Monday, May 28, 2012

Towers of Midnight Read-Through #20: Chapter 13 - For What Has been Wrought



By Linda


WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT

Min is attributing her loss of fitness or athletic prowess to too much studying, and that might be so, but she is more vulnerable than she admits. It’s also a reminder that her youthful vigour will not last, as it will for the channellers.

Rand, on the other hand, has aged from his experiences spiritually and mentally but it shows in his eyes and face. Initially, Min feared that Lews Therin had taken over. The warmth and distorted air around Rand implies some sort of halo effect as though Rand is now a demi-god. Rand, Sol Invictus and “soul of fire”, seems “afire with life” to Min.

She sees new viewings around Rand: an open cavern and blood-stained rocks which are probably a reference to the confrontation in Shayol Ghul. Also, two dead men surrounded by large number of Trollocs, and a pipe with smoke curling from it, which leads us to think that one of the dead men smokes a pipe (for analysis of this viewing see see here).

Min repeats Cadsuane’s idea that Alanna could be used against Rand by the Shadow, but he disagrees, saying:

"The Shadow does not need her to find me, Min, nor will it ever again. All its eyes are fixed directly upon me, and will be until I blind them."

Towers of Midnight, For What Has Been Wrought

So Rand intends to damage or disrupt the Shadow in some way. The blunt dagger ter’angreal with Elayne would hide Rand from the Shadow’s eyes. I have a theory that he may use it to go to Shayol Ghul.

Yet the Shadow could use Alanna to harm or distract Rand, though, eg by killing her. They could do that with a few other people close to Rand though. Rand says that the Shadow can’t kill him before the Last Battle. It is too late for the Shadow to prevent the confrontation of the Last Battle. It also may mean Rand’s confrontation with the Dark One will certainly happen (which we “know” from prophecies and clairvoyance anyway).

The Aiel are not excited Rand is back because he has toh to them for sneaking off in the first place and must both meet it and stop incurring more. We are not shown how Rand meets it, but by his steeling of himself, are left to imagine that it will not be pleasant.

Rand pre-empts Nynaeve’s abuse and tweaks the Aes Sedai’s tails about Cadsuane. This completely takes the wind out of their sails. By dealing openly and honestly with those he has treated badly, Rand’s own opinion of himself improves as does their opinion of him.

Min suggests Rand’s proclamation that Egwene reunified the White Tower is tactless. His positive response to this is such a contrast to how he would have reacted before his epiphany. Cadsuane’s Aes Sedai had not heard that the White Tower is reunified, but then it only happened a day or so earlier. This is confirmation that Cadsuane is not in close touch with the Tower and is running her own show.

Corele expected the White Tower would hold Rand. Rand deliberately stirred up the Tower because he expected opposition to his plans and that the Aes Sedai would be the focal point. Not just because of the Pattern last time, but because he has long experience in how Aes Sedai seem to never follow other leaders’ strategy. One of his main aims is to have the opposition unified so he only has to deal with it once.

“I've poured hot oil into the White Tower, and it will be boiling soon. Time. We don't have time! I will get help to Lan, I vow it to you, but right now I must prepare to face Egwene."

Towers of Midnight, For What Has Been Wrought

Rand has a plan on how to turn their objections and get the Aes Sedai to help close the Bore. He doesn’t know how to seal the Dark One away yet, but seems to be trusting that he will think of it in time – with Min’s help. Callandor is part of the solution. He delays helping Lan, and also in the next scene, dealing with the Black Tower for the usual “reason”: too much more pressing stuff to deal with.

Nynaeve assumes that if Egwene is annoyed with Rand it is because he did something wrong.

Rand learned from Cadsuane that he is not a weapon (but I don’t think this is the thing she will teach Rand and all the Asha’man). He doesn’t say what he is. I think Rand is more a shield as well as a representative of humanity or Everyman that will be sacrificed – a scapegoat in the most positive and literal sense. In the Bible, the scapegoat was a goat chosen to be outcast in the desert while symbolically carrying the sins of the entire people of Israel as part of the Day of Atonement when each Jew tried to amend their behavior and seek forgiveness for the wrongs they had done.

Rand intends to ask Cadsuane to find King Alsalam, who is probably in the Caralain Grass with his Aes Sedai escort. He worked this out after learning that the Tower holds another missing King, Mattin Stepaneos, and guessed that they had tried to bring Alsalam to the Tower but were stymied halfway by the chaos and war. The information on Mattin Stepaneos was probably in Verin’s letter to Rand (see Verin and her Letters article). Her letter probably also informed Rand that High Lord Weiramon was a Darkfriend (see article on Weiramon’s activities), since he said “so it is you” as though he had some prior information.

The Darkfriends were almost unable to look Rand in the face and it was obvious from their difficulty and their body language why:

Weiramon kept glancing at Rand, then looking away…
"Meet my eyes, Weiramon," Rand said softly.
"My Lord Dragon, surely I am not worthy to—"
"Do it."
Weiramon did so with an odd difficulty. He looked as if he was gritting his teeth, his eyes watering.
"So it is you," Rand said. Min could feel his disappointment. Rand looked to the side, to where Anaiyella stood last in line. The pretty woman had pulled away from Rand,
her head turned. "Both of you."
"My Lord—" Weiramon began.
"I want you to deliver a message for me," Rand said. "To the others of your…association. Tell them that they cannot hide among my allies any longer."
Weiramon tried to bluster, but Rand took a step closer. Weiramon's eyes opened wide, and Anaiyella cried out, shading her face.

Towers of Midnight, For What Has Been Wrought

It is as though they cannot bear his Light. Traditionally, the eyes are windows to the soul, so when Rand looks into their eyes he sees into their soul and its allegiance (and they his – the Creator’s Champion). Likewise, the Eye of the World, filled with saidin, was a window to the world soul. It was incomplete and unbalanced (one-eyed) since it held only one of the powers that drives creation, not both. A single eye, albeit also symbolic of the eye of Horus (which represents royal power and good health and was used as such by Rand). And we were told in Book 1 that blinding the Eye of the World was a plot of the Shadow.

Rand cast the Darkfriends out, rather than took them prisoner, because after being exposed they are useless as saboteurs or spies now. Neutralising an enemy without having to use a weapon is a way to earn much ji, which is why the Aiel banged spears on shields in approval. Everyone else is surprised – they expect the Darkfriends to be taken and executed.

Rand believes that Darkfriends can no longer hide among his allies – that he can expose them “because he is no longer blind”. This ties in with the Essanik Cycle prophecy that:

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.

- from The Prophecies of the Dragon, Essanik Cycle. Malhavish's Official Translation, Imperial Record House of Seandar, Fourth Circle of Elevation

- The Gathering Storm, Epilogue

The chapter title refers to this prophecy and Rand did weep in this chapter for what he has done.

In order to expose Darkfriends Rand has to actually go and meet with each group to purify it and regrettably he has delayed going to, or planning how to deal with, the most Darkfriend-ridden group of all: the Black Tower. So he is still blind to a degree.

It seems to me from his statements about what the Shadow can and can’t do that Rand feels a certain amount of immunity to the Shadow now:

”The Shadow made its play for me and lost. It is a war, not subterfuge, that turns the day now."

Towers of Midnight, For What Has Been Wrought

Yet at the end of the book, Lanfear will make a play for Rand, so the Shadow are still trying subterfuge. It will be interesting to see if they succeed even for a short while.

It is meeting Tam that has Rand nervous and reluctant, even more than meeting his toh to the Aiel. This is another reparation that Rand must make and he is greatly ashamed that he has to do so. Tam forgives him for his threats to kill him and for what he has done to others – for what has been wrought by Rand. Rand weeps and all watch understandingly and respectfully.

7 comments:

James McClellan said...

Some have their favorite for most moving of scenes within the Wheel of Time. But Rands meeting with Tam takes it for me. I could go on about why, but it would be highly personal and sad. And that scene is enough that to avoid adding more.


Z

Nicole Santa Maria said...

Y'know, as soon as I saw the pipe prophecy, I thought of Lan...

Anthony said...

Nice points about the blunt dagger and Rand earning Ji. I missed those.

Dressageboy said...

No one (that I'm aware of) has talked about what should have been a ginormous moment in this epic. To wit; Rand's entrance and exit from The White Tower. He is The Dragon Reborn. The tower has been focused -more or less- on him for the last 2 years. Granted, the Black Tower would/should give any leader of the AS pause but honestly, it's TDR, in your house, telling you he's gonna release the DO! You didn't wrap him up in air? Stuff a gag in his mouth? It just seems, what, unsupportable? I'll grant you, his arrival was in-auspicious but from every indicator RJ/BS have given us, this man now radiates like a beacon. People in his presence find themselves doing good, being better and bending to his will but that whole, “These are not the droids you are looking for” thing, shouldn't work w/the sisters of perpetual skirt smoothing, should it?

...The Dragon Reborn raised his right hand -his left arm was folded behind his back- and halted the procession. “If you please,” he said to the Warders, stepping through them. The warders, shocked, let him pass; the Dragon's soft voice made them step away. They should have known better...

Does no one cleave to duty? He announces that he plans to break the seals on the DO's prison and he isn't summarily thrown into a dungeon? He asks leave to depart and his will is SO powerful that they simply part? People! This is tectonic! This is cataclysmic in and of itself! As the series reckons, Rand has only encountered Almen Blunt prior to his arrival at Tar Valon. I mention this because Rand has had no opportunity to observe -in others- what the changes in him have done to those around him. So, where does he gain the confidence to quite literally walk into the lioness' den? I mean come ON! He has feared this day, hour, moment, since he learned what Aes Sedai DO to men who can channel.


Thanks again for all your impressive work, Linda!

Linda said...

Thanks all! Nice comments.

Dressage Boy: We never saw him walk into Tar Valon as Mr Average (Everyman) but I guess that's when he found he could make himself inconspicuous or innocuous at will and get people to behave as he wants. And that does seem to include Aes Sedai. The most contentious women in the Tower - the Sitters - were silenced effortlessly. The only one of the 21 women in the Hall who could talk was Egwene. The man's pretty much a walking a'dam - as in If Rand doesn't want somebody to do something, they can't (which is amusing, considering that Lews Therin is a parallel of Adam.)

In part it's zen Rand doing miracles, and in part it's extreme ta'verenism. So all the bogeymen Aes Sedai turned out to be a pack of cards (coming soon to Ta'veren Tees!)

And we haven't got to the bit where he can channel as much unaided as he used to with the Choedan Kal. Which is the smaller bananas? You tell me!

Joakim said...

anyhow i didnt think he channeled as much as when he held choedan kal it was just that he used all five powers and his surroundings at the same time, the weather, the wind, his fire and ice and the ground altogether as a master and being one with his surroundings.

I think choedan kal and callandor is more brute power and while you use it you're so strong and above the level of what Rand used in this scene with his environment that you can just collapse a continent or nation in an instant, it doesn't even matter then

Anonymous said...

@Joakim - He needed Callandor to do the same thing in TSR and still cleared only a fraction of the area he did in ToM.