Monday, November 12, 2012

Towers of Midnight Read-through #41: Chapter 34 - Judgment

By Linda

Perrin feels his forces are not united but are doing what they see as best for themselves. But then, until recently, he wasn’t united either, or doing his job properly, so without a good example to follow, why would they be? Proof of this is that he tells himself he wants to disband his armies because leadership is starting to feel natural and he doesn’t want the responsibility. He’s using the excuse of the axe: if you like it, get rid of it. Gaul comments that Perrin is being a leader and Perrin says it’s only because he has to be. But that is the point: he doesn’t have to like it, just do it. And get over it. The time and energy he’s wasting railing against fate would be better spent fulfilling that fate.

When Perrin does get on with thinking and planning, he’s very good at it. In short order he deduces that the dome causes the gateway problem, that it is probably a ter’angreal, that it could be in Tel’aran’rhiod, and also that Forsaken are involved. He has insight into what his vision of sheep running from wolves means – it symbolises Slayer’s trap, which Perrin’s group is trying to escape. So instead of being the attackers as he originally thought, he and his people are the prey of someone else. And Morgase gives credit where it’s due by reluctantly introducing Perrin as Lord of the Two Rivers. Contrast this with Egwene who made erroneous conclusions and stuck to them even when shown evidence that they were wrong or incomplete. But at least she doesn’t whine about the job.

Judgment is about the results of past actions being due. The first of these is that had Perrin fought the Whitecloaks instead of agreeing to a trial, the Shadow would have attacked his tired forces after that battle, and the dreamspike and Mesaana would not have been destroyed. Nor would Perrin’s armies fight at the Last Battle. The Black Ajah would have lured Aes Sedai into their trap.

The second, an example of a positive result from negative events, is that Faile working with Berelain during the bubble of evil, even though Berelain has caused her so much grief, has convinced the camp that Perrin was not unfaithful.

During the presentation of evidence at his trial, Perrin sees two memory streams – that of the wolf and the man - but no longer feels divided while doing so. More painful for him is that he has to be public about his ability for the first time.

The belief that wolves and wolfbrothers serve the Dark One is a Wheel of Time myth. It parallels the real world belief in werewolves and that wolves and werewolves are in league with the devil. Even Morgase is frightened of Perrin’s ability, or perhaps that Perrin’s admission of it will convict him. The trial scene shows the contagion of fear and the confusion it engenders.

Perrin makes Bornhald reconsider his prejudices against others who are different to him. He complements Bornhald on his father which stifles Bornhald’s objections, and shows that Perrin can value those who are different to him.

Galad questions what evidence Byar has that Perrin killed Geofram Bornhald. Byar didn’t see anything, he just ‘knows’. Even though he witnessed it, he refuses to believe that Perrin fought on the side of Whitecloaks at Falme and defended the Two Rivers; such is the strength of prejudice and resulting hatred.

Perrin’s claim is that he killed the Whitecloaks in self-defence, and that the Whitecloaks did not have the authority to threaten them. Perrin regrets his past actions but doesn’t excuse them, and accepts that he is guilty. Morgase says:

Well, the law is very clear. Perrin may feel that the wolves were his friends, but the law states that a man's hound or livestock is worth a certain price. Slaying them is unlawful, but killing a man in retribution is even more so.

Towers of Midnight, Judgment

which means that both sides killed illegally, but Perrin committed the graver crime. A death sentence is not mandatory when both sides are brawling mercenaries. Galad is the one who has the responsibility to assign a sentence since is the leader of the more wronged party. This is also a way of getting the Whitecloaks to accept the judgment. The Whitecloak commander asks Perrin if he will abide by the sentence and he affirms that he will. This is probably a factor in Galad’s eventual ‘milder’ sentence, as of course is Perrin’s rescue of the Whitecloaks. Perrin is honourable to all; even to groups that most think don’t deserve it.

While Perrin is trying to restore his honour here – meet his toh – he also wants to fulfil his obligations to the world to do his duty in the Last Battle and reminds them all of that rather more important trial and day of judgment. Perrin promises to submit to Galad’s authority after the Last Battle, and soon Galad will submit to Perrin’s authority until the Last Battle. While Faile was lost to him Perrin did not care about the Last Battle, but now he is totally focussed on keeping as many people alive to fight at it as possible.

Galad reserves his sentence on Perrin. He’s not just keeping Perrin in suspense and calming down his own people, quite possibly he hasn’t decided it. Galad accepts Perrin’s vow because it is the honourable thing to do, since Perrin did the honourable thing in turning up for trial and accepting its judgment.

The chapter shows how much Perrin is haunted by his crime and wants to free himself of this guilt. The Aiel at least are probably the most understanding of this.

Bain and Chiad’s teasing of Gaul shows they care. Also, he has to accept their care or else he is demeaning their role. So while they are his servants, they show how they can keep the relationship equal. He respects that. For one thing it is a declaration of their intent at the end of their time just as his was made when he fought so hard to gain custody of them in Malden.

Something in this chapter that could be tidied up is that the Faile POV turns into a Perrin POV without a break.


Viperswhip said...

Heh, it's not like Perrin admitted to chopping up 8 Whitecloaks while freeing an Aeil.

Anonymous said...

He probably didn't see that as a crime since he was rescuing a person, not avenging a wolf.


Russ said...

Just an FYI, the POV issue you mention was also pointed out by Leigh Butler in her re-read at Tor. Someone from team Jordan responded in the comments that it was spotted and subsequently fixed in the paperback editions.