Monday, July 9, 2012

Towers of Midnight Read-Through #28: Chapter 21 - An Open Gate

By Linda


Perrin POV

When I read Seonid’s speech I always think of a weekly business strategy meeting, side-tracks and all, with powerpoint presentation. She even says the word “presentation”. (I hope I haven’t now ruined the chapter for anybody). And already Perrin is barely listening. He wonders why he has trouble concentrating, but a strategy meeting isn’t a hunt or a battle, and Perrin’s mind focusses best on physical or concrete things. However, he does note people’s reactions to the intelligence gathered:

Seonid is interested in going to Tear.
Faile is privately worried about Perrins’ reception by Elayne in Andor.
Annoura suggested they ally with the Seanchan.
The Wise Ones are furious that the Seanchan have made Wise Ones damane. The way Edarra speaks, the Seachan have made Wise Ones other than Shaido gai’shain:

"They have chained Wise Ones," Edarra said, her too-young face growing dark. She smelled dangerous. Angry but cold, like the smell before a person planned to kill. "Not just Shaido, who deserve their fate.”

- Towers of Midnight, An Open Gate

I’m not sure what other Wise Ones would have been captured by the Seanchan. Unless Edarra merely means they have taken Shaido gai’shain and Wise Ones damane:

"I doubt Rand wants a war between you," Perrin said.
"A year and a day," Edarra said simply. "Wise Ones cannot be taken gai'shain, but perhaps the Seanchan ways are different. Regardless, we will give them a year and a day. If they do not release their captives when we demand them after that time, they will know our spears. The Car'a'carn cannot demand any more from us."

- Towers of Midnight, An Open Gate

but then surely she can't believe that the Wise Ones, who led their people to these actions, don't deserve their fate. This speech also foreshadows what Aviendha will see in the glass columns.

The Wise Ones went behind Perrin’s back and asked the Asha’man for a gateway to Caemlyn. And so Morgase finally learns of Rahvin activities. Perrin has the wrong idea about Morgase's reaction to the news:

What was wrong with Maighdin? Erratic behavior like that was disturbing; all too often, it was followed by some manifestation of the Dark One's power.

- Towers of Midnight, An Open Gate

Since it was the result of learning of a Forsaken’s channelling, in a way it actually followed a manifestation of the Dark One’s power.

Perrin feels it is wrong to fight the Whitecloaks because they will be needed to fight against the Shadow. Unlike the Whitecloaks, he is not interested in zealous hatred. Ironically, when Balwer was with Whitecloaks, Niall noted his lack of zeal, whereas now Balwer is obsessed with damaging the Whitecloaks. (This is due to his abuse at the hands of Valda, as well as Valda’s murder of Niall.)

Balwer obtained a copy of Perrin’s and Mat’s likenesses from criminals in Cairhien and tried to find out who would pay to have Perrin dead. From this, Perrin realises Balwer didn’t just visit the Cairhien school and is not just a secretary. Balwer didn’t lie to Perrin about his connection to the Whitecloaks, but didn’t say that he served the Lord Captain Commander. Perrin deduced that Balwer was a spy. Balwer is appalled that Perrin wants to pay him more, but Perrin believes in paying people what they’re worth so they stay loyal. (Definitely an ideal employer). Balwer likes that Perrin doesn’t use his information for “betraying or compromising those around him.” This is odd, for a spymaster. Ironically Galad would also be like that, if he employed a spymaster. Balwer refuses pay, and thinks that Perrin is doing wonderful things with his info.

Perrin is right in thinking that he may need his army to protect him. (But they need him to protect them. Balance.)

Like many a meeting, it didn’t change anything: Perrin’s strategy is still the same.

Ituralde POV

Ituralde expects the Trollocs to stop and lay siege to Maradon, allowing his forces time to escape them. He doesn’t realise the Shadow will take the city quickly because the Darkfriend Lord in control of the city will let them in.

A Darkfriend probably blew the trumpet too soon, and so mucked up the retreat. Only determination to keep Trollocs out of Arad Doman keeps Ituralde going. So much heroism, so awful they have been abandoned.

They are saved by a defiant force of Saldaeans. It was noble of them to go against the military and social hierarchy to this extent. By this action they also saved Maradon, because Ituralde was able to defend the city until Rand finally arrived.

Morgase POV

Morgase is in shock as she realises what really happened to her. Her mood is paralleled in the landscape. Thin sunlight shines on a pool, reflecting the rays of knowledge illuminating her memory:

A thinner patch of clouds blew past, allowing fingers of sunlight to reach down from the overcast sky. That splintered light shone in rays through the clear water, making patches of light on the pool's bottom. Minnows darted between the patches, as if investigating the light.

- Towers of Midnight, An Open Gate

Her thoughts are the minnows.

She is disgusted to discover she was used as a pawn again. At the beginning of her reign she owed many people her position, including her husband Taringail, who was the former husband of the Daugher-Heir. It took ten years to free herself from obligation and dependence. Unlike Elayne, Morgase still doesn’t know Thom killed Taringail.

As Tallanvor approaches, the light on the pool dims:

The light from above dimmed, the thinner clouds moving on. The shafts of light faded, and the minnows scattered.

- Towers of Midnight, An Open Gate

Morgase hasn’t made up her mind about Tallanvor – he confuses her and she doesn’t know what to do.

Tallanvor announces that he will go to Tear to join the army to fight in the Last Battle. However Morgase is looking on him more favourably because people told her to what lengths he went to free her from the Shaido. She has never had such devotion before, but then she has never been in such straits before.

A leaf falls on the pool, symbolising Tallanvor’s impact on her mind. This looks ahead to Faile commenting that “the last leaf finally fell” when Tallanvor and Morgase come to Perrin to ask him to marry them:

A leaf fell from above and struck the pool. With a lobed margin and verdant richness, it should have had a long life yet.

- Towers of Midnight, An Open Gate

He falls toward her, bitterly believing he would be better without her because he thinks she still pines for Gaebril and he knows Gaebril didn’t love her. Morgase tells him who Gaebril was. She knows she still is susceptible to the Compulsion Rahvin wove on her, but has no love for him. She asks Tallanvor to say while she thinks. Hence the pool is still, even though her mind whirling. It reminds me of the saying “Still water run deep.”

1 comment:

Anthony said...

I think you've got business meetings pretty well nailed!