Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Memory of Light Illustrations

By Linda

Darrell Sweet Sketch for A Memory of Light

Link toIrene Gallo's post on the sketch at TOR.com

Rand’s body lies on a bier on a pile of logs in a battlefield. There is possibly fire between the logs, but no smoke. Three women in mourning white circle it. Since they are three ‘witches,’ the scene has a Macbeth-like feel. TOR art director Irene Gallo says the women are Min, Aviendha and Elayne. The blondest woman – Elayne, presumably – is sleeveless, which is atypical of dress in The Wheel of Time – and she doesn’t appear to be pregnant, either. There are swords and arrows in the field, but no evidence that the battle included cannon.

The Aes Sedai symbol in cloud reminded me of the prophecy that “under this sign Rand will conquer” – what? Presumably the Shadow, but what about death too? Irene Gallo hints that the dots of contrasting shade are supposed to be there, when they have previously been missing since at least the Age of Legends as a symbol that the world is not in balance. Darrell Sweet’s son told me that they might have been removed in the final version. So perhaps it was not decided on.

The regularly terraced object in the left background may be a tall buildihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifng – though none yet have been described with this style – or a mountain. It glows red at the tip. The whitish mass partially covered by the cloud could be Tar Valon (and therefore the terraced pile would be Dragonmount).

The cover is more apocalyptic than the Whelan cover.

Michael Whelan A Memory of Light Cover

Link to TOR.com's post on the cover

The scene is a cave with limestone stalactites (specifically modelled on the Carlsbad caves). Yet Shayol Ghul is volcanic with an active magma chamber, steam and vapours and “stone teeth” (A Crown of Swords, Mindtrap), NOT stalactites, probably similar to these igneous formations:

Rand walks ahead with Callandor. Two women “who have been with him since the beginning”, according to Irene Gallo, follow him. One, in blue, is probably Moiraine, and other, in yellow and green, is probably Nynaeve (though Nynaeve hasn’t worn yellow, despite being of the Yellow Ajah, because it’s not one of Lan’s favourite colours on women). Rand’s coat has no pockets in this picture, whereas in the books his coats do, and they were big enough to cart around the access key figurine.

There is nice clear light outside – and it’s not very shadowy in the cave, either. This despite the sun being obscured by not only cloud, but the moon as well, it seems. If the drawing is accurate (and for the northern hemisphere), a total solar eclipse will happen in about ten to twenty seconds - and the darkness will last for 7.5 minutes at most.


Dolphineus said...

The Aes Sedai symbol in the clouds has been rotated 90 degrees.

The Dragon's Fang had the point down. Now neither point is down.

Can anything to be read into that? Or is it just another example of the person drawing the cover art not having read the books?

Anthony said...

Sweet's cover looks more like the foot of the cross than a scene from MacBeth.

I don't know if there is terracing on Dragon Mount but there are apple orchards. And sometimes agriculture comes with terracing.

Linda said...

Dolphpineus: I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Linda - go back to the Comments in the Tor.com thread on Whelan. Towards the end of the comments, one of Whelan's assistants made several posts explaining details of the cover. For example, Nyneave's relatively short, unbraided hair was specifically requested by the publisher/author folk. The eclipse in the background was suggested by publisher/author folk, Nyneave's yellow dress was painted even though Whelan was advised Nyneave didn't ordinarily wear that color except in slashes of color (because Lan didn't like it). Great stuff, especially for someone like you who appreciates costume issues.


Linda said...

Thanks Rob.

I knew that Whelan would be advised in detail by TOR and Team Jordan - and that the cover would be an interplay of their ideas and his. As for Nynaeve's yellow dress, it balances the yellow in the sky, just as Moiraine's blue is balanced in the sky. My argument is that the sky is brighter than it "should" be...artistic licence.

Aravind ( Achilles_666 ) said...

The cover is pretty good, yup!

But isn't Nynaeve's hair dark? Its been shown blond.. At first, I thought it was Elayne and that everyone is mistaken. But the red dot on her forehead is very clear in the widescreen covers..
So anyone else noticed it?

Linda said...

The cover has Nynaeve with lighter brown hair than she has. Highlighted, I think, since she is the one closest to the outside, and the sky.