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Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!

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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by PeterZ   » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:21 am

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My very small quibble with your post is this: why does Wencit hold his hand UNLESS Leeana is attacked by magic?

My answer is that through Leeana, the light can win the War without Wencit treading so closely towards corruption. She is the alternative to his destroying himself by killing millions of people. Heck, it may be that Wencit cannot win the War at all, simply any battle he chooses to fight. Perhaps the only way the light can win the war is through Leeana. An attack on Leenana with magic may be the best chance the dark has of winning the War. If they realize this in time, the Dark gods will pull the trigger and damn the consequences. Better to delay victory and rebuild their forces, then to accept total defeat.

So Wencit has seen this opportunity for ages as one small possibility he gradually nurtures into growing probability. It has grown now to the point where all the gods see it as an approaching cusp and the gods of light are actively hiding it from the gods of dark. In the introduction toWar Maid's Choice, RFC described who first understood the shattered nature of the new existence, Semkirk. Is it any surprise that he would have the most nuanced understanding about the complexities of the new reality?

I suspect that like anything one tries to study, alternative futures can be viewed as a tapastry from a distance or the weaves of the tapastry at very close range. Shifting ranges tends to cause the view of individual threads to be lost. If Semkirk can see a wider swath of the tapastry as a whole and follow each thread better, might he not be able to concentrate on one or two future cusps and follow the threads of probability back to the present? If so, then why can the Sword of the South or whatever device Wencit is using be like a microscope for probabiltiy threads? It allows the wielder to follow a select few probabilities with a great deal of clarity. Like a microscope it cannot be used to see beyond those threads under study, but it can allow Wencit to see how each small decision leads towards or away from the thread under study.

So, Semkirk showed Wencit the cusp and the threads that MUST manifest leading to that cusp and Wencit has been using the Sword (or whatever) to encourage choices leading towards the key probability threads. All the while the gods of light are hiding that thread/cusp from the gods of the dark. As was stated several times gods cannot make the choices, mortals do. It follows that mortals are better at guiding choices than gods are too, since mortals more thoroughly interact with the chooser of a given option fork. Under this interpretation, Wencit doesn't need to be Semkirk or his avatar, it is actually better if he wasn't.

This also means that Wencit's best chance of winning the War is not trying to win by himself. He may win whatever battle he decides to fight, but lose the War eventually. The morality question might not enter into it at all.

FriarBob wrote:Guys, you aren't thinking straight here. Even the supposed "gods of light" can't see anything but probabilities. They show good probabilities, yes, but still just probabilities, and they can only see "clearly" the "major" characters and players, not every single "minor" wizard on the face of the planet. If the Sword could show more, Wencit would not have it, Tomanak would carry it himself!

Whatever level of future prediction Wencit has available to him, it won't be more than what the gods themselves have. It just won't. Period. Weber is by no means perfect, but he's also not stupid. Therefore, Wencit knew what to do to save the day at the end because, for some reason or another, Leanna and Bahzell are absolutely crucial to the storyline and the eventual triumph of the light over the darkness (at least in this universe). There is also an extreme likelihood that the fact that magic was involved greatly helped his ability to detect what he needed to detect. A simple, plain, totally un-magically-aided attack would have a much greater chance of actually succeeding... probably. Remember that Wencit is essentially the equivalent of a savant at quantum mechanics while completely not understanding any of the underlying theory. But he can mess with those subatomic particles at will, and there is a literally unimaginable amount of power available there. Think about Travis S. Taylor and John Ringo's "Looking Glass" series, and their use of "quarkium". They tend to stick to real-world physics quite closely (with occasional deliberate errors for simple sanity). And a fairly small number of kilograms of said quarkium could literally shatter the Earth into an asteroid belt. Although the world's current nuclear arsenal could sterilize the planet (probably a few times over), we couldn't (quite) turn it into an asteroid belt. Not at this time, at least.

As for him not being willing to do what was necessary in the original fight, I would probably actually agree with you here. But Weber doesn't and never will. He believes in the "power corrupts" mantra, and he believes that allowing yourself to do something "gray-ish" out of expediency is the fastest way to corrupt yourself and become the enemy you're trying to fight. Of course, I don't really think this would be a gray area, but he would. I won't get into my other reasons for disagreeing with him, but I will point out that plenty of people have already tried to convince him to change his mind and failed. I very much doubt there is a new argument you can make that he hasn't heard and defeated (at least in HIS opinion) previously.

Thus Wencit is capable of winning the war completely on his own. But he won't do it. He just simply won't... UNLESS the Council is foolish enough to tempt him by attacking Leanna again. Because his morality is Weber's morality, and whether you agree with it or not, it's the way it's going to be. And thus there is no need to tone down his power level, because he won't use most (or even much at all) of the power available to him.
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by HungryKing   » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:15 pm

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We do not know why Leeana is important, only that she is very important.
Remember the degree to which the Gods of Light move to protect her without ever seeming to directly protect her. Kerry protected her quite ably when she ran away. A run that was caused by Bahzell as a Champion.
We know that Leeana possess either a scarily powerful version of instinctive True Sight, as in she can sense for miles around, or is a mage. Given that she has never shown a hint of a particular mage talent and her impressions are diffuse and her blood is about as noble as they come, and thus at least a carrier of the Gift, I'm guessing she she make Myacha look rather weak.
If you look carefully however many things become apparent:
One, she pointed Kerry in the right direction to cleanse Quasar, and for the matter caused Bahzell to back Kerry up.
Two, she is the vector that broke the back of Cassan's crazy traditionalists (I'd call them crazy conservatives if they were actually conservative, but considering his view on yeomanry, they are even further from true conservatism than Tea Baggers) while preserving the King's life and thus causing the War Maids, who are egalitarians, to start having a say in the Kingdom's affairs.
Three, the threads that the cusp point to shift in favor to the Light circle Bahzell, but may not actually require Bahzell to survive to the cusp point.
Four, as demonstrated at the end, Bahzell's marriage to Leeana, and the potential marriage between Arsham and Sahrkah, has created a Family that holds what will be the primary link into the Upper Spear, and its feeder channels, and has a major holding near or on the southern end of the Lower Spear above the Purple Lords. In short, Bahzell's Family will in short order be able to choke the Purple Lords.

The cusp point could be whether Norfressa succumbs to the political chaos of 'interesting times' in the Upper Spear, allowing Kontovar to invade, or if it transforms into a more or less coordinated group of nations undergoing an industrial revolution that will, once a success method of dealing with wizards develops, crush Kontovar in self defense.
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by BrightSoul   » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:00 pm

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Emo Otaku wrote:For the gramenhein he doesn;t really need to see the futire, think of it this way.

Wencit knows that eventualy Kontovaran Dark wizards are going to appear in Norfressa.

He also knows that they are likely to gather around kings and higher ranking nobles like flies on sh... (you get the picture)

This means thes dark wizards are going to be residing in Capital cities.

So instead of seeing the future what he does is set up several places in each capital city that would be very attractive to said dark wizard (hidden rooms, converging lay lines, hot and cold running virgins whatever) then when necessary he can find out which spot has been settled and move in and do his own settling.


Exactly, especially considering the Sothoii nobility's bloodlines. If they are the most likely to carry the wizard talent then I'd want keep an eye on their capitol if I was the last of the White Council.
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by odinlowejr88   » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:56 am

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Although I know it's unlikely, when I read the sentence I've quoted below from the beginning of the War Maid's Choice EARC it made me wonder about the possibility that Wencit is actually Orr himself. I think that would be a very interesting twist :D

QUOTE:
"Orr himself had been diminished, weakened, stripped of his ability to command the tides of fate and left as captive to those capricious mortals as Phrobus himself."



Also I wanted to point out that the power of the sword may be one of the reasons that Wencit doesn't just go Rambo and start slaughtering everyone on the other side. Perhaps at some point he used it to see the future and found out that the best chance for the light side to triumph is through Leeana and that there is a smaller chance if he uses his power to destroy the other continent at the cost of his own life but under any other path the world ends up falling to the dark.



I'm also curious about the sprig of periwinkle that Leeana was given by the goddess Orfessa. At first I had assumed that Varnaythus would activate the kairsalhain and that the sprig would be used by Leeana to save everyone from it but that didn't happen. In fact it didn't seem to have any use in this book and the fact that RFC introduced it so far in advance makes me think it's going to have some major purpose in the upcoming book(s).
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by HungryKing   » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:56 am

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Um it was Isvaria.
Orfressa is either the name for the universe, which does have a will of its own, or a patronymic meaning "daughter of Orr"

As to that sprig it disrupts scrying spells, among other things.

odinlowejr88 wrote:Although I know it's unlikely, when I read the sentence I've quoted below from the beginning of the War Maid's Choice EARC it made me wonder about the possibility that Wencit is actually Orr himself. I think that would be a very interesting twist :D

QUOTE:
"Orr himself had been diminished, weakened, stripped of his ability to command the tides of fate and left as captive to those capricious mortals as Phrobus himself."



Also I wanted to point out that the power of the sword may be one of the reasons that Wencit doesn't just go Rambo and start slaughtering everyone on the other side. Perhaps at some point he used it to see the future and found out that the best chance for the light side to triumph is through Leeana and that there is a smaller chance if he uses his power to destroy the other continent at the cost of his own life but under any other path the world ends up falling to the dark.



I'm also curious about the sprig of periwinkle that Leeana was given by the goddess Orfessa. At first I had assumed that Varnaythus would activate the kairsalhain and that the sprig would be used by Leeana to save everyone from it but that didn't happen. In fact it didn't seem to have any use in this book and the fact that RFC introduced it so far in advance makes me think it's going to have some major purpose in the upcoming book(s).
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by akira.taylor   » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:14 pm

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demosthenes wrote:<SNIP>
Somewhere in the infodumps is mentioned that he fought the entire Council to a standstill in the beginning of the Fall. If Wencit was powerful enough to fight all the council members together to a stalemate that would again have been enough to win the war. He could keep them fighting continuously (allowing time for eating, drinking and bodily functions) and not creating monsters, while the rest of the White council could deal with the smaller dark wizards and the monsters already created.
<SNIP>


On Wencit fighting the entire Council of Carnadossa - you have to wonder about the constraints the fight was held under. Now, they were in a full-on, all-out war - neither side had any compunction against killing the other (that was definitely their goal). But say there were 24 Carnadossans (I'm not aware that we've heard any number given), and that they estimate that 6 of them will die in killing Wencit. Say you are a member of the Council - how do you like those odds? Do you go all-out (and really try to kill him), or do you hold back (keeping more power in reserve for self-defense/escape)? Remembering that you aren't part of a very self-sacrificing group (so, what do you think your fellows are going to do?).

As far as hunting down the Council of Carnadossa individually - I bet they had armies with them, which Wencit would need help dealing with (remember Oath of Swords, and the rescue of the mage who's name I forget).

A thought that just occurred to me - Wencit fought the Council of Carnadossa to a stand-still (which might have involved casualties). What was the rest of the White Council doing at that time? If Wencit had achieved a draw, the rest of the White Council would (presumably) have tipped the balance in his favor, and destroyed the Council of Carnadossa - why didn't they? At a guess, they were fighting other Carnadossan wizards, possibly demons (and anything else that isn't a wizard that they can fight), and interfering with the Carnadossan army (while following the rules).


In the end, I buy that Wencit can do what we've seen him do, and not just win the war on his own.
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by AClone   » Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:51 pm

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demosthenes wrote:I have just finished the book and while it's a great one, probably the best in the series, the ending is terribly disappointing.
Wencit has become something like a Deus ex Machina character/contraption (both in this book and the short story at the end of Oath of Swords).

First off, it helps to understand what the phrase Deux ex achina acrtually means,l rather than simply throwing Latin around to sound impressive and lend authority where it is lacking.

Second, as a person with a natural gift for discernment (The English majors in my Lit classes were REALLY hacked off at me--and DWW is no Chaucer--sorry, RFC), a borderline genius IQ, along with other tools, I'll say that there is a WHOLE bunch of stuff that you are missing--along with everyone else.

So, while I COULD play "connect the dots" as some here attempt to do, wandering FAR in the wrong direction, rather than risk spoiling anything, I'll simply say this.

Sit back. Enjoy the ride. There are reasons for Mr. Weber doing what he is doing, and rather than cloaking in misdirection, he's simply laying it all out there for you to see and understand....LATER.

So, me. I'd just suggest sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the ride. Not LEAST since it's so long between installments. After all, I stumble dupon the first book shortly after it was published--and have had to wait THIS far. So, who knows how long until the next installment?

Just my suggestions. Kind of a "gift" to you all. I'm not going to play the arguing, quibbling or revelations game any longer. I'll just sit back and enjoy.

Thanks, David!
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by cralkhi   » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:40 pm

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akira.taylor wrote:
demosthenes wrote:<SNIP>
Somewhere in the infodumps is mentioned that he fought the entire Council to a standstill in the beginning of the Fall.


Are you sure? There are only 3 Orfressa "pearls", and I did a text search for "Wencit" in them, and I don't see anything like this.

But I do see the statement that "The Council of Ottovar fought desperately to hold a shield against the arcane attacks of the Carnadosans, which sucked off more and more of the Council's energy from any sort of offensive action" which sounds more like they were at quite a disadvantage, barely managing to protect their own people - and that's the whole Council, not just Wencit. (Though I'm sure Wencit was a major part of their magical muscle, since wild wizards seem way stronger than wand wizards.)


So unless somebody can find that quote I doubt that Wencit = entire Council of Carnadosa.
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by XAos   » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:18 am

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HungryKing wrote:We do not know why Leeana is important, only that she is very important.

True, but we can guess.
Wencit did say (back in book-2) that it's a good thing Human/Hradani crossbreeds are sterile or they would rule the world.
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Re: Spoiler. The ending is too much of a Deus ex Machina!
Post by FriarBob   » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:14 am

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cralkhi wrote:
akira.taylor wrote:
demosthenes wrote:<SNIP>
Somewhere in the infodumps is mentioned that he fought the entire Council to a standstill in the beginning of the Fall.


Are you sure? There are only 3 Orfressa "pearls", and I did a text search for "Wencit" in them, and I don't see anything like this.

But I do see the statement that "The Council of Ottovar fought desperately to hold a shield against the arcane attacks of the Carnadosans, which sucked off more and more of the Council's energy from any sort of offensive action" which sounds more like they were at quite a disadvantage, barely managing to protect their own people - and that's the whole Council, not just Wencit. (Though I'm sure Wencit was a major part of their magical muscle, since wild wizards seem way stronger than wand wizards.)


So unless somebody can find that quote I doubt that Wencit = entire Council of Carnadosa.


I think it was on the forum itself where the MWW said this. Or maybe it was even in the books. I agree it wasn't in the Pearls, but I also distinctly remember him saying somewhere. Now he "fought them to a standstill" not to a "defeat". So what he apparently did was fight them off and "hold the line" long enough for the weaker wizards on the rest of the White Council (plus all the "mundane" normal fighters who supported them) to get their act together, but couldn't actually defeat them solo.

And that probably drained him a fair bit, so after he had to pull back to take a break the Carnadosans probably made some significant gains. Just a lot less than they might have had they caught everybody with their pants down.

Also remember that wizards do not combine their powers together. Magi do, wizards do not. So when the Carnadosans attacked, even if 15 or even 200 of them were attacking him all at once, all he had to do was defend against the powers of each individual one. He had to juggle ALL of those attacks, which would no doubt be quite mentally difficult, but there was no "increase in power" by them joining together to attack together.

So Wencit might actually NOT be equal in power to the entire combined power of the entire Council of Carnadosa (then or now). But he also didn't have to be, since they couldn't combine their powers, only cooperatively attack. This would still require a lot of power to defend against, but not quite as much as true combination would. So he still might have been powerful enough to hold the line for a day or two while the rest of his crew got their act together.
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