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Against All Things Ending, Part 2, Chapter 9, Great Need

 
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rbailey003
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Against All Things Ending, Part 2, Chapter 9, Great Need Reply with quote

This is to me the climactic chapter so far of the Last Chronicles. Linden has given everything and done everything for Jeremiah’s sake, her son. By saying
Quote:
trust her
, Covenant has effectively become his father. What happens from here on out may be largely dependent on him (speculation, but I’m sure it will be), and this chapter is what opens up all of the possibilities that choice affords.

Symbols of war and death dominate the chapter. From the ground
Quote:
“as hard as the surface of an anvil”
, Linden
Quote:
“saw a pale plume trailing after her like a “pennon”
, and herald of war, and
Quote:
“tasted death”
in the air from
Quote:
“the forgotten detritus of Lord Foul’s wars.”


The Ranyhyn raced off as to war through past wars. Linden is trying to understand their objective, why their haste. She searches back for prophecy,
Quote:
“written in water”
, and wonders if they
Quote:
“intended to intercept the Ruinwash.”
She looks to Stave to understand the purpose of the Ranyhyn, but
Quote:
“nothing in his manner implied recognition – or comprehension.”


Despite Linden’s ignorance, as they approach their destination, it is apparent to us that they are reaching the climax.
Quote:
“She had the impression that she was approaching the rim of the world…[the steps of the Ranyhyn] were almost stately, and the spirit shining through their sweat and fatigue suggested pride or awe, as if they were nearing a source of wonder, a place potent to transform realities.”

Nearing their destination,
Quote:
“mammoth scapulae that jutted…from the underlying skeleton of the rise”
suggest the nature of what they are going to encounter. They discover their destination:
Quote:
“The bottom of the caldera was filled with piled bones.”

Linden’s reaction makes one wonder: how did she ever come to trust the Ranyhyn? When they arrive,
Quote:
“Linden started downward like a woman who had come to the end of her wits.”
Why not just wait? No, she has to assume something has gone wrong. The pile of bones is
Quote:
“meaningless”
. To Linden,
Quote:
“her life was still constrained by stone walls that allowed no turning, no choices: no conceivable escape”
from death,
Quote:
“no help for her son.”


She struggles to return to trust, but while she vacillates, the crisis snaps into place, and all of her doubts become instantly irrelevant. A caesure erupts, and Jeremiah obliviously walks into its path. The others watch for her, trusting her to act, so she acts in spite of self-doubt.
Quote:
“She saw herself fail…but her sins had not altered the nature of the Staff.”
Law exists outside of Linden and succeeds in spite of her weakness.
Jeremiah, meanwhile, is beginning to move toward his purpose. His coming into focus is anticipated:
Quote:
“Linden had not seen him blink since his rescue. Yet his eyes were unharmed, preserved by some implication of the Earthpower that he had received from Anele.”
Now, it appears that we see the object on which he had been focusing.
Quote:
“His need for death is great.”
First he needed the sacrifice of the Harrow, the Ardent, Liand and Anele for his rescue from Lord Foul and the croyel. Now, he needs the death of countless ancient creatures for the materials of his work.

The materials for Jeremiah’s work are bones, but select bones. None of the bones come from the torso, the spine, the neck or the head (ok, maybe the scapulae are part of the torso, or maybe they are part of the limb joint). The bones belong to the extremities, another reminder that the story is all about crisis. Jeremiah begins building something.

I used the word “focus” to describe Jeremiah’s behavior, but he seems to build
Quote:
“without focusing his eyes or giving any sign that he was conscious of his hands.”
His actions surely require consciousness, but we can’t see his consciousness, only
Quote:
“Earthpower and absence.”
One wonders if our cues that awareness is present aren’t the same as the cues that someone can be distracted. We don’t think Jeremiah is aware because he isn’t distracted by anything. He might be more aware than we think, but he is in prison, and until he gets out, only getting out matters to him.

As Jeremiah gets building, Linden has to cope with another caesure. She is getting pretty handy and dealing with them, though. It looks like everything is under control, and we will get to see what Jeremiah is about to accomplish…except…

The Elohim’s arrival is troubling in two ways. First, Linden suspects that Infelice has the power to stop Jeremiah. Second, she learns from Infelice why it might not be such a good thing is Jeremiah succeeds. Linden might have been daunted, but Infelice inadvertently gives Linden the realization she needs to
Quote:
“[contradict] the harsh logic of despair.”
Jeremiah’s coming here was foreseen by the Insequent and the Ranyhyn. Now, it appears nothing can deter Linden. She is determined to stop Infelice…by…arguing with her. It turns out her gift for doubt comes in handy!

Linden is maybe just buying time, but what does Linden ask, and how does Infelice answer?

Why here? It is the resting place of [the Elohim’s] abhorrence. (One wonders if Infelice notices the irony that the Ranyhyn chose this place. Perhaps they are trying to tell her that what they hate isn’t necessarily hateful.)

Why now, why in such a hurry? The Ranyhyn sense that Joan is reaching the climax of her crisis, and Jeremiah needs to accomplish this first.
What does Infelice think Jeremiah’s is doing? He can make a prison for the Elohim. (Infelice doesn’t say that is what he is doing, just that he can. Linden pretends this answer makes sense to keep Infelice talking. In fact, there is no reason why Jeremiah should want to build a prison for the Elohim right now, and so it appears Infelice actually knows what Jeremiah is doing, but is trying to avoid telling Linden.)

Why is a prison worse than the death that the Elohim are facing already? It is worse because they would be aware of it.

And the key question: what evil might Jeremiah achieve that the Elohim hope to forestall? The Elohim fear he will assist with the imprisonment of the Creator and all possible creation, Lord Foul’s
Quote:
“deeper purpose”
.

Now we are at the crux. Linden has been struggling with self-doubt from the very beginning. She clearly loves her son as a mother. Does she trust him? She has been given reason to doubt, rather to believe that Jeremiah belongs to Lord Foul. So far she has refused to believe it. Stave makes the final argument for her. Using his precise Haruchai logic he essentially says, “you can’t prove the boy is a tool of Corruption.” To Linden, this means she can trust him because the beings of the Land trust him.

Now Linden is ready to fight, but of course, the fight isn’t going to go her way. She is taken out of action right up to the last moment, and released by Stave’s inhuman determination just long enough to toss a toy to Jeremiah…

Why the race car? Jeremiah had left it alone of all his toys, had not used it for any of his structures. Now it becomes the keystone. The race tracks that went with it were ignored at first as well. Only at night would he build with the race tracks, as if they were part of his subconscious. The car isn’t normally a building block. Rather, it represents movement, action and will;
Quote:
“fierce stubbornness…Jeremiah’s birthright”
. Now in his extremity he has taken it with him, the only object from his own world besides his soiled pajamas covered with horses. Esmer had restored it for him, foreseeing this moment. Jeremiah’s gesture to receive the toy is magical and completely trusting. He just holds his hand out and knows that he will be understood and that his mother will put the toy in his hand. I wonder if Donaldson meant to play on words when he calls Jeremiah’s halfhand (“slight” of hand) a legerdemain (sleight of hand).

The Ranyhyn come in for the third and final defense for Jeremiah, and he wins his way to freedom. All I can say is, I totally cried when he looked at his mother.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Against All Things Ending, Part 2, Chapter 9, Great Need Reply with quote

Thanks for leading us on this chapter, rbailey003. You did a great job of bringing important things into focus.

rbailey003 wrote:
This is to me the climactic chapter so far of the Last Chronicles.

I agree with you. By bifurcating the narrative here at the end of the book, we get two climaxes, and two cliffhangers. This one is the first, and to me the more important. Despite all the reservations and doubts about the when and why and how of rescuing Jeremiah, it all comes to a grand climax here.

One of the things that gets tied up is the Ardent's prophecy. “I perceive only that her need for death is great. Or perchance the need is her son’s." Poor Linden, she interpreted that as a death-wish of some kind, or even a promise that she would slay more of the Land's beings, or even another confirmation that she would destroy the Earth. What a relief it must have been to realize it was all something else!

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Linden’s eyes widened, but not in dismay. The flagrant indignation of the Elohim meant nothing to her. Death! she thought, sudden as an epiphany. Bones. For which her need—no, Jeremiah’s need—was great.

Somehow the Insequent had foreseen this. In their own way, the Ranyhyn had foreseen it. Anele had to have seen it, too. And that flash of insight released Linden’s heart.

It contradicted the harsh logic of despair.

Emphasize: It contradicted the harsh logic of despair. The discovery of this field of bones is a turning point for Linden. Her mental landscape has a tectonic shift, a new light is shed on meanings she had assigned. Suddenly she is filled with hope again, where hope was scant before.

This changes everything. So of course she believes that Jeremiah's construct is going to be okay and good and right. Of course she doesn't accept Infelice's dire warnings at face value. Of course she can shatter caesures with ease.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Harad God damn khabaal!”

Linden is back.

rbailey003 wrote:
By saying
Quote:
trust her
, Covenant has effectively become his father.

That's an interesting angle on things. But it makes a certain amount of sense.

rbailey003 wrote:
First he needed the sacrifice of the Harrow, the Ardent, Liand and Anele for his rescue from Lord Foul and the croyel. Now, he needs the death of countless ancient creatures for the materials of his work.

Yes. It is important to remember how many of the Land's people contributed their lives and their powers so that Jeremiah could be fully and completely rescued. Rescued FOUR times. They had to find him. They had to get him out. They had to destroy his enslaver. Then they had to free his mind.

This is why I see Jeremiah as an icon to freedom.

It's no surprise to me, then, that there is an open question about whom he would serve if he was free. Who marked him more, Foul, or Linden? His story requires that he be free to choose either one, else he's not really free. Possibly when he makes that choice, it will be the fifth and final rescue.

But another thing that all of these rescues point to is Jeremiah's importance. So many people gave so much for him to be here.

rbailey003 wrote:
She is determined to stop Infelice…by…arguing with her. It turns out her gift for doubt comes in handy!

Heh. You can always count on getting the Elohim to monolog if you try. They love explaining themselves. Vanity, I guess.

But another aspect to this is, Linden knows from experience that cusps like this, where the Elohim want something, is where you can sometimes compel them to answer.

rbailey003 wrote:
Why now, why in such a hurry? The Ranyhyn sense that Joan is reaching the climax of her crisis, and Jeremiah needs to accomplish this first.

This does seem odd. Joan is being threatened by the lurker? However this came to be, she is now casting about so many caesures that the Ranyhyn knew they had to hurry.

That doesn't sound like the whole story. Even if we accept that the actions of Horrim Carabal were somehow "unforseen" all around, why not wait for the cusp to pass instead of trying to get things done before it arrives?

Infelice indicates that this is also Linden's doing. "It is the unlikely outcome of your encounter with Horrim Carabal." Foul and his minions could not forsee this because they could not forsee Linden thwarting the lurker.

Do something they don’t expect!

rbailey003 wrote:
Why the race car?

Well, the answer we now know: it is the perfect shape to complete this structure he builds.

What intrigues me is that Jeremiah must have known this back when he was abducted by Roger. He knew he was going to the Land. He knew he would be able to build a structure there to free his mind. He knew the shape of that structure. And he knew the race car was a critical part of that shape.

Where did he gain all this knowledge? To whom did he speak when he had visions of the Land? What did they show him?

rbailey003 wrote:
All I can say is, I totally cried when he looked at his mother.

Not I. I may be the only one who thought what I thought. So be it.

What I thought: Jeremiah's first words, upon restoring himself, seemed odd to me.

At first, I thought that Donandson didn't work very hard to find something more momentous for Jeremiah to say after all this suspense. I found it a little trite.

Upon reflection, I've come to think that they are a little too pat. Too polite. A little too much like someone who had spent his whole life chatting away, rather than someone who has never spoken since early youth.

In fact, Jeremiah's words now seem downright insincere to me.

Linden had been warned often enough that Jeremiah might be Foul's man. Jeremiah's first words leave me wondering about him.
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Against All Things Ending, Part 2, Chapter 9, Great Need Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

rbailey003 wrote:
Why the race car?

Well, the answer we now know: it is the perfect shape to complete this structure he builds.

What intrigues me is that Jeremiah must have known this back when he was abducted by Roger. He knew he was going to the Land. He knew he would be able to build a structure there to free his mind. He knew the shape of that structure. And he knew the race car was a critical part of that shape.

Where did he gain all this knowledge? To whom did he speak when he had visions of the Land? What did they show him?



I don't know that 'he' had this knowledge. I wonder if he and Anele had something in common in that they both had different entities that would be using them at specific times. If 'he' (the true Jeremiah) has this innate ability to build this stuff then perhaps the creator (or maybe TC) had something to do with him bringing the race car with him and put this construct in his head. Perhaps even went as far as to make sure that when this time came that he would know exactly what to do, even if he didn't do it consciously.

But I agree that this is an hinge pin chapter. What happens here, is certainly going to be the crux for important things as the story moves forward.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of all the stuff Jermiah built at home, one was a foot note. The racetrack.
Was this the structure he was emulating when he was building his bone box?
With the racetrack, the toy car was to be used on it.
It had a start and finish line.
It was the one thing he built that wasn't directly connected to the land.
(it was "outside" of the structures Jerry built while at home. It looked normal in his world and was probably dimissed by the Land's powers)

The box he built needed the toy car so it could run the course allowing
Jerry's mind to move from it's Foul induce inprison state to a self aware concious mind.

With Stave and the Ranyhyn's help, it allowed Linden to get the car to Jerry where he could start his race.
A race to free his mind.
He acknowleded all those who helped when he looked at Linden.

It was the last few sentense that Linden's "Garrotting Deep" heart has soften greatly and there is hope for the Land.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbailey003 wrote:
The car isn't normally a building block. Rather, it represents movement, action and will


This is interesting, because it's the car that requires movement from Linden's possession to Jeremiah's hand so that the structure can be completed. And it's the movement of Linden and Stave that is being hampered by Infelice.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeremiah's racecar was warped by the croyel in the battle under Melenkurion Skyweir, if I recall correctly. Esmer later restored the racecar to its proper shape, though at the time it seemed like a curious thing for him to do. We can see now in this chapter how critical Esmer's action was. The racecar could not have functioned as the keystone to free Jeremiah's mind unless it was exactly the right shape.
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