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TIW-Dissecting Elena: Chapters 21 & 22
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 11:25 pm    Post subject: TIW-Dissecting Elena: Chapters 21 & 22 Reply with quote

OOOOOOOHHHH where do I begin? Well, now we're going to try something a little different in Dissecting the Land. This post marks the beginning of a "Round Table" discussion of Chapters 21 & 22 of The Illearth War, Lena's Daughter and Anundivian Yajna. What is this format? Well, basically, announcements have been put up all over the Watch and sent to Hangar/Watch members via Ahira's Hangar's newletter inviting everyone possible to join Dromond and myself in outlining and dissecting these chapters between now and Sunday.

Dromond and I will host this and begin by making small general outlines, trading off thoughts and attempting to "flesh out" any observations or questions YOU pose. But remember we can't do this on our own your input is vital for this thing to work.

Dissecting Elena: or the Journey from Revelwood to Skyweir

When beginning Part III of The Illearth War: The Blood of the Earth it helps to skim back to chapter 15, Revelwood. Remember here is where Amok reappears and High Lord Elena elects to part ways from Troy and the Warward to follow Amok to the source of the 7th Ward of power. In Lena's Daughter she takes Covenant, Bannor and Morrin and the white gold in tow through southern Trothgard, Kurash Plenethor to the source of the Rill river and the foothills of the Westron Mts. In Anundivian Yajna they continue running the high foothills south, feel the effects of The Illearth Stone and battle a life-threatening avalanche Fangthane throws across their path.

Just some general thoughts before I throw this over to Dromond.
* 1st to our MIA 'read-lead' Smin I hope you're ok and please return to us soon! Real life happens.

*It is fairly abrupt switching from the "forced march" and Hile Troy's POV to travel with Elena and Covenant into the mountians. A series of very important events occur in these chapters during which Covenant himself seems to almost grow up or grow almost into a 'hero' before our very eyes. Then blamm! You realize, yes this is as it should be, this is The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, after all, isn't it? These are very intense and majestic chapters where everyone involved faces danger and revelation and each individual character is fleshed out vividly against the awesome backgrounds of Stricken Stone and the glorious Westrons.

*The Bloodguard are in their element. Covenant wrestles with leprosy, the white gold and his relationship to the Land. Elena appears regal and in control but possessed by Kevin's legacy that swept like some demi-god's thunderhead across the Land. The Ranyhyn are so power-stoked and brave. Even Covenant's mustang is heroic!

*The ideaologies, personal torments, Elena's twisting psyche, the feel of earthpower under your feet. The way Donaldson pulls you along the trail in this magnificient depiction of this high, cold, rough and breathtaking section of the Land is awe-inspiring, heartstopping and very emotionally draining...

Starting to ramble so...


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well. Hmm....yes. Watershed chapters, certainly.
The way the previous chapter, Garroting Deep (great name for a band, btw - Garroting Deep!) ends, you know Covenant and Elena, Bannor, et al, have a wild ride ahead of them. And Amok Will live up to his name!

Blood of the Earth. That's the way it starts.

Amok! He laughs! At Lords! White Gold! He laughs!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would this be the place to mention that I have always found the relationship between Thomas Covenant and Elena a wee bit odd? Well, from the get go, I suppose, a daughter being older than her father...
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Lords always know (it seems) more about Covenant than he will admit to them or himself. Elena says to TC, " The truth - you evade the truth."

It is said that White Gold will save or damn the Earth. This early in the Chronicles, almost nothing is known about TC, except his unbelief - and he is on this mission with Elena, more than any other reason, because she can best hope (with the staff o' law) to defeat him if he proves false to the Land.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elena is an intense character isn't she? That etheral 'bifrucated look' of other worldliness. Her longing for Covenant, her upbringing with the Ranyhyn, Triock and a mother who longs for and forgives Covenant for his actions. Her infatuation with HL Kevin and power. Her command her motives her odd agenda. Amazing stuff!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Covenant proves in this chapter (imo) that he understands Foul more than anyone. He's talking about sending the Rahynyn to Lena after raping her:
Quote:
Anyway, it didn't work. Foul can pervert anything.

Did Elena's special love of the Rahynyn have anything to do with what she does? And what she is?
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always wondered if that ritual they allowed her to enact with them did something strange to her. She was only a child, after all, and it sounded like an extremely intense experience...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

During yet another verbal wrestling match with Amok, TC asks Amok what he knows of White Gold.
Quote:
"Much and little, Bearer." Amok answered with a laugh and a bow. " It is said that White Gold articulates the wild magic which destroys peace. But who is able to describe peace?"

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

duchess of malfi wrote:
I have always wondered if that ritual they allowed her to enact with them did something strange to her. She was only a child, after all, and it sounded like an extremely intense experience...

Yes, maybe it was TOO intense and led her to become the only one Spoiler:
willing to drink

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the chapter with Elena and TC are the Bloodguard and Amok. (I'm at work and don't have the book in front of me so is Amok in this chapter?)

I also enjoy seeing things from another POV. As much as I love TC, it is nice to see things from another perspective. And, of course, I like Troy too.---caamora
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well this looks like it's starting to become a little bit ouf of control--but really, on a Friday night at the beginning of summer when danlo & Dromond partaketh of much diamondraught and don't really care what happens, this is bound to happen.... Shocked

Not trying to cop out at all! Given enuf time I know this will develope into a very cool thread. After the loss of Smin and the illustrious chapter analyses by Syl...could anyone do better? Really Syl you took deep us into Garroting Deep and left us hanging by Wildwood's whim! I used to think that Rivenrock and Skyweir were the complimentary peaks but Melenkurion Skyweir is actually a double peak and Rivenrock is a plateau, right? Covenant and Bannor decend into the Deep, orcrest shining at the end of Part II. All sorts of explosions and weirdness are emanating from Rivenrock! What the hellfire happened there? Well, we're about to find out. Wink

(yes caam Amok is everywhere! Very Happy )


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo:

Quote:

Elena is an intense character isn't she? That etheral 'bifrucated look' of other worldliness. Her longing 4 Covenant, her upbringing w/the Ranyhyn, Triock and a mother who longs for and forgives Covenant for his actions. Her infatuation with HL Kevin and power. Her command her motives her odd agenda. Amazing stuff!


I had a professor in college who had that kind of look. Even when he
was looking straight at you, he didn't seem to be seeing you, if you
know what I mean. I always think about that when thinking about
Elena.

And did Lena forgive Covenant for his actions-- or just delude herself
into thinking it was an act of love between them?
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddly, i have no problem with Lena's 'forgivness' of Covenant for his act of rape againt her - the problem i do have is with Elena's love for him, both emotionaly and sexually. I cannot fathom it.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to go back to chapter 6, The High Lord if I was to even begin to try to understand this overtly intent, argressive and highly complex character, Elena. I started skimming to find her first reference to the Ranyhyn. I ran straight into the meaning of Anundvian Yajna, which I had forgotten--I thought it was the name of the pass where the avalance strikes! Very Happy It means marrowmeld or bonesculpting. At the end of the second chapter of this discussion Elena marrowmelds a bust of Covenant/Bannor. Her hand movements are deft and hypnotic as she calls forth earthpower from the Staff of Law. Her presence commands the screen-I can almost see Jennifer Connely playing her in the movie-beautiful, seductive, obsessed and crazy.

What makes her relationship with the Ranyhyn really tick? Triock raised Elena and abhored Covenant. Lena forgave Covenant and yet Elena has lusted for her off-world "blood" father since she was born? Yes y'all it's tuff--but we do have to dissect one wacked cookie...


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earthfriend wrote:
Oddly, i have no problem with Lena's 'forgivness' of Covenant for his act of rape againt her - the problem i do have is with Elena's love for him, both emotionaly and sexually. I cannot fathom it.


Considering how she was raised and by whom I can perhaps understand a little about how she developed her "attraction" for Covenant. Lena, her mother, harboured no ill-will against TC for her rape, in fact she worshipped him - but she was deluded and being exposed to that as a child has got to have some sort of effect.

Elena never really regarded TC as her father at all.

Quote:

"Hear me, Thomas Covenant. Triock Thuler-son of Mithil Stonedown is my true father-the parent of my heart, though he is not the sire of my blood. Lena my mother did not wed him, though he begged her to share her life with him. She desired no other sharing -the life of your child satisfied her. But though she would not share her life, he shared his. He provided for her and for me. He took the place of a son with Trell Lena's father and Atiaran her mother.
"Ah, he was a dour parent. His heart's love ran in broken channels-yearning and grief and, yes, rage against you were diminishless for him, finding new paths when the old were turned or dammed. But he gave to Lena my mother and to me all a father's tenderness and devotion. Judge of him by me, Thomas Covenant. When dreaming of you took Lena's thoughts from me-when Atiaran lost in torment her capacity to care for me, and called to herself all Trell her husband's attention-then Triock son of Thuler stood beside me. He is my father."

She already had a father figure in her life. Triock assumed that role despite the extreme hatred he must have felt for TC for stealing what should have been his. I have nothing but extreme admiration for this character.
Quote:

"He shielded my heart from unjust demands. He taught me that the anguishes and furies of my parents and their parents need not wrack or enrage me-that I was neither the cause nor the cure of their pain. He taught me that my life is my own-that I could share in the care and consolation of wounds without sharing the wounds, without striving to be the master of lives other than my own. He taught me this-he who gave his own life to Lena my mother.
"He abhors you, Thomas Covenant. And yet without him as my father I also would abhor you."

To be able to instill this kind of thinking in a child that is not your own but is the child of the one man in the whole world that you would gladly break your Oath Of Peace over is such a remarkable quality.

For most of her life she has been taught to consider TC as a hero ( by her deluded mother) and has been raised by Triock, who hates TC so much, yet has enough compassion to teach her not to hate. I think the way in which Triock helped raise Elena reinforced Lena's hero-worship of TC. Maybe their combined influence helped to distort her moral judgement - having your mother pine away for the man who raped her and then having the man who loves your mother so much raise the offspring of that rape with such love and devotion, has got to cause a certain amount of moral warpage. In this light, is it any wonder that Elena developed the feelings that she did?
Every young girl has her "knight in shining armour" and who could be more worthy than the man her mother idolises and who her "father" puts aside all his hatred for to raise his daughter so compassionately. If TC can inspire this sort of self-sacrifice from two of the most influential people in her life, surely he is the man most worthy of her love.

All that coupled with the ordeal of the horserite of Kelenbhrabanal which she experienced at such an impressionable age. And it was because of Covenant's bargain with the Ranyhyn that she was able to participate in that. She saw herself greatly honoured to be able to participate in this ritual and sort of regarded it as a precious gift from TC. Yet another reason to justify her love for Covenant.

Yeah, her feelings towards Covenant cause me a certain amount of "discomfort" but in view of all that she had to deal with, I can sort of see where she was coming from.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe Elena's 'faraway' look comes from two factors, 1. The three days she was away with the Ranyhyn and the knowlege the ceremony of Kelenbhrabanal gave her, and 2. The fact that she is, through blood, literally half from our world and may have some feeling and thoughts beyond the Land. Perhaps she is a much more substantial, and mortal, being because of her seed coming from our world...

During the 3 days Elena spends as a child with the Ranyhyn the horses call up ancient lore that teaches her Anundivian yajna, or marrowmelding. In chapter 5 she shows Covenant the sculpture she has crafted of Myrha her Ranyhyn mount. Covenant says Saltheart Foamfollower had mentioned it to him but the art had been lost in the Land. There is a special need for this art. It seems like Elena and the Ranyhyn almost have a telepathic connection rooted in earthpower and devotion to the Land.

She talks like a Ramen
She rules like a queen
She communes with the Ranyhyn
She gazes at alien vistas

She forgives like her mother
She lusts for Covenant
with the desire that overwhelmed him
so many years ago...


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo wrote:

She talks like a Ramen
She rules like a queen
She communes with the Ranyhyn
She gazes at alien vistas

She forgives like her mother
She lusts for Covenant
with the desire that overwhelmed him
so many years ago...


I love that Danlo!
I have often thought that it was perhaps Elena's parentage, the fact that she is "half from our world" that gave her the edge over Mhoram when it came to her appointment as High Lord. Because she was Covenant's daughter maybe the council thought that she might have inherited some genetic capability from Covenant that would enable her to access the White Gold better than any pure blood land born person could. These words,
Quote:
The otherness of her sight, the elsewhere dimension of its power, had focused, concentrated until it became the crux of something savage and illimitable.
just reek of Covenant's influence over her. Who else born in The Land has a gaze like that? Well, Mhoram had that precognitive gaze happening from time to time, but he didn't come with the same parentage that Elena had.

It seems that Covenant had a lot of influence over the person she finally became even though he had nothing directly to do with her upbringing. If it wasn't for him then she would not have experienced the Ranyhyn ritual and would never have learnt the lost craft of bone-sculpting and she wouldn't have had the same affinity for them. Dromond makes a good point when he said that perhaps the ranyhyn ritual of Kelenbhrabanal did something to her, changed her in some way, planted this intense passion within her and made her the only one with the courage and strength of will to Spoiler:
drink the Earthblood
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infelice - I had never thought of Elena in the way you describe. VERY insightful. I knew, of course, that TC is her father, but I never saw her as being from our world AND the Land.

Question: Is it possible that this makes Elena more corruptable? Maybe this is her flaw that is spoken of? Having blood from our world i.e., our selfishness, our violence, etc., is what triggers her lust - not only for TC, but for the

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Power of Command?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes? Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo wrote:
Yes? Very Happy


Lol!!! Couldn't have said it any better myself Danlo. Smile

Caamora, maybe she inherited flaws from both Covenant and Lena. Lena seemed to have a little bit of a weakness in the sanity department. Wink
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