In this entry of A Memory of Light, Rand prepares for a momentous meeting, Elayne learns about the horrific fate of Caemlyn, Aviendha confronts her relationship with Rand, and Androl and Pevara daringly attempt to rescue Logain from Taim's clutches.
Note: I usually write my summaries for my entries using Encyclopedia-WoT.org for reference, a very useful resource, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to have any info on AMoL past this point. For that reason, I'll probably omit summaries in my later entries, and just respond to the material.
Chapter 1: Eastward the Wind Blew
Rand and Perrin converse, the former grateful that Perrin still has some of his innocence. They walk through the camp, and Balwer reports that Roedran will attend the meeting. A small earthquake shakes the camp, and Rand realizes the Last Battle has started. There is commotion in Elayne’s camp.
Egwene writes a letter to Rand, and then Travels to Elayne’s tent with Gawyn. Elayne is concerned that she has not heard from Caemlyn. Finally, a messenger arrives, revealing that Caemlyn is besieged by Trollocs. Captain Guybon arrives at the camp, and Egwene and Elayne rush to the gateways. Talmanes emerges horribly injured. Nynaeve barely manages to Heal him. Elayne and Birgitte head through the gateway to inspect the fallen city firsthand. Leilwin promises to serve the Amyrlin Seat, and Egwene isn’t certain what to do with her.
Rand remains intent on breaking the seals despite Egwene, but promises Perrin the ensuing meeting will not result in conflict. They’re informed about the fall of Caemlyn. Concerned that Elayne will abandon the meeting, Rand contemplates on how to ensure she attends. He promises to personally investigate the situation in Andor.
And so AMoL officially begins, now that we have the prologue out of the way. The sense of finality is pretty gripping. I’m more excited for this meeting than ever, and also nervous about the potential consequences. This situation is ripe for catastrophe. The loss of Caemlyn is still sinking in. I mean, what the hell is Elayne going to do now? After spending far too many books trying to claim the Lion Throne, now that she has it, the entire capital city is in flames? And right as the Last Battle starts?
To be honest, I’m a little disappointed that Talmanes survived. I shouldn’t be surprised, considering this is WoT, but considering how dramatic the battle for Caemlyn was, I was wondering whether Talmanes would be a shocking first fatality. But Nynaeve Healed him, which I suppose is a good thing. But I do sincerely hope, as terrible as it sounds, that this Battle is…deadly. It wouldn’t feel fitting if this all went down without some major deaths. Still not sure what Leilwin’s role in all this is, although I assume it will entail the Seanchan.
Chapter 2: The Choice of an Ajah
Pevara is the only Aes Sedai not yet claimed by Taim. Androl insists that saidin is no longer tainted, but Pevara points out signs of his insanity. They practice linking, and they accidentally bond each other in the process, allowing them to feel each other’s thoughts. They learn Logain and Taim supposedly reconciled, implying Logain has been captured.
Aviendha sneaks through the camps, proceeding to Elayne’s, intent on preventing the Aiel’s horrific future. She infiltrates Elayne’s tent, where the nobles are convening. Elayne acknowledges that the city is lost, and intends to battle the Trollocs outside of Caemlyn’s confines. She receives a condescending letter from Rand, a ploy to convince her to remain. Elayne decides to play along.
Not too much to comment on this chapter, although I’m becoming more interested in the Asha’man subplot now that it’s gaining momentum. I’m just a little irked that the storyline was ignored for so long. But if Taim has Logain… That’s unexpected. I guess it’s entirely possible, as we haven’t really seen Logain since KoD, providing plenty of time for Taim to track him down. Maybe it’s bullshit on Taim’s part, but if he has Logain captive, that could crush the entire opposition inside the Black Tower. And if Taim is turned… Damn.
Not much happened with Aviendha, though. She has a pretty insurmountable task ahead of her; how is she supposed to fight fate?
Chapter 3: A Dangerous Place
Androl and Pevara proceed to the gathering of the Asha’man. Welyn announces that Logain and Taim have reconciled, and currently plan for the Last Battle with Rand. He pledges Logain will return soon. Androl and his supporters are obstructed from leaving by Mishraile. Coteren announces that Androl has been demoted to a soldier. He grudgingly accepts, aware of his weakness in the Power, and leaves. Androl assures Pevara that Logain will be rescued that night.
Aviendha approaches Rand before his tent while he works on a document. Rand is still conflicted over his romances, but Aviendha accepts the pains of their relationship. They enter the tent to the jeers of Maidens.
Androl and Pevara hide in a storeroom, growing accustomed to hearing each other’s thoughts. One of Taim’s cronies, Dobster, enters and Pevara shields and binds him. However, two more Asha’man suddenly enter, and Pevara clashes with them until Androl manages to knock them out.
That was a pretty intense scene with Androl there. It seems increasingly apparent that Logain really hs been captured. Androl and Pevara face some serious odds here. I suppose they laid the trap for that Asha’man to interrogate him, but then what? Can so few really challenge Taim’s regime here? Hmm.
To be honest, I didn’t care too much for the whole scene with Aviendha and Rand. It was rather poorly written, but on the other hand, I can’t recall much experience with Sanderson writing romance. There was Morgase in ToM, which I felt was a little superfluous, but other than that, Sanderson hasn’t really addressed too many of the relationships Jordan established, specifically Rand’s convoluted…situation. But, seriously, Rand’s relationships with Aviendha, Elayne, and Min were resolved ages ago, back in WH (I think). We didn’t need Rand to accept his romance with Aviendha, he acknowledged they would bear the burden of his death books ago. And what’s the need for a cheesy sex scene? Really, Rand’s romances were already protracted enough under Jordan, we don’t need to pay any further attention now that it’s the Last Battle. There should be a reunion and that’s all that’s necessary.
Chapter 4: Advantages to a Bond
Androl and Pevara discuss their pasts while waiting for Emarin. When the Asha’man appears, he somehow manages to fool the captured Dobser with money, and he reveals that Taim indeed has Logain. Pevara binds him again, and they all prepare to rescue Logain.
Rand dreams after sleeping with Aviendha, and confronts Moridin. They discuss Lanfear, who Rand is still conflicted about. Rand understands why Moridin seeks apocalypse. Moridin attempts to taunt him, but Rand exerts his will; the clouds disappear and the ground blooms. Moridin vanishes, and Rand returns to sleep.
Pevara and Androl approach the underground prison. They manage to dispose of the guards, and proceed underground to Logain’s prison cell. He hasn’t been turned. Androl suddenly detects channeling, and Taim’s supporters attack. A weave then brings the earthen ceiling down.
I like Androl and Pevara’s friendship so far, Sanderson manages to write them with chemistry. How Emarin tricked Dobser was a little dubious to me (nobody’s that smooth), but the Asha’man storyline has been consistently exciting so far. Logain really is captured, but thankfully not turned yet. But with that little cliffhanger there, I wonder how long that will last!
The confrontation between Rand and Moridin wasn’t strictly necessary, but I liked it nonetheless. I’m really curious to see how this ancient conflict will be resolved in the ultimate climax. It seems as if Rand has transcended Moridin, which is consistent with the series’ treatment of the Forsaken. Even a few books ago, Moridin, if not all of his Forsaken companions, was a daunting, supernatural threat, but now, even he appears human, a flawed and petty creature. Perhaps Rand won’t be the one to confront him after all, and will just proceed to kill the Dark One? Hmm.