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SERIES—List & Discussions > Wars of Light & Shadow--Curse of the Mistwraith, Ch. XVI, XVII, XVIII *SPOILERS!!!!*

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message 1: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments The Finale Chapters: the tight focus view.

SPOILERIFIC TERRITORY - do not read unless you have finished the final 3 chapter sets!

DO uncheck your update feed box before posting (you know the drill)

I will be adding a note, straightaway, on the author's eye view of the creation of these chapters.

Post your take, what you felt (and if you missed your bus/burned your dinner - a little humor would be welcomed.)


message 2: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments The Author's Eye View:

I set out on this journey to write a fantasy book that would rip shreds out of the one sided 'war as right and might forces the moral side to triumph' - that was the goal, and Athera and the creation of this series, if I did my job will deliver that, with a lot of other (yes there will be!) delightful things along the way. The story itself has given me MORE.

But - what about the finale chapters in this, the first volume?

Here's how it happened. I wrote all the events leading up to the Augury chapter set, and looked at the abyss to be crossed: Chapter Set Seventeen. I knew I wanted to shock and horrify, to wrench the guts out of the preconceived expectations. I stood at the rim of the known ground and saw - the ENDING point, the resting stage, the place to recoup and think and measure.

I had laid out the tactics whereby a small force could make havoc and ruin of a ten times larger one - these sorts of scenarios have played through history, at Marathon, at Agincourt...but this time - I did not want to play the glory song, or extol the 'heroic defense,' but to create something other.

And so the scene opened with children in a marsh. I relied on instinct and intuition to carry EVERYTHING - and if you could not see what came, coming, let me say, neither did I....except that the Muse delivered precisely what I'd requested.

When Pesquil took charge - and you know the moment, I stopped, frozen at the keyboard. I started to SHAKE. I saw, THAT DAY, the course the tale would take through the morass, and I shuddered. OK. Ask and you'll be answered. Flinch, or follow through. Stay true to the purpose of characters, story, and premise, or cave in and step back.

I buckled on my courage and kept writing. To the end of the scene that occurred at the Grottoes. And sat there HORRIFIED. Realized, in a sort of pan back shot sort of way - I'd either created a work of genius (or rather, intuition delivered in spectacular technicolor). OR. Completely shot myself in the foot. Murdered my career with an Ouzie.

I had NO IDEA what readers would think or if I'd go down like a stone.

I decided I had to risk it. The story had to be told. War is not glory and honor, but a gory and sorrowful mess. As a solution - it is the red flag to the bull - that rage has gotten far and long out of hand, that might have been peacefully redressed FAR SOONER. So help me, I would learn to listen better, even if literature, history books, and the news marched to a different drummer.

I pressed onward.
And the whole scene in the aftermath, with Halliron and the battle in the ballad - and Caolle's witness - and Arithon's laying the shades to rest - the gift I had not seen, that broke me to tears at the keyboard.

There is always a flip side to sorrow and it is called healing.

There is always the harmony of music to lift us up, or to clothe the unthinkable in a moving, living mantle of beauty.

Heartbreak and healing - and the healing, every bit as real, that rebuilds the foundation for joy - stronger and with wisdom.

I hope that as you read these chapters, and think on them - that the healing is not overshadowed. That the events at the grotto don't supercede the finale to the point where Halliron's insight and Madreigh's bit part is forgotten. And of course, the first of the changes brought to Caolle.


message 3: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments Janny, you succeeded.

I don't have my notes here with me (I'll get the book and add my thoughts later). But what you've written above is pretty much where I came to at the end of the book.

The scene with Arithon laying the shades to rest was beautiful in a totally heart-breaking way. And Caolle's coming to understand him so much better, thanks to Halliron was like an added bonus. As someone said (was it Halliron in this scene?) so many people won't understand him and many of them will be friends.


message 4: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "Janny, you succeeded.

I don't have my notes here with me (I'll get the book and add my thoughts later). But what you've written above is pretty much where I came to at the end of the book.

Th..."


Kerry, you've been such a fantastic observer and participant in this journey - bring on the notes!

I am glad the release scenes worked for you so well.

If the chat is quiet a few days, I expect that - the ending of this book has left some readers speechless for three days, and at least one I know of was in reverb. for a month. If that happened, the strong reaction worked.

I had said at the outset that I was striking for deep impact. Those who've read this far - whether you continue or not, I promised a book you would not quickly forget.

Rest assured, as Ships of Merior opens, (now that the stage is set) there will be scenes to laugh over - alot.


message 5: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments Okay, here goes:

Halliron re Arithon: "It's fate that's his enemy, not ourselves."

Arithon's action of swearing a bloodpact with Jieret was powerful. We know he's seen potential disaster for the Deshir clans, but it does make me wonder if he saw anything else regarding Jieret himself that we readers don't know about. Because such a thing will surely have long-term repercussions. Arithon seems to be very quick (perhaps too quick) to take the burden of a situation on himself. He was ready to face Steiven's anger to save Jieret despite the state he was in and the repercussions it might have.

Dakar says angrily to Kharadmon: "Sithaer take your Fellowship's grand plans, you used a good man and then broke him."

My immediate reaction is to correct that to "two good men" and agree. Reading on, Kharadmon does fit what has been done into the right side of the Law of Major Balance. But from my at-the-start-of-the-series/not-a-thousands-of-years-old-sorcerer perspective, a lot of what has been done does seem to be holding to the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. I will be keeping an eye on the motives of the Fellowship of Seven and what they are prepared to do to achieve them. At a first glance (ie, if this was any bog standard fantasy novel) they are set up to be the "good and honest advisors to the good guys" but in this novel, I don't believe for a second that things are that simple.

Asandir: "Rocks outlast all our doings. Longevity gives them great respect for politeness, a tendency you would benefit from copying."

I just love that. Rocks like you to be polite. It's gorgeous as well as a funny moment.

The chamber at Rockfell is described as being a most effective prison, so I see it as a very significant warning that we are told that everything placed in it has escaped eventually.

We're given clear intent from the Koriathain (I keep getting confused with Koriani/Koriathain but I'm sure I'll get it sorted in time) that they intend to oppose Arithon in any way they can. I'm also inclined to believe that. For all their guile, their motives seem (at this point) more clear cut than those of the Fellowship. Of course, I'm willing to be proved wrong.

We are told Elaira has developed a taste for silence. Hmm, sounds a bit like someone else we know.

I found it interesting in the triad for this chapter that Sethvir dwells on how unlikely it is that Arithon might meddle with the prison at Rockfell. The very fact it is brought to my attention makes me highly suspicious that at some time this is exactly what he will do.

Once again, Lysaer seems to be talking himself into his preferred version of events rather than keeping to the facts of what he has seen (such as when he tells himself that Arithon's playing shadow boats with the children of Etarra was solely a ruse for Lysaer's benefit). This recurring pattern of self-delusion really disturbs me, because Lysaer is so righteous in his conviction that I don't see how his mind could be changed. Certainly not easily.

The battle sequences show clearly that this is a horror on both sides. No-one is in the right. This is not the good guys vs the bad guys but a horrible misery to all.

My notes at this point have reached the sub-chapter "First Quarry" as everything gets nastier and nastier.

In a "classic" fantasy, this would be the point where we have the climatic battle of good against evil, where good must triumph. Instead, it is simply (simply?!) horror and misery and no clear right or wrong. It is real and brilliantly written, but there were moments when, like Lysaer, it would have been nice if it was simple. Well, okay, really no, I didn't want that because it would lessen the power of the book, but it still would have been kind of nice.

I thought the oath with Jieret would be significant: The oath lately sworn with Steiven's son had been a blood ritual, and for the mage-trained such things became binding beyond a mere promise; his life and the boy's were subtly intertwined.

Also particularly telling for the future: The feud between Karthan and Amroth had inspired atrocities enough to wring from him [Arithon:] all tolerance for suffering. Between town born and clan the hate ran more poisonous still.

While we've known through Lysaer's chapter that the Curse is strong enough to twist Lysaer's mind and personality and honour, it isn't until we see Arithon trying to fight the compulsions of the Curse that I could truly get a feeling for just how strong it is. No wonder Lysaer is being drowned by it since he doesn't even know it's there. This is the point I started feeling so much more for Lysaer.

By the way, while rape might be a "time-proven tactic" it's still disgusting. How sad that it is still a "time-proven tactic" in the real world.

Is it the power of Arithon's empathy, or simply his personality that we see in his "abject denial, "Lysaer, oh Ath, Lysaer, no!""

Arithon's unmaking of the crossbow bolt and it's consequences, both to the archer and later himself was very disturbing. I'm very glad there are dire consequences to doing such a thing (and it such a well built world as this I would expect there to be).

A beautiful (if deadly) concept and more beautiful writing: A human mind ensnared in the consciousness of a tree will sleep, immersed in slow dreams that measure time in stately rhythms, of clean sun and silvered snow and seasons that slide one into another like the rain-kissed drift of autumn leaves.

Janny, you have a truly beautiful way with words, and especially similes - those have struck me again and again.

Arithon tried so hard to fight the Curse, that while it was perhaps inevitable that he would succumb when face-to-face with Lysaer, it was so sad to see. (Of course, if he could stand up to it, there probably wouldn't be any more story.)

"The drive of Desh-thiere's curse overwhelmed all."

The only thing I have written on my post-it note under this is "Sigh." I really just didn't have the words to describe my reaction. I could have written pages without getting it right. A sigh of hurt was all I had to offer.

Go Jieret! I do like him. He's very cool and I look forward to seeing him grow up as the years go by.

Arithon reflects on Lysaer: Lysaer had no training to understand or control how Desh-thiere's meddling had twisted him. Assured of his righteousness, avowed to bring justice, he would use his survival to labour until this day's atrocities were repeated.

Is this at least one of the major driving forces for ten more books? "Assured of his righteousness, avowed to bring justice..." Those are very, very difficult things to shift. And perhaps until Lysaer can see past them, there can be no resolution?

Ironically, Lysaer, for all his apparent power and charisma etc, is the greatest victim here. He's lost such a huge part of himself. Arithon, while also a victim is a victor as well because he can still fight to stay himself. It is very hard (perhaps impossible) to fight an enemy you don't know is there.

Lysaer (under the influence of the Curse) + Pesquil = major bad. Shudder.

A quick question for Janny: You used the word "decimate" (or variations thereof) several times in the aftermath of the battle. I was wondering which sense of it you meant, the original "1 in 10" or the more recent "huge proportion", as the numbers later given seemed to suggest the latter, but you're so careful with words that I wondered.

I do like Halliron.

The scene of Arithon sending the dead to their rest was just amazing. For that one my note reads "Oh my. So beautiful. How do you make something so awful so beautiful?"

"And when the blessing of Paravian release let them go, the peace they took with them was not shared. Arithon looked desolate and haunted, and remorse had stolen even tears."

And yet he still does it. Is this the sign of a hero? Surely it is at least the sign of a good man?

Madreigh's survival is beautifully done. As is Arithon's response.

"This one, also, I saved," he said as if pleading forgiveness. "Tend him well. I would beg that he lives."

I love this book for its very words as well as its story.

The story very cleverly uses a lot of the trappings of a standard fantasy and then turns them all upside down and spins them all around, which is great fun. Lysaer looks like he should be the (literally) golden-haired boy of prophecy who will stand firmly for the Light and save the day. Sadly, this is not the case for while he truly believes his cause is just, his belief is founded on lies (even if they are lies to himself) as well as truth. Arithon, on the other hand, would be the evil brother in that standard fantasy, his very words lies (the way Lysaer chooses to believe they are) and his mage-craft evil. Of course, neither of these is true. Instead, the truth is a mixed up muddle of it all and there will be much of that "truth" that we haven't seen yet.

So I find myself in the strange position of not trusting Janny and yet totally trusting her at the same time. It's like I don't dare take anything for granted as I read (which makes me a little nervous I admit) but at the same time, between the book itself and everything she's said here, I trust her to take me to the right place in the end.

(And Janny, thank you so much for promising there will always be hope. I can take a lot for hope, it's when there's no hope that I'm not interested in reading further. I'm very interested in reading futher in this series.)

If Lysaer keeps reminding us of his distorted beliefs about everything Arithon does or has done, I'm going to get very, very frustrated with the whole situation. (And that's not a criticsm of book, just that the situation is getting to me as I'm sure it is supposed to do.)

I really loved that finally, we have a hint of hope that, given time and circumstances, Lysaer may be able to recognise and defeat the Curse. Because, really, I feel terribly sorry for him at this point. He frustrates me terribly but I think I care about the brothers about equally now. I just (I admit) like Arithon more.

Although, a couple of paragraphs later, he goes hard against Arithon and the introspection that he might not be in full control is dismissed. So if it does happen (and I sure hope it does), it isn't going to be soon.

So one of the true battles of the series may be for Lysaer's freedom from the Curse so that he can take his abilities to a true and honest cause. Or will he be too lost, his personality too changed by then? (Whenever then is.)

Personally, given what we've seen of Talith and Elaira, I think Arithon has the better deal on the ladies front.

Arithon has lost his mage vision. Will it be back? How long will that last? How will he have to chance to function without it?

And finally (you thought I'd never get there, didn't you?) what a beautiful last paragraph to end the book. In fact, what perfect last three words.

"For this night and others he was free. He could sit, set his hands to silver strings and at long last, bend sorrow into music."

Two last, quick comments. This is the first time I've ever felt need to add notes to the glossary of a book! And wow, I've never come quite so to using up all the characters for a Goodreads post before. There are only 747 left!


message 6: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments SO SO SO SORRY, I forgot to uncheck "add to my update feed" for that last, long post. If you haven't read The Curse of the Mistwraith, don't read it. It's full of spoilers. (This message goes out to everyone reading my update feed and not the Beyond Reality discussion.)


message 7: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Kerry, what a BEAUTIFUL post! You are very wise and well spoken. I teared up all over again, reading it. You've captured the essence of what I feel about this book, this series.

I was absolutely exhausted after reading through the battle and the ending. And full of sorrow.

I remember watching the Gulf War in 1991 and being filled with grief for all the young men being sent to their death. I had recently lost a son at age 17 and knew to my bones what that loss meant. War is never never never never never the solution.


message 8: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "Okay, here goes:

Halliron re Arithon: "It's fate that's his enemy, not ourselves."

Arithon's action of swearing a bloodpact with Jieret was powerful. We know he's seen potential disaster for ..."


Kerry - they have to check "MORE" to read the whole thing, so - grin - you may be saved by the long post!

I just loved the way you differentiated HOW this story differed from the 'standard fantasy fare' - bang on.

Many of your observations here will stand you in good stead as you progress. Hope is a powerful FORCE in this book - so as the tale takes you through the unpredictable, watch and encounter the healings.

To your direct question: decimate.

The ORIGINAL meaning: kill 1 in 10.
The usage has shifted over time, and now, it's acceptable to follow the second usage, which is 'a huge proportion' - my dictionary used different terms; and the second usage was the one I had in mind, here. It was secondarily endorsed by my excellent copy editor - but the laugh of it, that ONE WORD has been flagged angrily by readers who take the first definition literally SO MANY TIMES - grin. Shrug.

Words morph all the time, authors use them in their newer context - and SOMETIMES - there IS no secondary meaning. Two I see abused most often are 'pleasantry' (the real meaning is A JOKE, not a polite bit of complimentary conversation) and enormity - which actually means a CRIME - not a 'big event' ... I see them in works, and I bridle, so I understand if people balk, here.

Anyway, Decimate had evolved a legitimate, LISTED second meaning. Some hair-splitters disagree and take issue.

Can't please everybody, eh?

On the not trusting and totally trusting - one day the series will be complete - only 2 vols left to write, and all convergency and denouement. When you need a light in a dark scene - remember THIS: the last volume is titled SONG OF THE MYSTERIES. ;) Past that I won't say, but that title might just indicate what part hope plays. If you want to watch for the DEFINITIVE clues as the series progresses: watch for the references and for the actual play that arises from said MYSTERIES.

Then read and find out.

Your observations are very keen - I am so excited for you knowing what lies ahead.


message 9: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Janny wrote: "Kerry wrote: "Okay, here goes:

Halliron re Arithon: "It's fate that's his enemy, not ourselves."

Arithon's action of swearing a bloodpact with Jieret was powerful. We know he's seen potential dis..."


And thank you so much for the beautiful words, and for letting me know the ending worked for you. It is SO important to me to see that the awful bits don't end without that sense of rebalancing.

You will note that this story does end with both characters getting what they wanted at the outset: Arithon his chance to study music, and Lysaer with a ruler's position and respect...


message 10: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments You will note that this story does end with both characters getting what they wanted at the outset: Arithon his chance to study music, and Lysaer with a ruler's position and respect...

Huh, I totally missed that.


message 11: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "You will note that this story does end with both characters getting what they wanted at the outset: Arithon his chance to study music, and Lysaer with a ruler's position and respect...

Huh, I t..."


Interesting.


message 12: by Charles (new)

Charles (charliewhip) | 141 comments Kerry wrote: "Okay, here goes:

Halliron re Arithon: "It's fate that's his enemy, not ourselves."

Arithon's action of swearing a bloodpact with Jieret was powerful. We know he's seen potential disaster for ..."


Well, Kerry, you certainly are a highly attentive reader and your observations are keen. Some of your predictions will play out, and some won't, but your insight, at this point, is spectacular.

One of the very first things I noticed and loved about The Wars of Light and Shadow, specifically in Mistwraith, is Janny's rejection of war and killing as romantic. She does not spare us those horrors, and for me this is a crucial point. As a culture, we have become so inured to violence that our media arts (books, TV, movies, etc.) tend to glorify it as the ultimate resolution of conflicts and not the never-ending chain of loss and destruction that it usually is. The introduction of healing as a dominant theme in the series is another element that is very timely and,for me, important as a driving force/motivation. This series is certainly very different thematically from the standard fare in fantasy literature, which often revolves around the Glories of Triumphing Good Heroes or The Futility and Darkness Of It All.


message 13: by Frank (new)

Frank Taranto (xtontox) | 38 comments Wonderfully written comments.
War is a nasty business, and Janny's description of what happens in Strakewood Forest shows that only too well.
What people will do to other people in the name of their beliefs is terrifying.
The book has me frustrated also, but that's not always a bad thing. What we've seen people do follow from the story so far, which makes for a realistic story.
Just want to add a thank you to Janny and all the people that have commented so far, this is becoming a very enjoyable experience.
Kerry wrote: "Okay, here goes:

Halliron re Arithon: "It's fate that's his enemy, not ourselves."

Arithon's action of swearing a bloodpact with Jieret was powerful. We know he's seen potential disaster for ..."



message 14: by Frank (new)

Frank Taranto (xtontox) | 38 comments War is never never never never never the solution.
..."


If not war, what should have been the reponse to Nazi Germany?


message 15: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta | 178 comments Cannot take time to participate in this discussion right now, but do want to say I very much enjoyed all of the comments.


message 16: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Frank wrote: "War is never never never never never the solution.
..."

If not war, what should have been the reponse to Nazi Germany?"


Frank - my take? The situation bubbled and brewed long before a war was needed to put it straight.

Aggression starts as love denied - frustration and rage stem from people responding to the FACT they can't get a fair shake. The signs crop up long and long before bloodshed is necessary.

If imagination and healing were brought into play to open the gateway to voluntary change - there would be no impasse taken so far that a destructive cycle sweeps the board clean.

Fear strikes out, defends, imposes control - heal the fear, and the rage response fades away. Hard to change an entrenched concept - particularly when that entrenched concept is romanticized and sacrifice is a 'virtue' that is extolled by a belief system.

This book seeks to strip off the romanticised angle - not criticize history.

The fact that any pool of 'fear' or 'rage' can fall into the hands of others with 'agendas' - and that such volatile emotion can become a tool, organized to strike for OTHER reasons - that is a scary thing, too often ignored.

Fanaticism of any kind - when doubt is eliminated - that makes a ready force available for ANY ideology to step in and wield it for any purpose whatsoever - when doubt and fear play hand in hand, and shortfalls in thinking wish a silver bullet solution - there you have the critical mass for atrocities.

When societal mores suppress doubt and fear - or when rage (love frustrated) is ignored - or when 'better than' is made into a palliative to soothe such pain - better to address the source.

But our mythscape does not award virtue to doubt and fear - or even aggression (correctly used, aggression is supposed to let you now a boundary has been impinged upon) - these things are called 'negative emotion' and so are shoved down, and not given the stage time they need to truly understand them, and progress to healing.

The imbalance that became Nazi Germany (or any other war) was fully evident LONG before the first shot was fired.


message 17: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Mawgojzeta wrote: "Cannot take time to participate in this discussion right now, but do want to say I very much enjoyed all of the comments."

Fine to have you hear in spirit - thanks for checking in!


message 18: by Frank (new)

Frank Taranto (xtontox) | 38 comments Janny wrote:
Frank - my take? The situation bubbled and brewed long befor..."


Janny,
Thank you for the well thought out and written response.

I am glad that this book removes the glory of war and shows how devastating it can be. The fact that it is a great story with wonderfully drawn characters can help get that point across.

I have lost a lot of my optimism that humanity will ever grow up enough to learn to share our world.


message 19: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Frank wrote: "Janny wrote:
Frank - my take? The situation bubbled and brewed long befor..."

Janny,
Thank you for the well thought out and written response.

I am glad that this book removes the glo..."


It's easy to lose perspective, when the news bombards us with the ugly bits. If one looks HARDER (and outside the big news shoved at us) there are literally thousands of bits that refute the 'no hope' scenario...why do we not focus on them?

One of the driving bits in this story IS that the hope often goes unsung - that point of view shifts all the facets - it does not mean it is not present and active and alive.

I could post some stuff here, but really, it would be more appropriate in the members' lounge.

The polarized view point (Black vs White) definitely wants to overshadow all other opinions - if that 'either or' focus is shifted to 'all' - other things rise in the space in between. And there, there is HUGE evidence that people do care - very much.

I think the 'my way or the highway' attitude is what sticks stuff in place - and globally we ARE beginning to recognize other views, other cultures, other angles - more now than ever before.

But yes, the table bangers and soap boxers are very strident - they do tend to deafen the other voices.

For this series - in its early stages - DEFINITELY - I was striking for that sense of, IF you had not seen the other side/alternative viewpoints - then you'd have fallen for Lysaer's rhetoric....that sense of, there but for the grace, go I...

One has to listen closely to see the other contour map, where hope is very vibrantly alive.


message 20: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments This reminds me a quote from Babylon 5 that I always liked:

Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side .. and the truth.

It seems particularly relevant to these books.


message 21: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "This reminds me a quote from Babylon 5 that I always liked:

Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side .. and the truth.

It seems particularly relevant to these books."


Certainly - more than just your side, their side - depending on the point of view, there are many truths. Depends on what angle or stance you take while you are viewing the conflict.


message 22: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Well, I finished it tonight, and I wept again in the scene where Arithon is easing the souls of the dead on to Alithiel. Such a moving thing.

This time I was able to see the Curse much more clearly, how it was the thing driving Lysaer, so that 'he' - his personhood - is gone. Arithon is the lucky one, that he is able to separate himself. That line Kerry quoted - Lysaer, oh Ath, Lysaer, no - is so heart breaking.


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