Monday, 19 March 2012

The Shadow Rising - Chapters 55-58

In this section, the heroes soundly overcome all obstacles.
Following her face to face victory over Moghedien, Nynaeve reunites with her friends, and they make their escape. They are taken aback by the violence they have unleashed with the riots, and it seems certain the Panarch’s Palace will be looted, and the Black Ajah sent packing. The villains may still be on the loose, but Nynaeve snuck in under their noses, tweaked them, and escaped with the goods. Elayne trounced Temaile, and freed her captive who has the means to make Tanchico strong again. Elayne plans to make a good ruler out of her. Of all the rulers in the land, none will have had to spend as much time amongst the commoners as Elayne. Elayne will never suffer from a lack of empathy with her subjects, as Amathera does.
Nynaeve and Elayne have won a strong victory using their wits, intelligence, and bravery.
Perrin and the Emond’s Fielders are in dire straits. They have made final preparations should the worst happen, which it seems bound to. Showing these desperate preparations to give the children a chance to survive is more effective than simply describing the massive forces arrayed against the village. The grimness of their expectations despite all their efforts sets them in the reader’s mind as well. To achieve the deep level of concern, there has to be no possible way out, no hope presented, no better outcome than death. When the attack begins, and events unfold exactly as expected, with Trollocs pushing the men back between the houses, the order given to the Companions to go to the children’s aid, the reader makes the association with the rest of the expected result: that they will all die. When things first go differently than the expectation, it happens in a worse way, with the Whitecloaks breaking their promise, with the women stepping in to hold the line, dedicating every last person to an effort that cannot be won, that will result in complete eradication. It is only then that the slim chance of survival is presented, as men from the other villages assault the Trollocs from behind. The slim chance grows to hope, represented by Faile. And finally, victory.
The scenario repeats in quicker fashion with the Children of the Light. An expectation has been created that Perrin will be taken by them, the forces against Perrin look overwhelming, and then he defies them. Defiance immediately is taken up by the villagers, and now they have the upper hand. First evil was defeated, and then suspicion was rejected. The Two Rivers folk have taken a stance and forged a new identity for themselves, one that is embodied by their Lord Perrin.
Perrin has won a decisive victory against two forces using his steadfastness, reason, and leadership.
Rand can’t afford to have Aiel fight each other, he wants them all on his side.  He expects to show up at Alcair Dal, reveal his Dragons and win them over. The Shaido march forces him to advance his plans, but he still thinks it could work out until Couladin reveals his markings. Left with no choice if he wants to become Car’a’carn, he chooses to reveal the Aiel’s darkest secret. The chiefs know Couladin for a fraud, and they now know what kind of man Rand is.  
Asmodean was behind the Draghkar attack, and Couladin’s Dragons, both meant to delay Rand while he learned what was in Rhuidean. Coward that he is, he never entered it in case there were dangers he didn’t know of.  Had he simply walked in the night after Rand left Chaendaer, he could have claimed his prize. Instead he bumbled around asking questions and made futile attempts to enter Rhuidean in Tel’aran’rhiod.
Rand figures out how to Skim. The Skimming space has certain properties of Tel’aran’rhiod. The steps in The Eye of the World when Rand left Tarwin’s Gap was Skimming, even though those steps were first visible without the doorway to the Skimming space.
Rand’s is able to cut off Asmodean from the Dark One using an angreal to get a tiny bit more Power. Angreal are well defined objects at this point, and even though it is a magic object that lets Rand achieve victory, it is easy to accept since the rules governing its use are well understood.
Rand beat Asmodean with a simple clever trick, and faced down Lanfear with certitude and courage.
All of the major storylines end with resounding victory for the heroes, achieved by their own fortitude, villains left to creep away, and a host of new allies and possibilities for the future.  
Writing Lessons:
Craft stepwise expectations, then unveil events step by step that will lead readers to conclusions you want them to reach.

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