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The Loss of Haruchai Unity
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:37 am    Post subject: The Loss of Haruchai Unity Reply with quote

I originally intended to post this in the Runes pages, but think that as the answers may span all or other works of the Last Chrons, here is probably a better place.

A night or two ago I read the final pages of TROTE, and as always, was particularly moved by Staves final speech to the Masters where he, much to their chagrin, firmly allies himself with Linden and against his co-haruchai, as a result of the changes wrought in him by his experience of the Ranhyn horserite.

Now clearly this is the beginning of Donaldsons development of the Haruchai [or Staves] movement toward a new kind of expression [ie, their/his becoming more 'human' with his tears, smiles etc] - part of the haruchai 'redemption you might say [if you see it that way]. But I think it warrents examination.

What exactly happened there, that, for the first time in their existance [that we know of] they were all of a sudden 'not of one mind'. How was it that the 'mindspeak' that had for millenia preserved their continual 'unity of purpose', all of a sudden deserted them. Why were they not all instantly aware of what Stave had experienced in the Horserite [as they always would have been in the past] and instantly of one mind that Linden had to be supported even in the face of the possible dangers she represented re 'desecration' etc, as was Stave. Something happened here that is not fully explained to us and I'd like to know what you guys think it was.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject: Re: The Loss of Haruchai Unity Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Something happened here that is not fully explained to us and I'd like to know what you guys think it was.
I think it's called "character development." Big Grin

I'm not sure that the Haruchai have always been absolutely of one mind, even with their mindmeld capabilities. They just usually settle their differences through combat, instead of debate.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed Z., but their differences were always settled. Why not this time?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, to be fair to Donaldson, the differences between Stave and his people were settled by the end. But I think the main reason for what you've noted is that SRD decided this time to have the Haruchai carry one of the main plot tensions, rather than a secondary one. They are no longer servants, but Masters. Their choices shape the Land and the story, rather than enforce the choices of others. And like any large-scale plot tension, it can't be resolved quickly or there is no story.

So I think the difference isn't as much an inherent change in the Haruchai per se, but in the author's narrative focus, which then necessitated changes in the Haruchai to implement it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "mindspeach" thing never worked over infinite distances. So the other Masters could not be aware of what happened to Stave until he arrived in Revelstone.

Whether or not the Masters then receive this memory is not clear. But certainly, they are not moved by it as Stave is moved. Stave sees from the horserite that he must support Linden. The Masters do not.

If you need this to have an explanation, it may be this - Stave drank the water of the tarn, and the Masters did not. So: Stave was magically altered to see and, presumably, incorporate the Ranyhyn's vision. He was changed by magick. The Masters were not. They only have a flat, unmagick memory of it, and it's not as good as the real thing.

Other theories might entertain the notion that Stave was somehow unique. An "advanced" or "exceptionally perceptive " Haruchai, who was the right Master meeting the right opportunity. However, Donaldson has given us little reason to suspect diversity in that mountain race. Nevertheless, events in the story can be argued as this.

It goes without saying that the resulting fracturing of the Masters Unity is necessary for their redemption. It is also an "interesting new thing" about the Haruchai which makes a sequel interesting. It goes in the right direction for an ultimate finale - it explores the utter limits of Haruchai nature. So, stepping outside the story, and working backwards: it happened because it was needed, and because it was interesting, and the explanation of how it happened is secondary and derivative.

I for one enjoyed how Stave was empowered by this dis-unity, while the other Masters were weakened.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
The "mindspeach" thing never worked over infinite distances. So the other Masters could not be aware of what happened to Stave until he arrived in Revelstone.
That's indeed true, though I forget where this is referred to. As a side note, I must admit that the whole "mindspeech" thing elevated my eyebrows a little, only because I don't remember it being in either of the first two Chrons. But that's a trifling matter really.
wayfriend wrote:
It goes without saying that the resulting fracturing of the Masters Unity is necessary for their redemption. It is also an "interesting new thing" about the Haruchai which makes a sequel interesting. It goes in the right direction for an ultimate finale - it explores the utter limits of Haruchai nature. So, stepping outside the story, and working backwards: it happened because it was needed, and because it was interesting, and the explanation of how it happened is secondary and derivative.

I for one enjoyed how Stave was empowered by this dis-unity, while the other Masters were weakened.
Yep absolutely - the Haruchai needed to have their Borg-ian hive-mind unity and resultant mass certainty in their own unimpeachable "right-ness" shattered. It was an unrecognised millstone that ironically only served to further the Despiser's own designs and that kept them in a fallacious, obdurate and thus unevolving stasis.

I too enjoyed Stave's transformation, though perhaps transfiguration would be a better word, given how far he has come by the end. He's quite literally unrecognizable by the culmination of TLD - well, okay not entirely, because he still has all the actual haruchai virtues and qualities - but he's shucked off all the seeming ones that are in reality massive and perilous flaws. The Masters were serving Despite, for all their sincerely stated and heartfelt loathing of corruption. Stave becomes a truly redemptive figure by example, a redeemer of his people - by the end able to grieve, able to recognise where he's been wrong, able to sacrifice the false reassurance of blind certainty and thus having become fully human.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That's indeed true, though I forget where this is referred to. As a side note, I must admit that the whole "mindspeech" thing elevated my eyebrows a little, only because I don't remember it being in either of the first two Chrons.


In TWL, during the soothtell, Brinn spoke to Covenant by mindspeech. AFAIK, that's the only instance we see in either of the first 2 Chronicles. One must read the non-canonical Gilden-Fire to see an elaboration of mindspeech.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's some further references to it in WGW.

Quote:
Cail had never been alone in his chosen duty, and the mental interconnection of his people had kept him aware of what took place around him.

It must have been the mental communion of his people which bad drawn Durris and Fole, with the Stonedownors behind them, toward the company.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats interesting, because I just completed my re-read of Chrons I and am nearly two books into C2 - and yet the absence of refernce to H mindspeak had not occured to me. I guess I'm just so 'used to it' now that I assume it is there even when perhaps it is not.

In respect of the 'loss of unity', well - yes I *do* need to have an understanding of where it results from [and I like both of your above ideas above as plausable explanations Wayfriend]. The 'Borgian Collective' [I love that!] aspect of the H was so integral to their nature, such a huge part of what made them what they were, that it's overturning without so much of a line of explanation as to why - I can only see as odd. The entire power of that particular scene [and if you haven't read it recently I reccomend you do so - it has to one of the greatest Chrons 'set peices' of them all] rests upon the momentousness of what Stave is doing and not to see that is well, not to see the scene at all. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is harder to find is places in the story where mind-speech is implied by Haruchai actions, but not addressed directly. I am sure that this happens several times as well. Indicating that commands have been passed on to those not present, with no discernable action taken. Knowing things taking place elsewhere.

Why do people come to the conclusion that mind-speech equates to 'Borgian Collective'? Which I presume means all Haruchai MUST think alike. I've never advanced the notion so far. Is there anything which indicates this? or counter-indicates this? At best, I see people who settle their disagreements out of view, using mind-speech.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
What is harder to find is places in the story where mind-speech is implied by Haruchai actions, but not addressed directly.


Why do people come to the conclusion that mind-speech equates to 'Borgian Collective'? Which I presume means all Haruchai MUST think alike.


On the first, we see it quite often, I think...they nearly always, when working in groups, perform in flawless synchronization with no word spoken.
It's pretty hard to find important Har. actions that DON'T imply the ability.
[[maybe you accidentally left out the word "not"]]

On the second, I agree totally. No one should ever forget that each and every Har. is ALSO a singular being.
From the mouth of Stave [though most of the best Har. have said or done similar/made similar choices]:
ROUGHLY, from memory:
"In the end, he remained himself. It is our birthright."

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
In respect of the 'loss of unity', well - yes I *do* need to have an understanding of where it results from ... The entire power of that particular scene ...rests upon the momentousness of what Stave is doing and not to see that is well, not to see the scene at all. Wink
It sounds like you have your answer right there. It is indeed a powerful scene, and the reason is because of Stave being made somewhat of an "outcast" among his own people, but also in the drama of the difference in opinion between Stave and his people. SRD, wanting the end of the book to have a powerful and moving scene, needed the conflict among the Haruchai for that reason.

Also, this develops into the main tension concerning Linden's actions, since the Haruchai (via the Humbled) resist or denounce her at every turn. It is the primary source of our "Is Linden doing the wrong thing?" tension as we read, until the end of FR when lots of characters voice their disapproval.

This works as a thematic counterpart to how Covenant is treated by the people in the Land, i.e. as a Savior figure who doubts himself (especially in the 1st Chrons).

It's also a development of the theme which has ran throughout all three Chronicles that the rigid/extreme beliefs of the Haruchai are repeatedly shown to be flawed. It honestly doesn't feel much different to me than the failure of heeding the siren call of the Merewives or the temptation to fight Corruption directly with the Illearth Stone. It's the latest installment of their continuing education into the limits of their absolutist dogma.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Gradualinterviewedness. I blued some bits.

In the Gradual Interview was wrote:
I think of Haruchai communication as a kind of "gestalt" telepathy which conveys entire thought processes and personal experiences intact. Words are doubtless part of the whole, as are images, insights, and sensations. But I don't want to carry this idea too far: I don't mean to suggest that the Haruchai effectively share *one* mind--or that they all think alike. There's clearly a voluntary (and idiosyncratic) component in their mental "speech".

(04/05/2006)

I think of the mental communication of the Haruchai as a sort of "gestalt" transmission: they share the *whole* experience--thought, emotion, image, sound, everything. Of course, the way they de-emphasize emotion in ordinary speech is bound to be reflected in their conscious mental discourse. They have made an explicit "moral" commitment to detachment. But on some level, their passions are conveyed--and shared--directly. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing what they're doing now.

(08/06/2006)

I'm afraid that I can't give you a satisfactory answer. I don't write the kind of fantasy that can be readily quantified. (The top speed of a Ranyhyn is X mph. A Giant like Foamfollower can lift Y pounds. The Haruchai are Z strong compared to the Giants. How many foot-pounds of force can Mhoram exert with his staff?) Clearly there *is* a significant distance-limit to the mental communication of the Haruchai. But what's their actual range? A hundred yards? A quarter of a mile? A mile? More? I just don't think in those terms. (Critics have pointed out--to my chagrin--that I also don't think effectively in those terms when I'm writing science fiction. <sigh>) (Incidentally, this is why I work from an explicit map when I'm working on the "Chronicles". I *do* want the distances to make sense.) But if you'd like a rough guestimate: the mental range of the Haruchai is probably less than a stone's throw for a Giant. (How's that for a non-answer?)

(04/12/2007)

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes - the example of Cail and the Merewives is an instance I can relate to what is happening with Stave. In both instances a 'communion' has occured [Cail with the Merewives and Stave with the Ranhyn] that cannot be translated to the fellow Haruchai, either mentally or verbally. Wayfriend put's this idea above and I think it applies to both situations. re The Borgian thing - I know they are independant entities [the. H I mean, not the Borg Wink] but they do present this single face to the 'outside world' that gives the 'collective' appearance at least. But yes - the answers above have to an exent answered my original question and as always have given me much food for thought.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Some Gradualinterviewedness. I blued some bits.

In the Gradual Interview was wrote:
[size=12][i]I think of Haruchai communication as a kind of "gestalt" telepathy which conveys entire thought processes and personal experiences intact. Words are doubtless part of the whole, as are images, insights, and sensations. But I don't want to carry this idea too far: I don't mean to suggest that the Haruchai effectively share *one* mind--or that they all think alike. There's clearly a voluntary (and idiosyncratic) component in their mental "speech".

(04/05/2006)
Well, SRD may not have meant to suggest this, but I think he undoubtedly does. Okay sure, the haruchai do have individuality, or at least the potential for individuality, but their default position is one of subservience - or at least acquiescence - to the collective haruchai value set. They all have the same opinions on things and it's this, the denial of their individuality, that holds them back.

How many "rebel" haruchai can you name in the Chrons (leaving aside Korik, Sill and Doar, who were corrupted by the Illearth Stone)? Stave for sure, as is discussed in this thread - shucking off the bonds of his fellows' blinkeredness. Cail too, in his eventual decision to follow the call of his passions. Brinn, maybe? Certainly in TLD, but by then he's become a whole lot more than mere haruchai and therefore has a very different perspective on things. Bannor? Yes, him too, but these few are surely the exception to the rule, having been transfigured by their profound personal (and therefore uncommunicable) experiences to an extent that they are able to see the folly or fallaciousness of their erstwhile racial mindset and unity.

Generally, the haruchai are indeed of one mind - as exemplified in the LCs by their having elected a spokesperson, the "Voice of the Masters", to speak for them all as one.

So okay no, not exactly as robotic and "hive-mindish" as the Borg, but certainly somewhere along that particular road.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always thought that the Haruchai kept their disagreements to themselves, and made it part of their "terms of service" (if you will) to weigh, decide, and then unanimously back the decision. Those they serve are spared from viewing this. The fact that this is all done with mental speech makes it seem like it's not there. So they present as uniform, but that's only the part we get to see.

Consider Handir. The Voice of the Masters. The very fact that a leader is needed is a recognition that various opinions need to be weighed, a single choice made, and that a uniform response must be enforced among the ranks. I think a true mind-union needs no leader.

Stave's audacity, to me, was not that he thought differently, but that he didn't get behind Handir's decision. He disobeyed. This, I feel, explains why he needed to be punished, and why he accepted that punishment as just.

"You have set yourself against the will of the Masters," said Handir. "Indeed, you have endeavored to impose your will upon us." That sounds like Stave is accused of matters related to following orders.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting comparison might be..Jeremiah's coming to understanding compassion btw of seeing what Linden went thru ,, while possessed by a raver, and Staves coming to undertanding a greater perspective btw of the Horserite..Each were taken outside of their " self" perspective and saw things as " other" saw and experienced things. That may be the " magic",,the unspoken What Happened. A Truth about themselves was shown to be bigger than either had previously considered. Stave saw the Truth to be bigger than even the Group Alliegence of his people.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
A Truth about themselves was shown to be bigger than either had previously considered. Stave saw the Truth to be bigger than even the Group Alliegence of his people.

Yep.
In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
"When I had drunk of the mindblending waters, I learned that the Ranyhyn laughed at me.' [...] Our Mastery amuses them. In their sight, we are too small to comprehend or gauge all of the paths which may lead to triumph or Desecration."

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
Each were taken outside of their " self" perspective and saw things as " other" saw and experienced things.
But I thought that's exactly what mental speech does. Isn't it a direct transfer of thoughts/feeling/memories rather than merely an internal version of verbal speech? If mental speech is not taking one outside his "self" perspective and seeing things as "other" saw and experienced them, then there would be little point to this mental speech concept, except the ability to not be overheard by those who don't possess the ability.

However, it's possible that the horserite was simply too alien to communicate even with such arcane modes of speech as the Haruchai possess. For anyone who has ever had an acid or shroom trip, the experience can be utterly transcendental and enlightening, and yet the person who experiences it may be unable to remember or relive the experience accurately. It's not that their memory is faulty, but that the altered state of consciousness is so alien that once the drug is out of their system, they can no longer recapture that "feeling." They can remember feeling enlightened, and the insights they gained can change their lives afterward, but recapturing that original feeling or "view" is impossible without the drug ... not merely in describing it to others, but even for themselves.

And such an experience often involves a breakdown of the self, the ego, showing how it's largely a social construct that presents barriers to others. And while one cannot duplicate this feeling once he is back to being an ego/self again, he can retain the insight in order to change how he treats and views others, or his own priorities and values.

So basically, Stave had an acid trip that opened him up to the arrogance of his own social constructs (such as the mastery of the Masters), and he has no means of communicating the insight to others who still abide within those very constructs and the associated arrognance.

What I don't understand is why the Ranyhyn's opinion isn't worth more to the Masters. Why don't they try to duplicate Stave's results? Why not seek out the tarn and ask the Ranyhyn for another sip?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:

So basically, Stave had an acid trip that opened him up to the arrogance of his own social constructs (such as the mastery of the Masters), and he has no means of communicating the insight to others who still abide within those very constructs and the associated arrognance.

What I don't understand is why the Ranyhyn's opinion isn't worth more to the Masters. Why don't they try to duplicate Stave's results? Why not seek out the tarn and ask the Ranyhyn for another sip?


On the first, cool way of looking at it. I hadn't thought of trying that analogy, but it works pretty well, I think.

and the second...hell, what a scene THAT would have been!
Or...what if Ramen who were supposed to persuade the Masters just asked the Rany to haul a bunch of Amnibhaven [sp?] and secretly dump it into Glimmermere, then trot around the Keep horse-chuckling at the stoned Har? [[it was the weed, not just the waters that matter, IIRC...and the potent Glimmer waters would just give extra kick...like super ABV Wink ]]
Dumb, I know, but I'm having a snicker to myself party picturing it.

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