Baron of Magister Valley Chapter 16 Support Group

There are going to be SPOILERS for MAGISTER VALLEY here, but I’ll keep them in the comments.

So, you’ve read chapter sixteen, and you’re ready to yell at Steven about it?

Readers of Dragaeran historical romances will be familiar with wishing to yell at Paarfi and Steven. But this one is really going to cause some wailing and gnashing of teeth. Comments here for us to commiserate together.

173 thoughts on “Baron of Magister Valley Chapter 16 Support Group”

  1. A few years ago, Steve was reading his new manuscript to me. His Paarfi books are some of my favorite books of all time, so it was VERY exciting to hear him read his new draft in person. So he’s reading, and I’m shocked by what’s happening, and he finally looks up and notices my face, contorted by outrage.

    “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

    “Did you just STEAL their BOAT?”


    “Yes you did! He just got in their boat and sailed away! They’re gonna be stranded!”

    I mean, you can imagine how delighted he was to provoke such a reaction in me. And I have continued to give him grief about being a BOAT-THIEF ever since.

    But now that you all have the book in your hot little e-readers, I can finally reveal that I’ve continued to yell about the boat-theft mostly because I couldn’t publicly spoil the thing that has really made me want to yell at him every time I think about it: the Interregnum.

    I mean, there we are, reading this fun historic fantasy, when all of a sudden, BOOM. He just oh so casually ends a chapter by dropping in the fucking Interregnum! Argh! NO ONE EXPECTS THE DANG INTERREGNUM. I dunno, maybe some of you were paying enough attention to the dates or something and you knew it was coming. BUT I DIDN’T.


  2. I always knew Jen was correct about the boat stealing, but to learn the truth of the matter at last… *shakes head*

  3. When I got to this point I said to myself “The rest of this book is going to be a bunch of near misses to reunite the main characters, isn’t it?”


    On a not particularly related note, how is Paarfi still alive? Because the Demon doesn’t seem like the sort of person who would tolerate a couple of centuries of having his personal affairs being dug up by a self-absorbed novelist who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “discretion”. Paarfi’s atypical tolerance of Jhereg in this particular book suggests that he received a visit from some intimidating individuals, but I’m a little surprised that that visit ended in some editorial help rather than a fall face first into a lit fireplace.

  4. At the end of Chapter 15, when I read that it was the 11th hour after midnight in the 532d year of Tortaalik’s reign, I damn near had a digestive incident.

  5. Kragar –
    Yes. I also shuddered a bit at the very first mention of trellenstone….


    Yes, yes. The boat is now stolen. And I see what has occurred.

    And it is bad, indeed terrible.


    ahem. sorry.

    Also, man Paarfi is throwin some shade.

  6. Daifan is Old Serioli for Demon.
    …and who is Kefaan …holy shit…Kragar? Naaaah.

  7. Can we talk about the WAAY too intense ending of Chapter the Twenty-Third?

    This is when I knew and I squeed and had to walk around the block to shake it off. Holy hells:

    “I … my lord Dust, the House of the Jhereg, well, we do not sell titles.”

    “We do now,” said Dust.”


  8. *grin* I wondered if anyone would respond to that; it kind of gave me the shivers when I wrote it.

  9. anathos: Do you know much about how organized crime operates, either in our world or in its Dragaeran reflection? Historians, journalists, biographers, and novelists write about it freely, because if the mob were to so much as threaten one of them, law enforcement would be all over them–you don’t mess with civilians. Same in the Dragaeran Empire.

  10. Unless those civilians have skipped out on a gambling debt of, say, several hundred gold imperials…

    For me: “We do now” were only three words that conveyed chapters of meaning. Just the kind of compact language that Paarfi loves and wields so proficiently.

  11. The further I get into this book, the more I realize I need to reread all of the Vlad novels again.

    And I have some suspicions about the cave, and think I might need to reread at least The Paths of the Dead, if not the entire Viscount of Adrilankha.

  12. THANK YOU! The Demon’s actions – or should I say choice not to act – as harshly with Vlad as one would expect of a Jhereg now make perfect sense. And thank you again – I now have the perfect way to get my anti-Paarfi sons to read the Paarfi novels. :-)

  13. Just finished. I expected a lot of things from this book. I did not, however, expect the Demon’s back story.

  14. Yes, I was not expecting the Demon’s backstory (assuming Paarfi has got the story right). I did realize the interregnum was going to show up in the book once I learned the Phoenix reign had started. I note from the Demon’s point of view the story is good publicity; it depicts him as extremely dangerous to any Jhereg who had doubts on that matter and were considering testing him.

  15. Questions for the support group:

    (I strongly suspect skzb will not answer these, as he will choose to default to the text of what he wrote, and he enjoys the speculation).

    Did Dust use his final “wish” from the little red guy to separate Yanis from his escort of 100 men, bringing him to another world, so he could fight him one on one and kill him?

    If so, was that a wise use of his last wish? Why not just wait until later, when Yanis was alone or something?

    And why did Dust let all the other main conspirators live, just deprived of their fortunes, power and position, but had to make sure Yanis was croaked?

  16. … I haven’t finished the book yet. There has been a half-description of where the name ‘Daifan’ came from (something like “the jhereg in northport decided to call me that”). Is there a more complete/better description?


    Kragar – My take on Dust vs Yanis:

    1) Yanis was directly responsible for the death of his parents and the destruction of their home. Dust, at this point, was confident enough and had amassed enough wealth and influence, that other than isolating and killing Yanis, anything else he could have saved the last wish for would just have been a constant temptation and demean all the confidence and self-reliance he’d worked so hard to achieve.
    2) Yanis exhibited enough symptoms of a sociopath that leaving him alive as a punishment in any form would never have resulted in his acceptance of responsibility or lead him to atonement or reform. For someone without a soul, death is the appropriate response, otherwise you’re just causing someone pain for no reason.
    3) Just as Livosha needed to kill the Sergeant who slaughtered her mother and sister, Yanis had to die by Dust’s hand.
    4) All of the other participants in the conspiracy were so in love with their influence and power that I think it was more painful for them to live without those assets, and perhaps learn something about compassion and empathy in their paucity.

    Obviously, these are just my opinions after a first read and I welcome dissenting opinions and reserve the right to change mine based on further re-reads ;-)~


  18. Derek–

    Thanks. You (and mostly skzb) have given me a lot to think about.

    Funny that the investigation into why Cryden Manor exploded in a giant fireball was still ongoing more than 600 years later. By golly we will get to the bottom of that mystery eventually!


    Those In Power Who Were Behind The Whole Thing

  19. Derek: Wow. I certainly can’t say you’re right, because who knows. But, FWIW, that is exactly how I figured it.

  20. SKZB – I never want to be right (about fictional works; obviously I want to be right about anything and everything else)…if I’m right, all of my speculative and imaginative permutations suddenly have a definitive answer and ending…thus negating all further speculation. Know what I mean?

    That being said, I’m still pissed at myself for being blindsided by the name drop in Chapter 25 after at least two obvious (and 1 not so obvious) hints you dropped in the lead up to said name drop. Just awesome.

    Kragar – I would question the attention given to, and the validity of, any investigation into the Cryden Catastrophe (please pardon the alliteration). In the feudal system described, and especially given Adron’s Disaster, I seriously doubt that any investigation into the Cryden Catastrophe could have ever gained serious traction. Remember, Cryden was a Barony, completely subject to the whims of Dorin, the Count and Magistrate of Westward County which included the Cryden Barony, and with the failure of the Orb, which rendered the rule of law ambiguous at best, I doubt any investigation, with any amount of evidence, could have, or would have, merited attention by anyone at all in a position to render judgement other than Count Dorin. Thus the need to have certain villains incriminate themselves under the auspices of Daro, in the County of Whitecrest, to at least adhere to some semblance of law as an acceptable means of involving the Kinsmen.

    Anyway, that’s my take.


  21. For my part, I am glad the two star-crossed lovers did not reunite and live happily ever after in the end. A lifetime of trauma and the quest to build up power and take revenge strikes me as inevitably transformative. Eremit became 81, 81 became Dust, Dust became Daifan. By that point, there is going to be very little left of the young Iorich from chapter one. Livosha, of course, transformed as well. She, too, made the best of an unexpectedly hard life. Perhaps the concept of being taken care of by a strong man went by the wayside after a few centuries of fighting, scrapping, running, and scheming to successfully save her brother and herself.

    Derek–I would be taking a victory lap right now. Nice work. It helps that we have such a damn good book to chew on.

  22. I was, by necessity, sober while attending the Virtual Release Party, had some responsibilities later in the evening and an early appointment the next morning. Apropos, thanks for the encouragement, I am now taking a victory lap in the form of a chilled, double shot of Don Julio 1942, with a single Castelvetrano olive in the bottom of the glass.

    And I’m enjoying it even more than usual due to this kind of engagement about such a wonderful book. Cheers!

  23. Kragar –

    I have since forth finished the novel and received the definition/meaning of Daifan… I have found it somewhat unsatisfying.

    Also, am I the only one who was pretty sure that Daifan was using Elder Sorcery during most of his boat rides to ensure that the winds were favorable?

    I am still also missing the great trauma of the stealing of the boat. It was simply resolved in a perfectly reasonable way without distress or confusion to the people involved.

  24. That’s the great thing about a good book–we can all react to the words differently, depending on our own experiences, desires, hopes, dreams and aspirations.

  25. Oh, sorry. Let me a be a bit clearer.

    I found the definition/meaning/origin of Daifan to be somewhat unsatisfying.

    The book was great – especially all the shade that Paarfi threw around.

  26. Something I really loved about this book was that it was NOT just a carbon copy of that other book with names changed and a bit of magic or pixies added. My favorite thing was that even though the couple don’t get back together at the end, it’s not because he did something unforgivable to her like causing her son to be killed.

  27. Jeff Lowrey :

    1) Do you recall Dust’s first meeting with Keen? Read Keen’s exclamation after Dust’s action. The exclamation is in Serioli and includes the word diafan, which I interpreted as either a mistake on Paarfi’s part and meant to be daifan, or a variation on the word daifan in this particular context. That was later mentioned by Dust as the name he would come to adopt being given to him by a Jhereg in Northport. I believe he found its use, and meaning, amusing as applied to him. I did as well.

    2) I recall the passage regarding favorable winds and also momentarily thought he was using Elder Sorcery and the pendent left to him by Magister, but revised that opinion when he and his pirate fleet had such a hard time catching up to Dorin & Hadrice. So I now believe that he had no practical knowledge of Elder Sorcery and that the pendent was enchanted by Magister and only relevant with regard to the design in the cave in Magister Valley for the specific purpose of summoning a demon.

    3) I don’t think the great trauma lay in the stealing of the boat…it was the trauma of stealing the boat that his one-time lover and her brother had sailed to the island for the express purpose of rescuing him, and instead he steals it and leaves them stranded by the wayside and thus a welcome reunion that could well have prevented his corruption from an Iorich to a Jhereg…

    Steve, care to comment?


  28. Jon: She likes to hang around the docks in Adrilankha sometimes.

    Derek: Ooops. That IS a typo, and I’d never noticed it. Maybe I’ll go with regional variation. :-)

    And, yes, you’re right, it was that part of the boat stealing that got Jen so upset, but, afterwards (as she said) most of the time she was talking about boat-stealing, she was really talking about the Interregnum plopping itself in at the end of chapter 15, and didn’t want to give spoilers.

  29. Derek–

    Ah, but was not the “corruption” complete before the former Eremit ever left his cell for good? Magister trained him mind, body and soul to do anything and everything to achieve his goals. Dust had already gone to the dark side. Didn’t he scratch the words on his cell, something like “don’t bother looking for me, I will be looking for you?” He had already transformed, the rest was just putting things into action. No longer restrained by any “misguided” reliance on quaint notions of right or wrong!

  30. Kragar – Ahhh, another time to turn your tail and see what comes of it ;-)~

    1) Magister did nothing of the sort. His attention was never to do “anything and everything” to help Dust achieve his goals, merely to teach a worthy student and thus prove his theories about truth and knowledge and the ability to learn. Of course, this is my interpretation of Magisters’ motivations, but I’m willing to entertain others…however, I’d like to see quotes that denote other such motivations on his part because I didn’t find any.
    2) An Iorich who believes in JUSTICE would feel perfectly justified in leaving a message to those miscreants involved in running an illegal jail. So the inscription, “You need not find me, I will come back for you,” is, in my opinion, in keeping with the highest standards of an Iorich. It was not until the stealing of the boat to facilitate his escape from the island, his arrival in Ivaacim and subsequent stealing of provisions from the tavern, his alliance with Alishka and her band, and, finally, and to seal the deal, his slaying of Keen’s two thugs and purchase of a Jhereg title, that completed his transformation into a Jhereg.
    3) Right and Wrong are, to me, far more important notions than legal and illegal. Morals vs Ethics. I attempt to be a moral individual. I leave notions of ethics to lawyers. They are vastly different subjects in my opinion…To illustrate my point, I leave you with this quote, “The ethical man knows that it is wrong to sleep with his friend’s wife; the moral man does not do it.”


  31. skzb–

    I usually read your new books within a day or two of publication, then wait a few months before a second reading. Not this time! I am diving back in starting tonight, what with all the stimulating discussion and tantalizing clues.

  32. Steve – Yeah I get Jen’s point. Bit of a deus ex machina if I really felt the urge to be critical, but the non-reunion and subsequent heartbreak, I felt, made up for any discontent I felt with the contrived event leading to Dust’s escape ;)

  33. I will say, with all due respect to the Princess of Mermaid Cove, that I have read the entire book, but did not observe the theft of any boat described within its pages.

    There was an incident where a boat was chartered from an individual, used for the exact purpose for which it was hired, and then returned to its rightful owner. The inconvenience of certain persons involved in this transaction notwithstanding, I do not believe even the most skilled advocate could make a convincing case for /theft/ against the individual in question, given that the owner of said vessel had had his property returned to him even faster than the terms under which he had leased its service.

    Also, having tracked the names of the characters in Dragaera closely for many years, I nearly burst a gasket upon the first utterance of the name “Daifan”. Well done, Steve. That one caught me off guard, and made the rest of the book an utter joy to finish (not that I wasn’t having a good time already).

  34. Oh, one further thought… The matching paragraphs where Paarfi identically explains the hazards and uselessness of repetition in subsequent chapters… brilliant.

  35. Majikjon – You argue like an advocate sir, but with a macro focus, as opposed to a micro focus. Upon the acquisition of said boat from said fisherman, by Livosha and Kefaan, a contract of transfer of title was thus entered into and not only implied but agreed upon by said persons for a period of time agreed upon by all. Regardless of whether said boat was returned to said fisherman, and in what time-frame, the fact that it was appropriated by an individual not originally party to the initial and agreed upon negotiations, is therefore not subject to, and in violation of, the initial contract. The fact that this appropriation also left adrift the initial signatories of said contract, could also be considered an actionable offense.

    Yours, most sincerely,


  36. Derek: There is no question that dropping the interregnum in at that moment was bending coincidence to the breaking point in terms of plot. However, in my (not Paarfi’s) defense, I will insist that doing that kind of thing is exactly in line with the Romantic writers to whom I was paying homage, and so I make no apology.

    Majikjon: Less than three.

  37. SKZB – Completely agree and absolutely appreciated the homage, thus no apology wanted, warranted, or yearned for. And, as previously mentioned, the heartbreak and tension thus incurred more than made up for any contrivance that was a possibility ;-)~

  38. Derek Smith – Ah, but Eremit WAS in fact a party to the original lease agreement, albeit in absentia. The terms under which the boat was leased included him, explicitly, as an intended passenger on the boat for its return journey–with the clear and unconditional agreement of the boat’s owner, who appeared to be fully aware of the risks and hazards associated with the mission, and yet nevertheless did agree to the arrangement in exchange for the compensation offered by Livosha.

    In terms of coincidences… They do happen. When they don’t, we just don’t hear about it. This is what is called “confirmation bias” and is the same reason celebrities and lottery winners like to go around saying “It could happen to you to, you just have to believe!” while the countless throngs of failed believers suffer silently and unheard.

  39. Majikjon – Well fuck me running…well done sir! I’m not, you understand, giving in, or submitting to, your counterpoint presented, however, I beg leave for a continuance while I reread relevant passages that could precipitate further debate…whilst also tipping my hat to you.

    As to coincidences, we’re in agreement in spirit here, if not in detail. Also, I find myself wanting to disagree with you just because of your reliance on celebrities and lottery winners to make your point. For shame…you’re better than that!

    Challenge accepted! More to come.


  40. Steve – better make a big batch. I’m currently engaged in a paprika debate with you on twitter, whilst also researching source material for my inevitable Majikjon rebuttal…

    Derek – AKA DeadMetaphor…

  41. Steve – Hold on to whatever floppy hat and feather you happen to have close at hand, (and, perhaps, put it on your head first, for dramatic effect, and then hold on to it). Paprika originated in Central Mexico, many, many centuries ago. Then it made its way to Portugal and Spain in the 16th Century. It did not become commonplace, or even popular, in Hungary until the 19th century. Perhaps you were already familiar with said history, perhaps not, but I now feel at least somewhat vindicated in my preference for Spanish smoked, and mildly sweet, in terms of authenticity.

    Majikjon – I have not forgotten you. Your time is fast approaching!


  42. I wasn’t familiar in detail, but I knew it was a “New World” plant and only came to Hungary late, but I had thought 18th Century. (Which ignores the degree to which the Hungarians pefec,,,I mean, modified it.)

  43. In flagrant violation of my previous post, I must admit that I much prefer the flavor of hot (non-smoked) paprika from Budpaest (in very, very small quantities) over all other varieties I’ve tried. That should not, however, detract in any way from the points I’ve made on authenticity above…

  44. Majikjon – I would refer you to pages two hundred the seventh, and eighth with regard to any implied or explicit contract between our Fisherman and our erstwhile rescuers of Emerit. I have now examined said pages in detail, and hereby aver and swear that no such mention of a rescue of Emerit, or indeed any other party, was mentioned as part of said contract. The only material agreement agreed upon was that in exchange for one day’s catch upon the fisherman’s part, two days of worth of such work would be reimbursed by Livosha and Kefaan.

    Your move my good sir…


  45. I would jump in here, but I feel I might be punching above my weight class. Intellectually, be it understood.

    Mind passing the popcorn, skzb? I have some melted butter here that might go well with it.

  46. Derek,

    The fisherman warns Livosha and Kefaan against approaching the island surrounded by mists, indicating his awareness of such a place, even prior to the duo’s departing on their errand to free Eremit.

    Further, said fisherman’s statements upon rescuing Livosha and Kefaan from the dock indicate that he had at least some idea that the island was used to hold prisoners (whether as a jail or a prison in this case being irrelevant).

    I put it to you that the fisherman was well aware ahead of time of the pair’s intention to approach this island, (in which case, there can be little question that he would have deduced their intention to rescue one of the prisoners from confinement, and that the prisoner in question would necessarily be expected to be a passenger on the boat upon the return journey, should their rescue prove successful) and that, in full knowledge of this, his failure to attach any objections or imposition of conditions to the contrary upon the lease agreement, he was implicitly consenting to this specific set of activities.

    Even further, this worthy fisherman (for such we can assume based on the actions that are about to be described), upon finding his vessel returned (without the concurrent return of those who had leased the craft from him) came to the immediate (and correct) conclusion that the pair of lessees had become stranded on this island, and that the individual for which they had come to rescue had, in fact, returned on his vessel to the village the previous evening. This resulted in his immediate trip out to the island in search of Lishova and Kefaan (to his credit, while it is clear that he was hopeful of being rewarded, he did not in fact insist upon recompense as a condition of the successful rescue).

    Lastly, I would direct your attention to Chapter the twenty-seventh, whereupon Eremit (Dust) learns that the boat upon which he escaped had been delivered by Lishova and Kefaan, and Lishova says:

    “Think nothing of it, my friend. After all, we brought the boat with the intention of rescuing you, and, well, that is exactly the use to which it was put.”
    “And yet–”
    “Besdies, as you returned it intact, it was then able to rescue us in turn.”

    Is this not a free admission on the part of the purported “victim” of the theft that no such theft had, in fact, taken place?

  47. In a word, no. Despite such an astute and in depth analysis of various participants’ thoughts or actions, nothing you’ve referenced has convinced me that the initial transaction was based on anything other than a strict 1 day, for 2 day material transaction. Compassion on the part of the fisherman notwithstanding, has no legal bearing on such a transaction…no matter how much you might attempt to sway me to your point of view with appeals to empathy or not. I’m holding firm on my initial point, which strictly details the initial interactions described on 207/208… Anything else could, and should, be construed as superfluous and thus not relevant to the initial contract.

    Morally, I agree with you. Ethically, I find your argument lacking.


  48. I do not dispute with you that Lishova might have some actionable private civil grievance to file against Eremit in this case. I merely submit that proving “Theft” requires demonstrating that a rightful owner of property has been unjustly relieved of that property against their wishes.

    In this case, as Lishova is not onlyt NOT the rightful owner of the property, but the rightful owner actually had the vessel returned to him per the conditions of the lease. Nor can it be stated that any actions on Eremit’s part were actually against Lishova’s wishes. Therefore, “Theft” is not an appropriate description of any wrong committed here.

  49. Hmmm…once more I’m forced to rely upon the letter of the law (ethical interpretation) vs spirit (moral interpretation) of the law. Since none of the parties involved in this dispute have claimed aggrieved status, I’m forced to admit that no real crime has been committed. I still believe that the Fisherman has no cause for complaint, while Livosha and/or her brother COULD have claimed aggrieved status, but chose not to, and that Dust did, by action of commandeering a boat without permission (otherwise known as piracy) start his descent from an aggrieved Iorich to a willing Jhereg, I think we’ve reached an impasse, as well as a tacit agreement…yes?

  50. If my semi-coherent blathering can provide even a moments enjoyment for you, after the hours of joy your works have provided me, well, I’m a happy blathering idiot ;-)~

  51. My problem, you see, is that I underestimated my fans. In the Vlad books, “Daifan” is mentioned, what, once? I figured one or two people would get it, but everyone else would be amazed with the big reveal when he explains, in the Conclusion, that his name means Demon. But it seems like *everyone* caught it. You guys are too good.

  52. skzb–

    Crunch crunch crunch. Is this stove-top or air popped? Not microwave bag popcorn!

  53. I am just glad the “combatants” did not have to resort to steel rapiers, since their rapier wits never failed them. Well, a bit glad about no steel rapiers…

  54. Especially since, well, I have no rapier. I’m a Kendo/Aikido guy, thus have several variations of shinai and bokken, but the closest objects to a rapier in my house are the skewers I use to impale various olives for my cocktails…

  55. Heretofore, the name Daifan comes up only while Vlad is researching the current situation of the House of the Jhereg during /Dzur/ (with the aid of a friendly Tsalmoth named Deleen) at the Imperial Library. Here he also learns of the death of Curithne (the only time THAT name has come up, as well).

    If it had been in any other book but /Dzur/, I think your plan may have worked. The problem is everyone loves /Dzur/ so much because of the food.

  56. Can’t wait for Saturday morning. Farmer’s Market. Fresh mushrooms. Garlic. Brandy.
    Pepper essence. These are a few of my favorite things.

  57. Okay I have to talk about another section of the book that I really love.

    After the orb is lost and the sorcery that keeps the volcano continously erupting fails, a single ship returns to shore with its fisherman owner, Livosha and her group aboard.

    They bring back a tale of injustice–prisoners illegally held and now stranded. On a volcanic island. With armed jailers wandering around. Where there used to be an impenetrable mist.

    What do the townsfolk do? Grab some clubs, get EVERYBODY, and man the ships. There is a wrong to be righted, and there is a concrete action to be taken. At great personal risk, not for personal profit or glory, but because it is the right thing to do, they act without hesitation.

    Talk about a working class consciousness!! If you want to talk about “human nature,” let’s TALK.

  58. If the earlier examples of Paarfi’s writings may be viewed as a series of blades, each displaying an incremental improvement over its predecessor in terms of flexibility, edge retention, and ease of use… this latest is an astonishing example of finest damascus, sourced from meteoric iron, tastefully embellished with sapphires of exquisite cut and clarity, that nearly leaps from its sheath to pass through the heart of anyone foolhardy enough to violate the laws of courtesy.

    Hot damn, sir.

  59. Kragar: Thanks. Fishermen, in particular, are well known for that sort of thing. “Someone needs rescuing; let’s go.”

    Andrew: Thank you. :-)

  60. I will say you’ve left me with a bit of a conundrum, dealing with the wiki entry for the Demon. Do I need to make a separate article for Eremit and cross-reference it with the existing Demon page? Re-title the page to Daifan, and make aliases that include Dust, The Demon, and Eremit as redirects? Break out separate articles for each name?

    Argh! What a mess for the diligent Lyorn librarian to catalogue!

  61. I have confidence in your abilities sir ;)

    I could easily see a separate page for Eremit though. Whatever Eremit once was, The Demon is a very different being indeed, along with any of the names he’s used since the transitional “Dust” period…

  62. Just dropping by to say how much I loved the “We do now” reveal. Damn. That’s good writing even by your standards, Steve.

  63. Well, now I feel sheepish. The answer, of course, was staring me in the face the entire time. I just need to deal with the situation the same way that was done with Sethra and a certain other character who may or may not also be Sethra. There. Sorted.

  64. Really enjoyed the book, and the twists, but was a bit disappointed, since I was expecting/hoping that the character backstory would be that of Kragar.

    Also, Iorich was mis-spelled at least once in the Kindle copy, “Iroich” — reported it as a typo and there were a couple of places where there might have been an article missing, only reported one though.

  65. Coming here late, having just finished the book. For the record, I did *not* recognize Daifan until the end. (I did kick myself a bit over “We do now”, though.) Part of why I wrote the Timeline is because I *don’t* have a perfect memory for all this stuff :)

    (I answer questions quickly for our esteemed host, but that’s mostly due to my skill with using search programs to supplement the patchy memory in my meat-brain.)

    (Oh, and one of those questions was “Have I ever given a physical description of the Demon?” To which the answer was basically no.)

  66. I recall there being a vague description of The Demon in one of the Vlad books. But my meat-brain could be wrong, too.

    Anyway Eremit/Dust/Daifan could all look quite different from one another, even though now we can strongly suspect that all three are the same person.

  67. Maybe I read too much into it, but my understanding was that Magister’s motive was the hope that Eremit could escape (by learning to breath underwater?) and avenge Magister’s illegal incarceration, not to mention Eremit’s. If this was his motive, his hopes were entirely fulfilled–in spades. Aside from that it did help keep them occupied and sane.

  68. Don’t forget Magister was an Athyra. They believe in acquiring knowledge, with the idea that knowledge is power, and that having power is better than the alternative.

    Magister says his life was changed when he came across a book about how people learn, and that this led to his own extraordinary abilities as a polymath. Later, when he agreed to take on a student whose in-aptitude (and ineptitude) led to his incarceration (Traaznzo the Younger, apparently), Magister was presumably testing the theories he had used on himself to see if they would work for anyone. This led directly to his addition to his hypothesis of the caveat that got him imprisoned (er, jailed). “The student has to want to learn”.

    This further caveat he was then able to test successfully on Eremit. The opportunity to complete his life’s work study in spite of the conditions of his incarceration must have been very appealing and motivating for Magister.

  69. I’m of the firm opinion that Magister cared absolutely nothing for revenge. He cared about finally finding a worthy student, passing on his knowledge to such an individual and testing his theories on someone other than himself. I doubt he would find the work such knowledge was put to of much concern at all… It would be nice to think that everyone cares about right and wrong, good or bad, justice and injustice, but to someone imprisoned for thousands of years, the opportunity to teach Eremit was, I think, the absolute most Magister could have asked, or hoped for…what Dust and Daifan did afterwards with said knowledge, I doubt mattered to Magister in the slightest. And yes, I am intentionally using different names for different actions and different aspects of Eremit’s life and conscience. It makes it easier for me to keep track of my opinions on his slide towards full-on Jhereg-hood ;-)~

  70. Hmm…while I’d love to get more of Kragar’s backstory re:booted from the House of the Dragon and becoming a certain someone’s front-man before becoming Vlad’s lieutenant, I’m not sure how that would have fit with the whole, you know,NOT “The Count of Monte Cristo” theme.
    Then again, how Steve pulled off the Demon’s backstory to a similar tune is still pretty damn astonishing to me, so, hell with it, go full tilt and put Kragar’s backstory to the tune of Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge! You can do it!

  71. If we have to wait another decade or so for the final Vlad novels to be published, because there will be more Paarfi, well, I, for one, am willing.

  72. Kragar – BLASPHEMY! I want my Vlad v Vera showdown before the next Paarfi novel…we’re so close!

    I’m just (mostly) kidding; I’ll be more than content with whatever Steve publishes…

  73. I don’t think Magister would have been so insistent on Eremit’s escaping if revenge had not been in the back of his mind. Yes, he was happy to have an apt pupil and all the prisoners would have welcomed human contact so his motives would have been mixed.

    One (extremely minor) crack, or maybe shard. In Orca, during the conversation with Keira the thief in which Vlad reveals who Keira really is, the idly remarks that the toroidal rolls they were eating would go well with butter cheese and smoked redfish. I howled at that. But here in Baron, the fishermen are catching salmon. So which is it, salmon or redfish?

  74. Is it that surprising that the narrator of Orca, Vlad, who grew up on the streets, learning culinary terms in Fenarian from his Easterner Grandfather and father, uses a different word to describe the same fish as does Paarfi, the narrator of Magister, a noble of the House of Hawk, speaking formally and to an academic audience?

  75. “My problem, you see, is that I underestimated my fans. In the Vlad books, “Daifan” is mentioned, what, once? I figured one or two people would get it, but everyone else would be amazed with the big reveal when he explains, in the Conclusion, that his name means Demon.

    Never fear… I thought the name sounded familiar, but was distracted at the time, and therefore was, indeed, shocked and amazed (and literally fell out of my chair… bad habit, slouching that way) at the reveal at the end. Well done, sir!!! I’ll meet you at dawn.

  76. Michael Barr:

    I nearly think you are referencing a scene from the beginning of /Issola/, not the one late in /Orca/.

    In that scene with Teldra and Vlad, they comment that the house rolls (round, with holes in the middle) would go well with buttercheese and pinkfish.

    However, these scenes are set in completely different parts of the Empire, and local names for various seafood are likely to be different from region to region. There can be different names for the same type of thing. I mean, you can call it Salmon… and I can turn around and call it Steelhead trout, or Sockeye… or Coho, or Chum… you get the idea.

  77. Majikjon–

    I loved the fact that the Lyorn chronicler writing about Eremit is HIGHLY suspicious regarding the veracity, or lack thereof, of Paarfi’s account.

  78. Yeah, me too. I mean, seriously, it reminded me so much of a historian discussing the man in the iron mask and kind of dismissively mentioning Dumas’ theory about him.

  79. Michael Barr:

    You know Dragaera is a completely different world, correct? Some of the fauna and flora may superficially resemble those of our own planet, but a lot of it is going to be translations to evoke rough equivalents. Also, salmon and redfish both swim in Earth’s oceans, and they are totally different types of fish.

  80. I don’t know whether I deserve congratulations or not. I thought the name Daifan looked familiar AND when thinking which Jhereg notable could be our protagonist thought of the Demon but did not make the connection. Sometimes my brain works behind my back.

    A most excellent work. My only caveat is that as I am not currently at home I have to wait to reread so many of the other books :)

  81. A truly wonderful book. My question is about something different. I don’t remember now the exact conversation but in the latter part of the book someone is discussing how a certain charge is added to other charges just to make things seem extra serious, but then goes on to say that it’s never that. I’m curious if that is a reference to Ken White of Popehat and how “It’s never RICO.”

  82. Well done sir. I really enjoyed it.

    Apropos of the boat stealing, I would just add that Livosha and Kefaan would seem to have voided their lease as the fisherman explicitly told them not to go into the mist or to the island. Thus, the boat, with Eremit, did justly return itself to its rightful owner and then as good boats are wont to do, did return to save its erstwhile leaseholders.

    I didn’t recognize the name Daifan from before, but I developed a strong feeling after Dust became a Jhereg Baron that he would eventually be the Demon. I totally enjoyed the reveal that this was correct.

    I’ll note that as Paarfi was relating history, the Interregnum occurring when it did was as such just a matter of history and broke no literary rules as Paarfi is very careful to not let literary conventions interfere with his relating of history. He told us that himself, several times.

  83. Steve Halter–

    I cannot find the “thumbs up” doohickie in this comment section, but if there were one, well, I would activate it in response to your immediately previous post.

  84. Thanks Kragar!
    A couple questions did occur to me. I wonder if any of the Countess of Whitecrest’s guards included any familiar faces.
    I also wonder how much else the Demon has learned in the intervening years as he has the Magister’s learning framework to apply.

  85. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks. And, yeah, that second question in particular has been buzzing around in my head a bit. Not sure if I’ll do anything with it, but it’s interesting.

  86. Firstly… Yes, the ending of Chapter 15 made me go “Are you f**king kidding me!!” and I immediately started ranting about it to my wife. A terrible coincidence to be sure, but delightful and in retrospect it’s actually not that inappropriate as Napolean died while Edmond was imprisoned in Château d’If (meaning that Tortaalik’s death now has literary parallels to both Charles I and Napoleon)

    Secondly… I’ve always loved The Count of Monte Cristo so I was very excited for this book and I loved the unexpected twists to classic plot points. The foiled escape plan, for example, brought a smile to my face. The best change though was how Steven made Livosha into a fully developed character that I was continually rooting for instead of simply using his female characters as glorified plot devices.

  87. Well since Daifan is now no. 1 in the Jhereg, he can’t rise much higher in Organization. I wonder if he would have any interest in rising higher in the Empire?

  88. Kragar: Maybe. I was thinking along the lines of elder sorcery. There’s also the question of what exactly became of Magister’s body.

    Then, there’s the possibility of his being the secret driving force behind Valabars. Or a line cook.

    Emperor, ancient sorcerer, gastronome — so many possibilities.

  89. I would say that Demon is a Renaissance man, but I am not sure that they have had only one on Dragaera.

  90. I was just sitting here, ruminating (in private) about the end of Hawk in light of TBOMV and wondering if I could reconcile an Iorich being the architect, or at least a part, of Hawk’s “betrayal”.

    That led me to remember a certain Demon quote in Jhereg, which I immediately and gleefully looked up, knowing there was a conflict. I specifically remembered the quote indicated Demon was already a big player in the business of House Jhereg when it fell during the Interregnum. Ha! Caught Mr. Brust in a conflict!

    Until I looked up the exact quote:

    His eyes became thin lines, and I saw his teeth clench for a moment. “I built us up after Adron’s Disaster. I made a dispirited, broken House into a viable business again. I’m willing to see my work set back a thousand years, or ten thousand years if I have to, but I am not willing to see us weakened forever.”

    And damn it all if, almost 40 years ago, Brust didn’t perfectly lay the groundwork for this development. Well played, sir. Well played.

  91. Steve–

    Shi. Vers.


    I was just hanging around the docks of Adrilankha around 20 years into the Interregnum. If you haven’t already, I am going to need you to write the story of the Serioli who takes a child on an enchanted journey through lands of wonders and marvels. If it is not too scary, I will read it to my boys at bed time.

  92. Steve:Nice catch quote! It also increases my wonder at just how much the red demon guy increased Daifan’s health.

    Kragar:That gives me a thought that I don’t want to say anything about as it would be too cool. The docks of Adrilankha would be an interesting place to hang out and I would wave, but you being Kragar, I probably wouldn’t see you.

    On a different topic, the red guy is a demon as he was controlled. He also seems to be clearly from somewhere else; where humanoid females have oviposters. He seemed like a pretty decent sort as long as one trated him fairly.

  93. Well, that was a delight to read.

    Although the note at the end does give the slight impression that Paarfi wrote the whole novel just to subtly expose his rival at the university. But nobody could be that petty, could they?

    How long do we have to wait for the next book? Or before I break down and read this one again?

  94. Thank you. And of *course* not. *cough*. I’m working on it now. It’s going slow, but I AM finally nearing the end of the first draft.

  95. With respect to various comments above, I for one treat with extreme skepticism any assertion that The Demon and the demon have fully and entirely ended their association.

  96. That’s a nasty cough you have there, M’lord. I can only ask that you stay safe and healthy … for all our sakes.

  97. Steve: If memory serves, wasn’t it Duke Pouncetrifle, Ambassador Extraordinaire and Minister Plenipotentiary to Elde who expounded in his excellent pamphlet on navigating courtly intrigue “The Heir” that “…it is much better to have servants than friends because friendship is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but servants are obliged to you by a dread of punishment which never fails”?

    Though he does go on to admit that one may have a friend in a servant, which is best of all.

  98. What fun!
    Some few questions for our esteemed host or other readers:
    1. Regarding
    “G’Wulf’s excellent survey in fourteen volumes called Liberty Cove”
    Is that an allusion to a pirate-themed Gene Wolfe novel? Severian was a torturer and messianic figure, Latro was an amnesiac soldier and there I’ve exhausted my first hand knowledge of Wolfe. Neglect I must remedy forthwith
    2. Are the otherworldly emeralds an homage to Corwin’s diamonds, gathered from a shadow of South Africa?
    3. Is there an acquaintance of Steve named “Jason”, tuckerized as “Captain Nosaj”/
    4. Is it hinted that Dust and Alishka had a fling, or were they just fellow travelers sharing a bed as was apparently common in 19th c. America (cf. Lincoln)?

    – Derek who met you at Borderlands books (SF) some years ago

  99. Now I am even more curious why they call Captain Nosaj “Tooth.” Speaking of Pirate Captains of Daring Feats and Great Renown, I noticed that Captain Sheen also adheres to that wisest of adages:

    “Safety third.”

  100. Thanks. I loved the vast intricacy of the New Sun novels. You both (and well, Roger Zelazny, as always) have a yen for those unreliable narrators!
    I thought Tim Powers’ “On stranger tides” was wonderful, so I’m excitedly imagining a melange of those elements in Pirate Freedom. I’m very much looking forward to some Wolfeian sea-wolves (sorry :-)

    And yes, sapphires–I suspect I had Ilen, the Magian’s “A study in emerald” on the brain.

    Until I looked up Abbe Faria to refresh my memory on correspondences, I had no idea that Dumas probably based his character on a fascinating historical figure of the same name–a pioneer in hypnosis, no less.

  101. Kefaan IS someone else. All I can think of is that he is NOT Mario. Because that worthy was a youngster already involved in some other interesting events that precipitated the interregnum…..otherwise he’s a perfect fit. I also wonder if we’re seeing incarnations of a specific soul when we see Kefaan. Who has a specific outlaw or outlier persona that is very similar to Dolivar and the other guy.

  102. Nuncupatory: Have you looked up the historical d’Artagnan? That is *quite* the trip. Not long ago I was studying the English Civil War, and happened upon a discussion of a French ambassador to Cromwell’s court who was, in fact, d’Artagnan’s older brother. Mind=blown.

  103. Imagine my excitement over the appellation of “Clapper.” I know that name! They get the heroic death in Dragon! It all made sense. Then go read Dragon again. Nah it was Napper. Same house wrong name wrong gender.

  104. That brings back a wonderful memory. In Dragon we are introduced to the quintessential soldier; I believe his name was Dortmond. He had a wonderful conversation with Vlad about his lack of ambition and happiness with the soldier’s life, that ended with him saying something to Vlad like,”Well you’re a cheerful sonofabitch aren’t you?”

    Then in “The Lord of Castle Black,” I believe that same Dortmund shared a pomegranate with a certain Clari, maidservant to Ibronka or Roaana, I can’t remember which, with the outcome of that discussion being Clari stating,”Well then, I think you should be a soldier.”

    Fantastic correspondence between the two time periods and very much a precursor to so many of the wondrous connections between various Vlad Books and The Baron of Magister Valley.

    So much fun trying to spot them all.


  105. It is clear after catching up on this discussion that I need to reread BOMV at least once more.

    I also raise the question, or make the suggestion, or imply the possibility that a redfish is not, indeed, the same fish as a salmon. Despite the coincidence between the use of redfish-as-salmon when discussing hard rolls with holes (which flow across the tongue so nicely) and butter cheese, unless I am mistaken (see having to reread BOMV) there isn’t any mention of a similar connection to said hard rolls with holes for that which is named as salmon-as-salmon.

    To elucidate just a slight bit more – I posit that while the fish that was referred to as going well with hard rolls with holes (and butter cheese) is intended to be a nod to the proper use of salmon howsoever the fish that was discussed in BOMV was not.

    I would also like to praise the author by admitting my own faults. BOMV was a delight to read even though I have not read the entirely-unrelated-work of Alexander Dumas.

  106. I think the ones with that go with the hard rolls are pinkfish, not redfish. The Northwestern language does distinguish between those colors.

  107. Question: will Corwin or another one of our WordPress masters be able to port this thread over into the TBOMV Discussion Page thread? It sure has been a lot of fun.

  108. @skzb
    I’ve skimmed past all the other comments because I don’t want spoilers, but my wife and I have been immensely enjoying the audiobook forms of your books for the past few years, so we thought here would be appropriate venue to ask: to your knowledge will the Baron of Magister Valley be coming out on audible? We just finished Sethra Lavode and were quite disappointed to learn we couldn’t listen to The Baron of Magister Valley together.

  109. As I once again make my way through the works of Paarfi of Roundwood I find that I again wonder if I am the only reader to find himself making more frequent use of certain words such as “pretend” and phrases such as “do me the honor” in my day to day conversations. Indeed, I have recently taken great pleasure in inflicting lengthy and verbose expositions on the many virtues of laconicity to more than one unfortunate who was unable to extricate himself from within earshot of my soliloquy.

  110. My wife and I entered a whole phase where we spoke that way, much to the bemusement of our housemates; we still refer to one another as “my lord” and “my lady”, and our cat as “his grace”.

  111. His full title of nobility[1] is His Grace Pantalaimon the Cute, Duke of Softfur, and we’re his loyal subjects the Baron and Baroness of Cuddledale.

    [1] He has other titles. We wrote a full multi-paragraph introduction for Lady Teldra to read. In case he ever chances to go to a party at Castle Black.

  112. I’m not sure quite where in the text I was when I realized what the combination of a chance mention of being early in the Phoenix Reign meant combined with the gut punch of “He did not see the light of day again for more than six hundred years.”

    I just know it was long after both of those things, and yet before we got to the line informing us that it was 532 right NOW (So I was still startled, I thought we had a couple centuries to go).

    Also. DAIFAN.

  113. Mr Brust, I enjoyed Baron; the Daifan twist made the novel for me. I admittedly struggled with the several unlikelier plot elements, but was able to set that aside in favor of simply enjoying the feast before me. One thing I’ve found over the years, is that each book carries it’s own rewards, and multiple readings are well-rewarded. Baron finished strong, with plenty of fun, and Eremit’s final conversation with Livosha.

    I have not had opportunity to reflect (or even wonder) about Baron since finishing it – but my first impression: it’s the anti-Count of MC. Sure, the plot is structurally similar, and the bad guys get their comeuppance, but really – Eremit finds none of that ethical gray area in his search for revenge, so suffers none of the moral anguish that Dantes experiences (which I thought was important to CoMC. I admit I was looking for moral anguish. Hey, it’s the set-up. Revenge is rarely clean.) Rather, he seems to experience a unique moral clarity that leads in a straight line to association with the Jhereg. I see the attraction of this kind of twist. Plus, It dovetails nicely with the identity reveal. Finally, I assert there is a certain quixotic brilliance in the effort to coherently link a span of work this rich and extensive. You’ve done a great service for your fans!

    Lastly, well, you’re killing me. I’ve been in a strange electric tension about Lady Teldra since the events of Issola. I absolutely love the book – from the conversations & events on the Jenoine world, to the making of the Great Weapon. I’m half in love with Lady Teldra myself. She lives, and I can’t wait to see her awaken in all her glory!

  114. “Did Dust use his final “wish” from the little red guy to separate Yanis from his escort of 100 men, bringing him to another world, so he could fight him one on one and kill him?”

    I didn’t think it looked that way. It appears that dust now knows how to freely move between worlds to get whatever gems he needs.

    I think it would be cool to see this ability and the last wish to play a pert in a future Vlad book. After all, it would be a very Chreotha-like thing for him to wait another 750 years before unfolding some other aspect of his plan.

  115. Bradley:

    I do that as well. But most notably I have taken readily into my mind the distinction made between the words “agree” and “concur” I have had a number of people react when I say “not only do I agree, but I even concur.”


    I enjoyed this greatly and as a result I read Monte Cristo, which I also enjoyed. I assure you that it is not hollow flattery then I say that I liked Magister Valley better. Though I do admit some bias as I already have decades of attachment to the people and places in it where my familiarity of post-Napoleonic France is only that gleaned from Les Misérables.

    I am pleased to hear that another installment is on its way. I don’t think we can wait another decade for the next one. I have never met you but then you interviewed Parfi I think he would have reacted if he found you to be Dragaeran. Therefore I presume that you are human (sorry for the ambiguity, can I say easterner? That doesn’t quite seem to make sense on Earth) and we likely do not have multiple decades to continue to hear from you.

  116. A common conversation at my house these days
    Wife: Please tell me about [something]
    Me; Well and I about to.
    Wife: I have been waiting for nothing else for the past hour.
    Me: Well if you listen, I will.
    Wife: Please do.

    After I reread the book, I realized that there was one thing I was unsure of. Could Dust freely move back and forth to always get more sapphires? Or did he have an enormous cache of them that had to back and forth from to always have the supply he needed to carry out his various plans? Or did he have an inexhaustible purse?

  117. Hey Kragar, this response is 2 1/2 months overdue, but I hope nonetheless welcome for the delay.
    You said, “Well since Daifan is now no. 1 in the Jhereg, he can’t rise much higher in Organization. I wonder if he would have any interest in rising higher in the Empire?”

    My thoughts on this are twofold.
    1) He is No. 1 with regard to the RIGHT-hand of the Jhereg; his status regarding the LEFT-hand, i.e., the Bitch Patrol, is in considerable doubt when you examine their actions at the end of Hawk.
    2) The Jhereg still remain near the bottom of the Cycle. Daifan has made several audacious plays to advance his House’s interests, even from such a noteworthy position of extreme disadvantage, and has, barely, come out on top; two times, at least, due to Vlad’s influence. I contend and hypothesize that, even though his dealings with his summoned demon have improved upon, and extended, his health and longevity, regarding his current, (although by no means certain to my mind) status as No. 1 in the Jhereg, the challenges he will face on behalf of a House at the bottom of the Cycle will be numerous, and far more challenging, than any attempt to rise any higher personally in the Empire itself. I say this because I think he has transcended personal ambition at this point, and what good would an Imperial Title actually do for him?

    I doubt we’ll see more of Daifan in Tsalmoth, but I’m very much hoping for more in whatever book follows after Hawk, chronologically speaking. After Hawk’s end, the fate of Vlad and his family now, seems to me, to be inextricably bound to to fate of the Right Hand vs the Left Hand, which, again, seemingly needs to be dealt with before the larger idea of Vlad/Lady Teldra and Vera, dealing with the stagnation imposed by the Jenoine on a grand scale. Oh what fun awaits us all.


  118. Derek–

    It sounds to me that, concerning Eremit/Dust/Daifan/Demon, you believe there is a lot here to work with going forward.

    I find myself entirely in agreement.

    Michael Barr–

    Beautiful, beautiful sapphires! So many.

  119. Long time lurker, first time poster… I think.

    This is likely due to a reread of all the Vlad and Paarfi novels prior to tackling tBoMV but the first name-drop of Daifan was an instant trigger, one of those “Oh no he din’t” moments, to review the latter portion of /Hawk/ once finished. This having in the end proved unnecessary in no way diminished the pleasure.

    I am also in love with how the identity of the individual responsible for being able to purchase Jhereg titles dates back to our very first introduction to the Demon in /Jhereg/; only kicking myself slightly for not catching that earlier.

    Anyhow; a lovely engaging adventure and I earnestly look forward to more tales of Dragaera in whatever form they may take.
    Thank you.

  120. Just finished the book and thoroughly enjoyed it, even if the only way I could get through some of Paarfi’s hair-pulling asides was imagining your own cackling glee while inflicting him upon us! But at the end of it, I only have one burning question, one hole I can’t gloss over in my mind…

    ..just how old is Alishka? She knew Magister before his imprisonment, but yet the smitten Keefan is even younger than Eremit and Livosha. Though I suppose, after a certain age, Dragaerans don’t much care about a few thousand year’s difference. I won’t be one to judge!

  121. I very nearly have wanted to post here for the last hour, but (as other visitors to this site will also have experienced) I found myself lost in the thoughts and arguments and popcorn—make mine air popped with lots of butter and a hint of salt—discussed and alluded to above. I have nothing new to add, since I was late to the reading as I have a predisposition to using the Nook. I have read all (except BOMV) both in order of publication and historical order to see which I prefer, having lately come to appreciate Dragaera. And thanks to my neighbor for the suggestion was it only 3 years ago to try just one Vlad novel. Even having read them so recently and knowing there had to be some Vlad era jhereg character connection, I still had the distinct pleasure of missing it until the gestalt realization: BACKSTORY upon the reveal. Nicely played, Mr. Brust. I am thankful most in these books for the delight in which you exercise, play with, explain and simply take delight in the variety of narrative options. I am neither a writer nor a musician, but I read and listen and appreciate those who create.

  122. Velos–I wondered about Alishka’s age, too. It seems she was very young when she first met Magister prior to his incarceration, and was thus a few thousand years old after Dust escaped. Although she was still fit enough for the adventures then encountered, some of her band were getting so old that they were losing their effectiveness.

    Also keep in mind that some Dragaerans, notably the Sorceress in Green, use Orb sorcery, Elder Sorcery, or witchcraft to prolong their lives or at least maintain their youthful appearance. Perhaps one of the many lessons Magister shared with Alishka was a technique for counteracting normal aging.

  123. Great book and great discussion here.
    I however feel strongly bothered by skzb’s comment of 31 July 2020 about organized crime’s ways.
    If that statement were true, then looking up “journalist killed by mafia” would yield no result, would it? But it does.
    We could even look it up in Spanish, Italian, Russian, Eastern European languages, Asian languages… there will be results in all of these languages.
    So even if criminal organizations’ best interest is often to leave people alone to avoid attracting attention, they can do the opposite too. And I fear that skzb’s view stated above is a bit too romanticized.
    (English is not my language, please pardon mistakes or clumsiness in my text.)

  124. The mafia in the US has traditionally left journalists alone. In other countries, especially those in Central and South America where thuggish governments are well supplied with American weapons and diplomatic cover, journalism is a life-threatening vocation.

  125. Kragar is quite correct. More particularly, what Paarfi is doing is roughly what Mario Puzo did, or the writers of The Sopranos, and they have not been harmed.

  126. I think it is very hard to write about something without glorifying it just a little bit. For one thing, the author is saying, by definition, that the subject is sufficiently interesting to merit being written about.

    Eremit/81/Dust/Daifan/Demon is not exactly a “good guy,” but the reader is given evidence to help understand where is is coming from, if the reader chooses to do so.

  127. Not to mention ego. In everyone there’s the desire to leave life with their story being known. I can accept that the Demon would want his known, after some point in the future when having it known doesn’t inflict complications to his business. And what better way of doing that is to have an historian that isn’t taken seriously by very many in his own time; but thousands of years in the future, the volume could be found and accepted? He might even find ways of making certain pertinent research make its way to the author. And even in that way, help to steer the narrative.

  128. Random thoughts brought me back here, still being somewhat bothered by this discussion.
    I agree that mobsters will probably leave alone journalists and writers who are digging up old stuff for which the period of limitation is long past. Especially if it is to write a novel only loosely inspired by their findings.
    However, when I look at this list on Wikipedia: , I see journalists killed by mobsters in the US. (And is this list complete? How many “accidents” and “suicides” of journalists are not in there? Not to mention blackmailed or threatened journalists who stopped their investigation before they or their family were armed… And who – good for them! – are not in this list for doing so.)
    So I keep my opinion that the view of the mob stated above is way too romanticized.

  129. Just mentioning, since it came up here, that both the pinkfish joke and the family-food-philosophy joke in Chapter the Sixtieth of Lord of Castle Black are in The Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten. I’m sure there are other places to find them too.

  130. Do you suppose your publisher would be game for fan versions of an audiobook? I suppose if we crowdfunded money to pay Bernard Satero Clark to record something that would probably be going to far…but something less than that?

  131. I have no idea where the rights to those lie, but I suspect I have them. However, I have no idea how to go about doing something like this, and I most certainly do not want to take the time out from writing to learn.

  132. Please sir, write on! Should I fail to live long enough to read this saga to completion, I would be most put out indeed!

  133. I’ve now read ‘Baron’ for the 2nd time. In my first reading, the finest moment in the book for me was when the name Daifan first occurred (not the typo-marred version from Keen’s mouth, but when our protagonist first claims it as his own). I had to put the book down for a few minutes, in admiration.

    Of course this moment could not be the same on 2nd reading. Rather what hit me most this time around was the poignancy – no, the pain – of Dust/Daifan/no longer Eremit acknowledging to Livosha that he has changed, and therefore he has lost her. As they say, you can’t go home again (because there’s no home any more, at least as you knew it). It is redeemed only a little by his clearsightedness and courage in acknowledging and embracing the reality and moving on.

    Well done, sir.

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