Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dredging up Forgotten Characters

So Judd is a little shaken by Foreign McForeign's offer. So shaken that he makes a very contradictory statement that makes me go "What?!" in confusion.

Judd had known this man less than twenty-four hours, but he already felt like the father Judd no longer had.

Again, they've barely had any screen time together yet Judd is already thinking about how Foreign McForeign is like his father. I suppose it could work, if it was established that Judd was seriously traumatized by all the disasters he'd been through and therefore would latch onto any older male as a father figure, but Judd doesn't act the least bit traumatized. The End of Days seem about as dramatic as banging your elbow on the table.

Of course, part of me wonders if Foreign McForeign just wants a replacement for his dead son. Judd, word of advice: if he starts dressing you in his son's clothes and calling you by his name, run. Forget honor, forget dignity, time for some good old-fashioned GTFO.

At least that's what would happen if trauma actually affected people in these books. But apparently, Foreign McForeign desires neither a replacement son or Judd's nubile flesh.

“With your contacts in the States and around the world, you could be an asset to our group,” Jacques said.

I can't be the only one going, "Uh, what contacts?" But then I remember: even though they haven't been seen or mentioned for many pages, Judd is tangentially connected to Our Buck and St. Rayford. Everyone, good or bad in these books, recognizes the awesomeness of Ellanjay's self-inserts.

Foreign McForeign asks him to pray, saying that Lionel mentioned there was someone special waiting for Judd. Oh boy, more ham-fisted attempts to pair up Judd and Vicki even though they haven't been on the same continent for several books now. I think Nada had more screen time and more flirting with Judd, but since she's dead, that ship's sunk.

Judd shows a picture of Vicki and we can add another mention of Ryan to our counter. Once again, I ask myself why didn't I start a count after his death just so I can prove how little Ryan, aka the kids' series Butt Monkey, matters to his friends. But I'm too lazy to scroll through God-only-knows how many posts/books.

But Judd admits that the last time they were together, he was a real jerk towards Vicki. But then again, all the male characters in the kids' version seem to volley between either being a total jerk or being a non-entity with few if any discernible personality traits.

Foreign McForeign says that if she's said she's willing to forgive you, she must have feelings for you. Judd asks whether Foreign McForeign and his wife fought. Foreign McForeign says they did at first but the process of getting together knocks a lot of the rough edges away.

I suppose there are some disgusting sexual politics to take apart here, but compared with the adult books (for example, St. Rayford's treatment of Hattie), these are mild infractions. Plus, like I've said before, I like these rare moments where they try to develop character and not shove another disaster or sermon onstage.

Vicki has decided to leave and take Tanya with her. Mark is on board with it, but the rest aren't. Finally, Vicki decides she'll meet up with Chloe.

Vicki thought of several people she would like to talk with. Judd. Ryan. Bruce. Two of them were dead, and Judd was halfway around the world. A face flashed in her mind, and she turned to Becky. “Chloe Williams. She really seemed interested in me when we talked a long time ago.”

First of all, yet another mention of Ryan! Secondly, as I recall, but am too lazy to scroll through old posts to do so, wasn't the last time Chloe and Vicki were onstage some time in the single-digit books? I recall Chloe talking about how being separated from Our Buck made her love him more; as I recall, it was before they were married, so yeah. Word of advice, Ellanajay, stop doing the cute little trick where you dredge up characters the reader's long forgotten about because there's only so much space in your memory and no one has any discernible traits to make it worth remembering them. In fact, since Chloe runs the Magical Co-op that everyone must shop at, because of The Mark, we should have had more mention of her sooner. But I'm guessing that they think running a Co-op during the End of Days is light work compared with the work of manly men like Rayford and Buck who do, what exactly?

We get a brief interlude with Chang. Nicky's planning to nuke Chicago. That might be shocking if he hadn't already nuked nine cities in one of the single-digit books. Not to mention that said nuking of nine cities didn't affect anything, so neither will nuking one work.

Sam types up something for his blog, "The Petra Diaries." Needless to say, it's not going to upset Porn as the most studied thing on the Internet. But here's a small sampling.

Ben-Judah stood and spoke to us. Following is what he said in my own words. Dr. Ben-Judah asked us to think about the five most important events of history. See if you agree with him. The first event was God’s creation of the world. Second came the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. Third, the birth of Jesus Christ.

Uh, there's nothing in there about the Babylonian Captivity. It's a pretty important event in Jewish history; much of the Old Testament deals with the ramifications of it. I suppose you can argue it's not really world history given that it mostly involves the Jewish people and not the whole world, but given how The Old Testament shaped the New and how the Bible in general, whether you like it or not, has shaped world history, I still think leaving it out is a grievous error.

If you're wondering, the other two events of history are The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing three years later when TurboJesus returns, this time packing heat.

He talks about how after TurboJesus triumphs over every foe, they'll be peace on Earth, and more babble about how all this horrific suffering is our loving father trying to get your attention, even though He's proven he can witness to his people without killing them. There's really not much more to go into with Sam's message, just more talk about the 144,000 non-virginal evangelists. It ends with an altar call.

The chapter ends with Vicki observing the Mountain Militia approaching Colin's underground hideout. And I've decided to end my snark on one chapter for this week. I didn't know it would get so long when I sat down to write it, honest! Sorry about the post title: couldn't think of a decent one for this week.


aunursa said...

For Jews the single most important event in history was the revelation at Mount Sinai.

aunursa said...

He talks about how after TurboJesus triumphs over every foe

In other words, My supernatural entity can beat up your supernatural entity.

Mouse said...

aunursa, good to see you again. I missed your encyclopedic knowledge of this series. Especially since I can't make any since of Nicky's plans. Again, he knows this all ends with him getting punted into Hell yet he chooses to follow the plan to the letter?! I originally thought that Nicky was merely a puppet created by God and unable to do anything except follow the plan. Yeah, that makes the fact he gets punted into hell horrible, but it makes a certain amount of sense. But no, Ellanjay claim he chooses to do all this. Like I said none of this makes any sense.

2hop260 said...

" Again, he knows this all ends with him getting punted into Hell yet he chooses to follow the plan to the letter?!"

Wild Mass Guessing switch: ON

Nicky thinks/knows that by reading the prophecies in the books that by following the script he can get TurboJesus to appear in Jerusalem, on Earth. That will make TJ at least on the Earth, and Nicky by extension, able to at least make some (albeit token) efforts at actually fighting TJ on Earth.

Nicky is following the script, because he knows that his enemy will only appear on Earth if he, Nicky, follows the script.

Anonymous said...

Just think how much cooler it would have been if "The Petra Diaries" were written by somebody actually called Petra. Another missed opportunity there, Ellinjay.

Firedrake said...

Judd realises he's been a total jerk towards Vicki? This is way more self-awareness than I've seen before from anyone in these books.

Any woman who forgives you for anything only does it because she wants to be your wife. Oooooo-kay.

Of course there will be peace on Earth after TurboJesus. Between the time the rubble stops bouncing and the time when it's all demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, or whatever it is God's planning to do with it. Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

Here's an explanation for Nicky's actions I don't think we've seen before: performance art. He knows he's doomed, but somebody has to fight Azathoth, and if he doesn't do it the prophecy will grab someone at random to fill that slot. So he might as well do it with a sense of style. Ride The Pig!

aunursa said...

Nicky thinks that he can defeat the all-powerful Left Behind deity because he has the script. It's like a freshman high school football that is confident in their ability to defeat the Denver Broncos -- because they have a copy of the Broncos playbook and know which plays their NFL opponent will run.

aunursa said...

freshman high school football team

Mouse said...

There aren't enough headdesks in the world to adequately fit all the wrong with what you told me. Again, I like my explanation that Nicky is just a puppet better; it may be cruel but it makes a little sense.

I can't help but wonder at your encyclopedic knowledge. My best guess is you believe that in order to hate something, you must know it well. In which case, I must applaud you: for you do know Left Behind well.

aunursa said...

"But two great truths will be their undoing. First, I know the truth. They [the Father and Son] are not greater or better than I or anyone else. They came from the same place we all did. And second, they must not have realized that I can read. I read their book! I know what they are up to. I know what happens next, and I even know where!"

from Book #11, Armageddon

aunursa said...

I kept reading the series to the end to see if I could find a single character who accurately presented a skeptical perspective on the narrative. And I searched for a single character who wondered about the eternal destiny of her loved ones who had died unsaved.

I searched in vain.

aunursa said...

I should clarify that it's not Nicky who thinks he can defeat the LB deity, but Satan. (At this point in the series Satan is inhabiting Nicky's body.)

spiritplumber said...

So, if he knows when and where, why not saturate the area with atomic mines?

Or, if that's too much, win with the power of rock?

I haven't read the latter books, so does the whole "I know when and where" thing just end up in the memory hole?