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The One Tree and why it's so arduous
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject: The One Tree and why it's so arduous Reply with quote

The One Tree is a much more onerous read than any book in the Chronicles for me personally. It's like I can't breathe till I get into WGW.

1. Nothing is accomplished. Or rather, what is accomplished costs way more than seems worthwhile, at least to those going through it. They have no idea that they actually do need Vain and Findail, and they need Vain to touch the One Tree.

2. Why can't Linden and Covenant sit down and talk things out? They spend way too much time moping and thinking "I'm not worthy of him/her". Geez.

3. Linden's "possession" of Covenant (this continues into WGW, of course). She feels like she's raping him, etc. So why can't she ASK, for crying out loud? It's like it's not even an option. "Possession is evil." It's evil because it's a violation; but with consent, what's the problem?

4. Too much waiting around, paralyzed by indecision, for people to die before getting a spine and kicking butt with that wild magic/percipience.

5. The storm scene, near the beginning, never seems to end. And yet (having been on sailboats in unfriendly seas) it doesn't seem all that real. No taste of salt. Sorry.

7. Too many Giants running around in the background that we don't get to know anything about except their puissance in the rigging, and that they like a bawdy song now and again. Of course, then the book would probably have been too long.

Now, the book has its moments, and we would never have understood the Elohim without seeing them in their own environment, and we learn something about the Haruchai that explains why they're so righteous, etc. But getting to see the [/i]Brathairrealm and the merewives is just barely worth all the head games.
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree and say it was the darkest of the first two Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the opposite reaction. It's my favorite of all the Chronicles, from First to Last. Every book up to WGW has been better than the one before, in my current reread. I'm halfway through WGW, and all they've done is ride some sleds and fight some ridiculous ice creatures. Hamoko was a nice touch, but I know that he's only there to foreshadow Covenant's end, so he feels like a gimick. From Honniscrave's moody brooding, to Sunder's "there is no hope," to Mistweave's self-doubt, to TC/LA melodrama ... it's all starting to wear thin for me. Of course, some of this is simply knowing what's to come: I know there are only two things left to do in this long book. I wish they'd get on with it.

However, the problems Deer noted about the little emotional "dance" TC and LA do on the giantship seemed appropriate in the 2nd book, where the two characters are bonding and learning how to reveal their feelings. Like any love story, there's going to be a period when the readers are frustrated by the "tease" of these characters not getting together when it's obvious that they should, so that the emotional payoff for the audience is heigthened when this tension is finally consumated. In think Donaldson handled it just fine in TOT. But I feel this criticism is apt for the 3rd book, at a point when they really should be beyond this melodrama crap.

Maybe I'm at a point in my life where I can't relate to all the angst anymore. I remember their feelings resonating with me a lot more as a teenager, and now I just wish they'd stop their damn whining. Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Deer - TOT is a tough read for me, mostly because so much of it is from Linden's POV.
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you're not going to like Linden, you're certainly not going to like the two expository background sections in The One Tree where Linden explains just why she is Linden. And if you don't like expository background material, you're not going to like those sections much either.

Which is too bad. Between Raver-strikes and Nicor and Elemesnedene and Kasreyn and Nom and merewives and the titular Tree, there is just a lot of good stuff here!

Certainly the best part of The One Tree is getting to see Giants being Giants, which they are most so aboard their own ship.

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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 12:10 pm    Post subject: The One Tree and why it's so arduous Reply with quote

I haven't read TOT for a while, so reading this thread is jogging my memory - I can relate to what deer of the dawn is saying in the OP, I recall it being a grind at times - but there is also a lot to like.

I enjoy the Bhrathairealm stuff, there is a real sense of 'society' in these chapters; the Land can seem an oddly empty place at times, but Bhrathairealm was a vibrant, bustling city and it was interesting seeing that aspect of the World of which the Land is but a part.

There is some truly awesome haruchai moments in this section of the book also; apart from the spine-tingling confrontation with Hergrom, Ceer and Nom there are a couple of other moments in which they are able to withstand Kasreyn's majicks with their usual dour obstinance.

o, gaddhi !

Rire Grist is one of the more comical characters in the entire chronicles, and his interplay with the more insidious Kasreyn is pretty delicious at times.

The scenes as the company first approaches and then reaches the Isle of the One Tree are also brilliant, some of SRD's best writing imo; that whole section is eerie and other-wordly.
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 5:55 pm    Post subject: Re: The One Tree and why it's so arduous Reply with quote

deer of the dawn wrote:
3. Linden's "possession" of Covenant (this continues into WGW, of course). She feels like she's raping him, etc. So why can't she ASK, for crying out loud? It's like it's not even an option. "Possession is evil." It's evil because it's a violation; but with consent, what's the problem?


Apart from the whole freedom of choice, blah blah, I think the equivalent of asking to possess someone, continuing Linden's metaphor, would be like asking someone to lie still while you sex on their body. Yeah, it's consentual but it's all one sided... there's no mutual bond.

Also, TOT is my favorite. Maybe because I'm just hungry for more information on the world the Land is in.
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They rarely ever achieve victories that were worth the cost. By they I mean...everyone in all 9 of the books. Sometimes the things that appear to be victories have long lasting consequences that outweigh the original victory, and vice versa.

The destruction of the original staff of law is a good example of this.

You know, with the super emphasis SRD seems to have with action and reaction and everything having a cost, i'm surprised this series isn't about Alchemy.
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sad

But it has Pitchwife. Quoting my other message that the world-end worm of the bitspace swallowed for supper: every time people dislike a Pitchwife book, a baby seal perishes. Sad

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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The One Tree rocks. Enough said
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that I disagree with you on this, Deer Sad After TIW, The One Tree is one of my favourite books in the 1st and 2nd Chrons. I enjoy it for a couple of reasons 1) we get to see the world of the Land and meet some of the peoples that we have heard about from Amok, 2) we get a break from the Land and its relentless troubles. TOT is a middle book in the trilogy and like TIW it gives us a chance to relax for a while without having the constant stress of the impending doom of the Land hanging over us.

I, for one, am happy for the break and the chance to spend time with the Giants. I don't agree that we don't get to know them. I think for what their purpose in the story is we get a really great sense of their lives and culture. For any more we would need some chapters from their perspective (or a whole book dedicated to their story. There's a thought, SRD! Big Grin ).

We also get to meet the Elohim, Kasreyn, the Sandgorgons Shocked , the Nicor, a croyel, the merewives and all that time we get Linden's backstory satisfyingly fleshed out. Even though I am a THOOLAHite I didn't really become one until the Last Chrons came out. I admire Linden's scruples about possession because she understands that to remove a person's will even if it is with their consent is a fundamental violation of their identity. White Gold is an essential part of TC and to usurp its use would be damaging, maybe fatal, for him, because his sense of his own value would be crucially undermined.

I have always felt that the scene during the storm was a bit unreal but I think that this is a metaphor for the incredible endurance of the Giantship (and we are reading fantasy, after all Laughing )

u.
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, stopping a dromond from sinking with your chest is bad ass .
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has occurred to me, off an on over the years, to wonder if Donaldson had been thinking that three whole books under the Sunbane would have been too much, or would have reduced it's impact, and so he had us escape the Sunbane for a while.
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
It has occurred to me, off an on over the years, to wonder if Donaldson had been thinking that three whole books under the Sunbane would have been too much, or would have reduced it's impact, and so he had us escape the Sunbane for a while.


That could certainly be part of it.
But I suspect the larger consideration was all the things he
was going to need for the Last C's.
Finding all those secreted away in the Land would place serious strain on
reader's ability to suspend disbelief, I think.

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
wayfriend wrote:
It has occurred to me, off an on over the years, to wonder if Donaldson had been thinking that three whole books under the Sunbane would have been too much, or would have reduced it's impact, and so he had us escape the Sunbane for a while.


That could certainly be part of it.
But I suspect the larger consideration was all the things he
was going to need for the Last C's.
Finding all those secreted away in the Land would place serious strain on
reader's ability to suspend disbelief, I think.


I thought SRD commented at some point that he was not really sure he was ever going to write another Chrons after the 2nd, so I don't really see him doing stuff in the 2nd to set up for the Last. I think he was just a good enough writer to leave some loose ends not neatly tied up, which is like life.

Great comments.

Reading them, I realize that it has a lot to do with how my life is right now (arduous) and that there is a Sunbane invading my person... I'll do a separate thread about that.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While he wasn't sure he'd write the LC, he did purposely set up some things in the 2nd Chrons that would make it possible. He has said that he wrote the 2nd with the Last in mind, since he came up with the idea for both of them at the same time.
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never said, btw, that I dislike TOT, or don't think it's good. It's just not as enjoyable a read for me because of the pacing and because it's dealing with so much difficult stuff. It is necessary to the story. But like I said, when I get to WGW my enjoyment levels-up significantly.
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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gosh Deer - I'm almost the exact opposit. I find the ship and the company of Giants in their own setting a thing of beauty. I find the voyage away from the Land like a holiday away from home and find endless fascination in meeting some of the other inhabitants of the World. I could have stood a whole series aboard the 'Starfare's Gem' and still have come back for more!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would seem to me that the sea is the opposite of the sand of the sunbane. I think Wayfriends right about TOT being a break from the bane.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The One Tree to me is a ponderous read, and the 1 book in the series I have to force myself to read. It really adds very little if anything to the Chronicles, and could have been left out entirely.
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