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The Power That Preserves: The Rescue (3) & Siege (4)
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Ryzel
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 6:41 am    Post subject: The Power That Preserves: The Rescue (3) & Siege (4) Reply with quote

The Rescue

Thomas Covenant is back in his own world again after having refused Mhorams summons. He shakes off the effects of unconsciousness and finds the girl. He then administers some first-aid against snakebites and carries her to her parents place.

At only seven pages this is certainly the shortest chapter in this book, and possibly in all the chronicles. So why does SRD use a full seven pages to describe what I have just outlined above?

The only reason I can think of is that this is somehow important in the character development of Thomas Covenant at this point. He feels responsible for the little girl and he gives up all his disciplines and considerations of self preservation to save her.

I have considered that this chapter might be a sort of simile for the travails that lie ahead when TC returns to the land, and indeed in many ways the short trip through the woods with the girl mirrors this on some levels. It lacks resolution though, and so it is difficult to make any real judgedments.

I think I detect a certain acceptance of the land in Covenant in this chapter though, and he certainly cares about what has happened to them. In one paragraph he briefly wonders what has happened to the giants at Seareach and why there were a giant hanging from the gibbet at Gallows Howe (the end of TIW).

Eventually Covenant returns the girl to her parents, almost killing himself in the process. His capacity for self-sacrifice is now evident to everybody.



Siege
Quote:
Twelve days after the last charred trunks of Revelwood were consumed, reduced to ashes and trampled underfoot, Satansfist Raver, the right hand of the Gray Slayer, brought his vast, dolorous army to the stone gates of Lord's Keep.


It is the dark of the moon, on the middle night of spring, and finally the army of Lord Foul arrives at Revelstone. The unnatural winter has lasted for 42 days and Lord Foul's plan is on schedule. Apparently the army has marched the same route as the earlier army years earlier, but this time there was no possibility of stopping them. They have finished their business at Trothgard and the Loresraat and Satansfist has been taking his time approaching Revelstone. Satansfist puts his army in position for the siege. He obviously wants to make it clear that escape is impossible, and as an aside we get another glimpse of the ravers' corruption:
Quote:
And that night, Satansfist feasted on the flesh of prisoners that had been captured during his long march from Landsdrop.

This is the first attack on Revelstone in living history at this point. In fact it might have been the only attack on Revelstone ever made up until this time. I do not know if this is true, but I cannot remember any references to any siege of Revelstone earlier. And as a matter of fact a siege of Revelstone would probably have made it impossible for Kevin Landwaster to travel to Mount Thunder to enact the Ritual of Desecration. Then again we do know that the area now called Trothgard was badly damaged in the last war, so we know that the armies of Lord Foul was close to Revelstone at that time. (I am assuming that this was indeed done at that time because I assume that the old lords would have been capable of reparing the damage if they had the chance.) There is only four lords in Revelstone at this point: Mhoram (now High Lord Mhoram), Amatin, Trevor and Loerya.

After putting his army in position Satansfist calls out the lords, and he is confronted by Mhoram and Quaan. Their exchange is one of the few times we actually have a verbal exchange between a raver and an inhabitant of the Land. Covenant speaks to ravers occasionally, but in my opinion they behave differently towards him than they do towards others, probably because they know that Lord Foul will be far more displeased with them should they screw up in their dealings with him.

I can see nothing special in the exchange, and I actually find myself thinking that this is just like every other exchange with a raver that we have witnessed but that is probably just because they are so very rare. In any case Mhoram does not attempt to explain or argue with the ravers like Covenant sometimes do, he defies him and tries (somewhat successfully) to daunt him. It probably helps that it is not the first time that Mhoram has met this particular raver. The exchange ends with Satansfist flinging a bolt of power from the Illearth fragment against Mhoram and with Mhoram quenching it with his own lord's fire. Simultaneously some of his army storms the gates and the defenders have to kill them, afterwards Satansfist returns to his army and commences the assault in earnest.

It is only afterwards that Mhoram says to his fellow lords:
Quote:
He is not safe while there is heart or bone or Earthpower to oppose him. I only say that I know not how he may be fought. Let him discover my ignorance for himself.

Essentially he seems to be saying that he has no real hope of resisting the Despiser but that he does not intend to give in to hopelessness. He does however seem to have a short battle with doubt when carrying the Covenant sculpture to the Hall of Gifts.

Later the assult begins with the Ur-viles building catapults. We have seen Ur-Viles in action earlier, but not in any major sense until now. This time they have been mustered in force and they are clearly the mainstay of Satansfists army. Their lore-craft makes the catapults that they use to attack Revelstone, and it also makes the ammunition, the black vitriol which they fling. The only thing which is strange is that if they are eyeless, why do they not attack at night? The most likely answer is that the purpose of the attack is not to "take" Revelstone as such, but to break the spirits of those within. Later events support this conclusion.

Even against this first, probing assault the defenders of Revelstone are hard pressed. They expend a lot of their resources before they successfully repel the assault. Again I wonder how this compares to what went on when the old lords lived in Revelstone. I am certain that the powers of the Ur-viles and the raver would not have been nearly as much of a problem for High Lord Kevin to repel, and he would have had the Bloodguard too, of course. Then again, Loric obviously had a problem with the viles or the demondim, and possibly fought a lenghty conflict with them. In fact he was pressed to the point where he found it necessary to create the Krill. The Krill is a weapon of earthpower. Possibly the only item that we know of from the chronicles that have been made as a weapon. Why did Loric feel the need to make it? He had the Staff of Law, was that not sufficient? Possibly he wanted to do something that could not be done with the Staff of Law. It is for this reason that I assume that the conflict with the viles were difficult for the old lords.

But enough of that. In the first assault the ur-viles make catapults and throw large amounts of their black acid against the walls of Revelstone. The acid is certainly potent enough to eat through the stone of the walls, even though the gravelingases can strengthen them to some degree. In this chapter that we see some of the strength of the Lordsfire, the blue fire that the lords can ignite from their staffs. They use it to good effect against the acid of the ur-viles, simply shooting it from the sky or burning it away before it can damage the stone too much. Later they use it as a morale booster, to lift the spirits of the inhabitants of the keep. The Lordsfire is obviously a strong manifestation of Earthpower. In addition to the Lordsfire the other inhabitants of the keep use their various skills to defend against the catapults. First the hirebrands make arrows of lor-lilanrill which burst into flame when they hit something which is first used against the catapults and then against the acid itself. Additionally the gravelingases strengthen the stone against the assault and try to stop the acid by throwing fire-stones at it with limited success.

Their efforts are rewarded, however, as Satansfist eventually abandons this mode of assault. Either satisfied with what he has learned about the defenses of Revelstone or because he does not find it efficient enough.

In his next move he brings the fragment of the Illearth Stone to bear against the defenses of Revelstone. Aided by the ur-viles he summons an illness which infects the ground around Revelstone and sends roots of ill towards the walls. It takes several days before Mhoram understands what is happening this time, but finally it becomes apparent that the raver is attacking the morale of the defenders directly by sending fear against Revelstone and its inhabitants.

Now we come to the importance of what has happened here. Mhoram has actually sent Covenant back to his own world, and when he is resummoned he is no longer in Revelstone. This, more than anything else, gives Thomas Covenant the opportunity to take the long road to Foul's Creche and hence victory. It takes him to the colossus of the fall where he will destroy the staff of law, thus making Lord Mhorams victory possible and also paving the way for the second chronicles. I wanted to mention this specifically because it is important to the story and it has not been the subject of very much debate so far.

The chapter ends with Mhoram watching the army and the raver as they work their evil through the night. The resolution of the last attack will have to wait for the next chapter from Revelstone: The Ritual of Desecration.

Spoiler:
I guess it would not be too much of a spoiler to say that the siege is not going to be ultimatly successful.

In fact, as far as I know the only successful attack on Revelstone is made much later by Ur-Lord Thomas Covenant and his band of not-so-merry men, giants, haruchai and a sandgorgon. Smile In a twist of fate the defender and occupant of Revelstone at that time is actually Samadhi Sheol, aka Satansfist who is possessing the na-Mhoram.

But unfortunately none of the people at Revelstone knows that the Ur-Lord has returned to the land at this point. I think they do not realize that until Mhoram sees the echoes of the wild magic in the Krill at the end of "The Ritual of Desecration".

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Ryzel! Excellent analysis! You cleary put ALOT of thought and effort into this. Don't be discouraged by many folks not responding right away. Two major factors are involved here, 1) After the recent server problems I think folks are a little gun-shy to post, and 2) You have given us quite alot to consider, I for one will be heading back 2 TPTP this afternoon so I can keep up with your heavy thoughts...many complimentary adjectives!!! Superb job!

Quote:
It is the dark of the moon, on the middle night of spring


This is a very significant date in other parts of the Chrons, is it not? Confused
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well done, Ryzel. I, too, have always been curious about what drove Loric to make the Krill. I can't see an old lord sitting there saying (imagine Snake's voice from the Simpsons), "It would be so cool if I just had a knife." Plust, it's activation seems to be the culmination of the 6th ward, so I think there's something we really don't know about the thing... not just what is required to make the thing work (we learn this), but what it can do when it does... hmm, as a W.A.G., I'd say it somehow muted the Viles power ( Vilesilencer ).

Beginning in this chapter and continuing through the rest of the book, I personally felt the siege to be very wearying. Just the way the atmosphere was set. A depressing, cabin-fever type of feeling.

And to this day, vitriol is one of my favorite words (on the list with veridescent and threnody).
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't remember the exact story but doesn't Foul somehow corrupt the seed of the Viles and Demondim and Loric then not only has to work to silence their damaged power but aslo renders them impotent. I can't remember how their seed is corrupting their offspring, but apparently it renders them vunerable enough to allow the two ravers to posess them and drive them into Mt. Thunder. In any case I would assume that Loric did indeed create the Krill to combat such machinations.

But of course Foul himself would have to remain totally hidden in order to inflitrate Revelstone, later, in the latter part of Kevin's term...


Last edited by danlo on Fri Aug 08, 2003 2:36 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post, Ryzel.

It seems that Covenant has dropped his guard and let the reality/love of the Land into his heart (I think its always been in his head)

The original Haruchai army briefly laid siege to Revelstone. I think this was mentioned in Gilden-Fire.

The Krill appears to act as a sort of power channeling device. What ever power is the strongest shows in the gem and is "given"? to the wielder. Being made by the Old Lords it did not have the restrictions of the Oath in its creation making it very potent.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kinslaughterer wrote:

The original Haruchai army briefly laid siege to Revelstone. I think this was mentioned in Gilden-Fire.

I stand corrected here. I did not consider the army of the Haruchai when writing the piece, I only considered Lord Foul's armies.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo wrote:
This is a very significant date in other parts of the Chrons, is it not? Confused

It is indeed a significant date. The middle night of spring is the date of the celebration of spring, but Foul usually puts his schemes in motion to make something happen when the moon is dark on that day.

I cannot off-hand remember other instances, but I have had this impression for a long time. Although it might be only these two things that does happen at that time.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2003 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ryzel wrote:
Kinslaughterer wrote:

The original Haruchai army briefly laid siege to Revelstone. I think this was mentioned in Gilden-Fire.

I stand corrected here. I did not consider the army of the Haruchai when writing the piece, I only considered Lord Foul's armies.
Don't worry about it. The key word there is "briefly."
Quote:
Their war-making did not go far. Almost at once, the great stone gates under the watchtower swung wide and High Lord Kevin rode out to meet his besiegers.
Technically, I suppose, it was a siege. But it cannot be said that Revelstone was attacked. No hostile actions had been made yet, and, if there had been, it would have been akin to... what's a good analogy... me trying to punch a bunch of tanks.

And yes, excellent job Ryzel!
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2003 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A most interesting set of questions Ryzel - I, like Danlo will have to go back & review these chapters. I think there is a certain parrallel between the little girl & the Land and TC's actons toward herand toward the Land. I have always thought this & the more we 'dissect', the more I believe it!

Excellent review Ryzel. You obviously put a lot of thought & effort into it & your POV is appreciated! Cool
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2003 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my gosh, this is wonderful! I have spent the better part of the weekend reading all of these dissecting posts! I'm in awe of everyone!

When you all start the Wounded Land, I would really like to be a part of it, tho right now I'm feeling rather daunted. I would like to take on Coercri, as that is my favorite chapter in that book.

Anyway, this is a discussion on TPTP. Ryzel...BRAVO!!! You took my breath away Smile

Also, in LFB, the Celebration of Spring in Andelain was attacked by Ur-Viles...which also makes the siege of Revelstone beginning the middle night of spring 47 years later significant.

This was unlike any "war" siege I have ever read. The seeping malice that begins to slowly drive the inhabitants of Revelstone insane, seemed far worse to me then the catapults of vitriol being thrown at the stone walls. The people fearing each other, children shrinking from their parents, people hording food, it seemed impossible to fight. How do you fight insanity? Yet, Mhoram, being who he is, does it. The man is awesome. And we haven't even gotten to his "victory" yet.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2003 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well done Ryzel!

I think that Covenant saving that little girl is a key point in his mental and emotional journey in the story. This act allows him to "live with himself" so to speak, and puts him on the road towards emotional health. Racked with guilt over what has happened to Lena and Elena, this gives him a chance to prove to himself that he is also capable of doing good, and performing self-sacrifice, and he needs to know this to have the ability to attempt to save the Land. In a way, THIS little girl pulls him out of his self-absorption and misery, but in a positive way (very unlike the Lena situation). In order to have the strength to face what is coming in the Land, he needs to have the self-knowledge that he is able to perform this sort of heroic act...
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2003 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that as well. When Covenant returns to the Land, he seems to be filled with purpose. Unlike the other two previous times, he doesn't fight the people who expect him to save them. He moves forward. He determines to go to Foul's Creche and bring it down on Foul's head. If Mhoram had not released him to save the child, he would have been stuck in Revelstone. Covenant also knew what the snake venom would do to him. His self sacrafice here is a prelude to his ultimate sacrifice in WGW. (Hope that isn't considered a spoiler) After saving the child, he says "Alright Mhoram...come and get me, it's all over now" He's resigned himself to the Land, and no longer going to fight their need for him.

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...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"I hear you!" the Lord snapped. "I hear you, samadhi Raver. I know you, Sheol Satansfist. And you know me. I am Mhoram son of Variol, High Lord by the choice of the Council. Depart, Raver! Take your ill hordes with you. You have touched me. You know that I will not be daunted."


Quote:
Mhoram returned the salute, acknowledging Quaan's victory. But he could not keep the hue of sadness from his voice as he said, "We have shed the first blood in this siege. Thus even those who oppose ill must wreak harm upon the victims of ill. Bear their bodies to the upland hills and burn them with purging fire, so that their flesh may recover its innocence in ashes. Then scatter their ashes over Furl Falls, as a sign to all the Land that we abhor the Despiser's wrong, not the slaves which he has made to serve his wrong."


Quote:
At the mention of a child, sudden anger twisted Loerya's face. "Summon him!" she hissed. "What are his nameless children to me? By the Seven, Mhoram! Summon - !"

"No." Mhoram interrupted her, but his voice did not lose its gentleness. "I will not. He must have the freedom of his own fate - it is his right. We have no right to take it from him - no, even the Land's utterest need does not justify such an act. He holds the white gold. Let him come to the Land if he wills. I will not gainsay the one true bravery of my unwise life."


--------------------

Once again, Mhoram rocks. One of my favorite things about this book is that we get to see from his point of view. Cool

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"the one true bravery of my unwise life" my Haruchai @$$!!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He really underestimates himself, that is for sure. Mhoram unwise??? as if....
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2003 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He does indeed underestimate himself. I'd say standing up to samadhi was pretty darn brave, and that's just a start...

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can anybody give some comment on the snake bite treatment that TC gives the girl? I have heard western stories where this is done and so on, but is it at all effective?
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending on the person, the method Covenant used is to simply slow down and remove as much poison as possible until real medical attention/antivenom can be administered. It also helps to remain as calm as possible too. We had to do that a few years back to a digger bit by a rattlesnake. Try powdered meat tenderizer on beestings; It works great!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2003 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The chapter “Rescue” is colored by the circumstances of TC’s fatigue, near delirium and that awful split lip and gum. It is emotionally powered by his excruciating exertion toward his objective, which is to help the girl. You can almost tangibly experience his arduous struggle to push his body into motion and focus his sight in order to try and save her. While he is sucking at the venom, you vividly imagine the pain he must be feeling through the injury to his mouth. Donaldson does a masterful job of immersing the reader into the moment. Once Covenant sets out to look for her parents, while carrying the child and stumbling through the woods without his boots, his feet are assaulted by a variety of pointed rocks and sharp, broken twigs. Even though it is explained that he cannot feel the worst of the injuries, we can easily imagine the damage that is being done. Then comes the empathy I feel for Covenant when he nears the girl’s parents. You can’t help but believe that he will be blamed for her injury. It is fitting that he finally succumbs to unconsciousness after completing such a selfless act.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've recently read about proper treatment for snakebites and according to it what Covenant does is crap. Cutting the wound and sucking it out only makes the poison that remain in her wounds reach her bloodstream faster. What you should do is tie the area with bands that would isolate the area but wouldn't be too tight for circulation to continue (or gangrene could develop Confused ). Covenant's treatment is heroic and fits our common lore from action movies and folklore but if they hadn't both been close to help they both be dead. (well we shouldn't expect him to know much about snakebite treatment.)

Other than that I guess he was OK keeping her calm and trying to preventing her from moving too much (makes the venom reach the bloodstream faster).
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