Monday, 30 January 2012

The Great Hunt - Chapters 7-9

In this section, friendship, romance, and relationships between the main characters are explored.
This is a last chance to show the reader what the characters mean to each other before they go their separate ways. Most important is the romance that is not a romance between Rand and Egwene. These two feel a great deal of affection for each other, and share an intimate understanding of each other from the arranged marriage they’ve known about for some time, but they do not have the passion of young love. Rand offers misplaced chivalry that Egwene neither wants or needs. Egwene offers understanding and acceptance that Rand can’t accept for fear of putting her in danger.  In a typical storybook romance, they would overcome these obstacles and get together in the end. These two are already grown up enough to decide they can ‘just be friends’. The affection they have for each other will still be important enough that they will both make decisions based on it that land them in hot water. In the longer term, Egwene is one of the oldest friends, and most trusted people Rand has known, and this relationship should prove its worth in A Memory of Light.
Nynaeve and Lan have a more typical romance, with Moiraine acting as the woman keeping them apart, both with the Warder bond and the quest to defeat the Dark One that she and Lan share. Nynaeve will have to gain the ability to bond Lan by becoming Aes Sedai, and take up the same quest, in order to fully supplant Moiraine. For all of Lan’s awesome back-story and insurmountable abilities, he plays the role of the trophy husband. This story is about Nynaeve proving her worthiness.
Moiraine is married to her quest, keeping secrets from her best friend and leader, and preparing to take steps even against her sisters to see the quest through. Pushing Nynaeve towards the White Tower gets her out of the way, counters Red Ajah influence, and may give Rand some powerful allies in the long term. No wonder she jerked Nynaeve’s braid so hard.
While Rand ponders his feelings for Egwene, we learn that the Dragon’s former lover Lanfear is loose and looking for him. We’ll get a chance to see how unrequited love fares against lust and glory.
Both Perrin and Mat have large problems preoccupying them, but Rand is the only one with the full knowledge of what is going on. Rand condescendingly won’t tell them anything and tries to take actions that he deems are for their own good, so they resent him for acting as their Lord. Rand and Nynaeve both refuse to be used or pushed where others want to direct them, but they both have difficulty in giving their friends the same freedom to act that they would take for themselves.
Lan continues to act as Rand’s caretaker, giving him the last lessons on how to be a man, Borderland style: whatever comes, face it on your feet.
Many secrets get exposed: The Horn of Valere’s existence and theft are publicly acknowledged. Rand’s ability to channel is known, and discounted by the Amyrlin herself. Verin divines Moiraine and Siuan’s secret scheme to find the Dragon. Perrin gets a Delving from Leane.
A few small mysteries remain. Who was the umpteenth Darkfriend skulking in Fal Dara who shot an arrow at Rand? Did the Myrddraal, Fain, or Lanfear write the Dark Prophecy in blood on the dungeon walls?
 A seal on the Dark One’s prison is in Bayle Domon’s hands, and Darkfriends are after it. Bayle seeks refuge in the west, heading for Toman Head.
Writing Lessons:
Exposing secrets or feelings to characters of unknown trustworthiness quickly ratchets up the tension.

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