Full of Hot Air
Joined: 21 May 2006
Thanked 23 Times in 22 Posts
Location: Principality of Sealand
1381 White Gold Dollars
|Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:24 am Post subject: An Opinion on Mhoram
|I think most TCTC readers think highly of Mhoram, though he probably ain't everyone's favorite character.
I think I have a decent way of looking at the "Lord Mhoram's Victory" thing as "the medium, not the message."
Generally I tend to think of the simple lesson of Mhoram as giving to/agreeing with/sympathizing with Covenant being willing to risk the land to save an "earthling." Or, perhaps, that Covenant sees saving or at least comforting a snakebitten human girl as more possible than saving the entire land, and Mhoram actually honors Covenant's impulse/desire. The land seems to be unable to come to grips with the fact that Covenant has an entire other world which matters to him; Mhoram is willing to "make good" and is willing to put the land at stake for earth. I assume no one in the land can really believe in the earth they've never seen; Mhoram is either capable of believing, or is willing to act, or take a risk, despite not believing. No wonder Mhoram effectively wields the Krill (I don't actually know what affinity with wild magic that shows, since it burns covenant, maybe it even burned Mhoram and I forgot...).
Mhoram is actually "more true," or more sacrificing, and in some ways effectively captures the Land in general when the Land commits to Covenant loyally (and, I think, the readers' general opinion that, if Covenant is redeemable or better, the people of the Land generally better him). The people of the land frequently regard Covenant as a fundamental mystery that can save or damn - and thus a threat, definitively so given the rape of Lena - and see him as something they aren't capable of judging or challenging - in a way, they maintain unbelief in the unbeliever. Mhoram, I think, sees the damning potential as well, but seems to act in faith that his behavior can guide towards "save."
Mhoram seems to trust Covenant more than many others in the land do, but perhaps in part as a consequence (naturally, as a lord) seems to be one of the most studious in observing the oath of peace.
When Mhoram mirrors Covenant's worst, maybe, in being unwilling to trust Trell (it appears that not trusting Trell lead to Trell committing himself more firmly to desecration, etc), he does so because he doesn't trust Trell...but also because his mistrust has a rational basis (he doesn't trust Trell with his own potential for destruction). Covenant's rape of Lena is the worst of the mistrust for the land we see early on (essentially believing that offers of aid and acceptance and requests for help are attacks), and the possibility that this could normally be pardonable through a insanity defense is rather terribly circumvented by Covenant yelling vitriol at her towards the end of her life, after lusting after and manipulating her daughter. Then look at Mhoram, who probably felt bad for Trell after Trell nearly took Revelstone out from the inside not because Covenant had done him harm, but because Mhoram didn't do enough to help Trell.
OK OK that's really enough now. The point of all this is to question why we have someone like this, who seems to fight valiantly, yet not with rage or anger, for the land, and yet can trust in someone apparently totally alien to the values of the land he protects.
I think dedication is the most likely answer. Mhoram is not only a lord, but the son of two lords. Instead of simply assuming that we readers really contemplate Mhoram's "victory" and ability to resolve the oath of peace and kevin's wards, etc., the best way of thinking about it is that we really don't. I don't think Donaldson writes Mhoram quite this way for us, and he doesn't really spend a lot of time pouring over all the different arcane information contained in the first or second wards, but it might be best to think of Mhoram as being at the high-water mark of a critical point in the land's history. He has spent his life studying the lore of the land; he has probably observed the dialogue of two parents discussing this lore amongst themselves frequently; the judges of such study have approved him (he's a lord); the second ward has been discovered; TC is a strange and thought provoking question to all the above; at the end of TPTP Mhoram has struggled through that entire 40-50 year stretch that Foul has condemned the Land to, while we skipped most of it along with TC.
Basically, I don't the lesson is "here is how to think of the oath of peace and kevin's wards, the answer lies in them" but more "think about how the land managed to produce a veteran of nearly the entire process TC put them through in the first trilogy." Hiltmark Quaan is another good example, though I think he basically dislikes TC altogether and preferred Hile Troy despite the latter's problems. It seems implied that HT helped temper Quaan while being tempered by him the way TC may have helped temper Mhoram and vice versa.
In short, though Mhoram's a pretty compelling character, I'm not sure that it was necessary to conclude that being willing to risk a person for a world because you know you can do the "little" thing is the solitary or best way to resist despite or even get the best result you can regarding saving the world. However, it's likely not a damn bad place to start, and maybe it gets you there more often than anything else.
This gets towards the last thing I've mulled over once or twice recently. Sometimes I think I (maybe others) have most nostalgia towards the first trilogy and think "could we counterfactual a land that could resist Foul's despite?" I wonder if the answer would not so much be TC staying in the land at the end of the trilogy, but the land knowing the story of TC, Foamfollower and Bannor in resisting Foul. This would be a major question of the first trilogy: we get a sort of mirroring of the fight at revelstone and TC's fight with Foul because both end triumphantly, but 1: have the same lessons been learned and 2: are they applicable towards one another? In the end, TC commits to the idea that his leprosy and whatever comes with it is the truest expression of reality and something along the lines of not worth, or too expensive, fantasizing to avoid.
Part of this comes from a recent desire to write/think away the "truth" of Covenant as the white gold, ascribe this potential to the people of the land as well as the rocks into which it is graven at the capacity necessary to successfully resist Foul and not end up with a steadily decaying world.Well I've empathized with Mhoram AND Covenant, not to mention other people in these books, but nowadays I think I feel the most akin to Anele