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LoC 48-49 (FRR)

 
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Rhodric
Lord of the Morning


Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Posts: 1659
Location: Shanaine, Manetheren

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:34 pm
Post subject: LoC 48-49 (FRR)
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Loc Ch. 48 "Leaning on the Knife"


Generally speaking, I'm more than happy when the Wondergirls receive a comeuppance. It’s hard to enjoy it though when the characters giving it irritate me worse than the girls. Robbing Peter to pay Paul as it were. No sooner do El and Nyn (and company) get to Ebou Dar, than they are left to cool their heels--so as the real Aes Sedai can get to work. So I briefly felt bad for the girls, but then Elayne opened her big royal mouth:

“ ‘I really think that is enough about Master Cauthon,’ Elayne said firmly. “He is only here to pull him out of Egwene’s hair, and I can puzzle out what to do about the ter’angreal later.’ “

Oh contraire my delusional young noble, he is here to help you do what you cannot do for yourself- bacon off the coals as it were. It seems I was wrong in the last chapter:

“Her lips compressed for a moment. She had not been happy when Vandene and Adeleas began channeling at Mat without so much as a by-your-leave, and even less when he slipped off to that inn. There had been nothing she could do, of course. She claimed that by only telling him to do what he had to do anyway in the beginning, she could bring him into the habit.”

So I guess it was the evil twins idea to start violating Mat’s ta’veren rights. Nothing to say that the others didn’t do some of the channeling though. I briefly felt more kindly disposed toward Elayne but I guess the only reason she’s upset is because those blimey Aes Sedai touched her property without permission. I love how she can never call Mat by his name, always has to give him the commoner’s “master.”

I won’t go into too much detail about the rest of the chapter. Suffice to say, Tylin summons El and Nyn and they find that they are extremely green and shall we say world affairs? Elayne is somewhat better versed in politics but its all training, not on the job experience, and Tylin fairly well dominates them, by strength of will alone. They have a lot to learn, and it is rather humorous when Elayne apologizes for any rudeness or Egwene’s army occupying northern Altara, and Tylin says those were the first words of apology she has heard. Elayne is weird, she can be very forthcoming, sincere, and kind if she feels you are her equal, or someone she respects, but if not you can forget about it. I feel like El has already said enough dumb things about world affairs, Mat, life in general, but she tops herself here:

“ ‘This Rahad may be dangerous, but I cannot think it is any worse than Tanchico, and we won’t have the Black Ajah to worry about. I wager in ten days we will have the bowl, I will know what makes Mat’s ter’angreal do what it should not be able to do and we will be on our way to join Egwene, with him knuckling his forehead as fast as Master Vanin, and Vandene and Adeleas will be left sitting here with Merilille and Teslyn trying to puzzle out what happened.’
Nynaeve could not help it; she laughed out loud. A lanky serving man shifting a large vase of golden porcelain stared at her, and she sttuck out her tongue at him. He nearly dropped the vase. “I won’t take that wager, except about Mat. Ten days it is.’ “

Famous last words.


LoC Ch. 49 “The Mirror of Mists”


Much was made about certain character reunions prior to the release of tGS and ToM and reunions to come in aMoL, and how Brandon would handle them, whether correctly, good or bad. Loial, Rand, and Perrin have a mini reunion (first time since the Stone), and even here, in LoC with RJ writing, things aren’t all flowers and rose petals. Of course, between Rand and Perrin, things seldom are. Conflict is understandable though, Perrin the protector/preserver and Rand is the destroyer-- conflict is almost a foregone conclusion.

“Mention of the Ways made him think. Most of the Waygates were near stedding, and if Loial’s mother and Elder Haman were to be believed, the stedding were what Loial needed. Of course, he could not channel into a stedding any more than you could channel inside one. “Listen, Loial. I want to put guards on all the Waygates, and I need somebody who can not only find them but can talk to the Elders as well and get their permission.”
“Light,” Perrin growled disgustedly. He tapped out his pipe and ground the dottle into the courtyard paving stone under his boot heel. “Light! You send Mat off to face down Aes Sedai, you want to dump me into the middle of a war with Sammael and a few hundred Two Rivers men with me, some of them you know, and now you want to send Loial off when he’s only just arrived. Burn you Rand, look at him! He needs rest. Is there anybody you won’t use? Maybe you want Faile to go hunt Moghedian or Semirhage. Light!”
Anger welled up in Rand, a tempest that made him shake. Those yellow eyes stared at him grimly, but he stared back like thunder. “I will use anyone I must. You said it yourself; I am who I am. And I’m using myself up, Perrin, because I have to. Just like I’ll use anybody I have ot. We don’t have a choice anymore. Not me, not you, not anybody!’ “

I don’t know why Perrin is being such a prick. I don’t think Rand would kill Loial on purpose and he did think about visiting the stedding as benefiting his friend. But more than that, Perrin acts like this is some game. Rand can ask favors and be a jolly chap and everything will work out in the end. Humorous how everyone acknowledges Rand as the Dragon Reborn but if he doesn’t act like a shepherd, shepherd Rand from the Two Rivers, they get upset and fall to pieces. Rand’s preparing for Armageddon, if he had is druthers, I’m sure he’d be off somewhere herding sheep with Tam. I know Perrin remembers the carnage in the Two Rivers and that was a pittance. That was Slayer hunting down a renegade (Fain) under Ishamael’s orders. Sure things changed in the end when Perrin got involved, but it was still, at most, just a skirmish. Perrin seems really loath to use people after Faile was captured- Grady, Neald, Elyas. He used them all. At least Rand comes right out and says it. I will use you because I must. Instead of, I will grind you into dottle beneath my boot heel because I miss my wife.

***

MIn is in a lather because the Aes Sedai are on their way to the palace (she managed to slip out ahead of them and gallop wildrose all the way to the palace). Demira’s object lesson to Rand brought to life. They bring seven. I suppose they could have brought all nine, or even eleven counting Verin and Alanna. Not sure why they don’t. Maybe they didn’t think it necessary.

“Lews Therin groaned. [I cannot handle seven, not at once. Not seven.] Rand thought of the fat-little-man angreal, and the voice faded to mutters; he still sounded uneasy, though.”

Bad news if your disassociated AoL memories think it’s dicey. Fascinating how he seems able to parse down what can be done and what can’t, judging other’s abilities, et cetera.

“For one moment they paused, looking at him impassively, ignoring the Aiel; then they glided forward, first Demira, then Seonid and Rafela, then Merana and Masuri, forming an arrowhead pointed straight at Rand. He did not need the faint tingle in his skin to tell him they had embraced saidar. With every step each woman appeared noticeably taller than before.
[They think to impress me spinning the Mirror of Mists?] Lews Therin’s incredulous laugh faded into mad giggles. Rand did not need the man’s explanation; he had seen Moraine do something like this once. Asmodean had called it the Mirror of Mists too, and also Illusion.”

I don’t want to say, even Moiraine knew it, because she knew quite a bit. She was maybe the most knowledgeable third ager up to her disappearance. Still though, a version at least, of the Mirror of Mists (distorting appearance) is apparently common knowledge in the Tower, though not true Illusion.
Illusion appears to be common knowledge among the Forsaken. They all use it to one degree or another and with a familiarity that suggests they are doing nothing out of the ordinary. If I had to guess, I'd say it was standard training anyone from the Hall of Servants would know- maybe even a miniscule part considering it partially survived the Breaking. Perhaps it's like line cook who think's he's a master chef trying to impress a country hayseed (who's actually a master chef) with an apple pie. Perhaps not surprising, Aes Sedai have a pretty contemptuous opinion of male channelers abilities and knowledge. Even Verin thinks that Rand can't possibly know wards.

"[Burn you!] Rand thought. He meant to shield them, but Lews Therin spoke, panting in near panic.
[Not strong enough. Even with the angreal, maybe not strong enough, not to hold seven. You fool! You waiting too long! Too dangerous!]
Shielding anyone did take a fair amount of strength. With the angreal, Rand was sure he could make seven shields, even with them embracing saidar already; but if even one could break that shield...Or more than one. He wanted to impress them with his strength, not give them a chance to overcome it. But there was another way. Weaving Spirit, Fire, and Earth just so, he struck as if intending to shield.
Their Mirror of Mists shattered. Suddenly there were only seven normal women standing in front of him with stunned faces. Shock vanished behind Aes Sedai tranquility in an instant, however."

I love that scene, possibly one of the best ever, especially with the bit in the beginning with "Lews Therin" judging how much strength it would take for seven shields and what could and couldn't be done safely.

I think attempting to cut them off from the True Source would have been an unmitigated disaster. For one thing, if they are breaking through shields, you've got problems, and for another, even trying to shield and you've got to kill or capture them all and after that there's no going back to the embassy to ruler arrangement and no possible (that that one exists now) avenue for trust exists.

Shattering the Mirror of Mists was the perfect solution. They definitely didn't think that possible. Think of it this way: If they aren't linked, then Rand shatters seven weaves at once. Handling more than one flow at once becomes exponentially more difficult, most "Aes Sedai" can handle two, maybe three at once. Egwene can handle four and that's presented as extremely rare. So Rand doing seven at once should be awe inspiring (at least to these bumpkins). If Demira is leading a circle, it's still impressive because Rand just shattered a weave held by a circle of seven.

As momentous as the confrontation is, it only serves as a springboard into bigger and better things--or worse and worst things, depending on your point of view. Kiruna Nachiman and Bera Harkin arrive in Caemlyn bringing the number of Aes Sedai to thirteen. Bera and Kiruna are the Aes Sedai Sheriam’s circle (nominally the Hall but...) sent to the Aiel Waste in search of Rand at Siuan’s behest. I’ve never liked Bera or Kiruna (though they are better in later books...I think), maybe it’s the first things we hear out of their mouths:

“ ‘Alanna should have brought him to heel long since.” Kiruna’s voice was low, yet close to open anger. “I would have. When she arrives, I will tell her so, and the Dark One take convention.”
“He should be leashed,” Bera agreed in a flat tone, “and before he can do more damage to Andor.” She was Andoran. “The sooner, the better, I say.’ “

Andorans make me sick, every one of them caterwauls about Rand destroying Andor. Rand should have allowed the fifth and sacked Caemlyn. Be that as it may, Min sees something very alarming when she looks at Bera and Kiruna:

“One caught Min’s eye when it flashed around both women at the same instant, brownish yellow and deep purple. The colors themselves meant nothing, but that aura made Min stop breathing.”

The same aura that Min sees around Rand before--women who can channel will hurt him badly. ‘Blood, death, the One Power, those two women and you all in the same place at the same time.’ There’s only two choices really, either strike first or flee. Even without the aura, thirteen Aes Sedai with dubious intentions is cause for alarm:

“ ‘Min if it comes down to faces them I promise to send you away out of danger somehow.” How could any man face thirteen? The thought made Lews Therin surge again, screaming.”

If Lews Therin is any guide, sounds like fighting thirteen together, alone, is tantamount to suicide. It’s unclear if the circle of thirteen is a matter of any thirteen being additionally stronger (though linking does not make the circle additionally as strong as the individual channelers) than any man or a limitation of the One Power. There are many checks and balances between saidar and saidin. For instance, men can’t link without women, but women need men to take the circle beyond thirteen, there’s limits to how big a single man can make a gateway or bridge, no matter his strength-- et cetera. Rand flees to Cairhien with Perrin, Faile, Min, Loial, Sulin, and Nandera and writes Merana this letter:

Merana,
A friend of mine once told me in most dice games, the number thirteen is considered nearly as unlucky as rolling the Dark One’s Eyes. I also think thirteen is an unlucky number. I am going to Cairhien. You may follow me as you can with no more than five other sisters. That way you will be on an equal footing with the emissaries from the White Tower. I will be displeased if you try to bring more. Do not press me again. I have little trust left in me.
Rand al’Thor
The Dragon Reborn


Kiruna, shock of shocks, is disgusted anyone would dare write such a letter to an Aes Sedai. I’ll admit, it wasn’t as respectful as it could have been, but it wasn’t all that disrespectful either. Kiruna and Bera had no intention of obeying the letter of course, even without Merana, the party they assemble is eight strong. The way the majority of them feel bout Rand in their heart of hearts is best illustrated here:

“ ‘How do you know he did not kill Morgase,” Bera interrupted,
“as he is said to have killed Morgase?”
“We have heard every sort of rumor concerning her death,” Kiruna added.
“Some even say she died fighting Lanfear. Most say she was alone with al’Thor when she died.’ “

The implication of course, since no one objects to those assertions, that Rand murdered Moiraine, which is so absurd as to be almost comical. The bloody list! When Alanna bonded Rand, Verin muses if he turned on Moiraine more violently than he just had on them. Hello? You just bonded him against his will and then attempted to shield and compel him. Of course he “turned on you.” There’s definitely something in the Tar Valon water supply.

Merana makes one last attempt to save the embassy:

“Merana trembled, the folded letter crumpling in her fist. “Don’t you see?” she shouted. “You talk as if we can go on as before, as if nothing has changed. There is an embassy from Elaida in Cairhien, from the White Tower. That is how al’Thor must see it. WE need him more than he needs us, and I fear he knows it!’ “

You tell those hussies Merana! As usual the voice of rreason is ignored. Merana muses:
“She prayed that the Hall had chosen an Amyrlin by now. Someone very strong, in the Power and in her heart. It would take another Deane, another Rashima, to make them once more what they had been. She prayed Alanna head them to al’Thor before he decided to acknowledge Elaida. Even another Rashima would not save them then.”

Deane Aryman, born FY920, in Salidar Eharon, replaced Bonwhin and saved the Tower from the brink of destruction. She convinced Souran Maravaile (husband to Ishara - first queen of Andor) to lift the siege of Tar Valon and was on the brink of convincing the warring nobles to let the Tower mediate, thus ending the Hundred Years War, when she died from a fall from her horse (read~murdered).
Rashima Kerenmosa was known as the “Soldier Amyrlin” and personally lead the Tower’s armies during the Trolloc Wars, winning key victories at Kaisin Pass, the Soralle Step, Larapelle, Tel NOrwin, and the turning point of the Trolloc Wars, Maighande, where she died, surrounded by a wall of shadowspawn, her dead warders, and nine dead dreadlords (interesting note--in one of his memories Mat leads the flank at Maighande). Some think that Egwene is Latra Posae reborn (proponent of the Fateful Concord and the Choedan Kal project during the War of Power) but she has shown more in common with Rashima. The harbor chains, the Seanchan attack -- Egwene is Rashima reborn? The Soldier Amyrlin of Tarmon Gai’don! I like it.
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