Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Fires of Heaven - Prologue to Chapter 1

In this section, lengthy prologues explain the current situation.
In the White Tower, a host of Aes Sedai are introduced. The point is to show that the Tower is made up of factions, and a crowd of new faces and names are necessary to convey this idea. A few are made to stand out, Shemerin and Joline particularly, the first Yellow, and a new Green. The most important thing is that Elaida and Alviarin are contending for power. Later Moiraine will describe how Siuan should now be approaching leaders of nations to unite them behind Rand, but the reality is that the Tower is unstable, and that anything might come out of Rand showing up there, most of it detrimental to him. There is a sense that Elaida is worse than Alviarin, simply because we know how bad she is while Alviarin is portrayed as cool and logical, and she must have been misled by Elaida.
Padan fain is in the Tower, doing to Elaida what he did to Pedron Niall. He tells her to tie a thread to one Rand trusts. It is now certain that whatever slim potential help Elaida might have been, she is now bad, bad, bad.  
Carrying over from last book, we are reminded Mazrim Taim is on the loose. Since the entire Black Ajah was in Tanchico, it is easy to overlook the supposed plot to control Mazrim Taim. Other happenings in the world are easily conveyed by the meeting of Elaida’s entourage. These briefings are used frequently to pack in information that is not worth showing to the reader directly.
This is the first time a point of view is given for a Forsaken. This makes it possible to give personalities to the Forsaken, since they won't usually be talkative in front of heroes. It is also the only way to reveal the villainous plot, unless the eavesdropping (Mat), dreams (Perrin or Egwene) or interrogation (Amico and Joiya) methods are used again. Typically, overusing any one method is picked up by the reader, except for direct revelation by the villain’s point of view, which can be done frequently. There is also now less reason to keep the Forsaken mysterious, since Rand has access to one and the air of mystery will quickly be undone.
Lanfear contrives to stay near Rand and keep some 'allies' away. Rahvin considers that knowing Lanfear’s activities is better than not knowing. Important information about the differences between men and women linking, or strength in the Power, are given by a true authority in the matter. This information would be somewhat untrustworthy coming from Asmodean, who may have ulterior motives. Internal thoughts about it from an authority outside the captor-jailor relationship are a better way to make the reader believe what is being said. Similarly, Rahvin confirms how the protection from the taint works. He describes the Dark One as a ‘greater power than the Light, or even the Creator’. He differentiates between the two. The ‘Light’ therefore represents the One Power, so earlier passages about Rand wielding a ‘sword of the Light’, or other references to the capitalized word ‘Light’ can now be put in a correct context.
The prologue and Chapter 1 act like continuation from The Shadow Rising’s 4th storyline. The focus on Min is a shift from other books, where she has played a peripheral role. Putting her front and center in Chapter 1 means she is a central character. The switch in viewpoint from Elaida to Siuan’s group is logical; it completes the White Tower characters updates. Bryne is portrayed as a cowboy leading a posse, a significant change from his days in Caemlyn. Under the pseudonym Jackson O’Reilly, Robert Jordan wrote his first book, a Western titled Cheyenne Raiders. Bryne reflects on whether the Nations will stand for or against Rand, a concern that Moiraine will echo.  
From Bryne, the logical people to look in on next are in Caemlyn. Alteima and Morgase have viewpoints, such that by page 55, not one of the original Two Rivers characters has been shown. Readers may now be anxious to get back to the central characters they know. All of the characters in this chapter are in Andor.  An expectation that they will meet up is being created.
Alteima's role is largely to provide Rahvin with information in a convincing way. Rahvin could get it elsewise, but information from someone with firsthand knowledge is more convincing. Alteima's role is also to heighten danger to Morgase. Morgase has already been described as stubborn enough to try get out of the Compulsion, and she is portrayed as being of two minds about many things. Morgase is well liked by Thom, Gareth, Elayne, Galad, and Gawyn, and may even be part of Elaida's foretelling about the Royal line of Andor (Rand is still the more likely though). She is therefore instantly identifiable as a good guy, and reader sentiment is with her.
Rahvin is interested in Rand's allies and friends. This is the second mention of tying strings to his friends. Unlike Elaida, Rahvin is a master manipulator, and uses everyone.
The very 2nd paragraph of Chapter 1, where a wind blows from Braem Wood can be contrasted with the situation of the refugees from the White Tower.  This is not simply telling readers about the geography, it tells how Min and her group are alone, exhausted, without relief, in danger of being exposed.
South and west it blew, dry, beneath a sun of molten gold. There had been no rain for long weeks in the land below, and the late-summer heat grew day by day. Brown leaves come early dotted some trees, and naked stones baked where small streams had run. In an open place where grass had vanished and only thin, weathered bush held the soil with its roots, the wind began uncovering long-buried stones. They were weathered and worn, and no human eye would have recognized them for the remains of a city remembered in story yet otherwise forgotten.
Wow, that is a great paragraph.
Writing Lessons:
Make sure the benefits of revealing the villain’s point of view outweigh the downsides.

No comments:

Post a Comment