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WAS Kevin so wrong to enact the Ritual?
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SGuilfoyle1966
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ur Dead wrote:
Mhoram was bound by the Oath of Peace. Even after he found that it was the oath that hindered the new Lords. It still prevailed to hold him back from unleashing descreation. Plus with the Krill showing that TC had return there was Hope. These lead him to Lord Mhoram's Victory.


The krill showed Mhoram that Covenant had returned. It also showed that Covenant had been captured, crushing the hope. Yet he still road out to challenge Satanfist, but reassured all who went with him that he was NOT despairing.

At some point in the battle, the krill showed that Covenant was free again, but it did not lead to Lord Mhoram's Victory.

I'll repeat that the way we are discussing this is causing many to make the mistake.

When you say Kevin enacted the "Ritual" to save the land, it sounds plausible.

But when you say Kevin desecrated the land to save the land, it sounds kind of far-fetched, and really shows how wrong he had slipped in his thinking.

that's like Jessica Hahn saying she was tired of being used and exploited by men, so she posed for Penthouse. ???

Just doesn't add up.

He was supposed to protect the land. He chose instead to desecrate it. How can that be, in any way, right?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kudos for managing to correctly include an anecdote regarding Penthouse in the explanation of aspects of TCTC. Kudos. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SGuilfoyle1966 wrote:
Let's stop saying Kevin "enacted the Ritual."

Let's ask THIS question instead --

Was Kevin so wrong to DESECRATE the Land?

does that not come out when you think of it as a rhetorical question?

Umm, no. He was, err, umm, right, to DESECRATE the Land.

As I've said before, other than calling it the Ritual, I don't think there's ANYTHING formal about doing it. I don't think it required specific chants or motions or gestures.

Firstly, there's no question that Trell had ANY access to the Lore that Kevin used to do it, yet Trell had begun a similar DESECRATION himself. He turned the power of stone against itself. He turned the power inherent in him against the thing remaining to him that he loved most.

Yes, the example of Trell illustrated what a great wrong the Ritual of Desecration was, what a horrific abuse of Earthpower it really was. There is no wisdom or high-mindedness about it that I can see - whether it's Trell who does it or Kevin. They both got to that point because they lost their minds, not because of some long-range plan.

I agree with you that the Ritual probably doesn't require specific words or gestures. We only impose a sense of formality to Desecration because it's got the name "Ritual" tagged to it. The point of Desecration is that it bypasses all the niceties, all the subtleties of lore.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if we'll ever see what went down with that.
Isn't it possible that, future generations, already so horrified by what Kevin did that they created and took and bound themselves with the Oath of Peace, started calling it the Ritual of Desecration to kind of take a step back from the sheer horror of it?
Like the military saying "terminate the colonel's command" with extreme prejudice, instead of saying, assassinate the guy.
But there is SOMETHING about it, that while not formal, existed as a common idea. Because the book said that Kevin dared Lord Foul to speak the ritual with him, or something like that.
But who knows? Perhaps Foul, when on the council, put the idea into Kevin's head years before he came out as the enemy he was.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I've been away from the forum for a week so I'm backing up a little here.
Quote:
You have to either believe in something else or be a megalomaniac? (Guilfoyle)

My point (which was not clearly stated, I think) is that you either believe in something else or you believe in yourself. If there is no God, no higher power or Law making sense of the universe you live in and maintaining some order and control, then it has to be you yourself. i.e., you have to be a "megalomaniac", seeking power and control over your universe yourself because no one else is doing it.

But, I don't know that SRD believes that.

My original point was that yes, Kevin was wrong. But, that doesn't make him stupid or morally flawed any more than the rest of us. Given that the Land, as a cosmos unto itself, was a flawed cosmos to begin with (its Creator being a bum in a dirty orange toga, don't forget Razz ), were there preferable options? Maybe to us, but in his circumstances I don't know that I would have held up any better. Especially without having taken an Oath of Peace to give me some kind of moral compass in the situation- something almost impossible to have without faith in a benevolent AND sovereign Creator.

Thanks, matrixman, for your kind comment. Sorry to make this a long post. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

had Kevin not enacted the ritual Lord foul would have eradicated every man woman child and animal within 47 years... i dont imagine the ratio would have changed much with the armys of the past had kevin not enacted the ritual. maybe 60 years give or take due to the old lords strength and lack of the oath of peace which is what made them stronger. If kevin didnt enact the ritual of desecration the entire land would have ended up looking like Fouls Creche in 200 years or so,he would have set the Ravers to Burn... it would have kept expanding and foul could have used possibly Kaseryn or some other thaumaturge to finally summon white gold to break the Arch of Time. the Desecration of the land served to prevent about 2000 years of misery for the rest of the planet, but you could argue that the giants homeland would never be defeated by any army. it still doesnt change the fact that Kevin was damned for what he did, that was his own personal holocaust, if one man is damned is it worth the earth? he said yes, and died screaming at fouls laughter when he realised the ritual would not kill foul. foul laughing because he would just try it again in a thousand years or so. and the Elohim just sitting there on their thumbs. I bet the Elohim would have given the gift of tongues for a sit and spin.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevins enactment of the Rod was a crucial mistake , a decision made in the depths of despair. Not only did it not accomplish the death of Foul, it destroyed the very thing that Kevin swore to serve, and beyond that many other long lasting side effects. Im curious did the Haruchai title for Foul "Corruption" originate before Kevins ROD, I dont think so. To me that was the true desecration, enactment of the ritual corrupted the perfect service of the Bloodguard, it just took them centuries to admit it, and that admission caused them to leave the service of the new Lords when they were most needed.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SGuilfoyle1966 wrote:
wayfriend wrote:
But do not forget, there is a also a curse attached to the Power that it rebounds against the one who invokes it. I think he knew full well that the end result might be worse, not better, for the Land.


In the books, Elena's command does rebound against her. Not because of a curse, but because Foul was able to defeat Kevin and, for giggles, he issued the same command to Kevin, in reverse.

I don't see that the power is cursed.

There as some speculation that Kevin couldn't think of a powerful enough command that wouldn't have repercussons beyond the simple command.

But cursed? Where exactly is that?

Quote:
He chose desecration because it offered a chance to win, and he discounted the cost, because that to him was better than losing. So he talked himself into Descrating the Land he swore to defend and protect and serve. He decided to destroy the people and the animals and the forests and the plains and the soil itself. He chose to do consciously what the backfiring Power of Command would have done accodently. He did everything that Lord Foul would have done himself - he became Despite. Because he lost sight of the cost, his eyes were only on somehow, someway, winning.

Also, remember that, while he might have postponed the day when Foul would again raise his head and threaten the Land -- buying time -- he also left the people of the Land weaker and half loreless when that day came.


Well, he didn't necessarily destroy the people. He did warn them to leave. I won't leave on his head any person who was warned and chose not to leave.

But nice point about leaving the survivors weakened an half loreless.

Remember that Kevin gets high marks from many for preparing the Seven Wards, because of what he was going to do. But think about CLOSELY for a second.

Kevin had his seven wards all set to go, in the hands of the Giants when they returned to the Land and found the people. But what was the other effect that the ROD had?

The people of the Land, ALWAYS shown to be above the board virtuous unless they have been marred by the Despiser (Kevin) or by Covenant (Lena, Elena, Atiaran, Trell, Triock). And even those who are so marred by Covenant mostly rise above that marring.

The people of the Land are so horrified by what Kevin did that they took an Oath of Peace so powerful (it is not said to invoke the Earthpower, yet it blinds them to Kevin's Lore.)

So the preparations Kevin made are, in the end, partially wasted. You can't even give him much credit for that "foresight." he wanted everyone after him to just pick up where he left off, as if what he did wasn't the horror, the abomination that it was.

The first victim of the Ritual, afterall, was Kevin himself, don't you think? He struck down that which he loved.


it wasnt so much a curse but a warning from Amok telling her, Elena that if the Drinker does not use the command the earthblood will rebound against them. but cursed none the less, kevin would have used that rather than desecrate the land if he thought it would have been worth it....i guess desectration came up lighter on the scale for him than the Earthblood...he must have sat up late every night trying to work that one out ,thinking up something and having to contradict himself with a downside for every posibility. he was as wrong for enacting the ritual as the giants were for just allowing themselves to be taken out of the equation. they would have been a very needed help even though they were only 500 or so left.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I said earlier, what rebounded against Elena was the unintended consequence of the breaking of the Law of Death. The fact that she broke the Law for an invalid assumption, and that Dead Kevin was not powerful enought to defeat Foul, and was sent back to rub her nose in her failure - well that's just insult added to injury.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just watched Excalibur (a movie from the 70s) and it reminded me alot of the land and Kevin, ..King Arthur it was said when he was thriving the land thrived and was prosperous...but when he was in despair the land became sterile and the people starved. and when Perceval found the Grail he said Arthur and the land are one.... not sure if anyone else has seen this movie recently, and not only that but of course Excalibur itself of course reminding me of the Krill in the table..and Excalibur in the stone. I dont know the story of King arthur that well except from that movie. I dont know the other actors names but Liam Niesen and Patrick Stewart both had bit parts as Knights.

oh..and at the end Perceval did just what Mhoram did with the Krill. but im sure this is old news to probably everyone here.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Matrixman wrote:
One argument is that Kevin was utterly mad with despair in the end, so he wasn't thinking clearly, and therefore the Ritual wasn't a "pre-meditated" act, correct?

And the other argument says Kevin knew exactly what he was doing right to the end, that the Ritual was in fact part of his design, correct?

Why must it be one or the other?

Kevin definitely 'planned' the Ritual, in that he protected what he could before he went ahead with it. But he was also certainly 'mad' with despair as well, because he was driven to destroy that which he loved.

I've always envisioned that Kevin at this time was "temporarilly obsessive". He was obsessed with destroying Foul in any way possible, and he was not capable of seeing any alternative that didn't involve trying to destroy Foul. In that he was mad, mad from grief. He was like a man going after a murderer -- retribution was all that mattered. He planned how to take the Despiser down, but he did so in a way that didn't count costs, including the cost to himself.

I realize that at the time of writing, the Land was all there was in Middle-CovMind...but still, how could Kev have known that the Desecration would only affect the areas inside the mountain ranges? I mean, if it was powerful enough to do what it did to Foul, wouldn't it have had to be much more powerful?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know its easy to simply take the written narrative at face value and make assumptions as to what sort of man High Lord Kevin was however every person's story has detail and nuance and Kevin's can't be certainly gleaned from what information is available.

Within the context of the story Kevin was revered as a powerful, virtuous champion of the Land and its people and as a group of observers we are influenced by how that information is presented to us. Our only actual contact with Kevin the character is as what is essentially a "Force Ghost" (forgive my Star Warsian reference). We are given to understand that this dark shade is Kevin as a tormented spirit filled with self hatred and anguish over the failures of his lifetime.

From the moment Kevin is resurrected by High Lord Elena, his demeanor is that of an "Ass-hat" so to speak. We understand what is motivating his anger and insulting personality however there may be more to this than boundless rage and reverberating despair. Strong personalities aren't always the most enjoyable ones at times.

Kevin was elected High Lord so there was certainly support for his nomination within the council but we don't know if it was a unanimous vote. There may have been a dissenting opinion that cautioned against electing Kevin due to his unstable personality. He may have been given to abrupt mood swings and revealed an occasional dark side that was overlooked in the pre Oath of Peace era of the Land. Kevin's dynamic aura may have impressed the Haruchai but being from lusty warrior stock they might have found it acceptable that Kevin occasionally few off the handle attributing the outbursts to his exceptionally passionate nature. However it may be a possibility that Kevin was afflicted by a manic / depressive personality disorder that he was at times unable to control.

Suppose also that Kevin's character flaws may have contributed to his ultimate defeat in that his decision making may have become increasingly unreliable to the point that Foul was able to take full advantage of his weaknesses.

In other words Kevin may have been incompetent.

Its possible that under the leadership of one of the other Lords the Land may have been spared desecration in the first place which would have made Foul's victory even sweeter. Imagine Foul thinking "That was close. Had Chamberlain been elected High Lord my plans would have fallen into ruin but no! It was Kevin as I had hoped and the flaw I perceived in him was indeed his undoing.
Bwahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!"
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted memorable moments of nicles, though not necessarily my favourite ones.

bikebryan wrote:


I find some confuspost there. I never saw Covenant hand over the ring in despair in the first chronicles.

I never recall anyone takifettering in the third chronicles, either.


Mhoram had told Covenant, "You are the white gold!". It was only in his utmost despair that Covenant understood what Mhoram meant by those words. Handing himself over to Lord Foul was no different than placing the ring in the palm of the Despiser's hand. If you believe that's possible!
A cruel an perhaps, but necessary I think, in order to convey a point of view palpable enough to reach any discerning reader.

The last chronicles did have
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Depending on how you might interpret this, and how it fit's into the way you see the story, nevertheless might help explain my meaning.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edelaith wrote:
I wish to say that I believe unequivocably that Kevin was in the wrong, in invoking the Ritual of Desecration.

In Kevin's place, here is what the Old Lords should have done:

- Evacuated Revelstone, the other major cities of the Old Land, and the yet untouched North Plains, retreating into the Westron Mountains where a new life could be made, until enough power was raised to drive Foul's minions out of the Land.
- Retained the Bloodguard, and joined forces with the Haruchai, ensuring the minions of Foul could not penetrate the Westron Mountains.
- Sent messengers to inform the Giants to flee (or join them in the Westron Mountains.)
- Sent messengers to inform the Ramen and Ranyhyn to flee (or join them in the Westron Mountains.)
- Sent messengers to inform the people of the South Plains to flee (or join them in the Westron Mountains.)
- Sent messengers to the Waynhim, Wraiths of Andelain, and others, offering them sanctuary in the Westron Mountains.
- Taken EVERYTHING of value and beauty from Revelstone and the other cities of the Old Land, into the Westron Mountains, along with all their lore and accumulated knowledge.

Meanwhile, the Forestals would have protected Garrotting Deep, Grimmerdhore, Morrinmoss, and Giant Woods.
It is possible the Forestals themselves would have moved to protect Andelain (which was extensively forested.)

Let the cavewights, ur-viles, and demondim run amok for a while.
After Lord Foul found he had no use for them, he'd leave them to rot, and they'd turn on each other fast enough.

Yes, there would be serious and prolonged damage to the Land. But that would not be the fault of the Old Lords, since they could not win against Lord Foul and his minions.
And that damage could hardly be worse than what the Ritual of Desecration caused.

And just perhaps, beyond the high mountain realm of the Haruchai, lay other lands and peoples who could succor refugees, or lend military aid.


Excellent post. This is exactly what they should have done. Foul would indeed have abandoned his minions after a short period of time. The huge armies would have fallen apart and fell upon one another.

I would like to add, as a point of military strategy, that the Old Lords should have recognized that victory over the unkillable Foul was as you say impossible. However, the Old Lords should have plotted and schemed to destroy the RAVERS one by one, as they are not unkillable and would have robbed Foul of much of his strategy and advantage. The fact that the Lords did not negotiate some sort of arrangement with the Forestals was a huge mistake. The Forestals were natural allies, hated the Ravers and Foul as much or even more than the Lords, and had the lore and power to kill and possibly even permanently destroy or incapacitate the Ravers.

Depriving Foul of his three greatest servants should have been one of their top priorities.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm posting late, so will be brief (potentially follow-up later), but just a couple of thoughts browsing through this discussion:

SRD clearly intended Kevin's enacting the ritual to be viewed as an act of despair and therefore, inherently wrong. But (given I happen to be in the industry), think of it like treating cancer - you use chemotherapy in an attempt to eradicate the cancer, but the treatment is also highly toxic to normal tissue as it is to the cancer. Thus, you severely poison the body in an attempt to cure it, often overshooting with devastating results. In that respect, we don't necessarily see this as 'desecration' or the result of despair, as opposed to necessary risk. Alternatively, using pediatric cancer as a handy example, if your child has cancer, would you not go to any lengths to attempt a cure - even knowing that the treatment is highly dangerous and risky with low odds of success? And the ravages to the body are seen as unfortunate in the extreme, but still 'necessary'. Essentially, an act of desecration (of the child's body) based on there being no other viable choice (i.e., an act of despair or last resort).

Kevin can be seen as someone backed into a corner with inadequate means to achieve meaningful victory - and he had already/just lost his closest friends and allies. And Foul was whispering in his ear at a time he was vulnerable to bad advice among potential other options. That makes him human and fallable, but not necessarily the 'ass-hat' we tend to assign him based on the narrative choices SRD makes in drawing his character.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SRD was pretty clear that Kevin was wrong, but not because it was despair.

If you want to use a cancer analogy, what Kevin did was use a dangerous treatment for cancer, which proved fatal, upon someone who didn't ask to be treated, and he wasn't even a doctor, just because he felt responsible.

At ElohimFest 1, Stephen R Donaldson wrote:
To make success or failure the measure by which you judge yourself is to completely miss the point of what it is you are trying to do. Which is to save something beautiful. You love it, so you give it your all. End of story. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. (Although in these books, they ultimately win.) But, what Kevin did was judge himself before events judged him. You know, he looked at all these forces arrayed against him, all the mistakes he's made, allowing Lord Foul in disguise on the council of Lords, and ur-viles and god knows what running around, and "oh my god", and "somehow I am responsible for all of that". It's like having a god complex. Mhoram's attitude is much more humane. We are not required to save the world. We are required to stand up as truly as we can for what we love. And then after that, we've done all we can, so there's nothing to grieve about.

-- transcribed from video, Elohimfest 1, Sep 2004.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
SRD was pretty clear that Kevin was wrong, but not because it was despair.

If you want to use a cancer analogy, what Kevin did was use a dangerous treatment for cancer, which proved fatal, upon someone who didn't ask to be treated, and he wasn't even a doctor, just because he felt responsible.


The RoD wasn't fatal to the Land. It recovered. It also wasn't fatal to Lord Foul. It was certainly fatal to Kevin, though.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Land did not completely recover. Foamfollower even mentioned to Covenant how much diminished the Land was post-ritual.

Heck, parts of The Land were still suffering during LFB. Trothgard still had not recovered at the end of the first chronicles.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that SRD intended to convey that Kevin's choice to enact the RoD was 'wrong' or otherwise inherently flawed. But the thread - Was Kevin really wrong? - isn't just about what SRDs intentions were, as opposed to a more abstract discussion of the quality of choices.

I'm not arguing that Kevin was 'right', but merely noting that he made an extreme choice under duress. The Chronicles are full of extreme choices (the Bloodguard's oath, the giants surrender, Kastensen's Doom, Elena drinking the blood, Troy risking the Forestal, Mhoram releasing Covenant, etc.). Note that even the Creator opened his eyes, saw what the Despiser was doing, and the effect it had on his creation - his response wasn't necessarily measured, well-reasoned, or humane (it's actually reasonably comparable to Kevin's choice). Covenant's overarching character thread is one of mad or sane, save or damn, and his inability/unwillingness to participate and be held accountable for such decisions (at least in the first chronicles). It's the moral consequence of his unbelief.

I believe SRD presented and explored the recurrent theme of the quality of choices - and unintended effects thereof. Note that for much of what Covenant does in the first chronicles, seemingly bad actions create positive outcomes, and sometimes the 'right' choice results in future catastrophic results. This was thematic in both the 1st and 2nd chronicles including the breaking of the Laws of life/death via extreme choices/acts, and the ultimate outcome such choices enabled.

Incidentally, my thesis dedication to my parents quoted SRD: Success is not measured by the degree of our success, but by the quality of our service. I'm on Team Mhoram...
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I get it. You'd like to have an opinion of Kevin which is free of Donaldson's. That's fine.

But, if you haven't yet, maybe checkout this. Which doesn't have a total impact until after you read this.

Wayfriend wrote:
The opinion that what Kevin did was good, because of how it helped the Land, and the opinion that what Kevin did was bad, because of the harm it had done to the Land, both stem from the same root: a judgement about the result becomes the judgement about the choice. The result was good, therefore the choice was good / The result was bad, therefore the choice was bad. And also a judgement about the person. The result was bad, so Kevin was a villian / The result was good, so Kevin was a hero.

What Donaldson's characters tell us in the story is that both are equally invalid.


In short, Donaldson's opinion about Kevin's choice is ultimately based on Donaldson's opinion about self-worth and how to find it. If you disagree with one, you end up needing to disagree with the other. Which is only my opinion, of course -- feel free to disagree! But I feel like there's an unraveling process that you can begin, which has no end.
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