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The Redemption of Kevin
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:
As an aside, it seems that what we call "redemption" in Donaldson books is not redemption at all.

I quite disagree.

Colloquially, someone is "redeemed" when they make up for something that they have done. But, strictly speaking, to redeem is "to free from what distresses or harms", at least by one meaning. So it can also mean to rescue someone.

Kevin's redemption, as I see it, involves freeing his immortal spirit from self-inflicted guilt-ridden torment. He was rescued from that by his forebears.

Orlion wrote:
His intent was "good", in fact I'm not sure if people considered him a failure since I do not think people knew Lord Foul survived until Thomas Covenant came to the Land.

That is an interesting angle that I had not considered. On the other hand, this knowledge didn't seem to change anyone's opinion of him. In TIL, which was 40 years after Foul's return, Kevin is still lamented rather than reviled.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's possible to lament and judge as wrong at the same time. The entire way of life for people in the Land circa TC's appearance is devoted to not repeating RoD on any scale. This is manifest in everything they do, but most notably by the Oath of Peace.

So they clearly judged Kevin's actions in negative terms. He messed up. Bad. Everyone lived their lives in a way that repudiated his example.

Even after Mhoram showed how they took it too far with the OoP--restraining their passions in an inauthentic way--he still thought that these passions should be guided by reason once you took action, rather than denied completely. So it was all tailored in a way to avoid what Kevin did.

There would be no way (or need) to learn from Kevin if people didn't clearly judge him as doing the wrong thing. And this is another way to say that good intentions and having your heart in the right place aren't all that matter. As Mhoram showed, you must guide your heart with your reason. If the heart could get into 'the right place' all on its own, why would you need reason to be its circumference?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+
wayfriend wrote:
Orlion wrote:
As an aside, it seems that what we call "redemption" in Donaldson books is not redemption at all.

I quite disagree.

Colloquially, someone is "redeemed" when they make up for something that they have done. But, strictly speaking, to redeem is "to free from what distresses or harms", at least by one meaning. So it can also mean to rescue someone.

Kevin's redemption, as I see it, involves freeing his immortal spirit from self-inflicted guilt-ridden torment. He was rescued from that by his forebears.

+1
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Atonement or 'making up for something they have done' is not a colloquialism. Even if it was, I'm not sure any thematic/metaphorical point of SRD's books can be reduced to a 'strictly speaking' definition, even if we agree on the one discussed in posts above (i.e. "to free from what distresses or harms") While this might certainly be part of what Donaldson means, I think we must be wary of drawing strict lines at specific dictionary definitions that lend the most weight to our personal interpretations, especially if that means excluding other meanings that are undoubtedly part of his typical usage (e.g. in themes that cover many characters over several books).

For instance:

Merriam-Webster wrote:

2

: to free from what distresses or harms: as

a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom

b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental

c : to release from blame or debt : clear

d : to free from the consequences of sin


The general meaning has several specific meanings, and not merely 'making someone feel better about his guilt' (which his forefathers certainly did--no question). The last one in particular stands out as an important theme in this story, even if Donaldson 'subverts' the notion of sin with non-religious conclusions. It can't be dismissed as potentially part of his meaning when a character is facing their guilt for an ostensible 'sin.'

But it's definition C that is perhaps the most contentious here, and what most of us probably assumed was the meaning of this thread. (?) Even if this is not an apologist thread for Kevin (which, if so, I misunderstood the point), it's not irrelevant or colloquial to consider that issue under the umbrella of "to free from what distresses." Blame and debt was a big part of Kevin's distress. I don't see how to free him from that distress without also implying that one has to some degree absolved him of blame.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:

As an aside, it seems that what we call "redemption" in Donaldson books is not redemption at all.


That. I've already said similar in various ways. It seems to me here, and in the Gap, for a number of characters, he's meaning to maintain a dichotomy, create a fuller definition.

I think I said before nothing makes up for the past errors/misdeeds.
The negatives aren't offset by the positives. Having a positive balance doesn't erase the importance or effects of the red ink, or wipe it from the ledger.

Kevin [and others, including particularly TC/LF final resolution], paid/suffered consequences---but AFTER redemption, they don't stop paying. They just don't ONLY suffer consequences.
They continue to bear the burden of those things---but that is no longer ALL they bear.
The ordinary definitions almost all define and/or imply that redemption eliminates the deed and prices, good and/or forgiveness "makes up" for bad, zeros out the debt, or severs past from the future.
SRD, I think, means for the redemption to be inclusive of those things.
TC [and apparently all of us] need our LF, our Despiser.
In the end, he contains and continues to struggle with him.
We also need our sins, our debts. To acknowledge them isn't enough, though. We have to continue to engage. Redemption isn't a thing accomplished. It's a way forward guided by what we owe.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
We also need our sins, our debts. To acknowledge them isn't enough, though. We have to continue to engage. Redemption isn't a thing accomplished. It's a way forward guided by what we owe.

This. Oh, so very this. Every day.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“And for another—Oh, hell. I’ve written entire novels about this. ‘Guilt is power. Only the damned can be saved.’ Maybe that sounds cynical. Maybe it is. But who else needs to be saved? Who else can be? Not the innocent. They have their own problems.” He was thinking of the Masters, who thought that rigid purity of service would relieve their ancient humiliation. “They don’t need anything as gracious or just plain kind as forgiveness.

“So maybe blaming ourselves is a waste of time. Maybe we should just admit that everybody goes wrong. Everybody does damage. That’s what being human enough to make mistakes means. And if that’s what being human means, then there’s really only one question we have to answer. Is making mistakes all it means?

“If it isn’t, then everything counts. Resurrecting me and waking up the Worm. Making love together and killing Cavewights. Hell and blood, Linden! I let my own daughter be sacrificed against She Who Must Not Be Named. And I didn’t stop there. I went right up to the most pitiful woman I’ve ever known and stuck a knife in her chest. If you think I don’t feel bad about things like that, you haven’t been paying attention. But if everything counts, then guilt is no reason to stop trying for something better.”

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So according to the SRD quote above (assuming TC speaks for SRD in terms of the point of his story), redemption isn't the goal. Not only is it not possible, but absolving oneself or anyone else of their guilt makes them less than fully human. It can't be done, nor should it.

So then how does one stop blaming, if one never ceases to acknowledge that culpability for doing things wrong is simply (part of) the meaning of being human? He can't mean that we stop recognizing it, that we deny it, or that we reverse the judgment. I think the key phrase above is that blame is "a waste of time." It's not that blame is false or undeserved, but that we've got better stuff to do. We can get on with our lives and even use our dark side, where appropriate. We can use our guilt (power)--our Lord Foul--for 'creative destruction,' channeled in ways that compliment our Creator side in the process of birth/growth/decay/destruction/rebirth/etc., a process for which chaos is necessary ingredient.

Therefore, it's not redemption. It's the absence of self-imposed penance.

Yes, I'd say Kevin achieved that. But I for one still blame him. The "everyone makes mistakes" truism makes no distinction between people who cheat on their wives and ISIS. Saying "we all mess up" doesn't provide any guidance in how to treat those who are irredeemably evil. It's a recipe for moral equivalence.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

That which appears evil need not have been so from the beginning, and need not remain so until the end.
— Esmer
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:
+JMJ+

That which appears evil need not have been so from the beginning, and need not remain so until the end.
— Esmer
Yes, a line from a work of fiction. Do you believe it? For instance (in your world view), could Satan go to Heaven? Or, an example from reality: could we have sat down, shared a beer with Hitler and said, "That's okay chum, we all make mistakes! A fictional character said you don't have to remain evil, so sit down and have a drink!"
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Wosbald wrote:
+JMJ+

That which appears evil need not have been so from the beginning, and need not remain so until the end.
— Esmer
Yes, a line from a work of fiction. Do you believe it? For instance (in your world view), could Satan go to Heaven? Or, an example from reality: could we have sat down, shared a beer with Hitler and said, "That's okay chum, we all make mistakes! A fictional character said you don't have to remain evil, so sit down and have a drink!"


I don't think it means that. You cannot undo what has been done or erase the past. However, while incarcerated for life, Hitler could publish a series of articles on how wrong he was, or become a researcher of theology. Or just sit and wallow in shame. But you aren't going to just say, "Hey! Nice heel-face turn. Come join our party*!"

(*Of course, that doesn't mean God can't do that once he dies. The whole business is His party, after all..)
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My point is that SRD (or TC) seems to say that blame is *always* a waste of time. I disagree. I don't care if some people can find redemption, or short of that, some useful way to carry on in spite of the absence of redemption. But neither case excludes the possibility of useful instances of blame. Sometimes it's more important that you correctly blame those who commit atrocities--in order to stop them and then not repeat their errors--rather than (for instance) finding terrorists/criminals jobs so they can reform themselves or live more productive lives.

Or, an example from the book: turning the Cavewights into cannon fodder--all while absolving them of blame (because they lived in an evil place and were often ruled by evil overlords)--turns killing them into a purely pragmatic issue, a 'necessary evil.' But it ends up being an excuse for both the killer and killed. Neither "deserve" to be put in this position. It's so 'tragic.'

I agree with the 'get on with it attitude' Covenant has while being put in a position of having to kill them. But the moralizing rationalizations (above) absolves both sides of their responsibility, their own role in choosing the actions which put them in these places. They weren't forced into these positions by anything other than their own values.

And that gives us another way to phrase the issue: retaining our prerogative to blame is just another way to say we have the right to pick our own values, and set ours as higher than others. The Cavewights can be killed not because it's tragically necessary, but because their values suck and don't deserve to determine the future. They can be blamed for that.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+
Zarathustra wrote:
Wosbald wrote:

That which appears evil need not have been so from the beginning, and need not remain so until the end.
— Esmer

Yes, a line from a work of fiction. Do you believe it? For instance (in your world view), could Satan go to Heaven? Or, an example from reality: could we have sat down, shared a beer with Hitler and said, "That's okay chum, we all make mistakes! A fictional character said you don't have to remain evil, so sit down and have a drink!"

Catholics aren't dualists. There is no Eternal Principle of Evil.

But that's beside the point. The point is what SRD is saying, and he certainly seems to be affirming redemption.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some thoughts on High Lord Kevin led me to think about a very curious quirk of logic: what if the Ritual of Desecration was just prophesy, and did not actually happen? What if Kevin had looked deeply into the future and saw a way Lord Foul could be destroyed once and for all!

This makes sense when Jeremiah's Möbius racetrack is added to the equation: I think the end is the start.

Kevin solved the riddle of the white gold magic, but his despair was seeing the small gold circle far beyond his reach.

Actually there is no real evidence of the Ritual of Desecration having happened. All that's known of this has been laid down in myth and in legend.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too many characters remember the ROD - the Giants remember, the Ranyhyn and Ramen remember, the Bloodguard remember. Hell, even Carreiol (sp?) Wildwood talks about it when he states that the Trees remember.

Lord Foul mentions to Covenant about how he performed the Ritual with Kevin.

Face it, the Ritual happened.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ritual was only attempted. I'm in no doubt about that. But the attempt was a failure, again and again and again.

bikebryan wrote:
Face it, the Ritual happened.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm. I'm not sure where you are getting that Kevin failed in his attempt.

Sure, it did not cause the demise of ol' Lord Foul, but we do not know that Kevin knew that it would not kill Foul.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bikebryan wrote:
Hmmm. I'm not sure where you are getting that Kevin failed in his attempt.


No matter.

I just liked the idea that the Ritual of Desecration is yet to come. A prophesy. Something that seems highly plausible because of intimations in Jeremiah's (Möbius) racetrack, and Thomas Covenant's manipulation of time.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In LFB we read:

Quote:
Over his silence, the voice continued, "Kevin was a fool-fey, anile and gutless. They are all fools. Look you, groveler. The mighty High Lord Kevin, son of Loric and great-grandson of Berek Lord-Fatherer whom I hate, stood where you now kneel, and he thought to destroy me. He discovered my designs, recognized some measure of my true stature though the dotard had set me on his right side in the Council for long years without sensing his peril - saw at the last who I was. Then there was war between us, war that blasted the west and threatened his precious Keep itself. The feller fist was mine and he knew it. When his armies faltered and his power waned, he lost himself in despair-he became mine in despair. He thought that he still might utterly undo me. Therefore he met me in that cavern from which I have rescued you Kiril Threndor, Heart of Thunder... There Kevin met and dared me in his despair. And I accepted. The fool! I could hardly speak the words for laughing. He thought that such spells might unbind me.
"But the Power which upholds me has stood since the creation of Time. Therefore when Kevin dared me to unleash the forces that would strike the Land and all its accursed creations into dust, I took the dare. Yes, and laughed until there was doubt in his face before the end. That folly brought the age of the Old Lords to its ruin - but I remain. I! Together we stood in Kiril Threndor, blind Kevin and I. Together we uttered the Ritual of Desecration. Ah, the fool! He was already enslaved to me and knew it not. Proud of his Lore, he did not know that the very Law which he served preserved me through that cataclysm, though all but a few of his own people and works were stricken into death.
"True, I was reduced for a time. I have spent a thousand years gnawing my desires like a beaten cur. The price of that has yet to be paid - for it and other things I shall exact my due. But I was not destroyed. And when Drool found the Staff and recognized it, and could not use it, I took my chance again. I will have the future of this life, to waste or hold as I desire. So pray to me, groveler. Reject the doom that my Enemy has created for you. You will not have many chances to repent."
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:13 pm    Post subject: Re: The Redemption of Kevin Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Vizidor wrote:
I was wondering what you imagine had actually happened at the Ritual of Desecration ?

It seems that Donaldson never actually considered the details. Which leaves everyone wondering, not just you.

I guess I was wrong. Behold!

In The Power That Preserves was wrote:
Without transition, he found himself on Kevin's Watch. He stood on the stone platform like a titan, and with his malefic band he alone levied a new Ritual of Desecration upon the Land. All health withered before him. Great Gilden trees splintered and broke. Flowers died. Aliantha grew barren and became dust. Soil turned to sand. Rivers ran dry. Stonedowns and Woodhelvens were overthrown. Starvation and homelessness slew every shape of life that walked upon the earth. He was the Lord of a ruin more absolute than any other, a desolation utterly irreparable.
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