Bran Stark is Sauron

This is a theory put forth by an SG reader. I made a few minor edits for clarity.

TLDR: We know that Bran is Sauron from the nature of A Song of Ice and Fire. ASOIAF is the Satanically-inverted Lord of the Rings, so the winner, by definition, has to be Sauron. QED.

Leaving that aside, let’s look at Bran as Sauron using LOTR, the Silmarillion, the Appendices, the Bible, and vampire lore. When we look at Bran as Third-Age Sauron we have to see him as inverted from the Dark Lord all-seeing eye in the movies. We also have to see Bran as Second-Age Sauron, aka Annataur.

Second Age Sauron is a very seductive figure who Tolkien writes as the Antichrist from the Book of Revelation. Also keep in mind that vampires are a representation of the Antichrist . Now that we’ve laid that ground work, let’s look at how we know that Rape Rape made Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven (3ER) into a combination of Sauron and The One Ring.

The Wall and the Land Beyond is the inverted Mordor. Mordor is fire and ash. The land beyond The Wall is a world of ice. The White Walkers are the Black Riders. The Wall is the Mountains of Shadow and the Ash Mountains which were either raised by Sauron himself or by Morgoth as a fortress against the world. The Wall was raised to protect the world from the Three-Eyed Raven. 3ER’s cave is Barad Dur. We see Sauron watching the whole world from Barad Dur and 3ER watches the whole world from his cave and sends out emissaries from his cave.

Bran/Sauron as vampire: In ASOIAF, in the Cave Bran eats acorn paste which is highly likely the ground up remains of his friend Jojen Reed. This was done to turbo-charge his powers. This is vampiricism of Bran consuming his friend to gain more power. This is likely also some kind of satanic Eucharist, to use the Catholic term which is appropriate here.

Sauron was portrayed as a vampire in The Silmarillion. When he was defeated by Luthien, Sauron turned into a bat and flew away. Bran also sacrificed others so he could live. We saw Bran sacrifice Hodor and Bran sacrifice a whole freaking army at the Battle of the Long Night. These are the actions of Sauron, who loves to sacrifice other to advance his agenda

Sauron uses the Palantir to spy on the whole world. Likewise Bran uses the weirwood trees and ravens to spy on the whole world, and likely cause chaos as well.

More of Bran as a vampire. Bran with 3ER had to be invited into the world of the living when they were permitted to enter Castle Black from the land beyond just like how vampires have to be invited in. This has correlation to Sauron in the Second Age where first he disguised himself as Annataur, the Lord of Gifts to Celebrimbor in Eregion. He presented himself as wise and beautiful. Annataur just wanted to “heal the world” aka “Tikkun Olam” from the damage of the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age. He always provided the Noldor with hidden knowledge.

Sauron/Annataur used this hidden knowledge that he provided to pit Celebrimbor against Galadriel and divided the Elves to prevent them from uniting before he destroyed Eregion. Sauron used the same trick against the usurper king of Numenor at the end of the Second Age. He allowed himself to be taken prisoner to Numenor where he corrupted the king and people.

Bran is the inversion of Annataur. Annataur cloaked himself in beauty, wisdom and hidden knowledge. Bran cloaked himself in weakness, autism, false humility and hidden knowledge. Bran uses his hidden knowledge to pit people against each other. The best example is how he used his hidden knowledge of Jon’s true identity to pit him against Dany. This was a major cause of driving Dany mad and making her burn King’s Landing, delegitimizing Jon as a contender to the throne and paving the way for Bran’s ascension to total power

In conclusion, Bran’s actions are Sauron’s action. Bran acts as vampire, Lord of Gifts and pathetically inverted Dark Lord in Martin’s satanically-inverted manner. But it’s all good because Rape Rape approves of Bran’s tax policy.



Charles Synard reviews the Castalia Library publication of the two-volume behemoth after devoting two years to reading the whole thing.

After more than two years chipping away at the colossal classic, finished reading Plutarch’s Lives. This was the Castalia Library leatherbound edition, limited to 750, and uses the Bernadotte Perrin translation. Two years may seem like a while for a recommended pair of books, but these tomes total something like 1600 pages, so even turning a page every day, this is how long it will take, so a considerable commitment for all but the fastest readers.

Many of these biographies are of exciting, admirable statesmen, and so it is no wonder that in centuries past, Plutarch was enjoyed by boys for the battlefield action, good examples to follow, and witticisms. After a few lives of semi-legendary Greek and Roman founders, this is almost all drum-and-trumpet history, and more often than not, the subject meets a violent death! Even the rhetoricians who make it in end up little more than propagandists for some power-hungry faction. Clearly, the Lives as a whole are much too long for practical use in instruction; it would be challenging to fit them into a single academic year, and even then there would be gaps. Besides, after a while, the Lives start to blend together, and it can feel like you‘re reading about a compsoite or averaged Greco-Roman marching his troops around, swapping wives, and saying amusing things, so the most distinctive Lives should be set apart, as the student will have a better chance of retaining the information. For an advanced placement high school course, or a 100 or 200 level college course, I think these ten select Lives would give students a rich taste of classical history, while more than holding interest and providing fruitful inspiration to greatness in our times:

—Lycurgus and Numa, wise founding lawgivers
—Alexander and Julius Caesar, unparalleled conquerors
—Agis & Cleomenes and the Gracchi, attempted restorers in a decadent age
—Timoleon and Brutus, supernatural intervention in human affairs?

In English translation, Plutarch is the canonical writer I have read who most closely follows one of the standards of writing that was most drilled into us in my school days: the thesis statement. Because the Lives are mostly paired, Plutarch usually includes prefatory remarks to explain why the two belong together, and then follows the biographies with a comparison.

Read the rest of it there. This is the sort of book review that I really like to see, because it reviews the book rather than just discussing the reader’s reaction to the book. One thing that many reviewers fail to grasp is that the subject of the review should be the thing reviewed, not the reviewer himself.

Obviously, many editions that purport to be Plutarch’s Lives are actually an abridgement of them, which is normally abhorrent to us; we’d rather divide a massive tome into two or even three volumes rather than cut it down to a size that will not destroy itself on the bookshelf with the assistance of gravity over time. But, in the event that we ever decide to do a Homeschooling subscription, an abridged version of Plutarch might make sense.

While the Library edition is now out of stock, there are about 20 copies of the more exclusive, superdeluxe Libraria edition available.


The Globalists Have Lost Control

And they know it, as demonstrated by a review of Klaus Schwab’s book, The Great Reset:

The Great Reset is not a book that begins with a fully-formed argument, which it seeks to articulate through successive proofs. Nor is it a book that finds its purpose along the way. It is of that still more miserable variety, that is always on the verge of discovering what it means to say, but can never quite get there. I have a vision of Schwab in his study, typing furiously with extended index fingers like a bicephalic chicken, marshalling all his meagre powers to reconstruct the very unexpected pandemic in which he found himself, such that it might better resemble the kind of global ESG stakeholder capitalism woo crisis that Schwab would really prefer to pronounce upon. “We must get back to my pet themes” is what Schwab is trying to tell us in The Great Reset. It is above all a childish book…

An interesting point is how much pessimism Schwab harbours about the future prospects of globalisation. He writes that “hyperglobalization” (whatever that is) “has lost all its political and social capital and defending it is no longer politically tenable” (p. 112f.), and that even normal globalisation is in decline. Thus politicians must strive “to manage” its “retreat” by making it “more inclusive and equitable,” as well as “sustainable, both socially and environmentally” (p. 112). These are curious admissions, and if you take them at face value, you’d begin to think that the Davos set really do feel under threat, especially from the left, and no small part of their political programme represents some kind of confused effort to appease imagined opponents.

Schwab writes that the pandemic happened because of “a vacuum in global governance” and because “international cooperation was non-existent or limited” (p. 115). He reveals a real childish yearning for “global governance” (p. 118), lest we end up “in a world in which nobody is in charge” (p. 114). The undercurrent of fear returns, and the pandemic recedes from view as a mere example of the kinds of disasters that will befall us if the globalist institutions fail:

There is no time to waste. If we do not improve the functioning and legitimacy of our global institutions, the world will soon become unmanageable and very dangerous. There cannot be a lasting recovery without a global strategic framework of governance… The more nationalism and isolationism pervade the global polity, the greater the chance that global governance loses its relevance. (p. 113)

Kissinger, being rather smarter than Schwab, recognized the historical trend years ago. But the vacuity of Schwab and his anti-intellectual cohorts should not be terrifying. Because it’s now manifestly obvious that one has to be more than a little vacuous in order to cling to the retarded idea that centralization and globalization is going to make anything better for the human race.

The globalists have nothing going for them except inertia, credit money, and influence. And history clearly demonstrates that such things will not be sufficient for them to withstand the rising power, both material and intellectual, of the nations.



A review of HITLER IN HELL by the ever-insightful John C. Walker:

Hitler tells the story of his life: from childhood, his days as a struggling artist in Vienna and Munich, the experience of the Great War, his political awakening in the postwar years, rise to power, implementation of his domestic and foreign policies, and the war and final collapse of Nazi Germany. These events, and the people involved in them, are often described from the viewpoint of the present day, with parallels drawn to more recent history and figures.

What makes this book work so well is that van Creveld’s Hitler makes plausible arguments supporting decisions which many historians argue were irrational or destructive: going to war over Poland, allowing the British evacuation from Dunkirk, attacking the Soviet Union while Britain remained undefeated in the West, declaring war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, forbidding an orderly retreat from Stalingrad, failing to commit armour to counter the Normandy landings, and fighting to the bitter end, regardless of the consequences to Germany and the German people. Each decision is justified with arguments which are plausible when viewed from what is known of Hitler’s world view, the information available to him at the time, and the constraints under which he was operating….

This could have been a parody, but in the hands of a distinguished historian like the author, who has been thinking about Hitler for many years (he wrote his 1971 Ph.D. thesis on Hitler’s Balkan strategy in World War II), it provides a serious look at how Hitler’s policies and actions, far from being irrational or a madman’s delusions, may make perfect sense when one starts from the witches’ brew of bad ideas and ignorance which the real Hitler’s actual written and spoken words abundantly demonstrate.

Read the whole thing. It’s always interesting to read Mr. Walker’s reviews, regardless of the subject.

Dragon Awards deadline

If you want to nominate for the Dragon Awards, you’ve got to do so today or tomorrow. Here are my recommendations. Remember that a work cannot be nominated in two categories.

On a not-at-all-unrelated note here is a pair of recent book reviews by Jevaughn Brown, the latter of which concerns A SEA OF SKULLS, which is eligible in the Best Fantasy Novel category and is written by an author who is not only handsome and charming, but is also said to be “the most underrated fantasy author in fiction.


A Throne Of Bones in one book is the kind of story/world in essence that I had thought A Song Of Fire And Ice was going to develop into by now, but hasn’t quite. I loved how thoroughly embedded and powerful the Magic systems are into the fabric of Selenoth, yet they’re not a cure-all in the slightest, playing a part at fitting moments within “believable” limits.

The interactions between characters based on their circumstances and personalities had the feel of Real People rather than caricatures acting in contrived ways only to advance the plot. When we’re taken inside a character’s perspective, you really get how justified they feel in their worldview – as we all are.

I personally haven’t read more detailed yet visceral battle scenes. Vox retains the grandness of ancient armies and big sword-and-shield battles without washing out the fear and carnage and courage and confusion and skill and luck they really entailed.


As richly developed as its predecessor was, A Sea Of Skulls added many new dimensions to this world and the crisis it’s in. All the positives I spoke of in my review of A Throne Of Bones, and more, were leveled up.

The standout achievement of this novel could be how well Vox takes us into the minds of the non-humans of Selenoth, and gives us just a taste of their civilizations – The underground dominion of the Dwarves, the stagnant decadence of the Elves, and the structured melee of the Orcs. Such is the depth Vox goes with such viewpoint characters that you may even find yourself *almost* starting to kinda sorta briefly feel a little empathy for an orc!

Minor characters are used meaningfully and there’s no one I would want to cut out. There’s a lot of traveling or being camped-out for extended periods, but we don’t get lost in dozens of pages of interminable wandering or stagnation, a major grievance I had with parts of both A Song Of Fire And Ice and the Wheel Of Time series.

Also much appreciated was the expansion on Dalarn culture as its warriors made their last stand, and on the Savondir side of the world through Marcus’ struggles and Theuderic serving his kingdom. If Book 1 left you asking for more elves and more battle magic, then your wish was granted. But again, the magic is the icing on the cake of well-scripted battles that feel as real as epic fantasy can get.

Things get unapologetically dark several times, so gird your mental loins going in. Every fan of Epic Fantasy should read this series.

You really should read it. At present, Theuderic is busy assisting the Marquis de Poncheaux perform a fighting withdrawal at a bridge near the town of Rouvillier. It’s a cracking scene.

REVIEW: A Throne of Bones

This is a nice, detailed review of ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT Book One, A THRONE OF BONES. 854 pages and free on Kindle Unlimited.

This is great a fantasy book and a insanely promising start to the series.

  • Great set of characters and their development. Unlike ASOIAF saga, there is no boring point of view in the book, and all the main characters are interesting and different between them. Very glad also that honorable characters are not stupid, and the “bad” ones have interesting motivations and aren’t just doing evil things so the good guys can fight them. My favorite is Marcus.
  • Attention to detail. This creates interesting, logic and spontaneous situation development. Unlike other books where it seems the author is cheating every time to move the pieces at his will, Vox moves pieces, but it seems he limits himself with some set of rules based on rational causes and effects, and this makes the narration more natural. It’s clear Vox is very knowledgeable about:
  • War strategy and tactics. No insta teleporting troops, or building entire navies like in GoT show. This creates interesting progression and great battle narration.
  • High Fantasy conventions and role playing games. It’s great to see interesting mages lore, and spells. Very important to give authenticity to the world.
  • Female psychology. The female characters are very interesting, especially Severa being her very enigmatic and humane at the same time, and not femme fatale, psycho, mother or strong woman boring templates.
  • World building. The setting is fascinating. From the more realist aspects like the roman empire-like territory, to the supernatural characters and lore. This last thing is obviously only teased, but can’t wait to read more about it.
  • Non-materialist human perspective. Shit happens in the book and people make bad actions, but most of them (not all) are not only moved by money, lust and power, and have religious convictions. I find this refreshing in a world full of nihilist fiction, despite some of it being very good, like the Abercrombie saga. Here the violence flows naturally although brutally, it has reason to appear more than shock value. No more rapes or tortures every 20 pages for the sake of it, like in Rape Rape Martin books.
  • Some powerful crafted scenes. And not only flashy and with shock value, but with real emotional power. Very good rhythm despite the amount of pages without neglect attention to detail.

I can’t recommend this book enough for Fantasy fans or people who wants a good novel. I’m going to start the continuation ASAP.

Three book reviews

First, a new fan of Summa Elvetica and Selenoth with an literarily eminent heritage reviews the precursor to Arts of Dark and Light.

As fantasy within the noble ranks of the great JRR Tolkien, you’re being overly modest if you fail to see that SUMMA ELVETICA is more than a worthy sucessor. No doubt Tolkien himself would have been greatly pleased at how you have been able to successfully and seamlessly synthesize many of the beings and creatures of Middle Earth with Earth’s ancient and modern history as we know it, thus making both all the more relevant in the process.

The Elvish soul question then functions more for me as a thematic jump-off point from which springs a very satisfying adventure tale, both grounded and uplifted by the problematic duality and contradictions inherent in Church doctrine. In other words, I’m glad, as you state in the “Author’s Note,” that you decided to pursue a more narrational rather than philosophical structure to the book. For me the tale and detailed descriptionn of its inhabitants – be they Elves, Men, Dwarves, Orcs, Trolls, Goblins or Ulin — is the meat, and the philosophy is the spice; not the other way around.

Not that you need hear it from me, but your prose is as poetic as it is precise, and your storytelling gripping. Makes for a very satisfying read in the finest Tolkien tradition. Naturally I gleaned much intelligence from your terrific podcasts and interviews, but it didn’t prepare me for the power and command you exhibit in your fiction.

Something I find fascinating — and it may not necessarily be how you intended it to be viewed when you wrote it — is that the realm of SUMMA ELVETICA can be seen as either prequel, sequel or a parallel realm to that of LORD OF THE RINGS. When the Elves depart from Middle Earth at the end of the trilogy, it’s said that it’s now the “Age of Men.” Marcus Valerius appears to be a worthy if not exactly a heroic successor to the great King Aragorn (who married an Elf Princess), but overall, if Amorr is a successor to Gondor, it is — although not unexpectedly when viewed from the perspective of this world we inhabit — comparatively fallen, debased and considerably less heroic, and that’s reason for sadness.

It’s a very kind review, but I don’t think “poetic” is a phrase one is often likely to hear used to describe my prose. I am pretty sure that “workmanlike” is a more accurate description. That being said, I am very pleased to hear that people are enjoying Selenoth to the point that they regard it as a worthy successor to Middle Earth rather than, say, Westeros or Malazan. And, of course, there are a few songs in A Sea of Skulls….

Second, a less-than-flattering review of SJWAL:

Excretable Nonsense
What twaddle. Now I know why no one takes you seriously. I didn’t think my eyes could even roll that high. 

And another one of Crisis & Conceit:

Don’t waste your time. 

I’m always rather curious what these obvious fake reviewers think they are accomplishing, if anything. I used to think they were simply trying to drive the average rating down, but over time, I’ve come to conclude that they are actually trying to relieve the pressure on their amygdala caused by the very existence of the book and/or the author. Regardless, it seems a very strange way to attempt to effect change.

Crisis & Conceit: a review

The first review of Volume II of my collected columns:

Great read from a gifted writer

As stated in the description, this book is a collection of Vox Day’s published articles from 2006 – 2009, a time of immense changes in the political and economic landscape. This collection is historic and will make some future thesis writer extremely happy with a progression of articles that week by week chronicles the changing face of America and the World, with a lens that addresses religion, politics, soccer, NATO and, most tellingly, economic forces. There he is, in black and white, foretelling the meltdown of world markets.

It may be that his greatest strength is his well versed long view of history. He has the knowledge of the past and the flexibility to apply that learning to the issues of the present. There is a great depth of understanding of macro and micro movers across many civilizations that adds a welcome sense of gravitas to his writing.

His opinion of George W. Bush is not flattering to President Bush, but in hindsight, I believe Vox Day’s opinion is painfully accurate. A disappointed libertarian at heart, his view of the 2008 election over the course of the year is a prolonged scream against what most of us did not see coming. His disdain for John McCain as a candidate is almost as venomous as his disdain for Hillary, whom he refers to as The Lizard Queen. The articles also cover other candidates, including some things I had not heard about Obama, but were about rumors swirling around Obama that were not being covered or investigated by the media (February 25, 2007!). I was shocked to realize that the Obama cover-ups started so early.

His articles also foretell the the immigration issues that about to engulf the entire world in a few short years.

An excerpt:

Rainbow mutations
March 27, 2006

What does the shape of a Minneapolis stripper’s naked bottom have in common with a landmark of English finance? And how is it possible that the color of the roadside prostitutes in Italy can harbor any implications for the ability of a New York woman to stay home with her children? The point of commonality, as it happens, is historical patterns of migration.

In 1990, Umberto Eco wrote an article titled “Migrazioni”, which was published in L’Espresso. In that essay, he presciently noted that what Europe was undergoing at that time was not a phenomenon of immigration, but of migration. The difference is significant and one of degree—an individual can immigrate or emigrate, but only a people migrate.

Eco observed that migrations result in inexorable changes to the region of destination, changes to the normal form of dress as well as changes to the color of skin, eyes and hair. A secular humanist in good standing, he adroitly avoids committing the grand faux pas of criticizing this hybridization, fatalistically accepting the inevitability of a new Afro-European culture. For to even hint at criticism would, of course, be crude racist ethnocentrism of the first degree, and not even the reputation of one of the world’s leading intellectuals could survive accusations of that.

But what the great dottore mentions only in passing, and what the defenders of the diversity faith avoid discussing like sorority girls pretending not to hear a bulimic sister purging her caloric sins in the neighboring stall, is that changes to the political culture as well as the physical mean are likewise unavoidable. For 40 years, the people of nations such as Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom believed it was possible to bring Muslim immigrants into their countries in order to replace their declining workforces. They believed their governing elite’s assurances that prolonged exposure to the French or English way of life would suffice to turn these immigrants into ersatz Frenchmen or Englishmen.

What they did not realize was that their governments were not permitting immigration, but were instead inspiring a mass migration. Now, there are demands for Sharia in the land which once mobilized against a Catholic armada, the French are showing signs of wishing to revive Maurice Papon’s practice of baptizing Algerians in the Seine and even the notoriously tolerant Dutch are beginning to question the once-sacrosanct notion that all cultures are created equal.

While in the United States, Islam is still an issue of immigration, not migration, this does not mean that Americans are not facing their own migrational challenge. With the importation of 30 million immigrants of varying degrees of legality in the last 35 years, most from Spanish-speaking countries that have never known individual liberty or free markets, combined with 34 million native women listening to the siren song of feminism and putting family life on the back burner, the probability that America will be able to retain its unique political identity and the tattered remnants of its Constitution are rapidly decreasing.

For example, the vast majority of native-born Americans of African and European descent consider the notion of a supranational American Union with Canada, Mexico and various Central American countries to be unthinkable and would oppose it if they recognized it to be the natural progression from NAFTA and the FTAA. But is the same true of the growing Spanish-speaking population across the Southwest, an outspoken segment of which is already calling for closer ties with Mexico? As recent events in Afghanistan and the Palestinian Authority have demonstrated to all and sundry, democratic institutions are not capable, by themselves, of moderating ideology, religion or cultural identification.

It is unlikely that Europe can solve its demographic problems without violence—Eco seems uncharacteristically untroubled when he notes that periods of mass migrations are not known for being peaceful—but it is not necessarily too late for the United States. The answer is simple, but it will require inspired leadership that is conspicuously lacking today. If America is to remain America, sovereign, liberal and free, then her people must completely turn away from the ideologies of multiculturalism, immigrationism and feminism. If they do not—and continue on the present path—she will not be sovereign, liberal or free within four decades.

This country, like her Old World progenitors, stands on the brink of precipitate change. In embracing the rainbow, America has been engulfed in its lethally mutating rays and the resulting cancer will surely kill her if it is not removed in the near future.

She’s got THE POWER

A book review of The Power by Naomi Alderman by an author who shall remain nameless.

One of my favorite hobbies is asking just what would happen if humanity encountered an ‘Outside Context Problem,’ something that would change our society in unpredictable ways.  The return of magic, first contact with an alien race … it doesn’t even have to be something completely out of this world.  How many early writers – Rand, Asimov, Doc Smith – failed to anticipate the birth of the microchip, the internet, smartphones … things that have already reshaped parts of our society?  What next will change the world?

The Power asks just such a question.  And, in many ways, the answers are disturbing.

The basic premise of The Power is that, all over the world, teenage girls are developing the ability to generate and channel bursts of electricity.  (Not unlike electric eels.)  The ‘power’ can push someone away … or kill them.  Furthermore, younger women can awaken the power in older ones.  The handful of early ‘awakenings’ rapidly becomes a river, then a flood.  The Power makes its way around the world before human society quite realizes what is going on, chaos following in its wake.

The story is told through four viewpoint characters – Margot, an American politician; Roxy, the daughter of a British gangster; Allie/Eve, an American runaway; Tunde, a student who becomes a roving reporter.  All four of them have their lives uprooted and reshaped by the Power – Margot starts climbing the latter to the very top, Roxy takes over her father’s ‘business,’ Allie/Eve founds a whole new religion and Tunde documents everything, travelling the world to film the effects the Power.

Beyond this, The Power is framed as a historical novel written in the far future (perhaps not unlike The Handmaid’s Tale, although it has been years since I read it.)  I actually forgot this as I started reading the main story, only to be reminded of it at the end.  The author deserves full credit for this as the epilogue explains some of the odder parts of the story, the bits that didn’t quite make sense.  But I’ll get to that in a moment.

The Power presents itself as an ‘event’ story – it tries to touch on the lives of all four characters and tell a global story.  And it does, to a very large extent, a very good job – three of the main characters remain localized, while the fourth walks the world and provides a global perspective.

Indeed, Alderman deserves credit for not forgetting that there is a world outside the US and UK (she’s British).  The Power causes disturbances in America – Britain doesn’t seem to be so badly affected, at least at first – but it causes immediate upheaval in places like Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and India.  Alderman has no truck with the belief that women are uniquely oppressed in the West.  Saudi women, feeling their strength for the first time, rise up against the religious police and a social structure bent on keeping women firmly under control.  In India, women make shows of force against rape culture; in the Balkans, women trafficked and sold into slavery fight back, first against the traffickers themselves and then against their entire society.

I’ve heard the book described as a SJW rant.  It is not.  Alderman clearly does not believe that a world run by women would be a kinder, gentler place.  Given power – the Power – women can be just as bad as men, if not worse.  Throughout the second half of the book, as the world starts to slip further and further off its axis, it becomes clear that the Power is something akin to a drug.  Women can get drunk with power, just like men.  And the results can be just as devastating.

Alderman does very well in presenting a world where some societies have fragmented and others have an uneasy sense that they’re on thin ice, trying to find ways to tame or remove the Power before it’s too late.  I wish, in many ways, that she’d actually written a longer book, because the details are fascinating.  On the other hand, it would be easy to get lost in detail if there was more of it.

On the other hand, there is something subtly wrong about the main characters.  It actually took me some time to put my finger on the true fridge brilliance.  The Power doesn’t just feature a change in human biology, it predicts a change in human nature itself.  The three female characters become more and more like men as they go along – Margot starts out as a likeable character, then devolves into a parody of a powerful and untouchable man.  Indeed, the roles have reversed themselves completely.  Roxy, midway through the book, recounts being molested as a child and how her gangster father taught the bastard a lesson; later on, it is Roxy who avenges her brother after he is raped.  By the end of the book, the reversal is striking – women act like bad parodies of men and vice versa.

This also leads to another deconstruction – deliberate or otherwise – of the ‘all girls want bad boys’ trope.  Tunde’s early reaction to encountering the Power has a lot in common with female scenes from bad bodice-rippers (or Twilight, for that matter); he is poised between arousal and fear.  And while the idea of having a super-strong vampire stalker or a millionaire with a BDSM kink for a boyfriend may sound cool, it doesn’t take long for the real unpleasant implications to sink in.  Alderman may well be pointing out the true dangers of the trope – it blinds Tunde to the danger of losing his rights and freedom until it is almost too late.  

Indeed, there is an air of inevitability about the ending.  I found that annoying at first, then I was reminded that the whole thing is presented as a historical novel, written by a man in a matriarchal society.   The outcome, as far as he is concerned, is preordained.  Indeed, the social collapse at the end of The Power is so far in the past that the male-dominated world is believed to be a myth.  They literally don’t believe in it, to the point where the female editor regards the male writer with amused condensation.

I don’t know how likely that actually is to happen.  Our society took the shape it did for many reasons, not just male physical strength.  But if you smash human society into fragments, what takes its place might be very different.

One of the odder aspects lies in the legal response to the Power.  One (American) politician insists that women with the Power are effectively comparable to people walking around with loaded guns.  He wants them banned from government offices.  Alderman clearly wants us to draw a comparison between the Power and male strength, but there is a legal response to physical assault.  A man who attacks his co-worker – male or female – will be arrested, tried and imprisoned.  Why would this be different when a woman attacks her co-worker with the Power?  On the other hand, Alderman could have been pointing out the fallacy of the ‘I couldn’t control myself’ argument.

Another odder point lies in politics.  Margot did very well when it came to handling the early problems caused by the Day of the Girls.  She certainly had an excellent opportunity to parley her success into greater political power.  Men – and women too, I think – admire movers, shakers and … achievers.  (Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel, love them or hate them, were definitely achievers; Hillary Clinton conspicuously was not.)  Margot made a series of correct calls and her political career benefited.  On the other hand, she semi-accidentally attacked her opponent during a political debate and won anyway.  Even she wonders at her victory after that.  I am unaware of any American politician in recent history who did anything of the sort and got away with it.

And, in the end, I couldn’t help wondering if Alderman was commenting on identity politics too.

Most historical societies operated on the rule of force – the strong issued the orders and the weak did as they were told or got thumped.  The ideal of the West is something different – the rule of law.  Our society is based on the legal principle that all are equal before the law, regardless of every little detail.  This is true equality.  Feminists – and everyone representing a marginalized group – should be very careful not to imperil this.  This is the bedrock of our society.

Identity politics are gnawing away at our vitals.  If the group identity of a criminal is more important than the personal identity, we lose.  If one group is seen to have power and privileges that other groups lack, those groups will demand it for themselves and/or turn against the whole concept.  The recent attempt to brand people who didn’t make eye contact as racist, for example, was so stupid that people could be forgiven for ignoring all suggestions of racism forever.  They might not be right, but they would have a point.  This, perhaps, is the true problem facing modern-day feminism.  It’s in danger of losing sight of what is truly important.

Alderman, in an interview, proposes that every girl be given self-defense training.  It is actually a very good suggestion, one that feminists should adopt.  When seconds count, help is minutes away.  It’s certainly a more practical suggestion than many others I’ve seen from Social Justice Warriors.  The men who pay attention when they’re told not to rape aren’t the ones who need the lessons.  What are you going to do about them?  Or about women who make fake accusations of rape, casting doubt on genuine reports?

Several other reviewers have commented on other aspects of the book.  It largely ignores race and makes little mention of transgenders.  (Of course, a crueler society might mock the transgendered rather than taking them seriously.  Argus Fitch can self-identify as a wizard, if he wishes, but he’ll be lucky if he only gets laughed at.)  Truthfully, The Power covers so much ground – in a relatively small book – that I don’t blame Alderman for not touching on everything.

Overall, The Power is a thought-provoking book … although there is plenty of room to disagree with some of the answers!  I don’t generally like the present tense format Alderman used, but she made it work.  The letters framing the story are amusing, yet bitterly ironic.  On the other hand, a cynic might argue that the true moral of the book – and of a society ruled by force – is that the world is always divided into ‘victims’ and ‘victimizers’ and that it is better to be a ‘victimizer’ than a ‘victim.’

Personally, I consider that rather sad.  And it is a demonstration of precisely why we need the rule of law.