Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Towers of Midnight Read-through #42: Chapter 35 - The Right Thing

By Linda

Egwene POV

After insisting that she didn’t need protection and ordering Gawyn to stop, Egwene now feels its absence. Events will show she made a foolish decision. Egwene’s contrariness is due to being on edge as her cutting comment to Siuan shows. Siuan, another contrary character, understands Egwene’s stress and smiles at Egwene’s concern this time instead of brushing it aside.

Both Amyrlins were undone by incomplete information.

Perrin POV

Perrin remarks that Galad returned the supplies he captured. The Whitecloak commander did not keep what wasn’t his, even though as spoils of war it would be acceptable to do so. It is an integrity that Perrin respects.

Perrin seems surprised at how emotionally drained the trial left him, but the tension and concentration required to avoid multiple disasters was considerable. Plus, there was no right answer though I think he achieved the best outcome possible.

Perrin is determined that Light-aligned people should not battle each other, since every person is needed to fight the Shadow. Nor does he want to waste lives. He shows considerable insight; it was indeed the Shadow’s ploy to set groups against each other. Divide and conquer. He correctly deduces that the Shadow will attack now that they see Perrin won’t fight the Whitecloaks and that they have pinned him in place with the dreamspike for this. It is imperative that he get Travelling back again.

Perrin’s receptivity extends to reading the Pattern to an extent; he senses the recurrence of his long-term unresolved issues: Whitecloaks, Slayer, and Noal. Unspoken is the realisation that he must deal with them, or else…

Galad POV

Galad’s unresolved issue is not understanding that there is not always a right answer. Another is that mistakes can lead to “right” action - which by Galad’s definition cannot be right. And conversely, that doing the right thing can be wrong. Morgase warned Galad of this and it makes him uncomfortable. Perrin accepted that there was no right answer to his conflict with the Whitecloaks and was reluctant to make decision. On the other hand, Galad finds determining an answer, or as he sees it, “the” answer, easy. He is a foil to Perrin in this sub-thread. Perrin sees more possible answers and spends time weighing them. Both men are deep thinkers, but Galad is more willing to adopt high cost solutions than Perrin.

Bornhald’s unresolved issue is his mistaken belief – at the urging of his friend Byar - that Perrin killed his father. He realises that there is no evidence and that Byar’s behaviour and statements are inappropriate. Bornhald is shown to be a much more reasonable person here, mentally stronger and more independent than in previous scenes.

After the trial Galad acknowledges that, like Perrin, he killed a Whitecloak and was named Darkfriend for it. Moreover both men sacrificed themselves for principle. They have similar values and this will be the basis for a strong relationship. Both dislike deviousness and disingenuousness, although they can devise a clever and successful plan to circumvent these if necessary.

Perrin POV

Slayer is a match for four wolves – and two of them masters of Tel’aran’rhiod. However he was surprised by Perrin three times in their fight, and was even frightened by him on the third, when Perrin became part of Tel’aran’rhiod and basically chased him off. Perrin’s mastery of Tel’aran’rhiod is of a different kind to that of Slayer: it is of belonging rather than domination.

The dreamspike is a source of wrongness in Tel’aran’rhiod . It interferes with its operation. An object physically in Tel’aran’rhiod is “more real” than Tel’aran’rhiod because Tel’aran’rhiod is a reflection of the main world. It’s a Platonic world or abstract Form that has the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.

The wrongness of scents being mixed up, scents being random for a location, is not caused by the dreamspike – though the dreamspike probably doesn’t help – but by the Dark One corrupting reality. This will get worse. The wrongness has grown steadily throughout the series as the Dark One’s touch has increased. It is a bad sign that even the abstract, fluid world of Tel’aran’rhiod is affected by it. The theme of wrongness in The Wheel of Time is discussed here. Such corruption and destruction is typical of the alchemical operation of mortification, where things are broken apart so they can be purified or transformed into something else, hopefully something better. Alchemical symbolism underpins the series – especially the magic system – and is discussed here.


t ball said...

It is so different to read this now that the entire story has been told, looking back, wow.

Linda said...

Very true, t ball! (Nice to hear from you, btw. Thanks for the comment!) We know so much now. It puts a different perspective on TOM. I am writing the read-through without including direct comments on AMOL at this stage. Some of the links lead to AMOL commentary however.

When I stopped the read-through back before AMOL was published, I did not think that the AMOL updates would take so long to do. Nor that I would be changing employers within a year due to a severe industry down turn!

t ball said...

Tried to post from my phone, didn't work so well, back on the PC...

Like many WOT fans I used to reread the series while waiting for the next book to be published. For me, this goes back to Fires of Heaven, which was the first book I bought hardcover after reading the first 4 in paperback quickly.

All the theories and speculation were fun, Jordan was a master at both foreshadowing and hiding his true intentions.

After I read Memory of Light I went back and read TEOTW and it was a very different experience reading Rand's POV knowing his entire character development arc.