Author Topic: The Lighthouse  (Read 529 times)

Offline Bad Alias

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The Lighthouse
« on: March 01, 2020, 10:07:27 AM »
So is the tower on Demonreach a lighthouse at all? Dresden calls the tower a lighthouse, but I'm not convinced it was a lighthouse, at least originally.

It's first described as a tower. Then shortly later a lighthouse. The word tower is repeatedly used. It makes sense that Dresden's first impression is that it is a lighthouse. It's a tall structure at the top of an island surrounded by rocky reefs. And "{b}eacon towers dotted the shorelines and islands of all the Great Lakes." It's only natural to assume that the dilapidated structure on the island is just another dilapidated structure with a modern use.

The reason I'm not so sure that it's a lighthouse is that it's got all those wards that we first see in Turn Coat and learn more about in Cold Days. We learn that the wards are "impossible" and that Merlin was the one who made them. It makes sense to conclude that Merlin built the tower. I don't see any reason for concluding otherwise, so until someone gives me one, that's going to be my assumption. This leads to the question, why would Merlin build a lighthouse on his secret prison island? Especially if he built it during his lifetime when shipping wasn't a thing in the Great Lakes.

Here's my theory: It isn't a lighthouse; it's a wizard's tower. We know from Harry that "some guys in Europe still operate out of stone towers." Grave Peril, Ch. 14. So the wizard's tower is a thing in the Dresden Files. Jim repeatedly emphasizes that it's a tower, even referring to lighthouses as beacon towers, which I find to be a bit of an odd phrase. It was likely built by Merlin at a time when a lighthouse wouldn't make any sense. It was likely built for another purpose. I'm not sure why a lighthouse would be so heavily warded unless it was used for something else.

Now, I don't know where the wizard's tower trope comes from, what it's supposed to mean, or what the in story reason is for why wizards would have a tower. I guess I'm left with those general questions and the specific question of why would Merlin need a tower on Demonreach.

Offline Mira

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2020, 12:05:52 PM »
Quote
So is the tower on Demonreach a lighthouse at all? Dresden calls the tower a lighthouse, but I'm not convinced it was a lighthouse, at least originally.

It's first described as a tower. Then shortly later a lighthouse. The word tower is repeatedly used. It makes sense that Dresden's first impression is that it is a lighthouse. It's a tall structure at the top of an island surrounded by rocky reefs. And "{b}eacon towers dotted the shorelines and islands of all the Great Lakes." It's only natural to assume that the dilapidated structure on the island is just another dilapidated structure with a modern use.


 You could be right, however lighthouses are not modern inventions, the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. 

Offline morriswalters

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2020, 01:02:03 PM »
Or maybe when the prison was built in five different times one of those times was after the tower was built. If you wanted to go tin hat, maybe Sir Stuart had something to do with it since he is from the era.

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2020, 06:32:03 PM »
You could be right, however lighthouses are not modern inventions, the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.
While lighthouses are ancient, they are not ancient in the U.S. The first lighthouse built in the U.S. was in 1716 according to the top Google results. Yes, Merlin could have built a lighthouse because they existed throughout his life, but why would he build one on Demonreach? The wizard's tower trope is confirmed as a thing by Harry, so while we don't know the reasons why wizards have towers, we know that they do have them.

@Morris: I'd say it's possible that's a possibility. Meaning, I'm not sure it would be a possibility under the time travel etc. rules in the Dresden Files. But why take special care with that one building even if it was possible?

The only reason we think of it as a lighthouse is that Harry just assumed it was a lighthouse when he didn't know anything about the island. I think we have more reason to assume it isn't a lighthouse, or at least not originally. I've also always wondered what happened to it and who built the cottage out of the fallen stones. Maybe that's why Rashid isn't "allowed" on the island?

A lot of people on various message boards have suggested various sources for the wizard's tower trope. One reason was that various astrologers, astronomers, alchemists, and a few other "wise men" used towers for practical reasons, and these wise men were associated with wizards. Another reason is that many wizards were in castles with many early castles just being a tower with a wall around it. The final common reason is basically that Tolkien did it and DnD ran with it.

The more Watsonian reasons that a wizard would have a tower included the reasons anyone would have a tower as well as magical reasons: they demonstrate power (it was a difficult feat physically and intellectually), defense, observation (of approaching threats and the stars), wizard's usually weren't associated with enough people to need a full castle, a tower is tied to both the elements of the earth and air, some suggested that magic gets grounded out near the Earth's surface, solitude, and finally that it was a good way of protecting the peasants from any spectacular failures by the wizard.

The metaphorical reasons included bringing the power of the heavens to the earthly realm, arrogance and hubris, and isolation or separation from normal people.

Offline morriswalters

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2020, 07:45:11 PM »
Wherever towers were built for wizards it's always glossed over how they moved the tons of stone required to build them.  Castle builders in the real world had labor, something in short supply in the Chicago area prior to the European incursion, and quarried stone.

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2020, 07:59:12 PM »
Especially when the wizard's tower is located in the middle of the woods without any trail leading to it.

I assume magic is often used. Either directly or indirectly. An example of indirectly would be summoning laborers from the Nevernever and perhaps even transporting the stone through the Nevernever.

Offline Snark Knight

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2020, 10:39:37 PM »
Wherever towers were built for wizards it's always glossed over how they moved the tons of stone required to build them.  Castle builders in the real world had labor, something in short supply in the Chicago area prior to the European incursion, and quarried stone.

The excavation of the underground stairs is the most likely source for the stone. I doubt the OG Merlin would have needed labourers - cutting bedrock out of the ground in square pieces and levitating it where he wanted would be about the least challenging part of constructing Demonreach.

Offline toodeep

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2020, 09:10:01 PM »
Especially since the genus locus might have done any actual physical labor involved

Offline Mira

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2020, 09:32:45 PM »
Wherever towers were built for wizards it's always glossed over how they moved the tons of stone required to build them.  Castle builders in the real world had labor, something in short supply in the Chicago area prior to the European incursion, and quarried stone.

  Merlin no doubt would have the mastery of "earth magic," so that might account for it.  However do not discount the native civilizations Pre-Colombian.  The Inca for example managed to quarry, move, and put in place massive stones of many tons without even the benefit of the wheel..  Several of the peoples prior to the Aztecs, and even the Maya the same, the Cliff Dwellers of the Southwest were excellent engineers, as where those who built the large mounds along the Missouri River..  So it cannot be totally discounted in my opinion that Merlin might have either recruited the peoples to help him in his task.. Or he may have taught them and after the island was finished resettled them where we find the ruins of their civilizations today.

Offline morriswalters

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2020, 10:10:19 PM »
One simple solution is that it was a light house, built at the same time as the town and taken over after running the people who lived there off.  Why build when you can appropriate.

Offline g33k

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2020, 10:58:58 PM »
One simple solution is that it was a light house, built at the same time as the town and taken over after running the people who lived there off.  Why build when you can appropriate.

Except that the structure is rune-scribed by Merlin.

So unless one of the instances of Merlin's five-fold temporal casting was modern-ish (after the construction of a lighthouse), it had to have been there first.

Of course, appropriation works the other way, too -- why build a new lighthouse when you find a big ol' stone tower already sitting at the top of the hill?

Offline Yuillegan

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2020, 11:38:56 PM »
Interestingly, one of the things about Wards in the early books is that you need a solid threshold to put them on. This Lighthouse would likely have a very flimsy one, if it has one at all. Merlin threw out the rulebook when he created the prison. So I suspect whatever the tower was originally for, it had less to do with limits and requirements and more to do with the purpose of Demonreach which (we assume) was to lock up all the old monsters. Unless you're a conspiracy theorist who think that maybe what he really wanted was a great big battery of power to tap. *Checks tin foil hat is secure*  :o


Offline Bad Alias

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2020, 03:30:08 AM »
I recall that other things can be used to anchor spells. I remember stone being one of them. I can't remember enough to find the source.

Offline didymos

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2020, 11:29:41 AM »
I recall that other things can be used to anchor spells. I remember stone being one of them. I can't remember enough to find the source.

It's from a Word of Jim.  Not just any stone though:

Quote
No wards on the office.  To build a ward, you have to use a threshold of some kind.  (Well, you can use other kinds of similar energy structures, like ley lines, ogham stones, etc, but you can't just slap them down anywhere.)  No wards on Harry's office in the books for that reason.

Offline Bad Alias

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Re: The Lighthouse
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2020, 07:42:41 PM »
Outside of having an inscription in Ogham script, I don't know how an Ogham stone is different from any other stone with an inscription on it.