<over which> otherwise would be the howling of forever

thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
A voice, speaking to select few, over which otherwise would be the howling of forever. Of nothing without end.
Source: Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, video game

Hi. The “voice” is from a god-like being called “the Outsider” who lives in the Void. The sentence is uttered by a member of a cult worshipping the Outsider. The sentence is basically saying without the Outsider, the Void can’t interact with the select few - only the howling can be heard.

But I don’t understand the bold part. Does “over which” mean “via the voice”?
Thank you.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s not at all clear from your description. But maybe it means that only the “select few” can hear and understand what the voice is saying. For everyone else, the voice is drowned out by “the howling of forever”?
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It doesn't make much sense. It is an attempt at being poetic - an unsuccessful attempt in my opinion. As a native speaker encountering this in a game, I would read and forget. It is not worth the effort of deciphering.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you all. I see. So the clause “over which otherwise would be the howling of forever” is inversion, which should be “the howling of forever would otherwise be over which” in normal order, right?

    By the way, is the clause “over which otherwise would be the howling of forever” a relative clause where “which” refers to “a voice”?
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A voice, speaking to select few, over which otherwise would be the howling of forever.
    The problem is that there is no normal order because this is not a correctly structured sentence. It could be corrected grammatically by turning 'speaking' into the active verb 'speaks':

    A voice (over which otherwise would be the howling of forever) speaks to a select few.

    The above version is a complete, grammatical English sentence although it still makes little sense to me.

    Could you give whatever came before this? Was the phrase you gave us an isolated utterance or have you edited it to make it shorter?
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Could you give whatever came before this? Was the phrase you gave us an isolated utterance or have you edited it to make it shorter?
    The preceding sentences are as follows:
    Thousands of years ago, we took a wretch from the streets, beaten and discarded. And - blowing upon the embers we found there - we set alight the fires of divinity, at the very heart of the Void. We created the Outsider himself, fellow seekers. A face instead of the endless dark. Black eyes rather than that malevolent emptiness that came before.
    Does this help? I didn’t edit it. I just quote it as is.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think "which" refers to "a select few". If the voice didn't exist, wasn't speaking to them, then instead over them (surrounding them) there would only be the howling of forever (the incoherent emptiness of the void).
     
    Last edited:

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes that does make more sense now.

    A voice, speaking to a select few, over which otherwise would be the howling of forever.

    As I understand it, the Outsider is speaking to a select few. If the Outsider didn't speak to them, the howling of forever would overwhelm them.

    It would make more sense written like this:

    A voice, speaking to a select few, over whom otherwise would be the howling of forever.

    ____________________

    Note: I see that this was cross-posted with kentix. We agree about 'which' applying to 'a select few'.

    thetazuo - The extra context makes it a lot easier to understand what was being said.
     
    Last edited:

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you, kentix and Chasint.
    then instead over them (surrounding them)
    So what is over them? The howling of forever?
    And is the clause “over which otherwise would be the howling of forever” a relative clause? Is there any inversion or ellipsis in the clause? Because I would expect, for example, “there would otherwise be the howling of forever over them (overwhelming them)”.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top