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The Last Dark, Part II, Chapter 8: Shamed Choices

 
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:32 pm    Post subject: The Last Dark, Part II, Chapter 8: Shamed Choices Reply with quote

This chapter is titled "Shamed Choices". Those shamed choices, as we shall see, belong to the Masters, who have returned to the story.

When Kevin contronted the Despiser, the Haruchai did not take part. Twice before had Covenant contronted Lord Foul, but the Haruchai did not take part. Only now, in these Last Chronicles, will they will accompany the Timewarden to the final showdown. It is as if the Haruchai, in their redemption, have finally been permitted to partake of salvation.

These are the Last Chronicles for me as well. I have led eight chapter dissections previously, but after this one, I will never lead another. Finality weighs upon me as I write. But it is an appropriate mood for this chapter. We are in Mount Thunder, a confrontation with Lord Foul looms near, and the end of all things pervades each sentence we read. As readers, we hope some sort of salvation lies ahead.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
For the first time, Linden saw open astonishment on the impassive face of a Haruchai.

The last chapter ended with that cliff-hanger.

The Masters are here in Mount Thunder. And they seem as surprised to see Covenant as Covenant is to see them.

They have arrived just in time to help the company escape the Cavewights.

Two hundered Haruchai have come. Five-score are considered "a veritable army in their sight". So: two armies worth of Haruchai are somewhere within Mount Thunder. But only four individuals have found the company so far: Canrik, Dast, Ulman, and Ard.

It is enough. Covenant has a moment of vertigo, as the plight of his friends urges the wild magic toward utterance. But they are saved with the help of their new allies, and his mental balance is restored.

But Canrik insists that there are questions that need answering. They were unaware that Covenant had returned to life. And he glares at Linden as if she is a crime. The Masters have been given lies.

Another Giant has died in combat. Bluff Stoutgirth grieves for Hurl, his crewmate. There is no time for caamora, which is as grevious a blow to the Anchormaster as the death itself. And so Hurl is hurled into the river; may his soul find the sea. Among the Giants, five Swordmainnir have died, and four sailors, and Lostson Longwrath. Five Swordmainnir and eight sailors remain.

Their sacrifice weighs on Covenant.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Fortunately he was not alone. In the Land, he had seldom been alone; but this time he had been given more than companionship and aid.

Linden. Jeremiah. Love. Family.

Stave. Branl. Giants. And Haruchai.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
He did not know how to bear such abundance. He had spent decades in one world and millennia in another learning how to stand alone.

Covenant is not the man he was before he died. He understands now, more than ever, this his personal journey is not a journey made alone. He may finally confront the Despiser, but he has been blessed with those without whom it would not be possible. This has been true since the beginning, but now Covenant is almost at peace with this, he accepts it more readily, as if he understands that his achievements and his companions are not two disparate things, but two sides of one thing, integral to each other.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“It isn’t all bad,” he said roughly. “At least we’re still together. Some of us made it.”

He meant, I love you, Linden Avery.

Her hug seemed to say that she understood.

The company climbs away from the ledge where they were ambushed. Then through the tunnels of the Cavewights. Other Haruchai join them as they travel. Kiril Threndor seems near.

Soon they reach a small cavern, chosen by the Masters as the place where questions will be answered. Yet more Haruchai arrive, and they also bring Bhapa and Pahni with them, who stand at the core of the Masters' ire. If the Masters are not answered, they may very well prevent Covenant from reaching Kiril Threndor, Linden from the task which she has chosen. And they're pretty mad.

Bhapa and Pahni have changed since we have last seen them. Bhapa proclaims, "The blame of the outcome is mine and no others." And Pahni replies, "He has become my manethrall." Somewhere during their confrontation with the Masters in Revelstone, they have matured, grown: come into their own.

Handir, by right of years and attainment the Voice of the Masters, arrives.

Bhapa, to Handir's chagrin, relates the cause of the Masters' "open astonishment". It seems he had never mentioned to them that Thomas Covenant was returned to life. He had played up Linden's culpability in the matter of the Worm, had described her as a reckless mother heedless of all but her son's safety. The Masters came to the Wightwarrens to punish Linden for her crimes.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“Bhapa of the Ramen, it is not in the nature of your people to scheme and mislead. Why have you betrayed their legacy? Why have you concealed necessary truths?”

“It was for this,” he told Handir in a tone of throttled fury. “That you might here encounter the truth of the Ringthane, the Chosen, Linden Avery — encounter it and know shame.”

“Linden Avery, Chosen, Ringthane, I am offended to the marrow of my bones that these sleepless ones have dared to think ill of you. They have named themselves the Masters of the Land, but they do not serve. True service submits itself to the cause which it serves, deeming that cause holy. This the Ramen comprehend. True service does not judge the deeds which are asked of it. It does not consent to this and refuse that, according to the dictates of its own pride. It gives of itself because the cause which it serves is worthy.

“That is my justification. I did not mislead the Masters for the Land’s hurt, or for their own. I merely” — he spat the word — “encouraged them in their judgments and pride, praying that they would ride forth in wrath to confront Desecration. Thereby I hoped to impose upon them a confrontation with their own folly.”

And so Bhapa misdirected the Masters for two reasons. First, to motivate them into actions which they might have otherwise chosen to forgo. Secondly, to shame them for their judgemental stance in service to the Land.

This shame plays its part in the redemption of the Haruchai. For they must see first that they have been wrong, before they can see a new path.

The Masters have been misguided. As we learned in an earlier chapter, they do not choose to know themselves by what they care for, but instead by what they accomplish. Confronted by a choice between the two, the Masters considered their reputations more important than the Land they served. This led inevitably to their antagonism towards Linden, who required their service at the expense of their vanity. Here, now, they can see that they have chosen wrongly.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Bhapa had brought the Masters to a crisis of rectitude, a challenge which would search their definition of themselves to its core.

Branl remains. His promise to instruct his people remains. But, now, his people might feel inclinded to accept it.

[There is a more detailed analysis of the Masters' shame in a reply below.]

That the Masters are in Mount Thunder, in large numbers, atests to Bhapa's correct judgement. That the Ranyhyn consented to carry them here, but not another ten score who had set out to Melenkurion Skyweir in order to defy the Worm, atests to the Ranyhyn sharing his judgement.

We don't see anything like Handir putting his face in his palm, or admitting to any errors, or asking for any forgiveness. What he does is complain about Covenants plan to go to Kiril Threndor. It is implied that all of the Haruchai he commands will accompany Covenant regardless. Implied in this implication is that he has been swayed by what Bhapa has said. And within the implication within that implication, is the implication that the Haruchai have been changed a little bit more.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“If we must be shamed, we will bear it. We are Haruchai. Yet it is cruel — is it not? — to insist upon our service in the name of folly. In the name of futility, ur-Lord. In the name of waste.”

Covenant grinned at him fiercely. “You tell me. Which would you rather do? Die here fighting Cavewights? Take the chance that something good might happen? Or be swept out of existence while you stand around complaining about waste?”

The Voice of the Masters paused for only a moment. Then he said without inflection, “We will fight.”

Covenant always puts things into perspective, doesn't he?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick comment: I have a HUGE problem with Bhapa's actions with the Haruchai. To the best of my memory, it's the only instance of intentional deceit by any character of the Land, and he shames himself and his people by lying to them. I doubt Mahrtiir or the Ranyhyn would thank him for what he did.

And, it's so unnecessary. If Bhapa found the Haruchai unwilling to help, the only thing he had to do was challenge them with the Ranyhyn, as Stave did in FR. If 200 Ranyhyn had appeared at the gates of Revelstone, we know the Haruchai would have accepted their faith and rode to Mt. Thunder.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a very interesting point. To what degree did Bhapa act dishonorably?

Bhapa argues it thusly: "Their umbrage rests, not upon a falsehood, but upon a withheld truth. [...] I did not concede the knowledge that you were restored to us by the selfsame deed which awakened the Worm. [...] Rather, I encouraged them in their belief that the blame for the world’s doom is [Linden's]."

My first thought is this: I must believe that good may be gained by evil means. A lie by omission is still a lie. But Bhapa's less than honorable action is not gratuitous, either. It serves a purpose in the story.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some notes on Shame -

A clever dissector might have noticed that I chose to lead both "Back from the Brink" and this chapter from The Last Dark. Both are big chapters for the Haruchai. Bookends, if you will, on the topic of their [as I call it] redemption. In the earlier chapter, Stave and Branl have a transformative moment. In this chapter, it is Handir and the remaining Masters who are taught a lesson.

Then, Covenant was the guide; here, it is Bhapa. Interestingly, Linden was the initial cause that led to each moment, the impetus. Stave's affection for Linden led to his pondering the use of regret and grief. And the Masters' antipathy for Linden led to their shaming by Bhapa.

(There's another interesting parallel, between the scene in Runes and the scene in this chapter. In each case, a trial: then in the Close, now in a small cavern shaped very much like the Close. A small cavern with a shallow basin for a floor and openings into other passages: a place where the companions could be questioned. Then, the Masters judged Linden; here, the Masters attempt to judge Bhapa, but instead they themselves are judged.)

The central piece of this chapter is the Masters' shame. That's implied by the title; that was Bhapa's intention; that was what motivated the Haruchai to join the company. The Masters' Shame.

Shame has always been a tool in educating or reforming others.

I think it's rather instructive to explore this shame. Instructive, because at first glance it can be hard to see what, precisely, are the Masters shamed about, and why they rather readily accede to it. Even for beings with mental communication, they don't raise a lot of objections - and because they don't state under what conditions they would not accept such shame, we are left unknowing of what conditions they would.

Let's start with Bhapa. It's his plan. Clearly, he could intuit back in Revelstone that his actions would lead to the Masters' shame, so he must know something about it.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“It was for this,” he told Handir in a tone of throttled fury. “That you might here encounter the truth of the Ringthane, the Chosen, Linden Avery — encounter it and know shame.”

So we have our first clue. According to Bhapa, the truth would lead to the shame the Masters. The truth about Linden Avery, in fact. Their shame, it would seem, arises from how they have adjudged Linden on prior occasions.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“Linden Avery, Chosen, Ringthane, I am offended to the marrow of my bones that these sleepless ones have dared to think ill of you.”

Yes. On prior occassions, they have judged Linden harshly. For her concern for son. For her compassion for Anele. And her use of Earthpower. And for having the white gold. The Haruchai trust no one except Covenant with that much power, and with such intentions. They did not trust Linden. They sent the Humbled to accompany her in order to thwart her if she should ever act in a way the Masters don't like. To prevent Desecration. They could not trust that Linden would not succumb to despair or ignorance or madness and then desecrate the Land.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
"They ward us because they mistrust the Chosen. They consider that her powers and needs may compel her to commit Desecration.

Note that everyone else, from the Ramen to the Giants to Covenant to the Theomach to the Ardent, trusted Linden. Her words, her attitutudes, her love, and her actions, made it clear to all that the Earth was safe in her hands. Only the Masters failed to discern this.

Because the Masters have been concerned with other matters entirely.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
"Still you do not comprehend our Mastery. We do not seek to prove ourselves equal to every peril which besets the Land. We seek only to forestall Desecration. Such evils may be performed only by those who wield power and love the Land and know despair.

"The true Thomas Covenant, ur-Lord and Unbeliever, charged us to preserve Revelstone. We will willingly spend our lives in the attempt. But our larger purpose does not require us to redeem the Land. It requires us to ensure that a new Landwaster does not commit a second Ritual of Desecration."

It's all about Kevin. The Masters are dead set against another Kevin.

Because their highest concern is whether or not another Desecration happens on their watch, their response to Linden was chosen on that basis. They were not concerned with "peril which besets the Land". They were concerned with Linden Avery making them look bad.

And it is on this point which Bhapa nails them.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
"They have named themselves the Masters of the Land, but they do not serve. True service submits itself to the cause which it serves, deeming that cause holy. This the Ramen comprehend. True service does not judge the deeds which are asked of it. It does not consent to this and refuse that, according to the dictates of its own pride. It gives of itself because the cause which it serves is worthy."

It's simony again. Service without generosity, service withheld subject to personal conditions.

It is here, in the small cavern shaped like the Close, that the Masters are confronted with the simple fact that they chose wrongly. The Ramen tell them so. Giants tell them so. And, indeed, Branl himself tells them so.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Before she—or Bhapa—could protest, Handir turned, not to Covenant, but to Branl.

“Are your thoughts sooth?” he demanded in the full light of High Lord Loric’s krill.

“Is turiya Herem truly slain? Has Linden Avery indeed restored a Forestal to the Land? Has her fated boy provided for the preservation of the Elohim, and for an end to Kevin’s Dirt? Have you defeated Sandgorgons and skurj? Does the ur-Lord now seek to challenge Corruption in Kiril Threndor?”

Branl lifted an eyebrow. Then he shrugged like a man who did not deign to take offense. “I am Haruchai,” he said. “More, I am Humbled. I do not sully my mind with lies."

True service to the Land lied with Linden Avery all along. The Masters withheld their service out of arrogance, when they should have given it freely, aye, with two hands. That the will of the Ranyhyn supported Bhapa's claims only seals the judgement irrevocably.

(But let's be honest ... I know from the comments that were written over the years that there were many readers who believed about Linden what the Masters believed about Linden. THAT is a tribute to Donaldson's story-telling. He successfully made it possible for us to see Linden going either way. Readers doubted her. To use a phrase the author uses a lot: it was for this.)

Faced with these truths, the Masters engage in "mental debate". When they are done, they admit to their own shame. There they were, deep in Mount Thunder ... to stop Linden Avery. The chosen. As Covenant says, "My wife!".

It is never said if Branl mentioned his visit with ak-Haru, or the blasting that the Guardian delivered to the Masters via the remaining Humbled. If he had, it could only support Bhapa and chide the Masters further. He had said, "You have withheld trust from Linden Avery the Chosen, setting yourselves in opposition to her efforts and sacrifices because you were unable to share her love and passion. These are the deeds of misers. They do not become you."

This was a very necessary part of the story, a need that needed to be fulfilled before The Last Dark could close. The Masters needed to see why they were misguided and wrong. Both about how the controlled the Land, and about Linden Avery. Through the magic of correspondence, we too learn a more proper attitude toward the Chosen, and toward risk and love. For the Timewarden's wife had a troubled journey, but we should never have doubted her.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
"And since those great deeds, I have been stunned to the soul by your devotion to your son, by your valor in the greatest extremity, and by your enduring love for the Timewarden. I know nothing of turiya Herem, or of Forestals, or of Elohim. Yet I know with a certainty which surpasses utterance that the awakening of the Worm was the outcome of Fangthane’s cunning, not of any desire for Desecration in you. You acted only upon your love for the Timewarden, and upon your love for your son."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
(But let's be honest ... I know from the comments that were written over the years that there were many readers who believed about Linden what the Masters believed about Linden. THAT is a tribute to Donaldson's story-telling. He successfully made it possible for us to see Linden going either way. Readers doubted her. To use a phrase the author uses a lot: it was for this.)

Just as Donaldson left it ambiguous until near the end of TPTP whether Covenant would Save or Damn. This is a point that I have long sought to make to the Linden detractors; that virtually every reason they cite for their distain of her parallels how Covenant is portrayed in the First Chrons.

If one wants to insist on pure heroes and cannot deal with a conflicted or unlikable protagonist...SRD isn't for those readers!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Completely.

However, some of us saw Linden as Liand did, right from the start.

In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
"Do you not know that you are admirable in my sight? Can you not conceive that I have no desire to turn aside from your example? Your intent is not to destroy the Earth, but to redeem it, as you seek also to redeem your son. I will abide the outcome with you."

It was no trick to notice that almost every character whose opinion should have mattered to readers - from Anele and Liand right up to the Ardent - found Linden trustworthy and heroic.

I don't think that the two opposing views of Covenant were so concretely exposed in the first Chronicles. There were no orations praising Covenant's devotion and valor - nor was there any such things to praise, frankly.

In these latter Chronicles, it was practically a Team Linden and Team Handir situation. Linden was always on trial, and vocal defenders were always rising to her defense, with eloquence and the odd punch-block. To me, it made it more obvious, not less, that the Masters were wrong-footed about Linden's outcome.

Oh, it's not too late to join the Army.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your dissection, wayfriend! I've enjoyed reading it!

In this Covenant point-of-view chapter, we get to see that TC has come as close as he's likely to ever get to striking the balance between guilt and acceptance.

Quote:
Covenant loathed killing, but his abhorrence for the suffering and loss of those who stood with him was greater. To save them, he would have incinerated every Cavewight on the ledge. And he would have borne the cost; added those deaths to the stains on his soul. His ring seemed to plead for use.

Yet he suppressed its fire, swallowed his ambiguous power. He did not have enough control to strike at the Cavewights without harming the people whom he longed to save. He could not protect Linden and Jeremiah. He had never been able to spare anyone who chose to fight for the Land.


...And his acceptance enables him to stay focused on doing his part to defeat Foul, without being distracted by what could be happening to his loved ones.

Quote:
"I know," Covenant sighed, "We're all in the same boat. The only thing that might be worse than facing our fears is not facing them."


wayfriend wrote:
Another Giant has died in combat. Bluff Stoutgirth grieves for Hurl, his crewmate. There is no time for caamora, which is as grevious a blow to the Anchormaster as the death itself. And so Hurl is hurled into the river; may his soul find the sea.


A hard, hard moment for Stoutgirth, indeed. He gets very close to mutiny, until he sees the futility of carrying a dead body further up into the mountain. This is sad. Sad

A favorite moment from this chapter:
Quote:
Before Covenant could think of a response that was not rage, Linden spoke. "If it's up to me," she told the Humbled, "I'll answer anything. I don't know how much time we have. I don't know if we can afford to stand around arguing. But the Masters are important. I'll do what I can."

"Chosen." Branl's visage revealed nothing. Yet when he bowed, he gave her his full respect. Then he turned away, bearing the company's only light down the tunnel.



A satisfyingly conciliatory occasion for two former foes! Linden offers respect for Branl's concerns for his people, gets respect back unabashedly by the last of the Humbled. I think they're both rather humbled, at this point. Likewise, it's gratifying to see Branl defy all his people to praise the Ramen.

Quote:
"Nor," he added more sharply, "will I condone aspersion to the Ramen. As do you, Handir, Voice of the Masters, I require an account of their deeds. Yet they have been at all times steadfast and valiant companions. They have given of themselves utterly while the Masters remained effectless in Revelstone. I will endure no denunciation of them."



I'm not completely comfortable with Bhapa's stratagem of withholding important information from the Masters. Until I reflect that the Masters have themselves withheld important information concerning Earthpower from the people of the Land for centuries. Bhapa's final explanation of not revealing Covenant's resurrection has some logic behind it.

Quote:
"If I must say more, I will add only that I did not invoke the Timewarden's name because I feared that the Masters would not heed it. When have they ever stood with him in his last need? I feared that their notions of service would compel inaction."



It's nice to see Covenant not sweating the consequences of the Ramen's actions, fretting about delays. He always has his power to doubt, of course, but his power to have faith has increased multifold, it seems.

Quote:
Fates of every description stood on the lip of a precipice. One misstep now might be fatal. Covenant should have felt dizzy; but he found that his faith was equal to this moment. Bhapa had brought the Masters to a crisis of rectitude, a challenge which would search their definition of themselves to its core. And here they had the power to save or damn Covenant's intentions. Nevertheless he was content to await the outcome. He called himself the Unbeliever, but he believed in Bhapa, whose name meant "father". In Pahni, whose name was "water".


It's just as well Tom believes in them, because he originally gave Mahrtiir the hint to choose them, back at Glimmermere.

Actually, I find it interesting that Covenant keeps his patience concerning the situation longer than Rime Coldspray. And here she's one of the Giants, which are a decidedly non-hasty sort of people.

Quote:
"Enough of this!" she called so that every Master could hear her. "While you query yourselves, our foes rally against us. Such uncertainty ill becomes you. If you will not stand with us, stand aside. We must attain Kiril Threndor."


It's quite an indictment of the Masters' intransigence that even Giants get exasperated with them!

[Edited for typos]
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, CH.

Cord Hurn wrote:
I'm not completely comfortable with Bhapa's stratagem of withholding important information from the Masters. Until I reflect that the Masters have themselves withheld important information concerning Earthpower from the people of the Land for centuries. Bhapa's final explanation of not revealing Covenant's resurrection has some logic behind it.

Bhapa's deception never really bothered me. Now that I am hearing from some others who are more disturbed by it, I've given it some thought. And I guess I still feel the same way.

As I see it, what Bhapa did was postpone when the Masters learned about Covenant. You can't argue that he was hiding it, not when his goal was to take the Masters directly to Covenant. Bhapa's actions were designed to change when the Masters discovered this, to make it a surprise.

He had two good reasons for this. First, he believed (correctly) that the Masters would be more motivated to oppose Linden than they would be to support Covenant. It would get them to Mount Thunder. Secondly, he wished to (deservedly) shame them about that very fact. But, most importantly, the shaming wasn't gratuitous or punitive - it was to instruct the Masters and to make them better allies.

In this very chapter, as in many other places in the story, we are given to lament the killing of Cavewights as something horrible but yet necessary, and so it is considered regrettable but not heinous. It is justified.

With that comparison standing right next to it, how can we not also believe Bhapa's actions were justifiable?

The strong support he receives from characters whose opinions matter to us are strong hints that the author also wishes us to see Bhapa's actions as positive. Even the Masters, after hearing Bhapa's reasoning, do not denounce his actions.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been looking through this chapter once again to see if there's some other quotes that will induce me to comment. I found a few.


Quote:
Blustergale did not wait for instructions. From one of the company's sacks, he produced a heavy coil of rope. Baf Scatterwit tried to take it from him; his healed shoulder was still weak. He refused her; gave the rope to Wiver Setrock. To console her, he said, :Stand ready. You will have other tasks."

She hooted a laugh. "I am ready. Am I not ready always?"


That selfless Scatterwit! She's lost a foot and has a cracked kneecap (which nobody has seen fit to heal, apparently), and STILL she's ready to shoulder whatever burden she can for the sake of the company! What a great spirit she is!



Quote:
Canrik was glaring at Linden again as if she were a viper. As if he felt betrayed--

Under the force of his gaze, she seemed to shrink inside her clothes. She had endured too much distrust from the Masters; too many judgments. Her history with them hung on her shoulders like a millstone. But she did not reply to Canrik's plain ire. Instead she turned to Jeremiah. Like a woman who wished demonstrate something, she said distinctly, "I need Earthpower, Jeremiah. For Stonemage. Do you mind?"

Apparently she wanted Canrik to understand that the Staff of Law now belonged to the boy.

Jeremiah frowned. "She's hurt." He looked baffled. "You don't have to ask. She needs you."


Jeremiah continues his journey into caring more about others and what they are going through. At this point on my first read of this book, I was no longer worried about Jeremiah committing Desecration. He seems to know what he stands for, and what he's going to do.


Quote:
When Covenant reached the higher ledge, he had to sit down. Freed from his knotted cradle, he collapsed against one wall of the crude tunnel leading away from the crevice; drew his knees to his chest and hugged them urgently; hid his face. He felt unmanned by vertigo, by impossible demands and contradictions. He had barely known Hurl. He could not even remember the names of the other slain sailors, Giants who had lost their lives without striking a blow in their won defense. And his decisions had led them to ruin. It was his responsibility to make their deaths worthwhile.

It could not be done. Nothing that he ever did would assuage Lord Foul's countless victims. Nothing would suffice to honor the valor of those who still struggled for the Earth.

Still Covenant had to try. He had to close his ears to the siren song of dizziness and futility. He had to believe--

There is no doom so black or deep that courage and clear sight may not find another truth behind it.

He was a leper. Surely he could believe whatever he chose? As long as he was willing to pay the price?


Here, Thomas Covenant seems to gain inspiration to fight back despair by recalling the words of Mahrtiir. He, too, seems assured of having the strength to keep going and prevail. Guilt has been both a motivating factor and an immobilizing factor for him, in the past. Going forward, he will be immobilized by it no more. Every soul who dies fighting for the Land just gives him even more reason to prevail over the Despiser.


Quote:
When Linden had satisfied her gratitude, she released Bhapa. Blinking to clear her eyes, she gave him a crooked smile. Then she turned to Pahni.

Clearly she was unsure of herself with the young woman. Pahni had not spoken a word to her since Linden had refused to attempt Liand's resurrection. Instead of offering to hug the Cord, Linden asked with an ache of yearning in her voice, "My God, Pahni. How did you do it?"

How had a woman who had been little more than a girl when she found her first love in Liand discovered the strength to face down the assembled Masters in Revelstone?

In spite of her slight stature, Pahni met Linden's question with an imperious air. She looked whetted, as if she had spent days applying her heart to a grindstone. Without hesitation, she replied, "I made of my grief a form of rage. I spoke to excoriate, goading the Masters to bestir themselves. We are the life which remains. They could not stand idle while a mere Cord faulted them for permitting the world's Desecration. They had no answer for the charge which I brought against them."

They did not grieve. Therefore their bereavements ruled them.

Harsh as the call of a hawk, Pahni added, "I do not cry your pardon, Ringthane. I am a Cord of the Ramen. I will not regret that I have abided by the command of my Manethrall." But then her manner softened somewhat. "And I also am offended in your name. I, too, crave the shaming of the Masters."

At that, Linden covered her face in her hands.

Relieved and grateful, Covenant went to Bhapa. When the older Cord met his gaze, he said without rancor, "You took a hell of a risk. What were you going to do if that didn't work?"

Bhapa's mouth twisted. He almost smiled. With a hint of his former diffidence, he said, "Timewarden, I would have spoken of you. Your need outweighs my wrath. Had the Ringthane's name failed, yours might have prevailed--though," he admitted, ruefully, "in that event the burden of shame would have become mine to bear."

Covenant nodded. Under his breath, he murmured, "You're a brave man. I'm glad you're here. But maybe you should have trusted them with the truth. This--" a twitch of his head indicated the Masters--"isn't settled."


Two things I wish to note from this passage: Linden now knows that Pahni has forgiven her for not resurrecting Liand, and Covenant himself is not completely comfortable with Bhapa's lie of omission.

Nevertheless, I'm relieved by wayfriend's strong defense of Bhapa's action, because I'm not comfortable criticizing Ramen characters, either (for some reason). Shifty
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
Quote:
Relieved and grateful, Covenant went to Bhapa. When the older Cord met his gaze, he said without rancor, "You took a hell of a risk. " [...] Under his breath, he murmured, "You're a brave man. I'm glad you're here. But maybe you should have trusted them with the truth. This--" a twitch of his head indicated the Masters--"isn't settled."


Two things I wish to note from this passage: Linden now knows that Pahni has forgiven her for not resurrecting Liand, and Covenant himself is not completely comfortable with Bhapa's lie of omission.

I think Covenant's comment about "should have" was in reference to "hell of a risk" and "This isn't settled". That is, he thinks Bhapa, for his own sake, shouldn't have dared something which might have incurred the Master's wrath against him, because he wasn't sure (at that point) that Bhapa would succeed.

... Maybe I'm reading into it what I want to find, but it seems consistent with his manner around this time. He -is- worried about the risks people take on his behalf. He -isn't- blaming anyone but himself for what his friends need to do. And he -does- believe the Master's deserve a good whacking ... he's been poking at the Masters' stance off and on since Joan.

Yes, I've belabored this too long. I'm not trying to win a fight with our illustrious Cord. Just trying to get to a million posts.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
These are the Last Chronicles for me as well. I have led eight chapter dissections previously, but after this one, I will never lead another. Finality weighs upon me as I write. But it is an appropriate mood for this chapter.


It's the end of an era, for sure, wayfriend! I recall that you have been leading dissections going as far back as the White Gold Wielder chapter The Path To Pain. I enjoy your analytical thoroughness, which was evident right from that first dissection. Have I not avowed that your posts are among the great treasures of the Watch? If I haven't said so before publicly, then I do so now! Cool


wayfriend wrote:
That the Masters are in Mount Thunder, in large numbers, attests to Bhapa's correct judgement. That the Ranyhyn consented to carry them here, but not another ten score who had set out to Melenkurion Skyweir in order to defy the Worm, attests to the Ranyhyn sharing his judgement.


wayfriend wrote:
... Maybe I'm reading into it what I want to find, but it seems consistent with his manner around this time. He -is- worried about the risks people take on his behalf. He -isn't- blaming anyone but himself for what his friends need to do. And he -does- believe the Master's deserve a good whacking ... he's been poking at the Masters' stance off and on since Joan.


Okay, I'm sold, my last objection swept away. Wink It's certainly true that TC has made his feelings of disapproval known to the Humbled , disapproval concerning the Masters' suppression of Earthpower's knowledge and use.
And anyway, who am I to question the judgment of the Ranyhyn? Shocked


dlbpharmd wrote:
If Bhapa found the Haruchai unwilling to help, the only thing he had to do was challenge them with the Ranyhyn, as Stave did in FR. If 200 Ranyhyn had appeared at the gates of Revelstone, we know the Haruchai would have accepted their faith and rode to Mt. Thunder.


This statement has encouraged me to go back and read the relevant text, specifically in Part II, Chapter 5 of Fatal Revenant.
Quote:
For a few heartbeats, Handir resumed his silence. Then he shifted his stance to address everyone around him.
"It is decided," he said rigidly. "Both tests have merit. Neither suffices.
"However, we do not desire Linden Avery's enmity. Nor do we intend any slight to the Ramen, or to the majesty of the Ranyhyn, as the Manethrall has urged. If Stave falls, no summons will be countenanced."

After a brief pause, he continued, "It is in my heart, however, that such trials resolve naught." Again his manner or his tone seemed to imply a veiled sorrow. "Conceding them, we accept only the hazard of greater uncertainty, for the strictures of our service will not be set aside. If Linden Avery's release is won, we will be compelled to consider whether we have damned the Land. Yet if Stave or the Ranyhyn fail her, she will not thereby be persuaded to accept our Mastery. Rather the darkness within her will deepen. And Desecration may be wrought as readily in Revelstone as in Kiril Threndor. Thus we will again be compelled to consider whether we have damned the Land.
"I am Handir, by right of years and attainment the Voice of the Masters. I have spoken. But my words will bear no sweet fruit. Rather they will ripen to gall and rue."


There remains the distinct possibility, then, that the Masters would have considered the arrival of the Ranyhyn alone to be insufficient evidence for the Masters leaving Revelstone in pursuit of Linden. Pahni's mention of Linden rousing the Worm was probably still needed to act as a catalyst to galvanize the Masters into action. (Notice how I've come around enough in my thinking to be defending the Ramen with little reservation. Granted, it's natural for me to feel that way, but for a long time I've shared dlb's view about Bhapa's actions. Until now.) Anyway, I guess I'm trying to say that the test of the Ranyhyn might not have been enough to sway the Masters. They've been judgmental of other life forms in the Land's world, so why wouldn't they judge the Ranyhyn, too? (Especially since they know that the Ranyhyn "transformed" Stave, a transformation of view not to their liking.)

Savor Dam wrote:
If one wants to insist on pure heroes and cannot deal with a conflicted or unlikable protagonist...SRD isn't for those readers!


It sure is hard for me to argue with this! "Conflicted" is a word which well-describes an SRD protagonist, whether we're talking about Thomas Covenant, Terisa Morgan, Morn Hyland, or Mick "Brew" Axbrewder. Or, uh, Linden Avery.

wayfriend wrote:
Yes, I've belabored this too long. I'm not trying to win a fight with our illustrious Cord. Just trying to get to a million posts.


Rest assured, wayfriend, that I have been merely looking for ways to extend the discussion about this chapter, and wasn't ever thinking in terms of "winning" or "losing". Thanks for calling me illustrious; I don't think I've ever been illustrious before! Concerning making more posts: that's always a noble goal; I never can seem to make them fast enough. So, rest assured that I've enjoyed this discussion, and am grateful for your exoneration of Bhapa and Pahni! Hail
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