Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Towers of Midnight Read-through #39: Chapter 32 - A Storm of Light


By Linda

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT

Ituralde POV

Ituralde wants Maradon to be a Pyrrhic victory for the Shadow with the city’s buildings as pyres for Shadowspawn.

The patch of blue sky Ituralde sees early in the chapter heralds Rand’s arrival, but it took time for Bashere to clear their way in. Meanwhile Ituralde has devised several feints so the Trollocs are prepared for one type of attack but get another.

Of the five great captains of the nations, Ituralde (and probably Niall) is not nobly born but has worked his way up. Not that the other captains don’t have great merit, but Ituralde started from a much lower rank. Consequently his strength of will and self-belief must be tremendous as a result. So careful of his image, Ituralde won’t he show any weakness around Bashere or let Bashere tend him.

Ituralde thinks that Darkfriend or not, Torkumen deserves to die for not defending Maradon or aiding its defenders. Even though he knew all their efforts to be a losing tactic, Ituralde is still dismayed that Maradon will be abandoned. His logic is in conflict with his feelings, but it pretty much has been ever since he agreed to go to Saldaea, and has reinforced by what he has gone through. Both he and Min have unshakeable faith in Rand.

I knew from the city’s name that there would be some sort of marathon battle at Maradon (see Origin of Place names article) but it is also the scene of Rand “cleansing the Temple”:

Many others stayed in the room, however, staring out at the field that had been cleansed by ice and by fire.

Towers of Midnight, A Storm of Light

I thought there was some heavy-handedness in the description of Rand’s wisdom and also his channelling:

Those eyes had changed, too. Ituralde had not noted wisdom in them before. Don't be a thickheaded fool, Ituralde thought, you can't tell if a man is wise by looking at his eyes. And yet he could.

Towers of Midnight, A Storm of Light

“He's a storm. A storm of Light and streams of Power!"

Towers of Midnight, A Storm of Light

Rand is channelling at far greater strength than any one man. Somehow he targets only Shadowspawn; there is no wasted effort or misplaced weaves. The two Maidens who witness his counterattack may refer to the two witnesses for the Lord at Armageddon in Revelation Chapter 11 of the New Testament.

Why would a Maiden not have a tail at the back of her hair?

She was a lanky woman with dark red hair, cut short with a tail in the back like that of most Maidens.

Towers of Midnight, A Storm of Light

That would be like not wearing the cadin’sor. The two go together as the uniform of an Aiel warrior. Women who aren’t warriors have longer hair and no tail. The underlined words are fairly empty filler material.

Lord and Lady Torkumen were not reacting to literal light from the weaves but Light emanating from Rand, being the force of good he created as he channelled vast amounts of saidin, one half of the True Source of the Creator, to save and Heal the Land. The Darkfriend couple was completely allied with the Shadow and the barrage of Good destroyed their minds or will to live.


Min POV

Rand can’t do everything. He needs to confront the Dark One at Shayol Ghul, and not be provoked into rage and destruction elsewhere. Rand must feel though, and express those feelings, or else his spirit breaks. While Rand rejected Cadsuane’s counsel of laughter and tears, his post-epiphany realisation that he should not harden himself or repress his feelings is a variant of her metaphor of the willow bending with the wind, while the rigid oak breaks. So he is following her advice in a way.

Rand will use himself up saving the Land to a larger degree than we just saw at Maradon. Even Min accepts this. Instead of insisting that he will die when Min says he won’t, Rand now says that maybe she’ll prevent it. Both changes really emphasise how much his mental health has improved.

Callandor is probably called the blade of ruin because it opens Rand or weakens him so that he - presumably his soul or spirit – can be assailed. Is this the case even if two women provide stability by linking with him when he uses the sa’angreal? They would also witness what Rand does if he uses Callandor to fight the Dark One, mirroring the two Maidens in this chapter.

Merise notices Rand can hardly stand, yet scolds him about Cadsuane. Maybe she is this harsh or merciless, or maybe she thinks she can seize his moment of weakness to improve Cadsuane’s standing. By the way Cadsuane interrupts her, she doesn’t agree with this tactic, although it’s not clear whether this is because it is cruel or futile.

Verin’s letter told Rand that Mattin Stepaneos is in the Tower and Rand realised there was hope that Alsalam was also kidnapped by Aes Sedai. Min worried that bothering Rand with Cadsuane would tire Rand further, but actually the outcome makes him happy and relieved that Alsalam wasn’t destroyed by Graendal or his balefire. Alsalam being the King, perhaps he is a symbol that Arad Doman too can be restored.

8 comments:

Nicole Santa Maria said...

I think Merise is just plain insensitive. She's been giving Rand a hard time since TGS.

herid said...

Very nice read-through, Linda. A marathon in Maradon! I never noticed that one. All the more impressive since that the city is mentioned already in book 1. From you remark about Callandor I take it that you haven't read AMOL yet (somebody at the dragonmount claimed that you have). If that's the case can you comment on what you think allowed Rand to channel so strongly in this scene? Of course, if you have actually read it then you don't have to say anything.

Linda said...

Thanks.

I was a beta reader for the last 2 books. I'm not at liberty to talk about events in AMOL. That's why I haven't discussed the AMOL chapters that have been released. I don't want to accidentally reveal anything from later in the book.

herid said...

No problem. I just thought that since you were speculating about the possible future role of Callandor maybe you weren't one of the beta readers despite what I heard.

t ball said...

Although I really liked this scene the first time I read it, I don't understand how Rand was able to channel so strongly. There is really no explanation for it, I don't remember an angreal being mentioned.

That reminds me, I wonder what happened to the little fat man angreal that's been missing since Dumai's Well and if it will show up in an important way in the last book.

Manetheren said...

No, He's not using an angreal at this point. That is just how powerful Rand has become at this point. Male channeler strength grows in leaps and bounds. This suggests he still hasn't reached his maximum ability yet (or has he finally reached it as of this chapter?). Rand will have to be this powerful (or more so) if he's supposed to withstand the might of The Dark One. If he's this powerful now, unaided, I shudder at his might with Callandor or the now destroyed Choden Kal.

Dan Podhajny said...

Hey Linda,
The chapter title for this one should be "Storm of Light", not "Force of Light". The "Force" chapter was the Darth Rand chapter from tGS where he nukes Natrim's Barrow.

Linda said...

So it should, thanks Dan. I have edited it.