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A Critique of The Last Dark
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peter
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I fully agree with Lambolt here and would happily have seen the 2C done in a manner that preserved both the 'real - unreal' ststus of the books and TC as the lone central POV charachter.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I fully agree with Lambolt here and would happily have seen the 2C done in a manner that preserved both the 'real - unreal' ststus of the books and TC as the lone central POV charachter.

Rare as it is for me to stand up for Linden, I could not imagine the 2nd Chrons existing without her. The Sunbane is her internal conflict made manifest. Her backstory is an integral driver of the main story. Personally, I don't think I would have found the 2nd Chrons as interesting and as captivating, if TC had been the sole focus (and, anyway, we'd done that already in the 1st Chrons).

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It occurs to me that what Lambolt and peter want is what Lester del Rey tried to get SRD to write as a sequel...which SRD had too much integrity to do.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Rare as it is for me to stand up for Linden, I could not imagine the 2nd Chrons existing without her. The Sunbane is her internal conflict made manifest. Her backstory is an integral driver of the main story. Personally, I don't think I would have found the 2nd Chrons as interesting and as captivating, if TC had been the sole focus (and, anyway, we'd done that already in the 1st Chrons).


I agree with this completely. But one of the big problems I have with Linden is the way her backstory is presented, and her state when we first meet her.

She's horribly damaged and in desperate need of healing. Just as TC is when we first meet him (more so, in some ways, even). The problem is, that's not what we see when we first meet her.

My personal difficulty is that by the time we learn just how damaged she is, I had already formed such a strong (and very negative) opinion of her, that I was never able to really shake it.

That's just my reaction; SRD dug her into such a deep hole, right from the start, that he was never able (for me) to properly dig her out.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

starkllr wrote:
She's horribly damaged and in desperate need of healing. Just as TC is when we first meet him (more so, in some ways, even). The problem is, that's not what we see when we first meet her.

My personal difficulty is that by the time we learn just how damaged she is, I had already formed such a strong (and very negative) opinion of her, that I was never able to really shake it.

This wasn't really my experience. Linden never seemed that badly damaged to me. Driven, yes; loveless, yes, but clearly somone primed for redemption given the chance. The formation of the new Staff and the healing of the Land lifted Linden up so much that I finished the 2nd Chrons with a wholly positive feeling for her (built upon the sympathy generated by her backstory). Linden as the redeemed person returning to the 'real' world worked perfectly for me.

I really only started to dislike her personality in the LCs, and one of my main reasons for that was that the lessons she had learned in the 2nd Chrons didn't seem to make much of a difference. This was a real source of frustration for me, as we spend an immense amount of time with her (in her mind) in the first two books. In this (although I am regularly wont to open large cans of THOOLAH in relation to her Laughing ) I don't actually blame Linden, IMO, the fault lies with the direction that SRD took her character.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never got the Linden hate, even in the LC. I think she's an awesome character. But I did wonder what was the point of her having another journey in the Land if she'd solved her primary character problems in the 2nd Chrons. I think I can finally come to peace with those doubts, too.

Obviously, what she learned in the 2C was that healing can be more than an act of denying death (which is where she starts the 2C), but also affirming life (which is where she ends up in 2C). And she learns this by realizing "there is also love in the world," learning to love TC and the Land. But I'm not sure she ever accepts that she *is* evil ... that it's not just actions she did as a child, but something she still carries with her, which can make her responsible for future calamities (i.e. the Worm). For that realization, she needs more character development and redemption. She also needs continuing "sins."

This lingering need, and her remaining capacity for evil, is revealed when the lessons she learned in the Land are pitted against the needs of her son. She learned about healing and rebirth, but the literal form rebirth takes in our own lives is our children. So what does a healer do when faced with a choice between abstract rebirth and literal rebirth? Well, at the beginning of Runes, she would have chosen the literal rebirth: her son.

But life is not that simple. The abstract and the literal aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, they're necessarily interdependent, which is what she learns once she accepts the fact that Jeremiah must heal/redeem himself, as well as accepting that sometimes she must risk her son--or leaving her son--in order to serve the larger, perhaps more abstract concept of resisting entropy/decay/corruption herself. It's important not merely as a way to preserve the next generation, but also in each one of us, as an activity of our lives. We can't merely live for our kids. We have to have values that are our own, to which we're true. She has to resist death and entropy by her acts, not merely by her love and preservation of Jeremiah.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My take on Linden's characterization was that SRD intentionally layered his presentation of her, just as he structured the way we came to know Covenant.

With Covenant, we start out with someone who used to be functional and happy, but lost it all due to his illness. There is some sympathy, but SRD undercuts this soon after the summonsing to the Land. Lena and the subsequent pattern of more-berk-than-Berek behavior make it increasingly difficult to like our protagonist. Until well into the last quarter of TPTP, the first-time reader may not believe this person can possibly be the hero of the story...and that ambiguity was absolutely part of SRD's design.

Linden is initially presented as very high-functioning; doctors pretty much have to be, and she certainly is never shown as anything but professionally competent. However, she clearly is a bit off. The more we learn of her, the more clear it is that she is badly damaged beneath the physician facade. Eventually we see that that facade is itself a result of the damage; that her professional competence is not in spite of her broken-ness, it is because of it! Deprived of most of that role by her relative powerlessness in the Land (She has healthsense, but what can she do about it? Nada.), she becomes pretty useless...just as Covenant's refusal to act in the 1st Chrons made him an impotent character. Still, by the end of WGW, she steps up.

Why so many people can get over Covenant's shortcomings but cannot do the same for Linden perplexes me to this day. I am not sure of the workings of SRD's gift to make Covenant, Linden, even Angus morph from distasteful to admirable, but he certainly can pull this trick off over and over.

Eremis, however, remains unredeemed.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished TLD an hour ago... and I do have a contrary opinion here. It's the book in the whole series I'll reread the most as the years pass by. Smile

There's the story, and then there are the characters. The choices they make; their spirituality; their sensitivity to each other. I found a lot to chew on. SRD has clearly gotten older and wiser since the earlier chronicles, with more to learn from.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm disappointed we had to see the Worm at all. It was one of those mysteries that should have been left as a mystery. (Did the Creator create the world, or was it created by the Worm? Or was there even really a Worm at all?) Regarding the original post, I just finished TLD, but isn't it the case that the Worm isn't actually eating physical stars as we think of him, he's eating the Elohim, and that the stars and the Elohim are mystically the same thing?

IIRC, the Worm was always portrayed as somewhat physically small, just with a ravenous hunger. Though I think at one point it was said that if it awoke it would simply slough off the world like a pair of pajamas and that would be that. He also apparently falls asleep when he's full, so maybe the Earthblood made him drowsy.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

arenn:
It's possible that the worm dozed off in boredom while preparing itself for team TLJ, since they had to stop half way on their trip between Foul and Worm, in order for the older 2 to make sex while saying things that mean something else, and the younger to learn how to scratch his ass, and master his new jitsu.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The trouble, Blasius, is so have the rest of us. arenn [must be a haruchai name] is bang on regarding the paradoxes of the various creation myths being hugely complicated by the Worms appearence [though I'm not sure that *we* got to see the Worm at all; TC did, but was it ever described to us the reader].

I'm happy that numbers of people were able to get great joy from the final tetralogy and TLD in particular and I would not take that away from them for the world - but for me the final four books were a chore and the last book [and ending in particular] was a rushed botch up to wind up a story [I use the word advisedly] that had gotten out of controll and which the writter wanted out of ASAP.

38 years ago I started reading a story of inimitable beauty. A month ago I finished reading a poor excuse for a psyco-philosophical allegory [apparently - I still don't get even *that* myself]. Thus does the glory of the world become less than it was.*

[* Absolutely personal view that has no more weight than anybody elses and no pretentions to being a final word on the subject Wink]
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<Linden casts: POST RESURRECTION +3 >

It's been a long time since I've picked up any SRD.

I was considering reading the Last Chronicles again, since I felt my reaction to the finale was perhaps a little too emotional, being so close to it at the time.

But I've just re-read my critique at the start of this thread and I am not sure if I should. My problems with the book and the Last Chronicles in general still seem reasonable.

Has anyone else re-read it recently?

What did you think on re-reading?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re-reading for me was well worth it. First read goes too fast -- the emotion issue. You pick up a lot more detail the second time around. And that, for me, made the story more fulfilling -- the reasons behind things became clearer, the parts I disliked seem far less tiresome. I think you will be glad you did.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, I enjoyed it a bit more the 2nd time through.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm coming to it: I'm at the end of C2 and will attempt the third on a more straight run through basis. I'm truly hopefull of getting a richer experience this time, now that I understand that it is not the 1st or 2nd I'll be experiencing. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is bad.

I should NOT have posted here.

Now I'm beginning to seriously think I really should re-read the Last Chronicles!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My own experience of re-reading leads me to agree with Wayfriend and dlbpharmd.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having re-read Condign's OP I find all the memories flooding back and know that I remain, and always will do, in full agreement with them. I maintain that the loss of the Land as a principal character in 3C was probably it's chief downside and it was always going to be a hard ask to get people to engage with the story in its absence.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first Chronicles was written as a new story.
The second chronicles were written to clean up the chads left from the first book.
The third chronicles were written because the fanbase pestered
and moaned for a new one.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm re-reading the Last Chronicles right now, and am enjoying reading it slowly...so far, so good.
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