AFBH 8: Pages 107-112

22:45 Sun 08 Oct 2006. Updated: 14:02 13 Oct 2006
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Episode 8. Christmas episode

Ian Shoales and Violet are the experts. Triock catches up with Covenant.

107-112, starting around “I’m not your bloody Berek!” and ending with “Let the Lords punish him.”

Ian Shoales and Violet


The intro begins with Julie and Heatherly wearing Santa hats, with a small tree and a plush reindeer toy and lots of presents in front of them on the bed. Heatherly wants to open presents, Julie isn’t sure, and Julie shakes one of the presents around curiously until Heatherly tells her that’s their present to Cameraman Steve (02:22). They decide they can open their presents early, and start with Heatherly opening “Best of Backyard Wrestling” from Karotica (02:39). This is followed by the “present from Tadhg” of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language (02:49), and a 2002 French Rugby Team Calendar from Adult Gladiator (03:07). They give Cameraman Steve his present (03:33), which he opens at 03:56 to reveal a hamster. The intro ends with Cameraman Steve asking “what the fuck am I gonna do with this?” (04:15).

###Analysis of Pages

Julie hesitantly prefaces the reading by saying that a lot has happened since Episode Seven and that she now really hates Thomas Covenant (04:54). She then explains that Covenant must have been really pissed off by the telling of the legend of Berek (05:07), and recounts how “the hot teenage girl” wants to help him and shows him a place where he can be alone and be angry. Julie and Heatherly both hesitate before stating that Covenant then rapes Lena (p91) (05:27). They express futher hatred for Covenant and state that all their previous dislike of him has been entirely validated (05:39).

Julie continues by saying that Lena doesn’t want to tell anyone because she thinks that Covenant is Berek Halfhand come to save the Land (05:51), and that the next morning her mother comes to take Covenant to the Council of the Lords.

Heatherly starts her reading at 06:07, and starts with Covenant being annoyed at being treated like Berek. She quotes him saying “I’m not your bloody Berek!” (p107) (06:14) and then recounts Covenant’s aborted recounting of his message. At 07:15 she misquotes Atiaran’s response as “Mele Kalikimaka, akuma matata”. “Mele Kalikimaka” is Hawaiian for “Merry Christmas”, which is rather apt for the Christmas episode. I think that the second part is supposed to be “hakuna matata“, Swahili for “no worries”. Atiaran actually says “Melenkurion abatha“, which according to the glossary is “a phrase of invocation or power” (p478).

Heatherly continues to the point where Atiaran tells Covenant to run (07:43) (p108), and while describing Triock’s attack Heatherly calls Covenant “Berek” (08:07) before correcting herself.

In describing Triock’s explanation to Atiaran, Heatherly recounts his statement that Covenant raped Lena and that Triock wants to kill Covenant, and then says “As we all do (08:49), which Julie agrees with.

Heatherly relates Covenant’s confusion (p111), summarizing it as his thinking his experience isn’t real (09:15). Julie derisively responds, “how convenient” (09:18).

The reading essentially ends with “let the Lords punish him” (p112) (09:38)

They ponder the meaning of the birds’ silence (10:27), and then comment that Triock seems “really hot” (10:36), before wondering why Triock uses the term “raver” (p109) (10:57).

At 11:23, Julie attacks Covenant for his focusing on the pain of his hand while Triock is trying to avenge Lena, and for his drifting off into thinking about his trip into his town to pay his phone bill.

In pages 83 to 106, they skip Covenant raping Lena, which is obviously critical to the novel. Covenant finds it increasingly difficult to cope with the idea that he is regarded as a savior/hero figure, and indeed with the entire situation he’s in, in a dream that seems increasingly real. Lena tries to help him by finding a place where he can be alone. Covenant becomes enraged, by the above issues, by feelings of loss about Joan, apparently by the wholesomeness of the Land—particularly by the tale of how Lena’s parents married, which strikes him as “a mockery of his pains and failures” (p89). Talking to Lena about Joan proves painful, as does her refusal to accept that he is “abominable”, and when he clings to this by asserting that the Land is a nightmare, Lena angrily responds that she believes in the Land. Covenant asks her if she’s trying to drive him crazy, which is really a question aimed at the entire experience he’s having, and then he attacks and rapes her.

This scene exposes Covenant not merely as unable to cope, but also as entirely wrapped up in his own pain, illness, and suffering as cornerstones of his identity. He is afraid that acceptance of what the Land (whether or not it is a dream) has to offer would threaten his identity too much, and clings to his concept of himself as an outcast unclean, while simultaneously hating himself for being that outcast, hating his world for treating him that way, and hating the inhabitants of the Land for not treating him that way in accordance with “reality”. Furthermore, it exposes him as (at least at this juncture) willing to harm others to defend this identity, to harm them for what he conceives of as “trying to drive him crazy”.

In the morning he is unwilling to consider closely what he has done, although he clearly recognizes how wrong it was. But he decides that he has to keep moving, and prepares to do so. He is still convinced that he is in a dream (p93).

He is found by Atiaran, who wants to bring him to the Council of the Lords, and it becomes clear that Lena is covering for him—covering for him because she considers him a “Berek-figure” (p95). He recognizes what a sacrifice this is, but forces himself not to think about it, and leaves with Atiaran for Revelstone.

Atiaran persists in her belief that Covenant’s questions about the Lords are a kind of test for her (p97).

As they travel, Atiaran reveals her feeling that they are being followed (p100) and also that High Lord Kevin was the most powerful champion in all the ages of the Land—and that despite this, he still brought down the Desecration after he could not defeat the Gray Slayer (p101). When describing Kevin’s ancestry, she states that he ruled the Council of the Lords for a thousand years (p102).

Atiaran also tells of the Gray Slayer’s ascension to the Council, and that Kevin hid his knowledge in the Seven Wards of Lore, and of how the people of the Land gradually recovered from the Desecration (p103-104). Made very clear in this section is that the current Lords are similar to children in comparison to the “Old Lords”, especially Kevin, and that their ongoing attempts to recover the old knowledge are still in their infancy.

Atiaran takes the fact that Covenant knows who the High Lord is (while she doesn’t) as indication that his knowledge is greater than hers, which makes Covenant angry, and in their exchange Atiaran says that Covenant is closed to her (p107). Covenant attempts to discover what exactly she means by this, but they are interrupted by the arrival of their pursuer, who slashes Covenant with his knife. While Atiaran tries to stop Triock, Covenant realizes that he can feel the pain in his fingers—pain that he has not felt since being stricken with leprosy. The nerves in his fingers died long ago, and nerve regeneration is impossible, or so Covenant thought. The fact that it seems possible in the Land overwhelms him, and he cannot grasp what it means. Triock explains to Atiaran that Covenant raped Lena, and they decide that Covenant will be brought to Revelstone for the Lords to deal with and that Triock must leave him alone. Covenant barely registers any of this, as he is entirely wrapped up in the fact that the Land is apparently curing some of his disease, which he knows is impossible.

###Key Misunderstandings

Birds do not actually fall from the sky when Covenant speaks part of Foul’s message.

Covenant is not simply whining about being in pain when Triock cuts him. he is in shock at the fact that his dead nerves have been regenerated, something he considers impossible.

Atiaran does not have mind-control powers over Triock—the Oath of Peace is something that all the people of the Land swear in an attempt to ensure that they never repeat Kevin’s Desecraction (p104).

Covenant is not attacked by birds.

Lord Foul, despite his title, is not a member of the Council of the Lords at the time the book takes place.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 11:42.

At 11:49 we see Triock for the first time, moving between trees in an attempt to sneak up on Covenant and “Atrium”, who are talking pleasantly. They think they’re being followed, but cannot see any pursuer.

“Atrium” characterizes the Council as consisting of “a couple of vampires and a hot chick”, then says that Covenant knows this already because he’s the re-embodiement of Berek Halfhand. Covenant responds “I’m not your bloody Berek!” (12:26) and proceeds to recite Foul’s message. After “within my hand” (12:50), birds begin to drop from the sky.

They proceed walking, and shortly afterwards Atiaran senses pursuit and yells “Run!” (13:11). They run, but Covenant is caught by Triock, who slashes at him as Covenant shouts “not the face!” (13:31).

“Atrium” manages to stop Triock’s attack by using the Oath of Peace like a kind of invocation/Vulcan mindmeld.

Triock then reveals that Covenant ravished “Nina” (meaning “Lena”) (14:03). While she tries to cope with this, Covenant wanders away, and we see this scrolling text on the screen (14:31):
> As Triock explains
> himself to
> Atrium,
> Thomas Covnenant
> is distracted
> by long since
> forgotten
> sensations

We then hear Covenant’s thoughts, his surprise as he can feel his hand. After a cut back to Triock and Atrium, we are again with Covenant and his thoughts, and he has now started thinking about how he was just yesterday in a completely different place (15:08). Golf carts drive by in the background. A flashback scene begins at 15:12, showing Covenant trying to pay his bill. This ends at 15:28.

Another cut to Triock and the distraught “Atrium”, and then back to Covenant, who is thinking about how it would be good to eat some chicken (15:49).

Triock demands to know why “Atrium” stopped him from killing Covenant, ending with “what have Oaths to do with us?” (16:16).

“Atrium” then rushes at Covenent and tells him that the Council of Lords will judge him (16:22).

There is a cut to scrolling text (16:27):
> pg. 111
> “The wild rabid
> swirl
> of dark wings
> forced Covenant
> down
> until he was
> huddled
> in the stream…”

After this Covenant is attacked by birds, culminating in two of them plunging their beaks into his eyes (16:44). This is followed by a cut to more scrolling text (16:54), which reads:

> …and then
> ravens
> pecked out his
> eyes.

The Fantasy Action Sequence end at 16:56.


Julie introduces the expert as “Ian Shoales, social critic” (17:09). We first see Violet at 17:13. Julie greets her as Ian, but is correted by Violet. Ian Shoales appears on screen at 17:28. He is wearing the “expert jacket”.

Ian Shoales’s first words are “what are we doing here?” (17:43).

The first question they ask is Julie’s, about whether Ian can relate to Covenant since Covenant is so pissed off all the time (18:06). Shoales responded by asking Julie to go through his secretary with all questions. Julie repeats the question to Violet (addressing her as “Mr. Shoales”), but changes the end, asking if he can relate to Covenant because Covenant is such an asshole (18:32). Shoales replies “yes”, and then “no” when Heatherly says “and he’s got leprosy!”

Heatherly’s next question about whether the birds in the section were symbolic of anything. Shoales responds “I hate birds. Especially pigeons” (18:55).

When asked which of the following female characters in Lord Foul’s Bane she can relate to most—A) The Hot Chic [sic] from Pac Bell B) Hot Teenage Girl C) Hot Teenage girls at mall— she answers “why not all of them” (1:44:38).

Heatherly asks why Donaldson put the rape scene in the book, given that Heatherly was already fine with hating Covenant for being creepy and lecherous (20:26). Shoales says that Donaldson wanted to give him a tragic flaw, several in fact (20:34). He then points out that Covenant committed the rape thinking that he was stuck in a dream (20:45).

This is followed by a brief discussion of dreams about alligators that Heatherly and Shoales had.

They ask how Covenant is able to remember verbatim Foul’s message. Shoales says that this is due to Lord Foul’s ability to “transmit his message like email” (21:44).

After some more crticism of Covenant, they begin chart-drawing at 23:27 and end it at 23:50.

Shoales displays a chart which is a series of boxes with words and phrases relating to the word “lord” in them (24:03).

Violet’s chart is her vision of the Council, which is a delapidated house with a lot of “keep out” signs (24:49).

Julie’s chart (25:22) includes the Hot Chic [sic] from Pac Bell, and Lord Foul, and the succession-of-precipices theory, and on the right the Council of Lords, which includes a vampire, another hot chick, a bunch of ravens, and Lord Foul.

Heatherly’s chart (25:45) is of a pentagram with Covenant at the outskirts (with “Hate Him” written and pointing at him). The members of the Council in her chart are a two-headed lord, a giant lord, a guy wearing a cape, a king/Elvis-type character, and some guy just not wearing pants.

The “post-coital” scene begins at 26:32.

Heatherly doesn’t have a favorite part, and says she just really hated this part of the book (27:07). Ian Shoales says he liked when Triock cut Covenant’s finger (27:12), and Julie says she liked that part too. Violet says her favorite part is “all about Triock” (27:20). Julie says her favorite part was when the ravens pecked Covenant’s eyes out (27:29).

The end credits (starting 28:00) are non-standard, featuring the hamster running over the French Rugby Calendar. The credits note that no hamsters were harmed in the making of the episode, and also include the phone number of the SF Women Against Rape 24 Hour Crisis Line.

###Words Defined

First Christmas episode.
First appearance of Triock, 11:49
First appearance of Violet, 17:13
First appearance of Ian Shoales, 17:28

8 Responses to “AFBH 8: Pages 107-112”

  1. Julie Says:

    Another misunderstanding is that this scrolling text was not actually taken from the book: …and then
    pecked out his

  2. Tadhg Says:

    Heh, I thought the “Covenant is not attacked by birds” line covered that.

  3. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    Just a shout out to Animal Connection on Judah, thanks for the loan of the hamster.

  4. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    Also, the box that Julie shook had a balled up pair of socks in it and NOT the actual hamster…heheheh

  5. kevintel Says:

    Hmmm… This is akin to David Copperfield explaining that he can’t actually fly, and he uses industrial cable.

    I’m shamelessly stealing that (and subsequently crediting, so shame can’t be far away) that from a fantastic stand-up routine by Jack Dee. I thoroughly recommend it.

  6. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    I wanted to make sure that everyone is clear that we would never and will never willfully participate in the harming of hamsters. Shaken Hamster Syndrome is a growing concern in our society and nothing to be scoffed at. I grant you that it is not as prevalent an issue as Anal Gerbil Syndrome but it’s a growing concern nonetheless.

  7. kevintel Says:

    Dear God, Cameraman Jenn.

    Hamsters. Dear God.

  8. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    Someone has to look out for the welfare of God’s fuzzy little creatures….hehehehehhe

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