3. Chaos/Order ==> Free Will / Fate

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I'd like to focus particularly on the chaos/order binary opposite. Vucub-Kamé depends on order for his ability to see the future(s). Casiopea becomes an element of chaos that gets in the way of that ability.

In Chapter 23, Casiopea notes that having a car gives you the choice of turning, while being on a train doesn't afford this. I began thinking of how they are being railroaded along this journey, with Vucub-Kamé setting the terms, and, of course, that winds up being the case at the end, with all the symbols being set into place along the way that ensures that Hun-Kamé must agree to the contest between Casiopea and Martín (which is very symbolically a contest between the two gods of death).

What did you think of the way even the gods are locked into a certain order when the appropriate symbols, myths, stories lock them in -- more on that in a different discussion question -- and about human free will that changes the rules, creates chaos, shakes things up so that new things can arise?

Comments

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    @WildCard said:

    What did you think of the way even the gods are locked into a certain order when the appropriate symbols, myths, stories lock them in -- more on that in a different discussion question -- and about human free will that changes the rules, creates chaos, shakes things up so that new things can arise?

    I love it. It makes the story work. Cassiopeia has to color outside the lines, no matter how much the gods want her to work inside them

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    Yes, also really enjoyed that aspect of this book, and boy does it relate to the idea of railroads vs sandboxes in RPG gaming. What's nice here is that the antagonist is the voice of order, while the protagonist that of chaos - where I suppose we normally think of these things the other way around.

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    Worked for me too - though I'm not altogether sure that I agree with @Apocryphal that the protagonist is commonly the voice of order. I'm in the middle of listening to Dune (the best audio book I have heard, partly because I know the story so well it doesn't matter if I zone out and miss a paragraph or two) and it seems to me that Paul is a protagonist of chaos. He doesn't want the chaos to become so chaotic that human society is swept away by jihad, but he is certainly out to disrupt the established order of Bene Gesserit / Guild / CHOAM / Emperor.

    I suppose you could say that Casiopeia - unlike Paul Atreides and many others - is an agent of disruption on a small, personal scale, simply by sticking to her perception of what is right to do, rather than getting herself into a position of authority so that she can make Big Decisions for others.

    Back with the original point, I found the whole presentation of how and why divinity worked to be convincing - it was more than the usual "worshippers provide energy" trope which has been used many times, and gave us some geographical and social context, with humanity and deity deeply intertwined.

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    @Apocryphal said:
    Yes, also really enjoyed that aspect of this book, and boy does it relate to the idea of railroads vs sandboxes in RPG gaming.

    This is a great insight. I think I prefer the middle way of collaboration between GM and players, like the Powered by the Apocalypse games and those inspired by them. The PC’s aren’t railroaded, but they aren’t left to aimlessly wander the sandbox, either.

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    The "unchanging gods" part of that reminded me of Glorantha (and other fantasy worlds) where the gods are archetypal and unchanging, with humans being the agents of change and adaptation.

    There was also a clear element of structure in the story: Hun-Kamé had to collect the three plot tokens (body parts) to get the denouement of reclaiming his place in Xibalba. And it was clear that the structure of the story would lead to Hun-Kamé gaining a human-like element and being changed by it. In that sense, the change was as inevitable as the rigidity of the contest Vucub-Kamé set up.

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    The freaking Rod of Seven Parts...

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