Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Towers of Midnight Read-Through #37: Chapter 30 - Men Dream Here


By Linda

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT

Faile POV

The delay Perrin negotiated with the Whitecloaks is being used to replace the weapons that were lost during the bubble of evil. I guess some must have been broken to make them “not weapons” and thus deactivate them before the simple earthing trick was discovered by Berelain.

Poor Faile, so carefully making plans behind Perrin’s back for him to be rescued from the trial if necessary, when he was expecting her to do so. But it makes her feel better.


Perrin POV

By accepting and developing both sides of himself – man and wolf, creator and dreamer, Perrin will be better integrated and more balanced. Earlier he had mistakenly thought suppression of his wolf-side was the answer.

In this chapter Perrin learns to impose his will on Tel’aran’rhiod, but also to expect that others will do the same. He wants to become stronger in Tel’aran’rhiod very quickly, so Hopper shows him how to gain strength from nightmares:


“Hunting in the fear dreams will teach you strength.”

Towers of Midnight, Men Dream Here

It is similar to forcing channellers to gain their strength, and as dangerous, if not more so, since nightmares are immediately dangerous, whereas forced channelling is potentially dangerous.

The Strength motif of Perrin’s character features in this scene (see Perrin essay). Perrin started off with obvious physical strength developed as an apprentice, but always had mental strength too: to not shirk tasks when they got hard or dull, then to keep fighting even though experiencing horrors, etc.

Perrin lasted longer in the nightmare than Hopper expected because it was about Rand, and so was obviously not real. This was “fortuitous” because Perrin was caught up in it at first until he found out Rand was the monster. As Perrin’s animal spirit guide, Hopper showed Perrin how to make the bad dream vanish. Wolves don’t have nightmares, or if they do, they are nowhere near as strong as human nightmares. The animals don’t have the imagination for it, whereas people do. The woman dreamed of Rand with fiery staring eyes – one of traditional features of dragons in myth.

Hopper is aware that Rand is on Dragonmount deciding whether to destroy the world or not. The storm in Tel’aran’rhiod is a reflection of, or a reaction to, Rand’s internal storm. At first Perrin doesn’t realise that it is Rand’s choice whether the Last Battle happens.

In Perrin’s eyes, Dragonmount is a

monstrous peak. The tomb of the Dragon, Lews Therin. It was a monument to his madness, to both his failure and his success. His pride and his self-sacrifice.

Towers of Midnight, Men Dream Here

Perrin’s negative reaction to Dragonmount is an interesting link to how some people see Rand as a monster dragon of nightmare.

Either the Last Battle occurs, or the Pattern is broken by the Dark One. Rather academic, but is the alternative to the Last Battle literally nothingness as in Hopper’s sending to Perrin? It is said the Dark One will re-make the world in his image, so I guess the nothing in Hopper’s thoughts is the discontinuity between the current world and whatever the Dark One creates. The Dark One has gone to a lot of trouble to get someone to open the Bore, so if he were free, I would expect him to do something more interesting than replace the universe with a vacuum. Moridin craves nothingness, but may not get his wish for it if the Dark One wins.

Hopper can’t resist the storm, but Perrin has the fortitude to persist. Also, he is needed as a witness, and need in Tel’aran’rhiod makes a difference. In this case it helps him move around within the storm.

Rand looks eastward in the darkness, which is towards where the sun rises. He is a solar character, a parallel of Sol Invictus, the unconquered Sun. It was evening when Perrin went into the dream and he trained there for a while increasing his strength and skill in a very timely manner. The sun shines when Rand wins his battle against darkness but we did not see a sunrise. Since the sun hangs directly above Rand, his epiphany occurred at noon. This is the time that the Dark One’s power is weakest.

Rand is wearing red and black, a reminder that his link with Moridin adds to his despair. Each is mirroring the other even though they are on opposite sides of the moral divide. It is another example of wrongness. The Dark One is doing his best to bring Rand over to his side. There is the risk of course that Rand’s goodness will lessen Moridin’s evil. Certainly the strain of being linked to Rand and feeling what he arranged for Rand to go through has sapped Moridin. He is not coping with the taste of his own medicine.

The image of Perrin with ice in his beard resisting the wind’s blast reminded me of his parallel, the Norse god Thor, fighting an ice giant. The Last Hunt is a parallel of the Wild Hunt, and also of Ragnarok, the final battle of Norse myth, when the gods and their foes the giants destroy each other.

Rand’s clothes don’t move in the wind, just as a Myrddraal’s don’t. Like them, he is slightly out of phase with reality, in this case the reality of Tel’aran’rhiod. Rand is exuding evil.

Perrin wills Rand to resist being overwhelmed by darkness. Did he make any difference? Perrin seems to think he didn’t; that Rand wasn’t really there and also that Perrin was focussed on not blowing away and. Moreover the choice was Rand’s to make. On the other hand, some things are more real or stronger in Tel’aran’rhiod than in the waking world, and Perrin is a strength figure.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Would this have anything to do with Min's prophecy about Perrin? "Twice he’s going to have to be there, or you…If he’s not, something bad will happen to you. Very bad"

First time was dumai's wells, and considering we only have one book to go, could this be the second time?

Linda said...

Good question. As I tried to explain here, we can't even tell if Perrin did anything for Rand. He seemed to think he didn't. I do think that if Perrin saved Rand from something bad as foreseen here, it would be more obvious he had done so.

KingEgo said...

On one of tor.com's ask the author segments, i asked BS if this fulfilled Min's prophecy, but I was given a RAFO.

Linda said...

That is a good question, but not one that Brandon would want to answer before AMOL is out. Otherwise we could figure out if Perrin saves Rand or not in the last book.

59827d94-2432-11e2-9067-000bcdcb8a73 said...

When I was reading this scene for the first time I was half hoping / expecting that Lews Therin's sudden lucidity that triggered Rand's epiphany on Dragonmount would be Perrin's Wolf telepathy projection to the TAR-Rand, i.e., that Perrin interpreted Rand's conflict and projected the "second chance" thought, but it doesn't seem like that's how it went down.

Linda said...

No, it appears that everything was left up to Rand. I think it's important that his choice to take on the burden is informed and willing.