Monday, June 13, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #24: Chapter 21 - Embers and Ash



By Linda


WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT

Perrin POV

Black clouds and silence spread all through Tel’aran’rhiod from Shayol Ghul. They are very persistent and reflect the real blighting of the world, not the usual transitory weather. It’s a Foreshadowing that the Last Hunt comes that can be read in the dream long before it happens in the waking world.

The wolves believe that:

If Shadowkiller falls to the storm, all will sleep forever. If he lives, then we will hunt together.

The Gathering Storm, Embers and Ash

And the title of this book is The Gathering Storm...

Perrin has been literally left hanging in Tel’aran’rhiod. He needs Hopper to show him how to jump down from the sky since he’s somewhat hamstrung still by his fear of the wolf part of himself and of losing his humanity. Perrin asks Hopper for help in controlling himself or suppressing his wolf side. Hopper encourages Perrin to be more wolf-like, if anything, in Tel’aran’rhiod. Perrin demands that Hopper teach him and then endangers himself by pulling himself more strongly into Tel’aran’rhiod. Unimpressed with Perrin’s petulance, Hopper boots him out of the dream.


Faile POV

Even Aes Sedai told Faile that Perrin spent the night in Berelain’s tent. I wonder which ones? Faile has not doubted his faithfulness though. Perrin assures Faile that if she was pressured to be unfaithful in Malden to acquire a protector, then he accepts this. Faile is insulted a bit, but it is close enough to what happened. It’s one reason why she keeps her relationship with Rolan secret. The other is that she thinks Perrin would have been upset he had killed Rolan unjustly after he aided them. Perrin would not have been though; he lumped the Brotherless and the Shaido in together as equally culpable.

In Malden Faile learned the true responsibility of a noble. Perrin is still learning to accept the responsibilities of a leader. Faile is content that both of them grew a lot in the last two months:

She actually felt a stab of guilt for the times she had lorded over Perrin, trying to force him—or others—to bend to her will. Being a noblewoman meant going first. It meant being beaten so others were not. It meant sacrificing, risking death, to protect those who depended upon you.

The Gathering Storm, Embers and Ash

noble in character as well as rank. Faile is very fond of Bain and Chiad and says they are more loyal than those who have sworn to her:

They were more loyal—even—than those who had sworn to her. Loyal to her, yet free of oaths to her. A contradiction only Aiel could pull off.

The Gathering Storm, Embers and Ash

Actually what they show is true friendship. It says a fair bit about court life and nobles’ relationships that Faile thinks this is something remarkable that only the Aiel would do.

Gaul fought twelve men to get Chiad back and also managed to acquire Bain in all that fighting. He is doomed to have the pair of them. Gaul, Bain and Chiad mirror the situation of Perrin, Berelain and Faile. Both men love one woman but can’t seem to escape the other. Each pair of women makes their male sweat. Bain and Chiad perhaps aim to get Gaul to be fond of, or at least appreciate, both of them. Their teasing of Gaul is one of togetherness and friendship, while Berelain and Faile are rivals where there can be only one victor. They are contending over Perrin.

Faile and her three fellow ex-slaves hold a memorial service for those who helped them escape Malden and died for it. They acknowledge their debt, their toh and their guilt. Faile still doesn’t know if her distraction of Rolan was deliberate or not. Lacile actually killed Jhoradin herself. Faile killed Kinhuin, Alliandre’s protector. All to protect Perrin. How wise of Bashere to prepare his daughter for situations when she has to kill someone that she didn’t want to because she sees it as necessary.

Rolan’s piece of turquoise is kept from the miniature pyre of belongings by Faile as a memento of the dead and their sacrifice. Turquoise is popular with Amerindians and the Aiel have parallels with American Indians. In Europe turquoise is a symbol of friendship or esteem and means “forget-me-not”.

The embers and ash which are all that remains of their Aiel protectors’ belongings reminds Faile of a proverb:

The past was a field of embers and ash, an old Saldaean proverb said, the remnants of the fire that was the present.

The Gathering Storm, Embers and Ash

I thought it so succinctly wise. Perhaps my favourite bit of the chapter.


Perrin POV

Laying alone in the dark, Perrin decides to make decisions. He has three issues to work out: his acceptance of leadership, controlling his inner wolf and allowing Faile to go into danger.

He resolves to face his problems over leadership:

He wanted either to be free of all of these people who followed him, or to learn how to accept their loyalty.

The Gathering Storm, Embers and Ash

but still has no idea which way he will jump though. That’s not surprising, considering that a short while earlier he needed help jumping in Tel’aran’rhiod. He’s stuck mentally.

Perrin needs to allow Faile to go into danger. Perhaps the realisation that she will be in danger whatever she does will help him face up to it.

He hasn’t decided which way he will go on each of the three problems, just that he is going to think about each problem first. The decision that he will consider and decide eases his mind a little.

2 comments:

Philipp said...

There´s a typo in the Faile-POV where once Chiad is called "Chain".

Otherwise keep up your fantastic work in this blog!

Linda said...

Thanks Philipp. I fixed it.