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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I the only one who is bemused that TLD repeats the error from AATE about Linden being sent into a funk by turiya Herem during her previous translation when TWL makes it clear that it was samadhi Sheol aka Gibbon that did the dirty deed. This episode was far from trivial in terms of the plot and Linden's development as a character in the Second Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
Am I the only one who is bemused that TLD repeats the error from AATE about Linden being sent into a funk by turiya Herem during her previous translation when TWL makes it clear that it was samadhi Sheol aka Gibbon that did the dirty deed. This episode was far from trivial in terms of the plot and Linden's development as a character in the Second Chronicles.


I didnt catch that. Ill have ot go back and look. wow.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can never keep those damn ravers straight. I read their names and just gloss over which ever one it is. They're pretty much interchangeable, right?

Linden was possessed by another Raver at the end of WGW. Maybe that's what SRD was talking about in TLD?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I can never keep those damn ravers straight. I read their names and just gloss over which ever one it is. They're pretty much interchangeable, right?

Linden was possessed by another Raver at the end of WGW. Maybe that's what SRD was talking about in TLD?


No, there's no mistake about Linden being possessed by moksha Jehannum, either in TLD or in AATE, FR and ROTE. Also, ROTE correctly recalls that it was samadhi Sheol that touched Linden during her previous translation, which makes the error in the later books even more jarring.

Not, mind you, that this is stopping me from enjoying TLD. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the Second Chrons, samahdi was Gibbon, turiya followed them all around possessing various animals to provoke Covenant, and moksha possessed Linden at the end, IIRC. And yeah, touching Gibbon sent Linden overboard because of her healthsense. Can't remember if similar stuff happened with, for example, the eels onboard Starfare's Gem.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:
ussusimiel wrote:
I have just finished Chpt.2 in Part II and we've had another one of those kitchen sink battles that SRD seems to feel the need to load into the Last Chrons. I genuinely hate these battles because of the number and variety of immense forces that they contain. This may be the worst so far and it definitely was the most depressing from my perspective. The skurj I don't mind because I never liked them anyway, but the casual treatment of the sandgorgons and the peremptory use of the Fire Lions was really annoying and almost upsetting. Again magnificance is reduced; to body parts in the case of the sandgorgons (I honestly never wanted to think about the inside of a sandgorgon. I always saw them of creatures of power rather than some sort of animal) and blatant convenience with the Fire Lions.

The resolution of the a battle that had raged for pages took a short paragraph and an opportunity to at least give us a look at the glory of the Fire Lions was passed over with a swiftness that diminshed them to almost an irrelevance. In LFB we got an extended passage where the Fire Lions raged, here we were given nothing. Again it feels like a deliberate toning down and reduction of something marvellous and fantastic.

u.

Yep, agreed. All that needed to happen to resolve the whole skurj/Sandgorgon issue in one fell (and clunkingly forced) swoop was for the bad guys to suddenly decide to change ends, like football teams at half-time. So after twenty pages or so, the Sandgorgons for no good reason suddenly decide to charge up the slope after Linden and at the exact same moment, the skurj likewise suddenly decide to charge down the slope after TC. Here's the oh so detailed description of why this Russian ballet-style troika occurred:-
TLD - Part II - Chapter 3 wrote:
Then he was given a momentary reprieve. A kind of convulsion seemed to grip the Sandgorgons as if an invisible hand had taken hold of their minds. They paused; scanned the valley as if they sought more satisfying opponents. An instant later, they wheeled away.

Some of them delivered a last flurry of blows, but soon all of them were pounding back up the valley. Massed and eager, they formed a bleached river pouring irresistibly uphill. At the same time, the skurj began to squirm downward, horrific numbers of the serpent-like monsters. As the Sandgorgons ascended, they parted only to let scores of skurj pass among them.

The attackers had traded targets.

Well, that's as clear as mud, then. No good reason at all, apart from a deliberate and blatantly contrived plot device to finish the battle off with lightning speed, since a mere page and a half later, the Lurker floods the valley, killing all the skurj who obligingly have massed together on the low-lying ground and the Firelions dispose of all the Sandgorgons, who obligingly have massed together right in front of them.

A real forced clunker of a resolution there. Did anyone else get the feeling that at this particular point, SRD had pretty much lost interest and was just knocking previously set-up narrative skittles over as fast as possible, carelessly knotting issues off as quick as he could, whle hurrying towards his conclusion?

I can't help thinking that SRD should have issued a fair few preliminary drafts to get committed reader feedback, before sending the final manuscript off for publication. There's a great deal of commonality of feeling and agreement about those passages, issues and narrative treatments where people on KW - SRD and Covenant's most ardent fans, remember - feel they've been sold disappointingly short.


Well said! I've finally finished this chapter (having less fun, slowing down). What everyone else pointed out bothered me, too, but we can't ignore that the beginning of the battle happened with just as much inexplicable abruptness and pointlessness. That's what bothers me so much about these "kitchen sink" battles. They come out of nowhere, for no clear reason, without any warning or looming sense of tension. Shit just happens. But somehow, the characters all know it's going to happen anyway, for at least a couple chapters. Covenant knew that moksha was now controlling the skurj, before we even see them. Linden knew the Sandgoregns were going to attack, even though there's no reason for them to do so. How did the characters know this stuff? Ignorance is no longer a plot device. Now it's all about inexplicable knowledge of inexplicable danger ... for no other reason than to telegraph to the readers, "Hey, get ready! Here it comes!" But this half-hearted attempt at tension is blown at both ends: when it's introduced (for no reason, without explanation) and when it's consummated (out of the blue, no build-up).

Now it's one thing to be ambushed. Sure, that happens. But then why do we have to be told that the ambush is going to happen? If you're not going to build up tension by announcing the looming potential in a way that makes sense, rather than leaving us scratching our heads in confusion, then what's the point of spoiling the surprise?

I don't understand these narrative choices. The battles made so much more sense, narratively, when you could see them coming: Ramen scouts announcing that Lord Foul's army is on the move ... Hile Troy racing to get his army into position ... a siege closing about Revelstone. Or, when it truly is surprising and shocking: seeing a Sandgorgen in action for the first time ... "Nom" ... raver attacks (eels, bees, etc.).

I have no idea why Lord Foul wants to attack our heroes. In the 1st Chrons, it was to make Covenant despair so that he'd use enough power to break the Arch. In the the 2nd Chrons it was to trigger Covenant's venom so he'd either use too much power (break the Arch) or become so scared of himself he'd give up the ring. But this time, LF will get his deepest desire merely by the Worm's waking. So what's the point of these tedious, unsurprising, out-of-nowhere, inexplicable, too-easily-finished battles? I don't have a clue. And honestly, I don't care.

I miss Esmer and the Insequent. At least their mysteries were interesting.

[Edit to add: Covenant turned wild magic into a sword? And people have a problem using the krill to cut food? Did anyone else think of Space Balls 'light saber' schwartz battle when they said, "My schwartz is bigger than yours"??? Not a good image during a Chronicles battle! Laughing ]
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Z said:
Quote:
I have no idea why Lord Foul wants to attack our heroes. In the 1st Chrons, it was to make Covenant despair so that he'd use enough power to break the Arch. In the the 2nd Chrons it was to trigger Covenant's venom so he'd either use too much power (break the Arch) or become so scared of himself he'd give up the ring. But this time, LF will get his deepest desire merely by the Worm's waking. So what's the point of these tedious, unsurprising, out-of-nowhere, inexplicable, too-easily-finished battles? I don't have a clue. And honestly, I don't care.


dead on.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Climbing up Mt.Thunder's asshole. Good times.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I noticed that unfortunate (intended?) metaphor, too. The constant references to the mountain as a kneeling figure made it pretty unavoidable, eh?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I can't help thinking that SRD should have issued a fair few preliminary drafts to get committed reader feedback, before sending the final manuscript off for publication."

No. No, No No No No.

Although I agree with all the other points, I can countenance this.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter: Parting Company spoilers.

My god, this is just aweful. For over 100 pages, the company has done nothing but fight their way into Mt. Thunder. Dirty, nasty, bloody, dark, fighting. Over and over. I've never imagined that I'd encounter a Donaldson book that I wanted to skim, that I didn't want to savor. I don't care who is guarding the rear, or which giant falls off a ledge. The book is swarming with Haruchai and giants that have appeared out of nowhere to be nothing more than a body count.

Fucking Cavewights. I'm supposed to care about them? 10 books later, they suddenly have kids I'm supposed to worry about? Jesus.

Handir's questions. Bhapa's lie. Pointless melodrama. How many times do we need people telling us how much the Haruchai suck? Why couldn't they simply ride in and help save the day? Did we need this repetition of pointless narrative conflict while the world is ending?

Oh yeah, the world is ending. Good thing Jeremiah has the Worm vision, because otherwise it would hardly be part of the story at all. I had no idea they wouldn't even *try* to save the world. Nope, there's just time for one more quest to Mt Thunder. That's where Foul is, because, as Covenant says, "Where else would he be?" Shit, maybe he's riding the Worm to his life-long dream of being freed? Makes a lot more sense than waiting around in a cave for our heroes to have their dramatic confrontation.

Just aweful. I suppose lots of people were having this feeling around this point in the story ... realizing it's almost done and thinking, "This is it? This is how the entire Chronicles ends? With pointless battles in Mt Thunder's colon?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure how far along everyone is in their reading, so be careful reading my post if you haven't finished it.
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

I just have a couple of things to say, the first one is...MY MOM WAS RIGHT!! Smile Before Runes was published she said that she thought that Foul and Covenant would merge and become one. However, she thought that the merging would be so cataclysmic that it would cause the breaking of the Arch...at the time she had not considered the Worm at all...But, the forging of Foul and Covenant would be the keystone of a second Arch and Linden would once again heal the Land. After reading FR, she changed her prediction to the Worm destroying the Arch, but she still thought that Covenant and Foul's merging would create a new one. So, she was a little off. And in a way, it disappoints me a little bit with how it actually ended. All Covenant does is hug Foul?? I wanted a little more BOOM when they merged.

I did, however love Jeremiah. I loved the fane, I loved how he sent moskha to his "graves", and I loved how he became incarnate Earthpower. The "She" storyline was a bit too much though. I think it bogged down the ending too much. I wanted more Covenant and Foul in Kiril Threndor. The build up to that battle was so much better than the battle itself. I wanted the ruin of Hotash Slay again, or the desperation we got in WGW. I wanted Foul to fight Covenant's merging attempt. I also wanted the Creator to show up, we haven't seen him since he talked to Linden in TWL.

But I did get Forestals! Caerriol Wildwood's transformation of Marthiir was beautiful! And the creation of the bower by the fane was exquisite. Donaldson really knows how to write musical scenes. I loved the marriage between Thomas and Linden, and it didn't bother me at all that he gave Linden Joan's ring. It was necessary. It was surreal and beautiful.

I also loved the image of the Worm as it came into the Land via the Sunbirth Sea. But, after that and after it's advancement of the fane, all we get of it is Jeremiah's reports of how it's crashing towards Melenkurion Skyweir.

Clyme's death was heartbreaking.

Brinn's appearance was glorious.

The death of the Giants... Crying or Very sad

I guess that's all I'll say for now. The Land was made new again. Covenant, Linden and Jeremiah walked off into the sunrise...all in all a great ending to a wonderful story. Joy is in the Ears that hear. I hope somewhere Mom, Uncle Steve and Uncle Isaiah are laughing along with Foamfollower. Smile

I have beheld a wonderful story...
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Condign wrote:
TheFallen wrote:
"I can't help thinking that SRD should have issued a fair few preliminary drafts to get committed reader feedback, before sending the final manuscript off for publication.

No. No, No No No No.

Although I agree with all the other points, I can countenance this.

(I guess you meant that you couldn't countenance this.

Well... your review elsewhere matches pretty exactly with what I and others have also posted as our main issues with TLD. Okay, I freely acknowledge that it's SRD's book and SRD's world, so he can do as he damn well pleases.

Having said that, as an author of a long-running series, he must have been aware (and especially given the success of the first two Chronicles) that he had a wide readership heavily invested in the Covenant saga and as such, I wonder what he'd think about the fairly prevalent feeling of dissatisfaction at least expressed here on the Watch - which, let's face it, is where a wide group of his longest-term committed fans hang out.

To my mind, there are only two possible causes of such widespread reader disappointment. Either a) SRD for whatever reason rushed TLD, employing clunking dei ex machinae and tying off narrative loose ends both hurriedly and carelessly. Or b) the manuscript got savagely abridged and hacked about by an overzealous editor. In either case, a "sounding-board" type objective view from one or two other interested parties pre-publication might have resulted in a less problematic culmination of a work spanning 35 years or so.

I wouldn't blame SRD if it was reason a) above... it must be so hard for any artist to see the wood for the trees when examining his/her own work. And if it was reason b) above, I'd love for there to be a "director's cut" release of the Last Chrons, even if only along the lines of "Gildenfire", with any chapters that didn't make the cut issued separately. Wishful thinking, I know.

Damn but I'd love to know which....
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the problem was SRD's famous strategy of "writing for the end." I think he had a few big plot points worked out, and then just figured he'd fill in the gaps with a thesaurus and recycled gimmicks. The chapters in between his Big Moments are a chore to read, and seem pointless. Literally filler. If it's not vital to the story, why write it? He calls himself an efficient writer, but my god the Last Chronicles could have been two books. Easily. Gratefully.

I started noticing this in WGW. It's been a problem ever since, with each subsequent Chronicles book. In previous volumes, each scene was a thing of wonder, something special and necessary, not merely a layer of words to the next nugget of importance.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:

I guess you meant that you couldn't countenance this.


Thanks for the correction, you are correct!

Anyway, I did read somewhere (from Donaldson himself, I think?) that the published version was a few hundred pages less than his original manuscript. This, to me at least, is quite intriguing.

As for being an efficient writer, point taken. The last couple of books were far from 'efficient' - but perhaps his writing style is changing.

As for how he feels about the dissatisfaction on The Watch? I'm going to assume that he refrains from reading it - I know I would! It's too tough, as an author, to keep second-guessing your fandom. Look what happened to Anne Rice.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be fair, when he talked about being efficient, he was justifying his limited world-building in contrast to someone like Tolkien.

But he has also said--about the Gap series--that every sentence was "aimed like a laser" at the conclusion. And I think that's a fair description of that series. Not this one, though.

Years ago he said he didn't visit the Watch, because of both positive and negative opinions of his work. His ego didn't need to be either inflated or deflated, he (basically) said. But he also said he appreciated that there were people who took his writing seriously enough to consider it in so much detail.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter spoilers: All Lost Women

I'm almost done. That should be a bitter-sweet realization of enjoying every word so much that I can't stop reading, while at the same time feeling the reluctance of not wanting it to end.

Now I just want it to end. I want to put this series out of my misery.

I'm sick of the plot device where people know exactly what they're going to do (Linden, Covenant), and they tell others that they've made up their minds, but then they stop there and don't ask the obvious questions, don't reveal the obvious answers, because that would give it away to the readers. Why couldn't Linden just say that she's going to confront She? She might never see her son again, but she can't muster the common decency of telling him why she's leaving?

And SRD is fully aware of this plot device; he knows it's a frustrating gimmick when he has Jeremiah say, "Stop that. Stop saying things you know I can't understand."

And Covenant tells this kid--who just lost his mother for no explicable reason--that, "It's fun, isn't it? You're like all the rest of us. Nobody ever hands you an answer. The only thing you can do is guess. Then you have to take your chances."

No, it's not fun. Jeremiah is right. It's bullshit. If Covenant doesn't have the answer by now--an enduring solution, as Donaldson promised--then what's the fucking point? Covenant is risking everyone's lives to confront Foul, and he has no idea what he's going to do when he gets there? Right. That's another excuse not to give it away to the readers. If he truly doesn't know, then I'm absolutely bored by his motivation. He might as well have said, "Because that's what you do at the end of a Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Haven't you read the other books?"

Here's an idea: why don't you people with all this power come up with a fucking plan??? Why are you joking and smirking and teasing a poor, lost, abandoned kid with your bullshit answers when you could actually put your heads together--and your powers---and not just walk into your final confrontation and wing it??

If he could have drawn a circle and taken the group anywhere they needed to go, why the hell did they waste so much time and lives fighting their way up Mt Thunder's bowels? Linden and Stave just appear wherever Stave wants--and look, they're not running when they get there!--so why couldn't they have done that sooner?

At this point in WGW and PTP, you felt the end coming like pulse of your own heartbeat. You could feel it in the marrow of your bones. Now, I don't even feel it on the page. This is paint-by-numbers Chronicles. This is fill in the blank Chronicles. A formulaic, lifeless, joyless money-grab.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Chapter spoilers: All Lost Women

I'm almost done. That should be a bitter-sweet realization of enjoying every word so much that I can't stop reading, while at the same time feeling the reluctance of not wanting it to end.

Now I just want it to end. I want to put this series out of my misery.

... This is paint-by-numbers Chronicles. This is fill in the blank Chronicles. A formulaic, lifeless, joyless money-grab.


unfortunately, I agree with you yet again. Sad. I wish I could un-read it.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Z, I'm with you too... TPTP and WGW both put me through the emotional wringer. Foamfollower died, fercrissakes. Covenant sacrificed himself, fercrissakes.

God I wonder what you're going to make of the "epilogue". Have a double shot of bourbon ready...

However, I don't think it's a money-grab. I think it's self-indulgent allegorising, where the parable, the philosophy according to SRD, has become far more important to the author than the "mere" demands of preserving a compelling and emotionally involving narrative.

Can't wait for you to finish and dive on into some of the other threads by those who've finished the LCs.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:
Z, I'm with you too... TPTP and WGW both put me through the emotional wringer. Foamfollower died, fercrissakes. Covenant sacrificed himself, fercrissakes.

God I wonder what you're going to make of the "epilogue". Have a double shot of bourbon ready...

However, I don't think it's a money-grab. I think it's self-indulgent allegorising, where the parable, the philosophy according to SRD, has become far more important to the author than the "mere" demands of preserving a compelling and emotionally involving narrative.

Can't wait for you to finish and dive on into some of the other threads by those who've finished the LCs.


TPTP was one of the most emotionally wringing novels I have ever read. I am always just exhausted when I finish it.
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