AFBH 26: Pages 375-382

23:28 Thu 26 Oct 2006
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Episode 26. Prothall in the mirror.

Covenant expounds on leprosy, Prothall practices affirmations, and experts from China.

375-382 Starts with “He reached the fire and grabbed the first food he say” (approximately) (p375), ends with “You will only cause pain for him—and yourself” (p382).

Paul & Evie


Heatherly starts off by asking if Julie has seen Cameraman Jenn’s new puppy. Moose appears on the screen at 02:07, accompanied by threatening music, and appears to be foaming at the mouth. Julie says that the dog is evil—that it’s kresh (02:15). Heatherly says that Moose is just a cute little puppy, but when she looks back at Julie, Julie is unconscious or dead with Moose at her neck (02:26).

However, this is all revealed to be a dream, and we see Heatherly trying to wake Julie (02:34), who is clutching a bottle of rum and the trade paperback edition of Lord Foul’s Bane. Heatherly can’t wake her, and Cameraman Jenn says that Heatherly has to do the intro herself (02:50), which she does (referring to herself in the third person).

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly says that they last left Covenant when he was “telepathically communicating with the Ranynyn” and telling them he wouldn’t choose any of them, that they had to show up if he needed them, and that one of them has to visit Lena. She also says that he’s starving because he’s been on “that weird hunger strike” (03:55).

She says that he grabs the first food he can, and then starts drinking diamonddraught (which she still pronounces as “diamond drought”), and then gets “luvvie drunk and is all over Foamfollower” (04:09) before passing out.

She says that the next morning, Covenant “just starts going off” about being a leper to Foamfollower, but cuts the conversation short to get some food (p378) (04:48).

She relates that Covenant is surprised to see flowers everywhere in the cave, and that Foamfollower tells him that the Ramen have collected them to honor him due to the fact that the Ranynyn honored him (p378) (05:05).

She briefly touches on marrowmeld, a skill the Ramen had but lost after the Desecration, and doesn’t explain what it is. She also relates how Covenant tries to be nicer to Winhome Gay (p380).

She says that Quaan and Covenant have this “weird, cryptic conversation” (06:03), and relates how Covenant tells Gay that Quaan doesn’t like him because Quaan thinks he’s obnoxious (p381) (06:22).

Heatherly ends the reading by describing Lithe and Mhoram arguing, finish with Mhoram’s line “You will only cause pain for him—and yourself” (p382) (06:40).

They discuss marrowmelde, saying that each of the groups in the Land seems to have their own arts and crafts, and that the Ramen did with bones what the Sowndownors do with stone. Julie asks if they’re limited with what they can make with a bone (07:05).

Covenant stumbles away from the Ranyhyn, overwhelmed by the fact that the horses seem to fear and hate him (p375). He brushes past Mhoram, whose interpretation that the Ranyhyn honored Covenant is too much for him to bear. He goes to get food, having in his mind made some kind of ‘bargain’ with the Land that no longer required him to deny its physicality. He eats, and also drinks diamondraught, seeking a quick fall into oblivion. Before he passes out, he tells Foamfollower that he needs friends. Foamfollower asks him first why he doesn’t think he has any, and then asks Covenant whether Foamfollower and the others would indeed forgive him quickly if they were all a dream. But Covenant tells him that dreams never forgive (p376) and falls asleep.

It is interesting here that Donaldson uses the term “the Unbeliever” in prose to describe Covenant—earlier uses were in Covenant’s thoughts, or in speech, while his is an authorial description:

> “No,” the Unbeliever said. “Dreams—never forgive.”

It appears to be meant ironically, given that Covenant has just abandoned his attempt to deny the Land through hunger.

After Covenant wakes, he and Foamfollower discuss leprosy, and Foamfollower speculates that the Despiser of Covenant’s world is limited in power. Covenant says that he doesn’t think his world works that way, and then notes the large number of flowers that the Ramen have brought to honor him. Foamfollower tells him that before the Desecration the spectacle in Covenant’s honor would have been far greater, but that the Ramen have lost the art of marrowmend, that ability to sculpt bone (p379).

Covenant tells Foamfollower that Prothall will step down as High Lord after the quest, and Foamfollower teases him about prophesying (p380). Foamfollower then tells him that Mhoram was chosen as a rider by Hynaril, who also bore Tamarantha, and that this is the first time a Ranyhyn has borne two riders. This reminds Covenant of how much they feared him, and he wants to change the subject.

Winhome Gay arrives, and Covenant tries to act more civilly toward her. Quaan arrives and has a very short conversation with Covenant, in which he appears to upbraid Covenant for having been on hunger strike and also to emphasize Covenant’s outsider status (p381). When Winhome Gay asks about this, Covenant doesn’t want to give her much information and claims that Quaan considers him obnoxious.

Covenant sees and hears Mhoram and Lithe arguing, with Mhoram trying to warn Lena from doing something for or offering something to Covenant (p382).

###Key Misunderstandings

Foamfollower is not drunk all the time.

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 07:21.

We see the following scrolling text (07:37):

> pg. 375
> “He could hear the
> excitement of
> the Ramen.
> He did not care.
> He reached the
> fire and grabbed
> the first food
> he saw…”

We then see Covenant saying “gimme that!” and grabbing and eating spaghetti (07:47). He is eating with his half hand, which is clearly visible as a prosthesis that he is holding with his real right hand (07:48). We then see him drinking deeply out of a bottle, and continuing to eat, and drink. He keeps eating and drinking until saying “Giant, I need friends” and collapsing (08:46).

In the darkness, we hear the Ramen Cords mocking Covenant, but being reprimaned by Lith, who tells them they have to arrange flowers before he wakes up (09:07). We see a “Meanwhile…” intertitle.

Covenant wakes up, coughing (09:09). He tells Foamfollower that in his Land, where he comes from, being a leper sucks (09:31). Foamfollower comments that leprosy is a cruel word, and Covenant starts talking about how leprosy is ‘fun’ because you can do thinks like put your hand over flame and leave it there for a long time because you can’t feel anything (10:20), and that it’s cool because you don’t have to dress up on Halloween and you always have something to throw at people (10:27). He concludes that leprosy is “cool, not cruel”.

Foamfollower suggests that the Despiser in Covenant’s world has only limited power to oppose the Creator, and we see Rustah comment to Bannor “ooh, burned!” (10:44). Covenant says “oh, here’s a funny one” and laughs, and tells that he lost two fingers once when playing with a dog, and didn’t feel a thing (11:01).

Foamfollower says “Thomas, I do not understand this mood” and then bursts into laughter. Covenant says he finds it hard to walk down the street because children will look at him funny (11:29), and says that he threw a chunk of skin at one of these children (a reference to the Episode 1 action sequence). He laughs, then sobs and says he doesn’t want to be a leper anymore (11:52). Foamfollower laughs at this. Covenant says that he had a family, that he wasn’t a leper then, but that he turned into a leper and his family took off and were afraid. Foamfollower says that Covenant bewilders him, and Covenant goes in search of food (12:31).

We see him eating chocolate pudding with his half-hand (less obviously a prosthesis-spoon) and drinking.

He asks “what’s with all the flowers?” (13:24) and Foamfollower tells him that they’re from the Ramen, because Covenant touched their hearts. Then he tells Covenant that he should have seen the marrowmeld of the Ramen before the Desecration, that they created figures of truth and joy. Then he says “but now look at it” and we see a caterpillar (13:59), a snake (14:04), and a sad clown (14:07). (Episode 6 features Stowndownor craft, which also includes a sad clown.)

Covenant looks uncomfortable (14:11).

We see a “Meanwhile…” intertitle, followed by hands holding a makeup mirror (14:14). In the mirror we see a section of Prothall’s face. He is talking to himself, saying “I can do this. Everyone likes me. I know I can do this. I’m beautiful on the inside. And I can do this quest, I know I can.” (14:27).

There is a cut to Foamfollower saying that it’s so sad that Prothall is going to quit after the quest, and then back to Prothall, saying “I can master Kevin’s Lore. And I’m beautiful. And everyone likes me.” (14:42)

Rustah, talking to Foamfollower, says that Prothall spends too much time thinking about how he hasn’t mastered Kevin’s Lore, and Bannor says “and primping”.

Prothall, still talking to the mirror, says “Everyone says I can do this. I can do this. I’m beautiful on the inside. Yes, yes, I know I can do this. Yes” (14:59).

Winhome Gay, now looking rather more female, approaches Covenant and says “I know you consider me a child, but the drinking age here is much lower than in Revelstone(15:07). Covenant tells her that last night wasn’t her fault, she plays with one of her pigtails, and Covenant thanks her distinctly. Quaan (also looking rather different) approaches Covenant and asks him if he’s well. Covenant barks “what the hell are you talking about? Can’t you see? I can see you. You’re as sound as an oak!” (15:38). Quaan says, in campy tones “um, I don’t know what that means” and then, much more gruffly, “but you are closed to us. What we see is not what you are.” (15:49). Covenant replies that he has no idea what Quaan is talking about and that he’s eating. Quaan walks away. Winhome Gay gigglingly says that Quaan dislikes Covenant, and Covenant says no, that Quaan just thinks that he’s obnoxious.

After an “In other parts of Manhome…” intertitle, we see “Lord Mormon” and “Lilith” (16:16). They are arguing, and they are cut off by the end of the action sequence and a “To be continued…” screen.

The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 16:25


The experts are Paul and Evie, who according to Heatherly came all the way from China. They appear on screen at 16:37, are both wearing expert jackets, and unusually are flanking Heatherly and Julie in the bed rather than being between them. They switch places to the usual configuration. They say that they collectively have read the book once (17:28) and understood it about half each (17:33).

They bring a present of Chinese rice wine, which Julie opens (18:10).

Julie asks what Covenant means when he tells Foamfollower “I need friends” (18:28) Evie says that perhaps Foamfollower and the others put up with this kind of thing because they’ve known from the start that he’s an Unbeliever.

Heatherly wants to know whether they’re still drunk from the night before when they have the following morning’s conversation about being a leper (19:03). Paul says that’s definitely a possibility, and that diamondraught seems to last a long time as Foamfollower never seems to be completely sober (19:12). Julie and Heatherly seize on this, saying that Foamfollower being drunk all the time would explain everything. They ask if they’re a race of alcoholics, and Julie posits a history of the Land where the Giants built Revelstone for the Lords and the Lords then gave them alcohol and took their lands away and oppressed them (19:45).

Heatherly asks them what they think is crueler: leprosy, Tourette’s, or Lyme disease (20:14). Paul answers Lyme disease as it adds insult to injury because you have to admit to everyone that you’re dying because of being bitten by a tick.

In a discussion about Prothall and his doubts (and about whether he’s a loser for not having mastered Kevin’s Lore), Julie asks what Kevin’s Lore is. Paul answers that it’s the store of magical knowledge that Lord Kevin left behind, and that they don’t seem to expect to master it for many generations, and that Prothall is being hard on himself (he doesn’t mention the Wards, or the fact that the Lords only have the First Ward).

Heatherly says she thinks that Prothall has been pretending for years, that he doesn’t have any magical powers, and they ask how one gets to be the High Lord (21:31). Paul points out that he does shoot flames out of his staff, and Julie comments that they thought that was a metaphor (21:43).

They discuss how much notice Prothall has to give in resigning, and how they’re going to find a replacement. Then thay ask if Paul and Evie like Thomas Covenant (22:25), and they say no. Paul says “he does nice things, but they’re never quite enough, like he raped Lena so he sends her a horse to play with once a year” (22:34).

Heatherly suggests that Steven R. Donaldson’s gift to the readers is a plethora of reasons to hate Covenant, given that she enjoys hating him so much (23:04).

Chart-writing starts at 23:41, on the topic of “If you were to do some marrowmeld, what would you do?”.

Chart-writing ends at 24:22.

Julie’s chart (24:29) shows the steps required to make a shiv out of a bone, using a bone, a lighter, and some duct tape.

Heatherly’s chart (24:48) shows a marrowmeld of Berek Halfhand, essentially a skeleton with a large staff and half a hand.

Paul’s chart (25:18) shows a marrowmeld sculpture of the Unhomed’s voyage across dangerous seas. It’s a ship on top of what looks like a really large wave.

Evie’s chart (25:52) shows a skull and crossbones made out of bone, and she wonders if the Unhomed are in fact pirates.

The “post-coital” segment begins at 26:06.

Heatherly says that her favorite part was “Mormon” and “Lilith” arguing (26:30).

Julie says that her favorite part was when Quaan was super-pissed at Thomas Covenant and did not bring him flowers (26:44).

Evie says that her favorite part was the dialogue between Covenant and Saltheart Foamfollower (27:09).

Paul says that his favorite part was when Covenant figured out that Quaan thought he was really obnoxious (27:19).

After the outro spiel, they have a toast, and Julie says “Sláinte”, an Irish toast meaning “health”.

The end credits feature out-takes of Covenant licking food off his half hand and referring to “the first episode” in dialogue.

After the credits, there is a still shot of a statue, with the words “Fantasy Bedtime Hour Productions” to the left of the statue, with a voiceover of Heatherly saying “Oh my god!” and Julie saying “I know! That’s hot!”. The statue is from Powerscourt Gardens in Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland.

###Words Defined

First appearance of Moose, 02:07

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