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High Lord Elena
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheWormoftheWorld'sEnd wrote:
Horrim Carabal wrote:
illender wrote:
...just got to the end of my reread of illearth war. i know everyone says she was crazy, but i think im in love.


Elena is/was unbalanced but cool. One really stupid mistake with the Earthblood. There were 10,000 other Commands she could have given that would have been far superior. How about Commanding the Illearth Stone's destruction?

However, without the Staff of Law being lost, Foul would have taken longer to regenerate himself and also would have needed a new plan for the Second Chronicles. Without the Sunbane maybe he would have tried a Last Chronicles-like plan instead. I wonder what Kastenessen was up to at the time?


Heh, I'm beginning to feel like a Horrim stalker here. But I'm just a guy with a lot of knowledge of the Chrons.

Amok addressed this very point you make when he stated that if someone were to Command the Stone's destruction, perhaps its uncontained evil would spread throughout the Earth.

There is supposedly no Command that any mortal human could devise that would not have some kind of evil boomerang effect, this renders the Power of Command effectively worthless.



I think a better way to formulate the problem with the Power of Command is that mortals, whose knowledge is finite, could not foresee the unintended consequences of their use of the power, regardless of whether those unintended consequences were good or ill. I can say no more here without spoiling The Last Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
Horrim Carabal wrote:
Cord Hurn wrote:


This pretty much describes how I feel about Elena, as well. The only ways in which I am cross with her concern her incestuous desire for Covenant, her insensitivity to Amok's death, and her refusal to hear alternatives to drinking the EarthBlood. But in certain ways she's the victim of Covenant's and Foul's actions.


I know my opinion is unpopular around here, but I still maintain that Elena was mentally ill.


That wasn't necessarily clear to me from the text, but in the "What Has Gone Before" section of ROTE (this isn't spoiler material,) SRD says:

Quote:
The Council is now led by High Lord Elena, his daughter by his rape of Lena. With her, he begins to experience the real consequences of his violence: it is clar to him - if to no one else - that she is not complete sane.


How did I miss that!? Well that feels a bit like vindication...I remember mentioning my opinion that Elena was mentally ill a while back and I was met with a lot of disagreement from Elena fans.

I like Elena too, she is a cool character, but in reading about her I always had the feeling something was a bit...off.

btw I have met people in real life like this as well. They are undiagnosed, usually very dismissive of medical professionals, and quite often in positions of authority. You always feel in your interactions with such people - no matter how cordial those interactions can be (and the people I am thinking of can be very friendly and affable) - that something is not quite right. (Walking on eggshells feeling)
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guess that settles it. High Lord Elena was both mad AND sad! Screwy Sob
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elena, Elena, Elena... she was an interesting character. She might have been sexually attracted to her father because of the flaw of her origins but there are other ways to explain it. The Land faced a big problem with Thomas Covenant's dismissive attitude toward their situation. No matter how they appealed to him he didn't seem much moved. Elena probably saw herself as the solution to this problem. She would entice him into caring about her and try to embody the Land to him. In any way possible. (Troy was a different approach to the same problem in many ways) I suspect there was a plan behind all this and that is a big reason why she became a High Lord. Their Mind-Meld must have revealed to the rest of the Lord what was in her heart.

I was always furious with her for the way she dismisses Amok's ending and doesn't even try to help him survive. I could never forgive her for that.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the Earth-Blood, I think everybody is thinking too small. You could change the Laws of Nature with that stuff. How about "Let time flaw back!" Things in the Land had only soured over the centuries. Wouldn't everybody be happier if instead of aging and dying not to mention being corrupted and destroyed by Despite their world would only improve, Kevin's deed would be undone and the wonderful One Forest would return in full majesty to the Land? The majestic Viles will once again roam Mount Thunder and instead of rotting in their graves everyone could look forward to a comfy stay in their mother's womb as a nice finale.

If that's too much, how about "Let the One Forest return!"? That forest was one tough customer and things were good both in the Land and in the Lower Plains until the humans destroyed it. Maybe the humans in the Land would be destoryed as well when the One Forest takes back control of its home but do they have any right to be there? They're the invaders, just like the raver's armies no matter how nice they try to be about it. The One Forest would know how to heal, banish and imprison the various ills that beset the Land.

She could even try "Let Foul and all his Banes be freed from this Creation and return to wence they came!" Sure, that's throwing her problems for the upper management to deal with but the Creator is the one who created this problem to begin with. Let him deal with it himself for once.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The statement that Elena is "not completely sane" should perhaps be set beside the following:

And he who wields white wild magic gold is a paradox-
for he is everything and nothing,
hero and fool,
potent, helpless-
and with one word of truth or treachery,
he will save or damn the Earth
because he is mad and sane,
cold and passionate,
lost and found.


Also, given what we now know about mental health, the phrase "not completely sane" begs a lot of questions.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr Paul wrote:
The statement that Elena is "not completely sane" should perhaps be set beside the following:


Good thought! Perhaps Covenant being "mad and sane" as the white gold bearer is what enables him to identify the shortcomings in Elena's sanity that no one else seemed to notice.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without the books handy, I am only relying on my rather faulty memory Wink but I seem to recall that Covenant noticed her instability in the context of the text and tried to bring it up to Mhoram, who mentioned that the Lords had seen something in Elena that they felt was needed. Perhaps they saw her mental illness, and with the benefit of his oracular foresight "knew that good would come of it".
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - I'm so out of touch! Just remind me quickly, did any good come of it?
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it ultimately set the stage for Covenant's (Foamfollower's) victory.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree with that kind of rationalization. It's like saying that the Archduke's assassination paved the way for the Allies victory in WWII! It skips over a ton of intermediate stuff like WWI's horrors, Hitler's horrors, and the atomic bomb. Saying Elena's rise (and fall) was a good thing because it "set the stage" for Covenant's victory is nonsense.

Elena becoming High Lord, using the Earthblood, getting herself killed by Kevin's ghost, ultimately causing Covenant to destroy the Staff of Law, all of this was nothing but an unmitigated disaster for the Land.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've looked over this entire thread and I'm struck by the fact that nobody has mentioned the summoning of Amok due to Covenant igniting the krill. Without Amok appearing, the possibility of drinking the Earthblood would not have existed and would probably not even have occurred to Elena. Whatever Elena's foibles, it is not really possible to understand her actions in TIW without reference to Amok's appearance at a time when the Lords and their allies were desperate for some means of countering Foul's overwhelming strength.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RE: good will come of it

First, I cannot find anyone saying something like this. Which only means I cannot find it. Maybe this is a play-it-again-sam kinda thing. What I can find is:

In The Illearth War was wrote:
"No. I mean, why is she High Lord - instead of Mhoram?"

"What does it matter?" said Troy irritably. "The Council chose her. A couple of years ago - when Osondrea, the old High Lord, died. They put their minds together - you must have noticed when you were here before how the Lords can pool their thoughts, think together - and she was elected." As he spoke, the irritation faded from his tone. "They said she has some special quality, some inner mettle that makes her the best leader for this war. Maybe I don't know what they mean - but I know she's got something. She's impossible to refuse. I would fight with stew forks and soup spoons against Foul."

I don't see anything that contradicts this. Her reign seemed to be nothing but successful until her fatal decision. Perhaps she did have a "special quality".

In the GI, Donaldson explains it similarly, in several ways.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Elena was the perfect choice in the same sense that Covenant was the perfect choice. So she was discernibly unbalanced. So what? So was he. The other Lords--especially Mhoram--knew that she would (to borrow a phrase) "save or damn" the Land; and they chose to believe that she would save it, just as they chose to believe that Covenant would. None of them existed on the knife-edge of possibility in the same way that Elena--and Covenant--did. And they could so easily have been validated by the outcome, if she had simply made a different decision at the moment when she tasted the EarthBlood. Only characters with epic flaws are capable of epic victories.

(02/05/2005)

But the attitude of the Lords toward her would be comparable to their attitude toward Covenant: not distrust, but rather a kind of chosen trust (rather like a leap of faith). The reasoning might go something like this: if you choose to believe that something good will happen, and plan for it, you may or may not be right; but if you choose to believe that something bad will happen, and plan for it, you pretty much guarantee that nothing good *can* happen.

(12/31/2005)

Her fellow Lords were not fools. The Ranyhyn were not fools. Even Covenant, in his tortured fashion, was not a fool. They all saw in her the potential for greatness. "Save or damn."

(08/31/2011)


RE: awakening the krill

Absolutely. Covenant's awakening the krill threw chaos into everything, and continues his streak of leaving a wake of destruction behind all his careless acts.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Under the right circumstances--and the right kind of pressure--any of us might do something crazy. If Covenant had never returned to the Land, Elena might have been a fine High Lord.

(10/11/2006)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
I've looked over this entire thread and I'm struck by the fact that nobody has mentioned the summoning of Amok due to Covenant igniting the krill.


Huh...that IS odd. I know I've seen it mentioned in passing...but you'd think it would be here, and have importance.
There's a consistent thing in the Chron's, all prophecies are wrong. Doesn't matter if it's the good guys or the bad guys, they end up wrong in important ways. Partly cuz no one can fully comprehend, partly because NO future is predetermined.
Now, lots of fantasy/myth, even some SF, plays tricks with predictions...all the way back to Oedipus, at least. But SRD does it in a somewhat deeper/more essential way.
SO...what we have is Elena being the perfect High Lord for the time/situation. But the future changes with the krill awakening, Amok arriving...and the sudden availability of new power/options triggers/pushes Elena...from Committed to Obsessed, from Method into Madness.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still fail to see these mysterious "successes" Elena is being credited with.

Can someone come up with a list of her accomplishments?

I say she was nothing but a tool of Foul. That's her legacy.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could somebody answer that because I adored Elena and I still can't!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mean to sound harsh, but let's call a spade a spade.

Elena is a great character. I enjoy reading about her. In fact I would say she is a unique character in the SRD canon.

However, I also see her as a tool of Foul. All the stuff Foul says about Linden ("your every action aids my will" etc) is ACTUALLY TRUE of Elena.

So while Linden is always *worried* she is helping Foul, Elena continually is, and there is no doubt or ambiguity about it.

If a villainous character had caused the destruction of the Staff of Law, enabled Foul to create the Sunbane, added tons of angst and doubt to the mind of Thomas Covenant - not to mention removing the defenders of the Land's access to Earthblood for scores of centuries - that villain would be seen as Foul's greatest servant. Elena did all these things.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further to my point about Amok, I note that one commenter did mention his arrival when the krill was awakened, quite early in the thread. Now we know that Kevin had intended each Ward of his lore to only become accessible once the previous Ward had been mastered, so Amok was originally intended to only be summoned once all of the first six Wards had been mastered (which would presumably include knowledge of how to awaken the krill without wild magic). It would also be reasonable to assume that Kevin intended mastery of the first six Wards to bring with it a capacity for prudent judgment about how to make use of the Seventh Ward - and, conversely, that premature awakening of the krill and summoning of Amok before that capacity had become part of the orthodoxy of the Lord's wisdom would be quite likely to end in tears irrespective of whether Elena or someone else was High Lord at the time, although it is also true that some of Elena's colleagues would have been at less risk than others of misusing the Seventh Ward.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Horrim Carabal wrote:
I don't mean to sound harsh, but let's call a spade a spade.

Elena is a great character. I enjoy reading about her. In fact I would say she is a unique character in the SRD canon.

However, I also see her as a tool of Foul. All the stuff Foul says about Linden ("your every action aids my will" etc) is ACTUALLY TRUE of Elena.

So while Linden is always *worried* she is helping Foul, Elena continually is, and there is no doubt or ambiguity about it.

If a villainous character had caused the destruction of the Staff of Law, enabled Foul to create the Sunbane, added tons of angst and doubt to the mind of Thomas Covenant - not to mention removing the defenders of the Land's access to Earthblood for scores of centuries - that villain would be seen as Foul's greatest servant. Elena did all these things.


The thing is, you could also say that Mhoram proved to be Lord Foul's greatest servant.

Mhoram decided that the Lords could not serve the Land the Oath of Peace using Kevin's Lore, so he cast it off and swore to find a new way.

His new way resulted in the birth of the Clave and the destruction of the Lords. The people of the Land never really recovered from the loss of the Lords-- first the Clave devastated and nearly depopulated the Land, then the Haruchai became the Masters.

The people of the Land became spectators to the fate of the Land the day that Mhoram cast the krill into Glimmermere.

Foul's greatest strength-- other than having the writer to give his plots viability-- is that he's always able to turn his enemy's victories to his own ends.

Anything Elena had tried with the Earthblood would have failed to stop Foul. (Even Covenant's victories in the end did nothing but serve Foul's ends.) It boils down to how compelling a given character is to the reader.

Personally, I liked Elena more than Linden. On the other hand, if I had been stuck with Elena as the narrator for most of six books I might have a different opinion. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kaos Arcanna wrote:
you could also say that Mhoram proved to be Lord Foul's greatest servant.

Mhoram decided that the Lords could not serve the Land the Oath of Peace using Kevin's Lore, so he cast it off and swore to find a new way.

His new way resulted in the birth of the Clave and the destruction of the Lords. The people of the Land never really recovered from the loss of the Lords-- first the Clave devastated and nearly depopulated the Land, then the Haruchai became the Masters.

The people of the Land became spectators to the fate of the Land the day that Mhoram cast the krill into Glimmermere.


You make good points. This is all true.

But at least Mhoram's bad decisions seemed good at the time. Most of Elena's decisions proved to be debacles in short order.


Last edited by Horrim Carabal on Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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