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AATE, Part 2, Chapter 2: Trying to start again
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:37 pm    Post subject: AATE, Part 2, Chapter 2: Trying to start again Reply with quote

AATE, Part 2, Chapter 2: Trying to start again

Summary:
This chapter starts with Linden still in the grip of her She Who Must Not Be Named nightmare. Parts of what transpired in the cave encroached on this nightmare, but only so as to enhance it. Elena becomes part of her nightmare in this way and the thought of her feeds Linden's guilt. She also has many insights into the nature of She during the first couple of pages, but we are unsure if this is her projection or objective truth.

Then, she awakens:
Quote:
Then hands lifted her. They were stronger than She Who Must Not Be Named. Strong enough to be the foundation-stones of reality: strong enough to draw her out of despair. Through a fading chorus of screams, they released her from the killing embrace, the smothering clasp.


If the description of these hands is figurative, we do not know. However, as Linden awakens, she finds herself in a river with Pahni, Stave and Covenant nearby. Linden is exhibiting tremendous guilt over her life and the choices she has made. Her self-esteem is even lower than usual.

Covenant is 'out' again. This instinctively hurts Linden on some emotional level as though it were an intended slap to her face. However, in relief for his brining her back, she uncharacteristically embraces his witless form. The white gold touched Covenant during the hug and he awoke:

Quote:
And as she held him, a spark of silver fire gleamed briefly where her breasts met his chest. It seemed to shine through her damaged shirt until it filled his face, and hers, with argent possibilities. Then it vanished.
Wild magic. Only a hint, but—wild magic.


Covenant immediately joins Linden's self-pity party on awakening and, though his method of awakening her was risky, Linden commends it. During this short period of self-blame and third party accusation, a revelation into Linden's ongoing need for some human connection is revealed:

Quote:
Even? Never! Linden wanted to launch herself at him again; to feel him return her embrace of his own volition. A part of her had spent years dying to be held as well as to hold; withering like a plant that could not live much longer without sun and rain. He was not Jeremiah: he could choose—


Linden's emotional high lasted only moments, though, as Covenant immediately starts up his mind games again by pushing her away and hinting that he knows a lot more of what is to come than he will admit to:

Quote:
He raised his hands to ward her away; stumbled backward. “Don’t touch me.” Some private conflict undermined him: she felt its emanations. He was barely able to make himself heard over the fretted susurration of the current. “Linden, please. I’m not ready. I’ve lost too much of myself. I’m afraid of what I’m becoming. Or what I might have to be. I need to find that out before—” His voice faded. Pain blurred his gaze. The muscles of his jaw clenched. Obviously forcing himself, he finished, “Just don’t touch me. There’s too much at stake.”


Linden immediately jumps to the conclusion that the problem is her. Of course, Covenant must have absolutely expected this from her and we are left wondering if he wants her in this state. Their situation is briefly explained to Linden- trapped in the middle of nowhere. No food. Linden's response to it all, and mostly to Covenant's rejection of her, is to get him out of her sight and to take a much needed bath with Pahni as her accompaniment.

During her washing up, we get yet another reminder that the bullet that shot her in 'the real world' had gone straight through leaving us to wonder if the 'dream' she had in Revelstone where she saw herself being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, still alive, had been real. Her bath time allows Linden to enter a sort of angry clinical mode. She decides to address the croyel. Also, this scene once again reminds us of the green stains on her pants, her promise to Caerrol Wildwood and the question he asked her and hints at future significance.

Pahni takes a turn with addressing Linden when they are alone. She talks about her fears regarding the Timewarden's prophetic words about Liand. Pahni belittles herself during the conversation, calling herself 'small' and so on. Linden reflects it back, saying that she herself is the small one. In the end, Linden hopes she has convinced Pahni that she doesn't know the meaning of the Timewarden's words.

Linden also fears that Covenant is not only rejecting her, but rejecting the responsibility she laid on him by bringing him back- that he will save the world, not her. She fears that, if it is the case, she has wakened the worm for no reason.

They rejoin the company and we immediately get another taste of how needy Linden is when Liand hugs her:

Quote:
His hug was brief, a momentary taste of the deeper embraces for which she was starving.


Linden's rejection by Covenant has, by this time, turned to anger. Covenant seems to want to reinforce the distance and hints again that he knows more than he is saying:

Quote:
“Without you?” Covenant snorted; but his scorn was not directed at her. Instead he seemed angry at himself. “You forget who you’re talking to. One way or another, we’re all yours.” Abruptly he grimaced. “Or they are, anyway.”


However desperate the situation, Linden finds that she is the focus still and the group, for the most part, expects her to lead them. The group discusses their situation further, addressing the Ardent's assertion that Linden's actions in the cavern had altered the shape of things to come and that they, the Insequent, could not see the new paths.

The Ardent makes a surprise appearance bearing food and supplies. It is then discussed that Linden was only following what the Ur-viles had suggested in the cavern. This point is dismissed by the Ardent and he asserts that it is her power to attract aid and allies that is the real cause of her ability to defy fate. They say her fate is now writ in water as a sign that she has defied predictions. However, Lord Foul has been telling her that her fate was written in water all along, so we are left questioning the Ardent's conclusion that she has confounded Foul is correct. It is revealed that the Ardent is dying in whatever way that the Insequent die.

During this discourse, Covenant makes an attempt to learn the Ardent's name:

Quote:
“God in Heaven!” Covenant’s eyes glistened as if he were on the verge of tears. “You’re dying, and we don’t even know your name.”


We are left to wonder if this was a moment of compassion or a cunning attempt to catch the Ardent with his defenses down so as to learn his name for some unknown purpose. However, the Ardent refuses the bait. He says his death is needed or his people would face dire consequence.

Further, we establish Linden handing off the care of her son to others, saying she is afraid to get to close to him.

The Ardent departs again. Covenant loudly asserts that they will beat Lord Foul again because "no matter how he plots and manipulates, he's never ready for us."

They all have some food and sleep at this point. When Linden awakens, her immediate attention is given to Covenant and recognises that he is 'out' again. Only after reading Covenant with her senses, does she likewise check on her son.

She decides that they need to awaken Covenant from his elsewhere state. Mahrtiir does so with some of the horsie flowers. The present is again tied into hints of forestalls from old stories.

More emotional desperation is exhibited by Linden in her exchanges with Covenant.

Quote:
She meant, Please love me. In spite of everything.

Quote:
Feeling suddenly estranged, like a ghost at a banquet, full of sorrows and fears that no one else recognized, Linden hesitated. Covenant knew Giants better than she did: he seemed to belong with them. And she was unable to match him. She had never been his equal.


After a bit more food and lounging about, they decide to have a meeting to discuss what they are going to do. All of their enemies are mentioned, even Covenant's family is brought up angrily by Linden. Finally, they discuss the Worm and the little information they have about what they think its future moves might be based on the things Anele has said.

They discuss the earthblood and Stave asserts that they cannot use the Power of Command to make the Worm stop since he feels that earthblood cannot command itself (the Worm also being earth power itself). Liand then ventures some speculation about how to stop the Worm:
Quote:
“Mayhap the insight we require lies elsewhere in Anele’s utterance. Did he not state that the Worm will bring destruction ‘If it is not opposed by the forgotten truth of stone and wood—’? What is this truth?”


Mahrtiir brings up the idea of a Forbidding which was also mentioned by Anele. Once again the Forestals are mentioned in relation to this topic, though the context is their ultimate failure. None of them can think of a reasonable way to expect to create a Forbidding. Also, Longwrath is mentioned again finally and there is speculation that his geas may no longer be functioning since he had failed.

Finally, the topic of the Timewarden's prophecy is brought out. Covenant claims to not know its meaning:
Quote:
Then he raised his head, met the stare of Mahrtiir’s empty eye sockets. Compassion or regret blurred his gaze.
“I’m sorry. I don’t remember. And I’m afraid to try. Sometimes digging into the past makes me slip. When that happens, I don’t know how to bring myself back.”
At once, the Manethrall retorted, “Amanibhavam will restore you.”
“Sure,” Covenant answered like a curse. “And whenever you do something like that, another piece of what I’m trying to remember disappears. Permanently, as far as I can tell. Then there’s less of me, and I can’t recover what I was.”


Covenant then goes into an explanation of how unearned knowledge is dangerous and so on, saying he has not lived events as they have- he only observed. Finally, he becomes very defensive and says:
Quote:
“I need to be a leper. I need my mind the way it is. I don’t have any other defenses.”


The moment of voice is given to Linden in the end and she had already chosen to attempt to do something with Jeremiah. She tells them that this choice is just for herself, that they should make their own choices.

At the end of the chapter, Covenant jumps in to enthusiastically support Linden, but his voice "seemed to express satisfaction and alarm simultaneously." Linden heard the strangeness in his voice and we are left with her speculation:
Quote:
Linden recognized an undercurrent in his voice; a hint of complex intentions or desires. An ulterior motive? A specific hope or need which he kept to himself? She did not know—or other implications had more significance for her.


Points for discussion:

Just a few things that I thought were interesting in this chapter.

1- What a terrible match Covenant is for Linden. They are a nightmare matchup. She is so emotionally needy and he is a huge emotional manipulator. He has a long history of screwing with the head of every woman who shows interest in him. He manipulates them all into feeling insecure around him and, in the end, doing what he wants. He seems to like to keep women vulnerable. I know this is not a popular viewpoint on TC with the menfolks, but I think a lot of the female Watchers have dated this guy and know exactly what I mean here!

2- Is Jeremiah a surrogate for Covenant? She ran around for the first two books saying, "HE HAS MY SON!!!!" but the moment Covenant is back in the picture, her attention shifts to him. This quote really made me question her relation with her son:

Quote:
Even? Never! Linden wanted to launch herself at him again; to feel him return her embrace of his own volition. A part of her had spent years dying to be held as well as to hold; withering like a plant that could not live much longer without sun and rain. He was not Jeremiah: he could choose—


She carried that ring around her neck for ten years after the man had died. It is implied that she never took a new lover. Was Jeremiah like the ring? A tangible keepsake of her time with Covenant? A deaf dumb symbol she could hug and love just as the ghost of Covenant? Jeremiah never returned any affection. I know some people do adopt special needs kids out of a desire to help, but she had a career. Her hired help spent more time with Jeremiah than she did, it felt like. She was running a hospital.

I don't know. I'm not saying that I totally think this, but I had been getting that impression all along and the above quote really pushed me over to thinking it is probably the case. Jeremiah is a surrogate for her neediness and that neediness has not been fulfilled by Jeremiah's presence. She is still 'starving' for affection despite having him for 9 years.

3- Linden's descriptions of She in the beginning of the chapter… There are some of her thoughts there that, if taken as truth and not just her speculation, have to bear on the future.

Quote:
When all of creation had been unmade, She Who Must Not Be Named would remain. Her anguish would remain. She was an eternal being: a concept as essential and illimitable as Creation or Despite. Tortures would expand beyond the swallowed stars, beyond the salvific definitions of Time, beyond comprehension, until they filled the reaches of infinity. They could not die, and so they could not stop. The treachery which had formed the bane could not be healed.


If this is true, then can She not be redeemed? Do they have to either trap Her eternally or end Her?

And, a sort of tangent on this, but whose hands were "stronger than She Who Must not Be Named. Stronger than the foundation-stones of reality"? in this chapter? I assume they were Covenant's. Is this meant to be figurative or is this a nod to this whole experience still being a dream construct of Covenant's mind? Has SRD ever said that the definitely story is not all in TC's mind?

4- Does the mere touch of white gold bring Covenant back from his reverie? The ring reacted to his touch in the river and seemingly brought him back.

5- Fate writ in water… The Ardent and Covenant really are banking on Lord Foul being unable to cope with what will come, not having the facilities to understand the complexity of desperate behavior. But, Lord Foul has been saying Linden's far was written in water since RotE. Are our heroes correct, or does Lord Foul know more than they think this time?

6- What is Covenant becoming? He says, "I'm afraid of what I'm becoming." Is this just more of the crap that Covenant tosses out to confuse and manipulate, or is he really worried about something? If so, what? And, why does he need to be a leper still after being part of the arch of time? Surely he must be beyond that? He's only had an eternity to get over it.

He is also clearly either lying to his companions or just not telling them everything. He seems very manipulative just like with his former 'bargains'.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ananda,

EXCELLENT post, will respond in more detail later. Briefly for the mo, you seem to have had very similar reactions to this chapter as I did, especially w.r.t. Linden's lack of attention to Jeremiah. I remember having a visceral response to this. Unfairly perhaps, I blamed SRD and not Linden for 'forgetting' about Jeremiah. I was having a lot of trouble accepting her entire journey up until that point had been about getting her son back and then it was like, "Who? Oh no, you feed him, carry him, bathe him." (I hadn't thought how this might have mirrored the outsourcing of his care in her RL.) But anyway yes, even allowing for the horror of seeing one's child in the macabre state of croyel-suckage, the dissociation and potential instinct to withdraw this could invoke, and even taking into account Linden did not trust herself not to do something reckless to free him, I still couldn't reconcile the extreme 'forgetting' I perceived here. For me, SRD at least had to show Jeremiah more in her thoughts, show her conflicted and guilty and hurting.

I also agree with you w.r.t. Covenant's behaviour towards Linden. If it's not manipulation, there's certainly a degree of emotional autism here. This feeling was building in me from the moment Linden woke the worm. Find me. Find me. No, no not like that dummy. By the time Covenant's Don't touch me! came out, my cynical side kicked in. I get that Thomas has come back 'unwhole', that he's trapped by the need to obey the necessity of freedom, and that there's much he 'knows' in some part of himself that Linden and Co, and we readers don't, but still, I couldn't help feeling part of this Don't touch me! was a way for the author to keep the two romantic protagonists apart because there's still a book to go! (*ducks)

Anyway, much more in your dissection to be responded to. Just wanted to say, well done, great springboard for discussion!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, Ananda.

A couple of thoughts.

I don't think Linden's feelings for Covenant and Jerry are mutually incompatible or mutually exclusive. Jeremiah gave her someone to whom she could give her love, but he was never able to respond to it in the way she ultimately needs. Covenant is also someone that she wants to give her love to and he is (at least in theory) able to return it. It is only normal that she would ultimately want her love to be returned, but I don't think that would mean that she would be incapable of giving her love to both Jerry and Covenant. I just think the quote is stating the obvious that the human condition needs to both give and receive love. Autistic Jerry wasn't capable of giving her the love she needs.

The "don't touch me" is so obviously inapppropriate, extreme and hurtful that it is hard to explain. And it is extremely shocking. So Covenant isn't the most empathetic of characters, but still, this is extreme. He must know of Linden's encounter with the false TC and Jerry/Croyel in FR and of how they too essentially said the same thing. The fact that his repeating it will be incredibly hurtful to Linden goes without saying. Certainly one explanation is that he believes (has planned?) she needs to be in an extreme emotional state for some reason, but I find that just too manipulative.

Partly I just think he is emotionally broken in his return from being Time Warden - but also, whilst he says the need for space is down to his needs, actually it seems to make more sense to say it is down to Linden's and the Land's needs. It appears that he knows that he is going to have to do his own thing at some stage and the Land can't yet afford for Linden to "let go" and put all the responsibility for what is going to happen onto TC (as she wants to). Remember that part of Linden's thinking is that by resurrecting Covenant she can cede much of the responsibility for the saving of the Land - she is tired of that responsibility - to put it at it's least hurtful, Covenant is just trying to prevent her doing that for the time being. (Though there would be much less hurtfull ways of doing so surely - it certainly doesn't seem proportional!)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post Ananda!

And yes, I am a manfolk, but I like to think that even were I not I'd still believe you're a bit harsh on Covenant. He's a passionate character, not a cold and calculating one. He can be manipulative. He certainly manipulated Elena, and his unspoken bargain was unconscionable. And he hid from Linden the fact that he was dying in the real world for months of Landtime. But I reiterate: he's motivated by passion, not cold calculation of outcomes beneficial to himself. He'd be pretty bad at it if that was the case, since neither of those examples above worked out particularly well for him, remember? Wink

Being motivated by (often consumed by) passion, he spends most his time screwing up. Laughing The bargain that lead to Elena's downfall was driven by fear, rage and Unbelief. He kept his death from Linden because he was caught up in her, first in her own needs and disasters, then in the haze of being loved for the first time in over a decade. But it's those same passions that lead him to each of his victories. It's the best and the worst of him, and he's an incredibly powerful character for his (eventual) ability to accept the consequences of each of those sides.

On a completely different note, I was struck when reading by the line "like a ghost at a banquet." Is it an accident, or a quirk of an ex English student, that this is so evocative of Banquo's Ghost at the banquet in Macbeth? It's easy for me to put Linden in the role of the Ghost: feeling betrayed by her once closest ally, her emotions hidden like a wraith, etc etc. But what of Covenant in the role of Macbeth? An imposter King, not the answer to the Land's need this time around (as he keeps claiming)? A murderer? Spoiler:
Who goes on to stab Joan to death with, what else, a dagger?
A madman, his mind broken by "the burden of too much time?" A man with a fatally incomplete knowledge of the future? Covenant is perhaps all of these things. One more thing: "Don't touch me!" = "Avaunt, shade!" Question
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well thought and well said, Cambo!
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cambo wrote:
A madman, his mind broken by "the burden of too much time?" A man with a fatally incomplete knowledge of the future? Covenant is perhaps all of these things. One more thing: "Don't touch me!" = "Avaunt, shade!" Question


One thing I have wondered about is his warning to Linden in Runes. He says, and I am paraphrasing, 'Don't trust me- remember I'm dead.' I had naturally assumed this warning was for Roger in Covenant form, but I'm not so sure now.

Also, do you think TC was trying to get the Ardent's name for some ulterior motive? I really got that feeling when I read the chapter the first time. It could be that I just don't trust Covenant (and I think we're not supposed to) and read motives into all that he does.

Regarding Linden and Jeremiah. The way she hands off his care immediately, the way she first thinks of Covenant, the way she plans to help J after TC rejects her, and some of her future actions that we don't discuss here yet, make me think that he is a surrogate. Yes, a person is capable of having many relationships, but I am not so sure about Linden's motives in her relationship with J. He may become more to her, but I think he was her emotional crutch and not a lot more. She must be a lot of fun at parties. I can see her now- standing over by the crisps, a dark aura of psychic vampirism surrounding her. The crisps wilt.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ananda wrote:
She must be a lot of fun at parties. I can see her now- standing over by the crisps, a dark aura of psychic vampirism surrounding her. The crisps wilt.

For someone sporting the Linden's Army item in her profile, you don't exhibit a lot of faith in her. Still, I have to compliment you on the mental imagery you evoke in the passage quoted. The poor crisps...

Maybe I am crackers, but I believe that when the chips are down, Linden will pull out of her dip and surprise us all in the crunch. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam wrote:
Ananda wrote:
She must be a lot of fun at parties. I can see her now- standing over by the crisps, a dark aura of psychic vampirism surrounding her. The crisps wilt.

For someone sporting the Linden's Army item in her profile, you don't exhibit a lot of faith in her. Still, I have to compliment you on the mental imagery you evoke in the passage quoted. The poor crisps...

Maybe I am crackers, but I believe that when the chips are down, Linden will pull out of her dip and surprise us all in the crunch. Big Grin


Oh, don't get me wrong- I love Linden! She's awesome. I embrace her flaws! I wonder what her life was like in the intervening ten years? Seems like she took no lovers, had no real social life. She seems to have become a workaholic and sort of shut-in based on the little information we have. I wonder if the experience she had in the land didn't mess her up inside against having a real life in some way in addition to helping her confront some of her childhood issues? She was pretty shut off when we first met her in the second series, but she doesn't seem to have grown any in that respect.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ananda wrote:
One thing I have wondered about is his warning to Linden in Runes. He says, and I am paraphrasing, 'Don't trust me- remember I'm dead.' I had naturally assumed this warning was for Roger in Covenant form, but I'm not so sure now.


That's what I assumed the warning referred to as well. And I still think it did. After all, he's not dead anymore, is he?

Ananda wrote:
Also, do you think TC was trying to get the Ardent's name for some ulterior motive? I really got that feeling when I read the chapter the first time. It could be that I just don't trust Covenant (and I think we're not supposed to) and read motives into all that he does.


I suppose it's possible, but I never got that feeling. I read into that line only TC's capacity for a deep empathy which can at times break his heart. Isn't there some other line in AATE which makes mention of how he expresses empathy as rage?

As for me, I do trust Covenant. Maybe not to do the best thing in any particular event, but I trust him to "be true," as the ochre clad man charged him.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent dissection, Ananda.

Is Covenant being manipulative? Damned straight, in my opinion. I think he's been pushing forward a plan since he was resurrected, a plan which I think he may only partly understand in his mortal frame. You can tell, though, by the way he immediately responds to Linden's plan to cure Jeremiah. "There! First things first. That makes sense to me." His argument in Linden's favor isn't very solid, but he uses his stature to make it happen anyway. That's the way he wants things to go.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Linden recognized an undercurrent in his voice; a hint of complex intentions or desires. An ulterior motive? A specific hope or need which he kept to himself? She did not know -

He's trying to save the Earth. He can't explain because of the Necessity of Freedom. But he's earned my trust. This doesn't make me worry.

But "Don't touch me"? Again? This only breaks my heart.

Because I feel like I understand why Covenant is being this way. It's because of the Isle of the One Tree. It's because he knows what will happen to him, and he knows that letting someone love him under these circumstances is tantamount to betrayal. (Sorry, Barnetto, but I find it utterly explicable and infintely compassionate.)

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"I’ve lost too much of myself. I’m afraid of what I’m becoming. Or what I might have to be. [...] Just don’t touch me. There’s too much at stake."

Harken back, if you will, to Covenant's thinking after the Isle.

In White Gold Wielder was wrote:
At one time, he had believed that he was sparing her by not speaking, that he was withholding information so that she would not be overwhelmed. Now he knew better. He bad kept the truth to himself for the simple reason that be did not want it to be true. And by so doing be had falsified their relationship profoundly.

I can't credit Thomas being as mean to Linden as Ananda seems to think. It's just he can't tell anyone what is coming. So he can't say, before you love me, you have to know what's going to happen. And if she doesn't know, and they love ... either she'll feel betrayed for not knowing ... or she won't be able to do what he has seen she needs to do ... or something. He can't tell her ... and by not telling her, he will falsify his relationship, so he just can't have a relationship at all, not if he cares for her.

In one sense, yes, he is being manipulative. But he's not doing it in a mean-spirited way. He's striving for a cause that won't be served by anything less than big sacrifices. And I have no doubt he will make the biggest sacrifice himself. He knows, and has admitted, that it's going to be hard on the others. But he also says that he would spare them if he could. It needs to be done ... and he can't tell anyone why.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
And as she held him, a spark of silver fire gleamed briefly where her breasts met his chest. It seemed to shine through her damaged shirt until it filled his face, and hers, with argent possibilities. Then it vanished.

Wild magic. Only a hint, but—wild magic.

THAT is a promise that, despite how it may seem ... there is also love in this world.

Still, I am saddened that Covanant and Linden must yet remain apart.

Ananda wrote:
1- What a terrible match Covenant is for Linden.

Their love has succombed to tragedy after tragedy. And yet ... that spark of silver fire. I ... have hope.

Ananda wrote:
2- Is Jeremiah a surrogate for Covenant?

I think that the circumstances have been too unusual for anyone to draw the conclusions you draw. Linden only has the same dilemma as any mother ... loving a man as well as a child.

Ananda wrote:
3- Linden's descriptions of She in the beginning of the chapter…

I think that this describes the outcome if things aren't changed.

Ananda wrote:
4- Does the mere touch of white gold bring Covenant back from his reverie?

We already know what brings Covenant out of his reverie. Pain. And his concern for Linden is one form this can take, as we learned in the previous chapter.

So ... the author has left it to us to remember that it is his concern for Linden that can bring him back. A concern which must have been exacerbated by that touch.

Ananda wrote:
5- Fate writ in water

I think there is more to learn on this. Donaldson always has these things have multiple meanings. There are more meanings to be discovered, I feel.

Ananda wrote:
6- What is Covenant becoming?

That is the thousand dollar question. He's already been a god. What's left?

Exclamation I want to point this out:

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
“Lady, I have observed that your true strength lies in neither the Staff of Law nor in white gold. Rather it lies in the force of self which attracts aid and allies wherever you are, even from among a-Jeroth’s former servants. You inspired the Mahdoubt’s devoir as you did mine, and that of the Demondim-spawn as well. You do not have such friends”—he gestured around him—“because you wield magicks, but rather because you are Linden Avery the Chosen.

“This power defies both augury and foresight. Assuredly it surpasses the cunning of a-Jeroth, who knows no fealty which is not derived from possession or other mastery.”

So there's some evidence to the point that, yes, Lord Foul won't see Linden coming. And an explanation as to why.

The Ardent might have been saying, "Linden's Army will defeat Foul."
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post, Wayfriend. Very Happy

On Covenant being mean... I know I say he's up to something and is being very manipulative and part of that has cruel results, but I don't think he is being mean for the sake of being mean. I do think it is as you say, he has a plan and is manipulating people, as he's always done. He may have good intentions (and, at this point, I assume he does), but he has been wrong before and has used people before, making it a pattern of manipulation. His track record with women is not good to say the least!!

If I give the impression that I think Covenant is actively trying to do harm, then it is not the one I mean to give. Sometimes I over explain things in a way that goes to be not what I mean since I'm not sure I've written things out correctly (keep this in mind for the rest of my post). Sometime, I am just lazy, too. Razz

But, I *do' think Covenant is very purposely manipulating all of these persons. Foul says he whispered in some ears. Has Covenant not done the same? Have they not both set a manipulation in a path? They are where they are in the story with the worm loose, etc. because Covenant whispered in a few ears.

In the end, do I think he wants well for Linden? Yes, but he wanted well for Elena, too and see how that turned out. Given that he now seems to believe in the land, I can see there is a lot at stake and he is willing to take big risks. I also see he is not the same man who singlehandedly destroyed all of the house of Trell. But, he is still essentially the same in many respects and still manipulative. I still think he's also a terrible match for Linden. Razz

Also, on the risk point, Foul's plan endangers the land, but not the rest of the world so much at this point in time. There could be others to stop the spread of the problems in other lands in the future, couldn't there? With the ploy of manipulating Linden to wake the worm, he took the world to the edge of immediate extinction, not just the land being in ruin. Maybe TC saw the result would be the same by the end. who knows. But, it went from one area of one continent being in serious troubles to the whole world being about to be eaten. What kind of 3D kung fu chess is TC playing to do this, I wonder?

Oh, and maybe it has been talked over before, but why specifically time it so you wake the worm and only have a few days to save the world? Why did TC's plan not take a longer approach with less danger attached? Is something imminent and this ploy forces all hands?

- on the white gold sparking TC
I hadn't considered that meaning you gave. Interesting way to see it. I thought it awakened him because he is the white gold.

- on the jeremiah thingie
I know that people have good and healthy relations, but I am not so sure for Linden. As I said, I am not sure of this idea of him being a surrogate either. Maybe it is as SdS said and the author just forgot J, but as a mom type, I felt a lack of concern for her son from her in the pages and a cleaving to TC that made me feel something was not right. Maybe it's nothing and just what SdS says. That same thought occurred to me, too- SRD just forgot to talk about him so much. I am perfectly happy to be wrong about it, though. Very Happy
Spoiler:
but more future chapter stuff took my initial doubt here in this chapter and made it more concrete into a skepticism


- fate writ in water and Foul
I read that bit and pointed it out about the Ardent saying what her real power is, and you may be right that this is what will defeat Foul in the end, but I'm still skeptical against Foul being totally caught out again. He has told her the fate in water thing long before her fate became written in water according to others. He's seen her army before in giant form. Maybe you're right that Foul still won't see her coming, though. But, I think TC is going to have to face up to some things about his plans and manipulations- that it won't go so as he wanted it.

Linden, though, I still totally believe in for having the capacity to save things. I do think Foul will see her coming, though. Then, she will have to 'do something they don't expect' after TC's plans all fall to a mess. Razz total speculations, though! It's fun to think what could come, but then I don't like to dwell on it too much since I do want to be excited and surprised when it all happens. Really looking forward to the next book.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

But "Don't touch me"? Again? This only breaks my heart.

Because I feel like I understand why Covenant is being this way. It's because of the Isle of the One Tree. It's because he knows what will happen to him, and he knows that letting someone love him under these circumstances is tantamount to betrayal. (Sorry, Barnetto, but I find it utterly explicable and infintely compassionate.)


It's the use of these particular words that I find inexplicable - he must know the effect they will have on Linden - are there any words that he could say that could possibly be more hurtful?

I don't deny that you are right and that it is something of a replay of the 2nd Chronicles where TC, knowing he was dead in the real world tried to protect Linden from that information. But did he not learn that wasn't the best approach. And yes, surely there is something he honestly feels that he can't reveal.

I'm just suggesting that there must have been many more compassionate ways of dealing with the situation. "Don't touch me", is just the most obviously hurtful way he could have expressed himself. It is almost as if the words were designed to hurt for a reason.

The larger goal or reason may well be compassionate, the means of achieving it leave something to be desired (at least on the face of it).
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
But "Don't touch me"? Again? This only breaks my heart. Because I feel like I understand why Covenant is being this way. It's because of the Isle of the One Tree. It's because he knows what will happen to him, and he knows that letting someone love him under these circumstances is tantamount to betrayal. (Sorry, Barnetto, but I find it utterly explicable and infintely compassionate.)

I can't credit Thomas being as mean to Linden as Ananda seems to think. It's just he can't tell anyone what is coming. So he can't say, before you love me, you have to know what's going to happen. And if she doesn't know, and they love ... either she'll feel betrayed for not knowing ... or she won't be able to do what he has seen she needs to do ... or something. He can't tell her ... and by not telling her, he will falsify his relationship, so he just can't have a relationship at all, not if he cares for her.

Hi wayfriend, excuse me for quoting what Barnetto just quoted, but this happens to be the portion of your post I wanted to respond to as well.

My problem isn't so much the choice of words, although I agree with Barnetto, "Don't Touch Me!" would be extra painful given it mirrors fake-Covenant and fake-J's command. My problem is that the decisions we make about what risks we take with our hearts and our emotions should not, in my opinion, be made for us. How can Thomas know for sure what Linden would consider a betrayal? If the world is about to end, how can he know Linden wouldn't choose to take what love and comfort there is, even if they come wrapped in terrible pain? If this is one of his reasons for rejecting her (I agree, there are most likely others), then it feels to me as though he is infantilizing her.

Also, "Before you love me you have to know what's going on"...

Though certainly not to the same degree, none of us go into love relationships knowing what awaits us. We don't have guarantees of secure attachment or outcome. But most of us choose to jump into the love pool anyway.

At this point, I have to admit two things:

1/. I am nowhere near as well-read in the Chronicles as you are wayfriend.

2/. I think this may be an area of bias for me, because as much as I enjoy SRD's works, I am often conflicted reading him and it's mostly about how he writes his women characters; not necessarily what experiences he puts them through (although these are sometimes problematic for me), but how he has them respond to their experiences.

Anyway point #2 is off-topic and a can of worms I may, if I'm feeling brave, open in the 'Elena coming on to Thomas' thread.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaun, that is just what I was alluding to when suggesting that TC should have realised by now that it isn't the best approach - "infantalising" is a strong way of expressing it but not inappropriate - he appears to be denying her a choice.. (IF he is doing what he is doing out of a desire to protect her from the consequences of a painful attachment). As you say, there are indeed other possibilities, some of which requre going down the manipulation route...
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see that people took "Don't touch me" as a clue that TC intends to be hurtful. I never took it that way, and I still don't, but I can see your point of view. However, I guess I looked at it as, that's Covenant speaking instinctively. He uttered that phrase repeatedly in the first Chrons, because, when he blurts out his feelings, that's how he says it. He uttered it in the Second, when bespelled, because it's what's at the core of his being. It's just TC being TC. And don't forget, it was Roger, not Thomas, who used that phrase in Fatal to push Linden away in a hurtful way.

If Thomas was sending any signal to Linden by saying "Don't touch me", he was probably saying, "This is a leper thing." Meaning, I gotta have it this way because it's how I am.

Is Covenant making Linden's choice for her when he decides that she should stay at arms length? I don't think we can answer that until we see what it is that he is worried about "becoming". As the Land's foremost proponant of the Necessity of Freedom, I don't think he's just blatantly making Linden's choice for her.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaun das Schaf wrote:
My problem is that the decisions we make about what risks we take with our hearts and our emotions should not, in my opinion, be made for us.


Interesting way to say it, Shaun. Isn't this the main theme Linden struggles with since she is told to not make decisions for other people to preserve them from possible harm? Is it then a further sign that TC is a bit too much in his own ego with his plans?
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I don't see TC is some puppeteer here pulling everyone's strings (whilst maintaining a facade of freewill). I just don't think the necessity of freedom principle in these books would stand up to so much manipulation (by someone with foreknowledge of what needs to be done).

If he is seeking to make Linden's choices for her (at least re her relationship with him), I think it is largely down to his desire to protect her from future emotional trauma out of misguided sense of duty or doing the right thing. It's just unfortunate (to put it mildly) that it comes out the way it does!

Anyway, all he is doing is denying her the possibility of relationship with him (which he is very much entitled to do) - he is not actively deciding on what course of action she will take in any event.

He may well have a plan, he certainly has views on what he needs to do, he may be guided by echoes of his time as Timewarden and he may sense that people need to be in a certain frame of mind to achieve what he perceives that they need to perceive. But he isn't going to risk the necessity of freedom. And surely heavy manipulation (based on prior knowledge) would do that just as surely as telling people things they shouldn't know.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barnetto wrote:
Personally I don't see TC is some puppeteer here pulling everyone's strings (whilst maintaining a facade of freewill). I just don't think the necessity of freedom principle in these books would stand up to so much manipulation (by someone with foreknowledge of what needs to be done).

I'm not so sure he hasn't already done exactly the puppeteer thing. He prodded Linden to bring him back and wake the worm. She would not have done this on her own, I don't think. He pushed Liand to go get that sunstone. He also would not have done that on his own. He's been whispering in ears for a bit now. We'll see what comes of it.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:18 am    Post subject: Trying to start again Reply with quote

Cambo wrote:
Excellent post Ananda!

And yes, I am a manfolk, but I like to think that even were I not I'd still believe you're a bit harsh on Covenant. He's a passionate character, not a cold and calculating one. He can be manipulative. He certainly manipulated Elena, and his unspoken bargain was unconscionable. And he hid from Linden the fact that he was dying in the real world for months of Landtime. But I reiterate: he's motivated by passion, not cold calculation of outcomes beneficial to himself. He'd be pretty bad at it if that was the case, since neither of those examples above worked out particularly well for him, remember? Wink

Being motivated by (often consumed by) passion, he spends most his time screwing up. Laughing The bargain that lead to Elena's downfall was driven by fear, rage and Unbelief. He kept his death from Linden because he was caught up in her, first in her own needs and disasters, then in the haze of being loved for the first time in over a decade. But it's those same passions that lead him to each of his victories. It's the best and the worst of him, and he's an incredibly powerful character for his (eventual) ability to accept the consequences of each of those sides.

On a completely different note, I was struck when reading by the line "like a ghost at a banquet." Is it an accident, or a quirk of an ex English student, that this is so evocative of Banquo's Ghost at the banquet in Macbeth? It's easy for me to put Linden in the role of the Ghost: feeling betrayed by her once closest ally, her emotions hidden like a wraith, etc etc. But what of Covenant in the role of Macbeth? An imposter King, not the answer to the Land's need this time around (as he keeps claiming)? A murderer? Spoiler:
Who goes on to stab Joan to death with, what else, a dagger?
A madman, his mind broken by "the burden of too much time?" A man with a fatally incomplete knowledge of the future? Covenant is perhaps all of these things. One more thing: "Don't touch me!" = "Avaunt, shade!" Question


according to the ancient song pertaining to the White Gold Wielder, he is both Cold and Passionate.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaun das Schaf wrote:
2/. I think this may be an area of bias for me, because as much as I enjoy SRD's works, I am often conflicted reading him and it's mostly about how he writes his women characters; not necessarily what experiences he puts them through (although these are sometimes problematic for me), but how he has them respond to their experiences.

Anyway point #2 is off-topic and a can of worms I may, if I'm feeling brave, open in the 'Elena coming on to Thomas' thread.

I'd like to read your ideas about that. You should start a thread!
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