Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Lord of Chaos - Chapters 28-31

In this section, characters good and evil accomplish some goals
Rand reads two letters from the Sea Folk, and brushes them off. This will later allow Elayne to interact with them without having been preceded by Rand, which would have undermined her negotiations with them.
Rand continues to interact with the voice in his head. Lews Therin believes Rand is the voice in his head, which is a powerful means of establishing the voice is real (or the illusion of it).
Sulin’s example explains ji’e’toh a little more. No one can set your punishment or tell you how to meet your obligation; it can only be set and ended by the one undertaking it. Wise Ones do not dispense punishments by force, but by suggestion. If you can’t figure it out yourself, they will set you something awful, but they can’t make you do it except in the way it affects your social standing. This is why they have so much trouble with Shaido Wise Ones, who always push the bounds of acting reasonably. A person’s honour and standing is always in their own hands.
Taim luckily shows up to thwart a Gray Man, the throwaway assassins the Forsaken use to remind Rand they are halfheartedly trying to kill him. Even Rand can see this smacks of a set-up, and it will later be a ‘clue’ pointing to Demandred impersonating Taim. I was an eager proponent of this theory, even joking that obviously Robert Jordan is wrong, Taim IS Demandred. A discussion of this theory is best suited for the end of the book, when Demandred makes his final appearance. In keeping with the theme of trickery and double-dealing, Taim discusses Forsaken in disguise with Rand. But what is the deceit and what is the truth? The author is effectively creating mistrust with Taim’s timely intervention and Lews Therin’s homicidal desire to snuff Taim.
Padan Fain makes a surprise appearance, a reminder that events can get even more complicated quickly. Fain has some creepy interaction with his minions, and some powerful tricks up his sleeve. They could have been called abilities, powers, or a number of other things, but the author chose ‘tricks’, again fitting the theme. We are reminded that Elaida and Niall have been brushed by Fain, and are inherently mistrustful of Rand now. The implication is that whatever we’ve seen Niall plotting, and Valda’s dismay over it, is all a downstream effect of Fain pulling his strings. The implication is that Elaida’s embassy has similar bad intentions towards Rand. Even if the reader already had a strong feeling about this, Fain’s involvement, even from a distance, cranks up the tension over what they will do.
Nynaeve and Elayne are reluctant captors, telling Marigan to say she fell down stairs after Birgitte beats her. They worry they too will act as Birgitte has; they feel such anger and distaste towards Moghedien. It can’t help that they feel convinced Moghedien deserves such treatment. It doesn’t look far from the day when they’ll want to hurt Moghedien.
Nynaeve is not responding to any of her own treatments at the hands of Aes Sedai, which are worse that what Moghedien is receiving, the Birgitte incident aside. Dunking, beating, sleep deprivation and more are what she has been subjected to in an effort to make her channel without seizing the source as a man does. Nynaeve does not surrender, not even to saidar, she must be in control. But she makes her first step towards surrender when she wholeheartedly apologizes to Elayne or her behaviour. She takes her first step towards letting go, and within minutes she has performed a miracle. The idea of the heroes giving up control to win, while the villains ruthlessly try to control everything runs through the whole series. The Way of the Leaf and Aiel fatalism both involve accepting events, while Mordeth, Seanchan and Whitecloaks all seek to control other people. Control vs. acceptance. This mirrors Rand’s later epiphany atop Dragonmount.
Nynaeve heals Logain with a bridge of Fire and Spirit, restoring his power and will to live. Fire and spirit are words that represent desire to live; no wonder it wasn’t done with Earth and Air.
Many Aes Sedai are introduced, some of which will be prominent in later Rebel plotlines including the eighteen Sitters. Their roles are not yet relevant. The causal naming of every sister who passes by has the effect of making the rebel encampment feel like a community.
The effects of healing stilling are immediately revealed: Siuan can still lie, but her title is gone. Also gone is her standing, now that she is among the weakest Aes Sedai. A lot of stock has been put in the amount of the One Power that several heroes can use, yet by the end of Towers of Midnight, we’ll see the tables turned and some of the most powerful will have become the least. For now, Siuan considers it worth the risk of exposing the secret in order to gain foremost position among the Aes Sedai, by title since she can’t by simple Power level. She can’t get either, and is reduced to renewing friendships she tossed aside for the simple favour of accompanying Sheriam to meet Egwene.
Siuan’s old friend Delana is Black Ajah, and is keeping her own Forsaken hidden from the rebels. Aran’gar has made her appearance, and her interest is in guiding the hall. This implies that subtle manipulation from the shadows is the Dark One’s plan. And there are now a Forsaken with each of the Aes Sedai factions.
Valda has misgivings, Niall has a feeling he is compelled to follow, Paitr is hung, and Morgase capitulates. Plotting in the shadows can make for boring reading unless something happens to advance the plot as well. Here, Valda plots with Asunawa, but the event is Morgase signing the treaty, which can have far-reaching consequences.
Let’s analyze the paragraph where Nynaeve is worried about staying in Salidar and surprisingly heals Logain:
Worry about Myrelle keeping back a message from Egwene è the emptiness is small, then vast, as though this small worry could swallow them all, implying danger.
If she could talk to Egwene, she’d have help èwhat about the cut she found in Siuan, real but faint, echoing the feeling that there is a slim hope. Yes, maybe…
She just needs to talk to Egwene, and she will convince Elayne to leave, since Elayne respects her so much è She found the key, something cut, an impression that is the same as in Siuan.  
If I could find her, we would join up, and be together èif she bridges the cut…
The two problems play off each other, and as Nynaeve finds the solution to one in her mind, in parallel she solves the second.
Writing Lessons:
Associate obstacles to each other to make them symbolize each other.

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