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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:39 pm    Post subject: Family Reply with quote

In Lord Foul's Bane, Covenant lost a wife and a son.
In The Last Dark, Covenant gains a wife and a son.

Coincidence?

Linden's main quest in the Last Chronicles was to save her son.
But she also greatly desired having Covenant with her, to love.

Can a "wholeness" be achieved by creating a family?

Donaldson once wrote that The Last Chronicles couldn't go where he needed it to go without Jeremiah.
Without parenthood playing an important role.

Is parenthood integral to Covenant's final resolution?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think thematically it was certainly integral. But in terms of the narrative itself, it sure didn't feel like it. The lack of resolution with Roger, the lack of relationship between Jeri and TC, made the issue of family feel unimportant. We did get the one scene between Linden and Covenant, but it happened in such a bizarre way, during such bizarre circumstances, I prefer to remember their union on the Gem in the 2nd Chrons as the time when they finally got together.

Wasted opportunity, in my opinion. It could have played a much larger role.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Z. As I said in another thread, the murdering of his tortured and broken wife, grabbing her ring and replacing her with a new wife (with the same ring- creepy!) didn't really work for me. Same with watching disinterestedly as his tortured and insane son was killed just to instantly replace him with a new son also didn't really work for me. It was obvious that some parity was being tried for here, but, as Z said, seemed like a wasted opportunity.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way..no...not in the sense you may be implying...True, Jeremiah as a metaphoric character is essential to the Last Chrons. But he is the offspring of neither . He is the Ward of Linden . By end,,Jeremiah is just about an equal ..so parenthood just isn't explored deeply enough to be the major concern of the author. I mean to say..Jeremiah does the most maturing, when neither Linden and TC are not around..chapter 8 pt 1,,and dealing with moksha at end.

"Parenting" by Linden is the repetition of..we are Not our Failures...and by TC.." I need your help.." So..if you see the Chronicles thru the prism of " parenting" or parenthood"..then you do. But I do not see enough depth on that perspective to get much mileage out of it.

Certainly " Love" is in play with the character Linden. As you noted ..her Love for Jeremiah and for Thomas,,yea I suppose both delivered her to an ecstasy of sorts. And we are also shown the pain of that Love that parents sooner or later experience..But for me ,,its about the nature of Love rather than the nature of "parent hood. "..For an example,,Linden 's " love " evolves her to swear off killing anymore ur-viles.. Heck..she doesn't even Kill Off Lord Hit and Run at the end as he is choking the the blood out of Jeremiah's mouth. Just a Smack for all ages....

For me then,rather than say the author failed or an apple missed the opportunity to be a orange..i simply pick the apple from the tree and taste it as it is.. The author plays with bigger and broader subjects than " parenthood"..imho. Yet those subjects are involved in " Parenthood" along with many other narrower " hoods". Manhood, Womanhood, etc.

Linden with her Love, Thomas with his Hope create opportunity for Jeremiah thru out TLD..to do,,to become. to find himself. Yet it is moksha...with its Pretense,,that gives Jerry the opportunity to finally see the world thru somebody elses eyes, ( Linden's experience at being possessed) ,,and with that gains Compassion...As parents go..both only Hope Jeremiah figures out how to deal with despair , for himself. So , the epilogue , for me..its more about the power of Love, and Hope and Compassion ,,going forward into the future with those as ones guides, than the narrower subject of "Parenthood".
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurch, is the punctuation and spacing a code of some type (was looking for a pattern, but didn't see one) or just the result of typing from a mobile?

I don't think parenthood was an important theme for TC (though, it played an important role in the story for Linden to keep the story rolling from the author's perspective). I think that TC destroying one broken husk of a family and creating a new was meant to be part of the therapy session of the stories. I just didn't think it was very compelling.

Perhaps the parenthood role thing was important to Linden because of her own childhood. Maybe having a mute, inward gazing and broken child and nurturing him the way she did, trying to rescue him was a reflection of her own therapy session to deal with her childhood and so then she was loving and nurturing herself? By caring for him, she was caring for the little girl who was locked in the attic with the dead father and all that blood, maybe? Reaching a little here, probably.

Anyway, yes, the replacement of one family for another was very obvious in the story. I am just not sure if Joan and Roger were meant to be really themselves or just constructs for the purpose of TC's therapy. If they were meant to be taken as literally themselves, then they were treated mostly as props and both were two dimensional husks of people whose only purpose seemed to relate to TC's dysfunction. If they were just constructs, their state makes more sense to me.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurch, I want to address your points, but I will have to get their slowly. All I can say for the moment is: there are lots of different ways a story can be about having a family.

[Ditto, Ananda. Didn't see your post while I was creating this one.]

- - - - - - - - - -

I want to start off by talking about Joan. Joan's demise was hard to me to read about. I kept expecting redemption; instead she was slain.

Covenant killed her. He proclaimed that she was his responsibility, he went out to find her, and then he killed her. That's a tough thing to empathize with.

But Covenant isn't a murderer. So we are left to realize that this was the best and probably only option he had. Simply put, she was too far gone. And, like Eddard Stark, he didn't foist the responsibility onto someone else, he did it himself, in recognition of the part he played in creating her situation.

However, Joan was more than a batshit crazy woman flinging wild magic destruction around. She was Covenant's ex-wife. If she is too far gone for any sort of redemption, then she was beyond any sort of reconciliation with her ex-husband as well. There just was no chance of it.

And that, as I find it, is Covenant's growth moment here. The recognition that some relationships are too far gone to retrieve. That you don't have to go to your grave (and come back out again!) being loyal to something beyond hope, out of a sense of duty.

This wouldn't matter so much except that Covenant is a ring wielder. His white gold wedding ring gives him wild magic power because of it's personal significance. And it's personal significance is that it represents his marriage, and his commitment, to Joan. This respect for his commitment cannot be overstated. In essence, for Covenant to abandon his commitment to Joan is for Covenant to abandon the source of his power.

In WGW, Linden became Covenant's lover. But she could never become his wife - he could never be fully committed to Linden as his wife - while he was wearing a wild gold ring that symbolized for him his commitment to Joan. (Thomas is, after all, a man of profound principle.)

Joan's demise ended his commitment. Till death do us part, after all. For the first time, he was now truly free to marry Linden and wield wild magic. He didn't plot for this to happen, there was nothing nefarious in this. Nevertheless, it was not possible for white gold to have a new personal significance until the burden of the old had been carried to completion.

Thomas and Linden can now marry. Now the rings can have a new personal significance engraved in them. Their wielders now have power that they did not have before. The significance of this cannot be understated.

And so Thomas Covenant has become whole in two ways, simultaneously. He has married, and bound himself in commitment to a sane person who reciprocates his love. And he has re-forged the white gold rings, creating a new organic relationship with the alloy, one that wasn't based on defacing the old. He is healthier, and he is stronger.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the actions of the characters move into territory we wouldn't accept or admire if they were real people, then this is no longer "what it means to be human," and merely tying up loose ends of an unraveling plot.

Are some people beyond redemption? Is that what justifies TC killing his wife and ignoring his son? Are these apples we're being asked to eat? Frankly, they taste like shit sandwiches. I don't care if they're not oranges. I just don't like the taste of shit.

The fact that TC couldn't commit to Linden before killing his wife is not where I thought this story was going. I don't think any of us did, if we were honest about it. Justifying it after the fact feels empty to me. It doesn't connect me with any part of my humanity. Do the rest of you relate to killing ex-wives in order to marry the new girl? That's not me.

If godamn rapist piece of crap Angus wasn't beyond redemption, then neither was Joan. Nor Roger. This is no longer a story I can relate to.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

uhhhmm..empathizing for all the characters this author has killed off over the span of the Chronicles..takes me to see them as "metaphores"..symbols for an idea, concept ,state of mind, etc. I don't believe I would have got very far into LFB if these characters were meant to be " real"..Lena's rape. Its always been the "how of the action"..how is it that TC came to raping Lena..How is it that TC came to murdering Joan..Its about the meta -physical of this place , The Land , and what goes on there. TC should have .., been tried and convicted of rape back in LFB...if empathy for the characters was the guiding hand of the author. He blew away Woodhelven twice,,perfectly innocent village,,wiped out, twice...In his own words..do something unexpected...seems to be more of a guiding parameter to the Chrons. So, I haven't had the expectations others have had.

Again. parenting is there in the TLD,,I just don't see the author exploring parenthood deep enough to make me think its a major theme...Heck,,TC and troop kill a heck of a lot of ur-viles in their " warren" and a lot of the dead were parents..This the author makes clear as the realization sinks into TC's consciousness. So butchering massive amounts of " daddies and sons and heck, for what we know, even mothers and daughters..just to get to Lord UnJong..says what about parenting and family..?..Lena's rape says what about parenting and family? Slaughter of the Giants,,etc etc..If you have to selectively pick and choose to find a commonality,,then perhaps there is a weakness in that structure .

I see a grander scope, a bigger picture than just " parenthood"...Parenthood is of the basic ..Love, Hope, Compassion,,but Love, Hope and Compassion are applicable to more than,," parenthood"....

There is despair at center of the Chronicles. In a sense, we are all lepers. We all are flawed. None of us is perfect. We All Have to deal the things that bring us to despair. Its what makes us Human. ..Its not what makes us parents,,well,,it shouldn't be if I am allowed to talk in Ideal terms. So, the abstract ,," despair" and all its assorted baggage and flavors and accessories ,,seems to me to be what the author examines. In that examination ,,what it is to be a Human Being ,,Who Am I? is brought to the surface and liberated to a promising future by the end. The " conflict" that is at the foundation..is between a Man and himself..or more subtly..between His Natural State and His Man Made State.. Its allegorical. metaphorical, for the natural state of any Human Being , whether they be a Family member Parent, a maturing adolescent, or just a sole individual.

So yes,,even Marriage is meta phorical. ..a bond between Hope and Love gets one thru the tough contradictions and conflicts and creates a new future rather than repeating the past. Compassion is developed along the way as Hope and Love gain real knowledge..etc. ..The " family" is inside the individual.Wholeness starts with the individual. The conflict..is inside the individual. This is the metaphysical of , The Land....imho..And yes, of course,,all is constructs,,all is metaphor, to the point of.....Not only is What the story is about a metaphor, but even How the author tells the story becomes metaphor.

So, the metaphor is yours. If its all about parenthood.fine....realize that its You the author is writing about. Parenthood is the allegory , metaphor, You find in the story. Its not wrong. I'm not arguing. I'm stating what I found ..I'm just saying..there is a metaphor of the Chronicles for each reader of the Chronicles. Thats what makes this work..Art.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurch, I don't know what to say, except I have never thought or said that the Chronicles were about parenthood. I am incrementally trying to get to what I do think and want to say, so be patient.

And while I support and respect one's right to fill a constructive thread about the Last Chronicles with posts about how much they suck in response to anything anyone says every time they say something, I think Kevin's Watch will become dead if people can't have a constructive thread unencumbered with the kind of toxicity that discourages fans from participating.

- - - - - - - - - -

If we accept (as I do) that Joan represents an irredeemable aspect of Covenant's former life, then we would have to say that Roger is in the same category.

He was raised by Joan. He has no relationship with his biological father whatsoever. Raised by Joan, he was taught to be ruled by fear.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
Roger has inherited his mother's legacy of fear (and self-abhorrence) rather than his father's (learned) legacy of courage. In that, Roger is rather like Linden--without the benefit of Covenant's intervention; without spending crucial time in the company of characters who are motivated by love rather than by fear. You could say that he just doesn't know any better. Fear, I think, is a natural and inevitable part of the human condition. But being ruled by fear is a choice. And it's unfortunately true that choices can be very hard to see or understand if people haven't been taught that those choices exist; if people lack role models for making those choices. I knew as soon as Joan decided to abandon Covenant that Roger would follow his mother's example. It's the only one he's had.

(03/05/2008)

On what basis could there be reconciliation between father and son? In Donaldson's story, none. Roger is not insane like his mother, but he is mad with power, and the desire to live forever. He's unknowingly a slave to Lord Foul, controlled by the fears which rule him. If he ever sees his father as anything except an enemy standing between him and his desires, he's seeing green with envy, envy of a man who has the importance he wishes for himself.

Roger is covertly ruled by his fears. Such people think only of themselves. He has no desire for reconciliation with his father, nothing to build upon. And he has too many counter-motivations that he could not put aside.

But, just as Linden becomes Covenant's wife, where Joan would have been, Jeremiah becomes Covenant's son, where Roger would have been. I cannot see that as coincidence.

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
And after some weeks of mental floundering, my subconscious finally gave me Jeremiah. Who was implied by Roger, and who in turn implied Anele.

(12/20/2007)

It's anyone's guess what that means. But at minimum, we could presume to say that the story arc for Roger necessitated in some way that Jeremiah would be in the story. (Presuming a little more, one could say that Jeremiah was the answer to Roger situation just as Anele was the answer to the Jeremiah situation.)

I am inclined to think that this observation, that Jeremiah becomes the son to Covenant that Roger never could be (as Linden has become the wife that Joan never could be) fulfills this "implication". Because there's really nothing else about Roger and Jeremiah that you can point to. They are both sons. One a son that Covenant lost, the other one that he gained.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never considered Joan's death a way to get "permission" to marry Linden. At no point, not when I read it, and not now. Joan's death was a mercy killing for someone so far down the path to Foul and despair that I don't view it as linked to any other part of the story. Joan was long since gone, already dead, already struck by lightning in the real world. Her death was a necessity.

If she had been killed by someone else (Clyme?) I would look upon it the same way.

I think the marriage part of the story was a bit shocking, in the sense that it nearly pulled me out of the story, but not for reasons as described here. It just seemed out of place, and while I see where Wayfriend is going here, from my perspective, the relationships could have been established without the actual question being asked.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's your thread, WF. If you want the tone to be positive, I can respsect that. I had a bit too much to drink last night, and regret the in-your-face tone of my last post. I thought I was being funny, but I can see how others wouldn't think so.

I'm a fan, too. Just not a fanboy. I think fans can still be objective and notice flaws.

I like rdhopeca's take on Joan's death better. As a mercy killing, it's more palatable than a precondition for the new girl.

As for the GI quotes, I think these are just SRD's choices and in no sense inevitable. Roger's childhood was certainly no worse than Angus'. I suppose every story has characters who aren't redeemed, but clearly these particular choices bother a lot of fans. Perhaps if Covenant had shown some kind of empathy for Roger, if he'd agonized over this situation a little more, Donaldson could have made it more acceptable to more fans, and dramatized the theme of family even more.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rdhopeca wrote:
I have never considered Joan's death a way to get "permission" to marry Linden. At no point, not when I read it, and not now. Joan's death was a mercy killing for someone so far down the path to Foul and despair that I don't view it as linked to any other part of the story. Joan was long since gone, already dead, already struck by lightning in the real world. Her death was a necessity.

If she had been killed by someone else (Clyme?) I would look upon it the same way.

I agree with this 100%. It was, indeed, a mercy. And necessary. There were not any other viable options.

I do think that Joan's death is connected to the rest of the story. It's one of Covenants major accomplishments. If Covenant has a story arc, this has to be part of it, somehow.

But I would not say that Covenant killed Joan in order to marry Linden. (Someone said that I said that, but that's not quite the same thing.) I would only say that Joan's death transformed what Covenant's wedding band could mean, while sustaining the necessary organic relationship. Covenant could never view his ring as anything other than a symbol of his commitment to Joan as long as his commitment to Joan was, in some way, ongoing. That's what commitment means.

And I think that the fact that Covenant shouldered the responsibility for the mercy-killing of Joan indicates that that commitment was, until then, extant.

rdhopeca wrote:
I think the marriage part of the story was a bit shocking, in the sense that it nearly pulled me out of the story, but not for reasons as described here. It just seemed out of place, and while I see where Wayfriend is going here, from my perspective, the relationships could have been established without the actual question being asked.

I don't think the marriage act was necessary for Thomas and Linden to mean something to each other.

I think it was necessary to make one ring Linden's ring, and one ring Covenant's ring, in the fullest and most completest - and most organic - sense. Again, I don't see the characters setting out to achieve that, but I think it happened that way.

After Joan's death, we have this:

In The Last Dark was wrote:
“You know why the light went out. Joan was the only rightful white gold wielder here. The only one with a ring that belonged to her. The krill’s power died when she did."

After their marriage, we have this:

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Eventually Linden asked a more difficult question. “After Lord Foul killed you, you left your ring for me. You wanted me to have it, didn’t you? So why haven’t I been a ‘rightful white gold wielder’ all along?”

“I’m not entirely sure,” Covenant admitted. “Sure, I wanted you to have my ring. But I didn’t give it to you. Lord Foul just dropped it. And I was in the same situation with Joan. I only got her ring”—he stifled a wince—“because she couldn’t hold it any longer. That didn’t make me a rightful wielder either.”

He had experienced rightfulness. He knew what it meant.

Now that’s changed.” With a gesture that felt effortless, he drew a brief streak of argent through the air, instantly ready, instantly quenched. “So here’s what I think. It isn’t the getting that makes the difference. It’s the giving. The choice. And the kind of choice matters. Surrender is one kind. A vow is another. I didn’t just give you a white gold ring. I gave you me. That’s something the almighty Despiser is never going to understand."


As we have come to know, it is this organic sense of ownership which gives the rings their uttermost power. Instantly ready; instantly quenched. Anything else makes them partly, but not completely, powerful.

And it requires two rightful ring wielders, and more, to save the Earth at the end.

Which is why the marriage was necessary, and important. It was also wonderful, IMO.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

But I would not say that Covenant killed Joan in order to marry Linden. (Someone said that I said that, but that's not quite the same thing.)
Um, no someone didn't. Someone said:

Someone wrote:
As a mercy killing, it's more palatable than a precondition for the new girl.
A precondition doesn't imply that this was Covenant's reason or goal, but merely what you said above, namely, that one thing had to be done before the other thing could be done.

Someone else wrote:
I would only say that Joan's death transformed what Covenant's wedding band could mean, while sustaining the necessary organic relationship.


But people don't have to die in the real world in order for the meaning of their wedding rings to change. While many guys might entertain the idea of "mercy" killing their ex-wives, divorce or separation is usually sufficient to change the meaning of their rings. Nor would most women expect such finality in their prospective husband's prior commitments.

Joan may have had to die, but it wasn't for this reason.

Someone else wrote:
Covenant could never view his ring as anything other than a symbol of his commitment to Joan as long as his commitment to Joan was, in some way, ongoing. That's what commitment means.


I thought it also symbolized his commitment to the idea that there was still love in the world; the possibility that he could rejoin the human race, rather than abandon all his ties to it. I think his committment to Joan was pretty much gone by the time he was "doing the deed" with Linden on the Gem. Men who take their commitments seriously don't screw other women, and if they do, it's a mistake/failure/weakness. Is that how we're supposed to view their romantic relationship in the 2nd Chrons? If we take this idea of commitment to Joan seriously, that's the only conclusion.

Someone else wrote:
And I think that the fact that Covenant shouldered the responsibility for the mercy-killing of Joan indicates that that commitment was, until then, extant.


Responsibility isn't the same as commitment. He might view his responsibility to deal with Joan similar to his responsibility to deal with Foul, i.e. because it's his personal business, and he's the only one who can do it. But we wouldn't say he was committed to Foul.

Quote:
Now that’s changed.” With a gesture that felt effortless, he drew a brief streak of argent through the air, instantly ready, instantly quenched. “So here’s what I think. It isn’t the getting that makes the difference. It’s the giving. The choice. And the kind of choice matters. Surrender is one kind. A vow is another. I didn’t just give you a white gold ring. I gave you me. That’s something the almighty Despiser is never going to understand."[/size]


If the giving makes the difference, then Covenant never had a right to give Joan's ring to Linden. It wasn't given to him. It was just dropped; so it's exactly like Linden's possession of TC's ring. I do think it's significant, however, that he gave her himself (and the rings are just symbols of that), but that was possible even before killing Joan. People remarry all the time, without such drastic measures. They might even still have some love for the person they divorced. Life is messy and not always clear-cut.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WF, I'm confused by this statement of yours:

Quote:
And, like Eddard Stark, he didn't foist the responsibility onto someone else, he did it himself, in recognition of the part he played in creating her situation.


How did Covenant create Joan's situation?

I agree with rdh: Covenant didn't need Joan's death to be free to marry again. They had been divorced for years, so he could marry anyone he chose. What Covenant didn't have was a ring to marry Linden with - a symbol of their vow, a symbol of oneness, of unity.

SRD was raised by Christian fundamentalists, and although he's an atheist now, he has acknowledged many times the influence his upbringing had on him. Thinking along those lines, from Mark chapter 8 (KJV:)

Quote:
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.


Covenant and Joan were one flesh. I believe this explains why Joan suffered so in TWL. She was connected to the Land just as Covenant was (only she hadn't been there yet.) She exhibited a moral Sunbane that could only be calmed by the taste of Covenant's blood. I also believe this is why her white gold ring held the same power as Covenant's. (Actually, I hold dear to my heart a theory that ONLY Covenant and Joan's rings were connected to the Land and therefore could wield wild magic. SRD denied this when I asked him once, but bah! what does he know? Wink)

Quote:
Eventually Linden asked a more difficult question. “After Lord Foul killed you, you left your ring for me. You wanted me to have it, didn’t you? So why haven’t I been a ‘rightful white gold wielder’ all along?”

“I’m not entirely sure,” Covenant admitted. “Sure, I wanted you to have my ring. But I didn’t give it to you. Lord Foul just dropped it. And I was in the same situation with Joan. I only got her ring”—he stifled a wince—“because she couldn’t hold it any longer. That didn’t make me a rightful wielder either.”

He had experienced rightfulness. He knew what it meant.

“Now that’s changed.” With a gesture that felt effortless, he drew a brief streak of argent through the air, instantly ready, instantly quenched. “So here’s what I think. It isn’t the getting that makes the difference. It’s the giving. The choice. And the kind of choice matters. Surrender is one kind. A vow is another. I didn’t just give you a white gold ring. I gave you me. That’s something the almighty Despiser is never going to understand."


I've been saying all along that the Covenant's ring didn't belong to Linden, it belonged to Foul. That's why she wasn't a rightful wielder. This quote goes further by implying that a rightful wielder can only be made when a vow is shared. In my opinion, that isn't consistent with anything from the 1st or 2nd Chronicles. Foul certainly didn't have any thought to not having full access to wild magic at the end of WGW.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
How did Covenant create Joan's situation?

I think he had a part in creating Joan's situation. By getting a disease that destroyed her. By Foul using Joan to get to him. It's not his fault. But it was because of him. He owed her something. That's how I see it, anyway.

In Against All Things Ending was wrote:
Indeed, he had not merely made her what she was. By permitting himself to be withdrawn from the Arch, when he could have refused the summons to Andelain, he had removed a vital barrier against her madness and wild magic. To that extent, he had enabled the barren future within which he was trapped.

Why else would Covenant believe that dealing with Joan was particularly his burden and no one elses? I need some better source material to back this up though.

dlbpharmd wrote:
What Covenant didn't have was a ring to marry Linden with - a symbol of their vow, a symbol of oneness, of unity.

That's a good point.

dlbpharmd wrote:
Covenant and Joan were one flesh. I believe this explains why Joan suffered so in TWL.

And that is an interesting consideration. I need to think about that. (Did you ever post that idea in an earlier discussion?)
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

way...ok..i seem to be reading more into your original post than you say was there, so..

you ask,

coincidence?...I answer..no. At all levels , the loss and then the gain..completes a loop, restores to origin.

Can a wholeness be achieved by creating a family?..if the wholeness you are talking about is the " wholeness" that Andre Breton, and the original surrealists envisioned,,and which I believe Donaldson envisions in the chronicles..the answer is no.." Wholeness" is achieved at the individual level,, achieved by the individuals perspective and way of thought processing, that doesn't leave the individual with conflict and divisiveness
. .Whole, rather than divided. Creating a family,,what do you mean by family?..How does creating a family make one " whole"?

..you ask about TC's final resolution...what do you mean by that.?.His last direction was of,,still a lot to learn..still a lot to figure out..I do not see that as any way restricted to family or parenthood. ..sounds closer to infinite to me than anything as narrow as family..

You mention what Donaldson once wrote. The Last Chronicles couldn't go where he needed it to go without Jeremiah.
Without parenthood playing an important role.

help me with that..is, without parenthood playing an important role,,his words or your words..? If they are his,,did he give an idea about what the " role " he had in mind, was?.. literally or figuratively, for an example.
But as for taking them literally,,as already pointed out, there is just too much emphasis on the individual state of mind and perspective ,from LFB to TLD ,to say that Parenthood , literally, was a major theme. As Metaphor for,,unity, wholeness, Parenthood and " family" work well tho...imho.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lurch wrote:
But as for taking them literally,,as already pointed out, there is just too much emphasis on the individual state of mind and perspective ,from LFB to TLD ,to say that Parenthood , literally, was a major theme. As Metaphor for,,unity, wholeness, Parenthood and " family" work well tho...imho.


It's a difficult call. I think this was true in the beginning of the Chronicles, but it moved away from that by the end. However, it's difficult to find much evidence for this in the GI. What I found (after seaching for "family," "parent," and "children") was a virtual absence of discussion on the issue, and in the few cases where it was discussed, it seems that Lurch is right:

Quote:
Broadly speaking, it's amazing how few characters in Donaldson stories--or in fiction generally--seem to have families. Still speaking broadly, families are such messy subjects that when they're introduced they tend to take over stories, regardless of what the original purpose of the story may have been.

But in Thomas Covenant's case, the absence of family (or other past connections) is deliberate. It's part of his profound isolation--an isolation which many people feel even when they're *with* their families and friends, but which always has to be *explained* when it's included in a story. I didn't give Covenant parents or siblings (or aunts and uncles, or etc., not to mention friends or colleagues or even an editor) because I didn't want any of us to be distracted from the central themes and development of his plight.

(08/30/2004)


While we can all agree that this is modified somewhat by the end of the all three Chronicles, a case could be made that Covenant's personal development is still more important in SRD's mind. Consider TC's relationship with Lena (a child not mentioned in the discussions here):

Quote:
As for Covenant's feelings toward his daughter. I think it's important to remember that at this point in the story [i.e. 1st Chrons] he is still significantly driven by a form of selfishness. He's still trying to "bargain" with a situation he finds intolerable. Even more than Lena (and by implication, Atiaran), Elena is teaching him to love. And that love is--in a manner of speaking--cleansed by the fact that she is his daughter. In his case, at that point in the story, parental love is less selfish (and hence more relevant to his relationship with the Land) than other forms of love. But he isn't *there* yet. He still sees in Elena an opportunity to avoid responsibility for his circumstances. He hasn't yet become the man he needs to be.

So why does she play such a diminished role in his emotions later on? Well, how could it be otherwise? a) Much of what he learned from her has been transferred to the Land: that love has gained a larger and less selfish outlet. b) Life goes on. People move on. After ten years in the "real" world, years during which he has no reason whatsoever to think that he'll ever see the Land or any of its people again--well, there would be something profoundly wrong with him if he had *not* moved on. Certainly he would not have become a man who could love Linden, a "partner" rather than a daughter: a love *chosen* rather than one determined by parental instincts.

AVE ATQUE VALE!
(And thank you, Google! <grin>)

(08/31/2011)
So he's selfish in the beginning, and then "moves on" at the end. This is not a strong case for the theme of family playing a large role.

But here's a quote that could go either way:

Quote:
<sigh> I'll probably get in (even more) trouble for saying this, but I don't buy the whole "redemption of mankind by Jesus" notion. As far as I can see, no one is ever *redeemed* by transferring the responsibility for or the consequences of his/her actions and intentions to someone else. (Just my opinion, folks.) Although I should probably be the last person on the planet to say anything that sounds like I don't value outside help--and even outside intervention. I probably wouldn't be alive today if I hadn't experienced the power of "grace" in one form or another. On a number of occasions. But in my experience that "grace" has never taken the form of having my essential responsibilities shouldered by someone else. I'm committed to the idea of working out my own salvation--with fear and trembling.

No, the third path for which my characters seek in The Last Chronicles is something else entirely--although children play a vital role, for good or ill. (Certainly *my* children are part of my experience of "grace".)

(10/24/2005)
So redemption is something we work out on our own, but children provide a measure of grace. However, the "although" in this quote seems to imply that children are something secondary to that "something else," the "third path."

I think the problem is that these themes are ambiguous both in SRD's mind and in the story. They're also contradicted by specific examples (Elena, Roger, Joan). Donaldson seems to want it both ways, which may explain why the text doesn't present a convincing depiction of either one by the end (though certainly a strong depiction of self-redemption in the first 2).
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
coincidence?...I answer..no. At all levels , the loss and then the gain..completes a loop, restores to origin.

That is how I feel about it. Which brings up today's addition to this thread.

- - - - - - - - - -

Covenant marries Linden and now he has a wife. By marriage, Jeremiah is now his son.

And Jeremiah is not just something acquired through marriage, for Covenant already loves him. They had spent years together in the Land, each in non-corporeal form, long before the events of Runes began.

In The Last Dark was wrote:
And he, too, loved the boy. He, too, feared for Linden’s son.


So, yes, the symmetry cannot be ignored: Beginning with a wife and son, ending with a wife and son.

There is also the non-coincidence of timing. Covenant completes this circle just as he completes his quest for wholeness. In fact, the completion of the family circle is necessary to complete that quest.

lurch wrote:
Can a wholeness be achieved by creating a family?

That's not quite the question I ask here.

I ask, does establishing a family help us feel whole?

I think that's an automatic 'yes'. The human race would be extinct if we didn't feel that having a family was part of what we need to complete our lives. A family reciprocates love. A family provides continuity. A family is the basic unit of unreserved trust.

A family makes us larger than we could otherwise be.

Covenant's first family was a disaster. It didn't complete him; it left him feeling bereft and alone. His new family is a better family, for him. This family supports him, loves him ... completes him.

Consider Covenant's words when he asks Linden to marry him:

In The Last Dark was wrote:
Groaning inwardly, Covenant confessed, “But I shouldn’t have treated you the way I did. I was just afraid. I was broken,” maimed by fissured memories, “and I didn’t know how to live with it. I couldn’t ask you to trust me,” love me, “because I didn’t trust myself, or what I was becoming, or what I had to do. I wasn’t sure I would have anything left when I was done. I couldn’t say what I really meant.”

“You told me not to touch you,” she said as if the words were splinters of glass, sharp enough to pierce and rend. “Isn’t that what you meant?”

“No.” He gritted his teeth so that he would not cry out. “It’s what I needed. It’s what I knew how to say. I’m a leper, for God’s sake. It’s how I cope with practically everything. But it is not the truth.”

Not the whole truth.

She appeared to be floundering: a drowning woman who nonetheless struggled against her desire to clutch at rescue. So softly that he barely heard her over the labor of his heart, she asked, “Then what is the truth? What would you have said if you weren’t broken or scared?”

Damn you, Covenant snarled at himself. Say it. Do it. She can’t read your mind.

What did he gain by being a leper if numbness did not dull the edges of his fears?

His hands shook as he reached up to his neck. Fumbling, he grasped the chain that held Joan’s ring under his T-shirt, pulled the chain over his head. For a panicked moment, his eyes failed him: he could not find the clasp. Then his fingers were too awkward to unclose it.

But he remembered who he was, and why he was here, and what was at stake; and a strange certainty came over him. The clasp seemed to open by itself, as if he had been given a blessing. Attempts must be made—How else could he believe in anything?

He dropped the chain. Holding the ring between the remnants of his thumb and forefinger, he extended it toward Linden.

“Linden Avery.” His voice was hoarse, congested with emotions straining for release. “I think I’ve earned the right to give this to anybody I want. But there’s nobody else. I love you. That’s all. I love you. Will you marry me?”

There's how love and family make wholeness, laid out like a bare heart.

For Covenant at least, having people who love you, and accepting their love without reservation, requires trusting yourself, and believing in your own worth.

He could not ask Linden to love him when he felt broken.

And I will close with this argument. The last, best one.

In The Runes of the Earth was wrote:
In addition, her gratitude for Jeremiah was too great to be contained in words. He was the center of her life. He gave her a use for the capacity for love which she had learned from Covenant; from Sunder and Hollian, the First and Pitchwife; and from the Land. His mere presence seemed to validate her. He was like a flower which had bloomed within her, fragile and inestimable. She could not have removed it, or turned away, without tearing herself open. The fact that its petals had been crushed in the Despiser's fist, and had never regained their natural shape and scent, only caused her to cherish him more. As long as he remained to her, she would never entirely lose heart.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If TC couldn't ask Linden to marry him because he was broken, then it's very difficult not to conclude that by the time he proposes, he's whole. But I don't see how he can be whole until he has fully incorporated both his Creator and Despiser, which doesn't happen until the end. Like I said, I think these themes are muddled.

I think people (real people, not characters completing narrative arcs) make a mistake entering into marriages or having babies believing that this will make them whole, or make them feel whole. I think you have to enter into a marraige when you have reached a level of personal maturity that you're not going to blame the other person for your feelings of inadequacy or being incomplete, or expect them to resolve these issues for you. You have to be whole already. This is where I agree with Lurch, that we first find wholeness or redemption in ourselves, and then we're ready to move on to the next stage of building a higher level of union with others. This is especially true for having children. I know some women who have had children because they think it will save their marriage, or fill a hole in their heart. But children are their own people; you should only have them when you're ready to give, not take.

As Donaldson says, this doesn't mean that our families don't end up helping us, but broken people will only produce broken families. They won't heal each other.

Covenant goes into the Banefire alone. Linden wrestles with her capacity for evil while Covenant is under Elohim stasis. They solve their individual crisis alone. And then they do it again in the LC.

And perhaps that's why Covenant had to leave and kill Joan. If we take Ananda's view--that Joan was a "construct for the purpose of TC's therapy," who ultimately represents that part of Covenant that still clings to the memory of his loss--then "killing" this memory is finally giving up the pain of that loss.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TC didn't ask Linden to marry him because he had effected a violent divorce and was therefore available. He did it because everything was so damn hopeless, so why not? They have a few days tops, life all of a sudden became too short to be ruled by insecurities and guilt.
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