What Are You Reading? |OT| One Thread to Rule Them All

Tuorom

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,958
Idk how this came into my mind but I've been re-evaluating Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, but specifically his interesting character The Judge.

For anyone curious, this book follows a nameless person, the kid. It follows him as he travels through Wild West Mexico area and experiences suffering and extreme violence, some by his own hand.

I remember reading analyses after first finishing the book about how the Judge is the Devil because he's almost completely evil. He is pro-war and violence and generally seems into any kind of debauchery. Oh and he rapes and kills the kid at the end.
I was looking at goodreads for some reason and was looking at the reviews for this book and stumbled upon one review which got me thinking. The gist was that maybe the Judge was not the devil at all. Maybe he was actually God. And it actually fits quite well with a view that God as he is portrayed is a vicious piece of shit who brings plagues and inflicts harm on people for reasons. That this omnipotent, benevolent diety does nothing to end suffering, and just lets it go on.
There are various quotes of him that can back it up such as:

“War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”
We are made in the likeness of God.

“Men of God and men of war have strange affinities.”
Would a malicious God not intend for religion and violence to go hand in hand?

“This is the nature of war, whose stake is at once the game and the authority and the justification. Seen so, war is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one's will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select. War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence.War is god.”

“He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.”
Omnipotence

“Whatever exists, he said. Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent."
This could also refer to man's need for dominion, to be powerful over all.

“And the answer, said the judge. If God meant to interfere in the degeneracy of mankind would he not have done so by now?"

“Books lie, he said.
God dont lie.
No, said the judge. He does not. And these are his words.
He held up a chunk of rock.
He speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things.
The squatters in their rags nodded among themselves and were soon reckoning him correct, this man of learning, in all his speculations, and this the judge encouraged until they were right proselytes of the new order whereupon he laughed at them for fools.”

“Only that man who has offered up himself entire to the blood of war, who has been to the floor of the pit and seen the horror in the round and learned at last that it speaks to his inmost heart, only that man can dance."

“The subject was war. The good book says that he that lives by the sword shall perish by the sword, said the black. The judge smiled, his face shining with grease. What right man would have it any other way? he said.”


The Judge appears to be a god who follows the laws of nature. The strong survive, the weak perish. War is inevitable to creatures who seek to survive at any cost. "This is the nature of war, whose stake is at once the game and the authority and the justification. Seen so, war is the truest form of divination." The struggle is prayer. There is free will to live as you will, but the nature of His creation means that the battle between animals is all. The purpose of life is to struggle and battle because He has designed it so.
He is a truly malicious God.
Or perhaps the Judge is merely the maliciousness of human nature pushed to it's extreme.

And an article I found on it: https://theconversation.com/the-unfilmable-blood-meridian-91719
Though this article ponders if The Judge is not God but a deputy. Perhaps he could be the devil, but the devil was never thrown out of heaven and has been doing exactly as God wished. In any case, I think it is safe to assume that Cormac did not have a positive view on religion and human nature.

This is a book that wasn't amazing as I was reading it, but it has none the less stuck with me.
 

Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
9,937
I finished Tampa, in essentially a single setting.

I haven't felt like a book reached out a hand and groped around in my innards like this since A Little Life. But this did it in a different way. The writing is very good, at points immersive and enchanting even, but that's precisely why it feels so horrifying- you know what's being described, and it's stomach-churning.

Edit: I'll put it this way. It was easy to read for me, and that's disgusting.

Anyway, I'm now more than halfway through The Odyssey as well, and I think I'll read Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind after that's done, because hoo boy I need a palate cleanser after that.
 
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RepairmanJack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,643
I think I have to stop reading Wheel of Time. Starting these books feels like torture. I'm more than 200 pages in to Lord of Chaos and I still feel like the book hasn't even started. I like them once it starts getting in to the plot and character interactions but good god does it take forever to get to it.
 

Agamon

Member
Aug 1, 2019
372
I think I have to stop reading Wheel of Time. Starting these books feels like torture. I'm more than 200 pages in to Lord of Chaos and I still feel like the book hasn't even started. I like them once it starts getting in to the plot and character interactions but good god does it take forever to get to it.
You have more mental fortitude than me, I didn't make all the way through Eye of the World.
 

RepairmanJack

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,643
You have more mental fortitude than me, I didn't make all the way through Eye of the World.
I actually read Eye of the World probably 10+ years ago but never went any farther because it seemed like nothing special or noteworthy. Cut to 2019 when people seemed to not stop talking about it and having a close friend obsessed with the series, and I was much more in to fantasy now than I ever was before, I decided to give it another chance. I reread Eye of the World and still thought it was pretty blah, but the second book grabbed me more and 3, 4, 5 were all really really good. But now seeing Jordan's cliche's and crutches and meandering has sort of just become torture, and worries me even more that I'm supposedly not even in the bad and boring books yet!
 

Tuorom

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,958
I think I have to stop reading Wheel of Time. Starting these books feels like torture. I'm more than 200 pages in to Lord of Chaos and I still feel like the book hasn't even started. I like them once it starts getting in to the plot and character interactions but good god does it take forever to get to it.
I just finished Dragon Reborn. His books are weird, like the plot is really pretty interesting once he actually gets to it but he is absolutely awful at meandering for every fucking thing. The characters cannot go anywhere without something happening. He stopped doing it a little near the end of Dragon Reborn and I was grateful. We don't need conflict at every inn and boat ride thanks very much Mr. Jordan. You could cut out a lot of the books and you wouldn't lose any context or worldbuilding, which I think he was trying to do but it is needless. The padding is ridiculous, and it feels like he is paid by the word so has to have Nynaeve tug her braid every single time she speaks lmao. It almost seems worth it for the climaxes which are actually quite good.

It's an effort to read sometimes. That's why I'm taking a break and re-reading Mistborn.