Monday, June 20, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #26: Chapter 23 - A Warp In The Air

By Linda


Cadsuane sees straight away why Corele and Nesune were left alive while Daigian was killed. Warders would raise the alarm. However they should have noticed that something had happened to their Aes Sedai. Corele and Nesune were put in a trance, but neither saidin nor saidar weaves could be detected. They may have been reversed weaves, or the True Power. Weaves of the True Power would not be sensed by others at all, so it is more likely that Shaidar Haran did this bit.

Cadsuane was not in her quarters but out in the Wise Ones’ camp. What a coincidence that the very night she was visiting the Wise Ones – at their invitation? - after showing one of them where she kept the a’dam, she was burgled. Cadsuane has a paralis net plus knowledge and strength. It was essential that she not be there.

It is interesting that when Rand suddenly shows Cadsuane the remnants of the a’dam only partially on view, we get told of Sorilea’s reaction:

"Do you recognize that, Cadsuane?" al'Thor said, nodding toward something metallic sitting on the bed, mostly hidden by the sheets.
Hesitantly she walked forward. Sorilea looked over, expression unreadable. Apparently, she didn't wish to be drawn into the conversation when al'Thor was in such a mood.

The Gathering Storm, A Warp in the Air

Maidens reported immediately to the Wise Ones while Cadsuane was entering the room. A Maiden held Cadsuane’s box so the Wise Ones knew of it before Rand showed Cadsuane. I think Sorilea blanked her expressions because she knew more than anyone else how the a’dam was betrayed to the Shadow and was wary about either Rand or Cadsuane reading her body language.

The male access key was left behind in Cadsuane’s room by whoever stole the a’dam and Rand has it now. Elza would know its function since she was at the Cleansing. A Wise One would not necessarily since no Aiel was there. Shaidar Haran might not want any person, even Moridin, to have that much Power. Maybe it wants Rand to despair and break the World and that is why it was left. Alternatively it may never have been told the access key was there. Cadsuane blames Forsaken for being able to disarm her box. But Sorilea was there when Cadsuane disarmed it and could have learned how to do it. Cadsuane earlier noted what a quick study Sorilea is for weaves even if she is weak in the Power. Sorilea could demonstrate the weave to Elza (since she can do that, even if her weave is too weak to be effective) and then Elza fetch the a’dam at Shaidar Haran’s command. Elza would follow an order exactly and not take anything she wasn’t ordered to.

Rand demonstrates balefire for Narishma and explains why they have to use it. He openly speaks of having Lews Therin’s memories to prove he knows the consequences of the weave.

Cadsuane thinks Rand insolent when he doesn’t answer her. She is annoyed with his overconfidence and stubbornness. Rand ignores her. Both are too angry and alarmed to talk. Cadsuane wonders how Rand survived. She refuses to apologise; she is over confident and stubborn just like Rand. He exiles her and threatens to kill her. He didn’t even react to Min when she objects.

Only Narishma is considerate enough to ask Min how she is. For some reason Min hasn’t been Healed.

Rand is really dark because he just used the True Power and balefire:

There was a danger to it, a shadowy cast to his eyes that struck her with more fear than she'd thought her aging heart could summon. As she watched, the air around him seemed to warp, and she could almost think that the room had grown darker... from the corner of her eye, she saw a deep darkness emanating from al'Thor, warping the air even further.

The Gathering Storm, A Warp in the Air

The shadow or darkness which warps the air is an after-effect of drawing the True Power. Foolishly Cadsuane says Rand doesn’t kill women. Considering what Semirhage forced him to do, she could hardly have said anything more stupid. He threatens that he can now kill solely by warping the Pattern to do his will:

"Cadsuane," he said softly, "do you believe that I could kill you? Right here, right now, without using a sword or the Power? Do you believe that if I simply willed it, the Pattern would bend around me and stop your heart? By... coincidence?"
Being ta'veren didn't work that way. Light! It didn't, did it? He couldn't bend the very Pattern to his will, could he?
And yet, meeting his eyes, she did believe. Against all logic, she looked in those eyes and knew that if she didn't leave, she would die.

The Gathering Storm, A Warp in the Air

What a bully Rand has turned into. This seems to be the corrupting influence of the Dark One (and how immediate it is!) – not that Cadsuane knows why he is like this. No wonder Cadsuane is terrified, in part for her life, but also for what he has become. She is powerless and doesn’t know what to do about the changes to Rand.


Mattrickster said...

Another Great article Linda, thanks.
'What a bully Rand has turned into. This seems to be the corrupting influence of the Dark One (... how immeadiate)". But what about the bullying influence of Cadsuane and all the other Aes Sedai before her. From Moraine & Nyneave to Elaida etc. They all bullied & threatened Rand, all saying that it was for his own good. Is it suprising that when the "Last that could be done" was done, that he reacted by treating everybody like the enemy. Nobody had given him any good memories to help him hold on to his humanity except Min & he had just tried to kill her. And his feeling of guilt would have stopped him remembering the good times and how she kept him grounded. Now it is for Rand to find a reason to stay human, because doing what everybody around him wants him to do for their own reasons is not and never was enough.

Anonymous said...

Bingo. Cadsuane has been treating Rand worse than her horse for as long they have interacted and now finally when Rand says enough is enough, we are supposed to feel bad for Cadsuane? That she failed in crushing his independance. Sorry, just no.

Linda said...

Threatening to kill people just because is not very nice. It also would have been nice if he had asked Min if she wanted Healing.

Philipp said...

I do agree with the first 2 replies in here to some extent. It seems somewhat understandable for Rand to no longer tolerate Cadsuane´s behaviour.

Of course, she has her own methods of education and some of the lessons, especially those concerning courtesy and basic social skills she is trying to teach Rand, are very important. However, she makes a mistake in regarding Rand way too childish and treating him that way. He is no child and in the long run her provocations were bound to end in some kind of a climax. I´d call it lucky for Cadsuane that she "only" got exiled. In the long run (-> ToM) the exile proves to be a step forward for Rand´s personality and ultimately seems to be (at least in my opinion) a positive development.

I agree with you Linda in that it´s not very nice to threaten people with killing them, however, one should not forget that the responsibility for Rand´s collaring lies with Cadsuane. To some extent she - even if not intentionally - betrayed Rand´s trust. Moreover, the result of her misguarding of the Domination Band nearly resulted in the killing of one of the few persons that Rand really holds dear to himself. One should not forget that when judging his actions during the aftermath.

Concerning the Aes Sedai manipulating Rand I have to disagree (with the first post). Aes Sedai manipulate everybody, their manipulation tends to get more ambitious the more power a specific person holds. Logically, the Dragon Reborn, representing the ultimate power-house, would be the most valuable and interesting target to manipulate.

I do not intend to say they are rightfully doing it. However, it´s no secret they are trying to manipulate him and often an enemy or influencer whom you know to be one, is easier to account for in contrast to someone who is doing it secretly. Ultimately, anybody in Rand´s periphery tries to manipulate him.

@Linda: I really hate doing that, since my single post probably is home to lots of errors, but I spotted a typo in the 5th paragraph, when you say " Cadsuane´s room by however stole the a´dam..." -> To my understanding it should be "by whoever".

Anonymous said...

Cadsuane might be a bully but at this point i just found her funny she broke Semirhage by comparing her to herself and didnt learn anything then still thinks she knows best.
i just wish rand had gone to egwene like this it would have been good for him to balefire half of tar valon when she got annoying

Anonymous said...

"Moreover, the result of her misguarding of the Domination Band nearly resulted in the killing of one of the few persons that Rand really holds dear to himself."

You talk like if there wasn't a zillion copies of the male adam in shadow hands.

Drew said...

Regarding how Rand dealt with Cadsuane I think it is a matter of maturity. Just because you are disrespected or in your opinion, are treated unfairly doesn't necessarily give you the right to threaten to harm someone or treat them harshly. He is supposed to learn that just because he has to deal with bullies doesn't mean he has to descend to their level.

After all, because he was so focused on venting his anger, he didn't ask questions of Cadsuane or allow her to get on the right track as to who betrayed him. So he sent off a well-meaning follower and did not start an investigation into who among his followers would know where to look, which was a victory for the Shadow.

In the end, giving in to this dark nature allowed him to indulge in immaturity and reveling in his power. While I understand that many readers see Cadsuane and the Aes Sedai in a bad light because they are manipulative, at the end of the day the Light-aligned Sisters truly believed they knew best and were acting for the greater good. Moiraine's warning in her letter was double-edged that way - it distanced him from Egwene and other allies among the Sisters and enabled him to think that blindly obedient ones (Elza) could be trusted.

Anonymous said...

drew your right and most of the Cadsuane only mildly annoys me compared to most greens rand was a prick but if i was him she probably would have left far madding on an all soup diet after her slap at the inn.
but why would he question how she got free when she walks in with a black sister next to her and im confused about cadsuane thinking that her ward could stop someone from just destroying her wards and if she is assuming that someone stronger would not be able to break free after it activated she deserved a kick in the bum just to wake her up.

Mattrickster said...

Drew, just because someone is an adult it doesn't mean that they act with maturity, especially if they have been abused over a period of years by a series of abusers. Even if the abusers are Light-Aligned and are abusing you for your own good. A person in that situation would find it hard to distingush between the Light-Aligned and the Shadow. And as for the Aes Sedai bullies being alright because they are on the side of the Light, as the Whitecloaks & the people of Aridhol show, if you do evil & harm in the name of the Light, you aid the cause of the Shadow

Leyla said...

Hi, Linda.

I love your writing. It's very succinct and your interpretations are sound.
However, I've been wondering something for a long time: how do you make the conclusion that the warp in the air is an after-effect of using the True Power? I thought of it that way myself, at first, but then when he started having a corona of light in the Towers of Midnight, I wasn't sure what to make of it. What do you think?

Linda said...

Thanks Leyla. Because the other two characters who have this darkness are Moridin and Taim. Moridin we know uses the True Power often. Brandon's twitter comments about Taim and the seething shadow being a result of using the True Power also support this: see The Shadow's Influence on the Black Tower article.

Manetheren said...
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Manetheren said...
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Manetheren said...

Again, late to this post. It's difficult to really fault Rand's actions here by this point. Granted he went a bit far and he is scary dark at this point. Reading this chapter and "the Last that could be down" frightened me more than I think I have ever been reading a book, especially this series.

But based on the things Rand has endured to this point, I can see this being a valid result. Look at what Rand is dealing with. In the beginning of the story, Rand is emerging to a world where male channelers and the Dragon himself are equal to the Shadow. Everyone hates/fears the Dragon's return.
The Dragon Reborn is the Light's Champion and he has been asked/tasked to save the world and all existence. The masses of people want him dead, though most accept he needs to fight the last battle, but if the Light wins and he dies then, Hurrah! Most of the nations leaders, want him dead, many not caring if he dies now or after winning the last battle, but while they are at it they try and take something for their own and hope they still hold it when he is the victor and hopefully dead. Other leaders (eg, Darlin, the Boarderland rulers) are completely loyal to him and know what he represents, but would likely admit that it would be best if he dies winning the Last Battle. The Seanchan nation wants him to fight under their subjugation and will be pleased if he wins and dies at the Last Battle. Only one ruler truly cares and that is Elayne.

The Aes Sedai need him at the Last Battle, but they want it on their terms. They want to control him and tell him what is best. Min has a point later on (forgot the precise words) when she points out they would get further if they worked with him instead of manipulate/control him for their own ends or because they think he's to stupid or ignorant to do what he has to do. Every Aes Sedai wants a piece of him. The Aes Sedai are lost in their own pride and self importance as individuals and what they supposedly represent as an organization (but really don't at this point).

(Contined next post)

Manetheren said...

(continued from last post)

Rand is supposed to save a world that fears/hates or wants to use him and hope he dies winning the Last Battle.

Only 5 people (6 to an extent) truly care for him; wanting him to win, as well as, live and whom are the only ones he truly trusts: Tam, Min, Nynaeve, Elayne, Perrin and Aviendha. I partially discount Aviendha due to Aiel views of death. She doesn't want him to die, but dying in glorious victory is a great and honorable thing. Min, Nynaeve and Elayne are obviously on the list because their actions involving him prove it time and again; Rand sees this and its why he trusts them unquestionably. And Tam (father). Finally, Perrin is the only male who truly appreciates his situation and will be their for him no matter what.

I have to remove Matt from the list in the "wanting him to live" category. Matt will do everything in his power to be there for Rand at the Last Battle, but Matt's dislike/fear of the One Power and his pity for Rand tells me, he'll be okay with Rand dying. I remove Egwene because while she does care for Rand, she's also stuck on the controlling/manipulating him despite her answers to the other sitters about letting him do what he needs, but guiding as well. And the way she has become, she'd see that it is logical that he should die as not to cause more problems when he wins the Last Battle.

The only established Aes Sedai to gain his trust is Moraine. He comes to trust Moraine because she is the ONLY Aes Sedai who endeavored to understand him and then did everything in her abilities to gain his trust. She understood that the Aes Sedai arrogance and pride and controlling nature wasn't going to work. She cast them aside and suffered (at least in Aes Sedai eyes) great indignities and embarrassment under the tutelage of the Wise Ones. She even reached the point of begging/pleading with Rand to let her help because she understood that Rand and only Rand and his safety mattered in the end.

So in closing, Rand has seen nothing, but hatred, fear, manipulation and control from practically the entire world but for a small few. It would be difficult to stay level headed with so many people, plus an evil force against you. That much negative influence can overwhelm what positive influence he has.