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Foul's final defeat

 
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:07 am    Post subject: Foul's final defeat Reply with quote

It has been asked why TC couldn't absorb LF at the end of WGW. I think it is because Foul wasn't weakened then, as he was weakened at the end of TLD by SWMNBN slapping him down, making him small and "...almost material.", rather like he was at the end of TPTP. At the end of WGW when Foul was weakened to almost nothing, TC was dead, a spirit. I think in that state he could not absorb Foul, even though he might have understood that it would have been possible for him to have done it had he still been alive.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, those two things probably made it impossible.

But I think you have to factor in that the author wants Covenant to reach a specific and hard-earned emotional/spiritual place before he is ready to take that step. Me, I would start by assuming that Covenant wasn't ready to do what he did in TLD until he did it, and then work backwards from there to discover why he wasn't ready until then. Just because I so deeply believe that that's how Donaldson writes it.

Also, Covenant always seems to learn something specific about the way that the world works, and about his relationship with Foul, that is a key for winning his confrontation. When he learns it, he has a sketch of a plan, and then he goes into the confrontation.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you. Even if TC were in a position to assimilate Foul at the end of WGW, SWMNBN would still be in the Land and it's my opinion that her release from within the Arch was a vital part of restoring the Creator. Also, Foul's absence need not have stopped Kastenessen from trying to destroy the Earth one way or another. The story relies on the synthesis of these strands. Some threads have questioned what TC was supposed to have done/learned/felt that made him able to assimilate Foul in the LC and I eventually convluded that there wasn't really anything, so that in principle he should have been able to assimilate a weakened Foul at the end of WGW had he not been a ghost.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simanent wrote:
Even if TC were in a position to assimilate Foul at the end of WGW, SWMNBN would still be in the Land and it's my opinion that her release from within the Arch was a vital part of restoring the Creator.

Yes, I saw your other topic on this point. I am thinking on that. But, still, even if we leave this out, it's fair to say that the Earth isn't safe as long as She is imprisoned within it. The final resolution has to do something about She.

Simanent wrote:
Some threads have questioned what TC was supposed to have done/learned/felt that made him able to assimilate Foul in the LC and I eventually convluded that there wasn't really anything, so that in principle he should have been able to assimilate a weakened Foul at the end of WGW had he not been a ghost.

If you've seen those threads then you probably know I feel differently about that point. Covenant goes through some changes. One example is his going from 'don't touch me' to 'will you marry me' with regards to Linden. I can also see that the lurker bargain, the disposition of Joan, and the demise of the Raver all had a marked effect on Covenant. I admit I haven't put it all together yet. But it's still early. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I would say that the changes you mention would make sense to have been instrumental in making TC prepared, this is not so easy to get from reading the LC (I found).

When I read the end of WGW, TC's love for Linden was so incredibly clear and powerful (I felt so anyway) it didn't feel like there was anything that still needed resolving. Perhaps TC could only feel that way because he knew he was leaving Linden. When he's resurrected he sure isn't the same. The messages he passes on as the TW are full of love, like he was at the end of WGW.

If it can be agreed that TC has to be corporeal to incorporate Foul than the LC changes TC has to go through would then seem to involve his being able to have the serenity he showed as a spirit but do so in his body. I suppose being embodied as a leper is always a massive challenge for him.

This is inference though, and I honestly wouldn't like to say if this is what Donaldson was getting at. Many have criticised him for not seeming to spell issues out in TLD (and the LC in general). I guess they have a point. I have reread them recently (out loud, to my significant other) and doing that somehow filled in pretty much all that seemed to be missing when I read them to myself. She didn't think TLD needed to be criticised and was surprised when I told her how much it had been on The Watch.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simanent wrote:
I have reread them recently (out loud, to my significant other) and doing that somehow filled in pretty much all that seemed to be missing when I read them to myself.

I am not surprised. I am sure that, as you were reading aloud, you tried to imagine how it sounded to her. That's always a good way to gain insight into things. And I hope it was as nice an experience as it sounds.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since foul and tc and the creator are all the same anyway, I would say that physical states had little to do with it. I would say that, emotionally, psychologically, tc was finally able to embrace the oneness fully.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simanent wrote:
While I would say that the changes you mention would make sense to have been instrumental in making TC prepared, this is not so easy to get from reading the LC (I found).
I agree completely. While any book worth reading will probably have additional insights upon a second reading (or in 'working backwards' from the ending), I think it should make sense and the point be clear reading it forwards--and for insightful readers--on the first time.

I have argued elsewhere that we are not given a depiction of TC's growth (this time) comparable to depictions in the first two Chronicles. I'm not sure what TC learned that was significantly different from before, much less different enough to justify a new ending. What is it about marrying the woman you love that allows you to embrace your own despiser? He hasn't been married THAT long yet! Laughing [Not to mention that's a hell of a deal for Linden ... she just got married to the guy, and within hours he decides to become one with the Land's enemy? Sounds like valid grounds for divorce to me.]

Quote:
When I read the end of WGW, TC's love for Linden was so incredibly clear and powerful (I felt so anyway) it didn't feel like there was anything that still needed resolving. Perhaps TC could only feel that way because he knew he was leaving Linden. When he's resurrected he sure isn't the same.
No, I think you were right the first time, before the 'perhaps ...' TC was able to love Linden prior to the Isle, at which he begged Linden to save him. So he was still intending to make it out of this at that point, and it was definitely beyond the "don't touch me" point.

I have no idea what "transformation" TC went through this time. It's easy to say he got married, but what changed to allow him to marry? Perhaps letting go of his ex-wife was the prerequisite, but that didn't stop him from giving his heart to Linden in the 2nd Chrons. Joan's death could only be a symbolic "letting go" by AATE, because he was clearly over her, and most people don't need to kill their ex-wife to move on, figuratively or literally.

If the author wants Covenant to reach a specific and hard-earned emotional/spiritual place, then it's fair to ask what that place is, and how did he earn it? What exactly did he do?

On the idea of She escaping the Arch being necessary to all this ... I've argued elsewhere that since Linden is the one trying to answer Wildwood's question about beauty/death, and that this question has been described as one of 'entropy' by Donaldson, and the truth about entropy is that no local increase in order can occur without a corresponding increase in disorder for the larger environment, then She escaping represents that cost to the larger universe for the local environment of the Land to have been reborn, lowering its entropy.

That's a separate (though related) issue to the problem of Despite, which was TC's burden.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the end of WGW, though dead [in the 'real' world] TC had no experience of the degree of freedom that actually being the Arch of Time would grant him. In this state he was able to traverse the Land [and one assumes the World] not only from place to place but also at any time he chose. By the time of his return to corporeality he was a vastly changed being by virtue of the knowledge this experience had afforded him [how could he not be?] and surely it is this change that was at least in part necessary for him to discover within himself the means whereby Foul could at least be 'neutralised', given that he could not be defeated. I can't think that TC could have had any real conception of this posible solution at the time of the ending of WGW - he had not the breadth of understanding that it could be done.

[And let's face it; at the time of reading there was no clue given that the end of WGW would not be the final word in the TC story.]
On the SWMNBN issue I am far from convinced that SRD had 'fleshed out her nature' in his own mind at this early time, in order for her to be [or not to be Wink] a stumbling block to a resolution of the Land's dilema.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
[And let's face it; at the time of reading there was no clue given that the end of WGW would not be the final word in the TC story.]

I would make a stronger statement. Donaldson designed the end of WGW so that it could be the final word, if no further word were ever written.

Peter wrote:
At the end of WGW, though dead [in the 'real' world] TC had no experience of the degree of freedom that actually being the Arch of Time would grant him.

Certainly "being the Arch" gave Covenant a longer view of things.

But what strikes me about the Chronicles is that Covenant faithfully begins each one right right where he left off in the previous one. At the beginning of TWL, he was prepared to do exactly what he did in TPTP, again, and for the same reasons. And then the story Donaldson creates is that Covenant can't just be more of the same, he has to learn a whole new lesson, in order to fight a whole new way. If you look at the Final Chronicles, you can see the same thing happen (correspondences!). At the end of WGW, Covenant had given his life to stop Foul, and then left it up to Linden to do the rest. In AATE, newly resurrected Covenant seems to be exactly in the same place: he wants to leave everything in Linden's capable hands, while he considers himself a sort of expendable used-up has-been who doesn't count any more.

So certainly Covenant moves on from that point. Linden resurrected him, but it takes a while for Covenant to resurrect himself... to consider himself an important part of things again. He has to, because Donaldson's story will require that he learn a new lesson and fight a new way.

Also, I suspect that being Dead means you don't change. Which is why Linden's resurrection is a gift as well as a necessity... it affords him a chance to grow and change again.

Also, I suspect that, if Donaldson wants the story to be about Covenant's transformation, he won't have it happen off stage in between-Chronicles time.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've said this on another thread, but at the crucial moment in the final chapter, "You Are Mine", the impending destruction of the Earth by the Worm had reached a point at which Covenant had to absorb Lord Foul in order to acquire the knowledge needed for Jeremiah, Linden and himself to restore the Earth, and Foul needed to cooperate with Covenant in order to prevent his own destruction because he was still trapped within the Arch of Time. This, of course, doesn't invalidate what others have said in this thread.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just one question; I can't remember - was TC aware of what he was experiencing when in the 'dissociated states' that he periodically entered, once he had extracted himself, or indeed been extracted from them. When we first meet him on his knees in Andelain [the "Linden - what have you done?" moment], does he bring with him any of that experience of 'being the Arch', or is it all a closed book to him? [I feel I should know the answer to this, but either I've just plain forgotten or it wasn't made explicit in the books.]
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
I've said this on another thread, but at the crucial moment in the final chapter, "You Are Mine", the impending destruction of the Earth by the Worm had reached a point at which Covenant had to absorb Lord Foul in order to acquire the knowledge needed for Jeremiah, Linden and himself to restore the Earth, and Foul needed to cooperate with Covenant in order to prevent his own destruction because he was still trapped within the Arch of Time. This, of course, doesn't invalidate what others have said in this thread.
That would have been cool if there had been a single clue in the entire Chronicles that Foul was capable of restoration, rather than what we were led to believe were his chief activities, namely, destruction/perversion/corruption. I actually liked the idea that destruction is necessary for creation, but by the time they make use of Foul's "necessity," the earth is already being destroyed, so it's not his destruction that is necessary.

Perhaps TC couldn't become his own Creator until he accepted his inner Destructor, but this was never hinted at, either. We're left to assume that when you need a Creator, a Despiser will do in a pinch. As if they're equivalent, rather than complimentary counterparts.

I'd really like to make peace with the ending, but I haven't seen a single take on it that makes sense to me.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrPaul wrote:
and Foul needed to cooperate with Covenant in order to prevent his own destruction because he was still trapped within the Arch of Time.

That is a very significant element. "If we want to live, we have to do it together." We cuts both ways.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One point re what Z. says. It's a stretch, but TC was the Time Warden: the notions of 'before and after' were of less significance to him, to whom everything just 'was'. In this sense the 'by the time' clause of the 'destruction in creation' sentance is moot.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:39 pm    Post subject: To Zarathustra re: entropy Reply with quote

It occurs to me that if time travel (backwards) is possible then overall entropy could be decreased. I am a physics teacher. This idea interests me. Could this have a metaphorical meaning in TLC?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:57 pm    Post subject: Re: To Zarathustra re: entropy Reply with quote

Simanent wrote:
It occurs to me that if time travel (backwards) is possible then overall entropy could be decreased. I am a physics teacher. This idea interests me. Could this have a metaphorical meaning in TLC?


Others will be better placed to deal with the 'metaphorical' part of your post Simanent, but re the entropy situation, every time a life form briefly imposes an increased 'order' on the brute matereal of the Universe [ie in terms of growing and getting bigger] is not the entropy of the system, albeit only briefly and locally, decreased? [Sort of like Ptolomy's epicycles within cycles if you get what I mean].
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: To Zarathustra re: entropy Reply with quote

Simanent wrote:
It occurs to me that if time travel (backwards) is possible then overall entropy could be decreased. I am a physics teacher. This idea interests me. Could this have a metaphorical meaning in TLC?
I once thought that was going to be involved in the answer, but SRD shot it down in the GI:

In the GI, Donaldson wrote:
I accept your interpretation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. (I'm no physicist, but it sounds right.) And I accept your conclusion that breaking the Arch of Time would break "the *arrow* of time," thus making entropy meaningless. But I don't think that any of us would like the results. As far as I can see, if entropy were rendered moot (by eliminating "the *arrow* of time"), the outcome would be...nothingness. Not freedom, not "redemption," not any concept that has human significance: just non-existence. Because if "the *arrow* of time" isn't pointing "forward," it isn't pointing anywhere, and nothing can ever happen. Ever again.

(09/14/2006)


But, of course, breaking the Arch did allow for She to escape, ridding the Land of that Bane (and increasing the entropy to the larger environment outside the earth, as I've said), and it also allowed for the magical act of recreation to happen, for Cov/Jer/Linden to remake the earth. Thus, SRD did have the Arch restored, so the Arrow of Time was pointing the right direction again; so I suppose he was being genuine about that. But he downplayed the "magical" potential of the Arrow being in flux, in the interim. On purpose, I suspect, trying not to spoil the ending.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:22 pm    Post subject: Foul's Defeat Reply with quote

It seems a shame to log in after all of this time just to post something that is going to seem negative, but here it goes:

TC's confrontation with LF was disappointing. I think that the same thing happened here that happened with much of the rest of the Last Chrons, namely, the story had become too metaphysical, rushed, and, frankly, too big for SRD to wrap up in a terribly satisfying way. At least for this SRD fan. Why couldn't this final confrontation have elements of the previous two? In the first series TC confronts the Despiser and his leprosy by accepting the paradox of the Land's reality. Next he confronts Foul being just another part of himself. Merging with Foul may have been an answer for the third series, but there was not the same sense of conflict this time around. He didn't 'break' Foul.

The one thing that still bothers me about the whole last series is the Creator's absence. He should have at least showed up to hand over the reins of his universe. He just steps away? If any of you were the creator of a universe that was on the verge of extinction, wouldn't you want to at least show up to watch, even if you had decided to give up? At least acknowledge that you have left your creation in good hands? Say goodbye? Something?

As things stand, Foul was not defeated in any real way. He was not even really absorbed. He was contained. That was about it.

SRD made it hard to enjoy much other Fantasy/Sci Fi, then he (unintentionally, I'm sure) 'misfired' on this series.

With that said, I guess it is long past time to quit moaning about my disappointments with the Final Chrons.
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