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TLD Part II Chapter 5: "No Prospect of Return"

 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 12:58 am    Post subject: TLD Part II Chapter 5: "No Prospect of Return" Reply with quote

The Last Dark, Part II Chapter 5

"No Prospect of Return"

After witnessing the unique caamora of the two white gold wielders for the Giants, young Jeremiah starts remembering his sisters. Not their faces or names; those details are beyond him, now. But he remembers them as a source of blame for himself, for he's always been harassed by the feeling he should have found a way to protect his sisters from Lord Foul's bonfire.

Quote:
Linden and Covenant did not know that about him. It was his last secret: he remembered his sisters.


And for the moment, that memory triggers a voice inside him that argues with Raver-like logic that as Jeremiah was to blame then for not protecting his sisters, so he is to blame now for giving away the company's location to Lord Foul. He clearly remembers willfully stepping on grass likely to be a vector for Despite's control. Jeremiah concludes he deserves to watch the Worm as punishment.

In The Power That Preserves, Chapter 17 was wrote:
"Corruption wears many faces. Blame is a more enticing face than others, but it is none the less a mask for the Despiser."


Bannor said this to Covenant long ago. Jeremiah may now be coming to realize this for himself, for he discards these reflections to do some concentration on his newly acquired Staff. He is able to more easily shut out what is going on around him because he can see nobody's hurt from the caamora, and so no one needs his help.

Focusing on the Staff reveals some uses of it which he may be able to master, but Jeremiah feels there's something about the Staff's essential nature that he's failing to grasp. He decides to sleep, and upon awaking finds most of the company is resting. Stave responds to his request about Covenant's location by showing him the Unbeliever is at the Sarangrave's margin conversing with the Feroce.

Jeremiah, momentarily focused on changing his flame color from black to something more illuminating, hears Stave asking if he will entertain some words of advice. Jeremiah pleads to hear what the former Master has to say, and Stave offers that the Chosen-son must work on defeating the obstacles the company will face. Specifically, Hynyn's rider wants Jerry to focus on cleansing and revitalizing ambient air, for the company won't ascend far in Mt. Thunder through the Defiles Course without performing what Stave calls "the task and the opportunity".

Jeremiah is delighted to consider what Stave has suggested, and is likewise buoyed by the realization that he hasn't tested the true effectiveness of his flames yet. He needs to forget about what color those flames drawn from the Staff appear to be, and discover if the flames he draws from the Staff can heal.

Quote:
The purpose of life, Cirrus Kindwind had once assured him, is to choose, and to act upon the choice. If he could not do what Linden had asked him to do, he could do something else.
He could do something that had to be done.


Soon Coldspray and Stoutgirth start rousing the Giants as Covenant ascends towards them with Feroce following behind. Baf Scatterwit asks where the ship and the rest of the crew is, until Stoutgirth responds by issuing orders to her, which seems to help her set aside her disorienting amazement.

Quote:
"She is easily bewildered," one of the men--Squallish Blustergale?--remarked casually to Jeremiah, "yet she is an adroit sailor, quick in every exigency. Aye, and doughty withal. None will outlast her on the sheets, or strive more fiercely when there is need. Also she is gentle in her bafflement. Therefore she is precious among us."

For her, Jeremiah felt a flush of sympathy. He knew too well that an absent mind fostered the illusion of safety--and that the illusion was dangerous.


Linden wakes up and walks to Jeremiah to see if he's slept, and Jeremiah deflects this concern to announce he's been progressing in his control of the Staff. Satisfied with that response, LA heads to TC. Both of them look to Jeremiah like they are fearful of the task ahead--but Covenant's fear seems to Jeremiah to also radiate strength.

Covenant reports that the Feroce do not wish to ascend the Course to approach "the Maker", but will nevertheless guide them to the vicinity of the Wightwarrens. The Feroce were persuaded to go at least that close to Fangthane by both the lurker's command and Covenant's promise that they would then have done enough to satisfy the alliance. Covenant further notes that the Feroce can discover the origins of water passages, and navigate through the Mountain for the company by using such knowledge.

Coldspray brings Covenant around to considering the problem of breathable air for their impending journey through Thunder's innards. Jeremiah takes that cue to start refreshing the air around them all with the Staff of Law. The whole company feels revitalized after his exertion.

Quote:
Chuckling, Blustergale swung a slap at Jeremiah's back that would have felled him. But at the last instant, the Giant seemed to recall that Jeremiah was little. His hand patted Jeremiah gently and withdrew.

Stave bowed his approval. A tightening at the corner of his mouth hinted at a smile.


(Further proof that as a character, Stave is just so cool. Cool Cool Cool )

After this impressive display of power, Jeremiah is content to relax and eat, not really even bothering to follow the surrounding conversations about what obstacles the company may confront in their ascent. But a number of the sailors start shouldering supplies, and departure into the Mountain seems almost imminent.

Quote:
Formally, the Ironhand drew her stone glaive. Holding it ready, she spoke in a voice of granite.
"Here we surrender every future which we have imagined for ourselves. We have no prospect of return. Indeed, we cannot trust that we will outlive another day. Our doom is this, that we enter Mount Thunder seeking to confront the most heinous of foes--and yet the Worm hastens toward the World's End many scores of leagues distant, where no deed of ours can thwart it. Thus even the greatest triumphs within the mountain may come to naught, for no life will remain to heed the tale.

"Nonetheless I proclaim"--Coldspray swung her sword around her head, then slapped it into its scabbard on her back--"that I am not daunted. I am not daunted. While hearts beat and lungs draw breath, we seek to affirm the import of our lives. The true worth of tales lies in this, that those of whom they speak do not regard how the telling of their trials will be received. When we must perish, my wish for us is that we will come to the end knowing that we have held fast to that which we deem precious."
Then her tone eased. "Doubtless this is folly. Yet when have our deeds been otherwise? Are we not Giants? And is not our folly the stone against which we have raised the sea of our laughter? What cause have we to feel dismay and hold back, when we have always known that no anchor is secure against the seas of mischance and wonder?"

Perhaps she would have continued; but the Anchormaster was already laughing. He tried to say something, but the words were lost in broad gusts of glee. For a moment, the other sailors were silent, dismayed by images of futility. But then Baf Scatterwit began to guffaw: the happy mirth of a woman who enjoyed laughing for its own sake. Her laughter broke the logjam of her comrade' fears. Carried along by her open-heartedness, the crew of Dire's Vessel roared as if they themselves were an exquisite jest.
The Swordmainnir were more restrained. They had lost too many of their comrades. But when Rime Coldspray started to chuckle, Frostheart Grueburn followed her example, and then Cirrus Kindwind. In their subdued fashion, the Ironhand and her warriors shared the delight of the sailors.

Privately Jeremiah thought they had all lost their minds. Nevertheless he found himself grinning. He had heard too little genuine laughter in his life; and the mirth of Giants was especially infectious. At least temporarily, it made Lord Foul's scorn and the croyel's malice seem empty, like taunts from the bottom of an abandoned well.
Long ago, Saltheart Foamfollower had enabled Covenant's victory over the Despiser by laughing.

As the Giants began to subside, Covenant muttered, "Stone and Sea are deep in life." He seemed to be quoting. "Two unalterable symbols of the world.: Then he lifted his head to the dark heavens, the decimated stars. From his ring, a brief flash of silver challenged the night. "I can't help it. I've always loved Giants. Any world that has Haruchai and Ranyhyn and Ramen and Insequent and even Elohim in it is precious. But there really is no substitute for Giants."

Jeremiah agreed with him.

The Ironhand answered Covenant's moment of power with a flash of her teeth. "Then, Timewarden," she said, "let us now vindicate your love."


(Rime Coldspray starts her speech with an uncompromisingly realistic assessment of their situation, admitting that even triumph in this quest to find and defeat the Despiser might well be fruitless as the Worm finds the EarthBlood and shatters the world. But she channels the spirit of mighty Lord Mhoram in a sense by declaring she isn't daunted and that the most important thing for the company to do is fight for the world they believe in and care about. Stirring thoughts, refective of the Giantish bravado that I've always loved.
I cherish her metaphoric phrase at the end of this quite: "Are we not Giants? And is not our folly the stone against which we have raised the sea of our laughter?"
What a delightfully appropriate phrase for a Giant to use!
And it's Baf Scatterwit--bless her heart!--who really gets the healing laughter going among the company.
I loved that even Jeremiah, who "had heard too little genuine laughter in his life", is uplifted by all this genuine Giantish joy and courage. I enjoyed that Lord Foul's taunts and the croyel's malice were made by comparison to seem as empty as "taunts from the bottom of an abandoned well". Another phrase that tickled me!
It did my heart a lot of good to read Thomas Covenant plainly acknowledging in words his love for the Giants, and I was satisfied in knowing long-dissociated Jeremiah could be touched enough to share TC's sentiments deeply inside himself. I also liked that his passion in proclaiming his love for the Giants was strong enough to evoke a flash of power from his ring--an impressive flash that was noticed by the Giants, compounding the message of the sincerity of his love for them.
"Then, Timewarden, let us now vindicate your love."
As life-affirming a launch to a dangerous quest as anything she could have uttered.)

Coldspray beckons the Giants to follow her down the valley towards the opening of the Defiles Course. The Feroce are already waiting for them along the river banks near the opening to Mount Thunder.

Quote:
"We are the Feroce," they said as if they were on the verge of weeping. "We are only the Feroce. At our High God's command, we attempt aid. It exceeds us. We will not suffice."

Covenant regarded them like a man who showed no mercy; but his words belied his manner. "You don't have to suffice. You just have to try. When you can't do any more, you're free to go."

"Then," replied the creatures, "we will begin. We have no wish to prolong our failure."


The Feroce move into the Course's mouth, but Covenant stays where he is to warn the Giants that white gold will be mostly useless, and that he, Linden, and Jeremiah won't climb well. The Ironhand offers to have Giants carry the three of them. Stoutgirth picks up Covenant, Grueburn carries Linden, and Kindwind elevates Jeremiah.

Quote:
From her position in Grueburn's clasp, Linden glanced at Jeremiah with an expression which he could not interpret. A warning? A prayer? Was she saying goodbye?

She had found her own sense of purpose, but he had no idea what it might be.


The silver light of the krill in Branl's hand and the emerald glow of the Feroce combine in witness to the Giants (and their more vertically-challenged allies) resolutely striding off the Lower Land and into the Mountain.
Entering uncharted territory.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Cord for the synopsis of No Prospect. At first blush this chapter comes off as another " filler" between action packed chapters. Well, you kno how I feel about that and this chapter certainly fills more than space.

Well,,just look at how the author use space in this chapter. From internal struggle to cosmic distances between stars and all for the simple metaphor/ parable of..turning poisons away and drawing the clean..to you. Jeremiah becomes self aware..or at least..aware of his SELF..the nature of HIS TALENTS ,,in this chapter. And even more..he begins to grasp the surreal concept of ..Magnificence. Its like the saying..its not the goal,,but what you find along the way to the goal that is important..Drawing clean air to him was not his conception,,( Why didn't I think of that?) yet it is something he could do..which he could gather strength in Knowing from: building connectivity..becoming wise.

The author litely plays with "poisons" in this chapter. The Guilt that organized religions require, is subtly ,,or not so subtly ridiculed here. Obedience to a praying..screaming..mother is the play ground of Foul,,and for the author, it seems to me. Rotting skurj and sandgorgon corpses still dot the landscape and foul the air. Dreams collapse to suffocate. And then its all turned away..with... I can do this. Ya can't just say what is wrong..ya have to have a solution in mind. Ironhand's pledge of filial to the deemed precious is almost..once again,,reminiscent of Belushi's rant in Animal House..( Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!!??) but the point of ,we only live once so lets not waste it,,is made. The solution isn't a What...the solution is a HOW..The Change is brought to clear with Jeremiah . He just needs to keep exercising it to get stronger at it. With only complete mystery waiting for them,,complete Unknown of utter darkness before them,,,the company readies to enter Gravin Threndor not even wanting to return to the known and mundane. No Prospect Indeed.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your response is appreciated, lurch! We may not see everything in the same way, but that just helps generate further conversation, which is all to the good. I agree with you that there really are no "filler" chapters in the Chronicles. SRD always seems to have some points that he'd like to make in the course of his narratives, though I am probably not skilled enough to divine all that he has to say. An example of something which puzzled me in this chapter is the dream Jeremiah has.

Quote:
In dreams, he watched the stars spin. At first, they wheeled slowly, as cautious and deliberate as if they were performing an unfamiliar dance. Later they moved faster. And as they swirled, they drew closer to each other, contracting their glitter, leaving the rest of the heavens drowned in blackness, as doomed as the Lost Deep. After a while, they began to collide and join. Yet the merging of one distinct gleam with others, and then still others, did not make their shining brighter. Instead their private lives seemed to extinguish each other. Soon hundreds or thousands of them had become one, and that one was scarcely visible: a dying ember in the fathomless ruin of the night.

But at the same time, that single dulled spark became heavier. Not bigger, no. Just more massive. And it leaned down on Jeremiah, pressed its intolerable weight against his heart. He did not breathe. There was no room in his chest for air. His heart no longer beat. It could not lift blood through his veins under so much pressure. He was becoming the sky, black and blank, infinitely desolate.


I'm just not sure what all that means, beyond Stave's general observation that dreams can indicate our fears.


lurch wrote:
The Guilt that organized religions require, is subtly ,,or not so subtly ridiculed here. Obedience to a praying..screaming..mother is the play ground of Foul,,and for the author, it seems to me.


Is that passage about Jeremiah's sisters truly aimed at organized religions, or just at charlatans which distort the religious message(s)?? I am skeptical of it being aimed at organized faith, even after reading that SRD is skeptical of a God existing. I think it's more about guilt. It's interesting that here and elsewhere in the Chronicles that guilt (i.e., self-blame) is shown to leave one open to the manipulations of Despite, yet at times it is also proclaimed that "guilt is power" (like when Dr. Berenford relates to LA the point of one of Covenants novels). It appears that guilt in these books is as much of a two-edged sword as is wild magic. Covenant has used his guilt over such things as Lena's rape and the original Staff''s destruction to enable himself to fight; Lord Foul's servants try to use guilt to accomplish surrender.


lurch wrote:
Jeremiah becomes self aware..or at least..aware of his SELF..the nature of HIS TALENTS ,,in this chapter.


In some way it appears that Jer can see the connection between making his constructs and using the Staff. because both involve perceiving how things fit together. More than this, I am not able to grasp (can he see the molecules of air? Or just will them to change?).


lurch wrote:
Ya can't just say what is wrong..ya have to have a solution in mind.


This is the problem with the Belushi character's speech in the 1978 movie Animal House, funny though that speech is: he expects his whole fraternity to just rush out and cause vengeful havoc without having a plan, which would only enable their archenemy Dean Wormer to have them all arrested. At this point in the story of TLD, it feels like both TC and LA DO have plans, but they are reluctant to share the details (and perhaps this is because they haven't worked out all details for themselves; they just know they are on the right path by facing their worst fears).


lurch wrote:
but the point of ,we only live once so lets not waste it,,is made.


Terrific speech by Coldspray, and a terrific response by Covenant!! One of my favorite moments in TLD, for sure. Hearing all this empowers Jeremiah to discard the remnants of his incapacitating self-blame (though not his anxiety about being unready for the job of Staff-wielder). While he never stops seeing images of the Worm's world-threatening progress, he can now mostly ignore them. After all, he's focusing on what he can do to empower the Quest To Keep Foul Chained. Covenant lights up his ring while embracing his power to believe rather than his power to doubt. That seemed kind of interesting.


lurch wrote:
The Change is brought to clear with Jeremiah . He just needs to keep exercising it to get stronger at it.


We keep coming back to that theme of despair being unable to triumph as long as the trying continues.


lurch wrote:
,,,the company readies to enter Gravin Threndor not even wanting to return to the known and mundane.


It's likely more a matter of not expecting to return than not wanting to return, is my guess.

lurch wrote:
Dreams collapse to suffocate.


Yet Jeremiah regains his confidence by demonstrating his ability to combat suffocation. Shocked Stave has told hm that dreams only bespeak fears, and Jeremiah learns in this chapter to quickly face that particular fear.

Quote:
"She is easily bewildered," one of the men--Squallish Blustergale?--remarked casually to Jeremiah, "yet she is an adroit sailor, quick in every exigency. Aye, and doughty withal. None will outlast her on the sheets, or strive more fiercely when there is need. Also she is gentle in her bafflement. Therefore she is precious among us."

For her, Jeremiah felt a flush of sympathy. He knew too well that an absent mind fostered the illusion of safety--and that the illusion was dangerous.


Could this be said to be another "breakthrough moment" for Jeremiah?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ought to get reading/replying these soon; haven't forgotten! Smile I remember this chapter contained that chilling Coldspray speech; just imagine with your mind's ear a 11-ft imposing lady delivering that with a rich, deep voice resonant with steel and purpose. Hail
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frostheart Grueburn wrote:
I ought to get reading/replying these soon; haven't forgotten!


Your participation is always valued, Frostheart! Feel free to join in whenever you are able! Smile

Frostheart Grueburn wrote:
I remember this chapter contained that chilling Coldspray speech; just imagine with your mind's ear a 11-ft imposing lady delivering that with a rich, deep voice resonant with steel and purpose.


..And further imagine it with only the silvery light of the krill to light parts of her features as she's saying all this, and you have a scene that's both thrilling and daunting! To me, the Ironhand's speech is the most memorable moment of this chapter.

________________________________

Earlier, in response to lurch, I wrote:
Is that passage about Jeremiah's sisters truly aimed at organized religions, or just at charlatans which distort the religious message(s)?? I am skeptical of it being aimed at organized faith, even after reading that SRD is skeptical of a God existing. I think it's more about guilt.


Sorry, lurch, I should have been more clear! I meant to say, "I think it's more about just the guilt, whether religiously-inspired or not."


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pleasure to read your dissections as well! Very Happy

Cord Hurn wrote:
Forstheart


Hmm I seem to have acquired a new name variant; not too long ago "Frosy" cropped up... Well, 'tis true that I enjoy strolling through pinewoods, those broadleaves can never quite match the scent.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frostheart Grueburn wrote:
Cord Hurn wrote:
Forstheart


Hmm I seem to have acquired a new name variant; not too long ago "Frosy" cropped up... Well, 'tis true that I enjoy strolling through pinewoods, those broadleaves can never quite match the scent.


I fixed the error; my apologies! This is one of the dangers of typing while tired; one misses some obvious mistakes.

I note your previous avatar (which I've always liked) is back, with one notable difference: the Giantess now displays a mysterious, Mona Lisa-like smile! Cool
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeremiah's dream...I find interesting is the many " dreams" in The Last Chronicles. Its Jeremiahs turn here and what an interesting twisted " reality" it is. The vast Infinity of Space,,focused down to one spot weighing down on Jerry's heart.

I use to have a similar ,in some respects, kind of nightmarish dream when I was a kid..A potato,,the size of a mountain, held over me and suspended there by a single thread. Tied like a Christmas Gift, the single thread kept the potato mountain from crushing me. Oh well.

Jerry's infinity of stars come together as one ,and likewise, scare the begeezers out of him. Besides,,or maybe,,along with,,the idea of Dreams being just our brains exercising " free Will'..: just being " free" of all parameters and constrictions of reality,,dreams in literature serve as metaphor, harbingers, heralds, etc. Fascinating that Donaldson is back to using " Stars" as first discussed in the opening chapter: Elohim as Stars/whats a metaphor business. Here,,the author combines for full impact. As i noted,,the author's use of Space in this chapter is noteworthy. So, in combination,,Jerry's " dream" seems a harbinger of the realization of the potential of the Imagination..or..of just Living..and yea..for the pup Jerry,,its overwhelming,,as it should be. I see the dream as a " maturing point"..Realizing ones place in the infinity of the Universe..Does it crush you or serve as a "realizing of Opportunity"?..Well the rest of the chapter answers the question. Jerry does well when the opportunity presents itself..and again..in a much unanticipated way. The Stick has very little to do with Jerry seeing the " 3rd Choice". The Stick is about law and order...a tool. But dreams..ahh,,thats where creation takes place. Jerry's dream,,daunting as it is..bodes well for him. He wakes with a new perspective.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
I agree with you that there really are no "filler" chapters in the Chronicles.

There are no unimportant chapters - I say this all the time. All of these thinking/discussing/resting chapters serve a purpose: to provide details on the emotional state and the thoughts guiding the characters, so that we will understand the choices they make at a later time.

This chapter is clearly about Jeremiah's emotional state and thoughts.

Jeremiah is having a crisis of confidence - a quintessential Donaldsonian internal conflict between feeling powerless and feeling powerful - of feeling useless and feeling useful - of feeling hopeless and feeling hopeful.

Power implies use, which implies choice, which implies hope. As long as you can do something, you haven't run out of options. The purpose of life is to choose, and to act upon the choice. "While hearts beat and lungs draw breath, we seek to affirm the import of our lives."

As the chapter begins, Jeremiah's emotions are "ruled by the Worm" - they are filled with fear and doubt. And guilt - the guilt of inaction. The visions of the Worm have brought on a severe form of depression. Jeremiah can only dwell on how useless he is, and on how hopeless things are. And the thoughts of his sisters make it worse, take it one step farther - they say that uselessness only leads to the hopeless destruction of everything around him. He's personally to blame for all the bad things that happen.

But the Staff brings him out of this funk. The Staff, to Jeremiah, represents being effective - being able to do something, being able to choose and act upon the choice. The more he thinks about the Staff, the less he is ruled by the Worm. His spirits lift, his outlook becomes positive. He's raring to go!

And, notably, it doesn't require seeing a path to victory. It doesn't require believing that you will prevail. It only requires that you see something that you can do, that there is at least one more step you can take.

So, to me, this whole chapter seems like a journey. It begins with feeling ineffectual - so ineffectual that you feel like the cause of everyone's woes. It ends feeling potent - so potent that you're ready for whatever comes.

And the message is that it's all in your outlook. Hope comes from realizing that there's always something to try.

And so, Ironhand's speech is more than coincidental. Her words dovetail with Jeremiah's journey in this chapter. "I am not daunted. We will come to the end knowing that we have held fast to that which we deem precious.

Because it's not necessary to save the world. And it's not necessary that you survive. It's only necessary that you fight for what you believe in. If you know you are doing that, there is no despair. Just laughter.

And at the heart of fighting for what you believe in is 'fighting'. Trying. Not giving in, and not giving up. Finding something to try. Taking one more step.

Jeremiah and Ironhand have found parallel paths that lead out of despair.

Cord Hurn wrote:
We keep coming back to that theme of despair being unable to triumph as long as the trying continues.

Umm... yeah, that. Smile

Cord Hurn wrote:
I note your previous avatar (which I've always liked) is back, with one notable difference: the Giantess now displays a mysterious, Mona Lisa-like smile! Cool

It has not eluded my powers of observation that Frostheart's depiction of her namesake Swordmainnir bears a consider resemblance to her actual self. By the laws of correspondence, the smile must be a very good thing.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

Cord Hurn wrote:
I note your previous avatar (which I've always liked) is back, with one notable difference: the Giantess now displays a mysterious, Mona Lisa-like smile! Cool

It has not eluded my powers of observation that Frostheart's depiction of her namesake Swordmainnir bears a consider resemblance to her actual self. By the laws of correspondence, the smile must be a very good thing.


She smiles as finally snow mantles the ground and the sun bothers to prolong its visits by two minutes daily! Gianthome may soon enjoy a grandiose six hours of daylight! (Or she's on her way to formulate a bawdy jest. Whichever suits best.)

Ah, so that is how you recognized me so readily at danlo's house; I'd progressed mere two steps in. 12,5ft tall, masses of curly hair, granite armor, not to mention the telltale long-glaive. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cord Hurn wrote:
An example of something which puzzled me in this chapter is the dream Jeremiah has. [...] I'm just not sure what all that means, beyond Stave's general observation that dreams can indicate our fears.

I could be off, but the dream, to me, seems to be saying something about unity. About how things are different when several people act as one, doing something together.

Sure, if you do something together, you can't cover as many places. That's a drawback. Part of the heavens is left dark.

But when you work together, you're stronger. Or at least your efforts are added together, and applied together. So even though you act as one, you have more mass behind what you do than one alone.

Given Jeremiah's struggles, which has all the struggles of becoming an adult in addition to all the struggles of learning to have power, I would think that independence is an important factor for him. Kids his age naturally seek independence, even when independence isn't the right answer for the problem at hand.

Notice that, to him, all of this coalescence is viewed as pressure. Bearing weight. As if the work required of these three people, working together, is too much of a burden to bear. He wants to escape it. Stave is right, in that people fear dependence.

He awakens remembering his death, being shot. The act that sealed his fate, tied him to Linden and Covenant. If you think of the Land as a place created for these three people to resolve their internal conflicts together, then it can be seen the thing that binds them to one another, for good and bad. Jeremiah's death is synonymous with coming to the Land and also with tying the fate of his soul to Linden and Covenant.

So: unity. From the point of view of someone who is repelled by it as much as they need it.
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