Monday, October 26, 2009

The Storm is Coming #23: What the Storm Means, scene 6 (and last) commentary

This is the sixth and last part of our mini What the Storm Means read-through. By now Linda is facing the storm (and certainly most happy for it), but not before leaving Dom with these last bits of our prologue dialogues!

This post discusses the third POV of the Prologue of The Gathering Storm, available at and selected ebook retailers

Click here to expand the rest of this post

Dominic: The Masema POV, our first and forcibly the last. It turns out pretty much as I expected – the great line of Faile killing Masema before he would ever get close to Rand anyway, but I most certainly didn't expect this to happen right in the prologue! What a way to end it with a bang! Masema's purposes in the series was done, and we might say a first "finale red herring" vanishes right from the prologue. I expect a few more to fall by the side like this – I think one of their purposes was to introduce false trails to help muddle more what is truly gonna happen in the Last Battle itself, who the final players will really be.

Linda: Masema had a vision of Rand the night before the battle of Malden. and this apparition commanded him to kill Perrin. It sounds like Lanfear is the one who has been manipulating him all along. Masema sent Aram to do it.

Dominic: I totally agree with this. Like you I've long had suspicions Lanfear had been involved with Masema, derived in turn from heavy suspicions that Masema had visions in his dreams, and linking this with the information on Lanfear's tactics from the War of Shadow, like the use of dreams to mass manipulate people . My old theory was that Lanfear saw a good opportunity there and seized it. I think she's influenced a bit the whole "dragonsworn crisis" in the West (got this ball rolling anyway, I doubt she invested prolonged efforts in this or returned to it later on). She could have used a growing army of fanatics down the line, once she had convinced Rand to join her, and it's hard to see who else but her could have conceived such a curious notion. Her or Ishamael anyway. It couldn't hurt her plans, anyway – as a distraction for the other Chosen if nothing else. In the meantime, this may have helped blur for the other Chosen her real plans for Rand, deflected suspicions that what she did was interfering in the others' plans, like giving Rand dreams to seek Callandor when Be'lal sure didn't expect him to be stupid enough to attempt that so early, and sending Rand's allies to Tear (probably thinking on how it all came together against all odds in Falme, a phenomenon she witnessed), first the girls and giving nudges to Mat and Perrin (as ta'veren, that didn't require much more). Then probably after Tear, with Rand having Callandor but not knowing how to do much with it, and with Be'lal and Ishamael out of the way, she must have given up all these now useless games to concentrate in the next phase of her plans.

Linda: Masema has his own ambitions: he wants to be raised up to the level just below Rand as his Prophet.

Dominic: No one is purely selfless, as Robert Jordan once put it, pure disinterest only comes to humans without a navel. Whatever Masema said, and even in his raving madness, he had his own ideas of how he would be rewarded for his efforts to motivate him..

Linda: Wandering in dark woods is symbolic of Masema’s state of mind. His memories of life as Masema are blurry.

Dominic: Absolutely. It's a motif Jordan adored, to mark either madness or a character erring and struggling with psychological issues. It was a main motif used for Perrin in his post Cairhien story line, which started in a clearing and went deeper and deeper in the woods. Perrin managed to get out of them when he threw his axe… deep into the woods… and moved on. Then all the pieces of his blacksmith puzzle fell into place, his growing despair and his darkest obsessions gradually making room for sheer determination.

Linda: He assumed the Dragon would protect the Dragonsworn and lead them to victory and blames Darkfriends for his losses. His desire is to strangle Perrin personally. One minute he is proud and fond of his followers, the next contemptuous and thinking they are cowardly or Darkfriends.

Dominic: Jordan made good use of "Madman logic" here. It's reminiscent of Rand in his darkest moments.

Linda: We see more proof that Faile is important in her own right. She kills Masema. Perrin is not to be told. He wouldn't like being unable to fulfil his duty to Rand, and we wouldn't like Faile killing anyone.

Dominic: I don't know about the last Linda, that Perrin still sees bringing Masema to Rand as "his duty". I think by KOD he understood he needed to end this, but couldn't get sidetracked. This could be a giant misunderstanding between Faile and Perrin unless major developments have happened in Perrin's group that we still don't know about. By the battle of Malden, Perrin was perfectly aware of the dangers of Masema and given up on the idea of bringing Masema to Rand - he had learned how virulent Masema was. Masuri had changed her mind about controlling him too, over time. The Wise Ones were the wise ones, as often – but Perrin was the wisest to take his time – killing Masema early would have caused a bloodbath from his followers. So Perrin thougth it all out as he does, and Perrin had deployed him and his men with the intent that they would all get killed in the battle by the Shaido. It worked, essentially, though he thought it a pity Masema's disobedience of his orders meant he and his best men would not perish.

Linda: I more meant that Perrin's conscience would be troubled by not doing what Rand wanted; or at least not giving Rand the choice of what to do with Masema.

Dominic: So basically, my feeling is that after Malden Perrin was waiting for an opportunity to solve this while ensuring that no matter what Faile would be kept out of it, which she misinterpreted as him being unwilling to put Masema down, so she went in his back. I think with this Robert Jordan is preparing the ground for the whole "Faile putting herself in danger" and "do you think me weak and defenseless, husband?" issues closer to their final breaking point. I would not be surprised Perrin had in mind to have the Mayeners wipe Masema and his men out soon.

Linda: Masema's soul falls into the void. It doesn’t sound like the Creator was impressed with him.

Dominic: LOL! The matter of judgment and salvation in WOT. It's a theological mystery I wonder if we'll ever get a clue to. Probably not. It's a risky move to give the readers too much information about the world the characters aren't meant to have. I'm guessing this sort of things could have been solved eventually through Q&A.

So, with this the prologue ends. It was not as spectacular as Snow or Ember falling on Dry Grass, but it definitely sets the stage for an enthralling book tomorrow. A darker book, by the tone of it, one full of pitfalls and dangers, and one we both suspect with deal a lot with character development, perhaps even as its primary concern/objective.


As always you're welcome to leave us your comments (in the forums only as we temporarily disabled the Blog's Comment feature to avoid spoilers), or to come join us in the ongoing discussion of What the Storm Means on our forums.

All unattributed quotes in this article are from What the Storm Means, Prologue of The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, to be released by Tor Books on October 27th. Chapter One (in written form) and Chapter 2 (from the audio version of the book) are currently available for free on, upon free registration to the site. The prologue, What The Storm Means, is currently on sale as an ebook from many online retailers (visit for details).

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