Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Towers of Midnight - Chapters 44-46

In this section, characters reunite!
With the Last Battle impending, and no other identity to resume, Morgase finally allows herself to love Tallanvor and gets married. Didn’t take much.
Mat has a badger for Perrin. There is no build-up toward this reunion, as is appropriate for Mat where everything must be unanticipated. The author cleverly uses the word children just before revealing Mat’s presence, which is as good as saying someone immature is behind the acorn tossing.
Elayne discusses the politics of Cairhien with Dyelin, fresh back from a scouting expedition. It’s confusing that on the one hand I don’t want to go through yet another political plotline with gaggles of nobles angling for the throne, yet I also find it disconcerting how Elayne dictates the simplicity with which she’ll take the throne, moving Mat’s band where it needs to go, and using her new cannons.
Galad enters and reveals Morgase. Mother and daughter happily reunite. Any awkwardness in the dialogue is excused by drawing attention to it through Birgitte’s comment: “It’s good to see you two acting like mother and child, or at least woman and woman, rather than staring at each other like two posts.” Attention is drawn to the next conflict, resolving Perrin’s rebellion in the Two Rivers.
Aviendha contemplates Rhuidean, the future of the Aiel, and both her and her people’s relationship with Rand. The offhand way in which she reflects on Nakomi’s words before reaching the exact same conclusions on her own reinforces that Nakomi was no one special, just a scene added to make Aviendha’s reflections on these matters seem more believable to readers.
Since the end of Knife of Dreams, there has been no sight of Mazrim Taim or the Black Tower. Even Logain made only a short appearance. The point of view showing readers the current state of affairs belongs to Androl, the weakest of the Dedicated, remarkable only for his talent with Gateways. Immediately, it is assumed Androl will play the role of kingmaker, predictably demonstrating that men can make a difference in many ways, even when they appear weak. Despite being a regular and standard plot device to evoke sympathy, it rarely fails, because the character is usually wise on some way. Androl is perceptive, and recognizes the value of waiting for the right time before taking action. Cementing sympathy is often done by showing the character being bullied, which in this case also illustrates that the head bully is so highly ranked, all the bullying is delegated to his acolytes. Any one who joins Taim’s faction gets promoted above those he left, while those who won’t join, languish.
None of Taim’s acolytes have Aes Sedai bonded, which is unsurprising when you consider that men and women working with the One Power together is even more fulfilling than using either half on its own. Bonding is deep and profound sharing, and has been suggested as a key element of how Rand can defeat the Dark One, while strife between the sexes has always been a goal of the Dark One.
Androl’s visions of shadows creeping toward him remind readers that the male channelers who began their training before the cleansing of saidin are still afflicted with madness. This is representative of all who have trained at the Black Tower under Taim, and lingering madness and distrust can still undermine the fragile alliances being built. Building an alliance with Taim’s men looks next to impossible, even if Taim were to be removed.
Writing Lessons:
Draw attention to a weakness in the story to make it appear intentional.

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