[LMB] Another Desdemona question

Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Thu Jul 18 20:54:17 BST 2019

On Wed, July 17, 2019 9:53 pm, M. Haller Yamada wrote:
> On Thursday, July 18, 2019, 12:43:11 AM GMT+9, Gwynne Powell
> <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Just wondering; what's the upper limit for demons?  Desdemona has
> had thirteen riders now. More than two centuries. She seems to be the
> oldest demon anyone has seen - certainly one of the oldest, if not THE
> oldest, around.

I got the impression that Joen's demon was centuries old, probably
older than Desdemona.  (And we note that a sufficiently iron will could
subdue even a demon that old and powerful.)  It's possible that the
more powerful a demon is, the more effort the gods spend to deal with
it, too, in whatever way.  (The B*stard can pull them back and
destroy them, but it looks as if the other Four only have the power
to encapsulate them -- though Desdemona's terror at the Father's
close brush near them suggests that encapsulation may not be the only
thing she's worried about.)

> Penric tries to make a Great Worm, but the body can't hold many spirits.
> Presumably there's an upper limit for the Great animals, the point when
> an experienced shaman (or the animal itself) knows that an animal body (or
> mind) can't hold enough any more.

Or they find out the hard way, or the accidents of time keep pruning
off those Great Animals before they get to that point.  How many
generations does it take to make a Too-Great Stag -- or, in a similar
way, a Too-Great Demon?  I don't think we've seen anything that plausibly
looks like the upper limit to either.  And with demons, we see a certain
amount of blending and fading as time goes on -- perhaps demons lose
their earliest memories over time and just don't 'fill up' the way
earthworms do.

> Demons build up, in a somewhat similar way - do they have an upper limit?
> People who can see Desdemona (other sorcerers and any shaman in a
> trance) see a massively dense spirit. And they can't understand why it's
> not ascended, why something so powerful hasn't taken over. Will there come
> a point where the demon is simply too dense for a human to hold it?


> Is the Bastard grooming Desdemona for a new, perhaps more godly, role?

I look forward to finding out hints about this as the series progresses.
I don't think Desdemona can possibly be the oldest demon ever -
we really don't know much about the Season of Great Sorcerors back
in the distant, mythical past, for instance.  She's certainly
far from the ordinary, but though the B*stard's Order is worried
for a while that she may have ascended in Penric, nobody seems to
be thinking "she's so old that nobody can possibly control her",
which suggests that they're not too worried about _that_ angle,
just about inexperienced Penric's ability to control her.

> --
> Oh, good questions! But when that demon gets stuck back into a fox
> brain, both it and the fox survive (although it's implied that the demon
> may be losingbits of itself in order to fit). The fox doesn't explode
> from the weight. That demon WAS a lesser demon than Desdemona, though.
> That might count for something.

Tend to agree.

> I don't think it's just the Bastard who is experimenting in growing a
> Great-SouledDemon; it seems that the rest of the family is helping, at
> least.

Insert vision of the Five sitting around a table, all destroyed in
Barrayaran imperial uniforms, simultaneously intoning "Let's see what
happens"... ;)

Tony Z

Et vocavit Deus, "Fiat lux!"

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