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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Book 13 Chapters 37-43


Hazeel

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In this entry of Towers of Midnight, a battle of dreams rages in the White Tower as Perrin confronts Slayer just when Egwene executes her trap for Mesaana; Gawyn comes to a realization, Aviendha reflects on the future of her people, Lan accepts his destiny, and Galad's soldiers are rescued from the Shadow.

 

Chapter 37: Darkness in the Tower

 

Summary

 

Gawyn continues to reconsider his opinion on Rand. He decides he must overcome his pride and submit to Egwene’s authority if he wants to become her Warder. Realizing Egwene is in the dream world and thus vulnerable to the Seanchan assassins, Gawyn quickly is Traveled to the White Tower.

 

Egwene learns the status of the battle occurring with Mesaana’s forces. Shevan and Carlinya were killed. Nynaeve is fighting upstairs. The Aes Sedai realize that they cannot Travel, and are trapped in Tar Valon. They realize the sky is violet outside.

 

Slayer confronts Perrin in Tar Valon, desperate for the dreamspike. Perrin refuses to respond to the goads. Slayer attacks.

 

Gawyn rushes into Egwene’s quarters to interrupt two Bloodknives present. He and Celark battle the assassins, but the latter is quickly killed. Another assassin enters the room, outnumbering Gawyn.

 

Perrin and Slayer battle throughout Tar Valon. Slayer manages to regain the dreamspike and flee, but Hopper intervenes.

 

Egwene and the Black Ajah battle in the White Tower. When Mesaana appears, Egwene retreats to her chambers. Nynaeve follows, revealing Alviarin is present. They continue to hunt the Black sisters.

 

Perrin chases Slayer up the White Tower and inside. He recognizes Egwene in battle, who, impatient, attempts to bind him and keep him out of the crossfire, but Perrin’s mastery of the dream allows him to escape with ease. Perrin rescues her from a balefire attack. He warns Egwene about the danger before suddenly feeling agony from Hopper.

 

An exhausted Gawyn smashes the lantern, blackening the room. He manages to kill all three assassins using his senses. Wounded, he collapses beside Egwene.

 

Katerine kneels before Mesaana, who is infuriated by the former’s failure to locate the dreamspike. Mesaana intends to control Egwene. She orders Katerine to locate her, and places a weave on her.

 

Perrin materializes atop the White Tower where Slayer clutches a wounded Hopper, whom he throws off the tower. Perrin leaps after, and he grapples with Slayer as they fall. He manages to break free and materializes at the bottom of the tower. Perrin catches Hopper, but Slayer kills the wolf with an arrow. A nightmare suddenly forms, and Perrin drags Slayer inside.

 

Comments

 

Note: See the next chapter, in which I comment on the battle scene as a whole.

 

Chapter 38: Wounds

 

Summary

 

Egwene continues to battle, killing Evanellein. She is astonished by Perrin’s strength in the dream, and decides to rely less on channeling. Nicola appears against orders, and is killed. Mesaana appears, and Egwene denies the weave. She wills an Aiel spear to pierce Mesaana, who collapses. A disguise fades, revealing her Katerine. The real Mesaana snaps an a’dam around Egwene’s throat. She takes her to a chamber with Alviarin. Mesaana questions Egwene about the dreamspike, who overcomes her fear and denies the a’dam. Egwene and Mesaana mentally battle, pitting their skills in the dream against each other. The latter finally snaps and collapses. Egwene returns to the others with Mesaana, who is revealed to be braindead. The battle has concluded, although the dome remains. They all leave the dream.

 

Perrin and Slayer struggle to survive in the nightmare, depicting Tar Valon during the Last Battle. Slayer, not as skilled with nightmares, nearly falls into the abyss. Perrin manages to recover the dreamspike from him, and stabs him when he recovers. Perrin destroys the dreamspike by throwing it into a river of lava, vanishing the nightmare. An infuriated Slayer begins to thrash Perrin, who feels Hopper dying, the wolf’s last thought encouraging Perrin to seek Boundless. Perrin has no choice but to flee the wolf dream.

 

Egwene awakens to find Gawyn and the assassins’ bodies around her bed. She Heals Gawyn as best she can, but must bond him as her Warder to save his life. Egwene realizes Gawyn saved her life.

 

Perrin awakens to find Faile and Masuri beside him. The latter Heals him, while Faile reveals gateways are operational, having delivered most of the people to Whitebridge. Perrin reveals Hopper was killed. Those remaining in the camp finally depart.

 

A defiant Slayer kneels before Graendal. She commands him to spring the trap regardless, as she has one remaining tool.

 

Comments

 

So I’m not entirely sure whether this battle matches the excitement of the Battle of the White Tower in TGS (it's just not as big in scope), but it’s pretty damn close. This was an awesome pair of chapters, made all the better because the entire book was pretty much building up to it, especially in Perrin’s chapters. I think the most entertaining aspect of the battle was how surreal Perrin’s clash with Slayer was. The imagery of Perrin chasing Slayer up the face of the Tower (and later falling right back down it) was pretty impressive. Judging from the last two books, I still think Jordan writes better battle scenes (I mean, Dumai’s Wells, the cleansing, Rand v. Rahvin…), but Sanderson’s have been quite impressive so far. I’m definitely excited for the Last Battle.

 

So, what to discuss first? I enjoyed Egwene’s scenes inside the Tower, but I feel they were a little too fast-paced. I think the whole battle could’ve benefited from being elongated a little, as Perrin’s scenes felt well-paced while Egwene’s were a little rushed. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more battle inside the Tower, like in TGS. There’s been a lot of build-up to a final confrontation with the Black Ajah, so I think that could’ve been done further justice, as most of the major antagonists only made cameo appearances, before either fleeing or getting defeated, including Mesaana.

 

As for Mesaana herself, the scene in which Egwene was captured with the a’dam was incredibly surprising. I did not honestly expect Egwene to have to confront her fear of the Seanchan like that. If anything, I was surprised nothing like that happened in TGS. But it makes plenty of sense, as, although the Seanchan have been pretty much absent from this book, they’re definitely going to play a major role in the future, and Egwene needed to reconcile her terror of the a’dam. The whole scene was written very well, very intense. I was frightened for Egwene, and enjoyed the manner of her escape. Depicting the battle in Tel’aran’rhiod definitely changed the playing ground, and that was evident in Egwene’s sequences as well as Perrin’s. Perhaps I would’ve enjoyed some physical sparring with Mesaana before her essential demise, but the mental battle was rather unique, if confusing. So we can assume this is the end of Mesaana? I’ll admit, it was clever to dipose of a Forsaken with a different method than balefire, from a narrative perspective. But what now? Will Mesaana be killed? Will she die on her own? Or will she live the rest of her life braindead?

 

Anyway, it seems this is the end of the Black Ajah, and while I would’ve preffered a little more emphasis on this final conflict, as there was so much buildup in TGS and before, it was entertaining nonetheless. So Alviarin escaped, and Katerine’s dead. Oh, and so is Nicola. Her death was very random, and I can’t say I’m too sorrowful, as she only really served to hinder Egwene, although she sort of turned around in recent books.

 

Onto Gawyn. Is this officially the end of him being incredibly irritating? I’m not sure whether I’m willing to let all his arrogance, selfishness, and hatred slide because he was a bad-ass in battle. Which he was, as the scene with the three assassins was exciting. But what will really redeem Gawyn for me is if he follows through with his new line of though, and stops being so oblivious and stubborn. It does appear as if he’s had something of an epiphany regarding the necessity in being submissive when it’s called for. And I can rather sympathize with his struggle to submit, especially to someone like Egwene, and especially for someone with a privileged past for Gawyn. But there’s a fine line between some warranted envy and outright unjustified hatred. But Egwene bonded him, in a scene reminiscent of Birgitte’s bonding! Cool, at least that romance has been straightened out. It reminds me of Gareth and Siuan finally resolving their differences amidst a battle in the White Tower in TGS. Hopefully this means Gawyn’s needlessly prolonged arc is at an end.

 

And then Perrin. Like I said earlier, I loved how surreal and bizarre this battle was, although I’m still a little astonished by the incredible stupidity of Perrin’s decision to deliver the dome directly to Tar Valon. He didn’t have many other options, but still. His interactions with Egwene were amusing, though. Really, Egwene, you don’t think Perrin can handle himself? Damn, she’s been awesome in the last few books, but Egwene can be pretty haughty sometimes. I almost wished their interaction would’ve lasted longer, though, before splitting ways so suddenly. And Hopper’s death! Hmm, it was definitely tragic (the sorrow and anger Perrin expressed reminded me of the heartbreaking deaths of his family in TSR), but for some reason, the death of animals doesn’t really affect me as strongly as it does others, probably because I’ve never had a pet and don’t really understand the emotional bond one can have with another creature. To me, Hopper was another character, just like any of the human fatalities in this series. But even those are rare in WoT, so I definitely appreciate the impact of poor Hopper’s tragic demise, especially since, unlike most in WoT cosmology, he’s not coming back in a different life. He’s gone for good…and that sucks. I’m not sure what his last words meant, though.

 

To be honest, I was surprised Slayer didn’t die, but pleasantly so. Outside of ToM, he really hasn’t done much in this series, so I wouldn’t mind some more of him before Perrin confronts him for the last time. I’m not sure what Graendal intends to accomplish next if Perrin and gang are leaving the region. Slayer and the dreamspike was the trap, right? Hmm, I sorta wish Graendal played a larger role in this planned ambush of Perrin. Yes, she’s always stayed in the background in the past, but the time for that is over, isn’t it? Graendal has always been one of the most entertaining Forsaken, and after her relative absence in TGS, I wouldn’t have minded more of her in ToM.

 

Chapter 39: In the Three-fold Land

 

Summary

 

Aviendha runs through the Aiel Waste, intent on completing her Wise One training. An Aiel woman named Nakomi suddenly approaches when Aviendha makes camp. Nakomi questions her about the future of the Aiel and their purpose after the Last Battle. Aviendha believes the Aiel must serve their penance in the Waste, but then realizes that they will have fulfilled their debt to the Aes Sedai after Tarmon Gai’don. Nakomi vanishes, and Aviendha is troubled.

 

Comments

 

Aviendha’s back! Awesome. While I thought her arc in TGS was a little redundant, I did love that her character was finally getting some development, and was very eager to witness her adventures in the Three-fold Land. And now we’re finally checking up on her. This was a really brief chapter, but rather interesting. I have no idea who Nakomi is (she could be an apparition, for all I know), but her words were intriguing, and I’m glad they had an impact on Aviendha, as the current philosophy of the Aiel really is flawed. As a people, they need to look forward beyond the Last Battle and understand that, for better or for worse, their way of life has been irrevocably changed and they cannot revert to what they once were. Progress needs to be made, and I seriously hope Aviendha is the one to encourage it amongst the Aiel.

 

Chapter 40: A Making

 

Summary

 

Perrin broods on his failure against Slayer and the loss of Hopper. Arganda notes an excellent location for an ambush, not far from the Whitecloak camp. Perrin sends for Grady and Neald, and then decides to work at the forge. Neald offers to help heat the metal, and eventually links with six Wise Ones. Perrin forges a massive ornate hammer. There is a crowd of hundreds watching. He has Wil al’Seen fetch the only wolf banner that wasn’t burned. Perrin reveals he will accept his role as leader over those who wish to follow him into the Last Battle. Perrin names his hammer Mah’alleinir, He Who Soars, and Sulin then reveals that the Whitecloaks camped near the ambush point. He remembers reports about the northern roads being impassable, and realizes they were falsified. Perrin has Grady and Neald Travel the armies to the ambush point.

 

Faile and Berelain converse, the latter realizing that Neald has a talent in creating Power-wrought weapons. She attempts to convince Faile to dissuade Perrin from attacking the Whitecloaks, as she suspects that Perrin intends to circumvent Galad’s justice. Faile understands that Perrin would never deign to such duplicity.

 

Elyas reveals to Perrin that he must join the wolves in the north, and they part ways.

 

Trom awakens Galad to reveal that Perrin’s army has returned, seemingly prepared to attack. Galad rouses the soldiers, and believes he doomed them all.

 

Perrin overlooks the Whitecloak camp from the ridge. The Whitecloaks start making a defense. Perrin orders archers into position, and Berelain pleads that Galad’s life be spared. Perrin responds that he intends to save the Whitecloaks, not destroy them. Indeed, a trolloc army emerges from the mist, and battle sparks.

 

Comments

 

So this scene naturally reminds me of Rand’s epiphany on Dragonmount last book, and I’ll admit, it doesn’t necessarily compare to the brilliant writing and characterization present in that moment, but this was still quite a good scene. I wasn’t certain where it was going at first, concerned about more convoluted cogitations on hammers by Perrin, but there was legitimate progress here. In fact, it’s apparent that Perrin has overcome his personal conflicts as much as Rand had on Dragonmount, and that’s what impressed me so much. Perrin’s internal struggle has been even more protracted than Rand’s, who only really took a turn into darkness in the last few books. In contrast, Perrin has lacked confidence and conviction since practically the beginning of the series, reluctant to lead, self-conscious about his person, about his relationship with his wife and friends, and conflicted over being a wolfbrother. But it really appears as if he’s conquered that in one powerful forging of a hammer.

 

The scene wasn’t written as seamlessly as Rand’s epiphany, but I understand that Sanderson had a lot to accomplish in a short time, and wasn’t capable of allowing things to flow just as smoothly as preferable. I appreciated that Neald had his moment, as the Asha’man that have followed Perrin around for the last six books have been pretty nondescript so far. But it seems as if Neald has a potentially useful Talent, so that’s cool. I was a little perturbed by what Perrin was supposedly doing after he regained his confidence, though. While I was largely with Faile in understanding that Perrin would never deign to duplicity against the Whitecloaks (and Berelain’s hardly been an accurate judge of Perrin’s character), I couldn’t understand what Perrin was going to do with the Whitecloaks. Until the trolloc army appeared. Damn.

 

Chapter 41: An Unexpected Ally

 

Summary

 

Galad and Bornhald mount their horses, but find the falling arrows missing the camp by a wide margin. The Whitecloaks notice the oncoming Trolloc army. Byar is conviced that Perrin summoned the trollocs, yet even Bornhald considers this unlikely. Galad is nonetheless wary.

 

Perrin explains to Faile he suspected the possibility of a Shadowspawn trap from the dome. He suspects a Portal Stone is located nearby. Grady detects channeling in the distance. Perrin refuses to abandon the Whitecloaks as they abandoned him in the Two Rivers. He joins the assault.

 

Galad sprains his ankle badly in battle. He is shocked that the Light has provided no support to the Whitecloaks, who aren’t nearly so courageous as he thought.

 

Gallenne and Perrin lead an assault from above. The trollocs start diminishing rapidly.

 

As he observes Perrin’s charge from the ridge, Galad falls on his sprained ankle. Perrin aids him to his feet, and finds the tide has turned. Galad, impressed by Perrin’s honor, names his punishment: a blood price to the dead Whitecloaks’ families and a pledge to participate in the Last Battle. Perrin agrees to the terms. An infuriated Byar attempts to attack from behind, but Bornhald instinctively kills him.

 

Comments

 

Funny how these trolloc battles almost feel normal now. It’s evident that the Last Battle is upon Randland, as I was pleasantly shocked when the Shadow returned in force in KoD (when raiding Rand’s manor) after several books’ absence. But this was an entertaining battle, if obviously simpler compared to the surrealism of the clash in Tel’aran’rhiod. What was specifically powerful for me was when Galad realized that everything he believed in, regarding the Whitecloaks, was just naivety. He became suddenly much more sympathetic in that moment. It was an excellent example of how blinding zealotry can be, how it can convince gullible idealists like Galad that the Whitecloaks are anything more than human, with ordinary defaults and flaws. Much like many religious institutions, the Whitecloaks as an organization consisted of a select few manipulators exploiting the zeal and gullibility of the many sheerly to gain power and wealth under the veneer of protecting the world from the forces of evil. Despite it being apparent that the Whitecloaks weren’t favored by the Light and did not protect the innocent from villainy, those like Galad were easily convinced in believing so. But after the Whitecloaks were forced to clash with the enemy they always claimed to be protecting the world from, it became evident how human the Whitecloaks really were. It was definitely a well-written instance of characterization.

 

And it seems with that revelation that the conflict with the Whitecloaks will come to an end. Byar’s dead. That was surprising and although his death was abrupt, I don’t think it was too much so. It was an extra surprise that it was Bornhald who intervened, although I’ve noticed his increasing disillusionment with Byar’s style of zealotry for some time now. Although I wouldn’t mind Bornhald being brought to justice for being just as zealous and fanatical as Byar was for several books, it appears as he may very well redeem himself. More important was what sparked Byar’s outrage: Galad essentially pardoning Perrin from execution. Really, Perrin’s rescue of the Whitecloaks was awesome from both a moral and strategic perspective. What better way to remove the Whitecloaks as a potential threat and simultaneously recruit them in the plight against the Shadow than a daring rescue? However, I do hope that tensions don’t die immediately, as that simply wouldn’t be realistic, considering the Whitecloaks’ history of violence and zealotry. Even with the worst elements like Asunawa and Byar eliminated, there’s still a harmful ideology amongst the Whitecloaks that I hope is addressed later down the road.

 

Chapter 42: Stronger than Blood

 

Summary

 

Gawyn recovers from the battle in Egwene’s quarters. The remaining assassins were discovered. Egwene reveals that Mesaana was disguised as Danelle. Gawyn promises that he has learned to obey and surrender to authority. Egwene departs to speak before the Hall. Gawyn inspects the bodies of the assassins, and pockets their ter’angreal rings.

 

Lan realizes that Nynaeve claimed his bond for her own. The small convoy approaches the Silverwall Keeps, bordering Kandor and Arafel. There are thousands camped there, waiting for Lan. He still pretends to lead a caravan, and they almost pass through unnoticed until a young man, grandson of Queen Ethenielle, notices him. Lan finally surrenders, and allows the gathered soldiers to join him.

 

Comments

 

There was definitely a theme to this chapter, regarding both Gawyn and Lan finally overcoming their stubbornness. The former learned to defer to leadership, the latter learned to accept it. Very nice parallel, although both characters have had rather needlessly protracted arcs in the last two books. Lan wasn’t nearly as aggravating as Gawyn, but his chapters, much like Aviendha’s in TGS, did feel rather repetitive in this book, so I’m glad he’s finally accepted the support of his followers and is prepared to actually accomplish something. Gawyn really overcame his pride prior to the battle in Tel’aran’rhiod, but this chapter has seen the culmination of that character development. Anyway, anything else of note in this chapter? Firstly, Mesaana is Danelle. Considering I don’t really even recall a Danelle in the White Tower, that was certainly an effective disguise for Mesaana. But I still ask, what’s gonna happen to her next? Even Egwene doesn’t seem certain. I’m not confident that the White Tower would execute someone, even a Forsaken, in that state, but considering the circumstances… Oh, and Gawyn has the ter’angreal rings. That seems very important. Those rings kill the Seanchan assassins while giving them strength, right? So what does that mean for Gawyn? Surely he remembers being informed about that back in Caemlyn, right? Or am I misremembering? Hmm…

 

Chapter 43: Some Tea

 

Summary

 

Galad and Perrin converse, a mutual respect forming between the two unlikely allies. Perrin assures Galad that the Asha’man aren’t tainted. He offers to take the Whitecloaks to the Last Battle through Traveling as long as they momentarily obey him, as Rand wouldn’t normally trust the support of Whitecloaks. Galad reluctantly consents.

 

Alliandre folds bandages while Faile and Berelain converse. Berelain leaves irritated, and Faile explains that she’s infuriated over misjudging Perrin. Berelain later speaks to Alliandre about how love is not a factor for rulers. Yet she suddenly goggles over Galad when he approaches.

 

Comments

 

This was a sort of pointless chapter, to be honest. I suppose it was important to establish Perrin and Galad’s mutual respect and alliance, solidifying my beliefs during the battle that the conflict with the Whitecloaks has effectively concluded. I’m very much satisfied that Perrin will be in charge of the Whitecloaks during the Last Battle. That will prevent any funny business when it’s least needed. But there wasn’t much of note in Alliandre’s part of the chapter. She’s always been sort of a one-note character, and this scene didn’t give her all that much development. It did more for Berelain, to be honest. It’s interesting, as her political scheming used to be the redeeming aspect of her character for me, but now it seems as if that’s the reason behind her depravity. I’m rather ambivalent regarding the romance with Galad. It doesn’t seem all that significant, and was rather hastily prepared.

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