How does someone get a link to the Orb

Sun Jun 22 18:04:16 PDT 2003

On Sun, 22 Jun 2003 Gaertk at aol.com wrote:

> Philip Hart <philiph at SLAC.Stanford.EDU> writes:
> > You've snipped the gist of my argument, which is that
> > you've conflated "being chosen by the Orb" and "being
> > Emperor".  You were arguing about the former and here argue
> > about the latter.
> Sorry, I didn't read that part very closely.
> However, I think you're misinterpretting that scene.  Aerich
> and Adron are talking about how to tell if the Cycle has
> turned (since they can't see the big wheel themselves) and
> the only way they come up with for testing this is to try to
> kill the Emperor.

You've got the wrong scene - I was referring to the end of Chapter 34,
where (as I quoted earlier) Adron says that his anti-Emperor pro-Adron
spell is fighting itself, leading to a core dump of power.  A bit earlier,
we see the Orb turn grey in mourning for Tortaalik while "it interrogated
the Cycle and searched, in its own way, for the new Emperor."  We then see
it turn white.  Sethra immediately realizes Adron is about to go boom -
"she had but seconds to act".  So we have the Orb ask its boss what comes
after Phoenix, we see it find Adron, then we see it run into a null
pointer - or anyway this is the simplest way to read the evidence.

> If the Orb lets you, then the Cycle has
> turned and you're the new Emperor; if the Orb defends the
> Emperor, then the Cycle hasn't turned and you're a traitor
> (and likely dead).  Compare to the Chinese(?) concept of
> Divine Mandate and the death magic in Bujold's _Curse of
> Chalion_.
> There was no indication that the Orb would try to choose a
> new Emperor without checking the Cycle first.
> Pure speculation: I believe that the Cycle (big wheel with
> animals in the Halls of Judgement) is just a projection of
> the Orb so that the Lords of Judgement can see the current
> state of the Empire.  To me, this makes more sense than
> having the Orb controlled by it.

In _Taltos_ Vlad reports in Chapter 16 that "Everyone I've asked insists
that this thing _is_ the Cycle in every meaningful way, not merely its
physical representation."  In _TPotD_ there is no sense at the grand
conclave that the supposed destruction of the Orb has anything to do with
the Cycle.  The Orb, an artifact built by human hands, is to my mind
obviously not capable of performing the God-like function of the Cycle,
arranging for the myriad coincidences needed to force a complex society
through its odd dance over and over.  Nobody fantasizes about twisting the
Orb around to point to the next House; nobody studies Cycle construction.