Monday, 2 July 2012

The Path of Daggers - Chapters 10-12

In this section, old acquaintances team up.

Morgase’s group has already joined up with Perrin’s, tying up one loose end in this part of the world. There was a feint that her plotline would converge with some others in the last few books, but her part was simply to be a sympathetic character who could show us what was taking place in areas where none of the heroes had reached yet. Once she joins Perrin, it indicates that the main characters will take over and she will be relegated to the sidelines.

Elyas is the next old acquaintance to have a chance encounter. He immediately throws his support behind Perrin, not really asking for anything in return. He faces some risk in being near Aes Sedai, but will take what precautions he can, and be ready to aid however he can.  

A new acquaintance, Queen Alliandre, is brought before Perrin. She swears to follow him as well, though her reputation is not for steadfastness as Elyas’ is. Faile imposes restrictions on her that will keep her support from wavering.

When a contingent of Dragonsworn is hung for their brutal crimes, Aram wonders if their deaths are justified. After all, these men are sworn to Rand. Perrin says that Rand doesn’t want men like this on his side, driving a first wedge between him and the boy that will eventually result in him perceiving Perrin as the danger to the Lord Dragon.

Sevanna barely ends a rebellion against her by her Wise Ones. She had hoped to bind Galina to her service, but must concede on that point amongst others, and share her with Therava. Belinde begins the confrontation on Sevanna’s side, and ends it on Therava’s, physically moving to stand with her. Using a minor character to physically represent the shifting politics of the Shaido makes the change more believable than simply having Sevanna worry about how she stands with the others. The task is even harder when told from an outsider like Galina’s point of view, making Belinde’s actions all the more important.

Graendal is added to those who serve Moridin. She is the last to be brought in. The message is clear, there is only one boss, and there is no room to do anything outside his plan. A new Forsaken, Cyndane, is introduced, already in thrall to Moridin.

Cadsuane and Sorilea meet as equals, and pledge to work towards the goal of making Rand learn he must embrace his emotions. After several examples of how easily Cadsuane would ruthlessly use people and throw them away to get what she wants, we are unsurprised to learn Cadsuane knows that she will break this oath if it interferes with her end goal, as she suspects Sorilea will if it meant Rand would destroy the Aiel. Their tentative promise should allow both to accomplish what they want.

This problem is one of the central points of the entire series. It is not sufficient for Rand to win, which he seems well on his way to doing as he adds another crown to his brow. Rand must also win under the right conditions, in the right mood, for his victory to count. This makes the Last Battle more a matter of character than of logistics or strength. A great deal of tension is introduced since Rand’s victories to date are all leading him down the wrong path, and all the characters who have failed to approach him in the right way must now struggle to make amends, if it is not too late.

The layout of the book is similar to the last one, with several chapters concentrating on one locale before moving to the next, and brief chapters between them covering secondary characters and villains. In each of these sections, some cue is given to help the reader identify when these events happen in relation to the other events they have read about. When the locales are far apart, it makes little difference if they are told slightly out of order, but it will matter more and more as Traveling allows characters to bounce about.

In this case, we learn that events have been told out of order. The prologue and Bowl of the Winds sections at the beginning of this book took place before Rand’s confrontation with Moridin in Shadar Logoth. This means that those sections may have been intended as part of A Crown of Swords, while this Perrin sequence was intended as the opening of The Path of Daggers. Likely reasons for placing them in this book are not wanting to have an Ebou Dar overweight of chapters, fitting the theme better in this book, and a desire to increase the pacing of this book by starting out with an action sequence, since Perrin`s point of view feels like mostly talk.

Writing Lessons:

Don`t be afraid to tell your story out of sequence, you can always explain to the reader so they don`t get confused.

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