Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #36: Chapter 33 - A Conversation with the Dragon



By Linda


WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT

Rand is dressed in a dark red and black dragon robe; Moridin’s colours. He is annoyed that Nynaeve channelled in front of him. This is the sort of thing that the Dark One objects to. Rand is well on the way to being a control freak, but Nynaeve doesn’t back down. If anyone but Nynaeve had sent a message to awaken Rand they would have been flogged. Once, Rand was not so autocratic or arrogant. He no longer even shows affection when he looks at Min.

Rand sees Nyaneve as Aes Sedai:

"You Aes Sedai," he finally said, "share much with rats, I have come to realize. You are always in places where you are not wanted."

The Gathering Storm, A Conversation with the Dragon

He is angry that Nynaeve is doing things off own bat; yet she did them more competently than anyone else. People are too afraid to do anything but follow Rand’s instructions to the letter, or even to make suggestions, therefore things are not done that might have been.

Rand forces his will onto Kerb in an evil way, which makes darkness appear around Rand and food and drink in his presence to rot.

Knowledge from Lews Therin is used absently by Rand. Nynaeve rightly thinks this knowledge from Lews Therin is unnatural and also traumatising. Rand tells Nynaeve to do something very difficult – remove Compulsion – in an offhanded way and Nynaeve feels challenged to do it. She also realises that no one else is capable of removing Compulsion.

Rand is very gentle with Kerb after he divulges the information and looks exhausted after the apprentice dies. Nynaeve is upset that all her efforts did not Heal Kerb, but hastened his end (although truly he was at the end when Graendal got hold of him.) She is disgusted and sullied by the experience and would like to have been warned of the consequences of removing Compulsion. This spurs her to challenge Rand over whether he feels guilt for his actions. He does, but there has been so much that it seems futile. Nynaeve warns Rand that being Winter’s Heart will destroy him He knows, but expects to be used up completely in the battle against the Dark One, so it is not necessary to think of how he will be beyond that. Rand is consciously using himself up.

"Sometimes, you can't turn back. You have to keep pressing on. And sometimes, you know this climb is your last…You all claim that I have grown too hard, that I will inevitably shatter and break if I continue on. But you assume that there needs to be something left of me to continue on. That I need to climb back down the mountain once I've reached the top…That's the key, Nynaeve. I see it now. I will not live through this, and so I don't need to worry about what might happen to me after the Last Battle. I don't need to hold back, don't need to salvage anything of this beaten up soul of mine. I know that I must die. Those who wish for me to be softer, willing to bend, are those who cannot accept what will happen to me."

The Gathering Storm, A Conversation with the Dragon

Rand never intended to come down the mountain; but after Dragonmount he did just that.

Nynaeve wants them to find a way for Rand to win and live on. Rand can’t think of that, because it’s too painful.

"I can't indulge myself. I'll climb this bloody mountain and face the sun. You all will deal with what comes next. That is how it must be."

The Gathering Storm, A Conversation with the Dragon

Rand climbed Dragonmount and considered destroying the world before the sun rose. As the Champion of the Light of the World, the Creator, he is the sun: Lord of the Morning, the unconquered sun, Sol Invictus.

He praises Nyaneve - the first time he has done that to anyone in days. Impulsively, Nynaeve says she did it because she wants Rand to trust her. She immediately regrets saying that, but he responds positively, so it was right to say it. Rand’s ta’veren effect aided him and her:

"I do trust you, Nynaeve. As much as I trust anyone; more than I trust most. You think you know what is best for me, even against my wishes, but that is something I can accept. The difference between you and Cadsuane is that you actually care about me. She only cares about my place in her plans. She wants me to be part of the Last Battle. You want me to live. For that, you have my thanks.

The Gathering Storm, A Conversation with the Dragon

Rand is much more self-aware than Nynaeve thought. He is wrong though, but she can’t express why.

Why couldn't she make herself yell at him that he was wrong? There was always hope. By surrendering that most important emotion, he might make himself strong—but risked losing all reason he might have to care about the outcome of his battles.
For some reason, she couldn't find words for the argument.

The Gathering Storm, A Conversation with the Dragon

Without hope Rand has despaired and become bleak and harsh. Moridin despaired too in the Age of Legends and developed a nihilistic philosophy. This is now stronger than ever as we saw in Chapter 15 of The Gathering Storm. The link to him has damaged Rand.

10 comments:

Dressageboy said...

Linda? As always, thank you for your insight/s and attention to detail. My question strays a bit from the present chapter but does tie in, sort of. When and how did the link to Moridin occur? Was it when their balefire blasts crossed? And is it clear that neither of them realizes this connection? That is, to the extent that they could/would exploit it. To follow this to its logical conclusion, after Dragonmount, is Rand aware of his connection to Moridin because I don't recall evidence of such an awareness.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This chapter shows why to me Nynaeve is the greatest Aes Sedai since the breaking she is actually talking to someone and understanding their view not assuming everything at a glance.

This is the first time I can remember an Aes Sedai doing this the whole series every other has always approached a conversation as a lecture to someone stupider than they are but she comes off as a human being in this chapter.
Rand’s position was logical and very Aes Sedai just not pleasant or right and it is hard to argue with pure logic that doesn’t involve true understanding which is something I don’t think most of Tar Valon gets.

She has done great things for the world but isn’t pure ego and is still willing to listen even if she doesn’t like what she is hearing. Then compare her to Egwene who some Aes Sedai think will be the greatest Amyrlin ever she always works on assumptions and I cant think of a single time that she has truly worked with Rand since Fal Dara or had a single real conversation with him.

She accuses him of arrogance for wearing Aviendha’s gift because she assumes he had it made and never asks where it came from when he got it from someone who is supposed to one of her best friends. She never tries to understand him at all and thinks he is arrogant or crazy when he does something she doesn’t like but has done nothing to earn his trust and be told why he is doing these things.

She is a baby Cadsuane without the experience or knowledge to pull it off and when her pitiful attempts at manipulations fail she either throws a tantrum and storms off or blames his arrogance for it not working instead of realizing he is smarter than her or that he has good reasons for being secretive and not trusting her.

Actually despite everything Rand has done that the Aes Sedai call insane or arrogant or actually are completely nuts none of these ever bothered me as we saw them through his eyes and you could see the reasoning behind them even when that reason wasn’t very good. In these last two books he has gotten we have seen a lot more of his craziness from other perspectives and they finally started to bother me and then he became annoyingly sane and spoiled the fun of being of him being creepy for me.

Anonymous said...

why did Mats soldiers start getting hawk tats back in lord of chaos was there a hawk reference i missed or was it an early shot at the deathwatch guards and the pattern showing mat to be Hawkwings true heir through Tuon, might explain why the First thought they were to much alike

Linda said...

Dressageboy: The link probably occurred when their balefires crossed. That is what Lews Therin speculated anyway. All 3, LT, Rand and Moridin, are aware they are linked long before Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount.

Anon: When Berelain said she and Mat were too alike, she meant in the way they flirted and charmed people.

Anonymous said...

how would she know that it looks like the first time they have talked and he was rude to her very charming

Anonymous said...

linda i knew what she meant i was saying now ity means a bit more as they have a lot in common now

Linda said...

Ah, OK. Yes, they have links to hawks in common. Berelain isn't linked to ravens yet though.

Anonymous said...

which is strange as mat one of the few we can almost kinda certain isnt a darkfriend has ravens everywhere but berelain who several females i know seem to want to be one has no connections to ravens that ive seen.

but this still doesnt explain mats connection to hawks before his marriage or his training methods gaining huge success with the band which might have led to comparisions with hawkwing

Anonymous said...

i dont get all the females in the books bashing berelain anyway. egwene hated her on sight but i always discount her views as bullcrap so no prop there. elayne thinks shes a slut but her own mother has 3 times the lovers berelain has and is now on her second marriage so i dont get what her problem is.
faile annoys me but she ssays that the only reason she dislikes berelain is because she was after her husband and doesnt seem to care about her sex life unless it could involve wolf boy. not that faile can judge anyone else since she had no problem being in perrin bedroom when he was naked at what 16? add that to her hints at dancing she is probably level or ahead of her in lovers.

the aiel like her, min seems to get along with her beyond trying to out flirt each other but lots of female readers think she is evil is this just jealousy or am i miss reading her quotes.

the cool list for me
mat/rand
birgitte
min
nynaeve/ aviendha
berelain
rhuarc/ gaul/ logain
any of the bands officers/ taim

everyone else can sod off and the books would still be good

Anonymous said...

and yes i know i shouldnt really have taim in my cool list but he is my tutor for typos 101 so i had to give him a shout out.
pass that class and i get my masters degree in expressive sarcasm from the black tower