Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #27: Chapter 24 - A New Commitment

By Linda


Allowances should be made for Gawyn because he has sleep deprivation, but honestly, his blindness and arrogance is so annoying in this chapter. He says the White Tower doesn’t deserve his allegiance and he can’t go back to the Younglings either. That’s right looked at from either point of view, I guess. He has taken the fork in the road Egwene dreamt in A Crown of Swords probably some time ago, but now is open about it. The wavering he has experienced these last few months has been revealed publicly.

Gawyn behaves badly and expects privileges and acknowledgement of his rank when he has abandoned its responsibilities. Bryne puts him in his place.

"The watch sergeant was belligerent, and I had no patience for the posturing of a fool. This seemed the best way."
"The best way to what?" Bryne asked. "Outrage me?"
"Look," Gawyn said, "perhaps I was hasty, but I have an important task. You need to listen to me."
"And if I don't?" Bryne asked. "If I instead throw you out of my camp for being a spoiled princeling with too much pride and not enough sense?"
Gawyn frowned. "Be careful, Gareth. I've learned a great deal since we last met. I think you'll find that your sword can no longer best mine as easily as it once did."
"I have no doubt of that," Bryne said. "Light, boy! You always were a talented one. But you think that just because you're skilled with the sword, your words hold more weight? I should listen because you'll kill me if I don't? I thought I taught you far better than that."

The Gathering Storm, A New Commitment

Gawyn is just as belligerent as the watch sergeant, what with threatening Bryne if he makes him leave the camp and then again when Bryne tells him the state that Andor descended to in Gawyn’s absence. Bryne knew Gawyn attacked soldiers to get his attention. The general radiates calm and command and makes Gawyn ashamed of his behaviour. He admits to being hasty and then to being a fool. All very true, and understated if anything. Gawyn is not good at introspection, which is why he has little insight into himself or objectivity about himself and his relations with others.

Gawyn is like Elaida in believing that might is right; in his case might is based on swordsmanship instead of strength in saidar.

Gawyn can’t imagine Egwene not wanting to be rescued, and is convinced he has to rescue her. His plans after he saves her are so different from reality:

I’ll save her somehow. Then I'll talk some sense into her and bring her away from all of the Aes Sedai. Perhaps even talk sense into Bryne. We can all get back to Andor, to help Elayne.

The Gathering Storm, A New Commitment

The one in dire need of sense is Gawyn.

Bryne insists on keeping his oaths, unlike just about everyone else, and reminds Gawyn that he made an oath to Elayne. Gawyn says he puts Egwene first. Bryne wonders why Gawyn is not helping Elayne and realises he led the Younglings. Immediately he sees Gawyn as an enemy commander. Gawyn says he left that command (just as he left Elayne) and swears he will reveal nothing of the rebel camp to the Tower Aes Sedai. Bryne is sceptical, to Gawyn’s surprise, but that is due to Siuan renouncing her oath.

Bryne understands that Gawyn doesn’t know what Egwene is to him because he is in the same situation with Siuan. Egwene seems to need rescuing all the time and Gawyn seems to spend most of his time walking away from people he has sworn to aid and withholding that aid. Bryne wants Gawyn to return to Andor and leave Egwene to the rebels and their army. Gawyn asks why Bryne isn’t in Andor and that opens a can of worms.

Gawyn is disbelieving that Morgase exiled Bryne on pain of death and even more so about Morgase’s weakness for Gaebril. In fairness, she acted entirely out of character due to Compulsion so it’s no wonder Gawyn was incredulous.

When Bryne says:

"Al'Thor saved Andor, son. Or as near to it as a man could."
"How could you say that?" Gawyn said, pulling his hand away. "How could you speak well of that monster? He killed my mother!"
"I don't know if I believe those rumors or not," Bryne said, rubbing his chin. "But if I do, lad, then perhaps he did Andor a favor. You don't know how bad it got, there at the end."
"I can't believe I'm hearing this," Gawyn said, lowering his hand to his sword. "I won't hear her name soiled like that, Bryne. I mean it."
Bryne looked him directly in the eyes. His gaze was so solid. Like eyes carved of granite. "I'll always speak truth, Gawyn. No matter who challenges me on it. It's hard to hear? Well, it was harder to live. No good comes of spreading complaints. But her son needs to know. In the end, Gawyn, your mother turned against Andor by embracing Gaebril. She needed to be removed. If al'Thor did that for us, then we have need to thank him."

The Gathering Storm, A New Commitment

Gawyn immediately blames what Bryne said on Rand, although that is a long leap of ‘logic’ even for him. There is a likeness here to his brother Galad in having strongly held beliefs, the difference being that Galad’s actually have thought behind them and are reassessed when contrary evidence comes to hand. Gawyn is more like a Questioner or rabid Whitecloak and dispenses with the requirement of evidence. Seeing Gawyn’s reception of this news, Bryne explains further:

She gave the kingdom to that snake. She sent her allies to be beaten and imprisoned. She wasn't right in her mind. Sometimes, when a soldier's arm festers, it needs to be cut free to save the man's life. I'm pleased at Elayne's success, and it is a wound to speak these words. But you have to bury that hatred of al'Thor. He wasn't the problem. Your mother was."

The Gathering Storm, A New Commitment

Bryne’s words are wise and his suggestion that Gawyn get Elayne to confirm them is a good one. Gawyn seems ridiculous in his blindness.

Gawyn tells Bryne of a mystery Aes Sedai among the washerwomen. Both men suspect she is a spy from the Tower, but Shemerin is an outcast. Her yellow kerchief shows that Shemerin can’t give up thoughts of the Yellow Ajah or the affiliation of a lifetime. Bryne is so nicely tactful with her. Shemerin didn’t chat with the other women; they knew she was higher ranked than they. She is ashamed of losing her rank, hence her seeming masochism. She cannot switch off her loyalties despite Elaida’s treatment of her. Without the Tower she has nothing, hence she has become a fringe dweller to the rebels. I agree with Romanda that Elaida’s decree – considering the effect it has had on Shemerin, which must have been obvious when she was still in the Tower - is disgraceful.

Gawyn is solidly on character – if annoying – and Bryne is well-drawn too. However the phrase “White Tower loyalists” grates. Neither side has used this term before. Only the readers.


Anonymous said...

i agree with everything you wrote it just seems harsh at the end of the day Andoran prince are raised to be little more than attack dogs for their mothers or sisters. For all the rank and power they appear to have they are just glorified servants and it shows in how Elayne acted to her brothers and in his later actions. to me he reads like a dog thats been kicked and doesn't know why or what to do next, he is arrogant but that is how he was raised to be. morgase only noticed how bad a job she did with her children when she meets galad for the first without the power of her throne to put him in his place.
i feel sorry for gawyn and elaida they are what i expect talented people to become when they are set on a path and spoiled because of their skills and no one bothers to make sure they are becoming good people instead just effective ones.
plus i still want to know what fain did to elaida when he was in the tower.

as to his allegiance to the tower despite being someone who likes nearly all the aes sedai but the greens(they all annoy me so far) and blacks i cant stand the white tower. i cant think of a good reason why Gawyn or anyone at all should serve them as a group they are completely useless and far more arrogant than Gawyn could ever dream of being.

TommyBoy52 said...

I had always thought that Gawyn was under compulsion when the tower split, and still is.

His irrational hatred for Al'thor and his unlikely support of Eladia seems like the work of Mesaana.

She could have realized that hammar and the other warders may have restored Siuan, so she got Gawyn, compulsed him to not only side with Elaida, but to kill his friends and teachers to do it.

And she could have put a little something in that compulsion to make sure he never, ever helped Al'thor.

Anonymous said...

i dont think it was that unlikely for him to support Elaida over Siuan. he doesnt know her or trust and has sent his sister away in secret but he has known Elaida all his life. i dont really think he likes but he would think she look out for ELayne and stop whatever stupid plans Siuan had involved her in.
and i dont think Mesaana needed him to stop the warders she had moved her own forces into the tower already and any blacks could kill warders that got to close and claim self defense.
but i could be wrong this might be the first time a forsaken has actually planned ahead.

Anonymous said...

Asmodean isnt dead he has been commenting on

Anonymous said...

Gawyn is definitely irrational and Dumb with this but I was never comfortable with how Sanderson wrote him. I also disliked how Sanderson writes Mat and I REALLY dislike how he writes Perrin and do NOT get me started on how he wrote Cadsuane.

Much like Cads (who is a really neat character who I like a great deal who has been completely and utterly savaged in Sanderson's hands, sadly), characters that Sanderson the Fan seemed to dislike suffer in their POV chapters. I think with a bit more neutral or sympathetic authorship, he could have been frustrating, illogical, but not over the top the way he was here.

Don't get me wrong--he's done a great job with a situation that would make lesser folks faint but I think that some characters have suffered. Inevitable, for certain, but a shame. Gawyn drove me a bit nuts but this chapter and a few others have seemed a bit too much to me.

Anonymous said...

dont whine about sanderson unless you know for a fact who did what stop blaming characters being annoying on him

Anonymous said...

I can express any dissatisfaction I have with writing that I want--especially when I personally see a change in the 'voice' of a character. Funny thing, about opinions. We all have em and they don't all agree. Which means getting bent out of shape, anonymous person in front of me, because people don't agree with you and getting insulting about it is a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

in didnt intend to get insulting i am just getting tired about people complaining when they dont know for sure who wrote something.
if someone can show for a fact sanderson wrote something and then commented i wouldnt mind at all and would ask what it was that put them of.

no insult intended was just half asleep and annoyed.

Anonymous said...

yeah opinions exist luckers, but you can't say for certain it was sanderson who ruined the character. she has had a much smaller pov role in the last few books, and a lot of people felt she was a bully, regardless of how she justified it to herself, and she acted in character, and got told off very well too.