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Book Club Discussion: Lord Foul's Bane

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Lord Foul's Bane is the first book in fantasy series of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever written by Stephen R. Donaldson.

If you enjoyed reading Lord Foul's Bane, perhaps you would be interesting in reading the rest of the books in the Thomas Covenant series which also includes: The Illearth War, The Power that Preserves, The Wounded Land, The One Tree, White Gold Wielder, The Runes of the Earth, Fatal Revenant, Against All Things Ending (expected to be out in 2010), and The Last Dark (expected to be out in 2013).

 

PLOT

(From the inside cover of Lord Foul's Bane)

Cursed by a terrible disease, Thomas Covenant is an outcast in our world: shunned by his neighbors, pushed by loneliness to the edges of madness.

Suddenly he is transported to a mysterious and beautiful new world -- the Land -- where gentle people work magic with wood and stone, and the very earth and air bring healing. Covenant is welcomed as the reincarnation of a legendary saviour: his maimed hand and white-gold wedding ring mark him as a figure of power and sorcery, with a wild magic powerful against evil.

But Covenant does not believe that the Land is real and thus, he becomes the unwilling tool of the enemy who seeks to destroy it: Lord Foul the Despiser.

Three times, in their hour of greatest need, the peoples of the Land will summon him to their aid. Three times, as their reluctant leader, he will fail them.

Only at the end, as a victorious Lord Foul prepares to devastate the Land and enslave its people forever, will Thomas Covenant call on the wild magic he alone can wield - for a last, epic battle with the forces of evil....

 

To read more on Lord Foul's Bane click HERE

 

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Ready for the Discussion, but don't know where to begin? Try answering one of these questions.

 

Discussion Starters

If you quote the book please put the book excerpt in quotation marks and post the page number

 

*Please share with us what your chose in the poll and why:

 

*Who do you think the old beggar that spoke to Thomas Covenant in the town streets was?

 

*Did you like the story of Lord Foul's Bane? Why or why not?

 

*Did you identify with any of the characters? If so, which one and why?

 

*If there was one thing you could change about the story what would it be?

 

*If you were suddenly thrust into the Land would you believe your surroundings?

 

*What is your favorite part of this book?

 

*Will you go on to read the rest of the Thomas Covenant series? why or why not?

 

 

*What appeals to you most about this story? The setting, The storyline, The characters, etc.

 

 

 

A Note From Lady Twilight

*If you think of more discussion starter questions please PM them to me and I will add them to this post*

 

 

*You do not have to be a Book Club member to take part in this discussion. However, if you would like to join the book club and recieve updates via PM please let us know in the book club thread.

 

*Please Do Not discuss the sequel books to Lord Foul's Bane in case the book club decides to read these novels in the future. Thank you!

 

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I do not like the character Thomas Covenant. In the book, he raped a young teen girl named Lena, and (edited out spoilers) Thomas Covenant the anti-hero of the series is as much a villain as Lord Foul ever was.

 

The books are very difficult to read but they will reward you for your effort. I recommend the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant to everyone.

 

*Who do you think the old beggar that spoke to Thomas Covenant in the town streets was?

 

The old beggar was the Creator himself i.e. God.

 

*Did you like the story of Lord Foul's Bane? Why or why not?

 

I liked LFBs and the entire series. These are serious and heavy fantasy books, but they are not the easiest to read. These are fantasy books for Adults.

 

*Did you identify with any of the characters? If so, which one and why?

 

I identify myself most with Hile Troy, though he comes later in the series. Hile Troy comes from "our world", but he is the opposite of the whiny, cowardly Thomas Covenant.

 

*If there was one thing you could change about the story what would it be?

 

The only thing I would change is the origin of how the Land was created. Stephen R Donaldson's depiction of the Creator is flawed because "God" is not supposed to be limited yet in this world, the Creator is handicapped by his own creation, and requires the aid of an "outsider" like Thomas Covenant to save his own creation. What kind of a Creator is that?

 

*If you were suddenly thrust into the Land would you believe your surroundings?

 

Many times, I fantasized about being Thomas Covenant, and how I would have done things differently. One thing I would have done differently is to embrace the power of Wild Magic, not run away from it.

 

*What is your favorite part of this book?

 

My favorite part of this book was getting to know the Land, and it's people. The people of the Land are very different from our own world. They remind me how the Native Americans might have lived hundreds of years before the arrival of the "Whites". Back then, as in the Land, people lived in harmony with nature, and didn't rape the earth for gold. They lived harmoniously with Mother Earth. It's very beautiful way to live.

 

*Will you go on to read the rest of the Thomas Covenant series? why or why not?

 

I've already read the entire series, and the subsequent series, the Second Chronicles of THomas Covenant many times. I love them all.

 

*What appeals to you most about this story? The setting, The storyline, The characters, etc.

 

Mostly, the characters, and the culture of the people of the Land.

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When I think of the culture of our "earth", it is very depressing to compare how we choose to live (and it is a choice) in pursuit of material gains, and happiness, yet this pursuit comes at an enormous cost to the environment, and ultimately, to ourselves.

 

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Thomas Covenant remarks on this very difference between our world, and the Lands.

 

In our world, the land is "scenery", and when Thomas Covenant explained this, the people of the Land gasped in horror. To them, they would never regard the Land as "scenery". They loved the Land, and it's beauty. They didn't go around raping the Earth for it's minerals, nor pollute it. They didn't sculpt the Earth to serve as "scenery". They served the Earth by preserving it, and appreciating it's natural beauty.

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I read this series when it first came out two decades ago now (sheesh). I really disliked it. It is written well enough, but for me a book is about characters and I really don't like books where I hate the main character and Thomas Covenant is completely unlikable.

 

I know when Oracle first suggested this book, she wanted to know if people thought that the book was really just a dream brought on my leprosy. It would be nice to excuse Thomas' actions on that account, but in truth with all of the other books in the series, you just can't do it (or I couldn't). I have always objected to his selfish and completely unempathetic choices.

 

Even though the first time I read this I was a secular person, I remember thinking that this would probably really seem offensive and blasphemous to a religious person. I'm not certain how I would feel about it now from my faith perspective.

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Why do you feel that this book is blasphemous?

 

Though the character of the anti-hero Thomas Covenant is dislikable, this doesn't take away from the lush imaginative world that Stephen R Donaldson has created. All of the characters of the Land are likeable, and the Reader is in for an enjoyable experience.

 

I highly recommend the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant to anyone who enjoys fantasy books.

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@dark_adventurer - after 20 years I don't remember enough about the entire series to recall why I had such a reaction to it. I do think that Thomas Covenant is a true "Unbeliever", but I don't remember the ending, so I can't remember anything specifically blasphemous. The impression has stuck with me, however, so it must have really bothered me even after I had forgotten everything else about the books. I do think the books were well written, I just didn't find it appealing to have such a negative hero.

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I am a big fan of almost every fantasy series I have picked up, this book being the exception. Don't get me wrong, I thought the world Donaldson created was believable, simple, and wonderful. I guess for me, I have a very hard time getting into a book where I don't identify with the main character. This lead to a complete lack of empathy and understanding for Thomas and his situation. I got about halfway through the book before I gave up. The whole time I was reading I was much more concerned for Lena's mother than for what was going on with Thomas.

 

I guess when it comes down to it, one of the reasons I enjoy fictional books is that it isn't the real world. The bad guys are bad and the good guys are good, with little overlap between the two. I don't want to read about terrible things being done by someone I am supposed to be cheering for. I want to have the unrealistic hero who cares for the saving the world and those he loves over himself. Perhaps its narrow-minded of me, but there it is.

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The first book of trilogy, Lord Foul's Bane is very difficult to read. However, you are missing out if you give up. The second, and third book were fantastic. Do not stop with the first book, as detestable of a character Thomas Covenant may be, ultimately, he does save the Land.

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