AMoL Chapter 15

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Ahh, poor Mat. In this review of Chapter 15 of AMoL we see just how smitten he is. If you're not already a fan of WoT, move on. I'll be posting spoilers about the whole series, and it would be much better if you just read the whole thing for yourself.

I've got an index of my other chapters over here
What Happens
Mat climbs four stories of the Tarasin Palace in Ebou Dar, to sneak into Tuon's room. When he gets there he's lucky (as always) because Selucia's crossbow shot misses him. She eventually tells him that Tuon is down in the gardens, and shows him a secret passage way (instead of him having to climb down). As he leaves Selucia says the only way to stop being the Prince of Ravens is to put your neck in a cord.

Rand goes to find Tam in Braem Wood, and presents him the sword he's being carrying around. Tam tries to refuse, but then accepts and heads out to a practice area to try it out with some forms. Rand thanks him for teaching him the void for archery, as he's used it extensively to survive and teach himself to channel. Tam says that technique isn't about archery, or sword work either, it's about centre and peace. Tam tasks Rand to duel with him using practice swords.

Rand doesn't like the idea, and initially fights quite poorly. He hasn't adapted to the loss of his hand yet, and Tam hits him with several hard blows. Tam tells him to let go of everything. Rand starts to fight without thinking. He's not as good as Tam, but he does start to adapt to fighting one handed. He realises that Tam has practiced fighting one handed. The brief lines they share at the end of the scene show that Tam has helped Rand overcome he's grief about losing his hand.

Mat enters the garden via a secret passage that Selucia showed him. He finds Tuon practicing her martial arts, surrounded by Deathwatch guards. Mat spots a gray man assassin heading for Tuon, and throws a knife at him, a finger's width past Tuon's chin. It takes the gardener in the shoulder. Tuon attacks the gardener, but the man escapes. The Deathwatch guards tackle Mat. Tuon sets the guards to chase the real threat, and talks with Mat. The scene ends with Tuon undressing and the two of them sinking into an embrace.

Commentary
Ha, put his neck in a cord. That's the name of the chapter as well. Mat's already tried that, and rather than get him out of it, it lead him to this situation in the first place. So that was a little funny. Of all the characters in this book, Mat is the one who lies to himself the most. He is only just starting to admit to himself that he is completely in love with Tuon. Which is a shame, because she's practically neurotic. Having been raised as the daughter of an Empress, in a culture where the empress is revered didn't give her much chance. It doesn't look like she'll avoid manipulating Mat's feelings for her to achieve what she wants.

There has been various reflection in the book about how Rand is now not Lewis Theron, but the Rand that Tam raised. I can't help but think that Tam teaching him about the void is a central pillar of Rand's character. Rand says as much, this isn't an amazing revelation from me. It's really nice to see some father and son bonding time. Despite all the stuff that is going on, Rand seems to pretty much be on holidays right now. I know he's telling everyone that the time's not right to attack Shaoyl Ghul, but he's not doing anything but saying his goodbyes. And when you think about it like that, it's really quite sad. I said this book was going to make me cry, didn't I? So fair enough, say your goodbyes. Just don't let the world deteriorate to extinction in the meantime, ok?

2 Comments

Neurotic? You keep saying that. I do not think this word means what you think it means. (princes bride quote). Maybe we should check the definitionof neurotic. I'm just not sure that's the right word.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurosis a sufferer has symptoms where behavior is not outside socially acceptable norms. So that fits. But it also says it's a mental disorder where the person is distressed. So that doesn't fit.

If we consider the culture as a whole, the cultural norms of the Seanchan don't fit within my cultural norms, but they do seem to cause distress. I think you're right, neurotic probably isn't the right word. I should have stuck with bat-shit-crazy.

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