Spoiler Space I

Posted: March 30th, 2010 under Spoiler Space.

First, many thanks to all of you for observing the “no spoilers” warning for the first two weeks after the US release.   Your courtesy is appreciated not only by me, but by those who haven’t yet finished (or started) Oath of Fealty.

And second, here’s the promised Spoiler Thread.   So for anyone who does not want spoilers, Do Not Read This Thread.   You’ve been warned.  This opening post won’t have any spoilers in it, but comments undoubtedly will, so…DO NOT READ THIS THREAD.

Clear?   OK.     From here on I’m talking to the ones who have read the book and want to discuss it in ways that include spoilers.   Have at it, with these cautions:

Be courteous and respectful to one another, if your opinions differ.

Don’t let anything from here spill over into comments on another thread:  what happens in spoiler-space stays in spoiler-space.

If this thread becomes unwieldy due to voluminous, fast-moving conversations, I’ll open another spoiler space.   All spoiler threads will be clearly labeled, like this one.

OK?  Are you ready?  Good…then Spoiler Space I is officially open for business.


  • Comment by elizabeth — June 25, 2010 @ 10:40 pm


    Now you understand why the original title was “Blood and Bones”–although I completely understood my editor’s feeling that with all the vampire books out there, it would attract the wrong audience (not that someone can’t like both kinds of books, but if you open a book expecting vampires and death, and find Dorrin, Kieri, Paks, and Arcolin…it’s like biting into what you think is a chocolate cake and finding a fruitcake instead.

    Glad you liked it.

  • Comment by Genko — June 27, 2010 @ 9:34 pm


    “Blood and Bones” would be a great title for this book, but not quite as elegant-sounding as “Oath of Fealty.” And I can understand the editor’s misgivings at that title. I’m not so sure I would have been quite as excited to read a book with that title either. I made myself read one horror novel a long time ago, and that was enough. Don’t have to do that again.

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 28, 2010 @ 7:33 am


    Editor was right. When I heard Editor’s reasoning, it immediately made sense, and the new title is much better for the book as a whole.

  • Comment by Molly — July 11, 2010 @ 8:50 pm


    I’m just now reading Oath for the second time. My mom bought me The Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy for my twelfth birthday–and there haven’t been any other books in my life I have ever loved as much or read as often. My deepest thanks.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 11, 2010 @ 9:04 pm


    Oh, thank you! I hope you continue to enjoy the new books.

  • Comment by tariqata — July 13, 2010 @ 8:26 pm


    I got “Oath of Fealty” yesterday afternoon and finished it around 2am this morning. And now I’m re-reading it, because dammit, it ended *much* too soon! Even if not all questions are answered, it’s great to be back in Paks’ world with more to see – there were so many little details that caught my eye in the original books, and any expansion is welcome.

    And I’m definitely going to have to re-read “Surrender None” now – I skipped it on my last go, but now I really want to see how the beliefs of the peasants have changed from Gird’s time to Paks’s! The sections in “Oath of Fealty” that discussed the Lyonyan beliefs and burial/memorial practices were fascinating.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 13, 2010 @ 8:48 pm


    So glad you enjoyed it! You can see the two main factions of the Fellowship of Gird already showing up in Surrender None (a little) and Liar’s Oath (a lot): familiar power structures try to reassert themselves, not via the magelords but the business class, merchants and bankers and so on. And the purists, who themselves have hold of different ends of the stick. As the Fellowship’s scholars study the newly-refound scrolls and other data from Luap’s time, there are shocks in store for all factions.

  • Comment by John — August 1, 2010 @ 6:04 pm


    @Margaret & Elizabeth, Posts 30,31, and others.

    I’m another who found out about your new trilogy by accident: walked into the library to pick up another book, and there it was.

    I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I was last on the website — or maybe I was looking up details. I was planning to check in to see what new book you _had_ published (or would soon be out). And a couple months ago I had checked the library’s website to see, since they do list the books before they arrive. [Well, seems to me a couple months ago, but maybe it was longer. Or maybe somebody specifically paid for it.]

    I checked Oath out, but am now rereading Deed. Once I buy my own copy of Oath, I’ll reread the whole set (Gird books).

    Found Paksworld.com because I was hoping to find more map of Pak’s World than the three — after all, I can’t find Three Firs on any of them, or several of the other places. Just came across a reference to Pak’s being from Fithian (way up a tributary of the Honnorgat, way west of Verella), which meant looking at all three maps I have. Hence my attempt to look for more maps online.

    As Margaret (&/or others) mentioned, I’m not on Twitter. Yes, I’m a computer guru, and computer hardware, networking, and security are my specialties. And when I want details, I go looking online. So how could you have publicized it better? We don’t _all_ need info the moment it happens (yes, you and your publisher need us to need it …). In a way, it would’ve been nice not to have realized this one was out until all 4 or 5 of the trilogy were done, but I’m not willing to wait.
    You mentioned the publisher’s insistence on online activities. I’m on a couple author’s newsletter lists (to me a blog is more of a forum, not a newsletter – probably because of the comments) or FaceBook pages, which is how I know of them. I thought I’d seen a FB page for you a few years ago. But maybe I wasn’t active on FB (I am now because my kids and siblings are).

    I sure enjoy your books! Thanks for creating such fascinating universes! After looking at the short fiction list, I see I’ve missed at least one story from Pak’s World. I’ll have to chase it down. Also, somewhere in this site you implied another story not listed on the short story list. Not published? Published only online? I’ve forgotten by now. Hope you will add it to the shortstory list, even if not published by regular means. That way I can at least have the illusion of eventually hunting it down.

    Again, THANK YOU.

  • Comment by Genko — August 8, 2010 @ 8:09 pm


    Okay, I have a question. I was trying to remember when I came across a “Captain” of Tir in Oath, wasn’t it “Swordmaster”? In Oath, you have Marshals (Gird) and Captains of Falk and Tir. In re-reading Deed, though, sure enough, it’s Swordmasters of Tir. Particularly at the midwinter feast in Fin Panir, there are High Marshals of Gird, “two Marshals of Falk, in long robes of ruby-red, with gold decorated helms…A Swordmaster of Tir, in black and silver; Paks rememberd the device on his arms from Aarenis.”

    However, in Oath, it seems that the Captain of Tir is considered of equivalent rank to the Marshall of Gird, at least when he comes to visit Stammel at the Grange. So did something change, or is the Swordmaster of higher rank or something?

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 8, 2010 @ 10:15 pm


    Swordmasters are a higher rank…if I could only find that old notebook, I’d be sure which was higher, Blademaster or Swordmaster. (Or, if I found that notebook, I might find I had it all upside down. But I do remember having all three…just not in what order.)

  • Comment by Genko — August 11, 2010 @ 5:11 pm


    Thank you. I suppose I just liked the term “Swordmaster,” and maybe was thinking that with Marshal, High Marshall, and Marshall-General, there should be some similar sort of coherence to Tir names. “Blademaster” I haven’t seen before, so maybe that’s that high mucky-muck equivalent to Marshall-General?

  • Comment by andreth — September 26, 2010 @ 12:36 pm


    I really love all the Paksworld books, and reread them regularly, along with Tolkien, Lackey, McCaffrey, etc. I am impatiently awaiting the next installent to find out what happens to Dorrin, the young prince and his friends, Arcolin, M’Dierra,and all of them.
    I am also somewhat interested in Kieri’s marriage, as are all his council. But it bothered me that he simply dismissed all his half-elven squires as “too young” when he has his own example of 50 years old as being “merely well-grown” which the elves told him at the end of Oath of GOld. Also he has that experience of reading his sister’s bones, which told him her pelvis wasn’t developed properly for child-bearing, at an age that for humans gives no problems. So why he dismisses Arian as not more than 25 baffles me. It doesn’t ring true; he’s smarter than that.
    One other question: it is said that the King’s squires have to be Knights of Falk. Do the half-elven have to be Knights of Falk also? Do Knights of Falk become rangers, as most of the half-elven squires were rangers?

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 26, 2010 @ 1:32 pm


    He is smart, yes, but he’s also been distracted in his first half year of being king of a land he knew little about. Distraction and busy-ness both leave people depending on what they knew before whatever whatever the current challenge is. And old habits of thought die hard.

    Remember that he had been thinking himself aging, had worried about not having an heir for his lands in Tsaia…he has lived nearly all his life with the understanding that a) he was human, and b) humans didn’t live all that long compared to elves. He’d never been around elves much (even in Lyonya, and there’s a reason–they were avoiding him.) He’s been told that he is only just an adult by half-elven standards, but that’s not how he feels, or how he automatically reacts to others. And because of his life, he looks older than most fifty-year-old half-elves. (His new connection to the taig is slowly changing that but what he sees when he looks at himself is what he expects to see. Personal experience example: I spent 40 years as a physically fit, athletic, lean person. Now I’m a heavy far-less-fit person. But my mental image of myself is still that lean, fit person, and the image in the mirror keeps hitting me as a shock. That can’t be me–but it is. And Kieri’s had less than a year of being told he’s something else. Accepting the new self–whether it’s better or worse or just different–takes time.)

    In addition, he’s been involved in military discipline his entire adult (and adolescent) life: protection of his people, including protection of them from his own desires, is a core value with him. He will not let himself do anything that he thinks will harm them (other than send them into danger when that’s necessary.) They do not exist for his pleasure, but are under his protection…their oaths of fealty to him are balanced (in his mind) by his oath to each of them.

    All King’s Squires must be Knights of Falk, whether all-human or part-elf. Not all part-elves become Knights of Falk, and those who do not cannot be King’s Squires. Most rangers are part-elven, but not all, and rangers do not have to be Knights of Falk…most are not. The requirements for being Knight of Falk include being able to pay for the training and being sponsored by a noble house (elven or human.) The requirements for being a ranger include having superior taig sense and the physical abilities required (stamina, strength, hardiness, weapons training, bilingual in elven and Common.) The requirements for being a King’s Squire include being Knight of Falk, meeting physical standards (stamina, strength, weapons training, etc.), being literate and fluent in both elven and Common, being psychologically stable enough for the job (not a low-stress occupation), being flexible, etc.

  • Comment by Rolv — October 9, 2010 @ 11:53 am


    Thank you ever so much. I’ve been longing for this for years.

    I was introduced to the Deed six years ago, by one of my students, and have been in love with Paksworld ever since. Found out about the Oath rather accidentally, ordered it last month, but wanted to finish the three books I’m currently editing before enjoying the Oath.

    Things do not always turn out as planned, though. Monday, I had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. Eveerything went well, I’m actually feeling better than beofre, and the doctor was very pleased with the tests.
    What a treat, then, while being hospitalized, to have the whole Oath to digest and enjoy!

    It was surprisingly – and delightfully – different from what I expected. I would have loved more Paks, but to get such ample servings of Kirei, Dorrin, Arcolin, Stammel et al more thsan made up for that longing. I’m looking eagerly forward to the Kings of the North! Also, I’m exited about the master map to come.

    One small aside on series and middle books: Two Towers has always been my favourite LOTR book. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread it, but still totally enjoy Treebeard and the ents, Gsanfdalf’s retelling of the battle with the Balrog, Cimli’s description of the Glittering Caves … It doesn’t get better, except at the Fields of Pelennor, with Eowyn and Merry defeating the Lord of the Nazgul. I read that scene to my wife some years ago, and could hardly speak for the welling up of tears … The only other book made a similar impression on me is the Deed.

    Can hardly wait for the next volume! (And in the meantime, there’s the new WoT book to come, and the editing of some books to finish …)

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 10, 2010 @ 4:49 pm


    Yikes! Heart attack? I hope your recovery continues smoothly, and I’m delighted to provide some enjoyment while you’re going through this ordeal.

  • Comment by Rolv — October 11, 2010 @ 3:49 am


    Thanks. I’m recovering, feeling fine, and enjoying two weeks of sick leave, giving me an extra break while changing from one job to another. I’m looking forward to a less stressful life, not the least to being able to walk to work instead of spend a lot of time commuting.

    I had thought for some time about writing to you, telling how nuch I enjoy the series, asking about maps and if you were planning to return to Paksworld, but never picked up the nerve to do so. And now, not only are my hopes fuldilled, but when I write, you reply so soon! I’m thrilled.

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 11, 2010 @ 7:28 am


    So glad you’re recovering and additional good wishes headed your direction for a full and uneventful recovery.

    Thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying the books. Right now I’m going to be scarce around here (and my other places) as I work to get Book III into shape for submission.

  • Comment by Rolv — October 13, 2010 @ 4:26 am


    Thank you again, and good luck with your work. Don’t worry, getting answers is sheer bonus. 🙂 I don’t expect you to reply to my rambled writings, just want to express my appreciation. Definitely, I don’t want you to be distracted from the writing, I’m too much looking forward to the next books.

  • Comment by Andrew — December 16, 2010 @ 10:20 pm


    Just some thoughts…
    the stone knife?…from Gird’s time or earlier…someone with a parrion for stone-working or knifemaking? Magelords could affect natural things in unnatural ways…maybe things honestly worked from pieces of nature are able to bypass magic?
    the necklace with the stone belonging to Dorrin’s crown…removed by one of the heroes of old (someone like falk or camwyn but probably not mentioned yet?) or possibly one of the fey decent verrakai that wanted to limit the family’s power, or preserve this heirloom in pieces for later reassembly?
    Dorrin as a paladin?…I think that would be too much like paks…I would prefer her to be the leader of a new generation of magelords who want to heal the damages thier ancestors did. (I’m thinking that the surviving magelords in luaps stronghold could become her subjects)
    Arcolin…interesting if he was an andressat family member…even more interesting if he was heir to the duchy of fall…
    What are the kuakganni?…not a clue…some sort of “magelord of the trees and growing things” getting thier power from nature in order to protect and support nature itself…I suspect they are chosen or influenced (maybe indirectly or unknowingly?) by the taig…but the taig as it is when not already “woken” by the elves…
    Book titles…maybe Rule of Aare…relates to surrender none, does not actually require a’ruler’,but could give some more background on Aarein history while in Aarenis or when they first came over the mountains. Or Daughter of Aare…relates to sheepfarmers daughter…Dorrin’s destiny…depending on the crown…is it lordship of Aarenis (IIRC means daughter of Aare…so double entendre) or lordship of Old Aare itself?…which would require a journey to sort out the old place…making those in luaps stronghold even more necessary…
    I’m sure Elizabeth will reveal all in good time…just my tuppence worth!

  • Comment by elizabeth — December 16, 2010 @ 10:51 pm


    I have time to deal with only one question: “What are Kuakkgani?” Back in the original books, somewhere, it’s revealed that the first human-Kuakgan sang so beautifully to the First Tree, that the tree–which had before that responded only to elves–responded to him. This is what caused the Great Severance, when some of the Sinyi turned against elven nature and became kuaknom–tree-haters (for the Tree’s supposed treason), and under various names (iynisin, kuaknom, blackcloaks) became a dangerous force against both humans and elves. The Kuakkgani now are those few who have dared, and survived, the training and ritual by which human and tree join to form a new identity. The elves consider it obscene and dislike Kuakkgani even though they did not rebel against the Tree or the Singer; Girdish humans aren’t happy with it either, but do not consider them magelords…the powers they have are not innate (as they are with magelords) but acquired. Kuakkgani may be either grovemasters (who settle in a grove for life) or peripatetic, wandering the world.

    Kuakkgani may be male or female. They tend to be solitary, though they may come together for specific purposes. (In Book III there will be an unusual situation where three Kuakkgani are in the same place at the same time.) They never have children. They are connected to the taig through trees specifically, but this connection is strong enough to give them a lot of powers with both plants and animals, some unique to them and some shared with other magic-users. In most circumstances, a Kuakgan will not kill, even if he/she knows that someone “deserves” it–and they can usually interdict an intent to damage their grove or someone in it without having to kill the perp.

    Their followers, kuakgannir (plural of kuakganni) are possibly closest in belief and practice to the Old Humans of the north (and formerly, of Aarenis as well.) They follow very old practices and beliefs about the sacredness of living things, places, wells and springs, etc. Although a Kuakgan can be a spiritual leader and advisor of local kuakgannir, the kuakgannir do not need the presence of a Kuakgan or a formal Grove in order to carry out their rituals or sustain their beliefs. Kolya Ministiera, in the Deed, is a kuakganni; she was offered the chance to train as a Kuakgan and chose to be a soldier instead. There’s an irony that will become obvious by Book III, if not before.

  • Comment by Darren — August 5, 2011 @ 10:09 am


    Is the lady of the forest a mage lord in hiding?

  • Comment by elizabeth — August 5, 2011 @ 10:30 am


    If you mean the Lady of the Ladysforest, she is an elf. Not a magelord. The other elves would know if she were not an elf. What made you think she might be a magelord?

    If you mean someone else, I’m not sure who you’re speaking of.

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