‘Where does the moon go when it is no longer in our sky’
The story of the moon is central to Pat’s work and the answer to this question is a very tangled web indeed. There are clues everywhere, but usually either too many, or too few, with lots of contradictions, apparently, making the chances of us identifying a single definitive answer unlikely. The quote above is from Elodin and he claims the answer is something only a namer could know. Many names have tried (and failed) to map her movements down satisfactorily for all to agree. However, we can but try, it’s my turn now…wish me luck.
Knowing where to start is the first hurdle in any given piece and since this will be on or around about my 71st chapter, (give or take a Lanre), I have decided to write such things into 3rds for synodic balance and to revert to the classic Who, What, Where, When, Why, How structure Which will hopefully produce a working triangle to cover all the bases.
We shall start then with Who, which is one of the easier of these arguments to tackle.
So, Who stole the moon? Well Bast says Iax, Hespe says Jax, and whilst Felurian clearly knows herself, she point blank refuses say this moonthief’s name out loud, not in the fae, oh no, just like she wouldn’t abide any mention of the chandrians names uttered over there either. She knows that there is a power in names, and that there is a danger in speaking them, a very real danger that still applies today as much as it did when this faen naming ban was inagurated. That means that there is still a very clear and present danger of a him hearing and so it is still imperative never to take any naming chances. What a clever fairy. Now, in Pat’s work we can dismiss nothing, which why we must include everything if we are to hold any hope of full continuity. But in order for everyone to be considered correct in all their various stories, then all three of our sources needs must be talking about the exact same person.
I have already written much concerning and connecting the names of Iax and Jax in Bet you a Jot and so we can tack one corner of this piece onto that one I suppose.The adding of a third leg into the J/Iax mix will give that piece some added stability due to Felurian’s new input, since any information which she can give us must now apply to both answers, too. Therefore we now not only state that Iax = Jax = Felurian’s mystery moonthief, but it must also be said that I/Jax will both be fully deserving of the clue in the description of the thief that Felurian does give us.
‘this shaper of the dark and changing eye…’
Now, if we are being really picky then we could argue that this line can be read in two different lights, and both are as valid as each other. One such way suggests that the ‘shaper’ (I/Jax) had a physical feature of one eye which was dark and changing, much like we might well describe Kvothe as being the ‘namer of the green and changing eye’. This charge is best levelled towards Jax and whilst we aren’t told anything about his eyes, that was always immaterial as the argument is countered with the fact that Jax own eyesight must also be considered to be changing because he could only ever see the moon when he donned the tinkers spectacles and that she was always blind to him without them to look through. This tiny difference is pointed out quite deliberately in both parts of Hespe’s story which means that Jax own vision is indeed twice acknowledged as constantly changing between two states. Specs on = see-Moon and specs off = no-moon. They might even have been dark glasses…
‘And what is the third thing?’ the moon asked. Her eyes were dark and wise, her smile was full and knowing.’
Ludis herself does possess dark eyes and so with Jax now passing the first Felurian test, the other interpretation of her line is now for Iax to explain. Re-reading Felurian’s words again could lead to the interepretation that it is in fact the moon herself who is being described as the dark eye in question, and that it was this shaper (Iax) who was responsible for her new and ever changing look as she now forever phases between light and dark?
In this instance ‘the dark and changing eye’ is a description of Ludis after I/Jax had ‘shaped’ her to his desire, but although he ultimately failed in his plan, he did indeed manage to change her appearance from being that of always full into an alternating ‘Lights on / Lights off’ pattern that we recognise from our own skies. If that sounded rather awkward then perhaps consider the line again and this time consider it said a bit like the way we might think about Chael who could be described as the ‘shaper of the sharp and pointy sword.’ where the sworditself is something that he, Chael, did shape, rather than it being a description of that actual shaper himself.
At the end of the day it matters little what he was actually called if we are going to be always tasking about the same person, which we are. For Vintish story telling purposes, Jax might well be considered a good enough calling name, something for a local dialect to wrap it’s mouth around from the days when spelling wasn’t considered all that important. Perhaps Jax is a name considered safe to say without drawing any undue attention to the speaker. Iax, however is the official name that Selitos chose to use in Skarpi’s more historically accurate tale and furthermore, that most powerful namer of Ergen knew the name of Iax to be up there among his own equals, and rivals. This will confirm Iax as having his own powers which will qualify him as a potential fae shaper and so this true name of Iax is much more likely to be the actual name which Felurian did know, but refused to speak out loud since true names, as we are well informed, hold a power which can be heard when spoken by those with the ability to do so. So, If a decision on names must be made then let us make it here and now. I vote to call him by his proper long name of Iax from now on and to hell with the consequences.
What isn’t a very good word for moon related questions. We could ask ‘what is the synodic period (of the moon?)’ but that question has already been both asked and answered. We could also ask what shape is the moon? and the standard answer here would be that she is round. ‘all round and cozy’ said Felurian and Hespe agrees that she was once always as ’round as a cup’, and so the written evidence suggests that round she is. But cups are only round when viewed from the correct angle, otherwise cups are just… cup shaped, and nothing about this so far will give us a decent handle on the moon. We could instead suggest that she might better be described as being ’round like a plate’, which would also be true, except that everyone knows that round plates are also flat, and anyone who is a paid up member of the flat moon society must be considered a lunatic who belongs in the crockery by those who have a different opinion. But this is fantasy fiction ffs and in Pat’s world, (and mine) all answers are valid options since we simply don’t have enough knowledge to disprove them and so I will now officially put discmoon up on the table for later discussions.
One good What to ask would be ‘What if Iax had actually been 100% succesful in his moon theft?’ Yes, that is a very good question which will provide us with two more answers, one for each realm. Over in the fae, the new appearance of the one and only moon would now be just as she used to be when she was in mortal, always round and full. Meanwhile, over in the mortal sky there would be nothing, and so every night after this theft would now be a guaranteed moonless night, with all that that entails. This alternative situation came within a Lanre of coming true and such a dark outcome would be among what Teccam suggests a wise man should fear the most, a wise man like Selitos perhaps who was considered the wisest man in ancient Ergen, only this wouldn’t be for just one night, this darkness would last forever.
If we use Terran physics to deduce any reciprocal damage that we might associate with the moon’s removal, it might be possible to envisage an ‘end of the Ergen world scenario’ one filled with volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunami as the world of New Temerant adjusted herself to this sudden change in her sky. Any such catastrophe’s would almost certainly have resulted in what would be described as a broken land. This is where we may want to start to think about the origins of place names like the Broken Sea and perhaps even The Reft but, unfortunately, perhaps itwould only be speculation because we simply don’t know enough about Pat’s moonbuilding skills to apply our own Terran principals to Ergen with any sincerity, faulty logic. As far as Hespe is concerned, Ludis the moon was a woman, and not a huge rocky satellite in orbit around a non-specific planet in an unqualified solar system and anything can happen in Pat’s universe.
However, whatever she is, or was, or might be doesn’t alter the fact that she changed, and that her partial removal/arrival has resulted in a dual effect now shared by both realms and since we do know that Temerant has tides, we can take that as a working example of lunar cause and effect.
This shared-moon syndrome should of course also create a reciprocal action elsewhere meaning that if the Fae included any seas or oceans then they w/sh/could have suddenly found themselves becoming moontidal by default. But then again, we know nothing about any faen bodies of water larger than felurian’s pool which just shows the hazards in thinking that we know the turnings of Pat’s universe when we actually don’t know enough to even begin guessing.
What we do know is that ever since the theft, ludis/moon now influences two skies, not one, and therefore that she will now spend exactly half of her lifetime shining on each realm (just add all of her time together and divide by two!) Since this division of her powers the two realms of mortal and fae will have both had to adapt to her new balancing act, one having lost half of it’s moonlight whilst the other has gained it, both of them changing from whatever state they were before to what ever they might be today. Both skies undergoing a new nocturnal transition between dark to light, a situation which simply didn’t exist anywhere before.
When Felurian explains the workings of the moon to Kvothe she uses a pebble to represent the moon. Now, imagine if Ben were suddenly to take over the lesson he would ask you to believe, with all of your alar, that this pebble was exactly the same thing as that moon, making the pebble a mommet, and once you have that little nugget firmly accepted in your mind, then along comes master Elxa Dal who would then teach you that ‘all stone is one stone’, and furthermore,, that ‘all pebble is one pebble’, and so for all intents and purposes that ‘all moon is one moon’ You all still following this at the back? Good!
So, if we take all that on board and move onto the lump of river stone which Elodin used in his first naming class then, by all this convoluted reasoning, it should be possible to believe that his stone is the exact same stone as Felurian’s pebble and, by default, it is also the moon. This unlikely line of thought would now make his real question not so much ‘how would you follow the flight of this thrown pebble what I am currently holding in my hand’, but rather ‘how do you follow the moon?’ and that is a question which is either extemely clever or extremely stupid. You decide.
OK folks, pencils down. Our own lovely moon is showing full tonight so I will take that as a sign and stop there, put this on the pile and let everything stew for a while. Where and When are the next two questions to consider so tune in after Hallow’een for more moon related madness. M.T