AFBH 9: Pages 129-135

23:59 Mon 09 Oct 2006. Updated: 14:07 13 Oct 2006
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Episode 9. Flaming Woodhelven.

Drew is the expert, and Covenent is tied up.

129-135, starting at “Thinking, Hellfire!” and ending with “like a sack of miscellaneous helplessness.”



The intro starts with a shot of an Eminem poster. Julie has been up all night writing a letter to Steven R. Donaldson, and Heatherly asks whether Cameraman Steve is still angry about the hamster. Julie says yes, since Heatherly is doing the filming (02:15).

Julie then reads her letter to Steven R. Donaldson, in the style of Eminem’s “Stan” (02:20-02:37), and then shows the letter. For comparison, the section from “Stan” is:
> Dear Slim, I wrote you but you still ain’t callin’
> I left my cell, my pager, and my home phone at the bottom
> I sent two letters back in autumn, you must not-a got ‘em
> There probably was a problem at the post office or somethin’

> Sometimes I scribble addresses too sloppy when I jot ‘em
> But anyways, fuck it, what’s been up man, how’s your daughter?

What Julie reads is:

> Dear Steven R. Donaldson,
> I wrote you but you still ain’t callin
> I left my cellphone, my pager and my home phone at the bottom
> I sent two letters back in autumn, you must not-a got ‘em
> But anyways, fuck it, what’s up man, whats up with your daughter?
> Love, Julie

The text that Julie shows to the camera is:

> Dear Steven R. Donaldson,
> I wrote you but you still ain’t callin
> I left my cell, pager and my home phone
> at the bottom
> I sent 2 letters back in autumn
> You must not-a got ‘em
> but anyways; fuck it, what’s
> been up? Man, how’s your daughter?
> Love, Julie

Julie asks Heatherly if she should write anything else, and Heatherly says “yeah, yeah, why don’t you write ‘P.S. We should be together!’” (another reference to “Stan”) (02:45). Julie writes this and kisses the letter.

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly recaps where they left off, saying that “Atrium” and Covenant are wandering through the forest on the way to the Council of the Lords, and that there’s a “stench of wrongness” (03:43).

She recounts how Atrium and Covenant run to a copse (04:14), but mistakes the word for “corpse”, with Julie’s agreement (04:21).

From 05:04 to 05:34 Heatherly reads the description of the dead Waynhim (p130). Interestingly, given its importance to the rest of the episode, she skips the “the creature could both stand erect and run on its hands and feet” line.

Heatherly skips most of the next couple of pages, resuming with “Hail, Soaring Woodhelven” (bottom of p133) and the travellers being surrounded, and then Covenant being bound and pulled up into the trees (07:27).

They wonder about Covenant’s fixation with the word “hellfire” (07:53), leading to Julie speculating that Covenant is English.

They express shock that “Atrium” wanted to “enter the corpse”, ending with Julie speculating that that might be a ritual of the Land (08:16).

Julie asks if there’s any point in the book where Gandalf is going to come in (08:21), then asks if he’s on the Council of the Lords.

They both agree that the Woodhelvennin look like Gucci models (08:52)

Just after the end of the last section they covered, Covenant re-dedicates himself to the idea that he is in a dream, “He was dreaming healthy nerves” (p114), as a way to deal with the impossibility of the fact that he can feel his fingers.

Four pages later and a day’s travel later, he struggles with the question again:

> Either Joan divorced me or she never existed. There’s no middle ground.
> With an effort that made him grind his teeth, he averred, I’m a leper. I’m dreaming. That’s a fact.
> He could not bear the alternative. If he were dreaming, he might still be able to save his sanity, survive, endure. But if the Land were real, actual—ah, then the long anguish of his leprosy was a dream, and he was mad already, beyond hope.

This is completely crucial to understanding Covenant’s character, and actions, in the novel. Yet it also seems ridiculous, because he doesn’t even contemplate the idea that both the Land and his existence as a leper might be real. Admittedly this is obvious indeed to the reader, but Covenant would surely at least consider this possibility. The nearest he gets is in that first quoted line, which discounts “middle ground”—perhaps stating that both worlds are real is some kind of “middle ground” to Covenant, and as such unacceptable.

Later in their journey, they stop at a stocked Waymeet (p120) and Atiaran feels that Drool is testing his power with the Staff of Law (p123). He apparently conjures a storm that assaults them, and Atiaran attempts to flee it. She ignores Covenant’s pleas to stop and find shelter, and after he falls in the mud, he becomes extremely angry, and “a huge white flash exploded beside him. He felt that a bolt of lightning had struck his left hand.” (p124). This is the first example of the power Covenant is able to wield with his ring, although he remains unaware of it, and to Atiaran denies having done anything, despite her considering him responsible for clearing the weather (p125).

The next day, Covenant is suddenly able to perceive the Land in a way similar to how its inhabitants see it. He can see the health and vitality, and can also see that a Gilden tree is dying (p127).He immediately thinks that Atiaran can see his own sickness just as he can see that of the tree, but remembers her saying that he is closed to her (p107), and is relieved by this.

They encounter the stench of murder (p129) and then the corpse of the Waynhim (p130). They think that the Waynhim’s killer is to the north of them, but manage to make it to Soaring Woodhelven (p132). The Woodhelvennin are much more guarded, and much less friendly, than Atiaran expects. They encircle and capture the travellers, and then bind Covenant and haul him up into the trees when he protests at having to climb (p135). The fact that they are so wary, and that this is a surprise to Atiaran, underlines the idea that changes for the worse have recently begun in the Land.

###Key Misunderstandings

It’s ‘copse’, not ‘corpse’.

Donaldson makes no reference to the dead Waynhim’s penis size.

The Woodhelvennin are not gay—certainly not gay as a kind of tribal attribute.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 09:12

They encounter the “corpse” from p129, and Atiaran appears to want to dive into it (09:54) before they again run into the woods.

There they find the dead Waynhim (10:06), with a prominent erect penis that Covenant appears to fixate on while wondering if Drool or Foul did the deed.

Rolling credits (10:43) quote:
> pg. 132
> “And when the sun
> was low
> enough to cast
> the eastern
> hillsides
> into shadow,
> the travellers
> came in sight of
> Soaring
> Woodhelven.”

They come to Soaring Woodhelven and are challenged by Soranal, who tells them to stop or he’ll poke them with his pointy thing (11:06). Soranal and the other Woodhelvennin are all very, very camp.

Soranal gets a phone call and says “yes, they’re here” (11:30) into it before commanding the others to “bring them for the examination”.

After an intertitle stating “1 hour later…”, “Atrium” asks Covenant (calling him “Unbeliever”) what they did in the examination; he is unwilling to discuss it (11:46). Soranal then says they will go to Soaring Woodhelven, and points up at the trees, prompting Covenant so scream “Noooo!” (11:55) and insist that they’re trying to kill him.. Soranal tells him that if he cannot climb, he will not be asked to climb (12:19)—then signals for the other Woodhelvennin to grab and bind him, and tells Covenant “But you will be asked to get your freak on with the Woodhelven [sic]” (12:41) and tears open his shirt.

An extended dance sequence follows (12:42-13:58).

The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 13:58.


Expert is “Drew”, who appears at 14:13. He is wearing the expert jacket. He has read the book 3 times, and understood it all 3 times.

Heatherly asks him about the corpse-entry issue at (15:45), and he tells them that it’s “copse”, meaning “a grouping of trees or bushes”. (16:!1)

Heatherly asks him if “his gaydar went off” when the Woodhelven [sic] bound Covenant, and he says it did (18:03) and that he thought that was hot.

They also ask him about the size of the Waynhim’s penis, and he points out that the sentence actually means “to stand upright” (19:27)

He corrects them on the pronunciation of Atiaran’s name (20:21)—although in doing so he dodges Heatherly’s question about what Atiaran meant when she said “Go to the rhadhamaerl for truth, and the lillianrill for counsel” (p133).

Julie asks him if his version of the book is easier than theirs as it has fewer pages. He responds “my book is probably more difficult” (21:27) because it has smaller type.

They comment that he’s an excellent expert and suggest that he challenge me on “Battle of the Experts” (21:45).

The chart-writing question is “who do you think murdered the Waynhim?” (22:00) and they ask the viewers to send in their drawings—but Julie is concerned about their email account getting clogged, and says “Why don’t you draw it in ASCII?” (22:17)

They start chart-writing at 22:42.

They show a Smallville poster at 23:20, and I think that’s the first time it’s been shown.

Chart-writing ends at 23:43

Heatherly draws the hot chick from Pacific Bell and posits that, in an unexpected twist, she killed the Waynhim (23:55).

Julie’s chart shows the murdered Waynhim (24:14) and she focuses on Waynhim’s penis. The 24:25 mention of “cock’n'balls” is a reference to Stud-Ranch Slave, the book that Foamfollower reads his “gay stories” from in Episode 28

Heatherly asks her who she thinks killed the Waynhim (24:45). Julie, clearly having not considered this, says “I guess Lord Foul, I dunno” (24:52).

Drew presents his chart (24:58) and theory that the Waynhim was killed by his “bondage boyfriend” in an accident.

The post-coital segment begins at 26:11

Heatherly says that her favorite part was “obviously the Waynhim’s, like, huge cock’n'balls” (26:35).

Drew’s favorite part is “Thomas Covenant being lifted up by his bondage straps” 26:55), but he also likes the scene where “they go into the copse and the food was laid out for them” (27:04).

Julie’s second-favorite part was when they found out that “Atrium didn’t really enter the corpse” (27:26).

The end credits involve H and J tying Drew up.

###Words Defined
Copse: A tight grouping of small trees. (Drew defines it as “a grouping of trees or bushes”.)

First appearance of Soranal, 11:05
First cell phone in an action sequence, 11:28
First time “Atrium” calls Covenant “Unbeliever”, 11:42
First explicitly gay expert, 14:13
First mention of “Battle of the Experts”, 21:45
First mention of Cameraman Jenn, 22:21

3 Responses to “AFBH 9: Pages 129-135”

  1. NiallM Says:

    obvious inded => obvious indeed

  2. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    Here’s a behind the scenes peek, the guys who play the first Woodhelvennin were not informed that they would be gay until we got onto location. At first they protested but then they rather quickly took it and ran. Cheers to you guys! It was awesome.

  3. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    Also, I got the weirdest looks while trudging up the jogging path to the shoot location while carrying the waynhim over my shoulder…..

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