Lord of the Morning
Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Location: Shanaine, Manetheren
|Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:47 am
Post subject: Loc 42-43 (2012FRR)
|LoC Ch. 42 "The Black Tower"
I'm pretty sure when I first read the chapter title back in 1994, I crapped my pants. 'On an ill omened day (actually it was Christmas Day) "the farm" became the Black Tower and the world was changed forever.' That's not an actual quote, I just made that up. Rand comes up with a promotion system and a name- though maybe he should have just called them male Aes Sedai--that would have really fried the Towers' collective gourd. Instead, the students start out as "soldiers," are promoted to "Dedicated" with Silver sword pin (very chic), and finally "Asha'man" complete with dragon pin (gotta catch 'em all). Asha'man means Defender or "Guardian" in the old tongue, but not just any guardian. A guardian who will fight for truth and justice, defending the weak and helpless, even after all hope is gone. The system and the name are noble ideas on Rand's part (though Bashere suggested the name-Davram is cool like that), too bad the name is rife with irony and things are going to go (mostly) horribly wrong.
Probably the first clue that tings aren't going to be all roses on the home front occurs when Rand gates in and Torval immediately gets up in his grill (gotta put those mud footed farmboys in their place yo):
"A black-coated man just short of his middle years planted himself in front of Rand. He had a sharp nose and a sheering mouth. "And who are you?." he demanded in a Taraboner accident. "I suppose you have come to the Black Tower to learn, yes? You should have waited in Caemlyn for the wagon to bring you. You could have had another day to enjoy that fine coat."
"I am Rand al'Thor," Rand said quietly. Quietly so as not to let out a sudden surge of anger. Civility cost nothing, and if this fool did not decide it was cheap at the price soon...
If anything, the sneer deepened. "So you are him, are you?" He looked Rand up and down insolently. "You do not look so grand to me. I think that I myself could--" A flow of Air solidified just before it clipped him under the ear, and he collapsed in a heap."
Well that's lovely. The second clue is the black coats. While extremely stylish, they are evocative of unsavory organizations like the Shadow...and the Nazi S.S. The S.S., or Schutzstaffel, wore all black uniforms. Schutzstaffel translates into English several different ways, it means "Protection squadron," or "Defense Corp," or perhaps "Guardian Group." Anyway you slice it the meaning is chillingly close to that of Asha'man. at least initially, The SS also served as Hilter's "praetorian guard." Who are the Asha'man protecting? Taim's training regime is even similar to that of the Waffen-SS's-- brutal physical training combined with indoctrination. Even more parallels exist, just not in this chapter. All that being said, there are some genuinely good Asha'man, maybe even most of them, and I have to believe they will do some good. Afterall, Nicola's foretelling did say "the Guardians balance the Servants." Balance.
Slightly off topic: Tor has wonderful editing, my first edition copy of LoC has Torval's name misspelled three or four times in a row.
The Black Tower now has a black polished speaking stone. A good honest Shayol Ghul monolith or just an ordinary hunk of rock? Taim's enraged, or at least fairly perturbed, over the new ranks, or perhaps over Rand pinning them on his collar. But why wouldn't he be? Big bad false dragon being given honors by the choss-hauler farmboy. Taim is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. I remember somewhere around here the Taimamdred theories/rumors/declarations started flying- though that ha since been debunked. Is he another Forsaken though? More importantly though, is this Taim the "real" Taim and is the Taim who presented Rand the Seal the same Taim who's at the Black Tower right now?
No Taim encounter is complete without a Rand/LTT episode:
"I will kill him, Lews Therin shouted, and Rand felt that fumbling reach toward saidin. Go away, he said firmly. The fumbling continued, and so did the voice.
I will kill him, and then them. They must serve him. It is plain; they must serve him.
Go away, Rand shouted back silently. You are nothing but a voice! Stretching toward the Source.
Oh Light, I killed them all. All that I loved. If I kill him, it will be well, though. I can make it up, if I kill him finally. No, nothing can make up, but I must kill him anyways. Kill them all. I must. I must.
No! Rand screamed inside his head. You're dead, Lews Therin. I am alive, burn you, and you are dead! You are dead!"
It's not rational to say, listen to the voice in your head, but Rand has been doing that already. The LTT surge around Taim (it happens every time) is probably a combination of intuition, AoL memories, and Rand's own hate/fear/distrust. I mean you know this guy is rotten fruit just waiting to fall off the vine, so Rand, listen to your intuition, and plant some balefire right between the eyes. Maybe he can't though. Perhaps the Pattern "needs" the Asha'man. There is Nicola's foretelling and Asha'man are going to perform some remarkable feats, including mixed gender circles. The idea is sound, nobody can stop the Shadow form subverting it, but it's not engendered as a creation of the Shadow from the start.
Hint number three: Rand has to directly order Taim not to begin offing any Aes Sedai in or around Caemlyn. Well, more than that, he has to promise to light Taim's tail on fire. Very. Very. Reassuring.
Ch. 43 "The Crown of Roses"
I've always liked Merana Ambrey. She seems like a decent sort, for an Aes Sedai. She's fair and even-handed and doesn't seem to have any more prejudices than normal, again men who can channel. In the future she will act as though she genuinely wants to honor her oaths, ties, binds, and associations. Unfortunately, she just never stood a chance against Verin. Which is fine, I mean, who really does? Still though, she is an initiate of the White Tower, with all that entails. Alanna has located Rand's "school" and they plan to eliminate it once he is "brought to heel." To that end, they conspire with the nobles, just like Coiren's embassy is in Cairhien (though perhaps conspire is a misnomer - more like manipulate and pressure the nobles into accepting and furthering their agenda). The "good" Aes Sedai aren't really all that good, but then again, who really is in this series?
Carai an Caldazar! Carai an Ellisande! Al Ellisande!