Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Memory of Light Read-through #24: Chapter 21—Not a Mistake to Ignore

By Linda

Siuan POV

Yukiri used a cushion of Air to break their fall through her open gateway. Fortunately it offered a fine escape route. It strikes me that tents are not very strategic, and later we see that the Seanchan are ambushed and trapped within their command tent. Yukiri is probably thinking that using Air to prop up a channeller would enable him/her to fly.

Siuan broke ranks in complaining to Yukiri about her weave, apart from being ungrateful. She is still not following traditional Aes Sedai ranking. True, times are different, and hard, but Siuan also has accepted her new position rather grudgingly. The grumbling is to mask her pain at the losses from this one attack, which are immense—almost 50% of the soldiers and about 32% of the Aes Sedai. While Siuan pretends that the Aes Sedai that died treated her badly:

"Bah," Siuan said, "most of them treated me like fish guts anyway. They resented me as Amyrlin, laughed when I was cast down; and then made a servant of me when I returned."

A Memory of Light, Not a Mistake to Ignore

her off-hand summary of her situation is true in outline. Many sisters have acted in this manner to her, for example, the Blue Sitter Maigan—just not necessarily those that died.

Siuan believes that Egwene is still alive. Like Moiraine, she trusts the Pattern as well as Egwene’s resourcefulness.

Bryne realises that he is making mistakes, but doesn’t know why. The chapter title refers to his mistakes being too large, too obvious, to ignore. Even by him. He has lost confidence and this makes him look old.

Lyrelle POV

As we see from her ‘so-called Black Tower’ description, Lyrelle does not accept the Black Tower as a legitimate entity. This is bolstered by her receipt of a warning from the Amyrlin that the Black Tower has joined the Shadow. Egwene and/or Lyrelle imply that they believe most, or all, Asha’man are Darkfriends. If they truly did believe this, then why Bond them? Just because Aes Sedai were Bonded? This is nonsensical reasoning and a justification for feelings of superiority.

Even though Lyrelle is a Sitter, the thirty reinforcing Aes Sedai accept her leadership reluctantly. In a way, I’m not surprised since I’m not impressed with her attitudes and thoughts.

The Blue Sitter is appalled that she has to accept that the Black Ajah is public knowledge, and that therefore Aes Sedai are not superior to Asha’man—and, in fact, are more like them than is acceptable. Both groups had to cleanse their ranks of Darkfriends.

Lyrelle plans to bind the strongest Asha’man, although she knows—but took a while to accept—that she won’t be able to Compel him. Wait until she finds out that even one of medium strength will probably be stronger than her when he reaches his potential. (Of course, she would be more dextrous in her weaving, which will compensate.) She thinks she can intimidate him in short order into telling her which of the others are the most talented, so her cohorts can Bond them. On the other hand, she doesn’t believe the taint is cleansed, or that the Asha’man could outfight them. We’ve hear this all before… Lyrelle is like a Blue version of Elaida or Toveine. However, unlike Elaida, Lyrelle is observant and good at reading people. I notice that she doesn’t return Androl’s greeting, and I’m sure so does Androl!

Her comment that:

It said something about these Black Tower men that they chose to finish the walls around their grounds before actually building their tower.

A Memory of Light, Not a Mistake to Ignore

shows that she doesn’t understand why the wall was finished and not the Tower, even though her group was kept out, and many men kept in, for weeks. Also, the most important parts, as far as Taim is concerned, are already built.

Pevara says that Bonding Asha’man is a misguided mission. She advises not to Bond randomly by coercion, but to take the willing. Rand’s order for the Asha’man to be men first and weapons second arrived in time to prevent the men from tamely accepting Aes Sedai demands to Bond them. This is definitely for the good of the Asha’man, but does stretch the bargain he made with Egwene, who in turn thinks they may be Darkfriends.

Pevara emphasises that Logain leads the Asha’man now. Like Elaida, Lyrelle wishes he had not survived. For one thing, Lyrelle was going to take over the Black Tower to have more influence than Lelaine, her Ajah Head.

Ironically, not having control through the Bond will mean that she has to treat her Warder as an equal, a partner, and not a servant. It will be a painful shock for one so power hungry that she wants own Asha’man troops forced to her will.

Androl says that his trick is “worthy of an Aes Sedai”, who have the reputation of being tricky by meeting the words of a bargain but not the spirit of it. And yet Androl more than meets this bargain in spirit, since he has gathered men who agree to be Bonded. Lyrelle was going to take whoever she wished. She still can, but it has to be from this select group. It is indeed not the time to whine, but the time for pragmatic politics—what with half Egwene’s army wiped out and Rand in Shayol Ghul.

Bonding goes two ways and negotiating will soften attitudes out of necessity. The Asha’man and Aes Sedai will each live long lives—again, equality. If some non-Green Sitters with Lyrelle are bonding two men, this will doubly break Ajah custom (since it is not customary to bond other channellers).

Pevara POV

Pevara is on the side of the Asha’man against Lyrelle’s cold and calculating intentions. Like Seaine, Lyrelle thinks Pevara chose the wrong Ajah. She has effectively abandoned her position as a Sitter, although for a very good reason.

Androl makes light of Pevara’s warnings about the Aes Sedai, saying that the men will weather the dangers of being seen as a threat or a tool. He points out that Pevara changed—but she was positively disposed towards them compared to some of Lyrelle’s Aes Sedai. Myrelle will also be won over easily to see their points of view.

Pevara and Androl can see the psychological damage that the Turning processes has left on Logain and Emarin. Once complete, the Turning results in irreversible moral as well as psychological destruction.

The Asha’man don’t know what to think about the fact that Rand knew something was wrong at the Black Tower and did nothing. Jonneth, a loyal Emond’s Field man, believes Rand must have had good reason. Emarin thinks the worst of him. Androl points out that Rand’s attitude is all of a piece—he has never had much to do with the Black Tower. Of course, Taim manipulated Rand to ensure that, and Rand fell for it. Emarin is right that Rand became harsh and even callous—but that stopped with his epiphany, which these Asha’man don’t know about. It occurred too late for Rand to do much for the Black Tower except fall into the trap while trying to save them (which Rand was tempted to do).

Logain is their true leader, not Rand, and Androl second. Pevara sees that Rand cannot remain their leader anyway since he is the world’s sacrifice. The Asha’man must be independent and not reliant on any one man. Their own men. Not weapons. They have a positive outlook and a future now beyond the Last Battle.