AFBH 17: Pages 221-227

20:40 Tue 17 Oct 2006. Updated: 22:05 22 Oct 2006
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Episode 17. “Lord Mormon”

Covenant meets Lord Mhoram, and Helen O’Helen as the expert.

221-227, according to Julie in the intro (02:29), but 221-225 according to the site, 221-225 according to the action sequence (09:14), and 221-228 according to Julie in the “post-coital” section (26:09). Starts with “At first, all he could see were three figures” (approximately), ends with “‘If you wish we will speak along the way’” (approximately) (p227).

Helen O’Helen


The episode opens with a shot of a Scrabble board. It has four words on it: “LORD”, “FOULS”, “BAIN” [sic], and “BS”. Julie tells Heatherly she can’t us “BS” (02:02) because you can’t abbreviate bullshit, but Heatherly replies that it’s “Bachelor of Science”, and then Julie introduces the episode.

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly goes over where they last left Covenant, locked in a room and seeing the resemblance between Berek and himself (02:50), and then says that now we’re about to meet Lord Mormon [sic]. She says that first these guys enter the room, one of them an older guy who’s a little crazy and who is babbling about darkness withering the heart. She describes the other person as “this hot teenage guy” (03:08) who’s carrying a big pot of glowing gravelingas [sic], and says the old guy keeps talking about darkness withering the heart and being late for vespers.

She says “the old guy introduces himself as Birinair” (03:24), and says that Birinair is for some reason still talking about darkness withering the heart. Then Heatherly drinks from a bottle of Old Crow (this may be an explicit Raised by Crows reference) (03:31). She then says that the “young guy” is named Tohrm (p222) and that before they go, Torhm tells Covenant “But courtesy is like a drink at a mountain stream” (p223) (03:50).

Heatherly reads/paraphrases the description of Lord Mhoram (p223) before drinking from the bottle of Old Crow again (04:54), then explains that Bannor tells “Lord Mormon” that Covenant thinks he’s in a prison “because [Covenant]‘s such a whiny little bitch” (05:02) and that “Mormon” tells Covenant that this is not the case, that they don’t know if he’s friend or foe and that he has to be tested (05:15).

Heatherly mistakenly claims that the Bloodguard have sworn the Oath of Peace, and is corrected by Cameraman Jenn (05:29), who says that it is “the Vow” and that it is not the Oath of Peace but a vow of protection. She and Heatherly go back and forth on this until 05:43, and then Heatherly continues reading. Then she says that due to the Lords giving their protection to Covenant, the Bloodguard have to protect him.

Heatherly drinks from the bottle of Old Crow again at 06:14.

Heatherly says that this part of the book ends “where Lord Mormon takes Thomas Covenant to the Vespers” (06:22).

Heatherly characterizes this section as “a lot of pages where very little seemed to really happen” (06:41), but says that it was important to read because it was the introduction of “Lord Mormon”. Julie wants to know “what’s up with Lord Mormon’s face?” (06:51). They struggle with this until 08:00.

Julie asks what the phrase “that seemed to pierce through subterfuge to the secret marrow of premeditation in what they beheld” (p223), the description of Mhoram’s eyes, means, although she doesn’t get it quite right (08:04). Heatherly says that she knows that marrow is in bones. Julie then confuses “subterfuge” with “centrifuge” (08:13).

Heatherly asks what test they’re going to give Covenant, and asks if it’s anything like the “lominator” (08:34).

Julie asks what it means that the Bloodguard are going to protect them with “the strength of their fidelity” (p224) (08:47). Heatherly speculates that they’re in a monogamous relationship, but Julie says they aren’t in a monogamous relationship because they “are womanless and fidelt [sic]” (09:05).

Between the end of the last episode’s section and the start of this episode’s, Covenant is tormented by memories of his trip to Revelstone, which he tries to suppress, insisting that he is not Berek (p220).

Covenant is sitting in darkness when Birinair, Tohrm, and Mhoram arrive (p221). Birinair, who seems a somewhat absent-minded old man, repeats that “darkness withers the hear” and provides torches for light. Tohrm provides warmth in the form of graveling pots (p222). They are both Hearthralls of Lord’s Keep, according to the glossary “responsible for light, warmth and hospitality” (p477). They leave Covenant alone with Mhoram, who introduces himself (p223). Covenant’s first topic of conversation is Bannor: “That Bloodguard of yours doesn’t trust me” (p224). Mhoram tells him that it is not their custom to examine guests before they are rested, that Mhoram thinks that Covenant is not an enemy unless he proves himself to be one, and explains that the Bloodguard protect the Lords and are uncertain if Covenant is a threat—but also that the Lords have commanded Covenant to their care, and so the Bloodguard are now bound to protect Covenant from harm.

Mhoram hints at the tale of the Bloodguard, but tells Covenant to ask Bannor about it. Covenant says he must speak with the Council, and Mhoram tells him that the Council convenes the next day—and asks Covenant if he is an enemy. Covenant says he is not anything to the Lords by choice, and that he does not want to have to repeat Foul’s message (p226). He also tells Mhoram that the blood-red moon is due to Foul’s showing off what he can do, and that the Lords will not like the message he has to deliver (p227).

Mhoram suggests that Covenant is trustworthy because of the others (Foamfollower and Baradakas—Mhoram also mistakenly thinks that Covenant’s possession of Triock’s knife is due to the trust of a Stonedownor), but Covenant insists that those others coerced him into the journey and that he has not had a choice since the start (p227). Mhoram relents and asks Covenant if he would like to accompany him to Vespers.

Covenant thinks of his ring, or perhaps his concealment of his ring, as the one choice he does have. He is still convinced that his only option is to reject the role of Berek-hero that he feels they will thrust upon him.

###Key Misunderstandings

It’s Lord Mhoram, not Lord “Mormon”.

The Bloodguard serve the Lords with merciless dedication and determination, aided by an Earthpower-fuelled Vow.

The Bloodguard are from a race of people called the Haruchai.

Covenant will not tell Mhoram the message of Lord Foul because Covenant knows he will have to tell it to the Council the next day, and cannot bear to recite the message twice.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 09:06.

Covenant is sitting in a chair, and is startled by a knock at the door. He jumps up and barks “Who is it?” (09:24). Birinair (who looks quite like the Unfettered One from Episode 12) enters (09:26), with Tohrm behind him.

Tohrm is carrying a steaming pot with a “GRAVICUNNILINGUS” label on it (09:30). Birinair has trouble explaining himself, and keeps struggling to clear his throat. He eventually says “without the gravicunnilingus we would have no light” (09:52). He then makes a number of unconnected statements about the importance of religion in life, the importance of masturbation, the importance of mediation, practicing vespers, without which they would not have “cunnilingus, I mean, gravicunnilingus” (10:31).

Tohrm tells him “Yes, elder Birinair, just put down the flash-o-sticksfellatio sticks and introduce Lord Mormon” (10:39). Birinair then calls Lord Mormon, and Tohrm puts down the pot and tells Covenant “just cover it when you want to go to sleep”.

Before leaving, Birinair tells Covenant “Remember, friend, darkness withers the heart” (10:58).

Covenant sits on the bed, and “Lord Mormon” sits on a chair (11:08). He is wearing a name badge that reads “Hello my name is LORD MORMON”. His first action is to take out a small mirror/makeup case, look into it, and clean his face. He offers it to Covenant, who refuses.

His first words are “Let me begin” (11:29), at which point he pauses, and it becomes apparent that he is reading his lines from the makeup case, which he is still holding, open, in his hand. He says: “I am Lord Mormon, son of Lord Valium. Be welcome in Revelstone, Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever, and message-bearer. Birinair is the Hearthrall and chief lillianrill of Lord’s Keep, but nevertheless, there is… there’s time before Vespers, so I have come for—” at this point (12:00) he pauses, and counts on his fingers before continuing, “several reasons. First, to bid you welcome. Welcome, I bid you. Second, to answer the questions of a stranger in the Land. And last, to inquire after the purpose which brings you to the Council.”

Throughout this, Covenant looks confused.

“Lord Mormon” then pours some wine (12:24) and offers it to Covenant, who splutters “The Bloodguard of yours, he doesn’t trust me!”. “Lord Mormon” now holds a wine glass, to which his lines are affixed, and replies “Bannor told me that you believe that you have been imprisoned. This is also why I determined to speak to you. It is not our custom to examine guests before they have rested. But I must say a word, or two, or fifty-four, about the Bloodguard.” He then sniffs the wine (12:58).

“Lord Mormon” continues to read his lines from the glass, and tells Covenant that he is as strange to them as he is to Covenant. Before continuing, he picks up The Book of Lord Mormon—a copy of the The Book of Mormon that has a sticker saying “Lord” attached to the front, and then tells Covenant about the Bloodguard reading his lines from this book. He says that the Bloodguard have spoken “a vow, which is not in any way like an oath, an oath which is something but not quite like a promise, a promise which is very much like an assurance, and often mistaken for a vow” (13:49), and continues by explaining that the Bloodguard have sworn to protect the Lords and Revelstone.

He says to Covenant “I must tell you two things” (14:21), and explains that the Bloodguard would slay Covenant if he raised a hand against any inhabitant of Revelstone, but that the Lords have commanded Covenant to the care of the Bloodguard, and so they must protect Covenant and would lay down their lives in his defense.

Covenant’s attention wanders, and he focuses on the staff of “Lord Mormon”, which is leaning against the wall (14:55). “Lord Mormon” notices this and clears his throat. “Lord Mormon” then says that Bannor’s people are “Hu-hibachi”, that they live in the high Western mountains, and that they came to the Land in the first year of Kevin’s High Lordship and made a vow like the swearing that binds even the gods (15:25). He then puts down the book.

He now has his notes in the palm of his left hand, and he gestures to Covenant with both hands outward, as if for rhetorical flourish. He tells Covenant that the Haruchai were a hot-blooded people, strong-loined (at which point he grabs his crotch with his right hand (15:33)) and prolific. He contrasts these racial characteristics with how they have been made by their loyalty: ascetic, womanless, and old (15:44).

He tells Covenant that their devotion has had unforesee prices, and that their only reward is the pride of pure, unbroken service.

Covenant blurts “I’ve got to talk to the Council!” (16:02). Mhoram demands to know if he is an enemy, and Covenant tartly replies “You’re the seer and the oracle, you tell me” (16:08). Mhoram’s manner is bashful as he says “Oh, did Quaan call me that? Let’s go to Vespers!” (16:12)

The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 16:13.


The expert is Helen O’Helen, who appears on screen at 16:34. She is wearing the expert jacket. The first thing Julie says is that Helen has a beautiful accent, and asks if she is from Australia (16:39). Helen replies that she is from closer to home. Heatherly guesses New Zealand, and then Julie guesses Canada, and Helen says “no, a friendlier place, a more ancient place, mystical” (16:52), but this causes only confusion, so she tries “the land of saints and scholars” (16:56), to which Julie says “Ohio?”, and Helen descends to “leprechauns? Green beer? I’m from Ireland” (17:00).

Helen says that it’s time they needed some feminist critique of the novel (17:28).

They do not ask her how many times she has read Lord Foul’s Bane.

Heatherly’s first question is whether, given that Covenant is a leper, they can look forward to any body parts falling off in this book (18:09). Helen replies that she doesn’t think Heatherly should be jumping the plot, that she can’t tell them at this point. And that since Covenant derives power in the land because they think he’s the reincarnation of Berek Halfhand, it would be awkward if he lost that. Julie asks if that’s just about his hand, and whether he could lose any other part, and this naturally turns into an argument about whether or not he has a penis.

Julie asks if it was metaphorical that Tohrm was wearing a Marilyn Manson T-shirt (18:53). Helen didn’t see this, and says that she always misses out on the visuals.

Julie asks what vespers is, and whether there will be food. Helen says there’s no food, and that vespers is an ancient monastic service which is still celebrated by the Catholic Church, that it’s like going to church to pray in the evening (19:21). She expands on this by saying that there are lots of men gathered in a building where they can’t have sex. In response to questions from Heatherly and Julie about whether it’s an orgy, Helen says that it’s when they’re together not having sex but thinking about it all the time. (It should be noted that at Revelstone vespers, at least one woman is present, and probably more than one (p231).)

Talking about Mhoram, Helen paraphases part of his description: “his nose was like a rudder that steered between his perspicacious, wise eyes and his kindly, humane mouth—that’s what we call bad writing” (20:15).

Julie asks “is Lord Mormon Mormon?” (20:21), and Helen says no. Heatherly asks her if he’s a psychic, and Helen says no, he’s just supposed to be infinitely perspicacious. (It should be noted that Donaldson does not actually use the terms “perspicacity” or “perspicacious” anywhere in the pages in question.)

Julie wants to know why Covenant, after coming all this way, won’t tell Mhoram Lord Foul’s message (21:16). Helen says that Covenant is getting off on his own power, that he’s power-tripping using the fact that he has the knowledge of the message.

From 21:27 to 21:42, the camera is focused on Helen’s cleavage. At the next cut, it’s clear that Heatherly is focused on Helen’s cleavage.

Julie asks if they’re going to destroy the Staff of Law in the fires of Mordor (21:48), and Helen points out that that’s in The Lord of the Rings, a different book. She says that the confusion is a kind of intertextual play, that such confusion would be ironic, and that “there’s not much irony going on here” (22:01)—presumably referring to Lord Foul’s Bane and not Fantasy Bedtime Hour.

Heatherly asks for confirmation that they’re not going to destroy the Staff of Law at Mordor, and Helen says no, but that would make a good movie. Julie asks how they’re going to destroy the Staff, and Helen points out that they don’t want to destroy it, they want to reclaim it (22:11). Julie says “won’t that make men evil?” (22:16), and a moment later asks “does that staff bind them all?” (22:22), to which Helen says no, that’s the ring, and explains again that they’re confusing the books and thinking they’re real. At which point Julie says “your boobs aren’t real?” (22:36), to which Helen says “no, they’re not a ring or a staff, they’re totally real”. She then tells them they can’t confuse boobs and a textual narrative. Heatherly summarizes: “There is no spoon, there’s no ring that binds all the staffs, they’re not going to destroy the staffs, and her boobs are real” (23:02).

At the next cut (23:04), Julie and Heatherly are both entirely focused on Helen’s cleavage. While remaining so focused, they suggest that it’s time for chart-writing. Helen asks if either of them would like to address a question to her, to which Julie says “no” and then asks “Cameraman Jones” to get the chart-writing material—and then goes right back to staring at Helen’s boobs.

They start chart-writing at 23:26, on the topic of “What do you think vespers look like? [sic]”

Chart-writing ends at 24:23.

Julie’s chart (24:36) shows three men praying next to signs saying “Welcome to VESPERS!” and “NO FOOD Allowed!”. The three men have thought bubbles; the first is thinking of a vagina, the second of a penis, the third of a cat.

Heatherly’s chart (24:49) shows a five pantsless men and a snake gathered around a pentagram. Also featured are a balloon, wine, and some doilies. And some spanking. Julie says that this is hot, and Helen says it’s hot but not what you’d call ascetic.

Helen’s chart (25:14) shows a number of men inside at sunset. They include two Blooduard, who are shown with erections and swords, one thinking of a “hot bloke” and the other thinking of a “hot chick”; Lord Mhoram, who has “Lord Mhoram (Not Mormon” written under him and who is thinking about an eye; a staff; an unknown man; and a last unknown man who is scheming.

The “post-coital” segment begins at 25:59.

Julie asks Heatherly what her favorite part of pages 221 through 228 was (26:10). She says it was the introduction of “Lord Mormon”, and Helen says “Mhoram”, and all three agree that they can’t wait to see how his character and his staff develop.

Julie says that her favorite part was how vespers turned out to be so sexual and that there was no food (26:40).

Helen says that her favorite part was “the metaphor about the bringing of the light into the world, Thomas Covenant’s dark little cell, because it’s a beautiful metaphor, we all need some light in our lives, even if it’s just the light before the sun goes down and we’re left in the everlasting darkness of Lord Foul” (27:09).

The end credits feature out-takes of Heatherly and Julie staring at Helen’s breasts, Helen saying “the Sword of Lore” instead of “the Staff of Law”, and Helen muffing (no pun intended) a line about “pussy coming all over the place”.

###Words Defined
Subterfuge: A ruse, or a class of things ruse-like. (Not defined, but Heatherly clearly doesn’t know what it is.)
Vespers: A religious service held late in the day (or the term for that time of day). Helen defines it as an ancient monastic service in the evening, one that is still celebrated by the Catholic Church.
Perspicacious: Insightful and observant. Not actually in the pages in question, but Helen uses it. Helen defines it as farseeing.

First use of Berek pictures as backdrop, 02:00
First interruption by Cameraman Jenn to correct a misreading of the book, 05:29
First appearance of Birinair, 09:26
First appearance of Tohrm, 09:27
First appearance of Lord Mhoram / “Lord Mormon”, 11:08
First appearance of The Book of Lord Mormon, 13:30
First mention of “Cameraman Jones”, 23:21

3 Responses to “AFBH 17: Pages 221-227”

  1. Julie Says:

    Ahhh Helen O’Helen. So very hot.

    However, in the action sequence Torm doesn’t say flash-o-sticks but rather fellatio sticks.

  2. Brett Says:

    I like how the “S” is placed up-side-down on the Scrabble board, presumably to make the “1″ into an apostrophe.

    Definitely a quality episode. Especially after the previous one (ep 16), where it wasn’t clear if the expert had even read the book at all, or was just BSing his way through it.

    By the way, I’ve taken the next step now and actually bought the book. This brings up the question of whether one should read the book before watching FBH. Which in turn brings up the question of whether one should watch FBH before reading AHBF. The obvious answer would seem to be “yes” to both, but I’m perversely tempted to try the reverse…

  3. Tadhg Says:

    That’s great! Read all the AFBH posts before seeing each FBH episode, and then read the book! (You could go even further and read only the passages covered in each episode, reading the rest between the episodes, but you might be too much of the way through for that to work now…)

    Naturally, you’ll have to blog about the experience, in episodic chunks…

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