Study Guide

Tak in Lord of Light

By Roger Zelazny


Once the Archivist of the Celestial City, and now an ape, Tak's tale is quite the rollercoaster of ups and downs.

Smarter than Your Average Ape

As a character, Tak is very practical, knowledgeable, and intelligent in the ways of people and the world. He understands the need to keep inquires into Accelerationism from reaching the notice of the higher gods and warns Maya to this tune (5.133). He rightly surmises that reintroducing Sam to nature is the only way to get him used to a living body, rather than Yama's idea of song, booze, and trips to places of ill-repute (1.157). And he is extremely knowledgeable on subjects ranging from Accelerationism to the parentage habits of the gods.

Like Father Like Son

But for all Tak's knowledge and wisdom, there's still one area where he succumbs to emotion: his father, Sam. While it's unknown whether or not Sam knows Tak to be of his lineage, Tak definitely knows.

As a result, Tak is unable to attack his father when he catches him stealing from Heaven's museum (5.355). Furthermore, when Sam is hunted in the Celestial City, his son takes up his Bright Spear in his father's defense, killing several tigers that attempt to take the Buddha's life. This crime nets Tak his new life as an ape.

Like Kubera and Ratri, Tak's love of his father provides a contrast to the other gods. The rest of the pantheon has no known relatives and doesn't seem to care one bit about discovering their genealogy. As Tak himself asks, "What is paternity to the gods, who inhabit a succession of bodies, begetting scores of offspring by others who also change bodies four or five times a century?" (5.172). But for Tak, it seems family is very important since he follows Sam's quest through to the very end, regardless of whether or not Sam realizes the truth.