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Author Topic: Riftwar revisited - Magician  (Read 4553 times)

Darkon

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Riftwar revisited - Magician
« on: January 08, 2015, 11:50:23 PM »

You know that feeling that you want to reread some of the novels you read in the past but somehow never have time for it? So I came up with the following idea: I'm going to reread Magician, one chapter a week at the time, and then discuss that chapter here. It'll be a bit lonely to discuss it here on my own, so maybe you want to read along with me? I would enjoy that. Let me know if you're participating. The HoW may benefit from some renewed Feist interest as well.

The copy I own is a New Revised Edition copy under the name of Magician. For the USA folk, that's Magician Apprentice and Magician Master combined. It has the following cover. The ISBN is 0-586-21783-5. It's a 1997 paperback edition.

I'll read the first chapter tomorrow evening, and I'll try to write down my thoughts here after that. :)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 11:52:29 PM by Darkon »
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Val

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2015, 02:36:49 AM »

To make this a little more exciting, I will probably make a point of reading a different edition. I do have the one Darkon mentioned lying around too, but I think I'll go with the Grafton paperback from the 80s. That way, we might get a good comparison in. Plus, it's not nearly in as bad a state as the other one.  :lol:
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Myddrun

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2015, 06:01:34 PM »

I might join you.   :smile:

I have that version but not sure it's the same one I have on my Kobo. Doesn't matter either way.

I can dump my current read (Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol) easily enough.
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Darkon

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2015, 12:23:08 PM »

Excellent Val and Myddrun. I’ve also asked Class, but she said she had to find her book first. So let’s get started shall we? I decided that I would try to keep my mind as blank as possible while reading it, as to not spoil the discussion by knowledge I already have from reading later books. I’m not very fond of the spoiler tags, but let’s agree to try to use spoiler tags only when it details something our Revisted tour has not yet touched upon or its a chapter summary. That way newcomers to the book can read, follow and join-in on the discussions with ease. PS: spoiler tags are currently broken. So just put them into place so you don't have to worry about them later on when the code is fixed again.

The first chapter is called Storm and is part of book 1 “Pug and Thomas”. The book is introduced by a portion of a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow lived from 1807-1882 and the name of the poem is My Lost Youth. And was one of the poem’s in The Oxford Book of English verse published in 1919, although it obviously predates that period. I have no idea when REF first encountered this, but considering Magician contains a period in Pug and Tomas’ childhood that will never return again, as with many childhoods, I think it’s fittingly picked. Nostalgic. The poem says it’s a verse from a Lapland (region in Finland) song, but I don’t know whether this Lapland song actually existed, or he just made that up for the spirit of things. Here’s the full poem:

Often I think of the beautiful town
      That is seated by the sea;
Often in thought go up and down
The pleasant streets of that dear old town,
      And my youth comes back to me.
            And a verse of a Lapland song
            Is haunting my memory still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I can see the shadowy lines of its trees,
      And catch, in sudden gleams,
The sheen of the far-surrounding seas,
And islands that were the Hesperides
      Of all my boyish dreams.
            And the burden of that old song,
            It murmurs and whispers still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I remember the black wharves and the slips,
      And the sea-tides tossing free;
And Spanish sailors with bearded lips,
And the beauty and mystery of the ships,
      And the magic of the sea.
            And the voice of that wayward song
            Is singing and saying still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I remember the bulwarks by the shore,
      And the fort upon the hill;
The sunrise gun, with its hollow roar,
The drum-beat repeated o'er and o'er,
      And the bugle wild and shrill.
            And the music of that old song
            Throbs in my memory still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I remember the sea-fight far away,
      How it thundered o'er the tide!
And the dead captains, as they lay
In their graves, o'erlooking the tranquil bay,
      Where they in battle died.
            And the sound of that mournful song
            Goes through me with a thrill:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I can see the breezy dome of groves,
      The shadows of Deering's Woods;
And the friendships old and the early loves
Come back with a Sabbath sound, as of doves
      In quiet neighborhoods.
            And the verse of that sweet old song,
            It flutters and murmurs still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

I remember the gleams and glooms that dart
      Across the school-boy's brain;
The song and the silence in the heart,
That in part are prophecies, and in part
      Are longings wild and vain.
            And the voice of that fitful song
            Sings on, and is never still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

There are things of which I may not speak;
      There are dreams that cannot die;
There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak,
And bring a pallor into the cheek,
      And a mist before the eye.
            And the words of that fatal song
            Come over me like a chill:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

Strange to me now are the forms I meet
      When I visit the dear old town;
But the native air is pure and sweet,
And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street,
      As they balance up and down,
            Are singing the beautiful song,
            Are sighing and whispering still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

And Deering's Woods are fresh and fair,
      And with joy that is almost pain
My heart goes back to wander there,
And among the dreams of the days that were,
      I find my lost youth again.
            And the strange and beautiful song,
            The groves are repeating it still:
      "A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

The storm had broken. When I first read this sentence I had no idea that it’s actually a classic introduction. Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) was a novelist, poet and playwright who introduced ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ in the historical play Cardinal Richelieu into the English language. But he’s also known for the opening line. “It was a dark and stormy night”, after which he usually goes on to describe the stormy setting. Feist does the same thing, with “The storm had broken.” Although the built up is a little bit slower.  There’s actually an annual Buwler-Lytton contest for badly written first sentences. Although I am unaware whether REF ever won.  :lol:

Truly, when I first read this book I got hooked around page four and now that I reread it, I can understand why. There’s a logically unfolding story with a medieval atmosphere with nice detail that makes it easy to generate images in my head. Feist is fleshing out the story, in a way that I either forgot about or was not that present in the later books. The bookish smell while reading, the wind storming outside, is just adding to the enjoyment of picking up the book again.

Let's do a small chapter summary.
Spoiler: show
We are introduced to Pug, an orphan keep boy from Crydee, a city in the Kingdom of the Isles. The world he lives in is described to us. One day Pug is looking for food on the beaches near Crydee, but his slacking off results in him ending up in a storm. This drives him into the home of Master Kulgan, where he is offered shelter for the storm. Kulgan is Duke Borric's magician and advisor who conveniently lives in the forest instead of the Keep. There he stays with his franklin Meecham and firedrake Fantus. Kulgan is interested in Pug, testing his abilities a bit and asking about his future plans, to which Pug responds he dreams of being picked by Swordmaster Fannon at the time of Choosing.


The only error I spotted was on page 6. “…but remembered the tales of outlaws…” either misses “he”, or remembered should have been “remembering”.

Some open questions I’ve had based on this chapter. Feel free to point out the answer if it has already been found, but if the answer is in one of the other books, just say which book will answer it. As to not spoil the fun of finding it. If the answer is of course obtained only by additional information given by Feist, then by all means share it all! (May or may not need spoiler tags.)
  • What is Kulgan smoking?
  • Is Master Althafain the man who trained Kulgan or is Master just a title for people with higher standing, or for people practicing magical arts?
  • Why does he wear a yellow robe? Does yellow have meaning?
  • Why did the Free Cities of Natal not join the Kingdom of the Isles?
  • Why does Kulgan live out in the woods?
  • Who is Magya?
  • There is often a meaning to a location of a monastery. So why does Dala's priest have a mountain monastery?

Last, but not least, I made an index of what we encountered so far. I figure that would be handy for the Encyclopedia. Which we should restore, seeing as content drives guests.

The index has been moved from this post to the current HoW Encyclopedia.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 08:42:07 PM by Darkon »
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Val

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2015, 03:07:27 AM »

Might I start by saying that I find it hard to follow your page numbering, since my book is some 828 pages long and the story doesn't start until page 13?  Might I also mention that my version smells a lot tougher and more vintage than yours, since it's a 4th edition paperback from 1985 that I once rescued/stole/borrowed from somewhere in our school library and never bothered to return. :lol:

I agree about the hooking part. As someone who in his own writing lives a good description, when I first picked up the book I had I believe recently read Tad Williams, so the strong descriptive style in this first chapter is something that would have certainly intrigued me. On second thought, I notice that the descriptive style in this opening is what greatly influenced my own style of description, especially with Pug's second-thoughts.

I will first answer your questions then add anything that I observed myself. I really find things get interesting when Kelewan comes into the picture as a lot of what happens at the beginning of Magician ties in with the fact that Midkemia was the setting for his college role-playing group. Therefore, I will also bring in what I feel was his development as a writer away from the very RP-based early storyline of Pug and Tomas to literally more intriguing stuff. It really shines through in the beginning, including this chapter.

Quote
What is Kulgan smoking?

I am not sure this is ever mentioned. I don't think it matters. Feist did borrow a lot from Tolkien and did mention some of it was a homage. Ever since Tolkien, we've always run around with this imagination that magicians are elderly guys with long beards smoking pipes. The difference being that Tolkien was a heavy pipe smoker himself. I think it is a mixture between a reference to this typically magician-style character and the fact that Pug is a 13-year-old that would need to meet the most stereotypical-looking

Quote
Is Master Althafain the man who trained Kulgan or is Master just a title for people with higher standing, or for people practicing magical arts?

He would appear to be a magician friend of Kulgan who gifted him with the ominous, and as we all know, later even much more important, orb. Apparently Kulgan did him some favours in the past. Althafain is active around Carse, so with Kulgan's closeness to the conDoin family, I imagine those favours + thus the gifting of the orb took place a couple of decades earlier during the moredhel siege?

Quote
Why does he wear a yellow robe? Does yellow have meaning?

The only thing I've found thus far is that in Tibetan buddism, there appears to be some use for yellow robes. The other possibility in that it were a homage to William S. Yellow Robe, a Native American screenwright, is a red herring, since this guy started playwriting after Magician was published.  Perhaps just to stand out? A never-explored connection to Dala's priests' Yellow Shield? :soldier:

Quote
Why did the Free Cities of Natal not join the Kingdom of the Isles?

Perhaps someone else has a better idea, but aren't their inhabitants Keshian by ancestry? So perhaps, to make sure there wasn't going to be some ethnic conflict, it was decided to let them be somewhat more autonomous for diplomatic reasons?`

Quote
Why does Kulgan live out in the woods?

I shall have to pass on this.

Quote
Who is Magya?
+

Wife of Megar, mother of Tomas.

Quote
There is often a meaning to a location of a monastery. So why does Dala's priest have a mountain monastery?

It's probably a hermitage of some sort? Isn't it not until well later,
Spoiler: show
by the helping of Anita that they receive help for building their orphanage
. Further clues would be that it's a lesser deity, and that it's one that's a patron of the weak? Perhaps a good place for that?

I have a few more questions:

  • What is Pug, a kitchen boy doing outside hunting/looking for food, and what point is there in him carrying a Staff and a sling-shot? RP character's inventory?
  • Is there a deeper reason for Kulgan to explain to him the way the world functions, other than aforementioned RP setting that a DM would likewise describe early on? I mean, by the time we visit these places again, we've forgotten about Kulgan's description. A hook into the story? An early way to show he's thought this out well?
  • Kulgan mentions that Rillanon is a small island. Going by the in book map it's the size of Wales. Are there any later references you know of about its actual size in the books?
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Darkon

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 11:32:22 PM »

Might I start by saying that I find it hard to follow your page numbering

Let's compare. The first page of chapter one starts at page 3 and ends at page 681. Page 1 is the page that has the poem and the "Book 1 Pug and Tomas" on it. So either your version has 140 pages of extra content or your tougher smelling vintage edition has a font size suited for the elderly?  :jester:

Ever since Tolkien, we've always run around with this imagination that magicians are elderly guys with long beards smoking pipes.

Exactly! I was thinking this as well: that a fatherly wizard figure needs to be introduced, and like in Tolkien this Gandalf-esque figure needs to smoke a pipe. But since Feist doesn't smoke pipe, there's no mention of what exactly Kulgan is smoking. Which is an interesting missing detail, considering he details everything else so well in the chapter. When you read Tolkien however, the old man does his best to explain to you just how fine of a tobacco Gandalf's favourite is. You can practically smell it.

later even much more important, orb

Vaguely, mostly I forgot all about that.

thus the gifting of the orb took place a couple of decades earlier during the moredhel siege?

An assumption? Or perhaps some detail I no longer remember from reading the books before. Something that may possibly be touched upon in later chapters and/or books?

A never-explored connection to Dala's priests' Yellow Shield?

Interesting thought, but that would be a connection between magicians and priests. Between gods and magic. Personally I suspect the order of the magician and the colour of the robe may be related.
Spoiler: Spoiler on magicians on Kelewan • show
After all the Great One's wore black, right?
Spoiler: show


but aren't their inhabitants Keshian by ancestry?

It's been too long for me to remember, but the argumentation seems sound to me if that's the case.

I shall have to pass on this.

Pity. :smile: My own thoughts were that the villagers may feel uncomfortable having a wizard around. But since he's part of Borric of conDoin's court, and has his protection, that would seem a little bit silly. Mayhaps a strange personal quirk or preference, but even then a little odd and too convenient for my taste.

It's probably a hermitage of some sort? (...) Further clues would be that it's a lesser deity, and that it's one that's a patron of the weak? Perhaps a good place for that?

I'm not convinced that could be it, although I guess a mountain monastery could make for a good place to hide out for the weak. Dunno. Not really explained further in the books was it?

What is Pug, a kitchen boy doing outside hunting/looking for food

The most logical explanation is that he was sent out to find food on request of the head cook for a seafood meal that the cook wants to prepare.

and what point is there in him carrying a Staff and a sling-shot? RP character's inventory?

A slingshot makes sense to me for a young boy's weapon in medieval times, especially if he's scrawny and unfit to wield anything that requires some strength. The staff is more illogical but possibly he had to hike a bit and he fancied the stick. Many young boys, myself included, enjoyed walking around with sticks that looked cool when they were little. The word 'staff' suggests more than it may be. Stick would have been better suited? Then again he probably uses it as a staff so.... *shrug*

Is there a deeper reason for Kulgan to explain to him the way the world functions, other than aforementioned RP setting that a DM would likewise describe early on? I mean, by the time we visit these places again, we've forgotten about Kulgan's description. A hook into the story? An early way to show he's thought this out well?

I would say simply to get the reader acquainted with the world as it exists. It could very well be possible that a scholary person such as Kulgan explains to a young boy the magnitude of the world through a little bit of history. Maybe to spark Pug's interest?

Kulgan mentions that Rillanon is a small island. Going by the in book map it's the size of Wales. Are there any later references you know of about its actual size in the books?

There's no scale on the map, so anything goes, really. If I had to go look for a reference, I would check out Elvandar maps first, to see if they have a scaled map, or otherwise on of the discussions on the Hall of Worlds, to see if someone asked it in a previous interview with REF.  :king:

Wife of Megar, mother of Tomas.

Don't know about your version, but here that's not mentioned yet at the end of the first chapter. So that really pops up out of the blue.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 11:38:19 PM by Darkon »
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Val

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 01:15:24 PM »

Let's compare. The first page of chapter one starts at page 3 and ends at page 681. Page 1 is the page that has the poem and the "Book 1 Pug and Tomas" on it. So either your version has 140 pages of extra content or your tougher smelling vintage edition has a font size suited for the elderly?  :jester:

I have your version lying around as well, and I think it may have to do something with trends in printing in English paperback. A lot of these old ones used standard font, then used the same font and simply made the margins narrower for the paperback, increasing the number of pages. The next trend (including your copy) was taking the hardcover page and simply down-sizing it. This made for less bulky books but ridiculously small font. And obviously the new trend has been to make font size in hardbacks a ridiculous size so they come out semi-normal in paperback.  :lol:

An assumption? Or perhaps some detail I no longer remember from reading the books before. Something that may possibly be touched upon in later chapters and/or books?

I am not sure if it's touched upon much. I was cheating and checking-up the far reaches of the internet for this one, and it's mentioned that he did him services. I am simply assuming from time-scale and such that this may have been interlinked.

Spoiler: Spoiler on magicians on Kelewan • show
After all the Great One's wore black, right?
Spoiler: show

One would think so, but what's interesting is that some of the early cover art that's flying about depicts the Great Ones in super colourful robes. One of the comics features a Great One wearing green (!) robe. By text, I think it's black by default, though.

Pity. :smile: My own thoughts were that the villagers may feel uncomfortable having a wizard around. But since he's part of Borric of conDoin's court, and has his protection, that would seem a little bit silly. Mayhaps a strange personal quirk or preference, but even then a little odd and too convenient for my taste.

It is mentioned in this opening chapter somewhere that villagers wouldn't be trustful of the magic user if it weren't for the protection of Borric's court, but perhaps we're simply reading too much into it. Perhaps it was simply convenient to place him there for the sake of the storyline at this point. Pug's this super-unskilled 'Level 1 character' then and you need the mini deus-ex-machina saving him from 'character dead'.

I'm not convinced that could be it, although I guess a mountain monastery could make for a good place to hide out for the weak. Dunno. Not really explained further in the books was it?

We'll have to check for clues once we come to the later books whether that's ever expanded upon. I've never quite paid attention to this, hermitages or mountain monasteries or orphan babies being found near mountainsides (think Wheel of Time!) are a common theme in fantasy books.

The most logical explanation is that he was sent out to find food on request of the head cook for a seafood meal that the cook wants to prepare.

Sure, but wouldn't the head cook know of the dangers of woods to little boys? I mean, I'm sure they've fairy tales in Midkemia talking about the adventures of 'bears in the woods, witches in the woods, and little girls in the woods'? At this point in time Pug's your traditional fantasy kitchen-boy: Totally inapt. It would be irresponsible to send a 13-year-old to look for food alone and at any rate, miles away,

Quote
The word 'staff' suggests more than it may be. Stick would have been better suited? Then again he probably uses it as a staff so.... *shrug*

Yea, quite probably.

I would say simply to get the reader acquainted with the world as it exists. It could very well be possible that a scholary person such as Kulgan explains to a young boy the magnitude of the world through a little bit of history. Maybe to spark Pug's interest?

Sure it's to get the reader acquainted. The magnitude thing is quite possible. I also thought about this for the past few days and tied it in with the idea that you actually want this 'grandfatherly figure' to spark your interest in such things. My grandfather would tell me similar stories about history & the world when hiking or when I came home soaked, I think if it'd come from someone else I probably would never have listened.

There's no scale on the map, so anything goes, really.

This is interesting. My edition has a scale on the map, which reads "237 miles to the inch". I think I may remember this was likewise ported into the German editions. Why would the early map have a scale but the latter one doesn't? Freedom with the publishers and perhaps he never wanted a scale but the erstwhile publisher insisted this go on a debut author's book's map?


Don't know about your version, but here that's not mentioned yet at the end of the first chapter. So that really pops up out of the blue.

It isn't mentioned in this chapter in my version either. I think it may be mentioned at a later stage.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2015, 01:22:10 PM by Val »
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Darkon

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 11:37:03 PM »

This made for less bulky books but ridiculously small font.

Small but cozy. I find it pleasurable to read.

I am simply assuming from time-scale and such that this may have been interlinked.

Time will tell then!

One would think so, but what's interesting is that some of the early cover art that's flying about depicts the Great Ones in super colourful robes. One of the comics features a Great One wearing green (!) robe. By text, I think it's black by default, though.

Artists always take a certain degree of freedom that can be considered non-canon. I wonder if they do it on purpose or they simply don't read the book before setting off to paint something.

It is mentioned in this opening chapter somewhere that villagers wouldn't be trustful of the magic user if it weren't for the protection of Borric's court, but perhaps we're simply reading too much into it. Perhaps it was simply convenient to place him there for the sake of the storyline at this point. Pug's this super-unskilled 'Level 1 character' then and you need the mini deus-ex-machina saving him from 'character dead'.


Something to ask REF then, if the answer doesn't pop up further in the book, because I am curious whether the motivation behind it is convenience or actually thought-out.

We'll have to check for clues once we come to the later books whether that's ever expanded upon.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Sure, but wouldn't the head cook know of the dangers of woods to little boys? I mean, I'm sure they've fairy tales in Midkemia talking about the adventures of 'bears in the woods, witches in the woods, and little girls in the woods'? At this point in time Pug's your traditional fantasy kitchen-boy: Totally inapt. It would be irresponsible to send a 13-year-old to look for food alone and at any rate, miles away,

Yes, but the coming of age may not be 18 or 21 years old? After all the Choosing is this year for Pug. Also, in medieval times, childhood ended much quicker. People lived shorter, and children were mini-adults until they hit puberty then considered adults to start and raise a family. So it makes sense for Pug to be handed some responsibility. Even if you would discard the age argument, then it still makes sense to me that the medieval society he lives in requires him to grow up and responsibly handle tasks. Since safeguarding the primary necessities of life are much more at the front than is the case for a child growing up today.

This is interesting. My edition has a scale on the map, which reads "237 miles to the inch". I think I may remember this was likewise ported into the German editions. Why would the early map have a scale but the latter one doesn't? Freedom with the publishers and perhaps he never wanted a scale but the erstwhile publisher insisted this go on a debut author's book's map?

Very much so, and I just rechecked the maps. There's no scale listed. It's best to ask REF if the answer can't be found elsewhere. That said, what is the shortest distance by air from Crydee to Rillanon on your map? :smile:

It isn't mentioned in this chapter in my version either. I think it may be mentioned at a later stage.

Fair enough, expect chapter 2's discussion coming saturday! ;)
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Darkon

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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2015, 08:50:36 PM »

Welcome to chapter 2, Apprentice! It's another chapter starting with a four word sentence on the first line of the first paragraph. What is it that makes badly written sentences appeal to us? There appears to be an appealing power behind a four word sentence. Could it be that Feist was aware of this? Or just his personal preference of starting a chapter? Either way chapter two does not pick up where we last left Pug at the end of chapter one. There’s actually a time skip, which becomes apparent further in the chapter where it is mentioned that the meeting between Kulgan and Pug was a few weeks ago and now it’s Midsummer’s day. The day of Choosing has come. To give a summary of this chapter:

Spoiler: show
Several weeks after Pug’s meeting with Kulgan we find him in the company of his best-friend and brother Tomas. Some of Pug’s story and foster family ties are explained, as well as that the moment of Choosing today is at hand. It’s an important moment in an Isleman’s life when they turn fourteen and go from boy- to manhood and either become apprentices or freemen. While killing time until the grande moment, Pug and Tomas head out into the nearby woods. Their mother having chased them out of the kitchen earlier, since the preparations for the Festival of Banapis AND keeping an eye on the boys simply proved too much. Once in the forest they encounter a beautiful stag, as well as the slightly mysterious but charming Martin Longbow. We learn more about his interesting backstory, as well as about the elves living in Elvandar. The scenery then changes to the moment of Choosing. Thanks to the efforts of an unnamed herald, who introduces us to Duke’s family, their titles, and some members of the court, we learn more about the Court of Duke Borric. Tomas is chosen by Swordmaster Fannon, but Pug is the single boy left unpicked. It is then that Master Kulgan, surprisingly present, steps in and gives Pug the choice to become his apprentice. Pug agrees, wishing no future as a freemen, and joins Kulgan. Shortly after the festival of Banapis starts.


I did not spot any errors in this chapter. So let’s continue to the questions. First of all there are some ongoing questions that we have discussed but had no conclusive answer. And there are also some new questions I wish to raise based on this chapter. The index of the encyclopedia I made previously has been updated. But due to its size, I have moved it to contribute section of this forum.

Ongoing questions
  • What brand or kind of tobacco is Kulgan smoking?
  • Is Master Althafain the man who trained Kulgan?
  • Is Master a title for people with higher standing, or for people practicing magical arts?
  • Why does Kulgan wear a (pale) yellow robe? Does yellow have meaning?
  • Why did the Free Cities of Natal not join the Kingdom of the Isles?
  • Why does Kulgan live out in the woods?
  • There is often a meaning to a location of a monastery. So why do Dala's priests have a mountain monastery?
  • What is Pug, a kitchen boy doing outside hunting/looking for food?
  • What is the actual size of Rillanon?
  • Why was there a scale on the maps of Midkemia and Kelewan in 1985, but not anymore in the later paperback edition of 1997?

We may be able to definitely answer the question, What is Pug, a kitchen boy doing outside hunting/looking for food?, with the information that chapter two provides: between the ages of 8 and 13 the boys are trained in various crafts, at which point they must take responsibilities. The hunting for food may very well fit this pattern of behaviour. Furthermore, the hunting for quail in chapter two suggests the boys have gone out to hunt for food before.

New questions
  • Why did Meecham work for Kulgan?
  • Who was Silban? Who do they worship at Silban’s Abbey?
  • What is the difference between Silban’s Abbey and the mountain monastery of Dala’s priests?
  • Why was Martin not adopted like Pug but raised at the Abbey, yet placed under the caretaking hands of the Duke’s old Huntmaster by the Duke himself?
  • Jonril is on the map between Carse and Tulan, but not mentioned as part of Crydee. Does each city have a baron vassal, or is Jonril the exception?
  • Why are the Free Cities of Natal called “of Natal”, and not The Free Cities? Does Natal claim rule over the others?
  • What level of nobility was lady Marna?
  • Why are there no girls at the Choosing? Is this gender bias towards apprenticeship?
  • Is the Choosing a Crydee tradition, a Kingdom of the Isles tradition, or is it found among other human societies?
  • What did Kulgan mean when he said he trusted neither of them had made a mistake this day?
  • Does the colour of Pug’s tunic, red, indicate apprenticeship?
  • Pug never drank ale before his 14th. In medieval times water was not on the list as the knowledge of needing to boil it to clear disease-causing pathogens was unknown. They drank ale and beer from early age, and milk when still breastfeeding. So what did Pug drink before his first encounter with ale?
Looking forward to the discussion!  :lol:
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 08:53:38 PM by Darkon »
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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2015, 01:13:38 PM »

It’s time for the third chapter “Keep” this week, and the chapter kicks off with a four word-plus sentence, thereby breaking the style set in the earlier two chapters. Once again we suffer a time skip, a major one compared to the previous as this time we move 14 months (!) between chapters. We return to find Pug, now 15, sleeping in his room in the castle’s tower. Time for a summary!

Spoiler: show
Pug, now apprentice of Kulgan has spend the last fourteen months trying to learn the fundaments of magic. And although he excels at grasping basic concepts, he feels blocked when trying to spellcast. He confides in Father Tully, and their conservation is interrupted by Kulgan who comforts Pug and tells him to worry less and take a day of to consort with the other keep boys and girls. When Pug leaves, the seriousness of the issue becomes known as Kulgan and Father Tully have a fierce discussion on magic, the lost magical arts and Pug’s problem with spellcasting. Kulgan then decides in all his wisdom that Pug should not be taught, but teach himself, using the resources available to him as Kulgan’s apprentice. Meanwhile Pug joins a ball game played by the other keep boys, and quite quickly finds himself in a fight with Rulf, the bully, for standing up to him. Prince Arurtha eventually breaks the boys up and a battered Pug is taken care of by Tomas. The boys discuss the occupying things in their life such as love, the future and what not, before heading to bed. The next morning Pug hears of Kulgan’s new idea as well as that the Duke is looking for a boy to ride with his daughter when there’s nobody else to escort her. Pug, the lucky man, sets off to Horsemaster Algon to learn how to ride a horse.


Once again, no errors spotted. I found this chapter interesting as it lifts the veil a bit on the magical system and also shares some information about the history of the world (Chaos Wars!). So let’s continue to the questions. There are quite a few ongoing questions that were either not discussed or still under discussion. Naturally there are also new questions. You will find these all listed a little bit further down in this post. I have provided an answer in regards to the Meecham/Kulgan questions, which were answered by REF himself. It seems to me that thereby the questions are resolved and so the next chapter I will take these questions off the list. The index of the encyclopedia has been updated up to chapter 3, and can be found here.

Ongoing questions as of Chapter 1
  • What brand or kind of tobacco is Kulgan smoking?
  • Is Master Althafain the man who trained Kulgan?
  • Is Master a title for people with higher standing, or for people practicing magical arts?
  • Why does Kulgan wear a (pale) yellow robe? Does yellow have meaning?
  • Why did the Free Cities of Natal not join the Kingdom of the Isles?
  • Why does Kulgan live out in the woods?
  • There is often a meaning to a location of a monastery. So why do Dala's priests have a mountain monastery?
  • What is Pug, a kitchen boy doing outside hunting/looking for food?
  • What is the actual size of Rillanon?
  • Why was there a scale on the maps of Midkemia and Kelewan in 1985, but not anymore in the later paperback edition of 1997?
  • Why did Meecham work for Kulgan?
Ongoing questions as of Chapter 2
  • Who was Silban? Who do they worship at Silban’s Abbey?
  • What is the difference between Silban’s Abbey and the mountain monastery of Dala’s priests?
  • Why was Martin not adopted like Pug but raised at the Abbey, yet placed under the caretaking hands of the Duke’s old Huntmaster by the Duke himself?
  • Jonril is on the map between Carse and Tulan, but not mentioned as part of Crydee. Does each city have a baron vassal, or is Jonril the exception?
  • Why are the Free Cities of Natal called “of Natal”, and not The Free Cities? Does Natal claim rule over the others?
  • What level of nobility was lady Marna?
  • Why are there no girls at the Choosing?
  • Is the Choosing a Crydee tradition, a Kingdom of the Isles tradition, or is it found among other human societies?
  • What did Kulgan mean when he said he trusted neither of them had made a mistake this day?
  • Does the colour of Pug’s tunic, red, indicate apprenticeship?
  • Pug never drank ale before his 14th. In medieval times water was not on the list as the knowledge of needing to boil it to clear disease-causing pathogens was unknown. They drank ale and beer from early age, and milk when still breastfeeding. So what did Pug drink before his first encounter with ale?
Interestingly, I found that in our last attempt to discuss Magician, 5 years ago, the relation of Meecham and Kulgan was touched upon and answered. Why does Meecham work for Kulgan? Why does Kulgan live out in the woods sometimes? Even if in Chapter 2 it becomes apparent he’s a regular member of Duke Borric’s court. Well, here is the answer, courtsey to GO for originally posting this:

Quote from: Raymond E. Feist @ Mon, 18 Nov 1996
Kulgan and Meecham were characters I didn't wish to create controversy with, rather just let them live together in the woods and have Meecham disapear when Kulgan died. If you reread their exchanges, especially in Silverthorn, you can see a hint of a couple, rather than a man and servant as was publicly their roles. But two old guys living together in the woods for 20+ years? Ya, roomates.
Quote from: Raymond E. Feist @ 01 December 2009
They were gay.  However, I wish to point out, it never was anything I wanted to make a big deal about.  Remember when I wrote the book.  I started it in 1977.  But I wanted to include a gay couple that looked 100% "ordinary" to the reader.  Apparently I did OK on that.  The last hint was when they observed that Meecham vanished after Kulgan died.

Best, R.E.F

What made me ponder is, knowing this, and taking into regards Kulgan’s comments during the debate with Father Tully: Kulgan believes the nature of the universe is not to blame, but the teaching of a person. And therefore his failure to teach Pug is his own. Mayhaps this correlates to his sexual preference, which he may see as the nature of the universe as well, but the fact that he hides out in the woods with Meecham and can’t have a relationship with him openly at the castle, is the failure of teaching of others to be tolerant and/or be open-minded?

Also in this chapter, it’s stated that the girls worked in service with the ladies of the castle. But how was it determined which girl went into service with what lady? See also our previous question in regards to the Choosing as to why there were no girls. Or at least not described?

Near the end of the chapter Kulgan is entering Pug’s room wearing a green robe. This may either suggest Kulgan has robes in different colours, and that colours in robes on Midkemia are irrelevant, or that Kulgan as a Master with an apprentice went from yellow to a green robe. The timing seems more suggestive for the first than the latter. However that may be a matter of a bit of stealth writing to not draw attention to it. Also, Tully was described at the beginning of the chapter to be wearing white robes. The robe-plot thickens!

New questions
  • How many priest orders are there?
  • What is their order of ranking if the Ishapians are the oldest and most senior?
  • Both magicians and priests know magic, yet it is different from each other apparently. In what way?
  • What are these Chaos Wars?
  • Who is the long-vanished God of Magic?
  • What are the lost arts of magic?
I have to admit I already know most of the answers to the new questions, having read Feist before. But I’m putting them out there nonetheless, seeing as they ARE the questions this chapter raises but doesn’t answer yet. Looking forward to the discussion!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 01:22:02 PM by Darkon »
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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2015, 09:14:31 AM »

Welcome to chapter four “Assault”. This chapter returns to the four-word opening sentence style seen before. It’s a week later and we find Pug uncomfortably riding a docile horse after having been instructed by Algon for the last week on how to ride one. A summary:

Spoiler: show
With fresh horseman skills and the Duke’s instructions, Pug sets off to accompany the daughter of Duke Borric, Princess Carline, on a ride through the countryside. He’s faced with a girl showing no interest in him and is not inclined to chat with him. The young poised demeanor of Carline evaporates Pug’s crush like snow before the sun. It’s very much an act by the girl. Eventually the two stop to lunch, or better said Carline lunches and Pug is commanded to go to the river to take care of the horses. Thereby making Carline with her feast a target for trolls who attack her. A rare event, but threatening nonetheless, Pug tries to draw the trolls to him with his sling. He succeeds, and then has to flee for his life. Fleeing into the river to get to his horses on the other side, Pug is overcome by the trolls but then casts a spell for the first time without aid from his mind. The trolls drown in agony. Pug goes look for Carline and finds her afraid and soiled, cowering behind bushes. The princess tries to act all regal again, but suffers backlash from Pug who points out that he saved her life, and she didn’t even thank him. They then walk back to Crydee, seeing as their horses ran off due to the trolls. At Crydee, there’s commotion when the two return, but Carline steps in to protect Pug and truthfully tells the tale. In reward he’s elevated to the station of Squire. He is to receive the holding of Forest Deep once eighteen and there’s a document with mysterious contents drawn up by Father Tully which is to be shared one day to Pug by Tully when Tully thinks the moment is right!


In this short, and spelling flawless chapter, the relation between Pug and Carline is explored, as well as that Pug’s station is lifted. The block in spell-casting Pug experienced was a bit of a mystery up to now, but may have been a result of Kulgan teaching him to cast from scrolls, rather than form the spell in his mind first and cast from there. What surprises me, is that despite the knowledge on the lost arts of magic – it was discussed between Kulgan and Tully – Kulgan seems oblivious to the details of these lost arts, and considers Pug to have discovered a complete new form of magic. A bit odd if you ask me. Now that Pug has saved Carline’s life, he becomes her object of fascination, perhaps also because he’s different than the court boys and lads like Roland, who has gone into jealousy mode after witnessing this affection between Carline and Roland. The index of the encyclopedia has been updated up to chapter 4, and can be found here.

That leaves us the new questions, and this chapter I only have a few:

New Questions
  • Why was Pug chosen to ride with Carline?
  • There’s nothing to be seen anywhere, the place is perfectly safe and trolls are quite, quite rare to attack humans. So why is Carline attacked by them? A little too convenient for my liking.
  • Pug received a second-hand regal attire, but from which Duke’s son?
  • What are the mysterious contents that Father Tully wrote for Pug later?
Ongoing questions as of Chapter 1
  • What brand or kind of tobacco is Kulgan smoking?
  • Is Master Althafain the man who trained Kulgan?
  • Is Master a title for people with higher standing, or for people practicing magical arts?
  • Why does Kulgan wear a (pale) yellow robe? Does yellow have meaning?
  • Why did the Free Cities of Natal not join the Kingdom of the Isles?
  • There is often a meaning to a location of a monastery. So why do Dala's priests have a mountain monastery?
  • What is the actual size of Rillanon?
  • Why was there a scale on the maps of Midkemia and Kelewan in 1985, but not anymore in the later paperback edition of 1997?
Ongoing questions as of Chapter 2
  • Who was Silban? Who do they worship at Silban’s Abbey?
  • What is the difference between Silban’s Abbey and the mountain monastery of Dala’s priests?
  • Why was Martin not adopted like Pug but raised at the Abbey, yet placed under the caretaking hands of the Duke’s old Huntmaster by the Duke himself?
  • Jonril is on the map between Carse and Tulan, but not mentioned as part of Crydee. Does each city have a baron vassal, or is Jonril the exception?
  • Why are the Free Cities of Natal called “of Natal”, and not The Free Cities? Does Natal claim rule over the others?
  • What level of nobility was lady Marna?
  • Why are there no girls at the Choosing?
  • Is the Choosing a Crydee tradition, a Kingdom of the Isles tradition, or is it found among other human societies?
  • What did Kulgan mean when he said he trusted neither of them had made a mistake this day?
  • Does the colour of Pug’s tunic, red, indicate apprenticeship?
  • Pug never drank ale before his 14th. In medieval times water was not on the list as the knowledge of needing to boil it to clear disease-causing pathogens was unknown. They drank ale and beer from early age, and milk when still breastfeeding. So what did Pug drink before his first encounter with ale?
Ongoing questions as of Chapter 3
  • How many priest orders are there?
  • What is their order of ranking if the Ishapians are the oldest and most senior?
  • Both magicians and priests know magic, yet it is different from each other apparently. In what way?
  • What are these Chaos Wars?
  • Who is the long-vanished God of Magic?
  • What are the lost arts of magic?
  • The fact that Kulgan hides out in the woods with Meecham and can’t have a relationship with him openly at the castle, is this the failure of teaching of people in Crydee to be tolerant and/or be open-minded?
As always, looking forward to the discussion!
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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2015, 04:23:24 PM »

Sorry all for the one day delay, I had some other matters to attend to. Val, looks like you'll be doing more catching up after all. ;) Here we go:
The breeze was cool (4!) and with it we whirl into the fifth chapter “Shipwreck”. Time has passed once again, and it’s now the end of summer, beginning of autumn. This is a longer chapter than the previous one, and now that a lot of characters have been introduced, the plot is about to thicken fast. We find Pug studying…

Spoiler: summary of chapter five • show
The ruckus in regards to the lifting of Pug’s station has died down and Pug is progressing with his studies, albeit slow. Then one day a shipwreck is spotted on the beaches of Crydee, and Pug and Tomas ride out to claim the ship for the Duke so they have an excuse to check it out. They explore the wreckage that must have been pushed onto shore by a storm, although there was storm the night before. It was a strange ship they had never seen before, colorful too. Upon exploration they discover bodies dressed in alien armour and find weapons and pottery of alien design. (Alien as in strange.) The ship moves around a lot with the incoming tide rocking it. Tomas loses the sword he brought and when the ship’s about to break in half, Pug feels a strange attraction, and pulls from a drawer a magical scroll. They quickly escape. Back on the beach they face one of the soldiers from the ship, who is severely wounded and threatening them. When Prince Arutha arrives with horsemen, he panics and tries to flee, only to fall and lose conscious. The scene then changes to the council chamber. Duke Borric discusses the matter with Kulgan, Tully, Fannon, Algon, Arutha and Lyam in the company of Pug and Tomas. They conclude they must know more about this strange, severely wounded soldier on his alien war galley. Lyam is to send word to the elves and dwarves. Tully will mind contact with the wounded soldier. In the mean time Pug and Tomas speak with Megar about the turn of events and the possible coming of war. Later, Pug finds himself alone with Carline in her garden, and she storms off angrily and hurt when he denies in politeness that he is a possible suitor for her hand. The wounded soldier then dies and the council reconvenes with the exception of Kulgan, busy with the found scroll. Father Tully explains what he learned from the wounded soldier, named Xomich, and the world he came from. The question is now whether Xomich and his company that included a magician, a Great One, went to Midkemia by accident, or whether it was planned. For should there be war between this world and the Kingdom, surely the Kingdom would face armies greater than those at the height of the Empire of Great Kesh. Pug is told to fetch Kulgan, but finds his master unresponsive. A sense of wrongness makes Pug take action. Upon Pug's order, two soldiers break down the door to Kulgan's study and they find Kulgan unconscious with a strange, grey void (a mini-rift!) above him. Hands come from it and they try to drag Kulgan into the rift. Throwing a spear into the rift, Pug is able to stop this. The rift disappears and Kulgan is taken care of. Father Tully nurtures Kulgan back to health, but Kulgan is still weakened when he tells Duke Borric in the presence of Tully and Pug what he learned from studying the scroll. Apparently the writer of the scroll, a magician or Great One named Fanatha, tried to move the war galley during a storm without a certain device. Kulgan also explains there were intricate spells used to achieve both the moving as protecting the scroll with the message of Fanatha. Together with the notion of a possible controlled rift,  is all over bad news for the Kingdom. When Kulgan is done with his tale, a hurried guard informs the Duke and his companions that Queen Aglaranna herself is riding to Crydee and will arrive there in two days time…

I did not find any spelling or grammar errors in this chapter. And boy, this long chapter sure pushes the story further. War is on Crydee’s doorsteps by the looks of it and I can’t wait to read the next few chapters. What is going to happen next? With Kelewan coming into the picture more concepts are explored and the rift is introduced. After all Magician is the first book in the trilogy of the Riftwar series. Anyway, the index of the encyclopedia has been updated up to chapter 5, and can be found here.

Onward to some new questions raised in this chapter:
 
New Questions
  • What is Fanatha’s relationship with the warlord?
  • What does the colour blue symbolise?
  • What are these lizard like creatures from Kelewan?
  • Is Yankora part of Honshoni?
  • Who is the leader of Honshoni?
  • Can a sun be greenish in colour?
  • Why is Tomas at the council meetings?
  • Are the goblins controlled by the Brotherhood of the Dark Path, or are they allies?

In regards to the question of the previous chapter, Why was Pug chosen to ride with Carline?, I guess it may be that he was Kulgan's apprentice and therefore considered more literate and civil than the other boys in the keep, as well as not a squire and therefore aware of his station compared to Carline's? Just a guess.

Ongoing questions as of Chapter 1
  • What brand or kind of tobacco is Kulgan smoking?
  • Is Master Althafain the man who trained Kulgan?
  • Is Master a title for people with higher standing, or for people practicing magical arts?
  • Why does Kulgan wear a (pale) yellow robe? Does yellow have meaning?
  • Why did the Free Cities of Natal not join the Kingdom of the Isles?
  • There is often a meaning to a location of a monastery. So why do Dala's priests have a mountain monastery?
  • What is the actual size of Rillanon?
  • Why was there a scale on the maps of Midkemia and Kelewan in 1985, but not anymore in the later paperback edition of 1997?
Ongoing questions as of Chapter 2
  • Who was Silban? Who do they worship at Silban’s Abbey?
  • What is the difference between Silban’s Abbey and the mountain monastery of Dala’s priests?
  • Why was Martin not adopted like Pug but raised at the Abbey, yet placed under the caretaking hands of the Duke’s old Huntmaster by the Duke himself?
  • Jonril is on the map between Carse and Tulan, but not mentioned as part of Crydee. Does each city have a baron vassal, or is Jonril the exception?
  • Why are the Free Cities of Natal called “of Natal”, and not The Free Cities? Does Natal claim rule over the others?
  • What level of nobility was lady Marna?
  • Why are there no girls at the Choosing?
  • Is the Choosing a Crydee tradition, a Kingdom of the Isles tradition, or is it found among other human societies?
  • What did Kulgan mean when he said he trusted neither of them had made a mistake this day?
  • Does the colour of Pug’s tunic, red, indicate apprenticeship?
  • Pug never drank ale before his 14th. In medieval times water was not on the list as the knowledge of needing to boil it to clear disease-causing pathogens was unknown. They drank ale and beer from early age, and milk when still breastfeeding. So what did Pug drink before his first encounter with ale?
Ongoing questions as of Chapter 3
  • How many priest orders are there?
  • What is their order of ranking if the Ishapians are the oldest and most senior?
  • Both magicians and priests know magic, yet it is different from each other apparently. In what way?
  • What are these Chaos Wars?
  • Who is the long-vanished God of Magic?
  • What are the lost arts of magic?
  • The fact that Kulgan hides out in the woods with Meecham and can’t have a relationship with him openly at the castle, is this the failure of teaching of people in Crydee to be tolerant and/or be open-minded?

Ongoing Questions as of Chapter 4
  • Why was Pug chosen to ride with Carline?
  • There’s nothing to be seen anywhere, the place is perfectly safe and trolls are quite, quite rare to attack humans. So why is Carline attacked by them? A little too convenient for my liking.
  • Pug received a second-hand regal attire, but from which Duke’s son?
  • What are the mysterious contents that Father Tully wrote for Pug later?

Next week the next chapter. In the mean time, feel free to discuss!
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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2015, 08:33:34 PM »

Hi, I like the idea of rereading Magician again (I reread it for at least 5 times!).
I try to keep up with you.
Oh, and I have to figure out how to do the quoting the right way, so excuse me for not doing that now. I will study that later.

For the first chapter I have 2 thoughts:
1) Maybe Kulgan is living in the forrest in stead of the village because it's quiet there? He can study en contamplate and Briar doens't hardly say annything. This maybe in combination of the fact that the villagers are not verry happy when he would live nearby.
2) I think later on in Magican and certainly in other books there will be mentioned how lang it takes (on foot, or horseride) from one city/village to anther. So that can give you an idea how large everything is. In my Magician book (dutch version, hardcover, printed in 2000) there is also no scale on the map.

Chapter 2:
1) The reason why Martin wasn't adopted, but raised by monks will be told further on in the story (not sure if that's in magician or further on in the series).
2) It's a middle age setting, so I expect girls to help their parents at home and their profession. And later on she would do the same for her husband. It's not 'suited' for a girl to have a job.
3) I think Choosing is a Kingdom tradition. But the proof is in later books (or even in later series).

Cahpter 3:
1) If you want to know more about the gods, priests and orders, you must read more series. And Nakur/Nakor is the caracter you must keep eye on.
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Re: Riftwar revisited - Magician
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2015, 06:07:08 PM »

Sorry I haven't contributed. I sort of lost a month and buried myself in reading lots. "Bad things" as Nakor so fondly like saying.

Still if you want me to wait while you catch up to "Rise of a Merchant Prince" I'll will.

Ooops!  :jester:
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