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TLD First Impressions
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:
dlbpharmd wrote:
Reminder - no need for spoiler tags in this forum.

I agree about TC/LA marriage. Just because they're married now should NOT make LA a "rightful wielder" of wild magic.
Shenanigans! I call shenanigans! You espoused this exact theory to Donaldson during the World Fantasy Convention of 2010 after the release of Against All Things Ending! I was there! Aliantha was there! Shenanigans!!!! Razz Wink


I know, and he didn't listen to me, didn't change HIS story to suit MY theory.

Quote:
Thomas Covenant refused to fight in the First Chronicles, and for much worse reasons.


It's an entirely different situation - he was full of Unbelief, not Power.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Added after the fact... there are things I didn't like but overall I enjoyed the read. I was hoping to be WOW'd but that really didnt happen except in spurts.

Anti-climatic and rushed. Too many loose ends were not tied up. SRD is usually overly descriptive of how things happend and he was under descriptive of many things.

I dont like the travel with the Krill. Its too convenient. In the previous books (prior to the Last Chrons), the travel was part of the story and the things they encounter on the way become part of the story.

Martiir becaming a Forestal and the story line from that. Loved it!

Brinn coming back and giving the Haruchai a peice of his mind! Loved it! The sacrifice to kill the Raver.. WOW.... that was cool.

SHE...Blech.. I thought that was rushed... there is a whole story here we didnt get.

LF and TC becoming one. Yeah makes sense. But then we didnt get any of the rebuilding of the land as they get swept away in the Last dark.... Example: Linden's healing of the Land....Imagine the end of the Second Chrons without it.... She makes the staff and the Land is HEALED!

I am re-reading again just to pick up some loose ends that I might have missed on the first read.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:


Damelon wrote:
Billy G. wrote:
We finally discover (or Jeremiah does) where the 3rd thru the 6th Wards are. Laughing


I liked that too, though since I spotted it on reread it wasn't a first impression. Very Happy

Well to be strictly accurate, the three additional Wards mentioned - the jewelled casket in the Great Swamp, the tapestry in the cavern in the Northron mountains and the periapt that's as full of knowledge as a book - are Wards numbers 4, 5 and 6 (in no particular order).

From memory, the Giants were entrusted with the 1st Ward and bore it to the Land after the Ritual of Desecration, the 2nd Ward was discovered in Revelstone after Covenant awakened the krill and we're told in the Second Chrons that the 3rd Ward had been found after the events in TPTP. I seem to remember that the na-Mhoram had locked the first three Wards away in the Aumbrie of the Clave, which we discover in TWL when Vain breaks in to retrieve the heels of the original Staff of Law.

And as for the 7th Ward? Well, we'll all remember that, won't we? Wink


I knew the Third Ward was found by the post-Mhoram Council. I decided not to point it out in the post. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing springs to mind of note. There is one chapter in the book, the one with the battle at Defile's Course, where Donaldson breaks the third-person limited perspective and head-hops mid-action between Linden and Covenant (and maybe Jeremiah, I can't quite remember). It was a little jarring to realise he'd switched perspective right in the middle like that.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say TLD works best when seen as a direct sequel to AATE, but underwhelms as the climax of entire Chronicles.

Did anyone else have a major problem with the structure of TLD, especially as it compares to AATE?

I actually found the pacing of the first half of TLD to be among the best of the Last Chronicles, but once it became clear that it would culminate once again in Mount Thunder, I kept feeling like, "Is that all there is?"

AATE and TLD are essentially the same journeys but in reverse. We go back and forth from Mt Thunder to the east and back again. HALF the entire four-book cycle. For me, it was constant crushing realization while reading that there was not enough time or pages to really take us somewhere new. I mean, is there any reason Foul couldn't have holed up in Doriendor Corishev? Or maybe a Raver could have found a foothold in a child Haruchai in Guard's Gap? I would say that if SRD wanted to end the series in Mount Thunder, we didn't need to go there in the third book (but I suppose how else could SRD have introduced SHE?)

(An aside problem with AATE -- one that doesn't become evident until TLD-- if Lord Foul [and during the time of AATE] Kastenessen are in Mt Thunder, why doesn't that register larger? The Big Bad Guys are there in the damn mountain, and the whole party runs away only to spend the last half of TLD getting back in.)

I did find excitement in revisiting some of the elements of the lower land, particularly the terrain of the Shattered Hills. And at least the bone graveyard they discover for Jeremiah in AATE introduces a "new" element to the story.

However, there is a ton of narrative space in the last two books spent on the Lurker, even though there was a lot of him in the first and second Chronicles. I do appreciate the flip of his character, but it feels like too much. What else has happened to the Lower Land?
Coercri? Apparently, the Giants' ship is anchored there -- though none of the Giants speak of that until the sailors appear in TLD. Isn't that kind of a pertinent detail? What about the Giant Woods? Are they still there -- is there any Earthpower to be learned from that domain?

When we get to the moment Linden announces her intent to go back in time, I got excited -- "here's where it gets good." But no, it's just one chapter and she goes back to where she's already been in Fatal Revenant. WTF? It's almost a cop-out --

That plot could have been done more efficiently if perhaps Mahrtiir could have encountered Wildwood in that book. It's almost a sloppy way of inserting something Donaldson felt like he left out. "Oh wait, let's go back in time to the second book so that Mahrtiir can become a Forestal." And then the Forestal can zap them back to the present.

Yes, I know she travels back to a different epoch, and Wildwood has changed. But lord, does it feel like another missed opportunity. Maybe they could have gone back to the actual formation of the Colossus and watched from the bushes. The time-travel elements just never paid off the way they could have.

But it strikes me a major narrative problem that they leave Mt. Thunder to seek out an oblique goal that they cannot possibly foresee so that they can eventually just come back to Mt. Thunder to search out the enemy that must always have been there.


In some ways it makes sense that the final confrontation takes place over very few actual days following Covenant's resurrection. And that's impressive considering 1000+ pages covers probably less than a week, but it severely hinders the amount of narrative time left to show us something new.

My concerns going in to the last book were largely that there wouldn't be enough time or space to cover giving proper conclusion to dealing with Longwrath, Kastenessen, the ravers, Roger, Lord Foul AND the Worm. Those were my concerns -- my hopes or expectations of where I wanted things to go are another matter.

Donaldson does do an impressive job of economically addressing those outstanding plot points. Although Longwrath's arc is woefully given short-shrift. Basically it was a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of thing to have him just appear to cut off Kastenessen's hand and then promptly die. This was really a lousy, underwritten and largely unncessary character, especially considering that the plot is already cluttered with madpersons with unknown intentions.

One of the best elements of the last chronicles is the transformation of the Haruchai, particularly Stave and surprisingly with Branl. All those times in the other Chronicles where I wished the Haruchai would drop some of their stoicism and passiveness -- well here is a very meticulously and well-earned development and transformation of the warriors.

Oh, there's other stuff I liked too, but I wanted to get this off my chest Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Last Dark could have been 20,000 pages and SRD wouldn't have covered
all the questions asked of him on this board.

He has left his chronicles opened to suppositions and works from established or new writers.

His style hasn't changed (IMO) since the first chronicles. He jumps (especially when your reading a section and the going is good) he leads you thru his story path and you observe everything. The sights, the sounds, the colors, a rock in the road, a falling away of a character, a resolve to a minor issue. It isn't until later further down the path that the rock reappears and it isn't a rock, but a gem. Then you think "Oh Yea... I remember that... wasn't so important at the time..huh?? he did what from that!..SoKay... and you continue down the path and more small unimportant things appear and bigger things disappear. Only the small unimportant new things come from nowhere and play a major part later in the story.

Like when Linden tried to free Jermiah from the croyel, she saw that his mind was splinter into graves. Linden knew she would fail. Complications occured and it took a stone, a crazy old man, bones and a toy racecar to get Jermiah back to a mind of a teenage boy.
The graves were still there and Jerry only needed one of them to cold stack a raver in. (The adding of dirt pile was a nice icicing on the cake.)

SRD works in this way. You see the forest and you examine the trees. You also note the grass, the lay of the land, the hills and streams, A stream here and there, wetlands and OH Hey there a gold desposit over there.(must be important, so I'll filed that particular one way) Suddenly you have to cross a river.. where did it come from? You back track the river and find it was one of those steam you notice back when you noting the forest and trees.
SRD does this throughout his chronicles..

I leave the story teller to tell the story and enjoy the telling.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DoriendorCorishev wrote:
But it strikes me a major narrative problem that they leave Mt. Thunder to seek out an oblique goal that they cannot possibly foresee so that they can eventually just come back to Mt. Thunder to search out the enemy that must always have been there.

Substitute "the Land" for "Mt. Thunder" and you have to see the parallells with the structure of the 2nd Chrons.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a good point, Savor.

It was one of things that initially threw me when reading TOT -- there's this urgent, awful conflict in the Land, and Covenant & Co decide to take off on a boat for the middle of the 2nd Chrons.

The difference in the 2nd Chrons, I would say, is the payoff -- both in terms of the reading experience of TOT and the retribution and apotheosis by the end of WGW.

I have a bunch of thoughts on TOT and how it relates the LCs, but I'll save that for another post.

But as much as it seems suspect for Covenant and Co to run off from Mt. Thunder in AATE (because they're not ready to face the Big Boss Battle yet?), it doubly suspect that Foul and Kastenessen, or even a temporarily-defeated Roger, would let them all waltz out. With all the inhuman resources they collectively hurl at Linden and Covenant in TLD to keep them from getting into or through Mount Thunder, it seems inconsistent.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simple things that could have fixed story elements:

SWMNBN: While Linden was inside Her, have her gain some insight into who She really is and how She fits into the cosmic reality of the Land.

Longwrath: Make him like Gollum, and have numerous hints over the course of the last book that he's following the party around, before he finally jumps out and attacks Kastenessen.


Less simple things that could have fixed Longwrath's role even more satisfactorily:

Have the battle with the Sandgorgons occur before the construction of the Fane, have Longwrath appear and start killing Sandgorgons with his magic sword, turning the battle, then have him taken prisoner by the Swordmainnir afterwards and restrained from attacking Linden (heck, you could even have Cabledarm's injuries come from holding back Longwrath rather than catching Stave). Then, when Kastenessen arrives at the fane, have Longwrath escape restraint and cut off his hand.

Now you've justified the inclusion of the sword in the narrative, you've made Longwrath a notable presence in the book, and you can still throw in Infelice's explanation of how their geas compelled him to go after Kastenessen when he was unable to kill Linden.

The only thing you lose in this version is you don't have the fire lions from Mount Thunder later in the book, which was pretty much just a callback anyway.

When they get to Defile's course, they still get attacked by skurj. Linden still attacks the skurj while Covenant convinces the Lurker to help (but Covenant doesn't run around with a Wild Magic longsword carving things up. That's stupid). The Lurker still intervenes but gets wounded, and the giants from the ship still turn up to help (more appropriate than them helping with Sandgorgons, because of their immunity to fire). Then the Lurker still floods the valley to kill the skurj.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long ago, when the internet first sprang up, I deduced SRD's email address and sent him a note. It was soon after rumors started happening about a "third chronicles". And I expressed my concerns about attempting any addendum to the First and Second Chronicles. At the time I believed that those six books were the greatest fantasy series every written and that there was no reason to attempt another.

Steve said to me then, via email, that he hoped that I believed that he would never prostitute his own prior work in the same way that other authors had done.

Unfortunately, after the Last Chronicles, I am faced with nothing but evidence that-- regardless of intent-- that was the end result. The persistent problem with the final four books is their lack of originality. In just about every scene we are faced with either repetition from previous Covenant books or ideas/memes that we have seen before from other authors.

Don't get me wrong: SRD can't be blamed for making the effort-- and, let's not forget, a few bucks from that effort. And there are particular chapters in the Last Chronicles that are pure genius (who else could have done Chapter 1 of AATE?). But, en toto, none of these four books rate with the first six. To use an analogy, think: The Godfather Part III.

And The Lord of the Rings must be once again enthroned as the greatest epic series ever. I suppose this means I have to start reading Game of Thrones, now...sigh.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rdhopeca wrote:
there were several moments ...that left me either unhappy or thinking "eh?"...

1. Kastenessen's fate. While it made sense, to have him, Longwrath, and Infelice's issues all solved in one fell swoop, without any more depth to the former Appointed, felt shortened to me.

2. The SHE reveal. Really? That's all? I reread several times thinking there had been a mistake.

3. The SHE Right Hook To Foul. Felt almost haphazardly thrown in. SHE can stop long enough to slap but not long enough for even a word or two?

4. The merge with Foul. No substance to it.

5. The end, similar, no substantive description of the rebuilding of the Arch.

6. The possession of Jeremiah by moksha. Been there, done that, with Linden. Seemed repetitive.

7. The marriage proposal. Felt forced and not in context. .


This. I'd add the creation of several cannon fodder characters that turned up in the last chapters.

But really the big flaw was no description of how the Worm was dealt with. 2 rings and a staff shouldn't have been enough. I assume the Worm just went back to sleep after drinking the Earthblood to the full and busting the arch, but that really needed some major elaboration. OTOH can see why SRD left it as implicit. He'd kind of written himself into a corner.

On the plus side the characterisation was very good. Getting rid of the extraneous characters was a good idea. I'd say the book was a success apart from a clunky ending.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iQuestor wrote:

Roger should be renamed He Who Must Remain One Dimensional


LOL!

TheFallen wrote:
there's still at least one Raver, moksha, out there on the loose.


SRD has said that there must always be evil and Despite in the world. Now that Foul has been taken care of, I guess that's Moksha.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
SRD has said that there must always be evil and Despite in the world. Now that Foul has been taken care of, I guess that's Moksha.


There are still croyel in the world, as well as the Lurker (I doubt he's really a good guy now.)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I concur. There will still be evil, just not an immortal and/or eternal source of evil which always manages to survive. The skurj are still the skurj, I doubt all the Sandgorgons are dead, and there will always be people who succumb to Despair and/or evil. Moksha might even head for parts of the Earth away from The Land where folks won't be as able to oppose him.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - just finished. Where to start?

Overall score out of ten - four[ish]. Favorite charachter - Stave or Branl [I'm not a fan of the H's 'finding themselves' really. I pretty much liked them as they were]. General feeling re the 'denoument' - I think it was all pretty lame really: I'd like to have seen SRD take more risks particularly in the area of the paradox of the Lands existence. Most annoying thing[s] - Jeremiah [full stop], TC and Lindens mawkish canoodling, TC having all that power and then not being able to use it - also every ones insistance on talking when something really urgent is about to happen that someone else is trying to warn them about. Most wasted oppertunity - [want to say the entire third chrons but will restrain myself] The showdown between the Masters and Linden/Covenant/the Giants etc. Considering the power of the original confrontation in Revelstone where Stave threw his lot in with Linden [the best set piece of the series] , this was a damp squib.

General summing up. The book was well, frankly a bit of a bore. It wasn't awfull, but I kept wanting it to be finished - never a good sign. The 'malachite climb' and Staves subsequent saving by the giants was the only part of the entire book where I was gripped. I sort of liked the final scenes of the book while still recognising them as being pretty pappy and not up to much. And how was it all supposed to work anyway - did TC and Linden sort of follow the Worm around collecting the bits and sticking them back together [like a mum following a destructive toddler round a house?]. I did like the Ur-Vile and Waynhim resolution - but I never really got how SWMNBN was set free [just because the arch had begun to crumble she was able to slip out was it - then why not Foul also? Oh - I forgot; He set aside his goal of scores of millenia [and blew his chance] because he was....having too much fun? And I missed the 'cast' not going anywhere. There were no Revelstones, no Soaring Woodhelvenin's, nothing to break the grey brume of 'Kevins Dirt' and rain swept tundra. All in all I'm reminded of how you hurt a readership who've lost everything; you give them back something broken.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But we learned that even broken things can be precious.

I am willing to cut Jeremiah a lot of slack--he was catatonic and captive to a croyel for years, after all.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pete the ageing savage wrote:
but I never really got how SWMNBN was set free [just because the arch had begun to crumble she was able to slip out was it - then why not Foul also? Oh - I forgot; He set aside his goal of scores of millenia [and blew his chance] because he was....having too much fun?

Um, that was all pretty explicit in the text. He waited intending to take Jeremiah with him to capture the Creator, but Jeremiah escaped from moksha's control. Then Jeremiah blocked him (temporarily) from leaving with his forbidding, and finally SHWNBN made Jeremiah's forbidding strong enough to hold firm. Thus reduced, Covenant took Foul into himself, so there was no more chance of him escaping.

That last part (the absorbing Foul) was a bit wishy-washy on the "how", but the stuff about Foul missing his opportunity was pretty clearly laid out.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other factor in keeping Foul from escaping was Roger's stabbing him with the krill, which pinned him down temporarily.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SoulBiter wrote:
we didnt get any of the rebuilding of the land as they get swept away in the Last dark.... Example: Linden's healing of the Land....Imagine the end of the Second Chrons without it...


Best criticism of The Last Dark, IMO. This should have happened. I imagine a scene where SRD literally describes "the last dark" as TC, Linden, and the other characters drift in a formless black void after the Earth's destruction, preserved by wild magic. Then, the reconstruction starts.

Could have been a very powerful scene.

dlbpharmd wrote:

There are still croyel in the world, as well as the Lurker (I doubt he's really a good guy now.)


Yes but Jehannum will easily be the most powerful of the remaining "evil" beings. The Ravers have already been shown to be able to dominate the Lurker, Sandgorgons, and skurj. I don't think the Raver is going anywhere. He's probably going to have a "Sauron moment" where he steps out of the shadow of Foul and becomes the big bad.

Of course, if Covenant, Linden, or Jeremiah sticks around, he's going to make himself scarce.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
There are still croyel in the world, as well as the Lurker (I doubt he's really a good guy now.)


The Worm destroyed the world. Covenant/Linden/Jeremiah rebuilt/restored it. But there was no exposition of how they did it. Is it possible that they recreated the world without croyel (and other things)?
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