There is a school of thought that views the characters of the Land - at least to a certain degree - as externalizations or reflections of aspects of the anti-heroes falling within. Also, to quote the Word of God:
I don't know why readers find this concept so difficult to grasp, despite my many efforts to explain it. But whether or not you choose to believe that the Land is "real" independent of Covenant's and Linden's perception of it, you simply have to accept the fact that I derived *all* of the original content of the Land (including its languages, characters, names, and magicks) from my understanding of Covenant's mind and experiences. To the best of my (admittedly flawed) abilities, I have striven mightily throughout "The Chronicles" to preserve the theoretical possibility that everything in the Land flows outward from the many layers of Covenant's consciousness--and later of Linden's.
Readers clearly have strong--and divergent--opinions about the implications of what I'm doing. Which is all well and good, as far as it goes. But it has no real bearing on how *I* think about what I'm doing. *Thematically* the story has left the idea of "unbelief" behind; but that doesn't free me to change the rules I've established for myself in "The Chronicles".
(Gradual Inteview, 11/03/2008)
The externalization theory holds most water and other juices in the First Chronicles where the true nature of the Land remains vague and could be interpreted merely as Covenant’s dream... even if an apparently separate character (Hile Troy) from Covenant's "real world" appears in Book 2, The Illearth War.
However, matters then evolve, writhe, twist, turn and frankly run around in panicky circles, as in the Second Chronicles, Linden Avery stumbles onto stage again from the "real world" to complicate the initial conundrum - plus she's centre stage a lot of the time (unfortunately). Later still in Third Chronicles, three more characters from normality - namely Roger, Joan, and Jeremiah - all appear in the Land to join the adventure.
Still naught but the figment of a delirious leper sprawling in a hospital bed after being hit by a police car? But wait! The end of the Last Dark proves elsewise. Covenant does not awaken back in the era of John Travolta striking corny poses with a young doctor called Linden Avery tending to his injuries, but instead recreates the world within the Arch of Time with wild magic as a part of a somewhat perverted trinity of Father + (second) Wife + (adopted Son). As such he becomes something of a god in this realm, while his actual bones rot somewhere in the outer world - let's not forget that TC got stabbed to death at the start of The Wounded Land, so he's not got much of a future back in normality, to say the least.
Hence, surely it's less problematical to consider the uncanny character similarities as fate-dictated occurrences, rather than full-blown externalizations. Perhaps the Land draws forth personalities that help the distressed outsiders heal their traumatized minds. Archetypes such as Lord Foul and She Who Must Not subsist in every cranny and nook of the multiverse in any case and every single mortal can identify with such extremes at some point during their lives.
Having said that, the Land does share plenty of allegorical similarities with the main character’s previous life... whether the it's bookpyre-Ritual of Desecration, or Loric’s krill metaphorizing Covenant's virility. Pyhät jumalat, we're told that the bloody blade actually throbs while shoved down the waistband of his pants! Besides, does he not transform it into a wild magic longsword after his joyful union with Linden? The Swordmainnir certainly would not have missed such a blatant innuendo, what with their robust and bawdy sense of humour. So maybe the Land initially sprouted into existence as Covenant’s hallucination, but mutated thereafter into something discrete and independent. Perchance it joined some other babyverses that together formed the broad, unsung seas of the Earth.
In any event, by the time the last volume reaches its tissue-consuming conclusion in The Last Dark complete with carebearsy grouphugs, Halewhole Bluntfist’s hole-riddled right sock or Infelice’s eftmound are as tangible and real as the smell of a stranded whale two weeks dead and their mistresses independently conscious beings. They live, I tell you! They liiiive!
Covenant’s inner despiser. Merges with him at the end of the Last Dark.
Reflects an aspect of love - in the real world, Covenant is beheld as a deformed, crippled monstrosity much akin to the Giant.
The readerbase furthermore wonders about the role of the Lurker... does this squiddly-diddly lookalike symbolize Covenant’s secret fancy for hentai?
Altogether too many similarities to be disregarded with an idle wave of a hand. Apart from the entire suicidal-father-I-killed-my-own-mother theme, she shares Linden’s weepiness and mood swings, not to mention doting on a much older, non-standard lover. Thoolahians, in particular those supporting the strict externalization theory, ought to begin considering if they wish to drool over aspects of the target of their frothiest hatred.
Linden's self-doubt, self-hatred and eternal whininess made incarnate in one ever-wailing Bane. Now that's really scary.
Also a character afflicted by a type of insanity and thus helplessly driven to acts of unspeakable destructiveness. Okay this seems admittedly a transgender example, but hey, we're not told if Joan had a problem with facial hair and anyway this is the 21st century after all...
- She Who Must Not
Symbolises Joan's anguish as well. At least Joan, barkingly mad though she is, doesn't make us endure hundreds of pages of agonizing self-analysis before she goes and does something.
Lost in his own thoughts and in the world inside his head. Also vulnerable to possession, just like Jeremiah.
- Possibly the Insequent
Reflections of Jerry's non-chronological (and quite possibly shroom-induced, according to some) plunges into the history of the Land?
The two have even merged their essences together, fercrissakes, viz. their swapping of hands in bromance-laden fashion - what more evidence could you want? Plus you wouldn't want to turn your back on either of these two delightful entities, as The Harrow found out to his cost...