Thoughts on completion of Initiate's Trial

originally posted by Nurgle

after lurking for many years time to post :smiley:

Thoroughly enjoyed this volume having sat out in the glorious sun downunder tanning and reading!

Poor Arithon when he gets to reflect on his life one day is sure going to be sick of all the running he has had to do. The new Dakar was fun to read about… his effort to thwart Seldie at the end was most amusing, but we need more boozing and whoring from him, hopefully he hasnt lost all the fun that is Dakar!

A re read is a must on this one to pick up snippets im sure i missed on the first read, and hopefully we arent left waiting too long for the next book.

In a time where fantasy authors with vision and story telling skills are sorely lacking, its great to see Jannys works still hold true.

originally posted by Kam

Boozing and whoring Dakar? @_@ I hope not; not because I have anything against how he was but I felt that Dakar's vices was a result of his irresponsibility and cowardice. The joy of reading this series is watching how the characters grow and Dakar is my absolute favorite character because of this. How far he has come from the bumbling selfish man in /Curse/!

There's a quote by Davien to this line, something about even though it may need 500 years to shape Dakar, he'll achieve the stability and endurance of diamond - which is my favourite quote in this book, despite it being of seeming non-importance. We are in the process of watching a raw gem be transformed!

Dakar tackle the Koriathan straight on did my heart no end of joy; can you imagine this silly fat prophet doing such a thing 250 years ago? 500 years ago?

I do not think Dakar will ever go back to that boozing, whoring child that he used to be - at least, I hope not - his shifting away from that aspect of himself and growing up, becoming wise, that change is too valuable and beautiful. I'd be more upset to see all his hard earned experience wiped away.

Although I note that Dakar in /Fortress/ is very different from the Dakar in /Curse/, but not much different from the Dakar in /Trial/ - which makes me wonder what has he been doing in the last 250 years… it seems Arithon is the catalyst for Dakar's change, so without him, Dakar's progression just halts.

originally posted by Annette


Dakar’s personality and habits might not have changed much from Stormed Fortress, but his knowledge, power and confidence sure took a big leap forward. Davien’s prediction was a thousand years to mold him, till he achieved the stability of diamond. Dakar has so far taken 850 years, so presumably there is a bit more polishing before he really shines.

I think Lysaer might get a chance to add something to that polishing next. Lysaer certainly has lots of polish, finesse and tact to spare, and a silver tongue to go with it, Dakar could do with a bit of that rubbing of on him. Dakar’s head on approach in the inn when he was trying to keep Lysaer from doing anything stupid certainly went wrong. Much like his attempt to save Arithon from falling to the curse at Riverton, barges in and says the wrong thing. Some things Dakar has not learned yet.

Lysaer’s comment “My trials won’t stand your mage-sighted conscience stumbling about underfoot” got a chuckle from me. Lysaer seems to have summed up the problem of having Dakar tagging along trying to save him.

originally posted by Maggie

I have a question about people's names. So Janny, if you would be so kind, I'm Asking. For townborn, is there a traditional way that names get passed down from generation to generation? I couldn't see many links, but names in the same family tend to sound and/or look similar to me. Some families more than others… Which is leading me to some conclusions that are probably wildly out in left field.


originally posted by Annette

Maybe we need to narrow the question down a bit for Janny to reply.

Which town born names did you think looked or sounded similar Maggie? I have noticed some similar looking names amongst the clan families usually a male and female, cannot think of a similar thing amongst the few town names we have though. Closest I remember was Jinesse's twins Fiark and Feylind.

Maggie, You Asked.

The townborn names differ from the Paravian names for many reasons, and there will be differences within the town 'system' - for these reasons.

Originally, at the time of settlement, there would have been many names, from many people of MANY backgrounds and cultures - a grab bag of groups that fled the great war (interstellar empire).

When the Fellowship gave surety and swore them into the compact, they would have 'dropped out' all extra names/surnames/anything that connected them to their prior setting - and settled on ONE name for each individual/tagged to a family name 'sen' to delineate a family grouping.

This system loosely stuck - with 'sen' and a parent's name taken to denote a family group - and with time, all the various other names would have evolved or morphed - as names do, over centuries.

The clanborn took Paravian names because they had to deal with Paravians and became fluent in that language. The townborn Sen was not used - s' - became the Paravian version, and it was usually only applied to families of PROVEN lineage to interact with the Paravian races.

Some townborn names may have had origins with Earth based languages…evolved over time to an Atheran derivative.

I hope this explains your question.

originally posted by Maggie

Yes, I think it does… Now to go back and look carefully… Thanks!

originally posted by Annette

Janny I have a question about the clanborn Names. If before the rebellion the clans tested their offspring's birth gifts by exposing them to a Paravian presence, should not most of the clanborn have a family name? We meet many characters in the books without ever knowing their Names, is it for the story we only learn some Names and clan lineages, or is there another reason why there seems so few Named lineages in the clans. There could not be that many new lineages since the rebellion, cannot imagine too many townborn wanting to join the clans, even if they did have talent.

originally posted by Jeff

Merry Christmas, Janny and fellow readers!

I received Initiate's Trial the week after Thanksgiving and enjoyed it.

I've read this book slower than I usually do for a first read to avoid missing details. Of course, I'm sure I've only skimmed the surface.

I'll contribute to the discussion once the holiday rush has slowed and I've caught up on the spoiler topics.

originally posted by Dorothy

Merry Christmas to all! Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

originally posted by Sleo

Merry Christmas to all from Connecticut, USA!

originally posted by Chana

I have a question about Elaira and the Biedar:
Why did Elaira refuse to be freed from her oath to the order when it was offered?
I figured she would jump at such an opportunity.
And what is going on with her crystal?

originally posted by David Gardner

I'm not Janny, and sometimes my recollection is a bit fuzzy, but I'll answer anyway:
It's not that she doesn't want to be freed, it's that because her crystal chooses of its own free will to serve the Order Elaira doesn't want it to suffer the "consequences" that the freeing would result in.

Chana - you asked.


The reason Elaira did not accept was because her personal crystal WOULD HAVE BECOME DESTROYED.

It chose to serve HER, and chose to return to the Koriani Order - there is an UNKNOWN reason for this - that not even Sethvir can fathom.

Elaira chose to honor its BEING and its free choice - not to betray that loyalty, that was given to her in trust, even though this is a mineral being, she has become advanced enough in awareness (from her time with Ath's Adepts) to honor its living consciousness. If the crystal that houses that INDIVIDUAL consciousness shatters, it could express in Athera, and no one knows what untold consequence that might have.

originally posted by Chana

Thank you for answering my question. It's much clearer to me now.

Okay, since I think I understand the story a little better I feel (somewhat) qualified to voice an opinion: I think Elaira's priorities are a little mixed up - Arithon's safety versus a mineral's existance? Yes, I know the crystal is supposedly loyal to her, but if she were freed from her oath it could only have a positive effect, regardless of a mineral's wellbeing. And what difference does it make if Selidie acts outside of the compact anyway?
I don't know - maybe i'm not open minded enough to get the whole concept of inanimate objects having free will.

I just want Elaira out from under the prime's will - this heartache thing is getting old (250 years old to be precise).
Anyways thanks again! My heartstrings are definitely getting a workout :smiley:

originally posted by Annette


Since the crystal would have had some reason for it's decision, probably betraying that trust would not have a positive effect. Also having studied under Ath's adepts and learnt the importance of the Law of the Major Balance and how all forms of consciousness are equally as important, it would seem Elaira would be the last person to sacrifice one loyal to her in order to gain her freedom from her Koriani oath. Being free of her oath would not guarantee Arithon's safety anyway, she would still not be able to help him.

When Elaira was undergoing crystal resonance realignment for her longevity (before it was erased by Luhaine) Elaira seemed to be both reliving her past, and living through future events, which she could not remember on waking. Perhaps the crystal knows Elaira's future and that she needs to remain Koriani in order to get what she wants. Elaira seems to be more capable of standing up for her rights now anyway, so might start giving Selidie a bit more competition.

Better get those heartstrings toughened up a bit Chana, Janny will be really playing the heartstrings with Destiny's Conflict.

originally posted by tony

Okay, one comment, one question.

Comment - Long time reader, obsolutely love this series, and have been with it from nearly the beginning. The story is great, and Janny, your writing is fantastic.

Question - sorry for this, but I seem to be the only one lost. I've read through all the spoiler threads, and have seen maybe 2 other people question this, but with no clear answer.

What happened to result in Arithon's captivity, and what does it have to do with Athir? (okay, call it a 2-part question).

Characters refer to the events at Athir, and Dakar swearing oath of debt on behalf of the Crown at that time. I did not see this in my copy of Stormed Fortress, or I completely missed it.

Also, Arithon was seemingly remanded into Korathain custody at Jeynsa's wedding. Do we have any idea how or why? And how does that implicate the Oath of Debt Dakar apparently swore, and how does that result in the F7 not assisting the sanctioned Crown Prince of Rathain, either during his captivity or after?

Loved the book. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. However, having some serious problems with this issue - kept looking for an explanation, and can't find one.


originally posted by Nikki Hayes

@tony - I can answer one of those questions for you, the events at Athir took place at the very end of Stormed Fortress. After Elaira, Dakar, Glendien and Parrien escaped with Arithon by boat following the siege at Alestron, they landed at Athir and that is where Elaira spirit walked and put her consciousness into Glendien's body to try and bring Arithon back from where his consciousness was drifting, she asked Dakar to swear oath of debt to the CROWN of Rathain rather than Arithon personally as she had to use some of her order's knowledge in the process. At the crux, she was helped by the Biedar tribes to recall Arithon and their lovemaking resulted in Glendien being pregnant, Arithon knew nothing about this and still doesn't. Stormed Fortress ended when Arithon and Elaira sailed on his ship and Dakar returned to Asandir's service.

The captivity of Arithon is something that happened some time after the end of Stormed Fortress, in that huge period of around 250 years that is completely missing from Initiate's trial, Janny said previously that there will not be any further information about what happened until the next novel.

The 250 year gap annoyed me as well, for the first time it felt unsatisfying to read one of Janny's books. There have been time skips previously in the series, ranging from weeks to a few years, but we knew what (if anything) happened during those periods and it didn't involve almost all the old characters having been killed off by a massive time jump. The book is good in itself but I would have far preferred it to continue in a linear fashion rather than the snippets of information recalled by various people such as Dakar and Elaira about how Arithon came to be captured. Just a prologue explaining the events leading to his capture would have sufficed.

originally posted by tony

@Nikki - thanks for answering. Since my post, I'd been scouring the end of SF (quite a bit, since it's a good read). With your prompting to the right spot, I did find that section. So perhaps my memory is going.

However, I don't see how that leads to what we got in Initiate's Trial. I suppose, if Janny says we won't get more until the next book, I'll remain completely confused until the next book is released. It doesn't help that the references to Athir seem to imply (to me, anyway) that people think it's Dakar's fault. He did what was requested by Elaira - he even specifically told her he couldn't tell if there would be problems.

But, again, thanks for answering. I appreciate it.

If anyone else has something else that can perhaps help straighten me out, I'd be grateful.

originally posted by Annette

I believe Dakar got the blame for the oath of debt, because if he had not rashly made that sly deal with Glendien, Elaira would not have reacted as she did. Dakar did not act as Arithon's friend making that deal. I also did not really see how that could have worked differently though, since Elaira would have still needed to use Koriani knowledge, maybe it was that the debt was against Rathain that made the difference and involved the Fellowship, rather than a personal debt. It would seem if Dakar had not sworn oath of debt Teylia would have still become Koriani, but would not have had to die in order to save Arithon.

As to the big jump in time, Arithon and Elaira were sort of on hold, Dakar was being a good apprentice and we can work out what Lysaer was doing so better to jump forward to where something significant happened with the main characters. And leave us hanging in suspense for the revelation of how Arithon finally got caught in the next book, we find out when Arithon does. Presumably we get to read about the past event before Janny puts Arithon through the wringer again in the present. From what we got in the previous books, I am curious to see if Sevrand survived to lead a happy life with Jeynsa, there was a hint in Stormed Fortress he might not, which could explain why all the current s'Valerient's we know of come from Barach's lineage.