White Gold

Michael Kern '07 English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2003

Lord Foul's Bane tells the story of Thomas Covenant, a man whose life collapses after he learns he is cursed with leprosy. While Covenant walks through town one day, a car hits him at a crosswalk. When he wakes, he finds himself in a mysterious new land. The people he meets believe him to be a reincarnation of a legendary hero. His old wedding band, made of white gold, has mysterious powers in this land.

Covenant understood. He could hear dark wings, see slaughtered Wraiths. Wild magic! he groaned. Heroism! This is insufferable. With a jerk of his head, he knocked transitions aside and asked roughly, "Do you want my ring?"

"Want?" Foamfollower croaked, looking as if he felt he should laugh but did not have the heart for it. "Want?" His voice quavered painfully, as if were confessing to some kind of abheration. "Do not use such a word, my friend. Wanting is natural, and may succeed or fail without wrong. Say covet, rather. To covet is to desire something which should not be given. Yes, I covet your un-Earth, wild magic, peace-ending white gold . . ."

Foamfollower claims that there is "wild magic" contained within the earth for "white gold to unleash or control." However, Foamfollower also says that "would not accept this ring" were Covenant to offer it to him. When Covenant asks him if knows how to use it, Foamfollower is surprised. He had believed that the power of the ring is "called up by the simple decision of use."


Why does Donaldson cause the people of this land to be ignorant of how the ring works?

How does Foamfollower and the rest of the giants compare to the Ents in Lord of the Rings?

Does the ring have an evil aspect to it, much like the One Ring? Or is it simply a instrument of incredible power?

How does this scene compare to the one in Lord of the Rings where Frodo offers the ring to Galadriel, the Lady of the Wood, or even earlier when he offers it to Gandalf?


Donaldson, Stephen R. Lord Foul's Bane. Part I of The Chronicles of Thomas Coveant the Unbeliever. New York: Ballantine Books, 1977.

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Last modified 20 April 2004