originally posted by Gary

Reading CoTM again, I keep getting hooked by the description of how the casting of strands was initiated: "Above the dark velvet he spun a rod of energy, a glimmer like a line of veiled starlight. To this, he added a second, then a third, each for the triad of mysteries that embodied Prime Power and underlay all Athera's teeming life."

I think I initially mapped this to the Paravians (triad = three races), but it never quite fit (completely, anyway). Just this evening, I realized that the end of Traitor's Knot possibly represents one of the greater examples of Prime Power (so far). I haven't recognized (in any definite way) what the other two mysteries are, yet, though I wonder if there is a reason for three mysteries, and three Paravian races.

Time to take a closer look at Ath's Adepts, perhaps.

originally posted by Sleo

Wow. That's once again making me want to reread these beautiful, complex books. Sigh. What happens at the end of Traitor's Knot that you're referring to? Arithon Masterbard's utterance of the word 'grace'? And do you think the mysteries are related to the different energic qualities that form the magic system?

Somewhere - somewhere - somewhere in the discussions that went on at GoodReads there was a discussion of the triads - it related to the chapter head graphic seen in Curse of the Mistwraith…so the information is not 'secret' - it will still be in those discussions, which are archived… :smiley: Any new post, of course, 'wakes' them up.

originally posted by Annette

I am terrible at finding anything in any discussion, but did have a question about that strand casting. How many triads are we talking about? One triad of three parts, or three triads? I read that passage a few times and was never sure. The symbols under the Seardluin on the covers show three triads or triangles, which is possibly what got me thinking about that.

The latter strand casing at Earle seemed to fix it at one triad, but still I am curious.

originally posted by Annette

OK a ended up googling GoodReads to find the relevant post about the CotM chapter head graphic, which it turns out I had never read, or at least I do not remember reading it.— spoilers#comment_19431543

I assume it is that one? I am actually still reading the posts.

originally posted by Gary

I think that's the thread; it's an eye-opener. It's certainly not what exactly what I was thinking of, in terms of what the mysteries were; the concepts mentioned are more abstract.

Concerning the event I mentioned (Arithon's invoking of Grace), it still feels like some aspect related to one of the triad (maybe Light), but I have to rebalance, yet again, my thoughts on the subject. I could very easily be wrong :smiley:

One then has to ask how Arithon and Lysaer's powers are related. The period just before Jieret's maiming seems more illuminating now (where he considers the source of Arithon's powers). Also wondering, Arithon and Lysaer's powers may be equal, but they can't create a balance on their own.

Sleo, that's what I was referring to. There was also a mention that Grace died by slow increments, and light dimmed, when Arithon's being was being captured by the necromancers' ritual. This is mentioned a number of times, whereas the word "grace" was rarely mentioned before in the series.

There are also some interesting events surrounding the invoking of Grace:
- Riathan Paravian reaction of surprise
- Ath's adepts seemed to be immediately aware of the event
- Dimensional harmony/prime vibration is explicitly mentioned as having been called down
- I have the feeling that a circle is usually needed to act as a target for elemental magic invocations, did I imagine it? Anyway, Arithon wasn't in a fit state to take control over anything at that point, so what guided the elements?

Yep, Annette, that was one of the mentions and likely the one I was thinking of.

For general information, the threads in both of the GoodReads discussions have a LOT of information that is not repeated here - due to what readers asked, and what subjects caught their interest.

Any topic you find is likely to have lots of stuff that's a reveal, so be careful if you have not read everything that you don't jump ahead of the books.

Any topic can be responded to, there, that will cycle it back into the group that originated it - so interest pursued there is a GOOD thing.

I recall (it was some years ago, mind) that the discussions for Curse of the Mistwraith and Hell's Chasm covered a LOT of stuff not ever tapped here at all.

Either new readers are unnecessarily shy of posting here, or the chat's an old style thing out of phase with smart phones or something.

originally posted by Gary

Maybe it's just that an author-specific chat forum is going to have a smaller catchment than a popular book discussion/review site? I only spend any time on one forum like that (this one), so that's one less for any other author, even if I like their books.

I found it difficult to discover the WoLaS discussion area in Goodreads, but will take a look now. Thanks, Janny!

For the benefit of others, this seems to be the best place to look:

There were two major groups who did discussions of the War of Light and Shadows on GoodReads.

Beyond Reality did the entire series up through Stormed Fortress, taking three chapter sets at a time - so it was meant as an 'in depth' read.

The second read was split between The Fantasy Book Club, which did Curse of the Mistwraith and Ships of Merior, then founded a split off sister group, Fantasy Book Club Series, which continued with the series from Warhost of Vastmark, onward. They read a book per month - and because Light and Shadow was the inaugural series, it was really just getting started. The discussions of the first two books got very lively, and at least one ran to hundreds of posts.

You'd find these by joining the groups in question and clicking the 'more discussions' threads - OR - by going to the book's page on GoodReads and running to the bottom, where there would be a Discussions of this book section, if you click MORE DISCUSSIONS at the base of the group's page, and track backwards in time, you will find some of them. If you click on the FOLDER those discussions occur in - you will find all of the threads relating to the book in that folder.

Happy hunting…

originally posted by Sleo

@Gary - I assumed that Arithon's utterance of the word 'Grace' brought all his powers as Masterbard into play and released all the tremendous energies that we know he is capable of summoning - as in Jaelot(?), the first city where his playing summoned the Paravian energies that brought down buildings in the city. The business of sound waves and light waves plays a huge role in the Atheran 'mysteries' as we know.

originally posted by john herrmann


I always thought he asked for grace, going along with the the rest of the rules of the major balance, grace could not just be granted, it must be asked for.

originally posted by Sleo

That's a good point, john.

originally posted by Gary

Arithon's actions in Jaelot invoked a repeat of the Paravian ritual to spread Earthforce across the land, IIRC. But I think it invoked resonance, as Arithon repeated the vibrations he heard from historical remnants (accidentally).
Most of his powers as Masterbard appear to be related to reaching higher frequencies, but this requires tuning of vibration, trying to match some existing ideal, and firing the higher notes through resonance. (note, Kewar marks something different, where he establishes a structural reality through sound, but I'm not sure what to think of that yet).

permissions may still be required even if this is something different, I don't know. Perhaps he did ask for grace, and some higher force answered?

I guess another part of my argument (for why this is something different to usual) is:

Magic usually doesn't just "happen". Somebody guides and controls the actions (or creates a template for a location via a binding/etc.). If you look at events, it often seems that the magician will decide what needs to be done, and choose the element(s) that match the need (e.g. wind for communication, water for dispersal), appropriate permissions requested if you're a Fellowship sorcerer.
But my opinion is that Arithon was in no state to do anything remotely complicated. Fashioning a work that would take out the whole network of necromancers is not an easy task =)

If we were to discuss why it doesn't match elemental magic as generally shown, I think the discussion would have to be moved to the Initiate's Trial section…

originally posted by Annette

Ears require no innate permission to hear, I do not think any permissions are required for grace to be experienced. It came from within Arithon's heart, so is a part of him. Since Arithon had to meet a Paravian presence and claim absolution from his mortal failings in order for this to come about, it seems likely what destroyed the Kralovir was divine grace.

Arithon had lots of human graces before meeting a Paravian, and like he was previously attuned to Paravian mystery, it seems now through meeting a live Paravian, Arithon can call on powers greater than his mortal awareness has. I suspect Janny would say he called on his greater Name for release.

I am a lousy thinker about such things so probably got it wrong. I just lazily prefer now to wait for Janny to get around to explaining things, which will probably be in the last book. I wore my brain cells out trying to work out what those mysteries were and how things all got started, and gave up in the end.

At this point, if you were not already suspicious after reading Perils Gate, you should maybe start to wonder what exactly Ath is. You read Initiate's Trial your curiosity should well and truly be roused.

As to being able to establish a structural reality through sound, keep thinking about it. You never know when it might turn up again and surprise you.

originally posted by Gary

Annette, thanks! Your posts are always inspiring, and remind me of how much more I haven't seen or understood yet.

I had a re-read of the section from where Elaira plans to cleanse her crystal, up to her meeting the unicorn in Ath's hostel. There's lots of relevant stuff there (especially a forthright explanation of reality by an adept). One's "inner self" is mentioned more than once, and also that power is not granted, but claimed from awakened knowledge of the self – this perhaps refers to more than one level of awakening…

Ath, I haven't yet thought much about – working my way through the onion! I'll keep it in mind.

originally posted by Annette

Here is a quote from Traitor's Knot, for those who like onions, mysteries and grace.


Bone and flesh, what stood poised was an initiate master, whose grasp of the mysteries was no figment at all, but the living grace of what lay at the core of clan destiny, and the very marrow of the Fellowship Sorcerers' guardianship.

The fun thing about Janny's writing is she will practically tell you the answer, but give you nothing to measure it up against so you can recognise what it means, several books later she will give you another glimpse to drive you nuts, and then even later spring the answer on you with seemingly no warning at all.

Peeling an onion is a good analogy.

originally posted by Sleo

Boy, is that the truth, Annette. I'm currently rereading Mistwraith and the clarity of it this time through is truly an eye opener. I remember struggling to understand the scene where they cast strands more than once, and this time it came together like a scene from a movie. Maybe I'm just dense, but it's been such a joy to read this time and catch all the nuance that is there for the picking.

Am looking forward to the whole journey.

Another scene that was a revelation was the one at the end of the battle with the Mistwraith from Lysaer's point of view! Amazingly he has a glimpse of the scene at Etarra in the square - a forecast of his attack on Arithon. If I ever noticed or put that together before, I'd completely forgotten it.

Heh, grin - well. YES!

If/when Wars of Light and Shadows has the following the Malazan series has finally achieved, there would be Many minds digging into the material…so much more to find, yet. Trust me. There is a whole LOT more. :wink:

No window dressing. Not one thread.

originally posted by Sleo

LOL, you're preaching to the choir here. I already know that.

originally posted by Annette

Yes but unfortunately most readers either get frightened off by the size of the books, the way they are worded, and wordy, or completely miss the subtlety and cannot see what is hidden in the obvious story. The obvious story is pretty good anyway, so if that is all that is seen they will be in for a surprise.

It takes three books at least to start getting suspicious of what all that nice prose is for, and probably till Peril's Gate to get suspicious enough to start re-reading if you had noticed anything.

And even those who liked the series will often have problems reading Peril's Gate because of the emotional impact. I know I missed a lot sniffling though that experience the first time.