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The Runes, the Staff, and Wildwood's Question
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donaldson admitted in the GI that Linden simply walked over and picked up the ring. No miracle there. But I do think that some kind of breakdown between the worlds will happen. However, I'm not sure it will necessarily mean that the Land acquires a measure of reality. It could just as easily imply that the "real world" isn't as real. Either would represent a blurring of the boundaries.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Donaldson admitted in the GI that Linden simply walked over and picked up the ring.


Yes, and I absolutely LOATHE this answer from SRD. I can't stand the thought of a stupefied Linden walking over and taking the ring off of Covenant's hand. (Obviously she didn't do it while Berenford was standing there.) Maybe that's what SRD thinks happened now, 20 years after writing the end of WGW, but that's NOT what he implied back then.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You both are not entirely correct.

In the Gradual Interview was wrote:
I never intended this to be a big mystery; so I'm always a little nonplussed when people see the possibilities for a larger issue. From my perspective, the fact that Linden ends up with Covenant's ring *even though we never see her take possession of it in the real world* is just another example of the ways in which events in the real world and events in the Land tend to mirror each other. Think of it as "sympathetic magic," if you're comfortable with that concept. In the Land, Linden makes a very deliberate choice to go pick up Covenant's ring; so of course (by the logic of sympathetic magic--or simply by the logic of organic unity within the story) that same choice would be mirrored in the real world, even though in the real world Linden is at best only semi-conscious (perhaps in one of those stupefied states where afterward people can't remember what they did).

I know this doesn't sound very satisfying. But it *is* what I had in mind when I wrote the story.

(04/10/2005)

Okay, so the magic was not the ring teleporting from one finger to another. It was accomplished in a mondane way. (Walking over? Weren't they laying side by side?)

But the magic was that it happened at all!

The first two Chronicles demonstrated there was this powerful Law, the Law of Going Out the Way You Came In. People who enter the Land are restored to their original condition before they leave. And what does it do? It makes you doubt the Land is real.

Did that restoration happen magically? Did Covenant's beard simply disappear? Did wounds appear out of nowhere? No. Something always happened that caused it to seem to happen of its own accord. Something mundane.

And here, at the end -- it goes the other way. The real world changed to mirror the Land world.

The mechanics of the magic are the same, only reversed. Something mundane happened to cause the correspondence to be accomplished. And the result is the same, only reversed as well - it causes us to doubt that the Land is a dream.

(Doesn't that make it a little more palatable, dlb?)

So I stand by what I said. Magic happened.

And the fact that it went the other way leaves open the possibility that things have changed. Maybe it wasn't intended by the author when he wrote it. But you can't read the prologue of Runes and think that nothing about the boundaries between worlds has changed.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, ok, something "magical" happened. Let's remember that Donaldson thinks that writing itself is something "magical." He thinks the process of turning little black marks on wood pulp into images in people's minds is magic. So he's known to use the word loosely. Combine that with the "sympathetic" qualifier, and I think we have to be even more careful how we examine his usage of this word.

In terms of his story, magic is an expression of the character. It's not a gimmick (though it's starting to feel gimmicky in FR. . . ). It's an expression of the person. The fact that it's a real power in the Land is just another way of saying that the person is being externalized--just like Foul is an externalization or personification of Covenant's despite. (Or Linden's despite. Or everyone's despite.)

So this doesn't mean that magic is starting to work in the "real" world. And it doesn't mean that the Land is acquiring a measure of literal reality. Sure, the levels are starting to blur. But there's two ways to view that blurring.

1. Blurring of two literally real worlds.
2. Blurring of a literally real world with a figuratively, metaphorically "real" world.

The first possibility is pretty mundane, from the perspective of the story. It would lead to things like sandgorgons running through the streets of Covenant's home town. That's just silly. I really, really hope it's not going that direction. I think it would invalidate everything which has gone before--even though we "saw" Lord Foul in the bonfire (Donaldson still insists--and I agree--that this was not conclusive evidence that the Land it real).

The second possibility is that the characters in the "real" world are starting to recognize the figurative, metaphorical counterparts of this fantasy Land in the real world. They could recognize that the importance of the Land lies in how they apply the lessons they learn there in their own lives (kind of like us, the readers, leaving this series). In a sense, Lord Foul IS real. I don't just mean real in Linden's "real" world, but right here right now in our world. He lives within each of us. We all have the capacity to hate others and ourselves. We all have the capacity for Desecration. But such a realization isn't possible if Lord Foul remains a separate, literal character inhabiting the Land. In a sense, only his "escape" from the literal prison of the Land as a literal place will allow us to realize he is in our world.

So, going with the second possibility, the Land can end, Lord Foul can escape, but he CANNOT become a literal person in Linden's and Covenant's "real" world. Donaldson has already said that this would violate his entire work. So the "blurring" can't be a literal one-to-one mapping of Land characters into the "real" world. The "blurring" is going to have to be more subtle.

Back to the problem of the ring (which really doesn't belong in this thread, but oh well) . . . imagine if you dreamed that you walked into the next room and picked up your family photo album, and flipped to a picture of your dead parents. Then you wake up and--lo and behold!--your family photo album is right there on your night stand and it's turned to a picture of your dead parents. Do we interpret this as an example of ghostly intervention? Or were you just sleepwalking and missing your parents? The first possibility is the counterpart of the 1. above, and the second possibility is the counterpart to the 2. above. It doesn't take away the "magic" to assume that you walked around in a dazed, altered-consciousness state, and made your subconscious yearnings manifest in a way you'd recognize when awake. It could mean that you're subconsciousness is communicating to your consciousness. And while that in itself is certainly "magical" (in other words, I have no idea how it happens), it's not the same as ghosts walking around your home moving objects--which would be the counterpart of sandgorgons running around Haven Farm.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but I must say it would be sweet to read about a sandgorgon scraping the sheriff of the bottom of it's foot. Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Sympathetic magic" is a well-known term, that's been in use for centuries. Voodoo dolls are the classic example. So you can't claim Donaldson is twisting the definition of magic or pulling that one out of a hat.

Another thing to think about is the common theme of both the second Chronicles and the Final Chronicles, which is all this business about "merging" and "becoming part of".

The Elohim being the prime contenders. But we have a Staff that becomes part of the Law. Covenant becomes the Arch. Brinn becomes Ak-Haru. Kastenessen becomes the Durance, then becomes the skurj, and then Roger becomes part Kastenessen. Vain and Findail. Linden does, or does not, become the white gold. Croyel. Nom and the Raver. I'm sure I'm leaving a lot of them out.

And I already said that the end of WGW seems to indicate the Covenant and Foul have already become one.

There is WAY too much of that going around.

What if "the beaty and truth" of the Land does not pass utterly, because Linden becomes to the Land what Covenant becomes to the Arch? And she manages to escape the destruction of the Arch with something of the Land intact as part of her being?

This is a very crude idea. But I want to demonstrate that we don't have to resign ourselves to the Chronicles "real world" becoming unreal, utterly or in part, to carry this idea forward.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malik23 wrote:
Donaldson admitted in the GI that Linden simply walked over and picked up the ring. No miracle there. But I do think that some kind of breakdown between the worlds will happen. However, I'm not sure it will necessarily mean that the Land acquires a measure of reality. It could just as easily imply that the "real world" isn't as real. Either would represent a blurring of the boundaries.


Neither world is the real world. But in SRD's "reality," the Land is just someone's dream. I don't see any breaking down of that boundary except through schizophrenia, it is ontologically impossible.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well to be fair it's never said that the land is a dream, it's left up to the reader to decide which if any explanation fits what you believe.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheWormoftheWorld'sEnd wrote:
Neither world is the real world. But in SRD's "reality," the Land is just someone's dream. I don't see any breaking down of that boundary except through schizophrenia, it is ontologically impossible.

... only if you presume that SRD's "reality" is equally as mundane as ours. Personally, I'd like to believe that Covenant comes from a "real world" where something like the Land can happen.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sherlock_525 wrote:
Well to be fair it's never said that the land is a dream, it's left up to the reader to decide which if any explanation fits what you believe.


In TWL Covenant explained to Linden when they first arrived in the Land that it was a shared dream.


I see it as a realm of subconscious metaphor taking the form of a dream. I take a Jungian approach to this interpretation (viz., the universal or collective unconscious). Jung's theory of synchronicity explains how Covenant and Linden happen to be sharing the same dream (although in this case the dreaming goes far beyond what Jung meant by that term).
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:
TheWormoftheWorld'sEnd wrote:
Neither world is the real world. But in SRD's "reality," the Land is just someone's dream. I don't see any breaking down of that boundary except through schizophrenia, it is ontologically impossible.

... only if you presume that SRD's "reality" is equally as mundane as ours. Personally, I'd like to believe that Covenant comes from a "real world" where something like the Land can happen.


Yes, I do assume that SRD's "reality" is equally as mundane, but only in order to sharply juxtapose mundane "reality" with the magical "reality" experienced and shared by Linden, Covenant, and others.

For example, even Piers Anthony, in his Xanth series, had invented a world beyond Xanth's boundaries which he called Mundania, but not for the same deep reasons as SRD. I think of SRD as an author of literature, where Anthony is not, so I wouldn't take the example too far.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:
"Sympathetic magic" is a well-known term, that's been in use for centuries. Voodoo dolls are the classic example. So you can't claim Donaldson is twisting the definition of magic or pulling that one out of a hat.


Sorry, I didn't know that.

I do like the theme of things merging. The ontological status becomes blurred. I'm not in disagreement with you on the fact that this is intentional and important to Donaldson.

Wayfrirend wrote:
What if "the beaty and truth" of the Land does not pass utterly, because Linden becomes to the Land what Covenant becomes to the Arch? And she manages to escape the destruction of the Arch with something of the Land intact as part of her being?

This is a very crude idea. But I want to demonstrate that we don't have to resign ourselves to the Chronicles "real world" becoming unreal, utterly or in part, to carry this idea forward.


Actually, I think that's a very cool idea. Covenant and Linden in the Land forever as time and space guardians. Of course they'd be dead, but the Land would be preserved. That's not exactly a happy ending, with the main characters dying, but it's certainly not as bad as the Land being destroyed.
WotWE wrote:

But in SRD's "reality," the Land is just someone's dream. I don't see any breaking down of that boundary except through schizophrenia, it is ontologically impossible.
Actually, Donaldson is very careful about maintaining the ambiguity of the Land's ontological status. He compares it more to the realm of Plato's Forms, something that isn't literally, actually real, but instead has a kind of "higher" reality in its universality. But we've discussed that issue to death elsewhere.
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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: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, to drag this thread back on topic.

In the GI Donaldson wrote:
But I've made it clear in the GI that I think entropy rules. (Why else do my characters get so tired when they expend power?) In the context of "The Chronicles," magic is a nonrenewable resource--in the same sense that *sunlight* is a nonrenewable resource. Sure, our sun is burning itself out. But humankind may very well make itself extinct many millions of years before dwindling sunlight becomes a problem. I think of Earthpower (and even wild magic) in the same terms.
01/17/2007)


So magic itself obeys entropy. Think about that. Entropy is just another way of saying that everything is dying. It's Caerroil's quandary. If magic itself--magic in general, not limited to Earthpower or Law--can't solve the problem of entropy, then I wouldn't expect any kind of magical solution. And if there's no magical solution to death, there certainly can't be a natural one. Caerroil's question will not be answered in any effective way, I'm afraid. I think the answer will be acceptance and peace, and a hope which endures in those left behind because they can let go and move forward.

This is the importance of linear time creeping in again--except in this case it's important as a way of living, not merely to preserve some metaphorical Arch. Preserving the Arch could be viewed as living a life in such a way that you don't twist yourself into temporal knots because you can't face the future and can't let go of the past. [There are historical antecedents to such ideas; Heidegger's Being and Time, for instance--and existential analysis of our being as fundamentally temporal, and the ways in which we can become inauthentic with regards to such fundamental structures of your being.]

Linden's not accepting Covenant's death, and raising him from the grave as an attempt to answer CW's question is wrong. That's not what the runes were for, as she claims. Covenant really is distressed that she cannot go on without him. It's wrong. It's not true to the earth. She never let him go, but that will be necessary this time.
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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: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then someone in the Land needs to break the Law of Entropy, quick!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malik23 wrote:
WotWE wrote:

But in SRD's "reality," the Land is just someone's dream. I don't see any breaking down of that boundary except through schizophrenia, it is ontologically impossible.
Actually, Donaldson is very careful about maintaining the ambiguity of the Land's ontological status. He compares it more to the realm of Plato's Forms, something that isn't literally, actually real, but instead has a kind of "higher" reality in its universality. But we've discussed that issue to death elsewhere.


If I was SRD, I'd definitely appeal to Jungianism for an explanation because all the key concepts are there, and I don't see any comparison with Platonism at all. Covenant telling Linden that the Land is a "shared dream" has far stronger Jungian than Platonic connotations. So he's just wrong. But I suppose if I wanted to delay SRD on the writing of his next novel I'd take it up with him personally on his GI.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malik23 wrote:
And if there's no magical solution to death, there certainly can't be a natural one. Caerroil's question will not be answered in any effective way, I'm afraid.

Taking those thoughts, go back and look at the question that Caerroil is asking.

"Must it transpire that beauty and truth shall pass utterly when we are gone?"

I just don't read this as looking for an answer to death. He knows he will die, the Lands defenders will die. Furthermore, he knows that the defenders are exhaustible, while that which they defend against (can we call it Despite?) is not.

He is a forestal. If anyone is in tune with nature, he is. He knows death is part of the natural processes. Death is just the other side of life. I cannot see a forestal looking to cheat death. (The man owns and operates his own gallows.)

What he is looking for is a way to save that which he is defending.

"How may life endure in the Land, if the Forestals fail and perish, as they must, and naught remains to ward its most vulnerable treasures?"

Life. Truth and Beauty. The Lands most vulnerable treasures.

We can have a whole conversation about what that actually refers to. But my best guess is that it isn't about individual lives. The life of a person, or a tree, or a mountain. These things come and go; life and truth and beauty remain.

So what is left? What makes the world beautiful, enact truth? Nature itself, the great cycle of life, the processes of the Earth moving in harmony, making all those lives happen. All the stuff that the Creator created and protected with the Arch. Nothing less than Earthpower and Law.

That's what CW wants to save. And these are things that would not end, were it not for Despite, whose relentless assault requires constant defense, a defense that will ultimately lapse. Truth and Beauty would not pass utterly were it not for Despite.

So CW is looking for the final answer against Despite. Which is the same as the final answer to defeating Lord Foul. Which makes perfect sense for the Final Chronicles. And leaves us no doubt that Linden, with Covenant, will find it.

Malik23 wrote:
Linden's not accepting Covenant's death, and raising him from the grave as an attempt to answer CW's question is wrong.
It may be wrong, but if it is wrong, I don't think Caerroil would be saying so. After all, it was his scion, Caer Caveral, who recognized the need to break the Law of Death to bring back Hollian and Anele, to make Covenant's second victory against Foul possible.

In the absence of any other evidence, I think we need to take Linden's "it was for this" at face value. CW added the Runes so that Linden could do exactly what she did.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hit Head I'm now officially refusing to read your posts, Wayfriend, given the fact that your theories often ring true to me (they seem like quite logical conclusions--even though I've never thought of them before). So...yeah... ARGH! Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malik23 wrote:
WotWE wrote:

But in SRD's "reality," the Land is just someone's dream. I don't see any breaking down of that boundary except through schizophrenia, it is ontologically impossible.
Actually, Donaldson is very careful about maintaining the ambiguity of the Land's ontological status. He compares it more to the realm of Plato's Forms, something that isn't literally, actually real, but instead has a kind of "higher" reality in its universality. But we've discussed that issue to death elsewhere.


I found the quote you're referring to. SRD explains that the Land is the "higher" realm and the "real" world is the "lower" realm, such that a person from the "real" world can travel to the "higher" realm but a denizen of the Land cannot travel to the "lower" world. Then why did he have TC tell Linden that the Land is a shared dream? Because he forgot about having written that line over 20 years ago?
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seareach wrote:
Hit Head I'm now officially refusing to read your posts, Wayfriend

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheWormoftheWorld'sEnd wrote:

I found the quote you're referring to. SRD explains that the Land is the "higher" realm and the "real" world is the "lower" realm, such that a person from the "real" world can travel to the "higher" realm but a denizen of the Land cannot travel to the "lower" world.

Yes, that's one of the quotes related to this issue. It sounds like that's also the quote I use to back up my idea that sandgorgons will never run amok through Haven Farm.


Quote:
Then why did he have TC tell Linden that the Land is a shared dream? Because he forgot about having written that line over 20 years ago?
Actually, when Linden and Covenant went to the Land in TWL, Covenant said that the "shared dream" interpretation was one possible interpretation--the internal one. He also said there's another interpretation--the external one. But he said that ultimately, the interpretation doesn't matter. It's how one reacts to the Land that matters, not whether or not it's real. And that was where he left that issue behind.
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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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