Questions for Janny - Chapter icons for each volume

Back in 2010, during the Beyond Reality discussion of the series on Goodreads, Janny made an enlightening comment about the various meanings encoded in the icon that starts each chapter set in Curse of the Mistwraith:

First, Three spirals, Three Paravian races.

Next, the Triaxial aspect of the Mysteries - The Light (that which is known) The Dark (that which is hidden) and The Unknowable (that which lies always beyond cognizance)

The circle would be Athera, the World.

Why counter-clockwize?

Clockwise = power of will (applied force)
Counterclockwise - power of being (power in potentia)

The spirals are shown OPEN because, within the world’s circle, the Aspects and the Paravian races are without limit - Paravia is a place of LIVING mysteries. The circle of life and death as we know it includes something more - this will open up as the series progresses.

Janny also said that “Each icon has meaning and symbolic echoes.”

I think I’m able to figure out the surface meanings behind most of the chapter icons in later volumes, but I’d like to ask Janny if there’s any hidden or symbolic meanings that I might have missed - and to open up the floor to discussion about what possible meanings they might have before Janny chimes in.

  1. Curse of the Mistwraith, regarding a passage from The Gallant: “Mark of preeminent rank, her forehead bore the triaxial tattoo of uncanny experience: confirmed proof she was centered enough to withstand living contact with all three Paravian races.” Is the tattoo described the same design as used for the chapter icon in Curse of the Mistwraith?

  2. Ships of Merior: The wind rose in the chapter icon evokes the image of a compass, a key device used in navigation while out at sea onboard a ship.

  3. Warhost of Vastmark: I’m assuming the chapter icon used is that of a Wyvern, the drake-spawn which inhabit the mountains of Vastmark.

  4. Fugitive Prince: The chapter icon for this volume seems to be the Sunwheel sigil that is used on the blazons of the Alliance of Light.

  5. Grand Conspiracy: Context makes me think that the symbol used for this chapter icon is related to the Koriathain in some way - perhaps the four interlinked circles correspond to the four elements the Koriani utilize in their magic, in some way?

  6. Peril’s Gate: This is either the raven (or perhaps the Raven?) or the golden eagle, though my gut is going with the raven.

  7. Traitor’s Knot: Unless I’m mistaken, the chapter icon for this volume seems to the same image of Alithiel’s hilt adorned with a rose that’s on the current printing of the mass market paperback edition of Curse of the Mistwraith.

  8. Stormed Fortress: The bull is for Alestron, whose blazon features a bull sigil, and the titular stormed fortress of this volume.

  9. Initiate’s Trial: I have to admit that I actually have no clue about this icon, and would welcome any insight into its meaning.

  10. Destiny’s Conflict: The unicorn is a Riathan Paravian, one of the three races of Paravians, fitting for the volume where the warded preserve that was sheltering them was finally discovered. The three ribbons surrounding the unicorn, I’m assuming, are related to the Paravians in some way, although I have to admit I have no idea what deeper meaning they represent beyond that.

  11. Song of the Mysteries: I haven’t read Song of the Mysteries yet, so I can’t even begin to speculate what the chapter icon for this volume might mean, but the design seems similar to this description of the power focus in Althain Tower, described in chapter set X in Curse of the Mistwraith: “Asandir waited in the middle on a starburst formed by the intersection of five axes, his shadow merged in the silhouette of a massive, high-wheeled mason’s dray.”

I’d like to open discussion about what deeper meanings or symbolism these chapter icons might have, and ask Janny to chime in once discussion in this thread peters out, if it’s not too much trouble please!


Your speculation is correct for Vol 1, the triaxial design represents the 3 Paravian races AND the ‘three stages’ that down stepped them into incarnate existence…

You are correct with Ships and Warhost and Fugitive Prince.

Grand Conspiracy - 4 elements, yes, also: something ELSE but I can’t mention it - look for it in Song of the Mysteries. Also count the interlocked conflicts/you may not know them all in this volume, however. Also the 4 governing agreements, the concords that ‘rule’ Athera - though you may not know all of them in this volume. I will leave you all to figure it out!

Peril’s Gate is Raven and raven, I will leave you all to figure that one out, too.

Traitor’s Knot - you are correct, and if you read the book you will KNOW why the sword image recurs in this volume.

Stormed Fortress - you are partly correct, the bull is the s’Brydion ducal seal/Alestron’s history is considerably OLDER than their tenancy in the Third Age.

Initiate’s Trial is taken from the focus pattern at Fiaduwynne, where Gestry makes his decision to follow Dakar’s battle plan.

Destiny’s Conflict relates to the haven at Los Lier.

Song of the Mysteries is the fifth lane focus circle pattern located in the ruin of the King’s Tower foundation at Ithamon.

There was deeper discussion of some of the symbolism in one of the archived discussions for the series found in one or the other GoodReads discussions, either in Beyond Reality or the Fantasy Buddy Reads group, or the Fantasy Book Club group, not sure which.