Author Topic: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic  (Read 279 times)

Offline Bad Alias

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Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« on: February 15, 2020, 06:47:32 PM »
I just finished re-reading the Backup short story. That's the Thomas pov one where we learn of the Oblivion War. In it, the bad guys are trying to get the White Council to publish a book of rituals. The White Council would do this because, as we learned in Blood Rites, if everyone is using ritual magic, the sponsor doesn't have enough juice to make each ritual effective and they all just kind of fizzle out. The reason the bad guys want the ritual book published is because it would spread word of their "[d]emons of such appetites and fury that only the way mortals in some parts of the world survived them at all was with the help of some of those early gods." So demons who were worse than gods who favored human sacrifice.

These demons bear a resemblance to Lovecraftian horrors. Outsiders are somehow connected to those same horrors. It seems reasonable to assume, even if incorrectly, that the Oblivion War is aimed first at Outsiders, or that Outsiders are the results of successes of the Oblivion War. We have good reason to suspect that the Oblivion War has broader aims than these ancient demons because Thomas specifically says the fae were targets saved by the G-men, Gutenberg and the Brothers Grimm.

The only ritual we know anything about is the one from Blood Rites that was powered by He Who Walks Behind, the most powerful Walker of the Outsiders.

What if the reason that ritual spells fizzle out isn't because the sponsor has run out of juice, but because the sponsor has achieved its goal of anchoring itself to reality? What if every time the White Council publishes one of these ritual books, they are doing the work of the Venators' enemies in the Oblivion War?

Offline Avernite

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Re: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2020, 08:36:39 PM »
What if the reason that ritual spells fizzle out isn't because the sponsor has run out of juice, but because the sponsor has achieved its goal of anchoring itself to reality? What if every time the White Council publishes one of these ritual books, they are doing the work of the Venators' enemies in the Oblivion War?
Somehow 'the White Council is the Venators' worst enemy' seems a bit at odds with what we know.

'The White Council is sometimes stupid thereby blocking the Venators' missions' seems much more in line with how Thomas talks in Backup - not a general sense of hostility, more resignation that this time it'll fail bad if they get involved.

Thomas could be wrong, of course, and the Archive is secretly fuming at the Council - but that kinda defeats the purpose of that short story to me.

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2020, 11:49:07 PM »
I'm not saying the White Council is the Venators' worst enemy. Just a often useful catspaw of the the Venators' worst enemies. I do think the Archive uses the White Council as well. In Summer Knight Ivy has a representative at the Council's meeting.

If the Council is often a pawn of the targets of the Oblivion War, I would assume it is also used as a pawn of the Venators' or the Archive.

Another thing about the Oblivion War is that it seems like the internet could bring it to a swift end, and not in the Archive's favor.

Offline g33k

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Re: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2020, 11:07:22 PM »
I just finished re-reading the Backup short story. That's the Thomas pov one where we learn of the Oblivion War. In it, the bad guys are trying to get the White Council to publish a book of rituals. The White Council would do this because, as we learned in Blood Rites, if everyone is using ritual magic, the sponsor doesn't have enough juice to make each ritual effective and they all just kind of fizzle out. The reason the bad guys want the ritual book published is because it would spread word of their "[d]emons of such appetites and fury that only the way mortals in some parts of the world survived them at all was with the help of some of those early gods."
...

I think there are some rituals which don't involve summoning, Naming, or otherwise communicating with the entity that fuels the ritual.  Presumably they're still risky... a mistake could summon the entity, but it isn't the "likely" outcome.  They are very penny-arcade-mechanical things, crank the wheel and out pops the result (compare for example Harry summoning and holding the Erlking -- NOT a safe or simple or easy task!).

Books with those "easy" rituals and no specific Names are "lower priority" books than ones that actually record Names, and summons'es, and ways to communicate (wherein, I presume, knowledge of a Name could be given).
 
I presume the book in Backup was one of the more-dangerous sorts.
 

Offline Snark Knight

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Re: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2020, 12:27:43 AM »
This is a weird issue, yeah. I tend to think the effort to get the Fae forgotten has to have been a case of the enemy compromising the Archive's dead drops and substituting bad orders to the Venators, or an N-fected Venator showing their fellows forged "orders" to move against the Sidhe. The Archive can't possibly be ignorant of the Fae's role guarding the Outer Gates.

As for the Council's role in publishing the Necronomicon, that's a bit confusing too. Harry still seems to think that was a good move, but Carlos in Cold Case seems very aware that Lovecraft did something very stupid in publishing about the Old Ones. But he and Molly allude to Harry maybe missing that last lesson in a formal apprenticeship. Perhaps the rest of the Council has caught on that it's better to suppress information on the big bads, but the Venators don't have insight into the Council's current thinking, and nobody remembered to tell Harry at all?

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2020, 04:01:22 PM »
While the Venators don't/may not have insight into the Council's thinking, Ivy certainly does.

Offline noblehunter

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Re: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2020, 07:26:55 PM »
If the Fairies had been consigned to Oblivion, the rest of the Nevernever might have followed, including the Outer Gates. From Ivy's point of view, what happens to Faerie after that might not matter too much.

I don't know if anything has been said about what a purely materialistic Earth would look like by the rules of the Dresdenverse but even if it's awful, that doesn't mean it isn't the Oblivion War's ultimate goal. It was started by humans who were tired of getting munched on by demons, after all. Sometime we go for cures that are worse than the disease.

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: Oblivion War and Ritual Magic
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2020, 02:20:39 AM »
Technically, no one knows where the Archive came from. Humans is probably the most likely guess.