AFBH 35: Pages 426-430

02:27 Sat 04 Nov 2006
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Episode 35. Death below Mount Thunder

A significant character dies, and they need a bigger jacket.

###Pages 426-430.
Starts with “Birinair raced down the tunnel” (approximately) (p426), ends with “Prothall’s face lit up with hope.” (p430).



The episode begins with Julie looking at a piece of paper that Heatherly is intently writing calculations on. Julie says “how many? How many?” (02:04) and Heatherly says “I’m trying! I’m trying!”. Then she announces that they have 152 more episodes to go before they’re done with the book. Julie tells her she forgot to “distribute the negatives” and takes the pen from her. After feverish calculating, Heatherly asks “Julie, if you know how to do it, why was I even doing it in the first place?” (02:32) and Julie says that they don’t have 152 episodes left, they have 5. And she doesn’t know how her pen changed color. Julie says that they have to make the final episodes count, and Heatherly counts to five on her fingers. Julie tells her she forgot to distribute the negative.

Julie gives the usual intro spiel, although in this one she mentions Moose as a host.

###Analysis of Pages

Heatherly says that they left off with everyone chasing after Birinair, because he was yelling “follow”.

Heatherly: they follow him, which makes sense because he’s yelling “follow”, and “suddenly, there came a hot noise” (03:43). The Hirebrand, which I guess is Birinair’s other name, is enveloped in a sheet of blue flame. The dazzling and coruscating flame walled the tunnel from top to bottom. Birinair is like just hanging there in this blue sheet of fiery flame, like in total agony” (04:01). Two Bloodguard tried to shove him through, but didn’t have any effect. Prothall is thinking about what to do while Mormon sees a whole bunch of ur-viles at the other end of the cave. Prothall, like, he’s mustering his strength, and he hurls his staff at the blue sheet of flame. The staff stuck it in a blinding flash, and Birinair lay on the other side.

Heatherly: Prothall cries out Birinair’s name, throws himself at the flames, but it flung back. The ur-viles were attacking ferociously.

The camera moves to focus on Moose (04:41).

Heatherly: There was a iron spike, in one person’s heart, and a woman was, like, she also got her hand hacked off.

The camera moves back to Heatherly (04:51).

Heatherly: So Birinair held this wide stare of agony, and Covenant had forgotten something, something important. Mormon is still kicking ass, but you know, not so much ass, right now. Covenant stopped inches away from the fire and saw his chance for immoliation [sic] and escape in the flame. He reaches out and grasps Prothall’s staff, which is still stuck in the blue sheet of flame (05:25).

Heatherly: Power surged, and bloody fire burst from his ring, and there was this big explosion, and the blue sheet shattered. And the ur-vile passed right over Prothall and went right for Thomas Covenant, but is shot in the back by an arrow from Quaan’s bow, and crashes into Covenant. Mormon’s fire finally drove back the ur-viles. Prothall hugs Birinair’s charred remains.

Julie says “eww, gross!” (06:06).

Heatherly: Prothall says “you guys go on, ’cause I need another moment to say goodbye”. “Why?” Mormon wondered aloud. “Why was such a power placed here?” Covenant says “I forgot my clothes, I left them behind” and then Mormon says “Dude! Are you injured or something? Why are you asking about your clothes?” (06:25). Covenant’s “Of course I’m injured. My whole life is an injury.

Heatherly: So then Mormon and Quaan and Korik and some other Bloodguard are carrying this big iron chest. Mormon says “the power was a defense placed here by High Lord Kevin. Beyond this tunnel lies a chamber, where we found this Second Ward of Kevin’s Lore, the second of seven.” And then High Lord Prothall’s face totally lit up with hope (06:53).

Heatherly starts off by saying that this whole chapter is just more evidence of what a whiny little bitch Covenant is (07:09), because Birinair dies and is charred up and all Covenant can think about are his clothes. Julie says that this is true, but what disturbed her more is that Birinair is a charred disgusting corpse and Prothall hugs him. Julie then says that if Heatherly gets charred and dies, she’ll love her from afar, and might stretch to poking her with a love stick. They both agree that this is the most appropriate thing to do if either finds the other charred.

Birinair, slightly ahead of his Bloodguard wards, runs down a tunnel and into a magical trap that suspends him, burning, in a wall of blue flame. The Bloodguard try to free him, but cannot (p426). Prothall sends them to aid Mhoram against the approaching ur-viles and tries to free Birinair himself. He is knocked away, and ends up motionaless, face down against the stone (p427).

Prothall gets up as the rest of the company is forced back into the tunnel where Birinair is still suspended. He knows he is already too late, but tries to free Birinair anyway, flinging his staff at the sheet of blue energy. This has the effect of knocking Birinair to the other side, but the blue field remains there, suspending Prothall’s staff within it. Prothall cannot get past it to Birinair.

The ur-vile wedge inflicts casualties on the company, felling three of the Eoman and hacking the hand off another. Covenant approaches the energy field as Mhoram starts to gain the upper hand against the ur-vile loremaster (p428). Covenant is drawn to the idea of suicide by immolation, which he considers as much an escape (back to his own world) as an ending. The ur-vile loremaster breaks formation to get past Mhoram down the tunnel, and Mhoram orders Quaan to shoot it before it reaches Prothall, who is warning Covenant to beware the energy field.

Covenant ignores him and grasps Prothall’s staff, which causes a burst of energy that destroys the blue sheet of flame. The ur-vile loremaster springs past Prothall to go for Covenant, and Quaan shoots it in the back, knocking it into Covenant (p429).

The rest of the company have forced the ur-viles to flee. Mhoram order them not to pursue, because Drool will already know where they are. He and the others return to Prothall, who is holding Birinair’s charred body. Prothall, feeling guilty that Birinair died because he was in the lead rather than Prothall, send them away so that he can be alone to say his farewells.

Mhoram wonders why a power as great as the blue sheet of flame had been placed there. Covenant responds to this by saying that he’s forgotten his clothes. Mhoram doesn’t understand this, asks if he’s injured, and says he doesn’t understand the significance of the clothes. Covenant replies that he is injured, that his whole life is an injury, and that the clothes are important because when we wakes up in his old clothes rather than his moss-stained robe, he’ll know it’s all been a dream (p430).

This doesn’t make much sense, first of all because if it is a dream, the clothes he’s wearing in it have no significance whatsoever. Covenant is being forced by events to acknowledge his experience in the Land, and dreads this so much that he attempts quasi-suicide (quasi- because he doesn’t really believe he’ll die, just “wake up”) and drifts entirely away from rationality in thinking that his clothes have some bearing on the situation.

Mhoram tells him that he’s mastered a great power, meaning that he managed to break through the powerful barrier of the blue fire, and Covenant tells him that it was an accident, and that he was trying to escape, to burn himself. He then falls asleep, and when he wakes the group is caring for the wounded, recuperating, and preparing a meal. Mhoram and others return, bearing a small iron chest. This contains the Second Ward of Kevin’s Lore, causing Prothall to feel hope.

###Key Misunderstandings

Covenant wasn’t whining about his clothes per se, but rather is clinging to the idea that the Land is a dream (the relation of his clothes to this hypothesis makes little sense, but he is clearly not thinking straight).

###Action Sequence

The Fantasy Action Sequence begins at 08:36.

It opens with Birinair running from right to left, shouting “follow, follow”. Covenant runs by, pausing to look behind him. Birinair keeps running and saying “follow” until a glowing blue energy field appears in front of him and zaps him with what looks like electricity (09:09). Birinair cries out and writhes in agony. Covenant shouts “Birinair! Somebody help him!”. Birinair cries “fire hurts!”, and “Lord Mormon” clashes with an ur-vile. Birinair shouts “You should have been listening to your elders. Why isn’t someone helping me? Ooooh, this hurts!” (09:30). He cries out incoherently for a while, then says “It really hurts!”.

We see “Mormon” still fighting with an ur-vile, and then Birinair again, now beardless, saying “Ow my face! Oooh I’m burning, I’m burning! Why isn’t anybody helping me? I’m melting! I’m melting! Why isn’t anyone helping me? Oooh my face, my face, I’m burning! Help me! Help me!” As he continues to cry for help, a Bloodguard runs up to him. Birinair says “Oh, you’re here to help!” but the Bloodguard falls back. “Bloodguard Bob” tries and also falls back, and Birinair starts asking where he went (10:13). The two Bloodguard return, with Prothall, who tells them to aid “Mormon”, that this is his place, that Birinair is going to die. Birinair continnues to cry out in the background. Prothall approaches Birinair and is thrown back. Prothall again says “where’d he go?” (10:30). “Mormon” is still struggling against an ur-vile. Behind him, Bannor, “Bloodguard Bob” (now wearing a different FBH T-shirt) and a white “Ranynyn” (wearing boxing gloves) look on, until “Bloodguard Bob” runs past.

Birinair is still crying for help, and we see Prothall’s staff being pushed towards him. When it touches him (10:45), he is knocked backwards, and the blue energy seems to stick to the staff.

Prothall runs over to Birinair, whose body looks charred and appears to be letting off blue mist. His face is obscured by a ball of blue energy. As the energy dissipates, Prothall tries to pick him up, saying his name, and that he was Prothall’s only friend (10:52).

“Bloodguard Bob” is engaged in combat with an ur-vile, who knocks his axe away and pushes him to the ground. When it goes in for the kill, Bannor (who was apparently standing idly by) reaches out and stabs it in the chest with his sword, killing it (11:08). “Bloodguard Bob” says “that was easy”.

Prothall is still clutching Birinair’s body and crying.

The white “Ranynyn” gestures with ones of its (gloved) hands, and engages with an ur-vile that is also wearing boxing gloves. The ur-vile gives up and runs away, leaving the “Ranynyn” posing (11:25).

We then see a woman in a blonde wig, with a name tag reading “WOMAN”, applying some lipstick to herself. An ur-vile approaches and hacks at her hand with an axe, causing her to scream, and there is a cut away to the lipstick rolling across the floor (11:31). The woman stares at her maimed hand, which looks suspiciously like Covenant’s hand (and Berek’s hand), and screams. The ur-vile returns and hacks off the entire hand (11:45). The woman stares at the bloody, squirting stump and screams and cries. Her screams continue as we see the blood run into a drain (12:39).

“Mormon” is still fighting the ur-vile. Prothall is still clutching Birinair. Covenant shakes his head and stares into space. The ur-vile is pushing “Mormon” to the ground.

Covenant approaches Prothall’s staff, still stuck in the blue energy field, grabs it, and jams his ring against it (13:11). This causes an explosion that knocks him backwards, and an ur-vile notices and moves towards him. After a shot of “Mormon” still being pushed down by the ur-vile he’s fighting, we see “Bloodguard Bob” save Covenant from the ur-vile about to attack him by shooting it with an arrow. Covenant says “Jesus! Good one, Tuvok” (13:32).

We see “Lord Mormon” speaking to the group, saying “My people, let the ur-viles go. Remember the Oath of Peace” (13:40). He then walks over to Prothall, and grimaces when he sees what’s left of Birinair. Prothall tells him to go so that he can have his moment with Birinair, and “Mormon”, still grimacing, leaves him. Prothall, holding Birinair close, is smeared on the cheek by some of the remnants of Birinair’s face.

We then see “Mormon” holding a skull, saying “alas, poor Birinair, I knew him well” (14:07). He then throws the skull behind him, where Prothall catches it. “Mormon” then says “Why was such a power placed here?”

Covenant says “God dammit! I forgot my clothes!” (14:17). “Mormon” asks if he is injured, and why he cares so much about his clothes. Covenant replies “I’m a leper, you dotard! My whole life’s an injury! Plus, my clothes are so cool” (14:32). “Mormon” tells him that he has mastered a great power, and Covenant replies “Well of course, if trying to kill yourself in a big ball of fire and then failing is mastering a power. Yeah, of course, ha, I’ve mastered a great power” (14:47).

Bannor approaches “Mormon” with a blue and white container, telling him they found it. “Mormon” says “Of course! The power was placed here by High Lord Kevin. This is the Second Ward of Kevin’s Lore” (14:59).

On the top of the container is written:

> 2nd WARD of 7

The Fantasy Action Sequence ends at 15:05.


Heatherly asks Julie if she has a new tattoo. Julie says yes (it’s on her left arm); Heatherly says “How cute, it says ‘mom’” (15:19) and Julie angrily retorts “No it doesn’t, it says ‘wow’. ‘Wow’. ‘Wow’!” while pointing to it (it’s clear that from her own perspective it would indeed read “wow”.) Heatherly tells her to chill.

The expert is Ken, who appears on screen at 15:40. He is not wearing the expert jacket. Heatherly tells him not to mention Julie’s tatto because she’s a little sensitive about it, and he gives her a thumbs-up. Heatherly offers Ken the expert jacket, but he holds it open and says it’s not going to fit (15:55). Julie says they’ve never had that happen to any of their experts. He has read Lord Foul’s Bane four times (16:21), and has yet to understand it (16:34). He used to be a bodyguard for Prince (16:45).

Heatherly asks him for a Prince story, but he says he can’t tell any due to confidentialilty agreements. Julie asks him which Lord Foul’s Bane character Prince is most like (17:00). Ken says “Covenant’s wife”, citing “same size, same intensity, same makeup patterns” and a shared penchant for yellow suits.

Julie asks if the “blue light” charred Birinair’s soul or his real body (17:41). Ken says it charred his body pretty well, but it’s questionable how much it charred his soul. He says that it appears that Birinair was alive for a moment after his soul left his body, and when Julie asks what that would look like, he asks if she’s ever drunk fifteen shots of Jägermeister.

Julie says “so, Birinair’s dead, right?” (18:40) and Ken says “right”. Heatherly asks how he kept yelling “follow” after he was dead, and Ken says he didn’t, that that was Covenant remembering him yelling “follow”.

Julie asks why, if he was a good guy, Kevin would set up magic that killed the quest (18:54)? Ken says they weren’t supposed to find it yet. He says that the blue fire was there to protect the Second Ward.

Heatherly asks why nobody ever tripped that trap before and set off the wall of blue flame (19:35). Ken says that he thinks they call that a plot device.

Julie asks why Kevin hid it in the catacombs, since that’s the house of Lord Foul (20:08). Ken says he was hiding them wherever he could.

Julie asks why Prothall threw his staff into the magic bolt of electricity (20:26). Ken says that it was to knock Birinair out of it, and Julie asks he knew that would do it. Ken says he probably wasn’t sure, but figure that his staff, probably the most powerful one in the area, would do the trick. Julie then asks why they didn’t just leave Birinair in the wall of flame if he was dead, and Ken says that he wasn’t dead yet.

Julie asks how Covenant knew that reaching for the staff would make the whole thing explode (21:05). Ken says that Covenant was trying to commit suicide. They protest that it doesn’t say that in the book, and Ken insists that it does. Ken cites Covenant’s reply to Mhoram’s “you have mastered a great power” line, page 430, where Covenant says he was trying to burn himself. (It’s also clear from page 428, “In the dazzling blue force, he saw a chance for immolation, escape.”)

Julie asks why, if he thinks he’s dreaming, Covenant would try to kill himself (21:41). Ken replies that Covenant figures that if he kills himself in the Land, he’ll wake from the dream and be back home where everything is normal.

Julie asks what the deal with Covenant and his comments about his clothes is (21:56). Ken says that Covenant, thinking about trying to escape from the Land, is thinking that he needs to wake up in those clothes—otherwise, if he wakes up in his robe from the Land, he’ll know that the Land was real, and will have to take responsibility for all his actions. Julie asks “you got all that from ‘I can’t find my clothes’?” and Ken replies “and the 400-something pages previous to that”.

Kens says that Covenant wanted to believe immediately that he was in a dream, so he rapes the first person who treats him well (22:48). He says that Covenant started feeling like crap immediately, and the Lords keep putting more responsibility on him, and revering him, and Covenant feels that they don’t know what he’s done. Julie asks why he can’t just admit to the rape. Ken says that Covenant doesn’t want to take responsibility for it, which is why it’s important that it’s still a dream to him. Julie asks if he feels bad-ass for doing what he did with the wall of blue flame, and Ken explains that he feels weak, as usual, because his mindset is that he’s a leper and can’t feel anything but terrible about himself.

Julie asks who the woman who lost her hand was (23:52). Ken says (essentially) that she’s a bit character in the party.

Chart-writing begins at 24:19, on the topic “what did the Ward look like?”

Chart-writing ends at 24:49.

Julie’s chart (24:59) shows a chest that includes a 1 year warrant laptop service, a scroll that says “So you’ve found the 2nd ward. Hope it was worth it. Sucker! Love, Kevin”, a passport, a yearbook, and a golden fish. The chest has “Ward #2″ written on the front.

Ken’s chart (25:24) shows an a chest holding “the most magical and mystical fortunetelling device of all time, the ‘Magic 8-Ball of Kevin’”. The chest has “Kevin was here!” on the inside of its top, and “WARD #2 DO NOT OPEN ‘TILL X-MAS” written on its front.

Heatherly’s chart (25:46) shows a stripper, who has emerged from the box, and big stripping pole rising out of the box.

The “post-coital” segment starts at 26:05.

Heatherly’s favorite part was when Thomas Covenant broke the cascading wall of blue fire (26:32).

Julie’s favorite part was when that random woman got her hand cut off (26:39).

Ken’s favorite part was when Lord Mhoram got in bed with two girls—but then says his real favorite part was when Quaan (who he mistakenly thinks is a Bloodguard) fired the arrow into the back of the ur-vile loremaster to save Covenant (27:13). Heatherly and Julie both switch their favorite parts to that as well.

After the end credits, there is an out-take of Covenant struggling with Prothall’s staff in the blue energy, being knocked backwards, and coming forward saying “did I hit you?”

After that, 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 Fantasy Action Sequence without any on-screen text quoting from Lord Foul’s Bane?
First expert explicitly too large for the expert jacket, 15:55.

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