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AATE, part 1, Chapter 3: Bargaining With Fate
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:47 pm    Post subject: AATE, part 1, Chapter 3: Bargaining With Fate Reply with quote

Chapter 3: Bargaining with Fate
In which Linden bargains with fate after a brief interesting discourse by Covenant, the value of which remains to be seen.
Upon seeing the healing done by the Wraiths on Covenant, Linden continues to feel guilt regarding her action of bringing Covenant back to life. To her, he is not the man she once knew, and is certainly incapable of saving the world or Jeremiah. His mind is broken, thoughts continually percolating, he is unable to hold on to one idea long enough. This failure to bring back Covenant as she perceives him is what lays at the foundation of her present guilt.

Quote:
Perhaps she could have suffered the awakening of the Worm if she had succeeded at reincarnating him as she remembered him. But her flagrant display of power had achieved something worse than failure.


An interesting perspective, one which the reader may disagree with. Covenant, to the reader, is about the same as he always was. He has his doubts, his passions, trust in his friends, and even his leprosy. The only thing problematic with him that may not have existed before is his shifting mind (though it could be argued that even this existed before, it just didnít happen so quickly). Here, either the reader or Linden is wrong in her perception of what Covenant should be. Could be that both are incorrect and that Covenant should merely be Covenant, to himself be true.
Her companions notice her distress, and Liand attempts to both console and absolve her of her guilt. Liand may not know the source of Lindenís guilt, but his argument against it applies just the same. Essentially, Liand argues that Linden did not know that resurrecting Covenant would lead to the awakening of the Worm and as a result is innocent of that awakening. He then goes on to relate what has transpired with the skirmish with the skurj in Salva Gildebourne. In that fight, Liand explains that he attempted to summon rain with the orcrest and the Staff out of desperation. That there was success in this had little to do with Liandís skill but rather through the support of outside aid (which included Linden). Recounting this, Liand proposes that the results of Lindenís recent actions may not lead to utter ruin, but that some other agent may be able to take the circumstances and derive hope and benefit from otherwise disastrous consequences.

Linden rejects this, saying that she ďcould have known. [She] just couldnít let anything stop [her].Ē Linden was driven, above all else, to save Jeremiah. To that end, she had resurrected Covenant, ignoring the warnings of the Ranyhyn and the visions of the Landís end she experienced when she was translated to the Land in The Runes of the Earth. As a result of acting passionately and without enough thought, she damaged the man she loved, doomed the Land, and was further from rescuing Jeremiah.

Quote:
And she did not forgive.


Not herself, not ever herself for all her failures in the Last Chronicles, and, it can be assumed, the failure to prevent Roger from kidnapping Joan and Jeremiah, from curing Joan of her madness, and from being able to reach Jeremiah. Indeed, to Linden, she has a lot to be guilty of.

At this point, Covenant gets up and begins to expound on the mythology of the land. Thereís a lot he says, and the reader is not certain how much of it pertains to the actual narrative. Iím of the opinion that it is all meaningful in some way, due to the following quote from Covenant during this exposition:

Quote:
You could say Creation and Despite are the same thing, but they take such radically different forms they might as well be mysteries to each other. Itís all a paradox. It has to be.


Here, we have Covenant equating two opposites in the Chronicles mythos while at the same time contrasting them. This is a profound statement; made more so if it is applied to the Chronicles entire and not just the concepts of Creation and Despite. Everyone is the same, and everyone is different. To me, this means that Loric could have made the same mistake as Kevin, the same mistake as Elena. At the same moment, Trell could have been another Mhoram; Atairan a great High Lord. But they are not, though they all have the capacity to be the same and do the same terrible or wonderful things, they are different. Why is that? Later, Covenant says that:

Quote:
There are things the Despiser doesnít understand. He canít. No matter how clever he is. Like the Creator- like all of us Ė he has his blind side. Some things he just doesnít see.


All differences seem to be a difference of perception. Covenant, from his perception, views Linden as a powerful person who could do anything. From the Masterís perception, all Linden can achieve is Desecration. It is from these perceptions that people in the Chronicles act, and it is from these perceptions that their rise or fall come from.

Despite all this, they are all the same... or rather, one could have just as easily failed where they succeeded or succeed where they fail. This is shone particularly, I believe, in the portrayal of Linden and Covenant in these first few chapters. They both have differences, and I donít need to expound on them here. But look at what they have that is similar/the same:

ē They both underestimate their abilities, even when everyone else around stands in awe of them.
ē They both are ultimately more concerned with those closest to them than the fate of the ďbigger worldĒ.
ē At the moment, both of their minds wander. In Covenant, we see it with how his memories travel back and forth through time, and how it is hard for him to focus on the present. This happens with Linden as well. Throughout her point of view, her narrative is interrupted by phrases in italics that belong to past conversations, past events.

Thus, though they are different, they are the same... and even though Linden has been a main character throughout this series, it can still be said to be The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
Covenant also began speaking of Diassomer Mininderain. The reader will recall that Diassomer Mininderain is the name of the Creatorís Ďbelovedí in Clave mythology. She was imprisoned in the cursed Land due to her unfaithfulness to the Creator and affair with a-Jeroth of the Seven Hells (Lord Foul). Covenant claims these stories are true. That they refer to another eternal abstraction known as Love. That Love, like Despite, was trapped within the Arch of Time, but the consequences were different:

Quote:
Being trapped in Time is different for Love than it is for Despite... it outraged the Despiser, but it made Diassomer Mininderain insane.


And, in an unsettling statement:

Quote:
None of this is her [Diassomerís] fault. She just canít forgive it.


Sound familiar? Thatís because Linden almost uses those exact words to describe herself. Covenant is trying to warn Linden somehow, is trying to make her understand something... but he is limited by his own understanding, unstable mind, and Lindenís perception. Linden is the same as Diassomer though a different person. She can be a being of Love, or she can be a being of hate.

Quote:
Diassomer Mininderain feeds off anything thatís still capable of love...But thatís not all she does. She still hates.
And sheís involved in Kevinís Dirt somehow.


This last part seems to imply that Diassomer is something more than a mythological symbol... that she may be a real entity. But Covenant is unable to clarify further, and this statement is set aside by Linden and company as devoid of meaning or context.
Finally, Covenant responds to Lindenís inquiries about Jeremiah and whether his soul is owned by Lord Foul. Covenant response is touching and hopeful:

Quote:
I did what I could without risking the Arch. Maybe it was enough. If it wasnít, weíll make it enough. That boy doesnít deserve whatís happened to him. Hellfire, Linden, He was practically a toddler. I refuse to believe he made choices then that canít be undone.
Listen to me, Linden. None of the love you lavished on your son was wasted. That isnít even possible. Until we know more about whatís happened to him, just trust yourself.


Perhaps heartened by these words, Linden tells Covenant:
Quote:
In that case, I should go finish talking to the Harrow.


The Harrow had previously told Linden that only he could give her what she wanted. Now, her other options exhausted, Linden turned around to bargain with fate.

Part 2 of this dissection to follow shortly.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, if this is just part 1 of your dissection (which itself is a beast), then I can't wait to see what you have for us in part 2. Very Happy

You produce a fine summary of the events, peppered with relevant references for clarification when appropriate. Nicely done, Orlion.

Quote:

Everyone is the same, and everyone is different. To me, this means that Loric could have made the same mistake as Kevin, the same mistake as Elena. At the same moment, Trell could have been another Mhoram; Atairan a great High Lord. But they are not, though they all have the capacity to be the same and do the same terrible or wonderful things, they are different. Why is that?


I feel that this issue is a crucial point to the Chronicles as a whole. It reminds me of the whole "save or damn" issue that was projected onto Covenant as Berek reincarnate from the first Chronicles. The line between the two seems very thin; the right or wrong external stressor or motivator may tip the scale for the individual one way or another. Or could that same stressor/motivator come from within as well?

Quote:

Liand proposes that the results of Lindenís recent actions may not lead to utter ruin, but that some other agent may be able to take the circumstances and derive hope and benefit from otherwise disastrous consequences.


No doubt in the chapter, the Harrow is inferrable as this "other agent." But whether or not that is the case, the very idea of an other agent is interesting. The line between saving and damning is blurred pretty blurrily in these last Chronicles. Save or damn: a duality; an other agent would add a third force to the mix, which would alter the nature of the original relationship between the duality. What fascinating potential this line of thought produces...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too look forward to Part 2.

The author appears to like to " play" with TC's mental acuteness. Orilion, your observation about TC's comment being put aside by Linden for being devoid of meaning or context...exactly! Again,,what is going on between the characters,,we, the readers, shouldn't be beguiled by. In other words..TC mental stability is variable but the reader's shouldn't be. Just because Linden dismisses TC when he is fog bound , we should not. IMHO there is great import in these moments of " unknown". These instances of " mystery" are the point...

To set up the " play" ,,earth's observation of the " dual state" with the introduction of a 3rd element..is the broad scene setting. Fate suggests predetermined..not a mystery in making, but only a reality to be lived thru..TC says..its ok Linden, cuz your motivations are all based in a Love....The dual state is Lindens conflicted..good means/good ends vs bad means for good ends...TC is saying..don't worry about it Linden,,as long as LOVE is at the foundation of your choices..things will work out.. LOVE is the 3rd element one uses to bargain with Fate with.

The author is leveraging the good vs bad..black vs white.." dual state' conflicted paradigm , to the infinite possibilities 3rd realm..with the crow bar of LOVE. The concept is mysterious to Linden and foggy to TC..and thats okay. Time is required to get solid footing,,solid understanding of it. It can be summed up tho, by 3 easy words that became the mantra of the original surrealist. Those words are,, " everything with Love". The Mystery of Love and Trusting It..yea..can be set aside for being devoid of meaning or context...yet, it is how one " bargains with Fate" and succeeds. Like freshly tilled earth,,the Harrow is the potential, but not the harvest...imho.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

earthbrah wrote:
The line between the two seems very thin; the right or wrong external stressor or motivator may tip the scale for the individual one way or another.
So are you indicating that people of the Land may be a tad too emotionally, er, "balanced" generically? I've always thought so--initially, they seem quite a bit pastoral and immersed in their own endeavors. Almost all of them seem to share TC as their primary "stressor", Kevin and, maybe, Atiaran are exceptions. But then again Kevin was the only one pre-TC to face Foul directly, and maybe Atiaran doesn't count either as all she did at Revelwood was fail. OK, screw it, TC messed with everybody, lol.

Last edited by danlo on Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
TC is saying..don't worry about it Linden,,as long as LOVE is at the foundation of your choices..things will work out.. LOVE is the 3rd element one uses to bargain with Fate with.



IMHO this is consistent with the first Chronicles when Covenant chooses to damn the land to save a child in what he considers the 'real world'. Mhoram was right and the land was not damned by that choice.

Quote:
You turn from us to save life in your own world. We will not be undone by such motives.


But even more is something I got from an old dissection:
Quote:



"No one may be compelled to fight the Despiser. He is resisted willingly, or not at all. Unbeliever, I release you. You turn from us to save life in your own world. We will not be undone by such motives. And if darkness should fall upon us, still the beauty of the Land endures. If we are a dream - and you the dreamer - then the Land is imperishable, for you will not forget.

"Be not afraid, ur-Lord Thomas Covenant. Go in Peace."


Fist and Faith said in the dissection:
Quote:
The rest of Mhoram's words reveal what many consider to be the more important meaning. By undone, he means betray ourselves. He is saying, "Your decision will not make me into what I hate. I will not take your freedom to choose away from you. How then could you tell me from the Despiser? I release you. Even if it means the end of all of us and the Land, we will have died true. But we will not become Despisers, and live at your expense."


Can we say the same with Linden in this instance?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like how Covenant, in the early chapters of this book, comes to embody the "give him back something broken" theme that has come up throughout the three Chrons. He comes back, and breathes life into the Last Chronicles, but he's broken: apt to slip in and out of a febrile state at any moment. I know for Linden that his dire straits are a further torment, but for me, this book came alive for me in a way that ROTE and FR did not. I get Linden's importance as a character, but TC is the heart of the story. I was so glad to have him back, even broken.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come on Orlion! We need part 2 I want to discuss Spoiler:
The Ardent and TC's leprosy


We need Fuzzy_logic's Chapter 4 too...nice way of kicking everyone in the ass, including myself, 3 pages into chapt. 4...
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Can we say the same with Linden in this instance?


Soul Biter..Nice post ! Reflecting on your observations does bring connectivity to the 1st and 2nd chrons. As to your final question..there is a difference tho..the dwellers of The Land of the Last Chrons..are not of the same nature or caliber as the dwellers where in the 1st and 2nd. These characters of the LC..are no Lord Mhorams..their fidelity is wrongly orientated..sooo..alls they Can see in Linden is their end. They have no quality about themselves to see with virtuosity beyond themselves ,,to see beyond Linden. You quote Mhorams words to TC,,yet there has been no such ..tidings..to Linden from Land dwellers with possible exception of Mahdoubt..who sacrificed herself for Linden. Maybe in there is the answer to your question...Instead of TC acting heroically in the real world for the preservation of the Land dwellers..the twist is now..the characters of the Land to act heroically,,sacrificially in the Land, for the preservation of Linden, in the real world...This chapter hints at that difference in fates...?
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, some truly deep thoughts here. I just want to point out that a good portion of Linden's thinking that she has done wrong by bringing Covenant back stems from his initial utterance of "Linden, what have you done?" No matter what backtracking he tries to do to erase that, he simply can't. That outburst permanently etched itself on her consciousness and no matter what anyone says she will think she has screwed up until proven otherwise. Linden is like a tenacious bulldog. She just can't let certain things go.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always good when SRD reminds us of the horrific past Linden is struggling to overcome. It might seem like her parents' depredations are ancient history, but we all know the things that happen to us in childhood tend to stick with us forever. She is very strong, but she is also vulnerable to despair.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenn and Bossk..Yes and in there,,seems the conflict. Yes,,a terrible childhood incrimination by parents ,,yet a strength garnered from the hideous experiences...seems a paradox or at least,,of the qualities that constitute a paradox..but on close examination,,not really.

This author's Linden , in the Last Chrons , appears parametered by this..conflicted state..hideous childhood but made strong by it...Sorry,,that is f#*ked up imho. Being Made Strong by a Hideous Childhood is NOT a Fate I wish on anybody..Creating ones future rather than allowing a " fate" create you..is the small " love" that Mahdoubt saw in Linden. and now the Big Picture " Love" that TC sees at Lindens Foundation.Bargaining With Fate..comes across as an exercise in Re-defining Fate itself. The olde definition,,the olde Linden,,is bargained away by accepting a new definition,,,and yes , a test of strength is sure to come...imho.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With a slightly different spin, Lurch, I agree-ish...
Ya see...I don't think Linden is strong yet, in most ways. She is powerful. Determined. Active. And she has always been in-process of becoming strength. And what happened to her w/the parents will never make her strong [I don't think it makes anybody strong]. Rigid sure, hard, yes, but narrow and brittle. Her strength is there, in potential [real strength], and it will come in spite of things like her parents, because of the opposite kinds of things [TC being one of them, main one, but still only one].
Kinda like concrete...when it's solidifying, its ultimate strength is highly dependent on what it sets around. If it sets around TC and the like, they are rebar, she'll be strong. Despair/her parents? Might as well be empty space...weak and hollow.

But, on SB's excellent question: I think we CAN see that in Linden...the same kind of choice TC made. And Lurch...the people at the beginning this Chrons. were not Mhorams...but there are glimpses that they are becoming so. They have their own evil parents to deal with.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly the point.." what happened to her w/parents will never make her strong.".. Like Kevins Dirt., her hideous childhood has fogged her full potential..blurred and obfuscated any vision of and choices leading to.. being a Whole human being.

How does one truly let that go..reinvent oneself utterly..? The author seems to be defining a " love" and a hope that like a brook or river..leads one to a new destination rather than acquiescing to a " fate"
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My take: Covenant shows her what strength and fight look like, and Jeremiah is her catalyst to do what needs to be done in the end. She feels rejection when TC doesn't give her the love she craves, but with Jeremiah, it's all that pure mother love.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And here's where the male/female take adds a spin. She does love, she's still in love with Covenant. She feels rejected. The only two people she has EVER allowed herself to love past her parents are damaged and reject her on some level. Jeremiah can't return her love in a way that she can gauge. TC loved and left her. She's afraid and clinging to and yet simultaneously rejecting being loved back.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's true, Jenn. She definitely feels herself unworthy of love and shies back from putting her neck out there. I look forward to seeing how SRD resolves all of that angst.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CJ...Yes,,Linden at start of AATE is one comfused wreck..litterally at wits end..which is good. If one is to start over..reinvent..loosing all the baggage is required.

Yes..Linden started the LC as a character in non-reciprocating relationships..She has been made weak as a result. And yes..TC telling her he has trust n her because she does have the basic element of humanity..a knowledge of Love..should buoy her, give her a clue,,but not yet..The cost of carrying on for so long non-reciprocating relationships is being paid...again back to the authors " unearned lmowledge"..to get beyond a restrictive point, or over a hump, or resolve a conflict.., these characters need to understand the cost of what brought them to that point...and pay the debt....but for now,,in this chapter,,bargaining doesn't infer getting something for nothing...no..its negotiating a whole new currency.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cameraman Jenn wrote:
And here's where the male/female take adds a spin. She does love, she's still in love with Covenant. She feels rejected. The only two people she has EVER allowed herself to love past her parents are damaged and reject her on some level. Jeremiah can't return her love in a way that she can gauge. TC loved and left her. She's afraid and clinging to and yet simultaneously rejecting being loved back.

Not male/female, I agree completely. Exactly what I meant when I said she has to choose which things to grow around. BUT...she has to decipher and choose...the TC/Jerry "love center" is in opposition to the parents version...surfaces and her perception make them seem the same, but she has other perceptions where she knows they're not, hence the struggle.
Prime example: she sees TC's "leaving" and his "what have you done" as if they were the same as her fathers leaving and accusation. Superficially they are, emotionally they hurt the same way. Fundamentally, they are exactly, in every way, opposites.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If we step back to the Second Chronicles, there remained an immense difference between Covenant's development and Liinden's. Covenant achieved some kind of apotheosis - he became sure of himself and able to carry the burden of his own choices.

Linden never achieved that - right to the end of thet Second Chronicles she was unsure of herself, on the brink of stepping in and denying Covenant his own choices, distrustful of him, almost possessing him, swayed by dead Kevin. She carries the burden of knowing that she is very much capable of doing the wrong thing and that she has done the wrong thing in the past - and she is still tortured by this fact and, deep down, suspects that she herself is capable of evil.

This is what Covenant has endured and come through in the Chronicles.

Her self-image is very different from the image that the company have of her - she knows her deepest soul and she still fears herself in a way that the company do not. They focus on her acts - her healing, her power, her abilities with the staff of law - in times of stress she often focuses on her inner weaknesses.

And so the "what have you done?", and the accusations of the Elohim etc, undoes her again.

Liand's words of comfort fall on deaf ears - she knows better. She should have seen this coming - Foul had warned her what her actions would result in - and still she had gone ahead. She's good at taking responsibility and wallowing in it!

Her response to this is not the new Covenant's "it's what I have to do" - she lacks the self-confidence. Instead, it is to harden herself - the process started at Gallow's Howe in Runes - turn herself away from others and, to some extent, damn the wider consequences. This, it seems to me, is a very different development to the one achieved by Covenant in the Second Chronicles.

This leads to action, yes. But objectively it is reckless - despite the fact that most of her company are still willing to trust her (in a way she does not trust herself) - it is not evil, her actions are born out of love for Jerry - but love is an immensely powerful emotion and often an irrational one not capable of being controlled - there is danger in acting purely on the basis of love...

But, but, but.... does anyone in the company have any better ideas.....? Who can really blame Linden for her recklessness when the others around her have no better counsel other than "beware"....
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say, as a reader, Linden's actions make sense to me on a very visceral level. There are literally a dozen different threats to the land taking place at one time in the LC. The big picture is too much, too confusing. So she focuses on those nearest to her: her son and Covenant. Then, to a slightly lesser degree, the friends she has acquired during her stay. If she stays true to them - a representative sampling of the people of the Land - I feel she'll end up solving the overwhelming larger puzzle, almost in spite of herself.
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