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Full Version: Classism in Elderling society? (spoilers RotE books incl Blood of Dragons)
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Hey this is my first post, I'm a long time reader of the books and a big fan.

This discussion has intrigued me. I've long wondered what exactly happened to the Elderlings and Dragons, and your ideas have helped me flesh out my own a bit.

We all know that there was some sort of natural disaster that happened. The buried cities, the one Elderling city that Fitz visited with a giant crack cleaved down the middle, the serpents being forever lost, and the memories of Tintaglia all point to this. But I also agree with Redchild that there should have been some other survivors besides Icefyre due to dragons being able to fly and Elderlings being able to use skill pillars.

I also believe that there had to be some sort of other factor here, but I'm not sure if it was all just internal strife from the humans that lived on the outskirts of Elderling cities. I think it more likely that some outside force of humans (perhaps an ancestor of Chalced) deliberately waged war on the cities. Perhaps directly following the natural disaster when they were beaten and broken. There may have also been some help from the humans living in those cities who had felt slighted at being passed over for Elderlingdom. Perhaps they betrayed the Elderlings and opened the gates for the offenders.

The only problem I see with this is that it is clear in the books that Dragons keep mostly to themselves so they wouldn't all just congregate in one place like the Elderling cities. They may however have been drawn to protect their Elderling allies in a time of war.

How some dingy humans could take out a horde of Dragons I do not know, but I'm sure there was trickery and deceit involved. The only being in the books alive right now that would know the whole story is Icefyre.
A war would not fit with the story Icefyre told, since he had searched for others surviving the calamity to no effect. A war is something he would remember.
Yikes, look how much discussion there has been since last I checked this topic.

I don't have the time to get into a long-winded essay right now, but I just don't see why we should think of the cataclysm as anything but a natural disaster.
(Jun-10-2011, 10:42 AM (UTC))thul Wrote: [ -> ]There is indeed evidence the Elderlings had some scrolls. But they did not rely on that solely. Most of the scrolls Fitz found on Aslevjal were the stolen skill scrolls of Buckkeep, not Elderling scrolls. A lot about Elderling culture was probably never written down, as you would not write a scroll to describe what a horse is. It was once too common to write down, as anyone with questions would instead travel to ask instead of reading. Especially when text was written on parchment, not on paper. Parchment requires animal skin to make, so it is much more precious and would not be used to write down common knowledge.

I have a lot more to add to this discussion but I do first need to find time to have a look back over many other posts I have made regarding some of these points in a number of other threads eg that I also believe it to be more than just the Cataclysm that destroyed the Elderlings etc. Right back in AQ, even Fitz felt that a sudden earthquake couldn't have been the whole reason for the city's downfall:

Quote:I shook my head. Too much of it remained standing still. No doubt it had been a great disaster, but it did not explain the city's death to me.

I did want to quickly add though, that Fitz found many scrolls in the Kelsingra map tower when he went there, also in AQ. Despite my expectation elsewhere in the forum that some of the still-locked doors that are in the tower may also later reveal the presence of memory stone cubes, Fitz was able to break down the door of one of the inner chambers which revealed wooden racks of pigeonholes that lined all of the room's interior walls. In each pigeonhole there was a scroll, and also a stack of fresh vellums. It was in this same room that Fitz found the writing implements and the pot that contained a dried remnant of ink which he revived with his spit.

I also thought that this question of writing about a horse vs writing about an Elderling was later questioned by Fitz (whereas earlier he had just 'accepted' that as the reason for there being so few scrolls on Elderlings) . That although there were no scrolls that 'described' what a horse was, as such, there were still numerous scrolls that covered such things as the care of a horse and therefore, though it could be understood that there would not be many scrolls which described an Elderling, why were there so few scrolls regarding the culture of Elderlings? I will have to check that point but I am fairly sure that Fitz observed something along those lines in the TM series somewhere. Nothing specific as an example was given but an example from the text itself could be that Fitz could write down the ingredients he had used to make the horse linament he had given to Chivalry. In this, Fitz would not be describing a horse, as such, but there would still be a scroll with a direct reference to a horse or, at least, the care of one.

Possibly there will be many more Elderling scrolls unearthed as there seems to be a number of references to them in the Jhaampe library, Celerity had one for Fitz to view when he visited Bearns Duchy and Alise had also sourced some? EDIT: There is mention that they have been found in Chalced as well? This seems likely given its proximity to the Rain River/Rain Wilds.END EDIT:

It intrigues me that Fitz noted, about the locked doors of Kelsingra, that people don't lock a door unless they expect to come back...

I hope it's okay but I have amended the spoiler tag to include all books as discussion has, inevitably, widened beyond the RWC?
(Jun-05-2011, 04:39 AM (UTC))redchild Wrote: [ -> ]Every instance where a character became witness to memories of Elderling society has only seen a thriving, elegant, happy one.

Now I've decided to jump in, I don't want to leave! Smiling Sorry to bring up AQ again but there was actually quite a bit of angst between those Fitz saw in the Kelsingra map tower. There were two men and three women standing near the map table and, at first mention, Fitz noted that one of the men was angry. By the time he later returned to the room and realised the table was actually a map, the people were arguing, even shouting. One woman he desribed as 'stubborn' and the other smiling coldly.

Of all the things though, it was mention of one of them angrily using their pointer to draw an imaginary line over the map that gave me cause to pause...it was almost as though they were arguing over territory or something and the imaginary line that was drawn with the pointer was seemingly drawn in the same place that the rift in the land would later appear. Of course, this latter point is only a possible interpretation of the passage! Just looking for it, ah, it's in Chapter Twenty-Seven, 'The City'.

Once again I'm impressed by how good your memory is, Farseer. I checked the chapter you mentioned and indeed I found one other instance of a scene captured by the memory stone of what seemed to be a street fight:

Quote:My strength of will carried me through a knot of brawling shadows but my resolution failed me when the City Guard came charging down the streets on their massive horses. I leaped to one side to let them pass and winced as I heard the sounds of their falling truncheons.

Whether this was just drunken discord or a scene of revolt is not clear. Neither is it known when this fight occurred as it doesn't seem that Fitz knows how to control what sort of events the memory stones show him.

Also another speculation: from the described "shadows," it could mean that the fight took place on a dark, ill lit area at night. But could it also be possible that the participants in the fight threw up Skill walls so that the memory stones could not record their identities? How else would Fitz have known that the figures on horses were the City Guard and not, say, soldiers or were participants in the fight?
City guards tend to wear distinctive uniforms, whereas ruffians and such will wear generic clothing.
Yes, but he doesn't describe the Guards as being shadowed like the ones in the brawl. He was able to distinct them as uniformed guards converging from different locations rather than more ruffians on horseback rushing to join the fight. Though it could be just as likely that I'm reading too much into it and the fight took place on a moonless night, in an area with no artificial lighting available.
(Jun-13-2011, 05:59 AM (UTC))redchild Wrote: [ -> ]But could it also be possible that the participants in the fight threw up Skill walls so that the memory stones could not record their identities?

Uhhuh Blink *faints*

*recovery time-out*



Hmm, following that thought, I wonder why Elderlings used memory stone as their building material? It seems like that stuff lasts forever, so it's likely that was one of the main reasons they chose it for. But the stone is also used in a variety of ways, from transportation (the pillars and Skill-road) to information recording and storage. I think the warming platforms the dragons used in DH are made out of it too. But the ones used for buildings record the thoughts and experiences of people dwelling in it. They bring new meaning to the saying, "if walls could talk."

Could it be that Elderling cities were always under surveillance? If so, why?
memory stone is closely related to memory sand, which is the material dragons use for cocoons. That alone would indicate why elderlings would love it. If you combine that with the fact that it could be considered a "smart" material, you can see obvious reasons they pick it. (a smart material as in doing what it is told to do)

It is very unlikely it was used for surveillance. There are no indications of such in the books.
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