Oh happy day, Wheel of Timers! It is a Re-read, just for you!
Today’s entry covers Chapter 28 through 30 of Knife of Dreams, in which we have a rescue, and it’s ABOUT DAMN TIME.
Previous re-read entries are here. The Wheel of Time Master Index is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general, including the newest release, Towers of Midnight.
This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels, up to and including Book 13, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.
And now, the post!
Chapter 28: In Malden
A gai’shain named Dairaine, a known tattletale, enters Faile, Maighdin, and Alliandre’s tent as they are dressing, and Maighdin immediately divines that she knows something is up. They jump Dairaine and hogtie and gag her; Alliandre and Maighdin discuss whether they should kill her, but Faile vetoes the idea because there’s no good place to hide the body. She ducks outside, and finds twenty of her followers have come to see her off (which is what tipped off Dairaine). Faile shoos them away gently, and explains the problem to Bain and Chiad, who tell her they can hide Dairaine, but it means Faile will have to go to the town without them. They bundle up Dairaine and scare her silent, and Faile says her goodbyes.
“You have all my gratitude,” she said, “you and Chiad both, now and forever. I have great toh.” She kissed Bain lightly on the cheek, which made the woman blush as red as her hair, of course. Aiel were almost prudishly restrained in public. In some ways.
Bain glanced at Chiad, and a faint smile appeared on her lips. “When you see Gaul, tell him Chiad is gai’shain to a man with strong hands, a man whose heart is fire. He will understand. I need to help her carry our burden to a safe place. May you always find water and shade, Faile Bashere.” She touched Faile’s cheek lightly with her fingertips. “One day, we will meet again.”
Faile, Alliandre and Maighdin meet up with Lacile and Arrela, and they head into Malden, which is still empty this early. The women hold knives at the ready in case they are set upon by Shaido rapists, and hasten to the abandoned inn where Faile had hidden the rod. Alliandre asks what it is, and Faile supposes it must be an angreal or ter’angreal; Maighdin touches it and agrees.
She claimed never to have been to the White Tower, but Faile was not so sure as she once had been. Maighdin could channel, but so weakly and with so much difficulty that the Wise Ones saw no danger in letting her walk free. Well, as free as any gai’shain was. Her denials might well be a matter of shame.
They hurry on to the burnt-out portion of Malden in the southern end, and find the red cloth marking a structure almost completely destroyed by fire. Galina appears and assures them it is sound, and insists that they give her the rod only inside, to be safe from prying eyes. Doubtfully, Faile et al follow her in and down to the basement, where Galina demands the rod. Faile gives it to her, and Galina smiles triumphantly. Faile asks how they are to get out, and Galina abruptly says she heard something, and tells them to wait while she checks it out. She goes up the stairs.
Suddenly, wood groaned overhead, and with a thunderous crash charred beams and boards collapsed, sending out blinding billows of black dust and grit that sent Faile into paroxysms of coughing. The smell of charring suddenly was as thick in the air as it had been the day Maiden burned. Something falling from above hit her shoulder hard, and she crouched, trying to protect her head. Someone cried out. She heard other falling objects hit the basement’s stone floor, boards or pieces of boards. Nothing made a loud enough noise to be a roof beam or a heavy joist.
When the dust settles, they see that the staircase is completely blocked by wreckage, and it quickly becomes obvious that Galina is gone. Alliandre begins to freak out, but Faile and Maighdin are both calmly resolute, and Alliandre takes courage. They try cautiously to move the debris blocking the stairs without bringing it all down on top of them. It works for a while, but then Alliandre moves the wrong board, and they run as the entire pile falls in, leaving them even more trapped than before, though now there are gaps that show them bits of the street outside. Faile sees the scarf Galina had used to mark the building, and asks Maighdin if she can make it do something the wind wouldn’t; even if it only gets them captured again, that’s still better than dying in a basement.
“I might spend all day trying to embrace the Source and never succeed,” the sun-haired woman said in dull tones. She stood slumped, staring at nothing. Her face suggested that she saw an abyss beneath her feet. “And if I do embrace it, I can almost never weave anything.”
Faile loosened her grip on Maighdin and smoothed her hair instead. “I know it’s difficult,” she said soothingly. “Well, in truth, I don’t know. I’ve never done it. But you have. And you can do it again. Our lives depend on you, Maighdin. I know the strength that’s in you. I’ve seen it time and again. There is no surrender in you. I know you can do it, and so do you.”
Slowly, Maighdin’s back straightened, and despair slid off her face. She might still see the abyss, but if she fell, she would fall without flinching. “I’ll try,” she said.
The others all whisper encouragement to her as she tries again and again to embrace the Source; finally, the scarf goes rigid and swings a few times like a pendulum. The others all praise her, and she continues to fight to repeat the action again and again.
Galina hurries out of Malden, keeping her head down, delighting in her near-freedom. She wishes she could have killed Therava before going, but she had been terrified that if Therava woke before she could do it she would lose all will to resist. Suddenly, she hears wolves howling, and sees fog curling over the ridge west of the town, and realizes Perrin has come. She thinks gleefully that he will not find her, or his fool wife either, and hurries to where she’s stashed a horse and supplies.
Aaaaaand we’re coming off the far turn into the homestretch! It’s Plotline of Doom, ahead by a neck! Whoo!
I think my main initial reaction to this chapter, appropriately enough, was “wow, does this mean this is actually going to happen?” The stretched-outedness of this plot arc has already been discussed ad nauseam here, so I’m not going to go into it more than that, but, yeah.
New icon! I like it. Even though it’s not exactly what I pictured a blacksmith’s puzzle to actually look like; I always thought they were more Tetris-y. That’ll learn me!
Maighdin/Morgase: I remember I was actually really surprised that she could even channel enough to flap a scarf around. I’m not sure why, except that in all the time we’ve been in her head she never really seemed to give any thought to her channeling ability, or lack thereof, and in retrospect that strikes me oddly. Possibly I’m just projecting here, though, because I know that if I had a thing where I could almost do magic but not quite, it would bug the shit out of me. I’d be poking at that like a sore tooth, all the time.
Of course, Morgase has had years and years to get over it, not to mention plenty of other things to occupy her mind, like running a country and then becoming the world’s punching bag and alla that, so, okay. I’m just saying, though, that I’d at least be constantly trying to get to where I could float over the TV remote without having to get up. You know, important stuff like that!
And… yes. Go on, then!
Chapter 29: The Last Knot
Perrin stands near the edge of the fog bank Neald had created on the ridge and studies the Shaido encampment below, and especially the gates to the town beyond it, behind which he hopes Faile and her companions will be going soon to hide themselves like Alyse promised. He goes to find Dannil and Balwer, who tells him Masema has arrived, even though he’s supposed to be on the eastern ridge with his rabble (twenty thousand all told). Perrin is irritated, but first goes to where Lini, Breane, Lamgwin, and Basel Gill are waiting with the carts with the tents and supplies, and the Shaido gai’shain.
“It’s time for you to start north, Master Gill,” Perrin said. “When you reach the mountains, follow them until you strike the Jehannah Road. With luck, we’ll catch you up before you reach the mountains, but if not, send Alliandre’s servants off to Jehannah, then you head east through the pass, then north again. We’ll be as close behind you as we can.” If his plan did not go too far awry. Light, he was a blacksmith, not a soldier. But even Tylee had finally agreed it was a good plan.
All of them try to argue about leaving, especially Lini (who still thinks Perrin cheated on Faile), but Perrin threatens to have her tied up if she argues further, and she caves. As the carts head out, Sulin approaches him to report that the Shaido sentries to the north are dead, at the cost of two of their Maidens. She is soon joined by Annoura, Masuri, Berelain, Masema, Aram, and the six Wise Ones, one of whom goes with Sulin to Heal one of the other Maidens. Masema, smelling insane as usual, remarks that it is a pity Perrin won’t let the Seanchan leash all of “these blasphemous women.” His mention of Rand leads to Perrin glimpsing him in the colors, and Perrin realizes that Rand’s left hand is missing. He ignores the glares from the Wise Ones, and Perrin wonders why he agreed to meet with Masuri and Annoura when he clearly includes them in his statement. Perrin demands to know what Masema is doing here instead of being with his men, and Masema says he intends to stay close to Perrin.
So a small part of his plan had unraveled already. A hope really, rather than part of the plan. If all else went well, the Shaido who managed to flee would carve a way through Masema’s people without more than slowing a step, but instead of taking a Shaido spear through his ribs, Masema would be… keeping an eye on him. Without any doubt, the man’s bodyguard was not far off in the fog, two hundred or so ruffians better armed and better mounted than the rest of his army. Perrin did not look at Berelain, but the scent of her worry had strengthened. Masema had reason to want both of them dead. He would warn Gallenne that his primary task today would be protecting Berelain from Masema’s men. And he would have to watch his own back.
Perrin sees a gateway open, and Neald approaches with a Seanchan lieutenant (Gueye), who reports that the Shaido approaching the town from the west and east (each group between twenty-five to forty thousand strong) are moving faster than expected, and will arrive that day, possibly by noon. Perrin knows there will be at least three to four thousand spears with each group, but tells Gueye that they will be done one way or the other by noon; the plan remains the same.
Out in the fog, wolves howled, an eerie cry that rose all around Maiden. It was truly begun, now.
Just as Maighdin’s efforts with the scarf are about to end for exhaustion, Aravine appears at the gap above the basement. She tells an overjoyed Faile that Theril followed them despite her orders, and went for help after he saw Galina collapse the staircase. Alliandre asks why Galina would do that; Faile wonders if she was perhaps Black Ajah, but decides it hardly matters now. Then Rolan appears, to Faile’s dismay, and orders her to stand at the other end of the basement so they can clear the rubble. Alliandre is bitter that they are recaptured again, but Faile says it is probably only Mera’din up there, so she has some hope.
Surely Rolan would let her go once he learned about Dairaine. Of course, he would. And if he remained stubborn… In that case, she would do whatever was necessary to convince him. Perrin would never have to find out.
By mid-morning, both Gallenne and Arganda are antsy, waiting for Grady, and sniping at each other until Perrin shuts them up. Then a weary Grady appears, with Tam al’Thor in tow. Perrin greets Tam, and tells Grady to stay with Mishima and try to intimidate him enough to keep from deviating from the plan. Grady leaves, and Tam comments that he wishes they’d had some other way to get there than via Asha’man; a man named Mazrim Taim had come to the Two Rivers a while back and took over forty men and boys with him to this Black Tower.
“Taim said Rand sent him. He said Rand is the Dragon Reborn.” There was a touch of questioning in that, perhaps a hope for denial, perhaps a demand to know why Perrin had kept silent.
Those hues whirled in Perrin’s head, but he batted them away and answered by not answering. What was, was. “Nothing to be done about it now, Tam.” According to Grady and Neald, the Black Tower did not just let men go once they signed on.
Sadness entered Tam’s scent, though he let nothing show on his face. He knew the fate of men who could channel. Grady and Neald claimed the male half of the Source was clean, now, but Perrin could not see how that could be. What was, was. You did the job you were given, followed the road you had to follow, and that was that.
Perrin introduces Tam to Gallenne and Arganda as his First Captain; they are not happy about being under Tam’s command, but voice no objections. A scout signals that around four hundred Shaido spears are moving from the encampment toward Perrin’s position, and he gives the command to move.
His fingers found the leather cord he had knotted for every day of her captivity. Pulling it out, he let it fall to the ground without glancing at it. This morning had seen the last knot.
He and Aram stroll out of the fog so that the Shaido can see them; half a dozen Shaido break off to head for them while the rest halt. Then Perrin’s forces move clear of the fog behind him, including Masema and his rabble, though Masema is staring at Berelain in the midst of her lancers. More Shaido from the camp soon begin running to join the first group, and Tam appears with his reinforcements (some three thousand) from the Two Rivers; Perrin notes the presence of a surprising number of outlanders among the faces he knows. The Shaido begin beating their bucklers, and Tam gives the command to ready the longbows.
“Soon now we will know,” Edarra said. About the tea, she meant. If they had not waited long enough, they were all dead.
The Shaido send contingents north and south, in an attempt to flank Perrin’s forces on the ridge, and fireballs and lightning begin falling from the sky, to be blocked by Perrin’s channelers. Edarra tells him fifteen or so Wise Ones must have escaped the tea, but that’s all. Annoura says she feels in danger enough to attack, but Edarra tells her to wait, and she does, reluctantly. The Shaido advance, singing, and Tam gives the order to fire. Rank after rank of Shaido go down under the longbows, but they do not falter. Then the Seanchan attack the flanking Shaido parties, and the damane’s rain of fire and lightning is devastating. The Wise Ones and Aes Sedai join in; the Shaido Wise Ones attempt to block the attacks, but their numbers are too few. Eventually the Shaido begin to fall back; Perrin’s forces advance, following. Perrin finds himself unable to keep to their slow pace, and he and Aram end up far ahead of the rest. A small party of Shaido break off to meet them. They engage the Shaido; one tries to stab Perrin with his spear, but Perrin breaks his arm with his hammer and slits his throat with his knife.
Blood gouted, and he was running again while the man was falling. He had to reach Faile. Fire in his blood, fire in his heart. Fire in his head. No one and nothing would keep him from Faile.
Okay, I have to say this even though I don’t want to admit it: I was incredibly underwhelmed by Tam’s reintroduction to the narrative here.
This is Rand’s dad here, y’all. We’ve been waiting to see him again for over twelve years (in reader time), and then he not only just kind of walks up and is like, “’Sup,” but he’s in the wrong storyline. I don’t care about him reuniting with Perrin, jeez!
The only thing I was even less whelmed by, in fact, was the way we find out that Tam found out his son is the Dragon Reborn. Which is to say, in a two-line non-conversation with a totally distracted Perrin, who doesn’t even bother to spare a second to feel like a dick for keeping this RATHER IMPORTANT INTEL from Rand’s father for months and months. And then Tam’s like, I feel sad. Oh well, on with the smiting!
Seriously, WTF, over?
Now, I get the feeling this was a conscious narrative choice, in the sense that we would naturally expect a big dramatic Scene of Revelation on this, so ha ha, we’re gonna be all unexpected and go the other way, but you know, there are certain things which I just feel really, really deserve a Big Dramatic Scene. And call me crazy, but I’d think finding out your only son is going to either save the world or blow it up is KIND OF ONE OF THOSE THINGS.
Perrin’s thoughts on Tam’s reaction don’t even make any sense, if you ask me. He thinks Tam’s upset about Rand being a male channeler. Which normally, yes, that would be sufficient for a father to be upset over, but may I again direct everyone’s attention to the whole SAVE AND/OR BLOW UP WORLD thing, which I would think should rather trump a mere channeling thing? Hello? Is this thing on?
Not to mention, I would think Tam would be at least a little pissed at Perrin for so blatantly lying to him all this time. And it is blatant lying; omission schmomission, y’all. Not with that kind of nine-hundred-pound gorilla in the room. But, there’s nothing, apparently. I mean, yes, Tam’s a pretty laid-back guy, but this is ridiculous.
Enh. It just didn’t work for me. And it was surprising, because moments of revelation are something Jordan generally excels at; that talent is, in fact, one of the main reasons I fell in love with the series the way I did in the first place. So perhaps I can be forgiven for feeling a tad… cheated, here.
Oh, well. At least the battle parts were pretty cool.
I don’t really get this thing with sending Gill and Lini and etc. off with the carts and stuff into hostile territory (by default, since pretty much everywhere is hostile-ish territory at this point), with no protection whatsoever, at least from what I could determine from the passage. How is this a good plan, exactly? Maybe there was a guard contingent with them and it just wasn’t mentioned, or I missed it, or something?
Masuri/Annoura: I think I’ve asked this before, but do we ever find out what the deal was with them sneaking off to hang out with Masema? Because I really can’t recall it if we have. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since Masema is about to be very abruptly dead soon, but it bugs that this was (to my knowledge) never really cleared up. Yes, yes, not all plotlines will be tied up, blah blah yadda, but seriously, I would have been happy with like one sentence explaining it. Not that I won’t be able to keep on keeping on without it, or anything, but it’s just one of those little niggly things. I hate little niggly things!
Speaking of Masema, or rather Perrin, it is slightly hilarious that Masema’s all plotting to kill Perrin here when Perrin is… kind of doing the exact same thing, if a trifle more indirectly. He’s all, wow, I totally put you right in the path of that buffalo stampede, didn’t I? Whoopsie! Heh.
Chapter 30: Outside the Gates
Rolan lies down in the small opening they’ve cleared in the rubble and makes Faile crawl out over him first, though she tries to insist that Maighdin go first. He pinches her bottom as she does so, and Faile laughs at his persistence, though she also manages to kick him in the head. Two other Mera’din, Kinhuin and Jhoradin, are waiting outside the inn, as well as Aravine and over a hundred of her followers. Then she sees the lightning and fire outside the walls, and knows it is a battle with the Power, but cannot figure out why there isn’t more of it if it is Perrin attacking, knowing how many Shaido Wise Ones there are. Maighdin, Arrela, Lacile, and Alliandre all climb out after Faile, and Rolan pinches every last one of them on the way. Lacile smiles at Jhoradin when he touches her cheek.
Already preparing her way back into his blankets if Rolan proved obstinate. At least, Faile thought that was what she was doing.
Maighdin drinks some water Aravine offers, and then collapses; Faile supposes she must be exhausted from channeling. Rolan extricates himself from the rubble and tells Faile he will hide her for the night and then get her to the forest, and Faile is weak with relief that she will not have to hide anything from Perrin. He takes her arm.
Fumbling in her sleeve, no easy matter with Rolan’s big hand on her arm, she closed her fingers around the ridged hilt of her dagger. Whatever was happening outside the walls, she might have need of that blade before nightfall.
Perrin runs through the Shaido camp, ignoring his wounds and the sounds of battle all around, heading for the fortress where Faile was supposed to meet him. Two Shaido dart out in front of him, and Perrin attacks, killing them both. Then he barely throws himself aside in time to avoid Aram’s blade. Aram’s eyes are glazed, and Perrin thinks he smells like death. Fighting him, Perrin asks if he’s gone mad.
“The Prophet explained it to me.” Aram sounded in a daze, yet his sword moved with liquid ease, blows barely diverted with hammer or belt knife as Perrin backed away. All he could do was hope he did not trip over a tent rope or come up against a tent. “Your eyes. You’re really Shadowspawn. It was you who brought the Trollocs to the Two Rivers. He explained it all. Those eyes. I should have known the first time I saw you. You and Elyas with those Shadowspawn eyes. I have to rescue the Lady Faile from you.”
Perrin prepares to close with him before Aram can tire him out, but then Aram goes down with two Shaido arrows in him. Perrin looks for the shooters, but they are gone.
Elyas had been right. He should never have let Aram pick up that sword. He should have sent him away with the carts, or made him go back to the Tinkers. So many things he should have done. Too late, now.
Perrin reaches the gates of Malden to find a large party of people just inside. One of them is Faile, whose arm is in the grip of a huge Aielman. Perrin rushes forward with a roar, and the Aielman prepares to attack.
“Perrin!” Faile screamed.
The big Shaido seemed to hesitate for a heartbeat, and Perrin took advantage of it. His hammer hit the side of the man’s head so hard that his feet left the ground as he fell.
There are two more Aiel behind him, but one falls with Faile’s knife in his back, and the other with Lacile and Arrela’s in his. Lacile is weeping, and Perrin assumes it is the shock of actually killing someone, but he only has eyes for Faile.
Letting knife and hammer fall, he stepped over the dead men and gathered her in his arms. The smell of her filled his nose. It filled his head. She smelled strongly of charred wood, of all things, but he could still smell her.
“I’ve dreamed of this moment so long,” he breathed.
“I have, too,” she said against his chest, hugging him hard. Her scent was full of joy, but she was trembling.
“Did they hurt you?” he asked gently.
“No. They . . . No, Perrin, they didn’t hurt me.” There were other smells mixed in with her joy, though, laced through it inextricably. The dull, aching scent of sadness and the greasy aroma of guilt. Shame, like thousands of hair-fine needles pricking. Well, the man was dead, and a woman had the right to keep her secrets if she wanted.
“All that matters is that you’re alive, and we’re together again,” he told her. “That’s all that matters in the world.”
Faile agrees, and begins examining his wounds. Perrin tells her the Shaido at Malden are done, more or less, but another six or seven thousand Shaido spears will be arriving soon. Faile gives orders to get all her people out, and Perrin asks her to send someone to the fortress to tell Ban and Seonid they can come out. He is furious to learn that “Alyse” never told Faile his message, but Faile tells him she thinks “Alyse,” aka Galina, may have been Black Ajah. Ban and Seonid and the rest of the party sent into Malden arrive soon afterward. Selande et al are overjoyed to see Faile, and Tallanvor rushes to tend to a still-unconscious Maighdin. Gaul insists on going to look for Chiad despite the danger of being mistaken for a Shaido, and Elyas decides to go with him. Seonid Heals Perrin, and then overhears Faile and Alliandre talking about Galina, and recognizes the description, but is indignant that Faile thinks she is Black. Faile explains what happened, and Perrin growls that he’ll break Galina’s neck, but eventually agrees with Seonid that Galina’s punishment is the prerogative of the Tower. Perrin notes that the sound of battle is dying down just as Tylee approaches on horseback, with a naked blond woman slung over her saddle.
“A remarkable weapon, those bows of yours,” she drawled, eyeing the Two Rivers men. “I wish we had the like. Kirklin told me where to find you, my Lord. They’ve begun surrendering. Masema’s men held to the point of suicide — most of them are dead or dying, I think — and the damane turned that ridge into a deathtrap only a madman would walk into. Best of all, the sul’dam have already fitted a’dam to over two hundred women. That ‘cold tea’ of yours was enough that most of them could not stand without help. I’ll have to send for to’raken to fly them all out.”
Seonid is furious at this, but Tylee ignores her. She says aside from Masema’s men, the losses on their side are amazingly light, she thinks less than a hundred all told. She reports that Masema is back with his men, and Perrin grimaces to think there will be no way to prove Masema set Aram on him. He asks who Tylee’s prisoner is.
“Sevanna.” Faile said in a cold voice. The smell of her hatred was nearly as strong as it had been while speaking of Galina.
Tylee is very proud of her capture. Faile claims the contents of Sevanna’s tent, and tells Perrin they will need those jewels; they have over a hundred thousand people to feed and get back to their homes. Perrin introduces Tylee to Faile and Alliandre with full titles, and adds pointedly that Ghealdan is under his protection.
“Our agreement doesn’t speak to that, my Lord,” Tylee said carefully. “I don’t decide where the Ever Victorious Army goes.”
“Just so you know, Banner-General. And tell those above you they can’t have Ghealdan.” Alliandre smiled at him so widely, so gratefully, he almost wanted to laugh. Light, Faile was smiling, too. A proud smile. He rubbed the side of his nose.
[…] Tylee chuckled. “[…] My Lord, I hope I never have to face you in the field,” she said, pulling the steel-backed gauntlet from her right hand. “I would be honored if you’d call me Tylee.” She bent over Sevanna to offer her hand.
For a moment, Perrin could only stare. It was a strange world. He had gone to her thinking he was making a deal with the Dark One, and the Light knew, some of what the Seanchan did was beyond repugnant, but the woman was stalwart and true to her word.
“I’m Perrin, Tylee.” he said, clasping her hand. A very strange world.
Galina is about to change into her riding dress when Therava appears and orders her to freeze, and then to stop screaming. Therava makes her give back the rod, and put her jewels back on, but nothing else. Therava is followed by several hundred Shaido, many of whom are carrying unconscious women. Another Wise One, Belinde, asks Therava what they are to do now. Therava replies that they will return to the Three-Fold Land with any other Shaido they can find, and rebuild themselves from the disaster Sevanna led them to. Modarra protests that that will take generations, and Therava tells her, just so. They will never leave the Three-Fold Land again. She tells Galina she will never touch the rod or try to escape again, and orders her loaded up like a mule before they head out.
Galina staggered through the forest at Therava’s heels. She did not think of the rod, or escape. Something had broken in her. She was Galina Casban, Highest of the Red Ajah, who sat on the Supreme Council of the Black Ajah, and she was going to be Therava’s plaything for the rest of her life. She was Therava’s little Lina. For the rest of her life. She knew that to her bones. Tears rolled silently down her face.
JESUS GOD IT’S OVER HOLY MACKEREL
*Snoopy dance* *Snoopy dance* *Snoopy dance*
Oh, you guys, you have no IDEA how happy I am that after today I will (very, very hopefully) never have to type the names “Sevanna,” “Therava,” or “Shaido” ever again, except in passing. That is a lovely, wonderful feeling, y’all.
I’m pleased with the resolution of Galina’s story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, but on reflection I think it’s an entirely appropriate, if faintly horrifying, a fate for her character. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as the saying goes.
Not everything in here was as satisfying, though. I get the feeling I’m being a little inconsistent in my relief that this whole storyline is finally resolved, and yet also complaining that the manner in which some of it happened was too abrupt, but nevertheless the way the Aram thing went down was… startling, and not really in a good way.
I mean, why kill him in such a random fashion? If there’s an ironic statement being made there, I’m not getting the point of it. And if the purpose was to prevent Perrin from having to kill Aram himself, well, that just seems like a cop out. Perrin’s made tons of morally questionable decisions already, so why let him dodge this one?
I just don’t get it, man. For something that was apparently important enough to get its own prophecy, that was awfully… whatever-like.
But, well, I’m not going to get overly upset about it. Frankly, Aram’s been a drag, both literally and figuratively, on Perrin’s storyline from Day One, and I’m glad he’s gone, so in the spirit of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I’ll just move on, shall I?
I will say that, in contrast, I was genuinely shocked by the way Rolan and the other Mera’din died. Definitely an Oh Shit moment, there. Which was rather surprising to me, considering how many issues I had with Rolan in general, and how morally dubious I found his pursuit of Faile in particular.
Still, even with all that, I would never have wished such a death on him. And the way Faile is forced to juggle her joyful reunion with her husband with her shock and grief over the death of a man who was, after all, trying to help her (however skeevily)… well, I thought that was very powerful, the way it played out. Not to mention, her and Lacile’s and Arrela’s terrible split-second choice they made in killing the other two Mera’din. That was… wow. Very well done, that whole scene.
Tylee: My thoughts on her run remarkably in parallel to Perrin’s: she’s a really cool person from a wretchedly awful culture, and that’s a headache-making conundrum to be presented with. I loved the bit where Perrin warned her off Ghealdan, and her positively respectful response. I hope we see her again in AMoL.
As for Sevanna, I can’t on principle be overly thrilled that she’s going into lifelong slavery, but in an unprincipled way I think it couldn’t happen to a more appropriate person. As with Galina, there’s an awful lot of poetic justice going on up in here today.
Randomly, somewhere in the middle of this I realized that Perrin had dragged those wolves he talked to a few chapters ago all the way to Malden to… howl at people. That’s it. That’s all they did!
If I were those wolves I would go and piss on Perrin’s foot for wasting my time, I swear. I mean, seriously.
And yes, I know Perrin’s busy having a crisis of conscience re: wolves ever since so many of them died at Dumai’s Wells, and he doesn’t want to do that anymore, and this is a big thing in ToM, etc., but considering we’ve been spending this whole Plotline of Doom being shown how Perrin will do ANYTHING to get Faile back, it’s strange that this is the one place he apparently drew the line. Even stranger because he never even thinks about it one way or the other, not even when the wolves are actually howling in this sequence. If we’re meant to attach significance to this exception it sure wasn’t made very obvious, is all I’m saying.
I dunno, it’s just odd, and a trifle disappointing, too. I’ve said before that part of the reason Perrin’s story arc has sucked ever since LOC is the total dearth of wolvage in it, and this bit is the rule that… uh, wasn’t the exception. Or something. You know what I mean!
Nevertheless, ergo, all that said, yadda yadda, I am very very very very very pleased that Faile and Perrin are now, at long goddamn last, Together Again, and now we can move on to the next crisis, or least safely return to our other crises currently in progress.
Plotline of Doom: over the finish line! Whoo! Yeah! Whoo!
*more Snoopy dance*
And my brain, she is over the finish line as well! Have a splendiferously fantabular week, people, and I’ll see you next time!