Monday, September 27, 2010

Towers Of Midnight Prologue: Scene 2

By Linda

This post discusses the second POV of the Prologue of Towers of Midnight, available at and selected ebook retailers.

My commentary, hidden under the link, contains spoilers.

Click here to expand the rest of this post


Perrin's POV is a dream that’s neither wolf-dream nor ordinary dream but a blend of both. The blurring of his own dreams and Tel’aran’rhiod shows he needs to be taught to sort them out, just as he has to sort out and separate the wolf and the man. Another way of looking at it is that Perrin’s need to be educated about Tel’aran’rhiod – and his fear of it? – is so important now that it is in his dreams. Perrin’s confused and the reader is uncertain too.

Since Perrin undergoes considerable character development in this book (as Sanderson indicated to me at JordanCon), it is right that his POV is in the Prologue. The POV is about Perrin making and Perrin dreaming and I believe there will be physical as well as metaphorical manifestations of both in his subthread.

Making feels right to Perrin and so does the violence of that making – the hammering. At the moment, Perrin’s dreaming and making are turning out “wrong”. Perrin needs to understand the pieces of himself and his situation and to forge himself better.

When he makes something without knowledge of himself, it turns out wrong. He is not successful in working iron because he hasn’t worked things out in his head; nor can he successfully work things out while smithing. Working while resentful and confused is literally not constructive.

It’s all about balance – and it’s a difficult one to achieve. Perrin has two sides to himself: the craftsman/artisan and the shamanic wild man and both are important. He still wants to reject part of himself but then he would be half the person he could be. Rejecting being a wolf would be completely against the Pattern, as Hopper’s reaction shows, but if Perrin ignores his need to create – physical as well as metaphorical things - he will lose his humanity. Hopper might laugh at making but making is human.

Perrin pulls the Aram figurine out of the barrel first. Aram mirrored his problems. As Elyas said, Aram gave up the Way of the Leaf and his family for two reasons – Perrin and sword - which is too narrow a life for a man. Aram turned into a wolfhound, not a wolf, but otherwise his situation is very like Perrin’s – a peaceable man whose family was butchered. When Aram left his group to join Perrin he should have been given more support through such a drastic change once the Emond’s Field battle was over, but Perrin was focussed on his own concerns. Perrin is too narrow, too, in his concentration on Faile. If he is not careful he will be as obsessed as Aram was. He’s already too single-minded and loses himself in the task at hand. Perrin relived Malden in his dream because he has been thinking about Aram so much.

Perrin is conscious that there is a difference between the hammer and the axe. Hopper points out that so far Perrin has used the hammer and the axe in the same way – to kill. So the difference is only potential at this stage, not actual.

Perrin thinks of “my hammer” but “the axe.” He avoids acknowledging he owned the axe, yet he was given the axe before the hammer.

Perrin’s thoughts on fighting the Aiel:

He didn’t regret their deaths. Sometimes, a man needed to fight, and that was that. Death was terrible, but that didn’t stop it from being necessary. In fact, it had been wonderful to clash with the Aiel. He’d felt like a wolf on the hunt.
When Perrin fought, he came close to becoming someone else. And that was dangerous.

- Towers of Midnight Prologue

show he’s still himself when he fights –and a man. Nor does he consider or seem to care that some of those Aiel he killed had helped Faile and co. He was glad to do it. In contrast, wolves kill for food.

The splitting of himself in the dream over the subject of battle is right; Perrin does have these two halves of himself that he needs to reconcile (see Perrin essay).

Perrin worked only a few pieces of metal, but pulls far more from the barrel:

When he finished, hundreds of figurines stood on the floor, facing him. Watching. Each steel figure was lit with a tiny fire inside, as if waiting to feel the forger’s hammer.
But figurines like this wouldn’t be forged, they’d be cast.

- Towers of Midnight, Prologue

It shows that whether he likes it or not the smallest of his actions – especially the creating ones - has huge consequences in the Pattern and affects so many lives. The metaphor of the dream is that Perrin is to forge his people into an army by forging himself into a true leader and into a whole person. In his case the figures do have to be forged.

Perrin must make but he has to make himself first. The creative process will go a lot better when he does.

A dark influence enters his dream:

The shards [of Aram] all became little hands, climbing toward Perrin, reaching for him.
Perrin gasped, leaping to his feet. He heard laughter in the distance, ringing through the air, shaking the building.
Hopper jumped, slamming into him. And then. . .

- Towers of Midnight, Prologue

Aram was persuaded to kill Perrin by Masema, who was deluded by the Shadow. The dream hints of a confrontation with the Shadow that Perrin is not ready for yet. This is why Hopper booted him out of the dream.

The laughter reminded me of the Dark One’s laughter in Mat’s dreams in Knife of Dreams, Dragons’ Eggs as he plans the development of gunpowder weapons. I don’t think the Dark One will strike at Perrin directly, but that a minion of the Dark One – Moridin or Slayer, say, or even both – will attack Perrin. Perhaps this blending of the Wolf dream and his own dreams is a prophetic dream such as Egwene has, or a way of reading Tel’aran’riod (see Talents article). Previously Perrin had brief visions in windows in Tel’aran’rhiod.

Perrin, the Dragon’s bannerman, has the makings of a huge army. As he forges himself into a leader, he will attract more followers, perhaps even the Whitecloaks he is about to encounter, to increase his forces further, thus making himself worthy of the Bannerman title bestowed upon him at Falme by Artur Hawkwing. Perrin has unfinished business with the Whitecloaks since they were the first people he killed with his axe. At the moment he is an outlaw – in the Middle Ages described as a wolf’s head – as far as they are concerned. So the wolf’s head banner is doubly apt.

Overall I liked the way the scene introduced Perrin’s themes for Towers of Midnight: to sort himself out, strengthen his army, create an important item and fight off the Shadow in the dream.


Frank said...

Poor Hopper. Twelve books in and he's trying to get Perrin to stop chasing his own tail. I loved his gentle, but exasperated, attitude towards Perrin's continued angst.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, as always Linda.

But I think that Perrin needs to forge more than an army, but an entire nation.

Also, I thought the "blending" of the wolf dream/dream could have been the work of an outside agent (Moggy/Lanfear), and also the source of the laughter.

Anonymous said...

Great summmary, with very insightful things to's obvious a Whitecloak encounter is inevitable, but do we have clues that they r lined up to cross paths immediately? I am curious when Slayer will reappear, I wish he'd get a PoV!! If someone doesn't mind indulging me, why does everyone think Perrin slept with Berelain that night? Perrin would never! Isn't Hopper dead? So is always in the dream world? If a live wolf comes to meet Perrin in the wolf dream would said wolf have to be sleeping? Brandon ampere up the action in tGS so I'm sure the action with Perrin will increase...finally...and we can actually have some resolutions. Thanks for letting me share my stream if consciousness, I think u r an amazing resource for truly sound Wheel of Tine commentary!!

Linda said...

Hopper knows what's right for wolves, but not necessarily for humans.

I don't think there's time for Perrin to forge a nation until after the Last Battle. An army on the other hand is vital, and Perrin's might be very big. He's not the Bannerman for nothing.

If the whole dream was being corrupted by the Shadow, I think that Hopper would have detected it and acted differently. He is pretty wise to Tel'aran'rhiod. It was only at the end when the laughter was heard (and why would skilled operators like Lanfear or Moghedien give themselves away like that?) that Hopper stopped the dream.

As far as the Whitecloaks go, they won't encounter Perrin immediately, but they are converging on the Jehannah road. We know they do so from TGS.

Hopper is dead, yes, that is why Perrin encounters him so often in TAR. Wolves hang out there when they die. I guess they are the animal Heroes of the Horn.