AFBH 24: Pages 352-363

23:14 Tue 24 Oct 2006
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Episode 24. A proposal.

Meet the Ramen, and enamored experts..

352-363. Starts with “Before them stood a strange woman” (p352), ends with “There, at last, was Manhome” (approximately) (p363).

Charles & Ann


We see Heatherly and Julie in black and white, looking and acting much older. Heatherly is holding The Runes of the Earth (book seven in the series), and Julie starts to introduce the 256th episode before noting that Cameraman Jenn is shaky and advising her to put the camera on the tripod. Heatherly offers Jenn some medication for her Parkinson’s. Julie resumes introducing the episode, but cannot remember her own name (02:24) or where she is. Heatherly starts shouting at “kids” off-screen and asks Adult Gladiator to keep their grandchildren quiet.

This dream (for it is a dream) ends as Heatherly begins to wake up (03:05). Heatherly relates the nightmare to Julie, and then they start the usual intro spiel.

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly says that they left off after a massive battle, and that the group left for Andelain the next day, with Covenant refusing to eat any food. She says that they went to the Morinmoss forest, which was really dangerous because the trees there remember the Desecration and are a little bit bloodthirsty. She continues that Covenant still hasn’t eaten, and says that we meet them as they leave Morinmoss, on page 352 (04:41).

She begins with Lithe (who she calls “Lilith”) greeting the company and introducing herself (p352) (04:52), and with Lithe introducing her Cords and leaving to tell the rest of the people on the plains that they have arrived.

She says that Covenant asks “Mormon” “why don’t you ride?” (05:15), and then says that although “Mormon” moved to restrain Covenant, the damage had already been done, and that “Mormon” tells Covenant not to piss off the Ramen.

She says that the Ramen brought magic grass for the horses, and reads Cord Rustah saying “this grass is poisonous to humans. It is amanibhavam” (p357) (05:45).

She continues with Rustah warning the party to silence, warning them about the kresh.

She says that Covenant went to sleep, and reads “he dozed into a dream where he danced and wept and made love at the commands of a satirical puppeteer” (p363) (06:18). She ends the reading with “they were at last at Manhome, and he still didn’t have a decision”, which is not a line from the book although she seems to present it as one.

Julie says that it seems like they’re going through a really bad neighborhood, and asks if “Cords” are like “homies”, and asks Heatherly if she’s her “Cord”, and Heatherly says that she is.

They talk about how easy it was to anger the Ramen, and that the Ramen seemed like they could totally kick ass (07:14).

After the battle at Soaring Woodhelven, Mhoram mourns his parents and is given Variol’s staff by Prothall. Prothall also offers Tamarantha’s staff to Covenant, but he regards it as a thing of killing and tells Prothall to burn it. When Prothall puts it in the fire (the fire that is still consuming the tree that was Soaring Woodhelven), it explodes and destroys what had been left of the tree.

When Foamfollower returns, obviously tormented by killing in a fashion similar to Covenant, Covenant assails him, saying that his excursion “must’ve been fun” (p334). Prothall asks Covenant not to torment Foamfollower, who castigates himself and chants for a time before asking who the party lost. When they tell him, he thrusts his hands into the fire. This is a Giantish ritual called caamora, which the glossary describes as an ordeal of grief by fire (p475). While it causes Foamfollower pain, it doesn’t actually harm him.

Covenant resolves not to kill again (p336), and also refuses to eat as this would be a “submission to the physical actuality of the Land” (p340). The next day the group leaves Soaring Woodhelven. They pass through Morinmoss, which Prothall explains is a living wood, whose trees may easily rouse and attack the party. Covenant can feel the trees as they pass through, and knows that the trees are letting the company through due to lethargy rather than any friendship with the Lords. When they exit the forest, it appears that it marked Mhoram and Covenant in green, Mhoram with two stripes, and Covenant covered in mossy spattering (p351).

Near the Roamsedge Ford, they are greeted by the Manethrall Lithe, who addresses Covenant as Ringthane (p352) and is disturbed to find that Fangthane (the Ramen name for Lord Foul) is once again active (p355). She introduces her Cords, who are like apprentices or underlings, and are hunters for the Ramen. Covenant offends them by asking why they don’t ride horses, and has to be told by Mhoram that they serve the Ranyhyn—and that they are quick to anger and very dangerous.

The group is pursued by kresh, but the Cords are adept at dealing them and kill the entire pack (p360). Covenant falls asleep while riding, and dreams of being manipulated by a “satirical puppeteer” (p363). He also thinks that Prothall brought the party through the Plains of Ra in order for Covenant to be honored by the Ranyhyn, which Covenant thinks is an unbearable prosect—partly because he feels he deserves no honor, and partly because of pain associated with his ex-wife, who broke in horses for a living. These thoughts are on his mind when the party reaches Manhome.

###Key Misunderstandings

Covenant offends the Cords by asking them why they don’t ride a Ranyhyn instead of running.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 07:20.

It opens with this scrolling text (07:37):

> pg. 344
> “Morinmoss lay at the
> foot of the hill.
> It had a forbidding look.
> It seemed to deft
> the Quest to
> pass through it.”

We see “Lord Mormon” addressing the forest (again getting Prothall’s lines), saying “Hail, Morinmoss! Enemy of our enemies! We hate the axe and flame which hurt you! Let us pass!” (07:49). There is no response, and the rest of the party seems unconvinced by what he is doing. He says “hello? Morinmoss, we… Hail?” and then turns to the rest of the group to say “they’re probably just sleeping, you know” (08:15). He heads into the forest, and we see the following scrolling text (08:29):

> pg. 347
> [Mormon] [sic] “looked once more
> sternly at the riders.
> At his signal, they
> rode down toward the
> knuckled edges
> of Morinmoss.”

This is followed by shots of the party riding, until the following scrolling text (08:56):

> pg. 347
> “They seemed to fall
> like as tone
> ijnto the forest…
> The sunlight closed
> behind them
> like an unregainable
> door.”

We then see “Lord Mormon” walking by a tree that has a face on it. He doesn’t appear to notice, and says to the rest of the group “let’s just go on in”. Covenant notices the face, and stares at it before continuing. The party passes behind another tree with a face, this one looking a lot more angry. They continue through more trees with faces until we see “Lord Mormon” about to eat a banana (09:57). The rest of the party eat also—except Covenant, who thinks to himself about being hungry—and also about how he refuses to participate in this hellish nightmare, which isn’t real (10:31).

This is followed by scrolling text (10:35):

> pg. 350
> “The riders broke out
> into sunshine…”
> pg. 352
> “Before them stood
> a strange woman.”

We then see the party approaching Lithe, who is called “Lilith” in the action sequences. She says “Hail, Ringthang, white gold is known” and then neighs (10:47) before saying “be welcome. I am Manethall Lilith. We see you. Speak.”

She and “Lord Mormon” bow to each other, and he says “The manethrall are the first tender of the Ranynyn. Among the top Ramen, you are the most honored.” She replies “We have been watching you since you left Morinmoss. We heard your talk. We know the sleepless ones”—here she spits—”the Bloodguard. They take the Ranynyn into peril” (11:20).

She asks if they have urgency, and “Mormon” says “Yes, Fangthang lives!”. “Lilith” is taken aback by this, but then says “Yes, Fangthang, for Ringthang is here to protect the Ranynyn” and neighs again (11:32). This prompts Covenant to say “you’re a bunch of fucking freaks, you know that?” (11:36). She says that they must waste no time, and bring them to Manhome, and tells her Cords to rise. They do, startling the party. “Lilith” says that she must depart to let Manhome know they’re coming, and runs away from them.

Rustah tells “Mormon” “dude, I got grass that’ll totally heal your horses” (12:09), to which “Mormon” says nothing, until Rustah says “dude, I gotta go get it”, and Grace then produces it. They proceed to have the horses smoke the grass. Covenant complains that the horses eat better than they do, and Grace tells him “this grass is poisonous to humans! It’s onomatopeia!”.

Covenant then approaches Rustah and says “you know, you’ve got all those Ranyn. Why don’t you ride them?” (12:44). “Mormon” tries to stop him but is too late. This is followed by alternating shots of Rustah and Covenant staring, until Covenant thinks “mmm, chicken” (13:07). “Mormon” explains that the Ramen serve the “Ranyhyn” and are the deadlest hunters in the land, and then Rustah says that there are kresh nearby and runs off. We see the following scrolling text (13:29):

> pg. 358
> “Kresh…yellow wolves…”
> “Instinctively the company
> drew close together.
> In suspect they
> stood hushed,
> hardly breathing.”

We see the company cowering together while there are screams in the distance, and “Mormon” holds Foamfollower back from going out after the kresh. There is a cut to scrolling text (13:52):

> pg. 363
> “After a time he
> dozed into a dream
> where he danced
> and wept
> and made love
> at the commands of
> a satirical puppeteer.”

We then see Lord Foul (13:58) holding the control bar of a marionette and laughing. We see Covenant, with strings attached to his arms, dancing unhappily, crying, and forced to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken as Foul says “eat it! Eat it! It’s Foul!” (14:23) and keeps laughing.

The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 14:32


After the action sequence, Heatherly asks what’s up with the bed, which has a lot of space between the two of them.

The experts, all the way from New York City, are Charles and Ann, who appear (with a dog, Hannah) at 14:49. They are both wearing expert jackets. Heatherly asks if the dog has red Lord Foul’s Bane, to which Ann says “she chewed on it twice and peed on it once” (15:01), to which Juliana says “like Heatherly”. Charles says that he read Lord Foul’s Bane twenty or thirty times during/immediately after high school (15:19). He then says that he brought them something from New York and produces a bag of sugar, and Ann gives Heatherly a spatula (actually an absinthe spoon) for the sugar. Charles then produces a bottle of something that he says they should call diamondraught. They then strain the sugar into glasses and drink (presumbly drinking diamondraught.)

They don’t ask how many times Ann has read Lord Foul’s Bane or how many times any of them understood it.

Heatherly asks why “Lilith” was whinnying and snickering and so on (16:14). Charles says that she is a servant of horses, and so speaks the language of her employers. Julie asks if the horses are really that smart, and he says they are. Heatherly asks how they clean up after the humans if they don’t have opposable thumbs, and Charles says he never thought about that, prompting Ann to ask “you read it thirty times and you didn’t think about that?” (16:36). Charles then says that the humans must clean up after themselves.

Julie asks why “Mormon” was acting as if the trees of Morinmoss were really intelligent given that they never talked or did anything like that, and asks if the trees are as smart as a three-year-old child (16:55). Charles says that the trees are smarter than humans, and that we know this because the trees have pet humans called Forestals, who they communicate with telepathically. Julie suggests that the Forestals may just be crazy people living in the forest who say that they communicate with the trees, and Charles points out that the book says that the trees talk to the people, and that if the trees didn’t talk to the people then the book would have to be mistaken, which he doesn’t think is possible (17:27).

Heatherly asks how “Lilith” could “let” the group pass through the Plains of Ra. Charles says that she was rising above her station, and that what she meant to say was that the horses would let them pass (17:48).

Heatherly asks if Fangthane is another name for Lord Foul, and if Ringthane is another name for Berek. Charles says that Fangthane is another name for Foul, and that Ringthane is another name for Thomas Covenant, which in a sense is another name for Berek.

Julie asks him about the Cords, and he says that the Ranyhyn are the Board of Directors, the Manethralls upper management (18:37), and the Cords middle management.

Julie asks if Covenant is worried about his weight, since he’s not eating. Charles says that Covenant has been concerned all along that the Land isn’t real, and that he’s realized now that if he doesn’t believe the Land exists then it’s hypocritical of him to eat. Julie asks why he cuts out food rather than something else, and Charles says that that’s just the first thing that occurs to Covenant (19:26).

Julie asks why the group, if they know that Lord Foul is in Mount Thunder, don’t just go there and kick his ass. Charles says that the only thing that can defeat Lord Foul is the white gold, and the white gold is the keystone to the Arch of Time. He then likens Foul to a minority shareholder who is trapped in the Arch of Time by the majority shareholder, the Creator, and that he wants to break the Arch of Time so that he can take control of the corporation by buying up the remaining shares (20:38).

Julie asks who the Creator is, and Charles reveals that he is the blind beggar in the first chapter (20:44). They then ask if that means that the beggar is Steven R. Donaldson, and if so, that they guess he didn’t make that much money off of the book.

Heatherly comments that Thomas Covenant is still such a whiny little bitch (21:02), and Charles replies that you have to look at the background, and that he tries to think of Covenant as he was during high school, that he thinks that Covenant was kind of geeky and didn’t have a lot of friends, and that after he got out of high school and started to turn things around, he gets leprosy and things get worse, and now he’s been pulled into the Land and everybody’s after him to use the white gold and defeat Lord Foul.

At this point Ann says that she’s worried, that Charles went to high school in a small town, and that he was a little geeky, and does he have leprosy? He says he doesn’t (21:54).

Julie says “since we’re defending Thomas Covenant—defend the rape!” (22:00). Charles says that that was always a difficult part of the book, and that it took him several readings before he started to understand it. He then says that he thinks that Donaldson’s publisher decided there wasn’t enough sex in the book, and that the publisher wrote that scene in without telling Steven R. Donaldson (22:22).

Heatherly asks if it’s time to draw the charts. Julie says it is. Then they ask Ann what she thinks the chart writing should be about. She says she’s still concerned about the corporate structure of the company, and they agree that the topic should be the corporate structure of the “Ranynyn”.

Chart-writing starts at 22:50, on the topic of “The corporate structure of the Ranynyn”.

Chart-writing ends at 23:13.

Julie’s chart (23:33) shows two horses, one standing in front of a finance chart and the other sitting at a table. The corporation is doing badly, so they have three possible plans for profitability: Eat Humans, Ride Humans, and Keep Humans as Pets.

Heatherly’s chart (23:44) shows a hierarchy, with Steven R. Donaldson at the top as “Grand Poo-Bah” Below him is “Greedy Editor”, and below that the corporation is split into two competing corporations. One is headed by Lord Foul, who has Drool as a direct report, and Drool controls the ur-viles. On the other side are the “Ranny-nin”, who control the Manethrall, and who are connected to the Bloodguard and to Thomas Covenant, who is on the bottom.

Ann’s chart (24:29) has the Creator, AKA Blind Beggar AKA Steven R. Donaldson at the top as CEO. COO is the Readers. Majority shareholders are the inhabitants of the Land, the minority shareholder is Lord Foul, and the Fortune Magazine journalist is Thomas Covenant.

Charles says he didn’t draw a chart, but asks Heatherly to pass him some “emergency stuff” he brought. She passes him his backpack. Out of it he takes a jewelry box that he hands to Ann and asks her to open for the camera. She opens it (25:06) and looks at it for a moment before saying “oh shit”. Charles then points out that the metal of the wring is white gold, which Steven R. Donaldson describes as the keystone of the Arch of Time. He then continues in this vein for quite while (he’s clearly very nervous) but eventually gets around to actually asking Ann to marry him (26:32). She says yes at 26:52.

Julie says “well hopefully it won’t end like Joan!” (27:01). They all (including Cameraman Jenn) have a toast (27:05).

The “post-coital” segment begins at 27:08.

Julie says that her favorite part was when Charles proposed to Ann (27:19).

Heatherly says that’s her favorite part too (27:22).

Ann says the same (27:28).

Charles says that was also his favorite part (27:31), although he also liked the part where Covenant went on hunger strike (27:35).

The end credits feature shots from Charles proposing to Ann.

There’s no “Fantasy Bedtime Hour Productions” clip at the end of this episode.

###Words Defined

First appearance of “Lilith”, 10:40
First appearance of Rustah, 11:43, and Grace, 11:46
First marriage proposal on the show, 25:06/26:32
First accepatance of a marriage proposal on the show, 26:52

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