aleph symbol with title UNSONG

Book IV: Kings

[A picture of the Comet King, aged beyond his years, his face looking haggard but determined, lost in shadows. The text says “Somebody had to, no one would / I tried to do the best I could / And now it’s done, and now they can’t ignore us / And even though it all went wrong / I’ll stand against the whole unsong / With nothing on my tongue but HaMephorash”. Image credit to my girlfriend Eloise, who also made this picture of Sohu]

Thanks to the Bayesian Choir, you can now hear all of HaMephorash sung the way it was intended. Listen to them here.

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61 Responses to Book IV: Kings

  1. Pickle says:

    Image link currently broken. This worked for me, though.

  2. The coment king says:

    Did anyone have “Kings”? I think we were all wrong on this one.

  3. Is there somewhere we can find the full lyrics? I can only find bits and pieces.

    • The coment king says:

      One verse per book start.

    • will408914 says:

      It’s split into the title pages for each of the four books. Click on the colon in between the words “Book [roman numeral]” and the name of the book for the title page.

    • Now I’ve heard there was a sacred word
      That Jala said, and it named the Lord
      But you don’t really know of magic, or us
      It goes like this – a tav, a resh
      A fearsome joy, a fervent wish
      The Comet King incanting haMephorash

      Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
      (hay hay yud tav mem tav vav kuf)
      A ship on which another sailed before us
      She saw his flag on the highest mast
      She saw a dream that couldn’t last
      The Comet King receiving haMephorash

      You say I took the Name in vain
      And after that, I lost the Name
      I gave it back to Him who holds it for us
      But echoes sound in every word
      It doesn’t matter what occurred
      You never really lose the haMephorash

      Somebody had to, no one would
      I tried to do the best I could
      And now it’s done, and now they can’t ignore us
      And even though it all went wrong
      I’ll stand against the whole unsong
      With nothing on my tongue but haMephorash

      • :-Daniel says:

        What is “hay hay yud tav mem tav vav kuf”? I get that they’re Hebrew letters, and I guess the last one has to be kuf so it rhymes, but how did you pick the first seven?

        • Good Burning Plastic says:

          First letters of chapters 3 to 10 are EEITMTWC.

        • Calecute says:

          I think it spells a word in hebew. I spelled it using an online tool and google translator said it meant “conflict”. Unfortunatly i didn’t save anything, so can’t check if I didn’t got something wrong.

      • j.m.s says:

        Yes yes yes. Someone needs to animate this and put it on youtube and we can turn into one of Those Fandoms. Preferably working with the choir and your approval, but hey, I’ll like anything that anyone makes.

      • Good Burning Plastic says:

        “It goes like this – a tav, a resh / A fearsome joy, a fervent wish” sounds like a Trump supporter rejoicing after the election.

  4. Daniel Blank says:

    Note that unsong is lowercase, possibly meaning the Sound Of Thamiel from earlier.

    • The coment king says:

      Yeah. UNSONG as an agency is too small a rival for the Comet King.

    • Droid says:

      The overt meaning of “UNSONG” is “United Nations Subcommittee On Names of God”.
      The kabbalistic meaning of “unsong” is “violent discord”, i.e. the opposite of music; the emblem of hell; all that actively creates chaos and perverts good.
      This we derive from that passage in Chapter 5:

      Then Thamiel came in, and the band played…played the anthem of Hell. It was horrible. I didn’t even know instruments could make noises like that. They were all out of tune and fighting with each other and going at weird intervals that tricked the ear and made me want to pull my hair out.”

      “So?” asked Zoe. “Maybe the Hell music was just the total absolute absence of good in music.”

      “No,” said Ana. “There’s good music. And then there’s total silence. And then there’s that. It’s not silence. It’s the opposite of music.”

      “Unsong,” I suggested.

  5. Dindane says:

    From ch. 55:

    Kabbalistically, the meaning of “king” is “one who fights for freedom”.

  6. The coment king says:

    The picture’s fantastic, but the Comet King looks oddly female for some subtle reason. Does anyone with better art/anatomy knowledge know what it is in the picture that gives that impression?

  7. :-Daniel says:

    God I love this so much it physically hurts.

    When I read the bits of pieces of the lyrics over the course of the book I so wanted to hear it but I didn’t imagine I actually would. Amazing. Thank you.

    Any chance I could persuade the Bayesian Choir to sing my little Secular Solstice song?

  8. Anonymous says:

    >mfw cover

    Could… could she do the other three? And is there a version with no lyrics?

    …on second thought, I’m not sure if he looks Indic enough. Although looking though Google Images results for ‘old hindu man’, they don’t seem to have a very distinctive look, as far as facial features go (hair aside). I don’t even know which ethnicity he’s supposed to look like anyway; in chapter 52, Sohu describes herself as ‘a quarter Hindu’ (which is a religion, not an ethnicity anyway) and there’s some discussion of The Comet King’s ancestry in chapter 43, but it’s not very conclusive. It may be either way. (And Scott can always try to wiggle out of this by claiming that The Comet King got his looks from Raziel…)

    A great illustration regardless.

    • Good Burning Plastic says:

      (And Scott can always try to wiggle out of this by claiming that The Comet King got his looks from Raziel…)

      He does look a lot like I imagined Comet West after reading Chapter 17.

  9. The coment king says:

    Translation of the final verse to Hebrew:

    היה צריך, אני התחלתי,
    עשיתי כל מה שיכלתי
    עכשיו סיימנו, והבאנו יום חדש,
    אפילו שהכל החוויר,
    אבוא מול כל האנטי-שיר
    בלי כל מילה, רק עם שם המפורש,

    Literal back translation:
    It was neccessary, so started,
    I did everything I could,
    And now we finished, and we brought a new day.
    And even though it all paled,
    I’ll stand before the anti-song,
    With no words, only Shem Hamephorash

    Full song translation here

    • Aegeus says:

      Excellently done. Translating rhythm and rhyme is always tricky. “Anti-song” as a replacement for “unsong” to make it scan was very clever.

    • Roxolan says:

      Would someone be up to reading this (even without singing it)? Very curious how it sounds like, especially after Aegeus’s comment.

  10. Error says:

    I feel like I should recognize the tune, but don’t. Also: Awesome.

  11. Yossarian says:

    Even though I’ve heard the original Hallelujah song, I still for some reason keep imagining how the HaMephorash would sound with metal, really fast and with screamed lyrics. And yeah, each time I imagine the Comet King wrecking Hell in some way, it is with the Dragonforce’s “Through Fire and Flames” playing in the background. Maybe the only way to defeat unsong is by channeling the power of the METAL GODS!

    • Good Burning Plastic says:

      In my head, it has the same tune and tempo as the original Hallelujah but the lyrics are screamed, as in the last verse of Kurt Cobain’s rendition of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”.

  12. linkhyrule5 says:

    By the way, why “tongue” and not “lips”?

    (And I’m keeping that quote. Even when it all goes wrong, I’ll stand against the whole unsong..

  13. TeMPOraL says:

    Absolutely lovely rendition by Bayesian Choir; it’s exactly how it should sound.

    Now I want Unsong TV series.

    (I’ve been listening to it on a loop for the better part of the day now…)

  14. maybe_slytherin says:

    Image credit to my girlfriend Eloise

    Is anyone else bothered by this? To me, it seems like 1. Bragging about your romantic life in an inappropriate context 2. Minimizing her role as an artist, since it gets slightly subsumed in your relationship and 3. Breaking the timelessness of this site/story — what happens if you break up?

    I don’t want to start a pile-on, and more importantly I don’t know how she’d prefer to be credited, but this rubs me the wrong way. I’d be much more comfortable with “Image credit to Eloise (@econokitty)” or similar, and let people know about your personal lives through other means.

    • Is anyone else bothered by this

      No, it seems like a perfectly normal way of talking.

      • maybe_slytherin says:

        Ok, fair enough. It was posed as a question. Though in response, I’ll say that while it might be a normal way of talking, I think this is a context that makes sense to be a bit more formal than conversational.

        Still, I will note I have entirely succeeded in not starting a pile-on 🙂

        • David Marjanović says:

          It’s indeed a normal way of talking. Still, I agree with your objections 2 and 3 – but then I’m an introvert: I’m not curious about people’s social lives, and (by projection) I expect that to be mutual by default. 😐

    • She requested to be credited in this way.

      • Tamara says:

        I liked it. Love to have authors personalized a bit. Even if something changes she still will have been your girlfriend. Get point 2 about the “farmer’s wife” syndrome (she’s a farmer too, after all, so it is a little silly to give her a separate category) but I think it is fine here. I do have a quibble, though. I though The Comet King was ethnically Indian???? (as in India Indian).

  15. Ninmesara says:

    The bayesian choir’s rendition is an interesting one. The arrangement sounds a little like church music, with the way it’s harmonized and the variations on the original theme. I don’t usually like those kinds of renditions, but it’s very well done, especially the female voices. I wonder if this is intentional – if Unsong turns out to have a happy ending it would be the proper way of singing it. The ending sounds rousing to me, maybe too much? The crescendo and the beautiful line of the female voices is probably what gives it the “rousing” effect. It sounds like the thing you’d sing when going to war with hell to eliminate human suffering, not something you sing while coming home defeated.

    How many people does the choir have? In the beginning I guess the male voices could use some reinforcement to get a smoother sound, although I kinda like the sparse sound of this rendition. I’ve always imagines this song as Cohen would have sang it, never as a choral piece, so maybe I’m just saying nonsense :p

  16. Ninmesara says:

    Also, apparently Bayaseian choir = Bayarean choir? Clever!

  17. Sam Rosen says:

    Good drawing Eloise!

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