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TLD Part I Chapter 4: Try to Believe
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:04 pm    Post subject: TLD Part I Chapter 4: Try to Believe Reply with quote

ETA: Aaand getting internal server errors from everything...

I will post this analysis in two parts in order to get started within the schedule. The text turned out to be another basketful of onions sitting in the center of a labyrinth; so many layers and approaches to consider. Feel free to begin discussions before completion, though.

Part I

An odd soup of humor, bog bogies, and horror worth gaping at the pages with one’s jaw hanging slack, this chapter encases more action than the previous ones, and at least the latter portion marks the beginning of more compact writing in the Last Chronicles. No more Giantish kicks that require several paragraphs to connect with Esmer’s face. Or, perchance our Timelord Dr. Whovenant restored the proper pace, now that his mind does not float around in fragments any longer. The swelling word list I will annex to the end of the second part proves that, despite a slight respite from the typical sesquipedalianism at the beginning, SRD never abandoned his daily meals consisting of fried dictionaries topped with some delicious thesaurus garnish.

A tiny remark about the two haru-steeds introduced in the previous chapter: I may be fishing for glaring red herrings here, but Rallyn and Hooryl sound somewhat like “rally” and “hurry”, just as one pronounces Mahrtiir akin to “martyr” (the ultimate meaning of which will unfold in an upcoming plotline) or skurj as “scourge”. The word rally bears a few different meanings, one of which stands for “the feat of mustering strength for a renewed effort”. Both fit the urgent atmosphere of the quest to drag the Earth back from the brink of destruction. The names of the pensionate equines Mhornym and Naybahn resemble (at least on some level) ‘mourning’ and...oh no, I have depleted my powers of fruitful guessing! Any thoughts on this?

Withal, on to the tale…

Our anti-hero awakens to the sensation of jouncing to and fro like a sack of potatoes upon a bumpy-riding cart. He sprawls astride the Ex-Ardent’s moth-eaten dobbin--flanked by galloping Ranyhyn and the Humbled--and “aches like groans” emanate from every inch of his body: the pain of healing too quick for a mortal to handle. He opines that he would have preferred the fate of a gender-bender Sleeping Beauty and dozed off for a century. Perhaps Linden could have awoken him with a sweet kiss instants ere the crumbling of the Arch of Time? By increments, he attempts to gather his bearings through the miasma of fatigue and preternatural gloom. What in the seven hells has happened? How had the Haruchai resolved the ak-Haru’s rebuke and towards what mysterious destination were they heading?

Then, chills wriggle down his spine as he recalls his promise to aid the Lurker against the possession of turya Raver. What a foreboding undertaking! A barely healed leper facing the possibility that two of the Land’s most atrocious, ancient evils right after Lord Foul himself might have merged...

Then, something strikes him as unnatural:

Quote:
Briefly Covenant fought the blur that marred his vision. It seemed worse than it should have been. He could still see stars overhead, but his companion’s features were a twilit smear. [. . .] Hell and blood. Brinn had healed him, and leprosy did not progress so swiftly. Stung by an intuitive apprehension, he pulled his awkward arms under him, [. . .] clutched at the saddle horn to keep his balance. He could not feel the horn at all, except with the nerves of his elbows and shoulders. His hands were numb. [. . .]
Around him, the aegis of the gloaming was complete. It ruled everything. It was leaking into his head; into his mind. Only the stars as they died were vivid to him.


Thus, the claws of consternation clutch at Covenant, until Clyme states that Kevin’s dirt ought to be blamed for his declension.

(Something here might merit a peek into Norse legends again... The entire “Kevin’s Dirt” phenomenon reminds me of how Jörmungandr, the World Serpent, poisons the heavens during the Twilight of the Gods. The sense-numbing curse of the Land stems from Kastenessen, who feels like a fusion of Surtr and Jörmungandr, just as Wormy immixes the attributes of the latter and Níðhöggr the dragon manducating on the World Tree’s roots. Jörmungandr as a word consists of two different terms bound together: jörmun = huge, gandr = projected magical power, magic staff/wand. Gand(r), apart from gand-reið and other derivations, was a type of witchcraft practiced by the Saami noidat, dreaded for its ability to send illness and harm across vast distances upon the winds. Whether SRD is aware of such etymologies at all or has inserted here something on purpose is unknown, but it fits nonetheless.

Then, who or what is Surtr? He is an eldjötunn, a Fire Giant (as opposed to the hrímþursar, the Rime/Frost Giants, the counterparts of whom the reader has already accompanied ever since Fatal Revenant...) and one of the major opponents of the gods in Ragnarökkr. Kastenessen has merged with the Landish laval direworms, thus becoming the embodiment of this very element. Perhaps more about him in the dissection of Chapter 9.)

Gradually, Covenant spots further ill-boding alterations around him:

Quote:
Clyme sounded angry. No, it was more than that. He sounded like a man who had given up on pretending that he was not angry.


and

Quote:
Branl’s visage wore a frown like a knot between his brows. It looked permanent, as if it had always been there; as if it had merely been masked by a learned and unnatural impassivity.


Have we ever seen the impassive Haruchai in such a state? Something beyond ominous has begun to seethe beneath the surface thanks to the ak-Haru’s previous accusations. Covenant remains unsure about their resolutions and if they have decided to act against Brinn’s advice--then, he discovers that the ragtag troupe travels towards the Lurker’s demesne, even if via an aliantha-providing detour. So far, so good. However, his unease surfaces anew as he prompts the company to stop, and the myrmidons obey without a squawk. Alas, tempus fugit, tempus fugit!

The leper attempts to kick some life and sensation back into his enfeebled bone-house of aches by stomping around, and fumbles for a gentle approach to the Haruchai’s heartsore by first asking about Brinn’s promised boon. He must find out what ails the Masters; how else could he dream of challenging the horde of puissant beasts and the apocalypse to come? United they might survive at least a few more fleeting moments, divided none. The response yet shoves the atmosphere further into the sepulchral glumness of the last dark.

Quote:
“He did not [tell about the boon],” Clyme repeated, rigid as metal. “He refused our mental communion, as only Stave has done heretofore. [. . .] We deem he did not speak again because he had come to the end of himself. He could do no more.”


Ah, poor Brinn, vanished as a wisp of smoke in the air after millennia of service…one more hero lost in the twilight of the gods.

Then, Covenant drops the full bomb.

Quote:
“Then tell me what’s changed for you.” He strained his eyes to study the faces of the Humbled. “Was being criticized by your ak-Haru that bad?”
Both men stiffened. Their anger made them vivid in the gloom. Branl’s glower looked fierce enough to split his skull. Clyme knocked the knuckles of his fists together as if he were stifling an impulse to hit someone.
[. . .] “His words were hurtful to no purpose. He did not reproach what we have done [. . .] but that we are who we are. Is the wind to be faulted because it blows? Are the stones to be accused because they are not trees? We are Haruchai. We cannot be other than ourselves.”


What does it signify that they cannot be other than themselves? Stiff, humorless perfectionists to whom failure can only be synonymized with a death sentence? A black-and-white outlook where the concepts of good and evil tower as sharp-edged absolutes allowing no middle ground?

Passions begin to flare up akin to wildfires, and the reader may feel steam issuing from their ears as well at the audacity of the Humbled. Clyme accuses the ak-Haru of granting false counsel to Covenant, who downright sputters with indignation. The Haruchai deem that both the Land’s peril and the character of the Masters have been misesteemed, and that the Lurker represents naught but flippant hunger for power, incapable of pursuing pacts and promises. Now, the theme of how good cannot be achieved by evil means rises its Hydra-ish head in a proper fashion:

Quote:
“The Lurker’s plight is of no consequence. That monstrous wight is an avatar of corruption.”


Since the glorified hentai monster oozed forth from, kindly put, Lord Foul’s rectum, it and other eldritch abominations of such ilk should be left to perish even if they would shew redeeming qualities? A sin once committed can never be forgiven? A creature “born of sin”, per se, can never achieve anything but more vileness? Indeed, the reader has acquired that the Haruchai will and cannot forgive, yet the sheer mental blindness ceases not to astonish. What about their idol Coven-- Ah, but the pitiful ludicrousness of their beliefs shall be revealed in a trice.

Afore this, they judge that, together with the aid of Linden’s army, Kastenessen ought to be defeated instead. They do not consider the Raver/Swamp Thing combo salient enough a threat next to the deranged Elohim’s dirt-clouds and so forth. In Covenant’s blurry eyes, both enemies seem quite as undefeatable and unapproachable. Then, he realizes that after attempting to make him sunder his vows to the Ranyhyn, the Haruchai yet again persuade him to veer from the route of righteousness: the alliance with the Lurker ought to be abandoned. A whim of a moment. Not binding in spite of the Feroce mass-sacrificing themselves in order to make stone remember its yoreday strength. This, if anything, shakes him to the core.

Quote:
“That doesn’t sound like you. It doesn’t sound like any Haruchai I’ve ever met.” [Covenant] had to grit his teeth to keep from shouting. “What’s happened to you?”
Dark as incarnations of wrath, Clyme and Branl glared at Covenant. For a long moment, they did not reply…


Then…a dramatic effect...

Quote:
Suddenly, Branl snatched the bundle of Loric’s krill from inside his tunic. As the gem’s argence blazed out, he stabbed the dagger into the grass. In the krill’s radiance, both Branl and Clyme looked hieratic, chthonic, as if they had already taken their place among the dead. The reflections in their eyes gave them the authority of spirits unconstrained by the boundaries of life and time.
“Ur-Lord,” Clyme announced, “we are the Humbled in all sooth, the Humbled triumphant and maimed. Have you forgotten so much that you do not recognize the men who we have chosen to become?” His ire sounded more and more like lamentation. It sounded like fear. “Do you not recall that it is our task to embody you among our people? You are the purpose and substance of our lives.”
“If you do not return to Linden Avery, you will perish. Without the balm of the Staff, your end is certain.”


Covenant kens not whether to laugh or cry, and the reader feels the same. The Haruchai worship Thomas Covenant. The leper deliverer, who in the heyday of the Land nigh-on personified corruption ere his own “humbling”, a man the shadow-soul of whom Lord Foul himself reflects...ah, those poor bastards with their beliefs so twisted a thousand corkscrews stuck together would appear straightforward in comparison. Indeed, that they apotheosize someone so glaringly against their basic principles boggles the mind. If they wished to embody the crotchety outworlder or this ideal of saving the Land from depravity, they would have to embrace their own flaws and become true servants to the Land, not mini-Hitlers that choke every initiative and opinion. Love, encourage, and tolerate. Reading between the lines, one can assimilate many of the Masters’ actions with some of the behavior of the christian church, whose campaigns from crusades to inquisition defecate on the teachings of a certain Nazarene.

Spoiler:
Note that “embracing your flaws” will become a literal plot point later and one of the most important themes of the series.


Something strikes as interesting in the whole idea of Covenantism. If one follows the footsteps of the fan-school that regards the Land as something fed and maintained by the sub-awarenesses of the outworlders, one might now turn their schnozzles towards Linden. The memory of the bygone Thomas did bestow a new meaning upon her life, and did she not rush to resurrect him on the first possible opportunity? Half the time it appears that he dwelt within her heart as a demiurge of some ilk...an attribute that leaked into this other dimension somehow? Or casting nets for shoals of red herrings here?

Whatever the case, this establishes Covenant’s role as a Landish god, deified millennia after his first role as Berek Halfhand reborn. Which prods awake the question that does such belief grant him powers, just as ruminating on despite increased Foul’s thaumaturgies, allowing him to reach into the “real world”?

In the meanwhile, the beatified bloke himself feels something close to pity towards these priests of Covenantism. He cannot approve of such an honor, and has he not always depended on the magic of friendship besides? How would he ever have accomplished aught sans the Giants or other gallant Land-folk? The Haruchai ought to venerate true heroes such as Foamfollower or Mhoram instead, and find the seeds of transcendence within themselves. He proceeds to explain that the valor of the Haruchai once served as his own standard, and that the treasured Land should not become the supper of skurj and cosmic serpents due to his illness or even his passing. Further, he elaborates that Hansen’s disease will not transform him into a rotting heap of loose body parts during the following two seconds, and yet due to its inherent putridness, a Raver would not diabolize him.

Quote:
“They [the Ravers] are afraid of what it might be like to possess a body and a mind as sick as mine. [. . .] Maybe being me would be too much like being the Despiser, trapped and helpless and full of despair even though he’s too powerful and too damn eternal to be killed. Possessing other people, or other monsters, they can at least feel and hate and destroy. With me, they might not be able to do any of those things.”


Guh, imagine burrowing into the fetid gravepit of Lord Foul’s thoughts, dripping with mental pus and reeking of necrosis...yuck. However, Covenant has accepted that Foul portrays some essential aspect of him, and no more cringes from voicing this aloud, now endeavoring to convince the worshippers that he does not radiate the elysian excellence of their avatar.

At this deluge of reasoning, something passes between the Haruchai. Oh, poor Covenant, if you only knew the truth...

Quote:
“He was vaguely surprised to see Clyme and Branl blink in unison as if they were closing the shutters of their minds against illumination. But the moment was brief; no more than a flicker.”


Then, more puzzling behavior. Without ever having renounced their denial of Brinn’s guidance, they inquire about the feasibility of this chivalric save-a-tursas-in-distress effort. The Unbeliever, for his part, cannot reply yet. More oh-so-precious seconds dissolve into nothingness as he must devise a means to reach Sarangrave and regain some strength…

* * *

During the next break, Covenant tramps around some more and mulls over how Linden managed to emerge unscratched from the crumbling of Kevin’s Watch. Something there nibbles at the corners of his inspiration, something about the quality of time itself...

Quote:
“I saw what happened. She slipped outside time. And she took Anele with her. Somehow she bypassed cause and effect and even ordinary gravity so that she and Anele came down on top of the rubble instead of under it. [. . .] But how?


How? Dr. Avery utilized her 1337 Timelady skillz and soared through the eternities with a TARDIS--no, wait, wrong fantasyverse again. So confusing!

White gold, wild magic, the keystone to the Arch of Time...hunches knit together into larger conceptions in the leper’s thoughts. Instead of shattering seconds, Linden slunk into some unsung domain beyond event and effect. Then again, the Insequent could worm their ways between realities sans ringy theurgies, as well as the Roger/croyel cabal. How in Taara’s name does time function in this world? The author does not elaborate on it much, but the reader may soon sniff the odor of some clues.

Then, some pleasures to sate the hungry arrive.

Quote:
Clyme slid down from Hooryl’s back. Lifting the hem of his tunic, he showed Covenant that he carried a feast of treasure-berries.


It is not very polite from the author to call Clyme’s pride “berries”, but at least this answers the ancient conundrum about Haruchai endowedness. A feast, indeed? The ringwielder satisfies his needs, spills some seed, and...that is, he consumes aliantha and performs the typical post-snack seed scattering ceremony. Then, he uncovers his mini-sword anew, and…come on now, SRD, enough with the innuendo. Anyhow, however would he be able to slice time with white gold and his trusty catalyst? He does not bubble with health-sense akin to Linden, and must therefore rely on his brainpower.

Quote:
“I don’t understand how the Harrow and the Ardent did what they did. But Roger and the croyel are another matter. They raised their arms to make an arch over her head. A portal. But I can’t stand in two places at once. [. . .] How about an enclosure?”


In an impulse of abrupt inspiration, he herds the Haruchai and the horses together, and unleashes wild magic. He dithers and doubts, aye, weak and yet boiling with eldritch powers; with one flick of his finger, he might save or damn the Earth...but options have become scarce, and he must act undepending on the costs. For an instant, Covenant blazes with argence akin to a bonfire, yet channels the sorcery into the krill. A peculiar idea fills his mind…

Quote:
He stooped to touch the grass with the point of Loric’s weapon. He let the blade’s weight sink in as deeply as it wished, but he made no effort to drive the krill deeper. Then he watched as the rough turf became lambent as if it had been touched with ecstasy.


He plunges his dagger into Mother Earth and ecstasy spreads across the grass? Right. However, Covenant aims for something else than a recreation of an archaic fertility ritual with beauteous light effects:

Quote:
He feared to see that the krill’s touch had killed the grass, left it scorched and withered. But somehow he had invoked a form of power which was not destructive. Instead of dying, the turf continued to shine where he had cut through it. Crouched and stumbling, he began to drag the dagger in a line through the grass. [. . .] Then he went on, pulling Loric’s dagger through the grass; inscribing his crude and hopeful mockery of a circle.


Now what? Sketching wonky Olympic rings to goad them on on the upcoming marathon against a Raver? Nope, something far fancier. A careful reader may have observed that in this demesne, just as staves and certain swords, circles and rings are associated with enigmatic forces. Kasreyn of the Gyre based his mumbo jumbo on such geometries, the Arch of Time is a curve with the two white gold rings sitting as its symbolic keystones on either end... This selection of power tools utilizes some very primordial masculinity and femininity symbols (oblong/round), met in almost all civilizations across the world. Hence one must wonder if the origins of the Land’s existence lie somewhere in Covenant and Joan’s first consummation of love?
As to the worst of these analogies…

Spoiler:
Two hoops and a stiff stick recreate the realm in the end? Most clever, most clever. Resembles the “Long Man” joke met in the Discworld books. Sometimes, I do not believe in coincidences.


Finally the enclosure stands completed. The redeemer strikes the blade once more with a flame of silver, and:

Quote:
Just for an instant, the Unbeliever became a conflagration again, a being of fire and theurgy. Then the Ranyhyn and Mishio Massima surged forward--and the world vanished as though it had been erased from existence.


The thrill condenses! What befalls now? Will the company survive the leap into these benighted beyond-spheres?

Part II here


Last edited by Frostheart Grueburn on Sun May 11, 2014 10:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aaaiiiyyyeee!!!..you cut the onion in half and then told us we can't cry until the salad is done...Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Sorry. With my pathetic speed and constant dictionary-consulting, it will be another 1,5 weeks ere the salad is done. I bewail the wilting of the lettuce in the process.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All is forgiven, so long as the tomatoes remain perky.
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Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know about these greenhouse-grown ones...better use lurch's betimes Shakespearian tomatoes. As long as they're not intelligent enough to erupt into bouts of "to be or not to be" existential angst in the salad bowl.

(Good gods too much sugar today.)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

existential angst in the toilet bowl...to pee..or not to pee..

existential angst in the Bald Men's Club...Toupe'..or not Toupe'..

existential angst in the Alimony Court..To Pay!..or.. ... ...TO PAY!!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
existential angst in the Bald Men's Club...Toupe'..or not Toupe'...

lurch, this whole matter of puns about hairpieces is entirely un-a-merkin.

not that such matters to Frosty or other "fur-eigners..."

Oy...I officially have no shame. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well there you are Frosty..its either more of that..or your next installment .. whats it gonna be, Part 2b or not 2b, your call.. I'm not sure how much the board can take,,so heres just a little more just in case you ain't gettin the drift..

the existential angst of Little Richard..tuti fruti ,oh Rudy.

the existential angst of Henny Youngman..." Two Jews walked into a bar, The bartender looked up and said,,ahh, no, I think you are in the wrong joke,,"

the existential angst of,,Stephen R Donaldson...puissant or not puissant...
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am quite overcome by the passion of your dissection, Frosty. Your parrhesia is thorough and effective. I need to catch my breath, take a shower and brush my teeth before responding. I might even need a cigarette.
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well I don't kno any Parrhesia, but allow me to speak freely here and say, cigarettes are bad for you. I shouldn't have to tell you, but in all truthfulness, cigarettes are a bad idea. ..okay?
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch, for context on parrhesia as understood by deer, consider Acts 4:13.

Also, anyone who is voluntarily living where deer lives has many greater risks to consider than the occasional cigarette, especially as an aftermath to the sort of experience to which she alludes.
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear that something shocked you there. I'm not certain what, but SRD's writing is very thought-provoking. However, please do note that significant chunks of the text have a tongue-in-cheek flavor, and that I come from a culture quite different from the one practiced overseas.

Even tiny matters sometimes count.

As to the rest, patience, patience! I thought I was the one that got spotlighted for poor forbearance. Razz It's coming. (Now don't put any innuendo into that...)
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This chapter contains a fun moment for me, in a passage that lurch called to my attention:

Quote:
It was for this that Covenant had to find and stop turiya, and then go on to the next battle and the next. Not for the lurker. Not for the Elohim, in spite of their slow inexorable decimation. Not even for Linden, although his ache for her resembled weeping. No, it was for aliantha that he had to fight: for treasure-berries, and for Wraiths, for hurtloam and Glimmermere and Salva Gildenbourne, Andelain and EarthBlood; for the Ranyhyn and their Ramen; for ur-viles and Waynhim; and for every mortal heart as valiant and treasurable as Liand's or Anele's. For their sake, he had to catch up with the Raver. He had to find a way.


Fun to read.
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hold that Thought , Cord. Its key to the parable of this chapter.

( elsewhere there is a very recent post with a link to Charlie Chaplin's " Dictator's Speech" from his 1940 movie,".. The Great Dictator"..I read the above paragraph with the ears hearing it in the same tenor as Charlie gives the speech. )
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PART II

Quote:
When his mount hit the ground at a full gallop, Covenant nearly lost his seat. And the after-flash of power filled his head. [. . .] He had no idea where he was. The krill’s brightness effaced his surroundings. Illuminated by silver, the horses pounded the turf: he recognized nothing else. For all he knew, he and his companions had only traveled a dozen strides.


So, what in the name of Lord Foul’s willy warmer happened? Did the adventurers teleport themselves into the “real world” and frighten the living last darks out of Sheriff Lytton? Or did they end up into the Wormy’s wee ickle ticklish tummy? Or indeed, did they even journey anywhither?

They did, and for once, Covenant has succeeded in a positive endeavor. Clyme affirms that they have halved the mileage to the Swamp Thing’s lurkylair with the aid of the novel dimension-hopping artifice. The Unbeliever feels akin to a fraying ragdoll: Such channeling of magics has drained the meager strength he has managed to muster. Then, another surprise; the Haruchai offer to aid him to inscribe a second enclosure. What is this? Did they not but a quarter of a heartbeat agone oppose anything related to the ak-Haru’s guidance? Covenant, Covenant, why are your warning bells not clamoring yet?

The assistance does not well befit a Landish deity. The text implies that the stooge crab-walks across the turf, carrying the leper over his shoulder so that the latter’s arse sticks up in the air. Covenant wastes one of his sardonic jests on the mirthless minions:

Quote:
“But it’s too bad you couldn’t think of anything even less dignified. I should at least try to look as pitiful as I feel.”


One must wonder if this remark might have spurred the Haruchai towards their eventual resolution. After all, the whole meaning of humbling has become disputed, subverted, and they comprehend as much about humor as a starfish does about flamenco. Anyhow, Clyme appears to be a natural talent in creating grass/crop circles, and excels the wild magic geometrist. As mentioned erenow, certain shapes bristle with powers--the more accurate, the more potent. The argence burns brighter, promising a speedier translation. This gives Covenant a wavering wisp of hope:

Quote:
If he could stop tyriya--and if he could do at least something to help Horrim Carabal survive the Worm’s arrival in the Land--he might actually have time to rejoin Linden. Wherever her own exigencies had taken her, he might be able to find her.
If.


One more leap of fate. In the meanwhile, time has galloped onwards, and the gloom of Ragnarökkr has bedimmed the surroundings beyond the krill-glow. A rank vista awaits:

Quote:
Spectral against the coming night, tangled brush and gnarled trees became visible off to Covenant’s left: limbs and twigs that resembled bleached bones in the silver light; clumps of reeds like thickets of spears; dark floating pads with nacreous flowers, noxious scum; troubled waters so black that they refused illumination. The tenebrous air was thick with stagnation and rot, the putrid remains of corpses. [. . .] Far away through the scrub and trees, the scrannel brush and marshgrass, Covenant caught flickers of a diseased silver that reminded him of his one confrontation with the Lurker many centuries ago.


For some reason, the author always waxes poetic when depicting doom and corruption, exalting the oozing fetor and evanescence into something splendiferous. A peculiar talent, this. Anyhow, woe unto the worlds now, for the monster-busters have arrived too late! The Raver has already struck! A vast and vigorous wight, the Lurker has not yet succumbed to the mini-Foul’s mind control. However, as it has been remarked upon before, every fraction of a second counts in this broth of countless enemies and the demise of stars...

The company staggers to a standstill. Covenant does not wish the horses to become acid-gnawed skeletons in the corrosive pools, yet a means to reach the Lurker must be devised. Hie, hie! The Feroce are needed anew! He shouts, swears, stomps his feet, waves the flaming cross of the dagger about, yet nothing heeds his pleas! Have the marsh-dwellers forsaken the alliance after all, as the Masters predicted?

Quote:
Thrashed by distant fighting, the water at Covenant’s feet heaved against its scum and muck. Gouts of tiny plant life rose into the air like miniature geysers, then slumped back into the slime. He thought that he heard screaming, inarticulate fury life far-off thunder; but he could not be sure through the slosh and slap of the disturbed wetland.


Then, as the last droplet of hope hesitates on the brink of oblivion, two timid toadies tiptoe through the thickets towards the troop. They pule and cower, pleading the Pure One to redeem them and their tentacly Master. Again, Covenant, whom a queue of titles from Timewarden to Earthfriend already trails, cannot acquiesce to such elevations. Everyone and their pet rocks considers him a deity in this universe, and yet he is but one pathetic mortal with a failing eyesight, stumps for fingers, and senses deflated by creeping numbness. Another thick thread in the plot-tapestry, the author began to pile these fanciful, mostly unearned, appellations upon him during the first volume. Jot by jot, he attains a right to them, and now time has come to satisfy the last of their implications. Contrasting this, the Haruchai have submerged into a sea of self-granted titles, and indeed done naught to fulfill them. He yet reassures the Feroce that he will help and not harm them with his “cruel metal and delivering of agony”:

Quote:
Frantic to show his good faith, he swept cloth around the krill’s gem and blade [. . .], jerked Joan’s ring from his finger; made himself appear defenseless.
“I’ll need metal to fight.” Fear made him savage. “And I’ll have to hurt your High God. I need to cut off the infection. But I can’t do anything if he doesn’t take me where I’m needed!”


The Lurker responds in its bizarre fashion. A gargantuan tentacle rises out of the filth, grabs Covenant, and sweeps him away into the unknown, accompanied by one last whimper,

Quote:
“Try to believe that you are the Pure One!”


Covenant, after all, is perhaps the single bridge along which these hapless critters born of blight might scurry into safety in a Götterdämmerung so ultimate even the anthropomorphic representation of the local Grim Reaper would be devoured.

Perhaps one of the more bizarre rescue missions in modern fantasy commences thereafter. Forget white stallions, shining black cars that glide across gleaming tarmac, or streamlined spaceships; forget even a herd of zombie reindeer pulling a lich Santa’s sled. A squirming tentacle is the new choice of transportation.

Quote:
He had no measure for direction or distance. The wetland seethed like a cataract below him. Night blinded every horizon. The roar of wind in his ears covered the stricken pound of his pulse. [. . .] Without warning, the coils wrenched him downward. Before he could even try to fill his lungs, Horrim Carabal slammed him into a pool, buried him in deep water acrid with poisons. His eyes would have been ruined in their sockets if he had not clenched them shut. [. . .] The corrupt water stung him like a swarm of ants, biting and endless. Apart from suffocation and dread and pain, he felt only nascent fire, as if his mere presence sufficed to set the toxic waters ablaze.


Covenant teeters on the verge of expiry. A tempting escape, as it would allow him to drift into the bliss of nothingness; no more battles against impossible odds…no more striving to reach the preposterous standards the Earth-dwellers have amassed afore him. Then again, this would mean the cessation of all love, all wonder, all he had ever essayed. Linden, lost. The Land, lost. Everything, everything precious lost… He must believe in himself and struggle against the sweet song of death-seducement. On the last moment, Horrim Carabal drags him out of the skank. Only to get flung onto the field--or the swell--of conflict.

Quote:
Below him stretched a pool the size of a small lake. It veered one way, and another as the tentacle squirmed. Its surface blazed with a nacreous lucence as dangerous as necrosis. From the depths of the water rose two more tentacles. They were thick as towers, supple as serpents, and they were locked together in battle. One struck the other while the other writhed to avoid blows that would have toppled oaks. [. . .] The Lurker seemed to be fighting itself, but it was not. Covenant felt turiya’s malevolence in the caught tentacle. The raver’s mastery of the monster had reached this far along one arm. Now Horrim Carabal strove to tear off the possessed part of itself before turiya could claim more.


I have nothing else to opine about the forthcoming fray, apart from this; too whimsical for words. (An equally odd mash of cartoon/realism as a result of testing an upgraded painting app and a new monitor…) The phrase “Sandgorgons and skurj in concert” earlier in the chapter would also have merited a cartoon, but no time for that...

ETA: click the thumbnail for a larger picture.



In due course, some tentacle sushi is made, yet the actual foe furthermore subsists, seeking to bounce upon the next host. Those bloody spirits, harder to annihilate than an infestation of radioactivity-resistant roaches! Yet Covenant must destroy the entity, no other alternative remains. Some essential notion of urgency and determination has invaded his mind while cleaving asunder the foulish infestation. Therefore, shedding all erstwhile constraints and doubts, indeed in his frantic fury believing in his own capability to scour the Land of this pest, he plunges after the sinking tentacle. The mordant fluids of the pool scald Covenant’s skin, but he cares not a whit, as he senses the Raver’s fear saturating the mirk beneath the ripples. Tides have indeed turned upside down and inside out, as about every wight pursues alien motives or otherwise contradicts their inherent character.

Quote:
As he hit the still-squirming arm, he hammered the krill into it and sent a blast of passion along its length, striving with his last strength to shred the raver. If he accomplished nothing else with his life, he would at least give Linden the Lurker of the Sarangrave as a potent ally rather than a lethal foe. Delirious and resolved, he poured out his heart until he felt tyriya Herem’s spirit begin to fray.


If he accomplished nothing else with his life? Now this is an interesting passage. The remorse for killing Joan, his shunning of Linden thanks to his insecurity, the commiseration he feels for the Haruchai and the ill-fated Earth, the thunderclouds of unworth brooding over his thoughts...have they compacted together into this single, callous mindset? Is this a momentary obsession or has it bounced around in the cold chambers of his soul for eons now?

In the meanwhile, the tardy eradicating of the Raver sucks the Unbeliever’s powers; his frail body cannot sustain the stress for long. Then something insane befalls; the reader can but goggle at the page stupefied, as:

Quote:
Before the end, however--the Raver’s end, or Covenant’s--the krill was snatched away.


What? WHAT? Who would--
Who or what would be so insolent as to hinder him from succeeding in his quest?

Well. The Humbled have returned. Grasping now the krill, Branl spouts something about the acids harming the Pure One (note the expression). The catalepsy imposed upon the Unbeliever by the loss of air is preventing coherent thought, but bit by bit, he does fathom the scale of the disaster. The malignance of the Raver yet flourishes. He has lost the weapon. Everything, everything had been futile?

Quote:
Hellfire, Covenant groaned as his mind wandered among his defeats. Hell and blood. What have you done?


Indeed. What have they done?
Then, to his utmost horror, he perceives a drastic transformation in Clyme…

Quote:
With the slow deliberation of a torturer, Clyme of the Humbled broke the surface in front of Branl. [. . .] At that sight, Covenant’s confusion became keening. That was not Clyme: it was turiya. The Raver’s presence was too fierce to be mistaken for anything else. The light of the acrid waters reflected in Clyme’s eyes like the eagerness of depravity. The grin baring his teeth anticipated bloodshed and triumph.


To further pile boulders atop the avalanche-buried village of bunnies and puppies, the Haruchai must have intromitted the demon with the doors of his heart spread wide open, as these mighty mountain-dwellers oft surpassing even Giants ought to have been resilient to such intrusions.
Bloody hell, did the Haruchai opt to respond to Brinn’s challenge in such a manner? By submitting to Lord Foul so that they might deliver their god from sacrificing himself for the greater good? Nigh-on akin to stopping the deliveleper from offering his ring to the Despiser at the end of White Gold Wielder. What would this act of perversion accomplish, or how would it respond to the accusations of simony? In all sooth, it would grant but a brief extension to a life already being feasted upon by the dire vitriols of the Sarangrave, while tyriya would savor his own victory. This is the precise route of the Raver: gloating over Covenant’s misery akin to the trope dark lord who cannot manage two seconds sans a hearty muwahahaha. Nonetheless, for once, such a scene is genuinely creepy.

As Covenant’s belief is fluidifying together with his erstwhile stamina and damaged body, another twist wrenches at the heartstrings of the climax.

Quote:
Clyme’s grin stretched. He seemed to be screaming. For a moment, he squeezed the reflections out of his eyes. Anguish and resistance twisted across his visage like noisome creatures crawling under his skin. [. . .] When he opened his eyes again, the light in them had changed. “The Raver lies.” Clyme’s voice was torment. “He does not hold me. I contain him as Grimmand Honninscrave once contained his brother. He cannot flee. I will hold him while his ruin is achieved. [. . .] The krill must accomplish his death.”


Branl strikes; not in the accustomed Haruchai fashion of über-karateka movements, but by wielding a weapon.

Quote:
Branl did not hesitate. Without a heartbeat’s pause, he plunged the dagger into Clyme’s chest. Turiya’s shriek exceeded hearing. It scaled higher as though it had the power to make the whole of the Sarangrave tremble. The sound ripped along Covenant’s nerves until they seemed to bleed. [. . .] At the end of his life, Clyme lifted his head to Covenant. While blood gushed from his mouth, he pronounced distinctly, “Thus I answer the objurgations of the ak-Haru.” [. . .] Flesh was soft to the krill’s keenness. Bone meant nothing. In a convulsion of movements so swift that no part of Clyme had time to sink, Branl severed his comrade piece from piece until only gobbets and shards remained. The pool fed on them like a beast devouring tidbits.


After this grisly deed, Branl pleads,
Quote:
“Are you content, ur-Lord?”


So...here crouches the response of the Masters to the reprimand: both beastly and pitiful, a shocking u-turn to their twisted self-aggrandizement. They have rescued their deity by nailing another to the conceptual cross instead, and also shed blood on the altar of Covenantism, as the remaining Humbled appears to inquire their god’s espousal of this sacrifice. I can but repeat the phrase “poor misguided buggers”. Meanwhile, they have denied Covenant the proper ascension into the redeemer he sought to become--even though one could argue that he did liberate the Land by reflecting the Despiser’s own sorceries millennia ago.

The reader plods off from the estrade of tragedy with gloomy feelings, leaving behind a dying Covenant and a self-disgusted killer.

The Raver’s extirpation matters now, however. It is to wonder how Sheol managed to leave semi-sentient dregs of himself behind even after Honninscrave’s similar example. Does one have to turn the “vessel” into swamp soup before one of those sinister spirits becomes eradicated to the last crumb? Well, the eldritchically theurgized krill and other such lexiphanicistic flummery doubtless scintillate more puissance than a Sandgorgon hug, but nevertheless.

I keep nurturing a curiosity for the character names. Hence, while Branl bathes in a pool of mystery, can one extract anything from Clyme? It shares some phonetic similarity with claim and climb. Meanings such as “to demand ownership or right to use for land” for the former meaning could be considered: as a Humbled, he was something of an Über-Master of the Land. “A new statement of truth made about something” could allude to this decision to humble himself, i.e. the way he opted to answer the ak-Haru. Thoughts?

* * *

Interesting words in this chapter:

Aegis: Kindly endorsement and guidance / a breastplate (yet we never hear about Coldspray’s aegis)

Ambit: the scope of something

Asseveration: assertion

Brume: mist, vapors

Caliginous: dark, misty, and gloomy

Cataract: a large waterfall

Delirancy: delirium

Friable: crumbly

Hieratic: consecrated to sacred uses

Insurmountable: not capable of being overcome

Marge: border, edge (not margarine)

Mirkweed: What is this? The lovechild of Mirkwood and pot? Apparently it grows on Sarangrave...

Objurgation: harsh rebuking

To scull: to impel a boat with a pair of oars

Sough: make a murmuring sound

Spoor: the trail left by sth

Tenebrous: dark and gloomy


Last edited by Frostheart Grueburn on Mon May 19, 2014 6:03 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad you took your time and split the chapter into parts 1 and 2 Frosty. Art work included!!,,talk about perspectives! This chapter is Huge in just about every dimension. In that regard ,I sense the author has worked a parable out of the chapter. There is the Eastern perspective of the spherical "parable" rather than the linear logical, reason grounded story telling..in the nature of this chapter.." Try To Believe" is as much about seeing other ways of story telling, other realities, as it is about the Hope garnered from such other realities.

The chapter opens with TC waking up ,coming to, with no idea where he is nor does he care.Again that dream state of mind with so much for Laws of time and space.. The no respect extends to Mishio , being shovel headed and with a jarring gait.Sounds like a Monday. But the Haruchai have respected TC's oath to the Ranyhyn. The thought of turiya snaps TC awake, back to the reality that includes Ravers, the Lurker and Kevin's Dirt. The return of the Dirt, the worsening of TC leprosy and fears, ,,and sadly the stubbornness, pretense, of Branl and Clyme all seems to become one Big onslaught to prevent any conceivable Hope. Yep, Monday! Obstacles abound.,,and its made clear to TC,,that Branl and Clyme are all about TC, which breaks TC's heart because he knows he is unworthy, and Branl and Clyme need to be about their own transcendence. TC is all about the Land, how is it that the Haruchai are not?..Hope begins with one's self.Again, a new perspective is surfaced.

The story teller steps in again and says something , that , is misleading, because just the opposite kinda happens. The Story Teller says it here in the first half of the chapter but the falseness of it is closer to the end of the chapter and into chapter 5. The Story Teller says, " " And his agreement with the Lurker had been founded on a lie; the mistaken belief that he was the Pure One of jheherrin legend. He needed to redeem that falsehood" Wait a minute,,Feroce, jheherrin are creatures of the mud,,creatures of the left over cast off, waste, garbage dumped out by the demondim..So,,Pure One..to them, would denote a pretty rotten being..so leprosy plagued Covenant,,from their perspective,,yea,,could be The Pure One;kinda dark i kno,,but the story teller saying Covenant needed to redeem that falsehood. Its not a falsehood and with a slight shift of perspective, TC as their Pure One makes sense. Its closer to the truth than the Humbled perspective of TC is. I suppose a comparison is being suggested between the Feroce and Lurker view of TC and the haruchai view of TC.And by chapter end,,as terrible as it is for us the reader to witness,,again from the feroce and lurker perspective,,TC just becomes even that much more of their hero. This whole lurker /feroce arc is all about shifting perspectives, seeing from another perspective, the subjectivity of reality. This chapter is brutal in delivering that message tho. Leprosy as a blessing, hoooboy! Finding Hope in Leprosy..yeeeooow..

Then the Story Teller goes off the cliff again , pg 60, second to last paragraph..It reminds me of Belushi's pearl harbor rant in Animal House ( Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor??) At times I see the author drawing inspiration from moments all thru his life,,like good Surrealists do. And like Bluto's rant, TC talks himself in to finally realizing a way to do. Dean Wormer look out!! wait a minute..Dean WORMER..?? even if Donaldson is not remotely connected to that..the coincidence, the surreal connectivity is Betimes MacBeth, Indeed!..This is why I don't go to Acapulco for vacation. I go on vacations just sitting here.. DEAN WORMER!!!????

Anyway..some black and white opposites are given to us to remind of the conflicted nature of TC and then lead to a new reality, the grey, the rise above the two conflicting, and off we go time and space warping to catch up to turiya. There is something here that is subtle and interesting. Coming to the ability to Time Travel as he does,,TC doesn't use anything new . He simply sees all the clues from experience, a different way, to come to the creating an enclosure idea..The only thing new..was his perspective. Such is the nature of Surrealism ,, Keep that in mind because as a motif, I think it repeats thru the book and even plays Large in the epilogue. Realizing choices you didn't kno you had, takes only a change in perspective to see ..The Hope of other realities.

We also get what Wild Magic is. Its the expenditure of his Spirit. The author doesn't dwell on this. The Story Teller drops the short sentence comment and moves on..in a hurry as TC is setting up the 2nd time warp baby..finally making it to the Sarangrave and the word..scrannel..What follows is scrannel..harsh, unmelodious to read;yep,,the haruchai do not mourn, do not know mercy, nor do they count the cost; Unfeeling Misers…droids..drones..

The " parable" of this chapter is fascinating. Our haruchai locked into being haruchai; and the conclusion, end game of that perspective , as "scrannel" as it becomes , is a great metaphor for the " logic and reason" perspective on the human condition…The harsh True/ False, or Good /Evil view of living, existence, allows for only one " right" or"correct" or " winner" in the end. The ghastly , unfortunate, sad, " scrannel" nature of that perspective is demonstrated in this chapter's parable end, Clymes slaying . No, it is not the same as TC slaying Joan. The beauty or care, by the author on this delicate " lesson" is in how he offers the metaphor of TC realizing how to use the Krill to Time travel, as a counter, as an other way. As stated previously..its the perspective, frame of mind, that changes and that in it self brings other choices, Hope.

So yea, the author gets to really moving in this chapter literally and figuratively. The " sphere" of " moving" expands universally . From just about dead in chapter 3 there is a sense of an " awakening" or reborn in chapter 4,,yet its a different reality, i mean,,rather than the Lurker thumping TC..Covenant is saving the Lurker. Same Lurker, same TC..its just the perspective that changes. The comparison between Haruchai solutions..and the new and improved TC solutions..brings one to ones own conclusions about both. I was made to feel the utter appall that TC was over whelmed by at Clymes " choice challenged" sacrifice.

And yes,,the author returns to his " stride" , anew, in this chapter. His talents manifest in the doom and gloom. This is the upside down inside out nature of the Land I keep referring to. In " surreal" terminology that is,," magnificence". Opposites, beauty and " ugly" or.." scrannel" mixed together, to form a 3rd reality, the reality of magnificence. Fascinating it is,,the singular gobbetting scene of Clyme, still reverberates more deeply within me ,,than the murder of Joan or any of the massive butchery to come. Such is the nature of , " magnificence."
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. A dissection with art! I am impressed. I also believe this is a first. Thanks, Frostheart - your dissection is most entertaining.

The first thing I have to say is that this is an awesome chapter. And a long chapter. But damn, it's pretty exciting.

Frostheart wrote:
The names of the pensionate equines Mhornym and Naybahn resemble (at least on some level) ‘mourning’ and...oh no, I have depleted my powers of fruitful guessing! Any thoughts on this?

Well, nay is neigh, what horsies say. And Bahn is bon, good.

Frostheart wrote:
Since the glorified hentai monster oozed forth from, kindly put, Lord Foul’s rectum, it and other eldritch abominations of such ilk should be left to perish even if they would shew redeeming qualities? A sin once committed can never be forgiven? A creature “born of sin”, per se, can never achieve anything but more vileness?

Indeed. That which appears evil need not have been so from the beginning, and need not remain so until the end. So spoke Esmer. The Haruchai, it seems, are not as wise.

I would also add this: They might have surmised that, had the lurker's possession had no importance, the Raver would not have wasted it's time. It's a classic case of, if the bad guys want it, it must be important.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“That doesn’t sound like you. It doesn’t sound like any Haruchai I’ve ever met.” [Covenant] had to grit his teeth to keep from shouting. “What’s happened to you?”

It's not just that they "worship" Covenant. The Humbled are lost between bad choices and bad choices. They need Covenant to redeem them from their moral/existential dilemma, with an irrepressible all-encompassing need, and so they spurn even the council of Brinn, because it seems to them fatal to Covenant. If they lose Covenant, they lose everything.

But, "the Haruchai needed to find it within themselves, not him." Not emulation. "Nothing else would relieve the bereavement which had haunted them for milennia."

Frostheart wrote:
Whatever the case, this establishes Covenant’s role as a Landish god, deified millennia after his first role as Berek Halfhand reborn. Which prods awake the question that does such belief grant him powers, just as ruminating on despite increased Foul’s thaumaturgies, allowing him to reach into the “real world”?

Oh, no. Just the opposite. The sheer impotence of that state would appall a chunk of basalt, remarked Covenant about being a god.

But this strikes very, very close to an idea I am trying to work out. Covenant's role, here, is indeed that of a god, or of a creator if you will. He has set aside, in most respects, any personal needs. His need and love of Linden being the most significant. He is, instead, an agent, if you will. He's a demi-urge. He exists to accomplish what the Land requires. I need to work on this.

Frostheart wrote:
Further, he elaborates that Hansen’s disease will not transform him into a rotting heap of loose body parts during the following two seconds, and yet due to its inherent putridness, a Raver would not diabolize him.

"Leprosy is like most of the things we struggle with. It's a curse, but sometimes it can also be a blessing." A weakness which has found it's proper use. Covenant has said as much several times. But how will leprosy help him? Ravers are one thing. But he goes on to say, "Even Lord Foul cannot stop me if I am numb enough." Is numbness relevant to Covenant's final confrontation with Foul?

One of the reasons that this chapter is important is that Donaldson is pausing here to remind us about this.

Frostheart wrote:
During the next break, Covenant tramps around some more and mulls over how Linden managed to emerge unscratched from the crumbling of Kevin’s Watch. Something there nibbles at the corners of his inspiration, something about the quality of time itself...

You know, there are some folks that find Covenant's new found ability to travel using wild magic a cheat somehow. That it's somehow a cheap fix to smooth over a minor plot point.

They couldn't be more wrong, I think. Donaldson has been signalling this since the beginning. Remember - he writes backwards! He laid the groundwork for this well and thoroughly.

Linden's fall from the Watch, as has been said, signalled this. The Theomach signalled this. Roger and the croyel signalled this. But there's more.

Esmer said that the Ardent's magic was similar to wild magic. This is practically telling us that wild magic can do the magic travel trick! Donaldson is a past master of putting things right before our eyes that we somehow don't see -- until you make the connection. Esmer signalled this.

And don't forget the Guardian. His last act was to give Covenant a star-spangled gift, straight into his mind. A gift that came with instructions: “Recall that the krill is capable of much. With use, it has become more than it was.” Which makes Covenant's accomplishment easily plausible. And so Brinn signalled this, too.

I also particularly like Covenant's words when he says, "If wild magic is the keystone of the Arch of Time, it participates somehow." This is a reference to the Light Switch phenomenon, which Donaldson has mentioned in the GI.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
But because this is magic rather than technology (because it deals in symbolic unities rather than in discrete mechanisms), the Staff cannot be inherently separate from the forces and rules which it exerts. It's not a light switch, essentially distinct from the flow of electricity which it enables. In a certain sense, the Staff *is* both Law and Earthpower, just as white gold *is* wild magic. In fantasy, in magic, the tool cannot be distinguished from what the tool does.

(12/20/2004)

It makes perfect sense that wild magic "participates in" Time itself. Using wild magic to travel in time is as natural as using the Staff of Law to heal recalcitrant Haruchai.

How were caesures created? Oh, yeah ... wild magic.

And then ... Covenant soliloquizes to himself about futility and power. And being a leper.

This is another reason that this chapter is important. Covenant is telling us about metaphorical leprosy.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Just like lepers everywhere, he reminded himself so that he would not falter. Just like all of us. Everybody who still cares. We’re all in the same mess.

The leper as everyman. The Ironic Mode Hero. Epic Vision stuff.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
When his mount hit the ground at a full gallop, Covenant nearly lost his seat.

Heh. Talk about "hit the ground running". Sometimes Donaldson leaves these little action-movie gems, and I like them.

I'd like comment on the construction of the second time circle.
In The Last Dark was wrote:
He hardly felt Clyme scoop him from the ground. He was scarcely aware that Clyme bent low, holding him within easy reach of the turf.

As if of its own volition, the dagger’s blade sank until it pierced grass and cut soil, pulling Covenant’s clasp with it. Then Clyme began to move so that the krill sliced the earth with shining silver.

This bit struck me. It's as if Covenant has bodily become a tool or a weapon which Clyme is weilding. An image which is repeated later in the lurker's pool.

Somehow, to me, this sharpens the idea that Covenant is an agent, as I said above. He exists to accomplish the Land's rescue. He's not a person with needs or emotional issues or even dignity at this point. I wish I could be more clear about what's in my head. But I see, in these scenes, Covenant being a vehicle, a delivery mechanism.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
He had to have air. He had to have air.

Or he had to have peace: the silence of the last dark, voiceless and blissful: the surrender of every demand and desire.

Death. The Last Dark is Death.

Frostheart wrote:
I have nothing else to opine about the forthcoming fray, apart from this; too whimsical for words.

Whimsy, yes.

But seriously: that part of the story was Kick Ass.

On a serious note, it occurred to me to consider the lurker's frame of reference here. I mean, the krill and wild magic are the two things that it fears the most. And now it requires them for salvation. That's a very Donaldsonian twist.

Frostheart wrote:
Branl strikes; not in the accustomed Haruchai fashion of über-karateka movements, but by wielding a weapon.

What a powerful moment that is. So many layers. Surely, Branl has been pushed into grief. (A development upon which future events depend.) And there is also rage, long repressed - rage against the Humbled's impossible moral/existential dilemma, brought to a head by the Guardian. (And the release of rage is another development upon which future events depend.) And Branl is now alone, solely responsible for the redemption of the Haruchai. And, yes, he weilds a weapon - the weapon that he slew his brother with - the Haruchai disdain for weapons arises from pride, and Branl no longer has a need or a desire for such pride.
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Hold the odds against thee now.
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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't forget about lurch...

(Is anyone else having a hard time reading this thread because the [absolutely awesome and well conceived] picture forces the page to be so wide?)

lurch wrote:
The Story Teller says, " " And his agreement with the Lurker had been founded on a lie; the mistaken belief that he was the Pure One of jheherrin legend. He needed to redeem that falsehood" Wait a minute,,Feroce, jheherrin are creatures of the mud,,creatures of the left over cast off, waste, garbage dumped out by the demondim..So,,Pure One..to them, would denote a pretty rotten being..so leprosy plagued Covenant,,from their perspective,,yea,,could be The Pure One;kinda dark i kno,,but the story teller saying Covenant needed to redeem that falsehood.

This is a real interesting idea, that the "Pure One" is, relative to the jheherrin, someone who is corrupt or at least diseased and "foul".

However, if you read the original passages in TPTP, I think it's clear that the jheherrin knew what being "pure" was. "birthed without flaw ... impervious to the Maker and his making - unafraid," they said. Note how it's phrased in terms that are the OPPOSITE of the jheherrin condition - "impervious to the Maker", etc.

It's my inclination to believe that Covenant is, and always has been, the Pure One. Or, rather, the one who redeemed the jheherrin and fulfilled their prophesy, anyway. I think that the jheherrin assumed such a person must be pure, because of who they were -- they could not imagine anyone like themselves being effectual, and their image of themselves is filth. And I think that Covenant has exactly the same issue - he cannot imagine anyone like himself being the prophesied Pure One, or being so effectual as to help the jheherrin just by being himself. So he always looks for other explanations to explain how the jheherrin were saved, while ignoring the most obvious one -- it was him, exactly as the Feroce believe.
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Yet hearken well, aspirant bold!
I, tho' a stranger, but whilom friend,
Hold the odds against thee now.
Straightly be adjured, witling:-
- The Finding of the Gnosis, or, Apotheosis of an Ideal
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..Yes, screen width has entered the picture of adjustments to be made when perusing this thread. The only thing we can do about it is..get this thread to page 2 as soon as possible if it bothers anyone that much.

The problem i have is that TC comes to the Land with only three fingers on a hand...So,,birth without flaw,,either suggests a completely different understanding of " flaw" than I suppose..or..the feroce and jheherrin know of TC's origins ..or are some how connected to TC's pre leprosy days. The feroce's talent of..Memory..suggests that they could " know" of a TC before he got leprosy,,a TC who was " Pure",,without leprosy, without corruption.. In the next chapter or so, its made a point on how they feel guilty for not getting TC to remember " Forbidding",,something they remember or maybe found in his stowed away memories. So there is the possibility their talents give them access to ..non Land reality..the un-metaphoric. ..real life.? Its possible. Mysterious creatures certainly.

So, they become metaphor for..self pity., shame..which requires a knowledge of " before" in order to be pitiful of the now. . They certainly fit the mold of " self pity and or shame " in their characterizations. ..They eventually redeem themselves..find a value of themselves ,and rise above their self destructive ' shame ".,,and disappear into the Defiles Course happily ever after.

Birthed with out flaw points to the original state,,birthday suit, ,perhaps of us all..Unafraid ,perhaps has more to do with lack of fear because of innocence..which ties to the impervious to the machinations of despair...visiting friends or family and some ones going on 3 year old runs out of the bathroom into the living room with no clothes on..The child has not learned shame yet...birthed with out flaw,,unafraid, and quite impervious still,,to what will be taught to it....The creatures of the refuse( noun) see in TC..his purity ,as not accepting Leprosy, a corruption, as the definition of himself..His Purity is dependent on a " belief",a belief in uncorrupted times..?. So, theres the Try to Believe of this chapter..The jheherin and now feroce,,are literally and figuratively.." learned garbage"...Loosing two fingers to leprosy , its shame, as the end of ones productive life,,is " learned garbage". In that sense, bitter,self pitying, shameful TC of Haven Farm days, shares that " character" of the feroce.

Okay that works for me..because I can apply the concept to the bigger picture and it fits well. In later chapters the concept fits perfectly. Tho,,it all works because of a phenomenal ability with memory. They certainly had Linden scared with her memory. Maybe Linden needed to spend some time as the Arch of Time in order to recall the days of her purity.

It remains a problem of perception tho. These self pitying shameful learned dung heaps ,,their talent is in probing the past and perceiving what once was. ...The feroce celebrate this quality:.perhaps a naive, return to innocence of Adam and Eve quality of pureness,,they celebrate. Yet,there is a tinge of melancholy , sadness, in themselves as well as their perception of Thomas as The Pure One..its of legends from days past. Covenant comes to the Land, missing two fingers, flawed. The shift of perspective, needs to be from, of the past, to the future, which Part 2 of this book develops imho. So yea..the falseness is not in the perception of TC as the Pure One...but in the " Time". Can you ever restore yourself to the innocence of a 3 yr old? Can you " unlearn" the corrupting garbage taught to you? Donaldson suggests, yes,,its a bloody struggle, but yea..
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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frostheart wrote:
For some reason, the author always waxes poetic when depicting doom and corruption, exalting the oozing fetor and evanescence into something splendiferous. A peculiar talent, this.


Indeed, Frostheart. It's part of this Donaldson fellow's gloomy charm, I must say.

Very enjoyable picture, by the way. It has depth and humor. You turn out really great illustrations!

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wayfriend wrote:
It's my inclination to believe that Covenant is, and always has been, the Pure One. Or, rather, the one who redeemed the jheherrin and fulfilled their prophesy, anyway.


This is what I think, as well. TC is just too self-judgemental and guilt-ridden to see it that way.
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