Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Memory of Light Read-Through #3: Prologue— Androl and Moghedien POVs

By Linda

Androl POV

Androl and Pevara deal with their nervousness in different ways: he is making something to keep his mind occupied, while she is chattering and questioning. Androl lets Pevara know that he is aware of her questioning others about him and that he finds it under-handed. He also shows her he knows why she is doing it: to find out why a man would choose to learn to channel—or see if he could. To his surprise she replies honestly. She is a better person than he thought. While talking to her, Androl is trying to force himself to be calm, like a woman wanting to channel saidar.

Pevara suggests that they try to link. This technique is something Androl didn’t know existed. When she patronises him about his lack of knowledge, he says no man may know everything, implying that anyone, including women, who claims to know all are wrong.

Androl assures Pevara that he is weak in the Power, even though he is a leader. This is not something an Aes Sedai would expect, since it is the opposite of Aes Sedai custom. Perhaps she thinks he is trying to fob her off, but she will soon find out he is being truthful.

The Red tries to flatter Emarin at the expense of the other Asha’man present and he insults her politely—or at least, mocks her. Androl thinks she missed his sarcasm, but sarcasm doesn’t work if it is ignored. So they came off about equal.

Emarin and Pevara are working out ways to escape, but Androl wants to bring everyone out who isn’t a Darkfriend. Moreover, the Asha’man will not abandon the families that they brought to the Tower. Events ensure that Androl ends up having his way.

Emarin notices Androl’s slip when he speaks of the Knoks rebellion. He is observant, but so is Androl, who has deduced that Emarin is using his brother’s name and is Lord Algarin of House Pendaloan. Like Androl’s family, the Pendaloans have the genes for channelling in their family. While the reader might assume that there are also female channellers as well as male ones in such a family, we often don’t see both genders of channellers in the one family. The inheritance is therefore probably separate and sex-linked (which makes sense, considering the two Powers are gender specific.) Halima/Arangar, the only woman able to channel saidin, is an unnatural creation of the Dark One, and an example of Wrongness. Algarin/Emarin is very unusual in judging people by merit and not background, and (mostly) respecting Aes Sedai—especially for a Tairen High Lord.

Androl sees this time as a test for the Asha’man to prove their fitness for self-governance and independence. They can’t run to others and yet demand to be their own people. Most of Logain's faction are resentful that Rand has not come to the Black Tower but not Androl. Rand has got other things to do, but the Black Tower was a very important thing and Rand was blind on this and distracted by the Shadow.

Pevara explains that people are being Turned to the Shadow. She sees the Black Tower as fallen under the Shadow’s influence. (Little does she know the degree to which the White Tower was run by the Shadow.) Androl wants to overthrow that influence and make the Black Tower a refuge, a positive place for male channellers—something that Pevara hasn’t really considered should happen.

Androl points out that evil people don’t inspire loyalty only self-interested allies, which gives them an advantage. He is a reluctant leader and looks on his role as temporary until Logain returns. In his opinion, the Asha’man all belong to the Black Tower, not any one person.

Regarding forcibly freeing the Black Tower from the Shadow, Androl doubts that Aes Sedai can fight well due to lack of experience. This is a reasonable inference, although the Reds and Greens do practise. The White Tower has not been that peaceable in the last years—although Pevara will not admit to any fighting among Aes Sedai. However, the sisters have battled Darkfriends and Shadowspawn less than they might. Androl also points out that Asha’man will ally with Taim to fight off Aes Sedai if sisters try to play a large part.

Moghedien POV

The final scene of the Prologue is the Forsaken meeting in a locale controlled by the Nae’blis. Moridin likes to confound as well as intimidate, and so his little world has floating stone, a breeze that doesn’t ripple the water surface, and burning water. The dream shard is attached to Tel’aran’rhiod, yet is unaffected by it. This is consistent with Ishamael’s books on reality and meaning (Analysis of Perceived Meaning, Reality and the Absence of Meaning, and The Disassembly of Reason) and also with his strategy of distracting the other Forsaken with his ‘crazy’ and alarming ideas.

Moghedien is subtle in her use of motifs and symbolism but still emphasises that she is not wearing livery. The wind with screams on it seems designed to disturb Moghedien by reminding her of her punishment. However, she is not fearful when Moridin threatens to give her mindtrap to Demandred and instead opportunistically tries to lower Demandred’s standing—but it doesn’t work. Demandred is strongly favoured currently.

The Spider thinks she wasn’t careful enough if she got mind-trapped. But doing nothing is also a move that results in disaster as often as success. Just a few moments ago, she was bolder, but Moridin’s warning of a return to captivity makes her fearful; fearful of losing her mindtrap that she holds. Does this foreshadow what happens when she is collared?

It turns out that Moghedien kept information back from Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne. Knowledge in all its forms—correct, partial and corrupt—is an important theme of the books—see Knowledge essay.

The scene shows that both Demandred and Moridin are unbalanced now that the finale is upon them. Moridin is withdrawn and brooding – uncaring in evil. His efforts to destroy Rand’s soul have backfired and he is despairing and tired of his greatly prolonged life. Demandred is obsessed with achieving personal triumph and “satisfaction” over Rand.

However, obsessed or no, Demandred is more observant than Moghedien, who also has changed. She is crushed, and overwhelmed to a degree, and missing things. It was only through Demandred that she noticed the sea is full of people—souls—being tortured. Moridin/Ishamael is always surrounded by such torture and pain. Moghedien is glad to see someone worse off than her. Is that why the Forsaken surround themselves with suffering? Blinded by ambition to be higher than everyone else, and yet they gloat over seeing people in the worst states. So petty and vulnerable to punishment.

No one knows what Demandred is up to—except Moridin probably. In turn, Demandred is probing Moridin, watching for weakness. Moridin killed Lanfear to free her from Sindhol (which is the name of a world, not of the creatures who live there).

As Hessalam, Graendal is hideous. Literally a monster, Graendal the man-eating bewitcher has now become Grendel the monster of legend, (see Graendal article). Moghedien gloats over this, but envies Hessalam’s strength in the Power. She recognises Graendal by her tone and body language and enjoys the irony of Graendal’s ugly state. She feels Graendal got her just desserts and that Graendal, despite her power and abilities, is no longer above her:

Moghedien almost chortled with glee. Graendal had always used her looks as a bludgeon. Well, now they were a bludgeon of a different type. How perfect! The woman must be positively writhing inside. What had she done to earn such a punishment? Graendal's stature—her authority, the myths told about her—were all linked to her beauty. What now? Would she have to start searching for the most horrid people alive to keep as pets, the only ones who could compete with her ugliness?

This time, Moghedien did laugh. A quiet laugh, but Graendal heard. The woman shot her a glare that could have set a section of the ocean aflame all on its own.

Moghedien returned a calm gaze, feeling more confident now. She resisted the urge to stroke the cour'souvra. Bring what you will, Graendal, she thought. We are on level footing now. We shall see who ends this race ahead.

A Memory of Light, Prologue

It is hard to say who ended the race ahead. Graendal would be the happier of the two, although as mindless as all those she enslaved, while Moghedien has her mind, but is unfree. Who is better off? For Graendal, ignorance is bliss. Moghedien has hope of escape, but maybe not much chance. The point is that neither won.

Finally we get to the ostensible point of this meeting: Taim has been raised to Chosen. He will be known by his self-adopted title of M’Hael, which means leader and is a reference to Hitler’s title of Der Fuhrer and also to St Michael who leads a host against the Dragon at Armageddon (see Names of the Shadow). Moridin introduces him formally to force the other Forsaken to accept M’Hael’s rise and status and also to point out his successes and their failures.

Speaking of failures, Moghedien is resentful that Moridin has not been punished for his failures and his need to be rescued. The difference is that Ishamael died serving the Dark One, though, not serving himself.

Moghedien feels insulted at having to assist Demandred by watching over one of the armies (Seanchan) and even more when she is threatened by Moridin in front of the others.

Fun in the Last Days. Moridin’s meeting parallels Rand’s meeting in a couple of chapters’ time. Both are having unity problems.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of failures, Moghedien is resentful that Moridin has not been punished for his failures and his need to be rescued. The difference is that Ishamael died serving the Dark One, though, not serving himself."

Moridin was punished, of course. He was, in his own words, brought back by the Dark One. While all the rest of the Forsaken crave immortality, Moridin has come to despise it.