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The Narrative of the Chrons
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peter
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:25 am    Post subject: The Narrative of the Chrons Reply with quote

I started thinking about how The Last Chrons actually hangs together - I mean what was going on and how one event leads to another - and started coming up against brick walls. It's not that I think there is no rational narrative structure - I just think perhaps there is so many interacting elements that it's not clear exactly what is meant to be going on and what effect is precipitated by what cause etc.

If for example I take 2C, I can sum it up pretty simply: LF coerces TC back to the Land in order to envenom him [via the Sunbane induced sickness] to the point where either he destroys the Arch through lack of controll or is forced to hand over his ring to prevent this. The Creator once again slips a wild card ino the mix in the form of Linden and the Elohim direct all toward the reforming of a new Staff of Law with which the Land might be healed post TC's 'defeat' of LF. Here you can see in amongst this framework, what causes lead to what effects and how it all directs toward the end point which it ultimately arrives at.

I'm struggling to do the same for the final series. What for example was Fouls intention this time in forceing Linden back to the Land - I guess to make her reincarnate TC so that the Worm would be awakened and the World/Arch destroyed. What then about Joan and Rodger and the ceasure's - what about Kevins Dirt and Kastennesen and SWMNBN. Presumably these are set abroad to create so much havoc that Linden feels forced into contemplating and performing the vastly irresponsible and hazardous act of raising TC from the dead. What then with the insequant - are they the Creators 'joker in the pack' this time, or are they trully just some really clever people who happen to be in the right place at the right time and have enough of a handle on what is transpiring to get in there and change the course of events a bit [actually alot when you think that via their coaching of Berek they actually started the whole thing of].

I guess TC had to imbibe LF to be able to recreate the World after the Worm had destroyed it. The Elohim had to be on hand to put it back to sleep. Rodger, Joan, Kasty, the cesures, Kev's Dirt - well, see above. Anele - there to free Jerry from the Croyel; Jerry - there to build the structure that would save the Elohim and to help rebuilding the shattered World; Esmer...er...there to [something to do with manacles that I forget] for the purpous [which I also forget] and Longwrath there ultimately to kill Esmer or Kastennesen - Damn I've lost it ......

Question; for those of us who read at the narrative level and who [unlike me] can keep all the elements of the narrative in the air at once - does it all hang together. Can all the plot elements be fused into a cause and effect structure that leads ultimately to the end point reached. I can't seem to do it but it would be nice to know that it is there. [Alternatively is there really no place for us in the metaphorical/psychological/allegorical fable that the Chrons finally evolved into {and I can handle this if it indeed is the case}.]
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think if you take the Split Protagonists perspective of AATE and into much of TLD, Linden and TC go separate paths, in there you may perceive narrative making sense. While we are with just Linden, a thematic Motif is explored. While we are with TC, another thematic Motif is explored. And eventually, of course, these characters as well as the Thematic Motifs are " married". In classic Surreal manner tho, by end, plot is reduced to non sequitor and the Metaphor becomes all important. Why? Because the message has always been in the metaphor. I can only suggest to try to perceive the characters as " concepts". Esmer mite be " contradiction" or even chaos for example. Notice the words the author uses in describing the character and from them discern a defining. I mean,,even in TLD, the story teller say..well, that as much as TC can do here, for now. So the walls are nothing more than,,to be continued..or..meanwhile, over here this is happening..etc.

Donaldson has said it plain as day and on numerous occasions. He wants " Fantasy" literature to be taken serious and respected as legitimate English Literature. The way for that to happen is to use every discipline, every technique, every " trick" of the craft in the writing. And maybe even invent a new one or two. The non linear perspective Donaldson plays with a lot .

So, from Donaldson's own words and ambitions one can expect the full exploration of " dimensions" with his work. I mean,,you can't expect to be taken for serious English Literature if you can't escape the comic book level of Plot and character...Thats the problem with so much of the Fantasy " hack and slash" genre. It doesn't get any deeper than plot . Donaldson's TCoTC strives for deeper explorations of ..what it is to be a human being...And amazingly,,progresses the perspective over his life time, giving us the sense of " Alive, Evolving, Growing, etc...Mankind, a Human Being, is not stagnant...So neither should we be stagnant.

My point and I think SRD's wish is,,if you feel his work is beyond you, see that as okay, and just an opportunity to grow. All of us have that opportunity for ever. This web site exists to facilitate our understanding and thus our growth.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject: Re: The Narrative of the Chrons Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I started thinking about how The Last Chrons actually hangs together - I mean what was going on and how one event leads to another - and started coming up against brick walls. It's not that I think there is no rational narrative structure - I just think perhaps there is so many interacting elements that it's not clear exactly what is meant to be going on and what effect is precipitated by what cause etc...

...Question; for those of us who read at the narrative level and who [unlike me] can keep all the elements of the narrative in the air at once - does it all hang together. Can all the plot elements be fused into a cause and effect structure that leads ultimately to the end point reached. I can't seem to do it but it would be nice to know that it is there. [Alternatively is there really no place for us in the metaphorical/psychological/allegorical fable that the Chrons finally evolved into {and I can handle this if it indeed is the case}.]
Peter, short answer... no, it doesn't all hang together.

I partly agree with Lurch here - Shocked whoda thunk? - when he says:-
lurch wrote:
While we are with just Linden, a thematic Motif is explored. While we are with TC, another thematic Motif is explored. And eventually, of course, these characters as well as the Thematic Motifs are " married". In classic Surreal manner tho, by end, plot is reduced to non sequitor and the Metaphor becomes all important. Why? Because the message has always been in the metaphor. I can only suggest to try to perceive the characters as " concepts".
And equally, lurch is actually agreeing with the point you made. Okay, I'd dispute the Surrealist take, but he's right when he talks about the LCs being all about the thematic, the plot being reduced (an uwittingly good word, I'd say) to non-sequitur, the metaphor being the only important thing and the protagonists being no more and no less than concepts.

All the above means that, if you're looking to be satisfied by the narrative level, you're in for a disappointment.

However, here's something that Lurch said that I strongly disagree with:-
lurch wrote:
I mean,,you can't expect to be taken for serious English Literature if you can't escape the comic book level of Plot and character...Thats the problem with so much of the Fantasy " hack and slash" genre. It doesn't get any deeper than plot.
There's no need for the two separate demands of superficial narrative cohesion and more profound thematic significance to be mutually exclusive. It's the seamless and engrossing melding of vehicle and message that the most adept allegories achieve - and there are many to be found within "serious English literature", which can be enjoyed and appreciated by the reader on either level - but hopefully both. Sadly, TLD isn't amongst them, IMO.

Lurch again states that:-
lurch wrote:
Donaldson has said it plain as day and on numerous occasions. He wants " Fantasy" literature to be taken serious and respected as legitimate English Literature. The way for that to happen is to use every discipline, every technique, every " trick" of the craft in the writing.
Maybe so, but in my view, this is exactly (and sadly) what SRD didn't do in the LCs. Sure, he placed an extreme focus on the symbolic, but unfortunately in so doing discarded the more basic - but to me equally crucial - "disciplines and techniques" revolving around crafting the narrative.

I'm nigh on certain that this was intentional on the part of SRD... I mean, TcoTC do represent his magnum opus and he as author seems to have made a conscious decision to abandon the strictures of cohesive narrative logic pretty much throughout the LCs, but notably in TLD, in favour of a move towards a more pure symbolism (as opposed to allegory). Many may - and clearly do - find this entirely satisfying and I concede that if, like the author, the reader is solely intent upon the message and the thematic treatment of concepts, then this will be more than enough. However, for those looking for a skilfully crafted piece of narrative that hangs together in its own rights, then this is not going to satisfy.

I'm kind of in both camps - I think I get the message regarding the more metaphysical, the more thematic/conceptual and that's both interesting and profound. However, the authorial decision to almost abandon narrative logic leaves me cold - it leaves the LCs feeling a little like a one-dimensional puppet show used to front a lecture (albeit a lecture on lofty topics).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are two very well phrased and very helpfull responses and my thanks for the time taken on them.

Lurch it would be a real help if briefly you could outline [if it can be done briefly - if not don't worry] what you see as the respective 'thematic motif's' of Linden and TC you refer to; this at least may give me a starting point into the 'deeper levels of the last Chrons which is currently eluding me. I totally get the possibility that it may well be that where the Chrons went might indeed be a bridge to far for me and yes - it is ok. [Professor Bloom once wrote re the poet Emily Dickinson I think, that you just have to accept that the complexity of her work means that some people will forever be barred from insight and understanding and the same may indeed pertain here.] As you state, the Watch is here for the very purpose of shedding light into SRD's 'magnum Opus.

In respect of the need for ever increasing levels of depth and complexity in order to qualify as literature worthy of being taken seriously I would stand closer I think to TheFallens position that certainly, and by all means, introduce these deeper levels to your hearts content - but the continuity and logic of 'the surface level' must surely be maintained and if in the Last Chrons [and of course the jury is still out on this] this has been sacrificed, it must be viewd as a failing, whether done deliberately or not. [granted, different types of failing depending on which is the case, but failings never the less - and again there is no shame in reaching for an ideal that turns out to be beyond your grasp].

I would however ask how we are to view such works as 'The Wind In The Willows', AA Milne's Pooh Bear books and indeed TLOTR itself if we exclude books where the message is at or close to the surface from our definition of what may be considered as worthy of being taken seriously

{ps - By the time I post again I will understand what a non sequiter is and why reduced is the appropriate adjective[?] to apply to it in this case}
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course the story all hangs together!

Briefly: Linden, summoned to the Land, goes on a quest to rescue her son. Covenant, as Time Warden, induces her to resurrect him to accomplish this, because he is ultimately responsible for the fate of the Land. The cost of this act is the rousing of the Worm. But doing this makes it possible to rescue her son. Jeremiah comes into his power, and Linden achieves what she has always desired for her son. Covenant and Linden finally join their lives. And Foul is finally properly resolved. Accomplishing these things -- all these things -- makes it possible to save the Land from the Worm.

Admittedly, there are side threads in the plot, but that's the gist of it.

I don't have time for a voluminous study. But consider:

They would not have had the complete power of wild magic had TC and LA not gotten married. They would not have gotten married unless TC was resurrected. TC would not have been resurrected had Linden feared rousing the Worm.

Jeremiah would not have come into his power had he not been rescued. They would not have rescued Jeremiah had not Linden surrendered ring and Staff to the Harrow. Linden would not have surrendered these things had she not roused the Worm. Linden would not have roused the Worm had she not greatly desired TC. She would not have greatly desired TC had not the Time Warden meddled, and had not Roger pretended to be his father.

Etc. etc.

I think the notion "that there is no narrative structure" is simply a matter of not letting yourself have as much time to understand the structure as you have had with the other volumes. It's a more difficult set of books to truly understand than what has been written before, IMHO. The more you think on it, the more things make sense, and this has been born out time and time again here at the Watch.

Why don't you post some specific questions about where you think structure is lacking? Maybe the rest of us can fill you in.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously, I think the narrative has some problems. This is a character-driven story. It's not a quest to destroy Sauron's ring, or an attempt to reproduce the Crusades in a fantasy form (i.e. Bakker's Prince of Nothing series). The plot is driven purely by the needs and choices of the characters. This worked out fine in the 1st and 2nd Chronicles. Even when TC's only motivation was "move forward, follow the dream to the end," everything seemed to flow naturally and organically from his essential character issues. His ignorance was a natural consequence of never having been to the Land before, and his choices were appropriate for a man who stubbornly refuses to believe this place is real (a refusal which had a "leper's logic"). So he kind of "floats" through the plot of LFB, carrying LF's message to Revelstone, then, hoping for a way out of this dream, recovering the Staff. As he begins to care more for the Land, and feel responsible for his own choices, he becomes more involved. The plot is actually pretty simple: a choice between fighting and not fighting. He makes his bargains to avoid taking action, but then realizes that these are inauthentic and takes matters into his own hands.

Peter sums up the plot of the 2nd Chrons, so I won't retread that. I'll just state my agreement that the plot moved naturally from TC's desire to heal the Land (building on the love he developed for it in the 1st) and LF's plan to make fighting him impossible.

By the time we're at the LC, Linden has already gone through this before. She knows that LF plans to push people in directions that will serve him, and yet she doesn't seem to care. She even accepts his help in Runes. As I've shown in the AATE thread, she is driven largely by ignorance. She has no idea what to do, so she listens to voices in her dreams, tries to do something "unexpected" (whatever that means ... she can't possibly know what everyone expects ... apparently it only means "go south"). After recovering the Staff, she still has no clear idea what to do, so she lets Roger talk her into a nearly catastrophic detour, even though her gut tells her it's wrong. Then, because she still has no idea what to do, she raises Thomas from the dead. Then because she has no idea what to do, she listens to the Harrow. The Ardent rescues the group, and because she still has no idea what to do, she follows the will of the ranyhyn. Then, because she has no idea what to do, she goes back in time to seek Forbidding from Wildwood.

Covenant's plot trajectory isn't much better. He's basically following Linden's lead for a while, then leaves her to kill his ex-wife. He seems to have had a plan while he was in the Arch, but that never materializes into the actual plot. His two-book deal with the Lurker ended up only diverting the Worm, a plot "necessity" that was only necessary becuase of the Worm's direction toward Mt Thunder (which seems to come out of nowhere). Then, once again trying to "do the unexpected," he decided to go through Mt Thunder's back door. But of course, this was no surprise to their enemies, hardly unexpected. They meet resistance before they even enter the mountain. After that, everything is a mad dash to go confront Foul. But our heroes repeatedly state they have no idea what to do. Though it appears that they must have had some idea in hindsight, because everything works out fine, we don't get a sense while reading it that this is a character-driven plot. We don't have TC's sense of "I must fight Foul, no matter what it takes" as we did in TPTP. We don't have the sense of "I'm going to give up my ring, but trust me it will work out" as we did in WGW. There were absolutely no expectations for the reader that could have been derived from the characters' issues. And that's because of the author's choice to use our ignorance as a way to keep us turning pages to find out what happens, and to "surprise" us with the ending.

So the plot was one gimmick after another, calculated to keep us in the dark and to delight us once he flicked the light switch for each reveal. The plot does not derive from characters making choices necessary to their essential character obstacles, but almost random choices made out of sheer desperation and having no other clue or option. In short, they did what Donaldson needed them to do in order to get to the next piece of the puzzle, not what they needed to do. They weren't even really manipulated by Foul. They were all manipulated by Donaldson.

As such, this was one of the worst plot constructions I've ever encountered. When you have a quest following the horses, for christsake, you've abandoned all pretense of a character-driven plot. Lurch is correct: this can only mean the narrative was driven by thematic concerns, with no effort to give it even the impression of making sense, deriving from the characters, or being in any sense necessary. It was random wandering ... mixed in with lots of sitting around (especially AATE), and then the occasional "action piece" so that we didn't get bored [which is ironic, considering Lurch's sarcastic post in the thread where some here entertained the idea of rewriting the LC. Lurch suggested something like "guns and explosions," but Donaldson gave us at least one of these big action sequences per book ... encounters with Roger or skurj that had no other purpose than to be "action-y."]

So it sure seems to have been intentional, by Donaldson. He must have made a conscious choice not to have a character-driven plot, because he kept doing it over and over (unless this is just a product of his own ignorance ... having no idea where to go himself). Ignorance was the primary motivation and plot vehicle of this story, at every stage. If that says something surreal or psychological, fine. I don't really care. It's just boring, mainly.

If you have important themes to get across, and you choose to do so in the form of a story, then plot and character can't be tossed aside as merely "superficial." You might as well write an essay, if that's the case. Donaldson has told us over and over that he's only a story-teller, and not a polemicist. He claimed not to be preaching to us, or to be engaging in allegorical proselytization. But this was either bullshit, or he lost his own way. So the Last Chronicles comes off as inauthentic (a lie ... if this was all intentional), or meandering/uninspired, merely a failure. I'm not sure which choice is better.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WF, your explanations are hindsight justifications of a plot that doesn't make sense while reading it. "They wouldn't have been able to do X if they hadn't done Y" is just another way of saying my point above: "In short, they did what Donaldson needed them to do in order to get to the next piece of the puzzle, not what they needed to do."

A plot that can only be appreciated in hindsight is not a character-driven plot. It's a construction, sure. But seeing how the author strung everything together is not the same as seeing how the plot is an inevitable consequences of the characters' needs and obstacles. So Linden and Covenant wanted to get married. And this marriage just so happened to be crucial to saving the world? That's ridiculous. They had no idea that their marriage was crucial to combining their powers like a Land version of the Wonder Twins. The only person who knew this was Donaldson. Yes, we can see in hindsight how it was necessary ... because Donaldson wanted that thematic point to be made. But as far as the characters knew, they were just having a selfish moment of pleasure while the world was ending. Sure, who can blame them. But that's not a plot.
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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: Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps this is beside the point, bit I feel like saying it anyway: if you regard the Ranyhyn as mere "horses" and not as fleshed-out characters in their own right (however complete or incomplete) , then I think you do a disservice.

Perhaps all the TC and Linden internal monologue obscures matters, but I think there is, arguably, a plot that is character driven. It may just be that the supporting characters' assistance in driving that plot is harder to see in TLC than it was in earlier publications.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...or alternatively, that the supporting cast are in general so faintly depicted that we have very little idea as to what their characters are, let alone how such would credibly drive plot.

This is another of my "narrative level" gripes about the LCs. It's been said before, but I'll repeat it - take the giants, for example. In the 1st Chrons, nobody could have failed to have been utterly emotionally involved in Foamfollower. Similarly with the First and Pitchwife (and indeed Honninscrave and Seadreamer too, for that matter) in the 2nd Chrons. However, I really can't tell the giants apart in the LCs - and actually, nor do I need to, because character isn't important. It gets worse once the extra giantish "red shirt" cannon fodder rushes on all of a sudden from stage left - pretty much solely there to get killed off under Mount Thunder.

And don't even get me started on Longwrath - set up as a character of potential interest, then goes missing for a book and a half, then reappears like a jack-in-the-box just to chop off Kasty's hand and is killed... all in the space of a couple of paragraphs? I'm sorry, but that is unmistakably a case of cast member for convenience only. Similar "suspension of disbelief"-shattering abruptness occurs with the sudden death of Liand out of nowhere - and a case can similarly be made for Anele's and Esmer's ends being merely examples of "job done". And then of course there's the infamous sandgorgon/skurj set piece battle - "Oh look - everyone's going to die. Hang on, the bad guys have for no reason at all suddenly decided to change ends... is it half-time or something? Wow... all the bad guys are dead". Z is right (as is Lurch)... only the symbols seem to matter, so plot credibility is no longer a relevance.

As I've said before, I'm okay with the metaphysical message and thematic treatments. But I'm irritated by the insouciant artificiality of the narrative vehicle used to convey such. It does feel little more than preachy (no disrespect, Pastor Chris Very Happy ).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ranyhyn are pretty special, but in no sense are they "fleshed-out characters in their own right." But even if they were, my point about this being a character-driven story applies to the protagonists, not the secondary characters. Donaldson says he writes these stories because the characters need them; the journeys they undertake are psychological/personal issues they need to explore. I don't think he was talking about the ranyhyn's inherent need to lead Jeremiah to the bones.

In fact, I'm no longer sure whom he's talking about, in this sense. Did Linden really need her son to be abducted? I suppose she needed to reach her son, and couldn't do so in the real world (in other words ... not at all, if none of this connects back to reality). And maybe I'm being a little facetious, because I've argued elsewhere that she led an unfulfilled life where her love wasn't reciprocated, leading her to have an almost "unhealthy" version of love which was more like an obsession, and this obsession was represented by her willingness to risk the Land's safety in order to save her son (both in the real world and in the Land). But I don't believe dead Covenant needed anything ... except to fulfill Donaldson's thematic concerns. And given that it's TC's Chronicles, this is the main problem.
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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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PastorChris
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i agree that the characters are, at times, woefully unrealized. As I said elsewhere, Stave and Mahrtiir are probably the fullest, and it gies downhill from there. I too was particularly disappointed with Longwrath's whole arc. When it was revealed he was Pitchwife and The First's grandson (IIRC) I hoped for greater things from him, as I did for Anele as the child of Sunder and Hollian. (As to why Dead Elena is all crazycakes now but not in the 2nd chronicles leaves me simply confused!)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pastor Chris wrote:
It may just be that the supporting characters' assistance in driving that plot is harder to see in TLC than it was in earlier publications.

I would say that the Last Chronicles focuses fiercely on the decisions of the main characters. By definition, such a story doesn't focus on getting from A to B more than it needs to. A to B is whatever is needed to bring about those decision points. It has been this way since the first Chronicles.

In all the Chronicles, no one can ever save anything until they have accomplished the inner growth necessary to do so. This growth always brings with it power, at least in the Land, and this always happens to be the power that wins the day. The Last Chronicles is no different than the first, where Covenant marched into Foul's Creche with nothing but his decision that saving the Land from Foul mattered. But everything he needed came from that.

Zarathustra wrote:
WF, your explanations are hindsight justifications of a plot that doesn't make sense while reading it.

No, they are not. For the simple fact that I am not justifying anything. Rather, I was supplying the narrative connections, which was the question.

Other than your disregard for being fair to my statements, I don't have any comment. I am rather bored by the continuous efforts around here to discourage people from liking the Last Chronicles through pointing out faults ad nauseum.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On some level I think it is appropriate to imagine the plot being driven as well by the secondary characters. Given that so much of TC and Linden's hangups revolve around their inability to accept help and even recognize the vital agency of their friends, i think it is fair to allow them to drive the story from time to time.

I still think SRD deserves some credit for fleshing--er horsefleshing--out the Ranyhyn as, at least collectively, a character in their own right. I definitely think they are more fully realized than any Giant was in TLC.

At any rate, insert here Anele's (or Mahrtiir's?) comment about all the Land's inhabitants taking a role in the Land's salvation. That strongly shapes my reflections.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PastorChris wrote:
At any rate, insert here Anele's (or Mahrtiir's?) comment about all the Land's inhabitants taking a role in the Land's salvation. That strongly shapes my reflections.

I think similarly, and perhaps I missed this in your earlier post. But, yes, it was pointed out in the text frequently that everyone had their role to play in the salvation of the Land, and that it could not be borne by Linden and Covenant alone. Certainly this applies to Linden being comfortable with Anele and Liand and some others to make their own sacrifices. And it also can be construed as an "explanation" for why so many secondaries walk in with their bits of the puzzle.

I still think that such mechanisms allow Donaldson to concentrate on the central story arcs of the main characters. The story began with one "errand", recovering the Staff of Law. But too many more "errands" would probably detract from the pacing and emphasis of the story even as it made some things seem less coincidental. Secondary characters supplying necessary things is one way to not overload the story with errands.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
WF, your explanations are hindsight justifications of a plot that doesn't make sense while reading it.

No, they are not. For the simple fact that I am not justifying anything. Rather, I was supplying the narrative connections, which was the question.
You were supplying your opinion for why the story "hangs together." Others see it differently. And to those others who see it differently, you offer your insulting opinion for why they got it "wrong." Such as here:

wayfriend wrote:
I think the notion "that there is no narrative structure" is simply a matter of not letting yourself have as much time to understand the structure as you have had with the other volumes. It's a more difficult set of books to truly understand than what has been written before, IMHO. The more you think on it, the more things make sense, and this has been born out time and time again here at the Watch.

Why don't you post some specific questions about where you think structure is lacking? Maybe the rest of us can fill you in.
The assumption and arrogance in this quote is that others don't understand the structure (as you do, apparently) because they haven't thought about it enough ... because it's hard. And then you offer to "fill him in." Maybe he (as I) have thought about it a hell of a lot, and simply have a different opinion than you. But instead of just stating your disagreement and supporting that with evidence, you imply (once again) that someone's opinion is invalid and the product of some inadequacy in the poster himself, rather than just letting people disagree.

And then you get testy about the word, "justification??"

Peter is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful people on this site. He certainly didn't say, "there is no narrative structure." In fact, what he said was:

Peter wrote:
It's not that I think there is no rational narrative structure - I just think perhaps there is so many interacting elements that it's not clear exactly what is meant to be going on and what effect is precipitated by what cause etc.


No one else here said, "there is no narrative structure," either. We've criticized the narrative in very specific, thoughtful ways that should give no one the impression that we haven't thought about this. That's not to say that we're absolutely right, it's just a defense against this charge you make that we don't get it because we haven't thought about it as much as you.
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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 Jan 21, 2014 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
I am rather bored by the continuous efforts around here to discourage people from liking the Last Chronicles through pointing out faults ad nauseum.
That's both an unhelpful and an inflammatory statement, WF. Were I to follow your example, I might say, whenever confronted by a post expressing delight, say at the narrative cohesiveness of the LCs, that I was "rather bored by the continuous and gormless paeans of praise from 'fan-boys' so clearly blinkered by their fawning adoration of the author that they are entirely incapable of exercising any critical objectivity" - that'd be about as reasoned and as fair.

Nobody here to my knowledge is trying to discourage people from liking the LCs at all, let alone ad nauseam. This isn't some weird recruitment drive - instead, people are genuinely expressing their opinions upon subjects and issues when invited to do so by the nature of posters' questions.

A perfectly valid question was asked by the OP as to whether others had difficulty in perceiving that the narrative level "hung together". This inspired a number of replies from other members, giving their differing views upon this. Needless to say, since this forum is not called www.onlysycophancyallowed.com, those various opinions - which were honestly given and supported via reference to occurrences within the text - differed.

Again I don't believe that anyone here is trying to influence anyone else's feelings about the LCs... it's a little bizarre to suggest a) that anyone would bother making such an attempt - what'd be the motive? - and b) that posters here could so readily have their opinions influenced by others. Huh? I think people here have more intelligence and courage of their convictions - or at least their responses and reactions to the LCs - than you apparently give them credit for.

So... a valid question was originally posed by peter that actively sought the opinion of others and thus a number of varying answers have been given. I'd say it's therefore pretty meaningless to grumble that you dislike the responses made - whether positive or negative in slant, they're all relevant and on subject, plus it's not even your topic, fercrissakes. I should also point out that the OP actually bothered to take the time to state that the first two replies (which, being from Lurch and then from myself, were therefore ever-fated to differ dramatically in slant) were both "very helpful" - so I'd say that's a neatly cogent example of variety of opinion being seen as most useful.

WF, you may not agree with or indeed like the opinions of others - why should you? - but why not at least permit such to be stated without sniping... they've got the exact same possibility of being every bit as valid and considered as yours may be. And that is exactly the way things should be... freedom of thought and subsequent expression of such *is* allowed and healthy - and frankly should be encouraged.

Or to put it another way, this ain't North Korea and SRD ain't Kim Jong-Un... thank God.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your right, TheFallen. The goal of continuous provocation is to induce a slip-up that can be twisted into an excuse for a multi-page personal attack. I need to resist for the sake of the forum.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geesh - I merely suggested that it's generally a good idea to respect the rights of others to their opinions...
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, let's stop there.

Too often, these discussions degenerate into an argument between the "we like TLD" and the "we have problems with TLD" crowds.

Opinions pro and con are welcomed always, just don't start sniping at each other.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Z.'s ppoint about perhaps being 'kept in the dark' more in the last Chrons rings true for me here in that as he states, the protagonists don't seem to know what they are doing - and perhaps for this reason neither do I.

Take a really simple example - Foul's intent. From day one this has [I believe] been to 'get out of jail'. In 1C he hooks [via Drool] TC into the Land to fight him for his ring - the power of which he needs to blast the Arch. Simple motivation that we can all grasp and overlaid on this we have the Creators dabling and TC's disbelief. And it all works because as Z. said, all TC needed to do was a) go forward and b) at some point decide to participate [and as Wayfriend said, the means presented themselves].

Series 2 Fouls intent as outlined above. Again he needed TC in the Land to achieve his intent and we see and understand how he goes about it.

Series 3 - ....and I just can't put it into words. Foul messed with Joan to make her mad [or was she already mad of her own self] and took her to the Land. Also Roger. And Linden goes with Jeremiah - why? Did Foul need Linden there? Could not the Worm be roused by any simpler method. Was that the scheme of Foul - to blast the World [and Arch] apart by the means of the roused worm? Why didn't he do this before? If I could just get a handle on what Fouls actual intent was, what his purpose was for each of the elements he put in place - and no less, which of the elements were not of his intention and infact served to foil his best plans - then I feel, I could make a start in unfolding the whole thing. Take Esmer - was he part of Fouls plan, or was he something else all together? What purpose did Kevins Dirt serve {In 2C the Sunbane brought about the sickness by which TC nearly destroyed the Arch and the World - what was Kevins Dirt's comparable role?} As above I state these questions are not asked in criticism - if anyone has the answers I'd be mighty glad to have them.

I live also in hope that the respective thematic motif's of TC and Linden might be forthcoming Wink.
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