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Lord of Chaos, Chapters 31-33

Basel Gill



Chapter 31 (Red Wax): So my suspicions about the Whitecloaks are correct; there is some discontent with Niall's way of running things. Eamon Valda arrives at the Fortress of the Light. He thinks he shouldn't have been called back to Amador; he should have been sent to fight Rand. He is sure that he would have had Morgase signing a treaty with the Children in just one day. The head of the Questioners wants to meet with him, and says that Niall will destroy the Children of the Light if left to run things his way. Valda sounds interested. So, what do we have here? A Whitecloak version of Operation Valkyrie? (I'm assuming that it won't come down to whether or not someone moves a briefcase.) Does Niall wind up beating down the revolt? And does the internal squabble weaken the Whitecloaks for dealing with their external foes, regardless of who wins? Meantime, Niall gets another report from his agent in Tanchico which he finds a need to answer.


Cut to Morgase. Today is the big day when Paitr and his uncle help her and her band to escape the Fortress. Except that Paitr was a Darkfriend when we saw him several books ago; can going with him really improve her situation much? Turns out it doesn't matter as Paitr and his uncle get hung for being Darkfriends. Now we all know the Whitecloaks are quick to find anyone guilty of being a Darkfriend. It doesn't take much to convince a Child of the Light that someone is a Darkfriend. But this time, they actually seem to have gotten it right. Gee, who'd have thunk it that someone accused by the Children of being a Darkfriend really is one. Morgase sees the execution; Niall makes sure of that. So she signs the treaty, seing that she has no choice. It seems better to her than Rand ruling Andor through a puppet. Morgase is so misinformed on Rand! And how handy of Niall to have a treaty already written out and ready to sign! Niall is a man who comes well-prepared. I think that he is actually doing a better job of running the Whitecloaks than Valda and the Questioners think, aside from the tendency to see Darkfriends everywhere, which the whole organization does. Except now that she has finally signed his blasted treaty, he isn't ready to ride off and conquer Andor for her, because Tanchico looks like trouble. Morgase just can't win. So she may as well make the time useful, and offers to play some stones.


Chapter 32 (Summoned in Haste): It looks like Berelain isn't going to be much good to Rand for a while. After he yelled at her a few chapters back, she's apparently crawled under a rock to hide. The Shaido are sending their Wise Ones, including Sevanna, and they are welcome in the Wise Ones tents, but that just makes things nervous. It doesn't seem like Sevanna has much legitimate grounds fo being a Wise One. Most likely, the real Shaido Wise Ones are her little puppets, and she is calling the shots, so if she says she is a Wise One, then she is. Egwene goes out to the Sea Folk ship but is refused permission to board and gets dumped in the river. Aes Sedai normally are refused the gift of passage; it took a while for me to recall that bit. The Sea Folk don't want Aes Sedai sensing that Windfinders can channel. Egwene gives as good as she gets and dumps them in the river too. Good for her; I didn't find the Sea Folk manners all that impressive here. Finally, Egwene gets to meet with the Salidar Aes Sedai in dreamland. They go through an elaborate formal ceremony summoning her to Salidar. Here she learns that the woman who she couldn't recognize is Siuan. Egwene thinks this is to face justice for calling herself a Green Sister when she is just Accepted, but I think RJ is pulling a fast one. The Aes Sedai have something else in mind. I'm not sure what. Maybe they do want to put her on trial. Maybe they just want to give her presents or something. They're sure being mysterious about it. After they show her the way to Salidar and everyone disappears, Rand comes out from where he was eavesdropping. He was there just to invert his booby trap weaves around Callandor, but happened to overhear some important stuff. He now knows where the Aes Sedai rebels are, and that's something he's been trying to learn for a while now.


Chapter 33 (Courage to Strengthen): Egwene sends Cowinde, one of those gai'shain who isn't willing to stop being gai'shain when her time is done, to take a note to Gawyn telling him that she must leave Cairhien. But before she goes, it's time to face up to her toh. She goes and tells the Wise Ones about her assorted lies and asks for their help in satisfying her toh. And oh, do they ever help her. They seem pretty shocked by her confession. Cut to Mat. Mat is playing Snakes and Foxes with Olver, the urchin he has taken in. This is a really strange game, in that it is apparently impossible to win if you play by the rules. I bet if Mat rolled the dice that he would win somehow anyway. Which is why Mat decides to let Olver roll; he wants the game to happen naturally. The text makes it sound like winning isn't totally impossible, just really unlikely. Rand approaches him, and makes a rather sudden change in plans. Rand is going to open a gateway and take the entire Band within easy range of Salidar, but not right in Salidar. He wants the Band to pull Elayne out of Salidar. I'm not sure why he seems to think Elayne is there involuntarily. What happens when she refuses to leave? (Which I'm sure she will, unless it's to go to Ebou Dar.) Except Rand wants Elayne in Caemlyn, not Ebou Dar (he doesn't know about the weather bowl), presumably to receive the throne there. Aviendha is going with Mat, she says she needs to talk to Elayne. ("Ummm, Elayne, I slept with the man you love, the one I was supposed to be keeping an eye on for you. Well, there was this snowstorm, and it was cold, and he saved my life... I have toh. A lot of toh.") Rand wants Mat to cut across Altara and Murandy as he goes to Caemlyn, pulling out the Dragonsworn and theoretically handing Rand both countries without any need for conquest. Except neither Rand nor Mat knows that a goodly chunk of those Dragonsworn aren't Dragonsworn at all, but Whitecloaks. So what happens when Mat encounters the fake Dragonsworn? Do they go to battle with each other? They aren't likely to follow Mat to Caemlyn unless they see an opportunity to expand their pillaging and chaos thus making the Dragon look bad. Rand warns Mat Egwene may be in Salidar, but says the main focus should be on Elayne. Mat claims he will get both of them out of Salidar. I don't expect Egwene to go willingly either. Before he leaves, Rand hands Mat a sealed letter and tells him to give it to Thom. It's the one Moiraine gave him at the end of Book Five. I'm wondering what's in it but I'm resisting the temptation to look it up.


Cut back to Egwene, who is getting soundly whipped on her bare bottom. The Wise Ones and some apprentices are meeting her toh by corporal punishment. They seem to be leaving some heavy marks, and Egwene is feeling the pain. They're all quite angry. A couple of them aren't taking part in the whipping but just came along to drink tea. So meeting your toh is a spectator event? Maybe the embarrassment is just as shaming as the physical pain. But when they've all given as many lashes as they feel necessary, they declare toh has been met, and all is forgiven. Everyone hugs Egwene and there are smiles all around. Aiel don't seem to hold grudges much. Egwene continues packing when they leave.


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As far as I could tell, Niall didn't know Morgase was led to him via the hanging site. It might be an accident, or a Valda plot maybe? I don't know.

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