Friday, September 29, 2017

A Memory of Light Read-through #35: Chapter 32—A Yellow Flower-Spider

By Linda


Mat’s damane, unnamed as yet, despite being immediately eager to cooperate with and please her captors, is making gateways, a weave she learned by watching Aes Sedai. Such prompt acceptance of the collar is rare, but no one doubts that it is genuine—Stockholm syndrome.

Mat feels guilty about enslaving the Sharan damane. He also hugely admires Tuon, even while thinking about how she also is a channeller—just one that hasn’t let herself touch the Source. Yet. Tuon is a Nemesis figure (Greek goddess of justice and retribution) and all it will take will be great desperation. Considering what Seanchan court life is like, if nothing else, the day will come, but we readers won’t see it.

Tuon insists on a description of Min’s viewing before her explanation of the meaning. All this time, Min has assumed that if she doesn’t know, no one else can figure it out. But the Seanchan have their own omen interpretation system, so it’s understandable that they want to test Min’s out or expand it or their own. Perhaps Min’s reticence is a response to having those viewings she does understand rejected by the receiver, often quite violently. Min protests vehemently when Tuon commands that someone be executed for what they think she may do. But no one collars sul’dam for all that they may channel one day. Min defies Tuon and implies that torturing her would be a crime that would be punished by the Pattern. (Nemesis again.) Tuon is pleased and reassured that Min won’t misuse her talent for spite, power or ignorance.

Mat rather hypocritically thinks Min should show more respect to Tuon. Or he’ll have to rescue her—which also follows on from Egwene’s thoughts in the previous chapter about Mat rescuing people. And that brings us to the meeting between the Seanchan and the Aes Sedai. Mat is Tuon’s Voice in the meeting with the Hall and Saerin Egwene’s.

Pressed up against a river, the Aes Sedai armies’ situation is grave and Mat wants to move to a more advantageous position. It is time for last stands. This is where the novel starts to curve back in on itself to come full circle. First, Mat rejects the suggestion of Tar Valon, the scene of the Aiel War. He does not want to fight in a city, but in a place in the Borderlands…as in Book 1, and so we are back at Merrilor, where the pact was made. It is a very risky strategy; but as Rand said, drawing everything out only exhausts the Light more and allows the Shadow to invade further and be harder to eradicate. Mat is betting on rolling a winning last throw.

Looking over the maps, he mentally reminds himself about damming the river. It’s one of his more striking battles, as we shall see.

Galad POV

The Lord Captain Commander realises that not everyone is perfect, and that’s OK so long as they do their best. He thinks he is morally better than they—and while that is often the case, perhaps he forgot his mistake with Valda. One mistake, true, but he isn’t perfect. And that’s OK, because he does his best. In this case, Galad did the right thing, as it happened, but for the wrong reason and not for what he thought. Elayne finds Galad’s perfectionism intolerable, yet her rash and ambitious brother does not and loves Galad deeply.

Galad knows that he annoys Elayne and regrets it, while she realises that she misjudged him this time. He is not refusing Healing out of false heroics, or fear of channelling, but for a good cause. It is to remind himself of how the average soldier is feeling, and that his men don’t all have the privilege of Healing. Galad wishes that Perrin was there; they are two honest open men able to speak freely to each other as equals without offense. This is quite ironic, considering that Perrin was accused of being a Darkfriend and a criminal. It shows how much the Whitecloaks have changed under Galad’s moral compass. I wonder how many other times Galad’s actions were misjudged by his family, and if there had been some dialogue between the two half-siblings, he might have moderated his judgement in response to the feedback. Some of Elayne’s reactions may be envy, as well as the resentment of the youngest child to any restriction of their will.

Galad thinks it is a lie to say they won the battle when so many died, but there is such a thing as a pyrrhic victory. And they are winning one, though it has to be. It’s the best they can expect, sadly. Elayne knows how to keep focussed and boost morale. They must not dwell on the dark side, but do, and sacrifice, what they have to.

Galad’s wish for Perrin leads into the next chapter.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


By Linda

The Wheel of Time is steeped in symbolism - layers and layers of it, like an onion.

Here is a copy of the presentation I gave at JordanCon 2016 on symbolism in the series.

For further reading, there is my essay on Robert Jordan and Freemasonry

I have written detailed analyses of some of the different forms of symbolism:

Animal Symbolism

Number Symbolism

Alchemical Symbolism

even the Inns are symbolic: