Monday, April 9, 2018

Memory of Light Read-through #42: Chapter 37—The Last Battle Part 3

By Linda

Juilin POV

The irony of a Tairen in charge of protecting Aes Sedai is not lost on Juilin. He’s also rather stunned that he, a mere commoner, is now leading his group. Such is this war of attrition that many who expected to follow are now leading.

Pevara POV

Androl’s social awkwardness shows in his tactless complement to Pevara. He also missed that Emarin is gay, whereas Pevara is aware.

The Red sister doesn’t understand the reality of fighting—the need to eat and sleep during longer battles. She has only read about battles, whereas Androl has fought and also learned tactics. Pevara is considerably older than Androl, but he has lived a far more varied life. He likes her courage and reliability, she likes his many and varied skills and experiences. Androl is feeling more responsible for the Turning of friends than she is: he wants to avenge Evin and the others, whereas Pevara doesn’t even think of Tarna much. When Pevara considers how Asha’man would be great Warders, Androl is jealous. Most Aes Sedai are not married to their Warders, whereas the Asha’man’s warder bond was originally conceived as a way of knowing the status of their spouse.

Pevara distances herself from smells as well as heat and cold. It is she who leads their group over to the Sharans. Sharans are disgusted by Trollocs but unanimously hold to playing their part in the Pattern. Were dissenters purged back in Shara, or did they refuse to come with Demandred?

The old man that Androl’s goup encounter is Demandred’s mentor, Mintel, who was very positive toward their role, not seeing it as evil, merely necessary, even crucial, to the Pattern. However, instead of revering the monk warrior, the Sharan nobles sneer at him—or at least at his weapons.

Galad POV

Gawyn confesses his mistakes to Galad, and then drops the bombshell that Rand is Galad’s half-brother. The Land soaks up the blood of the dying fighters, including that of Gawyn. The grieving Galad determines to fight Demandred.

The Children with Galad see extreme channelling in action and are no longer afraid. Although if these Whitecloaks were put off by it, they would be useless for this engagement. They have superstitions though—that they must separate the head from the body of Sharan channellers that they kill, or otherwise they can regenerate. This is legend creation in action. Whitecloaks realise the fighting they are (finally?) doing is what should have been doing since their beginning. Just like the Green Ajah, they should have been fighting Shadowspawn in the Blight, not trying to influence world politics. Leading by example.


The broken Warder bond is driving Egwene mad with pain. In the face of rude reality, she realises that she was naïve and over-confident about the bond; it is incapacitating when broken.


Out of arrows, Tam keeps the Two Rivers forces operational with hand weapons. He has a flashback to the Blood Snow in the Aiel War, when Rand was born. Full circle. He humbly feels the sword Rand gave him is too good for him, when the reverse is the case.

Fortuona POV

The Empress shares her consort’s reluctance for One Power Healing. As a small honour, she personally gives the Deathwatch Guard their death-marching orders for failing to keep her safe. To redress her obligation, she resolves to do a personal penance later for sending Karede to his death when she owes him so much.

As arranged, Tuon and Mat use the situation as a trigger for their staged spat and separation to dupe the Shadow’s spy into thinking that their immaturity has led them to disunity.

Rand POV

Rand: just one man and yet the world’s hope. A t this stage he still thinks it’s all about him. That his duel with the Dark One will decide the outcome. However, all the battles and sacrifices are necessary.

Peaches are believed to be toxic but are not (The Wheel of Time Companion). They were safely and happily eaten in the Age of Legends, but people in the Third Age erroneously believe they are poisonous, and who will dare to test this? More erroneous knowledge that is effectively a myth.

The right of might prevails in this world of the Dark One’s weaving. He says his world has no good or evil. More accurately, the people in the Dark One’s world have no knowledge of good and evil, just base and basic mental functions. Everyone is out for themselves. The psychopaths in it seem sociable but have no feelings or values. Interestingly, everyone needs to belong to a faction, just as with Rand’s visit to Caemlyn in The Eye of the World.

The Dark One’s action backfires to a degree: Rand is so outraged that he rushes without thought to make its opposite.


First, Mat convinces Min to watch over Tuon while he is not there, and then Karede to join him in fighting—for his and their protection. For once, he follows the Seanchan social rules for referring to that the Empress so the omen is good. Quite a concession for a guy who literally lives by rule-breaking.


Tam was always known for his steadiness, and here we see it to perfection—literally holding the wedge formation firm against the Trolloc onslaught. He impresses even Lan. The last time he fought like this may have been in the Aiel War. Utterly within void, he does not think of the past. Only the now. His bending like a reed reminds me of Cadsuane’s saying that the willow bends while the oak breaks (Knife of Dreams, News for the Dragon).

A gentle wind refreshes him after—the wind of life, chai, prana, that flows through the books. The sun shines on the dragon banner, but nowhere else.

Refugees—even children—volunteer to tend the wounded and retrieve arrows (that the Two Rivers folk need badly) rather than await the outcome of the battles.

Elayne POV

Bryne was the last of his long line. Both his and Siuan’s deaths mark the end of an era. As the sun sets on this day, the battle outlook is very bleak. Elayne fears only hours remain.

Birgitte gets Elayne away from Demandred’s attacks just in time. She thinks Demandred is not just trying to kill Elayne as Rand’s love, but also as an army commander. To make it harder for him to locate Elayne, Birgitte insists that she not channel. Elayne reluctantly accedes.

Galad POV

As Galad arrives at the Forsaken’s command post, he sees Demandred going for another member of his family while yelling for the blood of a third. For the first time, he feels guided by not just the Pattern, but also the Light. Although barely over the shock that Rand is his brother as much as Gawyn was, he announces it defiantly at Demandred and offers himself in Rand’s place. Galad is not sure how he feels about his half-brother—whether proud or ashamed. At least he met Rand at Merrilor, after thinking Rand disreputable-looking when saw him in Caemlyn at the beginning. It’s interesting that Galad senses a similarity between Rand and Demandred.

Demandred almost realises Rand is ignoring him—but can’t really comprehend the ultimate ignominy of Rand really being so far above him. Poor Mr Second-Best. Appropriately, he fights the second-best knight when he briefly wonders about this.

Nynaeve POV

Using supposedly mundane methods, Nynaeve sews Alanna’s wounds and gives her effective herbal medicine. Without her ministrations, Alanna would die and Rand go mad.


Bashere feels so corrupted by the Shadow that he is not able to be King. Galad has distracted Demandred, which has taken some pressure off Elayne’s troop, but Mat sends Bashere to tell Lan to bolster Elayne’s right flank. Bashere feels inadequate and Mat yells at him—a sign of respect that reassures Bashere and thus pleases Deira.

Mat feels the Andorans are weakening, then watches Ogier save them. Like Galad, he finds them terrifying—well, they are Ogres. The Prince of the Ravens discovers that the Gardeners are with the mainland Ogier, but the two are not mixing well. In war, the Ogier are as quiet as they are loquacious in peace.

Mat doesn’t see a vision of Rand when he thinks of him, only darkness. Rand is outside the Pattern at this point, having touched the Dark One’s darkness.

Teslyn left the White Tower, preferring to fight with Dragonsworn. It is not known if she left when the Amyrlin was Elaida or Egwene. I think the former is more likely.

Egwene POV

An archetypal Red, Silviana regrets Egwene’s relationship with Gawyn. In contrast, Yellows are accepting. Silviana sees Warders as a weakness, instead of also a source of strength or reassurance. She does not agree that the price paid is at all worth it. Egwene reminds Silviana that Gawyn saved Egwene’s life. Egwene is determined to return to fight in the Armageddon.

Rosil explains to Egwene that the only way to overcome the grief is with a stronger emotion. Not a problem, Egwene has plenty of anger to use, but also needs the steadying bond of a Warder, and asks Egeanin if she will accept it. The Amyrlin still feels some revulsion at a Seanchan but overcomes it.

Galad POV

Galad sees through Demandred’s ploys easily. Demandred is less talkative fighting him—an indication that Galad is testing him. Furthermore, Galad’s lack of response may be unsettling to him; Galad is no easy meat. He does have some difficulty against objects thrown at him with the Power, but not too badly, and even manages to cut Demandred. However, he is not fast enough to go on the attack, and mostly just responds to Demandred’s attacks. He loses a forearm to this Forsaken, as his brother lost a hand to another. Demandred wins but was fairly pressed.

Galad’s tactics worked in that Demandred stopped attacking Elayne’s armies. This helped Galad’s sister, if not his brother.

Androl POV

Androl is bold and quick-thinking in tricking Taim and putting him off-guard while getting close enough to pickpocket the Seals. Cleverly, he blames returning to Taim on Demandred. In a neat reversal, Taim overlays Androl’s own face on him to kill Logain. This is such a contrast to the Aes Sedia, whose weaker members are rarely able to have opportunities to shine, no matter how skilled, experienced or intelligent they are.

Arganda POV

Tam’s timing in battle is perfect. Knowing nothing of Tam’s time in the Illianer Companions, Arganda wonders how he learned it. Arganda is impressed with how everyone is fighting together. However, he realises that they can’t win, as does Lan. Lan is determined to fight to the death.

Rand POV

Rand manifests another possible world: this one, with the Dark One dead, is very unlikely and takes some effort to show. Yet in the Age of Legends, the Dark One was unknown. Rand’s version is more extreme still. He enters the world in Caemlyn, as he did in the previous world, although it is the very opposite of how it was in the Dark One’s vision. The Dark One can’t enter this world (a logical impossibility).

The Dragon is exploring the result of killing the Dark One so he can’t appear in another Age. The Dark One’s death resulted in the annihilation of the Trollocs. Here and now, Mat is aware that the Light’s forces will wipe them out themselves. Like in the test for Accepted, Rand has to be on guard against staying in this world.

No one needs to see the Queen; there are no problems for her to solve. National borders also mean nothing. She is an anachronism—and also a husk of what she was spiritually. She shows a wrongness like that of being Turned to the Shadow. I guess she has been Turned to the Light. Rand’s ‘perfect’ world is not turning out how he intended. It changes people in horrible ways.

The Dark One claims victory in this part of the duel. Rand discovers that a world without choice is evil. Rand and Dark One will be effectively the same—it little matters which of them is the sole ruling entity. This is why Cadsuane tried to make Rand more balanced and emotionally expressive. Regardless, Rand holds onto his erroneous idea of killing Dark One until the Last Moment.

This world proves that you can’t force perfection, only aim for it.

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