Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #51: Chapter 48 - Reading The Commentary

By Linda


This chapter confirms that Cadsuane has a scholarly streak. She has probably studied the Karaethon Cycle as much as Verin has, and carefully records as much information as she can on Min’s viewings of Rand. However no character has correlated Min’s viewings of people close to Rand (eg Mat, Perrin and Nynaeve) with what she sees around Rand to see if they chime with any of the prophecies. This interrogation started when Nynaeve came to Cadsuane and agreed to help. Just as Cadsuane uses Nynaeve’s desire for esteem, so she uses Min’s desire for knowledge to keep her at her side and helping her.

So far, the Empress is the only living woman (as Fortune and as the raven) mentioned in the Karaethon Cycle. (The Prophecies of the Dragon also refer to Tigraine, the Maiden; and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a couple of lionesses (Nynaeve and Elayne) and a falcon and a hawk in there too.) The prophecy

He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one

The Gathering Storm, Reading the Commentary

has been almost ignored by commentators, therefore by Jordan’s Law of Inverse Significance, it is crucial to the war against the Shadow. Cadsuane long ago realised that Callandor was the blade of light referred to – therefore she is one of the few who knew what Callandor was, since only a dozen Aes Sedai even knew it was a sa’angreal according to Siuan (The Dragon Reborn A Trap To Spring). She researched it, probably to find out why it is called the blade of ruin (Towers of Midnight A Storm of Light) and learned of its flaws: that it magnifies the taint and has no buffer against over-drawing the Power. Min and Cadsuane agree that there is more about Callandor than they know. I discuss my ideas on how this prophecy might be fulfilled here in the Prophecies of the Dragon article.

Rand still “sees” – talks to – Nynaeve regularly but cuts himself off from Min more than ever. Min senses that Rand fears becoming the Kinslayer again:

He put up walls when she was near—not to keep her out, but to keep the real him in. As if he was afraid of what the real him would do, or could do, to those he loved...

The Gathering Storm, Reading the Commentary

and we see the outcome of this at the end of the chapter.

Cadsuane likes doing embroidery, and knows only too well how it helps thought (as do I), but Min dislikes embroidering intensely, so she is negative about Cadsuane’s way of keeping her group occupied while they wait anxiously for the outcome of Tam’s meeting with Rand, but leaving her, and their, minds free to think. Adding to the tension is their inability to listen in on the conversation, presumably because Rand wards his rooms against eavesdropping.

Beldeine has the usual Aes Sedai disregard for non-channellers’ or “commoners’” abilities and judgement. Cadsuane shows Beldeine this attitude is wrong and objectionable and she runs off – and has not been seen since…

Mins has a viewing of Nynaeve grieving over a body:

And . . . what was that vision that was suddenly hovering above Nynaeve's head? She was kneeling over someone's corpse in a posture of grief.

- The Gathering Storm, Reading the Commentary

Someone Nynaeve is close to dies. This could be Lan, or someone else close to her. It could be Rand; she could be one of the three mourners around his bier/pyre, or she mourns him on her own.

There is a black knife in Beldeine’s future:

For instance, the black knife that spun around Beldeine's head recently could mean anything.

- The Gathering Storm, Reading the Commentary

This sounds like an assassin’s knife. The knife might be that of a Bloodknife trying to kill her as a marath’damane. Beldeine left Cadsuane’s presence precipitately in this chapter after being rebuked.

Tam sensed the room grow darker when Rand entered it and blames Cadsuane. She manages to remind Tam to control himself. Cadsuane uses the Power against Tam just as Rand did. Nynaeve, who used to use sticks on people, protests. Tam calls Nynaeve by her old title of Wisdom, and Nynaeve returns the compliment by calling Tam wool-head a short while later. Cadsuane Tam calls a bully: he has never liked Aes Sedai, which accounts for his automatic blaming of Cadsuane for Rand’s hatred of her, and for not bringing him to Rand sooner, when Tam chose to stay away from Rand. There are definitely faults on both sides here.

Nynaeve says they warned Tam that Rand was unstable; Tam says Rand is nearly insane. Rand actually is insane as the women know, but had they told Tam that, he would have likely refused to cooperate. When Tam wants to know why Rand is in this state, Cadsuane says it is irrelevant – which it isn’t, but she’s in a hurry trying to solve a pressing problem: Rand’s threat to wipe out the Seanchan. Moreover she doesn’t know the full extent of Rand’s psychological problems, notably the corrupting link with Moridin. If Tam had known how hostile Rand was to Cadsuane, he wouldn’t have told Rand that Cadsuane had advised him. Min makes the excellent point that they have made things worse by assuming they can make Rand do what they want. Corele is finally neither flippant nor complacent as she contemplates Rand committing genocide.

Min feels Rand Travel long after he did so, as though there is a time lag with the Bond, which I found to be a plot devide to delay the information until the end of the chapter.

Cadsuane is portrayed more negatively in this chapter than any scene previously, and also inconsistently: she disciplines Beldeine to be civil and then behaves at least as badly to Tam herself. Previously, she treated non-channellers better than this. The only character who behaves well in this scene is Min.

Cadsuane is right: they can’t save Rand, only he can save himself. That’s often the way with mental illness.


Anonymous said...

Tam is the Man in this chapter as sombody finally stands up to Cadsuane and tells her off.

Also I don't feel Cadsuane is portrayed inconsistently at all. From the moment we saw her in ACoS she has been an abusive, domineering Bitch. No compuction what so ever of assulting people with the Power all while demanding of others to behave respectfully.

Arani said...

@ Anonymous. Cadsuane has much reason to be the 'bitch' that she is. She knows (or used to before ToM) much more of the world than Rand. She never assaulted anyone with the power. She has NEVER been abusive without reason (ie. slapping Rand to get him to see reason he wouldn't have otherwise). For example, consider the treaty in Tear that Bera and Kiruna made. Had Cadsuane not discipline Rand, things might have turned out badly. However, Cadsuane is invariably supportive of Rand when he does things like the Cleansing of Saidin (he probably would have DIED if she didn't step in to help).

And she only slaps Rand six or seven times throughout the books. That's not a lot, considering his attitude in general and his temper in the later books.

Cadsuane if off, and she's not the bullying, forever antagonistic bitch that people make her out to be.

Joakim said...

The problem with Cadsuane is that she places hooks and manipulates people by abusing her value that others are placing on her it is not really honest and places alot of blocks in her relationship to other people, the irony is that it is exactly that destroys her whole relationship to Rand in the first place, he needs her but doesn't understand why and she just bullies him without telling him why so he can understand and begin to evolve, she acts the bitch in the way to tame him, not make him step up for himself (which is its purpose). It's a nice conclusion to this chapter which all Aes Sedai miss, it is not about them at all, it is about doing what is right for the person they're trying to help regardless of the price to themselves, it is not to force upon an agenda or ideal on some other person, it is for that person to discover what is right for him/herself otherwise we will only have a person that can take orders but without really understanding why or how.

Anonymous said...

“…he shall hold a blade of light in his hands and the three shall be one.”

Linda, you spoke of RJ’s Law of Inverse Significance. However, there is something that I think, (I could be wrong) everyone is overlooking. “…in his HANDS…” Rand has only one hand. So, there are several options to consider.

1. The passage doesn’t refer to Rand.
2. It refers to Rand and he will somehow get his hand back.
3. RJ in a desire to keep from foreshadowing this injury to Rand, deliberately threw us this red herring.
4. RJ was (and this I think HIGHLY unlikely) un-intentionally imprecise with this prophecy.

I will trot down the path of it not being Rand in a few minutes but first; IF the prophecy does refer to Rand, could the “…and the three shall be one.” refer not to Rand and two female channelers but instead to Rand/LTT/Moridin merging in some hitherto unknown fashion?
Yes, we know that Callandor is flawed; lack of a buffer, and by the taint (which issue is now moot) but as you –Linda- stated, “there is more about Callandor than they know.”
Now, while Rand & LTT are soon to become fully integrated, they will remain two personalities, we know this because when he speaks about his triumph over THE DARK SIDE, Rand says, and I have to paraphrase here, “…This time I was raised better.” So, he knows who he is and who he was and fears neither. Ergo, given the ambiguity of the prophecy and how intertwined these three personalities have become? Why not posit this course of events?

Now, to trot down that other path for a bit.
Fact: Rand has one hand; therefore he cannot fulfill the prophecy.
Fact: The prophecies ARE being fulfilled, even if not as folks thought they would be.
Is it not therefore reasonable to posit from this basis, that in fact another will hold Callandor? Logain? Min has stated that he is due for greatness. How many Aes Sedai has Logain bonded? Um, two? ~gasp~

Now, just because I like a rip-roaring discussion, let me throw this out there.
If we assume that the prophecy does refer to Rand and is precise, well,
this phrase gets repeated numerous times throughout the books, “…anything short of death should be able to be healed,” or words to that effect. So, Nynaeve and Flinn grow Rand a new hand and presto! He can fulfill the prophecy!

Does anyone think that RJ was either deliberately or unintentionally imprecise in the prophecy? I for one do not. I believe this man left us breadcrumbs along the path and I think this is such a crumb if we will but pick it up and examine it carefully. I welcome your views, one and all.

Linda said...

Dressageboy: It may well be that Rand gets a prosthesis hand. One of his parallels is Nuada Silverhand, a Celtic hero.

There is also the Min had in TOM of an onyx hand clasping a glowing blade and she said it was Callandor.

I've got my own theory about the blade of light and three which I'll add a reference to in the above post. I won't quote it fully there because the article is long enough already.

Unknown said...

I read your comments on Callandor. I think your theory about the circle of three Rand and two AS along with Perrin and Mat would be supported by the part of the prophecy you failed to mention "Five ride forth and Four return". Somebody has to perish in that meeting. I believe it to be Egwene but we shall see

Anonymous said...

Zexxes, sweetheart, that prophecy was fulfilled in tGH when the boys rode into Falme with Ingtar and he sacrificed himself to come back to the Light, thereby not returning... ;) Remember? Verin even conveniently told us so. :p

Unknown said...

Yup, I see you're quite right there.I stand corrected. Was getting something confused.