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Final Illuminations: The Redemption of the Haruchai
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:54 pm    Post subject: Final Illuminations: The Redemption of the Haruchai Reply with quote

When the dust has cleared
And victory denied
A summit too lofty
River a little too wide

If we keep our pride
Though paradise is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost

-- "Bravado", Neil Peart

For long and long I have wished for the Last Chronicles to provide a resolution for the Haruchai. I wanted them to be "redeemed", by which I meant that I wanted them to be saved. Not saved from danger, and not saved from Lord Foul. But saved from their long search for an answer that would sustain them. I wanted them to succeed where they had failed, to overcome and surpass their earlier choices. I wanted them to reach a place of fulfillment that would last. In short, I wanted to redeem them from their failures.

The Last Dark provides for their redemption.

To briefly touch on the events prior to the Last Chronicles: The Haruchai swore their Vow to the Lords, as recompense for the generosity shown to them by Lord Kevin. But when it was seen that they could be Corrupted despite their Vow, they broke it, and returned to their mountain homes. Years later, a new generation of Haruchai promised to serve Covenant. But when their fidelity was broken by the merewives, they again withdrew their service. At Covenant's request, they subsequently swore to protect the Lord's Keep.

Thomas Covenant has always admired and respected the Haruchai. He feels their need for redemption, and tries to help them find an answer. He leaves the Haruchai with this command: "I want you to stay here. In Revelstone. To take care of the wounded. And to protect the city. For me. And for yourselves. Here you can serve something that isn't going to fail you." When the Second Chronicles end, we are left with the hope that this was the direction that the Haruchai needed.

In the Last Chronicles, we learn some additional details about these earlier events. The Bloodguard Vow was uttered with something more than recompense on the minds of the Haruchai. Before meeting Kevin, the Haruchai had been seeking something.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
"We have ever been a combative race, glorying in struggle, for by such contests we demonstrate our worth - and it is by our worth that we survive the harsh ardor of the peaks. We have eschewed weapons because they detract from the purity of our battles, and because we did not desire our own destruction. Yet for many a century we were content to battle among ourselves, striving for wives, and for supremacy of skill, and for pride.

"There came a time, however, when we were no longer content. Ourselves we knew too well, speaking mind to mind. We desired to measure our worth against other peoples in less arduous climes, for we conceived that the rigors of the mountains had made us great. Therefore twenty-five score Haruchai journeyed together westward, seeking some race whom we might best in battle."

Stave's tone took on a defended formality as he explained, "Understand, Chosen, that we did not crave dominion. We sought only to express the heat of our pride."

The Haruchai had been seeking to measure their worth. A vainglorious undertaking to determine if they were as great as they thought they were. To express the heat of our pride..

When the Vizard trivially defeated them all, they were humiliated, and so they returned to their mountain homes. But at a later time, they again elected to measure their worth, this time carrying the baggage of their earlier defeat. And that's when they discovered Revelstone and the Lords and the Land.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
And when our challenge was met, not with combat, but with open¬hearted respect and generosity, our pain was multiplied, for we were accorded a worth which we had not won. Therefore we swore the Vow of the Bloodguard, setting aside homes and wives and sleep and death that we might once again merit our own esteem."

In this way, the Last Chronicles reveals that the Vow was an attempt to earn the worthiness which Kevin gave to them freely, and which they felt that they did not deserve until they had earned it.

The Haruchai had been seeking to measure their worth, but the Vizard and then Kevin had changed the form of this quest. They had sought to find their worth in the contest of battle. They tested their mettle with the Vizard, and discovered that they were not as great as their pride had them believe. It was failure, and humiliation which occluded their pride. So when they met Kevin, they envisioned a new way to seek worth: service. They would derive their worth by the fidelity of their service to the Lords.

Their disdain for weapons remained. For they still believed themselves to have been made mighty by their arduous mountain life. They still sought to test themselves with purity. So, although it was dented, the Haruchai still bore their pride.

This is an additional wrinkle in the tale of the Haruchai people. But it isn't anything altogether new - the tale of the Vizard merely shows how it came to be. In the first Chronicles, Bannor said of his broken Vow, "I am no fit server for Revelstone - no, nor for the Lords." And in the Second Chronicles, when the Haruchai withdrew their service aboard Starfare's Gem, Brinn explained, "We are unworthy." Covenant perceives their need, and so he admonishes them, "Nobody questions your worth. You've demonstrated it a thousand times." In all the Chronicles, the Haruchai have sought to earn their worth in service, and so have considered any failure in service as unworth.

Simply put, the Haruchai seek worth in themselves.

Redemption, then, is when they find it in themselves.

When we reach the Land in the Last Chronicles, we soon learn what the Haruchai have been up to. As the Masters, they have been suppressing all use of Earthpower.

In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
"We learned that the Land and all its life would not have suffered such renewed and again renewed cruelty if Earthpower were not" - again he paused to search for a word - "accessible for use. Certainly it is not Corruption. But in the absence of the Staff of Law, only Corruption is served when mortal hearts exercise Earthpower. Even in the presence of the Staff, great evil may be wrought. Therefore we have taken upon ourselves the guardianship of the Land.

"We do not rule here. We command nothing. We demand nothing. All life is free to live as it wills. But we do not permit any exertion of Earthpower."

While this is unexpected, it is not unheralded. For what the Masters have imposed upon the people of the Land is only what they have imposed upon themselves. Any service which can be tainted by Corruption is impure, and must be withdrawn. As it is with the Haruchai, so it is for the people of the Land - as long as the Masters have a say in it.

Linden, of course, immediately sees the problem with this strategy. Earthpower is the very thing that provides for service to the Land. By denying it's use, you prevent it's positive uses as well as it's negative ones. The journeys to success and to failure lie along the same roads - Life and death are too intimately inter-grown to be severed from each other - and you cannot deny one without the denying the other.

Despite their differences of opinion on this matter, Linden and the Haruchai find a way to work together. And so we discover another aspect of Haruchai nature: they disdain magical healing.

In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
But he persisted. "Chosen, heed me. There are tales of your healing. Do not heal me. I have failed. I am Haruchai. Do not shame me with my own life."

To the Haruchai, failure is irredeemable. Injury and death, as the consequences of their actions and choices, should not be palliated or undone. The price of failure must be paid. The alternative is shame.

Branl explains this further, farther into the story.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"Ur-Lord, we are the Humbled. By skill and long combat, we have won the honor of embodying the refusal of our people to countenance humiliation. That we live and die does not humble us. It demands neither humility nor humiliation because we make no compromise with failure. We do what we can, and we accept the outcome. If our strength and skill do not suffice, we are content to bear the cost in pain and death. Indeed, the cost of our efforts provides the substance of our lives, and by our contentment we confirm our worth.

"When you demand that we endure Linden Avery’s healing, you deny our acceptance. You proclaim us unworthy of our lives."

"Hell and blood," Covenant growled under his breath. Haven’t you realized yet that everything isn’t about you? But he gritted his teeth, trying to keep his irritation to himself.

Impassively Branl continued, "If you assert that humility necessitates an acknowledgment that we are not equal to all things, as the Elohim describe themselves, I reply that we are indeed humble in our acceptance. With Clyme and lost Galt, I am our humility made flesh. But if you avow that humility requires relief from the consequence of being less than equal to all things, I reply that you speak of humiliation, not of humility. Any abrogation of the outcome of our deeds diminishes us."

Worth. Or Humiliation. The refusal of healing, too, is tangled with the Haruchai quest for worth. For if the Haruchai consider service as recompense, then injury and death are their badges of honor, proof that they have paid on what they owed. When Haruchai are redeemed from consequences, their worth is eroded. Such redemption is, for them, humiliation. And the Haruchai do not countenance humiliation.

But the Haruchai do not speak about their darkest secret. Liand discovers it; Linden confirms it: the Haruchai do not grieve.

Liand discovers the ungrief of the Haruchai when he sees the animosity between Stave and the Ramen. Animosity which centers on the loss of the Ranyhyn.

In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
"I do not understand. What troubles the Master? Can he not descry the worth of the Ramen?"

"Sure, he can," Linden replied softly. "It isn't their honesty he's worried about. It's their secrets."

The Stonedownor looked surprised; but he did not contradict her. Perhaps he, too, had felt the undercurrents in Hami and her Cords. Instead he mused as if to himself, "I had not known that the Masters are capable of grief."

Linden sighed, "Of course they are." If they had not felt love or known loss, they would not have sworn the Vow which had bound them to the service of the Lords. "They're just too strict to admit it most of the time."

Liand frowned. "Does that account for their denial of the Land's history and wonder? Do they fear to grieve?"

Linden looked at him sharply. "Maybe." She had not thought of Stave's people in those terms.

This is perhaps one of the more obtuse points raised in the Last Chronicles. It is repeated through all four books, and so it's significance is undeniable. And, as we shall see, it is central to the issue of Haruchai redemption. But it is ever mentioned briefly, as if in passing - as if it's already something that is understood.

Three additional passages demonstrate how the lack Haruchai grief is observed in the story.

In The Last Chronicles was wrote:
[...] And she knew that Handir had not told her the whole truth. He had said nothing of his people's fear that they would be taken by the passion which had overcome Cail as well as Korik, Sill, and Doar. Liand was right about the Masters. They feared to grieve.

[...] The Masters had carried their perception of worth too far. Now she knew why. After millennia of loss, they had regained their self-respect, but they had never learned how to grieve. Liand was right about them. They could only find healing in the attempt to match Brinn's example. Their humiliation had made them too rigid for any other release.

[...] In retrospect, giving the Masters any reason to feel ashamed of themselves seemed like a mistake; perhaps a fatal one. They were too well acquainted with humiliation, and did not know how to grieve.

Grief is a process. The process ends with acceptance. Grief is the way we cope with loss. If you do not grieve, you do not cope.

Grieving is healing.

In these passages, the absence of grief is noted in the context of a loss. However, it is more than mere loss - it is loss associated with the consequences of Haruchai failures. The Haruchai do not grieve for what their failures have cost. Just as they do not accept unnatural healing, the Haruchai do not accept grief.

The Masters do not grieve; they deny their loss. They do not admit that the disappearance of the Ranyhyn grieves them. They show no sign that the corruption of Korrik, Sill, and Doar bereaves them. They do not lament their failed service to the Lords. Haruchai stoicism demands that these things remain unexpressed.

Grieving is another form of healing which the Haruchai disdain.

In that light, grieving is just another form of countenancing humiliation. It is relief from the consequences of their failures. Abrogating those consequences diminishes a Haruchai. It makes them unworthy.

This leaves them uniquely incapable of coping with loss. The consequences of their failures weigh on them perpetually, tainting their choices.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
They did not grieve. Therefore their bereavements ruled them.

The only means that the Haruchai have left themselves to move beyond their failures is to finally achieve perfection. The only way to overcome humiliation and to have worth is pure, unflawed service. To become ak-Haru - the pinnacle - in one form or another. Their humiliation had made them too rigid for any other release.

Which explains everything about the Masters and their adversity to Earthpower. Only Corruption is served when mortal hearts exercise Earthpower. They had vowed to serve Kevin, but Kevin had Desecrated. Now their service demands that they never permit Desecration again. Unflawed service requires an unrelenting guard against the Land's expression of life. Their humiliation had made them too rigid for any other response. And if Earthpower should ever again serve Corruption, they will have failed. Anything less than perfectly suppressing Earthpower throughout the entire Land is humiliation. And so their own sense of worth has led them to tread the edge of a knife.

Beneath their calm, rigid demeanor, the Haruchai seem a mess.

The Last Chronicles sets the stage for the final resolution to the Haruchai's dilemma. Donaldson introduces Stave, the evolvable Haruchai. And he introduces Galt, Branl, and Clyme - the Humbled - who represent the entrenched Haruchai mindset. Thomas Covenant plays the role of mentor, who helps them navigate among their choices. And the Ranyhyn emerge as the benevolent guides who push the Haruchai onto the path of redemption.

Stave enters the Chronicles as your average Master. He's willing to lock poor Anele away in order to spare the Land from his Earthpower. He's rather adamant about refusing Linden's medicaments. And it's his very responses to the Ramen that lead Liand to remark on the Master's ungrief.

And as a Master, he has problems with Linden Avery. She's not agreeable when Stave wants to drag Anele off to Revelstone and lock him away for the rest of his life. She imperils the Earth by taking risks to rescue the Staff of Law, not to mention her son. If ever she knows a moment of despair - which is surely Corruption's intent - she will wreak such ruin as the Earth has never known. And let's not forget, she heals people with wild magic.

By condoning the use of Earthpower, by supernaturally healing the wounds of combat, and by risking a Desecration, Linden represents the very things that the Masters abhor most. She is an avatar of the anti-Haruchai.

However, Stave is chosen by the Ranyhyn to partake of their Delphic horserite. Why was Stave chosen? Is he inherently different than other Haruchai? Or did he happen into his fate merely by being with Linden? It is unclear. But the horserite profoundly changes the course of his most fundamental beliefs. Perhaps it would be the same for any of his kindred.

In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
"Masters, kinsmen-" Again Stave paused for thought; and again he shrugged. Without raising his voice, he announced distinctly, "When I had drunk of the mindblending waters, I learned that the Ranyhyn laughed at me."

Laughter. The Ranyhyn laugh, and tell Stave that the Haruchai are not sufficient to accomplish or command the Land's defense. With another laugh, they proclaim their devotion to Linden Avery. They declare that Haruchai are wrong about Earthpower, wrong about their Mastery, and wrong about the Chosen - and with laughter they demonstrate that kindness and affection lie behind their criticism.

In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
"I have shared the horserite of the Ranyhyn, and have learned that we are not greater than they. Nor are we greater than the Ramen, who are content with service, and who do not attempt to alter that which lies beyond them. Nor are we greater than this Stonedownor, the least of the Chosen's companions, for he seeks only to join his cause with hers, and to partake in beauties and powers which we have withheld from him.

"Because I have heard the laughter of the great horses, I will cast my lot with the Chosen. I cannot do less than the Ranyhyn. Whatever may befall her, I will endeavor to prove that I am equal to my fears."

Stave heard the laughter of the great horses, and was changed. But the Masters have not heard it, and they were not moved. Could it be that, despite their mind speech, Stave could not convey the essence of the horserite? Or is Stave unique among the Haruchai, the only one able to soften his heart and open his mind? It is unclear. What is certain is that Stave has chosen a different path than his brethren in Revelstone. The resulting mental excommunication only locks Stave into his path more straitly.

But the Ranyhyn horserite strikes too close to Haruchai bone for the rest of the Masters. The Ranyhyn challenge their stance against Earthpower. They challenge their opinion of Linden. And most of all, they challenge the sufficiency of their service. The Ranyhyn are messing around with the Haruchai sense of worth.

The Masters can barely tolerate this. Anele they can consent to release, but they do not relent against Earthpower. Linden they can accept on a probationary basis, but they remain wary against another Kevin. However, that the Masters might be insufficient is beyond contemplation. Only their ages-long devotion to the great horses allows them to even entertain the conversation.

But as a result, the Humbled join Linden's Army. Partly to ward Linden, but also partly to ward against her. This puts the entrenched Haruchai position and Stave's transforming one into the same ring, with conflict all but assured.

As Linden's Army journeys to Covenant and Jeremiah, Stave shows clear signs of his transformation. After an unsuccessful attempt at the Harrow, Stave willingly submits to Linden's healing power. He even jests - jests! - about the prospect.

In Fatal Revenant was wrote:
"Chosen," he remarked. "the days that I have spent as your companion have been an unremitting exercise in humility." He spoke without inflection; but his expression hinted that he had made the Haruchai equivalent of a joke.

He extended his hands to her as if he were surrendering them.

In this one act, he demonstrates his faith in Linden Avery, and his acceptance of the positive uses of Earthpower. But more importantly, he announces that his sense of self-worth is no longer tied to an unameliorated submission to consequences. In this way, his joke about humility is especially poignant. In an ironic way, he declares he is free from the fear of humiliation.

By backing Linden Avery, Stave is backing the avatar of the anti-Haruchai. Symbolically, he is now directly opposing the Masters.

And as an exemplar of the new and improved Haruchai model, Stave demonstrates his superiority to the old model again and again. He defeats the Humbled in a Trial by Combat that "proves" he's on the right side of this transformation. In the Lost Deep, Stave was able to free himself from the palace sorcery before the Humbled could. He thwarts quite dramatically Galt's attempt on Linden's life. And he defeats the Humbled's reasoning that Jeremiah must be slain to free the krill. In a symbolic way, Donaldson tells us that Stave is on the right side.

But a question remains. What has really changed for Stave? How does following the advice of the Ranyhyn lead to such improvements? How does following Linden lead the Haruchai on the path of redemption? Whatever the reason (and yes, the reason will be forthcoming), we know that it's working.

We know that it's working because Stave can cry when his son dies. He grieves.

Meanwhile, the position of the Humbled becomes more and more precarious. Linden's actions in Andelain are what the Haruchai have most feared. The only reason Linden is not another Kevin in their eyes is that the Desecration is on its way but hasn't yet arrived. Only scant days remain for the Masters to redeem themselves from their fullest failure. Only scant days remain before the Haruchai lose all worth.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"To say that they mislike all that has transpired does them scant justice. At the heart of their Mastery lies a desire" - he corrected himself - "nay, a compulsion to forestall Desecration. The deeds of Kevin Landwaster, following as they did upon the humiliation inflicted by the Vizard, have hardened the hearts of my kinsmen in ways which they do not discern. Indeed, I did not perceive the hardness of my own heart until my thoughts were transformed in the horserite. I was not conscious of this truth, that for us shame and grief have become more terrible than any other fate.

"If the Land is crushed under the heel of Corruption, the Masters will not fault themselves. They will give of their utmost, and will bear the cost without shame or sorrow. But if they permit some new Desecration when prevention lies within their power, their loss will efface all meaning from their lives. From this seed grows the Mastery of my kin in every guise."

Shame and grief. For the Haruchai, a fate more terrible than any other.

Stave reveals here that the Masters place the fidelity of their service before the fate of the Land. It is, after all, the only worth that they have ever found. That the Land should be lost is bad; worse is to be faulted for their service, for failing to prevent a Desecration by those that they serve. Humiliation is the fate worse than death. It is unworth.

But one man stands between the Masters and this choice of fates. Thomas Covenant.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Yet you have brought the Unbeliever among us. The ur-Lord Thomas Covenant. For the Masters, as for all Haruchai, he is the true Halfhand, Illender, Prover of Life. We have no experience of High Lord Berek Heartthew. We have merely heard his tale. But Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is another matter altogether."

Thomas Covenant has saved the Land twice. He has achieved impossible victories. And, perhaps most importantly to the Haruchai, they have trusted him, and have been vindicated in their trust. Covenant provides the Haruchai with worth, perhaps in the only ways that have not failed. So when Covenant speaks, the Haruchai listen.

And now Covenant is back. And what Covenant wants is for the Masters to concede every position that they have.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"He has forbidden the Humbled to oppose you. Indeed, he has demanded their fidelity to you. And his deeds in your name - his very manner toward you - confirm his desires.

"Thus the Humbled are caught in a contradiction for which they have no answer. They execrate those actions which they perceive as Desecration. Yet the Unbeliever himself stands before them, he whom they have been maimed to emulate. By his mere presence, he falsifies their understanding of Desecration.

"Now they must refuse him and grieve, or they must accept you and be shamed. Either choice is intolerable. Nevertheless they remain Haruchai. Therefore they must choose. Yet they cannot - and must - and cannot - and must."

The Humbled, and by extension the Masters, are floundering. Their conceptions of worth, and of pursuing worth, are being undermined. Permit Earthpower; allow Desecration; accept healing. But they are being undermined by no one less than Thomas Covenant. And Covenant cannot be denied. While nothing is as yet resolved, Covenant has become the focus of their hope for redemption.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"For this reason, Linden, if for no other, they will withhold their opposition from you. Rather they will serve the Unbeliever. He is the ur-Lord, the Halfhand. They will trust in him to answer their contradiction."

When Covenant and Linden separate, he to confront Joan, she to free her son, Stave and the two remaining Humbled also separate. Covenant has a chance to discuss worth and humiliation with Branl and Clyme, just a hero and his faithful. He knows that the Haruchai are prickly, and that they are in many ways unready for the truth. But his unfailing admiration for the Haruchai brings out a compassion for them. He knows that they walk on the edge of a knife; he knows that they deserve redemption. And he knows he has a responsibility.

A long journey by horseback, over tedious, empty terrain, provides the opportunity. A chance comment by Covenant, and soon they are talking about humility and humiliation. Branl explains why they find Linden's healing to be humiliation, that it denies their worth. And he relates their admiration for Covenant, admiration which inspired the creation of the Humbled.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"Of necessity, therefore, we have considered how it transpires that you who are weak succeed where we who are strong fail. And we have concluded that your victories rest upon a degree or quality of acceptance which once surpassed the Haruchai. You do not merely accept your own weakness, defying common conceptions of strength and power. You accept also the most extreme consequences of your frailty, daring even the utter ruin of the Earth in your resolve to oppose Corruption. You cling to your intent when your defeat is certain."

It seems that what the Haruchai see in Covenant is the same acceptance of consequence, without mitigation, that they demand of themselves. Perhaps, even, they demand it of themselves because they see it in Covenant. In a way, they see Covenant's power as arising from a perfection of the very worth that they seek for themselves. Absolute power from absolute worth. And so they honor Covenant with their emulation.

Covenant sees the issue with this view, as Stave had. However, he sees more implications in it. He sees doom.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
The Masters and the Humbled were still trying to prove themselves - and that was never going to work. Not against Lord Foul. It was the same mistake that Korik, Sill, and Doar had made: the same mistake disguised in different language. The same mistake that had caused the Haruchai to become the Bloodguard. Their fixation on humiliation revealed the truth.

So the whole world is going to die. Let it. Knowing that we’ve accepted the consequences of our actions is good enough for us. Nothing matters except how we feel about ourselves.

If we keep our pride --
Though paradise is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost


In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Lord Foul probably ate that kind of thinking for breakfast, and laughed his head off. No wonder he had told Linden that the Masters already served him.

Carefully, carefully, Covenant can only explain that their view is mistaken. He attempts to lead the two Humbled down the path Stave has taken, but patiently, patiently, recognizing that it will not be done at once.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"You’re forgetting something. I’ve always had help. I never would have reached Foul’s Creche on my own. Foamfollower had to carry me." If the jheherrin had not rescued him - if Foamfollower and Bannor had not distracted Elena - if a nameless woman in Morinmoss had not healed him - "And I still would have failed if Foamfollower hadn’t given me exactly what I needed," if the last of the Unhomed had not revealed the courage, the sheer greatness of spirit, to laugh in the face of despair.

"Without Linden and the First and Pitchwife, I would never have made it to Kiril Threndor. Without Linden, I couldn’t have forced myself to hand over my ring. Without Vain and Findail, she couldn’t have created a new Staff. Without the First and Pitchwife, her Staff would have been lost.

"Sure," Covenant rasped, "Lord Foul was defeated. Twice. But I didn’t do it. We did it. Foamfollower and I. Linden and I. The First and Pitchwife and Sunder and Hollian.

"So tell me again," he demanded. "What’s so wrong about accepting gifts you haven’t earned?"

Accepting gifts you haven't earned. An argument that on the one hand argues for the necessity of mitigating consequences, of accepting help to survive the outcome of your decisions, and on the other hand attacks the very logic that led to the Bloodguard Vow, worth derived from earning the gifts you have been given.

But Covenants attempt doesn't make any headway with the Humbled.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"Is it your belief, ur-Lord, that we must countenance humiliation? That we must subjugate ourselves to powers beyond our ken, and to choices which we have not affirmed?"

So Covenant retreats, regroups, and tries another angle. He discusses doing good, and of using evil means. Which leads logically to the justification of the Masters suppressing Earthpower and knowledge.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"But there’s one part of all this you don’t seem to understand." He was on the verge of shouting. "The thing that makes Earthpower terrible is the same thing that makes it wonderful. Even if innocence is a good thing, which I doubt, you’ve confused it with ignorance.

"That’s what’s wrong with being the Masters of the Land. You wanted to stop something terrible, so you stopped everything. Including everything that might have been wonderful. You’ve even stopped yourselves from being the kind of force that could have changed the world. And you’ve ensured nobody else changes it. Hell, you’ve subjugated everybody to choices they didn’t make.

"If you want to be innocent, that’s your right. But you’ve been so determined to prevent another Kevin Landwaster, you’ve closed the door on another Berek Halfhand, or another Damelon Giantfriend, or another Loric Vilesilencer."

Here Covenant has gone too far, too fast. The Humbled are not ready.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"You denounce us," Branl asserted as if he were certain of Covenant’s meaning. "Do you seek to spurn our companionship? Do you desire our enmity?"

These approaches fail because Covenant asks the Masters to admit to mistakes. To consider that they may have been wrong. However, failure is humiliation for the Haruchai. And humiliation is a fate worse than death. These Haruchai just cannot consider the positions that Covenant is trying to explain. In retrospect, giving the Masters any reason to feel ashamed of themselves seemed like a mistake. The Haruchai will need to find their own way toward redemption; Covenant cannot push them into it.

Nor can ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol. Brinn. The former Guardian returns to the Land, to deliver his reproach of the Masters. He accuses them of simony, of a miserly spirit and a hard heart. They have withheld knowledge from the people of the Land, and trust from Linden Avery, and friendship from the Giants. But his words also fail to move the Humbled. They do not comprehend them.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“Paugh!” The Guardian made a dismissive gesture with both hands. “I am done with you. You do not hear, and so you cannot be redeemed."

Cannot?

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
So is redemption possible for the Masters? Look at Stave.

(02/04/2010)

Indeed. The Humbled will not find it. But Stave can. He finds redemption for the Haruchai in one single moment of piercing insight.

Covenant and the Humbled have rejoined Stave and the Giants. Longwrath has been slain, and the Elohim have been saved. Linden has departed with Mahrtiir to obtain forbidding, leaving Stave behind. Covenant discusses grief, and the forestalling of grief, with the Giants, who mourn for Longwrath. Perhaps prompted by this, Stave also discusses his grief with Covenant. Branl listens on. And something important happens.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Stave flexed the fingers of his right hand, testing them for residual damage. “Haruchai do not indulge in regret. Yet I am” — he appeared to search for a word — “unsettled. If she does not return, Timewarden, I will be unable to quench my sense of loss, or my remorse that I did not stand at her side.”

Now Covenant winced. “I know that feeling, too.” He had not simply turned away from Linden. He had told her not to touch him. More harshly than he intended, he said, “But sometimes things like that have to be done anyway.”

Stave nodded. “Necessity demands. It does not countenance denial.” Then, unexpectedly, he looked away, as if he rather than Covenant had cause to feel shame. “Thus I am compelled to inquire of myself what purpose is served by regret — or indeed by grief.”

Without pausing to consider his reply, Covenant countered, “How else do we know we’re alive?”

“By our deeds,” Stave answered. “By striving and service. By —”

Abruptly he froze. His gaze sprang back to Covenant’s. Nothing else moved.

After a moment, he released a long breath. “Ah.” His regard did not waver, but his rigidity eased. “Now I begin to grasp how it transpires that you and the Chosen have failed to comprehend the Masters — and how the Masters have been misled in their apprehension of you. You and the Chosen — those of your world — The Chosen-son. Hile Troy. You judge by your hearts. It is by grief and regret that you know yourselves, rather than by deeds and effort and service.”

In his turn, Covenant nodded. “Well, yes.” More than once, he had tried to explain himself to the Haruchai; but somehow he had failed to grasp the question implicit in their notions of service. “Grief and regret. What else is there? Those are just other names for love. You can’t feel bad about losing something if you don’t love it first. And if you don’t love, why else would you bother to do anything at all?”

[...] From where Branl stood, the krill left Stave’s features in shadow. Covenant could barely discern the outlines of the former Master’s mien. Only Stave’s eye pierced the dusk.

Impassive as any Haruchai, he said, “It is a terrible burden, Timewarden.”

Covenant shrugged. “Look at Branl. Look at the Masters. Look at yourself.” Briefly his old rage for the abused of the world rose up in him. “Hellfire, Stave! Look at the Elohim.” Then he subsided. Almost whispering, he asked, “Is what you see any less terrible?”

“It is not,” Stave replied as if he were sure. “It is more so.”

A moment later, something that may have been a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Were I inclined to the homage of mutilation — which I am not — I would now claim a place among the Humbled. Though they have aspired to emulation, they have not grasped the full import of their desires.

“Until now,” he added in Branl’s direction, acknowledging what Branl had done and endured.

Branl lifted a shoulder slightly. “Should the world endure,” he promised, “and the Masters with it, I will undertake to instruct our people.”

Finally Covenant bowed his head.

Grief, remorse, loss - the Haruchai do not indulge in these feelings. But Stave has changed. He can grieve: he can consider the pain of loss, even when it is anticipated but not realized, and come to terms with it. And so his separation from Linden, whose welfare he has made his devoir, incurs remorse.

When Covenant explains to him what he thinks such remorse is for, Stave has a lightbulb moment. He sees something no Haruchai has seen before. The proper use and purpose of grief.

This is what the Haruchai have had wrong all along. By fearing to grieve - by refusing to acknowledge how the consequences of their actions have affected them - the Haruchai have become locked into a world-view where self-knowledge doesn't arise from what they care about, but what they achieve. Their sense of worth arises from deeds and service, and not for whom they do and serve. Placing no import on how caring about something informs you of your own worth, they have hardened their hearts.

And this is "terrible". Their quest for worth, and their fear of grief, have brought about the miserly spirits for which ak-Haru reproaches them.

When Stave realizes this, it's almost enough to make him smile. Almost.

When Stave explains it, even Branl gets it. Perhaps because he phrases it in terms of emulating Covenant, which the Humbled understand. However, Branl has slain his fellow Humbled in the name of service, and has learned much about grief. He has accepted hurtloam healing and understood it's value. He is accessible now to Stave's words. So he says: "I will instruct our people." By this token, we can see that soon all Haruchai will be given this new knowledge. The Humbled have affirmed it.

Stave has discovered the key to resolving the Haruchai dilemma. The Haruchai sought worth, and they could not find it, because they were looking in the wrong places. The judged themselves by their accomplishments, rather than by what they cared for, and so they stood for nothing, and the inevitability of imperfection doomed them. They closed their hearts, and refused their grief, and locked themselves into a cycle of vows and failures.

Stave was able to discover this because the Ranyhyn had set him on the path. The Masters revered Covenant because of his deeds, and so followed his example. But Stave came to know and care for Linden, and it was by trusting in Linden's heart and witnessing her particular capacity for accomplishment that he found the way out of the cycle. For himself, and his people. He rediscovered that grief and regret were other names for love. And that when you know yourself by what you love, your worth doesn't need to be found, because it cannot be taken from you.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Look at Stave. His image of himself is effectively shattered in the horserite (TROTE)--yet there he stands, as faithful as ever. Only what he is being faithful *to* has changed.

(02/04/2010)

Judge by your hearts. It is by grief and regret that you know yourselves, rather than by deeds and effort and service.

If you consider the Last Chronicles with this in mind, you can see that Donaldson has been telling us this message all along, in many ways and in many guises.

Consider Kevin Landwaster. His deeds and effort and service had led to Desecration. But we know that his father does not judge him so, because Donaldson provides us with a scene of absolution ... and redemption.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
"I am able to state freely that your sires are grieved by the harm which you have wrought, but they are not shamed.

"Only the great of heart may despair greatly. You are loved and treasured, not for the outcome of your extremity, but rather for the open passion by which you were swayed to Desecration. That same quality warranted the Vow of the Haruchai. It was not false."

When he heard his father, something within Kevin broke. Linden saw the chains which had bound his spirit snap as he opened himself to Loric’s embrace.

The chains which had bound his spirit. Kevin is redeemed from ages of self-torment. Because Berek, and Damelon, and Loric, convince him that he can judge himself by his heart - by what he loves - and not by his deeds.

If considering this notion - judge by one's heart, not by one's deeds - brings to mind Linden Avery, and her actions in the Last Chronicles, it would not be amiss.

The Elohim, too, help to convey the lesson. All-powerful beings of Earthpower, they are arrogant, for they judge themselves by their deeds and their service to the Earth. As with the Haruchai, for this reason their hearts are closed. Being closed, the depredations of Lord Foul against the folk of the Land are nothing to them, for it does not touch on their concerns.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“In any case,” Covenant added, “taking a stand against him is what makes us who we are.” He looked more sharply at the Elohim. “When we don’t, we aren’t anything. We’re just empty.”

Uncharacteristically gracious, Infelice bowed. “A just charge, Timewarden. I perceive now that it is condign. I am content to acknowledge it."

Ak-haru, too, spoke of the shuttering of Haruchai hearts. In his own way, he was trying to show the Haruchai the way to redemption.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“Yet across the millennia of your Mastery you have allowed harsh times and cruel circumstances to bar the doors of your hearts. I will not cite your reasons for doing so, lest you deem yourselves thereby excused. Rather I say to you plainly that you have diminished yourselves until I am loath to acknowledge you as my people.”

Were the Haruchai redeemed by love? In so few words, that does scant justice to the journey undertaken by the Haruchai to redeem themselves. Nevertheless.

Nevertheless.

And if the music ... stops!
There's only the sound of the rain
All the hope and glory,
All the sacrifice in vain

And if love remains
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost


In the Epilogue, we see that the redemption of the Haruchai has transformed them.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Stave faced them with a smile: another surprise. “You crave explanations.” Amusement sparkled in his eye. “Know, then, that I am Stave, by right of years and attainment the Voice of the Masters. I speak for these Haruchai assembled here, and also for those who have retained the benison of their lives elsewhere.”

More gravely, he said, “Your example, Covenant Timewarden, and also that of Linden Avery the Chosen, and indeed of Jeremiah Chosen-son, have turned our thoughts to new paths. We have concluded that the Land has no need of Masters. Rather it will be better served by Lords. Therefore we wish to claim a different purpose. If you do not gainsay us, ur-Lord, we will form a new Council, emulating with our best strength the service begun by Berek Lord-Fatherer.

“And the boon which we will ask of the Ironhand is this, that she and her Swordmainnir join with us in that Council. By their kindness and merriment, we hope”—he smiled again—“to avoid the snares of our long past and severe judgments until the time when the folk of the Land discover a desire to stand among us.”

Covenant shook his head, but not in disapproval. “I don’t know what to say. It sounds practically ideal. But you’ll have to give up your rejection of Earthpower. Or lore. You’ll have to start from scratch.”

“As we should, ur-Lord,” Stave replied. “The Earth has been vouchsafed a new beginning. The Haruchai also must begin anew.”

After a moment’s thought, Covenant observed, “You’ll need a High Lord. You, Stave?”

“I?” Stave countered. He seemed to hear a jest in Covenant’s question. “No. I do not stand so high in my own estimation. And I do not doubt that the day will come when the Voice of the Masters must speak for the Haruchai rather than for the Land. The Council of Lords and the High Lord must regard wider concerns.

“I have named Canrik to lead the first Council. He is newly acquainted with uncertainty, and will gain much from an immersion in the necessary doubts of the Lords.”

Canrik nodded, expressionless as any Master or Bloodguard.

The Haruchai also must begin anew. Branl has "instructed his people". Their hearts are open again, their spirit generous.

Stave has been recognized by the Haruchai as their best. He will be their leader. It is only just.

Symbolically, a Haruchai will be named High Lord of the new Council. There is no longer a desire to "prove" their worth by service to such as the Lords. They will be Lords, partaking of service to the Land. Not because they seek to measure themselves, but for love of the Land and it's people. They will emulate Berek as they have emulated Covenant and Linden and Jeremiah - to know themselves by what they give their heart to.

They are even ready to use Earthpower. Kevin no longer weighs on them. Their bereavements no longer rule them.

They have reached the end of the path to redemption, and have been redeemed. Now they may turn their thoughts to new paths.

Is it any wonder Stave smiles?

Nevertheless.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite the arc there Way..the Haruchai have taken quite the beatings and sacrifice for their unemotions...but the pact between Clyme and Branl ...that was the inevitable end and finally brought to the surface their major flaw,,with out their emotions,,feelings,,they are actually Less than all things. So, to add another layer or some more dimension to your expansive exposition, a metamorphic moral of the Haruchai story, their arc, mite be summed up as..Humanity does not serve Logic, but rather, Logic serves Humanity as a tool to help us express our humanity.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applaud Impressive piece of Chronicles scholarship! Applaud
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This may be your magnum opus, WF.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very, very well done, Wayfriend. Everything you say is the most complete delineation of the Haruchai's journey through their unresolved grief and shame to its final crisis and ultimate resolution that I think we're ever likely to get, other than what was already provided to us by the author in the story itself. It points to the genius of the author in working the inner transformation of so many so skillfully into his story.

One question that remains on my mind is, how do Handir and the other Masters assembled in Mt. Thunder fit into this. It seems to me that they do not experience the same transformation, at least not yet. Most of them are going to die in the ensuing fighting. Covenant persuades them to fight by playing on the shame already played on by Bhapa and Pahni in persuading them to come to Mt. Thunder. The Masters are first encouraged in their distrust of Linden and desire to stop any further acts by her, then shamed by "imposing on them a confrontation with their own folly. In the end, they are left with no choice that could possibly justify themselves, no choice that gives only hope of redeeming the meaning of their service, other than to fight on Covenant's behalf. Only those who survive the fighting and see the outcome of their service and their compelled setting aside of the former terms of that service are vouchsafed the chance to feel their hearts starting to open, just a glimmer, but enough to recognize Stave's worth and not only reinstate him within the Haruchai collective, but actually give him the position of Voice of the Masters.

Also missing from the story is any real reason why Stave picked Canrik to be the first High Lord of the new Council. How does he distinguish himself for this position? Why not Branl? Perhaps Branl was offered and refused the position due to his desire to fulfill another purpose -- retrieving the krill and making peace with the Cavewights. Donaldson is too terse for my liking on this subject.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...I like how the author puts it...why Canrik?..." He is newly acquainted with uncertainty, and will gain much from an immersion in the necessary doubts of the Lords."

Canrik is the less tainted by the Old Ways..Its like why Moses wasn't allowed into the promised Land..He was old school..His old ways were not to be entertained in the New Land..Canrik..isn't so set in his ways,,newly acquainted to uncertainty..Canrik is more likely to question everything and thus..see more possibilities in every situation..Hes not so sure of himself to be pretentious....
And thus the fate of the Masters is the opposite..like the Hebrews free of the Pharaoh,,they had to wander in the desert until all the olde school died off,,so one can see the metaphor of what happens to the Masters..Covenant gave them one last opportunity to go out by their own chosen way..Those that survived...oh well. Back to the hills.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hurtloam wrote:
Also missing from the story is any real reason why Stave picked Canrik to be the first High Lord of the new Council.

Well, Stave says something about Canrik needing to learn how to cope with doubt. However, I am not sure why, but it probably has to do with something that happened in Mt. Thunder. Also, Canrik seems to be the next in line after Handir, so "attainment" probably also plays in.

Branl seems to want to undertake a task that's more life-affirming than what he had been put through. If so, it's a form of grieving.

hurtloam wrote:
how do Handir and the other Masters assembled in Mt. Thunder fit into this.

As I see it, the Masters are, like the Humbled, of the "entrenched mindset". If anything, they are so disdainful of grief that Pahni and Bhapa have to resort to chicanery to bring them forth. And it is their fear of Linden being another Kevin that impels them to Mt. Thunder. So one weakness required them to be played, and another weakness allowed them to be.

There may be more to it than that. If there is, I missed it. And, as there is usually more to it, I probably did!
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brinn nailed Clyme and Branl as, beyond redemption and then of course Branl may have just gone ahead and proved it with the dice and slice of Clyme. but he did battle the rock brothers of Foul and lost an arm in sacrifice. That maimed may have put Branl out of consideration..by his own choice possibly. But , yea,,the need to retire seems clear.,,for both physical and mental reasons.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hurtloam wrote:
feel their hearts starting to open, just a glimmer, but enough to recognize Stave's worth and not only reinstate him within the Haruchai collective, but actually give him the position of Voice of the Masters.

Also missing from the story is any real reason why Stave picked Canrik to be the first High Lord of the new Council. How does he distinguish himself for this position? Why not Branl? Perhaps Branl was offered and refused the position due to his desire to fulfill another purpose -- retrieving the krill and making peace with the Cavewights.


On the first, I think it's more than that [and the "more" applies to Canrik and Branyl, and probably the whole of the Haruchai]. Two things that must not be neglected: they did not "give" Stave the position. Right of Attainment...and both the words Right and Attainment carry more weight and power for them than probably any other beings in existence. Combined with their mental communication, their pure way of sharing and knowing...Stave didn't just "teach" them, I don't think ["teaching" was something he had already attempted with them...and failed]...it was more like a Nova of Enlightenment. A glorious thing...and yet, at the same time, it turned half of the identity they'd built and lived for thousands of years instantly, irrevocably, to ash and dust. And now that they can see grief, they MUST grieve. Much like the Giants need the pain of fire, the Haruchai can no longer exorcise grief from their lives, the must exercise it in/with their lives. Their physical nature demands they express their grief with deeds. It is their "birthright to remain" themselves...so each will do this in their own way. Branl's particular grief...the Clyme incident...he enacts by attempting to answer the injustice the Cavewight's have been subjected to [WF suggested that with an If so...I say hell yes, it is grieving]. Canrik's path is pointed at, as well.
"Retirement" is not the way forward for any of them, I don't think. Those who acted at Master's have the most grieving to do...but all of them have much.]

But, on the OP...that was excellent WF. Just excellent.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
hurtloam wrote:
feel their hearts starting to open, just a glimmer, but enough to recognize Stave's worth and not only reinstate him within the Haruchai collective, but actually give him the position of Voice of the Masters.

Also missing from the story is any real reason why Stave picked Canrik to be the first High Lord of the new Council. How does he distinguish himself for this position? Why not Branl? Perhaps Branl was offered and refused the position due to his desire to fulfill another purpose -- retrieving the krill and making peace with the Cavewights.


On the first, I think it's more than that [and the "more" applies to Canrik and Branyl, and probably the whole of the Haruchai]. Two things that must not be neglected: they did not "give" Stave the position. Right of Attainment...and both the words Right and Attainment carry more weight and power for them than probably any other beings in existence. Combined with their mental communication, their pure way of sharing and knowing...Stave didn't just "teach" them, I don't think ["teaching" was something he had already attempted with them...and failed]...it was more like a Nova of Enlightenment. A glorious thing...and yet, at the same time, it turned half of the identity they'd built and lived for thousands of years instantly, irrevocably, to ash and dust. And now that they can see grief, they MUST grieve. Much like the Giants need the pain of fire, the Haruchai can no longer exorcise grief from their lives, the must exercise it in/with their lives. Their physical nature demands they express their grief with deeds. It is their "birthright to remain" themselves...so each will do this in their own way. Branl's particular grief...the Clyme incident...he enacts by attempting to answer the injustice the Cavewight's have been subjected to [WF suggested that with an If so...I say hell yes, it is grieving]. Canrik's path is pointed at, as well.
"Retirement" is not the way forward for any of them, I don't think. Those who acted at Master's have the most grieving to do...but all of them have much.]

But, on the OP...that was excellent WF. Just excellent.


OK, I guess you can say Canrik was chosen because of not only years and prior attainment, but because, other than Stave and Branl, he's the only surviving Master who entered the tunnel leading to Kiril Threndor. I wouldn't think Branl's maiming makes him less fit to be High Lord if this is going to involve accepting Earthpower and lore; maybe more so. He of all the Masters most needs to accept Earthpower and lore. He already began to do so by accepting hurtloam and then by taking up the flamberge. But he has something else he needs to do. It may cost him his life. If he comes back from it, who knows what is next for him? But sometime I might like to start a thread of speculation on the future of the Land, its people, and its world, and whether there is material for a future epic to emerge.

Also, I've been wondering. Does Clyme's soul perish as well as his body? After all, he holds turiyanot only in body but in spirit as Branl sliced them to bits. Honninscrave doesn't suffer such a fate, because Nom first kills him, then takes samadhi into himself and rends it.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stand in awe, sir. Well done.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WF, that's a masterly (no pun intended) piece of work. Compellingly argued and cogently supported with textual evidence. Hats off to you - and I don't disagree with a single word.

One point-ette however. Would you agree that Stave is actually the second haruchai to have undergone such a necessary epiphany? To me at least, from is re-appearance in TLD, it looks pretty clear that Brinn before him has undergone similar - though via very different means. Brinn certainly sees the unwitting fatal errors that his people have been trapped into by their pride and their inability to grieve, as evidenced by his utter contempt and dismissive indignation at Branl and Clyme when they meet. I wonder whether Brinn's gained knowledge came as a result of his having finally learned the power in acceptance during his fight with Kenaustin Ardenol, or whether it stems from the eons he has spent as the ak-haru.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheFallen wrote:

One point-ette however. Would you agree that Stave is actually the second haruchai to have undergone such a necessary epiphany?.


I'd say Stave is the most complete in transformation. In part because in each "era" the Har. have become harder, more deeply sunk into error. But there is definitely similarity/overlap with other Har.
Brinn of course...but I'd say Bannor and Cail, too.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Vraith has it. Brinn and Cail demonstrated, and perhaps learned, that failure isn't only a bad thing. Bannor, perhaps, learned to regret. But I don't think any of them were transformational - they had a capacity to diverge from the Haruchai norm, in worthwhile ways, but they didn't "bring it back" to the rest of the Haruchai and change them all.

---

I have to say that I was expecting some disagreement in what I wrote.

I really struggled with this notion of "fearing to grieve" - understanding what this means in the larger picture of the Haruchai. I knew it was important, not just because it was repeated so often, but because I knew how it ended - Stave realizing the purpose for grief. So I went over Donaldson's words over and over, trying to make sense of it. What I wrote above was the best interpretation I could devise ... and one that fits the text AFAICT ... but I am not exactly confident that I have it right.

The equation of grief and healing is mine. It's not meant to be me adding to what Donaldson said, so much as demonstrating that the two notions - fear of grief, and fear of healing - have a consistency between them.

If anyone has any other ideas about this, I would love to hear.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem I have,,and its in the semantics..is the word, redemption..A Haruchai that filled itself out, became whole is conceivable but the author put a very high price tag on that achievement . I've asked in another thread,,Was it too high? Stave looses a son, looses an eye,,brought back from approaching death more than once...Redemption doesn't seem the right word. Its almost like the Black Knight skit in Monty Python's Holy Grail.

Suppose the fear of grief is just a step..one of many. We see Stave heal himself to some degree after dislodging the malachite keystone for Jerry. With no Linden to heal him quickly, he heals himself,,separate,,alone. Seems to me,,its not just grief. The Haruchai seem to fear being human..period. They have sought being equal to all things ,,which is another way of saying " perfection ". Humans aren't perfect,,at least in the modern view of things. Its a subtle variation of Shakespearre's ..a rose by any other name..A rose knows what it is..a human doesn't kno what it is..its not perfect. Haruchai are human characters who think they can reach perfection..In that they are mistaken and thus made Human.,,The paradox is cool!..But , for me,,the Haruchai are great metaphor for Logic,,perfection achieved and by that, then apparent not Human,,because Humans are not perfect. With only one eye,,Stave finally sees hes not perfect..Now howz that for a paradoxical observation? Stave sees more with one eye than the rest of the Haruchai see with two.

So Redemption,,just doesn't fit for me. I think Stave finally changed and even got Handir and company to see their folly..but they all had to admit that they were wrong, not perfect. Stave caught them in a trap made by the very way the Haruchai think. Redemption is in changing the way one thinks? or is it..Salvation ?..existing into the future..going forward,changes, not repeating the mistakes of the past? Seems to me..the haruchai are saved from them selves rather than redeemed...The compensation of Redemption,,is not there yet for the haruchai..its in the future...possibly. But the changes required to make it to the future,,have begun..salvation.

True, salvation and redemption are close but there is a quid pro quo , an exchange, a payback, a compensation, to being redeemed,,an action that gets you something in return. Salvation is more at the hands of.,preservation, help. Trusting ones emotions is Salvation because they are part of our Humanity, who we are. Being Whole, complete, allows us to go forward into the future less conflicted, less divided. Anyway..something to think about. The haruchai had my sympathy and I think the author did the characters right by end. He gave them a future.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I am not too unhappy with the word "redemption". For one, Donaldson himself uses that term, as I have quoted above. For another, the term was rather organically came to be used here in the Watch; see this topic, for example. It actually dates back to one of the earliest posts on the Watch. (So I guess I have to give danlo credit for the term.)

For those reasons alone, I would have used the term, because of how it ties in to previous discussions.

However, one connotation of being redeemed is being saved: "the act of saving people from sin and evil". Another connotation of being redeemed is to succeed in a way that makes up for past failures: "the act of making something better or more acceptable".

In a Donaldsonian way, both of these connotations apply. Certainly the Ranyhyn and Thomas Covenant and ak-Haru and, unknowingly, Linden Avery, all worked together to rescue the Haruchai from their dysfunctional state. And just as certainly, Stave transformed his brethren from within, overcoming the failure of the Masters with the success of the new Council.

If I am hearing you, lurch, your having an issue with the Haruchai having to pay a price. Although I am unclear how this makes it "not redemption" in your eyes. Should redemption be free?

Ironically, or perhaps poetically, or perhaps existentially, consider these words from my base post.

And if the music ... stops!
There's only the sound of the rain
All the hope and glory,
All the sacrifice in vain

And if love remains
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost


The music stopping correlates to me with Stave's sudden insight.

But the "everything is lost" bit ... in the refrain about Pride, what was lost was the Earth. But in this refrain about Love, what was lost was the Haruchai sense of identity. They were transformed, which meant knowing that they needed to discard everything that they were for something better. This is the cost they must pay for redemption.

Surely they have made themselves better and more acceptable?

Surely they have been saved from, well ... not sin and evil, but dysfunction and error?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

..no, not free..As I have stated further above..Brinn did say that he thought Branl and Clyme were Beyond Redemption and then Branl goes out and proves it. ..TC has had a major problem with the Haruchai since the beginning, LFB; their extravagance being way beyond acceptability. I agree with the Brinn perception. As an allegory..the wandering in the desert by the free Hebrews seems to fit. Not all of the Haruchai are savable .Only ones with doubt,,ones that question the staus quo show any sign of open to change. Thats my point. Do you have to teach a kid that fire is hot by sticking his hand in a fire? I certainly think not. Clyme is dead. Staves son is dead. Stave has lost an eye etc etc..Redemption? Its too late for redemption. Its down to salvation. and yes,,salvation isn't so much a quid pro quo..the deaths have already taken place, nothing can change that.

I understand your essay begins with what you wanted. Thats fair. I can Not say that the changes I thought the Haruchai needed to mak,e would only come about thru the deaths of Clyme, Staves son, etc etc..Thats the angle I am looking at on redemption. Thats why I agree with the Brinn view. And it also answers possibly why Branl doesn't get any leadership role in the future..to far gone..How many times has TC been reduced to weeping and wanting to cry by the extravagance of the Haruchai? The author wrote those words also. The haruchai paid repeatedly the highest cost and were never redeemed. Its just the opposite..not paying that highest cost would get them redemption. Again..redemption seems in the future for the Haruchai.Its not yet. They have just begun on trying to break old habits...Their true natural "self",,they have just begun to search for.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

I have to say that I was expecting some disagreement in what I wrote.
I love to disagree just as much as the next guy, but there's not much here that's opinion (AFAICT). It comes straight out of the text itself. You've constructed a fine summary of the Haruchai journey. It's nice to have it all in one place. And extra points for using Rush lyrics. Cool They fit nicely.

I think "the music stops" is perhaps about the end of something good, perhaps even death. It could certainly apply to the end of the earth, at which all the hope, glory, sacrifice would have been in vain--if all you were counting on was hope/glory/sacrifice as the meaning. But as Donaldson says, and you've pointed out, the meaning comes from our heart, our love. And as my signature (the SRD part) attests, meaning must come from within each individual human, not in external glory or hopes we place beyond this life. We shouldn't count the cost, because the cost is always the same, and it will always be paid. The cost is our lives. We'll all die. But not all of us will love while we live. No amount of service or sacrifice will change the fact that All Thing End. The only thing we can affect is how we feel about it.

I like that Donaldson makes this point with the Haruchai. But I wish he'd done more with Covenant himself, since it's his story. The Haruchai have more of a character arc than Covenant himself.

What the Masters have done to the Land is to make it an external manifestation of themselves: just as they can't countenance grief, they can't countenance uses of Earthpower which can cause grief. They've imposed strict control upon EP just as they've imposed strict control of their emotions. Thus, what is "wrong" with the Haruchai has been made into what is wrong with the people of the Land.

My only complaint in this regard is that I feel like we've seen this before with the Oath of Peace.

I do like how the Haruchai represent the opposite extreme of the Giants. The Giants know how to freakin grieve. They even named one of their cities after it. They stick their hands in the fire, and not only allow themselves to feel pain, but force themselves to feel it. And as WF points out, this can be healing. But the Giants (First Chrons) took their ability or compulsion to feel grief too far, and allowed themselves to be slain one-by-one because they were too grieved to fight anymore. Grief leads to despair.

So a middle ground must be reached. I wish that middle ground had been explored. I wish desecration and despair weren't simply shrugged off as forms of Love. Clearly, one can go too far in either direction. Desecration deserves more than a hug. Granted, it also deserves less than Mastery, but come on Donaldson, give the middle ground its due. I thought that's what the Last Chronicles were going to be about ... finding the middle path between fighting and giving in, resistance and sacrifice.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess thats where I have a problem with Redemption and Middle Ground alike. Both have parameters. The Freedom Donaldson gives the Haruchai as well as all the characters of the Epilogue,,is open ended, without parameters so much. The only expectation on the haruchai is..the day they give The Land back to the People of the Land..Yes, that day I would suggest the haruchai are redeemed.

It hasn't been about Where or When,,Time and Space made absolutely subjective at least in the LCs, but its been about How. So that ,,no matter where you Land in Life, your mind is Free, unencumbered enough, to perceive and think of all the choices and possibilities of the situation. ...or as CSN&Y put it...If you can't be, with the one you Love,,Love the one you're with...or as Andre Breton had it.." Everything With Love"...or as Donaldson has Linden realize,,If you want to make the Unknown , Known to you ,,you have to Love It..hhhmmm, theres a clue for Algebra teachers..instead of X..make it Johnny Depp, and instead of Y, make it Beyonce..make high school algebra something every teenager can Love!
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider Stave's description of the Masters.

Quote:
"If the Land is crushed under the heel of Corruption, the Masters will not fault themselves. They will give of their utmost, and will bear the cost without shame or sorrow. But if they permit some new Desecration when prevention lies within their power, their loss will efface all meaning from their lives."

... and contrast it with these earlier words, spoken by Mhoram.

Quote:
"We know the peril now. We have known it since the Giants returned the First Ward to us. Therefore we have sworn the Oath of Peace - and will keep it so that never again will life and Land be harmed by despair. If we are brought to the point where we must desecrate or be defeated, then we will fight until we are defeated. The fate of the Earth will be in other hands."

So oddly similar, and so very, very different.

We know that one of these positions Donaldson finds to be noble, and the other he finds to be mistaken. So the difference between them is important.

As I see it:

The Lords were not concerned with themselves, but for the welfare of the Land, whereas the Master's concern was themselves, and their quest for worth.

And the Lords were making a choice for themselves, whereas the Masters were making a choice for everyone else. They weren't just preventing Desecration, they were preventing everything in case it was Desecration.
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