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View Full Version : Some of the most brilliant writing I've ever read.


Seeker
04-24-2012, 10:08 PM
If there was ever a moment where I asked myself why I fell in love with the Wheel of Time, here is the answer.

THE DRAGON REBORN
[HR]
"Jaim Dawtry dropped by. There's odd news down from Baerlon with the peddler."

Egwene raised her head from the cradle she was rocking. Rand was standing in the doorway. For an instant her head spun. She looked from Rand my husband to the child in the cradle my daughter and back again, in wonder.

The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

It was not her own thought, but a disembodied voice that could have been inside her head or out, male or female, yet emotionless and unknowable. Somehow, it did not seem strange to her.

The moment of wonder passed, and the only thing to wonder about was why she had thought anything seemed out of round. Of course Rand was her husband her handsome, loving husband and Joiya was her daughter the most beautiful, sweetest little girl in the Two Rivers. Tam, Rand's father, was out with the sheep, supposedly so Rand could work on the barn but really so he could have more time to play with Joiya. This afternoon Egwene's mother and father would come out from the village. And probably Nynaeve, to see if motherhood was interfering with Egwene's studies to replace Nynaeve as Wisdom one day.

"What kind of news?" she asked. She took up rocking the cradle again, and Rand came over to grin down at the tiny child wrapped in swaddling cloches. Egwene laughed softly to herself. He was so taken with his daughter that he did not hear what people said to him half the time. "Rand? What kind of news? Rand?"

"What?" His grin faded. "Strange news. War. There's some big war, taking up most of the world, so Jaim claims." That was strange news; word of wars seldom reached the Two Rivers till the wars were long done. "He says everybody is fighting some folk called the Shawkin, or the Sanchan, or something like that. I never heard of them."

Egwene knew she thought she knew Whatever it was, was gone.

"Are you all right?" he asked. "It's nothing to upset us here, my heart. Wars never touch the Two Rivers. We are too far from everywhere for anyone to care."

"I'm not upset. Did Jaim say anything else?"

"Nothing you can believe. He sounded like a Coplin. He said the peddler told him these people use Aes Sedai in battle, but then he claimed they offer a thousand gold marks to anyone who turns an Aes Sedai over to them. And they kill anybody who hides one. It makes no sense. Well, it's nothing to trouble us. It is all a long way from here."

Aes Sedai. Egwene touched her head. The way back comes but once. Be steadfast.


She noticed Rand had a hand to his own head. "The headaches?" she asked.

He nodded, his eyes suddenly tight. "That powder Nynaeve gave me doesn't seem to be working the last few days."

She hesitated. These headaches of his worried her. They grew worse every time they came, now. And worst of all was something she had not noticed at first, something she almost wished she never had noticed. When Rand's head hurt, strange things happened soon after. Lightning out of a clear sky, smashing to bits that huge oak stump he had been working two days to root out where he and Tam were clearing new field. Storms that Nynaeve did not hear coming when she listened to the wind. Wildfires in the forest. And the deeper his pain grew, the worse what followed. No one else had connected these things to Rand, not even Nynaeve, and Egwene was grateful for that. She did not want to think about what it might mean.

That is plain stupid foolish, she told herself. I must know if I am going to help him. Because she had a secret of her own, one that frightened her even as she tried to puzzle out what it meant. Nynaeve was teaching her the herbs, teaching Egwene to follow her as Wisdom, one day. Nynaeve's cures often worked in near miraculous fashion, wounds healed with barely a scar, sick folk brought back from the edge of the grave. But three times now, Egwene had cured someone Nynaeve had given up for dead. Three times she had sat to hold a hand through the last hour, and seen the person get up from a deathbed.

Nynaeve had questioned her closely on what she had done, what herbs she had used, in what blending. Thus far, she had not found the courage to admit that she had done nothing. I must have done something. Once might be chance, but three times... I have to figure it out. I have to learn. That set off a buzz in her head, as though the words were echoing inside her skull. If I could do something for them, I can help my husband.

"Let me try, Rand," she said. And as she stood, through the open door, she saw a silver arch standing in front of the house, an arch filled with white light. The way back will come but once. Be steadfast. She took two steps toward the door before she could stop herself.

She halted, looked back at Joiya gurgling in her cradle, at Rand still pressing hand to his head and looking at her as if wondering where she was going. "No," she said. "No, this is what I want. This is what I want! Why can't I have this, too?" She did not understand her own words. Of course, this was what she wanted, and she had it.

"What is it you want, Egwene?" Rand asked. "If it's anything I can get, you know I will. If I can't get it, I'll make it."

The way back will come but once. Be steadfast.

She took another step, into the doorway. The silver arch beckoned her. Something waited on the other side. Something she wanted more than anything else in the world. Something she had to do.

"Egwene, I "

There was a thump behind her. She looked over her shoulder to see Rand on his knees, bowed and head cradled in his hands. The pain had never hit him so hard. What will come after this?

"Ah, Light!" he panted. "Light! Hurts! Light, it hurts worse than ever! Egwene?"

Be steadfast.

It was waiting. Something she had to do. Had to. She took a step. It was hard, harder than anything she had ever done in her life. Outside, toward the arch. Behind her, Joiya was laughing.
"Egwene? Egwene, I can't " He cut off with a loud groan.

Steadfast.
She stiffened her back and kept walking, but she could not keep the tears from rolling down her cheeks. Rand's groans built to a scream, drowning Joiya's laughter. From the corner of her eye, Egwene saw Tam coming, running as hard as he could.

He can't help, she thought, and tears became wracking sobs. There is nothing he can do. But I could. I could.

She stepped into the light, and was consumed.
[hr]

This is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever read. See, this is why I reject the whole "the Pattern controls everything and everyone" interpretation. This scene is about Egwene making a choice. Not the choice to walk through the archway - that's just a symbol. The real issue is what the archway represents. Her old life for a new one.

Love and home and family for the chance make a difference, the chance to help people. If anyone thinks that Egwene was not FIERCELY in love with Rand in the early days, I offer this scene as proof to the contrary.

So, no matter what happened, she was going to end up with Rand - I get that. But she did not have to be Aes Sedai; she could have gone home to the Two Rivers after learning enough to avoid dying from the spark - Elaida even told her to do as much - and lived a quiet life with her family. She could have It wouldn't be the same without Rand but she would eventually grow close to another nice young man, marry him and have children. That option was available to her. But the other road offered more. Not just power but the opportunity to use that power to make the world a better place. The chance to save people, ease suffering and draw a line against the darkness.

The power came at a cost. That was the point of the scene. The fact that Egewene went through the archway means she had already made up her mind long before the Accepted test. But for one moment, one beautiful tear-filled moment, we see what it cost her. What she had to give up. And it's just... breath-taking. This writing touches your very soul. This was RJ at his absolute finest.

When you give the Pattern credit for every major event, every major decision by every major character, you strip away all the beauty in scenes like this.

Ishara
04-25-2012, 11:14 AM
Just cause? ;)

SauceyBlueConfetti
04-25-2012, 11:28 AM
Just cause?

I read this earlier this morning and have been pondering it. I assume Seeker is in the midst of a re-read and was hit by the passage and wanted to share. It is a nice bit...I actually believe all of the testings & ter'angreal bits (Rhuidean and the Tower) are some of the most enjoyable and interesting parts of the books.

What hit me about this particular passage though is Egwene's ability with Healing. Healing (capital H!) is not one of her strengths in the real world, but in this passage she seems to have greater skill than Nyn (!). It could be put off as RJ was showing she has better control (while unknowingly channeling) than Nyn, but to me it foreshadows her ability to heal what is considered beyond help, i.e., uniting the Tower, healing the wounds of the Aes Sedai. It also is her own subconcious telling her she is stronger than Nyn, and her path is not that of a student. The testing shows more truths than can be recognized, and the rule of not speaking of what happens there is, as per usual with AS, pretty stupid. :) Maybe if they discussed things, they would LEARN more. D'oh!

Agreed though, great passage.

McCaber
04-27-2012, 03:24 AM
I still think the dream sequences in TEOTW are some of the most genuinely bonechilling stuff I've read.

Flinn Sedai
04-28-2012, 04:29 AM
This is one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever read. See, this is why I reject the whole "the Pattern controls everything and everyone" interpretation. This scene is about Egwene making a choice. Not the choice to walk through the archway - that's just a symbol. The real issue is what the archway represents. Her old life for a new one.

Love and home and family for the chance make a difference, the chance to help people. If anyone thinks that Egwene was not FIERCELY in love with Rand in the early days, I offer this scene as proof to the contrary.

So, no matter what happened, she was going to end up with Rand - I get that. But she did not have to be Aes Sedai; she could have gone home to the Two Rivers after learning enough to avoid dying from the spark - Elaida even told her to do as much - and lived a quiet life with her family. She could have It wouldn't be the same without Rand but she would eventually grow close to another nice young man, marry him and have children. That option was available to her. But the other road offered more. Not just power but the opportunity to use that power to make the world a better place. The chance to save people, ease suffering and draw a line against the darkness.

The power came at a cost. That was the point of the scene. The fact that Egewene went through the archway means she had already made up her mind long before the Accepted test. But for one moment, one beautiful tear-filled moment, we see what it cost her. What she had to give up. And it's just... breath-taking. This writing touches your very soul. This was RJ at his absolute finest.

I could not agree more. This was an incredibly powerful scene, and truly shows RJ's skill as an author.

When you give the Pattern credit for every major event, every major decision by every major character, you strip away all the beauty in scenes like this.

This is the only part I disagree with. Scenes like this are what make the Pattern so amazing. Think about the Pattern like the whole series. Everything that happens in it, is what makes the series, the Pattern, so spectacular.

Seeker
04-29-2012, 11:46 AM
But Flinn, from your perspective, did Egwene make the decision to forsake the Two Rivers in favour of becoming Aes Sedai on her own? Or was she made to do it by some outside force?

If things had been different - if she chose life in the Two Rivers instead - would that have been possible in your mind? Or would she have been forced into her current role regardless of what she wanted.

Flinn Sedai
04-29-2012, 12:04 PM
But Flinn, from your perspective, did Egwene make the decision to forsake the Two Rivers in favour of becoming Aes Sedai on her own? Or was she made to do it by some outside force?

If things had been different - if she chose life in the Two Rivers instead - would that have been possible in your mind? Or would she have been forced into her current role regardless of what she wanted.

Of course she could have chosen that. Free choice has been a big theme in the series. It was the entire point of VoG.

And if she had chosen to stay in the Two Rivers, then the Pattern would have still been amazing. Just different.

Seeker
04-29-2012, 02:48 PM
Then we're in agreement.

Tomp
04-29-2012, 02:53 PM
How much choice did she have when she grew up and was promised to marry the strongest ta'veren ever?

Flinn Sedai
04-29-2012, 02:55 PM
How much choice did she have when she grew up and was promised to marry the strongest ta'veren ever?

Well, she didn't marry him, did she? :D

Tomp
04-29-2012, 03:05 PM
Well, she didn't marry him, did she? :D

No, but they had a strong connection.
Just look at Mat trying to leave Rand in tSR and tFoH.
No matter how he tried he couldn't leave.
Since Min said she's part of it too, she probably couldn't have done things differently right then.

Later on, when separated from Rand and the boys she has much more freedom in her choices.

Sorry about the semi-derailing. ;)

Flinn Sedai
04-29-2012, 03:12 PM
No, but they had a strong connection.

Just look at Mat trying to leave Rand in tSR and tFoH.

No matter how he tried he couldn't leave.

Since Min said she's part of it too, she probably couldn't have done things differently right then.

Later on, when she leaves Rand and the boys she has much more freedom in her choices.

It was a joke.

Ta'veren have that effect, absolutely.

But the effect isn't no choice. It has to do with limited choice. Even then, it's only to a degree.

Tuon being a perfect example. By really focusing, she was able to overcome the Ta'veren effects. Similarly with Perrin in... tSR? For a while he said he feels Rand tugging at him. Once he fights through it, though, he's more clear, and it's not as difficult.

It doesn't take away your choice. It just makes you want to choose one thing more. I suppose that's a bit of a fine line, but we've seen it walked pretty often, during the series.

Tomp
04-29-2012, 03:21 PM
It was a joke.

Ta'veren have that effect, absolutely.

But the effect isn't no choice. It has to do with limited choice. Even then, it's only to a degree.

Tuon being a perfect example. By really focusing, she was able to overcome the Ta'veren effects. Similarly with Perrin in... tSR? For a while he said he feels Rand tugging at him. Once he fights through it, though, he's more clear, and it's not as difficult.

It doesn't take away your choice. It just makes you want to choose one thing more. I suppose that's a bit of a fine line, but we've seen it walked pretty often, during the series.

Agree.

Good joke I'm trying to collect my intestines from the floor since my side split from laughter.

Flinn Sedai
04-29-2012, 03:31 PM
Agree.

Good joke I'm trying to collect my intestines from the floor since my side split from laughter.

Thank you. I'm glad to know somebody else appreciates my humour.

maleshub
04-29-2012, 03:54 PM
Being ta'veren doesn't make the person get what he wishes for. The pattern aligns events to help him or her fulfill their function.

Remember Merana berating Rand with her "May you have a belly ache from it" after her deal with the seafolk. Rand thought that being ta'veren wasn't always hearing what you want to hear.

The same can be said of Tuon's resistance. The pattern refused to let her serve Dark Rand. So, he didn't get his wish; but the pattern aligned events the way they should be for things to work out for the best.

Flinn Sedai
04-29-2012, 03:56 PM
Being ta'veren doesn't make the person get what he wishes for. The pattern aligns events to help him or her fulfill their function.

Remember Merana berating Rand with her "May you have a belly ache from it" after her deal with the seafolk. Rand thought that being ta'veren wasn't always hearing what you want to hear.

The same can be said of Tuon's resistance. The pattern refused to let her serve Dark Rand. So, he didn't get his wish; but the pattern aligned events the way they should be for things to work out for the best.

Well, you're right that it doesn't make the person get what he wishes, but that wasn't what happened with Tuon.

Question
After Rand has channeled the True Power, he has a dark cloud around him. When he meets with Tuon after this, she manages to resist his ta'veren pull. Is this because the True Power has reduced his ta'veren mojo?

Brandon Sanderson
The reason she manages to resist is that she has a lot of willpower. Rand is just as ta'veren as ever.

maleshub
04-29-2012, 04:05 PM
Well, you're right that it doesn't make the person get what he wishes, but that wasn't what happened with Tuon.

Thanks for the quote. It is nice to learn that piece of information.

The same happened to Egwene in Cairhien when Rand asked her where Elayne was; and she clapped her mouth shut before answering.

I see it as willpower as well as the pattern "deciding" that it wasn't the right time for the ta'veren to have this particular wish granted.

I don't see willpower as opposite the pattern; but complimentary.