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Providence as a Chrons Thematic
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Mighara Sovmadhi
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm certainly in the too-thick category Razz

Re: the thing about "providence would be the Creator intervening, which in this story is something he axiomatically doesn't do." And chalking it up to the necessities-of-metaphor when transcendent forces manifest in the tale... Against the second contention, firstly, the appearance of the ochre-robed man in the "real" world is itself providential, in a way. In fact any manifestation from the Land, in "reality," adjusts the story's overall representation of the relationship between physical and metaphorical information/description/etc.

But so re: the first contention, well, I argued elsewhere that Covenant's resurrection is equivalent to the Creator intervening inside the Arch. That is, the breaking of the Arch by the Creator's intervention, would not be a separate event apart from something like the rousing of the Worm. This is because the Creator is not just another character in the internal game of magic power in the story, but has a power that arches (Arches!) over the magic world of the story, so rather than his intervention having a single point of entry into history, it rather assumes the form of a broad pattern in history that culminated in Linden Avery, harried by confusion and dread, unleashing the maximum power of creation in the wrong way.

The manifestations of providential random solutions to story problems is most pronounced, I think, in the Last Chronicles. Esmer even endangers the fourth wall when claiming that he has come up with a strategy (this is in AATE, during the underground pursuit by SWMNBN) that no "impossible" twist of fate can counter. (Of course, the paradox of free will and providence appears here in that it is not a miraculous source of power that helps out, but a purely reasoned argument leading to the vacating of a sort of power, Esmer's, from the premises.) So if the Creator is intervening in the LC, and this is behind-the-scenes destroying the world (kinda like Father Time in the final Narnia book??? I need to reread that...), then...
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the Land. There is Providence, and then there is providence. The Land, in the Chronicles, is as divine a hand for providence as any god.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Some of us are just too thick to get it, I guess. And too unsophisticated to stop discussing it when it is so clearly resolved.

WF, I would never suggest that you or anyone else in this discussion is "too thick." Clearly you and MS and Wos and DrP are intelligent, educated people. I'm probably more frustrated than incredulous about the reasons this debate is unresolved. I suspect the source is the all-too human tendency to view things through one's own pre-existing world view, combined with the competitive nature of intelligent people and the resistance against revising one's opinions.

Despite my frustration, however, I am enjoying the discussion and consider all of you worthy adversaries.

wayfriend wrote:
How can you demonstrate the power of choice if you do not measure it against the unexpected? How can the unexpected be a fair measure if it is only ever disasterous? What is hope if all depends on choice alone?
Unexpectedly beneficial events can be described as "luck." As I've already admitted, I think this is what SRD is talking about. But I do not think hope is dependent upon the necessity that chance events won't always be negative. Given that all things end, that all life is mortal, and all humans are limited in their effectiveness, hope has its deepest meaning in its paradoxical nature, i.e. hope in spite of All Things Ending. ("Against" = "hope in spite of"). Sometimes a wonder is wrought. But the closer we get to our inevitable ends, the less likely and significant this random fact becomes. Hope is much more than faith in luck; it is a revolt, a resistance to despair. Perhaps the wonder that is wrought is the paradoxical hope itself, i.e. finding meaning, love, and happiness despite our transitory, limited, and suffering nature.

Surely Donaldson was not writing a story only for the lucky few who find wonders wrought for them. Surely those who live lives of uninterrupted mundanity can also find reasons to hope, find meaning in this story.

Personally, I do not think that "betimes a wonder is wrought" is as much as theme as it is a way to legitimize fortuitous plot choices by the author. It's insurance against deus ex machina accusations (since the characters themselves are predicting it, it can't be said to come out of nowhere). It's a way to justify a happy ending that otherwise might seem too easy.

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:

the appearance of the ochre-robed man in the "real" world is itself providential, in a way.
I honestly have no idea what to make of the ochre-robe dude. I don't think Donaldson does either, which is part of the reason why he left him out of the LC. Here's the problem: both Foul and the Creator are aspects of Covenant, i.e. his destructive and creative sides. But the ochre dude is supposedly the Creator, too? Does that mean he's also Covenant? How can that be, when he appears to Covenant in the "real world?" It's only in the Land that Covenant meets externalized aspects of himself.

So either we're all missing something very important--such as the "real world" actually being just a variant of the Land world--or Donaldson made a fundamental mistake with his symbolism right from the beginning, back when he was less experienced and hadn't given his creation as much thought. Getting rid of the ochre dude in the LC eliminates those problems. This is mirrored in his frustration in the GI with Creator questions, which he eventually stopped answering. If transcendent forces were an active theme at this later, more sophisticated stage of his writing, he would have no reason to avoid or downplay the issue.

Also, if the Creator is an aspect of Covenant, then perhaps the axiom that he can't intervene in the Land is just an expression of the literal-metaphorical divide (which the ochre dude clearly violates). In other words, the Creator can't interfere in the Land while Covenant is in the real world, because Covenant's creative side is literally part of himself, not an externalized personification/symbol of part of himself he can meet and interact with. And when Covenant is in the Land, the Creator can't interfere with the Land because that's the whole reason Covenant is there, to awaken his creative side and mediate the conflict with his destructive side. If the Creator saved him from his Despiser, the personal battle would happen without Covenant's input, eliminating any need for this story to be told. So Donaldson put Covenant in a mythical place where he could confront parts of himself in external forms, but this is really only useful as a story technique for one side of his creative/destructive divide. If he had both sides represented externally in the Land, there would be nothing for Covenant to do except watch them confront each other.

So the semblance of transcendent aid is just an artifact or byproduct of this necessity in the story's structure. It's necessarily asymmetrical. Perhaps our own need for symmetry is responsible for emphasis on the Creator as an active agent, and hence transcendent forces and Creator questions.
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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: Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mistake. I am locked into a worldview which I am resistant to change, and that is why I do not agree with you.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

C'mon wf Razz Z is doing this in good faith.

Speaking of which, the "SRD got rid of the Creator figure in the LC for x, y, z reasons" idea is fortunately, and unfortunately, plausible. The part of me that wants to half-deify SRD thinks, "No! He wouldn't make such a mistake! Argh!" ... and yet, I am not so blessed that I might be tempted to a little cynicism, here.

(Even that might be unfair. Just because he made a mistake, wouldn't make SRD a horrible writer or whatever. Even a mistake like this...)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Razz Z desired good faith, he wouldn't keep saying that only deficient people would disagree with him.

In The Power that Preserves was wrote:
Impulsively, without knowing why he did it, he shrieked into the gray wind, "Forestall Help me!"

At once, the clenched crown of the Colossus burst into flame. For an instant while Herem and Jehannum yowled, the monolith blazed with verdant fire - a conflagration the color of leaves and grass flourishing, green that had nothing in common with Lord Foul's emerald Illearth Stone. Raw, fertile aromas crackled in the air like violent spring.

Abruptly, two bolts of force raged out of the blaze, sprang like lightning at the Ravers. In a coruscating welter of sparks and might, the bolts struck the chests of Lal and Whane.

The monolith's power flamed at their hearts until the mortal flesh of the Ramen was incinerated, flash-burned into nothingness. Then the bolts dropped, the conflagration vanished.

Herem and Jehannum were gone.

The intervention of the Colossus here doesn't seem like dumb luck to me. It seems like providence. Covenant even asked for help.

It's worth noting that Oxford defines providence as "the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power." The Colossus is, if anything, a manifestation of Nature in the Land.

If the disappearance of the Creator means anything about the elimination of intervention, then this can only be plausible if intervention was possible to begin with. If it means anything about the need for self-reliance, then it is only because providence was a possibility which had to be addressed. You can't build walls to keep out elephants and then claim elephants don't exist.

(There are many possible ways that Covenant and the Creator can be related and fulfill Donaldson's trinity. As I see it, Covenant became a Creator. He became a creator when he raped Lena. He was manifestly a Creator when he destroyed the Staff of Law. And he was undoubtably a Creator when he pieced the world back together from the pieces flying apart. The story is replete with Covenant's acknowledgement of this - when we cause the world to be how it is, we are a world creator, responsible and culpable. The old man in the ochre robe isn't Covenant, he's his predecessor. So if you ask me, he disappeared because Covenant was finally ready for the whole job.)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mig!

wayfriend wrote:
If Razz Z desired good faith, he wouldn't keep saying that only deficient people would disagree with him.
I've never said this, in fact, I clearly said the opposite.

This subject of this thread touches upon the single most important reason I like the Chronicles. I even made it my signature here. Obviously, I feel deeply about this issue, which is why I argue for it so stubbornly, and it's also why I'm genuinely puzzled that others read it so differently. While it's possible that I'm doing what I accuse others of doing--reading their own worldview into the Chronicles--I feel confident that the explicit words of the author himself on this issue backs up my interpretation, and eliminates the opposite interpretations as a possibility.

Quote:
The intervention of the Colossus here doesn't seem like dumb luck to me. It seems like providence. Covenant even asked for help.
I agree that's how it seems. I also agree that there is much about the Chronicles that seems tailored to evoke this response. But as I've said before, I think that Donaldson is using the language and tropes of religion ironically, undermining it and providing a new, humanist interpretation of it. Nietzsche did exactly the same thing, both philosophically and as a literary device.

Quote:
It's worth noting that Oxford defines providence as "the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power." The Colossus is, if anything, a manifestation of Nature in the Land.
The Land isn't "nature" in the Land. It's the symbolic stage upon which Covenant's internal psychodrama can play out. In the real world (where this story has relevance to readers), nature doesn't answer our prayers. It's a metaphor. You can't be writing about "what it means to be human" if your themes are only true in fantasy worlds. This isn't a story about how nature rescues us from ravers. It's a story that uses those fictional possibilities to symbolize deeper, human truths.

Quote:
If the disappearance of the Creator means anything about the elimination of intervention, then this can only be plausible if intervention was possible to begin with. If it means anything about the need for self-reliance, then it is only because providence was a possibility which had to be addressed. You can't build walls to keep out elephants and then claim elephants don't exist.
The elephants exist in readers' minds. The walls are to keep out interpretations that miss the point. Intervention wasn't possible to begin with; the author explicitly spells out the rule that the Creator can't intervene. But people kept looking for intervention nonetheless, so no more Creator.

Quote:
The old man in the ochre robe isn't Covenant, he's his predecessor. So if you ask me, he disappeared because Covenant was finally ready for the whole job.
That's a plausible interpretation, I suppose. However, the old man still doesn't sit well with me. If Covenant didn't = The Creator, then this wasn't a story of shared identity, as Donaldson claims. We can all create stuff without sharing an identity with a specific character in a story. Merely creating stuff and being a "creator" in this regard is just an attribute of yourself, not sharing an identity with another person. The only way the old man didn't = Covenant is if the old man didn't = The Creator.

It has been too long since I've read the books to know for sure if this is a possibility. Did Donaldson ever weigh in definitively on this?
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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 Oct 17, 2017 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's some options:

1. A reader says things that sound contrary to SRD's offered pre-interpretation because they use the transcendent/non-transcendent distinction differently, or they at least think it means something different, or whatever.

2. A reader might think that SRD merely claims to have appropriated the distinction/concepts for his stated purposes, but for some reason or another SRD is (self-)deceived.

I might fall into a kind of (3) that somehow subsists between the others two listed...

EDIT: Argh, I forgot the other one I came up with: regardless of what SRD says his story means, story-meaning is not the absolute individual prerogative of authors, so if readers think they can find traditional transcendence in the text, they very well might. (Postmodernism, I suppose, would suggest this...)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe, Mig. I've thought that Donaldson's justifications/explanations about his own work were wrong or didn't make sense, too, on occasion. I can't remember examples at the moment ... maybe his reasoning about ignorance as plot device.
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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: Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's suppose SRD is subverting, not the transcendent/non-transcendent distinction but the internal/external concept of transcendence. Basically, the essence of the divine is awe. That's the emotion that is related to "glory." God is supposed to be the most awesome possible thing. Of course in SRD's system there are other external forces that might provoke awe but this submissiveness is unhealthy. That's the point of the silent argument between Jeremiah and the Raver at the end: the Raver tries to re-define autonomy as submission to external power, as "finding one's proper place in things," instead of creating this place for oneself. But the truth is that there is beauty and sublimity within us (the point of the 1st Chrons) and this is enough for the "transcendent" awe of faith, or in other words we can feel awe at an internal transcendence, and this is what autonomy/self-respect/etc. would be.

Now an internal transcendence won't be as dramatic in some respects, let's suppose, as an external one---at least not yet... But anyway, it's like the thing with Covenant telling Roger how useless it will be to try to follow Foul into the after-Land. In effect, it would be like trying to be a god while being a human living inside of a caesure, only one with no egress and infinitely worse than the Falls made under the Arch.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this bears on the topic.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"You're forgetting something. I've always had help. I never would have reached Foul's Creche on my own. Foamfollower had to carry me." If the jheherrin had not rescued him - if Foamfollower and Bannor had not distracted Elena - if a nameless woman in Morinmoss had not healed him - "And I still would have failed if Foamfollower hadn't given me exactly what I needed," if the last of the Unhomed had not revealed the courage, the sheer greatness of spirit, to laugh in the face of despair.

"Without Linden and the First and Pitchwife, I would never have made it to Kiril Threndor. Without Linden, I couldn't have forced myself to hand over my ring. Without Vain and Findail, she couldn't have created a new Staff. Without the First and Pitchwife, her Staff would have been lost.

"Sure," Covenant rasped, "Lord Foul was defeated. Twice. But I didn't do it. We did it. Foamfollower and I. Linden and I. The First and Pitchwife and Sunder and Hollian.

"So tell me again," he demanded. "What's so wrong about accepting gifts you haven't earned?"

This is not the only time the theme of "help" comes up. However, I think this states it quite nicely. Covenant knows, and avers, that he could not have accomplished what he did without the help of others, without friends. Without unearned gifts.

So: I think we're on solid ground here when we say that Donaldson is not proposing that a man, on his own, is sufficient to every task. Unexpected good fortune is not only acceptible, it may be required.

Providence in the form of friendship?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely. This series has always shone through with romantic idealism. Not an insular autonomy, but a shared one.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we're talking about Land characters, then we're still talking about self-help. But given the inclusion of Linden and later Jeremiah, Donaldson did indeed leave behind the idea of doing it on your own after the First Chronicles. It's been a team effort ever since.

I have no problem reinterpreting ideas like grace and providence into natural terms like love and cooperation. Those are entirely human concepts.
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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 Oct 24, 2017 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't get it. Why would Donaldson promote the idea that accepting undeserved gifts and the help of friends is both necessary and rewarding, but then subvert the whole idea by implying that his friends are only himself?

I dislike the notion that the entire Chroncles is just Covenant navel-gazing. That's what the Elohim do. "All truths are within us, and for these truths we seek into ourselves." And we know that they were dangerously misguided.

(Donaldson says that, in his fantasy, "the internal crises or conflicts or processes of the characters are dramatized as if they were external individuals or events." But he never says that all external individuals or events are dramatizations of internal crises, conflicts, and processes.)

Once you accept the notion that people require the grace to recognize that they need and can accept 'help' -- and that this doesn't mean that they are not fully realized in themselves, or prevented from achieving full realization -- then it really doesn't matter whether that help comes from friends, or hidden allies, or luck, or nature, or a god, or God. What matters is that it doesn't threaten a full realization of oneself, and that it can be accepted.

Which is why I think the 'friends and help' theme in the Chronicles bears on providence.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+


wayfriend wrote:
I don't get it. Why would Donaldson promote the idea that accepting undeserved gifts and the help of friends is both necessary and rewarding, but then subvert the whole idea by implying that his friends are only himself?


Dunno. But we could try it and see how it works out.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"You're forgetting something. I've always had help. I never would have reached Foul's Creche on my own. Me had to carry me." If the himselves had not rescued him - if Himself and Himself had not distracted Himself - if a nameless himself in Morinmoss had not healed him - "And I still would have failed if Me hadn't given me exactly what I needed," if the last of the Me had not revealed the courage, the sheer greatness of spirit, to laugh in the face of despair.


Meh. Loses something in translation.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are fundamental problems with Donaldson's literary technique, I'll be the first to admit. How do Covenant and Linden share the same "dream?" How does Covenant maintain his doubt--which SRD insists is still important even in the LC--when he has been raised from the dead in a fantasy world in which he has been the Timewarden during that time (while dead)? It makes very little sense.

However, since I already conceded that teamwork, cooperation, and love are important themes (given real world characters like Linden and Jeremiah), I've already conceded the main point here. My insistence that I take Donaldson at his word regarding the justification for Unbelief is a secondary point. Take it up with him.
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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: Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Zarathustra wrote:
There are fundamental problems with Donaldson's literary technique, I'll be the first to admit. How do Covenant and Linden share the same "dream?" How does Covenant maintain his doubt--which SRD insists is still important even in the LC--when he has been raised from the dead in a fantasy world in which he has been the Timewarden during that time (while dead)? It makes very little sense.

However, since I already conceded that teamwork, cooperation, and love are important themes (given real world characters like Linden and Jeremiah), I've already conceded the main point here. My insistence that I take Donaldson at his word regarding the justification for Unbelief is a secondary point. Take it up with him.


So what SRD is saying in his later works is incompatible with his initial framework? Okay, methinks we all might be able to go with that. In the 1st Chrons, he was reacting against his childhood tradition, a tradition which radically denied/reduced Freewill. And the initial framework was more-than-adequate to defend this isolated prerogative.

So, maybe that contributes towards understanding the ending of the LCs? That, in order to come full-circle and reconcile with the fullness of reality represented by the introduction of mature-work prerogatives, the initial framework had to burst?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donaldson wrote the latter Chronicles with the premise that it doesn't matter any more whether it is a dream or it is "real". He moved beyond the question to tell a different story. So it's not that the latter Chronicles are incompatible with the first - they are just different.

Donaldson expanded on his premise of a Land that can give someone what they need to realize themselves (providence, btw), and instead had a Land that can give two someones what they need, with the caveat that they need each other as much as they need the Land. That cannot be real, and that cannot be a dream either. It's something else. And it doesn't matter what it is - it enables a story about mutual realization.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
My design is pretty linear, like virtually everything else I do. As Covenant becomes more and more engaged with and in the Land during the first "Chronicles," the question of whether or not the Land is "real" comes to matter less and less. Eventually he realizes that the Land's "reality" is not important at all: what *is* important is his love for the Land (and for Lena, and for Saltheart Foamfollower, and--if he were present--for Mhoram, and even for Bannor and the Ranyhyn). He learns to honor that part of himself which responds to, well, let's call it the iconography of the Land; and so he turns away from Despite. After that, questions of mere "reality" become trivial. So the story--at least in my mind--moves beyond those questions in "The Second Chronicles." As far as I can see, any attempt to interpret Linden's role, or Joan's, that doesn't take into account how Covenant's internal "reality" has changed can only sow confusion. In that sense, no, "The Last Chronicles" will not shed any more light on "is it all a dream?" than "The Second Chronicles" did. I left that issue behind decades ago.

(11/07/2005)

Naturally the idea that the Land is "unreal" becomes less and less relevant (therefore less and less plausible) as the "Chronicles" progress. That's inevitable: the themes of the story modulate steadily into new keys. If they didn't, the story wouldn't be worth telling.

(06/04/2006)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Some more thoughts.

When I think of Providence, I think of Lord Mhoram's Victory.

There he is, battle-blasted and emptied of power, his staff shattered, as the Giant Raver prepares to deliver an evil green coup de grace. And then, at the last possible moment in which it might have meaning and effect, the krill ignites. That's all Mhoram needs. Bam! Good night, Raver.

We the readers know what happened. Covenant had recovered his ring from Dead Elena, and the krill echoed his return to power.



I've long thought the Colossus scene, happening simultaneously with the sortie at Revelstone, was perhaps the single most powerful and well-written passage in the entire First Chronicles, maybe in all 10 books, although certainly the heart-pounding flight from SWMNBN complete with Linden drowning in the despair of sensitivity to the Bane, gives it a run for its money. What really struck me is the theme of individuals striving against impossible odds, against an enemy of overwhelming power, never giving into despair, cracking the invincibility of that enemy until it collapses. Foamfollower and Bannon, striving just for the freedom to move a muscle. The two Ramen, striving to overthrow the Ravers possessing them. Triock, inspired by their efforts, fighting his own despair to let him make a move towards breaking Elena's power.

At the same time, Elena's attention is distracted by her long-distance perception of the events taking place at Revelstone, which themselves are a renunciation of despair. Mhoram launching a seemingly hopeless sortie. The Waynhim, somehow sensing the moment, attacking the besieging army's supply wagons. Caer Caveral somehow also sensing the moment and reaching out to the Colossus to trigger its response in striking down the two Ravers. Then there's Covenant acting when the opportunity is given him, then locked in a hopeless struggle to stay alive against Elena's supernatural strength threatening to crush him physically with the Staff. Elena herself is wielding tremendous power, but only in Foul's name, only for his purposes, and against everything she ever was or stood for in life -- tremendous power and utter despair the ironic comeuppance for her foolhardy belief in the great power that despair could confer on someone (revealed in her Command to Kevin). She is defeated by the combined individual efforts of many who defy despair. None of them is able to communicate their intentions to anyone else, but take away any of their actions, and you have inevitable, utter, complete, absolute, and final defeat. Put it all together, and a great victory is the result, one that let me know, reading the book for the first time, that Donaldson, as bleakly as he portrayed things, really would bring a happy ending to his Chronicles. This scene has a sort of echo, or aftershock, in the struggle of Linden, Stave, the Ranyhyn, and Jeremiah against Infelice in AATE.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hurtloam wrote:
None of them is able to communicate their intentions to anyone else ... Put it all together, and a great victory is the result

Indeed. Also consider:

In The Power That Preserves was wrote:
Then she brandished the Staff of Law. "The Lords strike back!" she howled furiously. "Samadhi is threatened! They dare!"

For that instant, she neglected her compulsion of the people around her.

It should be noted that, in a way, it is Mhoram's despair-resisting choice to attack which leads step by step to Covenant's freedom, which leads step by step back to Mhoram's victory. Life and death are too intimately intergrown. In an odd way, Mhoram helps himself, merely by making the attempt to strive. And so he was betimed with a wonder.

You can argue that he was the source of his own redemption. But I think that would be inaccurate. Too many other people had to make too many other choices, all positive, for all the credit to go to Mhoram. The only lesson you can take away is that striving and providence go hand in hand, complimenting each other rather than obviating each other. No one is sufficient for every crisis, but nor can you leave it to fate either.

hurtloam wrote:
one that let me know, reading the book for the first time, that Donaldson, as bleakly as he portrayed things, really would bring a happy ending to his Chronicles.

I find that to be an interesting observation.

hurtloam wrote:
This scene has a sort of echo, or aftershock, in the struggle of Linden, Stave, the Ranyhyn, and Jeremiah against Infelice in AATE.

Possibly the use of immobilis on this occassion, and on the former, tie them together in your mind.
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