@clarys I got hooked on Bookworm recently and the point of no return for me was the last 3 episodes of the anime.
The story was nice and all, very interesting in fact, and suddenly there is the trombe extermination with the Knights Order.
A downpour of science fantasy out of nowhere, a new part of the world that's released and then... it stops. Mindblowing.
It's really inviting you to pick the next book to know what's happening.
And as the books are much better than the anime...
(well, I'll skip the part where I've been reading day and night for weeks in a row, I ended up so exhausted that it's a bit embarrassing)
But should you warn your friends of AoaB's possible addictive effects?
To convince someone to read it, I would use an argument based not on reason but on feelings, that it really brings sparks in one's life. And as it's a long lasting serie, getting Bookworm sparks every weeks for a long time is definitely worth the investment!
Based on the information we currently have I believe there to be at least three mana generators in existence with varying degrees of confidence. In order of most to least confident:
The nobility, or more broadly, humans with enough mana potency that if they lack the means with which to vent it off will die of The Devouring. If we take the brief story of the founding of the country at face value this mana potency existed without divine intervention. The gods merely supplied the first king with the means to properly control it and empty themselves as needed.
The gods themselves. To my knowledge we don't have any explicit in text evidence of this but... c'mon.
Certain locations such as the Goddess Bath and Mount Lohenburg are naturally occurring generators. Admittedly my confidence in this theory is quite low as there are alternative explanations for these phenomena such as the gods themselves imbuing the location with mana or the preceding aquifer hypothesis.
At the very least if #2 is true it could explain how the world's mana dependent ecology existed prior to human generators. As for places suffering from shortages in spite of their existence I think it's also fair to assert that their power/mana capacity is finite based on the biblical stories we are aware of. Without the addition of human generators you can't come close to having a fully fertile (mana imbued) planet.
So not the strongest theory in terms of having solid text backup but I don't think it's unfair to make some suppositions based on the existence of literal gods.
Even before the mana shortage they seem to have a reputation of low mana.
Rozemyne and Ferdinand leaving is a return to this.
They had no specialty exports while other duchies already did have.
Most of what has been implemented is not only easily duplicable but also planned to be. While paper/printing will remain it's not like other duchies will have lost their own specialties and they can just as easily trade without a marriage alliance losing an Aub candidate for some paper.
It's all but guaranteed where Rozemyne ends up she'll be wanting to duplicate them herself for access to more books.
on the population
It's population of nobles is small, which is the actual important factor. They're probably a medium duchy in commoner population and landmass but practically lower in noble population/quality.
Despite that weather range their winters essentially shut down the entire duchy.
We don't really know the weather of other duchies but it seems like the harsh winter is mostly concentrated in Ehrenfest with the LoW being a mana burden on the duchy every year. Warmer duchies probably have better economic productivity and better crop variety/yield even with the same spring prayer mana investment.
Zero political clout.
Higher ranked duchies have a web of established familial and political relations with other important people. The most Ehrenfest has is it's links to Ahrensbach which has lead to them being exploited for the past few generations and the current Archduchess hailing from a Duchy in an arguably worse position than themselves.
Poor academic and knightly performance.
Rozemyne's reforms improved this but their stellar performance in her first year only happened because of her personal involvement. We also know they are only performing better than many others right now because so many other duchies were decimated by the purge. Over time those other duchies will recover and begin to compete once again.
The duchy is on track for solving a lot of these issues long term if Rozemyne can realise most of her goals before she leaves, But her long term plans are consistently interrupted with her "ascendance" and it's likely she'll leave Ehrenfest before her influence becomes common practice.
@Lily-Garden About the 1st printed cookbook, I think quite the same. Rozemyne would have in mind a modern setup closer to the Beeton's book, but probably not the printing technology for it. So it would lie in between the De Honesta and Beeton's books.
In P4V3 at the Book Fair they introduce Rozemyne's Ravishing Recipes, and the text answers quite a lot of questions:
"It was our first color book and the product of many people’s labor. Hugo and Ella had selected their simplest, easiest-to-make recipes; Nicola had done her best to write them all down; Wilma had drawn the art; and Heidi had created the colored ink that had made the coloring possible in the first place. Incidentally, the final page included an advertisement for the Italian restaurant.
We were able to produce color books through mimeograph printing. It was exceedingly time-consuming and expensive compared to printing in black and white, and it was extremely hard to keep the overlapping colors from mixing together. Gil had informed me as such, slumped over in exhaustion at just the thought."
@Weasalopes I'm for the insulating ink! That would be a nice technical development for color printing, and quite in line with Bookworm world... Well, in fact they already found the trick to avoid overlaping colors to turn black, but I just didn't remember... In P2V4 they find a fixing agent (thanks to Effa!) that avoids printed colors to fade away with time or turn black when mixed together.
They said through euphemisms that the fastest method was to rebuild everything at once using construction magic, but that a lack of mana to spare on the lower city meant the commoners would need to handle things through manpower alone.
The Miracle of Haldenzel Alternate POV of Rozemyne's visit to Haldenzel, mostly during a single paragraph near the end of Haldenzel's Spring Prayer. So placing it after that chapter.
Preventing Destructive Reconstruction Starts during Spring Prayer in the Central District(as Gunther et al are returning form Hasse) and ends with Entwickeln, so placing it after the latter.
I eventually placed Life without One's Lady after The Meeting with Giebe Haldenzel.
The only currently unplaced chapter is One Winter's Day. Still not sure which of the P1 winters I should put that in :(
Does anyone know what the light purple fruit is called? It's the fruit (or possibly vegetable) that looks like a purple tomato and it's on the front cover of Part 1 Volume 1. It's also on the cover of the 1st Fanbook.
The act to receive other people mana into yourself is described as disgusting and difficult, but in Myne's case it was easier (and the potion containing Ferdinand mana tasted sweet) since their mana colors were already identical (all 7) so their compatibility was perfect.
That would normally be the case. But this is Myne, who has the devouring, and Fanbook 1 says that makes a difference.
Q: Why did Ferdinand seem so surprised when Myne found the synchronization potion sweet? Does the flavor change depending on one’s mana quantity?
A: The potion is easier to drink the more elements you share and the closer your mana quantities are, and likewise harder to drink the less elements you share and the further apart your mana quantities are, which explains why Ferdinand was so surprised. That said, Myne having the Devouring means she would find anyone’s synchronization potion easy to drink.
So how do we explain this? There's some property of the devouring that makes it so.
"Devouring" as proxy for "commoner" as a proxy for "colorless"
Devouring is the domain of commoners, born from those who have little mana themselves, and who don't exercise their mana and connection to the gods, and presumably lose their colors over time. Then, if one is exposed to mana of a certain color set, they adopt that all the way into their mana generation.
This is the "initially-blank permanent-dyeing" theory in a nutshell, and it explains the similarity between Myne and Ferdinand without saying that's just how the dice rolled.
The biggest counter-indicator is the rainbow eyes and yellow mist in the forest/temple crushing episodes.
Devouring dilutes mana colors
She had some/all colors, but they expressed very weakly, whether naturally or because Devouring, or both.
The general idea remains that Myne's mana would be very open to influencing through dyeing by a potion.
Permanent dyeing would be up for debate.
Some other property of "devouring" makes their own colors somehow not matter. [explanation needed]
This explanation needs to fill a big leap of logic with big assumptions, as there's no material to fill it with.
Q: In the previous fanbook, you mentioned that anyone's potion would taste sweet to Myne because she has the Devouring. Does that mean even a laynoble could use the memory-searching magic tool and easily synchronize with her?
A: Her mana would be dyed rapidly if mana were to be poured into her, regardless of whether she drank the synchronization potion that makes mana easier to dye. If the mana was from another person, there'd be a little more resistance, but it wouldn't stop the dyeing process.
I'll read that as "another person than Ferdinand", since "another person than herself" doesn't make sense.
That means they likely have some natural compatibility already, which makes it less likely she's blank.
There is still an open question of how devouring factors in, more so as we don't even know the non-devouring case well enough.
Mom does the incubating, dad has nothing to do with it after conception. So unless you are saying that the attributes are conveyed via the ovum and sperm, it would seem that any in utero dyeing is going to be from mom only.
Remember from getting the divine will, they had to not touch anyone to keep their mana pure for their schtappe? That indicates that touching ("Ferdinand! HUG!") might be all it takes to temp-dye/synchronize, just at a far slower rate. I imagine this is especially true when... making a child. Then you'd have the synchronized colors at the point of conception.
...we have a girl, coming out of his hidden room [HIDDEN ROOM! They were ALONE!] and comes out even more synchronized... in-universe speculation time!
Thanks to the Comixology sale I snatched all they had and immediately dove into this side story... Ooof. This POV is definitely a big deal and reframes so much of what Ferdinand was about. I was trying to think of how this situation could possibly be used against him but seeing it essentially spelled out was illuminating. He's a big ol' softie... in his own noble standards way and at least now I can accept the fact that he truly believed he couldn't succeed at saving the orphans himself.
Also hilarious to hear how quickly Myne's presence was actually an enormous boon to him even if he would never dare admit it. Maybe some day we'll get there without him doing so in his usual guarded fashion. Probably Part 5.