Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Shadow Rising - Chapters 38-41

In this section, dangers loom in Tanchico where the Hunters are hopeful, while the Hunter in the Westwood takes his loss personally.
Following a disastrous Trolloc ambush, Perrin acknowledges what he’s been trying to accomplish: vengeance and justice. The bottled up emotions, clear to the reader but understated in the text until now, are finally released. Faile quickly sets him straight on where guilt for his actions will lead. Her rebuke about proper behaviour for generals leads her to admit her royal lineage. Perrin is also stuck revealing his own secrets. They both come clean with each other, holding nothing back. Perrin and Faile face issues of guilt, responsibility, honesty and come out with a strengthened bond. This is all accomplished in relatively little space, which can be contrasted with Rand’s yet-to-come similar struggle with the same issues, which will be stretched out over a far longer period of time. There might be some message here about strength as a couple versus vulnerability as a loner. Faile and Perrin accept each other as they are, in line with the Way of the Leaf, which is not only non-violence, but acceptance of what comes. Interestingly, the Aiel have kept this part of the Way of the Leaf, in the form of their grim fatalism about death.
The first real insight into the mind of a Black Ajah, Liandrin, illustrates their selfishness and sense of entitlement. The way she lashes out at a maid, one who purportedly shares her affiliation with the Dark One, serves to demonstrate what her dominion over Rand would be like. Six Black Ajah, and however many others are off-screen, and a force of five hundred Whitecloaks greatly outmatch Elayne, Nynaeve, Thom, Juilin and Bayle. The sense of danger is heightened; excitement builds.
The reminder about the Seanchan menace waiting in the wings is much less effective at producing a similar sense of danger and excitement. At best, there is an indication of some divisive elements among the Seanchan, and potential for one side or the other to aid the heroes. Odds favour Egeanin, who is on the verge of contemplating treason. She sent the Lady Leilwin overseas. With all the intrigue in Seanchan, it is doubtful Egeanin’s new name was chosen coincidentally.
There is no indication yet that Bayle recognizes Thom from their flight down the Arinelle but he easily picks Nynaeve out of a crowd. There are no ta’veren in Tanchico, yet the coincidences happen anyway. Perhaps it is sufficient simply to encounter a ta’veren for him to set your path?
Similarly to the young couple, Thom comes clean with Elayne about his affair with her mother. Elayne seems likely to remember the feeling, if not the exact words Thom said, strengthening their trust.
Chapter separation in the Perrin sequence again seems to serve spacing and pacing considerations, but there is no indication chapter breaks were purposefully designed.  Rather, an uninterrupted Perrin sequence was written, and the breaks and placement chosen afterwards to improve the flow.
Slayer is now twice described as looking as Lan’s brother might. Alert readers remember the legend of Isam, and may even pick up on the same inhuman smell coming from Lord Luc. These clues require memory of earlier books events, but a hook was placed that allows easy recollection: Lan. Stories about random people who are deceased from a generation earlier don’t stick in the memory. Make that story about Lan’s lost cousin, and reader interest is piqued. If it were about Bornhald’s lost cousin, it would not work so well. Lan is the last Malkieri, so any relative affects his identity. Slayer also reveals his plan to Perrin, which is made into a reasonable action by the intent that the information will lure Perrin into a trap. A suitable alternative since an inner monologue such as Slayer gives in The Path Of Daggers would give away too much at this point. The clues may be there, but there is no sense solving the mystery for the reader yet.
With the raker’s departure, the Sea Folk have yet to play a significant role, so readers may expect the Coramoor, Elayne, the Sea Folk and the Seanchan to meet up in the future.
Writing Lessons:
Make a detail more memorable by linking to a character or event that already made an emotional impact in the reader’s mind.

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