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Roger - A Symptom of of Deep Structural Problems in LCs?
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shadowbinding shoe
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, let's look at Covenant's reasons now for treating (or not) Roger the way he did.

When we first meet him in LFB, his character feels childlike in some senses. He really likes Joan but the prospect of fatherhood is kind of fuzzy for him. When he loses them only Joan's loss is meaningful to him but Roger is an afterthought. He did not form any attachments to the son he was about to have. He actually wanted to concentrate on his novel while his wife was pregnant with him and from my memories of that section (it's been a while) seemed envious of this embryo who was taking Joan's attention away from him in a kind of big sibling baby-envy.

In the years before Covenant's first visit to the Land he was very self centered. Maybe he had to be to survive his excommunicated status but we have to face the facts on this. Covenant couldn't let go of his ex-wife. She was his and he deserved that she'd take care of him like the marriage vows promised. And the justification she gave for abandoning him was Roger. He was stealing her from him for real now. Covenant denied his existence. Was he subconsciously hoping that if he believed hard enough, Roger would disappear and Joan could come back to him? He wouldn't let go of her. He clung to his marriage ring. He could've probably found someone else if he tried. Maybe one of the other patients in the Leper treatment center he was in but he wouldn't let go of the injustice she committed against him. Thereafter he never tries to contact his wife (or his son). They were in the wrong so they had to make the first move. Roger get lumped in the same boat. Covenant has only room in his mind to think about himself. Understandable where his ex wife is concerned. Not so much where his son is.

What happens after his first adventure in the Land? He had some experience in parenting with Elena. But Elena was the one taking care of him more than the other way around, not to mentioned the twisted incest angle their relationship had. Is it a coincidence that Elena functions as a sacrifice for his sake? He even burns her up with his wild magic in TPTP. Did he learn how to be a parent from his experience with her. I think not. After returning to his life in the real world he stops being dead inside but he doesn't try to reform his contacts with the rest of humanity. He has learned to become self sufficient without being filled to the brim with hatred to them. His focus has turned inward toward his experiences and friends in the Land. Dr. Berenford I believe was the one who initiated contact. If it was up to Covenant he would have had no one in the real world. And so, again, he made no effort to contact his son.

And so we reach the Last Chronicles. In his absence and as a result of Joan's weakness Roger has become a selfish servant of Lord Foul. Now does Roger mean nothing to Covenant because he never knew him? Elena seems to negate this line of thought. He met her as a full adult as well but he did form an attachment to her. So why her and not Roger?

After sacrificing himself for the sake of his commitment to their marriage vows at the beginning of TWL, Covenant says he has paid enough for that old attachment. He wants to go on with his life and eventually starts a relationship with Linden. Roger is part of that old baggage. He has never formed an attachment to him in the first place, he blamed him for his misfortunes for a long time and he could see the traces of Joan in his features just like he could see the traces of Lena in Elena's features. Where the second filled him with guilt and a need to pay back for what he did, the opposite was true for the first. He reminded him of Joan's betrayal of him and how much he paid in blood and tears for her sake. What's more, his features were also a twisted mirror of his own, mocking his great deeds with his littleness. Roger learned the lesson of Power from his father's example and Thomas wished, like always, that he would just go away.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shadow binding_shoe, those are two fantastic posts.

What you described is EXACTLY what should have been explicitly grappled with by Linden and Covenant in the LCs.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, shoe. I'm glad you were inspired.

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Once we accept that, it becomes a character flaw in our heroes rather than a plot flaw.

Yep. It's certainly not a "deep structural flaw", at least as I see it. At worst it is a detail missing from the character's responses. It doesn't prevent anything else in the story from working AFAICT.

Probably two or three additional sentences added to the story could have made the whole issue go away.

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Unlike Covenant's strategy, which was to allow her to punish him Linden encourages Joan to hurt herself.

I'm not sure the text agrees with you on that point. It's pretty clear Linden saw that the ring reduced Joan's self-punishment.

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
He wants to go on with his life and eventually starts a relationship with Linden. Roger is part of that old baggage.

That's more or less the same as, but not exactly the same as, what I have been saying in the Family thread ... Covenant is choosing a new family, one which completes him rather than one which is all baggage. I don't necessarily think he wished Roger would "just go away", but it's likely to be true that there was no incentive to begin a relationship that he wanted to move passed anyway.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shadowbindingshoe, that's very impressive, but I think you underplay the significance of Covenant's condition as a leper in shaping who he was in The First Chronicles (which is a mistake that I made for the best part of 30 years, so no hard feelings).
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
Shadowbindingshoe, that's very impressive, but I think you underplay the significance of Covenant's condition as a leper in shaping who he was in The First Chronicles (which is a mistake that I made for the best part of 30 years, so no hard feelings).


Can you elaborate?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see how Jeremiah (beloved and raised by Linden despite not being a blood relative, under Lord Foul's power but not his servant, has hidden depths) and Roger (not loved or raised by Covenant despite being a blood relative, Lord Foul's willing servant, a depthless villain) complemented each other, but I still think Roger was in the end unnecessary to the plot and badly handled.

Showing not telling notwithstanding, I think the issue of Roger as a counterpoint would have been better handled with a brief conversation between Linden and Covenant in which Covenant expresses his utter disinterest in his son and casually mentions that Roger had been with Joan in the cult, maybe even that Roger had been an enthusiastic follower if he really needs to be a bad guy. This way would give an additional level of contrast between the two sons in that Jeremiah gets to be a major driver in the plot of four books while Roger gets a page of casual chat, and maybe a few brief mentions elsewhere if the danger of forgetting all about him is too high. Perhaps Linden could have a few swiftly-passing thoughts for him.
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although it's true that Jeremiah and Linden parallel Roger and Joan in their own ways, Covenant still has all his pained reactions to Roger's possession by the Despiser in the end.

I think that's the point of Roger. To keep struggling to do something awesome, to keep failing, to keep digging himself deeper into the grave of the Despiser's service. That's why he's so weak. He's just like his dad, almost: his hand is fully of immense might and he can't use it to get what he wants. But unlike Covenant, who learns from his weaknesses, Roger doesn't until the end.

And Covenant did still love Roger, or care about him, and he still did think killing Joan was somehow evil or wrong. Just banishing Roger in a blast is kind of dismal, I think. (I don't mean Covenant banishing him, I mean the book doing so haha.) But killing Joan, I think, was not actually totally meant to be the "practical" thing, either. Like, yes Covenant goes and does it but he seems to realize that it might have made things worse in its own way, besides being independently wrong. So that part's almost written to completion; by contrast, Covenant's concern for his son doesn't have a chance to go very far (maybe SRD just figures we'd infer it).

But, so, again, anyway if SRD likes to write his stories from the end in reverse, then unless he didn't imagine the final battle between Covenant and the Despiser before writing the events leading up to it---if one of the other parts of the ending, or just the other parts as it were, were the ones he reverse-engineered the prior scenes from---then Roger's being in the battle in the way that he is, would not be the a priori reason for Roger's presence in the rest of the story as it was. However, if SRD always wanted the final battle to involve Roger, well, then, that's why things turned out that way, more or less...
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