Spoilers below. I tried to mask them, but the whole question is spoilerish as it's all about the ending of the book.
Having started the Thomas Covenant series over 3 decades ago in junior high school, I finally finished The Last Dark today. Throughout the book,
the Worm of the World's End is awake and is making his swift way toward the destruction of the world.
This is a major source of gloom and near-despair for the main characters, as it's often stated that there's nothing anyone can do to
avert the end of the world and the destruction of all they hold dear. Linden in particular is wracked with guilt because she has caused the inevitable end of the world.
Then, at the climax of the book,
'as the earthquake that has been destroying the Earth reduces Kiril Threndor to rubble, Covenant, Linden, and Jeremiah "[step] into the wake of the World's End and [rise] like glory", fixing the Arch of Time.'
(quoting this plot summary, which quotes the book).
In the epilogue, however, it's revealed that
the world has been not been destroyed, though it's been made new. And the Elohim have returned the Worm to slumber.
Wait, what? So the
end of the world wasn't inevitable after all? The Elohim were able to return the Worm to slumber? Then why didn't they do so in the first place? Why were we told there was nothing anyone could do to stop the end of the world? Was the "Worm of the World's End" actually just the Worm of World's Remodeling? Was there a clue to all this somewhere that I missed?
Also, what's this that Wikipedia said about
fixing the Arch of Time -- it wasn't in the book. Did they really manage to do that, and if so, how did they (suddenly) get the ability to do so? How did the world get made new, and everyone alive survive, despite the earthquake that was in the process of destroying the world?
It seemed to me that the greatest and most insurmountable problem they were facing
just suddenly melted away without explanation. After all the other problems they fought through with great courage and sacrifice, this one was disappointing.
I hope I'm missing something here.