Sunday, 8 January 2012

New Spring Chapters 15-18

The second half of the novel makes up the original short story New Spring. We find Moiraine is already on the quest and the focus shifts to how Lan joined the hunt.
Every antagonist we’ve seen so far suddenly drops off the map, and a new array of threats (Edeyn, Black Ajah, Cadsuane) are introduced for the first time.  This made more sense when the story started here.
Lan finally gets to do something, and we learn Malkieri are as peculiar as Aiel. Aside from 2 pages explaining he dawdled in the southlands for a few months, Lan has been absent since Chapter 1. In the original, the viewpoints were better balanced between Lan and Moiraine.
We get a list of relative strength in the Power:  Cadsuane, Meilyn, then Kerene. Two of them will be dead in the next chapter. The next 5 are sharply below Kerene and include Moiraine, Siuan and 3 others, one of whom is retired. We quickly calculate that Moiraine and Siuan will at least be on equal footing with Elaida once they hit full strength.
Cadsuane is introduced here for the second time, the first having been way back (ahead) in A Crown of Swords. The introduction here is perfect. The strength in the Power felt first, then the attitude, then the legend explained. In contrast, her bizarre Deus ex Machina introduction in A Crown of Swords left me confused due to the complete lack of context. Here it works because we know that strength in the power equals rank, and Cadsuane is not just above Moiraine, she is the only one who could be SO FAR above Moiraine. Intimidation and threat to our protagonist is instantaneous. The attitude tells us what she’ll do with her rank, and the legend reinforces it. Her other introduction lacked the strength comparison and the legend, and instead it relied on the reactions of the other Aes Sedai. Not as powerful a signal to the reader as a direct source of information.
Writing Lessons:
One way to have a character make an impression when introduced, is to make sure the POV character is credible and informed.  

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