Monday, June 21, 2010

Knife of Dreams Read-through #4: Thom's Mysterious Words to Selucia

By Old Salt

The purpose of this article is to explain the cryptic remarks Thom made after the fight with Darkfriends in the streets of Maderin. Here is a brief recap of those events.

Tuon demanded that Mat take her to a “low” inn, one of those called a “hell”. Thom, of course, knew just the spot, a slightly seedy inn called the White Ring. Thom, Mat, Tuon and Selucia went and nothing much happened except that Mat won some gambling with dice, and was recognized by Darkfriends. When they left the inn they were set upon by a large group of Darkfriends. Mat rushed to the attack shouting at Tuon to run and for Thom to get her away. After Mat finished killing the Darkfriends, the last one which Tuon herself killed, he turned and saw more dead Darkfriends sprawled around Thom and Selucia. Thom then says.

”I’m an old man,” Thom said suddenly, “and sometimes I imagine I see things that can’t be, but luckily, I always forget them.”

Selucia paused to look up at him coolly. Lady’s maid she might be, but blood seemed not to faze her at all. “And what might you be trying to forget?”

“I can’t recall,” Thom replied. Selucia nodded and went back to examining his wounds.

Mat shook his head. Sometimes he was not entirely sure Thom still had all his wits. For that matter, Selucia seemed a shovel shy of a full load now and then too.

- Knife of Dreams,A Hell in Maderin

So what was Thom talking about here? Did Tuon channel? No. Mat was close by, and as distracted as he was, he would have noticed his foxhead medallion going cold against his chest. Besides, Tuon has already said that she will not channel.

“I am nothing like these women, Toy. Nothing like them. Perhaps I could learn, but I choose not to, just as I choose not to steal or commit murder. That makes all the difference.”

- Knife of Dreams, A Short Path

Did Selucia channel? No. Again the fact that Mat’s foxhead medallion did not get cold proves there was no channeling involved. So what is Thom so quickly trying to forget he saw? The answer is actually quite simple. Selucia is not only Tuon’s maid but also her bodyguard.

Tuon smiled. Selucia’s mother had given her to Tuon for a cradle-gift, to be her nursemaid, and more important, her shadow, a bodyguard no one knew about. The first twenty-five years of Selucia’s life had been training for those jobs, training in secret for the second.

- Winter’s Heart, What a Veil Hides

Selucia’s secret is still holding. She was the cause of those half dozen dead Darkfriends. Knowing the Seanchan, and given the fact that Selucia has trained for a quarter of a century, it probably took her little time to take care of the business of protecting Tuon. That was the sight that had Thom ‘misbelieving’ what he saw. Thom is also a very astute observer, and knows that both Selucia and Tuon want Selucia’s talents as a bodyguard to remain a secret. Thom’s cryptic remarks are his way of letting them both know that the secret is safe with him.

Thom is not remarking about anything strange or extraordinary. His comments, as weird as they sound to Mat, are just a very deft way of letting Selucia and Tuon know that Selucia’s “second” occupation is still a secret. From Mat, for one.


Shadar said...

And of course Rand/LTT noticed in TGS as well. "You can tell your bodyguard to stand down"

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that Thom appreciates a fine bosom and wouldn't want to do anything to upset a woman such as Selucia ;)

Linda, thanks for adding in the bit about Tuon NOT channeling - who knows where some of the kids would have taken this post.

Linda said...

Shadar: That he did.

Anonymous: It was Old Salt (and he isn't me) who should take credit for that and it was certainly a good idea.

Dida said...

Nice write-up and summary of that chapter, Linda. =o)

Not much in question in that particular chapter.

@Anonymous - I never even thought Tuon channeled the Power in this chapter, for multiple reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason as Linda noticed too, is Mat's foxhead ter'angreal did not go 'cold'.

Yes, I think Tuon has channelled previously, but not any time recently at all. Thus, Tuon's slowed appearance similar to now ex-Queen Morgase's slowed appearance.

Tuon and Nynaeve have quite a bit in common actually. Nynaeve once was able to channel in public around many Damane & Sul'dam, but no one saw Nynaeve create weaves attempting to release a damane from her a'dam (tGH book). Few individuals could look at Tuon, at her face, thus like in Nynaeve's example in 'The Great Hunt' book nobody noticed Tuon channeling the few times her has in the distant past.

Here is that quotation Anonymous:

“I am careful. At least I looked to be sure there was no damane close by. What about you? I have seen you channel with one in plain sight.”

“I made sure they weren’t looking at me,” Nynaeve muttered.
She had had to ball up all her anger at women being chained like animals to manage it. “And I only did it once. And it was only a trickle.”

“A trickle? We had to spend three days hiding in our room breathing fish while they searched the town for whoever had done it. Do you call that being careful?”

“I had to know if there was a way to unfasten those collars.” She thought there was. She would have to test one more collar at least before she was certain, and she was not looking forward to it. She had thought, like Elayne, that the damane must all be prisoners eager to escape, but it had been the woman in the collar who raised the cry.

If Nynaeve could channel around Damane & Sul'dam, then not be found Tuon easily could have done the same as a young child unknowingly. Just like Nynaeve unknowingly earlier channelled as a Wisdom in Two Rivers, before meeting Moiraine Sedai.

Sul'dam could not look Tuon in the eyes, unless she allowed them to. Why? Sul'dam are not of the Blood in status, while Tuon was of the Imperial House and a High Blood. That's how Tuon achieve the same outcome Nynaeve did, around Sul'dam & Damane.

Fanatic-Templar said...

Funny, the things you catch and the things you miss.

This, for example, was never something I considered even remotely mysterious, the conclusion which SaltPeter points out seemed completely obvious to me at the time.

This from someone who finished Crossroads of Twilight and wondered when Ishamael would ever appear in the books, despite Moiraine stating outright that he had been Ba'alzamon in The Dragon Reborn.

Very funny, or more accurately, quite curious, in my humble opinion.

Linda said...

Ben: It's true people pick up on some things quickly, yet miss other stuff.

Anon: As you see, it has no effect. Even when Tuon doesn't channel this stuff is still re-iterated.

Hinkel said...

wow - just can't get avoid some things i guess. Dida, you'll never convince me. Quote everything you want - the evidence just isn't there. ~ Hinkel (who was "anonymous" in the earlier comment)