Fear not, for it is another Wheel of Time Re-read post! Today we are covering Chapters 45-46 of The Shadow Rising.
Previous entries are here, and you are as ever warned that this and they are positively dripping with spoilers. Eurgh.
Also, I want to give y’all a heads up that a fun Side Project post is coming your way, hopefully next week. More As It Develops. Keep a weather eye.
And, yeah. So, the post, in which we discuss textual errors, involuntary suppression of free will, and the ramifications of conflicting political philosophies.
Chapter 45: The Tinker’s Sword
At the south end of the village, the men gathered there, mostly Coplins (and Cenn Buie), tell Perrin proudly that they’ve been holding off Trollocs too, but Perrin sees a figure in a yellow coat beyond the perimeter and tells them disgustedly that they’ve been shooting at Tinkers. He shouts for the Tinkers to come in and makes the men move the wagons blocking the road. The Tinkers approach fearfully, and Perrin sees that there are only about twenty of them, and most are wounded. Faile runs to Ila and hugs her, but the Tinkers will not come any closer at first. Hari Coplin complains about letting thieving Tinkers in town, and Daise Congar agrees.
Cenn scratched his thinning hair, eyeing the Wisdom sideways. “Aaah . . . well . . . Perrin,” he said slowly in that scratchy voice, “the Tinkers do have a reputation, you know, and—” He cut off, jumping back as Perrin whirled Stepper to face the Two Rivers folk.
A good many scattered before the dun, but Perrin did not care. “We’ll not turn anyone away,” he said in a tight voice. “No one! Or do you mean to send children off for the Trollocs?” One of the Tuatha’an children began to cry, a sharp wailing, and he wished he had not said that, but Cenn’s face went red as a beet, and even Daise looked abashed.
Cenn and Daise quickly change their tune, and Daise and others begin escorting the Tinkers into town, promising them baths and beds. Raen and Ila look numb with shock, and Ila mumbles through her bruised, swollen face that they came in the night, and there was nothing they could do; behind her, Aram shivers, staring at all the armed men. Perrin frowns, trying to calculate from that how many Trollocs are still left in the area, and then feels guilty for coldly considering numbers. He thinks he is useless here, and maybe now is the time to head after Loial and Gaul while Faile is distracted with the Tinkers. Before he can do anything, though, he is stopped by Haral Luhhan, who tells him he’s being harassed by men wanting him to forge them replacement bits for their scavenged armor.
“I would like to give you a hand,” Perrin said, “but I have something else that needs doing. I’d likely be rusty, anyway. I haven’t had much work at a forge the last year.”
“Light, I didn’t mean that. Not for you to work a hammer.” The blacksmith sounded shocked. “Every time I send one of those goose-brains off with a bee in his ear, he’s back ten minutes later with a new argument. I cannot get any work done. They’ll listen to you.”
Perrin doubts this, but to his surprise it works, and the day goes on like that, everyone asking him for answers to questions and to settle disputes. He’s annoyed that Dannil and Ban and the others insist on following him everywhere with that banner in imitation of the Illianer Companions that Tam had told them about, and gets rid of them by sending them off to guard the forest-clearing party. Later, Luc arrives, bringing the head of a Fade as a trophy, and puts it on a pole in the Green; a bunch of villagers tell him all about the battle, with what Perrin thinks is a gross exaggeration of his own role in it. Luc gives patronizing congratulations to Perrin on his beginner’s luck, and goes to the inn; Perrin has the Myrddraal head taken down and burned. The questions continue, and Perrin doesn’t understand why they’re all behaving like this, all wanting to know what he wants, when usually Emond’s Fielders are happy to argue about every last aspect of a plan of action. He finally goes back to the inn, where Marin plunks him in a chair and tells him Emond’s Field can survive without him for an hour while he eats something. Bode and Eldrin Cauthon are there too, feeding Aram and grinning at him; Aram smiles back at them weakly, but he’s mostly occupied with staring at all the weaponry along the walls. Faile comes out of the kitchen in a flour-covered apron, and says defensively that she’s never baked before, but it’s kind of fun, and she might do it again someday. Perrin wants to know how they will have bread if she doesn’t bake, and she tells him the cook or her helpers will bake, of course; Perrin doesn’t quite know what to say to that. He tells her instead that this Perrin Goldeneyes business is getting out of hand. She studies him thoughtfully, and asks how long it’s been since the Queen of Andor ruled there in truth. Perrin replies, a couple of centuries, maybe, why? Faile answers that the villagers don’t remember how to deal with a queen – or king – and they are trying to puzzle it out. Perrin is appalled at what she’s implying, and she laughs and amends it to “leader”, at least, since she doubts Morgase would approve the other, but surely she would approve of the man that brought these lands back into Andor’s fold.
“Perrin of House Aybara, Lord of the Two Rivers. It has a good sound.”
“We do not need any lords in the Two Rivers,” he growled at the oak tabletop. “Or kings, or queens. We are free men!”
“Free men can have a need to follow someone, too,” she said gently. “Most men want to believe in something larger than themselves, something wider than their own fields. That is why there are nations, Perrin, and peoples. Even Raen and Ila see themselves as part of something more than their own caravan. They have lost their wagons and most of their family and friends, but other Tuatha’an still seek the song, and they will again, too, because they belong to more than a few wagons.”
Suddenly Aram asks who owns the spears lining the walls; Perrin tells him they belong to anyone who wants one, and that no one will hurt him with them. Aram doesn’t answer, and Perrin is soon distracted by the fact that Faile insists on feeding him his meal. But then Aram pulls out one of the swords along the wall and asks if he can use it. Perrin chokes; Ila walks into the room with Alanna, sees Aram, and screams, begging him to put it down. Aram fends her off, shouting that they killed his mother, and if he’d had a sword he could have defended her. At this, Perrin cuts in and tells Ila to leave Aram alone. Aram asks if Perrin will teach him, and Perrin says someone will.
Tears rolled down Ila’s contorted face. “The Trollocs took my daughter,” she sobbed, her entire body shaking, “and all my grandchildren but one, and now you take him. He is Lost, because of you, Perrin Aybara. You have become a wolf in your heart, and now you will make him one, too.” Turning, she stumbled back up the steps, still racked with sobs.
Everyone else in the room is crying or staring at him in horror or both, except for Alanna, who is studying him calmly, and Faile, whose face is blank. Perrin gets up and almost tells Aram to put the sword down, but then looks at his face, and tells him to go find Tam al’Thor and tell him Perrin said to teach him the sword. Aram stammers that he will never forget this, and kisses the pommel of the sword, which has a wolfshead design, asking if that’s how it’s done. Perrin answers sadly that he supposes it is, and Aram runs out. Perrin sits back down and asks Faile if she disapproves; Faile answers that she does not like to see him in pain. Bran sticks his head in the door and tells Perrin there are riders coming, probably Whitecloaks. Perrin and Faile head out to the edge of the village, where a crowd is gathered to watch the double column of Whitecloaks approaching, led by a young man who looks vaguely familiar to Perrin. Luc is there too, and the young man addresses Luc, naming himself Dain Bornhald, and saying this is surely a village of the Shadow if it is closed to the Children of the Light. Then he sees Perrin, and his face contorts in a snarl; Perrin thinks he can smell brandy fumes, and recognizes Byar next to him. Luc does not answer Bornhald, and Bran looks to Perrin for his nod (to Perrin’s disgust) before answering that Emond’s Field is not closed to them, exactly, but they have decided to defend themselves, and points to the pyre of Trollocs as proof. Bornhald is contemptuous, and the villagers shout variously that they had a great battle, and don’t need Whitecloaks, and cheer for Perrin Goldeneyes. Byar snarls back that they know nothing of battle; last night one of their villages was all but wiped out by Trollocs, which shuts everyone up. Bran asks which one, and Bornhald answers that Taren Ferry hardly exists any longer. At this, Luc moves forward and asks if the man Ordeith was at Taren Ferry last night; Bornhald looks pale and angry both at the name, and Luc hopes casually that he either died there last night or is close under Bornhald’s supervision. Bornhald snaps back that he neither knows nor cares where Ordeith is, and points at Perrin and orders his arrest as a Darkfriend. Byar stares at Bornhald in disbelief, and the Two Rivers men begin readying to defend Perrin. Bran tells Bornhald that there will no more arrests without proof that he believes, and since nothing will convince Bran that Perrin is a Darkfriend, he might as well relax.
“He betrayed my father to his death at Falme,” Bornhald shouted. Rage shook him. “Betrayed him to Darkfriends and Tar Valon witches who murdered a thousand of the Children with the One Power!” Byar nodded vigorously.
Perrin answers that he betrayed no one, and if Bornhald’s father died at Falme, it was at the hands of those called the Seanchan. Bornhald spits back that the Seanchan are a lie concocted by the White Tower, and Perrin realizes the situation is about to get out of hand. He asks if Bornhald is willing to hold off on his arrest until the Trollocs are taken care of; when Bornhald asks why, he points out that the Whitecloaks may not make it back to Watch Hill with the attacks stepping up, but if they stay in Emond’s Field and aid in the defense of the town, Bornhald will be able to keep track of him, Perrin. Bran and Faile are vehemently against this, but Perrin tells them he will not have men fighting men, doing the Trollocs’ work for them. Faile looks furious and pulls out a knife to sharpen it, and Bran turns to Bornhald and adds his own conditions: they arrest no one, stay out of people’s houses unless invited, and help where they are needed. Bornhald agrees, never taking his eyes off Perrin. As the Whitecloaks enter the village, Perrin notices Luc looking at him, and comments that he’d have thought Luc would object, given how he talks about Whitecloaks.
Luc spread his hands smoothly. “If these people want Whitecloaks among them, let them have Whitecloaks. But you should be careful, young Goldeneyes. I know something of taking an enemy into your bosom. His blade goes in quicker when he is close.” With a laugh, he pushed his stallion off through the crowd, back into the village.
Faile remarks that Luc has a point, and Perrin agrees privately, but tells her it was the only way to prevent bloodshed. He watches Byar and Bornhald glare hatred at him as they ride in, and thinks maybe having Dannil and the others around him is a good idea after all.
Based on the responses to the homework I left y’all with last time (at least as of around 100 comments or so), people are actually fairly evenly divided on the question of whether Perrin is a natural leader or being set up as a figurehead. Which is about what I expected, really. For what it’s worth, my own opinion is that it’s a little bit of both. Making a reluctant potential leader into an actual leader, especially in genre fiction, is a little like rolling a boulder downhill; it might take some work to get him started, but after a while the whole thing gains a rather inevitable momentum. The ta’veren factor is just the lever that first got it all started, and the grease that keeps it rolling.
Concurrently, I don’t know if Jordan ever read Douglas Adams, but this entire arc concerning Perrin being wrangled into a Lordship (really, the wrangling of all three of the Boys into leadership) always makes me think of the quote from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
The major problem — one of the major problems, for there are several — one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
Heh. I love that quote. Like I said, I don’t know if Jordan ever read Adams but he certainly seemed to have shared the sentiment that the best leaders are people who don’t particularly want to be leaders. Unless you’re Egwene, evidently. Actually, in a twisted way the Adams quote could be viewed as an argument in favor of a hereditary ruling class, in the sense that technically your heirs didn’t want the position; they were born into it. It’s not like they went after it out of ambition.
This is leaving aside, of course, all of the other problems with a feudal aristocracy set-up, which we are ignoring anyway because this is epic fantasy and therefore it is taken as a given that monarchies/oligarchies/pick your –archy are the best way to run things. Because even if the current lords suck, there’s always going to be some gifted farmboy around to do it right. See if you can spot the logical disconnect, there.
Ergo, we have Faile’s speech in response to Perrin insisting that the Duopotamians are free men, which does not even consider the notion that it is possible for people to rule themselves and feel they are part of a larger entity, and actually kind of entirely misses the point about the Tinkers’ system of government (or rather, their complete lack of one). This is, by the way, a perfectly cromulent erroneous philosophy for her to hold, since it would be a little much to expect a pro-democracy stance from a queen’s cousin in a medieval-ish world that evidently skipped the Greco-Roman period this go-round.
(I’ll just toss out here, however, the fact that historically, monarchies have always been the most stable form of government. What does that do to my argument? I’m not even sure I’m making one, at this point. Whee!)
I feel I should move on.
I always thought Perrin was being a little bit of a dick when he was so harsh to Ila about letting Aram have the sword, but it’s only on this re-read that I caught what made Perrin decide to stick up for Aram, which is what Aram said about having to watch his mother get murdered. Which is, for obvious reasons, something of a hot-button issue for Perrin just at the moment. I don’t know why I never noticed that till now, but it definitely makes his response a lot more understandable.
Tiny minor note on Mat’s sisters in this scene: it may be entirely accidental, but I got a kick out of the fact that Bode and Eldrin were described as “grinning” at Aram. I’ve hardly done a study of it or anything, but I don’t think Jordan typically describes his female characters’ smiles that way. Cauthon family trait, perhaps? Heh.
The scene with the Whitecloaks features a rare instance of Perrin being Aes Sedai-ishly slippery: you’ll note that he never actually said here that he would give himself up to Bornhald after the Trollocs were done. He just strongly implied it. Sneaky Perrin! Whoda thunk it.
Luc: Still a jackhole. A jackhole who really should learn to keep his mouth shut; if Perrin hadn’t been suspicious of him before that little crack about keeping enemies close, he certainly would have been after. Well, at least Perrin gets to shoot him soon.
Chapter 46: Veils
Egeanin threads her way through the crowds of homeless refugees in the Calpene Circle, following Floran Gelb and carrying a cudgel to warn off would-be thieves. Gelb is accompanied by a bunch of thugs, and Egeanin angrily knows that this means Gelb is going to try kidnapping again even though she had specifically told him not to. She is momentarily distracted by a commotion behind her, in which someone she doesn’t see clearly breaks the arm of a beggar, and then curses to realize she’s lost Gelb. She finds him again after a few moments, lounging in an alley with the toughs, and quickly picks out the women he must be waiting for, who are dressed as Taraboners but are clearly out of place in this crowd, wearing silk but unescorted; neither of them look like any of the descriptions she gave Gelb. She starts pushing through the crowd, trying to get to Gelb in time to call him off.
Elayne argues with Nynaeve about the wisdom of what they’re doing, but Nynaeve insists that their dresses make them blend in, and there is no need for them to have bodyguards, despite Elayne having already lost three purses to pickpockets. Elayne just thinks Nynaeve has come to enjoy wearing silk, and tries not to think about how scandalously thin their dresses are. Nynaeve asks again if Amys told Elayne anything useful in Tel’aran’rhiod the night before, and Elayne says no, thinking that all she’d gotten was a long lecture on the dangers of the Dreamworld, while Egwene stood there and said almost nothing. Though she had been surprised to find out that Perrin was not with Mat and Rand; Nynaeve thinks he probably ran off to be a blacksmith with Faile, but Elayne has her suspicions about Faile, and highly doubts she’d settle for being a blacksmith’s wife. They are interrupted by a big man who tries to grab Nynaeve in a bear hug and gets a cudgel to the face for his trouble; Elayne then cracks the skull of a second attacker. Then they realize they are surrounded, while the milling crowd pretends not to notice anything; Elayne sees a scrawny fellow shouting to the others that “She’s gold, I tell you!”, and thinks they must know she is the Daughter-Heir of Andor. She and Nynaeve both embrace saidar, but neither channels yet, knowing the risk of exposure.
If one of the Black Ajah was close enough to see, they had already betrayed themselves with the glow of saidar. Channeling enough for those few flows of Air could betray them to a Black sister on another street a hundred paces or more away, depending on her strength and sensitivity. That was most of what they themselves had been doing the last five days, walking through the city trying to sense a woman channeling, hoping the feeling would draw them to Liandrin and the others.
Not only that, but the crowd itself might turn on them, as Aes Sedai were not in good odor in Tanchico at the moment. Suddenly a woman in a blue dress knocks out one of their would-be attackers from behind and backhands another; Nynaeve and Elayne are startled, but quickly take advantage, jumping to attack the others. After two more go down, the other thugs break and run, except for one who goes for the blue-dressed woman’s back with a knife. Elayne channels without thinking, flipping the man to slam into the ground with Air. He gets up and runs off, and the woman stares at her and Nynaeve uncertainly; Elayne is not sure if she saw what Elayne did to the last thug. Nynaeve thanks the woman breathlessly, and invites her back to their inn for tea.
The woman hesitated visibly. She had noticed. “I . . . I would . . . like that. Yes. I would.” She had a slurred way of speaking, difficult to understand, but somehow vaguely familiar.
She introduces herself as Egeanin, and as they head off, Elayne says to her that she saw, didn’t she. Egeanin misses a step, and Elayne hurries to reassure her that they will not harm her. Nynaeve points out that perhaps the street is not the best place for this conversation, and adds to Egeanin that the rumors she’s undoubtedly heard are mostly not true, and not to be afraid. Egeanin answers that she is not afraid, and will wait till they are ready to talk. They return to the inn to find Juilin inside, who has traded his straw hat for the conical felt cap commonly worn in Tanchico, and blurts that he has “found them” before seeing Egeanin and stopping. Nynaeve demands he explain, not seeming to care that Egeanin is there, and Juilin explains carefully that he followed the woman with the white stripe in her hair to a house with a number of “rich escapees”, but they all left sometime within the last day. Nynaeve is furious that he went inside; she points out to him that there are certain kinds of traps that he would never have detected beforehand (Juilin goes a little pale), and sends him off. He bows sarcastically and elaborately and leaves. Nynaeve snarls something about fool men, and Egeanin asks if Juilin is their servant.
“Yes,” Nynaeve snapped, just as Elayne said, “No.”
They looked at each other, Nynaeve still frowning.
“Perhaps he is, in a way,” Elayne sighed, right on top of Nynaeve’s muttered, “I suppose he is not, at that.”
“I . . . see,” Egeanin said.
Rendra serves them tea in a private room, and twitters and fusses about clothes and things for a good while before leaving them alone. Egeanin remarks that they are not what she expected of Aes Sedai, letting the innkeeper babble at them and their servant mock them. She asks Elayne, isn’t she nobly born? Elayne answers that that doesn’t mean much in the White Tower; a queen who goes there to learn will scrub floors like any other novice. Egeanin asks if many queens go there, and Elayne laughs that there are none that she knows of, though Andor traditionally sends the Daughter-Heir, and many noblewomen go in secret. Egeanin asks if Nynaeve is nobility, and Nynaeve snorts that her mother was a farmwife and her father a sheepherder. Egeanin then brings up the fact that they are clearly looking for someone, and offers her services as an information collector in exchange for more knowledge about Aes Sedai. Elayne jumps in hurriedly before Nynaeve can spill the beans like she did to Domon, and graciously refuses, but says they are happy to tell her about Aes Sedai in any case.
“You seem very interested in Aes Sedai,” Elayne said. “I cannot sense the ability in you, but perhaps you can learn to channel.”
Egeanin almost dropped her porcelain cup. “It . . . can be learned? I did not . . . No. No, I do not want to . . . to learn.”
They are interrupted by Thom, who tells them that the Whitecloaks have surrounded the Panarch’s Palace, and Amathera is apparently to be invested as Panarch tomorrow even though the Assembly did not ratify her. Nynaeve doesn’t care about this and won’t let Thom sit down, but Thom replies that something this odd should be noted, and in any case it will probably cause riots; she and Elayne should not go out alone. Elayne agrees to this, cutting off any protest from Nynaeve with a semi-veiled reminder that they had almost been kidnapped just now, and Thom goes on blithely that actually he’s already gotten fifty men from Domon to serve, and bows and escapes while the girls are still gaping at his presumption. Egeanin is staring at them, and Elayne supposes they hadn’t put on a very Aes Sedai-like show, letting Thom bully them like that. Egeanin says she must go, and that she will come another time and learn about them, and swiftly leaves. Elayne and Nynaeve argue about which of them was the would-be abductors’ target, and then Elayne patiently waits while Nynaeve tells her things she already knows about how important it is to find this thing that is threatening Rand. Then Nynaeve asks if Elayne noticed how Egeanin changed once Thom mentioned Domon, and they speculate on whether the two know each other until they are interrupted by Rendra, who tells them there is a woman asking to see them who says she knows them, but Rendra cannot remember her name. Nynaeve and Elayne exchange significant looks, and Elayne embraces saidar, wishing that Nynaeve was angry enough to do the same; Nynaeve tells Rendra to send the woman in. A “sturdily handsome” woman in black silk, who is definitely not any of the thirteen Black Ajah, enters.
Smiling, she closed the door behind her. “Forgive me, but I thought you were—” The glow of saidar surrounded her, and she . . .
Elayne released the True Source. There was something very commanding in those dark eyes, in the halo around her, the pale radiance of the One Power. She was the most regal woman Elayne had ever seen. Elayne found herself hurriedly curtsying, flushing that she had considered . . . What had she considered? So hard to think.
The woman tells them to come over to the table, and as they obey Elayne wants to giggle at Nynaeve’s rapt look, even though Nynaeve is gripping her braids tightly. The woman studies them and remarks that they are half-trained, but very strong, especially Nynaeve, if it weren’t for her block. Nynaeve whimpers an apology, saying she’s afraid of all that power, but the woman interrupts and tells her she will not cry, she is ecstatic at seeing her and wants to please her. Elayne and Nynaeve nod vigorously, smiling. The woman interrogates them, Elayne and Nynaeve fighting to be the first to answer her questions. She discovers that there are no other Aes Sedai with them, and they are in the city to hunt Black Ajah.
The handsome woman laughed. “So that is why I have not felt you channel before today. Wise of you to keep low when it is eleven to two. I have always followed that policy myself. Let other fools leap about in full view. They can be brought low by a spider hiding in the cracks, a spider they never see until it is too late.”
She asks them to turn out their purses on the table, and then asks if they have any angreal, sa’angreal, or ter’angreal in their rooms. Elayne thinks about the stone ring hanging on a cord around her neck, but that had not been the question, and she answers no. The woman says, so “his” name is Rand al’Thor now, and wonders if he is still “an arrogant man who stank of piety and goodness”. She muses to herself that the man he killed besides Bel’al must have been Ishamael.
“All his pride at being only half-caught, whatever the price—there was less human left in him than any of us when I saw him again; I think he half-believed he was the Great Lord of the Dark—all his three thousand years of machinations, and it comes to an untaught boy hunting him down. My way is best. Softly, softly, in the shadows. Something to control a man who can channel. Yes, it would have to be that.”
She stands, and tells the girls that it is a pity Compulsion is so limited, but as it is she supposes she will have to come collect them later and see to their… retraining. She tells them to pick up their things, and that they will remember nothing except that she mistook them for someone else, had a cup of tea, and left. Elayne blinks, and wonders why she’s tying her purse back on her belt. She asks Nynaeve if she remembers that nice woman’s name.
“Nice?” Nynaeve’s hand came up and gave a sharp tug to her braids; she stared as if it had moved of its own accord. “I . . . do not think she did.”
As she leaves the courtyard, Egeanin studies the guards Thom had hired from Domon, but does not recognize any of them from Domon’s ship. She thinks about how she had just sat and had tea with women who could channel, women who should be leashed as dangerous animals, and their revelation that channeling could be learned. Egeanin decides that the risk of running into Domon is worth the chance to learn more.
She heads off, not noticing the pale-haired man in filthy Tanchican clothes in front of the wineshop across the way. He thinks that he had almost given himself away when he broke that beggar’s arm earlier, but the man had disgusted him: a member of the Blood begging instead of decently killing himself. He decides to try bribing this inn’s employees to try and find out what Egeanin was up to.
Thanks to the commenters who pointed out that Gelb is an example of the Law of Conservation of Characters, because I had forgotten all about his role in TEOTW by this time. And I agree, it seems like a really random character recurrence; it wouldn’t have been if Gelb had ended up running into Domon in Tanchico, but I don’t think that ever happens.
The conversation Egeanin has with Nynaeve and Elayne about whether they are nobility forms an interesting counterpoint to what’s going on in the Perrin arc. However much Jordan toes the genre fantasy party line about the virtues of aristocracy, he also makes a point of noting that the White Tower emphatically disregards all considerations of nation, class, or social status in its members.
Of course, this is slightly undermined in LOC when we learn that they have instead substituted a different completely arbitrary criterion for assigning leadership roles. But at least that’s consistent with humanity’s propensity for doing so. It wouldn’t be a believable power hierarchy if it wasn’t at least slightly stupid.
The introduction of the concept of Compulsion didn’t enrage me in the same way as Egwene’s damane stint did back in TGH, but it was a whole order of magnitude higher on my screaming-meemie meter. Gyaahhh. The damane thing is horrible and awful and stabby, but at least damane-leashing doesn’t take away your mind. Free will, y’all; it is mine and you can’t have it. This is my dance space, and this is your dance space! Keep Out!
(My screaming-meemie meter has four settings: “Eurgh”, “Gyaahhh”, “YIPE YIPE YIPE”, and “Crispin Glover”.)
This chapter is where, in my initial reading, I first started to realize what an awesome character Nynaeve is. Which is ironic, because she spends the majority of it being boorish, obnoxious, and generally smackings-worthy, but the business with her gripping her braids while under Moghedien’s spell, and me realizing that under the Compulsion-induced goofiness she is bloody furious, well. Right there with you, girl. And also, even without knowing what was coming I just knew she was being set up for a major confrontation with Moggy later – even without knowing for sure who Moggy was at that point. This I Foretold, you heard it here first.
I don’t think we’re supposed to know who Compulsion Woman is for sure here, anyway. If I recall correctly we’ve only had a passing mention of Moghedien in the text thus far, and not in a manner that would connect her with this woman in any obvious way. It was awful nice of her to give us a little character synopsis of herself, though. And to bang us on the head with the “Ba’alzamon=Ishamael” anvil, just in case we hadn’t figured that out yet. Who said villain monologuing is counterproductive?
This chapter also contains what I think is still a major unexplained gaffe, concerning the bit where Moghedien asks the Girls if they have any *greal. I quote the almighty WOTFAQ:
When leaving Tear to go to Tanchico, Elayne and Nynaeve keep all of the T’A’R ter’angreal they had gotten from Joiya and Amico, since Egwene doesn’t need them. They bring them along on all their travels through TSR and TFOH, and subsequently to Salidar, where Elayne ends up copying them for the Salidar Posse in LOC.
However, when in Tanchico, Moghedien pays the girls a visit [TSR: 46, Veils, 525-526]. She starts off by Compelling them, then asks them to empty their pouches. She then asks if they have ter’, sa’ or angreals in their rooms. Elayne clearly thinks of the ring that’s fastened on a leather cord around her neck, and dismisses it, since it is not what Moggy asked. BUT, they still have the other two, which should have been in their room. It’s even said in that scene that Elayne and Nynaeve told Moggy about the ter’angreal they had stolen. So if they weren’t in the Supergirls’ rooms, where were they?
I don’t know. Do you?
I’m actually going to stop here, because the next chapter is Major, and also hella long, so I want to give it the attention it deserves. Here, have a weekend. See you Monday!