Monday, July 18, 2011

The Gathering Storm Read-Through #33: Chapter 30 - Old Advice

By Linda


Gawyn remembers Taringail warning Galad never to trust pretty women or Aes Sedai. (Most men already don’t trust beautiful women.) Galad has fallen for a beautiful woman, but whether he trusts her or not is another matter.

Lelaine is very dangerous: not beautiful enough to make men wary, but attractive. And crafty. In vain, Gawyn is trying to persuade Lelaine that Egwene should be rescued and that Egwene is sacrificing herself rather than endanger the rebels. Lelaine says she doesn’t think Egwene feels in danger. Gawyn suggests to Lelaine that Egwene is wrong about her safety. Lelaine says

"But must I not uphold the Amyrlin, even if she is misguided?"
Gawyn gave no response. Of course she could disobey the will of the Amyrlin. He knew enough of Aes Sedai politics to understand it was done all the time. But saying that would accomplish nothing.

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

Lelaine doesn’t make a firm commitment to convince Egwene because it suits Lelaine for Egwene to remain where she is until Lelaine can supplant her. Gawyn realises this:

He was convinced that neither Lelaine nor Romanda had any real interest in rescuing Egwene—they were too pleased with their increased power in her absence. No, they met with Gawyn because of the new queen on the Lion Throne.

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

although he underestimates Lelaine’s ambition. His main tactic is to play Romanda and Lelaine against each other. This is one Egwene used when she was powerless.

Lelaine’s tactic is to make Gawyn pay for her time with information. She asks him what Elayne’s attitude is to the taxes on Traemane’s orchards. Gawyn can’t see that Lelaine is telling him she knows the circumstances of Elayne’s accession to power and how Traemane is against her. She could also be “reminding” Gawyn of his duty to Elayne and Andor (in the hope he’ll leave), but this is futile since Gawyn is solely focussed on his beloved. Gawyn feels like Lelaine is buying information on Andor from him in exchange for considering aiding his rescue of Egwene:

Lelaine wouldn't be looking for monetary gain; that wasn't the Aes Sedai way. But she would want leverage, a means of securing a favorable connection with the Andoran noble houses.

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

This line of questioning is also a subtle threat that she could make life difficult for Elayne by throwing Blue Ajah support behind Traemane, something that is also lost on Gawyn. He does not appear to know the extent of Traemane’s antipathy to Trakand, but his answer was so bland that Lelaine may not have been able to determine if he is ignorant or subtle.(One can hope.) Lelaine takes notice even of details such as the productivity of the northern cherry orchards. The Blues’ intelligence gathering is formidable, as is how they use it. She spent nearly an hour interrogating Gawyn on Andoran taxation rates. Goodness knows what he divulged without knowing.

Gawyn sees that the rebels respect Egwene but he is still convinced Egwene is in over her head, even after he likens her situation to that of his mother, who was High Seat at age 16. He won’t accept Egwene’s judgment until he talks with her personally and doesn’t truly respect her.

Not surprisingly, Gawyn is not very good at stones; he is not a tactician or a politician.

Then we move scene, and Bryne tries to get info out of Gawyn - on the Younglings. Gawyn says he abandoned them, but won’t betray them. He buys time for them by saying that without him the Younglings won’t be as effective.

Gawyn is convinced that Bryne is mistaken about Rand and that Rand also fooled Elayne. He is determined to kill Rand himself. Gawyn is the one mistaken and will be for some time to come. Sigh.

Gawyn doesn’t want Bryne to attack the White Tower. Bryne says he will if ordered because he gave his word. Then he talks to Gawyn in a roundabout way about Gawyn’s own oath and path:

"I know who you were supposed to be," Bryne said. "First Prince of the Sword, trained by Warders but bonded to no woman."
"And that's not what I am?" Gawyn asked testily.
"Peace, son," Bryne said. "This wasn't meant to be an insult. Just an observation. I know you were never as single-minded as your brother. I suppose I should have seen this in you."

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

It takes Gawyn a while to understand what Bryne asking him about – choosing a side, or someone to guide where to use his soldiering skill.

Gawyn says he will use it for Elayne, but Bryne points out he isn’t, although he certainly should be. Gawyn says he must save Egwene first:

"And if Egwene won't go?" Bryne asked. "I know that look in your eyes, lad. I also know some small bit about Egwene al'Vere. She won't leave this battlefield until a victor has been chosen."
"I'll take her away," Gawyn said. "Back to Andor."
"And will you force her to go?" Bryne asked. "As you forced your way into my camp? Will you become a bully and a footpad, remarkable only because of your ability to kill or punish those who disagree with you?"
Gawyn didn't answer.

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

It really is a good point, although it fell on unreceptive ears. It’s a good thing Egwene stands up to Gawyn. Gawyn won’t use his skill for Elayne, but she will guide him admirably in Towers of Midnight. She sorts him out even better than Bryne does.

Fighting skill must be used in service in Bryne’s opinion:

"Whom to serve?" Bryne said, thoughtful. "Our own skill frightens us, sometimes. What is the ability to kill if one has no outlet for it? A wasted talent? The pathway to becoming a murderer? The power to protect and preserve is daunting. So you look for someone to give the skill to, someone who will use it wisely.

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

Potentially dangerous abilities need to be channelled (pun intended) where they can benefit all. Once upon a time the Aes Sedai and Da’shain Aiel both served.

Gawyn doesn’t understand what the Aiel War was about because he takes the conventionally negative view of the Aiel. Unlike Galad, he has never thought things through for himself and doesn’t it make him annoying! I know Elayne judges Galad as tiresome and adores her brother, but Galad is far less irritating a character.

Gawyn is unimpressed when Bryne says he doesn’t know the answer of whom to serve or why. Or that the answer isn’t simple:

“At least, each person's answer is their own. When I was young, I fought for honor. Eventually, I realized that there was little honor to be found in killing, and I found that I had changed. Then I fought because I served your mother. I trusted her. When she failed me, I began to wonder again. What of all those years of service? What of the men I'd killed in her name? What did any of that mean?"

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

The Aiel say there isn’t much honour in killing – it’s easy and even a child can do it.

Bryne needed to transfer his loyalties after he was exiled from his high position in Andor. He chose the rebels because he loved Siuan, but says he stayed because their cause was right.

”That which has been broken must be made whole, and I've seen what a terrible leader can do to a kingdom. Elaida can't be allowed to pull this world down with her."

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

This surprised me because he had given his word to the rebels, and doesn’t break it; plus when and how would he have left them?

It’s Siuan that Bryne calls a bloody woman, not Egwene. Gawyn thinks only of Egwene and he really is tiresome.

Bryne advises Gawyn to choose a side and know why. Gawyn, alas, is still a mass of confusion:

Gawyn felt as if he didn't know what the different sides were. Let alone which one to pick for himself.

The Gathering Storm, Old Advice

Unlike Galad, he is not used to thinking and normally just follows the party line. All lives are changing now that the world is in such flux, yet good and evil are still as defined as they were, despite the Shadow’s efforts to get people to confuse them. It seems to have worked with Gawyn.


TommyBoy52 said...

I am telling you all, Gawyn was compulsed and messed up when Siuan was deposed.

The irrational thinking about althor sounds a lot like some forsaken saying to him "you will not help Althor, and you will do your best to kill him"

Someone (not at home) look up the chapter where Min runs into Gawyn when they were trying to flee tar Valon with Siuan and co. He had a glazed look in his eyes. I forgot the exact description.

It wasn't until Elayne reasoned with Gawyn in ToM that he finally broke through the compulsion.

TommyBoy52 said...

One more thing, it was stated that the effort to rescue Siuan before she was stilled was going to succeed, that the loyal warders were going to win until Gawyn and the younglings stepped in on the side of Elaida.

Think about Mesaana, seeing that the coup might have its own coup, knowing she cant reveal herself, sets up some impressionable young warders to do her bidding.

Anonymous said...

I trust beautiful women all the time it hasn’t gotten me in trouble yet as I’m not arrogant enough to think they are going to jump into bed with me. I treat them the same as any other woman I’m friends with I just spend more time looking at them, ok sometimes I just watch their lips move but that’s natural and you just have to remember not to agree to anything while you are drooling.

Gawyn is a moron but I think he respects Egwene just not her place as Amyrlin and why should he. The biggest problem between them is that Egwene see him from her political power not as an equal in the relationship. Egwene, Elayne and Morgase all made this mistake they couldn’t leave politics at the bedroom door and were the queen in the bedroom not a partner which is why Morgase always ended up alone until she had nothing.

Gawyn may have become her warder but unless Egwene pulls her thumb out she will end up alone even if they both survive the last battle. Funny thing is the two women who have gotten this right are Siuan and Nynaeve and they started out as the most overbearing, arrogant and insufferable characters in the series but they have actually found a balance in their personnel lives and if everyone lives should be happy.

Elayne doesn’t see Rand as her equal she just knows she doesn’t have the power to order him around, she is still playing games and making plans that will affect their possible future without asking him about any of them. Despite all his power she still expects him to fill the roll she thought her husband would have growing up to be her second and obey her. She is making arraignments with Aviendha but neither discuss anything with Rand and if he made it through the last battle I think he would leave both of them after a few years and have little contact with either apart from to see his children.

Faile is like this as well only she might be more bearable as a friend I just would never date her, I liked her a lot when she was just friends with Perrin their relationship was like most of mine with girls. When they got together I wanted to strangle her playing games all the time isn’t a good way to keep a husband I’m surprised Perrin bothered to save her after the year he had.

TommyBoy52 you may be right may be wrong but as to Gawyn’s glazed look had he killed before? It is never easy the first time and his was worse than most as he a just killed men he liked and respected, have a marine half way through boot camp to kill his drill sergeant and you might find Gawyn handled it better than most. Lots of people end up vomiting and shaky the first time at least just being glazed over allows you to still defend yourself.

Tom said...

TommyBoy52, I never really considered that before, but I think you may be right! That makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

TommyBoy52 shadow rising, the truth of a viewing hardback page 539.

dazed blood masked face, half glazed eyes, tensed alomost to quivering and tired

not the full description just the symptoms far to lazy to write out the full sentences.

not saying in agree its about 50/50 shot you are right just not sure if its compulsion or post murder freak out of a NOOB to battle stressing out over killing friends and second guessing himself like a scared little boy.

sorry just quoted taylor swift need to change the radio station

Anonymous said...

just thinking about the whole gawyn egwene respect problem. she the Amyrlin
the last 2 have messed with gawyns life on a massive scale asking him to love her and respect her position is a bit harsh after the crap he had to put up with from siuan risking his sister and elaida trying to kill him she is lucky he is willing to give her the time of day as long as she claims that stupid title.

Anonymous said...

Got tired of strolling down to the bottom of a previous post.
Petty forsaken. The more I think about this the more I don’t think its their fault that they ended up petty evil children. In the age of legends those chora trees were everywhere and they suppressed people emotions by making everyone feel good which is probably why they were created for large scale crowd control. No one had to ever grow up and control his or her emotions or deal with rejection properly as soon as they went outside after a crappy day everything was better no wonder half the world went nuts.

Half the world are middle men or jealous of someone else but until Shai’Tan got free no one ever had to grow up but as his/her power spread the affects of the Chora trees and whatever else the Aes Sedai were using to control people began to lose there effect which fits with the descriptions of the decline. It also fits that the people at the top and the young fought for the light and most of the powerful but unsuccessful Aes Sedai turned against them they are 400 year old children with the power to level cities.

Looking at it this way I almost feel bad for the forsaken they are like children frying ants because they never needed to learn different.
It explains Lanfear, Sammael and Demandred’s behavior after the bore was created and apart from a certain fembot sadist Rand knocked off recently these people could have become responsible members of society. The Aes Sedai got what they deserved and the Hall of Servants deserved to be destroyed for controlling people the way they did even if it had been happening so long no one remembers why they were doing it.

Ok maybe I watched the Firefly movie yesterday and am on an anti government vent right now but the theory is sound all authority figures should be shot when they think they have the right to mess with peoples minds.

Anonymous said...

i dont think gawyn could have given away anything useful. he has never had any direct involvment with andoran politics and elayne seems like the type to play favs at tax time like her mother only those that aided her mother mostly rejected her until they thought they had no way out.
nothing he knows will still be relevant because elayne has admitted those that helped will be the only ones to get breaks during her rule but he wasnt there to see who helped and who joined up when it was that or die in a black cell.
andoran tradition was always to at least pretend to forget who didnt stand for the new queen but elayne has already had spies put into the house servants of every one that didnt instantly get behind her

sewa mobil said...

This is a good article, I learn many things from this. Thankyou.

Linda said...

Thanks all for your comments. Very interesting.

It could be that Gawyn was Compelled. But also that he is just plain reckless like his Arthurian parallel.

Roseheart said...

Linda: I would like to read the chapter Read Through for the first 12 books. Would you let me know how to access them? I am new to the books and need help understanding them at a deeper level. I am reading your read-through of The Gathering Storm. It is very helpful.

Linda said...

Roseheart, there is a series of links under Wheel of Time Reference Library in the top left of the blog pages. These are the Index links. The fifth link, Wheel Of Time Read-Through 2009-18 Index has the links to the read-through articles.

Plus, further down the left panel there is also a List of Labels. These are tags that are attached to relevant articles. Each book's read through also has its tag listed there.

I'm glad you are enjoying the articles.

Roseheart said...


I have read the postings for the first 12 books but there is not a Chapter by Chapter Read Through for them. Only for the last three. If they are not available, I will understand and quit asking. Thank you for the work you have done. It brings more meaning to the books.

I started reading them in August of last year and have read them over and over including twice listening and reading at the same time. I started on my kindle and now am reading the physical books.

Linda said...

Roseheart, the Read Through was started by myself and DomA on a fan site called wotmania in 2008. It was great fun and we did the first 3 books chapter by chapter before it was announced that wotmania was going to close. (In fact, publisher TOR set up their own with a different essayist later that year when they saw how successful ours was). DomA and I set up this blog in 2009 but decided on a different format for our read-through due to the change in website type (blog versus message board). We went for looking at themes in each book instead. This was something other essayists weren't doing.

I only reverted to chapter by chapter for the last 3 books because they were brand new material and not been discussed copiously elsewhere.