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TLD, Part II, Chapter 3 "Summoned to Oppose"

 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:08 am    Post subject: TLD, Part II, Chapter 3 "Summoned to Oppose" Reply with quote

The Last Dark, Part II, Chapter 3 "Summoned to Oppose"

Summoned.  Lots and lots of summoning in this chapter.   More broadly, summoned to oppose the onset of ‘the last dark’, to oppose the Worm, to oppose ‘all things ending’.  The heroes and their companions are summoned to oppose in battle.  Skurj, Sandgorgons, feroce, the lurker, and even Fire Lions are all being summoned.  The summoning of more Giants (yes, too many) courtesy of Brinn, of Earthpower by Linden, of wild magic by TC.  The summoning power of the Seven Words.   Even Linden summons up more parenting skills to deal with Jerry’s mood swings.  And of course the overarching theme of the need to continually summon the courage to oppose one’s own inner darkness and the temptation to despair when things look most bleak, and instead make the effort, do something positive, ”something they don’t expect”.  Finally, I myself have summoned my own daring to do something unexpected, to oppose my fears and take on this my very first chapter dissection.

Okay, so the Elohim (along with Kasty) are tucked away in Legoland or wherever.  New Forestall Caerwood urMarthir has woven his Garden of Forbidding, which Linden and TC turned into their own Garden of Eden.  The stars have stopped disappearing, Kevin’s Dirt is lifted, the company is translating its way toward Mt. Thunder, and Jerry has been stepping on all the wrong sorts of grass.

TC knows they can’t stop the Worm, but they definitely can’t let Lord Foul get loose, especially with Jerry, since he'll use Jerry’s abilities to imprison the Creator.  I’m not sure what the Creator’s role in all this has been along the way, but somehow imprisoning him doesn’t sound like a good option if you want the happily-ever-after ending.  So, TC has to get to Mt. Thunder for yet another showdown with the Despiser.  [Query: were the Ranynyn leading him there all along, or was it always TC’s intent?]  Jerry’s best impression of Linda Blair impersonating Lord Foul gets him a special “gift” for his troubles, the ability to see and feel the Worm, and so experience utter despair (you’d think he could at least levitate or something, too)….

… And so now ….
 
Quote:
Another race through the interstices between instants and leagues…

 
… and the company is translated just below Landsdrop, amidst the onset of some preternaturally bad weather (the Worm's passing).  Jerry's in a mood again, pissed at the world, and feeling all useless ‘cuz he's got no purpose now that his Elohim hiding place is finished.  And mommy’s coddling ("is it that bad, honey?”), isn’t really helping.   I like Jerry.  He’s been through a lot.  And he likes matchbox cars and tinker toys, which is cool.  Up until the fane, I really wasn't sure I trusted him.  I kept waiting for some literary trap to spring on us, but it never did.  And now that I do trust him, he's really annoying the crap out of me!  "I don't mean anything"!  You just saved the #%&’ing Elohim, for crying out loud!  They’re as close to demi-Gods as you get in the Land, and still they needed YOU!  People are dying for YOU all over the place!  Your mother brought a dead guy back to life because YOU were lost.  She gave away her favorite toys to some jerk of an Insequent to find YOU.  She even went time traveling twice on YOUR account!  (well, that one sounds like fun, actually).  And on top of all that, we find out in Chapter One how much TC-Timewarden cared enough to talk to YOU about just how much you mean to your mother.  Seriously, Jerry needs a good paddling.  But, I guess you can’t get away with that in this day and age of the Land.   I’m all for positive reinforcement, but didn't Anele say, “without forbidding there’s too little time”?  Jerry needs some good old fashioned forbidding, imho, if only because “there’s too little time” for his crap!  Kids!!  Hey, maybe that’s what Anele meant all along!

Another translation, and we are at Gravin Threndor, below Landsdrop, at a ravine at the edge of Defiles Course.   TC thinks LF won’t expect them to use the back entrance to the mountain, since in prior visits they have always come through the front door, from the west above Landsdrop.  So, this is a clear tactical advantage, right?  Wrong.  Foul’s minions are on them right off.  But, by battle’s end, it actually was the better choice anyway, since they end up getting aid from the lurker, the sailor-giants, and eventually the famous Fire Lions. 
 
Spoiler:
And it's likely this also bought the Masters from Revelstone more time to infiltrate the caverns for all the fun coming up later.  So, it is kind of ironic that while TC doesn't really do anything unexpected, he ends up getting all this unforeseen help.  Nice touch there.


Water as "black as oil", and "putrid as excrement" ran from the "gaping wound in the cliff". 
Their goal:  To enter that gaping wound while trying to avoid all that putrid excrement.  Nice visual.  The horses depart, and TC decides he needs the lurker/feroce, so he starts a séance.  To me, TC is really stretching the lurker's end of the bargain, but after all, he did exorcise a raver, and you must get bonus credits for that in the video game version of our story.
 
Jerry keeps slipping into despair with his visions, "why bother, we’re all going to die" … blah, blah, blah.  Just when I really want to pop him one, Coldspray shows us how to be gentle and wise:
 
Quote:
All paths lead to death...nevertheless we must strive.  How otherwise will we hold up our heads at the end of our days. 

 
Love that.  While any teenager would be rolling their eyes, still that's the theme of the Chronicles for me.  The trying matters, the little victories matter, they lead us onward, give us hope.  And after all, Jerry will be needed.  But I still say a good thwacking is in order!

And now Linden steps in with some “nuvo-Parenting 101”.   Instead of laying down the Staff of Law-of-the-land on Jerry’s backside, she just decides to hand it right over to him (yikes!). The Staff is loaded up with mega-lore now from being refashioned and etched with special runes and all.  Earthpower on Earthpower can’t be a bad thing, can it?  Even if the wielder is a whiner?  Then Linden lays on Jerry some more positive reinforcement,
 
Quote:
There’s always something we can do, even if it's just changing the way we look at what’s happening, or the way we look at ourselves.  

 
Again, good stuff there, even if it’s wasted on a grumpy kid.  We learn from positions of weakness, not strength.  Let go of that guilt, and learn from it.  Do as I say, not as I do….right Linden?

But suddenly, Linden is summoned out of her Jerry moment.  Skurj are on the attack! “Erupting” from underground across the river.  Linden takes the staff back (thank goodness), but it needs a jump start (did Jerry do something to it?), so she uses those famous Seven Words you can’t say on TV (‘cuz if you did they’d commit you).  Now, I counted about eight times the Words are used in this chapter, so I think this merits some further attention.   I once looked into their meaning (might have been an old Watch dissection), and put it aside for a rainy day.  Well, a storm is coming, and it’s rainin’ skurj, so here goes.  Feel free to correct any mistranslations:

1. melenkurion – bastion, source
2. abatha – need for endurance
3. duroc – reference to earthpower as a form of theurgy
4. minas – earthpower as a foundation
5. mill – invocation
6. harad – stricture against selfishness, tyranny,  malice or other forms of despair.  Binds speaker to make no use of earthpower that does not serve/preserve the overriding purpose of creation.
7. khabal – an affirmation or incarnation of sworn oath to the land.

So, putting this all together, “Melenkurian abatha.  Duroc minas mill.  Harad khabal”, might mean something like: “Source of all endurance (creator?),  I invoke all elements of earth power both pure and magical.  I swear to use this power for good, unselfishly, and in a manner that will always serve creation”.  This invocation (silent or spoken) is usually matched with some great emotional charge or purpose, along with the help of some tool to channel the power.   A binding effect is created between the person doing the invoking and the power invoked.  [More on this later.]
 
And so Linden calls on the Words, along with her super-charged staff and her super-charged instincts to preserve and heal, and all her pent up frustrations, and throws it all into black streaks of earthpower (black because of her past sins?) ... and down go skurj …. down go skurj !

Linden uses the Seven Words once again to cut away the dense fog, only to see Sandgorgons coming!  "Albino lightening"!  Capable of "pulvarizing granite with the prehensile stumps of their forearms!"  (Prehenisile: adapted for grasping, like a monkey’s tail or something).  I picture these things as giant-sized-stretch-armstrong-like-oscar-trophy’s in motion?  Or was that Vain?

Linden can do nothing about the ‘gorgons, and they’re picking on TC anyway, and since he’s ignoring her struggles, well then he can just fend for himself.  Anyway, she knows Jerry is safe from Sandgorgons 'cuz they have cognitive abilities LF can manipulate, and LF wants Jerry alive.  So, quite naturally, she turns her attention to… skurj fangs.   And, quite shockingly, Coldspray “had not considered such a ploy” (I mean really, Coldspray?  What are we paying you ladies for, anyway?).  And thank goodness, Linden remembers the Prophesy, that her fate is “written in water”, and that's handy, since she has an entire river right there in front of her. So, she goes slashing and bashing at skurj face and saying more Words, and skurj start plopping into the river (they hate water it seems), where Linden can then sear away any remaining poisonous ooze secretions before they finally die.  After all, she’s a doctor, isn’t she?
 
Meanwhile, TC, who has been busy all this time summoning his giant octopus monster thingy and its little green lanterns, finally hits pay dirt.  Those ferocious Feroce arrive on the scene, just in time to wield that awesome power of theirs to… (wait for it)… to cause …(wait for it) … remembering!  That’s right, remembering.  Hey, that’s big for them.  And anyway, it works!  The 'gorgons recall their “capacity” for fear, all their Nom guilt, which causes them to hesitate... but good ole’ Branl … he doesn't hesitate.  Even though Hurachai remember everything, apparently it causes no hesitation when it comes to killing.  Great plan by the Feroce, job well done all around.  We can go home now, right?  Wrong.  TC wants more.  He still insists the lurker hasn’t met all the terms of their unilateral contract, so he puts him back on the summoning speed dial.

And now Linden decides that, well, she actually is afraid for Jerry after all (since the skurj are winning and they don’t think, they just kill), and so …yep…the Seven Words.  But, for some reason, and at a time like this mind you, the skurj decide to take a lunch break … and start feeding on their dead selves, which causes them to begin to replicate! 
 
Okay, so let’s check that recipe again, since it does seem to make the skurj lick their chops.  First you fry their heads in hot flames of obsidian Earthpower, next you sear them nice and crispy, let them cool in some defiled water, and finally add garnish and serve sushi style to unlimited numbers.   Bam! 
 
(btw, did I miss something or is this the first time we see this eating and replicating business with skurj?  I’m not big on new inventions this late in the game, and this one seems kinda thrown in there by SRD imho, but so be it). 
 
So, they’re cooked (Linden and company, not the skurj), since the only way to stop the feasting and replicating is to stop the killing (of the skurj, not the company), but if they DON’T kill, they’ll get eaten (the company, not the skurj), and we don’t want that, and yet if they DO kill, they’ll just feast and replicate (the skurj, not the company).  A true conundrum.   Needless to say, the situation is dire, and Linden needs more power and more time to maintain warp drive.  The Giants are frantically making saves everywhere, but then Latebirth dies a horrible death in the jaws of a skurj.  All hell breaks loose, with more and more skurj coming.  The company is desperate.  They can’t hold the onslaught off any longer, and they can’t run.  And so Linden readies within herself to yell those saving words yet again.…you know them.....er….no….just one word this time….“Thomas”!
 
Okay that threw me a bit, I must say, but her summons works.  Of course it does, TC is like Underdog in her hands.  And so he drops everything …grabs his ring…aims it at the ‘gorgons…and while we all take a short sharp collective breath, TC orders them to…wait for it….to….. depart!   That’s right, “depart”!   Uh, that doesn’t work, no.  Nice try, but that was for Nom a few thousand years ago.  Times have changed since then, Timewarden, where have you been? 
 
And so the ‘gorgons get all offended, and they start acting out by pounding the ground with their stumps, ‘cuz that’s just what pissed off cognitive Sandgorgons do.  Enter the lurker, in person this time (apparently after having consulted its lawyer, and finding the contract iron clad), and it starts throwing its tentacles all around, drowning and scattering ‘gorgons.  But it’s getting hurt too, so TC grabs the krill with his ring hand and “remembers the Seven Words” (or is he just copy-catting Linden).  Interestingly, it has no effect, since the Words “bespoke Earthpower and law”, and “his force was of another kind all together”.  Okay, not sure what happened there, but let’s read on.
 
Some big names are now dead or down, Latebirth, Cabledarm, Stormpast, all of them Giants.   And since SRD has to always be juggling a circus load of characters at one time, we obviously need more Giants, right?  Yep.  So we get the Brinn-boon!  Hooray, I guess.  These are the sailor men folk who stayed back at the ship, while all the women folk went out fighting battles.  But, these guys come bearing billhooks, belaying pins and studded knouts, so I’d say they’re ready for action.  And while the story’s getting a little (okay a lot) congested (usually meaning nobody’s safe), at least these are GIANTS, in all sooth.  “For ease of use in peril, I am called Hurl.”  I mean you gotta love more of that.

And while TC’s wild magic is ripping Sandgorgons apart, and Linden and the Giants are burning and hacking wild skurj, it doesn’t put a dent in things.  More just keep coming and replicating. And now they’ve pulled the old switcheroo, and it’s ‘gorgons vs. Linden, and skurj vs. TC … and that’s finally the last straw for TC:
 
Quote:
What good was leprosy if he could not trust its implications?  If it did not enable him to bear what he required of himself”?  Like Berek Halfhand before him, he needed blood and desperation to accomplish what even wild magic could not. 

 
I think for what comes next, it’s helpful to go back and look at some parallels between LFB and TLD.  Recall LFB’s backstory of the Legend of Berek Halfhand.  In the ancient war of the King and Queen, Berek, as the Queen’s lone remaining hero, fought the King, who was possessed by an evil "shadow" (LF?), and the King cut Berek's hand to give him his name "Halfhand".  Then Berek came at last to the slopes of Mt. Thunder, and he cried pity for the earth…and the stones “answered” that they were alive as much as he was, that he had Friends in the earth itself if he would "pledge his soul to its healing”.  And then...
 
LFB (Berek backstory):
 
Quote:
[Berek] "took the pledge, sealing it with the blood of his riven hand” [and the Earth] “replied with thunder; from the heights of the mountain came great stone Fire Lions, devouring everything in their path" [and Berek then] "made the Staff of Law from the wood of the One Tree, and with it began the healing of the Land.”

 
And then…
 
LFB (Covenant’s time), again at Mt. Thunder:
 
Quote:
“Prothall strives to call the Fire-Lions.  He cannot succeed- the power of the staff is closed, and we have not the knowledge to unlock it.  But white gold can release that power.  It can be done!”  Covenant recoiled as if Morham had betrayed him.  No!  He panted.  I made a bargain-!”

 
…and…
 
Quote:
"Morham's mercy affected him more than any argument or demand" [and so, he placed his hand on the Staff of Law, and] “power seemed to explode in Covenant's chest.  A silent concussion, a shock beyond hearing, struck the ravine" [and] "Great yellow fires began to burn on the shrouded peak...the flames erupted....fires started charging like great, hungry beasts down every face and side of the mountain". 

 
And so TCs summoner, Drool Rockworm is destroyed in the nick of time, and TC is transported back to his own world.
 
And now…In TLD:
 
TC cuts his hand with the krill, smears the gem with blood, and shouts the Seven Words in his mind, “a prayer that meant, Please”… And the prayer is answered:
 
Quote:
“Power without shape or sound exploded in him” in a "detonation both silent and invisible…Theurgy as old as the world seemed to ripple across the fabric of reality”.  
 
“Dimly in the distance, he thought he saw yellow fires break through the clouds …discrete flames surge lower like the onset of an avalanche.  They roared as if the very air had become conflagration.”
 
“You are answered ur-Lord,” Branl announced distinctly.  “…the summons is both valiant and unforeseen.  I am proud and Humbled in your name”. 

 
First of all, I really love that last line from Branl…”proud and Humbled”, juxtaposed like that.  Proud to be TC’s friend and companion, proud of the trust they have for each other, Humbled (capital ‘H’) because he is marked in the manner of TC, but also humbled (small ‘h’) by the sight, to be a witness to such a moment, to be deemed worthy to be a part of it all.  The Haruchai are a frustratingly stoic people, but if they weren’t, lines like this might just pass us by.
 
Okay…The Fire Lions!  Perfect bookends to the series.  I picture these creatures as something like the water horses invoked by Elrond’s elven magic at the Ford of Rivendell.  It would make a very cool scene in the TC movie.

So what exactly is required to summon these Fire Lions?  The ring, the blood, the Words, the staff, the krill, a combination?   In LFB, Attiaran had told TC that white gold is not found in the Land, and that legend has it that its properties could release the wild magic hidden in the earth.  Is that what the Fire Lions are, hidden magic in the earth?  I would say yes.  They are fires of theurgy, and fire is an element of the earth.  In fact, aren’t all four elements being activated here, earth (cataclysms), wind (storm clouds, thunderheads), fire (the Lions) and water (the river’s rising and the rain).  These are properties that only wild magic can invoke.  But then how did Berek do it?  What’s the blood all about?  Blood sacrifice or something?  Morham tells TC that white gold can unlock the power of the Staff, and so there’s some merging of law and wild magic going on here.
 
Formula for what doesn’t seem to summon Fire Lions:
     LFB: Prothall’s “locked” Staff + Words   DOES NOT =   Fire Lions
     TLD: Krill(tool of Earthpower) + white gold(wild magic) + Words(Oath)  DOES NOT = FLs
 
Formula for what does invoke Fire Lions:
     LFB: Berek’s Pledge (Oath/Words) + Blood (sacrifice?) = FLs
     LFB: TC gripping “unlocked” Staff + white gold + Blood (head bleeding?)  =   FLs
     TLD: Blood rubbed on krill’s gem + white gold (“you are the white gold”) + Words = FLs
 
I guess since TC doesn’t have a claim on the Staff anymore, we substitute in the krill and we’ve got ourselves an “unlocked” tool of Earthpower.  But it does seem the summoner must be willing to shed his blood for the Land.  That’s all part of the Oath, I guess.  But it’s not just the Words, it’s what you mean when you say them, your commitment to the Land, a willingness to sacrifice the self for the good of others, and a desire to use all forms of available power (both pure -the krill, and magical –a white gold ring) to serve the Land.  And the common denominator is “Blood”.  Berek didn’t have wild magic at his disposal, but his emotions were true, as was his sacrifice and Oath.  Prothall lacked the passion and the blood.  TC has the white gold, to unlock all the hidden powers in the earth (perhaps they used to be less hidden in Berek’s time?), but he still needed the sacrificial commitment to its good, and the Land itself, alive as it is, recognized and responded to it.
 
So, the Fire Lions rage downward, the skurj and ‘gorgons are dispossessed of their Ravers, Defiles Course rises in a tidal flood, the company is forced into tactical retreat up the mountain, and “the result was cataclysm”:
 
Quote:
It shook the foundations of the Lower Land for leagues in every direction.  Struck by acrid eruptions of storm and fury, the thunderheads became a bludgeoning deluge that seemed to erase the valley from existence.  Rain fell like the ultimate darkness. 

 
Calm comes at last, the company is mostly spared, and the skurj and Sandgorgons are all dead and gone, but still, “Thomas Covenant felt no relief”.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and you withheld dissecting until now? My goodness, well done . What in this good earth were you waiting for?

Excellent tie in to the past concerning the fire lions, Dondarion. I think the idea of evoking a whole new or different way to deal with the nasties is laid out well. After all..the hack and slash method was not working. A great metaphor there with the skurj reproducing btw of their own death. The conundrum only exists as long as you accept,,stay within the parameters of the conditions creating the conundrum. ..TC goes back..waaaay back..to remember . The kind word,," Please" does the trick.

An Other way the author breaks the conditions of the parameters is the subtle..alliteration in every line of the battle scene. hhhmm..creativity is a battle..against the cliche',,the stereotypical,,the nasties of the Mundane. And of course, use the metaphore of Water..to wrap it all up.

Yes, continual summoning; seeing things,,the world around you,,and yourself anew, differently, is a continual summoning. Its not a one time heres your diploma. Seeing things,,the world around you , and yourself, whole rather than two different realities,,is not without pain and loss. What you are brought to tho,,will wash you clean. I really liked this chapter for How it was written. The alliteration and metaphors..wow..amongst the slaughter...Magnificence!

Thanks D for a great dissect.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurch wrote:
Quote:
...and you withheld dissecting until now? My goodness, well done. What in this good earth were you waiting for?

I am humbled (small h).

Lurch wrote:
Quote:
The kind word,, "Please"" does the trick.

I neglected the "Please" from TC. Never thought about the effects from that, but if you believe the Land is truly alive (see quotes from Berek's time), then perhaps that extra little bit of caring broke the dam after all.

Lurch wrote:
Quote:
seeing things,,the world around you,,and yourself anew, differently, is a continual summoning.

I like that notion. Really, everything that happens in a battle, the tides of the battle, the hurts and pains, the loss and gain.....it necessitates a constant and renewing summoning...to oppose the fear and the urge to run, to call on more courage and friendship, to remember why you're here, etc. They don't happen often, but when they do, Donaldson writes some of the best fantasy battle scenes I have read. Internal and external struggles being played out in multiple characters and places at the same time...the action shifting back and forth, keeping it straight somehow, and still employing great literary devices, symbolisms, metaphors, alliteration, you name it. Masterful indeed.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, Dondarion. I, tool, liked your connection back to LFB. I also liked your enumeration of all things Summoned To Oppose; I had been thinking along similar lines. (I would add the flood to that list.)
. . . . .

I noticed something interesting about Covenant's dimension-bending mode of transport.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
The Giants braced themselves for a sprint which would have no perceptible beginning: it would simply come over them somewhere within the blank space created by wild magic and Loric’s blade.

So here we have a notion conveyed: that they always emerge from these magical portals in full sprint (Giants) or full gallop (Ranyhyn) - even though they have no conscious recollection of running, or even of choosing to run!. And more: when they emerge ...

In The Last Dark was wrote:
As before, the Swordmainnir labored for air as if they had been carrying monoliths on their backs.

Apparently, they had been running the entire time they were between dimensions, without being aware of it.

So, to add it all up: distance is traveled, and time passes, and a lot of running takes place during this time. It's almost like the wild magic portal is more of a device to give Giants and Ranyhyn a lot of zoom, albeit unconscious zoom, and less of a device that warps time and space. Sort of a group The Flash mode.
. . . . .

Dondarion wrote:
So, TC has to get to Mt. Thunder for yet another showdown with the Despiser. [Query: were the Ranynyn leading him there all along, or was it always TC’s intent?]

I think this was TC's own idea. Either the Ranyhyn tacitly agreed, by not objecting. (And we know they can make their objections felt.) Or this decision, or TC, is beyond them. Don't forget ... as in the caesures, the Ranyhyn are providing the direction when they travel by White Gold Air. So I am leaning towards tacit agreement.
. . . . .

Dondarion wrote:
Jerry keeps slipping into despair with his visions, "why bother, we’re all going to die" … blah, blah, blah.[/size]

Ah, but he's been infected with despair by Lord Foul. You can't blame him too much.

Besides, struggling against feelings of impotence and helplessness is what everything's all about. It's why the Triumvirate is here. How Jeremiah feels about his situation is just part of Donaldson's journey. In the GI, he said, "Indeed, one could argue that self-mastery (the ability to choose one's own thoughts and emotions) is the only truly human form of power." He may have been speaking to Jeremiah. Is it any wonder, then, when Linden says to her son,

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“Listen to me, honey. There’s always something we can do, even if it’s just changing the way we look at what’s happening, or the way we look at ourselves."

Covenant, and more recently Linden, went on this same journey. That's why it's familiar. That's why it seems as applicable to Linden as to Jeremiah.
. . . . .

Branl with a sword kicks ass.

... It had to be said.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Summoning himself, he wrapped both hands around the krill once more. Then he moved toward the river. With every step, he mustered more of his power. In his grasp, the dagger seemed to grow longer, brighter, keener. The physical blade remained unchanged, but his wild magic became a longsword implied by Loric’s theurgy.

Covenant with a wild white magic sword kicks ass, too.
. . . . .

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Covenant’s world contracted until it contained only Sandgorgons. Somewhere at the edges of his marred vision, innominate shapes swirled in and out of the fog; but he had no time to recognize them.

When one is surrounded by Sandgorgons, calling something "inNOMinate" is funny.
. . . . .

Dondarion wrote:
First of all, I really love that last line from Branl…”proud and Humbled”, juxtaposed like that. Proud to be TC’s friend and companion, proud of the trust they have for each other, Humbled (capital ‘H’) because he is marked in the manner of TC, but also humbled (small ‘h’) by the sight, to be a witness to such a moment, to be deemed worthy to be a part of it all.

(BTW, he actually said, "I am proud that I am Humbled in your name.”) I give you all that significance, and raise you one. A few chapters back, the Haruchai had their moment of brilliance, and figured out what it was all about. And then Stave said, “Though they have aspired to emulation, they have not grasped the full import of their desires ... Until now." They finally know what emulating Covenant -- of being Humbled - really entails. (Which is why I nitpick about "proud that I am Humbled".) It means, among other things, asking for help. And caring about your friends. And finding a way.

And it means picking up a sword to kick ass.
. . . . .

Dondarion wrote:
So what exactly is required to summon these Fire Lions? The ring, the blood, the Words, the staff, the krill, a combination?

Well, I am not sure about the blood, except to understand that he is emulating Berek's desperation. Like Berek Halfhand before him, he needed blood and desperation to accomplish what even wild magic could not. In this, the story itself tells us what is required. Need.
. . . . .

Dondarion wrote:
So, the Fire Lions rage downward, the skurj and ‘gorgons are dispossessed of their Ravers, Defiles Course rises in a tidal flood, the company is forced into tactical retreat up the mountain, and “the result was cataclysm”:
In The Last Dark was wrote:
It shook the foundations of the Lower Land for leagues in every direction. Struck by acrid eruptions of storm and fury, the thunderheads became a bludgeoning deluge that seemed to erase the valley from existence. Rain fell like the ultimate darkness.

I for one recognize what an accomplishment this scene was. For Donaldson to make everything come together like that - Sandgorgons, skurj, flood, Fire Lions - took a crap ton of ingenuity and patient story-line weaving. There is indeed a Boom!, and the reader feels it as much as the characters do.

This whole battle was very exciting. And not just because of the danger and the menagerie. But all those added details, those dramatic moments make this shine. Branl's sword dance. Covenant's magic blade. The lurker's tentacle-slam. Linden's tooth bombs. Everywhere you look, it's heroes, heroes, heroes.

When all the baddies changed sides and rearranged the entire battle ...

And, like all Chronicles conflicts, it's not just action. It means something. The death of three Giants is not the least of it.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dondarion wrote:
Quote:
Jerry keeps slipping into despair with his visions, "why bother, we’re all going to die" … blah, blah, blah.

Wayfriend wrote:
Quote:
Ah, but he's been infected with despair by Lord Foul. You can't blame him too much.

Yes, but Jerry's rid of the Croye, and Linden exorcised LF in the last chapter, so Im must lookin' for a little more love and appreciation nere. But you're right, the despair factor has been implanted in Jerry, going back to when he was five years, old, for goodness sake. Undertsandable that as a teenager, he might just somehow feel this is all a foregone conclusion.

Wayfriend wrote:
Quote:
BTW he (Branl) actually said, " I am proud that I am Humbled in your name..."

You are not nitpicking if I got the quote wrong, but whether "proud to be Humbled" or "proud that I am Humbled", it's still a great juxtaposition of proud and humbled in the same sentence. Great SRD stuff here, and it goes to the heart of whats happening to TC and the Haruchai throughout this series. It's all a bit of a paradox.

Wayfriend wrote:
Quote:
in The Last Dark was wrote:
Summoning himself, he wrapped both hands around the krill once more...

Another "summoning". The chapter is filled with them.

Wayfriend wrote:
Quote:
For Donaldson to make everything come together like that - Sandgorgons, skurj, flood, Fire Lions, took a crap ton of ingenuity and pertinent story-line weaving.

Yes, a "crap ton" indeed. Donaldson is magnificent as usual. He never disappoints me with these action scenes, and there's so much more going on than just the obvious action. All of our favorite names and places, good guys and bad guys, weapons and techniques, magics and powers, hope and near despair, death and life, heroics and drama.....it's all there, right on the edge of Mt. Thunder, on the edge of the Worm's coming, on the edge of the climax of everything, of the characters coming into realization of who they are and what they mean to one another, and what we've all waited for, the final show down, will it truly be The Last Dark or The First Light?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dondarion wrote:
Wayfriend wrote:
Quote:
Ah, but he's been infected with despair by Lord Foul. You can't blame him too much.

Yes, but Jerry's rid of the Croye, and Linden exorcised LF in the last chapter, so Im must lookin' for a little more love and appreciation nere. But you're right, the despair factor has been implanted in Jerry, going back to when he was five years, old, for goodness sake. Undertsandable that as a teenager, he might just somehow feel this is all a foregone conclusion.

Well, I was thinking specifically that Jeremiah was given Worm-vision in the previous chapter. "I have given him a gift which will make him wise in the subtleties of despair." He is continuously faced with the inevitability of the Worm's imminent destruction of the Earth. I think that this is naturally going to make him feel like everything is a waste of time. So when he says, "What’s the point? We’re all going to die anyway,” I would see this as the result of Foul's recent gift.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:
Quote:
Well, I was thinking specifically that Jeremiah was given Worm-vision in the previous chapter. "I have given him a gift which will make him wise in the subtleties of despair.

Wow, of course you are correct. I am "proud to be humbled" in your presence, WF. Here I was being so hard on Jerry, but LF's got him all messed up with that worm-seeing "gift". Jerry really has no choice, I guess, and yet he is somehow struggling to find his way out of it (summoning a way to oppose, you might say). And to think I woulda just slapped him one. Poor kid.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dondarion wrote:
Finally, I myself have summoned my own daring to do something unexpected, to oppose my fears and take on this my very first chapter dissection.


Great job, Dondarion! It's impressive that you stepped forward while a relatively new member to KW to commit to doing a dissection, and I thank you! I especially enjoy the reviews on the Seven Words and what it takes to summon Fire Lions. Nice research!

Dondarion wrote:
Up until the fane, I really wasn't sure I trusted him. [Jeremiah].


Nor did I. And at this point I can still feel some anxiety that he may free Lord Foul at some rage-filled moment, that Berek's remark was about Jeremiah.

lurch wrote:
Yes, continual summoning; seeing things,,the world around you,,and yourself anew, differently, is a continual summoning.


So it is, and I haven't thought about it this way before. You've summoned up another new perspective for me to consider, lurch.

wayfriend wrote:
So, to add it all up: distance is traveled, and time passes, and a lot of running takes place during this time. It's almost like the wild magic portal is more of a device to give Giants and Ranyhyn a lot of zoom, albeit unconscious zoom, and less of a device that warps time and space. Sort of a group The Flash mode.


And you have also given me a new perspective to consider, wyfriend. My thanks! Somehow, I have just pictured this new wild magic travel as simply a way for TC to fold time and space. Looks like there may be more to it than that.

Dondarion wrote:
(btw, did I miss something or is this the first time we see this eating and replicating business with skurj? I’m not big on new inventions this late in the game, and this one seems kinda thrown in there by SRD imho, but so be it).


In part II chapter 9 of Fatal Revenant (entitled "The Long Journey of the Lost"), Rime Coldspray tells Linden Avery, "Its death and your magicks will soon draw others of its kind. They will devour its remains and multiply. When they have feasted, two or three will become four or six. With each death, their numbers increase." But I had forgotten about this replicating ability of the skurj myself by the time I first read TLD.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Jeremiah glared at her for a moment, then turned his head away. To the coming storm, he muttered, "You don't understand. You don't see it. I can't stop. All that power--it isn't just terrible. It's more real than we are. We're all going to die, and I get to watch."
Scattered raindrops struck at Linden like pebbles. Fiercely she wiped her face.
"You're right, Jeremiah. I don't understand. But I still know how it feels I'm not any braver than you are, or stronger, or better. My God, Jeremiah. I let a crazy man stick a knife in Thomas because I couldn't make myself try to stop him. Turiya Raver touched me, just touched me, and I got so scared that I was gone for days. And moksha actually possessed me. I know what that feels like."
How much of her life had she spent ashamed? Despising herself?
"But I'm still here for the same reason you are. We aren't alone. We are not alone."
"Indeed," Cirrus Kindwind confirmed softly. "We have spoken of this, Chosen-son. Giants affirm that joy is in the ears that hear because the telling of our tales binds us one to another. Speaking and hearing, we share our efforts to give our lives meaning."


I get the sense that these Giants could never despair the way the Unhomed did in the days of the Illearth War.

Quote:
While Linden tried to gather herself, Jeremiah glared at Covenant under his eyebrows. "It's a waste of time," the boy rasped. "I'm starting to recognize some of the landscape. The Worm is on the Upper Land. Beside a river. We'll still be groping around like we're lost when it reaches Melenkurion Skyweir.
"And what makes you think you can trust the Feroce?" He clenched his fists, apparently trying to muster flames. But his access to Earthpower eluded him. Perhaps visions of the Worm blocked it. "You had an alliance while the lurker was scared. Now the Worm is moving away. Maybe the lurker thinks it doesn't need you anymore."

Covenant shrugged. He faced Jeremiah squarely, but did not respond.

Feeling helpless and dismal, Linden asked, "Thomas, are you sure you want to do this?"

"What else are we going to do?" Leprosy blurred Covenant's eyes like pain or empathy. "We're here now. If that's a mistake, it won't be my first. Most of what I do in life is just trying to make amends for things I've done wrong.
"Anyway, you heard Jeremiah. We don't have time to try anything different."

Linden did not respond. She had already lost this argument.

But Jeremiah was not done. "But why bother? I thought I understood. I mean, before I could see the Worm. Now I don't. What;s the point? We're all going to die anyway."

I have given him a gift, oh Jeremiah, which will make him wise in the subtleties of despair.

Linden might have tried to reassure him. Covenant might have. But the Giants silenced them by the simple expedient of bursting into laughter.
Their loud mirth filled the valley. It seemed to startle the insects. Midges fled for the safety of the wetland's mire. Horseflies and mosquitoes skirled away, whining. Just for a moment, even the stinks of the Defiles Course and the Sarangrave became less daunting.
"Bravely said, young Jeremiah," Grueburn guffawed. "A fine riposte."
Latebirth and Halewhole Bluntfist doubled over, gasping for breath.
"'But why bother?'" echoed Cirrus Kindwind. "Why, indeed? You make sport of our fears, Chosen-son."
Stormpast Galesend slapped Cabledarm's back. Cabledarm aimed an elbow at Galesend's ribs.

Expecting Jeremiah to take offense, Linden flinched. At the same time, however, she felt a rush of gratitude. Too much had happened since she had last heard laughter.
While Jeremiah fumed, the Ironhand struggled for gravity. She scrubbed at her eyes until her humor receded to chuckling bursts. "All paths lead to death," she said when she found her voice. "This the Worm merely hastens. Nonetheless we must strive. How otherwise will we hold up our heads at the end of our days?"

Linden watched Jeremiah wrestle with himself. He must have felt mocked. Surely he felt that? But he also loved the Giants. And their mirth was too open-hearted to sound like ridicule. Briefly his mouth twisted: he almost smiled in spite of himself. Then he mustered a conflicted glower.
"Never mind. I wasn't serious. Have it your way."

That may have been as much grace as he could muster. If so, it was enough for Linden.


The response of the Giants to Jeremiah's gloomy prediction surprised me, but it sure was the cure for the unspoken dread they all have been feeling since Foul took control of Jeremiah.

The sudden appearance of the Giants from Dire's Vessel may strike some as being dea ex Machina, but I don't feel that way due to the hint that was left in TLD's third chapter.

from pt I chapter 3:
Quote:
Brinn had spoken of a service--a boon--but he had not revealed what it might be.


(But you know what is dea ex Machina in the Last Chronicles? Each and every appearance of the Demondim-spawn. And I don't suppose it could be any other way, because it's not like the ur-viles and Waynihm can give any advance warning of their arrival that would be understood. Their unpredictability seems to keep the Land's enemies off-balance, as well.)

Quote:
"Welcome!" the Ironhand shouted with a tantara in her voice. "Well come in all sooth!"Then she yelled, "Assume my task, and Kindwind's, that we may give battle!"
The others--the others--were not /Swordmainnir. Most of them were men. They wore canvas breeches and shirts rather than armor. And they carried no swords. Two had spears. Another appeared to drive an entire spear between the jaws of a skurj. Linden saw a collection of billhooks with whetted edges, belaying-pins longer than one of her arms, knouts studded with sharp stones, immense cleavers.
Such weapons should have been useless here; yet they wrought confusion among the nearest monsters. Billhooks tore open the hinges of jaws, left maws unable to close. Belaying-pins smashed teeth. Knouts distracted creatures while spears stabbed. Cleavers shed blood wherever they could. In spite of their bulk, the Giants moved with the agility of sailors trained to weather hurricanes.
They were a paltry force against the onslaught of skurj. Still they fought as if they were singing; as if they were glad to spend their lives in a hopeless cause.


As if I hadn't already had enough reasons to love the Giants, this chapter gives me even more with passages like that.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed. Since the Lost Deep, the Giants have continually provided Linden's Army with a spiritual foundation that holds our three heroes up, grounded on hope and faith and the friendship.

It's less pronounced here, as it was earlier when speaking of "failure". But we can see how helping Jeremiah helps, by some sort of parental reflection, Linden. They are chewing on the same issues, in different ways. Here, the Giants have reassured Linden that their course is good, while they speak more directly to Jeremiah. (And Linden may understand that the Giants are reaffirming their loyalty, which Jeremiah may not be catching on to.) In this way, Jeremiah makes Linden stronger.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Branl with a sword kicks ass.

... It had to be said.


I'm glad you said it, wayfriend, because that's something about this chapter definitely worth noting! Once the Humbled has accepted he needs a weapon to serve TC and the Land, he doesn't fool around about it. Here are two quotes from this chapter that I enjoy for further illustrating this change in his attitude:

Quote:
In an instant, Branl recovered. He righted Covenant. Then he rushed into the confusion of the Sandgorgons, delivering cuts like a whirlwind of blades. Some of the creatures lost arms, or forearms. One lost a leg. Two fell dead before the others rallied against the sorcery of Lostson Longwrath's flamberge.


Quote:
At the same time, Branl seemed to float through the contest as if he served his blade, as if he were a weapon wielded by the eldritch flamberge. If a Giant halted a Sandgorgon with a blow or a cut, the Haruchai arrived bearing death.


Delivering cuts like a whirlwind of blades...as if he were a weapon wielded by the eldritch flamberge. More examples of SRD using dynamic prose for battle sequences. I strongly agree with Dondarion that he writes these kind of scenes exceptionally well.

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wayfriend wrote:
In this way, Jeremiah makes Linden stronger.


True. He also unintentionally makes Linden try harder to practice what she preaches to him about faith self-acceptance, and resisting despair.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dondarion wrote:
Quote:
(btw, did I miss something or is this the first time we see this eating and replicating business with skurj? I’m not big on new inventions this late in the game, and this one seems kinda thrown in there by SRD imho, but so be it).

...and Cord Hurn replied:
Quote:
In part II chapter 9 of Fatal Revenant (entitled "The Long Journey of the Lost"), Rime Coldspray tells Linden Avery, "Its death and your magicks will soon draw others of its kind. They will devour its remains and multiply. When they have feasted, two or three will become four or six. With each death, their numbers increase." But I had forgotten about this replicating ability of the skurj myself by the time I first read TLD.

Touché. Great find. I would never have recalled that. SRD, I once again am humbled. How could I even dare to think he missed that?

Cord Hurn wrote:
Quote:
The sudden appearance of the Giants from Dire's Vessel may strike some as being dea ex Machina , but I don't feel that way due to the hint that was left on TLD's third chapter.

Of course, SRD has this one sort of covered too, with the "Brinn boon". But that sort of just hangs out there. We have no idea what that might be. The fact that it ends up being more Giants from the ship that the Swormanier had anchored off shore does strike me as being a bit "out of the ocean blue" . Yes, the seed was planted, and yes, there must a ship somewhere, but it was a bit too convenient for me. I liked it, mind you, Giants are awesome (especially Hurl and his fresh Giantish one liners), but it did give me minor pause.

I am sure Wayfriend will point out out how this was expresslly revealed in the text somewhere, and I will be humbled once more.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dondarion wrote:
I am sure Wayfriend will point out out how this was expresslly revealed in the text somewhere, and I will be humbled once more.

I am not aware of any hints of this. Brinn said, "Your healing will be my second gift. Here is my first." The first seems to have been the reminder of Mishio Massima. Then he places a knowledge into Covenant's head by some occult means. With all these things, who could suspect that there would be yet more gifts?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is important to not confuse the gifts--that Brinn grants in presence of Covenant and the Humbled in the ruins of Foul's Creche-- with the boon that Brinn states he hopes to grant later.

In TLD Part I Chapter 3 was wrote:
Then the ak-Haru's manner softened until it resembled his gaze. "Yet I will not disregard the leanings of my heart. When I had achieved the stewardship of the One Tree, and you were thereby grieved, I assured you that good would come of it, when there was need. That promise I fain would honor. Therefore I have journeyed hither while some small portion of my strength endures, bringing both gifts and counsel. Mayhap thereafter I will also be able to grant a boon, if my life does not fray and fall in the attempt."


In that chapter, Brinn also states that he is able to find Covenant through the Unbeliever's use of the krill, Luke, Use The Forks which explains how he knew where TC was heading in order to send the sailors of Dire's Vessel where their help would be needed.

But, wow, considering the skurj and Sandgorgons had attacked shortly before, Brinn really cut the timing close, didn't he! Exclamation Crazy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, okay.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn said:
Quote:
Luke, Use The Forks

That's the best. Could even be Branl with Longwrath's sword?

And yes, Brinn's promised boon is logical, but nobody could have guessed it, nobody. Its actually hard to believe that the Gianss wouldn't have at least mentioned their harbored companions in the text somewhere along the way. But it's small matter in the grand scheme.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
"We ten of the Swordmainnir were given a compact dromond which we christened Dire's Vessel. A crew was chosen so that we need not be distracted from Longwrath's care."

So in addition to the Swordmainnir, there was additional crew, so that the Swordmainnir would not have to sail the dromond.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
"When his escape was discovered, we held a last, foreshortened Giantclave. We elected to separate, the Swordmainnir pursuing Longwrath while our friends and kin preserved Dire's Vessel for our future need."

The crew stayed with the ship when the Swordmainnir gave chase.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
"Both the Swordmainnir and the Giants of Dire's Vessel have hazarded their lives for Longwrath's unattained redemption."

Swordmainnir ... and the Giants of Dire's Vessel.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dondarion wrote:
And yes, Brinn's promised boon is logical, but nobody could have guessed it, nobody.


Dondarion, you're right, of course, in that we never learned anything about the nature of the boon Brinn had in mind for Thomas Covenant.

Yet wayfriend is correct in that the sailors of Dire's Vessel have been mentioned in the story already. We just hadn't met them until now.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
Quote:
Yet wayfriend is correct in that the sailors of Dire's Vessel have been mentioned in the story already. We just hadn't met them until now.

And to quote Ralph Cramden:
Quote:
"I got a Biggggg Mouth".

Of course, I now recall that the Dire's Vessel crew was indeed covered. I guess I was just so surprised, I thought it literally came out of the blue. After all, its been several years since I read AATE, and I did not do any re-reads anead of this one. My bad again. Somebody, please hurry up with the next chapter dissection already, the new guy's getting roasted alive here!
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You did a great job with the dissection and with stimulating further conversation with your comments, Dondarion! Well done! Big Wave
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