ALL RISE for the honorable Wheel of Time Re-read! *gavel*
Today’s entry covers Chapters 33 and 34 of Towers of Midnight, in which I and various fictional characters conspire to make lawyers, aspiring writers and immature deities alike all burst into tears. Because we are just that awesome. Or awful. Or both. Jury’s still out on that one.
That was a legal joke, by the way. *points up solemnly* Yes.
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 upcoming final volume, A Memory of Light.
This re-read post contains spoilers for all currently published Wheel of Time novels. If you haven’t read, read at your own risk.
And now, the post!
Chapter 33: A Good Soup
Siuan and Nynaeve are in Egwene’s study, enjoying a surprisingly unspoiled soup while Nynaeve gives her report on Rand; Nynaeve had taken her Oaths earlier that day. Egwene comments that this confirmation that saidin has been cleansed makes her a little less uncomfortable with the idea of Asha’man and Aes Sedai bonding one another, but she is still not happy with the situation. Nynaeve interjects that Rand didn’t approve of it either.
“It doesn’t matter if he did or not,” Egwene said. “The Asha’man are his responsibility.”
“As the Aes Sedai who chained him and beat him are yours, Mother?” Nynaeve asked.
“Inherited from Elaida, perhaps,” Egwene said, eyes narrowing just slightly.
She was right to bring Nynaeve back, Siuan thought, taking a sip of soup. She takes his side far too often for comfort.
Siuan comments that he has changed, though, and that the man who came to the Tower doesn’t seem like the kind of man who could do what he did to Natrin’s Barrow. Egwene agrees, and opines that the man she saw wouldn’t have needed to do it at all, as “those inside would just follow him.” They discuss the deaths in the Tower and the increasing distrust they are engendering among the sisters, and Egwene tells Siuan that the plan must be set in motion. She explains to Nynaeve about her plan to pretend to have high-level meetings with the Windfinders and Wise Ones in Tel’aran’rhiod, to flush out Mesaana and her followers and trap them. Nynaeve thinks it a good plan, except that it involves Egwene directly, and volunteers to lead it in Egwene’s stead.
“I’ll admit you have a valid concern,” Egwene said. “Ever since I let myself get captured by Elaida’s cronies outside of Tar Valon, I’ve wondered if I become too directly involved, too directly in danger.”
“Exactly,” Nynaeve said.
“However,” Egwene said, “the simple fact remains that I am the one among us who is most expert at Tel’aran’rhiod. You two are skilled, true, but I have more experience. In this case, I am not just the leader of the Aes Sedai, I am a tool that the White Tower must use.” She hesitated. “I dreamed this, Nynaeve. If we do not defeat Mesaana here, all could be lost. All will be lost. It is not a time to hold back any of our tools, no matter how valuable.”
Nynaeve grimaces, but accepts this. Siuan asks if the Wise Ones might be willing to help, and Egwene thinks it a good idea. Nynaeve begins to suggest that perhaps she should ask Rand for help too, but Egwene tells her it is a Tower matter, and they will manage it.
Perrin plunges into another nightmare, this one of a shipwreck, with a kraken-like monster below dragging down the survivors. Perrin tells himself it isn’t real, but loses his focus for just a moment and finds himself sucked in. He almost gives in to panic, but concentrates with all his might on believing that he was in Cairhien on a dry street, not drowning in the sea, and slowly the regular wolf dream reasserts itself around him and the nightmare breaks apart. Hopper approaches and tells him that he is growing strong.
“I still take too long,” Perrin said, glancing over his shoulder. “Every time I enter, it takes me a few minutes to regain control. I need to be faster. In a battle with Slayer, a few minutes might as well be an eternity.”
He will not be so strong as these.
“He’ll still be strong enough,” Perrin said.
Perrin thinks he has to learn fast, thinking of the wolves all heading now for the Borderlands, in both the dream and in the waking world. He thinks the Last Hunt is upon them, and goes with Hopper to find another nightmare.
Gawyn is amazed that the gardens in the Palace are in bloom when everything else seems to be wilting. Elayne finds him and comments that the cloud cover broke over Caemlyn a week ago, but nowhere else, and that she thinks it is due to something Rand did. Gawyn scowls and spits that al’Thor follows him “even here.” Elayne is amused, and reminds him that this is where they met him for the first time. He asks if Rand is the father, and Elayne replies that she would be prudent to hide that fact, if he were.
Gawyn felt sick. He’d suspected it the moment he’d discovered the pregnancy. “Burn me,” he said. “Elayne, how could you? After what he did to our mother!”
“He did nothing to her,” Elayne said. “I can produce witness after witness that will confirm it, Gawyn. Mother vanished before Rand liberated Caemlyn.” There was a fond look in her eyes as she spoke of him. “Something is happening to him. I can feel it, feel him changing. Cleansing. He drives back the clouds and makes the roses bloom.”
Gawyn thinks she is being irrational. They bicker lightly over an incident in their childhoods before setting out to row on the pond, and then Elayne asks why Gawyn has come to Caemlyn now when he stayed away during the siege. Gawyn protests that he was embroiled in Tower politics, and Elayne replies that she isn’t chastising him, but she thought that Egwene needed him now. Gawyn replies “Apparently not.” Elayne says she will gladly make him Captain-General, but she thinks she doesn’t want that.
“What makes you say that?”
“Well, you’ve spent the majority of your time here moping around these gardens.”
“I have not been moping. I’ve been pondering.”
“Ah, yes. I see you’ve learned to speak the truth creatively, too.”
Gawyn says that it’s been good for him to be here, free of Aes Sedai for a while. He says he was sure he needed to be with Egwene, but she is so concerned with being strong that she doesn’t have room for “anyone who won’t bow to her every whim.” Elayne counters that Egwene must put forward a strong front to counter her youth – something Elayne can sympathize with – and that she bets what Egwene really wants is someone she can trust completely to do what she needs without needing to be told what that is. Gawyn says he doesn’t know if he can do that, and she replies that if he wishes to marry an Amyrlin, then he must. Gawyn changes the subject back to al’Thor, and Elayne observes that she doesn’t think Gawyn’s hatred of him is about their mother at all. Gawyn replies that he is a sheepherder; what right does he have to change the world?
“Particularly while you huddled in a village?” He’d told her most of what had happened to him in the last few months. “While he conquered nations, you were being forced to kill your friends, then were sent to your death by your Amyrlin.”
“So it’s jealousy,” Elayne said softly.
“No. Nonsense. I…”
“What would you do, Gawyn?” Elayne asked. “Would you duel him?”
“And what would happen if you won and ran him through as you’ve said you wanted to do? Would you doom us all to satisfy your momentary passion?”
He had no reply to that.
She calls it selfishness. Gawyn retaliates by calling her out on her stunt with the Black Ajah, and Elayne blushes and concedes that perhaps they both need to learn to be more temperate. She insists that Egwene does need him even if she doesn’t realize it. They reach the shore, and Elayne tells him that she releases him from his duties here, and will proclaim that his title of First Prince of the Sword will be held in abeyance for him until the Last Battle is over. He is uncertain about this, but smiles at her growing confidence in her role. She leaves, and Gawyn walks on, contemplating. He concedes to himself that perhaps she was right that al’Thor had had nothing to do with his mother’s death, and perhaps there was no point in hating the man when he was going to die at the Last Battle anyway.
“She is right,” Gawyn whispered, watching the hawkflies dance over the surface of the water. “We’re done, al’Thor. From now on, I care nothing for you.”
It felt like an enormous weight lifting from his shoulders. Gawyn let out a long, relaxed sigh. Only now that Elayne had released him did he realize how much guilt he’d felt over his absence from Andor. That was gone now, too.
He decides to focus on Egwene, and pulls out the assassin’s knife to inspect the red stones on it, only to be accosted by a woman walking with a Kinswoman named Dimana. The woman, Marille, insists she has seen a knife like it before. Gawyn is puzzled by Marille’s difficulty with referring to herself in the first person, and Dimana explains that Marille used to be a Seanchan damane. At Gawyn’s query, Marille explains it is a Bloodknife, and Gawyn could not have won it in battle, because Bloodknives only fall “when their own blood turns against them.” Gawyn realizes she is talking about Seanchan assassins, and urges her to explain about them, but his urgency frightens Marille, who begins begging for punishment. Dimana brings him instead to one of the former sul’dam, Kaisea, though she deems her “unreliable.” Kaisea smoothly prostrates herself to Gawyn, to his startlement, and insists that she must be collared. Dimana explains the situation to Gawyn, and her concern that Kaisea is trying to learn enough of the Power to do something destructive so that they will be forced to collar her. Kaisea is shocked by the Bloodknife, though, and also insists that Gawyn could not have survived the encounter, as the Bloodknives are the most ruthless killers since “they are already dead.”
“They are poisoned by their service. Once they are given a charge, they often will not last more than a few weeks. At most, they survive a month.”
Gawyn held up the knife, disturbed. “So we only need to wait them out.”
Kaisea laughed. “That will not happen. Before they die, they will see their duty fulfilled.”
Gawyn asks what their weaknesses are, but Kaisea insists they have none. She says that the only way Gawyn would have survived his encounter is because he must not be their true target. Dimana takes Kaisea away, and Gawyn reflects that obviously the real target is Egwene, and that he had to warn her. A servant approaches with a letter from Silviana, which informs him that the Amyrlin was displeased at his departure, and that he has had enough time to “idle” in Caemlyn, and his presence is required in Tar Valon “with all haste.” This infuriates Gawyn, who throws the knife on the tray in reply, and tells the servant to tell Egwene that the assassin is not who she thought it was, but Seanchan, and very dangerous. The servant looks confused, but leaves.
He tried to cool his rage. He wouldn’t go back, not now. Not when it would look as if he’d come crawling back at her command. She had her “careful plans and traps.” She had said she didn’t need him. She would have to do without him for a while, then.
AAAAAAAAHHHHHH *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*
Gawyn, I know you’re in the wrong mythology for it, but I really think you might be making the baby Jesus cry anyway. CRYING, REAL TEARS.
Because, dude. DUDE. You are quite sincerely the most annoying person IN EXISTENCE as far as I am concerned at this moment. That will probably change as soon as I have to drive over the river in rush hour traffic again, true, but right now, m’boy, you are the WINNAH. Holy hell.
He’s annoying me into head injuries EVEN WITH his decision to finally, finally turn in his membership card to The Rand al’Thor Haters Club, because even his good decisions manage to be so condescending you want to smack him around for them anyway. Which is a truly impressive feat. For massively irritating values of “impressive,” I suppose. “Oh la, now that everyone I’ve ever met has told me Rand had nothing to do with my mother’s death, and that I’m being the putziest putz that ever putzed for wanting to kill the savior of the frickin’ world just because he makes me look bad, I guess I’ll be the bigger person and let it go!”
Yeah, your Certificate of Noble Sacrifice is totally in the mail. You putz. *throws things*
Gragh. But it’s nice, I suppose, that the text is totally not beating around the bush when it comes to Gawyn’s essential pettiness and elitism re: Rand. Yes, how dare a sheepherder outshine a prince, OMGWFTBBQ! I’m gonna sprain my eye-rollers, that’s how hard they’re rolling here.
But, that said, it’s not like that’s not an attitude a prince of a realm might totally have. So… yay? For realism? I guess?
In any case, three cheers for Elayne for totally calling him out on his hypocrisy, and even acknowledging a bit of her own while she’s at it. TRVTH, we loves it.
(Huh. Microsoft Word does not mark “TRVTH” as a misspelling. INTRIGUING.)
As for Egwene, okay, look. I think I might have said this before, but whatever: it’s a feature, not a bug.
Captain Kirk always, always, always managed to be on the away team beaming down to the inevitably very dangerous unknown planet, even though in reality no sane starship protocol would ever allow for that, yes? Yes. And in the same way, Egwene will always manage to be on the front lines of whatever crazy-ass thing the Tower is doing, even though in reality (for whatever frail, tattered values of “reality” we’re still clinging to, here) the WOT equivalent of the freakin’ Pope would never, ever, ever be allowed to fling her life around like that.
Because you see, Timmy, in Fiction Land, being a/the protagonist of a story will always trump the practicalities of the actual role that protagonist is playing, if those practicalities would interfere with or remove them from the main action/drama/conflict of the story. That’s why Harrison Ford’s POTUS gets to fling Gary Oldman’s Russian terrorist out of planes, and any actual, real President of the United States really, really wouldn’t.
So if you really want to avoid stress re: Egwene, I suggest you pull on your Fiction Cap as firmly as you can, settle in, and go with it. Because this particular Pontiff-analogue will not be riding all safe and sound in a bulletproof Popemobile anytime in our foreseeable WOT future, so you might as well accept that now and enjoy it.
Re: Perrin, not much to say about his section, except that I don’t know if I could do that, see a thing and convince myself it wasn’t there. Especially while simultaneously fighting off a terror-invoked fight or flight response, which (among other things) has got to be just about the most distracting feeling ever in the history of everything. I mean, I don’t know how many of you have had the misfortune to have been scared absolutely fucking shitless in your life, like as in “Oh holy shit I am about to seriously die in the next ten seconds,” but those of you who have can probably attest that being actually able to think logically during such times is a feat of multitasking that is either the result of serious training, or ought to be declared a damn miracle.
Chapter 34: Judgment
Perrin insists to Sulin that the Maidens be deployed as scouts; she is reluctant, but agrees. Perrin worries about the divisions in his camp, but tells himself he is disbanding them anyway, so it doesn’t matter. He tells Dannil that whatever plot Faile has concocted to protect him, Dannil will not execute without giving him warning first; Dannil is sheepish, and agrees.
Perrin needed to be done with this. Free of it. Now. Because, over these last few days, it had begun to feel natural to him.I’m just a… He trailed off. Just a what? A blacksmith? Could he say that anymore? What was he?
He consults with Neald, and concludes that the area in which the gateways aren’t working is probably exactly the area covered by the dome in the wolf dream. He tells Neald that he thinks someone is setting a trap for them, possibly with an object of Power. Neald suggests moving out of the range of influence, but Perrin thinks Slayer will be ready for that. He wishes Elyas were back from his “special scouting mission.”
Someone’s pulling a snare tight, Perrin thought, slowly, inch by inch, around my leg. Probably waiting for him to fight the Whitecloaks. Afterward, his army would be weakened and wounded. Easy pickings. It gave him a chill to realize that if he’d gone to battle with Damodred earlier, the trap might have been sprung right then. The trial suddenly took on enormous import.
Gaul comments that Perrin has changed; he is no longer protesting about being chief. Perrin replies that he still doesn’t enjoy it; he does it because he must. Gaul only nods.
Faile sends Aravine off, and notes that the Two Rivers men seem to be looking at her with relief rather than shame. She thinks that the rumors of her saving Berelain during the bubble of evil incident were finally working in her and Perrin’s favor. She dresses in her finest dress and rides to Perrin. She notes with amusement how Bain and Chiad force new weapons on Gaul. Perrin tells her the Last Hunt is here, and that Rand is in danger; he confesses that he sees visions of Rand whenever his name is mentioned, and that he believes his army is being herded. He remembers his dream about sheep running from wolves, and suddenly realizes that he is the sheep, not the wolves. He says something wants to trap them and attack, but there is no sign of a Waygate in the area, though Elyas is looking. He tells her they will go forward with the trial, and then tonight he will try and remove the thing preventing gateways in the dream. They ride to where the Whitecloaks wait at the pavilion.
A chair had been set on a low platform at the northern end, its back to the distant forest of leatherleaf. Morgase sat in the elevated chair, looking every inch a monarch, wearing a gown of red and gold that Galad must have found for her. How had Faile ever mistaken this woman for a simple lady’s maid?
Galad is next to her, and Berelain is staring. Perrin calls to Galad that he wishes a promise from him that this will not turn to battle, but Galad replies he can only promise that if Perrin promises he will not run if the verdict goes against him. Faile sees that Perrin is considering it, and Faile reminds him of his greater duty to his army, Rand, and the Last Battle. Perrin hesitates, and agrees with her.
Perrin feels like a coward for his determination not to abide by the ruling if negative. Morgase opens the trial, and Galad presents the charges; the unlawful murder of Child Lathin and Child Yamwick, and that of being a Darkfriend and bringing Trollocs into the Two Rivers. He adds that the last charge cannot be substantiated, but Aybara has already admitted his guilt on the first two. Perrin answers that he killed those men, but that it wasn’t murder. Byar is called to give his account of the story, and as he speaks Perrin remembers the fear and confusion of that night. He says Aybara attacked them, and moved like a beast rather than a man. Perrin rises, and replies that Byar’s account is “nearly right.” He tells Morgase that in order to understand something or someone, you must first know what they are made of.
“I can speak with wolves. I hear their voices in my mind. I know that sounds like the admission of a madman, but I suspect that many in my camp who hear it won’t be surprised. Given time, I could prove it to you, with the cooperation of some local wolves.
[…] “This thing I can do,” Perrin said. “It’s a piece of me, just as forging iron is. Just as leading men is. If you’re going to pass judgment on me because of it, you should understand it.”
Bornhald declares that Perrin convicts himself of being a Darkfriend, but Morgase interrupts to declare that that accusation is not the purpose of this court, but to determine his culpability in the deaths of the two Whitecloaks. Bornhald subsides angrily. Perrin tells the court that the wolves are his friends, and he moved to defend them when the Whitecloaks attacked his friends. He admits that he was not in control of himself, that he felt the wolves’ pain as they died. Bornhald jumps up and insists that Perrin murdered his father at Falme, but Perrin replies that he fought on the same side as Geofram Bornhald, against the Seanchan, and swears an oath that he had nothing to do with Geofram’s death. Byar insists he is lying, but Galad does not buy his reasoning. Byar claims Perrin was fighting alongside ghostly “creatures of evil.”
“The Heroes of the Horn, Byar,” Perrin said. “Couldn’t you see that we were fighting alongside the Whitecloaks?”
“You seemed to be,” Byar said wildly. “Just as you seemed to be defending the people in the Two Rivers. But I saw through you, Shadowspawn! I saw through you the moment I met you!”
“Is that why you told me to escape?” Perrin said softly. “When I was confined in the elder Lord Bornhald’s tent, following my capture. You gave me a sharp rock to cut my bonds and told me that if I ran, nobody would chase me.”
Galad asks if this is true, and Byar denies it, badly. Morgase asks Perrin if he thinks he has spoken adequately for himself, and Perrin replies that the Whitecloaks had no authority to do as they did, and he had no obligation not to defend himself from them, but to himself he acknowledges that he had lost control of himself. Morgase observes that he already knows her decision.
“Do what you must,” Perrin said.
“Perrin Aybara, I pronounce you guilty.”
“No!” Faile screamed. “How dare you! He took you in!”
[…] “This has nothing to do with how I personally feel about Perrin,” Morgase said. “This is a trial by Andoran law. Well, the law is very clear. Perrin may feel that the wolves were his friends, but the law states that a man’s hound or livestock is worth a certain price. Slaying them is unlawful, but killing a man in retribution is even more so.”
Byar wants to know why it matters, if Aybara is not going to abide by the judgment, and Morgase replies that her sentence is thus: the Whitecloaks were an unauthorized military group in Andor, and thus Perrin’s act is subject to the Kainec Protocol. Galad explains that she has ruled the altercation to be a brawl between unemployed mercenary groups, therefore changing the charge of “murder” to “illegal killing,” which can still carry a sentence of death but can be much more lenient depending on the circumstances. Morgase then declares that she leaves the decision of the sentence to Galad. Galad deems it “a strange choice,” and asks again if Perrin will abide by his decision, or settle this with conflict.
Can I continue to run? he thought. Hounded by that day? There were no coincidences with ta’veren. Why had the Pattern brought him here to confront these nightmares from his past?
“I will abide by it, Damodred,” Perrin said.
“What?” Faile gasped.
“But,” Perrin said, raising a finger, “only so long as you promise to delay execution of this punishment until after I have done my duty at the Last Battle.”
Galad asks how he will know that Perrin will keep his word; Perrin replies that he came to the trial, didn’t he? Galad counters that he had Perrin’s people captive, and Perrin asks, if he were a Darkfriend, why would he have cared? Perrin swears a binding oath that he will submit to Galad’s authority if they both survive to the end of this, and Galad accepts, to Byar’s horror. Galad asks if Morgase will be returning with him, and Morgase says that she must go with Aybara back to Andor. Galad accepts this, and goes to leave.
“Wait,” Perrin called. “You didn’t tell me what my punishment will be, once I submit.”
“No,” Galad said, still walking. “I didn’t.”
Well, that was kind of bitchy of you, wasn’t it, Galad?
I totally get Faile’s reaction to Morgase’s verdict, but the fact of the matter is that Morgase was right: Perrin was guilty. In a modern U.S. court (assuming a modern U.S. court would accept a defense of wolfbrotherliness as a legit form of extreme emotional disturbance, natch) it probably would have been ruled, mm, either voluntary manslaughter or second degree murder, depending on how lenient that particular court was (or wasn’t). I vote voluntary manslaughter, myself.
But then again, it’s probably (slightly) more reasonable to do what Morgase did, and look at it from a military perspective rather than a civilian one, even though I think her decision to classify Perrin and Egwene as a “rival mercenary group” is really shaky, and definitely points to her not-so-secret sympathies for the Perrin camp, since that so conveniently allows for a sentence lighter than death. Not that I am complaining about this, but really, this whole thing amounts to a farce no matter whose side you’re on, if you ask me.
But then again again, the whole thing is a farce to me prima facie (as long as we’re spewing legal jargon everywhere) because I don’t accept the legitimacy of the Whitecloaks as an organization in the first place, and therefore I don’t accept that they had the right to level the charges in the first place. Funny how having a big fanatical army behind you changes the rules of what you can and can’t do…
But, whatever; thinking about the logic of this entire thing from a legal standpoint is enough to give me a migraine, so it’s probably better to just employ the Handwave of Legobabble™ and move on. The POINT is, ridiculous deferred judgment, yay!
Also, cool that the whole Wolfbrother thing is essentially out in the open for all his followers to know. Not that most of them with half a brain didn’t probably figure it out after Malden, but you know, confirmtion from the wolf’s mouth is always nice. This will hopefully help matters when seven million wolves show up at the Last Battle and are all “what, you weren’t expecting us?” to Team Light. Yup.
And… okay, there is really only one other thing about this chapter I feel the need to comment on, but I apparently needed to comment on it at great length, so that’s… something, I guess.
Right, so this is going to seem impossibly nitpicky to some people, while others will probably get exactly why this bothers me so much. But regardless of how everyone else feels, it felt to me like getting a literary splinter shoved in my metaphorical eye, so now everyone else can suck it up, because when I get unpleasant pointy things embedded in my sclera, the figurativeness of the sensation really does not prevent me from needing to complain about it. Loudly. Because if I feel literary pain SO WILL YOU. I’m giving that way. You’re welcome.
I will Esplain.
So, the Wheel of Time series, with very specific exceptions, has to my knowledge always employed a very unambiguous and unwavering style when it comes to perspective, which is, in writer jargon, a serial third person limited perspective. Meaning, the story as a whole is told from multiple characters’ points of view, but each individual section of the story is told from the point of view of one character and one character ONLY.
The only exceptions to this rule have been the cases in which the text switches to a third person omniscient perspective, and unless I’m sorely mistaken, that has only ever been for very particular bits: the traditional Chapter 1 opening text (The Wheel of Time turns, a wind rose in blah blah blah), and on occasion for the opening or closing coda and/or the quoting of prophecies or historical documents outside of the main text. Other than those very specific situations, in WOT the rule is that we are firmly lodged in a specific someone’s head every moment of the way, and while we are in that someone’s head we are only in that someone’s head.
So if we start a scene from Rand’s POV, for example, we stay with Rand’s POV; as long as that section lasts, we only get Rand’s views and thoughts and interpretations of whatever is going on at that juncture, and no one else’s. If he’s not privy to something happening while we are in his head, then neither are we. That’s what “limited perspective” means.
More importantly, when we do switch to someone else’s POV, say, Aviendha’s, that switch of perspective is always clearly demarcated by a white space break or chapter break, so there can be no confusion that we are now switching to another character’s point of view. In other words, you are never supposed to get Aviendha’s (or whoever’s) thoughts or internal dialogue dropped into the middle of a section that’s supposed to be from Rand’s (or whoever’s) perspective. There is no mixing of character perspectives! Which is as it should be, and something I have always deeply appreciated about WOT, how it uses that forcibly limited perspective to give us insights about the various characters from both the inside and the outside.
Except that’s precisely what didn’t happen in this chapter, and the discrepancy was so jarring to me, it about jumped out and smacked me in the face. I’m irate enough about this, in fact, to quote the offending passage in full:
Despite the troubles of the day, Faile found herself smiling. There was a devious complexity to Aiel interactions. What should have pleased Gaul regarding his gai’shain often seemed to frustrate him, and yet that which should have been insulting was met with amusement.
As Bain and Chiad retreated, Faile looked over the gathering army. Everyone was coming, not just captains or token forces. Most wouldn’t be able to watch the trial, but they needed to be there. In case.
Faile pulled up beside her husband. “Something worries you,” she said to him.
“The world holds its breath, Faile,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
He shook his head. “The Last Hunt is here. Rand is in danger. More than any of us, he is in danger. And I can’t go to him, not yet.”
“Perrin, you’re not making any sense. How can you know Rand is in danger?”
“I can see him. Any time I mention his name or think on him, a vision of him opens to my eyes.”
He turned toward her, his yellow eyes thoughtful. “I’m connected to him. He… pulls at me, you see. Anyway, I told myself I was going to be open with you about things like this.” He hesitated. “My armies here, they’re being herded, Faile. Like sheep being driven to the butcher.”
He suddenly remembered his vision from the wolf dream. Sheep running in front of wolves. He’d thought himself one of the wolves. But could he have been wrong?
Light! He had been wrong about that. He knew what it meant, now. “I can feel it on the wind,” he said. “The problem with gateways, it’s related to something happening in the wolf dream. Somebody wants us to be unable to escape this place.”
See what happened? We were in the middle of a Faile POV section, and suddenly for two random paragraphs we jumped into Perrin’s head! Worse, after this section there is a stretch of dialogue in which the POV character is not obvious, but then it becomes clear that we have jumped back into Faile’s head, and she carries the POV for the rest of the section. A POV which she should never have lost in the first place!
Ugh. No, no, no. I recognize that probably most people are not as hung up on the question of perspective as I am (perspective, I freely admit, is a big thing for me), but this is just sloppy. You’re talking about a narrative rule that has held for twelve books and literally hundreds of thousands of words, only to be broken here for, as far as I can tell, no good reason whatsoever.
Okay, I am moving on now, but seriously I could not let that pass because that is, just, no. Would-be writers of the world? Don’t do that. Just don’t.
Edited to add: Peter Ahlstrom, lovely and talented personal assistant to Brandon Sanderson, has been kind enough to give us a heads-up in the comments below that this POV error was in fact noted by the editors, and subsequently corrected in the paperback edition. The corrected passage reads as follows:
…“I told myself I was going to be open with you about things like this.” He hesitated. “My armies here, they’re being herded, Faile. Like sheep being driven to the butcher.
”I had a vision in the wolf dream. There were sheep running in front of wolves. I thought I was one of the wolves. But maybe I was wrong.
“Light! I was wrong about that! I know what it means, now. I can feel it on the wind,” he said.
Credit owed where credit is due, and alla that. Thank you for the info, Peter, and thank you to Team Jordan for fixing the problem.
And incidentally, in light of this, everyone who is still grumbling about how long the editorial process was/is taking for AMOL can seriously sit down and shut up, because this *points up* is the kind of stupid, easily avoidable stuff that happens when you rush that process. Let’s not do that.
And, er. I kind of ranted about that longer than I planned to, so I think we’ll wrap up here, kiddies. Have a splentabular week, and I’ll see you next time!