Pyramids Discussion *Spoilers*

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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:08 pm

I think what you're saying Pooh is God/Gods didn't create religion people did (but I'm sure you'll correct me if not :D )- the God's of Djelibeybi aren't the least interested in the people, too busy fighting with eachother.

Certainly the priests have no redeeming features, a power-hungry bunch only to keen to kill eachother off.

Is this the first book where we come across the distinction between knowing a god exists and believing in them/worshipping them - I know it comes up in one of the witches books and possibly from Vimes as well. Useful technique for a fantasy author to have "rational" characters who don't just get incinerated by lightning throwing gods.

I agree with SW reader that Pratchett plays around with religion in Pyramids but only along with other themes like Space, Time and What the hell the ancients were really up to.
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:57 pm

Dios. Dios *Chose* not to follow the other mummies in the end of the book. He, being a megalomaniac, saw another country and decided they needed his brand of... call it what you want, religion, rulership, leading by fear of the unknown or crocodiles. He just could not see that "His Way" was not the only way, everyone else is wrong and he is the ONLY way. See any similarities with the religious issues over the last 10,000 years?

Wars have been fought over one little line in a text and two leaders' refusal to come to an agreement over what it means.

I agree with Trish one hundred percent that "Organized Religion" is the culprit, little men with power over others who tell them that THEY are the chosen ones. I am comfortable with my beliefs, my Bro-in-law studies ancient history and sees the crap that different civilizations have put forth as "THE WAY" and has decided to believe in NOT believing in the "baby food" versions of religion offered up to the masses who blindly accept what is fed to them.

I found a button that sums it up beautifully "It is Easier to be Born Again than it is to Grow Up".

Making your own decisions is hard, it is what makes you grow. I love being my own person.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:06 pm

Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit wrote:Dios. Dios *Chose* not to follow the other mummies in the end of the book. He, being a megalomaniac, saw another country and decided they needed his brand of... call it what you want, religion, rulership, leading by fear of the unknown or crocodiles. He just could not see that "His Way" was not the only way, everyone else is wrong and he is the ONLY way. See any similarities with the religious issues over the last 10,000 years?



I love that button, Tina! :lol:

I'm not sure if it's clear to everyone - it certainly wasn't to me when I first read the book - the place that Dios ends up is where he started. When the Pyramid exploded it sent him back in time to when Kuft first found the river valley. So he was doomed to repeat his life over and over. He actually gained the immortality he wanted, but at a terrible price. It makes me feel kind of sorry for him (but not much). The blast also seems to have made him lose a huge chunk of his memory, so he doesn't remember the significance of the future he's got to live - only the importance of building pyramids.
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Postby Dotsie » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:44 pm

Is doomed the right word? Doesn't this sound like exactly what Dios would want? I think he's spent too long doing his rituals, there isn't anything else for him.
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:21 pm

No, he didn't feel doomed at all, because he is just stuck in that deep, deep, deep rut of rituals. He knew full well, that their gods only had significance because of the fear that they cast over people to control their behaviour. He reminds me of my mommie dearest, she HAS to CONTROL every single moment of everyone's life or she will not be happy. So, to remain sane, we allow her to think she is. Dios took that one step further with the Sacred Crocodiles.

It is an apt metaphor that the prisoner began to shout for the guards because he KNEW in his heart that Pteppic was Evil for even thinking about rescuing him. He accepted his tongue being ripped out the next day because he had uttered some stupid thing.

My sister and I have agreed that we would not have survived in early societies due to the fact that we speak our minds. When an intelligent woman popped up, they were branded as witches and usually drowned them or burned them. A Real Witch would never have been found out, because she could obfuscate them into thinking they were a "Lawks!! Oh me, Oh my, How can I get across this road, tis so wide and dangerous and I am so timid and weak" type 'o' gal.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:35 pm

Good points Tina, wonderful idea that all of Djelibebyian/Egyptian culture was created by Dios to create pyramids so he could reverse time in his - and all the kings missed the point!

On a lighter note I read on Lspace that the assasins exam sequence is based on a driving test - does it actually remind anyone of their driving test? Even on rereading looking for the connections it didn't seem an obvious parody (or maybe the test has changed dramatically since '89) interested to hear what the rest of you thought?
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:36 pm

Pyramids and relegion Part II cont...

As nobody appears to undestand what I'm jabbering on about (nice try DJ :lol: ), let me explain. It's purely my opinion, so feel free to totally disagree. :lol:

TP books make me think. Pyramids made me think more than any other DW book. For me the greatest parody in Pyramids is not about what has happened in Roundworld in the past, or about what happens in Roundworld now, but a what-if-it-happened on Roundworld in the future?

In Pyramids, the gods become real with hilarious consequences. They are not at all like the priests expect, are not interested in rituals and proceed to wreck havoc on the country.

Now, move this scenario to Roundworld. What would happen if Jesus Christ came back tomorrow?

Would he be in favour of capitalism? I doubt it.
10 Commandments wrote:You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor


Would he approve of the accumulation of wealth? Shouldn't think so.
Jesus wrote:It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24)


Would he approve of the church? Probably not.
Jesus wrote:For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.


If Jesus came back tomorrow, I can't help thinking that he'd be just as anti-establishment as he was 2,000 years ago. So he would be not at all like the priests expect, not interested in rituals and proceed to wreck havoc on the country. Exactly the same as the gods in Pyramids!

Spend any time thinking about the implications of a second coming and you will probably come to the same conclusion as The The;
The The wrote:If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today,
He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA.


In Pyramids, at least for me, TP poses his most metaphysical question ever.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:44 pm

Possibly an even more crucial question is what if all the gods people believe in appeared - would they fight amongst themselves or get along - could be scary if they did start fighting and justified religious war.

Though since so many religions worship the same god but different interpretations/prophets it might all get a bit confusing

Fascinating line of thought Pooh :D I may post a more coherent reply later
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:13 pm

Yes Pooh, I can see that, but Terry does the same thing so much better in Small Gods. Om doesn't care about rituals or even how people treat each other - he only cares that people believe in him - because that's what give him life.

As to the driving test - well it certainly rings some bells with me. There's the emergency stop (when Teppic falls after finding the plank is missing) and the symbols on the cards (reminiscent of the road signs test) and the whole "proceed in your own time Mr Teppic" type language of Mericet. :)
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:27 pm

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:On a lighter note I read on Lspace that the assasins exam sequence is based on a driving test - does it actually remind anyone of their driving test? Even on rereading looking for the connections it didn't seem an obvious parody (or maybe the test has changed dramatically since '89) interested to hear what the rest of you thought?


Definitely - when I had my test the examiner put the cards up so fast I didn't have time to answer before the next card was up. Brought back bad memories :lol:
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:29 pm

But SG is totally different. I hardly think Jesus coming back as a tortoise is going to rock the pillars of the modern day establishment. :lol:

There is nothing in SG implying the second coming scenario that Pyramids invokes. :?

Plus in SG nobody believes (except Brutha), whereas in Pyramids everybody believes (except Dios).
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:13 pm

Tonyblack wrote:Yes Pooh, I can see that, but Terry does the same thing so much better in Small Gods. Om doesn't care about rituals or even how people treat each other - he only cares that people believe in him - because that's what give him life.

Because that's the only thing that matters to him, of course. But if we talk religion here, in TP books noone ever talks of a caring-loving-God, if I remember correctly. They all talk of Mighty-God, omnipotent-Gods, vengeaful-Gods... and they believe in them because they are scared they might get angry or because they simply want something : if I please them the Gods will reward me., kind of thing.
The problem of Jesus returning is noone would ever, ever believe it. Not even shot him, because he would be only a madman.
The Church would be the first to say he's a fraud because many if not all the powerful in the Church don't follow his predicaments. San Pietro doesn't even look like a church, it's more a tourist village. A place to spend money, not a place to pray.
I think the world would ignore him unless he starts doing such big things to make it impossible to avoid him, to force the world into believing in him.

Sg and P are different, ok, but not that much, I don't really see a great difference. The Gods are more or less alike. The people are different (here they believe, there they don't), but the theme is more or less the same, isn't it? People do a lot of things in the names of Gods that never asked for them. Isn't this what it is all about? People?
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Postby swreader » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:30 am

The problem with your theory, Pooh, is that you think the book is about religion, and it's not. The "gods" of Djelibeybi (pronounced jelly baby) were created by Dios. He used them to increase his power and foster his megalomaniac delusion that everything he does is the only right thing, including spending enough time in the tomb of Kuhft to maintain his own 7000 year life.

When Koomi tries to tell Dios (after the gods appear when the kingdom has been temporarily cut loose from the universe) that they own the place, Dios loses it and reveals his megalomania.

"They're our gods," Dios hissed. We are not their people. They're my gods and they will learn to do as they are instructed!" They are, of course, a parody of some of the Egyptian gods in their form, but like many of Pratchett's other allusions, they have no particular function. Pratchett sketches out the idea (developed fully in SG) that the gods exist because people believe in them. Only once the kingdom is enclosed and "floating free of the rest of the universe, drifting away from the
general consensus that is dignified by the name of reality, the power of belief was making itself felt." (p. 202)

I strongly suspect that the reason for the initial section in AM is that only someone trained as an Assassin would dream of climbing the great pyramid (even if he ends up having to stand on the shoulders of his ancestors) to cap it and return the Kingdom to reality. But, Teppic can then be used as an opponent to Dios, and (having been exposed to reality) isn't interested in staying with a Kingdom that is 7000 years out of date.

Pratchett throws in all sorts of allusions--none of which forward the story or link to any theme. They are designed to let the reader feel superior when he/she recognizes the Ephebians as various Greek philosophers, mathematicians, poets, historians, etc., while the Tsortians seem to function primarily as the Trojans. Hence the wooden horses. Pratchett takes a nice little poke at the stupidity of wars - when the disappearance of the old Kingdom requires a stupid war.

"If we don't attack them, they'll attack us first," said Ibid.
"'Sright," said Xeno. "So we'd better retaliate before they have a chance to strike." (Shades of G. Bush & Donald Rumsfeld)

Ptraci arrives back in the kingdom rolled up in a carpet (as Cleopatra is said to have been smuggled in from Greece, or brought before Caesar). Pratchett is just playing the allusion game again. Making the greatest mathematician in the world a camel is funny--although it seems to me that it gets a bit old.

The Pyramids suggest Egypt, of course, but also the Southern California belief in pyramids and time--from which comes the whole question of how does time function and is a another dimension?

There are some funny bits (at least I found them funny), and a great deal of stuff which I found unfunny (eg. Ephebians and Tsortians). But for real exploration of the relations ship between belief and gods, belief and people's actions--you have to go to Small Gods, Monstrous Regiment and Carpe Jugulum.
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Postby poohcarrot » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:45 am

swreader wrote:The problem with your theory, Pooh, is that you think the book is about religion, and it's not.


We'll have to agree to disagree on that. I think Pyramids is about religion. In Pyramids TP even gives a reason for why people believe in gods. I can't recall in Small Gods if he makes any similar such bold statement about the reasons why people believe in a god.

(page 74) "People needed to believe in gods, if only because it was so hard to believe in people."

swreader wrote:If we don't attack them, they'll attack us first," said Ibid.
"'Sright," said Xeno. "So we'd better retaliate before they have a chance to strike." (Shades of G. Bush & Donald Rumsfeld)


Well spotted. I was going to mention the exact same thing!

Crys

Crys wrote:The problem of Jesus returning is noone would ever, ever believe it. Not even shot him, because he would be only a madman.
The Church would be the first to say he's a fraud because many if not all the powerful in the Church don't follow his predicaments.


Exactly! So assuming Jesus was quite a clever guy, what would he do? How would he get his message of love and peace across to as many people as possible?
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:44 am

I have to agree with a lot of other people here that Pyramids is not, mainly, about religion. Sure religion is touched upon in the novel but it isn't the main theme.

Because Teppic went to AM to be trained by the Assassins he is probably the only person in Djelibeybi who has an outsiders view on Djelibeybi and through his eyes we see the stagnation of Djelibeybi. So to me too the stagnation theme is the most important.

Like I said before I enjoyed this book very much it made me :lol: alot but I just don't see religion has the most important theme in the book

(sorry Pooh :wink: )
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