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Reading Runes: A Tale of Two Cosmologies
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:00 am    Post subject: Reading Runes: A Tale of Two Cosmologies Reply with quote

This is a different way of looking at the Worm of the World’s End.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant provides us with innumerable wonders. Among them, we must include the cosmography of the Land and the Earth which surrounds it. This cosmography, centered on an Arch of Time, is inseparable from the creation story which informs it, and the whole provides a central pillar to the framework of the story.

When, in The One Tree, we are confronted with the existence of the Worm of the World’s End, we are struck as if by an earthquake: we can no longer trust the ground on which we stand. After being long comfortable with one creation story, we are now presented with a second. Both of them appear to be true, but both of them exclude each other. The problem is far from academic: the narrative depends on both of them. We can become frustrated at the author, who seems to have pulled the rug out from under us. As one reader has succinctly stated his feelings, “I hate hate hate it”.

How can the story of the Arch of Time be true, and the story of the Worm of the World’s End be true, at the same time?

In order to answer that question, let’s first consider another creation story that appears in the Chronicles: The Wounded Rainbow Myth.

Surprisingly, it is this myth which first appears in the Chronicles, not the Arch of Time Myth. It is never referred to again, and so it can be easily forgotten. However, its presence is not without import.

Foamfollower gives us this tale, as he and Covenant journey to Revelstone in Lord Fouls Bane.

Quote:
"Ah, Stone and Sea! Do you know the old lore legend of the Wounded Rainbow, Thomas Covenant? It is said that in the dimmest past of the Earth, there were no stars in our sky. The heavens were a blankness which separated us from the eternal universe of the Creator. There he lived with his people and his myriad bright children, and they moved to the music of play and joy.

"Now, as the ages spired from forever to forever, the Creator was moved to make a new thing for the happy hearts of his children. He descended to the great forges and cauldrons of his power, and brewed and hammered and cast rare theurgies. And when he was done, he turned to the heavens, and threw his mystic creation to the sky - and, behold! A rainbow spread its arms across the universe.

"For a moment, the Creator was glad. But then he looked closely at the rainbow - and there, high in the shimmering span, he saw a wound, a breach in the beauty he had made. He did not know that his Enemy, the demon spirit of murk and mire that crawled through the bowels of even his universe, had seen him at work, and had cast spite into the mortar of his creating. So now, as the rainbow stood across the heavens, it was marred.

"In vexation, the Creator returned to his works, to find a cure for his creation. But while he labored, his children, his myriad bright children, found the rainbow, and were filled with rejoicing at its beauty. Together, they climbed into the heavens and scampered happily up the bow, dancing gay dances across its colors. High on the span, they discovered the wound. But they did not understand it. Chorusing joy, they danced through the wound, and found themselves in our sky. This new unlighted world only gladdened them the more, and they spun through the sky until it sparkled with the glee of play.

"When they tired of this sport, they sought to return to their universe of light. But their door was shut. For the Creator had discovered his Enemy's handiwork -- the cause of the wound - and in his anger his mind had been clouded. Thoughtless, he had torn the rainbow from the heavens. Not until his anger was done did he realize that he had trapped his children in our sky. And there they remain, stars to guide the sojourners of our nights, until the Creator can rid his universe of his Enemy, and find a way to bring his children Home."


There are several remarkable aspects to this tale.

This story comes to us from the Giants. After this telling, Foamfollower goes on to compare the Giants of the Land to the Creator's children: "So it was with us, the Unhomed." This is presented not as the random musings of the individual telling the tale, but as a well-established preamble of the tale itself, a chapter fully installed in the oral tradition of the Unhomed, taught from Giant to Giant. The author has chosen to associate Giants with this myth, not as an element of the myth, but as the agents which bring the myth to the reader.

The story of the Unhomed could have been told without mentioning a creation myth; if it needed artistic embellishment or additional drama, another device could have been used. Instead, we are presented with the first of two alternate creation myths seen in the first Chronicles. It is evident that the author intended us to have alternate creation myths from the onset of the Chronicles. Perhaps this is to underscore that creation myths are indeed myths, and are not literally true within the world created by the story. If so, choosing the Giants, renowned tellers of tales, to bring us this myth would be apropos.

This myth is very similar to the more familiar Arch of Time Myth presented later in the first Chronicles; all of the common elements are present. There is creation, there is destruction, and there is imprisonment. We have a god-like creator, who is both potent and helpless, and we have an enemy who mars his works.

The central feature is a rainbow, a "shimmering span", within which can be found "our sky", and presumably the Earth as well. The similarity between the Rainbow and the Arch of Time cannot be ignored: both are curving lines; both are frameworks within which the Earth is found; both are creations which are subject to subsequent destruction. So links between the Rainbow Myth and the subsequent Arch Myth are neither weak nor subtle. The reader is compelled to make a comparison, for the author's purposes.

The other unique addition to this tale is the final action of the Creator: It is he - not the enemy - who ultimately destroys the Rainbow. The creator and the destroyer are one in this myth. This is a bold underscore of one the author’s central themes: that destruction is inseparable from creation.

Quote:
After all, life necessitates death. Anything that lives carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. (And our own bodies demonstrate just how *many* seeds there can be.) The alternative is stasis. Indeed, anything that doesn't both grow and die (usually in that order) can't really be described as being alive.
(Gradual Interview, 04/29/2004


Consideration of the Wounded Rainbow Myth leads us to two conclusions.

First, the creation myths are not different myths. Rather, each seems to be a transformation of the other. Superficially, they have a different narrative, and actions may be attributed to different roles. Underneath, they contain the same basic elements, even the same basic demiurges; they impart the same fundamental knowledge to the audience. They are like fables: children’s stories about talking animals which still enforce a useful truth; you can change the animals and the story, but the truth remains.

Second, all creation myths are not equal. At the end of White Gold Wielder, Lord Foul does not want the ring in order to destroy the Wounded Rainbow, nor does the Creator speak of a Wounded Rainbow as Covenant returns to his world. At no point in the Chronicles do the characters ponder their problems by considering how the Wounded Rainbow fits into the picture. Obviously, the details of the Arch of Time Myth are essential to the plot, while those of the Wounded Rainbow are not. The Wounded Rainbow is, after all, only a story told by renown storytellers.

With these two ideas firmly in mind, we can look at the Worm of the World’s End Myth.

In the Second Chronicles, we discover this new creation myth. The myth is related to us by Pitchwife in The One Tree.

Quote:
"It is said among the Elohim, whose knowledge is wondrous, and difficult of contradiction" - Pitchwife conveyed a chortle of personal amusement - "that in the ancient and eternal youth of the cosmos, long ere the Earth came to occupy its place, the stars were as thick as sand throughout all the heavens. Where now we see multitudes of bright beings were formerly multitudes of multitudes, so that the cosmos was an ocean of stars from shore to shore, and the great depth of their present solitude was unknown to them - a sorrow which they could not have comprehended. They were the living peoples of the heavens, as unlike to us as gods. Grand and warm in their bright loveliness, they danced to music of their own making and were content.

"But far away across the heavens lived a being of another kind. The Worm. For ages it slumbered in peace - but when it awakened, as it awakens at the dawn of each new eon, it was afflicted with a ravenous hunger. Every creation contains destruction, as life contains death, and the Worm was destruction. Driven by its immense lust, it began to devour stars.

"Perhaps this Worm was not large among the stars, but its emptiness was large beyond measure, and it roamed the heavens, consuming whole seas of brightness, cutting great swaths of loneliness across the firmament. Writhing along the ages, avid and insatiable, it fed on all that lay within its reach, until the heavens became as sparsely peopled as a desert.

"Yet the devoured stars were beings as unlike to us as gods, and no Worm or doom could consume their power without cost. Having fed hugely, the Worm became listless and gravid. Though it could not sleep, for the eon's end of its slumber had not come, it felt a whelming desire for rest. Therefore it curled its tail about itself and sank into quiescence.

"And while the Worm rested, the power of the stars wrought within it. From its skin grew excrescences of stone and soil, water and air, and these growths multiplied upon themselves and multiplied until the very Earth beneath our feet took form. Still the power of the stars wrought, but now it gave shape to the surface of the Earth, forging the seas and the land. And then was brought forth life upon the Earth. Thus were born all the peoples of the Earth, the beasts of the land, the creatures of the deep - all the forests and greenswards from pole to pole. And thus from destruction came forth creation, as death gives rise to life.

"Therefore, Chosen," said Pitchwife firmly, "we live, and strive, and seek to define the sense of our being. And it is good, for though we compose a scant blink across the eyes of eternity, yet while the blink lasts we choose what we will, create what we may, and share ourselves with each other as the stars did ere they were bereaved. But it must pass. The Worm does not slumber. It merely rests. And the time must come when it is roused, or rouses itself. Then it will slough off this skin of rock and water to pursue its hunger across the cosmos until eon's end and slumber. For that reason, it is named the Worm of the World's End."


Again, the Giants are involved in this myth, as the ones who bring it to us. The Giant’s are story-tellers, and this is one of their tales. However, the ultimate source of the tale is made known to us – the Elohim. Pitchwife, speaking for the Giants, cautions us about this: knowledge gained from the Elohim is “difficult of contradiction”, which is to say, it requires careful examination in order to make sense of it. A point well worth remembering – things that the Elohim say are not to be taken plainly, but to be scrutinized for hidden truths.

Here in this myth are the themes of creation, destruction, and imprisonment again. All the components are present, but the relationships between them are changed, so that, while the sense of this myth remains the same as the Arch of Time myth, a point-for-point correspondence cannot be made.

Here we encounter the Worm. Again, we have a long, narrow object bent into a curve, upon which the Earth depends for its existence. A parallel between the Worm and the Arch of Time (and the Rainbow) suggests itself rather clearly.

The Worm is also the creator here, albeit an inadvertent one, and it is also the enemy in a similarly skewed fashion.

There are two aspects of the imprisonment theme here. The Worm is imprisoned in a sense, in that it is caught completely inside of its excrescence. Also, the stars are here again, and, although they are consumed by the Worm, there is enough circumstantial evidence later in the story that they are not destroyed thereby, and therefore might be said to be imprisoned in the Worm (or the Earth) as well.

Everything that is required for this Myth to be a twisted retelling of the Arch of Time Myth (and the Wounded Rainbow Myth) are here.

If it wasn’t for the subsequent narrative in The One Tree, we could easily classify this Myth in the same class as the Wounded Rainbow Myth – a lesser creation story. If being a Giantish story is a clue, well, we have found it here. And the subsequent revelation that the Worm may also be one and the same as the Würd makes a stronger case that perhaps the Worm is a metaphor for something else entirely.

But the fact remains that the The One Tree leads us to believe that the Worm is as real as the Arch of Time.

Perhaps we are more “lead” than we realize.

We never actually see the Worm. We never directly experience anything that is the Worm or is tied to the Worm myth. We are only told that the Worm is about.

Quote:
"He has encountered the Worm of the World's End!”
(White Gold Wielder)


Linden, even with her health sense, never “sees” the Worm. She feels something, that’s for sure.

Quote:
"Wait. [...] There's something else. [...] Something else here. [...] They're connected - but they aren't the same. I don't know what it is. It's too much. Nobody can look at it. [...] The Tree isn't why nothing lives here. It doesn't make the air smell like the end of the world. It doesn't have that kind of power. There's something else here. [...] Resting."

[...] The boiling of the stone around the Tree was not caused by Covenant's heat. It came from the same source as the stars. A source buried among the deepest bones of the Earth - a source which had been at rest.
(White Gold Wielder)


Donaldson might have said that Linden sensed the Worm, or something else that would have proved that the Worm of the World’s end was somehow real. Instead, he leaves the reader with vague words, words which seem to reinforce a preconception planted by Findail (Findail! Do we trust Findail?!?!) without ever validating it. Almost as if he is misleading us. Well, we’ve seen him do that before!

If we consider a hypothesis that there really is no Worm at the Isle of the One Tree, it satisfies all of our creation myth issues. For the Worm of the World’s End Myth could be demoted to an interesting but second-class creation myth, alongside the Wounded Rainbow Myth.

Unfortunately, we would then need to develop a plausible explanation for the occurrences at Bare Isle. First, we must explain why Findail would tell everyone that the Worm was threatening the Quest. Second, we must explain what power defended the One Tree.

If the correspondences between creation myths can be trusted, then the Worm is really the Arch of Time. Could it be the Arch of Time which really protects the One Tree? I believe that it is so.

We must take it as gospel that creation and destruction are inseparable. The Arch of Time is expressly included. Wild magic is the keystone of the Arch. It gives the Arch the power “so that Time would be able to resist chaos and endure”. But “It is founded upon white gold, and white gold will rive it to rubble!”. The power that the Arch is built on is the very power that can destroy it. It contains the seeds of it’s own destruction – as it must, because “After all, life necessitates death”.

Quote:
And wild magic was the keystone of Time … it both sustained and threatened the processes which made existence possible
(The Runes of the Earth)


If the Arch contains the seeds of it's own destruction, it may be this destructive force which is prodded by the Quest's actions: it may have been the Arch of Time itself which was resting below Bare Isle. Somehow, the Arch is “close” to the Earth at this point, “resting”, and feeling “like the end of the world”. It is not a coincidence that the One Tree is here. The One Tree was the Creator’s sole means of helping the people of the Land, via the first Staff of Law. Perhaps the “closeness” of the One Tree to the Arch made this possible.

This goes a long way to explain the Worm's sensitivity to the raising of the wild magic in it's vicinity. The Arch of time is founded on wild magic and white gold; wild magic and white gold may be the only things that it responds to.

The Arch is alive. It can be roused. So we need more than one Myth. If you wish to speak about havens against chaos and barriers between the Earth and the Creator, then we speak of an Arch, with the Earth protected within. But if you want to talk about rousing the foundations of the Earth and triggering it’s internal urge for self-destruction, then it is not an Arch, it is a giant Worm, and the Earth trembles at its whim. A different fable to tell the same truth in a different way.

When Findail yells “He has encountered the Worm of the World's End!”, he’s not lying, he’s using the right myth for the right situation. He wants Covenant and Linden to be scared. So he invokes the fear of the Worm.

There are other clues which lead us in this direction.

In the Gradual Interview, when Donaldson is asked about resolving the Arch/Worm conundrum, what does he speak of? He speaks of the duality of creation and destruction!

Quote:
Personally, I don't see any inherent conflict between the two main cosmologies presented in the "Chronicles." After all, life necessitates death. Anything that lives carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. (And our own bodies demonstrate just how *many* seeds there can be.) The alternative is stasis. Indeed, anything that doesn't both grow and die (usually in that order) can't really be described as being alive. So if the Creator wanted to make a living world, he pretty much had to supply the means for the eventual ending of that world. Hence, to my way of thinking, the tangible existence of the Worm of the World's End doesn't conflict at all with the general cosmology put forth by the Lords.
(Gradual Interview, 04/29/2004)


The world must contain destruction. So we have the Worm. Donaldson just about comes out and says “The Worm is the dark side of the Arch”. Like Covenant and Foul, the Arch and the Worm are two sides of the same creation. Indeed, there is no “conflict”.

Also, there is a clue of omission.

Let’s consider where the Worm of the World’s end fits into the story. It appears in the fifth book, has it’s way with us, and then ... disappears! When Covenant confronts Gibbon, and wild magic blazes high, does Covenant fear rousing the Worm? No, he does not – he fears destroying the Arch of Time. When Covenant confronts Foul in Kiril Thendor, and Foul demands accession of the ring, does he gloat about his plan to rouse the Worm? No, he does not. The Worm of the World’s End myth is only of temporary importance to the story. It is a device that is brought in, and then discarded when it has done it’s job. It’s only a story.

So there is my theory: the Worm of the World’s End is merely the Arch of Time in another guise, one more suited for scaring us.

And, as seems likely, if the Worm is also the Würd of the Earth, and the Elohim are also the Würd of the Earth, then the Elohim are much more involved with the Arch of Time than we have seen to date. I cannot help thinking of the Elohimfest, and that the Elohim are the stars, caught in the Wounded Rainbow, devoured by the Worm, and trapped in the Arch; children of the Creator, living peoples of the heavens, and direct offspring of creation. By uniting the Worm and the Arch, we also unite the Elohim with the Creator.

Quote:
Stars, she had heard, were the bright children of the world's birth, the glad offspring of the Creator, trapped inadvertently in the heavens by the same binding that had imprisoned the Despiser. They could only be set free, restored to their infinite home, by the severing of Time. Hence their crystalline keening: they mourned for the lost grandeur of eternity.
(Runes of the Earth)


But we shall Read those Runes another day…


Last edited by wayfriend on Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(My apologies to High Lord Tolkien for stepping on his other thread. The article above was some time in the making, and was finished at an inopportune time. However, it must be said that I was inspired by HLT to write this in the first place. So I dedicate this post to him. Hail the High Lord!)
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. If I may - how do you reconcile this theory with Findail's statements about the Despiser and the Worm/AoT in chapter 1 of WGW? (sorry, I don't have my book in front of my or I would give you the exact quote.) It had to do with why Lord Foul didn't just rouse the worm himself.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thank you Wayfriend!
That is indeed high praise.
I killed the post I made today about my creation ideas.
This one is so good it just blew mine away!
I'll have to respond more on it later though as all my notes are at work.

dlbpharmd, I understood Findail as saying that Foul *could* have roused the Worm but without the Wild Magic to break the Arch, Foul would have still been trapped and thus destroyed by the Worms rousing.
I took it that the Worm rousing by itself would not endanger the Arch.

Findail thought that TC, in order to save his friends and "defeat" the Worm, would have summoned enough Wild Magic to shatter the Arch.
I also assumed that it was TC *losing control* via the Venom that would have broken the Arch if such a battle took place.

Could the Worm have been defeated and the Arch not in danger if a venomless yet potent TC was weilding the WM?
I think so.

How does that reconcile with what Wayfriend posted?
I don't know yet.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. If I may - how do you reconcile this theory with Findail's statements about the Despiser and the Worm/AoT in chapter 1 of WGW? (sorry, I don't have my book in front of my or I would give you the exact quote.) It had to do with why Lord Foul didn't just rouse the worm himself.

I have a theory about this, but, as it turns out, that theory has little to do with the Arch/Worm duology.
- - - - - - - - - -

Findail's expositions on this matter are ... how shall I say it ... replete with aromatic fertilizer.

As we've both already talked about in the Dissecting the Land forum, Findail appears to contradict himself. At one point he says "If the Worm is roused, the Earth will end, freeing Despite to wreak its vengeance upon the cosmos." But later, he says, "Should [the Despiser] rouse the Worm himself, without the wild magic in his hand, would he not also be consumed in the destruction of the world?"

There aren't a whole lot of reasons for saying things like this. But telling lies and then backfilling them is one way that this can happen.

This is not the only thing that Findail is shoveling.

Here's another one: Findail says, "And if the ring-wielder attempts to match his might against the Worm, he will destroy the Arch of Time. It cannot contain such a battle!"

Wait a minute! Precisely when did the Worm start living alongside the Arch? Neither creation story, in any form, includes the other. But Findail spins a tale where they are together, like a cross-over superhero comic book. I don't think we should believe him.

Another thing: consider SRD's revelation of the necessity for Vain to get to the One Tree.

In the Gradual Interview, SRD wrote:
I think of the "transformation" of Vain's forearm as the catalyst which makes his later changes possible. After all, how can you possibly have a Staff of Law that doesn't come from the One Tree? Vain carries the true victory of the Quest for the One Tree with him when Covenant, Linden, etc. flee the sinking Isle.
(09/06/2004)

The implications of this revelation haven't been fully appreciated here at the Watch, I feel. For one thing, it follows that the ur-viles and the Dead who created Vain and gave him to Covenant planned on Covenant getting to the One Tree, and furthermore they planned on Covenant not destroying the Earth by rousing the Worm. I know Donaldson says a lot about these 'plans' in the GI, but it's clear that the only way Vain could be transformed is by triggering the One Tree's defenses without destroying the Earth thereby.

Further, Foul also planned on these very same things. Foul has said, "Of your own volition you will give the white gold into my hand." And it came to pass just so. If Foul, as Findail suggested, had any plans for Covenent at Bare Isle, he must have counted the possibility that Covenent would not destroy the Earth.

Now, if the ur-viles, the Dead, and Foul all perceived this outcome, we have to ask, didn't Findail? He doesn't seem to mention this, though.

Another implication of the necessity of Vain's transformation is that Findail knew about it. If Findail knows what Vain is, and what Vain can become, he must also know about the necessary ingredient of Vain's transformation.

Of course, he doesn't mention this to anyone. Even though the topic had come up...

Bare Isle was as much a crisis for Findail as anyone else. If he turns the Quest around without Vain becoming transformed, he wins. If, however, Vain is successfully transformed, then nothing left stands between Findail and the outcome he dreads - all the pieces will be available.

So I think Findail is prevaricating his wispy pants off. He's making up a completely fabricated story. First, he tries to scare the Quest away, so that Vain cannot be transformed. Later, he's covering up what happened so that it's significance is overlooked and Covenant feels more hopeless.

In addition to all this, I believe Donaldson wants to mislead us as well, in a sense. He wants us to be faced with the prospect of living with a contradiction; he wants the reader to believe in the Arch and the Worm at the same time.

Therefore, Findail's prevarications were designed by the author to buttress, not resolve, the contradictions in the story. So they all involve seemingly plausible ideas about the Worm. (And, if you don't look deeper, they are quite satisfactory, and make a great story.)

To sum it up: I don't think Findail's "explanations" are honest, and therefore they don't have to be considered as evidence for or against an interpretation of SRD's cosmologies.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome posts WayFriend. Absolutely awesome.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some subsequent thoughts, which more directly answer HLT.

Quote:
"If the Worm is roused, the Earth will end"

If the Worm is the Arch, then this is obviously true.

Quote:
"... freeing Despite to wreak its vengeance upon the cosmos."

This is the debatable part. There's no other evidence of this one way or the other than I can see. All of Foul's other designs on the Arch have included obtaining the wild magic. Maybe that's a clue in itself.

Quote:
And if the ring-wielder attempts to match his might against the Worm, he will destroy the Arch of Time. It cannot contain such a battle!

This may be a metaphorical statement. It may not mean that TC and the Worm are going to rumble inside the Arch, and the Arch will get battered and collapse. (Implying that a more acute battle could leave the Arch standing.) It may only mean that in battling the Worm, TC is in essence battling the Arch; in destroying the Worm, he destroys the Arch. There would not be one without the other.

Quote:
"For this was he afflicted with the Despiser's venom! [...] To enhance his might, enabling him to rend the Arch!

Again, this makes perfect sense if the Worm is the Arch. It is almost exactly the same predicament as we find later when TC faces Gibbon; raising the wild magic to high threatens the Arch.

Quote:
"Should [the Despiser] rouse the Worm himself, without the wild magic in his hand, would he not also be consumed in the destruction of the world?"

Findail does not make a statement, he asks a question. Is this a hint that he is trying to mislead? He doesn't state it, but he encourages you to conclude it on your own.

The question does remain: if the Arch is destroyed, and Foul doesn't have the wild magic, is he in trouble? Or is he free?

Let's stipulate that he's in trouble. Now move forward to Runes. The Earth is threatened by the scourge. Foul claims to have no part in this. Could Foul become an ally in a fight to prevent the scourge from destroying the Earth?

This also adds an intersting angle to Joan's position in this. What's up with Joan banging on the Arch and creating these ceasures? If the Arch finally breaks, and Foul doesn't have the wild magic, he's toast. So maybe he has no intention of letting it that far. Maybe he figures whatever plan he has will come to fruition before the Arch is too severely weakened. Or that the scourge will get the job done first, anyway.

(It's getting to these kinds of questions which are the reason why I post Reading Runes in the Runes forum.)
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Could Foul become an ally in a fight to prevent the scourge from destroying the Earth?
...fascinating, Captain. Cool
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I pay tribute to a simply magnificent series of posts. May I add a small thought...

Wayfriend wrote:
The question does remain: if the Arch is destroyed, and Foul doesn't have the wild magic, is he in trouble? Or is he free?


I think Foul addresses this point directly in RotE. He says that his freedom from the arch is now assured but along certain paths (i.e if he doesn't have White Gold) his enemy may imprison him again. Could that be where we're headed?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my favorite thread here so far.
It's driving me crazy though because I never have the time to "dig in" to it!

Here's a quick one:

If Foul needs the Wild Magic *after* the destruction of the Arch does that indicate that WM is potent, or rather, is a power outside the Arch as well?

I always assumed the Arch and all the "Landverse" within it was a self contained thing, like a helium(wild magic) filled rubber balloon(Arch).

The Creator is in the same room with the balloon and can see what's going on inside but if he tries to do anything he'll pop it too.
If Foul can pop the balloon from within he's free.

I always pictured it as if the Arch "pops" then the Wild Magic would just disperse like a finite amount of helium into the Creator's infinite "world"? "workshop"? or "universe"? and then Foul would be free to use his native power to battle the Creator.
The Wild Magic would be useless outside a destroyed Arch.
But now it sounds like that might not be the case.

Which makes me ask: What the heck is Wild Magic?
(and don't give me the song from the book!)

I think each time I read Wayfriends post and think about it I fall further and further into the Foul=Creator=TC "trilogy theory".
If this *is* all some head game with TC and it's really some kind of dream then I'd say that Wild Magic could easily be replace by the word "madness".
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's clear from Foul's reacton in WGW when he finally had control of the white gold that he fully expected to have the upper hand against the Creator after the destruction of the AoT.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Lord Foul's Bane was wrote:
First he built the Arch of Time, so that his creation would have a place in which to be; and for the keystone of that arch he forged the wild magic, so that Time would be able to resist chaos and endure.

Interesting. Do we read that like "he forged the sword", meaning that he created the wild magic when he created the keystone? Or do we read that like "he forged the iron", meaning that the wild magic existed prior to the keystone, and the Creator used it as material? (Is only one of these correct grammer? I'm not sure.)

Donaldson consistently uses forge in the latter sense, AFAIK.

Quote:
Fleshharrower began using his fragment of the Stone to reshape the molten iron, forge it into something new.

Then he forged them into two immense wedges,

He stamped along behind Kam like a wild prophet, come to forge the Ramen to his will.

You are being forged as iron is forged to achieve the ruin of the Earth.

Was this how Lord Foul meant to forge her for desecration?

Slim evidence, but my sense is that the wild magic existed prior to the Arch of Time.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
I think it's clear from Foul's reacton in WGW when he finally had control of the white gold that he fully expected to have the upper hand against the Creator after the destruction of the AoT.


Maybe, but in all my years of numerous rereads of the WGW I never thought that it was written that it was with the *Wild Magic* Foul was threatening the Creator with.
Rather it was Foul's soon to be freedom.

Very interesting.

I love thinking about the possible "internal universe" senerios.

So is all 3 CoTC just a matter in which of the 3 "minds" or "personalities" (that we call TC) has the WM and then becomes the dominate personality?

Then what the heck is Linden in this mind game?
Or is TC even real?
Maybe the trilogy always has been the Foul+Linden+Creator.
Would SRD make *TC* just an offshoot of Linden's personality?!!
No way.
That would mean flushing away most of the 1st Chron.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Following up with a recent quote. It bears on the topic.

In the Gradual Interview wrote:
Steve Elmore: I am re-reading the second chronicles and was wondering about something. It seems that through out these books we learn things about the Earth and about Creation that we did not know. For instance we knew that the Creator forged the Arch of Time, but there was no mention of the Worm's role in this. I was wondering of the Clave story of a-Jeroth and the Seven Hells might be proven to be more relevant than merely being the twisting of the Earth' history? I have a tendency to look at the Sunbane as the projection of Foul's internal reality, his essence in at least one form, onto the Land, so I though that maybe there might be some metaphysical truth to this legend.

I tried to suggest--*much* earlier in this interview--that I think there is significant truth (metaphysical and otherwise) in *every* legend or myth presented anywhere in the "Covenant" books. What we *know* (in concrete, undeniable terms) is that the Worm of the World's End exists. But as far as I'm concerned, that doesn't mean for second that stories like "the broken Rainbow" or "a-Jeroth and the Seven Hells" are in any way untrue.

We all see the world through perceptual filters. We emphasize some things and leave others out. The various myths and legends of the Land reveal some truth about the Land itself (the creation of the Earth, etc.); but they also reveal some truth about the people telling the story. Those myths and legends diverge because the people telling them are different from each other.

(08/28/2005)

The second paragraph in Donaldson's response seem to agree with the hypothesis I put forward in this topic - the different myths are different ways of telling the same truth: each emphasising certain aspects, each leaving certain aspects out. "If you wish to speak about havens against chaos and barriers between the Earth and the Creator, then we speak of an Arch, with the Earth protected within. But if you want to talk about rousing the foundations of the Earth and triggering it’s internal urge for self-destruction, then it is not an Arch, it is a giant Worm, and the Earth trembles at its whim."

Does anyone agree? Disagree?

He goes further, though, and ties the way the story is told to the nature of the teller. Which, of course, makes a lot of sense. However, I don't think I could at this point draw any conclusions about the tellers. Or even identify who the tellers are. May be at some point ... at least there's more to think about.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely outstanding topic!!!!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hail
Great stuff, Wayfriend!

I agree with you that the each creation myth in the Land is a different version of the same story, just retold from a different perspective, as SRD says in the GI. Anybody familiar with the poem about the blind men and the elephant? Same thing here: each creation myth has a chunk of the whole story, but no single myth explains the whole story.

What I noticed, in reading your posts, is that Pitchwife's story of the Worm seems to be a continuation of Foamfollower's story of the wounded rainbow (which would make sense, considering both stories are of Giantish origin). The myriad bright beings dance through the wound and become stars, and then the Worm rouses and devours them, and together they make the Earth. However, my interpretation makes it harder to equate the rainbow/Arch of Time with the Worm -- although maybe not *too* hard. Foamfollower specifically says the Creator pulled the wounded rainbow out of the Land, trapping the stars here; and the Worm sort of magically appears to trap many of the stars inside itself. All of this could be metaphorical language for the same event: the Creator's children becoming trapped in this world. And I agree that the Elohim are very likely those trapped children.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And since the Elohim are out in the Earth does that make them Worm droppings? Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a great thread. I wish to extend the mythological synthesis even further.

I am combining:
- the Arch of Time myth
- the Wounded Rainbow myth
- the Worm at the World's End myth
- the a-Jeroth of Seven Hells/Diassomer Mininderain myth
- the Celebration of Spring interpretative dance
- the racecar track modern sculpture

I think back when the universe was created but the Arch of Time was not yet put upon it, the reality was in a constant state of flux. The Worm was moving. The Children of the Creator a.k.a the Elohim were fascinated by the universe and entered it. They were methaphorically eaten by the Worm. Echoing the symbolism in the Celebration of the Spring by the Wraiths of Andelain, the Worm was a huge black hole that cut a great swath through the galaxy of stars that were the Elohim.[*] But the black hole was really a wormhole into another dimension called Diassomer Mininderain. (The astronomy here is flaky, but SRD is not the greatest in scientific accuracy.)

Lord Foul started messing up with the new universe. In coarser terms we could say he was fucking with it. When the Creator noticed it, he was overcome with anger and cast Lord Foul into the universe on the other side of the wormhole and put up the Arch of Time to keep him in, or in other words modified the geometry of the wormhole so that its throat broke, making Diassomer Mininderain into a self-contained universe with no wormhole connection back. So essentially he put the Worm at the World's End into sleep before its time to sleep had come, or when the universe was finished.

The Elohim who now found themselves trapped within the Arch/Worm/pocket universe/metaphorical Möbius strip racecar track arranged the disordered universe into having Laws in the manner of Linden putting Jeremiah's racecars into order. As cause and effect were now possible, the universe soon sprouted life.

[*] Incidentally, it may be that the Wraiths of Andelain are the same as Viles - remember, they were "silenced"; Loric is not called the Vileslayer - who are themselves corrupted Elohim.

EDIT - I see this board has censorship software. I'm not in the habit of swearing, but for once I had a good textual reason to use the word I did. Well, I guess you'll guess which word it was with no trouble...
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When was it said that the Viles were corrupted Elohim? Maybe I missed it when reading the books, but I don't remember anything about that at all.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only piece in the books when the origin of the Viles gets any attention is in The Runes of the Earth when Stave reveals that the Bloodguard have only heard rumors of what the Viles really were.

The following things are known about the Viles:
- They used to be "high and lofty" but Lord Foul made them loathe themselves and as a result they created the Demondim.
- They were capable of appearing and disappearing.
- They were primarily creatures of spirit and immortal.
- They were powerful enough to be a serious threat to the Lords of Loric's time.

That sounds remarkably compatible with the Elohim. I think we may have a surprise revelation on the way. Besides, if the Land was so full of Earthpower, why weren't there any Elohim other than the one that ended up as the Colossus?
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