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An Opinion on Mhoram
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:24 am    Post subject: An Opinion on Mhoram Reply with quote

I think most TCTC readers think highly of Mhoram, though he probably ain't everyone's favorite character.

I think I have a decent way of looking at the "Lord Mhoram's Victory" thing as "the medium, not the message."

Generally I tend to think of the simple lesson of Mhoram as giving to/agreeing with/sympathizing with Covenant being willing to risk the land to save an "earthling." Or, perhaps, that Covenant sees saving or at least comforting a snakebitten human girl as more possible than saving the entire land, and Mhoram actually honors Covenant's impulse/desire. The land seems to be unable to come to grips with the fact that Covenant has an entire other world which matters to him; Mhoram is willing to "make good" and is willing to put the land at stake for earth. I assume no one in the land can really believe in the earth they've never seen; Mhoram is either capable of believing, or is willing to act, or take a risk, despite not believing. No wonder Mhoram effectively wields the Krill (I don't actually know what affinity with wild magic that shows, since it burns covenant, maybe it even burned Mhoram and I forgot...).

Mhoram is actually "more true," or more sacrificing, and in some ways effectively captures the Land in general when the Land commits to Covenant loyally (and, I think, the readers' general opinion that, if Covenant is redeemable or better, the people of the Land generally better him). The people of the land frequently regard Covenant as a fundamental mystery that can save or damn - and thus a threat, definitively so given the rape of Lena - and see him as something they aren't capable of judging or challenging - in a way, they maintain unbelief in the unbeliever. Mhoram, I think, sees the damning potential as well, but seems to act in faith that his behavior can guide towards "save."

Mhoram seems to trust Covenant more than many others in the land do, but perhaps in part as a consequence (naturally, as a lord) seems to be one of the most studious in observing the oath of peace.

When Mhoram mirrors Covenant's worst, maybe, in being unwilling to trust Trell (it appears that not trusting Trell lead to Trell committing himself more firmly to desecration, etc), he does so because he doesn't trust Trell...but also because his mistrust has a rational basis (he doesn't trust Trell with his own potential for destruction). Covenant's rape of Lena is the worst of the mistrust for the land we see early on (essentially believing that offers of aid and acceptance and requests for help are attacks), and the possibility that this could normally be pardonable through a insanity defense is rather terribly circumvented by Covenant yelling vitriol at her towards the end of her life, after lusting after and manipulating her daughter. Then look at Mhoram, who probably felt bad for Trell after Trell nearly took Revelstone out from the inside not because Covenant had done him harm, but because Mhoram didn't do enough to help Trell.

OK OK that's really enough now. The point of all this is to question why we have someone like this, who seems to fight valiantly, yet not with rage or anger, for the land, and yet can trust in someone apparently totally alien to the values of the land he protects.

I think dedication is the most likely answer. Mhoram is not only a lord, but the son of two lords. Instead of simply assuming that we readers really contemplate Mhoram's "victory" and ability to resolve the oath of peace and kevin's wards, etc., the best way of thinking about it is that we really don't. I don't think Donaldson writes Mhoram quite this way for us, and he doesn't really spend a lot of time pouring over all the different arcane information contained in the first or second wards, but it might be best to think of Mhoram as being at the high-water mark of a critical point in the land's history. He has spent his life studying the lore of the land; he has probably observed the dialogue of two parents discussing this lore amongst themselves frequently; the judges of such study have approved him (he's a lord); the second ward has been discovered; TC is a strange and thought provoking question to all the above; at the end of TPTP Mhoram has struggled through that entire 40-50 year stretch that Foul has condemned the Land to, while we skipped most of it along with TC.

Basically, I don't the lesson is "here is how to think of the oath of peace and kevin's wards, the answer lies in them" but more "think about how the land managed to produce a veteran of nearly the entire process TC put them through in the first trilogy." Hiltmark Quaan is another good example, though I think he basically dislikes TC altogether and preferred Hile Troy despite the latter's problems. It seems implied that HT helped temper Quaan while being tempered by him the way TC may have helped temper Mhoram and vice versa.

In short, though Mhoram's a pretty compelling character, I'm not sure that it was necessary to conclude that being willing to risk a person for a world because you know you can do the "little" thing is the solitary or best way to resist despite or even get the best result you can regarding saving the world. However, it's likely not a damn bad place to start, and maybe it gets you there more often than anything else.

This gets towards the last thing I've mulled over once or twice recently. Sometimes I think I (maybe others) have most nostalgia towards the first trilogy and think "could we counterfactual a land that could resist Foul's despite?" I wonder if the answer would not so much be TC staying in the land at the end of the trilogy, but the land knowing the story of TC, Foamfollower and Bannor in resisting Foul. This would be a major question of the first trilogy: we get a sort of mirroring of the fight at revelstone and TC's fight with Foul because both end triumphantly, but 1: have the same lessons been learned and 2: are they applicable towards one another? In the end, TC commits to the idea that his leprosy and whatever comes with it is the truest expression of reality and something along the lines of not worth, or too expensive, fantasizing to avoid.

Part of this comes from a recent desire to write/think away the "truth" of Covenant as the white gold, ascribe this potential to the people of the land as well as the rocks into which it is graven at the capacity necessary to successfully resist Foul and not end up with a steadily decaying world.Well I've empathized with Mhoram AND Covenant, not to mention other people in these books, but nowadays I think I feel the most akin to Anele Sad
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:18 pm    Post subject: Calling Holsety ... Reply with quote

Hello - hello - hello ... is there anybody in here?

To whomever might read this: I'm skimming the Watch wondering if I'm looking at a somewhat active place ... or at a place long abandoned, vacant, and quiet. I needn't give examples from the stories, many are too sad and well, you all know what I mean, anyway.

More specifically, is the writer of this post still around?

I'm asking because Mhoram is my guy from this series. Always has been, always will be. Somewhat understandably, I'd love to chime in on this post.

At first I assumed this post was like many others I'd read here, probably 14 - 15 years old ... when to my surprise I realized it was only 1.5 years old! Smile

This is no less a necropost, but hey, it's a "young" necropost ... and besides, it's the thoughts that count. Very Happy

Edit: grammar.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Calling Holsety ... Reply with quote

Councilor Mhoram wrote:
More specifically, is the writer of this post still around?


Councilor Mhoram, the author of the opening post of this thread, Holsety, last posted on this website on January 18th of this year. By Watch standards, that's really not so long ago, but it's certainly been a little while.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Calling Holsety ... Reply with quote

Councilor Mhoram wrote:

I'm asking because Mhoram is my guy from this series. Always has been, always will be. Somewhat understandably, I'd love to chime in on this post.


Please feel free to chime in on this or any other post that interests you! It's always great to get more input! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My position on Mhoram was summed up by an earlier post of mine. I cannot improve upon it.

Wayfriend wrote:
He becomes Covenant's "anti-foil" (if you will) - a character whose differences to a more primary character serve to underscore the specific traits that are similar. The similarities of Mhoram's and Covenant's dilemmas, despite arriving at them in completely different ways, allows Mhoram's resolution to help us understand Covenant's.

Unlike Covenant, Mhoram believes utterly in the reality of the Land. Unlike Covenant, Mhoram is devoted to serving and protecting the Land. Unlike Covenant, Mhoram is knowledgeable and effective in his service. But Mhoram faces the same crisis that Covenant does, that of finding a balance of power, passion, and principle that will serve salvation and not Despite.

When Mhoram learns to release his passion, without letting himself be ruled by passion, he achieves a balance of power, passion, and principle that makes him stronger and more effective than ever before. This knowledge bears a heavy price, as it casts doubt on the Oath of Peace and scuttles the use of Kevin's Ward-protected Lore. And it is dangerous, for it enables anyone mastered by despite to enact a Ritual of Desecration. His reticence in sharing his dangerous knowledge with the other Lords speaks of this cost and this danger.

In this way, we learn by comparison that Covenant must undertake a similar struggle, learn similar lessons. Unlike Mhoram, Covenant has never learned to trust in his own strength. Covenant's fear of passion comes from the very real disasters which he has unwittingly unleashed with his unwanted power. But the answer is not to give up and avoid one's power: like Mhoram, Covenant must learn to trust in himself, to unleash his passion purely, without fear of the danger it represents. He must find the "eye of the paradox", and dare his passions in order to defeat Foul.

Regarding the specific incident of the rattlesnake and the girl, Mhoram explained exactly why he chose as he chose.

In The Power That Preserves was wrote:
"No one may be compelled to fight the Despiser. He is resisted willingly, or not at all. Unbeliever, I release you. You turn from us to save life in your own world. We will not be undone by such motives.


Mhoram refused to compel Covenant, plain and simple. His principles told him that it would be better to fail than to force service on someone. It wasn't about belief in Covenant's world or the girl, really. If Covenant had wanted to be summoned, Mhoram would not have said, no, save the girl instead. All Mhoram believed was that Covenant deserved the same respect as anyone from his own world, and should be able to make his own choices.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mhoram had to learn to respect Covenant's right to make his own decision, and I think it was a lesson he learned back when he was trying to get Covenant to help Prothall summon the Fire-Lions.

In Lord Foul's Bane Chapter 24 was wrote:
Slowly, Mhoram's grip eased. His lips softened; the fire of his eyes faded. His gaze seemed to turn inward, and he winced at what he beheld. When he spoke, his voice sounded like dust. "Ah, Covenant - forgive me. I forget myself. Foamfollower - Foamfollower understood this. I should have heard him more clearly. It is wrong to ask for more than you give freely. In this way, we come to resemble what we hate." He released Covenant's wrist and stepped back. "My friend, this is not on your head. The burden is ours, and we bear it to the end. Forgive me."


...And that was a lesson that stayed with Mhoram into his years of holding the High Lordship.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Chapter 2 of The Power That Preserves was wrote:
But Mhoram had learned that the very thing which made Kevin's Lore powerful for good also made it powerful for ill. If Kevin son of Loric had not had that particular capacity for power, he would not have been able to Desecrate the Land.

If Mhoram shared his knowledge, any Lord who wished to reinvoke the Ritual would not be forced to rely upon an instinctive distrust of life.

That knowledge violated the Oath of Peace. To his horror, Mhoram had come to perceive that the Oath itself was the essential blindness, the incapacity which had prevented the new Lords from penetrating to the heart of Kevin's Lore. When the first new Lords, and all the Land with them, had taken the Oath, articulated their highest ideal and deepest commitment by forswearing all violent, destructive passions, all human instincts for murder and ravage and contempt-when they had bound themselves with the Oath, they had unwittingly numbed themselves to the basic vitality of the Old Lords' power. Therefore High Lord Mhoram feared to share his secret. It was a strength which could only be used if the wielders denied the most basic promise of their lives. It was a weapon which could only be used by a person who had cast down all defenses against despair.

And the temptation to use that weapon would be strong, perhaps irrefusable. Mhoram did not need oracular dreams to foresee the peril which Lord Foul the Despiser was preparing for the defenders of the Land. He could feel it in the frigid winter wind. And he knew that Trothgard was already under attack. The siege of Revelwood was under way even while he sat in his private quarters, staring morosely at a marrowmeld sculpture.

He could taste in his own mouth the desperation which had led High Lord Kevin to Kiril Threndor and the Ritual of Desecration. Power was dreadful and treacherous. When it was not great enough to accomplish its wielder's desires, it turned against the hands which held it. High Lord Elena's fate only repeated the lesson of Kevin Landwaster; he had possessed far more power than the new Lords could ever hope for, now that the Staff of Law was gone; and all his might had achieved nothing but his own ineluctable despair and the ruin of the Land. Mhoram feared to share that danger by revealing his secret. He was appalled to think he was in such peril himself.

Yet this withholding of knowledge ran against every grain of his character. He believed intensely that the refusal to share knowledge demeaned both the denier and the denied. By keeping the secret to himself, he prevented Callindrill and Amatin and Trevor and Loerya and every Lorewarden or student of the Staff from finding within themselves the strength to refuse Desecration; he placed himself falsely in the position of a judge who had weighed them and found them wanting. For this reason ten years ago he had argued passionately against the Council's decision to withhold from Hile Troy the knowledge of Elena's parentage. That decision had lessened Troy's control over his own fate. Yet how could he, Mhoram, bear the responsibility of sharing his secret if that sharing led to the Land's destruction? Better that the evil should be done by the Despiser than by a Lord.


This mindset that Mhoram is in at the beginning of TPTP is the closest he ever comes to losing his way. And even here, it's because he uses an excess of caution rather than an excess of passion.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Foul pretty much said at the very beginning that he would turn the Land into a leper colony. For all intents and purposes, Mhoram reduced to crawling around on his hands and knees in his room listening through the walls to the populace of Revelstone, was tantamount to lunacy.

Luckily the story had a happy outcome.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy Luke wrote:
For all intents and purposes, Mhoram reduced to crawling around on his hands and knees in his room listening through the walls to the populace of Revelstone, was tantamount to lunacy.


The Lord reduced to hiding in his room was Trevor, not Mhoram.

In Chapter 11 of The Power That Preserves was wrote:
On the twenty-fourth day, Lord Trevor forsook his duties altogether.

He sealed himself in his study like a penitent, and refused all food and drink. Loerya could get no response from him, and when the High Lord spoke to him, he said nothing except that he wished his wife and daughters to have his ration of food.

"Now even I am a cause of pain to him,'' Loerya murmured with hot tears in her eyes. "Because I have given some of my food to my daughters, he believes that he is an insufficient husband and father, and must sacrifice himself.'' She gave Mhoram one desperate glance, like a woman trying to judge the cost of abdication, then hurried away before he could reply.


Mhoram could sense the attack of the spirit that Satansfist was sending through the rock of Revelstone at the Keep's inhabitants, but that enabled him to come up with the solution of using Gravelingases to fight the morale-attack of the Raver. So, not really madness on Mhoram's part.

In Chapter 11 of The Power That Preserves was wrote:
After Loerya left him, High Lord Mhoram stayed on the tower for the rest of the night. He kept himself warm against the bitter wind by calling up a flow of power through his staff from time to time and watched in silent dread as the pronged veins of malice in the ground pulsed at Revelstone like sick, green-red lava oozing its way into the Keep's courage. The ill might which spread from samadhi Raver's Stone and the staves of the ur-viles lit the night garishly; and at irregular intervals, fervid sparks writhed upward when the attack met resistance in the rock of the foothills.

Though it moved slowly, the hungry agony of the attack was now only scant yards from Revelstone's walls. Through his feet, Mhoram could feel the Keep moaning in silent immobility, as if it ached to recoil from the leering threat of those veins.

But that was not why Mhoram stood throughout the long night exposed to the immedicable gall of the wind. He could have sensed the progress of the assault from anywhere in the Keep, just as he did not need his eyes to tell him how close the inhabitants of the city were to gibbering collapse. He watched because it was only by beholding Satansfist's might with all his senses, perceiving it with all his resources in all its horror, that he could deal with it.

When he was away from the sight, dread seemed to fall on him from nowhere, adumbrate against his heart like the knell of an unmotivated doom. It confused his thoughts, paralyzed his instincts. Walking through the halls of Revelstone, he saw faces gray with inarticulate terror, heard above the constant, clenched mumble of sobs children howling in panic at the sight of their parents, felt the rigid moral exhaustion of the stalwart few who kept the Keep alive-Quaan, the three Lords, most of the Lorewardens, lillianrill, and rhadhamaerl. Then he could hardly master the passion of his futility, the passion which urged him to strike at his friends because it blamed him for failing the Land. A wild hopelessness moved in him, shouldered its way toward the front of his responses. And he alone of all the Lords knew how to make such hopelessness bear fruit.

But alone on the watchtower, with Satansfist's army revealed below him, he could clarify himself, recognize what was being done to Revel-stone. The winter and the attack assumed a different meaning. He no longer accused himself; he knew then that no one could be blamed for being inadequate in the face of such unanswerable malevolence. Destruction was easier than preservation, and when destruction had risen high enough, mere men and women could not be condemned if they failed to throw back the tide. Therefore he was able to resist his own capacity for desecration. His eyes burned like yellow fury at the creeping attack, but he was searching for defenses.

The aspect of the assault which most daunted him was its unwavering ferocity. He could see that the ur-viles maintained their part of the power by rotating their positions, allowing each wedge and loremaster to rest in turn. And he knew from experience that Lord Foul's strength-his own prodigious might making use of the Illearth Stone-was able to drive armies mad, push them to greater savagery than their flesh could bear. But Satansfist was only one Giant, one body of mortal thew and bone and blood. Even a Giant-Raver should not have been able to sustain such an extravagant exertion for so long.

In addition, while samadhi concentrated on his attack, he might reasonably have been expected to lose some of his control over his army. Yet the whole horde, legion after legion, remained poised around Revel-stone . Each creature in its own way bent the lust of its will at the Keep. And the emerald expenditure of samadhi's strength never blinked. Clearly, Lord Foul supported his army and its commander with might so immense that it surpassed all Mhoram's previous conceptions of power.

He could see no hope for Revelstone anywhere except in the cost of that unwavering exertion. The defenders would have to hope and pray that Satansfist's aegis broke before they did. If they could not contrive to endure the Raver's attack, they were doomed.

When Mhoram returned to the hollow stone halls in the first, gray, dim ridicule of dawn, he was ready to strive for that endurance.

The hushed, tight wave of panic that struck him as he strode down the main passage into the Keep almost broke his resolve. He could feel people grinding their teeth in fear behind the walls on either side of him. Shouts reached him from a far gallery; two parties had banded together to defend themselves from each other. Around a bend he surprised a hungry group that was attempting to raid one of the food storerooms; the people believed that the cooks in the refectories were preparing poison.

His anger blazed up in him, and he surged forward, intending to strike them where they stood in their folly. But before he reached them, they fell into panic and fled from him as if he were a ghoul. Their retreat left two of Quaan's warriors standing guard in front of the storeroom as if they were watching each other rather than the supplies. Even these two regarded Mhoram with dread.

He mastered himself, forced a smile onto his crooked lips, said a few encouraging words to the guards. Then he hastened away.

He saw now that Revelstone was at the flash point of crisis. To help it, he had to provide the city with something more than moments of temporary aid. Grimly, he ignored the other needs, the multitudes of fear, which cut at his awareness. As he strode along passages and down stairways, he used his staff to summon Hearthrall Tohrm and all the Gravelingases. He put his full authority into the command, so that as many rhadhamaerl as possible might resist their panic and answer.

When he reached the bright floor of the courtyard around which the Lords' chambers were situated, he felt a brief surge of relief to see that Tohrm and a dozen Gravelingases were already there, and more were on their way. Soon a score of the rhadhamaerl-nearly all the Keep's masters of stone-lore-stood on the shining rock, waiting to hear him.

For a moment, the High Lord gazed at the men, wincing inwardly at their misery. They were Gravelingases of the rhadhamaerl, and were being hurt through the very stone around them. Then he nodded sharply to himself. This was the right place for him to begin; if he could convince these men that they were able to resist Satansfist's ill, they would be able to do much for the rest of the city.

With an effort that strained the muscles of his face, he smiled for them. Tohrm answered with an awkward grin which quickly fell into apprehension again.

"Gravelingases," Mhoram began roughly, "we have spent too long each of us alone enduring this ill in small ways. We must put our strength together to form a large defense."

"We have obeyed your orders," one man muttered sullenly.

"That is true," Mhoram returned. "Thus far we have all given our strength to encourage the people of Revelstone. You have kept your graveling fires bright, as I commanded. But wisdom does not always come swiftly. Now I see with other eyes. I have listened more closely to the voice of the Keep. I have felt the rock itself cry out against this evil. And I say now that we must resist in other ways if Revelstone is to endure.

"We have mistaken our purpose. The Land does not live for us-we live for the Land. Gravelingases, you must turn your lore to the defense of the stone. Here, in this place"-he touched the radiant floor with the heel of his staff-"slumbers power that perhaps only a rhadhamaerl may comprehend. Make use of it. Make use of any possible lore-do here together whatever must be done. But find some means to seal the heart-rock of Revelstone against this blight. The people can provide for themselves if Revelstone remains brave."

As he spoke, he realized that he should have understood these things all along. But the fear had numbed him, just as it had icebound the Gravelingases. And like him they now began to comprehend. They shook themselves, struck their hands together, looked around them with preparations rather than dread in their eyes. Tohrm's lips twitched with their familiar grin.

Without hesitation, High Lord Mhoram left the Gravelingases alone to do their work. As he walked along the tunnel away from the courtyard, he felt like a man who had discovered a new magic.


Mhoram just can't be held down for long. Between his uconquerable spirit, and his compassion, he is one of the greatest characters in the Chronicles, in my opinion.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes whatever
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greatness does not come from power, or from perfection. It comes from rising above our imperfections and using what power we have in the service of what we believe in our hearts.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IrrationalSanity wrote:
Greatness does not come from power, or from perfection. It comes from rising above our imperfections and using what power we have in the service of what we believe in our hearts.


I think this inspirational theme is at the heart of a lot of SRD's work, if not all of it. That may be why I like his writing so much.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd eaten some kind of psychedelic food poisoning last night. It kept me awake for hours and this morning I was pooped and really grumpy.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
In Chapter 2 of The Power That Preserves was wrote:

[...] Mhoram knew that Trothgard was already under attack. The siege of Revelwood was under way even while he sat in his private quarters, staring morosely at a marrowmeld sculpture.

I still think Elena's marrowmeld sculpture of Thomas Covenant and Bannor is the key to the Fourth Ward. However it's unfortunate, as the Chronicles dictate, that the attack on Revelwood and Revelstone blocks its location.
Coding embedded in the Illearth War, that links to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, pretty much backs this up.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy Luke wrote:
I'd eaten some kind of psychedelic food poisoning last night. It kept me awake for hours and this morning I was pooped and really grumpy.



Thank you for the explanation, Luke. I'm glad you can feel more normal, now, and I take no umbrage. I just enjoy finding excuses to post quotes about Mhoram , because I like his character a lot (more than I like Covenant's, even).
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Greatness does not come from power, or from perfection. It comes from rising above our imperfections and using what power we have in the service of what we believe in our hearts.


This gels with my view that Despite is the curdled cosmic principle of perfection - the aspiration/inspiration to be better than we are corrupted into a hatred of what we are.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
Thank you for the explanation, Luke. I'm glad you can feel more normal, now, and I take no umbrage. I just enjoy finding excuses to post quotes about Mhoram , because I like his character a lot (more than I like Covenant's, even).


Mhoram facing Satanfist is probably the best of all Chronicles, although, I see Covenant facing Lord Foul as the more realistic. With both having equal merits.

I'm so into the character of samadhi, these days. It puzzles me something utterly twisted and sick can be named after something so beautiful and self-healing.
Unless, that is, Samadhi was a once upon a time High Lord.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy Luke wrote:
Mhoram facing Satanfist is probably the best of all Chronicles


I tend to agree, and consider "'Lord Mhoram's Victory'" to be a favorite chapter of all the Chronicles (although I love that chapter in TWL where Covenant gives the Dead of The Grieve a caamora, as well)!

Just for fun, let's "relive" that great moment of confrontation between Variol-son and the Giant-Raver:


In Chapter 15 of The Power That Preserves was wrote:
His violent speed carried him down into the hollow. He crashed through creatures, leaped over them, hacked them out of his way. Before they could brace themselves to meet him, Drinny had reached the High Lord.

Mhoram sprang onto the Ranyhyn's back. From that vantage, he brought his power down on the heads of his assailants, while Drinny kicked and plunged back up the hillside. In moments, they crested the rim and broke into clearer ground beyond it.

As he guided Drinny ahead, Mhoram caught a glimpse of the War-ward. It had rallied around Quaan and was struggling in the High Lord's direction. The riders charged to break up the ranks of the enemy, then the other warriors rushed to take advantage of the breach. But they were completely engulfed-a small, valiant island in the sea of Satansfist's army. Their progress was tortuous, their losses atrocious. High Lord Mhoram knew of only one effective way to help them, and he took Drinny toward it without an instant of hesitation.

Together, they pursued samadhi Raver.

Satansfist was only fifty yards away. He stood on a knoll from which he could direct the battle. And he was alone; all his forces were engaged elsewhere. He towered atop the hill like a monolith of hatred and destruction, wielding his army with the force of green ill.

Holding his staff ready, Mhoram sent the Ranyhyn lunging straight into the teeth of the winter-straight at samadhi. When he was scant strides away from his foe, he cried his challenge:

"Melenkurion abatha! Duroc minas mill khabaal!"

With all his strength, he leveled a blast of Lords-fire at the Raver's leering skull.

Satansfist knocked the attack down as if it were negligible; disdainfully, he slapped Mhoram's blue out of the air with his Stone and returned a bolt so full of cold emerald force that it scorched the atmosphere as it moved.

Mhoram sensed its power, knew that it would slay him if it struck. But Drinny dodged with a fleet, fluid motion which belied the wrenching change of his momentum. The bolt missed, crashed instead into the creatures pursuing the High Lord, killed them all.

That gave Mhoram the instant he needed. He corrected Drinny's aim, cocked his staff over his shoulder. Before samadhi could unleash another blast, the High Lord was upon him.

Using all Drinny's speed, all the strength of his body, all the violated passion of his love for the Land, Mhoram swung. His staff caught Satansfist squarely across the forehead.

The concussion ripped Mhoram from his seat like a dry leaf in the wind. His staff shattered at the blow, exploded into splinters, and he hit the ground amid a brief light rain of wood slivers. He was stunned. He rolled helplessly a few feet over the frozen earth, could not stop himself, could not regain his breath. His mind went blank for an instant, then began to ache as his body ached. His hands and arms were numb, paralyzed by the force which had burned through them.

Yet even in his daze, he had room for a faint amazement at what he had done.

His blow had staggered Satansfist, knocked him backward. The Giant-Raver had fallen down the far side of the knoll.

With a gasp, Mhoram began to breathe again. Spikes of sensation dug into his arms; dazzling pain filled his vision. He tried to move, and after a moment succeeded in rolling onto his side. His hands hung curled on the ends of his wrists as if they were crippled, but he shifted his shoulder and elbow, turned himself onto his stomach, then levered himself with his forearms until he gained his knees. There he rested while the pain of returning life stabbed its way down into his fingers.

The sound of heavy steps, heavy breathing, made him look up.

Samadhi Sheol stood over him.

Blood poured from Satansfist's forehead into his eyes, but instead of blinding him, it seemed only to enrich his raving ferocity. His lips were contorted with a paroxysm of savage glee; ecstatic rage shone on his wet teeth. In the interlocked clasp of his fists, the Illearth Stone burned and fumed as if it were on the brink of apotheosis.

Slowly, he raised the Stone over Mhoram's head like an ax.

Transfixed, stunned-as helpless as a sacrifice-Mhoram watched his death rise and poise above him.

In the distance, he could hear Quaan shouting wildly, uselessly, "Mhoram! Mhoram!" On the ground nearby, Drinny groaned and strove to regain his feet. Everywhere else there was silence. The whole battle seemed to have paused in midblow to watch Mhoram's execution. And he could do nothing but kneel and regret that so many lives had been spent for such an end.

Yet when the change of the air came an instant later, it was so intense, so vibrant and thrilling, that it snatched him to his feet. It made Satansfist arrest his blow, gape uncomprehendingly into the sky, then drop his fists and whirl to shout strident curses at the eastern horizon.

For that moment, Mhoram also only gaped and gasped. He could not believe his senses, could not believe the touch of the air on his cold-punished face. He seemed to be tasting something which had been lost from human experience.

Then Drinny lurched up, braced himself on splayed legs, and raised his head to neigh in recognition of the change. His whinny was weak and strained, but it lifted Mhoram's heart like the trumpets of triumph.

While he and Satansfist and all the armies stared at it, the wind faltered. It limped, spurting and fluttering in the air like a wounded bird, then fell lifeless to the ground.

For the first time since Lord Foul's preternatural winter had begun, there was no wind. Some support or compulsion had been withdrawn from samadhi Satansfist.

With a howl of rage, the Raver spun back toward Mhoram. "Fool!" he screamed as if the High Lord had let out a shout of jubilation. "That was but one weapon of many! I will yet drink your heart' s blood to the bottom!'' Reeling under the weight of his fury, he lifted his fists again to deliver the executing blow.

But now Mhoram felt the fire which burned against his flesh under his robe. In a rush of exaltation, he understood it, grasped its meaning intuitively. As the Stone reached its height over his head, he tore open his robe and grasped Loric's krill.

Its gem blazed like a hot white brazier in his hands. It was charged to overflowing with echoes of wild magic; he could feel its keenness as he gripped its hilt.

It was a weapon strong enough to bear any might.

His eyes met Satansfist's. He saw dismay and hesitation clashing against the Raver's rage, against samadhi Sheol's ancient malice and the supreme confidence of the Stone.

Before Satansfist could defend himself, High Lord Mhoram sprang up and drove the krill deep into his bosom.

The Raver shrieked in agony. With Mhoram hanging from the blade in his chest, he flailed his arms as if he could not find anything to strike, anywhere to exert his colossal outrage. Then he dropped to his knees.

Mhoram planted his feet on the ground and braced himself to retain his grip on the krill. Through the focus of that blade, he drove all his might deeper and deeper toward the Giant-Raver's heart.

Yet samadhi did not die. Faced with death, he found a way to resist. Both his fists clenched the Stone only a foot above the back of Mhoram's neck. With all the rocky, Giantish strength of his frame, he began to squeeze.

Savage power steamed and pulsed like the beating of a heart of ice-a heart laboring convulsively, pounding and quivering to carry itself through a crisis. Mhoram felt the beats crash against the back of his spine. They kept Satansfist alive while they strove to quench the power which drove the krill

But Mhoram endured the pain, did not let go; he leaned his weight on the blazing blade, ground it deeper and still deeper toward the essential cords of samadhi's life. Slowly, his flesh seemed to disappear, fade as if he were being translated by passion into a being of pure force, of unfettered spirit and indomitable will. The Stone hammered at his back like a mounting cataclysm, and Satansfist's chest heaved against his hands in great, ragged, bloody gasps.

Then the cords were cut.

Pounding beyond the limits of control, the Illearth Stone exploded, annihilated itself with an eruption that hurled Mhoram and Satansfist tumbling inextricably together from the knoll. The blast shook the ground, tore a hole in the silence over the battle. One slow instant of stunned amazement gripped the air, then vanished in the dismayed shrieks of the Despiser's army.


Terrific writing, eh, Luke? Gets my heart a-thumpin' more vigorously just reading it all again.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy Luke wrote:
I'm so into the character of samadhi, these days. It puzzles me something utterly twisted and sick can be named after something so beautiful and self-healing.
Unless, that is, Samadhi was a once upon a time High Lord.


Well, not once a upon a time a High Lord, but in the future an equivalent of a High Lord, in a way. Once the Council of Lords becomes the Clave, samadhi Sheol becomes the possessor of a series of na-Mhorams, ending with Gibbon na-Mhoram.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy Luke wrote:
It puzzles me something utterly twisted and sick can be named after something so beautiful and self-healing.
Unless, that is, Samadhi was a once upon a time High Lord.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Moksha, turiya, and samadhi refer to various states of enlightenment. This reflects how the Ravers think of themselves. Their other names reflect how other people think of them.

(04/14/2004)

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
I named the Ravers after "states of enlightenment" because I suspect that evil commonly thinks of itself as good--indeed, as being *more* good than ordinary good. Iagos (characters that revel in what they perceive as evil) demonstrably exist in both fiction and life. But I imagine that most true "despisers" simply see themselves as being more important, more necessary, and even more *good* than everyone else. The Ravers--and Lord Foul--certainly think that way.

(05/04/2005)

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
My point was that the Ravers name themselves for states of enlightenment because evil typically thinks of itself as "better," "purer," "higher," "more important," or "more necessary" than the more ordinary beings around it. For every Iago in literature (or in life), who revels in evil for its own sake, there are thousands of Richard M. Nixons: men and women who believe that neither law nor morality applies to them because they transcend the strictures which should (indeed, must) control lesser mortals. For profound narcissists like RMN and GWB, as for Herem, Sheol, and Jehannum, the highest possible moral good is defined as "What I Want."

(05/29/2005)

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