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The One Tree, Chapter 26: Fruition

 
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 5:10 pm    Post subject: The One Tree, Chapter 26: Fruition Reply with quote

The One Tree, Chapter 26: Fruition

Quote:
For a frozen splinter of time, Linden saw everything. Seadreamer's hands were closing on the branch. Covenant yearned forward as if he perceived the death in Seadreamer's eyes as clearly as she did. Cail supported the ur-Lord. The First, Pitchwife, and Honninscrave were in motion; but their running appeared slow and useless, clogged by the cold power in the air. The sunlight made them look at once vivid and futile.

She was alone in the western shadows with Vain and Findail. Percipience and reflected light rendered them meticulously to her. The Demondim-spawn's grin was as feral as a beast's. Waves of fear poured from Findail.

Disaster crouched in the cavern. It was about to strike. She felt it-all Lord Foul's manipulations coming to fruition in front of her. The atmosphere was rife with repercussions. But she could not move.

Then Seadreamer's hands closed.

In that instant, a blast like a shout of rage from the very guts of the Earth staggered the company. The Giants and Covenant were swept from their feet. The stone came up and kicked Linden as she sprawled forward.

Her breathing stopped. She did not remember hitting her head, but the whole inside of her skull was stunned, as if everything had been knocked flat. She wanted to breathe, but the air felt as violent as lightning. It would burn her lungs to cinders.

She had to breathe, had to know what was going on. Inhaling convulsively, she raised her head.

Vain and Findail had remained erect nearby, reflecting each other like antitheses across the gloom.

The well was full of stars.

A swath of the heavens had been superimposed on the cavern and the One Tree. Behind the sunlight, stars flamed with a cold fury. The spaces between them were as black as the fathomless depths of the sky. They were no larger than Linden's hand, no brighter than motes of dizziness. Yet each was as mighty as a sun. Together they transcended every power which life and Time could contain. They swirled like a galaxy in ferment, stirring the air into a brew of utter destruction.

A score of them swept toward Seadreamer. They seemed to strike and explode without impact; but their force lit a conflagration of agony in his flesh. A scream ripped the throat which had released no word since the birth of his Earth-Sight.

And wild magic appeared as if it had been rent free of all restraint by Seadreamer's cry. Covenant stood with his arms spread like a crucifixion, spewing argent fire. Venom and madness scourged forward as he strove to beat back Seadreamer's death. Foamfollower had already died for him.

His fury deflected or consumed the stars, though any one of them should have been too mighty for any mortal power to touch. But he was already too late. Seadreamer's hands fell from the branch. He sagged against the trunk of the Tree. Panting hugely, he took all his life in his hands and wrenched it into the shape of one last cry:

"Do not!"


And so comes to pass the end of Cable Seadreamer. Here, at the base of The One Tree. The same Tree Berek Halfhand himself removed a branch from and shaped the Old Staff of Law. Berek feared no rejection, there was no catastrophic end to his coming upon the Tree. Ah, but now, the Earthpower has changed. The Tree no longer allows such things. Now, Seadreamer’s Earth-Sight rings so tragically true. He knew, he knew what would happen if Covenant had touched the Tree with his White Gold. In his final cry, he strove to drive the force of his sight forward. “DO NOT!!!!”

It is no secret to those who know me how hard the One Tree is for me to get through. We’ve come so far, been through so much to reach the Isle. And what happens???

This.

Quote:
Covenant's outpouring faltered. Flame flushed up and down his frame like the beating of his pulse, but did not lash out. Horror stretched his visage, a realization of what he had avoided and permitted. In her heart, Linden ran toward him; but her body stayed kneeling, half catatonic, on the stone. She was unable to find the key that would unlock her contradictions. The First and Pitchwife still clung to Honninscrave's arms, holding him back from Seadreamer. Cail stood beside Covenant as if he meant to protect the Unbeliever from the anger of the stars.

And the stars still whirled, imposing themselves on the stone and the air and the retreating sunlight, shooting from side to side closer toward the heads of the companions. Abruptly, Cail knocked Covenant aside to evade a swift mote. The First and Pitchwife heaved Honninscrave toward the relative safety of the wall, then dove heavily after him.

Destruction which no blood or bone might withstand swarmed through the cavern.


As I read this, I thought, “this can’t be happening…he was supposed to come here…

Yes, he was, but not for the reasons we thought. Oh no, there is a deeper purpose, and a glimpse of that purpose is about to happen. Vain.

Quote:
Findail tuned himself to a pitch beyond the stars' reach. But Vain made no effort to elude the danger. His eyes were focused on nothing. He smiled ambiguously as one of the stars struck and burst against his right forearm.

Another concussion shocked the cavern. Ebony fire spat like excruciation from the Demondim-spawn's flesh.

When it ended, his forearm had been changed. From elbow to wrist, the skin and muscle and bone were gone, transformed into rough-barked wood. Deprived of every nerve or ligature, his hand dangled useless from his iron-bound wrist.


Vain! In the confusion of all that is happening: The angry stars, the death of Seadreamer, the utter loss I felt at Covenant’s apparent failure to get a branch; I just stopped and everything became clear to me. I looked up from the book and whispered, “oh, YES!”. Why else would he don the heels??? Just for safe keeping??

But the stars don’t relent, they swirl incensed by the company’s presence in the Cavarn. Covenant’s power erupts with new force, he becomes an argent vessel of destruction, consuming the very universe as the sun begins to leave the cavern. In his madness, he starts for the Tree, his wild gaze fixed on the branch Seadreamer had died to retrieve for him.

Yet, the stars aren’t thwarted. For every star Covenant’s power consumes another takes its place. And his power grows to catastrophic proportions.

Quote:
Still Linden could not move. Nothing in her life had prepared her for this. Stars gyred around the Tree, around Covenant. The stone boiled as if it were about to leap upward, take shape in its own defense. Wild magic lacerated her frail flesh, afflicting her with fire as Gibbon-Raver had once filled her with evil. She did not know how to move.

Then hands took hold of her, shook her. They were as compulsory as anguish. She looked away from Covenant and met Findail's frantic yellow eyes.

"You must stop him!" The Elohim's lips did not move. His voice rang directly into her brain. "He will not hear me!"

She gaped back at the Appointed. There were no words in all the cavern to articulate her panic.

"Do you not comprehend?" he knelled at her. "He has encountered the Worm of the World's End! Its aura defends the One Tree! Already he has brought it nigh rousing!

"Are you blind at last?" His voice rang like a carillon in agony. "Employ your sight! You must see! For this has the Despiser wrought his ill against you! For this! The Worm defends the One Tree! Have you learned nothing? Here the Despiser cannot fail! If the Worm is roused, the Earth will end, freeing Despite to wreak its vengeance upon the cosmos. 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! It is founded upon white gold, and white gold will rive it to rubble!

"For this was he afflicted with the Despiser's venom!" Findail's clamor tormented every part of her being. "To enhance his might, enabling him to rend the Arch! This is the helplessness of power! You must stop him!"


The words of Findail bring Linden’s senses to full alert. She looks at the stone and realizes that it boils not because of wild magic, but because it is of the same power as the stars. They are standing on the back of the Worm! And the Worm is waking up!

Quote:
A source buried among the deepest bones of the Earth-a source which had been at rest.


Umm…bones of the Earth??? Where have we heard that just recently?????

Okay, okay…Tracie, don’t jump ahead…we are still in the cavern here…

Quote:
This was the crux of her life, this failure to rise above herself. This was why Lord Foul had chosen her. This paralysis was simply flight in another form. Unable to resolve the paradox of her lust for power and her hatred of evil, her desire and loathing for the dark might of Ravers, she was caught, immobilized. Gibbon-Raver had touched her, taught her the truth. Are you not evil? Behind all her strivings and determination lay that denunciation, rejecting life and love. If she remained frozen now, the denial of her humanity would be complete.

And it was Covenant who would pay the price-Covenant who was being duped into destroying what he loved. The unanswerable perfection of Lord Foul's machinations appalled her. In his power, Covenant had become, not the Earth's redeemer, but its doom. He, Thomas Covenant-the man to whom she had surrendered her loneliness. The man who had smiled for Joan.

His peril erased every other consideration.

There was no evil here. She clung to that fact, anchored herself on it. No Ravers. No Despiser. The Worm was inconceivably potent-but it was not evil. Covenant was lunatic with venom and passion-but he was not evil. No ill arose to condition her responses, control what she did. Surely she could afford to unbind her instinct for power? To save Covenant?

With a shout, she thrust away from Findail, began surging through utter and immedicable argent as if it were lava toward the Unbeliever.

At every new lash and eruption of wild magic, every added flurry of stars, she felt that the skin was being flayed from her bones; but she did not stop. The gale howled in her ears. She did not let it impede her. A Giantish voice wailed after her, "Chosen!" and went unheeded. The cavern, had become a chaos of echoes and violence; but she traversed the cacophony as if her will outshone every other sound. The presence of so much power elevated her. Instinctively, she used that force for protection, took hold of it with her percipience so that the stars did not burn her, the gale did not hurl her back.

Power.

Impossibly upright amid conflagrations which threatened to break the Isle, she placed herself between Covenant and the One Tree.

His fire scaled about him in whorls and coruscations. He looked like a white avatar of the father of nightmares. But he saw her. His howl made the roots of the rock shudder as he grabbed at her with wild magic, drew her inside his defenses.

She flung her arms around him and forced her face toward his. Mad ecstasy distorted his visage. Kevin must have worn that same look at the Ritual of Desecration. Focusing all the penetration of her senses, she tuned her urgency, her love, her self to a pitch that would touch him.

"You've got to stop!"

He was a figure of pure fire. The radiance of his bones was beyond mortality. But she pierced the blaze.

"It's too much! You're going to break the Arch of Time!"

Through the outpouring, she heard him scream. But she held herself against him. Her senses grappled for his flame, prevented him from striking out.

"This is what Foul wants!"

Driven by the strength she took from him, her voice reached him.

She saw the shock as truth stabbed into him. She saw realization strike panic and horror across his visage. His worst nightmares reared up in front of him; his worst fears were fulfilled. He was poised on the precipice of the Despiser's victory. For one horrendous moment, he went on crying power as if in his despair he meant to tear down the heavens.


But he doesn’t pull it back, he just changes it’s direction. And at first, Linden doesn’t realize what he’s doing. All she knows is that he is no longer poised to bring down the Arch, no longer in rage. Then, wild magic floods through her.

Quote:
His might bore her away. It did not touch her physically. It did not unbind her arms from him, did not harm her body. But it translated everything. Rushing through her like a torrent, it swept her out of herself, frayed her as if she were a mound of sand eroded by the sea, hurled her out among the stars.

Night burst by her on all sides. The heavens writhed about her as if she were the pivot of their fate. Abysms of loneliness stretched out like absolute grief in every direction, contradicting the fact that she still felt Covenant in her arms, still saw the enclosure of the well. And those sensations were fading. She clung to them with frenzy; but wild magic burned them to ash in her grasp and cast her adrift. She floated away into fathomless midnight.

Echoing without sound or hope, Covenant's voice rose after her:

"Save my life!"


She finds herself back at the waning bon fire of horror. Back by the slab of stone where Covenant lays with a knife in his chest. His life is bleeding out of him. He had sent her back to save him. But what he doesn’t know is, she can’t because he isn’t there! She tries to convey this to him. That she has no power to save him because he, himself, his spirit, his lifeforce is not laying there with him on that slab, it’s in the cavern of the One Tree, enveloped in Wild Magic. And Venom. But, he doesn’t listen to her.

Quote:
"Covenant!"

The sound fell stillborn in the woods. She did not know how to make him hear her. She clung to the link, but it resisted her service. If she had had the entire facilities and staff of a modern emergency room at her immediate disposal, she would not have been able to save him. His grip on the wild magic was too strong. The effort of mastering it had made him strong. Despair made him strong. And she had never wielded power before. In a direct contest for control of his might, she was no match for him.

But her percipience still lived. She knew him in that way more intimately than she had ever known herself. She felt his fierce grief and extremity across the gap between worlds. She knew --

Knew how to reach him.

She did not stop to count the cost. There was no time. Madly, she hurled herself into the dying bonfire as if it were her personal caamora.

For one splintered instant, those yellow flames leaped at her flesh. Harbingers of searing shot along her nerves.

Then Covenant saw her peril. Instinctively, he tried to snatch her back.

At once, she took hold of the link with every finger of her passion. Guided by her senses, she began to fight her way toward the source of the connection.

The woods became as insubstantial as mist, then fell into shreds as the winds between the stars tugged through them. The stone under her feet evaporated into darkness. Covenant's prone form denatured, disappeared. She began to fall, as bright as a comet, into the endless chasm of the heavens.

As she hurtled, she strove to muster words. You've got to come with me! It's the only way I can save you! But suddenly the power was quenched as if Covenant himself had been snuffed out. Her spiritual plummet among the stars seemed to become a physical plunge, a fall from a height which no human body might endure. Her heart wanted to scream, but there was no air, had never been any air, her lungs could not support the ether through which she dropped. She had gone off the edge of her fate. No cry remained which would have made any difference.

Helpless to catch herself, she stumbled forward onto her face on the floor of the cavern. Her pulses raced, chest labored. Reminders of the bonfire flushed over her skin. A moment passed before she was able to realize that she had suffered no hurt.


As she regains her bearings, Linden looks around the cavern and discovers that Covenant’s power is gone, the stars are gone, and the One Tree is now barely visible in the gloom. She sees Honniscrave huddled at the base of it with his brother cradled in his arms. This part always brings me to tears…

Quote:
The sight wrung her. Cable Seadreamer, involuntary victim of Earth-Sight and muteness. He had done nothing with his life except give it away in an effort to save the people he most treasured. She had failed him, too.

But then she became aware of Honninscrave himself, realized that the Master was breathing in great, raw hunks of loss. He was alive. That perception seemed to complete her transition, bringing her fully back into the company of her friends. The gloom macerated slowly as her eyes swam into focus.

Softly, Pitchwife said, "Ah, Chosen. Chosen." His voice was thick with rue.

A short distance from Honninscrave and Seadreamer, Covenant sat spread-legged on the stone. He appeared unconscious of the violence building in the roots of the Isle. He faced the unattainable Tree with his back bowed as if he had broken his spine.


Ah, my heart!! Honniscrave! Seadreamer! Covenant! The One Tree was so hard on me. Not in the way The Wounded Land was. This was hard because after waiting so long for this book I was reading of Covenant’s apparent failure to get what he sought. My hero was broken. Broken, I thought, beyond repair. I should have known better.

Quote:
Stiffly, she carried her appeal toward Covenant. Kneeling between his legs, she faced him and tried to lift the words into her throat. You've got to go back. But she was unable to speak. It was too late. His power-haunted gaze told her plainly that he already knew what she wanted to say.

"I can't." His voice sifted into the dark like a falling of ashes. "Even if I could stand it. Abandon the Land. Let Foul have his way." His face was only a blur in the gloom, a pale smear from which all hope had been erased. "It takes too much power. I'd break the Arch."

Oh, Covenant!

She had nothing else to give him.


His face was only a blur in the gloom, a pale smear from which all hope had been erased…

I mirror Linden’s wail… Oh Covenant!!!

Crying or Very sad
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~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2004 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Furl's Fire wrote: It is no secret to those who know me how hard the One Tree is for me to get through. We’ve come so far, been through so much to reach the Isle. ... then at the end: I mirror Linden’s wail… Oh Covenant!!!

Seafoam gives Furls a comforting hug and whispers: There Tracie it's over... good job. Rest now.

At last we come to the climax of it all for this volume of brilliance. The rats, the eels, the Elohim's silence, Birathairain and the Kemper, the loss of the Haruchai and Brinn.

Now Seadreamer who has found peace...through agony... and sacrifice.

I liked Furl's insight here:
Quote:
Furl's Fire wrote: And so comes to pass the end of Cable Seadreamer. Here, at the base of The One Tree. The same Tree Berek Halfhand himself removed a branch from and shaped the Old Staff of Law. Berek feared no rejection, there was no catastrophic end to his coming upon the Tree. Ah, but now, the Earthpower has changed. The Tree no longer allows such things. Now, Seadreamer’s Earth-Sight rings so tragically true. He knew, he knew what would happen if Covenant had touched the Tree with his White Gold.


Berek was one of the first Lords. Men who were attuned to Earthpower and understood at best how to work WITH it. Thus the Worm wasn't affected by losing a piece of itself. Funny how that one tiny bit of the beast poked up from the sea. None-the-less since Wild Magic is the anti-thesis of Earth-power Covenant touching it would've been akin to the smashing of atoms or in Trekkie terminology matter meeting anti-matter.
Seadreamer knew and saw this yet continued on with the entire journey without attempting to stop it. The Giants leaving their home to begin the quest of the Earthsight and then Covenant using the Dromond to seek out that which (Seadreamer) knew would cause ruin.
Makes me wonder why he went through all of it? Did he know he was supposed to die there? Was this the purpose of the Earthsight? Was he supposed to fight Foul Evil Foul himself but interviened because of what Covenant would've done had he not?

Quote:
Furl's Fire wrote:As I read this, I thought, “this can’t be happening…he was supposed to come here…

This from "The Wounded Land"
Quote:
High Lord Mhoram came soundlessly forward. "Ur-Lord and Unbeliever," he said gently, "my gift to you is counsel. When you have understood the Land's need, you must depart the Land, for the thing you seek is not within it. The one word of truth cannot be found otherwise. But I give you this caution: do not be deceived by the Land's need. The thing you seek is not what it appears to be. In the end, you must return to the Land."
Spoiler:
basically I saw (much) later that it meant he was supposed to pick up Findail and go back to meet Foul...yet...then why?

Why did then, Caer-Caveral's (aka Hile Troy Hile Troy ) give Covenant the location of the One Tree? Possibly one thought I had was that what Mhoram warned... and as Furl pointed out :
Quote:
Furls Fire wrote: Yes, he was, but not for the reasons we thought. Oh no, there is a deeper purpose, and a glimpse of that purpose is about to happen.
Thus:
Quote:
"One word more," Mhoram said to Covenant. "This must be spoken, though I risk much in saying it. My friend, the peril upon the Land is not what it was. Lord Foul works in new ways, seeking ruin, and his evil cannot be answered by any combat. He has said to you that you are his Enemy. Remember that he seeks always to mislead you. It boots nothing to avoid his snares, for they are ever beset with other snares, and life and death are too intimately intergrown to be severed from each other. But it is necessary to comprehend them, so that they may be mastered. When -- " He hesitated momentarily. "When you have come to the crux, and have no other recourse, remember the paradox of white gold. There is hope in contradiction."

Furls hit the nail on the head VAIN Vain
Quote:
When it ended, his forearm had been changed. From elbow to wrist, the skin and muscle and bone were gone, transformed into rough-barked wood. Deprived of every nerve or ligature, his hand dangled useless from his iron-bound wrist.


Now with Linden... One thing this dissection helped me remember a puzzlement was this ... the contradiciton (hope?) of TC going to send LA back so she could do the doctor thingy and save his life. BUT... as shown from the first chrons... the one summoned cannot return until the death of the summoner... Now yeah, TC has the white-gold and thus with Wild Magic should be able to override that "law". Or was he? In effect LA shouldn't have been able to go back at all. But she did before TC pulled her back.
Another one here... In our world LA gets off TC's body and then jumps towards the (dying) bonfire, this would've changed the position of the bodies. TC pulls Linden back but he pulls back her (soul??) not her body. LA should've by all rights continued on and fell full into the fire and would've started burning. ewww Or maybe I'm missing something here? I remember in LFB TC was hit by a police car in the street and wakes up in the Hospital thus showing the body could be moved around while the (soul??) was still in the Land.
Now another thought... Foul summoned TC but maybe TC at the same time summoned LA thus the reason why she remained or was able to return or go?

Dang... now my head hurts.

Great one Furls... good job. (the dissection not my headache Laughing )
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geez, Seafoam...now my head hurts. Wink

I shy away from the weird Earthpower-wild magic physics of translation between worlds. It's about as confusing as time travel.

Seafoam wrote:
since Wild Magic is the anti-thesis of Earth-power Covenant touching it would've been akin to the smashing of atoms or in Trekkie terminology matter meeting anti-matter.


I didn't think of the wild magic as the opposite of Earthpower. I just thought of it as something beyond Earthpower. (I know, that's kinda saying the obvious...)

Seafoam wrote:
Seadreamer knew and saw this yet continued on with the entire journey without attempting to stop it. The Giants leaving their home to begin the quest of the Earthsight and then Covenant using the Dromond to seek out that which (Seadreamer) knew would cause ruin.
Makes me wonder why he went through all of it? Did he know he was supposed to die there? Was this the purpose of the Earthsight? Was he supposed to fight Foul himself but intervened because of what Covenant would've done had he not?


My guess is that Seadreamer did not see the doom awaiting him at the One Tree until he went through the test of the Elohim. Linden sensed that something in him had changed after that. He did that pantomime for her, trying to describe what would befall him at the One Tree (chap.24). This was clearly a new part of his vision, since the other Giants were surprised when Linden told them about it the next day.

We never knew what exactly Seadreamer's Earth-Sight saw, and Linden didn't reach into his mind to see for herself (that would have been interesting). Honninscrave (back in TWL, chap.25) only said that the Earth-Sight described a "wound upon the Earth, sore and terrible--a wound like a great nest of maggots, feeding upon the flesh of the world's heart." So I'm guessing Seadreamer's original vision only saw the Sunbane, and it was not until the Elohim augmented his Earth-Sight that he clearly saw the Despiser's plan.

I wonder if Seadreamer's intervention was also foreseen by the Despiser? Foul was banking on Covenant surviving the crisis at the One Tree, because his prophecy says that the Unbeliever will at the last give the white gold freely into his hands. Obviously how can Covenant give the ring to Foul if he has destroyed himself and everything at the One Tree? Still, I guess Foul had to take the chance that Covenant might destroy the Arch of Time right then and there.

Speaking of taking chances, that brings up Findail. I was asking myself why he refuses to tell Covenant of Foul's machinations throughout the story, yet relents at this precise moment in the conflict at the One Tree to tell Linden? Either he still had to allow Covenant the freedom to choose, or he needed to wait until after Vain's arm had been transformed before he could intervene. If Findail had told everyone earlier why they couldn't touch the Tree, perhaps the quest would have turned away from the Isle, and the Worm's aura would not have had the opportunity to affect Vain. Findail had to maintain the balance of hope and doom, for himself and the ring-wielder.

Thank you for a powerful summary, Furls! Sorry this book is such a struggle for you. I felt disappointed, too, that Covenant was denied his prize at the end, after all that he went through in the story. Bad, Tree, bad!

There is a lot of anguish and turmoil here, but I admire how all the pieces come together in one explosive chapter. I recall SRD mentioning how he focuses his writing like a laser towards the climax. There's plenty of laser power in this climax.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An awesome chapter and you did a good job capturing the conflicts and the emotion it creates Furls. You all did, Seafoam, Matrixman...

Matrixman wrote:
My guess is that Seadreamer did not see the doom awaiting him at the One Tree until he went through the test of the Elohim. Linden sensed that something in him had changed after that. He did that pantomime for her, trying to describe what would befall him at the One Tree (chap.24). This was clearly a new part of his vision, since the other Giants were surprised when Linden told them about it the next day.

We never knew what exactly Seadreamer's Earth-Sight saw, and Linden didn't reach into his mind to see for herself (that would have been interesting). Honninscrave (back in TWL, chap.25) only said that the Earth-Sight described a "wound upon the Earth, sore and terrible--a wound like a great nest of maggots, feeding upon the flesh of the world's heart." So I'm guessing Seadreamer's original vision only saw the Sunbane, and it was not until the Elohim augmented his Earth-Sight that he clearly saw the Despiser's plan.

I wonder if Seadreamer's intervention was also foreseen by the Despiser? Foul was banking on Covenant surviving the crisis at the One Tree, because his prophecy says that the Unbeliever will at the last give the white gold freely into his hands. Obviously how can Covenant give the ring to Foul if he has destroyed himself and everything at the One Tree? Still, I guess Foul had to take the chance that Covenant might destroy the Arch of Time right then and there.

Speaking of taking chances, that brings up Findail. I was asking myself why he refuses to tell Covenant of Foul's machinations throughout the story, yet relents at this precise moment in the conflict at the One Tree to tell Linden? Either he still had to allow Covenant the freedom to choose, or he needed to wait until after Vain's arm had been transformed before he could intervene. If Findail had told everyone earlier why they couldn't touch the Tree, perhaps the quest would have turned away from the Isle, and the Worm's aura would not have had the opportunity to affect Vain. Findail had to maintain the balance of hope and doom, for himself and the ring-wielder.
....
There is a lot of anguish and turmoil here, but I admire how all the pieces come together in one explosive chapter. I recall SRD mentioning how he focuses his writing like a laser towards the climax. There's plenty of laser power in this climax.


I also believe Seadreamer's vision was changed in the land of theElohim. The question is of course, what was his new vision. Did he see himself die or did he see the world destroyed? I lean more towards him seeing the world being destroyed than seeing his own death, and not until he saw TC walking towards the Tree it became clear to him what he could do to stop the terrible thing. Before that moment he did not know what was going to happen, otherwise he could have tried to stop TC anywhere along the journey...and I don't think LF knew that Seadreamer would intervene, too much had happened and decisions had been made, all out of free will. For instance, The Giants, how could he have known TC would meet Giants that could take him to the Island...

And Findail, yes...The whole journey he had tried to persuade TC to give the ring to LA, give the ring to Linden, don't use it, don't do it, this is ruin and so on, then relented at last to tell LA what would happen. It is probably as you said MM, he had seen that Vain's arm had changed and knew Vain had achieved his purpose....and also, the Elohim didn't know of Vain until the Quest came to Elemesnedene and there they tried to imprison him! (or so it seemed). Eventually he freed himself to fulfill his purpose and the Elohim probably altered the course they had decided. Yes they did, they sent Findail didn't they!...Everything changed in Elemesnedene...

And a brilliant move too, to let LA end up in "our" world in this magnificent climax, for a second or two! Such creativity, such imagination! Very Happy
The work of a true genious. I just love this book...

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, great job, Furlsy! I didn't realize that your dissection had gotten past me. I enjoyed it tremendously, along with everyone's comments.

Could we have a discussion about the necessity of Vain's arm becoming "damaged" at the One Tree? SRD mentions this in the Gradual Interview, and I asked a follow up question that he has not yet replied to. I always thought of Vain's injury as nothing more than an accident, yet it seemed to fulfill some kind of purpose, one that to my knowledge is never explained in WGW. Help!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
I always thought of Vain's injury as nothing more than an accident, yet it seemed to fulfill some kind of purpose, one that to my knowledge is never explained in WGW. Help!


His injury could have been accidental, then maybe his purpose was another altogether but I don't think so. Vain was given to TC by his dead and they knew he had to leave the Land to search for the One Tree and a new Staff of Law. They almost urge him to go there.

Caer-Caveral in WGW:
"When you have understood the Land's need, you must depart the Land, for the thing you seek is not within it. The one word of truth cannot be found otherwise. But I give you this caution: do not be decieved by the Land's need. The thing you seek is not what it appears to be. In the end you must return to the Land."

Come to think on it, perhaps the purpose was the same but was supposed to happen differently. This goes for Vain too of course, and the way his arm changed. Think about this:

Caer-Caveral after he has given TC the location of the One Tree:
"The knowledge is within you, though you cannot see it. But when the time has come, you will find the means to unlock my gift."

This was not what happened was it?

And don't you think his purpose is clarified in Andelain towards the end of WGW in the chapter Sun-Sage
Spoiler:
where Findail and Vain merge with the help of Linden and the new Staff is created. The wood (and structure)of Vain is of course essential in it's creation.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, he found the means to unlock the gift, if you allow that possession by Linden was the means. I think that encouraging Linden to possess Covenant was part of the Elohim's overall plan to unite Sunsage and Ringweilder.

See also my response in the gradual interview thread (Aug 02, 2004) as it seems to be very applicable here. [Note also it predates SRDs latest gradual interview response, which seems to back up my theory therein re: earthpower-readiness.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good ol' SRD, always handy with an answer:dlbpharmd: Mr. Donaldson:

Quote:
In a previous answer this month you mentioned the injury to Vain at the One Tree as being crucial to the overall victory achieved in White Gold Wielder. This has sparked something of a debate at Kevinswatch.com. Personally, I have never seen Vain's "damage" as anything other than an accident, and an obvious clue to his purpose. Would you elaborate on this please?

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)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a question.

Do you think that the "Worm of the World's End" is a fact or a myth (internally to the story, of course.)

I mean, we never actually see a Worm. Why do we all believe that that is what was responsible for the awakening of the One Tree and the sinking of the Isle?

The Giants (as Pitchwife explains) learned this from the Elohim, on the following basis:
Quote:
"It is said among the Elohim, whose knowledge is wonderous, and difficult of contradiction ..."


Findail asserts at the last minute:
Quote:
"He has encountered the Worm of the World's End! Its aura defends the One Tree! Already he has brought it nigh rousing!"


But, if the Worm is a "creation story", does this mean it really exists? Would it not be a myth only, which reflects and distorts, but does not reveal, the truth?

Can Findail be trusted on this point? He claims it fits into the Despiser's plan, but Foul himself never speaks of it - and he does love to speak of his plans.

Finally, the author himself writes:
Quote:
Worm of the World's End: mystic creature believed by the Elohim to have formed the foundation of the Earth


"Believed"? Does this mean the Elohim may be wrong in the existance of the Worm, or only in whether or not it is the foundation of the Earth?

Ponder ponder ...
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've often wondered about this too - the sinking of the Isle could simply be an earthquake, could it not?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More from the GI:

*********************************

I have read throughout your responses here that Vain's deformation at the one tree was absolutely necessary to the completion of his purpose.

I have read the series of books repeatedly (THANK YOU so much for the many hours of enjoyment you have provided), but I have never grasped or understood WHY the deformation at the one tree was essential.

Can you elaborate on this point? Thanks!


Well, putting it as crudely as possible: the Staff has to be made out of wood, and Vain isn’t. Neither is Findail. They have to get wood from SOMEwhere. Think of it as a kind of “seed crystal” (I hope I’m using this term correctly). You have a vial of liquid that obviously isn’t doing anything; you toss in a seed crystal; and instantly the liquid is transformed into something else. “Vain’s deformation at the One Tree” is a necessary catalyst without which the eventual transformation simply could not occur.

****************************

My question is: how on Earth could an obsessed TCOTC reader like myself ever come up with an answer like this myself?

Am I alone?
Never in a million years would I have ever thought that Vain getting hit at the One Tree was anything more than forshadowing!
SRD says that he like the GI because it gives him a chance to see what he takes for granted is missed by the readers and vis-versa.
I think this is one of those times.
Thanks God for the GI!
It really makes me appreciate the books even more.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

High Lord Tolkien wrote:
My question is: how on Earth could an obsessed TCOTC reader like myself ever come up with an answer like this myself?

Two statements found in the GI bear on this question:
Quote:
Like (I believe) any creative artist, I have an intractable tendency when I write to *leave out* the things that are obvious to me; but of course those things are usually *not* obvious to the reader. Well, it's the editor's thankless job to stand up for the reader; to make me aware of what are, in effect, faulty assumptions on my part.
Quote:
Maybe I made the familiar mistake (the curse of my writing life) of leaving out things that were obvious to me, although they could not have been obvious to anyone else.

Obviously, SRD blames the editor for this problem. Twisted Evil

Actually, I mean this seriously as well. SRD fought a lot of tough battles to get TOT published. Perhaps the effort spent in that regard caused some other things to be overlooked or paid less attention to. That, and a tendancy to have this sort of problem in the first place.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
I have a question.

Do you think that the "Worm of the World's End" is a fact or a myth (internally to the story, of course.)

I mean, we never actually see a Worm. Why do we all believe that that is what was responsible for the awakening of the One Tree and the sinking of the Isle?

The Giants (as Pitchwife explains) learned this from the Elohim, on the following basis:
Quote:
"It is said among the Elohim, whose knowledge is wonderous, and difficult of contradiction ..."


Findail asserts at the last minute:
Quote:
"He has encountered the Worm of the World's End! Its aura defends the One Tree! Already he has brought it nigh rousing!"


But, if the Worm is a "creation story", does this mean it really exists? Would it not be a myth only, which reflects and distorts, but does not reveal, the truth?

Can Findail be trusted on this point? He claims it fits into the Despiser's plan, but Foul himself never speaks of it - and he does love to speak of his plans.

Finally, the author himself writes:
Quote:
Worm of the World's End: mystic creature believed by the Elohim to have formed the foundation of the Earth


"Believed"? Does this mean the Elohim may be wrong in the existance of the Worm, or only in whether or not it is the foundation of the Earth?

Ponder ponder ...

It would be interesting to read what you think about this now.

Maybe it's like how Hile Troy saw Lord Foul's army from Kevin's Watch. If the Land magnifies internal conflict and Hile Troy saw his deepest fear personified as a veritable nightmare, then maybe the Elohim see the WormoftheWorld'sEnd in much the same way. Where in 'reality' the WormoftheWorld'sEnd is no more of a threat than an earth-worm, their fear is shown as 'making a mountain out of a mole hill'.

The Elohim are instrumental in the creation of the Staff of Law. Berek and the Forestal of Garroting Deep must have encountered them when they formed the original Staff of Law. Or else High Lord Kevin gave them a Ward, (Wyrd or Weird, or Wurd, or is it Word). In which case, the Worm is nothing more than bait on the end of Lord Foul's hook. Because Lord Foul is a rotten bastard, and always has been.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy Luke wrote:
It would be interesting to read what you think about this now.

Well, I wrote this about a year after that post: Reading Runes: A Tale of Two Cosmologies

Wherein I did my homework on this question and then wrote up my conclusion. I believe that that was the best answer from the information available at the time.

Sure, the events of the final two books in the Last Chronicles are at odds with my theory. But I don't believe I was wrong; I believe that Donaldson did a wee bit of retconning at the premise level (which no one would notice if they hadn't deep-dived his work). Not only has he done this many times, he has even stated that he feels free to do so as necessary. So I don't think I'm being obstinate by saying I wasn't wrong.
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