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"The End" Explained

Posted by Tolkien , in Writing??, Long Entries, Bionicle Oct 24 2012 · 223 views

the end short story explanation
A few of you may have read a short story I posted at the end of last year, entitled “The End”. If you haven’t...well, this blog post won’t make much sense to you at all. So, in the interest of understanding, why not...go...read it? You might like it. (Shameful plug. Yeah, shameful.)

Regardless, I’ve always considered “The End” to be one of the most cryptic things I’ve written, probably to its own detriment. That’s been the consensus of the reviews, at least, and it’s my fault. The story is very vague about some very important points, and I’ve never given any clear description of the back-story or the idea behind the story itself (although there is a consistent storyline. I promise!). Well, now it’s time to end (!) the silence, and spoil it all. Read on if you care.

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Basically, “The End” is set in an alternate Bionicle universe. That much, at least, has been stated before. Events progress in basically the same way that they did in the primary Bionicle reality, with a few significant changes. These differences are referenced (in an admittedly very vague way) in a series of passages near the end of the story. To start off, I’ll quote the passage of primary interest in full.

[Note: I am assuming that you’ve read the story, and are somewhat familiar with the plot, so I won’t be doing an in-depth summary of anything up to this point].

Nga-ro remembered the time before…a time when he had had a different place, a different name. What had his name been? He remembered the voices of his companions, his people. All around him, working and laboring. Filling the world with their voices and their life as he looked on from a distance.

And then it started to fade, and he felt weary…so weary…A dark figure arose on the horizon of the world. Black and immense, his laughter echoed in the skies. He lifted a hand upward, and sleep took hold of Nga-ro. Endless sleep. But Nga-ro had no relief, for the duty tortured him in his slumber. Make it right. Make it right.

He glimpsed the black one—the one who called himself Nothing—saw how he took hold of the world, sought to drain it of its life and its light. No, no, no. He had to make it right…but he was slipping away, slipping away into the darkness beyond all darkness. The darkness of death, and suddenly his spirit was alone in the cold, and harsh stars shed their alien light upon him. He had lost his destination, the point toward which he had always directed his steps. His guiding star. Nga-ro…no, surely that was not his name then…he had lost himself.

No! It must not be so! He turned back toward the world of the living, clawed his way back from the darkness. But he could not return to his former place. He was cast out, alone and unseen, as the world—his world—fell into chaos. Even the dark one could not stop it. He had not known what the consequences would be.

But then Nga-ro looked within himself, and a plan formed. Back, back, back to the City. The city still filled with life, with light. The dark one had fled, cowering, trying to escape. Even he was fearful, who had called himself Master of Fear, even he feared to become nothing in the end.

But Nga-ro had a plan. He had walked upon the solid ground and looked upon the solid sights of the City, and around him the people had gathered and they had seen him as he was—like them. Small, perhaps, but very alive. And he had told them his plan, as darkness fell over the world:

Sleep.

Sleep.

All must sleep.

And I will keep watch, until the darkness is over, and the light is found again.

Sleep, now.

Until I make all things right…


Okay, so (spoilers!) Nga-ro is actually the Great Spirit in Matoran form. At the end of the story, he “awakens” the Matoran (and, presumably, the rest of the universe), and the journey of the MU continues on toward Spherus Magna. This passage provides the backstory for how things came to be as they are at the time of “The End”. Nga-ro is alone, having forgotten almost everything. Metru Nui is in shambles. Everything is dark and dead. What leads up to this?

Nga-ro remembered the time before…a time when he had had a different place, a different name. What had his name been? He remembered the voices of his companions, his people. All around him, working and laboring. Filling the world with their voices and their life as he looked on from a distance.


The Great Spirit watches the Matoran—his people—“from a distance”. Pretty straightforward.

And then it started to fade, and he felt weary…so weary…A dark figure arose on the horizon of the world. Black and immense, his laughter echoed in the skies. He lifted a hand upward, and sleep took hold of Nga-ro. Endless sleep. But Nga-ro had no relief, for the duty tortured him in his slumber. Make it right. Make it right.


Mata Nui feels “weary”, a “dark figure” appears, and Mata Nui falls asleep. Also pretty straightforward. It should be clear that the “dark figure” is Makuta. Recall that there’s already been a discussion of someone who was called “Nothing” (but who must have had a more “original” name) earlier in the story.

He glimpsed the black one—the one who called himself Nothing—saw how he took hold of the world, sought to drain it of its life and its light. No, no, no. He had to make it right…but he was slipping away, slipping away into the darkness beyond all darkness. The darkness of death, and suddenly his spirit was alone in the cold, and harsh stars shed their alien light upon him. He had lost his destination, the point toward which he had always directed his steps. His guiding star. Nga-ro…no, surely that was not his name then…he had lost himself.


Mata Nui dreams as Makuta takes over the universe. And eventually, he slips into the “darkness of death”, having lost “his destination” (what is Mata Nui’s destination? Spherus Magna: a “guiding star”).

At this point, a summary/clarification of events is in order:
- First (this is implied but never stated), the MU never crashes into Aqua Magna after Mata Nui falls asleep. Therefore, the Great Cataclysm doesn’t necessarily happen in the same way. Why does that matter? It does. I promise.

- Second, Mata Nui falls asleep, and Makuta begins to take over the universe. Mata Nui dreams about this (he is “tortured” by his duty).

- Mata Nui eventually dies, same as in the primary Bionicle reality. He is “alone in the cold, and harsh stars shed their alien light upon him.” At this point, he has also lost his destination, Spherus Magna.

- This is where the second significant change comes into play, and events progress differently from there. Continuing on:

He turned back toward the world of the living, clawed his way back from the darkness.


Pretty straightforward. Mata Nui’s spirit returns.

But he could not return to his former place. He was cast out, alone and unseen, as the world—his world—fell into chaos.


Mata Nui’s death means that the MU is shutting down (falling into chaos). Mata Nui is only a spirit though, and cannot (or doesn’t remember how) to gain control of the MU again.

Even the dark one could not stop it. He had not known what the consequences would be.


This is an aside concerning Makuta. We know that, at some point, Makuta didn’t know that Mata Nui would die. So the MU shutting down was a wrinkle in his plan.

But then Nga-ro looked within himself, and a plan formed. Back, back, back to the City. The city still filled with life, with light.


The City is Metru Nui. Easy enough. Mata Nui has a plan.

The dark one had fled, cowering, trying to escape. Even he was fearful, who had called himself Master of Fear, even he feared to become nothing in the end.


Another aside concerning the fate of Makuta. Failing to prevent the shutdown of the universe, he flees.

But Nga-ro had a plan. He had walked upon the solid ground and looked upon the solid sights of the City, and around him the people had gathered and they had seen him as he was—like them. Small, perhaps, but very alive. And he had told them his plan, as darkness fell over the world:


This was probably the vaguest point of the entire story (although it is clarified slightly by a later passage). Basically, it’s implied that Mata Nui regains a physical form in Metru Nui (“walked upon the solid ground and looked upon the solid sights of the City”). The Matoran see him “as he was—like them. Small, perhaps, but very alive.” Implication is that he has become a Matoran. He tells them his plan, as the universe shuts down:

Sleep.

Sleep.

All must sleep.

And I will keep watch, until the darkness is over, and the light is found again.

Sleep, now.

Until I make all things right…


Basically, the universe (or maybe just the Matoran in Metru Nui?) goes into hibernation/stasis. Mata Nui alone remains, trying to figure out how to “make things right”.

This is probably the central concept of the story: a reversal of Mata Nui and the Matoran. Mata Nui has become a Matoran, and the Matoran themselves are all asleep, while Mata Nui remains awake trying to awaken them once more.

Alright, so the flashback ends, and we shift forward. Nga-ro awakens on the floor of the Great Temple. He has remembered his past, and suddenly he sees a star in the sky above him:

Because there was a light. There above him. A speck. A single point of white. His eyes strained, eyes that had been unused for so many millennia. It was almost too painful to look.

But he did not close his eyes. Suddenly it resolved, and all became clear. It was a light, far, far above him, immeasurably far away. A star, a single star in all that blackness of night. How could he see it?

The roof of the Great Temple was broken. He could see the outline where the stones had fallen in. Just enough for him to glimpse the sky. After all this time, one tiny point of light…a single star.

He knew that star.


Mata Nui has found Spherus Magna (his “guiding star”) once again.

There was the Symbol again, the constant reminder of his duty.


The concept of Mata Nui’s duty comes up once again. This “constant reminder” harkens back to the passage:

But what of his destination? That must be where the end would come. Yes, he remembered something about it. It drew him...as if someone had written its pattern upon his mind. And no matter how long he lived or how far he went, it was always there, pushing at him, prodding him, as if to say, Make it right.


The fact that the Symbol is actually a map of the Spherus Magna system, and that it is actually physically carved into the MU by the Blade Burrowers is, I admit, a really obtuse piece of trivia. Sorry.

He placed his hand upon the middle of the three circles, flattened his palm. Words came to him, words that he had spoken in the time when time still ran true and straight. Words that he had spoken to his people when he had found his way back from the darkness of sleep and death.

Who am I? he had asked. Who indeed? Shading his eyes as he had stumbled from the entrance to the Great Temple, dazed, confused. Limited. He had not lived within a body so small before…


This is the clarifying passage I noted above. Maybe it’s not so clarifying...Anyways, after regaining physical form (“finding his way back”), Mata Nui “stumbled from the entrance to the Great Temple.” He is disoriented: “...dazed, confused. Limited. He had not lived within a body so small before...” (hint hint!). He asks the Matoran a question: “Who am I?”

And what had they answered? What had they said to him when they turned their faces upon him, faces filled with fear as the light of their universe faded? What had they said when they saw the light of his eyes and knew him?


Basically a clarification of the situation. The Matoran recognize him as the Great Spirit, as their universe continues to crumble. The answer to his question is given a bit later, at the climax of the story, where it is revealed that Nga-ro is Mata Nui. Mata Nui then reawakens the universe, and continues on toward Spherus Magna.

And I think that should cover it. If you got this far, you're a trooper. I appreciate your time. Hopefully, this has made "The End" just slightly less cryptic and bizarre of a story to read. If so, success.

Glad I got that off my chest.

JRRT

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Wrinkledlion X
Apr 04 2014 10:39 PM

I really liked this story, and I pretty much got the gist of it without reading this, though this did clarify some concepts nicely. I hadn't made the connection that this was a reversal of Mata Nui and Matoran, even though I understood everything that was happening on a plot level. Compelling idea.

 

(I'm a sucker for oddly cosmological Bionicle fanfics, having written some myself back in the day. write moar)

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Wrinkledlion X
Apr 04 2014 10:40 PM

Also, your topic seems to have lost its formatting, so it's all one giant block of text. It's pretty terrible to read through, but it did lead me to read the same sentences over a number of times without realizing, which somehow added to the ambiance. 

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Chapter I

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"Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a blog-hole, and that means comfort."

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A Short Bio of the...Author?

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The author of this blog currently resides in the rather dry, bare, sandy climate of the southwest United States. He is a graduate student and teaching associate at his university, currently working toward a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics.

His primary interests include such -ologies as mythology, philology, etymology, syntax, and phonology, along with a healthy passion for historical linguistics binding all these bewildering fields together. Some less academic hobbies include reading classical literature and mythology, high and epic fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional Tolkien biography, as well as attempting (and mostly failing) to write fiction modeled after these genres.

In addition to these things, he also harbors the deep-set enjoyment of the Bionicle sets and storyline essential to any hapless LEGO geek who has made the decision to become a member of the BZPower community. Without it, he obviously wouldn't be here writing this, and you wouldn't be reading it. This fact is, in part, what inspired his lasting interest in the art of pixeling, a skill that he apparently isn't all that bad at, although you might never know it, seeing as his severe lack of motivation and excess of procrastination usually prevents him from producing anything much at all.
 

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= Some Writings =

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Unknowledge [Review] - (Epic) Finalist in Epics Contest #7: Murder Mysteries. Unknowledge centers around the mysterious death of Toa Moihu and ensuing investigation by Toa Ros, interwoven with the quest to uncover the reality behind the dark nature of the Dedh-See Scroll. Ultimately, the truth that Ros discovers and is forced to confront may be darker than anyone could have imagined.

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Despair - (SS) 1st Place winner of the 2010 Library Summer Olympics (SS category). "Despair" is a prequel to the epic Unknowledge, beginning with the arrival of a mysterious Toa in the city of Moa, deep within the Waste. His motives are unknown, as the nature of the dark Kanohi he wears. But the subsequent arrival of Toa Ros soon sets things in motion, leading up to an epic confrontation between hope and despair.

Dust - (SS) The Dark Hunter Devastator returns to Karzahni, his native land. He must find the Matoran called the Builder and retrieve a stolen tablet, but along the way his encounters with the crazed, broken Matoran and the dreaded Karzahni himself provide him with a sliver of new perspective in this land of dust and living death.

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The Coming of the Toa - (SS) 3rd place Judges' Choice winner of Short Stories Contest #8. A glimpse into an alternate history of Bionicle, where something has gone terribly wrong. Kua seeks to discover what it is that the Matoran have lost, the darkness in their past. But can even he resist the power of the darkness that lies beneath?

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Static [Review] - (Co-authored Epic, OTC) Gold medalist in the 2012 Library Summer Olympics: Epics Unlimited Prompt Relay. Co-authored with Grant-Sud Rises, Velox, and Legolover-361.

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