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The Power That Preserves, ch 17: The Spoiled Plains
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 6:03 pm    Post subject: The Power That Preserves, ch 17: The Spoiled Plains Reply with quote

Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived!! Here is the very climax of the first trilogy. I don’t care what happens after. I don’t care what anybody says. I don’t care if SRD himself stands up at the Elohimfest in June and says, “Yo, Fist, are you blind?” The Spoiled Plains is the reason and purpose for The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever!!!

The setting of The Spoiled Plains is very simple. Following the battle at the Colossus of the Fall, Covenant, Bannor, and Foamfollower discuss what has gone before, and what is yet to come. But this simple setting is nothing less than a symphony of wisdom, understanding, and forgiveness.

This is where we see what two of the greatest characters of all literature have learned – the answers they’ve found to all their pain – the meaning of their lives – the things they cling to when all else is gone. (OK, Mhoram’s not in this chapter, so I’ll allow other parts to be considered the climax also. Smile ) When they look into the future – the very near future – and see a strong possibility of death, the things they speak about here are the things that give them the strength to face that possibility. Whether in a few days, decades, or centuries, they will certainly die. Yes, even the former Bloodguard and the long-lived Giant. But the amount of time they have left is less important than the fact that they now understand themselves, that they are no longer worried that they are doing the wrong thing, that they have found some measure of peace. Living well for a day is better than living badly for a century. And now they know how to live well.


BANNOR
A part of Bannor’s story here is found way back in Ramen Covert. Covenant is surprised to find Bannor on the Plains of Ra instead of in the Westron Mountains. Bannor tells him:
Quote:
“That was my purpose – when I departed Lord’s Keep. But I found I could not forget. I had ridden too many Ranyhyn. At night I saw them – in my dreams they ran like clear skies and cleanliness. Have you not beheld them? Without Vows or defiance of death, they surpassed the faith of the Bloodguard. Therefore I returned.”


It would seem he has learned that doing the expected thing, the thing that some might even say is his duty – that is, returning to the Westron Mountains – is less important than following his heart. (Something that another Haruchai will come to understand in nearly 4,000 years. Smile )

But could it possibly be that easy? Could you go happily to the Plains of Ra after those last 2,000 years? After what was supposed to be the greatest achievement of your race, the very meaning of your life, was turned to dust? Well, Bannor does. As I said in my Haruchai/Zen Masters thread (bumped for your convenience Smile ), the Haruchai are practical. They had to be practical to survive in the Westron Mountains, and practicality is now their way. Yes, they feel - deeply - but they act practically. They only had “one night of extravagance.” So how is Bannor at this point?
Quote:
"Ah, Bannor," he sighed. "Are you so ashamed of what you were?"

Bannor cocked a white eyebrow at the question, as if it came close to the truth. "I am not shamed," he said distinctly. "But I am saddened that so many centuries were required to teach us the limits of our worth. We went too far, in pride and folly. Mortal men should not give up wives and sleep and death for any service - lest the face of failure become too abhorrent to be endured."
The Bloodguard gave up what some would consider everything of importance. And all for the pride of perfect service. Then they learned their service was far from perfect. It was flawed and false, and had to be abandoned. But things like shame, regret, and self-recrimination are useless. They serve no purpose. Bannor will have no part of it. Not even blame:
Quote:
"I am a Haruchai," he said. "We also are not immune. Corruption wears many faces. Blame is a more enticing face than others, but it is none the less a mask for the Despiser."


But, surely, revenge is necessary!! Surely, the hot-blooded Haruchai will make Corruption answer for what has been done to them!
Quote:
"The deepest wish of the Bloodguard was to fight the Despiser in his home, pure service against Corruption. This desire misled. I have put aside such things.”
It would seem not. Let’s face it, there’s only one enemy of the Lords – the Vow was sworn to keep the Lords safe from Foul. But it didn’t work out. They lost Kevin and Elena – the most powerful Old and New (up to that time) Lords – among SO many others. Then, Foul humiliates them more. So much so that they abandon the Vow. And Bannor’s thoughts of vengeance? “This desire misled.” I have learned this lesson. I will not walk that path again.

The Haruchai are a remarkable people, to be able to put aside such things - To let go of what they thought, for two millennia, was the highest, most noble, most perfect act they could ever hope for. Very simply:
Quote:
“My proper place now is with the Ranyhyn and their Ramen, in the exhile of the mountains."



FOAMFOLLOWER
Foamfollower has a more difficult task. Bannor is Haruchai, and such things, impossible though they seem to me, are part and parcel. Such an inner journey may not have been as easy as Bannor makes it look, but, in the end, this is what the Haruchai do.

But Giants are different – they’re extravagant every day! Songs, shouts, laughter, tales, and jokes are their lives! OK, I don’t have the time or space right now to describe the Giants. Nor do I imagine there is any need. This chapter is about Foamfollower’s devestation, and strength.

The murder (“murder” is so horribly inadequate a word for what happened) of the Unhomed hits Foamfollower the way it would hit us if it happened to us. I don’t imagine anyone reading this can think of a more hideously evil, horrifying moment in all of literature. Sit and think hard about it for a bit, picturing every detail we’re told, and considering how unimaginably noble and beautiful the Giants are. Were. It won’t be until you suddenly draw in a huge breath that you’ll realize you stopped breathing minutes ago.

Now try to imagine what Foamfollower is going through! He is the ONLY survivor! The very last of these gloriously happy, proud people! He knew and loved them - as individuals, and as what made him all that he is. Bannor’s world was turned upside down, but Foamfollower’s was wiped out! Let’s remember the full impact on Foamfollower. (Sorry Foamy, I need to do this quote myself. Smile )
Quote:
Abstractedly, Bannor said, "Many things were lost in The Grieve that day."

"Yes." Foamfollower blinked as if he were trying to hold back tears, but his eyes were dry, as parched as a wilderland. "Yes - many things. Among them, I was the least.

“Ah, Covenant, how can I tell you of it? This tongue has no words long enough for the tale. No word can encompass the love for a lost homeland, or the anguish of diminishing seed, or the pride – the pride in fidelity – That fidelity was our only reply to our extinction. We could not have borne our decline if we had not taken pride.

So my people – the Giants - I also, in my own way – the Giants were filled with horror – with abhorrence so deep that it numbed the very marrow of their bones – when they saw their pride riven – torn from them like rotten sails in the wind. They foundered at the sight. They saw the portent of their hope of Home – the three brothers – changed from fidelity to the most potent ill by one small stroke of the Despiser’s evil. Who in the Land could hope to stand against a Giant-Raver? Thus the Unhomed became the means to destroy that to which they had held themselves true. And in horror at the naught of their fidelity, their folly practiced through long centuries of pride, they were transfixed. Their revulsion left no room in them for thought or resistance or choice. Rather than behold the cost of their failure – rather than risk the chance that more of them would be made Soulcrusher’s servants – they – they elected to be slain.

“I also - in my way, I was horrified as well. But I had already seen what they had not, until that moment. I had seen myself become what I hated. Alone of all my kindred, I was not surprised. It was not the vision of a Giant-Raver which horrified me. It was my – my own people.

“Ah! Stone and Sea! They appalled me. I stormed at them – I ran through The Grieve like a dark sea of madness, howling at their abandonment, raging to strike one spark of resistance in the drenched tinder of their hearts. But they – they put away their tools, and banked their fires, and made ready their homes as if in preparation for departure-” Abruptly, his suppressed passion broke into a cry. “My people! I could not bear it! I fled them with abjection crowding at my heart – fled them lest I, too, should fall into their dismay. Therefore they were slain. I who might have fought the Raver deserted them in the deepest blackness of their need.” Unable to contain himself any longer, he heaved to his feet. His raw, scourged voice rasped thickly in his throat. “I am unclean. I must – wash.”
Not very happy with himself. He certainly regrets not having stayed to fight Kinslaughterer. The likelihood of his victory is doubtful, so I’m glad he didn’t, but the fact that such horrendous loss and guilt have not reduced him to a catatonic state is a testament of his Giant strength. There was no possibility of putting things behind him, as Bannor did. Bannor had choices that Foamfollower did not. Foamfollower could not decide that the Unhomed were a false value, one that might be forgotten! He has no choice but to live with loss for the rest of his life. And though it is a mighty struggle, Foamfollower remains a Giant! Through pain that would easily define anyone else’s life, he somehow manages to be true to himself!

And so, we are given two passages of such utter brilliance! First, when Covenant tells Bannor and Foamfollower about his refusal when Mhoram summoned him:
Quote:
When he was done, he looked up again. Neither Bannor nor Foamfollower met his eyes at first; in their separate ways, they appeared upset by what they had heard. But finally Bannor returned Covenant's gaze and said levelly, "A costly choice, Unbeliever. Costly. Much harm might have been averted-"

Foamfollower interrupted him. "Costly! Might!" A fierce grin stretched his lips, echoed out of his deep eyes. "A child was saved! Covenant - my friend - even reduced as I am, I can hear joy in such a choice. Your bravery - Stone and Sea! It astounds me."
To be able to see the triumph in saving the life of one child, when weighed against the entire Land, is as incredible a feat as any we see in the whole series.

The second passage is when Bannor leaves, having refused to accompany them to Foul’s Creche:
Quote:
Before they could reply, he turned and trotted away toward the Colossus. As he passed over the hilltop, his back told them as clearly as speech that they would never see him again.

Bannor! Covenant groaned. Was it that bad? He felt bereft, deserted, as if half his support had been taken away.

“Gently, my friend,” Foamfollower breathed. “He has turned his back on vengeance. Two thousand years and more of pure service were violated for him - yet he chooses not to avenge them. Such choices are not easily made. They are not easily borne. Retribution - ah, my friend, retribution is the sweetest of all dark sweet dreams.”
Gently”???? Rather than chase Bannor down and try to beat him until he agrees to help Foamfollower gain a vengeance that nobody would dare tell him he has no right to, Foamfollower says, “Gently”???? Is it any wonder Giants are invulnerable to un-enhanced Ravers? Through his immense anguish, he still helps Bannor and Covenant find courage and understanding.

Where anyone, even a Giant, finds the strength to find beauty and joy and understanding through pain that I have never come close to is beyond me.

Stone and Sea!



It was also nice, if under terrible circumstances, to hear, if only VERY briefly, about Foamfollower being with the other Giants at Coercri. We never see him there, or with another Giant. That would have been SOOOO nice! Can't you just see him walking with other Giants through those huge halls, laughing and giving each other friendly pats on the back that would cripple us?

OK, I'll leave you with these passages from, oddly, LFB. Because it’s SO powerful, and I assume it's what Foamfollower had in mind when he said, “But I had already seen what they had not, until that moment. I had seen myself become what I hated. Alone of all my kindred, I was not surprised.”
Quote:
Unexpectedly, Saltheart Foamfollower returned.

He shambled out of the night like a massacre metaphored in flesh – an icon of slaughter. He was everywhere smeared in blood, and much of it was his own. The wound on his forehead covered his face with a dark, wet sheen, and through the stain his deep eyes looked sated and miserable. Shreds of Cavewight flesh still clung to his fingers.

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

“Ah, brothers and sisters, did you behold me? Did you see, my people? We have come to this. Giants, I am not alone. I feel you in me, your will in mine. You would not have done differently – not felt other than I felt, not grieved apart from my grief. This is the result. Stone and Sea! We are diminished. Lost Home and weak seed have made us less than we were. Do we remain faithful, even now? Ah, faithful? My people, my people, if steadfastness leads to this? Look upon me! Do you find me admirable? I stink of hate and unnecessary death.”

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

“How’re your hands?”

“My hands?” Foamfollower seemed momentarily confused, but then he remembered. “Ah, the caamora. My friend, I am a Giant,” he explained. “No ordinary fire can harm me. But the pain – the pain teaches many things.” A flinch of self-disgust crossed his lips.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW!!!!!!! Blow me away!!! Shocked Shocked Faint

That was AWESOME FIST!!! I need to recover before I can post anything!!

WAY COOL!!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2003 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for keeping it short Fist! Hysterical You truly do have the passion of a Haruchai and the story telling capacity of a Giant! Very Happy Too bad you don't like these books! Wink But don't worry we have the cure: (the anti-caamora) we'll just tie you down and force feed you everything Terry Brooks has written! Shocked Shocked Shocked That outta do it! Cool Seriously words fail me...

This quote is so incredibly self-effacing it, literally, stopped my heart: "A child was saved! Covenant - my friend - even reduced as I am, I can hear joy in such a choice. Your bravery - Stone and Sea! It astounds me." Hail
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superlative work, Fist.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(I have no words)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Embarassed Thanks folks. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Genius. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2003 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not bad for a haruchai... Wink

An excellent dissection with particularly insightful comments. You have outdone yourself. Bet the kids had to work pretty hard on this one... Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2003 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're still asleep. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Covenant retreated from the threat of Foamfollower's fists. But as the Giant blinked and panted, he recovered himself, recognized his friends. "Covenant?" he gritted, "Bannor?" as if he feared they were Ravers.

"Foamfollower," Covenant responded thickly. Tears of relief streamed down his gaunt cheeks. "You're all right."

Slowly, Foamfollower relaxed as he saw that his friends were unmastered and whole. "Stone and Sea!" he gasped weakly, shuddering as he breathed. "Ah! My friends - have I harmed you?"

Covenant could not answer; he was choked with fresh weeping. He stood where he was and let Foamfollower watch his tears; he had no other way to tell the Giant how he felt.


Quote:
But his revelation only drew a strange glint from Bannor's flat eyes. The Haruchai had always considered weapons unnecessary, even corruptive. Bannor found satisfaction rather than regret in the passing of the Staff. And Foamfollower shrugged the explanation aside, as if it were unimportant compared to his friend's distress. "Ah, Covenant, Covenant," he groaned. "How can you endure? Who can withstand such things?"

"I'm a leper," Covenant responded. He was surprised to hear himself say the word without bitterness. "I can stand anything. Because I can't feel it." He gestured with his diseased hands because his tears so obviously contradicted him. "This is a dream. It can't touch me. I'm" - he grimaced, remembering the belief which had first led Elena to break the Law of Death - "numb."

Answering tears blurred Foamfollower's cavernous eyes. "And you are very brave," he said in a thick voice. "You are beyond me."


Quote:
The Giant sighed, and his whole frame sagged. He studied his intertwined hands as if somewhere in their clasped gentleness and butchery were a secret he could not unclose, but he no longer evaded the question. "He said that I betrayed my kinfolk - that the Giants of Seareach died to the last child at the hands of turiya Raver because I abandoned them. It is true."

Foamfollower! Covenant moaned. My friend! Sorrow welled up in him, almost made him weep again.

Abstractedly, Bannor said, "Many things were lost in The Grieve that day."

"Yes." Foamfollower blinked as if he were trying to hold back tears, but his eyes were dry, as parched as a wilderland. "Yes - many things. Among them I was the least.

"Ah, Covenant, how can I tell you of it? This tongue has no words long enough for the tale. No word can encompass the love for a lost homeland, or the anguish of diminishing seed, or the pride - the pride in fidelity - That fidelity was our only reply to our extinction. We could not have borne our decline if we had not taken pride.

"So my people - the Giants - I also, in my own way - the Giants were filled with horror - with abhorrence so deep that it numbed the very marrow of their bones - when they saw their pride riven - torn from them like rotten sails in the wind. They foundered in the sight. They saw the portent of their hope of Home - the three brothers - changed from fidelity to the most potent ill by one small stroke of the Despiser's evil. Who in the Land could hope to stand against a Giant-Raver? Thus the Unhomed became the means to destroy that to which they had held themselves true. And in horror at the naught of their fidelity, their folly practiced through long centuries of pride, they were transfixed. Their revulsion left no room in them for thought or resistance or choice. Rather than behold the cost of their failure - rather than risk the chance that more of them would be made Soulcrusher's servants - they - they elected to be slain.

"I also - in my way, I was horrified as well. But I had already seen what they had not, until that moment. I had seen myself become what I hated. Alone of all my kindred, I was not surprised. It was not the vision of a Giant-Raver which horrified me. It was my - my own people.

"Ah! Stone and Sea! They appalled me. I stormed at them - I ran through The Grieve like a dark sea of madness, howling at their abandonment, raging to strike one spark of resistance in the drenched tinder of their hearts. But they - they put away their tools, and banked their fires, and made ready their homes as if in preparation for departure -" Abruptly, his suppressed passion broke into a cry. "My people! I could not bear it! I fled them with abjection crowding at my heart - fled them lest I, too, should fall into their dismay. Therefore they were slain. I who might have fought the Raver deserted them in the deepest blackness of their need." Unable to contain himself any longer, he heaved to his feet. His raw, scourged voice rasped thickly in his throat. "I am unclean. I must - wash."


Quote:
Bannor cocked a white eyebrow at the question, as if it came close to the truth. "I am not shamed," he said distinctly. "But I am saddened that so many centuries were required to teach us the limits of our worth. We went too far, in pride and folly. Mortal men should not give up wives and sleep and death for any service - lest the face of our failure become too abhorrent to be endured." He paused almost as if he were hesitating, then concluded, "Have you forgotten that High Lord Elena carved our faces as one in her last marrowmeld work?"

"No." Bannor had moved him. His response was both an assertion and a promise. "I will never forget."


Quote:
When he was done, he looked up again. Neither Bannor nor Foamfollower met his eyes at first; in their separate ways, they appeared upset by what they had heard. But finally Bannor returned Covenant's gaze and said levelly, "A costly choice, Unbeliever. Costly. Much harm might have been averted -"

Foamfollower interrupted him. "Costly! Might!" A fierce grin stretched his lips, echoed out of his deep eyes. "A child was saved! Covenant - my friend - even reduced as I am, I can hear joy in such a choice. Your bravery - Stone and Sea! It astounds me."


Quote:
Bannor put the bands away and bowed once briefly to Covenant and Foamfollower. "Look for help wherever you go," he said. "Even in the Spoiled Plains, Corruption is not entirely master." Before they could reply, he turned and trotted away toward the Colossus. As he passed over the hilltop, his back told them as clearly as speech that they would never see him again.

Bannor! Covenant groaned. Was it that bad? He felt bereft, deserted, as if half his support had been taken away.

"Gently, my friend," Foamfollower breathed. "He has turned his back on vengeance. Two thousand years and more of pure service were violated for him - yet he chooses not to avenge them. Such choices are not easily made. They are not easily borne. Retribution - ah, my friend, retribution is the sweetest of all dark sweet dreams."


Quote:
"But it is said that hunger teaches many things. My friend, a wealth of wisdom awaits us on this journey."

Covenant shivered. He had had some experience with hunger. And now the possibility of starvation lay ahead of him; his forehead had been reinjured; he would have to walk a long distance on bare feet. One by one, the conditions of his return to his own life were being met. As he tightened the sash of his robe, he muttered sourly, "I heard Hyrim say once that wisdom is only skin-deep. Or something like that. Which means that lepers must be the wisest people in the world."

"Are they?" the Giant asked. "Are you wise, Unbeliever?"

"Who knows? If I am - wisdom is overrated."

At this, Foamfollower's grin broadened. "Perhaps it is - perhaps it is. My friend, we are the two wisest hearts in the Land - we who march thus weaponless and unredeemed into the very bosom of the Despiser. Verily, wisdom is like hunger. Perhaps it is a very fine thing - but who would willingly partake of it?"


Quote:
At last he rubbed the caked fatigue out of his eyes and sat up. Foamfollower was gazing at him with amusement. "Ah, Covenant," the Giant said, "we are a pair. You are so bedraggled and sober - And I fear my own appearance is not improved." He struck a begrimed pose. "What is your opinion?"

For a moment, Foamfollower looked as gay and carefree as a playing child. The sight gave Covenant a pang. How long had it been since he had heard the Giant laugh? "Wash your face," he croaked with as much humor as he could manage. "You look ridiculous."

"You honor me," Foamfollower returned. But he did not laugh.


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

The little exchanges like those last two are what I love most about this chapter - and the book itself, for that matter. I love the Covenant-Foamfollower dynamic more than any other relationship in the whole series. It makes the books come alive. Smile

They are a pair, indeed. Cool

~Foamy~
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2003 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abso-freakin'-lutely!!! Very Happy Right from their first meeting in LFB, all of their conversations are incredible!!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OH yes!! I loved the convos between Foamfollower and Covenant. I also loved the ones between TC and Mhoram. Smile

Awesome exchanges there Foamy!!

I also loved this one from LFB...

Quote:
Foamfollower's question caught him wandering. "Are you a story teller Thomas Covenant?"

Absently he replied, "I was once."

"And you gave it up? Ah, that is as sad a tale in three words as any you might have told me. But a life without a tale is like a sea without salt. How do you live?"

Covenant folded his arms across the gunwales and rested his chin on them. As the boat moved, Andelain opened constantly in front of him like a bud; but he ignored it, concentrated instead on the plaint of water past the prow. Unconsciously, he clenched his fist over his ring. "I live."

"Another?" Foamfollower returned. "In two words, a story sadder than the first. Say no more--with one word you will make me weep."


That is extraordinary Smile So sad, but so profound.
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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: Fri Oct 03, 2003 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed! And, in my mind, it goes along with Foamfollower right after Covenant tells him the story of the guy on the airplane:
Quote:
Softly, the Giant said, "Is this why you abandoned the telling of stories?"


Which, in turn, reminds me of yet another quote, coming up in a couple of chapters. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wink
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And I believe in you
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I will remember you
and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

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

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Outstanding job, Fist! Hail Hail Hail
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A gravid weight of loss and costly acceptance is in this chapter: I am altogether borne down.

Fist, your discussion reminds me of a song quoted in Ursula K. LeGuin's story "An die Musik":

Quote:
It is Thou in Thy mercy
that breakest down
over our heads
all we build,
that we may see the sky;
and so I do not complain.


It's a real-world song set to music (in its German text) by Schubert; I don't remember the poet.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schober Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may be wearing my "newb" hat at the moment, but it's my first time reading the books and while I'm on "The One Tree" at the moment, I keep thinking back to this chapter and the exchange between Bannor and TC.

Bannor has a special place in my heart (I don't know why, a psychiatrist could probably give you a million reasons but anyway...) and I still don't think I completely and fully understand why the Bloodguard gave up their service.

What does he mean by the "limits of our worth"?

He says his desire was to fight. To avenge, but that the desire was "misled" and that he "put aside such things".

Is this Bannor saying that he realizes now that it wasn't his or any Bloodguard's duty to go fight Bane in his home, but that it was TC's and that's what the statue that Elena carved meant? If so, why does he need to wash? Because he feels his life was wasted?
...

I guess I just don't understand....can we talk this through? Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seem to have a memory of this subject, or something very similar to it, being discussed in a different thread, but I just can't seem to find it. Anyway, I'll have a crack at exploring your questions with you Kaydene, though I can offer no assurances as to my opinion's usefulness.

Kaydene wrote:
What does he (Bannor) mean by the "limits of our worth"?


I think Bannor is referring to the Bloodguard's failure in relation to the Illearth Stone. The three Bloodguard took possession of the Stone-chip recovered from the corpse of Kinslaughterer, and it twisted their Vow, convincing them that they were capable of defeating Foul, when in fact it was enslaving them to his will. This corruption taught the Bloodguard the 'limits of their worth', thereby bringing about the end of the Bloodguard. This is because the Haruchai are such an extreme people - they require all, or nothing. Perfect, unsullied service; or no service at all. Remember, they already blamed themselves for letting Kevin go to his death and enact the Ritual of Desecration. This was perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back.


Kaydene wrote:
He says his desire was to fight. To avenge, but that the desire was "misled" and that he "put aside such things".


Yes, because Bannor cannot be sure that his desires are not being manipulated by Foul. He no longer trusts himself to do what is Right.

Kaydene wrote:

Is this Bannor saying that he realizes now that it wasn't his or any Bloodguard's duty to go fight Bane(Lord Foul, yes?) in his home, but that it was TC's and that's what the statue that Elena carved meant? If so, why does he need to wash? Because he feels his life was wasted?


That is a valid interpretation. I think, though, that Mhoram shares insight into the marrowmeld sculpture of Elena's and the meaning behind it. I can't remember the passage off hand, but it's something to do with both the Bloodguard and Covenant needing absolutes.
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