Time and the Leijiverse Part VII (The LIT Model and Das Rheingold)
The 3rd edition of the Leijiverse Integrated Timeline puts out an interesting spatiotemporal model of the Leijiverse. In rereading Matsumoto’s manga The Ring of the Nibelung I’ve found just how well the model seems to fit the universe laid out in the first few chapters of that work. Some clarification is in order before I begin though. The manga has 10 volumes so far and is divided into 4 parts. The first part (volumes 1 and 2) is called Das Rheingold after the prelude opera to Wagner’s Ring Cycle. One of the peculiarities of these first 2 volumes is that they present the god Wotan as very powerful and knowledgeable, in contrast to later volumes where he is exposed to be quite ignorant of the true state of affairs in the universe. Therefore, the clear and well-defined picture we get of the Leijiverse in Das Rheingold is not necessarily correct. With this in mind let’s start with Wotan’s worldview.
Wotan’s world is Valhalla and it lies at the center of the universe [according to him, though already in Das Rheingold characters other than Wotan speculate on different situations for Valhalla]. Time does not flow in Valhalla; for all intents and purposes the place is atemporal or timeless. We are never told about the origin of Time or its nature (if Leiji could come up with a good answer I’d petition the Nobel Prize Committee to award him with something!). However, we do know that Time is regulated by two elements: the Rhinegold and Music.
The Rhinegold is not just any gold, but an ore of gold that exists in the planet Rhine and is guarded by three Rhinemaidens. The Music is not just any music, but the product of two musicians: Freia and Miime. Miime has the ability to build and maintain the pipe organs required for this celestial music. Freia has an affinity with Time itself and she expresses it by playing on Miime’s pipe organ. The Regulation of Time is the result of the resonance of Freia and Miime’s Music with the Rhinegold.
Freia is a goddess and Miime is a Nibelung. They both work under the auspices of Wotan. Here we have two questions: 1) How come Valhalla itself is timeless? 2) What happens if Time becomes unhinged?
Let’s take the second question first, because this is just what happens in Das Rheingold. On the one hand, the villain Alberich steals the Rhinegold and forges a ring out of it (thus harming the resonance); on the other hand Freia ends up being ravaged by two giants hired by Wotan to build a fortress in the defense of Valhalla (and this harms the resonance even more, even though Miime tries her best to play the organ in Freia’s absence). Time becomes unregulated and begins to accelerate. As a result the gods begin to age as Time itself seeps into Valhalla. It is stated that if it keeps its course soon Time itself will die and the universe will become a single point again, a Big Crunch.
Maybe now we are ready to answer the first question. Valhalla seems to be timeless because the gods do not age as long as the flow of Time is constant. To be a god might mean to be unaffected by Time in this way. However, if the flow of Time accelerates then even the bodies of the gods feel its effects.
It isn’t clear from the talk in Das Rheingold whether the death of Time literally follows from its acceleration (aging?) or whether it occurs indirectly as a result of the death of the gods. It might be that if the goddess Freia dies (and she would die if Time were left unchecked) Time will die with her. In addition, Miime’s death would doom the production of the pipe organs as well so this could prove catastrophic as well.
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Here is the relevant quote from the Leijiverse Integrated Timeline:
“The best way to visualize the Leijiverse is as an n-dimensional toroidal Master Ring of Time in the general space-time continuum, with the pocket artificial universe of Valhalla at its center.”
The Leijiverse as an n-dimensional torus. Since a torus in multiple dimensions is hard to visualize, let’s look at a regular torus.
The blue area is the fabric of spacetime as such (blue signifying Time). There are countless universes possible within this fabric (each a Ring of Time horizontally, vertically or obliquely bisecting the torus), but that’s neither here nor there for us now. The point is Valhalla is in the center and as you can see it is timeless.
If Time is unregulated it means that Time seeps into the Valhalla. Geometrically, the torus becomes a sphere (white space disappears). Look at the animation below:
Time spreads inwardly and Valhalla disappears. The torus has degenerated into a sphere (it’s interesting that mathematical terminology here, using the word “degenerate” chimes so well with Wotan’s fears!)
Finally, a Big Crunch would take us from the sphere to the point. As stated earlier, if Valhalla becomes blue and the toroidal Leijiverse becomes a perfect sphere, nothing will escape the onslaught of Time. But that means that those responsible for keeping Time in line would perish as well. Time would be signing its own death warrant. When Time dies then the sphere becomes a single point. The end.
Let’s leave things here for now, though we can be sure that the LIT model deserves more time (!) than we’ve given it here… It certainly shows a lot of promise.