AFBH 18: Pages 228-258

23:58 Wed 18 Oct 2006. Updated: 10:43 25 Oct 2006
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Episode 18. The Council of the Lords

Foamfollower and Covenant before the Council.

228-258, starting with “None of this is happening” (p235), ending with “together began to sing” (approximately) (p258).



They say that they keep getting mail asking when they’re going to go to City Hall, and don’t understand why they would need to go there (presumably this is in reference to the action sequence in Episode 16, which featured a shot of the front of City Hall). They are then interrupted by what they claim is their neighbors having sex (actually sounds from novelty toys). Cameraman Jenn tells them they’re rolling (02:26), and Julie says they don’t have time for distractions because they’re covering thirty pages (02:35).

At 02:47 the fade-in is to both of them looking freshly showered. Julie says “wow, Heatherly, it sure is nice to get a shower in” (02:48). Heatherly agrees that it was refreshing, and they do the usual intro spiel.

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly starts out by saying “Oh my god, thirty pages” (03:25) and says that there were so many pages that she had to take notes. She says that the last time they saw Covenant, he had met “Lord Mormon” and they took off to go to Vespers.

She starts with Covenant moaning “None of this is happening” (p235) (03:42), and describes Covenant clawing the arras off the wall, but does not include the fact that he threw it off his balcony.

She relates that Covenant wakes up the next morning and goes to the Close, the chamber of the Council of the Lords, and that Foamfollower, four Bloodguard, and the Council of the Lords are there. She reads Prothall’s introduction, covering the names of the other Lords, and then starts into Foamfollower’s words to the Council, skimming over those but covering the fact that Foamfollower asks for Gildenlode rudders (although she thinks that Foamfollower asks for only one rudder) and that the Council agrees to the request (05:42).

She reads/paraphrases Covenant reading Lord Foul’s message (skipping the last two paragraphs), and correctly pronounces Osondrea’s cry of Melenkurion Abatha (06:26).

She says that the Lords demand to know why they should trust Covenant, and that Covenant in anger “busts out the gold ring” (06:42), which, she says, causes the Lords to “shut the fuck up” (06:49) and then “freak out, stand up, and sing, like, a really freaky song” (06:55), to which Julie says “oh, shit” and starts laughing.

They repeat that they covered a lot, thirty pages, and Julie says “and yet it only seemed like five” (07:14). Heatherly says that they should keep the analysis really short so that they can ask the expert more questions.

Heatherly says she likes the door wardens saying “If there is ill in your heart, leave it here. There is no room for it within” (p230) outside the Vespers ceremony, describing it as Covenant being told to “leave his sitautions at the door” (07:29).

At 07:56, discussing Covenant attacking the arras on the wall of his room, they acknowledge the similarity between it and their own backdrop.

They then discuss the fact that Covenant gets back into his own underwear (p236), wondering how he still has his own underwear this far into the trip and regarding this as disgusting.

Between the last section and p228, we don’t really miss anything.

Covenant is escorted through Revelstone to Vespers, and has to take an alternate route due to his difficulty with heights. At Vespers, he sees High Lord Prothall for the first time, and after the ceremony witnesses Prothall’s despair that the Lords have not advanced their understanding of the old knowledge beyond Kevin’s First Ward. Foamfollower answers that their time is not yet past, and that they must have hope and faith. At this, Covenant is overcome by the fact that they will be destroyed by Foul before either hope or faith could be realized, and that he has to read them their “death warrant” (p234). He tells Bannor he has to leave.

Back in his room, he berates himself, and mocks the idea of any Berek-like triumph:
> Do you think it’s that easy? Do you think that ordinary human despair is enough, that if you just feel bad enough something cosmic or at least miraculous is bound to come along and rescue you?
He is referring to the legend of Berek, who was rescued in his despair by, more or less, the Earth itself. Covenant is convinced that no such miracles lie in store for him, and that Foul is going to destroy the Lords, who he perceived during Vespers as being mortals like him—mortals who cannot stand against Lord Foul.

After this, he tears the arras off the wall and throws it from his balcony, again thinking “I am not Berek!” (p235).

The next morning, Covenant is brought to the Council. He is asked by Prothall if he protests at the presence of any there, which he does not (p237).

Saltheart Foamfollower addresses the Council first, saying that his people have recently discovered two causes for hope. The first is a distant isle bordering the ancient oceans where they once roamed, which must be explored to see if signs of their homeland exist nearby. The second is that a Giant bore three sons, something evidently extremely rare since the Giants have lived in Seareach. Given these two signs, Foamfollower asks for Gildenlode keels and rudders, as promised to them long ago by High Lord Loric. The Council agrees, and Birinair says it will take forty years to provide them, which does not seem a long time to Foamfollower (p243).

The Council moves on to Covenant, who is asked by Osondrea why he cast down the tapestry from his room. Covenant says that it offended him, which shocks her (244).

He recites Foul’s message, verbatim. The Lords are dismayed, and Foamfollower urges Covenant to laugh, but he does not. So Foamfollower himself laughs, helping the Lords to recover (p247).

Covenant relates the rest of his tale, telling them that he came from “somewhere else” and telling his journey. When he describes the attack on the Wraiths, Tamarantha says that she trusts Covenant and that they must prepare an expedition (p249). Prothall says that one may not be necessary, but Tamarantha is insistent, and leave the chamber with Variol (her spouse). At this point the Lords ask Covenant questions he doesn’t want to answer: why did Baradakas test him and not Atiaran, and why did Atiaran choose not to accompany him to Revelstone? The Lords dismiss him after his refusal to answer, so that they can deliberate, and as he is leaving Foamfollower says “Atiaran Trell-Mate blamed you for the slaughter of the Wraiths” (p250). Covenant is afraid that Foamfollower will reveal his ring, but Foamfollower says nothing else and Covenant leaves.

While outside, he questions Bannor, and learns that their Vow means that they are immortal (unless killed), that Bannor is over two thousand years old, that if one of them is killed another Haruchai will take their place, that Bannor had a wife two thousand years ago, that this Vow is the only way the Haruchai could respond to the precious gifts given to them by the Lords, and that Bannor (and possibly the rest of the Bloodguard) are deeply disturbed by having survived the Desecration, as Kevin ordered them from his side without telling them what he would do. Covenant asks Bannor whether, if his wife were still alive, he could bear to visit her and come back, and Bannor says “no” (p254).

Covenant is brought before the Lords again, and they tell him that they think that Foul induced Drool to use the Staff to summon Covenant to the Land, and that therefore Covenant was brought to the Land at Foul’s behest. But they do not know why, and ask of Covenant how he serves Foul’s designs (p255).

They demand proof from him that they should trust him. The believe the doom that he has spoken, but do not know if it his Covenant’s purpose to mislead them about its nature. He tells them that this is what Foul wants, but Prothall demands an answer. Covenant, thinking of Atiaran and Bannor, and seeing Joan, asks himself if one sick body is more important than everything (p257).

Then he rips open his shirt to reveal his white gold ring, shouting that he is a leper and that he doesn’t know how to use it. All of those present except for Osondrea took this as a sign of hope, while she (and Covenant) realize that even it doesn’t prove that he is not Foul’s tool.

Prothall apologizes, saying that now they know how to honor Covenant, and they stand to sing the full version of the song that Atiaran could only remember two lines from on p72.

This entire section is critical because it locks Covenant into the role he had been trying to avoid, where the Lords would look to him as a savior because of his ring. His fear of having the expectations of Berek-like heroism thrust upon him seems to have come to pass. One sign of hope is that the Lords do clearly recognize that the white gold is extremely unpredictable and dangerous.

###Key Misunderstandings

Covenant does not produce the ring to awe the Lords, but rather because they demand to know what he is hiding from them.

Foamfollower and his people do not eat sentient beings. The Council of the Lord are not scared of being eaten when they agree to give Foamfollower the keels and rudders.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 08:44.

It opens with this scrolling text (09:02):

> page 237
> “Eventually they
> came through
> bright-lit
> halls deep in
> the mountain…
> Bannor guided
> Covenant into the
> council chamber
> of the Lords.”

This is followed by a series of shots of Mount Rushmore, eventually focusing on Thomas Jefferson’s nose.

Our first view of the Council of the Lords (09:17) consists of a man in shorts and a T-shirt that reads “Lordy Lordy my wife’s 40″ running in circles, a Bloodguard in the background, a woman in a medieval dress, star-covered wall hangings, one of which has a pentagram and “Welcome to the Council of the Lords on it”, and Lord Mhoram’s staff. The rest of Lord Mhoram, and the chamber, pans into view, and we see a man in a cloak and another woman in a red and gold dress sitting behind a table that has goblets and bowls emanating steam or fog on it.

Finally, it pans over to a plush chicken toy hanging from the ceiling over a male figure in whiteface, with horns, picking his teeth. This figure bears a certain resemblance to Lord Foul, although with horns. (He could also be a vampire, one of the beings that Heatherly and Julie have predicted would be on the Council.) (This figure is not seen again in this action sequence.)

The next shot shows Foamfollower, apparently asleep in a chair. Behind him a door opens and a Bloodguard brings Covenant in (09:36). Foamfollower says hello, and then Prothall (the man in the cloak) stands (09:53) and introduces:
* “Lord Valium”—the man in shorts and T-shirt.
* “Tamaranthea”—the woman in the red and gold dress.
* “Lord Mormon”—Lord Mhoram.
* “The Lusty One, Osondrea”—the woman in the medieval dress.

Lastly, he introduces himself and asks how he can honor Covenant, who shrugs. Foamfollower starts laughing (10:09), introduces himself, and continues to laugh, interspersing part of his tale, literal “blah blah blah”, and comments that he is hungry and asking whether they have anything to eat apart from themselves, into this more-or-less constant laughter.

Prothall stands and says “all those in favor of the Giant getting the golden rudder [sic], say aye” (11:52). “Lord Mormon” attempts to correct him, but is silenced by Prothall, and everyone else says “Aye!”. At which point Foamfollower laughs.

Osondrea demands to know why Covenant tore up the arras in his room, kicking off a catty argument between the two of them. Prothall attempts to calm the situation but Osondrea is unimpressed by this. “Lord Mhoram” intervenes. He is holding a copy of Lord Foul’s Bane (US 1977 edition). He reads his lines from this book, and asks Covenant what his message is, at which point everyone in the room except for Foamfollower leans forward and looks at him expectantly (12:32).

He recites the message, and when he gets to “for seven years” (13:23) Tamarantha takes a calculator out of her dress and begins to punch buttons on it. “Lord Valium” then says “shit, that’s this Saturday” (13:28) and runs screaming out of the room. Covenant finishes the message at 13:55, and this is followed by the rest of the room (including “Lord Valium”, who seems to have retaken his seat) leaning back in dismay. Tamarantha puts her head in her hands—first with “Lord Valium” to her left, and a quick cut later without him (his seat is empty).

“Lord Mormon” says “in paragraph two, section thirteen of your speech—” and is interrupted, and silenced, by Prothall, who says “why should we believe you, Thomas Covenant?” and “Lord Mormon” adds “Unbeliever” (14:06).

Covenant rises and rips plastic wrap off his chest from under his shirt (14:12) and then slams it (and his ring) down on the table, saying “Because of this white gold ring!” (14:20).

Osondrea cries out “Makaliki Maka” (14:25).

All of the Council jumps up and starts to sing and dance. The Bloodguard look at each other and shake their heads (14:34).

“Lord Valium” is present again.

Tamarantha starts at “the anarchy out of which Time was made”, and then “Lord Valium” takes up the song, followed by the other Lords both in unison and separately. The entire song they sing is:
> The anarchy out of which Time was made
> And with Time, Earth and with Earth those who people it
> The Land [unintelligible]
> nor ruled, limited
> The Land
> For white gold to unleash or control
> Gold, rare metal
> Wild magic!
> Discipline, discipline, discipline
> Is the Land’s Creator’s
> The power is the paradox and the wild magic has no law
> Wild magic! Has no law!
> Time! Time!
> Peace and harmony
> Bone of life, biaatch
> Of life, and unleashed or controlled by gold not born of the Land
> Because that power power! Arch of

The actual lyrics from the text are:
> There is wild magic graven in every rock,
> contained for white gold to unlease or control—
> gold, rare metal, not born of the Land,
> nor rules, limited, subdued
> by the Law with which the Land was created
> (for if the Land is beautiful
> as if it were a strong soul’s dream of peace and harmony,
> and Beauty is not possible without discipline—
> and the Law which gave birth to Time
> is the Land’s Creator’s self-control)—
> but keystone rather, pivot, crux
> for the anarrchy out of which Time was made,
> and with Time Earth,
> and with Earth those who people it:
> wild magic restrained in every particle of life,
> and unleased or controlled by gold
> (not born of the Land)
> because that power is the anchor of the arch of life
> that spans and masters Time
> and white—white gold
> not ebon, ichor, incarnadine, viridian—
> because white is the hue of bone:
> structure of flesh,
> discipline of life.
> This power is a paradox,
> because Power does not exist without Law,
> and wild magic has no Law;
> and white gold is a paradox,
> because it speaks for the bone of life,
> but has no part of the Land.
> And he who wields white wild magic gold
> is a paradox—
> for he is everything and nothing,
> hero and fool,
> potent, helpless—
> and with the one word of truth or treachery
> he will save or damn the Earth
> because he is mad and sane,
> cold and passionate,
> lost and found.
> —p258-259

The song runs from 14:36 to 15:29.

At 14:50 we see Foamfollower rocking out and making the “devil’s horns” (thumb in).

At 14:58 we see Covenant saying “what the fuck is this?”.

As the song ends, we see a disturbed and perplexed Covenant shaking his head and looking towards the Bloodguard in hope of an explanation (15:27).

The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 15:29.


The expert is Tom, who appears on screen at 15:44. He is wearing the expert jacket. He has read Lord Foul’s Bane once (16:01), and cannot remember whether or not he understood it (16:08). He read it 25 years prior to his appearance on the show (16:11). This shocks Julie, who can’t believe the books is that old (its copyright date is 1977).

Julie asks if the Council assent to Foamfollower’s request because they’re afraid he’s going to eat them (16:33). Tom replies that he thinks the Council really like Foamfollower.

Heatherly asks if Foamfollower is gay and in love with Thomas Covenant (16:51). Tom says that he didn’t know what gay was when he read it, so he might have missed it. They focus on Foamfollower giving Covenant “a gay glance” (p240). Tom points out that Donaldson probably meant “bright and happy”.

At 18:07, Tom says that the book is filled with “duality issues”. Heatherly asks what that is, and Tom explains by reading a section from the song:
> This power is a paradox,
> because Power does not exist without Law,
> and wild magic has no Law;
> and white gold is a paradox,
> because it speaks for the bone of life,
> but has no part of the Land.
> And he who wields white wild magic gold
> is a paradox—
> for he is everything and nothing,
> hero and fool,
> potent, helpless—
> and with the one word of truth or treachery
> he will save or damn the Earth
> because he is mad and sane,
> cold and passionate,
> lost and found.
> —p258-259

He says that all of the opposites here (hero/fool, potent/helpless, lost/found, cold/passionate) refer to two sides of the same coin (19:34).

Julie says that the Council seem to burst into song a lot, and asks if they ever burst into flames (19:46). Tom says that he knows that sometimes one of their staffs bursts into flames. Julie thinks he means Baradakas’s staff, but he says that he thinks it happens with Lord Mhoram’s also, at which point they ask if Mhoram is going to burst into flame.

Julie asks if Covenant has been wearing the same underwear for the whole journey (20:54), and Tom says he thinks so, prompting disgusted reactions and questions as to why he would put his old underwear back on after they give him new underwear.

Julie asks “what do you think he was thinking, psychologically, when that happened?” (21:30). Tom says he thinks that Covenant felt really comfortable with his old underwear, and that it reflected his older self, that part of him that he’s not yet willing to shed, his Unbelief. They agree that his underwear represents his Unbelief, and Julie asks “if he didn’t wear his underwear, would he just be ‘Thomas Covenant’?” (22:10). Tom says that he’s never thought about that.

Julie says “let’s discuss the psychosis of the Thomas Covenant character” (22:21). Tom says that it’s apparent psychosis, since we can’t be sure that he is truly psychotic. He says Covenant is “someone who we might consider to be—” and Juliana cuts in with “a rapist of teenage girls!” (22:38). Tom says that that would not necessarily be due to psychosis, that it might be more of a sociopathic personality (22:51).

Tom says that in his view one of the suggestions that Covenant might be suffering from psychosis is that he talks to himself a lot (23:02), and that Covenant speaks out in response to the voice(s) inside, a common symptom of psychosis.

They start chart-writing at 23:31, on the topic of “What do you think the Council of the Lords do in their free time?”

Chart-writing ends at 24:22.

Julie’s chart (24:31) shows Prothall as a sad alcoholic, “Lord Mormon” as a pirate, and “Samarantha” as a hooker whown fellating an unnamed man.

Heatherly’s chart (24:50) shows “the Lord without pants” painting pentagrams, another two Lords disco dancing, “the Lord who looks like a vampire” walking a dog, and a last Lord who likes to crochet doilies.

Tom introduces his chart by saying that due to the deep psychology in the book, he thought they might like to spend their time taking Rorschach tests (25:29). He then asks Heatherly and Julie to take a Rorschach test using his ‘chart’. Heatherly goes first, seeing “a monster” (25:51), that she thinks the Lords are building in their spare time to defeat Lord Foul. Julie calls this crazy. Julie sees Lord Prothall being an alcoholic, “Lord Mormon” being a pirate, and “Samanthara” being a hooker in the ‘chart’ (none of these are even vaguely plausible).

The “post-coital” segment begins at 26:17.

Heatherly says her favorite part was when Covenant put on his ring to make the Council of the Lords shut up (26:45).

Heatherly asks Tom what his favorite part of pages 128-158 was. He says that his favorite part was when Saltheart just kept talking on, and on, and on (27:04).

Julie says that her favorite part was when Saltheart Foamfollower gave Thomas Covenant a gay glance (27:25).

The end credits feature out-takes of Covenant slamming his ring on the table and the Council cracking up, Foamfollower saying “blah blah blah ha hah ha, I have —oh shit”, Covenant saying “which was lost ten times ten… years ago, at, uh, Staff of Defecation”.

###Words Defined

First time they cover more than ten pages
First apparance of Osondrea, 09:17
First appearance of Prothall, 09:19
First appearance of Tamarantha, 09:20
First appearance of Lord Foul’s Bane US 1977 edition, 12:20

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One Response to “AFBH 18: Pages 228-258”

  1. Julie Says:

    Awesome! Here’s some clarification: City Hall was in reference to Newsom passing a bill in SF to allow gay marriages. Also, it’s Osandrea the lusty one. Grrrrrrrowl!

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