Monday, March 21, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #8: Chapter 6 - When Iron Melts



By Linda


WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT

Ituralde POV

Ituralde makes war feel very personal and real; he doesn’t distance himself from its horrors. He also wants to know the identities of the noblemen/officers (the same thing in aristocratic societies) he is fighting. Ituralde does what needs to be done when it is needed.

Out of earshot, the Great Captain explains to Turan how he duped the Seanchan. His plan relied completely on them being deceived by appearances from the air. Nevertheless it cost him 50% of his forces. Moreover he has to constantly change tactics because the Seanchan learn and adapt so quickly to the tactics of others; which means he is basically improving the military tactics of the Seanchan.

Turan was going to fall on his sword, but asks Ituralde for a mercy killing instead. Both generals are blademasters; they just duelled to death with their armies.


Leane POV

Leane’s living conditions are austere but not inhumane. She has a proper bed, meals, ample water, acceptable sanitary conditions, and is allowed visitors for a short period each day. Nor is she tortured or assaulted, because it is illegal to harm a prisoner during interrogation. On the down side, she has no privacy, no soap, and no alternative garb. She is not in solitary confinement, but is ignored by those who shield her. As well as being shielded she is also given forkroot. Leane is a weak channeller, yet she has two Aes Sedai shielding her, so the aim of the drug is probably to make her feel helpless.

In comparison, Egwene is being beaten mercilessly for any violation, but without drawing blood (which would be illegal, see Aes Sedai Laws and Customs article) and when she is imprisoned later in The Gathering Storm her cell is inhumane.

Leane can see similarities between seduction and leadership. They are both based on confidence and implication – what you can inspire in others.

When Egwene said:

"I will see you free, Leane," Egwene promised, still holding her hand. "Elaida's tyranny cannot last. I'm confident it won't be long now."

The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts

the bars of the cell promptly melted, then the cell floor, and the ceiling. It’s almost as though her vow triggered the change. The Yellows were slow to react to the ‘attack’ on reality. Once Leane was free, everything solidified again. It reminds me of saying: wax in their hands…

After all, men are wax in Leane’s hands.


Egwene’s POV

Egwene is rightly frustrated that the Tower is disunited at the end of time. But then again in earlier books when she was more under Siuan’s (and Halima’s) influence she promoted division.

She asks:

If even the ground itself could not be trusted, then what could?

The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts

The alteration to the Tower shows her that nothing in the Tower can be trusted; and certainly not other sisters. It’s some time before this is proved to Egwene though; the events of this chapter are a forewarning, and an indication of how battle-ready most Aes Sedai aren’t.

The novices’ quarters swapped with the Brown Ajah quarters at about the same time Leane was ‘freed’. It reflects that Egwene is called a novice when she isn’t; and now other sisters are among the novices too. The sisters just have to accept the change.

Egwene thinks this is:

A division aptly representative of the less-visible divisions the Ajahs were suffering.

The Gathering Storm, When Iron Melts

but I see it as the divisions between trainees and fully qualified sisters being blurred. They all have a lot to learn.

Later in The Gathering Storm the novices will play a crucial role in defending the Tower against the Seanchan and do far better than the Aes Sedai. These are “Egwene’s children” and she leads them far more effectively than Mesaana will lead her “Black Ajah children” in Towers of Midnight.

The icon for this chapter depicts lace broken or unravelled and refers to exactly that: the Pattern or Age Lace being damaged by the Dark One. This is the first appearance of this icon, although the Dark One has been damaging the Pattern for some time, causing all this Wrongness and reversal or world order.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

That's a fun observation about the floors and wax melting like wax, and men being wax (putty?) in Leane's hands.