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AATE, Part 2, Chapter 4: Attempts Must Be Made

 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:19 am    Post subject: AATE, Part 2, Chapter 4: Attempts Must Be Made Reply with quote

Attempts Must Be Made

"Attempts must be made, even when there can be no hope. The alternative is despair. And betimes some wonder is wrought to redeem us."

When faced with the prospect of battle, and you must steal yourself to stand up for what you believe in, "Attempts must be made" sounds valorous.

But when the battle is over, and your friends are lying dead on the ground, you realize that "Attempts must be made" is a hard, cold, and terrible philosophy.

This chapter begins with Liand lying slain by Kastenessen, Anele retreated into Galesend's armor clutching the orcrest, Covenant fallen into his past, three Joan-cast caesures gibbering down upon the company, and Linden's magic gone black.

If this is preferable to despair, the difference seems slim.

A fourth caesure attacks. A fifth; a sixth. Then Joan is done.

Only Linden can save them from such an assault. But for a moment, Linden remains too overcome to act. Horror and grief.

Then Bhapa rushes to her side, applies amanibhavam. In a blink, Linden becomes a conflagration.

Quote:
Crying curses as if they were the Seven Words, she flung dire Earthpower and Law like a shriek into the abomination which threatened Bhapa.

Perhaps she extinguished it. Perhaps she failed. She did not wait to observe the outcome. Like a surgeon surrounded by carnage, she did not pause to check her work or watch for intimations of survival. With Stave’s help, she whirled away.

A black conflagration.

Quote:
Her Staff was a streak of midnight in Linden’s hands as she wheeled it around her head; lashed ebon fire like the scourge of a titan in every direction. Her theurgy had changed, but she did not feel the difference. It was an exact reflection of her spirit.

Blinded by fury and woe, she did not know whether she snuffed the Falls, any of them. Her own flame consumed her. Moments ago, she had been helpless; paralyzed. She had simply watched while Liand was slain; watched and done nothing. But if Lord Foul, or Joan, or Roger, or any abhorrent bane had stood before her now, she would have striven to tear them apart.

I perceive only that her need for death is great.

God damn right!

Shouting accompanied her grief-stricken rage, her inconsolable slash of flame. She may have been yelling herself. The only voices that she could hear clearly were the cries and excoriation of She Who Must Not Be Named’s victims. Around herself and her companions and the ridgecrest, she created a whirlwind to answer the seethe and distortion of the Falls. But she no longer knew what she did. Exalted or broken by pain and loss, she whipped blackness into the dark heavens until it seemed to erase the stars.

Finally, Stave gets her attention. It is done. The caesures have been erased.

Oh, Linden. What have you done?

Who is this Linden who shrieks her rage at the skies in this way?

This is more like Covenant, inflamed with venom, ripping down the Sandhold, blasting the cavern of the One Tree, defending himself against raver wasps before the gates of Revelstone. His power also turned black before the end. Power when all restraint has been cast aside, and passion has efaced control.

Is this what the black power implies? Power without control?

When the threat of caesures has been removed, there is more time to consider the death of Liand. And the topic among Linden's Army turns, once again, to blame. Linden blames herself for not attending to Anele's gestures for the orcrest, and for putting Liand in the path of harm. The Giants attempt to dispell her self-recriminations. Mahrtiir, too, speaks out against blame.

Quote:
“Hear me well, Ringthane,” Mahrtiir demanded through his teeth. “You tread paths prepared for you by Fangthane’s malice. Speaking of fault, you bind yourself to his service.”

One cannot help but contrast this argument about blame, with the earlier argument stemming from manner of Elena's posthumous demise. In both cases, Mahrtiir was central to the case being made. Earlier, blame attached to choices made that blindly led to harm. And yet in this case, Linden should be spared responsibility for the outcome. What factor accounts for this difference? Perhaps it was in the kinds of choices made. In the end, Liand chose his own actions, Linden did not choose for him. And ignoring Anele's signals was not a real choice, but merely being imperfect and distracted.

Then, finally, Pahni steps forwards, to make demands of Linden, and break everyone's hearts.

Quote:
“Ringthane!” she cried: a ragged shout rife with imminent hysteria. “Restore him!”

But Linden cannot. Liand is not here.

Pahni flees. A Ramen runs her grief away. The other Ramen join her.

Next, the Humbled speak. They do not want Anele to keep the Sunstone. Earthpower is bad. Just look at Linden's black power. But once again, Linden argues the Masters out of their intent against Anele. If Anele had had the orcrest all along, he could not have been possessed.

And also, this.

Quote:
For all she knew, Covenant had urged the doom of the Sunstone on Liand so that it would eventually be inherited by Anele. The old man certainly could not have found or taken the orcrest for himself. The Masters would never have allowed it.

Another indication that what has happened, as dire and as grief-laden as these events are, might all be important steps in a plan conceived and executed by the Timewarden. Did Covenant not orchestrate Jeremiah's release, and then advocate for an attempt to free him of the croyel? The faint threads of cause and effect that begin with Covenant's acts all lead to Jeremiah, as if he sat in the middle of a spider web of fate.

Now the Giants leave the others to build a cairn for Liand. Giant's can exhaust their grief away, when they cannot burn it.

Linden must attend to her grief as well. She is finally alone with Liand's body, with no one pressing some concern upon her.

Quote:
There is hope in contradiction.

Maybe that was true. But she could not see it. Her only consolation was that Jeremiah did not belong to Lord Foul. If he had indeed been claimed, as the Despiser apparently believed, he would not need to hide his thoughts in graves.

Later, when all the companions are gathered again, Anele gains everyone's attention. Despite the orcrest, he does not appear sane. In fact, he appears to be very stressed out. He's not letting the orcrest make him sane. Instead: "Anele fears." But we don't know what, now, he is so scared of. Just that "He fears to fail - and to succeed." Apparently he sees some difficult task coming.

Then Linden's needs overcome her, and she cannot help but sit with and hold the vacant Covenant. He doesn't resist, he is not present. But she doesn't let this come between them. She gets close, and spends some time with her love.

Quote:
Some time later, her hopes were answered. The wedding band between her breasts began to emit a gentle heat, responding naturally to his need. And soon the ring’s soft warmth eased his chill.

In the pantheon of the Land, does the ring now represent the love Linden and Thomas have for each other?

More time passes. More time than anyone can afford. The Ramen return. The Giants finish. And the companions ascend a slope to view how Liand has been honored.

No one has any idea what to do next.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked DAM! Now that's what a dissection looks like people! How can you be a Donaldson fan and not be moved by that!!!??? I saw Linden as Moses whipping around a snake-I was ready to raise my hand and accept TC as my personal savior! Hallelujah!

Especially liked "three Joan-cast caesures gibbering down". Very good points about Liand, Anele the Masters and the orcrest. Without skimming back over the chapter I had forgotten that key interplay...BRAVO!!!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really nice one, Wayfriend. Keep meaning to give this a worthy reply, but been so busy! But, very nicely done.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great dissection - needless to say!

Another explanation for Mahrtiir's "double standards" might simply be natural bias! He is after all dedicated to Linden and a fully paid up member of her fanbase. In contrast, he (like all the Ramen) are very much cautious of TC (inevitably they dislike the fact the Ranyhyn reared to him etc). So he is willing to look kindly on Linden's actions and negate her self-blame whilst withholding the same sympathetic treatment of TC's behaviour.

Personally I'm very much looking forward to seeing how the grief of Pahni plays out in the remainder of the Chronicles - the Ramen are very proud, direct, uncompromising people and it is going to be very difficult to suppress the grating grief that Pahni feels. Can she, as Liand professed, make something positive of his sacrifice?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barnetto wrote:
Another explanation for Mahrtiir's "double standards" might simply be natural bias!

Yeah, I thought about that. But that undermines Mahrtiir's credibility, doesn't it? And if so, it follows that anything that Donaldson wishes to say to the reader about guilt is similarly undermined - by taking two opposing positions at the same time, he makes them both weak and feigned. (Feigned in the sense that his character believes it, but he the author does not.)

And if he's not trying to say anything at all about guilt ... why all the pages dedicated to it?

It may be that this is all background material for something that will happen later. In which case, we'll go aha! and it'll all make sense.

But in the mean time, the part of me that has faith in Donaldson tells me to look for a way in which both positions can be true, and that finding this "eye of the paradox" is one of the things the FCs are about.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Barnetto wrote:
Another explanation for Mahrtiir's "double standards" might simply be natural bias!

Yeah, I thought about that. But that undermines Mahrtiir's credibility, doesn't it? And if so, it follows that anything that Donaldson wishes to say to the reader about guilt is similarly undermined - by taking two opposing positions at the same time, he makes them both weak and feigned. (Feigned in the sense that his character believes it, but he the author does not.)

And if he's not trying to say anything at all about guilt ... why all the pages dedicated to it?

It may be that this is all background material for something that will happen later. In which case, we'll go aha! and it'll all make sense.

But in the mean time, the part of me that has faith in Donaldson tells me to look for a way in which both positions can be true, and that finding this "eye of the paradox" is one of the things the FCs are about.


There's also a strong possibility that Mhartir (and the other Linden supporters for that matter) support Linden more because they can see she needs their support more, that she is more vulnerable and fragile than Covenant. If Mhartir criticized her like he did Covenant she might break down completely instead of being galvanized like Covenant was in that instance.

We should note however that Mahrtir seems drawn to Covenant more than to Linden in this book. I think he sees a reflection of himself in Covenant.
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