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WAS Kevin so wrong to enact the Ritual?
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CovenantJr
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SGuilfoyle1966 wrote:
Kevin had power, but he was weak.

I wouldn't say Kevin was weak. I think he just had a different point of view. Kevin was willing make whatever sacrifice was necessary to beat Foul. The New Lords weren't. That said, might Mhoram and fellows have been more willing to take Kevin's 'all or nothing' approach if Kevin hadn't tried it already?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good question. I guess the new Lords might have been more willing to take that extreme measure if they had not had the lesson of Kevin's failure to learn from. But then, the new Lords were what they were because of what had happened with Kevin. During the darkest moments of the siege on Revelstone, I'd say Mhoram did teeter on the edge, but did not go over it, because the lesson of Kevin was there to guide him, and because he was (arguably) made of stronger stuff than Kevin was.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MM wrote:
because the lesson of Kevin was there to guide him

Could be better,
Should be better,
Lessons in Lore.
*Sound of Mark King slapping away*
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CovenantJr wrote:
SGuilfoyle1966 wrote:
Kevin had power, but he was weak.

I wouldn't say Kevin was weak. I think he just had a different point of view. Kevin was willing make whatever sacrifice was necessary to beat Foul. The New Lords weren't. That said, might Mhoram and fellows have been more willing to take Kevin's 'all or nothing' approach if Kevin hadn't tried it already?


Well said Jr. I know SRD had Kevin condemned from the readers POV, and even in his own commentary, but I think you hit on it well. It wasn't weakness, just a high stakes gamble - the New Lords condemned Kevin from THEIR hindsight, but they survived to be able to condemn him BECAUSE what he did made their existence possible.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed. Also, it was suggested on the first page of this thread that Kevin should have essentially retreated from the Land, taking everyone with him and leaving the Land to Foul in the hope of reclaiming it later. But if you think of how much love the Lords had for the Land, allowing Foul to run amok (no pun intended) would be akin to rape - and maybe, facing the Land's destruction at Foul's hands, Kevin would choose to do it himself instead. Destroy the thing he loves most as a last-ditch way of keeping it out of Foul's hands. If we can accept that Kevin loved the Land like anyone else might love, say, a child or parent, then this decision might not seem so unreasonable... The question then becomes, "my loved one is going to die either way - should I do it myself, my way and on my terms, or allow my enemy to do it, as slowly and cruelly as he can?"
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I understand this view. Or I hope I do.

What troubles me is that this view presumes that Kevin had the right to do to the Land what he wished. Did his extreme personal plight give him the right to decide whether the Land lived or died by his hand? Maybe Kevin thought so. But for him to deny anyone else in the Land the chance to fight on or to find another answer sounds suspiciously like a case of that megalomania I mentioned earlier. I'll concede that Kevin thought he could actually kill Foul...but then the eternal question comes up: why wasn't Kevin able to see Foul's true nature and realize that the Despiser could not be killed? The text says vaguely that Kevin was somehow blinded. Okay. But was it Foul who blinded Kevin's eyes? Or did the blindness come from Kevin himself? His own hubris or pride? I would imagine his ego was pretty big, since he had a thousand years of rule to build it up. What happens to this immense pride when it is deeply wounded? Does that lead to the conviction that total destruction is a viable answer?

The parent-child analogy is interesting, but I think it would be the height of arrogance on Kevin's part to regard the Land as his "child" - and his alone, for that matter. Oh, wait, I guess he was kinda arrogant, eh? I guess he thought his authority encompassed the Forestals, too? I think only the Creator could rightly view the Land as his child. From his perspective, I wonder how he viewed his child being "raped" by this madman Kevin while his Enemy laughed. Mind you, the Creator's compassion probably precludes any nasty feelings towards Kevin. Anyway, this idea of destroying what you love before your enemy gets to it disturbs me because it sounds like Cold War rhetoric that asserts it's better to make the world a nuclear wasteland than to allow it to be run by the Other Side. I only make such a real world reference because others have freely done so already.

I guess this is all just my long-winded way of saying that yes, I think Kevin was wrong to enact the Ritual. I honestly don't know how I could in good conscience take the view that it was the right thing to do. If there hadn't been a Desecration, then no, there would not have been the new Lords and thus no Mhoram. But good grief, there also would not have been the tremendous loss of all the culture, all the great wonders that must have been achieved in the age of the Old Lords since Berek's time. All the centuries of a ravaged Land and survivors barely scraping by. All because Kevin couldn't see beyond his own Land-sized ego. I disagree with the notion that the Land would have been automatically overrun by Foul's forces if Kevin had not done the Ritual. To me, that's not much better than Saruman in LOTR looking at Mordor and automatically assuming that Sauron was invincible, and thus arriving at the conclusion that joining ranks with him was the only option.

My 2 cents.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MM wrote:
My 2 cents.
And that's about 98 cents short of a dollar Wink

Sorry! Couldn't resist that MM
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:29 pm    Post subject: Re: WAS Kevin so wrong to enact the Ritual? Reply with quote

1369usmc wrote:
... I mention all this only to give a little background for my comments. I know some will characterize me as a ignorant War monger, and there's some truth to that statement. ...


Well I was going to reply to this post in "The Summonsing", but you ain't show up there yet have you?

All I want to say is I'm in a position where I've worked with several (almost many) Marines. NONE of them were ignorant. To the man/woman they were peculiar, but none ignorant.

As far as the topic of this thread goes, I can't top Malic, so I'm stayin' out of it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matrixman wrote:
Did his extreme personal plight give him the right to decide whether the Land lived or died by his hand? Maybe Kevin thought so. But for him to deny anyone else in the Land the chance to fight on or to find another answer sounds suspiciously like a case of that megalomania I mentioned earlier.

Bingo.

Except that, since he was acclaimed High Lord by the Council of Lords, he maybe sort of did have the right. Then again, maybe not. I'm inclined to believe that if the High Lord follows the principals upon which the Council was founded, he would done as Mhoram had done: fight to the death, but don't corrupt what you serve by "doing whatever it takes".

Has anyone ever tried really hard to accomplish something or acquire something, but then, looking back, regretted what you have done to get there?

Some people could only say, no never. Some can say, yes, that has happened to me, or I could see that happening to me. Those are the kind of people that the Lords and the people of the Land were.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see the points I think - I still believe that it's kinda like an officer at a firebase calling in an airstrike right on his position after having been overrun by the enemy - to be taken by an enemy like Foul would have rendered ANY subsequent culture evil - Foul would have seen to it - ti's his nature. At least with the Cold War situation, the Soviets had some humanity, beauty, and morality - Foul and the Ravers had none.

Does anyone remember that scene in the 13th Warrior where the women were hiding the children under the Kings hall just before the final battle - the queen gave some daggers to another of the woman and the implication was - it's better to kill our own children quickly and mercifully than allow them to fall into the hands of raping, torturing cannibals.

Had Foul won the war against Kevin, NOTHING good would have survived -we cannot conclude with one of the lords (I cannot remember which) that the Creator would have shown up - He hadn't so far and there was no chance He was going to.

As it was, generations of tormented slaves never existed - they lived as free people - not free in a beautiful land - but if you were to ask them what they preferred - servitude for a thousand years to Foul and the Ravers, or freedom with the Raynyan, Giants, Bloodguard, and a land to heal. I know what I would have chosen for me and my family...

Just a thought.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sill wrote:
As it was, generations of tormented slaves never existed - they lived as free people - not free in a beautiful land - but if you were to ask them what they preferred - servitude for a thousand years to Foul and the Ravers, or freedom with the Raynyan, Giants, Bloodguard, and a land to heal. I know what I would have chosen for me and my family...

Just a thought.

Precisely.

As for the question Matrixman raised as to whether Kevin had the right to make the decision, I'd argue that someone had to, and as High Lord, Kevin was the most qualified. Someone had to take the hard decision, and however much the Land might be idyllic in other ways, it's not a democracy. The Council lacked the time and the means to put it to a popular vote, even if they wanted to. The people of the Land trust the Council of Lords to govern them, and the High Lord is the member of the Council chosen to hold supreme authority in all matters. Whether or not Kevin actually possessed the qualities to make the toughest decision, he was the one appointed to do so. Maybe he didn't have the moral right - that's an issue that could be debated endlessly - but he did have the executive right. That's what the High Lord is for.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for your wisdom on this - this is something that made me wonder for years.

Now I'll quit beating the dead horse!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like we have yet another dichotomy at the watch: "The Desecrationists" VS. "The Be True To Yourselfists"

Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CovenantJr wrote:
Someone had to take the hard decision

On the other hand, Kevin didn't know if the Elohim had scheduled an intervention the next day. He didn't know if the Creator would summon someone to defeat Foul before Foul won. He didn't know if a Lord would discover a new power the next week.

He took away all their chances. He took away all their choices. He took away all their hope.

He took it out of the hands of the Creator. That is the hubris.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

True Wayfriend. But sometimes "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!"
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:
CovenantJr wrote:
Someone had to take the hard decision

On the other hand, Kevin didn't know if the Elohim had scheduled an intervention the next day. He didn't know if the Creator would summon someone to defeat Foul before Foul won. He didn't know if a Lord would discover a new power the next week.

He took away all their chances. He took away all their choices. He took away all their hope.

He took it out of the hands of the Creator. That is the hubris.

Perhaps hubris, or perhaps refusal to depend on something that may never come. Mhoram always trusted that Covenant would come through in the end, despite all the evidence to the contrary; that's a near-superhuman feat of blind faith, and I don't think the absence of this quality in Kevin is necessarily something to be deplored. After all, it comes dangerously close to "If I wait long enough, someone else will deal with it". In the same way that Covenant ended up feeling responsible, not only for his own actions but for things beyond his control, I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin couldn't abdicate his responsibility for the Land. Also, it's worth remembering that only we (and eventually Covenant) actually know the Creator exists. The story of the creation is a myth, of sorts; the Lords never express any certainty, or even conviction, of its accuracy. No-one in the Land worships or otherwise edifies the Creator. There would be no grounds for Kevin to place his faith in a Creator intervention.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prebe wrote:
It looks like we have yet another dichotomy at the watch: "The Desecrationists" VS. "The Be True To Yourselfists"

Very Happy

Perhaps. At least we've all been civil in disagreeing with each other in this thread, eh? Smile

I really had not gotten involved deeply in a TC discussion in a long time, so it was nice to get this chance. I certainly don't think my view is the only correct one; I was just trying to clarify my own thoughts on this subject in the process of typing away. I may even end up switching sides. Not likely, but who knows? Great posts, Cov and Wayfriend!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not going to say whether or not the Ritual of Desecration was itself the wrong move to make, but I will say that Kevin did it for the wrong reasons. From everything we know, Kevin didn't enact the Ritual of Desecration with saving the Land in mind, or to set up anything for the New Lords and Covenant's arrival. Kevin did it because he wanted to kill Foul, and there was almost nothing else that mattered beyond that, the way I see it. And if he couldn't kill Foul, then there was no way he would let Foul have the Land, even if it meant destroying the land. You can argue that he sent the Bloodguard away to preserve them, but I think that he did it so that they couldn't stop him. The same could be said for the Ranyhyn: they're creatures of Earthpower and very well may have been able to figure out what his intentions were.

I also wonder if he knew the full extent of the Desecration. Did he think it would be stronger? Did he know it would be as strong as it was? This was obviously the first and only time it was ever used, so he really couldn't measure the effect beforehand.

And we can definitely say one thing for sure: Kevin himself thinks that he made the wrong decision, as we can see when Elena summons him and when he accosts Linden.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sill wrote:


As it was, generations of tormented slaves never existed - they lived as free people - not free in a beautiful land - but if you were to ask them what they preferred - servitude for a thousand years to Foul and the Ravers, or freedom with the Raynyan, Giants, Bloodguard, and a land to heal. I know what I would have chosen for me and my family...

Just a thought.
That's part of the issue here: no one asked them. How do you know they wouldn't rather have gone on fighting (or died trying)? You can't speak for hundreds of generations of imaginary people.

If Kevin wasn't wrong, then "Lord Mhoram's Victory" wasn't a victory. He should have just done what Kevin did, if that's true.

Quote:
I see the points I think - I still believe that it's kinda like an officer at a firebase calling in an airstrike right on his position after having been overrun by the enemy - to be taken by an enemy like Foul would have rendered ANY subsequent culture evil - Foul would have seen to it - ti's his nature. At least with the Cold War situation, the Soviets had some humanity, beauty, and morality - Foul and the Ravers had none.
You are making the mistake that Foul is some kind of physical enemy that can be defeated with enough force. He is an archetype (Donaldson's word), and especially so in the First Chronicles. He represents our own self-hatred and Despite, that part of us which causes us to do destructive things to ourselves and to each other. If you allow him to do this to you, you have let him win.

The situation is NOTHING like calling an airstrike on your own position after being overrun by the enemy. He can't be killed with an airstrike, or any strike. It does absolutely no good. Even worse: it does exactly what he wants, because he wants you to destroy yourself and everything around you by fighting him, because in this way he can escape his prison (he hopes).

He doesn't want to rule people and enslave them like Sauron. He wants to make them despair. It's a spiritual battle (which is symbolized by the plot device of him wanting to escape the Arch of Time). That was the whole reason he mounted an attack in Covenant's time: to make Covenant so full of grief and despair that he'd give up and give LF the ring (so he could break the arch). In the 2nd Chronicles, he wanted Covenant to despair and use so much power that he'd break the arch himself, which is why he gave him the venom, to increase his power.

Making the people of the Land slaves wouldn't get LF released from his prison. That is in no way a victory for him (though it would suck for the people). He needed a Land that would be worth saving, otherwise it wouldn't inspire people like Kevin and Covenant to despair. If the Land is utterly defeated, what's the point in doing extravagant things to try to save it? So the real issue here isn't fighting LF in a physical way, and defeating his armies, and escaping slavery. It is an issue of not letting Foul drive you from who you are and destroying what you love yourself. That is infinitely worse than someone else destroying it simply because they are stronger than you.

Foul would have gotten bored with taking over the Land and making everyone slaves, because that's not his ultimate goal. Why do you think he no longer tries to enslave the Land and fight it with armies? He could very easily do it; the Lords are gone and there are no armies fighting for the Land.

Quote:

Does anyone remember that scene in the 13th Warrior where the women were hiding the children under the Kings hall just before the final battle - the queen gave some daggers to another of the woman and the implication was - it's better to kill our own children quickly and mercifully than allow them to fall into the hands of raping, torturing cannibals.
Why bring up scenes from another work of fiction? That's not Donaldson's story. We have plenty of examples from his own work, without having to impose the values of someone else's story upon it.
Quote:

Had Foul won the war against Kevin, NOTHING good would have survived
That's not necessarily true. Covenant could have come to rescue them. They could have found a way to build back and resist. We have evidence of such activity right under Foul's nose: the jheherrin.
Quote:

-we cannot conclude with one of the lords (I cannot remember which) that the Creator would have shown up - He hadn't so far and there was no chance He was going to.

WHY do you think the Creator doesn't get involved? It's because to do so would destroy his creation. It would be the ultimate Ritual of Desecration. Beating Lord Foul isn't worth destroying the thing he loves. If this is the strategy of the Creator himself, who are we to question his example?

And this applies to the author, too. If you think Donaldson isn't trying to imply that the Desecration was a bad thing, you're missing one of the most important points of this entire series. It's part of the reason why he wrote it in the first place.

Why do you think the beggar told Covenant to "be true"?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malik23 wrote:
And this applies to the author, too. If you think Donaldson isn't trying to imply that the Desecration was a bad thing, you're missing one of the most important points of this entire series. It's part of the reason why he wrote it in the first place.

Which brings up an interesting meta-argument.

I, for one, am clearly trying to argue from the point of view which, I hope, the themes of the story try to enforce. For example, that succombing to despair, and then in despair committing descecration, is playing into Foul's hands, and is therefore a form of evil or at least self-destruction.

Others, I seem to feel, are arguing from a more "real world" perspective. The difference in this approach is that it is based on a real-world - that is, our - perspective. Where, perhaps, saving lives and defeating the enemy is more important than things like being true to oneself.

They're both valid arguments to entertain. But, I think, they might be better held seperately, to avoid confusion. On the one side, to argue what you think Donaldson wanted to convey about Kevin. On the other, to argue what a "real" Kevin should have done.

- - - - - - - -

That being all said, I have to ask if anyone can speculate, what the HECK was Foul trying to do, beating up on the Old Lords in the first place?

We know that, in LFB, one of the major points of the Foul's wars was to push Covenant into giving in. But there was no Covenant in Kevin's time. There was no white gold which could free Lord Foul.

So was Foul's purpose pure spite and willful destruction? If not, what else could it be?

If it was pure spite and wilfull destruction, then perhaps Kevin should have known that the Ritual of Desecration was merely giving Foul what he most hoped for.
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