Carpe Jugulum Discussion *spoilers*

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Postby Ponder Stibbons » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:57 am

Ah....that's a point. I know its deviating from the topic, but what would happen if someone went borrowing till their body rotted and then came back, what would happen? :shock: *shudders*
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Postby Willem » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:30 am

I'd say your body would wither away first (malnutrition, dehydration). Then you'd die and start rotting. The question is, what happens to your mind if the body dies while borrowing?

Let's say you've got a witch locked up as a prisoner of some sort, in a dungeon without food or water. She's almost dead, but manages to send her mind borrowing into a nearby spider. After that, the body dies. We know that the mind can 'forget' it was human but that this usually takes a while. So we've got the fully aware mind of the witch inhabiting a spider. Could she return and become a zombie? Is she trapped inside the spider? Can she leave the spider and inhabit some other creature? Some other possibilities?
I'd say she could go out and borrow some other creatures for a while, until her mind gradually melts away without a tie to the mortal plane. At what point would Death show up though?

The only thing we do know, is that the person that imprisoned the witch better watch out for spiders laying eggs in his ear :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:17 pm

The thing to remember with Borrowing with the Witch is the sign of course - "I ain't dead!". Only the mind is absent - the body is in a state of hibernation so slowed right down which presumably is the purpose behind the sign, as things like breathing and metabolics are slowed right down so it's possible to be interpreted as being dead. Like in other hibernating animals this state can preserve the body for quite a long time - several weeks or even a season and in animals they can survive on stored body fats etc (although apparently bears and higher mammals do 'wake up' occasionally for some essential functions but much less often than usual)

The sign tells anyone who finds the body that the Witch isn't dead and so what does that mean? First off of course they don't get a funeral and once someone knows there's a problem, then another Witch would presumably be sent for and they would feed and look after body until the mind came back - if it didn't then eventually I suppose yes it would start rotting.

We still only have the Esk example of what happens when the mind can't leave the animal host. Granny knew where Esk was so she went back to the eagle's territory and found it in a terrible state, unable to fly and falling about so presumably both the Esk mind and the eagle mind were at odds in some way, which physically affected the eagle's body. This happened after a day with Esk - presumably Granny's mind is far tougher so she can stay longer without getting overrun, but in CJ she and the Count both knew that she couldn't maintain control indefinitely.

As to when Death would come for her - I would hope he came a.s.a.p after the mind had been trapped beyond rescue. It's a horrible thing to think of your mind wandering around without a body to live in. :shock: Also, don't forget that Death cuts the soul away from the dead body - the soul is effectively shackled to the husk/corpse. I think that Borrowing is in part to do with someone having the ability to send their 'awareness' out of their body, whilst they're still living, so the body is important and this is why Granny 'ain't dead' because her soul/awareness/mind is still linked to her hibernating body...* :shock:

Another aspect of Borrowing - we do have another adept in Miss Treason, the ancient witch in Wintersmith, who's blind and hijacks various creatures, including Tiffany and often uses several creatures at once to use their eyesight and nothing else. For this Miss Treason doesn't 'leave' her body at all as Terry has her carrying on with everday tasks like weaving or giving judgements to the local people. So is that a refined, pared down kind of Borrowing that doesn't involve so much willpower? Won't go into that so much as we'll be talking about that next week of course

* Gods I think I've been roleplaying far too much recently! :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:33 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:* Gods I think I've been roleplaying far too much recently! :lol:


Good lord...I think I'm going to have to get the Cliff's Notes versions...your theories are way beyond the mental capacity of my primitive brain cells...

:lol:

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:17 pm

Well I am virtually a full-time Elf elsewhere - been Borrowing too much see! :lol:
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Postby swreader » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:20 pm

Let me correct a few misstatements about borrowing. The only witch that Terry tells us about who regularly uses a type of borrowing is Miss Treason in Wintersmith, but Terry seems to be using her borrowing as simply a device for helping a blind and deaf very old witch continue to function.

We do know that unless one has a great deal of strength, a witch's body can apparently die. When Agnes suggests that Nanny locate the missing Granny by borrowing, Nanny's response is significant:

"I don't borrow as a rule," said Nanny firmly. "I ain't got Esme's self-discipline. I gets . . . involved. I was a rabbit for three whole days until our Jason went and fetched Esme and she brought me back. Much longer and there wouldn't have been a me to come back.

In other words, one can become so intertwined (as Esk almost did) that they are no longer capable of being brought back. And Nanny isn't about to tinker with trying to bring Granny back against her will when they find her in the cave. Terry really isn't interested in the more mundane aspects of borrowing (like what happens to the body if you don't come back). Rather, he uses borrowing significantly for only two witches--and for quite different reasons. Miss Treason uses a form of borrowing to aid her in her daily activities. Granny uses it occasionally to spy out the lay of the land, but mainly to escape from boredom or something she doesn't want to think about (such as the presence of vampires who are trying to beat down the walls that protect her inner self).

Terry simply isn't interested in the "what if"s of what would happen to a body left without the spiritual essence too long, and doesn't deal with it.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:31 pm

Getting back to the subject of Nanny (as it was brought up) - I don't care for her much myself. She reminds me of people I know who use friendliness as a sort of weapon to gain information about people.

But i do admire her in her relationship with Granny. She is rather like Sancho Panza to Granny's Don Quixote in the novel by Cervantes. She looks out for Granny and makes sure she doesn't go too far and she's loyal to her friend.

I agree that Nanny did take over and reluctantly took the role of leader when it looked like Granny was incapacitated. She was quite successful too in getting rid of some of the vampires - I think she would have fought them to the death to try and protect the others - or to give Granny a chance to get her act together. :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:49 pm

Like you're say Tony, there's the other side of mothering too - the protective part of it. Female animals can and do fight to the death for their own and when Nanny and Magrat first 'fled' the castle with baby Esme I was like 'what the hell are they going to Uberwald for?' but of course they weren't running away at all, they were making a tactical withdrawal in order to make a calculated assault on the vampire's own 'nest'.

Another mother trait with Nanny is a refusal to take sides within her 'family' and to love everyone the same? When Granny and Magrat clash it's always Nanny who's the mediator - like in Witches Abroad and the wet hen incident... :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:57 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I agree that Nanny did take over and reluctantly took the role of leader when it looked like Granny was incapacitated. She was quite successful too in getting rid of some of the vampires


Did Nanny herself actually kill any of the vampires? I think that Igor staked and watered them all--Nanny just held the jugs and woodwork. I think that's a part of her character--she's not a violent or "active" person--she supervises those who do the action. In any case, the preliminary Nanny/Igor attacks on the vampires at the Count's castle were just skirmishes. If they hadn't done anything there, the Phoenix would have taken care of them all by itself (another question: Why didn't the Phoenix go after the Magpyrs? Did it know that they were holding Magrant and the baby hostage? Or was this perhaps a narrative hole?).

And in terms of becoming 'leader,' she never would have become leader if Agnes hadn't taken her away from the Count's influence early in the book. WIthout Agnes, Nanny would have been fresh meat.

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Postby swreader » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:08 am

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Like you're say Tony, there's the other side of mothering too - the protective part of it. Female animals can and do fight to the death for their own and when Nanny and Magrat first 'fled' the castle with baby Esme I was like 'what the hell are they going to Uberwald for?' but of course they weren't running away at all, they were making a tactical withdrawal in order to make a calculated assault on the vampire's own 'nest'.

Another mother trait with Nanny is a refusal to take sides within her 'family' and to love everyone the same? When Granny and Magrat clash it's always Nanny who's the mediator - like in Witches Abroad and the wet hen incident... :lol:


Jan, please get your facts right. Nanny is the Mother in the group, but that does not mean she behaves like Supermom, or even Supergran Mom. Nanny plays favorites, and her family move up and down in her estimation as indicated by the placement of the trinkets or pictures they have brought her to adorn her house. (pp. 155-6) The fact that she insists on her daughter-in-laws cleaning her house, etc. hardly makes her a model mom. Nanny is the Mother in the Coven because she could hardly be the maiden, but in reality, she is much closer to an embodiment of an Earth Goddess.

Further, when Nanny and company leave the castle at Lancre, Nanny's original plan is to go down to the plains, but when the find water across the road (p.278), Nanny decides they need to head for Slake (which has a good strong stone building). They end up at the vampire's castle (318)because they are caught by the Old Master's spell for bringing people to Don't-go-near-the Castle, which Igor has the keys to. Strategic retreat -- my foot! It's her ability to think quickly on her feet that leads them to stash Magrat and the Baby in Igor's quarters while Nanny & Igor start preparing to defend the castle against the returning vampires.
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Postby swreader » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:29 am

raisindot wrote:
Did Nanny herself actually kill any of the vampires? I think that Igor staked and watered them all--Nanny just held the jugs and woodwork. I think that's a part of her character--she's not a violent or "active" person--she supervises those who do the action. In any case, the preliminary Nanny/Igor attacks on the vampires at the Count's castle were just skirmishes. If they hadn't done anything there, the Phoenix would have taken care of them all by itself (another question: Why didn't the Phoenix go after the Magpyrs? Did it know that they were holding Magrant and the baby hostage? Or was this perhaps a narrative hole?).

And in terms of becoming 'leader,' she never would have become leader if Agnes hadn't taken her away from the Count's influence early in the book. WIthout Agnes, Nanny would have been fresh meat.

J-I-B


Nanny is in charge at the Castle--not Igor, who must have a Master. She dispatches one vampire at Lancre castle before they leave by getting him to bite on a lemon (although Margaret insists they haven't enough time to cut off his head.) And she's previously tried the garlic remedy. At the vampire castle, she is lowering a vial of Holy Water when Igor warns her of the changing weather. And she asks Igor for more stakes, or holy water when he reports they're out of everything but an orange (P. 376). There is no point in her request unless she's been using them. None of this fits with your attempt to downplay her significant role. She is the one who decides to leave Agnes ( the only one of the witches who is protected }in order to save Magrat and the baby by use of herself and Igor.

It seems perfectly obvious to me that Nanny (as quoted previously) is planning to "kick bat" at the castle. She hopes Granny is coming, but if not, I think that she and Igor would die in the attempt to save Magrat and the baby.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:14 am

SW Reader - I meant the coven not the mother-in-law side of it! :lol: That's just normal family dynamics. :wink:

As for the rest - that's just faulty memory and making things up as I go - been around pooh far too long now :roll: However you can't have it both ways - she's either fleeing to the plains but thwarted or thinking on her feet and dealing with stuff as it crops up. She's got her eye on the defensive game with least danger to Magrat and baby Esme all down the line - what's quickest and safest in other words. Keep them stashed somewhere safe whilst she and Igor do the rearguard thing. She's a running fight lady not a strategist. If vampires get killed along the way that's just tough :lol:
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Postby raisindot » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:06 pm

swreader wrote:
Nanny is in charge at the Castle--not Igor, who must have a Master. She dispatches one vampire at Lancre castle before they leave by getting him to bite on a lemon (although Margaret insists they haven't enough time to cut off his head.) And she's previously tried the garlic remedy. At the vampire castle, she is lowering a vial of Holy Water when Igor warns her of the changing weather. And she asks Igor for more stakes, or holy water when e reports they're out of everything but an orange (P. 376). There is no point in her request unless she's been using them.


I'll concede the lemon, but Nanny knows that lemons don't kill vampires, they just bother them...just enough to get away. That's far from violent. And that she's lowering holy water and asking for more doesn't mean she actually was using them. In fact, PTerry makes it quite clear that she didn't do ANY of the staking. When the vampires invade Igor's chamber, it is HE who stakes them, while Nanny stands aside at the wall watching. So, it's never clear whether she took 'action,' although in her supervisory role she did "manage" the battle.

swreader wrote:
None of this fits with your attempt to downplay her significant role. She is the one who decides to leave Agnes ( the only one of the witches who is protected }in order to save Magrat and the baby by use of herself and Igor.

It seems perfectly obvious to me that Nanny (as quoted previously) is planning to "kick bat" at the castle. She hopes Granny is coming, but if not, I think that she and Igor would die in the attempt to save Magrat and the baby.


Jan is right. She only chooses to kick bat when she discovers she really doesn't have much of an alternative choice. Her initial plan was to escape the battle entirely by heading for the plains, leaving Granny, Agnes and all of her children and family to the fate of the Magpyrs solely to protect Magrat and Esme. Until the floods change her narrative destiny, her allegiance to witches is stronger than her allegiance to her community--hardly a commendable "Mother" quality.

And I'm not downplaying her role--I'm commenting on her lack of "magical power" and importance in the final resolution of the vampire-human conflict. Everything that she and Igor did had no effect on this outcome. They could have made it to the plains, or hidden in the crypt of the Magpyrn castle and not killed a single vampire and Granny, Oats, and the Phoenix would still have made it to the castle and killed them all on her own. And in terms of having the witches' power to "protect the edge," she clearly failed in the beginning by becoming so easily hypnotized by the Magpyrs that she needed the "maiden" witch to rescue her.

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Postby Ponder Stibbons » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:46 pm

Sorry to borrow again, but in fact, Jan, in Equal Rites, Esk visits Granny while she's borrowing and finds that she's turned blue. :lol: :twisted: (oops) :oops: :lol:
I always thought what Terry meant when he said Miss Treason was the best at Borrowing was that she could borrow and control herself at the same time, like Granny did for a few seconds in Lords and Ladies with the horse.
When you say about Death cutting the connection, do you mean like Mad Ysabelle( :twisted: ) in teh Light Fantastic cutting the blue threads?

Ok, back to the topic :arrow: :roll: :wink:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:11 pm

*thwacks Ponder* :lol:
1. Mort and Ysabelle? (does she?) do the cutting away of the spirits (the spectral blue thread yes) just like Death does in the earliest books - in the later books Terry doesn't have to make such a big deal of it. The whole point of the scythe or sword of Death is to sever the last connection of the spirit/awareness to the corpse.
2. It's winter and the fire's gone out - of course she's blue! :lol: Granny knows what she's doing and comes back pretty quickly, but that is the point at which the 'I ain't dead' placard comes into the picture as Terry realises there's a problem. :wink:
3. Miss Treason has to wait a bit - however, how old is she? She's possibly twice as old as Granny perhaps so she's extra good at it - also who trained Granny to borrow? Speculation on this point in the next thread please.. :lol:

Jeff - I don't think we do agree that much. Nanny is the Mother (Earth Goddess is closer for Nanny as swreader says although there is another more modern interpretation of the mother role as Granny would be if that was her take on it, except birthing kids has nothing to do with it aside from adding a tag on the mechanics? :shock: :wink: ) Earth Goddesses fight any way they can - fast and loose or hard and dirty with the eye on inflicting as much damage on their opponents and the least on themselves and their charges. It's more about survival than winning. Hence the strategic withdrawal description to the plains as Plan A - if you know you can't win 'inside' then get out and do it from outside where you can get help if you need it. She wasn't running she was evading manipulation so she could keep fighting - on her terms.

Females aren't necessarily as deadly or as brave as the male but they're a whole lot sneakier and nastier... :wink:
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