Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #32: Chapter 29 - Into Bandar Eban

By Linda


Moiraine is the woman whose loss Rand feels most guilty about. He thinks he allowed her to sacrifice herself for him, yet he didn’t know she intended to do it until afterwards. However his weakness in not being able to attack Lanfear enabled this to happen. Rand/Lews Therin has always had a weakness for her. (She had a strong angreal, however, so he would not have been able to do as much against her as he thought anyway.)

Rand recognises that if Ishamael lives again, so too could Lanfear and therefore Moiraine’s sacrifice was all for nothing. This is not altogether true, since Moiraine found something vital in the Finn’s world for the Light’s victory. He thinks he will never again be too weak to do what must be done. Certainly he wasn’t for Semirhage, but when he meets Cyndane (while in a better psychological state) this resolution seems to be forgotten. According to Rand, Semirhage gave him the strength to bury guilt and hurt.

Rand is not sure he still has a conscience. He thinks if he can “find” Graendal that might justify his invasion of Arad Doman. He is wrong in thinking that finding Alsalam would lead him to Graendal. Rand plans to kill Graendal with balefire, but fails.

Lews Therin chants the list of fallen women with Rand. He is just as affected by their deaths as Rand and is probably a split off personality of Rand’s. Rand has repeated the list so many times that he will never forget any name. Lews Therin adds Min’s name, yet a) Min is alive and b) Semirhage forced Rand to hurt her. Rand blames himself anyway because he should have sent Min away, although he thinks there is nowhere safe for her to go.

Rand is icing over his feelings:

His rage, his anger, his passion—it was all still there, buried within. But he had surrounded it with ice, cold and immobilizing. It was the ice of the place Semirhage had taught him to go, the place that was like the void, but far more dangerous.

The Gathering Storm, into Bandar Eban

Thinking of the True Power (but not daring to name it or its origins) brings him close to the Dark One, the Shadow. Too close:

These little annoyances were not worth his passion, his fury. If one bothered him too much, all he needed do was snuff it out, like a candle.
A dangerous thought. Had that been his? Had it been Lews Therin's? Or ... had the thought come from . . .elsewhere?

The Gathering Storm, into Bandar Eban

This is a reference to his link to Moridin and indicates probable seepage of negative thoughts and feelings along the link. Another example in this chapter is Rand not wanting to be reborn over again, just like Moridin wants to be free of the Pattern.

Cadsuane’s error could have led to:

"The end of all things, Merise," he whispered. "The Dark One with control of the Dragon Reborn. The two of us, fighting on the same side."

The Gathering Storm, into Bandar Eban

Rand is very close to being on that side anyway.

Merise points out that Rand has made mistakes that could have ended the same way. (In fact in The Gathering Storm Rand is currently making just such a mistake. He has more in common with Moridin than he recognises – a tendency to suppress his feelings, for instance). Rand says he is paying for his mistakes every moment and assumes that others aren’t.

As Rand forces his will darkly on Merise, two balconies collapse. This event is caused by Rand’s extreme ta’veren influence:

He had rarely seen an occurrence quite so ... violent, however. Could he be sure it wasn't due to some interaction with the new force? That unseen yet tempting well of power Rand had tapped, used and enjoyed?

The Gathering Storm, into Bandar Eban

Currently only bad things happen because Rand is so dark, so unbalanced and used the True Power. While he was ambivalent and human, the good events balance the bad. Presumably, if Rand is “good” or positive enough events would reflect that, perhaps to a striking degree...

Rand carries the access key because the maximum he can draw though it balances in pleasure what he can channel unaided of the True Power through his link to Moridin.

The access key had allowed him to tap an unimaginable river, a tempest as vast as the ocean. It had been the greatest thing he had ever experienced.
Until the moment when he had used the unnamed power.
That other force called to him, sang to him, tempted him. So much power, so much divine wonder. But it terrified him. He didn't dare touch it, not again.
And so he carried the key. He was not certain which of the two sources of energy was more dangerous, but as long as both called to him, he was able to resist both. Like two people, both yelling for his attention, they drowned one another out. For the moment.

The Gathering Storm, into Bandar Eban

Once Rand rightly feared the temptation of the male Choedan Kal. He doesn’t dare to now.

Rand describes the True Power as “the unnamed power” but the “unnameable power” would be more accurate for him. Just as people don’t dare name the Dark One, so he doesn’t dare name the Dark One’s power. He knows what it is: Lews Therin has spoken of “their so-called True Power”.

Rand is dismissive of what Dobraine has achieved in Bandar Eban. Even the Aiel thought Dobraine did well, despite Dobraine being a Treekiller, and that Rand would be pleased (The Gathering Storm, The Plan for Arad Doman). Later in the chapter Rand is grudging in his praise of Dobraine, then immediately sends him to Tear because he is too paranoid to trust Dobraine. Lews Therin says the one they can’t trust at all is themselves. That’s very true – look at how Rand nearly destroyed the world.

Alivia watches all this aloof. She mostly stays apart through The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight. Is this for a particular reason? Or a plot device?


Anonymous said...

irrelevant i know but why hasnt Morgase figured out shes met Tam. he is the only person from the Two Rivers that we have heard of leaving bfore Rand & co. and should Bryne have met Tam during the Aiel war, an Andoran blademaster as one of the highest ranked officers from Illian andn it didnt stand out??
why would Morgase of met Tam anyway unless it was during the war but why would she have been at the front and if it was after how would he have ended up talking to the Queen of Andor??

i might be wrong but i have looked for a while and i cant find any reference to anyone else leaving at the right time and it seems to fit that it would have been tam she met. just cant think of a reason for it to happened after he quit the army and how it could have happenned before

Linda said...

Perhaps because, as Thom says, 15 years changes a man. And it's been 20 years since she saw the Two Rivers person.

Anonymous said...

this is true andthat works for just bumping into him but not after the whole Rand in the palace incident. It is hard to believe that no one wondered if she made the right decision in letting him go so surely someone did some research into his story and they would have found Tam. As there aren’t that many blademasters out there sending out letters to all the royal courts asking what they knew about a blademaster named al’Thor old enough to have a grown son wouldn’t have been difficult.
Looks like Morgase thought he wanted Elayne so she would have wanted at least some information about a possible future son in law so she would have found him, ok Elaida believed Ran was lying but anyone with a working brain could have found out about Tam military career and they would have reported to the Queen.
Something along the lines of =
Hey your majesty remember that boy al’Thor caught playing doctor in the gardens with your daughter (might be the first time ever that playing doctor was actually innocent between teens) he was telling the truth about pretty much everything oh and by the way you’ve met his father. Please don’t kill him if he comes back this kid has connections just make him marry Elayne if they are caught in the rosebushes again or his father could make problems as he is a friend of Mattin Stepaneos and half the senior officers in Illian will have trained under him.
Rand would have made a good match anyway if the whole dragon reborn problem hadn’t been going on, he would have made a good first prince because of Tam’s connections in the south and having Elayne & Rand marry would have allowed Morgase to increase the crowns influence in the west. Having Rand with his connections to the Two Rivers (and the legacy of Manetheren) & a chance for an alliance with Illian because of Tam’s time in the companions combine this with Elayne’s relationship to Cairhien and you have a very strong pairing even if they never figured out who Rand’s mother was.
It would have been very bad for Tear though if you had Illian, Andor and Cairhien in a signed alliance since Tears wars with Illian and Cairhien appear to have all ended in a stalemate and Andor is stronger than Tear the price of grain would have dropped quickly.