Religion in the Land

Gregory Souza '07 English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2003

Stephen R. Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane is the first book of a series that chronicles the adventures of Thomas Covenant. Covenant is a leper who is magically transported to a fantasy world known as the Land. In the Land, he eventually embarks on a quest against the evil Lord Foul, who threatens the entire Land. Many people in the land believe in old legends about the existence of the Creator and the Despiser (Lord Foul). Lord Tamarantha explains her beliefs to Covenant:

Of course the Creator lives. . . . How else? Opposites require each other. Otherwise the difference is lost, and only chaos remains. No, there can be no Despite without Creation. Better to ask how the Creator could have forgotten that when he made the Earth. For if he did not forget, then Creation and Despite existed together in his one being, and he did not know it. [293]

She then explains how the Creator was "like a worker into his workshop" who desired perfection and created Time, the wild magic, and the Earth. But he found an evil "buried deep in the Earth through no will or forming of his" (294). In a rage, he fights with the evil and casts it down "out of the infinity of the cosmos onto the Earth." Because of the Law of Time, which requires that nothing can be undone, the Despiser was emprisoned in Time on the Earth.

Questions

1. Would you call this explanation of the world a religion, or is it more like a myth or legend?

2. How does this set of beliefs try to justify the presence of evil in the world? What effect do you think the fact that the Creator indirectly introduced evil into the world has on the people who hold these beliefs?

3. Lord Tamarantha says that "Opposites require each other." How is this view similar to Ged's ideas about balance in the Earthsea series? What role has religion played in other books we have read?

References

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