Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Memory of Light Read-through #36: Chapter 33—The Prince's Tabac

By Linda

Perrin POV

Perrin and Slayer are currently evenly matched in dreamwalking prowess; in order to beat him, Perrin needs to extend his skills some more and get ahead of the Darkfriend. At least he sees through Slayer talking as a distraction—and the fact that Slayer felt he needed to do that shows he was under pressure and will ultimately be outstripped by Perrin. Slayer’s philosophy is to kill or he will be killed. For a long time, Perrin feared that he would turn into an animal. However, Slayer is more of a predator than Perrin—and is not part animal. It took Hopper to teach Perrin that his wolf side is not responsible for his lack of restraint and proportion.

Getting rid of the Shadow’s henchman is the most important thing Perrin can do. The men fight in air, then earth, then water. The Land is in a parlous state in Tel’aran’rhiod. There are no indications of health at all.

The Dark One does not discard, according to Slayer; he endlessly uses people. Yet Perrin is right in his opinion that Darkfriends won’t be rewarded for their service. Actually, Slayer says the Dark One doesn’t discard useful tools. Slayer is wrong that the Dark One doesn’t fear tools that threaten him—these are classified as disloyal or untrustworthy and are always killed or enslaved. Slayer is kidding himself with this wishful thinking, but the exchange shows how Darkfriends think. At which point Perrin is too exhausted to continue to fight.

Faile POV

Despite taking care to make innocuous dummy caravan runs, Faile’s appropriation of fifty of the Band of the Red Hand’s best soldiers is suspicious to the Shadow. Probably not coincidentally, the very run taking the Horn is the one sabotaged. Unbeknownst to Faile, Aravine betrayed them and the Shadow has kept a very close eye on the group. Further, Aravine is the one checking the lists of supplies. The Horn is something extra, seemingly frivolous, and this has apparently flagged it.

Egwene had Laras bring out the Horn—her most reliable servant, assured by Verin. Faile sees the irony that she left home to be a Hunter of the Horn, and now has been handed it—not for her personal glory, but to guard. An irresponsible action caused her to grow up in the last year or two, and she will do brilliantly, even to the extent of sacrificing herself to save it.

Two steps forward and one step back in the process: Faile planned to object to Perrin “protecting her” by volunteering her to look after supplies and stay off the battlefield. As if there are any safe places. One of her bad habits is to play these games. When reality strikes she forgets such stupidity, hopefully for the final time.

Faile’s judgement that, with an active volcano nearby, Tar Valon should have earthquakes is sound. However, none has been mentioned previously, and this one is apparently a sign of the Land breaking, considering what happens next. Faile has heard of the cracks in reality:

She had heard more than one account of the spiderweb cracks that appeared in rocks, pure black, as if they extended on into eternity itself.

- A Memory of Light, The Prince’s Tabac

She is a good information gatherer and uses it well. (Faile’s parallels are knowledge goddesses such as Saraswati).

I think that Faile’s calm acceptance of the “betrayals of the great captains, including Faile’s own father” is not convincing characterisation. She should be more horrified, dismayed, or angry.

Aravine’s disinterest in her family is suspicious… Faile’s rationalisation that “if Aravine was determined to leave her past behind…” is ironic: Aravine couldn’t escape her past—when she joined the Shadow. Faile is too suspicious of Vanin, but too accepting of Aravine. She is loyal to her own people, but has always had a grudging opinion of Mat and therefore his people. Such as that Mat’s men, like their commander, are lazy but look after their own skins so well that they survive when others don’t.

Within the bubble of evil, Berisha’s gateway did not open where she intended. Was it her thoughts or fear of the Dark One responsible for the evil that led it to open in the Blight? Once done, she was murdered as the ever observant Faile saw. This prevented the Aes Sedai rescuing them or telling anyone where they went.

Aviendha POV

Near Shayol Ghul, people have trouble sleeping because they are tormented by terrible dreams. This could be due to the proximity of Dreadlords and Forsaken as well as the Dark One.

Aviendha considers making sure that she is following Aiel customs, such as about water consumption, and then tosses them aside for the Last Battle. Directly after this, she mistakenly trusts three strangers because they are Aiel. Two years ago, she would not have. Another custom she abandoned without noticing. Rand united the Aiel, but even above that they are united against Wetlanders. Aviendha immediately wonders if these strange Aiel are (despised) Shaido even though their customs are completely foreign to her. She admits that for all that Wetlanders misjudge Aiel, so did she.

One thing she does quickly catch on to is that the red-veiled Aiel are the channelling men that are sent to fight the Dark One—and their descendants (some of whom can’t channel). However, she doesn’t explain this to Cadsuane, even though the Aes Sedai asked about them and Aviendha has toh to her for saving her from the red-veiled Aiel.

In all this, she nearly forgot about the woman channeller she was tracking. Cadsuane notices that Graendal’s Travelling is different—she uses the True Power.

Aviendha rescues Cadsuane and point out that they are now even (ie that Aviendha no longer has toh to Cadsuane). Cadsuane thanks her, but establishes her dominance. The Green sister didn’t like being placed under Aviendha by Rand. Nor did Sorilea.

Aviendha disputes Cadsuane’s warning that there are dozens of channellers now fighting, but Cadsuane says most are men, which is why Aviendha can’t sense them. With that mistake, Cadsuane is back to thinking of Aviendha as a fool child and ordering her to do something. Aviendha smarts at this and tries ordering Sorilea and Amys to compensate, but backs down under their raised eyebrows. When she uses better manners, Sorilea is helpful; Aviendha can’t run roughshod over three-hundred-year-old ladies. Aviendha passes on the information about the red-veiled Aiel being their male channellers that the Aiel have been sending to the Blight for thousands of years.

Then Aviendha warns Darlin about the Aiel Dreadlords, and that a Dreadlord was at his tent so they must therefore make their battle plan very simple and unchanging--to hold the area until Rand’s duel is done. Their plans must be as impossible to corrupt as they can be.

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