WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT
Egwene’s thoughts about her desk lamps are perhaps a dig at reviewers like myself:
They were shaped like women holding their hands into the air, a burst of flame appearing in each set of palms. The calm yellow light reflected on the curves of their hands, arms and faces. Were they symbols of the White Tower and the Flame of Tar Valon? Or were they instead depictions of an Aes Sedai, weaving Fire? Perhaps they were simply relics of a previous Amyrlin's taste.suggesting that sometimes an object is itself and nothing more. Mind you, Egwene (and the author) omitted the suggestion that I would have made: the lamps might represent the Amyrlin and the Keeper working side by side; something there was very little of under Elaida’s reign. The lamps are decorative but functional. Egwene’s room is as austere as Elaida’s was opulent.
The Gathering Storm, Bathed in Light
The Aes Sedai are fearful of offending Egwene, perhaps overly so? I guess Elaida had everyone prepared for the worst sort of tyranny, and Egwene’s execution of a heap of (undoubtedly criminal) Aes Sedai have not thrown her in a kindly light either, and added to the fear, if anything.
We never found out what was found among Elaida’s effects. Or even if they did get around to examining them. Or whether Egwene has questioned each Tower Aes Sedai yet. She plans to train damane as Aes Sedai, just as Nynaeve and Elayne encouraged the Kin to rehabilitate and re-humanise former damane.
Egwene’s choice of a Red Keeper – from the antithesis of the Ajah she would have chosen – shows her relative political weakness. Or perhaps it forestalls developing political weakness.
Nearly forty initiates, more than twenty four of them Aes Sedai, were captured by the Seanchan. Sixty Tower Black Ajah escaped, plus twenty more from rebels. Probably the escaped Black Ajah from the rebel camp warned those Blacks in the Tower. Over one hundred women have been lost to the Tower in a couple of days.
Egwene deduces that Mesaana worked out a way to defeat the Oath Rod. The Forsaken was bold and rather courageous to take the calculated risk and stay to be tested. It may indicate how desperate Mesaana is for a personal victory for the Shadow.
Silvana and Egwene found the sun shining on Dragonmount reassuring and comforting, so much so that Egwene wants the day marked. Interesting that innocents – novices, referred to as children – saw it first. It has been many weeks since the sun shone, since Rand was not dark. He is Sol Invictus, the unconquered sun here (see Rand essay), and is at his best in this role.
The chapter begins with candlelight in the guise of channelled light and ends with the restoration of natural light – saidin and saidar turn the wheel, but they are a candle beside the Light of the World.
The closing prophecy is from the Essanik Cycle. This is the first we learn that the Seanchan version of the Prophecies has a different name, and that they are different enough to have been separated not just from the mainland Prophecies, but from the original “native” Seanchan Prophecies of the Dragon.
The many that become one at the end of time probably refers to the nations uniting together. As regards
the last storm shall gather its angry winds to destroy a land already dying.The world is dying from being blighted by the Dark One. Rand is the last storm who in his rage at the world worked himself up into a tempest to destroy this failing world. He nearly failed the world himself.
And at its center, the blind man shall stand upon his own grave.
There he shall see again, and weep for what has been wrought.
The Gathering Storm, Bathed in Light
He is at the centre of the storm, standing on Dragonmount, which was created by Lews Therin as he died.
Rand froze. The winds blew against him, but he could not be moved by them…All was still. Even with the tempest, the winds, the crashes of thunder. All was still.Rand was blind to the mistakes he was making and the corruption and madness he was carrying within him.
The Gathering Storm, Veins of Gold
We don’t see Rand weep on Dragonmount, though he was upset enough at what the world and he had come to. He was too angry. He laughed after his epiphany though. Laughter and tears – the things Cadsuane said Rand needed to re-learn or the world was doomed.