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Traitor's Knot (Wars of Light & Shadow, #7)
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Wars of Light and Shadow > Traitor’s Knot: The End - *SPOILERS*

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message 1: by John (new)

John | 138 comments I found myself subtly troubled by the way the ending was executed. This far into the series, I'm always inclined to give Janny the benefit of the doubt, and I can equally admit that I may have missed something in my haste to finish. Those caveats on the table, something about the ending bothered me, and it hinges on the question of... what Arithon knew and when he knew it. :)

There are several clues that suggest that Arithon knew how he was going to defeat the Kralovir cult. He went to his interrogation by Riatt Raven seeming pretty secure in his approach. Arithon gave him the chance to let him purge the cult from Etarra, but his lack of resistence when Riatt refuses him suggests that he is prepared to be captured by the cult.

Indeed, the same conclusion seems warranted based on what we see of Davien's involvement, since--if we trust Dakar's judgment on this--it was Davien who transformed or hid the stolen gold, Davien who masked Arithon's identity so thoroughly that he remained concealed even after unconsciousness. Davien trusts that "Your Teir's'Ffalenn knows in depth how the Kralovir work. Since then, he has requested, and received my direct help."

All of this seems to point toward Arithon knowing in advance how he would deal with the Kralovir. Of course, it also seems quite in character--Arithon is a planner, he sees a dozen moves ahead, that's who he is.

But at the same time, when he's in the crypt, for the longest time it seems like he has no idea what to do, that he's lost and hopeless. So what gives?

My first, uncharitable, thought, was that it was a bit of authorial sleight of hand, concealing from us what Arithon already knows--or, perhaps worse, having Arithon being uncharacteristically unprepared for what he confronts--for the sake of dramatic tension. It is, of course, an old dilemma for writers: how to reveal the protagonist's brilliant plan without showing the plan before it has played out. In this case, for me, neither of those options seem quite satisfactory.

The resolution itself is excellent: "Instead of the expected, straightforward plea for a Fellowship intercession, this Tier's'Ffalenn had leaned in trust on the victory snatched from his trial within Kewar's maze. [paragraph break] Aware presence responded. While his defeated will of itself could not cross, or burst through the closed ring of sigils, he was more than a spirit-tied mote of identity. Sourced in the infinite, his true Name spanned the arc of creation. The embedded knowing could not be revoked: or the memory, once lifted to knowledge through the gift of Earl Jieret's sacrifice. He was the land, and the land was his very self. The prime chord acknowledged no physical boundary: the same forces that knit Athera herself underwrote his unencumbered autonomy."

So why does Arithon seem so hopeless, so defeated, until that moment? Is it just the playing-out of principle: i.e., he knew in theory how he would get through the ordeal and gain a complete victory over the Kralovir all over the continent, but actually living through the experience was more than he counted on? Am I missing something here?

And does anyone want to take this as a jumping-off point for their own thoughts on the novel's end?

Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments I think he went into it based on his knowledge/faith in the prime chord, and that even if unconscious/helpless, he would awaken at the time necessary to say the word.

Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments I'm rereading, John, so will get back to you.

message 4: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments John wrote: "I found myself subtly troubled by the way the ending was executed. This far into the series, I'm always inclined to give Janny the benefit of the doubt, and I can equally admit that I may have miss..."

John, let's see what the discussion brings up, on this point. There was no 'authorial sleight of hand' in this scene, in that, the reader was not being manipulated for a plot point.

Do you think Arithon was 'in over his head' despite the carefully directed education he received beforehand?

Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments I just finished last night and have to disagree with you, John. There was plenty of information ahead of time to let us know that Arithon knew what he was doing, AND it is entirely in character that he also knew that he would be 'out of it' when it was going on. He HAD to be, to reach that moment when all the Kralovar were connected, in order to get all of them. His Masterbard's cry of GRACE tuned with Athera's prime chord to work the mastery and break the cult's connection. A lot of people died at that moment. Praise be to Ath.

Davien tells Dakar that Traithe brought Arithon up to speed on the practice of necromancy. And yet, they all knew it was a risk, precisely because Arithon would be so near death and so out of it at the critical moment. Davien probably had more confidence than anyone, but then he is the foolhardy risktaker of the bunch. There was no faking it in this case. He had to let them do what they wanted until that moment. And, of course he let Raitt capture him. He had to let them capture him in order to do it. Very interesting, indeed.

I admit that I was in such a hurry to finish first time through that I missed a lot of this.

message 6: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments The following might shed some light on this:

Davien (to Arithon) "What do you know about necromancy, Teir's'Ffalenn?"

Arithon: "Enough to raise all my hackles at once."

And in another scene:

Asandir (to Sulfin Evend): " Sethvir has a scar as long as your arm that was left by a necromancer's knife.....(later in the same passage) ...I've spent too many years in the field to waste undue time over niceties. Will you hear my straight warning? The faction you've roused is unspeakably dangerous. Leave Tysan. Travel UNDER MY WARD OF PROTECTION, LIVE YOUR LIFE, AND NEVER TURN BACK."

Sulfin Evend: "I can't do that."

Asandir: "Then make no mistake. Your brash bravery is not wisdom!"

and Arithon, to Traithe: "Some risks run outside of all sanity. Spare me this burden! I beg not to bear the dread form of this knowledge."

message 7: by Jon (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jon (jonmoss) | 706 comments Janny wrote: "Asandir (to Sulfin Evend): " Sethvir has a scar as long as your arm that was left by a necromancer's knife."

I wondered about this sentence when I read it. Sethvir has rarely left Althain Tower. He did back in Grand Conspiracy (if I remember correctly) and he did destroy a necromancer's tool. So when did Sethvir acquire the scar? Was he, himself, bait to catch necromancers in the past?

Alissa | 52 comments Oh, thank you. Loved the scene, and I noticed some of the connections but not all those here. Asandir ward of protection, for example, what is the connection with Arithon?
I also share Jon curiosity about Sethvir scar. Arithon's skin turns out unmarked.

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