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Is Covenant redeemable in the #MeToo era?

 
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Shuram Gudatetris
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:51 am    Post subject: Is Covenant redeemable in the #MeToo era? Reply with quote

It occurs to me that when I next re-read the Chronicles, I will see them in a new light.

Flashy headline, but not much to say, I guess.

I just realized that maybe the Despisor chose to send Covenant to Kevin's Watch as a means to try to trap Covenant. He chose Lena as a temptation.

It also occurs to me that maybe the Creator picked Covenant as his best hope to destroy the Land. He just wanted it done, and gone, and over with. The Creator is trying to destroy it, because it is ruined. Foul is trying to preserve it, because he likes the power. With the White Gold, Foul could probably escape and preserve the Land.

Maybe leprosy is a metaphor.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha this is an interesting question .. my guess is on the first .. or the thread title he absolutely wouldnt survive the metoo movement, next in random order .. leprosy is definitely a metaphor.. of sooo much, of ruin, decay, necrosis, despair incarnate ..

Interestingly I never thought of the Creator choosing Covenant for his destructive potential. But its been years since I last read the chrons.

Foul certainly enjoyed power but the lands .. well more accurately the AoTs preservation was not in Fouls interest though .. so not sure he was at all keen on the lands preservation.

Escape, liberation and mischief were definitely more Fouls ambitions and what drove him.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Chronicles will be fine. Covenant's deeds were supposed to be horrible. If anything, #metoo will help more people see it the way the author meant it.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Id be interested in Donaldsons perspective.. Im sure at some point Ive read it but I no longer recall it but for the fact that it .. the rape of Lena .. was a representation of everything TChad lost, been stripped from him and had defiled him.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: Is Covenant redeemable in the #MeToo era? Reply with quote

Shuram Gudatetris wrote:

It also occurs to me that maybe the Creator picked Covenant as his best hope to destroy the Land. He just wanted it done, and gone, and over with. The Creator is trying to destroy it, because it is ruined. Foul is trying to preserve it, because he likes the power. With the White Gold, Foul could probably escape and preserve the Land.


Or the Creator wishes the "real world" gone and done with - Lord Foul's ace in the hole.
The First Ward exonerates any reality to the rape of Lena. Unfortunately for Covenant unbelief rules.
On the other hand, the introduction of the "magic bullit" in the Last Chronicles renders even Kevin's seven wards as moot.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im not sure I follow 🤔

Though Id like to .. the real world as in our world? The Creator demonstrated no indication of wanting to destroy TCs reality. Tbh even to the god of the Land our reality served the Creators purpose .. in the least it was a place he could source actors ie TC, HT, LA etc. Foul himself sourced actors for his purposes also JC et al.

Id like to hear more of your take .. I ashamedly concede I havent reread the chrons in their entirety since the last chrons came out. Mmmm must do that.

Also how did the first ward exhoberate TC re the rape of Lena. To my mind TCs state of mind exhoberates him re the rape of Lena. But Im interested in your point, if you can expand on it.

And I cant recall enough about the last chrons but what magic bullit? Joan? Struggling to recall lol 😂 .. but Im interested in how that made Kevins seven wards moot. Fair enough Kevins actions were steeped in reactionaryism .. ie the Oath of Peace .. but can you explain the view you have.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the context of the story Thomas Covenant the author would unquestionably be impacted if it were revealed to the metoo era book buying public that he committed the aforementioned crimes, regardless of where or under what circumstances they occurred. His career would be over. However TC wouldn't give a crap and would actively campaign to have himself arrested on any applicable charges to justify his feelings of guilt for Lena, her entire family and the Land at large.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skyweir wrote:
Id be interested in Donaldsons perspective..


In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Well, "rape" is obviously a theme of mine. It's an apt metaphor for evil. Given enough time (and the inclination, which I lack), I could argue that virtually any act that might plausibly be called evil can be described as a form of rape.

(05/06/2004)

- - - - - - - - - -

My intent in creating Thomas Covenant was to explore a character who--in every sense that matters--literally "could go either way." A character balanced (by necessity) on the knife-edge of love and Despite. I don't consider him either "amoral" or an "anti-hero": I consider him *conflicted*. His rape of Lena--like his later repentance--and his eventual acceptance of responsbility--is an expression of that conflict.

(05/25/2005)

- - - - - - - - - - -

<sigh> This keeps coming up. And God knows I can understand why. But I always want to ask: how have I failed to demonstrate a) the thematic revelance (even the thematic necessity) of Covenant's crime? and b) the enduring consequences of such violence? You say, "His character as a leper already puts all the hardcore emotions needed at his disposal." I disagree. In my view, "his character as a leper" casts him in the role of "victim"--and that is decidedly *not* where I want him. I want the reader to see that he is in truth a potential Despiser; or that he has already assumed the role of the Despiser. Otherwise there's no story.

A bit of narrative theory. (All such theories have severe limitations, but they also offer useful insights.) There are really only three roles that a character can play in a story: Victim, Victimizer, and Rescuer. And what makes the difference between what I think of as Real Stories and mere plot spinning is this: in a Real Story, characters change roles because of what happens to them. So Covenant starts out as a pure Victim. But I happen to think that being a Victim (or even thinking of oneself as a Victim) naturally inclines a person to become a Victimizer. Being cast in the role of Victim is morally damaging; and that damage tends to breed a desire to impose Victim-hood on someone else. Hence the rape of Lena.

To my way of thinking, however, the really interesting question is not how a Victim becomes a Victimizer, but rather how either a Victim or a Victimizer becomes a Rescuer. How does a human being find the resources to step away from that kind of damage (Victim or Victimizer) in order to become the opponent of damage? This theme manifests itself in one form or another in virtually everything I write.

(Sidebar: of course, there are plenty of Real Stories out there that deal with how Rescuers become Victims or Victimizers. But that doesn't seem to be my natural theme.)

Another way to look at this whole question is to think of "rape" as a metaphor for all forms of violation and betrayal, emotional, psychological, and spiritual as well as physical. And in those terms, I don't know anyone who isn't guilty of "rape." Speaking purely for myself, I've been on the receiving end of metaphorical "rapes" many times. Sometimes I've engaged in such actions myself, with or without provocation. Sometimes I've responded to the "rape" by holding myself to a higher standard of conduct--but I've done so entirely without forgiving the "rapist." And sometimes, just sometimes, I've both held myself to a higher standard of conduct *and* learned how to forgive my "rapist." (Which is, of course, the only road that leads to the place where I might be able to forgive myself.) Considering my own actions, I can only hope that the people I've "raped" (deliberately or inadvertently) will find it in their hearts to forgive *me*.

(06/16/2005)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Wayfriend

Some very interesting and astute points. I can see his perspective.. but not truly in full. Maybe we do all violate others, rape others from that perspective .. but thats a slightly different concept re rape.

But yes I see his character shift re TC. I think its a valuable and effective tool .. and tbh a key character AND story element. Clearly invokes a lot of thought, discussion and debate. Which to my mind is of value.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skyweir wrote:
but thats a slightly different concept re rape.

I am sure it is. I think Donaldson's metaphorical rape has more to do with taking away someone's ability to choose. Hence the particular importance of possession in the story.

In the larger picture, the Chronicles, all of them, is about how to be an effectual human when the world conspires to make you futile. (Hence the emphasis on power, strength, adequacy and importance -- and powerlessness, weakness, futility, and unimportance.) And the secret?

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
self-mastery (the ability to choose one's own thoughts and emotions) is the only truly human form of power.

Hence the inclusion of rape and possession - of taking away choices - in the story, and their association with evil. It even, indirectly, necessitates wild magic. (But I have written about that elsewhere.)
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

wayfriend wrote:
Skyweir wrote:
but thats a slightly different concept re rape.

I am sure it is. I think Donaldson's metaphorical rape has more to do with taking away someone's ability to choose. Hence the particular importance of possession in the story.

[...]


This seems relevant to SRD's Calvinist upbringing with regard to Irresistible Grace (i.e. the "Holy Rape of the Soul").
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If so, then I suspect Donaldson would be counted on the Against side.

Perhaps he might even tweet #metoo, but in a far more theological sense than others.

#yetoo ?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

wayfriend wrote:
If so, then I suspect Donaldson would be counted on the Against side.

[...]


Sho'nuff.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Skyweir wrote:
but thats a slightly different concept re rape.

I am sure it is. I think Donaldson's metaphorical rape has more to do with taking away someone's ability to choose. Hence the particular importance of possession in the story.

In the larger picture, the Chronicles, all of them, is about how to be an effectual human when the world conspires to make you futile. (Hence the emphasis on power, strength, adequacy and importance -- and powerlessness, weakness, futility, and unimportance.) And the secret?

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
self-mastery (the ability to choose one's own thoughts and emotions) is the only truly human form of power.

Hence the inclusion of rape and possession - of taking away choices - in the story, and their association with evil. It even, indirectly, necessitates wild magic. (But I have written about that elsewhere.)


Wow yes 👌

And sexuality is an incredibly powerful vehicle to use given the conflict and battle between potency and impotency.. control and self control .. mastery and subject umm ness? slavishry??

Ok that might not be at all clear lol 😂 but I have it in my head but am missing the absolute right vocabulary or descriptors 🤦‍♀️ I shall return with a better explanation 😬
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rape has been considered wrong far longer than the Me Too movement. Centuries longer.

I don't really think the Me Too movement is about rape, is it? Has any accuser (other than Bill Clinton's) accused literal rape? I thought it was about unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment of an employee or subordinate by a boss, or someone in position to pressure you to accept the sexual advances given the stakes of losing an opportunity and/or job. The point of the Me Too movement was that for too long, such activities were swept under the rug, even when in plain sight (again: Bill Clinton), because they were deemed as just "part of the system," or because the acts weren't literally crimes (e.g. Joe Biden creepy hair-sniffing).

Rape is a crime. We've never had a societal pressure to cover up or make excuses for literal rape.

I think TC's story of redemption is not touched by this whatsoever.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It also means that adding a rape scene to a book for entertainment purposes should not be tolerated.

Not that this is what Donaldson has done. But it can mean that people are less willing to approach this story if they don't have the full picture.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that the same moral standards for acting in the real world should apply to fictional scenarios, even for 'merely' entertainment purposes ( aren't all stories for entertainment?). That's like saying that video games should not allow you to shoot anyone. Or, that you can't have a thief as a likeable, charming character. There is nothing wrong with being entertained by fictional evil. I don't think it would be appropriate to go around Force choking your coworkers, but I love seeing Vader do it!
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL

Yep pretty much agree .. and choking colleagues likely wouldnt go down all that well.

There is definitely a distinction here .. but even if we judged TC .. he likely wouldnt be guilty of actual rape, given his state of mind. Yes he caused harm .. thats irrefutable. But he literally did not believe the Land existed.

Plus impotent in the real world re his leprosy wasnt he? But not so much in the Land.

Tbh it would have been a mind blowing experience being translated to another world .. and experiencing feeling that was previously numb to him. Poor bastard.

To TC it was a dreamscape .. and in dreams we dabble in all sorts of shit we most certainly would not in our real worlds.

But yes in Lenas reality she was absolutely violated, raped.

As to the #metoo movement it is about all the things you describe Z but it is also about sexual assault and rape. In fact when it was first declared the movement encouraged women who had experienced sexual assault or harassment to identify themselves with the Tagline #metoo.

To draw attention to the fact that many women live with the reality of sexual assault and harassment in the work life, upbringings and personal lives. It started out as a positive to counter the stigma that prevents many victims from coming forward and has evolved into arguably quite an unwieldy beast.
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