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Terribly disappointed by the ending :-( *spoiler*
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen, yup. Like I said in another thread, I enjoy the themes as much as the next dude, but for me the narrative also has to be on point. A distant third for me is world building and world lore, which mostly leaves me cold except where it pertains to the actual narrative.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:39 pm    Post subject: Terribly disappointed by the ending :-( *spoiler* Reply with quote

joques wrote:
This is all sophistry. One could debate world lore till one is blue in the face, but in a story with about as many retcons and contradictions as the Bible, that isn't very productive.

My problems are more related to the implied contract between author and reader, which in this case, and in my own personal view, was violated.


well that's a completely different matter of course.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joques wrote:
The Earthblood was supposed to have the diametrically opposite effect, in fact that was the whole point of the last two books! This rush to find some solution, because once the worm hits the earthblood, it's supercharged, and it's game over, man, game over! The worm will wreck the earth, the arch and start devouring the whole cosmos again, like it did before. That was the whole driving force of the narrative in the last two books!


And now suddenly that wasn't the case after all? No, sir. Not good enough.

Did you dislike White Gold Weilder, which ended in an exactly similar way?

That is, for six books, the driving force of the narrative was that, if Foul got the white gold ring, it would be game over, the Arch would be destroyed, and Foul would be free. Then he got the ring ... and suddenly that wasn't the case at all. So you must have felt that the author broke his contract with you ... right?

No? Smile

Of course not. What happened was the author defied your expectations. He led you to the point where defeat seemed inevitable ... and then surprised you with a victory. Creating a lot of suspense and apprehension, and then a lot of surprise and happiness.

If you found it acceptible the one time and unacceptible the next, you need to look for a better reason as to why that would be. Because the bit about authors and contract can't be the reason.

In fact, if you look at the three conclusions of the three Chronicles, each one goes a bit farther. Foul is defeated before he gets the ring; Foul is defeated after he gets the ring but before the Arch is destroyed; Foul is defeated after the Arch is destroyed. It's a natural progression that, in hindsignt, is almost inevitable and certainly predictable.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:
ussusimiel wrote:
P.S. TheFallen is too humble to tout his own excellent thread: TLD. Fusing the psychological alloy - an allegory unravelled. Check it out for a really good overview of one possible reading of the Last Chrons.
Humble? HUMBLE? ME??? I'm calling my lawyers here... Razz. You're too kind, u. I think SRD's interest in allegorically conveying a message based upon Jungian psychological theory is pretty easily demonstrable, as I attempted to do in my post that you link to.

Joques, as I said above, there are those of us who feel narratively very much let down by the author, but who still find the underlying philosophical/metaphysical intention and import of the Last Chrons interesting from a purely intellectual viewpoint - whether we agree with it or not.

On that basis, I entirely agree with you regarding the violation of the key "storyteller" part of the contract between author and reader - too many dei ex machinae, too little care and attention paid to the narrative demands of dramatic pacing, credible plot exposition and empathic character development left me emotionally uninvolved, dissatisfied and frankly a little irritated, as I've said elsewhere.

Needless to say, other branded opinions are also freely available...

Heh.


We may not like the Dei ex machina but Covenant and other supporting characters constantly eulogize the idea of miracles happening to save peoples' asses. The dei ex machina are therefore intentional and not escape pods from plot holes. The question of their delivery in the story is another question.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd argue that, as a matter of definition and text, there aren't any [or at least very few, I surely don't recall everything] examples of "deus ex machina," because everything that happens, [ones opinions about whether events are too contrived/unrealistic/manipulated or not, or are "satisfying" or not is a different matter] is foreshadowed in the text and consistent with the text.
Just one particular example: nearly everything about the damage/destruction/reassembly of the Arch of Time is implied/paralleled/foreshadowed by the descriptions/function/nature of, and encounters with, ceasura. A few things aren't...mostly Jerry-related aspects... but they are elsewhere hinted at.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
We may not like the Dei ex machina but Covenant and other supporting characters constantly eulogize the idea of miracles happening to save peoples' asses. The dei ex machina are therefore intentional and not escape pods from plot holes. The question of their delivery in the story is another question.

I hope everyone sees that. As I said in another post, I think Donaldson gave us fair warning about exactly what kind of ending to expect. Attempts must be made, even when there can be no hope. The alternative is despair. And betimes some wonder is wrought to redeem us. The dilemma of the characters wasn't saving the world, it was that they kept making attempts.

Look at it this way ... just for an example ... the Ardent appearing would have meant nothing had not Linden navigated through the huge choice of ceding the ring to the Harrow. It was that choice that was the thrust of the story ... anything the Ardent actually did was, while necessary, ultimately academic.

The Chronicles has been like that since day one. Covenant could do anything with the ring ... it was the choice to do it that was the hard part. What one might call Deus ex machina is really, in this story, no different than a wild white magic power. You can get hung up on the idea that, if you can make anything happen by waving a halfhand around, there's no dilemma to resolve. But Donaldson shows us how the story is about choosing far more than it is about doing.

As long as the thrust of the story is choices and the reasons for choosing, and for fighting despair in all it's guises, the story keeps its integrity.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joques wrote:
My problems are more related to the implied contract between author and reader, which in this case, and in my own personal view, was violated.

This is an interesting idea with implications wider than SRD and the LCs. To that end I've started a thread in the General Literature:Come on over and add your twocents

u.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend, those are very different cases.

In WGW the end twist is constantly beng foreshadowed. Covenant is always going on about how there's something Foul doesn't understand. Covenant might not always seem confident that he can pull it off, but he has a plan and by god he's going to give it a shot. Also, that ending fits within the narrative structure. Ever since, oh ... Illearth War, was it? ... when Mhoram told him that "You ARE the white gold", it had been building up to this kind of resolution. So in every way possible, the entirety of 1C and 2C were flowing naturally towards the ending of WGW.

Contrast this to The Last Dark. Nobody knows what's going to happen or how they're going to solve the problem. They're basically trusting to fate, flying blind. They (and we!) have been told in no uncertain terms that the worm will destroy the earth and the arch, and that once it hits the earthblood, it's all over. They are desperately clinging to some hope that some possibility to avert the disaster will present itself. And so far, I am on board. I was devouring the pages, desperately wanting to know how it would all resolve. And what happens? Donaldson flagrantly violated the established rules of his world in order to pull a sacccharine happy syrupy-sweet ending out of his posterior. And he didn't even explain how it had been accomplished! Presumably because he knew he wouldn't be able to. The mere thought of Covenant, Linden and Jeremy flying in the wake of the worm, like hyperactive Roombas, putting every atom back in its exact proper place so that not a single haruchai, a single blade of grass or a single bacteria died in the apocalypse, that just makes me hang my head, shake it and try not to laugh through my tears. And that doesn't even touch on how the elohim all of a sudden were able to put the worm to sleep again! Thankfully, Donaldson has Ardent fans who will come up with a convenient retcon for him: Oh, the worm was sated after the earthblood, don't you see?

You know what would have made me happy? If Donaldson had the conviction to let the events come to their honest conclusion. Let the worm destroy the earth and all life on it, and then escape into the cosmos. Then, sure, let Covenant, Linden and Jeremy rebuild the world from the ground up, but then life would have to re-evolve from scratch, presumably guided by them. It would be a very different kind of world, probably no earthpower without the worm, in fact it might look a lot like our own world. But that, to me, would be a much more honest ending. And of course, no inexplicably alive full cast of characters, standing around blinking stupidly.

Also, invoking some kind of narrative symmetry in how Fouls is defeated the three times holds no traction with me Smile

(I apologize for all the edits. I am a slow thinker sometimes.)


Last edited by joques on Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:05 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
joques wrote:
My problems are more related to the implied contract between author and reader, which in this case, and in my own personal view, was violated.

This is an interesting idea with implications wider than SRD and the LCs. To that end I've started a thread in the General Literature:Come on over and add your twocents

u.


Interesting! I'll give it some thought and head over there Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"[quote="wayfriend"]
shadowbinding shoe wrote:
We may not like the Dei ex machina but Covenant and other supporting characters constantly eulogize the idea of miracles happening to save peoples' asses. The dei ex machina are therefore intentional and not escape pods from plot holes. The question of their delivery in the story is another question.

I hope everyone sees that
"[end Wayfriends quote]

"betimes some wonder...." might better have been "Most of the time some wonder..." Laughing

[While I'm here - can I just ask (coz it doesn't seem worth a separate thread and it is pertinant to the end), why in peoples oppinion did SRD include that bit about the rainbow at the end. He's not a fool - he must have known it would be contentious, ala the sacherrine 'my little pony' images it conjours up - so why? It smacks of the "so here's your happy ending - live with it' atttitude that was mentioned above, but I can't believe thats the case - there is something here I'm failing to get.]
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:

"betimes some wonder...." might better have been "Most of the time some wonder..." Laughing


Or even, "every frickin' time, some wonder..." Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:00 pm    Post subject: Terribly disappointed by the ending :-( *spoiler* Reply with quote

joques wrote:
The mere thought of Covenant, Linden and Jeremy flying in the wake of the worm, like hyperactive Roombas, putting every atom back in its exact proper place so that not a single haruchai, a single blade of grass or a single bacteria died in the apocalypse, that just makes me hang my head, shake it and try not to laugh through my tears.


I don't see how this scenario is any less 'plausible' than that of a giant star-devouring worm wreaking havoc throughout the universe.

Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Granted - but at least the worm's wreaking of havoc is described at some length. The dynamic trio's saving of the universe happens entirely off-stage and out of shot. One minute they're "ascending like glory" out of the wreckage of the bowels of Kiril Threndor. Then there's a thudding authorial cut. Next second, it's all over and sorted and we're transported off to a happy-clappy land of Carebears and My Little Ponies, with assorted candycane flowers, frolicking cherubs and rainbows... there's a satisfying dénouement after a years-long wait, if ever I saw one... Rolling Eyes

Quite a substantive difference, I'd say.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joques wrote:
In WGW the end twist is constantly beng foreshadowed. Covenant is always going on about how there's something Foul doesn't understand.

Just as in the Last C's there's plenty of discussion about "betimes some wonder is wrought", and "choices like that". I think it's fair to say that they were equally foreshadowed. Although, in the one case you've had twenty years to discover and appreciate how the foreshadowing was laid down, while in the other case it's been closer to twenty days.

I don't think anyone knew what was going to happen in WGW either. So that's apples to apples as well.

joques wrote:
They're basically trusting to fate, flying blind.

Indeed. That's what the story is about ... trusting to fate and flying blind. In poker, you play as if the card you need will turn up -- in essence, the same message is made here, with an emphasis on fighting despair, making choices, and being true to yourself.

joques wrote:
Donaldson flagrantly violated the established rules of his world in order to pull a sacccharine happy syrupy-sweet ending out of his posterior.

Well, he didn't, because the "rule" was, if the Worm was awoken, it would destroy the Arch, and that is what happened. But you did notice it was called a "story" and a "myth" repeatedly, right? Not a "rule"? And I don't think he ever specified any "rules" about what happened after that point.

Again, this is pretty much parallel to WGW. There was a "rule", and it was ostensibly met, but what happened afterwards was anybody's game.

joques wrote:
And he didn't even explain how it had been accomplished!

Well, he explained how it was possible, certainly. And certainly the entire story to that point involved making that possible ... obtaining the Staff, freeing Jeremiah, finding the right ring, learning the art of forbidding, healing She, and ultimately incorporating Foul.

joques wrote:
The mere thought of Covenant, Linden and Jeremy flying in the wake of the worm, like hyperactive Roombas,

Can you possibly spot the prejudice in statements like this? If you're so adamant it is that bad, that it must be bad, how will you ever learn to see what is good? Certainly you won't be convinced by me. You've not only decided you don't like it, but that you aren't even open to the notion of liking it. I think you're cheating yourself if you do that.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ending was fine. Actually, what could have made it better would have been for the Creator to show up, hit a 'pause' button, and then 're-set' The Land. I think that it takes a lot of believability that Thomas Covenant, Linden Avery, and Jeremiah, can put the whole 'thing' back together -- unless they have become semi-divine.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, Wayfriend, we'll just have to agree to disagree Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joques wrote:
Wayfriend, those are very different cases.

In WGW the end twist is constantly beng foreshadowed.


The End of TLD is also foreshadowed. Plenty of text and hints.
There is a difference in that TC as character has more plan/knowledge in WGW than TLD.
But foreshadowing has nothing to do with characters, really...it has to do with readers. And it is there for US to see [or, preferably, nearly see so we can still be surprised by the actual event]. As a matter of text it is there, as a matter of reader-targeted hinting I'd say it worked [as in performed its function] even for folk who didn't like the books. Evidence for the foreshadowing is scattered 'round the books, evidence that it worked lies scattered around in various readers predictions...I don't recall anyone who got much, if anything, EXACTLY right. But a fair number of people came reasonably close on a number of resolutions.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joques wrote:
I'm sorry, Wayfriend, we'll just have to agree to disagree Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't certain exactly what I felt about the ending of TLD upon first reading it. Now, though, I think that the ending is just fine with no real problems. Jeremiah's now-inherent Law (supported by his newly-cleansed Staff), Linden's health-sense and ability to empathize (that scene with her sewing a scrap onto the Mahdoubt's clothing taught her how to weave pieces of things back together meticulously), and Covenant's knowledge of Time allow the three of them to work together to put things back together as fast as they are unraveling. Maybe they put a few things back incorrectly but as long as the structure is intact there shouldn't be a problem. As long as the Worm stays put there aren't any powers or beings which could readily threaten the newly-reforged Arch making this world safer than the one before it.

Considering the "feel" of the ending...well, it isn't any more "bright sunshine and rainbows" than the ending of The Gap Cycle. All the problems got resolved but I wouldn't necessarily say that everyone lives happily ever after...but sometimes the proper ending to a story *is* "they all lived happily ever after". The fact that we might sometimes find fault with that sort of ending is our limitation, not that of the author.
Just because Kastenessen is being forgiven and restored to himself, Foul has been incorporated into Covenant--and thus by extension is now woven into the fabric of the reality of The Land, SWMNBN is back where She belongs, Joan and Roger are dead, and the Worm is once again fast asleep doesn't mean that there aren't still problems which will need to be dealt with by future people without assistance from any Ringwielder. There are still skurj and croyel to deal with, as long as other menaces we never met, and moksha could still cause trouble as long as he stays miles away from Jeremiah. The Masters are still going to be stubborn mules who may decide not to listen to anyone except themselves. There will still be Nicor and kresh and selfish, cruel beings who seek only to makes the lives of those around them more miserable.

As for there having been no sign of the Creator in the Last Chronicles...well, Foul didn't make an actual appearance until the very end, either, having learned that the best way to get what he wants is to take no active hand in getting what he wants. The Creator had already chosen his people and left them to their own devices; making an appearance, no matter how brief, was not needed.

I can see now, in retrospect, that the caesures which threatened to crumble the Arch also taught Linden and Covenant how to put out-of-sequence pieces of Time back together. That makes perfect sense to me now.

I will probably re-read the last three chapters again this weekend. Still, though, I think the ending has grown on me. It certainly wasn't the ending I expected but that, as I said earlier, is my fault, not SRD's.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still would have liked to read something like this...

"Linden, hand me those water molecules. OK, that's gonna be the Soulsease", Covenant said as he re-fashioned the river with his ring. "Im getting tired Linden, and hungry for something else," Covenant said with a gleam in his eye.

"Thomas, I know we can stop time, but c'mon, but do you really want a 'good time' while we are putting The Land back together?" replied Linden, a half-smile rising on her face, as she became more receptive to the idea. "Ever since you've absorbed Foul, you are literally insatiable."

"Oh no, you two, not again. Mom, you are a middle aged woman... c'mon.. we've got Coerci coming up next, and you KNOW how hard that will be to reconstruct," replied Jeremiah, finally realizing why Thomas was leading Avery off to the newly re-created Andelain.

Jeremiah realized that his pleads were to no avail, as Thomas and Linden disappeared into the trees, holding hands and giggling. Linden snickerings matched the timbre of Thomas's light laughter, and Jeremiah realized the essentia of their relationship was going to be a physical closeness that he would have to get used to.

"I hope the Elohim cant see this, or even worse, The Insequent, they seem to have eyes everywhere," Jeremiah sighed. "Hey you two, I hope they're done soon, because The Great Swamp is going to take all afternoon to re-create."
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