Thursday, 20 December 2012

Towers of Midnight - Chapters 23-25

In this section, the Heroes make a stand.
Elayne takes on the Black Ajah in the cells. Disguised as a Forsaken, her trickery fails and only her combined preparation and some good luck save her from disaster. She finally learns that her overconfidence in Min’s Viewings does not mean that bad things won’t happen to her. She learns of a plot to invade Caemlyn, but so far as readers know, all the known ways for Shadowspawn to enter the city are guarded. The Black seemed convinced the invasion would succeed, and revealed that a particular date for it has been set. Knowing of no other special day coming up, readers may guess that the invasion will be timed to distract Rand.
Any other nation could have been invaded, but Andor has been the center of the civilized world since the beginning of the series. It doesn’t have a queen, it has The Queen. It is the oldest nation, and the one held in highest regard. Its white walls and national colours match Rand’s long-standing red and gold motif. And ever since Elayne vied for the crown, it has symbolized the Light itself, and now she also represents the Light in some instances. The same is true of Egwene as Amyrlin Seat, and several other characters who have achieved some rank.
Egwene reminds Gawyn yet again that he needs to trust her judgment. Gawyn says no one can meet her standards. The situation forces both of them to weigh the importance of their love versus their station in life. Searching for answers to the dilemma, Gawyn returns to Andor.
Lan gets some supplies and even more followers.
A typical description in The Wheel of Time tells the reader as much about the situation as the setting. In this paragraph, the stream, trees, and needles add nothing to the plot or actions, but they add a lot to the context and the feelings imparted upon the reader.
The aged Nazar looked up from his saddlebags, leather hadori holding down his powdery white hair. A small stream gurgled near their camp in the middle of a forest of highland pines. Those pines shouldn’t have borne half so many brown needles.
The hadori representing duty holds down the hair which represents Nazar’s old age and possible infirmities. The sentence as a whole tells readers that duty not only motivates the old baker Nazar to overcome personal obstacles, but is strong enough to hold down any misgivings or frailty.  The gurgling stream sounds enthusiastic, even though it is miniscule compared to the forest of impressive trees, which represent Lan’s other followers. The brown needles they bear tell readers these men not as ready for war as they should be for Malkieri. While these are identifiably trees (or soldiers), they lack proper health, and are not as fit as they should be.
Elayne is the latest character reminding readers that the Last Battle is coming soon. Even blunt hints add to the mounting interest in this event.
Mat talks to Elayne about the Gholam, and then the scene cuts away to another character. This brief introduction of a topic is designed to wrench the reader’s interest where the author dictates. The author then teases the reader by immediately dropping the subject. This is the shortest such instance, but Mat’s earlier introspection about the gholam acted in the same fashion, forcing the reader to wonder how Mat will prevail. The author is playing this like a mystery, waiting until the last possible moment to reveal Mat’s strategy.
Facing a siege, Ituralde decides to stay in Maradon and buy time for Rand to arrive with reinforcements. The mystery in this case is whether Rand will arrive in time. The author is coy with this as well, showing Rand dallying elsewhere while men die in the Borderlands.
Perrin learns his character, not some unwritten rules of Tel’aran’rhiod, is the cause of Hopper’s worry about him being there too strongly. Perrin’s single-mindedness is a danger to himself in a realm where force of will and imagination can shape reality. Beyond the obvious hazard of leaping before he looks, there are hints that battle in Tel’aran’rhiod is about thinking at a higher level than your opponent. Slayer effectively does this to Perrin, changing the rules to move from physical combat to making Perrin combat his environment.
Perrin’s training is the first detailed use of strategy in Tel’aran’rhiod, despite the fact that many important battle shave taken place there. I am once again left with the strong perception that the author wanted to show readers the importance of Tel’aran’rhiod to the story and its themes early on, then distracted attention from it by simply not showing it over several books. Now that the Last Battle is imminent, it is time to not only bring it back, but to explain the ground rules authoritatively so that readers can follow the battles in A Memory of Light.
Rand returns to Bandar Eban, and reveals that through a ta’veren twist, the only bad food in all the stores was in the bags that had been opened when he was in a foul mood. Now that he has found balance, he confidently predicts the rest of the food is edible. As in Tel’aran’rhiod, thought and mood affect the reality of the situation.
Writing Lessons:
Use your descriptions to also tell readers about something else in the story.

No comments:

Post a Comment