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SERIES—List & Discussions > Wars of Light & Shadow--Ships of Merior, Ch. I, II, III - SPOILERS

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message 1: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Here we are starting Book II, and the opening volume of Arc II, Ships of Merior.

This is the SPOILER topic for these chapters, so take care not to read unless you are caught up through Chapter Set Three. (and uncheck your update feed box so your friends don't get served with a spoiler)

5 years have passed since the conflict at Strakewood Forest - feel free to comment on the changed ground, the opening set - what has occurred in the aftermath, the humor, and how soon did you figure out Medlir?


message 2: by Amelia (new)

Amelia (narknon) Ships of Merrior is a great book. Janny's absolutely right about there being some extrememly funny moments. I was so glad to see Medlir, Halliron's apprentice getting the training in music, and a great friend and mentor from the master. I always figured who Medlir was because he left with him in Curse. He really deserved and earned those five years of peace and music.


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9 comments I just finished the first three chapters and really enjoyed the interchanges between "Medlir" and Dakar. I had to wonder, though,whether Asandir had any reason (other than pure malicious enjoyment at putting two men who dislike each other together) for sending Dakar to look after Arithon.

I think of myself as having a pretty good vocabulary but, like The Curse of the Mistwraith before it, The Ships of Merior is keeping me on my toes and forcing me to periodically look up words.

And I've already got a favorite line in the book: "Birds squabbled over the cidery crush milled under by the cart wheels, and winds whisked their burden of scraping, flying leaves, sharpened by frost off the peaks." It made me step right into the scene!


message 4: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I'm going to have to post something here in order to get updates! I loved this book, although I struggled with Dakar's hatred of Arithon as I couldn't see why he felt that way, even through Curse. Perhaps a lot of it is because Arithon doesn't talk about his thoughts and they always take Dakar by surprise and frequently outwit him. That is annoying.

I'm not sure of Asandir's reasons, but suspect he wants Dakar to mature a little.

@Susan, I love your favorite line.


message 5: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments I have to pause for a grin, here, imagining what Kerry's book looks like...(and Jon's...)

A fun note - I knew a horse JUST like Faery-toes, once...no kidding.


message 6: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments Janny - Here you go: Just for Janny

I finished chapter four last night. I will try to post some comments on the first three chapters later today or tomorrow.

I'm clearly hooked on the series, as I ordered Warhost of Vastmark yesterday and decided to add Initiate's Trial as well to take advantage of the pre-order price. I'll get the ones in between as I progress with my reading.


message 7: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Kerry, that is a hoot!


message 8: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Kerry wrote: "Janny - Here you go: Just for Janny

I finished chapter four last night. I will try to post some comments on the first three chapters later today or tomorrow.

I'm clearly hooked on the series,..."


Wowza - Kerry - I have to ask: who's the pink???


message 9: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments I hope, sincerely, you all are getting a few LAUGHS in, after the intensity of Mistwraith! Lot more room for fun in this one - if you did crack up, which scene?


message 10: by Clansman (new)

Clansman Lochaber Axeman | 24 comments Janny wrote: "I hope, sincerely, you all are getting a few LAUGHS in, after the intensity of Mistwraith! Lot more room for fun in this one - if you did crack up, which scene?"

That is an obvious one. The gates of Jaelot, to be sure! I have never laughed as hard since I read James Herriot's veterinarian account of a semi-wild cat loose in his car. Dakar's antics, and those of Faery-toes, were slapstick at its best. We deserved that after the emotional wreck of Tal Quorin.


message 11: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments Janny - Pink is notes and green is quotes, so they don't actually relate to anyone in particular.


message 12: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Kerry wrote: "Janny - Pink is notes and green is quotes, so they don't actually relate to anyone in particular."

Yes, Clansman, Faery-toes is the funniest thing, not just in his behavior and appearance as a horse, but that Dakar chose Faery-toes for his name! I sincerely hope he didn't end up in the slaughter house. Poor horse.


message 13: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Kerry wrote: "Janny - Pink is notes and green is quotes, so they don't actually relate to anyone in particular."

Very clever, Kerry. Oh, that I would ever be so organized! O_o


message 14: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 486 comments (Sandra, I asked my husband to bring me home some post it notes and he arrived with pink and yellow ones for writing on and blue and green see-through flags, so the organisation just kind of happened. I don't think I can take credit.)

Better late than never, here are some of this first time reader's notes from the first three chapters.

Thank you for immediately letting me know how much time has passed. I like to know that.

I'm guessing the Fellowship's attempt to unwind the curse isn't going to work, since there are lots of books left to go.

I like the way the time frame are sensible and things don't all happen in a few days. Often it takes months to achieve something, which is far more realistic.

Asandir's mention of "longevity training" was very interesting as I hadn't thought about HOW all these characters were living so long. (I also liked how this is compared and contrasted with other methods to achieve the same end as comes later.)

I was interested to see that in at least some quarters knowledge of the curse seems to be common. So often this is the kind of thing that gets kept secret and I found this a surprise. I admit, mostly I was surprised because of accumulated experience of many other fantasy novels, so I should have learned not to be surprised that I'm surprised when reading these books. :)

Lysaer is described (by the opposition I acknowledge) as having "insidious charisma". Considering what has happened so far, it seems a very good description to me.

"that Arithon's disappearance presaged more devious plan"

I don't believe that for an instant - he's just trying to stay away and live his life - but I have the advantage of knowing a whole lot more about him than Lysaer and his cronies do.

Talith understands that she is in a relationship that could/will destroy her but is caught. You do like laying on the tragic understanding, don't you?

Dakar with Medlir: Is Dakar really that dumb? Surely not? But he certainly doesn't seem to choose to apply his intelligence and abilities. Why not? Why DOES he drink so much? (That's a rhetorical question; I'm not expecting an answer unless it shows up in a later book.)

The whole scene with Faery-toes is amazingly well done. It's so descriptive, especially with regard to all the horses, and it's funny and awful both at the same time. That's a real skill I haven't run into with too many authors. Lois McMaster Bujold has it too, as anyone who's read the infamous dinner scene in A Civil Campaign will know.

Again some truly wonderful descriptions: "the unending bite of fetters whose steel, to one of mage-trained sensitivity, scoured the awareness with the tang of past misery and old blood."

The entry of Jaelot's Lord Mayor is utterly ridiculous. Funny to read, but it left me with a kind of pity for the state of their lives that they need this sort of thing to fill them (although that pity is seriously damaged by later actions).

It is very satisfying that as questions are raised, they are often answered before too long, either in clarification or as the story progresses. So as I go back through my notes, some are already irrelevant because I have the point I was noting explained. For example, I have just reached a post-it that says "Sounds like Arithon still has no mage sight. What else?" I don't actually need to post that, as I now have at least some of the answer - certainly enough for me to go on reading with some understanding of the consequences of earlier actions.

Arithon's method of sending a message to Sethvir was both cool and interesting.

Lysaer's plan (which basically seems to be to piss Arithon off enough to draw him out) doesn't appear to be having much effect on Arithon himself (if he even knows about it) but it's sure irritating and worrying the clans.

I love the little things that add to the realism of a situation, such as the nuts in the scene with Lysaer and Diegan in the farmhouse (first section of "First Infamy").

I loved Maenalle's integrity as she faces Lysaer in the pass and refuses to join him.

I have to say that Lysaer's strategy relating to the clans and people of Erdane is very clever. I find it frustrating that such a brilliant mind is so bent to such a narrow-minded cause. The things Lysaer could do with a clear mind, untroubled by Arithon, could be amazing.

The sorcerer (I wondered who it was when I read the last triad, although I know now I've read the next three chapters) heading out among the stars to check out the Mistwraith, surprised and intrigued me. I'll be interested to see what he learns. I'm figuring he has to go the long way since the South Gate is closed. Or, even if it was open, would it be safer to take the long route?

I agree with what has been said that the pace seems to be less frenetic in this book. We already know most of the characters and the situation that got them to the place we are now, so there is time to be a little more leisurely. I enjoyed the touches of humour which balanced some of the frustrations I have with the characters (mainly Lysaer and Dakar, both of whom seem to have so much potential they are not utilising).

Talking of balance, I am very impressed with the way Janny balances everything. The last book felt very full of epic, almost operatic, tragedy that still managed to be tempered with hope. In this one, the balance feels more even; I have time to laugh and explore as well as be swept away by the grand magic and tragedy of it all.

Thank you everyone for encouraging me to keep reading the first book when I was nervous about doing so. I am loving the series and looking forward to reading my way through it.


message 15: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Kerry wrote: "(Sandra, I asked my husband to bring me home some post it notes and he arrived with pink and yellow ones for writing on and blue and green see-through flags, so the organisation just kind of happen..."

Kerry, you are truly a methodical and insightful reader. I am enjoying your enjoyment of the books and am so glad you're reading them. Since I love them so much, it's really nice when others do as well and are willing to contribute so much to the discussion. As I read your comments, I re-enjoy the books yet again.


message 16: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Watson | 55 comments I think that Dakar's dislike of Arithon began at the very beginning when he presumed that Arithon was a peasant or criminal. Several things that might have planted that seed: Being caught out as being unobservant by his master. More or less losing a bet as to the identity of who would come through the gate (not that he would have paid off - five years of only water?). Lastly, having a sense that a fit of prescience was about to be triggered when he handled Alithiel... and dropped it.


message 17: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2120 comments Mod
I finally finished the first three chapters. Dakar is as irresponsible (and funny!) as ever. I'm wondering if there's an underlying reason that he drinks so much; is there something in his past that he's trying to forget? Is his gift of prophecy so difficult to deal with? Or is it just that his position is so serious all the time that he needs to blow off steam? Loved Faery-toes and his cleverness in drawing the fiends to himself during that last bit.

I loved the way you kept the reader guessing about Medlir's identity, Janny. My thought process as I read was something like this: Halliron's apprentice! Must be Arithon - can't wait to see Dakar's reaction upon being confronted with the one person he desperately wants to avoid... wait. Medlir? Who's that? Must be Arithon in disguise, because Halliron wouldn't take a lesser apprentice or he would have already. Dakar suspects too.... but no, he truly doesn't have the mage sight. Must be someone else. Clever of Janny to throw us that red herring. Wonder who he is, then, and what Arithon is doing. ... wait, it IS Arithon! Clever, clever Janny!

:)

I feel sorry for Talith. She knows exactly what she's getting into and yet can't seem to extricate herself.


message 18: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I think the quote Kerry picked up is one of the reasons Dakar drinks all the time -- "the unending bite of fetters whose steel, to one of mage-trained sensitivity, scoured the awareness with the tang of past misery and old blood."

Imagine having that kind of sensitivity to the world all the time. It must be excruciating. And then there's his 'gift' of prophecy. I think he would most likely name it his 'curse.' It makes him sick, he never knows when it's coming on, it's humiliating as others have often labeled him crazy or mad.

And I think Jeff is right on about the reasons he's so antagonistic about Arithon. In addition, Arithon embodies his own sensitivity to the world (which he has to dull with drink) and this is a constant reminder to him of all the pain and angst in the world.


message 19: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Shel wrote: I feel sorry for Talith. She knows exactly what she's getting into and yet can't seem to extricate herself. ..."

Me, too, Shel. Although Talith brings a lot onto herself with her scheming and manipulation.


message 20: by Jeff (last edited Sep 05, 2010 06:15AM) (new)

Jeff Watson | 55 comments I'd say Talith is a child of her society and upbringing and while she perceives deeply enough to know that she is caught in the trap of Lysaer she is unable to extricate herself... or, does she really want to extricate herself? I think that's her real quandary.


message 21: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I agree, Jeff. The other issue here is that she is in love with Lysaer, and it's a good example of the fact that we don't choose who we fall in love with. While Lysaer is in many ways an ideal match: he's handsome, intelligent, and clearly has tons of charisma; in other ways he is a nightmare: his obsession with killing his brother and his ability to talk others into following him in this self destructive mission.


message 22: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Hi from DragonCon -

Kerry raised a small point about things taking months - or time to develop, and the feel of realism that provided.

A bit of insight - that required a lot of research! Author's eye view - when there is no modern transport, or refrigeration, supply and travel have to be taken into account. How far goods can travel, how long food stays viable, and what sort of terrain is involved - all require a different formula.

To research this aspect, I did a lot of reading on war campaigns, to know how stuff was moved, and how people stayed fed through wintertime. Period books helped.

Also - the wargamer's handbooks! These guys (who play the real world historical gaming, not fantasy) have quite elaborately done the research on distances and loads and modes of travel - and worked the results into formulas - which were invaluable help, since such details as an author needs are often scattered in many volumes. I can tell you (if you ask) which reference books I keep on my shelves, and at hand, as the best goldmines for information. The gaming handbooks were all borrowed from friends who owned them, so those formulas had to be memorized.

I also have an old navigation tool from my grandfather's desk - it's a meter with wheel on it. You roll the wheel across the map, and it has scales - in scale miles - so you convert the number of miles from the scale on the map - and voila - you have the distance of meandering route by road or sea.

PS - a league is 3 miles.

I will add another note later on how I handled timing in the books - which made the logistics an extremely tight Chinese puzzle to solve as I worked in the event sequence of the plot.


message 23: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments There are very few scenes in the series (at least in the early stages) where the reader gets to see into a Fellowship Sorcerer's inside view.

Ships of Merior's opening scene does in fact give you a view of how Asandir perceives his surroundings - ordinary to us, but more than that, to him. Anyone find significance to this? There was a bit more, here, than 'poetic language' ... and more than a hint of certain depths to be unveiled in later installments.


message 24: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3085 comments Mod
I recently finished the first chapter set, but mostly I want to comment on the comments of others.

I can see some of the reasons that have been given for why Dakar drinks so much, but it still irks me. Others have sensitivity and gifts that are hard to bear, and he's had centuries of training to learn how to deal with it, but still he is an irresponsible drunkard. I know we will learn more as the story progresses, but I continue to find him more irritating and frustrating than comical or pitiable.

It never crossed my mind that Medlir (meddler?) was not Arithon in disguise.

I know Lysaer is hugely affected by the curse, but I also think we are seeing some of his character--his self-righteous attitude certainly is worsened by the curse, but was part of him before the curse as well. I also think he has gotten more skilled at seeing the bigger picture, although sadly, not in the same ways he would have before the curse.


message 25: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments Kathi wrote: "I recently finished the first chapter set, but mostly I want to comment on the comments of others.

I can see some of the reasons that have been given for why Dakar drinks so much, but it still irk..."


I felt the same way about Dakar in this book, Kathi. He just aggravated me to death.

And ITA about Lysaer. I think the curse has twisted the traits that were already there, but it had a fertile field to work with.


message 26: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Dakar: irritating/why do you suppose the Fellowship of Seven bothers with him, at all?

If he were your charge, would you handle his shortfalls differently?


message 27: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I've always supposed that the F7 have their reasons. There is obviously more there than meets the eye. My irritation with him was based on his unreasoning hatred of Arithon and the trouble he caused the three of them. His drunkenness I felt was something he would later rue.


message 28: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I'm starting a reread of this series this month. Looking forward to it.


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