Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Eye of the World - Chapters 29-32

Eye of the World 29-32
In this section, the Heroes evade capture or death by keeping a low profile.
The menace in these sections is quite a bit less supernatural, as the worst to contend with are ravens, soldiers and the local toughs. This is partly done to keep the opponents at a level the Heroes can defeat or escape on their own, now that they’re separated from their most powerful allies. In-story, the rationale is that Trollocs are better suited for wilderness missions than for searching the numerous villages. The river also provides a barrier preventing these powerful foes from continuing their pursuit. Those Trollocs must have been under tight control to just let various characters go when they were identified as not-the-boys instead of just killing them. A consequence of being linked to the Myrddraal? They become more versatile, but less capable of deviating from their instructions?
Killer flocks of ravens are nothing to treat lightly however. Elyas notes that something big is underway for this type of Dark activity so far south. Once the ravens fail to find anyone of interest wandering the hinterlands, Perrin and Egwene should be safe from further peril. Except for the Whitecloaks.
Perrin is the first of the boys to start thinking about taking responsibility for more than just his own fate, and considers his options if his worst fears come true. Bit by bit, we’ll see all the main characters thrown into this type of situation, where the lives of others are in their hands. The whole world will be directly in Rand’s hands eventually, and he’ll be wrestling with the same issues Perrin is facing in the race to the stedding.  Elyas’ statement about when to throw the axe away is about Perrin’s worthiness to make such decisions, and whether the people he makes decisions on behalf of would accept them.
We get some mild confirmation that Ba’alzamon wasn’t necessarily lying about his influence on Artur Hawkwing, as it relates to his aggressive stance against Aes Sedai, even on his death bed.
When your two characters face the same menace, they stand together, and the reader feels a bond between them. But offer each of them a different fate, like Egwene being able to repent her sins while Perrin has to face the hangman, can instill tension between the characters. Will Perrin tell her to take the escape offered? Would she do so? Would she find out it was all a ruse and she’s mounting a block right next to Perrin in Amador? A similar wedge is being driven between characters with Perrin’s secret Wolfbrother abilities conflicting with Egwene’s desire to become Aes Sedai. Rand’s abilities will drive the largest wedge of all between the characters. Menace from outside is exciting, but menace from within affects the characters more deeply.
With the advantage of having read the whole series and understanding Rand’s abilities, his lightning blast escape from the Dancing Cartman seems far less bizarre. I won’t talk about Rand much, because I need to finish a perplexing few more chapters before I talk about linearity of events and what happens when you deviate from it.
On a tangent related to writing, as a writer I want some protection for my creations, but my desire for reams and reams of information to inform my writing, to use as reference material, and for the pure joy of research far outweighs that. I strongly oppose the SOPA and PIPA law projects for the destruction they would wreak on valuable human cooperative endeavours such as Wikipedia or other creative commons projects. The ideas behind these laws are still dormant in myriad other initiatives sitting on bureaucrats’ desks, waiting to be spawned. Bureaucracy is a Goat With a Thousand Heads. It won’t budge, it keeps coming back, it craps all over the place. I will stand against these Shadow-spawned law projects, and oppose any similar proposals, and I hope you will too, wherever you live.  
Writing Lessons:
Look for natural wedges or conflicting desires that can be used to drive your characters in different directions. Fight the Goat.

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