Equal Rites Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:58 am

Phoenix wrote:
poohcarrot wrote:(Gets back on topic) (in wind-up mood)

Apart from Kakaze and Phoenix, is there anyone else who thinks the staff communicates telepathically with Esk and tells her what to do? :D


Hmmm... I've been thinking about this and I'm not entirely sure I haven't merged my memories of ER and Sourcery :oops: I'm not sure that the staff in ER is strictly telepathic, but I do seem to recall that at times Esk struggles against the staff, which suggests it wasn't merely a tool for her to control. Methinks I will have to re-read Equal Rites before I come to a conclusion!
You're right about Esk's stuggle to control the staff. When she tries to demonstrate her magical ability at the university, nothing happens and ultimately the staff apparently attacks Simon and knocks him out. Esk is so disgusted with it that she throws it away.

But the staff was right to knock him out as he was calling the creatures and that stopped him allowing them to invade. The question is - was it the staff or was it Esk subconsciously stopping Simon?
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Postby kakaze » Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:27 am

I wouldn't say that the staff actually communicates with Esk. It certainly uses her, like a dog that can get it's (supposedly more intellegent) owner to give it treats and play with it.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:37 am

That suggests the staff is intelligent in its own right - rather than a tool Esk hasn't learned to use yet. :?
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:07 pm

kakaze wrote:And who says that you have to be a good person to care about your posterity? Wizards don't have children (usually), so in place they achieve a type of imortality by passing on their magic instead of their name/DNA.


Excellent point!

BTW originally Kakaze was saying that the staff possessed by anyone would make them into a powerful wizard, even Gaspode. The only way that would be possible would have been if the staff was communicating telepathically to let her know about the spirkles and the weevils.

Esk already had a certain degree of magical power without the staff.
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Postby kakaze » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:44 pm

I think she knew about the spirkles and the weevils due to her three years of witchcraft training.

Just because she had some magical ability doesn't mean it was required to use the staff.
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Postby poohcarrot » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:55 pm

She couldn't have known about the weevils coz they were in the middle of the stuff.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:25 pm

When Witches (fairy godmother variety) and Wizards rely on inanimate objects such as wands, staffs and plain golden rings etc it's a general 'law' in the fantasy genre that said object(s) are invested with some of the practitioner's power which, in Drum Billet's and Coin's daddy's cases, goes on after their death.

Esk and Coin's 'inheritance' of those objects does not take away from their own innate magical of ability, 'cos they didn't make their staffs so their own abilities/powers are 'pure' and not shared with their staff - Coin as the 8th son cubed which we are told = Sourcerer. Esk's own ability is in question here as to origin as she, not being an 8th son of an 8th son, should not be a wizard, but she is given possession of wizard's staff nonetheless.

So a hypothesis for deliberation here. Are Witches, like Wizards, subject to the power of 8 willy nilly? We are not told this, but I suspect with Esme and Lily Weatherwax as models (one with a wand), their mother and various other magical adepts of both genders cropping up in their family tree (an Archancellor as well as Black Alice) I would say that they're almost certainly NOT subject to it at all. Concentrating on Esk, not being bound by the rule of 8 in males doesn't rule out that she has magical ability of her own. She does not take the staff out Borrowing for instance - she does that on her own doesn't she? And the spirkles and weevils are down to magic of some kind but what 'kind' - or is there no 'kind' as such only different disciplines with fairy godmothering more akin to wizardry?

Wands/staffs on Discworld are magic enhancers or power channeling devices. However, they're possibly also a drain on the individual's own innate skills and perhaps can create too much inter-dependancy with their original owner - certainly in Drum Billet's case and I think that this explains why Esk can't really control it or direct how it's used to some extent, although it does a reasonable job of keeping her safe. I don't think the staff is Drum, just his residual power lingering in the object so it's not got a telepathic link to her except perhaps it can 'sense' when she needs to augment her own power and then, because she's female there's a basic 'blowing of fuses' because the staff and Esk have the wrong sort of wiring to work together effectively and they only work 'properly' apart from each other - so knocking Simon out is purely down to the staff and likewise Esk going off to battle in the DD and not using magic at all, under her own steam?

Anyway - pull that apart a bit :lol:
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:48 pm

kakaze wrote:
Jan Van Quirm wrote:Never mind. There are compensations - I'd hate to live a world without the funny little chaps :wink:


So would I! :lol:

And who says that you have to be a good person to care about your posterity? Wizards don't have children (usually), so in place they achieve a type of imortality by passing on their magic instead of their name/DNA.


I agree, I think this is why he cared so much about giving his staff, so that if he really has to die at least his magic of which he was so proud in life (like every wizard is) will outlive him. My Magic Will Never Die kind of thing :)
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Postby swreader » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:07 pm

I agree in part with all of you (now THAT'S a surprise :lol: ).

I think that Drum Billet, knowing he is about to die, has given his staff directions to find a wizard level recipient to which he will take it and that the staff, by his command, is ordered to use magical powers to protect the new owner until such time as the owner can be confirmed as a wizard.

Thus because Esk wants to do some things like thank the trader who told her about caravans, she is able to, with the help of the staff to see the tobacco worms in the centre of the bales and warn "the nice man" of their presence.

In other words, on her journey to the Unseen University, most of which she makes on her own, the staff augments her own natural magical powers and wishes in order to get her safely to A-M.

He anger boils up after vice chancellor Treatle patronises her and tells her that women haven't the intellectual capacity for High Magic. Esk has already attracted the attention of the DD because, as Terry, in an rather unusual digression, describes wizards as being able to "put flesh on his imagination". He goes on to say this attracts the attention of the creatures of the DD. Esk has had such dreams since that first dream after her first Borrowing.

Because she knows instinctively that these creatures are dangerous, as does the staff, it doesn't matter who or which of them is acting in knocking out Simon - although I think it's the staff.

Thus in the library, Esk recognises the dangers and can see the DD creatures attempting to invade using Simon, Esk and the magic of the library as a gateway into DW. Simon cannot see them and Esk without a wizard's powers, can do nothing against them. The staff, still trying to protect Esk, knocks Simon out and the link is broken. Esk doesn't understand what the staff has done to protect her and throws it away.



(Typed by Tony - all mistakes in spelling etc. are his.)
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:48 am

There is, I believe, a huge clue regarding the staff. All the way through the book there were carvings that Esk (and others) weren't able to see. She only gets to see then once she is made a wizard and just after that the carvings disappear.

The carvings were Drum Billet's - presumably spells he'd set up to protect the staff and Esk. Once the staff is officially Esk's she can put her own influence on it. There's mention that a staff has to be presented to be official and that's what happens. :)

Another thing that occurs to me is that when sk is finally given the staff it is revealed that there is no actual law that women can't be wizards. It's just that none have ever been wizards.

In the same way we are told that an eighth son of an eighth son is a wizard - but as far as we know the same unwritten rule might apply to the eighth daughter of an eighth son. The staff sought out a suitable candidate and that was Esk. :)
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Postby swreader » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:01 am

I noticed something today (for the first time) that further demonstrates the linkage between Esk and the staff even before she becomes a wizard. After Granny (with the aid of the staff) rescues Esk from being stuck as an Eagle, Granny says to her, as she gives her the staff "Here. It's yours. Take it. I just hope this is the right thing to do." Terry says that's not at all the way an apprentice wizard receives a staff but by sheer coincidence Granny got the essence of it.

Esk's reply is "it's very nice," she said uncertainly. "The carvings are pretty. What's it for?"

To the best of my recollection no one else can make out the carvings, let alone think them pretty. Directly thereafter, Esk ignites the fire, the fireplace, chimney, etc. but while she is holding the staff she only uses her fingers.

I think this fits with the fact that the staff continues to protect her until she childishly discards it, but that when it becomes her staff as a full wizard, it is simply a blank staff--almost a stick.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:38 am

The carvings are interesting because although, as Sharlene points out, Esk says the carvings are "pretty", later i the book she can't actually make out the carvings. And it's not until she gets the staff while with Simon in the desert that she actually sees the carvings clearly. :?
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:51 pm

swreader wrote:...that the staff, by his command, is ordered to use magical powers to protect the new owner until such time as the owner can be confirmed as a wizard.

Thus because Esk wants to do some things like thank the trader who told her about caravans, she is able to, with the help of the staff to see the tobacco worms in the centre of the bales and warn "the nice man" of their presence.


Paragraph one.

If the staff has orders to protect Esk, why does it cause her pain when Granny tries to burn it?
What would have happened if Granny kept on trying to burn it, would it have killed Esk?

Paragraph two

Isn't this suggesting (like other people have) the staff is communicating telepathically with her?
I put this incident down to her basic magical ability being an 8th of an 8th, nothing whatsoever to do with the staff.
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:04 pm

...and another point.

Do wizards actually need a staff?

There are numerous examples of wizards doing magic without a staff.

As far as I can see, a staff is just like a witches pointy hat, it just says "Look at me, I'm a wizard." It's headology. It's just like Rincewind's badly spelled hat. Incidently, I don't remember even one example of Rincewind having a staff, yet he is a wizzard.
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Postby Lady Vetinari » Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:06 pm

Ah but Rincewind HAS NEVER PASSED exams - and has not even reached Level One - Archchancellor Weatherwax wanted to take his hat from him remember? So maybe he was not allowed a staff - as technically, he's not even supposed to have a hat!
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