Kevin's Watch Forum Index
 HomeHome   MemberlistMemberlist   RegisterRegister   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   FAQFAQ   StatisticsStatistics  SudokuSudoku   Phoogle MapPhoogle Map 
 AlbumAlbum StoresStores   StoresItems Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Is there a "right age" to read the Chronicles?
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
DrPaul
Giantfriend


Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 388

Thanks: 2
Thanked 11 Times in 9 Posts


2099 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:15 am    Post subject: Is there a "right age" to read the Chronicles? Reply with quote

I've just had this article drawn to my attention:

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/12/is-there-a-right-age-to-read-a-book

Quite a few of us would have come across the First and Second Chronicles as teenagers or young adults, and have re-read and/or reflected on them over the years as we've become older.

I don't claim to speak for anyone else, but I know that my own appreciation of the books has changed with age. In particular, when I was younger I (like, I think, a lot of people) was very impatient with Covenant's timidity and passivity (and occasional outright bastardry) in the First Chronicles. However, on more recent re-reads I have better understood Covenant's attitude, summed up in his statement in TIW that "I'm a coward! Lepers have to be."

Reflecting on why this is so, I think it has to do with the difference between being a young man when I first encountered the Chronicles (with a young man's unexamined assumptions about his own abilities, autonomy and capacity for agency) and reaching an age when I had acquired a better understanding of my own limitations and dependencies (and was physically less able to ignore them!), and thus perhaps better able to empathise with Covenant's self-limiting discipline.

Of course (and this gets back to the point raised in the article I've linked to) my youthful impatience with Covenant certainly didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the First Chronicles.

I suspect (and could be doing people a grave injustice in so doing) that it might also be the case that the younger people are when they read the Second Chronicles, the more likely they are to join THOOLAH.

What have others' experiences been?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
lurch
Swamp Thang

Male
Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 2671

Thanks: 12
Thanked 24 Times in 21 Posts

Location: Dahm dahm, dahm do dahm obby do
3744 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a " right age" to read the Chronicles?

Yes and I have been all of them.

More than age, is the need to have the right mind set, the right perspective, or simply, an open enough mind to catch upside down, inside out " play" that the author works in TCoTC. Perhaps such a mental state comes with age, perhaps not. Recent thread on SRD's humor in the Last Chrons illustrate that age isn't necessarily the qualifier to getting all of Donaldsons work.

Plot is just the beginning. Perhaps leprosy, rape, etc implies a age threshold in order to deal with those dark attributes of the story. Again that relies on a maturity to age relationship that may or may not exist. When does a youth start understanding the subtleties of Shakespeare?..How can one NOT re-read Shakespeare?? Perhaps thats the threshold for any " Art";when one is willing to re-read a piece of work, then one is ready,,at the right conjuncture of experience and perspective, then one is ready for it.

Very few authors have brought me to tears. Hesse got me as a young man. Donaldson got me with TLD.
_________________
If she withdrew from exaltation, she would be forced to think- And every thought led to fear and contradictions; to dilemmas for which she was unprepared.
pg4 TLD
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
peter
the spider from Mars


Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 5936

Thanks: 38
Thanked 40 Times in 39 Posts


16788 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddly, my perspective on reading the !st C., age 19 was not the one of impatience with TC for his reluctence to 'get involved' or even hatred of him for his bastardry. His position seemed right to me, for a man in his position and I instictively understood it. Yes I yearned for the point where he would overcome his inner anger and fear and take on the role he had been asigned [we all knew he would eventually do this] but at no point was I frustrated with him. So in this sense the idea that the impatience of youth makes it a bad time to read the Chrons doesn't hold up for me. However - without doubt I failed to see 'deeper meaning' in the books, seeing them instead as simply fine, fine stories; and I have never been able to 'rise above' this even at successive readings up to and into my 50's. Who knows - maybe had I first read 1C. in my 40's or whatever my perspective on the 'deep meaning' thing may have been different.
_________________
http://jhfv.blogspot.co.uk/

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
distrait72
Servant of the Land


Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 1

Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts


5 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:14 am    Post subject: I would suppose there really isn't Reply with quote

I gave LFB to my older brother for his 13th birthday. I was 10. He read it, then more or less discarded it. I kept it and read it, then ended up buying the sequels and then waiting for each new book to come out. At that age, there were things I didn't understand, certainly but I understood enough to keep me interested over the years.
To briefly give a reply, no. There is no 'right' age to begin reading. As the other people in this discussion have already stated, it depends on the reader's level of comprehension, maturity, etc. It would have to be a decision on a case-by-case basis.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rau Le Creuset
Commander

Male
Joined: 29 Jun 2013
Posts: 193

Thanks: 4
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts


2413 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Aliantha Berries1 Member of THOOLAH1 Lomillialor


PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on the person really.. For me i was to stupid to appreciate what i read when i was in grade 8. so about 13. I read all three books, didn't really like them and proceeded to discard them from memory. Re-read them last year in grade 12 and now I will never forget them, or have another favorite series. strange really.
_________________
"I am He, that arrogant fool who thought he could thwart death itself with his money."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
peter
the spider from Mars


Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 5936

Thanks: 38
Thanked 40 Times in 39 Posts


16788 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If that makes you in your late teens Rau, then you are about exactly the same age as I was on my first read. 38 years on I'm still of the opinion that the 1st Chrons were the best three books I have EVER read.
_________________
http://jhfv.blogspot.co.uk/

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sgt.null
jack of odd trades; master of fun

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 40308

Thanks: 40
Thanked 72 Times in 71 Posts

Location: texas
7531 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 2007 Watchies1 2005 Watchies1 2011 Watchies


PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was 13ish when I read the first...
_________________
“life's not a paragraph
And death i think is no parenthesis”
― E.E. Cummings
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
peter
the spider from Mars


Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 5936

Thanks: 38
Thanked 40 Times in 39 Posts


16788 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Sarge, that would have been too young for me. I was reading some fairly advanced stuff at that age but nothing of the sheer size of the First Chrons. I suspect that LFB might have been a bit beyond my patience at that age.
_________________
http://jhfv.blogspot.co.uk/

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Iolanthe
Proudly wearing Purple

FemaleRanyhyn
Joined: 05 Feb 2012
Posts: 3213

Thanks: 2
Thanked 31 Times in 29 Posts

Location: Lincolnshire, England
6421 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of Linden's Army1 Glimmermere1 Plains of Ra


PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely there are other things besides age that affect the way the Chronicles will affect you, like your circumstances, experience, frame of mind etc.

I was mid 30s, married with two young children when I first read them - that is, the first Chronicles (the others hadn't been published then). Looking after children all day, teaching piano from late afternoon well into the evening, I was looking for escapism, not a lesson in life. I can see how very differently someone half my age would be affected by reading them for the first time, but as we are all different, the perception of the Chrons is also going to be different for each of us.
_________________
I am playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order!

"I must state plainly, Linden, that you have become wondrous in my sight."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
peter
the spider from Mars


Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 5936

Thanks: 38
Thanked 40 Times in 39 Posts


16788 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is indeed true Iolanthe. The Chrons are a sufficiently complex affair [and boy do I know that now after three or four years on the Watch more than I did at the time!] - sufficiently complex to draw out a multitude of responses from different readers. At 18 I could however read them as simply a story [still can in fact] and I never needed to go any deeper than that [still don't]. I wonder if my whole perception of the Chrons would have been altered if I had first encountered them at say 30 when you did.
_________________
http://jhfv.blogspot.co.uk/

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eldritch
Servant of the Land


Joined: 09 Mar 2014
Posts: 10

Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Times in 1 Posts


55 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re reading the FC.

First read, I discarded the violation of Lena, just took it as a plot device. (Nice guy, huh?)

Went to night school, did a dissertation on a novel. Yep LFB. Understood that, although TC thought the Land was a dream, his guilt, regarding Lena, was real!

At college we had to present a novel from a feminist point of view, LFB c'mere! Atiaran got me a pass with honours.

Now, as a father, I'm surprised Trell didn't introduce TCs head to TCs back passage.
_________________
She said do you remember a time when angels
Do you remember a time when fear
In the days when I was stronger
In the days when you were here
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dondarion
Elohim


Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 102

Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts


1033 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, a story takes the reader where he is, as he is. Whatever is gleaned from it's being read is never wasted. I am interested here to see how this story has satisfied so many readers at various ranges of "maturity", from those simply looking for a stand alone tale to those with a desire to reach the deeper levels of meaning and truth the story offers. Until one's mind is opened by life experience, it isn't possible to be the latter type of reader. But that shouldn't keep us from reading this wonderful series for whatever it may offer each of us. When I first read it in my 20s, I was a bit frustrated with TC's constant denial, and bargains, and moodiness and downright mean demeanor. It wasn't until later that I started to look more at the reasons for why this might have been the case, and that can only come with a more mature perspective about life and the people in it. SRD himself has said that he felt he needed to mature as a writer until he was ready to take on TLCs, which is why it took so many years for him to revisit this tale. If he had to do that to effectively write it, it is safe to say that we have to do the same to effectively read it. Bit we have to start, and thus the journey begins.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
DrPaul
Giantfriend


Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 388

Thanks: 2
Thanked 11 Times in 9 Posts


2099 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eldritch wrote:
Now, as a father, I'm surprised Trell didn't introduce TCs head to TCs back passage.


Basically, in LFB Lena deliberately misinformed her parents about what had happened, and Triock did not learn the truth about the rape and tell Trell until Covenant was out of Mithil Stonedown with Atiaran. Then Trell stayed home to care for Lena while Triock pursued Covenant and Atiaran.

In TIW, when Trell met Covenant in Revelstone he basically tried to do what you suggest and was prevented from doing so by Bannor.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
peter
the spider from Mars


Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 5936

Thanks: 38
Thanked 40 Times in 39 Posts


16788 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just aquired a new set of The Chronicles of thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and am in preparation to begin my 'Magnum Opus'. I intend to prepare a detailed chronological account and time line [or as detailed as possible] of all of the events preceeding TC's first appearing in the Land on top of Kevins Watch. This will include any and all mythological references alongside the known historical events. How long it will take, or if I can complete such an undertaking I have no idea, but a 'mans reach should exeed his grasp or what's a heaven for?' I'll give it my best shot. I have not grasped all of the 'deeper meaning' of any of the Chrons, least of all the Last - but this should not impeed me. My aim is to 'catalogue' rather than to interpret. I'm 56 years old now. For the first time in my life I'm going to read in complete, from start to finish, [including 'Gilden Fire'], The Complete Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.
_________________
http://jhfv.blogspot.co.uk/

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dondarion
Elohim


Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 102

Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts


1033 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BP: May The Craetor bless your endeavor! I hope you choose to use this forum along the way to post status, check your work, add insight, etc. It is an admirable undertaking you embark upon, and I hope it doesn't expose too many SRD inconsistencies along the way. But, in the end, I think it will provide a great reference tool to 'keep it all straight', a frustration I have whenever I pick these books up (especially TLCs). All the best on what I am sure will be a great journey.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Avatar
Immanentizing The Eschaton


Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 51863

Thanks: 70
Thanked 140 Times in 137 Posts

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
13123 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran


PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, you better post that stuff. Very Happy

Anyway, as to the question... First read LFB when I was thirteen or so. All of the first 6 were out by then, so I'd read them all within the year. (First books I ever ordered from a bookshop. Very Happy ) Never liked (trusted) Linden all that much, but no inclination toward THOOLAH either. Very Happy

LFB was probably my first real experience of the idea of an anti-hero. (With the possible exception of Noyes' Highwayman if you happen see him that way.)

I was immediately blown away by the first book ("Say to the Council of Lords, and the High Lord Prothall, son of Dwillian, that the uttermost limit of their span of days upon the Land is seven times seven years from the present time") and all the other five that followed.

Donaldson's ability to make you hate characters you should feel sorry for, and to empathise with those you should despise is a remarkable one.

I dunno if there is a right age, but I don't really think there is a wrong one either. If you can read it, you can read it, if you know what I mean.

--A
_________________
Don't believe everything you think.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Phoogle Map
DrPaul
Giantfriend


Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 388

Thanks: 2
Thanked 11 Times in 9 Posts


2099 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just thought of another angle to this thread.

If we look at our volumes of the Chronicles on our bookshelves, we will probably find that they are far from physically identical. If we think about it, this is due to changes in our lives and fortunes between the times when we bought our books.

My volumes of the First and Second Chronicles are all second-hand paperbacks, and some still carry the labels displaying the cheap prices I paid and the names of the second-hand shops in the insalubrious precincts of Sydney where I bought the books in the 1980s.

On the other hand all my volumes of the Last Chronicles are hardback copies that I bought new as soon as they appeared in Brisbane bookshops, apart from TLD which I bought online (also new and hardback).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Iolanthe
Proudly wearing Purple

FemaleRanyhyn
Joined: 05 Feb 2012
Posts: 3213

Thanks: 2
Thanked 31 Times in 29 Posts

Location: Lincolnshire, England
6421 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of Linden's Army1 Glimmermere1 Plains of Ra


PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
I've just thought of another angle to this thread.

If we look at our volumes of the Chronicles on our bookshelves, we will probably find that they are far from physically identical. If we think about it, this is due to changes in our lives and fortunes between the times when we bought our books.

My volumes of the First and Second Chronicles are all second-hand paperbacks, and some still carry the labels displaying the cheap prices I paid and the names of the second-hand shops in the insalubrious precincts of Sydney where I bought the books in the 1980s.

On the other hand all my volumes of the Last Chronicles are hardback copies that I bought new as soon as they appeared in Brisbane bookshops, apart from TLD which I bought online (also new and hardback).


Interesting thought DrPaul. My first Chrons are a hardback compendium of all three bought from a book club. The second three paperbacks from W H Smith as they came out. The four last Chrons all large hardback books. But I also have them all on kindle - much easier to read once one learns to wade through the errors in the text. In TLD there are at least two places where a very strange phrase has appeared in the middle of a word that should be there. I will write down examples for future reference when I read it again.
_________________
I am playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order!

"I must state plainly, Linden, that you have become wondrous in my sight."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
peter
the spider from Mars


Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 5936

Thanks: 38
Thanked 40 Times in 39 Posts


16788 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[Thanks Dondarian and Av. If it achieves any worth in my eyes it will surely find it's way here - and undoubtedly much 'brain picking' will be done along the way! Wink]

re Your 1st Chrons Compendium edition Iolanthe - are you satisfied that it was not 'edited' in any way from it's original published form in order to achieve this presentation? I ask because I deliberately avoided a combined edition of the 1st C. for fear that this might be the case. [I did once have a single volume edition, and I was never convinced that all three books could have been 'sqeezed' into the size of book it presented unless 'editing out' had been done. I gave the book to someone else to read so never really established if this was the case or not]. If you are happy that the text is 'unabridged' for these combined volumes then I may risk buying 2C. in this form.
_________________
http://jhfv.blogspot.co.uk/

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Iolanthe
Proudly wearing Purple

FemaleRanyhyn
Joined: 05 Feb 2012
Posts: 3213

Thanks: 2
Thanked 31 Times in 29 Posts

Location: Lincolnshire, England
6421 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of Linden's Army1 Glimmermere1 Plains of Ra


PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it is amended, Peter. When I read the Kindle version there was nothing there that I hadn't read before. It is a big, fat compendium. Very Happy
_________________
I am playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order!

"I must state plainly, Linden, that you have become wondrous in my sight."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Phoogle Map
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> The First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by Earthpower © Kevin's Watch