Author Topic: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**  (Read 26527 times)

Offline Lamarquise

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #105 on: March 31, 2013, 07:58:48 AM »
Frankly, I've got some serious reservations about this whole idea of "mantles" and what's happened both to Harry and now to Molly. And frankly, I'm sick of fairy shenanigans and politics; they never interested me in the first place because there's nothing about them to connect with.

When Harry faced that choice in Changes, Butcher painted himself into a corner. The way he'd always portrayed the Sidhe, they were always beautiful, always completely amoral, and always soulless. If Harry agreed to become Winter Knight, he would have no choice in what he became; he had made his choice and anything Mab wanted him to do, he consented to do. So Butcher had two options: 1.) somehow let Harry out of the agreement on a technicality or contrive circumstances under which Mab would let him out of the deal in very short order or 2.) let Harry remain Winter Knight and become a monster. He tried to take approach 3.) try to make out that the mantle of Winter Knight "isn't so bad" and Harry doesn't really change so significantly. (Or will somehow get out of the mantle before he does.)

With all due respect, that's every bit as much a cop out as option 1 or 3. Harry agreed to anything Mab wanted. Anything. She might let him make petty decisions just because it's pointless to make every choice for him, but the only way that oath means anything is if Harry really does have to do anything Mab wishes. The vast majority of the Sidhe we've ever seen in canon were not just amoral but absolutely and completely and diabolically evil. They had interests and could even be cooperative given adequate incentives, but they cared only about power and pleasure. The only possible exceptions--and there's no way to assess to what extent they are exceptions--were on the Summer side of the fence, which Harry and Molly aren't. If you try to make being the Winter Knight not so bad, then you have to artificially rein in the evilness going on in the Winter Court (which is ridiculous) and downplay the seriousness of the decision Harry made. He gave himself up to Mab. He's her creature, body and soul. Yet somehow she'll tolerate him laying down the law about what he will and won't do and to whom? And she's just going to happen to never order him to do anything evil with all his power and ingenuity while he's in her service? And it just so happens that circumstances arrange themselves so that he doesn't have to do evil while he's in her service? Totally implausible. And I'd cry foul if Uriel or someone else were orchestrating things behind the scenes to arrange that because Harry has his autonomy and it's not for archangels or even the Almighty himself to intervene and manipulate the consequences of human choices after the fact or they're playing favorites and the choices people are given really aren't meaningful.

Sometimes, the most important choices we make in life aren't made in the way or when we thought. We do one stupid thing and then we find things going further and we're bound into the consequences of those earlier decisions.

But there's another big issue. I can buy the Knight of one of the faerie courts being human because he's granted power by the Sidhe and is beholden to them, but he's also their mortal champion and not technically (apparently) a faerie. But a human girl becoming Winter Lady? Mab's daughter and heir presumptive? Everything before has indicated that the Fae are fundamentally different from mortals and the role of one of the queens of each court can only devolve on a faerie or one of faerie lineage who chooses to renounce all other lineage and prerogatives. (Molly doesn't seem to be in that camp at all.) The way a queen's power passes--apparently without requiring consent--is just plain indefensible and horrifying on every level unless the candidate never starts off with a soul in the first place and wouldn't have to choose to be divested of a soul. And if consent is required? Then Molly's position is the more horrifying because she has just chosen to give up her soul--and on an even bigger scale than Harry, who at least remains mortal. Either way, are people actually okay with Molly becoming a faerie? I know I'm not. I think it's the worst thing that could happen to her, worse than death, because she becomes inhuman. And how? Associating with Lea? None of that makes any sense, and one would think that if anything Molly was doing was going to put her in this kind of situation, she or someone else would know. And seriously? She's heir apparent to Mab, but she could somehow get out of it? She and Harry can make irrevocable decisions but still get out of them? (I call shenanigans.) It's not that I want Molly to become like Mab, but if she doesn't become this conscienceless, soulless force of nature, then everything we've seen of the fae up to now is inconsistent and like a dog-and-pony show more than a reality. Not to mention that any fae has no room for loyalty to God as they're bound by the will of their superiors in the court, so becoming Winter Lady puts Molly squarely outside of any hope of salvation as far as the Church is concerned. Molly's parents and siblings would certainly think of it that way. Michael and Charity's reaction to this is nothing to titter or giggle about. Given their beliefs, they are losing their daughter in a way, and with a permanency, even death couldn't take her from them. Maybe most people don't think of salvation or damnation as realities, but devout Christians most certainly do. And anyone who drew their child into such a fate would not only be persona non grata, but a mortal enemy and certainly nobody they'd allow around any child they were entrusted with. Nothing in the world could ever make up for losing every eternal hope for your child.

(Though I think Butcher took Molly beyond the pale when she used magic to commit murder and if this is what Butcher does to characters I've invested in and cared about, making them dark, twisted shadows of themselves, I don't want to read any more. I believe in redemption, but I also believe these characters know a hell of a lot better than to do what they're doing and when you have that level of moral knowledge and power and commit the most heinous sins out there like murder anyway with that power, you may well, indeed, put yourself beyond the possibility of redemption. You're mocking mercy and the power of redemption and, indeed, spitting in their faces.)

In any case, as far as I'm concerned it's no fun to read if stuff like this is going to be happening. Am I crazy, or am I right to be wondering if Butcher has really jumped the shark here starting with Changes?

Offline OZ

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #106 on: March 31, 2013, 08:42:25 PM »
I don't feel like taking the time to address every issue that you've brought up here but let me talk to a few of them.

As far as Jim painting himself into a corner, from everything that I've heard or read he has the major points in this series set from the beginning. If you don't like something that he's done, that's your opinion and your right but it's not because he put himself into a position that he couldn't escape.

As far as Harry's autonomy goes, Mab has desired Harry for the Winter Knight for a long time. We don't know all the reasons yet but whatever they are, they are important enough that she needs Harry not the mindless automaton that he would become if she took away his free will. It's not that she can't take his free will but that she would be shooting herself in the foot if she did. This has been obvious for a long time and is no last minute surprise or cheap out that Jim has created.

Molly is a completely different story. I can't comment much on Molly yet because we just don't know enough about Molly's situation yet. Her change happened at the very end of the book and we have yet to see all the ramifications. How did she become Winter Lady without Fae blood? Does this change how she is affected by the mantle? Jim has made it clear that taking up a Fae mantle does not mean automatically losing your soul. It just makes it extremely difficult to hold on to your soul. Remember that Uriel is all about free will. If gaining a mantle meant the automatic loss of your soul, I don't believe that he would stand idly by and let Mab steal Molly's free will and Molly's soul without interfering. There is a lot left to be seen about Molly's situation but nothing that would make me give up on her.
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Offline phoenixjustice

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #107 on: April 01, 2013, 08:40:00 PM »
3. He Who Walked Before. I mean Walkers should be three most powerful Outsiders with access to Nevernever and Mortal World. I'm not impressed.

Walkers are Knights of the Old Ones--they're not the most powerful beings out there. They protect the most powerful ones.


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Offline Lamarquise

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #108 on: April 30, 2013, 06:26:13 AM »
If Mab wants Harry’s creativity, his insights, his best efforts, logically, she’s got it. All she has to do is order him to use his full abilities and he’s bound to. That’s what Harry agreed to. Which is why it’s absurd to me for Harry to be anything more than Mab’s puppet whenever she wants anything. In this way, yes, I think Butcher has written himself into a corner in the way he’s presented things. The only way to "get out" is to take shortcuts with the thematic content or even just the intellectual consistency of the books.

Offline redwizard

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #109 on: July 13, 2013, 11:40:25 PM »
If Mab wants Harry’s creativity, his insights, his best efforts, logically, she’s got it. All she has to do is order him to use his full abilities and he’s bound to. That’s what Harry agreed to. Which is why it’s absurd to me for Harry to be anything more than Mab’s puppet whenever she wants anything. In this way, yes, I think Butcher has written himself into a corner in the way he’s presented things. The only way to "get out" is to take shortcuts with the thematic content or even just the intellectual consistency of the books.

You seem to be arguing Harry has lost free will completely by becoming the WK. He hasn't, Uriel said as much at the end of GS, and Harry told Mab to tell him what she wants done and then get out of his way and let him do it. Harry is bound to Mab, but not her mindless slave. He can choose to ignore Mab, but would have to pay the piper for that choice, demonstrated in CD when he wanted to ignore the rules for prisoners with Lacuna.

Going back to the end of GS, Harry told Mab if she did turn him into her puppet then he would be a medicore knight because she would have to be a puppet master and pull the strings everytime she wanted something done. Actually I don't think he's written himself into a corner at all. It is the results of those choices that is one of the foundations of the entire series, and for Harry to have made any other choice would have backed the whole thing into a corner. In fact it was the best choice he could have made given the circumstances, anything else would have destroyed him either emotionally or physically. Sure he could have pulled a darkhallow, but I don't think he would have gotten it off, Murphy or the wardens would have stopped him. Taking up Laciel's coin wouldn't have worked, it wouldn't have given him nearly enough power quickly enough to do any good come midnight boom he would have been dead.

As far as Molly, well Mab was human once, and I think at some point along the line Molly learned enough to make her own choice. She didn't have to go to DR at the end of CD, or enter the circle. She could have stayed on the mainland or even the boat and been unaffected. I think she knew exactly what could happen when she entered the circle. And Mab only had her prepared to take a mantle as a back up. Sarissa was the one who was supposed to be the new WL. 

Her being a powerful magic user closely associated with the sidhe facilitated that. I think either Lea or Mab said something about that at the end of CD.
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Offline Lany79

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #110 on: July 14, 2013, 04:58:41 AM »
I don't believe that Harry has lost his Free Will. That's the whole point of people having Free Will, it can't be taken from us. Our choices might truly and well suck, but there are still choices. Someone like Mab wants Harry to believe that she's taken his Will to choose, because that's part of the game, part of the way to break people down.

I don't think Jim's painted himself into a corner, I think Jim has Harry exactly where he wants him, exactly where he was meant to be. I think it's another test for Harry. It's another cornerstone along the road to the BAT. Harry has already resisted the temptations of one of the Fallen. This is the next step in that journey. I think Jim wants to show us it's not the magic, the power or any Mantle that makes Harry special and makes him the guy to stop the mess the world is spiraling into. It's what Harry has inside him that makes him special. Harry the guy, not Harry the wizard.

Offline redwizard

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #111 on: July 14, 2013, 02:34:37 PM »
I don't believe that Harry has lost his Free Will. That's the whole point of people having Free Will, it can't be taken from us. Our choices might truly and well suck, but there are still choices. Someone like Mab wants Harry to believe that she's taken his Will to choose, because that's part of the game, part of the way to break people down.

I don't think Jim's painted himself into a corner, I think Jim has Harry exactly where he wants him, exactly where he was meant to be. I think it's another test for Harry. It's another cornerstone along the road to the BAT. Harry has already resisted the temptations of one of the Fallen. This is the next step in that journey. I think Jim wants to show us it's not the magic, the power or any Mantle that makes Harry special and makes him the guy to stop the mess the world is spiraling into. It's what Harry has inside him that makes him special. Harry the guy, not Harry the wizard.

Thank you. Free Will is what it is all about.
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Offline Lamarquise

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #112 on: July 14, 2013, 05:59:15 PM »
See, here's the problem with this situation: If you have free will, you also have the power to surrender it, by agreement or simply by painting yourself into a corner with your own actions. That's what Harry has done. He didn't add in any stipulations or provisos when he pledged himself to Mab. Thus, again, I have to think that while Mab could choose not to dictate everything to Harry, she could absolutely order him to do anything with his full effort and he would absolutely use every resource at his disposal to do what she wished. She doesn't have to dictate every decision. He has no leverage. Harry willingly, deliberately, and pretty much as knowingly as any mortal can, gave up his prerogative to make those calls for himself, and in this universe you can do that and such an agreement will supposedly be enforced. Are you telling me he isn't bound by that agreement? If so, as I said before, the whole system of oaths and consequences governing so much of the supernatural world loses integrity and meaning and becomes more or less arbitrary. It's a cop out, trying to shield Harry in particular from the consequences of major blunders by authorial fiat, and it's no less a thematic issue from the book because a supposedly angelic character tries to make it out as anything to the contrary.

Now, I agree that this is no minor issue and would have have very problematic ramifications for earlier books. That's why I think the story jumped the shark when Harry made that agreement with Mab and when Butcher allowed the vow to Mab to be that all-encompassing. But I don't think we can just overlook it because we don't like the impact taking this problem seriously would have.

Molly was incredibly foolish. And I can't believe nobody ever seems to have warned her that Winter might take an interest in her or what the consequences might be of accepting their help. But she's biffed it big time now, and now I have the hardest taking any possible redemption for her seriously because she'd already biffed it big time and been given a second chance and she totally and completely and knowingly blew it, in a worse way even than she did the first time in ignorance. And Harry and the example he set and his associations with Winter seems to have had a great deal to do with all that. It doesn't appear that he ever gave her the kind of education in steering clear of Faerie entrapment she needed. And I liked her. More to the point, I love her family and hate what this has to do to them. That's why I hate that Butcher's done this to her and am tempted to stop reading if this is what he's going to do not just to her, but to her family. I read for entertainment, not to torture myself or watch characters I'm attached to be tortured.

Lany79 - People can talk about free will, but it's a funny thing. We have all the options we could ask for so long as we steer clear of the whirlpools, but once we choose to get too close, it's funny how how our options become extremely limited or just plain disappear. That's one of the sobering realities of free will: that we can and, indeed, must be able to do things we can't take back and that will have the worst consequences later on.

Offline Lany79

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #113 on: July 14, 2013, 06:30:54 PM »
See, here's the problem with this situation: If you have free will, you also have the power to surrender it, by agreement or simply by painting yourself into a corner with your own actions. That's what Harry has done. He didn't add in any stipulations or provisos when he pledged himself to Mab. Thus, again, I have to think that while Mab could choose not to dictate everything to Harry, she could absolutely order him to do anything with his full effort and he would absolutely use every resource at his disposal to do what she wished. She doesn't have to dictate every decision. He has no leverage. Harry willingly, deliberately, and pretty much as knowingly as any mortal can, gave up his prerogative to make those calls for himself, and in this universe you can do that and such an agreement will supposedly be enforced. Are you telling me he isn't bound by that agreement? If so, as I said before, the whole system of oaths and consequences governing so much of the supernatural world loses integrity and meaning and becomes more or less arbitrary. It's a cop out, trying to shield Harry in particular from the consequences of major blunders by authorial fiat, and it's no less a thematic issue from the book because a supposedly angelic character tries to make it out as anything to the contrary.

Now, I agree that this is no minor issue and would have have very problematic ramifications for earlier books. That's why I think the story jumped the shark when Harry made that agreement with Mab and when Butcher allowed the vow to Mab to be that all-encompassing. But I don't think we can just overlook it because we don't like the impact taking this problem seriously would have.

Molly was incredibly foolish. And I can't believe nobody ever seems to have warned her that Winter might take an interest in her or what the consequences might be of accepting their help. But she's biffed it big time now, and now I have the hardest taking any possible redemption for her seriously because she'd already biffed it big time and been given a second chance and she totally and completely and knowingly blew it, in a worse way even than she did the first time in ignorance. And Harry and the example he set and his associations with Winter seems to have had a great deal to do with all that. It doesn't appear that he ever gave her the kind of education in steering clear of Faerie entrapment she needed. And I liked her. More to the point, I love her family and hate what this has to do to them. That's why I hate that Butcher's done this to her and am tempted to stop reading if this is what he's going to do not just to her, but to her family. I read for entertainment, not to torture myself or watch characters I'm attached to be tortured.

Lany79 - People can talk about free will, but it's a funny thing. We have all the options we could ask for so long as we steer clear of the whirlpools, but once we choose to get too close, it's funny how how our options become extremely limited or just plain disappear. That's one of the sobering realities of free will: that we can and, indeed, must be able to do things we can't take back and that will have the worst consequences later on.

Personally, and this is just the way I see it, so I could be wrong, but I think that if you believe your Free Will can be taken from you, or you believe that you can surrender your Free Will, then you can. But I don't think it can be surrendered or taken. But we can be made to think that it can be taken or surrendered. If Harry believes that he has surrendered his Free Will, then he has, at least for that moment. But if Harry doesn't believe that, or if he then decides that he'll no longer be Mab's puppet, then he has a chance.

You're right in that Harry is in a tight spot. By the terms of being the Winter Knight, he is under a Geas to Mab. But that doesn't mean his Free Will has completely evaporated. His choices may be limited, but there are still choices for him to make.

And you're right, Free Will does mean that we can do terrible things that can't be taken back later. That would be a choice though. There's a choice not to act on the terrible thing. May not be a great choice, but it's still a choice.

Offline redwizard

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #114 on: July 15, 2013, 02:36:19 PM »
Harry willingly, deliberately, and pretty much as knowingly as any mortal can, gave up his prerogative to make those calls for himself, and in this universe you can do that and such an agreement will supposedly be enforced. It's a cop out, trying to shield Harry in particular from the consequences of major blunders by authorial fiat, and it's no less a thematic issue from the book because a supposedly angelic character tries to make it out as anything to the contrary.

Now, I agree that this is no minor issue and would have have very problematic ramifications for earlier books. That's why I think the story jumped the shark when Harry made that agreement with Mab and when Butcher allowed the vow to Mab to be that all-encompassing. But I don't think we can just overlook it because we don't like the impact taking this problem seriously would have.

Molly was incredibly foolish. And I can't believe nobody ever seems to have warned her that Winter might take an interest in her or what the consequences might be of accepting their help. And Harry and the example he set and his associations with Winter seems to have had a great deal to do with all that. It doesn't appear that he ever gave her the kind of education in steering clear of Faerie entrapment she needed. And I liked her. More to the point, I love her family and hate what this has to do to them. That's why I hate that Butcher's done this to her and am tempted to stop reading if this is what he's going to do not just to her, but to her family. I read for entertainment, not to torture myself or watch characters I'm attached to be tortured.

Lany79 - People can talk about free will, but it's a funny thing. We have all the options we could ask for so long as we steer clear of the whirlpools, but once we choose to get too close, it's funny how how our options become extremely limited or just plain disappear. That's one of the sobering realities of free will: that we can and, indeed, must be able to do things we can't take back and that will have the worst consequences later on.

Harry never surrendered his free will. He has had his options reduced and in some cases radically, but he still has choices he can make.  He isn't an puppet for Mab, that much was made clear at the end of Ghost Story. She might make him wish he had surrendered his Free Will, or that he had chosen differently and stayed in the ghost version of the windy city, but she cannot take away his ability to make choices.  As far as it being a Deux ex Machina in regards to the consequences of Harry's actions,  GS was all about examining the consequences of those actions. Now we are getting to see them played out. This is what happens when you have the kind of career Harry has led. Your friends suffer because they help.

Who says Molly didn't know the possible outcomes in dealing the the Sidhe? First off she was well beyond the age of reason when she began her apprenticeship with Harry, so I would expect her to have some minimum reasoning skills (actually I would expect hers to be a bit above average because of her background). Now her decision making abilities were kind of questionable, but given the evidence available they improved some but not much. If they had, she would have stayed away from Chicken Pizza (as I have heard CI referred to and like the tag) entirely. She chose to go on that jaunt, yes Harry could have told her it wasn't the best idea and ordered her to stay, but he didn't. She has to own the responsibility for that because she knew and had been told it would be bad but still went any way.
And as far as her education she had the example of Harry and his dealings with them and probably his attitudes about them.

Actually what has happened has made thing a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Now it isn't just a boring save the world or universe proposition, anyone can do that. Now added to that is a struggle for a person's for their soul. Can they keep from becoming catchphrase spewing giggling villains and retain their humanity or at simply survive? To say he has jumped the shark, I just don't see it. I think this is a case of getting something other than what you thought you expected. The point is there isn't always the Disney ending where sunshine and rainbows fall out of everyone's orifices. This is noir and a series at that. Noir is gritty realism, at least the non campy comedic version, which means people suffer.

More to the point, I love her family and hate what this has to do to them. That's why I hate that Butcher's done this to her and am tempted to stop reading if this is what he's going to do not just to her, but to her family. I read for entertainment, not to torture myself or watch characters I'm attached to be tortured.

So what you are suggesting is this series shouldn't really be about Harry but about Michael Carpenter and his family. Maybe you should if it isn't entertaining you. Personally I like it when the characters I'm attached to get put through the grinder and sometimes ground up. Just out of curiosity, how would you liked to have seen Changes, GS, and CD play out?
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Offline Megan Marie

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #115 on: July 17, 2013, 09:25:28 PM »

And I don't mind at all, but this book seemed to make way more use of the f-word than the others did.  I mean, you might hear it every once and a while before, but I lost track of how many times it came up in this book.

There were enough F bombs in Changes that I noticed... Not that I'm offended, but enough for me to notice is saying something. Come to think of it, Ghost Story too... Hmmmm
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Offline OZ

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #116 on: July 18, 2013, 02:20:30 AM »
A lot of people noticed this. I believe that it was one of Jim's methods of showing that things are much darker now than in past books.
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Offline Zarl96

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Re: Cold Days Book Club - Chapters 45-53 **MAJOR SPOILERS**
« Reply #117 on: August 06, 2013, 02:13:07 AM »
See, here's the problem with this situation: If you have free will, you also have the power to surrender it, by agreement or simply by painting yourself into a corner with your own actions.

I have to reject the entire premise of your response, I don't think you can surrender/give up your free will. If you'll recall, we're told in SK that mortals have no real penalty for breaking their word, beyond reputation (and power if they make a vow on it). This means that even if Harry vowed to do everything Mab told him to, he could theoretically disobey. Now, due to the mantle, she can force him to do whatever she says, but that would (as Harry points out) make him no better than a thug. You said earlier that she could command Harry to "act to his full abilities" or some such but with the Fae wording matters. Do you really think Mab wants to take the time to have to close all the loop holes every time she asks Harry to do anything? Beyond which, there's a certain amount of evidence that Harry could choose to remove/incapacitate the mantle at least temporarily. It obviously wouldn't be practical to walk around with a nail in him, but an iron/steel earring or something might work. Or, he was able to disable it temporarily by breaking Winter Law, which also shows that he still has free will although if he doesn't do Mabs will it "cancels out" his bargain with her. At least that's how I saw it, since Harry wouldn't be holding up his end, it's like Mab doesn't have to hold up hers (ie giving him the mantle). Now, I don't think that could be anything but a temporary measure since there was a big quality of ritual going on when the mantle passed to Harry. On the other hand, who knows if there's ever been such an antagonistic/rebellious knight, Slate comes to mind but he never really had the chance to break Winter Law/disobey Mab when she was torturing him.

 If the mantle is out of the picture Mab can't "make" Harry do anything. She can still put him in a situation where doing anything but her will would mean his own death or, more likely, the pain/deaths of his friends/family. Or she could just call it a lost cause and kill him outright.  Like Harry says, even if your choices are crap, they are always there (if only technically). For example, the obvious downside to that "solution" (removing the mantle) is that Harry would end up paralyzed and next to useless in most conflicts.

That's the whole point of free will. True, your choices might be suicidal, world dooming, whatever, they are still your choices. I agree that you have to deal with the consequences of your choices, but unless those consequences kill you, they don't take away your ability to make choices in the future. They might limit your options, but there will still be a choice of some sort.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 05:14:12 PM by Zarl96 »