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AATE, Pt II, CH-12, Sold Souls
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: AATE, Pt II, CH-12, Sold Souls Reply with quote

I’ll start off topic just to mention I really enjoyed reading the last few chapter dissections. Really well done…especially the one done twice. Cool
Also, there is much that could be said concerning the language and techniques of this chapter...but I didn't go there...and I've stripped the thing way down a bit like we get a stripped down bio throughout it...I have my reasons, I just hope it works like I want...
The previous chapter ends with TC running into a ceasure, and we and he
Quote:
Without transition
are into:
SOLD SOULS:
[the last of AATE…and right off the top…the echo of TC’s book “Or I will sell my soul for guilt.”]
Much has been done on Time and ceasures other places. One thing this one in particular did for me was open up an extra room of thought where questions and sympathy/empathy on LF and SHE swirl around. If even these few instants of timelessness for mortals does what it does, how do ages of enforced Time binding affect beings born and made for Timelessness, considering
Quote:
Like his body, his mind was not given a chance to shatter.
It would never have that chance. In this place there were no chances.
Imagine just a small part of the inverse, your body/mind continuously in process of shattering.

In the ceasure, one with Paradox, one with Joan, one with the Universe in one sense, we get, TC lives, a concise history of Joan. Her pathway from innocent [naïve?] love and ecstasy as life through disease as betrayal conflated into treachery, becoming madness and an absolute need for retribution…and release. The treachery particularly drives the escalating spiral. Most of all, in her state, she just wants it to stop. Her fall began in herself when disease revealed she lacked all strength and courage.
Quote:
Forsaking him, she had forsaken herself; had turned her back on sunshine and contentment and horses…
…Excruciated and unaware of what she did, she had already begun the process of selling her soul.
She lacks them still, wants it to end. Yet all those who could make it do so refuse and betray…TC refuses to be, and stay, dead. In other ways LF, the Raver, Roger…all could do so. And will not.
Unlike the last three, TC accepts the guilt, the blame, and the responsibility. For BOTH of them here/now as he and Joan are one [yet not]. He accepts it not only for the past, but for now and what is coming…because right now he is using her. Her madness, her power, her needs….
In a form of metaphysical/paradoxical aikido, he uses and turns those against her, to approach, move inside her defenses.
But she is not alone…the Raver is at one, too, the tricky bastard. He trips TC’s mind into its own broken memories.
It should work…it seems to work…TC is lost in remembering. Apparently now doubly disconnected from cause, effect, and agency…
But when one has been Time’s guardian, memory is not simply the re-firing of neurons along previous paths. Especially not when real Powers…Forestals, Raver, krill and wild magic…are joined with and flowing through the points of thought.
Not when needs and warnings are reiterated, true things inserted now that weren’t then…making the memory false.
the Forestals wrote:
Power and peril. Malevolance. Ruin...
“And too little time.”….
“Timewarden, this is false. Your presence is false. Can you not discern this?...
“Your time lies beyond our ken. You are needed then, not here. You are loved then, not here.”…
“The end must be opposed by the truths of stone and wood, of orcrest and refusal.”

Aware of the falseness, the flows of power show a way, and TC follows it…sealing off the broken memories behind him so that he won’t…can’t…fall into them again.
Being back in the now isn’t the same as being ready for what it there, though. There is time for a plea…

Quote:
”Joan!...Don’t do this!”….
“One of us has to die.”…
“Joan, please! Let me live!”…
Leper!” Straining, she lifted her arm, clenched her fist.

And a call for help.
Quote:
And betimes some wonder is wrought to redeem us.
He made a thin whistling sound through his teeth….
Two Ranyhyn trumpeted defiance into the night…
Joan heard them as well. She heard horses.
Tears welled in her eyes….
She opened her arms….
As they ran, the neighed again: a kinder call now fretted with compassion and sorrow. Together they cam near as if they were eager for her embrace…
Rapt in the face of her one remaining love, she waited with arms wide….

TC does not let the Rany take the burden. With the krill, he “accepts her guilt and sets her free.”…and she dies hearing the Ranyhyn lamenting.
[This scene is a “best of…” if one were to make a Chron’s list…there is a thread for pulling on almost every emotion woven into it. The most compelling and glorious for me is that Joan dies immersed in the last shred of untainted love and beauty, joy and sanity, left to her. There is also an obvious parallel with a twist to Esmer’s end…and I predict a foreshadowing parallel with a twist to SHE’s resolution…which may also be obvious.]
In the aftermath, they must flee the Worm-spawned tsunami…
{{but not without an oblique reminder of the dangers and struggles internal to the haruchai and Linden. TC grateful that he is not alone.
Quote:
Without friends and companions and love steadfast beyond his worth, he would have failed long ago
…}}
…a task made more difficult by TC’s refusal to break a promise [is there any other promise he’s made that remains unbroken?] not to ride.
Difficult as it is, this kind of task is a kind the haruchai are made for from the bones out, and they do not fail…
Yet…two Ranyhyn are, almost certainly, lost.
Yet...there has been the reminder of forbidding, refusal, wood, stone.
Yet...orcrest is dust.
Yet…Foul’s Creche is washed away, no trace at all remains. [heh…unwritten in water?]
Yet…we are reminded again that for the haruchai grief is just another name for disrespect.
Yet...All the wild magic in the world is now in possession of those who would save it.
Yet...the aura of the Worm’s power, and/or the dust and ash from its ravaging feasting, or some other dire potency in its nature extinguishes the stars, obfuscates the sun.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nicely done, Vraith. You've captured a very moving chapter in a way that evokes all that emotion very effectively.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good start, Vraith. Definitely my eyes were opened about a few things as I read this chapter again, and you have added more. I don't have time to add all I have to say just now but I did want to make a start to get things moving.

Idea The Demise of Joan

People can argue about how significant Joan is to the story. I think if you consider what she signifies to her husband, and her impact on the Land in the Last Chronicles, I think she is rather significant. Being so, her death and the manner of it is worth discussing.

My original impression on the first reading of this chapter was I was very disappointed that a better outcome could not have been found for her. She gets no redemption, she doesn't turn away from her course, no one aneles her suffering, she finds no peace. (I think that this is a fair guide to what is in store for Roger, or even Foul. Donaldson is not trying to make a happy ending for everyone.)

Upon rereading and further reflection, I got tied up in knots trying to believe Donaldson when he tells me Covenant is responsible for her. Because I don't see his hand in what became of her, not unless you want to travel down a path so indirect that any guilt or blame attenuates to zero by the time you reach the end.

But last night I have seen that I may have misunderstood the author's intent.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
If Joan’s caesures had not damaged the Law of Time, Linden could not have resurrected Covenant. She could not have roused the Worm of the World’s End. She was not a rightful wielder of wild magic. She did not have enough power. No, the original wounds to the structure of Life and Death had been delivered by Elena, Sunder, and Caer-Caveral. But Falls kept those hurts fresh. Without them, Linden would have failed.

By the inexorable logic of guilt, the fault was Covenant’s.

Involuntarily he nodded. He did not have it in him to contradict turiya. Like Joan, he had been shattered. The fact that she had fallen too far to be retrieved altered nothing. Indeed, he had not merely made her what she was. By permitting himself to be withdrawn from the Arch, when he could have refused the summons to Andelain, he had removed a vital barrier against her madness and wild magic. To that extent, he had enabled the barren future within which he was trapped.

Yes, Covenant "made her what she was". But he did that just by being a leper. He didn't do anything. He was just a situation which Joan was unable to confront and survive, because she utterly lacked that kind of courage.

But the guilt and responsibility arise elsewhere. For Joan is a disaster waiting to happen. Mad and armed with magic, she threatens the Earth and the Arch. And Covenant created that situation.

He chose to remove himself from the Arch. When he could have refused. He chose to thereby weaken it. He chose to thereby elevate the Joan issue to the stature of world-threatening. He had enabled the barren future within which he was trapped.

(And if you subscribe to the notion that Covenant maneuvered Linden into resurrecting him - and I do - then he is also responsible for even having the option of the resurrection that he accepted.)

Can you believe that the Timewarden made this choice knowing full well the consequences, the inevitable outcome that Joan would thereby be in a position to destroy Everything? I do. And if you make that kind of decision, you're responsible for that outcome.

It goes without saying that he was responsible for the destruction of the Law of Death, and for the destruction of the Law of Life, which makes Joan's caesures possible. Which made it so that Linden could even attempt to resurrect him. So that's all added responsibility.

So this, then, is what I think: The responsibility Covenant has for Joan is the responsibility for Joan being such a huge threat. Because he, in total awareness, chose to weaken the Arch by being resurrected. The cost of that choice is that Joan is now a priority problem. And Covenant has the responsibility for solving that problem. That is the inexorable logic of guilt that is being discussed.

I actually find myself somewhat relieved as I discover this. The notion that I would have to comprehend and assume that Covanent was responsbile for Joan's victimization by Foul was a little too much for me. (Although there is the possibility that I am so eager to not see it that way that I am finding excuses.)

Now, to bring it home: with this kind of responsibility structure, the way Covenant deals with Joan takes on a more satisfactory aspect. This is not a man who thinks that the best answer to Joan's situation is to put her out of her misery. This is a man who thinks that the best answer to the Earth's situation is to neutralize Joan.

Under those circumstances, I can see how the knife blow was the only way to do that. He barely was able to even reach her. She was so much more powerful than he was. All he had was the krill. She was insane - he couldn't reason with her. He was weak - he couldn't subdue her. He only had a moment to act before she blew him off the map. It looks like that was the only way to save the Earth.

My only question is, is this what Covenant meant, what he had forseen, when he thought: Everything that he required of himself while life remained in his body depended on his ability to grip and hold.

Idea wood and stone, orcrest and refusal

Another thing that intrigued me in this chapter is the fact that the forestals were repeating things that Anele had said.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Together they sang, "Only rock and wood know the truth of the Earth. The truth of life."

"But wood is too brief," Dhorehold of the Dark intoned. "All vastness is forgotten."

"Unsustained," answered Andelain’s Magister, "wood cannot remember the lore of the Colossus, the necessary forbidding of evils - "

"There is too much," the Forestals agreed as one. "Power and peril. Malevolence. Ruin."

"And too little time," added Syr Embattled. "The last days of the Land are counted. Without forbidding, there is too little time."

Like an antiphonal response, the Forestals chanted, "Become as trees, the roots of trees. Seek deep rock."

[...] "There must be forbidding. The end must be opposed by the truths of stone and wood, of orcrest and refusal."

Compare this with what Anele had said earlier, in Andelain.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
Urgently he hissed. "Only rock and wood know the truth of the Earth. The truth of life. But wood is too brief. Morinmoss redeemed the covenant, the white gold wielder. The Forestal sang, and Morinmoss answered. Now those days are lost. All vastness is forgotten. Unsustained, wood cannot remember the lore of the Colossus, the necessary forbidding of evils-"

[...] "There is too much. Power and peril. Malevolence. Ruin. And too little time. The last days of the Land are counted." His voice became a growl of distress. "Without forbidding, there is too little time."

[...] Anele urged Linden. "Seek deep rock. The oldest stone. You must. Only there the memory remains."

Anele gnashed his teeth. "Forget understanding," he snapped. "Forget purpose." His eyes were hints, nacre and frenetic, in his shadowed face. "Forget the Elohim. They, too, are imperiled. Become as trees, the roots of trees. Seek deep rock."

When these words were the ravings of a madman, they were easy to dismiss. But now, the forestals ...

It doesn't end there. Anele continues this line of rhapsodizing when he is in the Lost Deep. Based on the reaction of the Ardent, this is a very significant moment. And Covenant finds it unusually significant as well.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Almost at once, however, Linden breathed, "That’s not possession. It’s Earthpower. He’s on fire with it. His birthright - I’ve never seen it so strong. Or so close to the surface."

With an air of respect, even of reverence, the Ardent backed away from Anele; cleared a space around the old man.

In a voice like stone and apprehension and sorrow crushed together until they were in danger of crumbling, the old man said distinctly, "It is here."

The words themselves, or the tone in which Anele spoke them, ignited memories in Covenant -

Seek deep rock.

- memories so recent and explicit that they should have been impossible to forget.

The Harrow had brought Linden’s company to stone so deep that no human capable of interpreting it had ever touched it before.

In Salva Gildenbourne, Anele had tried to explain something to Linden. Who else had heard him? Who else, apart from Covenant before his reincarnation? Stave? Liand?

"Here, Anele?" Linden asked in steam and cold. "What’s here? What is the stone telling you?"

What had awakened the old man’s inherited strength?

"The wood of the world has forgotten." Anele sounded as harsh as the rock beneath him. "It cannot reclaim itself. It requires aid. Yet this stone remembers."

Covenant remembered other things instead. A different time. A distant place.

Wood is too brief. All vastness is forgotten.

[...] "There must be forbidding."

Without forbidding, there is too little time.

[...] "Anele," Linden whispered. "Tell me."

"Even here it is felt," the old man said as if he were answering her. "Written. Lamented." But the words were not a reply. Anele’s fixation on the lines of malachite within the obsidian was complete. He responded to the world’s oldest secrets, not to her. "The rousing of the Worm. It devours the magic of the Earth. The life. But its hunger is too great. When it has depleted lesser sustenance, it must come to the Land."

Lesser sustenance? He must have meant the Elohim. But Covenant could not be sure. His own memories were too fresh.

There is too much. Power and peril. Malevolence. Ruin. And too little time. The last days of the Land are counted.

On some level, however, he knew that Anele was right. The Worm was eating the magic out of the world. But it needed more than it could obtain from any Elohim - or from all of the Elohim.

By its very nature, the Worm would give Lord Foul what the Despiser had always craved.

Covenant did not know how Linden would be able to bear that responsibility.

"Heed him well," the Ardent advised in a hushed murmur. "This has been foreseen. It is knowledge which has been hidden since the rising of the first dawn within the Arch, shared by none but the Elohim. He must be heeded."

[...] "The Worm will come." Gradually Anele’s voice took on a ritual cadence, a sound of litany, as if he recited a sacral truth. "It must. Bringing with it the last crisis of the Earth, it will come. Here it will discover its final nourishment."

Become as trees, the roots of trees. Seek deep rock.

[...] "Here?" Linden asked, still whispering. Bereft or abandoned: Covenant could not tell the difference. "In the Lost Deep? In that chasm? What nourishment?"

Surely she knew that Anele did not hear her?

- the necessary forbidding of evils -

If the Earth had no hope, there was none for Jeremiah - or for any love.

"If it is not forbidden, it will have Earthpower," Anele said in tones of rock and woe. "If it is not opposed by the forgotten truths of stone and wood, orcrest and refusal, it will have life. The very blood of life from the most potent and private recesses of the Earth’s heart. When the Worm of the World’s End drinks the Blood of the Earth, its puissance will consume the Arch of Time."

"Anele!" Linden cried softly. "Are you sure? Anele? What forgotten truths?"

Beyond question the old man did not hear her. He said nothing further. He may have fallen asleep, exhausted by prophecy.

To Melenkurion Skyweir, Covenant thought dumbly. Of course. Not here. Not to the Lost Deep, or to any place within Mount Thunder. The Despiser had buried too much evil in these depths. The Worm needed Earthpower concentrated and pure, the world’s essential chrism.

As pure as orcrest. As pure as the wrath of Forestals, who had possessed the power to refuse -

"It is done," the Ardent announced with quiet satisfaction. "As it was foreseen, so it has transpired. And I alone among the Insequent bear witness. The Harrow himself has heard no single word. He cares naught for the joy of such epiphanies."


It remains an open question as to whether the forestals really spoke those words. After all, this is Covenant's memory ... in this case, tampered with by turiya Raver. The past cannot be changed - the forestals had not said those things, had not seen Covenant.

Certainly one explanation is that these words, spoken by the forestals, originate from Covenant himself, in some sort of manifestation of his subconscious. The remnants of the Timewarden trying to remind him about something important.

It's seems, as Covenant heard these words in the Lost Deep, that he recollects hearing them before. Recently before. Because Anele had said them, back in Andelain? It appears that way. Perhaps that is what gave him the knowledge to repeat it to himself now, in the guise of his forestal memory.

But did Anele say these words originally? Did he glean the memories of the deep stone and make a pronouncement? He could not have been possessed, and speaking for another, as he was on deep stone. So this must be his own words. The knowledge came from they very stone itself.

The Argent had known those words were coming. He listened to them as if he had been waiting for them his whole life. According to him, they have existed since the dawn of time - literally. Yet this stone remembers.

This can't get more significant.

But what can we work out from all of this?

It sounds like there will be some sort of forbidding built which shall defend the Blood of the Earth from the Worm. A forbidding built from wood and stone, orcrest and refusal. That sounds like a job for Jeremiah if you ask me. Who else could build a forbidding out of wood and stone and orcrest?

But "refusal"? Who can say how that will factor in?

Also, I have to wonder if they got it all wrong leaping to the conclusion that the Earthblood is in Earthroot. Here it will discover its final nourishment. Here. In the Lost Deep. "It is here," said Anele. The abode of She Who Must Not be Named. Will the Worm feast on her? Is she the ultimate source of the Blood of the Earth?

Certainly there's a lot of setup here. But not enough to see the final answer coming.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way, I have the strangest feeling of deja vu...

Didn't you post this yesterday?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My reaction as well!

How did he do it? Shocked
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is that he deleted the post and then posted again. Nobody had posted after him, so he could have just edited...but maybe he did it for the thread bump.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam wrote:
My guess is that he deleted the post and then posted again. Nobody had posted after him, so he could have just edited...but maybe he did it for the thread bump.

Ahhh! That's a trick I hadn't thought of Big Grin

In any case it's a brilliant post and deserves to be read!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Caught red handed! I got some watch errors when I first posted it, and it wasn't showing up properly in some places. As I had further edits, I deleted and reposted. Sorry if anyone thought it was new -- it's a little bit new ... )
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: AATE, Pt II, CH-12, Sold Souls Reply with quote

So here are the rest of my comments.

Idea
Vraith wrote:
[the last of AATE…and right off the top…the echo of TC’s book “Or I will sell my soul for guilt.”]

That's a real interesting connection. I had been wondering who are the souls here, plural. Joan is of course one. This makes TC the other, I suppose.

You have sold your freedom to purchase the misery of love, said Herem Raver. Refering to Covenant's resurrection - his decision to be resurrected.

Idea Some choice words about the Timewarden here.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
An instant or an eternity ago, Covenant had known what he was doing. He had chosen this plight. He knew caesures intimately. He had spent an age defending the Arch of Time; helping it heal after each violation. He had realized what would happen to him.

And then later...

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
For centuries, his spirit had extended throughout the Arch of Time. Now he had been severed from it. He would never wield its forces again. But he could understand them. He could grasp the nature and implications of Joan’s theurgy. He could call upon them indirectly.

So, TC wasn't absolutely reckless jumping into that caesure. He had a few things going for him. He was the Arch; he knew Time; he knew all the ways that Time worked, even within a Fall. What the Ranyhyn supplied for Linden's journeys through time, he supplied to himself.

Instead of ur-viles. He had the krill. Loric’s dagger made that possible.

And Joan herself was the loadstone that provided him with a direction within that frozen formication.

One man has everything he needs to do this: Thomas Covenant is still kicking ass.

Idea
Vraith wrote:
If even these few instants of timelessness for mortals does what it does, how do ages of enforced Time binding affect beings born and made for Timelessness, considering

The problem for timeloose beings like Foul and She are that they are forced to live sequentially. They are not trapped in stasis, like Covenant is in the caesure, where no moment moves on to the next. It's just the opposite - they are forced to move from moment to moment when their more natural state is to be insequent. It'd be like being trapped in a river of time that carries you only downstream, when you want to be able go wherever you want to go.

Idea We have more speculation about the beggar/Creator.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
He no longer wondered why the old beggar had not given Linden warning of her peril. The Creator had recognized his own defeat. He had abandoned his creation.

Oh no! Could this be really true, and not just Covenant's opinion?

If so, it may not be all bleak. The defeat of the Creator may not mean Foul's victory. It may be that someone has reached such a stature that, instead of working for the Creator ... they surpass him. And succeed where the Creator failed.

At least, I'd like to hope so.

Idea An interesting choice of term.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Inadvertently her despair resurrected him in front of her.

Resurrection. Appropos, I suppose. By leaping into the Fall, Covenant lept off a cliff. He was as good as dead. Until Joan grabbed him back.

Another gift.

Idea We learn quite a bit about forestals here in these brief passages.

The forsetal of Morinmoss was Cav-Morin Fernhold.

The forestal of Andelain was the Magister of Andelain.

The forestal of Giant Woods was Syr Embattled.

The forstal of Grimmerdhore Forest was (by process of elimination) Dhorehold of the Dark.

(Now I want to know what a "dhore" is. I had always parsed that as "grimmerd-hore", as in, "hoary. Now I have to re-adjust. It's a grimmer-dhore, grimmer than your average dhore, I guess.)

Idea Let's not forget what is probably very important.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Bleeding from more wounds than he could count, Covenant found the path that led toward his present self. At once, he began to work his way along it. And while he arose from the Earth’s past, he fused fissures behind him. He closed cracks. Rife with silver fire, he healed breaks until all of them were mended.

Deliberately he annealed fragments of his former being, rendering them inaccessible so that he could be whole.

Covenant can never be "tripped" into his memories again. He's sealed all the fissures that he could fall into. Surely that bodes well for the future.

I see here one of Donaldson's amazing themes. Giving something up in order to be whole. Sometimes "something broken" is us - it's who we are.

I sense that, whatever bits of Timewarden wisdom Covenant had accessible to him, have been lost. It doesn't say, but "deliberately" to me promises that he will save what he needs for the end, for "the last, necessary battles for the Land." He's too smart to throw too much away here. But it's tight, he will save only the critical bits, the rest has to be thrown overboard. A mortal man can only have so many memories, and cannot contain an immortal's.

Idea
Vraith wrote:
TC does not let the Rany take the burden.

Indeed. This is somewhat in contrast to Infelice. There, the Ranyhyn don't hesitate to be more direct. Here, they were probably capable of trampling Joan - but they didn't. They approached calmly, as if they knew they were a diversion. This suggests that they have some knowledge of what's transpiring here at the bottom of the sea - know, and approve.

Idea The Gift

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Moments before the Ranyhyn came near enough to take his burden from him, Thomas Covenant gave Joan the only gift that he had left. Nearly falling, he slid his blade into the center of her chest.

The only gift he had left. In the previous chapter, he described his resurrection as Linden's greatest gift. Here, his greatest gift to Joan is her destruction. Giving life and taking life, two opposites, but both given in love. An interesting contrast.

Idea
Vraith wrote:
The most compelling and glorious for me is that Joan dies immersed in the last shred of untainted love and beauty, joy and sanity, left to her.

Yes. In the end, Donaldson does spare her from the destitution of her being, if only for a moment.

Idea
Vraith wrote:
Yet...All the wild magic in the world is now in possession of those who would save it.

Indeed. Several problems have been resolved here. Joan has been conveyed to what is perhaps the best end that she could have expected. The white gold ring is removed from the Raver's, and thereby Foul's, influence. Caesures should no longer be a threat. Covenant's mind is repaired. The krill can now be used without fear. And, perhaps most importantly, Covenant has been reminded about orcrest and refusal and wood and stone.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One Last Thing to talk about.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
But the sun did not rise.

By tentative increments, the east paled. Slowly a preternatural gloaming spread across the Sunbirth Sea until it diluted the dark over Hotash Slay and the Shattered Hills. In contrast, the stars overhead grew strangely distinct, eerie and fragile. They seemed closer, drawing near to bewail their plight. The Humbled became vaguely visible, as if they stood in dusk or shadow. At their backs, the Hills crouched like megalithic beasts. But there was no sun.

No sun at all.

When he peered upward, Covenant saw that the stars were winking out. One at a time, they vanished from the infinite heavens. A few died in rapid succession, others at longer intervals; but they were all doomed. Within a handful of days, every star would perish, extinguished by the unforbidden hunger of the Worm.

Okay, I guess we are supposed to take it for granted that Coevanent somehow knows what is happening. That the stars are extinguished because of the hunger of the Worm. That there is no sun.

The Worm was supposed to consume Elohim, right? So why are the stars under assault? My inclinatoin is to remember that the Elohim are stars. I had once wrote:

Quote:
... I cannot help thinking of the Elohimfest, and that the Elohim are the stars, caught in the Wounded Rainbow, devoured by the Worm, and trapped in the Arch; children of the Creator, living peoples of the heavens, and direct offspring of creation.

By which I mean to demonstrate that there have already been sufficient clues, prior to the Last Chronicles, that the Elohim are in some way also stars. All you have to do is wonder about how the creation stories fit together. Certainly, the Elohimfest alone suggests this connection.

But this connection still need not be made. Perhaps the Worm is eating Elohim as well as stars. Stars are it's food of old.

On another level, of course, the devoured stars are starkly symbolic. What could possibly symbolize more effectively not just the end of the Earth, but the end of the cosmos, as well as the stars dying one by one, and an absent sun?

Brr. I feel a chill.

One thing to notice in that last sentence. It's not "the hunger of the Worm" of which Donaldson speaks, but the "the unforbidden hunger of the Worm". Surely this ties into Anele's "There must be forbidding." Donaldson is hinting here that, yes, Anele's stange words really do matter. The Worm can be opposed by the truths of stone and wood, of orcrest and refusal.

And doing so might save the stars.

This is a cliff hanger ending. A but more subtle than with the two earlier books. Those books ended with an imminent reveal delayed. This one ends with a burning fuse. A clock ticking down to zero. No disappointed groan this time. But maybe an "oh sh--."

There's also a bit of a Two Towers ending here. Covenant is here, Linden is way over there, Pahni and Bhapa have gone to Minas Tirith, and Boromir is dead. Donaldson has set himself a number of narrative points-of-view that he needs to unite in his last book.

I can see the Humbled summoning new Ranyhyn. They will bring Mishio Massima for TC. They will meet Linden in the Great Swamp, where they will also find Longwrath, whose destiny will finally be revealed. Then a new Insequent named The Replacement will visit, and whisk them off to Revelstone ...
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know.
I just reread that last chapter.
I'm not reading it as the sun and the stars literally being consumed.
It seemed more like there was a massive cloud covering the earth that was blocking them, spreading inland from the ocean ahead of the Worm as it makes it's way to the Land.
This cloud was caused by the destruction upon parts of the earth by the Worm, imo.

For some reason I keep thinking about a passage in the 2nd Chronicles when Linden realizes that the Sunbane is merely and aura over the Land and not an alteration in the sun itself. It was implied in that passage that such a change upon the sun would require a ludicrous amount of power.
Now we're supposed to believe that an entity the size of a "small range of hills" swallowed the sun and stars and is heading to the Land for more power?
That's just silly!
I'd be extremely disappointed if that were the case.

I don't believe that the Worm will destroy the Earth either but will consume all the Earthpower within it.
Since the Elohim consider themselves all things, to them, the extinction of Earthpower is the same as the Earth ending.

Now what that means and how it's a threat to the Arch, I don't know.

WF, you might have to revisit your Cosmology thread to see if it needs any updating after AATE, lol.

I still think it's a dream.





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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

High Lord Tolkien wrote:
I don't know.
I just reread that last chapter.
I'm not reading it as the sun and the stars literally being consumed.
It seemed more like there was a massive cloud covering the earth that was blocking them, spreading inland from the ocean ahead of the Worm as it makes it's way to the Land.
This cloud was caused by the destruction upon parts of the earth by the Worm, imo.

For some reason I keep thinking about a passage in the 2nd Chronicles when Linden realizes that the Sunbane is merely and aura over the Land and not an alteration in the sun itself. It was implied in that passage that such a change upon the sun would require a ludicrous amount of power.
Now we're supposed to believe that an entity the size of a "small range of hills" swallowed the sun and stars and is heading to the Land for more power?
That's just silly!
I'd be extremely disappointed if that were the case.


I had similar problems when I read the scene at the One Tree. The problem at that scene is even worse! Stars fall to the One Tree cavern and look the size of a basketball ball if that.

It took me until the end of AATE to understand how this was possible. It's possible because, unlike our cosmos, this world was created the way our myths describe creation in the most literal way: with the earth in the center and the sun & moon & stars circling around it. They're not giant cosmic bodies like the ones in our cosmos. They're little balls floating a few hundred miles above the ground.

Once we accept that this is a geocentric model we're dealing with the story becomes much more reasonable.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
High Lord Tolkien wrote:
I don't know.
I just reread that last chapter.
I'm not reading it as the sun and the stars literally being consumed.
It seemed more like there was a massive cloud covering the earth that was blocking them, spreading inland from the ocean ahead of the Worm as it makes it's way to the Land.
This cloud was caused by the destruction upon parts of the earth by the Worm, imo.

For some reason I keep thinking about a passage in the 2nd Chronicles when Linden realizes that the Sunbane is merely and aura over the Land and not an alteration in the sun itself. It was implied in that passage that such a change upon the sun would require a ludicrous amount of power.
Now we're supposed to believe that an entity the size of a "small range of hills" swallowed the sun and stars and is heading to the Land for more power?
That's just silly!
I'd be extremely disappointed if that were the case.


I had similar problems when I read the scene at the One Tree. The problem at that scene is even worse! Stars fall to the One Tree cavern and look the size of a basketball ball if that.

It took me until the end of AATE to understand how this was possible. It's possible because, unlike our cosmos, this world was created the way our myths describe creation in the most literal way: with the earth in the center and the sun & moon & stars circling around it. They're not giant cosmic bodies like the ones in our cosmos. They're little balls floating a few hundred miles above the ground.

Once we accept that this is a geocentric model we're dealing with the story becomes much more reasonable.

That's really, really funny to picture..only the world itself is big, everything else, like stars, is little minis.
I'm sticking with my original [much like HLT's saying] the literal thing is the Worms aura of power or detritus aloft or some similar.
But I will say...those light balls at The One Tree...I always thought they were a similar sort of power seepage from the Worm through the Tree...and formed in much the same way as the Elohim, kinda what they were in larval form or "in the womb."

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Yay. Discussion.)

High Lord Tolkien wrote:
Now we're supposed to believe that an entity the size of a "small range of hills" swallowed the sun and stars and is heading to the Land for more power?
That's just silly!

I would agree with you ... except that Donaldson did say the stars were perishing.

I'd be the first to admit there are problems explaining the physics of how that could happen. Perhaps every time an Elohim dies, a corresponding star also dies. Perhaps the stars are sustained by Earthpower which, as the Worm consumes the Earthpower, leaves the stars unsustained. Perhaps the stars are caused by flashlights across the Earth which point at the sky, and the Worm is eating the flashlights. I got no good ideas....

And I don't disagree that it could be a cloud or atmospheric effect. I just don't lean that way right now. The "perish" could be poetic license. Or Covenant's interpretation.

(And then in an earlier chapter the Humbled (or was it Stave?) had pointed out that the sky was brown due to some sort of storm.)

It's just that -- the dude was the Arch! He knows what's going on. He knows what the Worm is doing.

High Lord Tolkien wrote:
WF, you might have to revisit your Cosmology thread to see if it needs any updating after AATE, lol.

Maybe after LD. But we haven't played the River card yet - I am not convinced yet that the Worm and the Arch can't be the same thing.

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Once we accept that this is a geocentric model we're dealing with the story becomes much more reasonable.

Agreed. This Earth doesn't revolve around a Sun which is on the edge of a galaxy, that I believe. How it does work, I am not sure I can say. But certainly we have to allow that the stars here probably are NOT giant balls of gas fusing helium light years away.

Vraith wrote:
But I will say...those light balls at The One Tree...I always thought they were a similar sort of power seepage from the Worm through the Tree...and formed in much the same way as the Elohim, kinda what they were in larval form or "in the womb."

I too am confused. I don't think they were stars, the same things in the night sky. But I do think that they might partake of the same essense. The Worm, after all, consumed many stars. Does it not, by the logic of this story, then partake of the powers of the stars? It's power would then exert in some way that is influenced by star-power.

Then again, those stars at the One Tree might also be manifestations of the Elohim in some way. They, also, protect the Earth. Sure, Findail said it was the Worm -- but the Worm is also the Würd, and the Elohim are the Würd, so by transitive association the stars are also the power of the Elohim.

It may be both ... it may be that the Elohim are the starry manifestations of the Worm's power informed by its ingestion of stars.

Headache, anyone? Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought more than once that it seemed like a fish tank universe. If that was by design with a grand scheme or just happened because of lack of planning, I do not know.

One question: with TC 'fixed' so he does not slip into reverie again, does he lose his insights into memories of his big plan he made outside of time or will he now recall it all and come into action? Will TC finally be the powerful being he was said to be all along?

And, HLT, I agree about the dream. I have been wondering if this will all collapse into a cause effect paradox somehow with the entire creation and subsequent stories being circular.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ananda wrote:
One question: with TC 'fixed' so he does not slip into reverie again, does he lose his insights into memories of his big plan he made outside of time or will he now recall it all and come into action? Will TC finally be the powerful being he was said to be all along?

That's the question. I am guessing he's going to lose a lot, because the problem seems to be caused by having too much. But I also think that what he loses will not be necessary, although later on this may be the source of much anxiety. I predict Covenant will end up telling himself he has to trust his [former] self.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Ananda wrote:
One question: with TC 'fixed' so he does not slip into reverie again, does he lose his insights into memories of his big plan he made outside of time or will he now recall it all and come into action? Will TC finally be the powerful being he was said to be all along?

That's the question. I am guessing he's going to lose a lot, because the problem seems to be caused by having too much. But I also think that what he loses will not be necessary, although later on this may be the source of much anxiety. I predict Covenant will end up telling himself he has to trust his [former] self.

I think the fissures [despite some advantage to having those memories] had a dual disadvantage...the mundane one of not being aware of surroundings at the wrong moment of course.
The greater one, though, is a leftover variation of "find me" and such: by knowing certain things he would limit options/choices/freedoms. And it seems the metaphysical/essential hope of the Land is that the "actors" NOT be "true" to plans/goals/results [in some sense, be blind to them] but true to themselves/each other [which, in some sense, all of them are blind to right now...this is parallel to the reason TC NEEDED his Leprosy, btw.]

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really wonder why TC had to kill Joan..

The tsunami would have done the deed if he had waited a bit longer.

Maybe it was to get ahold of her ring. It may be her ring that is used in the last book.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The tsunami would have done the deed if he had waited a bit longer.


I doubt that. If wild magic could save an ignorant Linden and Anele from the fall of Kevin's Watch, just think what it could do in the hands of Joan/Turiya.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ur Dead wrote:
I really wonder why TC had to kill Joan.


Simple--despite being divorced she was still his responsibility and his alone. No one else, not even a force of nature, should be made to bear the burden that is his.
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