Thursday, May 24, 2012

Towers of Midnight Read-Through #19: Chapter 12 - An Empty Ink Bottle

By Linda



The circular break in the clouds over Tear is because Min is there. The sun shining on Tear parallels the emotional warmth Min feels through the bond and both have the same cause: changes in Rand after his epiphany. This is the first indication that the sun breaks through the Shadow’s cloud barrier where Rand’s three loves are, as well as where Rand is, and food and the Land are healthier. The symbolism is of Rand as Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun, turning the darkness of the Shadow aside. With more power – say having the other two ta’veren with him – he could break the Shadow’s hold altogether.

Rand has been gone for three days. He was “reborn” at his epiphany but this is probably not the parallel with Christ returning from the dead after three days. More correctly, it may be the first and perhaps least of these parallels. I anticipate the main one will be at the confrontation with the Dark One, but for all I know, Jordan may be following his triplicate rule, and there will be three of them. Rand is currently missing but not lost.

Nynaeve wants Min to lead her to Rand because she was concerned Rand was so dark, but Min insists on Rand’s need for privacy. Min knows he has changed outlook (but not personality) but hasn’t told her. Perhaps she thinks Nynaeve needs to see it herself. Or perhaps it is too private a thing to speak of. Or she is just reacting against Nynaeve’s peevishness and bullying.

Min excuses what Rand did at Natrin’s Barrow as “necessary”. Nynaeve still thinks it was monstrous. She fears what Rand had become:

“I knew Rand al'Thor, and the boy still inside him. The man he's become frightens me. I always told him he needed to grow up. And then . . . and then he did." She shivered visibly.

Towers of Midnight, An Empty Ink Bottle

The atrocities he was manipulated into committing are not a sign of adulthood, just as his previous ethics were not a sign of childhood. Rand will show her this in the next chapter.

Nynaeve was not going to answer Cadsuane’s summons on principle but was shown it was important. In contrast, she expected Min to do as she asked, but Min balked.

Cadsuane POV

Cadsuane prefers Corele’s flippancy to other Aes Sedai’s self-importance. Corele felt no channelling when Alanna vanished, but Bera felt a small amount. This is an indication that Bera is stronger in the One Power than Corele. Cadsuane was surprised that Bera fetched her tea because there were lower ranked Aes Sedai present (Rafela, Corele).

Nynaeve is not an Aes Sedai in Cadsuane’s eyes, or so Cadsuane maintains, yet she wonders if Nynaeve is Black, rather than a Darkfriend. (This could be an error.) Cadsuane cuts Nynaeve slack over her frustration that Rand is missing.

Cadsuane knows why two Maidens are tailing Min; namely, to let Wise Ones know when Rand returns, and maybe also what Min says about him. Min disregards them because she has bigger things on her mind.

We don’t know who delivered Verin’s letter to Alanna. Its contents made her go to the Borderlands, probably to her native Arafel. The small amount of Power used that Bera sensed could have been to weave a disguise: as a servant, for instance, someone an Aes Sedai could not imagine another disguised as. A servant would be overlooked and could walk out the rear entries of the Stone unnoticed.

Cadsuane reminds Nynaeve that the Shadow can torture or Compel information about Rand and his whereabouts out of Alanna, which makes Nynaeve regret that Alanna was not better watched. Cadsuane agrees privately with Nynaeve, but disputes with her publicly. Yet only the day before Cadsuane herself appears to have coerced information out of Alanna on Rand’s location.

The tea is perfect because Rand has returned. This ties in with Min’s POV above and with Rand’s healing effect in earlier scenes in Towers of Midnight.


Anthony said...

I think that Rand's epiphany on Dragon Mount parallels The Transfiguration of Jesus and not The Resurrection.

Linda said...

I was only referring to the '3 day' motif in this scene. It is the forerunner of the resurrection parallel.

t ball said...

Anthony, I've argued here previously that the better parellel is the Garden of Gethsemane. At the Transfiguration, it is Jesus' disciples who see a vision, not the savior himself.

At Gethsemane, Jesus asks if this "cup" can pass from him, if he must go through with it. In the gospels, this is the ONLY moment where Jesus even remotely questions whether or not he must complete the planned sacrifice. And even then, the questioning lasts only as long as the brief period of prayer. Rand goes through a lot more "character development" than Jesus, so to speak.

Linda said...

t ball: I agree that the transfiguration is the better parallel.

Rand's epiphany scene is more complex though, with more references to other religious figures and more Foreshadowing than the single parallel with the Garden of Gethsemane.

t ball said...

Yes, Linda, no doubt we cannot simply point to a simple parallel here, as with so much of Jordan's character/world building. In fact, it's probably more correct to say that certain aspects of Rand's character stem from the same messianic archtypes as Jesus (to name just one Rand analog), which existed before Jesus did.

Linda said...

tball: Yes, this scene doesn't have a simple parallel in my opinion, whereas some other of Rand's scenes do (cleansing of the taint, casting out the Shadowspawn from Maradon).

And I agree that some of the aspects of Rand's character are more generic messianic. But often they have some obvious parallels as well. To me, the epiphany is one of his more complex scenes.

t ball said...

One of his more complex scenes, indeed. And deservedly so, since it is much more central to his character than the transfiguration scene is to the Jesus story.