Carpe Jugulum Discussion *spoilers*

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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:56 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:
poohcarrot wrote:
Jan Van Quirm wrote:... that's purely business politics and nothing to do with genocide or extermination per se :x :lol:


So I take it you haven't seen WikiLeaks April 5, ten days ago, then.

You are correct in your assumption, but let me take a wild guess - one faction's getting their kicks in like Saddam did with the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs. No change there.

If it's 'Collateral Murder' you're talking about, time for me to word-chop :roll: That's indiscriminate 'peacekeeping' target practice by a singularly insensitive capitalist oppessive army of occupation - genocide is a tad more specific than that and tends to take more people out at a time :(


Well Jano, if you stick to the word "genocide" and don't use the word "extermination", then it might not get political. :roll:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:31 am

:x Oh go play with the traffic pooh - you had to (yet again :roll: ) drag Iraq into it when swreader brought up the question of genocide (and 'eliminisation' too which is presumably the PC version of extermination). My reference to extermination (calling a spade a bloody shovel :roll: ) was in response to your own superfluous reference to Iraq.

You don't want to talk politics? :roll: Get off your favourite hobby horse and start discussing the points people are raising that relate to the book for a change then :?
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Postby raisindot » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:35 am

Dear Om:*

This is to confirm my prayer order for delivery of two separate phoenix flames to the UK and to somewhere in Japan to Jan and Pooh for trying to get their highly chopped political last words in.


Shut your gobs you nagging nabobs of negativism!

(Twisted Granny Laughing!)
:twisted:

Wow! Whoever thought I'd be the one to do the monthly discussion slaparound?

:lol:

J-I-B

*With apologies to Jan
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Postby poohcarrot » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:25 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:If it's 'Collateral Murder' you're talking about, time for me to word-chop :roll: That's indiscriminate 'peacekeeping' target practice by a singularly insensitive capitalist oppessive army of occupation


(Bet if I had said that I'd have been called anti-American. :lol: :lol: :lol: )

Re J-I-B and his phoenixes question, I'm not sure what he's on about. :?
Can someone (preferably J-I-B) explain please?
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:35 pm

raisindot wrote:*With apologies to Jan

:lol: None needed my end old cho... I mean chap :P :wink:

pooh666carrot wrote:(Bet if I had said that I'd have been called anti-American. :lol: :lol: :lol: )

Face it smartypants - you've got a lot more form for that than I have :twisted: :lol:

J-I-B - I tend to gloss the Hodgesaargh sections 'cos I'm always afraid the big beaked birdies will go for his eyes (major phobia about pokes thereof) but wasn't there a small conflagration outside of the mews whilst he was trying to track it and then when he got back there was the extra wowhawk in with the other falcons etc? :?
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Postby raisindot » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:35 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:J-I-B - I tend to gloss the Hodgesaargh sections 'cos I'm always afraid the big beaked birdies will go for his eyes (major phobia about pokes thereof) but wasn't there a small conflagration outside of the mews whilst he was trying to track it and then when he got back there was the extra wowhawk in with the other falcons etc? :?


That's where I get a bit 'thick'--in the Hodgesaargh sections (which I thought were the equivalent pace killers of the Nobby/Colon section of "Thud"). Kept on thinking there was just the one phoenix and it was the same one he saw in the forest while hunting and same one that was hiding in the falcons. But I guess it wasn't. Not worth the effort to re-read it. Not when there's more Granny-hashing t'do. :roll:

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Postby swreader » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:24 am

raisindot wrote:What about the phoenixes? I never quite got how there came to be two of them in the story...I thought there was only the one that the falconer found which became the wowhawk with the hood. Was there another one flying around in the action? That whole thing got me very confused, which is not hard to do. J-I-B


There are references to three living phoenixes in the novel. The first one (presumably the mother) is the one injured by Lacrimossa whose appearance is described in the first page of the novel. That bird, though injured makes it to the castle (p.29) and lays two eggs apparently in the nesting boxes having charred it's way in through the slats. Then it flames, hatches the eggs and dies.

The male phoenix cowers inside the mews, and eventually it is the something that hopped onto a perch (p. 105). It is the one that looks like a wowhawk, is hooded and comes to full growth and display at the vampire's castle. It's immature, and that is the reason Granny has it hooded before they leave.

The female phoenix hatchling apparently tried to go out of the mews because on his way home from looking for a phoenix, Hodgesaargh finds a gathering of magpies who have apparently been attacking a small magpie (p. 180), which turns into a pigeon, a dove, a thrush, a wren and expires in a blinding flash of flame.

When Granny and Oates arrive at the castle (374) they come to the flame and the Phoenix appears, but they are not destroyed by the flame (377). Phoenixes are born sharing their minds and they don't tolerate evil.

The Phoenix is the symbol of hope and of the power of good over evil--it is the bird all others look up to, and it is the bird which Oates feels blessed to have seen the next day before they leave.

The symbol of the flame of the Phoenix, of course, also ties to Granny's description of the power of good, of what she'd do if she found a god she believed in (p. 349) and Oats reaction on the following page, "...my god, if she ever finds a religion, what would come out of these mountains and sweep across the plains? My god . . . I just said, 'My god' . . ."

Terry, in the later books, almost always starts the book with a passage which seems irrelevant, but turns out to be a key to the book. And in this book, the Phoenix (the something that isn't a shooting star) can be injured but not destroyed by evil.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:35 pm

swreader wrote:Terry, in the later books, almost always starts the book with a passage which seems irrelevant, but turns out to be a key to the book. And in this book, the Phoenix (the something that isn't a shooting star) can be injured but not destroyed by evil.
Yep - noticed that 'Prologue-type' bit before too, although without chapters you sort of don't notice it so much. That kind of relates to Terry letting us make our own choices about how much importance we attach to the 'Once upon a Time' scene-setters... :wink:

Moving hastily on before somebody starts the 'to have or not to have chapters' debate again :P

Back to what you were saying about the people of Escrow and why they submitted to the Count's 'new social deal', in some ways you can see the sense in what the vampires are offering, if you also take into account the Count's abilities in sending humans into the trance-like state that he began to put in place in Lancre so they could establish a new blood farm. Maybe the Mayor and leading citizens of Escrow didn't really have much choice in the first instance and once the arrangement was working (for the vampires) then maybe it was least line of resistance in that there were less deaths or abductions. Of course the price itself was humiliating and simply shared the feeding around between even more people, including their children (although it looks as though this was only imposed from age 12 was it)? :(

I was wondering a few days back, when I mentioned the Nazi's rise to power about how that could have happened/been 'allowed', except of course hindsight wasn't an option there. But in the early 1930's fascism (which was very often coming in on a socialist ticket in that period of depression and unemployment) was indicative of the times and the simple truth was that Germany was rockbottom in terms of national pride and flat broke with rampant inflation due to war reparations (not getting into that too much but bankers of any stripe would not have been standing in high regard with most sections of the population) and so from that perspective you can see a little why Germany, Spain and other countries, including the UK, began to get attracted to the fascist movement. Germany just had the 'best' front man and the best organisation and contacts politically. And Hitler was a hero back then to most 'normal' Germans by 1936 in some degree.

Why? The simplistic answer is that he gave them back their pride in international circles, so they began to feel like they mattered again after years of economic depression and a really sharp drop in social standards. In Germany, utterly defeated and demoralised, there was an almost inevitable hysterical and emotional desperation sitting firmly on the aftermath of WW1, which eventually led to the terrible global recession and devastating financial crashes in Europe and the USA. But Germany had already been there done that and because it had sunk so low, a determined political force that appears to be saying they can raise the nation back up and even higher this time around, will inevitably attract popular support from all levels of society, but especially the poor and unemployed.

Maybe at first it even seemed worth the underpinning thuggery and racial prejudices and crazy empirical posturings. This is where Escrow can be perhaps compared in terms of mindset with pre-WW2 Germany, because maybe they had been so preyed upon, terrorised and literally bled white by the Magpyrs already, that this miraculous, rationalisation of the Count's actually seemed appealing. A win-win situation all around, propped up by the vampires messing with their heads. What it did not do long term was take away the underlying hatred betweem villagers and vampires - the Mayor was the one of the first to respond to Agnes/Perdita's challenge and died for his trouble. Because of that I'm tempted not to blame the Escrowians too much for caving in to the Count's pressure, because they were already between a rock and a very hard place and had little or no defence again the vampires mental wiles. :P
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Postby Tonyblack » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:41 pm

Actually, I think this is a situation that Terry explored before in Guards! Guards! when the dragon was demanding the occasional high-born virgin to feed on. People are ever adaptable and, so long as they are not being asked to make the sacrifice, then they start to look for the positive side of the horror.

The people of Escrow were going through horror - despite what the Count thought or said. He had convinced himself that using the town as a feeding station was justifiable and that the people might actually be pleased about it.

As was seen, as soon as the vampires showed weakness, the people quickly showed them just how pleased they were with the situation. :)
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Postby raisindot » Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:55 pm

I'm desperately trying to resist getting into the political debate, but when Nazis are mentioned I can't stop.

While all the things Jan said were true, what allowed Hitler to ascend to popular with the assent of the people were really two-fold:

1) Germany had a long history as a martial state, used to obeying authoritarian rules, and little history of democracy.

2) Hitler didn't achieve fame as a war hero but as author of Mein Kampf, the most virulently anti-semitic and racism book ever written, and one that fed into the nascent anti-semitism and racism that had present in Germany for hundreds of years and began to become increasingly institutionalized in the late 19th century. Not that much of the rest of Europe wasn't racist and anti-semitic--France in particular, but in Germany it ran deep. If he had built his message purely on economics, he would have gone nowhere. But it was his ability to convince Germans that all of their problems were caused by Jews and that they were a "superior race" and their inherently violent nature something to be proud of that ultimately gained him control of the country.

Escrow didn't fit into the category. The citizens became sheep because the Magpyrs hypnotized them but also because of their own fear. The minute the villagers saw a weakness in the Magpyrs, they sought revenge. This is the 'liberation' of a cowed population, not a political revolution.

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:31 pm

You can't avoid getting political with Nazis and of course Mein Kampf and the whole racial hatred aspect (prejudice is far too mild a word for what happened there) did indeed enable the Nazis to get such a hold on the people of Germany very easily, because of what had happened to the country after the empire fell and the consequent disasters of losing a war.

But you see it wasn't just any war. It was The Great War. WW2 was vile and horrible, but WW1 was absolutely devastating for the whole of western Europe including the UK. With the reparation they had to pay Germany was bankrupted in every single way. The death count alone was astronomic and when the Spanish 'flu pandemic that followed almost immediately after hostilities ceased took hold as many and more died again and virtually wiped out or poisoned a whole generation in Europe. Those who survived to pick up the pieces were in deep shock as a result with the returning soldiery often maimed and/or irreparably scarred mentally.

In Germany, being the loser meant everything was magnified and so hope was lost and people were adrift because the breakdown of their political structure and family life had been shattered and with what men they had often incapable of holding down a job, women had to go out and find work that wasn't there, so prostitution was inevitable for many and society was ripped apart in the cities at least. Every facet of life was broken apart for the majority and the economic situation just made matters unbearable. As you say resentment and hatred can run high against any sections of society that are seen as not 'suffering' so much because their culture stuck together and seemingly did 'better' than their neighbours. So yes I agree -
rasindot wrote:... it was his ability to convince Germans that all of their problems were caused by Jews and that they were a "superior race" and their inherently violent nature something to be proud of that ultimately gained him control of the country.

it was all of that of course, but all the other factors prepared the way for that to happen and it 'took off' for the reasons you cite, but not just those reasons. Not everyone listened to Hitler, enough did, far too many, but there were people who were really terrrified of the Nazis and they weren't all Jews. Black people, Gypsies from the eastern German empire, Christian cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals and others were all on the Nazi sh*t list and they too were sent to the camps and treated like 'things' too. Some people, even though they weren't in a vilified ethnic group saw what was happening and were appalled, but weren't able to oppose the sweep of the rascist party to power and one of the reasons for that was simply because they were just too frightened to stand up for themselves, let alone the jews and the rest. They were survivors who'd been backed into one too many corners and dead ends, so they took it and kept their heads down and tried to keep on surviving.

Endemic sustained poverty and unemployment in a recession like that, beginning well before the 1928 crash and the 1930's depression, does breed fear as well as hardship. It also makes people grateful to those who apparently help them escape such desperate straits. Like the Count mesmerised the Escrowians, Hitler seduced and dazzled and coaxed all the beaten down and blasted morals and hopes and wallets of the poor and disaffected, the not-quite-so-rich anymore who'd had to sell and mortgage themselves out of penury. He fooled them and played on their fears and resentments and he was able to do all that because they couldn't bear anymore and would do anything so they didn't hear their children crying with hunger or have their womenfolk turn tricks on the street. It wasn't just rabble-rousing and patriotism because a lot of the ordinary folks had had more than enough of that - all they heard in amongst the poison about the Jews and 'non-humans' was food on the table and jobs to give them back their pride. That's all they wanted and by then they didn't much care if other people got hurt as a result.
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Postby swreader » Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:11 am

Heretical as this may seem--I am sure that Terry is not writing about Germany, the Nazi party, the great Depression's effects on Germany's already overwhelmed economy. Nor do I see any indication that the citizens of Escrow have ever been subjected to the "pink fog" which has been used in Lancre.

This book was copyrighted in 1998 so probably written in 96/7. That's several years after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. So what is the function of the scene at Escrow in Terry's book?

Probably the most important single idea in this book is that sin (evil, inhumanity, etc.) occurs when a people/government chooses to treat another set of people as things. The 20th century is rife with examples of this kind of violence, but at the time this was written, the exterminations in Rwanda were the most recent. But Terry is talking about the bigger problem--not just the 1915 Armenian massacre by the Turks, the Germans of the Jews during WW II, the Kymer Rouge in 76-79.

The other important point, I think, that Terry is making is the need to resist this kind of evil--both by the immediate victims and by the world as a whole. There is no indication that the people of Escrow have been mind-controlled; the reaction of the parents of one child who has reached its 12th birthday suggests otherwise. Plus, once Agnes/Perdita throws the first punch, rebellion breaks out all over. In fact, there is every reason to suppose that they have allowed themselves to be manipulated, that they are much more like the victims of Germany where the concept of untermensch was articulated as a government justification for the actions it took. They had, in the past, obviously stood up to the vampires (as the comments between the people and The Old Master show. And Agnes/Perdita finds herself telling the villagers to send out runners to the other villages. Evil, wherever it occurs, must be resisted. And one must think of one's self as human - not a thing to be abused.

It would be nice to think that we might develop a way to "Weatherwax" the killers in the Congo, or Darfur, or elsewhere. But I think that what Terry is doing with Granny in this book is to use her as the leader who, whatever the cost to him/herself, refuses to submit to the twisted thinking that justifies the Vampires that feed off the blood of others--in the novel or in round world.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:55 pm

swreader wrote:Heretical as this may seem--I am sure that Terry is not writing about Germany, the Nazi party, the great Depression's effects on Germany's already overwhelmed economy. Nor do I see any indication that the citizens of Escrow have ever been subjected to the "pink fog" which has been used in Lancre.

This book was copyrighted in 1998 so probably written in 96/7. That's several years after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. So what is the function of the scene at Escrow in Terry's book?

Not at all heretical Sharlene, just very odd when you were the one to raise most of those examples (mea culpa for the Nazis but then that is the most callous and well-documented instance of genocide in history) on how genocide/'eliminationism' (what a very twee PC term that is :roll: ) could ever be countenanced as a talking point to get us off Granny-hashing a few pages back :wink: :D

OK - no pink fog for Escrow I grant you and I'm not going back to look it up, but didn't the Count say something to the effect that his 'meat' virtually jumped at the chance for his easy peasy queue and donate scheme? So why if, as you rightly say
swreader wrote:They had, in the past, obviously stood up to the vampires (as the comments between the people and The Old Master show.

How then did the big turn around occur for them to simply accept the deal as offered and how can that be so dismissed as to say -
swreader wrote:There is no indication that the people of Escrow have been mind-controlled; the reaction of the parents of one child who has reached its 12th birthday suggests otherwise. Plus, once Agnes/Perdita throws the first punch, rebellion breaks out all over.

How did they go from feisty, determined resistance fighters to cowed collaborating fainthearts and then back to bitter vengeful liberated slaveswithout having some kind of pressure being applied (by the vampires) to create a situation where hatred on both sides could be cooled enough on the villagers part to capitulate in such a spectacularly craven manner?

There had to be some reason to push the Escrowians over the edge and the pink fog as used in Lancre is a pretty good indication of how the Count has honed his arts to so quickly bend an 'unsuspecting' population who seemingly had little or no idea of the danger posed by inviting vampires to a royal celebration (which means Verence must also have been fiddled with like Granny, although his fuzzy liberal modern ideas may account for that as well).

That was 'easy'. In comparison, how could the Magpyrs have suddenly walked into Escrow, where the villagers were used to fighting them and hated them far more with very good reason indeed and calmly proceeded to persuade them to accept such a horrible cessation of hostilities without the villagers being finally seriously terrified and driven to despair AND/OR mess with their minds so they wouldn't put up a struggle at all. There had to be some kind of watershed to have tilted Escrow over the edge into idiocy or into some kind of blind, manipulable(? :lol: ) state to accept an arrangement that reduced their village to some kind of model factory farm.

Granny and Agnes/Perdita behaved really heroically - all due respect to them for what they did, but Escrow had been fighting the Magpyrs too, for far longer and although Terry may not have indicated how they finally bowed to evil, because they had fought in the past, and because they turned against the vampires so quickly and absolutely once Agnes revealed they were vulnerable I really cannot see how the people of Escrow 'in their right minds' could have caved in to the Count's terrible terms - after all we only have his version of what happened...
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Postby raisindot » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:07 pm

Jan, when discussing the attitudes of Escrowians(?), keep in mind that the current generation did not hate the Count. None of them were adults were the Count was doing his business. It was this current generation's grandparents who staked the Count, so we're potentially talking about a huge change in attitudes. Remember that the Old Count treated the relationship between himself and the villagers as a game, from the signs on the way to the castle to the religious symbols and stakes he made available. He wanted to even the odds and give the people an even chance. And he didn't overdo the bloodsucking--just a peck of an over-18 maiden every now and then.

No one knows who long the Count and his family have inhabited the Magpyr castle, but probably no longer than 25 years, since that was when Allison Weatherax killed off the Count the previous time (or the last time we know about. Maybe there was a later killing, but seems to come back every 25 years or so). Once the Count and his family took over, they removed the "old rules" that gave the villagers that sporting chance and instituted their most efficient, "We come down and choose you" method." Since the Magpyrs changed the rules of the game (this is Uberwald, naturally, where the undead consider all humans to be meat), and possibly clouded minds with pink fog, the current generation of Escrowians were cowed into obedience. Since they could no longer mentally fight back, and since the rules had changed, the new requirements of the Magpyrs might have seemed reasonable--give us one or two of your kids, and we won't kill the entire village. Now isn't that civilized?

From a political point of view, this could in some ways symbolize the transition from a more benevolent feudal society (The Count being the feudal master, who cares enough about his serfs to give them an even chance and doesn't over-demand payments) to the more organized yet far more oppressive state of an oligarchy or dictatorship, where power and fear, rather than the "natural order of things" causes obedience.

So, when the Count reappears, it's also natural for the new generation of Escrowians, who were too young to remember life under the Count but have lived under the horrors of the Magpyrms, to view him as a benevolent character. It's the old "But back then the trains ran on time" nostalgia many former fascists had for Mussolini and Franco and taught to their children.

J-I-B

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Postby poohcarrot » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:22 pm

swreader wrote:. Probably the most important single idea in this book is that sin (evil, inhumanity, etc.) occurs when a people/government chooses to treat another set of people as things. The 20th century is rife with examples of this kind of violence.....

The other important point, I think, that Terry is making is the need to resist this kind of evil--both by the immediate victims and by the world as a whole


I agree with sw, but I'm keeping quiet at the moment because I think sw's comments also apply to the 21st century.
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