Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Towers of Midnight Read-Through #35: Chapter 28 -Oddities

By Linda


Faile POV

Faile is content that she can’t always anticipate Perrin’s actions and that he doesn’t back down from her. She respects him because he is not too easy to handle and therefore is worthy of her hand. It’s part of the courtly love motif of their sub-thread. When Faile senses that Perrin is too distracted by worries to concern himself over whether to appease her she’s not too thrilled, but thoughts of Berelain eyeing off Galad are compensation enough to let it pass.

Perrin has agreed to the trial to buy himself time as well as make the Whitecloaks hear the other side to their charges. He believes Galad is fair enough to really do that. Too often Whitecloaks prejudge and their captives never get to explain their side of the story. In this sub-thread we see the huge changes that Galad is making to the Whitecloaks, seemingly effortlessly due to his obvious excellence and goodness. In reality he has paid the price for the changes already, as well as earned the right to make them, by enduring abuse from the Questioners for the greater good of the order.

Perrin POV

In Tel’aran’rhiod Perrin’s link to Mat pulled him straight to the Tower of Ghenjei. Previously we have seen people pulled to others’ dreams, but not people pulled to places in Tel’aran’rhiod that others close to them are focussed on.

Judging by the way the dreamspike barrier makes a being go limp when they touch it, it appears to block an area by sapping the brain’s control of the body. Only those with a very strong self-image can counteract its influence. Within the dome Tel’aran’rhiod works as normal except for the difficulty of passing through the barrier. Perrin does not jump to conclusions that the dreamspike is what causes the smell of wrongness around the camps, but does think they are related: pretty good judgement. His judgement was also sound about it not being worth the risk for Morgase to tell them her identity.

Hopper likens Slayer to a wolf of wrongness, and he is a human Darkhound, in a way. I suspect he is the Broken Wolf of the Shadow’s Prophecy, if that prophecy comes true. (In Rand’s opinion prophecies show the conditions necessary for something to happen, but are no guarantees that it will happen. Other characters, Siuan and King Paitar, for example, disagree and believe that prophecy is infallible.)

Ituralde POV

The Shadowspawn outside Maradon don’t attack, but constantly beat drums. It’s intimidating and presents anyone resting. There are Darkfriend male channellers with the Shadowspawn. They aren’t seen though, only sensed. For all we know there could also be Black Ajah working with them.

Ituralde refuses to flee Maradon. Firstly because it’s the best way to keep the Shadow out of Arad Doman, and secondly, he trusts that Rand will send forces to save the city.

The Great Captain is in shock at what one explosion can do – in this case made by channellers, but cannon can do the same –to a city’s defences. It is the end of fortresses being able to keep out invaders so long as their food and water supplies hold, and no one betrays them. Ituralde thinks if he’d had more time he could have held the city. This would be by using traps to keep the invaders out, but he could not have stopped the Shadow breaking the walls down and smashing the important buildings. For such a noted strategist it is surprising that he has been using the palace as a command post. It would be an obvious and conspicuous target, with its location known and easily seen from outside the city. He should have been using a somewhat less blatant but still central point for his headquarters.

Yoeli is convinced that the smoke they see is a signal that help is coming. But it isn’t. It may be in the right location, or it may merely be what Yoeli wants to believe. In desperation he challenges Ituralde to keep fighting at Maradon. The Shadow’s attack raises some questions. Why didn’t Darkfriend channellers enter the city? Are they too few? Or needed elsewhere? Why didn’t the Trollocs bring siege towers and ladders to enter the city from higher levels as well as at ground level? Ituralde’s strategy is urban guerrilla warfare, even though he believes it is a lost cause and that they should have abandoned the city.

I didn’t like Ituralde’s use of ‘son’ when addressing Deepe. Ituralde is only in his middle years, and anyway, ‘son’ isn’t something the characters said prior to The Gathering Storm.


how to climb said...

thanks for the great read.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I've been reading it as I've waded through my own re-read of the series and your insights are always enlightening. To follow that positive thought with a negative, however :-), we know that Brandon Sanderson isn't RJ. He's doing a great job at an impossible assignment. The constant pointing-out of his language gaffes is unfortunate. That's all! Regardless, I'll still keep reading. Keep it up!

Linda said...

Thanks! I'm glad you like the read-through.

James: In the previous read-through post I was criticised by another reader for not criticising Brandon's characterisation enough. I'm pretty much stuck in that no matter what I write, someone will wish it differently. Kinda like with Brandon, I guess.

Sid said...

Love the blog, Linda. You'd make the Aes Sedai in the 13th Depository proud, I think.

In the analysis/criticisms, I say call them like you see them. No point in sugarcoating it, IMO. I wish some of the gaffes had been edited before the books came out. At least then there wouldn't be so bloody many of them. It's a shame they pushed to get ToM out so quickly.

Anonymous said...

I think the dream spike is more like an electric fence in the dream. Passing through is not going to kill you. at least no one has died yet. Dream spikes also seem to act like the stedding. or maybe like the barrier around ruhidean. it was never made clear but i dont think that gate ways could be opened into rhuidean until rand and asmodean fought there.

Ilturalde used the palace because it has a tower that grants a great view over the wall. without having to send out scouts he doesnt need to waste his men on suicide missions. after all they will come to him anyway. with channeling why would shadow spawn need siege weapons? over all i think that Ituralde lived up to his rep as a great captain.

Manetheren said...

Amusingly, Sanderson's language differences threw me off-guard a few times until I figured out it was his writing. I have gotten so used to the way all the people in the WoT books acted and talked that when a scene would occur with a character and one of the language changes occurred I'd start talking to the book saying, "He's a dark friend! Don't fall for it!" Haha.

This really occurred when Rand went to Captain Ituralde (sp?) in the stedding. His language and actions were different and I instantly starting thinking "Darkfriend! Don't trust him!" But then Rand said a few things that clearly only Rand would know and I realized it was Sanderson's writing.

Count Repugsive said...

"Son" really annoyed me. Ituralde does it, Bryne does it, Morgase does it ... And none of them did it before. It's an example of Sanderson's weak writing, for me - he can't give characters their own distinctive voice. I think you should point out such things when you see them, Linda, just as you praise things you think he's done well. I find the different perspectives an interesting read.

Linda said...

Ituralde could have put scouts on the palace tower without endangering himself, or using it as a headquarters. Ituralde expected siege weapons, or some sort of wall and tower destroying device.

When Perrin and Rhuarc wanted to look at the Dumai's Wells battle they were careful not to be seen on the crest, looked and then did not linger to discuss but descended. They were smart. They knew that high viewpoints are obvious targets for attacks and acted accordingly.

I noticed Morgase saying son, but that was to Galad, herstep-son. In The Eye of the World, she called Elayne daughter. So that is fine.

Lan is another character who now calls younger men son. They are great men who are doing it, but it's patronising. These men are above such stuff.

Anonymous said...

I don't find this use of "son" patronizing. But I learned to talk in the Arkansas Ozarks hill country, where this was a very common form of address from any older man, or person of higher authority and prestige, to a younger person of any age. Absolutely nothing demeaning was meant by it there, quite the opposite--it was inclusive.

I don't know it this usage was common in the coastal Southern (different dialect) near the Sea Islands of South Carolina (though I wouldn't be surprised if it was) or in the western midwest English (a western version of Western Reserve (Cleveland, Ohio--"radio announcer") English that probably formed the linguistic background both in Nebraska and Utah where Brandon has lived most of his life.

I do hear you that RJ didn't use the inclusion, but one would only use it in the books if one was assuing a mentoring, advisory role to a person who was not a social superior--such as the Dragon Reborn. I agree that Galad or Gawain might be special cases.

Another nit pick/quibble. Fixed fortifications such as those at Caemlyn were utterly obsolete after 1500 in our universe, for the obvious reasons. Other fortifications, such as star forts, etc., were developed almost immediately that were nearly impervious to these types of bombardment. Sieges went on forever in the 17th century--particularly in the low countries/Netherlands.

R.J., a Citadel graduate and veteran, would have known this in his bones, not requiring mention, as would Sanderson. What one has at the sudden introduction of effective field artillery is a moment in time between two military eras, in which there was little effective defense against field artillery.

But don't let my comments detract from my enormous delight and appreciation in and of your work and contributions.

Thank you.

Linda said...

Anon: I find it patronising because none of the characters did it before and now a few of them are.

I agree that the scene in Caemlyn is at a great turning point in military history, when the introduction of artillery changed so much. This technological leap is one of the most interesting features of the series for me.

Like so much, we don't know what RJ would have shown or described and what not. The barrel lengths, I'm guessing and he would have put in the recoil and the smoke. He always had a much lighter touch on symbolism, too - showing without telling.