Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Eye of the World - Chapters 44-47

This section is a time for revelations, and a slight pause before the final battle!
Moiraine finally learns and reveals how all those Trollocs were moving through the Southlands via the Ways. She also reveals what she has learned about Ba’alzamon from a bizarrely changed Padan Fain. Ba’alzamon’s abilities are increasing, first bringing Fain to Shadar Logoth and transforming him into a hound of Darkness, then to appear in Darkfriend dreams, then in anyone’s dreams, and finally send a flickering image of himself to his troops in the field. With this information, Moiraine’s bizarre hunch to travel to Shienar seems to have paid off. Just how badly are the seals on the Dark One’s prison failing? How much time is left? We’ll know soon.
Padan Fain is discovered to be a Darkfriend of the highest order, and of the foulest behavior. He claims to want to come back to the Light, but can he? We see few enough examples of repentant Darkfriends. Will this be a theme in A Memory of Light? I could see a few possible candidates to play such a role.
Rand, Mat, and Perrin are finally accepted as men, not boys. Once Moiraine reveals the role they are to play at the Eye of the World, even Agelmar concedes that his soldiers are but a diversion to protect them as they fight the true battle. They were young at the beginning, hardly fit to be let off mother’s apron strings, but I was still a bit surprised when Moiraine passes the torch of responsibility from herself to them. Rand catches on that although she is saying she needs them because they are ta’veren, the battle will involve the One Power, which implies one of the men might use it.
The journey through the Ways is surprisingly metaphorical. The heroes, still boys, passed from the land of their childhood through a timeless land of darkness and confusion, and emerge as men in a land of duty and war, ready to carry responsibility for others on their shoulders, ready to go into battle and oppose the Dark One.
In the Ways, Rand and Egwene have their flirtations with others revealed. For perhaps the only time ever, Egwene loses an exchange. Dancing with Aram was like flying with a bird.
The pledge made in Lan’s name in the cradle is strongly reminiscent of the Aiel scream of defiance that Loial told Rand about. Again, we are told that opposing the Dark One is not a matter of Power, but of will.  
Moiraine wonders who is controlling the weave of the Pattern, is it the Creator or the Dark One? This is particularly interesting when applied to servants of the Shadow. The Pattern could use its corrective ability to stop anyone from ever joining the Dark One. So either it doesn’t mind, or knowledge of the Dark One’s mere existence allows people to voluntarily join him, and by whatever connection to the Dark One they make, the Pattern loses the ability to affect them directly. The Dark One’s influence acts as a shield of sorts, allowing his creatures to ‘snip threads’ and limit the Pattern’s ability to auto-correct. The question remains, are Darkfriends and Forsaken agents of the Pattern, of the Dark One, or both?
Apparently many Trollocs speak human tongue. They talked so Fain could understand, arguing about the best way to cook him. Narg not special.
Fain had problems because the boys were separated and he was still compelled to seek out all three of them.  Will this situation persist? The three of them will spend scant time together, which would affect Fain’s ability to track them down. The fires of Ba’alzamon burned him whenever he tried to stop, he couldn’t stop to eat, he rested only when he fell from exhaustion. Will he be able to focus on just one of them? Will his secret encounter with Mordeth affect this compulsion? It seems he manages some control over this compulsion in the future books.
As an example of how an action sequence is built up, I’ve analyzed the journey through the Ways. With use of tabs, maybe we can visually see the increase in tension as the ideas are presented and the scene plays out. Tension increases as entries are pushed to the right by the bright orange boxes, see the link:
Writing lessons:
Action sequences have rhythms, notching tension up and down is part of building up the feeling of action and danger.

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