Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #34: Chapter 31 - A Promise to Lews Therin



By Linda


WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT

Cadsuane POV

Cadsuane is careful to keep her face hidden even when Rand is not around, in case she encounters him unexpectedly. Being from the inland – Far Madding and Tar Valon – she does not like humid air and longs for some refreshing breeze on her face. How appropriate that she goes to The Wind’s Favour inn. Her agent there “tests the wind” for her. Quillin Tasil, with his ultra-clean and tidy inn, is a cameo of Bob Q. Kluttz, editor of Encyclopedia WOT.

Cadsuane tries to get the innkeeper to react defensively but he never does. She met his Aes Sedai daughter at the Tower, noticed she knew a great deal about current events, checked out her parents and asked the father to be her agent. Other high-ranked Aes Sedai would be dismissive of young or low-ranked sisters and so miss this.

Fake orders from the King have been issued although the King has been missing for months. Cadsuane realises Rand could be right that he has been kidnapped by a Forsaken. The orders appear to be coming from different sources, since some signatures are a lot more convincing than others. Presumably Graendal’s forgeries are the more convincing ones.

Only bad unlikely events are occurring. The Pattern is out of balance because Rand is. Food is rotting because Rand has been corrupted by the Shadow, by his link to Moridin and use of the True Power. Rand is one with the Land and the Land with him. Literally.

Cadsuane wants to know where the merchant councillors are, the state of Domani cities, what the rebel factions are doing, and what Tarabon attacks are occurring.

She thinks that the male a’dam was taken from her to make Rand distrust her. Rand already distrusted her, but certainly this “justified” his distrust. She thinks the attacker could have raided the Seanchan instead. I disagree. The a’dam was to hand here, whereas the Seanchan are better policed for rogue channellers than Cadsuane thinks. To go to the Seanchan the thief (a channeller; we know that Shaidar Haran could not take the a’dam himself, see Chapter 23 - A Warp In The Air) would have had to disguise their channelling ability. Cadsuane is making excuses. We don’t know who had the male a’dam made, and whether Tuon knew about it. Cadsuane would be better served trying to work out how the a’dam was stolen.

One thing Cadsuane does understand is that Rand is even more traumatised now. She has to improve his psychological state:

The poor, foolish boy. He should never have had to suffer collaring at the hands of one of the Forsaken; that would only remind him of the times he had been beaten and caged by Aes Sedai. It would make her job more difficult. If not impossible.
That was the question she had to face now. Was he beyond saving? Was it too late to change him? And if it was, what—if anything—could she do? The Dragon Reborn had to meet the Dark One at Shayol Ghul.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

He should never have been caged and beaten by Aes Sedai. She is grudging in her praise of Rand:

Al'Thor hadn't reacted like most peasants suddenly granted power; he hadn't grown selfish or petty. He hadn't hoarded wealth, nor had he struck with childish vengeance against any who had slighted him in his youth. Indeed, there had actually been a wisdom to many of his decisions — the ones that didn't involve gallivanting into danger.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

and still looks down on him. She wants to show her face so people step aside for her. Used to high status she might be, but now she’s just one of the crowd. Rand didn’t demote her as far as Elaida has been demoting Aes Sedai.

Cadsuane senses Rand nearby via a prickling sensation. One of her ter’angreal should have alerted her: the eight-pointed star which vibrates when a man who can channel is nearby, even if he is not actively channelling. The more men who could channel, the harder the star quivers (Crossroads of Twilight, Ornaments).

Min won’t let Cadsuane manipulate her or get her to manipulate Rand. I wonder if Cadsuane realises that this is what makes Rand trust Min.

The reason why Cadsuane has never heard of darkness surrounding someone is that the Seals have only recently been weakened enough for the True Power to be accessed by favoured henchmen and to release these favoured henchmen from their prison in the Bore. Cadsuane has no idea the darkness comes from the Dark One’s power or that there is a True Power. Perhaps she should study symbolism more closely. She does pick up on some symbolism. The banners near the docks point to Shayol Ghul where Rand must go and give Cadsuane an idea.

Of the Aes Sedai, only Cadsuane is treated like a Wise One by the Aiel. Cadsuane has no idea the Three Oaths have a physical effect on Aes Sedai – including halving their lifespan. She manages to admit to the Wise Ones that she has failed in handling Rand. Not easy, because she is totally unused to failure, let alone admitting it to others. They agree; what they don’t say is that they also have failed, and they have not tried as hard.

Rand POV

Rand misinterprets Cadsuane’s actions and attire. He thinks she follows him around. Perhaps he regrets his decision to exile her

It had probably been a poor move to exile her in the first place, but there was no going back now.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

though it’s hard to say if this is a positive or a negative regret. Would he rather have executed her, or would he rather keep her nearby and not provide a motive and opportunity for her scheming?

The Seanchan refuse the neutral ground of Katar for a parley, therefore Rand chooses Falme. Damer and Naeff warn Rand that they could be collared or executed. Rand trusts Damer but makes him submissive.

But still Rand made him wilt and bow his head. Dissension could not be tolerated. Dissension and lies had brought him to the collar.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

Darkfriends brought Rand to the collar. The others were actually following Rand’s strictures.

Damer actually changes tune and tells Rand his choices is a fine one. Rand’s attitude sounds like that of Moridin.

Lews Therin is appalled and traumatised that they channelled the True Power, whereas Rand is not particularly at all. Perhaps Rand is more affected by the link to Moridin than Lews Therin is. Rand seems to miss Lews Therin being around as though he is less complete without him. He is.

Nynaeve is one of the few who won’t back down when Rand challenges her. Yet she is intimidated by Rand when he presses her about Lan. He is her weak spot. Rand realises Lan is riding to Malkier and Tarwin’s Gap. He gives the courtesy to Lan and Nynaeve of making conventional reactions, but doesn’t really feel them. Rand compares himself to Lan, but thinks he is worse off:

Is that what I do? Rand thought. Ride to my death in the name of honor? But no, it's different. Lan has a choice. There were no prophecies saying that Lan would die, whatever the man's assumptions about his own fate.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

It is more honourable to choose to do your duty rather than be forced to do it. Rand does have a choice as he discovers at the end of The Gathering Storm, and the Pattern had to force him to realise it and make it.

Nynaeve is prepared to lower herself and ask for help for Lan. Rand says if Lan has gone on ahead to the Blight alone, too bad. Coldly he says Lan could be a useful feint, showing how far he has gone into darkness. Nynaeve controls her temper better than Rand, who is impressed, and yet almost beyond shame or regret for his attitude:

A very quiet place, deep inside of him, was struck with worry over his friend. He had to ignore that worry, silence it. But that voice whispered to him.
He named you friend. Do not abandon him. . . .

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

Nynaeve entirely shows him up here. So does Lan. In Far Madding Lan was prepared to sacrifice himself for Rand but Rand refused to allow it.

In contrast, Rand is trying to do the right thing by the Domani and not be a tyrant. He also still treats Rhuarc with respect. Rand gave the merchant councillor Milisair the same sentence she gave the King’s messenger. It seems to be easier for him to be rough on Lan because Lan is not there.

Lews Therin thinks he cannot break Graendal’s Compulsion. He also hasn’t the skill to Heal it.

Rand is trying to achieve through force of will – or threats:

But he would settle for peace with the Seanchan and food for these people. He could not solve everyone's problems. He could just force them into abeyance long enough for him to die at Shayol Ghul.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

and has feelings of futility:

And thereby leave the world to break again once he was gone. He gritted his teeth. He had already wasted too much time worrying about things he could not fix.
Is that why I resist naming a Domani king? he thought. Once I die, that man would lose his authority, and Arad Doman would be back where it began. If I don't leave a king who has the support of the merchants, then I'm essentially offering the kingdom up to the Seanchan the moment I die.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

The three ta’veren are pulling on each other – or the pull is stronger now and they are conscious of it.

He could feel a pull from Perrin and Mat, both distant. It was their ta'veren natures, trying to draw them together. They both needed to be with him for the Last Battle.

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

I think they probably need to be together at Shayol Ghul at the Last Moment.

Nynaeve reproaches Rand for his lack of regard for them. He says:

"They're threads in the Pattern, Nynaeve," he said, rising. "I barely know them anymore, and I suspect they would say the same thing of me."
"Don't you care about them?"
"Care?" Rand walked down the steps of the raised platform that held his throne. "What I care about is the Last Battle. What I care about is making peace with the Light-cursed Seanchan so that I can stop bothering with their squabble and get to the real battle. Beside those cares, a pair of boys from my little village are meaningless."

The Gathering Storm, A Promise to Lews Therin

He belittles their roles to justify himself.

Nynaeve is right, this attitude will break Rand. Rand just sees her as complaining about his choices, and patronising him, when actually she cares about him more than he does and sees correctly that this is the wrong way. Rand threatens to kill her and feels bad enough after that he wants to die. He and Lews Therin both desire death now.

He/they can’t cope with the stress and responsibility now.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

that is one of the most annoying things about Cadsuane she thinks he is a foolish child but knows that he was made the way he is. how can she think of Rand as a child and think he makes wise decisions and the whole "gallivanting into danger" problem, who else is there to fight the forsaken one on one and live. the only times i can think were his "gallivanting" has not gone right was when callandor made him bonkers in altara but he still won the battle or when Cadsuane or min have had to have there way. his hand was lost because mins being there meant he couldnt dodge an attack and fain stabbed him after Cadsuane slapped him and distracted him . not Cadsuane's fault as she didnt know it was about to happen but there is time and a place to be an evil fembot and if she hadnt slapped him he would have been facing fain and would have balefired his evil butt back to the trolloc wars before fain could harm him.

not a hating Cadsuane post just an she is a moron one .

but rand is being a bigger one actually using Lan this way is tactically sound decision but a bit harsh to tell his wife that way but if it was the only way to cause a diversion i would make the same one.
but what i dont understand is if rand is so bothered by the seanchan why he doesnt just send a 100000 aiel into a few of there cities every night with orders to kill every seanchan male teen or older with men for gateways and wise ones and windfinders to free damane and maidens cut suldam throats. if he really is all about victory why is he bothering with mercy for his enemies or trying to make treaties if i was in his place and that far gone half of falme would be a large hole with with a tasty crispy seanchan filling.

there is a reason i always get the last of the pizza

uglycat said...

on the other end of the spectrum, these are the scenes that made me really love nynaeve. she's totally awesome here and later on as well.

she changed a lot since the start of the book and it really shows here.

Anonymous said...

Uglycat yeah she got a lot cooler in the beginning i hated her stupid views on everything now she is my fav female.

still waiting for her to find out that lan appears to have had more lovers than the Queens guards he may wish the trollocs ate him alive.
or he could say he takes training very seriously and she hasnt copmplained at the results of his long years of perfecting his technique. all those hours of sweating and straining were hard on him and he constantly had to have blood stain removed from his shirts so it wasnt all fun and games.

Dressageboy said...

These chapters make me chuckle. The ones where the major character POV's cause us to grit our teeth and or wish for the demise of that character. RJ and now BS, are just driving the bus down the mountain road that RJ mapped out. It's a measure of their ability to make us identify with these characters, that we're figuring out how they SHOULD have acted/reacted. We don't want them to do dumb stuff; why, because we care. If we didn't, we would have done what I did when I began reading John Fowles "The Magus" thrown the stinking piece of dreck against a wall and ne'er picked it up again, except to chuck it in the dust bin! We write these comments in reaction to Linda's astute observations precisely because these characters have gotten under out collective skins.

There IS a master plan and everything is leading up to what promises to be an extraordinarily satisfying climax. What we're in the midst of here, (if I may use a sexual analogy) is one massive amount of foreplay! Teased and let down and teased and let down again. All of this will come together in a fashion that RJ foresaw when he began the books. I think I recall him saying words to the effect that he had written the last words of the series at the beginning of this epic series, yes?

What I give RJ oodles of credit for, is the erg by erg way that he has written Rand, to see life this particular way. While we (if WE were the hero) would have done things far differently, we do see the logic Rand uses to reach his epic FAIL situation. It's not as if he suddenly walks out and says, "Hey, let's all sing and dance and THAT will convince the Seanchan to see things our way!" He and all of the rest of them do proceed within the boundaries RJ set out.

I've ranted in other places about the lack of growth of RJ's characters but that was wrong. They do grow, they have grown -some in irritating ways, granted- and none of them in an illogical manner.

Cadsuane has the misfortune of viewing the world through the eyes of someone 300 years old, who has always been able to win an argument thru might if not right. As Rand's POV mentions, "...The cloak hid her face but nothing could conceal that self-assured posture..." To her, everyone is A) a mere stripling or girl and B) in need of her guidance. Humility has a way of opening one's eyes to things that always winning never can. I find her admission of failure to the wise ones, a HUGE window on her own growth. She's being dragged, kicking and screaming, to the realization that the journey she thought she had embarked upon is not the one she is involved in.

Geez, this is a BIT rambly, isn't it? Okay, just a bit more and I'm done, promise. Anonymous? Think how less interesting the books would be if Rand had balefired Fain. I mean the stew (if I may be excused the cooking metaphor) that is swirling around Rand, Mat, Perrin et al, would be lots less fun if Egwene had taken the White Tower with no faction friction, -I love alliteration-. What if Mat had opened that letter from Verin? No cliff hanger ending for "Towers of Midnight" true? It all helps set the table for what really will be a satisfying meal of an ultimate novel.

that is all

Anonymous said...

Dressageboy it could not have made the books more boring as cad woulde have proved her worth to get any respect not just said hey i saved your leader do as i say. i wonder if it has occured to her that if she hadnt attacked him he wouldnt have needed saving in the first place but that would mean she was actually thinking about her actions not just assuming that they are right because they were hers.

she would than have show that she was a good person but then people would have found out her motives sooner and rand might have had a reason to trust her and that wouldnt have been as fun as waiting for him to snap and kill the evil old bat.

more fun is if egwene had been murdered as she deserves it would have been very interesting to see the power struggles among the rebels as the Aes Sedai realise all their leader are complete plonkers with lower IQ's than horse sperm but then gawyn would have murdered elaida and the seanchan wouldnt have locked her up and gotten there slimy hands on travelling so i guess the bitch had to live.

boooo kill the witch

Linda said...

Thanks for the comments all.

Yes, lots of info has been "held over" until the last book. Some of this is really well done, but some is starting to feel rather contrived. I'll provide more detail on that when I eventually get to Towers of Midnight.

I like how Fain is the dark trickster to balance Mat, the Light's trickster.

Anonymous said...

So you wouldnt kill Fain??

what about if you met in the dark would you knife him or get his autograph and hope?

Anonymous said...

Dressageboy these chapters are great but they are less of a grit your teeth and more of aaah they are that stupid, mainly Cadsuane and Nynaeve and later Min they know that Rand doesnt trust cads and that she has no respect for him but they go to her give her info and rands secrets without knowing what she is going to do with this info.

how is working with her going to make him a better and more trusting person when they are betraying him, you cant ask for someones trust then decide its in their best interest to give what you know to someone that person hates and wants nothing to do with.

as i said they are that stupid

And if i knew i was going to $400 on just getting teased i would have had a blindfold and handcuffs thrown in. they are far more fun for teasing a girl but after this long waiting for the end ill try anything to make it happen.

Dressageboy said...

Linda, I think that's what Anonymous is speaking to in his comments. The frustration of characters behaving like ninnies. And in some cases, brain damaged ninnies but RJ has never been shy about needling his readers. We've had those aspects throughout the books.

As to Fain's being the 'dark's trickster' to Mat's 'light's trickster' Fain has grown far too powerful to be considered an outsider, wouldn't you agree? He now controls that deadly mist, he kills blight worms and good ole Mat, well he just has those memories, that medallion and his luck. In my opinion, he's hardly a match for "that which once was Fain/Mordeth" I'm thinking Fain would chew up and spit out any of the Forsaken who got in his way. And don't forget his musing on pg 43 "...Al'Thor would die. By his hand. And perhaps after that, the Dark One. Wonderful..." Now I don't think even The Lord of the Morning contemplates eliminating Shaitan. I'm inclined to suggest that Mat is overmatched here, yes?

Anonymous said...

Dressageboy calling cadsuane and Nynaeve a brain damaged ninnies is an insult to republicans. they are so worried rand is going nuts but isnt one definition of crazy doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

spying on rand, trying to manipulate and control him and betraying his secrets to Aes Sedai hasnt worked yet for Nynaeve, Egwene or min. he actually got worse as they treated him like a child and pushed him to far.and i think the same oes for Cadsuane she sees that pushing him and treating him like a rude child pisses him off and he drives her away each time but she thinks maybe this time it will sink in and he will do what i want.

they do these things again and again thinking you know one more time could work so statistically they are the crazy ones. rand keeps doing crazy things but tends to get the results he expected.

and havent any of these women heard that you have to hit rock botom before you can change. they should have just let him go off on his own and done something horrific then made him face what he had done he had to figure this out on his own. and they keep saying men are stupid and cant look after themselves but their interference slowed down his change and actually if they hadnt tried to change him in the first place he might not have ever gotten as bad as he did

Anonymous said...

dude mat is the ultimate gambler so ill see your deadly mist and raise you a canon blast to the balls doc.

Fain is nuttier than squirrel poo in a peanut factory of course he thinks he can knock off Shaitan, jesus thought he could save humanity and we know how well that worked out for him.

the one thing i agree with linda about mat is that he doesnt bother with other peoples rules if it came down to a duel between him and fain he would cheat no question about that. fruit loops Vs captain cool would end with mat throwing one of Elaynes new camelyn patent grenades and moving on after he picked the Fain gunk off his pimp hat

Mat rules hands down coolest character and he would pound Fain into a greasy smudge. he beat the golem in a street fight and the forsaken were scared snotless of it, how by maning up and facing it then cheating like a billionaires accountant at tax time you cant match awersome you can only one up it and that is Mats specialty

Anonymous said...

typing tiresd is bad for my spelling oops