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Lord Foul's Bane Chapters 19 & 20
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 12:51 pm    Post subject: Lord Foul's Bane Chapters 19 & 20 Reply with quote

Quote:
Covenant slept fitfully, as if he lay with the point of a spike against his stomach; and when the dawn came he felt as ineffectual as if he had spent the night trying to counterpunch hunger.


Covenant should be travelling through a dreamworld, the paradise of the Land whose evaniscent life and health should be making every moment a thing of wonder. But his refusal to believe in the Land, his efforts to keep himself sane, to maintain the grip and discipline he needs to survive his leprosy in the "real" world, makes every moment for him a trial, a struggle full of people and acts that threaten his grip on reality, that challenge his sanity. Throughout his time in the Land, he feels he has lost control on his life, that he is following the course of this "dream".
Quote:
...After a time, he dozed into a dream where he danced and wept and made love at the commands of a satirical pupeteer...
...Hell and blood. What are you doing to me. He had made no decision and now his capacity for self denial seemed spent.

Covenant teeters on the brink of madness more here than in any other chapter so far. The walls of his unbelief are collapsing around him, his denial over his rape of Lena crumbles, and he realises what it was he did - no longer can he pass off responsibility, even in his "dream".
Quote:
"Forgive?" Covenant tried to shout. His legs failed under him, but he did not fall. Bannor held him erect from behind. "You can't forgive."
"Do you ask to be punished?" Mhoram said incredulously. "What have you done?"
"Ask?" Covenant struggled to recollect something. Then he found it. He knew what he had to do. "No. Call the Ranyhyn."

The Ranyhyn. Throughout this chapter, we have seen how the Ramen culture is as attuned to the service of the Ranyhyn as the Gravelingas are to the power within stone, or the Lilianrill to the power within wood. The quest is greeted in Manhome with boquets of amanibhavam, the healing grass that is too potent for mere human stomachs; the Ramen songs evoke equine sounds, their dances create horse-like shadows, and even their scent is "grassy". And Covenant tells them to call the Ranyhyn. This, IMHO, is one of the crux moments upon which the rest of the Chronicles rotates.
Spoiler:
Consider: when Covenant sends the Ranyhyn to Lena, she becomes convinced that he is truly the hero the Land needs, and that his raping her was somehow a gift. She struggles for the next 47 years to become worthy of him. Elena shares in the gift of the Ranyhyn, and through this learns the tale of Kelenbrabhanal, the Father of Horses, and through this desires to fight Fangthane with every weapon at her disposal. This desire causes her, finally, to call dead Kevin and break the Law of Death, with untold ramifications for the Land.

Had Covenant not called the Ranyhyn to go to Lena, much of what follows in the Chronicles could well have turned out very differently, possibly to the benefit of the Land, possibly to its detriment. But here we see the effect the White Gold has upon others; out of respect to it, the Ramen do indeed call the Ranyhyn, though they are against the idea of it, and the Ranyhyn do not answer calls at night. And the five-score Ranyhyn that answer rear in fear to the white gold; the proudest and most earth-powerful flesh in the Land fears the wild magic that destroys peace.

Compared to 19, chapter 20 is somewhat bereft of pivotal moments, but that is only comparatively. The Ramen join the quest for the Staff of Law, after seeing the Ranyhyn rear to Covenant. But Covenant is not yet done trying to straighten out the tangled web of his effects on the Land. He asks the Ramen to give a home to Llaura and Pietten, which the Ramen gladly accept.
Spoiler:
This has unforseen ramifications. Warped and misled, Pietten will betray the Ranyhyn even as he tries to save them from Foul's winter. He will kill Lena, and Covenant will break his oath never to kill again by slaying Pietten.


The limitation os the Lord's powers is also seen here. Mhoram says that he saw good coming from the quest travelling to the Plains of Ra; admittedly, the Ramen are now forewarned of Fangthane, and Manethrall Lithe has joined the quest, but does the good that has been done outweigh the evil that will rise down the line? I think not.

But I'll leave the last word to Foamfollower. Asked by Covenant how he can hope, how he has faith, Foamfollower looks over at Mhoram and replies:
"Come - can you believe that Lord Mhoram will ever despair? That is the essence of the Oath of Peace. He will never despair, nor ever do what despair commands - murder, desecrate, destroy. And he will never falter, because his Lordship, his service to the Land, will sustain him. Service enables service."
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 12:54 pm    Post subject: Erm... Reply with quote

...that was me Embarassed ... blummin login button... Rolling Eyes Wink


Vain here: Had to fix that one Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"You must take food," she scolded. "Already you are half dead." Her shoulders were squared, drawing her shift tight over her breasts. She reminded him of Lena.

Prothall was saying, "He has not told us all that occurred at the Celebration. The ravage of the Wraiths was not prevented - yet we believe he fought the ur-viles in some way. His companion blamed both herself and him for the ill which befell the Dance."

Covenant trembled. Like Lena, he thought. Lena?

Darkness pounced at him like claws of vertigo.

Lena?

For an instant, his vision was obscured by roaring and black waters. Then he crashed to his feet. He had done that to Lena - done that? He flung the girl aside and jumped toward the fire. Lena! Swinging his staff like an ax, he chopped at the blaze. But he could not fight off the memory, could not throw it back. The staff twisted with the force of the blow, fell from his hands. Sparks and coals shattered, flew in all directions. He had done that to her! Shaking his half-fist at Prothall, he cried, "She was wrong! I couldn't help it!" - thinking, Lena! What have I done? - "I'm a leper!"


Quote:
Covenant met Foamfollower's eyes under the scarred overhang of his forehead. The Giant watched him as if the hope of the Unhomed were a sinking ship, and Covenant ached with the sense of his own helplessness to save that hope. But then Foamfollower said as if he were coming to Covenant's rescue, "Be not concerned, my friend. This tale is yet too brief for any of us to guess its ending. As you say, I have spent too much time with hastening humans. My people would laugh greatly to see me - a Giant who has not patience enough for a long story. And the Lords contain much which may yet surprise Soulcrusher. Be of good heart. It may be that you and I have already shared our portion of the terrible purpose of these times."

Gruffly, Covenant said, "Giant, you talk too much." Foamfollower's capacity for gentleness surpassed him.


-----------------

I don't know about anyone else, but I found Covenant's personal hunger strikes extremely annoying.

~Foamy~
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2002 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Foamfollower1013"]
Quote:

I don't know about anyone else, but I found Covenant's personal hunger strikes extremely annoying.


Amen to that, Foamy! But think about it - it ties in with the whole concept of everything reverting to "normal" when Covenant exits the Land. Can't have TC waking up from the Land looking as if he's been living on a diet of nutritious Treasure-berries and rest-inducing Diamonddraught, can we?

Chapter 19 is magnificently written - it is SRD, of course - but at first glance it appears to be relatively unimportant. Okay, the Ranyhyn rear to Covenant, but we've already seen one example of how the avatars of Earthpower in the Land react to his white gold - the wraiths of Andelain bowed to him and took on a silver sheen from his ring; the Ranyhyn are simply another expression of Earthpower in equine form. But in this one chapter, Covenant unwittingly lays the foundations of much of what comes in the following books - Spoiler:
Elena's rise and fall and the quest for the 7th ward that leads to the destruction of the Staff of Law; the breaking of the Law of Death; Foul's winter that grips the Land; the Ranyhyn's refusal to leave the Land because of his "deal"; and more - the fall of the Lords and the rise of the Clave, the weakening of the Law that leads to the Sunbane, and everything else that occurs in the 2nd Chronicles.


That so much can come out of one chapter without the reader realising is testament to the skills of SRD as a storyteller. Any other modern writer would have had pink flashing neon signs at this chapter saying "important plot development coming up HERE!!!", but not SRD.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2002 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Donaldson never wastes a word or a scene. Everything is connected. This is one of the reasons he is one of my favorite authors (one of my other faves, George R R Martin also has this quality). Great intro, Giantfriend!! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2002 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great opening Giantfriend!

I liked your description of the Ramen. I find it interesting that most of the Ramen characters are women. I visualized them like the Hawaiin girls, long black hair, with necklaces of white sweet smelling flowers. With thier excellent hunting skills, they are the feminine counterpart of the Haruchai.

And to a completely different topic. I have a theory, that might be way off, but here goes: I think that Covenant may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a natural emotional reaction to a deeply shocking and disturbing experience. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. Common symptoms of PTSD and Complex PTSD that sufferers report experiencing:

hypervigilance (feels like but is not paranoia)
exaggerated startle response
irritability
sudden angry outbursts
flashbacks. nightmares, intrusive recollections, replays
triggers
sleep disturbance
exhaustion
reactive depression
guilt
feelings of detachment
avoidance behaviours
sudden violent outbursts
nervousness, anxiety
phobias about specific daily routines, events or objects
irrational or impulsive behaviour
loss of interest
anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
poor concentration
impaired memory
joint pains, muscle pains
emotional numbness
low self-esteem

see http://www.successunlimited.co.uk/stress/ptsd.htm

What do you think?

-pitch
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2002 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mmm ... lol .. or he may be suffering the effects/symptoms of guilt Wink Razz

guilt is a natural emotional reaction to a shocking and disturbing wrong committed .. Wink Wink

common symtoms of guilt

hypervigilance (feels like but is not paranoia)
exaggerated startle response
irritability
sudden angry outbursts
flashbacks. nightmares, intrusive recollections, replays
triggers
sleep disturbance
exhaustion
reactive depression
feelings of detachment
avoidance behaviours
sudden violent outbursts
nervousness, anxiety
phobias about specific daily routines, events or objects
irrational or impulsive behaviour
loss of interest
anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
poor concentration
impaired memory
joint pains, muscle pains
emotional numbness
low self-esteem

sorry couldnt resist Wink Wink lol
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2002 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or maybe it's culture shock... Confused
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2002 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to clarify my previous post.

Usually PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) afflicts victims of a life threatening situation, such as combat veterans, disaster survivors, rape victims etc. At least those were the type of victims that were subject to research and were reported on in the psychology literature. But lately the definition has been generalized to include any person that has experienced intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

My theory is that Covenant is a victim, in our real world, to emotional abuse. The disease that afflicts him (Leprosy) is a kind of 'disaster' that he is helpless to deal with, and that involves a threat to his physical integrity. One of the things that involves being a victim is a feeling of isolation, and Covenant is literally isolated from society.

If we go through the list of symptoms of PTSD in my previous post, we can see that Covenant displays many of them:

irritability, sudden angry outbursts, sudden violent outbursts: No need to go on there are numerous examples...

sleep disturbance, flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive recollections: He has many intrusive recollections of Joan. Sleep disturbance and nightmares, there are several examples as well.

exhaustion, reactive depression: Aliantha has already diagnosed Covenant as clinically depressed...

feelings of detachment, emotional numbness: That's what Earthblood coined as Covenant climbing back into his 'lepers shell'

guilt: This is a tricky one, usually it means guilt regarding the subject of victimization, so here it would mean being guilty of something that caused him to be afflicted with leprosy. I'm not sure about this one though.

Also victims of prolonged trauma show symptoms of disassociation, self hate and even self damage (Covenant's hunger strike).

OK, I'll stop here. Covenant arrives in the Land in this state, and here begins his journy of recovery. The Land and the experiences Covenant has there somehow help him to regain his sense of security and self worth.

-pitch
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2002 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitch

That makes sense if you buy into the Land is not real, it's just a part of TC's "dream".

Foul being his "victimizer" (=leprosy?). Lena his rage. Atarian his conscience. FF his humor/storyteller. Mohram his inner saint. ???

And he is being forced to come to terms with them all in sort of an externalized manner.

Make any sense or am I just rambling?
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

very interesting Lady Genni ..

I think pich's theory would work with the Land being real scenario too!

TC enters the Land a victim = fact

    .. a victim of nature/being inflicted with his bizarre illness/leprosy .. with no know cause
    .. a victim of his marriage breakdown .. the reason's Joan left him were not to do with TC per se .. but because he was unfortunate enough to be afflicted with leperosy ..
    .. a victim within his community .. he is mistreated by those within the community he lives in .. a victim of property damage and attempted harms against him [razor blades in his bread etc..] abuse and alienation.


TC really is a victim .. in our world .. and pitch is right as such he may well be experiencing the symptoms of PTSS .. there's no doubt what he has endured .. was a shock to him .. and loaded with stresses attached to the consequences of all he has endured.

However .. even though my last post was meant to be light hearted .. I really do believe that some of the stuff he experiences in the Land .. were also due to the guilt he clearly harboured following his rape of Lena .. it would not be an easy thing to live with each and every waking moment .. and even some of his sleeping moments too!

both may well be relevant .. and both weights he had to carry .. undoubtedly impact on one another .. to highten the effects of the suggested symptoms listed above ..

Sure TC sounds clinically depressed .. and after all he had been through and the fact of his physical health being so poor .. he is a classic target for such an illness.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I think it can work both ways, if the Land is real, or if it is a dream.

I like your analogy, Lady Genni. Lord Foul being his externalized victimizer... and throughout the story, he slowly learns how to face his victimizer and not dispair... how to get in touch with all the parts of himself he has repressed.

About the guilt issue, I read a testimony of a PTSD sufferer that was a Vietnam veteran. He had two kids, and sometimes he would have rage attacks, and would hurt his kids, and after he calmed down, he felt terrible guilt, but he could not help himself. Hope I'm making sense here.

-pitch
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

are you suggesting that TC's violence against Lena was the product of his alleged PTSD??

.. and that because of this PTSD he could not help himself? He was not in control of his actions?

I believe that TC committed no actual crime in his own mind because he lacked the appreciation of the reality of the situation. To him it was all a dream .. and in it he realised a fantasy .. a desire to satisfy his long denied potence.

He would never have forced himself on a young girl in 'reality' .. no matter how long he remained impotent .. and then granted a small reprieve.

But I dont buy into the assertion that TC was not responsible for his actions because he was suffering PTSD .. because in our world you assert is where he obtained this disorder as a result of all he experienced .. yet I do not believe he would have raped in our world .. he was tempted by the girls he saw as flaunting themselves for sexual attention .. but I do not believe he would ever have acted like he did in the Land.

He had control .. he exhibited considerable control in our world .. and the only reason he gave in to his fantasy was simply because he believed it a dream. How could it be real .. he felt the sting of arousal .. a sensation not possible for him to experience .. it could not be real ..

In his own reality .. our world .. he demonstrated discipline and control .. he managed his disease with vigilance ..

This is not a man .. not in control ..

He might have PTSD .. but thats not why he raped Lena .. imho ..
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not suggesting that Covenant raped Lena because he had a psycho disorder. I'm just saying that his state made him more vulnerable, and triggers that he would normally tolerate, now caused him to lose control.

This is indeed an interesting question: what would happen, had Covenant faced the same experiences in the real world? But of course it's hypothetical because in the real world nerves don't regenerate.

The question of responsibility is an entirely different issue. Was that Vietnam veteran responsible of beating his kids? I don't know, I'm not taking the POV of a jury. I'm taking a shrink's POV, trying to understand the causes and effects.

Did Covenant really have control in the real world? Remember when he gets back from the Land, how his control starts to slip, how he roams the streets at night... stops eating... stops all his leper's disciplin...

-pitch
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2002 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How I love armchair psychology! Laughing

Pitch, I think you've hit on something. TC may well be suffering from PTSD. You could trace it back to the leprosy diagnosis, or you could trace it back to Joan leaving him. Or both. Really, it's all of a piece -- he got whacked with both at once, and either one alone would "pin the needle" (as they say in radio) on the old Stress-O-Meter.

The guilt he brings with him into the Land, IMHO, is from his sense that he caused his marriage to fall apart because he came down with leprosy. Remember how Joan yelled at him when she came back from the Grand Tour of the family with Roger? "Oh, Tom! Why don't you take care of yourself?" From the start of his disease, Joan treated it as being all his fault. Rationally, of course, it couldn't possibly be his fault that he contracted leprosy -- it's not like he deliberately went out and hung around with lepers -- and it's not his fault that Joan is a narrow-minded, um, person about it. But we're talking about emotions, not rational thought.

I also like your idea, Lady Genni, that the people in the Land are helping TC come to terms with his repressed feelings. Spoiler:
Whether it's a dream and they're each a facet of himself which he has denied...or whether it's real, and he's managed to plunk himself down in a situation that has all the elements of his healing (there's a New Agey school of thought that you deliberately put yourself into situations where you will be able to learn the life lessons you need to learn)...either way, TC's experiences in the Land do heal him. He's a lot more together as a person by the time he meets Linden than he was at the start of LFB.


As for whether TC is responsible for his actions when he rapes Lena...hmm, interesting. I think, were the case to come before a US court of justice, he could make a case for temporary insanity due to PTSD. Tho saying that PTSD caused him to attack her would be stretching it, I think.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2002 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well yes when he returned from the Land following LFB .. he was disoriented .. wouldnt anyone be .. after such an incredible experience .. both positive and negative .. but as aliantha alluded to .. additionally stressful to all he the baggage he already carried.

I agree PTSD is a sound diagnosis for a character like TC .. his 'stress-O-meter' .. was verging on dangerously explosive!!

But having said that .. he does return to a very disciplined/vigilent lifestyle .. and prior to his leaving our world .. he exhibits great discipline .. which is where it counts if we accept he contracted PTSD in our world .. so in that there lies an incongruency of sorts ..

Not so great as to refute the PTSD assertion tho' .. just food for thought Wink

Pichwife wrote:
I read a testimony of a PTSD sufferer that was a Vietnam veteran. He had two kids, and sometimes he would have rage attacks, and would hurt his kids, and after he calmed down, he felt terrible guilt, but he could not help himself


This strongly supports the assertion that PTSD sufferers lack control - particular in this case of their actions

.. in which case examing TC's actions through the window of PTSD .. certainly would provide a mitigating factor or indeed a legal 'excuse' or as a sufferer of a mental illness .. he may be considered incompetent in terms of TC's responsibility for the rape of Lena ..

TC exhibits no legal guilt anyway .. because he lacks the mental requirement of intent to commit the crime of rape ..

.. the legal requirement of intent is different to just his personal 'intent' to have sexual intercourse with Lena .. he was not congnizant of the reality of his actions .. he believed it was nothing more than a bizarre dream ..

I do not believe that given the exact same physical arousal in our world .. TC would have raped anyone ..

As you say it is merely hypothetical .. as most questions posed here are .. and as hypothetical .. if he regained some sensation .. albeit presumed impossible .. if he did .. I still believe TC was capable of exhibiting control .. and even the very thought of rape would be abhorrent to him ..

Sure he may fantasize about women, girls .. etc .. but I do not believe he would ever act on them ..

TC did not loose control .. when all about him in our world was crumbling .. which undoubtedly added more to his 'stress-O-meter' .. as we can see .. TC was constraining a lot of repressed feelings .. anger being a biggy .. and still he maintained control .. in our world .. prior to his entering the Land ..
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2002 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, when he comes home from the leprosarium, he does seem very disciplined. Although there are some cracks. His disciplin is on the verge of being obsessive. He burns his books... He has nightmares... He passes - I think it was six months - virtually doing nothing.

Skyweir wrote:
TC did not loose control .. when all about him in our world was crumbling .. which undoubtedly added more to his 'stress-O-meter' .. as we can see .. TC was constraining a lot of repressed feelings .. anger being a biggy .. and still he maintained control .. in our world .. prior to his entering the Land ..


True, somewhat like a dormant volcano. I wonder what would have happened to Covenant if he didn't have the experience in the Land. Would he keep going, or was he building up towards some kind of crisis?

Continuing to play armchair psychology, what do you think were the healing experiences Covenant had?

Here's a link on recovery from PTSD
http://www.burnsurvivorsttw.org/ptsdrecov1.html

-pitch
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2002 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, let's see. For starters, TC finds himself with friends in the Land -- people who don't run from him, even though he has a dread disease. They are as ignorant of the cause and progression of leprosy as people in TC's home world, but instead of reacting with fear, the people of the Land react with disbelief that anyone could treat another human being as the people in TC's world have treated him.

Instead of being treated like so much trash, TC is treated like someone who has immense personal power. He is swept along on a Quest, and is considered an important member of the team. While he weathers more crises, he is no longer alone (whether he wants the human contact or not). Indeed, Foamfollower and Mhoram become his two closest friends.

And the beauty of the Land helps to heal him, too.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2002 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<And the beauty of the Land helps to heal him, too.> Yet that beauty haunts him, too...one of the paradoxes of the First Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2002 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitchwife, in answer to your question a couple of posts up, I think that TC might have eventually commited suicide if not for his Land experiences. He shows many of the classic signs of depression, and I think that when that "volcano" blew, he would have directed it towards himself. Sad
I agree with Aliantha, that some of his most healing experiences were having friends, especially ones who were such obviously worthy and good people. If people like Mhoram and Foamy can accept him, love him even, well, that would go a long way to heal the wounds caused by the social isolation in our world. Acceptance and love can be some of the strongest medicine around. Smile
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