AMoL Chapters 17 and 18

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I know, you're wondering what's going on. Two chapters? What is he playing at? It's true. I've not been able to contain myself, and I've read two chapters this time before stopping to summarise. I hope you can bear with me. Now, just so you know, there is a good chance this post will have spoilers for the entire WoT series, but you already knew that didn't you? Index is here.
What Happens in Chapter 17
Mat wakes up after his night in the garden with Tuon. The a Deathwatch guard announces they have caught another assassin. Tuon calls for him to be brought forward. Mat is taken by surprise when it turns out to be Rand. As soon as Tuon recognizes him she urgently calls for damane. Rand reveals he followed Mat here, Tuon immediately feels betrayed. The damane arrive and shield Rand and seize Mat with air. Mat realises that Tuon has his medallion (that protects him from channelling). Tuon says Rand will be taken to Seanchan. Rand points out (elaborately) that he is Lewis Therin, and he has a better claim over this land than the descendants of Artur Hawking. He exerts his influence and turns the grass green, and the trees to blosom. Tuon denies his claim, as he broke the land and abandoned it. Rand goes to one knee, extending his hand, offering an alliance. Mat speaks to Tuon softly, vouching for Rand. Tuon asks what the offer is, and learns the terms that Rand is willing to extend. Tuon comes around to agreement, but they get stuck on the issue of the women channelars they have captured. They reach agreement, but the Seanchan keep the damane they have already captured.

Commentary
This whole scene in Ebour Dar was hilarious. Don't bother with my summary, you really need to read it yourself. I think this is the first time Mat and Rand have been together since, Tear maybe? Ages and ages anyway. In the last chapter Moiraine talks about how young Rand is, and how she thought he'd grown up. Rand replies that he and Mat had only learned to pretend to grow up, and this chapter is hilarious proof of that. This chapter has excellent comic timing, I wonder if it's mostly Branden's words or Roberts words?

So the Seanchan get to keep their damane, thus fulfilling Aviendha's vision. It seems her vision is going to be broadly correct. That's not so hilarious. 

What Happens in Chapter 18
Gawyn fights some Trollocs that have broken through the lines and are trying to reach the Aes Sedai (Egwene and Silviana). They aren't involved in the battle for long, they are relieved by Piava. Sleete is also there, so presumably Hattori is the other Aes Sedai. Gawyn and Egwene go and review the battle plans, then Gawyn leads the two of them to Maerin Sedai's tent so Egwene can sleep (he's been making her sleep in a different place each time). They meet Leilwin and Bayle Domon who offer to fetch Gawyn some food. Leilwin sees Gawyn playing with the Bloodknives ring. She warns him not to get any of his blood on it. Gawyn tells himself that he isn't going to use a ring, but he still doesn't tell Egwene he has them.

Rand helps out at the battle near Alguenya, killing some Trollocs. He wears Jur Grady's face, until he is about to leave, then reveals himself to bolster the morale of the army. He returns to Merrilor, and speaks briefly with Min, and then with Cadsuane. Cadsuane notes that he has been giving gifts to his friends, and that is often something people do when they don't expect to live much longer. She tells him not to assume that it's inevitable that he will die, that he still needs to struggle to live, even in his last fight. She urges him not to delay much longer. He asks her to come with him, to fight the forsaken that will oppose him. She tells him that the Black Tower have freed themselves from Taims rule.

Lan wanders around, and goes to brush out Mandarbs coat. He speculates how soon the Shadow will be defeated, and he and Nynaeve can start a peaceful life together. Lord Baldhere approaches him, and confides that he is worried that Lord Agelmar is not getting enough sleep, that he's making mistakes. Lan moves to the command tent, and starts reviewing the battle orders. Agelmar comes in, and asks if Baldhere spoke to Lan. He admits he made a mistake, and that he will make more. But he claims to know his limits, and if he's not being relieved of command he will not be second-guessed. Lan leaves him to work on the plans.

Commentary
Gawyn really is a bit of a git. He's not happy playing guard to the Amrylin, even though he loves her. He wants to join the rest of the battle, even though the role he plays is important. He is playing with these rings, speculating that he could use them, but not really thinking about what he would do if he used them. Maybe if we're lucky he'll give a bit of lip to Lan, and Lan will wack him around a bit.

I was right about Rand giving out gifts as part of saying fair well. Not sure what the scene between Lan and Agelmar is hinting at. Perhaps Lan is going to see further problems with Agelmar, and be forced to take over?

3 Comments

Chap 17 such an important scene and so well executed! Still makes me smile 'are you singing?'.
Yeah Gawyns a git. Always has been. I don't know what Egwene sees on him.

I haven't finished, (obviously as I just finished Rands conversation with Tuon in Ebour Dar) ...


SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME THE SEANCHAN DO NOT GET TO KEEP THEIR DAMANE!!!!

I am dumbfounded that Rand as the Dragon Reborn, with the wisdom of Lews Therin, would not be able to figure out how to stop slavery!!! Slavery that touches him so personally!

With Seanchan in ruins and Tuon barely holding onto her conquered lands .... WHY DIDN'T HE JUST KILL HER RIGHT THEN?!

If this holds true, this will have RUINED a series I've read for the last 20 years. I never understood Jordan's fascination with bondage and always was waiting for the Seanchan to be finally dealt with.

This is utter crap.

I think there are a few answers to the question of why Rand didn't kill Tuon. One of the answers is that killing Tuon doesn't change the Seanchan culture, and hence wouldn't have been an effective way of banishing slavery. In all likely hood General Galgan would just step up into her place, and the Seanchan forces would still be organised and united (and very, very angry). Plus Mat would be upset, and he helps out a bit later on.

Also Rand wants the aid of the Seanchan in the upcoming fights with the Shadow, let alone to keep his Dragon Peace treaty alive. You say Tuon is just barely holding onto the conquered lands, but I don't remember any stories of rebellion in the lands she has conquered, rather that she's having trouble with her fight to take more lands. Rand knows he at least needs those armies that she is fighting in his upcoming battle against the shadow, even if he doesn't get Seanchan help with that fight.

A more meta answer is that the authors have written Tuon into the series enough that the readers know her, and at least some readers like some of her attributes and personality; killing her off would seem cold blooded.

Let us know once you've finished the book, and we can take up the question of whether or not the damane were freed, and if that was a good or bad thing.

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