Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Memory of Light Read-through #19: Chapter 16—A Silence Like Screaming

By Linda

While the thinking and talking continues, the action definitely steps up its pace in this chapter. The silence like screaming is the agony of those whose voices are never heard—or who don’t have a voice, but still suffer the horror of corruption and destruction.

Loial POV

Loial doesn’t truly understand hastiness, especially the other side of it—impatience. Humans won’t listen to someone all day, and yes, they do miss out on a lot because of that. The Ogier notice that people live faster because of their shorter lives, but they don’t realise this gives humans a very different perception of time. Loial feels that the Ogier are complacent about the long time they have and so achieve far less. Of course, currently, the risk is that the Ogiers’ very long lives will be cut short.

On the other side, humans do not sense the health of the land as well or deeply as Ogier do. With the Ogier being quiet and deep, the intensity of their arousal into battle fury is all the more unexpected. Loial’s rage is at the corruption and ruination of the land and living things, and at being deprived of peace and forced to kill. The Ogier feel forced to live like Trollocs, and in their rage turn around and out-Trolloc the Trollocs—at least in battle.

Ogier were named after ogres as well as after Ogier Street (itself named after the Ogier family) in Charleston. This scene is when they really show that they are ogres.

Galad POV

The Ogiers’ transformation into ogres scares the Whitecloaks. One of the Children—Golever—thinks that they must be Darkfriends. On the whole, anything that scares the Whitecloaks is believed by them to be allied to the Shadow. The best thing Galad can do for the Children is stop this simplistic thinking.

Rand and Moiraine POV

Rand’s thoughts of “If what Thom said was true, Mat might be the key [to making a pact with the Seanchan]”—refers to the fact that Mat has married the Empress.

Rand kind of regrets not trusting Moiraine. Although she counters him that he did trust her, but wanted to do everything himself. He now freely says that he can’t. Yet even while thinking that he should trust Moiraine, Rand doesn’t tell her anything about Callandor—especially that it is a True Power sa’angreal. Ironically, he destroyed the male Choedan Kal because it was too dangerous, yet Callandor is at least as dangerous as the Choedan Kal was, if not more. The immensity of the One Power that could be pulled through the Choedan Kal balanced the lure of channelling the True Power unaided, yet Callandor is a sa’angreal for the True Power…

However, Rand does tell Moiraine that he aims to kill the Dark One. He thinks he will be able to do this more easily than sealing it way. I am reminded of the Aiel saying that “Even a child can kill”. Re-sealing the Dark One in its prison would be harder, but also much more constructive, as the system of toh would indicate. Moiraine says the Dark One is part of the Wheel and implies that destroying it would damage the Pattern. From what we see when the Dark One and Rand exchange visions at Shayol Ghul, she is probably is right about this, but for the wrong reason. She is worried about causality, but the Dark One offers people choice, and that is its most important role in the Pattern. Rand thinks killing the Dark One will be another of his impossible tasks, his “nine impossible things” as Nicola Foretold, and a parallel with Hercules’ labours.

Moiraine is not fooled by Rand’s bluff that his memories make him old. If that were so, Mat would be old, and Perrin with the wolves’ collective memory probably even older.

Moiraine has apparently heard about the previous failed meeting with Tuon—from her agents, or perhaps from Nynaeve. Like Rand’s abilities, Moiraine’s seemingly magical ability to know things and acquire information may have a mundane explanation.

While Moiraine regards the pact with the Seanchan as an unnecessary distraction, Rand sees it as essential to winning. This time, Rand is right: the Seanchan must join in the fight in the Last Battle. After that, it is important that they be part of the peace pact, as Aviendha’s visions in the glass columns showed. Moiraine has emphasised Rand’s destructive and divisive side, but in order for him to right Lews Therin’s mistakes, he must also be unifying.

Moiraine now acknowledges that Rand is mature, probably because he did not snap at her when she says he is just a youth. She broods that doesn’t know if his ideas are right. What is unspoken, is that her ideas may not be right either. In actuality, each has some things correct, and some not. The Blue sister trusts in the Wheel to weave things right, yet wishes she could understand it.


Unsurprisingly, everyone is in awe of Lan’s feat of killing two Myrddraal simultaneously. As Lan(celot), he is the best of the best, truly “the highest knight on life”. The scene looks ahead to when he does what no one else can do and kills Demandred.

Kaisel is concerned that the Saldaean women, including the queen, are fighting in battle. Lan believes that it is not worth objecting about. Yet Tenobia is killed later on after Agelmar’s judgment is corrupted. Of course, many other rulers and nobles perish in the Last Battle. Everyone has to do their part, and Lan thinks Kaisel is stupid about women in thinking they shouldn’t fight. The Malkieri King’s been among Aes Sedai a long time; it has changed his Borderlander views.

Lan’s plan relies on the Trollocs being so ravenous that they are distracted with eating their dead. It works until the channellers arrive. Asha’man Deepe refuses to retreat when M’Hael attacks and is killed. Realising Deepe’s error of judgment, Lan is also nearly killed, which would have been a triumph indeed for the Shadow if he had been.

1 comment:

Borislav said...

"The Blue sister trusts in the Wheel to weave things right, yet wishes she could understand it."

This is a very big progress for Moiraine. Her very first PoV in the series ended with her thought that "The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills." Now, there's a little extra after that in her admitting that she does not understand as much as she nearly wishes, however, to her credit, without any feeling of regret or despair (despair has been mentioned often by Moiraine if you think of it, until her ultimate despair in the Finn world).

One interesting thing about the relationship between Rand and Moiraine is that it is somewhat inverted now.
In Fires of Heaven, Moiraine is determined to her cause to guide and help Rand at any cost for herself, even acting as his servant and nearly dying to save him. Rand is determined to "win the Last battle" and die at any cost for the world ("They will accept my peace or bury me in Kann Breet" [quoted by memory] and so much as letting a Forsaken live!). Both characters now have moved way past their one-sided view and have become more trusting and open to the world around them. One is better armed with self-knowledge and control and the other is given up a great deal of her self-knowledge and control. One gave up a weapon, the other acquired a weapon.
(Come down to the technical side of the Power, Moiraine now has an advantage to any woman who can sense her strength in the Power and underestimate her).

In FoH Moiraine had her own knowledge of self from her being raised Aes Sedai but was lacking any ability to feel for other people.
Rand felt for other people so much so he felt pity for a Forsaken but lacked any self knowledge.

Both characters had to overcome a great obstacle to ... invert. Rand gave up his most powerful weapon to acquire self knowledge (LTT's previous life) and stop seeing himself as a weapon. Moiraine had to give up almost all her Power (barely short of being unable to channel at all) to stop seeing herself only as Aes Sedai bound to the Wheel and feel for other people beyond her self knowledge.

Let's not forget also that every character with the ability to channel has their own attitude to the One power, with their ability determining in some cases a great deal of time learning it and also accepting that their life would be different to everyone else's, being from the responsibility, being from the danger that it brings them. Each channeler has kept or given up different parts of their "regular" life with the most capable (Elayne, Moiraine, Neald!, Nynaeve, the Wise ones, Tuon!!!) remaining or becoming intact with having a spouse/family and a life outside the absolution of their One power school. Rand and Moiraine as well as Nynaeve and Elayne are among the first Aes Sedai to demonstrate that this is, in fact possible which foreshadows some of the huge changes to convention for Aes Sedai in the Fourth Age.

So, in a way, in this chapter Rand and Moiraine are very different people to what they were the previous time they met (aside from signing the Dragon peace) and yet the same. Mainly, in really needing each other's friendship and support and much more acceptable that the other one could be right.

* Sorry for such a long comment!
** Please read "self-knowledge" as the "self-knowledge acquired during the test for being raised Aes Sedai" throughout.