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View Full Version : TGH re-read: Barthanes


isamu237
03-10-2015, 12:13 AM
I feel like this is something which has Shirley been discussed ad nauseum, but if so I somehow missed it:

Who/what the heck killed Barthanes?!

I'm not sure what my first impressions were when I first read TGH way back in...y'know what, let's just say it was a long time ago and leave it at that.
In subsequent readings I think I just filed it away in the back of my mind as the first gholam killing, but that doesn't make any since since (correct me if I'm wrong) I believe it was confirmed the only one out there was the one Sammy found in the stasis box and that's still a couple books away. The only interview/blog/signing questions I can find on this were all RAFO'd, and I haven't found a satisfactory and well crafted theory. Point me there if I've just missed it.

The manner of death ("torn to pieces in his bedchamber. The only way they knew it was him was his head stuck on a spike over the fireplace.") seems indicative of DF/Shadowspawn; hence my automatic and subconscious association with the gholam in later readings as this is consistent with the descriptions of its kills.

Before I begin a dissertation on my thoughts on the subject, has this issue been settled already?

rand
03-10-2015, 12:30 AM
I mentioned a little while ago that I thought it could have been Fain:

My thought was that it could have been Fain:

1) Barthanes is said to have been "torn to pieces," not ripped limb from limb. There might not be a huge distinction between the two, but:

2) From what Zera describes, the attack is similar to what Fain had the Trollocs do to the villagers back in chapter 11. He has the Trollocs eat everyone and leave whatever's left in a pile with the heads placed "neatly" on top. And Barthanes' head was on a spike over the fireplace (because everyone has a spike for severed heads on their mantle...).

3) When Rand, Hurin, and Loial are climbing back out of the fenced-in Waygate area, this happens:


tGH 33
Rand landed on his feet with a thud, listening and peering into the night. For a moment he thought he saw something move, heard a boot scrape on the brick wall, but neither was repeated, and he dismissed it as nervousness. He thought that he had a right to be nervous. He turned to help Hurin down.

My overall thought was that Fain left a Trolloc or two behind to kill Barthanes (not sure why--maybe because he's a DF, and seemingly living the easy life in a manor house instead of being turned into a hound like Fain).

I think Terez said other people have theorized it was Fain too, before the gholam was officially introduced in LoC. I'm still not sure it entirely makes sense, as Fain himself was apparently long gone by this point, and Trollocs probably don't make good assassins...

isamu237
03-10-2015, 01:16 AM
My problem with the theories I've read, and my own thinking on the subject, is that it seems to be the opposite of the Asmodean Nerd Rage War of Perpetual Doom. What kept that going was the strength of several possible perps. The problem with Barthanes suspects is they're all incredibly flimsy with no, so far as I've found, additional information. With Asmodean, RJ at least dropped some bread crumbs later (albeit mostly just to watch us squirm and yell at each other), but there's nothing here and it's driving me bonkers.

FAIN
Fain is a decent suspect primarily for motive. It's very plausible he would want to cover his tracks once Barthanes delivered the message to Rand.
But opportunity is very weak. Unless Fain has some ability to mask his tracks, which I certainly can't recall ever seeing, then he couldn't have done the deed himself. Unless you want to stretch the off-screen deductions and assume he waiting inside the Ways, then came back out after Rand had left in order to kill Barthanes himself. I find it highly unlikely a couple of Trollocs could have hidden from Hurin's nose, and they're not exactly the most stealthy and intelligent of creatures to go assassinate someone in a mansion full of people. A Fade could easily pull that off, but I don't think Fain had any under his control at this point.
Even his motive is a little flimsy. Why does he need to cover his tracks? Is he a target of the Dark, a known traitor, at this point? Even if he is, what good would covering his trek to Falme be when a Fade (I believe this is confirmed?) wrote a Dark Prophecy in Fal Dara pointing to Toman Head and Ishy brags about his manipulations to get the Dragon there (a rant on that later)?

VERIN
I've seen her mentioned out there on the interwebz, and while I can see her doing it to cover Rand's tracks, and knowing she's capable, I don't see her "tearing limb from limb" but rather being more clinical and direct if it were necessary; which I don't think it was for many of the reasons I've just mentioned.

LUC/ISAM
It's not that long before he makes his first on screen appearance, and he was mentioned in Dark Prophecy at the beginning of the book, so literally I can see this as in keeping with RJ's style. But motive once again breaks down. Why kill Barthanes? If Slayer was already on the trail of Fain (which I'm dubious about), then there was no need to kill a DF just for giggles when it distracts from his primary goal. And I don't see Ishy as that wasteful; Barthanes is a DF and can challenge the king for power so why kill him off if he was legitimately duped by a Fain who would know all the secret handshakes to get Barthanes, or nearly any DF, to do his bidding? Ishy isn't nearly as quick to kill as other Forsaken.

LANFEAR
I've seen a quasi-credible theory on this out there in the ether. She ripped a guy's skin off for crying out loud, so she's certainly capable of "tearing limb from limb" with the power if she was enraged. But would Barthanes passing on his message be enough to cause such rage? Unless there was a lot of off-screen action, I just don't see it. Lanfear is playing in the shadows this whole book, so I don't see her confronting Barthanes or anyone else. And I don't see Barthanes sending Rand off to Toman Head as really interfering with her plans at all since she can and does continue to keep tabs on him rather easily.

THE WATCHERS
Through TGH, Rand thinks he is being watched several times. In Fal Dara, it is obviously a Gray Man; though not necessarily ONLY a Gray Man. As a perp, I don't see a Gray Man "tearing limb from limb" as we've never seen them kill any way other than quick and clean. And, again, who gives the order?
Slayer has the capability to watch unseen; either with his significant mundane skills or his ability to move through TAR.
Likewise, upon rereading I think Lanfear veiled herself in some manner and was a "watcher" at least some of the time to continue keeping tabs on Rand and popping in when it was most advantageous to seduce and push him in her desired directions.

My gut leans towards Slayer primarily as a literary critique rather than from any solid in-story evidence. Teasing Luc/Isam earlier, and knowing he's soon to be seen on page, it just seems like RJ's style. However, I'm still hung up on WHY anyone would kill Barthanes.

GonzoTheGreat
03-10-2015, 05:24 AM
Maybe it was the King of Cairhien, or at least done on his orders. That one at least has a credible motive, though such a killing does seem to be a bit outside the ordinary in Daes Dae'mar. But Rand is warned that Barthanes and the King specifically are going much further than is normal in their rivalry of each other.

Daekyras
03-10-2015, 06:41 AM
I always assumed it was the gholam.

By that I mean that I had no idea who or what killed barthanes when i first read of his death but when LoC came out and poor harold got it my first instinct was- So thats what killed barthanes!

It helps that I was reading the series a lot at that time.

We have no way of knowing if the gholam was released at this time but we can't say it wasn't. The method is more consistent with him than any of the other possibilities.

Terez
03-10-2015, 08:00 AM
I wouldn't say it's exactly consistent; lots of people have analyzed the differences between Fel and Barthanes. Aside from that, though, Sammael had control of the gholam from the beginning, and what motive could he possibly have?

RJ didn't write anything in his TGH continuity notes about this. I found two stages of notes on Barthanes, but the notes are just outlines about what's going to happen in the books, mostly; secrets are not often explained. In many cases he didn't have a solid idea about whodunnit. Anyway, in the first stage, he was going to have Zera ("an old woman") recognize Dena's killer as one of Barthanes' men, and she was going to tell Thom it was too late for revenge (as she did in TGH). In the second stage, Galldrian was worked in. "Dena is killed. Also Lord Barthanes. Shortly thereafter Thom manages to assassinate King Galldrian, though this is only obliquely referred to."

There are some notes I didn't get to look at so perhaps there will be an answer given in the Encyclopedia.

PS: Maria gave a definitive "no" to the question of whether Verin personally killed Barthanes. That might suggest a knowledge of who or what killed him, but it might only suggest a knowledge of Verin's doings. The former seems simpler. To me, the most likely option is Ishamael, who would have given direct orders to Barthanes at the Darkfriend Social. Perhaps Barthanes was unsuccessful in carrying out those orders. Ishamael made an example of one such person in the Dream, and Carridin was harassed about his orders too.

Davian93
03-10-2015, 11:11 AM
I always figured that Barthanes simply messed something up with his meeting with Rand and was dismembered by random Darkfriends as a result.

Morelikeunwisewoman
03-11-2015, 08:19 AM
I always figured that Barthanes simply messed something up with his meeting with Rand and was dismembered by random Darkfriends as a result.

I started with book 3 so I was retro-fitting the scenario in my head as I read it and several things jumped out at me

1. The introduction scene is hilarious. You know, with all the additional titles being announced and the nobles looking more startled?

2. Daes'damare seemed very confusing/confused. I'm not even sure Mr.Jordan understood it all.

3.What happened if Barthane's letter was the second last in Rand's hand. Would he have burned it?

4. Did Ingtar know Barthane's and he had a special connection? I mean this as Barthanes, even the first time I read it was clearly a friend and I knew about ingtar...

5. Shouldn't Barthanes have known who Rand was?

6. When he died I thought it was Ingtar who had done it to cover his tracks. My re-read obviously discounted that.

Terez
03-11-2015, 08:50 AM
I started with book 3 so I was retro-fitting the scenario in my head as I read it and several things jumped out at me

1. The introduction scene is hilarious. You know, with all the additional titles being announced and the nobles looking more startled?

2. Daes'damare seemed very confusing/confused. I'm not even sure Mr.Jordan understood it all.
1 I loved. 2, Dom has talked about this before. He said that RJ clearly based Cairhien in large part on the French, particularly the late ancien régime, Louis XIV (Sun King) era roundabout. All of the nobles engaged in this sort of scheming in order to gain the favor of the king, but that wasn't exactly what was going on in Cairhien, and therefore it didn't make much sense. I might be communicating Dom's ideas badly, but I think his knowledge of French history made the borrowing seem lazy to him.

I'm not so up on the history but I have familiarized myself fairly well with the July Monarchy era French. The salon culture was all about wit, the ability to call to mind random details about important literature, art, and music, and the ability to be clever with one's words.

As an example, I suspect that this is one of the reasons why the laws against homosexuality were so much more punitive in England; the English were more straightforward about such things and thus were more easily offended by them and more obliged to do something about it. The French way of dealing with it was to refer to it obliquely so as to protect the sensibilities of the innocent and at the same time display one's cleverness. Whole books have been written about this sort of double-speak, which was not limited to the French but certainly exemplified by them, but that doesn't make it any easier to actually say anything definitive about the countless instances of potential double speak in the correspondence of the era.

isamu237
03-14-2015, 07:31 PM
On to TDR now, and it pushed me further into the idea Ishy via Slayer killed Barthanes. The brutality of killing Amico and Joyia matches with how Barthanes gets taken care of.
Moreover, I think it's entirely possible Barthanes had special orders from TGH prologue and chose to ignore them to further his own personal gain. He says as much when delivering Fain's message; that he considered ignoring Fain's orders no matter how high he seemed to stand with his secret handshakes and whatnot.

Daekyras
03-15-2015, 08:48 PM
On to TDR now, and it pushed me further into the idea Ishy via Slayer killed Barthanes. The brutality of killing Amico and Joyia matches with how Barthanes gets taken care of.
Moreover, I think it's entirely possible Barthanes had special orders from TGH prologue and chose to ignore them to further his own personal gain. He says as much when delivering Fain's message; that he considered ignoring Fain's orders no matter how high he seemed to stand with his secret handshakes and whatnot.

I am coming round to your way of thinking. Question is- did lanfear order it?

isamu237
03-25-2015, 10:22 PM
I don't think Lanfear would have ordered it. Partly because I don't see why she would care. The Dark Prophecy indicates she is somehow connected to Falme (about to make a post on that), and I don't know that she would care about Barthanes directing Rand to Falme.
Also, someone (can't remember who) connected this to the Darkfriend tea party in the prologue. So I'm thinking Barthanes was trying to play his own game and it went against orders he received there.

SomeOneElse
03-26-2015, 03:41 AM
I also think that was Slayer and the order was from Ishy.