Friday, September 24, 2010

Towers Of Midnight Prologue: Scene 1

By Linda

This post discusses the first POV of the Prologue of Towers of Midnight, available at and selected ebook retailers.

It’s awkward reading and discussing a sole chapter of a book. The reader can’t continue on to obtain answers. There’s the risk too that they will form premature theories or judgements that they will be reluctant to reconsider when the rest of the book is read.

Distinctions, the Towers of Midnight Prologue, moves quickly and seems short, but it is about a twentieth of the book’s word count, about the same as that of The Gathering Storm. The Prologues of the first five books were much shorter. Those of Winter’s Heart, Crossroads of Twilight and Knife of Dreams were a greater proportion of their books. Sanderson is deliberately hearkening back to the earlier books with their frequent changes of POV that deliver faster pacing.

There are 6 POVs in the Towers of Midnight prologue; some are more psychological in orientation, some have plenty of exciting action and some provide quite a bit of scope for theories. One of these POVs is of a major character whose storyline continues in the book. This has occurred before: in the Lord of Chaos prologue Nynaeve and Elayne (and Faile, too if it comes to that) each had POVS, despite featuring largely in the main body of the book. Elaida and Alviarin both had POVs in the A Crown of Swords prologue yet they played an important part in that book and likewise Egwene in Knife of Dreams Prologue.

To ‘prove’ his credentials as a Southern writer, Jordan intended to have dead mules in the last book. That book was divided in three and the mules are encountered in the Towers of Midnight Prologue.

The rest of my commentary, hidden under the link, contains spoilers.

Click here to expand the rest of this post

The extract from Loial’s book (which hopefully Loial lives to complete) offers an intriguing glimpse of a group who have been invisible since Knife of Dreams. The Stedding are less affected by the Dark One’s unravelling of the Pattern, since the Ogier dead are outside the Stedding and not apparently within it. I’m sure the feeling of being watched by the dead is scaring the Ogier into running. It’s a great way to spread despair.

So, Loial is a post script to the Stump. We’ve seen the young given actual power in other groups, but the Ogier aren’t even giving their young any notice. And Loial wonders why his mother stood up for him. Interesting.

A few reasons why Covril had a change of heart might be:

  • motherly love and/or family ambition. For either reason she gave him his 15 minutes of fame because She didn’t believe he’d make any difference to the decision.
  • A third possibility is that she thought his argument, or presentation of it, would only make her own look better. She heard his extempore speech before in Knife of Dreams and said it was‘not bad’, which was somewhat patronising. The risk, of course, as the last paragraph hints is that he delivers a better version, with some factors that he did not know before, such as the presence on the mainland of Seanchan Ogier.
  • Lastly, was Covril ordered to obtain this concession for Loial? Or persuaded to do so by someone without her political clout? The Shadow could do this to sow further chaos and dissension. Covril might be a Darkfriend or be influenced by a Darkfriend.

Loial doesn’t seem to think of motherly love, which is interesting. Why? Because his mother is too much a politician? Or some darker reason? So many questions.

By the Trees and Stillness is what Ogier vow and pray. As we have seen before, Loial is braver than the thinks. It’s a battle of words, but still a battle, and, Verin’s claim to Rand that battles achieve little notwithstanding, could change history.


And then we get Lan’s first POV in the main series of the books; twenty years later in time than his last POV. Some of his issues are still the same. Like Perrin and Rand, he dreads leading men to their deaths. For Lan, his battle with the Blight, and thus the Dark One, has always been personal. The Shadow stole his kingdom, his nation, his family and his childhood. Mind you, Lan denies being a monarch just as much as Perrin and Mat reject being leaders/nobles. Yet Lan was born to that role.

Lan and Rand are emotionally very similar in their negativity, their expectation of imminent death and their fear of how it will affect their beloved/s and their anger at Aes Sedai.

The series is coming full circle in time, hearkening back to The Eye of the World and to New Spring. The Malkieri epitomise this, so it’s right that Lan’s POV starts this book.

Bulen has almost no memories of his parents, just his father’s prediction – which is an unspoken oath – and his hadori. No gift, or ring or sword as Lan has. Lan has his vow too, and it has emotionally crippled him. Bulen strengthened his father’s promise or belief into a true oath. Such honour reminded Lan how to truly meet an oath. He was resenting Aes Sedai but behaving like one until he rose above being petty.

The point of Lan’s POV was to show us that he's still haunted by the past.How could he not be? So is Bulen, as I think Lan recognised in the end. It was that that made Lan relent. I don’t think anything else would have.

Lan’s goal is Tarwin’s Gap where, as was mentioned in The Eye of the World the Shienaran Ingathering of the Lances and mustering of Borderlanders to repel Shadowspawn at Tarwin’s Gap begins each Spring. The Borderlander rulers believe they have left behind enough soldiers to fight almost anything unless the Trolloc Wars come again...

So there are a fair few soldiers still manning the forts and the like. Should Lan move them towards the Gap? He'd be better off taking some men who aren't usually soldiers and leaving the soldiers to their forts. The Gap won’t be the only focus of the Shadow this time. I bet there is battle in several places along the Borderlands already. Rand didn't move Ituralde to Saldaea for nothing.

Overall, a really good POV.


Anonymous said...

Excellent recap; thank you! Is this really Lan's first PoV? Since New Spring? And to think I read the scene just as if he was a friend I've known for decades and this whole time his whole story has been told through others' viewpoints!

The second PoV is very interesting, but what rocked my world was the THIRD one. I really hope you get to reflect on all the scenes of the prologue!

Linda said...

I believe so. You are right, we only know Lan through others. Until now.

I will post about the second POV in a day or two, and then two to three days gap for the third and so on. I certainly plan on doing them all.

Anonymous said...

Good work, as always, Linda.

Of note, I believe Rand (of the main characters) also had a prologue POV in Winter's Heart.

As for Lan, several things indicated he might not make it all the way to Tarwin's Gap without encountering some resistance.