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 Character Study: Ryld Argith & Pharaun Mizrym
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2005 :  06:46:03  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
This one is going to be difficult without getting too much into a discussion on Pharaun. But from the first Richard Lee Byers novel, I loved Ryld. In the first book he was a simple (but not stupid) straight forward warrior, and showed that perhaps even rarer than a good drow was a simple one, and by that I mean one that isn't angst ridden or constantly plotting within other plots and politically manuvering.

Ryld came across as sharp, but not a genius, and Byers did a great job of pointing out that warriors pick up new skills, techniques, and abilities over the years as well. Even something as simple as carrying a back up to Splitter that was better to use in close quarters went a long way to explaining Ryld's character.

Ryld didn't particularly enjoy killing or dominating others, but he wasn't appalled by it other than as a waste of energy. He didn't like the priestesses cruelty and absolute rule, but yet he valued dark elven society enough to not want to see it jepordized by major upheavals and changes in the status quo. And I loved that he played Sava, and that the only thing he didn't like in the game were the random elements.

Ryld started going downhill quickly, though he was still enjoyable. I think he gravitated to Hallistra because she was vulnerable, something uncommon in a dark elven female, and something that allowed him to assert at least a small amount of control into the situation when dealing with her.

What do I regret about Ryld? I think that his relationship to Pharaun was oversimplified in the later books, and he became more of a bodyguard than a friend to the wizard. And speaking of Pharaun, I would have liked just a bit of dark elven deviousness to creep into Ryld after his abandonment. Perhaps allowing a big ugly monster to scar Pharaun's handsome face before he saved him? Instead it seemed that he only occaisionally remembered the slight.

Ryld was just put in a very bad position by the end of the series, and his death was not quite the epic ending a Master of Melee Magthere deserved.

What would I like to see? I'll save some of my more radical ideas for Pharaun's post, but I would love to see some partner/budy short stories about the trouble the two Masters of Academy got into before the WOTSQ. I have remarked often that these two reminded me of a dark elven version of Fafhrd and Mouser, and I would love to see some misadventures to show just how and why these two knew each other so well.

Edited by - KnightErrantJR on 23 Jul 2005 20:59:03

KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2005 :  06:57:37  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And before I forget, I would ask my fellow scribes to remember what I was hoping for in these characters studies. Not a littany of why this or that author is "the bomb" or "the worst," but just what your impressions of the character were, what you liked and didn't like, and what you might have done differently.

And for the record, I have great respect for all of the authors involved in the series, and I have to say it must be very difficult to juggle six novels with six differnt authors and to continue a storyline from a previous story that you haven't read yet, only seen summarized. Trust me everyone that contributed to the WOTSQ worked very hard, and sometimes things fall between the cracks.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2005 :  16:36:42  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Alright then, let me throw in what I was going to save for a discussion on Pharaun . . . where I would like to see the duo go if I had my hand in things.

First off, I generally hate when charactes are killed and they are casually resurrected. I think in some cases though, it can be done in a manner that doesn't make you feel like their deaths were just "edited" so that they could appear again.

I would have a mysterious figure appear and steal Pharauns finger from Aliiza, and also steal something that belonged to Ryld as well, perhaps something that made it back to Menzoberranzan, in Melee Magthere.

The same figure would then sneak into the Demonweb pits with a device that would capture souls, and the figure would brave the pits to recover the souls of Pharaun and Ryld, then get the hell away from Lolth's domain.

The figure would actually be a powerful priest of Vhearun that has ressurected the two to work for him. He wanted Pharaun and Ryld becuase to get them they had to be stolen from Lolth, which greatly pleases Vhearun.

Ryld would be given another body to begin with, as a reference to not having his original body to work with. One of the running stories could be to have Ryld having to adapt to new bodies every time the one the priest put him in starts to fall apart. Thus Ryld could be a half-ogre for a while, then a lizard folk, etc. and giving Pharaun endless oppourtunities to grill him mercilessly about his new form, until eventually they manage to properly ressurect his original body.

The missions that the Vhearunite puts them on would take them to many of the planes in the Fearunian cosmology, and Pharaun would be constantly trying to figure out why they are retrieving, killing, or modifying what they are on their missions.

Another running issue with Ryld's body could be females of various species flirting with him, and Ryld's general distrust of females now.

Eventually Aliza will come looking for Phauraun, adding another element to the plane hopping adventures that are going on.

Now that I have elaborated on what I would do with the pair and how to bring them back, what do my fellow scribes think?
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Crennen FaerieBane
Master of Realmslore

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2005 :  20:16:15  Show Profile Send Crennen FaerieBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok, I wanted to reply to this, but I can't ever seem to find enough time from work - I promise I will get to this soon, since I have some great ideas about this as well. Supervisors staring over your shoulder for most of the day detract from your ability to write long exposes! :)

C-Fb

Still rockin' the Fey'ri style.
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Lord Rad
Great Reader

United Kingdom
2080 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2005 :  19:21:06  Show Profile  Visit Lord Rad's Homepage Send Lord Rad a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Ryld\Pharaun betrayal that the beginning of the series, stands out as one of the most shocking and enjoyable scenes for me. I never saw it coming and whilst reading this series, you tend to forget the chaotic and selfish ways of the drow. As you begin to like the characters, turns such as this give a shock.

I was gutted at both of these characters deaths, but think they're well placed and that both authors did a good job. I felt Pharaun was incomplete without Ryld and i'd experienced an underlying sadness and melcancholy feeling when the two were split up. I'm not one for the big happy endings, so was quite content in a way to see the characters expiring over time.

I'd be disappointed if it were ever written that Aliza brings Pharaun back. This would be akin to the "mistake" of Salvatore bringing back Wulfgar. The character died, and should remain dead, IMO, and not be brought back due to fan pressures.


Lord Rad

"What? No, I wasn't reading your module. I was just looking at the pictures"
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Krafus
Learned Scribe

246 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2005 :  21:34:47  Show Profile  Visit Krafus's Homepage Send Krafus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Rad

I'd be disappointed if it were ever written that Aliza brings Pharaun back. This would be akin to the "mistake" of Salvatore bringing back Wulfgar. The character died, and should remain dead, IMO, and not be brought back due to fan pressures.


I agree. As much as I was disgruntled at Pharaun's death, I'd be even more so at his return.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2005 :  00:50:16  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think you are right, neither Phauraun nor Ryld seemed to be as much fun once they were separated . . .
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Mournblade
Master of Realmslore

USA
1279 Posts

Posted - 03 Aug 2005 :  22:45:51  Show Profile  Visit Mournblade's Homepage Send Mournblade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I didn't expect a Liebner Reference!! Well done!

I was REALLY disappointed in that I REALLY wanted Pharaun to FLAY Jaggreth. I wanted Pharaun to show Quenthel and Jaggreth that indeed he WAS the power of the party and the only reason they made it as far as they did.

A wizard is Never late Frodo Baggins. Nor is he Early. A wizard arrives precisely when he means to...
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2005 :  19:47:17  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of the reasons that my fevered brain thought to ressurect the two out in the planes, travelling the various locations, was that it would not seem quite as abrupt as just brining them back to life, yet you could still have some interesting issues with Aliza finding Pharaun again, and the two getting to see the sights of the Fearunian cosmology.

Dispite all of that, I am still a huge fan of the idea that we could see the two adventure together in a story set before the War of the Spider Queen.

And yes, Fritz Leiber is one of my favorite authors. Not only did Ryld and Pharaun remind me of Fafhrd and Mouser, but I thought that Pharaun's betrayal of Ryld at the end of the first book would have been the perfect set up to a clasic, "Fafhrd and Mouser go their own ways only to realize that they are better off together" stories that I always found amusing.

Ah well . . .
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 29 Oct 2005 :  23:38:17  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ressurection time . . .

Just a note. While I noticed this a while ago, I have just been pondering it recently. Both in Dragon Magazine and on his D&D Minis card Ryld is listed as being Chaotic Neutral. When I first read Richard Lee Byers book, the following things struck me:

1. Ryld was especially large and muscular, and knew that heavy armor fit his frame and fighting style better, and thus wore dwarven plate instead of dark elven armor. On one hand, you could argue that this was going against the grain, but it was also imminently practical.

2. Ryld was a skilled Sava player, but Ryld also thinks to himself that the only thing he does not like about Sava is the randomized elements, even though many drow players seem to enjoy such random turns of fate.

3. Ryld himself is very tactical, and even though he does not like the fact that Pharaun's plans often involve some leaps of fate or a large gamble, and often Pharaun includes elements in his plan that he does not fully explain to others.

4. Ryld is shocked when Pharaun's plans involved the death of priestesses of Lolth. He hates priestesses of Lolth, but still feels a great taboo against acting against them, even for the "greater good."

5. Even when Ryld is leaving the group to go off with Halisstra, he feels some loyalty to them, dispite his better judgement, as he cannot just leave them to the Jaelre that are about to track them down.

6. Ryld is having a hard time leaving off of Lolth to worship Elistraee even when he follows Hallistra into her service. When Ryld dies, he commends his own soul to Lolth becuase he was raised to beleive he was "Lolth's Meat" even though he obviously doesn't follow Lolth out of personal gain or a deep beleif in her doctrines.

7. Ryld has a hard time doing what is good for Ryld due to loyalty to Pharaun, Hallistra, and even Quenthel as the leader of the expidition and a teacher at Arach Tinilith. He obviously doesn't give up on loyalties easily. Even his alienation from the Elistraee followers becuase of the young werewolf is due to his loyalty.

In short, I really was expectin Ryld to be Lawful neutral. I know, took me long enough to sum up. But does anyone have any good support for a chaotic neutral alignment for him?
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Beezy
Learned Scribe

USA
280 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  05:54:31  Show Profile  Visit Beezy's Homepage Send Beezy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ryld and Pharaun were my two favorite characters in the series. I read up to book 5 so without thinkign I read this and spoiled Pharaun's death for myself..oops. I think once someone has died that they should remain dead, it gets too cheesey to ressurect people. Wulfgar was a great character until he was killed off and then when he was brought back I hated reading about him. I loved readign about Drizzt and Wulfgar out together in the Icewind dale trilogy but once he came back he was way different and did'nt interest me anymore. I guess I am getting a little off topic.

I really liked Ryld because he was not a typical drow but wasn't anything like Drizzt really. Ryld was very simplistic at first and I liked that. I was very disappointed that Ryld died, and also by the way he died.
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Crennen FaerieBane
Master of Realmslore

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  06:41:03  Show Profile Send Crennen FaerieBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR

Ressurection time . . .

Just a note. While I noticed this a while ago, I have just been pondering it recently. Both in Dragon Magazine and on his D&D Minis card Ryld is listed as being Chaotic Neutral. When I first read Richard Lee Byers book, the following things struck me:

1. Ryld was especially large and muscular, and knew that heavy armor fit his frame and fighting style better, and thus wore dwarven plate instead of dark elven armor. On one hand, you could argue that this was going against the grain, but it was also imminently practical.

2. Ryld was a skilled Sava player, but Ryld also thinks to himself that the only thing he does not like about Sava is the randomized elements, even though many drow players seem to enjoy such random turns of fate.

3. Ryld himself is very tactical, and even though he does not like the fact that Pharaun's plans often involve some leaps of fate or a large gamble, and often Pharaun includes elements in his plan that he does not fully explain to others.

4. Ryld is shocked when Pharaun's plans involved the death of priestesses of Lolth. He hates priestesses of Lolth, but still feels a great taboo against acting against them, even for the "greater good."

5. Even when Ryld is leaving the group to go off with Halisstra, he feels some loyalty to them, dispite his better judgement, as he cannot just leave them to the Jaelre that are about to track them down.

6. Ryld is having a hard time leaving off of Lolth to worship Elistraee even when he follows Hallistra into her service. When Ryld dies, he commends his own soul to Lolth becuase he was raised to beleive he was "Lolth's Meat" even though he obviously doesn't follow Lolth out of personal gain or a deep beleif in her doctrines.

7. Ryld has a hard time doing what is good for Ryld due to loyalty to Pharaun, Hallistra, and even Quenthel as the leader of the expidition and a teacher at Arach Tinilith. He obviously doesn't give up on loyalties easily. Even his alienation from the Elistraee followers becuase of the young werewolf is due to his loyalty.

In short, I really was expectin Ryld to be Lawful neutral. I know, took me long enough to sum up. But does anyone have any good support for a chaotic neutral alignment for him?



There is not a shred of evidence that Ryld is chaotic of any kind. Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil - but let's be serious, he's not evil at all either.

I think your points are very valid, and Ryld is most definitely not chaotic. That is why I think he balances Pharaun so well... Where P is chaotic, he is lawful, where P is evil, Ryld is neutral. There relationship is really cool when you get to the dynamics.

C-Fb

Still rockin' the Fey'ri style.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  13:40:07  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I thought about this LN/CE split when it comes to their alignments and their friendship, and to me this made them more "real." I hear too many people say that lawful and chaotic people would never get along, but in real life it happens all the time. Will they agree on where society should go, or even how to proceed on a day to day basis? No. But does that mean they won't become friends and travel with one another? No.

What I liked about Ryld was that he was simple, but not stupid. Unlike most drow he did tend to take things at face value, but he was quick thinking enough to come up with a plan when presented with a situation that didn't turn out to be as direct as he thought. But I must say, he was much more interesting before he ran off with Halistra. In the second book, I liked the idea that he was kind of a romantic at heart, even in drow society, as he was obviously taking a chivalrous role with Halistra in defending her and keeping an eye on her. In fact, I think it was the idea that she was a female that was vulnerable, rather than domineering, that attracted him. Too bad Halistra didn't hold up her side of the relationship . . .
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Crennen FaerieBane
Master of Realmslore

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  14:31:57  Show Profile Send Crennen FaerieBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I agree totally. I think the Ryld and Halisstra thing was very bad for the continuing development of Ryld's character. If I remember right, Pharaun had given him some subtle warnings about it all, but Ryld went anyway to be a knight. I am not sure this is the sort of tactical decision Ryld would have made. Remember how he would always comment about his rise from the streets and how hard he worked to get where he was. I am not sure that the decision Ryld made to leave the Drow Society was aligned with his character. Did that make sense?

C-Fb

Still rockin' the Fey'ri style.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  14:39:27  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When it comes to relationships, love makes people do funny things . . . and considering very few drow are likely to ever feel love, you can imagine how that complicates things, lol.

I just was a little upset by Halsstra's assumption that if she became an Elistraeean, that Ryld would just tag along. She never attempted to convert him or have him talk to anyone that might have an interest in explaining Elistraee to him, or even just sit down with him and see if, even though he wasn't the type that could follow Lolth well, that maybe another god would be a proper inspiration for him.

(Too bad he never ran into a cleric of Helm . . .)

Part of this may be frustrating but actually logical due to drow society. Drow males, especially "patrons," do what their matrons command and go where they go. Drow females follow their religeon, and the males are just suppose to play catch up. To be fair, both of them were likely in completely uncharted waters (an equal relationship? discussing each others needs? no wonder we sacrifice males we get too close to!).

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Crennen FaerieBane
Master of Realmslore

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  14:47:59  Show Profile Send Crennen FaerieBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I believe that was actually supposed to be Halisstra's character flaw. Remember, she basically felt the same way about Danifae (another short Drow woman ). Halisstra would just make rash decisions and then not bother explaining them. And before you say, "Isn't that what Drow Priestesses do?" She would make these decisions about people she thought were "loyal" to her. Quenthel never once believed that Jeggred, Pharaun, Valas, or anyone else was loyal to her for loyalty's sake; she held them by her power, and when that power slipped, they all struck out how they could (Except Valas, who's just cool).

And I also put a lot of blame on the Eilistraeeans. They should have looked a little deeper at Halisstra before they made the rash decision to just send her on this uber-important mission. I think they dropped the ball. And they should have also been talking to Ryld, not just letting him sit on the side and wonder what the heck was going on. If they had bothered, he would have been a lot more loyal to them than Halisstra was.

C-Fb

Still rockin' the Fey'ri style.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  14:57:26  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes, but that goes back to the point that I really didn't feel that Elistraee's faith was well presented in the books. I loved the series, but the Elistraeeans just seemed . . . I don't know . . . empty somehow. I pictured Elistraee as more about redemption and good, and she came across as more . . . "get Lolth." She always struck me as more about integrating dark elves back into the surface and fighting evil there than worrying about what her mother was up to. Then again, novel wise, we have this account, and the Elistraeeans in Elaine's Starlight and Shadows, and I much prefer Elaine's view on them. It is possible that the Elistraeeans in Velarswood just are good with evagilization though . . .

You have a good point about Halisstra and her flighty treatment of those she deems loyal, almost like she has a red or green light in her head, and if she looks at someone and its green, then she can trust them and doesn't need to actually worry about explaining anything to them. I would almost be tempted to start a Character Study on Halisstra . . . but I'm almost certain the first, oh, hundred replies would be venting about how much everyone hated her . . .

Poor Ryld . . . we can't even keep him the main focus of his own thread . . .
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Crennen FaerieBane
Master of Realmslore

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  16:06:49  Show Profile Send Crennen FaerieBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, if you ever need someone to study Halisstra - she is a Drow female. Just kidding.

I think the Eilistraeeans were put on quite empty and vengeful. I know there was a golden opportunity for them with Lolth's silence - but they seemed not to even care of testing Halisstra in any means - It's like Eilistraee just said - oh, that Drow will work to get my Mom. And you're right, KE, I don't see her like that at all.

In my game, Eilistraee usually tries to convert Drow and only seeks to defend the Realms against the incursions of those Dark Elves who want to do harm.

Ok, back to Ryld - I just think that his death was not needed in the way that it was realized. And then his line that was something to the effect of, "I could have beaten him...". I didn't like that. It's not that I don't think it was and could have been a better fight between them at the end. I just don't think it was a fitting ending - once again - for a good character that I thought should have continued to the end.

C-Fb

Still rockin' the Fey'ri style.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  16:22:41  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Even if Ryld had to die when and where he did, and I don't dispute that Jeggred could be a threat to him, much as I hated the oaf, at least the fight should have been more . . . titanic. Splitter deserved better, if nothing else . . .
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Dungeon Moron
Acolyte

41 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2005 :  18:15:23  Show Profile Send Dungeon Moron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with the both of you.
I liked the whole climatic end of the serie where all or almost all of the characters unmistakingly walked towards their demise.
The whole serie worked towards this end, where you could only feel some of the characters would survive (and I actually thought/hoped Phauraun to be one of them, but then again, I like to be suprised in plot endings)

Concerning Ryld:
In the first 2 or 3 books his character build towards a powerfull, but typical drow male. It is my opinion that his turning towards a mere "lap dog" to Halisstra destroyed his entire character and his roll became very vague. Somehow, him falling in love with Halisstra and following her around didn't do his character much good. They could have worked it out better.

His end and the overly detailed fight with the humans, wasn't what he deserved. It actually felt a bit anti-climatic to me.
There was a huge build-up between Pharaun and Jeggred, but they never covered that in the end. I understand that Ryld was confused with the emotion of love, never having had it in his drow existence. It made him weak and his last fight rather pathetic.

A shame, for I liked him in the first books
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khorne
Master of Realmslore

Finland
1071 Posts

Posted - 01 Nov 2005 :  12:17:42  Show Profile  Visit khorne's Homepage Send khorne a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ryld in book 5 is nothing compared to Ryld in especially the first book, where he rules! I feel that Athans didn`t really do him justice.

If I were a ranger, I would pick NDA for my favorite enemy
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Crennen FaerieBane
Master of Realmslore

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 01 Nov 2005 :  14:25:25  Show Profile Send Crennen FaerieBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I don't really think that Athans had much of a choice. Ryld's character had started to dissolve the moment they (the collective authors) decided to pair him with Halisstra. I don't think it was "because his character fell in love" but I think once he got into that situation, they didn't really know what to do with him.... kind of live Salvatore and Delly Curtie.

C-Fb

Still rockin' the Fey'ri style.
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Dungeon Moron
Acolyte

41 Posts

Posted - 01 Nov 2005 :  15:14:43  Show Profile Send Dungeon Moron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That could be, but his apathic state wherein he just followed Hallistra, torn between love for her and an anknown and terrifying world above, made me sad. They could've done so much more with him. Now he was sort of like the fifth weel on the cart.

Oh, let's spend a few pages on Ryld before we forget about him.....
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Katani
Acolyte

2 Posts

Posted - 30 May 2012 :  19:28:40  Show Profile Send Katani a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm new and clearly this thread is way old, but I just need to say:

Ryld was one of the best characters in the book. If he had to die, fine, but it shouldn't have been by Jegggred. And if it did, it shouldn't have been in the extremely weak manner in which it did.

Ryld would've beaten him, straight up - if Jeggred didn't miraculously find this +100 Axe that could blast through Splitter (which was made over and over in the book to be a stunning weapon) and then right through his dwarven breast plate. What a joke and one of the worst deaths of a great character I've seen, ever in a fantasy book. It galls me to no end how that Axe, carried by a random human, happened to be so amazingly strong is cuts amazing weapons in half. Not only that, jeggred never used weapons. He fought with tooth and claw.

Loved the series for the most part. Wish I could read more about Pharaun and Ryld (I'd also like some Zak/Jarlaxle adventures...), but that was the worst part of the entire book, period. What a lame way to kill off someone.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2012 :  01:13:45  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

What's worse than a horrible death? Well, a senseless resurrection. If there would be more stories about Ryld and Pharaun, I'd rather have them focus on how they started as 'friends'---adventures and misadventures, as someone mentioned.

Every beginning has an end.
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Katani
Acolyte

2 Posts

Posted - 31 May 2012 :  18:26:51  Show Profile Send Katani a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Of course it would be from their earliest possible timeframe. I'd love to read about those old stories from before WOTSQ (that's why I mentioned how I'd love to hear about Zak/Jarlaxle as well, which would also clearly be past-tense).
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