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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
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Book 14 Chapters 38-49


Hazeel

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In the final entry of A Memory of Light, it all comes to an end.

 

Chapter 38: The Place That Was Not

 

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This is too much. Too intense. Sophisticated commentary, I know, but that’s all I can say.

 

Chapter 39: Those Who Fight

 

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I’m not even sure what to say anymore because everything’s going so fast and it’s all too intense! It looks like the battle of ideas between Rand and the Dark One is subsiding into a real battle now. Awesome. But he can’t kill Mat! Everybody’s dying, but not Mat. And now Olver’s blown the horn. This is all so goddamn cinematic.

 

Elayne’s still alive, of course, although I was worried there! And Birgitte’s back! She didn’t stay dead long, did she? But of course, the Horn would’ve brought her back, and now I guess she’s a Hero of the Horn again! And that asshole Hanlon/Mellar is finally dead! I still wish I knew what happened to Lady Shiaine and the other Darkfriends, but okay.

 

But WHY IS LAN ALIVE? I THOUGHT HE DIED. I’m not sure how I feel about this! Lan’s alive, which is awesome! But I seriously thought he went down in an epic blaze of glory fighting Demandred. Mat’s sending the final charge. The Heroes of the Horn are here. Mat’s talking to Artur Hawkwing. I was confused about Mat’s connection to the Horn when Olver blowed it, but now it makes sense. So the connection was severed when Mat got ‘killed’ by Rahvin? Well, that’s fortunate, ‘cause Olver (and everyone else) would’ve been utterly screwed there otherwise. But Noal Charin is back too? Well, that makes sense too, because he’s Jain Farstrider, but damn, everyone’s coming back from the dead.

 

Chapter 40: Wolfbrother

 

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It’s the end of the world, Birgitte just came back from the dead, Elayne nearly got gutted by Hanlon, and the two are still arguing about Elayne’s security! I love it. DARKHOUNDS. Are these those Darkhounds from CoT? Please tell me Jordan actually had a purpose for those. Aviendha’s gonna fight Graendal. Awesome. Elayne’s charge is pretty cool too. Damn, I think we’ve gotten to that point in the battle where everything transitions from despair to excitement and triumph. Or I hope, I can’t handle another Egwene.

 

What’s Jur Grady doing? Wait. WAIT. HINDERSTAP. Oh my god, this is actually pretty brilliant. I didn’t expect this plot twist whatsoever. Sanderson, you are forgiven for the apparent randomness of Hinderstap in TGS! There was a point to it! Oh my god, Mat is a genius, this is perfect.

 

Chapter 41: A Smile

 

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I totally forgot about Moghedien. She was hanging around with Demandred this whole time, right? She hasn’t really done anything in forever. I don’t expect Moghedien to blow shit up in the Last Battle, though, her style has always been to lurk in the shadows. And that’s kinda what she’s doing now, disguising herself as Demandred. What does this mean? Oh damn, the dragons. I’m glad Talmanes still had a role in the Last Battle, after playing such a major role in the prologue.

 

This was a short chapter, so moving on…

 

Chapter 42: Impossibilities

 

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Everything’s going to hell in Thakan’dar. The imagery of lightning literally turning solid and falling to earth is pretty…impressive, but Sanderson’s always good with the surreal. But oh shit, Aviendha found out about Rhuarc. Rhuarc’s terrible fate would’ve hit me harder if it weren’t for all the tragedies that preceded it. I’m kind of numb at this point, so much has happened. But Rhuarc dying as a Compelled thrall of Graendal’s is especially tragic given he’s an Aiel, and they place so much emphasis on honor and self-reliance and all.

 

I almost thought Sanderson had forgotten about Alviarin! That would’ve been disappointing, as she used to be such a major player, and then did pretty much nothing in the latter entries in the series, and she just had to have a role in the Last Battle. But it doesn’t look like she’s playing a major role. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I suppose it’s a nice twist that some Darkfriends would be taken prisoner instead of being outright executed (this has been a pretty blood affair so far), and who else but the Ogier to offer rehabilitation? Still, I would’ve hoped for more for Alviarin than just showing up for two pages and getting captured by Ogier or whatever. Still, Androl’s trick was pretty clever.

 

Aviendha and Graendal! Wow, was Aviendha seriously just crippled? She might not even make it out of this alive, I don’t even know what to expect anymore. Shit.

 

Chapter 43: A Field of Glass

 

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Logain’s bitterness is becoming increasingly concerning, if understandable. It reminds me how few Logain POVs we’ve had prior to AMoL, if any. I just hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. It’s so cool to see Mat lead the charge alongside the Heroes of the Horn. The river crashing down and sweeping the Trollocs away was obviously evocative of the defeat of Isengard in LOTR. Hell, this whole stage of the battle feels like that moment in Return of the King when, after all hope seemed gone, everything suddenly starts to turn around, and orcs/Trollocs are dying everywhere. This is it. Victory is in sight.

 

Chapter 44: Two Craftsmen

 

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I was kind of concerned that Perrin was gonna sit out the Last Battle, but he’s back in action, and not a moment too soon. I forgot about Gaul. Shit, he’s still in the Wolf Dream. Granted, I think time’s moving differently there, but still. I liked the final interaction between Perrin and Luhhan. Perrin’s character arc has really come full circle, and I have to commend Sanderson for staying true to the character in his books. And we finally have some resolution on some of that mysterious madness going on with Masema during that blasted Shaido arc, specifically regarding Masuri. I didn’t expect Sanderson to answer all questions, and while there are a few mysteries I would’ve liked him to address, I’m glad he managed to return to at least some of the loose threads.

 

Thom Merrilin is another character who hasn’t done much in the Last Battle. He’s not a channeler and not much of a warrior either, so it’s not entirely surprising, but I was initially disappointed that he was spending the apocalypse sitting on a rock. But the way he off-handedly disposed of the Darkfriends trying to sneak into Shayol Ghul was pretty cool. Speaing of loose threads, we now know what happened to Jeaine Caide, who I recall was one of Liadrin’s old cronies from way back that just disappeared from the narrative.

 

Chapter 45: Tendrils of Mist

 

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Mat’s reunion with Noal was another of many encounters in this book that could’ve (and under Jordan, probably would’ve) been developed more for emotional impact. I understand Sanderson was running out of time, but both happy reunions like this and tragedies like Egwene’s death were kind of underwritten in terms of their impacts on the heroes. But at least Mat’s heading to Shayol Ghul! His role in all this hasn’t ended yet.

 

And Padan Fain’s back! After five books of doing nothing (well, he reappeared for a second in ToM)… This is really late for a reintroduction, but I hope he finally plays a role in the narrative, because he’s such an ominous villain and even Jordan seemed at odds as to what to do with him at times, let alone Sanderson. It’s been foreshadowed for some time that he’ll play a crucial role at Shayol Ghul, so I’m excited! Shaisam, interesting new name.

 

Perrin v. Slayer. For the last time. Awesome.

 

Mat riding on a raken, eh? Not a bad way to get him to the battlefield. And Olver’s just loving it, ha.

 

Chapter 46: To Awaken

 

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Rand and Moridin are back in action. This is all ending. And oh my god, Alanna. But she released the bond! Finally! Why the hell did she have to bond him in the first place and risk all humanity? It’s tragic she died and everything, but at least Rand and the world didn’t just go down with her. And what happened to Callandor? This is too intense.

 

And Perrin’s kill of Slayer was fucking incredible. The imagery of the two running through Thakan’dar, shifting in and out of the dream instantaneously, with the entire world ending around them… Well done, Sanderson. I would’ve loved to have learned more about Slayer, but this is a satisfying conclusion to one of the more intriguing villains in the series. Damn.

 

BUT NO, FAIN, YOU’RE NOT KILLING MAT.

 

Chapter 47: Watching the Flow Writhe

 

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This is too much for me. Aviendha’s unweaving the Gateway. It’s gonna explode. Don’t let it take Aviendha too.

 

BUT YES, MAT’S ALIVE. Damn you Sanderson for playing that old trick, I almost believed you there. And Fain’s dead. Like that. Wow, that scene was pretty well-written and intense, but I would’ve hoped for more. I expected Fain to play a role at Shayol Ghul, but a final clash with Mat, given their history together, would’ve also been satisfying. But compared to Perrin’s huge confrontation with Slayer, everything ended a little too quickly for me between Fain and Mat. And I still had a fantasy of Fain having a conflict with Shaidar Haran. By the way, where the hell is Superfade?

 

Words can’t describe the trap Rand just pulled on Moridin and the Dark One with Callandor. Jesus, this is so intense.

 

Chapter 48: A Brilliant Lance

 

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So Graendal Compelled herself, huh? Fitting, obviously. And I presume that’s the end of her. Wow.

 

So Logain didn’t do anything stupid. Excellent.

 

This chapter was really short, and everything’s about to end, so I’m moving on.

 

Chapter 49: Light and Shadow

 

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Oh my god, I forgot about Lanfear too. She showed up in the book earlier, of course, following Perrin around, but I still don’t know what her purpose is. I expected her to do something with Rand, to be honest, but now she’s following Perrin again. What the hell is she planning?

 

Wait, what’s going on here? WHAT JUST HAPPENED? So…Lanfear’s evil. She was playing Rand and Perrin all along. That’s not surprising, and it would’ve been a copout if Sanderson tried to pull a redemption arc or something. But she…Compelled Perrin? She’s been Compelling him all along? And she nearly just had him kill Rand at the crucial moment? I didn’t expect that for a moment. I didn’t expect Perrin to end up killing Lanfear! Holy shit, this was all so confusing.

 

But who cares, because Rand is killing the Dark One. Okay, not killing. As much as I love a dead antagonist, it makes sense that Rand’s sealing him back into the Bore.

 

And it’s all over. Rand defeated the Dark One. It was mainly a battle of ideas, but the battle is over. Tarmon Gai’don has finished. I feel like I should have more to say about this, but seeing this series end is too much for words. Maybe Sanderson could’ve fleshed this final moment out a little more, but really, I can’t criticize. This climax was what I was hoping for.

 

Epilogue

 

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I was hoping to write with more coherency for the epilogue, but really, the intensity, the feeling of closure, is gonna make this commentary pretty brief too. I’ll comment on the epilogue as a whole: I liked it. It felt a little abrupt, so I was surprised to hear that this was all Jordan, but on second glance, it does read more like him, especially those last few moments, which really brandish the sort of poignancy Jordan would’ve brought to the whole finale. I didn’t expect what happened to Rand in these last few pages. And maybe it could’ve been made clearer, but on the whole, I have no problems with how it ended for Rand. There’s something bittersweet and poignant about him riding into the sunset, with the whole world thinking he’s dead. It’s what he wants: a life of peace and simplicity, no more responsibility, no more burdens, no more notability. And yet everyone he knows believes he, the savior of the world, burned on that pyre, not…Moridin. Huh.

 

Perrin’s final moments of panic were somewhat concerning, but I didn’t think Faile had died. Which is surprising, because just a few chapters ago, I was ready to believe that Sanderson could kill off anybody. I guess the shock of Egwene subsided, because really, she was the only huge character to actually die. Birgitte, Elayne, Lan, Galad, Mat, all survived. Well, Gawyn, Siuan, and Bryne died, which was major, but not on the scale of Egwene’s death. Still, I was obviously relieved Faile was alive. Perrin would’ve been destroyed otherwise, and I don’t think either Jordan or Sanderson would’ve written such a sad ending for him.

 

But there was a point of confusion about the switch, so to speak. Min, Elayne, and Aviendha knew about the switch, right? That was why they didn’t act distraught about Rand’s apparent death? Yeah, Min says it outright somewhere. That doesn’t completely make sense, though. If Rand’s survival was something they were intent on concealing from the world, why didn’t they at least act like they were grieving? Otherwise, people like Nynaeve would naturally become suspicious. Unless I’m missing something?

 

I’m still not entirely happy about the prospect of Mat spending the rest of his life married to the Empress of an expansionist slave state (and ruling it himself, no matter how he resists), but I guess he got a happy ending too. Speaking of the Seanchan, it really tells me something that I was legitimately sympathetic for Moghedien when she was captured. Moghedien is one of the Forsaken, an embodiment of evil, somebody who worked to bring about the end of all things, somebody who probably murdered thousands in her time. Yet I don’t think even she deserves to spend the rest of her extraordinarily long lifetime (unless the Forsaken are now completely mortal, or something?) as a damane. So yes, the Seanchan still piss me off.

 

Cadsuane will become the new Amyrlin. That’s pretty fitting. I mean, she’s quite old, even for an Aes Sedai, so it probably won’t be a long reign, but she was the most likely candidate. Like most fans, I could get quite irritated by Cadsuane, but in the end, I have to say I still like her overall. But of course, it remains tragic that an Amyrlin as extraordinary and young as Egwene had to die so early into her reign.

 

The epilogue was a little rushed in places, but that final POV from Rand was just perfect. Any qualms I might have had about the book fled from my mind when I read those final paragraphs. This was a good ending to one of my favorite fantasy series of all time.

 

And I’ll write a more detailed review in a separate post, one that’s hopefully more coherent. And that’ll be the last post in this blog. Wow.

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