Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lord of Chaos - Chapters 49-52

In this section, heroes and villains make their move!
Egwene can’t let Logain die after all the help he has been, as well as for the damage it will do to the rebels’ honor and reputation. Siuan spikes the guards’ tea, and frees him. While the three rebel factions still try to spur Egwene one way or another, she is taking matters into her own hands as much as she can. She also has a dedicated pair of followers in Siuan and Leane.
Within the factions, some of the Aes Sedai keep secrets even from their allies. Delana does whatever Aran’gar counsels her to do. Myrelle decides to keep her new Warder a secret from her own allies, with the exception of Nisao, who she hopes will provide help in keeping Lan from dying.
Elayne, Nynaeve, Birgitte and Aviendha begin their search for the Bowl of the Winds, and do so in secret, wearing disguises that allow them to slip by the keen eyes of Vanin, Thom, and Juilin. Mat searches for them as futilely as they try to locate the building with the Bowl.
Berelain spends much of her time trying to corner Perrin for no better reason than to prove a point to Faile. This despite what such behaviour has earned her at Rhuarc’s hands in the past. Whatever progress she had made in proper behaviour is thrown to the wind as she is caught in Perrin’s ta’veren swirl. What the Pattern has in store for her, Faile, and Perrin, is not clear even knowing what the next books entail.
Merana’s rebel delegation makes a show of power to Rand, which he is able to narrowly overcome. Yet with other Aes Sedai trickling into the city, he quickly decides to hightail it to Cairhien, away from the threat of a circle of thirteen. Merana realizes the arrival of more Aes Sedai is coincidental and unfortunate, but is powerless to stop the embassy form crumbling around her. The new arrivals use their ranking with the Power to overthrow what little authority she had left after Verin deftly snatched control from her. Desperately, she begs to be allowed to join those traveling to Cairhien. That Aes Sedai have given up their long-established traditions of ranking is a shocking disappointment to her.
In Cairhien, Rand receives Coiren and two other Aes Sedai, so as to keep the two embassies on equal footing. He is convinced that when she arrives in Cairhien and discovers this, Merana will capitulate and throw the rebels support behind him, and he is right that such would have been her intent.
The trap comes as an inevitable surprise. To distract the reader, a number of subplots are presented in rapid-fire succession, each carrying some emotional weight. The trick to pulling off a successful practical joke is to get the victim’s emotional response going before they have time to think things through. Here in a single page the reader is presented with cackling Lews Therin, Rand in opposition to the Wise Ones wishes, embarrassment over people knowing Min pinches his bottom, Sulin’s toh, Min and Sorilea’s failure to keep a simple promise, and Alanna’s approach. When the Aes Sedai enter, Rand is alone, though it would not have mattered. He immediately begins gloating over how he has fooled them into thinking he is interested only in the wealth they bring him as gifts. He is filled with contempt, and the reader would be hard pressed not to agree since they have just been subjected to a full page of Rand’s apparent victories and righteousness.
When the trap springs, a battle to free Rand is expected. It quickly becomes apparent that the Aes Sedai have thought things through, and they present a plausible story to the Maidens. Rand has Traveled away, and the meeting between them has turned sour. They show no haste, no hint of trying to conceal what they are doing. Presumably they had responses ready to deliver to anyone who asked why they were holding so much of the One Power in the palace, likely saying they felt the need to be ready in case Rand could not contain his anger with them.
The setup throughout the book becomes apparent. The Aes Sedai have been channeling so much at Arilyn’s palace so that the channeling they undertake when Rand is their captive will not be noticeable. Indeed, Sorilea has already become so accustomed to it that she dismisses it. Rand’s own behaviour of slipping away to do one thing or another without the appropriate number of guards now works against him. His people are desensitized to his comings and goings, and carry on fully expecting him to return eventually.
The last important piece of setup comes from Egwene thinking about the customs of keeping a man shielded. This was touched on much earlier in the story as well, and it will serve to explain the resolution of Rand’s capture in the final section of the book.
Writing Lessons:
Evoke surprise by engaging the reader’s emotions before they can analyze what is happening

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