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The Power That Preserves, Chapter 8: Winter

 
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Furls Fire
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 5:51 pm    Post subject: The Power That Preserves, Chapter 8: Winter Reply with quote

The Power that Preserves, Chapter 8, Winter:

This is what I refer to as a “traveling” or a “transitional” chapter; where as it is one that takes us from one event to another. Yet, it is usually through these chapters that we get more insight into Covenant’s psyche. This one doesn’t disappoint, one minute we are raging at Covenant because of his gross insensitivity, then the next he redeems himself by doing something so selfless and heartfelt that we feel tears forming in our eyes. I have always marveled at the way Donaldson makes us love and hate Covenant at the same time.

It begins with Covenant, Foamfollower and Lena leaving Mithil Stonedown in a snowstorm, their ultimate destination: Foul’s Creche. Lena, seeing that Covenant is still injured and not fully healed from his “real life” wounds, is struggling to keep pace. She suggests that he call the Ranyhyn to bare them. He, of course refuses, because of his “bargain” he had made 47 years earlier. He does something then that makes me want to scream every time I read it.

Quote:
Her eyes had left his face, and now she fell silent as if she had forgotten why she was speaking. But when she raised her head, Covenant saw that her old face was full of tears. “Oh my dear one,“ she said softly, “you are weak and in pain. Summon the Ranyhyn and ride them as you deserve.”

“No, Lena.” He could no accept the kind of help the Ranyhyn would give him. He reached out and awkwardly brushed at her tears. His fingers felt nothing. “I made a bad bargain with them. I’ve made nothing but bad bargains.”

“Bad?” She asked as if he amazed her. “You are Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. How could any doing of yours be bad?”

Because it let me commit crimes.

But he could not say that aloud either. He reacted instead as if she had struck the touchstone of his fury.

“Listen, I don’t know who you think I am these days; maybe you’ve still got Berek Halfhand on the brain. But I’m not him—I’m not any kind of hero. I’m nothing but a broken-down leper, and I’m doing this because I’ve had it up to here with being pushed around. With or without your company I’m going to start getting even regardless of any misbegotten whatever that tries to get in my way. I’m going to do it my own way. If you don’t want to walk, you can go home.”


And if that wasn’t enough to get me “raving” at him, he goes and does this:

Quote:
Before she had a chance to respond, he turned away from her in shame, and found Foamfollower standing sadly beside him. “And that’s another thing,” he went on almost without a pause. “I have also had it with your confounded misery. Either tell me the truth about what’s happened to you or stop sniveling.” He emphasized his last two words by grabbing treasure berries from the Giant’s open hands. “Hell and blood! I’m sick to death of this whole thing.”


Foamfollower, of course, responds with his characteristic Giantish sympathy:

Quote:
”Ah my friend,” Foamfollower breathed. “This way that you have found for yourself is a cataract. I have felt it in myself. It will bear you to the edge in a rush and hurl you into abysses from which there is no recovery.”


In this chapter also, Covenant begins to realize that his Land-sense has not fully returned to him. Foul’s unnatural winter has reduced his “vision”.

Quote:
For a time, the fact surpassed Covenant’s comprehension. He tested—yes, he could see the interminable corruption eating its ill way toward his wrists, toward his heart. He could smell the potential gangrene in his feet. He could feel the vestiges of poison in his lip, the residual fever in his forehead. He could see hints of Lena’s age, Foamfollower’s sorrow. He could taste the malevolence which hurled this winter across the Land—that he could perceive without question. And he had surely seen the ill in the marauders at Mithil Stonedown.

But that was no feat; their wrong was written on them so legibly that even a child could read it. Everything else was essentially closed to him. He could not discern Foamfollower’s spirit, or Lena’s confusion, or the snow’s falseness. The stubbornness which should have been apparent in the rocky hillsides above him was invisible. Even this rare gift which the Land had twice given him was half denied him now.

“Foamfollower.” He could hardly refrain from moaning. “It’s not coming back. I can’t—this winter—it’s not coming back.”

“Softly, my friend. I hear you. I”—a wry smile bent his lips—“I have seen what effect this winter has upon you. Perhaps I should be grateful that you cannot behold its effect upon me.”

“What effect?” Covenant croaked.

Foamfollower shrugged as if to deprecate his own plight. “At times—when I have been too long unsheltered in this wind—I find I cannot remember certain precious Giantish tales. My friend, Giants do not forget stories.”

“Hell and blood.”


Yet, the most powerful part of this chapter brought tears to my eyes, as many parts of all the books have. But, here, after the harsh words that had me so disgusted with Covenant that I wanted to strangle him, he goes and does this when Lena suggests that they marry.

Quote:
"Covenant--beloved," Lena whispered, "I beg you. Do not refuse." Her eyes swam with tears, torn by a cruel effort to see herself as she really was. "Behold, I am frail and faulty. I have neither worth nor courage to preserve myself alone. I have given--Please, Thomas Covenant." Before he could stop her, she dropped to her knees. "I beg--do not shame me in the eyes of my whole life."

His defensive rage was no match for her. He snatched her up from her knees as if he meant to break her back, but then he held her tenderly, put all the gentleness of which he was capable into his face. For an instant, he felt he had in his hands proof that he--not Lord Foul--was responsible for the misery of the Land. And he could not accept that responsibility without rejecting her. What she asked him to do was to forget--

He knew that Foamfollower was watching him. But if Triock and Mhoram and Bannor had been behind him as well--if even Trell and Atarian had been present--he would not have changed his answer.

"No, Lena," he said softly. "I don't love you right--I don't have the right kind of love to marry you. I'd only be cheating you. You're beautiful--beautiful. Any other man wouldn't wait for you to ask him. But I'm the Unbeliever, remember? I'm here for a reason." With a sick twisting of his lips that was as close as he could come to a smile, he finished, "Berek Halfhand didn't marry his Queen, either."

His words filled him with disgust. He felt that he was telling her a lie worse than the lie of marrying her--that any comfort he might try to offer her violated the severe truth. But as she realized what he was saying, she caught hold of the idea and clasped it to her. She blinked rapidly at her tears, and the harsh effort of holding her confusion at bay faded from her face. In its place, a shy smile touched her lips. "Am I your Queen then, Unbeliever?" she asked in a tone of wonder.

Roughly, Covenant hugged her so that she could not see the savagery which white-knuckled his countenance. "Of course." He forced up the words as if they were too thick for his aching throat. "No one else is worthy."

He held her, half fearing she would collapse if he let her go, but after a long moment, she withdrew from his embrace. With a look that reminded him of her sprightly girlhood, she said, "Let us tell the Giant," as if she wished to announce something better than a betrothal.

Together, they turned and climbed arm in arm up the ravine toward Saltheart Foamfollower.

When they reached him, they found that his buttressed visage was still wet with weeping. Gray ice sheened his face, hung like beads from his stiff beard. His hands were gripped and straining across his knees. "Foamfollower," Lena said in surprise, "this is a moment of happiness. Why do you weep?"

His hands jerked up to scrub away the ice, and when it was gone, he smiled at her with wonderful fondness. "You are too beautiful, my Queen," he told her gently. "You surpass me."


The chapter ends with Bannor coming upon them on the edge of the Plains of Ra, accompanied by Ramen.

Quote:
”The Giants are dead,” the voice in Covenant’s ear said dispassionately. “Only Giant-Ravers remain.”

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and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my goodness!!! What a chapter!!!! What a book!!!! Yes, you got the quotes I would have given if you hadn't. Foamfollower is....

I wish I could find the words.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"Foamfollower." He could hardly refrain from moaning. "It's not coming back. I can't - this winter - it's not coming back."

"Softly, my friend. I hear you. I" - a wry smile bent his lips - "I have seen what effect this winter has upon you. Perhaps I should be grateful that you cannot behold its effect upon me."

"What effect?" Covenant croaked.

Foamfollower shrugged as if to deprecate his own plight. "At times - when I have been too long unsheltered in this wind - I find I cannot remember certain precious Giantish tales. My friend, Giants do not forget stories."


Quote:
Together, they turned and climbed arm in arm up the ravine toward Saltheart Foamfollower.

When they reached him, they found that his buttressed visage was still wet with weeping. Grey ice sheened his face, hung like beads from his stiff beard. His hands were gripped and straining across his knees. "Foamfollower," Lena said in surprise, "this is a moment of happiness. Why do you weep?"

His hands jerked up to scrub away the ice, and when it was gone, he smiled at her with wonderful fondness. "You are too beautiful, my Queen," he told her gently. "You surpass me."


------------------

F&F is right. You got all the good quotes. All I could do was repeat. Smile

~Foamy~
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i dont want 2 offend u furls, coz u did really amazing, but wot happened 2 turiya? is she ok?

thumbs up once again furls. ka pai tino pai.

sum sui generis
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In the name of their ancient pride and humiliation, they had made commitments with no possible outcome except bereavement.

He knew only that they had never striven to reject the boundaries of themselves.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Oh my goodness!!! What a chapter!!!! What a book!!!! Yes, you got the quotes I would have given if you hadn't. Foamfollower is....

I wish I could find the words.


A Giant Smile
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~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YES!! That's it!!! It's all so clear now!!

smart alec! Razz
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hehehehe Wink
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And I believe in you
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I will remember you
and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job, Furl. Thanks for reminding me of that scene. It's not one I often have need of looking for (more often the quotes from the Unfettered in the chapter before), and I forget how it makes my eyes mist over.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This chapter is the moment where Covenant makes me think he is truly noble at heart. To compare Lena to the fabled Queen was probably one of the most sympathetic things he has done in the Land.
The Winter even makes me shiver.

Great job Furl, you couldn't do better with a few weeks than you've done in a few days. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Winter is coming.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate the winter. I was born in July and didn't know anything about this "winter" thing. If only I had giantish skin.
This was certainly a bane to the people of the Land but it must've hurt Foul's troops as they weren't used to such weather either. Bannor knew that two the of Giant-Ravers were dead; I wonder why he suspected Foamfollower when he even knew him personally? I suppose one must be cautious.
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"Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet."

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kinslaughterer wrote:
Great job Furl, you couldn't do better with a few weeks than you've done in a few days. Smile


Thanks Kin Smile I'm happy people like what I did. It really wasn't that hard to do, I have read these books so many times that I have them memorized. Smile I really enjoyed doing it. Would love to do it again too. Smile

I read this book for the first time in winter. I remember just shivering, especially later on...when Covenant is trekking thru the snow on that broken ankle...made me cringe. Winter and I don't get along either. I freeze when the temp slips below 75.
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And I believe in you
altho you never asked me too
I will remember you
and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thing you don't live in Michigan then! Laughing Laughing Laughing

You did indeed do a wonderful job, especially stepping in quickly to help out when Turiya couldn't do the chapters.

I always cry when TC compares Lena to the Queen, too... Crying or Very sad That is a lovely passage, just lovely...
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2003 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL Duchess, I was born in Michigan. When I was eight my father moved us all out to AZ. About 10 years ago, my hubby and I moved our family here to Oregon. We live in the mountains so I freeeeeeeeeze every winter. But, AZ was too hot for me, thought I was melting every summer.

Thanks so much for the compliment on the chapters Smile That means alot to me. I love this site!!
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And I believe in you
altho you never asked me too
I will remember you
and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2003 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb lead read, Furls Fire! You are a great addition to the 'Watch! Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Dromond!! You made my day Smile
_________________
And I believe in you
altho you never asked me too
I will remember you
and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with everybody. Marvelous. You took the greatest of quotes and let me experience "that" feeling again. SRD is a genious. He put his characters through misery and struggles and suddenly they do this small gesture that means so much for somebody and it brings tears to your eyes. It's his greatest trick I think. Amon many

In LFB "The Celebration of Spring". Baradakas and TC
Quote:
"True. One day I may be wise enough to know what can be relied upon. Now I need time to understand. I trust you, my friend. At the last trial, you will not abandon us to death.
"Here" he proffered the staff again. "Will you not accept my gift?"
Covenant did not reply at once. He was trembling also, and he had to clench himself before he could say without a tremor. "Why? Why do you trust me?"
The Hirebrands eyes gleamed as he were on the verge of tears, but he was smiling as he said. "You are a man who knows the value of beauty."

In TIW "Revelwood" TC meets Corimini for the first time...
" ...and their leader stepped forward. He was an old, wrinkled man with hooded eyes and a sooped posture- the result of years of back-bending study. His voice had a slight tremor of age. "I am Corimini," he said, "the Eldest of the Loresraat. I speak for all the seekers of the Lore, both Sword and Staff. The accepting of a gift returns the honor to the giver. Be welcome."
As he spoke he held out his hand to help Covenant dismount.
But Covenant eithr misunderstood the gesture or went beyond it intuitively. Instead of swinging off his mount, he brusquely pulled his wedding band from his left hand and dropped it into Corimini's extended palm
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for making me reread this chapt. Furls!!! When I noted Lena suggesting to TC to call the Ranyhyn, and mentioning that they still came to her on the midday of Spring (even in this unnatural season), I was inspired to start "The Celebration of Spring Research Challenge" in TCTC discussion forum!!! Very Happy

*The Celebration of Spring is on the dark of the Moon in the middle of Spring

*A Ranyhyn has always come to Lena (and Elena) on the midday of Spring

*and Satansfist first reaches Revelstone on that date!
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know, it seems to be an important date in The Land. I'm still going thru old commentary books I have where there are interviews with Donaldson. I'm sure I saw SOMEWHERE that it was also the middle night of spring that Berek came to Mt Thunder, maimed, and spoke to the Earthpower for the first time and called the Fire Lions.

I'll find it!! I'm nothing if not persistant Smile

And kast..thanks for the compliment Smile There isn't a single word in Donaldson's work that is wasted... He's a master wordsmith for certain Smile
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And I believe in you
altho you never asked me too
I will remember you
and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In this chapter, Saltheart Foamfollower seems to ask the two crucial questions whose answers may affect Covenant's success or failure in the mission to defeat Lord Foul:

In Chapter 8 of The Power That Preserves was wrote:
The Giant glanced up at the chill sky, then looked at Covenant's gaunt face. His cavernous eyes glinted sharply, as if he understood what Covenant had been through. As gently as he had spoken to Lena, he asked, "Do you now believe in the Land?"

"I'm the Unbeliever. I don't change."

"Do you not?"

"I am going to"--Covenant's shoulders hunched--"exterminate Lord Foul the bloody Despiser. Isn't that enough for you?"

"Oh, it is enough for me," Foamfollower said with sudden vehemence. "I require nothing more. But it does not suffice for you. What do you believe--what is your faith?"

"I don't know."

Foamfollower looked away again at the weather. His heavy brows hid his eyes, but his smile seemed sad, almost hopeless. "therefore I am afraid.'

Covenant nodded grimly, as if in agreement.

Nevertheless, if Lord Foul had appeared before him at that moment, he, Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever and leper, would have tried to tear the Despiser's heart out with his bare hands.

He needed to know how to use the white wild magic gold.


Thomas Covenant's saving grace is that he does change, as Foamfollower obliquely observes, but he has to know what he's really fighting for, or he will cause a new Desecration. I think that here TC is wavering, "on the cusp", between an attitude that can save the Land or an attitude which can damn the Land.
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The Celebration of Spring

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