AFBH 7: Pages 78-81

23:36 Sat 07 Oct 2006. Updated: 13:10 15 Oct 2006
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Episode 7. Atiaran Rap, and the first internet expert.

Atiaran’s song and the tale of Berek Halfhand.

Allegedly 78-81, although Heatherly covers much of the pages between 50 and 78, and seems to begin with “Through all of Beauty’s guarder he is last” (p79) and end with “… sharing the oneness of their communal response” (p83). In addition, the action sequence states that it covers pages 79-82.



The intro begins with Julie trying to ask Heatherly a qeustion, but wincing becauase of neck pain. Heatherly asks her what’s wrong with her neck (02:06) and then suggests that she’s too stressed out about Lord Foul’s Bane, and produces as a remedy a twelve-inch body massager, which she applies to Julie’s head and neck. Heatherly says that sometimes using it makes her arm hurt, at which point (03:05) Julie produces a massager from underneath her pillow and applies it to Heatherly’s face. Cameraman Steve interrupts them at 03:22 to tell them they’re doing it all wrong, and proceeds to show them his technique, which they seem to prefer.

The “normal intro” starts at 03:53.

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly prefaces her reading by saying there’s a lot to catch up on (04:23). The first section she covers is from p51-57, where Lena heals Covenant’s wounds using hurtloam. At 04:49, the first of a series of overlaid “AND” titles comes up on the screen, and these recur as Heatherly moves forward with the story.
They focus on the line “…his sole desire was to clasp Lena in his arms and bury his face in her thighs” (p57), which Heatherly thinks is hot, but Julie thinks is gross. They then agree that it would only be hot with someone who wasn’t Thomas Covenant. (05:26)

Heatherly continues with the account of Covenant meeting Lena’s family, remarking on the line “I am Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever” (p65) (05:50), and on Atiaran’s reaction to Covenant’s white gold ring (p69) (06:04).

The first mangling of Atiaran’s name as “Atrium” comes at 06:26.

p79 “Through all of Beauty’s guarder he is last”. Heatherly says this is the start of tonight’s pages, although this is not the start of the song. She then goes through Atiaran’s tale of Berek Halfhand (07:09-10:19). Heatherly finishes the reading/paraphrasing by saying they all gave each other hugs (10:29), which is clearly a reference to the last line of Chapter Six (p83). Note this indicates that they cover more than pages 78-81 in this episode.

The next segment begins (10:42) with a discussion of how strong and hot Lena’s father Trell is, followed by a discussion of the significance of gold in the land. 11:13.

Julie then asks Heatherly a question about p71, and begins the question by quoting:
> Alas for the young in this world! The doom of the Land is upon them. Generations will die in agony, and there will be war and terror and pain for those who live! Alas, Lena my daughter. You were born into an evil time, and there will be no peace or comfort for you when the battle comes. Ah, Lena, Lena.
> —p71

Julie then asks (12:03) “Who’s Lena?”, which Heatherly doesn’t answer.

Lena healing Covenant with the hurtloam is extremely important. He is disbelieving as it happens, but the implications of it (especially regarding what it means for his leprosy) don’t appear to fully register. He is overwhelmed first by strong hunger, then the desire for sleep, and then by desire for Lena. He realizes that this desire, and his other physical feelings, are extraordinary, and wonders if his experience might heal his impotence if not his leprosy (p58-59). He still believes that the Land is most likely a dream: “But a dream might heal other afflictions” (p59).

Covenant meets Trell, Lena’s father, and without realizing it witnesses a second moment of “Earthpower” working (the first being the hurtloam) (p63). Trell is suspicious of the stranger, and only becomes more so as Covenant’s oddness is made more apparent. For his part, Covenant is awkward and also unwilling to address his memory of Lord Foul. When pressed for a name, he tags “the Unbeliever” onto himself (p65), and is immediately concerned that with that name, he has bitten off more than he can chew.

He meets Lena’s mother Atiaran, and it is during this meeting that his disquiet over his similarity to Berek begins to bubble over. Atiaran is shocked to see that he wears a white gold ring (p69), and demands to know if it’s “true”. Covenant gets angry with this, feeling “that he was moving into a world which, in some dim, ominous way, had been made ready for him” (p69). Atiaran is fascinated and appalled by the ring, however, and sings a lore-song concerning, a song that explicitly links white gold and “wild magic”. Covenant recalls Foul’s words regarding the wild magic, and is disgusted by “[t]he idea that his wedding band was some kind of talisman”.

Covenant then reveals that he must travel to the Council of the Lords to tell them that Foul has returned, and Atiaran despairs at this, and at her daughter’s future. Her talk with Covenant is interrupted, and then Trell demonstrates his skill by repairing a pot that Lena broke, a demonstration which entrances Covenant (p74).

Throughout all of this, Lena’s attraction to Covenant, and Covenant’s desire for Lena, are overtly clear.

After leaving Lena’s family’s house to go to a town gathering, Covenant again struggles to understand, and cope with, what’s happening to him. He fears that he might be mad, might be hallucinating the entire experience, but tries to reassure himself that he is merely dreaming. He is still frightened of madness, however, calling it “the only danger” (p77).

Atiaran sings a song of Berek, and then tells his story (p80-82). The story, together with what we know already, strongly implies that Lord Foul is the “shadow” that warps the mind of the King, causes the war between King and Queen, and also twists the Cavewights and the Viles into something other than what they were then. However, there is no overt mention of Foul. We don’t know if this is because Atiaran doesn’t want to talk of Foul directly, if she doesn’t want to talk about him to the mass of people assembled, or if the story is meant to be told as if Foul were some phantom-like force rather than a being.

###Key Misunderstandings

Lena’s mother’s name is Atiaran.

Atiaran/”Atrium”‘s introduction to her song in the action sequence implies that the tale is one concerning how much better the Land is now than it was then, but in fact it’s clear from the text that before the King was touched by shadow it was a golden age.

Atiaran does not constantly focus on Berek’s half-hand, or the fact that Covenant also has a half-hand, during her song.

The King never offered Berek the crown.

“Gravelingas” is the title of someone who is skilled in stone-lore, and is not a sexual activity.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 12:33.

At 12:41 we see Atiaran/”Atrium”, who does a karaoke-style song about Berek. The song starts at 13:07 and ends 14:29.

The clip telling the story of Berek Halfhand begins at 14:55, which is when we first see the King and Queen. At 15:27, we see the King enter drunk with a woman who is not the Queen, prompting a scuffle that ends with the Queen in tears (15:38).

At 15:44, we see Berek for the first time. Berek bears a strong resemblance to Thomas Covenant.

The King tricks Berek by offering him the crown in surrender and cutting off his fingers as he reaches for it (16:39), prompting an extended series of hand-related protests from Berek.

He flees, pursued by the King for days, until finally Berek calls on the power of the stone lions (18:40), who kill the King and his cohort.

Berek holds the staff aloft in triumph (19:01), and the Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 19:06


Heatherly annoucnes that “this guy called Larry” emailed, and that he’s going to be the expert.

Larry appears at 19:26, and is not wearing the expert jacket, but rather Playboy-themed pajamas.

Julie notes that Larry has the same book they have (19:44).

Julie asks Larry how many times he’s read Lord Foul’s Bane (19:49). He answers “once”. She asks him how many times he undrstood it (20:02), and he answers that he just read it the once and was pretty drunk at the time (20:05).

After a brief discussion of Trell and the meaning of the term Gravelingas, Julie asks if there’s any reason why Covenant chooses to be so overtly sexual at this point in the book (20:32), and Larry’s answer is to point Julie to the back of the book, where there’s a definition of Gravelingas (“a mster of the stone-lore”, p476). It seems that Julie meant to ask why Donaldson chose to be so overtly sexual at that point in the book.

They discuss the attitude of Lena’s family to Covenant and conclude “they’re clearly hippies” (21:41). (Or druids, or vegans.)

Julie reads Atiaran’s lore-song from p70 (22:13) and then asserts that it contains some reference to being lecherous (22:21), which it does not.

Julie asks “if they don’t have white gold in the Land, then how do they know about white gold?” (22:53), and Larry answers that the thinks it’s a flaw in the plot. This is followed by onscreen text asking those who know the answer to email.

Heatherly asks what it means that the King’s men “forgot their humanity” and whether or not they were afraid of their own shadows. Larry answers that “shadow” is a metaphor for the Gray Slayer (23:46), and then tells them that the Gray Slayer is Lord Foul (23:55). Heatherly then asks about which is the canonical name, and Larry reveals that Foul has five names, one for each of the different people of the earth (24:11).

Whether Foul has five, or six or seven or eight, names is debatable:
> To the Lords of Revelstone, I am Lord Foul the Despiser, to the Giants of Seareach, Stansheart and Soulcrusher. The Ramen name me Fangthane. In the dreams of the Bloodguard, I am Corruption. But the people of the Land call me the Gray Slayer.

Five peoples, but the Giants have two names for him, and the Lords call him variously “Lord Foul the Despiser”, “Lord Foul”, and “the Despiser”.

Larry gives Julie a bottle of Jack Daniels (24:32) and Heatherly a bottle of tequila (24:44). Julie notes that the bottle of Jack Daniels isn’t full, to which he replies that it was on sale. He then asks them to autograph his copy of Lord Foul’s Bane (24:56), which they do (Heatherly writes “Keep on rockin’, Heatherly” and Julie writes “Have a bitchin’ summer, Julie”). While they’re doing this, Heatherly asks Cameraman Steve for some glasses, and he passes on the request to Adult Gladiator (25:14).

Heatherly asks Larry to sign her breast (25:33). Julie claims he’s written “Navajo bitch”, but that doesn’t appear to be it. Julie then asks for the same treatment, and Larry signs his name (25:43).

Adult Gladiator shows up with the glasses, they drink the tequila with salt and lime, and the scene ends and the “post-coital” segment begins (26:10).

Heatherly asks for his favorite part of pages “69 through like, whatever” (26:30). He answers that he loved Atiaran’s song. Heatherly’s favorite part was everyone giving each other hugs (26:50). Julie’s favorite part (and she explicitly says “of pages 79-81″) was when they found out that Lena’s dad was “really good at gravelingas”.

The end credits (starting 27:29) are non-standard, featuring stills of Larry in Playboy pajamas and what appear to be Hugh Hefner-like poses, including pipe, and some of Adult Gladiator. All stills are in bed. The credits then show the crowd dancing around Atiaran/”Atrium”.

###Words Defined

First appearance of Atiaran/”Atrium”, 12:41
First appearance of the King and Queen, 14:55
First appearance of Berek, 15:44
First internet expert, Larry, 19:26
First spoken mention of Adult Gladiator, 25:14
First non-credits/non-action-sequence appearance of Adult Gladiator (25:51)

6 Responses to “AFBH 7: Pages 78-81”

  1. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    Interesting trivia fact, The King is actually played by Julie’s Dad.

  2. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    The karaoke music is Britany Spear’s “Baby One More Time” which makes a second appearance as the music for the Lord’s song at the Council of the Lords meeting.

  3. kevintel Says:

    As much as I hate to be pedantic (oh fuck it, I love being pedantic), that is ‘Britney’ Spears. I was caught out on this years ago, when I designed in-store promotional material for a crap chain of music stores in Ireland. To be fair, it was the copy I was given, and I hadn’t heard of her before, but none the less a humbling experience.

    I suspect the whole AFBH write-up is a an exercise in focused pedantry. Doubtless Tadhg will correct me, so it’s a win-win for me.

  4. Tadhg Says:

    Ah, the fiendish cleverness of Kev, trapping me in an inescapable variant of “have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

    My appearances on Fantasy Bedtime Hour are exercises in focused pedantry, but the Annotated Fantasy Bedtime Hour project isn’t quite the same. AFBH is primarily about appreciation and to a lesser degree about enjoying the “meta” levels of intertextuality involved…

    Oh, and your highly detailed description of just why it is that you know how to correctly spell “Britney” speaks volumes.

  5. kevintel Says:

    Exactly, and this is why Garret calls me ‘Pedantor’.

    A lot.

  6. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    Britany…Britney….who the hell cares, her career is so over thanks to Kevin Federline that ten years from now NOBODY will know how to spell her name…..

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