Seriously, though, the main plot of The Pillars of Creation is completely inconsistent. The Sisters of the Dark come within a hair's breadth of releasing the Keeper of the Underworld through an Evil Plan based on some facts they dug up in one of Emperor Jagang's favorite books. The Unwitting Pawn has actually met Jagang, and he knows all about her unique nature which would qualify her for this gambit. Oh, and did we forget that Jagang has the ability to lread the Sisters' thoughts at will, and that he's fanatically opposed to the Keeper's agenda? And yet somehow he does nothing whatsoever to stop them from trying to pull it off. What gives?
My guess is he was counting on Jensen killing Richard instead, since she'd be invulnerable to his magic.
It always amuses me when people bash fictional love stories or character emotions. I'm not giving a free pass to any "romance" story written, but calling Kahlan and Richard's experiences in the first book "a ridiculously unbelievable romance" shows a pretty shallow understanding of either romance or the story itself. It's not Twilight. Yes, there is an instant physical attraction... which is completely natural. Yes, there is another, more subtle layer to the initial attraction... which is also completely natural, as love is a perceptual thing. Do you not remember your first love? Or even your second? Have you ever been in love? People are declared true love partners within two hours at the end of movies, and no one bats an eye, but gods forbid two people who go through multiple life-or-death situations together might have skipped a few steps in the dating game. *throws hands up* Kids these days...
Except that the types of relationships you just described have a very low success rate. Love, in general, is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time to truly get to know a person and to make their entire being (their desires, their needs, their physical attributes, their flaws, their beliefs, their personality) one with yours. And that's not even mentioning the fact that people CHANGE. Are you the same person you were ten years ago? How about five? Even if you "remember" your first love, is he/she still your lover now? In short, the problem isn't so much that this can't happen (it does), but that it becomes such a CERTAINTY in a short amount of time.
Yeah, because we all know there's no other fictional series or work where people fall deeply in love over a few days, or even at first sight! That's never happened, I can't imagine why Goodkind even might have thought of it! Also, I'd like to point out Richard didn't just see "a girl off in the distance and some guys behind her." The book makes it fairly clear that the guys are chasing her, are heavily armed and she's running for her life; any protagonist that even thinks of himself as half decent is more or less obligated to step in at that point. Yes, I'm aware the series has its faults (Like hell I'm gonna defend the "FIRE BAD!" speech), but come on.
That's not really a defense (the first bit, that is. You're pretty much spot on with the second point about the guys chasing her being obviously trouble, and saving her is something any protagonist would do etc). Just because "true love" occurs over a few days in other books doesn't make it acceptable here (or anywhere, really). And it isn't just infatuation, which is how I usually interpret books that do this (for my own peace of mind), as Richard is shown by the end of Wizard's First Rule loving Kahlan soooooo much, that her magic cannot affect him, because he already loves her 110%...after knowing her a pretty damn short time. That is my beef - that magic is used to explicitly state "Twue wuv right here!". The fact similar stuff happens in other books changes nothing - it irks me in those books too.
"True love over a few days" is a little lacking. Even if one takes the strictest of time frames, the entire story takes the place of 9 weeks. One month together to Tamarang, one month of Torture under Denna, then a week following her death until the box is open. With the only area of stretching the time together is the journey to Tamarang because of the broken nature of the whole ordeal. 2 months to come to terms that one loves another? I buy that. Especially if the book claims that it's the so called love that breaks him out from under Denna. ... Then again, i don't really believe Kahlan actually loved Richard (as much as she lusted for him) by the end of the book.
I'll defend the "FIRE BAD" speech, at least a little. It was supposed to be vaguely sinister and slightly ridiculous. The Evil Overlord was badly burned by fire as a child, and was traumatized. He now wants to ban fire and doesn't care about the consequences. The speech-giver was making the speech because he was secretly supporting the Evil Overlord, and trying to prepare people for when he takes over. If the Evil Overlord ordered you to give the best "FIRE BAD" speech you possibly could or die trying, would the result be any better?
Problem is, it doesn't manage to be vaguely sinister and slightly ridiculous, because all the sinister gets drowned and washed away under a heaping helping of ridiculous. Before the advent of electrical power, fire was synonymous with civilization. Without fire, you can't forge metal to make tools, you can't bake bricks, or cook food, or keep yourself warm on a winter night. Without fire, mankind slips back into barbarism incredibly quickly. It's ludicrous that anyone from a civilized, pre-electrical culture could take "FIRE BAD" seriously for even a fraction of a second. Darken Rahl had an excuse: he was insane. The same (presumably) cannot be said for the people of Richard's village.
Rereading it now, and what Kahlan says is that if you're caught with fire in the wrong place and without approval, you're dead. So, presumably, Darken Rahl continues to allow his armies to use fire to forge weapons and make food. And at any rate, Rahl's planning to destroy and/or rule the world as a living god within the year, so he couldn't give less of a damn if his edicts make sense.
Yeah, but Michael didn't actually say outright that they should ban fire, or even propose any solution at all, only that he would "form a committee to study the problem" or some such. I agree that the basic idea is pretty ridiculous, though, and the people in Richard's village are clearly carrying the Idiot Ball here. (And again, later, when they decide to go Burn the Witch!...)
Also, look at how the President gets standing ovations at his State of the Union no matter what he says, and no matter who's in the audience or his current approval rating. If you're charitable, you could say that at least a portion of the support for Michael's speech was along the lines of "Just clap for the leader, we'll tell him he's being stupid later."
Not that that explains people being moved to tears.
Well, rereading the passage, it seems that house fires are a really big problem in Westland: note how most of the crowd raises their hands when Michael asks how many have lost someone to a fire. If your parents had been killed in a house fire, you'd probably get a little teary-eyed if someone brought it up. If not for it being Darken Rahl's idea, maybe Michael's commission would have just concluded that everyone needs a good fire-safety seminar.
Also, maybe Michael is just that good of a speaker. With enough charisma and the right attitude, a good speaker can make just about anything sound good while you're listening to it; it's just afterward that you look back and go, "Wait a second..."
Well, guess I was mistaken. I ended up defending it after all. Whoops.
I always thought Michael meant to enact a policy to form a fire (fighter) department, or something else to help in case of natural disasters. It didn't even occur to me he wanted to ban fire.
Well, all Michael says is he wants to form a committee to study the problem (which, if you follow real politicians enough, translates to, "nothing's actually going to change but I sure look like I'm doing something meaningful, don't I?"). Darken Rahl, on the other hand, apparently has banned fire in parts of his territory by the time Richard and Kahlan get there. So it's likely that, had he succeeded and his alliance with Michael had continued, he would've imposed this on Westland too. It's never stated, but it can be inferred.
Now, what actually does bug me about the series is, in the later books, how everyone keeps saying "Even if we kill Jagang, that won't stop the army, another leader will pop up," with the implication that just killing Jagang won't make any difference at all. Which, in a way, is valid. No doubt he's got a second in command. But here's what bugs me: In the later books, he's got a few dozen powerful wizards and sorceresses who are only yolked to his will by his abilities as a Dreamwalker (Nicci was the only one who actually agreed with him, and she left). It's pretty much a guarantee that his second in command isn't a Dreamwalker. So kill Jagang, and all of a sudden you've got a couple dozen pissed off wizards and sorceresses who all of a sudden are off their leash. And Pillars of Creation showed us what one wizard and one sorceress can do to the Order's army. Now, granted, the protagonists do try and kill Jagang any time there's an opportunity, but you'd think they'd realize that it would make a noticeable difference by depriving the Order of its Gifted (and probably a good chunk of its army).
Seconded, while yes killing the leader wouldn't completely halt the army, it would deprive them of one of there most powerful weapons. Jagang is like a WMD to them, there is no reason they shouldn't take any opportunity to remove that threat. Sure the gifted and people who are bonded to Richard are immune to his power, but if any thing should happen to him, they'd all be instantly vulnerable to Jagang.
A little thing: the Sword of Truth itself. Hear me out - if, in the hand's of the Seeker, the SoT is supposedly able to slice and dice through anything, wouldn't this make sword fights etc ridiculously easy? It'd just slice clean through the metal of their sword and, hey presto, you've won. It's been a while since I read the few SoT books I'd borrowed, so maybe I'm forgetting scenes that stated this very occurrence. Or I'm misremembering the Sword's powers.
Actually, this is addressed in the second book. Up until then, Richard had been relying solely on the sword's ability to just slice through anything, and he hadn't been fighting more than a couple of people at a time. Then, part way through the second book, he's attacked by 30 of the best warriors in the world and he realizes that just swinging away won't, if you'll excuse the pun, cut it. For the rest of the series, the sword does still cut through just about anything (note how the narration never mentions an opponent parrying or blocking one of Richard's strikes), but Richard never faces just one guy from that point on (at least while he's got the Sword), and it's shown that the sword's useless if you don't know how to use it, as that one guy from Soul of the Fire found out. So, to sum up: Yes, it makes one-on-one sword fights easy to win, but Richard almost never faces a singular opponent from the second book on. The one time he does, his opponent is using a special sword made specifically to stand up to the Sword of Truth.
Though it did happen in Faith of the Fallen, when Kahlan is attacking him with the So T, and Richard has a normal sword, they actually have a bit of a protracted sword fight, until Richard lets her hit him. It should be noted, that as early as the first book, it is shown that no matter who is swinging the sword, it still cuts through anything. Kahlan took out a large tree with one swing to show the sword could do that, and in Soul of the Fire, Fitch parried a swing, and the offending sword shattered on it. Nice continuity there Goodkind.
Actually, unless I'm remembering it wrong, the "protracted sword fight" bit was with a different sword, and Kahlan only whipped out the Sword of Truth after Richard disarmed her of the first one, then he got himself stabbed right after. Been a while since I read the book, though.
Only the Seeker can do the sword-cuts-through-anything ability. Doesn't matter if it's the actual Seeker, Zed had officially declared Kahlan Seeker for demonstrative purposes. I haven't read many of the later books, so I don't know what the deal is with Kahlan attacking Richard with the sword in Faith of the Fallen.
Actually, the guy in the fifth book shatters a sword by parrying it, so it's likely it doesn't have to be "officially" the Seeker. As for why Kahlan was fighting Richard, it was part of a somewhat circuitous (but ultimately unnecessary) plan of Richard's. Nicci had held him hostage through a Maternity Spell to Kahlan. Richard figured if he were wounded badly enough, Nicci would have no choice but to undo the Maternity Spell to free up her power to heal him, so he hid his face and let Kahlan wound him with the sword. Unnecessary because, unbeknownst to Richard, Nicci had already decided to undo the Maternity Spell.
Ahh! Brilliant. Cheers for that. I've been watching a wee bit of Legend of the Seeker, and this just kept occurring to me.
Yeah, it seems they changed the whole "sword cuts through anything" bit for the TV series, and I can see why: Sword fights are good TV; constant one-stroke battles, not so much.
When Richard first receives the sword from Zedd, we are shown that the sword only cuts things the Seeker perceives as his enemy. It just bounces off a tree until Grandpa tells him the tree is evil.
Not that anything in the series is consistent, but the Agiel stands out. It's stated outright that they can't hurt anybody who hasn't been trained by it. So how does Richard's hurt Kahlan when she tries touching it to see how he feels? And how the hell do the Mord-Sith use it as a weapon against Mooks?
It would be more accurate to say that an Agiel can't be activated unless someone trained with it is touching it. If Kahlan were to pick up Richard's without him touching it, it would just be a red rod to her. Once someone who was trained with it touches it, it switches on.
Princess Violet uses the Agiel on Richard and it does not hurt her. A few pages later, Denna explains the rule that using an Agiel does hurt.
It doesn't hurt Violet because she hasn't been trained by it. It's the same later when Kahlan is never harmed by the Agiel she's got hanging around her neck for several books.
In the first book, Darken Rahl convinced many people from Midlands to join him, by telling them that they will be attacked by evil Westlanders. People believed him, because they were stupid. OK. Now, his son and successor Richard is doing exactly the same thing. He is telling people from Midlands that they will be attacked by the evil Imperial Order and that they have to accept his leadership to survive. The reasonable response to Richard's demands would be: 'Do you really think, we will fall twice to the same trick? Begone!' Now, however, people who don't believe him are portrayed as stupid? Richard also states that the Imperial Order is evil, because it has destroyed a city in Midlands. He doesn't seem to remember that the army, which destroyed the city, consisted mostly of deserters from his own army. Not a very convincing 'proof'.
While the army in the second book was the D'Haran deserters, they were being led by a wizard sent by the order, and espousing the Order's beliefs and practices; from the fourth book on, though, actual Order forces were in the Midlands attacking people. And I think the distinction was supposed to be between believing a non-credible threat (any thinking person should have realized that, because Westland had no magic, it would be impossible for them to have been attacking the Midlands), and not believing a credible, demonstrable threat which the Order posed. And it didn't seem that anyone disbelieved that the Order existed, but the issue was that they believed the Order could be negotiated with, and would allow coexistence.
The Pillars Of Creation: Oba was immune to magic, so how is it possible that he was able to see Lathea's spells?
Yeah, them not being able to see the spells is probably a retcon. Jensen could also see the spells that Adie and Zedd were firing off, after all.
They saw the results of the magic: rubble flying in the air, fire consuming wood. The magic was used to create it, but that what was created was not magic.
In Pillars of Creation, both Oba and Jensen could see the spells themselves. Oba is described as seeing Lathea's spell go right through him, and Jensen sees a magical attack in time to step in front of it to save Jagang. It's definitely a retcon that they can't see the spells later.
I don't know if I remember things properly, but in Blood of the Fold and Temple of the Winds, wasn't The Imperial Order far more Social Darwinist than collectivist (as it was in Faith of the Fallen and later books), with the "sport" of Ja La being designed by the Bad Guys to illustrate that "the strong destroy the weak"?
You really don't see much of the Order's ideals until the fifth and sixth books (mostly in Faith of the Fallen), except that they don't like magic. I took the whole thing to be hypocrisy on the part of Jagang and his cronies. "Everyone should be equal...as long as I'm in charge, have all the power, and get to live forever," sorta thing. Jagang says all men should be given their equal share...while he sits in his ridiculously opulent tent, surrounded by all his slaves.
That'd be in keeping with the Objectivist view of communism: that it's an impossible principle to hold consistently, and thus blatant hypocrisy will inevitably result, which seems born out by actual communist states.
The civilization described in Naked Empire just bugs me. Everyone likes to bash on Naked Empire for the narm-tastic evil pacifist slaughter, but there's another huge problem that doesn't rely on Values Dissonance. Bandakar was described as a peaceful socialist utopia that actually worked, with the slight caveat that they had no culture or technology to speak of. This doesn't fit real-world models all that well. The USSR, for example, was a technological powerhouse to rival the USA, despite rampant corruption. (There would have been no Cold War if they hadn't been.) Bandakar wasn't filled with corruption; it was full of people who'd actually managed to make socialism work. They should have been centuries ahead of everyone else in the world—especially since, being without magic, they'd have had a greater incentive to research technology than anyone else—not living in the most primitive conditions that can still possibly be considered "civilized."
Even in a utopian socialist state, one would still need a reason to make the technological advances. There are two primary reasons why technology increases in the real world. The first is superior military weaponry, the second is to make ones life easier in general. The premise is that the Bandakar are pacifists, and as such, would have no reason for military weaponry. And due to their general value structure and leadership hierarchy (a child under the age of 7 is the leader of all the people?), they have no real incentive to make technological advances for social gains. And anyone who would make something without permission would be risking banishment, the worst form of punishment to the Bandakar. Quite silly, I agree. But putting the far-fetched seeds into the book seal the problem about the technological factor.
They're a nation of Strawman Politicals; you expect them to be smart? ;) Also, it was Ayn Rand's belief that collectivist societies would have to be primitive (for various reasons I don't particularly care to remember), and we all know what Goodkind thinks of Ayn Rand.
Fair enough, but Ayn Rand's theories and Real Life conditions ain't exactly ever been similar. Not only was the USSR a technological powerhouse, as the OP stated, it was also renowned (even in Rand's time) for its high culture, which has actually declined since the Iron Curtain came down. (Not defending Soviet communism or anything. It was a horrible, corrupt system that had to go. But that doesn't change the facts.)
Actually, the idea that the USSR was a technological powerhouse to rival the USA was a myth- one propagated by the Soviet state and believed by Western sympathizers and enemies alike. It was certainly modernized from the Romanov era (albeit via a bloody, violent and not entirely competent process), but other than military and to an extent space tech, it was actually somewhat behind most Western countries in most respects. The Cold War happened because the Soviets had nukes and giant armies and controlled a sizable portion of the surface of the Earth, and were trying to expand their influence by sponsoring / directing Communist regimes and revolutions around the globe. The economy and technology actually was kind of stagnant by the end, which is a big part of why it collapsed (war, corruption and incompetence included of course, and that is not saying that no technological progress at all was ever made or would never have been). And several civilizations, even advanced (and non-communal) ones, went centuries without worrying about advancing all that much, and there is an argument to be made that communal societies really are less likely to innovate (everyone is too content; progress, as it happens, is often a ruthless and pitiless process- which Marx and Engels understood; the British agrarian and industrial revolutions made tons of merchants and artisans redundant, which is where the overworked and underpaid -and underaged- factory workforce came from). Its an obvious Strawman to say that a socialist utopia is by necessity stagnant or primitive, but there is no natural human incentive to innovate or create, especially in a utopia where everyone is happy; Goodkind is simply painting contentment as sloth and backwardness.
They didn't "disappear"... they just weren't used because a) Richard didn't know how to activate them and b) he considered them a sinister magic (taking over the world and eliminating free will was the only interpretation of its one nondestructive outcome he knew.)
Even though this discovery made Richard retroactively right all along for not using them, it doesn't fix the original Plot Hole: Why didn't Richard try to use the boxes to stop the Order earlier, when he had every reason to believe that he had the correct information?
At the risk of a Justifying Edit, the last time someone used the boxes, it almost let the Keeper of the Underworld into the realm of the living (which was, incidentally, exactly what the Sisters of the Dark were trying to do), and Richard certainly would have wanted to avoid doing that.
And in what's possibly a bit of foresight to avoid this, the TV series' first season ends with the Boxes being destroyed.
My take on it: It's made pretty clear in the first book that circumstances have to be "just right" for the Boxes of Orden to be "put into play" so they can be opened. For one, it can only be done at the right time of year (near the winter solstice). Also, Richard never really does learn how to control his Gift and use magic in the way that other wizards do; he might have (reasonably) assumed that he simply didn't have the skill to do the magic needed. (And indeed, it's Nicci who puts the boxes into play for Richard; he doesn't do it himself.)
Plus Darken Rahl spends a full day meticulously drawing out the diagrams and spell forms to use the boxes, and the narration makes it clear that he's practiced this at great length, and the slightest mistake means he's dead. Richard, except for in the last couple books, doesn't get into the "technical" aspects of magic, and even that is more about recognizing patterns than having studied spell forms. His magic works by instinct (basically, ad-libbing), and the magic of Orden is described as very technical in its execution.
In a sea of things which bug me about these books, one that stands out is when Kahlan is beaten. We are constantly told that Kahlan is instantly recognizable to the general populace wherever she goes because she is the only woman allowed to have long hair in the entire world. So, even though her face is unrecognizable to Richard due to the severity of the beating, he should surely have still known it was her instantly because of her hair. Yet he takes some time to realize who she is.
She is recognizable to everyone in the MIDLANDS due to the length of her hair, and the fact that Confessors don't cut their hair. Richard is from Westland, where it doesn't matter how long a woman's hair is nor does it have any bearing in status. Richard just sees the beaten girl on the ground as a beaten girl on the ground. Sad and such, but probably true. The real problem with the scene is that one book prior, Richard points out that he can tell Kahlan's scent as she enters a room without even seeing her. But he can't sense it being that close to her? THAT is a problem...
Yes, he recognizes her scent. When, you know, she isn't covered in her own blood. The point of that scene is to illustrate just how badly she had been beaten. She was so completely, utterly physically broken that the one person in the world who by all rights should have recognized her under any circumstances simply couldn't.
Well, weren't they IN the Midlands when she was beaten? So if she's the only woman in the Midlands allowed to have long hair, you'd think that would have given Richard a hint.
She's the only woman allowed to have hair that long, yes. But Richard isn't from the Midlands, was only introduced to the whole thing about hair length relatively recently, so it's not something he immediately looks for or recognizes. Alternatively, it's been a long time since I read it, but maybe Kahlan was on her back, with her hair underneath her and thus out of sight, when he found her.
The whole "a Confessor can never be with the man she loves" thing just bugs the hell out of me for the obvious loop hole no one ever seems to think of, accepting that a Confessor will apparently NEVER be able to hold back her power during sex, it's stated over, and over, and over again that every time a Confessor uses her power, it takes time (depending on how strong the individual Confessor is) for it to build up again, and during this time they are unable to use it. So...why can't the Confessor be with the man she loves, but they just have to only have sex during the window between her using her power on someone and it returning to usable levels. Yes there's the whole, "all male confessors must die" thing, and tradition dictates the father has to do it...but it's TRADITION not a requirement to ensure they die, so there would be ways around that. And not saying it would be the ideal situation, but it would be better then nothing.
The main problem with that is she still has to confess somebody, which is something that Confessors only do when they feel it's necessary, either to ascertain the real truth of something, or in self defense. You're still, effectively, killing someone. It would be like having to do a human sacrifice every time you wanted to get it on.
A better loophole would just be to put on a Rada'han while you're in bed.
If that was a problem, why not expend her power on an already-Confessed slave, or on a condemned criminal who's about to be executed anyway, or on an animal who "wouldn't really be changed", or a person who's been shielded with magic to survive the Confession, as Demmin Nass was? Or, when the Confessor in question is called to take a confession for legal reasons, have her mate tag along so they can get some alone time right after the confession, when her power is expended anyway. I don't see any problem with those alternatives. Besides, the way things are and have been for 3000 years, the Confessors already do a "human sacrifice" every single time they take a mate. Even if the methods were a bit circuitous and awkward, it would be pretty humane to use strategies like those to avoid that.
I don't think you can confess someone who's already been confessed, and I imagine confessing a condemned criminal and either A. realizing the man was innocent, and oh, hey, you've taken an innocent man's life or B. hearing in detail exactly what the man did to make him condemned would not exactly put someone in the mood to knock boots. As for the shielding magic, that was something apparently available only to those Wizards in league with the Keeper, and thus unavailable to Confessors.
And it's implied that Confessors only take one mate, and stick with them, picking them specifically for skills and attributes that would be good for the child, so that limits it somewhat. It's seen much more as one of the Confessor's duties than something they do for pleasure.
And come to think of it, even the Rada'Han wouldn't have been viable in the New World, since they seem to be only available to the Sisters of the Light, at least at the beginning of the series.
Not saying it would be the best option, but would still give them the option to be with the person they loved, and it's already been covered that some Confessors can take days to regain there power after a Confession, so gives a pretty decent window to get over the trauma of doing said Confession.
Nearly all Confessors take at least day or so to recover from using their power before they can use it again. Kahlan is noted as being exceptional for it only taking a couple hours.
And none of this answers the question of why not Confess a cow, or a sheep? If Confession turns a sheep utterly and stupidly adoring and witless, how could you tell the difference?
Actually, the first book, I believe, it's stated that it doesn't work on animals. Or at least, that it wouldn't work on Gars. It's been a while since I read it, but I think the explanation was the one being Touched had to have the capacity for love.
No it's been stated that it isn't effective on non-humans, hence why any innocent person who is Confessed gets turned into the animal of his/her choice to allow them to live out the rest of their life. Of course that just means the power won't affect the animal like it does a person...not that trying to do so wouldn't drain the Confessor's power.
It might not, actually. If it won't affect an animal, maybe it won't go into the animal. Like how an electrical charge won't jump if there's nothing to conduct it. We never see her try it on any animals, though, so it's hard to say exactly what the mechanics are.
Kahlan stated that "it mostly doesn't work," "a gar likely wouldn't be changed by my touch," and that "It works on some other creatures, but not exactly the same as it does a human" all implying that her touch does actually activate on the animal in question. Her touch also affected Shar, despite the fact that Shar was a night wisp, not a human.
Fair enough, it's been a good while since I read the book, so I forgot exactly how they explained it. But then, their Confessor power is part of their official duty. It probably wouldn't be good for one who doesn't recharge as fast as Kahlan (i.e., all of them) if their Confessor's power was needed urgently, either for a time-sensitive investigation or their own self-defense, and they'd wasted it on a some animal so they could knock boots.
Also remember, being a Confessor was pretty much entirely about putting duty before their own wants, needs, and pleasures, and choosing a mate was a pragmatic decision, rather than something done out of love. It's likely the Confessors led fairly sheltered lives to begin with, actually, so it was probably a very rare thing for one to consider mating for love or pleasure.
Added to that, they were something of pariahs in the public eye. They didn't live among people, and only showed up when it came time to use their power on someone for one reason or another. They didn't interact with people enough for some guy to fall in love with one, especially considering most every man in the Midlands was brought up with the mindset of, "Don't let those women with the black dresses and long hair touch you, or they'll make you their mindless slave for the rest of your life!" In some of the later books, Kahlan expresses some surprise and delight when she finds, for the first time in her life, that people are happy to see her. Before then she, like all other Confessors, were deathly feared by the rest of the populace. Respected for their position and authority, maybe, but hated for what they did to people as part of their duty.
How is "hearing all their horrible deeds" even in issue in the first place? Why does the Confessor necessarily have to listen to every single nasty thing the Confessed did in their entire lives? A simple "Are you guilty of the crimes you are accused of?" answered with a yes or no should be sufficient, maybe with an "Are there any other crimes you are guilty of that you haven't been brought here for?" And if the person is guilty and a record of all of their crimes needs to be taken, the Confessor can just order them to give a truthful account of all of their crimes to a scribe or jailer or judge or something, and then leave the room.
A Confessor is an official position of power and authority. They're likely expected to be there for the confession they bring out of people; just like a police officer would be expected to listen to the confession a criminal makes willingly. Plus, it's part of their image to be unflappable stoics, so they're probably duty bound not to leave the room for squeamishness.
Plus, consider that Confessors already aren't liked very much by the general public. If Confessors started using their duty as a way to have sex, that would bring with it the implication in the public along the lines of, "Those filthy Confessors get off on Confessing people and/or hearing their crimes!" And that's certainly not going to help them keep order over the people they govern.
As for the yes/no question bit, those confessed have a tendency to just gush out everything they think their Confessor wants to hear, or ramble on out of guilt. The question of "Are you guilty of the crimes you are accused of?" might result in a simple 'yes or no', but it could just as easily be followed by, "Yes, I'm sorry Mistress, I killed that whole family. First I stabbed the father in the throat, and then..." etc. Plus, the local law enforcement probably would be interested in at least some of the details, like, say, if they can't find the body, or if there was anyone else involved, or just to give some closure.
But still, would that leave the Confessor, who has done this all her life, in a horrible mood for the next 24 hours? There's enough time for the Confessor to take a confession, leave, have dinner, and get a full night's sleep well before her power returns. As for the issue of the Confessor "wasting" her power and being unable to defend herself, don't they have wizards following them everywhere to make sure they aren't caught defenseless no matter what?
Well, there aren't exactly infinite wizards to go around. I don't know just what the ration of wizards to Confessors was, but as of the start of Wizard's First Rule there was only a handful of them left in the Midlands that weren't loyal to Rahl. And even then, it's been shown that if you play things right, a mundane person with a bow and arrow can kill a Wizard just as well as anyone else.
Really, though, a lot of it has to do with the fact that Confessors, for the most part, aren't normal people or live anything like normal lives. It's not like they're an otherwise-normal girl who just has a rather odd power and job, being a Confessor is their whole life, and their whole function. Their job is to use their inborn abilities for their intended purposes or self-defense, and they're probably taught not to use it unless it's absolutely necessary.
Kahlan's inner monologue in a few of the books mentions just how odd she finds it when people treat her like a normal person. Confessors just don't find themselves in the position to fall in love, and up until Kahlan, when they did they were likely told right off that they should suppress those feelings for The Greater Good.
So okay, there were probably exploitable loopholes, but circumstances and a couple thousand years of custom conspired to prevent anyone from looking for those loopholes.
Let's not forget that using her power makes Kahlan so sick she can't even eat. And you expect her to have sex with someone, especially within the next two hours (and who knows how much time she needs to get well again). Hell no.
Using her power doesn't make her sick; she can't eat because it distracts her body from regenerating her power. As long as she doesn't try to eat, she doesn't feel any nausea. It tires her out a bit, but if she can engage in fights to the death, she can have sex. Besides, Kahlan's description implies that confession is only released at orgasm, and it's possible for a woman to have sex and even become pregnant without climaxing. Sure, it won't be very satisfying sex for the Confessor, but if it's a choice between that and destroying the minds of innocent men, it shouldn't be a very hard decision. I'll accept that Confessors probably don't fall in love with very many people due to their image, but they could still have mates in loveless matches solely for reproduction without destroying their minds.
She doesn't "charge into fights to the death" after using her Confessor power—whenever she uses it in combat, it's at or near the end, and she has to rest up afterward. The few times she uses it to start off a fight (like against the Quad in the first book), it's because it's her only option, and she largely leaves the fighting to the guy she Confessed.
And the original question was finding loopholes such that a Confessor could be with someone she loved—having a loveless match solely for reproduction doesn't really help that point. And it's not just orgasm, it's when the confessor loses control, and it doesn't take a full-on orgasm for someone's concentration to slip. A Confessor is a loaded gun. Counting on her mate to be just bad enough of a lover to never make her lose her concentration is like saying you can just walk around twirling a loaded, un-safetied pistol if you're really careful.
I never said that she "charged" into fights to the death regularly, but there have been occasions where she's been forced to fight immediately after using her power, such as when she's fighting against the Imperial Order in the second book. Not her usual actions, but it still shows that she is still capable of intense physical activity. The books never state directly what "losing control" really means, only uses euphemisms like "in the throes of passion," so it may or may not take a full orgasm. In regards to this kind of thing being risky, I'd like to point out, again, that all Confessors turn a man into her slave when they take a mate. Some do it only to criminals or other disposables, but a Confessor is legally within her rights to have any man she wants, even if he's already married and has a family, and is also legally permitted to confess anyone who objects to her mindraping the man she wants. Even if the methods were "risky" they would still be preferable to this kind of system being in place.
Furthermore, there's still the idea of just using the window in which the Confessor is recovering her power, which there still isn't really any real reason not to. It would leave the Confessor vulnerable, yes, but Confessors still regularly use their powers and are left "vulnerable" without them all getting killed. Confessors are cut off from most of society, yes, but there are still exceptions, with Richard/Kahlan and Magda Searus/Merritt being the canonical examples. Confessors are disliked in the Midlands, yes, but part of that is precisely because of the way that they take mates, which involves innocent people being Confessed.
The various books make a big deal about the danger of Confessors and how they are able to kill anyone in single combat regardless of their skill because once they can touch them they have already won and how the quads are necessary because it is a given that the Confessor will touch one who will fight the other three. However what about archers, one good archer versus an unarmored confessor in distinctive clothes ends in a dead Confessor unless the Confessor can cover 100 yards faster than an archer can aim. And even if archers are unavailable how would an unarmored person get within arms reach of a skilled soldier with arms of equal length(or more) plus a sword or mace. Also what about spears, or throwing knives, or slingshots, or crossbows, or any other weapon that does not allow the opponent to get within arms reach? Why not give at least one member of each quad one of these. I mean even if the confessor is fast it's difficult to believe that one could avoid a sword or spear or arrow better than anyone else.
Two things: First, part of being a Confessor is being trained from birth in, among other things, self-defense. So yes, they're better at avoiding swords, spears, and other melee weapons than most other people by virtue of being trained to do just that for their entire lives. Secondly, yes, a crossbow or other long-range weapon would do in a Confessor or Wizard just like anyone else, but that's not the purpose of the Quads. The Quads are as much an instrument of terror as assassination—they're not just there to kill the Confessor quickly, they're there to beat them, humiliate them, rape them, and break them utterly then leave them to die. Recall that the two victims of Quads we hear described (Zedd's wife and Dennee) are still alive when they're found. In fact, if you're doing this to a Confessor, at least one person being Confessed is inevitable because, well, you can't actually rape someone without touching them.
Training does not make you any more able to dodge an arrow if there are multiple archers, also if you can train Confessors to avoid spearheads and sword blades and arrows somehow, than you can also train the quads to get around that because you know who else gets a lot of training, heavily armed D'haran crack troops, however I do get that one of the main points of the quads design is to rape and cause terror for which they need a live victim not a corpse. Although wouldn't it be terrifying enough to have quads that just kill Confessors without losing a man and can do so consistently? I mean terrifying your opponent is a fine tactic but if your goal is to remove the Confessors then wouldn't highly trained archers be more effective than 4 man squads who are guaranteed to lose at least one to the Confessor and perhaps more to the Confessed man. Especially when sent against the Mother Confessor, the strongest and most dangerous as Rahl surely knows. At the beginning of the first novel when Richard first sees the quad and Kahlan, wouldn't the ability to kill her without getting close be a worthy trade for the loss of the chance to terrorize her, I mean she was the last official Confessor.
Mostly it comes down to Demmin Nass, leader of the Quads, and Darken Rahl being sick, sadistic monsters who are perfectly willing to sacrifice soldiers in order to make a given person's last moments that much more terrifying, horrific, and traumatizing. Yes, shooting them with a rain of arrows would be a much more efficient way to do things, but the people in charge of the quads aren't looking for efficiency, they're trying to make the girl's last moments as utterly, completely horrible as they can possibly manage. Call it Villain Ball.