Monday, 23 April 2012

Lord of Chaos - Prologue

In this section, many villainous forces are arrayed against the heroes, and so many secrets are kept.
The prologue shows 11 different points of view, each of them with some threat to the heroes. The objective is to set the stage for the rest of the novel, displaying the main plotline which bookends this section and relates to Demandred and the Dark One’s message. Other sections are tangentially related.
The overarching theme is that there are plots within plots, and no one knows the full plan. Demandred worries that the Dark One is withholding information, then makes the other Forsaken worry that he is doing the same to them. The Dark One is keeping secrets, in particular related to two resurrected Forsaken, whose existence is secret from everyone but Shaidar Haran.
Nynaeve worries about what Moghedien is withholding, even as she and her friends keep Moghedien’s captivity secret form the Rebel Aes Sedai. Nynaeve and Elayne and Siuan and Leane lie and lie about everything, and strangely, the need to talk with each other forces them to reveal all of it in Moghedien’s presence.
Min and Elayne have to keep Min’s Viewings from Rand, lest he try to escape them for the women’s own good. Even as they tally Rand’s past victories, the oppressive and unnatural heat makes them wonder about whether he is truly winning so far.
Faile cannot stop Perrin from leaving the Two Rivers. His departure provides a necessary explanation for his later arrival at Caemlyn, but also introduces the concept that Rand is in a terrible danger that only Perrin can stop.   
Gawyn leads the Younglings as they accompany an Embassy from the White Tower. When he learns that Rand may have killed his mother and sister, he vows to kill Rand, displaying the trademark disregard for authority that had Elaida arrange for their removal from the White Tower.
The Embassy itself has instructions to deliver Rand into Elaida’s hands, which fits with orders the Black Ajah has received. At least two of the Aes Sedai in the Embassy are Black Ajah.
The Shaido are temporarily and loosely allied with Elaida’s Embassy. Sevanna considers betraying that alliance to get her hands on Rand, so she can make him obedient. She has also been contacted by a funny man who must be a Forsaken…
Morgase is in a predicament that may force her to cede rights in Andor for the Children of the Light to do as they will. Her only way out is with the help of a Darkfriend.
Pedron Niall moves soldiers around a lot, but prefers playing the Game of Houses. Even if not a single Whitecloak makes it to Andor, in the meantime he will spread rumours and cause strife in neighbouring kingdoms such that no man would be comfortable declaring for Rand.
 Altogether, there are too many substantial threats to Rand to say which ones will be predominant in the story. So why show so many? In this case, the idea is to have the reader as confused as the characters as to which plots are relevant, what the villains are up to, and who is really in charge. The effect is dizzying, yet it’s only Demandred’s appearances in the first and second-last sections that tie it together, implying that all the intermediate sections are in some way part of the plans he, the Forsaken, and the Dark One have been carrying out. The unnatural heat, Elaida’s Embassy to Rand, the Shaido’s mysterious visitor certainly all fit that implication. Other lesser plotlines with Morgase and Perrin show where other pertinent actors are and how they will fit in to the villain’s schemes. The whole proposition that Demandred is the next Nae’blis is turned upside down when it is revealed that two Forsaken have been resurrected without any of the other’s knowledge, and that one of them is now in a woman’s body. Clearly, the Lord of Chaos rules.
An important element of building excitement is creating the feeling of discovery, of showing something new. The forgers, the descent into the Bore, and Shaidar Haran’s appearance do this, but seeing the Dark One speak tops that. Importantly, reality near the Bore is the Dark One’s to control. Lightning shoots up, stalactites have variable lengths depending who walks under them, and the sky in the Bore is not the sky of Thakan’dar. Physically, this place is no closer to the Bore than any other in the World. Another place like that is the ‘palace’ where the Forsaken meet, which is ‘far from anywhere, in any way that most humans would understand’.
At this point, there are only 6 Forsaken left alive: Demandred, Semirhage, Graendal, Mesaana, Sammael, and Moghedien. Amongst the dead: Ishamael, Be’lal, Aginor, Balthamel, Lanfear, Rahvin, Asmodean. The plan appears to involve Demandred using balefire, letting the Lord of Chaos rule (The Lord of Chaos is Rand, if it is considered that there are still orders to keep Rand alive), killing some people and letting others live, or perhaps to live again. Whatever the plan may entail, it surely involves minimal risk to the Forsaken, who are so cautious they will not risk being caught by modern weak Aes Sedai while trying to steal angreal. Therefore, Mesaana’s insistence that the plan will require luck to work means only that its success is no sure thing.
Does the plan depend on Osan’gar and Aran’gar? Since their existence is supposedly secret, at first glance it seems not. However, Aran’gar is told that her refusal will result in another taking her place. Since we’ll soon learn that she is to be placed amongst the rebel Aes Sedai, and strife between the factions is the desired outcome, it seems likely that another Forsaken would have been given orders meant for her. This implies that the other Forsaken do already know, or will soon be told of their existence, and the role they will play.
Writing Lessons:
Build excitement by letting the reader discover something new.

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