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The Illearth War Chapter 27 & wrap up.

 
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 2:41 am    Post subject: The Illearth War Chapter 27 & wrap up. Reply with quote

The Illearth War 27: Leper

With High Lord Elena’s fall, Covenant is wrenched from the Land, back to the ‘real world’. The ‘fiendish scream’ that assaulted his ears so gleefully at Gallows Howe (p.560), becomes the incessant sound of the telephone, which he clutches painfully in his hand.
Quote:
‘A long, dumb moment passed before he regained enough of himself to wonder how long ago Joan had hung up on him.’ (p.561)


Covenant is shattered. He is lying beside his coffee table, his blood smeared across its surface. The wound that Hile Troy gave him with Lord Mhoram’s staff is now neatly mirrored by the gash he received from the table’s edge. There is nothing left of the man.
Quote:
‘The sanctuary of the familiar place gave him no consolation. When he tried to concentrate on the room’s premeditated neatness, his gaze kept sliding back to the blood – dry, almost black – which crusted the carpet. That stain violated his safety like a chancre. To get away from it, he gripped himself and climbed to his feet.” (p.562)


He makes his way to the bathroom, washes his hands with the care and deliberation of a leper. Eventually, when he can avoid it no more, he looks at himself in the mirror.
Quote:
‘The sight of his own visage stopped him…The wound and the blood on his grey, gaunt face made him look like a false prophet, a traitor to his own best dreams.
Elena! he cried thickly. What have I done?’ (p.562-563)


Unable to stand the sight of himself, he looks around his bathroom in search of solace. The bland porcelain and stainless steel fixtures do their best to comfort him, denying the reality of his experiences in the Land by their obstinate banality.
Quote:
‘He stared at them for a long time, measuring their blankness. Then he limped out of the bathroom. Grimly, deliberately, he left his forehead uncleaned, untouched. He did not chose to repudiate the accusation written there.’ (p.563)


So ends The Illearth War.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrap-up

Whoosh – where to begin Question
Though obviously the middle book of a trilogy, The Illearth War is densely packed with both narrative and plot. Many of the occurrences, such as Elena’s death and the genocide of the giants, have far reaching implications that the reader can assume will be addressed in later books.

Importantly, this book marks the first time the reader has heard from a viewpoint other than Covenant (I think that’s right, yes?). By telling the story from Hile Troy’s perspective, Donaldson clearly indicates to the reader that the Land is ‘real’. We now know that this story isn’t going to end with; ‘and then he woke up’, even if Covenant himself is still unsure of the Land’s validity.

By the end of the book, however, the question of Thomas’ unbelief is of far less importance, both to himself and the reader. By leaving himself open to a leprotic relapse in the final scene, Covenant claims possession of his actions in the Land – for all intensive purposes making those actions and the Land ‘real’ to him, and therefore to us, the readers.

Foul has not been defeated, that much is sure. Indeed, with the Staff of Law now lost and the Law of Death broken, High Lord Elena dead and the Bloodguard corrupted, Foul has definitely come out on top. But the defenders of the Land have made a brave showing. They have held to their Oath, and they have gained precious time; time to prepare for the war which is to come…

For myself, I find The Illearth War a treacherous book that puts me through the emotional wringer every time I read it! It is filled with the potential for hate and despair, filled with personal and moral loss. True, there is great beauty within its pages also – Revelstone and Revelwood, Glimmermere and Trothgard, the courage and honesty of Mhoram, the passionate intensity of Elena.

But I read this book weeping every time, for there is a sadness in the way Donaldson tells this tale that, for me, pervades every page. And of course, having read the rest of the Chronicles, I know how fleeting some of these wonders are…this book tugs at my heartstrings because it illuminates my need for the things I love to have permanency, an unattainable goal for any mortal. Gildenfire particularly exemplifies this need. Ahh, the giants… Sad

Well, I hope I haven’t bummed everyone out! Very Happy Thanks for reading this, and thanks for reminding me just how much I LOVE the Chronicles! (I can’t wait for The Power That Preserves! My favorite TC book!).

And a HUGE thanks to danlo for organizing this group read
Hail Hail Hail Hail Hail Hail Hail Hail Hail

Now there’s a task I wouldn’t even wish on a Raver! (Well. Maybe I would wish it on Turiya!!! Wink Very Happy )
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the two Earths' have perfectly surmized the end of the Illearth War.
Don't we all gasp when hear Tull's Tale? Sad
Or smile just a little when Amok riddles with the Lords? Razz
Or even feel the terror of the vortex at Doriendor Corishev? Shocked
Or pump your fist when the bloodguard kill, Crying or Very sad, Kinslaughterer?
Maybe scream at that impotent rat bastard Covenant for not using the ring? Mad
Or shout "NO" at Elena after she uses the Power of Command?
Or feel blind after Troy looses his sight again?
And you've agreed that we all held our breath as Bannor and TC escape from Earthroot. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earthfriend wrote:
Now there’s a task I wouldn’t even wish on a Raver! (Well. Maybe I would wish it on Turiya!!! Wink Very Happy )

*snarls* Don't make me sic Kiwi on you. (Actually, Danlo's doing a great job, and I just volunteered for a couple of chapters. Smile )

Kin, I feel your pain about your death in Coercri, because, well, I was you. (Remember, turiya was the Raver that got to go play Crush-A-Skull, a new game by Milton-Bradly? Yes, I need to go to sleep before I start posting my mindless ramblings. Ha. Smile Screwy )
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:34 am    Post subject: The Illearth War, Chapter 27 - Leper Reply with quote

At least the last time Thomas Covenant came back from the Land, he had the satisfactions of knowing that with his bargain he helped the Land and that he had a sympathetic doctor to talk to about his loneliness. This time, he has the memory of his bargain producing complicity with Foul's designs to produce a heart-wrenching loss of his daughter, and he has for company only objects that either deny the reality of his feelings or confirm he's right to loathe himself. No comfort to be found for his soul or body. The only message he sees at first is dried blood sprawled upon his carpet like a malign prophecy of his future.

In the twenty-seventh chapter of The Illearth War, entitled "Leper", was wrote:
Groaning, he rolled to one side and looked up at a wall clock. He could not read it; his eyes were still too blurred. But through one window he could see the first light of an uncomfortable dawn. He had been unconscious for half the night.

He started to his feet, then slumped down again while pain rang in his head. He feared that he would lose consciousness once more. But after a while, the noise cleared, faded into the general scream of the phone. He was able to get to his knees.

He rested there, looking about him at the controlled orderliness of his living room. Joan's picture and his cup of coffee stood just where he had left them on the table. The jolt of his head on the table edge had not even spilled the coffee.

The sanctuary of the familiar place gave him no consolation. When he tried to concentrate on the room's premeditated neatness, his gaze kept sliding back to the blood-dry, almost black-which crusted the carpet. That stain violated his safety like a chancre. To get away from it, he gripped himself and climbed to his feet.

The room reeled as if he had fallen into vertigo, but he steadied himself on the padded arm of the sofa, and after a moment he regained most of his balance. Carefully, as if he were afraid of disturbing a demon, he placed the receiver back on its hook, then sighed deeply as the shriek was chopped out of the air. Its echo continued to ring in his left ear. It disturbed his equilibrium, but he ignored it as best he could. He began to move through the house like a blind man, working his way from support to support-sofa to doorframe to kitchen counter. Then he had to take several unbraced steps to reach the bathroom, but he managed to cross the distance without falling.

He propped himself on the sink, and rested again.


That Covenant can't regain his balance here seems significant to me. His Unbelief has fostered a disastrous bargain instead of a formidable defense, and the Land feels much too real for him to move forward with his Unbelief. He feels he can no longer lean on Unbelief, and so he cannot fully right himself until he can take stock of what he's become.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:07 am    Post subject: The Illearth War, Chapter 27: Leper Reply with quote

Thomas Covenant takes stock of himself, and feels confronted with an undeniable accusation of guilt.

In TIW Ch. 27, named "Leper", was wrote:
He gazed at himself out of raw, self-inflicted eyes, and recognized the face that Elena had sculpted. She had not placed a wound on the forehead of her carving, but his cut only completed the image she had formed of him. He could see a gleam of bone through the caked black blood which darkened his forehead and cheeks, spread down around his eyes, emphasizing them, shadowing them with terrible purposes.


His experience with Elena has shaped him in the same way she shaped his likeness in bone, in the hue of life. He knows in his bones that he can't evade responsibility for the Land's and Elena's fates.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:29 am    Post subject: The Illearth War Chapter 27: Leper Reply with quote

Quote:
Unable to bear the sight of himself, he turned away and glanced numbly around the bathroom. In the fluorescent lighting, the porcelain of the tub and the chromed metal of its dangerous fixtures glinted as if they had nothing whatever to do with weeping. Their blank superficiality seemed to insist that grief and loss were unreal, irrelevant.


It's as if now that he's back in the "real world", nothing matters except shielding himself from the deterioration that leprosy can promote, so he can't afford the distraction of grief. He quickly rejects the superficiality of that outlook, and embraces the deeper need to punish himself.
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