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Unfettered by the Last Chronicles
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ussusimiel
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:33 pm    Post subject: Unfettered by the Last Chronicles Reply with quote

This thread is for those poor souls like myself who, although I am a total fan of the 1st and 2nd Chronicles, can't read the Last Chronicles because of a combination of the nature of the writing, the character of Linden and the feeling that there is no necessity for the books to be written at all.

I've had a number of people suggest that I get stuck into the Last Chronicles in spite of my reservations, but my own feeling is that ploughing through books that I'm not enjoying is not really the way to go.

I actually finished ROTE and started FR but very soon into the book I put it down in exasperation. I was starting to get a feeling from Linden that I had never experienced in the Chronicles before. I had experienced it in other SRD books. A little bit in Mordant's Need with both Geraden and Terisa, a lot in the Stephen Reed novels and most of all in The Gap Cycle novels.

The experience I'm talking has to do with the way SRD consistently puts people in impossible situations. Morn and Angus in The Gap novels are extreme examples of this. The problem of trying to write about these situations is that you quickly run out of language to describe the person's extremity.

If my memory serves me Linden meets TC and Jeremiah in Revelstone but can't touch either of them, or maybe just TC, either way, just as she's got her son back she's faced with the terrible situation of not being able to touch the man she loved and lost. There's no relief! And all this time SDR has been trying to maintain a level of intensity that was borderline unbearable and this new extremity just blew my tolerance fuse.

I had also been battling with a lot of the other stuff that had been going on in the books: the using of loose ends as plot devices (Cail and the Merewives), the explaining of mysteries that I enjoyed conjuring with myself (how the Ranyhyn appeared when the Lords and Haruchai whistled) and the resurrection of Foul once again.

I had just about been able to tolerate all of this but when I began to get that feeling from Linden I had to stop. It simply threatened how I felt about Chrons 1 and 2 and I value those books too much to risk damaging them in my imagination. I also had been battling with a feeling that there was no real underlying urgency to the books. The 1st and 2nd Chrons always felt urgent. It always felt as if the end had to be reached and when it was it was deeply satisfying. I never got that feeling from ROTE or FR.

None of the above takes one whit from my appreciation of SRD and his ability or achievements. I am still deeply confused why he and the Chronicles are not more highly rated and more widely appreciated.

Come share your experiences with me similar or different. I am going to have a browse through AATE next time I'm in a bookshop, just to make sure that I'm not missing out on something wonderful.

Yours in doubt and

unfetteredness,

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, you cantelope with AATE without having read FR!

Honey, dew read through to the end of at least the first half of FR before giving up...but you musk not skip ahead. Do. Not. Even. Open. AATE. Without. Having. Read. All. Of. FR!

Enough with the melon puns. Seriously, read the books. If you bailed out of FR where you said you did, there are huge plot developments you are unaware of. Trust SRD. Yes, he puts his characters in impossible situations. That is what he does...and the First and Second Chrons were no different in that respect.

Go back to FR, read until at least the end of Part One. If you are not at least a little bit curious where SRD is going with this story, then let it go. I predict that you will have to know what happens next.

There are more peaks and valleys ahead. Know that SRD is on his way to a destination none of us (well, excepting a certain few who are his pre-publication readers, which I am not) knows yet...but it will be very worthwhile.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usussimiel, have you ever met Fist&Faith? Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi dlbpharmd,

I've been told that Fist and Faith might be the person to meld with. If Fist hears about the thread hopefully I'll have someone to share my liminal status with.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want Fist to know about it, PM him!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam, what can I say,

accepting the gift honours the giver!

Even though I am new to KW I already have heard for your legendary pundistry. I am honoured to have received some. I think there should be some way of registering such recognition. Some icon or token.

I hear you about reading the books in their proper order. What I am hoping by jumping ahead to take a sip of AATE is not to spoil the story but to get a taste for the writing and if it has hints of springwine, aliantha, diamondraught, vitrim and EarthBlood then I shall immediately return to FR and gladly suffer Kevin's Dirt, caesures, Demondim and skurj to continue the quest through the Land and it's world.

Wish me luck,

u.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip, Savor Dam.

I didn't want to be too forward being a newbie, but I'll take up my courage and do just that.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
I hear you about reading the books in their proper order. What I am hoping by jumping ahead to take a sip of AATE is not to spoil the story...

Without being specific enough to spoil the story for you (or anyone else reading the thread), what you propose to do WILL spoil the story. There is knowledge evident in the beginning of AATE that will ruin the effect of what SRD has crafted in FR. Just be patient and [broken record] Trust SRD [/broken record].

It's both appropriate and ironic how SRD stresses the dangers of unearned knowledge, nu?
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Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You make a compelling case and most craftily use the lore of the First and Second Wards (Chrons).

Okay, I give way. I will not attempt the AATE until I have at least read as far as the end of Part 1 of FR.

Now I just have to find the feckin' thing! I don't remember if I bought it or borrowed it or ate it Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a VERY good thing Savor Dam has convinced you, ussusimiel. Don't even go near the inside jacket of AATE until you have read all of FR.

I also agree that if you get to the end of Part One of FR, and still aren't engaged, the LC probably aren't for you. I can't imagine feeling that way myself, Fatal Revenant is one of my favourites of all the Chronicles, and as to the end of Part One: Huh? Shocked Eeek Crazy Faint ......... Reading
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing


Ah, what can I say? I read Runes and FR, and was so disappointed that I decided to stop. I read all the spoilers about AATE, and was shocked that it sounds far worse than the first two books were. Heh. And I donated my copies of Runes and FR to the local used bookstore. Yes, the problem IS that is threatens how I feel about the 1st and 2nd Chrons. That's really a big deal, and not just pouting, or whatever it might be imagined to be. I still consider them to be among the most extraordinary books I've ever read, and they get my highest recommendation when people ask for ideas of what to read. I can't literally erase the memory of the Runes and FR from my mind, much as I wish I could. But I do what I can to pretend they were not written.

All that being said, I'm glad others can find pleasure in them. Why not? Let everyone hear joy where they can, eh?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, another newbie who's going through the same phase, and who yet has at least partially changed their minds about the last chrons.

ROTE: Awful, awful, awful; almost couldn't finish it, due to almost the exact same reasons plus the draaaaggging, repetitive plot. Did I say repetitive? Linden felt like her bland, characterless, irritating twin from a parallel universe. The novel caused me to groan and grit my teeth almost as much as Paolini's Inheritance whatsits (excuses, but it did).

FR: Felt equally uninspired by the first-second-ish chapters, but switched to an audio version to get faster onward and then...it gradually evolved more interesting, and the ending of part one...BLOODY HELL. Crazy Changed my opinion pretty much thereafter. Not my favorite doorstopper of the whole chrons, but certainly hops over TIW.

Reading AATE now, munching it in little bites as there are so many...uh, how to put it sans spoilers...tangled pieces of plot flapping about and the scales of happenings have dipped into a seriously dire direction. Reserving my final judgement till I've waded through the entire thing, yet so far my attention hasn't shattered. Too bad I only managed to spoil myself quite thoroughly while browsing through reviews and alike, but this coming from a person who, while halfway through WGW, had to peek into Wikipedia to see if the First & Pitchwife would actually survive past the end. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found my copy of FR sulking on a bottom shelf behind two stacks of books Rant

I haven't looked at it properly yet. Give me time! I'm filled with a vortex of trepidation Eeek

A special thanks to Fist and Faith for posting. Hail! I know that this topic is an old and painful one for you. 'Joy is in the ears that hear.'


Quote:
Too bad I only managed to spoil myself quite thoroughly while browsing through reviews and alike, but this coming from a person who, while halfway through WGW, had to peek into Wikipedia to see if the First & Pitchwife would actually survive past the end. Big Grin

I had a good chuckle at your post Zorm. Talk about the Bahgoon of All Self-Spoilers LOL

Hail Cambo! Good to see you again!

I'm putting together a post that draws on wayfriend's brilliant post: http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=19530

wayfriend's brilliance illuminated many things about the 1st and 2nd Chrons, but I found it especially helpful in explaining the existence of the Final Chrons which to a poor unfettered fruit like me seemed inexplicable. Check in a couple of days and let me know what you think.

Hail the Watch! Puissant and welcoming!

u.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With all due respect to having different opinions, I disagree absolutely.

There was a thread somewhere on the Watch about which book would you like to read for the first time again, and I have to agree with those who wrote - not a single one. The idea of trying to throw something out of my head seems alien to me, for any knowledge I possess is a part of me - I thought on it, I learned from it.

As well as the idea not to read a book for the reason it may threaten the thoughts I had.

If the new knowledge prevails - I've improved, if it turns out to be a piece of trash - I can easily ignore it or make it subdued, usually still learning something from it.

Also, ussusimiel, thank you for that thread with epic vision.

I have some thoughts on that, though a particularly unusual reason preserves me from writing that down for now Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Epic Vision: Fatal Mistake

This post is inspired by a superb posting by wayfriend called 'Fatal Musings: Epic Vision': http://kevinswatch.ihugny.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=19530

When I first found out that SRD had written RotE I thought that he was attempting something that was doubly impossible. I immediately thought that there was no way that he could write the book in such a manner that it would equal the magnificance of the 1st and 2nd Chrons. My second thought was that there was no possible story that could follow the 2nd Chrons because of the way it ended.

As to the writing, 'Joy is in the ears that hear'.

After reading wayfriend's 'Fatal Musings: Epic Vision' I now realise that conceptually it is possible to write such a story and in a way that doesn't traduce the 1st and 2nd Chrons. This possibility has to do with the different 'modes' in which epic stories like the Chronicles are written:

Quote:
... first came the Mythic Mode, exhibited by classical Greek and Roman literature, where the heroes of the stories are gods or people with god-like abilities.


Quote:

Then came the Romantic Mode, exhibited during medieval times, where the heroes are quasi-divine or otherwise superior to average humans.

Quote:
Then came the High Mimetic Mode, exhibited during the Renaissance, where heroes are people who have a high social position.

Quote:
Then came Low Mimetic, exhibited during the 18th and 19th centuries, where heroes were everyday people.

Quote:
But it doesn't end there. Finally, we have the Ironic Mode, exhibited during the 20th century. In the Ironic Mode, heroes are "inferior to their environment": weak and pitiful, ill equipped to cope with the imperatives of society or nature; helpless, downtrodden, persecuted, exiled. In short: futile.


TC is your classic hero written in Ironic Mode. This is what set SRD's work apart from Tolkien's because LOTR is written in Romantic Mode.

Now I was able to imagine something that I hadn't before. In the world of the Land, TC was transformed into something quasi-divine at the the end of WGW. There are stories that can be told about such beings. In the 1st and 2nd Chrons we get lots of these kinds of stories about the Creator, Foul, the Elohim, Ravers and The Worm of the World's End.

The mistake that I think SRD has made is that he is using the wrong mode. He should have taken his cue from the original master, Tolkien. I always wondered why Tolkien didn't write any of the preceding eras of Middle Earth in the mode of LOTR (Romantic) and the answer, as wayfriend has laid out so well, is that he couldn't because they were in a different mode (Mythic), which is how Tolkien wrote them.

When SRD decided to revisit the Chrons and include TC in the story he was now dealing with a godlike figure and so needed a different mode for the story, Ironic Mode would no longer suffice. And for the new mode he needed a different form of writing.

If he had written it like the Lays of Beleriand or used a form of high poetry akin to Homer or Dante then at least he would have stood a chance because he would have been using the right form. But who would buy a fantasy written in a high poetic form? A few diehards like us.

I am not implying that SRD considered any of this when he sat down to write the Final Chrons but if he had written it as a lay or in high poetry I'm fairly certain that no large publisher would have touched it. Still, 'The Lays of Thomas Covenant and the Land', or 'The Tale of Linden and Thomas' are now starting to seem like lost myths. I almost feel nostalgic for them.

I may have misunderstood or misinterpreted some of wayfriend's scholarly post. I am no scholar, so feel free to point out any inconsistencies or misunderstandings that may be present. I said I'd take a punt on it to test my interpretative skills.

Hail!

u.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mistake is this: don't read it as a descent from the heights as the periods evolve. It's a change in kind through the stages: From when everything was Ideal, and Being pure/inviolate.... on to something much better...anyone can Become.
And there is a fundamental change in kinds: in the Mythic, it is Mythic from beginning to end. In the Ironic, it is only a description of the starting point. [in SRD's hands, and if we stay with these definitions]. The Mythic is stagnant and authoritarian. The Ironic transforms/transcends...exceeds even the mythic.
And let's not forget: there is futility in the Mythic...all us ordinary folk...and in the mythic we will ever remain that way.

As an aside...I don't think he, or anyone needs take anything from Tolkein.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Runes of the Earth, yes, upon first read, it doesn't seem to really "Have it".

Fatal Revenant, definitely does step things up, especially at the point mentioned by Cambo and Savor Dam (And through the end of the book).

I found, however, rereading Runes after the knowledge you gain throughout Fatal Revenant, makes a second reading of Runes much more enjoyable (Similar to Babylon 5, alot of the Pilot and S1 isn't that great on a first watch, but, after completing the series, and viewing the Pilot and S1 with knowledge of the entire series, and seeing all the set up taking place, repeated viewings are much more enjoyable)

So, yea, bear with Fatal Revenant until at elast the point Cambo and Savor Dam alluded to, if you're starting to get into it, finish Fatal Revenant, move on to AATE, and then reread the 3 books prior to the Last Dark's release. If going forth with Fatal Revenant doesn't do it for you, it's likely you jsut won't be able to get into the Final Chronicles
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hail Vraith,

It's good to meet you. I have read many of your posts on the Watch and found them straightforward and enlightening.

Vraith wrote:
Quote:
The mistake is this: don't read it as a descent from the heights as the periods evolve. It's a change in kind through the stages: From when everything was Ideal, and Being pure/inviolate.... on to something much better...anyone can Become.


I think I understand what you are saying. I'll add some more to my previous post by saying that I think there is a flow through the modes in opposite directions in TCTC and LOTR. In LOTR the flow is: Mythic -> Romantic, and threatening to go to Ironic or worse (the Orcs).

The victory over Sauron and the destruction of the Ring halt the downward cycle and even reverse it somewhat as is shown by Aragorn's long life and marriage to Arwen. Ironic mode is averted in LOTR but the Mythic cannot be restored as is indicated by the departure of the Elves.

TCTC goes: Ironic Mode -> Romantic Mode -> Mythic Mode. At the end of WGW he transcends the Romantic mode and embodies the Mythic. He becomes a figure with godlike qualities. In the person of Covenant we see all of the modes embodied, trancended, embodied, transcended and so on. And the direction is reversed not just halted as in LOTR.

Vraith wrote:
Quote:
And there is a fundamental change in kinds: in the Mythic, it is Mythic from beginning to end. In the Ironic, it is only a description of the starting point.


Quote:
And let's not forget: there is futility in the Mythic...all us ordinary folk...and in the mythic we will ever remain that way.


I see what you say about the Ironic mode containing the potential for transformation into all the other modes, but I don't think it works in reverse. I don't want to seem undemocratic but I don't think the futile is present in the Mythic and Romantic modes. Yes, there are minions and peasants but I don't think peasants went home in the evening and wrote angsty sophmoric poetry (like me Embarassed). Sam is an example of this. He becomes a hero through circumstances not despair.

Obviously, the potential for selfhood resides within every human being (on that I am a convinced democrat, with a small d). What I don't think is possible is that such selfhood can arise spontaneously in stories in the Mythic Mode.

And in a brilliant way (a sure sign of SRD's genius) as TC makes his way through the Chronicles his very self is transformed again and again. This is why I find the texts so spiritual, they lay out a path for self-transformation that is completely relevant to our contemporary existence.

Thanks for the interest in the postings of this poor Unfettered fruit.

I hope to meet you again on this and other threads.

Hail!

u.
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Are posted on the door,
There's no one who has told us yet
What Boogie Street is for.


Last edited by ussusimiel on Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dread Poet Jethro
My quill pen is mightier Than the sword you drop


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
...I don't think peasants went home in the evening and wrote angsty sophmoric poetry (like me Embarassed).

Angsty poetry
Whether sophmoric or not
Is your right to write
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ussusimiel
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hail Dread Poet Jethro!

I haven't seen any of your posts. Where do you leave you mark?

Ah, yes! The angsty poems of yesteryear Crying or Very sad I wrote them, oh yes I did, and fortunately I outgrew them and wrote more poems. Poems of love and of death, poems of joy and of grief, poems of terror and of beauty, but thankfully no more poems of angst.
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Tho' all the maps of blood and flesh
Are posted on the door,
There's no one who has told us yet
What Boogie Street is for.
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