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|Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:15 pm Post subject: The Second Chronicles without Linden?
|I know I like to complain about Linden Avery. I'm a card carrying member of THOOLAH but that doesn't take away from the fact that Donaldson intended that she be a part of the story and therefore legitimizes her beyond all questioning.
Having said that I can't help but wonder what the Second Chronicles would have been like if we of the ranks of THOOLAH were given a Linden free look at the story just the way we have always imagined.
How would her absence change the narrative?
What we want is more Thomas Covenant and I'm guessing that would be the most obvious difference.
In the Second Chronicles, Thomas Covenant is marginalized in a number of different ways in order to give the Linden character equal time.
Marid's Venom and how it affected the story is complex but one clear use is that while Covenant lapses into various comas, Donaldson is free to develop the Linden character and make her the POV. If she is not a component in the narrative then the use of venom-coma would seem less powerful in moving the story forward.
Less coma = more Covenant.
Another way that TC is marginalized is when the Elohim dismiss him because he is not the Sun Sage. This scenario does create some interesting tension but could be handled in other ways. It would have been quite ironic and extremely interesting if Covenant was the only character that had health sense in the story. He would have resisted the whole notion of Sun Sage for as long as possible but ultimately would have been forced to accept his responsibility for healing the Land. The Elohim would have been just as dismayed, as they were in the original story, if they accepted him as both Ringwielder and Sun sage but Covenant, being the sarcastic jerk that he is, rejected them outright giving them cause to fear he would not fulfill his prophesied role. Similar tension, no Linden.
Setting the stakes:
If it was absolutely necessary to include a second character from the real world in the story, that character could have served to establish just how high the stakes were from the onset. Imagine if Linden is mortally wounded much earlier than Covenant and before the translation. In order to preserve the continuity between worlds she would soon have to die in the Land. Imagine if after descending from Kevin's Watch Nassic is killed just as he was but soon after Linden too is murdered by Marid/Raver exactly the same way that she is killed during the ritual in the real world. The stark, merciless gravity of the situation would be painfully clear to both Covenant and the reader.
Should you dislike the idea of Linden being killed substitute poor Dr. Berenford in her place. It would be nearly as effective.
One thing that is generally missing from the Second Chronicles is physical connective character tissue to the First. Yes there are Covenant's dead in Andelain, Caer Caveral, Ravers and Lord Foul but what if there was something more tangible, more personal?
Suppose Lord Foul had an insurance policy. He does almost nothing but plan for the future and it wouldn't have been out of the question that he may have planned for his possible defeat by Covenant in the First Chrons and would have anticipated a possible second bout in the future. Imagine Covenant's surprise, and ours, if it were revealed that the na-Mhoram was in fact Bannor. How chilling would it be to discover that Foul had captured and kept Bannor alive for millennia and forced him to preside over the shedding of his own people's blood? A Foul possessed Bannor would initially be a welcome site to Covenant. Bannor would have logical reasons for his existence and actions and TC would tend to trust him...at least at first.
What is it that was said? How do you further hurt a man who has lost everything? Give him back something broken.
Its personal. More Covenant.
It would be right to point out that removing Linden Avery from the story would diminish a fair distribution of gender in the narrative. I would agree. How would it have been if half of the Haruchai captured by the Clave were women? Covenant would be doubly appalled. But we would find it all the more interesting. What if Cail were a female warrior? In addition more of the Giants of the Search should have been female, Seadreamer comes to mind.
The Second Chronicles presents us with a slightly different Thomas Covenant. He's less acerbic, more emotional and less the character we came to accept and appreciate. I believe that part of the reason TC appears the way he does is because of Linden's presence, especially during the quest for the One Tree. The idea that TC would easily present an attitude of "I've been here before. I've faced Foul and won. I can do it again." Doesn't really jive with TC's personality, at least the way I see it. Sure he loves the land and he's not so jaded as to believe that he is as powerless as he thought of himself before but he's not and should never be defined as anything like a traditional hero. His character worked in the First Chronicles as an anti-hero. That doesn't mean he ultimately won't do what is required but he should never take positive ownership of it. He can do everything he did as the Second Chronicles depict but a bit more reluctantly IMHO.
Okay. I know none of this happens this way and never will. I know some will say its nonsense because Linden is far too important to the story for it to function without her. I know some will say Haruchai women would never be active warriors. I know some will say Seadreamer could never be anything but a male Giant and that the idea of Bannor being a villain is idiocy.
Just letting you know that I know.
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