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Story-Purpose of She Who Must Not Be Named?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:20 pm    Post subject: Story-Purpose of She Who Must Not Be Named? Reply with quote

Perhaps or probably this has been discussed before, in one form or another. Now, with TLD ending the Last Chron's, I feel it's time to maybe come to some conclusion.

At least, I am personally really wondering about this. SRD states that he only creates what he deems necessary for the story. Yet, considering her role in AATE and TLD I cannot come up with a crucial reason why SWMNBN is in the Last Chron's at all. Any solid ideas?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One possibility: SRD needed a source of power for Kevin's Dirt.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
One possibility: SRD needed a source of power for Kevin's Dirt.


Oh right...and so it goes, Kevin's Dirt was necessary because... I mean to say, it could be, but that shows to me that SRD is building rather contrived story-gears to drive his plot. Would anybody miss either She... or Kevin's Dirt?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiro wrote:
dlbpharmd wrote:
One possibility: SRD needed a source of power for Kevin's Dirt.


Oh right...and so it goes, Kevin's Dirt was necessary because... I mean to say, it could be, but that shows to me that SRD is building rather contrived story-gears to drive his plot. Would anybody miss either She... or Kevin's Dirt?


I wouldn't.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though it does not mesh well with the beggar=Creator paradigm we bring forward from the 1st and 2nd Chrons, one of more satisfying schools of thought on She is that this character represents either the Creator or at least a feminine aspect or counterpart to Creator.

There is a discussion of this buried in the "B*tch Slapped" thread of this forum. After thinking a while on several poster's initial reaction that the blow that flattened Foul had been Creator striking through the just-opened Arch, I contributed this post which led to further discussion.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking that She gave Linden a way to match the heroism and accomplishments of TC.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savor Dam wrote:
Even though it does not mesh well with the beggar=Creator paradigm we bring forward from the 1st and 2nd Chrons, one of more satisfying schools of thought on She is that this character represents either the Creator or at least a feminine aspect or counterpart to Creator.

There is a discussion of this buried in the "B*tch Slapped" thread of this forum. After thinking a while on several poster's initial reaction that the blow that flattened Foul had been Creator striking through the just-opened Arch, I contributed this post which led to further discussion.


Well, it is an interesting theory. Would you suggest then that She's purpose to the story is to bring the Creator into the plot?

If so, is that necessary (in this form)?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

call11back wrote:
I'm thinking that She gave Linden a way to match the heroism and accomplishments of TC.


Could be. I'm not sure though because of 1) the sheer amount of *powerful* adversaries in the Last Chron's and 2) Linden sure matched TC's heroism in the 2nd Chron's.

Sorry to be a bit sharp, I am just really trying to understand SRD's thinking here (and elsewhere).
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am by now pretty convinced that SHE is Diassomer Mininderain.

Okay, I know that SRD states that Diassomer is only one of the many female entities that SHE has imprisoned but think about it. Diassomer is the Creator's "wife", according to the legends of the Clave. To me, she represents the loving and nurturing aspects of Creation, sadly corrupted by Despite into shrieking agony and self-loathing and imprisoned under the Arch of Time from the very beginning of the Earth. SHE almost certainly started with Diassomer's corruption at the time of the World's creation.

There's also a fairly clear parallel here with Eve, original sin and the Fall of Man.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it helps to tie up a few story arcs. Kastenessen didn't really feel vital either but he tied in roger and she who tied in Elena. Not just covenant and foul and with Jeremiah in the mix he probably needed a few more enemies instead of the usual raver/foul combo.

Unfortunately I think it watered down some of these characters and if you count esmer and the croyel it gets a bit thin on character development story. Lord of the rings had a lot of evil main characters too. Balrog, saruman, shelob etc and not all played more than a scenes role.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She seems to pretty clearly be there as Linden's final challenge. She feeds on the type of despair that Linden's been prone to - Linden's story is about overcoming her self-doubt and despair, and the bane is there to make that conflict manifest.

As far as regards the bane as an eternal being who had been cast down with Foul and betrayed by him, I think that whole angle could have been handled better. That she was added in the Last Chronicles meant she didn't quite fit in the mythology, but SRD didn't go to much effort to fit her in in a way that felt satisfying. (Well, he didn't try to make the whole Creator thing fit in, either. He only seemed interested in the Land, and not the stuff that actually lay behind Foul and She's presence there.)

For an example of a fantasy world with a similar three-god system but done much, much better, see N K Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. In that one, there are gods representing Night (& change), Day (& order), and Twilight (& life), they all have a complex relationship, and in the history behind their world one god murdered another and cast the third down to live imprisoned on earth. Their relationship is very well done in that book.

In the Chronicles, however, I'm at a loss as to what purpose She Who Must Not Be Named serves on a cosmic level. We have the dichotomy of Creation and Despite, but She is never ascribed a role that fits into that pairing.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I offer this here as well elsewhere...SWMNBN is Linden..Just not the True Linden or Elena or etc etc... SWMNBN is metaphor for the despair of those allowed to be shaped or created by an other. The heart break induced by others shapes and defines these women.. She Must Not be Named because She is Falsehood. By naming Her you give her credence, viability..So..do not Name Her keeps her correctly as a Falsehood..a Failure..SWMNBN is Failure..the total lack of any Love, the abandonment of Love..Fail.. Linden's Life was defined by the Lack of Love. Her Parents,, Jerrys autism, and TCs death. Love un-reciprocated. As Linden repeated to Jerry..we are not defined by our Failures.....So Linden once she had experienced reciprocated Love with hubby Thomas, is prepared to deal with her own self defeatism and does successfully by forgiving herself and liberating with Love those captured by Self Defeating habits.

SWMNBN is important to the whole story as a metaphor for what happens when you let Failures and Fears define you.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I kind of agree with Lurch, at least more than I do with anybody else in this thread.

Having read TLD, I must say that She played a major role in bringing down LF.

As a side note, there is also a symmetry between Linden being inside She and LF being inside Covenant.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TWWE..The observation of " symmetry" is great. So many thoughts flash thru the brain while reading but soon become forgot. That is one of them. Linden's is an act of Love while TC's is an act of Unification, Inclusive. And even Jeremiahs internal grave digging and then liberation of Moska yeilds a Compassion and store of Knowledge that suggests a future of realistic Hope.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lurch wrote:
I offer this here as well elsewhere...SWMNBN is Linden..Just not the True Linden or Elena or etc etc... SWMNBN is metaphor for the despair of those allowed to be shaped or created by an other. The heart break induced by others shapes and defines these women.. She Must Not be Named because She is Falsehood. By naming Her you give her credence, viability..So..do not Name Her keeps her correctly as a Falsehood..a Failure..SWMNBN is Failure..the total lack of any Love, the abandonment of Love..Fail.. Linden's Life was defined by the Lack of Love. Her Parents,, Jerrys autism, and TCs death. Love un-reciprocated. As Linden repeated to Jerry..we are not defined by our Failures.....So Linden once she had experienced reciprocated Love with hubby Thomas, is prepared to deal with her own self defeatism and does successfully by forgiving herself and liberating with Love those captured by Self Defeating habits.

SWMNBN is important to the whole story as a metaphor for what happens when you let Failures and Fears define you.


I agree that this is on the right track, although perhaps not on the right train.

The principle of Love Betrayed that defines SWMNBN certainly defines Linden's relationship with her parents and what this meant for the person she was at the start of the Second Chronicles. Her subsequent experiences (including, but not solely with Covenant and Jeremiah) are about transcending the legacy of her parents' betrayal. Here, though, I think lurch's point about love being reciprocated (or not) misses the point. A big part of Linden's apotheosis is about love being intrinsically good, real and something that we can believe in.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was rereading the 2nd chapter of Part II in AATE, which is probably the best place to start for clues on this issue. I think Lurch is right about She being Linden. But this is obviously confused by SRD making She be a symbol for all "betrayed women." Linden wasn't betrayed, unless you count what happened to her in her childhood. But if she's still fighting those demons, then what was the point of the 2nd Chronicles? Did she learn nothing?

For these reasons, I suspected that She most likely was Joan. The end of AATE seemed to make this explicit (as I spelled out in the AATE forum). Joan was lost in her own personal Lost Deep. Donaldson explicitly linked her in this way. And we saw from TC's and Hile Troy's example that real world people who die in the Land are transformed into something "larger."

[Death of real world people in the Land seems to have been entirely ignored this time around.]

Therefore, I suspected that Linden's participation in She was only peripheral, given the ambiguity of She portraying all women. But if you reread the chapter I noted (above), it seems clear that Donaldson was saying that She is Linden. He even has a contrived "betrayal" in the form of TC not letting LA touch him, and then he leaves her to go deal with his ex-wife. Linden feels betrayed.

But this is entirely unsatisfactory. Linden being "betrayed" by Covenant is NOT her character arc. It's a last minute contrivance to force the symbol to fit what it symbolizes. This story can't be about how TC let her down, because he didn't let her down.

There is, however, one more aspect that's a little more believable. In that chapter, SRD says that Linden betrayed herself. She did this by bringing TC back to life, even though she knew it would have dire consequences. So she put her own personal needs before the Land. I'm not sure exactly why this is betraying herself ... she is not the Land. But at least Donaldson was trying to make the point larger than TC's contrived betrayal.

But none of this has anything to do with allowing someone else to shape or create you. Linden sure as hell didn't allow anyone else to affect her decisions. She wouldn't be stopped from her own purpose no matter what anyone said (or didn't say). Perhaps you could say that she allowed her need for Jeremiah and Covenant to shape her decisions, but fighting to save your son and "husband" isn't betraying yourself, and it's hardly allowing others to shape or create you. These people were part of her. They were family.

If the point is that she's willing to do the "wrong" thing for her family, then we're back to the same problems she faced in the 2nd Chrons, specifically what she did to her mother. Granted, bringing TC back is the opposite of killing her mom. But in terms of a "self-betrayal," it's the same point: allowing your relationship with your family to drive you to do something "wrong."

This is a general problem for both TC and LA in the Last Chronicles: neither one seems to have learned and applied the lessons of the previous Chronicles. Linden seems to be retreading those issues, while Covenant simply discards them, and says (for no apparent reason) "I'm not doing that again." Why not? It worked out well the last time. A *character-driven* reason for choosing a new solution would have been appreciated.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always thought that She most closely fits Joan character, but the problem is that Joan wasn't betrayed - she was the betrayer.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's too easy to make assumptions about SWMNBN.

Lord Foul may have a certain relationship to Covenant - as a foe, as an aspect, as a mirror, etc. But this doesn't mean Donaldson must have his hands tied, and must have the same dichotomous relationship for Linden and She. In fact, that would be rather repetitive and hence unimaginative.

I do agree with Murrin that She represents Linden's final challenge. She is a confrontation that pushes Linden to her limits.

But it need not be that it is because Linden is similar to She. The more you look at She, the more you see her mother and father than you see Linden. Both of her parents accused Linden of betraying their love. The darkness in Linden, the legacy of her parents, is directly confronted by cries of betrayal. Has not Linden been accused of betrayal her whole time in the Land? By the Haruchai, by the Elohim? Have not Foul and his Ravers always insisted that she would destroy the Land? Linden's final challenge is answering this accusation of betrayal.

Is She Diassomer Mininderain? or Joan? or Linden? I don't think so.

I think the right of it is that She's identity was subsumed by victimization and betrayal. She forgot that, no matter what anyone does to you, you always have at least one choice - the choice of how to feel about it. She forgot that choice, and so forgot who she was.

If She stands for anything, She stands for failure. Not the failure that Lurch describes. But the failure to learn the lessons Donaldson imparts. That we always have a choice. That our choices are our power. That no one is ever JUST a victim. That the actions of others don't define who we are, our choices do. She does not understand these things, and so She has forgotten who she is. When she cries "I AM MYSELF", that is her realization that she had let her enemies and her circumstances define who she was, and take away her identity.

No wonder she filled herself with others. She was looking for an identity and not knowing how to find one. In the end, she only filled herself with people like herself. She made herself a victim by making herself out of victims. And that doesn't work, no matter how hard you try.

If SWMNBN was somebody with a name, that name would have come out. Even Covenant comes right out and says that he and Foul are one - Donaldson doesn't leave it ambiguous. She isn't anyone in a similar way -- it wouldn't have been left ambiguous. She didn't need a name -- she needed to know that she was herself - that she created her own identity.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is this interpretation borders on the esoteric. I thought that since She mustn't be named, then surely She had a name that she mustn't hear but would ultimately be revealed.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlbpharmd wrote:
The problem is this interpretation borders on the esoteric. I thought that since She mustn't be named, then surely She had a name that she mustn't hear but would ultimately be revealed.


Right. Since SRD creates what he needs, this seems odd.

Reading the replies to this topic I am still not convinced of what the Story-Purpose would be. There were many explanations of the possible meaning of She. Yet a meaning is not automatically a story.

Even before thinking of her Story-Purpose, She already felt retconned and not, imho, particularly well imagined. An amorphous, nameless, cloud of shouting souls. (I exaggerate, a little.)

Now that we reached the end, She makes even less sense.

As if Linden's psychological problems needed another mirror or externalization. The thing is, with all of the internal-directed descriptions of what she is going through, an externalization seems rather moot, doesn't it? It's not as if Linden's inner life is unclear.

We could have used more time on all the other villains of the piece, who needed more flesh and blood as characters.
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