One of the most interesting things about Knife of Dreams is that it begins and ends with the cryptic phrase “Let the Lord of Chaos rule”. Semirhage recites this after she informs Suroth of how she destroyed the Seanchan Imperial family and the Empire:
This time, Semirhage’s laughter was so shocking that it shut off Suroth’s tears. That head of fire was thrown back, emitting great peals of mirth. At last she regained control, wiping away tears of flame with fiery fingers. “I see I didn’t make myself clear. Radhanan is dead, and her daughters, and her sons, and half the Imperial Court, as well. There is no Imperial family except for Tuon. There is no Empire. Seandar is in the hands of rioters and looters, and so are a dozen other cities. At least fifty nobles are contending for the throne, with armies in the field. There is war from the Aldael Mountains to Salaking. Which is why you will be perfectly safe in disposing of Tuon and proclaiming yourself Empress. I’ve even arranged for a ship, which should arrive soon, to bring word of the disaster.” She laughed again, and said something strange. “Let the lord of chaos rule.”and Taim says it after he agrees that the Red Ajah can Bond those Asha’man (all three ranks) who are willing:
- Knife of Dreams Prologue
Pevara blinked in spite of herself. "'Very well'?" She must have misunderstood him. He could not have been convinced so easily.Rand is associated with chaos since
Taim's eyes seemed to bore into her head. He spread his hands, and it was a mocking gesture. "What would you have me say? Fair is fair? Equal shares? Accept 'very well' and ask who will let you bond them. Besides, you must remember the old saying. Let the lord of chaos rule." The chamber erupted with men's laughter.
Pevara had never heard any saying like that. The laughter made the hair on the back of her neck try to stand.
- Knife of Dreams Epilogue
Order burns to clear his pathas the Prophecies say, but so is the Dark One, as Verin explains:
- Lord of Chaos, Epigram
The Dark One is the embodiment of paradox and chaos, the destroyer of reason and logic, the breaker of balance, the unmaker of order.”It’s a risky tactic as Mesaana observed back when it was first proposed in Lord of Chaos: letting Rand rule while ‘aiding’ that rule as chaotically as possible. (With 'friends' like that, who needs enemies? No wonder Rand is paranoid.)
- The Dragon Reborn, A World of Dreams
- Sammael ‘aided’ Rand by dispersing his enemies the Shaido, thus widening their pillaging front;
- another Forsaken (Lanfear?) ‘aided’ Rand by deluding Masema into encouraging his Dragonsworn to pillage; and, as shown above,
- Semirhage ‘aided’ Rand by destroying invader Tuon’s support behind her.
As Lord of Chaos, Rand is effectively being linked with the Dark One and we saw the result of this in Knife of Dreams and The Gathering Storm: Rand became dark, the Land became Blighted and the Dark One’s touch on the Land increased.
The Shadow can hide their real intentions within the chaos as Sammael said:
"The rest [of the Shaido] are scattered from Illian to Ghealdan. As to how or why? Maybe al'Thor did it, for his own reasons, but I certainly wouldn't have wasted most of them if it was my work, now would I?" He laughed again; caught up in his own brilliance.On the other hand, so can the Pattern protect, hide, or aid Rand in the same way without the Shadow noticing until too late. As Graendal observed, the Pattern is now so unstable it’s now quite hard to find even such very strong ta’veren:
- A Crown of Swords, Spears
Finding ta'veren was never as simple as you made out, and now it's harder than ever. The whole Pattern is in flux, full of shifts and spikes."At the end of Knife of Dreams Tuon returns to her base, having avoided attempts to kill her, and establishes order, one of her strongest motifs. Rand may be Lord of Chaos, but Tuon is Lady of Order (see Tuon essay).
- Knife of Dreams, At the Gardens
And finally six brave Reds arrive at the Dark Tower and find a child soldier, and a harsh, cruel regime. Taim now has 100 full Asha’man, all trained personally by him and owing him their positions and loyalty (as Logain warned Rand). The Reds have ostensibly been given the permission they sought but will they survive this dangerous expedition? How many will leave the Black Tower alive? Will some of the fleeing Black sisters be sent there to enable Taim’s group to make rings?
To add to their peril/woes there are possibly Black sisters present with them already – as part of their number. Javindhra, who is supposedly Elaida’s lapdog, smirks when she says that news of Dumai’s Wells is spreading to discredit Elaida no matter how hard the Red Ajah leadership works (Knife of Dreams Prologue). It sounds as if she is aware of Alviarin’s order to do this. She wears ‘almost black’ clothing, often a sign of a Black sister. Desala, who has a notoriously nasty temper among an Ajah full of harsh characters, is another contender.
And has the Shadow’s plan worked? The last we heard, the Dark One thought so.
This post ends my Knife of Dreams read-through, which has been the longest to date that I have attempted solo. Next week I shall post some new library articles. There are only a few weeks until the Towers of Midnight prologue is released (about early September, according to Sanderson).