The Last Dark - The Final Covenant Book?

How Important is The Last Dark to your 2013(projected) Reading List?

  • Casually Piqued: Hedging on the Discount Bins!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Tragically Undecided: So Many Books to Read, So Little Time.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Decidedly Uninterested: Greater marginal utility to be had at McDonald's.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3
  • Poll closed .

Grimward

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Well, as all Donaldson fans are likely aware, the Thomas Covenant series is sadly (for my part) coming to an end. The Last Dark is advertised by Donaldson as the final book. Amazon of course is already selling it for 20 pounds in the UK, even though it hasn't been released (and if Donaldson's site is any indication, it won't be released until some time in October).

I hadn't really started reading SFF in earnest when Lord Foul's Bane was released, but had been "indoctrinated" :D by the time the paperback version of The Power that Preserves appeared on bookstands, so it's sad for me to see it end after such a long run.

Am interested in what the rest of the Chrons might think of the ending of this long saga. If the fit has taken you, my thanks in advance for weighing in and taking the poll.
 

Grimward

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It's funny how life (and death) intervene. At the time I created this thread, I was keenly anticipating this final book. Shortly after I posted, however, my older daughter entered college, my younger daughter high school, my father-in-law passed away and I became busier than busy with EVERYTHING else.

Now here, 8 years later, my eldest has embarked on her career, my youngest is finishing her final undergrad semester, my father-in-law's estate is all settled AND I ONCE MORE HAVE TIME TO READ STEPHEN DONALDSON. ;)

So....I've procured THE LAST DARK, and will let you all know what I think (hopefully sooner than 8 years from now....!).
 

Grimward

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I second this and there are some really long words. You may need a dictionary.

On my third read I got a dictionary and still enjoy it.
Don't I know it?!! See my review of Fatal Revenant here for more on that line of thought. When I first read Lord Foul's Bane in high school, I must have looked up 30-35 words before I was finished.
 

HareBrain

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Some of the words I first encountered in Donaldson -- gibbous, lambent, threnody, mien -- I've met many times since. But one -- roynish -- I never have. Not once. He only applies it to ur-viles, and when I first read him in the 80s, pre-internet, I couldn't find the word in any dictionary and in my mind it just came to mean "ur-vile-like". (It actually means mangy, scabby, or coarse, but I still have no idea exactly what he meant by it in relation to those creatures.)
 

Mark_Harbinger

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Hey There!

(This is my first post to SFFC—is that the proper acronym? So bear with me) First, congrats to the OP on all your 'adulting' success. As a recent empty-nester myself, I empathize.

I read LFB when I was still in Elementary school (I was precocious, started reading at 3) and by the time I reached adulthood I formed an opinion that the First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were the greatest Fantasy hexology of all time, an opinion to which I still hold.

I also had a number of exchanges with SRD via email and, later on, through his Gradual Interview. I (rather sophomorically) expressed my concern to him about his starting a third series and he assured me that my concern was misplaced. Right up until TLD was published I had read everything he'd published. He is a modern master, IMO.

All that being said, I am always interested in everyone's take on the Last Chronicles, so I look forward to yours. :whistle:
I won't give away my take on it (it's probably not what you would think, though).

~~~
And to throw in a tidbit about the "SRD Ate My Dictionary" discussion (you've all seen that website, right?): Personally, I like the fact that he doesn't do that all the time. It is a conscious choice in some of his fantasy works, for the effect. I happen to enjoy it in TCOTC.

Be well, everyone!
 
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Some of the words I first encountered in Donaldson -- gibbous, lambent, threnody, mien -- I've met many times since. But one -- roynish -- I never have. Not once. He only applies it to ur-viles, and when I first read him in the 80s, pre-internet, I couldn't find the word in any dictionary and in my mind it just came to mean "ur-vile-like". (It actually means mangy, scabby, or coarse, but I still have no idea exactly what he meant by it in relation to those creatures.)
I've always imagined that describing the ur-viles as roynish was in reference to their behavior while they were still in service to Lord Foul. IIRC, they made quasi-barking noises while arranged in their battle wedges. They also made strange gestures that appeared to be of a challenging nature. My guess is their gestures were to enhance their dark lore and strange theurgies.

I think Donaldson was attempting to evoke the idea that ur-viles were loud, obnoxious and troublesome like a pack of wild dogs taking down prey.
 
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Some of the words Donaldson used in TC that I had no idea what they meant until I looked them up:

  • anodyne
  • suppuration
  • cynosure
  • caesure
  • objurgation
  • puissance
  • thaumaturge
  • mansuetude
  • gelid
  • condign
Oh well, Donaldson helped me increase my vocabulary some. Not that I remember these words much or ever use them in daily conversation. I think people would stare at me like I grew a third eye in my forehead if I were to use them in conversation.
 

Lafayette

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Some of the words Donaldson used in TC that I had no idea what they meant until I looked them up:

  • anodyne
  • suppuration
  • cynosure
  • caesure
  • objurgation
  • puissance
  • thaumaturge
  • mansuetude
  • gelid
  • condign
Oh well, Donaldson helped me increase my vocabulary some. Not that I remember these words much or ever use them in daily conversation. I think people would stare at me like I grew a third eye in my forehead if I were to use them in conversation.
Basically, I've had the same experience with Donaldson, (who is one of my literary heroes). I wonder though how he gets away with employing such a vocabulary? If I remember correctly, I was cautioned about using big words in my writing and I also believe the late David Farland stated that using big words as a no no in story telling.

Incidentally, has the thinking on this topic change any?
 

Grimward

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Would first observe that some of Donaldson's rarely used words really aren't all that "big", but I get your point Lafayette.

I think, if the story (and world) and author creates is compelling enough, the audience will gladly remain engaged, and some (as demonstrated here!) will even do "homework" to better understand what they've just read/heard. Look at Tolkien; in reality, what's the difference between using THOUSANDS of words in fantasy languages that NO ONE in the audience understands until the story gives them life (and the author supplies exhaustive indices and appendices in support of those words) AND Donaldson using rarely seen words from English? As long, that is, as one has access to an English dictionary....
 

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