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AATE, Part II, Chapter 10: The Pure One and The High God

 
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:38 pm    Post subject: AATE, Part II, Chapter 10: The Pure One and The High God Reply with quote

First, let me apologize deeply for the long delay. I hope publishing it finally now will make up for it somewhat.

So here at last, is the chapter dissection I promised to do. I've broken it into three parts.

AATE, Part II, Chapter 10: The Pure One and The High God


Part 1 - The Thoughts of Thomas Covenant


At the end of chapter 6 Covenant rode off on the Harrow's destrier accompanied by the two remaining Humbled and their ranyhyn mounts to deal with Joan. Now we return to him. He has just left the group. Still in the straits between Landsdrop and the Sarangrave flat, his destination is Foul's Creche where Joan, his maddened, nihilistic former wife resides, possessed by turiya raver and surrounded by acidic Skest.

In stark contrast to Linden's company, this group, man and horse alike, is hard, humorless and driven. Even Mhornym and Naybahn, the two ranyhyn, show a darker side here:

Quote:
The Ranyhyn set a harsh pace, apparently disregarding the limitations of Covenant's mount. […] Covenant sensed that it would strive to emulate its Earthpowerful companions until its heart burst. And by some means, Mhornym and Naybahn seemed to impose their will on the beast, stifling its instinctive loathing for an unfamiliar rider; transforming its trained battle-frenzy into speed. While it could, the horse matched the fluid gallop of the Ranyhyn.


This is a classic sacrificing someone 'for the greater good'. The ranyhyn already led Linden into the clutches of Horrim Carabal a few chapters ago, now they are pushing this horse past any endurance, subduing and subverting its will so it would do their bidding. They use him cruelly for the benefit of another or perhaps so that other would learn a lesson. Maybe you don't expect better. After all he's only a horse and not a very likable one at that. But this is the Land and these are the Chronicles of TC! The ranyhyn in their old age have grown harder.

Covenant silently shares his troubled thoughts with us, giving us an interesting peek into his psyche. As is often the case with him, his thoughts revolve around Linden. Linden, he tells us, wouldn't be Linden if she didn't have her flaws. And if she didn't have her flaws, he wouldn't be able to love her as much.

Her flaw is her:
Quote:
refusal to forgive [that] harden towards despair
Notice that this is the same flaw that haunts the unforgiving Haruchai and that Covenant will spend much of this chapter trying to address. Why then is Linden worthy of devotion and trust while the Haruchai are repeatedly denounced? We will return to this question in the second section.

But what bothers Covenant is how cold he was to Linden. He tries to assuage his guilt with a list of compelling reasons for his aloof manners:

1. He might die facing Joan. How can he make any promises to Linden if he is going to die and disappoint her?
2. He might be changed. Become an abhorrent murderer. She'd probably be glad that there aren't any strings attached between them if that happens, right?
3. She might try to join him and doom her son by this choice. It would be a shame, after all the sacrifices made in Jeremiah's name, if Linden had forsaken it all for the sake of a cute twisted Covenant smile. Better safe than sorry as they say.

Better, he thinks, not to promise her happiness if there is any chance that it might be taken away again. Linden is not strong enough to handle such decisions.

And yet he also says
Quote:
And his only justification, although it sounded contradictory, was that he trusted her. He trusted her more than he trusted himself.
He trusted the implications of her devotion to her son.


The contradiction is that he doesn't trust her to make decisions about her relationship with him. I think what he trusts is the abstract he has of her that he had loved for the millennia he was trapped in the Arch of Time. An abstract that gave her heart and soul and everything to save her crippled son from the troubles and illnesses that haunted him in his visions of the Land's future. So he takes the choice away from Linden so there would be no chance that abstract would shatter in the face of reality.

We return to Covenant's famous mantra from the second chronicles:

"There's only one way to hurt a man who's lost everything. Give him back something broken."

And Covenant adds a new and deeper truth to it, a real gem:

Quote:
Even broken things were precious. [...] And they could still be taken away.


How can he give anything of himself to her when he is not sure he can fulfill that promise in the end? Linden never had much. Look how strongly she attached herself to broken Jeremiah. If he gave her anything of himself only to disappoint her shortly thereafter, it would surely crush her.



But not everything is about Linden. Covenant also thinks about himself and the new life he'd been given. Everything is precious to him: Linden, their companions, the Land and (twist the knife that is life) it could all so easily be taken away from him!

Gone are the certainties of his life as a Time Warden. Now he has to rely on his intuition to guide him. He cannot explain his reasoning because he cannot remember them himself! Faith must replace reason. Gone are the contented explanations for the superiority of limited mortal life. In his heart of hearts, Covenant wants his Warden-powers back! His limitations, both mental and physical are sorely chafing:

1. The big perspective he had as a Time Warden overshadowed Linden's suffering. He could understand it, but he could also understand the reasons for it and the possibilities in it. His new limited perspective is like a tomb to him who understood so much before.
2. When he was immortal he knew he would have the freedom to act as a mortal. Now that he is mortal, he has to take that on faith.
3. His body is a big bother. Every time he wants to concentrate on his thoughts or his emotions, his body demands his attention.
4. His knowledge is very flawed. He doesn't even know where he is.

Covenant still has intuitive knowledge about the past and what should be done to achieve a good future. But is this earned knowledge? He is no longer the Time Warden. This knowledge no longer belongs to him.

We see that his new uncertain mortal existence is already bearing rotten fruit: he made no preparations for this journey. His horse cannot withstand the hardships of the road ahead, he has no provisions or water. He just wanted to get away from Linden and to Joan before he lost his courage and didn't think of anything else. Planning, thy name is mortal. Laughing

As a side note, Covenant mentions that the Elohim's powers to transcend time surpassed even his own Time Warden powers. Their knowledge of the future has always been better than his. This raises an interesting possibility. We have been repeatedly told that the Worm has been hunting down the Elohim since the start of the book and soon none of them will remain. But if they can appear in other times (as Esmer did when he jumped to the past to summon the Demondim) maybe they will jump into the future as well. We should expect more Infelice visits.

Part two - Covenant and the Haruchai

The Humbled want to air some grievances they have with Covenant. They've been pushed around long enough, now they want to be understood for a change. Their hero is at long last alone with them. There is no distracting WorldRending Linden, or bubbly giants or confrontational Ramen, or the traitorous Haruchai who can read their minds and shred their arguments before they even have a chance to open their mouths. Only the silent Ranyhyn, the Haruchai's faithful companions, and the Land (which the Haruchai mistakenly think has nothing to say) remain. This is their golden chance.

As soon as Covenant opens his mouth the Humbled find a way (he used the word humble) to turn the conversation to what's interesting them: they're misunderstood. unappreciated. Covenant doesn't give them any respect. Ever since he's been brought back to life he repeatedly humiliated them and tried to diminish them. Why can't he be like he was in old times, huh?

Once again the subject of Linden's healing is brought up. Receiving healing is like getting a gift. The haruchai are very much opposed to the concept of gifts. Everything must be met with commensurate returns in their opinion. If you don't pay back for what you receive, you're humiliated.

Covenant thinks: they refuse to mourn and therefore cannot accept failures and loss. If they did they would have to mourn them so instead they consider such things humiliations.

I mentioned earlier the similarity between this description of the Haruchai's central flaw and Linden's (according to Covenant.) So why are they treated so differently by everyone? Is it that Linden is a figure of destiny not to mention Covenant's love and therefore gets special treatment? Maybe its because the Haruchai have hidden their hurt so deep only Covenant and the Mahdoubt could see it while everyone knows much of what happened to Linden. Or could it be because Linden is fighting for the sake of someone (Jeremiah) while they are only fighting against, be it Foul, Linden or even knowledge and power?

Covenant is not a passive listener. He wants to heal the Haruchai's of their hardness but he's thirsty and has problems staying on his horse and the Haruchai aren't very receptive to his message. He's also afraid that they wouldn't be able to withstand facing some of the truth about themselves if he managed to make them see them. So he has a lot of retorts running in his mind but he keeps a lot of them to himself (and us.)

But the Land tries to aid him. When he thinks that the Law is all well and good but sometimes there are also miracles, they immediately stumble into a welcoming oasis filled with good water and aliantha. Throughout the chapter the descriptions of the landscape reflect the mood of the company and gives voice to hidden and not so hidden messages. We began with a grim and arid landscape filled with sharpened rocks fitting to the mood and purpose of the company. Covenant notices the 'coincidence' of the oasis but its hard to say what the Humbled took from it.

The next landscape we traverse is clattered with barrows and moraines, the bones and debris of history and Covenant listen to the Humbled explain why he is their role-model: Covenant managed to defeat Foul twice despite all his obvious weaknesses because, they decided, he accepts his weaknesses and never surrenders. He doesn't flinch from what might befall him. on the contrary, he's willing to pay any price for what he believes in.

In other words he's a monomaniac.

If Covenant feels uncomfortable at the crooked mirror the Haruchai set before him, the Haruchai would have been crushed to see how they look like to Covenant: egocentric and egotistic. Instead of thinking of the salvation of the Land they only think about how they could improve their image of themselves. They let the world burn as long as they keep to their principles.

So covenant takes a different path instead. He argues that he could never have succeeded without the friends that helped him. It was all about the teamwork and all that. As might have been expected, the Humbled only see this as another form of humiliation. They don't trust these companions Covenant wants them to trust. They're still thinking about how getting gifts is a humiliation. Unrestrained friendship does not come easily to them and so this comes to nothing again.

So Covenant tries to explain his beliefs about power and guilt, how all power has some evil in it and therefore in order to keep your purity and innocence you would need to be powerless. The problem is that the Haruchai were never powerless and the people they cultivated in the Land were not innocent but just ignorant, since it was artificially enforced by the Masters. He, on the other hand, didn't accept being weak like they said, the accepted guilt that came from using his power to accomplish his goals.

Do the Humbled see the light and change their ways? Of course not. They just think Covenant despises them. Argument and logic are not the answer in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

Covenant tries to backpedal a bit and tells them he envies their courage and power and infallible memory. The same things that he lost when he became mortal and mourned earlier in the chapter. His life would have been much easier, he tells them, if he wasn't so frightened of facing Joan or had enough courage, he thinks to himself, to tell Linden he loves her, admitting to himself that the 'reasons' he gave earlier for his reticence with her were in fact excuses.

The Humbled visibly warm up to him. Neither of them convinced the other to accept their viewpoints but he has shown them that he appreciates them, that he is, in other words, their friend.


Part three - The Sea, the Horse and the Feroce

After two days of riding through storms and aimless caesures the company reaches the cliff by the seashore just north of the Shattered Hills. Covenant's horse is near death from exhaustion but Covenant comes up with an idea: he orders the Humbled to feed his horse aliantha. It works. Covenant wins another fight in his battle of wills with the ranyhyn.

The Land gives us a new vision: the Sunbirth Sea at sunset:

Quote:
Under a leaden sky at the onset of evening, it looked misnamed. Lashed waves taller than Giants, and as dark as thunderheads, seethed heavily toward the cliff and out of sight. Tumbling winds ripped the crests of the waves to spume, tore them in all directions. Nonetheless the seas heaved closer with the massive inevitability of avalanches or calving glaciers. In spite of his numbness, Covenant seemed to feel a faint tremor as each breaker crashed against the granite coast. Somewhere far beyond the range of his perceptions, storms which had fled eastward earlier hammered the oean; or some new atmospheric violence was gathering against the Land.


This relentless force, majestic and terrifying all at once, is gnawing on the peripheries of the Land and there is nothing that could possibly stop it.

While Clyme and Mhrnym remain behind to care for the destrier, Branl and Naybahn lead Covenant into a cave with a fountain in the cliff-face.

The smooth white walls and dome-like ceiling give the cave the feel of a chapel. The pure shadowless light of the krill adds to the feel of the place. The floor on the other hand is rough and black.

If this is a chapel, it is a cold and unforgiving chapel of absolute purity that stems from its opposite, a fitting image.

Covenant reflects on the fact that he is lighted by Joan's despair.

He considers the reasons for his guilt: he has kept his promise not to ride the ranyhyn but he sacrificed his own daughter and he considers killing Joan, his former wife.
Quote:
And he had hurt Linden---
He promises himself he would not break his promise to the ranyhyn not to ride one of them. What an odd order he gives to his crimes. The death of his daughter seems to be the least of his crimes in his eyes while hurting Linden's feeling is going beyond the pale! The promise to the ranyhyn, which has no intrinsic value has somehow become sacrosanct.

As he nods off, he recall the race of quellvisks whose bones we saw in the previous chapter. Apparently Covenant retains parts of his plan from his days as Time Warden to save the Land. The Quellvisks were originally a race of intelligent herbivores but they were changed into a new race filled with overweening ambition and thus became incontrolable. They fought the Elohim in their thirst for the power to dominate over the world. They even invaded the Elohim's own home. But the Elohim were merciless and without pity and committed genocide against them as we well know. The most interesting nugget in this tale is this: they buried the bones in Muirwin Delenoth (resting place of abhorrence) west of the Shattered Hills
Quote:
As if the Land were a midden for everything that the Elohim despised.


Near dawn, Branl wakes Covenant to tell him that strangers approach the cave. Still half asleep Covenant hears their description. These are the same beings who attacked Linden's company and put Linden under a spell. Their description reminded me of the ghouls that harrowed the Care of Fayle in Donaldson's second Mordant's Need book. Spoiler:
The Ghouls are a race of creatures that looked like little children with greenish skins who roamed the forests of Fayle at night and ate you by hugging you with their acidic skins.
The Haruchai have seen them in the Sarangrave Flat in the past but now they have left their homes and are heading directly to the cave with malefic green flames in their hands the color of the Illearth Stone and the Skest.

Covenant doesn't want to leave since his horse is in no shape to flee. The Krill could do more harm than good in a fight since it will attract the attention of Joan. He recalls the sur-jheherrin (a prophetic connection?) as a counterexample for peaceful inhabitants of the Sarangrave. So Clyme, like in the previous meeting with these creatures is told to try to talk with them.
Quote:
[they call themselves] the Feroce. At the behest of their High God, they crave an audience with the Pure One."


The name Feroce brought two words to my mind: Fierce and Frost.

Covenant disregard the mention of the High God and instead latches on to the title the Pure One. These being ARE connected to the jheherrin. The Feroce want to negotiate an alliance with him.

Covenant agrees and tells them to send 3 of their members to the cave. He feels indebted to them since they're apparently the descendants of the jheherrin.

He recalls that the jheherrin, the failures of Foul's trials at creation had all sorts of shapes, one of them similar to theirs. They were originally ordinary creatures with the ability to produce children according to their legends. Some few of them escaped Foul and still bore children. One such child, who was pure and invulnerable against Foul's power, was supposed to come to Foul's home bearing tokens of power and redeem the jheherrin if they proved themselves worthy. He'd win from Foul their freedom from fear and mud.

Since Foamfollower turned out to be the Pure One should we conclude that the jheherrin were related to the Giants? I think it more likely that the few who escaped Foul's clutches were all the living creatures in the Land's world who didn't fall under Foul's shadow and were twisted. The tokens of power were Covenant and his ring.

But the jheherrin descendants Covenant met in the Sarangrave were still creatures of mud even if they lost their fear. Even the fear didn't leave them thanks to a change in them, it left them because the reason for their fear, Foul, was gone after Covenant and Foamfollower defeated him.

We get another cameo from the scene: When the 3 Feroce enter the pure light of the Krill is marred with the green of acid and hunger but the two lights do not mix. The darkness outside turns threatening.

The Feroce reach shoulder height. They are bald, naked and have big pool-like eyes . Their voice is muddy. They are terrified of Covenant and of the Krill. The have the evil of Mount Thunder's poisons in them and they have no individuality. They barely even have a group mentality, so strongly are they under the influence of Horrim Carabal.

And thus we can hear Horrim Carabal (I'll call him Horr from now on to save space.) speak through them. Horr has a quaint dictionary. The first and foremost word in it is Agony. Apparently he is in agony. And apparently, he is always in some degree or another of agony. (Compare it to Joan who is in anguish. Agony is a more physical feeling while anguish is a more emotional one.) The reason for Horr's agony: he fears not being invulnerable. He fears his ending.

Quote:
"He desires life. He desires power. He must have might, and greater might, and still greater might, lest he perish.".


His current problem is the approach of the Worm - the enemy of all life. This event Horr calls havoc (the same word Esmer dramatically used in the final battle before his death.) He had tried to seize a Stick of enormous power (The Staff of Law, as we know it. Why does Horr call the Staff 'Stick'? When he used it among Linden's company it seemed a derogatory term used to hint at Horr's power. Now a different answer arises. Stick is a dead branch of small size and indeed to the vast Horr, the Staff is but a Stick and Law means nothing to him.) and failed. Covenant, the wielder of Abhorrent Metal (are they talking about the Ring or the Krill?) and the deliverer of agony is his only hope now.

Covenant asks the Feroce to tell him about themselves. They are of course the descendants of the jheherrin. Here the Feroce's voice becomes more complex as they gain more independence from their master in order to answer Covenant's questions.

The original jheherrin were many beyond count and they had many many forms, each called [some type] befylam, all made out of mud. Could there be more truth to their legends then we ever suspected? Maybe the vast majority of creatures in the Land's world were subverted into these befylam jheherrin and only the minority remained in their natural free shape. Foul certainly did a lot of experiments according to what they say. According to them, Covenant only saw a few of their forms when he met them at Foul's Creche, the best looking of the lot. The rest hid in the darkness.

In any case, after Foul was gone it took them a long while to gather their courage to leave the remains of Foul's Creche and seek a new home. The need to find a wet place that would prevent their eventual death had a lot to do with it. When they eventually reached the muddy waters of the Sarangrave Flat most of them were taken in by his the grandeur and glory and wondrous majestic visage of Horr and were transformed. He gave them a home and a chance at life and they wanted to repay him as best they could.

At this point the jheherrin divided into four groups, each choosing to make a different response to Horr's 'largess':

1. The Skest - mindless and servile and too easily swayed to give Horr his due homage. After ages of loyal service to Horr, they now serve others.
The feroce despise them.

2. The sur-jheherrin - who we met in the Second Chronicles. Too fearful to honor 'their true lord' and too cunning to attract his attention
The feroce despise them.

3. The devout - these jheherrin sought to repay their salvation with surrender. In the absence of the Pure One, only the High God remained. Horr granted their wish and devoured them all. 'They nourished his increase of majesty.' The Feroce claim these 'wiser' jheherrin came for all the ranks of the befylam but I suspect they were dominated by the more hideous of the befylam who sought escape from the shapes Foul condemned them into.
The Feroce revere them.

4 The Feroce - they desired purpose in another form. They did not 'aspire' to reach the Oneness of the devout. They were too 'humble'. Rather, they sought abasement instead of surrender. Horr granted their wish and created the Feroce from them. Ever since, they have been multiplying and fulfilling thereby the redemption of the jheherrin, heh heh. As we saw they seem to be the descendants of the most humanlike of the jheherrin befylam.
The Feroce are them.

Covenant keeps the deception that he is the Pure One going in order to make the alliance with Horr and get through this meeting with his skin whole. He feels horribly guilty about it but did he consider this:

The sur-jheherrin have known the truth about the Pure One for thousands of years and yet they haven't informed their relatives about it. Shouldn't the blame fall on them much more heavily than on Covenant if that is the case? On the other hand, we know that the Skest abandoned Horr's service sometime between the Second and the Last Chronicles. Could it be that the sur-jheherrin DID inform their two remaining relatives of what they learned and that is why the Skest abandoned Horr's service? For all their supposed mindless servility, they probably have more independence of thought than the crafty Feroce. So perhaps it would have achieved nothing for Covenant to tell them the truth. They would have forgotten it again immediately and perhaps hurt him in the process.

Finally, Covenant makes the treaty with Horr.

He promises that if he manages to save the Land from all the threats that face it, he will save all of it, including the Sarangrave and its master. However he says the Worm will have to come last after all the lesser threats are handled. He also promises that all his allies will honor their treaty.

In return, the Feroce offer safe conduct through Horr's domains to Covenant and his allies. They offer to fight the Skest for him and help him in his fight against Joan who brings lesser hurts from cruel metal.

To twist the knife of his betrayal a little they continue by saying:
Quote:
"The Pure One is wise in the ways of salvation. You will end the lesser hurts. If you do not fail, you will do more/"


The Pure One salvation is equated with destruction and slaying.

They mention an ally who wandered into Saranrave who they will now free. This is probably Longwrath.

Finally they return Covenant's horse to his full vigor. Their magical powers apparently work by restoring its subject to an earlier remembered state of being. In Linden's case they restored her mentally to the time she was in Covenant's burning farmhouse and fine-tuned it to keep her at this point while in the case of Covenant's horse they must have transformed its physical state as well. Is this another unsuspected outcome of the weakening of the Law of Time?

What is the source of the Feroce magical powers? Is it something they developed on their own or did Horr imbue it into them? The sur-jheherinn, the most independent of the jheherrin descendants show no signs of new abilities. The Feroce speak of Horr's ability to transform beings and change them. He gave the Skest their acidic powers. In the First Chronicles he brought a cadaver into a horrific parody of life. Perhaps their magic is a form of his abilities as well.

Final thoughts

Making the deal with the horrid Lurker and concealing the truth from these jheherrin descendants takes a lot out of Covenant. He loses his confidence that what he is doing is right.

What kind of a role model is he if the two people who worship him, the non-sur jheherrin descendants and the Haruchai turn out the way they did? The name of this chapter speaks of "The Pure One and the High God". As he repeatedly told everyone, the haruchai most recently during their long discussions he doesn't believe in purity or innocence. He wants to have power to affect things even though he believe that all powers corrupt and therefore he is tarnished and guilty. In other words he prefers to be the High God over being the Pure One. He had told the Humbled that he couldn't have beaten Foul without his companions. That it was actually Foamfollower who won the day and not him. Is it BECAUSE he is the High God and not the Pure One? A High God can defeat an evil power like Foul but he cannot heal what was ruined. Only a Pure One like Foamfollower can do that.

Are his victories worth than the cost of his legacy?[/quote]


Last edited by shadowbinding shoe on Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:34 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you got yours done, but I'm afraid this chapter was recently assigned to me due to the delay and I've been working every night this week + parts of the previous to write the dissection (yes I'm SLOW due to the difficult themes/language); had it almost ready... :/ Either I'll have to drop mine, or then we'll get two analyses of the same chapter.

(also I think this is in the wrong forum...)
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's corrected, and no reason you can't add your dissection to this, we appreciate all you do guys, thanks! Cool
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I think I'll do just that; had reserved this day for finishing mine anyway. I'm not a fan of scrapping the sod because of this sudden turn of events. Nor would it be fair for Shoe and his share of trouble seen over this not to to post the rest of his; so you'll get a double dissection. Maybe we'll get different points of view to some scenes.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pure One and the High God, Second Dissection


Warning: this is long. While I can never really express anything curtly, this chapter seemed to sprout deep, almost philosophical matters in about every second paragraph, thus making it difficult to cut out sections of lesser importance. Moreover, I haven't edited it for possible repetitions of Shoe's dissection (will read it later once he's posted all parts).

I'd appreciate some discussion, however; still not very confident in submitting 'serious writing' here after the previous bloody embarrassment.

---

Covenant and his companions Branl and Clyme, the Humbled, ride towards Foul's Creche on a precarious quest to confront Joan. Covenant manages not to slip into one of the bottomless cracks of his fractured mind, yet his mental state is far from lucid.

Quote:
He traveled among the hills like an abandoned icon of himself because he was too full of grief and dread to regard the landscape or his companions or his own purpose.


Part of his fretting is aimed at the manner in which he had denied Linden's affections and offer of companionship. Deeply in love with her, he regards her as the savior the Land requires, and believes in her strength in spite of her ever-solidifying despair. Yet:

Quote:
Nevertheless he had told her the exact truth when he had pushed her away. He had lost too much of himself. He feared what he was becoming—or what he might have to become. If Joan did not succeed at killing him, he might return from facing her in a condition which he had not anticipated, and which Linden would no longer recognize. He might find that he had become abhorrent to her; or to himself.


What precisely is Covenant bound to transform into? He's wending his way to commit murder, the ending of a life of an old beloved one, even if in this case it might be the highest mercy. Does he deem that shredding Joan's soul or the possible regaining of the second white gold ring might alter him? He is dismayed over this to the point of believing that Linden might not even acknowledge him, and thus wants to distance himself from her before it is too late.

His reduced state also cries for some attention. A certain kind of god-figure resurrected to become physically less than he was during the first chronicles, now riddled with creeping leprosy instead of hurtloam-healed nerves, and stumps for fingers, do these losses actually play a significant role? How would it alter things if he, as a revenant, stood against the Worm and other perils as a nigh-on omnipotent force, instead of this crippled husk barely able to remain in his saddle?

Quote:
Even broken things were precious. Like Jeremiah, they could become more precious than life.


Returning back to his refusal of Linden: Another aspect of it relates to her necessity to face the near future together with her son:

Quote:
Perhaps everything would have been different if he could have explained why her desire to help him face Joan would effectively doom Jeremiah. But he had no explanation.


Somehow the Land's utmost fate ties a loop around Jeremiah, Linden, and their reciprocal presence. Covenant fathoms this only on the level of trusting her, not truly comprehending how.

In this tangle of destiny-strings messed up by a whole horde of hyperactive kittens, the earthpower-filled boy's name yet bodes ill, since he shares it with the biblical "weeping prophet". In SRD's craftings, names almost always bear significance. Yet to whom exactly is he the harbinger of doom, if this proves not to be a red herring? The Land? The Elohim? Foul and the Worm?

During his pensive riding, Covenant also sees his newfound mortality as a harsh cage; he can no more grasp the vaster conceptions of Life, Universe, and Everything as from his Timewarden position within the Arch. However:
Quote:

Strictures enabled as much as they denied.


He acknowledges that, for instance, the Elohim lack effectuality due to their sparse constraints. His—or Linden's—earthen prison appears to be the only 'sensible' form for a savior of any kind. This bridges the matter back to his squalid state versus godmode: obviously heroic orphan farmboys with magical swords would stand no chance in redeeming this realm. Here, being seriously flawed stands as the best protection against Foul's machinations, unlike with those standard-model villains content of mainly enslaving a few cities and then cackling evilly for the rest of the time. Guilt is power. Only the damned can be saved. Only the blemished can deliver and truly oppose corruption?

Even so, the worldly limitations irk Covenant. His horse labors too hard, he has drafted no plans for a return journey, and a good portion of the quest's success or failure flies alongside the whims of the Ranyhyn.

Quote:
"Hellfire," he mused to himself. "This damn mortality—It's enough to humble a pile of rocks."


TC's spark of sarcasm brings a rare smile to the reader's lips. Sans the comic relief of the Giant(esse)s, which in this book has mainly consisted of Grueburn's remarks, the tone of the narration is in danger of sinking into perpetual gloom.

This furthermore prompts the Haruchai to address another matter: in their opinion, Covenant can comprehend neither the Masters' principles nor their decisions. Linden's healing of them seems like an especially sore issue besides Covenant's acceptance of her actions, which all, from their standpoint, head to the path of ruin and damnation.

Quote:
"You do not ask humility of us. You inflict humiliation. — The distinction has been made plain to us. In earlier incarnations, you did not seek to diminish us. Since your return to life, you have done so repeatedly."


Covenant refrains from sardonic speech this time, and instead asks the stubborn jocks to enlighten him as to why they think he abases them. They return to the issue of Linden's imposed healing which has become a matter of deep disgrace to them: the Haruchai synonymize the admission of personal failure, being in unrepayable dept, and the denying of someone's freedom of refusal with humiliation. They offer Cail's choice as an example.

Quote:
"That was the failure for which our ancestors judged him. They did not denounce his seduction by the merewives, but rather his acceptance of rescue from the cost of his surrender, and his insistence that in his place his kinsmen would have acted as he did."


In the meantime, Covenant almost seethes with suppressed anger (I personally have wanted to slap the haruheaded fools' ears till they ring multiple times during the last chronicles), and snaps that they should take up the quarrel with him rather than Linden. As they gallop towards a landscape of colossal barrows, Branl insists on pursuing the matter. He recounts that none of the Masters will heed Pahni, who has been sent to Revelstone to reason with them, simply due to her desire to resurrect Liand. A matter of humiliation again and an abominable one as such: Liand ought not to be denied the 'courage of his death'.

The reader's attention swings back to Covenant. Do or do not the Humbled realize they actually accompany the outcome of such an 'abominable' rebirth, something that in their nostrils should stink like a pile of two-month-old fish covered with spoiled eggs? Cannot they in their mental blindness see that they actually might deeply insult him, in spite of his own silent acceptance of this 'falseness', a being contradicting the various Laws of the Land?

Covenant trots further on the downslope of speculation and wonders if the Haruchai cannot admit failure due to an inability or inacceptance to grieve. After a moment of repose by a pool, he revives the conversation by inquiring about the purpose of self-maiming. The Humbled have turned themselves into 'images of Covenant' by cutting off fingers. Clyme responds:

Quote:
"In you, we have found the highest example of ourselves. — 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. — We have seen the Land twice redeemed. We aspire to the same willingness. Knowing that they cannot prevail, the Haruchai have become the Masters of the Land."


Thus, by attempting the emulate humility and Covenant's acceptance of his own unworthiness, the Masters have literally turned the ideals upside down. They know they cannot prevail no matter what, and yet at the same time must oppose degeneracy to the last breath. How? By preventing everything that might be utilized to bring ruin. Knowledge is evil. Earthpower is evil. Aspire to be pure by doing nothing and equally thwart the attempts of any individual to gain so much as a soupcon of Land-lore. Hence they have become tyrants by denying the people of the Land their inheritance and history, mistaking this for servitude and humility.

Could anything be so expressly selfish as following such reasoning? By hindering degeneration, the Land has been tossed into a boghole, flailing in vain while every second sinking further into a muggy pit of decay.

Quote:
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. Lord Foul probably ate that kind of thinking for breakfast, and laughed his head off.


Covenant feels that even after all these millennia, the Haruchai still struggle to prove themselves. He continues the argument by explaining that he would never have triumphed without help, never by rejecting these unrepayable debts—not without the laugher and courage of Foamfollower, the valor of the First and Pitchwife (who, in a way, are a prime example of this by more or less consciously always supporting one another and lending each other strength when the other seems to falter), Sunder and Hollian...
Quote:

"What's so wrong about accepting gifts you haven't earned?"


Furthermore, an imperfect mortal being can never become so pure as to be able to utilize their powers only for the sake of good, which, as a concept, is often inherently subjective or paradoxical: the endless history of religious wars in our own sordid universe proves this.

Quote:
"There are always evil means. We all have some kind of darkness in us."


The Masters cannot accept this, and Covenant's contestation converges back to the abovementioned matter of degeneration.

Quote:
"You've been trying to keep the Land innocent by making everybody else impotent. Liand was a perfect example. — You wanted to stop something terrible, so you stopped everything. Including everything that might have been wonderful."


Ah, how the Land could have prospered, indeed, had it beheld more the likes of Mhoram and Berek, instead of a crop of ignorant, impotent inhabitants. Covenant can only scrape at the possibilities while boiling with vexation. The Haruchai have retained a massive treasury of lore and history in their collective memory, and denied the Land's right to this. Gaah, how they make a person's knuckles itch.

Liand's youth reminds me of a folk story named Tynnyrissä kasvatettu tyttö (A girl grown up in a barrel). It tells about a mother that aspires to keep her child innocent and protected from all worldly vices to the very end. So, the daughter grows up in a barrel nailed shut, and is fed through a knothole. When she finally achieves a proper age, the mother decides to let her out and orders her to begin working for her own living. The daughter attempts to perform various chores with poor results: she has learned absolutely nothing in her seclusion and fails at everything. The moral of the tale is the same as here: remaining innocent should never be confused with ignorance. Too much sheltering causes only severe harm.

Meanwhile in the Land, the Humbled do not receive Covenant's rebuke well, and accuse him of denouncing them.

Quote:
"Hell, no!" Covenant wanted to rage at the sky in simple frustration. "I need you. And I respect you. If I were in your place, I might have made different decisions a long time ago, but that doesn't stop me from wishing I could be more like you."


This, for some reason, appears to satisfy them. Afterwards, there is some talk about how Covenant is going to face Joan, and yet again, he simply relies on unearned gifts: the Haruchai's presence, and the guidance of the Ranyhyn.

So the company moves on, crossing bleak landscapes and passing some tamer caesures. Covenant dreads that Joan might be able to judge his location and mayhaps his intentions via the krill. Later, rain begins pummeling at the earth, increasing his discomfort and possibly adding to the plight of his failing mount. Ultimately, after rushing hours and hours through bitter weather, the horse trembles on its feet, merely supported by a thimbleful of lingering spirit. Covenant suggests they try reviving it by feeding it aliantha, and this seems to restore the beast to some degree. All prospects yet dance upon a crumbling cliff: A maybe is engraved on everything.
Quote:

"We can at least hope."


* * *

Later, they approach the Sunbirth sea, the end of the world brooding darker overhead every pounding heartbeat. A crevice leading down forms their new path. Almost a majestic, callous magnificence clings to the apocalyptic atmosphere:

Quote:
Under a leaden sky at the onset of evening, the Sunbirth Sea looked misnamed. Lashed waves taller than Giants, and as dark as thunderheads, seethed heavily towards the cliff and out of sight. Tumbling winds ripped the crests of the waves to spume, tore them in all directions. — Somewhere far beyond, storms which had fled eastward earlier hammered the ocean; or some new atmospheric violence was gathering against the Land. — Now he could hear the waves: an iterated crash-and-roar among the rocks far below him. The turmoil of winds sawing against granite edges everywhere complicated the rush and smash of the breakers, emphasized their timeless hunger.


A heart-clenching vision, the beauty of the perishing world.

Many parallels to Ragnarökkr—SRD is known for his Norse mythology influences—litter the chapters: huge vargar—kresh—run free, the Worm, Jörmungandr, writhes in its rage, Loki...er...Longwrath has escaped his shackles and roams loose after having arrived to the battlefields on the helm of Naglfar...Dire's Vessel, Spoiler:
the sun and the stars grow black, the land is swallowed by the sea...


The drab gang and their horses find shelter from the heaven's rage in a cave-like structure, which SRD quite eloquently describes as follows:

Quote:
Its walls and ceiling were oddly smooth: the eldritch gem's echo of wild magic made them look burnished, almost holy, as if at some point in the distant past they had formed a primitive fane. In contrast, however, the floor was rough and scalloped, composed of a different stone which seemed to insist that it was made for darkness rather than for light.


What an adequate sanctuary of harsh splendor to add to the dying Land's gray, melancholic appeal. I love the author's capacity to create such atmospheric scenes.

Covenant, almost humbly, expresses his gratitude to the Ranyhyn for their aid in finding this shelter. Here, he also apprehends the lack of time and uncertainty: while he assumes knowing the location of Joan, reaching her will demand yet another day. Nor is he certain about his own success: he holds no answer to her anguish, and still cannot incur a failure.

Some interesting points about the Land's metaphoricality or reality seem to be linked to Joan's current residence:

Quote:
A wilderness of broken granite between the Sunbirth Sea and the Shattered Hills: enough rubble to symbolize the dozens of millennia. Joan's attacks on Time required a physical manifestation. She tore instants into chaos by destroying rocks.


There is talk of symbolism; segments of actual Time are bound into layers of rock. Therefore, what is the Land, precisely, and is Covenant, even with his mangled memories, somehow aware of such wider-scale subjects? A metaphor, a parallel universe, or perhaps both at the same time? Or something utterly different only SRD's imagination can fathom?

In the cave, Covenant's mount gradually totters farther away from the precipice of death, thanks to the balm of aliantha. Covenant however refuses to break his old vows and ride the Ranyhyn due to the mountainfuls of damage his actions have caused the Land, Elena's recent fate as the rotten cherry on top of the failure cake. Again, I love the author's wording here:
Quote:

The destrier still looked like a living derelict. — It moved as though it sought to limp with all four legs simultaneously.


For a twinkling, Covenant sinks into his memories, recalling an extinct race called the quellvisks, a twisted corruption wrought by Foul. They attacked the heart of the Elohim's homeland, and this incident became the only occasion when the fair folk actually fought back. Here is briefly revealed that Jeremiah regained his sanity by creating a construct from their ancient bones. A sheer coincidence or something deliberately woven into the tapestry of the Land's time and weird? Besides, is there a deeper purpose for mentioning that the Elohim have actually once defended the Land?


Found some interesting little meanings hidden into the beasts' name (quell + visk):

Code:
[b]quell[/b]: 1. To kill. [9th-19th c.] 2. To subdue, to put down; to silence or force (someone) to submit. [from 10th c.]

[b]visk[/b]: Old Norse, from Proto-Germanic *wisk- 'move quickly'


"Quickly moving killers?"


Branl awakens Covenant by telling that eldritch creatures originating from Sarangrave approach the cave. The Haruchai consider them a danger, yet he insists on knowing more about their purpose. The newcomers, capable of understandable speech, respond the Haruchai's grudging inquiry:

Quote:
"The creatures name themselves the Feroce. At the behest of their High God, they crave an audience with the Pure One. — They avow that they intend no subterfuge. They acknowledge that they have attempted harm. They acknowledge that their first purpose has failed. In pain and desperation, their High God now seeks alliance with the Pure One."


Upon my first reading I imagined these critters appearing something like Hattifatteners from Finn Family Moomintroll, but with arms and legs Laughing :



Now, in my vision they resemble a cross between skest and demented owls, which necessarily isn't an improvement.

The Feroce's attack on Linden angers Covenant ('attempted harm, first purpose'), and he is equally disgusted at the idea of any creatures worshiping the Lurker of the Sarangrave ('High God'). Momentarily he considers an alliance with the Lurker preposterous, but acquiesces to meet a delegation mainly due to their knowledge of jheherrin legends. With shameful reluctance, recalling Foamfollower's bravery, Covenant feigns to be the Pure One. The reader can merely wonder if such false play will bite him in the arse later on. Or, could there possibly be a second fulfillment to the old prophecy?

Quote:
It is said that when the time is ready, a young will be birthed without flaw—a pure offspring impervious to the Maker and his making—unafraid. It is said that this pure one will come bearing tokens of power to the Maker's home. It is said that he will redeem the jheherrin if they prove—if he finds them worthy—that he will win from the Maker their release from fear and mud.


Covenant, however, cannot behold anything pure himself: an impairedly reborn leper, nothing comparable to the caamora-washed Giant.

Then, three Feroce enter the cave; cowering, child-like creatures carrying green flames in the cusp of their hands. They seem sharing a kind of uni-mind, unable to grasp such conceptions as 'personally'. The Lurker speaks through them, indeed seeking for aid:

Quote:
"Havoc draws ever closer. — The havoc of all life. — Our High God has felt it. He desires life. He desires power. He must have might, and greater might, and till greater might, lest he perish. All other enmity must be set aside."


It is revealed that the reason behind the Lurker endeavor to reave the Staff of Law from Linden was actually a desperate attempt to preserve his own existence. This comes off as surprising; so far the casual reader has treated the Lurker as a stereotypical nitwitted tentacle monster, yet now he shows glimpses of an actual personality. The Feroce explain their history further, how they came to revere Horrim Carabal. Many kindreds of the Befylam quested to find new habitation after the happenings of The Power that Preserves, and the Lurker transformed some of them in various ways. It is told that the skest arose from these—first mindlessly serving the Lurker, but then called to tend to Joan—but this clashes with what the reader knows from The Wounded Land, where these beings sprung up from the befoulments of the Sunbane. SRD admits in the GI that there's indeed a 'mistake':

It may well be that the "origins of the skest" stories offered in the "Second" and the "Last Chronicles" appear inconsistent because they actually *are* inconsistent. Sometimes such problems cannot be avoided, perhaps because of a memory fault of which I'm unaware, perhaps because I’ve come up with a better idea. Tonight I suspect that the origins of the skest are an example of the latter. To my way of thinking, the idea that the skest and the sur-jheherrin both evolved from the same sources is clearly *better* than what I wrote in TWL. In cases like this one, I decided some time ago that "better" is more important than "consistent".

Aside from this, others of the Befylam sough unity with the Lurker:

Quote:
"Their wish was granted. Our High God devoured them. They nourished his increase of majesty. The Feroce revere them."


Now this gives a whole new meaning to servitude. Triple eww and yäähk.

The Feroce themselves evolved from certain soft ones craving abasement rather than becoming tentacle monster lunch. They are able to multiply, and thus, in their owlish eyes, 'complete the redemption of the jheherrin'. The Feroce furthermore imply that their existence is the result of Covenant's ancient actions:

Quote:
The logic of their gratitude towards the Pure One had led them to adore and serve one the Land's most enduring evils.


This merely serves to remind us again that everything done by the 'outlanders' in this realm have long-reaching, often vile, consequences. One can start an avalanche seven thousand years in the past and see it hitting the ski resort only now. Yet the abovementioned arrives partly as a blessing: the Feroce and the Lurker fear Covenant enough to offer an alliance. They will grant him and his companions, 'all who resist the end of life', safe passage through Sarangrave. Something is amiss there already:

Quote:
"He [the Lurker] suffers the presence of one who wanders lost within his realm, bearing a token of power which has no worth against havoc."


Do the Feroce refer to Longwrath? This seems like the only logical conclusion. He carries a sword suited to slaying Sandgorgons. The fact that 'it has no worth against havoc' rings ominous, however. SRD commonly offers redemption to the tormented souls, but there is no telling yet whether poor Exalt might discover a getaway out of his delirium and remain alive past the upcoming Götterdämmerung.

After the Feroce revive the spirit of Covenant's horse as a token of trust, he accepts the Lurker's alliance. He, nevertheless, cannot promise full success in this muddle of multiple menaces, which propels the groveling minions to flee the cave.

Quote:
Finally Covenant let his shoulders slump. He felt vaguely nauseated, sick at heart, as if he had committed a crime against the peculiar innocence of the lurker's servants.


Masquerading as the Pure One, now brimming with guilt over it. Could this, in its own part, motivate him to fight against the end of all things to the last breath? To find the necessary answer to Joan's desperation and justify the killing of her?

Quote:
Long ago, he had written that guilt and power were synonymous. Effective people were guilty because the use of power was guilt. Therefore only guilty people could be effective.


* * *

Interesting words in this chapter:

denuded: bald, uncovered

brume: mist, fog

troth: truth, belief, plight

inured: made tough by habitual exposure

scrog: A stunted or shrivelled bush

plaint: lament

fane: temple

proviso: a stipulated condition

surquedry: Overweening pride; arrogance; presumption; insolence.

Here is also some speculation about the background of the name Befylam:

befȳlan: to defile, befoul, From be- + fȳlan "to defile, make foul" from fūl "foul".

* * *

Thanks for reading!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applaud both of you.

I shall have to read both of your dissections several times before they penetrate my small brain, and there is still more of Shoe's to come.

I found the Masters frustrating from the first book of the last Chronicles. Their infuriating logic gives a two steps forward, one step back feel to the last Chrons. Stave, bless him, shows what they could have been.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zorm wrote:
Yeah I think I'll do just that; had reserved this day for finishing mine anyway. I'm not a fan of scrapping the sod because of this sudden turn of events. Nor would it be fair for Shoe and his share of trouble seen over this not to to post the rest of his; so you'll get a double dissection. Maybe we'll get different points of view to some scenes.

Nice, that is the mother of all dissections. I will have to set aside a long interval without interrupts to read them both.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good dissection Zorm! Very Happy
I'm happy you posted your dissection as well. I don't think I was ever told I should no longer do the dissection, I just took really long to finish it. In a way my dissection is now posted thanks to you.

I've posted the rest of my dissection within my original post. I've made some edits to the first part I posted earlier as well though nothing major.

I'll post my comments about your dissection later.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great dissection, Shoe, much better than mine. Very Happy Concentrated well on the characters and answered several questions I personally remained scratching my head over (I'll have to blame the fact that part of my meager brainpower wanders off to decipher SRD's complex wordings, which, even after multiple consultations of a dictionary, still manage to bemuse me. Razz Razz ).

(FYI: I'm pretty tired atm. Some woolheaded reasoning may ensue.)

Quote:
This is a classic sacrificing someone 'for the greater good'. The ranyhyn already led Linden into the clutches of Horrim Carabal a few chapters ago, now they are pushing this horse past any endurance, subduing and subverting its will so it would do their bidding. They use him cruelly for the benefit of another or perhaps so that other would learn a lesson. --The ranyhyn in their old age have grown harder.

The Ranyhyn do indeed seem a tinge more like their alternate universe evil twins than the devoted companions of the earlier tomes. Yet the same darker trend can be perceived everywhere in the Land: even the Giantesses emerge from a grimmer crop and toss around less humor than the crew of Starfare's Gem. On the other hand, I should re-read the 1st chrons...have forgotten quite a few details and never paid ultra-detailed attention to any of the four-legged characters (or our three-winged birdie).

Quote:
I think what he trusts is the abstract he has of her that he had loved for the millennia he was trapped in the Arch of Time. An abstract that gave her heart and soul and everything to save her crippled son from the troubles and illnesses that haunted him in his visions of the Land's future. So he takes the choice away from Linden so there would be no chance that abstract would shatter in the face of reality.


An interesting observation.

Quote:
Covenant still has intuitive knowledge about the past and what should be done to achieve a good future. But is this earned knowledge? He is no longer the Time Warden. This knowledge no longer belongs to him.


Considered this myself...he seems to have outlined whole mapfuls of plans within the Arch, and now recalls, whatever he can, mainly on the level of intuition. Like this:

Quote:
Covenant notices the 'coincidence' of the oasis but its hard to say what the Humbled took from it.


Mainly deemed this occurred as a result of the Ranyhyn's half-mysterious guidance, but could well have been one of Covenant's hunches. I'm somewhat more inclined to believe the previous, however, recalling Coldspray's earlier remark:
Quote:

"If it should chance that the Earth and Time endure, tales will be one day told of Giants who dared destruction of all things at the behest of mere horses."


The Ranyhyn appear to know what needs to be done to save or damn the Land. Then one might ask, how and why?


Quote:
Covenant tries to backpedal a bit and tells them he envies their courage and power and infallible memory. The same things that he lost when he became mortal and mourned earlier in the chapter. His life would have been much easier, he tells them, if he wasn't so frightened of facing Joan or had enough courage, he thinks to himself, to tell Linden he loves her, admitting to himself that the 'reasons' he gave earlier for his reticence with her were in fact excuses.

The Humbled visibly warm up to him. Neither of them convinced the other to accept their viewpoints but he has shown them that he appreciates them, that he is, in other words, their friend.


Good points, missed some of the meaning in this. May have tried to look this too much in the light of the Haruchai's quirked reasoning (humiliation, admitting your own failures), that I couldn't completely understand why this answer put them, at least partially, at their ease. Or does Covenant radiate enough "humility" here?

Quote:
The Land gives us a new vision: the Sunbirth Sea at sunset. -- If this is a chapel, it is a cold and unforgiving chapel of absolute purity that stems from its opposite, a fitting image.


Both of us found the juxtaposition of the tormented sea and the sepulchral sanctuary majestic. Obviously SRD's atmospheric narration here appeals to everyone. Very Happy

Quote:
Covenant reflects on the fact that he is lighted by Joan's despair.


Nicely put!

Quote:
He promises himself he would not break his promise to the ranyhyn not to ride one of them. What an odd order he gives to his crimes. The death of his daughter seems to be the least of his crimes in his eyes while hurting Linden's feeling is going beyond the pale! The promise to the ranyhyn, which has no intrinsic value has somehow become sacrosanct.


Another good point, overlooked this myself.

Quote:
As he nods off, he recall the race of quellvisks whose bones we saw in the previous chapter. Apparently Covenant retains parts of his plan from his days as Time Warden to save the Land.


I also thought it curious that such a convenient pile of bones would exist for Jeremiah to escape his personal looney house. It would make perfect sense if Timewarden-Covenant sat with his fingers steepled all-knowingly behind this scheme all along (like you speculated earlier about the oasis).

Quote:
Since Foamfollower turned out to be the Pure One should we conclude that the jheherrin were related to the Giants? I think it more likely that the few who escaped Foul's clutches were all the living creatures in the Land's world who didn't fall under Foul's shadow and were twisted.


An interesting connection, considering the Giantish affinity to stone (mud?) and ability to withstand stellarly harsh temperatures, but I think it has been mentioned several times that they aren't a Land-species (of the same Earth, yes, but Jötunheimr...Gianthome lies somewhere far outside the reach of the Land).
Quote:

The sur-jheherrin have known the truth about the Pure One for thousands of years and yet they haven't informed their relatives about it. Shouldn't the blame fall on them much more heavily than on Covenant if that is the case? On the other hand, we know that the Skest abandoned Horr's service sometime between the Second and the Last Chronicles. Could it be that the sur-jheherrin DID inform their two remaining relatives of what they learned and that is why the Skest abandoned Horr's service?


Good points. Didn't place much thought into this spreading of tales, although I did briefly wonder whether the conception of Pure One might have diverse meanings to the various Befylam and if BOTH Covenant and Saltheart might actually have been granted this title. They seemed to recognize C. as the prophesied PU from his white gold ring (token of power).

I checked out the relevant chapter in Wounded Land and discovered that the mud-wights never named the Pure One precisely. They spoke of "The Pure One's people being in danger", but merely Covenant links the title with Foamfollower. Curious.

Quote:
The Pure One salvation is equated with destruction and slaying.


Quite chilling to perceive this is actually so... But really only two options for a Chosen One of any kind exist: they either sacrifice themselves for the greater good or wipe out the enemy. In either case, bloodshed remains unavoidable.

Quote:
In the First Chronicles he brought a cadaver into a horrific parody of life. Perhaps their magic is a form of his abilities as well.


This is what I thought. Also, the Befylam the Lurker snacked for supper apparently augmented his might in some fashion--perhaps that forms a partial answer to his ability to grant increasingly complex magical powers to his toadies.

* * *


Iolanthe wrote:
I found the Masters frustrating from the first book of the last Chronicles. Their infuriating logic gives a two steps forward, one step back feel to the last Chrons. Stave, bless him, shows what they could have been.


Same here. Also never been specifically fond of the Haruchai: too stiff of manner and difficult to read, rather like attempting to wring emotion out of a brick wall. Stave's the first of their kin I've actually liked.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your dissection is very well put together, shoe! I liked how you organized it; I have had to something similar with the next chapter.

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Quote:

Gone are the certainties of his life as a Time Warden. Now he has to rely on his intuition to guide him. He cannot explain his reasoning because he cannot remember them himself! Faith must replace reason.


The chapter ends on this note, where it reads (on 531)

"Long ago, in a different life, he had once written that guilt and power were synonymous. Effective people were guilty because the use of power was guilt. Therefore only guilty people could be effective. Effective for good or evil, boon or bane. Only the damned could be saved.
By that reasoning, life itself was a form of guilt.
At the time, he had believed what he was writing. Now he had to hope that he was right."


This argument sounds dualistic: innocent or guilty, powerful or impotent, good or evil, etc. But I wonder if gradations could be considered? For example, the greater the guilt, the greater the power. Or how about fusions of the two ideas: Could an innocent be effective? Could a pure one bear the puissance of a high god?

Only the damned can be saved? By whom? If it takes someone with power to save one who is damned, then wouldn't that one who is doing the saving have some power themselves? Wouldn't they themselves be damned? So only the damned can save the damned? In that scenario, are there any innocent, pure and ineffective folks out there???

Or perhaps the innocent CAN save the damned. Would you say that Jeremiah was saved? If so, can we consider that he was damned? Is he pure and innocent? If so, will he have any power to affect any outcomes TLD...?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zorm, your dissection was also great to read! I love the correctness of your use of English...things like correct use of whom, not ending sentences with prepositions...great stuff! Thumbs Up

Also...
Quote:
Interesting words in this chapter:

denuded: bald, uncovered

brume: mist, fog

troth: truth, belief, plight

inured: made tough by habitual exposure

scrog: A stunted or shrivelled bush

plaint: lament

fane: temple

proviso: a stipulated condition

surquedry: Overweening pride; arrogance; presumption; insolence.

Here is also some speculation about the background of the name Befylam:

befȳlan: to defile, befoul, From be- + fȳlan "to defile, make foul" from fūl "foul".


...this was an excellent addendum at the end of your dissection! Frankly, I'm a bit jealous that I didn't think to include such a segment in my two dissections. Mr. Green


Quote:
Some interesting points about the Land's metaphoricality or reality seem to be linked to Joan's current residence:

Quote:
Quote:
A wilderness of broken granite between the Sunbirth Sea and the Shattered Hills: enough rubble to symbolize the dozens of millennia. Joan's attacks on Time required a physical manifestation. She tore instants into chaos by destroying rocks.



There is talk of symbolism; segments of actual Time are bound into layers of rock. Therefore, what is the Land, precisely, and is Covenant, even with his mangled memories, somehow aware of such wider-scale subjects? A metaphor, a parallel universe, or perhaps both at the same time? Or something utterly different only SRD's imagination can fathom?


This is a fascinating point, on several levels. The notion that these caesures need some form of physical fuel to make them go; the stone being placed in Venn diagram crossover land between Covenant and Time; relevance to Anele as the last hope and what is graven within the rock--white wild magic gold--which then leads right back to Covenant...

shoe wrote:
Quote:
Covenant keeps the deception that he is the Pure One going in order to make the alliance with Horr and get through this meeting with his skin whole.


This allowance by Covenant feels eerily like when he let Elena be sacrificed in order to enable the company to get out of the Lost Deep. Also, it stand out to me in this chapter for another reason.
Back in TPTP, Covenant was sure that the Pure One referred to Foamfollower; he refused to accept that he was or could be such a One. Now he doesn't care about correcting what he perceives to be a mistake of knowledge on the part of the Feroce. He needs all the help he can get, so he just lets them believe that he is this Pure One.
However, he continues to refuse to ride the Ranyhyn; he continues to keep that promise for some reason even when riding one of the mares would simplify the situation, help him keep his skin whole. And to me, the adherence to that promise feels very much like the insistence that he remain a leper by not allowing Linden to heal him of it after his return to mortality.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, finally made it. Howaya, howaya. Got a bunch of different comments, I'll try to put them in the right order.

First, a big well done to shadowbinding shoe and Zorm. It circumstances of this chapter seems like some sort of Shakespearean tragedy. Each of you have posted dissections that are more than worthy, and this chapter is enriched by both of them. Well done, well done, and well the hell done.

Idea about this...
shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Even Mhornym and Naybahn, the two ranyhyn, show a darker side here

Not darker, I don't think. The Ranyhyn are driven by necessity. Haven't we been convinced that they know what needs to be done yet? Would any Ranyhyn hesitate to sacrifice themselves as completely as the Harrow's stallion seems to be? Was coercing Linden and Stave to the horserite any harsher? I see necessity here, not an evil nature coming out.

Idea It's not overtly stated, but there seem to be several clues that Covenant and Linden are supposed to be seperated at this time. Not the least of which is Covenant's sense that Linden's presence would endanger Jeremiah. But all along he's been steering Linden from one confrontation to the next, making sure she met challenges, solved problems, in the proper order. I've come to see the Timewarden as a chess master of sorts, with Covenant being uniquely unaware of what the chess master has been plotting. Didn't Linden's confrontation with the lurker lead directly to the alliance that forms in this chapter?

Idea I can't blame Covenant for being worried about implying promises to Linden that he may not be able to keep. After all, he's made that mistake before. He's seen where that leads to when it doesn't work. His caution is perfectly understandable to me.

Idea Zorm had this.
Zorm wrote:
What precisely is Covenant bound to transform into?

Excellent question. But we know that transformation and transcendence comes to all who die in the real world but remain in the Land. Troy became Caer-Caveral. Covenant became the Arch. But he got yanked back to life - wouldn't that just reload the gun and prime him for another such transformation? I think so.

Idea That was why he was certain that Linden's support against Joan would prove fatal to Jeremiah - and to the Land as well.

We can only guess as to the source of that fatality. Any number of things have threatened Jeremiah so far, any number of them may still. But also stated here, as plain as can be, is the relationship between Jeremiah and the Land. Saving Jeremiah is necessary to saving the Land. Period. Vindication for Linden, who was never actually endangering the Land by choosing to rescue her son.

Idea This was the truth of being mortal, this imprisonment in the strictures of sequence. It felt like a kind of tomb.

That's been said before. That being immersed in time feels like a prison to Lord Foul.

In his earlier state, he had recognized that this prison was also the only utile form of freedom. Another contradiction: strictures enabled as much as they denied.

This follows directly from something Donaldson said in the GI.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
I simply don’t have (and perhaps the people of the Land don’t have) a better way to refer to what is actually a *process*; or a set of on-going rules or mechanics which simultaneously enable things like chronology and consecutiveness (without which life as we know it would be impossible, and the Earth of “The Chronicles” would certainly cease to exist) and prevent things like wandering through eternity, or being everywhere at once, or even being in two places at once. My best analogy is the act of storytelling. “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” would be gibberish if I didn’t abide by a number of rules (like the Law of Time), some of which are so obvious that we don’t even think about them. Like sequence, linearity: sentences don’t actually mean anything unless the words are arranged in a very specific order. If you change the order, you change the meaning. And if you remove “order” itself, you remove all meaning. *That*, in its simplest terms, is the Arch of Time. It both imprisons and enhances each individual word, each individual character, each individual situation; each LIFE.

(03/15/2006)

Certainly all of Jeremiah's magic powers stem from this idea. Power through structure. The prison that frees.

Idea "There are always evil means. Nobody is ever as pure as you want them to be."

This is the answer to the question that has been asked throughout the Last Chronicles:

Can good be accomplished by evil means?

The answer is, yes, what other choice is there? If you sweat every ounce of evil in the means, you'll never do anything, good or otherwise.

This is not, however, a justification for being evil. Nor do I think it's in support of the notion that the ends justify the means. Rather, it's an admonition against an insistence of perfection, a demand for purely altrusitic motives.

It was Esmer, back in Runes, who first brought this matter before us. "Good cannot be accomplished by evil means," he said, speaking about Linden's presence in the Land. "Your presence is a violation of Law." Good ole Esmer.

But it was Liand who first stated that Linden had always been able to produce good from evil means, transforming the statement into a question. Good ole Liand.

You can accomplish good from evil means. It's called lemonade. You make it from lemons.

Idea About that ocean ...
Zorm wrote:
Some interesting points about the Land's metaphoricality or reality seem to be linked to Joan's current residence

Indeed. The first time we saw the sea was when Linden, in Joans mind and in a caesure at the same time, witnessed it's assault upon a wall of rocks. At the time, I saw nothing less than a metaphor for the Arch of Time. The wall was like the Arch, battered by chaos from without, and cracking, threatening everything it protects by becoming frail and broken.

When I see the sea here again, now, I pick up on this theme. How apropos that the sea is stormy. It's the very chaos that's crashing down on the Earth. Here, on this no-man's-land border between life and death, we'll find Joan. She will weild the sea with her ring. The rocks of reality will stagger. Will it stand? or crumble?

Idea This was an illuminating bit.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Don’t, he commanded himself. Don’t look. But the plunge was already calling to him. It insinuated itself among the pathways of his brain, urging him to stagger and reel and drop; to pitch the disease of his existence over the precipice. He was in a crevice, and his mind was a maze of fissures. Memories summoned him from all sides. Soon they would become a gyre, a geas, and the cliff or the past would take him.

Branl clasped his arm in a grip like a manacle. Beyond the Master, Naybahn waited on the ledge, unconcerned by the fall. But Branl had come back for Covenant.

The Haruchai forgot nothing. They had a strength that Covenant lacked, one supreme gift: within themselves, they were not alone. As well as he could, Branl contradicted Covenant’s impulse toward isolation and dizziness.

So, Covenant's response to vertigo, this feeling or need to leap over the edge, is linked to an "impulse toward isolation" ?

That makes sense, I suppose. You can view jumping off a cliff as the ultimate "getting away".

An interesting connection I had not made before. I find it fitting.

Idea "Feroce" to me has always immediately brought to mind "ferocious". And "ferocity". From the latin word for fierce, it seems. So I am half with shoe on this one.

Are the Feroce fierce? Not very. But fierceness is an attribute of a beast, and the Feroce are rather beastlike, barely manformed, barely sentient. Or so it seems.

How do I imagine them? Like a race of Gollums.

Idea I want to disagree here.

shadowbinding shoe wrote:
Covenant keeps the deception that he is the Pure One going in order to make the alliance

That wasn't the impression I got at all. I got the impression that the lurker knew who Covenant was very well, and that Covenant read this correctly. After all, the whole bargain was predicated on the lurker knowing Covenant was its only hope. The whole Pure One thing was rather incidental. It may be of significance to the Feroce, but not the lurker, and the lurker is the player here.

Besides, who says Covenant isn't the Pure One? Didn't he enter the banefire, purge himself of venom and mortality in Foul's fire, and live in the spirit world as the Arch of Time? How much pure could a guy be?

Besides besides ... Do you think this isn't connected to "Nobody is ever as pure as you want them to be" ? Just a coincidence? Ha. The jheherrin may believe that their savior was pure, but maybe he wasn't as pure as they wanted him to be.

I don't read deception into this here. At worst, Covenant is tabling an irrelevant discussion in light of more pressing matters.

Idea About the quellvisks
Zorm wrote:
Here is briefly revealed that Jeremiah regained his sanity by creating a construct from their ancient bones. A sheer coincidence or something deliberately woven into the tapestry of the Land's time and weird?

A great question. What I see is Jeremiah creating a purpose for the destruction of those beings. Instead of senseless, their deaths became a harsh but necessary step for the rescue of the Land. Part of a giant puzzle. And those Elohim had a hand in saving the Land whether they realized it or not. Perhaps they even did ...

I also see the Elohim getting a little of their hubris, their surquedry, thrown back in their face. Their arogance comes back to bite them in the ass.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, everyone, for the discussion so far! Trying to find some time to put down a few thoughts about Way and earthbrah's answers...
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
That wasn't the impression I got at all. I got the impression that the lurker knew who Covenant was very well, and that Covenant read this correctly. After all, the whole bargain was predicated on the lurker knowing Covenant was its only hope. The whole Pure One thing was rather incidental.


Spoiler:
From The Last Dark, page 95: "The Feroce flinched. Their flames guttered and spat. 'You are the Pure One,' they answered, quavering, 'though you deny yourself. So it was at the time of the jheherrin. So it remains.'"


Wayfriend is not only a scholar, but a seer as well.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoyed the double dissection of this chapter I got from Shadowbinding Shoe and Frostheart Grueburn. Twice the enlightenment!
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