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The Power that Preserves. Ch. 13: The Healer

 
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 12:04 pm    Post subject: The Power that Preserves. Ch. 13: The Healer Reply with quote

In the beginning of the chapter, there are two things going on: The healer is assessing Covenant's state, and Covenant is ranting at the Healer, who in his delusion he takes for Lena.

The healer is an interesting figure who we never really know much about. She tells Covenant that she is "a Healer, an Unfettered One who turned to the work of healing." She also says, "I came to this place from-from my life-because the Forest's unquiet slumber met my own long ache for repose." The description Donaldson gives her paint her to be someone who has been washed away by time, but perhaps also by something more. Her arrival at Morinmoss appears to have been by a long, painful road. Not many other people of the Land would use the word "mercy" as an exclamation the way she does.

There are basically only two apparent aspects of Covenant's personality left, perhaps the only two traits stubborn enough to hold on as the amanibhavam tries to pull it down. The first is grief and guilt over what he had done to Lena, her rape and her demise. The second is his need to hold on to his white gold, and more intrisically, to that which makes Covenant who he is. This is what I believe Covenant at the time considers to be his "cunning."

The forest itself is a central character in this chapter. It summons the healer, shines light at Covenant from the trees to pacify him, and does what it can to fight off Lord Foul's winter. The healer surmises that this is done by the Colossus or Caerroil Wildwood.

After assessing Covenant, the healer takes him to her cave where she eats, cleans and feeds Covenant, and dresses him in a nice, white robe. This is the second time Covenant has worn a white robe in Morinmoss, but this would be better to address in the next chapter.

Finally setting aside her fear of pain, the same fear that made her give up being an Unfettered (un-Unfettered?), she gets to work on healing Covenant. Her work is strangely different than any other lore seen so far.

After making herself and Covenant one, she slams a stone pestle into her ankle to match his injury. For what seems like a very long time, perhaps a day or more, she is consumed with the pain and doesn't move. After she finally gets up, Covenant in his paranoid state kicks her. It doesn't take much for the healer to knock him down, make him eat, drug him, and get him back into bed.

After Covenant is sedated, the healer examines both of their ankles, and they're both whole. She doesn't take any joy in it, though. Her thoughts then lead to the Rites of Unfettering and how she wouldn't have pursued her lore if she had known the cost.
Quote:
But power was not so easily evaded. Costs could not be known until they came to full fruition, and by that time the power no longer served the wielder. Then the wielder was the servant. No escape, no peace or reticence, could then evade the expense, and she could take no pleasure in healing.

The forest and even Covenant's ring seem to impel her to finish her work, and she again gets ready to heal Covenant, even though she thinks she may not survive. She's not doing it at the most auspicious time, either.
Quote:
At last she became aware of time; she felt in the brightness of the tree shine that somewhere behind the impenetrable clouds moved a dark moon, readying itself for a new phase of the Despiser's power.


Once she starts, it doesn't look very good for the healer. When she sees Covenant's madness, she's unprepared for the depth of it. Even though she saw how his own inner torment was intertwined with the amanibhavam's madness, I don't think she was counting on healing more than the amanibhavam's effects, and she was reticent to do even that. She couldn't handle the strain, but she couldn't break off the healing. She loses the battle, takes on Covenan't insanity, and then tries to kill him with a stone cooking knife. Before she can harm the Unbeliever, little green specks of light, the Forestal's calling card, come and hold her down until the strain of the ordeal she's been though fulfills her fatal premonition.

__________

Eh, I'm not happy with this one at all. Anybody please feel free to add to it. I'll try to make the next one better, though it's gonna take me a couple days (I was thinking the 10th was on Sunday for some reason Embarassed )
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No time to read right now, I'll get to it in about an hour and a half. But I just bumped the old The Healer thread in the TC forum. She is SOOOOOO awesome!!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that "cunning" part. Interesting to see that his insanity makes him feel clever. Kind of like in A Beautiful Mind. (Is that the title?)

I don't think your dissatisfaction with your dissection is warranted. Oddly, there isn't much to report about this chapter, from an event pov. Only a couple things happened. The majority of it is feeling this incredible woman's fear and pain, and seeing her find the courage to do what needs to be done anyway.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the last line in this chapter...

Gleaming like the grief of trees, they sang themselves away.

Wow, such imagry. In fact the whole last paragraph is a work of word magic.

Quote:
He lay under the knife like a sacrifice defiled with leprosy.

But before she could stab out his life, consummate his unclean pain in death, a host of glaucous, alien gleams leaped like music into the air around her. They fell on her like dew, clung to her like moist melody, stayed her hand; they confined her power and her anquish, held all things within her until her taut, soundless cry imploded. They contained her until she broke under the strain of things that could not be contained. Then they let her fall.

Gleaming like the grief of trees, they sang themselves away.


Ah...Magic Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Trembling, she reached out her hands, placed her palms flat against the gathered thunder of his forehead.

The next instant, she recoiled as if he had scalded her. "No!" she cried. Horror flooded her, she foundered in it. "You ask too much!" Deep within her, she fought to regain her self-command, fought to thrust down the power, deny it, return to herself so that she would not be destroyed. "I cannot heal this!" But the man's madness came upon her as if he had reached out and caught her wrists. Wailing helplessly, she returned to him, replaced her palms on his forehead.

The terror of it rushed into her, filled her until it burst between her lips like a shriek. Yet she could not withdraw. His madness pounded through her as she sank into it, trying not to see what lay at its root. And when at last it made her see, forced her to behold itself, the leering disease of its source, she knew that she was ruined. She wrenched her seared hands from his head and went hunting, scrabbling frantically among her possessions.

Still shrieking, she pounced upon a long stone cooking knife, snatched it up, aimed it at his vulnerable heart.

He lay under the knife like a sacrifice defiled with leprosy.

But before she could stab out his life, consummate his unclean pain in death, a host of glaucous, alien gleams leaped like music into the air around her. They fell on her like dew, clung to her like moist melody, stayed her hand; they confined her power and her anguish, held all things within her until her taut, soundless cry imploded. They contained her until she broke under the strain of things that could not be contained. Then they let her fall.

Gleaming like the grief of trees, they sang themselves away.


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

~Foamy~


Last edited by Foamfollower1013 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2003 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Mhoram tells Triok in TIW that the only healer with the power to touch Lena's condition passed out of knowledge before the battle of Soaring Woodhelven. For some reason I always assumed that the Unfettered One of Morinmoss was that healer.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2003 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bet it was! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2003 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It most certainly is. She is also mentioned in Lord Foul's Bane. The Bloodguard tried to find her to treat the two survivor's of Soaring Woodhelvin, but she had fled from the area shortly before the attack...my book is upstairs, but I think it might have even said that she had fled towards the Forest...
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my goodness!!! My dear woman, would you please tell me how I can get one of those???????

Or have I figured it out?

YES!!! duchess, you are a joy!!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2003 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always glad to be of service. Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe someone can help with this:

Quote:
"I cannot heal this!" But the man's madness came upon her as if he had reached out and caught her wrists. Wailing helplessly, she returned to him, replaced her palms on his forehead.

The terror of it rushed into her, filled her until it burst between her lips like a shriek. Yet she could not withdraw. His madness pounded through her as she sank into it, trying not to see what lay at its root. And when at last it made her see, forced her to behold itself, the leering disease of its source, she knew that she was ruined. She wrenched her seared hands from his head and went hunting, scrabbling frantically among her possessions.


Earlier in the chapter, you sensed that she understood the madness that wating amanibhavam wrought in someone. But when this moment came, she was overwhelmed. It was like when Troy first saw the true scope of Fleshharrower's army from the Watch.

What was the 'root disease' of the madness that she didn't see until it was too late? It surely wasn't the madness itself, but something from which it sprang.

His leprosy? She would not have expected to witness this, but it is a condition he must deal with in his heart, neither good or evil. It exists in the story as a burden Covenant must overcome and accept, not as the 'dark force' that despite is.

Is it his guilt/hate-filled sense of purpose that drives him to Foul's Creche? His own 'hate?' he struggled with in the previous chapter? That's what he seemed to shed after the ordeal with the Healer.

And what does this Healer represent in the psychodrama? Some force that takes your pain upon itself, and leaves you 'temporarily' guilt-free and selfish? Some sort of band-aid that makes you feel good, but doesn't solve the issue of despite? Something like a symbolic therpist.? Simple good intentions?

The Land's best effort to soccor covenant, placing him in clothes of white, giving him the illusion of a fresh start, like Confession, but that ultimately doesn't solve the issue.

His newfound shedding of hate only made him resolve to flee the land, to resist despite by avoiding it.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stead wrote:
What was the 'root disease' of the madness that she didn't see until it was too late?
The root of Covenant's madness is the contradiction of unbelief and responsibility tearing apart his soul. It exceeded her because she has no capacity to disbelieve in the Land, nor any to avoid her responsibility towards it.

Stead wrote:
And what does this Healer represent in the psychodrama?
There's much to be pondered if you draw a parallel between the First and Second Chronicles:
Spoiler:
In both Chronicles, Covenant is prepared for his final encounter with the Despiser by an act of healing. In the First Chronicles, it is the Unfettered Healer; in the Second Chronicles, it is the Banefire. In both cases, Covenant is taken to the bottom-most extreme of his predicament, restored, and returned with a renewed clarity and soul-peace.

In that light, once could say that the purpose of the Healer was to be this necessary element in Covenant's journey.

Stead wrote:
His newfound shedding of hate only made him resolve to flee the land, to resist despite by avoiding it.
Ah, but he didn't, in the end; his personal journey transformed his goals one more time yet. In LFB and TIW, he had other resolutions; it changed many times until he hit upon the right one in the end.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this generous, self-doubting healing woman. I consider her the most memorable new character in TPTP.

Quote:
Still hesitating, she unwrapped from her belongings one of her few prized possessions--a long, cunningly woven white robe, made of a fabric both light and tough, easy towear and full of warmth. It had been given to her decades ago bay a great weaver from Soaring Woodhelven, whose life she had saved a severe cost to herself. The memory of his gratitude was precious to her, and she held the robe for a long time in hands that trembled agedly. But she was old now, old and alone; she had no need of finery. Her tattered cloak would serve her well enough as either apparel or cerement. With an expansive look in her loamy eyes, she took the robe to Covenant and dressed him tenderly in it.

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