Koriathain and the Fellowship

originally posted by Hannah

I don't think the F7 would have objected if Arithon decided to set himself up as the biggest pimp in Jaelot. They might have voiced concerns and, if he asked, explain why that really wasn't the wisest career choice. But could they actually force him not to do it, block his free will? Obviously they have their ways of going about business with Arithon. Blood oaths, and such. But I don't believe that forcibly telling him 'no, you can't be Masterbard' is something they would have done, no matter the circumstances.

I think–well, know there are certain traditions and ceremonies and privilages awarded the Masterbard title (as we've seen a few times, and it's been mentioned, scattered throughout the series), if the so-named person wants to pick them up. But apparently, there's no specific… "Masterbard must sing at crowning of new King" type of obligations. I don't recall any having been mentioned. Except for more moral type compunctions. As in, as Masterbard, Arithon couldn't turn his back on Dalwyn's grief (of course, influenced by his royal gifty). Those types of 'obligations' may be more specific to each individual Masterbard. Halliron probably wouldn't have reacted the same way (what a thought, sheesh!).

I think if a Masterbard was also King there would be a horrible opportunity for the obligations of those two position to the people to clash. Like a social worker (that's more how I think of Athera's Kings) who was also a rock star. Which is a weird analogy, I know.

Although, when you think about it, a rock star's responsibility is very similar to the Masterbard's (as we know it). Travel around a lot to entertain the masses, and when you get to your next 'gig', if the booking is good and respectable, you get preferential treatment deserving of your celebrity/talent/standing in the industry. You don't have any real obligations, except when you agree to play something for someone and/or somewhere (because it would be uncool if you canceled). But you are expected to treat your fans well, give them what they want and entertain them, understand them and interact with them.

I've been curious about the apprentice bit, too. I suppose if some really talented person comes along, it wouldn't make sense to not try to instruct them at least a little bit. I don't think an apprentice technically has to be a person who's going to be replacing you. It can just be a student that you teach, and then they go off on their own.

Will Arithon ever find an apprentice? And if so, when? They guy's gonna live 500 years (thereabouts, presumably), so when would he think it would be an appropriate time to find a succesor? Who on Athera could ever impress Arithon enough for him to think "Wow, he could better than me! He should be the next Masterbard!" Not that I should assume it would be a 'he.' Maybe it'll be a woman, or a Paravian. Maybe Arithon will die without a successor, so the next best person who happens to be alive at the time will just inherit the title. But then who makes the decision on that!

Ah, that's good speculation Neilw.


originally posted by Konran

XD fwahahaha Arithon as a pimp? Now I'm having mental images of him in the pimp outfit from Gaia… must… stop… giggling…

originally posted by Benjamin Kenneally

I don't necessarliy think that Arithon's status as Masterbard conflicts with kingship in any way. If you look throughout the series, the Masterbard is not so much an rock star (riding around entertaining people) as someone who uses music to bend people's ear to wider awareness. Arithon's royal gift of compassion gives him a natural insight into seeing more than his own side to any story, which is augmented by his bardic training as well as his sorcerer's awareness. These tools will ALL serve him well in his kingship, in my opinion. as the kings of Athera are not so much rulers as they are stewards of the land, I think the Masterbard is not so much an entertainer as a steward of the heart of the people of Athera. This is much closer to the traditional role of bards originally in ancient Ireland, who stood as judges and teachers much more so than entertainers.

originally posted by Ryan Gohl

Well said.

originally posted by Trys

It may be true that there is no inherent conflict between the roles of Masterbard and High King, but I can see where the duties could conflict. The Masterbard is for the all five kingdoms whereas the High Kingship will only be for Rathain. What happens where the duties conflict? Will the High Kingship automatically supersede the role of Masterbard? Could it happen that the King's responsibilities would be so time intensive that he would have to neglect his Masterbard's duties?

Trys <-- playing devil's advocate. :smiley:

originally posted by Benjamin Kenneally

I think that the difference between the two is that the needs of the kingdom require the king to move to them. The needs of the kingdom require proactive thought from the ruler, to keep the peace as well as keep the charter, so the people of the kingdom live within the compact. The duties of the Masterbard, as I see them, are much more reactive. To be open to what the Masterbard does, the listener must have sought him out in some way, even if it is only to have requested a tune. Traditionally, from what we saw of Halliron, the Masterbard traveled the realm so he could steward the hearts of all the people of Athera. However, I think as long as Arithon continues to open his ear to the needs of his listener as Masterbard he will still be fulfilling the role. Perhaps not as well as others had in the past, but still well enough to hold the title. I could very well be wrong in this, but that's my take.

originally posted by Hunter

We've never seen any Masterbard in action prior to the rebellion. The treatment given to Halliron and Felirin quite apart from Arithon's peculiar heritage shows how far the role of a bard on Athera has fallen out of favour.

Athera's Masterbard should be universally welcomed the length and breadth of the continent, playing for kings, paupers and everyone in between. The comment by Felirin when he meets Asandir early in Curse is very instructive. Felirin asks how many of the old ballads are true - Asandir's reply of "most of them" show (to me) that the MasterBard's role is as much about historical teaching and keeper of the olde lore as a device of pure entertainment.

Role of Masterbard and High King have the inherent conflict that the former is for all of Athera, the latter, by definition, to a specific part of Athera only. The Masterbard appears, from we've seen, to be able to move at his/her whim anywhere they wish. A High King would be most unlikely to have this freedom.

originally posted by Benjamin Kenneally

Here we fall again to what is best for the role versus what is needed, which is very subjective. To fall back to a twist on the earlier 'rockstar' analogy (despite what I said about the Masterbard not being like one), current bands normally go on tour in order to promote their music. This assist very much in making them successful. However, it is not necessary to tour to be successful as a rockstar.

In much the same way, I think it would be BEST for the Masterbard of Athera to travel, bringing music and understanding to the people he serves. However, I do not necessarily think that it is NECESSARY. I believe that Arithon could still serve the role of Masterbard while seeing to the needs of his kingdom. It may not be the greatest choice, but at the moment I don't believe there is any other. It's been some time since I read the later books (I'm working my way through Fugitive Prince again right now, to lead up to rereading the following books again) but I have yet to have seen a worthy successor for the title at this time.

originally posted by Hunter

Benjamin - I was responding to your views that Arithon's kingship and Masterbard are not incompatible. To date we have a very limited view of the role of the Masterbard on Athera. Arithon has so many other tangles on him, given how low the bards are currently held by the townborn, Masterbard status is the least of his worries.

I wonder if the MasterBard was a requirement of the Compact or a position someone started at some time after the start of the Third Age? The answer this question will have an interesting impact for Arithon - there didn't *seem* to be other obligations on the Master Bard but certainly the Master Bard's was measured by more than just his music. I doubt very much that the Master Bard toured simply to promote his music, although given the lack of CDs and Internet on Athera, probably a necessary evil.

I disagree with you - I think it absolutely *critical* that the Masterbard continuously travel throughout Athera. In normal circumstances, that would be one way of spreading news and fashions around Paravia as well as all of Paravia getting the chance to see and hear the Master Bard in action.

In the current time when the lies, ignorance, hatred and bigotry by townborn to clans and the Compact in general is resulting in human bloodshed on a scale never seen on Athera, the Master Bard *should* be the voice of the Compact, the voice of Law and traditions to provide the alternate context to the Great Unwashed of Athera who are too lazy, ignorance, timid or bigotted to think of any other viewpoint than that fed to them by Lysaer and his zealots. Athera's need for a functioning Master Bard who wouldn't be roasted alive the minute he steps one foot inside a town has never been greater in my opinion.

The whole Master Bard thread still seems to be a sleeper thread in my opinion. It's been there right through the entire series - but mostly seemingly to provide Arithon additional angst amongst his many conflicting priorities, to lay another death at Dakar's door, for Arithon to do mage stuff when mage blinded and to show the beauty of music. The incidents of what music can do (e.g. Arithon transporting to Jaelot from Sanpashir) and how this marries to the mysteries of Athera are still to be explored much further I believe. There is a lot in this series about magecraft, Prime Vibrations and energy/matter type discussions, but only ancillary discussions on where music - audio vibrations - plays…

originally posted by neil

When Arithon accepts Halliron's lyranthe, Asandir seems, to me, to imply some meaning regarding acceptance (or is it just implied acceptance of the title?).

Arithon has been too busy trying to stay alive for it to be a major conflict of interest so far…but I suspect his kingdom takes precedence (he has had the ceremony at Etarra) and then there is the F7 binding on him to stay alive.

Sethvir can oblige Arithon to play at Eldir's court.

A masterbard can set help a bell foundry set fiend banes…maybe travelling bards helped calm the towns from iyats…no need for full time presence…plus some inter-kingdom communication benefits perhaps…impartial witness (although an impartial witness would need clan blood to perceive the "clan side")

The paravians "work magic" with song…Ath's adepts also…I guess townborn could learn this? Could song give them much-needed perception of the Athera environment. Is bardship a way of promoting growth in the townborn.

The masterbard is perhaps a living human standard of what is possible for other bard to benchmark themselves against…with a view to improving over the cenuturies…Arithon may well leave his mark within future bards of athera rather than restoring his royal line.

However, the F7 Scrying from CotM implied that Arithon would not have the opportunity to pursue his musical path thus avoiding crown responsibilty. So maybe the bardship is a way of showing the reader what Arithon has had to sacrifice: "carefree" v. "snowed under" it might not be key to the story.

originally posted by Neil

2 random thoughts qfter plqying with the paravia map…

I missed where Arithon took his bloodoath…Athir. Right next to the east gate. Which persons in the human population of athera would know what lies through the gates (even if as a legend?) Does Arithon know at this point in the story? Would a masterbard know. Clans? Townborn?

Anyone clocked which towns have koriani sisterhouses?

Oh…and ***Gryphon***…nudge nudge where are those new book covers :wink: {'mutton' launched playfully into the air for target pracice…}

originally posted by Trys

The gryphon sees the mutton flying through the air, listens carefully for the sound of bleating and failing to hear said sound decides the mutton must be 'faux-mutton'.


originally posted by Neil

boo hoo …

…but I've just seen the new covers :wink:


Looking forward so much to Stormed Fortress. I fear my expectations may be high :slight_smile:

No way are your expectations too high for this book…however high you raise them, expect the limit to be blown out.

It IS the culmination of the Alliance of Light arc.

originally posted by Richard Myburgh

I think you should note that the Korani do not see that what they do is bad. After all, they do serve Humanity's best interests (but not all life) and they see Arithon as a threat to Humanities freedom and right to claim Athera as their own. They see the compact as going against human freedom of choise. They forget that their helping of the towns is leading to a destruction of magic (this would lead to their own destruction as well - due to the lack of new initiates).

Same can be said for the F7 - protecting all life but oppressing human free will and creativity (note how they stop the guy who re-invented gunpowder and the forced Medieval existence). One could argue, based on what is happening on Earth, that it is because we learnt from our mistakes that we are now creating "eco-friendly" technology. the F7 are preventing humanity from finding a balance (this would also adhere to the Law of the major balance).