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TLD First Impressions
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peter
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi apastyszak - welcome to the Watch! Can I ask how long ago [ish] high school was. re 'non-Land' Donaldson stuff I expect you already have come across 'the Gap' series and 'Mordants Need'. [Neither do it big time for me but there are those who absolutely love them so it's clearly an 'individual' thing. The stuff I would most clearly point out however is his 'short story' books Daughter of Regals' and 'Reave the Just'. There is some wonderfull stuff there, some 'fantasy' some not - but well worth some serious attention if you haven't read them yet. Also of course SRD publishes under another name 'Reed Stephens' [I think] - detective stories and the like - and I think even under a third 'nom de plume' which I forget. All in all some major reading. In respect of 'new material' - my guess is that the man is currently recharging his batteries after what has to have been a gruelling job getting the final Chrons out on time. Given his slow output at the best of times I think I would'nt hold my breath for anything new any time soon.......But who knows. Wink Anyway - good to have you on board!
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it was unfortunate that I did not inure myself to the writing style and constant whining and repetition and constant whining and repetition (Oh, Jeremiah!) by reading the other books first and easing into this, but I really didn't enjoy the book at all.

On the bright side, you could make a drinking game* from the book. Read 'crepuscular'? DRINK! Crepuscular gloaming?? DRINK THREE!! Oh, Jeremiah! (or any variation of that)? DRINK! Repeating a theme the author wants you to remember? DRINK! Obscure, unnecessarily ponderous word? DRINK! Paragraph of dithering, whining and self loathing that you just read in the previous paragraph? DRINK!

I will always like the first two series, probably because I enjoyed them as a teen, but this last book will not be something I will likely ever read again (unless I want to get really drunk!).

I am sure there were some parts of the story I liked, but it has been since whenever it came out, so some months have passed and I really can't remember them.

On a side note, I had hoped that the lurker was either a forrestal who had been corrupted or that it did become one and would be the to answer the question Wildwood (or whatever his name was) asked about the future and how can things go without them.

And, no steamy urvile on giant/haruchai/Linden/Covenant sex scenes? I feel like the author missed a huge opportunity there. Really seemed like the obvious place to go.

Oh, the rainbow at the end was super cute.

On re-reading this post, maybe it is a good thing I forgot about elohimfesten; if I showed up after posting this, SRD might throw tacos at me. And, I will feel really stupid for flying to a different continent just have tacos thrown at me (not to mention how large and dangerous they looked).

Also:
Crepuscular gloaming
DRINK! DRINK! DRINK!


*WARNING: The chapter in The Lost Deep will cause all but those who habitually drink hairspray to die from alcohol poisoning by the third paragraph.
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joy is in the ears that hear Ananda Very Happy - DRINK!
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ananda wrote:
I feel like the author missed a huge opportunity there. Really seemed like the obvious place to go.


Well, the new Forestal wanted to impress everyone with his puissant wood, but the Giants were too trötta efter building elohimtemplet and TC/Linden did not wish to share. Stave had injured his stave in the downfall, and Branl sulked behind the fane after making swamp soup out of Clyme's treasure berries. Inte så många möjligheter, där. Sad
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frostheart wrote:
Ananda wrote:
I feel like the author missed a huge opportunity there. Really seemed like the obvious place to go.


Well, the new Forestal wanted to impress everyone with his puissant wood, but the Giants were too trötta efter building elohimtemplet and TC/Linden did not wish to share. Stave had injured his stave in the downfall, and Branl sulked behind the fane after making swamp soup out of Clyme's treasure berries. Inte så många möjligheter, där. Sad

But, Jeremiah could have created a structure that would slow the worm with the only catch is that it was activated by a huge amount of sexual energy!

The urviles would have shown up in a roynish lust wedge, rippling with desire as the lead urvile's large staff glistened (maybe having new handcuffs for the ritual). Obviously, it would be the duty of the Masters and Stave to help. The giants would have made light hearted jokes about it and then agreed. Covenant would say 'hellfire and damnation!' a bunch of times and then add his argent passion. And, we all know Linden really needed some sort of release of all the years of pent up frustration. Longwrath could have shown up with his large sword in hand, ready to add his crazy energy to the mix!

And, if you think about it, Linden could have gotten a new stain on her pants that would have been the key to a later part of the story. How perfectly it fits into the story now that you think about it, right?
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Ananda, good to see you around!

Don't worry about TLD, lots of folk here disappointed by it Sad

Come to the 'Fest anyway, there's still loads of room left at the inn!

u.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, having read and re-read TLD and still coming to no conclusions (basically my emotions were totally blown at the time), I've decided it's time for a complete read-through of TCOTC 6-10 without interruption.
All I can say at this point, if anyone cares, is that I think this MAY (by which I mean the whole Last Chronicles) be SRD's best work. Still unsure, but as I look at everyone's responses I see that as some of the parts that are hated by some, those are the best loved parts by others... it's a wash, in other words and to me that means well done).
Stave's journey does seems to be generally well-acclaimed, which I can agree with, but I must disagree that Linden's story is not equally compelling.
<sigh>
I'll be back in two weeks with my full impressions.
Hopefully, I'll have something cogent to add to the discussion at that time.
Until then, remember, WE have the power to preserve. (hey, that should be my little signature thing or something... maybe...)
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My grandmother wrote:
We have the power
To preserve. Yes, we can...with
A pressure-cooker
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my Last Dark first impressions.
- This may sound bizarre but I was immediately disappointed on seeing the page count of TLD at 530 or so pages. We get great big fat books in FR and AATE at ~700+ pages, and given the events that take place in TLD I was fearful that less narrative space would be given to events than I'd like.
- TLD feels cleaner, tighter, faster and more focused than the other LC books.
- Branl and Clyme killing the raver. That scene horrified me, but it felt so right as well, the Haruchai do take things to extremes and this was a great example of that.
- Covenant and Linden getting together was a shock for me. I was expecting all the bad things Linden had been doing through the LC to bite her in the ass, and for her and Covenant to have a falling out. SRD surprised me with their wedding.
- Roger's death. Again i was expecting a massive father-son argument. I was fully expecting Roger to pay out on what a lousy father Covenent was. Roger gets the first 5 chapters of Runes, the first half of FR, and he comparately gets so little screen time in TLD. It's not that I'm disappointed, I was just hoping TLD would give me similar levels of detail to Runes, FR and AATE, and it didnt.
- Jeremiah being given the Staff of Law, and basically no training from Linden on how to use it. "You'll work it out, keep trying." The Giants step in and help, which i thought was great. I loved how it was the Raver that Jeremiah learnt from, to me that with Branyl killing the other raver are the two highlights of TLD.
- More forestals! Cool.
- TLD is funny! There are sword jokes, SHMNBN slapping Lord Foul made me giggle, Linden standing there outside Garrotting Deep wondering how long she should stand there waiting, the Giant Scatterwit, etc TLD had an air of humour through it that I'd normally welcome in a Donaldson novel, but why make the last book, The Last Dark, the world is about to end, and not make the humour morbid homicide-cop style humour about death, to break up the grimness.
- Failure isnt who you are, it is what you do. Maybe I'm a cynic, but I couldnt help wonder if SRD was unhappy with how TLD was going and hence the characters talking a lot about failure in the story.
- Good cannot be accomplished by evil means. I'm not sure we got a final thought/commentary on this by the characters, I'll have to re-read TLD and look for that.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed TLD and the Last Chrons. I think the LC are fundamentally different to the first two series, as with time travel, teleportation, and the Insequent and Esmer and Infelice popping up here there and everywhere, as well as for the first half of the LC Linden is searching for Jeremiah and she doesn't even know where he is. Those things combined made me feel as a reader that I had no idea where the story was going to take me. With that, I stopped thinking about "what will happen next?" when I read the LC, but just strapped myself in and enjoyed the ride. I think thats a very different reading experience to the more typical "quest" structure of the first two Chrons, and I think that is where a lot of people's dissapointment comes from.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post Duke, with a lot of salient points worthy of consideration. I agree about the tightness and pacing of the Last Dark being better than the previous LC works, but still feel that [as you point out] there were significant areas where more writing would have been appropriate; the Roger/TC confrontation [in fact Rogers input as a whole] and the washing over of the Worms final acts and the re-building of the Earth [almost totally absent] are cases in point. The situation with the Masters and it's resolution was problematic for me - a brief talk under Mt Thunder, an immediate reversal and then convert into cannon fodder about sums it up; we never really get to know The Voice at all. All in all the denoument felt rushed and I am to a point in agreement with the oppinion that has been posted, that the work would have easily stood being broken into two books in order to give these very important issues the space to be fully explored; but then again do you loose the pacing we commend above. Tricky!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

duke wrote:
- More forestals! Cool.


I believe you asked me at Elohimfest what my favorite LC moment was... if you weren't the one who asked me, then I apologize because I met 20 people in the span of 2 hours and I tend to get mixed up. Smile I had to give the question some thought, and I have to say that Mhartir becoming a Forestal was my favorite moment. I enjoyed him as a character and was glad to see him given an important role.

As for the most memorable moment, it was definitely the Haruchai killing the Raver... that still gives me chills to think about. Some other notes:

-Hearing SRD discuss the necessity of not giving back stories to the various giants at Elohimfest made me feel a little better. I get that he doesn't write unnecessary story components, and space was limited, so it makes sense. It irked me at the time I initially read it.

-I've always identified with TC, but Esmer really struck a chord with me. As a bipolar person, Esmer's plight hit way too close to home. If for some reason you've ever wondered what it's like to be bipolar, there you go.

-Jeremiah never grew on me as a character. Actually, I never really liked him at all. I felt sorry for him back when he was overtaken by the croyel, but after that... not so much.

-I wanted Roger to have more of a role than he ended up having. I'm all about characters who find redemption, and Roger's just seemed shallow.

-I share the same general grumblings about the ending that most people have already stated in other threads. I won't beat the dead horse. Poor horse.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had a chance now to re-read the whole thing. What comes to mind to say is, wow, the first six books are really compelling and captivating and riveting and I couldn't put any of them down at any point. Even though I have read them all so many times now that I know what's coming next. Still those books, that story line, were so rich in character development and just the way the story was told. I can't help but really fall in love with the Land. And as much as I enjoyed reading the first chronicles again I am still blown away by the second chronicles in comparison. I saw more depth and richer storytelling. Still the high point of everything I have ever read. Then TFC come along and and a lot of stuff happens and I don't care much. At any point. Then the world ends but TC and LA and J. remake it. I guess because they have the ring, the krill, Linden's percipience, Jeremiah's earthpower, The Staff of Law and I guess TC knows everything Lord Foul knows. Well, ok. I'll just repeat myself, the first two chronicles earned their way into my heart. The final chronicles didn't. I know I will pick up Lord Foul's Bane again and get into it all over again. I'm not sure if I will get past White Gold Weilder.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well finally finished TLD after nearly a year. Got through part 1 in about 24 hours and then hjust had to stop as I couldn't face the prospect of getting to THE END after 30 odd years and having to accept there would probably be no more.
First(?) impressions :
(1) Perhaps could have been pruned a bit. A few too many repetitive battles and trawling through caves.
(2) Clearly the best and tightest of the final 4 volumes
(3) Actually very little that was new or that surprising. E.g. I'd always been pretty sure from the first visit to the Elohim that they would wed in 3C as they predicted a death or merger and we had the death in 2C. The final end I had not expected, but in retrospect was pretty well flagged by TC himself.
(4) It was the lack of anything new (except for the insequent) which was the real flaw. The real star was always the land itself and its rich history and we pretty much had all of this by the end of 2C
I suspect that if SRD had been able to hold some of this back the reaction would have been very different. I would have to say that 2C is now, and will almost certainly remain my favourite. If I only have time in my remaining year to reread one set, that will be it. However I do think overall 3C is better written, and a tighter story arc despite or perhaps because of its greater complications. Quite possibly if I had come to 3C as a newbie, without 25 years over fro the land, my view would be very different.
So I have to thank SRD for the journey and think it would be churlish to deride TLD. In many ways the ending does close the loop back to the start of LFB.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Le Pétermane wrote:
Joy is in the ears that hear Ananda Very Happy - DRINK!


That's my siggy, but in this case, joy is in the mouth that drinks!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive only read the first two pages of notes. Good thoughts and comments as always. Mine are still rattling about and will require more thought.

Hello to old friends. Smile

I don't think four books were needed to tell this story, and remember worrying when SRD mentioned in the GD that he wanted the second chrons to have been four books long. WGW felt particularly stretched.

As did TLD.

I can't help but think: this is what I waited 30 years for? And wish I'd never met SRD back in 1983 or heard him mention to a group of fans in his WGW tour that he had a 3rd trilogy mapped out. That thought kept me salivating for quite some time, and certainly amped my expectations.

I still think his strongest writing was the prologue of TRotE. That had more of the immediacy and - pardon my abuse of SRD's vocabulary - exigency of the first chronicles.

That's not exactly high praise.

It may sound as though I'm bitterly disappointed, but I'm not. Just disappointed, and bitter in general. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

burgs wrote:


Hello to old friends. Smile


Hello to you, Burgs! I've wondered where you've been. Good to see you back!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi burgs!

Good to see you. Loooking forward to hearing your impressions.

u.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I've read a few of the pages here, but there's so much to catch up on as I am new! I have finished TLD only a few days ago and am not sure how I feel about it.

In agreement with many of the comments here, I would have liked to know more about how The Land was repaired.

I felt that TC, LA and Jeremiah had become like the insequent or elohim, so in their way were potentially immortal, though perhaps bound by their own strictures as opposed to those of the insequent (e.g. unlikely to suffer the fate of The Mahdoubt or The Ardent). Perhaps this offers a solution to Lord Foul's fate with Covenant? I do like that Lord Foul wasn't entirely destroyed, though, as if he was utterly defeated I feel it might have undermined the power of LF throughout the earlier books!

I was pleased Roger had a fairly small part to play in the end, as I felt throughout that his character was a bit needless.

Branl and the raver was fantastic. It's those chilling moments - the first encounter with the ur-viles in Lord Foul's Bane, the tale of the Bloodguard in the Sarangrave in the second chronicles - which really stick with me.

I loved the slow burn of Linden's despair. I loved being with her as she made mistake after mistake throughout the last chronicles, and punished herself for it but wouldn't divert from her catastrophic course.

The marriage seemed a bit weird. But as someone pointed out in this thread, it seemed to be a bit fitting for Covenant - abrupt and unexpected. I personally am not all that interested in the institution of marriage, but I felt quite elated at that moment in the book after all TC and LA went through in the second chronicles!

I thought Pahni and Bhapa seemed to disappear right after they came back. Maybe I missed something toward the end?

Mahtiir becoming a Forestal was perfect. I loved this.

I would have liked a giantish song at the end!! The song about grieving lost loves which was given to us for a second rendition at the end of the second chronicles was so perfect, I was hoping for something similar.

Eggthang, you mention you might feel differently about the all the chronicles being ended if you hadn't had 25 years with The Land - I only have about 1 year with all of the chronicles and I feel a quite acute loss at having no more ahead of me!

On the last chronicles as a whole, I struggled to have the same urgency with reading as I did with the first and second chronicles. This might be in part that I have had personal stresses which have occupied my mind while I was reading (you know when you realise you read a page without reading anything). So I was a bit slower for that reason. But by the end of the chronicles, I find I'm still thinking about it - thinking about what I loved about it and what I will miss by having no more to read.

I enjoyed the writing style a bit less in the last chronicles, and thought the swearing was not really necessary. I loved the elaborate language in the first two chronicles, and would keep a dictionary at hand (I got a question in Trivial Pursuit correct with the answer 'chiaroscuro'!). There were some passages which were, as throughout all the chronicles, heart wrenching. But I thought it was just a bit less so than the first two chronicles.

I loved how quickly major events happened and changed, as with Jeremiah overcoming the raver. Unlike the slow pace I found (with the acknowledgement that I was distracted and read slowly) throughout the last chronicles, I enjoy how key events seem to happen in a half page, much like when Elena summoned Kevin and damned them all in the first chronicles.

I thought there could have been a bit more about the residents of The Land. I know they were deprived of their Earthpower knowledge by the Masters, but it seemed throughout as if The Land was essentially empty save for the main characters. I also would have liked some mention of the people of The Land when the Haruchai and Giants were discussing forming a new Council of Lords.

Stave. What else is there to say?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beckiemas wrote:
Stave. What else is there to say?


Haha, indeed.

Good thoughts! You seemed to hit upon most of the points that have been said by many about TLD, but I think you summarized it well.

Ultimately, in spite of my many complaints with the LC, I'm still glad I read through them.

Hopefully some other people will join in on some Last Dark discussion with you! I know there are many people who hold TLD in high regard.

-jay
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi!
I finally turned the last page of TLD. I guess I'm a year and a half late to participate in a flourishing discussion, but I'd like to express anyways my thoughts. Most of them I see I share with many of you.

General impression: well, it was worth reading, but it is definitely not my favorite in the saga... it did not leave me so disappointed, though.

Minus sides:
- Roger's fate and confrontation with his father deserved more space.
- Dozens pages to describe how a stone hut was built, and not a line on how a whole world was reformed?
- Final confrontation in Kiril Threndor. This not only for the deja-vu of WGW, but especially because I was almost certain that the last battle would have been fought in the Lost Deep (why placing a copy of Foul's throne there, then???)
- Probably stupid, but some words of the Creator I would have appreciated.
- Giants were not half as interesting as in the first Chronicles.

Neutral sides:
- Kastenessen/Lostson: I think it was a good and fitting idea overall, the Elohim getting there and the Giant popping out from the swamp (we had a hint that someone was lost in there) and cutting his mortal hand. But then dismissing it all in a paragraph was a bit too abrupt.
- The wedding. Heck, if I knew the world would most likely end in a couple days, I'd surely propose to my beloved, so I don't get the big fuss about it. Still, I found it a bit lacking of pathos.
- I would have liked to know the fate of the nice girl attending to Jeremiah in the real world, I liked her in TROTE. I understand though that this would have been really difficult to squeeze in.
- She who has not been named. I expected her to be revealed as some kind of Linden's avatar (like Covenant and the Despiser); not disappointed in discovering she was not, however I feel a little baffled from that MYSELF.
- I sort of expected more wondrous stuff from Jeremiah. Something has been just kept as potential future deeds (why do many of you forumists bother of free Moksha? it is stated that J. can build a prison for the Raver with a little time), but his building ability has been used just to free himself and protect the Elohim.

Plus sides:
- I most appreciated the mentioning of the last Wards.
- Branl rocks. The utter destruction of a Raver was a moment of joy in the eyes of this reader.
- Elena has been 'saved'.
- Stave rocks.
- Mahrtiir rocks.
- Ur-viles & Waynhym ROCK. Imho, Ur-viles and the Lost Deep are really the jewels of the entire LC.

Could it have been better? I guess so. But I'm not so disappointed as many of you are... as a matter of fact, I actually am rather positive regarding TLD and the whole LC. In a few occasions they were as good as the FC (by far my favorite), and in most they were comparable to the SC, so I'll say I feel moderately satisfied of this last saga.

Oh, by the way, I can easily fall asleep after lunching with just lasagna, I totally understand how the Worm could be put back to sleep after an Earthblood meal Wink
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