the end of the book, when he decides to raise the stakes since brute force has proved useless several times, and the shifting alliances, open the path for the events of Fugitive Prince. The book is a stage setter, and the viewpoints start to diversify, the story follows more characters.
If you liked Lysaer conflicted personality here, the way he treasures his grudges, or his mastery at diplomacy, expect lots of developments.


message 49: by Alissa (new)

Alissa | 96 comments Sandra wrote: "Oh I agree with you about Lysaer knowing somewhere inside himself. But it's not all the curse that keeps him blind. The curse however exploits his qualities of thinking he's the only one who can ..."

Oh yes!!


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Books mentioned in this topic

Warhost of Vastmark (other topics)
Stormed Fortress (other topics)
Fugitive Prince (other topics)
Reins of Destiny (other topics)
Initiate's Trial (other topics)
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