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Runes Part 2, Chapter 3 - The Will of the Ranyhyn
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krazy Kat wrote:
p.s. Since writing this dissection Wayfriend, did you find an answer to your question on why only two Ranyhyn were at the horserite. I'd be interested to know how your idea's may have changed since then.

I believe this is answered in a future chapter, and the dissection brings it up.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Runes Part 2, Chapter 3 - The Will of the Ranyhyn Reply with quote

Rereading this four years later, I regret not participating in real time. Thank the Internet gods for our granted power of trans-temporal conversations! I feel almost like a Ranyhyn myself, leaping through time to join other minds in a rite of future-peering informed by a past-preserved.

First things first: Wayfriend did an excellent job. Very insightful. I enjoyed the excerpt about the Marines, which immediately had me wondering what the heck it had to do with the subject at hand, only to payoff generously and unexpectedly with his comparison between officers and Ranyhyn riders. It must feel like quite a responsibility, indeed, for a rider to guide a Ranyhyn, to direct this living example of Earthpower incarnate. From the perspective of the rider, that must be a daunting task ... an aspect that never occurred to me, since the Ranyhyn chose their own riders, and thus exert their own control over this situation (i.e. the "invisible hand" WF notes later). In fact, if that sense of responsibility had been conveyed in the 1st Chronicles themselves, it would have made the books better. A sense of reverence for the mighty horses was well conveyed in the text, but never a sense of "I'm not worthy" or even any self-doubt of one's worth for this great honor/responsibility. We saw an example of how not being chosen produces self-doubt (e.g. the Lord whose wife was chosen, though he was not), but never any doubts that the rider had failed to live up to his Ranyhyn's choice to bear him. That would have been a nice touch.

But the fact that the Ranyhyn do choose their riders, and have a view of the future, makes their compliance as mounts entirely different from the officer-soldier comparison. If a soldier knew ahead of time what his officer was going to command, and consented to this path in virtue of such knowledge, his willingness to follow orders wouldn't be blind obedience at all. That combination of knowledge + consent would alter the responsibility of the officer from taking control of an uninformed, less knowledgable subordinate, to a situation where his future choices were already judged and approved by a vastly superior being. In fact, such knowledge + consent would shift the burden of responsibility to the Ranyhyn himself, because he would enable that future to unfold. Rather than being a blind instrument to be wielded, the Ranyhyn are enabling and choosing, as WF notes here:

wayfriend wrote:
Did the Ranyhyn read the future? Do their time-loose powers of perception extend to this kind of prognostication? If so, the implications are astounding.

Think about what it means to be chosen by the Ranyhyn. Is it an honor? Is it an indication of valour? Or is it, as these lines imply, that you are chosen to meet a future need that only the Ranyhyn see? If so, then perhaps the Ranyhyn are not the passive although superb beasts of burden that they seem to be. Perhaps all along they have been shaping events in the Land by choosing whom they would bear.

Perhaps the will of the Ranyhyn has been an invisible hand all along.


And that's exactly why the Ranyhyn feel guilty or ashamed for showing Elena the horserite warning. They were an invisible hand, as WF notes, as no subordinate soldier could ever be. Therefore, they have at least as much responsibility--if not more--for the events which they enable to happen, because they (unlike virtually anyone else) have foreknowledge of the consequences.

And that's another feature that I wish had been in the 1st/2nd Chrons. Wayfriend is right: it has profound implications. It should have impacted the story. But that's also one of the reasons the Last Chronicles is a much deeper, more thoughtful work than the previous two. Those implications are finally impacting the story in an explicit way, and the consequences are being shown.

I did have one small problem with the text in this chapter. WF already quoted it, but I'll repeat for clarity:

Quote:
"No," she protested as if she were sure. "No." Her hands insisted at his shoulders. "Bannor heard what High Lord Elena said, but none of you heard the warning."

"Sure," she went on, "Kelenbhrabanal's despair didn't save the Ranyhyn. I get that. But what did?

"It wasn't anything grand. It wasn't Lords or Bloodguard or white rings or Staffs. The Ranyhyn weren't preserved by Vows, or absolute faithfulness, or any other form of Haruchai mastery. That was the real warning."

"Linden Avery?" Stave sounded implacable, ready for scorn.

But she had come too far, and needed him too much, to falter now. "It was something much simpler than that. The plain, selfless devotion of ordinary men and women." The Ramen. "You said it yourself. The Ranyhyn were nearly destroyed until they found the Ramen to care for them.

"They wanted Elena to understand that she would be enough. She didn't need to raise Kevin from death," or give up sleep and passion, "or do anything else transcendent," anything more than human. "All she had to do was trust herself."


Why do the most Earthpowerful beings in the Land, who have the power to see the future, need the simple, ordinary skill of the Ramen to just to survive? Couldn't they have easily avoided the dangers of the Sunbane without the Ramen to guide them? They could have seen it coming. They are stronger and faster than these relatively weak, mundane humans who serve them. Why were the Ramen vital to their survival? And if that's true, if it actually makes sense, doesn't it negate everything transcendental about the horses? Doesn't that dependency contradict their very nature? Why do the Ranyhyn need caretakers to tend to their basic needs, like pets? No other being in the Land needs this kind of basic care. Every other race is perfectly capable of taking care of itself. Why would the strongest, fastest, most prescient, most Earthpowerful need something that no one else needs?

It's an interesting paradox, no doubt. But I'm not sure it's a plausible one.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Why do the most Earthpowerful beings in the Land, who have the power to see the future, need the simple, ordinary skill of the Ramen to just to survive? Couldn't they have easily avoided the dangers of the Sunbane without the Ramen to guide them? They could have seen it coming. They are stronger and faster than these relatively weak, mundane humans who serve them. Why were the Ramen vital to their survival? And if that's true, if it actually makes sense, doesn't it negate everything transcendental about the horses? Doesn't that dependency contradict their very nature? Why do the Ranyhyn need caretakers to tend to their basic needs, like pets? No other being in the Land needs this kind of basic care. Every other race is perfectly capable of taking care of itself. Why would the strongest, fastest, most prescient, most Earthpowerful need something that no one else needs?


Z, I apologize if I'm misunderstanding your point, but I believe the Ranyhyn needed the Ramen to fight against the wolves of Fangthane. As horses, their ability to defend and counterattack was extremely limited.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes, I agree that the passage I quoted was more about wolves than the Sunbane. That does answer part of my question. However, couldn't an animal that can see the future, and outrun any other living animal, have little trouble avoiding wolves?
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that the Ranyhyn's ability to see things in the future needs to imply that they can see the future routinely or at will. I am sure that there must be limits. Donaldson has discuseed the limits of the oracle and of the seer often. And he's also discussed the limits of Foul in foretelling the future. It may be that the Ranyhyn only see the Land's need, or that like Foul they see possibilities only. It may be that they are only shown glimpses of the future during their rites; it may be that these glimpses are provided symbolically rather than specifically. It may be that they impose their own limits. Etc. Etc. It's important to recognize the responsibility the Ranyhyn have in what they have done, without doubt, but I am less than certain that we should also make them responsible for what we imagine they might do. The story will tell you what's significant, in that I trust.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points. I agree some kind of limit must obviously be in play. After all, they need the Ramen. And in that sense, your point addresses both of my observations. Ranyhyn aren't like Elohim or immortal beings such as Foul (and even they have limits, within the Arch). So I was wrong to say it's implausible for Ranyhyn to need Ramen. They can't avoid routine dangers like wolves for the same reason they can't be entirely blamed for the future, and that's becasue they can't see the entire future, "routinely or at will," as WF says. Avoiding routine dangers with transcendental power would require tuning or calibrating a transcendental power down to the level of the mundane ... hmm.

So this also goes to the point Linden was making, to connect the example of simple, mundane Ramen service to the lesson which the ranyhyn had intended in their first warning to Elena: you don't have to be transcendent. Thus, believing that you have to be transcendent to fight Foul is the problem. That's why ranyhyn need the Ramen, because they have areas in which they can't transcend their own limits.

But then we're back to my point: "if that's true, if it actually makes sense, doesn't it negate everything transcendental about the horses?" Given the above reasoning, maybe that's the point. And so, I find myself once again turning to the questions I posed in the next chapter's dissection today, about the implications to the end of White Gold Wielder. Covenant turned himself into something transcendental in order to fight Foul. His Apotheosis. He transcended death, protected the Arch of Time beyond his time. That was itself a violation of Time, just as breaking the Laws of Life/Death are violations of Time. This is unavoidable, because a lifespan is a lived timespan. The boundardy between the living and the dead is just as much a boundary between the past and the future, because our lives are finite.

So, meandering my way to a point ( Laughing ), I think we're being shown how Covenant's answers in the 1st and 2nd Chronicles were wrong or incomplete. He shouldn't have sacrificed himself and become the Guardian of the Arch. And the reason is because he shouldn't have tried to transcend Life, Death, or Time. In protecting the Arch, he's protecting a place where transcendence is thought to be what makes it special and magical, but it's actually what threatens its existence. That's a point for us (see my signature), that the mundane and routine is enough. In fact, that's actually what is transcendent. You don't need Earthpower or Healthsense. You don't need magic. We already "have" the wild magic. We don't need to turn our creative and/or destructive sides into immortal gods, angels, demons. Fighting against our fears of mortality--or even giving in to those fears in a way that we imagine makes us transcendent and immortal--striving to break Life, Death, and Time, we become Guardians ourselves over a Land where our fears walk the earth as Gods. We're protecting their continued existence through timeby this Guadianship. And it was wrong to do so in the first place. We should rather accept that our mundane reality *is* our transcendence, and risk "letting Foul go" by fighting him directly. Don't worry about destroying the Arch. Destroy him by destroying the Land. Neither were real in the first place.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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