The New Spoiler Space

Posted: August 21st, 2014 under Spoiler Space.

Sorry, distractions hit and I forgot I was supposed to get on with this.    This is your new spoiler space for talking about anything new and spoilerish.   If any of you do show up at DragonCon, you will hear me read something that would be a spoiler, so it’s under the this blanket (or will be, about 10 days from now.)

Please keep spoiler-space discussions to discussions of what’s actually been written, and avoid too much speculation on what might be written.   If you start thinking ahead like writers, it’s inevitable that one of you will come up with something far too close to what I’m doing, and that can cause us (you, me, agent, publisher) problems of the “which came first, chicken or egg” variety.   I do stay out of spoiler space, mostly, but as the moderator of the comment section, I see things willy nilly whenever I go to the cmments section to answer a comment (which I do because it lets me use italics and other formatting bits.)

Anyway–you have been forewarned.  If you hate spoilers, do not read any comments in anything labeled a Spoiler Space.  (It’s after midnight, my brain was already brown and crispy at the edges and is now thoroughly fried.)


  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — August 22, 2014 @ 7:04 am


    Speaking of spoiling – not much has been said concerning what Farin does with food waste. Feed the pigs? Midden heap? There is mention of the spreading of the jack’s waste at Duke Falin’s and two soldiers are found in a midden during the war with Siviana.

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — August 22, 2014 @ 10:17 am


    My review of Crown from Amazon:

    Crown of Renewal completes the Paladin’s Legacy arc of stories, which themselves followed after the Deed of Paksenarrion arc, and the Legacy of Gird duology. As has always been the case in Moon’s fantasy stories, the arcs don’t answer all of the questions that the novels have raised, or conclude all the stories. Life isn’t like that.


    At the burial of Stammel in the preceding novel, Limits of Power, Dragon greets Paksenarrion as “sister and daughter,” and Paks confides to Arcolin that it somehow feels true, even though she knows it is not. Dragon’s domain is transition and change; and at the conclusion of Deed of Paksenarrion, Paks’ heroism and Deed had disrupted governments in Fintha, Tsaia and Lynoya, as well as much of Aarenis, and the individual lives of most everyone she had met. Paks, like Dragon, is an agent of change. Paks is Dragon’s sister and daughter in the sense that, like Dragon, she evokes change in the world around her. The Paladin’s Legacy arc traces those changes.

    Arcolin finds himself elevated to the nobility, inadvertently but inescapably made Prince of a tribe of gnomes, and forced to confront his own past; Dorrin must find and cope with new powers in herself and the legacy of her family’s evil; the Marshall-General and the Girdish must deal with her own mistakes and weaknesses, and the increasing level of magelord magic in a religion that forbade it; Kieri must deal with an elven heritage he has only just learned he had, the evil in his past and one or more traitor elves who are trying to kill him; and that’s just a partial list.

    Individuals, as well as entire nations, are similarly changed, perhaps most wrenchingly Arvid Semminson, the dapper thief enforcer. He, too, is dramatically and explicitly changed by his two contacts with Paks.

    In too many fantasy novels, the hero/heroine rides off into the figurative sunset. In the Paladin’s Legacy arc, Moon is grabbing the reader and saying, “No, wait, she saved the day but she also created and left an awful mess. Let’s look at that.” Paladin’s Legacy is a long – if too brief – look at what happened after Paks confounded the Northern Kingdoms.

    Moon as a writer also gets a certain amount of pleasure in subverting readers’ expectations. Sometimes, it’s big stuff. For example, Alured the Black – a problem created by Kieri in Deed – was set up as the arch villain of the arc. But we spent a lot of time earlier in Legacy with the Count of Andressat, a very minor character in Deed, and the reason becomes apparent when he invokes Camwyn’s Curse against Alured, leaving the erstwhile arch villain an enfeebled cripple when one of the protagonists finally meets him, face-to-face. Moon, as a writer, has the courage to confound our expectations. The enemy turns out to be renegade Girdish in a religious schism. She does it again with the sleeping magelords from Kolobia, discovered in Deed.

    Sometimes it’s small stuff: Paks arriving in Lynoya at an extremely critical moment, but then helping the gate guard learn how to darn a sock.

    The resolution of that Girdish religious schism manages to echo the stunning end of Surrender None, yet be completely different, and requires an entirely different kind of sacrifice from Marshall-General Ariyana than Gird’s. And the end of Dorrin’s story is really just another beginning.

    (And let’s pause and note that Moon does a pretty good job of digging herself out of the giant plot hole she made for herself at the end of the nearly unreadable Liar’s Oath. It’s cleverly done. But we probably shouldn’t have believed anything from Luap’s POV in any event.)

    All of this requires a little more thought, a little more reflection, than your usual sword and sorcery stuff. There aren’t neat and tidy endings. Moon is reminding us that life isn’t like that. It echoes back to the end of Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. There are still Kuaknomi loose in the Northern Kingdoms, although there are a lot less; Camwyn is destined to be the new king of Horngard, hardly an easy path. Arvid is obviously destined for more than a mere Marshal. Dorrin’s life promises to be even more interesting.

    No, all the story threads aren’t all neatly tied up. They can’t be. But the Paladin’s Legacy arc, and particularly Crown of Renewal, are an excellent, rewarding return to Pak’s world. Moon is a much better writer than she was 20 odd years ago when she wrote Sheepfarmer’s Daughter. And is interested in more complicated issues.

    My only regret is that the series has ended.

    This is not the place to start reading Paladin’s Legacy, as Moon says in her Author’s Note at the start. But it’s an absolutely terrific conclusion to a brilliant set of books. Highly recommended.

  • Comment by GinnyW — August 24, 2014 @ 1:31 pm


    Wickersham’s Conscience: I like the review. It reflects the maturity and complexity of the series.

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 24, 2014 @ 6:01 pm


    Jonathan: Food waste is minimal, and mostly unplanned (rats in the granary, spoilage from insects, mold, etc.) There are several species of animals that feed from the table, so to speak: the guard dogs get meat scraps and bones; the chickens get vegetable trimmings, pigs kept up for fattening (as opposed to those that are allowed to forage in the woods) get any extra milk and scraps considered too spoiled to go into stock. But most milk not needed in daily cooking is kept for making cheese, which stores better. Bones and vegetable trimmings are also used for making stock (a regular process and necessary basic component for cooking), cream is made into butter, etc. Much modern kitchen waste is packaging or the results of damage from long shipping and storage. In a well-run country estate (not claiming the Verrakai tradition was well-run in all senses!) of this period in Paksworld, there just wasn’t much waste–everything had its use. Techniques of pre-modern preservation (pickling, drying, salting, fermentation) were all well-known and in use. Middens would not have contained much food waste, but were trash heaps. Given the magelords’ ability to make fire, burning up the organic parts of a midden was a fairly easy chore.

    Iphinome: We each have our priorities. I find travel itself exhausting enough not to spend energy on anything but getting from A to B as stress-free as possible. This is an age-related situation which annoys me about myself at times, but that also is a waste of energy.

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — August 25, 2014 @ 5:51 pm


    Wickersham, I too enjoyed your review. Aren’t ALL endings fundamentally the beginning of something else? Looking forward to the short stories from Paksworld.

  • Comment by Richard — August 26, 2014 @ 4:15 am


    Yes, great review.

    By the way, I date the hole-digging back to Divided Allegiance, when the sleepers in Kolobia were introduced as a mysterious wonder which Elizabeth then found she had to come up with an explanation for. Could part of her problem with Luap’s story have been that its ending was fixed before she started writing it?

    What we now have with them does satisfy – they make an important contribution to Crown not for what they do when woken, but for the knowledge they bring, making them Kieri’s contribution to Dorrin’s storyline. Also, putting them to sleep in the first place had held the iynisin back for five hundred years, which was worth something.

    I also draw a parallel between those magelords, and the not-as-bad-as-the-rest kidnapper in Fin Panir whom Arvid at Gird’s bequest did his best to bring out alive but the man refused to be saved.

  • Comment by Sharidann — September 18, 2014 @ 7:26 am


    Great Review Wickersham!

  • Comment by pennyworth — November 26, 2014 @ 8:22 pm


    On my reread -I am savoring the sea scenes, Poor Dorrin. And Camwyns slow recovery, and the mental processes are wonderful.
    What also awes me is how the world of the book is definitely so much larger than the story that we glimpse through the ‘window’ of these volumes.
    I wonder how the Verrakai children faired, and if they ever learned anything of Corrin’s fate.

  • Comment by pennyworth — November 26, 2014 @ 8:22 pm


    Sorry- Dorrin’s fate

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