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Logen Ninefingers will sometimes under battle become the Bloody-Nine.

From the page on Logen Ninefingers on The First Law wiki, it says it is a berserker state. Personally I read it more as a demonic possession?

What evidence is there of either?

4 Answers 4

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I've read the first law books and the sequels many times, and I've seen no evidence of "Demonic possession" with Logen and The Bloody Nine.

Remember that demons are locked away in a separate realm, and will work with whatever means they have to break out of there. If - given everything we know about demons - one took momentary possession of Logen, it would drop whatever it was doing and work to free itself from it's prison.

Consider the constant whispers Ferro hears when she touches THAT artifact, telling her just to say these words and make this gesture . . . all to tear the barrier between the two realms.

To me it reads like Logen suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder.

Logen is capable of terrible deeds, but only when his personality switches to the truly ruthless version of himself. Partitioning his personality like this works for Logen, he gets to survive (still alive, still alive) but doesn't have to take responsibility for his actions. His mind shies away from the dreadful things he is capable of, and so - as a coping mechanism - his mind creates a second personality that can do these things. Unlike Logen, The Bloody Nine feels no fear, no pain, and has no conscience.

All this can be explained by MPD, the Bloody Nine ignores pain (almost like self hypnosis), and ignores fear and any pangs of conscience Logen might otherwise feel.

During battle The Bloody Nine kills Crummock-i-Phails son, Logen is dimly aware of it, but he shies away from the act.

Quoting directly from the The Last Argument of Kings, emphasis mine

A boy-child cowered, and slithered away on his back, clutching at a great shield and an axe too big for him to lift. The Bloody-Nine laughed at his fear, teeth bared bright and smiling. A tiny voice seemed to whisper for restraint, but the Bloody-Nine hardly heard it. His sword hard-swung split big shield and small boy together and sprayed blood across the dirt and the stone and the stricken faces of the men watching.

Logen is largely aware of what The Bloody Nine does, and is ashamed of those acts, but not so much so that he'll apologise for them, even though internally he accepts responsibility for them (he's a complex little bunny is our Logen).

In universe, this reads like a standard Sci-Fi barbarian berserker rage (done with Abercrombies inimitable style), out of universe Abercrombie has taken this trope and described it as something like a real world psychosis i.e. Multiple Personality Disorder

So Demonic Possession? Naw, you have to realistic about these things :p

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    Fun thing, I read your last quotes as Logan trying to fight back against something that is possessing him. But I guess your argument about Ferro is the most convincing part. I'll read it as berserker rage then :)
    – Thorst
    Dec 28, 2015 at 6:32
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    During the dark ages, those suffering from Schizophrenia or Multiple Personality Disorder were often thought to be posessed by spirits and would be shriven (confessed), beaten or killed to free them of the demons. Pretty messed up stuff, right? Jan 4, 2016 at 14:24
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    Say one thing for Logen Ninefingers: say he's one crazy mofo!
    – Lexible
    Aug 17, 2018 at 5:15
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    Old post, I know, but I have the same issues with this interpretation as with Darren Arronofky's "The black swan": MPD doesn't grant you superpowers. Ignoring pain, that's one thing, being invulnerable is other. Logen suffered deadly injuries in some of his battles, most notably when Harding Grim impalled him with a lance - and despite this, Logen won and recovered. If you read through the whole trilogy, you realize that Logen is a secret member of the X-Men, since his recovery powers while being bloody-nine are Wolverine-like.
    – Rekesoft
    May 4, 2023 at 14:52
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    @BinaryWorrier Oh, I totally agree that is plot armor. I just think Obercrombie overdid it. Logen is a nicely written character, but I'd wish he had written his abilities more down to earth. I don't think that Abercrombie thought of Bloody-Nine's fighting prowess as being supernatural; he just jumped too far over my suspension of disbelief. I don't think that he thought about MPD either; every character in the First Law lies. They lie to each other, but primarily they lie to themselves. I'm sure Logen can control the Bloody-Nine much more than he allows himself to. ;)
    – Rekesoft
    May 9, 2023 at 11:19
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It’s a berserk mode mixed with multiple personality disorder. It’s proven that those berserkers could fall into a blood rage where they are stronger and feel no pain. Just google the word berserk and MPD and you find the definition of the bloody nine. U can watch that phenomenon of a supernatural strength by insane people sometimes as well. The demonic theory doesn’t work cause bayaz already stated that the demon part in ferro is already very tiny. Even more tiny seems to be absurd. And if Logen would have a demonic side bayaz would not need ferro at all. Why taking such crazy girl with you if u don’t need to. The spirit and magic theory don’t work either, as Logen and bayaz more than once stated that the magic and especially the spirits lack out of the world . And spirits r not everywhere anyway as Logen said that they don’t talk to him each time he try to contact them . Sometimes they don’t answer .

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    Do you have evidence for this you can edit in?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Feb 9, 2019 at 23:03
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Both of these theories hold water in my eyes. Magical (demon possession) or realistic (multiple personalities) are both valid, at least in the world of the First Law series.

Let me introduce a 3rd theory.

We all know Logen can speak to the spirits. A spirit talker as they say. All clearly worded in the books.

And the first of the magi talks about the weapon that killed juvenes. A blade that cut on this side and the world beneath theoretically killing you in the world and on the other side.

So that implies that when you die, at least for those with the blood (demon blood) there is part of you connected to that side.

So while Logen has the spirit talking gift it seems possible to me that he may also be part demon blood as well. Not as strong in it as Ferro, because normally he is relatively normal.

But think on this, the Bloody Nine comes out of him whenever he is either surround by violence and death or when he is close to defeat, or full of rage. What if the Bloody Nine is the version of him in the world beneath? He has taken a massive amount of horrendous wounds but healed from them all. He is a good guy except when needs not to be, and when exposed too long to carnage he is the Bloody Nine all the time.

Maybe because he is a spirit talker he can summon his alter ego from the world below because he has a little demon blood in him too. A 2 blood if you will.

Logen is a spirit talker, but the Bloody Nine is his demon self. Allowed his flesh in desperate moments or from too much prolonged evil. Maybe I read too much into it, seems plausible. You decide.

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    So, the distinction between this and demonic possession is that, instead of a man possessed by a demon, he is actually part demon himself; however, his demonic side is normally in hell (or whatever)?
    – RDFozz
    Oct 26, 2018 at 23:40
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I think it has to do something with magic. I read the book also many times, though there is no direct proof, there seem to be some hints for magic:

  1. Logen feels cold, when the bloody nine is about to appear. The underworld is quite often discribed as cold. Also all magic comes from the underworld. So coldness is a good hint for magic.

  2. The bloody-nine doesn't only feel no pain, he is also stronger. He emerges, when Logen is completly worn-out. There has to be a source for this energy boost. At the very least, the power of the bloody-nine is unrivaled. In the whole series, there is no fighter, that can rival the bloody-nine without magical support. This also goes for Red Country, where he is old. I love the series, because it has some inner logic in it. Abercrombie wouldnt simply ignore the fact, that an old fightwr is not as strong as a young one.

  3. Logen is able to use magic. Magic is discribed to be used in basically four ways. The High Art, the Making, Talking to Spirits and Contacting and leading the devils. The "Spirit Talk" has to mean more than only being able to chat with them. To let oneself be possessed and gain the abilities/power of the spirit would be fitting. At least the Spirit Talk would have some real use than.

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  • Welcome to SFF.SE! You may want to take the tour to better understand how the site works. While you've provide some light support for your theory, each of your points seems to involve an intuitive leap you've made that isn't necessarily directly supported by the books (as opposed to the quotes in this answer). For example: old people may not be as strong as they were when they were young, but they can still be stronger than people younger than them (look up Jack Lalanne). Can you provide more direct support?
    – RDFozz
    Jun 21, 2018 at 19:15

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