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#1
Old 02-08-2010, 06:41 PM
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The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant - the movie?

For those that have read the story (all six books of it), can you see it being a successful movie adaptation, epic fantasy LOTR style, or not?

IMHO it has the prerequisites.. but how would you condense it into a film? Do you think given the success of LOTR it would have an audience base of sorts already, or is it unfair to compare the two stories?
#2
Old 02-08-2010, 06:54 PM
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No I can't see it as successful. There is way to much crap about leprosy and as a hero the guy sucks. He rapes the girl and spends the rest of the series whining and sticking the problem on others to save him and the world.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 02-08-2010 at 06:54 PM.
#3
Old 02-08-2010, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
No I can't see it as successful. There is way to much crap about leprosy and as a hero the guy sucks. He rapes the girl and spends the rest of the series whining and sticking the problem on others to save him and the world.
Wow, I was going to say much the same thing, but you said it a whole lot better than I had it planned. The only cool thing I remember about that series was the gravlingas? rock singing guys.Granted, I read the first 3 and then gave up on the series about 25 years ago.

Just wikipedia-ed, ok the name "unbeliever" is pretty cool too.

Last edited by Paintcharge; 02-08-2010 at 07:12 PM.
#4
Old 02-08-2010, 07:23 PM
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There are more than 6 books. He started a new series in the past few years. Yawn.

Any movie would have to eliminate the rapist angle. And I doubt the author would go for that.
#5
Old 02-08-2010, 09:00 PM
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The Elric movie is currently in limbo, and he (and his universe) are much more filmable than Thomas Covenant. No effin' way IOW; for me, he'd be about 30th in line behind a bunch of other currently unfilmed fantasy heroes and heroines: Rhialto and Cugel of the Dying Earth, Corwin of Amber, Morgaine, and even Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.
#6
Old 02-08-2010, 09:07 PM
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A Thomas Covenant movie would suck donkey balls as badly as the books did. Maybe even worse.
#7
Old 02-08-2010, 09:48 PM
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It's been done.
#8
Old 02-08-2010, 10:17 PM
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I always thought it would make a good anime.
#9
Old 02-08-2010, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Wow, that may be one of the weirder things I've seen on the internet. Which is saying a lot.
#10
Old 02-09-2010, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
The Elric movie is currently in limbo, and he (and his universe) are much more filmable than Thomas Covenant.
I'm not sure. Covenant is whiny, yes, but Elric is full-on emo, and the whole morally ambiguous hero bit won't sell to film audiences.
Quote:
No effin' way IOW; for me, he'd be about 30th in line behind a bunch of other currently unfilmed fantasy heroes and heroines: [...]Morgaine[...]
Do you mean Cherryh's Morgaine?
#11
Old 02-09-2010, 06:22 AM
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I reckon yes, it could be a great film - certainly the first three books. Agreed, the rapeyness would have to be mitigated somehow, so you would end up with a significantly altered TC. But they're very iconic, extravagant books in a lot of ways that could well transmit to cinema. There's little in the way of subtlety or complex narrative to stand in the way of an adaption, and the imagery is very strong - the giants, the bloodguard, leprosy, ravers, the whole environmental concept of the land and its people etc. Whilst the protagonist is famously morally conflicted, the story as a whole is very black and white.

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No effin' way IOW; for me, he'd be about 30th in line behind a bunch of other currently unfilmed fantasy heroes and heroines: [...]Morgaine[...]
This is a bit of a left-field suggestion IMHO, John Difool . Cherryh is a miles better writer than Donaldson in general, but her mainstream fantasy can be really dull. Struggling to see how you could build a film around Morgaine. Been ages since I've read them, though, maybe they're better than I recall?
#12
Old 02-09-2010, 07:40 AM
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Whenever I think a TC movie needs to alter the rapeyness (thanks for the new word, Busy Scissors- feel free to use mine that I coined to describe Schindler's List- "holocausty"), I think of soap operas- Luke & Laura on GH, Todd Whoever on OLTL. Just cast a handsome swoony actor as TC & all but the most ardent feminists will get all "It wasn't REALLY rape!"
#13
Old 02-09-2010, 07:43 AM
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It is hard for me to imagine it as a movie, and if a movie harder for me to imagine it having the massive built in audience to make for success. And unlike nearly everybody here, apparently, I love the first three Thomas Covenant books.

I could, however, see it as a reasonably successful HBO series.
#14
Old 02-09-2010, 08:26 AM
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In a perfect world it could be done, but in ours it would never be green-lit. Sure, movies get made where the central character is a child molester (The Woodsman), but these sorts of films aren't set in fantasy settings that require ridiculous budgets. You can't film a series about The Land without showing off The Land.

They'd have to re-imagine the rape scene as something else, and whatever they chose it would water down Covenant and the reactions to him of those around him. If they left it in, a lot of folks would walk out of the theater, just as many copies of the first book are discarded after the rape scene. A mainstream audience would never stand for Covenant as a protagonist. He is too self-loathing, cowardly, and unlikeable.

Given all that, it becomes a niche film for a niche audience, so probably the only way to do it well on a niche film budget is to animate (anime) it.

The idea of an HBO series is interesting, although much would ride on the success of the upcoming A Song of Ice and Fire series.
#15
Old 02-09-2010, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by FriarTed View Post
Whenever I think a TC movie needs to alter the rapeyness (thanks for the new word, Busy Scissors- feel free to use mine that I coined to describe Schindler's List- "holocausty"), I think of soap operas- Luke & Laura on GH, Todd Whoever on OLTL. Just cast a handsome swoony actor as TC & all but the most ardent feminists will get all "It wasn't REALLY rape!"
Lena was 16, wasn't she? Mighty hard for even a swoony actor to justify that.

And what about the second (third?) book, where TC is about to go all rapey on Elena, before he finds out she's his daughter from his first bought of rapeyness.

The Bloodguard would be cool though.

Leper Outcast UNCLEAN!
#16
Old 02-09-2010, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
I'm not sure. Covenant is whiny, yes, but Elric is full-on emo, and the whole morally ambiguous hero bit won't sell to film audiences.
What? Have antiheroes gone out of style now? Or even if you are ostensibly a rapacious bloodsucking fiend (thinking of Twilight <ahem> not Elric per se), you're still cool in the eyes of the audience as long as you don't actually do any vampirish things?

Quote:
Do you mean Cherryh's Morgaine?
Yep. I'd be perfectly content if Cynthia would just get a new Morgaine novel out already (22 years and counting-I check her website at least once a year in the vain hope).

But an unsheathed Changeling would rock on the screen, IMNSHO. The 2nd book might work the best, as you've got that whole dying earth angle and a young heroine (the girl not Morgen Andharen) who could be the emotional center of the story.

Last edited by John DiFool; 02-09-2010 at 07:12 PM.
#17
Old 02-09-2010, 08:59 PM
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I, too, like the Covenant books. But unlike Busy Scissors I think they're too subtle for movie audiences. Specifically, that Covenant's character and character arc is too subtle.

The whole point of his success against Lord Foul is that he didn't go all Hile Troy and wage spectacular, action heroey war on Foul. I'm just not seeing any success for a trilogy of films with a fantastic backdrop that promises action and excitement, but ends in a climax where protagonist and antagonist... chat.

We already have The Golden Compass for that, after all.

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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
And what about the second (third?) book, where TC is about to go all rapey on Elena, before he finds out she's his daughter from his first bought of rapeyness.
Elena was putting the moves on Covenant, so while ooky, that'd've hardly been rape. (Of course, the ooky was there to put Covenant through the wringer again about the rape.)

edit: Weird. This is about the fourth time Cherryh's Morgaine series has come up for me in the last two weeks. Looks like fate is suggesting a re-read...

Last edited by Lightray; 02-09-2010 at 09:01 PM.
#18
Old 02-10-2010, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
What? Have antiheroes gone out of style now? Or even if you are ostensibly a rapacious bloodsucking fiend (thinking of Twilight <ahem> not Elric per se), you're still cool in the eyes of the audience as long as you don't actually do any vampirish things?
Elric sells out his own city and makes a habit of killing people he loves, plus, you know, the whole demon-worshipper angle. It's a leeetle bit more anti- than most people want in their heroes, I think. Maybe if you have Moonglum as the POV character, it'd work better?

I like it just fine, but even a lot of my SF-reading friends don't like Elric because it's just so much a downer (for them).
#19
Old 02-10-2010, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightray View Post
Elena was putting the moves on Covenant, so while ooky, that'd've hardly been rape. (Of course, the ooky was there to put Covenant through the wringer again about the rape.)
OK, so it would just be incestey, not rapey. Still not quite fantasy action movie fare.

And doesn't Lena show up in book 3, clearly insane from the rape 50 years ago? That'll play well in the theaters.
#20
Old 02-10-2010, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by muldoonthief View Post
And doesn't Lena show up in book 3, clearly insane from the rape 50 years ago? That'll play well in the theaters.
Yep. In fact, the whole series is just chock full of things that won't play well with theater test audiences.

Kinslaying of the Giants? That'll get a rewrite. Armies of the Land continually getting their ass handed to them? Rewrite. Covenant's endless moaning about leprosy? Boring; rewrite. Eyeless Hile Troy? Ooky; rewrite. All the endless parade of people being nasty to Covenant for very good reasons (e.g., Trioc)? Casts the "hero" in a bad light; rewrite. Heck, the "hero" being completely unheroic and is in fact a passive asshole who doesn't actually do anything -- that'll not only be re-written, but completely reversed.

They'll cast Jason Statham or someone the audience will like, and the ad copy will be something like: "In a Land, where Evil rules, only One Man can ..."
#21
Old 02-10-2010, 01:33 PM
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The hero being a passive asshole didn't really keep the first five Harry Potter movies from finding success.

These aspects of the story may be issues for getting it made, but I don't see them as necessarily obstacles success if made. That depends on how well its made, written, etc.

But I do think that's why it would work better as a well executed TV series than a movie. The audience demands may be smaller, anti-heroes seem more acceptable, and the complexities can be explored rather than expunged to keep it under 3 hours.
#22
Old 02-10-2010, 02:16 PM
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Seems to me that you could make a good movie out of Lord Foul's bane by itself. Just stick on an ending where Foul gets it too and voila! The bloodguard would do all kinds of cool martial arts, the wights and Andelain would be beautiful, giants, ur-viles, and cavewight would make great monsters. Nice fun hollywood movie, except for the rape thing of course.
#23
Old 02-10-2010, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by obfusciatrist View Post
The hero being a passive asshole didn't really keep the first five Harry Potter movies from finding success.
That's certainly a ... unique view.
#24
Old 02-10-2010, 02:41 PM
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Well, he was definitely passive. I personally don't find him to be a very good person through the early movies but that's more just my perception.
#25
Old 02-10-2010, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by obfusciatrist View Post
Well, he was definitely passive. I personally don't find him to be a very good person through the early movies but that's more just my perception.
He's eleven. How good do you expect him to be? He refuses to dump his new friend to hang out with the cool kids, he rescues another friend instead of leaving her to a troll, and he fights to keep the MacGuffin out of Voldemort's hands even though he's told he could get his parents back. How much more of a good person could an 11 year old be?

Last edited by muldoonthief; 02-10-2010 at 02:47 PM.
#26
Old 02-10-2010, 03:39 PM
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People have always told me how great these books are, but I just don't get it. I've tried to get into them three times in the last 25 years. My latest attempt, about a year ago, I got farther than ever before: halfway through the first book.

Nevermind the fact that the "hero" is a whiny asshole; I just couldn't take the dialog, it was so ridiculously stupid. It made the dialog in the Star Wars prequels look like Oscar-winning material.

Gawd, I hope they never make a movie out of this drek.
#27
Old 02-10-2010, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by GESancMan View Post
People have always told me how great these books are, but I just don't get it.
Really? Internet-wise, in my experience the vitriol (vitriol... geddit?) hurled at little Tommy and co in this thread is more the norm.

I just liked the universe, TC was a minor character to me. When he was whining about something or other, it was "yeah, yeah, whatever", next bit please.
#28
Old 02-10-2010, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Paintcharge View Post
Granted, I read the first 3 and then gave up on the series about 25 years ago.
Are you me?

No, wait, I gave up on them thirty years ago. You must be someone else.

I still remember the pain as I stubbornly hewed my way through the first set. I nearly opened a vein when I saw that Donaldson was coming back at us with more. Then I realized that I didn't have to read them.

I swear, that guy could have taken tighten-it-up lessons from Jim Theis.
#29
Old 02-10-2010, 10:45 PM
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I swear, that guy could have taken tighten-it-up lessons from Jim Theis.
He may have. In the most recent books, the plot actually advances. And, mind you, I'm speaking as a fan of the books.

Nonetheless, I contend that it's best to just skip over the intro chapters of Lord Foul's Bane. That was Donaldson's first book, and it tells. The whole plot is a bit too formulaic, and handled Covenant's character hamhandedly; both improved in later books. (Albeit, overladen with argent puissance all the while.)
#30
Old 08-25-2011, 08:39 PM
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those who posted a comment against thomas covenant the movie have no imagination,they are just plain dull brained,I think it will be a great movie,far surpassing the "Rings"by far,a true success.
#31
Old 08-25-2011, 08:54 PM
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I just liked the universe, TC was a minor character to me. When he was whining about something or other, it was "yeah, yeah, whatever", next bit please.
Agreed. Far better to just find an out-of-print copy of Karen Wynn Fonstad's Atlas of the Land and read that, frankly.
#32
Old 08-25-2011, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by donaldbrewster View Post
those who posted a comment against thomas covenant the movie have no imagination,they are just plain dull brained,I think it will be a great movie,far surpassing the "Rings"by far,a true success,and leave nothing out,especially the rape sequence,it's a major factor of the story.
Well thanks for stopping by and resurrecting an old thread to be insulting. Bye.
#33
Old 08-25-2011, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord View Post
[The] hero the guy sucks. He rapes the girl and spends the rest of the series whining and sticking the problem on others to save him and the world.
Thank you. I still don't know why I finished the first trilogy, or why I was tempted to try the rest of them. I think it's the same impulse that cause people to gape at car accidents - which I never do.

However, I think it could be a good movie and a great series. All the boring whiny stuff could be pared down to a one soliloquy and a few anguished expressions.
#34
Old 08-25-2011, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Elric sells out his own city and makes a habit of killing people he loves, plus, you know, the whole demon-worshipper angle. It's a leeetle bit more anti- than most people want in their heroes, I think. Maybe if you have Moonglum as the POV character, it'd work better?
Elric's sells out his own city . . . of perfectly beautiful genetically amoral complete monsters. He makes a habit of killing people he loves . . . by accident, which he feels terrible about. He's emo and booding . . . when he's not flying dragons, sailing pirate ships between dimensions, and wading through swarms of opponents, yelling 'Blood and souls for my lord Arioch!' and swinging around arguably the coolest artifact in fantasy history. Plus he's a sexy (anti)heroic albino.

Thomas Covinant bitches about how awful it is to be a leper in the real world. Then he's sucked into a fantasy world, where he's not a leper . . . and bitches about being a leper. Right at the beginning of the story, to show us what a decent guy he is under all his self pity, he rapes a girl. Then he bitches about how awful it is to be a leaper in a different setting. And also there's a giant. He gets a magic staff. Also, he's a non-sexy jerk. Who's a leper.

And you think ELRIC is the one who can't hold a movie together?

--
Course, if Shinji can hold down a series, I suppose it's possible . . .
#35
Old 08-25-2011, 10:11 PM
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And Thomas is still a peach, compared to Angus Thermopyle.

I think Stephen Donaldson's entire writing career is based around a bet to take the most reprehensible character imaginable, and make him sympathetic. Scary thing is, he's pretty good at it.
#36
Old 08-25-2011, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Remarkable View Post
For those that have read the story (all six books of it), can you see it being a successful movie adaptation, epic fantasy LOTR style, or not?

IMHO it has the prerequisites.. but how would you condense it into a film? Do you think given the success of LOTR it would have an audience base of sorts already, or is it unfair to compare the two stories?
Oh, OG - the mind boggles. Those stories stank like rancid yak piss. I can't see anyone wasting time or money making them into movies.
#37
Old 08-25-2011, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by donaldbrewster View Post
those who posted a comment against thomas covenant the movie have no imagination,they are just plain dull brained,I think it will be a great movie,far surpassing the "Rings"by far,a true success.
You read the lexically challenging Covenant books and this is the extent of your English skills?
#38
Old 08-25-2011, 11:38 PM
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You read the lexically challenging Covenant books and this is the extent of your English skills?
I think that might actually be SRD, without the benefit of an editor.
#39
Old 08-26-2011, 12:19 AM
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I remember enjoying Philip Jose Farmer's "World of Tiers" series back in the day.

I wonder if that would go over on film.
#40
Old 08-26-2011, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by donaldbrewster View Post
I think it will be a great movie,far surpassing the "Rings"by far,a true success.
Oh, a TRUE success, not like those half-arsed Rings movies that no-one saw or liked.

As much as I love the Covenant books (they're my absolute favourites, I've read the entire series about 5 times), I just don't see how they would make great movies. The protagonist's journey is not the kind that would necessarily translate into a great film. I don't think I'd have any sympathy for a character that moped for that long. And eventually, for the story to work, you need to. It's the kind of character that works on the page, but probably not on the screen. The only way to do it would be to change it so much that it wouldn't be the same story, in which case, why bother?

Sorry for being dull-brained.

All that being said, I recently saw someone I thought would make a perfect Covenant... John Benjamin Hickey from "The Big C". And actually, Laura Linney would make a great Linden Avery too. Every time I see them on screen together (as brother and sister!), I think "Look, it's Covenant and Linden!"
#41
Old 08-26-2011, 01:23 AM
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... A mainstream audience would never stand for Covenant as a protagonist. He is too self-loathing, cowardly, and unlikeable.
Agreed. So why did I read them? ~~ kicks self ~~
#42
Old 08-26-2011, 10:47 AM
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I remember enjoying Philip Jose Farmer's "World of Tiers" series back in the day.

I wonder if that would go over on film.
I've wondered the same thing-the 1st and 3rd books are the most filmable, by far; in the 1st you have all the fights with the growrl, Podarge, the Amerindian level-tons of opportunities for action IOW. The ending is a bit weak tho.
#43
Old 08-26-2011, 11:32 AM
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And Thomas is still a peach, compared to Angus Thermopyle.
And yet, unlike Covenant, he could be played by Jason Statham. So there's that.

I actually think that unlike TC, the Gap Cycle could make a decent film series. The characters may be damaged at best and fucked-up monsters at worse, but they don't whine, and there's plenty of action, sex, derring-do and borderline realistic physics. Although considering the non-consensual nature of much of the sex, it would probably work better as an anime.
#44
Old 08-26-2011, 03:35 PM
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The Giants and Bloodguard would be neat to watch in a movie. The Land has to be its own character la Cameron's Avatar.

This was the first epic fantasy series I read and loved as a kid so I feel obligated, but I'm having trouble getting going on Against All Things Ending. Linden is really goddamn irritating right off the bat with all the "anguish" and "chagrin." Also I don't have the patience that I used to for SRD's bizarre menagerie of $64 nouns and adjectives.
#45
Old 08-26-2011, 03:52 PM
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Sure, Covenant is a shithead, but he'd be perfect, as someone upthread said, in an HBO miniseries. Not too sure about the mass market Big Screen, though. As for him being completely passive, relying on those around him to do the heavy lifting and dying, it's not like it's a foreign concept in fantasy film *coughfrodocough*. The heroism comes through in the fact that, despite his cowardly nature and general poor attitude, he does go on the Final Quest. And he DOES put it together well enough by the end of LFB (and each of the other episodes) to actually use Wild Magic to kick Lord Foul's (who is like a low-rent Sauron-as-whipping-dog) ass.

Last edited by Ogre; 08-26-2011 at 03:53 PM.
#46
Old 08-26-2011, 04:00 PM
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In fact, the main problem for me isn't that Thomas Covenant is a prick. It's that Lord Foul is such a damn chump. He gets his ass handed to him so often that he becomes a cheap parody of a truly terrifying Dark Lord. He's more Cobra Commander ("Curses! Foiled again!") than Morgoth. Christ. He's even got a second-class supervillain name. He might as well be named "Dr. Evil".
#47
Old 08-26-2011, 04:05 PM
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I never got over my loathing of TC and, although it's been a while since I read the books, I don't think the author ever really wants you to--or maybe he doesn't care. I always imagined LOTR as a movie and was not disappointed by Jackson's rendering. I'm pretty pleased with the big Chronicles of Narnia movies. I never thought of Chronicles of Thomas Covenant as movie material though. I seem to recall too much of the important stuff happened inside his head. Well, I guess it ALL happens there, but any personal growth or whatnot would be tricky to adapt to film.
#48
Old 08-26-2011, 04:06 PM
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I think it would be awesome to see the Unbelievers story in movie form. But I doubt it will happen and even if it did, they would probably water it down so far as to be virtually unrecognizable.
#49
Old 08-26-2011, 08:55 PM
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I seem to recall too much of the important stuff happened inside his head.
I think the problem is that lots of people think nothing important happened in that head.
#50
Old 08-29-2011, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Ogre View Post
In fact, the main problem for me isn't that Thomas Covenant is a prick. It's that Lord Foul is such a damn chump. He gets his ass handed to him so often that he becomes a cheap parody of a truly terrifying Dark Lord. He's more Cobra Commander ("Curses! Foiled again!") than Morgoth. Christ. He's even got a second-class supervillain name. He might as well be named "Dr. Evil".
Wow. That's pretty much completely inaccurate in every detail.

Lord Foul didn't actually have any of his plans go wrong until Covenant did him in at his Creche. However, his plans were not the military conquest of the Land. That's the sort of dark lord plan a chump like Morgoth would have.

Lord Foul's plan was to have everyone in the Land destroy themselves by having them become what they hate/fear and thereby destroying what they love. And he does it, again and again -- Lena, Trell, Atiaran, Elena, the Bloodguard, the Giants, heck even Drool and Pietten. Mhoram, Foamfollower, and Covenant all tip over into despair, but manage to not give in.

The military conquest is of no value to him; it's just a tool to push the people he hates (= everyone) into Desecration. He didn't create the Raver-giants so he'd have powerful minions to attack the Land with -- he did it to cause the giants of Seareach to kill themselves in despair. Which they did. When he sent his armies against the Land, Foul's goal was the moment that Hile Troy realized his plan had doomed the Land. And when the other army went against Revelstone, Foul wanted something like Trell started -- Desecration.

Lord Foul is about the nastiest dark lord in fantasy that I can think of. He, personally, hates everyone and seeks to have them destroy everything they love so the realization that they have done so will destroy them. And then, he'll have a good laugh about it. ("Foul laughs at lepers.")

On the other hand, Morgoth? Is a chump. His goals are a modest world domination -- not the utter ruin and despair of every person in the world. Furthermore, he was actually afraid to face one elf. Chump.
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