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AATE, Part 1, Chapter 11 "Private Carrion"

 
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Which imaginary bug crawling on Linden creeps you out the most?
Spiders
18%
 18%  [ 2 ]
Centipedes
54%
 54%  [ 6 ]
Roaches
27%
 27%  [ 3 ]
Beetles
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 11

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:26 pm    Post subject: AATE, Part 1, Chapter 11 "Private Carrion" Reply with quote

"Saving Private Carrion" begins with a lengthy exposition of the horrors confronting allied troops as they stormed the beaches at Normandy.

Wait, no.

The beginning of this chapter is rooted in the company's realization that Esmer's betrayal has taken the form of a theurgical transit strike. The Ardent cannot magically whisk them away from the encroaching horror of She Who Must Not Be Named. The subtext being that there are no easy fixes for this kind of subterranean delving - not in the actual Land, and not in one's own psyche. There will be running, fighting and other various bits of hard work that must be done before free air is breathed again.

Stave has a nice line here: "Chosen. We must make the attempt. If we do not, we grant to Corruption a triumph which he has not yet won."

Whenever the company is in trouble, the solution is to act, somehow. To remain frozen in horror is not a viable option. Linden opts to trust the Wyanhim and ur-Viles, who are urging Linden and Friends to flee across the bridge and escape the <strike>Balrog</strike> nameless ladybane.

In the midst of the peril, everyone pauses to have an argument. The Ardent wants to save Jeremiah over all others, the Humbled want to save Covenant above all others, and everyone else wants to stick with Linden. Linden tries to pass the ring back to Covenant, but Esmer gives him the bad touch on the forehead and TC is gone into never-land again. Linden refuses to take back the ring, which remains in Stave's possession throughout the ensuing flight across the chasm.

At this point, Linden seems to fall prey to one of the enduring ideas of the entire series - that to hurt someone who has nothing, you give her back something broken. She has Covenant, but he is catatonic. She has Jeremiah, but he has a croyel riding piggyback. Her personal compass is spinning out of control. The chapter's title is clarified a bit with this line:

"After the battle of First Woodhelven, she had dreamed of being carrion. The bane made her feel that she was already dead; dead and rotting."

The bane is revealed to be a conglomeration of every betrayed and vengeful woman in the history of the Land, starting with Diassomer Mininderain. Symbolically, the bane seems to show us exactly what happens when someone like Linden breaks and learns despite - the text states that the bane is responsible for Kevin's Dirt, turned to the service of despair by the influence of Esmer and Kastenessen. Their once-strong love is corrupted to serve the Despiser.

Esmer lets slip the little nugget that the krill can kill him, and thus allow the company to escape by theurgy. The trade-off being that the croyel can escape without the blade at its neck. Coldspray gives Esmer a boot in the thorax that is very satisfying to the reader, but fails to free them all from his dampening effect.

As the slowest chase scene in the history of novels continues to unfold, Linden really begins to feel the presence of the bane. Without her ring, without the light of her staff, and carrying a crushing load of responsibility and guilt, she descends into a madness of imagined spiders, worms and other creepy-crawlies under her clothing. The source of her inner Despiser is mentioned again at this point: "She had killed her own mother. She deserved whatever happened to her." Linden thinks.

Throughout this time, her companions are exerting themselves cruelly to ensure escape. The Ardent, in spite of his fear, joins the ur-Viles and Waynhim in guarding the rear of the party. The giants literally run themselves ragged, carrying the average-sized folk as they flee. The others show her how to battle despite during this time, but her need is much more personal - she's battling her own failings and self-hatred.

Even after using earthpower to scour her body, she still feels it: "When she had burned them all to ash, however, she found that nothing had changed. The conviction that she had become carrion, that she bred only death - her true despair - lay too deep for any anodyne that she knew how to provide for herself."

Quite aside from Linden's personal nadir, the outside situation sucks pretty badly, as well. The skurj also appear, because one bane just isn't enough when you're in the Last Chrons. As hopeless as it all looks, Liand shouts to Linden that she must ACT! She combines her power with that offered by the rest of the company and manages to bring down part of the roof of the cavern, drowning (but not fatally) the skurj and the bane.

The chapter ends with Linden having gained a temporary reprieve from physical danger, but mired deeply in her personal hell. the final line of the chapter informs us that "Deep insider her, something fundamental had succumbed."
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an excellent recap, bossk. You've touched on many important things.

bossk wrote:
As the slowest chase scene in the history of novels continues to unfold

Indeed. Donaldson really messes up the pacing here. Not only with all the stopping and debating, which makes you question either the urgency of the situation or the intelligence of the characters. But also with narration that spends too long trying to describe what everyone, all twenty-something of them, are doing at all times. And what they are all feeling at all times, as well. Lastly, we have the (I'm afraid to say) standard Donaldson technique of approaching horrors that always seem to allow enough time to do something before they actually reach you.

I have to say, though, that in last night's re-read, it didn't seem as bad as I remember it. Maybe because it's been a few weeks since I put down the previous chapter. However, I am sure that on previous occassions I found myself skimming a lot in this part.

bossk wrote:
The others show her how to battle despite during this time, but her need is much more personal - she's battling her own failings and self-hatred.

True. But let's not underemphasis the role of SWMNBN here. The bane is causing these feelings. Like the raver-rats, the presence of so much evil brings out Linden's black feelings. Stave said it best, and it's something that needed to be stated so clearly for a while now.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"It is my thought that the strengths which have enabled her to exceed us time and again are also a weakness. Her discernment exposes her to the bane’s evil."

Exactly. As it was under the Sunbane, so it is with the She-bane. Linden's perceptions extend her mind far beyond the walls of her skull. But in doing so, her mind is exposed - it's unprotected from dangers that a more ordinary person would not face. Her percipience sees more, feels more ... and lets more in. Deeply in. (Note that the word 'sensitive' has two nuances: perceiving more, and being more affected by what one perceives.)

"Every weakness is a strength misapplied." Of course.

So what's going on is that SWMNBN is tickling the despair centers of Linden's brain with a pointy stick.

bossk wrote:
The bane is revealed to be a conglomeration of every betrayed and vengeful woman in the history of the Land, starting with Diassomer Mininderain.

Does anyone care to discuss how they visualize this? For some reason, I imagine that SWMNBN is monochromatic, shades from gold to black. Not sure where that comes from. However, I can't quite shake the feeling that I have seen something like this before, this faces emerging-and-disappearing thing. In a movie. Anyone got anything here?

bossk wrote:
Linden tries to pass the ring back to Covenant, but Esmer gives him the bad touch on the forehead and TC is gone into never-land again.

How significant! This can only mean that Linden is correct - that Covenant would not be blocked by Esmer, so Esmer has to take him out another way. ... Or does it mean something else?

bossk wrote:
Linden refuses to take back the ring, which remains in Stave's possession throughout the ensuing flight across the chasm.

This is totally off base here. But remember when Covenant gave Hile Troy the ring, and he was lighning-bolting inside of 3 seconds? I just want to imagine Stave kicking ass with the white gold here.

Can't happen, I know: Esmer. And perhaps Haruchai law would forbid Stave from using such a weapon. (But they will use a krill in a pinch, right?)

Or would Stave say, "I am Haruchai. I have no use for white gold" ?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
bossk wrote:
The others show her how to battle despite during this time, but her need is much more personal - she's battling her own failings and self-hatred.

True. But let's not underemphasis the role of SWMNBN here. The bane is causing these feelings. Like the raver-rats, the presence of so much evil brings out Linden's black feelings. Stave said it best, and it's something that needed to be stated so clearly for a while now.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"It is my thought that the strengths which have enabled her to exceed us time and again are also a weakness. Her discernment exposes her to the bane’s evil."

Exactly. As it was under the Sunbane, so it is with the She-bane. Linden's perceptions extend her mind far beyond the walls of her skull. But in doing so, her mind is exposed - it's unprotected from dangers that a more ordinary person would not face. Her percipience sees more, feels more ... and lets more in. Deeply in. (Note that the word 'sensitive' has two nuances: perceiving more, and being more affected by what one perceives.)

"Every weakness is a strength misapplied." Of course.

So what's going on is that SWMNBN is tickling the despair centers of Linden's brain with a pointy stick.



Good point. So much of Linden's internal processes are explored in these books that I didn't really notice that the bane catalyzed this response to that degree. And I could definitely say from my own experience of being human that most of my weaknesses proceed directly from the same sources as my strengths (e.g. I am really good at taking action to bring my ideas to fruition, including the really bad ones).
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, when you said "this is way off base", does that mean I read the passage wrong, or something else? I admit I often lost track of where the props were in this chapter, probably in part due to the pacing issues you mentioned.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bossk wrote:
Also, when you said "this is way off base", does that mean I read the passage wrong, or something else? I admit I often lost track of where the props were in this chapter, probably in part due to the pacing issues you mentioned.

Sorry. I meant, "This is thinking way outside the story." Because there's no chance of Stave using the ring IMHO. But it's fun for a moment to wonder about the kickassedness of his doing it.

Suppose it was Bannor, and not Hile Troy, who had demanded Covenant's ring on Gallows Howe in order to rescue Elena. Wildwood would not have stopped him. He wasn't blind like Troy. And a Haruchai has no shortage of well-controlled passion with which to empower wild magic. In short, Elena would have been as good as saved.

Yet it didn't happen. Wondering why, I think, can lead to an insight.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haruchai culture discourages weapons or lore, in part because such things can be turned against their wielder. This is why they rely almost exclusively on their own considerable competence. Bannor would not -- no Bloodguard would -- consider using the ring. That Korik and his companions undertook to carry the Illearth Stone fragment (their original intent was to just carry it to Revelstone, that it not fall into unwise hands and so the Lords might have opportunity to study it) was a subsequent grave error that reinforced this point.

Now, in the Last Chrons, this fundamental attribute of Haruchai is still present...Galt's use of the krill to control the croyel notwithstanding. As WF said, for Stave to use the ring would be inconsistent with the Haruchai ethic we have come to expect. Fun to consider, though.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Does anyone care to discuss how they visualize this? For some reason, I imagine that SWMNBN is monochromatic, shades from gold to black. Not sure where that comes from. However, I can't quite shake the feeling that I have seen something like this before, this faces emerging-and-disappearing thing. In a movie. Anyone got anything here?


Afraid I haven't been rereading, but I also imagined SHE as a sort of rolling cloud or dust storm, predominantly monochrome but also with storm like colours (muddy orange/yellow etc) - the faces and features of those poor women consumed would appear fleetingly in the formation of the leading edge of the rolling cloud/storm.

Also feels like a common type of scenario that I must have seen in films too. He Who Must Not Be Named (but often is) appears a bit like this briefly in the first Harry Potter film when he sweeps through Harry as an apparition at the very end (after Prof Quirrell is dead). But there must be better examples?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

bossk wrote:
As the slowest chase scene in the history of novels continues to unfold

Indeed. Donaldson really messes up the pacing here. Not only with all the stopping and debating, which makes you question either the urgency of the situation or the intelligence of the characters. But also with narration that spends too long trying to describe what everyone, all twenty-something of them, are doing at all times. And what they are all feeling at all times, as well.


This, I think, is a valid criticism at various points in the book - I get the impression that SRD has amassed a cast of characters that is a bit beyond his control - or at least he wants to do justice to all of them and feels obliged to keep trying to let us know what they are all thinking and doing - but the result is just to slow the pacing and lose the reader's attention (and try their patience) at various points in the book.

However, I also found this less of an issue on my second read through - maybe I was more willing to tolerate it the second time, knowing it was there and being in less of a rush to get on with the plot.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam wrote:
Haruchai culture discourages weapons or lore, in part because such things can be turned against their wielder. This is why they rely almost exclusively on their own considerable competence.

Agreed. But then again they do use weapons at need. On the dromond, they weilded whips in order to fend off the eels. In AATE, they are using the krill. I think that there are some other examples we could find if we wrack our brains.

So the Haurchai may have a disdain for weapons, but it doesn't seem to get in the way of their practical side.

Barnetto wrote:
Afraid I haven't been rereading, but I also imagined SHE as a sort of rolling cloud or dust storm, predominantly monochrome but also with storm like colours (muddy orange/yellow etc)

Hmm... good idea. Maybe that's what I remember seeing.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They definitely use weapons when physical contact is harmful. Fighting the grim or skest requires an extension of the body that can be destroyed in the attempt.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Grim. Yes, of course, another example.

You say, when physical contact is harmful. Is it that, really? They have harmed themselves many times in service to those they protect.

Or does their sufficiency demand that they do what is necessary? A Haruchai that doesn't kill himself destroying the first Grimflake lives to get the second.

If the latter ... it suggests that a Haruchai might use the ring if there was no other way to protect (for example) Covenant.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the bloodguard are definitely not above using whatever tool meets the needs of the moment. The following shows that they do use or force the use of powers.

Forcing the use of the ring:
Quote:
“We are the Bloodguard.” Bannor’s voice was almost inaudible through the loud lust of the Cavewights. “We cannot permit this end.”

Firmly, he took Covenant’s hand and placed it on the Staff of Law, midway between Prothall’s straining knuckles.

Quote:
Then he was snatched to his feet, hauled erect by Bannor. The Bloodguard gripped him with compelling fingers, and shouted at him through the tumult, “Save her!”

“I can’t!” The pain of his reply made him yell. Bannor’s demand rubbed so much salt into the wound of his essential futility that he could hardly bear it. “I cannot!”

“You must!” Bannor’s grasp allowed no alternatives.
...
On his wedding finger, his ring throbbed ferrule, pulsed with power and light like a potent instrument panting to be used.


Forcing the use of the orcrest:
Quote:
“Ur-Lord, you must use the orcrest.” His voice echoed with authority through the silence.


And finally using it himself when Covenant could no longer serve as a conduit of the power so Bannor could stay a step from it himself.
Quote:
He wrapped his legs around Covenant’s waist, snatched the orcrest from him. Clutching the stone as if to sustain himself with it, Bannor clamped his other hand over Covenant’s nose and mouth.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arguably the consequences of the decision by Korik etc to take the piece of the Illearth stone and make use of it against Lord Foul may have made the Haruchai more steadfast in their opposition to the use of external powers - which may provide some explanation for Banner's slightly more open approach to the Staff/Orcrest that you quote above?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
The Grim. Yes, of course, another example.

You say, when physical contact is harmful. Is it that, really? They have harmed themselves many times in service to those they protect.

Or does their sufficiency demand that they do what is necessary? A Haruchai that doesn't kill himself destroying the first Grimflake lives to get the second.

If the latter ... it suggests that a Haruchai might use the ring if there was no other way to protect (for example) Covenant.


That's definitely the way I see it. They'll use flails and handfuls of grass and whatever else is at hand, but if a flake gets past, and the only way to stop it is to jab a foot in front of the flake, they'll do it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend -your description made me think of the "Mark of Gideon" episode in the (original) Star Trek series.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

:googles: Ah, yes, a TV screen filled with green faces. Yes, I see the resemblance.

Sometimes I wonder if I am thinking of this. Except with more faces.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Does anyone care to discuss how they visualize this? For some reason, I imagine that SWMNBN is monochromatic, shades from gold to black. Not sure where that comes from. However, I can't quite shake the feeling that I have seen something like this before, this faces emerging-and-disappearing thing. In a movie. Anyone got anything here?


Wasn't there a moiling black and gold face cloud in Green Lantern?

edit - found a linky
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdtRAxwUQD4
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stutty wrote:
Wasn't there a moiling black and gold face cloud in Green Lantern?

I guess so, but I had read the book before I had seen that movie. I'll figure this out one day ...
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