Speculation Space/Spoiler Space

Posted: October 11th, 2013 under Life beyond writing, Spoiler Space.
Tags: ,

And here it is.   This is the place for comments to discuss what you’ve been speculating about, so it doesn’t step on the toes of those who don’t want any spoilers.   It’s absolutely the place to discuss what’s in the various snippets that will be popping out here and there between now and Crown‘s Launch Day.

If you hate spoilers and speculation that goes a shade too far, do not read beyond the “More” and do not read the comments.    If you want to argue about what Midwinter present was just brought into the tower, here’s the place.  Have fun with it.  But keep it under wraps right here.   I will not answer questions here that would be spoilers if I did answer them.  (So don’t ask ME–take a wild guess if you must, but don’t ask me.)

Now for something off-topic: what the writer does after finishing a hard bout of copy edit checking while sick and coughing her lungs out.  Tomorrow will be a cooking day.  I have an “economy pack” of stew meat, variously colored sweet peppers, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onions, garlic and I’m considering whether (since my largest Le Creuset pot won’t be big enough) this is sufficient excuse to buy a bigger one.  Ideally this will start with a lot of sauteing and browning of meat on top of the stove, and end with everything and a quart of homemade beef stock and several large gluggles of red wine  in a big pot in the oven for hours.  And hours.  And hours.

I do have a bigger All-Clad stock pot I could use, but…although it goes in the oven…I really think the porcelain over cast iron does best for this kind of thing.   I suppose I could make a smaller batch…freeze the rest of the stew meat for another time…but the point is to make a big batch so I can freeze containers for later.   Some of the chicken stock I made earlier in the year was used up while I was sick (and it helped, so I need to make more) but with a big concert coming up, and son’s birthday,  and Thanksgiving, I need to start making the “fast dinners” now, so I can start the T-day prep by the end of the first week in November.



  • Comment by elizabeth — December 15, 2013 @ 3:18 pm


    You do realize it’s a raw first draft, right? If I knew more about the situation, I might or might not use those self-reflective phrases.

  • Comment by Richard — December 15, 2013 @ 5:36 pm


    #96 – Marrakai domain is in western Tsaia, yes, but isn’t it the southwest, that would be near the mountains not beside the river? I cannot remember where, or even whether, that has been specified, but it is implicit in Gird’s book when the then Duke explained how he was allied with the gnomes.

  • Comment by GinnyW — December 15, 2013 @ 7:29 pm


    For the non-snippet, Paks on her way from wherever she was to wherever she is going certainly springs to mind. I do not get the feeling that she (Paks or someone else) knows the people who are, or were, living in the house, though.

    Somehow, Dorrin springs to mind. Dorrin changed by a journey that we have not yet really begun, on her way back to somewhere.

    If the sleepers awaken, sane and needing to pick up the lives that were broken off, the Rosemage is a fascinating possibility as well.

  • Comment by elizabeth — December 15, 2013 @ 10:38 pm


    Richard: Marrakai’s domain, like many others, dwindled somewhat after the Girdish wars. At one time, it extended from the Honnorgat south almost to the Gnarrinfulks, but since then has lost some of its southern territory to smaller domains. The older system, in which the small domains were literally subjects of the larger ones, no longer holds.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — December 16, 2013 @ 7:26 pm



    I do realize (#101) that it was a first draft and was commenting on what my experience of reading that draft was, what context I thought it was coming from. I certainly don’t have an “in” with your Plot Daemon.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — January 2, 2014 @ 8:49 am


    The ARC has not yet arrived but one last post to say I’m exiling myself from this thread since now I’ll know “the rest of the story”. I will continue to enjoy any speculations that are posted.

  • Comment by Richard — January 3, 2014 @ 6:16 am


    Daniel, when Echoes alpha reader David Watson once mentioned Giant Killer Turnips beaming down from an orbital laser platform that was fun, but we are wise now to what he was talking about so it would be harder to tease us that way again. Enjoy your secret knowledge, and maybe there will be things you can say, when we refer back to earlier books.

  • Comment by GinnyW — January 3, 2014 @ 9:17 am


    Daniel, and Richard: I must say that being exiled from Speculation Space for knowing the story would take some of the fun out of reading the ARC. Probably not enough to compensate for being able to read the story. Daniel, Enjoy yourself! And perhaps keep an eye out for mis-placed places. We will miss your comments.

  • Comment by GinnyW — January 8, 2014 @ 10:15 am


    As I have been contemplating the possibility of Dorrin on a journey with the regalia, together with the possibility of a center of evil somewhere to the south of Verrakai lands and north of Konhalt, I have been gaining an appreciation of just how many tasks have been dumped into her lap.

    We get occassional glimpses into the progress made in tracing and bringing to justice the young men and older boys who went missing before Dorrin was able to take over. There were six killed by the rangers in KON, and three killed by Beclan in Echoes. Four if the courier killed by Dorrin was a renegade Verrakai. Dorrin did not seem to recognize any of the Liartians killed at the Mahieran hunting lodge as Verrakai, although they might have been. So, assuming that there were twenty or twenty-five potential fugitives, ten or so are still loose. Could there be some kind of Liartian stronghold in the southern woods? I do not see them camping out rough for very long, and it has been over a year.

    How would the followers of Liart get along with the Kuaknom? I can see them occupying the same territory, more or less, but the Kuaknomi hatred of humans would seem to preclude much cooperation?

    If Dorrin leaves on a journey south, is anyone strong enough to withstand a determined magical/spiritual attack?

  • Comment by Richard — January 9, 2014 @ 11:24 am


    Dorrin had three tasks: eliminating – capturing or killing – all acknowledged Verrakaien still at large, eliminating their accomplices still at large (Konhalts with Verrakai mothers, bastards with magery, etc) and eliminating all “dead” Verrakaien who have survived by invading others.

    As regards the first, it is irrelevant who is still himself and who had been invaded. Dorrin’s problem in looking for the named individuals is that many have died anonymously so perhaps mixed in with others in the second category.

    Back in Oath of Gold we know Achrya’s agents could live in Lyonya undetected, but it is harder to see how Liart’s followers could perform their rituals without disturbing the taig. So it wouldn’t surprise me if the four knights with wolf-beasts (who attacked Paks and the Squires after they left Aliam’s place) had come after her from Tsaia, somewhere in Konhalt or Verrakai lands. They approached from the right direction for that. So some of those four could be on the list of those Dorrin thinks she is still looking for. (Duke Haron would know Paks must have killed them, but he never got back to the country house to update the records.)

    Then there were all the militia officers and priests of Liart killed in the Darkon Edge battle. How many of them were family members? The officers I’d expect to have been identified afterwards (recognised by Sir Ammerlin’s knights, or named by interrogated prisoners) but not the priests.

    What about the three who escaped execution by “dying” in custody? Only Dorrin’s father was positively identified in his new host identity, and which of the three he’d been can only be guessed.

    Maybe all the Verrakai men – official and unofficial – still in Tsaia will flock out of hiding to join Vaskronin’s army when it turns up.

    As to tracking down all the “dead” Verrakaien from however long ago who have survived by invading others, it looks to be impossible. If they’d only ever transferred within the family then killing all current family members would have killed all the ancients, and it wouldn’t really matter how many they were or who was who. But serial transfers sometimes going outside make it matter and also make it impossible for Dorrin to tell from the records.

  • Comment by elizabeth — January 9, 2014 @ 10:50 pm


    You bring up many good points, Richard, but these are not things I can answer at the present time. Some of them may become stories or books, except that the Liartians who attacked Paks & companions on their way from Lyonya to Verella had indeed come from Tsaia, and very likely from Verrakai…though I didn’t know the source then and neither, of course, did Paks.

    There’s a lot of uncertainty…there are things where I know I’m right, but not why, or how.

  • Comment by GinnyW — January 10, 2014 @ 7:51 am


    Richard, The number of Liartians available for the attacks on Paks, and Kieri, and then later on Beclan were part of the motivation behind my speculation. The fact that they could still bring a force to attack the Mahieran lodge, after Dorrin razed the Verrakai keep, suggests that they have (had?) some other center to act as a base of operation. Probably somewhere in southern Verrakai lands or perhaps an ambiguous border country between Verrakai and Konhalt or Mahieran. Certainly there were no obvious movements on the main roads before the attacks.

    Adding them up does amount to a number of people, but the attack on Beclan points up the danger of having Dorrin absent for a long period of time. Obviously the Liartians have not just disappeared despite the purge of the thieves guild in Verella, and Dorrin’s work to rehabilitate Verrakai lands.

  • Comment by Richard — January 10, 2014 @ 3:13 pm


    thinking about it further, the Verrakai could be a spent force (if Elizabeth wants). All the adult men and older boys at the big House left before the battle. Lets say many of the adults went to the battle and were killed, while the rest waited in a family lodge. These, when they realised everything had gone wrong, went south to a “safe house” provided by Konhalt relatives outside the new Count’s control. Six of the adults, led by Haron’s other brother, then tried to reach Aarenis by the Dwarfwatch Pass but were caught by the rangers. Four more who’d stayed to watch over the boys mounted a sneak attack back into Verrakai domain come the winter, but were killed. This leaves only the boys (of 15, 16, 17 winters, squire age?) who won’t be a threat for several years, and any remaining adults who’d decided discretion was still the better part of valor.

    The attack on the Mahieran lodge could have come from Vérella and used up the magelords who’d escaped prison by invading innocents, and Liart’s priests who’d been hiding in the cellar of the city house before Dorrin opened it. (I think they could have used the main roads, posing as ordinary travellers.)

    As for magelords who took non-Verrakai identities years ago, maybe several transfers ago, they are just part of the larger pool of Liartians in the world and can continue sitting pretty – correction, “sitting nasty”.

    Back to #64 though: who are the plotters who made Duchess Celbrin their tool, and what have they been up to since losing both her usefulness and their hit squad? Will we find out?

  • Comment by GinnyW — January 11, 2014 @ 8:11 am


    Richard, Given what we know about the Verrakai, and the transferred personalities, even a fifteen year old body with an ancient Verrakai personality could be a threat. But I also agree that there are plausible grounds to think that the threat has been eliminated, if that is how Elizabeth develops the plot.

    My interest lies in the way Dorrin and/or Mikeli perceive the threat as an obstacle to Dorrin leaving Verrakai to go on an extended journey. When she left for Mikeli’s coronation, Paks was on hand to guard the domain in her absence. This time, it looks as though Paks may be busy with the magelords in Kolobia. Back to #64, Mikeli (and his uncle Sonder) seriously misjudged the threat posed by the Liartians (Verrakai or not) in the case of Beclan. It could make them more cautious this time. Conversely (perversely), it could encourage them to think that Dorrin is not all that effective as a defense against the Liartians, and so not needed in Tsaia.

    As you point out, the plotter(s) who have made Duchess Celbrin their tool are significant. It might only take one – rumors are easy to insinuate into a gossip chain, and this plot seems mainly aimed at discrediting Dorrin. Our attention has been drawn to the missing Verrakai men and older boys, but less so to Verrakai women or girls who may have been fostered out or married into other households.

    The “woman’s world” of social events and household staff has not entered into our story very much. That is where Celbrin had influence and was influenced. It is also where the Duchess of Verrakai, and Dorrin’s mother would have operated. Even though both are now dead, their status would have impressed Celbrin and brought her under their influence. Part of her bitterness could be confusion and a sense of betrayal from the realization that her value system brought her into contact with genuine evil. Or perhaps, from not really facing the full realization of that contact. We have already seen something similar with Flessinathlin.

    I do not think we are likely to find out, unless Celbrin becomes a more “front and center” character in Crown. She is the link and window into that world. But Elizabeth has so many threads to tie off in this book, it would surprise me if she has space for that story. (Of course, she has surprised me before.)

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — January 21, 2014 @ 12:05 am


    Regarding the Dorrin Snippet just posted. Fellow ARC readers, did I miss something the first time through? Darn, I may have to go back and read it again. GRIN.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — January 21, 2014 @ 7:46 am



    It was there. I read it. It startled me too when I did.

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — January 21, 2014 @ 9:32 am


    Found it.

  • Comment by elizabeth — January 22, 2014 @ 12:28 am


    Nadine: And you see with what care I snipped that bit out to avoid spoilers…

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — January 25, 2014 @ 6:34 pm


    Yup. Imagining the special snippet snippers one must employ. 🙂

  • Comment by Richard — March 19, 2014 @ 2:06 pm


    About the third of the three snippets we’ve just had together, I thought maybe it isn’t a baby being adopted, but an adult being Born Again. Then I realised who the adoptee could be, and why (and who the POV for the scene). Look at the names.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — March 19, 2014 @ 2:17 pm


    I was wondering when someone was going to bring the snippets back here. It looked to me the conversation was heading spoilerish. But since I cannot comment I won’t do any thing more than double our fine Author’s [evil chuckle]. 🙂

  • Comment by Richard — March 20, 2014 @ 3:07 am


    Daniel, it’s not that difficult a riddle, just a wonderfully inventive development. Glad you are enjoying yourself as a spectator to the discussions.

    I see the first snippet also relating back to something (a different something) talked about months ago.

  • Comment by GinnyW — March 21, 2014 @ 8:03 am


    If my suspicions about the adoption are correct, it is indeed a wonderfully inventive solution to a long-standing problem. Or maybe one-half of a wonderfully inventive solution. The author has earned her evil chuckle. I expect that when I have the whole episode, it will produce a patented [Reader’s Delighted Smile].

    Richard, Yes I think I remember who Kaim is (and I confirmed it, to be sure). (Limits, p.447 in the American edition). It raises some questions of how he came to be there.

  • Comment by Richard — March 22, 2014 @ 1:07 am


    More about Kaim back in chapter 3.

  • Comment by GinnyW — March 22, 2014 @ 3:54 pm


    Yes, but it was the later one that raised the questions.

    The first snippet relates to the relation between Crown of Renewal and Liar’s Oath that we discussed in an earlier thread. I wasn’t surprised to see it, but I can’t say I expected Arvid to have a role in it. Writer is entitled to another evil chuckle, perhaps.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment