Curse of the Miswraith (Book Club)

dwndrgn

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Help! I'm stuck in the forums!
Please begin discussion.

One topic to consider; Janny Wurts uses two siblings as her main characters. Does this add or detract from the storyline? Does she portray 'sibling rivalry' realistically or is this a dramatized version suited to the story?
 

finvarre

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I don't think Wurts portrays a real 'sibling rivalry' in this book/series. Yes, nominally Arithon S'Ffalenn and Lysaer S'Ilessid are half-brothers, but they weren't raised together. Moreover, Arithon was officially a bastard, born out of wedlock. Both princes were heirs apparent to two opposed kindoms, which fact weighed heavily on their first encounter. As a result, only later in the book do they learn how to trust one another. And finally, the mortal enmity that ensues is a geas-inspired curse too strong to overcome (even the Fellowship was helpless against it).

What I'm hinting at is that even though of course their being brothers has its importance to the story, it doesn't really play a crucial role at least in this first volume. They could easily have been only kin, (usually royal houses of neighbouring kingdoms are related through intermarriages). It adds to the tragedy that such two brilliant men -the royal brothers, shall we say- have to ruin themselves and the lands of Athera in a meaningless war, but it doesn't really change the course of the story. (OK, maybe they wouldn't have their inborn gifts of light and shadow if they didn't share a mother, but otherwise they're very different, even in inheriting different attributes - compassion and justice. (and S'Ahelas foresight as well:)
 

Rosemary

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I felt that having the two brothers as adversaries did little for the story. The first book particular bothered me. The storyline was excellent as were many of the characters.
I usually enjoy reading Janny Wurts. Curse of the Miswraiths could have been so much better IMO:)
 

GOLLUM

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Finvarre makes some good points there but I feel the idea of including 2 half-brothers who initially appear to be civil towards each other, albeit there's always I think an underlying or simmering tension from early on in the book due to their differing backgrounds, is in fact totally critical, pivotal, central whatever you wish to call it to the entire Light and Shadow series that Wurts develops. The fact that they are like "royal brothers" as Finvarre points out adds to the tragedy of the situation which I don't think you would've necessarily had in terms of emotional wrench that the later books certainly deliver if they’d simply been let's say distant cousins for example. It's their very closeness in blood ties through having the same mother I think that helps to heighten or elevate that sense of tragedy.

I'd have to argue also against the point Rosemary makes which is that the two brothers as adversaries doesn't add much to the storyline. It's in fact absolutely central as a theme to the entire series. For me having this contrast between two equally brilliant individuals is a most interesting aspect to the story and helps to add a tense game of cat and mouse and as finvarre points out tragedy that may not have otherwise been possible. In other words, COMW is very much a setup book for the often poignant play b/w these two brilliant and often flawed individuals by Wurts.

To answer whether the rivalry b/w the two royal brothers is realistic or not there is certainly a realistic element to them in terms of a natural sibling rivalry but Arithon particularly to me seems a little too good to be true in the way he is portrayed as being a highly accommodating (in avoiding conflict and inevitable loss of life by clashes with his brother) and a generally all-round good guy although he does have his flaws like Lysaer. Having said that his apparent total abhorrence to violence and attempted avoidance of the Mistrwraith's Curse is totally relevant and indeed necessary both as a contrast to Lysaer's more dogmatic or headstrong approach to the situation but also the entire storyline. In a sense I think the whole brother vs. brother thing is being used here by Wurts to highlight the multifaceted aspects of human nature and ultimate futility of war. So in short I'd say yes the brothers rivalry is to an extent contrived by Wurts but for a specific reason in terms of a legitimate literary vehicle that contributes greatly towards plot development.

OK time to get off the soap box now but I am particularly passionate about both this series and author who IMO is underrated.:(
 

finvarre

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OK, so which one of the brothers do you prefer: Lysaer or Arithon? I know it's a hard question to answer as people usually tend to symphatise with the victims and Arithon was portrayed as a victim here because he tries to fight the curse and Lysaer in the beginning even doesn't bother to realise he's accursed, he only unleashes his rightful wrath against his brother.

Personally, I've found it quite hard to like Lysaer, whereas I have no problems with liking Arithon, though I'd agree with you there, Gollum, as a character, he's almost too good to be true:) I still haven't read the last 2 volumes, though:eek: . But then I know the point of the series is to decide on your own who was in the right. So while reading these books, I'm trying to be fair to Lysaer as well: he wasn't trained as a wizard, and so he couldn't resist the geas as much as Arithon could, wasn't his fault either.

BTW, initially, Lysaer wasn't really 'civil' to Arithon, it was only the other way round:D .
 

GOLLUM

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Well perhaps Lysaer wasn't all that civil then but the point is that at least initially they got along a bit like the odd couple.....:D

HMMM.. I think I'm with you in liking Arithon, I much prefer to see Aritrhon prevail if that's the right word than that mule-headed Lysaer!!...:mad: :mad:

As you say it's easier to associate with a sympathetic character like him than an apparent despotic tyrant like Lysaer, pretty irrational lot aren't we...;)

Hsving said that I also found Arithon a much more interesting, engaging and for me complex character than Lysaer.

Don't stress on not reading the last 2 novels yet, the basic themes remain similar but you're in for some surprises.....
 
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finvarre

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Well, so we basically share the same viewpoint, even if it's irrational, glad to hear that:)

I'd be curious, though, to hear the arguments of somebody who sympathised more with Lysaer, though:)

Yes, I do hope for some surprises in the next volumes:) Life would be dreary without them, especially as far as fantasy novels are concerned!

(sorry, have to go now, bye!:)
 
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