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What If Hile Troy Had been The Lead?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me try to think this through.

Start with who Troy is when we first meet him. I want to keep him as close as possible to what we know from the books. So - he's blind from birth, 30ish years old (same age as Covenant was; that seems logical). Works at the Pentagon in a strategic/think-tank role dealing with high-level strategy, including issues related to nuclear war. Lives on his own. Doesn't have a guide dog or any other regular helper.

Why does he so desire power? Because he's been taught by his father that weakness is the worst sin. That's why he doesn't have a guide dog and eschews any other help from people. He MUST be self-sufficient. Especially after the death of his mother, who died saving him from some childhood accident (something that, due to his blindness, he was unaware of or blundered into). He's been taught from then on that his weakness cost the life of the one he loved most. And the only thing he has left of his mother and her love is her white gold wedding ring, which someone (a priest at the funeral, or a grandparent, or whoever) gave to him and told him to hide away. He now wears it on a chain around his neck to remind himself of the price of failure and weakness.

That's who he is when he has an accident and finds himself in the Land.

How are we doing so far?
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

starkllr wrote:
Just to expand on my thought...

Troy's blindness offers some of the same themes as Covenant's leprosy, both in their own everyday physical challenges, and in the ways that others react to them.



I don't think people's reactions would be quite the same. Having no eyes is shocking at first, but eventually those who know him would get used to it, especially if he covered it up permanently wit sunshades.
Leprosy is still a mystery to most people, and it conjures up strong images of rot, mutilation, depravity. There's also the biblical connotation with sin and punishment.

Perhaps if the Chronicles would have been written in the eighties or nineties, SRD could have chosen AIDS as Covenant's disease, but possibly even that would not have carried the same destructive force on Covenant's personal life.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

amanibhavam wrote:
starkllr wrote:
Just to expand on my thought...

Troy's blindness offers some of the same themes as Covenant's leprosy, both in their own everyday physical challenges, and in the ways that others react to them.



I don't think people's reactions would be quite the same. Having no eyes is shocking at first, but eventually those who know him would get used to it, especially if he covered it up permanently wit sunshades.

And people don't cast you out, aren't afraid you are contagious and everyone could/might rot and die [especially the children]. Not to mention the socio-religious connotations would be completely missing. [well...there is some biblical/blindness stuff---but not as broad, deep, or frightening].
And blindness doesn't kill you, doesn't make you numb. It might make you more vulnerable to painful incidents occurring---but it doesn't make you ignorant of your own pain.
Something that may have come up before, I'm not sure, but a significant thread for the story/TC is that it absolutely requires the person to be "split."
[Paradox, even, perhaps. Wink ]
To, in order to survive, always observe your body as if it isn't you/yours.
We are all at least a little bit "strangers" to ourselves. Leprosy kicks that up a couple levels. [Paralysis might get you some of that...but again, not contagious, etc...]

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In an Elohimfest Interview clip, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
And I was suddenly thinking Wait a minute! If I want to write a story about a guy whose going to reject fantasy, then I should write about somebody for whom fantasy would be infinitely preferable to reality. If you have a really nice life, as of course suppose we all do, and you had this extended, horrific dream, full of archetypal evil, and you wake up and say, oh thank Jesus, that was just a dream, good thing that wasn't real - now you're just being sane, that's just self interest, we all do that. But if your life is a walking nightmare, and you have a fantasy that is glory incarnate, and you still say, wait a minute, I know the difference between reality and fantasy, and that difference is important, it matters, and I'm going to cling to it - even though that one's way better - now we're talking about a moral principle of some kind. We're talking about religion. We're talking about an article of faith. We're talking about a belief structure which transcends the self interest of the individual. Now we're talking about something [?] fascinating. And whose life could possibly be worse than a leper's? Well - then I had a story! Oh, what kind of fantasy world is this? The exact opposite of having leprosy - that's easy! [link]

Leprosy is significant, first, because it makes Covenant an ironic mode protagonist - one unequal to his situation, rejected by society, and powerless to escape his situation.

But what makes leprosy the perfect choice, better than dozens of other similar dilemmas, isn't that it's debilitating, and it isn't that it's a social stigma. The significance of leprosy is that it causes Covenant to reject everything the Land offers him - beauty, friendship, health, vision, purpose ... power.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey all.

Agree with wayfriend on leprosy and would add that I feel it is a perfect choice because:

-- it's not that common a dis-ease
-- its numbing of the physical senses reflects a gradual numbing of the emotional senses
-- it's a wonderful metaphor of self-care, OCD and a general incapacity to avoid personal rot

.... among other reasons....

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great responses, everybody! (And thanks to starkllr for creating this interesting topic!)

amanibhavam wrote:
Leprosy is still a mystery to most people, and it conjures up strong images of rot, mutilation, depravity. There's also the biblical connotation with sin and punishment.


vraith wrote:
We are all at least a little bit "strangers" to ourselves. Leprosy kicks that up a couple levels. [Paralysis might get you some of that...but again, not contagious, etc...]


wayfriend wrote:
But what makes leprosy the perfect choice, better than dozens of other similar dilemmas, isn't that it's debilitating, and it isn't that it's a social stigma. The significance of leprosy is that it causes Covenant to reject everything the Land offers him - beauty, friendship, health, vision, purpose ... power.


revel wrote:
its numbing of the physical senses reflects a gradual numbing of the emotional senses


All of you have put forth astute observations here, no doubt about it, strongly supported by the text. Revel's remark about the emotional senses being quashed as a result of physical numbness is especially poignant in how it erodes the leper's ability to cope with everyday life, much less the much more difficult task of accepting the Land..

In Lord Foul's Bane, Chapter 2 was wrote:
"Leprosy," he heard night after night, "is perhaps the most inexplicable of all human afflictions. It is a mystery, just as the strange, thin difference between living and inert and inert matter is a mystery. Oh, we know some things about it: it is not fatal; it is not contagious in any conventional way; it operates by destroying the nerves, typically in the extremities and in the cornea of the eye; it produces deformity, largely because it negates the body's ability to protect itself by feeling and reacting against pain; it may result in complete disability, extreme deformation of the face and limbs, and blindness; and it is irreversible, since the nerves that die cannot be restored. We also know that, in almost all cases, proper treatment using DDS--diamino-diphenyl-sulfone--and some of the new synthetic antibiotics can arrest the spread of the disease, and that, once the neural deterioration has been halted, the proper medication and therapy can keepthe affliction under control for the rest of the patients life. What we do not know is why or how any specific person contracts the illness. As far as we can prove, it comes out of nowhere for no reason. And once you get it, you cannot hope for a cure."
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Hile Troy had been the lead, wouldn't he have been the one to drink the Blood of the Earth?
It was Troy who had the power of command, not Elena.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

Leprosy is significant, first, because it makes Covenant an ironic mode protagonist - one unequal to his situation, rejected by society, and powerless to escape his situation.

But what makes leprosy the perfect choice, better than dozens of other similar dilemmas, isn't that it's debilitating, and it isn't that it's a social stigma. The significance of leprosy is that it causes Covenant to reject everything the Land offers him - beauty, friendship, health, vision, purpose ... power.


Agree. Remember that LF offered Covenant all the things he wanted, health, mastery, love, the life of FF. TC rejected those because he knew that it was all a lie. But HT might have accepted any one of those, especially mastery, and what if he was offered Elena?

No. Hile Troy was much too weak in the wrong areas to be the one to defeat LF.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Troy's army was slaughtered, but his desperate strategy took out the Giant-Raver and his portion of the Illearth Stone and gave the Lords time to master the secret of Kevin's Lore.

He also prevented a pillaging/ravaging of the land that would have happened if Foul's army hadn't gone after him and suffered the defeat at Garroting Deep. Of course, this occurs anyway in TPTP...
Quote:
Mhoram chose to abandon Kevin's Lore because it threatened the Oath of Peace ... which ultimately led to the Clave and the Sunbane, but it also gave the Land another 2000 years of beauty and peace. ("For a score of centuries ...")

But I don't think that abandoning the oath of peace lead to the Clave. I think that Foul lead to that. I assume that the sunbane played a major part in allowing the clave to evolve, but it has been a long time since I read the second chronicles.

Quote:
What would Troy's "ring" be?
Sunglasses, of course. The significance of Covenant's ring is that it's a ring he keeps with him even though his married life is over (I mean, he's not divorced AFAIK, but all the same...). Troy had a pair of sunglasses that he didn't need for visual effect (I'm guessing he wore them to hide his blindness, but my memory isn't stupendous and I haven't read TCTC in a while). There's something akin to irony in these two situations. OK, I admit my answer here might be a bit silly Razz
Quote:
If Hile Troy had been the lead, wouldn't he have been the one to drink the Blood of the Earth?
It was Troy who had the power of command, not Elena.

Given the conditions or circumstances of the first three books, I'm not sure anyone but Covenant could have gained the party access to the blood of the earth by talking with the bloodguard. Additionally, (again if the conditions were the same), Troy would have been leading the army, and would have had no opportunity to drink the earthblood.
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Despite any apparent successes, the author considered Troy "dangerous", and unable to make "meaningful choices between destruction and preservation", and therefore "he makes decisions which bear an ineluctable resemblance to Kevin's". Why? Because he wasn't like Covenant. "He hasn't learned the kind of humility that comes from meeting his own inner Despiser face-to-face."

So how could such a story have a happy ending?

He would have to be a not-Troy in some way. Which defeats the purpose of the question posed.

Lot's of people like Hile Troy, but I always remember that he was intended to be a salutary example of the kind of heroics that seems all to the good (and, as such, is the usual fantasy fair) but is actually deeply flawed and inevitably destructive.


A fuller version of the quote from the GI that wayfriend cites is:

Quote:
Such "Covenant"-esque ideas as "innocence is impotence" and "only the guilty have power" are inferences drawn from the basic precepts of free will. They might be rephrased thus: only a person who has truly experienced the consequences of his/her own destructive actions is qualified to evaluate--is, indeed, capable of evaluating--his/her future actions in order to make meaningful choices between destruction and preservation. Hile Troy is an interesting example. He's "innocent" in a way that Covenant is not: he's never done anything even remotely comparable to the rape of Lena. As a result, he's bloody dangerous. He literally doesn't know what he's doing: he hasn't learned the kind of humility that comes from meeting his own inner Despiser face-to-face. Therefore, in spite of all his good intentions, he makes decisions which bear an ineluctable resemblence to Kevin's.

Do you doubt me? Look at Troy's "accomplishments." If Mhoram hadn't saved his bacon at the edge of Garroting Deep, his decisions would have effectively destroyed the Lords' ability to defend the Land. He's just too damn innocent. He hasn't learned the self-doubt, the humility, that makes Covenant hesitate, or that makes Mhoram wise.


The date I have for this in the GI is 07/13/2004.
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's also remember that this thread started thus:

Quote:
So, while having a leper as the protagonist in a major work of fantasy WAS unusual, I do admit that not so long ago the thought had occurred to me that Hile Troy could have made a fascinating hero in what might have been a more conventional series.
(My emphasis.)

This proposition is quite different from the proposition that Hile Troy would have been a suitable hero in The Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holsety wrote:
Quote:
If Hile Troy had been the lead, wouldn't he have been the one to drink the Blood of the Earth?
It was Troy who had the power of command, not Elena.

Given the conditions or circumstances of the first three books, I'm not sure anyone but Covenant could have gained the party access to the blood of the earth by talking with the bloodguard. Additionally, (again if the conditions were the same), Troy would have been leading the army, and would have had no opportunity to drink the earthblood.


Aren't the given conditions somewhat like the old joke about betting on John Wayne not falling off his horse, again!
No matter how many times you watch the movie ... just like the book, the story remains the same.
Given the circumstances that Lord Amatin and the rest of the Council had the luxury of time in which to question Amok, I believe they would eventually have reached the same intuitive leap as did Covenant.

Hile Troy's "power of command" and Elena's, "Power of Command", must mean something. It would be silly to assume this as coincidence.

My thoughts on this lately have been like beating my head against a brick wall, until that is, I finally accepted there never was a brick wall to begin with. Hile Troy, as with Elena, had never existed in the first place. [See, Major Role in the opening chapters of, The Power That Preserves]

However that may be, there is still a connection within the plot of the story.

Roots.
Ultimately, Elena goes to Earthroot to drink the Blood of the Earth, and Hile Troy is transformed into the One Tree. A connection between the two can be made to the Staff of Law. And that means old man Wildwood holds the key to Amok's shenanigans - not, High Lord Kevin.

I've often thought Amok as somewhat like Barani, the Genie in the Sinbad movie. So now that I view Caerroil Wildwood as a major clue in the Seventh Ward, Amok appears quite the different character.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would have been a very short story. Being blind at the time, he wouldn't be able to see Drool or the staff.
When placed on Kevin's watch he would have fallen off by accident or during the decent.
He couldn't escape his apartment when it caught fire and would have perished if not translated.


If somehow he did survive Kevin watch.

Sight in this case was very important. By the time when his sight was restored he would have been in a daze(look at all the pretty colors!) and wouldn't have taken advantage of Lena. He would have been
escorted to council by two people. (Lena's mom and Foamfollower)
He wouldn't be an unbeliever.

He underestimated Foul. The army was big and it caused him a version of despair.
The story would have been totally different because of the affliction both HT and TC suffered from.

HT blindness was present from birth, TC contract Hansen disease and was painfully shaped by it.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ur Dead wrote:
If somehow he did survive Kevin watch.


So if Hile Troy would never have raped Lena, she and her mother escort him to Soaring Woodhelven. With his Landborn vision he brings the Waiths of Andelain to the tree at the Celebration of Spring. Without Triock's despair to feed upon, Lord Foul is powerless to stop this happening.
This ensures the safety of the Woodhelven and its people.

Good idea, Ur Dead. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't assume that Lord Foul would prepare the same confrontations for Troy as he did for Covenant.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Don't assume that Lord Foul would prepare the same confrontations for Troy as he did for Covenant.


How could Lord Foul devise confrontations for Troy as the lead character without breaking the fundemental rules of the story?

There is a plot hole that shows Lord Foul will cheat when the need arises. The griffen that took part in the battle for Soaring Woodhelven is a good example of this, that is, if you consider the mythological beast as not really a part of the Land's ethos - ie, like Troy or Covenant, as something brought in from the outside.
If so, Lord Foul cheating is a rare and revealing weakness in his character, I think!

Of course the griffen may be looked on as simply the culmination of all Drool's experiments warping birds with the Illearth Stone and the Staff of Law. A deeper understanding of this dark magic, I suspect, is at Revelstone with the Lord's, Verement and Shetra.

edit
Oddly enough, playing the game of Troy as the lead character has led me to believe that Verement and Shetra are really brother and sister, not husband and wife.
Yes I know they are protrayed as mated and behave and act as such, but this can be viewed as just another mess caused by the breaking of the Law of Death.
This can happen in the Land -

What do give a man who has lost everything? Something broken!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the griffin is a plot hole like that.

The Land has wolves and cattle and horses, which are from our world. So why not griffins as well? Because they're myths from our world? So are Giants and the Dead and magic-users.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
I don't think the griffin is a plot hole like that.

The Land has wolves and cattle and horses, which are from our world. So why not griffins as well? Because they're myths from our world? So are Giants and the Dead and magic-users.


The wolves kresh and horses Ranyhyn and (wait a minute ... cattle? sorry, for the moment I can't recall in the chronicles ever seeing a cow!) ... Giants the Dead and magic-users, have undergone the Donaldson treatment. His creations are quite unique I might argue. The griffin however, is oddly placed.

Foul does as Foul is - fouling things up. If the Lord's hadn't recovered the Staff of Law from the clutches of Drool then who knows what might have stalked the Land - Smaugs, Harryhausen dinosaurs, Zulus, flying saucers ... a godawful nightmare!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The giving of sight to Troy provides him with an ability that he has never previously had, and therefore never lost, which means that learning to survive without sight in the "real" world has not required the kind of renunciation that Covenant has had to endure in order to survive, which is what underpins Covenant's Unbelief. For this reason finding himself in the Land with sight for the first time doesn't present the same challenge/danger to Troy that it does to Covenant.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed.

As for the griffin, who knows if it really was one? Maybe that's just the only way the earthlings know to describe it. Very Happy

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