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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 11:25 am    Post subject: Parents Reply with quote

There is already a thread about TC's parents and I have posted there but so far without reaction from anyone.

I think the issue of TC's parents is far more important than has been realised.

Think how critical Linden's parental relationships were.

At the start of the FC TC is quite young. His parents should still be alive and if they died recently there is no indication of it, so if they are dead they would have died while he was very young- of which there is also no indication.

So maybe they were still alive.

What sort of parents would they have been if they had shunned him for his leprosy, not even writing to him or calling him? Were they the type of religious bigots who would shun their own child?

Did he shun them? If so then for what?

If they were still alive at the time of the SC, might they not have contacted LA after TC died?

I have wondered if maybe TC is a foundling and his parentage is a mystery.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. One question that come sto mind is whether Covenant and Joan would have had the money to build stables for Joan's horse-breaking career and move into Haven Farm prior to Covenant becoming a best selling author. I got the feeling on my most recent reread that this might have been Covenant's family home - at the time, I didn't question the utter lack of a mother or father in the picture (durrr).

One striking aspect of Covenant pre-leprosy is an apparently naive optimism that leper covenant finds sickening to look back on (at least in his novels). I don't necessarily think that other people are the be all or end all to happiness, but Covenant seems to have a need for contact with other people after being isolated due to contracting hansen's disease. It seems a little strange that such a person would have only two significant people in his life prior to the disease (I base this on the fact that it is Joan and Roger seem to be the only two specific people he reacts to being cut off from, as opposed to any problems at being isolated or despised by people he doesn't really have a prior relationship with), and yet be so happy...
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:55 am    Post subject: Parents & wealth Reply with quote

I agree- odd.

SD is not stupid, he must have thought of this too.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:36 am    Post subject: Parents Reply with quote

So, if they moved in before he made all that money writing, what did he do before writing? I mean, he had to do something, right? And they already said Joan's horse breaking didn't make a ton of money. Maybe his parents died before he married Joan, and left him some cash. But it seems like he'd have mentioned this at some point. So the complete lack of parents is amazing. Being a foundling, physiologically speaking, usually causes a child to look for their parents. But he just doesn't think it's important. As evidenced by the no mention thing. So he must know of them, and just not talk to them. Dead would make the most sense. Yet it still seems he would mention that. So, what if he's kinda a foundling, and somebody is actively discouraging him from wondering? A child of someone in power, or rather, with power? I don't think being the Creator's son would make him a tool, do you? Since children can always succeed, or fail, despite their parentage. So, demi-god Covenant? What do you think? Shifty
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Son of... Reply with quote

Didn't want to be the one to say TC was creator's son, but that's what I was thinking.
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: it all started with... Reply with quote

Anyone think there is any significance that Ch1 of LFB is called 'Golden Boy'?

Remember that TC remembered some rather nursery rhyme sounding lyrics about a golden boy. A childhood memory? Note that he didn't remember where he 'd heard itrhyme.
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 3:14 am    Post subject: Re: Parents Reply with quote

I don't really think the theories of Covenant being manipulated by magic or being related to the Creator are likely. For one, the relationship to the Creator (or rather, to the beggar which readers tend to interpret as the Creator) who apparently chose Covenant as a champion seems to be one recently developed, motivated primarily to Covenant's stubborn clinging to life in the face of his leprosy (in the opening chapter, the beggar asks covenant something like "why don't you kill yourself" and covenant responds "it would be too easy" - I believe there's some sort of feeling of predestiny and decision at this moment, within the narrative). It also seems unlikely that Donaldson would construct such a careful conspiracy around Covenant to hide his parents' identity (or lack thereof) but leave it in the dark for the first two chronicles and the first two books of the third, when he didn't originally intend to write that much in the first place.
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:42 am    Post subject: Open ended Reply with quote

SD wouldn't have had to have thought ahead to the LC to have decided to leave something ambiguous and open ended about TC's origins.

It's a very familiar trope that a hero has to lose his personal history before he can start his quest. The absent parents mean TC has nothing tying him to the life of his everyday world.

I do suspect that maybe from the start SD had TC as a quasi-saviour, a quasi-redeemer, and for that reason also as a quasi-son of god.

Last Chronicles spoilers to follow:

Spoiler:
I'm starting to think that The Creator, Foul and SWMNBN are beings that exist(ed) across worlds and that in some way TC is like them. Since SWMNBN joined the story and the vague suggestion of a tragedy involving her, The Creator and Foul has arisen, it has even ocurred to me that TC is the child of Foul (but Foul does not know this somehow).

I wonder if in a way comparable with SWMNBN being forgetful of who she is, TC is blocked from remembering who he really is.

Alternately, The Creator, Foul and SWMNBN are not literally related to TC but symbolically are and his resolution in TLD will involve his resolution of his parental void.

My girlfriend suggested that TC is actually from The Land's past. That's a humdinger!
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's a very familiar trope that a hero has to lose his personal history before he can start his quest. The absent parents mean TC has nothing tying him to the life of his everyday world.

TC doesn't lose his personal history, however. In fact, his relations to the two characters we know of in his life prior to contracting leprosy (Joan and Roger) break off from him, but their memories continue to torment him and Joan contacts him in TIW and reappears in the second chronicles. In addition, his relationships with people like his lawyer and the county sheriff impact him, both resolving and piling up problems for him in his world and, in the sheriff's case, magnifying his sense of isolation. Additionally, TC is tied to his identity as a leper, created by the conditions of the disease itself, his self loathing, and the reaction to the disease of other humans in his world even after being cured of the disease in The Land.

Generally, even when he is in the land in the first chronicles, he is persistently marked by an attachment to the real world:
-In LFB, he has no particularly urgent business to get him back to earth, and early on sees his time in the land as illusory, but possibly healing on an emotional level nonetheless. However, when Lena poses the possibility that his world, which seems so horrible, is just an illusion, Covenant is horrified and even angry and sees Lena as an enemy engaged in a plot against his sanity (this reaction seems to be a prime motivating force behind Covenant's rape of Lena). After this point, he develops a strong dedication of refusing the reality of the land so that he does not become attached to it, and can continue to survive upon his assumed return to his world.
-In TIW, Joan calls Covenant shortly before he is summoned to the Land, and he angrily demands to be sent back by the Lords. However, they cannot do so.
-In TPtP, Covenant asks to be sent back by Mhoram so he can save the life of one girl, evne though the land's survival is presented to him as being at stake. Mhoram does so. After saving her, he returns to the land. Even at the end of the book, when the creator offers TC a life in the land as a hero, TC declines and asks to be sent back to Earth.

In short, characterizing TC as having 'nothing to tie him to the real world' simply because of a lack of parents seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of him as a character.

(BTW, i have no idea about whether the second chronicles were in SRD's mind when he was writing the first, though it seems likely considering that they followed so closely afterwards).
Quote:
I do suspect that maybe from the start SD had TC as a quasi-saviour, a quasi-redeemer, and for that reason also as a quasi-son of god.

In books, there are plenty of characters who are saviors and redeemers who aren't sons of god. Within the chronicles, Mhoram seems to be pretty solidly of human stock, but is probably more frequently a savior than Covenant (if for "smaller" stakes) through the first chronicles and is definitely more redemptive of those besides himself (in that Covenant actually could be said to have a corrupting influence on many characters in the first chronicles).

In a point that I already made that you haven't addressed, I observed that the creator seems to decide on Covenant during the opening of Lord Foul's Bane, as a result of Covenant's leper ideology/philosophy (for lack of a better term), specifically his stubborn refusal to give in to death. It seems highly unlikely that the creator would have a hand in Covenant's creation or birth, give him leprosy to make him an ideal champion, and then pull whatever strings were necessary to get him into the land; and it seems absurd that he would have a hand in his creation, forget about him, then find out decades later that Covenant was a suitable champion due to an unexpected diagnosis of leprosy and mark him to be summoned. If it was Foul, rather than the creator, that had a hand in Covenant's creation or life, it seems somewhat odd that he would have ended up being the perfect champion in the creator's eyes. Moreover, Foul's dialogue in Lord Foul's Bane seems to suggest an awareness that TC is the creator's champion, but other than that a relative unfamiliarity with Covenant.

I'm not going to address the spoilers on the last chrons since I haven't read the third book yet.
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TC doesn't lose his personal history

He does not do so fully, but he's not your typical hero either and he's very relcutant to be on his quest at all. the key thing is that he has no pillar of support in his life. He has no one who can really support him enough to make him not need to have the experiences he has in The Land.

When he actually consents to die in 'our' world and so give up all ties to it, he is ready to be the hero of The Land (ie/ in the SC).

TC is a very weird sort of redeemer/saviour. But ultimately he has saved The Land twice (with help from LA the second time), and here's hoping he will manage it a 3rd time.

As to the point I didn't respond to...If the idea I've had is going anywhere then it would mean The Creator/beggar in the robe must have been somehow involve d in TC's life for much longer than we've realised but without TC knowing it. Presumably TC contracting leprosy is not a coincidence either (it's another unexplained event. People can contract leprosy from apparently nowhere, but what if there is a reson for it?

I am also suggesting that we only assume that TC has an ordinary past, but he never seems to speak about it or remember it. His life seems to begin with him deciding to be writer and meeting Joan. What was he doing before that- and where were his parents (and where are they now)?
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wrote the above reply rather soon after waking up and could have been clearer about what I meant.

I'm proposing that The Creator is not the most supremely rational of beings (I've posted elsewhere that I wonder whether The Creator and Foul were not originally the same entity) and that The Creator could in some way have a child without necessarily being fully aware of this and would influence that chld without being fully aware of it. I think Foul would have some influence too.

The question is in the end whether you think TC just happened to be the person who came along to fulfil a summons from The Land and The Creator (and Foul?) chose him from who was available, or whether there was some sense in which TC was the only possible choice.

Of course others have now been summoned to The Land, but only following in TC's steps. He was the first to go, if he hadn't then no one else would.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concerning Thomas Covenant's relatives, I think I've always assumed that his parents died before he became a writer and married Joan, and that he never had siblings. I can't prove anything from the text, but these are the assumptions I'm most comfortable making.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All we can really do is speculate on the reasons for the lack of information about TC's parents. My two cents' worth is that SRD wrote the First Chronicles when he was a young man in the 1970s and that the development of the TC character in that trilogy probably reflected an unexamined assumption by a young man with a liberal 1970s mindset that the most significant relationships that a 30 year old man like Covenant would have would be with his wife, his professional peers, his literary agents, his editor, his publisher, his lawyer, his doctor, his neighbours, etc., and that the rupturing or straining of these relationships would be the most immediately traumatic consequence of his diagnosis as a leper.

The emphasis in the Second Chronicles on Linden's dysfunctional relationships with her dysfunctional parents arguably reflects the need to provide a back story for her situation as a reclusive depressive at the start of that story.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Broadly speaking, it's amazing how few characters in Donaldson stories--or in fiction generally--seem to have families. Still speaking broadly, families are such messy subjects that when they're introduced they tend to take over stories, regardless of what the original purpose of the story may have been.

But in Thomas Covenant's case, the absence of family (or other past connections) is deliberate. It's part of his profound isolation--an isolation which many people feel even when they're *with* their families and friends, but which always has to be *explained* when it's included in a story. I didn't give Covenant parents or siblings (or aunts and uncles, or etc., not to mention friends or colleagues or even an editor) because I didn't want any of us to be distracted from the central themes and development of his plight.

(08/30/2004)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
All we can really do is speculate on the reasons for the lack of information about TC's parents. My two cents' worth is that SRD wrote the First Chronicles when he was a young man in the 1970s and that the development of the TC character in that trilogy probably reflected an unexamined assumption by a young man with a liberal 1970s mindset that the most significant relationships that a 30 year old man like Covenant would have would be with his wife, his professional peers, his literary agents, his editor, his publisher, his lawyer, his doctor, his neighbours, etc., and that the rupturing or straining of these relationships would be the most immediately traumatic consequence of his diagnosis as a leper.

The emphasis in the Second Chronicles on Linden's dysfunctional relationships with her dysfunctional parents arguably reflects the need to provide a back story for her situation as a reclusive depressive at the start of that story.


wayfriend wrote:
In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Broadly speaking, it's amazing how few characters in Donaldson stories--or in fiction generally--seem to have families. Still speaking broadly, families are such messy subjects that when they're introduced they tend to take over stories, regardless of what the original purpose of the story may have been.

But in Thomas Covenant's case, the absence of family (or other past connections) is deliberate. It's part of his profound isolation--an isolation which many people feel even when they're *with* their families and friends, but which always has to be *explained* when it's included in a story. I didn't give Covenant parents or siblings (or aunts and uncles, or etc., not to mention friends or colleagues or even an editor) because I didn't want any of us to be distracted from the central themes and development of his plight.

(08/30/2004)


Two very good posts!!! Smile I see the reasons why we have no backstory on Thomas Covenant's ancestral family. So again, it's easiest for me to think of his parents as dead and his siblings as never having existed. I may be assuming too much, of course, but my assumptions here don't seem to violate the conditions/intentions of SRD's story in any way.
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