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Couldn't finish. He lost me.
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 1:06 am    Post subject: Couldn't finish. He lost me. Reply with quote

Sorry to post such a negative thread heading. I've really enjoyed reading the analysis of so many intelligent readers and love seeing everyone's different takes in here.

I loved the first two series and will still gladly reread them anytime. The last time I did (within 5 years) I still got that sense of wonder, sense of magic, like you were reading something really special.

And there were some special parts in the last chronicles. Will never forget the Mahdoubt for instance. The battle scenes seemed more engaging more descriptive than ever. But I just began to really lose that sense of wonder in the 3rd book. And found about 30% of the way thru TLD, I just wasn't enjoying it so stopped.

So like The Matrix movies, in my mind I'll have the series end at a point where it is still wonderful and rare. For the Matrix movies that was at the end of the first one. For TC it is at the end of White Gold Wielder, and pretend there is no Last Chronicles.

Anyone else feel this way? Everyone else still really get excited and enjoy reading TLD?

Thanks for listening Smile
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist & Faith stopped reading after FR, for reasons similar to yours.
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

E.. That you say,,he lost me..is close to the most honest way of excusing ones self from not liking or not finishing TLD..

The author does make a subtle shift in the LC and brings it to the surface,,makes it One with the Theme in TLD.....Its not so much the What of the story...but the HOW the story is told. Just as it is for Linden, TC and Jerry,,I mean afterall,,all 3 are Dead in the real world..so what they do in the Land ..is all metaphor..which is all about HOW..Staying True has become ..how to stay true..and the author uses his own Craft,,as examples. Whole chapter done in alliteration,,metaphors all over the place,,mystery obvious and mystery so subtle and camouflaged that Cabela's is coming out with a new pattern in Theme Hunting gear called..Donaldson's Magnificence.

A repeated refrain in the LC is.." joy is in the ears that hear." Yes, you are right,,Donaldson is not piping the same tune he did back in the 70's and 80's. We all have grown since then and so has SRD. Yet , its no fault if you don't like what he has grown to do. I've always enjoyed his Craft so his Extra use of Craft in The LC and especially in TLD..is the most joyous music to my ears.

Donaldson always impressed me with how he wrung the very last bit of emotion out of every clash of drama. How he does that has changed. Big battles are now just a couple per book but..one on one struggles fill the void. Heck, he turns the whole extreme empathy style on its head right at the beginning of TLD..The extreme is Joy beyond words..rather than the bruising scarring fatiguing of bloody battle. He gets Linden naked right before our eyes..twice in this book. He chops up Clyme right infront of us..All sorts of unexpected realities spring up thru out this book. Just like life. My point is..he still hits the extreme notes of emotion..but How he does it has changed


Sure, there is the emotional struggle of battle in this book. You probably didn't make it that far..but..even those battle scenes have a different perspective about them...which is a lot closer..truer..to the Stephen R Donaldson of the Conscientious Objector to the Military Draft during the Vietnam War era. My point is..yea..its in the How he tells the story because its always been about How to deal with Life. None of us is perfect. In that sense we are all lepers,,we are all corrupted. How to deal with the Despair of Life, Lord Fouled Diapers,,is what SRD has always been addressing in TCoTC. He may have lost you but fret not..Alls it may take is a change in perspective,,a shift in foundation,,and you'll hear the joy in his telling , once again. Maybe not. Give it Time. All things change with Time.
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch,
I understand what you are saying and was trying to be careful not to walk on anyone else's enjoyment of the change in style. To the ones who enjoy it more or even enjoy it in a different way, more power to ya!

I may reread someday. The last book by SRD I could not stomach was the one that gathered depressing tales into a collection, Reave The Just and Other Tales.

I'm still trying to work up the will to reattempt many of those stories. I did fully read all of them at least.
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Endy, you didn't miss much by stopping. The ending with TC/LF was no more revealing than the cryptic statements SRD already gave, spoiling the ending decades ago. After that is an epilogue that ruins everything, imo. SheWho was there just to give Linden an epiphany/showdown. Aside from that, it's mostly a tortuous battle up through Mt Thunder.

If the Last Chronicles was written for the ending--as SRD has claimed of all his other works--you sure can't tell it. You probably would have only increased your disappointment by finishing it. After my year long reread of the entire saga last year, I'll probably not reread this series for a long time, now that I know the ending doesn't justify the journey. I've reread each of the LC books at least once, except for TLD, and none of them got any better with a second look. I doubt I'll ever read TLD again.
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best perspective one can have over the entirety of the LC is one that was given by TC himself to Linden early in Runes...

"Remember, I'm dead."

If you let that thought permeate and percolate at the back of your mind as you read everything else, I think it can help you come to terms with, at least, what happens. For myself, I was OK with it, even though I did get the feeling of working through a checklist during the middle 2/3 of the book. Yet even though in some cases I felt rushed to the resolution of a particular loose end, I was satisfied that it was the correct resolution for that thread.

I also accept that had all of these resolutions been done with the detail I might have liked, we might still be waiting for Part 2 of TLD. There just wasn't enough space in the number of pages available (or probably energy on the part of SRD) to do everything the justice that was desired.
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Endy, you didn't miss much by stopping. The ending with TC/LF was no more revealing than the cryptic statements SRD already gave, spoiling the ending decades ago. After that is an epilogue that ruins everything, imo. SheWho was there just to give Linden an epiphany/showdown. Aside from that, it's mostly a tortuous battle up through Mt Thunder.

If the Last Chronicles was written for the ending--as SRD has claimed of all his other works--you sure can't tell it. You probably would have only increased your disappointment by finishing it. After my year long reread of the entire saga last year, I'll probably not reread this series for a long time, now that I know the ending doesn't justify the journey. I've reread each of the LC books at least once, except for TLD, and none of them got any better with a second look. I doubt I'll ever read TLD again.


well said. I feel the same. I have not read TLD and it will probably be a long time until I can. as many on the forum already know, I didn't really care much for even the second chrons. for me, the first three books were the best. I did like fatal revenant and thought it was the best in the series since the first three books and it seemed promising for the last chrons but AATE didn't pan out for me and after my partner read TLD and kinda gave me a synopsis, I was sort of discouraged from even trying to read it.

I will always be a bigger fan of The Gap Cycle, and I will always love my memories of reading the first three books in the chrons but the greatest gift Steven Donaldson has given me is all the friends that I've found here on this forum (including my present life partner) most of whom I will know and love the rest of my life. for that he has my deepest gratitude. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...To Feel..be in touch with ones interior tangibles as a valid part of ones Humanity,,as a valid part of " Who Am I" is a goal of Surreal expressions. Donaldson has always bullied our emotions around in TCoTC. In TLD he gets the reader to feel ,,perhaps, anew.He begins in the extreme, beyond words , beyond expectations , suggesting a boundless. The character's liberation from the Laws of Time and Space suggests a boundless. And again, the authors own unique craft suggests a boundless..With all of the boundless, the expectation of tied up loose ends seems to me to have lost sight of the infinite.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lucimay, you reminded me of the Gap series and with that, an observation popped into my thoughts.

In the Gap series Donaldson takes us to the edges of space to find our humanity. In TLD, Donaldson takes us to Infinity to find our humanity.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 12:55 pm    Post subject: Couldn't finish. He lost me. Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Endy, you didn't miss much by stopping. The ending with TC/LF was no more revealing than the cryptic statements SRD already gave, spoiling the ending decades ago. After that is an epilogue that ruins everything, imo. SheWho was there just to give Linden an epiphany/showdown. Aside from that, it's mostly a tortuous battle up through Mt Thunder.

If the Last Chronicles was written for the ending--as SRD has claimed of all his other works--you sure can't tell it. You probably would have only increased your disappointment by finishing it. After my year long reread of the entire saga last year, I'll probably not reread this series for a long time, now that I know the ending doesn't justify the journey. I've reread each of the LC books at least once, except for TLD, and none of them got any better with a second look. I doubt I'll ever read TLD again.


This post actually makes me a bit sad, and I have to largely agree with the sentiment.
Z you seem to be saying that your disappointment in the LC has had an affect on your appreciation of the Covenant chronicles as a whole, and much as I hate to admit it, I have a similar nagging feeling.
The first 6 books have their faults, and personally I found the 2nd chronicles to be a bit more labored than the 1st due to changes in the author's philosophical and stylistic choices, but somehow the disappointment of the LC has somewhat tarnished their lustre and magnified faults that were once so easy to dismiss.
I too found TLD to be the hardest pill to swallow, I was praying for a brilliant ending that would somehow tie together the generally underwhelming hodge-podge that comprised the first 3 books and although I did read to the bitter end I became more and more disheartened and disinterested along the way.
It doesn't make me smug or happy to admit such things; I truly and deeply loved the first 6 books, particularly the first trilogy, but it's hard to ignore the shadow which the LC placed on my heart ..
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't say that the LC tarnished the earlier works. I've just read them enough (6 or 7 times now) that I don't feel the need to read them again for the forseeable future. This reread was the Big One, the one time I'd read them all the way to the end, with a brand new book to cap it all off. That won't ever happen again. I've been looking forward to it for decades. Like you (and others) I still held out hope that TLD could blow me away. Given our experience with SRD's endings, his last is usually the best.

Maybe waking the Worm was a mistake. It was too big. If you don't resolve that dilemma in an equally big way (without simply giving your characters godlike status), then it's just spectacle. Too much of the books felt like spectacle. Things happened more for effect than necessity. They didn't add up to the end in the Donaldsonian narrative crescendo we're used to seeing.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I continue to work thru my feelings and thoughts on the LC, I think what hit me in LD was that SRD just didn't seem to have much love for the creatures in the land any longer. The Giants seemed like pawns to be broken and discarded in every battle scene as did the Harachi (sp?)

When Nom killed the Harachi at the keep in One Tree, you felt like SRD had to rip him from his hand to let him die. In the LC it was like "Next scene, I need a couple of mangled Giants and Harachi."

I read the first two chronicles no matter how bad it got for the characters because I felt like no matter what the author put them thru he cared for them.


That's the feeling it seemed to lose to me. As well as the sense of wonder.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a number of threads in this sub-forum, Endy, that bemoan the very same thing - namely SRD's (one would hope deliberate) lack of attenbtion to and care of the basics of the narrative level. Plenty here have lamented the largely total lack of characterisation of the entire supporting cast, citing as you do, the indistinguishable "red shirt" Giant and haruchai cannon fodder.

Now, Donaldson apologists will say "Aaah, but it's all about the metaphor... who needs elements such as believable characterisation or credibility of plot when you're dealing in symbolism?" My answer to that is... we all do. It's all very well for an author to decide that what most interests him are issues of metaphysics, which he'll then deal with in nothing but sketchily drawn symbolic archetypes. However, I and a fair few others are on record as pointing out that SRD didn't in our opinions live up to his own self-set standards, as evidenced in Chrons I and II.

As those earlier works attest, the most successful and best-crafted of allegories pay huge attention to the demands of the base narrative level and any deeper meaning is seamlessly infused therein. Do it the way that I see SRD as having done it in the LCs however, and all you've got is a thinly veiled sermon - or exposition of world view , if you'd rather - fronted by no more than a 2d paper puppet show.

I personally happen to find SRD's metaphysical views as expounded in the LCs interesting, BUT only on the intellectual level. Sadly, when it comes to getting me emotionally involved, really caring about the characters (including the Land, which very definitely was a lovingly and skilfully depicted character in Chrons I and II), the Last Chrons leave me and many of us distanced and cold.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a very similar response to the secondary characters in the LCs, none of them (not even Stave or Liand) ever felt real to me. The only character that I felt transcended this was Marthiir. I was genuinely touched by the scene where, as a Forestal, he is the defiant, unquenchable spirit of the Land facing down the Worm. But he had to be transformed into to something other than Mahrtiir for me to care for him (I cared for Hile Troy before he was transformed).

My own feeling is that SRD was consciously or unconsciously rubbing the 'glory' off 'his story'. (I also have expressed elsewhere my own idea about why this is (maybe I'll get to ask him at the 'Fest Laughing )) In the end the world is remade by the trinity and (although we don't get to see much of it) presumably the 'glory' has been restored. The implication could be that we the readers 'created' the 'glory' from 'his story' and with that the purpose of the series is completed.

The obvious problem with this is that the LCs failed to carry along lots of people who loved the 1st and 2nd Chrons. So, for them the series never reaches the completion point that SRD envisioned. (Personally, I was more that happy with the ending of WGW and considered it deeply satisfyingly complete.)

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
-snip-

(Personally, I was more that happy with the ending of WGW and considered it deeply satisfyingly complete.)

u.


I too was totally satisfied at the end of WGW.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me the Last beat out the second. I've read the last dark and won't read it again for a long time. I feel like I didn't fully understand the message he was trying to convey or that I was perceiving. I loved Runes of the Earth and really loved Against all things Ending. The insequent make the LC worth reading in my opinion. The second Chronicles left a big hole. Pitchwife could not replace foamfollower nor linden fill the absence of Mhoram. They feel empty to me. I started rambling. I'm stopping now.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
(not even Stave

so much has been argued in various ways with so many interpretations and tastes that this will never end, as a whole, until we run out of readers and posters who give a damn.
But on THAT exact piece:

His story arc [and the arc that gives birth to him] is practically an evolution to singularity in itself. Literally billions of words of Literature wish they had a Stave in their content.

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
His story arc [and the arc that gives birth to him] is practically an evolution to singularity in itself. Literally billions of words of Literature wish they had a Stave in their content.

I'm not sure that I fully understand you here, Vraith, could you explain a bit more about both parts.

I didn't enjoy the evolution of the Haruchai in the LCs as I never really felt that it was earned from the 1st and 2nd Chrons. I liked Brinn and felt that he was a natural extension of Bannor. The Haruchai in the LCs always felt alien to me (ha, ha!) compared to the Haruchai in the earlier books. They actually felt like a new species: authoritarian, superhuman, unfeeling. Yes, Stave was different from them, but he also always felt completely different from Brinn and Bannor.

My sense was that SRD needed something new for the LCs and thought that he could fit the Haruchai to the purpose. It felt to me that they were deformed and reduced by this contingency. The Haruchai of the LCs (and Stave in particular) would be fine fantasy creations if the LCs were standalone. But they bear the weight of great storytelling and character creation of the previous books and, I found, couldn't live up to their precursors.

Witness the hordes of them (hordes of Haruchai!!) slaughtered (Haruchai slaughtered!!) at the end of the LCs. In the 1st Chrons when they felt more human they seemed more superhuman. They were almost impossible to kill. In the 2nd Chrons Hergrom took on a Sandgorgon and held his own. At the end of TLD they are nearly fully superhuman (witness Stave's feat at the fane) and yet they are like any ordinary cannon-fodder in the final fight. By the end, I felt, that the proud Haruchai had not been humbled but humiliated. They were not, IMO, transformed from hubris to humanity, but debased from dignity to meanness.

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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:

My sense was that SRD needed something new for the LCs and thought that he could fit the Haruchai to the purpose. It felt to me that they were deformed and reduced by this contingency. The Haruchai of the LCs (and Stave in particular) would be fine fantasy creations if the LCs were standalone. But they bear the weight of great storytelling and character creation of the previous books and, I found, couldn't live up to their precursors.

Witness the hordes of them (hordes of Haruchai!!) slaughtered (Haruchai slaughtered!!) at the end of the LCs. In the 1st Chrons when they felt more human they seemed more superhuman. They were almost impossible to kill. In the 2nd Chrons Hergrom took on a Sandgorgon and held his own. At the end of TLD they are nearly fully superhuman (witness Stave's feat at the fane) and yet they are like any ordinary cannon-fodder in the final fight. By the end, I felt, that the proud Haruchai had not been humbled but humiliated. They were not, IMO, transformed from hubris to humanity, but debased from dignity to meanness.

u.
Great point. I like your concluding remarks; very well written.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm.
I thought the bifurcated Haruchai [the tribe and the outcasts...I'm tempted to include Cail in there with Brinn, Bannor, and Stave] were the definition of development, outcomes, and integrity.

I honestly think the "slaughtered" Haruchai...if they knew the outcome after...would have been wholly content with it.
They'd have grieved [since they could...finally] for the errors that brought it about. But they'd have taken pride in paying the necessary price of those errors, and even more in the culmination and answers and example of Stave. They'd be humble [but not humbled, nor humiliated] in his [and by extension, their] ascension.
I don't see the human/superhuman as you do.
Stave at the fane is a perfect example. He was not capable of that because he was superhuman. It was because he was becoming more human. That's the purpose of our named line. The tribe as a whole wasn't a matter of human/superhuman. It was a matter of being INhuman.

[[I don't quite go with slaughtered in the sense I think you mean it...as if they were wasted. They were much more like the cannon than cannon-fodder...to the extent they WERE slaughtered/fodder, it would not have been necessary if they hadn't, mistakenly and intentionally, made sure that there was no one else with the slightest hope or capacity for action.]]

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the hyperbole is a beauty...for we are then allowed to say a little more than the truth...and language is more efficient when it goes beyond reality than when it stops short of it.
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