Episode 27. A special guest star.
The company prepares to leave Manhome, and a distinguished expert.
Starts with “The dispute ended shortly” (approximately) (p382), ends with “their desire to see in him a new Berek had been vindicated,” (p389).
Julie starts to give the usual intro, and Heatherly tells her that since they’ve got so much to cover, she needs to step it up (02:02). So Julie does it really quickly.
###Analysis of Pages
Heatherly starts out by saying that we left “Mormon and Lilith” arguing with each other, and that it turns out that she wants to be Covenant’s servant, and wins the argument with “Mormon”, so she goes over to Covenant only to have him react by saying he doesn’t want a servant (02:47).
Heatherly says that Covenant feels trapped because he can’t see a way to stop “Lilith” from humiliating herself (02:53), but that he manages to explain that he’s not used to such things and her homage makes him uneasy—and also that he asks them to give Llaura and Pietten a home (03:15).
She relates Mhoram’s explanation to Covenant of why the group came to the Plains of Ra at all, that they were expecting Drool to send out an army, and they wanted to arrive after that army had left (03:35).
She says that then Foamfollower and Covenant get into a really long conversation about hope. She says that Foamfollower tells Covenant that he holds the fate of the Land in his hands while Soulcrusher moves against the Lords, and Covenant replies “Giant, you talk too much” (p387) (03:54).
She says that Covenant then encounters Llaura and Pietten, and that Llaura asks why he requested that the Ramen make a home for them there. Heatherly says that Covenant says he thinks Llaura should take care of Pietten there, and then it’s time for the group to leave (04:27) and that they’re all cheerful—except for Covenant, who feels that the others are happy partly because their desire to see in him the new Berek had been vindicated (p389) (04:45).
When they start to discuss the pages, Heatherly has “DUDE” written on her chest, and Julie has “SWEET” written on hers (04:57).
Heatherly says that it’s really weird that Covenant is suddenly nice to “Lilith”— and then they start do talk about how awkward it is to deal with people who just go on and on without any idea that they’ve humiliated themselves, especially when it’s clear that they don’t know what they’re talking about and simply continue humiliating themselves, and they invest a lot of time and effort into it, and elaborate on things they have no business elaborating on… before finally saying “poor Lilith” (05:36). (The whole segment appears to be a reference to themselves, and possibly to critics of Fantasy Bedtime Hour who don’t realize that their displays of ignorance are entirely deliberate.)
Lithe is uninterested in Mhoram’s objections, and prostrates herself in front of Covenant. Covenant, of course, is completely uncomfortable wtih the idea of having anyone serve him, and is pained because he doesn’t know how to reject Lithe without humiliating her. But he comes up with telling her that he is just a little man in his own world, and that he is unused to homage and it makes it uneasy (p382). Lithe is disbelieving about his status in his own world, but accepts that he will simply request help if he needs it. He asks that Llaura and Pietten be given a home, and it turns out that Foamfollower already asked, and the Ramen have agreed (p383).
Before making preparations to leave, Covenant asks Mhoram why they came to the Plains of Ra. Mhoram replies that it was a tactical decision, that they hoped Drool would send out an army, and that they wanted to arrive after that. But Covenant is convinced there is more to it, and tries to find out from Mhoram what that is. Mhoram admits that while planning, he saw that this course of action would turn out wel. Covenant want to know what this oracular vision revealed, but Mhoram doesn’t want to tell him, and Covenent doesn’t press the issue, and lets it go (p384).
Seeing this, Foamfollower comments to him a there might be hope for Covenant yet. Covenant’s response is to say that there would always be hope for him if he were as big and strong as Foamfollower. This kicks off a discussion about the nature of hope. Foamfollower contends that strength has nothing to do with hope, that it doesn’t have to do with power, especially because there is no power over death, and so with no domain over death, power would be a poor place to put your hope (p385). Covenant asks him where hope comes from, and Foamfollower’s reply is “faith”, which Covenant dismisses as too short a word, and asks him what he means. Foamfollower says that the Lords are an example of hope, and that the Oath of Peace is an Oath to never give in to despair. He also tells Covenant that Covenant holds the fate of the Land in his hands, which Covenant says is false, a trick of Foul’s. Foamfollower tries to reduce the burden on Covenant by saying that no-one can see how things will turn out, and that it’s possible that Foamfollower and Covenant will not encounter further hardship. At this point Covenant tells him that he talks too much (p387).
Covenant encounters Llaura, who wants to know why he has asked the Ramen to provide a home for her and Pietten. He replies that it makes no sense for her to try to attck Foul, that the Lords will deal with that, and that she should concentrate on helping Pietten. She seems to think that Pietten might already be beyond help, and Covenant’s only answer is that Pietten likes the Ranyhyn and that she should try them (p388).
As the company prepares to leave Manhome, they are in good spirits except for Covenant, who distrusts their reasons, thinking that many of them feel vindicated in considering him like Berek due to the Ranyhyn’s treatment of him (p389).
Covenant is not trying to dump PIetten and Laura off on the Ramen, but rather believes that staying with them will be the best thing, since Pietten is positively affected by the horses.
The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 05:44.
It opens with “Lord Mormon” and “Lilith” arguing. They’re arguing over whether “Lilith” should serve Covenant, which she thinks is a good idea, and she decides to do it despite the protests of “Lord Mormon”.
“Lilith” goes over to Covenant and prostrates herself on the ground, saying “I am your servant. You are Ringthang. I am here to serve you” (06:22). Covenant tells her “you’re sweet and all, but this is really not cool”. She tells him to ask if he needs anything at all, just ask, as long as it doesn’t involve touching the “Ranynyn”.
Covenant asks them to give Llaura and Pietten a home (06:53). “Lilith” agrees, as long as they don’t touch the “Ranynyn”.
Covenant asks “Mormon” why the group came to Manhome, and “Mormon” replies that, well, he did get a “Ranynyn”, and also that he saw in prophecy that this way they could avoid the army that Drool was sending out, because if they met it would be “awkward” (07:33).
A moment later, Foamfollower approaches “Lord Mormon” and asks to talk to Covenant. Foamfollower is carrying flowers. “Mormon” agrees and leaves, at which point Foamfollower asks if Covenant believes that hope is the child of strength (07:57). Covenant replies that hope comes from power (08:12). “Raw, unadulterated, wet, sweaty, leather-clad power” (08:17). Foamfollower asks him what use power is if it doesn’t have power over death, and Covenant replies “that’s a hand-job, giant”. Foamfollower then berates him, yelling that he has the power to save or damn the Land—and then starts laughing. Covenant reminds him that he’s a leper and that it’s all some kind of mistake, and Foamfollower tells him to mellow out, that the Lords have some surprises for Soulcrusher. He then explains that Soulcrusher is Lord Foul, and Covenant tells him that he talks too much (09:16) goes away to shave.
He is interrupted while shaving by Bannor and Pietten. Bannor says that Pietten needs help, since he stays awake at night and relishes the taste of blood (09:44)—to which Covenant says “don’t we all?”. Bannor says that Pietten is treachery concealed in a child’s form, and Covenant asks him if he’s being a tad bit dramatic (09:54). Pietten then says “redrum” in the middle of another sentence, and Covenant looks worried. Covenant then suggests taking Pietten to the “Ranynyn”.
We then see Prothall rounding up the company to leave. Covenant looks disturbed by this.
The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 10:21.
Heatherly asks if the expert for the show is me, because he looks like me. Julie says he isn’t me, and we then see the expert for the show (10:30). He is wearing the expert jacket, and a blond wig. Text on the screen introduces him as “Higgins O’Higgins” (10:31), and Julie says “Oh my god, Heatherly, I think that’s Tadhg’s father!” (10:33).
“Higgins O’Higgins” then gets into bed with them. Julie comments that she thinks they’ve almost had my entire family on the show (10:49).
“Higgins” has read Lord Foul’s Bane “too many times to count, but let’s pretend it’s ten” (11:04). In response to the “how many times did you understand it” question, he says “understanding is such a complicated concept. There’s literal comprehension, in which you could say this character walked over to that side of the room and he performed this action and he left the room. And then there’s more spritiual understanding, in which you feel that you really know what it all means (11:39). Julie prompts him for a number, and he says that he probably never understood it (11:43).
Heatherly asks if I was always so arrogant when I was growing up (11:51). He replies “oh, no, this is definitely a somatoform overcompensation reaction. He does this to make up for his deep-seated feelings of being older than his brother” (12:02).
Heatherly wants to know what it meant that “Mormon and Lilith were fighting like earth and sky”. “Higgins” is confused as to who these characters are (understandably, since no characters named this are in the book). They try to get him to concentrate on the other aspects of their question, but he can’t get over the names. He corrects them on Lithe (12:38). Heatherly then pronounces her name correctly and asks the same question, asking if it means that earth and sky are pissed off at each other, and “Higgins” replies that no, it means that they’re taking diametrically opposed attitudes, they are completely different things (12:57). He also points out that while you can easily tell the difference between earth and sky, they form one organic whole, and so complement and reinforce each other. Julie asks if earth and sky fight all the time, and “Higgins” says “unless they’ve had therapy” (13:26). Julie then asks if their therapy would be like rain. “Higgins” says “I wish that Steven R. Donaldson had thought of that” (13:42).
They ask him why “Mormon” let “Lilith” win the argument, and he says because he’s a gentleman and she’s tougher than he is. Heatherly then asks about whether it was because he already knew that “Lilith” would win because of his prophecy, and “Higgins” says that they’re asking him if he understands the book, and he knows he doesn’t understand the book (14:13). Julie suggests that they ask me (14:22), at which point “Higgins” says “I beg your pardon! My son doesn’t know more about this than I do!”
We then see Heatherly, “Higgins”, Julie, and myself (14:38). I’m kneeling by the side of the bed and “Higgins” is looking away from me, cleaerly offended. I ask what’s going on. Heatherly says “We have a question. When Mormon and Lilith were fighting—” and I interrupt, saying “When Mhoram and Lithe” (14:45). At this “Higgins” snaps his head around and says “you agreed with me!” (14:49) and I say “yes, since you were correct”. “Higgins” says “wow” (14:52) and mimes patting himself to verify that he’s not dreaming. Heatherly eventually asks her question of whether Mhoram let Lithe win because of his foresight, at which point I say “what makes you think he let her win?” (15:06). Julie says it says so in the book, and I say “that he let her win?” (15:09) Heatherly says “well yeah, cause she won. Because she got to go talk to Thomas Covenant.” Julie then reiterates the foresight question. I say “well maybe he thought it was okay for her to talk to Covenant.” Julie sasys no, they were arguing, didn’t I read the book? I say I did read it, but that Mhoram may have been convinced by her arguments (15:30). I say “if he hasn’t agreed with her arguments, why did he let her talk to Covenant?” and “Higgins” says “I have to agree with Tadhg” (15:35). He explains why, saying that they were arguing about whether it was a good idea for her to talk to Covenant, and is interrupted by Julie, who is touched by the agreement between us and suggests a hug (15:46). ‘Higgins” goes to give me a hug, at which point I push his arm away, say “Dad, you’[re embarrassing me” (15:49) and leave (15:50).
Julie asks how detailed “Mormon’s” foresight is. “Higgins” says that it comes and goes, that those who are gifted with it are able to see the future sometimes but not all the time, and that sometimes there’s a great deal of detail and at other time it’s only vague glimpses, and that if they could count on it, they would probably kill themselves, because, how could you live your life if you already knew what was going to happen? (16:31). So, when Mhoram senses danger, hope, etc., it doesn’t play out exactly, you have to actually live it in order to find out what’s going to happen. He then says “you’ve tricked me into giving a serious answer to this question!” (16:58)
They ask how anyone knows that “Mormon” isn’t faking, and “Higgins” says “you see, he also was an older brother” (17:26).
Heatherly asks what “Lilith” means when she says that they’ll serve Covenant in anything that doesn’t touch the “Ranynyn”. “Higgins” rolls his eyes and restrains himself from correcting both “Lilith” and “Ranynyn” as Heatherly closes her question by asking if the “Ranynyn” are “untouchable” (17:49). “Higgins” reponds that Lithe is telling Covenant that they’ll do anything for him as long as it doesn’t interfere with their worship of or respect for the Ranyhyn (18:19).
Julie asks if Covenant and Foamfollower were still drunk when they had their argument about hope (18:32). “Higgins” asks if she’s sure it was an argument. She says she thought so, that they were fighting like air and water, to which “Higgins” says “or like clouds and trees”. Heatherly reads “what hope has power at all if it is not power over death? If you place hope on anything less, then your hope may mislead you” (p385) (19:08) and asks what this means. “Higgins” says that that’s why he told them from the beginning that he never understood this book, but that he thinks they’ve found something important (19:18). (Which they have, since this debate relates closely to major themes in the book and is also one of the few suggested paths for Covenant out of his self-imposed pigeonhole).
“Higgins” says that Foamfollower is taking Covenant’s argument to its logical conclusion, which is that hope is meaningless unless it involves power over everything (19:48). Julie asks him if that’s what Foamfollower thinks, and when he begins to reply “Foamfollower’s position in the argument—” and Julie cuts him off with “so it is an argument” (19:59). “Higgins” replies “you know, I think this is an argument” (20:04).
“Higgins” continues that after pushing Covenant’s argument to the conclusion that if hope is reliant on power, then it’s meaningless unless you have power over everything, that Foamfollower says that hope is about love and respect, and depends on what you have committed yourself to, not on whether you yourself are powerful (20:43).
Heatherly says “wow, you’re so eloquent”, to which he replies “well, it’s the jacket” (20:46). There is then a cut to him appearing without the jacket.
Julie asks why Covenant tells Llaura to try the Ranyhyn with Pietten, and Heatherly says “what are the Ranynyn supposed to do with a possessed kid?” “Higgins” says “Really? That’s your question?” (21:13). When they say it is, he says that Covenant has already noticed that the Ranyhyn are the only thing that Pietten responds to (21:28). He goes on to say that Covenant, as he is slowly becoming a kinder and gentler person, is suggesting that Pietten be allowed to stay with the only thing he cares about (21:52).
They ask if Pietten is really going through puberty, and “Higgins” says that he thinks that Pietten has been driven insane by a traumatic experience, just as many people are driven insane by their parents. He continues “I mean, look at poor Tadhg. After all, if he weren’t my son he’d be a completely different person” (22:29) (He struggles to say this with a completely straight face.)
Chart-writing begins at 22:56 on the topic of “What do you think happened to Pietten to make him all ‘wooo’?”
Chart-writing ends at 23:20.
“Higgins’” chart (23:41) shows what “Higgins” describes as “the story of Tadhg”. This shows a stick figure beset by arrows of “bad things” and “really bad things”. The stick figure is thinking “I hate my parents!”
Julie’s chart (24:16) shows PIetten, who is going through puberty, being caught masturbating by Llaura, despite the “keep out” signs on his room.
Heatherly’s chart (24:35) shows multiple bad things happening to Pietten, including watching too much violent television programming, being forced to dress up like a bumblebee, getting pantsed in P.E., and getting abducted by aliens.
After the chart-writing, they say that they’re going to do “vocabulary trivia” (25:15).
The first word is “avuncular”. “Higgins” says that that would be a good word to describe his relationship with Heatherly and Julie (25:33), at which point Julie screams “ooo, that’s so good!”
The “post-coital” segment begins at 25:44. “Higgins” is lighting a cigar.
They comment that he’s smarter than me, and he responds that he got it from me, that most parents have their energy and intelligence sucked out of them by their children, but he did it the other way around (26:15). They then agree that the secret was the hair.
Heatherly’s favorite part was Covenant dumping Pietten and Llaura on the “Ranynyn” (26:37).
Julie’s favorite part was “the hope stuff, maybe” (26:52).
“Higgins’” favorite part was the fact that “service enables service. G. K. Chesterton once wrote ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing badly’ and I believe that. The worth of what it is you are doing depends on what it is you are doing, not on whether you happen to be or bad at it or whether you’re powerful, or whether you can save the world, or whether you ever become great. It depends on what you care about” (27:33). Heatherly then comments that he’s so smart, and that he should become a writer, to which Julie says “totally”.
The end credits include an out-take of Foamfollower saying “I do not like you, Sam-I-Am”.
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.
Avuncular: like or in the manner of an uncle (generally a friendly uncle).
First appearance of “Higgins O’Higgins”, 10:30.
First “vocabulary trivia”, 25:15