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The connective tissue in the works of MZD and how it relates to HOL

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  • The connective tissue in the works of MZD and how it relates to HOL

    <Just a brief aside, this forum has never seemed terribly concerned with spoiler, but since this touches on so many other works it seems that a warning would be in order. However I have endevored to restrain spoilers to an absolute minimum, which should also allow anyone who hasn't read anything other then HOL to follow along.>
    TLDR;MZDs other fiction confirms several aspects of HOL and gives answers many questions. Why do you think these links aren't discussed very much?

    TNR was not created by Zampano, imagined by Pelafina, or even Johnny. TNR can only be proven to have been created Navy and Karen Navidson. This needs to be gotten out of the way right off the bat, and again in the interest of expedience lets get straight to concrete proof.

    "Super Navidson Recordy Don't you think?" Pg;172, BlockClock magazine.

    This one sentence all but redefines every single conversation and discussion about HOL, and it wasn't even very subtle. Just like that any single author theory finds itself taking on water pretty quickly.
    Now we have to ask what TNR meant to Zampano not as a metaphor or edifice of his own creation, but as something he experienced.In the same stroke it reveals the editors as a presence whose every motive and action should be examined with intense suspicion. Never mind how it re-frames Johnny's abrupt decent into madness, or Zampanos darkly comic note left to whomever might find his unfinished work. That's just one sentence, published four years ago. But its not just one sentence. These links stretch across MZD's entire body of work. From novels to short stories,live readings,interviews and even a Reddit AMA. Now i realize this is an extraordinary claim and extraordinary claims require extraordinary amounts of evidence. Thankfully sharper minds then mine have done the legwork for me and as a result I can provide ample amounts of proof with a single word


    There They are, and They are everywhere. HOL,OR,TFYS,C4,ATLOM,TFv1,TFv2 and that's just counting unambiguous appearances given to us in plain English.Pulling back from each individual instance and looking at VEM as a whole we can start to paint a picture. A picture of an incomprehensibly vast system capable of what can really only be called selective omniscience. But, running the risk of overly resembling a late night infomercial, there is so. Much. More.

    No really, there's just really a lot of it. These connections offer the possibility of rendering HOL's most insoluble enigmas, if not clear, then at the very least highlighted and outlined. For instance consider something closer to the heart of HOL then VEM, consider the colour blue.

    "How Thoroughly have we considered this through it's eyes?"TFv1pg.729. Here we have a single instance of the word (the only of thirty other apperances) coloured that oh so blue. (Amusingly the page to the left of it is empty but for the solitary sentence "where is Z?")


    "Xanthers scream calls to life the ." TFv2pg.95. this instance(also alone) even more interesting because the blue is so dark as to be easily missed unless one looks carefully at the odd way the word ink catches the light.

    These two lines offer an unparalleled level of information, through context, individual perception, even the saturation of colour, on why is blue. Information which, when taken along with the theories of colour present in OR,TFYS and TF might actually give answers to everyone's first question about HOL. But how about something less obvious. Lets look at how these connections throw light on one of the most elusive shadows in HOL. Lets talk about RedWood.


    Only Xanther calls him Mr.Duder, She named him all by herself.

    ("Mister Wed or Do?"
    "Or Do or Wed?"
    "As In marriage?"
    "I guess. Sorta."
    "And Do?"
    "It's Om Reworded"
    "like, uhm, how my Ow Tremors Died? Thanks to Mister Duder."
    "Darling, what are you saying?"
    "Door? Wed?"

    Kids say the darnedest things. Mind you most kids don't name their seizures after a monster that haunted a blind man who died before their even born. probably. Or for that matter are struck by viscous five and a half minute seizures at their fathers funeral. Which of course means, we once again find redwood slinking about, all cropusculer like, around another fathers passing. A story about a monster indeed. Though for just one lonely monster he does seem to have his fingers, err or rather talons, in more then one pie.

    "Fuckin cat." Luther snaps. Mouth filling with nests of wire, crushing it into something sweet."Find it!" TFv1pg.355

    heres some entirely optional reading material, where i started trying to articulate some of this back when TFv1 came out.

    All of this starts become an avalanche of hints and clues pretty quickly. There are a bounty of answers available to us as long as we dont restrict ourselves to examaning HOL in isolation. Take three of the simple connections I've laid out here, TNR as actual artifact,VEM,RedWood, and lets see what might be extrapolated. One of the first implications is that the supranatural elements of HOL cannot be dismissed out of hand, nor be considered wholly symbolic. Just like that Zampano can no longer be thought of just a mad man, a broken heart or father symbol, but as scholar,warrior and seer. He becomes a kind of magus locked in battle with a monster while he builds a labyrinth of ink and paper to imprison it. As Zampano becomes magus, Johnny becomes a kind of apprentice. No longer just a broken man fighting his own past, he becomes something selfless, managing against all odds to complete Zampano's labyrinth, even as the task tears him apart. Mind you the price at risk might have been much higher then his sanity. with all this in mind it brings new meaning to things like this.

    "The panther

    In Time the gates will open
    In Time his heart will open

    Then the shadows will bleed
    and the locks will break." HOLpg.560

    "The soup warms. I do not. I will need somthing stronger. And I find it. What has been there all along, ancient, no not ancient, but primitive, primitive and pitiless. And even if I know better than to trust it. I also realize I'm too late to stop it. I have nothing else. I let it stretch inside me like an endless hallway. And then I open the door. Im not afraid anymore."HOL pg.494

    I'm still working through it but one must wonder, was the door johnny was so obsessed with keeping closed and locked and secured, the door through which he hears the pacing and growling of something dangerous and without whim, inside of him? GDansk man and kyrie might think so.

    What then of VEM? in short, The Editors.Zampano and the editors appear more then capable of finding evidence of TNR when they wish, Johnny however struggles to find even the tiniest scrap, only a sense he cant place a name to, insists there is something more to it all. That all seems impossible of its face but...

    "'The Distribution went everywhere. Self-replicating. Mutative to the point of dissuading identification but not to the point of compromising content. I can only imagine he accomplished a VEM Window Reduction we've thus far thought impossible.'" The ,Pg;144

    That last sentence provides us with a possible answer, "VEM Window Reduction". The VEM system has more than demonstrated its ability to extend it's reach from the Planck era and even into the future, at an atomic level of detail.

    "I know her down to a near atomic level - near because near Planck scale analysis must address quantum superposition resolutions which to not always resolve considerately and broach VEM IDENTITY suppositions." The ,Pause, Eighth page of Narcon9's interruption, no page number.

    So what exists outside the view of the omniscient? the simplest answer is that which never existed, but perhaps another answer, is that which exists within another universe. Again it might not seem there is anything to support this nor does much seem to come from it, but lets look at another connection, this time, to Reddit. MZD-
    Chad and Daisy...Wow! Could we do that? Who would meet them? Xanther? Luther? That might be nice. And it's reminding me of a "universe" question I keep trying to get back to.
    Nov,13 2016

    There's no shortage of ways to interpret all these disparate points but allow me to put forward one possibility. I suggest we already have claims of a "real world" phenomena that is eerily , have you heard of the Mandela Effect? It might have brought johnny some piece of mind.

    whatever all of this means it does present the chance to start answering a question that not many have thought could be, what motivates The Editors? Either they are activly antagonizing the parties responsible for suppressing TNR, which would make them enemies of something very dangerous. Or their goal is to discredit any remaining proof of TNR and the , which certainty makes them dangerous to Johnny.

    "One can imagine a group of Documentary Detectives whose sole purpose is to uphold Truth & Truth by guaranteeing to the the authenticity of all works. Thier seal of approval would create a sense of public faith which could only be maintained if said Documentary Detectives were as fierce as pit bulls and as scrupulous as saints. Of course this is more the kind of thing a novelist or playwright would deal with, and as I am pointedly not a novelist or playwright, I will leave that task to someone else" HOL pg.144 footnote 187

    And still I'm certain I have only begun to scratch the surface. These are just three small pillars. I haven't even begun to touch on the significance of numbers,Yggdrasil, the role of animals,MZD's personal mythology or what I so far consider to be the most important pillar, Pelafina. She more than anything else appears to be much more than most have thought.

    "She could have laid this world to waste.
    Maybe she still will." HOLpg.502

    So what, if anything, do these connections mean to how you view the book and your therioes on it?
    Do you feel like these connections are a valid way to explore the ?
    Why do you think HOL has gone this long without being examined more closely in its relations to MZD's other work?

    Oh, and please point out any errors or leaps that seem to stretch to far.
    Last edited by QuiteBaffled; 04-06-2016, 05:19 PM.

  • #2
    (here's hoping I'm not gravely overstepping with this double post. With any luck the content will be good enough to justify the faux pas.)

    My core point here is not one of ultimate revelation, nor the that i have somehow unlocked "The One True". But the fact is that the in light of information from other stories we know Zampano watched TNR, The was real, Redwood is no metaphor, and VEM is everywhere and nearly every when. These are profound statements about this book. To help clarify my point let me try another example.

    Johnny Truant:Reliable Narrator, and a very, very special boy.

    Johnny as reliable narrator?! Nonsense surely. Even the most casual reading will reveal how he changes the contents of TNR, lies constantly, has constant delusions and is to put it delicately, A few fries short of a happy meal. Johnny is the definitive unreliable narrator! Except, maybe none of that's quite right. Lets address two of those issues right off the bat. First the changes to TNR. I cant think of a single instance of johnny altering TNR, where he does not immediately tell us about it. The water heater is the most oft cited reason to assume alterations and unreliability on the behalf on Johnny, but consider he tells us about it right away. Not only does he tell us about it, but he also tells us why he did it, it stems from frustration and anger not an intent to deceive. TNR is important to Johnny, he may never quite put his finger on why, but the need to complete Zampanos work the best that he can is very real for johnny. To alter it would only subvert that goal.
    So what then of Johnny's penchant for telling tall tales? one might ask. The answer to this is the same as the last answer. TNR is of vital importance to Johnny, as a result it becomes the one place he can share himself entire. He tells us about these stories because telling stories is a huge part of who he is. The story of the martial arts cult shouldn't warn us Johnny is a liar, it should show us the depth to which johnny opens himself up to us throughout the novel.

    Still with me? wow, great because the next part is where I'll probably start sounding like the guy who posts up at the street corner downtown and screams nonsense, that while clearly nonsense, seemingly means something to him. This is where I address the other two issues with johnny's "reliability", Namely the whole delusions and madness bit. Now in the interest of simplicity(no that isn't a joke, really.) let me sum up my theory in one sentence.
    "Every human consciousness is actually a quantum super structure made up of an indeterminate, though likely infinite, number of interrelated subsets, spanning the entirety of possibility space in the multi-verse and what you think of as "you" is just a small subset of a larger gestalt of consciousness."
    Makes complete sense. I'm sure I don't need to explain anything else after having stated my point as concisely as that. Oh? whats that? Your not insane/tripping on LSD/overdosing on Adderal? My explanation is about as clear as a foot thick sheet of lead, you say? well then let me try to actually make sense. There are a few filters that this can be looked at through to obtain some more clarity. I mentioned "the Mandela effect" in my first post as a kind of joking way of alluding to all this but if I want to be taken seriously maybe I should point out some more complex and scientifically reputable sources. So here's a list of topics that you might want/need to know to help this all gel for you;*
    The many worlds interpretation**,Quantum Cognition***,Quantum Mind/Quantum Consciousness****,Many Minds Interpretation*****, and finally, Quantum Immortality******.

    So whats the point? anyone with enough free time to have come this far with me might be asking. The point is Johnny is not crazy, he is not mentally ill, He is not neurological affected in any way, nor is he damaged by years of drug abuse. Johnny's real problem as it is, is one of expanding consciousness. Remember that we know for certain there is at least one active supernatural entity with malicious intent, and that johnny has likely found itself in its cross-hairs. Secondly remember VEM and the editors. The publishing of HOL can easily be seen as an aggressive act towards the entities or groups responsible for ensuring that TNR is seen as fiction, and since the gaze of VEM has been shown not to be bound by common sense ideas of causality and temporal flow, This all that means that Johnny is likely a target of at least two Very Big Bad's. But if that were true couldn't said Big Bad's just, not to be indelicate, murder him? probably in some way that was completely ridiculous, like somehow dismembering him into a handful of pieces by hitting him with a car. Fair question, but one easily answered. They did, even did the car thing(only into two pieces though, glad they have stepped their game up recently.), In fact Johnny dies a few times. Five to be more exact(Six if you count where Thumper/Palafina/other women kills him in his dreams(Seven if you count Palafina strangling him(Eight if you count the baby in the hospital(one short of nine, what do you want to bet I missed one?))), and this is the part where I unload a bunch of quotes at you;

    "I do move and guess what? I start to bleed. The laceration isn't deep but important stuff has been struck, leaking over the table and floor. Lost.
    I don't have long." -HOLpg.70 ft77.; The first death. cut by light, bleeds out.

    "I'm caught in it, must run and hide from it, but I still cant move. In fact, the more I try and escape, the less I can breathe. The more I try to hold on, the less I can focus....
    I should be dead.
    Why am I still here?" -HOLpg.71 ft77.; I may be assuming to much but I believe Johnny dies at least once here before some unholy Other intercedes.

    "Even as all that steel was grinding into me, instantly pulverizing my legs, my pelvis, the metal from grill wedging forward like kitchen knives, severing me from the waist down."-Holpg.108 ft120; See there's the car part, alright its a truck, my point stands though. Two pisces.

    "Then the walls crack.
    All my windows shatter.
    A terrible roar.
    More like a howl more like a shriek.
    My eardrums strain and split.
    The chain snaps.
    I'm desperately trying to crawl away, but its too late. Nothing can be done now" -HOLpg.150 ft.196. Johnny and topographical space have an argument. Johnny loses.

    "but it feels like the hinges must have finally failed, whatever was trying to get in, at least succeeding, instantly tearing into me, and though I'm still conscious, slashing my throat with those long fingers and ripping my ribs ribs out one by one with its brutal jaws."-HOLpg.297 ft .... Its insinuated this happens a few times, which really does explain the insomnia.

    Then there are the dream pg.405, Palafina's "gift" pg.629, and the baby story pg.519.

    Hopefully the idea I'm trying to get across here is starting to clear up. It might help to keep something else in mind when considering this idea, unheimlicheit. Its a core theme of the book and it relates strongly to this idea of awareness of access to a larger subset of your quantum mind.
    Once again one could easily answer all this with, So What? which is fair. But this idea(which is, though I'm exerting massive willpower to not get into this too much, heavily reinforced by the multi-verse spanning war alluded to in TFv2 and the Narcons of TF.) asks for dramatically different interpretations of a whole bunch of stuff. People like Sled, The Australian girl, Haylie,Palafina and things like Johnny's opposing memories, The Atrocity, or johnny's constant referral to doors and locks and the strange seemingly nonsense sections signaled by the phrase "out of the blue". And the thing is, this is just my interpretation. My real hope is to hear what these interpretations mean to other peoples understanding of the book.

    So, thoughts?

    that thread right there does an excellent job of explaining some of the core ideas in my example with worlds more clarity and erudition then I'm even capable of. know, check it out.

    *Alright so obviously I don't expect anybody to read all of the stuff that follows, and I promise Ill do my best to make it make sense even if you don't feel up to reading any of it, but the concepts are pretty central to the point I'm driving at. Alternatively, have you read Neal Stephenson's Anathem? or watched Sliders? Fringe? read Fables? or Sandman? maybe you've Donnie Darko? these all are good touchstones for a reference to my larger point.

    **Chances are your already pretty with this concept if only through popular media of various kinds, but for those who aren't:

    ***A theory of using quantum information structures to map cognitive behavior(kind of, not really but mostly.):

    ****Not to be confused for the previously mentioned Quantum Cognition, this is the study of quantum activities and effects of the biological brain(again, mostly "Because Quantum!", this is a mostly not accurate lie that while being almost wholly inaccurate is still a serviceable explanation.):
    Also how about a bunch of people arguing the exact degree to which this theory is composed of madness and things that make legitimate sense(spoilers its not as one sided as one might think.)

    *****This ones kind of key. This is the idea that really digs into the whole "consciousnesses as Quantum Multi-Verse magic!" sounding stuff and explains why its not quite quackery, even if it is highly exploitable by quacks :

    ******Unlike the others this isn't a full, complex theory. This is just a thought experiment. Which to summarize, paraphrase,bastardize and subvert it to my own purpose's all at once could be explained as "Thanks to Quantum! whenever you play solitaire Russian roulette, You Always Win!, because while the bullet might be in the chamber, That Means It Is AND It Isn't!, and since bullets fired by guns are great for stopping thinking, Your Thinking Bits Keep Existing Where They Can Still Do Their Thinking! Viola! You're Immortal!"
    actual explanation:******

    *******Don't worry there's a point to all this rambling, I swear. Pinky swear, Cross my heart, the whole nine yards.
    Last edited by QuiteBaffled; 04-09-2016, 02:10 PM.


    • #3
      There's one connection I've never seen anyone mention. The is called a "Circle Round A Stone Production" at the beginning of each book; that term was first used in of Leaves as the publisher for (IIRC) the version of HoL that the band read.

      This might be useful for discerning the deal with the editors, assuming that they were involved in that publication as well (unclear how much evidence there was regarding when they stepped into the picture, might need to read book again).


      • #4
        It was so obvious I never thought twice about it.
        I had assumed it was just an arm of Pantheon. Google implies this is not the case.
        Thank you.

        as for circle round a stone, it calls to mind "Fairy Forts". Feels like a clue to the multiversal nature of the editors. I need to give this some thought.


        • #5
          Wow, that is so cool!


          • #6
            So I have been thinking about this whole Circle Round A Stone thing.

            The first thing CRAS does is draw another clear firm line between HOL and TF. The next thing it does is give us another clue to the Editors. CRAS published the first edition of HOL but not the 2nd. This throws another author into the mix*, and makes the Editors look less then savory. So why do the Editors benefit from publishing a project abandoned by or stolen from CRAS? If the project was abandoned then it was because pursuing it would have been in some way damaging to CRAS in some way, financially, legally or whatever. That would insinuate that the editors are the underdogs, everyone loves the underdogs. Now if it was stolen then we have to assume the books publication would bring some benefit to whoever gets it out there first, a benefit probably not usually associated with the book publishing biz. This paints the Editors in a much less flattering light. The phrase "VEM window reduction" seems once again, deeply relevant.

            All that from five little words.
            So lets take a look at an awkward teenager and a line of code and see what comes.

            The teenagers name is Hopi, for now that's all you need to know about him. As for the line of code lets focus, again on just a single part, the word Sipapuni.
            So first the Hopi are a native tribe of the American south. Second, the Sipapuni is, in several traditions of folklore(including the Hopi's.), the place that humanity emerged from the third world to this world, the fourth of nine. I want to point out the resonance here with Yggdrasil, resonance further amplified by several variations of the story of emergence that say the people of the third world had to climb a tree or reed that stretched into the clouds to emerge through the Sipapuni into the fourth world.
            An interesting connection to Yggdrasil, but how does it connect to The ? Well maybe we should look to the Great s of the ancient Pueblo people. These Great s were massive, multi-stories tall buildings, some of the largest could have possibly d thousands. Now there is no shortage of research on these magnificent constructions but I am attaching one in particular to this post**. In the attached paper the author argues that they served a spiritual and ritual purpose, not a residential purpose. This interpretation has the most to say to us, that is readers of HOL, compared to any other theory.

            Imagine for a moment, hundreds of rooms, dark and windowless, no two exactly the same size, all of them connected, a sacred place.

            I am going to go out of a limb and assume that image came very easily to you as it might for anyone who has read HOL. Now once again we have kind of reached one of those points that leave you just kind of going "Yeah, okay...but what of it?". Labyrinths. The what is labyrinths. In a certain sense the what is always labyrinths, so to be more specific this what is the Tapuat. As for what the Tapuat is, it is a symbol that represents the Sipapuni. It also is closely associated with the concept of mother and child. Makes sense, emergence, wombs, the conceptual line is easy enough to follow, but I promised labyrinths.To find the labyrinth we just need to actually look at the symbol itself. which I have also attached.

            RANDOM INTERJECTION!!!!!
            Unlike many mythological locations, the Sipapuni has a roughly defined and agreed upon location. The grand canyon. By the way, all the stuff about ancient Egyptian ruins in the Grand canyon is awesome, the mental gymnastics some people can pull off sometimes eclipse even MZD's most clever tricks. But I'm getting off track. The point was to share something ridiculous with you. Which is this;
            or rather, I have found a Grand staircase, or rather someone else on this forum pointed out this Grand staircase. Years ago.
            All of which is to of course say I have not found MZD's Grand Staircase. But its fun to point out the GC*** has a huge natural formation called "The Grand Staircase". The Grand staircase is at the base of this staircase which means upon emerging from the Sipapuni an entity could the climb the staircase to emerge fully into our world.
            its all fun ideas, but I don't know where to go with any of it.

            So what does any of that stuff, as full of allusions and cool mythology as it all is, have to do with HOL. Ronoke and the old journal entry, the starving times, a history that is not Zampano's history.
            I have been meaning for some time to check the locations johnny goes to on his road trip match up at all with pueblo settlements. I think those settlements are what he was really looking for. even if he didn't know it.

            Of course all of that is maybes. but here's a maybe slightly stronger then the others. If CRAS exists then the 99 journal entry where johnny seems reasonably happy and at peace is likely true. Lets all pretend, just for a little bit, Johnny got a happy ending.

            *One of the the things that has always stuck in my craw as it were about HOL is the bit where MZD's name appears in the text. Perhaps CRAS is MZD within the context of the fiction.
            **I cant seem to attach a pdf to the post so here is a link:
            ***wait. Does "GC" from TF not mean great cat, like i thought, but actually Grand Canyon. I suppose places have as much right to a Narcon as people do.


            • #7
              Finally got around to doing some checks on the various places johnny visits on his road trip as well as a few other places that get mentioned. I'm still mostly focused on TFv3 and catching up on some unrelated reading so this is all pretty cursory.

              Kent Texas; Jumano tribe

              New orleans; Icommache tribe

              Asheville; Mississippian mound builders, contemporaries to the Pueblo peoples

              Seattle; Duwamish tribe

              Las Gatos, California; Pueblo peoples

              Flagstaff, Arizona; Pueblo peoples

              Moticello; Natchez tribe, Contemporaries to the Pueblo peoples

              Medford; Shasta tribe

              Jamestown;Powhatan tribe

              The starving time; Powhatan tribe

              Disputanta; Navajo

              Luray Caverns; Haven't really dug into anything to deeply yet but this place is just kinda cool on its own, the resonance with HOL just makes it cooler. For instance, Fun face one; they have something called "the great stalagmite pipe organ", its pretty awesome. Second fun fact they maintain a big hedge maze on the ground. But the real breadwinner in fun fact number three. There used to be a mental hospital located directly above the caves, and this hospital used pipes running to the deepest coolest parts of the cave, to provide air conditioning! Can you imagine how that was decided?
              "We need to provide air conditioning to all these crazy people but it's just so expensive, who knows how we can get ahead of this?" A wrinkled and weathered hand attached to a hunched figure in black slowly rises into the air.
              "err who are you? I don't recal-"
              "YOU MUST LOOK DOWN! pierce the flesh of the negligent Mother. Slide your steel proboscis into the depths of her hidden hollows and draw forth the ancient winds. These winds will bring the cure of whispered knowledge to those wretched few. Bring those whispers to where you most fear to tread. Your reward will be without end."
              I mean why else right? But apparently the place burnt down in 1990. Though they still use the pipes to the cave for cooling in the nearby town it seems.

              So, I'm not sure what, if anything, to make of all that. It does look like there might be a previously un-examined First Peoples angle to the story.

              Last edited by QuiteBaffled; 07-15-2016, 08:01 AM. Reason: word stuff.


              • #8
                I come with a perhaps the best example so far, for demonstrating how The can point to compelling clues and new questions about Of Leaves.

                Here's what you need to know from TF, somebody mentions taking a trip to Venice Italy. There are some other things that suggest it's future importance but that's not important right now. All that you need to know is someone mentioned it.
                So of course I start poking around the Wiki page for Venice. Soak up lots of info about the cities history and so forth, and down I fall into the proverbial Wiki hole. When I had regained my higher cognitive functions I was looking at this page right here;
                Which was (Hah!). That's because its the same place mentioned in a forum post about the Grand Staircase that had sent me off learning about the Grand Canyon and the Sipapuni. This was the other Grand Staircase, this one located along the Po river, which flows through Venice. At the time some research came up with some cool interesting stuff, like the legend of a young woman who threw herself from the top and was saved by angels, or the interesting architectural design, and even a free standing gate surrounded by carvings of the Zodiac, but nothing about it *clicked* with me so I focused my research on the Susa Valley(a nature reserve where one could find every animal that had appeared in the back sections could be found(until TF3 of course.)), and some interesting languages and per-historic cultures present in the area, which there is no shortage of.
                As interesting as all of that was eventually I decided the secluded abby showed less promise then the legends and myths of southern Native Americans, and devoted my energies appropriately.
                And then today my thoughts drifted to the abbey and their staircase and I looked at the page again. This is when I noticed something I simply cannot do not want to believe I had missed before.
                Umberto bloody Eco. His novel "The Name Of The Rose" is inspired by and set in Sacra di San Michele. I swear no matter what I am researching Eco is always lurking around the periphery.
                Now I haven't read the book yet(it just got shifted to the top of the pile though me'thinks.) but a quick browse of its Wiki page makes it pretty clear how it might be a primary inspiration for HOL. Mysterious deaths, labyrinths, blind men(a blind librarian named Jorge of burgos no less! almost too on the nose.) and its all postmodern as fuck.
                That's not an inaccurate description of HOL, not a great description, but not as bad as could be imagined.

                I really say anymore until I have read the book I suppose. I think that's is my favorite kind of hardship. So many ideas and surely too few years.


                • #9
                  I read some posts in this forum about the Sacra di San Michele and was baffled, beacuse it's 1h driving distance from where I live. So I just took a turist book I have and read it but found very little. I went through the carvings but I'm not sure they are relevant.

                  Its staircase is pretty steep, but, well, I hadn't even noticed it was so exceptional until I read it here. It's called "Lo scalone dei morti" (the big staircase of the dead) because there was a recess in one of the walls cointaining the remains of some monks (they were taken away in 1936). There were also tombs of important people who decided to be buried there.
                  (On a side note, HoL staircase always makes me think of a spiral staircase I climbed in the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona... It was still unfinished and it didn't have a banister, and it was all very high and dark and scary and people saying "I'll fall I'll just die", so...)

                  What's most interesting, in my opinion, are the inscriptions on the Zodiac Portal:
                  • Vos qui transitis sursum vel forte reditis / vos legite versus quos descripsit Nicholaus (You who go up, or maybe go back down, you read the verse that Nicholaus [author of the carvings] wrote).
                  • Hoc opus hortatur saepius ut aspiciatur (This opus pushes you to observe it repeatedly).
                  • Hoc opus intendat quisquis bonus exi[t et intrat] (Let anyone observe this work who, being capable, exits and enters).
                  • Hoc opus intendat quisquis bonus expendat / Flores cum beluis comixtos cernitis (Let anyone observe this work who, being capable, judges its value; you can see flowers mixed with animals).
                  I mean, the first three seem taken from HoL, (cfr. the braille "there's no Mark there"; the second seems a description of the book and of "ergodic literature"; and the third, well...). And if we push things a bit, the last one describes OR.

                  Also, the Sacra is not close to the Po river, but it is just over one of its biggest affluents, the Dora Riparia. The two rivers meet in Turin.
                  As far as I know, The Name of the Rose took inspiration from this abbey as well as others, like the Bobbio Abbey (San Colombano) and the Abbey of Saint Gall in Switzerland, maybe others, there are many small abbeys in the region. And Eco knew everything so maybe he knew them all

                  This is a full version of the legend of the young woman, the Bell'Alda (Beautiful Alda):
                  Alda was a beautiful and very religious girl who was assaulted by some soldiers when she was going to pray in the sanctuary. To escape them (they supposedly wanted to rape her), she threw herself from the tower in these two pictures. She was falling, but since she was so pure and chaste etc., Mary (mother of Jesus, in Italian Madonna) chose to save her sending angels to stop her descent.
                  But after this event, Alda became proud and vain, and she told everyone about the miracle that had happened to her. Nobody believed her, so she decided to give a performance. But this time, there was no reason for her gesture but pride, so heaven didn't send angels/parachutes and she crashed on the rocks (there's a ravine just under the tower). It's told that the biggest part of her body to be found was an ear.

                  Sorry I rambled wuthout giving a full opinion. Anyway if you need some info on the Sacra just ask, I've been there many times.
                  Last edited by TBHalo; 08-18-2016, 11:19 AM.


                  • #10
                    It always throws me off how the internet can be. Here I am looking at what I can only think of as a distant isolated monument on an exotic and far flung continent, meanwhile someone who is "virtually" next door looks and thinks "Oh, that's the place just down the road. Quaint.". No matter how comprehensively I understand the how and why of these kind of moments, they always seem, for want of a better word, slightly magic.

                    The inscriptions do seem do nearly ooze with potential resonance, a resonance that I am at a loss to ascribe meaning to, but its there none the less. I don't think I saw those on the abbey's homepage either (speaking of which its here: for anybody with the inclination. and while I don't think it has the inscriptions, there is a whole bunch of interesting historical notes.).
                    Even if they had been there I wouldn't have thought of matching the quotes with MZD's body of work. It makes me think of the "missal of leaves" line in TFv2(I think.) which makes me think of another approach to the idea.

                    The first quote is Of Leaves, Concerned as it is with matters of authorship and the traversal of staircases, spiritual, literal and literary.

                    The second quote is , The stories circular nature means that the story is impossible to read and comprehend without revisitation, a reader must go all the way around before the journey is complete.(this also calls to mind Infinite Jest and its diabolical/brilliant/dickish/awesome first chapter.)

                    The third quote is The Fifty Year Sword, By way of the nearly bloody chunks of five orphans butchered accounts stitched into a story, we see the brutal, sometimes fatal, fallout of a simple story. Being capable then meaning, not having the erudition or wisdom to comprehend, but being left whole enough to walk away.

                    The fourth quote it then follows must be The , not just because it nicely completes the set, but because TF more then any other work by MZD does not just feature animals (and to a lesser extant flowers as well.), but is actually about them. Indulging in wild speculation for a moment, perhaps this being the final quote is the reason for TF being twenty seven novels long. TF is the final letimov of a narrative design MZD has been following for decades, and he intends to bring this narrative symphony to an end with a deafening crescendo.

                    Or not, always allow for "or not" I always say.
                    The young woman's story is interesting, but I don't think I see how it might relate to anything. However I have just started The Name Of The Rose and there is already one clear similarity between Eco's novel and the woman's tale, namely people falling off towers, I wonder if it might not become more relevant as the story goes on. Not a shock really, like you said the bugger knew everything. That said early into the book as I am, the thematic and structural similarities are interesting if nothing else. Already we have an unreliable narrator(or at least one who did his work in a hurry and with perhaps more emotional investment then is ideal.), relaying a found text concerned with strange events, a text that despite its seeming veracity and comprehensive scope, cannot be proven to be authentic. Next level down we have a mysterious death, hints of supernatural intervention, a labyrinth and one very interesting passage describing two angels, a winged bull and lion, who sit at the foot of god.
                    This feels like it may pay out, though the novel is good enough that even if there is no worthwhile link at all, it will still have been "worth it".
                    On the other hand, the claim that the Sacra inspired The Name Of The Rose is uncited, and as was said Eco likely had at least a passing ity with most interesting locations in the area, if not the whole country.

                    Thanks for the correction on the Po. Doing my due diligence I see my mistake. To be fair I can no longer say why I thought the Po river was significant, this is the curse of the wiki hole.

                    Now I just need to figure out if any of this actually has any merit beyond my own personal curiosity.


                    • #11
                      ​So has anyone else noticed the closet with the spiral staircase that is shown on the floor plan of the Ibrahim’s (TFv3 pg 489) We then get Narcon27 interjecting “Error: uncatogorized disturbance”. Oh and on the very next page we get another mention of the redwood anagram “Word Ode”. I can’t help but think this is the labyrinth from HOL somehow permeating The .
                      Another interesting HoL mention is in TFv1 pg.283-284. This is when zhong, tian li, and jingjing are together in the owl room and tian li says “we’ve been here before”. Later on jingjing interprets this “we” to mean tian li and the cat. However when tian li says “we’ve been here before” she is “sharing a secret, a revelation” later when asked to clarify tian li vigorously shakes her head and when jingjing follows we she is looking it is “down those stairs”. And this whole owl room scene is replete with underworld Hades mythology that does double duty in terms of relating to HoL and The reference.


                      • #12
                        Spiral staircases bloody everywhere.

                        The scene at Zhongs does call strongly to TF, and the idea that Tian Li may know of or might even have been inside The , strongly supports that Zampano was working on TNR as an action in a much wider conflict. which helps explain why redwood is so important to TF. So then it just remains to start figuring out whose on which side. Zampano, Unwilling? Redwood, a beast of H.O.L.Y. The editors, Unwilling? Circle Round A Stone, H.O.L.Y? Palefina, almost certainly the Unwilling.
                        The war of TF should serve to further outline the various factions.


                        • #13
                          There's also a spiral staircase in the background of the comic pages in TFv2. In a library, fittingly. The character there seeking to read the unread appears to be examining books that contain both the words and in their respective colors. (This stuck to me that he was reading The and of Leaves themselves, but that's just my intuition and assumption. The words are not in English, so I can't cross-reference at a glance.)

                          And perhaps this would go better in another board but I wanted to note that there's a T50YS and TF connection, and since this has ended up being the "connection thread" I'm putting it here - in T50YS, the window that opens when nobody notices. It's stated that the storyteller knows why it opened, which might be the best way to figure out more about him if this is the same phenomena as Xanther's.
                          Last edited by Arale; 11-03-2016, 10:53 AM.


                          • #14
                            Sensex is a mystery I greatly look forward to watching unfold. The color pallets in his panels are always very carefully chosen and they have a visual language that appeals to me. Speaking of that occurrence of and side by side. Someone on reddit pointed out that he passage with in it was mentioning some kind of servant. His apparent immortality, preoccupation with Tian li and general air of mystery raise all sorts of questions. Also I believe in one panel he has a necklace with the compass from HOL on it(or at least a similar symbol.)

                            As for the T50YS, you a definitely correct. Much like , The Fifty Year Sword seems to be often overlooked. A recent reread has made me look twice at a lot of T50YS. First off there's The Valley, The Forest and The Mountain. The valley I think representing Yggdrasil, that is to say the passage to, the place between. The forest is the forest of the mind so central to TF. Which means the Mountain can only be the Olympus from which Sam&Hailey descended.
                            Its also given me an idea for fitting HOL into the context of TF's war. Im still hammering it out, but one part of it suggests Zampano and the armless swords-smith could be one and the same, or at least contemporaries in the same line of work. With any luck Ill have it written up soon.


                            • #15
                              in T50YS, the window that opens when nobody notices
                              Yes, and it opens right after the Story Teller describes the Forrest of Falling Notes like the sigh of one thing dying, but multiplied to all sounds. That sounds like the three pink dots representing the cat dying in the gutter that all the characters hear in TFv1. That actually brings to mind my new theory about the cat: Tian Li is a shaman, a healer who can heal dying people. And she does it by removing the death from them and putting it into the cat. When the cat jumped to LA, it really died in the gutter. But Xanther brought it back. She exorcised the death from the cat via mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. And that's what that black goo that cat vomited was. The death.