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Ignorance as motivation/plot device
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:30 pm    Post subject: Ignorance as motivation/plot device Reply with quote

[**Minor chapter 1 AATE spoilers**]

I'm posting this in the AATE forum, but it applies to the last two books as well. However, I noticed it while reading the What Has Gone Before of AATE. Here are a few quotes from the Last Chronicles portion of WHGB:

In AATE WHGB, SRD wrote:
... one of the Elohim has visited the Land, warning of dangers, which include various monsters--and an unnamed halfhand.

... because she has no idea where Lord Foul has taken Jeremiah ... Linden decides to risk entering a caesure.

To her surprise, however, her caesure deposits her and everyone with her before the gates of Revelstone ... she and her companions enter the ambiguous sanctuary of Lord's Keep.

Cryptically, Esmer informs her ...

Instead, for no apparent reason, he tells her ...

Linden complies. She knows no other way to discover why and how her loved ones have changed.

Because she still has no idea where Jeremiah is hidden or how to rescue him, her stated intention is to reach Andelain ...

For reasons she does not explain, she also hopes to recover High Lord Loric's krill...

... the Harrow knows where Jeremiah has been hidden--and that Esmer intends to prevent the Insequent from revealing his secret.

Yet the Lords and the last Forestal and Covenant himself refuse to speak. None of them answer Linden.


Read in summary, that's a hell of a lot of ignorance and ambiguity. And all of it is crucial to the plot moving forward at all--not because the characters have an intention of actually solving the mysteries these examples imply, such as a quest for a crucial answer, but because there would be no story without those instances of ignorance. If those instances of ignorance were removed, the characters would have no reason to go in the directions that they go. It is necessary for Donaldson, not for the characters.

I've stated elsewhere that Donaldson is a master of integrating this uncertainty into the plot as a necessary part of the story. And I still feel that way. A certain amount of uncertainty is always necessary for tension in any story--reading to find out what happens, to uncover secrets, is part of the fun. But despite his skill at handling this, at a certain point it starts to feel too contrived.

Esmer has a built-in character trait that justifies his own cryptic trickling/witholding advice: he must betray to balance his aid. Very good. And obviously, Linden's enemies have legitimate reasons to mislead her. But it starts to strain credulity when Linden--our POV character--begins hiding her intentions from the readers themselves (e.g. her trip to Andelain to resurrect Covenant). There is absolutely no reason in the plot itself for that ambiguity. It only exists to mislead us.

And finally, the refusal of TC, the dead Lords, etc. to withold information from Linden is just catastrophically unjustified. TC explains it (again) in AATE.

On page 10 of AATE, SRD wrote:
"I couldn't tell you then, he said; groaned. "I couldn't say anything. None of us could." He meant the Dead around him. "The necessity of freedom--It's absolute. You have to make your own choices. Everything hinges on that. If I told you where to find your son--or warned you what might ahppen if you used the krill the way you did--I would have changed your decisions. I would have changed the nature of what you had to choose."


This just sounds like bullshit. How is a better informed person less free? Just because you have more information to make your decision doesn't mean that you can't still make it--it just means that you can make it more intelligently. Knowing the likely consequences of your choices beforehand is precisely what enables the choice to be either responsible or irresponsible. Think about voting ... would we really be more free if we didn't know the positions of the person for whom we're casting a ballot? Freedom--the basis of our democracy--is strengthened by an informed electorate. If we used Donaldsonian logic as the basis of our democracy, we'd all be voting for anonymous candidates.

If bystanders are going to withhold known consequences to Linden's choices, then THEY must accept responsibility, not Linden. And if you're not responsible for your actions, this is more like anarchy than liberty. Freedom can't be separated from responsibility. Let's imagine that I know that you have a bomb in your car, and I don't tell you, and you blow yourself up. Aren't I responsible? And more importantly to the subject at hand, how would you be less free if I told you about the bomb? Having the knowledge to save your own life makes you a pawn or a slave? How exactly?

Conversely, aren't I influencing your choices by withholding that information, because I'm determining that you can't make a choice relative to that knowledge?? In that case, withholding info is just as manipulative as giving info.

Also, SRD breaks his own rule. If the necessity of freedom is absolute, then why doesn't TC's cryptic advice in Runes violate this? There is no wiggle room when dealing with absolutes. You either can, or you can't. Yet TC tells her to "find me" and gives her other advice as well. If he's going to break his own rule, then he might as well tell her something useful.

Furthermore, people are already trying to influence her decisions all the freaking time! Mahdoubt tells her to beware of love. Infelice, the Ranyhyn, and others try to persuade her not to go through with her plan. How are these *less* influential than simply giving her the information so she can make an informed decision??

Besides, all the bad guys try to coerce her and manipulate her to do their will. In AATE, TC even admits that this is what Foul is doing:
On page 10 of AATE, SRD wrote:
"That's what Lord Foul does. He changes your choices."


Well then, godamnit, she's not free! If changing your choices is something TC can't do because it violates the so-called "absolute" necessity of freedom, then there is no way Linden can be free while LF is changing her choices. So much for necessity. So much for "absolute." She's already a pawn, according to these narrative rules. But, hey, at least she's not being influenced by the good guys! Rolling Eyes No, only influence by the bad guys is acceptable in the Chronicles of Inexplicable Secrets.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot relies on Linden being completly involved in her decesions. If you start telling her what to do, she no longer has as much of her being involved in the outcome. Despite the groans of THOOLAH, everything rests on the strengths of Linden's decision. Advising her, I think, would prevent her from taking her necesary role.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't the same thing happen in TWL though, when Covenant's Dead was restricted from telling him anything useful beyond the few tidbits they gave him?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) Covenant actually does beat himself up in AATE for contacting Linden in RoTE. So yes, he was violating the "necessity of freedom", and he knew it.

2) I think the Dead are keeping their mouths shut because they scruple (to use an SRD word) to play by the rules. Foul certainly doesn't. Infelice doesn't. And neither of them knows everything there is to know, anyhow, despite the fact that they try to convince Linden that they do.

3) The Dead probably have the best shot at knowing the Big Picture, and even they see the outcome through their own personal filters -- as has always been true. (Should Covenant have followed Kevin's advice in the 2nd Chrons?)

4) Why is any of this any different from what we all go through in Real Life? We get info from biased sources; some people will lie to us for their own ends; some people will refuse to give us pertinent information, for whatever reason; and in the end we act on our own best guess, governed, much of the time, by a gut reaction.

We might wish things were different. But they aren't.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aliantha wrote:
4) Why is any of this any different from what we all go through in Real Life? We get info from biased sources; some people will lie to us for their own ends; some people will refuse to give us pertinent information, for whatever reason; and in the end we act on our own best guess, governed, much of the time, by a gut reaction.
I agree, this is (sort of) how it is in real life. But that's only true for the people trying to deceive us. In real life, people who withhold crucial information from you are the *bad* guys! Should we praise the cigarette companies for trying to hide the fact that their product causes cancer, because that ignorance makes us "freer?" That's insane. If you knew your child was about to destroy the world, would you refrain from violating her "absolute necessity of freedom" by not telling her? That's not the way people who love us act. So either TC is a bad guy, or this is not at all like real life.

rdhopeca wrote:
Didn't the same thing happen in TWL though, when Covenant's Dead was restricted from telling him anything useful beyond the few tidbits they gave him?
Yes, Donaldson has done it before. I forgot the specific reasons why that particular example satisfied me ... but let's take the Gap series. Dios deceives his pawns--all of them, from Morn to Angus to Min--because it's necessary to his plan. Not because it's necessary to their freedom. In fact, he takes away their freedom to suit his needs, for the greater good. That makes sense. That's a logical reason to withhold information from charactes. If Min Donner knew she was being sent to save Morn, she would have given away Dios's intentions simply because she wouldn't have been able to hide her relief. So he had to keep up the ruse that he was betraying and abusing her. That is tragically beautiful ... unlike the case here.

Orlion wrote:
I think a lot relies on Linden being completly involved in her decesions. If you start telling her what to do, she no longer has as much of her being involved in the outcome.

I'm not saying Covenant should tell her what to do. Giving someone a warning of the consequences isn't the same as giving them an order (which, in fact, she could still choose not to follow). You say Linden should be completely involved in her decisions, but how can she be if people are purposely withholding crucial information from her? How does that make her involvement more complete? It seems to me that just the opposite is the case: her invovlement in her decisions would be more complete the more information she has regarding the consequences.

Orlion wrote:
Despite the groans of THOOLAH, everything rests on the strengths of Linden's decision.
I agree that everything rests on her decisions, which makes her need for pertinant information all the more crucial!

Orlion wrote:
Advising her, I think, would prevent her from taking her necesary role.
With that logic, no one who makes crucial decisions should ever have advisors. Not our President. Not CEOs. They should all fire anyone who gives them relevant information and just blindly make a decision. That makes absolutely no sense.
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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: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
With that logic, no one who makes crucial decisions should ever have advisors. Not our President. Not CEOs. They should all fire anyone who gives them relevant information and just blindly make a decision. That makes absolutely no sense
.

Yeah, because these guys have made such great decisions with their adivisors they have and haven't managed to nearly destroy anything Razz

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more point ... if there is any truth to the idea that it is better for Linden when TC withholds crucial information about the dangerous consequences--better because it doesn't betray her freedom--then there would be no need for Esmer to balance out his aid by *betraying* Linden by doing exactly the same thing with regards to the truth about Roger and Jeremiah. In fact, that would tip Esmer's aid/betray scales all the way to the aid side, if withholding information is actually for her own good. If Esmer really wanted to maintain a balance--and if TC is actually "helping" Linden by respecting her necessity of freedom--then Esmer could have balanced his aid by the "betrayal" of telling Linden the truth about Roger and Jeremiah, which, in the twisted logic presented by Donaldson, would harm or violate her!

Donaldson is trying to have it both ways, depending on which character he's dealing with, and which outcome would produce a more exciting scene.
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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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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a lot to ponder in there, Z...but my first reactions is this:
The vast majority of "hidden information" concerns one of two [sometimes overlapping] things: manipulations on the part of the person hiding it [usually, but not always this is "fact" from the past], OR some "vision" or experience of future events.
Advising someone based on the past is one kind of thing.
Revealing the future is something else entirely. Revealing the future DOES violate freedom, by definition: it makes it perfectly predictable, set in stone.
Unless, of course, it is wrong [which in the novels it almost always is, in whole or in part]...in which case the advice sends them on the path of failure.
Generally, each piece of the future specifically revealed serves no one except LF, no matter the intention.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The theme is: "Unearned knowledge is dangerous."

You can agree with it or not, but that is what it is and it's intentional.

I believe the idea is probably that information is a form of power and too much power gained without experience would inhibit your proper judgment.

Linden seems like good proof of that.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
There's a lot to ponder in there, Z...but my first reactions is this:
The vast majority of "hidden information" concerns one of two [sometimes overlapping] things: manipulations on the part of the person hiding it [usually, but not always this is "fact" from the past], OR some "vision" or experience of future events.
Advising someone based on the past is one kind of thing.
Revealing the future is something else entirely. Revealing the future DOES violate freedom, by definition: it makes it perfectly predictable, set in stone.
Unless, of course, it is wrong [which in the novels it almost always is, in whole or in part]...in which case the advice sends them on the path of failure.
Generally, each piece of the future specifically revealed serves no one except LF, no matter the intention.

Thank you, Vraith. This is the point I was groping for. The Dead presumably know the future (as did TC when he was part of the Arch).
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

blingdomepiece wrote:
The theme is: "Unearned knowledge is dangerous."

You can agree with it or not, but that is what it is and it's intentional.
Put me in the "not agree with it" category. Smile If you're being informed by people who have earned it, then whatever dangers are introduced by your inexperience are mitigated by their experience. What exactly is the danger of warning her? Are people worried she might do something foolhardly like rouse the Worm of the World's End?? Ignorance seems a bit more dangerous, given what she did with it.

Quote:
I believe the idea is probably that information is a form of power and too much power gained without experience would inhibit your proper judgment.

Linden seems like good proof of that.
No, it seems that Linden is good proof that when your friends and loved ones withhold crucial information from you, you might just cause the destruction of the world. That's proof that maybe information--even unearned--can prevent massive calamities. I mean, what could have been worse than rousing the Worm? How could a little bit of information possibly made that worse? When Linden has the ring, the Staff, and the krill, it's far too late to worry about her having too much power. She can't possibly have any more power at that point. Now you have to worry about her doing something stupid with that power. And--if we're to believe rousing the Worm is bad (and we must, or there's zero tension regarding that plot twist)--she did something pretty stupid with it.

Sure, I fully expect a plot twist that squeezes some good out of her "stupid" act. I don't really even believe it was stupid, because I trust Linden (and ultimately, I trust Donaldson, despite my complaints). I just can't imagine how telling her that she might rouse the Worm could have possibly been *more* dangerous than actually rousing the Worm. Honestly, I think she still would have brought TC back, even if they told her the stakes. But then, she'd look like a sadistic bitch for knowingly risking the world. And perhaps that's the real reason Donaldson had to keep her ignorant ... plausible deniability. His protagonist can't be blamed if she didn't know what she was doing. And, if that's true, it's just kind of pathetic.

Vraith wrote:
Advising someone based on the past is one kind of thing.
Revealing the future is something else entirely.
Good point. I hadn't thought of that. But telling someone the effect of their actions doesn't necessarily require knowing the future. I can tell you that launching a nuclear missile at China might start a nuclear war, without being a psychic. Something things are predictable because they are axiomatic.
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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: Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:

Vraith wrote:
Advising someone based on the past is one kind of thing.
Revealing the future is something else entirely.
Good point. I hadn't thought of that. But telling someone the effect of their actions doesn't necessarily require knowing the future. I can tell you that launching a nuclear missile at China might start a nuclear war, without being a psychic. Something things are predictable because they are axiomatic.

Absolutely. But there's a pretty consistent relationship here [from Linden's point of view...although it seems to arc through the whole story].
Those who have no vision are, more or less, as unable to predict as she is, they variously support or oppose her, and each other. At the extremes, some think ANY act she performs will end in evil, others that any act will end in good, in a complicated mess of fact and errors, assumptions and motives, reasons and belief.
Those who will/have told her the future have been mistaken or liars or both: They are not trustworthy.
Those who will not tell her are on her side. Some worry or fear...but they also trust, believe in other possibilities even IF bad things happen.
The only exception I've noticed is the Ranyhyn. They do warn her specifically, yet do trust. After they warn, they not only don't forbid/oppose, they do everything in their power to aid her anyway.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The necessity of freedoms should not preclude the absences of knowledge.

If Linden knew that by raising Thomas, it would wake the worm, then she wouldn't have done it. Or if she had information that would raised TC and not awaken the worm then she could have preformed it.
The Freedom comes into play when the person has the full scope of knowledge and then acts, not by reasoning, but by choice.
If Linden knew by raising TC, it would arouse the Worm and went ahead and did it. Then I would say she preformed a desecration. But then she had the freedom to do so.


Accusing Linden of a desecration is an injustice. Those who accused her had no right to do so after the event. They didn't know or have the knowledge about that would happen, or if they did, they are to blamed as much as they blamed Linden. They sit in their palaces of indignation and condemn with blindfolds on. The Ranynn were to too cryptic in their message. That may be their nature.

Unearned knowledge is dangerous. If that the case then the Theomach violated that precept when he flat out told Berek and Linden the seven words. He didn't tell Linden on what uses or why the phrase is powerful.

It isn't that "Unearned knowledge is dangerous" It should be "Incomplete knowledge" is dangerous"

Foul uses "Incomplete knowledge" to manipulate others to do his will. It guides a being to preform an act thats based on one path. Full knowledge has many paths. The freedom to choose the direction a knowledgeable person has is left up to the choice the person makes. For weal or woe.
That would be the necessity of freedom. Choice with full knowledge.

It seems that Linden was guided to raise TC by "Incomplete Knowledge"
by forces/events/unknown being (The Creator working in the background)
to achieve a specific aim. To awaken the Worm. But not in the way that Foul would want.

/But then again.. I don't have the full knowledge of what SRD aims are. Razz
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the voting analogy is a really good explanation of why unearned knowledge is dangerous. Sure, an informed electorate is preferable, but the question is, have the voters made an effort to be informed themselves? Have they put in the time and done the research? Or have they based their presumed knowledge on 15 second sound bites and "voter guides" which may or may not be accurate and may or may not be non-partisan?

Or worse, if you just vote party line, or just ask a friend how they're voting and do likewise. If you base your voting decisions on another's choice, you're trading in your perceptions of a candidate for someone else's perceptions. If Linden makes her decisions based on someone else's perceptions of the dangers and those dangers' best resolution, she trades in her perceptions (which are her perhaps greatest strength) for theirs.

Of course, the necessity of freedom can't be *absolutely* absolute, b/c you have to garner info from others and rely to some extent on their stories and experiences. But the point stands - if Linden just asked CovenantasArch what to do, rather than choosing herself, she'd be making herself his tool rather than making her own decisions.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chaplainchris wrote:
If Linden makes her decisions based on someone else's perceptions of the dangers and those dangers' best resolution, she trades in her perceptions (which are her perhaps greatest strength) for theirs.

That's what I meant when I was talking about the Dead and their views. They may already know what's going to happen, but their opinions would color their advice one way or another, and that could affect Linden's decision-making. We've seen this already in the 2nd Chrons when Kevin gave her that bum advice about what Covenant was planning to do.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perfect example, Aliantha. Kevin's information about Covenant was right - TC *did* intend to give the ring into Foul's hands. But his interpretation of the act was horribly skewed by his own sufferings.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So did Kevin violate her freedom by giving her his bum advice? Are her choices after that encounter all pointless and meaningless because he warned her?

And now for a bit of "I told you so..." Smile

Earlier, I wrote:
Honestly, I think she still would have brought TC back, even if they told her the stakes. But then, she'd look like a sadistic bitch for knowingly risking the world. And perhaps that's the real reason Donaldson had to keep her ignorant ... plausible deniability. His protagonist can't be blamed if she didn't know what she was doing. And, if that's true, it's just kind of pathetic.


I wrote that while I was still in chapter two. Now, I see Liand in chapter 3 giving just that reasoning:

On page 44, SRD wrote:
Was it not impossible for you to have foreseen the outcome of your deeds here? Do you not share with each and all of your companions, Masters and Giants and Ramen alike, an inability to scry the future? And if you have no gift of prescience, are you not by that lack rendered blameless?


So the argument is on the table. Liand--as our representative of the Land itself, in the absence of any self-serving agenda--gives the opinion that Linden is blameless because of her ignorance. Sure, Linden doesn't accept that, but her reasons for not accepting it could easily be biased by her guilt and remorse. At this point, she doesn't want to be forgiven or assuaged. And the specific reasons Donaldson gives in the text (through Linden) are particularly unconvincing:

On page 44, SRD wrote:
Linden shook her head. ... She had been given too many warnings. The horeserite visions of the Ranyhyn may have been difficult to interpret: the images with which Lord Fould had afflicted her during her translation to the Land were not.

"Not this time," she replied roughtly. "I could have known. I just couldn't let anything stop me."


She could have known? How? She was supposed to take Foul's word for it? And if she had already been given the explicit knowledge by Foul, then what was the problem with her friends confirming that knowledge?

Why could the Ranyhyn give her warnings that didn't violate her freedom? It's okay to warn someone as long as you're vague about it? Why does vagueness walk the fine line between violating freedom but still giving you all the knowledge you need to choose differently? Again, that's pretty lame. It seems to rely more on creating a sense of mystery for the readers--combined with the "aha" moment of realizing what the cryptic message was in hindsight--than for any purpose of protecting character freedom.

I posit that Donaldson himself is very aware of these problems. Indeed, he addresses them in the text:

On page 23, SRD wrote:
Linden beat her fists on her temples. She would have clutched at Caer-Caveral if he had been anything more than an eidolon. "The tell me why you won't help me. When Covenant was here before, you gave him everything," advice and Vain as well as the location of the One Tree. The Forestal and Covenant's Dead had prepared every step of his path to death and triumph. "Why didn't you care about 'the necessity of freedom' then? He's Thomas Covenant. He would have found a way without you. I'm just lost.

"Why have you forsaken me?"

Caer-Caveral glowered at her, shedding reminders of his slain song. "Much has been altered since the Unbeliever last walked among the living. You are indeed forsaken, by the Dead as by the Earth's Creator. How could it be otherwise, when all of your deeds conduce to ruin?"

Then he said, "In pity, however," although his tone held no pity, "I will observe that the Unbeliever entered Andelain alone, for no companion dared to stand at his side. He had neither health-sense nor the Staff of Law. The Ranyhyn had not cautioned him. He knew only love and compassion. Thus his need was greater than yours. For that reason, he was given gifts.

"Yet the Dead shaped none of his choices. He did not come seeking guidance. Nor did he request aid. In sooth, he did not tread any path which he did not determine for himself--or which you did not determine on his behalf.


This is Donaldson justifying his rules, his narrative choices. He's trying to say that it makes sense, that there's a difference between Linden and Covenant, one that justifies giving TC help back then (when it was necessary to the plot), but not giving Linden help now (when it is necessary to the plot). But at the same time, Donaldson is saying that these differences don't matter, that Covenant was still free despite the (unearned) help and info he was given. He's trying to have it both ways: it's okay to give one character help from the Creator and the Dead, but not another character. Ultimately, all that matters is there wouldn't have been a 2nd Chrons story if Covenant wasn't given his Quest and the means to achieve it, and there wouldn't have been a Last Chrons Linden's Terrible Mistake if she had been warned in clear terms. Everything else is just rationalization.

The question is: does this rationalization make sense? I don't think it does. The Dead could help Linden just as they helped Covenant. If helping Covenant didn't violate his freedom, neither would helping Linden. The fact that Covenant was alone or didn't come seeking aid shouldn't make any difference whatsoever.

Another discrepancy: the Giants were led away and given unearned advice from Honninscrave ... and conveniently prevented from stopping Linden by keeping them "off-screen" during the Worm rousing. Again, Donaldson is very aware of his rules being problematic, because he expends time and effort justifying this apparent discrepancy:

On page 34, SRD wrote:
"With honored Honninscrave, we have spoken of many things" --her tone was as hard as the stone of her glaive-- "not neglecting the Worm of the World's End. He described the necessity of freedom in terms too eloquent to be ignored. He did not call us away from Linden Giantfriend's side so that we would be derprived of our own freedom of response, but rather so that we would not be provoked by events to determine our response in haste. And he said much concerning all that the Giants of the Search learned of Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery."
So calling someone away from events where they can't act isn't a violation of their freedom as long as you're doing it so that they won't act in haste? This seems like a pretty arbitrary exception to the "absolute" necessity of freedom. If someone else is worried you'll be hasty, it's okay to stop you? And yet you're still "free" while they do so? Makes absolutely no sense. Donaldson is setting up different rules for each character.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent analysis, Z.
But I think there is a difference that makes a difference:
The various viewpoints/arguments, though they pretty much have to connect with the author's intents/plots, are ALSO due to the fact that the characters/arguments/viewpoints within the text, internally, disagree with each other.
Liand WANTS her to be blameless, and has his reasons.
The Masters WANT her to be guilty, and have their reasons.
LF and Raynhyn give similar warnings: yet their motivations, and the risks they are willing to assume are diametrically opposed.
And there is a harsh and relevant difference between those who believe in her, despite the outcome of any particular deed/result, and those who will never trust her because of their fear of particular deeds/results.
And there's a significant difference between advice that warns of possibilities, and that which demands you do what your told.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the Dead could help Covenant because he'd already lost his freedom. He had to surrender to the Despiser. But Linden still is free and therefore "the only one who can do this." So no direct revelation for her, not like with Covenant anyway.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay time for me to pull something from another great set of books to add to this discussion.

Take the series Dune. Paul had the foresight to know what was going to happen in the future and knew that they were locked into a path were lot of people were going to die. He attempted to avoid it but knew that he couldn't so he did what was necessary to take steps to change it or minimize it as best he could which included his own death. His son Leto became a tryannical dictator in order to make the necessary changes to the universe so that the future would be safe.

In neither of these cases did they tell the ones around then what they were doing and why because people wouldn't understand their actions. They were acting in a way to do the most good for the least detriment. They knew that people would not understand why they were making the decisions they were but they counted on the fact that people would act based on their own freedom of choice. Those free actions were the ones that were necessary for the changes to be made to alter the course of history and society.

I could see the same issue happening here. If those with information had told Linden everything that she wanted to know would she be capable of doing what was necessary for the world to survive? Had she known that TC and Jeremiah were Roger and Jeremiah with a Croyel she wouldn't have gone through the caesure and met Carreroil Wildwood and had the staff of the law engraved with the Runes of Life and Death.

I think that it will be very interesting to see how this is all going to end. Because in three years, it will end.
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