YMMV / The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

  • Complete Monster:
    • Lord Foul the Despiser is Thomas Covenant's ultimate enemy. An ancient being who revels in being pure evil, Foul aims to completely annihilate the magical land, sending out terrifying armies to crush and destroy all that live while recruiting the monstrous Ravers to his side, facilitating and ordering countless atrocities including the genocide of the Seareach giants and having Sheol Satansfist establish a dark cult that runs on blood sacrifices. After the death of Thomas's daughter, Foul corrupts her soul to his side, using her against Thomas as a twisted parody of herself, and later corrupts Thomas's son Roger into an agent to use against his father. Not satisfied with simply destroying life, Foul aims to completely annihilate all hope from the universe, learning from each of his defeats to return with new schemes that inevitably cost countless lives.
    • Foul's Co-Dragons, the three Ravers, are just as bad. They were originally three human brothers whose evil was so great it survived past the destruction of their physical bodies as incorporeal demons with a thing for possessing people. In addition to being willing accomplices in all of Foul's crimes note , and sharing his gleeful, psychotic sadism, each Raver has racked up a number of atrocities of his own. Moksha Jehannum Fleshharrower and Samadhi Sheol Satansfist both did stints as Foul's head general, massacring countless innocents—and their own troops. Individually, Samadhi, as Gibbon na'Mhoram, was the head of a Path of Inspiration that sacrificed countless lives while lying to the people of the Land that it would help reverse the After the End conditions of the Sunbane, when in fact it was just making it worse; Moksha stalked Covenant over much of the Second Chronicles infecting him with venom in order to force him to use his ring at full power whether he wanted to or not, which would have destroyed the world, which was the plan. Turiya Herem Kinslaughterer doesn't show up as often as his brothers, but commits one of the single most appalling atrocities in the Chronicles: single-handedly committing genocide of the Giants of Seareach while they refused to fight back.
  • Designated Hero: Thomas Covenant. Deliberately. A rare in-world example.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Vain in the second trilogy. He does absolutely nothing, not even moving an inch, unless it's absolutely, positively required. He only speaks once at the climax. The fact he's the representative of a species which had been thought of as Always Chaotic Evil which is trying to be The Atoner doesn't hurt.
  • Funny Moments: The series is super-serious for the most parts, but one unexpected one does turn up in The Last Dark, all the funnier because it turns up just when things are at their dreariest.
    Stonemage: I will give my oath that I am dwindling. Hunger diminishes me. My garments hang loosely, and my cataphract has become an incumbrance, and I fear that my sword has grown too long for easy use.
    Coldspray: You forget to whom you speak, Stonemage. All here know that in your care, every sword grows too long for easy use.
    (everybody laughs harder)
    Jeremiah: I don't get it.
  • Heartwarming Moment: When creating the new Staff of Law, Linden takes a moment to help her friends.
    With the Staff of Law and the white ring. Linden caressed the fatigue out of the First's limbs, restored her Giantish strength. The rupture in Pitchwife's lungs Linden effaced, healing his respiration. Then, so that she would be able to trust herself later, she unbent his spine, restructured the bones in a way that allowed him to stand straight, breathe normally.
    • Pitchwife's words as Linden returns to her own world, "Have I not said you were well Chosen?"
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Lord Foul in spades. He's always one step ahead of everyone else and his plots are always intricately designed.
    • Covenant's son, Roger. Your mileage can really vary on this as he can also be construed as just a Big Bad Wannabe.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • In the first book, Thomas Covenant does something horrible, which firmly establishes that, unlike a typical fantasy protagonist, he is not The Cape. He spends the rest of the first trilogy trying, painfully, to drag himself back out of the moral black hole he fell into. Covenant's behaviour lead to a kind of cascade effect whereby the majority of bad stuff that happens in the book, and a lot of the series, is a consequence. The same goes for a significant amount of Covenant's suffering. Basically, it haunted Covenant for the rest of the series. For instance, Lena gave birth to Covenant's child, who was not completely sane, and went on to break a chunk of reality (the Law of Death) and give the Big Bad access to infinite undead armies of anything, up to and including fossils.
    • Foul himself has an odd crossing, because it is entirely verbal before he has a chance to actually do anything. Just reading his rant to Covenant about how he is going to corrupt and destroy the Land and there is nothing anyone can do to stop him, culminating in the declaration that he will annihilate hope from the universe, puts you off on rooting for the guy for good. It all just cements Foul's rep as what Card-Carrying Villains want to be when they grow up.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Some readers enjoy the series much more once they get past Lord Foul's Bane.
  • Tearjerker: The conclusion of ''White Gold Wielder" when Linden sobs about never had said goodbye to Tom or her father. Tom returning and no longer a cynic just to say goodbye is touching, too.
  • Ugly Cute: The jheherrin are described as bizarre, misshapen assorted critters formed of clay and mud. They are also adorable.