- This topic has 43 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 5 months ago by Essalure Lenara.
January 27, 2015 at 7:40 pm #1647Ashley RoseGuest
Remember the part on the Island of Phoob when Artham sees Kalmar, sings the song of the stones, becomes transformed/renewed and then rescues the wolf king? That scene held my imagination captive for some time, because I sense some deep truth being reflected in what happened to Artham, but I haven’t taken the time to sit down and think through what that truth is. Why is Artham “made new”, his mind restored, when he gives in? If singing wasn’t giving in, what was actually going on? Why is his transformation restorative while Kalmar’s (and the other children’s) transformation was destructive? Something beautiful and true is going on here, but it’s beyond me. Thoughts?
January 27, 2015 at 10:10 pm #1650
Oh, wow. That scene was incredible, wasn’t it? Have you read book 3 yet? There’s something that happens toward the end that I think sheds a lot of light on what’s going on here, but i don’t want to say too much before I know if you’ve read it. Suffice it to say that this question lights up my brain in all kinds of explosively colorful ways.
January 29, 2015 at 10:46 pm #1683Andrew PetersonGuest
That’s a great question, Ashley, and yes, the answer is given at the end of book three.
I just wrote out the answer, but I think I’d rather hear what you think–maybe after you read book three (if you haven’t). If you have, and you’re wondering what we’re talking about, let me know and I’ll clarify.
February 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm #1783Ashley RoseGuest
I’m in the middle of book 4 for the first time (and re-reading book 3 aloud with the family). I think I must have neglected to really soak in those last scenes of book 3 where the song (and its effect) is dealt with; hopefully on the re-read I’ll pick up more. For now, my thoughts are that it has something to do with God as creator, and Satan as pervert-er. In other words, that the song, like everything, was created good. When it’s used with wrong intent its power is perverted, much like our capacity for love. Maybe something about becoming our truest selves when submitted to Christ’s authority?
On the other hand, trying to pin the “MEANING” down like an insect on a foam board sort of detracts from the truth of and certainly from the beauty of the image. So I’m still hoping to hear more thoughts to help broaden and mystify what’s going on in my head!
February 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm #1785
This conversation makes me so excited. It’s one of my favorite things in the books. YES to the idea that the stones were created good—evil cannot create; it can only twist. But the Maker (Aerwiar’s and this world’s as well) is not content to leave things twisted. As Artham says, “Gnag bends things for breaking, and the Maker makes a flourish! Evil digs a pit, and the Maker makes a well! That is his way.”
And I get that love can restore what was broken. But what blows my mind to smithereens is that Artham’s partial transformation into a birdman is not undone by singing for love. Instead, he becomes more beast even as he becomes more himself. And I don’t understand what that means—but it means.
The Maker doesn’t fill in the hole that’s been dug. He makes a well out of it. He’s not satisfied to unbend things. He beautifies them. He’s glorified by this, and it delights Him. And evil has no idea what to do with this confounding tendency He has to redeem. And someday, the signpost/partial restoration He works in the very face of evil will give way to complete redemption. And I can’t wait, but in the meanwhile, I love to watch Him work.
I have approximately seventy-two thousand other thoughts on this topic, but I’ll save them for later.
February 6, 2015 at 9:57 pm #1788Andrew PetersonGuest
You’re right on, Sidler. And thanks for your thoughts, Ashley: yes one can overthink things like this and it can turn something mysterious into something clinical. That said, I did think through the way the stones work enough that I wanted to convey what Madame Sidler is describing.
I think of one of the finest American writers, Leif Enger, who wrote in So Brave, Young, and Handsome, “A line only gets grace when it curves, you know.” If evil broke a straight line, it seems to me that grace comes in when the Maker does more than make it straight again–the line is unbroken and now says something beautiful and new, redeeming the break and making it into something even more lovely.
Not to belabor the point, but in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion he describes the same thing happening, only in WAY more beautiful and epic language than I could ever muster up in a forum post. Anyone remember that in Tolkien’s creation account?
February 6, 2015 at 10:43 pm #1790Miss LindaGuest
Tolkien’s creation account is magnificent. I know The Silmarillion is not for everyone but I recommend that section to a lot of people. You don’t even have to like Hobbits or Elves to appreciate that. Redemption has to mean more than just pushing the “undo” button, or wiping the slate clean, or offering a way to get back to where we started from so we can try again. It has to mean taking what is evil and somehow forcing even that to serve the cause of good.
I have spent some time reflecting on the stones in these books, and I’m sure I don’t really understand all there is to see yet. I need to reread them and probably just to THINK more. But one of the things I find most significant is the way the stones interact with the person’s choices. The power of the stones is only unlocked by the person’s decision to sing… simply being near the stones was not enough to change anyone. They had to want to be changed and participate in the change. Whether for good or evil, the person’s choices were vitally important.
The whole situation also reminds me of things George MacDonald wrote in The Princess and Curdie, where Curdie could tell by shaking hands with someone what they were growing into…a human or a beast. The choices we make are also making us.
I love what his choice to sing for love made of Artham (and later Esben too). Beautiful. But it was also terribly practical, since the gift of wings was what made him able to actually help Kalmar rather than just die trying to defend him.
February 7, 2015 at 10:21 pm #1794IggyfingGuest
Artham’s redemptive transformation reminded me of this bit in The Great Divorce (which if you don’t know is Lewis writing an idea of heaven and the lives of souls) where there’s this guy with a little nasty lizard-thing on his shoulder that’s representative of a pet sin or something (it’s been a while), and one of the saints or angels approaches him and offers for him to be freed from it and after much hesitation and fuss, he agrees. The angel/saint/whatever then grabs the lizard-thing off the guy’s shoulder and throws it to the ground and it’s agonizing for both the guy and the lizard, but then the lizard grows into a horse which the guy then embraces and rides away.
Basically, there is not a thing evil has that will not be taken from it in the end.
February 8, 2015 at 12:08 am #1797
“Basically, there is not a thing evil has that will not be taken from it in the end.” Yes, yes.
March 2, 2015 at 10:37 pm #1937
More thoughts: What do you suppose the stones and the song would have done originally, if Gnag hadn’t twisted them? If the only time anyone ever sang the song, it was for love?
March 13, 2015 at 8:52 pm #2010Miss LindaGuest
It is hard to say, really. Obviously the Maker only makes good things, so their intended use has to be something good. I wouldn’t consider shriveling up poor little animals to be “good”, so that is apparently not what they were for. The one giving would have to be willing, as well as the one singing and receiving.
But I find it interesting where the stones are located. Hmm. I almost said a spoiler for book 4, but I stopped myself. Nevermind that part. But vaguely, they are somewhere hard to get to, but the king has access. I wonder if they were intended to be used as a way for the king to gain the qualities and strength needed to rule well. A “meld” with the Maker Himself (who wouldn’t be harmed by the melding), done for love of the people he is trying to serve, would be an incredible thing. And the idea of a “maker meld” is very rich and gives lots of room for pondering.
I almost said another spoiler-ish thing. I think I better stop talking before I say too much.
March 17, 2015 at 10:39 am #2046
Whoa. A Maker meld. Now there’s a thought. And good point, that the stones are found somewhere accessible but not freely so. I think it is also important that the king can’t access them alone. But now we’re both getting into spoiler territory.
Speaking of shriveling up little animals and how that can’t be a good thing: There’s a Babylon 5 episode (1×21, “The Quality of Mercy”) that features an alien device which drains life from one person and transfers that life to another. In small doses, it can be used to heal, but if it is overused, it drains all the life out of the healer (or torture victim, as the case may be). Given that animals cannot consent to such an exchange, I’m sure you’re right that it’ll always be wrong to use them that way. And we’re never given a view into what a single meld does to the creature—it uses it up to some degree, but to what degree? And do they heal afterwards? Will such a sacrifice always be final? And of course, melding with an animal dehumanizes the person as well as abuses the animal. All the same, I wonder whether there is a way to use the stones the way the alien device in Babylon 5 can be used—partially, to provide healing. And can one person provide that for another, safely or at all? And that makes me think of Doctor Who as well (1×9 and 1×10, “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances”).
At this point I am just talking out of a hole in my head. But wild speculation and synthesis can be fun.
My original thought was, can these stones be used in a way that doesn’t involve another creature, animal or human, and what would be the result? But that might, in effect, be what you’re talking about with a Maker meld.
March 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm #2049Miss LindaGuest
Interesting thought. Maybe the stones were meant to be used as something like a kidney or bone marrow donation in our world… costly to the donor, but something they could recover from afterwards.
And I wonder if they only have one song, or if they might do different things depending on what song was sung and why. They can put two different things together. Could they take two different things apart? That would be a way to treat cancer, perhaps. We know they have some role in physical changes and healing, but I think they also have some role in emotional stuff too… even misused, they give the ability to accept a new identity and some measure of peace from tormenting thoughts. The cost of becoming a Fang is higher than those people realize, but they are doing it for the perceived benefits, and those benefits are at least partly real. It isn’t all a lie.
Hmm. I guess only Andrew Peterson will know for sure, and even he might not, if this isn’t something he thought about while writing it. Maybe the Maker alone really knows what they are for. (He always knows. Even imaginary worlds that don’t really exist, He still knows the answers, because He made the imagination that made the world.)
March 17, 2015 at 1:51 pm #2050
Wha- What do you mean, the world where I grew up doesn’t exist? ::hyperventilates::
Oh. You meant fictional worlds. Not Aerwiar. This is a hypothetical.
Did I fall asleep?
March 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm #2052Miss LindaGuest
Of course, hypothetical. For fictional worlds. Not real places.
Hope you are feeling better now.
March 18, 2015 at 11:46 am #2058
Very much, thank you. 🙂
March 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm #2051
“By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger.”
At the risk of introducing extra spoilers, I think yes, the stones can take two things apart. At least, they did that one time. I dare not say more in this forum.
March 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm #2116
Yesterday I was reading aloud to my younger sister, and we ran into “Yurgen’s Tune.” There was a line that struck me in a way it hasn’t before.
Render green the dying bough
Raise the rock where Yurgen fell
It made me think of the way all creation will be redeemed. This song was written centuries before Leeli sang it, but after the Sunken Mountains sank. What did that ancient bard understand about the making stones? Whatever they knew then, his or her imagination was prepared to see tree and mountain healed by the making stones. Were they right about this? Can the making stones remake Aerwiar? And to what extent? Is the remaking of the world built into the world, or do the making stones only represent temporary healing for creation, as they do temporary healing for people’s physical bodies?
The fact that this song begins “Down beneath the earth you go / Go holoré fast to sleep” makes me think that the making stones were planted deep in the earth to be brought forth at a later time, when they are needed.
The possible implications of this are hurting my heart.
March 27, 2015 at 10:15 pm #2118Miss LindaGuest
I noticed that song a lot more this time through the book. The first time through I couldn’t really catch the meaning in the same way because I didn’t know the whole story. It was just a pretty song but I didn’t really understand it.
I suspect there is far more to those stones than we see in these stories. Remember, everything in these stories, both good and bad, comes from just a few fragments of these stones. There is a great deal more latent power in those stones than I can imagine.
I can’t say what they mean for Aerwiar. But I do think that when this world was made, the Maker knew that it would also have to be remade, and He already had the plan for it in place. Perhaps Aerwiar is similar.
I really want it to be similar. I want the sunken mountains to rise, and for the dead “garden” to grow again. And I have another hope that isn’t mentioned in the books, but I would group it with those things that were mentioned. I want the heroes who lie in Yurgen’s crypt to live again- one in particular.
April 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm #2257Andrew PetersonGuest
Early on, there was a possibility of the Wingfeathers visiting the Yurgen’s in the Sunken Mountains, and if that happened I hoped they would visit the remains of a certain character, but (alas!) the story demanded otherwise. One of these days (no idea when) I want to revisit Aerwiar, and this gets my wheels turning…
April 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm #2281
You should write The Eremiad. Or (and I will badger you about this until you do it) a graphic novel, or even comic book series, about the Florid Sword. (Pete would love editing that. Give him the first installment as a birthday present.)
April 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm #2282Miss LindaGuest
I’m not picky about what you should write. Just write something and I will read it. And then I will discuss it to death and it will make me happy.
April 22, 2015 at 1:56 pm #2283
Miss Linda, let us be friends. 🙂
April 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm #2285Miss LindaGuest
Yes, let’s! I imagine that if we lived close together, we would have a lot of fun talking about these things in person. But since we don’t, the internet will have to do.
September 23, 2015 at 10:25 am #3653ArodethGuest
Miss Linda,I met him (for the second time) two days ago, and I actually told him what I told my mom after finishing ‘Warden’: I need Andrew Peterson to wrote another book. I don’t care what about. Like, it could be a book on grass and I WOULD READ IT.
So, he knows that his readers are obsessive and would literally read just about anything.
I’m so glad I’m not the only one. 🙂
September 23, 2015 at 12:06 pm #3657Miss LindaGuest
You are not alone.
I once had a Bible teacher who was really good and we joked that if he taught a class on McDonalds, it would probably be our favorite class. He was just that good at teaching. I suspect Andrew is just that good at writing- books AND songs. And songs about books. Or books about songs. Or songs about books about songs. Whatever. I’m sure you get the idea.
September 23, 2015 at 12:57 pm #3662
It runs in the family, too. I’ve said before that if Andrew’s older brother Pete wrote toaster repair manuals I’d read them, memorize them, cry over them, and force everyone I know to read them as well.
April 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm #2328
Here, I have a plot for your graphic novel. Leeli says someone should do something about the plight of the mud farmers outside Dugtown. Everybody knows she’s right. Seems to me that Somebody could be The Florid Swird and Shadowblade. Don’t you think it’d be perfect if Maraly could be involved in the redemption of the Strand?
September 3, 2015 at 9:31 am #3485rebeccaGuest
I noticed this a little but reading this whole topic helps…
and thank you to you, the author for posting too..
I notice changes in my own life that this situation in the books symbolizes.
it is like describing things in life that change. beauty from ashes.
things do become new and I can choose what was truly intended for me, even if bad things happen.
September 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm #3489
“beauty from ashes. things do become new and I can choose what was truly intended for me, even if bad things happen.”
Rebecca, I love this. How wonderful. I’m glad for you. 🙂
September 4, 2015 at 9:03 pm #3491Miss LindaGuest
I have more thoughts, but perhaps not directly related to what you are already talking about.
Singing the song, or perhaps in our world choosing to change or to accept change, can be done from many different motivations. I think it matters that we choose to change for love of another or the Maker, rather than simply to gain power or to escape pain. Often it is tempting to think that whatever makes us feel better or gets us closer to our goals is what is “right”, but there are bigger things at work in the world than that.
Choosing to change because we love will alter who or what we are just as much as changes made from another motivation, but in a different way. I love how Esben, when he died, did NOT turn to dust. He was changed the same way the Fangs were at first, but the later change made such a difference that by the time he died, he was a real person and not just a shell of one. He remained himself. Even more beautiful, the children thought he had died protecting them, before he lost hope and sang for the wrong reasons. He was not as strong as they thought he was, and eventually he broke. He actually broke before Artham did, which I find both interesting and sad… perhaps being a Throne Warden and dedicating your whole life to loving and serving someone else made Artham the stronger of the two initially. But in the end, Esben did fulfill their assumptions about him. He became strong enough to give his life for his family, perhaps through the things he suffered. I don’t want to be too hard on poor Esben or to imply that he wasn’t strong before, since I know he resisted a long time, far longer than I could. But he became more of the hero they believed him to be after being broken and then transformed than he was before.
This rambling might not make any sense to other people, but I’m thinking as I write it, so I find it helpful.
October 13, 2015 at 3:38 am #3841StephGuest
I love this. I haven’t yet read book 3, so I can’t comment on all of this conversation but I love this discussion about redemption.
“The Maker doesn’t fill in the hole that’s been dug. He makes a well out of it. He’s not satisfied to unbend things. He beautifies them. He’s glorified by this, and it delights Him. And evil has no idea what to do with this confounding tendency He has to redeem. And someday, the signpost/partial restoration He works in the very face of evil will give way to complete redemption. And I can’t wait, but in the meanwhile, I love to watch Him work.” – Madame Sidler
I love this. I love that the Maker doesn’t just repair things which are broken, but he redeems them. That gives me hope. That tells me that suffering – be it caused by our own sin, others’ sin, or the evil in the world (or Aerwiar :-)) – is not pointless. Because the Maker doesn’t only fix it, but he makes something new from it. He takes brokenness and suffering and what the enemy intended for evil and creates something new and uses it to make his creation into more of who they really are, who he intended them to be. That makes me no longer wish for things to be the way they were prior to being broken, but to instead look to the Maker and trust him now, knowing that he is in the process of redeeming all things for our good and for his glory.
October 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm #3855
Steph, thanks for resurrecting this thread. I’ve been listening to Andrew’s new album, and as I read your comment, I had an all-new thought.
“Evil digs a pit, and the Maker makes a well.”
How do you make a well out of a pit?
It’s so hard, so hard, but sometimes the most hopeful and redemptive thing the Maker can do when we are in pain is not give us relief or make it better. Sometimes what He has to do is make it worse. He can’t just come across a pit in our life and pour water into it. The water will just seep out into the ground, or evaporate; it’ll just be a pit full of water. Instead, He has to put His spade into the hole in our hearts and seemingly cooperate with the enemy in making that hole deeper and deeper, until the water far under the earth can spring up into that hole.
Speaking of Andrew’s new album, there’s a line in one of the songs that says this, too. “I know that to be healed, I must be broken first.” Or, as his brother Pete says, “It hurts to die but each time I’m raised again and I’m something new, something I don’t recognize, something I never expected.” And redemption is so, so much more beautiful than repair. The Maker is bringing many sons and daughters to glory. 🙂
October 13, 2015 at 4:14 pm #3861Miss LindaGuest
Janner in the coffin in the Fork! Factory! is a great example of this, and one I find personally helpful. He is trapped and afraid and begging for deliverance, and the Maker answered only with silence. Yet Janner was delivered, just not in the way he expected. He wanted out of a dark box. What he got was freedom- freedom from fear, freedom to think and plan, freedom to remember who he was.
The Maker’s ways are not like mine. Sometimes that upsets me and I question why things happen as they do, especially when I am hurt or afraid. But His ways are HIGHER than mine, and His love is BETTER than mine, and His justice is TRUER than mine. So even when nothing seems to make sense, it is good to have reminders that what I see is not all there is to see and He knows what He is doing. To quote AP- “I’m dying to live but I’m learning to wait.”
October 13, 2015 at 8:54 pm #3869
Yes—Janner is a great example of this. And the most mind-blowing part of this is that despite the Maker’s silence, he was answered—and not only for himself. What he received was his own freedom, and because of the hope that he left behind, we could even say that he received the freedom of every orphan in that place as well. Our salvation is never just for us. He was long gone when that happened, and maybe never even knew about it—but it did happen, and it was the Maker continuing to work through a very dark (literally and emotionally) place for him, to bring life out of something very like death. We never know what our deaths might spark.
(That last thought just gave me shivers. I don’t want to say any more about why, but I bet you can guess.)
I wonder how many other parallels we can find with this new CD…
October 14, 2015 at 9:52 pm #3905StephGuest
I love this truth and it hurts at the same time. I love that scene of Janner in the Fork! Factory! and what it conveys. The maker knows better than me. But sometimes it’s so hard to trust him when I can’t see and I can’t understand what he’s doing and his silence hurts.
October 15, 2015 at 2:33 am #3908StephGuest
Madame Sidler – what song on Andrew’s album is the line you quoted from? 🙂
October 15, 2015 at 2:42 am #3910
That’s “The Sower’s Song.” (Miss Linda was quoting from “The Rain Keeps Falling.”)
I know it’s hard and it hurts when the Maker is silent. Is there something like that going on for you now, or are you just remembering times like that? I’m praying for you.
October 16, 2015 at 6:51 am #3939StephGuest
Thanks. I’m enjoying listening to these songs. 🙂
Both I guess – past and current things – I guess I just meant in general – It’s hard when he is silent and we don’t understand what he is doing, but at the same time I love the way he is working in ways which are so much greater than mine.
November 29, 2016 at 10:49 am #10936Essalure LenaraGuest
Huh, that’s really interesting (both the later discussion and the one further up talking about the true use of the stones). I was wondering a little about their real use myself, but didn’t get as far as the discussion did or even realize that, oh wait, maybe that intended use wouldn’t involve killing an animal. (If you have read Book 4, you realize I could go on about this, and maybe I’ll have to in the forum for WatWK because I’ve just had a thought.)
What I was thinking was more along the lines of: the stone keepers are called witches by the children, but what they use is a twisted version of the Maker’s power (holoel and holore, right?). In real life, witches are people who (try to) use Satan’s power… so the Maker’s power can be made into the devil’s?
Although actually there’s no counterpart for the devil in Aerwiar as far as I can tell, so that changes things. And I mean, things God made can be used for evil (nuclear power, electricity, metal – pretty much anything can be used for evil actually) but since God didn’t create anything like holore in real life it’s hard to make comparisons. Anyways, it’s been confusing me a little.
November 29, 2016 at 10:51 am #10938Essalure LenaraGuest
(Oh great, I didn’t use italics correctly. Will there ever be an option to edit our own posts?)
November 29, 2016 at 10:54 am #10939
Can I help you?
Let me check on our editing settings. I thought it was set to allow you to edit for a brief window after posting, but maybe there’s a glitch there. Meanwhile, would you like me to fix it for you?
November 29, 2016 at 4:41 pm #10947Essalure LenaraGuest
Yes please 🙂 and I’ll post the thought in “Ending a Story.”
November 29, 2016 at 10:57 am #10942
ps. I’d love to hear the thought you just had!
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