Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Memory of Light Read-through #28: Chapter 25—Quick Fragments

By Linda

Siuan POV

Siuan boldly tests the Amyrlin (despite being a VERY junior Aes Sedai) but then realises that even more intimate memories could have been passed on to the Shadow. Myrelle, who, incidentally, now has new Warders (plural) from the Black Tower, informed the Aes Sedai about the Turning and how that could be seen in the person’s eyes. However, Siuan is not sure what form this difference takes and how obvious it is really is:

If we can't tell, Siuan thought, then we're already doomed. She would have to trust the Amyrlin as she had so many times before.

A Memory of Light, Quick Fragments

She can’t bring herself to think about it in a plain fashion, which may be adding to the problem. There has been too much pretending there is no Black Ajah and no corruption of channellers. Siuan decides she just has to trust the Amyrlin. Ironically, as far as trust goes, she is looking in the wrong direction. Her own Warder has been corrupted under her nose—the guy she trusts above all other men—and a large portion of their army is doomed.

Egwene is not sure if she trusts Rand’s statement that the Seanchan fight the Shadow. Note that the Seanchan’s top general was not Compelled or corrupted through his dreams, only a second-tier general was. Moghedien’s mode of operation is indirect, as against Graendal’s bold, direct methods. It succeeded for longer, too.

Rand’s POV

Rand’s firmness prevents the Dark One from closing the way down to the Pit of Doom upon the party. Dark One tries to intimidate them with sound, instead. It works on Moiraine, not much on the other two.

At the end of the road, there is no fire, only nothingness. No illusions. Not even Shaidar Haran, now. They also find Moridin being the Dark Knight: on one knee, head bowed, sword “held before him, tip resting against the ground”. Most tellingly, he is at the edge of the light, neither fully in one or the other, but his eyes are almost completely covered in saa.

Moridin wants that nothingness, a negative nirvana in which he will be freed from the cycle of rebirth. Nirvana is a Buddhist concept in which the person reaches non-self and Emptiness—has no consciousness. It is the end of rebirth by stilling the fires (apt!) that keep the process of rebirth going. Moksha, on the other hand, is a Hindu concept in which the cycle of rebirth ends with the soul being united with, and understanding, the whole universe as the Self. To gain his Nirvana, he is prepared to destroy the whole world’s reincarnation cycle and doom them to rebirth into a dark universe. He will weaken Rand, if he can, to help the Dark One win in exchange for the promised oblivion, even though he knows that Dark One is a liar.

The woman that Rand senses is in trouble is Elayne, who has channelled to exhaustion.


Lan realises he is a target of the Shadowspawn army. The only thing surprising about this is that Lan took so long to consider that they would target him.

When he goes up a hill to view the battlefield for a change, he is just in time to see that too many reserves were sent to fill a gap in their lines. He will check the mistake, which leads to the unmasking of Agelmar’s Compelled mind—but not soon enough.

Perrin POV

The chapter title refers to the “quick fragments of an enormous battle” that Perrin sees; plus the quick fragments of a few POVs. No one can see it all. Of interest is that Perrin sees snake-like people in the dream fighting—these are Aelfinn, I expect. Perrin is the only one of the three ta’veren who has never seen them before.

When Perrin sees wolves waiting near Shayol Ghul, he remarks that they don’t say what they’re waiting for. The Last Hunt; they have told Perrin this before.

From Min’s viewing, Perrin knows that Rand will need him at some point, but can’t wait here for that like the wolves are. There is too much for him to do.

Perrin uses Mah’alienir (which does miss sometimes, for all that it's named after Thor’s hammer) to smash Slayer’s arrow from the air, and is led into a troop of red-veiled Aiel. He shows mercy to the two Aiel channellers and doesn’t kill them in Tel’aran’rhiod in case they can't be reborn, a mercy they didn’t show to the wolves. This is before he learns that they were Turned. By Aiel terms, this earns him great ji. He outdoes Gaul, who killed one who could channel. Lanfear says that people don’t die forever if killed in Tel’aran’rhiod, but Perrin realises she could be lying. Gaul kills them after Perrin determines that he cannot Turn them back to the Light. Slayer escaped back to the waking world, and Perrin sets up a message relay service among the wolves to let him know when Slayer returns. He's efficiently set up the final confrontation with Slayer.

Perrin’s perspective shows that the Pit of Doom is a black hole, a negative singularity—the end of everything.


Chris Cottingham said...

Enjoyable post, Linda, thanks!

Re: Siuan, I particularly like the observation about her mistrust being turned in the wrong direction (worrying about Egwene and not Bryne). However, I vaguely recall from early books that Lan's Warder bond protected his dreams, so I found Gareth's vulnerability to be a bit odd. However, I'm rereading FoH now, and Lanfear says she could break through Rand's wards on his dreams if she chose, so the protection isn't absolute. And of course Graendal is using the dream world to get to Gareth and use Compulsion, not to enter or manipulate his dreams per se. Remind me - Graendal's entering T'A'R in the flesh, right? Is she exiting into the waking world to do her Compulsion of the generals?

I also like the comparison of Moghedien's indirection vs. Graendal's bold and direct methods. Also in FoH, Rahvin thinks that Graendal is lacking in subtlety. Obviously we learn otherwise from other POVs, including Sammael, and of course Rand's comments in TGS. Graendal's capable of great subtlety, but also capable of bold, direct action at need. Moghedien, even at the Last Battle, is still hiding in the shadows.

Ironic, then, that her bold action at the end of the book (in taking on Demandred's appearance) is what leads to Moghedien's downfall, too.

Chris Cottingham said...

Oh, by the way - "Moksha, on the other hand, is a Hindu concept in which the cycle of rebirth ends with the soul being united with, and understanding, the whole universe as the Self."

Actually, of course, moksha is one of the three Ravers, the ancient servants of Lord Foul the Despiser. Moksha is also known as Jehannum or Fleshharrower. :)

Linda said...

Thanks, Chris, glad you liked it. I think that she was Compelling him rather than manipulating his dreams. Graendal is entering the dream directly--just as the Wise Ones said the Forsaken used to do. I'm not sure if she comes out to do the Compelling or not. I'll be on the lookout in subsequent chapters.

Graendal is a woman of extremes. She has a real taste for them, too, as she said in TOM. Very subtle, but also bold. Very ugly and also gorgeous.

I guess the implication with Moghedien is that she should have stuck with the Shadows and slunk away. By skulking she ended up the last Forsaken standing--and then stood out a little too much!