AFBH 12: Pages 161-167

23:47 Thu 12 Oct 2006. Updated: 14:20 20 Oct 2006
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Episode 12. Physics!

Covenant sees the Wraiths of Andelain dance, and the first phycicist expert.

161-167, starting at “The nearest Wraith moved forward to settle on his wedding band.” and ending with “Drool must pay for this Desecration!” (p166)

Ted (a phycicist, in case you didn’t get that already)


Heatherly is asleep, and Julie whispers the usual introduction. Heatherly stirs in her sleep and says “Hellfire!” (02:28), then settles down again. Julie continues the introduction.

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly starts by saying that last time, Covenant had just had his ass kicked by the gay Woodhelven [sic] with the “lominator” (03:09). She explains that directly afterwards, Covenant took the “lominator” from Baradakas and hit him with it, and then they decided that he was right in the Land, and then Baradakas gives him a staff.

She continues, describing Covenant walking barefoot and experiencing a feeling like stepping in quicksand or acid or murder (p154) (03:47). She skips to p157 and “Atrium” telling Covenant about the Banas Nimoram, the Celebration of Spring (04:10). She says that the dance of the Wraiths made Covenant have a yearning ache (p160) (04:31). Then she describes how one of the Wraiths settled on Covenant’s ring (04:38).

Heatherly continues with the description of how “Atrium” sees the attack of the ur-viles (05:02), and how she exhorts Covenant to help them (05:17).

At 06:30, she describes how Covenant, fighting the ur-viles, sets his staff alight by touching a Wraith (that was still attached to his ring) to the end of it.

At 06:37, she starts to mangle the words spoken by the Unfettered One who aids Covenant and Atiaran against the ur-viles. This prompts Julie to say “I didn’t know you spoke Spanish” (06:51).

At 07:22. describing the animals attacking the ur-viles, Heatherly claims that the animals are “getting hurled” at the ur-viles. She explains that the Unfettered One gathered the animals to attack, and that he insists that Covenant and Atiaran leave so that they can reach the Lords (07:52).

Julie asks “What’s Demondim?” (08:13), and Heatherly doesn’t know, and asks if Covenant was like a hippy when he was running around barefoot (08:26). Julie speculates that he was on acid (08:38).

Julie asks “when the Unfettered One came, how come it sounded like a bunch of children sweeping?” (08:50).

Between p141 and p161, they skip a number of incidents, the first being Covenant taking up the lomillialor rod from where he dropped it and swinging it to shatter Baradakas’s club as Baradakas comes at him. This shocks the Woodhelvennin—it is unheard of for a Hirebrand of the lillianrill to be struck down during a test of truth (p142)—and they put aside their doubts, welcoming Covenant.

Baradakas then brings Covenant to his home, and after Covenant questions him about his change of heart, tells Covenant that the test of truth depends on the tester being more powerful than the one tested, and that Covenant is clearly more powerful than he is—so the test is useless (p146). But Baradakas decides to trust in Covenant anyway, saying that Covenant is “a man who knows the value of beauty” (p143), and then gives Covenant the gift of a staff that he made.

They leave Soaring Woodhelven to head towards Andelain, and Covenant grows increasingly aware of the Land, going barefoot through the Mithil River to better feel it (p151). He is no longer barefoot when he steps on something that feels as dangerous as quicksand (p153). It happens again later, and this time he tells Atiaran about it She can feel nothing (p154), but says that things must be bad if the Andelain Hills are unsafe. Covenant feels it again, six more times over that evening and the next day, before he finds a spot which remains “wrong” even after he first touches it. Experimenting, he discovers that he can feel it only when he has his boots on.

Covenant suspects that by somehow assaulting him only when he is wearing his boots, Foul is trying to lull Covenant into security—possibly madness—and resolutely determines to keep his socks and boots on (p156).

They reach Andelain in time for the dance of the Wraiths, which entrances both Atiaran and Covenant (p160). The Wraiths are attracted to Covenant’s ring, and in succession attach themselves to it, changing color from yellow-orange to silver-white.

The attack of the ur-viles (p162) changes the scene dramatically, and Covenant is momentarily paralyzed while Atiaran goes to try to fight the ur-viles (p163). Covenant regains his volition and charges towards the heart of the Dance, meeting the ur-vile leader there. Covenant uses a Wraith attached to his ring to light his staff, and then tries to combat the ur-vile leader with it. But the ur-vile is too strong, and snuffs out the flame (p164).

Atiaran’s intervention grants Covenant a reprieve, and then a newcomer arrives, apparently with woodland animals under his command (p165). These animals distract the ur-viles, and the newcomer tells Atiaran and Covenant to leave, that their message must get through (p166). They flee, and when they hear his death cry, Atiaran reveals that the newcomer was an Unfettered One (p167)—one of those who study at the Loresraat but turn away to pursue private dreams in isolation (p106). She then blames herself for the carnage at the Dance, and for the fact that there will be no more Celebrations of Spring, and demands that Covenant strike her. He does not do so, and they continue their journey throughout the night.

That Foul may be trying to induce Covenant to “get comfortable” in the Land implies cunning (perhaps a lot of cunning, if Foul is using reverse psychology and in fact wants Covenant to be uncomfortable and feel like an outsider) and some ability to detect and target things like Covenant’s clothing. If Foul can do this, does he also know where Covenant is at all times? Is Foul playing a much longer game, and trying to influence Covenant’s behavior not merely in the short term, and not merely in the delivery of the message to the Lords, but for a much longer period (i.e. into the sequels)?

One issue never made entirely clear here is how the Unfettered One knew of the message thet Covenant was carrying. It’s possible he somehow got this information from the Woodhelvennin.

###Key Misunderstandings

The animals brought by the Unfettered One hurl themselves at the ur-viles, and are not hurled.

It is extremely unlikely that Covenant’s white gold ring is a superconductor.

Covenant only walks barefoot through the Mithil River, not for any of the rest of his journey.

Covenant does not feel the “wrongness” due to a bad case of athlete’s foot.

Covenant and Atiaran are not on any psychotropic drugs as they witness the Wraiths dancing.

The ur-vile leader is not Darth Maul.

There was no black hole present at any point.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 09:20.

It opens with “Atrium” and Covenant gaily loping down hillside.

At 10:26, “Atrium” tells Covenant that they are in time for the Banas Nimoram, the Celebration of Spring.

At 10:36 we see the Wraiths of Andelain, represented by red CGI effects. From this point until 11:43, Covenant and “Atrium” act as if they are tripping on psychotropic drugs.

At 11:43, “Atrium” notices the ur-viles entering the area. The ur-viles are represented as masked, black-clad humanoid figures (11:48). Their leader says “Feedin’ time, boys” at 12:03. “Atrium” begs Covenant for help, telling him that the ur-viles will eat all the Wraiths (12:08). Covenant doesn’t appear to be entirely lucid, saying “what the fuck?” (12:32), which prompts “Atrium” to say “oh, fuck you” and run to attack the ur-viles.

Covenant runs by her, and she says “Careful, careful, Unbeliever, they’re dim-sum, dim, I mean, demondee, demondum, dims, demondin”.

Covenant reaches the ur-vile leader and tells him to stop eating the Wraiths (13:04). After looking nervous in front of the unimpressed ur-viles, Covenant says “eat my Wraith, motherfucker” and shoves his ring towards the ur-vile leader, causing all the ur-viles to step back (13:26). Then the ur-vile leader draws his weapon (in fact a Darth Maul red double-bladed lightsaber). Covenant hits his ring off his staff, causing it to come alight (13:38), and battles with the ur-vile leader. At 13:53, the flame goes out, and Covenant is left with a plain staff. At 14:06 the ur-vile leader knocks him to the ground, but is prevented from delivering the killing stroke by “Atrium”, who cries “Mele melikimaka, hakuna matata!” and holds his arm. He shakes her off and returns to Covenant just before the arrival of the Unfettered One (14:17), who shouts “Meliki ha malak, yo no soY tu pollo” (I don’t know if this means anything, apart from the last part meaning “chicken” in Spanishthe latter phrase means “I am not your chicken” in Spanish—thanks Jenn!) and starts throwing animals (first a plush chicken toy) at the ur-vile leader.

At 14:24 the Unfettered One shouts “rise, my children” and hurls a snake, followed by other stuffed toy animals, at the ur-viles, who do battle with them.

The Unfettered One tells “Atrium” that they must leave. At 15:13, the first sign of his being outpowered by the ur-viles is seen when animals are hurled back at him. He throws them at the ur-viles again, shouting “how d’ya like them monkeys?”

The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 15:23.


The expert is Ted, who appears at 15:36. He is wearing the expert jacket and an Einstein T-shirt. He aggressively gets into bed, shoving both Heatherly and Julie around as he does so. Julie says “he might be our most aggressive expert ever” (15:50). He follows this up by putting his arms around both of them (15:54).

He has read Lord Foul’s Bane 3 times (16:03) and understood it 2 times (16:13). He is a physicist (16:17).

Heatherly asks him to explain, with the laws of physics, how Covenant lit his staff on fire (16:33). Ted’s take on it is that the white gold ring that Covenant wears is a superconductor, and so it can start a current going with no resistance. This is more or less nonsense, although any “physics-based” explanation can claim that physical laws work differently in the Land—which they do, because of magic, and so it could be that one of the properties of Covenant’s magical ring is that it’s a superconductor. However, it’s clear that it’s not a real fire, but some kind of magical fire, powered by a Wraith, that burns on Covenant’s staff.

At 17:26 Ted claims that the sequence in which Covenant feels “wrongness” through his feet is caused by a bad case of athlete’s foot. He then says that the whole book is like an acid trip, which Heatherly picks up on, asking “what if the whole book is like an acid trip?” (17:45). This prompts Ted to ask if they’ve actually read the book. He seems indignant that he’s not being asked serious questions (18:27), and they placate him with Jaegermeister.

Julie asks him why the head of the ur-viles was Darth Maul (19:15) and he replies that this was not the case, although they’re not convinced.

Heatherly asks why the Unfettered One looked like Gandalf, prompting Julie to ask “was that Gandalf?” (19:42). Ted appears quite confused by this, and says that he doesn’t remember that the book described what the Unfettered One looked like. (In fact, the book’s main adjective for the Unfettered One is “hulking” (p165, which doesn’t sound much like Gandalf.) Ted does agree that he was tossing animals at the ur-viles, but this is not the case. Julie asks “what does ‘unfettered’ mean?” (19:51) but Ted doesn’t answer, as he is saying that the Unfettered One looked like “a woodsy kind of person”.

Julie asks if the act of attacking the ur-viles isn’t rather unlike Covenant’s character (20:31). Ted answers that he was not trying to save the Wraiths, that the Wraits were little pockets of electromagnetic intensity, that they were singularities. Heatherly disputes this, but Ted doesn’t take kindly to her interruption, and Julie castigates her for it. Ted continues, claiming that Covenant was using his ring to charge up the eletromagnetic singularities, making them more intense, and that he was obviously trying to make some physical reaction happen, and that at the center of all this was a black void, which was a black hole. Ted claims that Covenant was running down there to try to stop the black hole from swallowing up all the other electromagnetic singularities (21:44). As he makes this claim, both Heatherly and Julie mock him behind his back.

Julie and Heatherly ask if the Unfettered One was throwing animals into the black hole to try to “fill it”, which Ted says was the case (21:58), which Julie and Heatherly both find hilarious.

At 22:13, Julie says “I realize now that I don’t understand anything that’s happening in this book.”

Ted asks them both about their hair color, and Julie says that she dyes her dark brown hair black because she “wants to be like a black hole” (22:40). Heatherly asks if this is so that it’ll suck things toward it, and Julie says “you should throw some animals at it”.

Heatherly starts another question, but is interrupted as Julie is hit in the head by a plush toy toucan (22:54). Her response to this is “ow! Fuck!”, and she and Heatherly ask Cameraman Jenn why she did that, to which Cameraman Jenn replies “I was trying to plug the black hole that was starting at your head” (23:05). Julie replies “I think it worked!”

They start chart-writing at 23:29, on the topic of “What do you think it looked like when the Unfettered One was throwing all those animals into the black hole?”

Chart-writing ends at 24:30.

Julie’s chart (24:47) shows the black hole, Covenant watching it in horror, as the Unfettered One hurls animals into it in an attempt to save the Wraiths.

Heatherly’s chart (25:58) also shows the Unfettered One throwing animals into the black hole while telling them “you can do it”.

Ted’s chart (25:28) shows the Unfettered One throwing animals (specifically gerbils) into the black hole as well, but with the addition of a formula at the top. He claims it’s one of Maxwell’s equations governing magnetic fields. It looks like the equation for a changing magnetic flux and the electric field (this equation describes how electric motors and generators work, and looks like this:
Maxwell's equation for changing magnetic flux and the electric field
). Ted claims that this equation governs the existence of the Wraiths themselves (26:31).

The “post-coital” segment begins at 26:38.

Julie says her favorite part was when Darth Maul was fighting Thomas Covenant and the Wraiths (27:01).

Heatherly says that her favorite part was when the Wraiths were doing their dance (27:13).

Ted’s favorite part was the whole “black hole idea” (27:23).

The end credits are plain scrolling text.

###Words Defined
Unfettered: Not defined in the episode, but Julie asks. It means “not bound by chains”.

First mention of ur-viles, 05:02
First appearance of ur-viles, 11:48
First appearance of the Unfettered One, 14:17
First physicist expert, 15:36
First plush toy thrown at on of the girls, 22:54
First mention of Erisian in the credits (Urvile 5), 28:08

2 Responses to “AFBH 12: Pages 161-167”

  1. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    “Yo no soy tu pollo” was the actual quote in spanish and it translates to “I am not your chicken.”

  2. Cameraman Jenn Says:

    OH!!! and you forgot to note that when Darth Maul flings off Atrium during the fight scene he says, “Step off Bitch!” hehehehehe….I love that line.

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