One or more of the characters is a Time Lord
The Land is, in fact, either some kind of manifestation of humanity's global, unconscious mind, or in some way linked to it.
Evidence for this is that first of all, everything in the Land is in some way a manifest part of human nature, as has been more or less
stated as such in the books. For instance, Lord Foul the Despiser is the manifestation of human self-despite (which is why he can't be killed - to quote Covenant: 'You can't kill Despite.'). More than this, as the series goes on we see the land feeding back into human minds on Earth, for instance creating a group of mad cultists in the real world that worship Lord Foul, and attempt to sacrifice Covenant to him.
This also explains why the difference in the speed at which time flows in The Land versus the speed at which time flows in the 'real world' is never constant. You can't simply say that ten years in the real world is one hundred in the land, as it has been shown to wildly shift between twenty years being equal to about thirty, and a decade being equal to millennia. However, if the nature of the human subconscious as a whole determines the nature of the land, then the rate of change in the general human subconscious determines the rate at which time flows in the Land. Some humans may also be more strongly linked than others, perhaps even with anyone holding White Gold being the most influential ( as evidenced by Joan's insanity causing temporal distortions in The Land from her bed in a psychiatric unit, while she was holding her Wedding Ring ).
- "Twenty years being equal to about thirty"? Where? I think it has been established that 1 day in the real world = 1 year in the Land (give or take some, as the seasons don't correspond to any specific times of day). A decade in the real world has been shown to be roughly 3500 years in the Land, which is the time gap between each of the sub-series. From the start of the caesures in the Land, we can calculate that Linden gave Joan her ring back some 100 days before the start of the Last Chronicles, which fits with everything else. It all fits together (save for times of day and seasons).
High Lord Kevin is another transplanted Earthling.
Because in a world of Bereks and Mhorams and Saltheart Foamfollowers, a bog-standard name like 'Kevin' demands explanation.
- Jossed. In Against All Things Ending the ghosts of all the Old Lords appear in Andelain, and Berek, Damelon, and Loric all regard Kevin as their own flesh-and-blood descendant. That his name is also a real Earth name may just be coincidence- or he might be named after a transplanted Earthling we never heard of, for whatever reason. In any event, he's pretty clearly a native of the Land.
When the Elohim say 'the world has ended now'...
...they aren't messing around. No last-minute heroic exertions, no appeals, no second chances. The Land. Kaput. For our time-travelling heroes, this only puts an upper limit on how far forward they can move. But it does raise a bigger crisis — if Lord Foul's escape is inevitable, what kind of a man will he be when he does so?
- Er, Foul isn't a "man" at all. Depending on what view of the Land you take, he's either the God of Evil, Covenant's Enemy Without, or the collective Enemy Without of everyone, and in any case, is pure evil. If he successfully escaped the Land, it would be bad news for everyone (which is why the Creator stuck him there in the first place).
- In any event, the Arch of Time comes down, but Covenant manages to trap Foul inside himself before Foul escapes, and then Covenant, Linden, and Jeremiah recreate the Arch and the Land, so this is all kind of a moot point.
Stephen R. Donaldson is a troper.
Where else would he have gotten the idea to make Covenant a Time Lord?
The old man in the ochre robe is some sort of benevolent Mad Scientist
who sticks emotionally scarred people into his Lotus-Eater Machine
so that they might work out their psychological issues in a controlled enviroment. Lord Foul is just a challenge set up by the old man to give his involuntary "patients" a challenge.
Hurtloam is a psychedelic drug.
After Lena rubs hurtloam on his skin, Covenant spends most of the series noticing that sounds now have color, colors now have smells, et cetera. This is a common effect of LSD and similar drugs. It could be that his perception that his leprosy is all better is itself just a drug-induced illusion. After all, nerves don't regenerate.
The Worm of the World's End is a baby universe
Supposedly the Creator had to include something like the Worm of the World's End as part of the Land because he wanted to create a "living" world, and all living things have to die someday. However, there's something else that living things do besides die: they reproduce
. In order for the Land to be alive, it has to be able to have a child and then get out of the way
so the child can become an adult. The Worm hasn't so much been "sleeping" as gestating
- and now it's awake and ready to be born. When it's finished consuming the old world, it'll use all that energy to become a new one and start the cycle over again. And I suspect that Jeremiah is going to be involved somehow - it's not just because of Linden that the Land's remaining defenders (such as the Ranyhyn and the Dead) have been willing to sacrifice everything to save him.
- Unconfirmed. The Worm succeeds in destroying the Arch and the Land, and then goes back into hibernation; if it's a new universe, it's probably not mature yet. Jeremiah is essential in recreating the Arch and the Land, however.
The Viles were related to the Elohim
The Viles seem somewhat similar to the Elohim in terms of being Pure Magic Beings
, nobody seems to know where they came from, and the two races are explicitly compared by Covenant in terms of their natural bent towards self-contemplation (which the Viles ended up abandoning). If the Elohim embody pure Earthpower, the Viles therefore embodied a different force which both mirrored and opposed Earthpower in a yin-and-yang sort of way. Unfortunately, the Viles got corrupted and subsequently destroyed (which may have been explicitly part of Lord Foul's plans to weaken the universe and the Arch of Time), and so whatever power they embodied survives only in the strange magics wielded by their descendants, which are apparently unique in the Land and its planet, and are explicitly stated to lie outside of Law and Earthpower.
This entry obviously contains MASSIVE UNMARKED SPOILERS for both series.
Let me start off with some facts about the author. While Donaldson is very private about his personal life and beliefs, we know that he grew up as a son of missionaries. It is safe to say that he must have been profoundly influenced by religion, yet from his answers in interviews, I don’t get the sense that he’s a Christian anymore. Indeed, the Chronicles even appear to have some jabs against Christianity. On other occasions, Donaldson has mentioned that the (very Christian) Narnia
books had a big impact on him when he was a child, but that he didn’t like the books anymore when he returned to them as an adult. I think these facts are the key to understanding a number of similarities between the Covenant
books and the Narnia
First, consider the worldbuilding. Narnia appears to be mostly nature, with the inhabitants living in isolated little villages and hovels. There is nothing resembling civilization or large cities – with the sole exception of castle Caer Paravel (Which sounds similar to the character Caer-Caveral from the Covenant
books), where the rulers of Narnia reside. The same thing can be said of the Land, which appears to be sparsely populated aside from little woodhelvens and stonedowns, with the Lords residing in the grand castle Revelstone. The only time we get to see anything resembling civilization as we know it in the Narnia books is the middle eastern-inspired
Calormene – just like the only real city seen in the Covenant
books is the middle eastern-influenced Brathairealm. Expansion Pack World
is in effect for both series. Also, while talking beasts are common in Narnia
, The Horse and His Boy
focuses on talking horses in particular, which may have influenced the creation of the Ranyhyn.
There are similarities in the storylines too. Both series involve everyday people from our world ending up in a fantasy world which they are expected to save - and where time passes differently. Both involve an unnatural winter caused by the villain. Other similarities like mystical trees, magical rings and a sea voyage are probably just a coincidence as those are very common tropes, but I’ll mention them for the record. Narnia has a giant who will end the world when he wakes up – just like the Covenant
books have the Worm of the World’s End. The Second Chronicles begins very similar to Prince Caspian
, with Covenant returning to the Land and finding that thousands of years have passed and that his beloved land has completely gone to hell.
Both series conclude with the end of the world, described in books with the very similar titles The Last Battle
and The Last Dark
. Both involve the stars disappearing. In Narnia
those stars are sentient, while in the Covenant
books they’re somehow linked to the Elohim. In the end, the world is destroyed, but it is recreated after. And in both cases, the main characters will live on in the other world, while they are dead in our world.
As has been noted, the character of Thomas Covenant appears to be a deconstruction of The Chosen One
. Maybe pinning all your hopes on a person just because destiny says so isn’t a good thing. Thomas Covenant’s reaction forms a clear contrast to that of the Pevensie children.
Another important difference appears to be the role of the local God/Jesus equivalents. In Narnia
, Aslan is presented as unambiguously good. The Land’s Creator meanwhile is more ambivalent. In the Last Chronicles, he doesn’t even show up, leading Linden to theorize that he has simply given up on his creation. Although she later changes her mind, we as readers are never told what’s actually up, so we have to interpret for ourselves. By reshaping the world along with Linden and Jeremiah, Covenant has basically become a Creator himself – suggesting that humanity no longer needs God. Also note the largely negative portrayal of the Elohim, whose name literally means "Gods". Pullman’s His Dark Materials
is often described as an anti-Narnia, but maybe The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
is the real deal.