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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger had only his mother's example because his father wasn't there to provide a better one.

Yes, I know. Joan took Roger away and divorced him. I know that in the the time of the Chronicles were written a father had no real say in the matter of custody. And with Covenant's illness, the likelihood of getting visitation rights were probably non-existent.

But here's the thing:

Covenant made no attempt whatsoever to know what was going on in his son's life. Joan was apparently taking their son into one commune, one cult, after another, exposing him to God knows what ... and Covenant knew NOTHING about it ... nothing until Joan showed up to try to claw his face off.


Covenant was rich. Wealthy enough to live without ever having to work again. Rich enough that he could foot the bill for a few indigents in Berenford's hospital. Even in the 80s, that would take a fair amount of cash.

He could have written letters or made telephone calls. He could have hired a private detective if he wasn't getting information on his son.

He chose not to.

Perhaps Roger's life would have been different if he knew he had a father who was concerned for his welfare.

Perhaps not.

But if Roger had no example but Joan there's no indication that Covenant made any effort to provide him with an alternative.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Roger was irredeemable, this is only because SRD chose to make him that way, not because it was inevitable. Once he met Linden and Thomas and the rest of the gang, he had plenty of examples of living a life of courage. So he can become aware of different choices. Just like Angus, when he met Morn.

So if it's not inevitable that Roger was irredeemable, then it was *Donaldson's* choice. Perhaps he found it necessary to the story for Roger to be one-dimensional. What necessity could that possibly be? Roger didn't do anything necessary to the story. The story very easily could have done everything without him. Since his very presence was unnecessary, nothing in his character arc was necessary, and it wouldn't have changed the plot one bit if at the end he changed his mind or if Thomas had shown him some kind of fatherly emotion. None of this is inevitable. To pretend that it is, is just making excuses for Donaldson's choices.

By starting this tale with Roger "taking his father's place," and motivating all the events which take us to the Land, Donaldson set up the expectation that Covenant's son was necessary to the story in terms of character arcs for our protagonists, not merely as a plot device to get the ball rolling. Someone else could have broken Joan out of the hospital, such as her former cult leader. The fact that it was Roger makes this a story about a son confronting his father's legacy. However, that was ignored completely in favor of a cheap trick, literally. Roger's only purpose was to trick Linden (and the readers) into thinking that Covenant was back. That's why he was in the story, for that one gimmick. That's why Donaldson describes him as a "doppelganger." And that's why he was irredeemable, because once he served this single gimmicky purpose, he was discarded by the author, only making appearances when the story needed a quick boost of action, but otherwise being insignificant.

Roger is just another instance of using reader ignorance as the motivation for plot mechanics. Pure effect, nothing deeper. The only sense in which he was a "doppelganger" for Thomas was appearance only, not as a way to explore the theme of "opposite of Thomas" (e.g. evil twin) or the duality of human nature, as doppelgangers are sometimes used. Thomas already embodied the duality of human nature all by himself.

WF wrote:

Donaldson suggests that changing Roger could only involve providing him an example of courage and love and hoping the example prompts him to change himself. There was no room for doing that properly in this story, I don't think. It's just not a story about that.
So it's not a story about characters choosing to be brave (i.e. not ruled by fear) and redeeming themselves? I'm pretty sure that's exactly what this story is about. As I noted above, you don't need extra room for him to have encounters with brave people; he already does. You'd only need a page or two to add the things we've mentioned: a change of heart for Roger, and *some* kind of emotion from Thomas.

In the end, if Roger is irredeemable, then he exemplifies the theory that man is a "futile passion." But apparently, Donaldson thinks that concept is false, and he has written 10 books arguing against it. Now, at the end, we're supposed to accept that sometimes humans are futile passions, when the author is no longer interested in developing their character arcs??? It completely undermines the entire point of inventing the character of Thomas Covenant and his Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
If Roger was irredeemable, this is only because SRD chose to make him that way, not because it was inevitable. Once he met Linden and Thomas and the rest of the gang, he had plenty of examples of living a life of courage. So he can become aware of different choices. Just like Angus, when he met Morn....

...Since his very presence was unnecessary, nothing in his character arc was necessary, and it wouldn't have changed the plot one damn bit if at the end he changed his mind or if Thomas had shown him some kind of fatherly emotion....

WF wrote:

Donaldson suggests that changing Roger could only involve providing him an example of courage and love and hoping the example prompts him to change himself. There was no room for doing that properly in this story, I don't think. It's just not a story about that.
...As I noted above, you don't need extra room for him to have encounters with brave people; he already does. You'd only need a page or two to add the things we've mentioned: a change of heart for Roger, and *some* kind of emotion from Thomas.

I basically ignored Roger for the whole of the LCs, as (like you Z) I couldn't get any handle on his purpose in the story (beyond getting Linden into the Land at the start).

However, within the context of the story, I think he is a character who has been caught early on by Despite and for whom (a bit like the Ravers) redemption is almost impossible. I think I understand what SRD means when he says there isn't time for the redemption of Roger, because he would have to spend 'crucial' time with characters like Covenant, Mhoram, Foamfollower, Pitchwife, Brinn, Sunder, Stave etc. It would be a whole other story in itself.

The kind of transformation that would be required in Roger's case would mirror that of Linden (which originally took three books). The poet Philip Larkin has a line about how we live our life and the choices we make:
    'Suddenly they harden into all we've got'.

This kind of hardening cannot be broken down in a short time or with a kind word or gesture. It is a character transformation that would, IMO, at least take a whole book to achieve.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
I basically ignored Roger for the whole of the LCs, as (like you Z) I couldn't get any handle on his purpose in the story (beyond getting Linden into the Land at the start).
My edits above address some of this, including getting Linden to the Land and the one "purpose" Roger served, as a gimmick. I was editing while you were responding.

Quote:
I think I understand what SRD means when he says there isn't time for the redemption of Roger, because he would have to spend 'crucial' time with characters like Covenant, Mhoram, Foamfollower, Pitchwife, Brinn, Sunder, Stave etc. It would be a whole other story in itself.
Yes, it might have been a different story, but it would have been more consistent with Donaldson's values and the purpose of writing the Chronicles in the first place (see my edit above about "man is a futile passion"). Covenant and Jeremiah had very little room in this story for their own redemptions, given how little they appear in it as functional characters. Perhaps Donaldson cluttered this tale too much with things that weren't focused on characters, given how many people have complained about lack of compelling characters this time around. It's not that there wasn't enough room, it's that he chose to write about other things, and didn't put the emphasis on his large cast. Again, that's his fault, his choice, not a problem with reader expectations.

Quote:
The kind of transformation that would be required in Roger's case would mirror that of Linden (which originally took three books). The poet Philip Larkin has a line about how we live our life and the choices we make:
    'Suddenly they harden into all we've got'.

This kind of hardening cannot be broken down in a short time or with a kind word or gesture. It is a character transformation that would, IMO, at least take a whole book to achieve.
Lord Mhoram had his life-changing intuition off screen. It didn't take him an entire book to realize his fundamental error. Roger was a character in 4 thick books. There was plenty of room for him to have a change of heart, especially at the end. Hell, our gang could have captured him and made him a prisoner--putting him in a parallel position to Jeremiah, this time with the "good guys" holding a "son of Thomas," but for opposite reasons of Jeremiah's imprisonment by Roger and croyal. And then he could have been a constant presence in the journey, with his character developing accordingly. Think of the interactions that Jer and Roger could have had. Hell, Jer should have been shown to have some lingering anger towards his captor ... or perhaps even a bit of Stockholm Syndrome? Maybe some empathy towards him, given that he spent so much time in his presence? And that's what ends up turning Roger around, the forgiveness of his victim? There are literally endless ways this could have been done.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
I basically ignored Roger for the whole of the LCs, as (like you Z) I couldn't get any handle on his purpose in the story (beyond getting Linden into the Land at the start).

I think the GI quotes above go a long way to substantiating the idea that Roger is present as a foil for Jeremiah. They had fairly parallel origins, even to belonging to similar cults. They had fairly opposite outcomes.

ussusimiel wrote:
The kind of transformation that would be required in Roger's case would mirror that of Linden (which originally took three books).

Precisely. It's a matter of room in the book, not a matter of worthiness of subject. I imagine one of the reasons that the Last Chronicles was a daunting task was figuring out how to include what was needed without pulling in so much it sinks under it's own weight. I don't think you need to find a more contrarian explanation.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeremiah had Linden, a mother who loved him. Roger had Joan, a woman who betrayed his father and raised him in a cult. Where was the love?

Whether or not Covenant attempted to contact Joan and Roger is outside of the text, and we have no idea. By the start of TWL, Covenant learned Joan's 10 year background somehow. Maybe Joan, during her short periods of lucidity, told him what happened to her. Or, maybe Covenant contacted her parents at some point, found out where Joan and Roger were. Maybe her parents told him to stay the hell away. Who knows?

One thing is clear from LFB: Because of his leprosy, Covenant agreed with Joan taking Roger away from him. Remember, late 1970s thinking was that small children were especially susceptible to leprosy. Covenant wanted Roger spared from that. Sounds like the decision of a father to me.

I reject outright the notion that Covenant is responsible for Roger actions in TLC.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DLB, is anyone saying that TC is responsible for Roger's actions?

It's true that Jer had Linden's love, and Roger had Joan. But love isn't necessary for redemption. TC didn't redeem himself in the 1st Chrons by someone else loving him. Jumping stories, Angus didn't need someone else loving him to redeem himself.

It's simply false that Roger was inevitably irredeemable. It was SRD's choice. My argument is that this choice violates his decision to write a series that rejects the idea that man is a futile passion. The reason why man is not a futile passion--despite the fact that everything dies and beauty ends--is because he can redeem himself. If he can't redeem himself, then all his passions are for nothing. It might as well all be a dream.

Thus, no man can be truly beyond redemption. Therefore Roger was not beyond redemption. His "choice" is Donaldson's choice. And in my opinion, it's a choice that undermines rather than reinforces his message.
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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: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:

Thus, no man can be truly beyond redemption. Therefore Roger was not beyond redemption. His "choice" is Donaldson's choice. And in my opinion, it's a choice that undermines rather than reinforces his message.


Roger wasn't beyond redemption.
He chose not to redeem himself...or maybe chose TOO... that's arguable...at the end, did he turn aside his attack toward TC and Stave to Branl, then later attack LF with the krill because he had rejected the "dark side" generally/conceptually...or just cuz he was mad about being lied to?

If he rejected all of it, then he WAS redeemed...he redeemed himself, which is the only real way anyway. He wasn't unredeemed at the end...he was just dead.

And what kind of story would it be if every bad guy was "saved?"
A really, really, stupid one.
Might's well have unicorns, cartoon ponies, and sparkling vampires.

[[[I also don't buy the upthread stuff about TC just doesn't give a flying fuck about Roger. If nothing else [and there are other else's in the books] TC could have...and it would have been easier...just plunged the krill into roger's chest, instead of cutting off the Kasty hand and freeing him/leaving him alive]]]

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Roger wasn't beyond redemption.
He chose not to redeem himself...

Basically. Certainly he has to want it.

Vraith wrote:
And what kind of story would it be if every bad guy was "saved?"

One without foils. You also have to show where taking the dark road inevitably leads, else there is no down side to the dark road, and then how do you argue not to take it?

Vraith wrote:
I also don't buy the upthread stuff about TC just doesn't give a flying fuck about Roger.

Oh, I am pretty much on board with a lack of flying fuck.
Donaldson has said, "the opposite of love is apathy". So apathy is what fits.

Then there's the whole Elena Equivalency. Covenant loved her as a woman more than a daughter. About which Donaldson said, "How could he possibly feel like her father? They haven't had one iota of a father-daughter relationship." I think the same thing applies here ... expecting Covenant to feel like Roger's father, emotionally, seems impossible.

Then there's the whole Dead Debt issue. Covenant died. He died in a way that, among other things, earned himself some restitution for what he had done wrong. So how much does Covenant 2.0 really owe for the failings of Covenant 1.0? Again, I think this is a matter of a road that there are not enough pages to travel down.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
It's simply false that Roger was inevitably irredeemable...

...If he can't redeem himself, then all his passions are for nothing. It might as well all be a dream.

I agree that there is no reason why Roger should be irredeemable. And I do think that he is not a character who is particularly looking for redemption. I disagree with using Mhoram as an analogy. Much closer, IMO, would be Pietten; someone whom Despite has affected from early in their life. There are other unredeemed characters in the books e.g. Trell, Atiaran, Elena, whose redemption doesn't come until after their deaths.

Another example would Kasreyn (also allied with a croyel). His attempt at redemption is through the creation of 'perfect' magic. An attempt to be redeemed through acquiring external Power rather than through his own resources.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
expecting Covenant to feel like Roger's father, emotionally, seems impossible.


But that is not identical to not giving a shit at all.
And not caring at all is countertextual.
There are many reasons for fathers not being, or not feeling like, fathers.
There's even more than one kind of that represented in these books.
And isn't the issue of father/hood/ing a real issue? and about family?
Isn't failing something that happens in families?
Isn't one long arc of the stories that TC is a pretty shitty guy who makes a lot of mistakes [some for good, or at least understandable, reasons others not]...but gets better?

And I think, perhaps, people might be forgetting something: Roger was only 11, at most, when TC died.
Given the totality of circumstances, the TC/Roger separation is the most likely scenario, and the Roger we got from that is by far the likeliest outcome.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
And what kind of story would it be if every bad guy was "saved?"
A really, really, stupid one.
Might's well have unicorns, cartoon ponies, and sparkling vampires.
You think unicorns would be stupid in fantasy story? What about griffins? Or the sudden, inexplicable power of our heroes to magically remake the world? I think we're already reading that story.

No one is saying that every bad guy is redeemed. If Roger wasn't destined for redemption, then perhaps he could have been a better bad guy! Perhaps there could have been some kind of showdown with his dad, where they interact and hash that shit out. This entire story began with Roger. We were set up with the expectation that the son was somehow relevant to the father's tale. Turns out he wasn't, except as a cheap trick to make us wonder if TC is now an ass. That's not a thematic exploration of father/son/family/loss/etc. That's a stunt. A gimmick.

Even with redemption off the table, TC could have shown Roger at least the same amount of sympathy as he showed the damn cavewights. He didn't know them, either. He wasn't a father to them, either. And yet we're given the sense that he feels more sympathy for their plight than Roger's.

Wayfriend wrote:
Again, I think this is a matter of a road that there are not enough pages to travel down.
Yeah, got to leave room for Giant dick jokes. You know, the important stuff.

There was as much room in this series as SRD wanted ... for ANYTHING. It's not like Donaldson was chronicling real events and couldn't leave anything out. He could have put whatever he wanted in those pages. He could have freed up hundreds of pages over the course of 4 thick books merely by reining in his excessive introspections. Or, he could have just added the content without cutting anything. It's not like he had a finite page limit. Any of the 4 books could have easily been 50-100 pages longer, and none of us would have cared. Or, he could have stretched it out to another book. I'm sure his publishers wouldn't have cared. There are literally infinite ways to add content and story lines to any book. Writing fiction--making shit up--means you can write whatever you want!

It really would not have taken much room for Thomas to have some kind of emotional reaction to his son. Take out the emotional reaction he had for the Cavewights' plight, and there you go. That's all the room you need.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Vraith wrote:

Might's well have unicorns, cartoon ponies, and sparkling vampires.
You think unicorns would be stupid in fantasy story?


Heh...I thought after someone might go after that, but I thought it would be someone who liked sparkly vampires.
Unicorns aren't awful in ALL stories...but definitely are in stories like THIS one. [[and so are griffins. Them and fire lions I hated.]]

I really think, though, that I'm "hearing" a completely different tone of voice, [since the actual words are identical] in the final section interaction between TC and Roger [perhaps earlier ones, too, IDK]. than you and apparently quite a few...if not most...others. I don't know exactly why...and I don't know for certain that I'm correct.
But I also don't understand why people hate the "rising in glory" and then the epilogue. They seem to want a descriptive [at least] and perhaps semi-explanatory? [I'm not sure] blow-by-blow, or to be along for the ride as it is done.
But I like it the way it is.
The one thing I would like to see at the end...sorta on topic, if one can look at LF, Creator, SHE in a familial way:
A short [probably no more than a paragraph] but intense clash/confrontation between LF and SHE.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:
Vraith wrote:

Might's well have unicorns, cartoon ponies, and sparkling vampires.
You think unicorns would be stupid in fantasy story?


Heh...I thought after someone might go after that, but I thought it would be someone who liked sparkly vampires.
Unicorns aren't awful in ALL stories...but definitely are in stories like THIS one. [[and so are griffins. Them and fire lions I hated.]]
One could argue this is a story with unicorns, if you substitute stars for horns, and add the ability to time travel. Magical horses are magical horses. It's how you use them, I suppose, that makes the difference.

And that goes for bad guys, too.

Vraith wrote:
I really think, though, that I'm "hearing" a completely different tone of voice, [since the actual words are identical] in the final section interaction between TC and Roger [perhaps earlier ones, too, IDK]. than you and apparently quite a few...if not most...others. I don't know exactly why...and I don't know for certain that I'm correct.
Honestly, it was so insignificant, I can't really remember much of it. I remember his feelings toward the poor Cavewights, though. So I don't think it's my memory ability to remember empathy that's to blame.

Vraith wrote:
But I also don't understand why people hate the "rising in glory" and then the epilogue. They seem to want a descriptive [at least] and perhaps semi-explanatory? [I'm not sure] blow-by-blow, or to be along for the ride as it is done.
I just think it was too easy. It doesn't have to be explained. It can be purely character-driven or symbolic. But symbols can still be complex enough to show some level of difficulty. Our heroes spent so much time not being able to achieve their goals with their magic, then all of a sudden they can literally do anything. That jump didn't have the psychological drama and epiphany that I expected to come along with it. I think Jer probably had the most explicit explanation, with his realizations about the Raver and his mom. But in the Chronicles we've come to expect that with great power comes great epiphanies, and I just didn't see one, much less three. I understand that they got their power from becoming whole, facing their fears, finding love, yadda yadda, but I didn't see it depicted in the story like we've seen in previous Chronicles. I don't need to be told, but I would have liked to have been shown.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not think (anymore) that Donaldson stories are about redemption... not as we tend to view it anyway. Covenant still raped Lena. Nothing he did after that atoned for that act. He might have become someone how would never do that again, but he still committed that deed and would have to carry that with him throughout his existence (side note: the main method I was able to read a series about a rapist was because I saw Covenant having to deal with the consequences of that act for the entirety of the First and Second Chronicles. He never got a "Get out of jail" card even if he was instrumental in saving the Land...twice).

And Angus was never redeemed when he met Morn. As I recall, he turned her into a sex slave to be raped repeatedly. And Morn never forgave him, it was just unfortunate for her and fortunate for Angus that the proverbial shit had hit the fan in such a way as to require Angus to be free to act. That speaks more of the character of Morn then the redemption of Angus, who I doubt resolved his deep psychological issues or had decided to stop living the life of a predatory space pirate at the series' end.

And speaking of someone who certainly never got redeemed, Spoiler:
how about Nick?


I think what we see is that we do not need to be "redeemed of our sins" to become better people. Sometimes, it just requires us to act on something other than ourselves, as a result Covenant becomes a better person because he decides to fight for the Beauty of the Land instead of focusing solely on his self-preservation, Linden decides to fight for the Land and becomes a better person though she is a murderer, and Roger never becomes a better person because he was only ever fighting for himself. Even at the end, he attacked Foul because he was lashing out for himself.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
It really would not have taken much room for Thomas to have some kind of emotional reaction to his son. Take out the emotional reaction he had for the Cavewights' plight, and there you go. That's all the room you need.

I can't disagree with this, and it is surprising how little feeling Covenant seems to have for Roger at all within the story. For a man capable of intense feeling he seems to have little or no connection with his son. Not that Roger is in any way a likeable character. (Does he show any hint of something that we might possibly find admirable or sympathetic?) To remain strictly within the context of the story, is there any suggestion from Covenant's backstory that might give a hint as to why this might be?

I know that SRD only includes the bare minimum of what he needs, but is there some significance that at the start of LFB Covenant is utterly isolated? It's almost as if he is a foundling of some sort. He has no one to call on, no family, no relatives, no kind neighbours and no friends. Is there some reason why he has no parents or siblings? How could someone like him end up with not a single friend? It isn't that he is incapable of friendship or relationships, he obviously is, yet there may be an intensity to his feelings that means that it is all or nothing with him. He either connects completely with someone or not at all. In Roger's case, Joan may have kept the child almost solely to herself while he was young and before Covenant got to really bond with him he was gone.

I know that this is speculation, yet there is a strangeness about Covenant's beginnings that leaves room for such questions.

u.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ussusimiel wrote:
I know that SRD only includes the bare minimum of what he needs, but is there some significance that at the start of LFB Covenant is utterly isolated?

Gosh, I know he answered this somewhere. Oh yes ...

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
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)

So, again, it's about focusing the story.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orlion wrote:
I do not think (anymore) that Donaldson stories are about redemption... not as we tend to view it anyway.

This, oh, yes. I've argued that several times in a couple places.
I shouldn't revert to the "ordinary" definition other places. But it gets lengthy and/or awkward to point that stuff out all the time. And probably annoying to folk. In some thread/post I tried showing redemption as a number set analogy.
Redemption, in my view, and I'm fairly sure you're saying similar [heh...you'll make an example of me if I'm wrong, I'm sure] is:
NOT-being "forgiven" for ones sins.
NOT-"making up for" those sins.
NOT-more good than harm in the end/tipping the scales to balance "good"
IS-becoming better than you were, but continue always paying the price.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Orlion wrote:
I do not think (anymore) that Donaldson stories are about redemption... not as we tend to view it anyway.

This, oh, yes. I've argued that several times in a couple places.
I shouldn't revert to the "ordinary" definition other places. But it gets lengthy and/or awkward to point that stuff out all the time. And probably annoying to folk. In some thread/post I tried showing redemption as a number set analogy.
Redemption, in my view, and I'm fairly sure you're saying similar [heh...you'll make an example of me if I'm wrong, I'm sure] is:
NOT-being "forgiven" for ones sins.
NOT-"making up for" those sins.
NOT-more good than harm in the end/tipping the scales to balance "good"
IS-becoming better than you were, but continue always paying the price.


That is exactly where I was getting at Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
ussusimiel wrote:
I know that SRD only includes the bare minimum of what he needs, but is there some significance that at the start of LFB Covenant is utterly isolated?

Gosh, I know he answered this somewhere. Oh yes ...

In the Gradual Interview, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
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)

So, again, it's about focusing the story.
... which is an ironic argument to make in your own thread about family being an important theme of the LC. You're dismissing how Roger's role undermines the point or the argument of this thread by claiming that it's to "focus on the story." Okay, fine. That means it's not a story about family, since his own son is downplayed in order to serve the plot. So we've come full circle into agreement: no, this is not a story about family. It's one that uses family members as plot points and gimmicks, instead of thematic exploration.

And I also agree with Donaldson here:

Quote:

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.
If a bad relationship with a family member is included in a story, it should be explained in the story. I think many of us here feel that his reaction to his son wasn't explained in the story. By SRD's own words, I think we have a legitimate point.
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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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