In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Dreams never forgive....

One of the most thought provoking books I ever read was by Stephen Donaldson. It's very seldom that you find an epic fantasy series that really breaks from the mold. One example would be Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herlad Mage with a homosexual protagonist, but nothing compares to Donaldson's Thomas Covenant Unebeliever. What can you say when the hero protagonist of your story is a bitter and cynical man whose first action upon being taken to a paradise beyond his imagination is to violently rape the girl who was trying to help him. I recommend this series to everyone...and it read more like a philosophical text to me than epic fantasy. Guilt, redemption, faith, sacrifice, cowardess....even all these years later those books still hold special place in my heart. An impotent man granted power in a fantasy world that promises suicide in his reality. Ah bitterness, my old friend.

This power is a paradox,
because Power does not exist without Law,
and wild magic has no Law;
and white gold is a paradox,
because it speaks for the bone of life,
and has no part of the Land.

And he who wields wild white magic gold,
is a paradox-
for he is everything and nothing, hero and fool,
potent and helpless-
and with one word of truth or treachery
he will save or damn the Earth
because he is mad and sane,
cold and passionate,
lost and found.


Foamfollower's question caught him wandering.

"Are you a storyteller, Thomas Covenant?"

Absently, he replied, "I was, once."

"And you gave it up? Ah, that is as sad a tale in three words as any you might have told me. But a life without a tale is like a sea without salt. How do you live?"

Covenant folded his arms across the gunwales and rested his chin on them. As the boat moved, Andelain opened constantly in front of him like a bud; but he ignored it, concentrated instead on the plaint of water past the prow. Unconciously, he cleanched his fist over his ring.

"I live."

"Another?" Foamfollower returned. "In two words, a story sadder than the first. Say no more, with one word you will make me weep."


He knew he was going to pass out, wanted hungrily to pass out, but before he lost conciousness, the hurt in his chest made him say, "Giant, I..I need friends."

"Why do you believe that you have none?"

Covenant blinked and saw everything he had done in the Land. "Don't be ridiculous."

"Then you believe we are real."

"What?" Covenant groped for the Giant's meaning with hands which had no fingers.

"You think us capable of not forgiving you," Foamfollower explained. "Who would forgive you more readily than your dream?"

"No," the Unbeliever said. "Dreams....never forgive."

Then he lost the firelight and Foamfollower's kind face and, stumbled into sleep.

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