How does everyone feel about the ending?
By - Practical-Frost
I'm very, very, very upset by it, which I think means it was great. I have quibbles with the book but the main thrust of the ending, with Orso's fate and Leo/Savine hating each other in a sham marriage with their kid as King, was fantastic.
Very, very upset by it is a great way to describe it, but I also agree that it was great. I was absolutely riveted listening to it, and I think the level of genuine emotional upset I felt (especially the last few Orso chapters), speaks to how well done the book was. I can definitely understand why some people don't like it, but it felt pretty in line with Joe's other books, for the most part.
For example, I've seen some people people commenting on Orso's lack of agency and that he didn't really do much of anything. Well yeah, he was in prison. You generally don't let the monarch you're trying to depose wander about with impunity.
I know it isn't necessarily the most satisfying thing to read, (To be honest, I kept hoping for Orso to get a chance to use his fencing skills in some sort of dramatic escape.) but Orso's ultimate fate is the most realistic outcome for an imprisoned monarch going through a succession crisis.
However, I will say that the ending was extremely bleak. Even when compared to the previous trilogy. I'm currently alright with how bleak it was because it seemed to end in a way that implies that the story will continue in the future. I know Joe recently said he was definitely going to write something else new/different before potentially returning to the First Law universe, and that's cool. But he also hasn't actually committed to writing more First Law, which is obviously his choice. But if this turns out to be the final First Law book (unlikely, imo), I may develop a less favorable view of the ending.
Makes me hungry for the next set of stand alone novels, short story collection, and/or future trilogy to be released honestly. Whatever tales in the Circle of the World Joe wants to tell next, the Age of Madness only made my desire for it stronger.
I do feel there is a lot of armchair QB'ing going on within the sub on "character development" and "unbelievable arcs" after TWOC and really, I don't see it that way.
Some characters do move forward, some don't move forward, some regress entirely, and some change in good ways for survival but bad ways for likability. Some are just plain shitty people but are trying to do good things, and some are just doing their best and fail hard. All of that is believable because, well, that's real life.
I like that I hated some characters by the end that I originally enjoyed. I like that I came to enjoy some characters I originally hated. I love that there were some that no matter what they tried to do they couldn't break free of their own cycle because that is a real life thing that happens as well.
And the outcome for the Little People is what we always should have expected in this universe... more of the same with different faces on top! Maybe some of these shitty people trying their best can do some good for a while, until >!Hildi Dan Valint & Skarling Jr bring Team Bayaz back to the pinnacle of power that is...!<
Wow now I really hope his name is gonna be Skarling lol. We’d have Skarling and Harod as leaders of again
That's Hildi Dan Bulk good sir! lol
No happy endings? Vick and Clover got happy endings, and so did Shivers (we don't honestly think he'll still be around next book, do we?) and that's 2 more than we get on average. So far the only people getting happy endings have been Glokta, Monza, Beck, Temple, and Shy. Very very sad about Hildi, though
Why wouldn’t shivers be around still? He’s only like 45-50
The vision did show the boy with his sword. I suppose Bayaz may have more floating around, but I felt like that was pretty foretelling of the boy beating Shivers in the circle.
Personally, I think I'm good with no more shivers. I like his character a lot, and would be happy to see his arc end on a high note. (Even tho we got no Jappo face to face)
The only one who has died of natural causes in this series has been Feekt. I doubt they meant *old age*.
And the Dogman!
Right, but I can’t imagine joe would kill off shivers in a time skip
I mean….he did it for Logen
I mean Logen’s story was pretty clearly over. Plus we don’t actually know if he is dead. It’s not like we got a grave stone in the middle of nowhere that says “nine fingered Northman buried here”
closer to 55-60 assuming he wasnt 14 leading the karls in BTaH. If hildi and that kid are going to be players, expect at least a 10 year skip.
I think you are right. I for some reason thought it was. 25 year time skip from the blade itself, it’s actually 30. Shivers was probably 55 at the end of wisdom
How's come you're sad about Hildi? I think she ended in as good a spot as anyone. I was super happy for her actually.
Sad that she's one of Bayaz's kids now and is living for vengeance like a tiny Ferro. Orso wanted her to have a life.
I see... very good point on the vengeance. I've always been in the camp that it is a good thing to be in Bayaz's camp(this book aside). It gives you a certain aspect of safety, So being a big fan of Hildi I was happy to see her continue her story. To continue it consumed by vengeance would shed a different light on it. But I'm still happy for her no less.
Yeah, but knowing she's going to drown the world in blood is kind of a bummer
To be honest I didn’t really like the pacing in the beginning but the ending itself was masterful. I love how people either outright lost or won but were miserable. And there’s also Savine who did win big but I also hate her so even that’s not satisfying. Vic and Clover had happy endings I suppose but only Vic truly got away and I guess that’s the only character in this trilogy that I can truly be happy for. Rip Orso he was the only genuinely good person out of the main POVs and he paid the dearest for it.
Eh, I think clover is the big winner. Big sack of coin, getting meals from bayaz cooks and laying about doing absolute minimum again.
Yeah Clover is just so slippery lol. The only thing not going for him is that he’s hanging out with Bayaz which will always bring out some kinda trouble. I guess he’s a lot like Tunny The Heroes where he just sat around and did nothing while others fought and did shit and never got hurt.
Was I the only one that kept thinking Clover telling the half-brother of Stour and son of Calder, both people he betrayed and got killed, to pick "the moment" was foreshadowing to the kid killing Clover after he learned all he needed to learn?
It was entertaining. By the end of it I find myself hating practically all of the surviving characters which I suppose means that they are well written. I'm now kinda rooting for Bayaz, at least he has style and is not spineless and/or racist
I'm rooting for Bayaz too, but he's still pretty "bigoted" in that he views non-magi like ants
Was going to say the same thing. Yeah, he is no racist because Bayaz considers **everyone** to be beneath him. Not sure if that is a positive character trait....
I have come back on a lot of my hatred for savine in this book. She still did all the things that she did but she has grown. By the end I was really hoping to see a dead Leo. I still can’t see myself rooting for Bayaz though, but that’s just me.
Yeah I get what you mean about Savine and Leo but I do just like Bayaz as this amoral Gandalf type figure
Absolutely amazing. I would have been happier with Orso escaping (but I don’t think that would of made it better).
It made me happy to see Rikah get a vision that was chilling. That bayaz is up to his shenanigans. Hildi going to bayaz is brilliant. She loved orso and would want to take revenge so it makes sense to me, plus she’s had a foot in both high society and low society (kind of like Vic).
I’m excited to see who the mysterious swordsman is. Could he be 9 fingers bastard (might we maybe get another collection of short stories to see where that infamous killer ran off to?).
But honestly it was sooo different and so dark. It was amazing.
Caulder’s bastard and Stour Nightfall’s half brother. When Rikke says to him something like “your line will end with you” he replies “I guess your eye can’t see everything”
>"Ah, so you don't see everything"
And at the end, Bayaz asks Clover to teach the boy the lessons his half brother never grasped (Clover having once mentored Stour Nightfall.)
I think I was too emotionally distraught by the ending to catch everything. So good.
Now I remember. Thanks
Yep, I don’t know who the swordsman is, have I missed something?
He is Calders son I believe
With almost certainty. Calder has him in his camp, teaching grown men lessons sparring. Calder mentioned Rikke doesn't see everything. Bayaz mentions half brother learning lessons the other didn't. He mirrors Calder and Scale, who were themselves half-brothers, born to different mothers. Scale was the fighter, but he had shit for brains, and although Stour was much cleverer than his uncle, he still never listened. This new brother looks like he has Calder's cunning, but has already learned how to fight at a young age. Shit Face's eyes narrow at the mention of Stour. More than enough evidence for me...
I liked it.
I could've done without the last chapter. Basically confirming that bayaz will return and win, or at least doom everyone wasn't the best way to close out the trilogy. It would've been better to have that revealed in a standalone or something. But I've always hated sequel baiting. So maybe it's a personal thing. As far as character deaths go, I was way more sad about gorst than I was orso. I knew orso was going to be hung from his first chapter where he said he hated hangings. Idk if Joe has become predictable or not, but I wasn't surprised by any of the reveals in this book. Glokta being the weaver was obvious. I still enjoyed watching him beat bayaz though.
I didn't really like this trilogy all that much. The trouble with peace is definitely the best of them. I think the middle portion of the last book dragged on for waaay too long. I knew broad was going to betray judge and save savine, so the slow crawl towards it felt painful. It also doesn't make any sense that glokta put her in that situation. Zuri was supposed to protect her, but she allowed herself to be captured. To fix that plothole you would just need zuri to have arrived on the roof and killed judge. And maybe broad. Hes a pretty useless character overall so it could've worked. Not sure why Joe wanted to hold off the reveal when we already knew zuri was an eater. There is so much more I could talk about, like Styria not showing up for one. But this trilogy was okay I guess. Better than most of what is written these days. Just felt a bit undercooked.
I'm not excited to see what's next like I was at the end of the first trilogy. All of the surviving characters don't really interest me. My favorite parts of this trilogy were the legacy characters if I'm honest. Glokta, gorst, bayaz, sulfour, dogman, caulder, shivers, ect. Rikke and savine were alright, but I don't care to see them again.
>I could've done without the last chapter. Basically confirming that bayaz will return and win, or at least doom everyone wasn't the best way to close out the trilogy.
I took that differently: nobody's victory is permanent. Not Bayaz's before, and not Glokta's now. Who's to say Bayaz will get his way in the end? It sounds like Hildi and Cleft Caldersson will certainly shake things up for the regency, but it also sounds like there are greater powers awakening than even Bayaz may have bargained for.
Cleft Caldersson, most feared name in the North, I reckon...
Agree on many levels, other than the sequel-baiting last chapter, which I thought was the only surprising thing in the whole book.
I did like Savine a lot by the end of the series, whereas I’d found her insufferable for a good amount of books 1 and 2.
Loved Rikke, but I knew she was going to turn her heart to stone. Loved Orso, but unfortunately could have guessed he was going to be killed. Vick I liked by the end. Broad was a waste of pages in this book.
I agree. Still better than most things I’ve read, but undercooked.
Or for a different food analogy:
it’s like when you eat a surprisingly great meal at a restaurant and you’re blown away. And then go back for a casual happy hour or something, and try the appetizers you’re even more blown away. And then, you get dressed up and ready and go back and you order the meal again - the preparation has changed a bit but it’s still got the same fanfare and ingredients, and you are looking so much forward to it. But somehow the changes make it less tasty but it’s still the same dish and doesn’t surprise you.
I agree, especially with the styria bit what with it teased much in the last book
But I guess the whole book is only 6 months or so, so makes sense the other players haven't moved pieces in the game yet
Bayaz vs Juvens is going to be good. I don’t think he’s guaranteed to regain all his power.
Can’t wait for future Hildi POV chapters
I loved it. It was the exact kind of bittersweet (mostly bitter) ending I would expect from Lord Grimdark. I’m so heartbroken over Orso’s death. I really wanted to see him escape with Vick. But the last 50 pages were amazing. Seeing Glokta become the new Bayaz was so satisfying
Also, Leo is a scumbag and I hope Zuri eats the rest of him
I’m pretty butthurt about it be honest.
I felt like done off the characters were handled really poorly, especially Orso. I understand he didn’t really have a place in the structure of the new society but tbh, dude didn’t really have any motivation for revenge, and I honestly feel like he’d have been happy living as a nobody on a farm somewhere.
Plus he really had no variety of emotion in the last book despite the various awful and weird situations he was stuck in. Plus NONE of the characters really appreciated anything he did, or even just the fact he was a nice guy in a shitty world.
It was great, but doesn't feel like an ending. I was reading this book as the last in a trilogy so despite loving the book the ending feels unsatisfying since so much is left unanswered.
Wtf is up with Logan? Just what does Bayaz want and why did he kill his own master? Is Khalul really dead? Ferro? Rikke's vision and how is Hildi now learning from Bayaz? Did he just happen to pick her up after Orso got stretched or was she a plant from the start like Tallow?
Thats just for starters ton more questions, no answers that will only come if/when he writes more books, if/when he continues writing in this universe.
For the end of a trilogy it feels like eating a really good steak and with a third of it left someone just takes the plate away. Like shit I was still eating that.
I'm very much the same. Loved the book but by fuck was I depressed. Absolutely loathed Leo at the end and the "Darling of the Slums".
I don't hate Glokta for what he did though. He was right. The whole place did need to burn to grt rid of the control Bayaz had. Just a shame that the result is back to the status quo rather than real change for the people. But in saying that, it's very much upkeeping with the "realistic" theme of the books.
Happy Rikke achieved what she deserved.
At least there's Commoners in the council now, and the new constitution is probably less "blood" restrictive given how Savine wrote it to serve her ends, and half the noble "blood" in the country was wiped out.
I think more changed than we think, it'll just take a few years to show. Imagine how many public works can be done with inverters on the closed council and no interest payments to V&B.
See I actually loved the ending and didn't find it too bleak overall, aside from the obvious vision.
The Orso arc is obvious exception to happiness. But I thought it so well done overall. I kinda let Orso talk me into not being so torn up about it. His pessimistic optimism really rubbed off throughout the book. His want and selflessness made it tough to deal with, but I was well prepared when the time came.
And I mean, orso aside, most everyone leaves the book on a high or happy note. Clover gets to chill and teach someone who will listen to his lessons. While I didnt like the arc, Broad gets to continue his job of beating people up. Vick finally decides to live life for herself walking off in the sunset. Savine gets exactly what she wanted overall.
Leo is a little peeved that he doesnt get all of his play toys. But he will soon enough get his love in Jurand. Although based on his actions and attitude towards the end, I think he bound to go a bit crazy and jealous towards everyone including Jurand.
And really Rikke has the toughest end point with the visions. But I still rather enjoyed the full circle theme that Joe tied the series and her up with.
The book was predictable. It wasn’t the classic medieval fantasy that we love. But it was a Joe Abercrombie story through and through. It was probably my least favorite of the Abercrombie books or right alongside Red Country. But like a Joe Abercrombie book, it’s much better than any other author IMO. The lines between good and evil are even more blurred. I have no idea if I like Savine or not. I think I do. Gunnar Broad is an absolutely evil terrible person but I could empathize with him somehow. I love Rikke and when I saw the chapter name “A Heart of Stone” I immediately knew she’d betray Orso. I loathe Leo. If anyone was a villain, it is him in my mind. Vick was fun but boring. Clover was an awesome character and my second favorite. I wish we got to see more Steepfield in him though. Orso was the best. To me he is the main character and this trilogy is a tragedy. The way he put everyone before himself and how bravely he handled everything with the best intentions in the world…. I teared up when he was hung but it reminded me of the film Stranger Than Fiction where they kept telling the main character he has to die lol. RIP Orso.
I think the end of the next great series will come a Great Reset. Joe mentioned that he doesn’t want civilization to modernize any more than this era. I think Bayaz gets too ambitious or refuses to let someone else win and we get some magical thing that wipes out most of the civilized world and we eventually go back to a time before cannons and coal and factories.
I’ve been a funk for the past two days after finishing the book. I really really liked Orso and was just so sad to see him go but that is testament to Abercrombie’s skill as a writer.
I’d say the ending was immensely painful, but also excellent. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess Hildi and Stour’s half brother are going to be main POV characters in the final trilogy (as I’m fairly sure there’s going to be some more standalones, then another trilogy to finish this off)
Ps, I REALLY hope Leo gets some unbelievably brutal payback in the future
I didn't expect a happy ending, I know better than that, but I _hoped_ for Bayaz to get fucked, yet only Sulfur did. Not only that, we got confirmation that Bayaz will pretty much win the next round.
I hoped for Leo to get fucked (not literally, but in the "body found floating by the docks" kind of way), yet he somehow got a temporary cunning boost, manoeuvred himself into the throne, and then lost the boost and went back to the whiny child he was, only without any of the redeeming qualities.
I'd have liked Orso to survive, but this isn't that kind of book.
I like Rikke, and we got confirmation that she's fucked. Between mini-Stour and Hildi, the whole North will be fucked. I liked Hildi, but I'm sure I'll hate her next time.
I mean, don't get me wrong, the first trilogy's ending was also bleak, but in that one I at least _liked_ most of the people. And there was some justice amidst the injustice - i.e., some characters got what they had coming.
Here, it seems that the worst people got heavily rewarded while the rest got fucked.
I could be happy for Rikke, except the whole prophecy that tells us she's fucked, along with everyone else.
I could be happy for Vick, except the one time she trusted someone, she was betrayed; the one time she decided to side with a cause, it got fucked.
And I think that's it. That's literally the whole extent of people I could be happy for.
It's not that it was too much gloom, but that there was nothing _but_ gloom.
It was a lot like LAoK so great! Lol alot of people seem to have forgotten how that ending was similar. The ending of WoC is very consistent with the rest of Joes work so I enjoyed alot.
IMO, none of the Bad Things that happened at the end of LAOK came close to hurting as much as Orso’s death did.
I think the LAOK equivalent to a plot twist that dark would have been something like Glokta losing to Sult, his body found floating by the docks.
I loved Orso but West slowly dying from magic cancer after becoming Lord Marshall hit me way harder.
I totally get it though, Orso was a surprisingly good character
Yeah West, Jezal and Logen’s endings fucked me up. I felt for Orso but his character peaked in books 1 and 2 imo so I didn’t feel much when he was hung
Thought most was predictable, Orso's hanging didn't upset me had prepared for that & honestly his self loathing had gotten a little annoying by the end. The whole escape plot only to be captured for prophecy sake was a bit of a plot dead end really too.
The actual sad thing was Vick turning down Glokta, she was the one person who could have implemented Sibult's dream & Glokta was giving her control. Her personal freedom has taken from the Union it's best chance of reform & doomed it to the Leo-Savine duo of rule.
Maybe she’ll meet Lamb in the Far West
I confess I didn't like it much once I reached the end -- so I figured it wouldn't be much more impactful than the other stuff he wrote -- but I haven't been able to get it out of my head... say one thing about Joe Abercrombie, he knows how to rend your heart.
I loved it. I was really glad Orso went out like a baller and I had long accepted he was on borrowed time so I wasn't too sad about it. I was really satisfied with all the endings really, especially Clover, Hildi and Vick. Rikke too. I was really satisfied with it, so much so I've gone back to book 1 to start the series again.
I enjoyed it, the only thing I think I didn’t like was gorsts death, I was looking forward to him fighting another major character
I also absolutely expected Orso to flower into a main character arc here. His sorry demise really hurt, but Joe cares not about my feelings.
I must admit I was expecting some kind of final showdown with Bayaz. Him being just temporarily set back does feel a little bit of a letdown, but I expect there's an Ambercrombian lesson in there.
I know there's no immediate plan to continue the story, but with Bayaz patiently rebuilding his power, I feel I can at least maintain some hope to see that showdown yet.
Well, the return of Euz or whoever will mean that Bayaz over corrects somehow. That will likely spell his end.
Big madd and still sad.
Sad to see the future of my beloved Union left to a corrupt couple and their crack babies. Sorry if that seems harsh but as I said. I'm big mad.
Glad to have gotten more either way. Just wish they would have had Orso just step down as high king rather than kill him. Hell I ended up hating Savine more than expected too. She is so fucking selfish that she didn't even protest what they did to poor Orso. Ugh!!!
Wasn’t the best for me.
Throughout the series there were some big, polarizing shifts in characters…
The deaths seemed silly and out of character, except maybe gorst. Even then, he just threw his life away. Even the betrayals seemed to make little sense other than crazy plot shifts.
Just finished the series like 20 mins ago. It’s well written, and the dialogue is always top notch but Wasn’t too happy with it as a whole. But I may feel differently with time.
And Orso…. :(
Who is saying “I have returned” in Rikke’s final vision? Is it… I forgot the name, but the Magus that Bayaz killed, or Khalul, or someone else and I’m dense?
We don't know, obviously. Popular theories are Glustrod (the one who cavorted with demons and ruined Aulcus) or Euz (father of the four demigods, who took his leave from the Circle of the World and set all of history in motion).
Khalul is an interesting idea though - that would be fun.
Thanks! I thought I missed something. I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out
For a brief moment I thought that the guard in the armour at the gate of Bayaz's place was Logen, then got sad that it wasn't.
We all go back to the mud.