Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Lord of Chaos - Chapters 8-10

In this section, trickery abounds, and Rand is the victim!
Nynaeve’s weather sense is playing tricks on her. She thinks the weather should be one thing, but it just stays hot. Is she sensing the weather that the Pattern is calling for but can’t deliver due to the Dark One’s touch? There has been little detailed discussion of her weather sense in the series up until now, though in my post on The Eye of the World – chapters 35-39 I pondered whether this ability was related to Foretelling in some way. Note that what she is sensing is still not yet her ability to sense storms of a different type related to conflict.
Moghedien is giving up secrets grudgingly, and offering no more aid than she absolutely has to, correctly sensing that Nynaeve and Elayne are held hostage by the secret of her captivity as much as she is. She tricks Nynaeve into trying a weave that will give her blinding headaches, accepting the pain that the a’dam reflects back upon her as a worthwhile cost to see her captor brought down a peg. She even tells Nynaeve that the ability to not feel the heat or cold comes from years of using the Power, even as Rand learned it has nothing to do with the Power.
Sightings in Tel’aran’rhiod of Rand, or Lan begin. Slayer is back.
Myrelle is pushing hard for Nynaeve’s block to be broken. She wants Nynaeve to be ready to accept Lan’s bond, as per Moiraine’s instructions. Nynaeve has no idea that the wringer she will be put through will bring her closer to gaining Lan’s bond. A fine joke. It took a trick to break Theodrin’s block.
Logain has prepared his lies well, and Lelaine has gobbled it up as eagerly as the nobles she trots before him. If she were to suddenly have doubts as to whether Siuan was no longer held by the three Oaths, would she still be able to say that it was told to her by one who cannot lie? Would she need proof before she could utter the words, or would those doubts prevent her from ever saying them again?
The rebel Aes Sedai have not yet publicly committed to backing Rand or opposing Elaida, though Sheriam’s council is privately committed, having already made plans for… we won’t be told what just yet. The arrival of Elaida’s envoy is a catalyst, but everyone will have different ideas about what it will bring about.
Pedron Niall is a sly one, with a false spymaster working for him while the true spymaster is hidden under everyone’s nose. Are there any parallels with other hidden spies with Rand, or in Salidar? Or is this a false trail? Readers’ heads should be spinning with questions and suspicions by now.
Niall’s rumours will help maintain the rift in the Tower, just as the rumours of Logain’s Red Ajah benefactors spurred him to create them in the first place. Who is misleading who? What Niall thinks he is making up is so close to the truth, for all that it went through two cycles of the rumour mill.
Balwer himself has no apparent interest in the Children of the Light, he is simply employed by Niall because… he likes the job? He is eager to press Morgase, is that because he has an axe to grind, an old score to settle?
Following The Fires of Heaven, Rand is maintaining his decision to avoid the women he loves, and not to trust any others.
Rand finds Verin and Alanna in an inn with several Two Rivers girls on their way to become Aes Sedai. He lets his guard down, enjoys being Rand al’Thor for a few minutes, hears about his friends, and then stupidly lets Alanna bond him. This is about as big a surprise as can be, for Elayne was foreshadowed to be the one who bonds Rand, and Alanna is hardly even a second-tier character in the series so far. How was this surprise carried out?
First, both Rand’s and the readers’ guard is down. There are two pages of reminiscing, trading stories, and good times. There is no threat at all. Verin and Alanna helped Perrin after all, they are good guys. There is a strong element of humour as well, with Verin and Alanna acting as though they are in control while Rand wryly plans how to overturn their expectations. There is no doubt in the reader’s mind that Rand has the upper hand. His men can handle the warders, while he handles the Aes Sedai. When he says he wants to be alone with them, Sulin cracks a maiden joke that is surely about what men and women do when they are alone. Rand chortles as he wonders whether they notice his lack of sweat, matching theirs. Up until they discuss the rebels, Rand is presented as thoroughly in charge, unfazed, unmenaced.
Their lack of willingness to help reminds him of Moraine’s advice about trusting Aes Sedai. This is a last nagging thought before his guard is well and truly down. Alanna asks about Mat, Rand mirrors their response, refusing to tell, full of himself for having scored a point against the mighty Aes Sedai.
To pull off the surprise, it must be carried out rather quickly. Alanna immediately responds by implying they are not enemies, and makes a peace offering as she glides over to perhaps delve or heal him. Since she says straight out she will not harm him, he accepts her offer. She delves him, as expected.
Then, she bonds him. The choice of words implies the speed: flash of heat, for a heartbeat. The surprise is augmented by the next action, which is attempting to shield him. Creating suspense, Rand twice asks what they did to him before they tell him.
Writing Lessons:
Create surprise by reversing expectations in the mood you have built up.

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